“Angie. Angie, sweetie.”
Belle smiled to herself as she finished stacking the last shelfload of books. It was almost time to shut up shop, so she leaned down the ladder and addressed the small, fair haired girl sitting with her nose deep in a book.

“Angie. Angie, sweetie.”

The girl looked up. “Sorry, Mama, did you say something?”

“It’s nearly time to go.”

“Oh, but I’m in the middle of this great book-”

“Then you can take it with you. I’m sure Mr Bookkeeper won’t mind.” Belle slid down the ladder and held out her hand. “Come on, let’s go home.”

Obediently, Angelique closed the book, got to her feet and took her mother’s hand. Belle looked down at her daughter with a fondness at once again seeing both shades of herself and Clopin in her. It had been eight years since Frollo’s death and as such it had been a very happy eight years for all of Paris. The gypsies were once again free to be gypsies and no one stopped them. Belle’s life had changed considerably. She and her parents had moved into the Court of Miracles for good, where they had been welcomed with open arms. Clayton had taken up a job as head of Frollo’s guards, now the Notre Dame guards, and did a considerably good job of keeping them in line and making sure that they never did the wrong thing again, as they had done under Frollo’s rule. Sarah had taken up a part-time job at the Busy Bee Bakery, although she also helped Tiana out a lot at the Court of Miracles with cooking in the kitchen, and they made rather a good team.

As for Belle, she had got a job at the bookshop and quite often Angelique went along with her, lost in a good book whilst her mother organised and stacked and sorted and sometimes even fixed when certain volumes started to fall apart. Clopin still worked as a street entertainer, but they both brought home enough to pay for food, clothing and everything else they needed to make the Court of Miracles their home.

They had had an outdoor wedding, just outside of Notre Dame, after Clopin had been assured of her parent’s blessing, and the Archdeacon had married them, “with great pleasure and honour,” he had stated. Esmeralda and Pocahontas had taken great pleasure in being her bridesmaids, whilst Aladdin and Naveen had the joint pleasure of being Clopin’s best men and Tiana had happily provided the catering. It had been the absolutely perfect wedding, in Belle’s view, and certainly the happiest day of her and Clopin’s lives.

Their wedding night had initially filled her with nerves, especially in light of Frollo’s former rape, and she had been presently surprised to find that it wasn’t supposed to hurt like that. Afterwards, she and Clopin had fallen asleep together like they always had done before, back when Belle was hiding from Frollo. Angelique had come along a few years later, and they had named her such because of her angelic looks, and to remind Belle of her connection to Notre Dame. The place, in spite of being the scene of Frollo’s sinful act of lust, still held a special place in her heart and she visited, often with members of the family, whenever she could.

“Papa!” Angelique exclaimed suddenly, spotting him and releasing Belle’s hand.

Belle smiled as her daughter raced towards the puppet theatre. For the first time in her life, she realised that Paris was finally safe, it was finally home. Several years ago, she would have been worried about Angie letting go of her hand to race over to her father’s stall, even in broad daylight, but now she watched in calm pride as Clopin immediately scooped Angelique up with an equally delighted smile.

“And what have you been up to today?” he asked entertaining her with one of his puppet.

“Reading,” giggled Angelique, battering the puppet away.

“As usual,” Belle added, walking up to hug them both.

Once upon a time, she reflected, she and Clopin had loved in a time of poison, in a time when Paris was dictated to by an evil man who corrupted the world, but now, well, now love could survive forever. She had her parents back. She had Clopin. She had her daughter. She had her friends.

She had a home.

The End

(Look out for the somewhat shorter Sequel entitled The Belles of Notre Dame)
“And what have you been up to today?”