A/N: Story No. 10! WOO-HOO! ;D Again time for something completely different. I tried myself on an Anastasia-fic, because I fell in love with the animation when I was a kid, and now that I'm an adult I wanted to write about it - and spice it a little up. You know me, guys. ;)
This is for all my awesome reviewers here! Without you I would've stopped writing quite a while ago. (For all my KISMET-readers: I'm working on the next chapter, I promise. It's just hard in the coming, not so easy to write. -_-°)
Actually, this isn't really a new story, but the movie retold with a little bit of extras, a little more adult, and without the Rasputin-stuff which was in there for the kids' sake (although I must confess he was a hilerious villain *g*).
Enough of my babbling. Let's get you to the story. Hope you enjoy. Reviews make me skip around and sing about rainbows and unicorns. Most probably a lot of people don't want to see something like that, but me it makes happy. ;D
*waves and jumps out*
Disclaimer: Not mine. Writing this just for fun. Promise.
FEELS LIKE LASTING FOR ETERNITY
It took her ten years. Ten years and a lot of beating, and crying, and begging, but here she is. Ten years and she finally is allowed to leave. No longer forgotten in an orphanage, no longer rotting away with not enough to eat, not enough to wear. Not enough privacy.
She was told to go to the fabric and start working there. Only work could keep you alive, get the food on the table and the clothes on your body.
She has other plans. She turns to the right at the crossing, never regretting once her decision to search for something more. St. Petersburg is only the beginning.
Together in Paris. Yes, she would make sure of that.
St. Petersburg may be only the beginning, but a rough beginning it is.
It takes her days to find somewhere decent to sleep. She meets a girl at a market, they start to talk. In the end the girl allows her to come with her, allows her to sleep on a shabby piece of furniture which may, at some point, has been a couch. She gets a blanket and half a bowl of soup.
The next day the girl tells her that she has to work if she wants to stay, if she wants her share of food, her place to sleep.
Anya starts to look for work. She not only needs it for the place to sleep and the food to eat, but also for the ticket to Paris. It will take her quite a while until she has enough, but she won't let anything hold her back. If money is the thing she needs, she will get it. And if work has to be done to get the money, so be it.
She finds a place at a laundry. From now on she washes uniforms of the Bolshevik.
Nearly a year later she has all the money she needs. Not only for the ticket but also for food while she travels, as well as for other necessities.
It's a Sunday evening when she hugs Marta – the girl from the market who took her home – tightly and whispers in her ear that she promises to find what she is looking for. Marta wishes her luck and hugs her again before Anya takes her things and makes her way over to the train station in the middle of St. Petersburg.
Paris is dancing in front of her eyes – or at least how she imagines the city – and she hums a happy tune under her breath while waiting in line for the tickets.
Only after the Bolshevik slams the counter-door in her face, stating 'No exit visa, no ticket!', her bubble bursts into nothing. It takes her a few moments to realize that never before – not once – had her dream of Paris moved this far beyond reach.
"Pst! See Dimitri … He can help."
She hears the whisper behind her and as she turns around she sees an old lady standing there. First she doesn't realize what the older one just said, but her brain seems to work faster than her mind and she already asks where she can find him.
"At the old Palace, but you didn't hear it from me."
The old lady disappears as fast as she appeared just a moment ago. There is no time to wonder out loud, some of the uniformed soldiers already throw her suspicious looks, and the last thing she wants is to be put away. She heard stories of people just disappearing one day and never coming back.
Therefore she silently repeats the name she just got – Dimitri – turns around and leaves the station, heading for the old Catherine Palace.
Again something happens, and again it happens so fast she nearly misses the moment it happens. She's standing in the middle of a huge ballroom, everywhere is dirt, and dust, and broken glass, but it's still the most beautiful place she has ever been, it even has the feeling that this should be somehow familiar. Why does she know that there's a secret passage beneath the grand painting which was used – a long time ago – by servants?
A short "Hey!" brings her out of her thoughts and she doesn't even think about taking a look at the person that calls out to her. She needs to get out of here and she needs to get out of here now. She knows the routine: The faster she gets away, the lesser she has to worry about.
Not this time. The guy who called out to her is fast and she only makes it to the grand stairway before he stands in front of her and makes her escape impossible.
When she looks up she sees with relief that he's not a Bolshevik.
When he looks up he sees with surprise the Princess Anastasia.
The two of them don't get along.
She sits in the most luxurious train compartment a person can imagine, but all she thinks about is how much he annoys her. She doesn't even know why Vlad and he are helping her, and truth to be told she doesn't want to, as long as it gets her to Paris.
Vlad laughs it off, even keeps track of their quarrels, writing down on a score card who's winning the argument. At least she's the one with the higher score.
