I guys! New fanfiction. This time, it is set in a modern AU where the main vikings characters (exept Bjorn and Porrunn) are studying in Ireland thanks to the ERASMUS program (it allows university students to go study in another country for a year). Each of the characters will need ro improve.
Anyway, enjoy your reading and don't forget to write me a review!
The pub was crowded. Everyone was talking in the same time, ordering ales, talking to cute girls or trying to make friends. It was hot, noisy and the people's sweat was almost unbearable. It stank. His hand reached his glass of ale and he went outside. He sat on a bench and stared at the starry sky. He felt so small right now, and even more when he was standing in the middle of all these people in the pub. He felt alone. Rollo followed his brother from Denmark to Ireland. Even if he wasn't studying or part of the ERASMUS program, he still followed him. He didn't know why, but he got the feeling that he would find his place here. He glanced at the crowded pub and what he saw depressed him a little more. His brother was surrounded by his friends and they talked, cheerful and happy. Rollo looked away. He was consumed with jealousy right now. He took his phone out of his pocket to see if he had new messages. Only one: a text from his mother, asking him if she could use his empty room to store all the things she didn't need anymore. Rollo sighed.
- So much for a text.
He was expecting more than a text from his mom. Actually, he was desperatly waiting for a message of Siggy, the woman he used to date back in Denmark. She was way older than him, but he loved her anyway. Obviously, he didn't tell his parents: they would have reacted pretty badly. On the other hand, he told his brother everything except for his feelings. Ragnar cheered him up and encouraged his relationship when he told him. Rollo loved him for that. He unlocked his phone and dialled Siggy's number. Voicemail.
- Hi, this is me. Again. Call me back. I miss you.
He took his head in his hands. That message was SO lame. What a moron. She will think he was desperate. This relationship was so complicated, he thought.
Suddenly, someone sat next to him. He turned his head to the person that dared disturb him from depressing, and saw a young brown-haired woman who was checking on her phone. She seemed pissed.
- Damn phone! Why can't you reach France's signal? It's only a few kilometers away for God sake!
Rollo sipped his ale. She was beautiful. She had that warm type of beauty, not like Siggy's which was cold. She also seemed to be the kind of girl who was fierce and strongly willed. She marveled him. Suddenly, he felt guilty for thinking about her like that. He already was dating someone goddammit! Just when he thought he couldn't hate himself more, he found out he could. She must have noticed he was staring at her, because she suddenly said with a strong french accent:
- What are you looking at?
- Nothing, he casually said, looking away.
- You liar! God! All men are the same, she said rolling her eyes.
- If you say so, he answered without even looking at her.
- Could you please go away from me?
- No. I was here first, and I intend to stay here. Why are you so rude?
- Excuse me? I'm not the one staring at a young woman lustfully!
- Sorry. Your beauty was so bright I couldn't help.
Oh no, he was flirting. He immediately drank the rest of his ale in one gulp. This was so awkward. And wrong. Siggy, think about Siggy, he screamed inside his head.
- Are you flirting with me?
- What? No, he said quickly. Anyway, I should go.
- Yeah, you should.
- Good night!
Rollo hurried. He wanted to come back to the house as fast as he could. Ragnar could always reach him by his phone. But Rollo doubted he would do that. His little brother was not the kind to worry about him. He walked down the streets of Dublin and continued until there was no more lights.
Aslaug wondered why she came with her boyfriend to the ERASMUS welcome party. Ragnar was only talking with his friends and Lagertha and didn't even paid attention to her. She went to the bar and ordered a mojito. She was soon joined by Lagertha.
- I'm sorry he behaves like this with you, she said compassionate.
- It's okay. After all, I'm getting used to it.
- How long has it been like that?
- Two months. I'm getting the impression our relationship is slowly drowning.
- Tell me about that.
They both turned to witness the scene of Ragnar and his friends looking at other women. It hadn't been two weeks and he already had made tons of friends. Lagertha was disgusted. How dared he ignore his girlfriend?
