Disclaimer: Anastasia is the property of 20th Century Fox, Don Bluth, and Gary Goldman. No offense is intended. This fanfic was written without permission or profit.
Feedback is welcome at hutch @ jazmer.com.
The boat rocked, and she remembered. The storm. Brutal rain. A sickening lurch to her stomach when demons born of the wind tried to drag her over the side. And then, his arms around her, securing her to safety and life. Just as his arms were sliding around her now, cradling her from behind. She leaned back into him contentedly with a happy sigh.
"You're beautiful," he whispered in her ear, making her giggle.
"No, I'm serious." His nose nuzzled her hair, which she'd taken to wearing long simply because he'd mentioned he liked it. "This coat? Fabulous. I just love the way it hides you completely. And this... dress..." The word was a polite euphemism for the old, torn smock she'd had since the orphanage.
She pretended to pout. "You wanted us to travel incognito. These are the best clothes I have for that."
"I know, I know." He laughed, buried his face in her sweet-smelling hair. "Guess I got used to seeing you all dressed up."
"Well, the same could be said for you," she stated, turning in his arms to look at him. "That overcoat has seen better days. So has the shirt, for that matter..."
"All right, all right," he chuckled. "I get the hint."
Now that they were face-to-face, he could do what he'd wanted to do before, which was to kiss her. He did so tenderly, still amazed that this incredible, beautiful woman was his. Her hands came up to bury themselves in his hair, and she made a small, soft noise that nearly undid him.
"I love you," she whispered to his lips, and he smiled softly against her mouth.
"I love you too."
Resting her head against his chest, she gazed at the horizon. The sun was setting in one of those spectacular displays that can only be seen at sea. His hands gently stroked her back. Anya didn't think she'd ever been so happy. To think she once couldn't stand the sight of him, and now she wanted nothing more than to be here, in his arms, cradled to the warmth of his body, watching the sun form a golden-red puddle on the ocean.
"We should go belowdecks," he said softly after a while. "It'll get cold fast."
She nodded, reluctant to leave his embrace, but followed him willingly down and into the ship. He found their little cabin with ease, and once they were inside, he carefully shut the door and latched it.
Anya was already yawning, so he took her coat and hung it up along with his. She sat down on the bunk, unlacing her shoes, while he lit the lamps. Here in the belly of the ship, the rocking was almost non-existent, and Dimitri could almost pretend they were somewhere else. Home, maybe. Whatever that was.
"Too tired to read?" he asked, glancing at her. She had laid back in the bunk, hands tucked casually behind her head. With her eyes half-closed, the lazy look she gave him told him that reading was the last thing on her mind.
"Want to snuggle," she replied. Dimitri smothered a laugh, instead kicking off his shoes and climbing into the bunk with her. She probably wouldn't have understood that his amusement was entirely self-directed. After all, he'd been the one to encourage it, even though it was, in its own delectable way, torturous.
He wanted her so much he could taste it. But he dared not push her. Her trust had been hard won. Each step that he took - touching, kissing - had to be at her pace, when she was comfortable. He'd never be able to forgive himself if he hurt her again.
"Where are you, Dimitri?" she asked softly.
"A million miles away," he said softly, running a hand through her hair. "I'm sorry."
They had settled easily into a natural position; she lay on her back, while he was on his side next to her. His hand was free to gently stroke her hair and face, or to glide lightly down her body, though he was careful where he rested his fingers.
"What were you thinking about?" she asked. Her huge, guileless eyes gazed up at him. He smiled a little and half-lied.
"That I can't believe I'm holding the czar's daughter in my arms. I used to be madly in love with you when I was ten, you know."
"Oh?" One dark eyebrow went up and she artfully hid a smile. "It's a shame I never knew who you were."
He nodded, the action causing hair to fall into his eyes. She reached up and brushed it back with one hand. Her fingers lingered in his hair, and he bent his head to give her a soft kiss before continuing. "I planned to marry you - didn't matter then that I was just a kitchen boy, and you were a great princess. We'd run away together and live somewhere in bliss." He chuckled. "It's always easy to dream when you're ten."
She smiled at that. "But this dream came true, didn't it?"
He stopped, considered that, then smiled. "You're right. Actually, it's still coming true."
They kissed again, this time letting the kiss draw itself out for several moments. She sighed reluctantly when it ended.
"The girls at the orphanage and I - we used to talk about the men we'd marry. All of us wanted princes to come along and sweep us off our feet." She giggled at the memory.
