Hey everyone, this is a new edited version of "Two;" the original wasn't very good quality because the writing of it was rather rushed, so I'm going back over this and improving it. This story is Tintin/Miranda Vadoma, an OC of Laloga's from her story The Lungo Drom. If you haven't checked it out, I would highly recommend it because A) It's awesome and B) This will make more sense if you do. Enjoy the fic!
Disclaimer: I do not own The Adventures of Tintin or the OC Miranda Vadoma.
The reporter known simply as Tintin had an abundance of satisfaction in his life. He had achieved more in his short lifetime thus far than most men at the end of their time on earth, and had lived to tell the tales of his adventures with an unscathed conscience and body. Despite his lack of blood relatives he had formed many strong friendships that had brought him emotional and material fulfillment; he was living on the richest estate in Brussels spending his days as he wished. He had seen the world time and time again and was still humble enough to appreciate its simple wonder, but there was no experience he had endured thus far that led him to feel as happy as the road he traveled now.
In the mid-morning sunlight Tintin awoke to a happy sigh from his right side. With a knowing smile he turned to wrap his arms around the lovely girl next to him, drawing out more noises of contentment from her throat as she finally relented and turned to face him with eyes misty from waking up and the glaring sunlight. Her cheeks rosy and dark hair falling in soft curls around her face, Miranda Vadoma had never made a lovelier sight.
"Good morning." Tintin pressed a kiss to her warm forehead as she cuddled into his chest.
"It certainly is." She agreed. "In fact, this is the best morning I've had in a while." Tintin embraced her tightly with an agreeing grunt. They had been separated for the last month or two while Miranda finished an early graduation at Crisalida Music School to return to Marlinspike more hastily; Captain Haddock had let it slip to Tintin that he knew wealthy adults who wanted violin lessons for their children and a few cafe owners in the town nearby who needed entertainment. In other words, the Captain missed them both (Tintin had been staying in a flat near Crisalida at the time) and had looked into the possibility of steady employment for Miranda so the couple could return to Marlinspike to stay.
At first Miranda was skeptical of the idea but after positive correspondence with future employers it occurred to her that she could really do it. She could really make her own living and have a life with Tintin at Marlinspike Hall, and she could do it soon. They discussed their options and decided that if they could return home, why shouldn't they? Tintin then left for Marlinspike to make the arrangements for rooming and such to make the transition easier.
Miranda had discussed the matter with her professors and been given her requirements for graduation, and began working night and day for months to graduate early (turning four years of schooling into two) and now that she had, she intended to spend a few days in leisure before beginning any work. The return had been early last evening and consisted of a sleepy dinner and an early bedtime for the two of them. They had slept deeply and contentedly for the first time in months now that they were together again.
"What would you like to do today?" Tintin asked, his busy mind already working out a potential schedule. Miranda shrugged sleepily.
"I am not sure. Maybe...go for a walk, a picnic, visit the town...I'm up for anything, really." She smiled. Tintin nodded.
"All right. I'm going to go to my room and change, I'll let Nestor know you're up for breakfast." As he turned to leave Miranda reached for his forearm.
"I just...you don't have to go yet." She began to tuck her hair behind her ear, a nervous habit Tintin noticed over the last two years. He smiled reassuringly and gave her a lingering kiss, weaving his fingers into the hair near her ear and pulling her close. When he finally broke the contact he assured her,
"You're home, darling. Not for Christmas or summer holiday this time, either. We have time now." Miranda nodded and returned his smile, and after another kiss decided she could bear to tear herself away for a bath and a fresh change of clothes.
These were the short words of the woman that Tintin heard during their brief encounter, simply a bump in the hallway, but despite the fact that she was a plain stranger to him, being a reporter and investigator came in handy- he noticed a few quick details that horrified him completely when analyzed. Her gaping cleavage and faded excess of makeup, the bills she had been tucking into her boot, the muss of her hair that resembled Miranda's after a heated kiss and that her perfume had gone stale; it clearly hadn't been refreshed for hours. Al of these clues only led him to one conclusion about who she was.
