La Beaute est la Bete 

Chapitre Trois

It only took Bela five days to reach the house by the sea, in such a hurry was he to see his darling siblings. They had been the only things that he had regretted leaving behind, and his worry over them had been the one thing that had distressed him more than Beast's strange nightly behaviors. He needed to see for himself that the twins were faring well now that he was not there to protect them from the darkness of the world in which their father lived.

When he at last found himself before the brothel, which looked to be nothing more than a beautiful and stately mansion during the daylight hours, Bela dismounted the fine stead that Beast had put him upon and hurried towards the familiar front doors. There, waiting for him as though he had never left, were Fleur and Finn.

The children were as Bela remembered them, alike and yet different at the same time. Fleur had long, straight blond hair that hung nearly to her knees and Finn had an impish smile and tousled locks that fell across sharp blue eyes. They were fey children, petite and delicate, constantly flitting about as though it pained them to remain still. They smiled at their lost brother, running into his arms with delighted squeals and a million and one questions.

Bela smile too, so happy was he to see the little boy and girl again. Then his father approached, and his smile was instantly lost.

"Welcome home, my wayward boy." His father placed a hand on his shoulder, and it was all that Bela could do not to shudder or shake the man off. "The children have missed you. It has been too long, my son."

Bela did not know what to say, but he was saved from having to talk to his father by an interruption from his tiny sister. The girl had started to cry, and Bela knelt down by her side and took the girl gently in his arms. "Father said that he was forced to send you to live with a horrible monster!" Their brother added, in no less an emotional state now that his twin had begun to cry, "He said that you would most probably be eaten!"

"Beast is not a monster at all." Bela assured them, shocked that their father would let such small children belive such a horrible fate had befallen their beloved older brother. He had not thought even his father that cruel. "He is kind and gentle, with a good heart, and he has taken such very good care of me. He has made me very happy, so do not fear, little ones. Your brother is well, and will remain so, I swear it."

Their father scoffed, not believing for a moment that the scarred monstrosity that had nearly killed him at the castle was anything near as nice as his son was describing. But he left the little ones to their comforting lies, a false smile on his lips as he walked away towards the back of the house. He had better things to do than to listen to fairy tales meant for children. He had guests to prepare for.


The evening meal was uneasy, and Bela had the discomforting feeling that his father was planning something, what with the way that the portly old man kept staring at him every few moments as he tried to eat his supper and talk with his siblings. Knowing his father, Bela knew that, whatever the man had in mind, it could not be good. He began to wonder if Beast had not been right in asking him not to answer his father's summons. Thoughts of Beast, however, made Bela homesick for the castle and the loving companion that he had found there, so he quickly put such thoughts out of his mind.

When their meal was done and Bela had seen his little brother and sister safely tucked into their beds in the attic of their massive home, he went into his father's study, unable to disobey the man's request for an audience. On his way through the halls Bela saw the many familiar faces that occupied the rooms of the mansion, the two dozen or more men and women beginning to move about now that darkness had fallen. It was a sure sign that business hours would soon begin. A business that Bela was well and truly glad to be free of at last. A business that he did not want Fleur and Finn to ever be involved in. He wondered both if his father would give the children up and if Beast would consider taking the children into his home, and Bela vowed to breach the subject with his lover just as soon as he had returned to his side.

"Bela, my boy, do come in." His father called when the boy knocked weakly on the heavy oaken door of his father's inner sanctuary. "There's something that I have been wanting to talk to you about. Shut the door behind you."

"What is it, Father?" Bela asked, more nervous even than before. It was never good when his father wanted to speak to him privately. It was with trembling hands that he reluctantly shut the door. "I'm really very tired from my long journey and would much appreciate a chance for rest."

"In due time," the older man said, motioning to a chair in front of his large wooden desk. "Tell me, what has your time with that beast really been like? Is he as horrible as I've heard?"

"Beast is a good man," Bela said with sincerity. "I told Fleur and Finn the absolute truth of the matter."

"He must truly be a fearsome animal to have frightened you so thoroughly in only a few scant months that you would tell such lies so convincingly." There seemed to be admiration in his voice rather than distaste, and the very idea made Bela's stomach turn. He was reminded of what a terrible man his father really was. And his next words drove that fact home most completely. "But together we shall make him pay, my boy."

"Father?" Bela did not like the glittering in his father's eyes, nor the cruel and calculating smile on his plump lips.

