Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Mel/Johnny/Billie, Carter Baum, J. Edgar Hoover, Charles Winstead
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: Life is good, but then danger rides up to the Little Cottage In The Woods With The Blue Shutters And The Yellow Door.
Date Of Completion: December 11, 2011
Date Of Posting: March 17, 2012
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Universal does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1461
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 BLUEBIRD OF HAPPINESS
As love bloomed day-by-day,
The Bluebird of Happiness sang its song,
Nothing could go wrong,
But in this world of ours,
Happiness is fleeting.
Bard Eleanor Wood
"The Ballad Of the
Highwayman, Prince, And Lady"
The days were quiet but filled with love, Christian basking in the warmth of Billie and Johnny’s care. He grew stronger and walked about, admiring the cottage’s quaint furniture and the surrounding woods outside. The forest bordered the eastern boundary of Billie’s property, the barn situated northeastward. Chickens cackled and scratched as a cow lowed from the field to the west.
“Not much of a dwelling, but it suits,” Billie said. The cottage consisted of kitchen, bedroom and sitting room, the privy at the edge of the clearing.
“My darling, it suits me as well,” said Christian, and her brushed his lips against hers. She smiled and Johnny came up behind him, resting his hands on his hips and nuzzling his neck.
“Dear Christian,” he breathed, and Billie pressed herself up against him as Johnny pressed from behind.
“Mmm,” Christian moaned.
Johnny laughed in his ear. “A good Christian man, eh? How about some Pagan loving, hmm?”
And they took him to their bed, and three-were-as-one, the breeze warm and the leaves turning as summer long ago turned to fall. Winter would soon come upon them, but their love would remain strong.
Carter was heavy of heart as he nursed his leg. It had been weeks since he and Mel had been attacked. His leg had been pierced with a brigand’s arrow but now he was able to get out of bed. Determined to conduct the guards’ search for Mel himself, he began to dress.
“Sir Carter, where might you be going?”
Carter stifled a grimace as Prince Edgar entered his bedchamber. The royal had arrived two weeks ago to lament over the disappearance of his future husband.
“I go to seek Prince Melvin.”
“I shall go with you.”
“No need, Your Grace.”
“Ah, but I insist.”
Carter saw how Edgar’s square-jawed face charmed while steel lurked behind that smile.
“Of course, Your Majesty.”
“Come along then.”
Carter bit back a retort.
“You are the Highwayman?”
Johnny nodded, watching Christian warily. Billie stood anxiously beside him, her hands jammed into her skirt pockets. The brown muslin was slightly shabby but clean, and her brown leather vest was laid over a cream-colored blouse with three-quarter sleeves. Johnny was similarly-dressed in brown pants and light-brown shirt with leather vest. They hardly looked like prosperous robbers but perhaps highwaymen had to disguise their wealth.
Confused, Christian stared at Johnny for a long moment. “Why tell me now?”
“Because we cannot have secrets. Not if this is going to work.” Johnny waved his hand to encompass the three of them.
Christian felt a flash of irritation but it quickly died down. After all, they had to be certain of him before revealing this information.
“So, tell me about your adventures.”
Johnny and Billie visibly relaxed and the robber laughed. “Surely! Come on, let us sit outside and enjoy the crisp air while I regale you with tales of derring-do.”
Billie and Christian exchanged exasperated looks of fondness as they followed Johnny outside.
Carter grimaced as his leg was jarred. The ride had grown rough here in the forest. He and a coterie of Prince Edgar’s men were on a relentless hunt. Fortunately Sir Charles had joined them. He was one of the finest Knights in the land, and Carter trusted him.
Carter had an abundance of time to study Mel’s future husband. Shorter than average, he seemed to try and make up for it by using a loud, belligerent voice and browbeating everyone around him.
Poor Mel. I do not see happiness in his future being yoked to this man.
“Make haste, Sir Carter!” Edgar bellowed .
Carter manfully restrained himself from rolling his eyes and exchanged a quick look with an exasperated Charles as he nudged his horse forward.
“Come, Little Prince. We are betrothed, after all.”
