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going wild and bright, or five cities anya and dmitri might have seen

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0.5 bern

Dmitri makes a lot of noise about seeing the sights, until Anya says, "Really, Dmitri, you want to see a giant clock?"

They don't sightsee.

01. rome

Cobblestone roads, crumbling monuments: by day, here, they see everything; always walking, eating, laughing. By night, they compare memories: Anya pieces together her childhood; Dmitri shares his earliest and most creative cons. They watch the sun rise over the ancient hills, Dmitri’s coat draped over Anya's shoulder and her arms wrapped around him.

02. berlin

"You're a princess! I'm not going to take you to the coffeehouses, do you know what kinds of people go there?"

"If you won't, I'll go all by myself and you'll miss all the fun."

03. barcelona

Everywhere around them reveals more of an old city driven slightly mad in the new century. Metal creations burst out of the sides of buildings, and fountains and parks appears by the dozens, each more fantastic than the last. The people, too, burst with enthusiasm, as if the scent of spring is in the air and all they want is to dance.

"We should come back when the Cathedral is finished," Anya says.

"Yes," Dmitri agrees. It's warm here, and Anya is radiant in the sunlight.

04. vienna

They don't try to travel incognito, not exactly; they don't advertise, but sometimes -

"Did I mention that this is Her Highness, Grand Duchess Anastasia?" Dmitri says. The guard stiffens and glances at Anya. Haughty expression intact, she lifts an eyebrow in response.

"We had received word from the Empress that the Grand Duchess was...abroad," the guard says, carefully.

"Then you know how disappointed she would be to hear how her granddaughter was turned away," Anya says.

The guard pauses. "Yes, of course, your Highness. Sir. Please, welcome to Schönbrunn Palace."

The laughter that spills into the foyer convinces him of his worst fears; a letter commending his judgment from the Empress changes his mind.

05. london

Anya finds endless delight vanishing down the multitudes of tiny, foggy lanes, pulling Dmitri after her into every shop. They amass a collection of trinkets (for Anya), and treats (for Pooka).

00. paris

Reflections of streetlamps shimmer on the water as they glide away from the city, unable to stop themselves from smiling or touching each other. The night itself seems lit by the brilliance of Anya's smile, Dmitri thinks; dancing in Dmitri's arms could never lose its charm, Anya thinks.