"The treasures I was allowed to keep in exchange for you were but a fraction of that man's wealth, I am sure of it. But, now that you have been in his castle for these past few months, I am certain that you can tell me where all of the best prizes are." The brothel owner was rubbing his sweaty hands together with glee, all but vibrating with excitement as he leaned over his desk and looked his son in the eye. "If you help me to pilfer the beast's coffers then, in exchange, I will hire mercenaries to slay him so that you may be free to return here and watch over your siblings. I'd think that you would be most happy for that."

Bela did not even know what to say, so shocked was he by his father's evil plan. Kill beast and steal his wealth? Bela would rather drive a dagger through his own heart. In truth, that was exactly what would happen if his father were to slay his lover. It was unthinkable!

"Never!" He was up and out of his chair before the last syllable had passed his lips. He knew that he had to flee, to return to Beast's side straight away, and to get as far from his father as he could. But before he could even get so far as the door Bela saw a sinister figure moving out of the shadows, the other's malicious laughter joining his father's own.

"I was afraid that you might say that." It was the last thing that Bela heard before the man in the shadows struck him across the face and everything went black.


He knew that he had promised Bela two weeks to visit with his siblings, but Beast had begun to grow uneasy almost from the first day that the boy had left his lands. The boy's father, though he had only met him briefly, was the sort of man that was not to be trusted for any reason. And Beast had entrusted the man with what was most precious to him.

When not but six days had passed, Beast had reached the end of his patience. There was no evidence that anything unpleasant had befallen his beloved Bela, but the feelings of unease still continued to grow with each day that the green eyed beauty was away, until at last Beast could no longer stand to be separated from his lover and unaware as to his wellbeing. Even if it made Bela unhappy, even if he was angry with him for intruding on something private between family, Beast still felt that he had to go and find the younger man. He only hoped that Bela could forgive him the terrible fright that his appearance was sure to give his young siblings.

Something was wrong with Bela, he knew it deep in his heart, and Beast refused to let the boy suffer when he had the strength to save him.

Settling his resolve, Beast saddled his fastest mount and made his way for the neighboring kingdom by the sea. It had been ages since he had left his castle, but his concern for Bela was stronger than anything that had held him prisoner in his own home. He rode like the wind, pushing his horse ever faster, until at last he found himself at the borders of his land.

It had only taken him four days.


The very same four days that Beast fought so hard to reach his side were four days of pure hell for Bela. He had awakened from the darkness that he had fallen into in his father's study to find himself in his old bedroom with the one person in all of the world whom he feared the most standing over him, his small body tied to a bed, not a stitch of clothes to be found. It was like something out of a nightmare. One that he feared he would never be given the chance to wake from.

He was tormented, both physically and mentally, day and night. The only release Bela found was when blessed unconsciousness claimed him. But even that was denied him for the most part, as his tormentor delighted in forcing him back to a wakeful state whenever the darkness claimed him. By the end of the third night Bela did not even have a single tear left to shed. He prayed for death, his only regret being that he had not been able to say good-bye to his siblings or to see Beast one last time.

"Who is this Beast that you call for in your sleep?" Bela did not answer straight away, and for his lapse he received a harsh slap across his already bruised and battered face. The taste of blood in his own mouth was nothing new. "Is he the prince that your father wants revenge upon so badly?"

"Yes." Bela whispered, seeing no harm in such a simple question. He was not sure if he could withstand the blow that he would get for his silence.

"Do you honestly think that he would come for you?" There was such contempt in the words that Bela almost felt as though he had received the physical punishment that he had feared. "No one will come for you. You're not worth it."

Deep in his heart, Bela believed his words. And the pain ran deeper than any wound he had yet received.

"Only I want you." A finger tipped with a razor sharp claw ran teasingly across Bela's chest, a deep rumbling laugh accompanying the trail of blood that was left in its wake. The finger ended its journey just over Bela's heart, stopping to toy with the ragged scar that lay across the otherwise unblemished expanse of flesh. A scar that the very same claw had once put there. "You are, and always will be, mine. This mark proves that."

The man might have had a name, but Bela had never heard him referred to as anything other than the Devourer. He had first met the cruelly handsome man when he was but seven years old, his father telling him that it was time that he earned his keep before shoving him into one of the upstairs rooms and slamming the door shut behind him. The smile that had greeted him had been kind, but it had not reached the coal black eyes of the man who reclined so casually on the room's bed, and Bela had known sheer terror when the stranger had grown bored with looking and had finally gotten up and come to get him. After that the Devourer had arranged to meet with Bela once a week. And Friday night's had become something to dread for Bela.

