A/N - Happy New Year, guys! I'd like to apologise for the amount of time it took me to write this chapter. I had a real block with it for some reason and re-wrote parts of it numerous times. However, I'm finally happy with it, so here you go! Duties is officially completed! Since I last updated I've had three more pieces of amazing fanart from TerryxRage, ravenspine21 and Kettenkrad - the link to all of them is on my bio, go check them out! Also, thank you SO much to Amethyst DragonRider for beta-ing the last few chapters - you're amazing and I'm so grateful to you! And now, happy reading for the last chapter of my baby. I'm going to miss Maid!Roderich...
It was the weak dawn light that woke Roderich on the day after the Week From Hell had finally come to an end. He wondered groggily as he lay, still half asleep, whether he should stop thinking about it in that way and perhaps refer to it by a different name. It was true that a lot of the week had been exasperating and humiliating, but at the same time…perhaps it had been worth it.
Maybe it was strange, Roderich thought now, but he actually wasn't surprised that they had ended up like this. He could feel the comforting heat that radiated from Gilbert's chest on his back, the other nation lying close to him but not quite close enough to touch. One of Gilbert's arms was wrapped loosely around his chest, and Roderich was content to lie still and listen to the gentle breathing behind him as Gilbert slept. They hadn't had sex again the night before, but Gilbert had turned up at Roderich's bedroom door and Roderich had invited him in. It had felt a little awkward at first, but then Gilbert had made a crude comment as Roderich had got undressed, and something like normality had settled in the air between them. It had left Roderich wondering why things couldn't have been simpler.
Now, however, thinking back on their history, Roderich realised that it would have been stupid to expect anything involving the two of them to be easy. He clasped Gilbert's hand with both of his and wondered if the pulse he could feel in his fingers was Gilbert's or his own, or maybe both, beating in perfect harmony just for a moment. He stroked along the pale skin from the bitten fingernails to the wrist and pressed his palm against Gilbert's, stretching his fingers to try and make their hands the same size. Behind him, the gentle pattern of Gilbert's breathing changed slightly as the Prussian awoke.
"What are you doing to my hand?" came a mildly amused question, voice still husky with sleep. Roderich flicked one of Gilbert's fingers lightly.
"Just playing with it," he replied.
"Oh, I can think of something you can play with that's much better than a hand," Gilbert replied, and Roderich considered it quite impressive that he could make such a suggestive remark when he had been awake for less than a minute. Not that Roderich would ever admit to this out loud, of course. He wouldn't want to encourage Gilbert after all. But then the other nation seemed to wake up a little more and realise what he had said, because Roderich felt him tense slightly, still uneasy about where they stood with each other now: about how they should act, and what they should say. Really, Roderich couldn't blame him after the misunderstanding they'd had yesterday.
"You don't have to worry," he said, addressing Gilbert's unspoken thoughts. "I promise not to jump to the wrong conclusions if you act like a moron again." Gilbert hit him lightly on the arm, so lightly that it was more of a gentle tap than a hit. Roderich frowned.
"I'm not a moron!" Gilbert protested, and Roderich practically felt him choke back the insult he would normally have thrown back at Roderich.
In response to the lack of banter, Roderich rolled over so that he was facing Gilbert. Then he glared. If someone had asked him a week ago whether he would miss Gilbert's taunting and insults, he would have laughed them out of Europe. Now, however, he found himself slightly annoyed at being treated as though he were so fragile that a single innuendo could shatter him. At the same time, he understood that Gilbert didn't want a repeat of the day before, but really, this was taking things too far. It was downright weird.
"Could you stop acting as though you're walking on eggshells?" he asked. "It's making me uncomfortable and it's in no way necessary." Gilbert looked as though he were about to make another cagey reply, but Roderich cut him off, this time in a softer tone: "I appreciate that you're trying, but you don't have to act like a totally different person." Gilbert turned away, unable to hold eye contact.
"It's not like it's for your benefit," he muttered, and the lie was so huge that Roderich laughed out loud. He leant closer to softly kiss Gilbert's cheek as the other nation fidgeted uncomfortably.
