A Bloody Marriage

Authors: Kyria and Desdemona
Feedback to Kyria and Desdemona
Disclaimer: We don't own these characters and we're not making any money from this.
Distribution: Kyria's archive. Desdemona's archive. If you don't have our stuff already, just ask us first.
Rating: R-ish/NC-17-ish
Summary: For the 2 heads Fic-athon. Buffy and Angel come from rival kingdoms. In exchange for peace these two barter with their bodies, minds and souls.


Lindsey grabbed her elbow, helping his mistress to kneel on the silken pillow before her hidden altar. With a flick of his wrist, he leaned forward and opened the stainless steel sliding doors. Glancing worriedly down at his charge, Lindsey's blue eyes narrowed.

"My Queen, you just buried your husband and the army of Tir as Sneachta is less than a day's march away, don't you think we should be heading to the helicopter?"

The woman he had helped to the floor looked up at him with disdain on her fine features. Once upon a time, she was a beautiful woman, but not anymore. No, youth and beauty went hand and hand. She was no longer youthful, thus she was no longer an object of indisputable lust. She was, she thought, well past aging and moving deep into the territory of ‘old'. She glared at her protector, wishing she had the time to have him horse whipped for disagreeing with her. Despite the fine lines on her face, her bright blue eyes burned through Lindsey, chilling him to the core.

"Are you insinuating I don't know what I'm doing?"

Lindsey faltered, taking a step back.

"No, my Queen, I'd never…"

She made a clucking sound, and shook her head. It was exactly what the young pup was thinking. He alone knew of the tension between and her recently deceased husband, so he understood her like no one else ever had, but he had didn't understand her unfailing devotion to her Goddess. To most, Aphrodite was an ancient Greek myth. To Darla, Queen of Oceania, Aphrodite was her only devotion. Currently, Darla knew her Goddess was her key to success. Her country was in peril. An army of thousands marched toward them, and only with the help of her Goddess, would they survive. The army was currently crossing a plain 400 miles long and 200 miles wide. During high tide, the plain flooded and was impassable by foot, but low tide would last just long enough for them to cross and attack the mountainous, sometimes island, sometimes peninsula, she called home.

She lived on a peninsula that jutted out from the kingdom of Tir as Sneachta. For years, the kingdoms had been at odds, and now, they were taking advantage of her country's disorganization at her husband's death. With no heir to the throne, they were marching on an aging Queen who supposedly was awash in grief. That just wasn't so, and she'd die defending her home. No, she wouldn't run to the helicopter pad and let the waspish vehicle fly her to safety – she'd stay until the bitter end.

Ignoring the ache in her bones, Darla lowered her head in meditation. As she did so, the black pillar candles burst into flame. Darla didn't hear Lindsey's frightened gasp as his hand released her shoulder and he backed away. Darla was too busy. A sphere of light surrounded her as she called out to her Deity.

"Mother, Aphrodite, Goddess your daughter comes to you in a time of great need. Hear my plea, Goddess of love. As you rose from the sea, my kingdom also rises from the depths of the salty ocean. Protect us, guide us, give us the power to defeat our enemy…"

Tears of desperation tracked down her pale, wrinkled cheeks. Looking up, Darla gazed on the cold, steel altar to her Goddess. Once, a long time ago, she had filled her altar with lilies, pearls and roses, but no more. Darla knew without a doubt, that true love was not made of such things. Now, the altar was bare of any ornament except the black pillar candles whose blue-hot flames licked the stainless steel ceiling of her closeted her place of worship. Darla knew without a doubt love was a fiery flame in a cold, glittering world, and her altar reflected that fact. The aging woman sighed as she waited for a sign. She didn't have long to wait.

The sphere of light that surrounded the prelate grew brighter until Lindsey was forced to shield his eyes. As it grew in intensity, it shrank in circumference until the light was a glowing orb hovering above Darla's womb. For a moment there was silence, then the light bled into the lower abdomen of Lindsey's charge. Darla screamed. One, loud shriek after the other came from her tiny, frame until she fell forward on her hands. Lindsey moved reaching out to help his Queen when the light shoved him away, throwing him across the room with a dull thud.

As the Queen huddled on the cold, marble floor a disembodied, female voice purred, "My daughter, my mother, I am well pleased. I lend you my power, and from your barren womb, I will be reborn."

Lindsey rubbed his temples, wondering if the voice was real or if he took one too many blows to the head trying to protect his Queen. As he gazed at Darla's limp form, the candles on the altar went out. As soon as the flames were extinguished, Darla rose as if on puppet strings. With preternatural speed, she raced from the room and out to one of the many balconies looking over the lengthy plain that daily flooded with the tide. Lindsey raced after her, wondering at her speed and grace.

As he took the stone steps two at a time, he came to an open balcony where she stood unassisted – hands raised above her head. Lindsey's mouth dropped open in awe as he watched the delicate beauty in front of him. A long, blond mane of hair moved across her shoulders, spilling down her back like corn-silk. Her skin was luminescent, glowing and smooth as cream. Ruby lips opened and one word left her abruptly youthful continence, "Rise!"Lindsey shuddered and a tingling flowed through him like electricity. As the Queen spoke, he saw a miracle. Water seemed to pour up through the plain. Moving at the speed of a mighty river, the water rose to flood the lowland between Oceania and the mainland. The lines of trucks that littered the plain like tiny ants toppled and swirled in the rising water until there was nothing left of the thousands that had been marching toward their small island state. Lindsey's attention shifted back to his Queen who stood with her hands still raised, a mercenary smirk on her lovely lips.

