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Roller coaster -rides in the land of fluff, first meetings and romance (see summary)

Chapter Text

A loud noise of glass shattering into thousand pieces echoed in the room that otherwise was very silent. You had been deep in your thoughts and as you had turned you had bumped into a small table and caused a glass vase to fall off. You felt your heart stopping when you turned and saw the mess on the floor; flowers, water and glass. You knelt quickly and started to clean the floor by collecting first the ruined flowers and then the sharp pieces of glass.

You gasped for air as you tried to suppress a scream caused by a cut. You started to cry. It was just too much with everything that had been going on in your life lately. Your parents had been killed by spiders just a little time ago. Therefore you had submerged yourself into your work in order to distract yourself from the grief.
Suddenly the door opened. You panicked because you knew that it could not be anyone else than the king himself. You knew that you were not supposed to be seen or heard and being in the chambers at the same time with him was just unacceptable. It was commonly thought that the servants did their job well when they were nowhere to be seen. You stood up, tried to hide the cut on your hand and bowed deeply. Thranduil had not expected anyone to be in his chamber and his first reaction was to let out an annoyed sigh mixed with an irritated groan. He looked at the floor and noticed the mess. Then his eyes shifted into you.

- What is happening here? he asked. His tone was cold and assertive.
- My king… you answered and tried to swallow your tears.
- Speak! he ordered.
- An accident, my king. you sobbed.
He noticed the cut on your hand, although you were trying to hide your hand with a cloth which was now turning red.
- Your hand. he stated.
- Uhm… just a small cut.

He walked towards you and offered you his hand. You did not react. He motioned you to extend it to him with a delicate gesture. You gave your hand to him hesitantly, it was clenched into a tight fist holding the cloth.
- Open it. he ordered and took the cloth from your hand when you did. His eyes widened when he saw the cut. It was quite deep and wide, bigger than he had expected. He called the guard and asked him to get the healer. Not for the wound because that he was able to heal with his elvish magic but because you were shaking and crying uncontrollably. He walked you to the bathroom and submerged your hand into cool water that turned red immediately. You squeaked slightly and bit your lip so your thoughts would shift from the pain that you could not control to the pain that you could; your teeth sinking into the delicate flesh of your lower lip.

After the wound had been washed he held your hand in his and with his other hand he gently softly ran his fingers on and around the wound. He spoke silently in elvish and slowly the wound started to heal. After a moment the healer entered the room with a small glass bottle. Thranduil let go of your hand, washed his and then took the glass bottle. He poured a couple of drops of the medicine into a glass and filled it with wine. He brought the glass to you. You shook your head.
- Drink this. he ordered.
- No, please… you sobbed but his expression was turning from calm to upset. He told you once more to empty the glass and this time you did not fight back. The wine tasted sweet but there was a fine undertone of bitterness from the medicine. You felt your body getting numb and feet soon giving in. A terribly strong feeling of tiredness washed over you and your world went black. The last thing you felt was a pair of strong arms grabbing you before you hit the floor and a sound of the kings robe swishing next to your ear.

The next hours were a bit hazy. You woke up a couple of times and when you looked around you, everything seemed to be covered in a haze, even the king that was napping beside his bed in an armchair. You fell back to sleep, this time into terrible nightmares.
Thranduil woke up when he heard you calling for help and sleeping very restlessly. He sat on the bed beside you and held your hands against the bed so you would not hurt yourself in your sleep. He stared at your face that looked tired, tormented and worried from a close distance. Your beautiful features buried in grief and sorrow. Then you woke up, gasped for air and as a reaction jerked your upper body off the mattress.

Your lips accidentally crushed on his because they happened to be there. As soon as you realized what had happened you let your body to fall on the pillow and tried to cease existing. You stared into the blue eyes of the king and tried to figure out whether you should apologize, pretend that it never happened or just keep silent and wait for the king to punish you for such foolish, although entirely accidental, action.
Suddenly he smiled. He did not say anything but just smiled. You were confused and unable to move or say anything. The king leaned closer and closed his eyes before his lips were on yours again. He kissed you softly, carefully feeling and exploring your soft rosy lips. After a moment of processing what was happening you encouraged your mind and relaxed. You answered his kiss as well as you could, although you were nervous because the king was stealing your first kiss, the one that you had hoped to share with someone special someday. In your fantasies and daydreams that someone special was Thranduil. The nervousness melted away soon as the kiss intensified, still remaining modest, sweet and gentle. The king left out a soft “mmm” –sound when his lips parted from yours. He touched your nose with his and caressed your cheek with his lips just brushing softly before drawing back unwillingly.

Your heart was racing. The fact was that you had a crush on the king and you had been admiring him from afar for many years now. You had never expected anything like this to happen but now you were there laying on his bed, your lips tingling from the kiss. Your mind was spinning, partially from the medicine still. Your world felt unreal, you felt unreal. The king lay down beside you and neither of you said anything.

You woke up for real this time. Your mind was crystal clear now and the whole situation was finally sinking in. You turned your head and saw the king sleeping behind your back. You tried to come up with a way to get out from the bed without waking up Thranduil. You turned to lay on your bag and stared at the ceiling with wide eyes that were filled with terror and confusion. You sat up and listened if the breathing of the king changed as a sign that he had woken up. It did not. You sighed relieved.
- Where do you think you’re going?
You froze. He was awake after all.
- I need to clean the mess…
- No… No more cleaning for you. I cannot court a maid, can I? he asked and next you felt two strong hands on your shoulders, pulling you down to lay on the bed again. He was too strong to resist so you lay down, leaving his arm under your upper back. He pulled you closer and pressed your head to rest on his chest as he ran his fingers up and down on your arm.
- How is your hand?
- It is alright. you answered with shaky voice.
- Show me. he said and took it. He caressed the skin with his fingers and then pulled your hand on his lips. He pressed a soft kiss on your palm and then lay the hand on his heart.
- Now… this is where you belong.

The truth was that Thranduil had noticed you around a decade ago when he was visiting the elven village. His feet had been completely swept off when he had seen you smiling so he had arranged you to work in the court. He had also personally ordered your promotion to manage his chambers when you always had seemed to slip away when he was coming to talk with you. You were a maid, yes, but your parents had been trusted friends of Thranduil so he knew that your bloodline was more than respectable. Noble or not, he had decided to let his feelings to be known and maybe, if he was lucky, the feeling was mutual. Now he was holding you, ready to share the grief of the death of your parents and to share whatever sorrows and joys the life brought on your path; the path that you no longer walked alone but side by side with the king himself.

Chapter Text

It was a rainy afternoon when your phone notified you about a new match on Tinder. You tapped the screen and opened the app. You stared at the picture of a young man, about your age, with brown hobbit-like hair and adorable smile. The guys name was Ned and in his profile he said that he was a baker by profession.
You put down the phone and concentrated on the class again. These final hours of school before weekend could be menacing especially when the subject was taxation and accounting. You were studying marketing and international business and even though you liked the subject very much, the last classes in the Friday afternoon were the worst.
You did not usually send messages on Tinder but this time there was something very enchanting about this Ned-dude and his adorably cute smile so you, after thinking long and hard, decided to send him a “hello”.
“Hi! I like your smile. Looking forward to the weekend?”
You signed the message with your name and tapped the “send” button. You kept staring at the chat box for 15 minutes, maybe even more, and then sighed disappointed. The break was over and you had to put your phone away. However you kept checking it as often as you possibly could. Every time you got slightly more frustrated when there were no new notifications of messages received.

In the evening your phone finally beeped. You opened the chat box and saw a message from Ned.
“Hello! Thank you so much for that! Would you care to see this smile live? -Ned”
Your heart jumped. You waited for a moment, just so you would not seem too enthusiastic or like you had been stalking for his message by your phone whole evening. After 10 minutes you replied
“Sure, how about an ice cream tomorrow if you’re free?”
“Sounds great! I’ll see you at noon in front of that small café near the park, ok?”
You checked your calendar just to make sure that you had no plans for noon, just to be sure so you did not have to cancel. It had sometimes happened that you had made plans with someone, completely forgotten that you had something else planned and then been forced to apologize and reschedule which had been very inconsiderate and waste of the other persons time, in bad case at least.
“Okay” you answered. You stared at the screen but no new messages popped on it. You groaned and cursed yourself for such an idiotic answer “okay”. You sighed and typed
“So… it’s a date?”
“Looking forward to it.” Ned answered. You chatted with him for a moment and you felt that there was chemistry between you two. But then unfortunately it was time to go sleep since you had woken up quite early and the school had been tedious. It had indeed been a long day and you needed your beauty sleep to be at your prime tomorrow.

You were late. You hated to be late so much and you always made sure not to get late. However today from all the possible times when you could had been late, now… NOW… you missed the first bus which caused you to miss the second one. Finally you arrived to the spot where you had agreed to meet.
- I am so very sorry for being late! you apologized to a tall guy who was standing in front of the café. He was holding a bright yellow flower as he had said that he would. He smiled when he saw you.
- It is quite alright. he answered and gave the flower to you. Your face lighted up like a hundred suns and for a moment you were speechless for such kind gesture. He blushed and after standing outside for a moment he opened the door for you. You walked into the small, very cozy café that had been opened just recently. It specialized on different kind of ice creams which they prepared on the premises. The place was quiet since it was a rainy day of late autumn and people did not really eat ice cream that time, which was odd in your opinion since you could had eaten ice cream all the time.
Ned offered to pay for the ice creams but you told him “no”. You wanted to offer because you had been late. He reluctantly agreed after a brief debate about a subject and helped you to carry everything to the private corner table. He sat down after helping you with the chair. The atmosphere was somewhat stiff and awkward. You stumbled with your words and it seemed that there was no chemistry, mostly due to the state of nervousness that you both were in.

You thanked Ned for a lovely date and left home after an hour of chatting. You put the flower into a bottle that you used as a vase and placed it onto a table next to a window. The flower shone like a sun against the gray view. You took out your phone, stared at his picture and cursed that he was exactly as cute live than in the picture. And he was polite, such a gentleman… And there had been no chemistry. Damn! Okay, yes, you had liked him, but clearly he had not liked you and the lack of messages after the date was enough to prove your point there; he just wasn’t interested.
A couple of weeks passed by. The weather had turned even gloomier than it had been previously. The streets were slippery in the mornings and it was always dark; dark when you went to the classes and dark when you got home after them. One Wednesday afternoon you were shopping for study books at a mall when suddenly there was a tap on your shoulder. You took off your headphones and turned.
- Ned, uhm-hi! you exclaimed He smiled and greeted you. You asked him how he was doing and he asked you the same thing in return. After chatting for a while he looked a bit hesitant but then after clearing his throat he asked
- Mind if I ask, but why didn’t you like me?
- What do you mean?
- I do not go on dates often so… to avoid screwing up in the future, I was wondering if you could tell me what I did wrong… Ahem… Why did you not like me?
- I did like you. you answered and stared at him with confusion.
- You did? But you did not send me a message after…
- You did not either. Therefore I assumed that you did not like me.
- What? Quite opposite actually.
You were speechless. You had read him completely wrong, maybe because of your own insecurities and all the past million first dates when the guy had liked you but you had not liked him or the other way around.
- Are you busy now? he asked with a shy smile on his face.
- No… you answered although it sounded more like a question.
- Great! I say that we’ll go to the market hall and buy some ingredients.
- For what? you asked. You were sincerely both surprised and cheerful about the turn of the events which meant that your plans for the evening had changed completely. You had planned to study for the exam that was taking place the next morning, but suddenly it felt unimportant.
- I will bake a pie for you. he said, took your hand and led you out from the bookshop and into the market hall that was filled with fresh fruits and vegetables. His hand held yours tightly and did not let go as you followed him through the crowds.

Chapter Text

You had moved in London to achieve your dream of becoming a singer. You had made some friends online so you had connections and as a hobby you had agreed to perform in weddings and other similar events as a vocalist of a band that played danceable music. You had met a guy online with whom you had been briefly in cyber-love but it had ended quickly because of the distance and he had fallen in love with a real-life person, however you had stayed as good friends and still chatted almost daily. You had befriended also with the woman he was now about to marry.
Your band was hired to play for a couple of hours and you had been also invited as a guest. You arrived to the church and then moved with the guests to the party venue. There were lots of guests and you only knew a few of them.

- Congratulations to both of you! You look so happy! you said when it was your time to greet the happy couple.
- Thank you. We indeed are! the bride said and wiped a tear of pure joy off her cheek.
- Dear (Y/N), there is one guy here, a good friend of mine from my student years… I want you to meet him…
- What?
- Yeah, yeah… He is a great guy and you are a great girl. I think you would be perfect for each other!
- Oh, come on. Garret. This is your wedding… I didn’t come here for matchmaking.
- This is a celebration for love. I want you to find yours.
- Right. Who is the “lucky” bastard?
- See that guy in a gray suit over there? he said and pointed at a tall man with slightly light brown ginger-ish hair.
- Yes, Garret, I see him.
- Well… I expect you to go and talk to him.
- Ha!
- Alright then, I’ll tell him to come and ask you for a dance.
- No… I will be busy on the stage. No time to dance. you said, congratulated the couple once more and then moved on.

You found your seat, conveniently opposite to that man, who by the way paid no attention to you. You recognized him; Michael Fassbender. Yeah… for some reason your friend had thought that you should meet him and you both had been placed to the singles-table. You did not chat with him since he was kept busy by all the gorgeous women in the table and the only person who tried to have a conversation with you was some guy closer to 50 years than 30.
It was your time to go up on the stage anyway. You excused yourself when the host announced that the band would soon start playing. The first set lasted about 30 minutes and after that you took a break. You sat at the singles-table alone and drank your glass empty. You saw Garret talking to Michael and then pointing at you. Michael looked at your direction and smiled politely. After finishing the conversation with Garret he walked to you and asked you to dance.
- Hi, I’m Michael. Garret asked me to take you on the dance floor before you’ll return to the stage. He apparently thinks that you would be perfect for me. he said and sounded suspicious or sarcastic even.
- I see…
- But who am I to judge since he knows me quite well.
- Right…
- He told me that you are a fan…
- Did he now?
- Yep, and you would like to go out with me.
- Okay… this is getting awkward. Please stop…
- So how about that dance? he asked and offered his hand.
- Yeah, why not. you answered and stood up. You did not take his hand though. You walked to the dance floor but just as you were going to turn to face Michael the host signed you to come to the backstage. Apparently there was a problem.
- Sorry… I must take a rain check for that dance. you stated.
- Don’t worry, you aren’t my type anyway…
- Who is?
- Models and actresses. I have a strict no-no -policy with singers.
- Well isn’t that convenient. you said slightly annoyed.

Soon you returned on the stage and sang for an hour. Then there was a small break and the last half an hour of your set, then you were done with the band. Michael had left by the time you had managed to take the instruments and other band-stuff to the van. Garret walked to you when you were collecting the papers with lyrics and notes.
- So… How did it go with Michael? Isn’t he great!?
- He is something alright. you mumbled half aloud.
- So, did you schedule a date?
- No… he isn’t really my type…
- Are you saying that rich, talented, successful, tall and handsome is not your type?
- I guess I am.
- Since when?
- Come on… if it makes you feel any better, I wasn’t his type either.
- Really?
- Yeah… apparently models and actresses only. No singers.
- Really? I think I’ve seen him with a… he said and then shut his mouth instantly when he saw the look on your face. You looked hurt but before Garret had a chance to say anything, you flashed a smile and said
- So it was just me then. No worries. Anyway… thank you for trying and congratulations!
- I will talk with him tomor-
- No… please don’t. Please do not mention me unless he brings it up himself. And same goes for my number. You may give it… but only if he asks for it, and I mean clearly with words; Garret, can you give me (Y/N)s number?” Ok?
- Okay. But so you know that I do not like this… I was so sure that you two…
- Let’s not rub it in my face. Congratulations and goodnight. I will find Emily before I’ll leave and wish her goodnight personally as well.
You hugged Garret briefly, found Emily and then went home.

The weeks passed and you got invited to a house warming party at Garrets and Emilys home. You had not been told who else had been invited but you had been told that there were only few guests attending.
You took a bus to the neighborhood and walked slowly forward until you were at their house. You rang the doorbell and Emily came to open the door. You handed the gift you had bought for their new bigger apartment that they had gotten after the wedding. They had moved from the city center to the suburbs. You walked in and greeted the guests.
Michael was there also.
- Michael! Look who’s here! Garret shouted. He was a bit tipsy already and when he had been drinking he wasn’t exactly subtle or censored himself that much.
- Hi. you said and did a small hello –gesture with your hand as you blushed. Emily gave you a tour.
- So…
- Why no one told me that Michael was here?
- Is there something going on between you two?
- No! Uhm… no, not at all. It was just slightly awkward at the wedding and I had not expected to see him again… like… ever.
- Michael is one of our closest friends, even though he is famous and busy… it has not changed the friendship between Garret and him.
- And that is great!
- So it means that he will be around… Emily said and winked her eye at you.
- And I have no problem with that. you stated as you smirked to cover your state of irritation. You walked to the living room to join the others. There were games and you had been paired with one certain guest. You kept your cool anyway.

- How do you know Garret? Michael asked suddenly when you were left alone with him.
- I met him online and we started chatting… It was ages ago.
- Oh now I know who you are! He told me about you!
- Hm…
- There was a time that you two were pretty close…
- Well… how close can you be in a long distance friendship…
- If I remember correct, it was more than just friendship…
- Doesn’t matter. I had never planned to move in London anyway, so… I’m happy that he met Emily…
- Yes… he met Emily when you two were still…
- Like I said, it doesn’t matter. Emily is a wonderful person, there are no hard feelings from my part. you said and smiled. It had stung quite a lot when it had happened but now it was fine. But even though you were completely fine, honestly, with how the things had turned out, you still felt it was not a subject to be discussed in the presence of the couple in question.
- Do you ever think what might happened if you had booked a flight to London back then?
- No… I used to, but it has been so many years now and life goes on. you said with a thoughtful look on your face and with a hint of sadness in your voice. You emptied your glass and glanced at your phone. You were practically ready to try anything to change the subject. Michael however was clearly waiting for you to say something.
- But as I said before… I happy for them. you added after a moment of silence. The presence of Michael fascinated and irritated you at the same time. His rudeness had had no limits at the wedding and you suspected that he probably was full of himself anyway, besides he was asking way too personal questions.

- This is so strange; it feels like I knew you already. Michael stated. He had indeed heard a lot about you because he and Garret had been close friends since they were studying in the same university.
- So you became a singer…
- Yes and no. Singing is just a hobby… I work with computers. And you’re an actor…
- Yeah… Living the dream…
- That’s cool. you commented. After that you talked for a moment until you were interrupted by the others. After that you saw him in a couple of other gatherings and then there was a six-month period that he wasn’t attending to any of the parties and so on. “Figured” you thought to yourself since you had actually started to enjoy talking with him and maybe even gotten attracted to him, again.

It was Christmas. Garret and Emily were hosting a party, or it was more like they had invited you because they did not want you to spend the Christmas alone. You had told them that it was no biggie and you did not want to intrude but there was no way Garret was going to give up.
You took a cab there because the public transportation had stopped around midday on the Christmas Eve. You had bought the couple a present and decorated it with red and silver-colored ribbons.
You knocked the door. Garret opened it and let you in.
- Merry Christmas! he said and hugged you.
- Likewise. you answered as you handed him the gift basket.
- What did you… he mumbled as he glanced through the things; wine, apples, biscuits, spices, flowers and candles.
- You really didn’t have to…
- I know… but I wanted to… Where is Emily? you asked and took off your jacket.
- She’s in the living room. Come… he said and you followed him into the living room. You saw Emily chatting with Michael on the sofa. She stood up to hug you and then sat down next to Garret on another sofa leaving you the only seat available; it was next to Michael. You sat down.
- (Y/N) brought us a basket full of…
- Nothing special, really… you interrupted Garret.
- You’re being too humble! If it’s from you, it’s special. Emily stated. You smiled.
- So you’re back… you said and looked at Michael. He was tanned and looked as good as ever. His tan really brought out the iciness of his eye color.
- Yes. I was shooting a film in California and therefore I’ve missed all the parties and gatherings here. Did you miss me? he asked casually.
- Well of course! you joked and laughed. He chuckled as well. The truth was that you had secretly missed him. You were not proud of it but it was something you could not control. You had been quite successfully over him until you had now seen him again.

Michael told funny stories about the shooting, how he had almost broken his nose while practicing a fighting scene with a stunt coordinator. Emily and Garret talked about the things that had happened in London. You listened silently and laughed occasionally. It was dinner time and after finishing the meal you passed Michael as you were heading back to the living room.
- Hey… he said. You stopped and turned around.
- What?
- Mistletoe. he said.
- Huh? you asked. He pointed up to the green thing that was hanging from the doorway.
- What about it?
- Fine… I’ll let you off the hook this time. But only once. he joked and followed you to the living room. You sat on the sofa and Michael sat on the other sofa this time. Garret and Emily came there too soon and there were light conversations about casual topics.
However Michael kept looking at you, like he had been reading your mind. It made you feel a bit uncomfortable to be honest; like the air had left the room suddenly. You excused yourself and went to the backyard to get some fresh air. The only way there from the living room was through the dining area and therefore under the Mistletoe. You glanced on it on your way out briefly and chuckled.

When you came back in you saw Michael standing in the doorway again. You walked to the kitchen, took a glass and filled it with cold water. He followed your every move very closely.
You leaned to the kitchen counter as you sipped the water.
- Why are you standing there? you asked. Michael did not answer. You put the glass in the sink and then took a big breath before you walked to the dining room on your way back to the living room. You casually approached Michael and did not take even one glance at the green thingy hanging over his head. When you were at the doorway, suddenly he put his arm in front of you and blocked the way.
- I told you before… I let you off the hook only once and this is the second time you’re trying to avoid Christmas traditions.
- And what tradition would that be? you asked.
- The Mistletoe –tradition….
- I wouldn’t know anything about that since my family doesn’t really celebrate Christmas with traditional… traditions. you stated as you bent down your back and went under his arm. “Ha! (Y/N) one, Michael zero” you thought and chuckled in your mind. You turned to face him and bowed in a theatrical way with a smirk on your face.
Emily came from the living room to see what was keeping you two.
- Emily dear, (Y/N) is not respecting our traditions… Michael said.
- And what tradition are we talking about? she asked, although she had a pretty good idea according to the location where he was standing.
- The Mistletoe –tradition. She told me that her family doesn’t practice it and therefore she does not know what it is.
- Maybe you should educate her. she said, grabbed your shoulders and pushed you back to the doorway.
- Now, stay. she said as she took her hands off your shoulders and returned to the living room. You heard Garret asking “what is going on there?” and Emily answering “it’s finally going to happen!”
You stood in the doorway facing Michael.
- So… where were we? he asked and smiled a little as he stroked a lock of your hair with his fingers.
- Oh yes… the tradition… he said and smiled more widely.
- I think you know… he whispered as he leaned closer. He stared into your eyes with his icy blue orbs. You did not dare to look away; his look was both mesmerizing and dangerous.
- Are you two having a staring contest? Garret shouted from the living room because he had been spying a little on what was happening.
- You’re distracting, Garret! Michael answered, not shifting his gaze. Even his gaze was enough alone to make your heart drum faster and cause the butterflies fly frantically around in your stomach.

He placed his hands on your cheeks and slowly pressed his lips on yours. His lips were warm and soft as he pushed you against the wall. He moved his hand behind your head and tucked his fingers in your hair. You wrapped your arms around him. The kiss lasted for a long time and when he finally released your lips your head was spinning. He chuckled with a slightly mischievous tone, and as you were about to return to the living room, he grabbed your waist and pressed you against the wall in an almost rough manner and kissed you like his life had depended on it. He buried his face into your neck and kissed the sensitive skin under your ear. He murmured into your ear that your scent was intoxicating and suggested that you would spend the rest of the Christmas with him, practicing one certain tradition.

Chapter Text

Just an ordinary Friday afternoon at work. It had been a slow day with only few customers visiting the travel agency whole day. The minutes felt like hours. You were currently working alone. The last fifty minutes before closing and having a long weekend off from work. Your colleagues had left ten minutes ago since there had not been customers for three hours. However someone had to stay until closing, because it would be bad advertisement for the company, if someone came during the opening hours but everyone would had gone home already.
A door opened and closed. You were typing an email to a business customer on the computer and did not notice it. That someone walked to your desk and
- Ahem…

You lifted your eyes from the screen and noticed a very attractive looking man standing in front of you, or your desk to be more specific. He had long blonde hair, uncommonly pointy ears and very blue eyes. You stood up and offered your hand for a handshake. He did not respond so you drew your hand quickly away. Awkward!
- Good afternoon, how may I help you? you asked and fixed your glasses to make sure that you looked professional. You also straightened your shirt and corrected your posture.
- I’m afraid, my lady, that I’m lost. I need your assistance.
- Very well. Where are you trying to go, sir?
- To Mirkwood.
- Please sit down. you said and started to type your keyboard.

The sound echoed in the otherwise silent office. You had turned off the radio before you had started to write the important email to your very big business customer. You loved music but sometimes you got too distracted to it and forgot to focus on the task at hand, although when there were people talking on the background, you preferred to listen to music so you could focus better; it was easier to ignore the outside world and other distractions when the noise was something that you controlled yourself. You liked to be in control. It made the hectic world easier to live. However you secretly wished that there was someone who would just tell you to stop worrying and took the reigns occasionally.

- Thank you, my lady. he said and sat down. His posture was perfect and he had a very calming presence. You glanced him once more and tried to find any information about
- Mirk – wood?
- Yes.
You continued typing and searching but couldn’t find any information about the place. You shifted your eyes from the screen into his eyes.
- Sir, can you please tell me if it’s a town or…
- It is the realm I come from, my homeland.
- A country? you asked with a small disbelief. After a while you turned facing him again and told him that you had not found any place that would match the criteria. You took off your glasses and rubbed the bridge of your nose between your eyes briefly with your eyes closed. You let out a involuntary sigh.

Then you snapped back into the reality, put your glasses back on and answered to the man
- I’m sorry, but I’m unable to find information about the place. I’m also unable to find any flights or even bus routes that would go there. Shall I book you a hotel from (your city) instead?
- (Your city)?
- The city you’re now… you said and checked out the clock. It was 17:45 already. 15 minutes to the closing. The man did not answer, he stared at you with his blue eyes and looked very thoughtful, confused even.
- Would you like me to book a hotel for you, sir?
- No thank you. he said, stood up and bowed.
You smiled and stood up.
- I’m sorry I wasn’t any helpful… you said and the man smiled.
- It is quite alright. Please do not shadow your mind with the clouds of worries and doubt. Farewell.
He walked to the door and stepped out. And just like that he was gone, as suddenly as he had entered your life. What a strange case. And what a beautiful man. You shook your head to clear your thoughts. It was time for closing.

Chapter Text

You had not seen the man you had gone out a few times for a long time. You had just started to see each other just before he was about to leave to a movie-promotion-interview-tour that took him around the world and had forced him to leave London for many weeks. Yep, the perks of dating an actor, Tom Hiddleston, to be exact.
Although you had been calling on Skype almost daily or at least sent a few messages on Whatsapp the distance and time difference had made it hard to take “your thing” in any serious direction or even keep it alive. In your opinion you had been more than understanding about his career and you had yourself told him before he left that you had your doubts about the whole thing. He had been his adorable self and assured you that he wanted to be more than just your neighbor-slash-friend.

The truth was that you had had a terrible week at work and missing your family, since you saw them only rarely, was all adding to the chaos. You felt that it was unfair that you had to miss your family, tolerate an asshole boss at work and on top of everything the man you had feelings for so cruelly abandoned you and left just as the things had finally started to go in the right direction.
You knew you were being unfair and you had known with whom you had gotten yourself involved with. You hated the way you turned into a cold bitch when you were angry and Tom, well, he was always so annoyingly, no -not really annoyingly but sometimes when you knew that you were being an ass it irritated you, thoughtful and considerate. Even now when you had been behaving in such a cruel, inconsiderate way.

What you had done? Well… You had gotten annoyed about everything; the way he paid the restaurant bill although you had insisted on paying your share, the way he told you that he had missed you and you had just laughed “as if” and other similar things. You were supposed to be happy to have him home but it was a little hard when he had told you about the project that he had auditioned while in California…

…And then he had continued by saying that he had gotten the part. It was pretty difficult for you to be happy for him when “getting the part” meant that he would leave London, again, and leave you, again. You had stared him with blank eyes after you had realized that he was leaving soon again. The worst part was that you could not talk about anything to anyone because you had decided to keep your “thing” as a secret for now. It had made sense, it still made sense because the yellow press was known to be brutal, but it also meant that you could not talk about your mixed feelings with your family or your friends. You just had to bottle everything up until you were about to explode. You had been more than civil whole night at the restaurant but now your limit had been reached.
You had faked a smile and ordered another glass of sparkling wine. Tom knew that you were not exactly alright although you tried to appear like you were. You had that look in your eyes; that look of disappointment that turned into “I don’t give a fuck” and finally it had turned into the fake-polite “do not talk to me” although all that had been masked with a fake smile which was genuine enough to fool everyone but Tom. He knew that beneath all that you were just tired and hurt. It was the reason why he kept trying to get close to you even though you tried to push him away.

You got out from his car and slammed the door shut.
- I know something is wrong. Tom said with a calm voice.
- No… nothing’s wrong, everything is perfectly fine. you stated in a sarcastic way.
- Right… he mumbled and locked the car. He walked to you and as he was about to place his hand on your back, you gave him a “don’t even think about it” and semi-ran to the front door of the apartment building where you both lived. Tom followed you and although you tried to lose him before the elevator, he managed to get his foot between the doors before they slid closed. You sighed, more like groaned.
- Please let me explain…
- I do not want to hear it.
- But…
- There is absolutely nothing you could say that would interest m-

Suddenly the elevator stopped. You pressed the buttons nervously and cursed.
- I should had taken the stairs. you mumbled and pressed your forehead against the metal wall.
- I am sure that we will get moving so-
- Oh-shut up. you blurted and checked your phone. No, no signal. Your phone always lost the signal in the elevator. No it was too far away from your home-Wi-Fi-network as well. You tried to press the buttons again but you could get neither the doors open nor the elevator to move. You tried to find if there was a straight contact-line to some maintenance-service, like in some elevators was; push this button and speak, but this elevator had only a sticker saying “in the case of emergency or malfunction, call *number*”.
- Great! That is just bloody marvelous. you sighed and slid on the floor to sit.
- Do you have network? you asked. Your date shook his head. He had the exact same problem than you did. You pursed your lips and put on your headphones. It was the only way to keep yourself from freaking out… until your battery died, it had been notifying you all day. “Please charge me” it had pleaded, stupid phone. Tom had sat down on the opposite side and monitored your body language. He could see that your anger was changing into sincere nervousness which was caused by the feeling of being trapped.

You leaned your head against the wall and looked up to the ceiling. Suddenly the lights went off.
- What the actual f… you said with your voice breaking. You stood up and banged the door a couple of times and tried to shout for help but after listening for a while to the silence you let out a desperate sigh. You stared into the darkness for a long moment and then said
- I am sorry, you know. Can you forgive me? you leaned to the door and closed your eyes. You heard Tom getting up from the floor and soon you felt his fingers tracing your cheeks, jaw and neck.
- There is nothing to forgive. he whispered. You traced the collar of his jacket with your fingers and pulled him to kiss you. You kept repeating “I’m sorry” between the kisses but soon there was no “in-between” left as the kiss grew.

He kissed you intensely. The kiss had started as a subtle apology from your part and it had grown deeper and more demanding as Tom had taken control. He had not kissed you for a long time and he had been dreaming about this moment for the entire time he had been away. His body locked you tightly between him and the wall and his hands caressed your waist and back under your jacket.
The darkness, the very fact that you were not able to see even if you had wanted to, made the kissing feel different; more mysterious, exciting… almost dangerous. You felt his every touch in more precise way and every time his skin touched yours, you felt electrified. Especially when his lips moved from your lips to devour your neck and his fingers dived into your hair.

You had opened the buttons of his favorite white-collar-shirt almost sneakily and caressed the skin of his shoulders and neck, sometimes running your fingers through his hair. Your hands were cold and caused him to shiver lightly. When he returned to kiss your lips, he chuckled when you moaned softly against his mouth as he slid his hand under your shirt to caress your waist with such self-confidence. He nibbled your lower lip gently before he locked your lips into a deep, heated kiss once more.
His hand caressed your hip and your outer thigh. Then he grabbed the back of your knee and pulled your leg up so your inner thigh was against hip. The flowing hem of your skirt slipped closer to your hip and revealed your bare thigh, on which he ran his fingers teasingly while he moved his hip against you in the same rhythm with his kisses. You had slipped your hands on his bare back, under his shirt and caressed his muscles and pulled him closer to your body. You needed to feel him there, close to you, keeping you in place, surrounding you with warmth and drowning you into the safety of his embrace.

Suddenly the lights were back on and the elevator started to move. You blushed when you saw the state you were in from the mirror; your hair was messy and your shirt was halfway up. When you were about to straighten you shirt, Tom hugged you from behind and said with a mischievous tone
- Leave it. I am not quite done with you yet.
The elevator stopped at every floor because you had pressed every button. Finally the door opened at the right floor, where Tom lived. The doors slid open.
- I should… you said and almost pushed the button to return to your floor.
- No… you’re coming with me. he mumbled as he kissed your neck as he pushed you out from the elevator on his floor. He grabbed the keys from his pocket and opened the door with one hand while holding onto you, preventing you from slipping away or escaping because of cold feet… like you had almost done.
But there was no way you would have cold feet now. Your anger, nervousness and your feelings being hurt had dissolved and replaced with something else entirely. This night… tonight… Tom was going to show you just how much he had missed you.

Chapter Text

- You got to be freaking kidding me! you cursed when your Visa Electron was declined the third time.
- Ma’am, do you have cash? the cashier asked. She was keeping her customer-service-smile on her face like a pro and the cheerful tone of her voice added to the never-fading smile just irritated you. You breathed in and tried to calm yourself down. You went through your wallet, there was nothing but old receipts, bonus cards and other cards.
- No… No cash. This is impossible! I checked the balance of my bank account this morning. Can we try my Mastercard? you asked. You were losing your nerves. You hated awkward situations like this and your nervousness turned easily into a light state of panic. You knew that the other customers were cursing you in their minds.
- Sorry, but it seems that we have problems with the connections today. other cashier said. He was taking care of the other queue. It was the rush hour and the shop was lacking staff so even without you stalling the other line the employees were buried.
- It’s not working there either? she asked him. It was the worst thing to happen in the middle of the busy afternoon rush hour.
- No. he answered. You checked out your walled once more and also your bag hoping that you would have a 20 dollar bill in a pocket or buried under everything on the bottom. But there was no money in the bag either.
- Great! This is just… great. you said and asked someone pass you a basket so you could take everything back. You were red as a tomato from embarrassment and on the verge of starting to cry. There were a long line behind you and the people waiting were getting restless. Your day had begun so well; you had been in a job interview that had gone brilliantly and the sun was shining although there had been a storm warning in the news. You had finally recovered from a long flu that had bothered you for many weeks… Your day had been great!

- Miss, I will pay your groceries. the next customer said. You turned around and saw a tall man who was wearing s baseball cap, a leather jacket and jeans. He had wide shoulders and he looked strong and reminded you about someone, but you could not remember exactly who. Even his voice was familiar.
- It is not necessary… I can come back lat-
- Just get on with it! an old, angry man from further behind shouted. The tall man took a 20 dollar bill from his wallet and gave it to you. You paid your groceries and then moved to pack them. The man paid his things and then came to pack next to you. You were still blushing and trying to avoid the angry gazes.

- I really can’t thank you enough. You are a life saver. I mean… I always pay with my card and I never carry cash… And then this happens. you said as you walked side by side with him out from the shop and stopped to talk.
- Call me old fashioned but I always pay with cash…
- Is it a statement –thing? Want to stay untraceable? I would not blame you… I mean, the amount of information that the companies collect about their customers is… unbelievable. Anyway, as long as you do not pay with a card, use bonus cards or shop online, you stay somewhat anonymous… kind of… you mumbled. You had been working in a company that made money by collecting shopping data and selling it to the third parties, who used the information for their marketing purposes. You had resigned because you had come to a conclusion that what you helped to do was morally unethical.
- More like a habit that has stuck with me from young days. he answered and chuckled. You took a look at him and made a “hm” sound; “what is that man talking about? Young days?” you thought. You could had sworn that the man was in his twenties, early thirties max.
- Right. Do you know if there’s an ATM nearby? you asked the man.
- No, why?
- Well… I owe you 20 bucks, I’d like to pay you back.
- No-no-no, it is not necessary. he said.
- Sir…
- Steve. he corrected. You smiled briefly.
- Sir, I really want to settle this. I appreciate your help, you have no idea how much, but seriously. you said and looked the man straight into his eyes. He had blonde hair and blue eyes, kind eyes. He smiled and there was a some level of shyness in his smile, he seemed genuine and sincere. There was something very familiar about him. Maybe he was a celebrity or something.
- 20 bucks is nothing, do not worry about it. he assured you. You groaned. You hated owing people money. You wanted to get by on your own and borrowing money from your friends, family or strangers was a big no-no for you.
- 2 bucks is nothing, 20 is plenty. you commented and wished that your financial status was so good that you could claim that 20 dollars is nothing. At the moment, being unemployed and living on your savings, you were counting every coin.
- Are you always this defensive? he asked. He sounded concerned and curious at the same time. Maybe a little bit frustrated also. You rolled your eyes and scoffed.
- Only when it’s about money or my financials. you answered. You did not want to seem rude or anything but you did not want to be the charity case either.
- Fine… but… Let’s settle this my way. the man said with a thoughtful look on his face. He clearly had a proposition in his mind. You sighed and bit your lip unintentionally.
- What are you suggesting?
- You will prepare a dinner and I will come over and eat.
- Prepare… dinner?
- Yeah. The way I see it is that I will save money like this.
- Please explain.
- You see, if I took you out for a dinner, I would pay because I am a gentleman, no arguments about that. I would not take you to a fast food –place so I would easily spend 40-50 bucks. However if you prepare the dinner, with my help of course, I will save at least 20 bucks.
- I do not know if I agree with your logic. you chuckled. Wait, what? Was the man kind-of asking you out?
- Come on. Work with me here.
- I don’t know. I will certainly invite you for a dinner because what you did back there was just… I mean… I most likely would had died from shame if you had not saved me. So yeah, you have yourself a deal about the dinner, but still… Can you give me your bank account number? I could transfer the money to you since you do not accept cash. What about a credit card? you joked. The man laughed. He winked his eye and said
- Captains orders. he said and flashed a charming smile. At that moment you realized that you had been talking with Captain America himself. You blushed and fought the nervousness. “He is just a guy” you told to yourself inside your head. Now it made sense; you had seen him in the news, that’s why he looked and sounded so familiar.
- Okay. you answered. It was getting obvious that this was a battle that you could not win.
- May I drive you home? he asked.
- I live like 2 blocks away. It’s cool, I will walk.
- I’ll walk you then. I actually live right across the street. he said and took the bag from your hand.
- You don’t have to…
- It’s my pleasure. he answered and left no room for objections. You mumbled a thank you.

You walked side by side with the man, Steve, in silence. The sky was turning dark as the storm clouds arrived from the horizon. There was electricity in the air and you were quite happy about the fact that there was going to be a thunder. You loved to watch the flashes of lightning especially when the water was just pouring down from the clouds.
- This is me. you said when you got to a tall apartment building that had red brick walls. The building had been an industrial building before but it had been turned into loft-style apartments some time ago and you had been lucky enough to rent a flat. It was not a big flat but it was big enough.
- Tonight at… six? he asked.
- Sure. you said and reached out your hand for the bag. He gave it to you. You thanked him and said goodbyes.
- Well, I’ll see you tonight then. By the way, what is your name? he asked.
- It’s (Y/N). you answered.
- Beautiful name suits a beautiful woman. he commented, flashed a charming smile and turned away to walk back to his neighborhood.

You went in and unpacked everything into your fridge. Then you started to clean the place and after your apartment was in a good shape, you took a quick shower, put on your favorite clothes, nothing too flirty because you did not know whether it was a date or not, fixed your hair and put on some makeup. You looked pretty by your own standards.
At 6pm there was a knock on your door. You went to open and found Steve standing in the hallway.
- Hi… how did you know which apartment…
- I have my ways. he answered and came in.
You had already started to prepare the dinner and there was a delicious scent of food coming from the kitchen. Steve took off his shoes when he noticed that you were not wearing any and then walked further into the apartment. He gave you a bottle of white wine.
- What-what is this? you asked.
- Well… Wine compliments usually good dinner.
- You’re eating away your savings. you joked and thanked him.
- You mean “drinking” away?
- Yeah. you chuckled as you returned to the kitchen.
- So, how can I help? he asked and walked behind you to watch what you were doing.
- Just… keep me company. you answered and continued preparing a salad that you were going to serve as a appetizer.
- You look beautiful. he said suddenly.
- I should had brought you flowers but I did not know if that had been too much. I do not want to scare you away. he continued.
- Right…
- I have seen you, you know, before today, but I never had the courage to come and talk to you.
- You? Lacking courage? You fight the bad guys and basically save the world every now and then…
- I know it sounds strange, but I am not that smooth with women.
- Well that’s good. In my opinion there are too many players and womanizers anyway. Although it still does not make any sense! you chuckled.
- So you have seen me before? you continued.
- Yes. he said and smiled shyly as he blushed.
- I have not seen you.
- I am keeping low profile, unlike Stark who tells the terrorists where he lives and we know how that turned out.
- Oh yeah, I saw it in the news!
- Can I confess something? he asked.
- Sure.
- It really was no coincidence that I was behind you in the line today.
- Oh?
- I stalked you at the vegetables and basically tackled an old lady when you were on your way to the cashier…
- Did you jam the card readers a well?
- Ha-ha! Yeah, my elaborate scheme to get on a date with you.

You set the table and asked Steve to sit down. He opened the wine bottle and poured it in his and your glasses. You served the salad after checking out the main course that was in the oven already. You sat down as well. The salad was very vibrant and full of different flavors that came together and complimented each other. The meatloaf you were preparing came out slightly mushy because you had added some mashed carrots in it which had screwed up the proportions of eggs, breadcrumbs and liquid. However, despite the weird orange-color and slightly less firm texture, the meatloaf was delicious anyway and went well with baked potatoes.
- This was amazing. Compliments to the chef. Steve said when he finished the second plateful.
- Well thank you. I hope you have some room for dessert too. My birthday was a couple of days ago and I made a cake. you said with a smile on your face.
- Well, congratulations! he said and continued
- I knew I should had brought you flowers. Well, next time. he said with a smile on his face. You blushed. There you were; having dinner with a true old-fashioned gentleman who was known to be honest and trustworthy… and it felt good. It was easy to talk with him and during that evening you noticed that your stomach filled with butterflies when he smiled at you and when he accidentally touched your shoulder as he helped you to serve the cake, your skin tingled and you felt electrified.

You stood at the window and watched out. The sky was black and there were constant flashes and the sound of thunder and heavy rain echoed everywhere. Steve walked behind you and leaned closer to see out over you. You felt the warmth of his body radiating from him and you leaned backwards so your back touched his chest. You had not meant to do so, or maybe you had, you were not sure. However Steve did not step back or go away. He encouraged his mind and put his hands on your shoulders and massaged them softly. You closed your eyes and breathed in and out peacefully.
- I should go home. he said after a 15 minutes. Those 15 minutes were the fastest of your life and they had slipped away completely unnoticed.
- Are you sure? I mean the storm is pretty bad.
- Yeah, my apartment is only 2 blocks away… Besides, I have an early morning tomorrow.
- Alright. you said and turned to face him. You were expecting him to leave immediately but instead of leaving, he stood there with his eyes fixed upon you. He examined your face and played with the stray lock of your hair with his fingers while his other hand traced your arm up and down softly.
- Well-uhm… Thank you for a pleasant evening. you said after a long silence. Steve recoiled from his thoughts and walked to the entrance hall. He put on his shoes and jacket.
- Thank you for an amazing dinner.
- I’ll see you around. you said and smiled.
- Yes, Ma’am! he answered and left the apartment. He knew that he would be seeing you around a lot from now on.

Chapter Text

You were pleased; there were so many wars going on in the realm that was under your influence, the earth, so you rewarded yourself with a walk on a wide, grassy field, somewhere on the remote tundra in Siberia. It was nice to escape the chaos and quarreling people sometimes. You liked chaos, hell, you were the goddess of it, but sometimes you were lonely. All the other Greek gods and goddesses had faded away with time because people had stopped believing in them. You however got your power and life force from the fact that people did not get along with each other.
When the world was too peaceful you appeared in some peoples dreams and whispered soft words of destruction into their ears and filled their heads with the thoughts of glorious wars and victories. When they fell into your web, you got more powerful and found your will to live again. Chaos amused you, it brought meaning to your lonely existence.

But the truth was that you were unhappy most of the times nowadays. You were bored and disgusted because people were so easy to trick. Besides it was ages you had even appeared to anyone; people fought over money and power, they did not need you anymore to fill their heads with chaos and destruction. And even though you were pleased, it was a shallow feeling that did not cover the longing that was eating you alive from inside.
Sometimes when you went to sleep, you slept for a century and when you woke up, the world had changed and you could not recognize it anymore. You however stayed the same, from millennium to millennium. Years just slipped away. You were a prisoner of time and your own godliness. Life had been fun when you and your kind had been worshiped and you had had your influence in the world, in a twisted way. You had sometimes taken the human form and enjoyed the simple life. The simple life without chaos and you had been happy…
Until you had been summoned and you had stepped into the realm of gods and goddesses again. Life as a human was not easy either; the people that you cared for died, they always did. If not by an accident or act of violence, then it was the cruel, slow death that came with time. Time showed no mercy. It had made you irrelevant and swallowed your brothers and sisters as the world had changed.
Your peaceful walk was interrupted when you heard someone walking behind you. You turned around to see who was bold enough to follow your footsteps. In the pale moonlight you saw a shape of a tall man and you felt his gaze upon you. This was no man, this was something else.

- Who are you? you asked with a deep, low voice that echoed in the vast emptiness of nothing but the sky above and grass beneath your bare feet.
- I am Loki Odinson of Asgard. Who are you? he asked with a soft tone.
- God of mischief, I have heard about you.
- Oh yes. he said and walked closer. He stared at you like you had been a pray and he had been the predator. That excited and annoyed you at the same time.
- Now answer my question. Who are you? he asked again and this time his voice was assertive. You chuckled because it had been ages since someone had commanded you. The only one who had had that power over you had been Zeus and he had been gone for many thousands of years now.
- You are trespassing my realm, Loki Odinson.
- Your… realm? he asked and laughed.
- There is no throne to be ruled here in Midgard, believe me, I tried. he continued.
- Now… he said and pointed you with his staff. You found his threatening rather amusing and laughed.
- I am Eris, the Goddess of chaos. I am in the mind of every person. You stepped into my realm, fool, therefore I am also in your mind.
Loki closed his eyes for a moment and felt you weaving your web of chaos in his mind. He laughed and walked to you, he smirked although you could not see it because he was facing away from the moonlight. He put his arm around your waist and pulled you close to him. In a flash you were somewhere else entirely. Then he stepped back and let you go.

You looked around. You were in a bedroom, the sun was setting and coloring everything in warm gold. The light hurt your eyes for a moment because you had gotten used to the pale moonlight and darkness of night. Now you had been brought into the warm sunlight from your cold prison.
You were on your guard and shifted your gaze into the tall stranger who was standing just a few steps away from you.
- Where did you take me? you asked. You tried your best to cover your confusion as well as the feeling of vulnerability that was spreading in your mind with every breath. Loki smirked and took a step closer. You backed away and hit a chair that was behind you. The chair capsized to the floor and you almost fell on it as you stumbled backwards.
- Where did you take me? you asked again, this time your voice was angry and you were clearly demanding to get answers.
- I brought you to Asgard. You are in my realm now. he chuckled.
- Why? you asked.
- For my own amusement. he answered and looked at you from your head to toes. You were very fair; your skin glowed beautifully and your body was very feminine, you had a gorgeous face and long hair. Your white gown was made of finest silk and the style of it was traditional for ancient Greece. The dress had a flattering V-shaped neckline and it was sleeveless. The dress was flowing and loose but there was a golden colored robe crisscrossing under your breasts and on your waist and gave you that classic hourglass figure. On your shoulders there were golden brooches that were shaped in the form of a branch of an olive tree and on your right wrist there was a matching bracelet. Although olive tree was a symbol of peace and prosperity but it was also a sacred tree that had been used as an offering to the Gods from the mortals.
Loki could see that you were scared. It was obvious even though you tried to mask it. He enjoyed the situation. He knew that you were powerful but in his realm you were not powerful enough to resist him. He stepped one step closer. You heard his voice in your head as he stared into your frightened eyes with his mesmerizing ones. They were mixture of green and blue and it was impossible to tell which color they were.

His soft words calmed you down although you fought with all your willpower. You did not want to surrender to this handsome stranger, the Norse God of mischief and lies.
- Stay away from me. you said with a shaky voice. Loki smiled and took one step closer. His face was framed with hair that was back as the darkest night but it made him look very mysterious and regal. His clothes which were made of leather and had metal details made him look strong and powerful. Black, green and gold; those were his colors. He spoke to you inside your mind again with his soft voice that was seducing you to lower your guards and let him take control. You knew these mind games, you had played them countless of times. However no one had been inside your head before. You stepped back and suddenly there was a wall behind you.
Your only defense now was to attack.
- I am the Goddess of chaos, fool! You cannot keep me here! you screamed.
- You are mine. Loki answered with a calm tone. He knew that there was nothing you could do. You felt your blood boil and attacked him with everything you had but he grabbed your arms effortlessly and pinned you against the wall. He freed his other hand and held your both hands over your head against the wall with just one hand. You tried to break free but he was just too strong. He was in his realm now, on earth you might had a chance to fight him off.
- Now… he said and traced your face with his fingers. His touch was gentle and you were shocked to realize how good it felt.
- Please, let me go… you whimpered.
- Oh-no… Such a fair creature… so helpless… so vulnerable…
- Please. you said although you could not muster any sound to back your plead.
- You don’t want that. I can hear your thoughts, I know you want to surrender. he whispered and lifted your chin by guiding it with his finger. Your eyes met his. He looked graceful now, totally in control.
- Surrender yourself to me and I shall give you what you need. he said. You gasped for air. Oh how you had missed to feel someone’s touch warming up your cold skin. He leaned closer. His gaze was so intense that you decided to escape it by closing your eyes. You heard his voice inside your mind, luring you to give in.
- I know this is what you have been yearning for all these years. I know it is me who you’ve been longing for. There is no point in running away anymore. he said and then pressed his lips against yours. You did not fight which made Loki to chuckle. His laughter made you feel weak and naked, but you were not afraid anymore.

His hand kept you in place and other moved from your chin to your neck, shoulder and from there it traced softly the neckline of your dress. His fingers traced the shape of your breast and then he slipped his hand under the fabric. He kept staring you with a smirk on his face, listening to the sound of your breathing and how it changed as he caressed you.
He kissed you again. This time you answered to his kiss with the same hunger. His lips explored yours and demanded you to join him, not surrender, but join him in his burning passion. You felt his tongue entering your mouth as his mouth devoured yours. His hand massaged, caressed, pinched and teased you under the fabric of your dress.
Then he parted his lips from yours. You opened your eyes as you panted. He smirked.
- If I’ll let go your hands now, you will not fight me, is that understood? he asked.
- Take your chances, God of mischief. you whispered and smirked. You felt powerful again. Loki was right; he was the one you had been waiting for thousands of years. You knew that he had the power to make you feel warm again as he knew that you had the power to do the same for him. You wrapped your arms around him as he lifted you his arms and carried you onto his bed. Oh you would bring so much chaos into the world together.

Chapter Text

- I’m quitting. Tomorrow begins my two weeks’ notice. you said and gave your boss a paper which was a written resignation note.
- Oh, ok… May I ask the reason? the boss asked rather surprised.
- Personal reasons. you answered and walked away. Today you were supposed to meet the client again. You were an assistant, who really rarely met your clients, actually nowadays you only had one client. When the things went well, you could manage things from the sidelines, like you had done before, but lately, during the past 6 months, you had been spending awfully lot time with your client, Lee Pace.
You walked the long corridor in a hotel, stopped at the door that led to room 857, the room where Mr. Pace lived during the shooting of his series Pushing Daisies. You inhaled deeply and exhaled just as deeply. Then you knocked. Three sharp knocks. That was your “thing” and your client had learned to recognize you from your way of knocking; it was efficient and professional, which mirrored you perfectly. Lee Pace opened the door.
- Good morning, Mr. Pace. How are you doing today? you asked as you entered the room. You handed him a cup of coffee and walked to a table. You took some papers and a pencil from your briefcase.
- Here is the script for tomorrow. you said and gave the script to Lee, who had just woken up.
- Thanks. he said and yawned. You tried not to look. The reason for your resignation was indeed personal. You had been working with him for six months face to face and gotten to know him quite well. That had led to the point where you had actually fallen in love with him; fallen so badly that now you couldn’t concentrate well enough to your work when Mr. Pace was in the same room. You pulled all your strength and behaved almost too formally. Avoided physical contact and long looks. You never stayed longer than you had to and preferred emails to phone calls. Just because he had a voice that melted your feet like sun melts ice cream.
After dealing with everything, settling some interviews and such you left the room and basically ran to the elevator. He had noticed that you were tense and nervous but didn’t think about it more, he assumed that you were just stressed out or simply having a bad day.

The days passed. They followed each other; quite similar day after another until it was the last day. Mr. Pace called you in the evening. He told you that he needed your help with something urgently. You agreed to meet him at his room as you usually did.
Deep inhale, exhale, three sharp knocks. Lee opened the door.
- You called, what’s up? you asked.
- Come in. he said and opened the door open wide. You stepped in. There were two wine glasses on the table.
- Oh I see you are expecting company, right, let’s deal with this quickly. What is it?
- Sit down. he said and pointed the sofa. You looked at him with a hesitation.
- Please… he continued. You walked to the sofa and sat down. Lee poured some wine in the glasses and gave one to you. You looked surprised.
- I don’t understand… you said.
- I asked you here to spend some time with me.
- Excuse me? you said and smiled nervously.
- I thought that it would be nice to spend some time. You have been so busy lately that I haven’t even asked how you are doing... How have you been doing?
- Well I’m fine, thank you. Just been… busy. you answered and sipped the wine.
- And I figured that since we’re working together more now… I could get to know you more… I actually should had done this a long time ago…
- It wouldn’t had made any difference…
- What do you mean?
- That wouldn’t had improved the quality of my services in any way… There has been no need for you to know me…
- But it feels wrong. You knowing almost everything about me and me knowing nothing about you…
- I appreciate this, but it’s highly unnecessary. you said and put the glass on the table.
- I should go anyway…
- Why? Tomorrow is Sunday, you don’t work on Sundays.
- I’ll fly tomorrow.
- What?!
- Yeah… didn’t you know? After this day I’m no longer working with you.
Lee was shocked to hear those words. He didn’t know what to say.
- Why? that was the only thing he managed to ask.
- Personal reasons. you said and stood up.
- No, I’m not going to just “take” that. I think I deserve to know the reason. he said and stood up as well. You looked away and sighed.
- The reason is… that lately my professional agendas have been distracted by my personal feelings to a point that I no longer am fit to work as your assistant, Mr. Pace.
- What that’s supposed to mean?
- It means that my personal feelings are no longer strictly professional…
- You have feelings for me?
- Well… There is a line that I should had never crossed… Therefore I am unable to be as professional as I should…
- Uhuh?
- Okay, yes… if you want to be so blunt about it.
- So you quit your job?
- Yes.
- And didn’t think it would be appropriate to tell me?
- There is a new assistant starting on Monday…
- That did not quite answer my question.
- No, I didn’t. Ok? I thought it would be easier like that. you said took the glass from the table and finished the wine.
- And now you’re leaving?
- Yes. you said and walked to the door. Lee ran to the door and made it impossible for you to reach it without physically removing him first but physical contact was something that you avoided at all times with him.
- Please move.
- No.
- Come on! It’s no big deal! The next assistant will be better than I could had ever been. Much better.
- You honestly think that now that I know that you have feelings for me I would actually let you leave. he said and looked a bit insulted.
- Well…
- You didn’t think that I would have a right to know when you started to feel that way for me?
- What would you had done? Talk me over it?
- I…
- You don’t understand, when you come into a room, all the air disappears and I cannot work without air!
Lee stepped a bit closer and tried to see your face but he couldn’t because you were looking to the floor.
- I need to go and pack. you said and looked at him.
- Please, don’t make this harder than it already is. you said silently.
Lee nodded and stepped away from the door. You opened it and said
- Listen, I am sorry for… this. I did not plan it, it just happened. Goodbye, Mr. Pace.

Then you walked away biting your lip so she wouldn’t cry. You got to your room, sat on your bed and stared at your bags. You had not packed yet and it was the time to begin. You emptied the closets and folded everything away to your bags; that was the plan anyway, however you did not seem to get anywhere and the clothes were just piling up on your bed. You had bought a bottle of wine to go with the task at hand and you opened it. There was no point of getting a glass, you had planned to empty the whole bottle by yourself.
You stopped to go through some papers, some of them were important and you organized them for the new assistant and the papers that were unimportant you threw away. You did the same to the files that you had on your tablet, or the tablet was not really yours and you had to leave it behind. You started to delete your personal files and upload the most important files to your personal Dropbox –account.

Then you came across it; a photo of you and Lee, ahem, Mr. Pace. It had been taken during your first day working with him face to face. You had been actually flirting a little with your client and after four weeks of flirting you had gotten a verbal warning about it.
The crew been filming outside, it was a beautiful, slightly hot day and you had been serving cold drinks, which had ended with you tripping and pouring a glassful of ice cold lemonade on Lee Pace as he had caught you and saved you from falling and most likely hurting yourself. Your heart had stopped and you had been so ashamed but he had just smiled and asked you who you were;
- Oh, hello! he had said.
- I’m so sorry, Mr. Pace.
- Are you alright? And… who are you?
You had told him that you were fine and you were actually his assistant, had been for some months already but you had been managing his affairs from afar. He had flashed a wide smile and then finally let you go when the other members of the crew had come to hurry Mr. Pace to change his shirt because the filming was about to continue. Then during all the breaks he had come to talk with you and the casual chat had turned into subtle flirt… and by the end of the first month he had actually asked you out for a drink. That was when you had gotten the verbal warning and had not showed up to the hotel bar when you had agreed to. Mr. Pace had waited for you for an hour and then returned to his room, very disappointed… heartbroken even.

After that you had been very formal with him and you had never discussed about the fact that you had ditched him without an explanation. Weeks passed and you had managed to push your personal feelings aside, until you couldn’t anymore.

You were about to delete that picture when there was a knock on your door. You put the tablet on the table and sighed. “Yeah-yeah” you had shouted and then walked to the door. You pressed your head against it and took a deep breath before turning the handle. You straightened your shirt and opened the door.
- Hi.
It was your client… ex-client… at the door.
- Mr. Pace. What a surprise, I wasn’t expecting to see you again… you mumbled and tried to decide whether to look at him or not.
- May I come in? he asked.
- Uhm… certainly. I apologize for the mess, I was not really expecting any… anyone. you said nervously. He had never seen you so scatterbrained because you had always been so sharp-witted and professional. He stepped in and after you had closed the door behind him, you turned to face him. At that moment he put his hands on your cheeks and kissed you without a warning. You did not know what to do so you just froze still. He pulled his lips away but stayed close, still cupping your face with his large, strong yet gentle hands. You felt his breath on your skin and his warmth radiating, luring you to forget all the restrictions and rules.
His lips still ghosted over yours.
- Tell me why you ditched me.
His lips touched yours when he spoke, although the touch was just featherlike and you suspected that you were just imagining.
- When, what? you asked, slightly confused about everything.
- I waited for an hour for you, but you never came to get that drink with me.
- Oh… You still remember that…
- Yeah… So why?
- I’m sorry, I couldn’t come… It could had gotten fir- you said and then he kissed you again. This time you kissed him back. He moved his hand behind your head and tangled his fingers in your hair. His other hand moved from your cheek to your neck, shoulder, he slid it down your arm and then pulled you closer by wrapping his arm around your waist. He tasted of wine, he had clearly had a glass or two as an encouragement before coming to talk with you. You caressed his shoulders and arms as you let yourself to get lost into his embrace. Finally you had to pull away to catch your breath. He pressed one gentle kiss on your lips and then let you go.
Your head was spinning, his head was spinning. You chuckled as you touched your lips. You walked to the wine bottle and took a long sip. Lee was smiling in the entrance hall of your hotel room, taking off his shoes. You offered the bottle to him and said
- How about that drink?

Chapter Text

- My lady…
You heard the familiar voice from behind. You smiled, turned around and answered
- Thranduil, what a lovely surprise.
You were happy that you were well beyond the need of formality when you were alone with your close friend. You had known the king since he had been the prince and you had become his trusted counselor and companion during the years that you had spent in Mirkwood. Your parents had moved from Lothlorien a long, long time ago when Oropher had invited your family there for diplomatic reasons. You had basically become an elf of Mirkwood because you could not even remember your life in your home realm. After all you had been very young when you had moved.
- Taking a walk? he asked. His tone was deep but soft as it usually was when he talked to you.
- Yes. Such a wonderful evening, isn’t it? It would be a shame to waste it. you answered. Thranduil offered you his arm and smiled. You were happy to let him guide you through the gardens like he had done for so many times before.
- Yes. It indeed is, the last warm days before autumn. he commented.
- Tell me, my dear lady, what have you been up to lately? he asked after a moment of walking in silence. You chuckled; even after all this time he always called you “my lady” although you had given him a permission to call you with your name the first day of your friendship and after that you had told him several times to do so but he never did.
- I’ve been busy…
- With what?
- With the correspondence with the other elven realms.
- So busy that you have not had a chance to share your valuable time with me? he asked teasingly. You smiled and tried not to get affected by his subtle flirting which he had been doing more lately. Or actually not lately; earlier but then he had drawn back for some reason unknown to you.
- Yes, so it would seem. you chuckled as a response. You considered Thranduil as your friend, you shared a deep, warm bond of friendship but that was all and that was what you kept telling yourself on daily basis nowadays. What had begun as a mere-friendship for you had turned into deeper one-sided affection as the time had passed by.

You came to a dark, private corner of the garden where the trees blocked almost all of the sunlight and the air had a thick scent of exotic flowers, the last flowers of the summer. You let go of his arm and walked to a bench. You put your hands on your lap when you sat down accompanied with a long sigh.
- It is such a shame that a lady like you is still not spoken for. he said. You lifted your head and looked at him surprised. You were completely rendered speechless.
- I have a surprise for you and I am quite certain that this will make you happy. he continued.
- A surprise? you asked. The surprised look on your face never left you.
- Yes. You have been my loyal ally for a long time and I think it is time for you to be something else.
Your heart was racing and you could not believe what you were hearing. Could it be, could it actually be that the king would-

- I have arranged you to be married with a noble lord from Lorien. I bet you miss home.
“Wait, what?” you thought as you politely kept the smile on your face. The years in the Mirkwood court had really taught you to conceal your real emotions.
- But… Mirkwood is my home… you managed to stammer.
- Surely you miss your home realm. Thranduil stated and sat beside you. He took your hand, it was cold and you had gone pale.
- You wish me to… leave Mirkwood and get married? I don’t understand. Have I done something to…
- To what? he asked. You pulled your hand away and stood up.
- To upset you?
- No, not at all! I thought you would be overjoyed.
- Overjoyed? you repeated as you looked around. You could not believe what you had been just told.
- I… I don’t understand! you continued and looked at him with a puzzled look on your face.
- Clearly I was mistaken. he answered and sounded irritated. You snapped back to your place. You, no matter how close friend you were with the king, were in no position to question his judgment although in this case it was not better than your own.
- No… Not at all… my lord. you answered and faked a smile.
- When shall I leave? you asked.
- I have arranged a carriage to take you to Lorien tomorrow. I really hope you will become happy there. It seems to me that you have not been that content here for some time.
- And what is my future husband like?
- He… he is a respected and brave lord. He is… kind and subtle with a good heart. He will surely be a great match for you.
- You mean he will calm down my fiery spirit? you joked but it was a sad excuse for a cover-up-joke.
- You need someone solid in your life. Someone who can calm down the storms and be the mountain on which you can finally grow your roots.
- I had no idea that you thought that I need someone like that. I assure you I have been quite… content… navigating the storms, my lord. Surely you cannot deny that I’ve become quite skillful in that.
- Indeed, but… he commented and sounded offended.
- No, I am not questioning your decision. you answered and smiled briefly.
- I should go and pack. you added before bowing and walking away.

You did not have too many things, or you did but most of them had been gotten from the people of the Mirkwood court and you did not want to take them with you. You wanted nothing to remind you about the time you had spent there. You wiped a tear that had escaped your eye when there was a knock on the door. The king had arranged a private dinner to celebrate the new chapter in your life. You followed the maid to the dining hall where Thranduil was waiting already.
You shared a casual chat and he asked if you had packed already. He stated that he could not keep you for himself anymore and watch you wasting your life in the court as you helped him to carry his burdens.
- It has not been a burden, my lord.
- Why do you call me “my lord” all of a sudden? he asked. You chuckled. Yeah, why were you doing that? You had been calling him by his first name since the first day, even before he had given you the permission to do so. Now you called him “my lord” because you were trying to push yourself away from him so leaving would be easier.
- You are the king. you answered and emptied the glass with one long gulp.
- I have been the king all this time but now suddenly it matters to you?
- It’s just easier.
- Why is that? he asked.
- I cannot help but think why…
- You danced with that lord during the starlight –feast last year. You seemed to enjoy his company very much.
- Who?
- The lord that I’ve arranged you to marry…
- What?
- You spent the whole night out having a conversation with him… Thranduil stated. There was a hint of jealousy in his voice although he did his best not to let it show.
- Well yes… he shared some lively stories and news from Lorien…
- You have been somewhat distant after that and therefore I figured…
- You figured that I should… go and marry him?
- It was obvious that his company gave you great pleasure… I’ve been selfish to keep you here all this time.
- You should had told me that you were planning this. Don’t I have a say about anything? I had no idea that you want me to leave… you stated with raised voice and stood up.
- I don’t.
- So why you’re sending me away?
- Because I cannot watch you loving another. he shouted.
- Loving another? you asked and scoffed.
- I am not… You should know that! you continued.
- But I am leaving tomorrow because that’s what you want me to do! you shouted.
- No… It is not…
- So what are you going to do about it? you blurted. Thranduil gave you an annoyed glare but kept silent.
- That’s what I thought. you commented with a disappointed tone and turned your back at him. You walked to the door and just before exiting the room you turned and said
- It was you… It has always been you.

Then you were gone. Thranduil stood up but sank back into his chair. He was puzzled, angry and relieved at the same time however his pride did not let him to run after you.
You ran to your room hoping that you would hear the echo of footsteps after you but you did not. You had told him that he was the keeper of your heart and had always been, well you had not exactly used those words but you had said something! You had loved him secretly from the sidelines even when he was married to another. You had always wished him the best and even supported his marriage and mourned the death of his wife. How can it be that he had never noticed that your arms ached to hold him when his shoulders were burdened with the worries of the realm? Why did he not see? What made him so blind?
Your desperation turned into anger when you thought about him wanting to send you away because he could not tolerate the sight of you courting another. Ha-ha! Like you had even been interested in anyone else! He rather sends you away to the realm that was no longer your home. Mirkwood was your home now but he just could not see it; for him you were always that elf who had been ripped off her roots and forced to abandon her home. A foreigner, an outsider. If he wanted you gone, you would go and never look back.
Thranduil could not sleep. “It has always been you” kept going on and on in his head. Those words echoed in his mind and made his heart ache. He did not know what to think; should he voice his feelings or let you go? He knew that he had handled the situation poorly, hell, he had misjudged your recent state of being busy corresponding and being mentally absent as longing for the other lord when you had actually been having feelings for him.

It was morning. You had packed all night and when the first rays of the rising sun danced in the highest tree branches there had been a guard to take your bags to the carriage. You said goodbye to your room and closed the door behind you. You had been crying until you could not cry anymore. Maybe this was a good thing, maybe this was what you needed. Maybe the king saw more than you did, after all he was unimaginably wise and observant.
You said farewell to the maids and guards that were watching you leave, you even said goodbye to Legolas. Thranduil however was not there. It made you sad but at the same time it gave you closure. You looked at the sky as you walked across the yard to the carriage. Before you stepped in you turned around and tried to get a sight of Thranduil but he really was not there. With heavy heart you sat down and closed the door, signaled the elf who was sitting in the front to get going. The carriage moved.
You stared out from the window as the carriage slowly moved through the forest along the forest road. The summer was turning into autumn and the first trees had already turned yellow already. You dozed off because of the steady rocking of the carriage and the constant sound of the wheels turning on the gravel road.

Suddenly you woke up when your ride stopped moving. You had been having a dream of your parents. They had returned to Lorien after you had been educated to attend the diplomatic matters and were capable to take care of them by yourself. You had not seen them for a long time but you had heard rumors that the high elves of Lorien were leaving Middle Earth and sailing to the Undying Lands beyond the sea. In a way this was the perfect time to return “home” so you could see them once before their departure.
You rubbed your eyes and asked the elf
- Why did we stop?
There was no answer. You sighed and put on your cloak before opening the door and stepping out. The air was cool and it made you shiver as you left the warmth of the passenger space. It was a cold day and there was a chilling wind blowing from the north.
When you stepped out you saw Thranduils elk standing on the road sideways in front of the horses, blocking the way. You heard a sound of a galloping horse from the opposite direction and you turned. It was Thranduil. He was practically racing with his cloak and hair flying because of the speed. When he was just ten meters away he commanded the horse to stop and jumped off. The sound of his shoes on the gravel got mixed with the sound of his cloak swishing as he strode closer to you. Without saying a word he lifted you in his arms and carried you to his horse.
- I am taking you back home. he said when he put you down. You hopped effortlessly on the horse and watched him explaining the situation to the driver; he was to find a place where he could turn the carriage around and return to the palace. Then the king hopped on the horse to sit behind you and whispered into your ear.
- Mirkwood is your home, is it not... (Y/N)?
You smiled and turned your head. You felt his warmth radiating from his body, you felt his entire presence surrounding you and his ice-blue eyes that were usually cold and mercilessly piercing through anyone and everyone were looking into yours with such softness that you had not seen since the death of Legolas' mother. You touched his cheek gently and answered
- My home is where you are.

Chapter Text

Thranduil and a few of his guards were escorted to a fortress. They had been traveling with an army for a long way to see if the rumors were true. He had heard news that the great witch of the North had been defeated and her lands were overrun. The realm existed only a two-days-ride from his northern border so he had decided to amuse himself and see whether the rumor was indeed true.
He had heard that the orcs had killed her parents a long time ago and she had been forced to abandon her life as a lady and take the reigns over the army. He had also heard that she always wore a mask because, well there were three theories about that among the people; some said that her face was so badly disfigured that she wanted to hide it because of that. Some said that the witch possessed such rare beauty that anyone who stared upon her face for longer than a blink of an eye fell under her spell. The third theory was that she wanted to stay unknown because she liked to walk among her people unnoticed as well as travel through foreign lands unrecognized.
Those rumors or theories made Thranduil chuckle internally. First of all he did not believe that her beauty could be any greater than the beauty of his people, the elves. Secondly he could not understand why the ruler of the land would not like to be recognized so the only reason why she would cover her face from everyone must be that she is so ugly that showing her face would disgust anyone and even her own people would flee.
Now Thranduil, the king of Mirkwood, had entered her realm. He had seen burning houses and ruined towns, destroyed crops and plenty of orc-corpses gathered in large piles. Just when he and his companions had thought that the Northern people were dead they had been ambushed by the guards and escorted to the fortress. They left the elven army behind. The guards had spoken a language that the elf king had not been able to understand but he had gotten the message anyway; they were to follow the guards or…

Thranduil looked around him when he entered through a gateway that was always sealed with a door that had not been penetrated by the orc armies and other enemies. Then he finally saw the people who were clearly hungry and tired from the ongoing war. However they were safe within the walls of the fortress but it was only a matter of time when they would wither away and die from starvation.
The elves entered a great hall but before that they were asked to leave their weapons to the guards. Thranduil ordered his guards to leave their swords and bows behind but he himself kept his sword. He had hid it under his cloak and the guards did not bother to check him.
The hall was dimly lit with blue lights that looked like flames. They however were floating by themselves on the surfaces without candles or other devices. He saw the throne and someone sitting on it. When Thranduil walked further he noticed the person sitting on the throne raising her hand and the flames got bigger and the lighting in the hall got significantly brighter.

The person on the throne was you.
- Tell me, why are you trespassing my lands. you ordered. The sound of your voice echoed in the hall unnaturally. You were wearing a black mask that had no holes for eyes or even for your mouth. You were the witch after all and could see beyond such veil.
- Let me guess; you heard that the great witch of the North is dead and the throne is free for anyone to take.
Thranduil did not answer. His face remained as blank and emotionless as it had been the entire time.
- Tell me, if you had found the throne empty, would you had taken it? you asked and raised your head. Still the elven king did not answer.
- Speak! you ordered and stood up. You chuckled and walked closer.
- Do not tell me that you came here to help! It is too late now. you said and placed your hand over his heart. Suddenly you drew back. You had seen what was in his heart and in his mind.
- You expected to find me dead, you wanted to take my throne! you shouted and turned away as you walked to the throne and sat down.
- You are mistaken! he stated finally.
You laughed in return and your laughter echoed in the hall. Then your laughter died.
- Do not try to fool me, King Thranduil of the Elven Realm. You came here unannounced, uninvited. If I did the same in your petty forest, you would lock me up. So tell me, give me one good reason why I should not do the same?
Thranduil turned around and told his guards in elvish to follow him. Just before they got to the door, it slammed shut.
- You are at my mercy here and I did not give you a permission to leave. you stated. Thranduil was boiling with rage because you were not paying him any respect and he was not used to being disrespected. However the emotionless expression on his face did not break. He turned around and spoke
- I indeed came to see if the ruler of this realm was dead. I have heard the rumors and I thought that if it really was so I would gather the people and get them inside the elven borders before the orc army that is marching here as we speak attacks.
- You came here to steal the riches of my people! You planned to steal the people as well!
- What riches? I have seen none so far!
You stood up and the lights flames flashed as the wave of irritation washed over you.
- If you haven’t seen any, it does not mean there is none! you shouted.
A silence followed. You took a deep breath and calmed yourself down.
- A new orc army? you asked.
- Yes.
- How large?
- Very. You will not survive alone this time.
- You are underestimating me and my people.
- I have seen your people. They are starving and tired…
- Then I shall fight the orcs alone!
- You are more stubborn than a dwarf! Thranduil hissed. You knew exactly how the relationship between the dwarves and the elves was. You scoffed.
- You dare to insult m-
- Foolish little girl trying to act like a mighty ki-
-… me in my own court! You leave my father out from thi-
- I was not talking about your father!
- My father was a great king! He died for his people and now he will spend the eternity basking in the glory with great kings and queens who are my ancestors, I have the right to do the same!
- Then you shall die but there is no greatness in throwing away an immortal life for ones pride and death-wish.
- You have no right to have an opinion, Thranduil the Intruder, you do not know me!

Thranduil took his sword and in a blink of an eye you felt the blade on your throat.
- I could give you the death right now, Fool, if that is what you desire! he hissed and stared at the black mask that covered all your expressions and features. He was very much lured to reveal your face and you knew it. You tilted your head back as you raised your hand and pushed the sword further away from your neck with your two fingers.
- When will they be here? you asked. Thranduil put his sword away and stepped further away from the throne.
- Tomorrow morning. he answered. He had brought an elven army that was waiting just outside the city. You sighed and leaned back. If he had seen the look on your face, he would most likely felt sorry for you because you would had looked helpless, you were shedding a few tears even. He noticed a tear rolling down on your neck but he said nothing.
- I suppose it would be courteous of me to offer you some dinner. you said and stood up. You spoke in your own language to the servants who then arranged a dinner for Thranduil and his guards. The elven army had brought their own food since no one had really expected anyone to be alive in the Northern realm.
Thranduil followed the servants and glanced at you once before leaving the hall. The dinner was not plentiful. It was clear that you and your people were hanging on a thread to survive. However Thranduil did not complain like he would had surely done back in his palace.

You went to your chamber and took the mask away. You only took it off in your own privacy. You washed your face and then stared at yourself in the mirror. Why did you wear the mask? Well, your people had been fighting the war for so long and somehow the life you were forced to live felt less personal when you hid behind it; the blank, black mask. Besides you were not that skilled to hide your emotions. Thranduil wore a mask too but his mask was the blank look on his face that did not crack. You aimed to the same result but instead of blank expression you had an actual mask. The bonus point was that the enemy feared you more when you wore a mask; it made you look brutal and merciless, unpredictable, like your soldiers who always wore red during the battles to cover the possible blood that was dripping from the cuts.
You did not sleep. There was no way you could had slept. You washed yourself with cold water and then started to focus your mind to the forthcoming battle. You had the elven army by your side but you were too proud to rely on them.

When the night turned into a new morning you were ready; you were wearing your armor and your mask. You had sharpened your sword and your mind was clear. You met the elves on the courtyard and then rode to the battle. As you got nearer to the orcs you could hear their footsteps and a shadow darkened your mind. You had exchanged only a few words with Thranduil. There was nothing to be said really so you only spoke to your own army that had gotten quite small in numbers.
The orcs attacked and the battle began. There were elves and orcs and your people fighting. The orcs died one by one and you were on your way to the victory when you got stranded away from the others and found yourself surrounded by orcs. You dropped your sword and as the orcs were running from every direction to attack you fell on your knees and slammed your palms to the ground.
Thranduil saw you doing this and he was sure that you had just given up but after you had slammed your palms to the ground there was a blue flash, or a circular force field that spread from you outwards and knocked every orc down within 20 meters. The orcs that had been the closest to you died as their armors chest plates smashed inwards and crushed their organs.
You lifted your head and saw the orcs dead around you. The ones that were not dead yet were unconscious. You got your sword and stood up. Then you walked to the orcs that did not look quite dead enough and sliced their throats. The orcs that had seen you doing that fled away but unfortunately they ran to the direction of Thranduil who was already fighting dozen of orcs himself. You ran to him and started to fight with your sword side by side with the elf king. When the orcs were dead he nodded at you to which you replied with a nod.
You ordered the wounded to be taken care of after the battle was entirely over and it had been made sure that the orcs were indeed dead. Your head was spinning because you had been using your powers to fight the orcs many times during the battle. You closed your eyes and tried to calm your mind. All the voices and noises jut echoed in your head.
- Are you alright? you heard Thranduil asking from further distance. You shook the distortion off and answered him that you were fine. There had been only few casualties fortunately and some light bruises, none of the elves had died, no surprise there.

You returned to the fortress and informed that the danger was finally over, for a moment at least. It was time to be merry and celebrate.
You changed your clothes from the armor to a festive gown and returned to the throne hall that was now filled with relieved people. Thranduil approached the throne on which you were sitting on. You stood up as he offered you a goblet that was filled with wine.
- Come, drink with me. Raise a toast for the victorious battle and the new alliance between our people. he said. You chuckled.
- I shall raise a toast with you but…
- Take the mask off. he said with a seductive smile on his face.
- Why do you wish to see my face? Is it because you have heard the speculations about the reasons why I am wearing it? It is, isn’t it? Oh… it must puzzle your mind so.
He chuckled and gave you his wine chalice. Then he put his hands on your shoulders that were exposed by the open neckline and slid them slowly to the back of your head. Your heart was beating rapidly as he opened the knots that held the mask firmly on its place. When they were opened he pulled the mask away and exposed your face that had you had kept hidden for longer than you could remember. He explored your features with his eyes for a time that felt like a half an eternity even though it must had been only a minute or two, there was no way of telling because you were mesmerized by his charming smile. You stared directly into his eyes as he ran his fingers down from your eyebrow down to your chin with a slow, feather-like motion. As he reached your chin his fingers accidentally brushed your lips...

...Or maybe it was no accident after all.

Chapter Text

Sitting alone, again, like you always did. Whether it was on a lunch break in the cafeteria or during the classes, the only attention you got from your classmates was the unfriendly kind. You were not exactly sure what you had done or what you were doing on daily basis to annoy them so much or maybe they were only that kind of bastards who enjoyed making life hard and almost intolerable for other people.
You had recently begun your studies in the University of (desired city) where you had moved from (your city/homeland). You did not know anyone and since you were pushing 30 already you were almost 10 years older than everybody else which meant that you were living in your own apartment, rented but no student dorm arrangement, and rather spent most of your nights with a good book than out getting wasted. Besides no one asked you anywhere anyway, maybe it was your different accent or slightly different looks, or the fact that you had been lucky enough to get extra credits for your previous studies and work experience so you did not have to attend all the classes.
The teachers noticed that you were being picked on during the classes but they never reacted. Maybe they assumed that since you were that much older than the rest of the class, you surely did not mind and if you did, you could defend yourself. First months you had stood your ground but it had only achieved a few discussions with the university’s counselor, who, read between the lines, assumed that you had provoked the situation and was taking things way too personal; your class mates were barely adults after all.
So you gave in. You stopped fighting and tried to blend in so no one would notice you and maybe if you were lucky enough they would just let you be. You did not want to drop out because you had been working and saving money for this opportunity. You had been dreaming about studying abroad, literature, acting, history of theater and you had been applying many times until you had finally gotten in, now on the verge of saying goodbye to the twentysomethings and embracing the whole new decade.
It was Monday, the beginning of new semester. You had celebrated the New Years Eve alone, well you had been having a long Skype-call with your friends and family but that was it. You had gone to the downtown to see the fireworks and then gone home. Some drunken guy had tried to get you home and then started a quarrel when you had politely declined. You had gone home and taken a quick shower before going to bed.

Then the rest of the remaining holiday you had been reading and getting ready for the following semester which also began the 150th jubilee. Not that you really cared, but you had read the brochure that had promised exciting events and courses, a two-week intensive course of William Shakespeare, which was followed by two-week intensive acting course about the plays of the famous writer. You had been lucky to get in because the number of attending students had been limited.
You were in the classroom early, sitting in the last row, furthest corner which had become a safe haven for you because if you sat in the front of in the middle, you surely had something thrown at you at some point. The worst had been when you had been forced to cut your hair to get a piece of chewing gum off. You were deep in your thoughts when the lecturer came in.
- Oh hello. he said. You lifted your gaze from the course material and smiled briefly. Then your gaze fell back on your papers.
- You realize that you are first to show up so you could take advantage and sit in the front. he continued and walked to the second last row of the auditorium to stand right in front of you. You raised your head and recognized the man standing there. It was Tom Hiddleston, standing there, leaning to the other table and talking to you.
- Thanks but… I like to sit in the back. you answered and tapped the pencil against the table nervously.
- Alright, alright. he said and nodded. He was returning to the teachers table and stated jokingly
- But keep in mind that I will still ask you difficult questions. There is no hiding from me.
You made a “gotcha” –gesture and sighed. The auditorium started to fill up with people and the class begun. The lecturer introduced himself, although everybody knew who he was. It was the one reason why the class had been so popular after all and there were only a couple of guys among 50 attendants.
Tom spoke about his love for Shakespeare and why he held the play writer in such great value, what Shakespeare had meant for the English literature and culture in general. After that it was time for everyone to introduce themselves. When it was your time to do so he noticed that a couple of students were laughing with each other and giving you cheap glares, they mimicked your accent and the way you said your name to each other but Tom decided to defend you by saying “such beautiful name suits the beautiful woman”. Fortunately there were only a few of those students that you usually studied. The course after all had been open to all the faculties and classes.

