All fictions here are written by me, Nicole Muench Seidel
Summary: Rumplestiltskin and Belle’s 17 year old daughter has a life altering decision to make. Clarice, who is very much like Rumple, seeks out her parents help with this problem. ‘Chip’ features prominently in this story. The lessons that RumBelle have learned over the decades come into play as they help their daughter. Rumple tries convince his headstrong daughter not to make the same mistakes that he’s made.
Rated T for the implication of smut, without the actual event.
I’m happy and honored to announce that my story “Not Just A Cup” won Best One-Shot Fan Fiction in the Once Upon A Fan Awards 2013. I took a gamble submitting a story in which a character of my own creation, Clarice, is a focal point, but people responded quite well. Thank you to everyone for their support! Thank you, my darling Frank, for encouraging me, helping me brainstorm, proofing and suggesting the B.C. Rich Warlock electric guitar for Clarice and having her have a poster of Nikola Tesla himself (not just his coils)! Thank you, Elisa for proofing help! Thank you, Terri, for being designated cheerleader to encourage my writing!
This is written with great respect, love and gratitude for the talents of Robert Carlyle, Emilie de Ravin, and everyone involved in of Once Upon A Time. I do not own these characters, nor do I own the song mentioned in this story.
Author’s Note: The word “mahiya” is Hindi for lover.
The name Clarice means clear, bright and famous; the name Reimund means wise protector; and the name Lucienne means light.
The premise for this story is that Belle spent 28 years in the asylum, thus the order of children will be different than in my “We Are All…Twin Souls” series, in which Belle (as Izzy-B) lived in Storybrooke proper at that time.
In a room painted black and purple, decorated with posters of The Beatles, Queen, Albert Einstein, a depiction of Tesla Coils in action, as well as a poster of Nikola Tesla himself, whose brooding eyes and slanted nose reminds her of her father, nineteen year old, Clarice finishes practicing guitar. As she unplugs her vintage black B.C. Rich Warlock electric guitar from her Vox amp, her long fingers wrap around the guitar’s neck, placing it in the stand on the floor. Her dark brown eyes observe the early morning’s light, reflecting on the frets of the guitar that her older brother, Baelfire, gave her for her sixteenth birthday. Pulling her headphones’ plug from the amp, she removes the quarter inch adapter, so her headphones can once again plug into her music player. Selecting Orianthi’s “Addicted to Love”, she plays the song at high volume.
Bouncing her head with the music, her long dark hair takes on a life of its own, as sunlight makes auburn highlights dance. With a smirk on her full lips, her dimples, just as her father’s, frame her smile. The driving beat blasts away the worrisome fog from her brain, as well as distracting her from the present thought that her parents might be engaging in activities that are best not thought of. While she loves her siblings, she has no need for more, besides they have always been competition for Baelfire’s attention, and Bae was her brother first.
After several more songs play, Clarice removes her headphones, placing them on her desk between her beakers, potions, alchemy supplies and crystals. Through the walls she hears the unmistakable sound of Baelfire’s snoring. She chuckles to herself, noting that it sounds like he is trying to suck a pig through a straw, and the pig is putting up one hell-of-a fight. She always loves when Baelfire visits, but she really needed him last night. They talked into the wee hours about her dilemma, and he convinced her that she should discuss it with their parents. Deciding to wait more time before disturbing them, she decides to read another couple of chapters of “QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter”, by the physicist Richard P. Feynman.
Upon finishing the desired chapters, she closes the book, placing it on a stack of books, situated next to her guitar. Checking herself in the mirror she frowns, looking at the frayed edge of the iridescent purple ribbon braided into a section of her hair that is ‘dyed’ gold. Touching her finger to the edge of the ribbon, a periwinkle blue light emerges and repairs the ribbon. With a satisfied smirk, she stands, stretching her long, slender body. Wearing her mother’s burgundy leather jacket, her father’s Dark One gold silk shirt and lace up boots that she has sized to fit her perfectly, Clarice gives herself a final check in the mirror. Her long legs stride across the room, and she opens the door entering the hall. She is pensive as she surveys the various doors: Baelfire’s room, still blaring inhuman sounds; the ‘pink palace’, as she refers to her sister, Lucienne’s room; ‘the zoo’ that is inhabited by her baby brother, Reimund, who is the protector of extensive menagerie of stuffed animals; finally, on the far end of the hall, her parents’ room. Since it is quite early, she is certain that Bae, and ‘the children’, as she refers to her other siblings collectively, will still sleep a couple of hours yet.
