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Meeting The Family (Part Two)

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It’s the 23rd December. The Frankfurt airport really is busy this time of the year. Hanna knows this, she’s just arrived yesterday.

And now she’s back. Picking up her boyfriend. Tom’s officially her boyfriend now, for the world to see as they’ve been out and about together when he won his Evening Standard Theatre Award the month before.

It was their first official outing then, and though she still has butterflies thinking about it now, it was great. She just has to get used walking a street in London and getting papped.

They don’t have a picture of her leaving Tom’s house - yet. And that’s simply because her and Tom didn’t have much time for each other. After shooting High-Rise he went straight for the US except for the odd weekend here and there.

She misses him. But they also talked about him not giving up his career. Hanna knows he loves what he does and she doesn’t want to be the pouty girlfriend waiting. So she’s the happy girlfriend when he’s back.

And back he is, she realises as she spots him, with a suitcase, one of her favourite sweaters of him, and a cap.

The press doesn’t know where her family lives exactly, so Hanna is fairly certain nobody will care for them here.

Grinning broadly she holds the sign saying “Tommy H.” a little higher and waits for Tom to recognise her.

Tom scans the crowd, not surprised that the Frankfurt airport is a buzzing beehive at this time of the year. All around him, loved ones are reunited and children squeal and demand early Christmas presents. Pulling his suitcase and clutching his guitar case tightly for support, he tries to rein in his excitement tinged with trepidation.

Hanna was such a champ meeting his family, thuogh he’s pretty sure she is still a little traumatized. His sisters have stayed in touch with her, and the amount of teasing he sometimes has to bear is staggering. But it makes him blissfully happy to see them recognize Hanna for the amazing person she is.

Meeting her parents today won’t be a walk in the park, though. Tom swallows and hauls in a deep breath. Hanna’s mother has been charming, if a bit nosy, on the few occasions that they’ve talked over the phone. He hasn’t spoken to her father yet, and he feels somewhat as if he’s about to face the inquisition.

All the anxious thoughts evaporate when he finally spots his girlfriend–he still loves calling her that–in the crowd. He guffaws at the sign she’s holding, wondering whether his sisters inspired that idea.

Their eyes meet, and suddenly they’re both moving fast until Hanna is running to bridge the distance.

The last thing Tom registers is setting his guitar case down with a thud, and then she’s in his arms and he’s squeezing the life out of her and basking in her warmth and scent.

God, how he’s missed her.

God, how she’s missed him. She knew, of course, that she wants him there with her all the time. It’s been five months in which they haven’t seen each other as much as new couples should. So naturally, she’s missing him all the time.

But this? Being engulfed in his long arms, breathing in the scent of him - currently a lot of coffee, a bit of aftershave, and very much warm, sweet Tom - Hanna realises she really does miss him.

She feels Tom’s hands roam her back and his hips pushing closer to her while Tom’s face nuzzles her neck.

So, Hanna holds tight, arms around Tom’s waist, her head against his chest - she’s wearing her comfortable winter boots today along with a big parka, and she realises that this must be one of the unsexiest outfits he’s seen her in - and breathes him in.

“Missed you,” she murmurs before looking up into those beautiful eyes that now shine along with Tom’s smile.

“Missed you too.” And finally, finally their lips meet again, so fast that Hanna doesn’t even know if it was her leaning up or Tom leaning down. They surely must have met somewhere in the middle.

She dimly registers that they’re in the middle of the airport and they should really go to her parent’s car so Hanna can drive herself and her boyfriend home.

If somebody asked him to name the happiest, most contented moments he’s had in the past few years, this moment right now would go on the list, Tom thinks.

And then he simply stops thinking and drowns in bliss, deepening the kiss and touching whatever he can, mildly frustrated that her warm parka cocoons most of her body. He dimly registers that his cap falls to the floor and that he can feel Hanna’s nails dig through three layers of clothes because she clutches him so tightly. And it’s all good and right.

What might have been a minute or a day later, they part for air, and Tom realizes with a start and a blush that someone nearby is wolfwhistling at them.

Hanna steps away and giggles, blushing too. A bit groggily, Tom stoops to pick up his cap and put it back on. He knows he’s still grinning like a loon, but doesn’t mind.

“Any chance I can persuade you to ditch your job and be my professional airport pick-up instead?” he asks, his voice a little hoarse with feeling.

Hanna elbows him in the ribs, but all the padding makes the move rather useless. “Any chance I can persuade you to ditch your career and make it unneccessary for me to pick you up at airports?”

Tom chuckles, swallowing down the twinge of sadness that raises its head because he has missed her like crazy. “Touche. Now, let’s get this adventure started.”

Hanna lets him take her hand, picking up his guitar case with her free hand while he grabs his suitcase handle. “So eager to get roasted on an open fire, Hiddleston?”

He grimaces. “So I’m to be the turkey’s substitute?” His grin falters somewhat. “Han, will your dad really try to kill me?”

Hanna tries to hide her grimace. The truth is, she’s really not sure how to answer this. Killing would be a little over the top, of course.

But Daniel Engel is a protective man. He’s already made that clear with Hanna’s boyfriends from the past. Now that his daughter is with someone living a pretty exposed life it’s not easy for him.

He wasn’t very fond of the pictures of Hanna going shopping or of Hanna just going for a walk. He’s also not very fond of the fact that Tom isn’t there as much as a protective boyfriend should - those were Daniel’s words, not Hanna’s obviously.

So, naturally, Hanna tries to grin and nudges Tom with her shoulder. “Of course he won’t kill you. He’s just a little… protective.”

Tom pales at that so Hanna tries to lighten the mood. “Plus, we’ll have Rouladen for Christmas. No need for a turkey,” she says as she leads Tom to the deck where the BMW is parked.

Tom tugs at her hand a little, making her stop walking. “That’s not really reassuring, you know?” He looks a little like a kicked or lost puppy, even pouting a little.

So Hanna gets on her tiptoes and plants a soft kiss on those pouty lips. “I’ll protect you, okay?” She looks around, kisses him again, a little firmer and faster this time, and now is the one to tug on his hand. “Now let’s move it, it’s a 40 minutes drive.”

Tom helps Hanna store away his luggage and folds his long, tired body into the seat–after he tried to get in on the driver’s side by habit.

He’s not sure whether his hands are cold because of the icy Frankfurt weather or because he’s all anxious again.

“So…are you a good driver, darling?” He tries to make his tone light, but she shoots him a glance with raised brows.

“Why? Scared that a little driving in the snow will be more dangerous than all those Marvel stunts?”

“Ehehehe! Terrified, to be honest. And I feel ridiculously helpless.”

Hanna reaches over to pat his leg, and he has to restrain himself from grabbing her fingers and brining them to his lips.

“I’ll answer your question with a question of my own,” she quips. “Are you a good passenger, darling?”

“Give me some juggling balls and I’ll show you how good of a passenger I am,” he throws back with a challengingly quirked brow, which makes her snort.

“No, thanks. It’s distracting enough to have you next to me after all this time and not be able to talk or cuddle.” She looks as pouty as he feels, so he just mimics her and gives her thigh a squeeze too.

They’ve barely left the airport parking lot when his leg starts bouncing. Tom stills the nervous movement and looks at Hanna driving with the cutest little frown of concentration on her face with its rosy cheeks he wants to nuzzle. But maybe staring at what little he can see of her isn’t such a good idea because it intensifies the longing to touch her, re-claim her as his, do all sorts of naughty things to her that make up for the lost time.

As soon as he steers the thoughts away from all those things he probably won’t get the chnace to do yet–because a romp in the sheets at her parents’ place sounds out of the question–Tom’s brain circles back to the problem at hand.

“Han, you’ve got to help me out. Tell me a bit about your dad so I can soften him up a bit.”

She doesn’t have the heart to tell Tom it probably won’t matter either way. And of course she wants to help him out, she can feel the nervousness radiating out of him.

So she thinks. “Well, his name is Daniel.” When she looks over at Tom he shoots her a look that obviously wants to tell her ‘you don’t say’. Hanna chuckles a little. “Okay. So. He’s started working when he was 14. He’s an electrician, worked all of his life. He’s got his own little company, but just with five workers. He doesn’t speak English very well, he’s only learned it for half a year in school. Uhm, he’s six years older than my mother which would make him sixty now. He loves his German beer and you can be sure he’ll eat at least four Klöse tomorrow. He doesn’t like dessert that much though.”

Hanna sees that Tom’s leg started bouncing again. She pats it before shifting gears to stop at a red light.

“So. You tell me… He’s basically the opposite of me, and also wouldn’t really approve of a job like mine.”

“That’s not what I said. But yes, he’s obviously working very physically.” Before he can protest - Hanna hears the intake of breath - she hastily continues. “I know that you do too. He doesn’t though.”

Tom looks like he’s about to cry any moment. “But you both like beer and wine. So yay!” she mock whoops.

“Han, he’s going to kill me.”

“No, he won’t. My mother will hold him back and I will protect you.”

He shoots her another look and Hanna can’t hold back her grin. “You’re not as funny as you think you are, love.”

Her grin widens. “Well, I’d like to think I am.”

They’re on the Autobahn now, Hanna moving all the way to the left to get past the slower cars.

“Woman!” She almost jumps up in her seat. Not so good with driving at 140 kilometres per hour and having important passengers in the car. “What are you doing?!” comes Tom’s shout.

