Okay, she can totally do this. Absolutely, no doubt about it. Right.
No, she can’t do this.
Hanna’s never been so nervous in her life. Tom’s going to pick her up in – she checks the clock – ten minutes, and still Hanna sits on her bed, hair and make-up done by a stylist Luke has organised for her. She’s not even in her dress yet.
She’s afraid to get dressed. She’s freaking out about this. She doesn’t even know why she’s said yes when Tom told her he’d be back in London from filming ‘I saw the Light’ for the Evening Standard Theatre Awards, and he would very much like for her to accompany him. Maybe because he was so nervous when he asked her. Or something.
How much can go wrong? Well, Hanna doesn’t know exactly what could, but she does know that it could be a lot.
Fans could boo. It’s a little unlikely, but possible.
She could say stupid things, she could throw up – honestly, she feels like it – or she could fall. Basically, she could embarrass herself.
But honestly? That’s not even the worst case. Because she could also embarrass Tom.
And she really doesn’t want that.
Tom has half a mind to get out of the car and walk the last distance to Han’s place. The vehicle seems to be crawling along while his heart is beating a mile.
He can’t even recall when he’s last been so nervous, if you disregard asking Hanna out on their first date.
He should be over this, right? It’s not as if he hasn’t had a hundred red carpets and events under his belt already.
But none of them with Hanna.
He knows she’s overwhelmed. And he feels almost guilty for asking her to come with him, but he also wants her to know how serious he is about their relationship. It’s intriguing and a little unsettling how conflicted he’s feeling about this: On the one hand, he wants to proudly show off his wonderful girl to the world and see them appreciate her for how amazing she is. On the other hand, he wants to play the fierce lion and protect Hanna from whatever the world might throw at her.
Sighing, Tom smoothes an imaginary crease on his immaculately pressed trousers.
He’s been trying to keep himself sane these past few minutes by guessing what kind of dress Han might have chosen. She said she wanted to surprise him, and he’s already dreading how magnificent she’s going to look and how–ahem–a certain part of his anatomy will react to that.
The car pulls up at her place, and he takes a deep breath.
He can do this, right? But can she too?
He rings the bell twice and already has half a mind to call Han on her phone, before she finally opens the door.
He’s struck for a moment. For more than one reason he realises.
While she’s always beautiful, even more without make-up, he’s never seen her like this before. Almost dolled up, but still natural. Susan - the stylist - has done a great job.
She still looks like his Han, but ready for any red carpet. Her hair is in a sort of updo. Not that Tom has any idea about stuff like that. But as far as he can see, it’s a beautiful do.
He also sees more, though. Hanna’s fidgety. Despite the make-up, Tom can see a little blush in her cheeks and her eyes are shiny and darting around. She’s also playing with her hands.
Goodness, please don’t let this be a mistake.
And thirdly, and very hard to miss, she’s not in her dress. Well, Tom hopes so. Because yes, he wants her to feel comfortable, but maybe not ‘look, I’m wearing my bathrobe on the red carpet’-comfortable.
Good thing, they’re meeting Luke in a little more than 45 minutes. Tom is on time for once.
And despite all the thoughts running through Tom’s head, he can’t help but beam at Han.
He leans in for a kiss, ignoring the slightly panicked look on Han’s face. Everything’s gonna be alright.
For a moment, when Tom kisses her, the panic subsides. Everything’s gonna be alright. She’ll get through this and one day turn into a red carpet veteran.
But then Tom steps back to close the door and it gives her time to appreciate his outfit for the evening. Or maybe ogle and drool is the right word?
She knew he’d picked a black Alexander McQueen tux, but seeing it on him is…kind of like porn, really. Yes, Tom is still a little too much on the lean side because of playing Hank. And yes, his hair is still darkish and a bit too slicked back for her liking–but holy hell, does he ever look hot.
The brown hair and leanness make him appear even taller and bring out his currently stormy grey-blue eyes. His bowtie is slightly crooked, his shirt buttons are straining–hah, as if that’s news–and his suit lapels are shiny enough to make her want to run her hands over them and frankly all the rest of Tom too.
“You look good enough to eat,” she blurts out, clapping a hand over her mouth when Tom waggles his brows and laughs his ‘ehehehe’.
His gaze rakes her from head to toe. “And you look…pretty as a peach, if a mite unconventionally dressed for the Evening Standard Awards.”
Hanna gulps, anxiety back with a vengeance.
Tom isn’t sure if Han tries to be discreet and subtle, but if she does, she’s not succeeding.
He sees her eyes widen a fraction when he mentions the awards tonight. That’s not how it’s supposed to be. Nervous, yes, but Han’s eyes look panicked.
“The dress is in my bedroom. I…” She stops, playing with her fingers again, making Tom a thousand times more nervous as well.
So, he walks up to her, hugging her - carefully so not one hair and one brush of make-up is messed - feeling her slightly trembling form.
“We still have a little time before we meet with Luke.”
What’s supposed to be supportive kind of makes her stiffen more.
