A/N: Okay, this is a one-shot I've had for awhile now, and I decided to post it…finally. Anyway, it's just a short fluff between Hornet and Prosper. It takes place four years after the book, making both Prosper and Hornet (I think) sixteen.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything in this story.
Prosper stared out at the open ocean that led away from the city of Venice. Slowly but surely, it was swallowing the sinking sun.
"Four years," he whispered to himself, "Four whole years since that whole fiasco with the merry-go-round. I can't believe it."
It was true. It had been four years since Prosper had thought he'd lost his little brother forever, four years since the "Thief Lord" Scipio had been magically aged into an adult, and four years since he, Bo and Hornet had been hungry, cold and afraid.
Prosper himself was growing up and he began to take notice of this. At age 16 he was lean, tan and slightly more muscular than even Mosca. This was due largely to his new job as a gondolieri's apprentice.
After he got out of school for the day, he would head over to the docks and meet his mentor Fabiola Spassimo, an aging man who was still as fit as a fiddle, but who claimed that "One of these days, I'll catch my death of cold and die in my gondola".
Prosper couldn't help but smile at the memory, he loved the old man like a father, and Spassimo had eagerly encouraged the idea, saying he was honored to be looked upon as a father figure, his children having long ago left Venice for America and a different life.
He usually allowed Prosper to take the tourists or couples out in the gondola, but was always nearby just in case. Prosper had learned quickly that being a gondolieri was no easy task. Venice was a very big city and most of the passengers, being tourists, wanted to see the entirety of it by gondola.
Prosper shivered as he felt the first cold breeze of winter hit his face on its way through the city. As the goose bumps made their way up his body, Prosper began to walk back toward his home, the Casa Spavento.
Ever since that faithful night when they had been caught by Ida Spavento herself in the midst of a raid on her house, Prosper, Bo, and Hornet had stayed there, and Ida couldn't have been happier.
As he continued to walk, Prosper's thoughts strayed to a certain brunette, whom he hadn't failed to notice, was growing up too.
Hornet was just as slender as when he had first her, but she had filled out rather nicely in Prosper's opinion. Her long brown hair still remained in its trademark braid, but with everybody's encouragement, mostly Prosper's, she would wear it down, so that it cascaded freely down her back.
'My god she's beautiful.' He thought to himself. He couldn't get enough of her. Recently, he had been having these strange urges and needs to be constantly with her. The only reason he wasn't with her right now was because he'd only just gotten off duty at the docks.
"Thank god it's getting colder," he said, "Or else I'd be stuck with tourists all day. And I wouldn't get to spend as much time as I have been with H—Oooff!"
Prosper was cut off as he crashed into another person running around the corner. He, being the bigger of the two managed to take the blow and stay upright, but the other person was now on the floor.
"Scusi! I was paying attention…Hornet?" Indeed it was.
"Hey Prop!" she said from the floor, smiling warmly at him, "Fancy meeting you here. Err….are you just going to stand there, or are you going to help me up?"
Prosper, who had been simply perplexed and shocked at who he'd run into, immediately extended his had to her. "Sorry!! I didn't mean to Hornet!! I-I just…uh…wasn't paying at-attention!!!"
She blinked. "Hey Prop take it easy, it's alright, I wasn't exactly paying attention either." Prosper stopped his rant as she pulled herself up. Her hair wasn't in its usual braid, he noticed, and she was only wearing jeans and a light long-sleeved shirt.
"Ida actually let you out of the house without a jacket?" She laughed. Lord how he loved that laugh.
"No silly, I snuck out! She was flirting with Victor again so it wasn't that hard. Besides," she said, grinning mischievously at him, "I wanted to see the famous gondolieri at work, but it looks as though I'm too late." She frowned at this, which caused Prosper to shout at himself.
'Look what you did you idiot! Now she's sad!! Do something!!' Thinking quickly, he said, "I'm sure Signor Spassimo would let me take the gondola out for a bit, if…you want to go that is."
'NOT THAT!!! SHE DOESN'T LIKE BOATS YOU DOLT!!!' his eye twitched at that reminder.
She smiled however, "Sure that sounds great!! I've been wanting to ride a gondola for a while now."
Prosper raised an eyebrow, "I thought you didn't like boats 'Net."
"Prosper, that was four years ago! Besides, you'll be there to protect me right?"
He couldn't stop the small blush as it swept over his face, "Uh..s-sure! Let's go!"
With that, he grabbed her hand and the pair took off back towards the docks. They caught Signor Spassimo just in time.
"Signor Spassimo!" Prosper called to the departing man, "My friend and I wanted to know if you'd be willing to let us use your gondola for awhile."
The old man, hearing the near plea in Prosper's voice as well as seeing Prosper's "friend" quickly agreed.
"Take her out as long as you want Prop, I was going to go visit a friend tonight anyway." As the old man turned, Prosper swore he saw him wink at him. Blushing again, Prosper nearly jumped into the gondola.
He turned around and for the second time that day, offered his hand to Hornet. Just as her foot touched the bottom of the gondola, she tripped, causing her to tumbled in to Prosper's thankfully waiting arms.
The next thing he knew, his face was inches from Hornet's, their breaths mingling with each other.
"Prop…" Hornet started, but trailed off as she unconsciously leaned forward.
"'Net…" Prosper whispered as he too leaned towards her. They were being drawn together, and they didn't bother fighting it.
Seconds later, their lips met in a perfect, innocently passionate kiss.
As happens sometimes, a moment settled and hovered and remained for much more than a moment. And sound stopped and movement stopped for much, much more than a moment.
It seemed like hours had gone by, when in reality, the couple had only been kissing for a minute.
They broke apart, neither wanting to, but needed to, just to make sure they weren't dreaming and that it hadn't just been an accident.
There was a short silence before Hornet asked, "That…kiss. You…was..i-it wasn't just …just because I fell right?"
"Well," Prosper said grinning, "It did happen because you fell, but I'm glad it did 'Net, because…I..I love you."
Hornet blinked, "R-really? No joke?"
"'Net, I don't joke about this kind of thing." At that, he leaned in and whispered, "You should know that by now Caterina." Before he kissed her softly again.
Hornet pulled away, "I love you too Prosper. And you know what?"
She leaned in towards Prosper, "I like the way my real name sounds when you say it."
"Caterina." Prosper whispered again.
"Yeah, like that." She whispered back, before claiming his lips once more.
Later, as they made their way back to Casa Spavento hand in hand, Hornet said, "You know, maybe boats ain't so bad after all!"
Both of them were still laughing as they entered their home.
A/N: Well, there you go. My first Thief Lord oneshot! Anyway, when I started writing this, I intended for it to be just that, a oneshot!! But then I started writing a continuation…and…well, I'll just have to see if that goes anywhere.