“What?”

Tom holds onto his seat with a white-knuckled grip, using his free hand to gesticulate frantically towards the speedometer.

“You’re going to get us killed. Or worse, arrested. You’re way too fast! Slow down, for god’s sake.”

Hanna doesn’t even spare the numbers a glance–which is probably better because he doesn’t want her to take her eyes off the road for even a split second.

“First, stop panicking,” she says, sounding somewhat miffed but also suspiciously as if she’s holding back laughter. Have the nerves made her go crazy a bit? His grip on the seat tightens. “We use kilometers in Germany, as every sensible person should. Second, you’ve got your priorities screwed up. How can getting arrested be worse than dying?”

He’s much too terrified to be amused. “Hardihar. Seriously…can’t you drive a bit slower? I mean, even if it’s kilometers, you’re still going at…at…” Damn his ridiculous Math skills. “100 or so. And there’s snow, and…and…”

He hears something suspiciously like a snort. “Oh, Tom. It’s more like 90 miles per hour or less than that. And I assure you, it’s perfectly legal on a German Autobahn. Still want to try your hand at juggling?”

“I’d like to try my hand at staying sane and in one piece, if it’s all the same to you,” he replies a bit tersely.

“Psh, sanity is overrated.”

Yup, that’s definitely a grin on her face and in her voice. Oh, he’s so going to get back at her for this once he has her in his jag again!

Hanna still doesn’t drive slower and Tom wonders if she maybe, just maybe does know what she’s doing.

At least they’re not driving on the left lane now and Tom breathes a little sigh of relief, at least until there’s another car flying past them with what must be enormous speed, and Tom is forced to let out a surprised and yes, a little bit of an unmanly, squeak.

Which in turn makes Hanna snort again and her face turns almost red from the effort not to laugh.

“You’re trying to kill us so we don’t have to face your dad, right?”

She shoots him an amused glance. Which she shouldn’t do while driving. “I’m not trying to kill us. I’ve said I’ll protect you, didn’t I? Killing you would just be stupid, especially since I’m also quite fond of you.”

Tom simply rolls his eyes, but must admit, Hanna’s actually pretty good at driving. So he lets go of the seat a little and shakes his hands that cramp a little now.

At least until Hanna is the one letting out a squeak and Tom sees them both crashing into some cars in his head. But instead Hanna’s hand simply moves to the radio to turn the volume up.

“You’re giving me heart attack after heart attack! What are you doing?”

His girlfriend at least looks a bit sheepish. “Sorry. But I love this song and I’ll never hear it in England. And excuse me for my rap skills.”

Before Tom can even ask what she means, Hanna starts babbling along to the men on the radio rapping in German with Tom understanding nothing but “Die da”, “Frau”, and “freitags nicht kann”.

He’s not sure if he’s crazy or Hanna or maybe everyone in Germany.

As if that isn’t bad enough, she chuckles between rapping–which she seems to do rather well, but he’s currently too worried and weirded out to really know what to think–and makes funny faces. And then–he swears he’s lost about ten years of his life expectancy already with all the panic attacks–she takes one hand off the steering wheel to point around crazily along to “die da”, her voice rising in volume.

Lord help him, Germany really is another universe. Sure, he’s been here before for Marvel promos and premieres, and he loves German Bratwurst, Sauerkraut and especially beer–but he’s never entirely sure of how to handle Germans. And it’s never really struck him how different Hanna can sometimes be. Maybe because he hasn’t met her on her own turf yet.

Half afraid that she’ll lament the demise of the Deutsche Marke or start wearing slippers with socks any moment, Tom waits for the song to finish and her hand to return to the wheel before he risks speaking again.

“Han, how will singing or getting a speeding ticket help me with your Dad?” He sounds kind of whiny but he can’t help it.

Spielverderber,” she grumbles, and he guesses it means something like spoilsport. Well, he hopes it isn’t something meaner, while another part of his brain latches onto the potential fun of asking her to teach him some German swear words.

“Papa is a big fan of Volksmusik. Schlager.” She rolls her eyes again and shakes her head, which isn’t good for his nerves at all and makes him tighten his grip on the seat once more.

He latches onto the new bit of information, which might just be life-saving. “So, what kind of music is that? Folk music?”

Hanna makes a gagging noise. “Yes, sort of. Basically, it isn’t proper music. It’s just dumbed-down, schmaltzy-schmoosy stuff to clap and hum along to mindlessly. Sentimental, superficial crap. Derpy and sugary and fake and trivial. It’s…it’s a crime to music!” She’s talked herself into a rage, and he’s pretty sure they’re driving even faster now.

Before he can even get a word in, there’s another squeak, robbing him of another five years of his life expectancy.

Krankenwagen…ambulance,” she says, and a moment later his befuddled brain registers the blaring of a siren in the distance. And suddenly they’re swerving into a different lane, and then as the sound grows louder, Hanna slows down–finally, thank you, Jesus–and veers so close to the left side of the road he’s pretty sure they’ll ram the bordering fence. Blinking, he watches all the cars on the Autobahn part like the Red Sea and move as far to the side of the road as if the ambulance is carrying bioweapons dangerous enough to kill everyone in close proximity.

It whooshes past and everyone neatly returns to being normal, if rather fast, drivers.

Germans. Weird!

“You’re a strange group of people.”

Hanna raises a brow at him. Surely he doesn’t mean that. “Says the English man who says ‘why of course this is bread’ when he serves me toast for breakfast.” Okay. She shouldn’t think of Tom serving her breakfast because that will lead to other thoughts she shouldn’t have driving to her parent’s house. Tom just grins at her.

Thinking about her parents also makes Hanna realise something else. “You really think you need help with my dad, don’t you?” He actually looks terrified and Hanna wonders where that calm and confident man has gone, that wooed her some months ago.

He fidgets in his seat and Hanna actually wants to stop the car simply to put a kiss on his lips. “Well. Yeah. What if he hates me?”

“He doesn’t hate anyone. Except for Boris Becker, and I promise you won’t get on his nerves that much.”

Tom simply stares at her. “Does he play tennis by any chance?”

Hanna cringes. Okay, Becker was a bad example. “I’m afraid not. More of a football guy. Sorry.”

Tom hangs onto that last straw of hope.

“Football. Okay, I can do that. I might be a tennis aficionado but I do keep up with…uhm…Fußball, too.” He scratched his chin thoughtfully, realizing that he should probably have ducked into an airport loo to shave. “Is Bayern Munich still winning all the matches and hiring all the top layers?”

Hanna grimaces, then slows down a bit to turn left. “Yeah, they’re still the top team. But don’t even mention them to Papa or he’ll kill you even earlier. He hates that team and many others. He’s fiercely loyal to the Eintracht Frankfurt team, though.”

He knows his leg is bouncing again, but he can’t help it. Dammit, is there nothing he can do right?

Frantically trying to distract himself, he realizes they’ve left the Autobahn and are now driving through what looks like a village or maybe just a somewhat outlying suburb of Frankfurt. He squints through the falling snow and studies the houses that could basically be in Anywhere, Central Europa, then sits up so fast he bumps his knee.

“Stop. Stop, Hanna!”

With a jerk and a curse, she slows and brakes, the tires trying to get proper purchase.

“What the hell, Thomas? What is it?”

Tom points across the street at an illuminated LIDL supermarket with quite some cars parked out front. “We need to go inside and you need to point out a gift your dad would like. I need some brownie points.” He aims a beseeching look at her. “Please, love?”

“Tom,” she sighs, then hears something like a whine from next to her. This ridiculous man. “It’s a day before Christmas eve. You know how many people are grocery shopping right now?”

She turns to Tom who stares back at her with wide eyes. It’s only then that she sees the red rimmed eyes and the bags beneath them. He’s exhausted. He almost looks like that one weekend he flew in on a Thursday, asking her to take the Friday off only to sleep until Saturday. Hanna wonders when the adrenaline will let him crash now. The puppy eyes still work though.

“Okay. Okay we’ll go. Let’s see if we find something.”

She’s almost scared by how relieved Tom looks. “Thank you.”

So they make it to the parking lot, walking into the supermarket hand in hand, and stop. It’s buzzing with people running in every direction almost causing accidents with their carts.

“Fuck,” Tom exclaims softly.

“Yep.” But Hanna already spots something a few metres ahead of them. She tucks Tom’s hand. “Come.”

When she shows Tom the basket, he looks rather sceptically. “That’s…”

“…Wurst. Yes.”

“Lots and lots of meat.”

“And a bottle of wine. In a basket.” He still looks unsure. “What did you think you’ll find here? It’s a supermarket, Tom. If you don’t want to buy toothpaste for my father, this is what you get.”

She’s tired too. Hanna can feel a headache coming from all the worrying that slowly gets to her as well. She’s tense. Yes, she was nervous before, but she thought Tom would surely be able to diffuse any situation with being his charming self.

At the moment he looks like he’s about to puke though, so Hanna can’t help sounding whiny as well.

“Sorry,” she mumbles, looking up at him. “So, Wurst?”

“If you think so…”

Clutching the odd basket as tightly as if it was his lifebuoy, Tom lets himself be dragged to the cash counter where they step in line behind three families and two couples, and a rotund old woman with at least two chins and a woolen hat in glaring neon pink that matches the lipstick liberally applied to her thin lips.

