Summary: An AU in which Shanks returns to Sakuraki a few years after he had parted ways with Eliza.
Tags/Warnings: A section of smut at the end. Otherwise angsty and wholesome.
Song Suggestion: Ard Skellig, Yes I Do
Notes: Lots of love and thanks to @akagamiko. Our conversations are always a fountain of inspiration and I’m so grateful that we’re able share them together!
For a moment she thought she had been dreaming.
It had not been uncommon in the first few years after Shanks had left for her to dream of him. Sometimes he appeared the way he had when he was on Sakuraki. In others, a different version of him, one that was a mix between her memories of him and his current bounty poster, would visit her instead. Regardless, her dreams continued to connect her to him. Early on she had considered visiting a Seer to help her interpret them. Back then, Shanks’ visits had been an occurrence every night, and the visions only became more vivid as her pregnancy advanced. She sometimes wondered if it was a true image of him, if Shanks was seeing the same dreams as she.
After she gave birth to Akane, the dreams became less and less frequent until they hardly appeared to her at all. It pained her to have him leave for a second time, but she also knew that clinging onto visions of him was no way to live. She loved him and it was for that reason she had wanted him to be free back then. It was time that she freed herself from him, too. She needed to.
So then why was it, that just as Elizabeth was settling into a comfortable life, he showed up in front of her again?
The woven basket under her arm fell, rabbit pelts spilling onto the cold and dry dirt. Winter had been beginning to creep in, just like the first time she had ever met him.
He made his way over to her, not quite running but his joy was evident as his cape billowed behind him. The smile on his face was as bright as she remembered it and before she could appreciate it, she was wrapped in his arms. Her face pressed into his chest and regardless of how much he had changed, there was still a familiar scent under all of it that made her feel at home.
Her toes left the ground as he spun her around in a gentle circle, giving her one last squeeze before he pulled away to look at her. “Eliza…” There was a great relief in his eyes as he spoke her name, a relief that was beyond just being happy to see her. He looked like the answers he had been searching for were finally found, but she wasn’t quite sure what those were.
She found herself shaken and speechless, her jaw slackened. Idle hands rested on his chest before she snapped out of it and stepped away, kneeling down to collect the pelts she had dropped. The momentary joy she had experienced was soon drowned out by a wave of uncertainty and confusion. They had already said their goodbyes. They both had closed that chapter in their lives so why… Why had he appeared in front of her? Most important of all… What of Akane?
She never intended to ‘keep’ her from him. It was moreso that she never imagined he would ever return, and especially not so soon, if ever.
Whenever Akane asked about her father, Elizabeth spoke well about him, told her that he was a sailor and nothing more. She knew that it couldn’t be a secret forever and that wasn’t what she wanted either. The fact of the matter was that Shanks only continued to grow more infamous, and with each raise of his bounty Elizabeth grew more worried about telling Akane the truth. She was so young too. What if in her unknowing innocence, she said something to the wrong person? Elizabeth knew that hiding information from both Shanks and Akane could one day lead to either or both of them resenting her and she was prepared to accept that. It didn’t matter, as long as Akane was safe in the meantime.
Shanks crouched down beside her, picking up the last pelt. There was a concerned look on his face now as her tried to search hers. When she took the pelt from him in a rush and stood up, basket under her arm once more, he knew that something was wrong.
“Shanks…” she finally said, but her elation from just a few moments ago was nowhere to be found. “Why are you here?” She did not mean for it to sound defensive, yet it came out in her tone.
He looked up at her, lips parting as something sunk within him. He was slow to rise to his full height, brows furrowing as he tried to keep a smile on his face, “I know we said goodbye but… I wanted to see you. I missed you.” He wanted to step closer to her, have her in his arms once more, but the sudden awkwardness and tension of the situation caused him to hesitate. Did she not want to see him? Had he been the only one longing during their years apart? His eyes lowered before he turned his focus onto an old woman doing some work outside her home. “I was worried when I showed up at Veflavik and people were saying they hadn’t seen you in years. I reached out and felt your presence though, so I followed it until it led me here…” His hand reached out towards her, needy in his desire to feel her. Cold fingers brushed against her cheek before he cupped it, Shanks leaning in to place a soft kiss to her forehead, “I’m glad you’re okay.”
