I saw the "71 things learned from dr. who" one, and I just had to do one for tolkien. Some of these even made me laugh. Hopefully they make sense, and hopefully you enjoy.
EDIT: Vote for your favorite one!!!!! i messages. The top ten will be put in bold!
Edit again: Okay okay, I've gotten about three comments now on the "Pronounce Serindë like Perindë" about how it should be pronounced "Therindë" because it was a thorn letter instead of a P, This deviation was submitted a long time ago and now I know from reading PoME. Please do not comment again on it.
You couldn't pinpoint the exact second, hour or day that Bertholdt's kisses began tasting like cherries rather than vinegar and blood, but the change had occurred. Even his once unappealing, feverous bear hugs now seemed like nothing more than typical loving embraces. At some point in time, you stopped flinching and started reciprocating, even wanting. When you first realized how much you had adapted to your environment, it frightened you to no end. But now...
Now it just felt right. You didn't feel guilty nor stupid when you silenced the section in your mind that was still desperately screaming. Screaming for you to open your eyes, screaming for you to get out of Bertholdt's grip.
It became easier and easier to hush your thoughts as the happy days ticked on.
When you woke up in the early hours of what you guessed was a Wednesday morning, you were pleasantly surprised at what you heard. Or, more what you didn't hear. The heavy rain that had drowned the outside grass and pounded hard at the rooftop day and night after day and night had ceased into a gentle drizzle, as though it was slowing to a stop. You smiled in satisfaction as you stretched into a sitting position. Sure, when your blankets slipped down off your torso, your thinly-veiled body was hit with what felt like a million ice bullets, but it was worth it. Once your brain had awakened a tad more, you stumbled over to your window and opened it, allowing the cool night breeze to dance in.
Due to the heaviness of the rainfalls, the air in the house had been completely sealed. The windows and the front door were simply never opened due to the fact that litres of droplets would have flown inside within seconds. It was beyond lovely to feel the stuffy days-old air in your room to be fully replaced with chilly freshness.
When the rains had started a week ago, the crazy part of your mind thought it was the world mourning you, mourning your life that would soon be bound to Bertholdt's. But you knew that it was just marking the beginning of a new era.
By this stage, your eyes were wide open and your body fully awake and alert. You knew sleep wouldn't come back tonight. You sighed as you closed the window, satisfied that the cool gusty winds had cleared out all the stifled air from days past.
Humming an unnameable tune, you began walking out of your room and down the hall to Bertholdt's. You knew he'd be fast asleep at this time of the night, but you were bored and cold. You pulled your nightdress up to your knees with your fists to give your legs more freedom as they strolled.
You knocked on Bertholdt's thick wood door with two dainty taps of your knuckles.
You heard a sleepy muffled "mamma?" from inside, an invitation to enter, which you accepted with a lover's haste.
"Hi..." You whispered as you crept over to the green bed.
"Nah. I was just bored. And cold." You giggled like a child when Bertholdt groaned in response.
"(Y/n), I love you, but it’s the middle of the night. I need my sleep, as you do."
Taking that as an invite, you jumped up onto the bed. The mattress groaned under your sudden weight. This made Bertholdt sit up and face you.
"(Y/n). What have I told you?"
"Hmm? Told me? About what?" You cocked your head to one side and grinned like a child.
"About being in my bed."
You groaned and rolled your eyes. Bertholdt, the cruel fiancé that he was, had enforced a physical segregation between the both of you, limiting your interactions to little more than hand-holding, friendly hugs and innocent kisses.
"Why, Bert? Why are you trying to separate us? You're so warm and it's so cold outside!" You whined.
"Because, (y/n). Because it’s what's... right. We're getting married soon, and it’s not traditionally suitable for us to share a bed." Though the room was too dark to see the changes in Bertholdt's cheeks, but you knew he was turning pink. He was so cute and shy.
After a few minutes of him resisting and you begging, he finally gave up and wrapped those strong, warm arms of his around you. You smiled and kissed his cheek, causing his face to burn even brighter.
"(Y/n) it's not that difficult..." Bertholdt laughed as he saw you tripping over your feet.
"It is! What is this cruel torture?" You wailed, ripping your hand away from his, balling the fabric of your long skirt in your hands like a toddler.
"It's called dancing, darling. From what I've heard, most ladies are meant to enjoy it." Bertholdt's lips curled into a gentle smile as he slid his hand from your waist. He looked you up and down with those loving emerald eyes of his, wolfishly admiring the shining star before him. You could stare into those pretty eyes for hours on end; you could never get bored of the aesthetic beauty they harboured, and the intense gentleness that they radiated. You were proud that the finger-shaped bruises coiled around your forearms had turned the same hue as the glittering gold flecks bordering his dilated pupils. It must have made your skin look so very lovely.
Bertholdt noticed his man-made markings at the exact same time you started thinking about him, as though your mind was an open book that he was constantly scanning. The rough touch of his fingers traced the bruises gently, causing you to wince and bite your lip on contact.
He, of course, noticed this.
His eyes never broke contact with yours as he leaned closer to press the lightest of kisses onto the throbbing yellowing bruise.
"I'm sorry." He whispered into your skin. You felt your blood pump red and vicious under his warm breath.
"Don't be." You muttered back, your eyes darting away from his glare.
Bertholdt slowly wrapped his hand around your wrist, his long, slender fingers fully coiling around. You didn't understand why he did still did that every time he was about to kiss you. You had matured now; you had ripened like the juiciest of blood red apples to his loving touch. Yet, as though he thought you'd run or you'd evaporate and disappear completely before his eyes, he still tried to keep his hands on you at all times.
Just as you'd predicted, Bertholdt pulled your body closer to his and pressed his lips sweetly against your own.
Your spine tensed at the sensation and your body froze. You were still confused as to why you never really melted into the kiss like he did. Why did it never feel good or make your insides tingle like you knew it was meant to?
You tried to relax, tried to tell your body to cease its rigidness. It, of course, didn't listen.
Bertholdt pulled away eventually. He rested his forehead against yours and smiled, his fingers drawing incomprehensible lines into your cheeks, his fingerprints marking you as his.
"You're everything to me, (y/n). Everything. I love you."
"As I love you." You whispered back to him, bringing your hand up to rest upon his chest. You could feel his heartbeat pounding fierce and strong. You got up on your tip-toes and placed a tender kiss on his cheek, causing the area to turn pink. His heart began beating faster. He hadn't grown used to you displaying such affection unprovoked.
You giggled slightly at your lover's blushing face. He half-smiled in embarrassment.
"When exactly will we marry?" You cocked you head to the side in a cute manner, just in case Bertholdt interpreted your question as nagging or in dread of the upcoming event.
"T-tonight?" You spluttered. Surely it couldn't be so soon!? "But... we haven't got anything organised!"
Bertholdt's grin widened. He stared at you as though you were a Christmas feast, like he wanted to consume you. "Silly little (y/n). I have organised everything. A dress, flowers, rings... I've prepared it all for you. For us."
You looked at him in bewilderment, your mouth gaping and your eyes wide. Your mind was shot blank of any comprehendible or logical thoughts or reactions. You'd be married tonight. You wouldn't be plain old (y/n) anymore; you'd be Mrs Bertholdt Fubar. You'd be his in sickness and in health, until death tears you 'part. You'd wake up every morning in his arms, be attacked by his kisses before bed every night, you'd have your belly stretched by his children and your hair grey with age as you grow old hand-in-hand with him.
The thought of it all, fully giving yourself in your soul and your body to him and his touch, overwhelmed you. It made your blood turn to ice in fear. The life before Bertholdt, the life that had nearly completely been wiped from your memory... it would be gone forever, wouldn't it?
Nevertheless, you felt like the best thing to do was to smile. So you did.
"How lovely. Thank you. Thank you so much, Bert." You grinned like a child on Christmas morning as you embraced him.
"Anything for you, my little (y/n)." He whispered as he kissed the top of your head.
It was to be just next to the house in the forest clearing, at sunset, under the oak tree in the daisy patch.
Fervently glancing out the window, you noticed that the sun was no longer visible. It had long dipped behind the sky-scraping forest trees that stretched far and wide around the clearing. You sat on Bertholdt's bed as you waited for him to return with the attire you would be wearing for the wedding. Your hands covered your naked breasts as you shivered in the cold. You longed to pull something, anything, on your body to try to retain some warmth, but Bertholdt had specifically told you not to move. And you knew better than to mess with Bertholdt. The message had been drilled into your mind and tattooed onto your skin in the form of unhealed scars, cuts, fingernail scratching and bruises.
You pulled your knees to your chest. Your teeth began chattering in either coldness or nervousness. You couldn't tell.
The sound of steady, heavy footsteps grew louder and louder, a sure sign that Bertholdt was approaching.
The door creaked open slowly, and you turned to face your tall lover.
"Cold, darling?" He asked, his voice dripping with honey, peppermint and autumn fog. You nodded vigorously.
He put the package he held down on the vanity before he made his way over to your shivering frame. "My poor little baby." He cooed as he climbed onto the bed behind you. He sat so his legs were placed on either side of yours and pulled you backwards into his warm, clothed chest. "I'm sorry for leaving you here in the cold." He rested his chin on your shoulder and wrapped one arm around your stomach. Your abdominal muscles ached in bliss as the heat of his sweater's arm transferred to you. His other hand slowly slithered its way to your chest and rubbed one of your breasts gently, as though he was reading your skin's goose bumps like braille. As much as you hated to admit it, you felt as though you were melting like chocolate on a hot summer's day under his scorching hot hand.
Bertholdt pressed loving kisses against your neck and cheek while he rubbed your body all over, hushing you occasionally, as though his shushing would calm your shivers.
Once you had stopped shaking, he pulled away.
"Now that you're lovely and warm again, I should probably dress you. The time is fast approaching." His beaming smile practically stretched from ear to ear, almost disturbingly.
He grabbed your hand and pulled you up. You stood up, self-conscious in your bareness, as you waited for him to unwrap the brown paper parcel and bring the dress over.
"Close your eyes and raise your arms, my sweet. I don't want you to peek at how beautiful you are." He said, and you obeyed like a good little to-be wife.
What felt like the finest of silk was slid over your head and arms. It was heavy and smelt like dust and rose petals, but it was better than being naked.
"Keep your eyes closed, (y/n)." Bertholdt whispered into your ear as he directed your body to the other side of the room where the full-length mirror was located. "Nearly done, darling."
You heard the click of a clasp and felt more weight around your waist. After you heard Bertholdt fumbling in a drawer for something or other, your hair was yanked roughly by a brush, quickly covering any knots that had formed. The final piece to the bridal puzzle was some form of cold jewellery place around your neck.
"Open, my love."
You once again obeyed.
You looked in the mirror, but the person looking back wasn't you.
There you were, your skin dull and dry after being cooped up indoors for weeks. Your eyes were accompanied my heavy, black undershadows and your cheeks were faint of the glowing pink tinge they used to have.
The dress looked out of place on you. It was pure white silk from the ribs down, billowing out like a curtain in the wind. It would be utterly shapeless on you if it weren't for the hanging belt, made from emeralds encrusted in gold. The belt matched the elaborate necklace that rested around your neck. It was a shame that you no longer had glimmer in your eyes to match the sparkle of the expensive accessories. Maybe one day when you were happily living with your beloved, you would gain it back.
Above the heavy silk skirts, the top and arms were made completely from lace, leaving your chest somewhat visible through the spaces.
"Ah! One more thing. How could I forget?" Bertholdt giggled as he placed a crown of daisies on top of your head. "There. Aren't you the most beautiful girl in the world? You look like an angel."
You managed a weak smile and turned to face him. Anything to stop looking at your reflection.
He pecked your cheek lightly. "Guess what, darling. It's time. We're about to become man and wife."
Your smile fell as he said the words, but he was far too lost in his own thoughts to notice.
He grabbed your hand and pulled you out of the bedroom and out the front door.
"We are going to a very special place, (y/n)."
"The daisy patch under the oak?"
"Yes. The daisy patch under the oak. Mother's buried there. I bet she can't wait to see you in the same dress she wore on her special day."
Bile began to rise in your throat and the taste of vomit filled your mouth. How perfectly horrid.
"Now, are you ready, my sweet little (y/n)? Ready for us to become hu--"
Bertholdt's words were cut off completely as a flash of silver steel came across his throat, slitting it and allowing blood to spurt out in all directions, coating you and your snow white gown.
You saw a figure approaching you, sprinting towards you and reaching for your hand.
It didn't matter which twin you chose right? As long as one went to help with Tamaki...right?