Looks like it’s time for his more authoritative streak. Tom doesn’t use it on Han very often–and if, then only when things get sexual between them and she isn’t too much of an independent rebel to resist–but this looks like an emergency.
He steps back and tilts her face up with a finger under her chin.
“Look at me.”
She does, her lids fluttering a bit, nibbling nervously on her lower lip.
“What do you see?”
She blinks some more. “You?”
Tom resists a grin, making his voice firmer. “You see a man who’s head over heels in love with a wonderful woman and would very much like to take said wonderful woman out for a nice evening.”
She swallows thickly again but something in her troubled eyes shifts. Her shoulders draw back so she stands up straighter.
Tom brushes a chaste kiss on her lips. “Now what do you say, shall we get you dressed?”
The answer is a slow nod, and so he grabs her hand and tugs her into the room.
It’s a little easier to breathe having Tom with her. Han considers herself quite the strong woman of almost 30 years of age, but having to face the crowds and the world for the first time tonight feels so terrifying that she gladly hands over the reins.
Tom stops when they reach her room, so suddenly that Han almost walks into him. What is it now?
Before she can ask, Tom speaks, “That’s your dress?”
Right. You can see it lying on the bed from the doorway. Oh god, maybe he doesn’t like it? Is it too boring? Will the others find it too boring? Or too much?
Hanna nods. “Yes. You told me you’d wear Alexander McQueen and I thought it’d fit.” She’s back to fidgeting again until Tom turns to her.
“It does. You’ll look great in it.”
It’s black and simple, that’s what it is. It’s also second hand, because no, Han can’t afford an Alexander McQueen dress and pay her rent at the same time. Even second hand was difficult.
Before Han can think about it some more, Tom steers her towards the bed - and the dress. “Put it on, darling.“
It’s as if she’s never worn a dress before, her clammy and cold fingers fidgeting. There’s her up-do to consider, and all the make-up that’s made to look subtle and natural but consists of complicated layers of concealer and foundation and what-not.
And belatedly, when she’s already fumbled out of her bathrobe, she realizes Tom is still in the room. She can feel his gaze on her bare back like fingers trailing up and down her spine, making her shiver with something that isn’t anxiety.
“Tom?” She casts him a look over her shoulder, catching him run his tongue over his bottom lip.
“Hm, love?” It takes him a rather long moment to drag his eyes up to her face, a faint blush rising to his cheeks.
“Don’t just stand there. Help me with the dress and zipper?”
He grins, slowly and rather lasciviously.
“That’s a new one, helping you into a dress instead of out of it.”
Wagging his brows, he crosses the distance in three long strides and carefully extracts the gown out of its protective wrapping. With his help–and his distractingly straying hands with their enticing butterfly-soft touches–Hanna puts the dress on.
Her nerves fly out the window when Tom proceeds to pull the zipper at the back up with agonizing slowness, pressing a tiny kiss to each inch of skin before covering it. The cut of the fabric leaves her shoulder blades and neck exposed, and he treats those sensitive areas to kisses next, driving her out of her mind.
It’s not like he’s being purely altruistic here, covering Han in kisses and make her less nervous like this.
Like he’s told her before, his girlfriend looks beautiful in that dress and he hasn’t even seen the front.
But it also feels like she’s not only shivering from anxiety anymore, and Tom feels a proud grin tug on his lips while they’re still travelling along Han’s exposed skin.
“Tom,” she then sighs out. “We need to get ready.”
He grins again, now pressing his hips forward a little, meeting Hanna’s backside. “I’m ready.”
For the first time today, Tom hears Han chuckle. “I can feel that.”
“You can feel more, if you want to.”
She’s trying to sound scandalized, but her voice is a bit too breathy for that.
Dear God, it’s always so easy for him to arouse her. It’s unfair. Then again, she always seems to arouse him too. The proof is currently grinding against her butt ever so subtly.
“We can’t,” she protests, hating how half-hearted she sounds.
“Oh, I most definitely can.” His voice is a deep, low purr that should really be illegal.
Her head is already spinning, but it spins some more when Tom twirls her around and kisses her, his hands firm and warm on her hips.
Thank God for expensive kiss-proof lipstick, is the last thing Hanna can think before she sinks into the kiss.
And then his lips travel down her throat and cleavage, a little gentler than usually because he’s probably trying not to leave marks.
When he lifts his face, his look is pure hunger and she swallows a whimper.
“I’m going to die a thousand deaths knowing that you’re not wearing a bra,” Tom rasps, brushing his palm over the fabric so her nipple pebbles beneath it. “But I’ll just count my blessings because this dress allows you to at least wear panties. I swear if you weren’t, I’d be doing all sorts of nefarious things to you, public event be damned.”
Her full-body shiver gives her away and makes him groan softly.
“Such as?” she asks, barely recognizing her own voice.
She most definitely recognises Tom’s throaty moan though, that he lets out now as he asks, “Do you want me to show you now?”
What a question. Of course, she wants him to show her. She always does. But people will wait for them and she’s so sure that people will see.