When the first lecture ended, you were the last to leave the room.
- (Y/N). Tom called when you were exiting the auditorium.
- Uhuh?
- Is everything alright? he asked and looked very concerned.
- Yeah. you answered and smiled briefly.
The week passed like that. You were absorbing every piece of knowledge you could get from the visiting lecturers passion and for the first time you felt like you belonged somewhere. This was exactly what you had hoped the studying to be; adults behaving in a civilized manner, inspiring lecturer, fascinating subject… And suddenly it was Friday and the first week was almost over.
- May I sit here. a familiar voice asked you during the lunch break. You were sitting alone again but this time one certain Shakespeare –fan insisted on sitting with you.
- Sure. you answered. You made him room because you had spread your books and notes quite wide. He sat down and started to eat.
- So you like to keep your distance, why is that?
- I really haven’t been fitting in…
- That’s… odd… he commented and put down his fork as well as his knife.
- You seem to fit in famously. I am not quite sure what you’re talking about.
- Well, your course has been easy to fit in because it has been very interesting… The subject…
- How about the teacher? he asked. He was flirting a little because he found you interesting. He thought that your ideas, opinions and answers were fascinating and he was curious to know you more.
- Teacher is…
- Okay?
- Yeah, he’s alright. you joked and laughed. It was refreshing to have a conversation with someone more of your own age for a change. You talked about the literature and acting in general until it was time for you leave because your class was about to begin.
- Have a nice weekend. you said and left. Tom did not have time to react because his mouth was just full. That made him disappointed. Maybe he could had asked you out for a drink or something, the evenings at the hotel were boring to spend alone and he had enjoyed the conversation with you. You were both adults and he was not really a teacher, so why not!
During that class some people were making fun of you by saying that you were too old to be such a fan-girl, teachers favorite and what you were doing was just pathetic. What you had been doing? You had just paid attention to the subject and it was not your fault that the lecturer had come to sit with you during the lunch. And it certainly was not your fault that the lecturer happened to be Tom Hiddleston, the British charmer.

The weekend slipped away quickly and it was Monday again. You were the first student to enter the auditorium again but this time Tom was appointing you to sit in the first row. You hesitated but then decided to take your chances and you were surprised that you did not find anything from your hair, not even small pieces of eraser.
The week passed by quickly and you shared lunches with Tom every day. Sometimes you managed to talk only 5 minutes and sometimes you got late from the next class because you completely forgot to check the time. On Friday he suggested that you would meet on Saturday and go see a stand-up –comedy show and you accepted his invitation.
Unfortunately he cancelled during Saturday afternoon because he had to attend a meeting with the teachers where they were supposed to discuss the methods to give grades but the truth was that the teachers wanted to get their fair share of Toms company. You masked your disappointment and told him that it was alright. You were supposed to study for the exam anyway. There was no exams scheduled but he did not know it. He suggested that you would join him for a Sunday brunch and you agreed to meet at his hotel at noon.
You woke up early, put on your favorite clothes and used plenty of time on your face and hair. Then you took a bus to his hotel. He had visited a cozy restaurant a week ago so he knew where to take you which made you relieved because you had been afraid that he would ask you for recommendation. You had not been visiting that many restaurants during your stay in the city so it would had been awkward for you not to be able to suggest anything.
The brunch was great. There were plenty to choose from. Tom found a table from a silent corner and helped you to sit down. He asked you quite a lot about you, personal things that had no connection to the ongoing course. You did not dare to ask him about his relationship status or anything although he told you without asking, which made you a little confused. It has nothing to do with the course or Shakespeare.

He walked you to the bus stop, waited with you for 20 minutes because you had just missed the previous one and hugged you before you stepped into the bus. On Monday began the acting –part of the course. You did not gather in the auditorium anymore but in the hall that was used during celebrations. He handed out papers to the students, to you the last. The papers had dialogues for certain plays that you all had to memorize with your partner. There were 3 students missing that left the pairs uneven. When no one wanted to pair up with you, mostly because everyone else had a friend there, you stepped aside and concentrated to the dialogue.

“Act 1, Scene 4 from Romeo and Juliet”
you read silently. You read the poem through over and over again and jumped slightly when Tom came to talk to you. “I saved the best for last” he mumbled silently when he walked behind you, you however did not hear him.
- Ahem… he begun and smiled in the most adorable way. He looked almost shy which puzzled you. He was after all a famous actor and you were just… no one… you were no one special in your own opinion anyway.
- We should practice. he said and glanced through the paper.
- I see… he muttered and tried to seem unsuspicious. You smiled and looked casually around, you saw many jealous faces, although you had no idea why this honor had been granted to you. Getting used to the old-style-English was a little challenging to you at first but Tom was happy to help you all the time. You went through the lines with him and then it was time to end the lecture for Monday and get some lunch.
The next day the pairs continued practicing the dialogues and Tom spent time with each pair to give useful tips and explained them what the words meant. Then he returned to you and practiced the dialogue with you and you missed the lunch. The time was just slipping away and you couldn’t help feeling very privileged for such attention. The more you spent time with him the weaker your knees felt when he smiled at you.
On Wednesday morning it was time to perform the dialogues. What you did not know was that all the dialogues had been randomly selected for the pairs, all but one; Tom had selected the one for you and him on purpose and you were the last pair to perform.

ROMEO [To JULIET]
“If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.”
Tom begun, standing a little further away. He walked a little closer.

JULIET
“Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this;
For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.”
You recited your lines and turned to face him.

ROMEO
“Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?”

JULIET
“Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.”

ROMEO
“O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;
They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.”

JULIET
“Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake.”

ROMEO
“Then move not, while my prayer’s effect I take.”

By this time he had taken your hands and was standing right in front of you. He looked straight into your eyes with a shy smile and then leaned closer. Before you knew it his lips were on yours, just as modestly as Shakespeare had intended. When he released your lips your heart was pounding and mind spinning. You opened your eyes and looked at him with an expression that was both surprised and taken aback.
- Part of the scene, love. he whispered, winked his eye at you and then addressed the group.
- This was the scene where Romeo steals Juliets first kiss… Did you recognize how they first speak their lines as a dialogue but towards the end the dialogue becomes actually a shared monologue which represents the way they are connected… Able to finish each others sentences.
You smiled casually although you were still recovering. You had not been practicing that, you had had no idea that the scene even included a kiss. Tom ended the class and then walked to you.
- I need to talk to you, later… after school. Call me when you’ll get home. he said and then looked at you with a hopeful look on his face. You nodded and took your things. Then you headed to grab a quick lunch and proceeded with the schedule.
During the next classes there was a lot of mockery and bullying because the few classmates who were lucky enough to attend the Shakespeare –course had shared what they had witnessed with everyone in the class. When the last class ended you rushed out, took your bike and headed home. There was a busy intersection just outside the campus with traffic lights.

Your worst bullies were heading to their dorm at the same time, they saw you waiting for the lights to turn green. A girl who was jealous at you challenged his boyfriend to throw an apple at you. The guy laughed and said “watch this!”
The light turned green and you drove on the lane. The apple hit you in your back and you turned your head to look what was going on. It was an automatic reaction, which distracted you and prevented you from seeing a car that was approaching the intersection with a plan to run red lights. You heard a loud screech as the driver hit the brakes. However it was too late. The car hit the bike and you flew to the windshield. At that point everything went black.
The driver got out from the car and found you laying on the street on your stomach in front of his car. Your arm was in an unnatural position and there was blood on your forehead. The classmates repeated “oh shit” many times and then finally one of them called the emergency services. The driver had hit his head as well and was in a shock.
Tom tried to call you that evening many times. The next morning he went to the university like the usual but you were not there either. During the break he tried to call you again but there was no answer, your phone could not even be reached. He asked casually if anyone knew where you were but no one knew and the ones that knew said nothing because they had been playing a part in the accident.

The next day you were missing as well and during the first break he finally asked a teacher. The accident was the top-news in the teachers lounge now that the news had reached them. When Tom heard it he cancelled the second part of the lecture and went to the hospital.
You were awake. The car had luckily managed to slow down enough that when you had hit the windshield, you had just rolled down and not flew many meters due to the great impact caused by speed, it was fortunate that there had not been that much speed involved. Your left hand was broken and you had a couple of fractured ribs, and yes, a nasty bruise on your forehead, a slight concussion but otherwise you were pretty much alright, although you had been unconscious for a little over one day.
You stared at the ceiling and listened to the hospital sounds. You hated hospitals; they sounded, felt and smelled weird, ominous somehow. You knew that most of the people that came to a hospital left it alive and well but then again… there was a reason why there was a morgue right downstairs. The door opened. There had been nurses running in and out the whole day because you did not have the luxury of a private room so you did not care to look.

- How are you feeling?
You recognized the voice immediately. It was Tom.
- I survive. They have doped me up with drugs so I’m good. you joked and started to laugh. You had been given quite strong painkillers so you were slightly high.
- Yes, I’ve heard that they do that. he commented and sat beside the bed, on the right side.
- What’s the damage? he asked.
- One broken arm, a few fractured ribs and some bruises. It’s not exactly a winner for the injury-bingo but I guess I am lucky. you answered.
- I had no idea… I would had come sooner if-
- It’s okay. I am sorry that I did not call… The hospital has a rather strict no-calls-policy or maybe the nurses here are just a bunch of dicks. And technically I never got home.
- You certainly did not. Do you know when you’ll get to go home?
- Tomorrow. That is… if I’ll survive the night. you joked.
- Hey, don’t say that. Tom commented with a concerned look on his face. You knew that look so well from many of his movies.
- I’m just teasing you. You are so cute when you’re worried. you chuckled.
- Well you have an awful taste of humor.
- Blame the drugs. you said and smiled wearily.
- I should probably let you sleep. he said and squeezed your hand. You answered with a silent “hm” and closed your eyes. Tom however did not leave. He cancelled the next days class and stayed with you until you got released from the hospital.

Chapter Text

- Ouch! you exclaimed when you bit an olive in a salad. There was a hard seed inside although the olives you had used should had been the seedless ones. At the same time you felt a small piece of a tooth cracking. You spit the seed on your palm and stared at the white rock-looking –chip that was next to it.
You took a mirror out and scanned your mouth. There was indeed a small gab in one tooth, not in the front row, fortunately, but right there, in the lower row, on left side, basically midway. You cursed the olives in your mind and planned to sue the entire production line from the olive-picker to the cashier who took your money for it.
You hated to go to dentist. You kept your teeth extra clean at all times just to avoid going there, mostly because it was bloody expensive… and… you were terrified of going to the dentist. You had nightmares about it although nothing bad had ever happened to you there. The last time you had visited a dentist was a long time ago when they had checked out your teeth before turning 18, so it had been a while.

You did a Google search for the dental services in your city and tried to read reviews and comments on different forums on various dental clinics. You were getting frustrated when you suddenly ran into a Google ad that was promoting a dental clinic called “GreenDent”. You laughed at first because it sounded more like a gardening shop but as you started to search for reviews for that specific clinic, you found out that the great majority of their patients had basically loved their treatment. The price range was slightly on the more expensive side but you figured that you rather felt comfortable in that operations-chair-thing than worry about money. Money came and disappeared as digits on your bank account anyway.

With shaky hands you took your phone and called the customer service –number that they had on their web page.
- GreenDent, Tauriel speaking.
The voice in the other end was a voice of a young woman who sounded very cheerful and customer friendly. There was something very soothing about that voice which stopped your hand from shaking.
- Hello? she asked.
- Oh, hello. This is (Y/N) and I think I should get an appointment…
- Alright, what kind of problem do you have?
- I bit an olive seed and a piece of my tooth kind of broke off.
- I see. Does it hurt?
- Yeah, slightly.
- Hm… I have one cancellation for tomorrow. It is at 8 am.
- I’ll take it. you said without hesitation.
- Good, if you can just spell your name for me…
You spelled your name and give her your social security number as requested after she had written your name down and made an appointment for Dr. Greenleaf.
- Thank you. The address is Mirkwood Street 9, there is a bus stop right outside the building. Door will be open and you can just come straight in to the waiting room, where you will find further instructions.
- Alright. See you tomorrow.
- Goodbye. she said and you hung up. When the phone call ended the nervousness returned. You took a pain killer and called your boss that you had a dentist appointment for tomorrow morning and you might get a little late. “It was an emergency” you said, a small white lie to win the boss on your side on this. She said that it was alright because the Wednesday mornings were not exactly busy anyway.
You took a bag of frozen broccoli from the freezer and pressed it against your cheek. It did not feel too pleasant but at least it took the edge away in the meantime. Then the painkiller worked and you decided to fry the broccoli that had already half-melted and could not be refrozen. It was a good lunch for tomorrow anyway, if you were able to eat, that was. Who knew if you even survived and got out alive!

You went to sleep and had terrible nightmares about dentists that were chasing you. You woke up in the middle of the night, covered in cold sweat and partially traumatized. You checked the time and sighed as it was 4 am and you had barely 2 hours to sleep anymore.
And sleep did not come. You rolled in the bed and then got up. When the night-silence ended at 6 am you took a quick shower to calm your nerves and then got ready for the day. You were feeling nauseous and decided to skip breakfast and washed your teeth 4 times instead. Then you checked them with the flashlight of your phone and washed them once more, just to be sure that you did not have any pieces of lettuce or that bloody olive haunting there. Especially because you had read that the young dentist who owned the practice with his big brother was very handsome, as well as his brother. So whatever happened, you did not want to take a risk of having a smelly breath of yesterdays salad-monster.

You left your apartment and took a bus downtown. You lived in a nice suburb –area and it took about 25 minutes in morning traffic to get to the center where you had to take a connecting bus to Mirkwood Street. You were there 30 minutes too early and tried open the door. It was still locked. You stared at the company logo on the door “GreenDent”, the font was very nice, slightly mysterious, maybe resembling tree branches or… antlers.
- Ahem.
A deep voice shook you out from your thoughts. You turned to look and took a step aside when you noticed that you were on the way, preventing him from opening the door.
- I’m sorry. you mumbled and smiled apologetically. The man was tall, he had ice-blue eyes, dark, impressive eyebrows and blonde hair. He mumbled something in return but it was obvious that he was not a morning person. He seemed agitated, maybe he did not like the weather that was windy, gray and gloomy. He opened the door and went in. You stayed outside, standing in the wind that was freezing you all the way to your bones.
- Aren’t you coming? he asked as he opened the door a little. You checked the time and it was 7:40 still but truthfully, you rather waited inside than out in the cold. You followed the man in and took off your jacket. Then you read through the instructions and sat down to wait. The next person to come in was a woman with long reddish brown hair. She smiled at you and walked behind a service counter. She took off her coat and said
- You must be (Y/N).
- Yes.
- I will then let Dr. Greenleaf to know when he comes that you are here already. He called a minute ago that he is stuck in the traffic jam, there has been an accident and the cars are basically standing still.
- O-okay. you answered and stood up to walk around the waiting room a little.
- You seem nervous, Miss. she commented.
- I and dentists do not go together that well.
- A phobia?
- A mild one… or maybe semi-mid-bad.
- Alright, good to know. I will tell him to use Athelas –gas then.
- What is that?
- It is purely natural herb which will calm you down after breathing it.
- Like… weed?
- Ha-ha, almost, but do not worry. This is completely safe and legal. she chuckled.

After 30 minutes a tall, not as tall as the first, man walked in the building. He apologized for being late and told you that he would just change his clothes and call you as soon as he was ready. You smiled briefly and nodded. The man had bright blue eyes, blonde hair and he resembled the first guy greatly, by appearance that was because the taller guy had been quite rude, or maybe he was just having a bad day. Your dentist however seemed like a very nice guy, he had kind eyes and a charming smile. He had been polite and friendly despite the fact that he had been stuck in the traffic and gotten late from work.
- (Y/N)… he called your name. You breathed in and out before standing up and following him to a white room that had been lit with bright lights. There was a table with a computer and in the middle there was the dental chair, even one glance at it made the hair in your neck rise up.
- Good morning. you said and tried to appear cool.
- Good morning, (Y/N). My name is Legolas Greenleaf and I will be your dentist today. Can you tell me exactly what happened and how much pain there has been?
You told him about the evil salad with a shaky voice but the more you talked to him, the more comfortable you felt. There was something about him that made you feel less nervous. He motioned you to sit on the dentist-chair. You hopped on it to sit sideways and dangled your feet mid-air.
- I was informed that you’re afraid of dentists, is this correct?
- Not much of dentists but the…
- Procedure. Yes, well it is good to know that you’re not afraid of me. It would make this so much more awkward.
- Yeah…
- I suppose Tauriel mentioned the Athelas to you…
- She did.
- Do you think you would be more comfortable if we used that?
- How much does it cost? I’m sorry but I’m on a tight budget…
- Don’t worry about it. It’s on the house, but do not tell my big brother. He is awfully strict about these things. he said smilingly.
- Are you sure? I mean I do not want to get you into trouble…
- I own half of the practice, he cannot kick me out even if he wanted to. he said, took a small bottle out from a cupboard where he had other bottles and supplies as well and attached a breathing mask to it. He put the mask on your face and opened the valve. He told you to breathe in and out in a calm way. You followed the instructions and waited for the herb to kick in. After a couple of minutes he took the mask away and guided your head to face him with his fingers under your chin. Your eyes were slightly glazed.
- You ate breakfast this morning, right? he asked suddenly. You went pale and stared at him with wide eyes.
- O-kay then. he said and shook his head as he chuckled. He knew that he should had asked you that before.
- What? Am I going to get a poisoning now or something? you asked and felt the herb kick in. First you felt very relaxed.
- No… you might just… he said and then you started to giggle for no reason.
- Yep, that happens. he mumbled with an amused tone. He helped you to sit in the chair properly before lowering it until you were laying horizontally, you squealed like you had been in a roller coaster and continued giggling. The dentist put his apparatuses ready and gave you a pair of sunglasses –looking glasses to prevent you from being blinded by the bright light that was right above your head.
- You are very cute! A customer comment online stated that you and your brother are very handsome and I must agree totally. Your brother however was rude this morning but you are nice… cute, handsome and nice. Are you single? I would so totally date you if you are...
- Right. he chuckled.
- I can imagine you having recreational team-building evenings with your staff with this stuff. I mean wow! I am making a fool out of myself but I just don't care! How awesome is that? you laughed until the Athelas gas wore out slightly. It was supposed to make you feel relaxed and mellow but since you had skipped breakfast you experienced the side effects many times stronger than people did usually. Finally you stopped laughing and breathed calmly.
- Can we begin now? How are you feeling? he asked. His voice was soft and although he was wearing a mask that covered his mouth, you could hear that he was smiling.
- Yeah I’m good. you answered and smiled wearily.

He asked you to open your mouth as he inserted the apparatuses and started work with a nurse who had entered the room just recently. The dentist complimented your teeth and stated that you had a great smile. You blushed slightly and played with the hem of your shirt nervously. The operation itself did not last long. The Athelas took the pain away and he was very careful not to hit any nerves so after 20 minutes they were ready and the nurse left the room.
The dentist pushed a button in the remote and the chair returned to its original position slowly. He was sitting by his computer writing a short operation-report-slash-invoice. You turned to sit on the dentist-chair sideways.
- Was that it?
- Yes.
- The invoice…
- We will send it to you via main.
- Alright. Well… you said and hopped off the chair.
- Thank you. you said and smiled, which was a bit difficult because your face felt still slightly numb. You were leaving the room when he stood up, walked to you and handed you a neon yellow post-it note.
- I do not get called cute by a patient every day… he said. You froze because you got a sudden flashback of your state of ridiculousness.
- …especially by a patient as beautiful as you are. he continued. You brushed your hair behind your ear and took the note. There was a number and his name written with graceful handwriting.
- Maybe you would like to get dinner tonight. he asked. You were speechless but you managed to nod. He opened the door for you and as you were stepping into the corridor, walking right past him, he stopped you by grabbing your arm very gently.
- And (Y/N)... he said. You turned your head slightly upwards to look into his gorgeous, blue eyes and mumbled "uhuh?" He looked back with a stare that really captured you. He continued with a silent tone
- If anyone asks, we met outside work. I am not supposed to date a patient.

 

***
Idea gotten from *LadyOfPearls*
This one is for you! Thank you for the "request"!
- Venla :)

Chapter Text

- Hi…
You turned around to face the person who was talking to you. You had been hired to be the PR-trainee at Stark-industries just a few months ago and this was the first time you had the chance to meet everyone; the Avengers, that was. You had met Tony Stark and Pepper Potts briefly but since they were always busy, you had been hired by some suit from the army of other suits. The nameless and faceless legion of suits that kept the wheels rolling so the genius, Stark himself, could focus on more important matters.
Now Tony Stark was hosting a party and you of course were also invited. You were wearing a simple dress with a jacket, very official and clean, since you had not known if this was a social gathering or in fact a company event. You turned around and smiled when you noticed that it was Steve Rogers aka Captain America standing there.

- Hello. you answered and nodded as a sign of respect.
- I believe we have not been introduced yet… I am Steve. he said and offered his hand for a handshake.
- I am a new office-rat here at Stark Industries, at your service. you said and shook his hand.
- Office-rat? Like coffee and copies… Steve asked curiously.
- Something like that. you answered because you didn't want to embarrass anyone.
- I’ll take mine with milk and two sugars. Steve replied... or more like joked but he realized that the comment sounded a little belittling. He was about to correct himself but you managed to reply before he had time to do anything.
- Copy that. you said and smiled. You knew that making coffee wasn’t really in your job description but hey, if Captain America himself asks… who are you to say “no”. You knew that you were supposed to become the head of PR after the training was over and that made you a rather important person in the company, but you were not there yet. Not even close. Now you were just a bystander, an outsider looking in, master in hiding ones feelings and personal opinions.
- Have you met everyone yet? he asked after a small silent moment.
- Uhm… no I have not. you answered with a slightly shy smile on your face.
- Come on, let me introduce you to everybody. he said and you followed him to the sofas where the rest of the Avengers were sitting. Steve cleared his throat and stated.
- Listen guys, this is our new coffee-slash-copy-maker… be nice and say hello…
- Hi everyone! you said and raised your hand shyly for a greeting. Tony looked at you, your courage flew out from the window. He was your boss and you had no idea whether you were supposed to be washing dishes or something. But there you were, standing among the heroes.
- I see Rogers, you have met our new head of PR. Tony said and motioned you to sit down. Steve looked embarrassed.
- More like trainee at the moment. you added to prevent any further embarrassments. Steve sat down opposite from you. You were clearly avoiding looking at him, or that was what he thought. You were embarrassed for making Steve embarrassed.
- Shots! Tony shouted and you stood up.
- I’ll go and get them. you said and smiled. You really were an outsider, a nobody among the greatest superstars, you had seen them in the TV when they had been fighting against the alien army… awww shit. You walked to the bar counter and poured shots into small glasses. You lifted the glasses on a tray and took it to the table. Thors hammer was taking all the free space on the table that was in the middle of a round sofa. You, without thinking about it any further, grabbed the handle with one hand, as you balanced the tray in your other hand. You lifted the hammer to the floor and placed the tray on the table. The avengers went silent.

- What? I-I’m sorry… uhm… it was on the way… I’m sorry… you mumbled and looked very apologetically at Thor, who was staring at you. You did not know what to say. It was obvious that you had screwed up, judging by the stares, you had screwed up big time.
- How did you… Thor asked with a surprised tone.
- I’m so sorry… you said and tried to keep your nerves in check. You had forgotten how to breathe and excused yourself. You walked away and took your jacket. Then you glanced at the people over your shoulder as you waited for the lift to arrive. The doors opened finally and drunken suits came out. You went to the elevator and pushed the button to go down. You had no idea what had happened. You had just lifted the hammer off the table. You had been very careful not to hurt anyone, or do any damage to neither the hammer nor the table. The lift stopped. You walked out to the entrance hall, swept your ID-badge so you had officially left the building.
- Have a good night, miss (Y/N). Jarvis said.
- Thank you, likewise. you answered.

The cool night air greeted you as you kept playing the past ten minutes over and over. You closed your jacket and hurried down the street. There were no cabs in sight so you just decided to walk.
In the meantime Tony had ignited a full background check; who were you exactly.
- Shouldn’t you have done this check before you hired her? Clint Barton aka Hawkeye asked.
- Yeah… I did, but there was nothing out of the ordinary about her… not even a speeding ticket. Tony answered with a frustrated groan.
Tony got a message on his screen; (Y/N) has logged off the building.
- Should someone go after her? Thor asked.
- You suspect that she is an enemy? Natasha Romanova aka Black widow asked.
- No… she lifted the hammer, it is not possible that she is an enemy. Thor stated.
- Why then? Tony asked.
- Did you not notice that she looked rather shocked. Thor asked and stood up.
- Stark, can you track her? the God of Thunder asked.
- I have her phone tracked just now… aaa-and now I know where she is. Who goes? Stark asked with a smirk.
- I will. I think it should be me who talks with her. Thor stated, took his hammer from the floor, checked your location from the computer screen and left.

You walked forward. It was late and normally you would had never in million years dared to walk alone downtown New York. Or maybe in the down town yes, but not further away where the silent, dark alleys were. It was windy and you were walking against the wind making you bow your head down. That made it impossible for you to notice a tall blonde Norse demigod who was standing in the street corner.
- My lady… he said. You lifted your head and tried to cover your surprise.
- Sir. you said, stopped and bowed deeply. He walked to you, trying to sense any sign of dishonesty. You looked straight into his eyes, although you did not know if you should or not. You had seen him on TV too and knew that he was a soon-to-be-king.
- I am deeply sorry, I truly am. I hope I did not cause any damage… uhm… you mumbled and turned your gaze elsewhere because you were embarrassed for A) touching his stuff without permission and B) staring at him so openly, which most likely was very rude in his opinion.
- No-no-no, my lady. How did you do it? Thor asked with a confused, yet curious tone.
- What? you asked immediately.
- How did you lift the hammer? he asked. The question made no sense to you so you did not know what to answer.
- What do you mean “how”? I just… you stammered and sighed because you felt the words getting stuck into your throat.
- Could you do it again? Thor asked.
- I guess… I mean it was heavy… but… you muttered. It was all so confusing and you didn't understand anything!
- Do you mind…? Thor asked as he handed the hammer to you. He was seemingly just checking his pockets out but the truth was that he just wanted to see whether you could lift his hammer again. You held the hammer and gave it back when he reached out his hand. He looked at you doubtfully.
- I-I don’t understand why you’re looking at me like that. you stated with a confused and deeply worried tone.
- Nothing to worry about, my lady. Captain Rogers was just disappointed that you left so suddenly. he lied, he just wanted to change the subject.
- I highly doubt that. you mumbled barely audibly which amused Thor.
- Look, I’m tired. I think it’s going to rain soon and I’m not having my umbrella with me. If you don’t mind… I would like to go home. you said with as polite tone as possible.
- I will walk you there, so you’ll get there safely. Thor said and bowed a little.
- It’s not necessary, sir. It is only a couple of blocks. you stated, although it was a lie. You lived more like a couple of kilometers from the place where you now were.
- Very well. Good night, my lady. Thor said and smiled as he bowed again.
- Good night, sir. you said and continued walking along the silent street. When you got home, you noticed that the door was slightly open.

You had definitely locked it when you had left to the party. You checked the apartment but it was empty. You locked the door and returned to stare at the apartment that had been torn apart. Someone had been there looking for something. You took your work phone and called all the contacts through. No one answered. You fetched a knife from the kitchen, sat down and started to cry.
Suddenly your phone rang. It was Rogers. He was returning your call now that he noticed that you had tried to call him.
- (Y/N). you said as you answered the phone.
- Hi, it’s Steve… You have called.
- I’m sorry to call like this, outside office hours. you said and tried not to sob.
- What is wrong? he asked and sounded worried.
- Nothing… it’s just… I’m sorry… you said and put the knife on the table.
- I’ll come there. Steve stated firmly.
- No… it’s not necessary. I’m sorry… you said and hung up. You did not really want Steve there. You didn’t really want anyone there. You just wanted to clean the place and forget everything since nothing had been even stolen. Thirty minutes passed. There was some broken glass on the floor and as you were trying to collect it, the doorbell rang. You jumped a little and cut yourself. The doorbell rang again.
- It’s Steve… please open the door. he said.
You put the glass pieces away and took a kitchen towel to hide the cut. You walked to the door and opened it. It was Steve Rogers indeed.
- May I come in? he asked.
- Rather not… you answered but he came in anyway.
- Oh shit… he said when he saw the chaos. He never cursed, only when the situation was drastic enough.
- Believe or not… the apartment did not look like this when I left. you stated with a silent, sad tone.
Steve called Tony and asked if he had ordered a full sweep. “Yes” Tony answered. Steve said something about the place being a mess and sending the invoice to him for everything that had been broken. Then he finished the call. He noticed that you were quite shaken and trying to look anything was stolen.

- I’m sorry… but this was Tony Stark. Steve said with an apologetic tone.
- What? you asked and stopped what you were doing. You turned to stare at Steve with a puzzled look on your face.
- He ordered a full sweep and it seems that his employees were not exactly gentle. he explained.
- Oh, no shit? But why? Why would he? you wondered with a puzzled tone.
- It is because of the hammer… Steve commented.
- I don’t understand. you said because nothing what Steve was saying was making any sense in your shocked mind.
- The thing, (Y/N), is that no one, except Thor, can lift the hammer. Steve explained.
- O-okay… you commented, but the truth was that you did not really understand what that meant. It was not making any sense to you.
- But you did… Steve said because you sounded confused.
- Is that some kind of… rule? you asked.
- Yes… kind of. he commented.
- But I did… did I offend him? I assure I did not cause any damage to it… you said and mumbled something about “offending a Norse god, way to go!”
Steve noticed the kitchen towel that had turned slightly red.
- Are you hurt? he asked with a deeply concerned voice.
- What? No… you answered and put the hand behind your back.
- Let me see. he said and walked to you. He offered his hand and looked into your eyes reassuring. You reluctantly showed him your hand. He took carefully the towel away and saw the cut. It wasn’t a large cut, but there were still some small pieces of glass in it. He walked you to the sink in the kitchen and turned on the tap. He held your hand on his palm when he took it under the cold water. You let out a small cry when the water hit the wound. Luckily the glass pieces were washed away with the water. Then he asked you where you kept the antiseptics. He took care of the wound surprisingly gently. Steve was a large, strong guy but he was cautious and kind. He could be dangerous and lethal when he was fighting against the bad guys but he could also be gentle.
- Thank you. you said and smiled. You got back organizing your things when you suddenly burst into tears.

- Why?! I can’t… it’s too much… It’s all ruined. I am no one… Why did this happen? you sobbed. You used plenty of money to make the apartment look like your home and now it was all ruined... well, maybe not all but very much so.
Steve did not know what to say. He could only imagine how bad you felt at the moment. You calmed down for a moment.
- Can you please go? I am sorry that I called you. you said silently. You sounded like you had lost a great battle and just given up, which, considering the circumstances, did not surprise Steve at all.
- You want me to leave? Steve asked. He was surprised that you were asking him to go away... On the other hand he understood that you needed some time alone, but then again, he didn't actually like the idea of leaving you in that mental state.
- Yes. I would appreciate it a lot. I’m okay. you sighed.
You were lying of course. You were not okay, nothing was okay. Steve knew it but he knew also that there was nothing he could do.
- Thank you… you said as you walked him out.
- Are you sure you’re o- he said but you shut the door before he could ask. He heard you breaking down behind the closed door. He knocked a couple of times but you did not answer. He was angry at Tony.

On Monday you went to work normally. You had managed to clean your apartment but some things were broken and you had wept as you had thrown them away. You looked tired, which wasn’t a surprise since you had not been able to sleep.
You took the elevator to the floor where you were working. Same suits were buzzing like busy bees, there were no Avengers in sight. That was good. You had thought about resigning and if you bumped into Tony… Mister Stark, you would resign for sure. And on top of everything; your hand hurt. The cut had been deeper than you or Steve had thought and it had not started to heal yet, although it was only two days old.
You opened the computer. Jarvis greeted you as always. You opened the email program and checked the inbox. There were some new info letters that were supposed to be turned into a press release. There was also an invitation to a formal dinner, where you were supposed to have a presentation about the environmental responsibility of the Stark Industries.
You started to work on the press release and the presentation and you had finished them both by the lunch break. You leaned back in your chair and closed your eyes for a moment.

- So you’re sleeping at work? you heard Tony Stark asking from the door of your office.
- No, Mr. Stark. I was just resting my eyes for a moment. I finished the press release as well as the presentation. If you do not mind, sir, I will spend my lunch break here. you replied very formally.
- Oh… I was hoping to grab a bite with you before the meeting. Stark commented.
- Aww shit, the meeting! you said and started to work on a memo. It was ready but you needed to check it out still.
- You know and I know… we both know that it is perfect as it is. No one here works as hard as you. Tony stated and rolled his eyes.
- Thank you, sir… but I’d like to be sure. you answered and nodded at Tony.
- Jarvis! Tony called.
- Yes, Mr. Stark? Jarvis answered almost instantly.
- Please lock miss (Y/N)’s computer. Tony commanded.
- Certainly. the AI answered and instantly your computer was locked.
- Jarvis… you said.
- Yes, miss (Y/N)? Jarvis asked.
- Please unlock the computer. you ordered.
- I am afraid I cannot do that. the AI answered.
You stood up and avoided looking at Tony. You inhaled deeply and began
- I am sorry, sir, but I am currently unable to print out my resigning letter so you must accept a verbal-
- Are you quitting? Tony asked with a puzzled and surprised tone.
- Yes, sir, I am. I’ve come to a conclusion that I am unfit to work here and it would be best for everybody if I just quit… resign. I am sure you agree. you explained.
- No I do not agree. Actually I couldn’t disagree more. Tony stated.
- I am willing to work until the weekend but that is it. I will send you my resigning letter via email. you continued with a firm, yet polite tone.
- I will block you as a sender. Case closed. Tony stated and folded his arms,
- Right… you mumbled and immediately realized that you had prepared yourself for this situation.

- Oh, by the way, I received an email that you should see. you stated casually, almost like you had already moved on from the resigning-matter.
- What is it about? Tony asked with a suspicious tone.
- It is about the meeting today, urgent. Jarvis? you said.
- Yes? the AI asked.
- Please print an email titled “urgent”, received this morning, please. you stated with a calm voice.
- What is the letter about? Jarvis asked.
- It’s urgent and highly important. you answered.
- Very well. Jarvis replied and did a quick search from your work email. Then the printer started to print a message titled “urgent”. You took the paper, glanced it through and handed it to Tony.
- My letter of resigning, Mr. Stark. Do you want to me to go now or shall I work till the end of this week? Jarvis, please make a mark to the log-file that the letter has been handed to Mr. Stark personally at 11:59 am, 21st of October 2015. you spoke with a overly polite tone.
- Certainly. Jarvis stated.
- Shit! Tony Stark said and leaned to the edge of your desk.
- Fine… How about I’ll offer you a new job, starting now? he suggested suddenly.
- Excuse me? you asked.
- Just hear me out. You’ll work for the Avengers directly, double… triple salary… I’ll compensate every bit of damage that the sweep caused to your apartment and you’ll get your own assistant… an army of assistants. Tony listed.

- Wow… that is tempting… you commented, although you didn't quite know whether you wanted to deal with a person like Tony Stark, now that he had ordered such havoc at your apartment... but then on the other hand, working for the Avengers would look good on your CV.
- And you will be the head of PR of the Avengers, not Stark Industries, and you will get a security clearance high enough to even date Cap. Tony continued hoping that you would find his offer appealing,
- Why is everyone assuming that I want to… never mind… I will think about it. you answered. Tony nodded and asked about the lunch once more. You kindly declined the offer and were left alone in the office… a booth, more like. You leaned back and closed your eyes.
- Jarvis… you said.
- Yes? the AI asked.
- Please unlock the computer. you commanded.
- Unfortunately Mr. Starks instructions were quite clear. Jarvis answered.
- Fine… can you please dim the lights? you asked.
- Sure. Jarvis said and dimmed the lights. Your booth did not have any windows so it became rather dark.
- Thank you. you said.

You managed to be alone for less than ten minutes when a familiar voice said
- Jarvis, lights on.
It was Steve. He had come to check out your hand and you.
- Skipping lunch? he asked.
- I would but Jarvis locked my computer. you answered and sighed.
- I see… How is your hand doing? Steve asked.
- It’s okay. It has been better, could be worse… you commented and rolled your eyes.
- Let me see. he said and this time you did not resist. He checked the bandage and the wound.
- I suspect that there is still some glass because it has not started to heal. I will take you to the nurse now. Steve stated with an assertive tone.
- I am sure it’s not necessary… you chuckled.
- Either you will come with me or I will carry you. Your call. he answered and folded his arms.
- Fine… lead the way. you said and stood up from your chair. You both walked along the long corridors and suddenly he said
- So you decided to quit.

- Uhf… Yes… wait… how do you know about it? you asked.
- Well… Stark came upstairs and did not seem happy at all. We knew that he had gone to ask you for a lunch so it was obvious that it was something you had said… or done. he explained. You inhaled deeply and after sighing you replied.
- Yeah… and then he offered me another job-
- Are you going to take it? Steve asked curiously, maybe a little but hopefully even.
- I am not sure yet. Working for the Avengers would look good in my CV, but I don’t think I’m actually qualified. To be honest… I don’t think I’m even qualified to be a trainee. I don’t drink coffee so I cannot even make a pot of good-tasting coffee. you answered and sighed.
- Yeah… sorry about that. Steve apologized with an embarrassed voice.
- What? you asked and stepped in to the medical ward.
- For… that… Steve said.
- Milk and two sugars? you asked.
- Yeah… that. he mumbled, which was very unlikely to such strong character like Captain America.
- Nah, it’s okay. you said and listened to Steve explaining the situation to the nurse. She took the bandage away and put your hand under a bright light and a magnification glass. She said something about glass and took small tweezers. She pulled out three small glass pieces, washed the hand and then put a new bandage to it. She told you to come and show it again in few days so she could monitor whether it had started to heal or not. You thanked her and then returned to the office area with Steve.

You were hungry but the lunch break was over. When you got to your booth you asked Jarvis to finally open the computer and print a copy of the memo for you. This time he actually did what you asked him to do. Him… or it… Jarvis after all wasn’t a human but an artificial intelligence, an operating system.
You took sent the memo to the cloud where everyone attending to the meeting could either download or print it. Then you headed to the meeting. Usually you were silent during these meetings. The suits did the talking and you just observed and took notes. This time however you had a feeling that you had to talk as well. The meeting had started already when you walked to the room.
- What are you doing here? a suit asked.
- Uhm… the meeting was supposed to begin half past twelve… you have started early. you stated with a confused tone.
- Yes, but your meeting is upstairs. the suit answered.
- I’m sure there is a mistake… I never go upstairs. you commented.
- I guess, now you do (Y/N). the suit said and closed the door. You were left standing in the corridor. You checked the time from your phone and hurried to the elevator. The times that you had been upstairs were countable with fingers of one hand and it was every time very unnerving to push the button of the top floor. The doors closed and opened after a moment. You stepped out from the elevator. The top floor looked different and the same than during the party. You saw the Avengers sitting at the sofa and you walked there. You were there a few minutes too early and were relieved that you had not gotten late.

- So… Tony begun.
- Maybe some beverages… he continued. You nodded but before you even turned, he motioned you to sit down.
- Right… you mumbled.
- Okay… first, we need to know whether you’ll accept my offer or not. Tony said. Everyone looked at you.
The waitress brought a tray of beverages to the table and asked someone to move the hammer. Everyone looked at you. You leaned backwards and crossed your hands.
- I’m not going to touch Thors hammer! you exclaimed and made everyone laugh.
- I’ve offended the Norse god and I’m not going to do it anymore. you continued just barely aloud. Thor looked at you and smiled. He nodded.
- No… Still not going to do it. you stated and shook your head. Thor sighed and lifted the hammer off the table.
- So… will you accept or not? Tony asked again.
You stayed quiet for a moment and then said
- Yes. But I need to get a proper training for this job. I need to be able to feel that I am capable and qualified to do it.
- Heck, you can lift Thor's hammer… I’m sure you can do anything. Clint Barton chuckled.

- Mr. Barton, I’ve apologized for that many times, and I’ve been informed that it is something that one can’t do… so… you stated and took a deep breath. You didn't like it when people rubbed your mistakes into your face after apologizing for them.
- Wait… can’t… like “be allowed to”? Natasha asked.
- Yes… I would like to emphasize that I meant no offense. you stated.
- None taken… Thor said.
- But… it’s not about “being allowed to”. It’s about “being physically able to”. she continued. Natasha continued.
- What do you mean? you asked confused.
- I see that my fellow Avengers have not explained to you, my lady, that it is impossible because the hammer is only for the one who is worthy of its might. It means that even my brother Loki, being immortal and a prince of Asgard, is unable to lift it. Thor explained.
- Oh… you said and looked down.

- So that is the real reason why you want to keep me here, Mr. Stark, isn’t it? you asked. You were disappointed to find out the real reason... to find out that it had nothing to do with your skills or personality... or even your potential.
- Well… if anyone finds out about your “gift”, our enemies could find it interesting. Tony admitted. You groaned and stated with a frustrated tone
- But I do not understand why I have “it”. Or what that “it” even is… Are you going to lock me up and-
- No, of course not… the only thing is that you need to accept a bodyguard, I am sure that Captain Stars-and-Stripes will volunteer, until you’ll be able to defend yourself. You do not need to worry. We will train you well. Tony answered.
- We take a good care of our fellow Avengers. Steve added.
- But… I’m not an Avenger. you commented and shifted your gaze elsewhere from the heroes.
- From now on, you are… You will soon see that fighting the battles in the meetings and dinners are actually no different from fighting them in the field. Steve continued. His comment made you feel better, although you knew that he was most likely just saying it to make you feel less different... but... it worked.

The rest of the meeting you listened the guys talking about new weapons and such. When the meeting was over, Thor walked to you.
- What do you think it means? you asked.
- I do not know, my lady, but I am quite sure that it has something to do with your good heart. I see kindness in your eyes when I look at you. You have high moral standards and keen mind. the Norse Demigod answered.
- And so does Captain Rogers… It’s not an explanation. I hope you do not feel threatened. you commented with a polite and friendly tone.
- No, my lady… I know that you do not wish to rule Asgard or possess the power of thunder and lightning. Thor said.
- I-I… indeed don’t. you answered and shook your head. Steve walked to you.
- I will have the first watch. he said and smiled at you slightly.
- Uhm… it’s not necessary. Really… you stated and flashed a reassuring smile.
- You keep saying that and I keep disagreeing with you. Steve stated firmly.
- Everyone who are aware of it, were in the party. Don’t you trust the people of your own, Captain Rogers? you asked.
- (Y/N), recently S.H.I.E.L.D had to be shut down because the Nazi organization HYDRA had their spies even in the highest positions and many people almost got killed. If we have learned anything from it, is to trust no one and keep your friends safe. he answered.
- How do I know that I can or should trust you? you asked. Steve made a silent "hm" -sound and then answered playfully
- Well… I am Captain America… I am incapable of lying-
- Oh… I should trust your word for trusting you! you exclaimed and laughed a little. Steve laughed with you a little which was a relief since you didn't want to offend him.
- No… trust yourself. Do you think you can trust me? he asked. You took a deep breath and stated
- Yes… I do trust you, but I still must protest-
- Fine… think about it as a friendly get-together. he suggested.
- You’re not giving up, are you? you asked and smiled a little.
- No. Steve stated.
- Okay… You know where I live… so I’ll meet you there. you suggested before leaving. You had to clean your desk anyway because you were going to change the floor where you were working at.
- Alright. See you soon. Steve said and smiled a little.

Steve came to your place like he had promised. You laughed and talked a lot and then you made him a bed in your living room. The next day he brought you to work and this same happened over and over again and with time he and you became quite close friends. He escorted you to the PR-events when it was possible.
About the hammer-thing… no one came up with an explanation that had actually made any sense. You did not touch the hammer anymore. Thor had told you many times that it was “cool” and he did not see it as a problem, but you thought it was better if you just did not do it.

You had a crush on Steve. It was getting harder to ignore now that you had been working closely together for six months. Tony was teasing you about your friendship and Natasha was teasing Steve for the same thing.
- You know Rogers… she began and rolled her eyes.
- …sometimes you have to almost lose the person closest to you before you realize that the person is actually closest to you. Natasha continued.
- What are you talking about? Steve asked with a confused tone.
- But Rogers, maybe you don’t have to take it that far. Maybe you should try to realize it before anything happens… in our profession, something always happens. Natasha explained, although in Steve's opinion she was speaking in riddles.
- I do not understand. Steve stated with a baffled tone.
- You and (Y/N). It is quite obvious. Natasha stated and shook her head. She couldn't believe that Steve, being a highly intelligent super soldier and everything, could be so blind and ignorant.
- We are close friends, I don’t see the need for a fuss- Steve answered. Natasha groaned and began
- Are you completely blind? The way she looks at you, Rogers, first it was different but now it’s something else-

You interrupted the conversation by accident when you came to tell Steve that Tony was looking for him.
- I’m sorry to interrupt, but Tony is looking for you, Steve. you said.
- Thank you… and Natasha, I’ll get back to you about... that. Steve stated.
- Sure… she answered.
- I interrupted something important, didn’t I? you asked with an apologetic tone. Natasha cleared her throat and commeted
- We were just talking about you-
- Me? you exclaimed with deep confusion in your voice.
- You like Rogers, don’t you? Natasha asked.
- He is a close friend, yes. you answered and smiled a little.
- And nothing more? she asked curiously.
- Uhm… No…? you asked with a confused tone.
- Are you sure? I mean… I’ve seen how you have been looking at him lately. How you’re careful all the time not to flirt with him or get close to him. Natasha listed. She didn't believe for a second that you didn't have deeper feelings for Steve... Maybe you didn't realize that fact yourself but she was sure about it.
- That doesn’t make any sense… If… IF I was indeed attracted to him… wouldn’t I try to act in a quite opposite manner? you asked with an amused tone.
- No… because I believe that you’re trying to keep your feelings hidden. Natasha commented and smirked.
- Hmm. Well… that is a good thing then that I do not have any feelings for him, besides friendly. you said and left the conversation.
- You may fool him… hell, you may even fool yourself, but you cannot fool me! she exclaimed and laughed. You were annoyed. You knew that Natasha was a genius at reading people, but you did not like to be so easily read. You waved at Steve who was still having a meeting with Tony. Steve noticed that something was bothering you, because you were basically running out. Then he looked at Natasha who was cleaning her weapon. She made a “what?” –gesture and focused on the gun again. She knew that it was only a matter of time when you both had to stop denying what was obvious to everyone else already.

Chapter Text

Let me tell you my story. A story that will shed some light into the reason why I decided to do what I am about to do… or did, depending on how you look at it. It is not that I am not happy, because I am. It is not that I would hate life, because I don’t. But there is a deal that I’ve made which I cannot honor. My life changed when I was 15 years old. I did not understand it then, but now looking back, I can see it clearly.

That was when I met him the first time. It was an accident and I did not know where my foolish prayer would take me. ”What happened?” you might ask and you probably will but after I’ve told you my story, you will not believe a word of it. You will think I am crazy, secretly depressed… you will wonder could you had done something differently. Were there signs? Do not feel bad for me… the other option was twice as terrible.

So… I was 15, no need to tell you more of what I was like when it does not really matter. I believe that the outcome of everything would not change if I had been different then. The only thing that would had changed it all is that I had not sought solitude that one winter night at that frozen lake. That’s when I met him. That’s when I made my deal with him. He offered me life at the moment of my death. The price to be paid after I had doubled my years. An eternity in the eyes of a teenager to live as one pleases and then serve him forever. The debt is too great so I’ll take the easy way out. I am signing off before he comes. It was not because I hate life, it is because I hate what I would become.

***
15 years ago

You were frustrated. Your friends had bailed again, it was not the first time. “Typical” you thought and took your coat and headed out. Your parents were gone for the weekend and you had invited three of your best friends to have a slumber party at your parents place and the night was supposed to be full of horror movies, pop corn and girl talk, hell, you had even managed to get a couple of alcoholic drinks for you and your friends. You had spent all your weekly allowances from four last weeks to get everything so the disappointment tasted bitter when they texted you that they had decided to go to this cool party. You were invited of course and could bring the drinks with you. Figures.
“Yeah, right!” you thought when you opened the first bottle of cider and put the first VHS-cassette into the player. The horror movie ended and it was midnight. You had drank almost everything and decided to go out for a walk because your head was spinning. You very rarely drank but this time you had even drank a few shots of vodka that your father kept hidden for special occasions.
You lived by a lake. It was spring and it was dangerous to walk on the ice that was getting thinner every day as the sun warmed the surface. You did not care, honestly; you were too drunk to care and too drunk to notice the ice rattling dangerously as you walked further away from the shore.
It was a beautiful night. There were stars, the moon… satellites crossing the sky one after another with steady speed. You shouted at the night sky and listened at the silence that followed after the echo had receded.

The next step was fatal. You heard the ice cracking loudly and before you noticed it you had fallen under the ice. Your long winter coat soaked water quickly and dragged you down even though you did your best to kick yourself back to the surface. The cold water surrounded and you knew that soon it would fill your lungs. During those final moments you abandoned your skeptic mind and prayed that someone would come to save you. If there was a god, if there was a devil… Anyone…

The devil answered.

As you blacked out you woke up in another place, far away from everything you knew. You were standing on a high mountain watching distant galaxies glowing in the horizon. There was someone with you. You turned around and could only see a tall figure standing a bit further away from you.
- Am I dead? you asked.
- You will soon be.
His answer echoed everywhere and you felt his presence slipping away.
- Wait! you pleaded.
- Is there a way, that I could… not… die? you asked. He laughed.
- Fine, whatever. you mumbled and turned away.
- I will make a deal with you. you heard him saying. This time the voice came right behind you.
- I shall save your life now, but there is a price to pay, as we gods do not do charity.
You wanted to turn but he put his hand on your shoulder and kept you still. You saw the horizon changing into darkness as there was water rising silently and reminded you that you were wasting your own time.
- I shall wait you to double your years, but then I shall come to you and you will kneel to me willingly. I will rule you forever and you shall leave your past life behind.
- Yes, fine! Anything! you exclaimed because you could feel the water drowning you although there was nothing to see.

You woke up in your bed. Your head hurt and reminded you about the alcohol you had consumed the previous night. You chuckled about the dream you had had. Drunken madness mixed with the horror movie, you assured yourself. Anything but would make no sense.
You cleaned the bottles before your parents got back and continued your life like nothing had happened. Your life went on. You graduated, got your first boyfriend, broke up with him, when it got clear that you wanted different things; he wanted to settle down and have a family, you did not. He wanted to move to the countryside, you did not. He wanted spend the weekends home, you did not. You had always a feeling eating you out that your life would soon end and your time would run out.
When you turned 25, the dreams begun. You had kind of felt someone watching you from the shadows for 10 years already but you had never dreamt about… him. When you heard his voice, it sounded familiar and dangerous at the same time, enchanting. Maybe it was your morbid curiosity that was attracted to that voice, that presence that had followed you throughout your years.
Then you saw the news about New York and something clicked. You knew that the man who haunted your dreams was real. You knew that he was a monster. Loki they called him. You read about him, all those terrible things that the Norse mythology said about him and how he would bring the end of the world. Prophecies.
The thing was that your rational mind would had not believed anything sooner but since his face was all over the news and every time he looked at the camera, you felt anxious. You did not know why, the memory had been buried deep. Until one night you spoke with him. His sinister grin burned into your mind as he reminded you that you had made a deal with him, you had promised to serve him forever.
Your 30th birthday was approaching and the dreams were getting more disturbing. You saw him in the shadows even when you were awake, you could hear him laughing.

“No!” you thought as you walked home. You wrote the letter and read it through so many times that eventually you knew it by heart. You took out the garbage, emptied the fridge and ate one last meal. The clock was turning midnight and your birthday was approaching. You went out for a walk with no intentions of coming back.
You stopped walking when you reached the highest part of the bridge. The water ran black somewhere far below. Your alarm went off; you were officially 30 years old. However nothing happened. You sighed relieved. “What did you expect? Loki the God of Mischief to come down from the heavens and claim your allegiance or obedience?” you thought and started to laugh.

Then you felt it, the presence behind you. More vivid than ever before. You squeezed the cold metal of the railing and stared into the darkness.
- I still expect you to pay your debt. he said.
- I rather jump and drown. you muttered.
- Stupid mortal! he said and coughed. You turned to look at him, to face him at the end of your life. He was covering his side with his hand and groaned in pain. You took a couple of steps away and figured that if you now ran, he would not be able to catch you. Jumping into the freezing water seemed like a very bad idea now.
You ran home. You dropped the keys a couple of times as you tried to open the lock with shaky hands. Finally the key fit and turned. You slammed the door shut and locked it behind you. You took off your coat and walked further into the apartment. You heard the sound of paper rattling and saw the tall man putting the letter you had written on the table.
- I knew you would not do it. he said mockingly.
- How did you get in? you asked with a shaky voice.
- I am a God! You stupid, ignorant mortal. he shouted angrily making him cough again and grin in pain.
- I came to claim your payment.
- I have no idea what you’re talking about. you lied.
- Do not lie to the God of Lies! he said and watched you with deep disgust.
- No… I really… you said and he grabbed your hand taking you back to the moment when you were going to die, 15 years ago. For a moment you could not breathe and you were panicking. Then he brought you back, still not letting your arm go.
- Shall I take you back there and leave you this time? he hissed. You shook him off and grabbed a cooking knife that was laying on the kitchen counter. You pointed it at the tall man which made him laugh.
- You mewling quim, put that knife down before you’ll hurt yourself…
- No! you exclaimed.
- You pathetic mortal! You seriously think that you could harm me with that ridiculous toy?
- You bleed… you said and pointed at the wound on his side. He laughed and corrected his posture.
- You really are a fool. he smirked. You put the blade on your wrist and thought that “hey, maybe threatening my own life will do the trick”. You knew that the blade was sharp and all you needed to do is add pressure and… you breathed with shallow, quick breaths and stared at the blade. Threatening yourself instead was not making any sense even in your mind but you were acting on an impulse without really thinking rationally.
- Boo! he said and stepped closer suddenly. You jumped and dropped the knife as you noticed the red horizontal line appearing on your wrist. The knife fell forever and the sound that it made when it finally hit the ground echoed in your mind.
- O-o-oh… shi-shit! you stuttered and stared as the warm crimson liquid began slowly drip out from your wrist. The wound was not wide or even deep but it was enough to shock you, mostly because you snapped back into a reality and realized that you were behaving foolishly, very irrationally.

Then happened something what you had not expected in million years; Loki grabbed your wrist and took the first piece of fabric that he could find to bind the wound. He recited a spell to calm you down and sat you down. After a moment you returned from that state of being hypnotized feeling still relaxed. You knew it most likely was a false sense of safety that would put you into danger… it was snow; it invites you to fall asleep with its softness but then claims your life silently.
- You’re hurt. you stated and got up.
- Aren’t you so observing now. he said mockingly.
- Fine… I don’t really care. you said and picked up the knife that was still laying on the floor. You put it into the sink and wiped the drops of blood off the floor. He started to take his long leather coat off from his shoulders and twisting his body made him groan. You reached to help him.
- Come on, let me… you said and helped him. You hung the coat on the hanger. It was a heavy coat with metal details sowed on it. He took off his tunic and you took a clean cloth and some antiseptics from your drawer. You poured a generous amount of the disinfecting liquid on the cloth and waited for a moment as it soaked the cloth. You walked in front of Loki.
- This might sting… a lot. you said and pressed the cloth against his bare side. He jerked slightly but otherwise there was no sign of pain from him, at least he did not let it show.
- You are bold, mortal, to cause me pain. Was it poison you put in the cloth?
- It was antiseptics.
- And what is the meaning of it?
- It prevents infection.
- You stupid mortal! I am a God, I cannot get your mortal deceases! he hissed. You let out one short, annoyed sigh.
- And how I was supposed to know that? Huh? I am no expert on “the differences between Gods and mortals”. you exclaimed and threw the cloth on the floor, or more like smashed it.
- I am sorry that I cared and I actually tried to help you. But never mind… I will not do that again. you said and tried to keep a straight face. Now you finally noticed how graceful his features were. His face was framed with black hair and his physique was… perfect. And his eyes… when he looked at you, he really saw you. It was terrifying and mesmerizing at the same time.
After he had cleaned and tied his wound he put on his tunic and walked to the living room where you were sitting.
- I presume that we should put some of that disinfecting medicine in your wound…
- No, we should not.
- And may require why that is?
- Because I don’t care if I’ll get infected and die.
- You’re being ridiculous. he said, grabbed your hand and removed the bandage. The wound started to show signs of bleeding immediately. Loki took the bottle of antiseptics and poured a generous amount of it on the wound. You tried to pull your hand away but he was too strong. Your eyes filled with tears as you tried to breathe through the pain. Then Loki tied the wound surprisingly gently and soothed the pain away by caressing the skin around the bandage. You had to remind yourself about “snow”; inviting yet deadly.
- Besides, my allays are growing thin… I must settle with the ones I have. he said. You heard an undertone of deep disrespect in his voice and lashed back
- Well maybe you should think how you treat people around you. One might have more allays if one had a heart.
You pulled your hand away and sat down. You tried to wipe your tears away as unnoticed as possibly but his sharp eyes were always watching your every move. It made you anxious.

- I suppose you want to sleep. you said in an emotionless tone.
- You may use my bed since I don’t really have a guestroom, as you can see. you continued.
- I however will not sleep. you mumbled.
- Wh-
- Because I don’t trust you.
- Are you worried that I would take you in your sleep or kill you? I can assure you that if I wanted you dead, I certainly would not do it when you’re sleeping… There’s no fun in that and I would not take you because I have no desire for you.
- It is good that our feelings are mutual then.
- Are you claiming that you do not desire me? You’re lying.
- No… because I prefer men with kind hearts… Which obviously you lack.
- Remember your place, mortal! I am a God!
- And I am an atheist, gods mean nothing to me.
After this either of you did not say anything for a long time. The minutes passed as Loki kept staring at you, working his hypnotism-spell which was not working that well now. You stared him back with a defiant look on your face. Until his hypnotism really started to take over; your eyelids became heavier and closed completely until you recoiled as your head dipped. You heard Loki speaking in a soft, calm voice and it pushed you finally under. You were asleep, curled into a ball on your sofa-chair.

Why Loki wanted you to sleep? Well… first of all, he had a free access to your mind when you were sleeping. He had a power of telepathy but when you were awake you were constantly fighting him, which annoyed and intrigued him at the same time. And secondly he wanted to get some sleep and felt safe enough to do so when you were asleep as well; he feared you, although he would never admit it to anyone, maybe not even to himself but he did fear you. You were defiant, headstrong and he felt that your eyes were able to read him and reach his soul. Thirdly he was annoyed that you got under his skin so easily so he took every bit of co-operation from your part, willing or not, as a battle victory in the war of two strong characters.
He was slightly offended that you had stated that he had no heart. He did have a heart, it was nowadays a cold heart but could you really blame him? After all he had been put through, would you blame him? He decided to break you with kindness; trick you into thinking that he could change and there was the good side of him. This plot pleased him and he chuckled in your bed when he thought about how mercilessly you would fall for him, oh no, there was no mercy for you. Only if he had known that his grand scheme was going to fail and eventually change everything. It all began with a small act of putting a blanket on you after you had finally fallen asleep.

You woke up. The blanket had slid on the floor at some point. The room was cold and every muscle in your body ached. You stood up and stretched your back as well as arms. The reality hit you instantly when you saw the green-black-leather coat hanging in the hallway. You changed your clothes and fixed your makeup and hair. You walked to your fridge and confirmed what you already knew; fridge was empty, you had thrown away everything that could get bad.
- Loki? you said with a hoarse voice. He did not answer.
- I need to go to the store. I will come back soon. you said and then left the apartment after dressing up your winter gear. You walked slowly as the snow fell down from the skies. You figured that there was no point to try escaping because he had found you once… twice, already so there was no logical reason that you would be able to hide yourself well enough. It most likely required some form of magic anyway. Besides you were drawn to him and now that ending your own life did not seem like a good idea anymore, you decided to adjust to the new situation, to try at least.
You bought some chicken, bread, fruit, cheese and other things that were necessary for a brunch. You returned home, no sign from the bloody God of mischief still, oh wait… he was in shower. You put the chicken into the oven and prepared everything.

Loki had managed to find a towel and stepped out from the shower but he was drying his hair with it. He walked totally naked in front of you.
- Okay… Would you please put some clothes on? you said and looked intentionally elsewhere.
- Surely you can’t deny that you enjoy what you see.
- Actually, I am not even looking. Please. you said in a very assertive tone and looked at him straight into his eyes.
- Anyway… I had no idea what you like to eat for brunch so… I bought a bit of everything. you said and were quite proud to present the table. He looked unpleased.
- Okay… You seriously have to start to treat me with respect if you want to be my friend.
- Friend?
- Hm, what I tried to say, if you don’t want me to kick you out… you’d better start behaving.
- You think you can kick me out? I highly doubt that.
- Maybe not but I can always ignore you and believe me… I am quite good at ignoring people. Care to try?
- No, maybe not. he commented. You took the chicken wings out from the oven and put them in a bowl which you placed on the table.
- Why are you treating me with such kindness all of a sudden? Yesterday you were ready to take your own life just to escape me.
- That is true. you said and stared down at the table.
- Maybe it’s… you continued and sighed as you tried to find the words.
- Well, you know… I’ve known you for five years… kind of… in a very twisted way you have become a part of my life and even before that I felt you watching me. It is true that I was ready to end my life yesterday, mostly because I was afraid…
- And you’re not afraid anymore? he asked.
- I don’t know. The rational part of me is terrified but the naive, hopeful part of me is telling me that I will be alright. Doesn’t make any sense, I am aware of that and I have strongly mixed feelings about the whole thing… Besides it is mostly your magic that prevents me from freaking out… you muttered and you were right. Loki kept you in the state of “manageable” at all times but he was impressed about your analytic way of handling things.

- What do you want from me? you asked after a long silence.
- Obviously you came here to claim my debt to be paid, but surely there is some other motive… It is quite difficult for me to imagine you collecting all your debts personally, I mean… I am just a mortal… just a stupid, insignificant human.
- Well… It seems that you see more than I have expected. Very well… I find you fascinating… he said.
-…in all your simplicity, that is. he added. He had to add it even though he didn’t necessarily think that… in a great extent at least.
- I watched you grow up. I followed you from the shadows, patiently waiting…
- Waiting for what?
- Well… time to pass… This day to come.
- You could had just come and said “hi” if you wanted to get to know me face to face.
- No, that was not what I meant. he stated although it was exactly what he had meant.
- Very well… What is it then that you want? I have no power, no wealth… you do not find me attractive… There is absolutely nothing that you can gain from me. Unless of course… this all is only for your own amusement.
He made a small “hm” –sound and focused on his breakfast. Later that day you felt like you needed some fresh air.
- I think I’m going to go out for a moment to clear my head. you said and rubbed your forehead. Loki nodded.
- If you want to join me… you said and put on your jacket.
- Yes, I suppose I could join you. he said and conjured himself a normal suit.
You both walked on the snowy streets just silently, sometimes you discussed about nothing of great importance and then returned home. This continued for almost two months that he spent with you, hiding from his enemies. Little by little he started to tell you about his past and reasons why he had done the things he had done. He did not have to use hypnosis to keep you calm and one of the milestones in his opinion was when he made you laugh the first time.
He noticed that the kinder he was towards you the more relaxed you were in his company and the more relaxed you were, the better he felt. It was almost like his past had melted away. He had to get away from you. He was the God of Mischief, not the God of Kittens and Darlings. When he told you that he was leaving you felt relieved at first because it meant that you got to return to your own life and you did not have to be on your guard all the time, well… you were always slightly alert even though you appeared relaxed. The only time when you totally unguarded was when you were sleeping.

But when you were sleeping, although you did not remember any of it, you had told Loki anything and everything about yourself what he wanted to know. He knew your fears, he knew your dreams and hopes and even things that you only knew in your subconscious because when you were dreaming, you were not filtering anything but allowing him inside your head.
And so he left. Vanished into thin air. The apartment felt empty and you sometimes noticed talking to the walls just because you had gotten used to having Loki there listening. You realized that even though you had been scared of him before and fed yourself with all those terrifying scenarios of how he would surely end your life, you came to a realization that maybe you had just liked the drama; it was easy to freak out even though he had never actually given you any reason to fear him.
Okay, yes, he was a mass murderer. Yes he had slipped into some kind of insanity and his lust for power had blinded him. This mindset was something that put yourself on the edge; when the rational part of your mind told you that he had killed a lot of people, the other side of you immediately said “but think how cruelly he had been deceived by his father”. When your rational part said that “excuse me, he wanted to take over the Earth” your other part said “well… one has to have goals and being ambiguous is not bad” and so on… Oh, your favorite was “come on, he is a trickster! Do you think he would just suddenly change?” Which turned into “true, but he would never trick me… right?”

Yeah, right.

Loki was tormented. He did not know whether he should turn himself in and take the punishment for his crimes, should he just go on with his mischievous life or return to you. If he turned himself in, he would most definitely face time in Asgardian prison. For how long? He did not know. He would be most likely also be robbed out from his powers too, so he would not be able to come into your dreams… But when he had served his time, he would be free to do whatever he wanted. He would be able to live a life that did not require hiding. Let’s face it, Loki was not a hiding-type.
If he continued his mischievous life, it meant that you wanted to have nothing to do with it or him. “Why do I care about her anyway?” he thought and scolded himself for being so soft. Surely there was still plenty of chaos to cause, galaxies to visit… people to rule… wars to be fought and won… but that life would not include you. “Why is that a problem!?” his mischievous part shouted but somehow it was a thing that had to be taken into consideration.
Or he could just return to you… but someday he would surely be found and taken away. Hearts would get broken, lives ruined… but at least it would be an amusement for some time. Then, when it would end, it would… end. Life was about letting go anyway… Why should he care?

But he did care and that was the problem.

A few weeks turned into few months. Loki had not visited you even once since he had left. You did not even feel his presence lurking in the shadows. One evening you realized that you actually… missed him and you had broken down into tears with a silent wish that he would hear you and come to comfort you.
You missed his voice and even his smell, you missed arguing with him and listening to his stories about faraway realms. You sometimes spoke to him although you thought that he most likely did not listen. And he did not. He traveled the nine realms causing havoc but it did not give him the same pleasure than it had before. It was almost like a sad excuse for pleasure.

One night, 8 months after he had left your apartment, he came back. You were walking home, it was a rainy, gloomy night. You had forsaken any hope for his return and had gotten used to the quietness and solitude of not having his presence around you.
Suddenly you felt a strong arm wrapping around your waist and dragging you into a dark alley. Your screams were muffled with a large hand before you had managed to even call for help. The strangers body felt strong and solid against you and even though you tried to fight it, you were completely at his mercy. He pushed you against the wall leaned against the brick wall with both of his hands imprisoning you between him and the wall.
- (Y/N)… he panted.
- Loki?
- I have decided to turn myself in and face my sentence whatever it might be. he said with a trembling voice.
- Oh…
- I don’t have much time to explain everything, but I went to the far corners of this world and I continued living mischievously but chaos does not make me happy anymore.
- Uh-uhuh?
- I tried to forget ever meeting you in person and I stopped visiting your dreams…
- If you have been so anxious to forget about me… then why are you here? It has been 8 months…
- I came to steal a kiss from your lips before I’ll turn myself in.
You sighed. It was difficult to understand the situation. The whole past year had been such a rollercoaster ride that you did not know what to think anymore; you had feared Loki, you had met him and spent a couple of months with him that caused you to maybe fall in love with him a little and then he had left you.
- You left… You have no right to ask anything from me.

He nodded and released you. He pressed his head down and walked with heavy steps further away.
- Wait! you said before he managed to vanish. He stopped. You walked to him and put your hands on his cheeks. He leaned closer and you pressed your lips against his softly. After few seconds of feeling your lips just barely he dared to kiss you with more intensity, but it was not a passionate kiss. It was more like desperate, sorrowful and full of longing. A beautiful goodbye. He wrapped his strong arms gently around you and pulled you tightly into his embrace and stroked your hair slowly. He had missed everything about you and feeling you in his arms was a confirmation for him that this was the right thing to do. Before he vanished he whispered softly into your ear

- I will return to you.

Chapter Text

There had been plenty of teasing about the fact that you and Steve “clicked”. You had been working quite closely together for 10 months, just a week to 11 months and when you had started to work the Avengers you had become great friends quickly. Then you had fallen in love with him quite sneakily. You had not meant it to happen, mostly because of the friendship –thing, which you had not wanted to put in any kind of risk, but also because you worked together and you were worried that if something went wrong, it would surely cause bad vibes at the office.

Besides you assumed that Steve saw you only as his friend and co-worker and it was fine. However your working colleagues kept teasing you both about the obvious spark of attraction which neither of you had admitted. But against everything you assumed, Steve was attracted to you, no, more than attracted. He respected you and knew that you were a wonderful person who deserved so much love. He knew in his heart that he wanted to be that special person for you, besides he was jealous at every guy you had gone out on dates with. You were friends, very good friends indeed and talked about your dates occasionally.

One day you were both at the office. You were collecting papers after a meeting without knowing that Steve was spying on you in the doorway. He liked the way you mumbled always something to yourself when you were alone. He could had watched you forever but this time he had something he had to ask you and it could not wait. He knocked the wall three times very sharply which caused you to jump a bit because you got spooked. After swiftly recovering from the heart attack you turned around and saw Steve standing a little further away.
- Oh, Steve! Please, come in. I am just trying to collect these papers after a meeting.
- Shouldn’t you have someone taking care of cleaning, an assistant or-
- I like to clean up my own mess, you know that! Besides it helps me to concentrate to the next meeting. But enough of that, how may I help you?
- I have been thinking… he began and rubbed nervously his chin. You watched his body language curiously. You had never seen him this nervous.
- Yes?
- I think it would be time for me to gather courage to ask you out. he said after inhaling and exhaling slowly a couple of times.
- Sure… That would be great! Shall I organize something? Like a team-building –evening? you asked and assumed that he meant to ask you out for a “friendly get-together with the whole team”.
- No! I mean, it is not what I meant. I am trying to ask you out on a date here. he answered. You managed to let a small, surprised “oh?” which led into an awkward, rather long silence. “Did I hear right? Did I understand right? Did he ask me out, on a date?” you kept thinking until you recoiled and had to say something because the look on Steve’s face was turning from shy but hopeful into disappointed and embarrassed.

- I… I would love that. you answered with a smile and you could see the relieved look appearing on his face when he heard your answer.
- Great! So, well… Tomorrow. he said and tried to keep his cool and not to sound too overly excited about the date.
- It’s a date! Uhm, Steve, dress code? you asked.
- Clothes... you know... date... clothes... he stammered and smiled with a light blush on his face.
- I see… Are we talking about a dinner in a fancy restaurant or… a paintball match? Something in between? You must give me something. you teased. You had seen many kind of dates and sometimes you had even attended a “hiking –date” in high heels because the date had not told you anything about his plans.
- Well, you are the first girl I am taking out so I am thinking something quite traditional. I am sure you got the idea. You… are an expert on dating, aren’t you? he asked and you could hear that he was getting annoyed about his own nervousness.
- Yes, expert on countless of first dates… Not on “serious dating” with someone I care about… very much. you answered and blushed a little. Steve got courage from your answer and the look on his face softened.

- Alright… Uhm… Traditional… Dinner? Relaxed, casual dinner. you suggested.
- Yes, that sounds good. he commented and flashed a shy smile. He usually looked into your eyes when he talked to you, but now he was lacking courage to meet you gaze.
- Don’t stress! It’s just me. you chuckled.
- But that’s the thing. It is you and therefore I don’t want to screw it up. he replied. You blushed for real this time and played with your necklace nervously. The silence continued until you noticed the clock on the wall. You had to get on with the rest of the day.
- Okay... Listen, I don’t want to push you out, but I really need to get ready for the next meeting. you said and walked Steve out from the conference room.
- Yeah, good talk. he said. The moment was a little awkward.
- Indeed... you commented and watched Steve walking away. Then you realized that you had no idea where and when you were supposed to meet him. You called his name and ran to him. He stopped and turned.
- So... where and when? you asked.
- I'll come to pick you up at seven. he answered with an shy smile on his face.
- Sounds good. I'll see you then. you said, walked back into the conference room and closed the door behind you. You needed a moment to think this through and calm yourself down. It was not professional of you to smile like an idiot or blush at work.

Steve went to do some training but his mind was occupied to the point that he had to excuse himself to the bathroom where he washed his face with cold water and did a couple of victory-moves before returning to the combat-practice. He was happy that he had finally asked you out and even happier that you had accepted his invitation.

It was the next day and half past three when you went home. You had managed to take a couple hours off and get home earlier than usual. You usually worked overtime anyway and since you managed your hours yourself, you had decided to take some time to get ready for the date. Besides Stark did not care when you worked as long as you got the job done.
You quickly took a shower and then started to get ready. You had not been nervous but as you began to look for suitable clothes and then work on your face, you started to feel those small butterflies in your stomach.

It was almost time, just five minutes to seven. You heard the doorbell ring. One final look and then you went to open the door.
- Hi... Steve said and smiled shyly.
- Please, come in... I just have to... you said and walked to the living room. Steve came in and followed you. You turned around and were surprised to see him right behind you.
- Here... he said and gave you one deep red rose. You looked at him surprised and then smiled.
- Oh-wow… Thank you... I'll put it to water right now. Just a second. you said and opened the plastic, see through wrapping and put it to a bottle-vase.
- It's so beautiful! I’ve never gotten flowers from anyone… Thank you… that is very thoughtful of you. you said and the longer you talked the more mumble your speech became. You put the vase onto your dining table. Steve smiled. You took your coat, put on your shoes, took your purse and then followed him out. He was not driving a motorcycle this time but a black car. He opened the door for you and helped you to sit. Then he went around the car and got in to the driver seat.

He drove to Brooklyn and parked the car outside of a cozy-looking restaurant.
- I used to come here when I was young... he began.
- You still are... you commented.
- I'm over 90...
- Hey, age is only a number anyway. you said and got out from the car. Steve escorted you to the door and opened it. He motioned you to enter first and then followed you.
- Good evening. Do you have a reservation? the waiter asked as you stepped into the restaurant.
- Yes... The name is "Rogers". he answered her.
- This way, please. she said and lead you two to a table in the corner, by the window. The restaurant played old-styled music and it was half empty currently. The waiter brought you some ice water and menus.
- They haven't changed the menu. Steve said and smiled. You both ordered the food and some white wine to go with it.
- So you're from Brooklyn? you asked or more like stated.
- Yeah... but I'm sure you knew that already. It's in my files. Steve commented.
- Hm, I guess in this line of work you meet the people by their files. you mumbled.
- Let's forget the files. We're not here for business... right? he begged for your confirmation because he needed to know that you understood that he was there with you on a date, not as friends and definitely as co-workers.

- Yeah... sure! So Brooklyn... has it changed a lot? you asked with a curious tone.
- Yes it has... like the whole city has. I actually live here, nearby.
- You do? you asked with a surprised tone. You had not seen that in the files.
- Oh that's right. You have never visited my apartment. he commented. He had visited your apartment many times since you had been hanging out as friends from the beginning. He had never invited you over because he was not the type of guy who would “invite ladies over”.
- No I have not. So... I take you were not exactly a ladies man, before you became Mr. Still-Not-Ladies-Man. you continued and tried to come up with topics to talk about. It felt different to talk to Steve knowing that you were supposed to make a good impression on him, in a romantic sense.
- Ah.. you've seen my photo before the science experiment...
- Has nothing to do with that... Sure you were not the tallest or strongest of guys, but with your personality, I'm surprised that the ladies haven't been running after you... you stated.
- Haha... thank you...
- I would had... you commented.
- You would? he asked with a surprised tone.
- Yeah... totally. you said and blushed. Steve felt like he had to comment something so he said
- I would had asked you out, although I'm not and was not a womanizer -type...
- That, in my opinion, is good. you said and sipped your wine.

- How about you and your countless first dates? Should I be afraid of competition? he asked.
- Haha... you laughed, covered your mouth and had to struggle to keep the wine in and not burst it on Steves face.
- I bet you have eaten guys like me for breakfast... he teased.
- More like for every meal... but actually no... Countless first dates, yes, but... That's about it... you replied after you had calmed down.
- Oh come on... A woman like you...
- What's that supposed to mean? you laughed.
- Smart and funny... beautiful even... very beautiful... he said and blushed.
- Well thank you, flattery will get you anywhere, Mr. Rogers. Just keep 'em coming... you joked and made a sign with your hand that said "go on, go on".

- Would you like to dance? he asked suddenly.
- Uhm, wow this is getting serious, isn't it?
- Please... he said and stood up. He offered you his hand. You stood up and took his hand. He led you to the dance floor.
- I don't know the steps... you commented nervously.
- Don't worry... usually dancing is just an excuse to hold the lady... he said and placed his hand on your waist. You put your hand on his shoulder and he held your other hand in his. You swayed to the music for a moment keeping a friendly distance and then he spun you around a couple of times. After that he pulled you very close and wrapped his arm around you. You leaned your head against his broad, muscled chest. The moment was interrupted by the waiter who had come to tell you that the food had been served. Steve led you back to the table.
- Thanks for the dance. he said when he sat down.
- Thank you... it was... very... nice. you stammered. Your heart was about to burst and your head was spinning, but it had nothing to do with the actual spinning that you had been part of the dance.
- First of many, I hope. he said shyly. It was so strange to see Steve, mighty Captain America, so shy and cute. You started to eat. The food was a bit old fashioned, but very good. The atmosphere was like you had fallen through a wormhole into a time during the Second World War, the music and decor matched the atmosphere. You talked about your childhood and you told Steve about your family and that you missed them. After finishing the main course, Steve asked you to dance with him a couple of times and after eating delicious dessert, you left the restaurant and walked to a park nearby to let the alcohol levels drop. You had drank one bottle of wine, about two glasses for each, but Steve did not want to take any chances, although he knew that he could not even get drunk but in his mind you were too precious to take any risks, plus it was a valid excuse to continue the evening with you by taking a walk by the river.

The night was calm and there was a moon shining in the horizon. The city lights blocked the stars but you could see a few airplanes flying high up in the sky and you pretended that those were very slow shooting stars.
- Oh, there's one! you exclaimed and pointed your finger at it.
- Now you get to make a wish... he said with a smile on his face.
- I wish... wait... I cannot say it out loud, or else...
- Or else "what"? he asked with soft tone.
- It will not come true...
- Is that so? he asked.
- Yeah... Duh!
- Well it explains then why any of my wishes haven't come true... Oh, there's another... he said and pointed a news helicopter.
- Haha! you said and turned to face him. Steve took your hands in his and looked down. Then he raised his head and looked into your eyes. Or maybe he was staring at your lips, both most likely. He did not smile, but he did not look sad or bored either. There was sort of longing in his eyes. Your smile faded away as you could see that he was gathering his courage to kiss you. You let go of his hand and ran your fingers softly on his cheek and ran your thumb on his lips just barely touching. You smiled.
- You’re too tall, so I cannot reach to kiss you… I’m sorry but you really need to lean closer. you joked to make him laugh. Steve chuckled.
- Not to put any pressure… but some say that a woman can know everything there is to know about the nature of their relationship and the man from the first kiss… you teased. Steve was still nervous.
- You know, it’s the first impression… if you’ll screw that u- you said and Steve stopped you from finishing the sentence by finally leaning closer and pressing his lips against yours. He did not dare to move at first but then you encouraged him by pulling him closer yourself. He put his hands on your neck and moved one to the back of your head. He ran his fingers in your hair while his lips gently explored yours. Then he gasped for air, so did you. It was better than any of the countless first kisses ever and your feet were about to turn into mush.

- So… What did that tell about me? he asked as he stepped further away from you. You were breathing heavily and touched your lips with your cold fingers. The look on your face was surprised. Then you started to smile.
- You really should say something… he teased. You tried to form a sentence but it was impossible.
- Maybe… you’re still evaluating and need more “material” to form an opinion… he said and walked to you. He wrapped his arms around you and kissed you again. He was gentle and possessive at the same time. He was clearly enjoying this kissing-thing and you enjoyed it very much too.
- You’re speechless. he teased.
- Yeah… That really rarely happens… you managed to say.
- So there’s hope for a second date?
- Absolutely… you answered and smiled widely.
You walked to the car and Steve drove you back home. He kissed you once more at your door before leaving.
- I had a lovely night… thank you. you said. Steve smiled and wished you sweet dreams. You went in and hurried to shower and then to bed. It was a work day tomorrow anyway. It was difficult to get any sleep when the night played over and over in your head. Steve had watched you going inside and then left home as well. He kept smiling to himself all the way back to Brooklyn.

You kept seeing him regularly, at work of course, but also on dates few times a week and then after six months of going on dates he had asked for a permission to call you his girlfriend, officially. After that you started to hang out at your place and at his place as well, but he had never stayed the night and neither had you.
He got more comfortable being close to you and even put his arm around you when you were walking publicly, although he always kept his identity unknown when he was off duty. It was smart because Captain America had fans, Steve Rogers however wanted to keep his privacy, and you did too. In your PR-work you had been forced to wash the dirty laundry of the relationship between Stark and his girlfriend and you did not want to do the same with yours.
You were rather private person but with time you had even managed to let him closer and did not shut him out when you were sad or unsure. You had noticed that it was important for him to be able to be there for you. He saved lives almost daily bases but he was not happy if he suspected that there was something bothering you but you weren’t comfortable to telling him. He most likely could not do anything about it, but he wanted to know anyway.

You had not taken things more physical; even after almost a year of dating officially you had never even slept with him. You had fallen asleep a couple of times during a movie night and he had put you to bed and then went home after watching you sleep for a moment. You had been taking it slow because Steve was an old fashioned guy and you did not want to push him to do anything he wasn’t ready to do. He sometimes told you how strange it was to him that the world was so “openly intimate” nowadays when he came from the era when the good guys waited until the marriage. There had been a lot of hugging and kissing as well as innocent –kind of caressing but nothing more daring.
Now however he had decided to suggest a sleepover; he had been on a long mission and you had not seen him for three weeks that was a long break considering that you had been seeing each other on regular bases at work, where you were always strictly professional, but you had been spending most of the evenings, when he was not on a mission, together since you had started to date officially. Sharing the bed with you was the next step and after being away for three weeks he was more than willing to spend the night with you. You had agreed that he would come to your place and you would cook dinner together.

He rang your doorbell. You went to open the door and were greeted by a man in the uniform. He stood there with his hands on his belt buckle looking at you with a calm look on his face. The sight made you lose your train of thought completely.
- Ma’am… he said.
- Captain… you answered.
He took a bag and a rose off the ground and stepped in. You went to the living room to give him space to get off his combat boots. He put his shield on the floor to lean against the closet door. You very rarely saw him like this, in his uniform and it always caused you to stumble in your words and make your feet weak. Of course, he was hot even in his regular clothes but the uniform made him look very confident and in-control.
The reason why you had not gotten used to seeing him dressed like that was that he did not really walk around in his spandex-suit at work either; only when he was not going to a battle or returning from one. You were the head of PR, busy with your own assignments and projects so it was not like you had been spending every moment together at work. Quite opposite, actually. Sometimes a week or two passed by that you did not see Steve at work at all and usually you saw him there in the meetings or just accidentally passing by your floor.

- How was the-uhm… you stammered. You knew that the mission had been difficult and dangerous.
- The mission?
- Yeah… the mission… you corrected yourself and tried to mask the fact that you had been quite worried about him. Although you knew that Steve was almost undefeatable it was still difficult to be left behind to keep up the fort.
- It was good. Pretty standard.
- Were you in… danger? you asked although you had decided never to ask that.
- No…
- Liar… you said and smiled.
- Well… I got shot at a couple of times… he said and showed you the shield that had taken hit from the bullets and the paint had been scratched off.
- You and your shield… you chuckled sarcastically. You knew that your sarcasm annoyed him but it was your way of dealing with his dangerous job. You knew the dangers all too well, hell, you were the one who had to write press releases about their missions and sometimes there was so much violence in the mission reports that you burst into tears because you had been so afraid and you were the one who had to iron out all the horrors from the public eye. As far as the public was entitled to know, the Avengers never doubted anything or feared for their lives. They were the heroes, they were the ones who never failed or gave up.

- You and your sarcasm. he replied. You laughed and flashed that gorgeous smile you had. With that he pushed you against the bathroom door and put his hands on both sides of your head.
- Gorgeous smile, beautiful dress and an attitude… take that away, what are you? he asked and looked deep into your eyes. He was calm and very assertive, firm and heroic.
- Naked… and yours… you answered with a trembling voice.
- Oh… your voice is shaky… it seems that you’re not as cool as you let show… he commented. He fought blushing because when he was wearing that uniform, he did not blush and his voice did not tremble.
- Uhm… you said and got interrupted by a hungry kiss. He had missed you and needed to feel your lips against his. His kissing style, no matter how hungry, was always sweet and gentle. He never let his hands wander off and although he did like to caress you, he always stayed on the innocent areas. The kiss that had started as slightly heated and fast-paced one subsided into a sweet, slow but very loving, intimate kiss. Even when he parted his lips from yours he stayed close.