You knew the difference between the twins, you knew they were individuals as much as you and Haruhi were as well as twins. You could tell them apart with ease, and never failed at the 'which one is Hikaru game'. Maybe that's why the three of you were so close... But anyway, even though you knew they were different, that didn't impact on your choice. Why would it, it's not like you had a preference for one of them... right...? Shaking your head to get rid of the thoughts that were clouding your mind and causing you to blush ever so slightly, you picked an arm to loosen. Gently you withdrew your arm that was linked with Kaoru's ever so slightly.
The boys eyes flicked towards you at the movement, understanding your choice. He nodded at you, taking his arm back completely. He turned to face Haruhi and jogged off to go help her.
"Well well, it's just you and me huh?" Hikaru grinned at you and you gulped.
Just like Haruhi, you were a 'commoner' who lived in an average sized house. Your attendance at Ouran was due to incredible test scores, and you and only a limited number of other people in the same financial predicament as you gained access. So far however, only the twins had been to your house. Hence why Hikaru was easily leading the way, a couple of steps ahead of you.
"Wait up will you? It's not like we're going to my house or anything is it?" You sighed, seeing the boys excitement in his bouncy step. He was the same as the rest of the club were when you all went to Haruhi's house. For them it was a completely different world.
"Why don't you try and catch up to me?" He teased, walking backwards to look at your reaction.
"How about I don't do that." You sighed. Suddenly Hikaru stopped still and you almost walked into him.
"Wow, Hikaru, what are you doing?"
"What's up with you today grumpy guts?" He asked, folding his arms and staring at you.
"Ah! I-I'm not grumpy!" You gasped.
"Sure you're not. So, what's with the big frown?"
"I'm not frowning!" You covered your face up quickly, hiding from Hikaru's scrutinising stare. And then it dawned on you.
"Will you quit teasing me?" You demanded, and began to walk around the self appointed obstruction in your path. Looking left you saw a path that led to the back of some buildings. You'd never been down there before. Not much point really. You carried on walking straight by.
"You make it so easy for me though!" Hikaru complained, poking your side and causing you to gasp quite loudly. People turned to look at you in shock as Hikaru laughed.
"Don't do that man!" You uttered in embarrassment as people tutted at you for making them worry unnecessarily.
"Come on, I'm only having some fun." Hikaru smiled at you and linked arms.
"For you maybe" you rolled your eyes but didn't move your arm. Hikaru sure loved teasing the hell out of you.
"Oh pleeeease let me come in? Just for a little while!"
"Don't scold me. I can behave." Hikaru was stood with you on your door step to your house, which you knew was empty due to parents being at work.
"I just don't see the fascination." You sighed, putting the key in the lock.
"Of course not, you live here after all." Hikaru grinned, excited to be let into your house again.
Pushing the door back, you entered your house closely followed by one excitable bouncing auburn haired boy.
"Kaoru would be so jealous if he knew I was here without him." Hikaru chuckled, throwing himself down on the sofa in your living room.
"I honestly don't get it with you guys. Anyway, tea? Or maybe coffee?" You decided to be a good host at least. After all, you were told you were part of the host club and should act hostly only this morning.
"Nah thank you."
Shocked, you turned to face Hikaru. He'd never turned down tea before.
"No, I don't feel like it right now." He smiled and patted the sofa beside him signalling you to sit next to him. You wondered over and sat, wondering if anything was wrong.
"Anything wrong Hikaru?"
Hikaru was glancing at the floor now, suddenly very interested in the rug at his feet. He mumbled something under his breath, his cheeks becoming suddenly very pink.
Without warning Hikaru faced you and gripped your shoulders, pushing you back into the sofa.
A pressure on your lips cut you off and you realised... That Hikaru was kissing you. His soft lips moved against yours, deep and slow, a quiet hum of appreciation or happiness sounded at the back of his throat as he kissed you. Slowly he withdrew only slightly, catching some breath. You didn't move from under him. He was smiling, his hazel eyes shining at you, cheeks still a dark rosy colour.
"H-Hikaru..." You breathed.
"I said that I...I like you." A brilliant red hue blossomed over his cheeks, darker still than before. He was stumbling over his words, struggling to get them out and still sound coherent. Those hazel eyes couldn't manage to keep your stare and adverted to the left.
"H-how easy it is for me, to just...be with you. Never before have we l-let someone this close to our world. B-but you you're different... You fit so well in o-our world." The sentences were rushed as Hikaru spoke them, still adamantly refusing to meet your gaze. His fingers that were still wrapped around your shoulders were shaking ever so slightly. Nerves?
Suddenly he laughed, a short hard laugh at himself.
"I don't do well with these kinds of things. It took me a while to...to admit to myself my... Uh, f-feelings. You just wouldn't leave my head, the stubborn girl you are." At this his eyes softened and finally lifted to look at you.
"Say something." He almost pleaded you.
You were so overwhelmed and shocked by this sudden confession, that you just stared at him back, wonder and bemusement etched on your features. You were suddenly very aware of how close he was, leaning over you, holding your shoulders in a tight grip. Your own hands had shot up to hold his shoulder up when he'd moved so suddenly, like an automatic reaction, and now you were aware of the very firm muscles of his arms.
You gulped, thankful he couldn't read minds.
"[name], why aren't you talking?" Hikaru's eyebrows puckered slightly in a faint frown, anxious and nervous for your reaction he wasn't receiving verbally.
"I...I'm just surprised... This is so sudden." You told him the truth. Sudden, but if you were honest, not unwanted.
Suddenly Hikaru sat up, pulling away from you and leaving you laid out on the sofa in wonder.
There was a change you noted in Hikaru's voice. It wasn't as low and silky as it had been just then... He sounded... hurt.
"Hikaru...?" You asked, also sitting up, debating whether to put a hand on his shoulder or not in a consoling gesture. But before you could make up your mind, Hikaru rose.
"I should probably be going." He said, not looking at you but straight ahead. This was odd, not the Hikaru you knew. He seemed more distant now, almost a different person.
"Hikaru! Wait!" You gasped as he began to head to the door. He stopped in his tracks, but didn't turn around.
"I have to leave. You can call one of your other friends if you want." His fist tightened, but you couldn't see the sad expression on his face with his back to you.
It was no use. Two strides and he'd reached the door, opening it and leaving without another word.
I hope you liked this first part! ^^ Go ahead and don't be afraid to tell me what you thought. Also, I suspect maybe some people will read both Hikaru's and Kaoru's paths... if so can you tell the differences in nature? I hope I write them well, they may be twins but they both handle things differently!
Any way, hope you enjoyed! ^^ Let me know if you would like the next chapter! ^^
The boys' eyes widened at your hostile tone; your voice had come out as a low growl due to your throat being dry from lack of water. The short, black haired man seemed unfazed by your hostility and continued to stare at you with cold eyes.
"We seek shelter," the black haired man replied in a monotone voice. His grey eyes continued to bore into yours as he slightly nodded his head in the direction where Jean sat. "We have an injured soldier who needs medical aid."
You ceased the staring contest with the short man after a moment of silence, by throwing your dagger into the ground by your bare feet. You let out a grunt and curtly nodded your head at the men.
"(First Name)," you said simply.
The black haired man remained silent for a moment, before replying in a bored tone, "Levi."
"I'm Eren Jaeger," the brunette said.
"Jean Kirschtein," the injured one said, smirking at you.
"A-Armin Arlert," the blonde one stuttered.
You walked towards your house and motioned for the men to follow you as you passed them. "Put him on the bed," you said as the men cautiously entered your home.
Eren brought Jean over to your unmade bed and Armin assisted in lifting his injured leg onto the mattress. You walked over to the kitchen without a second glance at the soldiers and grabbed a wooden bucket from beneath the counter.
"There's a river not too far from here on the right. Go fill this up with water," you said to no one in particular, and placed the bucket onto the table.
You could feel uncertain eyes boring into your back as you opened up your kitchen cupboards and rummaged through various unlabelled bottles and vials. You heard Levi order Eren to follow your instructions as you quietly picked out a bottle and brought it over to the kitchen table.
"Shirt. Off," you said, gesturing to the blood-soaked shirt covering Jean's chest.
Levi quickly silenced Jean's protests and removed the dirtied garment while Armin approached you with the strips of cloth he had found earlier. You snatched them from his hands and brought over another bucket that was already half filled with water, along with another piece of cloth. You soaked the cloth with the water and brought it to the wound on Jean's torso. A gash stretched over from the side of his left hip to above his navel and was temporarily closed by a layer of dried blood.
After rinsing his wound with the cloth, you grabbed a small vial of clear liquid from the table, uncorked it, and dripped some of the substance onto the wet cloth.
"What's that?" Armin asked, blue eyes furrowed in curiousity.
"Wild onion extract," you replied.
"Aaaand what's it for?" Jean asked with uncertainty lacing his voice. He attempted to shift away from you as you approached him with the cloth, but his open wound hindered him from moving very far.
"Anti-septic," you said and proceeded to dab the cloth onto his injury. He hissed in pain at the stinging the substance caused, and jerked away from you. "Stop. Your. Moving," you commanded with a harsh voice and firmly pressed down onto his shoulder with your free hand.
Jean had many injuries. Besides the gash on his torso, his left arm was covered in bruises and a two-inch long cut on his forearm. His torso and right arm had a few scratches, and his right cheek had another small cut as well. The worst part of his injuries, however, was the discolouration forming on his lower left leg.
After patching the remainder of his wounds, you gently prodded the tender area on his leg. Jean groaned in pain at your actions and you quickly mumbled an apology.
"You have a fracture in your leg," you stated, removing your hands and standing up. You turned to face the blonde boy and he flinched at the sudden attention. "There's some matches and dried leaves in a box over there by the fireplace. I need you to get a fire going," you said, eyes staring intently at him. "Please," you hesitatingly added in a softer tone after noticing Armin's uncomfortable fidgeting.
The blonde visibly relaxed at your change in tone and nodded his head. "Y-yes, Ma'am", he replied, blue eyes full of determination as he set about igniting the fireplace.
Without saying anything, you abruptly grabbed an axe hanging on a wall and exited your small home, leaving two startled boys and one suspicious man behind.
The sun was already beginning to set and the air was starting to cool down. You sighed in annoyance at the receding sun; you still had much to do before dark. You rushed over to a tree at the edge of the clearing, placed the handle of the axe between your lips, and proceeded to climb as fast as you could. You studied a particular branch before taking the axe into your hands and bringing it down upon the limb with as much power as you could muster.
"What are you doing?" came a voice from below.
You halted your actions and peered down at the short black haired man standing in front of the tree. "The Jean person needs a splint for his leg," you said slowly. To say you were rusty at communicating with others was an understatement.
Levi looked at you oddly for a split second, before his expression returned to stoic. He may have appeared to be bored, but you could feel his eyes watching your every movement like a hawk.
"You distrust me," you observed. He didn't respond. Turning back to your task, you lifted the axe and said over your shoulder, "If you're going to stand there and stare at me, then make yourself useful and collect the branches that I'll drop down." You heard him make a "tch" sound before you continued to hack away at the tree branch.
You dropped three branches down onto the ground from where you were perched in the tree. Levi picked up the fallen branches without a word and returned to the house before you could even jump down.
The house was brightly lit by the fireplace when you entered. You nodded at the blonde boy and attempted to show a smile of appreciation, but it turned out as an awkward grimace. He looked at you warily and nervously twiddled his thumbs.
"You," you pointed Eren who had returned with a bucket of water.
Eren frowned slightly at your outstretched arm. "What?" he asked.
"Pour the water into that pot," you pointed towards a large, black pot resting on the stone slab beside the fire, "and hang it over the fire. Then, go back to the river and refill the empty bucket."
"Do as she says, Brat," Levi interrupted Eren.
You turned your attention to Armin as Eren reluctantly exited your home with the emptied bucket.
"I need you to chop the carrots on the counter," you said. Armin nodded his head and walked over to the kitchen counter.
You switched your attention to Jean and handed him a bundled piece of cloth.
"What's that for?" he asked, eyeing you and the item suspiciously.
"Put it between your lips," you ordered, then sighed and rolled your eyes at his continued stare. "It's for biting into," you elaborated, then quickly shoved it in his mouth before he could react.
You moved your hands to his fractured leg and swiftly pulled his bone back into place. Jean's eyes widened at the sudden action and he screamed and bit down onto the cloth in his mouth. Armin halted his work at the counter and looked on at the scene with worry etched onto his face, while Levi remained silent and observed you and your patient with emotionless eyes.
With your guidance, Levi had helped you tie the two forked branches around Jean's fractured leg. You connected the splint with a smaller branch below his foot and wrapped a piece of cloth around his ankle. You then placed a stick against the ankle wrap and twisted it until his leg was straight, and then fastened it to the splint.
