You consider not going home that night. You know Eliza must be heartbroken, and you can’t stand to see her like that. Especially when it was your fault. You know that you should go home, tell her Maria meant nothing, but that’s not true. Over the past few months, you had grown to love her. She was able to pull you away from your work, which was a remarkable feat in and of itself. She was so funny, gorgeous, and smart, and everything you wanted.
You take a deep breath and unlock your door. “Eliza?” you cautiously call, opening the door.
She stands in the living room, looking at the pictures from your time together. Tears threaten to spill from her eyes as she picks on up. You get a quick glimpse of the white dress you wore at your wedding. She stands next to you, each of you holding a champagne glass. You both look so happy. She suddenly drops it, sending glass shards from the frame everywhere.
You walk into the room. “Eliza?”
She turns to you. She hasn’t cried yet. You don’t deserve that in her mind. “Why?”
You walk closer to her. “I’m sorry.”
She steps back. “I want a divorce.”
You nod slowly. “I understand. I’m sorry that you had to be the one I hurt. You deserve so much more.”
She takes a deep breath, forcing herself not to cry. “I hope you treat her better than me.”
Maria was able to get a divorce after your public apology. You went to live with her while Eliza and you filed the paperwork. The two of you manage to find love in the midst of despair.
But it doesn’t last long. The two of you quickly realize that you aren’t ready for this. Maybe it wasn’t the right time. Or maybe she wasn’t the right person. Whatever the reason, you broke up. You buried yourself in your work, ignoring everyone who tried to take you from it.
You turn your final draft into your publicist one morning. He smiles and thanks you for it. You turn to leave, but he calls your name. “(Y/N), I am incredibly sorry for your divorce and relationship.”
You shake your head. “Thank you for your sympathy, Mr. Hamilton, but it was not your fault. It was all mine.”
“Please.” He walks over to you and takes your hand. “Call me Alexander.”
AKA the conchell sick fic i’ve been dying to write
The sun is shining, the breeze is nice, and Mitchell has not murdered his younger brother yet.
These were all pleasant facts, especially for said brother in question.
Sebastian had insisted on after-school burgers after their hellish pre-finals week. Despite the fact Sebastian hadn’t attended a full school day in weeks, he seemed very insistent on the fact of his mental exhaustion due to the upcoming exams, and Mitchell hadn’t had nearly enough fight in him to disagree with the statement. Like a student who actually had been attending his classes regularly, he was dead in every way but literally.
So, there they were - some nameless side of the road drive through that advertised the cheapest burgers on this side of Cali.
“What are you doing tonight?” Sebastian took a messy bite of his burger, smearing mustard all along the side of his cheek and Mitchell physically had to resist the urge to reach out and wipe it off, tucking his hands underneath his legs instead.
“Bi-weekly Skype date with Connor.” Mitchell grinned, excited. He passed over a napkin, hoping Seb would actually get the hint. He didn’t, of course, and instead threw the crumpled napkin in the backseat.
Mitchell didn’t bother to conceal his sigh, instead only going back to his own burger.
“You guys are an old married couple, it’s disgusting.” Sebastian licked a trail of grease off his wrist.
Mitchell rolled his eyes. “Just because we’ve been dating longer than you’ve ever kept a hairstyle doesn’t mean we’re boring.” Mitchell blew a huff of air into his bangs, “Nothing is ever boring with that boy.”
Sebastian hummed, flicking through his latest dating app, apparently done with the conversation.
Mitchell finished his food, singing along softly to the age-old song playing on the radio, grateful that Mitchell was the one actually doing the driving this afternoon. Their odds of reckless driving went up significantly every time Sebastian got behind the wheel, and Mitchell never enjoyed it.
He drove them home, Sebastian poking at him every few minutes to just hurry up Mitchell jeez as Mitchell safety, legally kept the speed limit.
He got them back alive - always counted as a win when Sebastian was annoying him into oblivion - and the other boy rushed to grab his things and get upstairs.
His phone was already dinging with notifications - probably Connor’s warning text that his skype invitation was about to go through - and Mitchell booted up his laptop quickly. Their skype dates - every Wednesday and Friday, occasionally Saturday - were Mitchell’s favorite hours of the week.
He finally managed to log onto his laptop, getting comfortable and settled at his desk chair, and grinned at the immediate notification that popped up. Connor icon - grinning and flipping off the camera, Travis’s cropped out grin barely visible in the small photo - greeted him. Mitchell ran a hand through his hair, mussing it up a bit like he knew Connor went crazy over, and accepted the call.
“Hey!” Mitchell grinned, shifting closer to the camera. It took a moment for the blocky connection to settle,
“Hey babe.” Connor’s voice filtered out through the speakers, the sound weak and tiny. The video was dim - too dim - and Mitchell leaned into the camera, peering at the screen with careful eyes.
Connor was in bed, that was obvious, his curls even more of a mess than usual. Usually, Connor walked and jumped around during their Skype dates, incapable of keeping still, usually hanging off the back of the couch or jumping around the living room. It was an amusing habit, one Mitchell usually laughed and teased about, and that only made it more stranger as Connor buried his face in his blanket.