"I don't know what to do," Gilbert suddenly blurted out. "I've never been in – I mean…" He fought desperately to salvage the sentence. "I mean, I've never been in this situation before. Not this one," he clarified, eyes flicking pointedly to the bed before darting away again to study the ceiling, the walls, anything. "But…this…" He brought his hand up to card his fingers through Roderich's hair, quickly and briefly as if scared of the point he was trying to make. Roderich placed a hand on his shoulder, stroking his thumb comfortingly against Gilbert's collar bone. He couldn't stay exasperated when he was seeing a genuinely vulnerable side of Gilbert. It wasn't something that he witnessed often, but it opened up a level of intimacy between them that ran far deeper than anything sex could achieve.
"There aren't a set of rules you need to follow," he said gently. "Just act the way you normally do." Gilbert frowned, clearly contemplating this admittedly cliché advice.
"I don't normally sleep in the same bed as you," he pointed out. "Or kiss you or –" Roderich placed a hand over Gilbert's mouth before he could list every single thing they had done in the last week that they didn't normally do.
"OK," Roderich amended, "Just do what comes naturally then." Gilbert considered this too, and Roderich removed his hand.
"So…" Gilbert said slowly, "if I want to touch you…?"
"You can," Roderich consented, and Gilbert's hand moved from resting lightly around Roderich's chest to cup the other nation's cheek lightly, as if he were testing out a new experiment that would turn lead into gold if it succeeded and blow up in his face if it failed.
"And if I wanted to…" His eyes flickered down to Roderich's shirtless torso and the boxers that rose low on the Austrian's hips. Roderich didn't need him to complete the sentence to understand the question.
"Only if it's appropriate at the time," he said, blushing a little at the seriousness in Gilbert's tone and then trying desperately to rid his cheeks of their colour through sheer willpower alone. "That is, appropriate according to me. Your opinion on what qualifies as an appropriate time and place won't even be considered." Gilbert took this in stride, no doubt reasoning that he could easily get his own way if it came down to it.
"And if you're being a prissy aristocrat and it's pissing me off, am I allowed to say so?" he asked, and by now his voice sounded practically normal.
"I'm not encouraging it," Roderich replied hastily. "But I won't complain any more than I usually do." It seemed to be a good enough compromise for Gilbert, who was finally able to meet Roderich's eyes again.
"Cool," he said. "So it's just like normal but with added sex. I like the sound of that." He grinned as he propped his head up on his palm and draped his arm over Roderich again. His conclusion was so typical of him that Roderich might have thought that everything was sorted now, but the fact that Gilbert had made such a comment and not molested him made it clear that Gilbert still needed to test out this new territory before he felt completely comfortable with it. Roderich was secretly grateful for this; he also needed to get used to the change in their relationship. So he reacted to Gilbert's words in the same way he always would.
"You have a one-track mind," he grumbled, shrugging Gilbert's arm off of him. He then sat up and slipped out of the bed.
"Where are you going?" Gilbert asked, and Roderich noticed that even though the Prussian was uneasy about this new situation, that didn't stop him from staring unabashedly and appreciatively at Roderich's body as he stood. Clearly he was still completely in his element when it came to sexual harassment.
"To have a shower," Roderich replied, not bothering to look back as he walked towards the door. He didn't have to; he knew that Gilbert would follow him before he even heard the soft smack as the other nation threw the duvet unceremoniously onto the floor (he was going to be picking that up and making the bed later – Roderich would see to it now that he was no longer bound to do the household chores), followed by the quiet creak of the bed as Gilbert got to his feet.
"I'll join you," Gilbert purred, padding silently with bare feet after Roderich, who led the way into the bathroom.
"Don't you know that it's rude to invite yourself along to places?" Roderich asked.
"Hey, you're the rude one for not inviting me to shower with you," Gilbert sniffed in a mock offended tone. "In fact, you should be pleased that we're showering together." Roderich turned to raise an eyebrow at him as he stripped off his boxers and opened the shower door.
"Why? So I can bask in your glorious presence?" he asked sarcastically. Gilbert's eyes returned to his face so that he could grin in a way that Roderich knew meant that he had just said something stupid.
"That too," Gilbert replied, "But I was just thinking of all the water we'll save." He laughed as Roderich glared at him, half in embarrassment and half in exasperation. "It's nice to know that you've noticed my aura of pure awesome, though," Gilbert carried on happily. "You did a pretty good job of pretending you didn't realise I was a god in human form, but I knew you'd crack in the end."
