Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Mel/Johnny, Red Hamilton, Tommy Carroll
Fandom: Public Enemies
Genres: AU, Captivefic, Drama, Hurt/Comfort, Romance
Rating (this chapter): PG-13
Spoilers: For the movie, natch. :)
General Summary: During the chaos of the shoot-out at Little Bohemia, Special Agent Melvin Purvis is captured by the Dillinger Gang and becomes a ‘Hostage To Fortune’…and ‘Johnny’s Indulgence’.
Chapter Summary: Mel has to earn his keep.
Date Of Completion: August 1, 2009
Date Of Posting: September 1, 2009
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Universal does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1158
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: This story was inspired by Mary Renault’s The Persian Boy. Alexander the Great’s men accepted their leader’s indulgence, who happened to be Bagoas, the Persian Boy, an ex-slave who shared Alexander’s bed. They didn’t object to him being male but that he was a barbarian (non-Greek). It showed their love and respect for Alexander when they accepted Bagoas, and learned to respect him in his own right.
Canon is a jumping-off point but I changed several things, including the survival of Johnny’s gang, as their dynamic was important to this story.
Mostly this is drama with elements of romance, so I said what the heck and included that in the Genre. :)
Yeah, this was going to be a one-shot, albeit a long one, but the boys were just too much fun to play with. ;)
So, enjoy this story of seduction, sex, and a touch of Stockholm Syndrome. ;)
The entire series can be found here.
"CLOTHES MAKE THE MAN"
Early-morning thunderstorms brought back the unseasonal heat. When Mel was brought back to his room, he was directed to change the bedsheets, then told to put on old jeans and an undershirt. At his quizzical look Johnny drawled, “We need some laundry done. Gotta earn your keep, Beautiful.”
“You mean sleeping with the boss doesn’t give me special privileges?” Mel’s eyes sparkled.
Johnny smirked. “C’mon.”
He led Mel to a stream several yards away from the cabin. A mountain of dirty laundry was piled in an old cardboard box stamped Campbell’s Soup, an empty box for the washed clothes next to it.
“You’ve got a big load of laundry there, Agent Purty. Best get to it.”
Mel sighed, but at least he was out of his room. His handcuff chain was unlocked but Johnny slid a longer one around his waist, taking his time as Mel blushed pink, and the long chain was secured around a tree. He didn’t think he’d find an opportunity to escape.
Maybe he didn’t want to escape.
Mel took out a shirt and washed it vigorously in the stream, then started to lay it out on a flat rock.
“Don’t bother,” Johnny said as he lolled against a tree. “Put it in the empty box. It’ll get hung on the line.”
Mel put the shirt in the box, taking out another one. It smelled like Johnny, and he smiled a little.
As he washed the shirt, he thought of escape and his reluctance to actually try it again. He wasn’t sure where he was, or how far it was to civilization. He was also uncertain of the dizzy spells and how they came and went with no warning.
And as Johnny says, we only have this time together.
He was looking at a bleak future, back to loneliness and trying to claw his way up the Bureau’s ladder, slipping off the rungs and dangling over a precipice.
Well, Hoover was trying to grab him. He had given him chances but Mel knew that he was like a circus acrobat on the trapeze or high wire, performing a precarious balancing act.
He carefully placed the clean shirt in the second box. He was being foolish. Johnny loved Billie Frechette. And why not? She was a beautiful woman, someone he could build a life with if he survived his crazy life. There was no future for two men, each on different sides of the law.
He’d have a lifetime for uneasiness and regrets.
But there was now, and that would have to be enough.
Mel bent to his task. If he had to be a washerwoman, so be it. He’d be the best damned washerwoman this gang had ever seen.
Mel worked hard, the clean clothes piling up. Red came by and picked them up, returning with the box, ready for more clothes.
Johnny ambled over to sit on the flat rock at the edge of the stream. He skipped a few stones, then said, “Bet you’ve never done laundry before.”
“Actually, I have. I helped Evangeline sometimes when I was little.”
“You were fond of Evangeline?”
Mel nodded as he scrubbed a sheet. “She is a real fine woman. She’d sing or tell me stories while we worked.”
“She sounds real nice.”
Mel smiled. “She is.” He sighed. “It’s not easy for her, being one of her race in South Carolina, of all places, but she never took that out on me, and I think she was genuinely cheerful most of the time. I…I don’t pretend to understand her feelings, though.”
"Can't be easy."
They stayed quiet for several minutes, the only sounds that of birds singing and the splashing of water as Mel worked.
“Gotta answer the call of nature,” Johnny winked. He went off into the woods.
Tommy appeared to take the clean clothes just as Mel picked up a pair of boxer shorts from the dirty pile. The gangster smirked.
“Guess you could identify those real good.”
Mel placed them in the water. “Good quality.”
Tommy snickered. “You got an eye for quality, Agent Purvis?”
“I’d like to think so.” He kept a wary eye on the man, in case he wanted a little revenge for the escape.
Tommy was still smirking as he carried away the wet laundry. Johnny re-appeared and sat back down on the rock.
“Looks like you’re doin’ a good job.”
“I should hope so! Some of these shirts are expensive.”
Johnny grinned. “I do like dressin’ fancy.” He leaned over and teased, “Seems like you’re the same.”
Mel smiled. “I like to dress nicely.”
“You don’t dress like other cops.”
“I’m luckier than they are. I can afford better clothes.” He immersed a shirt in the stream. “The Bureau does not pay well.”
“Guess clothes make the man, huh?”
“Makes the man what?”
Johnny shook his head. “Sly, Mel, sly. Knew you had that sense of humor right off. Hmm, so who’s your favorite clothier?”
“Well, Brooks Brothers is always reliable for style and quality.” Mel pulled out the shirt and shook it, laying it in the boxy. “Also Abercrombie & Fitch do well. I go local for my hats, though. I just have had better luck.”
“So nothing off the rack?” Johnny asked amusedly.
“Heavens, no! Unless I have no choice.”
Johnny laughed. “Can’t argue with your taste.” He ran a finger down Mel’s hip. “When I saw you in the flesh the first time in the Tucson jail, I knew you were wearing fine quality. ‘Course, I was a little distracted by the beautiful man inside the clothes.”
Mel’s smile was saucy. “Guess I could say the same.”
“Oh, yeah?” Genuine interest sparked in Johnny’s eyes.
“Oh, yeah. I saw a man with an infuriating sense of self-confidence in a real nice vest…” Johnny laughed “…and who was damned cocky for a man locked up in a jail cell.”
“Well, Mel, I knew I had to get out so’s I could see you again,” Johnny teased.
Mel laughed. “Looks like you were successful.”
“Toldja I’d see ya down the road.”
“That you did.”
They exchanged amused looks, Mel happy, something he hadn’t felt in years.
When Mel was finished, Johnny unlocked the chain and hooked the handcuffs together. Tommy showed up and carried the laundry back, Johnny keeping his eye on Mel. Back at the cabin, Mel was directed to hang the last batch of laundry on the line, then was escorted back to his room. The shutters were open and sunlight poured in.
Johnny rested a hand on his cheek. “I’ll be back in a little while.”
Mel nodded and rested his head back against the headboard and closed his eyes.
All they had was now.
He was determined to take all of now that he could get.
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