In the time leading up to when he would meet with her again, Shanks had told himself to be a bit restrained with his affection. Years had passed after all and for all the times Shanks told himself that he’d hope she would move on from him, she might’ve actually had. He wasn’t aware of anything, if she was married now or not. He would hope for her to be happy, yet the idea of showing up and seeing her with a lover broke something inside of him. It made him want to avoid the inevitable just as much as he wanted to sprint towards her and wrap his arms around her as if she was his to hold. Perhaps it was selfish, but it was for that reason he hoped she hadn’t found another. Not yet.
Her eyes closed, face strained. Every dream about him had paled in comparison to this so why…
“Momma…” A soft voice burst the bubble that had formed around Shanks and Elizabeth.
Shanks’ gaze carried past Eliza’s head, staring at the young girl that had appeared from a home. A half eaten stick of dried meat was in one of her fists and a sewn dolly in the other. Her hair a rich red, flowed free in the cold air and her large eyes stared back at him, silver like his own.
It just took one look, Shanks’ gaze piercing into Elizabeth’s for the situation to be understood.
Elizabeth’s head lowered as Shanks walked past her, feelings of shame and guilt stopping her from putting up any sort of resistance to what was about to occur.
His steps were slow, his mind running through thousands of thoughts and none at all. His focus stayed locked onto the sight in front of him, one that threatened to upheave everything he had thought he’d known about his life up until that moment.
He stopped, crouching down in front of her with a gentle smile on his face. She looked wary of him, glancing back at her mother for any sort of confirmation or guidance on what was going on.
The three of them were beginning to draw attention from a few curious villagers and it was enough for Elizabeth to snap back into action. Shanks was a notorious pirate. That was reality. Many would no doubt recognize him, and with how he embraced Eliza and walked over to Akane, the three of them looked like the perfect family unit.
Elizabeth walked over, pace rushed. She placed a hand on Shanks’ shoulder, keeping her expression gentle for Akane’s sake as she said, “Why don’t we all go inside? I’ll make us some dinner.”
Elizabeth was cutting potatoes to add to a stew, every muscle in her body tight with tension. She and Shanks had not said anything more since Akane had walked in on their conversation. They both knew that first and foremost they needed to address the elephant in the room, and they wouldn’t be able to do so until said elephant was asleep or otherwise not around for what would surely be an uncomfortable confrontation.
“How old are you Akane?” Shanks asked, his voice filling the small common space of Elizabeth’s longhouse. A fire in the center kept the room warm, and the cauldron on top bubbled with bone broth. His cape hand been hung by the entrance, Gryphon too. The mastercrafted sword rested against the wall.
The girl had a large smile on her face, a stark contrast to just a little while earlier. She had taken to Shanks almost immediately and was eager to show him all of her toys as they waited for dinner. “Seven.” She said, more concerned with showing him the wooden figures of horses and boats she played with rather than his questions.
“She’s four.” Elizabeth interjected, speaking over her shoulder. She looked back down at her potatoes as she mumbled, “...We’re working on numbers.”
“Four, huh…” It was hard to pinpoint his exact reaction in that moment. He had already known, just by looking at Akane and with how Elizabeth was behaving, but four meant that she was definitely… his.
He had a daughter.
He had a daughter, and he hadn’t known.
He chuckled as Akane clambered onto his lap, the two of them sitting on the floor by the fire. “Ulf said he’d make a doggy for me next.” Her head tipped back, a proud grin displaying her baby teeth as she continued, “M’gonna make it Astra’s doggy.” She leaned forward, picking up a wooden figure of a woman off the ground. It did not hold incredible detail, but looked to be of a shieldmaiden.
Shanks couldn’t stop himself from smiling. The smile wouldn’t leave him no matter how much the melancholy within him continued to grow. His head tipped forward, his cheek resting atop her scarlet locks. The extreme joy that caused his heart to soar was in conflict with the intense pain of betrayal he felt, knowing that she had been kept from him all this time. “Astra’s a great name,” he said, the casual conversation being the only thing keeping him together.
Elizabeth walked over to the open fire, placing potatoes, rabbit meat, cabbage, and other veggies into the cauldron. She rubbed some foraged herbs in her palm, sprinkling them atop the stew.
She looked across the fire, her gaze falling upon the sweet image of father and daughter and her expression softened at the sight. It called into question all the choices she had made up until then. She knew that much of what she did could be considered wrong, but she had done it for Akane’s sake most of all. Now, looking at them, she wondered if her decisions would end up causing more pain for Akane than alleviating it.