"Does he know what you are?" The Devourer asked, slicing open the skin surrounding Bela's scar. "Does he know why your father despises you so?"

Bela shook his head, and the Devourer laughed again.

"I was most upset when I found that he had gotten rid of my favorite toy." This, Bela believed. The Devourer had never visited another room but Bela's since they had first met. A fact that Bela had cursed on more than one occasion. "But, his kind always are afraid of ones such as ourselves. We're too dangerous for them. Too powerful for them to control."

The Devourer looked at Bela critically before grabbing him by the chin, forcing him to meet cold black eyes.

"Are you ashamed of what you are?" Of what I forced you to become, the unsaid words hung heavy in the air. "Is that why you haven't told this man who you continue to call out to that you are a werecat?"

It wasn't exactly that Bela was ashamed. In fact, the few times that he had been free to roam the night in his other form he had found it exhilarating and thrilling. He had felt free. But his father had beaten him severely when he had found out that his son had been roaming the countryside while in animal form, ashamed that his son was something that he considered to be a monstrosity, and Bela had not dared to try it again. That was why he had tried so hard to hide his curse from Beast the entire time that he had slept under his roof. He could not bear the thought of his lover thinking ill of him for what he was. He did not think that he would survive the rejection.

But Bela did not want to tell the Devourer this.

He was saved from talking by the sound of horrendous screams from the hallway outside of the room, and the sound of a struggle, followed by several people running, could be heard from the other side of the door. Then the door splintered inward and a huge figure filled the doorway.

"Beast!" Bela was shocked to see his lover, supposedly far away in another kingdom, standing instead before him.

Beast was covered in blood, his red eyes all but glowing, his fangs bared in a snarl. His white hair was matted with gore, and when Bela craned his neck to see what Beast held in his scarred hand he knew exactly where the mess came from. There, in Beast's hand, was the brothel owner's severed head. His mouth was stuck forever in a horrified scream, his eyes all but bulging out of his fat face. Bela could not find it in his heart to mourn the man that had been his father.

"You must be the Beast." The Devourer said, utterly calm despite the presence of the raging prince and the decapitated brothel owner. "Our dear Bela has told me so much about you."

Beast approached the Devourer, not once speaking, instead growling low in his throat as he saw the other man reach out and stroke his hand across Bela's stomach. The Devourer did not seem at all frightened, certain that his lycanthropic strength would be more than enough to protect him against any moral. Even one as enraged as Beast appeared to be. That was his fatal mistake, as his own head soon joined the brothel owner's on the ground. He had not even been given the time to scream.

Bela watched his own personal devil being beheaded by Beast, and still he could not fear the man who stood before him covered in blood and gore. He did not flinch as a strong hand, dripping drops of warm crimson across his pale flesh, reached out to caress his battered cheek. It hurt to be touched, but Bela did not pull away. For the past four days all he had wanted was this, to feel Beast's touch once again, and he would have wept for joy if he'd had the strength.

The last thing that Bela saw before he blacked out once again was Beast's kind smile, just as he had remembered it. A gentle kiss followed him into the darkness.


With his monsters slain and his hero come to rescue him, Bela was at last able to close his eyes for the first time in nearly a week without a hint of nightmares, and so his battered body was finally able to rest and heal from his injuries without interruption. He slept for seven days and seven nights, all the way through the journey home and past the coming of the full moon.

When at last he woke it was to the welcoming and familiar sights of Beast's castle, although the massive four-poster bed in which he slept was entirely unfamiliar. And there, beside him, asleep in an armchair that was pulled up to the bed, was the most welcomed sight of all. Beast.

Feeling eyes upon him Beast slowly stirred, opening tired red eyes to see Bela at last awake. It brought a happy smile to the scarred face of the prince.

"Up at last?" Beast teased, moving to take Bela's delicate hand in his own much larger one. "Fleur and Finn have been worried for you. As have I."

"My brother and sister are here?!" Bela was overjoyed. "Where are they? I must see them."

"They're at breakfast. I'll send for them soon." Beast had very much enjoyed having the children as company the past few days, and he did not regret for a moment having brought them with him when he had fled with an unconscious Bela. Besides, he had known that his lover would never forgive him had he left them behind. "Right now, my concerns lie with you. How are you feeling?"

"I'm fine, thank you." And it was the truth, Bela was surprised to find. Then he realized why he should feel so well after suffering such torments as he had, and the color instantly drained from his already pale face.