By the time you had finished tending to Jean's wounds, the pot of water hanging over the fire had begun to boil. You carefully dunked a teapot into the pot and filled it up with some of the boiling water, then dropped a tea strainer full of crushed mint leaves inside of it. You placed the teapot onto the counter and waited for it to steep while you cleaned up the mess you had made when tending to Jean.
"Um...I've finished cutting all the carrots..." Armin quietly told you.
"Good. There's a sack of potatoes under the kitchen counter. Peal five of them," you ordered, then added after a moments pause, "please."
"O-of course!" Armin said.
You poured the tea into a clay cup and slowly brought it over to Jean.
"What's this?" he asked.
"Mint tea. It'll help you relax," you explained.
You walked towards the front door with a basket in hand, and abruptly stopped just as you were about to exit your small home. You turned around and faced the black haired man who stood by the table, looking out of place. "Oi, short man," you called out.
Jean and Armin grew tense at your words and looked at you with wide eyes. The air quickly grew heavy, but you remained oblivious to the change in atmosphere as you patiently waited for the man to reply.
"What did you just call me, Brat?" Levi said. Armin and Jean visibly flinched at his dark tone.
You completely ignored his death glare and gestured towards Jean. You opened your mouth to speak, but paused, then slowly said, "You must watch over the...Jean...person...while I gather some vegetables from the garden. Let me know if anything goes wrong." You quickly left the house, not even waiting for Levi's response.
Jean stared at your retreating figure with confusion. "...What did she just call me?"
You returned shortly after picking some food from your garden, with Eren not too far behind you. He placed the bucket of water on the counter and you joined Armin in chopping vegetables. You added the chopped vegetables into the boiling water and sprinkled in some spices. While the vegetables were cooking, you went back outside and skinned and gutted the fox you had killed. You used the light streaming through the windows as your guide, as the sun had already gone down.
"Blonde boy," you called from where you leaned against the door frame.
Armin turned around to face you and visibly cringed at your bloodied hands. "Uh...yes?" he asked.
"I can't touch anything at the moment. There's some left over deer wrapped in a cloth in that cupboard over there. Cut it into cubes and put it into the pot...please."
"A-alright," he said.
You nodded at him and then went back outside to finish cutting the fox meat.
You returned with a bucket full meat and proceeded to wash your hands and the meat in the sink. The tap didn't work, but the drain did, so you always made sure to have the drain plugged and the sink full with fresh water. You flushed out the water after washing everything and replaced it with the bucket of water Eren had brought in. You then placed the strips of fox meat into the water and sprinkled it with salt.
"What're you doing?" came a voice from behind you.
You glanced over your shoulder and saw a pair of bright green eyes staring at you. "Preparing the meat for tomorrow," you said. "I don't normally hunt fox, as I can get bigger pelts from other animals, and their meat isn't very good unless prepared properly." You looked down at the fox meat and frowned. "But this fox tried to eat any meat I left outside to dry and was stealing from my garden. So I killed it. But I don't want it to go to waste after all the effort," you explained.
You almost regretted your decision to hunt the red animal. The little amount of salt you had was already in the house when you had stumbled upon it four years ago, and was quickly diminishing. You also didn't have any vinegar, and the climate wasn't warm enough to grow limes or lemons, so you had to substitute any cooking that required acetic acid with tomato juice, which wasn't very effective.
After preparing the meat for tomorrow, you poured the hot stew into five bowls and served them to the soldiers.
With the addition of four people inside your tiny home, the living space was certainly crowded. You were no where near prepared for guests, as evidenced by the hunting equipment and laundry cluttering all but one of the four dining chairs. Levi claimed the only empty chair near the fire, Jean was slightly propped up on your bed, and Armin and Eren sat beside each other between the bed and the fireplace. You situated yourself on the floor against the cabinet on the opposite wall from everyone.
The men sat in silence and stared at you. You sighed in annoyance when you noticed that none of them had taken a bite of their food. "It's not poisoned," you said. As if to show a point, you scooped a large portion of the stew onto your spoon and shoved it in your mouth.
Your guests started to slowly eat the stew. You figured if they weren't distrustful of you and the food wasn't so hot, they would probably be wolfing their food down. You were also incredibly hungry and exhausted from a long day and skipping lunch, but the stew had already burnt your tongue when you foolishly took a big bite, so you had no choice but to pace yourself as well.
Jean's face contorted into a look of concentration as he ate. "It's a bit bland," he commented.
You stared blankly at him. "I know how to survive, not pull chocolate cake out of my ass," you deadpanned.
Eren snorted at your comment, Jean choked a bit on his food, and Armin stared at you with wide eyes. You smirked at their reactions.
"Just be glad you're eating a meal and not starving, Kirschtein," Levi said.
"Uh, yes, Sir."
"So...um...(Name)," Armin slowly began, "what are you doing here outside of the walls?"
All eyes shifted towards you. You took your time with chewing the bite in your mouth and slowly swallowed. The suspense had them hooked, you could tell, as their eyes remained glued to you. Finally, you opened your mouth and simply said, "Surviving."
"Well, yeah. But how did you get here without getting eaten? And why are you here?" Jean asked.
"I dunno," you shrugged. It was true. You really didn't know. After four years of living in this fictional world, you still hadn't recalled anything of importance from your life before.
"How long have you been here?" inquired Armin.
"About four years."
"So...how old are you?" Jean asked, eyeing you up and down with a smirk on his face.
You frowned at him. "17 or 18. Maybe 19. Or 16. Not 100% percent sure. But must likely 18," you replied. While you did know your date of birth, you weren't sure of your exact age when you had arrived four years ago, so all you could do was guess.
The boys stared at you in silence, mouths agape in shock at your confusing answer.
Eren quickly changed the subject. "We didn't encounter any titans the entire time we were walking in this forest. And I didn't see any while fetching water," he said.
"Yup," you said. Eren looked at you oddly. Oh, he must want an explanation or something, you realized. "The forest is very dense. Plants and trees are all very close together. The titans are too large to fit through," you explained.
"That was obvious from the start. How could you not pick up on that, idiot?" Levi asked Eren.
Eren flinched. "I-I was preoccupied with carrying Kirschtein, Sir," he defended.
"Tch. You're as dense as this forest."
Noticing everyone had finished their meal, you abruptly stood up, effectively ending your guests' conversation, and placed your empty bowl on the counter. You grabbed the bottle of onion extract and a few pieces of cloth and spun around to face the men.
"I need to treat your wounds," you said, pointing to Levi and Armin.
"They're just scratches," Levi said.
You shook your head at him. "Doesn't matter. When out in the wilderness, you are much more prone to infection. Any wound, no matter how small, has the potential to turn into something much more severe if left untreated."
Your words halted any further protesting, and you soon had cleaned and patched up all of Levi and Armin's wounds. Eren didn't have any, of course, as you recalled him having some sort of self-healing ability, which you didn't dare let them know you were aware of.
Shortly after you had put away the medical supplies, you pulled out all the pillows and blankets you had in the cabinet and handed them out to your guests. Eren, Armin, and Levi took the items and set up their beds on the floor while you unstrapped all of your weapons and pouches and carefully placed them on the cluttered table.
"Where's your blanket?" Armin asked you as you laid down on the hard wood floor across from them.
"I don't need one," you mumbled.
"But you don't even have a pillow and you're...um...not in warm clothing. You'll get cold," Armin persisted.
"I'll be fine," you said, resting your head on your arm.
"I said I'll be fine!" you snapped.
Armin looked taken aback by your harsh tone and quickly stuttered out an apology. The room had become silent as everyone settled into their makeshift beds, with the exception of Jean, who took up your bed. Exhaustion finally caught up to you and just as you were about to fall asleep, a quiet voice filled the room.
"Thank you for your hospitality, (Name)," Armin said.
A collective mumble of sleepy "thank yous" followed after from the other men in the room. Your eyes shut closed and just before sleep completely enveloped you, your lips formed into a smile.
Elrohir of Imladris reined in his horse as a glint of sunlight off silver caught his eye.
“What is it?” his brother quizzed, with more curiosity than concern.
Elrohir nodded his head toward a large grey squirrel carrying what looked to be a silver bird with outstretched wings. A tiny, golden-haired elfling followed hot on its heels, too focused on the chase to notice the two mounted elves.
“Give that back!” the elfling demanded hotly, as his prey scurried across a large mud puddle and up a tall oak.
Too small to reach the oak’s lowest branch, Legolas raced up a neighboring low-branched elm and leapt across. Undaunted, the squirrel darted inside its hole and, safely out of reach, chattered at the clever little elfling.
Elrohir thought the chattering sounded distinctly like smug laughter and decided the squirrel could not be allowed to win the day. Meeting Elladan’s eyes, he saw agreement and quickly dismounted.
“You give that back or I’ll bring a hawk to this tree to eat you!” Legolas shouted as threateningly as his small voice could manage.
The squirrel promptly darted back out the hole, raced across the elfling, and bounded off his head onto a higher branch. Stunned, Legolas tumbled backward out of the tree.
“Careful, little one, it’s a long way to the ground,” Elrohir admonished, reaching the branch just in time to catch the golden-haired elfling by his tunic.
Legolas stared at the strange elf as Elrohir settled him back on the branch. His curiosity quickly faded, though, and his expression changed into a scowl.
Realizing the little one’s attention had shifted, Elrohir twisted around to see the disgruntled squirrel shaking its fist at them. He turned back again to find the elfling’s arm stuck as far into the squirrel’s hole as it would go, his scowl deepening.
“I can’t reach it,” Legolas grumbled, sitting back on his heels in disgust.
“I’ll get it for you, little one,” Elladan offered, hopping across from a neighboring branch. The elfling’s head jerked up, his eyes growing wide as they shifted from one brother to other. He’d never seen twins. Sharing an amused grin with his brother, Elrohir lifted the little one out of the way, as Elladan thrust a long arm into the squirrel’s hole.
“Can you reach it?” Legolas asked anxiously.
“Mmmhmmm…just about…got it!” Elladan announced, with a delighted grin, and started to pull his arm back.
“Hmmm…,” he grunted, a moment later, as the silver bird snagged on something and refused to budge even a hair further. Elladan tugged mightily, but to no avail.
“Come on, Elladan!” Elrohir prodded impatiently, giving his new little friend a reassuring pat as Legolas’s face scrunched anxiously. “Get it out!”
“I'm trying, but…” Grunt “…it's stuck.”
“What do you mean it's stuck?!"
Worn with travel, Lord Glorfindel of Imladris frowned crossly as the twins’ disgruntled voices wafted down from a large oak spreading its branches overhead. Elrond’s energetic sons had ridden ahead less than a league ago. It seemed impossible that they could have found mischief to get into in that short time. Then again, they were Elladan and Elrohir. There was a reason Elrond hadn’t let them venture into the wild without a chaperone.
Glorfindel dismounted, deciding he’d better investigate. Though not visible through the dense trees, Thranduil’s gates were within shouting distance, and he’d spent too many centuries reconciling Greenwood and Imladris to allow Elrond’s sons to undo it all by wreaking havoc before they’d even been introduced. Pausing long enough for a resigned sigh, he gingerly crossed the mud puddle and made his way up the oak.
“Got it!” Elladan exclaimed, as a final, enthusiastic tug abruptly freed the toy and his arm snapped back with unexpected force…nailing Glorfindel square in the forehead just as the elf lord popped into view. Stunned, Glorfindel toppled out of the tree. Elladan, Elrohir and Legolas stared after him, but the dense oak leaves obscured their view. Petrified, they listened to him land with a gooey splat far below.
Glorfindel sighed resignedly, again, as he peeled himself out of the mud. As grateful as he was for the softened landing, it had left him an undeniable mess. It wasn’t exactly how he preferred to be seen by King Thranduil, but there wasn’t much to be done about it. His cloak had gotten the worst of it. Without it he’d be almost presentable, so he unclasped the heavy, mud-laden burden, before slogging out of the puddle.
‘It would be easier to get a new cloak than to get this one clean,’ Glorfindel judged. Perhaps he’d just leave it.
He glanced around for his horse. Discovering that it had found a nice patch of grass to contentedly chew, Glorfindel decided to walk. The horse hadn’t really done anything to deserve being interrupted to share in his master’s misery.
Glorfindel marched silently toward the palace gates without another glance in the twins' direction. Seeing Legolas with them gave him some small degree of comfort. As much mischief as they found to get themselves into, they wouldn’t endanger an elfling. The Greenwood was safe, for the moment. Safer, in any case, than the twins if he saw them again before he’d cleaned-up, rested and generally regained his composure. Determinedly refusing to think about them till then, Glorfindel soothed his ruffled pride with thoughts of a warm bath and Thranduil’s strong wine and soft beds…and of getting the King to lock the gates before the twins arrived.