But there was one more detail that only made everything worse: she had come from the direction of the Captain's bedroom. The provocatively dressed woman with the stale perfume and messy hair...had come from the Captain's bedroom. She had had money with her. She had come from the Captain's bedroom and she had had money with her!
In complete denial and shock Tintin bolted down the hallway the woman had come from, eager to find out just what exactly had been going on...not that he didn't have a regrettably sensual suspicion already.
"Captain!" Tintin declared as he pushed open Haddock's doors with gusto, forgoing any sort of greeting in hopes of immediate understanding. "Who was that woman I just ran into in the hallway?" Haddock, who had just been adjusting his jersey, turned to Tintin, flabbergasted.
"I...you...blistering barnacles, Tintin! I didn't think you'd be up for a while."
Tintin crossed his arms and leaned against the doorway with narrow-eyed suspicion, mentally preparing himself for what was sure to be a confusing and antagonizing conversation.
"Why would you think something like that Captain? It's half past ten." He pointed out. Strangely, the Captain raised an eyebrow like he was genuinely surprised by this.
"Really? I mean, I know you're usually an early riser, but I would've thought you and Miranda would have had a rather...late night there, lad." Tintin's eyebrows rose in interest.
"Why would you think that?" Tintin finally decided to enter the room and shut the door discreetly behind him, entertaining the possibility that this conversation was not going to be brief. "We went to bed early last night." Captain Haddock ran a hand through his hair, frustrated he had to extrapolate.
"Seeing as...it's Miranda's homecoming and all...I thought you'd have been...busy." He put an odd emphasis on the word 'busy,' and Tintin's intrigue only grew, his mind leaping over any sort of conclusion that was less than innocent.
"Busy? But we'd already gone to bed! We didn't have time for anything social, Miranda was exhausted and besides-" Exasperated, the Captain finally decided to state his innuendos more blatantly.
"Not like that, Tintin! Thundering typhoons, do I need to draw you a picture? You know...busy. In the bedroom. At night." Tintin's cheeks flared up embarrassingly but before he could become overwhelmed by any sort of accusation he turned the point over onto the Captain and his...late-night activities.
"Yes well, while we're on this subject I would like to know-"
"Blisterin' barnacles, yes! She was a...pleasure-seller. I went into town and met her late last night on a Loch Lomond run."
"And you took advantage of her?" Tintin shot back. The Captain seemed truly insulted by his accusation.
"Took advantage? Thundering typhoons, I would never! She asked me if I would be willing to accept her...services because she's been short on clients and I graciously complied when I didn't have to. She wasn't drunk or anything. Besides, I don't think there's anything wrong with an uncommitted man helping a woman make her living. And giving her a generous tip to spend how she wishes."
"What's wrong with it? You didn't...well...I-" Tintin was trying to root through a combination of the Captain's logic and his own boy scout morals when the Captain hit him with his own theory.
"I think I know what's really wrong here. You're upset that you haven't been knocking boots with Miranda." The Captain accused. At this interesting observation Tintin's cheeks flared even redder, but the man who made his living putting words together seemed to have trouble articulating his fury.
"How could you, I wouldn't, how could you imply that-" The Captain held up his hands in surrender, clearly not wanting to fight, and began to clarify:
"I'm just pointing out that you're wound up, lad. You've been with that girl for how long? Two years. Two years with someone you care about, wanting them to know all of you...it's stressful, not being able to cross that barrier, especially with Miranda's past." The Captain sighed. "Look, Tintin. There are many different types of satisfaction. Rolling in the hay...it brings physical satisfaction but it's emotional too. You think Miranda's beautiful, don't you?" Tintin was shocked. He wasn't blind, did the Captain think he wouldn't notice something as blatant as Miranda's appearance? Great snakes, he was a detective! He could certainly take note of the obvious.
"Of course I think she's beautiful, Captain."
"And you love her?" Again, the Captain already knew this! How could Tintin stand near this girl, this woman, who read with eloquence, sang like an angel, could navigate a conversation with a sharp wit and crack a winning grin and not love her with everything to had? Of course he loved Miranda!
