Edmund has liked Maggie for a long time. Four long, long years. But nobody can know, even if it means that Edmund has to deal with constant suitors…. He has to reject them, over and over. Because he loves Maggie. Even if she’s more interested in hunting down fireflies in the woods, than being in a relationship with him. 1,509 words.
Dungeons and Dragons setting is owned by Wizards of the Coast. Characters are mine.
sexual content, mentions of abuse
That was the third girl to ask him out this week, and Edmund wasn’t sure how long he could keep rejecting them before some sort of rumour started.
His mentor at the smithing forge, Henry, had already begun to tease him. Playfully accused him of thinking he was above the rest of the town.
Edmund had shot back that wasn’t the case, of course. Though it was stupid to have mentioned that he was interested in someone.
That had led to a whole new session of jeers and nosy prods.
Henry had asked where this mysterious girl was, if not one of the fifty girls in town who’d already asked him out.
And Edmund had remembered the firm rule that was beaten into him (and all the other orphans under Fern’s care):
Nobody is to know about Maggie.
Nobody is to ever know about Maggie.
If they find out about her, they’ll take her away.
And they’ll hurt her.
So he’d answered Henry vaguely;
‘She doesn’t live in town.’
‘What, you mean she lives at the orphanage?’ Henry had shot back.
‘Y… Yes,’ Edmund had answered, very hesitantly.
‘She doesn’t come into town?’
He’d shaken his head as his answer.
It wasn’t a complete lie.
She was, technically, ill.
Everyone knew there was something wrong in Maggie’s head. A type of mental illness; though it wasn’t the sort that would keep someone house-bound.
Quite the opposite, really. She craved the outdoors….
Henry had tutted, when Edmund mentioned illness, and shown some understanding before sending Edmund home to the orphanage for his evening meal and bed.
He was grateful Fern still let him have those things, now he was of-age. He still wasn’t earning enough to survive on his own, and… and….
Maggie had used the herbs he liked in the dinner, today.
He could still taste them on his breath.
It was a small thing, one that might not even have been deliberate— But the idea that it was made him tingle from head to toe.
Maggie was so wonderful.
So beautiful, with her soft fur and her bright smile.
It made Edmund’s entire body hotter than the forge he worked at…..
Though, in this cramped room shared by five of his peers, there was absolutely nothing he could do about that.
It was an itch —a horrible frustration— that had plagued him ever since he first noticed the way Maggie’s whiskers twitched when she giggled.
Four years of this sweaty, feverish hell that would be so easy to free himself of if only he had just five minutes alone.
But, sadly, there was nowhere he could go for that sort of privacy….
Tap! Tap! Tap!
Edmund lifted his head from his pillow as another rock clattered against glass and one of his roommates slipped open the window to stick his head outside.
There was a brief, whispered conversation before Edmund was motioned over to take the boy’s place.
Edmund sighed as he made to look outside, sure it was one of his annoying friends looking to go drinking. He squinted into the dark night, getting ready to shoo whoever it was away—
‘Maggie?!’ he realised with a jolt.
Maggie had snuck out of her room?!
But she— She never snuck out of her room!
‘Edmund!’ Maggie whispered loudly back, and Edmund saw she was hugging a book tight to her chest. ‘Edmund! I’ll going into the forest!’
‘Come with me!’
‘What— Wait!’ Edmund barely had time to process what Maggie had said before she was off in the direction of the back gate. And he had even less time to catch himself as one of his roommates gave him a shove and he fell forward into the tree outside his window.
He clambered down it as quietly as he could and caught up to Maggie as she was unlocking the gate with one of Fern’s keys— The ones the matron had been looking for during dinner!
‘Maggie!’ Edmund exclaimed quietly. ‘What’s gotten into you?!’
‘I was reading!’ Maggie answered, pushing open the gate and slipping out before turning to Edmund and holding up her book. ‘We have wild lampyridae in the woods! The book said they’re in this area! And they’re in season! Edmund! They’re in season!’