- May I take a shower. he asked.
- Uhm… Yes… yes of course. you answered trying to catch your breath after a long, surprisingly passionate kiss. He kissed you briefly once more, gave you the deep red rose and then took new clothes from his bag. You secretly watched him taking off his uniform down to his waist. He glanced at you and you turned your head away immediately. You had never seen him without a shirt although some of his training shirts were quite tight and did not leave too many details out.
- I will just… the dinner… I need to… you mumbled with your heart racing, causing you to blush uncontrollably. Steve chuckled and went to the bathroom. You had put a towel there for him in advance.

He took a long shower and washed the mission off him. You listened to him singing in the shower and laughed. You did the same thing but you could not help thinking that it was Captain America singing. The sound of running water stopped. You sat on a sofa reading something on your tablet. He came out from the shower wearing loose pants and no shirt. His skin was still clearly wet from the shower and his hair was all messy. You tried to pay no attention but it was difficult because he came to sit next to you and put his arm on your shoulder. He smelled fresh and you noticed that he had used your shampoo.
- So… How are you doing? he asked. You shut off the screen of the tablet and gave it to Steve who put it on the table.
- I’m doing well. The work is fine, nothing new there… my family is doing alright…
- Did you miss me? he asked and brushed your arm slowly.
- Well of course.
- How much?
- Oh well… you know… just a little bit. you answered although it was clear that you had missed him more than anyone before. You did not even miss your family members that deeply, mostly because you had gotten used to not-seeing them that often.
- Oh… just a little bit? he asked and lifted you to sit on his lap sideways. You put your arm behind his neck on his shoulder. He had his one arm wrapped on your waist and the other relaxed on your knee. You were wearing a short dress that left your shoulders and lower thighs exposed. Your hair was just casually loose and you were not wearing makeup. You ran your fingers in his hair and then down to his jaw and neck. You looked deep into his blue eyes that were framed with long, dark eyelashes. His eyes were your favorite part of him and you could had just stared into them for hours.

- Are you going to stay the night? you asked and examined the look in his eyes.
- Yes… if that is still okay with you.
- Yep… you said and smiled.
- I think it’s time that I’ll spend the night at my girlfriends home, don’t you think?
- Well, we’ve been dating almost a year, roughly, so yes… I’d like to fall asleep with you and wake up with you.
- Maybe I will not let you sleep… Steve teased.
- Really? you chuckled.
- Maybe I’ll make you listen to me babbling about how much I… he said and paused to inhale deeply.
- You…?
- …how much I actually love you. he said with a soft, slightly shy tone.
There was a silence. You felt your heart bursting.
- I… you said and smiled.
- …love you too. you replied finally. Steve noticed that his hand had traveled from your knee up to your thigh and was playing with the hem of your dress. He pulled his hand away immediately and placed it on your cheek as he kissed you.

You took the dinner out from the oven and he put on his t-shirt. You ate and then went to sleep soon after. Your pajama was just tiny shorts and a tube-top. Steve was going to sleep in his loose pants that he had put on after shower. He sat on the bed and listened to you brushing your teeth in the bathroom. Soon you turned off the lights and walked into the bedroom. He stood up.

- You look beautiful. he said and gave his hand to you. He pulled you to stand in front of him and ran his hands on your sides and back. You turned off the light and it was dark. Suddenly his hands grabbed the hem of your top and pulled it off slowly. You raised your hands and the top came off. Then he ran his fingers on your back, making you shiver a little. He pulled you into bed and whispered “skin on skin”.
You lay there next to him, on your side running your fingers on his arm, shoulder and chest, drawing invisible shapes with your fingertips. His arm that was under your neck caressed your naked back under the blanket. You both fell asleep quite fast.

It was morning. You had rolled on your stomach, hugging a pillow and Steve was still sleeping on his back. He woke up first and turned on his side to see you still sleeping. He removed your hair off your shoulder and pressed a kiss on it.
- Not yet… you mumbled. Steve chuckled and kissed your shoulder again. He slid his hand on your side and turned you around on your back.
- Nooo… you pleaded and did not open your eyes as you were turned around against your will.
- You’re distracting my dreams… you mumbled. Steve kissed you and wrapped his arm around you placing himself partially on top of you.
- Go on, sleep then. Don’t mind me. he said and kissed your neck. He ran his fingers on your collarbones and then pressed feather-like kisses on them. Then he returned to kiss your lips. This time you pulled him closer making his chest press against yours.

- I was thinking… he began.
- Uhuh? you asked since he looked like there was something he wanted to say but did not dare to.
- Would you like to come and stay the night at my place tonight? I could cook dinner… light some candles… Maybe a relaxing bath… Lots of kissing… he said and as you dissected his words and the tone of his voice you came to a conclusion that he probably was thinking about something else as well.
- I’d love that… you answered. You snuggled for a moment and then got up from the bed. §Steve got up first and then you got up. He tried not to look when you picked up your top from the floor. You decided to tease him slightly and walked topless to your bathroom, stretching your arms as you passed him. Steve blushed. You laughed and put the top on.
- You took it off, remember… live with the consequences. you stated.
- Copy that. he answered after clearing his throat.

Chapter Text

The cold concrete greeted you as you were tossed on to the floor of your cell. It was the year 2303 and the world had gone to shit; the fresh water supplies were low and the climate change had brought extreme draught and floods to completely wrong places at completely wrong times. This had caused chaos and many governments had fallen down as the rule had been taken by violently aggressive groups.
Those groups did not tolerate any kind of criticism and anyone and everyone who was suspected of questioning the decisions that the group leaders did, were taken away and interrogated until they got the confession, no matter if it was in fact a real one. There were rather horrible rumors about whether people ever came back from the interrogations, therefore people did not raise questions and tried to lay low, not drawing attention to them. In the situation of extreme danger some were even ready to complain about the others just to get rid of the suspicion.
Then there were the idealists, the fighters. You were one of them. You and your family worked in secrecy and tried to help anyone who needed it since the mentality in the new world was “every man for himself; only strong survive”.
The two men wearing black long coats and sunglasses laughed at you as you hit your jaw to the floor. The cold contact made you cry out even though you had tried to stay strong.

- Let’s see how long will you last! Your boyfriend lasted about three days and then he was ready to tell us everything.
Yes, the man who you had loved since you had been a teenager had indeed betrayed you and your family. He was now running free and you were… alive at least. Maybe it would had been better if you had died also… yet here you were; laying in the cell, spitting blood because hitting the jaw to the concrete. You got up and turned around. You saw a blond man in a grey uniform standing behind the laughing men.
- No use telling him your sad story. He is not a human, you see. He is just a robot and we have given him quite specific orders to make sure that you will not escape. He will not communicate with you so spare him from the pleads and cries.
They left the cell and the door was locked. You searched through the whole room but there was nothing to help you to escape. A couple of days passed. You could not sleep or eat and you were getting weak. There was someone at the door. It was the blonde man who was supposed to check if you were still alive. He had brought you some food and water. You were cautious about everything, one of the reasons why you had not eaten anything; what if there was poison or worse yet; truth serum in the drink.

The man did not enter the room. He just opened the small hatch in the door and slid the tray trough it. He was about to close the hatch when you ran to the door.
- Wait!
He stopped.
- Please… what is your name?
He shut the hatch and left.
- Please! you cried.
This time you absolutely had to take your chances and eat something so you would be able to defend yourself or try to escape if there was a window of opportunity.
After a while the door opened and a man in a black long coat came in. He approached you with a bag and before you could protest he put it on your head and dragged you away to the corridor. You tried to fight but you were just too tired. After the long corridor you arrived to a room that was lighted brightly. The man took the bag off and sat you by a table. The room was white and there was nothing but a screen on the wall right opposite from you.
You were being showed pictures of random people, most of them you did not know but then suddenly there were pictures of your friends, some of them were dead but not all. The interrogator was clearly trying to decipher your facial expressions; who did you know and what kind of relationships did you have with them. Your face did not change, not even when there were pictures of your family.
A man entered the room. He asked you a couple of times if you knew something that could bargain you your freedom back. You said no and your head was being covered with the bag again as you were escorted roughly into the cell again.

Next day there was the blonde man bringing you the daily meal again. You had learned the time when he always came. You did not have a clock but you had noted that the sun always shined to the corner next to the door when was the meal time. This time you grabbed the mans wrist as he was pushing the tray in.
- Please. Tell me your name.
- Miss, I am not supposed to talk to you.
- Please, I am so alone.
- I have specific orders not to ta-
- Screw the orders! Please, show some kindness.
The man pulled his hand away and closed the hatch.
- Thank you! you shouted and started to cry. After calming down you ate and drank and then lay on the floor and watched the room getting dark again. You had not slept for many days, only short naps from which you recoiled instantly. You were afraid that you would be just too vulnerable while sleeping. You stared at the ceiling, counting the minutes. The hatch opened again. You did not say anything. You did not even get up.
- It’s David. he said. You got up from the floor.
- David… you said and smiled although he could not see your smile.
- May I come in? he asked.
- Sure! you said and went to the corner that was the farthest from the door. You did not know if David was programmed to assault you or something. He opened the lock and then slowly opened the door.
- I must warn you, I have been authorized to use force if you’ll try to escape. Fighting me would be most unwise.
- Yes, I am aware of that. you said and tried to come up with something that you could use as protection. David closed the door and turned to face you. It was the first time he saw you well and the first time you saw him well. He was tall and well-build with broad shoulders and strong arms. He had blonde hair and greenish blue eyes. He looked just like a real human and it was difficult to remember that he actually was just a machine that had been programmed to do a certain job, in this case the job was to keep you alive and make sure that you would not escape.

But he was more than just a fancy computer, he had opinions and his opinion about you was that you were beautiful, strong and not as dangerous that he had been warned. He looked at you curiously as he tried to analyze your expression and stress level. He noticed immediately that you were tired.
- You look tired. he said. His brows furrowed slightly as he tilted his head to the side.
- I can’t sleep.
- Why? he asked.
- It’s not safe to sleep here. you said and crossed her arms. David did not answer.
- Why are you here? he asked.
- I am here because my boyfriend… well, my ex-boyfriend, saved his skin by sacrificing my family. So… the men came one night and burned our house. I was not there at the time so I did not die, however they caught me soon after and brought me here.
David looked at you. His expression was blank. After processing what you had just told him he asked
- Who killed your family?
- These people… David, you’re fighting on the wrong side. you said and looked down. You uncrossed your hands and rubbed them because the tiredness was really messing up with your capability of staying warm.
- You should go, David… you will get into trouble like this.
He was surprised that you actually cared. He smiled slightly and collected the trays from the room. When he was about to leave, he said suddenly
- I will come back and stand by your door, miss, you may sleep.
- It’s not necessary, I’m fine. you said and tried to keep your balance as you tried to look alert.
- No, I can clearly sense that…
- Don’t risk your life because of me. you said before he could finish his sentence. David left and closed the door. He did not come back since you were soon after being taken to the interrogation again. This time you were placed into a dark room. Then suddenly there were ice cold water showering from the ceiling. You screamed but you did not tell the men anything about your friends who were hiding.

You collapsed onto the floor. The men had lowered the temperature of the room and the water was turning into ice in places. The floor became slippery. You passed out and the next thing you knew was that you were in the cell again. When you opened your eyes, you saw David.
- Why don’t you tell them what they need to hear? he asked as he was checking your pulse.
- I cannot. you answered. David looked curious, obviously he did not understand your reasons.
- They will kill you if you will not co-operate. he said calmly.
You swallowed your tears and bit your lip so you would not crack.
- Then I shall die. I would not be able to live with myself if I gave up the things I hold dear.
- An idealist, I see.
- Haven’t you seen what’s out there? you asked. You did not want to treat David as a robot because he was almost a human and maybe being kind towards him was your ticket to freedom, or maybe not… but it was worth trying. David looked confused.
- People are fighting for their lives. There is no food, there is no fresh water and the men that you serve are not making things any better. I cannot just stand and watch. If that makes me an idealist, then so be it. you said and looked away. David stood up and walked to the door.
- You need to get some sleep. he said as he walked out from the door. You did not see him for a couple of days. There was another robot that brought you your daily meal. You did not speak to him at all. Then one day a man in a black long coat came to the room. He pushed you against the wall and put his strong, large hands around your neck. He had come to choke you until you were dead since you were not giving any answers and something that you had said had made David disappear for a few days. You tried to fight the man but he was too strong.
The world was going black when you saw David approaching and hitting the man with a flash light. You went unconscious and fell on the floor...

Chapter Text

You had been dating Steve for almost four years which had been filled with ups and downs like any other relationship but there had been mostly good times. The worst was when he had to go away on the missions and you knew that they were dangerous. Usually he was away for a couple of days but sometimes he was gone for a couple of weeks. During those times you were nerve wrecked, unable to sleep or eat until you really were done. Then you had to force yourself to eat and sleep. Fortunately you managed to submerge yourself into your work.
You still worked for the Avengers, managed their public relations and during the past years you had become very good at what you did. But it was difficult sometimes.

You had moved in together a year ago. Living with Steve was wonderful and interesting. You had never lived with anyone before so it had taken some time to get used to sharing everything and making compromises but overall the year had been the best one yet. You had been slightly worried to move in with a man whose upbringing was completely different from yours. You had been raised to believe that there were no “men’s jobs” and “women’s jobs” and Steve was literally from another decade.
However everything had gone fine and Steve had never expected you to fit in any role that he had been taught to believe in. In other words he had understood that he had to do his share of household chores, when he was home, that was.

You still went out on dates; movies, dinners, slow walks in the central park in the middle of the night. You would had never dared to go there alone when was dark but when you were with Steve, you knew that you were safe. This was one of those nights. It was summer and there was supposed to be a full moon that night.
Steve had been slightly mysterious the entire day but you had assumed that he was just stressing out about something. After the work day you got home, took a long shower and then got dressed in a nice, very beautiful, light dress and put some makeup on. Steve got home too, he took a shower and put on a suit with a tie. He liked to dress up for you because he knew that you thought that he looked very handsome in a suit.
Well, you thought that he looked very handsome wearing anything and also when he was wearing nothing at all but you appreciated the effort. You also liked to dress nicely for him so you knew that you looked good as a couple when you were outside.

- Are you ready? he asked. You were in the bathroom checking out your teeth and makeup.
- Yep, all done. you said as you came out. Steve had his shoes on already and he helped you with a large scarf that you put on your shoulders. It had been a warm day but you knew that when the sun set, it would get a bit chilly when the wind blew from the sea. You loved those small gestures that Steve did. Sometimes it was him opening the door for you or helping you with the coat and sometimes he even bought you flowers even without a reason, especially when he had been away, those times he brought you one deep red rose, no matter if you were at work or home, he always gave you the flower as a sign that he had been thinking about you and missed you very much.
You knew of course, but you appreciated the slightly old fashioned ways he had. Then again you tried to show him that you had missed him by always welcoming him home with a warm meal, sometimes it was a takeaway pizza or some Chinese and sometimes you had cooked a 3-course-dinner, but usually you prepared basic foods, which Steve loved. He thought that you were the best cook in the world and he was always ready to help you and cook for you when you were working late and he had a day off. During those days he took care of the home and pampered you with a back massage.

You had never really talked about the future but there had not been a need to talk about it. You both knew that you were being serious about each other and what you shared. You did not feel like you needed a ring as a proof of his love for you when he showed it to you every day, even when he was on his missions, he still called you and wished you goodnight or lovely day, depending on where he was and the time difference. When he did not call you, you knew that he was just busy, although those times you were also worried. You always sent him a message with all your love attached to it.

You had agreed that this time you would take the subway to downtown. It was a truly beautiful evening and you liked to use the public transportation. Steve usually moved with either his car or his motorcycle but you used the bus or subway, the connections from your apartment to downtown were good anyway.
You were approaching Central Park hand in hand, just casually chatting about nothing of great importance when you suddenly asked
- Are you happy?
Steve was silent for a moment and stopped. You stopped as well and turned to look at him.
- Of course I am! he answered with a smile on his face.
- Good. you said and started to walk again. Steve started to walk as well. A silence followed. After many minutes of silence you continued
- I know I’m busy sometimes and my… attention is somewhere else than our household. Does it bother you? you asked with a soft tone.
- What are you talking about?
- I just… I hope that I am not being a terrible girlfriend.
- You are the best girlfriend that anyone could hope for! Has something happened?
- No-no-no… I was just wondering if you’re happy… with me. And I make you happy…

Steve squeezed your hand but he did not answer anything. The sky was turning dark and the stars appeared on the blackening canvas one by one, although, you could see only the brightest ones, but you always imagined what the sky would look like if the entire city killed the lights at once. You chuckled when you remembered reading about a case when there had been a complete power blackout in the city and the people, who had been used to being unable to see the starry skies, finally saw it. Some had even called the authorities and reported “strangely glowing clouds” when they had actually witnesses the glow of Milky Way.
You had a favorite spot deep in the park where you always sat and stared into the skies. You still pretended that the airplanes were shootings stars because the city lights prevented you from seeing the real ones. You were getting nearer to the spot and you saw that there were kind of Christmas lights hanging from the tree. They were pale-white in color and they did not flash. They just softly twinkled as the wind played with the branches. There was a blanket and a couple of pillows on the ground with a picnic basket.

- It seems that our spot is taken… you said with a slightly disappointed tone and looked around to see another spot to sit.
- Come…
- But it’s-
- Come on! he said with a wide smile on his face. He helped you to sit down and then sat down next to you before opening the basket and taking a couple of glasses out and a bottle of sparkling wine. He had also gotten some green, seedless grapes and chocolate.
- Oh… wow! you commented when he poured the wine into the glasses that you were holding. Then he took one and smiled shyly.
- What are we celebrating? you asked.
- Nothing… he answered.
- To us and our future together. he said and raised his glass.
- Yes, absolutely! you said and raised yours.
There was a chilly wind coming from the sea that made you shiver. Steve took a blanket that had been neatly folded under a pillow and put it on your shoulders.
- Oh! You know me too well!
- Yes… You never put enough clothes on. he smirked and put his arm on your shoulder. You leaned onto him and enjoyed his firm presence. Suddenly there was a sound of a scooter approaching and you could see the headlights flashing behind the trees. The scooter stopped in front of your picnic place and the young guy asked
- Rogers?
- Yes! That is me. Steve said and stood up. He paid the guy who gave you two pizza boxes in return and then drove away. Steve waited the park to get silent again and then handed you the other of the boxes.
- I think this is yours. he said casually and then returned to sit close to you. He had ordered the pizzas in advance and asked them to be delivered at 9 PM to the Central Park, with a detailed location included. He knew what your favorite combo was and you trusted him with such important things such as food. But only because he knew what you liked and disliked.

- What was the flavor again? he asked casually as he opened his pizza box.
- How am I supposed to know? I mean you ordered it…
- It should be written in the box. Here, can you see? he said and pointed at the rather sloppy writing.
- Uhm…
- Oh, let me help… he said and took his phone. He turned on the screen and pointed it at your pizza box.
- Oh, okay… whoever wrote this has a terrible handwriting… you commented as you tried to make sense of the ingredients. You read it a couple of times and then chuckled.
- So what is it?
- It’s a… “Will you marry me?” –pizza.
- Oh? That sounds interesting. Do you think you would like the flavor?
- I… I… I am sure I’ll love it.
- So will you?
Suddenly you forgot how to breathe entirely. Your head was spinning and all you could do was to either chuckle or smile like an idiot.
- Listen, I love you. You make me happier than anyone else ever could. I know that I am a handful sometimes… but…
- Yes! you exclaimed, put the pizza box on the blanket and turned to face Steve who was trying to find something from his pockets. “Oh shit” he mumbled and sighed.
- What? you asked with a concerned tone. Steve never cursed and he had made sure that you had stopped cursing almost entirely. But now he did and it meant that something was really wrong and it made you worry.
- I was supposed to have the ring here with me, but it seems that I have forgotten it home. I am so sorry…
- Hey… Don’t worry about it! you said with a relieved tone. You had thought that it was something more serious.
- I wanted this to be perfe-
- It is! you said. Steve mumbled something about being so nervous earlier that he had completely forgotten the whole ring. It was adorable how he had wanted his proposal to be perfect but he had messed it up slightly and now he was feeling bad for it. You however could not care less for a ring. In your opinion, the whole thing was perfect just as it was and you felt so grateful for the amount of effort he had put into it.

- Steve! you said with a firm, assertive tone. Steve went silent and turned his head to look at you. You smiled and put your hand on his cheek. You caressed his soft, warm skin, oh how you loved the fact that he kept his cheeks always so smooth. You brushed his lips and then slid your hand on his neck and gently guided him to kiss you. He put his pizza box on the blanket and then lay you down against the soft pillows.
His lips caressed yours gently just like yours caressed his. You nibbled his lower lip a couple of times when he was about to draw back. He kept close and smiled as he stared deep into your eyes. Then he attacked your lips with more intensity and kissed you until you were both out of breath. Finally he drew back and whispered
- Now, let’s eat.

Chapter Text

- What is the matter, little brother? Thor asked when he saw Loki sitting alone in the garden. Loki did not answer. It was a beautiful evening and festivities for yet another battle won was about to begin. Thor, Loki and a handful of warriors had traveled through the nine realms defeating the enemies and securing the lives of the innocent people. For Thor it all was more or less just a bit of fun, but Loki took part to the travels because he was hopelessly in love with one of the warriors.

- Nothing! he scoffed and walked away.

Loki thought that she was the most beautiful lady in the court and her fighting skills were almost as good as Thor’s. When she entered the room, everybody went silent for a moment, mostly because of respect but some also because she was also feared for her strength and good kind of stubbornness. She was wise, witty and funny, sometimes a little reckless but she knew the boundaries of her skills very well. There was one thing that annoyed Loki though, it was the way she was always so strong and flirting with the men of the court.

You were not that flirty, or in your own opinion at least. You liked to challenge men and sometimes that was misread as flirting besides you had no idea of Loki’s attraction for you. You did not know how his heart screamed enviously when your laughter filled the great halls but he was not the one who was laughing with you. Loki had never told you about his feelings or even showed you that he had some.
You liked Loki. He was not like the warriors that you mostly spent your days with. Loki did not usually take part to the adventures but sometimes he did. He preferred reading and practicing his magic to fighting. Fighting after all was very tiring and messy; he liked his royal attire clean and spot on. You had been attracted to Loki when you had arrived to the court but soon you had learned that Loki did not have any feelings for you, although you had misunderstood.

You had been new to the court and you had tried so hard to fit in. You had been raised by a high lord and lady who were close friends with Odin and his wife but then one night the enemies of Asgard had attacked and killed your parents. That was the reason why you had been taken into the court. Your life had not been about fighting, but science, arts and beautiful things but since that life had been so brutally stolen from you, you had started to train to be a warrior so one day you could defeat the ones that robbed your parents away from you.
It was a long ago. You had been full of sadness and rage back then, but with time you had managed to let it go. You had been attracted to Loki and then one night after countless of hours of practicing and self-prepping in front of the mirror of your chambers you had dared to ask him for a dance. You had however caught Loki on his bad day and he had rejected you publicly and broken your heart in the process. You had smiled but it was had only been a smile that you had learned to cover your real emotions. You were a lady after all.

Loki had not been even able to guess the damage he had done with his despising glare and annoyed tone. He had not meant to be so rude and cold but he was having a bad day and therefore he had not been filtering that much. He had never apologized to you and since he was the prince, he had not really felt that he had needed to apologize. Besides, he was the god and you were not. You were immortal and from a noble background but you were not a god.

You had not excused yourself from the party neither you had gotten yourself drunk but the next day you had found Thor and asked him if you could join the fighting practices. He had said “no” the first 10 times you had asked but then accepted your request since you had not given up. You had learned fast and very soon you had been welcomed to participate to the quests that took you to the far corners of the nine realms and lifted your ranks in the court. Suddenly you had transformed from a silent library-girl to a celebrated warrior. That was the time when Loki had noticed you.

He had cursed him for not noticing you sooner because it started to seem that now it was too late. People were talking that you were going to marry his brother Thor someday although Loki knew that if it was up to you, you would not marry Thor. You after all were a thinker who had forced herself into something else to forget the embarrassment that Loki had caused and also to forget the grief that losing your parents had caused. Thor had never mentioned anything and you suspected that he did not even have feelings for you but sometimes it seemed to you that Thor did not even understand love or care about such things. Maybe he would ask your hand in marriage just to get a strong queen for himself. He knew after all that you were smart and he thought that you were quite beautiful.

When you had become a warrior you had gotten many fans in the court and outside as well. That had been the time when Loki had noticed you. He had sometimes spied on you when you had been alone practicing your singing skills, the artistic side of you that you had forgotten because it reminded you about your life before becoming a warrior. He had sometimes witnessed you crying alone in the garden but when he had come to comfort you, you had faked a smile and told him that everything was fine.
That had annoyed Loki greatly. The fact that you had the nerve to lie to him, the god of mischief and lies, had turned his stomach around. The irritation had turned into jealousy with time since it was apparent that he was not the only admirer you had. You were surrounded by handsome warriors almost all the time and just to make things worse, you had started to flirt with them.

You had started to laugh at their stupid jokes even though you had not considered them as amusing in any way. You had started to dress a bit flashier manner and slightly more daringly although never with bad taste. You looked always graceful so it was easy to forget that you were actually pretty dangerous to mess up with. Loki had not had courage to ask you for a dance although he would had wanted to, but he was worried that you would have your revenge and refuse him, besides you were always busy dancing with other men so there were no real chances for Loki to ask you anyway, without seeming desperate or too emotionally attached anyway. He was worried that you would look at him with the same pitiful look in your face and then laugh coldly as he had done. “Why would I want to dance with you?” he had asked and caused people around to burst into laughter. You had been confused but the smile had never failed you.

Jealousy. Loki was well familiar with that feeling, although he had been jealous at Thor for the fact that Odin seemed to favor him, however now he was jealous for a different reason and the reason was you. The feeling burned his insides and made him lose his sleep sometimes. It made him participate on his brothers quests and then talk to you rudely when he did not know how to otherwise light a spark in your cool exterior. That caused massive verbal fights between you and him sometimes and you were completely sure that Loki hated and despised you, although the situation was entirely opposite.

Loki had even started to mock your popularity among the men to the point that you had done two things; firstly you had started to flirt even more just to annoy Loki and secondly you had started to avoiding the situations when he was left alone with you up to the point that those situations became somewhat nonexistent. If you were in a room alone and Loki entered it, you left immediately, that annoyed Loki and sometimes he wanted just to either grab your hand and make you stay or follow you to the end of the world if he had to.

Loki in a way hated himself for being so soft when it came to you. He hated that you had such a strong influence on him. He could not stand being apart from you but neither could he stand being close to you knowing that you most likely hated him for doing what he had done. Therefore he had now started to spend also time in the library, trying to find a spell that would mute his feelings and kill the longing he had for you. He could not live with it anymore.
It was a rainy afternoon in Asgard. You were in the library studying for the quest that you were going to participate later that day. You wanted to know your enemy before going to the battle so therefore you rather hid yourself among the books than took part to the fighting practices with the other warriors. This was something that Thor always scolded you for but you always told him to remember how you had saved lives many times by knowing the enemy and prevented many casualties from happening. You had for example known that one certain enemy always hid in the trees and then attacked all of a sudden by dropping nets over the warriors and then jumping, or when you had known that the enemy used traps so the warriors had been able to look for the triggers in the forest.

You were deep in your though so you completely missed the sound of the door opening and footsteps approaching the table. You jumped slightly when a heavy spell book was dropped on the table. You raised your head a little and saw Loki sitting down opposite from you. This time you did not leave. No, learning the enemy was more important. If Loki had a problem with your presence, he was more than welcome to leave himself, besides you were there first.
After an hour of self-control your eyes however got distracted from your book when Loki, the handsome prince who was sitting right in front of you with his majestic black hair and that charmingly thoughtful look on his face, sighed and turned the page. You noticed the title and managed to read it although the text was upside down from your perspective.

- The spell to banish love. you mumbled barely audible as you read the title. Loki heard you and lifted his gaze from the book. He looked at you silently and let his greenish blue eyes drill holes into your exterior that was always so cool and controlled, like lady should.
- So tell me, prince Loki, who are you in love with and why are you trying to banish it? you asked casually as you returned to glance through the text in front of you. Loki was annoyed. This was not the time to start arguing with you, he was not in the mood.
- I do not think it concerns you, my lady. he answered with a cold, distant tone.
- I see. you said turned a page. You had been reading about your enemy now for an hour and half but you had not gone to the part that told you how they fought when they were outnumbered.
- I did not know that you are capable of such feelings. you stated with a tone that was equally cold and distant. Loki was boiling on the inside. Your arrogance had no limits and he had to put a stop to that.
- You. he stated.
- What about me?
- It is you whom I love, but do not worry, my lady, I am going to crush every bit of warmness that my cold heart might have towards you. he answered with an irritated tone that carried a hint of sadness as an undertone. You lifted your eyes from the book and stared at Loki who was seemingly concentrated to the book again. He however was painfully aware of your stare and fought the urge to meet your eyes with his with all his willpower.
- Why? you managed to ask. You were suddenly hurt and your mind was anywhere but in the forthcoming battle that you should had been concentrating in.
- I cannot live like this anymore. he answered with bitter voice.
- I see. you commented. He still did not raise his gaze from the book.
- I cannot stand seeing you flirting with the other men… You are so disgustingly easy, I bet you have visited the chamber of every man in this court already.
- Are you jealous? you asked. You felt terrible that he even thought such things. Loki groaned. Then there was a messenger for you, delivering a word from Thor, telling you that it was the time to go. You glanced at the book and realized that you had never gone into the battle so ill prepared and with your mind so unfocused. You left the book open and stood up. You were walking away already but then you stopped.

- Loki… you said with a silent voice. You did not bother to turn to look whether he was paying any attention or not.
- I have never even kissed a man. I always hoped that you would be my first kiss. you said and then left. You felt tears rolling on your cheeks but you wiped them away and calmed your mind before you met with the other warriors. Then you left.

You went to the furthest realm and fought there, but your mind was distracted and you were making many terrible mistakes that almost got you killed far too many times. The enemy was getting outnumbered and their strategy changed completely. Suddenly you found yourself stranded from your battle mates, seemingly alone in the forest. You had managed to read up to that point, so you knew that this was what they did, but then you had not read further and it made you nervous.

Suddenly you felt an arrow hitting you on the left side of your stomach. You were wearing armor of course but the arrow had been shot from a rather close distance so it pierced the leather armor and penetrated your flesh. You had never felt such pain before. Mostly because you had never gotten seriously hurt during your previous battles. You felt another arrow hitting you and time slowed down. You touched your stomach with your fingers and then raised your hand in front of your eyes. It was red and sticky and you felt the warmth dripping away from your body. You fell on your knees and then on your side on the ground that was covered with moss and other plants. The last thing you saw was your battle companions attacking and the last thing you smelled was the wet moss that had a strong scent of all things rotting in the forest.

In the meantime Loki was still reading about the spell. He tried to ignore what you had said and he tried to forget the look that you had had on your face when the messenger had called you. He had never seen you so distracted and scared, entirely unprepared. Loki put the spell book away and walked to the other side of the table. He glanced through the page and realized that the enemy that you were facing was a cunning and resilient one and their nature was the most dangerous when they were outnumbered. They waited that their enemy thought that the battle was over and then they fired their crossbows from close distance, from their secret hiding places. This made Loki nervous. He did not know whether you had gotten that far or not.

After a couple of hours he heard the guards shouting something about getting the healers. Loki was walking in the garden trying to clear his head and then he saw Thor carrying you. Your arm hung limp and lifeless and there were 2 arrows sticking victoriously on your stomach, declaring how you had been defeated. Loki ran to Thor and exclaimed
- What happened, brother?
- Lady (Y/N) got ambushed. We are all very shocked because usually she sees these things from far distance.
- Why did you not keep her safe? Loki exclaimed and looked at Thor with accusing flare in his eyes.
- (Y/N) got stranded from the rest of us. She walked into the trap and there was nothing we could had done, little brother. Thor answered and lay you down on a table. The healer came and ordered both Thor and Loki to leave the room. Loki took one glance at your pale face that looked almost dead and recited a spell which sent your spirit to rest in the most beautiful place that he had ever visited. There, he hoped, you would be safe from the darkness, death, pain and fear.

The healers removed the armor and the arrows. They stopped the bleeding and tied the wounds. Loki was walking in the hallway nervously when the healer came to ask him for some help.
- Can you please carry Lady (Y/N) into her chamber to rest, Prince Loki? she asked. Her hands were covered in deep red blood since she had not washed her hands yet. The sight made Loki’s heart ache. That red stuff was supposed be running in your veins and not covering the hands of the healer. Loki nodded and entered the room.
He saw you on the table. Your clothes had been changed and you were now wearing a light gown that covered the bandages. You looked almost dead because there was no color on your cheeks and even your lips were gray. The only thing that made you look somewhat alive was the fact that your chest was rising and falling slowly although the motion was so weak that it was easy to miss if you did not pay attention.
Loki took your hand and brushed his thumb over your knuckles softly. He was surprised about the softness of your hand and shocked about the coldness of it. He would had wanted to touch your cheek but you looked so fragile that he was afraid that you would break if he did that.

He lifted you into his arms and then carried you into your chamber, where he had never been before. He was surprised to find it filled with books and flowers, there were musical notes on the table and there, right in the back was your bed. He walked there and lay you on the silken sheets, took his own cloak off his shoulders and spread it on you. He lifted an armchair next to the bed and sat down. After a while Thor entered the room.
- Brother, I thought I might find you here. he said. Loki greeted him and then turned his focus on you again.
- She was making mistakes even before she got lost in the forest alone. We thought that the battle was over and started to look for any survivors. Then we found her laying on the ground with arrows on her chest. Thor explained. Loki closed his eyes and tried to keep his anger from boiling over. He blamed his brother who was sometimes blind to everything else that was going on around him.
- Well… I came to tell you that the healer believes that (Y/N) will survive and wake up in a couple of days. Loki did not answer, neither did he shift his eyes from your face. He only nodded as a sign that he had heard and understood what Thor had told him.

After a couple of days you finally woke up. Surprisingly you did not feel pain. It was due to Loki’s spell that kept the pain away and replaced it with a feeling of strange calmness and warmth. Loki was reading a book but he put it away immediately when he heard you asking for water. Your wounds had almost healed already, thanks for the Asgardian medicine and your noble bloodline; although you were not a god, you still had some of their qualities, healing quickly was one of them.
Loki immediately poured some water to a glass and then sat on the edge of your bed. He helped you to sit up and even to drink.
- Thank you. you said with a weak voice. Loki put some pillows behind your back so you could sit comfortably.
- What… happened? he asked. You had never heard him so worried or concerned.
- I was not prepared. you said and tried to smile, since you did not want Loki to know just how scared you had been. But the smile left your face and your breathing changed.
- I thought I was going to die. you said and broke down to cry. For your surprise Loki wrapped his arms around you and stroked your hair slowly. He listened to your silent sobbing and kept whispering into your ear that you were now safe and how you would never be in danger again because he would make sure that no harm would come to you anymore. His voice was soft and his embrace was calming so you fell into a peaceful state of sleep almost immediately.

Loki held you for a couple of hours and then lay you down. He was going to leave the bed and return to the armchair but you grabbed his hand and mumbled “please stay” in your sleep so Loki encouraged his mind and lay down next to you. He took you into his arms and allowed himself to fall asleep as well. He had not slept for a couple of days and he needed the sleep just as badly as you did.

When you woke up you felt almost as good as new. Suddenly you realized that you were not alone. You sat up and noticed the familiar looking cloak that was keeping you warm. It was black and green and there was only one person in Asgard who loved those colors above every other. You gathered your courage and turned your head and saw Loki sleeping next to you.
You were confused about what was going on. As far as you knew, Loki wanted nothing to do with you… but then you remembered that he had said that he loved you. Well, he had not really said that but he had wanted to banish the love he had for you, so it meant, in other words, that he loved you. You hoped that he had not managed to do it yet.

You left the bed and went into the bathroom, got undressed, washed your face and wiped your skin with a wet cloth before getting dressed in different dress. When you came out from the bathroom you found Loki standing at the window, looking out, dressed in the cloak that had kept you warm just a moment ago. It was still raining and the day was gray and gloomy. He turned immediately when he heard you opening the bathroom door.
- You are aware of how improper this is for you to be in my private chamber, aren’t you? you asked with a shaky voice.
- Yes. Loki answered.
- But I could not stay away. he continued before you managed to say anything. You walked next to him and stared into the garden. It had never looked so unfamiliar and depressing.
- There is one thing I should ask you. Loki began. You turned to face him and shivered a little as there was a wind blowing from the open door filling the room with cool, humid air. Loki noticed that you were shivering so he took the cloak off his shoulders and put it on yours instantly. He examined your form trying to decide whether you were alright or not.

- So ask me.
Loki took your hands and stepped a bit closer, still keeping a proper distance as a gentleman should. He seemed nervous and even shy, which was very uncharacteristic of him.
- I would like an honor to court you formally… and I wanted to ask if you could forget our disagreements and accept my heart as I offer it to you. If you cannot, I understand and I will go through with the spell-
- Stop. you said and Loki stopped talking immediately.
- Are you sure that it is what you want? You broke my heart once…
- And for that I am so sorry. There are only few things that I regret and that is one of those… things. he said and looked into your eyes with a sort of urgency in his. He had to know what you felt and thought, if he had any hope. Suddenly you squeezed his hands and smiled. Loki sighed relieved. He wanted to wrap his arms around you but he was too shy to do something so intrusive.
- Can you forgive me? I shall never repeat the same mistake. he asked.
- It is all forgiven and forgotten. you answered with a smile on your face.

- May I… kiss you? Loki asked. You chuckled a little and blushed slightly. Many had tried, none had succeeded. However no one had ever asked you before. You raised your head and closed your eyes. You looked serene and breathtakingly beautiful there waiting. Loki let go of your hands and placed his on your cheeks. He brushed the skin with his thumbs and then leaned closer. He had kissed plenty of ladies before but he had never wanted kiss anyone so much as he wanted to kiss you.

He brushed your cheek with his lips, just softly and closed his eyes. The anticipation was almost killing you; your first kiss ever was about to happen with the man you had spent years and years dreaming about. His nose touched yours and soon he pressed a soft kiss on the corner of your mouth. You smiled and soon felt his warm breath on your lips as his hovered over yours. You sighed and tried not to breathe so much.
Finally he pressed his lips on yours, just softly at first. He did not dare to move until you moved a little. Then he started to explore your lips gently and slowly. You mirrored what he did and soon you dared to wrap your arms around him. You got lost into his warmth as he moved his other hand behind your back and with other he tangled his fingers into your hair and gently pressed you closer as the kiss grew slightly deeper and more intimate, although it still remained very modest. Loki was the prince and a gentleman after all, and despite the fact that he was sometimes driven by lust, vanity and greed, he wanted your first kiss to be sweet and gentle, like it should.

He drowned you into kindness and affection until you were out of breath. When he parted his lips from yours, he still stayed close, smiling against your lips. He pressed a couple of soft kisses on them before really drawing back and stepping further away from you. He smiled and then bowed slowly as a sign of goodbye. You walked him to the door of your chamber. He took your hand and pressed a kiss on your knuckles before asking
- Will you accompany me to the dinner tonight?
- Do you think that your father accepts me to join?
- Of course and if he doesn’t… I shall dine with you.
- Very well. I shall meet you in the grand hall at the time of sunset. you said and smiled shyly. Loki bowed and kissed your knuckles again. Then he let go of your hand and turned away. He walked gracefully along the long corridor and you watched him until he turned a corner and got out of sight. Then you closed door and leaned onto it. Your heart was about to burst and all you could do was to smile.

Chapter Text

It was the Friday evening and time for the long bath that always kicked off your weekend, finally. You were currently unemployed but you had still plenty of freelancer –project and other things to do and you never let yourself to just lay around during the weekdays. You had moved into the big city some years ago when you had graduated and gotten employed as a computer expert to a startup tech-firm… that had then crashed and burned when they had launched a new social media –site that had flopped entirely. It had supposed to be “the new Facebook” but it had never gained popularity.

You had been one of the key-coders and for you a life without the Internet was just something that you could not imagine; when you woke up, the first thing you checked out was the newsfeed on your Facebook –feed and also the latest videos from the Youtube –users to whose channels you had subscribed to. You did not even take a bath without your tablet and the last thing you did in the evening was to check your notifications and schedule for the next day from your online-calendar which was of course synced with your phone and tablet and laptop as well as your table PC.
You had been having a long Skype –call with the coworker from the previous job. He was cooking something in his mind, a project, and he wanted to ask if you were interested to partner up with him. You had told him that you would think about it. His project was very much similar to the social media –site and you were kind of skeptic about brilliance of the idea; you just could not see it. Therefore you were not sure about how personally involved you wanted to get with that kind of project. It was a tough market and although you had not told your ex-coworker, his idea was not that special.

Therefore you did not want to start invest your own savings to anything but were more comfortable with working with projects that actually made some sense and got paid by the hours and not with the share of the company. Yes, if you had taken the share of Facebook back in the day, you would be filthy rich now, assuming that you had been offered, but since there already was the Facebook, that had captured the masses, it was highly unlikely that “The Facescape” appealed to the masses in the similar way.

Yes, your friend had said how “MySpace” had once been the big thing and then Facebook had come and stolen the users although the idea of the latter was slightly different but you still did not think that Facebook was going to be the new MySpace any day soon and unfortunately, for that reason and for that reason only, you were not interested in partnering up with him.
Besides you were quite sure that he was also romantically interested in you but he was too young for you. You wanted to meet someone who did not play with computer the entire day and actually went out to see people. The guy however was totally opposite of your ideal guy. You had never met him live because he were a bit agoraphobic so he worked from home and the only way to actually hang out with him was to either go to his place, he lived with his mother by the way, or to do it online. He was nice but… no.

The bathtub was finally filled and you decided to listen to some music as you soaked in the warm water. The battery of your phone was however about to die so you had to connect it to the charger. You took your longest extension cable and plugged it to the socket outside your bathroom and then connected your charger to your phone. The charger was a little bit broken and you were supposed to buy another soon but you had been lazy because as long as it worked, it was okay, right?

You put the headphones in your ears and leaned back. The water was just the perfect temperature and you really drifted away. You sighed and shifted a little. This position-shifting-movement pulled your phone into the water and since it was connected to the broken charger, suddenly everything just went black for you, or would had gone if you had been awake. For your luck you were sleeping and did not feel a thing.

You woke up. The bathwater was cold and there was a slight smell of smoke in the bathroom. The entire apartment was dark and when you got out from your bath and tried to put on the lights, you found out that the power was out from your apartment. Soon there was a knock on your door. You shouted “just a second” and put on your spa-robe. Your head was hurting a little and it felt like you had been having a terrible hangover. Another knock on the door. You shouted “yeah, yeah” and walked to the door. You opened it and it was your neighbor telling you that the power was off in the entire apartment building. Apparently the fuses had burnt out at the same time in the basement and it was going to be Monday morning when the maintenance man came back. You thanked for the information and then closed the door.

You went to bed and fell asleep pretty quickly. In your dream there was a blue-eyed man calling you, trying to contact you. He was wearing a dark gray sweater and a black jacket on top of it. He was cute, brown hair, maybe 30 years old or twentysomething, no beard and the eyes… yes the eyes were the thing that really caught your attention; he had big blue eyes that were completely mesmerizing.

It was morning. You had forgotten your phone already because the headache you were still experiencing was just massive so therefore you got dressed, put on some makeup and left the apartment to get some painkillers as well as breakfast. If the power was out from the entire apartment building, it meant that your fridge was off too. “Oh well, it was empty anyway” you thought and got some takeaway breakfast, a pizza to be exact. It was like a combined breakfast and lunch.

You returned home, walked into the bathroom because finally you remembered your phone. It was on the bottom of the tub that was now empty. The plug leaked and the water had drained away entirely during the night. Your phone was completely done, broken, kaput. Luckily it was not your new phone, just the one that you used for music during your baths. This was exactly why you did not use your favorite phone in the bathroom.

You stared at yourself in the mirror. There was something different about you but even an intense closer look did not tell you what that something was. You chuckled and washed your hands before starting your day with that pizza. You watched the water floating on your hands and your mind slipped away as the sound of running water filled your mind. You raised your head and stared at yourself in the mirror. Your reflection looked different again, almost like your eye had been melting. You touched your cheek and made sure that your eye was still where it was supposed to be.
Then you realized that it was the mirror that was melting and the closer you looked, the more “alive” it looked. You reached to touch it with your fingertips and suddenly you felt like you had been sucked into the other side. You were in a dark room where the only light came from your mirror, but this time it looked like a window to your apartment. It was strange because you were completely sure that behind that mirror was nothing but an outer wall and drop from the 7th floor, right down to the pavement.

“Maybe I was wrong” you thought and noticed a faint sound of people talking in the distance. You actually recognized your neighbors arguing like they always did but then there was also something else. A sound of jukebox playing old music. The next thing you noticed was that there was a door. You decided to go and see what was behind that door since it was getting more and more obvious that wherever you were, there was no other way out. The door was not locked so you pushed it open slowly. Then you walked further and for your surprise you were in a pub.
You looked around and the people were wearing clothes that looked a bit too retro for your taste. Your phone started ringing and it was the ex-coworker calling because he was just dying to know if you were going to share the risk with him and invent the next Facebook.

You stared at the people who kept staring back at you. You asked “what?” and answered the call.
- Hey, it is not a good moment… hey… I promised that I will let you know but I need a couple of days to think it through… Yes I do understand what you’re trying to accomplish here but can you understand that the competition-
you said and walked to the bar counter. You said to the bartender that you would love a dry apple cider if they had it. You took your visa electron card from the card holder that was attached to your flip-cover of your phone. You handed it to the man behind the bar but he looked at you with a confused look on his face.
- Just hold on a second. you said to the phone and then focused on the man.
- What? you asked because he just kept staring at you.
- What am I supposed to do with this? the man asked with a British accent.
- Excuse me? you asked and looked at the man with a puzzled look on your face. He shook his head and looked increasingly annoyed.
- Come on! Don’t tell me that you do not accept visa electron! you exclaimed and then told the guy on the phone that you would call him back as soon as possible. You hung up and put the phone into your pocket. Suddenly there was that man from your dream standing next to you. You recognized his voice immediately when he told the bartender that he would pay for the lady’s drink.

- Well thank you. This very rarely happens and I never carry cash. You’re a lifesaver. you said and raised a toast “to the knights in the black jackets”.
- You are not from here, are you? he said suddenly.
- No…
- Let me guess, you came from the mirror.
- Good guess. you said and chuckled. You were totally sure that you had slipped and hit your head and none of this was real although the cold cider tasted real and the cold glass felt real as well.
- My name is Charles Xavier. Would you kindly accompany me to that corner table so we can talk privately?
- Yeah sure. you said, took the glass and followed this Charles –guy to the table. However it was a very private table and you were a bit hesitant to follow a complete stranger to the darkest and furthest corner in the entire pub but suddenly your mind felt calm and before you had even noticed taking too many steps, you were sitting at the table. You looked around and mumbled “what-the-f” when you realized that you had no real memories about walking to the table after you had started to hesitate.

- So… Charles said and sipped his beer. He kept his eyes focused on you and you felt that he was basically reading your mind, although, that was impossible.
- (Y/N) from (the place you live)… How did you get here?
- Uhm… I just walked through the door. That is how people usually enter places… is it not?
Charles chuckled a little and said “that is true”.
- Hey! How did you know my name? Reading my mind, are you? you asked with a sarcastic tone.
- In the matter of fac-
- Ha-ha! I know you must have seen it written in my credit card. So mystery solved. you stated and drank more of the cider. It did taste very real and it made you hope that you had dreams like that more often.
- When you are born, dear? he asked.
- I think the right word is “were” and I was born in (year).
- Ah well… this might come as a shock for you, but you are in the 60’s now.
- No way! you exclaimed. You did not believe a word he was saying mostly because you were still convincing yourself that you sleeping. Charles however took a newspaper that had been folded on the table and showed you the date. You looked at him with a curious look on your face.
- Sure… whatever. I will soon wake up and it will be 2016.
- Yes because that is the year that you’re from. Tell me, how did you survive that electrocution?
- The what?

Charles focused his mind and went through your memories. He saw the neighbor coming to knock on your door to let you know that the maintenance man was not coming before Monday and that the electricity was off in the entire building.
- What are you doing? you asked and stared into his eyes as he stared through yours straight into your mind. In a flash he knew your entire life story. “Stop it” you said inside your mind and intentionally closed your memories from him. You imagined your mind as a big computer and he was hacking through your files. You focused your mind and started to click the opened files away. Little by little you managed to shut Charles out entirely.
- How did you do that? he asked.
- My dream, my rules. you said and finished the drink. You got up from the table and bowed theatrically before walking to the door that you had used to get into the pub in the first place. You heard the bartender shouting “oi” when you opened it.
You found yourself staring at a small closet-room that was hosting cleaning supplies. The next thing you did was to try to wake yourself up. You pinched yourself and when you did not wake up you started to panic a little. Again you heard that familiar, surprisingly calming voice in your head, telling you to return to the table before you drew more attention to yourself. You closed the closet-door and walked back to the table, sat down and stared at Charles with a confused look on your face.

- It seems that I am stuck.
- Yes and I think that it would be better if you followed me. I live nearby and I can, if needed, offer you a place to stay for a while.
- Stay? What do you mean “stay”? I cannot stay! you said and followed Charles out from the pub. You had no idea where you were and where you were supposed to be, was winter, here however it was summer… besides this did not look like a city but more like a rural pub somewhere in the UK. You had seen the scenery in some BBC-movies or television series so you kind of knew where you were but there was no way you could had been there for real.
- It is real. Charles said and opened the door to his car for you. You sat down and watched him walking getting to the driver’s seat. He was going to start the car when he saw you looking for something.

- Uhm… seatbelts? you asked after not being able to locate them in the car.
- What are those? Charles chuckled. “Never mind” you mumbled and felt very insecure and rebellious without one.
After driving for a moment through beautiful rural area, you saw a big, fancy building in the end of the driveway. “Right” you mumbled and still kept pinching yourself. Charles parked the car and you got out. You were greeted with a silence that you had never heard before; only wind and the sound of birds singing in the forest nearby. Where you came from there was always some kind of background noise, cars, sirens… traffic, airplanes… but here, in the middle of the English country side “in the 60’s” it was very pleasantly… peaceful. Even your phone had no reception there. It made you feel slightly uncomfortable but there were now bigger things to worry about than your lack of Internet connection.

Charles asked you to follow him in and after weighting your options through again you decided to follow him. The mansion was incredible, grand but still cozy. You were being led to the sitting room where there was a tall man with brown hair standing by the window, looking out into the sunny horizon.
- Erik! Come and meet (Y/N). Charles said and at the moment the man heard his name being called, he turned to face Charles and you. The man had ice-blue eyes and you could sense plenty of suppressed anger in him. He also somehow gave you a mental image of metal, or it was more like a feeling. He looked at you and then walked closer to shake your hand.
- Nice to meet you, (Y/N). Charles mentioned you earlier today. Erik said. He had an accent that was not British, not like Charles’ at least.
- It is impossible… you answered and felt strange magnetism to the stranger. Maybe it was strong physical attraction or maybe it was something else… but you could feel darkness and metal.
- Well that is curious. Why is that? he asked and smirked a little.
- I just met him so… you answered and smiled politely, just so you could mask the fact that you could sense things about him that you had never sensed about anyone else. You figured that whatever you sensed was private and it was better that he did not know that you knew.
- I see. My mistake. Erik said and kept staring at you intensely.

Charles gestured you to sit down, asked the maid to bring some tea and then he told you everything he knew. He had been reaching out to the other mutants-
- Wait-wait-wait for a second! you said and stood up. At that moment Erik raised a spoon off the table with... his mind? He was not touching it. You took a couple of steps back and almost fell since your foot got tangled with the edge of a large, very heavy carpet.
- Please. Charles said and pointed at the seat. You told Erik to put the spoon down and you would be willing to consider the sitting part. He lowered the spoon and stared at you with a look on his face that communicated that he was clearly waiting you to make your move now. You rubbed your chin and then after a couple of deep breaths and thinking your options through, you decided to sit down.

Charles continued explaining the situation to you. He had been reaching out mentally to the other mutants when he had seen you popping out in the distance. His connection to you had been hazy but he had managed to connect your mind but when he did, he had been surprised to find out that you actually were not a mutant, by birth at least. You said a couple of times “this is insane” but every time you said that, Erik kept lifting the spoon from the teacup with a small gesture. No, he was not touching the spoon and you even waved your hand on it to see if there were any thin strings lifting it up. But there were none.
- So are you saying that I got electrocuted and it somehow unblocked my “mutant gene” and I was able to travel back in time from 2016 to the 60’s and you can read minds… you said and stared at Charles and then shifted your eyes on Erik as you continued
- …and you can move metal with your mind.
- Yes. Charles said and tried to hack into your mind again. This time you had imagined a password that kept him out, for now at least. As long as you imagined your mind as a highly secured computer, he was unable to access it.

You excused yourself to the bathroom. You stared at the sink and put the water running. You concentrated on the sound of water that muffled everything else away. When you had reached again that state of having your mind completely blank you raised your head and stared at the mirror. This time it did not change. It did not look like it had been either alive or melting. It was just a plain mirror.
You sighed and turned around to lean onto the sink after you had turned off the water. This was the weirdest and longest dream ever and it was almost too realistic. Besides never before you had actually realized that you were dreaming. You had always been interested in lucid dreaming but you had never done it, you had only read about it. And if you were having a lucid dream, then according to everything you had read, you were supposed to be able to control the dream. That was the whole point of realizing that you’re dreaming in the first place!

Soon there was a soft knock at the bathroom door. You closed your eyes for a moment and after you had calmed down your mind you exited the room. The person who was at the door was Erik. He asked if you were alright and if there was anything that he could do to make you more comfortable. “Just get me home” you answered and crossed you arms as you walked to the window to stare into the horizon.

The days passed by, slowly without your cyber-distractions but eventually you started to enjoy the calmness of it, but still you missed home. Although you kept trying to either wake up or do the “mirror-thing” you did not succeed at either of them.

You met also other mutants who were living at Charles’ mansion but there was something about Erik that kept pulling you closer to him like a magnet. You had long conversations with him, as well as with Charles of course but there was just something about that tall, German man. There was something dark about him luring you to spend time with him. Maybe it was his pain that you could sense and it made you hope that it was something that you could fix.

He, just like you, was a far away from home and also he was quite unable to control his power efficiently. That, being unable to control your power, annoyed you both although he of course was able to somewhat control his when you could not control yours, like at all… but still, in a way it was a thing that you shared. Charles had promised you both to teach you to control them and concentrate your minds to it. Maybe that was what you needed to get back to the year 2016, maybe it was something else.

Charles reasoned that you had now ability to kind of sense other mutants powers as well as create a wormhole through the fabric of time and move from one point to another. It sounded completely stupid to you but the reality was that you were still stuck and if it was just a joke, then haa-haa, quite a elaborate joke it had been indeed.
You had come to this time because Charles had called you and now there was something keeping you from getting back home. What that something was, you had no idea but Charles promised you that he would help you to find it out.

It was dangerous after all to move from a time to another because you could possibly change something in the past that then changed something in the future. Time was almost like a calm pond, normally undisturbed but if you threw a stone into it, it caused ripples that then spread onward and affected the things to come. Therefore you had to be very careful and make as little waves as possible.

But…

Would you ever get home again or would you be stuck in the 60’s? What was the thing that kept you there? Would you ever find out and if you did, would you really want to leave?

Chapter Text

It had been many years since you had been introduced to the Elf King Thranduil who ruled the Woodland realm called Mirkwood. You had been introduced him in a beautiful party and you had gotten along famously from the first evening which was a relief for your parents because they had promised your hand in marriage without informing you about it.
You were a princess, the daughter of high elves who ruled far, far away from Mirkwood. Your parents, the king and queen, had a son so it had been clear for them from the first day on that when a girl was born, she would move to Mirkwood as soon as she had turned 100 years old and become an adult.

These plans were kept from you during your entire childhood and when you had finally found out, it had almost broken your heart. Leaving your home realm was something that you had never thought about doing and the thought scared you. You had not been told exactly. No, the way you had found out had been a little less subtle; you had heard your parents arguing about whether the mighty king would accept you as his wife since you were so… wild and free spirited.
Yes, that was what you were. You laughed loudly and your laughter echoed in the great halls of your palace. You kept climbing in trees as you were trying to catch the last rays of the sun as it sank behind the great mountains and there was no trouble, where you wouldn’t had gotten yourself into. You were a lady, of course, but a lady with a heart that lived from sunshine and laughter.

Then you had heard that you were to get married with King Thranduil who was known to be very wise but also cold. He was beautiful like a crisp winter day and you were something different; wild and free by heart and often spoke without thinking things through. Being diplomatic for the sake of politeness and good manners was not your strongest point and you rather had a conversation with the forest than the counselors of your father.

Politics were boring in your opinion and it was ridiculous how the adults rather shut themselves indoors to talk about boring things when at the same time the sun was shining and coloring everything in all different, fascinating shades.
You had been angry at your father for making such life-altering deals behind your back but you were also reminded that the old unions had to be remade and the bond between your realm and Mirkwood had to be made stronger so when your brother started to rule your home realm, he then had the support of the Mighty king and your parents could sail into the West with light hearts. That had been the point when you had understood that there was nothing that you could had done. You were going to marry a man that you had never met and who, according to everything you had heard about him, was entirely different from you.

Then you had been taken to Mirkwood. You had just turned 100 years and become an adult when you had begun your own strange adventure. The journey had been long and you had just stared out with a longing, sorrowful look on your face you from the window of the carriage as it had slowly gotten further away from your home and closer to the unfamiliar future. You had assumed that you would just visit the Woodland Realm and then return home and it had been a shock when you had been informed that you were supposed to stay after your parents left.

After a couple of days of your arrival there had been a massive celebration in your honor, you after all were the future queen of Mirkwood. You had been escorted to the grand hall and your name had been announced. At that moment the entire crowd of guests had gone silent and parted in two so you could walk to your future husband. Then you had seen him; a tall, hauntingly regal elf who had the most magnificent clothes that you had ever seen and his hair looked like it had been made of the rays of sun itself. On his head there had been a simple crown that had been made from silver and had one sparkling stone in the front.

You had walked slowly to him, too nervous to even look at him until, after your curtsy, he had taken your hand, bowed deeply with a calm smile on his face and then raised your hand on his lips. He had pressed a soft kiss on your knuckles as he had stared deep into your eyes and then welcomed you to his realm.
You had felt something at that moment what you had never felt before; your knees had almost given in and your heart had almost stopped. Then you had felt the butterflies in your stomach and blushed terribly. You had expected to be scolded or laughed at but instead of that the King had just continued smiling and led you to the dance floor.
Thranduil had been an excellent dancer and he had led you well. You of course had been taught all the elven dances known to your teacher but you had always felt that you had been born with two left feet when it came to dancing. If someone asked you to run in the forest, jump on the rocks or climb into trees, then you definitely had both feet securely in your command. However as you had danced with Thranduil, it had felt like you had been basically floating on the dance floor.

You had not expected that, no, not at all.

Then later, when most of the guests had already left you were startled in the garden by him. You had been watching the stars and listening to the sounds of nature when he had walked behind your back and spooked you for real. You had burst into laughter and broken the fragile silence but instead of being told to shut up, he had joined your laughter and then escorted you a bit deeper where there was a gorgeous fountain and strange blue flames that twinkled all around the otherwise dark environment.

You had started to talk about yourself and asked many questions from the King who had been graceful enough to answer them. He had tried to kiss you but you had had to stop him because there was something you needed to ask him but you did not know how to. You had heard so many things about the king and how he got unimaginably angry if someone annoyed him and how he had killed some people for doing so, and therefore you had gone completely pale and silent.

Thranduil had been surprised and a little irritated for the sudden rejection at first but then as you had asked him to give you a little time to get to know him first, the look in his face had softened and he had kissed your hand instead. After that you had rescheduled the wedding, which was supposed to be in few short months, for next summer so you had an entire year to get to know him and also to get familiar with the realm that was now your home.
You had shared long walks with him, private dinners and noticed that there was a warm heart beneath the icy surface. His warmness was always hidden but when he was alone with you, he let it shine and he even laughed.
It had been a cold winter morning when he had stolen you your first kiss. You had been walking in the gardens when he had joined you. The sun had been shining through the snowy trees and the whole world was sparkling white. He had given you his arm as you had walked slowly and then he had suddenly stopped. The sun had been in his eyes and made them appear even lighter than they really were, almost silver-colored. His hair had glowed with perfection as it always did and then, then he had stepped in front of you, put his hands on your cheeks and pressed one, sweet, soft kiss on your lips.

Even thought the kiss had been soft and very brief, it had been enough to set your heart on fire. That first kiss had been followed by countless and countless of sweet, innocent kisses that had slowly grew into more intense and passionate ones, which never crossed the line however. The elves were strict after all about taking things further before marriage.
Then you had gotten married. The ceremony had been beautiful and all your dearest people had been there. You had stayed up until the morning and then fallen asleep in the garden where you had been watching the sunrise with Thranduil. He had then carried you into his chamber and lay you down on his bed, taken you into his arms and kissed your lips goodnight.

It had taken a couple of years for you to get pregnant. When you finally did, it was the greatest news in the whole realm. Thranduil had been quite busy during that time and you scolded him for that because sometimes you felt that he was not interested in your child since he already had Legolas who was the future king after all. Thranduil did not mean to make you feel unimportant so therefore when the new child was born, Thranduil wanted to express his happiness by throwing a party. It was a massive celebration and even the dwarves were invited. That caused disapproving rumors to spread, stating that Thranduil had gone soft.

Then at the party, Thranduil had held a speech where he had basically forgiven the dwarves everything and stated openly that no longer he wanted to hold a grudge against them. He had called them “brothers” and even invited a dwarf-delegation to his palace so it could tighten the relationship between those two races. He had finished his speech by stating that now that he had this new, dear baby-boy, he was ready to forget the jewelries that were still in the possession of the dwarves.

This had caused many elves to gasp for air knowing that those gems had belonged to the kings late wife who was Legolas’ mother, who was still missed and highly respected in the court and although they respected you as well, she always had a special place in their hearts. This was something that you had been a bit jealous and bitter about but you had learned to accept it as a part of “how things were in Mirkwood”. You would had liked to hear more stories about Legolas’ mother, but no one talked about her.

The celebration was a success and Thranduil kept his word about inviting a dwarf-delegation to live in the elven court permanently. To be honest, he was tired of holding grudges and you had changed him with your lightheartedness. You had showed him that life was a wonderful thing and he was wasting it by being cold and distant.
It had not been easy for Thranduil to open up but when he held that little boy in his arms, when he laughed at his daddy, the great King knew that it was time to move forward. This however did not please everyone and rumors started to spread.

The people started to say that the king had gone soft and his new wife was actually a witch who had put the king under her spell. No one addressed these rumors directly to the royal couple, but you knew that people were talking because when you entered the room, people turned away and stopped talking.
The one rumor that really hurt you was the one that claimed that you had planned to steal the crown from the crown prince Legolas and were now plotting against him so once day your son could rule instead. This rumor was in your opinion the most absurd one and you had never even thought that you would do such thing. You had never imagined that your son would be the king, no! That was the duty and honor that belonged to Legolas and Legolas only. However the people, some of them, seemed to think otherwise and it hurt you.

What hurt you equally was the fact that you knew that your husband was well aware of these rumors, well, he knew everything that was going on in the realm, but he said nothing. He did not think that there was any reason to do anything about them since you were under his, as well as Legolas’, protection. You however wished that he would take the rumors seriously and put an end to them. You knew that Legolas did not think that you were plotting against him, but still it bothered you.

It bothered you so much that sometimes the servants found you crying alone, holding the baby in your arms and then made them swear that they would never tell anyone about what they had witnessed. You were supposed to be happy, but instead of laughing and being merry, you cried and isolated yourself from the court. “Oh, I am just tired” you said constantly when you did not attend a meeting with diplomats from the different realms.
When the boy turned 2 years old you were emotionally done. You had tried your best to correct some rumors yourself and even with Legolas by your side but as long as Thranduil was not taking any sides, there was no reason for the rumors to stop.

You were sitting in the garden, watching your son playing on a blanket that had been spread on the soft grass under a big, old tree when Thranduil walked to you. He had been told that you cried almost daily nowadays and scolded himself for not noticing it. He stayed in the shadows for a moment and watched you as you stared into nothing particular with a blank look on your face. You looked tired and troubled. He had not noticed it before but his dear wife, his ray of sun, the mother of his baby boy looked lifeless and sad, unhappy even. It made him worry.
- My dearest wife… he said when he finally came to greet you.
- Thranduil, what a lovely surprise! you exclaimed and wiped your cheeks, just in case because you could not tell anymore if the tears had been rolling from your eyes or not.
- How are you doing, my love? he asked. You smiled briefly but before you managed to tell him the usual “I am fine” –answer, he continued
- I was informed today that you have been crying almost daily.
- Oh? you asked and tried to sound surprised. You however were trying to think through your maids and servants, guards even, who had seen you crying and now betrayed your trust.
- Tell me… why are you so unhappy? Does not our son bring you joy anymore? he asked. His tone sounded accusing to your tired ears and you could not help but burst into tears. Thranduil sat next to you and chuckled a bit when his son tried to stand up using his father as support. You forced yourself to smile through the tears when the baby smiled at you.

- So what is it? Thranduil asked.
- Have you not heard the rumors? you whimpered.
- Which ones? the king asked. He, to be honest, had heard many, all of them most likely, because he had spies who then informed him about things that people talked about in the court. There were no secrets.
- The one that states that I am plotting against Legolas and will use our son to steal the crown from him.
- But that is absu-
- Yes! It is absurd but can’t you see that as long as you do not put end to the rumors, they will continue growing and getting bigger and meaner?
- But why does those petty-lies worry you so much? You should not pay any attention to th-
You stood up. You could not have this conversation with him like this, sitting down casually while playing with the baby, like nothing was wrong.

- I cannot ignore them! you stated with shaky voice.
- You must know that I would never plan such horrible thing! you continued and stared into those blue eyes that you loved very deeply.
- Yes, I do know that. But the question was, why do you care what your subjects think? Thranduil asked. His voice was a bit annoyed and you could see the same irritation in his eyes. He was not taking you seriously.
- Because I need their respect! you exclaimed and made your son cry. You turned away and left the garden. You had never left your son like that but you figured that your husband would surely know how to calm the baby down.
Thranduil was shocked when you just left. You had never walked away from him like that. There was a counselor that had seen the whole thing and came to talk with the king right afterwards. He thought that Thranduil was angry with you and assumed that this was the perfect time to stab a knife in your back. Thranduil after all was quick to get angry and slow to forgive.

Thranduil listened to the man talking, subtly assuming that the queen was not to be trusted and there had been alarming signs indicating that she was planning to overthrow Legolas and turn the king against his first born son, the crown prince so he would never get the crown.
The king listened to his counselor talking, going on and on how everybody knew this in the court already and then he even said that maybe it was better if the queen took her bastard son and returned to her home realm. Thranduil took a look at the baby who was now sleeping in his fathers arms, peacefully and totally unaware of the mean things that were being said right under his nose.

That was enough. Now Thranduil finally understood how much those rumors had hurt you and he cursed in his mind that he had not gotten involved and interested sooner. He called the royal babysitter who took the baby to his bed to sleep and then he started raging. He had always this certain amount of coolness about him and he never lost his temper. This time he did. He was ready to sentence anyone and everyone who had said such things to exile and said that if the rumors did not stop, he would. He told this counselor to “spread the rumor” and if someone did not believe it to be true, they were more than welcome to test it.

The counselor swallowed once very nervously, bowed and basically ran away. Thranduil stayed in the garden to cool off his nerves and then he came to look for you.
You had gone to the baby’s room to watch him sleeping. He was so little still that he did not know what a cruel place the world could be sometimes. Sure you still saw the silver linings in the storm clouds but lately your skies had been fully covered with those clouds and there had been so few of silver linings.
You heard the door opening and familiar footsteps getting nearer. You did not have to see Thranduil to know that he was in the room because you recognized his presence as well as the way he walked. You stood up and saw Thranduil nodding at you. You felt so relieved when you realized that he had finally stood up for you. He opened his arms and you basically ran into his embrace.

You had not been embraced that tightly for a long time and it felt good. You felt safe and loved, warm and cherished, you felt the way that a dearest wife was supposed to feel. You put your hands on the cheeks of your beloved and guided him to kiss you. He kept close, his lips gently brushing yours before he finally kissed you.
His lips explored yours with such skill that even after some years he could make your knees weak and turn your brain into mush, like he had done the first time. His lips moved to kiss your neck and collarbones. You laughed when he found that ticklish spot under your ear. He moved his hand on your mouth so you would not wake up the baby as he continued gently caressing your skin and then returned to worship your rosy lips with his.

Suddenly he lifted you into his arms and stared deep into your eyes. He looked at you admiringly and whispered that he loved you very much, more than any words in any language could describe. You smiled and this time the smile was a sincere one. It came straight from your heart and lighted up Thranduils face, almost like hundred suns had come into existence at once. You traced his face with your fingertips and then pressed your hand on his heart. It was beating steadily against your palm. You loved to feel his heartbeat against your skin and that was the feeling that you had been missing. You both were silent and after a long moment you broke the silence by suggesting that the little boy surely needed a sibling and winked your eye at your dear husband.

Chapter Text

- Finally! you shouted as you opened an envelope that had just been delivered by a courier service. You had bought a ticket to a charity masquerade some time ago and been waiting for the arrival of the ticket impatiently. The ticket had been rather expensive but you had figured that you never attended fancy parties and nothing that interesting ever happened to you so you had decided to just go for it this time. The money went to a good cause anyway and how your life was supposed to get any more interesting if you never went to places and met new people.
You had bought a luxurious corset and a long dress to go with it. They both had cost quite much but you thought that you wanted to do it right and you had decided to enjoy the night like there was no tomorrow… and financial bankruptcy waiting for you when in few short weeks you have to pay the credit bill. You had also gone insane and bought new shoes to go with the dress as well as a silky cloak to keep you warm during the rides to both directions; to the party as well as back home.

And then the day of the charity even came. You had arranged it free from work so you had the entire day to get ready. You slept late, took a long shower, washed yourself with an expensive shower gel and as you waited the conditioner to work its magic in your hair, you put a cleansing and relaxing facemask on your face so your skin would look exceptionally glowing.
You groaned as you were spreading the sticky thing on your face. It was getting into your lashes and you could even taste it. It tasted horrible and you decided to wash it off right away. “I am wearing a mask anyway, who gives a damn about my face?” you thought as you wiped your face with a towel. After the conditioner had been in your hair for 5 minutes, you returned to the shower and washed the remaining mask and conditioner away. It had been a perfect example of expectations versus reality.

After rinsing your hair and washing your face you put on your pajama and ate so you did not get terribly hungry in the party. You knew that they were serving small snacks, or some kind of bites, but you did not want to be munching them away like someone who had not seen food for ages. No, you wanted to be graceful and a fine lady even for one night.
Then you put your makeup on and fixed your face. You managed to smudge the liner a couple of times and almost decided not to go because you were just getting annoyed. Finally you got the liners right and decided to get dressed.
You had changed the lacing of the corset into thin elastic band so you were able to pull the strings tight and still have the capability to actually… breathe. This way you also managed to get the corset dressed by yourself. You admired your excellent posture wearing the corset and the petticoat from the mirror and you had to admit; your front looked very good as well. The thing that you liked very much was that even when you jumped, your breasts did not wobble. This you tested a couple of times in front of the mirror and then admired just how firm and “in their right places” everything was.

- Hm, I should wear a corset more often. you stated to yourself and nodded approvingly. You continued fixing your hair because your hairdo had not liked that jumping –part too much. “Let’s add some more hairspray” you thought.
- I will never wear a corset again! you groaned after an hour. It was more challenging to keep the posture than you had assumed. You had basically thought that the corset would surely do the work for you, but it was not the case. If you let your posture slip, then you were greeted with the steel bones that were sticking to your skin. through the fabric that softened the contact, sure, but you could still feel them.
After getting fully dressed in your new sleeveless dress that resembled the dresses of Victorian era, you were ready. You looked great! The entire from your makeup and hairdo to your shoes and dress matched which made you so happy. It made you actually so happy that you forgot the discomfort entirely… no, not entirely but pretty damn close. You put on your mask and gave yourself a thumbs-up as a result.

You had called a taxi and it was now waiting for you outside. You put the shoes and the cloak on, took your purse and headed out. Luckily it was a beautiful day, a warm day for autumn and if you were lucky, there would be an amazing sunset for you to admire. You knew that there was a huge garden with a maze and you had wild dreams about how wonderful it would be to be chased in a maze by someone very nice, handsome man… no, a gentleman. Today you were the lady and if you were going to allow yourself being escorted by anyone, it had to be a true gentleman. You had put too much money and time to the whole thing to settle with anything less.
The car arrived to the mansion. There were servants dressed in old-fashioned clothes opening doors and helping the ladies out from their cars. You wished you could had arrived with a horse carriage but it was beyond your budget.
You looked around when you walked up the stairs and saw plenty of candles, flowers and people dressed in breathtaking clothes. It made you hope that you looked even half as good and could wear your dress with the dignity that it deserved. You left your cloak to the cloakroom and walked forward. Single ladies were escorted to the main hall by the servants that looked more like butlers or other higher ranking employees.

There were people serving sparkling wine and you grabbed a glass immediately when a tray sailed past you because you figured that one or two glasses of wine was a good encouragement. Those glasses were very small after all so even if you had three, it was still okay. The wine was included in the ticket price so you wanted to enjoy the whole experience… also the small snack-bites.

After the first hour you still had not been speaking or dancing with anyone. You were enjoying the end of your second glass when there was someone trying to catch your attention. You turned around and saw a man with black jacket that was made of velvet and it had buttons on the both sides of the front. Under that he had a light brown vest that had golden embroideries and a white shirt with ruffles under his chin. He had dark trousers and a black mask that covered the top-part of his face. Your mask was made of black lace and did not really hide anything, it just made you look mysterious.
- May I have this dance? the man asked with a Scottish accent and bowed a little as he offered you his hand. You smiled, dropped a curtsy and then took his hand.
- I’d be delighted. you answered and tried to recall all those periodic dramas that you had seen. You wanted to both look the part and also sound the part… and act the part.
The man escorted you to the dance floor and put his hand on your waist softly after bowing again. You put your hand on his shoulder and kept your other hand gracefully on his as he held it. You stumbled with your feet a couple of times but the man pretended that he did not even notice.
- I have to say that I must be the luckiest man here tonight. he states. His tone sounded almost proud or at least very pleased about the current state of things and the company that he was with.
- And why is that, Mr…

- James. My name is James. May I hear your name? he asked and spun you around once before pulling you back into his arms.
- Sure, I mean… Certainly. My name is (Y/N). you chuckled.
- Well, (Y/N)… That is a beautiful name and it suits you well. James complimented and looked deep into your eyes. The light was shining from the right angle and made his eyes sparkle like blue sapphires.
- Thank you. you said and smiled. You were happy to talk with someone who seemed so polite and playful at the same time, not forgetting the small mischievous spark in his eyes when he suddenly bent you backwards or made you spin without a warning making your heart skip a beat or two.
- May I be so bold and ask if you came here with anyone? he asked, more like whispered into your ear.
- You may and I did not. you replied and chuckled a little.
- That is a crime! he stated and pulled you tightly against himself. You got a bit surprised and caught off guard with that kind of sudden move so you burst into laughter.
- What makes you say so, James? you chuckled and smiled widely.
- You are the most gorgeous lady here tonight. he whispered into your ear. His voice was silent and soft but you could still hear the adorable accent.

- Ha-ha! you chuckled as a reaction. You were not used to such compliments.
- What? James asked and pulled a little further away to see the look on your face.
- Oh please… you said and rolled your eyes.
- I think I need to convince you about it. Very well, I like challenges. he stated and smirked at you.
You continued dancing with the man and sharing a lively, yet very formal conversation the entire time. After many songs you had to sit down because you had not used your new shoes before and although they had felt perfect and very comfortable in the shop during the test-walk, now after dancing for 40 minutes your feet started to be done.
- May I ask you a favor? you asked with a silent voice. You did not want to draw attention to yourself and to the fact that your feet were done.
- Of course.
- Could you please escort me to the nearest chairs, please? My feet-
- New shoes? James asked.
- Yes… How did you know? you asked with surprised voice.
- Isn’t that what women do? Buy shoes that look good and feel good at the shop and then overly confidently put them to a party and before the night is even half-done, their feet are practically begging for mercy.
- Uhuh? And have you met many of those women? you asked curiously.
- Some… he answered and smirked at you mysteriously.
- So you attend this kind of galas often? you asked as you tried to figure out just what kind of person this “James” was. He was a gentleman, adorably boyish and playful… social and easygoing.

- Sometimes. he answered and smiled. He walked you to the terrace and sat next to you. What you did not know was that you were actually accompanied by James McAvoy. He had seen you when you had arrived and decided that he wanted to get to know you or at least exchange a word or two… and if there was any kind of connection, or spark, he would stay around. He however did not want to reveal his identity just yet because he had noticed that many of the women and people in general were just interested about his famous-self and not necessarily about him as a normal person so this once when it was a normal thing to wear a mask, he had decided to take full advantage of it.
The sun had just set and the sky was glowing in the pastel colors as it finally faded into the darkening blue. You kept talking with James as you stared at the skies. At some point you had abandoned the formalities and were talking to him as yourself and not as a fine lady. James however kept joking in the way he normally did and although there was something very familiar about his voice, accent and the way he talked as well as his appearance you could not point out where you had seen him before. “It’s probably nothing” you thought and chuckled a little.

James enjoyed your company very much. You were being yourself and there was a spark between you. He assumed that you had no idea who he was and if you did, you did not seem to care. He sometimes just stared into your eyes and chuckled a little mischievously how it made you stumble in your words. Yes, the attraction and the chemistry were there. There was no question about it.
Those eyes. He had the bluest eyes and since they were the only thing that you could see, hence the mask, you were almost like put under their spell when he stared deep into yours with them. You knew that he was undressing you in his mind but not from clothes. He was undressing you from all the unnecessary roles that you had in your everyday life because he wanted to see what you were like when you were in the comfort of your own company or with the dearest friends.

- Would you like to walk a bit? you asked when your feet were alive, somewhat alive, again.
- I would like that. he said, stood up and gave you his arm again. You were happy to take it. You had taken off your shoes and were walking barefoot on the soft, but slightly cold grass. It was obvious that it was autumn already; the nights were cold even though the days were warm. The trees were turning yellow as well as red and there were even some leaves falling down as a wind blew from the north.
The wind made you shiver and you rubbed your arms a little. James noticed it and took off his coat, put it on your shoulders and asked if it was better now. You were completely taken aback by such gentleman-like gesture and tried to object because you did not like the idea of making the man shiver instead of you. James however ignored your objections and even rubbed your arms as a confirmation. He offered even to carry your shoes but there you drew the line. You stated that you were more than happy to carry your own sweaty shoes. James laughed and said “fine”.
After a moment you had walked to the gate where you could enter the maze. You both stood there side by side wondering the same thing “should you or should you not?”

- Tag! you exclaimed and slapped James’ arm playfully. He gave you a little headway and then shouted
- You must know already what happens when I’ll catch you?
- You mean “if”! you said and stopped behind the first corner.
- No… When! he stated.
- What happens when you’ll catch me? you asked and touched the deep green hedge with your fingertips. It felt smooth and rough under your touch. The whole situation felt very exciting, almost like you had been developing feelings for the masked man. You could not deny it, you were deeply attracted to him and even the sound of his voice was enough to cause shivers to spread and your cheeks to blush.
- I will kiss you! James declared and waited a bit nervously for your reply. He was attracted to you and curious to know what kissing you would be like.
- Haha! So why should I run? you asked and bit your lip. Your heart was beating so fast that it was basically drumming against your ribcage as it tried to break free. You tried to breathe with deep slow breaths but the corset was not allowing you to so the lack of necessary air was making your head spin even more. James chuckled. You wanted him to kiss you, it meant that you liked him. He smiled.

- That is… if you’ll survive five minutes first! he stated. He had to make it more interesting than just walking to you and kissing you. He wanted to chase you, get your adrenaline going on and then when you had gotten yourself into a dead end, he would walk to you in a calm manner and take his mask off just before kissing you. He wanted you to know who you were about to kiss so if your behavior changed, he could still back off.
- I will count to three… James said and then slowly said “one”. You squealed and started to run. “Two” he shouted. You took a couple of turns and hear the word “three” echoing in the garden. You kept running, getting deeper and deeper into the maze. After a couple of minutes you were almost passing out from the lack of air and it was completely impossible to run anymore. You were supporting yourself to a tree trunk and basically gasping for air when James found you.

- Four minutes, darling. No ki-
He said and noticed that you were not alright. He walked to you and looked deep into your eyes that were now on the verge of closing from passing out. He noticed you taking a few shaky steps and with a couple strides he was there right in front of you. He put his arm around you and supported you.
- Hey… he spoke with soft voice as he noticed you having hard time catching your breath.
- Okay, no more running for me. you said and concentrated on calming your breath down. When you finally managed to catch your breath well, you noticed finally how close James was standing. His arm was pulling you tightly against his body as he supported you. He listened to your breathing as your mouth was about at the level of his shoulder. He lifted his hand and pressed his fingers softly on your neck. You assumed that he wanted only to check your pulse.
- Yeah-yeah, I’m alrigh-
- Shhh… he said and kept caressing your neck with his fingertips. He was barely touching you but you could still feel his fingers tracing the skin of your neck, jaw and cheek so lightly. The garden was dark and silent. The sky was clear and covered with thousands and thousands of stars. The wind played gently with James’ shirts sleeves that were quite loose and also with the hem of your dress. You could feel him shivering as his lips brushed gently your cheek. The moment went on but nothing else happened.

- You’re freezing. I think we should go inside. you said and broke the moment. You wanted to kiss that charming stranger but then again you were worried that if you did, you would end up falling with the guy. It was just the combination of everything; the music and dancing, the clothes and wine, the dark garden… the handsome stranger who somehow felt so familiar… but whose company you had enjoyed enormously not caring about who he was; he could had been the shopkeeper of the corner store nearby but it would not had made any different… or the trashman… a politician that you had seen on the news.
The moment however did not proceed and nothing happened. You had enjoyed being close to the stranger but since he was not going to kiss you after all and you had no courage to take the step either, you just stepped back. You took the jacket off your shoulders and gave it back to James, put the shoes on and smiled at the man who then smiled back at you.

- Why didn’t you kiss me? James asked with a puzzled, slightly surprised tone.
- I could ask you the same thing. you answered.
- I wanted to… I mean the setting is wonderful… you are wonderful… he described with the soft tone.
- What stopped you then? you asked. You wished you could see his face so you could read his expressions but did not dare to ask him to take it off. It was a masquerade after all and it was not midnight yet. The invitation had said that when the clock struck midnight, everyone were supposed to take off their masks and reveal their true identities, but not before.
James did not answer. He did not know if he could take off his mask, walk to you and kiss you or would he just let you walk away. You smiled and looked away. Then you turned and started to walk back to the terrace. You found your way out from the maze pretty easily. When you had reached to the garden that was illuminated beautifully with lights, you heard James running behind you.

You kept walking forward because you were shivering quite much without James’ jacket. Suddenly you felt a hand grabbing your arm gently, stopping you and then gently turning you to face him. The man was not wearing the mask anymore and you recognized him now. He waited, staring at you from the close distance, for the expression on your face to change. Instead of saying anything, you reached to open the knot of your mask and took it away as well.
- I would like to kiss you now, if that is still alright with you. he said with a soft tone and he sounded a little nervous even. You stared into the blue depths of his eyes and smiled a little. You leaned a little bit closer and closed your eyes. You got on your tippy-toes and pressed a soft kiss on his cheek. Your lips felt almost burning hot against the cool skin of his cheek and the feeling made him smile. He could not point out what was the thing that made his knees weak about your gesture, but it was very sincere and told him more about your character than what you could had told him with words. He stayed close and took your hand. He tangled his fingers with yours and turned his head a bit. He pressed his forehead against yours and smiled widely.
Suddenly there were people at the terrace. They were having fun and laughing very loudly. You both knew that it was time to go inside so you put your masks back on and walked back in, hand in hand.