He shifts from foot to foot, cursing softly to himself. What if they were late now because he foolishly thought a gift would pave the way?

As if she’s read his thoughts, Hanna glances at her watch and nibbles on her lower lip.

Germans are supposed to be all about punctuality, aren’t they? Now he’s even more worried.

“God, Han, I shouldn’t have accepted your mom’s invitation,” he blurts out, clutching the basket even tighter.

She sniffles, and when she looks at him, he realizes she seems tired and tense, like him. What a pair they make…

“Sooner or later, you’ll have to meet my parents, Tom.”

He nods, searching for some vestiges of courage to save his manly pride. “Yeah, I know. But Christmas? What if I fuck up royally and ruin the holiday season forever?”

The young couple in front of them turn their heads, eyes wide. Whoops, his ‘fuck’ didn’t go unnoticed. Before he can apologize profusely, Hanna speaks, rather fast and agitatedly.

“Don’t chicken out on me, Thomas! I braved your family when we were supposed to just be friends, remember? Your mom AND your sisters.”

He nods sheepishly. “You’re right. It’s just…I want this to be perfect, and I know it won’t. And, heaven help me, Han, I’ve missed you like hell.”

Her face lights up and crumbles at the same time, and suddenly she launches herself at him. Somehow, he manages to hold onto the basket while he loops an arm around her parka-padded body and miraculously keeps them from toppling over right into a precariously stacked pyramid of canned soup.

“I’ve missed you too. I want you all to myself, dammit, but…but…”

“I know, I know,” he coos, pressing a kiss to her head before she disentangles herself from his hold. He regains his balance, and his gaze falls on a shelf to his right.

“Oh my god!” His shout startles not only Hanna but the same couple as before, who’re shaking their heads now. He doesn’t care. Shoving the gift basket into Hanna’s hands, he strides over. “Lindt chocolate! Hell, yes!”

“Tom, no! Get back here,” Hanna hisses and can’t decide whether she talks to a man, a child or a dog right now. They don’t have time for this. Dinner is supposed to be served at 7 sharp which means they now have twenty minutes for finishing the line and a ten minute drive.

But Tom just stares lovingly at the chocolate, a little bit like he’s looked at her not even a minute ago.

“But it’s Lindt. We have to buy something for me and your dad,” he half-shouts back - still not looking at her.

“My dad doesn’t like that.”

Well now, that catches Tom’s attention. “Why in the ever loving fuck,” - Hanna cringes along with the couple - “would he not like Lindt? And look, it’s so cheap.”

“Then buy one. Take the red ones and get your ass over here.” She’s done. Yes, she’s missed him, yes, Tom’s missed her, but damn him. He’ll just have to live with her speeding later if he doesn’t move now.

Thanks to their cursing Hanna’s sure nobody will let them have their place in line, but she’ll be damned if they have to let someone in front of them because Tom’s too busy making love to overpriced chocolate.

Tom looks at her a little miffed, but grabs two boxes of the chocolate and walks over.

When he’s next to her, Tom puts an arm around Hanna’s shoulder and presses her to him, and Hanna nuzzles into his shoulder. How does he always manage to make it up to her so easily. “Thank you for keeping up with me,” he murmurs into her ear.


 

Eighteen minutes later, Hanna parks the car at the curb, pointing at a nondescript one-storied house to the left that he can’t see much of in the snow.

“We’re here.”

She sounds as nervous as he feels–no, correction, he probably feels a million times more nervous.

Tom swallows, his throat as dry as a desert. “Are we on time?” It comes out as a croak, so he clears his throat.

“Just about.” Hanna starts fussing with her hair and clothes, then takes a deep breath while he mentally recites “Guten Abend”, “Wie geht es Ihnen?” and “Danke”.

“Let’s do this.” Her voice is a bit wobbly, her smile not quite reaching her tired eyes. She’s opened the door and slung one leg out into the cold when Tom reaches over and grabs her arm.

“Wait!”

The look she shoots him is in equal measure panicky and annoyed. “Tom, we don’t have ti-hime.”

He nods, tries desperately to remember how to inhale and exhale.

“Just…Han, I want you to know that I love you. Whatever happens in there today, or afterward. And I love you too much to let you go, so even if I mess this up and your parents don’t approve, I will fight for this relationship.” His grip on her arm tightens, grasping hard enough to feel her muscles beneath the padded parka. “I won’t let you get away from me just because your father might not like me much. And I hope…I hope…” He swallows thickly again. “I hope you won’t give up on me that easily either."

First, Hanna simply nods a little dumbly before Tom’s words really reach her and she understands. With an “Oh, Tom,” she slips back into the car and onto her seat.

“I love you too,” she says, taking his face in both of her hands and giving him a small kiss she has to end before it gets too heated. “I’m really not trying to make a joke here, but believe me when I say that if it depended on Papa liking my boyfriends I would have broken up with everyone right at the first meeting.

“I love you, Tom. I don’t care what my Papa says. I really don’t. I love him and I value his opinion when I ask about work or we talk about politics, but I’m almost 29 years old, I won’t take relationship advise from him. I’ve joked before, but I will protect you, okay?”

Tom simply stares at her, swallowing, and Hanna asks herself if maybe this was a bit much.

Then he sighs. “God, I’ve missed you.” He leans over a little, kissing her more thoroughly this time, with nipping on lips and tongues tasting each other and heavy breathing.

It’s Hanna - again - who has to break the kiss, but she’s afraid this will truly end in a disaster, if they make out in the car like horny teenagers.

“Let’s go,” she mumbles, a bit dazed still, but actually a little calmer. Maybe she needed the reassurance of Tom not running as well.

“Yeah. Let’s.”

They get Tom’s stuff out, him holding the basket and moving his suitcase while Hanna takes his guitar. They don’t ring the bell, instead Hanna unlocks the door with her key.

After they’ve put everything down, she takes Tom’s hand, squeezes it, and calls out, “Mama, Papa, wir sind da!” She looks at Tom. “We’re here!”

Oh, god. This is it.

Tom feels a bit woozy. It takes him a moment to relalize he’s stopped breathing, so he hauls in a breath. Unfamiliar smells slink in, something woodsy mixed with meat and other cooking smells, a hint of detergent and over it all a layer of winterly, almost universally Christmas-sy scents.

“Hanna!” A middle-aged woman in warm, pastel clothes steps out of a door that Tom presumes leads to the kitchen. He recognizes Hanna’s mother from the one time when they had a video call.

His heart thumps hard, and he hefts the gift basket a little higher as if it’s his shield.

But the woman smiles at him almost as brightly as at her daughter. She opens her arms for a hug, and he has to keep himself from whining in protest when Hanna leaves his side to be embraced.

He stands there, resisting the urge to step from foot to foot, hoping his smile hasn’t slid off his face.

“Tom, hello.” Mrs. Engel turns her attention to him, and he’s absolutely undecided whether he should walk closer or let her bridge the distance. Germans are all about personal space and respect and rigid boundaries, aren’t they? A bit like the British, too. Should he approach and kiss her cheek? Wrangle a hand free and offer it for a shake? Wait for her to make the first move?

Hanna blinks at him a bit exaggeratedly, as if she wants to convey a message.

Belatedly, he realizes he hasn’t said a word yet. “Gut…guten Abend, Frau Engel.”

There, that wasn’t so bad. He does sound a bit sqeaky, though. Not good.

The woman’s smile brightens. “Guten Abend. Willkommen daheim bei den Engels.” (Welcome to the Engels’ home.)

Tom understands enough to stutter a “danke”, and then suddenly Hanna’s mother walks closer and stands on her tip-toes to kiss his cheek, catching him completely off guard.

His hasty “pleasure to meet you” is cut off by a man’s raised voice from an adjoining room.

Hanna? Seid ihr endlich da?” (Have you finally arrived?)

Oh god, oh god, oh god.

Tom watches a but surprised as both women roll their eyes. His brain puts together what Hanna’s dad might have shouted, simply because Hanna’s just used the same words when they entered.

“Papa, du hörst doch, dass wir im Flur stehen und ich habe dich gerade gerufen. Ja, wir sind da.” (Papa, you can hear us standing in the hallway, and I’ve just called for you. So yes, we’re here.)

Tom can’t hear any footsteps, so he does the same as Hanna and her mother and simply waits.

At least until Mrs. Engel makes a move to go back to the kitchen to “check on the food,” as she says.

“Wait!” Tom calls after her and at Hanna’s wide eyes, he realises it sounds a little harsh. “Sorry,” he mumbles, but Hanna’s mother just smiles. “I’ve realised I didn’t give you the gift. There’s chocolate here somewhere. Schokolade, right?”

“Oh, you didn’t have to, Tom. But thank you. Do you want me to take the basket?”

Hanna interferes with a “Nein, das ist für Papa,” and a wink at which her mom just laughs before she leaves for the kitchen. (No, that’s for Papa.)

Hanna has already shed her jacket, revealing some very formfitting sweater that Tom should not look at too closely. So, he holds on to the basket instead.

“Don’t you want to take off your jacket?” she asks with a raised brow, and though Tom is sweating like mad right now, he shakes his head.

“No,” he squeaks. “Let’s get this over with first.”

Hanna smiles at him, then nods. “Come on then.”