Belle adjusts her rum pink nightgown. Though she has many nightgowns of various colors, the rum pink gowns always seem to be Rumplestiltskin’s favorites. She suspects the reason of this is the color’s resemblance to flesh. The years have been quite kind to Belle, having just a trace of gray in her lush dark chestnut hair and a few additional lines on her face that show when she is beaming with joy, as she is now. Her iolite blue eyes drift around the antique adorned room. Willing herself to stand on legs that are still vibrating with deliciously spent energy, she listens to Rumplestiltskin humming in the shower, in the adjacent bathroom. She unlocks the bedroom door. Then giving herself permission to enjoy her glow a while longer, she walks lazily back to the intricately carved mahogany bed and flops down like a ragdoll. Then she rolls dreamily onto her stomach, burying her face into his pillow and breathes in. The scent of him still makes her giddy. Belle’s cheeks and feet tingle from being a woman well loved. She marvels at the fact, that after all these years, they have not only kept their spark, but have a more consuming fire than decades ago. She’s heard the talk, the rule of thumb, saying that by now they should have settled into a comfortable existence. However, though their lives now lack the utter chaos and impending doom of their early years, what they just shared was not ‘comfortable’; rather it was exquisite. As she feels like she’s floating in space, she wonders if the intensity never damped because they knew the loss of each other after Regina’s manipulations, or perhaps it is just because it is ‘him’, her ‘mind blowing mahiya’…indeed their time exploring Indian activities had been quite enlightening.
A tap on the door jolts Belle back into Mom Mode, as she sits up suddenly grabbing her periwinkle blue robe. Shaking her head, trying to rid herself of the fog, Belle responds, “Yes?”
Tentatively, Clarice asks, “Momma, can I come in?”
Brightly, Belle replies, “Sure, sweets!”
After entering, Clarice notes her mother’s still flushed face and hair in complete disarray and thinks, “Note to self, wait longer next time.” If it were anybody but her parents she’d be thinking, “Good for them!”, but knowing that her parents are still so amorously energetic is a touch disturbing to Clarice’s mind.
Belle happily greets her daughter with a hug and as she is several inches shorter than her offspring, gets on her tip toes to kiss her daughter’s cheek, “Good morning, sweet girl!”
“Morning, momma.”, Clarice says softly into her mother’s ear. Concluding their embrace, Belle moves to the nightstand on Rumplestiltskin’s side of the bed, retrieving her necklace and putting it on.
Clarice smirks, recognizing the necklace as the protection necklace that her father made for her mother many years ago. Though the danger of the old days has passed, Belle’s sentimental nature compels her to wear it still. However, knowing the side effects of certain spells, it is no surprise to Clarice that her father doesn’t want her mother to wear it during their ‘alone time’. Clarice closes her eyes and shakes her head, trying to purge herself of the mental image. Clarice then notices the ornate rosewood box with blue velvet lining, containing ‘the chipped cup’. Undoubtedly, her father had performed his daily ritual before taking his shower, just as her mother is now, reverently tracing her index finger along the chip. Clarice unintentionally chuckles at this sight. Belle gives her daughter a sideways glance, then closes the box which locks automatically, as per her father’s charm.
Turning to Clarice, Belle folds her arms in front of her and tilts her head. “Something amusing you, darling child?”
Trying and failing to not sound mocking, Clarice says, “Oh no, it’s kind of sweet. Just a bit silly.”
Smirking, Belle raises an eyebrow, “Go on.”
Clarice presses forward, “It’s a cup…with a chunk out of it, and you two act like it should be in Fort Knox. I don’t think I ever saw that box open when I was a child. I mean seriously mother, it’s just a cup.”
Belle explains unfazed by her daughter’s remarks, “As much as we adore all of you children,”, putting emphasis on ‘children’, “we weren’t about to risk something happening to our cup.”