Chapter Text

You were typing your report when you heard the door being slammed shut. You jumped a little because you had not really gotten used to live with someone. You had actually just recently moved in with your boyfriend, Jamie. He was usually busy with his acting career as well as his band but he had asked you to move in with him when your previous landlord had suddenly decided to sell the place. It had really come as a surprise and you had panicked a little.
You had actually panicked so terribly that you had called Jamie during his movie filming and cried your eyes out in the phone. It had been terrible; the announcement had come as a completely surprise mostly because your landlord had never mentioned that he was even considering selling the apartment. Fortunately Jamie had then said immediately that you were most welcomed to live with him. You had not been that ecstatic about the idea because you had not been dating for that long, only about 6 months, give or take a few weeks, but since you did not really have a choice, you had decided to take his offer.

Now you had been living together for few months but things had been going great. Jamie was away quite a lot which made you to miss him like crazy. You did not want him to know, of course, just how much you missed him, but you had a feeling that he knew. At least he always called you or sent you messages to wish you goodnight or to ask how you were doing.
He had asked you repeatedly to join him on his travels but you were tied in the city where you were living. You couldn’t just leave everything and go, not right now at least, although his offer was very tempting. Traveling with Jamie would be surely exciting but you had made it clear from the beginning that you wanted to be your own person, independent, and also you had goals in life and to reach those goals, you had to stay.

Jamie understood it and respected it although he occasionally told you how hard it was to miss you all the time and frankly, it was sometimes affecting his mood at the set. You felt bad for him but then again you did not like it when he said that. He had known what he was getting into when he had asked you to be his girlfriend, as you had too. It had been clear from the beginning that he would be gone for weeks sometimes and there was nothing you could had done. It was just the way things were.

You had met at a club where you had been dancing with your friends. Then you had noticed a blond, tall, athletic man who was wearing stylish clothes and surrounded by gorgeous women. You had sipped your drink and shifted your gaze away from him when he had noticed that you were looking. You had recognized him, well of course, and then gotten embarrassed when he had caught you red-handed, staring at him.
Your friends had ditched you, that sometimes happened, and you had been just drinking your favorite drink, casually scanning the dancing crowd as you tried to locate your friends. You had noticed that the blond man, Jamie, had left the ladies, not that you cared because you totally didn’t… well okay, you did care because he was awesome, but you had not been assuming to ever see him again.

- Hello! you had heard someone saying and as you had seen Jamie standing by the table. You had stared at him with a surprised expression on your face and you had not been quite sure what to reply. In other words; you had been rendered speechless.
- May I join you? he had asked.
- Uhm… sure. you had managed to reply and then sipped your drink, just to cover the look on your face which was basically screaming “what. the. fuck?”
- I’m Jamie, I couldn’t help noticing you sitting here alone, staring at me.
You had gone red as a tomato. Luckily there were no bright lights illuminating your face at that time so you had the privilege to blush in private, kind of, and besides all the lights that were lighting your face, were in different colors so you had been safe. And about that you were thankful… so thankful. “This however was not the time to be shy and silent, this was the time to be witty and charming, confident” you had told yourself and then smiled.
- Yeah… well, you and your massive… entourage… kind of caught my attention.
- Well, nothing serious, just a couple of groupies. he had said almost as he had been trying to explain why he was surrounded by ladies.
- It’s none of my business, I don’t judge. you had said and lifted your hands slightly up to emphasize how you really wanted to wash your hands from that conversation.

Then you had started to talk with him and ended up on the dance floor with him where he had not been able to take his eyes off you and you had felt that you had been the only woman he had seen even though the club had been filled with beauties. In the end he had asked for your number and you had been happy to give it.
However he had waited almost a week to call because he had been busy and you had been completely sure that he was not going to call you. Then one night, just before you had been going to bed, you had heard your phone ringing just when you had been washing your teeth. The ringing had ended just before you had gotten the toothpaste foam rinsed out from your mouth. You did not know the number so you were debating with yourself whether you should call or not, because you did not usually call numbers that were not familiar to you, but this time you had made an exception.
A man with British accent had answered and greeted you. At this point you had had no idea whatsoever who you had called so you had just said “someone from this number called just a minute ago, hi!” The person on the phone had laughed a little and then realized that you of course you did not know who was calling because you did not have his number. “It’s Jamie, hi” he had said finally and after going through every British-accented Jamie you knew, there weren’t many, you had then remembered the guy from the club. “Hello!” you had exclaimed and then cursed silently for sounding so excited.

After chatting for a moment that had actually turned into an hour just like that, you had asked him out. He had accepted your invitation and then you had set a time and place for the date. It had been easy, surprisingly so, to talk with him and the same easiness had continued face to face. Although you had sensed that he has a kind of a role that he was keeping up when he was among strangers but after few dates you had began to see “the real Jamie”, or the side of him that he did not want to show publicly. Seeing that side of him had made you feel privileged and appreciated. It still did.
You had been going out for about 4 months when he had asked if he may refer to you as your girlfriend and from that point on, you had been officially dating Jamie. It had been a bit strange at first, dating a celebrity, but beneath the glamour and glitter he was just a normal guy with a little less normal job, in which he was very good at.

Yes, Jamie was very talented and passionate of what he did. When he talked about his projects, no matter whether they were acting of music –related, it was always clear to you that he loved what he did and wanted to be successful. Therefore the days when things did not go that well were quite hard and draining for him. It had taken time that he had been able to even show you his frustration or bad mood, but again, it had made you feel very appreciated when he had finally let you close.

This was one of those days when everything had gone to shit, nothing had worked and he had just kept bumping into things, the entire day! Now he was home and the door between his safe-place and the rest of the world had been slammed shut. Yes, slammed so loudly that it had spooked you even though you had been listening to music.
You continued typing because you were experiencing sort of a flow. That so very rarely happened that when it finally did, you had to take full advantage of it. However soon you heard a glass breaking in the kitchen and Jamie cursing immediately after it. You sighed once, removed your fingers from the keyboard and then stood up.
- What’s going on here? you asked.
- Oh, nothing… Jamie answered and as you were going to go and hug him, he continued
-Watch out, there is glass on the floor.
- Oh… I’ll get the vacuum-
- No… my mess, I’ll clean it. he said and walked past you to get to the closet that hosted all the cleaning supplies. You could see that something was wrong although he did his best to keep you from seeing it.
- Did you get hurt? you asked because you had plenty of personal experience of getting cuts from broken glasses.
- No. Don’t worry, love. he said and kissed your forehead when he passed you again.
Jamie cleaned the mess, took another glass and poured some lemonade with vodka to it. Now it was clear that something was bothering him. One thing that you had learned about Jamie, was that if he had had a difficult day, he drank one drink when he got home in the hopes of calming his nerves.

- Want to talk about it? you asked with a soft voice and watched him stroking his hair. He groaned when they kept going on his face and did not stay where he wanted them to.
- I swear that one day I will freaking shave my head bald-
- Hey-hey-hey… you said and walked to hug your boyfriend from behind. You pressed your cheek against his back and breathed in and out calmly. He felt very tensed up and it made you worry. “What is it?” you mumbled but he did not answer.
- Okay, well… I will go and finish the report and then we’ll prepare some dinner together and… you’ll get to tell me everything about it. Deal? you asked and listened to his breathing. He sipped some if his drink again and then mumbled
- Oh, the dinner is not ready yet? I am starving!
- Well excuse me! you exclaimed and stepped a little away from him. It was so unfair if he assumed that you would just wait for him at home with dinner like you had no other responsibilities.
- Let me remind you that I also have things to do. They might not be as exciting and glamorous as yours but-
- Yeah, I know… I’m sorry. Jamie said and smiled briefly.

- Okay… how about, we’ll order some pizza and when it arrives, I will be all yours. I’m sorry but… I really have this deadline-
- Sure… Which pizza would you like to have?
- You know what I like. Surprise me. you said and smirked as you disappeared to the other room again. Jamie ordered the pizzas and after 45 minutes the delivery guy brought them.
- The pizzas are here. you heard Jamie shouting from the kitchen.
- Yep! Just give me a minute… you answered and saved the report. Now you had to just send it via email.
- Aaand… I’m… done! you exclaimed as you hit the send-icon, closed your laptop and joined Jamie in the kitchen. He had ordered you your favorite pizza and himself his favorite. You took two plates as he sliced the pizza in smaller pieces that were easy to eat without knife and fork. Then you carried the plates to the living room as he carried the drinks.
You ate and then finally Jamie started to talk about his day. He was talking about in a way that sounded that it did not really be that big of a deal and it annoyed you. It was frustrating when he put that same role up that he played in front of strangers and cameras. Sure he was easy going, funny and social, very spontaneous and always ready for good time, but there was only that other side of him that he was now hiding from you and it made you frustrated and worried which easily turned into irritation from your part. That happened because you felt like he was shutting you out and it was challenging, no, plain difficult to be there for him when he did that.

Then he snapped at you and you snapped at him back. He was pushing you to start an argument with him, which you almost did, but this time you decided to let it be. Instead of taking that bate you just took his hand, lifted it to your lips and pressed a soft kiss on his knuckles. Jamie stopped talking instantly and pulled you to sit on his lap.
You stared into his eyes as you sat on his lap, facing him and stroking his hair in a soothing way. You smiled a little and then moved your hands to caress the gorgeous features of his face; cheeks, jaw, forehead and you even brushed his lips occasionally. You slid your finger from his forehead slowly along his nose on his lips and then leaned closer to kiss him. You kissed the corner of his mouth softly before shifting yourself and pressing a kiss on his lips.

He loved it when you did that. It made him feel adored as well as appreciated and it also reminded him that even though the world sucked ass sometimes, you were the constant good thing that did not change. Sure you sometimes fought but so did every couple and as long as you always made up afterwards, it was all good. He stared into your eyes and then wrapped his arms around you and pressed you close. You tangled your fingers into his hair as you kissed him. You liked his hair and knew that he liked when you gently pulled them.

His lips moved gently against yours and sometimes he deepened the kiss for a moment, but he always returned to that sweet, gentle and adoring kissing style that seemed to wipe away his worries. After that he was finally ready to tell you what had happened. You listened to him as he talked about his own clumsiness and how it had made him frustrated. He hated it when he did not get things done and when things were not easy. It really blocked his creativeness and disturbed him which immediately then affected on his music and acting.
You held him close as he talked about his day and then you kept holding him. He listened to your calm breathing and concentrated on feeling your finger calmly drawing random shapes on his back. You told him with a soft tone that tomorrow was another day and it was alright. You ran your hand on his arm slowly up and down. He was wearing a t-shirt and you loved to feel his soft, warm skin under your equally soft and warm hands.

You suggested that you would take a shower together and after that you would massage those tensions away from his shoulders and this time he did not even have to return a favor. Jamie chuckled, laughed even and then got up from the sofa. You both got ready for that shower and kept embracing each other as warm water caressed your skins. You wrapped your arms around him and pressed your cheek against his chest. He wrapped his arms around you and rested his chin on your head. Yes, you were that thing that made him always feel better. You did not have to do anything but to smile or take his hand and he felt that at least half of his worries were gone. The other half was easily melted when you told him that everything was alright and you loved him, so very much. He did the same to you; no matter how shitty your day had been, he always cheered you up.

You got out from shower, both got dressed in your favorite pajamas and then you led Jamie into the bedroom, asked him to lay on his stomach.
- Just breathe in and out… Relax. you whispered into his ear and pressed a kiss on his shoulder. You massaged his shoulders, arms and back slowly. You did not miss a muscle and you could feel how the tension left his body. It made you very happy, he made you very happy. After 15 minutes you noticed that Jamie had fallen asleep so you tucked him in, quickly turned off the lights and then returned into the bed to hold him close as he slept. Soon you fell asleep as well and had sweet dreams about the adventures that you would have together. You and your Jamie.

Chapter Text

Embarrassing. Yes, that was exactly what it was, to be dumped publicly the way you were. The guy who had previously told you that he loved you had now invited you to a café just to tell you that it was over between you two. That way you were unable to cause a scene or start to cry, which would have been extremely embarrassing for him and he would have felt sorry for you.

There had not been any warning, you had thought that you were happy together and in the beginning of the conversation it had sounded that he was about to propose. The guy was talking about the future and so one and then, just out from the blue, he had said “I am not happy with you”. You had asked what you could do make things better and then he had just said with an emotionless tone “it’s over”.

You looked around a couple of times and saw people staring at you. The conversations in the nearby tables had stopped because the guy who was dumping you had done it by exclaiming it and then laughed at you for not “getting the message”. After that his voice had muffled away and you had just stared at him with a blank look on your face. The only thing you had understood was that he was not even trying to do the “it’s not you, it’s me” thing and he was bluntly going for the “it’s you”.

Then you stood up, left a random amount of coins for the waitress as the tip and walked away. You went outside and of course, well of course it was raining and you had no umbrella. You never did because you never learned. Your boyfriend, no, your ex-boyfriend had thought it was cute which made you to curse it even more. Everything reminded you about him and everything would remind of him for a long time, that you were sure about.

- That was… something.
You heard a man saying with a soft tone. The voice sounded familiar but you did turn your head to look. You stayed silent. What was there to say anyway? You just kept your gaze fixed upon the clouds and sobbed silently.
- It was pretty entertaining-
He continued, standing next to you as you stared at the gray skies. Then you turned your head and the man saw your heartbroken face.
- …but I feel sorry for you. he said while he kept staring into your eyes. Some tears had escaped your eyes and smudged your makeup which made you look even more devastating. Then you turned your head away. The man looked familiar and after a few moments of processing you realized that it was actually Michael Fassbender whose afternoon tea you had interrupted. “Well of course” you thought. It was just your luck that your favorite actor just happened to witness your embarrassing moment. You were about to step into the rain when the man grabbed the sleeve of your jacket and said
- I will drive you home.
- No need. you answered but he did not let go your sleeve. You were not appreciating his valiant gesture because you did not really want to be around anyone at the moment.

- I insist. he said. His tone was firm but surprisingly friendly, considering the fact that he had just met you and therefore he did not know you at all.
- Don’t you have an interview or something to attend to? you asked with an irritated tone. You really were not in the mood for being nice and friendly towards anyone.
- No, not today. he answered and smiled a little. You were not looking, but you could hear it from his tone.
- Fine. But do tell me; why? you asked and then turned your head so you could stare into his eyes. You wanted to know if he was sincerely concerned or if he was just joking or playing with you.
- Because those things that he said were just horrible. He was being unfair-
- I did not hear any of that. So… Thanks for telling me. you stated and chuckled bitterly. It was true, you had not been able to focus on any reasoning that had followed that “it’s over” –part and you were quite happy about that.
- Sorry. Well, I will just get my car. Wait here. he said and put his hand on your shoulder before he left you standing under the awning of the café where you had been standing and waiting for the rain to stop.
- Sure. Where would I go? you mumbled and watched Michael to run into the rain.

He got his car and gestured you to hop in as he had parked it in front of the café. He drove you home and followed you in. He took off his jacket as well as shoes and put his jacket, that was a bit wet from the rain, to dry on a hanger.
- You have a nice apartment. he said as he looked curiously around.
- Thanks. you mumbled, walked to the freezer and took a packet of ice cream out. You cut big slices for both of you, since it started to look like Michael was not going anywhere, took 2 spoons and put the slices to 2 cups, walked to the living room where your guest was standing and gave the cup to him. You gestured him to sit down and did the same. You both ate ice cream in silence and when the cups were empty, he asked
- So what’s the deal?
- I got dumped. Publicly humiliated. Great, isn’t it? you replied and pursed up your lips. This time he did not answer or comment. You felt like he was waiting for some kind of explanation so you continued
- I thought that he was going to either propose or ask me to move in with him but-
- Wait! You’re saying that you had no idea that he was planning to end it. he exclaimed and put the cup on the coffee table that was in front the arm chair where he was sitting.

- Yeah. Just a few days ago we had this serious talk about future… our future together… And now this! you stated and laughed bitterly. You rubbed your forehead and ran your fingers through your hair.
- Wow, that is cruel! Michael stated. He was surprised because he had assumed that your relationship had sucked for some time but you had not seen the signs. You stayed quiet and shrugged your shoulders. The situation had been quite opposite really; the guy had told you that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with you, just a couple of days ago. Therefore you felt now betrayed and like a fool. Thinking about it made your eyes fill with tears again.
- That guy is an asshole. He doesn’t deserve those tears. he commented and tried to come up with ways that he could make it any better.
- Maybe not, but I cannot just suddenly stop loving him, you know? you mumbled. It was getting obvious that Michael was genuinely concerned for your well being as well as shocked about your ex’s behavior.
- I suppose you’re right. he commented with a silent, defeated tone. A silence followed. You in a way were waiting for your guest to leave but on the other hand you did not want to be left alone. However you were too proud to admit it even to yourself.

- Shall we watch a movie? Michael asked suddenly.
- Uhm, excuse me? you asked, not really sure if you had heard him correctly.
- Yeah! You seem like a nice person and therefore I am not going to leave you alone in this state. he said and smiled a little. Michael was a very handsome man and in any other situation and time you would have been drooling over him, but now you had no interest to pay attention to such things.
- And what state is that exactly? you asked. Your voice had an undertone of irritation because you did not like the way he could see that you were not alright.
- Heartbroken, crying…
- Ah, I’m a mess. No need to point that out, Mr. Fassbender. I am fully aware of that myse-
- I know-
- So you should leave-
- No… Michael said firmly. He had no intentions to leave now, not even you tried to push him out from your apartment.
- No? you asked and scoffed. “Perfect!” you sighed and rolled your eyes.
- That’s right! So choose a movie and prepare some popcorns. I am not going anywhere. he said with an assertive tone and it was clear that there was no room for disagreement. However you were secretly pleased because, although you did not know it at the time but, that day you lost a boyfriend but gained a friend.

Time passed and after 10 months you started to date again. Michael tried to hook you up with some of his friends a couple of times but most of his friends were more or less famous and you felt stupid hanging out with them. You just did not share anything with them, your lifestyle was just too different and you felt like an outsider whenever you were hanging out with Michael and his famous buddies. With Michael however you kind of clicked but it most likely was due to the fact that you were not trying to be anything more than just friends, besides Michael was always dating someone else so it did not really leave any room for you to even dream about dating him.

After 3 years from your first meeting you were celebrating the third anniversary of your friendship and also “being freed from a bad relationship”. Now that time had passed you were even able to laugh at the whole thing but this particular evening you were feeling a bit low. You had been going out with someone rather many times but then he had just send you a text message saying that he was very sorry but he had decided to get back with his ex. Michael had noticed that you were a bit down and he was about to ask you about it when you said
- You know… Maybe I am not supposed to ever find anyone.
- What do you mean? he asked and put his wine glass on the table so he could focus on you better. He did not like when you said or thought like that because in his opinion you were one of the best people he had ever met in his life and hearing you say how basically you have given up hope that you would ever find someone special, made him sad.

- Not everyone is meant for relationships. And that’s cool. I am fine with it. you replied and tried to smile. The smile was fake and in 3 years Michael had learned to make a difference between your fake smile and your real smile. He liked your real smile very much because it basically lighted up the entire room but your fake smile made him annoyed because it meant that you were not comfortable of showing your true feelings to him. That was when you were alone with him, when you were in public, he did not assume you to be open about your feelings in front of strangers… but he was no stranger. Sure he was sometimes away for long times but he still considered him as one of your closest friends as you were to him.
- Wait, what? No! he exclaimed.
- Come on. All my relationship attempts just end before anything even happens. you reasoned. Michael looked at you and he saw that you were tired of trying anything anymore, for some time anyway. He however did not comment and when he did not comment, you felt like you had to say something because it was clear that he was waiting for you to say something.

- But I am happy as I am. Besides life is easier this way. you stated and emptied your wine glass. Michael commented “hm” and then emptied his glass as well. That was the end of that discussion.
You and Michael started to watch a movie. You always sat next to him and he always put his arm around you. He was the only friend you ever allowed that close and it was because he himself had taken the initiative to get close to you and even run his fingers on your arm when you were sitting next to him. It had been difficult at first to remember that there was nothing more than warm friendship between you two and at first, when he had gotten close, you had reminded you about “nothing but friends” every day. Some women that he dated were a bit jealous for the warm friendship that you shared but for many months he had not been really dating anyone.

With time it had gotten easier until one day you could not think Michael in any romantic way and even the mere thought about him being something else than your friend felt weird. Soon after that night Michael invited you to a party. There were lots of people and somehow everyone seemed to assume that you were Michael’s girlfriend and he did not set anyone straight. You felt confused but did not want to cause a scene by correcting him when he did that, besides you did not want to embarrass your friend in front of his other friends and as long as you yourself knew where you were going, it was enough for you… for now at least.

- So Michael, have you ever demonstrated a perfect movie-kiss to your darling girlfriend? one of Michael’s friends asked and winked her eye at you. At that point you could not just ignore it and as a reaction you stated immediately that
- I’m not-
- No… not yet. Do you think that I should? Michael replied. He was standing next to you, casually resting his hand on your shoulder, like he sometimes did. Then he looked at you. His expression was mysterious and you did not know what to say. You were completely speechless. Then suddenly he stepped in front of you, put his hands on your cheeks and looked deep into your eyes.
- What are you doing? you asked and as you were about to step away from him, he shifted his other hand from your cheek and wrapped it around your waist so you were unable to escape.
- Something I should have done a long time ago. he mumbled, leaned closer and brushed your lips with his. His lips were soft and warm as they kept feeling yours that were equally soft and warm. You stood there with your eyes closed, completely unable to decide what to do. Michael however knew exactly what to do and was not afraid to do it.

He pulled you closer so you were tightly against his body and his presence was surrounding you completely while you were sinking deeper into the warmth that you had gotten used to. It was familiar and new at the same time but it had never been as intimate as it was now. Then finally he pressed his lips on yours and kissed them gently. You gasped involuntarily which made you open your mouth a little. All this was accidental but Michael was not afraid to use any opportunity to his advantage. His lips explored yours and after a moment you encouraged your mind to respond. Or maybe your response was just a reaction to what he was doing, something beyond your control.
The kiss went on and on until you both were breathless. Michael released your lips and you recoiled to the sound of people clapping and cheering.

- And that, my friends, is a perfect movie-kiss. you heard Michaels friend stating. You excused yourself to make some more dip for the chips. Michael was about to follow you, but he was caught up to a conversation with someone else.

You touched your lips that were still tingling from that kiss. “Fuck!” you sighed as you realized that moment had been enough to make you to fall in love with your friend. You took the dip to the chips and then acted like nothing had happened, the only thing you did differently now, was that you tried to avoid Michael now. You reasoned that the kiss had not meant anything to him and he was just accepting his friends challenge and that was all.

The party ended and you helped Michael to collect the empty bottles and other garbage as he put the foods back into the fridge and gathered glasses and plates into the kitchen sink. When everything was done you just said “thank you for the party, goodnight!” and left the apartment before Michael could even react. You had put on your jacket and taken your purse and basically wished him goodnight from the door on your way out. Your head was spinning because of that kiss. You did not want to jeopardize your friendship and you did not even know if Michael had kissed you for some deeper reason. Surely not because he had done it in front of everyone and he had been basically dared to do it. He had had tens and tens of chances to kiss you in private but he had not done it so this surely meant nothing.

After that you continued hanging out but you did not let him close anymore. You just could not because you just wanted to get back to the moment before the kiss, when you had been able to be close to him without thinking about him in a romantic way. Now all you could think about was that kiss and how the world had faded away, how your knees had almost given in and there had been butterflies in your stomach.

You were watching a movie at Michael's place one night, just a couple of weeks after that party. Either of you had not talked about the kiss. What was there to talk about anyway? Michael had tried a couple of times but you had always changed the subject so he then stopped trying. He also tried to get close to you like he had before, but you always sat down after him and made sure that there was a safe distance between you two.

The evening was getting late and after dozing off many times you fell asleep entirely. The movie was not even in the halfway but you had been having a very rough week and you had been lacking sleep due to stress. Luckily tomorrow you had a day off and you did not even have plans, no other plans anyway than to sleep the entire day, although now you were not home and you were not supposed to fall asleep.
Michael paused the movie and lifted you up. He carried you into his bedroom and lay you down on his bed, tucked you in and then got his apartment as well as himself ready for night. He had a large bed so he lay down on the other side of it but after a moment of rolling, he got closer to your sleeping form. You had turned on your stomach and hugged a pillow as you slept. Michael brushed a runaway lock of your hair behind your ear and revealed your face, or half of it.

- You know… you can be so blind sometimes. he whispered as he kept staring at your serene sleeping face.
- I wish I’ll someday soon have the courage to tell you… he whispered and caressed your cheek with the back of his fingers. You were deep asleep and could not hear anything he said.
- …that… he continued and paused to think if he dared to kiss your cheek or not. He decided that it would be too bold of him. However he got a bit closer so the next thing he whispered, he could whisper right into your ear

- I love you.

He was hoping that your subconscious would hear him and you would stop running away from him. Maybe tomorrow he would ask you on a date, on a real date. That was if you gave him a chance to confess his feelings that he had been having for almost a year already.

Chapter Text

You arrived to the Heathrow airport. It was great to escape your life for a moment and winning VIP-trip to the premier of the new James McAvoy –movie was the perfect getaway. You had taken part to a quiz some weeks ago but you had never imagined that you would actually win. The competition was international and since the questions had been very easy, you had assumed that there would be thousands and thousands of attendants and even though some of them answered wrong, there would still be a slim chance for you to actually win.
But you had won and now you were standing outside of the airport with your bag. You breathed in and out a couple of times and then walked in. You checked the printed email for instructions and headed for the first class –lounge where you had private security check and you were able to check in your bag without queuing. You asked the info personnel how to find the lounge after you had tried to locate it by yourself first. You had felt quite foolish because you had been walking back and forth many times but asking for help was not easy for you.

After asking for directions, you found the lounge easily. You showed your ticket to the woman who was working at the first class check-in counter, who also checked in your luggage, and then continued forward through the private security. When that was done, you still had plenty of time to get something to eat and to drink. You had not been able to sleep or eat during the day or the previous one so now you were basically starving.

You walked to the small restaurant and ordered your favorite drink and you were lucky enough so they had your favorite dish on their menu, kind of. It was a modern take on that dish but you were pleasantly surprised that the food was actually very good. Excellent in fact. The other thing that you were pleasantly surprised about was that the trip included all the drinks and food in the first class –lounge… the entire trip was an “all-inclusive” package, just like the description had said.

It was winter and there was a storm approaching. One by one the flights changed from “delayed” to “cancelled” and that happened also to your flight. You were standing in front of a big timetable –screen and scoffed when your flight got cancelled completely. Then you turned your head to a large window and stared at the snow that was practically falling sideways due to the winds.

- Well it seems that we are stuck here. a man said. He was standing next to you but you had been so completely inside your own head that you had not noticed him walking there. You jumped slightly and turned to look at the man who was talking to you.
- Oh… It is just a small snowstorm-
- There are no small snowstorms. Besides, this is not a small snowstorm! And if it was, I would hate to see your version of a big storm. he said. You chuckled, he had a point; the storm was not exactly a “small snowstorm” and it was getting worse by every moment.
- Hi… I’m James. he said and offered his hand to you for a handshake. You recognized the man of course and shook his hand.
- And what shall I call you? he asked as he tilted his head to the side slightly. He looked very curious or maybe it was the comfortably dimmed lighting that made his eyes appear deep blue and very charming indeed. You started to laugh a bit because you were slightly nervous for such chance encounter.

- Come on, you can tell me! he continued and smiled.
- (Y/N). My name is (Y/N), nice to meet you, Mr. McAvoy. you answered with a polite smile on your face.
- Oh, it’s James, darling. he corrected and winked his eye at you. You blushed as a reaction and shifted your gaze back to the raging storm in the hopes that seeing snow would cool off your thoughts.
- So, (Y/N), where are you heading? he asked after a moment of awkward silence.
- You mean “trying to” -eh? you asked. You wanted to be witty and make James laugh, in which you succeeded.
- Yes, I suppose in this weather all you can do is to try. he answered after he had stopped laughing.
- I am heading to New York, there is a premier of this… movie… you answered and nodded a couple of times.
- Great, great… he commented.
- And where are you going, Mr. Mc- you said and James gave you a disapproving look. You said “sorry” and then corrected yourself
- James?

- To New York, there is this premier… you know… my new movie. he answered and gave you a shy smile.
- Oh… Well… Uhm… That is quite a… coincidence. you stammered because he had managed to make you lose your train of thought with that adorable, boyishly shy smile.
- Ha-ha! Do you live in London? James asked curiously.
- I do, why? you answered and then gave him a puzzled stare with your head tilted to the side.
- Well you must be a true fan of mine since you’re traveling half the world to see my movie. he stated. You chuckled a bit and dropped your head. “Yeah, it totally looks that way” you thought and commented
- Uh-huh?
- Well, there was the London premier just last week, why did you not attend-
- Oh, ha, yeah… It seems stupid, right? But the thing is that I actually won this trip. you explained and sat down on a sofa that was by the large window.

- Did you? he exclaimed and smiled. He looked surprised and surprisingly… happy.
- I did and I usually never win anything so I am… pleasantly surprised. you answered and checked casually your phone. The weather forecast did not promise anything good for the night and it was getting more and more obvious that you were going to spend the night at the airport. However, the storm was supposed to clear by morning… or that was what your weather-app stated at least.
- Oh, then I will buy you drink to congratulate you for the excellent fortune. James said and tried to take a peek of what you were doing with your phone. You turned the screen at him and showed him the weather forecast. He commented “oh” and then waited for you to accept or decline his invitation.
- I don’t know-
- Oh come on. Live a little! We are stuck here the entire night, so at least we can make most of it, right? he said. His voice sounded playfully mischievous and his Scottish accent was not helping. You were being charmed.
- Uhm…
- No-no-no, don’t think about it, just go with it. What do you say? he asked with bright eyes.
-Uh… Fine, yes… You’re right! you answered after hesitating for a moment. You had almost said “no” but then realized that these situations did not come every day and James seemed like a cool guy to hang out with.
- Good! James exclaimed.

You stood up and took his arms so he could escort you to the restaurant and he offered you a drink. You sat in a quiet, rather private corner table and started to talk about movies. You liked movies very much and had strong opinions about them. You ordered the next drinks and luckily you did not have to pay for them. It was all included and you were happy about that because you were almost going to pass out when you saw the pricelist for the drinks. “Well, if you can fly first class, you can definitely afford these drinks as well” you thought and tried not to show that you were profoundly shaken for the prices.
You were not poor but you were not rich either. You were single, living alone in London and your income was enough to support you and provide you the lifestyle that suited you. However you always flew in the economy class and checked the prices before making any decisions as well as exploited the season sales and other discounts. You were not poor, but you were smart about money and since you did not have too much of it, you rather spend the little you had wisely and buy only things that you really needed… or wanted.

The storm raged on outside the airport, all over London but you did not mind. Hours were basically slipping away as you walked around the surprisingly quiet airport with James. Many of the people had checked into an airport hotel and since it was late night, almost early even, the people who were spending the night at the airport were sleeping anyway and sometimes you managed to wake a few people up because you and James were both just laughing too loudly.

Then finally the morning came. You ate breakfast together and watched how the runways got plowed one by one. Soon after you had finished, there was an announcement that the first class –boarding to the flight to New York was about to begin.
- Well… this was fun. Thank you. you said and shook James’ hand before taking your purse as well as jacket and heading to the boarding.
- Yeah, it was. he said and then noticed his manager motioning him to go and follow him.
- Okay… well… have a nice flight! you said and smiled.
- You too. he said.
- Farewell. you answered and sighed. It was somewhat sad to just abandon him like that but what else could you do? You had checked your tickets and noted that your seats were in the opposite ends of the first class cabin. Besides, what were you expecting anyway? “You’re dreaming” you scolded yourself and decided to smile instead of showing that saying goodbyes stung a little.
- Hey, don’t say goodbyes yet, you never know if I’ll run into you again. James stated immediately.
- Ha-ha! Bye James! you laughed, turned away and walked to the boarding desk. You were asked to move into the cabin immediately and after one glance in the hopes of seeing James again, you shook your head, thought “as if” and walked into the airplane.

You were sitting by the window and there was a business man sitting next to you. He smelled strongly of cigarettes and you were cursing inside your head for being stuck next 8 hours next to him. You tried to concentrate on anything else than the smell and suddenly there was a familiar voice talking to the man.
- Hey mate, you’re on my seat.
- No, I do not think so. the man answered. He sounded arrogant and annoyed.
- How about we’ll make this seat mine and you’ll get my seat in the back-
- Why would I want that? he asked. He sounded kind of interested and it was clear that he saw an opportunity in his situation.
- Come on, mate, help me here! James stated.
- What? the man asked. He was not going to give up his seat that easily.
- I want to talk to the pretty lady. James answered and winked his eye at you as you had finally turned to follow the conversation that he was having with that businessman.
- Right-
- You can buy anything and I will pay for it. Drinks and food during the flight are on me. James promised and rolled his eyes when the man was not looking.

- Fine, but I will take full advantage of this, so you know. the man answered after he had thought about the proposition for a moment.
- Yeah, sure… just get lost, mate. James said. The man took his belongings and then moved to the back of the first class. James sat down and smiled widely at you. You took your phone and turned it off after taking one picture from the window and then one selfie of yourself which James photo-bombed. You laughed at the photo and took one more, but this time you included James in the photo. It turned out quite cute actually and he said “you have to send me that picture”. You assumed that he was joking so you just chuckled and then turned off your phone. Then you said
- I have to say that I’ll feel sorry for anyone who is sitting next to him-
- Oh, there is no one. James commented.
- Really? you asked.
- Yeah… but why? he commented and turned to look at you with that puzzled look on his face. His eyes were scanning your expressions as he weighted your words, tone and body language. For a moment it felt like he had been able to read your mind.

- Can’t you smell that terrible smoke-cloud that is surrounding his seat? you asked.
- Ah… I thought that it was just you. James stated.
- No! Gosh! you exclaimed.
- I’m just kidding. You smell lovely. he replied and smiled widely.
- Like you would know. you commented.
James leaned closer and buried his face into your neck. He breathed in slowly as well as deeply through his nose and then let the air out from his mouth. The air felt hot against your skin and made you feel strangely tingly. Then he returned to sit normally, stated “I was right” and fastened his seatbelt.

After an hour the airplane started to move. You did not fly that much and even though you were not really afraid of flying, you could not deny the fact that the acceleration and liftoff turned your stomach a little bit upside down. You squeezed the arms of your chair and your whole body was tensed up. Suddenly you felt a hand on top of yours and you felt a little bit calmer.

The rest of the flight went well. There was a little bit turbulence but nothing too heavy. You shared a lively conversation with James and answered his questions about yourself. Some of the questions were quite personal, like “are you single?” or “if I asked you out, would you accept the invitation?” You assumed that he was joking so you answered “yes, I am single”, which was true and “well of course” with a laughter. James commented “good” and changed the subject.

James knew how to sleep on the airplane but you did not so you just stayed awake although you were getting very tired. James however had asked for a blanket and a pillow and without asking for permission, he put the pillow against your shoulder and leaned to it. You chuckled and put your music on. At least that way you allowed your brain to have a small break from the outside world.

The captain announced that the airplane was about to reach New York which meant that everyone had to turn off their electrical devices. You woke James up because he had asked you to do so when the airplane started to lose altitude. He opened his eyes and the sun, that was shining into the cabin in a way that the rays hit his eyes and made them sparkle. You gasped “wow” and stared into them mesmerized until suddenly you realized that you were indeed staring. “Bad (Y/N)! It is rude to stare!” you scolded yourself silently and just smiled.

When the airplane had arrived, you followed James to the first class passport control and after that it was really time to say goodbye. You had been spending almost 20 hours together and saying goodbye now felt almost… wrong.
- Where are you staying? James asked you suddenly. You told him the name of your hotel and James sighed. He was not staying at the same place and he knew that his schedule was busy anyway; lots of interviews and promo-things to do before the actual premier.
- I guess… this is… uhm… time to say goodbye. you said and glanced at James’ manager who looked very impatient.
- Yeah… James said. He sounded hesitant and gestured to the manager to give him a second.
- Actually… This has been nice, right? he said suddenly.
- Yeah...? you answered, not quite sure where the conversation was heading.

- Would you like to escort me in the premier tomorrow? James asked with a tone that sounded a bit shy even. You were not sure if you had heard right, there was a terrible amount of background noise anyway, so you asked
- Wha-what?
- I know this is quite “out there” suggestion and pretty much a surprise for myself even… but I would really like to take you as my date tomorrow. James answered and stared right into your eyes. He looked hopeful.
- Uhm… you hesitated.
- Don’t think about it, just say… he encouraged you.
- Yes…? you answered although your tone made it sound more like a question.
- Good! Great, excellent! It’s a date then! James exclaimed. He looked excited and relieved.
- Alright. you commented.

That was like the only thing you managed to say because you were basically rendered speechless. James asked for your number and told you that he would call you later today. You nodded and watched him basically running with his manager. You stood there, unable to think or move until there was a driver calling your name. You recoiled, took your bag and then walked to the driver who carried your bag to his car and opened the door for you. It was a fancy, black car with black leather seats and shaded glasses. After a moment your phone beeped. You got a message from a number that you did not know. You opened the message and blushed completely when you read it.

“I think I might have a crush on you. *Waiting for tomorrow!* –James ;)”

Chapter Text

It had been a completely normal day at work when you had gotten a phone call from a customer who then had introduced himself as Michael Fassbender. You had been working at the customer service of a big insurance company for some months, dealing with insurance indemnities and customer complaints. It was not the most ideal job because people never called you when they were satisfied or having a good day. Mr. Fassbender had not been any different.
He had called to the customer service after he had accidentally crashed his new car to a lamppost when he had been texting to his manager about the new movie deal that he had received. There had been not much speed, in fact he had been just parking the car when he had accidentally mistaken throttle as brake pedal. Mr. Fassbender’s call had been directed to you, just by a coincidence and that had been the call that had then changed your life, not at first but eventually.

Mr. Fassbender had been more or less furious and quite an unpleasant customer. He had just blurted his answers as you had been forced to ask him questions about the accident. You had asked the standard questions like if he was under any sort of influence at the time when the accident happened and he had actually started to shout at you. You had listened to the customer cursing and calling you with all kind of names, but then again, that was unfortunately what you had to tolerate every day. Working at the insurance customer call-center was not your ideal job, no, but it paid the bills and made it possible for you move to London from (your city) when you had been hired, basically straight after you had graduated.

You had handled the situation well up to the point when the caller had asked you “don’t you know who I am?” with an arrogant tone. At that point your voice had cracked a bit as you had answered that you did not care about who he was because it did not have anything to do with how you did your job. He had then mocked your professionalism and then you had snapped. You had told him that he had crashed the car all by himself and you were the wrong person that he should be shouting at when all you tried to do was to help him and do your job. If he wanted to be angry at someone, he could look in the mirror and find the person to address his insults.

After the call you had filled the insurance claim –form for him according to his personal information and the answers that you had gotten during the phone call. You had made a reservation for an auto repair but you had not needed to call a tow truck because the car was still okay to drive although the exterior had suffered from the crash.
Then you had sent the form via email to the customer and sent him a text message about the auto repair. You had signed the email with “(Y/N), London” as the company policy was although you had hoped that this time you didn’t have to because your day had been ruined by the rude phone call and the attitude of this “Michael Fassbender” –dude. The name had sounded weirdly familiar and you had decided to google him. “Ah… that explains it” you had scoffed as you had found out that he was a famous actor. At that point you had not seen any of his movies but just out of curiosity you had downloaded one of his movies via Torrent after work and then sighed deeply as you had been captured by his on-screen-charm. “Only if he was as charming in person” you had thought.

Your life went on and nothing out of the ordinary happened for a couple of weeks. Then suddenly one day you were called to the lobby. No one told you why but luckily your lunch break was about to begin so you were able to leave your desk for a moment. It had been a rough day and you were not really in a mood for any surprises. You told the secretary who was working in the lobby that you would be there in few minutes and asked what it was about. She however did not tell you anything, she told you to hurry instead. You took an elevator to the lobby and walked to the front desk.
- Hey, what’s up? you asked and leaned to the counter that was up to your waist.
- There is someone to see you. the secretary said and subtly pointed at the couches where the business customers usually waited for their insurance negotiation meetings. You turned your head and saw a man in jeans and leather jacket sitting with a balloon and a flower bouquet. He was wearing a stylish hat so you did not recognize the man at all.
- I did not know that you have fans! the secretary whispered. She was more enthusiastic about the whole thing than you were yourself.
- I… don’t. you answered and tried to process the situation; had you planned a date for today or what was going on?
- Well, don’t keep him waiting! the secretary exclaimed and her voice drew the mans attention. He stood up and waited patiently for you to walk to him.

- Good afternoon. What can I do for you? you said with your professional tone. The man smiled and you recognized him. He was that “don’t you know who I am?” –customer.
- I came to apologize. he answered as he offered the red balloon to you. You chuckled and took it. It had “I’m sorry” written with silver-colored letters and then when you looked more closely, there was “I was a stupid jerk” added with black marker. You started to laugh as you read the additional note that the actor had written himself. After you had regained your composure you said
- This is… highly unnecessary-
- No, it really is not-
- …but I do appreciate the gesture. you continued and smiled. The man, Michael Fassbender, handed you the flowers as well and asked if you could come outside for a quick chat. You told him that you had your lunch break now and you had 30 minutes.
- How is your car? you asked when you had reached the front yard.
- Never mind the car. I came to apologize personally and thank you for managing my situation so well. the man said and smiled. He looked a bit shy as if he had not been completely sure if his apology had been accepted or not.
- Well, I was just doing my job, Mr. Fassbender-
- Please, call me Michael. he said immediately.

And you did from that moment on. You kind of clicked from the first moment on and the lunch break slipped away completely unnoticed. You were quite sad when you had to tell him that you had to return to your desk so he suggested that you would continue the conversation after your work. He would come and pick you up from work when the office closed and then take you out for a dinner or a pint in a cozy pub, anyway you liked. You were quite speechless but managed to accept his invitation.

- Pub… pub is fine. you said and smiled nervously. Michael exclaimed “great!” and then let you get back to work. At 6 PM he was waiting for you on the parking lot as he had promised and then you had spent the evening with him at a pub eating pub-snacks and drinking a cold one. When it was getting late Michael gave you a lift home and asked for your number. He had managed to casually ask you what your relationship status was and then hide his excitement when you had told him that you were “just you”.

Michael called you the next day and that was how it started. You kept seeing each other a couple of times in a week and suddenly, after a half year of regularly being seen together, you were referred as his girlfriend. It was strange at first to attend some few, well selected events with Michael as his girlfriend but you got used to it. You kept working at the insurance company but you were promoted from the call center to the business-to-business –sector and it meant that your salary went up and the job became more bearable since the companies did not usually call from the bottom if the ditch, literally and metaphorically speaking.

You had been dating Michael officially for almost 3 years when something happened. You were getting to work in morning rush, taking the subway like you always did. You were a bit late and you ran towards the exits without really minding the surrounding world. There were some men right outside the metro station fixing the sign when one of them accidentally dropped his old, somewhat heavy Nokia-phone and it fell on your head. It was one of those freaky accidents that no one saw coming and were highly unlikely to happen, but it did.

A sharp, sudden pain was the only thing that you felt but since you were late, you had no time to think about it more. You ran to work and started your day with the help of a strong painkiller pill. Then suddenly when it was time for the afternoon coffee break, you felt very nauseous and dizzy as you stood up in your office. You managed to take a few steps and then collapsed onto the floor as everything went black.
It took almost an hour to anyone to find you laying on the floor unconscious. Your next client had arrived to her meeting and sat in the lobby waiting until the secretary had come to see what was taking so long. The customer was an important one and she did not like to wait. The secretary had called the ambulance immediately and after 15 minutes they had taken you away on stretchers. The secretary called Michael immediately because he was your “in case of emergency” –contact. The company had a policy that every employee had an ICE –person listed for the situations like this.

You opened your eyes. Your head was hurting and you had no idea why. You had no idea where you were and after taking a quick look around, you noticed that you were in a hospital, or at least the room smelled, sounded and looked like a hospital. The next thing you noticed was a man sitting, currently sleeping, in the chair next to your bed. There were some flower bouquets on the table and a heart-shaped balloon with a text that was wishing you quick recovery.
A doctor entered the room. He told you that something had fallen on your head and caused a concussion which had been most likely made worse when you had fainted and hit your head to the corner of a desk. You had no memory of any of it. The doctor also told you that you had been unconscious for some days but you were going to be alright. He mentioned that you boyfriend had been so worried and refused leaving you even though the visiting hours were over.
- My boyfriend? But… I don’t have a… boyfriend. you said and looked at the man who was now waking up in the chair. No… he did not look familiar and you were completely sure that you were not dating anyone. The doctor said that it was completely normal that you were not able to remember some details of your life immediately but he was sure that it would come to you and soon you would remember everything. After that the doctor left the room and you were alone with the stranger.

- Hey… how are you doing? the man asked.
- Who are you? you asked instead of answering his question. The look on the mans face changed from relieved to confused as he played the question on repeat in his mind.
- I am… Michael. Your fiancée. he answered and kept staring you intensely. His light blue eyes were penetrating into your mind in such way that you had to look away for a moment so therefore you focused your gaze to your left hand that had no ring decorating any of the fingers.
- Although, I have not proposed you yet. the man added when he noticed you checking your hand for an engagement ring.
- I do not know you. you stated bluntly as you felt a slight state of panic settling in. This Michael –dude was standing there by your hospital bed, stating that he was dating you and he had intentions to ask you to marry him although he had not asked you yet… but you had no memory of him or your life together. In your mind you were just a student in a small town, a hopeless romantic with plenty of experience of countless of first dates that never led into anything because nothing ever clicked.

It hurt Michael to see you like that. You looked at him like he was a complete stranger and there was no hint of recognition in your eyes. After a couple of days you got a green light to go home on the condition that you had someone with you at all times. Michael told the doctor that he would be there and he would bring you back if your condition got worse. The doctor wrote a prescription for strong painkillers which Michael got for you on your way home.

You stared at the city that looked completely unfamiliar to you as you sat in the car, watching the traffic and scenery outside. The thing was that you had moved to London after graduating and being employed at the insurance call-center but your memories from the past years were completely gone. You stared at London and it stared back at you. When you got home you found the apartment in a total state of mess. There were boxes everywhere and some of your things were still on their places. You stepped in, took off your shoes and the jacket and walked further.

Michael gave you time to look around and possibly ask some question because he was more than certain that your mind was filling with them as you walked around the chaos. The apartment did not look familiar but your things did although you had bought the furniture when you had moved to London. However your taste of interior decorations and style had not changed since your student years and it was the thing that made your things look familiar to you. You had had always strong opinions about what you wanted your apartment to look like and you were now pleased to see that you had managed to get yourself furniture that pleased your eye greatly.

- Why the boxes? you asked after a long silence. It had been quite enough to leave the hospital with a man that you did not know especially because you had to reject him when he had tried to hug you and then even listen to him promising to the doctor that he was not going to leave you alone… and now… you stood in your own apartment, in your home that was partially packed and ready to go. Quite a mind-fuck.
- You are moving in with me. the man, Michael, answered. His tone was calm and it was clear that he was trying to hide his own emotions, disappointment most likely.
- When? you asked with a shaky voice.
- In few days. We have been packing your belongings during the evenings after your work-
- Work? you asked. So many things had apparently changed.
- Yes… You work as a b2b –negotiator at an insurance company downtown. Michael answered.

You were silent and then started to cry. You had been holding your tears in the entire time but now you could not stop them anymore. You were living in city, working in the field of insurance, what the hell, dating this tall, charming man with whom you were about to move in together and you could not remember any of it. You excused yourself to bathroom and stared at your reflection that also looked very unfamiliar. You had a completely different hairstyle compared to your student years, although you were happy to see that you had kept the overall style the same and you had wrinkles in the corners of your eyes that you had not had before, or you did not remember having.
You came out from the bathroom and sat down on the floor in the middle of the boxes that were currently being packed with kitchen stuff.

- Am I throwing away all my stuff? you asked. There was nothing that was indicating into that direction but you needed to have a confirmation because your belongings were the only thing that you could relate yourself to.
- No, of course not! Michael exclaimed and made himself some room on the floor so he was able to sit opposite from you. That way he had the opportunity to examine your expressions without being too obvious or awkwardly turning his head if he wanted to see your face.
- Why in few days? I mean… the apartment does not look even remotely done…
- Well, the packing stopped when you got into the accident and I have been spending all my time there, watching you… holding your hand. he answered. His tone was soft and considerate but there was an undertone of sadness in it. It was clearly hurting him that you did not remember him and every time he tried to hug you, you stepped away and got anxious.
- Oh… Could I… not… move in with you? you asked. It was a blunt and inconsiderate question but you were not ready to move in with anyone.
- I’m sorry… but the new tenants are going to move in within a week and we have to have this apartment emptied and cleaned before that. Michael answered. He took your tablet that was in an open box with your other computer things and turned the device on. He moved to sit next to you and started to show you the pictures from a folder where you had restored your favorite ones from the time you had been first seeing each other and then dating.

It was too much. You said “stop” and stood up. Sure you had seemed happy in those few first pictures that the man had managed to show you but it was too soon, way too soon. Michael put the tablet away and said with a defeated tone
- You have no idea how much it hurts me when you behave like you did not know me-
- Because I don’t! you exclaimed. It was so frustrating when he did not just get it!
- …and you are unwilling to try to remember me! Michael exclaimed and then immediately felt bad for raising his voice.
- Can you please go? you asked. He shook his head which made you groan and then tell him to get lost.
- No! I promised the doctor that I will not leave you alone. he stated with a firm tone.
- I don’t want you here. you answered and crossed your arms as you stared at him with a defiant look on your face.
- Fine… but someone has to be here with you. I will call your friend-
- But I do not know them either! I know no one here. I do not know this place and even I feel unfamiliar to myself. you shouted and gasped for air. After a moment you continued packing your things in silence. There was nothing else to be done and since you were moving, you had to get your things packed in time. Michael helped you but he kept his distance. Then after a few days you had packed everything and it was the day of emptying the apartment and moving into the other apartment which you had not wanted to even go and see yet. You had gotten emotionally attach to this apartment during the few days and leaving now felt terrible.

When the van was full and your apartment was empty, cleaned even with the help of your friends, whom you did not remember either. They fortunately did not care about it and had agreed to help because you had to avoid exertions. Besides they worried for you, you were their friend no matter what. You closed the door behind you and you had no other choice than to go to the new apartment. The van was quickly unpacked by the movers and when they were done, you had to dare to step into your new home.

You still had no memories about anything that had happened during past 5 years or maybe 6, or even 7… it was so difficult to try to remember exactly; how could you remember what you had forgotten if you had forgotten remembering it in the first place? The only thing that you were completely sure about was that your memories from the years that you had lived in London were completely gone.
You took an elevator to the penthouse and then stepped in to the hallway, walked towards the door in the end of it. The door was slightly open and you could hear Michael talking with a man who apparently was your co-worker. He had come to help you with the moving. When you went in, they immediately stopped talking and stared at you as you saw the apartment for the first time. Of course you had seen it before but the memory of that was among all the other memories that had been completely wiped out.

The furniture was arranged according to what you had previously, before the accident, agreed upon and fortunately you still liked the apartment and the order of furniture. You even liked Michaels stuff and you thought that it went quite nicely with yours. Your co-worker told you that your boss was sending you his best wishes and that your job was waiting for you when you got your memory back or even before. Maybe it would restore your memory faster if you hung out in places you had known and with the people that were your friends. You felt a bit anxious about the idea but thanked him anyway and watched Michael walking him to the elevator. The idea or having people that knew you and whom you were supposed to know as well felt a bit threatening and scary. Everything was happening now so fast and you did not keep up. It was almost like you had been living a life that was not really yours and no one understood it. They wanted what was best for you but at the same time failed to understand that everything was new for you; the places, the people… even your “fiancée”.

Then Michael got back to the apartment and asked you how you were doing. You told him that you were quite alright although you had a slight headache. Michael brought you a painkiller and a glass of water to flush the pill down and then you both started to open the boxes and unpack them. For the first time you started a conversation with him and even blushed a couple of times when he smiled at you. Yes, Michael was a very handsome man and he had nothing but kind towards you although you had treated him like shit occasionally. You had rejected him both physically and mentally and kept your distance to him at all times. It was cruel but you had not been ready to let him close in any way.

After a couple of days of living in the new apartment with Michael, you were unpacking one of the last boxes, it was the one that had your computer things. You found the tablet. Michael was cooking dinner when he noticed you sitting on the floor going through the pictures and the videos. He laughed at himself silently when he heard you laughing at funny pictures or a video that you had taken when you had surprised Michael on his birthday by throwing him a surprise party. The look on Michaels face had been shocked when you and his selected friends had started to sing to him at the moment he had turned on the lights in his old apartment. You continued going through the pictures and decided to google him since there were some pictures of you and him on the red carpet.

- Michael… you asked casually.
- Yes? he answered.
- What was your surname? you asked. You kept your tone as laid-back as you could.
- Fassbender.
- How do you spell that? you asked when you opened the search and typed in his first name.
- F-A-S-S-
- Oh… I got it! you said when Google filled in the rest.
You hit tapped the search –icon and stared at the massive amount of results. You read the Wikipedia article about him and saw yourself mentioned as the current girlfriend. You checked out the picture results and blushed when you realized that you were dating a famous actor. Michael put the dinner into the oven. He was making a beef roast with oven baked potatoes and carrots and after wiping the kitchen counters, he sat down on the sofa where you had moved at some point of your internet investigation.

You raised your head from the tablet to Michael and confirmed to yourself that he indeed was the same person than in the army of gif-pictures that you had been staring at for the past 10 minutes. You had not been outside or not much even interested in the surrounding world since the accident so you had had no idea. You had not seen any of his movies during your studying years so you had basically no clue about his profession. You had not asked either since there had been too much to think about and so much to know even about yourself.
- So… Found anything fun? Michael asked casually.

You laughed as you continued opening the pictures in the Google picture preview. Then you stopped laughing and blushed as you had just managed to come across with a couple of gif-pictures from the movie called “Shame”. The other of the pictures contained full frontal nudity and the other was a gif of him walking naked away from the camera. You immediately closed the browser and put the tablet away.

- What is it? Michael asked as he noticed your cheeks turning red. You took a sofa pillow and buried your face into it. You started to laugh nervously and for a moment Michael thought that you were crying, quickly he realized that you were laughing and you were not in pain or something. He had not tried to get close to you after the accident, not even to hug you, or he had tried but you had always stepped away. He had been sleeping on the floor and not even suggested otherwise. Now however the atmosphere was quite relaxed and you had showed signs of being interested in him as well as in your relationship with him, so he encouraged his mind and got up.

The sofa was quite large, very minimalistic but comfortable. It was dark gray and it had a divan piece in the other end. That was where you were currently sitting. You felt the sofa settle as Michael crawled on your feet and then removed the pillow from your hands. Your laughter died instantly as you stared at his smiling, calm face in a closer distance than before. You were quite sure that you could smell the scent of his cologne and feel his warmth radiating from his body.

You raised your hand and traced the face of your boyfriend with your fingertips so very softly. It was strange just how familiar he felt. Your mind did not remember him although you had managed to connect with some feelings that you had before the accident by going through your photos and videos, but your skin remembered. Your heart was beating quite fast when you traced Michaels lips with your thumb and finally leaned closer to kiss him.
Michael supported himself by placing his hands on the back of the sofa, on the both sides of your head as you leaned to lay comfortably against the sofa pillows. Michael did not want to put any of his weight on you, just in case it would make you feel trapped but you surprised him by wrapping your arm around him and sinking the fingers of your other hand into his hair. He carefully lowered himself on you and wrapped his arm around you as his lips explored yours gently.

Michael felt familiar. At that moment you were completely assured that you knew him. His lips moved from yours onto your neck. Then suddenly you whispered “I love you” which made him stop and pull back. He was breathing rapidly, staring deep into your eyes with an expression that you could not quite interpret. As if he had been trying to make sure that you were not just saying what you knew that he wanted to hear.

- I love… you said and then paused for a moment with a slightly puzzled look on your face.
- …you. you said and then smiled. Those words were so easy and natural to say and it was so strange that you meant them although you did not know the man that was in front of you on his all fours. Michael smiled and then returned to kiss your lips. He kept his kisses sweet and modest although they were also slightly hungrier and more possessive now that you had said those three small words to him.

After the dinner you asked Michael to share the bed with you. It had been a while and Michael asked you if you were sure about it. You nodded and told him that you would even share the blanket with him, but only if you both were wearing pajamas and he promised to behave himself. You were a bit afraid that he would get either offended or disappointed about your conditions, but he did not. It made you very happy and you enjoyed falling asleep in his arms as his fingers drew random shapes on your skin with featherlike touches.

It took a little over six months for you to recover entirely. You started to have dreams about your life before the accident but you did not really care if you remembered everything or not. You however started to have déjà vu’s and reconnect with your life in London. You sometimes asked Michael to tell you stories about your adventures with him and one of your favorite ones was the story of your first meeting. However after six months you remembered everything again… or at least you remembered so much that it felt like you did.

You never found out what had hit you that day, you never found out what had caused the accident. “A concussion by a fallen blunt object followed by another concussion caused by fainting” was what the official documents stated, but three things were certain; you paid more attention when you were walking outside, you appreciated your memories more and last but definitely not least you loved Michael more than your words could ever describe for staying by your side through the ups and downs, even when you had told him to get lost.

Chapter Text

You woke up. When you opened your eyes you saw a pair of ice-blue eyes staring at you. “What the fuck?” you mumbled silently with a morning husky voice as you tried to put the pieces together. You had been at your friends place watching a movie. Yes, you had been very tired and then apparently you had fallen asleep… maybe. Michael noticed that you were trying to figure out what had happened and what was happening.

What was happening was you were laying in the same bed with your friend, who was the person that you were trying to avoid, ever since the kiss in the party. Your feet had been swept quite successfully but since you did not want to risk losing a friend, you just had to try to push those feelings aside. Everything had been alright before Michael had accepted the challenge and showed you “the perfect movie-kiss”… in front of everyone. It had been cruel because now you could not be close to Michael without getting romantic ideas in your head.

- You fell asleep and I did not want to wake you up. Michael said and smiled slightly.
- This is not your sofa, is it? you asked with a confused tone. If it was not, it meant that you had been carried into bed.
- No… Michael answered continued smiling.
- Yeah, figured. Your sofa is very comfortable but not this comfortable. you reasoned mostly because you wanted to keep talking so there would be no awkward silences. You had never been in Michaels bed. It was very large and also incredibly comfortable. The bed sheets were made of finest materials and they felt soft and cool against your skin. Michael was sliding his hand up and down on your sleeveless arm softly and he had been doing that the entire time you had been awake. It felt good but it was not helping with your “falling out of love” –project that you were having.

- What are you doing? you asked.
- I’m caressing your arm. he replied with low, but soft tone.
- Why? you asked because you wanted to make some sense out from the situation.
- Because I was hoping that you would like it. Doesn’t it feel good? Michael said without stopping.
- It does but you should not. you said and tried to sat up. Michael however stopped you by pressing your arm gently and keeping you against the mattress. He was too strong and you decided to stop battling against him. “Fine, if he wants to keep me here…” you thought as you tried to find clues from his face. What was he doing? Why was he doing this? Then suddenly he said
- I love you.
- Hey, I love you too, man. you answered and laughed.
- No… you did not understand. I… love… you. he said with a serious, somewhat longing look on his face. You stared at him and you previous smile was suddenly gone. This was not happening. A part of you wanted nothing more than to tell him that you felt the same but the other part of you was terrified. You knew that your dating history was a mess. Therefore you could not start dating Michael. No, it was impossible because you were completely sure that you would screw it up and then you would lose both; a boyfriend and your best friend. You ripped yourself away from the bed and left the bedroom. There was no way you could have a conversation like that in bed.

Michael had not expected you to react like that had and therefore he had not been able to stop you from leaving. He did the next best thing and followed you. You were nervously gathering your things and it seemed that you were getting ready to leave. It was not the outcome that Michael had wanted or even expected. He had hoped that you two would be able to talk things through because he was pretty sure that you would feel the same way for him if you just allowed yourself to.
- Michael, listen-
- For a year. he stated with a calm, but slightly desperate tone.
- What? you asked. You had heard him but you could not believe your ears. Michael continued
- I have felt like this for almost a year. It is not a quick attraction or a… a state of confusion or… madness. I love you and I want to be that person-
- But you were dating other people… I was-
- Yes, I know. I tried to ignore my feelings and then I tried to deny them until I could not anymore. Besides you were seeing other guys… he tried to explain although it was a bit frustrating. He had played the situation in his head countless of times with different possible outcomes but this had never been one of them.

- Yeah… I was and nothing ever works out for me-
- Do you know how it hurts to hear you say that? It hurts that you do not think that you’re meant to ever find somebody! Do you understand how much it hurts to hear you saying that nothing ever works-
- Because it is true! If I dated you I would just screw it up somehow and then I would lose you… you stated and crossed your arms as you tried to shield yourself emotionally and mentally.
- You are not going to lose me-
- That is what you say now! But there is something terribly wrong with me. I am not fit for a relationsh-
- No… I do not believe you. Michael stated with a firm tone. He was not ready or anywhere near willing to accept that. Maybe you had never made it work but it only meant that you had not tried with him yet.
- Why? you asked him. Your tone was defiant and offended. Offended because your dear friend was not respecting you enough to settle for your friendship… no, he wanted to risk it selfishly. So cruel.
- Because I know you felt it too when I kissed you. he said. His tone was getting more desperate by every moment and it was difficult for Michael to understand the situation, how he was being rejected even though he only wanted to love you.

- Felt what exactly? The embarrassment of being kissed in front of everyone? you scoffed and walked into the entrance hall from his living room. Leaving was the only thing you could think about at the current moment.
- No! The spark! Michael exclaimed. You scoffed and chuckled bitterly. “The spark?” you exclaimed.
- Why did you kiss me? you asked with a cold, distant tone.
- Because… I had to. he said. He started to sound pretty hurt and defeated now.
- Right… you said sarcastically as you were putting on your jacket and shoes.
- I had to see if there was chemistry and there was and now I am more than sure that you should be with m-
- Fine, yes! There was a spark and now I cannot help but think about you… Every moment… but cannot you understand, Michael, that I cannot risk our friendship for-
Michael grabbed you from your shoulders and kept you still as he leaned closer to kiss you. His lips basically smashed into yours as he was trying to kiss you desperately. He had a point to prove and he just wanted you to stop fighting. His lips explored yours like his life had depended on them but soon he stopped when he noticed that you were all tensed up in his embrace and you were not kissing him back. Michael parted his lips from yours and let you go. You stepped back immediately and left the apartment after taking your purse that was laying on the floor next to the door that led into the hallway.

Michael felt his heart breaking. He knew that it was not an end and he would try again as soon as you would contact him. He knew that he had surprised you completely. It was obvious and he tried to find comfort from the fact that you had told him basically that you felt the same but were too afraid of losing him as your friend so you were not ready to act upon your feelings. It made Michael very sad. He had imagined in his head the whole thing going completely differently.

He had imagined that you would be happy and you would not leave the bed. He had hoped that he would then be welcomed to kiss you and you would have smiled as you had told him that you were in love with him and wanted to take that risk because the possible reward was so great and the odds were in favor of you both. He after all knew you better than anyone and had been there through your tough times. Sure you both were gambling with your friendship but then again there was so much more that Michael wanted to give you… if only he had had a chance.

You were shocked, profoundly shaken about the revelation. “A year?” you asked yourself repeatedly and it made you feel betrayed. You felt like your best friend had broken your trust in the worst way possible. He should have talked you about his feelings before kissing you in front of everyone. Then things could be different. Yes, that way things would be different. Maybe. The truth was that you were in love with Michael and you knew what he had meant when he had said that there was chemistry between you two. However you were too afraid to just abandon your friendship all of a sudden. “A year!” you exclaimed when you got home.

A couple of days passed by as you tried to adjust yourself to this twist. Michael did not contact you in any way either. It was very unusual because usually you were in touch with each other almost daily. It had been six days since you had talked with him when suddenly your phone rang. You decided not to answer the call because you did not know who the caller was. It most likely was only some telemarketer who wanted you to buy something. But then the person kept calling you and after 4 missed calls you decided to answer.

It was Michaels friend who was in the hospital. Michael had gotten into a motorcycle accident and was currently unconscious. You listened to the man talking on the phone but honestly you could not hear what he was saying anymore. His words turned into random mumble in your ears and you were completely unable to say anything.
- Are you there? the friend asked you since you had not said anything for a long time. You snapped out from your thoughts as you heard your name being called repeatedly.

- Yes… Which hospital? you asked although the friend had told you but you had been too shocked to make any sense out of his words. You hung up as soon as he had told you the name of the hospital and you had told him that you would leave immediately. In an hour you were at the hospital and asked for “Michael Fassbender” from the info personnel.
- Are you family? the nurse asked. You were silent for a moment and then answered
- The girlfriend. you answered. Michaels friend had told the nurse that he was going to call Michaels girlfriend so they knew to expect you. You however did not know about it but you just reasoned that you would be more likely allowed to see him if you were family… besides, you did love him, that was for sure.
- Very well, follow me. he said and led you to the intensive care ward. Michael had his own private room and you saw through the window Michaels friend sitting next to the bed where Michael was laying. You stepped into the room and the friend raised his head when he heard that the door was being opened. He had not been sleeping for a couple of days because the accident had happened the day before yesterday but he had been too busy keeping the yellow press out that he had completely forgotten to call you sooner.

You stared at the unconscious man with a heartbroken look on your face. There was a constant beeping sound coming from the heart monitor and with a quick look it seemed that at least his left arm was broken but you were sure that the injuries were worse than that. Michael would not be unconscious if it was only a broken arm and nothing else.
- What happened? you asked when you had processed the sight.
- I am not quite sure… the friend answered. You shifted your gaze from Michael to him. You knew that Michael always went to drive his motorcycle with his friend and surely it had been the case this time as well.
- It all happened so fast… It was raining and we were racing… and I think that he drove too fast to a steep turn in the road and…

A doctor entered the room. He had been informed that the girlfriend was here and he had come to tell you what the diagnosis was. Michael had a broken arm, some broken ribs but there was no internal bleeding. He had hit his head to the asphalt but luckily he had been wearing a high quality helmet. He however had a concussion and he was kept in artificial coma until the swelling in his brain had gotten better. Michael was given strong pain medication as well as anesthetics until it was safe to let him wake up. His brain healed better when he was unconscious.

You nodded but you were unable to say anything. The doctor said that he would come back later to see how Michael was doing but at the current time there was nothing else to be done but wait. You sat down on the opposite side from the friend. You were too shocked to speak or even to cry. The whole setting and situation just felt too unrealistic and you started to feel guilty. Maybe he was not paying attention to the road because he was still upset from the conversation or more like verbal beating that you had given him. Maybe he was driving too fast and taking unnecessary risks because of that.

- He loves you, you know. the friend said. His voice was quite monotone and it was apparent that he was extremely tired.
- He talked about it many times as he wondered where he would find courage to tell you… he continued. You were silent and felt your courage crumbling down.
- He told me that he finally told you but you rejected him. he said and stared at you. You closed your eyes to stop the tears from falling from your eyes but it was too much. You kept staring at Michael and sobbed silently as his friend continued talking to you. This time you heard him loud and clear and although surely he was not blaming you, it did sound like that in your ears especially because you were kind of blaming yourself.
- If you just knew… Michael would do anything for you. Why did you reject him? he asked. You did not answer. All your reasons felt so stupid now, so petty and insignificant. Yes, why had you rejected him?
- Why? He has a heart you know. A good heart and you just broke it. the friend said with a cold tone. You burst into tears and started to cry violently sometimes completely unable to breath and sometimes gasping for air as quick shallow gasps.
- He was so determined that he would sweep you off your feet up to the point that he became almost desperate… and then you just… told him that you wanted to be his friend. the friend stated.

Yes he had been there. The friend knew that he was being an ass and he was not helping the situation at all by making you cry like that but he was hoping that you would abandon your stubbornness and realize that what Michael felt for you was beyond physical attraction and just a small crush. What he felt for you was something much deeper and the fact that he had been in love with you for almost a year was a clear indicator that his feelings were not going to fade away that easily and there was no way to get back to the friendship –thing now. No, it was beyond that especially now that you had broken his heart and pushed him beyond desperation.

- But you do love him, don’t you? the friend said. You dropped your head and pressed your eyelids shut so tightly that it almost hurt. Your makeup was burning your eyes as it got smudged under your eyes and made black lines on your face as the tears fell out from your eyes and rolled on your cheeks. You kept crying with your head down for a long time until you calmed down. Then you told the friend basically that he looked like shit and it was obvious that he needed some rest. You promised that you would stay with Michael and let him know immediately if there were changes in his condition. You also promised to keep the paparazzi away because that was the last thing that Michael needed; someone gossiping about him and the accident.

You sat by the bed and after a moment you encouraged to take Michaels hand. You squeezed it and brushed his knuckles with your thumb. You sometimes stood up to caress his cheek softly with the back of your fingers, hoping that he would feel you. The hospital got quieter as the night came. You were asked to leave and go home but you refused. The nurse however decided to let you stay because she thought that it was safer that way. She thought that you were in such state of mind that if you were left alone you might get into an accident or something like that because you were clearly unable to focus your attention to anything but crying and holding the patients hand.

The next day you started to talk to Michael because you had finally stopped crying. There were no tears left and the worst shock was gone. Firstly you apologized for leaving like that. You said that you were sorry for being so afraid and not understanding that his feelings were so deep. You told him that you wished that you had understood your feelings and his feelings better and found the courage to embrace them instead of just trying to deny them. You wished that you had stayed and wrapped your arms around him instead of freezing completely and then breaking his heart. You had not wanted to risk your friendship with him but you had failed to realize that there was a chance for so much more.

- You’d better get well soon because I cannot lose you. Not now, not like this… You know why? you asked and chuckled as you tried to hold in your tears.
- Because I want a life with you. Did you hear that? I love you… as a friend but also as a man. Yes, I felt the spark. So please… just… wake up. Just wake up and I will never run away from you again. you said and then noticed that the doctor had entered the room.
- You are not the girlfriend, are you? the doctor asked. He had heard enough to put the pieces together.
- No… But I was supposed to be. I would have been if I had not been so stubborn and afraid. He told me that he loved me and I walked away because I did not want to lose him as my friend… although I am in love with him… but sometimes you just don’t see, you know? You don’t take the necessary risks because you’re so scared that you’ll end up screwing everything up.
- I see… Well, luckily you’ll get to tell him all this yourself. I have come to turn off the anesthetics and Mr. Fassbender should wake up in 15 hours.

You stood up and stared at the doctor with wide eyes.
- It means that it would be a perfect time for you to catch some sleep and maybe wash your face. the doctor continued.
- No. you stated although you knew that he was right. Michael was not going to wake up anytime soon because it took time for the anesthetics to leave his system but still, you did not want to risk that he would wake up alone.
- I could get the security to remove you from the premises-
- You cannot do that. you stated.
- Actually I can and I should, but… I will make an exception this time. the doctor said, removed the needle that had been providing the constant medication from Michaels arm, put a bandage to the puncture spot and then left the room.

You called the friend and told him what the doctor had said. He was relieved and asked if you wanted to take a break. You told him that you would stay in the hospital but he was more than welcome to join you after 15 hours when Michael was supposed to wake up, or even sooner but there was nothing much to be done. The friend asked you to let him know when Michael was already well awake.
- I think it is better if I will not be there when he wakes up. he said.
- Why? you asked.
- Because I believe that you have plenty of things to talk about and… I do not want to be there witnessing all that “I love you, kiss-kiss” –smooching as the third wheel, you know. he laughed. He was clearly relieved. You laughed a bit and answered
- Yeah… well… I will call you as soon as the smooch –part is done. Bye now.
The friend chuckled and ended the call.

You tried to take a small nap but the chair was too uncomfortable for that. The hours slipped away as you were somewhere between being entirely awake and completely asleep. You were constantly in and out and you always recoiled when your head dropped. The you decided to lower the railing of the hospital bed as you had decided to lay your head on the mattress for a moment. You had crossed your arms and rested your head on them as they were laying somewhat relaxed on the bed. It was getting late again although you had no knowledge of the exact time. You fell asleep.

Then suddenly you felt someone brushing your hair softly or maybe you were only dreaming. You had just fallen asleep and it was very obvious, judging by the dark circles under your eyes that you had not been sleeping for a while and judging by the black lines on your cheeks, you had been pouring your eyes out so it meant that you were surely exhausted. Michael had woken up an hour ago, soon after you had fallen asleep yourself, but he had not wanted to wake you up so he had settled with just running his fingers through your hair as you were taking a nap.

He was happy that you were there and that you were sitting on the side of his bruised but not broken arm which made it possible for him to brush your hair which felt like finest and most precious silk under his touch. He reached to caress your neck and smiled to himself as he traced your earlobe. He loved everything about you, even the shape of your ears, your cute nose, those gorgeous lips and soulful eyes. He loved every small detail about you, every line that decorated your face, every curve of your body but more than anything he loved your personality and he loved to have you with him.

The accident had happened so fast that he had not had enough time to think about anything. His life had not flashed in front of his eyes and in one blink everything had gone completely black but when he had woken up, the first thing he had thought about had been… you. He had been so relieved to see another day so he had a chance to see you again and tell you about his feelings and convince you to give him a chance to love you. Then he had heard you mumbling something in your sleep and as he had shifted his hand, he had felt your locks that were just calling him to tangle his fingers into them. So he had.

You returned to reality as you felt that there was something on your neck, tickling you. You jumped a bit when you realized that it was finger that was tracing your skin up and down with slow, soft movements. You heard Michael laughing a little although his voice sounded hoarse and weak. Suddenly you were completely awake and raised your head to see what was going on. You saw Michael smiling at you. He was awake. At that moment your tiredness was completely gone, almost as if you had been injected with caffeine but it was actually your own body that was now pumping adrenaline into your bloodstream. You stared at him and he stared at you.

- How are you feeling? you asked after you had managed to gather your thoughts.
- Better if you’ll kiss me. Michael answered and winked his eye at you. You stood up and bend over the bed. Michael raised his unbroken hand and placed it behind your head and gently guided your lips on his. Your lips caressed his with slow, gentle motions as your hand cupped gently his cheek. You kept kissing him and after you had stopped and allowed you both to catch some air, you stayed close and smiled against his lips. Then you absolutely had to kiss him again.
- I love you. Michael whispered against your mouth as you parted your lips from his. This time you chuckled relieved and answered with soft, loving tone
- Hey man, I love you too.

Michael was released from hospital after some days. You moved in with him temporarily so you could be there for him and be take care of him. The doctor had forbidden all kind of physical exertions and ordered him into bed-rest so it was your job to make sure that he was not going weasel his way out from that. Sure he told you sometimes that he was getting bored of staying in bed but you did not listen. You just lay beside him and shared the boredom.

Unfortunately you could not even cuddle him because of the broken ribs but you got creative with the ways to be close to him and show him how much you cared about him. Your absolute favorite was to write secrets on the skin of his right arm with your fingertip and seal them with soft kisses. You also liked to caress his face with featherlike touches and brush his cheeks with your lips so softly that he did not always even know for sure if you were actually touching him or if he was only dreaming. You also liked to draw hearts and write sweet nothings on the cast that was protecting his broken arm.

You immediately told him everything that you had said to him at the hospital and assured him that you were not running away anymore. Michael believed you and most importantly he forgave you although he did not think that there was something to forgive. He had handled the telling –part equally poorly and your freaking out had not been entirely your own fault. He could not wait to be able to wrap his arms around you and hold you tightly against him, with both of his arms and with no fear of cracking his ribs that were slowly but surely healing, just like his left arm.

As time passed the bruises on Michaels skin faded away and his body healed. After three months from the accident he finally got a confirmation from the doctor that he was completely healed and he got to tell you that there were no longer any restrictions. He had told you even before that he was fine and it was fine if you rested your head on his chest but you had never done even that because you did not want to risk it. So now, when he came home from the doctors that evening he took your hand and led you straight into the bedroom and muffled your objections with kisses.

He lay down on his back and pulled you on top of him and when you tried to be very careful, he wrapped his arms around you for the first time. After holding you against his chest tightly, he rolled you against the mattress and ended up on top of you. “Are you sure it’s saf-“ you managed to say when your voice got muffled again. This was the first time Michael was that close to you and talking was the last thing he was interested in doing. You decided to trust him and reached to find the hem of his shirt and slipped your hands under it. Michael sat up and pulled you to sit up as well. You pulled his shirt off and he did the same to you and then lay you down against the soft pillows as he deepened the kiss and enjoyed feeling your skin against his.

Chapter Text

Behind the mask
Link:
http://archiveofourown.org/works/6623032/chapters/15155173
Main characters: you and Ned (Pushing Daisies)

A short story about Ned (Pushing Daisies) and a somewhat depressed reader.
Status:
2 chapters, completed.

***
Stop and see what's right in front of you
Link:
http://archiveofourown.org/works/6608281/chapters/15119275
Main Characters: You and Ned (Pushing Daisies)

Ned and the reader live as neighbors and finally Ned asks you out.
Status:
7 chapters (quite short ones), completed.

***
Tinder-match
Link:
http://archiveofourown.org/works/7865338/chapters/17961277
Main Characters: You and Ned (Pushing Daisies)

The reader matches with Ned at Tinder and after a bad first date they meet by an accident and get a second chance.
Status:
Ongoing story

***
The door in the closet
Link:
http://archiveofourown.org/works/6406957/chapters/14667469
Main characters: You and Thranduil (The elf king from the Hobbit)

Modern reader finds a portal between modern world and Middle Earth and the door is in her closet. By an accident your path crosses with the Elven King and after first shock, there is romance.
Status:
15 chapters, completed, although I am keeping my mind open with this one because a part of me would like to continue it even for a chapter or two. We'll see.

***
"Deleted scene" for "The door in the closet"
Link:
http://archiveofourown.org/works/7356769
Main characters: You and Thranduil (The elf king from the Hobbit)

Basically just an one shot for that story. Smut.
Status:
1 chapter, completed.

***
Someone like you
Link:
http://archiveofourown.org/works/6513952/chapters/14905450
Main characters: You and Legolas. Also Thranduil (LOTR/Hobbit)

Modern reader meets Legolas by an accident and romance follows.
Status:
21 chapters, completed.

***
When the paths cross
Link:
http://archiveofourown.org/works/9135979/chapters/20759761
Main characters: Ylenia (OFC), Legolas and Thranduil (LOTR/Hobbit)

Original female Character meets the elves and her life changes completely. Love, dangers and drama.
Status:
On going story.

***
Enigmatic Encounters
Link:
http://archiveofourown.org/works/6404668/chapters/14662183
Main characters: You and Steve Rogers, also other Avengers (Avengers -movies)

The reader is working for the enemy and after meeting Steve Rogers in a speed dating event, starts to suspect that things have always two sides and your side might be the wrong one.
Status:
4 chapters, completed.

***
From friends to something more
Link:
http://archiveofourown.org/works/6405316/chapters/14663365
Main characters: You and Steve Rogers, also other Avengers (Avengers -movies)

The reader meets Steve Rogers in a speed dating event and then gets friendzoned because Steve cannot make a move.
Status:
10 chapters, completed.

***
Alternative ending for "From friends to something more"
Link:
http://archiveofourown.org/works/7307608/chapters/16596940
Main characters: You and Loki, Thor as a friend and Steve as the ex in 2 chapters. (Avengers -movies)

The reader meets Loki and after stuff that happened in the original story, she will end up with Loki instead.
Status:
10 chapters, completed.

***
David 8 -The rogue Android
Link:
http://archiveofourown.org/works/7336879/chapters/16665298
Main characters: You and David 8 (Prometheus)

The reader gets captured by evil militant forces and is taken into their facility to be interrogated. There you meet David and romance will follow.
Status:
15 chapters, completed.

***
Friend of a friend
Link:
http://archiveofourown.org/works/7230526/chapters/16413604
Main characters: You and Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy as a friend

Michael Fassbender is a friend of your friend. You meet him at a wedding but you do not really get along... at first. James McAvoy will appear later as a friend of Michaels.
Status:
22 chapters, completed.

***
It all began from Shakespeare
Link:
http://archiveofourown.org/works/6943414/chapters/15834985
Main characters: You and Tom Hiddleston

The reader is a student in London and takes part in a Shakespeare -course. The teacher is Tom Hiddleston and romance will follow.
Status:
31 chapters, completed, possibly continuing when/if I'll get inspired.

***
Neighbor of the 10th floor
Link:
http://archiveofourown.org/works/7879468/chapters/17996740
Main characters: You and Tom Hiddleston

The reader lives in the same apartment with Tom and after casual chats at the mailboxes he asks the reader for a dinner. This is a short backstory for "chapter 5" of this one-shot -collection.
Status:
6 chapters, completed.

***
What was the plan again?
Link:
http://archiveofourown.org/works/7410970/chapters/16833670
Main characters: You, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender

The reader meets Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy and romance and drama follows. The reader gets to date them both.
Status:
Ongoing story.

***
Quickly fried and slowly freezed
Link:
http://archiveofourown.org/works/7635550/chapters/17383477
Main characters: You, Erik Lehnsherr and Charler Xavier (X-men movies)

The reader becomes a mutant and accidentally goes into another dimension and time. You meet Charles and Erik, drama will follow and you will kind of go evil as the plot progresses.
Status:
13 chapters, completed.

***
Smut-Shots
Link:
http://archiveofourown.org/works/8461483/chapters/19384333
Smutty sequels to some of the oneshots that have been posted here. Tags will be added as I write these.

Chapter Text

A man in a black suit and raven black hair entered the Avengers Tower. You had been told that there were going to be royal guests from the realm of Asgard that evening and since you were working as the chef for the heroes it was your responsibility to cater the high guests as well as the normal gang who lived in the tower. Yes, you were the chef but during your couple of years of service, you had become good friends with the gang and one of them although you did not go on missions or save the world… yeah, you just fed the hungry stomachs of the ones that did save the world every once in a while.

But you liked your job very much. You were good at it and your boss, Tony Stark, was giving you free hands and unlimited budget to come up with anything you liked and so far you had been very successful. You had been offered a chance to live in the tower and after thinking about it through you had accepted the offer because your previous apartment had located quite far away from downtown and you had always wasted two hours of your precious free time, daily, on commuting by using public transportation.

Of course with the salary that Stark is providing you, you could have easily rent a place in downtown but like this you were able to save some money and hang out with your friends, well, the people for who you were basically working for. Besides Stark had the best gadgets and you had been allowed to select your own furniture so basically you were having your apartment inside the tower. And the view was magnificent. It truly was.

You shifted your thoughts from everything else and concentrated on the dish you were preparing. You had gotten used to cook for Thor but you had never cooked for or even met his little brother Loki. You had heard many things about Loki and to be honest you were a little afraid of him but you had been assured that he had atoned his crimes and was now fighting alongside the avengers. You had not criticized and you did not really think that it was your business anyway to have an opinion about the affairs between the realms.

No one was really paying any attention to you and sometimes it was so frustrating. It felt like the actual story was happening in front of your eyes and you were the bystander watching from the sidelines. This however you never addressed aloud and it was not your place to make yourself noticed anyway. Again you shifted your thoughts back to the dinner and kept stirring the frying pan that was filled with seasonal vegetables.

The kitchen that you were working was an open kitchen and it was located in the top floor. Therefore you were not hiding anywhere and your job was to cook only for the certain people, not the entire staff of the huge organization, hell no, you only catered the most important people and that included a few royal guests here and there.
You could not help but keep reminding yourself that it was impolite to stare when your gaze kept finding the man dressed in black. There was something about him that attracted you, well of course, Loki was an extremely handsome man… a god, not a man, a god. “Shit! I always forget that!” you scolded yourself, but it was only because even Thor treated you like you had been his little sister so now when you met Loki for the first time, although you had not officially met him yet, it was difficult for you to remember how you were supposed to address royals.

Then finally Thor came to greet you and snatched a carrot stick from the frying pan.
- Hey! you exclaimed playfully and laughed.
- I am trying to cook here! you continued and gave Thor a mean glare which he knew to be only a joke, how the humans called it.
- Lady (Y/N), it has been too long. he said with a smile on his face.
- Yeah, well you should visit us more often. It’s not like I could just decide that “oh what a lovely day, I’ll just visit my buddies in Asgar-
- No, it is certainly not. Loki said with a despising tone. He had seen his brother talking with you and decided to introduce himself. You were a bit embarrassed now. It had become so normal for you to joke around with Thor and it was obvious that his brother was not exactly the most… cheerful person which you found odd because he was the trickster after all. “Yeah” you mumbled and smiled in a bit awkward way. Rude or not, damn he was handsome and engaging!