Shanks lifted his head from Akane’s, meeting Elizabeth’s gaze. She saw the hurt in them, the mountain of questions he wanted to ask but withheld in Akane’s presence. His eyes didn’t break from hers as he continued, “But Akane’s an even prettier name. The red one, right?”
Elizabeth sighed, walking around to the bench beside where Shanks and Akane were playing on the floor. Her hands flattened the back of her skirts before she sat, leaning forward to rest her folded arms on her knees. “The midwives were the ones that suggested it. Her red hair was a sign of blessings from Akanaroth, they said. It was to honor him.” Elizabeth had never been one to partake in many of the island’s older customs, however she liked the name and found it pretty. Her father Bjorn was a native, but after he had left she had grown up no different than the other newer families in the fjord towns. “I’m not so sure what blessings he has in store for her, but for now she’s a blessing to me.”
Shanks couldn’t stop his open staring, looking up at her with every bit of love he remembered having for her. She didn’t look much different from back then. Her hair was still long, styled in that half-crown braid, and her eyes were as blue as the open skies. She looked tired though, weary. The bright personality that had charmed a whole town seemed absent. Her face was bare, too. That shade of lipstick that would draw his eyes to her mouth was nowhere to be found, but perhaps she had only ever worn it for her job as a barmaid.
The light of the fire glinted off gold then, and his gaze fell to the necklace hanging from her neck. It must have been obscured by her cloak when they had been outside earlier. A unique symbol, a ‘rune’ meant for just the two of them, stared back at him and it was in that moment that regardless of the mountain of questions he had, he felt relief knowing that Eliza had still held onto him too. There were things that needed to be sorted, but it gave him hope that it wasn’t too late to reforge the relationship they had had, and now with Akane too.
Elizabeth’s brows furrowed, almost perplexed that he would stare so openly and lovingly at her breasts during such a moment. She looked down and she straightened up upon realization, fingers coming up to touch the heart pendent she had never taken off unless it was to clean it with care.
She felt naked, cheeks flushing at the vulnerability the moment placed her in. It’s not that she didn’t want Shanks to know that she still loved and cared for him. She did. It just… Wouldn’t it be easier for both of them if that wasn’t the case? What good would it do now, to allow him that power over her, just to leave her once more? She couldn’t bear it. Not again.
It didn’t matter that things were different now. It didn’t matter if Akane was in the picture. Shanks would never stay, and that reality formed a mask over her features then. He was going to leave again. There was no point in opening her heart up for what would be inevitable pain. It was then that she thought of Akane and how she would have to feel that same pain if Elizabeth didn’t shield her from it.
The silence was broken by Elizabeth who took a quick breath in and focused her attention towards their daughter as she said, “Akane, why don’t you go find and play with Frida? Momma and her friend need to talk a bit.” She reached out, placing her hand on Shanks’ shoulder as he sat on the floor beside her. “I’ll come and get you when it’s dinnertime.”
Akane turned in Shanks’ lap, shifting her gaze from him to her mother. She could sense that something was wrong, after all she knew how her mother acted when she was upset, but she was far too young to perceive the situation in its entirety. “...Okay.” She said, disappointed that her time with the friendly man had been cut short. She was a sweet girl though and it was rare for her to ever defy her mother’s orders.
She got up, Astra and a longboat in hand. “Can we play after dinner?” She asked, the meek question pointed at Shanks as a pout formed on her face.
She looked so precious then and he wanted nothing more to hug her and kiss her sweet little head. He couldn’t though. She didn’t know him, and it left him hollow. He grinned, “Of course! I promise.” He lifted a hand, pinky extended towards her.
She lit up, a tiny pinky wrapping around his in promise before she turned to run off towards the door. “Bye bye!” She called, giving them one last grin before she headed out. Her hair, styled the same way as her mother’s, flew behind her.
When the door slammed shut and the two of them were left in silence, any image of a cute family of three was broken. Now all they were was just two people that hadn’t spoken in five years.
“Are you here alone?” She asked, looking down at her hands as she fiddled with a cuticle. The worry in her voice was evident.