Connor’s skin was pale, that was obvious even through the screen and dark lighting, and his eyes drooped weakly even as he spoke.
“How was school, Mitch?” Connor’s voice was rough as he spoke around a yawn, wiping at his eyes.
Mitchell narrowed his eyes, “…Are you in your pajamas? Did, did you not go to school?” Mitchell made a face of horror, “Are you sick?”
“The doctor said to rest.” Connor told him, his tone edging on dismissive. “It’s just pneumonia.”
“Just?” Mitchell’s voice was high and shrill.
“I’m fine.” Connor mumbled into the screen. “Just…tired.”
Mitchell bit his lip, staring at the other boy with hardly concealed concern. “You should get some sleep, sweetheart. I’ll talk to you later, okay? We can make up our Skype date later.”
The lack of protest was startling – usually Mitchell’s attempts to end their late night calls ended with several minutes of drawn out goodbyes and whines. But the other boy hardly blinked back at him before yawning goodnight and hanging up, leaving Mitchell alone and staring at his computer screen.
Mitchell stared at the empty homescreen for a long moment, just blinking at his reflection.
“Aright.” He said out loud, waiting another moment before shoving himself up. He pulled his duffel from under the bed, the essentials already packed. He knew to be prepared at this point.
“Sebastian! Come here!” He called over his shoulder, throwing his bag onto his bed. He waited a few moments, grabbing his phone and charger in the time, and shoved them both into the empty side pocket of the duffel.
“Sup broseph?” Sebastian asked, leaning on the doorway, barely looking up from the frantic tapping away at his phone.
Mitchell already had his duffel bag unzipped, looking through what he had already stuffed in his bag, and considering what else he needed. “Connor’s sick and I’m gonna go take care of him – I’ll be back Sunday night. Can you cover for me with Maria and Jacques?”
Sebastian looked up from his phone at that, blinking a few times. “Wait, what? You’re what?”
“I’m visiting Connor.” Mitchell repeated, a bit impatiently.
“In…New York?” Sebastian clarified.
Mitchell huffed out a breath. “Yes. In New York. Because he’s sick. Can you cover for me with your parents or not?”
“I mean, yeah.” He shrugged, “I’ll tell them you’re spending the weekend at Naomi’s. But are you sure going to New York is like, the best idea?”
“You’re not going to talk me out of it.” Mitchell told him, looking for his jeans. Under his bed – great, they were probably dirty. He packed them anyways.
Sebastian held up his hands. “Hey, as a child of Aphrodite it’s basically a sin for me to try and talk you out of making this insanely adorable declaration of your love, but it’s a 40 hour drive. So. Consider that.”
“Who said I was going to drive?” Mitchell asked, throwing other his duffel bag. He began digging through his drawer, clothes flying everywhere in the process.
Sebastian huffed, “Still! That’s an expensive plane ticket.”
“Not a plane either.” He finally found what he was looking for, holding up a thin purple vial to the light, “I helped Lou with Micah’s birthday present in exchange for this baby. I was going to save it for our six month, but this is important.”
Sebastian gave him a judgmental look and Mitchell sighed, taking a moment to turn and explain.
“Listen Seb, Travis is a good brother but I am fully convinced he simply threw a bottle of cough medicine in Connor’s general direction and skipped town or something. Anyways, it’s Friday. I’ll come back Sunday night.” Mitchell shook the bottle, “There should be enough for two trips. If not, I’ll book a plane ticket.”
Sebastian rolled his eyes, but began digging through his closet, hopefully to help him pack. “Fine, I’ll cover for you with the parents. But be careful not to sex him up so much when he’s sick, dear brother. I’ve been there, it’s not cute.”
“We’re not going to have sex!” Mitchell rolled his eyes, and paused. “Tonight. Probably.” Mitchell shrugged, “Not while he’s sick, at least.”
Sebastian gave him an incredibly dry look, reaching over and dumping a few condoms into his open duffel without breaking his gaze.
Seb zipped up the bag and shoved it in his chest. “Go before Maria gets home. Do you have his address?”
Mitchell nodded, peeling a post-it note off his wall and holding it up. “Right here. I’ll see you later, okay? I’ll Iris-message you tomorrow.”
Seb waved him off, pulling out his phone to probably call his thing of the week.
Mitchell held up the small vial to the light, studying the thick purple syrup. He trusted Lou, yeah, but…
Mitchell bit his lip, remembering the miserable flush on Connor’s cheeks, barely visible through the video chat. With this image in mind, he cracked the top and swallowed down a mouthful.
Mitchell spat the bitter taste out of his mouth, completely unprepared for how vile the potion tasted. Wasn’t magic supposed to be sweet?
He adjusted the back hanging over his shoulder, staring up at the building in front of him. The potion had dropped him in a nearby alley, close enough that the surroundings were familiar enough for Mitchell to find his way. He quickly stopped by a nearby bodega , filling up a few bags full of supplies, and set out towards his building.