- Besides I did not know that you have many friends in our godly realm. Loki continued. “Well, this is going nicely” you thought and swallowed before answering
- Okay, let me rephrase it then… I cannot visit my only Asgardian friend-
- It is not necessary. Do not let my brother bring down your high spirits, my lady. Thor said and smiled. When you had first met Thor he had been somewhat arrogant, very aware of his superiority when compared to simple humans but then he had changed and you had become rather good friends with him. His brother however was completely different.
- I still want to apologize… It was inconsiderate of me. you said and offered your hand for a handshake as a sign of truce but Loki just glared at you and mumbled something about lowly humans as he walked away. “Yeah, that went well” you thought to yourself again and sighed.

Thor stayed for a while chatting with you and stealing carrots from the frying pan when he thought that you were not looking. You however knew exactly what he was doing and it amused you greatly. Well many things did. It was just the way you were; light spirited and you always tried to see the bright sides of things. You usually made people laugh and lighted their spirits even after long and tiring missions… it was actually what you did and why you were such an important piece of the well-oiled machine called the Avengers. You listened to their worries over a tasty dinner and then turn their moods around.

Sometimes it was difficult because you felt that you were not really part of the gang although you were part of the gang but still you… were not. You were there in the sidelines cheering the champs on and celebrating their victories side by side with them, just like you dealt with losses and the moments when the situation was difficult, but still you sometimes hoped that you were something more. It was a feeling that ghosted over your mind and made your smile fake occasionally.

You liked everybody and everybody liked you, everybody except one; Loki. He shot your jokes down and he was constantly on bad mood. Yes, he had come for a longer visit with Thor since there were important matters to attend to in the realm of Midgard. You did not know what you had done to make Loki to despise you so and the situation had not escaped the eyes of the gang either. They actually teased you and Loki about it. They told Loki how he must be like the only person who did not like you and they teased you for accepting it. They thought that you should have charmed him with your amazing personality but you did not know how because it seemed that your “awesome personality” was the thing that made Loki squirm in his seat as he had been in physical pain.

Your smile was partially a mask, or sometimes it was. Most of the times it was sincere and you were as lighthearted as you showed to people but sometimes when no one was looking, you sat in your own living quarters silently and stared into the horizon. Those times you felt like you were alone in the world and even though you were almost constantly surrounded with people, surrounded by friends in the matter of fact, you still felt that no one really saw you. No one really knew what it felt like when you were the one outside looking in. In a way you were not connected with anyone and all you had in your life was your work. Sure you liked your work very much but you wished that there was something else as well.

You had had a small crush on Steve Rogers at one point but he saw you as his little sister too so you had never even told him about your feelings. Then you feelings had faded away when you had heard that he was fallen in love with that agent… whose name you did not remember. It always slipped your mind. Whatever the name was, it did not really matter, but she was brave and gorgeous and she was not afraid to stand up for the things she thought that were right. In a way she matched Steve perfectly and you were happy for them. So you settled with being everyone’s cheerful chef and little sister… Everyone’s except Loki’s.

Then one day when almost everyone was away from the tower, on their usual business, who knows where, you heard a glass breaking in the lounge –room when you were watching a Gordon Ramsay –cooking tips on Youtube. You put your tablet away and sat up on your bed. You listened to the silence for a moment and when you heard yet another glass breaking, you stood up and walked to the lounge area. Your private living quarters were not in the top floor but there were lounge –areas on almost every floor.

You walked to the lounge and found the place completely trashed. At this point you were about to call Stark but you felt someone grabbing your arm and locking it behind your back before you were able to call for help.
- Where is it? a man asked as he twisted your arm.
- What? you exclaimed and tried not to panic. You had always known that working for the avengers was somewhat risky and dangerous because they had many enemies and their enemies were the worst kind of enemies. They were the bad guys who were willing to trash places and kill people to get what they wanted and now they wanted “it”, whatever “it” was.
- Don’t play games with me! the man shouted and twisted your arm more. You screamed for pain when you felt your shoulder getting dislocated.
- I am just a chef! you gasped as you tried to breathe through the pain. The man shouted “move!” and dragged you into the elevator. He forced you to ask Jarvis to take you to the top floor by threatening you with a knife and you had no other choice than to do as he said. Jarvis pointed out that your voice sounded like you were in pain and suggested that he would call Stark but you were immediately reminded about the knife on your throat. The man was pressing it against your skin and as the lift started to move, it made him shake a little and the knife made a small cut, more like a scratch on your throat.

- It is okay, Jarvis. Just take me to the top floor. you whimpered as tears poured on your cheeks from your eyes. You hoped that someone who knew how to handle a situation like that had returned already or at least you might manage to distract the man for a moment and then call for help. When the elevators door slid open in the top floor you saw an employee of Stark standing with some papers in his hands waiting for the elevator right in front of the sliding doors. You tried to shout “run” to him but the man who was dragging you stabbed the guy before he managed to even shift his attention from the papers to the opening doors.

Then your arm was being twisted once again and this time you passed out from pain. The last thing you saw was the man in black suit and raven black hair sneaking behind the man and most likely kicking his ass. You recoiled pretty soon and saw the dead employee staring at you as you lay on the floor facing him. Loki had captured the man and was waiting for someone, anyone to come and take him to be interrogated. Your arm was hurting but otherwise you were fine, fine but shocked. The man who had gotten killed was a friend of yours and he had actually asked you out just yesterday. Now he was laying dead on the floor, stabbed in his chest.

Finally Stark and Thor arrived to the tower and you told them what had happened, the small piece that you knew, that was. Your shoulder got fixed and “it” got secured. No one told you what that “it” was but to be honest, if “it” was worth of killing for, you really did not want to know. You reasoned that it was safer that way.
- I’m fine. you answered every time when anyone was asking you about your well-being but no one really-really asked.
It had been a month or so since the funeral of your friend, the co-worker who had been killed right in front of your eyes. Life was returning normal in the Avengers Tower and you felt that everyone was expecting you to just move on. You tried, you really did, but it was challenging. You got scared of every noise and every shadow and your hands were just shaking every time when you were supposed to handle a big kitchen knife, which one was very similar to the knife that your friend had been killed with.

You kept smiling and joking but on the inside you were screaming because what your friends did not understand was that you were not used to seeing people getting killed or being threatened in that way. You felt almost betrayed because your friends, the people that were supposed to protect you, being heroes and all, had not been there. The only person who had been there was Loki, the man who apparently hated you. However you were deeply pleased that he did not hate you enough to let you get killed as well.

You were having an evening off. You were spending it by laying on your bed, staring at the window which basically covered an entire wall. Your room was dark and you could see the city lights outside, spreading out like a sea of stars. Your shoulder hurt still sometimes but fortunately nothing had been broken and after it had been “relocated” it had healed quite nicely, plus the small scratch that you had gotten from the knife as it had been held on your throat.
Loki was standing in the doorway, staring at you. His presence had gone completely unnoticed from you because he was wearing that black suit of his again and it was almost like a camouflage in the dark room and you could not even see his reflection on the window glass. He kept battling with himself whether he should come to talk with you or not. He knew that everybody thought that he hated you but it was not so, no, not at all. Sure you were colorful and loud sometimes and it had irritated him in the beginning but then he had noticed how your cheerfulness brought balance to the life in the Avengers Tower and he started to appreciate you.

He had first thought that you were a fool, they had fools in the court in Asgard and they were not held in such high value as you were but then he had understood that your role was so much more than to be a mascot or a clown. You always listened to the worries of your friends and cheered them up even during the times when it seemed to be impossible. However what no one had noticed was that your smile had been fake most of the times after the attack but no one had really sat you down and asked “how are YOU?”

Loki thought that it was unfair. You were there for everybody else, all the time, but now no one was there for you when you needed it the most. He encouraged his mind and walked to your bed and sat on the edge of it. You were deep in your thoughts, facing away from him and did not even notice the slight shift in the mattress. Actually you had noticed but you were too tired to care. It was your evening off and whatever anyone wanted, it could wait. Then you felt a strong yet gentle hand on your knee. You sighed as you gathered all of your remaining energy to conjure a smile on your face but then you heard a soft voice saying
- No need for that, pet.

It was Loki. He had only rarely spoken to you and when he had, he had never spoken to you so softly as he now did. The smile left you face and you hugged a pillow tighter. Loki shifted his hand on your shoulder as he moved to sit closer. The touch of his hand was much more comforting than you had ever imagined. It surprised you with gentleness. It made you actually feel so calm that you were sure that if he asked you anything, you would share your darkest feelings and secrets with him gladly.

- I can see behind the smile. he said but for some reason you did not get offended or threatened from that notion. In a way you had hoped that someone would see behind it and notice you and somehow it made sense that the only person who saw behind your smile was the god of mischief and lies.
- I have never seen anyone dying. you said with a weak, silent tone and started to sob. Loki had never heard you like that and it was almost complete opposite to the person you always were or tried to be.
- It is alright, pet. I am here. Loki said and rubbed your shoulder with gentle, circular movements until you fell asleep. For some reason he had been the one who come to you when you needed a friend. Loki then lifted an armchair next to your bed and moved to sit there so he could attend you in case of any kind of need. You slept quite peacefully until early morning. When you woke up, you felt a little bit lighter somehow, almost as if you had shared a part of your grief with someone.

The first thing you saw when you opened your eyes that it was well past breakfast time and you were still in your bed. You had never gotten late from work but now you were definitely late. You turned on your back and stared at the ceiling as your heart rate got more rapid and color left your cheeks. You turned your head and saw Loki sleeping in the chair next to your bed. Then you remembered him comforting you and sitting on the edge of your bed while you had cried. “How embarrassing” you thought and got out from bed. You went into the bathroom and stared at your reflection on the mirror. There were faint black lines on your cheek and you quickly washed them when you heard that Loki was waking up.

- Come to bed. Loki said because he suspected that you were exhausted, he was right but you could not just take a day off. He had stood up and was currently standing at the doorway to your private bathroom. You had not bothered to close the door since your sole purpose was only to quickly wash your face and then get on with your day. You jumped a little as you almost bumped into the tall god.
- What you saw yesterday… please don’t- you said as you turned to face the man who standing in front of you firmly as wall. You were about to continue by asking him to keep it for himself and not to tell anyone but before you managed to finish your sentence, he said
- No, of course not. he said and examined your face that was now turned downwards as you stared at the floor.
- Good. you said and lifted your head, looked at him for a moment with a sad and tired look on your face and then put on your smile as you passed Loki and left your private space. The days slipped away and you noticed Loki constantly seeking your company and to be honest you grew fond of his company. He sometimes even made you laugh and it made everyone quite surprised. You started to feel more comfortable with him and even dared to joke at his expense.

You however assumed that he saw you as his little sister like everybody always did and therefore you did not even dare to imagine anything more about your friendship. You were completely puzzled when Loki called you his pet and you did not understand what it meant. You always thought that it meant something similar to “child” but you never dared to ask him what he meant with it.

Loki was getting frustrated. He had now known you for almost a year, and half of it as your friend, and he was getting along with you famously. However every time he managed to seek private audience with you, you always left before he managed to navigate the conversation into anything more personal and every time, when he got lost into your eyes and you into his, you always ran away. The truth was that Loki had a crush on you and he liked you more than he most likely should. Knowing that he was the prince of Asgard and one day had to return to his realm was the thing that shadowed his mind.

He knew that he could not take you with him because you were a mortal and your life was in Midgard but he hoped that he would come up with a solution that would work for you both. But first he had to talk with Thor about his feelings. Sure he had had some disagreements in the past but he was still his brother and Loki trusted Thor’s opinion more than anyone else’s. Then finally one evening Loki managed to get some alone-time with Thor and asked him casually as a part of a casual conversation
- What do you think about (Y/N)?
- (Y/N)? I am quite fond of her. She is like my little sister. Thor answered and laughed at his little brothers amusing question.
- But she is not our little sister. She is a fine young woman, is she not? Loki asked. Thor stopped laughing and stared at Loki with a curious look on his face.
- Wait a moment, little brother… he said and started to laugh again. Loki groaned and left the conversation.

He had to talk to you immediately and this time he would say what he needed to and get on with it. He found you arguing with Stark about your annual holiday. You were supposed to have a month of paid holiday but there had been so much going on that it had been postponed and now it was late autumn again. You were angry that you had been promised to have time off during summer but that promise had been forgotten.

- Fine, your holiday starts today. Stark stated. He looked very annoyed and he did not really care what you had agreed during spring.
- What am I supposed to do now-huh? You are giving me no time to plan anything-
- It is not really my problem, is it? Stark smirked and kept munching on blueberries.
- Well, maybe you should then find yourself a new chef. you answered with an angry tone.
- Yes, because you’re fired-
- No… I quit! you shouted and stormed into the elevator. You passed Loki and paid no attention to him whatsoever. He looked at you and then Stark with a confused look on his face and then decided to have that talk with you anyway. He waited for the elevator and rubbed his hands against each other nervously. Finally the elevator arrived and he walked, pushed the button to get to the floor where you were residing.

Loki heard you groaning as you were emptying your closets or more like throwing every piece of clothing you owned onto the floor. He did not dare to disturb you immediately because he suspected that you would just maybe shout at him and then he possibly would start shouting at you and to be honest, that was the last thing he wanted to do. You had taken your suitcase that you had brought from the storage into your room many months ago when you had thought that you would actually get to travel during your summer holiday.

- Yeah! My summer holiday, you asshole! you shouted at Stark although you knew that there was no way that he could have heard you. At some point you had been sad that you did not really own anything but clothes since Stark had provided you the furniture and you were living in the tower like it was a dorm, sharing the kitchen facilities and so on, but now you were just happy that you did not have too much to pack.

- Are you going on a trip? Loki asked when he opened the door into your room and saw you sitting on the floor next to a pile of clothes, your suitcase open and all the closets emptied.
- Oh, Loki… I am moving out. you said and stopped packing for a moment. Loki walked further into your room but kept his distance. You breathed in and out very deeply a couple of times, stood up and then continued
- That fucker-
- Stark? Loki asked.
- Yes, Stark, promised me that I’ll get to travel during my summer holiday but then he “forgot” it and now it is almost winter and he grants me the pleasure of going on a holiday now but what the hell am I going on a holiday now when the summer is actually gone! you said and turned to look at Loki. He kept staring at you, listening to you carefully.
- But I got fired and then I quit and now I must go and I have no place to go with such a short notice but I cannot stay here and it is all just so stupid… Stark is being stupid! And I liked my job but I cannot stay here anymore if no one respects me and keep the promises that they mak-

- Shhh… Loki said and pressed his finger on your lips. You stopped talking immediately but also stopped breathing although you had not been really breathing because you were only talking too much and too fast.
- Breathe. he said and removed his finger. You gasped for air and mumbled
- Sorry, it is not really your problem.
- But there is summer somewhere-
- But I cannot go, can’t you see? you stated with a defeated tone.
- Why? Loki asked. He hated to see you like this.
- Because I need to start looking for another job and an apartment to stay. I mean I can live in a hotel for a week or a month but then… What then? you asked and your voice started to sound desperate again.
- Well, I am afraid I do not have the answers you seek but listen to me-
- Yeah my situation is basically f-
- My dearest pet… Where is that woman who finds the silver lining from every cloud? Where is the smile I love so? The laughter… Loki spoke with soft, deep, calm tone but there was an undertone of sorrow in his voice.

- No, you do not love my laughter or my smile… you tolerate them for some reason. you said. At that moment everything felt like a lie; everything, even Loki’s friendship.
- It is not so. he assured you. He had never spoken about his feelings to you or anyone but somehow he believed that you knew, somewhere deep down. Maybe you did not even realize it yourself or maybe you were afraid of getting hurt… but he was sure that you knew. He surely hoped that you did because the other option just did not do. He could not bear the thought of you not believing that he… loved you.

You shook your head. Sure Loki’s attitude towards you had changed from the beginning but it did not matter because you had to leave everything behind. You looked heartbroken and tired and it had been very cruel of Stark to forget or more like ignore your holiday like he had. You had been there for the Avengers constantly and the summer holiday had been the only thing that you had wanted for yourself.

Loki could sense that you were very uncertain about your future and you felt completely alone. You did not even have to say it aloud. He saw the desperation in your eyes, like your world had just crumbled into small bits and pieces.
- Darling, my dearest… Do not be afraid. I will keep you safe. Loki assured you.
- What? you whispered. You could not believe your ears.
- If you’ll leave this place, I will not stay either. I will follow you anywhere, my lady… my pet… my love. You are not alone. Loki continued.
Your gaze had been drifting around the room that had been yours for quite some time, but now you focused your attention to Loki who had walked quite close to you. It was quite strange how the presence of Loki made you feel calm and slightly less hopeless. You just wanted to hug him for that. Therefore you closed the remaining distance between you and wrapped your arms around him. Loki was surprised for your action but right after he had recoiled from the small shock, he wrapped his arms around you, kissed your forehead and whispered against your skin
- This is your time to step out from the sidelines and start living your own life. I would be delighted and very honored to share that life, if you’ll just allow me.

You had never talked about your feelings to anyone but the truth was that you had had a crush on Loki from the first moment you had seen him. You had though that he hated you and you had pushed your feelings aside, like you always did, but then he had been the one who had showed you support when you had needed it the most. That had been the moment when you had fallen for him although you had not admitted it to yourself, mostly because you had been so afraid that he was thinking about you as his little sister like everybody else did.

You had noticed the moments when Loki had had something important to tell you or he had almost kissed you but you had always ran away or someone else had interrupted the moment. In a way you had not been ready, not before this moment. You pulled back just a little and raised your head. His eyes met yours and it felt like time had stopped. Loki smiled a little, closed his eyes and leaned closer. Your worries melted instantly as you felt the lips of the trickster god himself on yours. Caressing them gently, promising you that your life was going to be wonderful now that it really began. You followed Loki’s actions and encouraged your mind to kiss him and let him kiss you more deeply and possessively. You had never kissed anyone the way you kissed Loki and no one had ever kissed you with such dedication.

Suddenly you heard Stark shouting from the doorway
- You’ll get your job back!

Would you keep your old job and continue living the life as you had lived it for some years now or would you leave with Loki and head towards the unknown?

Chapter Text

You kept staring into Thranduil’s eyes. Those eyes were now intensely reaching deep into your soul and read you like an open book while he traced your neck and jaw with his fingertips. The moment was shattered when a servant came to ask if any of you wanted your glasses to be filled. You recoiled from the moment and stepped back. With a smile you answered that you had already your glass full and so had the Elf King. You asked the servant to arrange some music and make sure that everyone was enjoying their time tonight.
- You are a good ruler, my lady. Thranduil said. You sighed and fought the urge to drop your head. You did not want him to see you hesitant or weak.

- Good but not great. I wonder if I’ll ever have the courage to make the hard decisions…
- You are very young. You will accomplish greatness, just trust yourself more and remember that you do not have to stand alone. Accept help when help is offered. the Elf King spoke. He was worried that you were being too hard on yourself. His opinion of you had changed quite radically when he had seen you fighting; he had first thought that you were a foolish and arrogant girl but he had noticed that you were a persistent and strong lady.
- Hm… you commented and took a sip. You felt naked without your mask. You reached out your hand and gestured Thranduil to give it back but instead of giving it back he dropped it on the floor and stepped on it. The mask cracked and shattered into pieces.
- Why did you do that? you exclaimed.
- That mask has been your prison, my lady. You no longer need those shackles. Be free, embrace your life once more. Thranduil answered.
- You have no idea what you broke. That mask was my shield, my safeguard. I am not sure if I’m strong enough to cope without it. you answered and looked at the pieces with a sorrowful and confused look on your face. You excused yourself and left Thranduil standing next to the throne.

You did not dare to look anyone into eyes because this was the first time you were publicly presenting yourself with your face exposed. Thranduil noticed that your subjects did not even recognize you without the black veil that now was laying on the stone floor in pieces. You were not even wearing a crown; you had never felt worthy of the crown of your father and there had never been time to order the crown of your own to be forged.
Thranduil did not know if it was a spell that he had fallen under or what was that feeling that was growing inside him from the moment he had removed the mask. There had been a spark when he had seen you fighting but it had turned into a flame when he had seen your face. That flame was spreading like a wild forest fire after many weeks of extreme draught. He decided that he would not put out the fire even if it consumed him, unless you rejected him, but even in that case he would keep trying until there was nothing more to be done from his part.

Then there was music. Thranduil had not seen you for some time and now he wanted to dance with you. He moved gracefully through the crowds, it was easy for him because everybody automatically moved from his path, besides he was the tallest person in the entire hall anyway. He spotted the servant who had come to offer you wine and asked him where you had gone. He told the Elf King that he was not completely sure but he thought that he had seen you to go outside to keep guard.

You were sitting on the stairs at the front fort-wall, staring into the dark horizon when you heard footsteps approaching.
- What are you doing here all alone?
You heard Thranduil asking and as you were about to stand up, you felt a hand on your shoulder that prevented you from doing so. The tall elf sat next to you and handed you a glass. You chuckled and showed him that you had an entire bottle with you.
- Someone needs to keep an eye on the horizon. you answered and pointed at the moon that was lurking behind the clouds that sailed the night sky.
- Do you not believe that the danger is over? Thranduil asked. His tone was deep, soft and somewhat concerned. He would have wanted you to enjoy the evening as well because you were the main reason why the battle had been victorious but here you were, sitting all alone, keeping guard. He also wondered if it was the lack of mask that made you feel more comfortable away from your people. If so, it made him feel a bit guilty since he had been the one who had robbed your shelter.

- Is the danger ever completely over here? It is not and therefore I am keeping guard. The people need a night off, they need this celebration more than I do. you answered without shifting your gaze from the horizon.
- You care for them deeply, it is easy to see. he stated as he tried to figure you out.
- Whatever happens… Me and them, we are in it together. you commented and opened the bottle. You filled Thranduils glass first and then took a sip right from the bottle.
- Besides, the Elf King himself is keeping me company, could I ask for more? you chuckled. Thranduil laughed a little and then a long silence followed. It was however broken by the Elf King
- Have you thought about the future?
- Yes… I suppose we’ll start rebuilding. It is still summer, there is still time, although… the winter comes so early here up North. you answered hesitantly; it was obvious that there was something bothering you. It was visible due to your body language and expressions and Thranduil could hear it in your tone.

- To be honest… you continued after a long pause.
- I know the situation. Thranduil said suddenly and interrupted you midsentence.
- Your towns have been burned, the crops destroyed and I bet that the orcs have killed every animal that has been living in these lands. There is no way you will survive a winter here. he continued. His tone sounded cold and unconcerned in your ears and normally you would have gotten offended. This time however you knew that he was brutally right. You sighed and mumbled after you had taken another sip from the bottle
- I know.
- How did you plan to survive here? he asked. You stood up and walked a couple of steps down where the staircase spread in two directions, like the letter T. You put your hands to the railing that was made of stone. You muttered a few words in your own language and lighted a couple of blue flames that lit the outer courtyard. It was important to keep the courtyard well-lit so the enemy would not be able to sneak in the cover of the darkness.

- How? he asked again. You were frustrated because you did not have answers. Despite of that you turned around and sighed.
- I don’t know. I have been so focused on coping from a day to another… It is basically a miracle that we’re still alive here…
- Barely… Thranduil commented. He sounded almost arrogant but again you knew that he was right.
- Yes… barely. you scoffed.
- Why did you not call for help? he asked after a short silence.
- Call who exactly? you asked and spread your arms for a moment and then dropped them on your both sides.
- Mirkwood… We are allies, are we not? Thranduil asked. He sounded offended and he was clearly demanding for an explanation.
- I didn’t know that… No one told me. When the war started, everything fell apart and it was just chaos. Then the king died, soon after the queen had died and I was alone. Suddenly the fate of this realm was on my shoulders and there was no one to tell me how anything works. Can you imagine? you asked and closed your eyes to prevent the tears falling on your cheeks freely.
- My life used to be full of arts; music, poetry… beautiful things. I used to study and educate myself so one day, when the time came, if it came at all, I could be a wise queen… to this realm or some other. Or in case I never become a queen, I could have had a chance to do anything. To do great things… but instead of a peaceful life… you said and drew out your sword. Its blade reflected the blue lights that lit the yard.
- This is my life. you said and stared at the blade. You did not want to sound bitter but the truth was that you were tired of fighting and killing… You were tired of death that either came swiftly in the form of an enemy or slowly in the form of hunger and sickness.

- It is a great honor to defend ones people. Thranduil said. You made a “hm” sound and put the sword away.
- It is… But there is no future I can offer them. I am not sure if they know it or if they are expecting me to know all the answers… you said and turned your back to Thranduil. He stood up and walked behind you, put his hands on your shoulders and spoke with deep, soft voice
- Take your people and come to Mirkwood.
As he spoke, he drew random shapes on the skin that was not covered by the fabric with his fingertips. You tensed up at first but then you noticed that the Elf King was not going to hurt you, so you encouraged your mind and relaxed. You felt his feather-like touch on your skin as he traced your neck and collarbones; you knew that he was seducing you to trust him, to do as he wanted.

- You do not have to stand alone… Let me take care of you. Let me take you away from all this death. Life could be so much easier and more meaningful in my realm. Here you struggle, this is no life. he continued.
The kindness that he treated you with was really luring you to do anything he would ask. You were tired of fighting, you yearned to laugh again, to be alive again. He was no longer caressing you with his fingertips barely touching but now he was pulling you to lean on him as his arm rested on your chest and his large hand cupped your shoulder and his fingers massaged it with circular motion. You closed your eyes and let your head rest against his chest as you listened him talking to you, telling you how easy and bountiful your life could be.
- I would share my bed with you. I would share my throne… my life… I would give you everything you need, anything you want. I would make sure that you always have reasons to smile and I would never leave you alone. All you need to say is “yes” and all you need to do is to give me a chance… and a kiss…

His voice was sultry, deep, dark and dripping with temptation, sweet seduction, which was brutally broken when you heard marching footsteps in the darkness. You opened your eyes and said a few words in your own language. Then you slammed your palms to the railing. There was a thin, misty blue wall of light that spread outwards and illuminated everything in the outer courtyard for a moment as it hit every surface.
- Orcs! you exclaimed and pushed Thranduil away. He was about to draw his sword but he remembered that he had left it inside. You held your breath as you tried to grasp the seriousness of the situation; there were so many orcs that it looked like it had been a tsunami wave that dangerously approached the fortress.
- No one is ready to fight! Thranduil said and it was obvious that he was just as terrified about the situation as you were.

- I am going to ask you a favor… Tell me that you’ll do it. you said and turned to face him. You knew exactly what you had to do but you also knew how dangerous it would be. You calmed down your mind until you were eerily calm and took his hands. Thranduil looked at you confused.
- I need you to close the front gate and not to let anyone in. Do you understand?
- What?
- Will you do it?
- Yes!
- Good! you shouted and let go of his hands. You ran down the stair followed by the elf and opened the gate.
- What? Wait, why? he hissed. You took his hands again and smiled. You were sad and tried to cover it with the smile, but there was no fear in your eyes.
- This gate can be closed only from inside. Promise me that you will close it.
- Of course, but…
- The other thing… I need you to promise that you will leave tomorrow and leave no one behind. Promise me that you will give my people the life that is worth of living, it is something I was never able to give them.
Thranduil looked completely surprised and confused again.
- Just, please, tell me that you’ll do it. you pleaded.
- Certainly, but…
- Good. you whispered and swallowed your tears. You put your hand on his cheek and smiled.
- I would have said “yes”. you said and then ran to the outer courtyard.
- What are you doing? Thranduil shouted but your only response was “close the gate, close it now!” So he did. Thranduil ran the stair up but he could see nothing. Even though the elves saw well even in the dark but now it was impossible to make any sense of what he saw. The orcs’ metallic armors and their weapons reflected the moonlight whenever the clouds revealed the pale sphere but the sky was almost completely clouded. Even the blue lights had faded away, he suspected that it was your tactic; to cover yourself with darkness and attack, but that was not the reason.

The reason was that you needed all your powers because what you were about to do had actually killed your father. You closed your eyes and listened to the growls and footsteps of the orcs. You were tired already because you had been fighting earlier already and you had not been sleeping for many days now. You had not been eating well for some time but there was no way to escape this.
Thranduil stared into the darkness. Soon he heard you screaming and saw a same kind of blue force field what he had seen in the morning during the battle. This time the force field was brighter and it was like a wave that did not spread into every direction but only forward, away from the fortress. The orcs screamed; the closest ones at first but then the last ones started to scream too, although their screams only echoed in the distance. After a moment there was nothing but a silence. Silence and darkness.

Thranduil called you by your name but you did not answer. He ran to the gate but remembered that you had told him not to open it. He tried to listen with his ear against the wooden door but he could only hear the sound of his own breathing and the music coming from the throne hall. He gave up and went inside. He told everybody to get their belongings ready because they would leave before noon tomorrow.
You had used all of your powers to crush the orcs. Then you had fallen to the ground and passed out. When the morning came Thranduil took his guards and opened the gate. They walked among the orc-corpses that were laying all around; they had literally died where they had been standing as their organs had been crushed.
- King Thranduil! a guard shouted and raised his hand. Thranduil ran to him and stopped when he saw you laying among the orcs face down. When he had recovered from the shock he ran to you and fell on his knees. He turned you on your back and removed your hair from your face. You were pale and your skin was cold. He put his hand on your heart and the other on your forehead as he recited an elvish spell. You were alive but just barely. He was relieved anyway; even “barely alive” was much better than “not alive at all”.
He carried your limp body to a carriage that the guards had found. He gathered the people and ordered them to take their belongings with them and asked a servant to take him to your chamber. There he gathered some of your belongings and then joined everyone at the yard.

You heard music in the distance. First it was just a faint echo somewhere in the darkness but then when you became more awake the music got louder. You realized that you were in a bed. The sheets were cool and soft, they felt heavenly against your skin. Finally you were fully awake and opened your eyes. The room was lit with a candle and it was apparent that it was evening or night. You raised your head and tried to sit up but your every muscle was stiff. “At least I’m alive” you thought and forced yourself to sit up.
Thranduil was sleeping in the armchair that was in the corner. He had started to sleep in it when the healer had noticed that you were showing signs of waking up. It had been approximately a week and half ago. Now he woke up and rushed to the bed to put some pillows behind your back. He sat on the edge of the bed and took your hand. It was not cold anymore and there was also a bit of color on your cheeks.

- Does it hurt? he asked. You tried to answer “no” but there was no sound coming out. Thranduil reached out to pour you a glass of water from a carafe that was on the table next to the bed. He helped you to drink. After clearing your throat you said “no” although it was more like a whisper because speaking hurt. Thranduil saw that your facial expression that told him that your throat was sore.
- Do not try to talk. he said and smiled as he squeezed your hand. You looked around and it was obvious that you could not recognize the place.
- You are in Mirkwood. I did as you asked me to. Everyone is safe and I assure that their lives are worth of living. he continued with a graceful smile on his face.
- Thank you. you whispered.
- Why do you thank me? It was you who confronted the whole army, I only did what you asked me to do, which was the least that I could had done. the Elf King answered.
- You owed me nothing, there was not obligation. you whispered and rubbed your throat.
- Shush, do not strain yourself. We will talk in the morning. he said and helped you to lay down. He bent down and pressed a kiss on your forehead before he returned to the armchair.

- You can go, you kno-
- Shush, sleep. he said and smiled. He blew off the candle and took a comfortable sitting position. You fell asleep immediately and it did not take long for Thranduil to do the same. He was relieved that you had gained consciousness and the danger was over.
Then suddenly it was morning. You woke up and glanced at the armchair. It was empty but when you turned your head you saw the tall elf standing by the window looking out.
- Morning. you said. The elf turned and opened the curtains. The sunlight poured into the room and blinded you momentarily. When you had recovered from the sudden blindness you could not help admiring the sight that you were allowed to stare so openly; the Elf King basking in the sunlight that made his hair sparkle and the fabric of his clothes shine elegantly.
- There is a sight I have not seen before. you commented and sat up. You inhaled slowly and then tried to stand up. Thranduil saw what you tried to do and came to help you. He put his arm under your arm and behind your back.

- Why does it feel like I had not been standing for mo-… oh! you said when you turned to see the view from the window. All you saw was snow covered trees that were sparkling in the bright sunlight. Thranduil helped you to walk out to the balcony. He rubbed your arms because you were shivering.
- It’s winter. you mumbled, clearly puzzled by the notion.
- Actually, it is early spring. You were unconscious almost 8 months. Thranduil said and monitored your expressions. He was worried that the news shocked you but you stayed surprisingly calm no matter what.
- 8 months… you repeated, not quite sure if you believed it or not. There however was no other choice than to believe it since the garden was covered with snow and you could actually smell spring in the wind.
- How did you know that you were able to defeat that orc-army? Thranduil asked. He was curious about your powers especially now when you had saved everyone as well as sacrificed yourself for everybody else.
- I had seen my father doing it. you answered. You rather not discussed it further but somehow you felt obliged to answer any questions the Elf King wanted you to answer. You after all were in his realm and your people were taken care of as well.

- Really? he asked curiously.
- Yes… although he did not survive to brag about it. you stated jokingly. You did not want to sound too serious and it was obvious that Thranduil would not like the truth anyway.
- What! You knew you could had died! he exclaimed. He was shocked to learn that you had known the risks and still gone through with it. You did not comment. What was there to comment anyway?
- Do you understand what kind of risk you took? he asked or more like stated.
You did not say anything, just kept staring at the garden that was sparkling in the sunshine, covered with white snow.
- You have nothing to say? he asked. Thranduil wanted to know what you had been thinking. How could you have been so selfish, did you have a death wish or were you just insane?

You could not deal with it right now so you stepped away from him. The whole situation was a bit too much; you did not know the king, in your books you had just met him and you had no idea where this attraction that he had towards you came from. You certainly had not done anything to lead him on. Or had you? Oh, it was all so hazy!
It was also getting cold because you had removed yourself from the kings reach. You rubbed your own arms a couple of times but then stopped because the king kept staring at you.
- I am not cold, if that’s what you’re… thinking. you stated casually and supported yourself to the railing. The snow stung your palms and you fought the need to keep yourself warm. Thranduil was not affected by the cold at all, well, he was an elf, which irritated you greatly at the moment.

- You still owe me that kiss. he said. You felt your life force slipping away from you but you had to do something to cover it therefore you mumbled “arrogant… annoyingly charming… I cannot do this right now” to yourself and walked down the stairs that led from the balcony to the garden. The stairs were slippery and the ice burned your feet since you were not wearing shoes.
- Where are you going? Thranduil asked from the balcony. He was at the same time amused and irritated about your erratic behavior that made no sense. You turned around to look at his direction. One glance and then you took the first step on the snow. With the seventh step you sank knee-deep into the snow. You tried to move forward or backwards but there was no strength left to lift your feet. It was too early for you to be fooling around so childishly but you just had had to get away from the palace as well as the king for a moment.
You raised your head and looked at the blue sky, you heard the kings steps as he came down the stairs. He walked effortlessly next to you without sinking into the snow, because the freaking elves never did, and stopped to stand next to you.

- Stuck? he asked casually.
- No… you stated defiantly and looked at the king who was now even taller than he usually was. He did not return to your stare but you could see that he was amused.
- Yes… you mumbled.
- What was that? he asked curiously.
- Yes! you exclaimed.
- Would you like me to help you? he asked, his tone was just as casual as it had been.
- I don’t know… Feel free to decide yourself. If you rather have me freezing to death then by all means leave me here… but I know that I will make a terrible decoration for this… garden.
Thranduil laughed. His laughter was deep and loud. You had never heard him laughing that openly and it made you want to join him in the laughter but you resisted.
- Why do you insist saving me? Why are you so attracted to me? You do not even know me. you asked after the Elf King had stopped laughing.

- I have learned much about you from your people during these 8 months. he answered. His tone was kind and friendly. It was still very confusing for you to hear him talking with such warmness to you when he looked always so intimidating and assertive.
- I bet they have told you everything, every embarrassing detail… you mumbled. Then you continued
- But even before. You were ready to share your throne and bed with me…
- And I still am. Thranduil answered.
- Why? you asked with a confused tone. You could not understand him at all.
- Maybe I have fallen under the spell of your beauty… he stated with a smile on his face.
- There is no spell… no enchantment… no magic… you stated.
- Are you certain? he asked playfully.
- I am! I am well aware when I put spells on people and when I do not. Let me assure you that I have not used my powers against you, King Thranduil. you stated. You were slightly offended by the statement he had given. The elf smiled. He was relieved to hear that there had been no spells because it meant that whatever he was feeling for you was actually real.

- And it insults me that you assume that I would actually use spells to cause attraction… or… affection. If I had put a spell on you, you wouldn’t even be questioning your feelings, besides since when I’ve used my… powers for such tricks anyway… Yeah, maybe once or twice I tried but it was useless... you mumbled. The more you spoke, the quieter your voice became until you were just mumbling to yourself. Thranduil heard you anyway.
- So you’re not attracted to me in any way? he asked. It was obvious that he tried to cover the fact that he was disappointed and hurt.
- Hey, I never said that! It’s just all very confusing at the moment. And I’m cold… and ridiculous. Yes, there! I admit it. I am behaving in the most ridiculous way that… Argh! you groaned and tried to free your legs from the snow. You recited some spells in your own language but you were still too weak for magic because magic always required energy.
- Can you just help me, please? you pleaded. You felt completely defeated by your surroundings and your lack of strength. You after all were supposed to be this mighty witch who stood alone against the harsh environment of the North and the enemies as well. Thranduil offered you his and which you took without further hesitations. He helped you to stand on the snow in front of him.

- Are you ready to go inside now? he asked. You nodded. He took your hand and lifted it to his lips. He looked deep into your eyes when he pressed his lips on your knuckles. His lips felt almost burning hot against your freezing cold skin. He looked worried and when he took one step, which you followed, the snow gave in again and this time your sudden fall made the elf to lose his balance.
You fell on your back onto the snow and the king fell on top of you. You burst in to laughter because the king looked so shocked of what had happened. He was frantically searching for signs that could help him to decide whether you were alright or not but soon the look on his face softened and he realized that you had not gotten hurt in any way.

You stared at the beautiful elf after you had calmed down. The snow was freezing your skin but then again you were absorbing warmth from Thranduil. You were actually quite comfortable there. The elf was about to get up when you said
- Don’t…
You smiled and removed a bit of snow from his hair. He looked at you slightly confused.
- Let’s stay for a moment… you whispered and traced his charming features with your fingertips. You could see that he was old; not because he would had looked old, because he did not, but the look in his eyes told you that he had seen a lot. There was wisdom that was only reachable through living thousands of years. You pressed your hand on his heart and closed your eyes. You felt the loneliness he had been living with for a long time but you felt also the goodness and the kindness that were hiding behind the cold surface.

You opened your eyes and smiled. Thranduil shifted himself a little so he could support his weight and caress your face at the same time. His touch was kind and soft, he was just barely touching you at first but then the caresses got more intense, although he was still gentle. His thumb stroked your lips, which made you to open your mouth slightly as you let out a sigh after you had first closed your eyes. Thranduil took this as a sign that you wanted him to kiss you so he leaned closer.
- Wait… you said suddenly and opened your eyes. The elf drew back slightly and whispered “something wrong?” You hesitated a moment and then answered
- I have never kissed anyone…
He looked at you curiously and wondered how that was even possible. You after all possessed such a rare beauty that he had never believed to encounter.
- So please do not get disappointed… if I’m horrib-

- Shush… he said and leaned closer again. You closed your eyes and soon felt his nose touching yours, his hand caressed your neck and jaw as he moved to brush your cheek with his lips. Slowly he got nearer to the corner of your mouth and that’s where he pressed a kiss at first. You smiled and lifted your hand to feel the warm skin of his neck under the collar of his robe. Your hand was cold and made him shiver slightly but he was just pleased that you dared to touch him.
The finally after prolonging the moment for a long time and letting the anticipation grow so great that there was no way to hold back anymore, he finally pressed his lips onto yours and stole your first kiss. The kiss was over too soon for your liking and you pulled him to kiss you again. This time your mouth was slightly open and so was his. He explored your lips with his and you did the same. He shifted himself again and slid his arm behind your back. This caused him to put some of his weight on you but you actually enjoyed it because it gave you certainty that he was really there. You wrapped your arms behind his back and pulled him closer. The kiss intensified but stayed modest at all times. When he finally released your lips you were completely lost for words as well as breath. You felt him smiling against your mouth and before he drew back he still pressed one last kiss on your lips.

Your head was spinning. Thranduil helped you up and whispered into your ear
- Definitely no disappointment…
He removed the snow from your hair and shoulders. He slid his hands behind your back and pulled you closer. This time he buried his face into your hair and searched for a proper spot to kiss. He found that from under your ear where the skin was cold from snow. He blew some warm air on to your neck, which sent shivers that spread all over like a wave.
- Thank you for granting me the honor of the first kiss… he whispered. Then he pressed his mouth against the skin and kissed it intensely. You might have felt his tongue touching the skin as well but you were not sure. You moaned softly and felt your heart racing as your mind started wondering what else the handsome elf could do to you, how skillful lover he must be since even his kiss was enough to make your feet weak and turn your brain into mush.

- Maybe… If I’m fortunate enough, I shall have the last kiss as well… and all the ones in between. he spoke between the kisses.
- You must be hungry. he mumbled against your skin.
- What? you asked as you recoiled from your thoughts. Your thoughts were all about him and he knew it although he was graceful enough not to point it out.
- Come, let’s get you some breakfast. he said after he had abandoned your neck. He helped you back into the palace. You glanced at the bed and no bed had ever looked as inviting before. Your strength had been drained by the cold and staying up for so long. You really had to take it easy for a few days.
- I think I will skip the breakfast and get some sleep. I feel quite… beaten. you said.
- Are you not hungry? Thranduil asked with surprised voice.
- I am, I am… but I feel like am going to pass out any second. you said and crawled on the bed lazily until you were able to hug a pillow.

- Do you wish me to stay? he asked, wishing that you would say “yes”.
- Don’t you have some important state-matters to deal with? you asked and smiled against the pillow.
- Not today. he said and tucked you in with graceful motion.
- Then you could stay… you mumbled. You were on the verge of falling asleep.
- I will get the ch-
- No-no-no-no-no… No chairs, come on. you mumbled and tapped the free space next to you. Thranduil chuckled and walked to the far side of the bed, sat on the edge, took his boots off and lay down. Your eyes were closed but your felt the mattress shift slightly when the elf sat and lay down. You smiled and opened your eyes, you took a deep breath and as you exhaled you allowed your body to relax completely. Thranduil put his arm around you and kissed your forehead as he pulled you to sleep in his arms.

You were happier than you had ever been before. You had dreamed about achieving such happiness but never really believed to reach it. In the kings arms you felt safe and warm, powerful and respected. For the first time in a very long time you felt certain about the future and your heart felt light. Even though you were tired and weak still, you could sense your strength and will to live building up inside of you and it was a clear sign for you that your place was to rule Mirkwood side by side with the elven king until the time ran out and the world stopped existing.

Chapter Text

Your heart skipped a beat or two when you saw him, standing further away from you with his friends. It was almost midnight and the year was about to change. You had gone to the Time Square to celebrate with your friends, who had disappeared a while ago into the crowd and left you alone among the strangers. It made you somewhat sad to be ditched like that and almost ruined your good mood completely… or it would have ruined it completely if you had not seen the man in the crowd, a bit further away.

The evening had started well; you had attended a party at your friends house where you had met many new people and gotten pleasantly tipsy. The weather outside was pretty chilly and if you had had the freedom to decide, you would have stayed inside. Your friend however had other plans. He wanted to go out and see the fireworks and after that continue partying at some club. Therefore he had decided around 10 PM that it was time to leave his place and head to the streets of New York. You lived in the suburbs of the city, unlike your friend who lived right in Manhattan with his two roommates.

Now however you were standing surrounded by unfamiliar faces and trying to find your friend from the crowd. When you were scanning the people you had noticed a man with big, bright blue eyes that basically sparkled in the surrounding lights. He was staring at the fireworks and laughing as well as talking to his friends. You tried to imagine where the man was from and what kind of voice he had since you were too far away from him to hear him.

Then suddenly he turned his head and his eyes met yours. At this point you did not know what to do and as a reaction you turned your head away embarrassed. You knew that it was impolite to stare but you could not have stopped yourself because he had strange kind of charm about him. He was not the tallest of guys in the crowd or even the most handsome one, although this blue-eyed stranger was very handsome but his looks were more like cute and boyishly charming than drop-dead-handsome like some guys at your local gym. His smile looked playful and you were sure that spending time with him surely was plenty of fun.

The man noticed you. He smiled at you in a warm and friendly way but you turned your head away before he had managed to smile. He raised his hand on his forehead and focused his mind on your thoughts and suddenly he heard you talking to yourself inside your own mind, basically scolding yourself for staring at the guy. Then he had heard your thoughts about himself; that he had gorgeous eyes and he seemed to be a cheerful guy, that you were charmed and your feet had been swept away in an instant when you had seen him staring at the flashing lights.

The man was a powerful telepath and he had just read your mind without you even suspecting anything. He could have basically glanced through your entire life and personality but he restrained himself because it would have been somewhat intrusive and he suspected that you would not appreciate it. Therefore he concentrated only on the moment at hand and nothing else. He chuckled a bit when he heard you thinking about how charming he seemed and that he looked attractive in your eyes.

You had no idea about any of this and if you had known, you would have most likely felt ashamed and maybe slightly annoyed as well. You were a private person and thinking about someone just reading your mind like an open book kind of turned your stomach upside down. You would have been very embarrassed if you had known that the stranger knew that you had noticed him and admired him from the distance. It was bad enough that he had noticed you staring at him with a stupid, hopeful smile on your face.
Suddenly you jumped a little as a reaction when you felt someone touching your shoulder. You turned to face that someone, ready to apologize for being on their way or something. However you were greeted with a friendly smile and bright blue eyes instead of anything else. It was the man, whom you had seen in the crowd.

- Hi, are you here alone? he asked. He spoke with a soft tone and he had a charming British accent. You were unable to form any kind of response at first but after a couple of breaths you were able to say something in return.
- No… or yes. you stuttered with a surprised tone. You had not expected the man to come and talk to you and although you were happy that he had, you felt awkward, nervous and embarrassed at the same time.
- I mean I came here with friends but I lost them. you corrected yourself immediately.
- It is a big crowd. the man commented and stared at you with a curious look on his face.
- Yes, that it is. you replied and casually looked around. You could not see any familiar faces so you decided to focus on the beautiful stranger that was standing in front of you. Then suddenly people started to count down from ten and the year was about to change. You listened to the cheerful sounds that then got mixed with loud bangs that marked the midnight. You raised your head and stared at the fireworks that lighted up the entire sky which otherwise was dark and cloudy.

The man did not leave and after a moment he said
- Listen, would you like to join me and my friends? It is getting late and we’re leaving soon.
-Uhm… you said and went through your options; you could stay and continue wandering around in the crowd alone and try to locate your friends but if you failed to find them, you would be screwed because you were supposed to go and spend the night at your friends place, or you could go with the handsome stranger and see where it leads you.

People always criticized you for never doing anything spontaneous and never taking risks and you had basically decided that it was your New Years resolution that you would allow yourself to catch the moments and not just follow people living their lives without living yours. You sometimes felt that you were inside a small room. In that room you spent your days, living your life in a rather comfortable way, sometimes allowing guests inside but mostly just staring out from the window, looking at the world, the people living their lives, being spontaneous and happy. You sometimes tried to knock on the window and wave at people but no one ever turned.
There was a door in your imaginary room. The door was locked from inside and although you had the key, you were too afraid to use it. The world was happening all around your small, safe room but you hardly ever left your room, your comfort zone. In the room you were safe and comfortable, in that room of yours no one judged you or questioned your opinions, values or decisions. Suddenly the man was inside the room as well. This time he let you feel him inside your mind, standing next to you by the window.

- How did you…
You asked and in a flash he was gone and you were alone inside your mind again. You opened your hand and saw the key in it. You knew that the stranger had put it there as an encouragement for you to leave the safe place and follow him to the unknown adventures. You were puzzled but your thoughts were disturbed when there was a loud bang echoing all around.

- What do you say? We are going to continue partying elsewhere because the flashing lights, noise and the enormous amount of people are making some of us slightly tired… or more like annoyed. the man said with a gorgeous smile on his face.
You told the man that you knew a peaceful place with a view to the city and since you had lost your friends and getting tired with the crowd as well, the man and his friends were more than welcome to join you. The man introduced himself as Charles and gladly accepted your invitation. He got his friends and you all left Manhattan. It took somewhat plenty of time to get moving because the downtown area was completely jammed since there was just so much people running around, crossing the street on red lights and so on.

You arrived to your neighborhood and when you got to the front door of your apartment building you let your new friends in. There was something odd about them although you were unable to point your finger at it. What you did not know was that Charles and his friends were all mutants and their mutant gifts were that sort of gifts that you could not see unless they used them. You had read about the mutants but you had never met one so you really did not know what they were like. You were pretty sure that they were just as nice people than non-mutants but you were a little bit suspicious.

Charles could feel your nervousness because inviting strangers to your apartment was something that you very rarely did, the truth was that you never did that. He got inside your head and eased your mind until he was sure that you felt relaxed and comfortable around him and his friends. You smiled as you fixed everybody something to eat, snacks from leftovers mostly and made a couple of beds ready to the floor in case someone wanted to get some sleep.

Suddenly it was morning and the sun was about to come up. The only ones still awake were you and Charles. You had been sitting in the kitchen, on your kitchen counter and laughed at stupid jokes and it had been clear that there was chemistry between you and him, the blue-eyed man who seemed to be able to say the right things at the right time, as if he had been able to read your thoughts.
- Would you like to see the sunrise? you asked after a moment of silence.
- Yes. Charles answered without hesitation.
- Oh… Well, follow me. you replied and hopped off from the kitchen counter, turned off most of the lights and led the man into the entrance hall.

You and Charles put on your coats, took a couple of blankets with you and then left the apartment. You headed onto the roof and the man followed you silently. It was not allowed to hang out there but you had previously carried a couple of chairs there anyway since it was your favorite place to sit. You had a great view to the east, where the skyline was turning pale green now that the clouds had faded away. You motioned your new friend to sit down after you had placed the chairs, that had been previously placed to face west, on the east side of the roof.

The city was silent and most of the city lights had been turned off, even the sounds of the traffic had faded away and the only sound there was, was the wind and a couple of seagulls in the distance. A couple of times there were people getting home from parties, singing happy songs that echoed in the fading night. The moment was truly peaceful and there was no need to talk. You shared the silence with the man and for the first time in a long time, you felt completely relaxed, almost as if the surrounding world did not exist and nothing else really mattered.

Charles felt your peacefulness. It made him feel calm and happy. He encouraged his mind and placed his hand on yours as you sat there side by side. You did not dare to turn your head but smiled widely staring into the horizon that had turned yellow now. Any minute now the sun would come up and it would be a new day. Charles slid his fingers between yours and crossed them with yours with a gentle squeeze. At this point you turned your head and smiled shyly at him. The first rays of the sun were in his eyes and made them sparkle like precious gemstones as his hair danced in the light breeze that came from the sea nearby.

“You are so beautiful” you thought and somehow you knew that the stranger was able to hear you although you did not say anything aloud. Charles got up and pulled you to stand up as well. He stared into your eyes intensely as he bathed in the sunlight. You bathed in the same light but your mind was so focused on that beautiful man that you did not notice. He pulled you a little bit closer and put his hand on your jaw. He smiled as his thumb stroked your cold skin gently, sometimes brushing accidentally your lips.

You stared into his eyes mesmerized as the surrounding world faded away. You had never before felt so connected to anyone and even the thought of kissing him was enough to stop your heart once and for all, but strangely enough, you did not feel nervous. It felt almost as if you had been under his spell or submerged into a pleasant dream that was not going to end.

Then finally, after an eternity, he pressed his lips onto yours very softly. The first kiss was a subtle question, a request for a confirmation that he had read you right. You answered him by wrapping your arms around him and pulling him closer. Charles smiled against your mouth and slid his other hand into your hair. He pulled them gently and then kissed you again. This time his actions were somewhat assertive and you could feel that he knew exactly what he was doing. There was no hesitation in his actions and you could feel him inside your mind, demanding you to let go of your worries and doubts. What he wanted you to do, was to let yourself sink deeper into the moment and open up your mind, your soul to him.

That you did gladly as the kiss grew deeper and more passionate. His presence surrounded you and there was no place to hide from him, not that you wanted to hide anymore. You had never been so sure about anything before, but now you knew deep inside yourself, within your every cell, that you were exactly where you were supposed to be and the feeling got stronger with every beat of your heart. You had never thought that you could fall in love that quickly, that deeply and mercilessly, but you had and it felt like you had finally arrived home.

Chapter Text

- No, no and no. Michael Fassbender said when you told him that you were his new personal assistant. You had been employed to the position by an agency that managed the assistants of many famous actors and actresses. You had been very happy to get a job after being unemployed for a couple of months but now that you stared at the annoyed Irishman in front of you, you started to feel that applying to the job and then accepting it had been the worst decision you had ever made. You snapped out from your thoughts and answered with a calm tone
- Mr. Fassbender, I understand-
- No, you do not. I specifically requested an assistant who would be-
- I can assure you, I am more than qualified for this job. The agency-
- Anyone could do your job. Mr. Fassbender scoffed and rolled his eyes.
- Right. you sighed. It was getting ridiculous, the whole freaking thing. You could not understand why someone could be so narrow-minded and shallow. If your client really thought that anyone could do your job, then it only meant that the person had his head far up in his own ass and saw the world in a very black-and-white –manner, because your job was not easy.

- I was expecting someone more physically appealing. he added and flashed a bitter, slightly mocking smile.
- I am not sure how being “more physically appealing” could help me to perform my job any better. you answered as you were getting somewhat angry, however you wanted to remain calm. You were not paid to explode at your client and you knew that if you did that, you could say goodbye to your career as a personal assistant. News travelled fast after all and being successful at the job you had chosen to forge into a career required you to keep your cool and protect your image, as well as the image of your client, at all times.
- It probably would not, but at least someone else would be more pleasant for me to look at. he said and glanced you like you had been yesterdays leftovers.
- I see… Well, 70 percent of this job I can do remotely, you do not really even need to see m-
- No. I want someone else. Mr. Fassbender said and it really sounded like there was nothing that you could have done to change his mind about it.
- Alright. I will email the agency today and they will assign someone else within a month. you answered after swallowing your pride and gathering the remaining pieces of your composure.

- A month? he exclaimed and sighed with a frustrated tone.
- Ahem, yes. I am sorry, but for a month you are stuck with me. you answered and made notes to your tablet-device. A silence followed as you tried your best to avoid looking at your client who had insulted you greatly, more than you had ever thought to be even possible.
- 70 percent remotely, you said? he said after a moment and rubbed his chin.
- Yes. you answered, still keeping your eyes fixed upon the screen.
- I think it is manageable. he commented and turned away. You lifted your eyes and saw him shaking his head as he walked further away. Then you opened your email and wrote the email to your boss without any more specific reason for being reassigned than “we both felt that there was no working chemistry and it would be better if someone else was managing Mr. Fassbender’s account”. You knew that it could get your client into trouble if you stated that he did not want you to be his assistant because you were not attractive enough. It would be terrible if the yellow press heard about it and it could really hurt his public image.

Your boss answered like you had expected; it would take about a month for the agency to find a replacement. You started to work with your client and you tried to work as much remotely as possible but there were times when it was completely impossible. You managed Mr. Fassbender’s account very well. He was always there where he was supposed to be and even your client had no other choice than to admit that you were doing your job well.

Then the month was over and you returned to the office. There you were being asked why Mr. Fassbender was not pleased with you but you never told anyone the real reason. The new assistant began with him and she was gorgeous. You saw her once at the office but you did not talk with her. You however knew that she would please the eye if your ex-client but you did not know how good she was at what she was supposed to do. It was strange that during the month you and your client had started to get along pretty nicely and it was a shame that you had to go. You never talked about the one-month-deadline with Mr. Fassbender and you did not know if he remembered that you were leaving, or not.

Michael was surprised when one Monday morning he was greeted by another woman, someone whom he did not know. He suddenly remembered the first day and felt a bit sorry for being an ass like that because during the month he had actually started to like your company although he had not see you that often. He had actually decided to ask you to work less remotely but now your time was ended and it made him somewhat sad although he knew that he had requested for another assistant.
One week passed and Mr. Fassbender started to notice how wrong he had been. The new assistant did not do her job well and she was very stupid. He decided to give the new assistant one more week to prove herself professionally but it did not make any difference. The woman used more time to flirt with people and hitting on her client than actually working on the tasks that she was supposed to. Therefore Michael went to the office looking for you 2,5 weeks after you had stopped working for him.

He entered a tall, modern office building and walked to the counter that was located near to the main entrance. There was a blonde woman working and he decided to ask her if you were available for a quick chat.
- Hey, is (Y/N) here? he asked the receptionist.
- No, sorry Mr. Fassbender… She is not. the receptionist answered and stared at him curiously.
- Is she coming soon? he asked and drummed the desk nervously with his fingers.
- No, she got fired. the receptionist answered. Now she sounded more puzzled than curious. The look on Michaels face turned surprised and he exclaimed
- Why?
- Well, as far as I know, she got hired to be your assistant and then when she did not find working chemistry with you, our agency gave her two weeks to either find another client or if you, Mr. Fassbender changed your mind about the new assistant and since you did not…
- Shit! he sighed and dropped his head. He raised his hand onto his forehead and rubbed it as he tried to come up with a reasonable game plan to fix things.
- I am very sorry, Mr. Fassbender, but there is nothing I can do. the receptionist said when he noticed that Michael was clearly upset with the answer. He went through his options and then stated
- I need to contact her. Do you have her phone number or address?
-- I do, but I am sorry, the personal information of our present and former employees is confidential-
- Listen… I was an ass and I need to at least apologize to her. Michael said and leaned to the table with his both hands. In that position he looked almost threatening, especially when his physical position was combined to the intense stare of his piercing eyes. The sight made the receptionist to gulp and lean back in her chair.

- I just heard that there was no chemistry-
- There was. I wanted another assistant because I thought that (Y/N) was not attractive enough. he said and corrected his posture immediately when he realized that his position was indeed quite threatening and it was making the receptionist uncomfortable.
- Well… that is… the receptionist said and it was obvious that she wanted to say “terrible” and disapprove Michaels actions but since he was a famous actor, she did not dare to judge. The last thing she wanted to do was to get fired for insulting a client of the agency.
- So I am sure that you can see why I need to make this better. Besides I am completely lost with the new assistant. She is not either smart or funny. Do you know who was both? he asked with a desperate tone.
- (Y/N). Yes, she was very much liked at the office too. Very professional. the receptionist answered and sighed. She did not know what to do because the whole situation was kind of pain in the ass; she wanted to help Michael to fix things but on the other hand she had clear guidelines about the personal information of the current and former employees of the agency.
- Yes! So please-
- I am deeply sorry but my hands are tied. she replied and smiled politely, although there was a hint of sadness in her smile. It was clear that if it was up to her, she would help, but like she had said; her hands were tied and there was nothing she could do. Michael nodded with a sigh, then turned away and left.

He felt bad for getting you fired for not being attractive enough, although he had changed is opinion about that during the month as well, and in a way it was a karma’s bitchslap in his face when the assistant who looked like a supermodel was actually pretty useless and not suitable for the job at all. Michael walked out from the agency and rubbed his chin. He sighed again when he saw his current assistant calling him on the phone, he decided not to answer the call, he was not on the mood for her shit. At that moment the receptionist came out from the building and handed him a note.
- You did not get her number or her address from me. she said and looked around to make sure that there were no intrusive eyes to see the breaking of the rules.
- No. Michael said with a firm tone and nodded as an agreement.
- And you better make it right. I mean, (Y/N) is a talented and lovely person and if she indeed got fired because she was “not attractive enough” then I’m sorry to say that it really sucks. she dared to say now that she was acting as herself and not as the representative of the agency.
- Yes, I am aware of that. Michael answered and squeezed the note tightly in his hand, almost as if it had been his most precious thing in the world, and in that moment, it was.
- Oh. (Y/N) is living at the hotel nearby but I think she flew home already. the receptionist added just before Michael was going to leave. He nodded and thanked for the help. First thing he did, was to visit the hotel where you had been staying in but you had checked out already.

You got home. To be honest you had not thought about returning that soon and actually it was embarrassing to be back after seven weeks. It was the low-point of your career and it felt so stupid that you had even taken a chance like that and left everything you had known to reach to the stars and beyond. The next days you basically lay in your bed and tried to get over the embarrassment. Then one morning there was someone at the door. You had just woken up and went to open the door in your pajama since the person at the door did not stop knocking. You shouted “yeah-yeah” and then opened the door a little bit.
- Good morning. Michael greeted you. You opened the door more and let him in because you did not want your neighbors to hear the forthcoming conversation. You were still half-asleep, not really completely sure if you were dreaming or was this actually happening for real. One thing was certain no matter what; there was no obligation for you to act polite towards the man who had gotten you fired and caused the embarrassing situation where you were now in.
- I don’t know about the goodness of it but sure. Hi, how may I help you? you asked after Michael had closed the door and was standing in your entrance hall.
- May I come in? he asked and opened the zipper of his leather jacket.
- I do not think it is a good ide-
- Thank you. he said and took off his shoes as well as his jacket. “You’re most welcome” you mumbled and walked into your living room. Michael followed you but he did not sit down.

- I need you back. he said. His tone was apologetic and desperate.
- Right. you scoffed and sat down on your sofa. You buried your face into your hands and tried to wake up. Maybe it was all just an annoying dream and soon you would wake up and find yourself alone in your own bed.
- I am so sorry that I got you fired. Michael said after a moment of silence.
- Yeah, well… Whatever. Isn’t that new assistant pretty enough? you asked with a bitter tone.
- Yeah but she is not you. he stated and tried to guess the expression on your face since he was completely unable to see it.
- Oh and now it’s a problem? you asked and raised your head as you removed your hands that had been covering it. You looked pissed off and Michael, to be honest, was not blaming you at all. He knew that he deserved every bit of anger or disappointment you had stored for him.
- Yes. There is no chemistry and it is not working. he answered and hoped that you noticed the sincere undertone of his voice.
- It did not work with me either. you blurted, stood up and walked into your kitchen. You wanted to drink a glass of cold water to help you clear your head and also to get some distance to the tall, handsome Irishman that had inserted himself into your life all so unexpectedly.
- It did! But I was too stupid to realize it. I am sorry. he said as he followed you.

- So what now? What are you expecting me to do? To waltz back like nothing ever happened? you asked after you had emptied the glass and put it back on the kitchen counter. Michael noticed that he was standing too close and stepped a little further away. You crossed your arms and leaned onto the counter.
- Well… with a hefty raise of course. he said and flashed a hopeful smile. You thought about it for a moment and then started to prepare breakfast. Michael helped you and while eating you talked about the specifics and managed to come up with an agreement, although you had not said whether you were going to accept his offer or not; you wanted to think it through and make him suffer a bit, see him crawl. The day passed quite quickly after you had gotten used to have him around and for your surprise you enjoyed having Michael there and talking with him. Hours passed by and suddenly it was getting dark outside.

You prepared food and offered Michael dinner. It was somewhat funny how you felt the old chemistry returning and decided to accept the job offer. It was getting late and you made him a bed in your living room. He appreciated the gesture and the fact that he did not have to check in to a hotel. Your head was spinning. It was funny to see Michael in your home and talk to him like he was just a guy. When you had been working for him, you had always been strict about keeping the relationship between you two as professional as possible but now you had agreed that instead of working for him, you would work with him and you would have a right to tell him if he was being an ass or half-assing things.

You bought a flight ticket and returned with Michael to his filming location just after a couple of days rearranging your life. He asked you to work remotely as little as possible because he enjoyed your company very much, a bit too much actually. Then after 13 months of working together Michael suddenly called you on your day off. He was feeling stressed out about his career and he had rented a house from an island where he was going to spend the late summer alone, away from the tabloids and fame.

He called you because
- I want you to come with me. he said after telling you about his plan to get away for a moment.
- What? you asked. You were surprised to hear about the whole holiday-cottage-thing since he had not spoken about his plans before that moment and now that he said that he wanted you to go with him, it really caught you off guard.
- Yes, I would like you to come with me and spend a month with me there. he repeated his offer.
- Why me? you asked curiously.
- Because you’re the one I trust and I rather spend that month with you than anyone else, so please. he explained. You had to admit that you had noticed him getting stressed out and tired even so maybe holiday was the thing that he needed and to be honest, you were quite flattered that you were the person, the only one in the entire world, who he would trust enough to go with him.
- Would I be a… housekeeper or-
- No… All you have to do is to keep me company. I do not want to go alone. Michael said. He hoped that you would accept his invitation without asking too many questions, mostly because he was tired of answering questions all together, but also because he had a reason that he did not want to reveal, not just yet at least.
- Right… you answered.
- Take it as a paid holiday. he added.
- How much will you pay me? you asked curiously.
- 10 000 pounds extra to your monthly salary. Michael answered and hoped that at least extra money would make you to decide in his favor.
- For one month? you asked, just to be sure about the specifics before making any promises.
- Yes and I will take care of any other expenses; traveling, living and so on. he replied. You knew that you were in a need of a holiday and a paid vacation by the sea sounded quite nice, besides you enjoyed Michael’s company now that he treated you with respect. Therefore you accepted his invitation and agreed to accompany him.

After a couple of weeks you found yourself staring at a ship disappearing into the horizon with Michael. You had not realized that the cottage was located on an island that located quite remotely in the middle of the sea so when you looked around, to any direction, there was no land in sight. You checked your phone and noticed that there was no internet connection either. You were not sure if this was something that you had agreed on, but there was no other choice than to go with it now.
You took your bag and followed Michael into the cottage. He told you that the boat would come twice a week to bring supplies and there was a radio in the cabin for emergencies. You did not hear anything he said because you were trying your best to understand what you had gotten yourself into. Michael escorted you to your room and then after making sure that you were all settled, he settled into his room which was on the other side of the house.

Your room had a view to the open sea and there was literally nothing blocking the horizon. The room was quite small but you did not need much space anyway. You unpacked your bags and lay down on the bed. It was a comfortable bed and suddenly you drifted away. It had been a long travel and you were somewhat jetlagged. Your dreams were disturbed when Michael knocked on the door and stepped in. He had just made some dinner and his plan was to invite you to dine with him. You got off from the bed and followed Michael into the kitchen. It was getting dark already and the only light there was outside, was the faint grow in the west.

The weather was great and you spent the days outside sunbathing, reading and staring at the horizon and in a few days you learned to enjoy the calmness and silence. You had long conversations with Michael and although you had been terrified of getting bored with the slow, isolated life, for your surprise the days slipped away too fast and suddenly over a half of your holiday was gone. Yes, you realized all of a sudden that you were flying away in ten days and then you would return to your normal life. Sure you had missed the Internet and being connected to everything at all times, but then again, spending time with Michael had been plenty of fun and surprisingly relaxing as well. The line between working with him and being his friend had blurred and you did not quite know how to get back to the way things had been before the holiday, although your relationship had been friendship-like throughout the past year, but not quite like this.

One thing that worried you, it worried you actually the most, was the fact that your friendly feelings for “your boss” had started to get deeper and even the line between being Michael’s friend and something else entirely had started to blur after two weeks of being completely alone with him on the remote island that you now shared with the Irishman. It worried you and terrified you. It made you anxious because you knew that the holiday was going to end and then you would get back to the busy life that Michael had wanted to escape for a month with you.

It was getting stormy one evening. The weather had been great until the dark clouds had appeared in the northern horizon and then filled the skies all over, as far as the eye can see. You liked the storms and for the first time you were going to see the sea raging all around you. You had lighted some candles and carried a blanket on the terrace where there was a swing-chair for two persons hanging from the ceiling. Michael sat next to you and offered you a glass of wine. You smiled and took the glass with pleasure. It was a perfect moment; the storm getting closer, you feeling warm wrapped into the blanket in the middle of it all, still safe.

- You always tell me if I half-ass something. Michael began. You put the glass on the table and focused your attention to the charming actor next to you. You raised your eyebrows and answered
- Well, that’s what we agreed that I’ll do, whether it is an interview, an audition or-
- Or the relationships I have with different people. Yes…
- So? you chuckled. You had noticed that Michael had been behaving in a different way around you for some time and especially since you had arrived to the island. It felt almost like you were a couple, although he had not even tried to make a move on you or anything… but your relationship with him had gotten warm, warm in a different way. You had not paid any attention to the whole thing before but now you noticed it. Michael looked at you with a serious look on his face and continued
- I need to point out that you are half-assing your life.
- Excuse me? you asked, not quite sure if you had heard right or not. What was he talking about? Why was he saying that?
- Yes, you are not really living your life, are you? When is the last time you have gone out on a date? he asked. You stood up and walked to the end of the terrace, where there were a couple of stairs that led to into the garden that was more like a spot that was a little less rocky than the rest of the island.

-What? Are you seriously asking me that? you asked after you had gathered your thoughts.
- Yes I am. You’re always honest with me and now it is my turn to return the favor. he answered and stood up. He walked a bit closer with a blanket in his hands. Michael did not want you to get sick so his plan was to put the blanket on your shoulders that were bare, since you were wearing a sleeveless dress. You however refused the gesture by stepping a bit further away from the handsome man.
- My personal life is none of your business. But in any case, let me assure you that I have gone through countless of dates so I know for a fact that I am not missing anything… quite opposite actually; my life is much more calm and stress-free now that I do not have time to date anyone! you replied although in a way you knew that there was no obligation for you to explain yourself, it was Michael who was being seriously out of line, very unprofessional indeed.
- You mean predictable and safe? What about desire and love? Butterflies in your stomach? he asked and tried to see if his words made you feel anything or cause any reaction.
- It is all overrated. I like my life as it is. Besides, why does it bother you now, all of a sudden? you asked and turned around to stare at the roaring sea and the lightning that was followed by a loud rumbling sound.
- No… not “all of a sudden”. I have been thinking about this for some time already but I have not had courage to make my thoughts known before. Michael admitted. You sighed. It made no sense that Michael brought this up, not now, not ever. Your personal life was not his business and it did not concern him, unless…

- Have you considered dating me? he asked suddenly. His voice sounded insecure and hopeful at the same time and the combination was almost too much to take. “Because I want a life with you… and I need you to want-“ he continued but you interrupted him.
- Dating… you? you asked with a surprised tone. Sure, you had thought about it, no, more like dreamed about it but you had never seriously considered it.
- Don’t you… have any feelings for me? he asked with a fragile tone which made your heart ache. He emphasized the word “any” and it made him sound almost desperate. You did not want to break his heart and if he really had feelings for you, it made everything so much more complicated.
- You’re my boss!
That was the only thing that you managed to say. Your head was spinning and you could not look at Michael and his expression that was still so hopeful and insecure. He was clearly waiting for you to say anything but all you had managed to do was to state the obvious; your working relationship with him. Michael rubbed his chin a couple of times and then said
- Technically I am not since you’re working with me and not for me. There is a difference-
- Yeah, whatever-
- What do you mean “whatever”? he asked. He could not believe his ears, your response had been so much colder than he had expected. He had hoped that you felt the same because it really had felt like you had been a couple on an island, although nothing… physical had not happened… yet.

- It is irrelevant! Sure I find you attractive and charming and yeah… I think I like you a bit too much-
- So what is the problem? he asked with a frustrated tone. He was raising his voice although he had decided that he would not, but now it felt almost impossible to keep such promise.
- Do you know how unprofessional that would be! Besides, you do not find me attractive! It is the main reason why we have this… this… great work-chemistry. you answered with a bitter tone, which you corrected to neutral as soon as you had realized it yourself.
- No, it is because I respect you! Michael shouted. The sea was making a loud noise and as it got mixed with the wind and the sound of thunder, there was no longer room for soft tone. The wind danced violently in your hair and chilled you under your summer dress.
- You clearly do not respect me enough. you answered. You sounded ruder than you had hoped and cursed yourself for saying such thing with that tone.
- How can you say that? he asked and his tone changed from hopeful into offended and desperate.
- If you did you would not fill my head with these… hopes and ideas! I am not the type that you date for a moment and after you get bored, you just throw away-
- Why do you think-
- Oh, I’ve seen you dating Michael! I have seen you charming women and then losing interest… just like that. you scoffed and snapped your fingers to emphasize the easiness and quickness of his actions.

Michael knew that you were right and therefore he did not say anything. He also knew that he felt something different this time. He had known you over a year now and spending time on that remote island with you had confirmed his feelings for you to be real. He had asked you there mostly because he enjoyed your company and trusted you but also because he wanted to see if being ripped away from the surrounding world would show him if you had any deeper feelings for him. Sure he had been a jerk in the beginning and he had been working the entire time since then to make it up to you, whether you had noticed it or not, but he had done his very best to make you feel appreciated.

You had mistaken this as a “great work-chemistry” although it did make it easy to work with him when he tried to make your work and life as easy as possible. Michael could have questioned your decisions but he had trusted you and respected your professional opinion and he knew that you only wanted what was best for him… or his career… well… for him entirely. And it was true; you had become a fearless lioness when it came to Michaels career. You had worked hard and wrestled your way to be respected and admired assistant in Hollywood and nowadays everyone took you seriously.

It was one thing that you were afraid to lose if you let your professional friendship with Michael to evolve into anything else and it was apparent that it had been a mistake to go on the island with him. Now you were facing a decision; which one would be more important to you, your career or a possible love affair? Could you take such a risk knowing that if the relationship failed, you would lose your job and the respect of your fellow-assistants in the process? But would you be able to stare into those blue eyes and lie that your feelings are strictly friendly, knowing that you would also break his heart by saying so? What if getting back to the way you used to be was no longer possible?

Chapter Text

- Hm.
You heard someone saying and turned to see who the source of that rather critical comment was. You saw a man standing next to you, staring at the painting in front of you with a puzzled look on his face. He was wearing a dark suit that had a kind of bluish metallic glow to it and overall he looked very stylish. What you could also see by glancing at him quickly was that he had big blue eyes and brown short hair. He looked somewhat familiar but from the side profile you were unable to recognize him.

- I wonder what this painting is trying to say… he added and turned his head slightly so he was able to see your face and reaction. You tilted your head a little and smiled curiously as you stared at the painting.
- Well… What do you think it is saying? you asked. Your tone was sincerely curious and you had to admit that you were longing to engage yourself into an intellectual conversation with this strangely familiar, very handsome man. The man chuckled a little and it was clear that he was not even trying to come up with an opinion. You decided to help the man by pointing out some key elements of the painting and therefore you said
- Look at the colors, the shades and shapes… how the light communicates with the darker elements-
- Nah, I have never understood this kind of modern… he answered and paused as he tried to come up with a proper word.
- Art? you asked.
- If you can call it that. the man chuckled. At this point it was clear that you were not going to have an intellectual conversation about art with that man.

- I see. you commented and pursed up your lips a little. You disliked his attitude and scolded yourself for even hoping to share a meaningful conversation with him.
Now the man turned to face you and you recognized him. It was your favorite actor, Jeremy Renner, of whom you had been secretly obsessing the past couple of years. You had seen him in various movies for example in the Avengers as Hawkeye and in the Bourne –movie as that agent… Whatever-his-name-was. Now he was standing next to you, debating about your favorite subject, art, with you and it was getting clear that you did not share the taste in paintings.
- Oh come on, are you seriously saying that the painter of this painting had a deeper message to share with the audience? Mr. Renner said and read the painters name half aloud from the small info-note that was next to the painting.
- Yes, yes I do-
- So you know the painter? he asked.
- In the matter of fact I do know the painter. you answered with a polite, yet formal tone.
- So tell me, is she easy to understand? he asked with a hint of sarcasm in his voice. It annoyed you greatly and made you answer in a slightly more aggressive way than you had hoped to
- What do you mean exactly?
- Well… if her messages are as cryptic as her paintings… How the hell anyone can communicate with her! Mr. Renner said and laughed a little. You scoffed and rolled your eyes. If he thought that he was being funny, he was dead wrong.

- Very easily, if you must know. you answered and smiled defiantly. Mr. Renner scoffed and sipped some of the sparkling wine that was in his glass. You stared at him with evaluating look on your face and rolled your eyes.
- You seem to enjoy the refreshments though. you pointed out and pointed at his glass with a subtle gesture.
- Did you know that the artist herself selected that wine for tonight? you asked but your goal was to smart ass and make him feel awkward if that was even remotely possible.
- A little too sweet for my taste, but I guess it is okay. One would think that they had served real champagne but I guess the artist had a rather tight budget. Mr. Renner answered and took another sip. His glass was almost empty now.
- Hm, well, she has not sold any of her paintings yet so every sip that you drink, Mr. Renner, without even considering of buying one of these paintings, is kind of eating… I mean… drinking away her life savings. you stated and gave him a glare so it was not unclear in any way that you disapproved his attitude as well as behavior.
- Well good luck with that. Mr. Renner commented almost inaudible.
- With what? you asked with a sharp tone.
- Well, selling these paintings. he clarified.
- Have a lovely evening, Mr. Renner. you said and left him to stand alone.

You walked around the gallery and stopped to mingle with many people. You tried to ignore the fact that the short chat with your favorite actor had managed to spoil your mood almost completely. Fortunately only “almost”. Your mood was lifted back up when you engaged yourself into a lively conversation about the art style that the paintings represented with professional people that actually understood something about art.
After an hour you found yourself standing Mr. Renner again in front of yet another painting. This one was painted with bold colors and the overall feeling of the painting was slightly threatening, despite the abundance of bright colors. You bit your lip and pressed your nails that had been colored deep red for tonight against your palms so you were able to mask your irritation once more.
- Mr. Renner… you began.
- Please, Jeremy-
You smiled politely and in a very formal way and shifted your gaze at the floor as you gathered your nerves before starting again. You generally speaking did not like to be interrupted or corrected and now the blue-eyed man had done both. You raised your chin again and focused your attention to him and said
- Mr. Renner, enjoying yourself yet? you asked. You kept your tone formal and no, you were not going to call him with his first name.

- Not quite, I am trying to figure this painting out, but it is not speaking to me. he answered to you. You could hear it in his voice that he was only joking, or maybe even mocking the artist behind it.
- Not this one either? you asked and scoffed.
- No, none of them actually, and I highly recommend that the “artist” takes some lessons-
Mr. Renner said and air-quoted the word “artist” with his fingers to emphasize the fact that he did not really see anything too artistic about the paintings or the artist herself.
- Well, Mr. Renner, I do appreciate your advice although I find it rather… odd… that you consider yourself entitled to tell me to learn to paint, when I am not even assuming that I am professionally capable of telling you how to be and “actor”. you answered and air-quoted the word “actor”.

Mr. Renner looked at you and rolled his eyes. Of course not you were not entitled to judge his acting skills from a professional point of view but you were entitled to either go and see his movie or not, he thought, but he did not really understand what you point was, therefore he just moved forward and said
- I was thinking that I would steal you away from this boredom and take you out for a drink, what do you say?
- It is a funny thing… you began and chuckled a little bit with a sarcastic tone.
- What is? he asked curiously. He knew already that you were going to insult him, he was just curious to hear how you were going to do it this time.
- That we are standing in front of this painting that is called “Rejection and Disappointment”… you said and smiled at the man politely. He emptied his glass, looked around a bit with an awkward look on his face and then focused his attention to you again.
- You see, Mr. Renner… I cannot leave because I am needed here. you continued with a serious look on your face.
- Are you… working? he asked.
- Yes, kind of… I am the artist and instead of talking with you I should be selling my… paintings. you said and walked away. You put on your smile and walked gracefully in your high heels and deep red cocktail dress to a famous art critic who was currently admiring one of your paintings. Jeremy however stayed standing there by himself because he could not really believe how he had just screwed up; he had mocked your paintings as well as your party and called you, in a way, hard to understand. He cursed silently and got himself another glass of sparkling wine.

The evening continued and one by one your paintings got sold, not all of them but some at least. It was getting late and the people were leaving until you were left alone with the gallery owner who was very pleased with the event. You helped her to gather glasses and close the place because the gallery owner was one of your dearest friends. When you left the gallery, you got stopped by the man again. He had been waiting for the closing although the weather was rather bad. It had been a nice evening but then the clouds had appeared basically out from nowhere and it had started to rain.

- Hi (Y/N). Jeremy said and stepped in front of you behind the corner. He almost caused your heart to stop and if you had not recognized his voice, you would have probably smacked him with your purse. You did not like to walk alone in the downtown area during nights so you had trained your reflexes to defend yourself if needed. You knew that your tactics were most likely a little unorthodox but you rather smacked your attacker and asked questions later than got attacked and cried at the police station after.
- So… What are you-
- Waiting for you. he answered before you had even managed to finish your question. He had actually visited home and then returned to the gallery after because he had not wanted to end the evening with a bad note.
- Uh-uh. you commented. A silence followed because you were not interested on commenting any further.
- I owe you an apology. he said after a moment.
- You are entitled to have an opinion and I really do not care if your unsophisticated eye cannot understand-
- Art. Yes, I’m sorry. he said and stared at the pavement. He really did not dare to look you straight into eye. Not just yet at least.

You sighed and started to walk towards the metro station when you heard Jeremy shouting behind you
- I bought your painting!
You stopped and inhaled deeply in before you turned around and exhaled just as deeply.
- And I think you owe me to tell the story behind that painting. he added. You did not answer. It was raining now quite heavily and your makeup was getting all smudged up all over your face since you had not brought an umbrella with you.
- Owe you? you asked, or more like mocked him with that question.
- Yeah, or not quite “owe” but… I would like to salvage this situation. he answered.
- So you bought my painting? you asked as you walked back to him.
- Yes. he replied.
- Did you like it at least? you asked.
- It was… interesting. So, may I offer you a late night snack at my place? he asked sincerely.
- Now? you asked with a surprised tone. You had not seen that one coming, oh-no, not at all.
- Sure, I live nearby. Just a couple of blocks away. he said and pointed at the opposite direction.
- I-I don’t think so-
- Come on… You will catch cold if you’ll walk home in this weather-
- I am not going to walk, I’m taking the subw-
- Subway? At this time of night? No. I will drive you home tomorrow morning and make sure that you’ll get home safe. he said and smiled.
- You’re being ridiculous! you exclaimed. You were not a damsel in distress and you did not appreciate it at all if someone mistook you as one. However there was sincerity in his voice and that was something very charming. Maybe he really did want to save you from the rain and possible robbery.
- What can I say? I am a superhero! he stated and smiled. You started to laugh and decided to go with him.

You knew that he had a point though, it was not the smartest move to walk alone in the middle of the night especially when you had read that there had been an increasing amount of rapes and robberies in your neighborhood lately. You reasoned that people had seen you talking with Jeremy at the party and if you suddenly went missing, someone at the art gallery would surely point the cops into the right direction. Besides, the downtown area was infested with security cameras so indeed if you went missing all of a sudden, you would be rather easily found… unless you were dead at that time already, then the amount of cameras did not really help you after all.
You walked a couple of hundred meters forward with Jeremy and just as he had said, he lived very close to the art gallery. You stopped before entering the building, took a picture of it and Jeremy and sent a multimedia message to your friend saying that in case you did not send her a message with proof that you were indeed alive and unharmed by tomorrow noon, she would call the police. You told Jeremy that you had now secured your ass which made him laugh. His laughter made you laugh and you started to think how stupid your security-tactic sounded, especially considering that he had his reputation to protect… but then again… he would not be the first famous person who would commit a crime… think about Bill Cosby for example.

After an elevator ride to the penthouse floor you arrived to Jeremys’ front door. He let you in and you got rid of your soaked jacket as well as the shoes that were now killing your feet. Your dress was partially wet from the rain as well and without even asking, the owner of the apartment got you a towel so you were able to dry your hair a little. He also brought you a t-shirt and pants and showed you where the bathroom was. The mascara was burning your eyes and you were very happy that you had an opportunity to wash the makeup off.
You changed your clothes and put the dress to a hanger so it would dry before morning. When you got out from the bathroom, looking completely different than before, you saw your painting leaning to the wall, waiting to be hung. Jeremy had actually bought your favorite painting, the one that you had almost kept for yourself because the story behind it was quite personal. Jeremy walked to you and took the painting. He asked you to follow him into the living room where he had gathered some snacks for both of you to enjoy. You nodded in a rather shy manner and then followed him.