‘No, that won’t work. They’ve got little Legolas to bargain with. Thranduil will have to let them in,’ he realized, with a deep sigh. How was it again that Elrond convinced him to accompany the twins on their sightseeing adventure?
‘Ah, that’s right, it was Celebrian.’ Glorfindel sighed yet again. She possessed too much of her mother for his good.
Hearing nothing below but the breeze fluttering through the leaves, Elrohir and Elladan exchanged glances of ‘uh-oh, we’ve done it now’, as Legolas’s eyes widened and his chin quivered. He had no idea who the ebony-haired elves were, but he liked Glorfindel. The golden-haired lord didn’t mind playing with little elflings and always told good stories.
Tossing Elladan an accusatory glare, Legolas snatched his toy out of the older elf’s hand and climbed hesitantly down the oak. He had to jump from the last branch, which was higher than his nana would have approved of, but Legolas was too worried to think about it. Reaching the ground, he found the mud puddle empty of all but a soggy cloak.
"By the Valar! The mud puddle ate Glorfindel!” Elladan exclaimed, as his feet touched the ground.
“Elladan!” Elrohir hissed under his breath, seeing Legolas’s tearful gaze move from the cloak to the twins and back to the cloak, his eyes growing larger by the second.
“Fear not, little one, the mud puddle didn’t really…,” he soothed, but it was too late. Before Elrohir could finish, Legolas turned on his heels and bolted toward the palace.
Thranduil stopped speaking mid-word as alarm that was not his own fluttered through his stomach. Forgetting to excuse himself, he fought the urge to bolt, and strode quickly, but calmly, in the direction his little one had dashed not long ago. Nothing would dare threaten him so near my gates, his head reasoned, but failed to convince his heart.
“Glorfindel!” he exclaimed, halting as the weary-looking Noldo lord trudged into view.
“Thranduil,” Glorfindel acknowledged with a bow, attempting to appear dignified despite his bedraggled appearance.
“This is unexpected,” Thranduil commented, rather distractedly. “We’ve received no word of your coming.”
“Your pardon,” Glorfindel sighed. “In their eagerness, I fear my companions likely outpaced the messengers.”
Thranduil smiled, inattentively, his eyes scanning the forest over Glorfindel’s shoulder. Noticing, the Noldo added, “They and Legolas should not be far behind me.”
This captured the King’s attention, but before he could ask about the ‘they’ Glorfindel had entrusted with his child, his elfling’s panicked scream reached his ears, and he bolted toward it. He’d not gone a dozen feet before a tiny, quaking, golden-haired blur bounded into his arms and buried its head in his shoulder.
“Adaaa…I…we…the squirrel...Glorfindel… hit…fell… tree… mud… aaaaate him.” The nonsensical flurry of words rushed out between tear-laden hiccups.
“Peace, Legolas, peace. I am here now; all will be well,” Thranduil comforted, tenderly rubbing his back and rocking him soothingly. Instinctively relaxing in the safety of his father’s arms, Legolas’s quivering gradually eased.
“Now, what's this all about?” the King gently questioned, raising his eyebrow at the two ebony-haired elves that had followed on his son’s heels and skidded to a halt before him.
Legolas sniffed before answering in a still shaky, now sleepy, voice, “That nasty squirrel stole my mithril eagle and those two…”
He paused long enough to shoot a scathing glare in the twins’ direction, before comfortingly burying his head back into his father’s shoulder. Frowning, Thranduil continued to soothingly caress the elfling’s back.
“…said they could get it, so they did, but they hit Lord Glorfindel…”
The quivering in his little voice increased as his body began again to tremble, slightly.
“….and he fell into the mud puddle and it aaaaaate hiiiiiim,” Legolas finished in a wail.
“But it did,” his quivering bundle insisted, raising his head just long enough pin Elladan with another accusatory glare. “He said sooooo….”
Thranduil’s eyebrow shot up again, as he fixed a disapproving glare on the sons of Elrond. Elladan and Elrohir shifted uncomfortably. The golden-haired elf glared at them with all the authority of an elven lord, but even if he weren’t, the pair had the feeling that King Thranduil was going to get an earful about this. Traumatizing a tiny wood-elfling of his realm before they’d even properly introduced themselves wasn’t likely to make a good impression on the elvenking.
“Pardon, my lord, but perhaps I can be of some assistance here,” Glorfindel offered. Judiciously opting to make his presence known, he stepped up beside the King.
“Glorfindel!” Legolas’s head flew up excitedly. Glorfindel ducked his head in a slight bow, smiling reassuringly at the elfling. Bursting out of his father’s arms, Legolas flew into Glorfindel’s and wrapped his arms tightly around the Noldo’s neck.
Loosening the little one’s grasp enough to breath, Glorfindel soothed. “Be not concerned, Legolas. I am well, only a little muddy. It is nothing a nice bath will not cure.”
Legolas sniffed and laid his little hands on each side of the big elf’s face.
“I am very glad you are well, Glorfindel,” he whispered, through an enormous grin. He threw his arms around the Noldo for another tight hug, and then stretched his arms out to his father. Settling into the comfort of the King’s arms, Legolas laid his head contentedly against his father’s shoulder.
“My apologies, Thranduil….” The King cut Glorfindel off with a wave of his hand, as the twins’ faces fell with sudden realization.
“Be at ease, my friend.” Thranduil fixed a paternal, disapproving glare upon the twins. They had yet to be introduced, but between their resemblance to their father and the rarity of elven twins, he knew who they were. “I am certain, once the story has been told, it will be clear the sons of Elrond intended no harm.”
Turning toward Glorfindel, Thranduil added, “But the explanation will have to wait. This sleepy little one needs a more comfortable bed.”
Glorfindel nodded, smiling at the elfling blinking heavily in an effort to stay awake. As Thranduil excused himself and turned toward the palace gates, the elf lord fixed his stern gaze upon the twins.
Elladan and Elrohir shuffled uncomfortably, wondering how many centuries the golden-haired Noldo’s lecture would last. But to their amazement, Glorfindel simply sighed and raised his hand in a gesture of defeat before turning to follow Thranduil, muttering something about dealing with them later and baths and wine and soft beds and what he’d ever done to Galadriel to deserve this fate. The twins exchanged glances.
“What does grandmother have to do with this?” Elladan whispered. His twin shrugged.
“What fate doesn’t he deserve?” Elrohir returned. His twin shrugged.
“Let us see if we can at least find out about the wine!” The pair agreed, following Glorfindel with a mischievous glint in their eyes.
Near enough to overhear, Glorfindel sighed, but then a wicked thought crossed his mind, and he quickened his pace, hoping to catch up to Thranduil before the twins reached the gate.
They don’t have Legolas anymore! He nearly sang, an equally mischievous glint lighting his eye.
In the quiet forests of Doriath, the sunlight was falling dappled through the leaves high above. The birds were singing, the branches were rustling, small animals were hopping happily through the undergrowth. A slight breeze whispered through the trees, and a small brook murmured nearby. All in all, perfect day in the forest.
Galadriel, however, was unable to enjoy it.
"I feel disgusting," she complained, pulling sharply on her reins to steer her horse around a small bush. "Do you people never wash?"
Her Sindar guides looked offended, but were unsure how to respond. She was a high lady of the Noldor, after all. As usual when in need of guidance, they turned to their lord.
Celeborn sighed quietly and gave Galadriel a mild smile. "We will be in Menegroth very soon, my lady. Be assured that King Thingol's halls have very beautiful baths."
A frown marred the loveliness of Galadriel's face. "We will be in Menegroth in two days. I feel disgusting now." She huffed out a breath and pulled her horse to a smart stop. "Surely there is somewhere I can at least perform minor ablutions near here?" she asked, turning in her saddle and frowning at Celeborn as he drew to a halt beside her.
Celeborn looked to their guides. "Is there a river or stream nearby?" he asked.
One of them nodded. "The brook we can hear widens to a small river quite suddenly a little further down this trail, my lord," he said demurely. "If the lady wishes, she can bathe there."
Galadriel looked mildly horrified. "Bathing in a stream?" she hissed, her eyes narrowing.
Their guides shifted uncomfortably. Celeborn indicated that they should take the lead, and spurred his horse to a gentle walk behind them. "Surely you have had to do such things before?" he asked as she drew level with him again. "There were no bathing halls when you arrived from the Grinding Ice, I imagine?"
Galadriel sniffed. "Indeed. But I had my smith make a bath tub, which my ladies would fill with heated water in my tent."
Celeborn allowed himself a private smile. That is so like her. "Did you allow your brothers use of this amazing innovation?" he asked, amused.
Galadriel laughed suddenly, and then looked quite surprised that she had done so. "Of course not!" she exclaimed. "They could most certainly take themselves to the river. If I'd let even one of them use it, my maid would have been scrubbing the dirt out for weeks! Besides, Finrod alone would have insisted on sitting in there for hours upon hours, to make no mention of the rest of them."
Celeborn laughed softly. "Indeed. You are most justified in your actions."
Galadriel gave him a look that was faintly suspicious, and would have spoken had a guide not called, "My lady, the river is good for bathing here!" from up ahead.
She spurred her horse into a trot and soon came to the riverbank, where she gracefully dismounted and looked disdainfully upon the river. Celeborn joined her. "Will this be suitable?"
She sighed heavily. "In the circumstances, I suppose."
Celeborn nodded. "Take the horses a small way through the trees," he said to the guides, "Make a fire to cook some game. We may as well stop here for the evening, if the camping looks suitable to you." The guides nodded and disappeared through the trees.
Galadriel gave him another suspicious look. "And what are you intending to do yourself, Lord Celeborn?" she asked.
He shrugged. "I thought I would also take the opportunity to rid myself of the dirt of the road."
Galadriel pointed imperiously towards a bend in the river, hidden from their current position by a growth of brambles. "Well, bathe over there then," she commanded, "I am not going to bathe in the presence of an ellon, no matter how honourable he may be."
Celeborn stifled a laugh and bowed. "As you wish, my lady." He disappeared around the patch of brambles.
Sighing again, Galadriel removed her cloak and spread it on the ground, leaving her boots next to it. Checking once again that no one was within sight, she removed her leggings, tunic and shirt, and laid them on her spread cloak before stepping speedily into the river. She let out a harsh gasp at the iciness of the water, cursing under her breath.
"Is everything alright, my lady?" Celeborn's voice drifted to her from around the bend. She swore she could detect a hint of stifled laughter in his tone, so she simply made a non-committal noise and tried to adjust to the freezing temperature. It didn't appear to be getting any warmer, and now her toes were definitely numb. She washed herself at an alarmingly fast rate, gasping and panting from the cold, then skittered out as fast as her now jellied legs would carry her. Once on the grass she collapsed to her knees, and then realized she didn't have anything in the way of a towel.
"Damn it," she muttered. What an oversight! She hugged herself, feeling her teeth begin to chatter. "C-c-celeborn?" she stuttered, "D-do you h-have s-s-some kind of towel?"
There was a silence. "I have a spare cloak," he said brightly after a pause, "Will that do?"
A piece of thick cloth came flying over the brambles. She snatched it up hastily and wrapped it around herself. Not a moment too soon, it turned out, as Celeborn himself appeared shortly afterward, fully dressed and looking refreshed. "The river is chilly this time of year, is it not?" he smiled.
Galadriel brought the full force of her formidable glare to bear on him. "Celeborn. I am not yet fully dressed."
He looked surprised. "Oh."
He didn't move.
Galadriel made an impatient movement at him with her hand, catching the cloak sharply just before it fell open. "Leave. Go see to the horses or some such. Go!"
Celeborn bit his lip to contain a snort of laughter. Somehow the gracious lady of the Noldor reminded him of an angry chicken, hopping from foot to foot and waving her hand at him, the cloak flapping loosely around her lower thighs and a very angry expression on her face. "As you wish," was all he could choke out, before moving swiftly in the direction of the camp, muffling rather un-lordly giggles with the palm of his hand.
Galadriel turned back to the river and huffed as she rubbed the cloak over her shoulders. "Honestly. Males."
The Travellers (or: A Sad Sort of Melancholy Melody) A short story. By V.K. Violette
WARNING: I dont own historical characters, and although I want to be, I am not George Sand. Everything in this story never happened. Also, this fic will contain love between individuals of the same gender. Just deal with it and move on.
A Sad Sort of Melancholy Melody By: George Sand
Where should I start but here? I sit here alone, at Frederyks old piano which faces the window. I will not touch the keys and butcher their musicality with my non-ability to harmonize, or play music in general. Right now, there are tears running down my face, and words dying on my lips. However, these words shall live on paper. This short story is meant only for one pair of eyes: mine. But I should start with the background.