They walk through another door and before Tom can really take in the room, his eyes zero in on his girlfriend hugging a man that’s a little shorter, but heavier looking than Tom, with a beard and hair that’s a little grey at the sides.

It’s Hanna who clears her throat now. “Papa, das ist Tom Hiddleston, mein Freund. Tom, that’s my Papa, Daniel Engel.”

Tom makes the steps forward until he can almost shake Mr. Engel’s hand. “Guten Abend. Wie geht es Ihnen? Uhm. Danke für die… invitation?”

Oh goodness. That man doesn’t move. So, in a rather desperate attempt Tom just shoves the basket forward, holding it out a little awkwardly now.

Hanna is pretty sure she’s not breathing. And almost as sure she’s never going to forget this decisive moment.

Though her body is frozen in place, her eyes dart from her father to Tom and back. Her heart squezes at how earnest and desperate Tom looks, but she clenches her hand and keeps it to herself. She probably shouldn’t touch him in front of her Papa just yet. Her father’s face is unreadable because he looks gruff almost always, though he’s got a soft interior. He’s sizing Tom up, looking at him from head to toe. But isn’t he also sneaking longing glances at the gift basket which has some of his favourite Wurst in it?

The tension in the air is so thick it could be cut with a knife.

Why isn’t Papa saying anything, dammit?

The living-room is rather cool as her father doesn’t like the heater turned up high, but there are beads of sweat glistening on Tom’s forehead. Are his hands shaking a little?

He thrusts the basket further out, and after another endless moment, her father takes it and peeks inside.

“So you are that Tom?” he asks, looking at the items in the basket instead of Tom now.

“Yes, sir,” Tom replies a bit stiffly. For a moment, he looks as if he’s either about to salute and stand to attention or to apologize for being who he is, but then a subtle change goes through him when he flicks his gaze from her father to her.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, sir. Hanna speaks of you very fondly.” He’s talking clearly and a bit slowly but not overly so, probably remembering that her Papa doesn’t speak English well.

Her father lifts his head and frowns in concentration, then quirks a bushy brow. “What Hanna say about me, hm?”

Oh shit. Hanna’s sure she’s about as pale as Tom right now. What has she said about her father? Not so much if she’s honest. She nibbles on her lower lip while Tom’s eyes dart from her to her Papa and back again. Several times.

“Uhm,” he starts, then buries his hands deep into the pockets of his jeans, before taking them out again. “Uh. That you have worked all your life and that you always helped her with maths at school.” Huh, she actually did say that when they’ve talked about favourite classes they’ve taken. “And that you love football. Congratulations on winning the World Cup.”

Tom looks rather proud of himself, while Hanna’s dad needs a little time, before nodding slowly. “That is not so much she says. Thank you.”

Hanna sees Tom opening his mouth to talk on, but she shakes her head now that her Papa is looking at the basket again. Not too much talking. So Tom shuts it, rocking back and forth on his heals instead.

Now her father looks back at her. Oh goodness, what now? “Ihr wart also vorher noch bei Lidl? War das deine Idee?” (So, you’ve been to Lidl before? Was that your idea?)

“Nein, Tom wollte dir was schenken und hat den Korb gesehen und gleich an dich gedacht. Er wollte hier nicht mit leeren Händen auftauchen, hatte vorher aber keine Zeit.” (No, Tom wanted to give you a present, saw the basket and thought of you immediately. He didn’t want to get here with empty hands, but he didn’t have time before.)

Well, it’s at least a little true.

Papa throws Tom a look now, that has her boyfriend standing straight immediately, but the look on his face is confused, probably because he didn’t understand a single word they’ve just said. And it must be a strange feeling for Tom, the actor, to not be prepared for what’s going to happen.

“Ach ja. Er hatte keine Zeit, weil er den Film über Elvis in Amerika gedreht hat.” (Ah, yes. He didn’t have time because he was shooting that movie about Elvis in America.)

“Hank Williams, Papa.”

“Huh.”

Tom’s head jerks from one to the other, especially hearing Hank Williams’s name. He looks like a lost boy right now, and Hanna really wants to cuddle him.

“Papa loves the basket,” she smiles at him. “I can see it on his face.” Her dad simply grunts though.

“So, Tom. You like being away from your house?” he then asks and shoots Tom a long look, the basket forgotten for that moment.

The Spanish Inquisition is probably a walk in the park compared to this, Tom thinks defeatedly to himself. He doesn’t have a clue in the world what is expected of him–and it’s not something that happens often, further stressing him out.

The truth. He’ll just stick to the thruth and keep things simple. Pity that nothing much in his life is simple though, least of all his relationship with Hanna.

“I..uh…I do like staying at home. But because of my job I sometimes–well, often–have to travel and stay in hotels or on set for certain periods of time.”

Her father nods gravely, scowling. “You travel. And my Hanna is alone in house.”

Jesus. He ran right into that trap, didn’t he? The worst thing is that he understands the censure in the man’s voice–because he’s often asked himself in the past years how he could ever expect his girlfriend to pine for him at home while he jets around. Sure, she could come with him, and probably would, but what good does that do if he’s too busy and/or too tired to pay her the attention she deserves? And those worries were part of why it took him so long to admit his feelings for Hanna to himself, and even longer to admit them to her.

“Tom.” Hanna’s low hiss registers, and with it the panic returns. Oh, he has to say something. But what, for the love of god?

The truth. Again. Can’t get any worse than thus anyway, can it?

“I would love to have Hanna with me. But she loves her work and I understand. And I told what it means to be my girlfriend and she chose me anyway. And I’m happy about that.”

“I’m not so happy,” Hanna’s father answers after a short while. Tom’s heart stops. Okay. It can get worse. “I see pictures of Hanna in newspapers. That’s not nice.” Tom only nods. He knows that as well, it’s not like Mr. Engel is telling him something new here. “Is she happy?” Hanna’s father asks and points his thumb in his daughter’s direction.

The sassy part of Tom wants to tell him to ask his daughter about that, but sass may be the wrong way right now. “I think so,” he answers instead and holds the older man’s gaze.

He’s a little afraid to look away actually.

Hoffentlich,” Tom hears a mumbled reply and without a word Mr Engel moves past Hanna and Tom and leaves for the kitchen just when Mrs Engel shouts a “Dinner is ready!” from that room.

When Tom looks at Hanna he feels like it’s the first time he can actually breathe again. He almost sits down on the floor, but then decides to simply put his hands on his knees and breathe deeply.

Hanna is with him in two strides and when Tom feels her hand on his back, his lungs start to hurt a little less, and his heart doesn’t beat that erratically anymore.

“Well. That didn’t go so bad,” his girlfriend says, causing Tom to give her an unbelieving look. He’s not sure what actually went right just now. “He really loves the Wurst at least.”

“Well then maybe you should get married to that basket of Wurst and live happily ever after. At least that way you won’t be lonely…though I’m sure it’s sensational enough to get your picture plastered all over the tabloids anyway,” he grumbles, then winces at the sharpness of his tone.

Before Hanna can even open her mouth to protest, he straightens up and snags her hand. “I’m terribly sorry, love, that was awful of me. I didn’t mean to snap at you. It’s just…” He sighs, his whole body shaking with it. “He’s right. And he’s kind of the living, breathing embodiment of all my fears and worries.”

“Hanna, Essen ist fertig!” her father shouts from the kitchen, and it doesn’t escape him that his name isn’t mentioned.

Ignoring the shout, Hanna takes a step closer to him, squeezing his fingers.

“Don’t let him get you down, Tom. The choice is mine, and I’ve made it. I chose you.”

What has he done to deserve this wonderful woman? Feeling a litle taller and a little more like himself, Tom bends down for a kiss. He brushes his lips over her temples and breathes her in.

“Do you think my dead body will end up on the menu?” he asks, attempting a levity he doesn’t yet feel.

Hanna snuggles closer for a moment before stepping away. “I don’t think so. But if it does, I’ll make sure you’ll be the dessert.”

With a chuckle, Tom turns towards the door. “That’s a relief. C’mon then, time for me to savour German cuisine.”


 

It was a very awkward dinner that night, Hanna muses now, a day later, walking home from church with Tom. Nobody said anything except for her and her mother. Tom looked like he wanted to puke, and every time he wanted to say something he looked at her Papa and shut his mouth again.

Everything after dinner was awkward as well. Hanna and Tom went to bed fairly early, right after dinner. And though, Hanna’s father allowed them to sleep in one room - Hanna almost laughed out loud at that and made it clear she would move to a hotel with Tom otherwise - Tom seemed to be afraid he’d be murdered in his sleep.

Hanna tried to reassure him that her father wouldn’t barge in just like that and that they were allowed to cuddle.

Tom was very insistent though, and Hanna begrudgingly slept with a third pillow in bed - between them so not even their pinkies would touch.

The day was spent with some conversations here and there and last minute preparations for the tree as well as cooking Rouladen with gravy, Rotkohl, Klöse and what more.

Tom and her father also talked a little more. About football and beer, but at least her Papa didn’t say anything about leaving Hanna alone in London anymore.

And now, now Hanna and Tom are finally alone. Hanna can’t stand another awkward car ride so she and Tom make the ten minute walk home from church.

They’re not allowed into the living-room anyway. Even though Hanna’s known Santa isn’t real for the last 20 years, her mother refuses to let her enter before she placed every present under the tree, then acts all surprised.