“Tell me,” she whispers instead, making Tom groan again. She’s proud of that.
“Hmmm,” he mock frowns, teasing her, just as his hands tease and travel back from her hips to her butt. “We should definitely hope for long table cloths. Where I can travel all the way from your legs to your thighs and higher. And there wouldn’t be anything to stop me from touching you. Here.”
He drives his point home by grinding into her a bit, making Han all breathless and hot and so very glad that she is indeed wearing panties.
“And that’s not all I would do,” he breathes against her neck.
“No?” By now she’s gripping Tom’s shoulders and has no idea how she could handle more of this.
But she’s getting eager to find out.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to show you, love?” Tom half-growls into her ear before he dips his tongue inside briefly. He can’t nip her earlobe because she’s wearing lovely earrings.
God, he loves it how responsive to him Hanna is, even if that usually means he’s half-killing himself by struggling to–literally and figuratively–keep it in his pants.
When he draws back a little to wait for her reply, her eyes are hazy and her lips are parted, her breathing ragged. It takes Han quite a while to answer, and when she does, her voice has that husky undertone that always drives him mad.
“N-no. Tell me.”
And so he does, switching into his Loki voice and watching her pulse jump in her throat.
“I’d find some lame excuse like escorting you to the restroom. So I could have you all to myself, maybe take you up against the wall.”
She shivers, and he does too. Despite her plea to tell, not show, he crowds her against the wall at her back, his fingers clenching on the soft fabric of her dress, itching to get beneath it.
“I’d gather all this lovely fabric in my hands and push it up and up some more…” He leans forward and slicks his tongue over her bottom lip. “And then I’d sink to my knees and bury my face in all the bare slickness between your thighs. We wouldn’t want your arousal to stain the pretty dress, now would we? I’d better lick it all up.”
No. No, it’s not fair, Tom talking about licking and taking her against a wall. Not when Han is sporting a fancy up do and a fancy make-up and a fancy dress.
Not if they’re to be seen on the fucking red carpet of the fucking Evening Standard Awards.
But of course, instead of protesting like a sane woman should do, Han lets out a breathy moan and pushes her hips against Tom’s groin.
“No…stain…right,” she mumbles and honestly couldn’t care less right now.
Tom’s hands really gather the material now, his hands travelling down and then up until he’s got most of her dress in one hand and moving the other upwards, touching the underside of her right breast.
She moans, groans and whimpers, something that causes Tom to kiss her hungrily and Han answering just as willingly.
He really shouldn’t be doing this, a tiny voice at the back of his mind tells Tom.
He blocks it out. When it comes to Han, he’s discovered listening to his heart instead of his head helps. And truth be told, he’d give her anything she wants. And it’s rather obvious what she wants from him now–especially once his hand moves from her breast lower and lower until he can brush his fingers over her lace-and-silk panties.
Tom wrenches his mouth away from hers after he’s swallowed another of her wanton moans.
“Jesus, fuck, Han, you’re already so wet for me.”
He leans his forehead against the cool wall behind her, panting and willing his hand to still instead of plunging his fingers right in.
Hanna whimpers, pushing her pelvis into his palm in tiny grinding motions.
“I…can’t help…it. You… I…”
Yeah, that. With a groan, Tom gives her one stroke that has her quivering and soaking her knickers even more.
“Fucking hell, woman, you’ll be the death of me.”
“‘m already…dying,” comes her raspy reply that makes him chuckle despite the haze of arousal.
“Please let me take care of you?” He doesn’t care that he’s begging when he initially wanted to be the one to make her beg.
Drawing back a fraction, he seeks her glassy gaze. “Please, love?"
Really now, how could she even say no? Apart from never really being able to say no to him - he doesn’t even have to work hard for that - her brain is a mess right now.
She doesn’t even have it in her anymore to feel nervous.
She also doesn’t know how she manages to say anything, but a raspy “Yes” leaves her mouth.
Not even a second later Tom groans out, “Thank God” and the next thing Han feels are Tom’s lips firmly against her own, his tongue begging for entrance while his hands grab the panties, pulling them down.
And then, finally, Tom’s fingers touch her naked flesh, making Han shiver violently against him. He’s not even inside her, and yet she’s almost too close to take it anymore.
“Tom,” she moans into the kiss.
“I know,” he whispers back, and Hanna’s not even sure how, because she doesn’t know what she wanted to say herself.
“More.” That’s what she comes up with, grinding against Tom’s hand. More. Always more with Tom.
God, yes. More. He always needs more with Hanna. Give more. Take more. Love more.
They haven’t even been together that long, and he hasn’t even met Han’s parents yet–gulp, oh Lord–but he’s addicted to her in so many ways.
“More what, love?” he asks huskily, trying not to ruin his fancy trousers by bursting the zipper or leaking because she has him hard as rock. “More of this? My fingers buried so deep you’ll feel them all evening while trying polite small talk?”
He illustrates what he’s whispering, sliding a finger in and finding her so slick and needy and burning up for him that he adds another and pumps.