Chopin was my friend, and I did love him, more than I have ever loved a man- yet I had basically thrust him into the arms of another with my big mouth and my inability to take no for an answer, especially when it comes to the physical. I seduced him when he was weak, and he wouldnt forgive me- no need to permanently engrave the details in writing. I dont want to relive them anyway. But it was my fault why he had left me here at Nohant, why he had gone off with a certain Franz Liszt to Hungary for a small tour. I acted when I should have remained in the shadows. Besides, I could never compare to his long-term best friend.
They had a relationship. Im sure of it. Well, at least on Chopins side. Frederyk got a glassy look in his eyes when he thought of or saw Liszt. He was in love with the man, though he never realized it. He was so taken by him, that when Liszt offhandedly mentioned that he was going to Hungary, Chopin asked if he could go, and Liszt accepted without thought.
I knew Franz. I knew him much longer than I knew Frederyk. I could see the stormy self-hate in his eyes when he thought about Chopin like that. He was smitten as well. He had abandoned Marie dAgoult and his three children, he had abandoned Paris, and all of his friends. Just like that. There was most certainly romance, whether or not it was physical, I did not know. However, if anyone knows anything about Franz Liszt, there is no such thing as a non-physical relationship when it came to the Hungarian Heartthrob.
So this is my fictional theory brought out of waiting for Chopin to return. This is what I think happened. Something like this probably did. So I shall begin.
Frederyk! The coach is outside! Franz Liszt yelled impatiently from the front doorway of his downtown Paris flat. The mentioned was running about, frantically out of breath as he reached to grab everything in sight- gloves, hat, overcoat, piano wire, etc. Liszt rolled his eyes, and grabbed the smaller man by his wrist, dragging him gently into the luxurious black carriage. --- For about seven hours, the two pianists were lost in their own world. Liszt was busy writing letters to his son, Daniel, and his daughter Blandine, making written small-talk about his travels. When he was done with these cordial notes, be began to write a letter to Niccolo Paganini, a friend of his, about some music he had deemed playable only by the demon violinist. When his letter writing ceased, Liszt entertained himself with a book, just a general history on Hungary, not really taking in the information- he was moreso lost in his thoughts.
Chopin spent most of his time just watching the scenery go by, and when he got bored of doing that, he began to read a book given to him by his friend Julian Fontana about music theory. When the light outside had dimmed to the point where reading began to strain his eyes, the Polish pianist decided that it was finally time to make small talk.
Chopin smiled at Liszt warmly. Ah, Franz! Im so excited about visiting Hungary! Are you going to show me where you grew up?
Liszt grinned, eager due to Chopins eagerness. Haha, yes of course! I will show you everything in Hungary, down to my parents graves and my barber if you so wish it!
Chopin let out a small laugh, covering his mouth, once more demonstrating his modesty. If we get there, dear friend. Its a week-long drive, isnt it?
I dont know. Its part of the adventure! Liszt said, winking at Chopin who began to blush. Besides, he continued, taking Chopins hand in his own, we have plenty of things to do and see. We dont want to miss the sights of Europe! We only have so long to live!
Chopin blushed at Liszts contact, even more so when the Hungarian slid Chopins gloves off his hands.
Chopinetto, you dont need to just see the world- you need to touch the world too! So many textures, from piano keys to the wild grass to Liszts voice sunk low the skin of another.
The Polish mans face felt like it was on fire, having realized already his feelings for the other man. For some reason, perhaps his passive nature, he had accepted it with no issue. It was not men it was only Franz. Only Franz made him feel like this, made him long so uncharacteristically for the warmth of another, for the feelings given only by ones lover it was only this one person. Though what pained him, was the thought, the belief- that his love was unrequited.
Liszt entangled his long fingers between the other mans smaller ones, peering at him with his soulful, azure eyes.
We are free, Chopinetto, he said, clutching Chopins naked hands fervently, a look of rapture and revelation and something anonymous (at least to Chopin) in his eyes. Free of old lovers- Marie, George, even your pretty fiancee- free of all Parisian speculation, free of rumors- in Hungary, the people are quite conservative- its just us! You and I and music, oh the music we shall make Chopinetto! Liszts eyes sparkled as these thoughts bombarded his estatic mind, relayed to his companion through a trademark dramatic Lisztian monologue.
Chopin looked at Liszt sadly. Not all love, I cannot be free from that.
The younger man caught on to the melancholy in the others eyes, and pulled the slight man into a soft embrace- Liszt always was the touchy-feely type. He was a hugger, and when he was mad, he was a hitter- it was as if he thrived on physical contact. Chopin felt himself involuntarily swoon as he smelled Liszts musky scent- the scent of cigars and the smell of home.
What is bothering you, Chopinetto? Liszt asked gently, practically purring into Chopins ear. The Hungarian couldnt resist his temptations any longer- he was alone for a good long while with the smaller man- the newest, yet strangely always present, object of his amorous advances. He had spent months agonizing about the wrong-ness of loving another man in the way he loved his Chopinetto. Was it the femininity of the man? Even now, Liszt wasnt quite sure. But he loved the smaller man being in his arms, he loved holding him possesively, watching the blush across his face. And now there were no more George Sand or Marie dAgoult to start rumors about it, he noted wryly.
Chopin shivered, feeling Liszts cool breath against the inside of his ear. He involuntarily leaned into the others touch. Outside of the carriage, the sun had gone down completely, leaving the two pianists in the dark. Chopin whispered Liszts name under his breath, feeling faint.
Liszt had waited so long- almost two years- to get up his normally overstocked courage in order to confess to the man in his arms, the man who upon his face was a look that was involuntarily sensual- sensual because it was involuntary.
Frederyk, he breathed. Do you know the meaning of the word alone?
Of course I do, the soft-spoken man replied distantly, his mind elsewhere.
Right now, we are alone- a state in which we havent been in for a while. And I have wanted to wait until we were alone in order to tell you this. I was going to wait until we arrived, but seeing you, being close to you, my friend I cannot hold back anymore.
Franz, I must confess something to you-
I must say something Ive kept within me-
-love you. They said at the same time.
Surprise was etched upon the two mens faces, and this sweet confession uttered by the Polish man had set the little trigger in Liszt off, and he crashed his lips roughly to those belonging to the small man in his arms. Chopin groaned when Liszt shamelessly ravished his mouth, tangling his long, talented fingers in his Chopinettos hair. Said man whimpered, intimidated by the Hungarians animalistic hunger for him, and it took him great strength to push the other man away, noticing the hurt, yet hazy look on the youngers face.
Im sorry, Chopinsky, Liszt said with regret.
No, Franz its not whatever youre thinking! We have plenty of time together on this trip of ours- lets not spoil it so quickly.
Liszt grinned. My, Frederyk, he smirked, was that flirtation, or was that my mind making tricks?
Chopins face turned scarlet, and he looked down at his feet. Liszt tipped his chin upward, peering into the other mans eyes, raw emotion reflected in both.
Chopins eyes fluttered shut as he leaned into Liszt for a soft, chaste kiss. The Hungarian caressed his now-lovers face, his lips dancing about the elders face, his neck, and his collarbone, eliciting soft sounds from the untouched man in his arms.
Franz, he whispered in a paradoxically innocent yet sensual voice I dont want to go home.
Overcome by the emotions the Hungarian had locked within him for so long, Liszt crashed his lips to Chopins again, and this time- Chopin did not stop him.
I cannot go on. I have tried, and although these sort of scenes always come to me, I just cant write a love scene depicting my Frederyk in someone elses arms. So I shall end it here- it seems a just ending. Someone is knocking on my door, and something within me suspects it is Eugene, whose comfort I need at this moment. He seems to take care of me during my emotional times. The paper is stained with tears, and it isnt worth it to rewrite it- as the falling of tears occuring while rereading it will be bitter, and for many times after that. It is just a waste of ink and paper. Romance between men was never my specialty, and for good reason. I am no better than a man myself, and men most certainly do not write such things about each other. So I end. What a waste of an eloquent prologue.
A totally (somewhat plotless) Fluff-let done for an art trade with for her drawing of Achille, which is SO AWESOME by the way. Check out her gallery! She's pretty darn good!
I was also shamelessly testing another plot-bunny of mine- George Sand writing a novel based on Chopin and Liszt's relationship. It sounds like a good idea, but I don't really know how I would possibly go about it without screwing it up. I
haven't read any of George Sand's novels, sadly they are all in French.
However, I have read Nelida by Marie d'Agoult (aka Daniel Stern), which was a very good read, though it was obvious which character Liszt was portrayed as, and which character (the beautiful heroine) Marie inserted herself as. It was like a really bad revenge plot.
But yes! If you like short-fluff-drabble-stories, then this is for you! (I didn't like it, but if you read my Artist Comments, you notice that I don't like any of the stuff I write. It grows on me after a couple of re-reads, I must say.)
Pianistic Fingers was the best Chopin X Liszt thing I've written. And Medianoche, there's Paganini, diverting the romance for a long time. I might have to postpone my upload, depending on how much homework my Geometry teacher swamps me with.
Dedications: ~Miyuko-101 for her awesome art trade with me! Hope to do it again sometime!
Bilbo tugged his coat more tightly about his small frame and shivered, more from nerves than the chill.
It was a mere week into the journey – they had not even reached the furthermost borders of the Shire yet – and already he was beginning to feel a twinge of doubt about this quest.
The dwarves were pleasant enough. Fili and Kili’s relentless curiosity had subsided into boisterous, youthful over-familiarity. Ori had shyly made several attempts at conversation, as had Balin and Bombur. Bofur chatted freely to him as if he had known him forever, unthinkingly sharing his supplies of tobacco with the Hobbit as soon as Bilbo confessed he had forgotten his. Oin, Gloin, Dwalin and Nori more or less ignored him and Bifur contented himself by making happy mumbling noises and waving whenever he saw the hobbit.
The only one that made him uncomfortable was Thorin.
Bilbo cast an uneasy eye across the fire towards the leader of their company. The dwarf prince was sat idly whittling at a stick with his dagger, his finished bowl of Bombur’s stew discarded by his feet.
The other dwarves seemed comfortable enough around their companion, Bilbo had observed, as was Gandalf. It was just the hobbit who felt at a disadvantage around the sharp-eyed dwarf.
Thorin’s eyes flicked up from his work, as though he had known Bilbo was looking at him all along.
The hobbit hastily ducked his head, feeling his throat clench in embarrassment at being caught out, Thorin’s gaze stinging like a needle-point.
Even muscled, tattooed Dwalin – who looked like he could snap the hobbit like a twig should he so choose – did not intimidate Bilbo as much as the silent prince.
Bilbo poked at the tiny puddle of broth left in the bottom of his bowl and tried not to think how much bigger the dwarves on either side of him were. He felt quite inadequate enough.
Bilbo paused, looking up despite himself. What on earth was that noise?
The other dwarves were looking around curiously, trying to find the source of the noise. All except Thorin, who was staring at nothing with an unexpectedly bewildered expression on his face.
As Bilbo watched, the dwarf’s chest jerked and there was another Hulp! Louder this time.
Thorin groaned and dropped his head onto his hand. “Oh, for the love of . . .” Bilbo heard him mutter under his breath.
“Are you quite well, Thorin?” Gandalf’s amused voice broke through the temporary silence.
“It is nothing.” Thorin grumbled, hastily straightening up. However, his attempt to throw up a façade of indifference was rendered useless by a penetrating Hweck! which made him flinch as his entire chest-cavity spasmed.
Little Ori broke the dam of laughter first, bright giggles tumbling from his lips like jewels from a bandit’s purse. Then Fili’s shoulders began to shake, Kili snorted weakly as he attempted to contain his mirth and finally Bofur’s already-familiarly filthy laugh cackled out of him and all became hilarity.
Bilbo sat there, shuddering with repressed laughter as everyone else howled with joy.
Thorin just sat there and glowered at them all, although the effect of his intimidating expression was ruined somewhat by the increasingly frequent hiccups making him twitch and squeak in a frankly un-princely manner.
“You all are far too easily amus-HWECK!” He grumbled, inspiring a fresh bout of laughter.
“You are making noises curiously reminiscent to an angry duck, Master Thorin.” Gandalf observed, eyes glittering with merriment.
The look he received in return could have etched steel, however Thorin had realised that attempting to speak only made his hiccups worse so he fumed on in silence, a muffled ulping noise bursting from him every so often.
It took a full two hours, drinking a whole skein of water, five highly inefficient attempts to startle the dwarf (one of which nearly resulted in Kili acquiring a broken nose) and eventually Thorin stomping off and dunking his head in the river to cure the dwarf of his affliction.
Rivendell was everything that Bilbo had dreamed an Elvish palace would be.