- This is weird, she said.
- All of us living together. I mean, I used to date him and now he dates you. What does he want? A threesome?
Aslaug spat her mojito out. Lagertha turned back to her and pat her back as she was coughing.
- Thank you, she said wiping her mess.
- You're welcome, she smiled at her. You know, us women should stick together.
- Yeah. Besides, I really appreciate you.
- Thank you, I do too.
- Speaking of which, where is Helga?
- Floki said she was studying at home and that she didn't want to go to the party. Now that I think of it, she was right.
- What does she study again?
- I think it's arts.
- Oh, yeah! She told me she wanted to be an artist when she finishes her studies.
They looked at all the people gathered inside the pub. There was every european nationalities. The could hear french, english, spanish, italian, german, swedish, dutch. A tall dark-haired woman came to sit next to them. She was holding an empty shot of bloody mary and ordered several others. Once she had been served, she asked the girls:
- Hi! I'm Kwenthrith. Nice to meet you.
Lagertha and Aslaug waved at her in unison.
- Where do you come from?
- Aslaug is from Sweden, and I am from Denmark, Lagertha said.
- What are you studying?
- Lagertha is in history class and I study litterature.
- Nice, Kwenthrith said with admiration.
- What about you, Lagertha asked.
- I'm in fashion class.
- Obviously, Aslaug said looking at Kwenthrith beautiful dress. Your dress is wonderful.
- Thank you, I made it myself. Hey! Let's have a Starbucks some time. Just the three of us!
- Well... Ok.
- Cool! See you around girls. I get the feeling that we will be very good friends!
Then, she left to party harder, drinking shots after shots. Aslaug and Lagertha looked at each other, wondering what just happened and who was this energetic girl. After a moment of silence, they went back to their drinks to drown the anger they felt toward Ragnar.
Athelstan was late. He was so busy studying and unpacking he didn't notice the hour. In consequence, when he entered the pub, everybody was already drinking, chatting and making friends. There were even drunk students rushing to the bathroom. He saw a group of people in the back. They were all tall and pretty handsome. But the person that shone the most was the guy in the middle. He was tall, fit and his hair was tied in a ponytail. His beard and his hair was blonde and he had the face of a model. Athelstan blushed. What was he thinking? He went to order a beer to the waiter. Once the waiter poured the beer, Athelstan prepared himself to pay his delicious drink. He put his hand in his pocket to reach his wallet, but he could only find two chewing gums, his keys and a small bottle of disinfectant his mom gave him. His smile suddendly faded. He panicked: how was he gonna pay for his drink? What if he was controlled by the police? What if he died? Who could identify him? Oh man! He was so screwed, he thought. His apparent despair made the waiter lose his patience and he said harshly:
- If ye don't plan on buying it, ye shouldn't have order it.
Athelstan looked at him, his eyes full of remorses. The man was almost throwing it in the sink, when a hand crashed on the counter.
- This one's on me, a man's voice said with confidence.
The waiter gave him a quick glance and gave his beer to the poor Athelstan. Once he had it in his hand, the young man turned to the person who was nice enough to buy him a drink. He prepared himself to thank his savior and brutally stepped back when he saw him. It was the model. He jostled two men while stepping back, making them drop their drinks. He immediately turned to them to say sorry, but it was too late. They were furious and the little man who made them drop their beers was gonna pay for that. They got closer, ready to punch Athelstan, when two things happened simultaneously: the guy who bought him his beer standed in front of him, ready to fight and his beer fell and crashed on the floor.
- Are you looking for trouble, mate, one of the guys said with a strong italian accent.
- Do you, Ragnar answered with a calm but menacing voice.
He removed his sweat-shirt and when his opponent saw his muscular arms, they immediately stepped back. This man an had the aura of a skilled and trained warrior, and no one in the room could ever hope to beat him.
- Come on, one of the guys said, grabbing his friend's shoulders. Let's leave. He isn't worth it.
