Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Mel/Johnny/Billie, Carter Baum
Fandom: Public Enemies
Genres: Drama, 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: A second handsome stranger is brought to the Little Cottage In The Woods With The Blue Shutters And The Yellow Door.
Date Of Completion: December 10, 2011
Date Of Posting: March 10, 2012
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Universal does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1445
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.
A HANDSOME STRANGER
A man of great beauty,
Whose past was like
Brought to the Cottage
By the Highwayman
In his strong arms
And all was well.
Bard Eleanor Wood
"The Ballad Of the
Highwayman, Prince, And Lady"
Mel seemed happy as they rode through the forest, Carter thought. The day was crisp and clear and the horses were in fine fettle.
He tossed Mel a sweet. Mel gratefully accepted it with a smile. The darkest sweets were his favorite.
They rode in companionable silence until shouts from behind brought their heads around.
“Brigands!” gasped Mel.
“Ride away, my Prince! I will hold them off!” Carter said.
Mel drew his sword. “We fight together.”
“There are too many, my Prince.”
“Then we go together.”
They urged their horses to take off, a crossbow arrow whizzing by their heads. They crashed into the forest, hoping to lose their pursuers.
Mel cried out as an arrow pierced his right shoulder and he toppled to the ground, hitting his head. Carter helped him back up on his horse and they continued fleeing.
Carter knew that they were safe for only a matter of minutes. He helped Mel down and hid him in the hollow of an old oak tree. Grabbing the reins of Mel’s horse, he leaped onto his own and took off just as the highwaymen emerged from the underbrush with shouts of glee.
“A wonderful breakfast, my darling. To show my appreciation, I shall hunt for deer today.”
“Fresh venison will be much appreciated,” Billie said with a smile.
Johnny smiled in response and kissed her as he stood. “I will be back before nightfall.” He put on a green cap and laced up his boots. Taking the crossbow and a quiver of arrows, he went off with a whistle.
He disappeared into the woods. He kept his senses on alert, wary of the authorities. He hoped that someday he could rejoin his band of Merry Men, but for now he was satisfied with his situation. Billie was a wonderful woman.
He went deeper into the woods, frowning at the broken brush. His grip tightened on the crossbow. A moan startled him and he looked around, surprised to see a scrap of fabric trailing out of a tree. He cautiously checked inside.
A man! And a beautiful one at that. Carefully he dragged the man out and saw the arrow impaling his shoulder and a trickle of blood from his right temple.
“I am sorry, m’lord.” The man’s clothing was rich red velvet and gold buttons, a gold ruby signet ring on his finger. “I must lift you up to carry you.” Johnny slung the crossbow over his shoulder and lifted the man up with a grunt, his heart aching as the man whimpered. He placed the man over his shoulder and headed back home.
It was a long journey back but finally Johnny was in sight of the cottage. Billie ran out to meet him.
“Johnny, what happened?”
“I found him in the woods.”
"He is hurt!”
“I know,” Johnny said grimly. “He has a fever.”
He brought the stranger inside and laid him on the bed. Johnny put aside his crossbow and rolled up his sleeves. “I have to get that arrow out.”
“I will do it.” At Johnny’s look of surprise Billie explained, “You will have to hold him down.” She smiled slightly. “I have done this before.”
“Very well.” Johnny braced the man while Billie tore away the fabric of the shirt.
It was a laborious process. The suffering man cried out and writhed, Johnny grimly holding him down. Finally Billie pulled out the arrow and they quickly washed and bound the wound, doing the same for his head wound.
“Hopefully it will heal,” Johnny said. “We must watch for signs of putrefaction.”
Billie nodded. “He is quite lovely.”
Johnny grinned. “I agree.”
They kept vigil throughout the night, sitting in chairs as they dozed. The wounded man moaned and muttered as the fever climbed.
“He is so hot,” Billie fretted.