The living room was bigger than your entire apartment. It was modern and very stylish, it had a great view to the sea of city lights. You noticed immediately that he had plenty of art on his walls already and suddenly you felt bad for saying that he had an unsophisticated eye because clearly he did understand something about art. Well… he collected art anyway. Maybe it was an investment, you did not know and you could only guess.
Jeremy asked you if you approved the spot that he had picked for the painting. You nodded nervously and smiled a bit as he hung the painting on the wall. He asked you what it was about and you told the story behind it, although you left out the most personal details. It was strange because this time it felt like he was actually listening to what you were saying. He asked questions and followed you with a fascinated look on his face as you explained the meanings of different colors and shapes. Sometimes you were so focused on talking about your art that you were basically glowing… which made you blush immediately when you realized it yourself.

You sat down hoping that Jeremy did not hear the rumbling sounds that your stomach was making. You had ordered a large pizza for yourself to wait for your return because you had known that you would be starving by the time you reached home. Your plans however had changed all of a sudden and now you were not home… oh no, you were somewhere else entirely. Fortunately the host offered you a large plate that was filled with different kind of tapas-styled delicatessen and you were very relieved to see him having a similar plate for himself.
You ate, drank and shared a lively conversation about culture, movies and art until it was almost morning. The sky was getting less dark and the stars faded away one by one. After a while the city started to fill up with sounds of traffic as the morning workers started to commute. The rain had stopped and it was going to be a beautiful day. You checked out your dress and it was almost completely dry and as the clock got nearer to 8 AM you changed the clothes that you had borrowed back to your dress because you really felt that it was your time to go home.

- So, you’re leaving now? Jeremy asked. His voice sounded slightly disappointed but not too much. The truth was that he had enjoyed your company very much and kind of hoped to continue spending time with you a little bit longer.
- Yeah… I really need to get some sleep. you answered with a tired smile on your face.
- I have a bed… he said immediately.
- …in a guestroom, of course… With a lock on the door. he added because your smile had faded away and it was obvious that you did not appreciate that kind of suggestions… not that he had suggested anything, because he had not, but it had sounded like he had.
- I appreciate that but I have a meeting with some woman… an art journalist later today and I really need to get this sorted out before that. you answered and pointed at your face and hair with your hand. Jeremy chuckled a little and took his hands out from his pockets as he walked closer and leaned to the front door. It meant that you had to walk right past him if you wanted to get out from his apartment.

- Thank you… for a lovely night. you said. Jeremy smiled and added
- And saving you from the possible robbery-slash-murder-
- Yes, that too. A true superhero. you stated and smiled widely.
- Remember to send proof of your well-being to your friend before noon. he said and winked his eye at you, a charming devil. You started to laugh.
- True… I would not want to send the swat –team here without a reason. you added and continued laughing.
You stood right in front of him, waiting for him to open the door for you or maybe… kiss you, you were not sure. You stared into Jeremy’s eyes and waited for him to do something. The moment passed and nothing happened. You started to feel a bit awkward for even hoping for a kiss but… you could have sworn that there had been a couple of times when he had almost kissed you… or maybe you had misread the entire situation…

- Anyway… you said and turned away. Then suddenly you felt his hand on your jaw, guiding you gently to look at him and when you did, you saw Jeremy leaning closer and before you were able to even grasp and understand what was happening, his lips were on yours, softly kissing you. You felt how your brain that was suffering from severe sleep deprivation started to shut down and turn into a gray mush but fortunately you managed to kiss him back, eventually.
- Well… Jeremy said and brushed your cheek with his thumb as he drew back a little. The only thing that you managed to say was “wow” which you regretted immediately when your kissing partner started to laugh a little. “Yeah… wow indeed” he replied and kissed you once more. Then you really had to go, but before you did, you agreed to see him again after the interview because Jeremy really wanted to get to know the woman behind his new, favorite painting.

Chapter Text

You decided that it was time for you to retire. You knew now that Michael, who was basically your boss, had deeper feelings for you and it made things complicated. Sure, you liked him as well, more than “liked” actually and if your situation had been different, you would have been all over him. You went to your bedroom and closed the door behind you. The sea was raging outside and the room had become very humid and cold because now that the wind was blowing from north, it made the room very drafty. You decided not to care about it and sat on the edge of the bed.

In a way you blamed Michael for ruining everything but on the other hand you were happy that he wanted a life with you. It was, after all, the thing that you had been secretly dreaming about as well. You sighed and lay down under the blanket. The storm winds made the house sound weird and you were unable to fall asleep. When you finally drifted away, you were immediately woken up by the sound of waves crashing into the rocks and thunder echoing everywhere.

And as if that had not been enough, you noticed that the ceiling in your room was leaking. It had been leaking for some time already, but now the heavy rain was the last thing to make a hole into the inner roof. You got up from the bed and turned on the lights. For some reason the power was off, which meant that there was something wrong with the power generator and you knew that you were not any way capable of fixing whatever was wrong with it. You remembered that there were some candles in the drawer of your room as well as matches.

After breaking a few matches by snapping them in half accidentally, you finally managed to light one candle. The warm, yellow light filled the room, well, not really, but gave you some light at least and you were able to see that there was a big black spot on the ceiling and there was water dripping in from it. The flame kept on flickering and it was obvious that if you stayed in the room, in those conditions, you would get sick.

Therefore you took your blanket and left the room, made sure that the door got completely closed because you did not want to let the cold, humid air to spread into the other parts of the house. You walked with the candle through the house, stopping at various chairs but none of them were comfortable enough to sleep in, and finally ended up standing in front of Michaels bedroom door. You pressed your forehead against the cool, wooden surface and sighed. You were worried that your nightly invasion would be misinterpreted and you would find yourself in an awkward situation because you had not commented Michaels revelation in any way. After you had pointed out that you had seen Michael dating, he had been silent for a moment and then poured his heart on you. You had listened and stared into the surrounding darkness that occasionally lighted up as the lightning struck. Then you had just left, basically midsentence, leaving Michael alone on the terrace. It had been too much, too fast, too intense.

You placed your hand on the handle and opened the door very carefully. You entered the dark bedroom, closed the door after you and illuminated it with the candle so you were able to navigate without hitting any furniture on your way to the bed. Fortunately Michael had a king sized bed and he slept on the other side of it, and not in the middle as you had suspected. You sat on the edge, blew off the candle and then lay down with your own blanket and pillow. The room was so much warmer and also less humid, due to the location in the house; your room had the drop-dead-gorgeous view, but it was significantly more exposed to the elements and therefore now it was unusable.

You listened to the peaceful sound of Michaels breathing and tried to fall asleep. He was laying on his side, facing away from you but suddenly he turned and mumbled with a barely audible voice
- Everything alright?
- Yeah, the ceiling is leaking in my room. you mumbled as you felt yourself sinking deeper into the state of sleep. Michael fell asleep immediately but you stayed somewhat awake, on the twilight zone of sleep and being awake. It was frustrating because you were tired but deep sleep did not come. Finally the storm passed and the night started to fade away with it. For the last few hours you had been laying on your back, basically staring at the ceiling and prayed the universe to grant you some sleep but your head was just too occupied with thoughts and you could not sleep in unfamiliar beds.

You kept thinking about what Michael had said and your options. A part of you would have wanted to get closer to Michael and sink into his warmth because during the hours that you had spent in your room, the chill had gone to your bones and although Michaels room was warm, the cold had followed you because it was under your skin. You tried not to imagine how it would feel to have him embracing you, making you warm with his warmth and make sure that you got some sleep, but these thoughts just kept on coming and filling up your mind.

It was too much. After what you had done, how unfair and rude you had been, you had no right to even dream about such things. You were surprised that Michael had let you stay in his bed instead of telling you to get the fuck out. It was early morning, the sun had risen a moment ago and it was getting apparent that there was no sleep for you tonight. You left the bed and walked to the terrace with your blanket. You sat down on the stair and started to sob silently as you stared at the garden which was now more like a pool of water because the rain water had gathered there.

Michael had woken up when you had left the bed. He had gotten up, put on his jacket and followed you out although you had not noticed him to. He stared at your back and tried to make up his mind if he dared to come to sit next to you or not. He was torn apart between being angry at you for leaving him that way last night and blaming himself for compromising the great work-relationship by speaking his mind. He had gotten carried away and he had thought that you would run to him with open arms, but he had failed to realize that the situation was not as uncomplicated as he had thought in his mind.

- Did you manage to sleep? he asked. You swallowed your tears and gasped as you realized that you were not alone. You did not want Michael to know that you were crying so you just shook your head and hoped that he would understand your gesture. Michael walked closer and sat next to you. You turned your head to prevent him from seeing your face.
- Are you crying? he asked since he had managed to catch a glimpse of your cheek. You shook your head again and bit your lip so you would not crack.
- Is it… what I said yesterday? he asked with a silent voice.
- No… I’m just so tired. you said and turned to face Michael. You tried to smile to show that everything was alright, although your eyes told a completely different story.
- Haven’t you been able to sleep at all? he asked, you shook your head.
- The entire night? Not even in my room? he added.
- I cannot sleep in unfamiliar places. However staying awake in your room was much more pleasant than staying awake in mine. you answered and rubbed your hands together to make your fingers warm up. Michael noticed it and you stopped it immediately. He placed his hand over yours and got shocked of how cold it was. You were embarrassed because for you it felt like being a damsel in distress, someone who was incapable of keeping oneself warm, however you did not pull your hand away. Michael did not point out that your hand was freezing. There was no point of pointing it out what you already knew and he was afraid that it would sound like an accusation in your tired ears.

Michael sat a little bit closer and put his arm behind your back so he basically was pulling you closer and guiding you to rest your weary head against his chest. You closed your eyes and allowed yourself to fall asleep finally, now that you knew that Michael did not despise you. The worry about that had been one of those thoughts that had kept you awake and now it was gone. You somehow knew that it was going to be alright.
Michael waited that you were sleeping deeply and then he carried you into his room. He tucked you in and accidentally touched your bare feet. They were cold as well. He had planned to go and see your bedroom but now it felt unimportant; you were unable to sleep in that room anyway and there was nothing he could have done to fix it because he was not a builder by profession. Therefore he decided to dare to get some sleep as well. Actually there was no “daring” about getting some sleep since it was very early still, but what he dared to do, was to pull you very close and wrap his arms around you as you slept. He traced the dark circles under your eyes with his fingertips and hoped that he was not the reason they shadowed your beautiful features.

It was late afternoon when you woke up entirely. You had woken up a couple of times during the morning and realized that Michaels chest had been actually acting as your pillow and you had been holding onto him tightly. You were surprised of how good it felt, natural even and now that you were completely awake, it was difficult for you to remember all the reasons you had had against the possible love affair. Being so afraid felt completely stupid now. There had to be a reason why you had been able to sleep so well close to him even though it was something that required a huge amount of trust from you.
You realized that you were alone in the bed as you rolled on your back. You had turned your head and expected to see Michael next to you, but there had been nothing but an empty side of the bed. You stretched your limbs and then got out from bed. It was raining a little bit and you were sad to notice that the sun had disappeared behind the clouds again. You noticed a shawl on the back of a chair and wrapped that around your shoulders before leaving the room.

There was a noise coming from the kitchen so you walked there. You stopped at the doorway to watch Michael cooking something. He was wearing a casual shirt and loose pants that hung on his hips in a very attractive way. His hair was a bit messy and he was humming a tune as he was frying an omelet on a stove. You imagined walking behind him and pressing your cheek against his back as you wrapped your arms around him… although only in your mind. The thought fascinated you and you decided that you would dare to do it before you left the island behind.
Your thoughts were disturbed when Michael noticed that you were watching him and he called your name. “What are you thinking about” he asked. You smiled with a hefty blush on your cheeks and chuckled as you answered “nothing”.

 

You still returned to think about that morning every once in a while. You had then made a decision that you had not regretted. You felt the ring that was made of white gold as you waited for the result of your pregnancy test nervously. The doorbell rang and woke you up from your thoughts. You walked to the door and opened it. You were greeted by a man in a brown uniform, who asked you to sign the document for a packet delivered. You thanked the guy and took the envelope he had brought. You walked into the kitchen, opened the package and smiled as you went through the wedding pictures.

You had been busy, still managing Michaels career and it had taken a couple of months for you to get the pictures developed. Now however you were in the house that you had bought together with Michael a couple of years ago, it was your home although you had gotten used to follow Michael around and loved to travel. But home was home, it was the place where you were able to forget the stress that your work sometimes caused. It was a beautiful home and you had decorated it together.
Michael was filming in the States but you had returned home early, a week ago, because you had been feeling tired and nauseous lately. You were expecting Michael to come home in few days, the day after tomorrow to be exact. You continued going through the pictures and suddenly remembered the pregnancy test that was in the bathroom. You put the photos back into the envelope and went to the bathroom.

“Positive”. You were pregnant. Your tiredness and nausea made sense now. Instead of being completely happy about the result you were nervous. The truth was, although you had been in a relationship with Michael for over five years now, you had never really talked about starting a family. Sure you knew that you both wanted kids but the timing… Michael was busier than ever and neither of you were home that often. You both had your careers to think about. The timing was completely off! You were happy that you had almost two days time to get used to the idea before Michael got home. You knew that you had to have a serious talk about it immediately because a baby was going to change your life entirely… the lives of you both.

Michael arrived home. You were still undecided about how to adjust yourself and what to think about the baby. Your husband sensed that you were anxious about something and as soon as he had gotten rid of his jacket and shoes, came to you with open arms and took you into his embrace. It was the first time that you had been separated from your husband for longer than a few days and oh-boy you had missed him. Missing him had been like a dark veil that shadowed your days and especially now that you had big news to share, it felt like the shadow was pushing your shoulders down even more.

You both walked into the kitchen and Michael noticed the envelope that had the wedding pictures in it. He was going to start getting through them but you asked him to stop and focus on something that you had to tell him. You asked him to listen at first and let you talk before saying anything because there was a plenty of time to comment after. He sat down opposite from you and looked at you with a worried look on his face. He did not know what was going on and he had been worried for you because your tiredness and nausea.

- I’m pregnant. you said and shifted your gaze from your husbands eyes to the table. Michael did not say anything. He was just as surprised as you were since you had not been planning to start a family just yet, or at least neither of you had spoken about it.
- Uhm… say something. you pleaded as you shifted your eyes back into his. Michael was speechless, he had not had a two-day thinking period and you had asked him not to say anything right away so he had no answer ready for you. It made you somewhat anxious. You knew that you had told him to listen but somehow it felt worse when he did not give you any comments. It felt almost like he hated the idea.
- Do you want a baby? he asked after a moment. He tried to keep his face on neutral because he did not quite know if you thought that this was good news or not. In his eyes you mainly seemed puzzled and shocked.
- I do but… I am not sure if I’m quite ready to be a mother. We both have our careers to think about and this is completely unplanned… you said and stood up. You could not sit down because you felt too nervous for staying still.
- It is, but-
- I cannot do it alone, Michael. you commented. You had been losing sleep because you had been trying to figure it out; what it all meant, how would Michael react, how would it affect your careers… not just Michaels but yours as well!
- But you’re not… alone. Michael stated. You were not sure if he quite understood what kind of change raising a family would be and it made you nervous… even a bit sad.

- Don’t you see how this changes everything? If we’ll decide to have this baby, I cannot travel with you anymore… And your work takes you all over the world, there will be the time difference and…
- Don’t you want to start a family with me? he asked. He sounded confused but also slightly hurt. He did not want to sound hurt, oh-no, but he could not help it since you seemed to think that the pregnancy was a some sort of problem that had to be solved.
- I do! I would love to have a family with you. you exclaimed. Deep down, you wanted this baby but it was a little hard to remember it when there were so many things to consider.
- I would never ask you to choose between your career and me… but I cannot do this alone, even the thought of it scares me. you continued and sighed as you turned away and walked to the window. You stared out into the small garden that was currently in a very bad shape. It reminded you of how little you actually had stayed at home during the past a couple of years. You remembered immediately how you had had big plans for the space when you had bought the house but then the autumn had come and you both had started to get busier than before. Now the garden was more like a jungle of different kind of weeds and if someone saw the garden, they would have most likely thought that the house itself was empty.

A million thoughts were spinning around in Michaels mind. He thought about his career and what you had said. He knew that you were right; if you decided to start a family, you would do it together without a fear of you turning into a single parent while he traveled and build his career. He knew that you would never ask him to make a decision between it and yourself, about which he was very thankful but this was something different; now there was another life, a life that you had created together, to think about. Sure it was unexpected, but so had been the love that had sparked towards his assistant. He had not planned it either and it had turned out to be the best thing that had ever happened to him.

Michael started to smile as he stood up. He walked behind you and buried his face into your hair. He wrapped his arms around you and breathed in your scent as he stared at the garden that was dressed in autumn colors and a large tree that was standing in the corner of it. You both stood there silently watching how leaves kept falling down from the tree every time there was a gush of wind blowing from north.
- You know… That tree is a perfect place to hang a swing when the little one gets a little bigger. he said with a soft voice that you loved very much. You sighed relieved and started to smile as your eyes filled with tears of happiness and relief.
- Are you saying that you will finally do something about our garden? you chuckled. Michael laughed and turned you around. He wiped the tears off your cheeks and smiled. You smiled as well and although you had now tears in your eyes, you looked a million times happier than just a moment ago.

- There is no decision to be made. he said as he tucked a stray lock of your hair behind your ear. He kept brushing your hair because he knew that it was something that calmed you down and after that he always pressed a kiss on your forehead and hugged you tightly.
- You and this baby are the most important things in my life. We are in this together and you are stuck with me. We will drive each other insane in this house together… and we will watch our baby crowing up to be the wittiest and the smartest-
- And the kindest-
- … person possible, together. She will be just like her mom. Michael said with a fascinated smile on his face. His eyes were sparkling with excitement, just like they had been the day after the storm and on his wedding day.
- She-eh? you chuckled.
- Yes… our little princess… or our little prince… Either one is perfect. he added and leaned closer to kiss you. From that moment on you were excited about the baby and slowly you started to get used to the idea of parenthood. There were times of course when the future felt too challenging and you got anxious about the changes, but Michael was always there for you to share your worries and doubts. Then one day you noticed that you were not nervous anymore. You realized that you were actually anxious to meet the little person who sometimes kept you awake during the nights by kicking and moving around. “Welcome little one, you will be loved” you thought with a wide, happy smile on your face as you watched Michael assembling a crib.

Chapter Text

Inside the beautiful building everything continued like nothing had happened. No one knew that you both had broken the rules by revealing your face before midnight and you were quite certain that no one really cared. They might have a cared if they had known the identity of the man who had not left your company for a couple of hours now. People were usually pretty nosey when celebrities were involved and they just loved to gossip. Being the only one in the entire crowd who knew the true identity of the man who had introduced himself as “James” made you feel pretty special. You had been trusted with the secret and you were not going to break his trust.

James asked you if you wanted to get something to drink and offered to get it to you so you did not have to wrestle your way through the crowd. It was getting pretty chilly outside so everyone had packed up into the dancehall and moving with your dress that had quite massive bottom part which made moving through tight spaces rather challenging. You agreed that it sounded very sensible and asked him to get you some water. James winked his eye at you and bowed deeply before leaving you to sit by the dance floor. There were some men that asked you to dance but you declined politely, however one elder man did not accept your refusal and after mocking you loudly, he actually grabbed your arm and tried to force you to follow him.

The man grabbed your arm tightly, so tightly that it actually hurt but the people around basically turned their heads away because the man was a famous politician who was known for this kind of behavior towards women. Usually the women that he harassed did not have the nerve, or courage, to fight back but you did, mostly because you did not know or care about who he was and what he could do if you dared to resist him. You tried to pull your arm away but he was too strong. The main reason why no one stood up for you was that they were worried that the politician would find a way to revenge such intrusion.

You kept telling the man to let go with an assertive and angry tone but it made no difference. You were halfway to the dance floor when you heard James shouting behind your back. He was telling the man to let you go otherwise he would have to deal with him. The man turned, turning you with him, and laughed. At this point the conversations all around had died and everybody were staring at you. You managed to rip your arm free, which caused you to step aside uncontrollably and break a heel of your shoe. Fortunately you did not fall, although it was very close.
James kept shouting at the man for a moment but you were unable to make any sense of what either of them was saying. You just saw the man straightening the collar of his tuxedo and laughing as he glanced at you with deep despise in his eyes. Your heart was racing and you were sure that your arm had gotten bruised. You kept repeating the situation over and over again and wondering if you should have handled it differently; should you have accepted the invitation even though there was a great risk to get harassed and groped?

- Are you alright? James asked as soon as he had managed to walk you a little further away from the crowd. You had taken off your shoes because it just looked as well as felt ridiculous if you tried to walk with a broken shoe.
- Yes. you answered and smiled. Sure it had been terrible what had happened but you did not want to cause any further embarrassment or a scene. What you really wanted to do was to return to the moment before the incident and continue like nothing had happened. You hated the idea that something like that would ruin the evening that had been so much fun, until…
- I should challenge that man into a duel. James stated with a disgusted tone. He was embracing his role as a noble gentleman very well and now that you knew that he was a professional actor, you were not surprised about it.

- Yeah well, fortunately we do not live in the 1800’s… I would hate you to suffer because of me. you commented although secretly you felt somewhat proud that James had defended you, practically saved you from being harassed any further and as a cherry on the top, he would have challenged the man into a duel, if duels were still a way to solve disagreements. Sure, you did not want to cause injuries to anyone but you appreciated the gesture, no… the thought.
- Are you suspecting that I would have lost? James asked with a playful smile on his face as he tucked a runaway lock behind your ear. You laughed a bit and concentrated to calm yourself down, mentally as well as physically. Calming yourself down was challenging because James was standing very close and the close proximity made your heart beat like a drum. You were even slightly worried whether if he was able to hear the sound of it or not, hopefully not.

- Seriously though, are you sure that you’re alright? he asked as he traced your cheek softly with his fingertips.
- Yes. Completely. you answered and nodded. James smiled and stepped a little further away from you to give you more space to breathe.
- I cannot believe that those people just turned their heads away… Did you know that man? he asked when he turned to look at the people who were again chatting with each other like nothing had ever happened.
- No, but I suspect that he was someone with money and power. You know how it is. you answered and casually shifted your gaze from the crowd to the window and stared at the garden outside.
- I guess, but it does not make it any less shocking. James said and offered you the glass that he had gotten. You took it and finished it with one gulp. It was water just like you had asked, however James offered you his glass next because he assumed that you needed something stronger to calm down your nerves. You declined at first but James did not give up. He encouraged you to empty the glass with one gulp and you did as he asked. What he had in that glass, he did not tell you, but it tasted stronger than the sparkling wine you had been drinking earlier. The drink burned your throat a little but you did not complain. You put the empty glass on the table and nodded at James.

James did not know if you were alright or if you were only pretending. He tried to read your expressions and body language but the mask and the unusual clothes made it challenging. He could not see the subtle changes in your expressions and you tried to keep on smiling anyway and the dress forced you to keep your posture perfect and reduced your body language to minimal. It was almost half past eleven pm and James was worried that the incident had spoiled the great evening for you. He kept thinking about the ways he could possibly fix it and make you forget about the man.

- So, who is this? you heard a woman asking with a pissed off tone. You turned to look where the voice came from. The look on your face was surprised when you saw a woman standing behind you, staring at you with somewhat disapproving way. You went through all the women you had ever met but you did not know her. You were about to greet her and introduce yourself when you realized, by the look on James’ face, that the question had been directed to him. He sighed and closed his eyes for a moment unintentionally. It was obvious that there was something going on that you were unaware about.
- Well James? Who is this slut? Does she know that you came here with me? the woman asked with somewhat blurred articulation. You had been smiling politely but your smile faded away when you heard the woman calling you a slut and stating that she had come to the party with James. You turned to look at him and waited for him to say something.
- So? the woman hissed.
- Calm down. James said with a demanding voice that was still surprisingly soft and low. The woman scoffed and emptied her glass. She was clearly trying to measure you with sharp eyes but she was rather drunk, which was obviously affecting her capability to speak clearly or focus her gaze properly.
- You, James McAvoy… she basically shouted and then continued with a slightly lower voice
- … came here with me. she said and pointed at herself.

You stood there silently and fought a need to either support yourself onto something or at least cover your mouth with your hand. You went through the past a couple of hours in your head, the moment in the maze, how he had almost kissed you, how happy you had been and how he had taken your hand and led you back in. And now suddenly there was a woman stating that James had come to the party with her. If that was indeed so, you had no interest to get involved in some couples drama thing that clearly was what was going on.
- Please, excuse me. you said left the situation. Your head was spinning because of the drink that you had drank slightly too fast and the corset felt tighter than before, it felt like it was crushing you and preventing you from catching your breath. You scanned the crowd as you fought your way to the women’s bathroom, which you fortunately found to be completely empty so you were granted to have a moment for yourself entirely. You dared to touch your arm and just like you had suspected, it was sore and bruised. After that you removed the mask for a moment and fixed your makeup since your black liner had gotten smudged just a tiny bit from the corners of your eyes.
- Waterproof, my ass! you stated as you stared at your heartbroken reflection in the mirror. You closed your eyes and breathed deeply a few times. Then you opened your eyes again and with calm motions you put the mask back on.

You left the bathroom and scanned the crowd. You did not want to run into the man that had harassed you, James or his date because you did not know if you could keep your manners ladylike if you did. Actually, you just wanted to leave. Therefore you started to move slowly towards the cloakroom and fortunately you managed to find a stream of people moving into the same direction. Then suddenly everyone stopped to count down from ten. It was midnight and the time to remove the masks. Normally you could have just sneaked your way to the place you wanted to go but now, with your old fashioned dress, no way. You were stuck.

You looked around at the cheering people, one by one removing their masks, imagining how it could have been if things were different. You could almost see it; standing in front of James and smiling as he removed his mask and then removing yours and maybe… maybe even sharing a kiss. You hated it how sad it made you, you hated it that you gave him such a great power over you, even despite the fact that you did not even know him. Apparently you had understood something wrong, misread the signals or perhaps James was one of those guys who just did not settle with one woman. You got your coat after waiting for a long time for it, put your shoes back on and headed out. The fresh night air filled our lungs as you breathed in deeply. It was very sobering but in all honesty, you would have wanted to be drunk enough not to remember the second half of tonight tomorrow.

- (Y/N), let me explain! you heard James saying. He had wrestled his way through the crowd to you when he had seen you waiting for your coat because he did not want you to go like this.
- You do not have to explain anything. you said and mustered a smile on your face, it however was a sad excuse for a smile.
- It is not the way it-
- Looks? you asked. You had decided to keep your cool and hide your emotions but you could not help but feel amused when you heard that cliché. The thing was that no one had ever said that to you before and you had always laughed at the movies where the people always said that when they got caught of doing something they were not supposed to be doing, cheating their significant others mostly. The thought made you laugh nervously.
- Yes, we shared a ride. Nothing more. James explained but you were not that interested to know. If James was the type who did not settle with one woman at a time, you knew that he would most likely to say anything to wiggle himself out from a tricky situation.
- It is none of my business… but do tell me, is it alright to kiss other people when obviously you’re in a relationship with someone else? you asked, you just had to ask. Sure you had not kissed James, but it had been pretty damn close, twice.
- No… but I am not in a relationship. There was a larger party of people, arriving from a pre-party and for some reason my ex-
- Ah… you commented. It was yet another cliché that you knew from the movies all too well, the well-known “ex-excuse”.
- … thinks that we’re still together when she gets drunk. James continued. You rolled your eyes and James knew exactly how ridiculous, what he had just said, sounded.
- Please, just give me five minutes. That is all I ask. he pleaded. You took off your mask and sighed. The party was really over and you were tired, your taxi, that you had preordered earlier today, had just arrived and it was time to go home. You sighed again and smiled briefly before saying
- Listen… I had a wonderful time. I hope you’ll figure it out, whatever is going on with-
- Nothing is going on. Just-
- I need to go. you said, wished him goodnight and turned away.

You heard James shouting “please” a couple of times as you walked away to the taxi that was waiting for you. You opened the door, sat to the backseat and told the driver to go. The car started to move slowly, heading away from James who still stood on the yard and stared at the taxi that was taking you away. He felt desperate because he did not know who you were, only your first name and some details about your life that you had told him during your friendly chat on the terrace. However it was not enough information to find you and it made him very sad. James regretted that he had not stopped you from excusing yourself. He knew that he should have told his ex to shut up and clarify some things immediately. Instead of doing so, he had let you leave and now you were basically gone.

You imagined James standing on the yard and for some reason, in your imagination he stood there all alone, staring at the taxi. In real life the yard was filled with cheerful people as well as cars but in your mind, James stood there all alone, regretting that he had let you go. You closed your eyes and held your breath.

- Stop! you exclaimed suddenly and the driver hit the brakes. You opened your eyes and took a couple of breaths before realizing what had just happened. The driver stared at you looking both puzzled and annoyed. You managed to gather your thoughts and take actions; you opened the door and after a short moment James appeared to it. You motioned him to jump in.

James had stared at the car imagining himself alone on the yard, staring how the only source of light was about to fade away, while he was completely unable to take action. And then he had seen the cars brake lights lighting up and the door opening. He had sighed relieved and ran to the car where you had been gesturing him to get in. His mind was racing now and he tried to come up with the best possible words with which he would try to explain the situation to you.

- Thank you. he said and started to explain the situation. What he told you was the truth; he had broke up with his ex almost six months ago and it was all done and dealt with, but when the ex got drunk enough, she become terribly jealous and could not face the fact that the relationship was over and anything what James did, who he met or went out with, was none of her business. He told you that they had separated as friends and the decision had based on a mutual agreement as well as understanding because it just was not working. James mentioned that it had made big headlines at the time and there had been plenty of unnecessary speculation about the reasons to split up but the truth was plain and simple; after a long time of trying to make it work, they had both realized that it was not going to work.

The taxi stopped. You had arrived to your apartment just a moment after James had managed to tell you the whole story but you had not had any opportunity to ask questions or tell your opinion to James, who very much wanted to hear where he now stood and if he had lost all his chances with you. He knew that you most likely had very mixed feelings about the whole thing and he was absolutely right. On the other hand you knew that you did not know James and he owed you nothing, you had just met him by a lucky chance and spent a couple of wonderful hours with him and that was all. But then again, you had felt the connection, the spark that you had always wanted to feel and you were quite sure that James had felt it too. So yeah, it had upset you when the amazing evening had been so brutally disturbed and ended, especially because you had gotten your hopes up, based on chemistry.

You got your credit card and handed it to the driver.
- I will pay when I’ll get hom-
- You’re coming with me. you said, paid the taxi driver and then got out from the car with James. You were unsure of what exactly you were doing but you hoped that you would figure it out by the time you reached your apartment. Neither of you said anything in the elevator or in the hallway. You searched for your keys and opened your door with shaky fingers. James followed you in, closed the door behind him and put some lights on before taking his long coat, that looked more like a cloak, and shoes off. You took off your shoes as well as your coat and then moved into the living room.

- What am I doing here? James asked after a long silence. You were both standing in your living room, basically staring at each other. It was a good but awkward question because you did not actually have an answer to give him. You shifted your gaze to the floor and tried to form a sentence that would make some sense, although your thoughts were completely twisted.
- I’m not quite sure. I just didn’t want you to go. you answered.
- Why did you come? you asked after a few short breaths.
- Because you told me to. James answered. He was still wearing his mask and not wearing yours made you feel somewhat exposed.
- Yeah, I did, didn’t I? I did not even ask if you wanted to come… you mumbled. Telling someone you did not even know what to do was very unlike of you and the more you thought about it, the more awkward and embarrassed you felt. The reality was hitting you hard; you had invited a man, a very charming and gentleman-like man, but a stranger nevertheless into your apartment and you did not quite know what to do next. You did not usually invite people over after knowing them only for a few hours but now it was exactly what you had done and you had very conflicted feelings about it. You just knew that you had not wanted to let James go, no matter the consequences.
- I came because I knew that I would regret it if I didn’t. he said and stepped closer.

He took your hand and lifted it up on his lips. He kissed the back of it and pulled you closer by guiding you to place the hand he had just kissed on the back of his head so your fingers sank into his brown hair. You dared to smile a little as you searched for answers from his big blue eyes. James was still wearing his mask but you decided that it was time for him to be who he really was. You felt the knot with your fingers and opened it easily by pulling one of the two strings.
The mask came off and it fell on the floor. “Leave it” James said with a soft, sultry tone when you were going to pick it up. He did not care about the mask and he did not want you to care about it either. You traced the handsome features of his face with your fingertips, just very softly because you wanted to take your time to savor the moment. James was still exploring the depths of your eyes with his and reading you like you had been an open book.

You traced his lips with your thumb, completely mesmerized by the spark in his eyes. Never before had anyone looked at you so deeply, so sincerely and in such devoting way. He saw only you and his mind was fully focused on you now that there were no distractions. He leaned closer and brushed your cheek with his lips again, just like he had done in the maze earlier. This time you were not going to care how long he was going to take, because this time you were going to enjoy the buildup knowing that he would kiss you… eventually.
James felt you smiling as he traced your cheek with small, light kisses until he arrived to the corner of your mouth. There he planted one kiss that was still very soft but still more than the previous ones. He enjoyed feeling your warm breath on his lips as you opened your mouth a little. His lips were so close that you could sometimes feel them brushing yours when you breathed. He stayed so very close and then finally pressed his lips on yours. The first kiss was sweet and gentle. You both explored each others lips carefully and very slowly, almost as you had been scared that the other would break like a fragile, precious treasure.

James cupped your face with his hands and kissed you more passionately. You let your hands run freely on his shoulders and arms and finally find their rightful place behind his back so you were able to pull him closer. The kiss grew deeper and hungrier, although it sometimes returned to the sweet, innocent kind of kisses. James moved his hand on your neck and then into your hair. He moved to kiss your neck as his hands caressed your waist and back. He opened the lacings of your dress slowly as you opened the buttons of vest.
You slid his velvety jacket as well as the vest off his shoulders and stopped to catch your breath. James smiled at you and in his eyes you were beautiful and mesmerizing. Your soft skin was basically begging him to caress it with soft brushes and gentle kisses. You slid your hands under James’ shirt after removing the ruffled scarf from his neck. He felt soft, warm and very beautiful. You pulled his shirt off after he had helped you to get off your dress and exposed all that flawless skin of yours that was still lacking attention.

You had never felt so connected to anyone before. In your mind you begged him to touch you, to memorize your curves just like you memorized the muscles of his body. James took your hand and led you into your bedroom, he lay you down and crawled on top of you on his all fours without adding any off his weight on you. You traced his jaw and then wrapped your arms around him. He lowered himself on you carefully and began kissing you again, this time with such desire and need that you felt your heart almost bursting from too much happiness. You knew that whatever happened from now, would be a start of something quite wonderful.

Chapter Text

It was slightly embarrassing to walk on the busy streets in your cocktail dress, high heels and a jacket that had not gotten dry yet. You had no makeup because you had washed it away at Jeremy’s place and your hair was a mess. Some of the people turned to look at you when you passed them by. They were most likely getting to work when you were returning home. You did not like how it looked; wearing yesterdays clothes and looking like you had not slept for days, it looked exactly like you had been either getting home from a party or a hookup.
You took a subway ride home and immediately took a quick shower. You stood under the falling, warm water for a long time and then turned off the water. You had to get some sleep or else you would be dead tired in the interview that surely included photos. However when you lay down and dived under your blankets, all you could think about was the guy that you had spent the night with. He had seemed a complete jerk at once but then he had turned out to be quite a nice guy actually.

You kept thinking about his smile and the way he got small lines around his eyes when he smiled. The thought of it made you smile and sleeping got even harder. Then those eyes. His eyes were big and the color was just mesmerizing. Then he had kissed you, twice. Yes, that. Both of the kisses had been quite soft and they had not lasted that long but they had been enough to make your knees weak and head spin. When you had left the apartment, you had gotten out from the elevator in the wrong floor and then when you had actually managed to reach the street level, you had first walked to the wrong direction and you had had a ridiculous grin on your face.

Finally you fell asleep. You had strange dreams that were a mixture of real life events as well as something else entirely. Jeremy was there but he was dressed like one of his characters and there was clearly something going on. You kept running, trying to keep up with him but he just kept getting out of sight. You were in a dark back alley that was surrounded by tall buildings that looked more like your paintings when you started to pay attention to them. You walked forward and suddenly Jeremy stepped out from the shadows, pulled you behind a corner and pushed you against the wall that looked like painted canvas but felt like normal brick wall. He kept staring into your eyes and when you were going to ask him what was going on, he put his hand on your mouth and turned his head, almost as if he had tried to see if you were being followed. Then he focused his attention to you again and gestured that you should be very quiet, you nodded and he removed his hand. He smiled and leaned closer. This time he did not wait but attacked your lips-

Your alarm rang signing that it was time for you to start to get ready for the date… no, the interview. You lay for a moment in your bed, staring at the ceiling. You felt your heart beating fast and despite of getting only a few hours of sleep, you were as awake as you could have been. It was the adrenaline rush from the dream. It had felt so real and the suspense had made you very excited. You were excited about the date after the interview. You had no idea where Jeremy was going to take you but it did not really matter.
You decided to get dressed in comfortable but stylish clothes. You put on some makeup and brushed your hair. You looked casual but still very good and the best part was that you did not have to wear heels with that combination. You remembered the pizza when your stomach started to rumble. There was no time to warm the pizza up so you ate slices of it fridge-cold but you did not mind. You liked pizza, no matter if it was either cold or warm.

It was time to go. You checked your purse to make sure that you had everything you needed; keys, wallet and your phone. Those were the most important things… ah and your card for public transportation. You left your home and headed to the subway station. It was late afternoon and there were quite a lot commuters returning home from work. After checking the address of the café where you were supposed to meet the interviewer, you knew exactly on which station to change the subway and where to hop off.
The interviewer was slightly late. It did not matter because you were barely on time as well. You ordered yourself a freshly squeezed orange juice with ice and sat down to wait. Soon you recognized a woman basically running into the café and looking around nervously. You figured that she was somewhat embarrassed to be late so you smiled widely as you waved your hand to sign her that you were sitting in the corner table. She noticed you and walked to your table, shook your hand and apologized for being late. Then she got herself a coffee and the interview began.

The woman asked many questions about your painting methods and the sources of inspiration. She was very professional and you were pleased that she knew the art style of your paintings very well. You were so tired of people who thought that they knew what they were talking about but immediately when you asked them something more precise, it turned out that they had been just repeating lines from an art book or something what someone else had sometime said.
The woman took a couple of pictures of you to include in the article. She told you that she would email it when it was done and if there were some misunderstandings, you were able to correct them. The woman shook your hand and then left. She had a tight schedule with many deadlines approaching so she had no time to stay for a friendly chat. It did not bother you because you had agreed to meet Jeremy in 30 minutes in front of the art gallery. It took 15 minutes to get there so you still had plenty of time, however if the interview had lasted any longer, you would have been in trouble.

Jeremy waved at you when you arrived to the meeting place. He was a little early, which you appreciated. You did not like to be late yourself and it annoyed you when the people you were supposed to meet were late. You hugged casually as a greeting and then Jeremy waved his hand to get a taxi on the fly.
- Where are we going? you asked curiously.
- You’ll see. he answered and smiled in a rather mysterious way. The ride took about 50 minutes and during that you shared lively conversations and sometimes just stared out from the window. Finally the car stopped, Jeremy paid the man and you both got out. You did not really know where you were but you were definitely outside the city, by the sea. It was getting late already and this time the sky was clear. It was fascinating how millions of stars just popped into existence one by one as the light faded away.
- Come on, this way. your date said and offered you his hand. You took it with an excited smile on your face. The sea was calm and the evening was enchanting. It was silent and the only lights there were, were small candles that were hanging from trees in beautiful glass bubbles. You walked side by side without saying a word to a building that looked like a greenhouse. It had walls that had been made of glass, as well as the roof and it was also lighted with candles. However there were no plants inside, except some flowers.
You held your breath when you stepped into the building. You saw a table that had been already set for two, waiting for your arrival. You looked up and saw the stars through the glass ceiling and the sea in front of you, behind the table. At first you could not find words so all you could muster was a series of sighs and gasps. Jeremy stayed a little further away by the door and let you take the place in. He smiled to himself but his smile changed from a wide grin to a shy, boyishly charming smile when you turned to look at him.

- How did you organize all this? you said with an amazed tone.
- I have my ways. he answered. His voice sounded mysterious and it matched the place perfectly.
- I’m sure you do. you commented. You were deeply flattered that you had been taken out from the city and no one had never arranged anything like this for you before.
- Well, I happen to own the cottage right next to this terrace-
- You call this a terrace? you asked with an amused tone.
- Well, fine, it is more like a greenhouse for people instead of plants. Jeremy chuckled.
- Is this the place where you bring all the aspiring artists that you have insulted? you asked. You were joking of course although you were a little bit upset about the previous evening still.
- Yeah. It is my place to beg for forgiveness and mercy. he joked and winked his eye at you. You laughed and dropped your head. You felt bold and shy at the same time, which was very confusing.
- Seriously though, I know I was an ass and I hope that this will make it up to you a little bit. he said with a sincere tone. You pursed up your lips and took a long evaluating look at Jeremy. He laughed and walked closer to you. He looked at you with a curious spark in his eyes and put his hands on your shoulders. He slid them on your neck and stared at your lips.
- Maybe I’ll find a way to make you forget about it. he mumbled as he leaned closer. “Close your eyes” he whispered and stroked your jaw with his thumbs. You did as he said and felt how butterflies filled up your stomach. He rubbed your earlobe between his middle and index fingers and admired how gorgeously serene and calm you looked. There was a slight blush on your cheeks which told that you were not calm at all but anxiously waiting for what would happen next.

Jeremy leaned even closer. He closed his eyes and let his lips brush yours just lightly. You felt his warm breath on your lips and he was so close that your breathing turned involuntarily into short gasps because you did not dare to move at all. You were afraid that if you did, you would somehow wake up and the moment would be gone, just like in your dream, but the lack of sufficient amount of air combined with the anticipation that was really making you nuts were making your head spin.
Finally you felt Jeremy’s lips on yours, softly pressed against them, just like they had been before you had left from his apartment in the morning. Both of the kisses had been very soft and sweet and you expected this one be like that as well. However your date had something else in mind. He moved his hand to the back of your head and tangled his fingers into your hair as he wrapped his other arm firmly around you, pressing you tightly against him. He pulled your hair gently so your chin raised a little bit up which granted him a better angle to kiss you in a more deeply and possessive way.
He started to explore your lips with growing intensity and you could feel how his heart was pounding against your chest like a drum. You encouraged your mind and wrapped your arms around him as you gently felt his muscles through his shirt. He had not been including his tongue yet, but now as the kiss had become quite hungry and passionate, you felt his tongue touching your lower lip, requesting you to open your mouth more and allow him to conquer your mouth completely.

You let out a small involuntarily moan which granted him the access that he had been waiting for. Your lips kept dancing with each other and now there was that little extra that made your brain turn in to mush completely. Then suddenly he abandoned your lips and moved to kiss your neck. He planted hot open mouthed kisses under your ear and occasionally moved to nibble your earlobe. His hands had moved to caress your waist and sneakily moved under your shirt. He caressed the curve of your back and mumbled that you felt so good before he attacked your neck again. This time you could feel his tongue massaging the sensitive skin giving nice contrast to his teeth that he used to nibble your skin softly.
Finally he moved back to kiss your lips and slowly the kiss subsided into sweet and innocent. He straightened the hem of your shirt and cupped your face with his hands as he pressed the final, soft kiss on your lips.

- Come on, little one, let’s eat. he mumbled and then pulled back. You were basically gasping for air, trying to decide whether you were actually dreaming or was this real. You pinched yourself a couple of times just to be sure that you were not dreaming before following Jeremy to the table. He was serving cold salmon salad with freshly baked bread and wine.
You ate and drank, talked and laughed a lot. After the dinner he put on some music and asked you to dance. You swayed to the music and kissed some more until it was time to go home. Jeremy called a taxi which took you both back to the city. He asked you for a drink to his apartment but you refused the offer. You did not want to rush anything and by the way he had kissed you tonight, you knew that things most likely would lead into another and eventually you would find yourself in his bed, which of course was not a bad turn of events, but you did not want to be an “one night thing” and you were not quite sure of what Jeremy was looking for. “Alright, cool” he said although his tone was a bit disappointed and asked the taxi driver to drive by your apartment first. The taxi stopped outside your building and you both waited for either of you to say something.

- So… would you like to see me again? you asked. Your tone was somewhat nervous. Jeremy winked his eye at you but did not give you a clear answer. His mood had changed when you had turned him down and now you did not know what you were supposed to do. You took a pen and an old receipt from your purse and wrote your number down. Then you gave it to Jeremy and left the taxi. You wished him goodnight and went into the apartment building where you lived. You did not want to stay staring at the car driving away because you did not want to seem too interested, Jeremy certainly had not after you had told him that you would rather go home.

For a couple of days nothing happened. You basically kept staring at the phone but it did not ring. Then on the third evening you got a call from a number that you did not know. You usually never answered because usually those callers were only sales calls but this time you were deep in your thoughts and tapped the green icon on your touch screen. You answered the call and for your surprise it was… Jeremy. You talked on the phone for an hour and agreed to meet next weekend because he was rather busy before that.

You went out a couple of times; on walks, dinners and to the movies. It was very nice and you really enjoyed spending time with him. There was plenty of kissing included which you enjoyed very much as well but you did not take things further. When you were out with him, he was focused on you but also quite assertive. He was the one who took you to places and decided where you met and sometimes that annoyed you a little. You were an independent woman and being “managed” like that felt strange, but you decided to go with it because you always ended up having great time.
Jeremy kept asking you quite a lot about your art. You visited one evening the art gallery and you were pleased to see that your date saw your paintings in a whole new light now. They spoke to him and he found them fascinating, which you found surprising and you were not quite sure if he was just trying to flatter you or something. You very much wanted to believe that his interest was genuine but after being bashed down so brutally when you had met him the first time, it made it hard to believe that he really was interested about your works and the process of making art.

You decided to test if his interest was indeed real and invited him to your studio. You never invited anyone there because for you your working space was somewhat sacred. For your surprise he accepted the invitation and you gave him an address where to meet you tomorrow. You were excited and nervous at the same time because it was the first time after the evening at the cottage that you were going to meet at a private place. Besides the place where you had planned to meet, your studio, was very dear to you so it felt like you were opening your soul to him and kind of letting him in.
You cleaned the studio and bought some snacks, a bottle of wine and made sure that you were looking presentable from head to toes. You heard a knock on the door and went to open it, your date was a couple of minutes early but it did not matter because you had been ready for an hour already. He followed you in as he looked curiously around him. The studio was located in an old factory building. There were large windows on the other side and a red brick wall on the other. You had a couple of tables there and some other furniture, a big sofa for example, where you took naps sometimes when you were tired or otherwise lacking inspiration. There were finished, rejected and unfinished paintings all around.

Jeremy did not say anything which made you nervous; did he like it? Did he hate it? You walked to the fridge and took a wine bottle out. Your fingers were shaking a little as you tried to open it. Jeremy noticed it and came to help you. He took the bottle off your hands and opened it without any trouble.
- Are you nervous, little one? he asked while he poured wine into two glasses.
- No… you answered. Your date smirked a little and glanced at you quickly.
- Yes. you corrected yourself and blushed. Jeremy walked to you, handed you the wine glass and stayed close. He examined your expressions and suddenly it felt like all the air had left the room. You sipped a little wine and for your surprise, Jeremy took the glass and put it on the table. After that he cupped your face and kissed you. He nibbled your lower lip and just when you had started to want more, he stepped backwards and left you high and dry.
You shook yourself back to reality and started to explain why you had selected that space to be your studio; it was spacious and the amount of natural light was great. You explained how you mixed the colors and well, pretty much how you painted. Jeremy listened to you carefully and asked many questions. You were basically glowing as you spoke about painting, colors… your art. At the same time you drank wine and ate snacks.

- Would you like to try it? Painting… you asked. You really wanted to show Jeremy what it felt like to hold a paint brush in your hand and have the blank, white canvas in front of you.
- Sure. he answered and put the glass on the table. You did the same and got you both protective aprons so you did not get your clothes messed up. You laughed a little when you saw Jeremy wearing an apron that was covered with paint splashes because it looked very funny on him. He usually looked somewhat tough or stylish and now he looked… like a fish on the dry land. You put on an apron as well and then selected a large white canvas to paint to, put the colors ready and gave Jeremy a clean brush. You secretly watched Jeremy staring at the canvas and then mixing blue with yellow. He made some green stripes on the canvas and that was how you started.
After painting for some time you had something very abstract in front of you. You both stared at it and then burst into laughter. Your laughter echoed in the room and so did Jeremy’s. When you both were completely out of breath, you stopped laughing and stared at each other as you were trying to catch your breaths. There was strange kind of electricity in the air and after a moment of staring at each other, you just had to kiss him. However this time you knew that the kissing would lead into something more and you were not afraid to lead...

Chapter Text

It was a hot afternoon when you heard the news; a handful of soldiers were assigned to go and act as extras in a movie that was starring Chris Evans. It was not the first time when Hollywood reached out to the military and asked for extras and access to certain facilities. The military usually played ball if the movies approach to military was positive so the alliance benefited both of the parties. Some of your friends were completely stars struck but pretty much laughed at those people, you had not joined the Marines to play in the movies but to save human lives. Some of your friends were considering you too serious because “a little fun never hurt anyone” but you always just shrugged your shoulders and shook your head with an amused look on your face. Therefore it was more than ironic when you heard your name being called that hot afternoon.

- (Y/N)… the commander called as he was listing names that were supposed to assist the film crew.
- Yes Sir! you answered although internally you only wanted to run away and scream. You were not interested in movie making because in your opinion actors and actresses, basically the entire Hollywood, were just too shallow. Sure you liked to watch movies occasionally but you had no interest whatsoever to take part filming one.

You packed your bag and you and the rest of the chosen people got into a bus and you were transported to another camp where the movie crew was. It was a rather unpleasant ride because the air conditioning of the bus was broken and when you got to the camp you felt disgustingly sweaty. You took your bag and got out from the bus. There were civilians everywhere and it made the camp look unfamiliar to you although you usually felt comfortable in any camp.

You and the others stood in straight lines when the movie producers as well as the director came to have a chat with the commander who had left your camp with you and the others. They shook hands and it was strange to see the commander speaking with them in such uncommonly relaxed way. Then you were asked to introduce yourselves one by one and when it was your time, the director of the movie asked you to step out from the line so he was able to see you better. You did not move until your commander told you to and even then you kept staring firmly into the distance, just like you had been taught in the military.

- Yes, just what we need! was the comment that you got and then, just like that you were taken away from your fellow Marines. The producers were interested in you because you were very beautiful. You had gorgeous bone structure and soulful eyes, naturally full lips and flawless skin. Your physique was very attractive but you looked strong. Well, you trained every day so it was no surprise that you were in a great shape, although you muscles were slightly more defined than women’s usually were… if compared to the Hollywood –babes and about this you were quite proud of.

You followed the producers into a nicely air conditioned building. You recognized that it was a training facility of some sort and you were taken to a room where there was a training mat on the floor. You were asked to wait there alone for a moment and then soon the door opened and two men came in. You recognized one of the guys, it was Chris Evans and the other guy was either his manager or-
- Hi (Y/N). My name is Scott and I am the fighting scene coordinator. the man introduced himself. You greeted him in a rather formal way and kept your face neutral at all times.
- Relax, you do not have to be so formal here. he said and then introduced the star to you.
- This is our leading man, Chris. Scott said and stepped away so you were able to greet the star himself.
Mr. Evans was very handsome. He had just arrived to the set and he had a light stubble which made him look a little rugged, unlike his most known movie character “Captain America”. He was wearing loose training pants and a gray tightly fitted shirt that did not really leave anything to imagination. You could see that he had been training for the role and you hated to admit that he looked very good. He had blue eyes and when he smiled you as a greeting, you felt your heart skip a beat or two.

You shook his hand and were pleasantly surprised about the firmness of his handshake. You hated it when people shook hands with a limp grip which made it feel like you had been shaking hands with a dead fish. You were also very impressed how down to earth the star seemed, or that at least was the first impression of him. And that smile… when he smiled, he had a boyishly charming spark in his eyes. His hair was a little bit messed up and he looked playfully mischievous, a little flirty even and you were struggling to keep yourself in check. And those long eyelashes that framed his eyes. Those were completely different story.

Scott told you that you had been selected to be his assistant and you were to monitor that the combat style that Chris was about to learn matched the style that was practiced in the Marines. It was important that the person to do that was you because you were supposed to fight Chris in the movie a couple of times. You nodded and cursed silently because getting physical with a guy who was so ruggedly handsome, completely different kind of handsome than the men that you usually hung out with, and had a devilishly charming smile… you knew that the task at hand was going to be challenging. The challenging part for you would be to keep your cool and not to get star struck because you did not want to turn into a traditional fangirl.

Scott, the stunt coordinator, left the room because he had a meeting. He told you two to get to know each other and start training. You nodded and when he left the room, a silence followed. You stood firmly trying to figure out what was the smartest next move. Mr. Evans walked a little around the training room and looked around curiously. Then he focused his gaze on you and smiled widely. You smiled back because you did not want to seem rude or show that you were somewhat nervous.

- So… Your name was…? Chris asked as soon as you had been left alone with him.
- (Y/N), Sir. you answered with a formal tone.
- At ease soldier. I’m Chris. he chuckled and smirked at you.
- Yes, Sir… Mr. Evans-
- Chris. he repeated.
- Chris. you said. It felt funny and very impropriate to call anyone by their first name when you were in the camp. Very unnatural indeed and you had very conflicted feelings about it; on the other hand you were flattered that a big star as Mr. Evans wanted you to be informal with him but on the other hand it was not in your nature when you were wearing your uniform.
- How long have you in the army. he asked curiously.
- Three years in the Marines, Si- … sorry. you apologized when you realized that you were calling him “Sir” again.
- Oh, the Marines. I heard that they are the toughest of them all. Chris commented with a playful tone.
- Every soldier is tough in their own way. you answered. It was not your place to judge anyone although you knew that the physical requirements for the Marines were tougher than to the regular army. It meant that you were in fact tougher than most of the army guys but you did not feel any more deserving because of it.
- But the Marines are the toughest. Come on, you can admit it. he teased with a mischievous spark in his eyes.
- I suppose. you answered. Your posture was perfect and the look on your face did not crack but stayed formal and politely neutral at all times, or tried at least.
- So, do you think you can make a Marine out of me? he asked.
- Certainly. you answered and smiled politely.

After that you started to discuss about the key things about the way you were supposed to fight in combat. You kept yourself in check and formal at all times, even though it was challenging. You taught Mr. Evans some fighting moves and you were impressed about how quickly he learned them. Sometimes however he had some difficulties to remember how his arms were supposed to be when he got ready for an attack and so on. In those situations you had to actually touch him as you literally put his limbs in the right position.

It was exciting, especially at first but quite fast you got used to being near him. The days passed and Mr. Evans was transformed into a Marine. His stubble was shaved away, his hair was always perfectly and you saw him always either in an army uniform or army’s training clothes. You had started to even have battles with him and you enjoyed your training sessions very much. The truth was that after two weeks, you were actually looking forward of seeing Mr. Evans…. Chris… and now you even spent time together if there was time to spare.

You were less formal with him and you were even joking with him, only when there were no other army personnel around because when there were, you were all about serious business. But when you were alone with Chris or even when Scott was there with you two, you were behaving basically like a civilian and it was funny how you started to feel more connected with the movie crew than with your army friends.
Then the training was over after a month of intensive practice. You had been mentoring Chris also with the general stuff; how to address the higher officers and how to be a Marine. Then the filming begun for Chris and you were required at the movie set making sure that it looked real. You shot your battle scenes and fortunately Chris was very helpful with the movie-stuff because you were not an actress. Sure you had attended drama classes and even performed in school plays but it was totally different than the massive Hollywood production that you were now in.

You had known Chris for three months and during that time you had become friends with him. Somewhere along the way your friendly feelings had grown deeper and now that the film crew was about to leave the camp you could not help but feel sad to see Chris leave. You had known that he was leaving sooner or later and your life would return to normal but you had not expected to be so deeply moved by him. The truth was that spending so much time with such a charming man had woken up your inner teenage girl who was head over heels for him. Not because he was a star but because he was such an attractive person, not just physically but you liked his personality too.

You were packing your bag when there was a knock on the door. You stopped what you were doing immediately when you realized that someone had entered the large room where you slept with the rest of the female soldiers in bunk beds. You corrected your posture because you were completely sure that it was your commander. You turned, ready to salute, but when you focused your gaze at the person who wished to speak with you, you noticed that it was Chris.
- Hi. you greeted him and tried to fight blushing or grinning like an idiot.
- Are you leaving? Chris asked.
- Yeah, tomorrow very early in the morning. you answered very casually after you had made sure that there were no one else around.
- Plans for tonight? he asked. There was a goodbye party that was going to take place in the bar nearby where the soldiers went to have a drink on their nights off duty. You had not planned to go unless of course Chris asked you to but you really did not expect him to.
- No-
- Why? Chris asked.
- I am not in the mood for celebration. I usually avoid seeing my fellow-soldiers and commanders getting drunk. you answered and continued packing. You knew how to multitask and you were very good at it however if Chris had been your commander, you would have just concentrated on the conversation.
- Oh… he said and sat on the bunk bed, put his hand on your bag and forced you to pay attention to him completely. You were just folding your training pants and put them on the bed when it was getting clear that you were not getting any packing done until he left.
- How about a drink with me? Chris suggested.
- With you? you asked with a surprised tone.
- Yeah… just you and me. he specified.
- Don’t you want to spend time with your crew? you asked. You were curious to see where the conversation was going but it was also very nerve wrecking.
- I would rather spend time with you… alone. he said and smiled. He had such a great smile that made you smile as well.
- Alright… meet me after a couple of hours. you said with a wide smile on your face. Chris stood up and let you continue packing.
- Sounds great! he said and left after settling the time and place.

He seemed uncommonly cheerful and it made your heart jump for joy. You finished packing and participated to a meeting with the other Marines from your camp. Your commander seemed rather nervous but he did not tell what was going on since he did not have the full picture of the events that were taking place somewhere far away.
You were too distracted to mind and could basically only think about the approaching date… Was it a date? Surely not! Most likely Chris just wanted to spend the evening with you because you had become good friends and you had been spending plenty of time together during the training sessions and everything. You changed into your civil clothes because it was your night off and you wanted to look pretty. You put on some makeup and for a change you let your hair be open. You usually always had to keep your hair braided but now you were going to make an exception.

It was time to meet Chris. You had agreed to meet him on a small hill just outside the camp. There was a nice view to the sea and to the horizon that lay in the west. Chris had suggested that place himself and you had not minded at all. Sure it was a romantic place but you enjoyed staring at the ocean. It relaxed your mind and you had always liked to imagine the strange countries beyond far distances.
You heard footsteps and turned. You saw Chris climbing the hill with a basket and a blanket that was rolled. He looked amazingly handsome bathing in the golden light of the setting sun. He smiled widely when he saw you standing in the sunlight in your normal clothes. Finally he got to see you wearing something else than training clothes or the army uniform. Your hair danced in the soft breeze that was coming from the sea making you look even more beautiful than you usually looked. You greeted Chris and helped him with the blanket.

Chris sat next to you and unpacked the content of the basket. He had gotten an impressive variety of different snacks including fruit as well as cookies and then he had gotten a bottle of wine to share with you. He had two plastic cups into which he poured the wine. You chuckled a little because you were very flattered for the gesture; a genuinely nice guy who was also absolutely talented and charming, wanted to spend the evening with you and had gone through so much trouble to get snacks and so on.
- A toast, if you may… he began. You smiled and raised your cup as you waited him to make a toast.
- To… you… because you are the bravest and strongest woman that I’ve ever met. he said and melted your heart. You blushed a little and then added
- And also to you, the most charmi-
You shut up immediately. You were not supposed to say that.
- I mean… talented… and genuine man I’ve met. you mumbled and tried to cover your embarrassment.
- Charming, eh? Chris asked with a playfully teasing tone that demanded you to explain yourself.
- Well obviously. Yes, I can admit it… you are a charming… person. you explained and cursed how you were now stumbling in your words which was very uncommon of you.
- Like in the sense of you… maybe… liking me? he asked. He sounded slightly nervous and shy even which really made you to just want to hug him and tell him how you felt.
- Uhm… you mumbled.
- Because I like you. he added.
- Sure, we’re friends, aren’t we? you asked because you were not completely sure what he meant.
- No… he commented.
- No? you asked with a surprised tone.
- Yes… but it was not what I meant. I like-like you… in the sense of asking you on a date and being very happy that you accepted my invitation. Chris explained. He smiled in a boyishly charming way and it was impossible to resist returning his smile with a smile.
- Oh… so this is a date? you asked. You did not want to get your hopes up until you were completely sure that there were no misunderstandings about it.
- Obviously. Chris replied. He was hoping that you would not be shocked about it and it would not come as a surprise because he had felt the chemistry between and was pretty sure that you had felt it too.
- Oh… okay… you commented.

That was the point when the mood changed. It had been very easy for you to be around Chris but now that you knew that you were on a date with him, it suddenly changed the game completely. You felt the butterflies in your stomach and everything your date said made you giggle like a schoolgirl, or maybe it was the wine. But slowly you relaxed and were able to feel comfortable sitting next to him while watching the sun setting behind the horizon.
You laughed, talked and sat silently side by side as it got darker and the stars appeared one by one over the sea and the wind died. It was a beautiful night. Pretty much just as you had imagined a perfect first date to be. You lay down at stared at the skies, hoping to see a shooting star. Suddenly Chris pointed at the sky and asked
- There, did you see it?
- No! You’re imagining! you exclaimed and laughed.
- No, I swear I saw-
- Fine… so, you get to make a wish. you commented. Chris sat up and pulled you up as well. You were laying very comfortably and were very reluctant to sit up. For you surprise he put his hand on your cheek and smiled. His touch made your head spin. Sure he had been close to you physically before but never like this. No, this was no training situation, this was something completely different. You kept staring into his eyes and ran your fingers through his hair. It was the moment before the first kiss and you could feel your heart racing and breathing getting shallower. You imagined that Chris felt the same way which made you to bite your lip as a reaction. Your date noticed that and shifted his eyes from yours onto your lips. He leaned closer, you closed your eyes and-

- (Y/N). you heard your name being called. You opened your eyes and turned to stared at the bright flashlight that was pointing at you. You recognized the voice; it was your commander and he sounded uncommonly worried.
- You must come with me, immediately. The date is over. he said. You looked at Chris and then stood up. Chris stood up as well, gathered the picnic things quickly and followed you.
- There has been a terrible earthquake in the Middle East. We are sending our troops to help the civilians and to distribute humanitarian aids as well as secure the Red Cross because the epicenter locates in the region where ISIS has been seen. he explained.
- You, (Y/N), will return tomorrow morning to the base, go through an intensive training and then you will fly with others to Turkey from where you’ll be transported further. the commander said and then left. He had to find the other soldiers as well because he had gotten a message earlier today that it had been settled that it was your battalion, or some of it at least, that had been assigned to go. All you had been able to respond had been a simple “yes, Sir” but now that he had gone, you were left with confusion and worry. It was very challenging to turn the first-date-mode back into army-mode.

- No… Chris said and shook his head.
- I have no other choice. It is my duty-
- No! It is dangerous and I cannot bear to think you in such danger! he said. He knew that he probably was no way he could convince you to stay but he had to try.
- This is what I’ve trained to do. I cannot back out when things get serious. you answered.
- But the things are about to get serious with me-
- Those are civilians out there. I can imagine life being hard and unfair with ISIS terrorizing the people even without the earthquake, so now the situation is even worse. you reasoned.
- You cannot go. Chris pleaded. He was not mentally prepared for this.
- But I must. you stated. It was the harsh reality and there was no escaping from it.
- Why? he snapped. He did not want to make you to feel guilty about it and he was no angry, so he regretted the tone of his voice but it was his sincere reaction to this. He did not want you to go.
- Because it is the right thing to do. It is my duty and my honor. you answered. You did not expect Chris to understand it but you hoped that he would not start an argument about it since it was something that was not up to you. You kept walking towards the camp silently until Chris broke the silence by asking
- When will you come back?

You were unable to answer that question. You arrived to the camp and you were supposed to attend an emergency meeting in 10 minutes. Chris led you behind the corner where no one could see you two. He knew that there was nothing that he could have done. He had gone through the training and he knew how the Marines reasoned things. He knew it all too well. He had basically fallen in love with you during those three months and he had hoped that there could be a future with you but now it all seemed too uncertain.

He held your hand and pulled you into his arms. “You will come back soon… and then I’ll take you on a real date” he whispered as he brushed your hair. He held you in his arms for five minutes. Then you had to separate yourself from him and step away from his warm embrace. You smiled briefly and just as you were about to leave, he pulled you back into his arms and kissed you. You enjoyed the feeling of his soft lips against yours, caressing them gently as your final minutes slipped away mercilessly.

Finally you heard your name being called and you had to say goodbye. The meeting took several hours after which you were told to get into the bus with the other soldiers and leave the camp that had been your home for three months. You replayed the kiss over and over in your mind and hoped that you got to return home, because, hell, you had finally found someone to love.

Chapter Text

It was a rainy day. The last days of autumn, when the temperature was still a bit over zero. It had been raining all day long and the weather forecast did not promise an end to it, no other change but chance of snow. The skies were gray and you felt quite bored sitting inside writing a work report for your boss. The deadline was tomorrow and your brain was jammed.
- …how to increase the advertising without annoying the potential customers, bloody hell! you murmured and lifted your fingers off the keyboard. It was a time to take a short walk outside because the report was not going anywhere. You had basically written the same paragraph ten times and always ended up deleting every word you had written. You were not usually happy to expose yourself to the cold and rainy weather but at this time, you didn’t mind; you just wanted to clear your head off everything. You saved the report, put on your jacket stepped out. The rain had turned into snow.

- Awww shit, I guess I really have to take a walk. you sighed since you had hoped that it had been still raining and you could have just wrapped yourself into a blanket watch a movie with a clear conscience. You walked to a park as the daylight begun to fade. You saw the familiar beautiful pond and decided to take a closer look, staring at water calmed down usually and now you were in need of calming down. There was a reflection of you on the surface and suddenly you saw something move as a reflection just like someone had been behind you. You turned around but no one was there. The park was silent and you were the only one there, “yeah, everybody else is wise enough to stay inside” you thought, shook your head and took steps away from the pond. Something moved again on the surface of the pond as a reflection. You walked closer to the edge and reached out to see the reflections better. There was a human figure with blond hair standing next to you.

- What the… you managed to say when the edge of the pond gave in and you fell into it. The cold water stabbed your body as you were spinning under the surface. That caused you to lose the sense of direction and you swam towards the first light you could see. After floundering furiously you reached the surface and gasped for air as you had been holding your breath for a while now. You had not thought that the pond would be that deep, hell, you had been staring at it for many times before and seen the bottom. You had estimated that it would be maybe 1,5 meters deep, max!

You were coughing as you pulled yourself out from the freezing water to the dry land. It was dark and it was hard to see anything. The air smelled different and it had stopped raining. You were shivering from the cold water and reasoned that the smartest thing to do to avoid hypothermia was to stand up and get moving. “Stop!” you heard someone demanding and turned around, you however could not see anyone.
- If you even breathe, I will shoot you. the same voice continued. You raised your hands up a bit as you shivered because the cold. You were able to deduce that the voice belonged to a man.
- Who are you? he asked with a demanding voice.
- Am I allowed to speak or will you shoot me then? you asked with a rather annoyed tone.
- I am the one asking questions, since you sneaked on us unannounced. the man answered. “Us” you thought, as far as you knew, there was no one else.
- Oh please, this is a public park. I’m soaked and freezing and I just want to go home. you stated. Your tone was annoyed and you tried to cover how cold you actually were. At this point you did not want to show any weakness since you had no idea if the person was a junkie or someone who wanted to rob you. The person took couple steps and you felt something spiky against you back.

- I said, you move, I’ll shoot. Are you an orc spy? he asked with a threatening voice. ”Orc?” you scoffed because you had no idea whatsoever what he was talking about. “Are you?” he repeated.
- I have no idea what you’re talking about whatsoever. I just fell into that pond and now I am cold. I don’t feel like playing any games, comprende? you snapped but your outburst was answered with a demand. “Turn” he said and you decided that the best way to handle the situation was to play ball. Therefore you turned and could see only a shape of a man and a bow.
- Jeez dude! Stop playing around with that weapon, you could hurt someon-
- Silence! he said and you shut your mouth instantly. You swallowed once nervously and figured that maybe annoying this guy was not the best idea. The coldness however was getting too much and therefore you felt your last strength leaving your body. Your clothes were soaked with almost freezing water and the air in the forest was near zero Celsius degrees. All the sounds seemed to be muffled and fade away and you could not make sense out of what the man was saying as you felt slipping into a black unconsciousness. Your feet couldn’t carry you any longer and therefore you fell to the ground. The only thing you saw before everything went completely black was the man reaching to catch you.

You woke up by a fire place wrapped in a cloak, surrounded by very random-looking group of people. Your head was hurting quite much and you had trouble opening your eyes well, all you could see was shapes and you reasoned that it was the “us” that the man had been talking about. Fortunately you started to feel a bit warmer now but you were still shivering. The man walked to you and offered you water to drink. You could hear the people talking to each other but the blonde man was the only one who actually dared to talk to you.
- Where did you come from? he asked. His voice was soft and at least he tried to sound friendly. Maybe he had finally realized that there had been a big misunderstanding and he had had no real reason to threatened you with that bow of his.
- I was on a walk and fell into the pond. Shit. Where did you take me? you asked when you were finally able to make some sense of your surroundings. This definitely was no park, no, this was an old forest.
- What do you mean? he asked.
- This isn’t the park where I was walking. I know that place, but… you said and felt the moss under you with your fingers. Then you paused and the man encouraged you to continue by asking “but?”
- … this place… I’ve never been here before. So either you took me somewhere for some reason, or… you said and paused as you tried to gather your thoughts and figure out what exactly had happened. The man pushed you to go on by asking “or?”
- Or I hit my head and drowned, or maybe someone rescued me and now I am in a hospital unconscious and this is only a dream. you stated and sighed.

- Does this feel like one? the man asked. He sounded a bit too curious for your liking and it irritated you. You sighed again and rolled your eyes. “Seriously, dude?” you thought and answered
- No, but our brain can’t tell the difference between real life and dream as long as you’re in a dream. You’ll realize that you were dreaming when you’ll wake up. That’s how our brain has been built.
- Really? the man asked. He sounded suspicious, and you suspected that he did not have any idea what you were talking about. You happened however to be a science geek by heart and decided to explain yourself.
- Yeah, it is fascinating really, our brain takes it as reality. All it is, is just electronic impulses in our nerve system, but for the brain there is no difference. The real world is also just nerve impulses of information that we get from the world through our senses. you explained in a rather enthusiastic way but you noticed that the look on the mans face changed even more suspicious.
- The point is, that if this indeed is a dream, I wouldn’t know it. you snapped. Gosh you hated ignorant people who did not understand even the basics of human biology. The man softened the look on his face as the sign of truce and said
- Let’s assume that you’re not dead and you’re not dreaming. Where did you come from?
- Maybe there was a portal in the pond and… No, that is way too crazy! you exclaimed.
- A portal? the man asked. He looked like he had not even heard that word before.

- Yes, like a door between two dimensions, like two worlds existing simultaneously but separately from each other and sometimes… sometimes a door opens and I happened to fall through it. It’s a classic movie plot! you exclaimed and thought about all those scifi-movies that you had seen. The man however did not seem to recall any of them.
- Don’t tell me you haven’t seen any of those movies. you scoffed. The man looked again a bit more skeptical and maybe even irritated.
- Yeah, I know, I would not believe myself either. Listen, this was fun, but I really need to go. you said, smiled sarcastically and removed the cloak off your shoulders. You started to shiver immediately as the freshly generated warmth disappeared. The man took a step back and looked at you with sharp eyes.
- I cannot let you go. You never answered if you’re an orc spy. he said with an assertive voice.
- Uhuh? First of all, I don’t know what “an orc” is and secondly… if I were a spy, do you honestly think I would tell you and your bow there? you answered. He was really pushing your buttons.
- So you’re a spy… he deduced and tightened the grab of his weapon. You rolled your eyes as a response.
- No, that was not what I said, was it? you exclaimed with a deep tone of frustration. You stood up and finally got a good look of his face. It was fair, especially for a man. He had pointy ears and blue eyes. He was tall and looked strong yet beautiful. You found him very attractive and very handsome.

- Oh I get it, this is some kind of role play. Look, I am deeply sorry that I stumbled on you and your bow, but now I really must go home and work. My projects deadline is tomorrow and if I cannot meet the high expectations of my boss, who is an asshole by the way, I might get fired, so… please point me to the direction of the town. Please. you said with a relieved tone. There had not been a portal, you were not dead or in coma, this was just some LARP –thing and the man was taking his role a bit too seriously. The man did not however appreciate your lack of cooperation and therefore he stated
- You are not making any sense. This is no play-
- Oh come on, don’t assume that I would actually believe that I fell through a portal. you scoffed. You were seriously irritated and on the verge of losing your cool… and it showed. You had completely forgotten the other people who clearly were afraid of you. There were four small ones, an old man, two rugged men, a very hairy short guy and the tall man who did all the talking.

- You need to calm down and rest. he said and put his bow away. You kicked the ground and hit a hard root with your foot. You cursed and realized that there was nothing you could have done. Leaving the warmth of the fireplace without any idea where you were did not feel smart at all so you wrapped yourself to the cloak and sat down by a big tree. Pretty soon after that you slipped into comfortable state of dream. Morning came and you opened your eyes as the sunlight hit them. The forest looked beautiful bathing in light. You saw the bow leaning to a tree nearby as well as the other members of the group packing their stuff and getting ready to leave. You slowly began to realize that this was no dream.
- Morning! the man said with a soft voice. You looked at him and said nothing in return. You did not want to admit that you were either in coma or dead or fallen into a completely different world with no guarantees that you were able to return.

- What is your name? he asked. He was also packing his stuff and clearly tried to make you feel more comfortable, maybe build trust even.
- It’s (Y/N). What does it matter? you answered.
- My name is Legolas Greenleaf. I am the son of King Thranduil of the woodland realm, Mirkwood. he presented himself and bowed deeply. You did not answer. After a small awkward silence you managed to pull your thoughts together and replied.
- So, you’re a prince?
- Yes. the man, Legolas, replied. He smiled a little and then walked to you. You looked at him with a skeptical expression that changed into a face of confusion when he offered you his hand. He gestured you to take it and get up. You still reasoned that the best plan to survive in this strange… place… was to do as the stranger said. You grabbed his hand which was soft yet strong and pulled yourself up.
- Right. Great. I’m stuck here with “orcs” and this prince-what-ever-his-name-was. you murmured to yourself. It was embarrassing to be completely in the mercy of others.
- Legolas. he said.
- What? you asked.
- My name. Legolas. he repeated. You inhaled deeply and smiled sarcastically.
- Do I look like I give a shit? you stated with an irritated undertone in your voice. You were most likely dead so it really did not matter.” Excuse me?” Legolas asked and looked offended.
- No. I don’t. So please, just leave me alone. you stated and folded your arms as you stared at your capturer with defiant eyes.

If the man thought that you were going to play ball and like it, he was wrong. You were going to play ball but it did not mean that you were going to like it. No, forced ball-games were not your favorite way to spend your time. Legolas looked at you surprised. How did you dare to talk to him like that?! He had not expected much from a human but some kind of respect at least. After all he did save you from freezing to death and since there were orcs sneaking around everywhere, it would be only a matter of time when you would get killed. He spoke to the others and when everyone were ready to leave he returned to you as you were still standing by the tree with your arms folded.

- I need to take you with us. We are carrying a mission and I cannot risk that you will tell the orcs about our quest. Legolas said coldly.
- No, you don’t need to do that. you answered.
- I do, the future of Middle Earth is depending on our success and as far as I know you could be an orc spy. he said and gestured you to move.
- You keep saying that. You cannot just kidnap me. Besides, I do not even know what “orc” is so are you blind or are you just plain stupid? you shouted and spread your arms as a sign of frustration.
- No! No, I am not an orc spy! you continued and crossed your arms as you started walking with the group. The other still did not pay any attention to you. Legolas stopped and looked offended. The sight of him made regret being so rude and therefore you stopped as well and said
- I am sorry, okay? I am just tired and I should not even be here. I will get fired in few hours but it doesn’t matter because I’m probably dead. So yeah, whatever, let’s go. you said and continued walking, this time you were the last one to follow everybody knowing that if you tried to run away, Legolas would easily capture you. After that you did not speak with Legolas anymore. Some time passed by and you heard someone talking about Legolas’ father, the king of Woodland Realm of Mirkwood.
- So… he really is a prince… Great… I insulted a prince. you mumbled. Legolas was walking further away from you but he heard you anyway. He however did not comment in any way. He noticed a hint of awe in your voice and smiled slightly.

After a the day of walking the group stopped for the night. The little ones sneaked to talk to you and you found out that they had not been afraid of you. The reason why they had not come to talk to you earlier had been quite simple; they had been told not to. One of them was very talkative and he even told you about their quest even though he had been told specifically not to. You appreciated the gesture of keeping you company and after a couple of days you did not feel that much of an outsider.

The days passed and you continued moving forward. Everyone was talking about the “orcs” but no one really cared to explain to you what they were, like the “wraiths”. This world was so different! You sometimes cried in your own privacy when no one was watching but somehow you suspected that Legolas heard even your thoughts. Then one day he came to you and asked if you knew how to fight. You were leaving the forest and the open land was more dangerous to travel and therefore it was important that you and the little guys learned how to fight.

You were told that the two rugged men, whose names you did not remember, were going to teach the little ones and Legolas was supposed to teach you. Luckily you had taken courses of self defense martial arts, for example hapkido and grav maga, so you were not a complete rookie, although it had been a couple of years since your last lesson. You had been so busy lately that you had had no time for hobbies anymore.

Legolas had no idea of this when he told you that he was going to teach you how to fight. He put his swords and his bow away and told you to attack him. You did as he asked and in a moment the pretty prince found himself on the ground, staring at you with wide eyes. He could not believe this to be true so he attacked again. This time in a different way but somehow you were able to at least block his attack and use his own energy against himself.
- How did you do that? he asked with a surprised tone.
- I might have taken some self defense courses back in the day. you answered and smiled a little.
- Back in the day? Legolas asked because he did not quite understand the meaning of that phrase.
- When I still had time. you said and felt the tears building up inside you. It was painful to talk about your past life because the truth was that you missed it. You missed the way the world made sense to you. The world that did not have wraiths and magical rings.

- You know, whatever. Let’s continue. you said, wiped your cheeks and pushed those feelings aside. You were still hoping that you would either found your way back home or just simply woke up but as the days had turned into weeks, it had gotten quite obvious that neither of those two things were going to happen, any day soon anyway. Legolas smiled a little. He finally understood what your situation was like. He did not suspect anymore that you were a spy because you looked your surroundings in a way like you had never seen anything like that before and he could see the sadness in your eyes. You missed home and no one who missed home so greatly could be evil in heart.

Legolas nodded and handed you one of his swords. It was beautiful and very light. He suspected that you were skilled enough to use weapons and it was something that he was extremely good at. You swung the sword a couple of times and then followed Legolas carefully as he showed you how to move with it. You took a couple of practice matches and little by little you got better. You however did not grasp the concept of considering the sword as a part of you and that annoyed Legolas. Your fighting style was as far from graceful as one could be and therefore you used much more energy than you really had to.

The prince told you to stay still. He walked behind you and placed his arm on yours. You were holding the sword and he was holding you almost as you had been part of him. He spoke softly into your ear and told you to breathe slowly. You followed his instructions and felt your heart rate slowing down and mind becoming clear and focused. Then he put his other hand on your stomach and strangely enough when you both started to move, it felt like you had shared a brain. Moving with Legolas was almost like dancing, the difference was that he was holding you from behind and your main focus was not your dancing partner but the sword.

You were completely concentrated and started to feel the sword as a part of you. You had to admit that Legolas had been right; you wasted less energy when you moved gracefully and the sword moved with you. Legolas let you go and stepped back, this you did not even notice. He had been the one controlling your movements in the beginning but then you had learned and taken the lead and did not need Legolas showing you anymore. Sure you would have been in trouble if you had been under an attack right now but at least now you understood what had made Legolas so frustrated about your fighting style.

Legolas noticed suddenly that he was smiling as he stared at you. He felt strange, warm and tingly inside when you smiled at him or when he was close to you. He had not been speaking to you that much during the past few weeks and now he regretted it very much. He had just left you alone with your thoughts and worries when, now that he thought about it, he should have been there for you. He had heard you crying but he had not comforted you like he maybe should have. No, no “maybe”, he knew that he should have done something else than to shut you out.

He was not quite sure what these feelings meant and he decided not to think about them more, for current moment at least. He took his sword and surprised you by attacking you. You managed to turn, notice him attacking and defend yourself but you fell on the ground as the impact hit you. You fell on the ground, on the soft grass, and felt how the air pressed out from your lungs. You gasped and started to cough from the hit. The look on Legolas’ face changed and he knelt immediately beside you.

- Are you alright? he asked and tried to find traces of discomfort in your eyes. You managed to fill up your lungs again and nod. Legolas stood up and offered his hand to you. You took it and he pulled you up so quickly that you were about to lose your balance again. He secured you right away by wrapping his arm around you as his other hand was still holding yours very tightly, yet gently. He knew exactly how much force to use so he would not hurt you even by a mistake.

You stared deep into the bright blue eyes of the prince. You had been told that he was an elf, immortal and almost 3000 years old. He was so beautiful, his eyes soulful and filled with wisdom. You felt strange. It was an unexpected feeling of warmth that spread all over your body. It made your stomach fill up with butterflies and heart beat faster without a reason. Legolas kept staring at you. He felt uncommonly nervous and calm at the same time. His usually so sharp mind was getting hazy as he got lost in the depth of your eyes.
He had noticed how beautiful you were but he had never paid any further attention to it. Now he was, his entire attention was focused on you and you only, and your beauty took his breath away. You were rough on the edges as well as weird, you talked sometimes before thinking about it further and sometimes any of the fellowship couldn’t understand what you meant, but despite of all that, you were kind and smart. In the elf-eyes you were so young but the way you had adapted to your new surroundings was very impressive and for that Legolas admired you.

The moment was broken when one of the rugged men came to tell Legolas that it was time to move forward. It was getting late and your current location was not exactly the safest place to stay. Legolas let you go and stepped away. You nodded and smiled awkwardly. “What just happened” you thought, handed Legolas back his sword and then followed the two men to get back to the others. The exact same thought kept spinning around in Legolas’ mind and the more he thought about it, the stronger the feeling got. That strange, completely new feeling that made him smile when he saw you.

From that moment on Legolas started to spend more time with you. When you were walking, he walked with you and asked you about your life. You told him about your family and life in general. He told you about the elves and the Middle Earth as well as himself. He noticed that he had become more aware of the dangers that surrounded you and he wanted to keep you safe, which made him feel puzzled because it was one of the little ones that he was supposed to be worried of. He was the one that really mattered and his safety was the most important thing considering the entire fate of the entire world, Legolas’ world at least, but surprisingly enough Legolas did not want to save the Middle Earth anymore. He wanted to save you and he knew that the only way to really do it was to save Middle Earth.

It had been a week since the first fighting lesson. You had continued practicing and you were getting pretty good. Then suddenly when you were resting after one of these practices a group of ugly creatures attacked you. Legolas had been so focused on you that he had not even heard them running. Sure he had had a shadow darkening his mind but he had ignoring it since he had been basking the glow of your smile. You both had been laughing which had cheered Legolas’ heart as well as mind greatly. He as the creature of Middle Earth, being an elf and all, had been feeling slightly down because the growing shadow of Mordor, so laughing with you, although the elves did not really laugh that much usually, had brightened up his mind and he had failed to notice the nearing threat.

- Orcs! someone shouted. You still had not seen any orcs and it was a concept that you did not understand. Well, how could you when you had never seen one and no one had ever taken their time to explain it to you? You turned your head and saw a group of ugly creatures running towards you and your friends. This was the moment that you had been training for but now that you were standing there, facing the enemy that was racing mercilessly towards you like a tsunami, you could not take actions. You were completely frozen with tears of fear in your eyes.