But still, it bothers her that she can't even concentrate on the words of the book she tries to read because at that moment the door slides open and Dimitri enters the compartment. He sits down opposite from her and for a few moments nobody utters a word, her pretending to read and him playing with his fingers.
"Look," he finally breaks the silence, "I think we got off the wrong foot."
At least he tried. In the end they're still fighting again.
"Fine!" he huffs.
"Fine!" she retorts.
They both sit with arms crossed, sulking. A few moments later – this time it's Anya who attempts to start a conversation – it starts all over again. This time they end up standing in front of each other, yelling.
She can't leave the compartment fast enough, simply ignoring Vlad's comment about "an unspoken attraction" because, really, this is just ridiculous. Ridiculous, nothing else.
Hours later she nearly got killed by flying bullets from the Bolshevik after they discovered their forged papers, had to jump off a still driving train, and started to wander through mountains and mountains and mountains of snow.
She's not happy about the way the trip had turned out so far. The only pleasant company is Vlad. He tells her stories of the past, about balls and dances, about sleigh-rides and picnics in the summer full of laughter. At some point he falls asleep, in the middle of a story about Alexej and a dog he found somewhere in the gardens.
It's getting cold during the night and although they were able to start a fire, it's still freezing. Not even all the clothes from her bundle combined are enough to keep her remotely warm.
"Come here," she suddenly hears from a few feet over, surprise written all over her face.
"I don't bite, I swear!" Dimitri chuckles and nods with his head to symbolize her to move, "Don't you think it's better we keep each other warm than freezing to death?"
He has a point, she has to admit, and in the end she steps over where he's leaning against a huge rock and sits down beside him. Dimitri wraps his arms around her and a few minutes later Anya gets the feeling in her fingers back.
"Thank you," she whispers, before she warns with a smirk, "But don't get any ideas or I promise you'll regret it."
He laughs at that, and she joins in. It's the last thing she hears before falling asleep.
It takes them nearly three days to get out of the mountains, down to the valley, where spring is in the air. The flowers are peeking their heads thru patches of snow and Vlad sings about an old flame he will finally meet again in Paris.
Her name's Sophie. Everything in the next couple of hours is about Sophie this and Sophie that. Something inside her tells her she should know who this Sophie-person is, that she met her long ago, that she's part of her past.
Dimitri tries his best to get Vlad to talk about something else, but without success.
Anya gets suspicious and when she finally asks about who Sophie is, she could swear she saw guilt flicker over the younger man's face, but it's just for a moment and soon she tells herself she only imagined it.
First – when they tell her – she gets furious that they didn't say something before. But soon she's convinced again.
She agrees to learn her part of this play.
It feels like her first breath in weeks when they go aboard the Tasha in Germany. The train incident seems so long ago.
Russia seems so long ago.
Dimitri turns out to be quite the funny companion, and when they don't yell at each other they get along quite nicely. Maybe he was right and they really just hit it off the wrong foot. She finds herself staring at him sometimes. Wondering what happened to his nose, or why he himself sometimes stares at her. Seriously, she's not the most attractive woman out there, quite the contrary: She's a skinny little brat (yes, she heard him in the train). Still, every time she feels his eyes on her a light blush creeps on her cheeks, as well as a soft smile tugs around the corners of her lips.
Indeed, she can't deny that he is a handsome guy, and that she likes the thought that maybe he finds her handsome too.
Blue and huge like a tent, but – as far as she can remember – it's the first dress anyone ever bought her. She jokes around, but he doesn't get it and leaves again in a huff, but Anya is delighted. She hugs the dress to her chest, twirls around and can't believe how wonderful it feels to be able to dress up a little bit.
She's not sure why, but she hopes maybe Dimitri will like what he sees.
They dance. No, they waltz. It's incredible.
But when they stop it's still him who takes a step back and leaves her confused.
Maybe at the end her hopes were in vain and he didn't like what he saw.
She tells Vlad she's going to return to their cabin and he simply nods and answers that he will be there soon as well.
When she takes the last step off the stairs, she feels a hand wrap around her upper arm and pulling her away, under the stairs.
First she panics but then she realizes it's Dimitri and her heartbeat quickens automatically. He presses her with his body against the cool wall, only a few sunrays dancing over his form.
"You are wrong," he's the first one to speak, his lips only inches from hers.
"What?" Her breath comes out in gasps and she doesn't even know how she was able to speak in the first place. One of his hands holds her by her waist while the other slightly brushes down her throat.
"You are wrong," he continues, his eyes searching her face, "if you think I don't like what I see."
Her heart runs a mile a minute, her hands come to rest on his waist, the fingers playing with the material of his shirt. She's nervous, but excited nonetheless, and her mouth opens for another question: "What are you doing, Dimitri?" It's not accusing, or angry, or anything else. It's just a simple question and he smirks when he answers, "I'm getting ideas."