"I'm sorry you ended up with a con man," he began, but she put a finger to his lips.
"Ex-con man," she corrected. "And I'm not. Besides, you did sweep me off my feet. On more than one occasion, as I recall." Her eyes danced.
"I guess I did, didn't I?" His hand smoothed her hair back from her face, traced her aristocratic features. Stubborn chin, broad brow, high cheekbones, fiery eyes - she was a vision. He wanted nothing more than to drown in her.
Almost as if she sensed his thoughts, she brought her hands up to his face, drawing him down to her for a deep, intense kiss. Her lips were sweet and smooth, and as she wrapped her arms around his back, he felt his head begin to swim.
Guided by instinct, he slowly broke the kiss, then began planting a series of miniature kisses along her jawline. Her eyes remained closed, her lips slightly parted, and he could feel her begin to quiver in his arms. He knew he should stop, but her skin tasted so delicious, and hearing her sharply-indrawn breath when he touched the spot behind her ear sent a thrill through him.
"Anya," he whispered into her ear, a little surprised at how throaty his voice had become.
She shivered a little, hearing her name on his lips in that tone of voice. Her arms slid closer around him; she liked the feel of his body against hers, especially when he was pressed all along her like he did when he was asleep. All innocence, she aligned her legs with his, her torso, so that they were lined up to each other. He hissed suddenly, taking in a sharp breath of his own.
"What?" She looked at him, slightly confused; then, seeing the smokiness of his eyes, began to understand.
His kiss was more passionate now, deeper; though he was still tender, she could sense some other, more raw emotion emerging from within him, one he'd been careful to keep hidden until now. She was a little scared, but she wanted to feel it, too, and so she let herself respond to the passion that his hot, smooth lips and deft hands stirred in her.
It was -- she didn't have words for the feelings that surged through her when he made some little sound, deep in his throat, helpless and hungry, but some part of her recognized that she'd been making the same noises. They were almost animalistic, registering on a level somewhere below consciousness, and Anya knew at least that something was happening now which hadn't before. She didn't want to stop, either, not even when Dimitri pulled back again to look at her. His eyes were dark, burning, searching hers for something--
"Please," she murmured, and brought a hand up to feel the softness of his dark hair against her palm. It made her shiver; everything was making her shiver, all so sensual and alive. "Please, Dimitri, don't stop."
"I can," he said, as if trying to reassure her somehow. She couldn't help but laugh a little, then, and pushed up until their lips met again.
"I know. I don't want you to." Her own voice was husky too. She hadn't expected that. She felt a little dizzy, breathless, but she liked the spinning feeling that had nothing to do with the rocking of the boat and everything to do with the hot, lean body of the man -- her husband -- who lay above her, touching her with trembling hands.
Dimitri nodded, his tongue darting out to wet his lips, and Anya let her fingers slip forward, tracing the lines of his face; she'd done this often while he slept, but never while he was awake, and his eyes closed when her fingertip drifted over his full lower lip. "So beautiful," she whispered.
That got a little laugh out of him; he shook his head, leaning down to kiss her again. "You're the beautiful one." His mouth lingered on hers, tongue giving a bare pressure to which she readily responded, opening her mouth for him, and he made that little groaning sound again as his tongue slid along hers, wet sharp and the heat: Anya gasped into his mouth.
He blinked a few times when he pulled back, glossy-lipped from kissing. "Want to see you," he breathed, voice low and hot, "all of you."
It didn't even take any thought; Anya's hands flew to the buttons that held her dress together, at the back of her neck, and started unfastening. She realized almost immediately that it wouldn't work, not the way she was laying, and so she pushed a little at Dimitri's shoulder until he sat up, then swung her legs over the bed so that she could get at the buttons better. Her fingers shook so much she could hardly even grasp them, though, and she cursed absently.
Then Dimitri's fingers closed over hers; he'd shifted to kneel behind her on the bunk, his thighs bracing her hips as he brought her hands forward to rest in her lap. "Shh, shh," he soothed, gently, and went to work on the buttons himself.
"Sorry," she started to say, "it's just that--" and then she had to stop speaking altogether, because he was kissing her, the back of her neck -- he'd brought her hair forward over one shoulder, baring her nape -- and as cool air tickled her skin where the dress opened, his mouth followed, his lips hot, making her skin quiver all the way down to where sensation pooled between her legs.
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this page last updated on 18 january 2003