After they left, Athelstan said cheerfully to his benefactor:
- That was impressive!
- Thank you, he grinned. Can I offer you another drink?
- What? Oh, no. That isn't necessary.
- I insist, he said giving money to the bartender.
Once the beer was in his hands, he asked:
- Who are you, by the way?
- The name's Ragnar.
- Ragnar? Does that mean you're from scandinavia?
- You guessed right. I am, indeed.
- Where in scandinavia?
- Really? I always dreamed of going there.
- Enough with me already. What about you?
- Oh, my name is Athelstan and I come from England.
- I can tell by the accent, Ragnar smiled. Why Athelstan? Why didn't your parents called you John, or William?
- I guess they liked original names. Besides, there is plenty of students here with weirder names, he casually said smiling cheerfully.
Their chat was interrupted by a guy Athelstan saw with Ragnar. He assumed he was his friend. Ragnar, still smiling, introduced him:
- Athelstan, this is Floki. A friend of mine.
- Are you from Denmark too, he asked happily to Floki.
- No. Ragnar, he said ignoring Athelstan, come back with us. Everyone wants to know the end of the story.
- I'm coming. Well, it has been a pleasure Athelstan. I get the feeling that we will see each other very soon.
Then, he went back with his friends. He was so bright, Athelstan thought. How came a mere student like him could attract such a guy. He finished his beer, alone, wondering how he could even react if they met again.
She could felt Aethelwulf's sight on her. He kept staring at her even if she did nothing. Sure, he was her boyfriend, but that wasn't an excuse to keep her from making friends. Every time she spoke with a man, he came and dragged her brutally to the other side of the pub. And that annoyed her. He knew she loved him. Why couldn't he be happy with that and stop being a jerk? Not that she complained to have a boyfriend, but that really killed her mood tonight. All she wanted, was to make new friends. Other than her two roommates. She noticed two girls, outside, drinking what seemed to be mojitos. She wanted to join them and chat with them. She really wanted. But then, she remembered that they probably wanted to stay alone and that if she joined them, she'd probably feel alone too. Judith sighed. It was always like that. She was full of noble intentions, but there was always that voice in her head saying that she couldn't do this. Because she was unworthy and weak. It was like a black goo that stucked her inside it. She was unable to free herself from it. And that was what annoyed her the most.
She needed a drink. It was an emergency. She went to the bar and ordered a tequila. She drank it in one gulp, while her boyfriend came to sit beside her.
- I thought you didn't want to drink tonight, he said blaming.
- I changed my mind.
- Well, I hope you're not changing your mind about something else.
She rolled her eyes. He was so annoying.
- Can't you just go and talk to your friends?
- I'm not leaving you out of my sight.
- Fine! But give me some space, she yelled at him.
His face darkened. She knew that whenever she was talking to him like that, he tended to be angry. And he frightened her when he was angry. Usually, he looked at her with eyes that said "I'm gonna hurt you". Repressing her fear, she went away from him to talk to the two girls she saw. But instead, she busted into her roomate, Gisla.
- I'm so sorry, Judith apologized.
- It's nothing, Gisla comforted her. Do you know where I can reach France's signal?
- What for?
- I need to call my dad. He forgot to make arrangements for my insurances. Seriously, can you believe that?!
- Yeah, Judith said shyly.
- This is why I joined ERASMUS. I just cannot let him rule my life like the incompetent adult he is.
- Tell me about this, Judith muttered.
- What? Did you say something?
- Nope! Nothing, she hastened to answer.
Gisla gave her an intrigued stare. She really seemed to care about her. Even if they only knew each other for less than two weeks, Judith already felt she found a big sister in Gisla. She was kind, compassionate, but she remained strong and independent. She was everything Judith wanted to be. Fortunately, she didn't share her joint occupancy with her boyfriend. Otherwise, she wouldn't have survived the year. She went outside. She was slowly drowning in her own sadness inside. The need for fresh air and open space were so brutal, she litterally rushed to the exit with her glass of tequila. She laid her back to the wall. She was freezing. The rain wetted the wall and the air was way fresher than in her hometown. She breathed. Slowly. While she was calming herself, a young man came beside her.