It snows a little, and Hanna leans closer to Tom, holding hands - finally - and sighs. “I love you,” she mumbles.

“Where’s that coming from?” Ah, so she didn’t hide her tone that well.

“I don’t know,” she says, but continues anyway. “I just feel like you have a horrible Christmas because of my family. And I’m sure you’d much rather spend it with your family.” She snuggles a little closer still, and Tom lets her.

Tom’s steps falter, and he turns to face Hanna. His free hand, icy cold, rises. He brushes a snowflake off Hanna’s hair and then lifts her face with a finger under her chin.

“I wouldn’t say it’s the best Christmas I’ve ever had,” he says softly because honesty is something both of them value. “But I wanted nothing more than to spend it with you, and that wish came true. So I’m most certainly not complaining. Han, we knew this wasn’t going to be easy, but we wanted this. Still want it. Right?”

Her smile chases away the cold and lightens the tightness still around his heart. “Yes. You’re this year’s best Weihnachtsgeschenk. Christmas present.”

Tom casts a quick look left and right, knowing that his fear of being caught is irrational but still feeling as if her father will let the hellhounds loose on Tom if he so much as touches his precious daughter.

The street is emtpy apart from a group of churchgoers farther ahead, so he draws Hanna closer and kisses her. What was intended to be a quick expression of affection turns into much more when she opens her mouth under his and flutters her tongue over his bottom lip. He moans softly and deepens the kiss, nibbling on her lip and licking into her mouth, relearning her taste as his hands scrabble for purchase under her coat. When he finally fell asleep last night, he dreamed of Hanna in sexy red lingerie, whih did absolutely nothing to ease his longing for her.

Hanna draws back at last, her eyes slightly glazed over and her cheeks rosy. “Frohe Weihnachten, Tom.” (Merry Christmas)

Frohe Weihnachten, Han.” He nuzzles her nose with his. “Now let’s go open the presents, love. Santa may just have smuggled one of mine among your load.”


 

When they arrive at Hanna’s home, the whole house smells like food. So much that Tom almost forgets to be nervous and is ready to dig in instead.

As they put away their coats, Tom’s eyes roam over Hanna’s body. She’s wearing a woollen dress and tights tonight, and Tom’s caught himself staring a few times tonight.

Before they enter the dining room - it’s a special occasion after all - Tom’s hand brushes along Hanna’s waist and she gives him a smile in return.

He doesn’t dare to do more, even if he has to add another pillow in bed tonight.

The table is set beautifully and Tom recognises some beer glasses especially made for Weizenbier on the table. One for Tom as well, which makes him falter for a moment. Then again, it surely was Julia - as he’s allowed to call Hanna’s mother now - who’s been so considerate.

They take their places and much to Tom’s surprise, Mr. Engel hands him a bottle of beer as well. Now, Tom just has to find out how to properly pour it.

“Oh, let me! You can do the second one,” Hanna’s excited voice comes from next to him.

Before he realises what’s happening, Hanna has the bottle in one hand and the glass in the other and pours the beer in one go with some nice foam on top. Of course, she’s also brushed her finger against Tom’s when she took the bottle, which made Tom hold in a moan.

Zum Wohl,” Mr. Engel exclaims when all glasses are filled and everyone, including Tom, answers with a Zum Wohl (Cheers) on their own.


 

If someone had asked her a few months ago how she would spend Christmas, Hanna would never have envisioned it like this. But she’s not complaining, definitely not. Lots of good food, including a Weihnachtsgans as part of the main course and Christstollen as part of the dessert, has helped to ease the tension somewhat. Her father and Tom have each had a beer too much, which has helped as well.

Her parents have opened their gifts, and Hanna theirs. She’s sitting on the couch next to Tom now–a bit miffed that he’s keeping about two feet of distance between their bodies as if she’s a virgin and her Papa is hiding a gun or something–and unwrapping a surpsiringly light, rectangle box from Tom. He’s gone all fidgety next to her. And is that...is he blushing? God, what has he bought her?

Gulping, her hands shaking a little now, Hanna tears her present open. Inside the box is another smaller box and an envelope. She dimly registers her mother hovering close by, staring.

Somehow nervous to open the square box, Hanna takes out the envelope and peeks inside.

“Oh, Tom!” With a squeak and a broad grin, she picks up the tickets and waves them around, explaining in German to her parents that they’re two plane tickets to Australia for a trip next year–to the place where Hanna and Tom first met.

“Oh, how sweet.” Her mother beams approvingly at Tom, who oddly doesn’t look relieved but a tiny bit green around the gills. Jesus Christ, what is in that other box to make him so anxious?

Noch mehr Reisen,” her father grumbles, but she barely hears him. (Even more traveling.)

Her throat dry, Hanna opens the remainig box to reveal a slightly smaller black velvet box inside. Her heart jumps into her throat. Dear god…has he…?!

Forgetting how to breathe, she lifts the lid. Inside sits a ring with a simple white gold band and a heart. In the middle of the heart is a light blue stone, glittering like pale moonlight and surrounded by tiny diamonds.

“It’s…” Tom clears his throat. “It’s an aquamarine, your birthstone as you were born in March.”

She’s pretty sure she’s the one who looks a little faint now, and it must’ve shown on her face. Tom blushes redder and stutters. “It’s not an…uhm…I mean…it’s just…It’s not an engagement ring. Yet. Please accept it, as a token of my love and hopefully the prelude to a proper engagement ring in the future.”

Tom doesn’t know what he’s more afraid of in that moment. To look at Hanna in case this is entirely too much and she throws the ring at him, or to look away from her and see Mr. Engel taking out a gun or something.

It’s gone fairly well so far, probably due to the last Weizenbier and Tom’s admission that yes, he supports England in football of course, but Germany certainly deserved to win the World Cup.

When Hanna looks at him with a little tear in her eyes, whispers a “Thank you, I love you,” Tom can’t help but grin. He ends the following kiss quickly though, he’s still not sure about that gun.

“Now I feel a little unprepared,” Hanna laughs as she hands him a present of her own. It’s soft and square and Hanna looks positively giddy for Tom to open it.

He laughs out loud when he sees the t-shirt she’s presented him with. Yes, he does love Shakespeare and he’s sure the white shirt with the face of Shakespeare and the claim “Will Power” will be his new favourite.

While Hanna explains the joke to her parents and Tom can even hear Mr. Engel laugh about it, he opens an envelope. There’s a picture of a cottage surrounded by trees.

When he looks at his girlfriend, she’s got a smile on her face. “I know you’ll be so busy. But you need to relax some time. So we’ll go to Ireland for a few days next year. Spending those in a cottage,” she answers the unasked question.

Tom doesn’t know what the “Ach, komm schon,” from Hanna’s dad means, but the others ignore him, so he does too. (Oh, come on.)

As Tom leans over to peck Hanna’s lips, really, just a peck, his girlfriend leans towards him and whispers, “There’s also something waiting upstairs,” in his ear. It suddenly got very very warm in the room, and Tom can feel the heat in his cheeks. Surely she doesn’t…does she?


 

The last two hours dragged on and on, but Hanna has to admit things really did go better than expected. Sure, Papa has been grousing and muttering about Tom being ‘one of those who throw money at their girlfriend but forget to also throw love at her’, but he did give the ring a good look, and he did agree that light blue has always been her colour anyway.

As for her mother, sometimes she looked half in love with Tom too, pressing him to eat more Lebkuchen and Zimtsterne.

And Tom…he called his family, let his sisters and mother talk to Hanna to wish her, and even persuaded Diana to have a few words with Julia. He unpacked his guitar and played the melodies of Christmas carols while Hanna and her parents sang Silent Night in English and O du fröhliche in German.

Along the way, she forgot all about her nerves. But they’re back now, along with flutters in her belly and a little shiver because she’s not wearing much.

Tom is brushing his teeth in the bathroom and she;s sitting on the bed, clutching the spare pillow to herself and biting her lip.

The water stops running, and she stops breathing.

“You know,” Tom says, strolling into the room in his pajama bottoms and a ratty, almost see-through blue T-shirt, “I realized I should learn a few German Christmas carols. I was so focused on Hank these past few months but today…”

He pauses mid-sentence, jaw dropping so low that it almost literally seems to be hitting the ground.

Hanna has set the pillow aside and is facing him with what she hopes is a sultry smile. She can’t believe she’s saying this cheesy line, but here she goes: “You forgot to unwrap your last present, Tom.”

He doesn’t say anything and simply stares, and Hanna isn’t sure if maybe the red set of lingerie isn’t as sexy and seductive as she thought it was. Or maybe if Tom indeed had one or two beers too many.

She sees - and actually hears - him swallow before he goes red and pale and half turns around, but Hanna still can see a slight bulge forming in his trousers.

“You,” comes out squeaky, “you should not do this to me right now.”

Hanna sits up on her knees, pressing her arms to her side, helping her bra to push everything up a little more. There even is a ribbon right under her breasts.

But Tom looks at her for just a tiny moment before his gaze goes up to the ceiling, him bouncing on his feet a little. Hanna thinks she can hear him mumble something about, “92 times five,” but isn’t too sure about it. At least it’s not about her.

“Tom,” she makes her voice go low. “I’ve really, really missed you a lot. Alone in my flat. At night.”