Although the meeting with Elrond had ended badly, Bilbo still find his eyes being cast about with wistful curiosity, finding everything surrounding him full of wonder and fascination.
It felt like paradise. A world of comfort and quiet and books. Oh, so many lovely books. Bilbo’s heart longed to stay, or at least to linger on just a little while longer. But Thorin had already ordered that they were to leave as soon as someone could find Bombur, who no doubt had gone to raid the kitchens for supplies.
If they were lucky, he might even bring back some for the journey.
The dwarf prince was pacing restlessly around the balcony on which the dwarves had congregated, the fire and heartier fare that they had managed to come by more comfortable for them than the Elvish feast they had been offered. Bless his soul; Bifur was still trying to roast some lettuce. No one had the heart to stop him.
Once again, Bilbo checked that his sword was safely tied to his belt. It had been days since he had acquired the weapon but he still felt uncomfortable wielding it. Never in his entire existence in this world had he ever met a hobbit who carried a sword before. They were peaceful folk! They rarely went to war, and when they were not in conflict then swords were put in cupboards and chests as keepsakes or the metal was melted down for farming equipment.
He felt entirely unworthy of the weapon. Still, he was getting used to the feeling of being unworthy. Eru knows he felt it most of the time now anyway.
“Here, Mr. Bilbo?” The hobbit looked up to find Bofur eying his sword inquisitively. “Would you mind if I took a look at that.”
“N-not at all.” Bilbo fumbled the scabbard from his belt and passed it over.
The dwarf took it and looked at it with a professional eye, inspecting the hilt before drawing it. “It’s been very well forged, for saying it’s of Elvish make.” He admitted, begrudgingly. Bofur examined the blade before tapping the edge smartly on the floor, creating a spark.
Bilbo didn’t know much about swords but he knew they had to be sharp to be useful and so the words were out of him before he could restrain himself. “Careful, you’ll blunt it!”
There was a long pause as Bofur slowly swung his head round to look at the hobbit, a wicked grin on his face.
Bilbo knew what was coming and hastily through up his hands. “No, no, no, no, no!”
But Bofur was already starting to sing.
Blunt the knives, Bend the forks.
Fili and Kili, catching on, started drumming their hands eagerly on the floor, the young dwarves also raising their voices to the tune.
Smash the glasses, And crack the plates!
And then a dozen voices broke out in chorus a chorus of bellows:
That’s what Bilbo Baggins hates!
Bilbo sat there, finding that he was smiling despite himself as the dwarves reprised their earlier chant. The mocking was tempered with no small amount of affection for the subject of their song and it relieved some of the tension in the room.
He shook his head indulgently when they all finished. “You’re all bastards.” He grinned, provoking a cheer at the unexpected profanity.
But then Ori made a faint squeaking noise and they all turned to look.
Thorin had stopped dead in his pacing, staring wide-eyed at his company as though they had all grown an extra set of heads.
Too late they all remembered that he had been absent the first time the dwarves had teased Bilbo this way.
Finally, the dwarf broke eye contact and ducked his head, one hand coming up to cover his eyes in an expression of absolute defeat.
Balin cleared his throat weakly. “Thorin?”
The prince shook his head, his posture not changing.
Bilbo gnawed on his lip, worrying that their mirth had offended the dwarf who was still seething with rage from their previous meeting. Worrying that this would lessen him still further in the dwarf’s eyes.
Then he noticed that the dwarf’s shoulders were shaking.
Balin had clearly noticed it too as he repeated the prince’s name again, confused.
Then, to their amazement a faint breathy laugh reached their ears, Thorin’s hand sliding down to cover his smiling mouth even as his eyes crinkled with merriment.
“Uncle!” Kili yelped, amazed and causing the prince to let out another stifled giggle.
“You are all quite utterly mad.” The dwarf choked. “Quite, quite mad.”
Then he dissolved utterly into musical baritone laughter, having to lean against a column to remain upright, just managing to gasp out ‘your faces!’ as explanation for this sudden fit.
He could not have looked less like a king in that minute, clinging to the wall to remain on his feet, tears of laughter sparkling on his lashes and, frankly, not one member of his company could have cared less.
So contagious was the his laugh that everyone found themselves grinning along, with Oin whipping out a teapot and a reprise of the song beginning once again.
Just as the final applause and raucous cheers were dying away from the encore, Bombur returned to the group with supplies and they quickly prepared themselves to leave.
Nevertheless, they set off on the second leg of their journey with a smile. Even if only for five minutes.
The next leg of their journey did not go well.
The going up to the mountain pass was tough, with the rocks too small to climb over but too big and unevenly shaped to comfortably place your feet on. The soles of Bilbo’s feet were leathery enough not to blister or crack under the strain but the bones seemed to shift and mould uncomfortably about the protruding stones.
The dwarves were faring even worse as their feet slipped and slid inside their huge boots, the friction of their socks slowly and painfully flaying the skin from their feet as they struggled uphill.
Every night the dwarves would throw themselves down around the fire and, hissing with the pain, peel their boots off. Sometimes the blood seeped so thickly from their blistered feet that it crusted and they had to yank the sticky material away. Bilbo would do what little he could to help, assisting Oin in preparing the soothing salve which they would smear thickly on their feet every night, but it was a futile attempt. They slept poorly on the rocky ground and, as quickly as dwarves healed, the next day’s walk would simply worsen the previous day’s wounds.
The pain and frustration and anger came to a head one morning a few weeks after their departure from Rivendell.
Kili and Thorin had been sleeping close together – the dwarves’ habit of sleeping spread out rendered impractical by the increasingly cold weather – and Bilbo found himself waking just as the prince and his nephew were rousing themselves.
Thorin stifled a yawn behind one massive hand and attempted to sit up but found himself jerked back with a yelp, which was echoed by his sister’s son.
Somehow, during the night their hair had gotten tangled.
Thorin exploded. “KILI!”
The two dwarves awkwardly attempted to scrabble to their knees, their hands pawing at the scruffy mess that joined them.
“WHAT HAVE I TOLD YOU ABOUT BRAIDING YOUR HAIR PROPERLY SO THINGS LIKE THIS DO NOT HAPPEN?” Thorin bellowed, yanking on Kili’s admittedly bedraggled hair. “YOU ARE A PRINCE OF EREBOR, NOT A COMMON SCRAP METAL COLLECTER! YOU-“
A heavy hand on Thorin’s shoulder cut short his rage.
“Leave him be, laddie.” Balin said, quietly. “You’ll bring every orc in the mountain down on us with that noise.”
Thorin breathed hard through his nostrils, his fury restrained by Balin’s sensible observation.
Kili slumped wretchedly. Bilbo felt sorry for him. The young dwarf was brave, kind, loyal and welcoming. His scruffiness and impulsivity were clearly an ingrained part of his personality but Bilbo found it hard to resent him for it. To be honest, the young dwarf reminded him of one of his Tookish relatives. Little Peregrine. Or Pippin as he insisted on being called.
Everyone knew that it was more than just the hair that had provoked the prince’s ire. The going was getting harder, their rations were already beginning to run low and every step up the mountain felt like a punishment, not an achievement. Poor Kili had just been chosen as a target which Thorin could vent at.
Quietly, Bofur – who had the cleverest fingers – picked at the mess. After a few minutes he winced.
“Speak, Bofur.” Thorin ordered, sharply.
“I . . . I don’ t think even I can sort this mess.” The toymaker admitted. “I hate to say it but we might have to cut you both free.”
There was an uneasy shuffling throughout the group and tears sprang to Kili’s eyes.
Bilbo sucked in a breath. He had long since learned that dwarfish hair and beards held special significance. They prided themselves on their length and luxuriousness and a common punishment for their criminals was the cutting off of hair and beards, symbolically rendering them less of a dwarf.
For a prince to undergo such a thing . . .
Thorin’s expression fell very slightly but he rallied. “So be it.” He said, his voice curt but hoarse.
“Uncle-“ Kili began, weakly but Thorin cut through him.
“We cannot walk up the mountain joined as we are. Bofur, make the cut.”
Reluctantly, Bofur reached for his knife, Thorin and Kili both closing their eyes in shame.
“Wait!” Bilbo scrambled forwards, staying Bofur’s hand on the hilt of his blade.
Thorin growled. “This does not concern you, Halfling!”
“I-I know! But please, let me try first!” He said, stumbling forwards over the rocks. “I have smaller, nimbler fingers. I might have better luck.” He held up his hands and wiggled them as though to prove himself.
They all considered him for a long moment, as though doubting his sincerity.
Bilbo swallowed, feeling dizzy with nerves, before he voiced what none dared say. “The king of Erebor cannot have his head shorn like a criminal. At least let me try.”
The company flinched at this brutal truth but said nothing.
Thorin’s jaw tightened as he considered but finally he gave a swift, sharp nod. “Do what you can. Everyone else, break camp. We leave as soon as Kili and I are separated.”
Bilbo hurried over and set to work, trying to ignore the anger radiating off Thorin. The dwarf was muttering under his breath and Bilbo thought he caught something about Kili being an ‘imbecilic little cockgoblin.’
The hobbit grabbed hold of one of Thorin’s thick beaded braids and worked out from there. He had untangled many a kite string in his day and knew how best to reverse a knot and relieve tension in a thread.
He moved, foot sliding on a loose rock and stumbling.
Two pairs of hands shot out to steady him.
“Thank you.” He stuttered, flushing, fingers fumbling with embarrassment.
After a few minutes he managed to free the plait. One more was entangled but not as severely, and the final section was just a few ensnared locks. A gentle tug would probably clear them.
Kili’s posture changed as he began to let himself hope that the situation could be fixed after all.
“Stay still.” Bilbo chided him gently, relaxing the tension in a knot and slipping the loop free.
Finally, finally, the braid came free and, upon hearing Bilbo’s cry of triumph, the two dwarves jerked up and the final hairs yanked themselves separate.
A faint cheer rose behind the hobbit who grinned down at the two dwarves. Kili was rubbing his head and sighing with relief but Thorin was already getting to his feet.
“We have lingered too long. We must move out.”
Bilbo’s face fell, anger and no small amount of contempt rising in his heart.
Was it completely beyond the wretched dwarf to say thank you?
Hearing no gratitude forthcoming, the hobbit limped back to his bedding bundle, which Ori had kindly wrapped for him in preparation for the days travel, inwardly cursing that he hadn’t just let the cursed dwarves shave their heads completely and good riddance to them!
A heavy hand landed on his shoulder, making him jump.
It was Thorin, dark blue eyes regarding him closely.
Up close, Bilbo was surprised to see just how exhausted the dwarf looked.
“Thank you, Master Hobbit.” The dwarf said, quietly. “The alternative would have been humiliation.”
Bilbo relaxed slightly. “You’re welcome.”
Thorin nodded shortly and moved away, the matter clearly closed.
Sighing at the prospect of the day’s climb, Bilbo shrugged his bag onto his back and set off after the others. He didn’t think he could take many more days like this, particularly when tensions were running so high.
However, for once luck was smiling on them.
Kili’s quick eyes spotted a thin, winding pass which allowed them to bypass the rocky peak and brought them out onto the table-top surface of the mountain side, thus redeeming himself in the eyes of the thoroughly relieved group. Here the walk was flat and gentle mosses grew under foot, soothing beneath their weary limbs.
For the first time in many days Bilbo felt tension seep out of his shoulders, his pack sitting more comfortably on his back for it and, whilst they were all still exhausted when they stopped to camp for the night, at least they slept on soft, yielding ground. It was still cold up there but, a fire went some way to taking the edge off the chill, and they all sat there yawning into their bowls during the meal.
Kili went up to receive his portion before walking back to his place, carefully not meeting his uncle’s gaze as he passed him.
However, as he did so a hand shot out and grabbed him by the hair, yanking him down to sit on the ground.
“Wha-!” He yelped as his uncle grabbed his shoulders and swivelled him around to sit with his back to him.
“Shut up and sit still.” Thorin ordered. “Dori?”
Dori fumbled in a pocket and retrieved a comb which he passed to the prince.
Kili opened his mouth to protest but a heavy hand landed on the crown of his head.
“What did I just say?” Thorin said, warningly.
Realising resistance was futile, Kili closed his mouth again. Thorin then proceeded to tear every last knot from his protesting nephew’s head. When he was done, Kili’s previously wispy mess of dark hair shone in the firelight.
The young dwarf gasped at the echoing sting in his scalp and made to rise but his uncle’s hand on his shoulder made him stay put.
“We’re not done yet.” Thorin said, firmly.
Bilbo watched, eyebrows raised, as Thorin quickly and efficiently braided his nephew’s hair so that it was held tight, secure and neat back off his face. Such paternal behaviour seemed out of place and yet oddly right for the prince. Strange . . .
