Look how close she is, when did that happen? WHY IS SHE SO PRETTY AND CLOSE AND HUGGINGG ME? DON’T CRY DON’T CRY DON’T CRY.
I was so happy that Belle showed off her stealthy powers to creep closer to Rumple and then surprised him twice is as many minutes, and he couldn’t do a thing to stop her. He spared Robin’s life, they both know it, and of course Belle isn’t fooled by his obvious lie. He doesn’t get defensive and snappish when he’s caught out, though, which would have spoiled the moment somewhat but he’s still trying to play down the good thing he did because it so doesn’t fit his I’M A BAD SCARY MONSTER act.
His face when he realises just how close she is, his voice, everything, is perfect because you can tell he’s completely thrown off balance by Belle. Of course he doesn’t get why she’d ever want to come so close to him, especially when he’s been an ass to her that very day, and he freezes up entirely when she hugs him. He hasn’t had a hug in who knows how long (300 years is a possibility) and THE PRETTY GIRL IS TOUCHING HIM AHHH.
He’s completely overwhelmed; it isn’t until she lets go of him that he can process what just happened and starts to think about the reasons why she would be happy to touch him and then we see the hopeful little smile as she leads the way. PUPPY. She now owns his ass, and she knows it, and THAT’S HIS HAPPY PLACE, We know this because his first reaction when they get home (HOME!) is HERE HAVE A BEDROOM LIBRARY READ ALL OF THE BOOKS PLS TELL YOU LIKE IT.
Her happiness becomes a priority. Bae and Belle are now his everything; anyone who would doubt that is not paying attention.