“I know.” Johnny put a hand on their patient’s brow. “He was already fevered when I found him. He was mumbling nonsense.”
“Poor dear.” The moonlight shimmered through the window and illuminated the figure in the bed. They had stripped off his clothes as he had been drenched in sweat. Billie fingered the clothes, which were neatly folded on the bureau. “He must be of the nobility with such finery as this.”
“Yes.” Johnny gently wiped down the patient’s face.
Billie saw the interest there. She was not upset because she felt it, too.
She hoped that this beautiful mystery man survived.
The sick man opened his eyes. “Where…where am I?”
“In a humble cottage, m’lord,” said Johnny, resting his hand on his patient’s brow. Billie sat by the other side of the bed and smiled at Mel.
“How…ooh.” Mel grimaced at the fiery pain in his shoulder.
“I found you deep in the forest. You had already been wounded.”
“Is he the man who shot you?”
“No! He is my closest friend.”
“And who might you be, sir?”
Mel swallowed. For a moment, his mind went blank. “I…cannot remember.”
Johnny and Billie exchanged a concerned look. “None at all?” Billie asked.
“No memory,” the distressed man said. “Except this Carter and his friendship.”
Billie smiled again. “He must be special.”
“I daresay he is. I wish that I could remember more about him. All I know is that he is my friend.”
“Then he is a worthy friend if you can remember him above all.”
“I suppose you are right.”
“Can you handle some broth?”
He nodded and Billie went to get it. Johnny smiled and said, “We need a name for you.”
“That is true.”
“Any come to mind?”
The other man shrugged. “I am not sure. I do not know my likes and dislikes to give me a clue. I assume I am a good Christian man...”
“That will be your name. It is a proper one and as good as any.”
The newly-christened man nodded slowly. “Thank you.”
Billie brought in the broth and Johnny told her about their guest’s new name.
“It suits you.”
Christian smiled, a little wan.
In the days that followed, Christian gradually grew stronger but was too weak to get out of bed and was entertained by his two caretakers. When he expressed his dismay at taking over the bed, Johnny just smirked and said, “Billie and I are doing fine on the floor.”
One day when Billie was out feeding the chicken, Christian asked, “How long have you been married?”
“We are not married.”
Johnny looked at him curiously. “Does that bother you?”
“No, I have no objection, but Billie’s reputation…”
“…is sadly already besmirched.” Johnny shrugged. “She is part Moor.”
Johnny studied Christian’s face. Apparently Billie’s mixed heritage did not bother the noble, either. Good.
“She has not had an easy time of it?” Christian asked.
Christian sighed. “It is oft a cruel world we live in.”
“Yes.” Johnny squared his shoulders, about to reveal a truth to Christian when Billie breezed in.
“Fresh eggs, gentlemen!”
“Ah, wonderful, love,” Johnny said. He smiled at Christian. “Your stomach up for some hen food?”
“Excellent! Eggs coming right up, darlings.”
Johnny noticed how Christian was startled at the term of endearment by Billie. He had discussed his attraction to this man with her, who was equally attracted. They had both agreed that when Christian was better, they would see if he felt the same way.
Christian was alarmed. Married or not, these two were terribly tempting. How could he be attracted to both? He would burn in the unholy fires for such desires, but Billie was so lovely and sweet and Johnny so handsome and charming.
I do not think that I am living up to my name.
Billie brought in plates of eggs for all three of them. They had grown accustomed to eating together in the bedchamber as Christian was still too weak to get out of bed. They were like a family, though Christian had no memories to draw upon for comparison.
“You were wearing the clothes of a noble when I found you. Perhaps you are from one of the ruling families,” said Johnny.
“Perhaps.” It made Christian uneasy to try and remember.
Billie saw his discomfort and said, “Do not fret, my friend. It will all come back.”
Christian certainly hoped so. This blank wall was most distressing.
“It will all be fine,” said Johnny, patting Christian’s knee.