His strangled moan fills the room, and Hanna has to hold back a snicker.

“If you don’t want…,” she wants to say Papa, but that would surely ruin the mood, “anyone to walk in here, we should be quiet.”

He still hasn’t looked at her, so maybe she needs to change tactics. So, she stands up from the bed, walking towards him, hoping she doesn’t trip, since she’s also bought new red high-heels, she probably won’t wear anywhere else.

What in the world has he done to deserve this much torture and temptation? First the whole ‘meeting the disgruntled, threatening father’ thing, and now Hanna needs to torment him like this.

Christ, he’s been thinking of things he abhors for most of the evening so he’ll get distracted from that figure-hugging woolen dress and her scent all around him.

“This is a very bad idea. Very, very bad,” he mumbles. Should he risk another glance at her in that sinful red lacy thing posing as underwear? The forming bulge in his trousers says yes; his last functioning, somewhat beer-dulled brain cells say no.

“Tom?” Sweet Jesus, her voice is all husky.

His gaze darts to her on its own, and he nearly swallows his tongue.

“Fuck me,” he blurts out dimly, realizing she’s wearing matching heels that do mesmerizing things to the way she holds her scantily clad body and walks.

Is that…is that a ribbon at the front of her bra? Heaven help him, he should NOT be staring at her boobs. Nope. Worst idea ever.

“That’s kind of the plan,” Hanna says with something that is half amused smirk and half oozing seduction.

It takes Tom a moment to realize that her answer alludes to his curse, and he scrubs a hand over his face.

“Dear god, Hanna, you can’t be serious.” Mentally patting himself on the back for actually forming logical sentences, he searches for the right words as she walks closer, swaying her hips. “I mean…not that I don’t want you..I do, I want to touch you and…no, not going there. Uh…Look, your parents are sleeping at the other end of the corridor. And it’s their freaking house, and…and… Even if we lock the door, its just all wrong.”

Hanna cocks her head, and her expression is unreadable for a moment. “Actually, there’s no lock at the door.” She takes the last step and reaches for his hand, making him shudder. “But surely you won’t let that get in the way of your Christmas present, Thomas?”

He swallows. No lock. That should actually mean that this is very very wrong. Even more wrong than before. But somehow his brain - and his bulge - scream “Adventure!” at him. He swallows again, his hand in Hanna’s brushing against her naked thigh.

“We shouldn’t…” But before he can say something else, his girlfriend is pressed against his side, before she walks around to stand before him. The heels make her so tall that she can easily press her lips against his throat. Which she does.

Tom doesn’t even know to what sensation he should react first. Her lips, her breasts against his chest, or… he gasps. Her hand trailing down his stomach, landing on his bulge.

“Han,” he whispers, a little desperate now.

“Tom,” she whispers back, against his throat. “You really, really should unwrap your present, I’ve got it for you.”

Damn it all to hell, is the last thing his brain shouts at him, before he grabs Hanna’s ass with both of his hands, and hauls her up, so she has to wrap her legs around his waist.

He carries her forward until he’s next to the bedroom door, having her pressed against the wall.

Hanna smirks at him, licks her lips, and he kisses her, moaning into her mouth as she does the same.

Sensations flood him, almost too much to handle. God, it’s been so long since he’s felt her like this. And he can’t remember whether she’s been this eager before, rubbing her body against him, nipping at his lips, her hands buried in his hair and sending tiny tingles of pain over his scalp.

He tears his mouth from hers for a desperate breath, then nuzzles her neck rather aggressively. When Hanna bucks into his hips, damp heat brushing against his arousal, Tom bites back a groan with his last bit of willpower.

Panting, his fingers digging into Han’s thigh and hip, he moves his head back a fraction and seeks her gaze, pupils blown wide. “Did…did you pack a turtle-neck sweater or a scarf?”

“Huh?” She stares fuzzily back at him for a moment and he can almost hear the wheels in her brain turning. So he controls himself and keeps his hand from wandering to the inside of the thigh she’s wrapped around him like a vice. “I have another woolen dress with a high collar. Why?”

Tom shudders, inhaling a lung-full of Hanna’s scent. “Perfect. Then I can do this.” He bends to her neck and latches onto it, sucking and scraping his teeth over the spot he knows always drives her wild. He’s been wanting to mark her, re-claim her, for weeks.

Hanna makes a soft keening sound and writhes against him. “More,” she pleads, and so he traces her rapidly beating pulse down and kisses the hollow in her throat, his hand traveling across her thigh to her barely covered butt.

Bucking into him, Hanna accidentally pokes him in the ass with a spiky heel, and Tom jolts, barely suppressing a yelp.

“These need to come off,” he says gruffly.

“Start unwrapping the present then, Hiddleston,” Hanna taunts between pants.

Caused by the haze of her arousal, Hanna’s not quite sure what exactly is happening to her.

She feels Tom sling his arm around her waist, holding her tight, and his hips press harder against hers.

Tom’s hand is reaching behind him, stroking her calf, and the shudder she feels is so intense that Hanna has to grab his shoulders even tighter.

Tom’s mouth latches on to her neck again as an answer and Hanna has to bite her lip to not make a sound.

She feels his hand travelling towards her feet, hastily brushing both heels off where they meet at Tom’s ass.

“And now the ribbon,” she hears Tom mumble before she has to suppress a yelp because Tom - albeit shaking a little - lifts her even higher against the wall, and nips at the underside of her breasts - where the ribbon is - with his teeth.

God, this was the best idea for a Christmas present she’s ever had.

He’s pretty sure he’s never had a better Christmas present in his life.

Slightly proud that he can still think and manage enough co-ordination to not drop Hanna flat on her arse or let too many sounds of desire escape, Tom takes his own sweet time with that ribbon. He makes sure to brush his nose and mouth over her breasts repeatedly, shudderig whenever Hanna shivers. Is she aware that she’s grinding herself against him and wiggling quite a bit, making his task even more difficult?

“Off. Get. It. Off. To-hom. Please. Now.” Yup, she sounds desperate now, begging in between stifled gasps. As desperate as he is, frankly, but he wants to give her a taste of her own naughty medicine. Tempting him like this, persuading him to reunite with her in such a clandestine way. Sure, it adds to the thrill–but they both tend to be rather vocal, and he knows that their long separation will only make them all the more eager.

One of her hands tugs on his hair, which earns her another nip and startles her into a soft squeak. Afraid of more noises, Tom makes short work of the ribbon that acts as the bra’s front clasp and buries his face between her breasts, licking every inch of skin he can reach and moaning very low in his throat at her taste.

“Pleeeease.” Hanna’s whining softly again, and so he steels himself against losing his control and finally takes one of her hardened nipples in his mouth. He’s barely sucked it before Hanna’s moan rises into the air. Tom hasn’t got a clue how he manages it, but somehow he keeps her in place with one arm and her weight pinned against the wall while pressing his other hand over her mouth.

“Shh. Quiet, love.” He makes his voice as commanding as he can manage it in his arousal-induced haze. “If you want my fingers and my mouth and all of me, be quiet.”

Another whimper leaves her, but Hanna manages to nod between the waves of pleasure that shoot through her.

“Okay,” Tom whispers and in his voice she can hear the same desperation that she feels. She’s quite proud of herself to make him feel this way.

But the next thing she concentrates on are Tom’s fingers - he’s let go of her mouth - that find their way to Hanna’s panty-covered clit.

She stiffles a gasp just when Tom moans a, “You’re so ready for me,” into her ear. “Were they expensive?”

“Huh?” She’s not quite sure she understands. Surely they don’t have time to talk about prices now?

“Doesn’t matter,” he growls and before Hanna can utter another word, her panties are ripped off her and Tom’s fingers enter her, his thumb brushing over that bundle of nerves.

In her befuddled mind, Hanna thinks she should return the favour. So, she lets go of one of Tom’s shoulders and drives her hand south.

When her hand makes contact with Tom’s member, Tom groans, tumbles forward and presses her harder against the wall.

“Pants. Off,” she manages, but Tom somehow shakes his head.

“Finish. First.”

God, she’s so hot and wet and eager. He deserves all the awards for not losing it then and there and taking Hanna so hard against the wall that they’ll be heard in half of Frankfurt.

“Bite me,” he rasps out between her strangled tiny moans that travel straight to his cock as she flutters and tightens around his soaked fingers.

“Huh?” She’s given up trying to touch him, digging her nails into his hips instead.

“Bite me and muffle your sounds because I want you to come for me. Now, Han. Be a good girl and give me proof of how much you’ve missed me. Come on.”

She clenches down even more on him and does as told, burying her face against his neck as he twists his wrist for a slightly different angle and makes her whimper.

“Fucking hell, Hanna, now,” Tom grits out on a harsh whisper, feeling himself twitch and harden even more against her writhing body. “I need you to come for me so I can take you to bed and bury myself as deep as I can go.”

Perhaps it’s his words more than his fingers, but Hanna finally shatters against him, her teeth nipping hard at his pecs, her keening moans muffled.

He’s not sure how he manages - and he just barely does so - because his entire body is shaking and his head is spinning from the strain of not to come, but Tom manages to carry Hanna all the way to her bed, stumbling the last few feet.

She drags him down with her, giving him only a little time to settle in between her wide spread legs, and all Tom can do is to push his tongue into her mouth while Hanna’s eager hands work on his pyjama bottoms.