"Just…shut up," Roderich replied, turning on the water and stepping into the shower. He attempted to close the door sharply to shut out Gilbert's ego, but unfortunately it was so big that it forced its way inside, along with Gilbert who had easily caught the door before it had slammed shut.
"Aw, don't be so bitter," he teased, winding himself around Roderich from behind and kissing him on the shoulder. The shower was only just big enough that the both of them could stand inside it comfortably, and so, realising that there was no escape (and that perhaps he didn't want to escape), Roderich resigned himself to relaxing in Gilbert's hold and enjoying the feel of the warm water cascading down his skin with a long suffering sigh.
Unfortunately, his contentment didn't last for long as, suddenly, the water started to get warmer. Roderich frowned. He turned to see Gilbert steadily turning the shower dial into uncomfortably hot temperatures.
"Stop that," he ordered, reaching out to twist the dial back. The water cooled down again and Gilbert shivered in an exaggerated manner.
"Do you want me to catch hypothermia?" he asked. "This is freezing!" He tried to pry Roderich's hand off the dial so that he could adjust the temperature again, but he was foiled by the Austrian's surprisingly strong grip.
"This is the temperature that normal people call warm," Roderich said, "And since this is my shower, you'll have to –" He was cut off as Gilbert grasped his chin and turned his face to crush their lips together. By now used to random acts of molestation, Roderich merely turned to a better angle and gave in without any attempt at resistance. He only realised that Gilbert had an ulterior motive when he noticed the gradual increase in the temperature of the water. Pulling back, he glared at Gilbert, who was surreptitiously turning the dial again. Gilbert grinned.
"Look at it this way," he said. "After being out in the rain yesterday, the last thing you need is more cold water. I'm saving you from getting sick again." Roderich flicked water into his face in response, but he was glad to see that Gilbert could mention the day before without looking guilty. It seemed that he was either very good at suppressing his guilt and not showing it, or he was relaxing in the intimate environment they now found themselves in. It felt natural, Roderich reflected briefly before he made a retort, and it felt right.
"Your concern is touching," he said dryly, then crouched down to reach the bottle of shampoo that sat on the raised edge around the bottom of the shower. Straightening up again, he flipped open the cap of the bottle and poured some of the contents into his hand. Then he moved the shower head to the side so that the water cascaded down the tiled wall without touching either of them before reaching up and massaging the shampoo into Gilbert's hair. Gilbert stared at him, bemused.
"You know, I am capable of washing my own hair," he pointed out. Roderich didn't look away from his task or pause in his ministrations.
"When it comes to matters of hygiene, I don't trust you to do the job properly," he replied matter-of-factly. Gilbert looked outraged.
"Hey! What's that supposed to mean?" he demanded. Roderich pulled the shower head back, cupping his hands to stop the suds from being washed into Gilbert's eyes.
"Exactly what it sounded like I meant," he replied. He smirked a little as Gilbert glared at him, and he ran his fingers through the other nation's hair to make sure it was free of shampoo.
"You can be a real jerk when you want to be," Gilbert said sulkily, reaching for a bottle of shower gel.
"I learnt from the best," Roderich said, looking pointedly at the Prussian. Gilbert's face brightened at the comment.
"Well, naturally," he said. "Since I'm the best at everything I do." Roderich rolled his eyes and held out his hand for the shower gel. Gilbert handed it to him and moved the shower head aside again so that he could apply the lather on his hands to-
Roderich looked up in surprise as Gilbert's hands, warm from the shower, slid smoothly onto his shoulders. They then rubbed soothing circles on his skin before moving down onto his chest, leaving a trail of soap suds behind them as they slipped down his torso, all the while massaging his skin gently. Roderich met Gilbert's eyes, expecting to see lust in his gaze, but was surprised to find only a trace of it, hidden behind something softer and deeper. He raised himself up onto his tiptoes and tilted his head back so that he could press his lips against Gilbert's again, moving his mouth slowly and sensually against the other's as Gilbert's hands circled his waist and started to make their way up his back. When they had once again reached Roderich's shoulders, Gilbert pushed gently so that Roderich had to break the kiss and put his heels carefully back into the shallow puddle of water at the bottom of the shower. For a moment, they looked at each other wordlessly, but then Gilbert turned abruptly away.