Shaking her head, Clarice says, “But why is it so important? I mean, yes, you’ve told us the story a bazillion times, but papa was right in the first place…’It’s just a cup.’”
Rumplestiltskin, standing in front of the bathroom vanity, wiping the fog from the mirror, combs his shoulder length salt and pepper colored hair. A feeling of utter contentment has encased his being after morning time with Belle. No matter how many years go by, he never fails to be amazed by the miracle of having her love. Buttoning his shirt, he hears voices from the bedroom.
He calls out, “Is that our lovely daughter, I hear?”
Belle calls back, “No, it’s our moody, irreverent one.”, giving Clarice a wink.
Rumplestiltskin calls out, “Good morning, Clarice.”
Clarice rolls her eyes and calls back, “Morning, papa.”
Stepping out of the bathroom, Rumplestiltskin makes his way to his daughter, giving her a bear hug. Clarice is literally tall enough to see eye to eye with her father. Cupping her face in his hands, he tilts his head up to kiss her forehead. Ending their embrace, he then asks, “So what did I miss?”
Belle offers a little smugly, “Just our daughter mocking our family legacy.”
He looks at Clarice with mock annoyance, “That’s it you’re disinherited.”
Clarice scoffs, “Ha! I already having everything of yours that I want.”, dramatically waving her hand in a downward motion across her body, then pointing the toe of her/his left lace up boot.
Smiling widely and shaking his head, “So what’s this mockery that I’m hearing about?”
Clarice, less haughty than before, says, “It’s nothing much, papa. I just don’t see the big deal about the cup. I mean I know it’s a symbol or something, but it’s not something of tangible importance.”
Licking his lips, as Belle and he share a look. Sounding rather professorial, “Symbols are important in this realm, as well as any other realms that I’ve seen…and this cherished treasure symbolizes many things.”, he says gesturing toward the box containing the chipped cup. Clarice looks between her parents questioningly.
Belle explains, “It symbolizes your father’s choice not to become angry over my innocent mistake. It symbolizes my realization that he was not who I assumed him to be.”
Wrapping his arms around Belle from behind slightly nuzzling her hair, Rumplestiltskin interjects, “It symbolizes your mother’s ability to pull my heart from its darkest place.”
Belle leans back slightly into his cradling arms, and continues, “It symbolizes your father’s boundless love and unflagging loyalty in the absence of having that love and loyalty readily returned. It is the seed of our love. It doesn’t just symbolize our love, rather the essential elements of love itself. It is not just a part of some dusty past, instead it is the present and future, because remaining connected to its true value, rejuvenates our hearts day by day and keeps us grateful for what we have. One should never take love for granted, rather stay eternally grateful for the gift of love.” Rumplestiltskin’s eyes take on a misty appearance as he dips his head and places a soft kiss on Belle’s neck, tightening his embrace around her.
Staring at her parents, Clarice’s dark eyes take on a brooding quality. She asks solemnly, “But how do you know?” Belle looks up at Rumplestiltskin and he down at her, then releases her from his embrace.
Belle’s brow furrows as she walks to her daughter, placing her hand to her daughter’s cheek, “Clarice, what’s going on? Why did you want to see us this morning?”
Clarice, breaking eye contact, says haltingly, “Okay, here’s the thing, I’m meeting J.J. for breakfast, and he wants an answer to a question. He wants to travel abroad the next two years, and he wants me to come with him. But if I do, there’s something else he wants…”
Rumplestiltskin’s eyes flash as he exclaims, “What?! That little…”.
Clarice exclaims, “Oh no, papa, not that. He wants a commitment. Besides we already…”.
Belle shoots a warning look to her daughter, “Clarice, we know you already kiss. Papa, was talking about something else.”
Rumplestiltskin gives Belle a look that declares that he is not fooled. Rumplestiltskin thinks to himself, “That little rutting pig wants to spirit my little girl away and do who knows what with her?! Oh, I know what…he’s nineteen. It’s obvious. Not with my little lass!” For a moment, he wonders how this happened so fast, and he remembers a wee Clarice, wakening him each morning by hopping onto his chest and gifting him with some “treasure” that she found around the house. “This can’t be happening already.”, he thinks to himself, fondly pondering what the lad would look like as a snail. Belle clears her throat loudly, getting his attention.