Kili just sat there and took it, knowing better than to argue and, secretly, enjoying the feeling of Thorin rendering him suitably presentable. It reminded him of similar occasions when he had been a young dwarfling. “I am 87 you know, uncle.” He said, faintly petulantly, protesting purely for the sake of appearance.
“And yet, you seem incapable of doing this for yourself.” Thorin pointed out drily, sliding the final bead into place.
He nudged his nephew in the back with his foot, indicating he could move. “Don’t let it happen again, Kili.” He said, warningly. “Or I’ll shave you bald and get Dwalin to tattoo your head.”
The young dwarf hastily scurried back to his brother.
Joy at escaping from Azog more-or-less unscathed made their first camp following the eagle’s flight a wonderfully merry gathering.
Bilbo, full of residual adrenaline from the fight and deep, heart-felt gratification at Thorin’s newfound respect, watched interestedly as Oin and Gandalf finished bandaging up their leader.
Thorin’s wounds were mercifully not as severe as first believed. He was battered and bruised several interesting colours and he had a slight gash in his torso but it was not as serious as first feared. Dwarf armour was made to withstand a lot and it had served him well.
Oin helped the wincing dwarf into his shirt before fumbling in his pocket and drawing out a vial.
“I would recommend drinking this.” The healer said, calmly. “It will lessen the pain, ensure you sleep well and aid the healing process.”
Thorin looked at it doubtfully. “Is this the same concoction you gave Ori when he got attacked by the Wargs last year?”
Oin hesitated. “Yes.”
Thorin raised an eyebrow at him. “Are you quite certain that’s wise? You remember how Ori was on it.”
The youngest of their company blushed and huddled closer to his brother.
“What is it?” Bilbo asked, curiously.
“It’s a fusion of plants with pain-killing and healing properties.” Oin explained, rattling off a brief list of ingredients as he cleared his medical supplies away.
Thorin regarded the bottle ruefully. “It is a rather potent drug. When last Ori was given some he thought he could fly.”
“Ah, that was the Salvia Divinorum.” Oin said, hastily over Bilbo’s muffled chuckle. “I’ve altered the formula since then.”
“Are you quite sure it is wise for me to take this, Oin?” Thorin asked, seriously. “I trust your judgement of course, but if it has a stronger effect than intended then our progress tomorrow will be lessened and our supplies are running low as it is. We cannot afford a lost day’s travel.”
Oin chewed on his lip, fingers dancing agitatedly on his ear horn. “It’s your decision of course but I would certainly recommend it. Your body is still partially operating on adrenaline and it is dulling the pain. If you don’t take it then the risk of infection triples and chances are the pain would be such that you could barely move by morn and even less progress would be made.”
“Fear not. I know some tricks to lessen any unwanted effects if it comes to that.” Gandalf interjected finally.
Thorin nodded and sighed. With no further ado, he tugged out the cork and chugged back the contents of the vial.
“Let us see what happens.” He sighed, handing the empty vial back to Oin.
To begin with, very little effect was visible. The dwarves sat around the fire, talking quietly but happily, contained in a seemingly impenetrable bubble of contentment. Bilbo, Gandalf and Bofur amused themselves by having a smoke-ring contest however; the fairness of the competition was lessened slightly by Gandalf’s use of magic.
Out of the corner of his eye, Bilbo kept a faint watch on Thorin.
It was very gradual. But slowly, slowly, his posture slackened so that he was slumped in on himself. His pupils grew large in his head and a slow, vague smile came onto his face as he watched the dancing flames.
This was good. Before, tension and pain had kept his posture rigid. Obviously the drug was having a beneficial effect if he could relax so much.
Suddenly, Bilbo felt a tingling sensation and bucked, yelping.
A small spider had been crawling over his hand but his sharp movement had flicked it away.
The others stared at him but he was now comfortable enough around them not to blush and stutter so he shrugged. “There was a spider. It tickled.”
They nodded, vaguely.
“You always were ticklish even as a child.” Gandalf observed. “Your brothers used to torment you mercilessly if I recall.”
Bilbo nodded, smiling as memories returned.
“Dwalin’s very ticklish.” Balin broke in smugly.
The enormous, muscled dwarf flushed, strongly. “Am not!” He protested.
“True.” Gloin admitted. “Although it was amusing watching you try.”
Kili inclined his head to concede the point.
“I’m not either.” Oin admitted. “Maybe it runs in families.”
“Me neither.” Ori said.
“Me neither.” Nori and Dori chorused.
“Me neither.” Fili mumbled, carefully replaiting one of his braids.
Bilbo noticed Thorin rousing a bit at that. His bleary eyes swung round, blinking at the young dwarf. Slowly, he brought up one of his hands, fingers splayed spider-like.
Then, with surprising speed, he darted his hand out and tickled Fili’s neck.
Fili let out a noise that could only be described as a shriek, jerking off the log on which he was sat and nearly landing in the fire.
Thorin chuckled at that, pointing with an unsteady finger. “You’re a lying little toad, Fili.” He grinned, his words slurred slightly. “You’ve been ticklish since the day you were born. Everyone of the line of Durin is ticklish.”
Everyone laughed at the discomfited young dwarf’s reaction, with the exception of Bilbo.
Something had just occurred to him.
The hobbit leaned forward, a slow evil smile forming on his lips. “Everyone of the line of Durin?” He asked.
“Yes.” Thorin nodded.
Then, he frowned, his brain struggling through the haze of the drug. What in Eru’s name had made them all go quiet like that?
And, why were they looking at him and grinning?
Then, he realised.
He flung up a warning hand. “No!”
But Dwalin had grabbed one shoulder and Bifur the other and they were bearing him backwards to the ground and then his nephews were on him in a heartbeat.
Bilbo clapped a hand over his mouth as Thorin’s bellow of ‘BAGGINS!’ rose through the scales to become a howl of laughter.
Gandalf snorted as Thorin’s various limbs flailed uselessly against the onslaught. How the mighty do fall . . .
Oin however, was on them in a heartbeat, coming to the prince’s aid. He thwacked Thorin’s assailants hard with his ear-pipe, making them yowl in protest. He may have been one of the elder dwarves but his blows certainly did not lack heft.
“Are you all malformed in the head?” The aged healer snapped. “He is injured! You run the risk of tearing his stitches or worsening his injuries!”
Slowly, shame-facedly, they released Thorin who still gasped out a few breathless, reflexive little laughs, his stomach muscles twitching faintly with the movement.
Noticing that the dwarf’s eyelids were fluttering heavily, Gandalf nudged Bilbo and passed him Thorin’s pack.
Realising that he was closest, Bilbo got to his feet and went over to where Oin was checking that none of his bandages had loosened. Finding nothing, he shook his head and Bilbo helped him tug Thorin’s rucked-up shirt back into place.
The prince’s eyes wandered vaguely but he saw nothing now. “Why can’t I move?” He asked, his voice barely more than a murmur.
“The drug is taking effect now.” Oin said, his words calm and reassuring as he and Bilbo fumbled Thorin’s blanket from his pack. “You will sleep very deeply. When you wake your injuries will have begun to heal and the pain will have lessened dramatically.”
Thorin licked his dry lips, sightless eyes blinking. “But everyone is safe?” He slurred, his brain growing groggy and confused.
“Aye, Gloin’s here.”
“We’re both here, Uncle.” Kili said gently.
“Balin, Dwalin, Dori, Nori, Ori, Bifur, Bofur and Bombur are only a few feet away as well. Do not worry yourself.” Oin soothed.
It was clearly a struggle now for Thorin to keep his eyes open and when he finally forced his voice out, it was barely audible. “Gandalf?”
“I’m here and well, Thorin.” Gandalf’s rich voice echoed comfortingly through the gloom. “Sleep peacefully.”
Thorin’s eyes were naught but the faintest gleam between his dark lashes. “The . . . Bilbo?” He whispered.
Bilbo looked down at the prone, vulnerable figure, remembering how his welfare had been the dwarf’s first concern upon his awakening earlier.
Balin had been right.
This was a man he could call King.
Thorin struggled to open his eyes, tension creeping back into his limbs. “Bilbo?” He whispered again, his clouded brain agitated by the lack of a response.
“I’m here.” Bilbo said softly.
Thorin sagged back down, relief rendering him utterly boneless.
Bilbo could have sworn his saw his lips form the words ‘all safe’ before the dwarf’s breathing deepened and healing sleep gently took him beyond the reach of pain.
Beorn’s Carrock truly was an amazing place, Bilbo mused as he watched a sheep go stepping neatly past him, a bucket of water held in its mouth.
Due to Thorin’s injuries and their need to replenish their supplies, Gandalf had taken the risk of introducing them to the enormous man, a gamble which thankfully had paid off. They had been in the man’s home for a day and a half and they were all feeling better for a few proper meals and a decent bed to sleep in.
Beorn himself was sat with Gandalf at the far end of the massive hall, watching curiously as the dwarves amused themselves.
Oin had just removed Thorin’s bandages, his injuries more-or-less fully healed already. The others were playing some indecipherable game involving cards and small round stones. So far, Bombur seemed to be winning.
Fili, Kili, Bofur and Ori however were behaving like complete menaces, all of them seemingly afflicted with a surplus of energy now they were no longer hiking all day.
Bilbo leapt back with a laugh as they went stumbling past him, Kili on Fili’s shoulders, Ori on Bofur’s, hacking at each other with some wooden spoons in lieu of their swords.
He felt Thorin and Oin take their places next to him, all of them chuckling at the sight of Kili using his brother’s hair like reins to direct him as he stumbled.
“Come on brother!” Kili cried. “The honour of the line of Durin rests on our shoulders!”
“Maybe on yours!” Fili gasped. “I’ve only got your fat arse on mine!”
“Take him out, Ori! Take him out!” Bofur cried, sensing victory.
Shoving his spoon between his teeth, Ori whipped out his slingshot and nailed Kili exactly between the eyes.
With a squawk, Thorin’s nephew fell backwards, he and his big brother collapsing in a tangled, cursing heap of irritation and profanity.
Bofur threw up his arms and cheered, forgetting about his passenger who was dumped unceremoniously to the floor himself.
Up at the far end of the room, Beorn and Gandalf burst into peals of laughter. Beside Bilbo, Thorin shook his head in fond resignation.
“Ori cheated!” Fili protested, kicking himself apart from his brother. “No ranged weapons!”
Ori just let out a low whine and massaged his lower back which had connected painfully with the ground.
“You were losing even before Ori used his slingshot,” Bofur taunted, relishing his position as the only dwarf still standing.
“A race then.” Kili choked, spitting out a mouthful of hair as he struggled to his feet. “Then weapons do not matter.”
“Aye, a race.” Bofur said, eagerly. Reaching down, he hauled Ori back onto his feet.
Fili glared at his brother. “I’m going on your shoulders this time!”
“Holy mother of Durin, what have you been eating?” Kili groaned as his brother settled on his back.
“Stop whining, you’re heavier than me.” Fili grumbled, lacing his fingers through his brother’s hair for grip.
“One length of the hall?” Oin suggested. “I’ll say go.”
The card players paused, realising something was happening and turning to watch.
“Go for it.” Ori said, determinedly, his fingers clenched around the ear flaps of Bofur’s hat.
“Three, two, one, go!”
A great cheer rose as they began to run, Bilbo jumping up eagerly to watch their progress.
But then a hand grabbed at his arm and his waist and the world suddenly swung sideways.
“WHAT?” He shrieked, finding himself alarmingly high off the floor. Then, he realised that he had been thrown over Thorin’s shoulder, the dwarf’s arm on the back of his knees anchoring him in place.
There was a brief cry of ‘begging your pardon, Master Hobbit!’ and then Thorin took off at a sprint.
The howls of encouragement rose in pitch as the race took a new and interesting turn.
Bilbo yelped and gripped hard on Thorin’s ribcage, attempting to brace himself from banging his face on the dwarf’s back with every step.
Ahead of them, one of Beorn’s sheep stepped out unexpectedly, causing Kili to halt rather rapidly and sending the two brothers smashing face-first into the ground, thus eliminating them from the race. Thorin went pounding up the hall, a massive grin on his face as he leapt over his nephews, barely stumbling upon landing.
Turning his head, Bilbo realised that they were gaining ground on Bofur and Ori and gleeful adrenaline took over.
“Come on, Thorin!” He yelled, attempting to hold himself steady so his weight would not be a hindrance.
And then - wondrous luck! - a chicken exploded out from under a table making the duo ahead of them shriek and slip. Thorin and Bilbo tore past, Thorin’s outstretched hand slapping against Beorn’s proffered one, thus marking their victory. The roof of the hall resounded with howls of elation and applause, even from Fili and Kili who still hadn’t managed to pry themselves off the floor.
