Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Mel/Johnny, J. Edgar Hoover, Charles/Doris, Carter Baum
Fandom: Public Enemies
Genres: AU, Fairytale, Romance
Rating (this chapter): PG-13
Spoilers: Not really.
General Summary: The Grand Duke is charged by the King to bring in the Rogue Knight…but the fairest Knight in all the land falls in love with him instead.
Chapter Summary: Mel grows weaker as Johnny is determined to rescue him, and the battle is joined.
Date Of Completion: August 26, 2009
Date Of Posting: November 24, 2009
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Universal does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1305
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: I’ve written straightforward fairytales before in other fandoms and got an idea for this one, but then my Muses threw me a curve and insisted that this story become a hybrid of classical fairytale and 1930s, so that’s why you’ll see Kings and Knights but greatcoats and fedoras instead of armor, and cars instead of horses. Hopefully it works! Enjoy! ;)
All chapters can be found here.
The Dark Knight
But the Dark Knight’s
The Rogue Knight
As the snow
Began to fall.
Lady Elsinore Allen
"Blood On The Snow:
The Legend Of The Rogue Knight
And His Dark And Beautiful Knight"
Winter approached as the last leaves left the trees, bare branches reaching up to the pewter sky. Winds howled around the Tower and would have shaken it if it had not been made of stone.
Mel tried to stay warm, his lone quilt wrapped around him as he sewed and mended the shirts of the Royal Guard. Some belonged to former field agents whom he knew, and he silently took on the task, glad for the diversion, glad to help his old friends, for his writing implements and paper had been taken away after Duke Edgar had discovered his attempt to escape. All that was left was a well-worn book given to him by Johnny when they had parted. He hid it under the thin mattress, ever fearful that it would be discovered.
By the light of a flickering candle he read the book with a poet’s soul within its gilt-edged pages, whispering the well-known sonnet:
Speak not my name,
In broken longing,
Tears like blood
On the snow.
Speak my name
In joyous song,
When Duke Edgar had discovered that he was defying him by trying to escape and join his Johnny, he had been severely punished. His stomach hollow with hunger, Mel winced as pain throbbed from his head, shoulder and back, the sharpest pain in his side hitching his breath…
The Duke’s face was terrible with rage as he stalked into the Tower. Mel stood his ground defiantly, his eyes dark with his own anger.
“So you tried to escape?”
“It is my duty.”
“Duty!” Edgar sneered. “Your duty is to serve me as a Knight Shining! You turned your back on that and all my favors for a common highwayman, a guttersnipe, an ex-convict!”
“His heart is pure and his love is like gold in my hands, shining in my heart.” He lifted his chin in pride.
Enraged, Edgar held out his hand and the guard accompanying him handed him a thick club. Before Mel had a chance to react, the club was swiftly wielded, glancing against his head but sending him to his knees. Stunned, he had no chance to defend himself as the club was smashed down on his shoulder, a cry ripped from him. More blows rained down upon him and he gritted his teeth in pain, struggling to rise and fight back. He managed to pull himself up and lashed out with his leg, pushing Edgar back.
He saw Edgar’s hate-filled face as the club smashed savagely into his right side, pain flaring through his bone and muscle as it took his breath away, laced with fire.
“Insolent, ungrateful wretch! You shall rue the day you betrayed me, Sir Melvin! Your knave’s blood will spill out onto the snow when I bring him to me, humbled like the common trollop he is, while you are a noble trollop, whoring yourself out to those who should feed from troughs! You could have ruled by my side, clothed in raiments of gold and silver and known my Favor for all your days, and history would have remembered you kindly! Now you will be forever known as a filthy traitor, consorting with filthy thieves!”
Frenzied with his lust-filled rage, Edgar kept up the bone-cracking punishment, screaming, “The gold will spill from your hands onto bloodstained stone!” Mel staggered back and fell to his knees hard on the stone floor stained with his blood, losing consciousness…
The memories made his fingers tremble, drops of blood falling on snow-white linen, mingling with tears.
“Oh, Johnny,” he whispered, “Will I ever see you again?”
The snow began with a slow, delicate dance of flakes, twinkling like glittering stars falling to earth. The Rogue Knight and his Merry Men cleaved through the woods, heading for the Castle and the stone-cold Tower.
Doris was beside herself. The Knights of the office in which she served were quickly gathering their weapons, ready to climb into gleaming cars to reach the field of battle. She watched as Sir Charles lovingly readied his weapon, his startling blue eyes intense in his ruggedly handsome face.
“Sir Carter,” she said, grabbing the sleeve of the earnest young man as he passed her desk. “Where are you heading?”
“To fields close by, m’lady. Where once we fought not so long ago.”
She gasped. “Little Bohemia?”
He nodded. “It holds the blood of our fellow Knights in a noble cause.”
Carter looked sorely pained. “The Rogue Knight and his Merry Men, m’lady.”
Doris’ heart contracted. “Oh, no!”
Miserably Carter nodded. “I know. Mel…”
“It will break his heart.”
Carter came closer, lowering his voice. “How is he…?”
“I do not know. I was allowed to bring him food when he was first imprisoned, but was dismissed after Mel tried to escape. I fear for our Melvin in the clutches of the Grand Duke in the throes of anger.”
Carter nodded sadly. Doris knew that he was vexed by his inability to aid his former boss and friend.
Charles suddenly was at her elbow. “Lady Doris, what are you planning?”
“Me? Why, nothing, Sir Charles.” She tried to hide her blush at the nearness of him, the smell of rich tobacco mingling with the lingering scent of Old Spice on his clothes. He was the finest Knight of them all, a man sturdy from the wilds of Texas, a spiritual descendant of Daniel Boone and David Bowie, as rugged as the rocky terrain from which he hailed. “I am merely wishing Carter godspeed.”
His eyes narrowed. “It is Sir Melvin, is it not?” She opened her mouth to protest but he held up a hand. “I do not agree with the treatment he has received. A man of honor should not be treated like a common cutpurse, thrown into a dungeon no matter how high off the ground it is, and forced to fend off lasvicious advances.”
Doris and Carter exchanged a look. Charles was on their side?
Charles hefted his buffalo gun. “We must be with the men, m’lady, but I have no doubt of your courage and skill.”
Doris read what he was sending with his eyes, that amazing light blue, and she nodded.
“Thank you for your kind words, Sir Charles.” She took a deep breath and took out her long, yellow silk handkerchief, embroidered with the crest of her family. “I should be honored if you took this into battle with you.”
He slowly took it from her hand. “I shall be honored to carry it.”
She laid a hand on his arm. “Be careful, Sir Charles.”
He nodded and then had to join his fellow Texans.
“And you also, Sir Carter.”
Carter smiled. “Thank you, m’lady.”
Doris watched two of the men closest to her heart go off to battle with a sense of apprehension.
The third man needed her help.
The battle was joined in the cold winter air on frost-hardened ground. The earth shook with the force of the battle, snow beginning to fall. Blood marred pristine white as the forces of the Grand Duke finally routed the forces of the Rogue Knight, who lay in the snow or were scattered in the snow-dusted woods.
And the Rogue Knight was missing.