Legolas shouted your name and his voice echoed in your mind. Your breathing turned into short gasps and you forgot every piece of advice that anyone had ever given you. There was an orc running right at you with his rusty blade ready to kill you and you could do nothing but stare. Then suddenly you noticed and arrow hitting the orc and it fell on the ground right in front of you. Legolas kept calling you, sounding uncommonly desperate. You took a step backwards and fell on the ground…

Chapter Text

It was the worst news possible. You stared into nothing specific as you tried to make some sense out of what you had been just told. You had been summoned by your parents, the elf king and elf queen to have dinner, like you always were, but this time they had had something important to share with you. It was your 1000th birthday and you had prepared yourself for a night of fun and games but when you had arrived to the dining hall it had soon made known that there was not going to be a party for you, not tonight at least and not a birthday party.
You were an elf-lady living with your parents in a small distant realm which your parents ruled. The realm was basically tiny and there was an ongoing struggle with the orcs and the evil that lurked in the shadows. Your parents had told you before that they were going to sail to the Undying Lands soon with their people but now they had had something else that they had needed to tell you.

- No! was had been your first response. You had expected them to pass along the rule of the realm to you as they were leaving themselves but that had not been the case.
- You should be flattered! your father had exclaimed.
- Any other lady would be overjoyed to hear the news! your mother had added.
- I will not marry King Thranduil. you had stated, leaned back in your chair and folded your arms as a sign of protest. You were well educated, a fine lady indeed who normally obeyed her parents wishes but to marry a man that you had never even met was too much to ask. You understood the reasoning behind it; it was a way to unite your family with the realm of Mirkwood and secure your life after your parents had sailed beyond the sea, but it also meant that it was you who was expected to give up your dreams and plans for the future. You had been raised to believe that your future was to rule your home realm, but apparently it had never even been an option. Your father had slammed his fists to the table and shouted
- This is what you were raised to do. It has been agreed with the king long before you were born; our eldest daughter shall marry King Thranduil after she has become 1000 years old. She will unite our realms and move in Mirkwood-
- But he is old and cruel! He is not afraid to kill anyone who disagrees with him. I know his reputation! you had exclaimed but it had made no difference.

- (Y/N)! This is not a matter that we will discuss with you! It has been settled and there is nothing you can do. The kings guards will arrive here in a few days and they will make sure that you’ll reach Mirkwood safely with your dearest belongings. your mother had said with a tone that sounded inconsiderate and cruel in your ears. Now you were staring into the space between you and your parents with a hopeless look on your face.
- Do not be so dramatic. your mother scoffed and woke you up from your thoughts. Her marriage with your father had also been arranged. She had been brought to marry your father from Rivendell when she had become old enough, but the difference was that she had been brought up knowing that it was what she was supposed to do. You however had always assumed that your duty was to rule the land since you were the eldest child and you had no brothers.
- What about my life? My future? you whimpered helplessly and took a look at your two younger sisters who stared at their plates. They were more subtle compared to you and they had agreed to sail to the Undying Lands because the growing shadow was making them weak, you were the one with fiery spirit and strong will, the one who had learned to fight in secret and knew the old elven spells by heart, just because you had taken the time to learn them. All this you had done because you had assumed to rule the realm someday and you had wanted to be an excellent ruler, at least as good as your father, better even if possible.

Your father sighed and began
- Your future lays as the queen of Mirkwoo-
- What about what I want? Does it not matter? you exclaimed at your mother and stood up. You were not happy about this and you were not going to pretend either.
- I was raised to rule this realm! you added with an angry look on your face.
- Sit. Down. you father ordered and made you shiver with the coldness of his tone. He had never addressed you with such tone and he only used it to address the criminals as well as the orcs that he had captured to be questioned. His tone hurt you because it made you feel as worthy as an ugly orc.
- It is unfair that my fate has been decided before I was even born. I was supposed to rule this-
- You were never supposed to rule this realm! This realm has no future. Our lands will be overrun soon, time of the elves is over and we will sail beyond the sea with our people. your father shouted. It was very uncommon for an elf to shout but now your father did. He did not appreciate the way you questioned his better judgment, no, he did not appreciate it at all.
- Am I not allowed to sail with you? you asked. The thought about being left behind, no worse, to be forced to marry a stranger, was more unpleasant for you than the thought of sailing to the West. You had never understood why the elves were so eager to leave Middle Earth, why did they not fight for their realms but rather sailed away and left their homes.
- No, your future is in Mirkwood. your father stated and told you to sit down.
- You are damning me to live with a stranger and to miss you. Don’t you care for me at all? Am I not a person?
- Yes, of course you are… your mother said as she tried to calm you down. You were still standing in front of your plate with your hands clenched into fists. Your father ordered you to sit down once more and signed the guards to force you if necessary. You looked over your shoulder and sat down as you saw a guard approaching you. That was the end of the conversation since your parents changed the subject. They wanted to talk about their travel arrangements, but for you it sounded like they had been twisting the knife in your back.

A million thoughts ran through your mind that night. You considered about escaping, running away but you were not sure if you survived the wilderness that was filled with orcs nowadays. Sure you were a warrior, without anyone knowing it though, and you had the basic skills to survive in the nature… but there were so many dangers lurking in the shadows and it really worsened your changes to save yourself from the fate that you had been doomed to. You sat on the edge of your bed and started to cry helplessly. There was nothing that you could have done and no one who could have helped you. You had been left alone with your fate and it made you hopeless as well as angry. You fell down on your back and stared at the ceiling as the tears poured out from your eyes. The minutes turned into hours but you did not seem to run out of tears.

Then the anger took over and although you had been raised to be a fine lady, this was too much to handle. You got off from the bed and screamed as you stared at your own reflection in the mirror and threw a bottle of expensive perfume at it. The mirror fractured and you stared at your distorted reflection. You could not stand it so you threw yet another perfume bottle at it. The mirror shattered into thousand pieces and soon a guard rushed into your room. He stared at you standing in the middle of small, sharp pieces of mirror and shattered perfume bottles with a shocked look on his face.
- Go away! you screamed and threw a small vase at the wall. The guard, whose face did not usually change even if there were many orcs to be dealt with, changed from the one of calm and controlled to shocked and disgusted. He left the room because he was worried that the next item on your table would fly into his direction.

There was a strong smell of perfume in your room and it made your head hurt. It was a sweet, fruity scent that you normally loved but now it made you sick. You hated everything that made you a lady; your clothes, jewelry, hair accessories and beauty products. You hated your hair that was always clean and shiny and your skin that was fair and flawless. You hated your parents and their ambitious nature, you hated your life and everything about it.
After a couple of days a handful of guards arrived from Mirkwood, just like your father had said. They had clear orders to return immediately with you and your few selected items. Within those a couple of days you had managed to trash your bedroom and you had also torn most of your dresses too. You had wanted to protest and now you had been left with nothing. Your father had just stated that you were going to receive everything and anything you needed from your husband. It had been a statement that had made your protest completely useless. “Well, at least you’ll travel light” he had stated as he had stared at the mess that had previously been your bedroom.

Your family had agreed that they would follow the guards to Mirkwood, see you getting married and then return immediately home to arrange their own departure. In few short months they would leave Middle Earth and you would never see them again since Thranduil was one of the few elf kings that were still committed to his lands. He did not care about the other lands but he was not willing to sail away and leave it all behind either. His wife had died a long time ago and she was also waiting for him in the Undying Lands where the elven spirits returned after they had rested.
You had secretly admired Thranduils commitment to his lands, the dedication. He was not going to take the easy way out like your parents were, forcing your people sail with them no matter if they wanted or not, although almost every and each one of them had lost someone and were more than happy to return home, far beyond the great sea, never to return to Middle Earth. Thranduil however, he fought to keep his realm and in that way you were the same with him. You would have defended your home realm until your last breath but that option had been taken away from you.

You arrived to the Mirkwood palace. There were some servants waiting on the courtyard but the king himself was nowhere to be seen. The servants were surprise to find you traveling so light, carrying only one bag that contained your most beloved belongings. You were escorted to a beautiful room that became your private chamber. It had a beautiful view to the garden, a fireplace, a bathroom, spacious bed and so on. There was a closet filled with gorgeous gowns and the bath had made ready for you.
The sound of the door closing echoed in your mind. The maid had left you alone to take a bath, after which you were supposed to get dressed and be presented to the king who had never seen you before. You got undressed and sat into the bathtub. The water was warm and there were finest bath oils for you to use. You put a couple of drops into the water and a luxurious scent filled the bathroom. You leaned backwards and closed your eyes as you felt the dusts of the travel wash away from your skin.
Then suddenly you recoiled to a sound of someone knocking at the door. You realized that you had fallen asleep and you were supposed to be dressed already. You got out from the bath and wrapped yourself into a silky robe before welcoming the maid into your chamber. She was shocked to see you still in the robe and hurried you to select a dress. You really did not care and chose the one that you saw. The maid helped you to get dressed and brushed your hair as you stared at yourself in the mirror.
The maid told you to cheer up because the king was rather eager to meet you but were not exactly looking forward to meet him. You had heard so many stories about his coldness and cruelness, how he was unfair and violent, not towards his own people but strangers who trespassed in his lands even by an accident. He was known to throw people into his dungeons just because he was having a bad day and if there was something that he hated above everything else, it was being challenged and proved wrong. King Thranduil was never wrong. He was never tired, he never showed mercy and he never loved anyone.

But he had loved before. Yes, you had heard the stories that he had been kind and passionate once, a long time ago when he had been young and married to an elven lady who had then been killed violently. His late wife had been a warrior in her heart and he had loved her son, Legolas, more than life itself and even though you had not heard the details, you knew that she was greatly missed and therefore a forbidden topic in the court.
You were ready to meet the king. It was nerve wrecking to leave the safety of your own chamber to meet the very person that you were supposed to marry in few days. You were led through long corridors to a grand hall where the kings throne was. You had encountered many high elves on your way because the court was filling up with dignitaries who had been invited to the wedding. It was really going to happen.

You waited to be summoned and listened the kings voice echoing in the large hall. Then finally you were gestured to walk further and that was when you saw him; the king sitting high up on his throne, looking down at you. The king stood up immediately and a massive, expensive looking and absolutely gorgeous cape fell off his shoulders. The sight made your shake in your shoes and you dropped your head. In your realm you had only bowed your mother and father because they were the only persons who ranked higher than you but here you were basically no one… nothing.
The king stared at you as he slowly walked down the stairs from his throne. He moved gracefully even though he was wearing a long robe that could have easily made him stumble and fall. Thranduil however never fell. He was an image of perfect self control and for him stumbling would have been a sign of weakness. You knew that he was standing right in front of you although you still stared at the ground. You dropped a curtsy and waited him to say something, anything really. Thranduil walked around you once. He was tall man with broad shoulders and muscled, yet graceful body.

- So you are the one that I am to marry. he said finally. You did not answer.
- Speak! he ordered with a tone that made you jump a little. You had been told that if you did not please the king, you would be sent home and accused of treason or if you caused trouble in the future, Thranduil had the full right to punish you the way he saw the best. It could mean being exiled, getting executed or being doomed to wither away in the dungeon
- Yes, my lord. you answered.
- Look at me when I am talking to you! he exclaimed and you swallowed once as you raised your head. The king was very handsome. He had long, silver blond hair, piercing blue eyes that were framed with long, dark eyelashes. He had very defining eyebrows and in every way he was an image of perfection that he was well known of. The elves only got more beautiful as they got older and it was obvious that Thranduil was old. He had seen the ages changing, the world falling into the shadows and you could sense the grief that followed him everywhere he went. Thranduil dressed to impress and he was also known for his vanity. He knew his value and always saw everyone else beneath him. He did not tolerate mistakes and he did not forgive lightly, mostly because he was a proud man who hated being questioned.
- Tell me, am I marrying a quiet mouse? he asked. The question made your blood boil because never before had anyone, excluding your parents, to talk to you the way the stranger did.
- Do not talk to me like that! you exclaimed and glared into the eyes of the king angrily. He chuckled a little and it made you even more irritated. You had hoped to cause a completely different reaction, to make him angry and order you to be escorted back to your chamber but no, the king found your outburst amusing and he knew that you had no authority to challenge him in his own court.
- A little mouse can speak, it seems. he stated as his laughter echoed in the great hall making you feel small and worthless.
- I am not a mouse! you exclaimed and turned away. You were not going to tolerate being treated like that and decided to leave the arrogant bastard standing all alone in the hall.
- You can run but you cannot hide! the king shouted making you feel completely trapped.

You refused leaving your room until it was the moment of your wedding. Then you were escorted to the garden dressed in a finest gown there was. You certainly looked the part but in your mind you were far away. You were told to look happy so you would not embarrass the king but deep inside you, you were slowly dying, fading away. The official part of the wedding ceremony was quickly over. You saw your family standing in the crowd and then suddenly you were married.
The king took your hand and raised it on his lips. You swallowed your tears as he pressed a soft kiss on your knuckles but you managed to smile. After the ceremony your father said to you that you no longer belonged to your parents but you were now your husbands. The thought hurt you because all you had ever wanted was to be your own person, responsible of your own actions and free to do as you saw the best.

The celebration continued. You played your part perfectly and even danced with Thranduil but in your eyes there was no spark. You drank a little bit too much because you wanted to just forget about everything and pass out into a sweet oblivion but since you were an elf, the alcohol did not affect you as strongly as you had hoped. It only tasted bitter in your mouth and made you feel even worse since it emphasized your longing for freedom and then reminded you that you were now married to someone that did not love you and whom you did not love either. you had been degraded to a value of a business deal, someones belonging, not really a person anymore.
- I will not take you against your will, but remember that you have duties as my wife. Thranduil said to you with a silent voice when the party was about to end. Most of the people had gone to sleep already and you knew that your family was leaving early in the next morning. You gasped as you felt the kings hand on your waist. His touch disgusted you because it made you feel like an object without a mind of its own.

You did not sleep that night. You said goodbye to your parents as well as your sisters and watched them leaving the palace. After that you retired to your chamber and lay down on your own bed. You had always dreamed about finding a fine man to love, then marrying him for love and ruling your home realm with him. The thought made your heart ache and you felt the tears rolling on your cheeks again. You cried for a moment and then you stopped. Crying did not help your situation, it did not even make you feel any better so you couldn’t even do that anymore.
The days passed by. You had only brief conversations with your husband and otherwise you just kept your distance to everyone. The summer faded away slowly and the days got colder. You missed your home, your family, your life but you knew that you could not leave Mirkwood. As the days lost their warmth, so did your hands. Your naturally rosy lips lost their color and the spark in your eyes had died away. You were a ghost of your former self, ready to fade away completely. You were sad that your husband did not even try to get to know you and make things better and you were completely sure that he did not even notice what was happening to you. In a way you were blaming him but you also knew that you were the one to blame yourself since you had not given him a chance to get to know you or you had not gotten to know him either.

Thranduil had noticed you fading away. First he had not cared but now he felt sorry for the whole situation. He knew that the changes that you had gone through had been massive and after the wedding he had heard that you had been brought up believing that you were going to rule your home realm and the arrangement had been kept as a secret from you until the last moment. Thranduil sometimes watched you secretly sitting alone in the garden staring at the forest that was slowly getting ready for the winter. He had been asking your maids if you cried when you were alone but they did not know. The truth was that you were far beyond the point of crying. You were disappointed that you had given up so easily but as the time had passed by it had become somewhat impossible to change the course of your life. How were you supposed to turn around all of a sudden? Maybe you wanted to do it but in the point that you were now you felt that there was no way out.
The first snow fell down and the surrounding forest turned silent. You were outside, staring at the skies as the snowflakes fell on your face. They got tangled in your long eyelashes and decorated your hair. The crisp air filled your lungs time after time as you kept breathing it in slowly. You had not been speaking with Thranduil for many weeks and you felt completely alone in your new home realm. You sometimes spent the entire day in the forest and spoke to the trees but now even they were deep asleep leaving you completely alone in the whole world. You knew that your family had sailed into the West already and your home realm was now completely abandoned.

You sat down on a tree trunk and cursed that you had forgotten your gloves, again. You rubbed your hands again and blew hot air to them when you saw the tall elf, your husband Thranduil, appearing from the forest and without saying a word kneeling in front of you. He took your hands into his that were warm and large and started to warm your hands up. It was the kindest and the most considerate thing he had ever down for you so far and after he had warmed up your hands he took your gloves out from the pocket of his cloak. He glanced at you and mumbled that you always forgot your gloves. You started to laugh. You had never even imagined, not in a million years, that he had noticed and cared. Thranduil stood up and laughed a little.
- So, my wife… You rather confide in these trees than in your husband? he asked but his voice sounded light and you knew that the question or statement was not meant to insult you but to encourage you to talk about it to him. You were silent for a moment as you tried to arrange your thoughts into words. How would you explain that the forest was the only place that felt like home? You sighed and then explained
- These trees, this forest… they remind me of home. Have you ever been-
- Yes. A long time ago when your father was a young king. Thranduil said and smiled a little. He looked very handsome when he smiled and this was the first time he was actually smiling at you. The smile made you feel more comfortable and you could not help but to feel attracted to the tall elf that was standing in front of you.

- Ah yes, I remember my parents mentioning that you were in their wedding. you stated. It most likely had been the moment when they had agreed about your future. You still had conflicted feelings about the whole arrangement but this time you did not want to start a fight or anything with the king. During the months you had spent in Mirkwood you had not been exactly happy but you had not been treated badly or forced to do anything that you had not wanted to either. Your unhappiness was most likely your own doing and you understood it now.
- Yes. It was a magnificent celebration. Your mother was a beautiful bride. Thranduil stated. He was about to continue by saying that you had been a magnificent bride as well but he figured that maybe it was not the way you saw it.
- I’m sure she was… you said and smiled briefly. You had had time to adjust yourself to your new life and although you felt beyond miserable, numb even, you were tired of feeling that way. This was not the way you wanted to live your life; on the edge of fading away into the darkness and holding onto life. No, but somewhere down on the way you had forgotten it. You had been so focused on the feeling of being betrayed that you had completely failed to notice the opportunities that your new status provided to you.

- I am sorry that your wedding day was not the happiest day of your life. he said. He sounded surprisingly sincere and apologetic. You did not know what to answer. You were not the only one to blame for the state you had slowly slipped in. Thranduil had turned his head away and let it happen. You were both to blame.
- I want you to become happy here. he added and took your hands as he sat down on the tree trunk next to you. You felt your eyes filling with tears that you had been bottling up inside for so long, almost a half a year now. You were shivering terribly until Thranduil moved closer to sit and put his arm on your shoulder. His cloak was big and it was enough to wrap around you as you sat next to him. You cried for a moment and then fell asleep leaning onto the man who was your husband but whom you had never even kissed.

Thranduil did not want to wake you up now that you were sleeping peacefully. He carried you into your chamber, lowered you on your bed and tucked you into your bed with his cloak. For his surprise you asked him to stay and grabbed the sleeve of his robe as he was about to leave you. Your voice sounded fragile and it was barely audible but there was no way to misunderstand you because you did not let go of his sleeve. He smiled and lay down next to you on his side, facing you.
You looked very tired and lifeless, almost like you had been on a verge of falling into the shadows and fading away completely. You were pale and there was no color on your lips or your cheeks. He brushed your hair and promised you that from now the things would be different.

Part 2 will follow…

Chapter Text

You hit your head to the ground but fortunately avoided any sharp stones. After you had survived the fall and gotten on your knees, you realized that you had something on your face and started to wipe it off. It got smudged on your skin and stained your hands as well. You stared at your hands that were partially covered with thick, sticky black thing that smelled unimaginably bad. You realized that it was orc blood and the notion made you sick. You tried to wipe your hands clean to the grass and lifted your gaze from the ground for the first time after the fall. The sight was worse than your worst nightmares; there were orcs laying dead on the ground and fighting your friends. The little ones were terrified, Legolas looked also shocked but you did not know what to do.

The only thing that was in your mind was that you wanted to go home. You were done with sleeping on the ground, you were so done with eating anything that you could find in the woods and you were so tired of not being able to take a long hot shower after a hard day. You knew that you smelled, your clothes were dirty and now you even had orc blood on your face. It made you very angry and you cursed your curiosity that had led you to fall into the pond.

There was yet another orc running towards you. He had dropped his sword but you knew that he would kill you even without a weapon. You forced yourself to stand up because your friends were busy with orcs and if you wanted to survive, you had to defend yourself. This was the reason why you had been training, even before ending up in Middle Earth. The orc grabbed a broken sword off the ground and growled as he got ready to attack you. Finally you remembered how you had been taught to disarm an attacker on the grav maga –lessons so you grabbed the orcs arm, spun yourself under his arm, twisted it which made the orc whimper. He dropped the blade and then you remembered that Legolas had given you a small dagger to keep for the situations like this.

You reached for it which caused you to lose a tight grip of the orc. He broke free, stomped on your foot and turned around. You were somewhat sure that the orc had broken a couple of your toes but the pain did not cloud your mind. You held the dagger tightly and when the orc basically jumped on you as his intention was to make you fall on the ground and then bash your face in with a rock and as he did, the blade sank deep into his chest and made ugly creature scream for pain.
You fell on the ground with the dying orc on top of you. His body was heavy and having the weight on your chest made it almost impossible to breathe. The orc groaned as he bled on you and slowly died. You felt your consciousness slipping away as you breathed in the foul stench that was filling your mind as well as your lungs. Your world went black and then suddenly you were surrounded by silence. You opened your eyes and noticed that you were in your own bed, covered with a heavy blanket which prevented you from moving.

Legolas had seen you struggling with the orc. He had been fighting a couple himself so he had not been able to come and help you. It had all happened so suddenly as well as fast that he had not known what to do although he always knew what to do. Then there had been the little one with the Ring who as well was his responsibility, he had sworn to protect the little one and the fate of Middle Earth was depending on him. Legolas saw the orc falling on you. He was shocked and to be honest, he had never been that terrified during his entire, long life. He ran to you immediately after he had killed the orcs that he had been fighting and secured the little ones.

The orc was heavy and it required a fairly much of effort from Legolas to get him lifted from you. When he did, he found you unconscious, laying on the ground covered with the orc blood. He checked that you were breathing and he sighed relieved he heard a silent gasp escaping your lips. Then he had to make sure that you were not hurt and he nervously searched any traces for wounds or such. There were only a few small scratches but nothing more severe. Legolas wanted to be angry at you for freezing that way but then again, how could he when your world did not have horrible things like that?

He lifted you on his arms and followed the others to a safer place where you would camp for a moment. When they had found such spot, he lowered you on the ground and made sure that you were alright before going to find some water. He found a small spring where he filled his water bottle as well as got a piece of fabric, a some sort of handkerchief, completely soaked and then returned to you. He wiped your face gently clean from the orc blood, cleaned the small scratches that you had and hoped that there were no other bruises that were not visible.

You were home. Laying in your own bed, feeling someone touching your face leaving the skin fresh but cold. It felt pleasant but all you really wanted was to sleep undisturbed. Then you heard a familiar voice asking if you were dead. It was one of the little ones. There was yet another voice, a soft, worried yet hopeful telling the little one that you were alright. You were confused to hear those voices in your own home and then slowly the familiar walls of your bedroom faded away and you realized that you were not home.

Legolas greeted with a smile as you opened your eyes. Your head was hurting as well as your toes but more than that you were bothered about the fact that you were not home. It had felt so real, your bed had felt so real and you had been able even smell the linen as well as the room fragrance that you loved. Then you had been ripped away from the pleasant environment and brought back to the world that had almost killed you, although you had never been actually gone. You were upset at Legolas for bringing you back and the first thing you said to him that you wanted to go back and blamed him for taking you away from your bed. Legolas stared at you with a calm expression on his face and spoke to you in elvish. Somehow his voice calmed you down and you understood that you had been only dreaming.

You were helped to sit up and Legolas offered you some water. You apologized for what you had said but he told you not to worry about such things. He kept asking if anything hurt and you answered with a headshake. Your head was still hurting but you knew that there was nothing that Legolas could have done to make it better and you did not have your painkillers with you. You moved your toes and then it hit you; you had one or two most likely broken toes because the orc had stomped on your feet in order to break free from your grip.

You took off your shoe as well as your sock and touched your toes. A couple of them were red and swollen. Legolas touched them which made you gasp for air. You did not want to be a crybaby but you had never imagined that breaking a toe would hurt so much. Then you glanced at the rugged men and wondered that most likely you did not even know real pain. Legolas tied the toes together so they supported each other. There was nothing more he could have done but he felt bad for it.
You asked Legolas if he knew whether there was a place you could wash yourself a little because the smell of the orc blood was making you feel dizzy and nauseous. Legolas helped you to stand and offered to carry you to the spring but you refused his offer. He insisted of supporting you anyway and helped you to sit on the edge of the small pool of water. You felt the cool water with your fingers and felt it numb your sore hand.

- I’m sorry I froze. you said after a moment. You were embarrassed about it because it had increased the burden on Legolas’ shoulders and that burden was heavy to carry even as it was. You did not dare to look at Legolas and you continued staring at the water. It was dark already and you could not see your own reflection but you figured that it was most likely only a good thing.
- Please do not shadow your mind with such thoughts. Besides I should have been there to protect you. Therefore it is I who must beg for your forgiveness, my lady. he said with a silent tone. He sounded sincere and shocked even about the fact that you had been in such a great danger and he had not managed to come to your aid.
- Come on, Legolas… Don’t do that. you said. You tried to avoid sounding frustrated or irritated but sometimes it annoyed you that the elf saw you as his responsibility. You were supposed to be capable of taking care of yourself but instead of that, you were the one who needed to be rescued.
- What, my lady? he asked with a look that reminded you of a deer in the headlights.
- Don’t blame yourself for my mistakes. I am not even supposed to be here. you stated. At the moment you did not even want to be there, even the presence of the charming prince did not change how you felt.
- Please, never say such thing. he pleaded. His tone sounded uncommonly desperate.
- Why? It is the truth, isn’t it? This is not my world and I am only putting you and your quest in danger by tagging along. you said and sighed. Legolas would have wanted to tell you that the reason why you should not question your stay in Middle Earth, because he though that meeting you had been one of the most wonderful things that had happened to him, however he started to feel bad for wanting to keep you there. Legolas did not want to admit it to you but he did not want you to go and he was afraid of what you would do if such opportunity to return home presented itself to you. He did not want to talk to you about these thoughts because he understood that you were missing home, he was too and it made him feel very selfish that he did not want you to find your way back to yours.

After resting and mentally regrouping the fellowship continued towards it’s destination. The way took you up into the mountains and then deep down into it because there was no way to survive the harsh conditions. In the tunnels of Moria you just barely escaped the fiery monster and lost one of your companions; the wizard. It was clear that he had been a dear friend to the travelers and even Legolas looked heartbroken. He had never before lost anyone and he had hard time adjusting himself to this new feeling.
You arrived to Lothlorien and the sight took your breath away. It was the most magical place you had ever been and secretly you hoped that the fellowship would just stay there so you would not have to take any other steps further away from home because the further away you traveled from the pond, the less connected with your own world you felt. You had been in Middle Earth for so many weeks that you had not counted the days for some time anymore. There was no point. You were exhausted and you had not felt like yourself for ages.

After your companions had spoken with the rulers of the elven realm, you finally had a chance to wash yourself and the elves were even kind enough to give you new clothes although the short hairy man had told you that the elves disliked everybody and they were the most unfriendly people in Middle Earth. The only elf you knew was Legolas and he was very nice, but you did not know if he was the exception that made the rule. Well, the short hairy man did not like even Legolas so maybe he was not being objective about it. There were so many things that you did not know and it bothered you and on top of it all it felt like just as you had managed to learn something, you found out that there were basically ten new things to learn and most likely you had misunderstood the thing that you had learned.

- I wish I could show you my home realm. Legolas said when he walked to you. You were staring up mesmerized by the way the elves had built their homes high up into the massive trees. You turned your head and smiled at Legolas who was now also staring upwards.
- Is your home like this? you asked curiously and returned to stare at the trees.
- Not quite. he answered with a smile on his face. Legolas missed his home realm very much but being among the elves of Lothlorien gave him some peace of mind.
- How is it then? you asked. You wanted to distract Legolas from the grief of losing a friend because you sensed that he was not that good at handling it.
- Different. he answered and turned his head. You turned yours too because your neck was getting sore.
- Ha-ha! Right! you chuckled. Legolas’ answer did not really answer to your question and it made him to sound ridiculously mysterious… but in a charming way.
- Around this time my father always organizes a great celebration. There is always plenty of food and drink, music… the garden is decorated with lights… the stars cover the sky… Legolas described. He had attended countless of celebrations before but never had he felt so keen on attending one… until now.
- That sounds… wonderful. you commented as you tried to paint a picture in your mind of beautiful elves enjoying themselves in the starlight, having fun and getting slightly tipsy. The thought of it made you chuckle a little.
- I would dance with you the entire night. Legolas said with a tone that sounded just like he had tried to sound casual when he actually was very nervous. You blushed a little and then commented
- You wouldn’t even notice me-
- Do you not know that you are the only one lady that I see? Legolas answered with a serious yet soft, completely sincerely tone. You did not manage to answer anything when your conversation was suddenly interrupted by an elf who wanted to have a conversation with Legolas. You smiled a bit and nodded as Legolas asked for your forgiveness since he was needed elsewhere, however he promised to seek you later.

You walked around a bit and then came to a place where there was silver colored bowl and a matching, extremely beautiful pitcher. You were startled by the lady of the forest, Galadriel was her name, when she stepped from the shadows. She was kind of glowing, Legolas had that same “thing” going on and it made him eerily beautiful… and you were a tiny bit jealous about it. She walked to the pitcher and poured water into the bowl. You felt like you were intruding and you were not supposed to be there but leaving did not seem right either.
- Would you like to look into the mirror? she asked and looked at you curiously, almost as if she had been evaluating you. At this time you were just happy that you had not mistaken the bowl as a place to wash your hands. Man, the elvish customs were so different from yours!
- Sure. you answered and waited the elf to gesture you to move closer to the small table of some sort. When she finally did, you stepped closer slowly on your tippy-toes and shifted your gaze from the gorgeous lady to the water. You waited for a moment, staring at your own reflection.
- Tell me, what do you see? the lady demanded.
- Am I supposed to see something? you answered and tried to look closer.
- Some people see their future, some see their past. The mirror shows many things.
- I see nothing. you stated and tried to find answers from the facial expression of the elf-lady. Her face did not chance, it was as calm and serene as always and you were pretty certain that she would not even blink if a lightning struck the tree next to her.
- What does it mean? you asked.
- Your past no longer matters and your future is uncertain. she said with a deep voice. You swallowed once as you listened to her talking. The words felt like needles that penetrated your skin making you feel anxious and hopeless. Galadriel noticed it and then smiled a little as she added
- But fear not, your life is here and now.
- But-

Galadriel turned and walked away before you had managed to ask her anything more about what you had not-seen. You tried to look again but even though you stared into the bowl, you could only see the lights flickering behind you, your own reflection and the bottom of the bowl. Then an elf-maid came to tell you that Legolas had arranged a room for you. You followed the elf into a beautiful room that had a bed. You thanked the maid and sat on the bed. it had been ages since the last time you had had the luxury of sleeping in a bed.
You fell on the bed and let your eyes close for a moment. Your moment of silence, although you could hear the elves singing a song about the wizard, that got killed in Moria, in elvish but it was different, was interrupted when you heard someone knocking to gain your attention. You opened your eyes and answered “yes?” hoping that it was someone that you knew. You were not in the mood for meeting new people and trying to come up with smart things to say.

- (Y/N)?
It was Legolas. You sat up and sighed as you abandoned the cool, soft sheets that felt like heaven against your skin after sleeping on the ground and sometimes even on the trees for countless of nights. You invited Legolas in but he did not enter the bedroom so you had to go to him. You straightened your dress and walked to the doorway where the elf prince was standing at. Your feet were tired and it was pain in the ass to stand after you had had a moment to lay down and relax. You had not really realized how tired you had been since now that you allowed your body to give in to the exhaustion.
- How did you manage to get me a room with a bed? I think the other members of the fellowship are sleeping on the ground. you asked and leaned to the doorway. You smirked at Legolas curiously and he smiled back at you, although his smile was quite shy.
- I told them that you are… a fine lady. he answered.
- So you lied? you laughed. You did not see yourself as a “fine lady” even now that you were wearing a gorgeous gown and you had managed to wash yourself.
- No… but I might have used a different word. he answered and if elves were able to blush, he would have been blushing in that moment.
- Which word did you use then? you asked.

Legolas wondered if he dared to say it aloud. He was nervous that it would be too much too soon but by the look on your face, he had to say something or else you would most likely keep staring at him with that smile of yours that was making his courage crumble down. “Well?” you asked and waited impatiently for him to say something. Legolas sighed and decided that it was all or nothing, right here and right now. He had to make his feelings known even though it terrified him. He had never felt so nervous before and even facing a hundred orcs did not make him shake in his boots like this moment did.
- I… I used the word “precious”. Legolas answered finally. You repeated the word silently and blushed a little. No one had ever called you precious before and hearing the word melted your heart, especially because the person who had said it was the most graceful and true person you had ever met. He was the prince, wise and kind, brave… handsome, very handsome actually… and he had called you precious. You both were silent for a moment and then you broke the silence by saying
- You know… my feet are very tired. Could we have this conversation in the room so I could sit down? you asked. You had a feeling that Legolas would protest and you were going through all the reasons that you could use to win the argument.

- But, my lady, it would be impropriate of me to come into your bedroom-
- Legolas, you have been keeping guard while I’ve been bathing-
- And I swear on my life that I have never looked-
- I am sure you haven’t. Come on… you said and gestured Legolas to follow you. You walked to the bed and sat on the edge. Legolas looked very hesitant but after thinking his options through, he decided to enter the room. You patted the bed and smiled at him. Legolas took a deep breath and then walked to the bed. He sat down next to you, not too close but on the same side at least. You lay on your back and stared at the ceiling. Legolas did not dare to look at you because he was worried that his heart would burst and he would say something stupid or insult you somehow. You however patted the bed behind him and chuckled a little when he protested.

- Come on! you chuckled. Legolas struggled again but finally he lay on his back on the bed. You turned your head and saw him staring at you with a small smile on his face. You smiled at him and reached out to take his hand that was on the bed, laying relaxed between you two. You were both silent, just staring each other, smiling and holding hands.
- I would dance with you the entire night. you said and closed your eyes. You let yourself to fall asleep like that. Legolas turned on his side so he faced you. He did not let go of your hand but he did not dare to touch you otherwise. Laying on the bed with you was already stretching his limits but he decided to go with it.

At first you had pleasant dreams but then they turned into nightmares. The words of Lady Galadriel echoed in your mind and made you anxious. Her expression had not changed but you had had a strange feeling that whatever the not-seeing meant, had bothered her. She had not expected it but she had not wanted to freak you out by telling you what she thought it meant. So she had just said that your life was here and now and left, escaped the scene more likely.
You opened your eyes and realized that you had been crying. You had been sleeping for a couple of hours and now you were awake. Legolas was talking to you in a soft voice in elvish but it was not helping this time. He looked worried and his worry encouraged him to cross some more boundaries; he had moved right next to you and he was caressing your cheek with his fingertips which was something that he would not have done otherwise, not for a while at least. Legolas smiled a little when he heard your breathing calming down and saw the look on your face turn a little less anxious, although you looked still very sorrowful, almost like you had had the weight of the world in your shoulders.

- I have no future. you said after a while. The smile left Legolas’ face and he looked worried again.
- What are you talking about? he asked. He tried to keep his voice somewhat warm, soft and neutral but the look on your face was making him very worried, more than he wanted to admit to himself.
- I looked into the mirror thing… You know the one that shows you many things… things from the past, future or present… but I saw nothing. What if I don’t have a future? you asked. The words felt like they had been getting stuck into your throat and saying them aloud made the premonition come true, but you still had to say them. The only thing that comforted you now was the fact that Legolas had taken initiative and moved closer to you, wrapped his arms around you held you tight so you would not feel so sad and scared.
- Why wouldn’t you have a future? Legolas reasoned with a tone that was supposed to communicate “don’t be silly” but he was unable to mask his true feelings completely. He did not want to think about such things and he did not want you to think about them either. You swallowed your tears and began
- Maybe… the orcs-

Legolas could not listen to you saying those words. He leaned lower and without thinking about it any further he pressed his lips onto yours. He did not dare to move because he was waiting for you to reject him and push him away, but rejection did not come. He kept caressing your cheek as he parted his lips from yours, however he stayed close, gently brushing your lips with his. You did not say anything but traced his jaw with the back of your hand and guided him to kiss you again. The kiss was much like the first one, very soft, sweet and caring and after that he pulled you into his arms where you were able to sleep peacefully until the sun came up.

Legolas knew that you had a real reason to be afraid. Middle Earth was filled with dangers and therefore he decided that he could not take you any further with him. He hated to leave you behind but it was the most reasonable thing to do. He trusted that the elves kept the borders of their realm guarded and within those borders you were safe. The other thing that worried him was that what if you found your way home? What if you found a portal, a door between the worlds, and decided to return to your world? Legolas did not want to force you to stay in Middle Earth but he did not want to risk losing you either. He felt selfish for wanting you to stay but then again, he had always thought about the others first, maybe this time it was his turn to be a little selfish.

 

Should there be a part 3?

Chapter Text

You woke up and smiled a little when you opened your eyes and saw Thranduil sleeping next to you. For the first time after your big birthday you felt happy. It was a feeling that you had not expected to feel ever again, yes, you were a bit dramatic sometimes, but now you had a feeling that it was going to be alright. You were not in love with your husband but were quite certain that you would fall in love with him if you gave yourself a chance, if you put some effort in making yourself happy in your new home and if Thranduil put some effort in it too.

Thranduil opened his eyes. He saw you laying next to him with a genuine smile on your face. He had seen you smile before but he had never seen you smiling at him in such sincere way. He was not in love with you but he was sure that he would fall in love with you if he gave himself a chance and he had a feeling that if he tried, he would be able to charm you. He had not thought before that it would be necessary to love his new wife or his new wife to love him, but now that he looked at you, he realized that it was something that he wanted. Thranduil wanted to love you and he wanted you to love him or otherwise the marriage was nothing but a business deal and the idea made him sad. You deserved more than to be just an arrangement.

- Tell me about your life before coming here. Thranduil said suddenly.
- Why do you want to know? you asked. You had hoped him to ask but the truth was that you had not really expected him to.
- Because I think it’s time for me to know my wife. he answered. You chuckled a little and then started to tell him about your life. You told him that you had studied a lot and learned to fight in secret. You had gained the respect of the royal army although officially you did not even know how to hold a sword. You told the king how you used to spend your days in the forest when you had been a young elf and that was the reason why you had connected with the Mirkwood forest so well. Thranduil listened carefully. He sometimes laughed loudly when you told him about the tricky situations that you had gotten yourself, and your sisters, into. You rolled on your back as you laughed but then your laughter died and it was replaced by a silence.

- I was raised to believe that I was destined to rule my home realm after my parents sailed into the West. you said with a silent voice. You did not want to talk about it but you knew that you had to. You had to tell your husband why you had reacted the way you had because honesty was the key if you wanted to make this work. Thranduil had heard this before but not from you. He had hoped that you would talk about it, whatever “it” was but you had refused cooperating as soon as you had reached Mirkwood. Sure Thranduil had not made the situation any easier for you but now he was more than willing to try.
- I was told about this marriage just a couple of days before your guards came. you said. Your voice was somewhat fragile and it was apparent that the subject was not easy for you to speak about.
- I heard that you trashed your chamber. Thranduil commented and you could hear that he found it very amusing. You started to laugh and exclaimed
- That I did! you laughed for a while and then, after calming down you added
- It was very childish of me but my world had changed completely, instantly.
- I am not blaming you. Thranduil said immediately. He did not want you to think that he disapproved your actions. Hell, he had a temper and sometimes he broke something when he was being annoyed beyond his breaking point. Never had he trashed a room, though, but he decided not to tell you that.
- I know… It was just such a massive revelation-
- A deception. he stated. Thranduil tried to imagine what it would be like to be in your shoes and he saw it as a worst kind of betrayal what you had faced. He would have been furious so he kind of understood your point of view.
- Well… it certainly felt like that. you commented and took a deep breath.
- I am sorry. Thranduil said and took your hand. He squeezed it as a sign of companionship and understanding, which was a gesture that you appreciated.

- It is none of your fault. It wasn’t you who decided to keep it from me. You had never even met me. you said. You appreciated the fact that Thranduil was not angry and that he was sincerely sorry for you but still, you did not want his pity. What you really wanted was to put the past behind and start fresh.
- Are you bitter about this marriage? he asked after a long silence. He hoped that you were not but he had decided not to get offended even if you were.
- No… not anymore. I was, though, and it took me to a dark place. you answered and squeezed his hand as a sign of honesty. Thranduil was silent for a moment and then asked
- Do you miss your family?
- Yes, but not so much anymore. you replied. Talking about your family was a subject that you would have rather avoided but since Thranduil, who was your husband after all, asked, you suspected that the fresh start required a certain amount of openness from your part as well. You reasoned that you had to be willing to share even the things that made you sad or angry.
- Have they sailed yet beyond the great sea? Thranduil asked. He was listening to you very closely, dissecting and analyzing your tone and expressions just so he would learn how you dealt with things and what you really felt, how to read you and how to be there for you.
- Yes they have. you answered. Your reply was short and it communicated that you did not feel too comfortable with talking about the subject. You still felt that you had been abandoned, although you did not feel like that so much anymore and every minute that you spent with Thranduil, made the feeling smaller, almost as if it had been fading away completely.

- Do you wish that you had gone with them? the king asked. He was careful not to open any wounds with his questions. He did not want you to feel interrogated or pushed, he just wanted to know what you felt and thought, so he could start to be a real husband from now on.
- I don’t know. I guess, a part of me still feels a bit conflicted about being left behind, but then again, I do not approve the way they just gave up. you stated,
- What do you mean? Thranduil asked curiously.
- My father, as a king, is not like you. He rather sailed away and abandoned his home realm than stood up and fought for it. you answered. There was an undertone of disapproval in your voice and it was no surprise; you had not and still did not approve the way they had just abandoned their home realm and sailed away.
- I see. Thranduil commented. It was clear that you had some strong opinions about the subject and you were not afraid of disagreeing with your father, who had been the greatest authority in your life, which meant that you were not afraid to disagree with your husband either… as soon as you pulled yourself out from the darkness, that was. You listened to the sound of Thranduils breathing for a moment and then continued
- I had heard stories about you-
- Ah… he commented. He was curious to know what was his reputation.
- About your cruelness and coldness, which to be honest made me scared of you. you explained.
- I can imagine. Thranduil commented. He knew the nature of the stories people told about him and he could only imagine how terrifying it must have been to hear, just all of a sudden, that you were supposed to marry the monster.
- But then again, I had heard also great stories about the King Thranduil of Woodland Realm of Mirkwood who defended his lands against the dark forces. you added with an admiring smile on your face.
- Oh? Thranduil sighed with a surprised tone.
- And I felt proud. I admired the way that at least one elf king stood up for his lands, while my own father was planning to abandon it all. However at the time I thought that I was supposed to stay and rule the land and I had such big plans to be a strong, fair and resilient ruler who would preserve our small realm and protect everything I held dear. you said. Your tone was neither fragile nor nervous, quite opposite actually and it was clear that you shared with Thranduil the core-values of ruling a realm. That pleased the king and he hoped that you would eventually rule Mirkwood by his side, as an equal.

Thranduil listened to your words. Some of the things you told him that afternoon he had already heard from his counselors but he had never heard the story in such detailed way. He was boiling under his calm surface because for the first time, he was angry at your father, who now looked like a coward in his eyes. Thranduil was more than convinced that you would have made a great ruler, if only you had given a chance to become one. Your every word made him even surer about it. The way you talked about your values and goals, made him extremely proud that he was entitled to call you his wife.

You asked Thranduil to tell you about Mirkwood as well as his own personal life story. You laughed sometimes and tried to imagine all the things that he was telling you about. He told you about the time when Legolas had been a small child and also a little bit about his late wife, although it was clear that it was a subject that he was not ready to confide in you in great extend, but you were pleased that he had opened a door for you.
It was the first time that Thranduil was talking about his grief and about his first marriage. He told you how happy he had been and then suddenly his wife had been taken away from him. It had darkened his mind and the only thing that had kept him alive was his son, Legolas. Therefore Thranduil had pushed his personal feelings aside and focused on the realm… but as the time had passed by, he had slowly slipped further and deeper into his grief and he had become cold, distant, cruel and completely uninterested about the state of the Middle Earth. Now he was talking about these things to you and he felt a little bit lighter. The grief was finally leaving him.

It was getting late and after your yawns had turned from a few here and there to almost a constant thing, you fell asleep as you listened to the sound of your husbands calm voice. Thranduil kept staring at your sleeping form and then allowed himself to fall asleep as well. You both slept well until it was early morning and Thranduil had an important council to attend to. You were barely awake when he left the bed, but he told you that you would find him in the throne hall. You smiled and continued sleeping for a moment.
When you finally woke up, you felt completely reenergized. You were excited about your life and instead of threats you saw opportunities and instead of darkness you saw a new day. You got off the bed and stared into the garden. It was sparkling in the sunshine because it had been snowing during the night. There were no footsteps on the snow and the world looked brand new. You called the maid to run a hot bath for you and after enjoying the warm water, you noticed feeling hungry.

You got dressed up and then headed to the throne hall. You really wanted to eat breakfast with Thranduil and you hoped that he had a moment to spare in his tight schedule. You had not been in the throne hall since the first meeting and entering the large room made you a little nervous. Your presence got announced to the king and for your surprise he told his counselors to leave. You had mentally prepared for a long wait but instead of waiting, you got to see the king immediately.

You walked to the throne, which was empty. Suddenly you heard footsteps behind you and you turned. You saw Thranduil standing in his silver-colored robe, wearing the autumn crown on his head. He bowed a little and took your hand, lifted it on his lips and pressed a soft kiss on your knuckles. The gesture made you feel welcomed and less nervous. You bowed a little with a smile on your face and then returned to stand straight, just as a proud queen was supposed to. Thranduil did not let go of your hand but held it gently in his.
- Did you sleep well, (Y/N)? the king asked.
- Yes, I did. And you, my lord?
- Indeed and now I am hungry. Some breakfast perhaps? he asked, it made you laugh because it felt like he had been reading your mind. From that moment on you started to spend more time together and you started to notice that Thranduil was not cruel or cold. He was actually very considerate and gentleman-like, firm but fair and very brave. The other thing that changed that morning was that you finally gave yourself a permission to fall in love with him.
It was a strange feeling that began as an excitement to see the king. You found yourself sometimes hanging out in the library, studying the old books just because you were hoping that the king needed to get some old documents. You always tried to look your prettiest when you attended private dinners and you always paid attention to the things he told about himself to you. Thranduil noticed that he was acting the same way. He was always searching for new ways to make you feel welcomed and he wanted you to become happy. You both had the butterflies when you met by an accident and those small get-togethers left you both smiling and hungry for more.

It was the first anniversary of your marriage, mid May. A year ago it had been a summer already but this time the winter had lingered on in the forest of Mirkwood and the summer was late. You did not mind because you liked the spring. The nature was waking up and the air carried a scent of flowers and rain. You loved that smell because it reminded you of your childhood and your home. Well, Mirkwood was now your home and it had started to feel like one, but that smell… it connected you with so many good memories that you hoped the spring continue as long as possible.
You were sitting in the garden when you heard footsteps approaching. You had learned to recognize those footsteps anytime, anywhere. It was Thranduil. Your heart jumped for joy because the truth was that you had fallen in love with him during the winter and spring. It had been a small flame at first but then it had grown like a forest fire and there had not been any way to stop the feeling from growing and intensifying.

You turned around when your husband was right behind you. He was standing closer than you had thought and the close proximity made you gasp for air. Without saying a word, the king cupped your face with is large hands and pressed his lips on yours. It was your first kiss and it had happened quite suddenly. Thranduil parted his lips from yours but stayed close. You smiled widely and wrapped your arms around him, which made him smile as well.
He brushed your lips with his a couple of times before kissing you properly. This time he locked his lips with yours and you surrendered yourself to the kiss completely. Your lips moved perfectly with his as his hands caressed your neck, making you feel cherished and loved.

You had been dreaming about kissing Thranduil since you had had breakfast with him for the first time. At first it had been just a thought, a spark of curiosity which had then grown into larger attraction and almost desperate obsession, well not quite, but during the last five weeks you had been trying to create perfect moments for the first kiss but it had never happened. Now you were exploring the lips of your husband and it felt better than you had ever imagined. The kiss was making your head spin and you were pretty sure that if Thranduil had not been holding you tightly against him, you would have fallen down on the ground. You felt Thranduils heart beating fast, just as yours was and you let him surround you with his warmth, presence and love. Finally, after leaving you both breathless, Thranduil parted reluctantly his lips from yours. He smiled against your mouth and after catching his breath he wished you, his love, happy anniversary.

Chapter Text

The elven city was filled with golden light when the sun came up. During the evening as well as the night it had been illuminated with blue lights which had emphasized the ethereal glow of the elves. You had fallen asleep with Legolas and in his arms you had been able to sleep well, without nightmares. When you woke up, he was still there which made you very happy. You were too tired to open your eyes but you heard him breathing close to you. You had been almost completely sure that he was not going to be there when you woke up, mostly because you assumed that he tried to avoid causing any rumors that would ruin your reputation or put you in any inconvenient light.

It was the difference in your and his way of thinking. In your opinion Legolas was very old-fashioned which on the other hand was very charming but then again, you wanted to show him that you were quite capable of making your own decisions. Besides you were somewhat worried that you came out somewhat rude and stubborn sometimes, just because your way of thinking was different. You were not used to being treated any differently than anyone else and you did not want to think that you couldn’t do something just because you were a woman.
- Hey. you whispered with a small smile on your face. You breathed in and out calmly and enjoyed the moment, still keeping your eyes closed.
- Good morning, my lady. Legolas answered with a soft tone. He smiled as he memorized the features of your face. He knew already that in a couple of days he had to continue on his journey and he would have to leave you behind. He did not exactly like the idea but he could not take you with him. It was not safe. It had not been safe to begin with but now he knew that it was getting only more dangerous. The fellowship was breaking up from the inside and he was not quite sure who he was able to trust since the Ring was trying to corrupt the members of the quest and it was succeeding. Legolas however did not want to tell you about his worries or talk about his decision not to take you with him any further.

- Did you have pleasant dreams? Legolas asked. You opened your eyes finally and were greeted with a smile that truly melted your heart.
- Yes. you sighed and yawned.
- How about you? you asked with a whisper.
- Only the best ones, my lady. he answered, took your hand and pressed a kiss on your knuckles. For a fleeing moment you sensed sadness in his voice as well as his expression. Legolas had the worst poker face ever and now you were somewhat worried; what was he trying to hide from you?
- We should probably get up before anyone sees us like this. he said and sat up.
- Well, alright… you mumbled and reached out at Legolas. You chuckled and asked him to pull you up because your entire body was stiff. You had fallen asleep without a blanket and the autumn night air had been quite cool and your dress was sleeveless. When you got up you felt dizzy and sick. You cursed silently because you suspected immediately that you had caught a flu. Your suspicions were proven correct when you tried to talk and there was no voice coming out, instead of sound you started to cough violently. It felt like someone had tried to rip your lungs out.

Legolas wrapped his arm behind your back and supported you. He did not know what to do to help you. He was terrified because you sounded and looked like you were in a terrible pain. Finally you stopped coughing and told him that you were alright but talking made your sore throat hurt. You decided to sit down on the bed for a moment, just to catch your breath and figure it out. Legolas sat next to you and kept his hand on your back as a sign of support.
- And apparently I have a flu. you stated. Your voice was almost inaudible. It was hoarse and it was clear that talking hurt.
- Flu? Is it dangerous? Should I summon a healer? Legolas asked. He sounded worried and restless, well he was because the last thing he wanted to was to see you in pain.
- It’s nothing. A few days of rest and I’ll be fine. you answered and tried to seem as casual about it as you possibly could. The last thing you wanted to do was to worry Legolas even more. Legolas however did not appreciate the way you sometimes belittled serious matters and he had a feeling that you were trying to make it sound like this “flu” was just a little thing.
- I’m sorry. We elves do not get sick and therefore I do not know if I can trust your word or not. he commented. His tone sounded serious, a bit too serious for your liking. You were not going to die, you just had a flu.
- Come on-
- I am being serious, my lady. You might be terribly ill and still tell me that you’re fine. I would not know any better. he answered. Legolas sounded like he was on the verge of panicking but he did not want you to know it.
- You are overreacting-
- I will get a healer. he said and rushed out from the room.
- No, wait… you shouted, or tried to, but Legolas did not stop.

You cursed yourself silently and wrapped yourself into a blanket. You knew that your chances to follow Legolas any further had been slim, or nonexistent, to begin with but this… this sealed your fate completely.
Legolas returned with a healer who did not speak any common language. There were not that many elves in Lothlorien that did but you were happy that Legolas did. You explained the symptoms to Legolas who then translated them into elvish. You were able to do the diagnose yourself and the only thing that the healer could do was to give you something for the headache that was getting worse by every minute. You touched your forehead and it was burning hot.
- Great. you mumbled and sipped some hot herbal tea that the healer had brought to you. It was supposed to numb the aches and help you to sleep.
- What is it, my lady? Legolas asked. He sat on the edge of the bed and looked at you with a worried look on his face. You hated the fact that he worried for you.
- It’s just… you begun. You were surprised that the tea had helped with your voice a little and talking did not hurt so much anymore. Legolas waited you to continue.
- I think I have a fever. you continued. The look on Legolas’ face changed from worried to terrified. The only experiences that he had about fever was when the members of his army had gotten wounded and infected. He went through in his experiences in his mind and reached to try your forehead with the palm of his hand.
- You are correct. he said and tried to mask the fact that he was terrified. There had been a few times when someone from his army had got so badly infected that they had almost died and feeling your forehead burning hot transported him into those memories and into the feeling of being completely unable to help. Legolas felt useless. He was unable to help the lady of whom he cared deeply for and he was afraid that you blamed him for not keeping you warm during the night.

- Hey… it is only a stupid flu. you comforted him because he looked like he had been beating himself up for your condition. Legolas kept staring at the floor and it was getting ridiculous.
- Legolas. you said with a weak but firm tone. He immediately raised his chin and turned his head to look at you. He had that deer in the headlights –look on his face again.
- Why don’t you tell me a story, huh? you asked. You liked very much to listen to him talking and if it distracted Legolas from feeling sorry for you and blaming himself for not protecting you from this “flu”, it would just add to the list of benefits.
- A story? Legolas asked with a surprised tone.
- I am getting sleepy from this tea and I would like to fall asleep listening to your voice. you said, gave him the empty teacup and snuggled comfortably in the bed and hugged a pillow. The sight made Legolas sigh and he hoped that he could replace the pillow that you were holding tightly in your arms. He smiled, put the teacup on a small table and then returned to sit on the edge of the bed, but closer to you this time so he was able to run his fingers in your hair as he talked. He told you stories about the ancient times when the elves were young and taught the trees to communicate. The elves believed that everything in nature had a spirit and a right to live in peace. You fell asleep with a small smile on your face.

You slept until the evening and then woke up feeling a lot better. It was dark again and the elven city was glowing in the magical blue light. Legolas had left at some point but you figured that he had been needed somewhere else. You saw a warm-looking robe hanging in a hanger by the bed It had been brought to you so when you woke up, you could dress warmly if you felt like leaving the bed. You got up and after making sure that you were not going to pass out or cough your lungs out, you put the robe on and left the room.

You greeted with a small bow each and every elf that you encountered and it did not take long for Legolas to find you. He had been informed that “his precious one” had woken up and walking around without an escort. Legolas basically dropped everything he had been doing and left to seek you out. He was happy to see you looking so much better already. He knew that it most likely was only the elvish medicine but at least you had a healthy blush on your cheeks.
Legolas bowed deeply when he walked to you. He had been so worried, although he knew that he had probably been overreacting but he did not care. It was absolutely wonderful to see you seemingly well. He offered his arm to you and led you to sit in a quiet place by a beautiful pool of water that sparkled in the blue lights. He helped you to sit on the softest grass and then started to search for something. You watched him curiously as he nervously spun around. Then finally he stopped, knelt down, picked something up and returned to you. He sat down and presented you a beautiful white flower that was basically glowing like everything else in the elven realm of Lothlorien.

- May I? he asked. His tone was shy and he was not sure if he dared to stare at you openly. In his eyes you looked more beautiful than anyone he had seen before. The elves were known for their beauty but he thought that you were above them all. You smiled and nodded as you tried to figure out what the elf-prince was going to do with the flower. Legolas smiled a little and then brushed your hair behind your ear gracefully. He was careful not to touch your skin because he thought that it would be too bold of him. He put the flower behind your ear and then brushed your hair once more.
- In Mirkwood I have my mothers crown waiting for me to find the one… whom to give it to. he spoke with a tone that was soft and uncommonly nervous for him. You smiled a little and waited him to continue because it was clear that there was something that he wanted to say. Legolas’ gaze was fixed upon the space between you two but then he raised his head and looked at you with a serious, calm yet warm look on his face.
- I believe that I have met the one who is worthy of carrying it… There is nothing my heart desires more than you to accept my proposal and allow me to share your life with you. Legolas said and sighed as he waited for your answer. You could see that it was a serious matter for him to feel that way for anyone and you figured that it was the only way for him to be seen with you alone. However it was not the reason for Legolas. He had fallen in love with you and love was no plaything for the elves. Legolas was sad that he did not have a ring to give you since he had not expected to find love on a dangerous quest. He felt his courage crumble down as he waited for you to say something.

- I would be honored. you answered and swallowed your tears. You had also fallen in love with Legolas but you knew that he was leaving soon and in a way this was his way to make sure that you would be waiting for his return. The thought made you sad but you did not want to think about it right now. You smiled and whispered “yes”. The look on Legolas’ face changed completely. He sighed relieved, took your hand and pressed it on his lips with a smile on his face. He knew that he was leaving soon which made him worried about the future but he felt so much better when he knew that he had your love guiding him through the darkest night.

You both knew that it was only going to get harder from now on. The world was a dark place and danger lurked behind every corner. You felt like you had to say something, to let him know that you knew what had to be done. The smile escaped your face as you tried to form your thoughts into sentences. Legolas noticed that there was something that was bothering you and the smile left his face as well.
- I know that you’re leaving… you said and then continued by adding “without me”. Legolas was about to tell you
- No, never-
- I know you will and it’s okay. I am well aware that I cannot fight and I would just hold you back. you said. You did not want to hear Legolas denying the obvious.
- Please do not-
- It only makes sense and you know it too. you said and sighed. Legolas knew that you were right but leaving Lothlorien without you was a subject that he would have wanted to ignore for a moment. However now that you had brought it up, he suddenly felt like he had to explain himself to you. He was just about to say something when you made a “shhh” –gesture and continued
- However… You’re not leaving tonight, are you? you asked with a hopeful tone. You felt tears building up behind your seemingly calm exterior and you did not know how long you would be able to keep the smile on your face.
- No… he answered.
- Then… Let’s not talk about it, okay? you suggested. It was getting harder to keep the tears from falling but you had decided not to cry.
- But-
- I know… but I would like to live a fairytale for a moment. Can we do that? you asked and hoped that he would not start arguing about it.
- My lady-
- Can you do that for me? Please? you asked and stared deep into his bright blue eyes with a pleading look on your face. Legolas looked at you and then smiled. He answered “of course” and got closer.

Now that he had made his intentions known to you he felt comfortable to show his affections more openly. He pulled you into his arms and held you tight. You breathed in his scent and closed your eyes. It felt impossible to act like your lives were going to go on like this forever but you had to because you had asked it from Legolas. You pushed the thoughts of insecurity away and concentrated on the current moment. Maybe this was exactly what Lady Galadriel had meant. In the current world nothing was certain and you were not supposed to worry about tomorrow when you still had today.
You pulled back a little and lifted your chin up so you could see the look on Legolas’ face. You kept wondering what he was thinking and feeling, if he was thinking about the same thing than you were, struggling to keep a smile on his face. Legolas placed his hand on your cheek and leaned closer to kiss you. His lips only brushed yours at first, like they had before, but this time he wrapped his arms around you and pressed his lips firmly on yours. You sighed as a reaction because his actions had a totally different kind of tone to them. He clearly needed to feel you close to him, as close as it was modestly possible. Your lips explored his with the same haste and it was almost painful to part from him to get some much needed air.

The next three days you spent together almost entirely. You were feeling a little bit sick still but you wanted to push your limits just so managed to make most of the time you had left. As the hours passed by you started to forget that Legolas was leaving. You ignored everything that was pointing out into that direction and chose to live in the fairytale until it became your reality. The days felt endless and they were filled with joy, long embraces and sweet kisses. Legolas wanted to share the news of your betrothal with everyone and it amused you greatly especially when the elves started to call you "(Y/N), Lady of Mirkwood".

As you lived those few days in Lothlorien, you forgot your homesickness as well. You chose to ignore it as you chose to be happy for the current moment. Legolas kept planning for the future that was waiting for you. All the great things, exciting adventures… all the love. His eyes practically shined when he was talking about these things and for a moment the wonderful future was right there, so near to reach out and hold on to it.
Now that Legolas had made known to everyone that he was to spend the rest of his life with you, it was acceptable for him to sleep in the same room with you. You went to sleep on the fifth night and on the sixth morning you woke up. You turned, expecting to see Legolas wishing you good morning like he had during the previous mornings, but he was gone. On his pillow there was a white flower as a promise that he would come back and you would do all those things that you had been planning to do. but for now… he was gone.

Chapter Text

It was another interesting day at work. The teenagers that you tried to teach had no respect for you whatsoever and it made your work as their science teacher difficult, or challenging to say at least. They saw you as this boring, old woman who most likely just sat in her apartment all evenings and weekends watching science documentaries and knitting socks for your cats… yes, they always tried to guess how many cats you had since they assumed that you were going to be an old spinster, crazy cat lady who would eventually get eaten by her cats because no one would notice her gone for a long time.

You had graduated some years ago and it had taken time that you had found a proper teaching vacancy. In the meantime you had been working here and there, taking part-time jobs to keep a roof on your head and food in your stomach. You had tried acting at some point during your studies but you had soon come to a conclusion that it was not for you. You had been just an extra in a TV-series, an insignificant role with just a few lines here and there as your character was working in the café that the main characters liked, mainly silently on the background. That job had helped you to fund your studies as well as provided you a chance to meet your current boyfriend, Sebastian.

You had met him before he had become a big star. At the time no one had known him, well, sure he had had many roles but he had not become a Hollywood A-lister yet and he was not known by the masses, he had not had his own fandom and so on. You had clicked in a friendly way and after your acting gig as an extra was done, you had kept in touch. However as the time had passed the phone calls became shorter and less frequent and you had somewhat lost your connection with him.
You had read about his career taking an enormous boost when he had gotten the role as Bucky Barnes in the first Captain America movie and the radio silence between the two of you made suddenly sense. You had always hoped his career to take off because you knew that he wanted to make it in Hollywood, unlike you who had dreamed about becoming a teacher. A science teacher, to be more specific.

Slowly you had stopped thinking about him, the guy whom you had met a couple of years ago quite accidentally. He had been deep in his thoughts and bumped into you, spilled coffee on your shirt and then offered to wash the shirt for you. You had laughed and asked him for a coffee instead. The get-together that had supposed to be a short break from the hectic filming schedule, had turned into a two-hour-long conversation and it had been quite obvious that you shared the same kind of sense of humor and liked the same things.

But then the filming for you had ended and you had left the set. You saw each other after that sometimes but then you had graduated and moved into another city. You had kept in touch until one day picking up the phone had become too challenging. You had thought that Sebastian was surely busy and he did not even remember you besides you were busy with your own life; the almost-fiancée who then had cheated on you a bit later and your new job as a science teacher. Therefore you were quite surprised when all of a sudden, on your birthday, your “old friend” had called you to ask how you were and to wish you happy birthday.

The phone call had lasted for almost three hours and Sebastian had invited you to the premiere of Captain America; Winter Soldier. You had accepted his invitation and when you had seen Sebastian again, it had felt like you had seen him just yesterday. For some reason he had asked you a lot about your relationship status and you had told him that you were most likely about to get engaged soon and Sebastian had seemed a bit disappointed but you had not paid any attention to that at that time. When you had returned home from your trip, you had surprised your now-ex in bed with his best friends girlfriend.

It had was rough time in your life because your boyfriend was a fellow teacher, just like his best friend and the best friends girlfriend were too. You had wanted to take yourself out from the relationship drama and started to apply for another teaching vacancy and fortunately you had been employed. You had moved and started over. This time you had moved into a city where Sebastian was living, when he was not filming that was, but it had opened completely new opportunities… although at the time you had not seen it like that.

After seeing each other a couple of times with Sebastian, he had then asked you out on a date. You had not been sure if you wanted anything serious at the time but you had agreed to try it out anyway. The date was nice but you were not quite ready to start seeing anyone. You had explained Sebastian the whole thing that had happened with y our ex and you had agreed to stay as friends, besides you were having your hands full with your new teaching job in the local high school that you did not really have time to concentrate on anything else… but…

Yes, but.

As months passed by you were able to let go of the past events. You started to see things differently; how your ex had been a totally wrong guy for you anyway and if you really thought about the relationship, you had not been that happy. The main reason why you now saw this was that spending time with Sebastian had reminded you about what it felt like to spend time with someone who really clicked and with whom you were able to be yourself. It was also the reason why you fell for him.

You had not meant it to happen since you had agreed to be friends but then one evening when you had been at his place watching a movie, you had suddenly reached out to kiss him. The moment had been a bit awkward at first and you had felt embarrassed for kissing him but then he had smiled and kissed you. That night had changed your relationship with him completely. You were no longer just friends hanging out but something more.

You had started to see each other but after a few dates you had both agreed that you knew each other well enough to actually date. It was the mid 2015 when you become his girlfriend officially, although you kept your relationship private. Therefore your students suspected that you were destined to be a cat lady when you got older, but only slightly older, because in their eyes you were as old as fuck… and they had zero respect for you. Your street credibility was beyond nonexistent and therefore it was almost impossible to get the student to pay any attention to you whatsoever.

Your subject was science and in your opinion it was more than important for the teenagers to understand the basics of science and you had tried everything. You had tried to show scifi movies every now and then and then break the science behind the plot down; what would work and what is pure fiction, but the other teacher found your methods to catch the interest of your students a little unorthodox and you were not the most popular person in the teachers lounge. Besides you were younger than the other teachers and had been employed there for the shortest amount of time. The only ones below you in the hierarchy were the substituting teachers.

One of the problems was that the most of the students had rich parents and they had gotten used to getting everything with money or connections. They knew that they did not need to have a great grade from science class to get into a great school after high school and some of them wanted to become famous actors and actresses and therefore, science classes were not on the top of their list of interests. This made you curse sometimes that you had resigned from your previous school because there the kids had had a hunger for learning and teaching them had been fun as well as easy.

Sebastian was the one person who seemed to get you, no matter what the subject was. He listened to you basically complaining about the kids and offered you a shoulder to groan out of frustration on. You of course returned the favor and listened to his problems as well as shared his joys. It was one of those evenings again. You had gone to your boyfriends place and sank into the sofa with a loud sigh that was followed by a deep groan.
- So…? Sebastian asked as he brought you a cold beverage, your favorite drink. He asked you to turn a little so he was able to massage your shoulders that were extremely tense.
- I showed them the movie “Martian” today… you begun and sighed when Sebastian hit an aching spot on your upper back.
- And? he asked curiously and continued massaging the spot.
- And they all love you in it but they did not get my point or appreciate the science –dissection after it. you continued. The situation was really getting you annoyed and the stress caused you to sleep poorly as well as made your muscles tensed up.
- Poor baby. Sebastian whispered and kissed your neck. You just loved the way he nibbled the sensitive skin under your ear and mumbled how good you smelled into your ear with a low tone.
- Besides, they still think that I will get eaten by cats! you stated. Sebastian stopped and parted his lips from your neck.

- What? he asked with a surprised tone.
- Yeah! They see me as a future cat lady who will die alone, no one will miss me and then my cats will eat my remains. you explained. Your tone was frustrated and highly annoyed.
- Sweet. your boyfriend chuckled.
- Yeah… you sighed in return. Sebastian was silent for a moment as he summed up everything you had told about you and your relationship with the students and then asked with a surprised tone
- Wait, you’re saying that they do not know about me?
- Well… we agreed to keep this low-key because our personal lives are no ones business… you mumbled. Yeah, sure you thought that it might be easier if you told them about your boyfriend. Maybe it would shut them up. You turned to look at Sebastian, who looked now less amused and more worried
- True, but… I don’t like them to call you a cat lady. It clearly stresses you out-
- It’s not that what bothers me. It is the lack of respect that bothers me. you answered. Sure it offended you to be called with names but you were not there to be their friend. What you were paid to do was to teach them science and you were unable to do that because you had not respect from your students.
- What, isn’t the crazy cat lady getting the respect that she deserves? Sebastian teased you. His tone was playful and made you laugh. He pushed you to lay on the sofa and buried his face into your neck. He knew exactly how to kiss you to make you ticklish.
- Sebastian! It is not funny! you exclaimed and laughed at the same time. His hands were tickling you on your sides and his lips on your neck.

- My crazy cat lady… he mumbled and continued teasing you. You kept laughing and made Sebastian laugh as sell. “I am being serious!” you laughed. Sebastian stopped tickling you and focused on caressing you instead. After a moment he lifted himself to hover on you, smiled at you and said
- I know… So… tomorrow if they’re calling you a cat lady… you’ll tell them that you’re dating Sebastian Stan… Bucky Barnes… the astronaut from the Martian-
- Matt Damon? you teased.
- Hey, has Matt Damon been in a highly successful Marvel-franchise? No, he has not… he exclaimed.
- Valid point… you stated. You loved to tease Sebastian and he loved to tease you and you both knew that neither of you meant anything bad with it.
- So, you’ll just call me… and I will set them straight. he said as he stared deep into your eyes. “Fine” you answered and pulled him closer to kiss him because it was the thing that always made you feel better. No matter how crappy your day had been. You loved the way he kissed you, sometimes just gently and sweetly and then deepening the kiss until you were completely lost with each other and the world around you stopped mattering.
- But now, my sweet… sexy as hell… Sebastian mumbled against your lips and kept nibbling your lip between the words.
- … science teacher… I think it is time for some… sex ed that will definitely take your mind away from those stupid teenagers… he continued and started undressing you slowly. You followed his lead and reached to caress him all over his body freely, just like he caressed you without restrictions. You both trusted each other to know how to make each other feel good.

The next day you went to the school as usual. You taught different classes knowing that the class with most brutal students still ahead. You missed the lunch because you were busy scoring tests and feeling irritated about the amount of wrong answers in the test papers. You had not asked impossible questions and still, still only the few of the class had scored even 80% of the points. You had decided not to call Sebastian because in your opinion you had to be able to solve a situation professionally and not boost yourself with your famous, talented, extremely charming boyfriend.

The teenagers came into the classroom and the class began the way like it always did; with you standing in front of everybody, trying to get attention but whenever you even tried, you were called a loser and then the kids just laughed at you, after which they got back to having a conversation with each other. “That’s it!” you shouted and slammed the science textbook on the table with a loud bang. The teenagers shut up for a moment and turned to look at you.
- Ha-ha! The cat lady is about to explode! one of the loudest guys shouted.
- Hey… FYI, I do have a boyfriend! you shouted back accidentally. You had not meant to get Sebastian involved but your limit had been crossed.
- Like I believed you! the guy scoffed.
- Well, like in all science, it is not about whether you believe it or not as long as I have tangible proof. you smart-assed as a witty comeback.
- Fine… you have a loser cat man, so what? the guy asked.

- So what’s his name? the guys girlfriend asked. It was obvious that neither of them believed a word you said. You rolled your eyes because you knew that you were far beyond being professional.
- Sebastian… you started but you were immediately interrupted by the guy
- Ha! And next you’re going to say that he is “Sebastian Stan”… The bitch got balls!
- Well, now that you brought it up… Yes. you commented and smiled widely, although your smile was more like “fuck you” than a real smile. “No fucking way!” many of the students commented.
- I’ve got proof, remember. you stated with such confidence that it silenced half of the class momentarily.
- Then prove it. the guy said and then commented to his girlfriend by saying “I bet she’s just bluffing”. You rolled your eyes, shook your head and took out your phone. You opened your contacts and thought about what you were doing for a moment. Were you really going there? Yes! Yes you were. You had reached your limit and it was now or never. You tapped the video-call icon and called Sebastian, mirrored the screen on the tv screen that was in the classroom. It took just a moment for Sebastian to answer you. You explained that you had “a situation” here and needed some assistance from your favorite superhero-slash-bad-guy.

- Hey hon, can you turn on the camera? you asked as you stared at the avatar-picture of your boyfriend.
- Sure babe, give me a second. I just got out from shower and I haven’t gotten dressed yet. Sebastian replied.
- That’s okay. You’re wearing a towel, aren’t you? you asked and laughed a little. Your classroom was slowly turning into a chaos but you did not care.
- No, not really… I’ll just put on my pants. Wait a sec. he chuckled, put the phone on the table and grabbed some pants. Then after a half minute of silence Sebastian turned on the front camera of his phone and his face was on the big screen for all to see. The teenagers went silent immediately. Then the whispering started. You heard the girls going “is that?” and “yeah, it is!” as you had a conversation about the students with your boyfriend. You showed Sebastian that his face was on the large television screen and he started to fool around, which made the teenagers laugh.
- I heard that you call my girl a “cat lady”. Sebastian said with a disapproving tone.
- Well… one of the teenagers mumbled.
- Did you know that the “cat lady” can make your life into a living hell? Sebastian said and started to explain how you were actually pretty bad-ass person and how education was important even when you wanted to be a model or an actor when you grew up. The teenagers listened to him speaking, the guys rolled their eyes every once in a while but at least the girls were paying attention, which made their boyfriends jealous. The students asked Sebastian a few questions and he answered them shortly. After ten minutes it was time to hang up because the bell started to ring. The students left the room for a break and you turned off the camera. You talked with Sebastian for a couple of minutes and thanked him for doing this for you.

As a realist by your nature you were quite sure that this did not fix the problem but if it had any positive impact on anything, you would be thankful. The break ended and the students returned into the classroom. They were still having conversations with each other even though they were supposed to be paying attention to the class but at least no one was telling you to shut up or calling you a cat lady. “It’s a step” you thought and for your surprise, the situation with the students started to get better little by little.

You were just about to finish the last lesson of the day when the class went silent. You had no idea what was going on and decided to ignore it, whatever "it" was. You were writing the home assignment on the blackboard and describing what you wanted the students to do when suddenly you felt a pair of strong arms wrapping around you. You squealed a little and dropped the chalk as a reaction. The students started to whistle and clap instantly. “Class dismissed” you laughed and turned around. It was Sebastian who had come to pick you up from your workplace.

The students left the classroom. “Close the door” Sebastian said to the last person who was still packing her stuff. You kept staring into your boyfriends eyes intensely until you heard the door closing. Sebastian smiled and winked his eye at you. He pushed you against the teachers table and lifted you sit on it after swiping the papers on the floor. Then he parted your legs and came to stand as close to you as possible. You ran your fingers through his hair and bit your lip. It was the first time that he came to pick you up.

Sebastian placed his hands on your waist and held you tightly in place. He told you in Romanian that he loved you very much and then slammed his lips against yours. He wrapped his arm around you and with the other hand caressed your neck as well was traced occasionally your jaw with his fingertips. His lips danced with yours leaving you breathless and making your head spin as you wrapped your legs around his upper thighs and nibbled his lower lip. Your lips felt like heaven against his and he knew that it was the proof that you were the right “cat lady” for him.

Chapter Text

You had always wanted a dog. When you had been living at home, your brother had been allergic to animals and therefore you had never had pets. However you had always dreamed about one and now that you were living on your own and your situation was somewhat secured with a steady income, you decided that it was time to provide a home to someone. You were having a day free from work so you decided to visit an animal shelter to ask some vital questions about owning a dog. You were not going to get a pet just yet because you wanted to wait until your summer holiday when you would have a month time to spend with the dog at home.

The purpose of the visit of today was to get the ball rolling and start the process in a mental level. You wanted to be completely ready for the dog and you wanted to have it all figured out before actually getting a dog. The reason why you wanted to get a dog from an animal shelter was that you wanted to give a home to a puppy that had been abandoned, just to provide a comfortable life to an unfortunate animal that had had a rough start.
You got out from the bus and walked the rest of the journey, about 300 meters and arrived to the animal shelter. The parking space was almost completely empty and there was only one car parked. It was in the middle of day on Wednesday and you reasoned that other people were most likely working. You walked in and looked around. The shelter looked quite nice and you got a feeling that this was the place where you wanted to get your own pet from.

An employee came to talk with you. You explained your situation and you could see that the employee appreciated your dedication for the subject. She sometimes saw people who came to get because the children wanted one or the person needed someone to keep them company. In some of those cases the employees were afraid that after some time the pet would be brought back because having a pet was not a hobby. No, having a pet meant that you were responsible for someone’s life and you had to take it into consideration, all the time… especially when you lived in a city and could not just let the pet run around on a big yard.

You thanked the employee for her time and decided to look around. There were plenty of small puppies that had been abandoned for a reason or another. You felt bad for them and would have wanted to take them all home right at that moment. Then you suddenly heard the employee talking with someone but her tone was completely different that it had been with you. She sounded less friendly and somewhat annoyed, almost like she did not believe the level of dedication to be on the sufficient level.

- Sir, you must understand that getting a pet will change your life. It is a huge responsibility and it means that you are must take the dog into consideration… all the time. the employee explained. You thought “woops” and decided not to eavesdrop. Whoever the person was, maybe they deserved the speech, the employee had been very nice with you.

Alright, it was time to leave. You did not really have any plans or schedule but you suspected that if you spent any more time at the shelter, you would surely get a dog… or two… maybe more… okay, all of them. You walked to the front yard and noticed that it had started to rain. You did not have your umbrella with you. It had not been a sunny day to begin with but you had not expected it to start raining. You stared at the gray veil that was masking the entire world, as far as the eye could see.

- Man, that was tough.
You turned your head to see who was talking to you. You saw a tall, well-build man with a baseball cap that was shading his face standing next to you. The guys voice sounded very familiar, the tone, the way to talk… even the words he used. “Hm” you commented and still tried to figure out who the familiar sounding, and looking, guy was.
- I mean, damn… Did she give you the same lecture? he asked. You thought for a moment and then it hit you, it was Chris Evans that was talking to you. You decided to play it cool and say
- Yeah… I’m sure that they give the same speech to everyone. I mean, if you think about the way these animals have ended up here… it is only understandable that the employees try to prevent the same from happening again.
- So you got the same… pep talk? he asked curiously.
- Absolutely! you answered although it was a lie. You understood now why the employee had been worried about the level of the man’s, Mr. Evans’, commitment for a pet, but then again, you did not want to sound miss-know-it-all.
- Yeah, I’m sure. he commented and winked his eye at you. You started to laugh and blushed. It was obvious that he knew that you had only given him a polite answer.
- But I appreciate it. he said and then continued by offering his hand for a handshake. You shook his hand and introduced yourself.

- Hi, I’m Chris. he said and smiled widely, which did not help with your blushing.
- Nice to meet you. So, didn’t get a dog today? you asked. You were waiting for the rain to stop and it seemed like a good idea to kill time by having a casual chat, besides, chances like that came only once in a million years so you reasoned that you would make the most of it. Chris after all was one of your favorite actors.
- No, not yet, but you did not either. Why is that? he asked.
- Actually, I came here to ask a bunch of stuff so I can be a responsible dog owner… when the time comes. you answered and shifted your eyes to the gray skies. The rain did not show any signs of even slowing down.
- When is the time? Chris asked curiously.
- In summer, when I’m having a holiday. Then I’ll have whole month time to spend with the dog… and stuff. you answered and focused on the tall guy next to you.
- Wow, you really are a responsible dog owner. he commented and flashed a charming smile that almost turned your feet into boiled spaghetti.
- Well, not yet… but I’m getting here. you replied with a sigh. You were both silent for a moment but then the silence was interrupted by Chris.

- So, what now? he asked.
- I don’t know… I guess I’ll run through the rain to the bus stop-
- In this weather? he exclaimed and pointed at the falling water. Yeah, he was right. You would be soaked in a minute even if you tried to run through the rain to the bus stop.
- I really cannot stay here either, can I? you answered. Sure you could stay for a moment but there was no knowing if the rain was going to stop anytime soon.
- No, I guess not. But you could get a coffee with me and then I’ll give you a ride home. Chris suggested. You thought about his proposition for a moment and then answered
- Sure. Is that your car?
- Yeah, come on! he exclaimed, took off his leather jacket and used is as an umbrella for you two.
Chris parked right in front of a small coffee shop. He got out and came to open the door for you. He sheltered you both with his leather jacket again. You opened the door for him to return a favor because, as much as you appreciated the gallant gestures, you wanted to be equally polite. You both ordered your favorite hot drinks and you paid for them since Chris had promised to drive you home even though you had told him that you lived somewhat on the other side of the city.

The coffee shop was busy with people who were having salads or toasts for lunch. It was still early afternoon and the peak hour for the place. Fortunately there was a couple of tables free and one of them was in the furthest corner, by the window. You sat down to wait for the drinks that the cashier had promised to bring to the table. They were running slightly behind with the orders but it was alright since neither of you had any plans for the rest of the day.
- So, (Y/N)… he began.
- Yep? you asked and smiled widely.
- What do you do? he asked.
- Besides drool over dogs at animal shelters? Hmm, let’s see… I am a sous-chef in a restaurant… and if everything goes well, I’ll become a head chef in few years when the current one goes and starts her own restaurant. you answered with an enthusiastic tone. You really loved to talk about your job because you really loved what you did.
- I take that you’re a pretty great cook then. he said and winked his eye at you. The waitress brought the drinks and after she had gone you replied
- One could say so. I started as a line cook three and half years ago and slowly climbed the ladder.
- Three and half years to be promoted from a line cook to a second in command… I take that you’re ambitious and hard working. Chris summed it up. He sounded sincerely interested about what you did and that surprised you greatly.

- Yeah. I don’t even want to think about all those hours that I have worked overtime. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, but sometimes I’m a little worried about what my life will become if-
- When. Chris corrected you. You chuckled a little and continued
- Ha! Thanks… when I’ll get promoted to be the head chef.
- Will you have time for a dog then? he asked and stared straight into your eyes with those bright blue eyes of his.
- Hey look who’s talking! you laughed as you tried to mask the fact that your feet were seriously getting swept off. You both laughed at your notion for a moment and after your laughter had subsided into a silent chuckle, Chris continued by asking
- What does your significant other think about you working overtime?
- I wouldn’t know. you answered and rolled your eyes. The truth was that you had been very concentrated on your career that you had not been dating that much. Besides, good guys did not rain from the sky so even meeting the one to spend your precious free time with, was a challence.
- Oh? Chris commented.
- I haven’t met him yet. you specified because the man sitting opposite from you looked a bit confused about your answer.
- Oh! Well… that is… uhm… Ok. he said. He had wanted to say “great” but he thought that maybe it would be too much. There was something about you that he liked very much but he did not want to seem too forward or pushy. You smiled a little and sipped your drink.

- How about you? How does your significant one handle your long filming… trips? you asked.
- Oh-I’m not seeing anyone. Chris answered immediately when he had swallowed the gulp he had just taken.
- Cool, cool. you commented casually. You both ordered more to drink and some salad as well as toast and the quick coffee turned into a lunch which eventually turned into a dinner and a walk in a silent park near your apartment. The rain had stopped at some point during the afternoon but neither of you had noticed. You had been so caught up having a conversation that when you left the coffee shop, you were completely surprised that you had been able to even see a little bit of blue sky here and there.
After leaving the coffee and lunch you had asked Chris to drive you home but when you had reached your neighborhood, you had suddenly said
- Listen… I have a recipe that I am going to test today. I am slowly getting ready for the head chef –job, so I have been creating my own recipes and perfecting them and I got this idea last night-
- Last night? Chris asked with a surprised tone.
- Yeah, kind of came to me in a dream… so… I was wondering if you were interested to be my assistant-
- Your personal sous-chef? he commented.
- Yeah. you replied and waited nervously what he would answer.
- Sure. That sounds good. Chris replied with a smile on his face. “That smile again” you cursed because when he smiled like that, it made you feel like you had been a teenager all over again, giggling and grinning because the coolest guy in the school was talking with you and smiling at you.