- Are you okay, he asked gently.
- Yeah. I just, tend to be nervous when surrounded of people.
- Do you want me to take you home?
- No, thanks. I have to return my glass and I can't come back home without my boyfriend.
She had her head down when she talked to that guy. When she finally managed to get her normal breathing rythme back, she raised her head and immediately stopped when she saw his face. He had big blue eyes, dark hair and was really cute. He also had round glasse and seemed like a nice guy.
- What is your name, he asked her.
- Judith. What about you?
She giggled. His name was as stupid as her boyfriend's. It was really funny.
- What, he asked smiling. Is something wrong with my name?
- No, nothing, she laughed. It's just that there are plenty of students here with ridiculous names. It's so funny!
- Really? What could be worse than Athelstan?
- Well, there is Aethelred, Ceolwulf, Ceawlin -seriously, can you even pronounce it?- Cuthred, Burgred and Aethelwulf.
- Woah. That is harsh indeed.
- Yeah! What are these people's parents's problem? I mean, do they plan on reinstablish the line of the kings of Wessex?
They laughed. Judith felt that she could be friend with him. He seemed nice, and funny. Besides, she had the feeling they could understant each other.
She was having a good time with Athelstan when Aethelwulf came and grabbed her wrist violently. He looked furious and had these eyes Judith feared the most. Apparently, Athelstan saw her fear, because he stepped between her and her boyfriend.
- Hey, what are you doing mate?
- I'm not your mate pal! Judith! Come! We're going back home, Aethelwulf said with violence.
- Let me go! I can walk by myself!
- Come, he insisted.
- You're hurting me, she yelled at him.
He dropped her arm. Her words calmed him and he seemed to be quite remorseful.
- Judith. Do you want to come home with me, he asked more gently.
- Let me just give my glass back to the bartender, and we'll go.
When she left, Aethelwuf couldn't help but to ask:
- Were you flirting?
- No, Athelstan said. We were just talking names and laughing.
- Are you hitting on her?
Judith came back, with her jacket, her purse and empty arms.
- I'm ready. Let's go! Good bye Athelstan. I'm looking forward to meeting you.
When they left, in the dark alleys to the tramway station, everyone could still hear them arguing over each other's attitude. Judith was tired. She just wanted to be alone and have a long sleep.
Floki was preparing himself to come back home. Ragnar and all his friends were already gone. He was not particularly keen on meeting up with Helga again there. He loved her, sure. After all she was his girlfriend and he really appreciated to spend some time with her. She was nice, compassionate and listening. Yeah, Floki loved her. But tonight was different: tonight, he felt something broke inside him. He followed his dreams by studying abroad, sure, but still, he didn't go to america like he planned and followed his childhood friend Ragnar to Ireland instead. What was wrong with him, he asked himself. It always have been his dream to be part of the MIT, but he chose Ireland's engeneering school. He didn't know why Ragnar had such attraction on him, and he didn't care. He was completely lost.
His phone rang in his pocket. He went out while he answered.
It was Helga.
- Floki, where are you? I'm waiting for you.
- I'm on my way Helga.
- Do you want me to cook you something, she asked gently.
- Don't you have to study?
- It makes me happy. Are you hungry?
- Yes, quite a bit, he confessed.
- Okay then, I'll make some salmon pastas.
- Sounds good to me, he said smiling -she was so caring.
- Be safe on your way back.
- You know me.
- Yeah, she giggled. Well, see you very soon.
- Bye Helga.
- Bye Floki, I love you.
He hung up. She loved him. This sentences stayed carved in his brain. Helga, the sweet Helga loved him. Then, he realized something: he didn't say it. Everytime they were phone calling, both said they loved each other. But this time, he didn't. There was definitely something wrong with him. He needed to know why, but first, what he needed the most was Helga's salmon pastas.