Shanks leaned his back against the bench, keeping his eyes on the fire as he tried to keep himself composed. His joy had left with Akane, leaving him with nothing but the fact that the woman he loved had kept his child from him. He could already expect some of the reasoning she would use to explain herself, but none of it would be enough to ever justify it. She still wore his necklace too. Did it not mean anything? He struggled to understand. “My crew’s here. They’re docked at Veflavik.” He said, his tone casual in fear that anything more would cause it all to spill over.
“Your ship… is docked at Veflavik… for the whole town to see, and then you traveled across the island to come here. To me.” She repeated his words, slow and careful. There was a subtle shake to her voice as she contained her urge to shout it instead.
Shanks sat up, turning to stare at her. Was that really the most pressing matter at hand right now? Nonetheless he tried to appease her worries, “This is a sovereign nation Eliza. The Marines have no power or presence here. I don’t see the issue.”
She stood, restless as her mind ran through the different possibilities that the information presented, “The Marines don’t, but the tongue does.” She returned to where she had been prepping the food earlier, cleaning up in an attempt to keep herself distracted, “There’s a reason why my mother reclaimed her maiden name after my father left with Roger, why it was better to be a nobody than a wife to the Jarl on that man’s crew. That’s not even mentioning the manhunts after Roger was executed.” She scrubbed her work table with a rag, aggressive and anxious as her words spilled at an escalating rate, “We did everything to keep ourselves safe, and now you show up with your crew, show up at my door for everyone to see and you don’t see the issue-?”
She turned around, ready to spit her words at him but was startled at his presence right behind her. She looked up at him, at a face that was a far cry from the boyish and even naïve one that she used to know.
He reached out, a gentle grip holding her by her elbows, his voice calm in contrast to hers, “Eliza. No one is going to hurt you, or Akane. No one. Is that clear?”
She stared, lips opening and then closing. It was the first time since he had arrived that she allowed herself to take the full sight of him in. He had grown into his features and there was a hint of a beard beginning to form on his jaw. The scars that had been raw when they first met had aged with him. Despite all the changes, her eyes were drawn to a golden charm hanging at the end of a braid in his hair. Safe travels, it said. It had been her blessing and final farewell to him.
She deflated, everything that had been pent up breaking as she fell into him. Her arms wrapped around him, clinging onto the fabric of his back as her tears poured without restraint. It was not just from his sudden appearance in her life again, but for all the years she had spent yearning for him once more.
He held her tight as she sobbed into his chest, one of his hands cradling the back of her head. Regardless of everything, he couldn’t find it in him to continue feeling any anger towards her. Hurt? Yes, of course he was still hurt. It did not appear as if Elizabeth had gotten off unscathed either though, and right now what hurt him most was that Eliza had believed she had to shoulder all her burdens alone. Had she not deemed him trustworthy enough? Did she not believe him to be reliable?
“She’s so young, Shanks.” She said, hand coming to rest in front of her trembling mouth. “She’s only a baby. I have to protect her, I have to-”
A soft and comforting shush passed his lips, thumb petting at her damp cheek, “I know, Eliza. I know.”
After her tears had dried, the tension that had been placing a wall between them faded. The situation still wasn’t an easy one to navigate, but they were at least able to speak from a place of wishing to understand one another.
Elizabeth had stirred the rabbit stew before sitting down next to Shanks on the bench. Her hands folded, resting in her lap, and they were soon engulfed by one of Shanks’ own. She hesitated for a moment, then leaned over to place her head on his shoulder.
“I found out a couple months after you had left. I kept thinking about telling you, but we already said our goodbyes. Then time kept passing… and before I realized it I was in labor, and then when I held her in my arms and looked at her… Nothing else mattered. As long as I could keep her safe and happy. No matter what it cost, I was ready to pay the price for that.” The admission was said no louder than a hush, her tired eyes fixated on the fire in front of them. “Even if you hated me. Even if she did.”
His hand atop of hers gave her a gentle squeeze. His brows furrowed, Shanks pained that the best solution she had come up with to protect Akane was to leave him out of her life. It hurt him, beyond measure. He was more than aware of the dangers that came with being tied to certain names. The whole world watched on as the World Government committed a slaughter of infants in the South Blue several years ago. He was sure Elizabeth had that event on her mind as she carried out her pregnancy, causing her to live in fear. He wished he could tell her that the worry that ate away at her was completely unnecessary, at least in regards to the World Government. It was hard to be upset at her for keeping secrets, when even now he found himself unable to explain this truth to her. There were certain things Shanks had to hold close to his chest even from those he loved most, and the name of Fearland was one of them.