Chris parked the car and you both visited a corner shop. You bought the ingredients and went to your home, fortunately you had cleaned in the morning so you were comfortable of inviting Chris over. You unpacked the bag and arranged the needed items, such as cutting boards and bowls, on the kitchen counter. You gave your apron to Chris and explained the recipe to him. He nodded and asked a few questions and then you started cooking. It was plenty of fun. You tweaked the recipe as you proceeded and kept tasting everything.

Then the dinner was ready. Chris set the table and you served the portions that looked like they had come from a five-star restaurant. You opened a bottle of wine that you had gotten as a present from your head chef when you had been promoted as sous-chef. You had been saving the bottle for a special occasion and this evening surely felt like one. Chris liked the food very much, which made you very proud of yourself. Sure you knew that you were a wizard in the kitchen but hearing compliments from an actor who was actually one of your favorite movie stars was just amazing.

After the dinner he helped you clean the kitchen as well as the dining area. You watched accidentally out from the window and noticed that the skies had cleared up entirely. You suggested that you would take a walk in the park nearby and the plan suited your guest well; although you both had only had a couple of glasses of wine with the dinner, Chris felt a little tipsy and thought that it would be better to get some fresh air before even thinking about driving a car. Besides, he did not really want to end the very pleasant evening just yet.

You walked silently in the park and found a place to sit on a hill that had a nice view to the faraway horizon, to the opposite direction from the city so you were actually able to see the stars. It was spring and although the days were quite warm already, the nights were chilly. There was electricity in the air as if both of you had been waiting for the perfect moment to make a move. You pulled your coat more tightly on you as there was a cold breeze coming from the north, reminding you that it was only early spring still.

Chris noticed you shivering and put his arms on your upper arms and rubbed them. You felt instantly warmer although most likely it was due to the fact that you were being kept warm by a handsome guy. He pulled you closer to sit and asked you if this was alright. You mumbled “yeah” and tried to keep yourself in check. You wanted to think that Chris was just a guy, whose company you had enjoyed very much. He was handsome and charming but also very down to earth, which was the thing that had surprised you greatly. You had expected him to be a player-type and very self-aware but he had been a genuinely nice guy instead.

It was getting late and as much as you hated to admit it, it was time for you to return home and go to bed. You were going to have a long day tomorrow and before starting the day at the restaurant, you usually wanted to visit the marketplace at least once a week to check out the seasonal vegetables and other products. You also wanted to create personal relationships with local farmers so when you were the head chef, they would know you already and it would be easier for you to get better deals in the future.

You walked Chris back to his car and you still chatted for a moment at the parking lot. Then suddenly you said
- I’m going to the food market tomorrow morning… There is this place that sells crepes to die for…
- Yeah, I’d like that a lot. he answered. You blushed as a wide smile took over your face. You stuttered “oh, great, awesome” and so on and tried to casually avoid looking directly at Chris. He was smiling as well, looking intensely at you with his blue eyes that were framed with long eyelashes. You agreed that you would meet at the food market tomorrow, at 8 AM and take a quick round at the market before getting breakfast.
- Well… Thank you for a lovely day. you said and just as you were about to offer him your hand for a handshake and wish him good night he opened his arms for a hug. He wrapped his arms around you and embraced you tightly for longer than you had expected him to. The embrace felt strangely familiar and to be honest you could have stayed there forever. Then your neighbor drove to the parking lot and honked loudly because Chris had parked his car on your neighbors parking spot. You both jumped a little and got blinded by the cars headlights. Your neighbor backed away so Chris had space to leave the spot.

- I’ll see you tomorrow. Chris said and opened the door of his car.
- Looking forward to it. you answered. Just as he was getting into his car, he suddenly put his hand behind your head and kissed you. His lips were there for a fleeing second and then they were gone. The moment was over before you even realized what had happened but it was enough to get you completely speechless. Chris winked his eye at you and got to the driver’s seat. You watched him closing the door and raising his hand as a goodbye as he drove away. You decided that the smartest thing to do was to go inside before the neighbor parked his car because you really were not in the mood for his complaints. When you reached your apartment, you closed the door quickly behind you and leaned to it as you traced your lips with your fingertips and sighed. Suddenly it sank in and become reality that Chris Evans had actually kissed you and you were going to meet him in the morning. “Who would have thought” you stated half aloud and started to laugh as you went through in your mind all the amazing things that had happened today.

Chapter Text

The stress, it was a feeling that you had become quite familiar with lately. Things were going great with Jeremy whom you had been seeing regularly for almost eight and half months now, although there had been a couple of long pauses that had lasted many weeks at the time because Jeremy had been filming a movie on the different side of the world. On the top of those filming –trips he had to promote his movies and it required him to travel literally around the world, however when he was home, you had seen him for three times a week, sometimes even more.

You had even attended some events as his date and seeing Jeremy had had a positive influence on your career as well, not that you cared because you did not; you were not in the relationship to boost your personal agendas. However you had had started to receive many orders for paintings, which was good because it was the source of your income, but at the same time the landlord of your apartment as well as your studio had decided to increase your rents because he assumed that now you had money to pay more, so he had added a famous-boyfriend –extra to both of the rents.

It sucked. It sucked ass big time because you had just started to break even, considering that previously you had been living on credit and student loan just to support your career so you did not have to get a “normal” job which would have naturally had a profound effect on your career as a professional artist. You had struggled and just as you had thought that the things were getting better moneywise, the landlord had decided to get his share of your fame.

The problem however was even deeper than that. You had been painting so much lately that you felt like you had been drained. You had very tight schedules and it did not really leave room for inspiration. Your so called customers liked your paintings very much but you personally felt that they were lacking soul. You had transformed from an artist who painted what she felt into a painting factory now that everyone seemed to want a piece of you and your manager, now that you had one, had recommended that for the sake of your career, you would take full advantage of the fame and success.

However behind the curtains you were struggling. You had a huge, very important order with only very limited time to get it done and you were completely out of ideas. You had no motivation, you were feeling completely uninspired and the person who had ordered the painting was calling almost every day, asking whether she could come to see your work in progress. You hated to come up with different excuses why she could not visit your studio when the real reason was that you had not even started yet. Besides Jeremy was on a promo-tour and you missed him.

You were quite sure that if you had told him about the situation that you were in, he would have most likely been happy to help you out but you did not want to live on anyone’s expense. The problem was that although you had been painting quite a lot lately, too much even, your painting did not really have that great value since your name did not stand for anything in particular yet. You hated the fact that you were nowadays referred as Jeremy Renner’s girlfriend, although you had not talked about what was the status of your thing, and not recognized firstly as your own person, as an artist.

Then you had bills. Your credit payments were quite high because you had had been forced to take high interest credit loans to support yourself and now you had to start paying the student loan back as well. Then you had been basically forced to hire a manager to take care of your affairs with the potential buyers, art gallery owners as well as the press. Yes, the yellow press that was now very interested in you because you were dating a famous actor. You were quite sure that your situation got better as soon as you were able to get a better price for your paintings but it meant that you had to create a brand for yourself.

You had not expected your life to change so complicated. Sure, it had never been easy to be an aspiring artist without a steady income but your life had been less stressful. It sounded so stupid and ridiculous that your life had been easier when you had been an artist without recognizable name but then you at least had had time to paint from your heart and put a piece of yourself into every painting. Now you were just completing tasks in the hopes of getting paid and maybe get into a secure situation where you did not have to accept orders that did not interest you.

You sometimes thought if the masters like Salvador Dali and Leonardo da Vinci had been in the same situation, what would they have done in your shoes? Then again you scolded yourself for comparing yourself to such great artists because they most likely would have laughed at you… or maybe not. Surely they had had their own struggles… maybe. One thing was certain anyway, you were not going to give up, no matter how hard it would get. Painting was what you loved, well not so much at the current time, to do and you had made so many sacrifices to get to this point.

But it did shadow your mind and weighted on your shoulders. It kept you awake during the nights and made you burst into tears when you were in your studio alone, staring at the white, blank canvas that was supposed to become a painting within a week. You had had two weeks but the first week had slipped away so quickly that you had not even noticed. You had been postponing the start because you were seriously lacking motivation and then suddenly, woops, one week was gone and you had not even started.

You had dragged a chair in front of the canvas and stared the perfect, undisturbed whiteness. The sheer lack of ideas and inspiration was screaming back at you as your eyes got lost into the blank base that you were supposed to turn into an inspirational eye catcher by the end of next week and your manager had told you that the woman had demanded to see the work on Friday so you had a couple of days to make the necessary adjustments. Now it was Sunday and as you kept staring at the blank canvas, you started to hope that you would have done as your father had told you and studied to be a tax accountant. Like that you would have had a job with a steady paycheck in the family business and you would not be in this mess.

Then again you would have not met Jeremy either and probably would have cursed your life every morning as you would have stared at the computer screen… but at least you would have not had this problem. Your life would have been so much easier that way, although it would have been much boring as well but the mess that you had gotten yourself in now was just tragicomic; you had been dreaming about fame and success but now that you had it, kind of, you were unable to find the great things about it, all those things that you had thought that would happen. It was the classic case of “beware of what you wish for”.

You had completely forgotten that Jeremy was coming back today and you had agreed to meet him in a restaurant for a dinner. Your mind had been so occupied by stress lately that you did not really have capacity to think about anything else. It was getting late and you had completely lost the track of time. Your cell phone was on mute because you did not want to get distracted, just in case you got inspired and able to grab the brush, dip it into paint and draw the first brushstroke.

Suddenly you heard someone walking in the studio. You turned your head and saw Jeremy standing three meters from you with his arms folded. He looked disappointed and maybe a little bit angry even but you still couldn’t remember that you had had plans for tonight. You were already annoyed and frustrated and you did not need a lecture from him. Jeremy was clearly waiting for you to say something which got you completely puzzled. You were surprised to see him because you were expecting him to come home next Sunday.
- You’re… back. you stated with a tone that communicated that you were completely surprised to see him.
- Where is you phone? he asked and scanned your expressions and body language with his blue eyes. You walked to the table and searched for it. It was under some papers and it took you a moment to actually find it.
- Here, why? you asked when you had finally it in your hand. Jeremy rolled his eyes and scoffed.
- I have tried to call you many times! he exclaimed with a frustrated tone. You checked out the phone and noticed 5 missed calls and one notification; dinner with Jeremy at 7 PM. You cursed barely audible and sighed.
- I completely forgot. you stated and rubbed your forehead with your fingers.
- I can see that. Jeremy commented and waited for you to say something, explain yourself or at least tell him that you are sorry. You sighed and put the pain brush on the table, then you began
- Look, I’m sorry-
- Can you imagine how embarrassing it was to sit there waiting for you? he said and he interrupted you.
- Yeah, I’m sure that it was real pain in the ass. you answered but your tone was sarcastic. You were a little bit unable to imagine how terrible it had been sitting in a fancy restaurant, sipping wine and-
- Then I tried to call you and you did not answer. he continued and started to sound even more upset than before. In your mind he had no right to be so angry with you, sure you had screwed up but it was not the end of the world unlike your current situation!

- Oh come on, do not be so dramatic. you scoffed. You knew that you were being unfair, but sometimes you thought that because Jeremy was an actor, he was being overly dramatic, almost as if he did not have a right to have real emotions and feelings. You knew that it was not so, but you could not help thinking like it sometimes. Life was not a big drama movie and not everything had to be taken so seriously.
- I was worried for you because I did not know what was going on with you! Jeremy exclaimed. He had been waiting for over an hour at the restaurant. He had tried to call you but you had not answered. Then he had visited your apartment but there had not been light in the windows so he had decided to check out the studio. He had watched you sitting in front of the blank canvas with a equally blank look on your face before coming inside.
- Well, as you can see… I’ve been busy. you stated and shrugged your shoulders.
- Yeah, sure. Very busy. With what exactly? he asked and tilted his head a little.
- With… This. you said and pointed at the canvas. Jeremy scoffed, rolled his eyes and sat down on the sofa. You did not know what to say to him. You did not want to let him know about the struggle and the amount of pressure you were currently under. He said nothing, you said nothing and the silence grew. It was a silence unlike anything before. It was weighing on your shoulders and making you feel like there was no air left to breathe in the room. The silence made you worried for the first time since you had gone on the date with Jeremy that maybe this time there was nothing to be said. Maybe you and him just were not meant to make it happen… whatever that “it” was. You had hoped that “it” was love, or it would turn into love eventually but now, for the first time during these eight months, you were not so sure about it and it scared you.

- Care to explain? Jeremy asked after a long silent moment.
- Not really. you answered because you knew that the truth was so much more greater mess that he even could imagine.
- Right, well, in that case I don’t see a reason why I should stay. he said and stood up. He waited for a reaction, a spark from you to keep him from leaving but instead of asking him to stay you only stated with an emotionless, black tone
- Fine, leave then.
- You want me to leave? he asked and walked to the door. “Yeah!” you shouted in return to which he answered “yeah? I’ll leave!” His tone was a combination of disappointed and offended but you only assumed that you had hurt his ego while he was actually just as scared that this was the end of you two.
- Fine! Go already! you shouted and turned around as you felt yourself cracking. You covered your mouth with your hand and muffled your cries. It surely felt like a low point of your life and you had taken out your frustrations at that one person who did not deserve any of that. You assumed that Jeremy left because you did not hear him making any noises so therefore you removed your hand after a moment, gasped for air and started to cry violently. You sought support from a brick wall and then felt suddenly pair of warm hands on your shoulders. You sighed “fuck” when you realized that you were not alone after all.

Jeremy turned you around. You did not want to reveal your face that was now decorated with black stripes that had formed when your mascara had gotten smudged with your tears. You looked tired and like you had lost all hope. He did not ask anything, only wrapped his arms around you and held you tightly against himself. You grabbed the collar of Jeremy’s leather jacket almost as if you had been drowning and it was the only thing that was going to keep you afloat.

After some time you stopped crying and when you had, Jeremy took your hand and walked you to the sofa. He took off his jacket, sat down and pulled you to sit next to him but he still held you close, brushed your hair in a very calming way and after 15 minutes of just sitting in silence, he dared to ask what had happened. You wanted to answer that you were just tired but then again you had carried the burden all by yourself for many months already. First it had been easy but slowly the weight had grown bigger and you had lost the spark for painting.

You told Jeremy how you struggled to find inspiration and motivation when at the same time the change in your entire situation actually demanded you to work more, with tighter deadlines since your manager was very convinced that you had to seize the opportunities as they presented themselves. You did not want to sound ungrateful but working was difficult when you felt that you had lost yourself, forgotten what it was like to be passionate about what you did. You remembered how you had been excited about the first exhibition and how every painting there had meant something to you. They all had a story behind them and they all mattered somehow, no matter if your audience understood it or not. Now however you felt like you had degraded yourself to a person who painted paintings that were easy to understand and sell.

You told about the current project, the blank canvas that was supposed to be an eye catcher in five short days, how you had wasted one week already just by staring at the canvas and feeling sorry for yourself. And you even mentioned about the increase in your rents which meant that it had put you into a very tight spot economically and you might even have to give up the studio. It was too expensive now but taking that step felt almost like the end of your career.

Jeremy had had no idea because you had covered your worries well. Sure you had sometimes been tired but he had just assumed that you had stayed up too late for other reasons. Now however it made sense and he could see the slight changes in your mood as the months had passed by. It made him wonder if he should have done something differently but you assured him that he should not blame himself for any of it.

You excused yourself for one moment and washed your face because the smudged makeup was burning your eyes and making you look more miserable that you actually wanted to. You stared at yourself in the mirror and breathed in a couple of times, very deeply, very slowly. Then you dried your face and sighed after you opened the door and returned. Jeremy had dimmed the lights and he was standing by the large windows as he waited for you. He turned to look at you when the door made a small “bang” sound as it closed.

You walked to Jeremy and watched outside. It had started to pour and the rain was falling down on the glass. You touched the window with your fingertips. It was cold and sent shivers down your spine. Jeremy took your hand and rubbed it between his hands, raised it on his lips and pressed a soft kiss on your knuckles. It was a small gesture but it was enough to melt your heart. You had missed him very much and it was absolutely wonderful to have him back.

He stared deep into your eyes in the dim silence. The only sound was the constant, soft sound of rain falling to the roof and windowpanes. You smiled shyly and hoped him to kiss you since you had been dreaming about kissing him since the last time he had been around and the time apart was always almost torture for you. You never dared to admit it to you or him but you missed him very much when he was traveling and promoting his films.

Jeremy had missed you too. He considered you as his girlfriend, or his lady, even though you had not said it aloud or made any agreements about being exclusive or anything. You had just been taking one day at the time, seeing each other and going into places. However Jeremy knew that he did not want to meet anyone else and he hoped that you felt the same way about him. He let go of your hand and placed his under your ears. Feeling them gently holding you, his thumbs brushing your cheeks as he rubbed your earlobes with his index and middle fingers felt very relaxing and reassuring.

He leaned closer and brushed your nose with his a couple of times playfully and then moved to brush your lips with his. You felt his breath on skin and sighed as a reaction. The soft sound of your gasp echoed in his mind and he brushed your lips with his again. You caressed his shoulders and arms through his shirt and it was obvious that he had been working out. He had been in a great shape even before but now he felt stronger somehow. Maybe it was your imagination that was hoping him to push the unfair world away and save you from all of it. His lips kept nibbling yours very softly and you responded to it by nibbling his lips the same way until you absolutely needed him to kiss you for real. You wrapped your arms around him and caressed his muscles through his shirt, sometimes sliding them under it. His skin felt smooth and warm against your fingertips. You brushed him softly and tried to show him that you cared and that you were sorry for shutting him out. You were not going to do it anymore.

Then you intensified your touches and demanded him to take the lead. Jeremy got the message and moved his other hand behind your head and sank his fingers into your hair. The other still cupped your jaw and with one simple movement he guided you into a better angle. You opened your mouth and moaned softly against his lips. Oh, how you had missed them, caressing you, worshipping you and demanding you surrender yourself to him, because only he knew what buttons to push to make your head spin.

After letting the anticipation grow, he finally pressed his lips on yours and slowly started tasting them and exploring them like it was the first time all over again. He changed the intensity and increased as well as decreased the pressure just to keep it interesting and make your knees go weak. You kissed him back, sometimes with passion and sometimes teasing him by brushing his lips just softly and then drawing back a little so you made him even hungrier to kiss you more. He kept massaging your scalp and pulling your hair softly because he knew that you liked it.
He pushed you against the window and locked your hands against it. The feeling of cold glass against your arms made you shiver but then again, you were equally kept warm with the warmth that radiated from Jeremy. He then let go of your hands and you wrapped yours around him, felt his muscles tensing and relaxing through his shirt and sometimes you ran your fingers through his hair. The kiss grew and subsided like an endless stream of waves, crushing into the rocks or caressing the white sands of a warm beach.

Jeremy steered you to the sofa and lay you down on it. He lay down as well and supported himself with his strong arms. You caressed his neck with your fingertips by brushing the skin softly and guided him to kiss you again with confident motions. He lowered himself over you cautiously and murmured into your ear with a sultry, low tone that he had missed you and you were his girl. Hearing that made you chuckle because you had hoped him to say those word. He shifted himself again and mumbled against your lips that he was your guy just before he started to kiss you again.

You enjoyed feeling him there, close to you with his weight almost entirely on you. It made him feel real, that he was really there. You wrapped your leg around his hips and welcomed him into you embrace. He slid his hand under your back and pulled himself tighter against you as your lips danced with each other. Jeremy deepened his kiss and you allowed him to do that. His tongue teased yours and made your imagination run wild as you were constantly reminded about the satisfaction that he could give you, and not just physically but mentally as well. He made you feel safe and loved, although neither of you had said the “L-word” yet, but you knew that he did and you did too. You could hear it in his voice because he always spoke in such soft way to you and you could feel it in his touch. He always treated you with respect and listened to your opinions and even when you had a disagreement, he did not leave you alone. However it was your turn to do the same and trust him enough to help you carry your burdens.

You sank deeper into the kiss as the rain got louder and filled the world with an echo. As his hands caressed you and worshipped your body with gentleness you slowly felt your old spark returning. You knew that the change would not happen quickly, it was not a switch that you could just turn on and off, but you felt that it was going to be alright. This was the first step on the road that you were not going to be walking alone.

Chapter Text

You got to the hotel and after a quick check in you were escorted to your room. It was not a suite but still a very nice room with a view over the city. It had a sitting area and a separate bedroom as well as spacious bathroom, which you appreciated greatly. The size of the room was equal to two standard rooms and it was a bit fancier. You took off your shoes as well as your jacket and then checked out the minibar, which was included to the room. You took a cold drink and opened it as you stared out from the large window. You were tired but too excited to sleep. It was amazing to be there because you usually never won anything... until now and now you had scored a big time.

The drink tasted very refreshing. After finishing it you took a quick shower and got dressed so you could go and see the city, besides now that you were going to escort a film star, you needed to find a new dress. Sure you had packed something pretty but this was completely different! You knew that whomever James McAvoy attended the premier with would surely get photographed and you wanted to look nice... No, more than "nice", you wanted to look fabulous and to look fabulous you had to do some serious shopping. Luckily you had taken your credit card with you although you had almost decided not to. If you hadn't, you would have been devastated because then you would have had a tight budget.

You left the hotel and headed to the streets of New York. It did not take too long for you to find the first store, however the price range was slightly over your budget; there was no way you were going to pay 3000 dollars for one dress, 300 dollars was more what you were looking for because you still had to buy matching shoes and a jacket to go with it since the weather in New York was just as chilly as it had been in London. After standing in front of the store looking curiously in you moved on. The thing was that if you kept staring into the store, the sales persons either thought that you were planning a robbery or were not rich enough to buy their clothes, which was true but you did not want them to know it. The other thing that might have happened, if you had stayed, was that you might have bought a dress from that store just because you did not dare not to or you fell in love with some certain design.

After walking for a moment you came across a boutique that looked very nice. They were having a mid-season-sale and you saw that the dresses that normally costed almost 1000 dollars were now -70%. You opened the door and stepped in. The air had a fresh lime scent to it and the whole shop was very classy, yet inviting. A woman, about your age, came to ask you immediately if she could help you with anything and you explained your situation to her, although you left James out of it. The woman measured you up with her gaze and then walked to the rack that had the -70% dresses hanging. You followed her curiously because she looked so determined, almost she had remembered that there was one certain dress that would be perfect for you.

"Yes!" she exclaimed when she found the dress among the other dresses. She presented it to you and mentioned that it was the last one. The price was 299 dollars and they were selling shoes to go with it. Unfortunately they had sold out the matching jackets but the sales person told you that she had seen a nice selection of discounted coats a few blocks forward. You thanked for her consideration and decided to try the dress on. It was a beautiful but not quite your style and it made you wonder if it was something that you really were looking for. However when you put the dress on, you immediately noticed that sure, it was different but it actually fitted you well and therefore you decided to buy it with the shoes. The sales person, who happened to be the owner of the boutique gave you a small discount for the shoes.

You paid and left the store. It had started to snow and you decided that your jacket would do. The pavements were getting slippery and in your opinion there was no point to walk even further away from the hotel since the weather seemed to get only worse. You decided to stop for a dinner because you wanted a burger. You had arrived to the land of burgers and now you had to have one, authentic burger. There was a small steakhouse that had a reasonable priced menu which seemed very nice and therefore you decided to go there. Fortunately they had a small table to give you although the waitress rolled her eyes a little, even though she was polite enough not to say anything but you knew that most likely you should have made a reservation.

The burger was very tasty. It was spicy and had just the right amount of heat without being too hot. It was also juicy without being soggy. You ate and drank and even ordered a dessert which was heavenly as well. After paying and leaving a tip you headed back to the hotel. It was getting late anyway and if you were lucky, James would call you in the evening, like he had promised. However you knew that he was busy and might not call after all.

When you got back into your room, you started to feel very tired. You had not been sleeping for who-knows-how-long and after getting a long bath you were basically ready to get under covers and lay your head on the pillow. You had visited a snack shop on your way back to the hotel and bought a bag-full of stuff to eat. The personnel in the reception had glared at you disapprovingly when you had carried a bag of a competing market with you since the hotel had also an overpriced shop. You had ignored the glares and continued like you had not seen anything although you had been a little embarrassed. Now however you were munching on chips in your bed when your phone started to ring. It was James.

You stared at the screen with wide eyes. Sure you had hoped that he would call but you had not really believed he would because you had assumed that he would not remember his promise or he was busy the entire evening... or he was not that interested after all. You shook yourself out from these thoughts and took a big, deep breath before answering the call. James greeted you with a cheerful tone which made you smile immediately.
- Hi. What's up? you asked and tried to calm your nerves down. The truth was that your hands were shaking and therefore you had to tell him to wait for a moment so you would take your headphones and use the microphone in them. You left the phone on your bed for a moment and searched through your bag to find the headphones. It was taking too long and when you finally managed to find them, you noticed that they were completely tangled.
- Okay, I'm here. you said immediately when you had managed to untangle your headphones and connect them with the phone.
- So... Have you enjoyed NYC so far? James asked.
- Yeah... absolutely. you answered and then cursed silently because you had sounded anything and everything but cool and collected.
- I mean, it has been nice. you corrected yourself. James chuckled a little. It was obvious that you were somewhat nervous to talk with him, which he actually found surprising, considering that you had been hanging out with him for almost 20 hours.
- Good, good. What have you been doing? he asked.
- I went to get a dress and I found this nice steakhouse where I ate some dinner. you answered after you had consciously calmed down your mind down. "It is only James, yeah... "only". No biggie!" you thought but then suddenly you started to feel comfortable with talking to him.You after all had spent almost 20 hours with him wandering around the airport and then sitting next to him, because he had insisted on changing the seat with the business man. It meant that James wanted to talk with you and realizing that gave you a boost of self confidence.

You asked James about his day and told him about yours. After a while you heard someone calling him and he said
- About tomorrow...
You froze. Your mind went blank as you waited for the worst. Was he cancelling? You had already bought the dress and since it had been heavily discounted, there was no way to return it.
- I would like to come and get you from your hotel, is that alright? James continued. Your mind was blank because he had said just the opposite than you had been waiting for him to say.
- Yeah, sure. What time? you asked after a moment of silence, during which James had asked you a couple of times if you were still there.
- At 3 pm. James answered. You were a bit confused because the schedule had stated that the premiere would start many hours later and you would be picked up from the hotel at six pm.
- But the premiere starts at 7 pm? you asked with a hesitant tone. James chuckled a little and answered
. Yes, but before that there will be cocktails and other festivities for the film crew.
- Oh... Well I could meet you later-
- What do you mean? he asked with a tone that sounded rather puzzled. You felt immediately that you wanted to explain yourself. If the pre-party was for the film crew and the actors only, then in your opinion you were not invited and it would be ridiculous if you crashed it. Therefore you said
- I don't want to crash your pre-party-
- What? Don't be silly! You are coming as my date! Of course you're coming! James exclaimed and laughed a bit. You felt a little embarrassed for being so insecure and it was getting harder to form your thoughts into words and sentences.
- So... uhm... at three? you asked after being silent for a moment.
- Yes. See you tomorrow. James confirmed. He was smiling and you could hear it in his voice. You couldn't help your feet going soft because you knew exactly how he was smiling and it made you to blush nervously.
- Yeah... you mumbled. You did not want to sound insecure or anything but it was obvious that you were not entirely cool with it.
- Hey, no need to be nervous, darling. James said and wished you good night. You wished him good night as well and then ended the call. The conversation had been such an adrenaline boost that you were not feeling tired anymore. You were staring at the painting that was decorating the wall of the hotel room and then fell backwards on your back. You kept staring at the ceiling as you went through the phone call; you were not only going to attend the premier with James but also the pre-party that was for the very-VIP's only and it made you scold yourself for not walking through the snow to buy the jacket from that another store.

The bag of chips was empty. Fortunately you had taken the medium sized bag instead of the mega -one which you had first drooled over. You turned off the tv and washed your teeth, turned off the lights and then crawled into bed. You were still feeling very not-tired but the longer you lay down on the bed that was surprisingly comfortable, it was a hotel bed after all, the tireder you felt. Soon you realized that you were actually spending more time somewhere between being fully awake and being fully asleep and you decided to just let go. It had been a long-ass two days anyway and you needed some rest.

Your alarm went off at 8 am. You got dressed up and headed to get some breakfast. You could have also ordered the breakfast up into the room but you knew that there was going to be a buffet with a wide selection in the restaurant and it was included in the room-price, not that you were paying anyway. The restaurant was half-empty which pleased you a lot. You enjoyed the calm atmosphere and ate slowly. After you had finished your breakfast, you decided to take a walk outside. You had taken your purse and jacket with you so all you needed to do was to go. The city was in chaos because it had been snowing the entire night. You however did not mind and since you had plenty of time left, you thought that you would find the store and buy the jacket. At least it was not snowing anymore and there was less wind now than there had been yesterday. It made the weather quite pleasant actually.

The jacket was not cheap and you paid it with a heavy heart because you kept thinking about the payments that you would have to worry about for the next six months. You had now spent almost 900 dollars for the dress, shoes and the jacket and then the sales person had convinced you to buy a purse that was another 150 dollars. You tried to keep thinking that the conversion from dollars into pounds made the price actually less and you had saved with the dress as well as the shoes... and the sales person had given you a little discount from the bag, but still the idea of paying the clothes for the next half year made your head dizzy. Fortunately the crisp winter air had a sobering effect and you managed to keep your head cool. The thing was that normally you would have never spent so much money for clothes but you reassured you that this was the ultimate exception that made the rule. This was an investment to your self confidence because you really wanted to feel like one of the gang tonight.

It was almost 2 pm when you started to get ready. You had eaten lunch, taken a quick shower and dried your hair already so all you had to do was to get dressed, put some makeup and decide what to do with your hair. You took many pictures of yourself with a flash so you knew what your make up would look like, should there be paparazzi-photographers or other entertainment journalists. It was almost 3 pm when there was a knock on the door. You had been panicking a little and now that you heard James calling you to open the door, you realized that your room was a mess because you had turned your suitcase upside down and spread every piece of clothing around the room. You cursed loudly and then gathered most of the clothes into your bedroom before rushing to open the door.

James knocked again and you opened the door after taking one deep breath. You let the man in and closed the door after him. He took off his shoes as well as his jacket and walked in the room with a curious look on his face. He was just about to check out your bedroom when you exclaimed "don't" but it was too late already.
- I see, you're getting ready. he commented with a chuckle. "Okay, that was embarrassing" you thought but managed to smile anyway.
- I must confess that my room looks pretty much the same. he commented and returned into the living room. You chuckled nervously and shifted your gaze to the floor.
- Should we get going? you asked after a moment.
- No, not yet.
- Oh? Uhm... Shall we empty the mini-bar? you asked because you definitely needed a drink. James chuckled and winked his eye at you which made you blush. You however had quite strong makeup foundation and it prevented your face from turning red, or well, it did not prevent anything, it just masked the change. James complimented you for a great idea and then fixed you two drinks. You emptied yours in a hurry and then fixed yourself another one. This made James laugh a little which made him look very cute. Almost too cute. You sat down and enjoyed the relaxing feeling that followed the drink and after a moment you felt comfortable enough to even joke with James.

Then it was time to go. You put your new jacket and shoes on and followed James into the lobby where you both waited for a moment for the driver to arrive. It was a little past 4 pm when the limousine came to pick you up. You made sure for the last time that you had everything that you needed and visited quickly the lounges bathroom to check your make up once more. You reapplied lipstick a little and then left the toilet, joined James at the main exit and grabbed his arm since he was so politely offering it to you. He walked you out and the driver opened the door immediately when he saw James. You went in first and James followed you.

The place where the pre-party took place was not far but it took quite some time to get there because the snow was still creating chaos. The streets were slippery and there were multiple car crashes on the way there. Nothing too serious had happened, just some car damages when someone had hit the breaks without a warning and the next drivers, who had not had winter-tyres, had not stopped in time. Finally you reached a trendy looking lounge and the limousine stopped in front of the red carpet. The door opened and James stepped out of the car. He then offered his hand and helped you out as well. You were greeted with some screaming fans and flashing light and it made you nervous about the premiere; this was supposed to be a private pre-party for film crew only but still there were fans and members of press. "What is the premiere going to be like?" you thought but did not let your smile leave your face.

James did not stop to give interviews because you were a little late already, due to the traffic, but he stopped to take a few pictures with the fans anyway. You stayed in the background and admired the dedication. It was obvious that the fans appreciated the moment, no matter how short, that he shared with them. Then he returned to you and escorted you in. He introduced you to many people and got you both glasses of champagne. The atmosphere was casual and relaxed and few moments and drinks later you started to blend into the crowd. Everyone complimented you on your dress and some even asked you where you had gotten it.

You were left alone for a moment because James had to talk with his manager about something important and urgent. As you mingled and walked around, you unconsciously steered yourself to the nearest corner where you had a moment to catch your breath, in silence. James finished the conversation and returned where he had left you but you were not there. He asked some people if they had seen you and they told him that you had been right there a moment ago, talking with them but they did not know where you were now. James started to fear for the worst; what if he had not expressed himself well enough, that he was going to return in a moment and you had felt that he had ditched you.
You saw James looking around for you. He looked worried and as soon as he turned his head at your direction, you raised your hand and waved it a little to gain his attention. When he finally noticed you waving at him, he started to smile widely and walked to you. He told you that you were the most gorgeous woman in the entire room and that he was worried that he had lost you. You chuckled a little and emptied your glass after thanking him for the compliment. Soon after that it was time to start moving to the movie theater where the real fun began.

The movie people, including you, left the lounge -bar using the backdoor because the pavement in front of the bar had started to get crowded from fans as the social media had filled up with tweets and other posts about the location of James McAvoy. After a quick drive you were again helped out from the limousine and this time you were greeted with hundreds of screaming fans and tens of entertainment journalists. You thanked the fact that you had added some blush on your cheeks because the sight practically scared you shitless and you were sure that without artificial blush you had been looking like a ghost.

James was being interviewed many times and he stopped to give autographs as well as to take pictures. You stayed on the background talking with the movie people and after some time James escorted you in. You had basically the best seat in the house which made you really excited about the premiere. First the director spoke a few words and then the cast stood up to greet everyone. The movie itself was very good and the whole experience was just unbelievable. After the movie it was time for a dinner and drinks, after which some of the people continued to a bar. You however were getting a bit tired of the celebrity-lifestyle, all the screaming people and flashing lights were making your head spin, and felt that you had extended your invitation quite enough.

You asked James a little further away from other people and told him politely that you were quite exhausted and you were flying home tomorrow afternoon. James commented "oh?" and he seemed somewhat disappointed.
- It has been a wonderful day. Thank you. you said and put on your jacket.
- Are you really leaving? James asked.
- Yeah, I must. I think I've had my share of glitter and fame for one night, besides, I have to check out from the hotel room at noon.
- Oh... Okay, let me just get my coat. James said and just as he was leaving to get his jacket you grabbed his arm and said
- No, it is quite alright. You should stay and celebrate.
- But I... he said and turned back to face you. He kept staring into your eyes and searching for answers.
- I want to celebrate with you. he continued. Hearing it made you smile uncontrollably and you had no other choice than to drop your head to mask the stupid grin that was decorating your face.
- You'll come with me and I will make sure that you'll get back to the hotel before checking out. he purred into your ear as he had leaned closer to talk to you. You swallowed once as a reaction for the feeling of his lips brushing your earlobe accidentally.
- I shouldn't-
- Maybe not, but do you want to? he asked and placed his hand on your waist. He kept you in place and then slid the hand behind your back, pulled you closer until there was no space between you two and waited for your answer.
- Okay... you sighed barely audible. You had no idea about what was going to happen but again you had decided to go with the flow and accept some unplanned things into your life. James mumbled "good girl" into your ear and enjoyed feeling you so close. The truth was that he had enjoyed your company so much that letting you go now was unacceptable. He took your hand and led you back into the table.

After a moment everyone left to the bar where you spent the most of the time on the dance floor with James. The night continued and finally it turned into early morning. You followed James into his hotel where he ordered plenty of different kinds of foods which you shared together as you sat on the bed in the bathrobes. You both kept laughing and sometimes fighting with pillows, which was very childish but neither of you minded at all. There was spark between you and it was a shame when you realized that it was almost 9 am. You still had to get back to the hotel, pack and check out.

- When does your flight departure? James asked suddenly as you were changing the bathrobe into your own clothes again in the bathroom.
- At five pm. you answered and stopped buttoning your dress. You bit your lip and stared at your reflection in the mirror. You looked tired because you had stayed up all night, although it had been fun.
- Oh... Uhm, how about a lunch? he asked. You sighed deeply because it really sucked ass to leave now. It really was your luck and it made you chuckle a little in an ironic way.
- After you have checked out? James continued. You finished the buttons of your dress and came out from the bathroom.
- I'm afraid there is no time. I need to be at the airport at least two hours before the departure. you answered and tried not to sound too disappointed or sad about your departure. The thing was that James did not know you and you did not know him and you had not even kissed yet so you really did not know what your situation was or if there even was a situation to be in.
- There is still a couple of hours, isn't there? It takes one hour max to get to the airport from your hotel. James stated after a moment. He sounded hopeful but he was clearly trying his best to hide it. He did not know where he was standing and if you were even interested in him. He had tried to kiss you a couple of times during the night but you had always turned your head away or started talking.
- With these weather conditions? I would not count on it. you replied with a sigh. You were right; last night it had taken more than a double to get from the point A to the point B and now it had even snowed more.
- True... And... oh-shit! I have an interview about yesterday at noon. James stated as he remembered the interview.
- Well... uhm... We both live in London... you said and then cursed for being so straight forward about it. You did not want him to think that you were assuming anything but you had really enjoyed the time you had spent with James and you were quite attracted to him... and not because he was a star but because he was a wonderful person; funny, kind, smart and considerate... and very handsome in a cute, playful way... and his eyes... yes, his eyes were magnificent.
- Yes! James exclaimed immediately. He reached to you and placed his hands on your cheeks. He rubbed them for a moment gently with a smile on his face.
- I will take you out on a private dinner immediately when I'm back. he continued and took your hands.
- And then I will kiss you... he stated as he pressed his forehead against yours and closed his eyes. He wanted to kiss you right there and now but something told him that he would like to do it after a real date, at your door. Now you were in a hurry and he did not want to kiss you for the first time with a tight schedule because he wanted to build up the kiss and then enjoy it as long as possible.
- You'd better. you mumbled and smiled. You stood there holding hands with your foreheads pressed together for a long time when you suddenly realized that it was almost ten am already. You cursed and put on your shoes, took one good look at James in the bathrobe and then said your farewells to him. He hugged you once very tightly and then let you go.

You took a taxi to your hotel, packed your bags and just as it was noon, you checked out from the hotel. You got in to the black car with the familiar leather seats and as you had predicted, the journey to the airport took almost two and half hours instead of one. You tipped the driver with the last remaining dollars and then walked into the large airport building. Again you had your own check-in and a lounge to chill out while waiting for the boarding. You had expected the flight to be delayed but for your surprise, the runways had been cleaned from snow and the flight was able to departure as scheduled. You stared at the airplanes departing and arriving as you went through the weekend in your mind. It was sad to leave but then again you knew that you would surely see James again. It was only matter of time that he would return London and when he did, you would not hesitate to seize the moments as well as the opportunities when they presented themselves to you.

Chapter Text

You were lonely. Being the only mutant in your family and among everyone you knew made you feel different and therefore you easily isolated yourself from everyone. No one even knew that you had a mutant gift because it was not exactly a thing that you advertised to the world. Your gift was not a visible one, no, you were able to control metal and ever since Magneto had shocked the world by lifting up the stadium, which you had seen on TV, you had decided never to speak about your gift to anyone.

You had first thought that having a mutant power made you special and it was something to be proud of but then you had quickly learned that it was not the case. Being a mutant made you a freak, a danger to the society according to some people and therefore you did not dare to tell about it to anyone. However you were fascinated about the things you could do with your power and therefore you had studied to be an artist. You focused on metal and it was the way to show your power to the world without them knowing it. The people just thought that you had banged the metal into shape like the rest of them, when actually you used your mind to shape and work the metal.

You knew of course how to work metal with your hands because there were moments when someone came to see you working at your workshop or you arranged presentations about the creating process and you could not look like you had never handled metal before. Unfortunately being an artist did not support you so you worked as a cashier in a local shop. It was a small town where you were living and it was basically the only place to buy clothes from.

The shop was specialized in tailored suits for men but also sold other clothes for everyday use. The reason why you were working there was that your family owned the store and to be able to provide for yourself and to be able to live alone you really did really have a chance. You had been living in the city and studied arts there but then your father had gotten sick and you had returned home to take care of the business. Then your father had gotten well but your family had expressed that if you were to follow your dreams and return the city, you would not be forgiven.

You see, you had many siblings and you were the youngest, about 10 years younger than the next sibling and almost 20 years younger than eldest. Your parents were getting old and your siblings had moved out a long time ago, they had now their own families and they had built their lives elsewhere. You were the one who was now expected to take care of the business and your parents in that small town, where you were the only mutant, hiding behind your art, not really even living your life.

Then one day you were working alone in the store, like you nowadays always were, when a tall man stepped into the store. You were cleaning the dust and jumped a little when the bell that was on the door suddenly rang. You turned and saw the man. He smiled a little as he took a long look around before greeting you. You got a feeling of familiarity but were unable to point out what caused it. You had never seen the man before and he certainly did not live in the town. He was wearing clothes that were not in style in your town and most of the people in your town wore clothes that they had bought from your family’s store.

- Good day. you said in your native language and smiled a little. You put the dust wipe away and casually wiped your hands to your skirt. The man did not answer but he nodded in return. You asked him if you could help him but it started to seem that he did not understand you. Therefore you decided to try in English which was the language that you had insisted on learning among your art-studies. Your parents had always scolded you for being so “modern” and eager to leave your family, your town, your life behind when they did not actually realize that you had been happy in the city.
- Hello! How may I help you, Sir? you said in English which made the man smile but this time it was obvious that he had understood you. You sighed relieved because now at least you had a way to communicate with him.

- I believe I need some new clothes, Miss. he answered. He had a soft voice and he articulated the words very well. He had eyes that looked almost gray in some light, blue in some and still they had a dash of green which was only visible in certain light. Overall his eyes looked icy and his gaze was intense but kind. You showed him the clothes that you were selling and gave him some to try on. He walked into the fitting room and tried the clothes on. He stepped out and in those clothes he looked almost like one of the men in your town although he was less rugged and there was something about him that attracted you. Maybe it was the fact that he was not one of your townsmen but he had most likely seen the world, traveled… at least his clothes as well as his accent were telling you a story of adventures and faraway places.

The man kept monitoring you, trying to see if you recognized him but it was obvious that you did not. You sometimes thought that you recognized him, thinking that maybe he was someone from the city but soon you decided that it could not be. However whoever he was, he was very charming, handsome and there was something almost magnetic about him. It felt easy to talk to him and he was even willing to tell something about where he had been and what he had seen. Having a conversation with him got you fascinated and highly attracted to the stranger and you even hoped that he was not just passing through.

He was just paying for the new clothes when he accidentally knocked over a small cup that was filled with coins from customers who had wanted to leave a tip. The coins rolled on the table and just as they were rolling over the edge you reached your hand at them and the coins suddenly stopped in midair to float. It had been a reaction from your part and it was the first time you used your power in front of anyone. You noticed what you had done and the look on the mans face changing. You released the coins and they immediately hit the floor, right at the feet of the stranger.

You hoped that he had not noticed anything. He did not comment anything and after had paid, you went to collect the coins that were scattered around the floor now. You knelt down and kept a casual conversation with the man as you collected the coins. He knelt too and helped you collecting them and neither of you mentioned what you had just done. A part of you wanted to believe that he had no seen the entire thing but a part of you knew that he had.

When the coins had been collected, you both stood up, you thanked the man for help and stated that most likely there were still some coins under the table but you would not get them until you would lift the table. The man winked his eye at you and when he was stepping out from the store, you saw him making a subtle gesture with his fingers and then you heard something sliding on the floor that had been made of stone.

You looked down and saw a few coins sliding, not rolling, but sliding on the floor and stopping right at your feet. The man greeted you with a nod again and left the store. Then it hit you; you knew who the man was. He was Erik Lehnsherr aka Magneto, the feared super villain but what he was doing in your village? You stared at the coins on the floor, trying to decide whether you should go to the police or not but suddenly you felt strange.

You had met the first mutant ever and if you now went to the police, you would basically betray the only kinsman you had. As far as you knew you had the exact power than he did and you were quite sure that there was more in the story than the media had told. Therefore you decided that you would not go to the police unless he started to cause chaos in your town. As far as you knew your town was far away from the surrounding world and what had happened elsewhere did not matter here.

You could not think about the surrounding world because thinking about it made you feel trapped inside your own little bubble where nothing ever changed. There the family businesses passed down to the previous generation to the next and the modern ideas were seen as a threat. You knew that you would leave instantly if you just could but in the current situation, there was no way to do so. In a way meeting Erik gave you hope because now there was at least one mutant that you had met and it made you feel less lonely.

And it also made you feel more isolated… and lonelier in a very paradoxical way. You knew that he would leave someday and then you would be the only mutant in the town, again, and knowing that as long as your parents were alive, you would be trapped. You had read about the “X-men” in the newspapers in the city, your hometown did not even publish news like that because they wanted to live in a mutant-free world and if someone had found out that you were a mutant, you most likely would have been burned on the stick… well not really, but it would have been a public scandal and it would have ruined your family’s name as well as their business completely.

You closed the store and went home. Erik Lehnsherr had been the only customer during the entire day and you were terribly bored. You needed to use your frustrations to work some metal. It had been ages since the last time and you really had to be alone with the metal for a moment. You stopped at your apartment and changed your clothes. You did not really need to wear anything special to work with metal but you liked to anyway because you never knew if your parents came for a surprise visit at the workshop.

It had been a dark day, rainy and the sky had been covered with thick, gray clouds and towards the evening it had gotten windy. Your workshop was located a little bit further away and it was surrounded by a forest. You had wanted it to be a sheltered place like that so you could work freely without a possibility of being seen by an accident. Besides the people in the village were terribly superstitious and they actually believed that the forest was cursed and whoever when there during the night was also cursed or working for the unnatural evil that lived in the forest.

You of course did not believe a word that the town elders said and it sometimes caused conflict between you and them. You were the unmarried woman who had lived sinful life, according to the elders, in the city and now spend time in the cursed forest during the dark hours… well, you were almost always working at the store during the days so you were left with the evening and night times to make your art, which was too modern for the likes of the elders and they disapproved greatly when you were visited by art curators from the city.

This time you felt like you had been followed. You tried to ignore the feeling and fought the urge to check over your shoulder every minute and usually the dark forest did not freak you out but this time there was something else. You quickened your steps and hurried to reach the small house that looked like a barn. It had once been a home but it had been abandoned when the surrounding land had turned unsuitable for farming or planting trees to grow apples or anything. The people were saying that anything that was planted in the ground either died or started to carry poisonous fruit and therefore the house had been abandoned a long time ago.

Until you had found it and after making some renovations you had managed to turn it into a place where to make your art. You reached to take your keys but you dropped them. It was dark and there was no light anywhere. It was one thing that you hated about the town; it was so secluded that there was no electricity and when the night came, there were no streetlamps to light your way. You heard your keys making a sound when they hit each other, almost as if they had been moving. You knew that it was not you who was moving them because you were too distracted to do so. You turned and saw a shape in the darkness. You stepped away as a reaction but you were greeted by a familiar voice.
- Your keys. the man said and walked slowly closer with his hand extended to you as he offered you the keys.
- Th-thank you. you stuttered as you felt the metal in your hand.

It was raining constantly and you had to get inside as fast as possible. You invited Erik inside as well although you were suspicious about his reasons and motives for seeking you out that way; what did he want from you? Why was he here? You lighted a few candles and a small fireplace because the weather was so humid and chilly. The last thing you wanted was to catch a flu and stay in bed doing nothing. You needed the money from work to support your life and you needed your art to provide you with an escape from it. Erik stayed a bit further away from you, watching you trying to light matches with shaky hands. He was trying to figure you out; why were you not leaving the town, what kept you there? You had told him at the store about your studies and that you dreamed about traveling. You had also been very keen on hearing his stories about the surrounding world… although the conversation he had shared with you had been rather short.

- My name is Erik. he said after you had taken off your soaked coat.
- Yes… I… know. you answered.
- You did not call the police? he asked. He sounded curious and surprised.
- No. you replied and smiled just briefly.
- Why? he asked and took off his coat which was completely soaked.
- I don’t know. Maybe because you have not caused trouble here. you reasoned and decided to boil some water for tea, which would surely warm you both up in no time. The rain had been icy and it had felt like sharp needles as it had hit your hands as well as your face.

- Or maybe because you are like me. Erik stated. He watched you cautiously and monitored your actions. He had felt the same attraction than you had and that was why had had decided to follow you.
- What do you mean? you asked casually and chuckled a little nervously. You had never dared to admit to anyone that you were not exactly the most normal person in the town and there was no way you were going to admit it that easily even now. Erik gave you a knowing glance and said
- I know what you can do. We share the same gift-
- I wouldn’t call it a gift… you mumbled since there obviously was no point denying it. You kept checking out the water all the time, just to keep you seemingly busy and occupied, almost as if the topic was not a hard one at all. Erik put his hand on your shoulder and said
- You see, that is where you’re wrong. You should be proud of being able to be-
- Different? A freak? you scoffed and then laughed bitterly.
- Is that what you think you are? he asked and massaged your shoulder with his fingertips in a circular motion. You did not usually let anyone to touch you like this but for some reason Erik’s presence was rather soothing and his touch welcomed.

- Well, yes. you mumbled and dropped your head as you kept staring at the teapot. Erik stepped a little bit closer and leaned to speak into your ear
- You hide here, hidden from the world, ashamed-
- And is that not what you’re doing? I saw you in the news, you are an outlaw… a dangerous criminal! you snapped and stepped further away from him, turned to look at him and measured his character with your eyes. He had no right to tell you that you were hiding when he himself was running away from the world.
- Yes… but I have never been ashamed of being who I am. Yes, I have done bad things in my life… but you have not really lived at all. he stated with a firm tone.
- You do not know me! you exclaimed. The water started to boil and you took two cups from the cupboard as you listened to Erik talking
- I know everything I need to know about you by looking at you and this place… and looking at you looking at this place. It is written all over-
- What? you snapped because he was right but you were too afraid to admit it.
- That you feel trapped. Whatever it is, it is slowly killing you. Tell me, why are you here? he asked. You were silent for a moment as you prepared the tea and offered the cup to Erik who kept clearly waiting for some kind of response.

You hesitated for a moment and then gestured your guest to follow you to sit down. Erik had a point. He did not know you but somehow he knew exactly how you felt. “Is it so obvious?” you thought and started to tell him the story of your life. You told him how you had been studying art in the city and your future had looked very bright. You had been the best of your class and your works had gotten lots of attention as well as people had told you that you would be a famous artist someday. Then your father had gotten sick and you had been forced to leave your life in the city and return. What was supposed to be a temporary solution had then turned into an ongoing situation and it had been made clear that if you left, you would betray your parents and they would die from heartbreak or shame.

So there you were, trapped between here and nowhere, living a life that was not really yours, hiding your powers and yourself from the world. You told Erik that he was the first of your kind that you had ever met and it was the reason why you had not gone to the police when you had recognized him. Erik listened carefully and then nodded. It was relieving to be able to talk about your life to someone who did not know you or the details of your life, who did not have an opinion about it and to whom you owed nothing.

- So what now? he asked after you had stopped talking.
- I guess I’m stuck here… you answered and put the teacup on the table.
- Or you could come with me. he suggested and put his cup next to yours.
- But I cannot just leave. My parents… they would never accept it. you answered and casually wiped a tear off your cheek. Erik noticed that and stood up. He was just about to approach you so he could comfort you but you stood up and told him that it was late. You asked if he had any place to go and then offered him your workshop for a few days until he figures out what to do. The rain had stopped and turned into snowfall. Therefore it was a perfect time to go, besides you just wanted to be alone for a moment. A part of you wanted to go with the stranger, leave your cage behind and step out into the world but then again, you were afraid that the disappointment would crush your parents who were pretty old already and not doing that well in any case.

You put on your coat and when you were about to open the door, Erik walked to you, pushed the door closed with a bang and trapped you between him and the door. You froze and stared into his ice-blue eyes with a terrified look on your face. You did not dare to breathe at first but slowly you realized that Erik was not going to hurt you. He kept staring deep into your eyes and reading your expressions. First you had been scared but then the fear had left you.

His hands had been firmly on the both sides of your head, trapping you but now he moved his other hand on your neck and leaned closer. He was basically pleading you to go away with him and he kept telling you that he had never felt a connection like this with anyone. It was true; you did not know Erik but something about him was so familiar, almost like he was the missing half of your being and without him you would always remain in the between of here and nowhere.

It felt like he understood more than you could have ever explained, he understood your longing for freedom and that you wanted to feel like a beautiful person instead of a freak who had to hide herself in the dark places of the world, watching the life happening outside while you dreamed about the things you could not have. It was not about your art or fame, those things had been important for you before but now that you had met Erik, you just wanted to be yourself.

You closed your eyes and so did he as he leaned so close that you could feel his breath upon your lips. “Come with me” he mumbled and brushed your lips with his a couple of times. You swallowed your tears and wrapped your arms around him, the handsome stranger who seemed to know your heart better than you did yourself. “Runaway with me… You will never have to be alone again” he mumbled against your mouth and then pressed his lips against yours.

Erik kissed you gently at first and then the kiss grew to be more possessive. He pressed you against the door as his lips explored yours leaving both of you breathless. You pulled him closer and enjoyed his firm body against yours and his hands caressing you very modestly at first and then finally freely, sometimes reaching under your clothes, freeing you from all doubts and worries. He undressed you slowly and you undressed him while you continued caressing and kissing each other. Never before you had done anything like this but there was no stopping now.

He lifted you up and then pressed you against the wall again. You kept caressing his strong shoulders as he guided your leg to wrap around his hips and with one smooth motion you were one with him. He kissed your neck as well as your collarbones as you moved with him making you both pant and let out silent moans that were muffled with deep kisses. Erik held you firmly in his arms, right there between him and the door. He surrounded you and filled you in every way possible making you feel alive and complete. He was strong but gentle and no one had shown such passion towards you before. You ran your fingers through his hair and surrendered yourself to him completely.

It was early morning when you woke up tangled with Erik, the charming stranger. It was almost painful to leave the warmth of his embrace but you knew that you had to go. There was a little bit snow on the ground because the temperature had dropped during the night. You put more logs into the fireplace before you left the workshop and whispered “you know where to find me” to Erik who was still asleep. He smiled a little and you pressed one soft kiss on his lips knowing that you might not see him again but hoping that you would.

Chapter Text

You were standing at the place where you had agreed to meet Chris. It was almost 8 AM but your date was not there yet. You kept scanning the crowd but there was no sign of him. 15 minutes later you were quite ready lose hope and start your round at the market place. You had gotten ditched and to be honest it did not even surprise you that much. Chris after all was a famous actor and you were just a sous-chef, potentially a head chef someday… yeah, you had a bad habit to kick yourself down sometimes and it was a habit that you tried to get rid of.

You sighed and checked your phone for time, it was 8:17 and you chuckled bitterly. Standing and waiting there made you feel ridiculous and embarrassed and it was time to collect the last bits of your self-esteem and admit your defeat. Then you heard your name being called, you turned and saw a tall man with jeans, leather jacket and cool sunglasses waving at you as he was trying to find his way to you through the crowd. Your heart almost stopped when you realized that you had been wrong.
- I’m sorry. I was looking for a parking space. he said and without a warning wrapped his arms around you and kissed you. He nibbled your lower lip a couple of times before drawing back and releasing you from his tight embrace. You were not quite sure what had happened. All you knew that in one moment Chris had been apologizing about his lateness and the next his lips had been mapping yours in a way that really made your head spin. Then just as you had managed to realize what was going on, he had drawn back and left you with weak knees and mind clouded with haze.

- Hi. he mumbled as he straightened the collar of your jacket. You blushed a bit and smiled, however you did not dare to meet his gaze or else you would blush some more.
- Am I forgiven or do you need more convincing? he asked and put his finger under your chin. He guided you to look at him and you were greeted with those blue eyes that were framed with long dark lashes which made his eyes look very charming, mesmerizing and dreamy.
- Uhm… you said and tried to form your thoughts into words but as you got lost into the depths of his eyes, even thinking got harder.
- I think you need more convincing… he mumbled and then leaned closer to kiss you again. This time you were ready for it but for your surprise, he just nibbled your lower lip quickly one time and drew a little bit further away, changed his angle and got closer again. This time he brushed your nose with his a couple of times and drew back again. He was still guiding your chin up with his fingers and he moved his thumb to trace your beautiful lips gently. Then he moved his hand on your jaw and rubbed your earlobe between his middle and index fingers.

You could feel his warmth radiating from his body as well as his breath on your lips. He was so close but still he did not kiss you. You were able to feel his lips brushing you time to time but it might have also been just your imagination playing tricks on you. Strangely enough, you felt peaceful and your mind was clear. You were breathing calmly and quite opposite from the moment before, you did not feel awkward or ridiculous. Sure there were people all around and you did not usually open yourself up to be seduced into a kiss so publicly but in your mind, the rest of the world did not matter and every second felt like an eternity compressed into small moments that slipped away as an endless stream of forever.

Finally Chris pressed his lips on yours again and this time you kissed him back. You were ready to give your everything in that kiss and hook him up for more. The kiss began as small kisses and nibbles and slowly grew deeper and more passionate. A couple of times he drew back and as he was getting closer, he suddenly stopped and instead of kissing you, he brushed your lower lip with his tongue which made you sigh and reach on your tippy toes just to be able to lock his lips with yours again. Chris appreciated your gesture greatly, it gave him certainty that you really wanted to kiss him as well to be kissed by him. Therefore he sank his fingers into your hair and wrapped his other hand around you, pressing you tightly against him.

He pulled your hair gently and massaged your back through your clothes with circular motions. You reached the collar of his jacket and tangled your fingers into it so you were able to pull him closer for you to kiss. He reached to kiss your neck for a moment, which made you chuckle a little when he found a slightly ticklish spot. He laughed against your neck and breathed in the scent of your hair before returning to kiss you on your lips once more. You brushed through his hair with your fingers and pulled them gently to which Chris answered by including his tongue into the kiss as he basically devoured your mouth in the most sensuous way. The kiss subsided slowly into light brushes until you drew back just enough to be able to speak and asked
- Are you hungry?
- Starving. he mumbled against your lips, which actually sounded very seductive and sultry in your ears after such a long and openly affectionate as well as passionate make-out session. You had sometimes seen people kiss like that and thought that it was too intimate for public behavior but secretly you had been a little jealous. You had hoped to meet someone who would do the same to you without caring about the surrounding world or the opinions of the random people, whose opinion didn’t even matter.

You took Chris’ hand and led him through the crowd towards your favorite breakfast place which was just a small market tent with a couple of tables and chairs. You were greeted with smiles as you walked at the marketplace and you were very happy about it; these people knew you and when one day, soon hopefully, you were the head-chef you would have established good relationships with the produce providers. Chris held your hand tightly and followed you closely as you stopped to exchange news and greetings with various farmers.

Then you stopped and motioned Chris to sit down to a small table that was a little bit hidden from the busy pathway. Chris sat down and you went to get the breakfast for you both. You ordered some pancakes with whipped cream and jam, fresh bread with herb butter and slices of fresh fruits and a couple of cookies with sweet tea which was made of berries and ginger. It was sweet and spicy and it complimented the crisp spring morning beautifully. You also ordered some small sausages to balance the sweetness of the other dishes. After ordering you returned to Chris who was just talking with someone on the phone. He gestured you to wait for a moment and after a minute he hung up. It had been his manager calling him about a new movie possibility and he was interested to know if Chris was interested in doing a horror movie.

- A horror movie? you asked after Chris had explained you the general idea behind the phone call. The idea make you chuckle because you had seen him only in romantic comedies and action movies, so therefore thinking about him in a horror film sounded quite strange.
- Yeah, I know… he mumbled.
- So are you going to read the script? you asked curiously.
- Maybe. he answered and winked his eye at you. You cleared your throat and suggested
- You definitely should at least read it through. You never know… maybe it is one of those thriller-
- It is a haunted house –kind of… found footage-
- Like Paranormal Activity –series? you asked. You did not really hold that movie-series in a high value although you knew that it had been a blockbuster.
- Yeah… Chris answered. He clearly was not that enthusiastic about the potential project.
- Nooo! you laughed. “Oh my god, the door closed on its own!” you said with a overly terrified voice which made Chris laugh as well. You both joked about the movie clichés of that genre and kept laughing at each others over-acted performances.

Then you calmed down and decided to at least try to be serious about it
- I mean… movies like Conjuring and Sinister, they worked with famous actors-
- Who? Chris asked. He did not follow the horror-genre too much so he did not know who had been acting in which movies. You thought for a moment and then answered
- Ethan Hawke in Sinister and Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson in Conjuring-
- I take you like horror movies… Chris asked curiously because he had assumed that you were more like a “rom-com” –type of girl. “Yeah” you mumbled as a response. Chris chuckled a little and then continued
- Funny, because I didn’t think-
- Ha! you exclaimed and laughed a bit.
- Well… this is certainly interesting. So you think I should or should not do it? he asked. You thought about your answer for a second or two and then said
- I think you should read the script and if the plot has not been already filmed like a thousand times-
- A thousand-eh? he commented and smirked at you. He was very charming when he did that and it made you blush terribly. You were unable to for a reply so you just laughed and tried to cover your red cheeks.

- You know what? I will do the movie just so you have to attend the premier with me and pretend that you like it. he stated jokingly and laughed. You started to laugh as well and shook your head as you stated “what have I gotten myself into”. The foods that you had ordered were brought into the table. You had not told Chris what you had gotten for you two to share and he watched with wide eyes as the table filled with different kind of delicacies. The entrepreneur had included some seasonal things for free because she knew you and she also knew that you had a chance to boost her sales as soon as you were making the decisions in the kitchen of the restaurant. You were doing that already during the days when the head-chef was not working so it was low cost marketing for her.

- Wow. Chris said as he went through the plates. There were pancakes, bread, sausages, fruits, cookies and tea and on top of that there were little sample slices of salty and sweet pies, different kind of jams to try with the pancakes and a plate that was filled with samples of different kind of vegetables, cheeses and cold meats.
- Yeah… you mumbled. This was not the first time that you got “some free samples”.
- How much did you think that we’ll eat? Chris asked with an amazed smile on his face
- Well… I only ordered these… you said, pointed out the foods that you had ordered and then continued
- And the rest of them is complimentary.
- Do you usually get free samples? he asked with a surprised tone.
- Well… Sometimes. Call it low cost advertising. you said and winked your eye at Chris.
- It seems that it is very beneficial to date you. he said and winked his eye at you as a response.

You blushed and started to pick things to eat from the plates. The word “date” kept spinning in your mind but you decided to play it cool. You after all were just having a breakfast… as friends… who had kissed… very passionately… “But friends can kiss” you thought and then added “but friends don’t kiss like that”… “Do I have time for dating?” you asked yourself suddenly and put a piece of bread back on your plate just as you were going to take a bite.
- Hey, everything alright? Chris asked and put his hand on your shoulder. You snapped out from your thoughts and smiled as you nodded. You decided that it was too early to think about such things and focused on your guest as well as the food.

The breakfast was great. You ate slowly and talked about normal things, ordered a little bit more tea and finally, after almost two hours, you had emptied all the plates, which was something that you had never expected you to do. You left a generous tip and then continued slowly walking in the market place. Some of the farmers offered you both some treats like sweet cherry tomatoes to taste and so on and although you should have stopped eating, you continued munching on samples and buying small homemade candies.

You knew that soon you had to leave for work and the date, that had lasted for almost 4 hours already, had to end. You got a message from your boss asking you to come to work a little earlier which made you sigh. For the first time you were not happy to go in early because you would have wanted to spend one more hour with Chris, depending on if he wanted to spend more time with you and according to his body language, he did. You put the phone away and rolled your eyes as you shook your head.
- What is it? Chris asked and put his hand on your cheek.
- I must go to work. you answered and smiled a little, however you did not look too happy about it.
- I thought you had to go later-
- Yeah, but apparently one of our prep-cooks is getting late because his dog is sick and he has to take it to the veterinarian. It is going to be fully booked evening today so there are plenty of things to get prepped before the restaurant can be opened. you explained and although you tried to cover your disappointment, it was quite clear that you were not happy about this turn of events.

- Well, if you really must go, then you must go. I will give you a ride to the restaurant, if that is alright with you. Chris suggested and traced the features of your face with his fingertips. You smiled and closed your eyes for a moment. When you opened them again, the look on your face had changed completely and you were mentally ready to go to work. You nodded and followed Chris to his car as he held your hand in his tightly. Chris parked the car in front of the restaurant. You both stared at its window. The lights were still turned off and no one else had come to the work place yet.
- Would you like to have a tour? you asked since you knew that no one would come for an hour still.
- Sure. Chris answered and got out from the car. You got out as well and walked to the back door of the restaurant with him. You took the keys and opened the door, let Chris in first and then followed him. You put on some lights and showed him the kitchen. It was a mess because apparently no one had cleaned after the service last night. It was frustrating when that happened and although you respected the current head-chef very much, you knew that this was unacceptable because it meant that you didn’t only have to start prepping alone but also clean the kitchen before you could start any preparations for the today’s service.

You cursed aloud and groaned as you carried the dirty dishes into the sink and turned on the tab to rinse most of the sauces from the pots and pans. It was not the first time that this happened and it seemed to be more like a rule than an exception when you were having a day off from work. “I’m sorry” you mumbled as you leaned to the kitchen counter and took a deep breath. You loved your work and you were good at it but you hated it when the others did not care. It made you frustrated and sometimes you were quite ready to walk out from the door. This was one of those moments.
- I will freaking quit. you groaned and explained Chris the situation. He walked to you and hugged you from behind without saying a word. You did not need him to say anything, just to be there and hold you for a moment. You let yourself to sink into the feeling of having his arms around you and feeling his breath on your neck. You turned around so you were able to kiss him. You wanted to kiss him at least once because you knew that you had to start cleaning.

After the kiss you quickly showed him the dining area which fortunately was very tidy and in order. You were happy that the maitre d’ of the restaurant was very firm and proud of his job so you could always trust that the dining-room was in an immaculate order after a service. Chris offered to help you with the kitchen but you thanked him for the offer but it was not necessary since you had your own system that helped you to get things done quite efficiently. Chris asked one more time if you were sure to which you replied with a wide smile and a nod.

You walked Chris to his car and watched him driving away. During the next few days you both were quite busy and your lives got back to normal. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months. You however had exchanged numbers and you were at least sending a few messages here and there. Sometimes you ended up talking on the phone for many hours but since he had had to leave the city for some time to film a movie, you were unable to see each other. It was strange that although you did not really know each other and had been on two dates only, it strangely felt like you had known each other forever. And even though you were not seeing each other, you were talking like you were actually dating.

Chris had told you that he had read the horror script and it was not a very good one… It was just like the thousand other found-footage horror movies that got filmed with low budgets, but he was going to do it anyway… just to get you to the premiere like he had “promised” and because the filming would tie him firmly to the city, where you were both living in, for the rest of the summer at least. He also told you that he was coming back in few days and wanted to see you because he had been missing you very much during these four months that he had been filming on the other side of the world and promoting his new Avengers –movie. You smiled widely as you held your phone with your hand on your ear and at the same time played with your new puppy with the other one. The dog barked a couple of times because it wanted to have treats.

- What was that? Chris asked curiously. You laughed a little and answered without thinking about your words more carefully
- It is our puppy!
You had just slipped that out, used “our” instead of “my” and now you basically wanted to throw the phone out from the window, especially when Chris was not saying anything.

Chris was silent for a moment and smiled at himself. You had been talking about getting a dog for many times and you both had joked how you would raise the puppy up together. Now the moment was here; you had just started your holiday and Chris was returning to the city and he was planning to stay. He was so very excited to fly back home and see you again. “Girl or boy?” he asked suddenly and that question was a beginning to a long conversation about how you would raise “our baby” together.

Chapter Text

You collected your people after it had started to look like that you would not be able to fight the army of orcs and protect your camp and therefore you ordered everybody to flee into the dark forest of Mirkwood. There you and your people got immediately captured by the elven guard because the elves always guarded their borders well and the guards took you and your people further into the Woodland realm. You did not tell the guards that you were the last remaining member of your royal line, the young and fearless princess who was also very tired of fighting for the lives of your own and your people as well. There was only a handful left from the people that had fled your city and then kept hidden in the surrounding forest until the orcs had found you and forced you to abandon your home realm entirely.

- Please, take this to the king. Tell him that it is a payment for our safe refuge. We would appreciate for a moment of safety to catch our breaths. you said to a guard and gave him a beautiful wooden box. The guard said nothing, bowed slightly and walked away. After that you gathered your people and appointed three persons to check the injuries and hand out the remaining food and drink to the ones that needed it the most. It was quite late already and your people were tired of the traveling.
- Get some sleep. I’ll keep an eye on the forest. you said as you had not been allowed to the palace, although you felt more comfortable in the forest than in the palace of the elves because you had heard stories that the elves did not like strangers too much, especially the people from faraway realms that had no relations with their high race.

The guard went immediately to the palace, notified the king and gave him the box. The king opened it and saw that there was a beautiful circlet made of silver and precious stones and it was obvious that it was highly valuable and clearly it belonged to someone of noble blood.
- Who gave this to you? the king asked. He was irritated by the fact that someone had dared to trespass his lands so arrogantly and now tried to bribe him so he would not lock up whoever the intruder was.
- There was a young woman… the guard answered.
- Their princess perhaps? the king suspected and took the crown out from the box. He turned it as he kept feeling the smooth surface of the gem.
- I would not assume so. She did not look like one. the guard answered and bowed.
- I see. I would like to meet this woman. the king said and followed the guard to the camp outside the palace where you and your people were resting.

The guard tried to find you but you were not there because you had gone to find some your herbs to help your people. The king got quickly tired of playing such cat-and-mouse –games and as the days passed he did not bother to find you anymore. And since you did not present yourself as the leader of any kind the elves started to suspect that all the rulers of the foreign people had died. It suited you well because you knew that you would be immediately separated from your people if anyone found out that you were the princess. Your people knew of course but you had told them not to speak to the elves.

You could not eat or sleep and you were getting weaker. You tried to keep yourself busy so you could forget all the horrible things you were running away from and because whenever you were about to fall asleep the horrible nightmare began; the one where your parents got killed in front of your eyes. You sometimes leaned to the tree trunks to help you to stand up when you were alone but you never let yourself show weakness when there were others around. It was unacceptable to be weak now that you were trespassing and you had never even met the elves before. Your trusted friend however had seen you struggling and after gathering his courage he walked to you and said
- My lady, I think you should go and present yourself to the king. You deserve a bed and a good meal-
- No… my place is here, with my people. Not in a fancy palace. you stated and gasped for air. You had been wounded a little, although you had not told anyone about it. Your people had too much to worry about and in your opinion they should not have to worry about you too. But what you did not know was that when you had not been looking, your friend had requested an audience with the king since he had decided that surely the king of Mirkwood would force you to rest. The guards came to escort your friend to the palace. He walked to the throne room where the king was sitting high up in his throne.

- Why did you request an audience with me? the king asked with an emotionless tone.
- My lord… our princess is dying. your friend said and told the king everything you had gone through; how you had seen your parents being slaughtered and how you had then helped the people of your city to fight and finally to escape. Now you were being haunted by the images of the war and would not eat or sleep.
- And how does this involve me? the king asked. There was no trace of sympathy in his voice.
- She has been taking care of us for such a long time… I am asking you, my king, to take care of her. your friend pleaded.
- Your princess is none concern of mine! the king exclaimed. He was annoyed that someone dared to make these demands after trespassing his lands.
- Please meet her. You will surely see that she is worth saving. your friend said. The king gestured that he had heard quite enough and told your friend to leave who then bowed as a sign of respect and returned to the camp.

- Where were you? you asked as soon as you saw him. You had been looking for him and basically turning the camp upside down because you had had a strange feeling that your friend was doing something that he was not supposed to.
- I was sorting things up. he answered and bowed.
- This is no place to wander around, you know that! you stated and looked worried.
- Were you worried? your friend asked with a surprised tone. He was surprised that your concern had no limits and even when you were injured, tired and exhausted you worried about your people instead of worrying about yourself.
- Of course I was worried. We do not know how far the hospitality of the elves reaches. you stated. The conversation however was interrupted by a guard who announced immediately that
- The king requests an audience with the princess.
- What? you exclaimed and looked at your friend with shocked look on your face. Your friend had betrayed you and now you were possibly in deep trouble. The friend apologized and left before you managed to scold him.

- Please follow me. the guard said and his body language made completely clear that he was serious.
- Now? you asked.
- Yes. he answered and motioned you to follow him. You followed the guard and pulled the hood of your cloak over your head as you were escorted to the throne room. The king was sitting high up on his throne. He looked uninterested and magnificent, terrifying and powerful when he stood up and looked down on you like you had been nothing but an insect. You bowed deeply as soon as the guard had closed the door behind you and you remained to stay in that position since you did not dare to look at the king. You had heard many rumors about the beauty of the elven king, Thranduil, but you had never seen even a picture of him.
- So why is that your friend had to come and tell me that there is the princess in the camp? Thranduil asked.
- Excuse me? you asked and tried to figure out what was the best way not to make the king any more upset than he already was.
- Yes… I just had an interesting conversation with a man who begged me to take care of you. he said and walked down the stairs that led to his throne.
- I can assure you, my lord, you do not have to worry… you said and sought safety from the shadow that the hood of your cloak provided you.
- He told me that you’re not sleeping or eating. the king stated as he walked around you and glared at your dirty clothes.

- Oh… there have been far more important things to… to… uhm… you mumbled but his presence made you to lose your thought and you in the end your voice faded out completely. The king stopped to stand in front of you and his close proximity made you want to just runaway.
- I have heard rumors of your beauty, my lady. Look at me. he ordered since you were still hiding under the cloak.
- I can assure you, none of those rumors are true. you answered. You were painfully aware of the state that you were in as well as the rumors that stated that you were the most enchanting woman of your realm.
- Let me decide for myself. he said and gestured you to removed your hood and reveal your face to him. You grabbed the edges of the fabric and pulled the hood down but sill you did not dare to look at him and kept your head bowed down. Thranduil put his hand under your chin and guided you to lift your head so he would get a good look of your face. You looked tired and sad which made the king scoff loudly. Thranduil had a disgusted expression on his face.

- I can see the rumors were not true after all. he commented and looked at you with a judging glare. He removed his fingers from your chin almost as if you had been too ugly to even touch.
- I am sorry for disappointing, my lord. I must say that all the rumors I’ve heard about your beauty, have indeed been true. you said and bowed. Your voice was trembling and you wanted just to sink underground.
- Did you not know that now I have a royal duty to accommodate you? he asked suddenly and walked to a small table that was hosting a fancy carafe and one glass. For a moment you thought that he was going to offer you a glass of wine to drink but he sipped the wine himself and glared at you once again.
- I would rather stay with my people, my lord. I brought them here and I think it is my duty to stay by their side. you stated although your words seemed to get stuck in your throat making you hope that the king had offered you something to drink.

- Unfortunately I cannot allow that. You see, you’re a trespasser and therefore I should lock you and your people up. he said and emptied the glass.
- Do what you wish with me, but please let my people be. you pleaded. You tried to sound strong and firm but you were anything but that at the moment.
- What is your plan anyway? the king asked after a moment. He poured himself another glass of wine and walked to you.
- Uhm, to find a small corner of a land where we could start again. you answered as you tried to avoid his gaze.
- The winter is coming. You would not survive for a month out there. Thranduil stated with a cold, distant and emotionless tone.
- Well, that is the risk I must take. you replied and gasped silently as there was a sudden sharp pain.
- Let’s say, there was a corner of a land here in Mirkwood, would it suit you? the king asked. He kept monitoring you and he noticed that you were in pain, however he admired the way you fought through the pain without any tears or whining.

- It depends on the conditions. you answered and kept breathing through the ache.
- If there was that kind of corner, your subjects would become mine and you would lose your right to rule them. Thranduil said and kept reading your expressions that were uncommonly nonexistent, almost like you had no feelings inside to project on your face. You thought for a moment and the answered
- I would be more than happy to live as a peasant-
- No, you would live here at the palace as an adviser for things that would concern your people. Thranduil stated.
- I see… I need to sleep on it, so to speak. you said, bowed again and turned immediately as you were gestured to leave. You heard the king speaking with a loud voice as you were walking to the doors
- I want your answer tomorrow. There is still time to build houses before the winter comes but the work must be started immediately. Now you will be escorted to your room. he said and motioned the guard to escort you away.

The kings voice echoed inside your mind as well as in the large hall as you stepped out from the throne room into the corridor. You were being taken to a guestroom and asked to take a bath. It had been ages since you had a change to scrub yourself clean and after the bath you took a look of yourself on a mirror. You looked disgusting. Later you were served food and drink but you refused it first by saying that you could not possibly eat while your people were starving but you were informed that your people had been served too. After eating you went to sleep. It was strange to be in a soft bed after countless of months sleeping in the forest. You felt surprisingly tired and fell asleep very soon.

However you were not allowed to sleep peacefully because the familiar nightmares began immediately as you had fallen deep asleep. You woke up when there were guards in the room and someone was holding you forcefully against the bed. You had been screaming and your voice had worn out. It took a long time for you to wake up completely and as you did, you gasped for air and tried to focus on the familiar voice that was telling you to calm down. It was Thranduil. You stopped screaming and fighting back. Thranduil took his hand off as he was sure that you were now fully awake. You sat up and looked around.

- I'm fine. you commented as your face turned from shocked to embarrassed. The guards and Thranduil left the room without saying a word. Thranduil told you before he left that he would expect to see you at the breakfast soon where you were expected to give him the answer. You did not say anything, just nodded as a sign of understanding. Otherwise the king had not said anything, not ever asked if you were really fine. It made you feel like you had been a piece of trash on his shoe, a problem that had to be dealt with.

You got dressed up and after staring at your own reflection, which was as tired and sorrowful as it had been, you left the guestroom and walked to the dining hall. Thranduil was not there yet but you were being seated anyway. Then Thranduil arrived. He was wearing a magnificent robe and a crown. You stood up right away and bowed deeply until the king motioned you to sit down. You both sat down at the same time and the servants brought them plates of fresh fruits and bread with cheese.
- What kind of dreams make you scream like that and cause you to wake up the whole palace? the king asked with a cold tone. You stayed silent at first because your dreams were too private and horrible to discuss.
- Speak! Thranduil demanded and you had no other choice than to answer, no matter how painful the subject was.
- The ones where I watch my parents to die and everything I hold dear being torn to shreds. you answered without sounding dramatic. The truth was that you were numb and slipping away further into the darkness every day. You were too tired to feel anything and there was no hope left for you in this world.

- I see. he said and sounded very unemotional. There was no hint of sympathy in his voice, which to be honest did not surprise you at all.
- I trust you have made your decision... he continued. He was sure that you would be proud, young and foolish and decline his offer so your answer was a huge surprise
- Yes and I am willing to take your offer.
- But it means that you'll no longer rule them... the king said. He put the slice of the fruit back on the plate and focused his entire attention on you.
- If I'll take my people and leave, we would last a month. By staying here I can give my people security and a place to start over. A future. you said. There was still no emotion in your voice.
- That is a wise decision. Thranduil commented.
- I am not staying, however. you continued. Thranduil looked surprised.
- We left in a hurry and therefore there was no time to say goodbyes to the fallen ones. I must go back and bury our dead. Maybe then I may be at peace. you said and sipped your drink.
- Will you come back? he asked. You did not answer. The truth was that you did not think you would return. You were tired and disgusted with your current state of being alive without actually being really alive. The silence lasted for a long time as you got lost inside your own mind and ou stared into the space between you and the king, not really looking anywhere.

- Very well, then. I shall come with you. he said. You recoiled from your thoughts and stated
- There is no need-
- I am afraid that you're not planning to come back at all. Therefore I must personally make sure that you will. I gave my word to your friend and my honor will not tolerate breaking it. he stated with an assertive tone.
- I will come back... you mumbled and hoped that the elf king would believe you. However you were not that lucky.
- You're lying. he said and an awful long silence followed. You both continued eating without any further conversation and when you both were done, Thranduil stood up, left the table and said
- I will order my men to start accommodating your people and we shall leave in five days. Now go and rest. It will be a long and hard journey.

You nodded since you did not need him to tell you that where you were going there was nothing but ruins and death but you had to go anyway, you knew that already and surely the king knew as well. He had after all lived for a long time and seen many wars and plenty of death. Five days passed by fast and during those days you did not see either your people or Thranduil; it gave your time to think about your life and meaning of it all. For you there was no meaning. It was time to go.
Then it was time to leave the palace. It was early morning and you had not been sleeping during the previous night. You had been sitting by the window and staring into the darkness that surrounded the palace and when it had started to get less dark, you had cleaned the guest room so it looked like you had never even been there. Thranduil was waiting for you on the courtyard when you walked there. He looked annoyed and distant; clearly he was not pleased to leave. Next to him there was a group of ten guards that were ordered to follow them.
- There is no need for you to come... you said silently.
- You're not in a position to negotiate about it with me. he answered. He did not really see you as a princess and he had no respect for you.
- Very well, shall we go then? you asked and hopped on the horse. Thranduil was riding a rather large elk.

After riding for a week through very hard terrain you reached your city. It had been almost two years since it had been attacked and almost one and half years since you had to abandon the city and flee. You had been living in a forest, hiding, for a long time and it was basically a miracle that you had survived for so long -well, some of you had. You and the elves arrived to the gates of the palace. There were bodies everywhere and the atmosphere was gloomy.
- I must gather the bodies and burn them. you said and hopped off the horse to the ground. The stony yard felt familiar under your boots and brought back many memories.
- What? Thranduil exclaimed.
- The flesh of my people does not rot. We burn our dead ones so their spirits will be freed and can find peace among the old spirits. If I do not do that, they will be trapped for the rest of the time in darkness. you explained. Your people were ageless like the elves but otherwise you were like human beings; you got sick and sometimes you died, but you never got old or die from old age.
Thranduil ordered his men to gather all the bodies to the yard. He followed your when you entered the palace. You navigated the corridors easily and found your mother and father dead in their bed. The attack had come in the darkness of the night and they had been slain to their bed. You had ran to warn them just in time to see the orcs piercing their bodies with rusty, blunt blades, leaving them to bleed out in pain.

Now they looked like they had been sleeping. Thranduil followed you keenly with his eyes as you lighted a fire and said a few words in your language. Then you lighted the corners of the blanket in fire. It spread fast and the bodies burned out just as fast, in a flash your parents were gone and there was nothing left of them to prove that they had once lived… nothing but you. The thought made you sigh deeply. A guard came to announce that they had brought all the bodies that they had found to the courtyard. You turned and walked away. At the door you stopped and glanced one last time at the pile of ashes that used to be a bed with your parents on it. There was some faint green mist rising from the ashes. You smiled just slightly and then walked away.

When you got out you walked to the pile of bodies that looked like they had been just sleeping. You started to sing a melancholy tune. First silently and then louder. Your voice was beautiful, sad and haunting. Then you took a torch and lighted the bodies on fire. You continued singing, looking into the flames. Thranduil listened to your and he started to understand the grief you were having. He could imagine what it had been like and he looked at your with different eyes, feeling warm affection towards your. After a moment the fire burned out. There was green mist rising from the ashes.
- There is one thing I still must do. you said and walked back into the palace. Thranduil stayed out with the guards. He however had a strange feeling that maybe he should not let you wander around alone.

You walked the stairs up to your room which had a balcony and a beautiful view over the city, forest and a lake. You changed your clothes, fixed your hair and colored your lips dark red. You added some black liner to your eyes and colored your lashes black so even for a moment you would look as powerful as you had once looked. You took your crown and fastened your sword on your hips, stared at yourself on the mirror for a moment and then walked to the balcony. You looked around the city from high up; there were traces of green mist rising from the different corners of the city because the elf guards had obviously found some bodies more and burned them. You smiled slightly and stepped on the ledge.

In the meantime Thranduil was getting worried. You had been gone for too long and there had been something in your expression, the way you had looked at him that made him worried. You had looked at him almost like you were not expecting to see him again. T