Mitchell had been to the shared Stoll apartment only once before, and has been much less interested in the space as they had been…preoccupied.
Mitchell shook the idea out of his head, shifting the crackling plastic bags over to one hand. The door was locked, most definitely. It was the middle of the day, Travis most likely out. He sighed. There was really only one choice.
The door clicked open easily, Mitchell glancing around before slipping the pins back in his pocket. He liked to be prepared, okay? It was nice to always have what you needed.
The apartment was cleaner than he expected nice open windows that set the sun gloss over the dark hardwood floor. He couldn’t even image the rent on a place this nice in New York City.
Just like he predicted, the apartment was nearly empty, Travis nowhere in sight. He headed towards the room he was pretty sure was Connor’s and shifted the bags over to one hand as he swung the door open.
Connor was there, in bed, sprawled across his mattress. He was shirtless, a shiny sheen to his skin. He barely lifted his head as Mitchell walked in, instead pushing his face into a pile of pillows. Mitchell crouched down next to him, a worried frown crossing his face.
“How did you get in?” Connor asked, his flushed face still buried into his pillow.
“Picked the lock.” Mitchell used one hand to smooth the other boy’s curls back from his forehead, frowning.
“That’s the hottest thing you’ve ever said to me.” He declared, turning over on his back. He stared at Mitchell for a second, his eyes squinted and his voice drowsy. “What’s up?”
Mitchell held up the bags, smiling a bit. “I got you flu medicine, soup, and Gatorade.”
“Grape?” He asked hopefully, his eyes still closed and his face still buried in his pillow.
“Of course.” Mitchell answered easily, throwing down his duffel and grocery bags. “Here, drink some water before you fall back asleep. You’ll feel better, I promise.”
Connor did as told, draining the entire water bottle in one go before falling back into his pillows. “Night babe.”
Mitchell took the bottle from his loose fingers, “Night, darling.”
He took to cleaning up Connor’s room a bit, mostly just gathering up the loose crumbled tissues and taking out the trash. He threw in a load of laundry, knowing how much both boys detested the chore, and folded the pile on top of the dryer.
Cleaning always calmed him, soothed him in a way only complete order could. He wasn’t a neat freak or anything – he lived in a cabin with ten other teenagers – and his room back room was far from order – but it was always nice to work with his hands, and have something nice come out of it.
He moved onto the rest of the house next, wiping down the slightly sticky counters in the kitchen and throwing out some probably-sentient take-out.
Mitchell had just begun cleaning up the minimal mess in the living room – more tissues, a few plates left out – when he heard a few rough coughs from the direction of Connor’s room, and the bed creaking from obvious shifting.
He threw the dirty plates in the kitchen – a mental note in place to wash them later – and grabbed the grocery bags he came in with to check on the other boy.
“Hey, how ya feeling?” Mitchell asked, shifting through the bag to pull out the still-chilled Gatorade. He cracked the cap and held it out. But Connor, red-cheeked probably from his fever, only stared at him in bewilderment.
Connor blinked, sitting up and staring at him with wide eyes. He looked more surprised than Mitchell would have expected after speaking to him barely an hour ago.
Mitchell pressed the bottle into Connor’s hands, “Drink.” He ordered, sitting on the edge of the bed. “You’re not getting dehydrated on my watch.”
Connor was still blinking at him. “I…thought I was hallucinating. You’re, uh, you’re here. Wow, um. Hi.”
Mitchell smiled fondly at him, poking his arm. “Hey hun.”
Connor pushed himself up, his comforter falling to pool at his waist. “You’re actually here. We should – we should go do something. You’re here, we should have fun.”
Mitchell reached out, gently pushing the other boy back. Even from the soft touch of Mitchell’s fingertips, he could feel how hot and clammy the other boy’s skin was.
“Lay down.” Mitchell ordered softly. “I’ll be here all weekend. But first, you’re gonna have to focus on feeling better.”
“I feel fine.” Connor told him, despite his fluttering eyes and flushed skin. “Seriously, we shouldn’t waste this visit –“
“It’s not a waste if it’s for you.” Mitchell only told him, tipping back the water bottle a bit so Connor would actually drink it.
Connor took a long drink and passed it back. Mitchell smoothed back his curls, enjoying the way Connor leaned in heavily to his touch.
“Let’s take your temperature.” He pulled out the red bag he found in their bathroom, the white cross distinctly familiar as the first aid kits kept at camp. He found the thermometer easily, still in the plastic. He ripped it off, playing with the buttons for a moment. “Open your mouth, c’mon.”
Connor groaned, “You know, I usually love to hear those words from you. Now, not so much.”
Mitchell smiled at that, “It’ll only take a moment. Now, tongue up.”
He complied, making a scrunched up face that warmed Mitchell’s chest a bit. The thermometer beeped after a moment, the display glowing a soft blue.
Mitchell hummed. “102.1”
Connor fell back onto his pillows. “That’s…not good?”
“You’ll feel better when it goes down.” Mitchell told him instead.
