Disclaimer:All characters you recognise are Marvel's.  The rest are mine.  This is a What If story.  I got the idea from a poem we did for Literature called 'The Highwayman' by Alfred Noyes.

Stranger in Black

Part 1
By Alexis C.

The door of the inn creaked open and a torrent of rain swept in.  Lila's hair whipped around her and her skirt flapped wildly.  There was another protesting squeak from the wooden door before it banged shut.

A dripping bedraggled man dressed entirely in black stood before her, his hat covering half his face.  He was slim, tall and well-built without being burly.

"Got a room, chere?"

He walked over to her, water dripping from his cloak and leaving a trail behind him.  Only when he was right in front of him did he take of his hat.  She gasped.  Behind the cover of the hat was the face of the most handsome man she had ever seen.  But that wasn't the thing that mesmerised her.  Half hidden by his straight brown hair was a pair of eyes that were red on black.

"Chere?"  His lips curled into a tiny smile.  He knew she was staring at his eyes.  Embarassed, she blushed hotly and managed to stammer out a reply.

"Umm..Y-yes.  W-would you like to have anything to eat or drink before you retire?" she queried, bowing a little.  He intimidated her with his mere presence.

"Jus' 'ake care of my horse outside.  He be wantin' a nice cosy shelter an' some hay."

"Umm...yes sir,of course.  I'll take care of everything immediately."

Satisfied, he strolled over to a table, kicked out a chair and fell into it gracefully.  He leaned back and closed his eyes looking exhausted, not to mention incredibly cute.  Shaking herself out of her reverie, she hurried to get the ostler do as he had requested.  When another one of her customers grabbed her waist and pulled her to him.

"How about accompanying me little baby?  I pay real good..."  With that he pushed her onto the table and pressed her repulsive lips to hers, fumbling for her ribbons which would undo her clothes.   He had had a drop too much and he stanked of beer.  Thrashing wildly beneath him, she tried desperately to shove him away but it was in vain.

Suddenly , the drunkard flew off her. Struggling to her feet, she saw the young man who had come in earlier standing over the drunkard.  Shaking his head, the drunkard stumbled to his feet and glared at the young man who had just punched him.

Clumsily, the drunkard tried to return the favour, but the young man neatly side-stepped, grabbed hold of the drunkard by the scruff of his neck and slammed his knee into the drunkard's gut before sending him through the door.  The rain swept in again and Lila heard him say, "An' don' come back."

Turning around, he calmly walked towards Lila and threw a bag of gold on the table before walking off to find a room for himself leaving Lila staring dumbfounded at his retreating back.

Praise, comments and insults can be sent to psy_kreuz@yahoo.com.