“I do not believe…”
The shorter man lunged at him, grabbing Christian’s shoulders. He tried to kiss him and Christian pushed him away, sputtering indignantly.
“How dare you, sir! We may be betrothed but that does not give you the right to take liberties!”
The other man’s broad face twisted into a sneer. “You are mine, Little Prince, and you had best learn that fact.”
“I do not think so!”
Christian cried out as the man pushed him to the bed.
Christian sat up with a gasp, rousing his bedmates.
“What is it, darling?” Johnny asked. He grasped Christian’s arm as the other man trembled. Billie held his other arm.
“I had a dream.” Christian shuddered. “I was being assaulted.”
“Oh, dearest!” Billie gasped.
“Did the brigand succeed?” asked Johnny, tightening his grip.
“I…I cannot recall.” Christian shuddered again.
Johnny and Billie hugged him, Billie patting his arm and Johnny rubbing his chest. They gently laid him back onto the bed and curled up around him.
The next day Billie went into town to sell her eggs, taking the wagon. The draft horses, Blue and Bell, plodded along the road. Billie had a light but firm hand and sang a little tune as the wagon rumbled down the road.
Johnny and Christian repaired the thatch of the barn roof. A windstorm days ago had blown some of the straw off. Johnny climbed the ladder up while Christian gathered the materials, climbing up to hand Johnny the new thatch.
“Thank you, darlin’.”
Christian smiled. He climbed up on the roof and they worked steadily.
“Hmm, for a nobleman, you know your way around tools.”
“Thank you, but who knows? Perhaps I am a laborer.”
“What hands like this?” Johnny grasped Christian’s right hand.
Christian grimaced. “I suppose you are right.”
Johnny kissed the uncallused palm. Christian smiled and ran the fingers of his left hand though his lover’s soft hair.
They worked steadily under the autumn sun until Billie came back. The men finished their task and came down from the roof, helping Billie unload the wagon. With her egg money, she had bought staples and ingredients for baking.
“We will go deer hunting tomorrow,” Johnny said.
“Good. I have a craving for venison,” Billie said. “There is much chatter in town.”
“About what?” asked Christian.
“The Crown Prince is missing!”
“What? When?” asked Johnny.
“Several weeks ago. The capital city was in an uproar. They fear foul play.”
“Imagine, a royal gone missing! Well, that is no concern of ours.”
The next day Christian and Johnny went out hunting as Billie decided to bake cookies. She had enough wood to fire up the hearth and brought up her raspberry and blackberry preserves from the root cellar. She started kneading the dough.
She whistled as he kneaded, happiness filling her heart. She had her two men and they were living peaceful lives while life in the bedroom was spicy. It was a good combination, in her opinion.
It was true that Johnny might leave to rejoin his Merry Men and Christian might get his memory back any day, but for now she was happy. Life was short in this precarious world so she would take what she could get.
Just as she was ready to put the cookies in to bake, she heard heavy hoofbeats. She automatically glanced up at the mantel but the space above it was empty as Johnny had taken the crossbow for hunting.
Billie watched as the band of men rode up in the yard, relaxing as she saw Sir Charles. The silver-haired Knight inclined his head as she came out of the cottage, wiping her hands on her apron.
“Good morning, Miss Billie.”
“Good morning, Sir Charles.” She was instantly wary of the man with the broad face sitting on a magnificent roan. A handsome curly-haired man was next to him, his brown eyes gentle as other men sat easily on horses behind the three prominent gentlemen. “What brings you to my door on this fine day?”
“Cheeky wench,” spat the man on the roan. His face was set hard.
“We are seeking Prince Melvin, my good woman,” said Charles.
“Oh, I heard about that. But I have seen no strangers here.” She wanted them gone. What if Johnny returned?
Charles bowed slightly. “Thank you, Miss Billie.”
“May we water our horses, Miss?” asked the brown-eyed man.
The men rode to the well and watered their horses and filled their canteens. Billie went back into the cottage and resumed her work, keeping her eye on the men at the well.
She froze as a bush moved at the edge of the forest.