Enormous hands reached out and Thorin and Bilbo found themselves separated, each of them placed on one of Beorn’s massive shoulders.
“You’ve got an impressive turn of speed in those stumpy little legs, master dwarf.” The man chuckled. “Last person I saw run that fast had just stolen one of my sheep.”
“Oi.” Bofur said, grinning up at them as he staggered up to the finish line, allowing Ori to slip from his shoulders. “How could that possibly have been fair? Little Bilbo weighs about a third of a dwarf’s weight.”
Thorin held up a finger, smirking. “True indeed but we gave you quite a head start and you have not been recently injured. Accept it, master toymaker. Bilbo and I beat you fairly.”
“Hmm.” Bofur inclined his head to show his concession to Thorin’s argument and the smile dancing on his lips showed he was only teasing. “Very well. But next time you’re carrying Bombur!”
Mirkwood was nothing like Rivendell, Bilbo reflected nervously as he crept after the captured dwarves.
Even at night, Rivendell felt paradoxically sunny. The burnished embers of the setting sun being replaced by the warm glow of faint fires, as though the Elves had softly coaxed some daylight into remaining on earth for the duration of the night. A thousand delicate tints of bronze, gold and amber gentling the shadows and removing all fear from the night.
Mirkwood felt cold, the forest canopy too thick to let the warmth of the day penetrate its blanket of shadow, and Thranduil’s palace was as imposing as Elrond’s was welcoming. The shadows crept out as though they intended to seize Bilbo’s ankles and drag him into the darkness.
Ahead, Bilbo saw the dwarves stumbling and he hastened to catch up. Luckily, their forced march ceased soon after as they were brought into an enormous hall, Thranduil standing at the far end, his back to the newcomers.
The Elf did not turn to look at them, his gaze seemingly arrested by something on the table in front of him. Creeping forwards, the Ring ensuring his stealth, Bilbo managed to catch a glimpse of what was on the desk.
His stomach lurched. It was a map of Middle Earth, and the route which they had thus far taken was picked out in red. The Elf-King had good spies indeed. The Hobbit looked fearfully up at the fall of silver-blonde hair which cascaded down Thranduil’s back. The king may well be of Elvish blood, but at this juncture Bilbo didn’t feel particularly inclined to trust the man in front of him.
Eventually, Thranduil spoke, his voice soft and low. “Never did I think to see you willingly setting foot within my realm, Thorin Oakenshield.”
“Believe me, Elf.” Thorin said, every word bitten from his mouth. “This audience was anything but willingly sought.”
“And yet surely you were reconciled to its possibility the second your foot crossed the borders of my realm.” Thranduil said, calmly, turning at last to view his prisoners.
The dwarves quailed under his cold, passionless scrutiny. The Elf had ancient eyes, empathy worn away by too many years of life. To meet his gaze was to feel time itself was standing in judgement over you.
However, one amongst their company remained unmoved. Abject hatred had rendered him immune to the Elf’s intimidation and Thorin Oakenshield stood unflinchingly beneath the penetrating stare, every inch of him a king. “We kept to the path until safety necessitated we leave it. We were forced into trespassing by circumstance, as I am sure your spies have already informed you. Were we anyone other than who were are, you would aid us in our misfortune, not imprison us.”
Thranduil’s eyes narrowed slightly at the implication of tyranny. “You are indeed correct, dwarf.” He responded, softly. “My spies have told me much, but there is much still yet that they have not been able to reveal.”
A faint smirk crossed Thorin’s lips. “My, such dedicated agents you have in your employ, Elf-King.” He murmured. The sarcasm nearly burned the air.
There was a faint titter from the mass of dwarves behind him, reassured by their leader’s dignity under duress.
Hidden to one side, Bilbo watched avidly as Thorin folded his arms, standing as easily as if he were in his own hall, not that of the man who had just taken him prisoner.
The very palest flush of rose tinted Thranduil’s cheeks, the only reaction visible to his prisoner’s irreverence. “What brought you to my woods, Master dwarf? What was so important to you that you would risk falling into my grasp?”
Bilbo froze. Surely Thorin was not going to tell the truth? Thranduil’s halls were richly decorated and yet there was no evidence of mining or artisanship about this place. The Elf had a taste for wealth and, if he knew of their purpose, surely he would refuse to release them without guaranteeing himself a tithe first.
To have to give part of his hard-won heritage to the Elf would tear Thorin’s heart asunder.
Luckily, Thorin had wit enough not to hesitate and he responded coolly, “Your spies are poor indeed if they cannot discover something as simple as that. Why should I make up for their failures?”
A muscle in Thranduil’s jaw clenched and the Elf slowly advanced. “Know this, dwarf.” The Elf said, every word dripping contempt. “My men witnessed your entrance to this realm. They saw the spell-caster Gandalf leave you and they watched as you wandered lost as babes through these woods, starving day by day and getting further and further from freedom. Useless. Dying. Hopeless.”
He stopped in front of Thorin, so close that the dwarf was forced to raise his head to look him in the eye.
“They also had wit enough to note that there were fourteen among your number. And yet only thirteen stand before me. At what point was your accomplice lost?”
The rest of the dwarves looked about them eagerly as they suddenly realised that, once again, Bilbo was absent.
“I did not lose one of my party.” Thorin said, archly. “We fourteen were all together when your soldiers took us prisoner. It would appear they are as incompetent as your spies if they let one of us escape.”
Unseen to all but Bilbo, Thranduil’s fists balled inside his capacious sleeves. “You and your company will languish in our cells until you learn manners enough to tell the truth. And your friend will be captured dwarf, and he will know little mercy for his concealment within my borders.” Thranduil said, trying to retain his façade of indifference.
At that, Thorin tipped back his head and laughed out loud. “Oh, Master Elf, I do applaud your enthusiasm.” He said, smirking like the prince that he was. “But you know nothing of our companion.”
Bilbo’s heart leapt at the praise.
“You do not believe we will find him?” Thranduil demanded.
“Not if you had a thousand Elf lifetimes in which to search.” Thorin said, with absolute sincerity.
Thranduil’s dark brows furrowed and finally he snapped. “Take them to the cells!” He snapped at the Elf-guards by the door. “And redouble the search for the fourteenth dwarf!”
Bilbo stood concealed in the shadows as the back-most dwarves were grabbed and hauled from the room.
Thranduil glared down at Thorin, increasingly infuriated by the now calm expression on the dwarf’s face. Thorin had won the encounter and they both knew it.
“This is not over, son of Thrain.” The Elf hissed.
“I should very much hope not.” Thorin said evenly before surprising his captors by turning swiftly on his heel and marching out after his companions, the Elf-guards having to jog to catch up with him.
Little did they know that they had picked up an extra-shadow. Because the fourteenth member knew he had and would evade capture. And that he would release the Prince under the Mountain and his men at any cost. Erebor’s king would not rot in this shadowy prison.
Bilbo squared his jaw and ran swift and silent after his friends.
Note: Victor is my Black Butler OC ~~~~~~~~ ~At one time, you thought life was meaningless... That is, until you met... Him.~ ~~~~~~~~ Darkness. It was all you could see on your way to Phantomhive Mansion. Not a single tree in sight to your right or to your left as you rode inside the carrige that your mother has spent much on to make sure you were safe a few weeks before. Darkness... Darkness... Darkness.
You wore all black and a veil to hide your face. It was like you were on your way to a funeral, which you actually wish you were heading to insted. You let out a sigh. "Mother never expected me to do these kind of things. Its tragic that she passed the other day, otherwise she could have done this herself." You said as you looked away from the darkness of the window. "Me, out of all people doing this kind of thing. Despicable." You were never really all that happy, tragedy always coming your way to where you have become blind to the misery, in a way, you were much like Ciel, the lord you were about to meet. "Hmph... But at least I have you." You say as a cup of tea was being served to you. A young butler with lilac eyes, in all black smiled as he handed you the cup. A marking glows on your neck: a cresent moon through a star. ~~~~~~~~ ~Though hatred between two servants made things complicated.~ ~~~~~~~~ You and your butler Victor walk up to the Phantomhive mansion, and with one knock, the butler of the mansion answered the door, Sebastian. "Good evening, and welcome to the Phantomhive mansion" He said with a devious smile upon his face, but it quickly fades when he looks at Victor. Their eyes locked into a stare down, and good thing to, your face turned pink with blush when you saw the butler that stood before you. You then snapped your fingers once your blush faded, breaking the two butlers out of their stare down "Victor, go and get my luggage. Any quarrel between you two can wait." You said as you walked into the mansion. "Yes, M'lady" Victor said as he walked back to the carriage, giving one last evil glance at Sebastian. He simply just turned away and to you as he closed the door. "You must be lady _____. It is a pleasure to meet you." He said, the smile back on his face. You removed your veil. "Like wise. Now, where exactly is the Earl of Phantomhive? I did come here to discuss matters of business with him after all." "I'm sorry, but my master got impatient and left. He should be back within the hour." He responded. You let out a sigh "I apologize for being late, I was held up because my carriage driver accidently ran over a poor cat." you said with sadness in your voice. This statement slightly shocked Sebastian (because we all know he loves cats), but actually, he's more shocked then you think.
The door then opens and Victor walks in with your luggage. "If you ask me, that man should be exicuted." Sebastian said, quite mad about hearing about the death of a cat. "Yes, I agree. The poor girl was bearing kittens." You said. This made Sebastion even more infuriated. "Im sorry to intrude, but perhaps you could show us to our rooms." Victor interrupted. "It was just a cat, a filthy creature." he continued with a scowl *SLAP!!!!* You have struck victor across the face with the back of your hand "How dare you say such a thing! All living things have a right to live, and saying something as harsh as that, especially if such creature was carrying offspring which did not even get the chance to live before dying is unacceptible!!!" You shouted at your butler. "...My apologies, M'lady" He says, his cheek red where you struck him. "Now, Sebastian. If you could be so kind and show us to our rooms as Victor suggested." "Gladly" he responded "This way." He started up the stairs. ~~~~~~~~ ~And a simple business trip... ended up as finding the love of your life.~ ~~~~~~~~ You walked along side Sebastian, but normally you would walk along side YOUR butler, so Victor greatly disapproves of this, his eyes quickly changing from glowing red and slit like, then back to normal. "I see that you are wearing only black, Lady ____." Sebastian states. "Yes, a lovely shade is it not?" "I would suspect young women would wear virbrant colors." "Well i'm not like other women... I despise the thought of being like that." You said with anger in your voice. "I see... This will be sleeping during your stay, Lady ___." He said as he opend a door to a bedroom. The room was so beautiful, decorated with the finest decor. "Thank you, Sebastian. But do call me ____. Being called 'Lady' makes me feel so important... I hate that feeling." "My, you are quite the rebelious one, arn't you?" Sebastian askes teasingly. "Quiet. Victor, leave my luggage by the door. I will unpack myself." You say and he does so, then Sebastian leads him to his room.
"...Young ____ is quite a delicate rose isn't she? So beautiful and fragile, yet has thorns that if you were to get on her bad side, it would not be pretty." Sebastian said with a devious smirk. "If you dare lay a finger on her-!" Victor started. "She would most likely enjoy it." He continued, trying to enrage Victor, which was working of course. Victor tries to contain his anger, and he sighs. "We have had this rivalry for 200 years. If you could be so kind and think common sense not to enrage me at least while my mistress and I are here, that would be rather pleasant." Victor considered. Sebastian thought for a moment, but didn't respond, he only showed victor his room, and walked away to tend to other matters.
You were unpacking your things in your room, when you hear a knock at your door. "Come in." you responded. Sebastian walks in, closing the door behind him "My master has returned, though he will speak with you tomarrow." He said, walking towards you, but you did not notice him coming closer. "Alright, thank you Sebas-" You gasped as he started to stroke your cheek with his now bare hand, you hadn't noticed that he was already beside you until it was too late. You stood still as he kept stroking your cheek, his hand then travelled to your neck. You shuddered with both confusion and pleasure at his sudden action. He traced the marking on your neck with his fingers. "W-what on earth are you doing?" you asked with hesitation. He didn't say anything, but what he did next was rather surprising. he put his hand under your chin, pulled your head towards him so your face was to his, and softly pecked your lips. Your face turned nearly as red as his eyes. "I might have only known you for not even a day, but I can already tell... You are one hell of a woman." He said with a devious grin across his face. You were silent as he began to leave, but you ran up to him before he reached the door, grabbed his arm, and pulled him into another kiss, this time, you wanted it deeper. He gladly obliged, kissing you back, his tounge playing with yours as his one hand moved to your waist, and the other to your back, and you wrapped your arms around his neck. He then began to unbutton the back of your dress...