With a keening moan, Han arches into the touch. “Yes. Tom, please, yes.”
Fucking hell, she’s so sexy like this he can barely keep it together.
“Or more of this?” he asks, pressing his thumb against that swollen, slippery bundle of nerves and rubbing circles.
Hanna rises on her tiptoes, her nicely manicured nails digging into his shoulders.
She’s clenching and fluttering around his fingers, and he can feels she’s already close.
“Yeah. That. ‘n you. Please.”
He wants to last, her really does. Make Han feel good and forget everything else and not care about himself.
But those rushed out moans that somehow make sense get the best of Tom.
So, he presses Han against the wall, holding her dress by pressing his arm against it - not an easy task considering he just can’t think - and makes fast work of the zipper and button of his trousers.
He’s still pumping into Han, already feels her clenching around his fingers when he drops his trousers.
“Wait for me,” he whispers and Han lets out a throaty moan when he lets go of her just to enter her with one thrust.
They moan together, tongues and lips tangling and whispering each other’s names.
The way Han clenches around him now, makes Tom see stars and light and he has no idea how he’s going to keep them up against the wall like this.
If heaven isn’t at least remotely like this, Hanna doesn’t want to end up there.
The thought flashes through her lust-addled brain before it short-circuits.
It’s just too much. She can hear herself moan like an animal and Tom grunting and forcing out unintelligible words, maybe curses and her name and filthy encouragements, she doesn’t know but it fuels the fire.
With her dress–dear God, will it be ruined?!–rucked up around her waist and her legs clinging to Tom, the fabric of his tux rubs over bare skin and makes it even more forbidden and delicious.
She wants to last, but she totally can’t, not even another second. And so she wrenches her mouth away from where Tom devoured it again and pants. “Gonna…fu-huck, Tom, I…”
“Yeah. Me too. C’mon, Han. Let…let go. For me.”
And so she does let go. For him and for her and suddenly it’s all bright light and shivers as she spirals straight into her orgasm.
Han dimly registers herself clinging to Tom and how Tom shudders along with her.
He jerks inside her as they both moan and grind against each other.
And then there’s panting and heavy breathing and tiny whispers of their names. From both of them, Han thinks. She’s not sure, she’s not even sure how she’s gonna be able to stand.
Tom leaves kisses along her jaw and her cheeks, whispering, “Love you”. Still being inside her.
Can they maybe just stay here? It’s what Hanna thinks, but she whispers a “Love you” right back at him, her fingers trailing patterns on his shoulders, slowly not panting anymore.
And then she starts to chuckle. She’s relaxed and everything feels like jello and this is so not how she’s imagined this evening. So, she chuckles some more, dropping her forehead on Tom’s shoulder.
“Sorry,” she giggles.
Well, laughing Han is definitely better than nervous as hell Han, even if the vibrations want to reawaken a part of his body that he should’ve kept in his trousers anyway.
Giving a huffy bark of laughter himself because this whole thing is a bit too intense not to be made fun of, Tom carefully makes his limbs work.
There’s a whole lot of protesting muscles and clumsy juggling so he won’t ruin his tux or Hanna’s dress, and quite some hasty wiping with the hanky from his pocket.
Hanna is wobbling a bit on her feet and making those tiny satisfied sighs he knows so well, and she’s prettily flushed all over despite what he suspects is a fair amount of make-up.
Goodness, she’s managed to look even more ravishing post-quickie. Something possessive flares inside Tom. He wants to keep her inside, ruin that dress and fancy up-do, make her look even more debauched and…well, and loved. And his.
But of course, he can’t do that.
So he settles for smoothing down her gown and nuzzling her temple.
“Ready to own this evening with me, Han?”
She’s not. She’s really not, but way too relaxed and giddy and flowing with Tom to care.
So, she unnecessarily smoothes out Tom’s suit, and then runs her hands down her own dress.
Han smiles a little, enjoying being nuzzled by Tom, and turns her head to place a chaste kiss on his lips.
“I am,” she finally answers, “but please don’t let go of me.”
One more kiss on Han’s forehead and then Tom takes her hand, leading her first to her shoes, that make her instantly be closer to Tom’s height, and then getting her clutch from the hallway, never letting go.
“I won’t let go, promise.”
And deep down, he knows he won’t EVER let go. It makes his steps falter, the realization that he’s really in so deep, that he can not only envision a ‘forever’ with Hanna but also longs for one.
Whoa there, Hiddleston. Whatever happened to taking things slow?!
“Tom?” Han tugs on his hand, still too blissed out to manage much of a frown. “What’s the matter?”
“Um…” Nope, not a good time to spill the beans, not when he’s just succeeded in making her less nervous.
“Oh, I just realized I’ll be needing a new hankerchief.” He hopes he sounds convincing, relying on a cheeky wink that makes Han grin.
“Your babysitter probably has a few spare ones, his emergency kit seems limitless,” Hanna replies cluelessly, and Tom is glad for the chuckle.
Of course, Hanna has met Luke, his ‘babysitter’, and knows how wonderful a job he’s doing.