And he kisses her ferociously. Passionately. Lovingly. She moans into his mouth and he deepens the kiss, his body pressing against hers, his hands everywhere.
This round totally goes to him, but she doesn't mind at all.
They continue this way, sneaking around so Vladimir won't recognize what they're doing. Meeting at night at some clandestine place. His hands all over her. His lips, his body. They whisper to each other, words of want, words of need.
Never words of love, because this may break their hearts. For in the end she will be the Grand Duchess and he will be a simple kitchen boy. And kitchen boys don't marry princesses.
Still, when she wraps her legs around him, their bodies pressed together, skin on skin, and they move together, and she gasps and moans and begs for more, when he thrusts deeper into her and silences her cries of pleasure with his lips, it nearly feels like this will last for eternity.
Paris happens in a blur.
Suddenly he's standing at the bottom of the stairs of the Grand Ballet and looks up to discover the most amazing sight he ever laid eyes on. Anya's standing there, wearing this beautiful gown, her cheeks rosy and her lips so kissable he wants to take the few steps over to her and make her swoon.
He can no longer deny it; he's in love with her.
She slapped him and who can hold it against her? He deserved it. She must think he used her from the very beginning. Seduced her with false pretence. He will never forget the devastated look upon her face.
How should she know he did it out of love? Okay, maybe not from the very beginning, but knowing her for five minutes was enough and he was a goner, even if he didn't know for himself at this time.
So when the Dowager Empress exits the ballet it takes him a second to decide his next move.
She's as stubborn as her granddaughter, even quarrels the same, and if he didn't know already that Anya really was the Princess, now he would've believed it. He somehow manages to get her into Sophie's house and when she doesn't storm out after a couple of minutes he knows that Anya – his precious, beautiful Malinkaja – finally found her family.
He blows a soft kiss her way and is gone.
"Ten million rubles ... as promised, with my gratitude."
Months ago he would have smirked, thanked the Dowager Empress, took the money, and would have been on his way to never return again.
Today he swallows the hurt he's feeling, accepts her gratitude, but declines the money.
She hits the nail on the head when she addresses him as the servant boy who saved their lives, but it's not important anymore. She tries to get to the bottom of it, but Dimitri squirms and avoids her questioning gaze.
"Why the change of mind?" she finally wants to know.
He simply can't hold his answer back, "It was more a change of heart."
He bows and runs.
Her grandmothers words still swirl around her mind, "… he didn't take the money."
It's repeating itself over and over again. Keeps her guessing and wondering and confused, until it hits her like a brick wall: He didn't take the money. For her.
And the gown is forgotten, and the glittering jewels are gone, and the fine titles are insignificant.
She hikes up her skirt, turns around, and runs.
She nearly gets hit by a truck, if it wasn't for a person wrapping its hand around her arm and pulling her back.
"Geez, watch out, brat! Or do you want to get yourself killed?"
Anya turns around, and her eyes fall on Dimitri, gasping for air, a serious expression on his face, but also with sparkling eyes. His hands come to rest on her cheeks.
"I thought you were going to St. Peter …"
"I was …"
"You didn't take the …"
"I couldn't …"
She is surprised – and blissful – so only one word comes out of her lips, "Why?"
Dimitri swallows, his eyes searching her face, while he replies, "Because … I …" He stops himself because his gaze lands on the crown she's still wearing. The romantic spell is broken. He takes a step back, his hands no longer touching her, and whispers, "They're waiting for you."
"Dear Grandmama, wish me luck! We'll be together in Paris again soon. À bientôt."
She holds on to him for dear life, shivers going through her body, a deep moan escaping her lungs, before a satisfied smile spreads over her features and she starts to run her fingers through his hair.
"Oh, boy," she giggles, feeling his breath on the skin of her chest, "Finally we do this the right way."
His head shoots up, a quizzical expression on his face, "Pardon?"
"Ah, don't play dumb, love," she continues, her fingers drawing along his jaw line, "Imagine I married another man and he discovered that his beautiful, gorgeous, immensely smart wife didn't come intact to the marriage bed. Can you imagine the scandal?"
Dimitri smirks, leans on his elbows beside her head and brushes a few strands of hair out of her face, before replying, "Good thing you didn't marry another man. And this man," he points at himself, "doesn't care that his wife didn't come intact to the marriage bed. Instead he pleasantly remembers their previous encounters together."
For an answer she kisses him and it feels exactly like that first kiss they shared on board of the Tasha. When they come up for breathe they both whisper "I love you", before they kiss again, press their bodies together, and once again get lost in each other.
And this time it really feels like this will last for eternity.