“I can understand that you wanted to protect her. I won’t hold that against you. I just wish you would have told me. Did you really think I couldn’t be trusted? That I’d let harm come to her?” No, even the thought alone of someone trying to harm Akane stirred a rage within him. It didn’t matter that he’d only just met her. The moment he had laid eyes on her it was as if his entire worldview had shifted. She was his just as much as she was Eliza’s.
She lifted her head, staring up at him as she blurted out, “--Of course not.” She averted her gaze, voice quieting, “It’s just that… Would it... Have even made a difference?”
A frown settled onto his lips, very serious now, “What are you asking Eliza–? Whether knowing I have a daughter or not would make a difference to me?”
“No, I-” She sighed, sliding a hand out from under his so she could press her fingers to her forehead. “Would it have made a difference in what we decided. Back then.” She gathered her courage to face him once more, their faces inches apart as she searched him for the answers she needed, “If you knew, are you telling me that you’d drop everything and come back? That’d you give up your life and stay?”
It gave him pause. He had been ready to interject with an immediate yes until the last word slipped from her lips. Stay. Staying anywhere was something Shanks had never had to consider in his life before. He was born and raised into piracy and sailing was his way of life. It was no question that he would return upon finding out she was pregnant but… Stay? Permanently? Could he have stayed? “...You’re making it out as if it has to be one or the other.” He said, upset that there was a clear third option that was being ignored.
“So what you’re saying is that, you want to be in your daughter’s life just enough for her to love you, and then break her heart whenever it suits your fancy to leave.”
“You know that’s not what I want.”
“I know what you want.” Elizabeth’s shot him a glare as she straightened up, removing herself from him. “I will not take my baby girl away from her peaceful life and raise her on a pirate ship. Even the Vikans at the peak of their cruelty wouldn’t have done something so harsh to their own children.” The bitter words left her first, and then guilt soon afterward for speaking them. “I’m sorry. I know you mean well, but I don’t think you understand what harm it’d cause.”
“I was raised on a pirate ship Eliza. I understand what I’m asking for more than anyone else would.”
“Considering you think it’s a good idea, I don’t think you do.” She stood, walking over to the cauldron. She dipped the ladle in, checking how far along the rabbit meat was. In truth she just wanted to keep herself busy. She continued, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but do you genuinely believe that you’re normal? That the life you’ve lived is one that you’d want your daughter to live through too?”
He found himself a bit speechless, unsure of if he should have felt insulted or not. It’s not that she was... wrong. It just hurt to hear her call him abnormal. The question made his mind wander over to Uta, who was probably eating dinner with Beckman and the others right about then. Shanks hadn’t even begun to consider bringing her up to Eliza yet. He was planning to at first, but with Akane in the picture now he couldn’t imagine there’d ever be the right time to explain to Eliza that he had adopted a child of his own since their parting. “It’s been a good life, all things considered.” He responded, a bit muttered and not giving a direct answer to her question.
Fearland, and now Uta. Why couldn’t he bring himself to tell her anything?
He heard her voice as she began to speak, yet it felt far away as his mind drifted.
Now that he thought of it… Uta and Akane must have been almost the exact same age. Maybe a few months apart? He had to do his best with estimating Uta’s birthday, and he didn’t even know Akane’s yet. It hit him then, that he had two daughters. Two. All this time as he raised Uta, he had another daughter on the other side of the sea growing up without him. For every new word and milestone he witnessed Uta achieve, he had entirely missed out on Akane doing the same.
He gave a weak chuckle, hand rubbing at his forehead as a smile pulled at his lips. Damn. He felt the familiar need to reach for a bottle of alcohol, desiring immediate relief from the turmoil in his mind. For the first time since he had arrived, the wall of numbing around his emotions began to crumble.
Elizabeth had turned when she heard him laugh, ready to call him out on it until she took in the sight of him. Whatever she had been planning on saying had slipped from her mind.
She walked over to him, her steps slow and careful until she stood in between his legs. Her hands reached up to cup the sides of his face, sliding further to run through his hair. She then brought him in, hugging his head against her abdomen. Her voice was soft as she confessed to him, “...You know, I would always dream of you after you left. Back then... I thought the dreams were connecting us, but that was foolish of me wasn’t it.” She smiled, eyes distant as she recalled her earlier years of naivety. “Because the truth is that those dreams were only comforting me, and all that time you were still lonely weren’t you.”