“Right.” Willing himself to move again, Tom leads her out and mentally pats himself on the back for not forgetting to lock the door and cdrop the key into Han’s modest clutch.
Thankfully, all the paps are too busy close to the venue, so nobody sees them on the short walk to the car, where a driver opens the door for both of them.
And then they’re off, and Tom’s heart is back to beating a mile an hour.
So, this means showtime then. Han’s in the backseat, quiet and only calm because Tom’s thumb rubs over the back of her hand relentlessly. He’s really not letting go and Han falls even harder for him.
She doesn’t know how that is even possible. But somehow it is. Even their friendship has been intense - partly because Tom simply is such a touchy person - but this tops everything.
Yes, they have sex regularly and yes, Tom knows how to calm her down. But she’s never been so reassured by him. It’s a little strange and it makes the butterflies in her belly roar.
The traffic becomes heavier the closer they get to the venue. And Han’s hands become sweatier.
Tom must feel it, because he leans closer and places a soft kiss on her lips, mumbling, “It’s gonna be alright.”
Han barely has time to nod and then the car stops. Not in front of the red carpet, she realises. But she’s also surprised as the door opens and the grinning face of Luke greets them.
“Ready for some last minute instructions?” he asks.
Tom can see it on Hanna’s face that it was a good idea to give them this little reprieve before they face the hungry lions–well, the press.
Luke joins them in the car, talking with that superhuman speed he has and even managing to make Han laugh once, although she still has the ‘deer in the headlights’ look.
She turns back to him, eyes wide.
“I thought I’d give you a choice. Please don’t get me wrong, I absolutely want to do this with you but….” Dammit, now he’s feeling nervous again and her eyes grow even wider and her hand clammier.
“Okay?” She sounds so uncertain that he kicks himself mentally for doing this.
“Um…So you can either walk the red carpet with me or let me walk it alone and take the back entrace to join me later. Either way, we’ll be seen together inside and on camera, but the second option would spare you all the flashing cameras and initial questions. You choose.”
He watches several emotions flicker across Han’s face and holds his breath. Which option will it be?
And then Tom feels the mood shift, sees the defiance on Hanna’s face. He can barely hold in the proud grin that wants to steal itself on his face.
Han’s eyes start to sparkle - even more than usual - and she somehow sits up straighter, radiating confidence all of the sudden.
Tom gets the feeling he knows what’ll happen.
“If we do this, we’re doing it right,” she confirms his suspicions. Han exchanges a look first with him and then looks Luke straight in the eye. “Get out, we need to get to the red carpet.”
Tom can’t hold in his laugh and Luke chuckles as well. “I’ll get going. And I’ll be there when you get out,” he winks and then he’s gone and before Tom knows, they’ve finally reached their destination.
Han takes a deep breath and Tom kisses her hand before he opens the door to the shouts and lights outside.
He steps out, blinks once or twice to get used to the lights, waves once and then turns to help Hanna out.
She takes his hand and smiles at him and suddenly she’s next to him.
Tom squeezes her fingers. “There we go,” he whispers, leaning in.
Han gives him a little nod. “There we go,” she breathes out, squeezing back.
It’s all a blur, literally and figuratively speaking.
So many camera flashes, so many shouts and murmurs and security and personal assistants, and..and…and…
It’s overwhelming, but Han keeps the smile plastered on her face and focuses on Tom’s hand at the small of her back.
They pose. And pose. And pose some more. She feels as if she’s just some mannequin with a wooden posture while Tom woos them all and practically makes love to the camera with his eyes, as susual.
Dimly, over the rush of blood in her ears, she hears shouts like “Tom, who’s the mystery brunette on your arm?” and “Tom, are you two getting engaged?”. Sure, she’s been snapped with Tom a time or two already but this is BIG.
“You can do better than that, question, come on” Tom taunts them with a smirk before pulling Hanna along.
And then mercifully, there’s another famous couple taking over the red carpet, and they move inside.
Just when she thinks she’ll have a moment to breathe, a reporter approaches Tom and asks him about his nomination for Best Actor for his role in Coriolanus. Han stands there feeling like the third wheel while Tom is his humble, eloquent self–and then she sees something, or rather, someone.
With a gasp, she tugs on Tom’s arm. Immediately, he excuses himself to the reporter and shepherds her away a few feet, his face full of concern. “What’s the matter, love?”
She points emphatically, almost bouncing in her goddamn heels. “Tom, Tom, it’s Sherlock!”
Tom blinks, then turns and looks into the direction Han is pointing. Really, now?
She’s been all nervous and pointing and Tom was honestly afraid, someone’s said something stupid to her. And then, all that nervous energy is due to Benedict Cumberbatch standing on the other side of the room?
He loves Ben, he really does, but she’s never been that giddy around Tom. He doesn’t quite get the excitement.
On the other hand, looking at Han - who holds on to his upper arm now to probably get a better look - makes his heart skip a few beats. She’s looking cute, all flustered and grinning like mad.
Tom can’t help his own grin. “You know, I know him, right?”