Smiling thoughtfully, Rumplestiltskin suggests, “Perhaps he could go on his little adventure on his own…Siberia sounds like a good place to cool his jets.” Clarice and Belle look at him unamused. He continues, “Perhaps, you could pursue a vocation at a nunnery.”
Aghast, Clarice points out, “Papa, you hate nuns!”
Pushing his bottom lip up thoughtfully, “I don’t hate nuns, exactly.”
Belle intercedes, “Rum, we’re not even Catholic.”
Waving his hand dismissively, he says, “Mere details, love.”
Clarice with a raised eyebrow, asks, “And what would my name be in the convent?…Sister Mary Hell Cat?”
He grins widely at that. Also, pleased that he has distracted them from this unbearable conversation. His pleasure is short lived. Belle purposely steps to the side and back, pushing her foot hard down on his foot, giving him a look that says, “We can’t delay this forever.” Reading her message loud and clear, his stomach knots as he runs his hand through his hair.
Removing her foot, Belle addresses Clarice, “What exactly is the problem with a commitment? You and J.J. have been head over teapot for each other since you were kids.”
Though Rumplestiltskin hates to admit it, he’s known for years that J.J. was Clarice’s true love, and indeed, he is as good of a lad as he could ever hope for Clarice. So, he studies his daughter’s expression to find the source of this quandary.
Clarice with her walls up says, “You know I’m a free spirit. Come on, a commitment? That’s not me. How do I even know he’s the one?”
In disbelief, Rumplestiltskin scoffs, “How do you know? We’ve all known since you were ten, and you punched that older lad who was picking on J.J…never saw a nose bleed that much in my life!”, he adds with a proud chuckle.
Belle shakes her head, “Really? We’re still encouraging that act of violence?”
Clarice defends, “He had it coming…the big bully! Besides, you said I couldn’t use magic on him…you never said I couldn’t deck him.”
Belle rolls her eyes, “Ah, Rumplestiltskin Logic rears its head! Can we get back on topic? I believe your father’s point was you had sprung to the defense of your ‘man’.”
Clarice dismisses, “I was ten, and he was being bullied. I would have done that for anybody.”
Belle retorts, “But you didn’t. Not once have you handled a similar situation with anybody else in that fashion.”
“That doesn’t mean that I’m supposed to spend my life with him.”, Clarice says.
Belle thinks to herself, “Stubborn girl!”, then smiles, tilting her head, resting her eyes upon Clarice’s ribbon braided into her hair. Belle gently takes the braid in her hand, and smiles up at Clarice, “Why do you wear this ribbon?”
Attempting to be nonchalant, Clarice says, “I just like the way it looks.”
Rumplestiltskin rubs his forehead and says, “Really dearie? Do you think we just met you? We know that is not just a ribbon. That is the ribbon that was on the book of Feynman Lectures that J.J. gave you on your twelfth birthday. You even gave it a place of honor by magically turning that part of your hair gold. That ribbon is your chipped cup.”
Belle can’t help smiling at Rumplestiltskin, then after a moment, she turns back to Clarice, “Sweet girl, we know you love him. What’s the problem here?”
Frustrated, Clarice says, “How do I really know that he’s the one? You two just don’t understand because you had it easy.”
“What!?”, her parents exclaim in unison.
In a sarcastic tone, Belle scoffs, “Oh yeah, we had it real easy.”
Rumplestiltskin joins Belle’s sarcasm, “About as easy as choking down a plate of spoiled haggis.”
Belle interjects, “What are you talking about? You know how rough it was…you even had a front row seat for some of it.”
Sighing tensely, Clarice explains, “I didn’t mean it like that. I just meant you had the True Love’s Kiss thing. You and papa kissed, he started to change and you knew…just like that.” Her parents look at each other astonished.
Belle says, “Clarice, you forgot the part where that kiss blew up in our faces.”
In a strange tone of dreamy admiration, Clarice responds, “That was a part of your adventure…your story was adventurous.”
Belle counters, “That wasn’t adventure. That was pain, uncertainty, fear and unbearable grief. We were being hit from all sides it seemed…the Dark One Curse, Regina…my father…and so on. We are lucky to be alive and together.”