Tom hisses into her mouth as Hanna succeeds and the cold air hits his member. But her hands already travel higher to get his shirt off. Something he helps with gladly.

“I love you,” she whispers and Tom opens his eyes to look into hers. He’s sure she’s never looked more beautiful.

“I love you,” he whispers back. It turns into a moan though, as her hands travel to his back and lower to his ass.

“Bite. Me.” Hanna throws his words back to him and before he can even think about what she could mean, he indeed bites down on her shoulder as her hand grabs hold of Tom’s penis, tugging gently, then moving slowly - too fucking slowly - up and down.

“I need,” he manages and swallows hard, “I need to be inside you.”

“Be inside me then,” Hanna gasps, leading him to her entrance.

Tom nudges the tip inside–then freezes. “Condom.”

Hanna whimpers and whines when he withdraws on a sheer act of willpower, and he clamps a hand over her mouth again. It shuts her up, but she decides to torment him by darting her tongue out and licking his palm while also bucking her hips up at him.

“Fuck. You really want to kill me, don’t you?” With a hiss and a need so strong it’s physically painful, Tom scrambles off the bed, nearly tripping over his discarded clothes. It’s a miracle that  he makes it to his jeans and manages to fish the wallet out for a condom.

When he turns towards the bed, he nearly moans even louder than Hanna before. She’s spread her legs invitingly, one of her hands traveling south to slide through her glistening folds.

“Mine. No touching.” With a growl, he returns and lunges, pushing her hand away.

Fumbling and acting mostly on auto-pilot, Tom sheaths himself, then settles between Hanna’s quivering thights. Once, twice, he glides over her, shuddering at the contact.

“Please. Oh god, Tom, please.”

He slants his mouth over Hanna’s to silence her and simultaneously swallow his own deep groan as he joins her in one long thrust.

In the last months, and probably in all of her adult life, Hanna’s never felt more at home than now.

It’s not because she’s literally at home right now, it’s because Tom is. Tom who is pushing in and pulling out of her achingly slow, but so very deep.

Tom, who is entirely too much in control, Hanna realises and she yet again has to stiffle a moan in the long kiss they share while Tom is merely gasping.

So, she clenches around him. It does have the desired effect, in him and her. Tom falters in his movements and drops his head on Hanna’s shoulder with a muttered curse.

So she does it again. This time the curse gets louder as Hanna also tightens her legs around his hips and holds him in place.

“Fuck, Hanna.”

She feels Tom’s hand - a lot shakier now - go to her clit again. A sign that he’s close now as well.

Good. As much as she wants this to last, she also wants him to lose control.

So, she clenches around him again, this time he falters first, then pushes into her fast, almost uncoordinated, but deep.

Hanna muffles her scream against Tom’s sweaty body above her, his moans almost pushing her over the edge alone.

She digs her fingers into Tom’s shoulder blades. “Lose control, Tom. Now. Please. For me,” she pants.

The sound he makes is more animal than human, and definitely desperate. He pushes as deep as he can go and grinds down against her, nearly making Hanna see stars even though his fingers on her clit have stilled.

“Only…” Pant, pant. “Only if you…let go…too.”

Tom lifts his head, hair plastered to his sweaty face, jaw clenched. “Together, Han. You.” He groans at her next clench around him, twitching. “And I. Together.”

Hanna nods frantically, raking her–luckily rather blunt–nails across Tom’s taut back. “Yes. Yes, yes, yes.” It’s a muted chant, breathless and whimpery.

Tom’s hips snap even faster, and in all the flurry he manages to pinch her clit.

Hanna sucks in air and freezes, so overcome by it that she doesn’t even make a noise when she clamps down on Tom and hurtles over the edge.

A second later, she can feel Tom reaching his peak, his body arching up, throat bared and jaw unhiged. The next moment, he buries his face in her neck and gasps, his full weight on her as he bucks through his release.

The weight of Tom on top of her nearly makes Hanna lose her breath, but she doesn’t have it in her to tell him to move.

They pant together, Hanna’s limbs feel heavy, she’s spent, but she’s sure she’s grinning like a loon.

She draws small circles on Tom’s back, while he places kisses all over her neck and jaw.

He’s still inside her, now flaccid, but still deep enough to make Hanna feel euphoric all over. He is heavy though.

“Tom,” she whispers.

“No,” he answers softly.

Hanna giggles. “Tom, you’re heavy.” She pats his back a little, wiggling underneath him.

“Don’t wanna.” He sounds like he’s either sleepy or as if his beers are catching up with him slowly. And he doesn’t move.

“I’ve finished you, haven’t I?” Hanna can’t keep the pride out of her voice.

She sure has. In more ways than one.

It’s all…so much. The intensity of it is almost frightening, even now with the beer haze catching up and all of his energy quite literally drained out of him. How much he’s missed her, how completed he felt today when he reunited with her, despite the terrifying circumstances. How right they are for each other. He isn’t sure he’s reacted on this level before, though he’s by all means an intense and emotional person who doesn’t do ‘half-assed’ things.

But does Hanna feel the same? Will this last or wear off with time? Will it get even harder to stay away and focus on his career?

And why the hell can’t his brain shut up?

Picking himself up but not moving too much, he mutters into Hanna’s body, “Nope. Takes more’n’ this to finish off Thomas William Hiddleston.”

“Is that a challenge?” She sounds exhausted, amused and a bit breathless, so Tom decides to stop crushing her and reluctantly shifts. He pulls her with him so he’s now on his back and Hanna draped across him, all loose-limbed and tousle-haired and beautifully his, with marks already beginning to bloom on her skin.

“M always up for a challenge, you know that.” He wiggles his brows at her, which of course makes her roll her eyes. She glances down and smirks. “Nuh-uh, I don’t think ‘up’ is the correct word to use, Hiddleston.”

With a snort, he wiggles out of her hold to get rid of the condom, realizing with a start how cold it is. Hanna seems to notice it too because suddenly they’re both scrambling for clothes and blankets. Getting in on his side and spooning Hanna close, Tom kisses the nape of her neck. “Gute Nacht, love.”

Nacht.” With a mumble and a tiny contented sigh, she snuggles closer, and his eyes drift shut.


 

Tom is awoken by some sort of knocking sound. There’s also a whisper he can’t quite make out through the sleepy haze.

He does know he’s happy though. Blissfully, deliriously happy, like when he fell asleep yesterday.

The weight of Hanna is pressed against his front. He’s sure they moved some time during the night, but somehow managed to land in the same position this morning.

The knocking sound becomes louder as does the harsh whisper. Now, Tom can make out a faint “Hanna”.

He loves closer to Hanna’s heat, he’s so not ready to wake up yet. Hanna seems to feel the same as she simply mumbles his name, then moves Tom’s arm a bit to hold tight.

They’re both awake though as the knocking - on the door, Tom realises now - is now definitely heard as well as the voice of Mr Engel.

“Hanna, verdammt noch mal! Schläfst du noch? Mama hat gesagt, ich soll dich…euch zwei wecken. Es gibt Frühstück.” (Damn it, Hanna. Are you still asleep? Your mother said I should wake you…wake you two up. There’s breakfast.)

“Ugh,” Hanna grumbles. Tom would answer but he’s got no idea what her father said. “Ja, Papa. Wir sind wach. Moment,” she answers, before turning around to face Tom. She looks tired, but smiles. “Morning,” she whispers. (Yes, Papa. We’re awake. One moment.)

“I don’t want it to be morning yet,” Tom mutters, nuzzling her face and neck, and wishing this moment would never end.

He feels Hanna nod against his chest and her arms tighten around him. “Mhm. But Papa said breakfast is ready.”

Oh. Food. He immediately perks up at that and moves away a fraction, giving her a smile that’s probably a little too eager.

She snorts and then giggles. “I swear, Tom, sometimes I think you love breakfast more than you love me.”

They share a grin, but Tom grows serious the next instant. “I do love you a lot. You know that, right?”

Her features soften and she gives him that angelic smile he’s only ever seen when she’s truly touched or truly happy.

“I do. And I love you a lot too, Tom.”

Hanna perks up when she hears a little shuffling in front of her door. Without letting go of Tom, she rises her head. “Papa? Du kannst jetzt gehen, wir sind in zehn Minuten da.” And just like that the footsteps and the shuffling get quieter until Hanna hears the unmistakably sound of her father walking down the stairs.

She rolls her eyes and meets Tom’s questioning look. “I’ve told him he can go now, and that we’ll be there in ten minutes.”

Hanna wonders for a brief moment if her parents could have heard them if she can hear her father’s footsteps now. She blushes right there and then.

“What?” Tom whispers, trailing kisses along her cheek, nudges her nose with his and finally meeting her mouth for a small peck. “Why are you blushing like that. You didn’t get red like that yesterday. Not on the cheeks.”

“Nothing,” she smiles. They can’t have another freak out. And honestly, if her parents heard them they’ll find out as soon as her father greets them with a gun for breakfast.

“Mhm. Okay.”

She loves Tom in the morning. Well, she always loves him, but especially in the morning when he’s all cuddly and warm and soft and bleary eyed with curls that fall in all directions.

“By the way,” he starts and nudges her. “Do you know that your accent gets thicker when you’re here?”

She scrunches up her nose. “No, it doesn’t,” she says in the most fake posh British accent she can manage.