Shanks felt like a boy again as the first of his tears began to fall. He held her hips, squeezing them before he wrapped his arms around her waist to hold her tight. He had missed her so dearly. Her voice, her eyes, her body, her scent. He thought that his wounds from leaving her had healed in recent years. That was until his ship had entered West Blue waters. Then, seeing her again was all he could think about. Farewells be damned, even if she had moved on be damned, he had felt the desperate and clawing need to have her in his arms again.
He had tried to move on. He did. The first few months he struggled to even try, but then it was as if his repressed feelings boiled over and he began a very long and destructive period of one night stands. In his drunken hazes he would always seem to find her, or at least the closest thing to her. Petite blondes would end up in his bed, but their faces weren’t right and their voices weren’t either. He would bury his face into their necks, but then the scent was wrong too. In his frustration he would turn them over and just screw his eyes shut, trying to use memories of her to the best of his ability instead. He had been able to stop being so obsessive with the blondes, but even as his range of partners widened, he could never reach the same levels of joy and pleasure he had had with Eliza. The only other person he came close to seeing as a genuine prospect had left him before morning came, Shanks once again hollow and abandoned.
Her hands gripped the sides of his face, pulling him away from her so she could see him. He looked up at her, hands sliding back to her hips and giving them another squeeze as his eyes pleaded with her. His jaw was tight, body rigid with uncertainty. He still wanted Eliza. In every sense, he wanted her. He just needed to know for sure that she felt the same.
His answer came in the form of her lips pressing against his, the both of them freezing upon the first contact. Then all at once, a long forgotten fire on the brink of dying out had been reignited into an explosive inferno.
Eliza had half a mind to take the cauldron off the cooking fire in a haphazard manner before the two of them stumbled over to her bed. His mouth, desperate and hungry for her licked and kissed at her jaw, down her neck to her chest, then back to her mouth where their tongues met once more. It was as if he couldn’t decide which part of her he wanted more and so he kept trying to have all of her at once.
His hands, eager to feel her, almost shook with his adrenaline as he pushed her skirts up. The memories of being inside her and the prospect of being able to again was more than enough to make him hard and he groaned when he pressed himself against her panties. He gripped her plush thighs, enjoying the feeling of her softness in his palms.
She was needy as well, her hands clawing to get his shirt off. When it was thrown to the floor her hands splayed out across his chest then down to his abdomen, appreciating how large and sturdy his body had become with age. Her mouth latched onto the juncture of his neck and shoulder, sucking the skin there. Her eyes rolled behind closed lids when he rolled his hips against hers, a pleased moan leaving her.
His mind buzzed, fingers yanking at the laces of her corset until he ended up forgoing it in favor of just pulling her blouse down, exposing her breasts to him. He took one of them into his mouth and palmed the other. He flicked his tongue and sucked at her nipple until the bud hardened under his ministrations and she began to squirm under him, writhing against his cock. She had sensitive breasts, a discovery he remembered being ecstatic about when they had first started sleeping together.
“Shanks,” she let out a plea, hands beginning to scramble for his pants and the sash that held them in place. She needed him. She clenched around nothing when the desire rang through her. All her hesitations about getting too attached to him had been thrown out the window, desperate to feel him close to her. During their years apart she had slowly come to give another suitor a chance, but it had not been the same as it was when Shanks was inside of her. She thought she had come to a point where she just didn’t have a desire for sex anymore. With the wetness flooding her panties now, it was obvious that had not been the case.
They had managed to get his pants down to his thighs, Eliza’s hands wrapping around his length to pump him. Shanks was fixated on the sight, hands on either side of her body for support as his lips parted. He began to roll his hips into her hands, a moan escaping him as he allowed himself to enjoy it.
That didn’t last long however. A strong wave of pleasure ran down his spine to his cock and for the first time in awhile, Shanks was genuinely unsure if he’d be able to perform the whole way through. He took her hands by the wrists, guiding them away from his length as he leaned down to kiss her. He was soon after lifting her hips to slide her panties off, throwing them aside and placing kisses to her ankles that had been raised up in the process.