Licking his lips and slightly biting the tip of his tongue, Rumplestiltskin tries to process his daughter’s words, he adds, “It is nothing short of a miracle that you even exist, dear child. I know you were young, but Bae saw a fair amount of what went on…even saying his final goodbyes to each of us, in those times when it looked like there was no way out. Do you think Bae would call it an ‘adventure’?”
Clarice mutters, “Well, Baelfire is a bit of a fuddy-duddy.”
Belle interjects, “Actually, he’s a pragmatist. A quality you share with him in some areas, but not others, obviously.”
Clarice declares, “I’m not like other girls. I want to have adventures. I don’t know if I can do that if I commit to J.J. I don’t know if he’ll want the kind of life I want.”
Belle’s brow furrows, “Do you think he doesn’t know you? You two have been friends since you were six years old. The number of ‘adventures’ you drug that poor boy into, I’m surprised he’s still in one piece. If he wanted just an ordinary girl, he probably could have had his pick from what I’ve seen. He wants you…you and all the beautiful quirks that come with you.” Clarice shakes her head in silence.
With an exasperated sigh, Rumplestiltskin steps directly in front of Clarice meeting her toe to toe. Searching her eyes, he says, “This isn’t about your desire for adventure. What’s really going on here?” His dark eyes seem to bore into hers, waiting for an answer.
Clarice says weakly, “What if he doesn’t really love me, and he realizes it’s all a mistake?”
Rumplestiltskin’s forehead crinkles, as though his daughter suddenly sprouted a second head. “How can you doubt that? He’s been hopelessly in love with you for as long as you’ve known each other. He has followed your lead, without making any demands of you, until now. I’m glad the lad found his backbone finally. You have pushed him away repeatedly, yet he keeps coming back to you. Most lads would have walked away long ago with all you’ve put him through.” Clarice’s eyes become glassy, and she blushes, looking down to the floor. He senses a shame radiating from his daughter, as a realization hits him. “Clarice, you haven’t? You have. You have been testing him all this time?” No words come forth from her. Astonished, Rumplestiltskin looks over to Belle, who is dumbfounded leaning against the bed with her hand over her mouth. His demeanor changes, becoming rigid as he looks intensely into Clarice’s eyes. “You have wanted to be treated like an adult since you were a wee one. Well, now it’s time for you to start acting like one. Admit what you want and accept that it is freely given to you or set him free for good this time.”
Belle fights the impulse to intercede, because in her heart, she knows that he knows the way to reach Clarice. For Clarice, her father’s words have always carried more weight than anyone else’s.
Clarice says mournfully, “Papa, I’m not normal…I’m not girlie at all; I find inappropriate things funny; and I’ve got magic for goodness sake! How can he really love me?”
Annoyed he responds, “Wait, so you think those things make you unlovable somehow? When have your mother or I ever made you feel unlovable?”
Clarice protests, “You’re my parents…you have to love me.”
Rumplestiltskin’s jaw clenches thinking of Baelfire’s wretched mother, as he and Belle share a look. In a solemn tone, he says, “Just because that’s all you’ve experienced doesn’t mean it’s true.”
Clarice sighs, “Okay, but this is different from a parent and child thing. J.J. could have a normal life with someone else, and one day, he’ll realize that.”
Shaking his head, he says, “Normal is for those lacking in imagination, my dear. Do you want him to find someone ‘normal’ to have a life with? You keep this up and eventually he will. He will move on without his true love, marry and have kids. Is that what you want?” Clarice remains silent. Taking her firmly by the shoulders and leaning in until his nose almost means hers, “How will you feel if he does?”
Weakly, she says, “I don’t know.”
In a low growling tone that he has never used with his children, he says, “Yes, you do. Answer the question. How will you feel when he’s fathering someone else’s children, while you’re off having adventures…alone?”
A dam of emotion breaks, as Clarice burst into tears and yells, “It would kill me! Is that what you want to hear?! Are you trying to hurt me?!”
Without missing a beat, he declares, “Yes! If it stops you from making the same mistakes I did. Hell yes!” Clarice starts to sob violently, as he pulls her into a tight hug as though she might blow away in a hurricane.