“It does. It’s cute.”

“Your the only one to think the German accent is cute. It’s all sharp ’s’ and strong ’t’s. It’s not cute at all.”

“Well, I happen to think you’re cute.”

Oh, yes, Hanna also loves how much of a dork Tom can be in the mornings.

“While we’re on the topic of cute”, she says, “Did you know that your voice is different when you speak in a foreign language?”

He stops his nuzzling to blink at her. “It does?”

“Yup.” She gives him a peck on the lips too. “It’s utterly fascinating. “Your timbre and cadence and everything are slightly different when you speak French or Spanish. And even more different when you speak German.”

She trails her hand down his back and traces a fingertip and nail lightly over the small of his back, which makes him shiver and his breath stutter. “I have half a mind to teach you some naughty things in German to whisper to me when we’re making love.” At his salacious grin, she backtracks hastily. “Then again, I don’t think I’d survive that. So…no.”

Repaying her in kind, Tom trails a finger from the hollow at the base of her throat down between her breasts to her navel, where it circles and in turn makes her breathing irregular. “Well, then perhaps I should ask you to talk dirty to me in German? Such a marvelously naughty idea, my darling.” His voice is a low, deep purr that does all sorts of things to her body, which automatically shifts closer.

There’s a loud bang from downstairs and they jerk apart like frightened birds.

Hanna rolls her eyes as Tom chuckles. “Better get our asses downstairs before they give up on us,” she grumbles.

“But I like your arse right where it is,” Tom murmurs, smoldering at her and grabbing said arse to prove his point.

Hanna can feel her eyelids drift shut but fights against her arousal. Only the magic word will help her now.

“Breakfast, Tom.”

“Right.” He lets her go with a boyish grin and is the first out of the bed.


 

They don’t make it in the ten minutes, obviously. But besides the kissing that stopped them from hurrying downstairs, there was also no way in hell Hanna would walk into the kitchen without so much as a wash.

Yes, she loves food as much as Tom does, but facing her parents still smelling like sex from last night? No.

Tom values his life a bit more than croissants as well - only a little - and agreed.

So when they walk into the kitchen they’re greeted by Hanna’s parents sitting on one side of the table like they did yesterday, and a grumbled “Guten… good morning,” from her Papa.

“Guten Morgen,” Tom repeats, before he moves back a chair for Hanna, she gladly accepts. That’s the moment when Hanna’s mother pointedly looks at her husband who just rolls his eyes, making Hanna giggle.

“Good morning, you two,” her mother smiles and then… blushes? “I hope you slept well.”

Hanna falters for a moment, hoping that Tom doesn’t turn red as well. “We did.”

“We did,” Tom chokes out the next moment before hastily pouring coffee for Hanna and himself.

“Good. Good.” Her mother clears her throat and Hanna is afraid to know what she might have heard.

Thankfully, Hanna’s father doesn’t pull out a gun but focuses on his breakfast as if his life depends on it. Tom wonders whether that’s Julia’s influence or whether it’s something else.

Before long, he’s too busy stuffing himself to worry much or blush at the memories of last night that keep rushing back whenever his arm and Hanna’s accidentally brush. There’s all manners of bread and delicately sliced Wurst alongside cream cheese and hard cheese and very hole-y cheese, and three different kinds of jam but no marmelade in sight. Of course, he has to try everything; before long he’s having an animated discussion about the differences between German and English breakfast with Han’s mother while his girlfriend smiles indulgently and his future father-in-law (gulp) pretends to not notice a thing.

Once they’re done, Tom insists on helping with clearing the table and cleaning the dishes, so after much protesting, he is handed a dishtowel and becomes part of a domestic routine he experiences far too rarely.

As if he’s not here, Hanna and her mother slip into a low, rapid conversation in German, probably something they’ve done countless times before in this situation. Tom is all too happy to listen–especially because her father has retreated to the living-room where he’s watching television. It sounds like that syrupy Schlager music Hanna mentioned, so he concentrates on trying to catch a word or two of German from their conversation instead. It’s more difficult than he thought, though, reminding him of his first encounters with Ancient Greek.

Ich hoffe, es war euch nicht zu kalt gestern Nacht? Du weißt ja, dass dein Vater ein wenig geizig mit der Heizung ist.” Julia asks. (I hope it wasn’t too cold for you two last night? You know your father can get stingy when it comes to heating.)

Why is Hanna blushing and scrubbing a coffee cup rather too hard at that? It’s somehow connected to her father, right? Tom firms his grasp on the dishtowel.

She blushes a bit and shakes her head. “Nö, uns war’s warm genug.” (Nope, it was warm enough for us.)

Why is Hanna’s mother wagging her brows at her daughter now and nudging her?!

Uhuh, das glaub ich dir gern.” (Yeah, I bet…) In a lower voice, she adds, “Ich bin ja nur froh, dass ich deinen Papa vor Kurzem zu Ohrenstöpseln überredet habe.” (I’m just glad I recently persuaded your dad to wear earplugs.)

With a strangled sound, Hanna drops a the cup into the sink, and Tom gives an unmanly squeak.

Tom’s rather embarrassing squeak and the clattering coming from the kitchen must have alerted Mr Engel, as he is coming into the kitchen as well, which is rather crowded now.

“Was ist passiert?” he asks, and though Tom has no idea what he’s actually asked, he’s sure Hanna’s dad wants to know what’s going on here as well. (What happened?)

Hanna groans and looks like she may choke on something, so Tom rubs her back. “Are you alright?”

“Oh, she’s alright indeed,” Julia mutters and wiggles her brows.

That only sends his girlfriend into a coughing fit and she looks at her mom with wide eyes, tears forming from the almost choking.

“Mama!”

Tom and Mr Engel look at each other confused before they hastily look away again. Well. This is not awkward at all.

“Can somebody please tell me what’s going on here?” Tom finally asks. This is slowly becoming a bit much.

While Hanna shouts “No!” Mr Engel says, “Ja, bitte,” and Julia simply chuckles.

This. This is one very strange family.

Her mother might have caused the mayhem, but she also comes to her rescue.

“Oh, don’t worry, it’s nothing. I was just saying…how lucky Hanna is to have someone’s body heat at night because you stingy old man refuse to turn the heating up like a normal person with a guest in the house would.”

She winks at her daughter and then rapidly translates her words to her husband.

While Hanna tries to breathe normally, she watches the myriad of expressions Tom’s face goes through. She can almost hear his brain cells dealing with the information, and then he simply settles on going a nice shade of crimson and drying a plate (one that he’s already dried, but never mind).

Her father looks just as scandalized. “Julia! Also echt jetzt. Du musst die beiden doch nicht auch noch ermutigen!” (Julia, seriously! Why do you have to go and encourage these two?)

Her mother puts on her best no-nonsense face, and Hanna has to suppress a chuckle at how both men in the room automatically flinch and slump a little, looking chasticed and a bit confused.

Als ob zwei verliebte junge Menschen eine Ermutigung brauchen. Hast du wirklich vergessen, wie das bei uns damals war?” (As if two young people in love need any encouragement. Have you really forgotten what it was like with us when we were young?)

It’s her father’s turn to blush and mutter unintellibly, and Tom looks utterly confused afain. Poor darling. Hanna decides it’s time for a little self-sacrifice.

“Speaking of young…” She turns to Tom. “As I got to see some of your childhood photos, how about we search for my albums now?”

He’s never been so happy to hear someone mentioning photos as Tom is in that moment.

He doesn’t know what Julia chastised Mr Engel for, but he does know that she…well…knows.

But as he’s not shot yet Tom has hope that Hanna’s father is still blissfully unaware and unassuming.

“Yes, please,” Tom almost shouts at Hanna. “Photos, show me photos.” Somewhere not here in the kitchen with her parents and people commenting on body heat preferably.

Hanna smirks and takes his hand dragging him towards the living-room where some blonde female (rather fit, but he won’t mention that) singer is belting out some powerful German song.

“Ugh, Helene Fischer,” his girlfriend comments and turns off the TV. “Papa can watch this anytime on another channel,” she explains to Tom’s rather surprised face.

There are already pictures on the shelves that Tom’s seen before when he wasn’t too afraid of Mr Engel to have a closer look at them. Hanna and her mother with dresses and her father in a suit, Hanna looking maybe 18 or 19.

“That was my prom,” she explains. “Papa had to dress up for that,” she chuckles. “But it was a fun night.”

There are other pictures, one from maybe pre-school and another one that seems to be recently shot.

“When was that?” Tom asks and points. She almost looks like when he first met her in Australia in that one, smiling widely.

“Last year,” Hanna explains while shifting closer to Tom’s side, ducking under one arm so Tom slings it around her shoulder, and holding him around his waist. “Mama and Papa wanted to have a current picture of me before I went to London.”

“I’m happy you’re in London,” Tom says, kissing the top of her head, her hair still smelling like the shampoo she’s used.

“Me too.” She nuzzles into him for a moment before letting go and she takes out a big book from the shelf. “Just for the record, I only do this so we don’t have to stand in the kitchen anymore. No laughing.”

With that last instruction, they sit down on the sofa, Hanna cuddling up to Tom while slowly turning the pages. If it wasn’t for Mr Engel, Tom could stay right here forever, Hanna’s body and heat pressed against him, her smell invading him.