He gripped her legs from the back of her thighs, kissing her calves before he spread her legs apart. His eyes focused in on her wet lips and how they shone in the dimming light. He brought two fingers to them, coating them in her wetness before he rubbed at her clit. He massaged the bud for a bit longer before he slipped his fingers into her entrance. He pumped her, almost in a daze as he watched her face. It scrunched at first, a cute expression, and then it gave way to her pleasure and it felt good knowing that he was the one giving it to her. Her core kept squeezing at his fingers in a delicious way and his cock twitched with the need to experience it too.
She was warm and wet and tight, and it was all for him. The sudden desire to take her into his mouth was overwhelming. The thought of it alone drove another wave of pleasure through him, but they were both far too desperate to be entwined for Shanks to entertain that thought much longer. He would give that to her later, he told himself. As many times and as often as she wanted it.
He retracted his fingers so he could line himself up with her entrance, rubbing his tip against her wet folds. A shaken pant of air left him, and then he pushed. His jaw slackened as the feeling of her around him hit him, a deep groan leaving his chest. The sight of her taking his cock in was near euphoric and he could only pry his gaze away from it to look up at her, and that was a sight to behold too. The way her mouth fell open in pleasure as his cock filled her was an image he wished to burn into his brain forever.
When he entered her to the hilt, Shanks leaned forward, resting his weight on his palms that caged her head in. He gazed down at her with all the years of love he hadn’t been able to give to her. He lowered himself, mouth meeting hers in a deep kiss.
Her arms wrapped around his shoulders tight, and her legs too kept his hips in place. She wanted him close, to feel every part of him. “Please,” she whispered, urging him to move.
Their noses were brushing, their breaths shared as he began to thrust. They were slow rolls at first, getting both of them accustomed to one another again. There was a gradual increase in pace over the course of a few minutes, until finally, Shanks soon found himself gripping onto the headboard for leverage as he pounded into her. He was completely lost in it, all of his senses consumed by her as he sprinted towards his climax.
Her coming around him was the trigger, her cry and the pulsing around his cock sending him plummeting off the edge. For a few short seconds he was almost certain his mind had blanked out, and then he fell forward, allowing himself to rest on top of her. “I love you,” he murmured into her neck, kissing his way up to her mouth. “I love you. I love you.” He said in a near mantra inbetween meetings of their tongues.
Elizabeth didn’t allow herself to think of anything else except Shanks in that moment. No worries or fears for the future, just them entangled in an embrace. The serene joy of it lasted for a few minutes as they came down from their highs. She pet him, kissed his face, cradled him to her neck. She wished they could stay wrapped up that way forever— or at least for the rest of the night, but the idealistic dream was not one she could stay in. Reality was that Akane had already been out for awhile and she would soon come searching for food when her stomach began to growl. It was getting dark earlier these days anyway. It’d be best if Elizabeth didn’t keep her waiting for long.
Elizabeth untangled herself from him. She felt the effects of what they had done as she scooted her way to the edge of her small bed. Shanks had sat up, leaning over to kiss her bare shoulder with a relaxed smile on his face.
Elizabeth looked over to him, glancing over his face before returning his smile, “I need to finish dinner... You should clean up a bit and get dressed.” She placed a peck to his cheek, pulling her blouse back up as she did so. She stood, her skirts falling over her legs as she searched for her discarded undergarments. She felt his seed slip out of her as she moved then, and she flushed at the sensation of it. She needed to clean up a bit too, it seemed.
“Dinner! Right.” He echoed, having entirely forgotten about it.
The grin on his face was large. Her favourite one. A little dopey, and very cute. It could almost make her forget the years they had been apart, and all the things that had changed since then.
Her fingers reached up to touch the pendent hanging from its chain, her features soft. No matter what had changed, the necklace he had gifted her had been a constant.
As she walked towards a wash basin to clean herself off, Shanks was given time to allow it all to settle in. The love he had at one point believed he would never have again, came rushing back into his life at full force. He and Eliza were here, together, and they had a daughter together too.
He watched as Eliza went to work, placing the cauldron back onto it’s supports above the fire. The house was a small one and so they were only a few meters apart from one another. A frown twinged his features then. Had Eliza lived in such a compact space all this time? Never once wishing to venture out beyond the small world she had built for herself?
Her question from earlier came back to him then. Would you really be willing to give up your life and stay?
His heart sunk upon realizing his answer.