No Greater Power

Epilogue - Round

'That's not for you!' Belle said, slapping his hand when he reached for roasted potatoes.

'But Belle...'

'Don't 'Belle' me, you're on diet.'

'It's just one potato.'

'No, this way you'll be soon snacking on everything in sight and that's no way to keep you healthy. You'll become round in no time.'

'Round?...' Gold exclaimed, wounded.

'Round. I would love each additional pound with no problem, but your heart won't. You're not the Dark One anymore, you had heart attack and I'm going to make sure you eat heart-friendly food. This includes no roasted potatoes. They are swimming in butter.'

Gold pouted, looking longingly at the full plate.

'Then why do you have to make them?'

'Because Henry is coming over. And because I like them and I'm trying to help you by eating mostly what you're eating every day, so once in a blue moon I can have roasted potatoes.'

Gold sighed, defeated, and nodded. Then he left the kitchen altogether.

Gold awoke in the dark, confused. He shook of the remnants of a weird dream of a bear chasing him on the pirate ship. The alarm clock was showing him 3 o'clock in the morning, and Belle was not sleeping beside him. He could hear faint noises from outside the bedroom, though.

Mystified and a bit anxious, he got up and went downstairs, following the rustling noise. It lead him to the kitchen.


'Oh...' she moaned, turning to him. At first he wasn't sure in the dim moonlight, but she had her mouth full of something. And, yes, chocolate smeared on her nose.

'Belle, what are you doing?'

She swallowed and looked at him nervously. She was stepping from one foot to another, like a child caught red handed on some mischief. Like Bae sometimes did...

'I'm sorry, Rumple...' she managed.

'It's okay,' he replied automatically, but then he came closer and saw the almost empty cookie box. 'But why are you...?'

She blushed, hard.

'Well, I couldn't help. I was dreaming of these cookies all day round.'

'Then why didn't you eat them?'

'Because every time I do, you have that look of a kicked puppy.'

He felt himself blushing too, especially when he realized than even now he's looking more at the cookies, than at Belle.

'Then, well, then I'm the one who should be sorry,' he muttered. 'I appreciate what you're doing, but I don't want you to suffer unnecessarily...'

She came closer and wrapped her arms around his waist, cuddling to him.

'It's not that bad, I actually like your diet much more than you do. It's that few, special things that I try to avoid. Like cookies and hamburgers, and fries, and pizzas...'

His stomach choose exactly that moment to rumble loudly.

'I see you're missing it too, Rumple. Maybe in some time, maybe at your birthday.'

He stroked gently her hair.

'But until then, you don't have to be on diet with me, Belle.'

'Well, you know... I'm not. Every time I'm meeting with Ruby, we order fast-foods and the most caloric desserts.'

He couldn't help but laugh.

'Belle, that's okay. Of course I miss being able to eat that, but I would feel even worse making you miss it too. Just... be reasonably discrete and it's okay.'

'Okay. Thank you. Now, let's go back to sleep. I've had enough cookies for today.'

'Do you think...?'


'That I could have just one? Or even half?'

'Well, maybe. I wouldn't want you to suffer too much either..'

She picked up one cookie and put it gently into his mouth.

'This is heaven, Belle,' he murmured.

She smiled knowingly and led him back to the bedroom.

'Give it back, Ruby, you can't eat them all alone! I'm French, right? That's like my destiny or something to have them!'

'You've eaten your share, Belle,' Ruby said smugly, snatching the plate with the rest of the french fries out of Belle's reach. 'You want more, you buy it.'

'Not. Fair.'

'Completely. Fair. I think Gold spoils you too much.'

'He spoils me just right.' Belle stuck out her tongue. 'Are you often stealing Victor's food?'

'We didn't argue over food even once,' Ruby said proudly. 'Mostly because we like completely different things.'

'Lucky you,' Belle sighed. 'You see yourself, I can't now eat anything fatty when Rumple is around, without getting these tortured looks.'

'That's an excellent reason to buy another serving of fries,' Ruby immediately pointed out.

Belle threw her a very dirty look, but got up and went to the counter.

'Don't forget extra ketchup!' Ruby shouted after her merrily.

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