"More than anything." He answered earnestly. The Captain nodded but retained his stern expression.
"Then thundering typhoons, lad, show her!"
"Show her..." Tintin considered this. Show Miranda. Didn't he show her every day? With his kisses? His gestures? His poetry? Did any of this really show her, did she really know the depths of his affection, or did he need to set a physical example as well? The Captain continued,
"Show her how much you love and trust her without saying it, all that mush." The Captain rolled his eyes. "Actions speak louder than words sometimes. I can't believe you need me to tell you this." Tintin didn't seem to hear him now that he was in the depths of his own thoughts, planning out just how to do this.
"You're absolutely right, Captain. Now, if you'll excuse me...I'm going to go into town for some...supplies. Please, keep Miranda distracted until I return, won't you?"
"Sure thing, lad." The Captain grinned to himself was Tintin left the room. Finally, Tintin seemed almost human.
"There you are!" Came Miranda's cheery greeting as Tintin entered the kitchens after finishing his errands. When at Marlinspike she was in here often with Nestor, helping him cook. The two had forged quite a bond over the past two years, they had their own language of quick glances and secret smiles. Miranda had grasped the man's quiet nature in a way the other residents of Marlinspike had admired but never entirely understood. Rather than be jealous of their bond Tintin rejoiced at it. He was glad Miranda had found such a good friend in Nestor; not that she hadn't won over everyone else at Marlinspike as well.
"Miranda! I'm sorry to keep you waiting for me, I had to pick something up in town." He smiled and held out a hand to her. "Nestor, would you mind me stealing this lovely lady away?" Nestor shook his head, wished them well and in no time Tintin had whisked Miranda out to the grounds for a walk in the countryside, a favorite pastime of theirs.
"The Bianca roses will be blooming soon." Miranda noted as they passed Calculus' rosebushes. "I hope Cuthbert comes back from Geneva by then, I love to help him in the garden."
"I'm sure he'll be back." Tintin assured, trying to put up a guise of attention while he looked for his destination. When he spotted it he tried to be casual about their approach, walking slowly but surely as he chatted with Miranda.
"Oh." She gasped breathlessly when she realized where they were headed. "I...Tintin, why did you bring me here?" To most it would've been a simple spot next to a stream. But for Miranda and Tintin this spot held a different meaning: this was the spot where they had first kissed, where Miranda had made the first bold move that served as the true catalyst for their romance.
"My goodness, can I surprise you with anything?" He asked with a smile and quirked eyebrow. Miranda grinned.
"Sorry love, I guess I'm just too smart for you. Now, why have you brought me here? Were you hoping for another kiss?" Before he could answer, she pressed her lips to his. "Because really, you didn't have to go to so much trouble." She said with their mouths pressed together, drawing a laugh from him.
"No, I didn't want just another kiss." Tintin slipped a hand into his back pocket. "Not that I wouldn't do just about anything for one of those. You see...I was talking to the Captain this morning-"
"Yes...I was going to ask you about that, by the way. I thought I heard you shouting." She observed with a crinkle in her brow. "What happened?"
"Um, I encountered a...woman in the house and-"
"Really?" A giggle burst from Miranda. "Good for the Captain, I know he's been lonely." Taken aback, Tintin went rigid and took a step back.
"You...think it's good that he got a prostitute?" He asked with a noticeable struggle. Miranda shrugged, seemingly oblivious of his sudden standoffish behavior.
"Well, I would prefer that he had some sort of permanent companionship, of course. But sure, good for him to let out his frustration for a night. It could be a first step towards maybe pursuing a relationship, now that he's realized how lonely he is." Tintin stared at her in absolute disbelief.
"Miranda, he used her!" He insisted. Now it was Miranda's turn to cock an eyebrow and cross her arms. Had he missed the second half of what she said? Did he think the Captain would do something bad? Did he even understand the career of a prostitute?