She gasps. “I know! You know Sherlock, Tom!”
“I know Ben.”
Tom grins. “Come on then.” And without listening to any protests from Han, he takes her hand and drags her across the room, straight to where Ben is standing with Sophie.
This is going to be so much fun.
Oh god, oh god, this is really happening!
Han wants to dig her heels in and hope the floor will open up to swallow her. But she also really wants to meet Sherlock–well, Benedict. Sure, she’s been aware that these two are old pals, but she’s always kind of hidden from that enormous truth to protect her fangirl heart.
Before she can prepare herself for something to say, Tom taps Benedict on the shoulder.
The actor turns and his face lights up in a crooked, utterly charming smile.
“Tom, good to see you.”
Tom lets go briefly of Han’s hand to hug his friend while she hovers and holds a squee in, too nervous to make eye contact with Sophie, who also gets a hug and a kiss on the cheek from Tom.
The next thing she knows, Tom has his arm around her waist and pulls her close, beaming with such pride that she almost forgets to stare some more at Ben. Almost.
“And this is Hanna, my girlfriend.”
Benedict smiles at her, brows rising. “Oh, I’ve heard so much about you already. Nice to meet you, dear.”
Trying to remember how to breathe, Han forces out a rather squeaky “hi”.
That’s not all, though. Because Han also manages a stupid, tiny wave with her hand. Like she’s not literally standing right in front of him.
As soon as she realises, she drops her hand, trying to ignore the silent chuckle that vibrates through Tom’s body.
It’s the first time she’s meeting anyone remotely famous apart from Tom. And how things go at the moment, it’ll also be the last time.
Suddenly, Tom lets go of her and Han can barely suppress a squeal when Benedict Cumberbatch takes a step forward to embrace her lightly and gives her a tiny kiss on her cheek.
Oh goodness, he smells good.
“Tom tells me, you’re from Germany?” Oh bless him, he’s trying to make small talk. If only Han’s brain wasn’t in knots.
“Ja. Yes.” And that’s it. No question for him, just staring.
Lots and lots of staring, until Sophie - oh god, does she hate it if other people ogle her husband? Probably - takes a step forward and pushes Benedict Cumberbatch away a little.
“Stop being so charming, you scare that poor woman,” she says. And then Hanna finds herself in another hug. “Hi, I’m Sophie.”
Han grabs Tom’s hand. Tom, who is still next to her and unusual quiet. Han knows she’ll see a grin or a smirk as soon as she looks at his face. So, she doesn’t.
This is not going too well, is it? But honestly, if she tries to say something, anything, she will call the actor in front of her by his full name and then scream about how excitedly she’s watched the new series of Sherlock and then she’ll never live it down.
She would either have to break up with Tom or he’d have to stop being friends with Benedict Cumberbatch.
And so she’s silent. She doesn’t even know if the others talk, because her heart is beating so fast and loudly, she can’t hear anything else.
But of course, Tom manages to clear the haze when she hears him say with a hint of smugness, “Hanna isn’t just German, you know? She’s also a huge Sherlock fan.”
He turns to her, eyes wide and innocent but lips twitching a little. “Isn’t that right, love? What was it you were saying a few days ago… that Ben’s performance was tortured and vivid and brilliant?”
Oh, she’s going to kill him once they’re home. If she survives until then, that is. Oh my god, is Benedict blushing? And is that Sophie snickering unashamedly?
Where’s she going to hide now?!
But it looks like Sophie is on her side while Ben mumbles his thank you and Tom nudges Han softly. She says, “Couldn’t have said it better myself. I’m always fangirling about Ben’s performance. Speaking of which, those words also apply to Tom’s Coriolanus, don’t they?”
And just like that, the ice is broken and Hanna can again speak in full–if still a bit awkward–sentences as she gushes over Tom on stage.
It’s his turn to blush fiercely while also preening a tiny bit, and suddenly he stops her mid-sentence with a quick, fervent kiss.
His lips touch her ear as he murmurs, “So you are a bit of a fangirl when it comes to me too, hm? I’m glad or I’d have had to murder my friend in a fit of jealousy.”
Han raises a brow at him, ignoring the other couple for the moment. She leans back a little to get a better look at Tom’s face. Does he really mean it like that?
And then she indeed sees not only mischief and smugness in his eyes but also pride and relief.
“You’re jealous?” she asks, and grins. “Of me fangirling?”
Tom shrugs, now looking a little sheepish, but still all so nonchalant. “You’ve never made a fuss over it. Nice to see you gushing.”
Han shakes her head, chuckling. “You’re jealous of Ben. Anyone else?” she smirks.
But before Tom can answer, he’s literally saved by the bell and a voice over the speakers that tells them the awards are about to start.
So, Han is okay with a kiss for now, that she gives Tom with the promise of finding out more about those other actors he’s jealous of.
Then the two couples make their way in, Han almost stumbling, she’s so taken by the beauty of the venue. They sit at one table together with even more people to gush over - Helen freaking Mirren anyone? - and then everything’s a blur, even Tom’s win for Coriolanus.