“I have to pee.” Connor said after a moment, pushing himself up. He moved slowly, shoving off his blankets with weak hands, and settled his feet on the carpet, looking unsure.
Connor stood, wobbling worryingly for a moment. Mitchell was at his side in a second, his hands hovering over the other boy’s skin. “Do you need help?”
Connor frowned, “No, I don’t need –“ He paused, the flush in his cheeks paling. He fell forward, Mitchell’s hands catching him, and stumbled towards the bathroom.
“I’m going to be sick.” He gasped, before doing just that, barely making it to the toilet in time.
Mitchell pulled Connor’s curls back, using a rubber band to tie his curls back while rubbing circles into the other boys back.
Connor finished, coughing a few more times into the toilet as Mitchell stood, grabbing a dishtowel from under the sink and running it under the cold water. He had a water bottle within reach, thankfully, probably forgotten there as he was cleaning.
Connor wiped at his mouth, exhaustion in every line of his body as he fell back against the wall. “You’re the best Mitchell, and I’m so happy to see you, but you should go. This can’t be very fun for you.”
Mitchell passed over a wet cloth and water bottle, “I deal with sick kids all the time. If I couldn’t handle a little puke, there’s no way I could survive as a camp counselor.” Mitchell settled down next to him, the bathroom tile cold and hard under his damp palms. He smoothed back Connor’s messy curls, holding them out of his face as Connor wiped his face off. Connor reached for the mouthwash on the counter and Mitchell helped him lean over carefully and spit it into the shower drain.
“I haven’t eaten in like, two days. How is throwing up even possible.” Connor groaned, his head dropping down onto Mitchell’s shoulder. “This is horrible. I feel horrible.”
Mitchell hummed sympathetically, his arm coming up to curl around Connor’s shoulders. Connor’s cheek was hot against his skin, his breath huffing against Mitchell’s neck.
Mitchell ran his fingers through Connor’s curls, and pressed his dry lips to Connor’s heated forehead.
Mitchell took a deep breath, giving the other boy one more moment. “Brush your teeth and use the washroom. I’ll go put on a movie, come on.”
Connor looked up hopefully. “Monster Inc.?”
“Your favorite. Already set up and ready to go.” Mitchell grinned, pulling him up. He gave Connor a few minutes alone in the bathroom, listening to the faucet click on and off and the toilet flush as he leaned against Connor’s bedroom wall. It was only a few more minutes until the door swung open, revealing the other boy with much, much fresher breath.
Mitchell held out his arm, letting Connor come to him. The other boy leaned heavily on him, his arm coming up to hang off Mitchell’s waist.
Mitchell helped him to the couch, dropping him off easily while the other boy groaned and curled on the cushion. Mitchell gave him a fond look before speaking.
“You should try and drink some broth and crackers, see if you can keep it down.” Mitchell grabbed the fleece blanket off the arm chair and draped it over his legs, tucking in the sides like he always did for the younger kids.
“Food is probably the worst idea you’ve ever had.” He declared from his place on the couch, but he sat up slightly and stared at Mitchell with tired eyes. “Like, actually the worst.”
“Well, you’re gonna try and keep it down.” Mitchell told him sweetly, ripping open one of the instant soup packets he picked up from the store. It only took hot water and a minute in the microwave to make – and it was probably horrible high in sodium – but it was the same, familiar brand the camp store held, which he knew the other boy would appreciate.
Mitchell caught Connor peeking over the couch arm with interest, the heavy scent probably making its way over to the other boy already.
He smiled softly, adding a bit of spice to the soup. Hopefully, the spice would help clear out Connor’s congestion – it was always a popular trick with the sick Aphrodite kids. He quickly bowled it and made it back to the living room where the selection screen for the movie was already on loop. He had put in the DVD earlier when he was cleaning, already planning to persuade Connor into dragging his feet to the couch so Mitchell could clean up his room.
“Eat.” Mitchell instructed, smoothing out the blanket before passing over the warm bowl. He settled next to Connor, their bodies brushing, and reached for the remote.
Connor caught his wrist before he could press play, focusing intensely on the soup in his lap.
“What’s wrong?” Mitchell frowned, his hand coming up to brush Connor’s cheeks and forehead. “Is your fever bothering you? I can go grab an ice pack if you want.”
Connor glanced up at Mitchell, catching his hand before he could pull away. “Thank you for this.” Connor told him softly. “You know, Mom’s always busy with work and Travis is great but he’s horrible with sick people and…I don’t know. I haven’t had someone take care of me in…years.” Connor gave him a half-shrug, his eyes glassy. “It…means a lot to me, Mitchell. You being here.”
Mitchell blinked a few times. “Of course Connor. I…” Mitchell’s eyes flickered away and back in a nervous movement. “I love you. Of course.”
Connor smiled, the movement a bit weak and hazy. “I love you too, Mitchell.” He burrowed his face into Mitchell’s neck, “Tell me again when I’m not super gross and I promise at least like, three blowjobs are in order.”