"I'm glad to see that the change did it's job." Beast spoke so casually that Bela was left wondering if they were thinking the same thing after all. But, Bela thought, how could Beast not know? If he had been by his side during a full moon while Bela was unconscious and unable to fight the change to his animal form then surely Beast knew his most tightly guarded secret. "I wonder if it will do the same for me? Probably not, for my scars are far too old. Not that it really matters, though. In fact, I am quite fond of the newest one."

Bela didn't know what Beast was talking about. Then he saw it. There, above the heart, in the same place as his own scar, Bela saw a fresh cut still healing on Beast's chest. The placement could not have been an accident.

"I did that?" Bela was heartbroken that he could have hurt the one man who had done everything to protect him, even if he had been unaware at the time. He felt tears prickling at his eyes. How could Best ever forgive him?

"Actually, I did it." Beast answered, reaching out a finger to catch the tears that slid down Bela's cheek. "I let you mark me while you slept. This is something that we should share. You should not suffer in silence any longer." Beast said all of this simply, and he smiled as he watched Bela's eyes drift back and forth between his newest scar and his sincere red eyes. "Besides, it seems that one curse cancels out another, so I am even more glad to have it."

Bela was confused, and so Beast took a great heaving breath and prepared to try to explain events long past.

"My father died when I was very young. Not long after, a neighboring kingdom thought to take our lands, and so my mother was forced to leave this place and barter herself to the king of that land in order to ensure the safety of her son, our lands, and our people. Before she left, my mother entrusted me to the care of a fairy who had long lived in the forests at our borders. The fairy watched over me, keeping her word and protecting our lands until I was able to care for them myself, but as I grew older the fairy's interests in me began to change. She attempted to seduce me many times over the years, but each time I refused her. Eventually she grew tired of my rejection, and when at last her anger reached its height, she became a truly fearsome thing. She sent her minions to savage me, leaving me as you see me now, and then she placed upon me a curse. She said that I was a monster to discard her feelings for me, and so she cursed me to become the monster that she saw in me each night. When darkness falls I become a horrid creature, foul of word and deed alike, and I am unable to stop myself from harming those closest to me. I can see all that I do, but am powerless to stop myself. Then, in the morning, I am forced to relive the pain that I have caused the night before."

"That's why you refused to spend the night with me?" Bela suddenly understood all of those lonely nights in his own bed, far from Beast. "And why it is only Butler, Cook, Daisy, and May here in this castle with you?"

"Yes." Beast had not wanted to tell Bela any of this before because at first he had not thought that the boy could accept someone as accursed as he was. Then, when he had begun to feel so strongly for the beautiful young man, he had not wanted to endanger him. He knew that Bela had a kind heart and that he would have wanted to try to help him. Beast had not thought Bela capable of helping him, his curse was so strong. Now he knew that he was wrong.

"It must have been terribly lonely for you." Bela looked ready to cry once again, but this time for a wholly different reason. He could not imagine how isolated such a life must have left Beast feeling. At least he had been able to take comfort in his siblings. Beast had been left with no one.

"It was." Beast agreed. "But now I have you. And those little scamps who are feasting downstairs. Now none of us will know loneliness ever again."

Beast did not want to let the tears that he still saw in Bela's eyes fall, even if they were a sign of happiness, and so to distract him he picked up the boy in his strong arms and carried him over to the balcony at the far side of his room. They stepped into the sunlight, their hair ruffled by a fresh spring breeze, and they listened together as a songbird sang in a nearby tree.

"My lands too were cursed, you know. Cursed to be as empty and barren as my heart. But now that it is alive and filled with love for you, my lands are flourishing once again." Looking down at his startled lover Beast did his best to make sure that his meaning was absolutely clear. "Never doubt that. Never doubt that I love you. Now and always."

Bela cried tears of joy, wrapping his arms around Beast's strong neck, whispering over and over, "And I love you. Now and always."


When next the full moon rose high into the sky two great cats ran side by side into the night. One was sleek and elegant, small and beautiful, the other massive and scarred, but no less majestic. They prowled on silent paws over meadows and glades that were newly awakened. They rejoiced in the freedom of open lands, both lush and green, and their growls of contentment could be heard far and wide.

Then morning came, and two sated bodies lay side by side on the dewy lawns before a beautiful castle. They smiled satisfied smiles, even in sleep, because they knew true happiness. They were both very much in love. And always would be.

The End

                                                                                                                                    Chapter 2 ~~~~~~~~ Back to Beauty and the Beast ~~~~~~~~             



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