He doesn’t thank her by name, but “the people he’s met during the time, in- and outside the play, that made and still make that time a wonderful and lasting experience for me,” and Han can’t help but beam proudly at him.
Tom can’t quite believe his good fortune. He was already full to bursting with joy because Han agreed to join him tonight and has been doing well so far, and now the award is the icing on the cake. And everyone knows how much he loves cake…
It’s a little overwhelming, and he has to catch himself before he mentiones Hanna by name or does more than give her a hug and quick kiss with all the cameras trained on them.
She looks so utterly beautiful and happy–and maybe even proud–that he wants nothing more than to sweep her literally off her her feet and take her out of here to ‘celebrate’.
But of course, that’s out of the question. There’ll be more awards and then interviews and endless congratulations and posing for pictures–and he has a feeling he won’t get Han alone to himself for hours.
Han’s not been alone with Tom for what feels like hours. He’s been out of the room after the big win for what Hanna assumes are interviews and then he’s been back to the table.
There are people everywhere and honestly, it gets a bit overwhelming. It’s just as nerve wracking as she’s thought it’d be.
Sophie helps a little, because she knows how it feels to date an internet boyfriend, but she’s more mature, they’ve been together for a longer time and she’s made a name for herself.
Hanna’s just some woman currently dating someone famous and nervous as hell about all of this.
“Hey,” Tom whispers in her ear. “Everything alright?”
She manages a nod and a smile. “Yeah. Fine.”
That doesn’t sound very convincing.
Suppressing a frown, Tom steps even closer and slides a hand to the small of Hanna’s back.
“Are you sure, love? Do I need to hustle you away to the restrooms and kneel between your legs to take your mind off things?”
He keeps his voice down to a low, seductive whisper and presses his fingers tighter against that sensitive spot on her spine, feeling her shiver.
Han raises wide eyes to his, blushing but still not looking too happy (or aroused, for that matter).
“Tom!” It’s a hiss of reprimand, but he can see her pulse flutter. “Someone could hear you.”
He brushes a chaste kiss to her temple. “So let them. Can’t fault me for desiring someone as gorgeous and fascinating as you.”
She scoffs but something in her eyes shifts and she finally gives him a more genuine smile.
Luke touches his elbow at that moment. “Sorry, Tom. There’s someone you should meet.”
And off he goes again…
The next thing Han knows is that she’s suddenly talking to some theatre producers called Lisa and Benjamin and that Lisa compliments her on her hair while Benjamin congratulates her for Tom’s win.
And they ask which play she’s seen last, to which Han has to confess it was Coriolanus and that she hasn’t had much time since then.
If she’s working in the business as well?
Han is just about to convince herself that she didn’t see a frown on Lisa’s face at her answer, when Tom is back.
A hand slides to Han’s side and Tom squeezes her hip, before letting go to give both Lisa and Benjamin hugs. Of course, they know each other.
“I see you’ve met Hanna, my girlfriend.”
“We have!” Benjamin exclaims. “She just told us she works in pr for a big company.”
There’s that frown again, she’s sure of it.
Han gives Tom a little smile. “Not as fitting in here as working in theatre I’m sure. And not as exciting.”
They all laugh along with her and Han bites her lip and blushes before looking down on the floor, laugh fading a little, but still putting on a grin on her face.
Her hand finds Tom’s side and she steps a little closer to him, hugging him around his waist, needing to feel a little warmth.
Until she sees Benjamin’s face which makes her stand up a little straighter again.
Hanna wishes she knew what they’re thinking of her. There’s some slight disapproving vibe emerging from both, and it makes mer simultaneously want to crawl into a hole and die or show her claws and spit some venom.
Do they think he’s dating her for PR benefits? Or that she met him on the job and somehow lured him into a relationship? Do they think she’s not good enough to be by Tom’s side or to be here tonight?
Was Lisa complimenting her hair because everything else about Han was too ugly or common to be complimented?
Ugh, she’s so out of her league here. And she doesn’t want to cling so obviously to Tom though he’s her rock in rough waters.
So she lifts her head a little higher and pastes on a smile. “Excuse me for a moment, everyone. I think I’m going to hunt for the restrooms.”
It seems as if Tom wants to go with her, but with a little wave and a shake of her head, Han signals him to stay put.
What good use is it anyways? He’ll have to leave to talk someone anyway.
So, she makes her way to the restrooms - she wonders if Lisa and Benjamin appreciate the fact that she didn’t say ‘toilet’ - and takes a deep breath when she’s finally alone in the room for once.
She looks at herself in the mirror. She’s thought she looks quite pretty today, but those people outside really manage to make her feel small today.
She’s not in her element, and she feels it.
And she wants to be so much. Because she’s sure what she has with Tom isn’t just a thing. And Han wants to be there for him and support him. But the truth is also that she doesn’t belong here and that she’ll probably never have a great time at these things.
Han sighs and stares at her reflection. The things you do for love, right?