“Will do.” Mitchell laughed, pressing the other boy a bit closer. He grabbed for the remote, flipping on the movie, and Connor was asleep – his bowl drained – before Boo made it into Sully and Mike’s apartment.
Mitchell finished watching the movie, keeping his laughter low at the familiar jokes. It was nice, having this. A familiar movie playing, a warm, sleepy, albeit sickly boy at his side, his arms curled around Mitchell’s waist.
Connor was already drooling onto Mitchell’s sleeve. At least he was mostly cute.
Before the movie was over - right before the scene that always had Mitchell sniffing into his sleeve - the lock in the door clicked and turned, and Mitchell glanced over in time to see Travis dunking through the doorway.
“Hey Mitchell.” Travis greeted, his voice casual. He held up the grocery bag dangling from his hand, “Got you some of that strawberry milk you love.”
Mitchell sighed, carefully pushing the sleeping boy off of him and standing.
“Of course you did. Because you knew I was here. Of course.” Mitchell answered in a breezy voice, collecting Connor’s empty soup bowl, fixing the blanket to settle across the other boy before walking over. “And keep your voice down, Connor’s sleeping.”
Travis nodded, wrinkling his nose. “Good. He was vomiting all night, it was disgusting.”
Mitchell rolled his eyes, almost hip-checking him as he dunked past to throw the dishes on the sink. He turned on the tap, warming up the water, and dumped a glob of soap on the sponge.
“How’s Katie?” He asked, because he really did enjoy the other girl’s presence, usually in the midst of some poorly thought through Stoll ‘adventure’.
Travis jumped on the counter, letting his feet hit the cabinets as they swung. “She’s bored. Living in Kansas can do that to you. I’m thinking about visiting her this weekend. She wants to pull a prank on one of her teachers and could use the backup, I think.”
Mitchell nodded slowly. “That’s…nice of you. When was the last time you two met up?”
“Two weeks ago. I missed her, thought why not.” Mitchell shot him a surprised look that had him laughing.
Travis winked at him, “Mom’s an airline stewardess. We fly free.”
Mitchell blinked, “Oh, yeah. I forgot. Well, that’s nice. Tell her I said hello and that she’s my favorite.”
“Will do.” Travis told him with a grin, turning his head so he could spy on his younger brother passed out on the couch. ”Monsters Inc.? How’d you know?”
Mitchell shrugged, scrubbing at a plate stain particularly hard. “He mentioned it once. It’s his favorite sick day movie.”
Travis raised his eyebrows in amusement. “Yeah, I know. I’ve been forced to watch it twice a year or so since we were kids. What’s yours?”
Mitchell snorted. “Spaceballs.” He shrugged at Travis’s laughter, rinsing off the bubbly dishes. “It’s a classic.”
“Can’t fight that. I always been more of a Good Burger kind of guy.”
Mitchell nodded in approval. That was one of Asher’s favorites, and he’d been forced to listen to the dialogue play in the background of their cabin for years. He finished up the dishes, feeling completely at home in the apartment, and tried not to bicker with Travis too loudly.
Later, his boyfriend would wake up lovingly tucked in in his own bed, Mitchell curled into his side, and he’d smile a bit too softly to be anything but lovesick.
Author’s Note: What happens when you’re pissed off about the way someone died in a movie? You write (modern) AU fanfiction about their non-canon pairing you’re in love with. Hope you enjoy my little bit of Figrid. :)
The worst part of Sigrid’s day was, she had to say, first getting to work. The diner was freezing in the early morning before it opened, and as she was the one who opened it, it was miserable. The cook – Maria – arrived soon after her, but for that first half hour or so of filling salt and pepper shakers and wiping down tables, Sigrid wondered why the hell she took the job. And then she remembered that her da’s salary as a transporter of goods was not quite enough to pay all the bills and that was why she wasn’t going to college like most nineteen year olds. She got a bit sad when she remembered that. But those feelings were secondary to there actually being food on the table and heat in the house, so she tried not to let it weigh her down too much. Besides, perhaps her siblings might be able to go to one day if she made enough money.
She snapped out of her daze when Maria called her name.
“Sig, could you flip on the ‘open’ sign? It’s 7.”
Sigrid nodded, heading over to the window. She took a moment to look outside. The weather was as cold and rainy as it had been on her miserable walk over, but then that’s how it always was in Laketown.
It was barely five minutes later that people started showing up in search of breakfast. Sigrid put on her apron and a falsely cheerful smile, all while mentally counting down the hours until her lunch break.
The morning went by as quickly as was possible, while waiting tables and restraining from killing sleezy patrons who tried to feel her up. Maria often offered to loan her a frying pan if she needed it, but Sigrid declined. Mostly because hitting their weasely manager Alfrid, who was just as bad as the patrons, would be a sure way for her to lose any chance of employment at all in Laketown, since he worked directly for the Mayor, who in turn owned the diner. But it would have felt nice, since Alfrid was the biggest skeeve Sigrid had ever met. Hitting him with a cast-iron frying pan would have at least been entertaining for her and Maria.