"Tintin, if a woman consents completely and he helps her get food for another night, I don't know how it's 'using' her. She was doing him a service the best way she knew how, and she's lucky she had an honest man like the Captain and not some sleazeball who didn't pay, or worse! I know what it's like to be desperate and if I know the Captain, he gave her more than she charged." She sighed. "I know what it's like to do anything for your next meal. I've had experience." But before she could tack on any sort of extrapolation Tintin cut her off.
"You...have you ever-" He couldn't even get the question out, but Miranda knew what he was asking.
"No, Tintin!" She snapped. "Sure, I've stolen before, I've eaten food that's been thrown away...that's what I meant by 'anything.' I've seen prostitutes, spoke with them, I've had experience knowing them, not being one! What exactly are you presuming of me?" Miranda had a hot temper and could occasionally leap to conclusions at the best of times. Tintin knew this and tried desperately to save the conversation, but there was nothing he could really do at this point to save face.
"Miranda, please, I'm sorry, I-"
"I'm going back inside." Miranda turned from him and ran. Tintin was mentally slapping himself. What had he been thinking?
"No, Miranda-" But before he could even finish she was almost out of sight, and he was miserable.
"Thank you, Snowy." Miranda took the ball from the little dog's mouth, petting him as a reward before getting up to throw it again. Now, fetch!" She threw the ball for the forth or fifth time, her mind not really in the game as she quietly regarded the beauty of the twilight around her.
"I'm an idiot." Miranda's eyes widened at the sound of Tintin's voice behind her. After the tense dinner they had just shared along with her tart insistence on walking Snowy, she was surprised she had been followed. She whirled around, ready to confront him civilly without any real tenderness when his sad expression sucked most of the fire from her temper.
"Yes, you are." Miranda turned back around as Snowy bounded towards her again. She picked up the ball and threw it for him again, this time going for an extra-long throw. The fox terrier took off, and she walked over to Tintin so she could resolve this conflict with dignity. "And yet I keep running back to you." Tintin offered a weak smile and any sort of opposition she felt was gone. "Oh, Tintin, you're not an idiot." She took one of his hands and squeezed it. "I am. I know you didn't mean to imply...that, and I let my anger get away from me anyway...I'm sorry. You know my temper jumps around sometimes." Tintin nodded, raising her hand to his lips and kissing her knuckles.
"Yes, I remember when I first encountered you. 'Who are you, besides the friend of a wealthy man?'" he quoted, recounting their first meeting. "I know you have many walls you put up where your gypsy life is concerned. And I shouldn't have pried, because honestly, it wouldn't have mattered." Miranda smiled at him. What did she ever do to meet this boy?
"I love you." She said, seeing no reason to not express this to him every time the urge struck her. Tintin kissed her forehead tenderly.
"I love you too." He slipped a hand into his back pocket, pressing something small and cold into her hand. "And...I wanted to show you how much." Miranda looked at her palm in absolute wonder: a diamond ring.
"Tintin-" he cut her off as he got down on one knee.
"Miranda Vadoma...will you marry me?" Her eyes growing misty she merely nodded, smiling wildly as he slipped the ring on her finger and stood up for a kiss.
"Yes." She whispered when they broke contact. "Oh, Tintin..." She kissed him again, and again. She never thought she would be this happy. She never thought she would be marrying a man like this. Mic had pursued her relentlessly even though she made it clear she would not have him. That other man...she would never forget what he did to her, even if she wouldn't let it hurt her anymore. Both of these men wanted nothing but to take from her, and yet Peter and her family considered them better suited to her than this man in front of her, the one who had never done anything but give. She knew there were tears on her cheeks, but she wasn't sure whose tears they were. When an insistent whine from Snowy broke them apart they laughed, and Miranda thought to herself that this was the first kiss she and Tintin had shared that she wasn't disappointed at the ending of. That was the first kiss where she was absolutely certain, that they really did have all the time they needed. Because they had the rest of their lives now, the two of them, and she couldn't wait for that adventure to begin.
Wow, I'm a lot happier with this now. Hope you all enjoy the edited version, please review!