Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Mel/Johnny/Billie, J. Edgar Hoover, Carter Baum, 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: Will life continue happily ever after for the inhabitants of the Little Cottage In The Woods With The Blue Shutters And The Yellow Door?
Date Of Completion: December 12, 2011
Date Of Posting: March 18, 2012
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Universal does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1295
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.
HAPPILY EVER AFTER
Bard Eleanor Wood
"The Ballad Of the
Highwayman, Prince, And Lady"
Johnny taught Christian all that he needed to track deer. Christian was a quick study and was just as silent as Johnny as they stalked a deer. Johnny shot it and they fixed it up by tying it to a pole and carrying it through the forest.
“We will have meat for quite a few days,” Johnny said cheerfully.
“You and Billie know how to butcher this deer?”
“Certainly so. We will have venison stew and venison with vegetables.”
Christian’s mouth watered. “Billie is one fine cook.”
“The best.” Johnny whistled merrily as they walked.
Christian’s shoulder began to ache but he kept silent. He wished to pull his own weight, and in this case, the deer’s.
As they came close to the edge of the woods, Johnny stopped. “Someone is by the well.”
They set the deer carcass down and crept to a large growth of underbrush, the branches wobbling. They saw the group of men gathered around the well as they watered their horses.
“Looks like Knights,” Johnny whispered.
“Looking for the Crown Prince?”
“Most likely.” Johnny watched as the men laughed and filled their canteens. One man, the shortest of the group, wore a sour expression.
“What if they come this way?” Christian whispered.
“We melt into the forest. My men and I have done it many times.”
Christian frowned as he looked at another man with curly brown hair and a kind face. Something niggled at the back of his mind.
Johnny sighed in relief as the men rode away. He and Christian picked up the poles and emerged from the forest. Billie ran out of the cottage.
“Are you all right, honey?” Johnny asked, he and Christian putting the deer down. She ran into his arms.
“What is it, darlin’? Did they hurt you?”
“No, but I did not like one of those men. He had mean eyes.”
“Poor dear.” Johnny hugged her. “They are gone now.”
“Thankfully.” As she drew back she said, “I see you were successful in the hunt.”
“Yes, Christian and I will take care of the deer.”
Johnny and Christian set to work, Johnny occasionally giving Christian instructions as they prepared the deer for their use.
“Are you all right, dearest?” Johnny asked after several minutes of silence.
“Oh, I am sorry, love. I felt…unsettled…looking at those men.”
“Do you think that you know them?”
Christian sighed. “Mayhaps, but who would know?”
Johnny wondered if just the head injury was causing Christian’s lack of memory. Could something have happened in his past life? His second-in-command of the Merry Men, Red, had told him of a man in his village who had suffered an assault and has lost his memory. The local midwife had declared it ‘a thing of the mind’, a blanking of memory because the victim could not bear what had happened to him.
Could that be the case with Christian? His dream had been about an assault. Was it mere dream or memory?
Christian looked down at the hand holding the skinning knife. “I had the dream again last night.”
Johnny’s stomach clenched. “Did it go further?”
“No, but the face…” Christian’s eyes widened. “I think one of those men was him.”
Johnny paused, gripping the handle of his knife tightly. “So you think he was in the group of men?” Christian nodded miserably. “All right, then. He is gone and it is doubtful that he will be back.”
Christian nodded slowly. “You are right, of course.”
“’Course I am. Now, let us get this deer prepared.”
Christian nodded more briskly this time and set to work.
After they were finished, they washed up at the well and Johnny surreptitiously studied Christian’s profile. He could see the lines of strain around his eyes and mouth. The dreams were upsetting him greatly, and Johnny could not blame him. Dreams like that could be unsettling. He would keep his eye on him.
Carter and Charles shared a wry commiseration over Prince Edgar’s rage. They were glad that Mel did not have to marry such a man, at least as long as he remained missing.
I hope you are all right, Mel, Carter thought. Stay away if you can.
Charles grumbled, “I suppose we are in for another hard day’s ride. Can your leg take it?”
"I will manage."
“Are you certain that you do not want to return to the Castle?”
“I will be fine, Charles, but I thank you for asking.”
Charles gruffly patted Carter’s knee. “You are a strong man, Carter.”
Billie made a savory venison stew with herbs from her kitchen garden and the last of the carrots. She added celery and it was a wonderful combination.
All afternoon Johnny and Christian had cranked the churn, making ice cream, and now Billie served it with her freshly-baked raspberry and blackberry cookies.
“Oh, this is heavenly, Billie.” Christian ate the ice cream ringed with leftover berries and bit into a raspberry cookie. “Mmm, such deliciousness.”
Billie smiled. “Thank you, darling.”
“I agree,” Johnny said as he ate a blackberry cookie.
“You boys flatter me.”
“You deserve it,” Christian said with a smile.
“You boys make me happy.”
“I agree with that.”
“Me, too,” said Johnny. “Domestic bliss is something I never thought to enjoy.”
“What about your Merry Men?” Billie asked tentatively.
“Oh, I shall return to them, but only to perform certain tasks.”
“Like robbing the nobility?” Christian asked with a twinkle in his eyes.
Johnny laughed. “Forsooth, dear Christian.”
Christian fondly shook his head as Billie smiled and ate her ice cream.
The search for Prince Melvin continued and winter came in all its glory. The kingdom was blanketed in snow and the trio in the cottage was snowbound, venturing outside to clear the path and to make their way to the barn to feed the cow and horses.
Inside the cottage the happy trio talked, sang, read and enjoyed cooking and baking. Christian started a journal and Billie continued hers, Johnny encouraged to start one of his own. Many mornings and afternoons were spent in bed to the delight of all.
One such day Christian volunteered to feed the animals. After he had left Billie asked, “Did Christian tell you that dreadful man calls him the Little Prince in his dreams?”
Johnny nodded. “Well, let us be grateful that the man has never returned.”
“He could tell Christian who he is.”
Johnny stared in the direction of the barn. “Mayhaps he would prefer not to know.”
Christian returned and eagerly rejoined them in bed as his lovers warmed his icy skin. They made love as the snow fell and after Billie and Christian fell asleep, Johnny held Christian close as Billie snuggled up against Christian’s other side. He watched the snow fall outside the window and knew that when spring came, he would find his Merry Men and once again thrill to the chase, but he would always return to his beloveds.
Winter turned to spring as the snows melted and Johnny did find his Merry Men again. He always came home again with gifts for his beloveds.
And if Christian lived his life in the little cottage in the woods with the blue shutters and the yellow door and the yellow windowboxes, not remembering his old life, he was content.
And Billie was happy because she had her two men and would always love them as spring turned to summer, summer to fall, fall to winter, and winter to spring as the Wheel of the Year always turned and love filled the little cottage.
Did they love happily ever after?
As much as three people ever could.