Edmund didn’t have time to ask what a “lampyridae” was before Maggie was off again.
He squeezed out the gate and hurried after her, barely keeping pace as she veered off the road and into the large forest that surrounded their home.
‘Maggie!’ he called, no longer whispering. ‘Wait! You’re going to get lost!’
‘No I’m not,’ she said matter of factly. ‘I’m with you! You come out into the woods all the time! I know you won’t let me get lost!’
‘M… Maggie…’ Edmund felt himself heave a sigh as Maggie paused and began skimming through her book.
He wanted to be frustrated at her for this— He knew he should have been at least annoyed, but….
Her ears flicked up, and her tail lashed sideways, and she flapped her wings so happily that she lost her balance and stumbled— And Edmund felt that hot, hellish feeling coming back into his body.
He wanted her.
He wanted to taste her lips, and feel the warmth of her bare fur against his skin….
But she was not ready for that.
He wasn’t sure she would ever be ready for that….
Edmund swallowed as Maggie slammed her book shut and pulled it tight to her chest again, bouncing in place as she looked up at him.
‘Clearings!’ she blurted.
‘They’re found in clearings!’
It didn’t clarify anything at all; but the look on Maggie’s face when she said it made Edmund want to give her everything in the world, and so he offered her his hand instead of arguing.
Maggie took his whole arm, holding it tight and rubbing her cheek into his shoulder affectionately as they walked. He wasn’t sure she knew exactly how intensely her whiskers tickled him— And he had to remind himself that she did the same to Fern.
It was not that sort of love.
Oh, but perhaps it could have been!
But could he ever really be sure unless he—
Edmund pushed away his sinful thoughts and took Maggie to a clearing not far away. It wasn’t the closest clearing he knew of, but it was (in his opinion) one of the prettiest; with a single tree in its centre that sometimes lined up with the stars to look like it was holding the moon in its branches.
Tonight wasn’t one of those nights, but that was okay. He has something much more beautiful to look at, clinging to his arm— No; running out into the grass and scattering fireflies into the air.
‘Look! Edmund! Look!’ Maggie exclaimed, pointing at the bugs. ‘Lampyridae!’
Lampyridae were fireflies.
Edmund felt himself chuckling as Maggie began to chase the bugs; reaching out but always pulling away before her fingers made contact with one of the little insects.
He should have guessed that the one thing to make her this excited would be glowing beetles….
Edmund sat at the edge of the clearing on a large, flat rock so he could watch Maggie leap around in the grass.
She was giggling and squealing like the entire world was new to her—
Though, he supposed it was.
She almost never left the orphanage grounds…. So something as simple as fireflies in the woods must have felt like a whole new world for her.
Edmund’s lips twitched into a grin as he watched Maggie.
The way her eyes lit up, and her mouth hung open in joyful awe….
She was so beautiful.
The most beautiful girl he had ever seen.
Even when she was falling over herself chasing bugs….
Oh, why was he lying to himself?
She was at her most beautiful when she was falling over herself chasing bugs.
‘Edmund! Are you seeing this? Look! Look! Aren’t they beautiful?!’ Maggie turned towards her friend, now, her wings flapping happily as they lifted her off the ground and she collided with Edmund; landing heavily in his lap in a way that was far too intense for him to handle as she took him by the shoulders and shook him. ‘Oh my gods! This is amazing! Look! Look!’
Maggie’s warm weight pressed down against Edmund’s hips as she flapped her wings, bouncing in excitement—
That did it.
That brief moment of friction as Maggie leapt back off of him to chase an off-coloured beetle was the last bit of stimulation he needed, and Edmund had to bite his tongue to hold back the moan that tried to escape him as all of the feelings became too much and his body unwillingly pushed him over the edge.
He was glad that Maggie was too focused on watching the bugs float around to notice the face he pulled or the labour in his breathing as four years of frustration finally escaped him.
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