Going home from work that night, Sigrid stopped at the grocer’s to pick up some bread for supper, and mentally went over what she’d have to do. Tilda would probably need help with her math homework, and Bain would want her to look over his essay. Then there was the knitting she did, both to keep her family in socks and hats and to calm her after a stressful day. She was just leaving the store, her mind somewhere less rainy, when she collided with something solid.
At first she thought she’d run into the door, which she’d until then believed was automatic, but when an arm wrapped around her waist to stop her from falling backwards, she became fairly certain that she’d run into a someone instead of a something. Which was possibly more embarrassing; she wasn’t entirely clear on that point.
“Oh, sorry! You alright?” The voice she assumed was connected with the arm sounded friendly and male. Sigrid brought her head back down from the clouds (where it was sunny, and Alfrid was being hit over the head with frying pans and scrubbing the floors on his hands and knees for once).
She found herself looking at a man, probably a few years older than herself. He was about two inches shorter than her, but his shoulders were a good deal wider and he had short blond hair and matching beard.
“I-I’m fine, thanks,” she stammered. “Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention. My fault.”
“Eh, equally mine,” he said, a crooked smile on his face.
“Uh, you gonna let her go now, Fee?” a second male voice asked, sounding amused. Sigrid only just then noticed another young man, this one with dark hair and whiskers. She blushed heavily, as did the blond man, who let her go then.
“You sure you’re alright?” the man said, sounding concerned.
“I’m fine; I’ve had far worse than running into someone,” Sigrid assured him, shifting the bread in her arms.
“If you’re sure then,” he said, smiling kindly at her.
“I am, thanks,” Sigrid said. “Have a nice day.”
“You too,” the dark haired one cut in, sounding amused. Sigrid nodded once at them, and then was on her way again, not paying attention to the way both men looked after her as she walked away.
“Nicely done Fili,” his brother mocked him, laughing far more than Fili believed was strictly warranted.
“Shut up Kili,” Fili said without preamble, moving inside the store. He looked down at the list that had been growing in size since they’d arrived in Laketown the week before and began grabbing things.
“She was very pretty,” Kili continued, impish grin that had always gotten him both into and out of trouble firmly in place.
“Shut up Kili,” Fili said, grabbing a bag of apples.
“All blonde and womanly and pretty blush.”
“Kili, if you don’t shut up, I will strangle you with an extension cord, and Thorin might even thank me for it.”
“You’re no fun, Fili,” Kili grumbled, but he left off speaking.
However, Kili wasn’t wrong. Fili had certainly noticed that the girl was pretty. Blue eyes, hair like gold; could he be blamed for wanting to keep talking to her?
“Bit of an awkward way to meet someone though,” he muttered to himself while Kili was occupied with something else.
He wanted to know what her name was. He’d liked the feel of his arm around her waist after he’d stopped her from falling, though she’d probably been embarrassed by it. Not that he blamed her; she’d plainly not been watching where she was going. Which wasn’t to say that he had been either. Too busy with thoughts of their latest job and whether it would be enough to pay their bills and send some of the money home to their mother.
Fili wondered what the pretty blonde had been thinking about.
When Sigrid got home, Bain was trying to help Tilda with her math, but that had always been Sigrid’s area of expertise, so the younger two weren’t having much luck. With promises to help after she got supper going, Sigrid listened for messages on the machine, and was saddened when one from her da told her that he’d be home late that night. An even less pleasant message was from Alfrid, telling her she needed to come in the next day, which should have been her day off. She grumbled to herself about the loss of time off, but rationalized that at least she’d be making more money. Still, her fantasy of smacking Alfrid over the head with a frying pan was looking more and more appealing.
When she finally got supper in the oven, she sat down at the table to help Tilda. The nine year old was glaring at the problems unhappily by then, and Sigrid fought to hide a smile.
“Alright, Tilda, what’s the problem?”
“Math is stupid,” Tilda grumbled.
“Maybe true,” Sigrid said with a small smirk. “But that’s not the relevant problem here. What is it that you can’t figure out?”
At Fili’s house, he and Kili ate takeout and watched kickboxing. Kili was far more into it than Fili, who was more preoccupied with looking at the plans for the house they were building.
“Come on Fee,” Kili tried to persuade him. “Even Thorin isn’t working right now.”
“You don’t think our uncle is looking over the plans the night before we start?” Fili asked, doubtful.
“Okay, true, but, you are not Thorin,” Kili pointed out. “For one thing you’re a lot blonder than him.”
“Aren’t you observant,” Fili snorted.
“And you know who else is blonde? The girl from the grocer’s today.”
Fili sighed, knowing he was in for a long night of bad segues.
The next morning Sigrid got ready for work and made Bain and Tilda’s lunches. Technically they could do it for themselves, but she liked to save them the trouble, since she was up early enough anyway. She was just finishing that when her da entered the kitchen. Bard Girion was grim-faced as usual, but he managed a smile for his oldest daughter.
“Thought today was your day off, Sig?” he asked, looking down at her in concern.
“It was, but Alfrid left a message asking me to come in last night. It’s not that big a deal,” she replied, shrugging it off as though it were nothing. Her da hugged her again and Sigrid allowed herself a moment of comfort.