Well, while she’s already here, she might as well make use of the facilities because her nervous bladder has been bothering her all evening.
Hanna slips into a stall and has barely closed the door when she hears footsteps, the unmistakable sound of high heels clacking on tiles. It’s immediately followed by titters and sighs, and she guesses at least two women must have entered the restroom.
She doesn’t pay them much heed, lost in her own rather tumultous thoughts as she battles with the long, precious dress.
But at the mention of “Hiddleston”, her head shoots up and her eyes widen.
They’re talking about Tom?
“Yeah, it’s been a while since he took a date to an awards ceremony,” she hears one woman say, her tone practically dripping with curiosity.
There’s a derisive snort from Woman No. 2. “Oh, I’m not sure she’s really his date. And definitely not his girlfriend, no matter what everyone says.”
Yeah, but why? Han is frozen in place, a heavy weight settling on her shoulders.
“Oh, please. That gown was screaming cheap from miles away, and she hasn’t got a clue how to behave. And have you seen the way she’s clinging to him all the time? Pathetic. Tom wouldn’t choose a partner like that…but maybe she’s good in bed or something.”
“You’re horrible!” the first woman laughs and after a, “But I’m right! And she doesn’t look like she’s that good,” and some more rummaging around something, Han finally hears the door close.
Well, she doesn’t really. All she hears is her blood in her ears and her heart beating out of her chest.
She gets ready in a haze and when she sees herself in the mirror, there’s a tear running down her cheek.
Stupid. Stupid women and Han’s stupid for crying over this. She knew this could happen. Doesn’t hurt any less, though.
She wipes away the tear, takes a deep breath and readies herself to face the music. Or Tom. If he’s anywhere near, that is. Goodness, what if he’s still with Lisa and Benjamin? She can’t handle that.
When Han steps out of the restroom, she almost walks straight into Tom, who holds on to her shoulders instinctively and stops her from making more of a fool of herself by causing an accident with the great Tom Hiddleston.
Right. No need to be salty, it’s not his fault. So, she smiles and nods when Tom asks, “Are you okay there?”, laughing a little at her.
She doesn’t look all that okay, so that was probably a stupid question.
Tom can sense something isn’t right, even though Han gives him a small laugh and is standing straight, not a hair in disarray.
Bloody hell, she’s so beautiful tonight it’s not fair. He’s been on half-mast for most of the evening, but nobody needs to know that.
Or well, perhaps Han does need to know. Once they’re in the car…or better yet, home.
But right now isn’t the time for his libido. He cares for her, has a deep connection to her that also kicks off his protective instinct, despite her usually confident nature. Narrowing his eyes, Tom looks at her some more, trying to figure out what sets his sixth sense on alert.
“Han? You’d tell me if something is wrong, wouldn’t you? Or if you want to get out of here?”
Han blanches and stiffens and hopes to god that Tom doesn’t realise.
She can’t tell him, can she? He’d be devastated and he can’t change anything anyway. And he has such a great evening and Han just doesn’t have it in her heart to tell Tom.
So, she smiles again. “I’d tell you if anything was seriously wrong. And we can leave whenever you want.”
Right. That’s how she’s going to play it. She snuggles up to him a little and just when she wants to give him a kiss, the door to the restroom behind her opens and out steps Sophie. With a concerned look on her face.
Now, Han really blanches and probably can’t hide it either.
“I’m…” she opens her mouth to say, but Sophie interrupts her with a steely tone that confirms she isn’t a woman to be messed with.
“If you’re going to say you’re fine, I’m going to have to doubt that.”
Instantly, Tom frowns, the beginnings of panic and confusion on his face.
Tom steps closer, not even bothering to lower his voice. “Han, did something happen?”
When she just sighs, he looks at Sophie. “Soph, what’s the matter?”
As Ben’s wife gives him a summary, her voice carrying an undertone of fury instead of pity, Hanna watches Tom’s expression darken. He seems to grow a few inches taller, and there’s a muscle ticking in his jaw. When he reaches for Han, his fingers tighten on her arm.
“Any idea know who it was?”
Sophie shakes her head, and Tom turns all his attention on Han again.
“Now listen to me, love, and listen well.”
Han looks at him with wide eyes and Tom can barely hold in his rage.
How dare they? And is this his fault? Dragging Hanna along?
But no. He’s not ashamed of her and she shouldn’t be either. So, he holds her shoulders a little tighter, almost afraid to let go, in case she wants to run away. Tom wouldn’t blame her.
“You, Hanna Engels, are the most beautiful woman this evening. By far,” he starts and hushes Han’s little huff by talking on. “You are. The dress is beautiful, you look beautiful. And you’re nervous. Everyone gets nervous at these events. Goodness, I wish you would hang on my arm a little more. You’re fiercely independent and I love to be there for you. To be here with you.”
Hanna chews on her lip, but he’s not finished yet. It feels like he’ll never be.
“Those women are jealous because you’re so captivating and you work your magic on everyone around us, without even trying. Don’t let your evening be ruined by those stupid…bitches that don’t know me or you at all. I love you.”