Title: Repeat The Sounding Joy
Series/Sequel: none
Author: Meg Brown, aka GunBunnyCentral (previously Andromeda Valentine)
Feedback address: andromeda.valentine@gmail.com
Date in Calendar: 19 December 2012
Fandom: Once Upon A Time
Pairing: Ruby/Belle
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1255
Summary: Belle, apparently, loved *everything* about Christmas. The thing that had truly captured Belle's heart, though, was the music...
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Disclaimer: "Once Upon a Tme," the characters, and situations depicted are the property of Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis, Kitsis/Horowitz, and ABC Studios. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes. Previously unrecognized characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. This site is in no way affiliated with "Once Upon a Time," ABC, or any representatives of the actors.

Note: These two had me from their very first scene together...

Beta: none

There'd been no need for discussion of any kind when Ruby and Granny had decided to take Belle under their collective wing. They'd both looked at the poor girl and seen the same thing - a lost lone cub in need of a pack. Belle, for her part, had simply drawn on her innate generosity and kindness to wholeheartedly return the warm welcome she'd been given.

That was why Ruby never questioned her assumption that Belle would be spending the holidays with them. She'd even deal with Mr. Gold - sorry, Rumpelstiltskin - stopping in to see Belle so long as he behaved himself, simply because his visit would make Belle happy.

Ruby had also assumed that Belle would need some help navigating her way through her first holiday season in Storybrooke - she was proven entirely wrong in that, as Belle's sharp, inquisitive mind had easily gleaned that Christmas was not so very dissimilar from the many solstices she'd celebrated back before the Curse.

Belle, apparently, loved any sort of holiday, though she rapidly developed a soft spot for Christmas that Ruby was pleased to share - the more Belle took part in the world around herself, the faster she'd be entirely on her own two feet again. Ruby looked forward to that day, when she'd finally be able to reveal that her attachment to Belle was rapidly growing beyond the friendship they'd so easily established.

In the meantime, though, Ruby took every opportunity she could to be by Belle's side, shamelessly using Storybrooke's various holiday activities to drag Belle away from her beloved library. Belle certainly didn't seem to mind - she'd caught the holiday spirit at word one, and it didn't seem likely that her enthusiasm would fade anytime soon.

Belle, apparently, loved *everything* about Christmas - even shopping for gifts, which Ruby despised. The thing that had truly captured Belle's heart, though, was the music - she was moved to tears by the more melancholy carols, shone like the sun itself as she sang the happier ones, and had fallen into fits of sheer ecstasy the very first time she heard 'The Dance Of The Sugar-Plum Fairy.'

The sight of it had nearly sent Ruby into a few fits of her own...

Despite being so sorely tempted, though, Ruby was more than happy to keep her feelings to herself until Belle was done finding her place in Storybrooke - there'd be time enough later to discuss the issue. For now, it was enough to simply be her friend and confidante - that seemed to be Belle's gift, after all, bringing joy to those around her simply by being there.

Even Granny was less cranky and terse around Belle, treating her in much the same way she treated Ruby herself, which probably explained why Belle seemed to spend all her free time visiting the two of them. Today, for example, Granny herself had insisted that Belle help them make Christmas cookies, on the grounds that Belle needed more familiarity with a modern kitchen if she was going to insist on living alone.

The baking had gone quickly and well, though Ruby had taken a bit of a scolding for starting a minor food fight with the flour and some of the spare dough. When Belle chimed in to accept her share of the blame for it, Granny had just shaken her head and grumbled at them both, shooing them off to get cleaned up since dinner was almost ready - Ruby suspected that they were sent away just so they wouldn't see Granny actually crack a grin at their antics.

Ruby let Belle get cleaned up first - by the time Ruby had taken her own turn at getting presentable again, Belle had apparently settled herself into the family room. She could hear Belle picking tentatively at the keys on Granny's old piano, but didn't think much of it as she headed to join her friend.

Ruby was still a few steps away from the door to the family room when Belle began playing in earnest, and she froze in her tracks as Belle's clear, beautiful voice joined the notes flowing from the piano - she'd understood that Belle had a great love of music in all its forms, but had never suspected it was because she had such a gift for it.

"Silent night... holy night... All is calm... All is bright..."

That gift was all the more apparent when Ruby finally noted the words and realized that it was a carol Belle wasn't even familiar with. Even so, it was pure, and sweet, and pitch-perfect - Ruby could almost picture a field of sparkling white snow crunching under her paws as she ran under a wintery full moon, and it made the wolf in her long to join in the song.

Her voice, though decent thanks to Granny's lessons, could add nothing at all to Belle's performance, so Ruby merely listened in silence as she crossed the room to join Belle at the piano. Belle stopped playing once she noticed Ruby coming toward her, grinning at her friend as she made room for her on the piano bench.

Leaning over to playfully bump Ruby with her shoulder once she sat down, Belle's eyes widened a little in happy surprise. "Mmmm. You smell delicious - like sugar, and vanilla, and cinnamon..."

Belle's face was the picture of innocence as she said it, despite the innuendo lacing her words, so Ruby forced herself to keep her response neutral. "It's from baking all day - you smell the same."

That merely prompted one of Belle's seemingly constant smiles, and the tension of the moment faded as she started flipping through the holiday sheet music Granny had left out. Belle gave a little cry of delight as she found a song she liked, then lightly elbowed Ruby in the ribs. "You have to sing this one with me!"

Ruby recognized the song after the first few notes, but let Belle have the first verse just to hear her sing some more. "Dashing through the snow, in a one horse open sleigh... O'er the fields we go, laughing all the way... Bells on bobtails ring, making spirits bright... What fun it is to laugh and sing a sleighing song tonight..."

Their voices blended together surprisingly well as Ruby jumped in at the chorus. "Jingle bells... Jingle bells... Jingle all the way... Oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh..."

They repeated the chorus together, then fell into a fit of giggles that kept them from continuing the song. A strange sort of warmth seemed to suffuse them both as they sat there staring at each other - Belle's face, so very close to Ruby's in that moment, was lightly flushed, and it made her look even more beautiful than usual to Ruby.

Instead of looking away or otherwise breaking the tension, though, Belle let it linger as her gaze softened. "Ruby... I think I'd very much like to kiss you now..."

Ruby, equally caught up, just smiled softly. "I thought you'd never ask."

They were still kissing when Granny found them several minutes later - they jumped apart, giggling, as Granny cleared her throat to announce her presence. She rolled her eyes a little at the two girls, but Ruby just grinned at her, not the least bit ashamed - try as she might, there was no hiding the fact that Granny was stifling a smile of her own...