“Don’t work yourself too hard, Sig. You deserve better than that.”
“I’ll be alright, Da,” Sigrid said, finally with a real smile. “Where are you headed today?”
“Just across, to Esgaroth. I’ll be back in time for supper tonight.”
“Good. I’ll make stew,” she said, pleased.
“Come on, I’ll walk you to work.”
“Oh, you don’t have to,” Sigrid protested.
“And that’s where you’re wrong. Let’s go; it’s on the way to the docks anyway.”
While she could have pretended like she was indifferent, Sigrid was extremely pleased for the time with her da all to herself. Sometimes he took Bain out on the boat with him, and he always made time to tuck Tilda into bed when he was home to do it. Sigrid had to content herself with the occasional walk to work. But that was okay, so long as he was around.
Fili woke up and showered before Kili, ensuring he would get the bigger share of the hot water. (It was the little things in life, after all.) He then ingested the vile instant coffee they’d bought the day before, and resolved to get some from somewhere that was not their kitchen. When Kili joined him, dark hair still wet, Fili received a rough punch to the shoulder.
“Son of an orc,” Kili grunted, only making Fili smirk.
“Wakes you up better than this, I think,” he said, holding up his mug. “I don’t care that we’re poor, we’re getting something better. There’s got to be a decent coffee shop somewhere in this town.”
“Think I heard of one,” Kili said, perking up a bit. “The Master’s, or something like that.”
“Oh, real subtle,” Fili snorted. “No accounting for taste. Still though, long as the coffee’s good, owner can call himself whatever he pleases.”
“You’re a man of simple pleasures, aren’t you Fee?” Kili asked him in amusement. “Good coffee, good beer, pretty blondes.”
“Oh, for Mahal’s sake!” Fili grumbled. “You ever plan on letting that go? She couldn’t have been older than nineteen.”
“Like you’re an old man,” Kili scoffed.
“I don’t even know her name.”
“Laketown’s small enough to mend that,” Kili retorted with a wink.
Sigrid opened the diner as she usually did. She filled the salt and pepper shakers and loaded napkin dispensers. When Maria arrived, together they did some prep work for later. At 7, she flipped on the ‘open’ sign. For about half an hour she looked after the few patrons who showed up, keeping her ‘I have to be nice to you’ smile firmly plastered on. It was not going to be a fun day.
At 7:30, Sigrid didn’t notice who walked through the door before taking a seat at the counter.
“Sig, at the bar,” Maria said. Sigrid nodded in thanks and turned. She was not prepared to see the blond man and his dark haired companion from the day before. While she felt awkward, she couldn’t exactly just leave them there.
“Can I help you?” she asked, walking over. The blond she’d run into looked at her like she was a ghost, while the brunet looked as though Christmas had come early.
“We meet again,” the brunet said cheerfully.
“So it would seem,” Sigrid said, a reluctant smile on her face. “Seriously though, what can I get you?”
“Well, ma’am, my brother is dying for some coffee that doesn’t taste like it was filtered through his sock. As am I, to be honest.”
“Two coffees, coming right up.”
“Wait!” The sudden exclamation made Sigrid turn. It appeared the blond had found his tongue. “Sorry, but what’s your name?”
“Sigrid. Sigrid Girion. And you, sir?”
“Fili Durin,” he replied, the same crooked smile she’d seen the day before adorning his features.
“Nice to actually meet you, Fili Durin.” She turned away again, features softening somewhat.
Perhaps the day wouldn’t be so bad.
I’m a sucker for the “running into each other – literally” meet-cute. Also, I know Esgaroth and Laketown are the same place, but I needed a name, and this is my verse to do with as I please.
it’s funny how Maria is the absolute badass in this drabble despite this being a Joanolo fic. Then again, Maria’s amazing and deserves Boba Fett status here~
May write more if there’s a demand for it…
Manolo was regretting moving to San Angelo. Sure, the restaurant he and his friends played at paid really well and his apartment was both affordable and perfect for him, but San Angelo was almost as dangerous as Miracle City, just a few miles away, and Gotham up in the States. But because he decided to help a kitten out in an alley that just so happened to be where some gang was doing business, poor Manolo found himself in some warehouse tied up to a chair (the gangsters were nice enough to take the kitten with them and give it food and water; the furry bastard was currently asleep on a table by his guard).
“I already told you guys I won’t tell anyone.” He pleaded. “I’m just a musician at a restaurant; not like anyone will believe me, anyways…” The guard sighed, placing his gun on the table and away from the kitten before looking up.
“I know you won’t, essé, but you’re kinda being used as bait.”
“…‘Kinda?’ How am I 'kinda’ being used as bait?!”
“Well, our boss is using you as bait to lure El Guapo here for a trap and trade something for your safety… Idunno, I wasn’t really paying attention at the meeting. Also, I apologize for any rough handling they give you. I assure you we pull or push you just for show.” The other explained as if it were all normal business. Manolo frowned at him.
