Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Mel/Johnny/Billie, Carter Baum, Charles Winstead
Fandom: Public Enemies
Genres: Drama, Fairytale, Hurt/Comfort, Romance
Rating (this chapter): PG-13
General Summary: Three lonely people come together in the Little Cottage In The Woods With The Blue Shutters And The Yellow Door.
Chapter Summary: An unexpected visitor arrives at the Little Cottage In The Woods With The Blue Shutters And The Yellow Door.
Date Of Completion: December 9, 2011
Date Of Posting: March 5, 2012
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Universal does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1083
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Written for my 2011 LJ Fifth Anniversary Fic Request Meme (Build-A-Fic). Threesome: Mel/Johnny/Billie. Prompts: Fairytale, Soup/Stew, Cookies/Cream-Filled Solid (Chocolate), Ice Cream.
The entire series can be found here.
THE LITTLE COTTAGE IN THE WOODS
In a little cottage
In the woods,
Lived a lady fair,
Quiet and careworn,
Until the day
Bard Eleanor Wood
"The Ballad Of the
Highwayman, Prince, And Lady"
Once upon a time, in a land of prosperity and plenty, there lived a very sad Prince. He was promised in marriage to Prince Edgar to unite the kingdoms but he was not in love with his prospective husband. His soul ached for true love but he was fated to enter into a loveless marriage of duty.
Sir Carter, his finest Knight, saw this and was saddened for his friend. He proposed that they go on a hunting trip and Prince Melvin accepted.
Billie sighed as she finished sweeping the floor. Just another day and another set of chores. Her life was endless drudgery. She set aside the broom and started making hunter’s stew with rabbit, carrots, and barley. She could have it for her midday meal and for supper.
Her little cottage in the clearing surrounded by woods was clean and proper, the yellow paint on the door bright and cheerful, and the blue paint on the shutters and windowboxes fresh.
She glanced out the cottage window and frowned. Who was out there? Biting her lip, she grabbed a broom but discarded it. As much as she hated weapons, it was better protection. Billie took the crossbow down from over the mantel and stepped outside.
“Halt! Who goes there?”
The stranger stopped, his large brown eyes startled. “Sorry, m’lady.”
“Do not mock me, sir, I am not of the nobility.”
The stranger’s smile was a little sad. “I am not mocking you, my good woman.” He winced suddenly as he tottered.
Billie’s instinct was to go to him but she held her ground. She well knew the trickery of men. “Are you hurt?”
Billie came a little closer. She saw the swollen ankle and lowered her crossbow. “Come inside. I will bind you up. I have stew on the hearth.”
The stranger accepted her help and soon was sitting at the kitchen table. The stranger introduced himself as Johnny. She bound up his ankle, Johnny sighing a small exhalation of relief. He cut up the carrots as Billie prepared the other ingredients. Soon the stew was bubbling in the pot in the hearth and she sat down at the table.
“Did you fall off your horse?”
“Did he run off?”
Johnny nodded, drinking the cold well water she had given him.
“A pity. You are welcome to sleep in the barn until you heal.”
“Thank you. I have been to many cities in this fair land and never has a hostess been more gracious than you.”
Billie blushed, suddenly acutely aware of the modest surroundings. Her furniture was worn but the faded curtains were clean, and she kept a clean kitchen. She did not allow the chickens or pigs inside as some people did.
“Tell me about your adventures. I have not been anywhere or seen anything.”
So he did, weaving a tale of great cities and prosperous cities. The stew was ready and Billie served it, Johnny praising her cooking.
“Have you seen Prince Melvin? They say he is comely indeed,” she asked.
“Alas, I have not. Hopefully I will someday.”
The glib man was handsome, his smile dazzling as a strand of chestnut hair drooped over his brow.
In the days that followed, Johnny helped with the chores as well as his ankle allowed. He was a charming companion and Billie’s lonely soul was happy.
They often sat outside at night in birch chairs after supper and gazed at the stars.
“My father made these chairs,” Billie said proudly.
“Good, solid workmanship,” said Johnny as he lightly pounded the arm of his chair. “May I ask a personal question, Miss Billie?”
“Why are you alone here?”
Billie’s large brown eyes were sad. “My father and mother died of the fever.”
“I am sorry.”
She brushed aside a tear. “It has been five years. I am able to keep up the farm.”
“Do your neighbors help?”
She bit her lip. “No.” At his surprised look she explained, “My mother was Moorish.”
“Ah.” Sympathy shone in Johnny’s eyes. He reached out and grasped her hand. “Foolish, ignorant folk.”
A warm breeze blew, redolent with honeysuckle and jasmine. Billie looked deeply into Johnny’s eyes and leaned forward to kiss him.
She knew that this was right.
Johnny no longer slept in the barn. Billie was not sure if he would stay but she savored her time with him.
And so it was one day that the King’s Own rode up in the yard, the craggy, silver-haired Knight in charge asking Billie, “Have you seen any strangers as of late, good woman?”
Billie thought of Johnny, who was off in the woods checking the rabbit snares. Her instincts caused her to say, “No, Sir Knight.”
Sir Charles frowned. “Do you mind if we look about your place?”
Billie waved her hand airily. “Go ahead. “ Her heart pounded as Sir Charles’ men searched the cottage and barn.
“What is this about, Sir Knight?”
“The Highwayman escaped the Sheriff and is at large.”
“Nothing, sir,” said one of the men as they ended their search.
“All right. Sorry to have troubled you, Miss.”
Billie acknowledged his courtesy, relieved to see the men leave. A few moments later, Johnny emerged from the woods.
“You did well, Billie dearest.”
She marched up to him and shoved him hard in the chest. “You are the Highwayman!”
He grinned his lopsided grin. “Guilty as charged, m’lady.”
“I told you I am not of the nobility!” She stalked into the cottage and slammed the yellow-painted door.
Only mere moments later, Johnny entered the cottage. “Billie?”
“How could you lie to me?” She banged her pots and pans, tears shining in her eyes.
“I wanted to keep you safe.”
“By putting me at risk?” She banged the stew pot down on the counter and winced as her arm vibrated with the force of it.
“I did not want to worry you.” Johnny came up behind her and put his arms around her waist, nuzzling her neck. “And I could not bear to leave you now.”
Billie’s anger melted and she turned around. “Highwayman, do with me what you will.”
Johnny laughed and kissed her, lifting her up and carrying her to bed.