"You can finish this yourself," he said, and pulled the shower back so that the water streamed down Roderich's body, washing away the soap as Gilbert opened the shower door and made to leave. He stopped, however, as a hand gripped his wrist tightly.
"No," Roderich said, and the firmness in his voice was absolute. "I can't." He tugged, and Gilbert let himself be pulled back into the warmth of the water and the body that wrapped itself around him, kissing him deeply and desperately, dominating him and giving itself to him all at once.
Gilbert didn't resist as he was pushed back against the tiles. For a moment, as he had looked into Roderich's eyes, he had seen all the ways that he could hurt the other nation; the tears from yesterday, the fragile trust, and the quiet expectations that Gilbert wasn't sure he could live up to. And it had scared him. But now, as Roderich's hands slipped over his skin and his lips kissed promises against his neck, all that was somehow washed away with the water and carried down the drain, leaving him to wonder how he could have ever been so stupid as to try and throw this away.
"Don't run away from me," Roderich murmured against his ear, and the strength in the command made Gilbert feel almost ashamed to have imagined that Roderich could be hurt so easily.
"I won't," he promised, and then gasped as Roderich's hand slid down between his thighs, rewarding him for his answer and showing him what it meant: what they could be, how they could feel, and as he clutched at Roderich's shoulders, crying out as orgasm came, he realised that even if he tried to run, the only possible place that he could end up was back at Roderich's side. It wasn't even his choice anymore. It was just the only thing that could make his world feel whole.
He reached down to touch Roderich, to try and make him feel the way he made Gilbert feel. Roderich wrapped his arms around Gilbert's neck and buried his face in his shoulder, and Gilbert pulled him closer, wanting more of the loveliness that was clinging to him; more of the trembling thighs, the twitching of Roderich's hips, and the hot ragged breaths against his neck.
"Kiss me," he said, and Roderich obeyed, his lips clumsy as Gilbert sent waves of pleasure crashing against his skin. When he came, Gilbert swallowed the sweet sound that Roderich moaned into his mouth, and then Roderich broke away, gasping, his face flushed and eyes closed, droplets of water caught in his eyelashes and trickling down his face. He was beautiful. Gilbert stared at him for a moment, trying to memorise his features and then realising he didn't have to. He waited until Roderich had opened his eyes.
"I'm impressed," he said casually. "I didn't know you had it in you to be so…assertive." He grinned as Roderich tried to glare at him through the haze of pleasure that still lingered under his skin.
"You moron," he managed to say, and Gilbert laughed and kissed him as Roderich untangled his arms from around Gilbert's neck. So this was what it felt like to be with Roderich. Gilbert smiled. He would be lying if he said he didn't like it.
It was some time later, around mid-afternoon, when the front door burst open.
"Bonjour," came a cheerful shout from the intruder. "Is anyone home?"
"You can't just barge into someone's house, you idiot!" another voice rebuked as a second person also barged into Roderich's house. "Your manners are appalling."
Roderich sat up from where he had been leaning against Gilbert and paused the film that the other nation had insisted they watch. He was rather relieved, to tell the truth – there were only so many explosions and car chases that he could take, although Gilbert made a sound of irritation and reached for the remote control.
"It was just getting to the good part," he whined. Roderich moved out of his reach.
"Your friends are invading my house," he replied.
"My friends, huh?" Gilbert asked, amused. "That's harsh. I know you're not exactly best buddies with Francis, but I thought you at least got on with Arthur."
"Only when the two of them aren't sharing breathing space," Roderich said darkly. "If they break anything, so help me, I'll-" At that moment, Francis flung the door open and strode into the room as if he owned it.
"Ah, here you are," he said, beaming at them.
"Can't you call ahead instead of just showing up?" Roderich snapped, folding his arms and glaring. It was clear that he still hadn't forgiven Francis for molesting him earlier in the week, although Gilbert merely waved lazily from the couch, the whole incident already behind him.
"Well, I must admit that I was hoping to walk in on a more compromising scene," Francis admitted. "Although watching a film together is very cute." He smiled innocently, and Arthur finally entered the room as well, pushing Francis out of the way.
"Stop being a pervert, you lecher," he scolded, to which Francis shrugged as if to say 'I can't help it'. Gilbert sat up a little straighter when he saw the English nation and grinned rather evilly.
"So, Arthur," he said in a tone that was far too innocent to be true, "How's your week been?" Arthur's face darkened.