“That doesn’t make me feel any better! I’m just a bargaining chip?!” He whined. The guard shrugged.
“Well, we really didn’t want to try to kidnap his ally; she’d kill us…” Manolo rolled his eyes.
“You’re screwed either way; she’s my best friend…” He muttered as he sighed and sat back. The guard blinked.
“Wait, wha-” A loud crack echoed throughout the room as Maria snapped the man’s neck as if it were nothing. She then walked over and smacked him on the arm before glaring at him through her mask and goggles.
“What did I tell you about getting home?!” She hissed.
“There was a kitten!” He argued, “The poor thing was stuck in a can so I helped it out-” He grunted when she pushed his head to the side when another gang member walked in and shot at her; obviously the lackey was an idiot and forgot that Manolo was their bargaining chip.
“I told you to come home right after your concert!” She retorted, not even looking when she pulled out her gun and shot the other man between the eyes. Manolo sighed, sitting back as Maria undid his bindings.
“I’m sorry, Deadshot.” He mumbled, making sure to call her by her code name. “I just wanted to help a cat…” Feeling something on his shoulder, he glanced over and found the kitten perched on it. “When did you…?”
“Hang onto him really quick while I clear the hallway.” Maria called out as she ran out the door. Sounds of gunfire and screams of anguish echoed into the room, making the musician cringe and hold the cat close to his chest. Once everything fell silent, Maria poked her head through the doorway and gave him a thumb’s up.
“All clear!” She sang happily. He walked out and let her guide him over the casualties, making sure he didn’t step on anyone or anything. “Now make your way over to the exit door over there and go home. Got it?” Maria growled. He sighed.
“Yes, mom.” He answered sarcastically, earning him a punch to the shoulder painful enough to get him to yelp.
“Don’t sass me, Manny. Now go!” She commanded, giving him a gentle but strong push towards the exit. Manolo rolled his eyes but did as he was told, placing the kitten back on his shoulder. Once he was finally outside, Manolo decided to stop at the shelter on the way to his apartment to drop off the cat since his complex didn’t allow pets. He waved goodbye to the girl at the desk and was about to make his way home when he heard someone land right behind him.
“Didn’t Deadshot tell you to go home.” He stiffened, frowning as he turned around to yell at whoever decided to be snarky at him.
“Well, she’s not my mom, so I don’t really have to listen to-” His argument died in his throat when he realized just who he was being sarcastic towards. El Guapo was the city’s main superhero; super strength, flight, and the ability to sense lies (it was odd, but the man saved people from fires and accidents so no one criticized that).
On top of that, the man was as his name suggested; incredibly handsome despite half his face hidden behind a cowl.
“Oooh~ I’m telling her you said that~” The hero teased, which made Manolo decide to not show the man respect and reply with even more sarcasm.
“And what else, that I ate three cookies for dinner?” He mocked, turning on his heel and walking towards his apartment complex. “I’m already in trouble with her…” Manolo added as he began to walk away (and not notice the way the superhero was watching his behind as he walked), only to stop as El Guapo was suddenly floating in front of him.
“Aw, come on, dude! I’m just teasing!” He laughed. “Come on; let me give you a lift!” He said, holding out his hand for the other to take. Manolo stared at it and frowned.
“Uh… I’ll be okay-”
“Nonsense! Come here!”
“No wait-” Manolo’s protests turned into a rather unmanly scream as El Guapo grabbed him by the waist and flew upwards. He quickly grabbed onto the other man; afraid he’s slip and fall. The other man chuckled and tightened his grip.
“Don’t worry, bro; I won’t let you fall.” He whispered calmly. Manolo didn’t even realize he was shaking until the superhero had started to rub small circles on his back to calm him down. He sighed.
“I know, I know… It was just kinda… sudden, you know? Not to mention I’ve never been carried by someone that can fly…” He explained. The superhero nodded in understanding.
“Sorry, bro. So where to?” He asked. Manolo pointed to an apartment complex a couple blocks away.
“Over there; I’m on C362-Aye Díos!” He gasped as El Guapo suddenly took off at a high speed. They stopped right in front of his apartment door in what Manolo truly believed was ten seconds. He shakily disentangled himself from the man and fished his keys out of his pocket.
“So, um… Thank you for the lift…” He muttered, not really knowing what else to say. El Guapo waved it off.
“Eh, it was nothing! Just glad you’re safe… Deadshot almost had a conniption, you know…” Manolo sighed.
“I just hope she’s calmed down… It’s been a long day and I really don’t want to deal with her yelling…”
“You’ll be fine…” El Guapo said happily as he patted him on the back. “Those criminals were just stupid enough to mess with her… But I can hardly blame them… Kidnapping someone as hot as you~”
“Yeah-wait, what?!” The hero laughed as he gave Manolo a playful flick on the nose.
“Stay safe… I’ll see you around, hot stuff~” El Guapo teased before jumping off the stairwell and flying away. Manolo growled to himself as he unlocked the door to his apartment, trying to ignore how he was still blushing even after Maria had dropped in to scold him.