Tears stream down Belle’s face witnessing the interaction between Rumplestiltskin and Clarice. Clarice has always favored her father, but they have never seemed more alike than in this moment. Belle had always known that Rumplestiltskin was a good father, and he had proved her right more times than she would count. However, this moment left her in awe. Belle knows that he was nowhere near ready to have his little girl go off and start a life without him by her side, yet here he is…fighting with her…fighting for her to take the leap into a life where he will no longer be the predominate man in her life. Belle has never been prouder of her Rum.
As he strokes his daughter’s hair, he whispers, “Dear child, don’t make my mistakes. They lead to a lot of pain. If I had opened my eyes right from the start and accepted the love that was right there in front of me, I could have spared your mother and I years of misery. Please don’t be like me.” Clarice continues to cling to her father; eyes squeezed shut and sobbing for a few more minutes, as he holds her securely in his arms.
Clarice finally pulls away slightly, her dark brown eyes bloodshot and puffy, and says, “I love him so much, Papa! I just want to be with him.”
Wiping the tears from her eyes with the back of his hand, Rumplestiltskin smiles warmly, “Well, then, dearie, you best wash your face, freshen up and go get him.”
She kisses her father’s cheek, then walks to her mother, hugs her and whispers, “I don’t think the others will be up for a couple of hours…if that’s of interest.”, as she smiles slyly.
Belle chuckles softly and says, “Thanks for the information…now go have fun, darling one.”
Belle makes her way to Rumplestiltskin, wrapping her arms around him. Clarice hesitates by the door looking at her parents. She smiles, thinking to herself that she’s so glad that they are still so crazy in love with each other and hopes that she and J.J. can freak out their kids with displays of affection decades from now. Then she leaves the room.
Standing with slumped shoulders, Rumplestiltskin looks into his tie drawer. Belle picks a tie for him, placing it around his neck, while he says, “I can’t believe I just gave away my daughter.”
Reaching up, raking her fingers through his hair, “I know. I’m going to miss her too…but I’m really proud of you. You’re such a good father.”
Smiling sadly, Rumplestiltskin says, “Yeah, why couldn’t I just be a rat bastard and keep our girl for ourselves?”
Chuckling, Belle pulls him down to her using his tie, nibbling his bottom lip, and then they kiss passionately. As they part, she nibbles his chin, and says, “So…I need to take a shower. Now if only I had someone to help wash my back.”
With a curious grin, he queries, “Are you trying to use your feminine wiles to distract me?”
Sporting a cheek splitting grin and wildly twinkling blue eyes, Belle says, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I just need a back scrubber…so it’s either you or that cute cashier at the pharmacy.” Then she reaches up and gently bites the tip of his nose. Disentangling from his embrace, she removes her robe tossing it on the bed, revealing her rum pink nightgown. As she walks seductively over to the bathroom, Belle looks over her shoulder at him, biting her lip before she closes the door.
Licking his lips, he pulls off his tie and says, “Oh what the Hell! You can never have too many showers.” He locks the bedroom door, and then enters the bathroom, where moments later a squeal and giggles can be heard from the other side.
Years later, Rumplestiltskin and Belle share a very different giggle as they overhear Clarice lecturing to her and J.J.’s children about the importance of chipped cups and hair ribbons.
Author’s Note: Please leave a comment/review. I love to read your thoughts my stories.
Update 6/29/13: In the Once Upon A Fan Awards for the show itself, Robert Carlyle (tweet at @robertcarlyle_) won Best Actor, and Lana Parrilla (tweet at @LanaParrilla) won Best Actress. Our lady Belle, Emilie de Ravin (tweet at @emiliederavin) won 2nd place, followed by Jennifer Morrison 3rd, Ginnifer Goodwin 4th and Meghan Ory 5th. Given the minimal amount of on air time that Emilie de Ravin had in season 2, her 2nd place showing is quite impressive. If you would like to point this out to Adam, Eddy and Jane and hint that fans want more Emilie air time in season 3, than we got in season 2, here are their Twitter addresses: Adam (tweet at @AdamHorowitzLA), Edward Kitsis (tweet at @jollychan4) and Jane (tweet at @JaneEspenson).
Orianthi’s “Addicted to Love” mentioned in the above story.