"Don't ask," he said. "Just…don't." Gilbert looked sadistically delighted by the response.
"So Francis got laid, huh?" he asked, and sat back to scrutinise Arthur's reaction. Once he had judged the meaning of the exact shade of crimson that his friend had turned and the amount of spluttering that Arthur made when he tried to form a denial, he added, "Several times."
"I hate you so much," Arthur muttered, and, behind him, Francis smirked in a self-satisfied way.
"I have no idea what any of you are talking about," Roderich said bluntly, "and I don't want to know," he added quickly as Francis opened his mouth. "What I do want to know is what you two are doing in my house." At this, Arthur suddenly brightened. He stepped forward and held out a hand palm up, as if expecting to be given something.
"I believe somebody owes me ten pounds," he said. It was Roderich's turn to blush as he remembered their bet.
"How did you know?" he blurted out. Arthur didn't answer, but grinned rather smugly. It suddenly dawned on Roderich that he had perhaps just said something incredibly stupid. "You didn't know, did you?" he asked, internally kicking himself.
"Not until you just admitted it," Arthur confirmed cheerfully. "Congratulations on getting some, by the way." Roderich wasn't sure whether this comment was directed at him or Gilbert, but he flushed an even deeper shade of red anyway. "Now pay up, please." Roderich wondered if there was any way out of this…although, on the other hand, maybe if he gave Arthur the money he owed him, the other nation would shut up and leave before he destroyed Roderich's dignity completely.
"I think I have some British currency somewhere," he said, giving in and accepting defeat. Arthur withdrew his hand and smiled.
"Thank you," he said, as if he wasn't being a complete bastard. Roderich glared at him and then grudgingly left the room to go and find some money. He supposed that it at least gave him an excuse to escape the other three for a few minutes.
When he had located a ten pound note in a drawer of foreign currency, Roderich made his way back towards the lounge as slowly as he could, relishing the few moments of freedom he had from three of the most insane people he knew. Unfortunately, he reached the room far too quickly, and entered just as Francis was asking, "But you're going to keep it, oui?"
"Going to keep what?" Roderich asked, handing the note over to Arthur, who thanked him and pocketed it.
"Your beautiful dress, of course," Francis replied. Roderich froze, and then tried to shuffle back towards the door as inconspicuously as possible.
"Well, this doesn't sound like a conversation that needs any input from me," he said hastily, "So I'll just-" His escape route was blocked as Francis swiftly moved into his path.
"But we would love you to join us," he purred, clearly taking immense pleasure in Roderich's embarrassment. "You are going to keep it, aren't you?"
"Of course not!" Roderich denied.
"What? Why not?" Gilbert demanded from the sofa. "I like that dress." If looks could kill, the look that Roderich sent him would have reduced him to a pile of ashes.
"I only wore it because I lost the drinking game and that was the condition," Roderich said icily. "And you were lucky that I even consented to go along with that." Francis waved a hand elegantly, wafting away the argument.
"Yes, yes, of course," he said impatiently, "but while I'm sure you made the place look very pretty this week, you can't just throw it away when it can be put to such better use." He smiled in a way that reminded Roderich of a tiger who is about to pounce on their prey. Hurriedly, he backed away.
"I have no idea what you're talking about," he lied, trying desperately to avoid the subject, but Francis wasn't about to let this go.
"Oh, I'm sure you have a very good idea," he said suggestively. "While your innocent act is very endearing, it's time to stop playing dumb. Tell big brother Francis all about it, and don't leave out any of the details."
"There aren't any details!" Roderich protested. He was about to bolt, but suddenly a pair of strong arms slid around his waist, preventing him from escaping. He jumped a little, startled. He hadn't even noticed Gilbert move.
"No details for you anyway," Gilbert said in a smug tone. Francis looked highly disappointed, and, Roderich noticed through his growing mortification, so did Arthur, although he was doing a much better job of hiding it.
"Never mind," Francis sighed. "I'm sure I can imagine them for myself." The look he directed towards Roderich at this comment, combined with the layers of meaning he loaded his words with, was too much, and Roderich turned to bury his face in Gilbert's shoulder to try and block the French nation out.
"Leave me alone!" he wailed, and the other three burst into laughter. Gilbert patted him on the head consolingly.
"There, there," he said in a soothing tone that didn't sound genuine in the slightest. "Don't worry, I'm sure it'll be a very flattering mental image." Roderich hit him on the chest.
"Don't patronise me," he said, although the fact that his words came out muffled by Gilbert's t-shirt may have lessened their impact a little, he considered in between wishing that the floor would open up and swallow him, or, even better, swallow Francis.
"I think you've bullied him enough for one day," Arthur spoke up, although he sounded highly amused by the whole conversation. "Come on; let's leave them to watch their film…or whatever they were doing." Roderich added Arthur to his mental list of people he would like the floor to eat.
"In that case, I will bid you two au revoir," Francis said. "And Arthur and I will head back to my house to continue making the beds…or whatever we were doing."
"Hey! You can't start harassing me!" Arthur shot back.
"Ah, but it's so fun…" Their bickering faded until the front door closed behind their retreating forms. Roderich could still faintly hear Arthur's voice as he raised his head cautiously into the Francis-free room. Gilbert kissed him softly on the forehead.
"You can be surprisingly cute," he said, and Roderich looked up to see him grinning.
"Shut up," he replied, "and watch your goddamn film." Gilbert laughed at that, but obediently returned to the sofa, pressing play on the remote and beckoning Roderich to sit beside him, which the Austrian did, albeit rather grouchily. Gilbert ignored his mood, however, and draped his arm around Roderich's shoulders, pulling the brunet down to rest in the crook of his arm. As the film continued its mindless action sequences, Roderich relaxed and the last of the colour left his face. Suddenly, he thought of something and he tapped Gilbert's thigh to get his attention.
"Why didn't you mind when Francis was making those comments?" he asked. Gilbert frowned, trying to understand why he would have a problem with Francis acting the way he always did.
"Huh?" he finally asked, giving up.
"The last time he came over, you were really angry at him," Roderich reminded him.
"Oh," Gilbert said as it dawned on him what Roderich was asking. "Well, I'm not the type to hold a grudge. Besides, he won't touch you now." Roderich looked at him disbelievingly.
"Why not?" he asked.
"Because I'm his friend, and he does have some morals," Gilbert replied. "He's not going to try and, you know, steal you away from me or anything." Roderich still looked doubtful. "Plus, he knows I'll kick his ass if he tries," Gilbert added, which was a much more sensible reason, and Roderich nodded and settled back into a comfortable silence. It lasted for several more minutes.
"You are going to keep it, aren't you?" Gilbert suddenly asked. Roderich glanced up at him in surprise.
"Keep what?" he asked. Gilbert rolled his eyes.
"The dress, obviously," he said. "You're keeping it, right?" Roderich looked over towards the television. He wondered whether the film was almost over, because it was boring him almost to tears. Beside him, Gilbert waited impatiently for a response.
"Of course I'm keeping it, you idiot," Roderich said eventually. Gilbert breathed a sigh of relief.
"Cool," he said. "Just checking."
Upstairs, the muted sound of the film rose up through the floor, muffled and unintelligible. The sunlight slanted through windows, bright and strong, illuminating every mote of dust that floated through the air and causing every polished surface to shine and glitter under its rays. In one of the bedrooms, the light drifted through an open wardrobe door to pick out each neatly hung shirt and jacket. The buttons glinted, and the pairs of shoes at the bottom shone dully. The lace on the only dress in the wardrobe hung prettily in the middle of the rack, and then floated lazily on a small breeze as, downstairs, the ending credits started to roll.
A/N - Finally, it's over! I want to thank everyone who's watched, favourited and read my story - and I want to especially thank the people who've reviewed. You guys are the ones who've kept me writing this when sometimes I just wanted to give up, because although I loved writing this fic, I've never attempted anything this long before (111 pages on Word) and I've never attempted anything of this genre either. I don't think the quality has been completely consistent, and I apologise for that, but I'm definitely going to keep on trying to improve! I've started planning the spinoff and I'll probably start posting it in February after all my exams are over, so if you want to read that, I'd advise you to put me on your author alert list. Of course, I'll be writing more stuff before then - I have a lot of stuff that didn't make it into 'The Fall of Prussia' that I want to write, plus a bunch of oneshots, so I hope you guys will continue to read my work and enjoy them :) Thank you so much for reading! Now please would you leave me one last review to let me know what you thought of my fic - it would mean the world to me.