"What the hell…"

"Lindsey, there is no heaven nor hell except that of my making."

Lindsey shivered, watching his youthful Queen as she single handedly destroyed an army with tide.
* * *

"There are whispers, my Queen…"

Darla's bright blue eyes glanced up at her advisor and confidant. Lindsey's boyish good looks had aged like a fine wine and the streaks of gray at his temple did nothing but increase his attractiveness in her opinion.

"What whispers, my love?"

Lindsey shrugged his massive shoulders and lifted an eyebrow while glancing pointedly at the Queen's "daughter." Darla turned her attention toward the girl that had been a gift from The Gods to her infertile womb. Darla had bore no child except Buffy, despite her many romantic liaisons and the constant companionship of her advisor and lover, Lindsey.

Darla shrugged, "Of course there is talk, look at her! If a Goddess were to inhabit the body of a human, she would look like Buffy, don't you think?"

Lindsey shuddered as he remembered the day a little over seventeen years ago that Buffy was conceived from the bright light that entered his Queen. Yes, Buffy very well could be the Goddess incarnate, not an idea that made him feel secure. Gods in human form tended to be martyred. This was not an acceptable outcome for the young woman he thought of as a daughter. Not acceptable at all.

"The tabloids tell stories of men falling instantly in love with both of you, but with Buffy it is worse. Every week for the last year we've caught at least two if not more men trying to sneak on the grounds to get to Buffy. Last night, one guy got all the way to her bedroom. Darla, the tabloids call you sirens or worse, succubae. The fact that you don't age has been fodder for…"

"The tabloids aren't my concern, Lindsey. You'd do well to keep your eye on the ball. King Rupert Giles is the problem we should be concentrating on, him and his embargos."

Lindsey bowed his head before answering, "As you wish."

Darla's attention was drawn back to Buffy. Darla insisted that her daughter be trained in every possible form of self-defense. It was a daily ritual for Darla and Lindsey to adjourn to the royal apartments and observe Buffy's training as they lunched. Darla watched as a fine sheen of sweat covered the barely clad girl. She was filled with motherly pride as she observed the child's finely toned muscles flex as if to strike. Buffy rotated a broad sword with a flick of her dainty wrist and attacked her opponent. The much larger man parried her stroke, but fell to his knees at the force of her blow. With a small grunt, Buffy used the butt of the sword to strike the man in the temple. He fell face forward with a low groan and Buffy strode toward her mother's throne, a dark look on her features.

"Look at me Ma', I can kick someone's ass with a utterly useless weapon!"

The young woman sat on the steps leading to the small daises where Darla and Lindsey were currently dining and glared disgustedly at her mother. Her long, smooth hair was tied in a ponytail high on her head and cascaded down her back in a shiny stream of gold. The black sports bra and matching Lycra shorts did little to cover the young princess; something Darla encouraged. As far as Darla was concerned, Buffy great physical beauty was meant to be on display and there was no outfit too revealing for the girl to wear.

"If they come for me, they'll come with guns. I shouldn't be wasting my time with this, don't you agree Lindsey?"

Buffy glanced up at her mother's advisor with a faux innocent look, ignoring the pleased smirk on her mother's face. Darla enjoyed it immensely when Buffy put people in the awkward position of choosing between the two of them.

"My darling daughter, as much as I love it when you make the help squirm, I need Lindsey to concentrate on the negotiations With King Giles this afternoon -- not on how to sooth your bruised ego when he sides with me."

Buffy snorted inelegantly, "Whatever."

"Child, I'm negotiating your future wedded bliss, show a little respect."

Darla watched as Buffy's shoulders stiffened.

"I can't believe you think I'll go through with this arranged marriage. How archaic! I'm not your property to barter off to make a deal with…"


Darla's usually pale face was flushed red as she slammed her fist down on the arm of her chair. Darla leaned forward and glared down at her unfazed child.

"Both of us must sacrifice to make sure our homeland is safe. If your arranged marriage will stop the embargos, you will marry Giles' son. Our people are more important than your feminist notions. Do you understand me?"

Darla leaned back in her chair; suddenly very aware of the position she was putting her daughter in. It pained her to think of Buffy married to some, pale, milk-toast, boy who would drag her off to a land of ice and snow. Darla thoughtfully tapped long, red fingernails on the wooden arm of her chair.

"We could make arrangements that would ensure your marriage wouldn't make it past the honeymoon."

Buffy looked up at her mother and let out a long sigh, "What would I have to do?"

Darla smiled and an icy chill went down Buffy's back as her mother stated, "Kill him."

* * *

Ripper stormed into the lavish parlour of his rooms. Even the burly guards at the door shuddered in his wake as the heavy mahogany panels were flung against the wall. The young man sprawled negligently across the velvet upholstered armchair, however, didn't bother even looking up from the book he thumbed through. Ripper's ire only raised another notch as he watched his son's dirty boots dangle idly from the armrest.

"Do you not have your own rooms to dirty without destroying my antiques?" Ripper snarled angrily. "And is that my first edition Hemingway?"

Angel's eyes barely raised from the text, "your meeting with Queen Darla was less than a success, I take it."

Ripper snarled once again. His son was itching to bait him, he could tell. "You bloody well know that crazy bitch won't listen to reason."

"Then take her by force," his son drawled as he rose gracefully from his seat. "Or if you don't have the balls to do it anymore, I'd be more than happy to oblige. I hear she's quite accomplished at making her negotiations over breakfast."

His father merely stalked off toward the bedrooms and Angel nodded to the guards who silently closed the doors. Angel carelessly tossed his father's priceless tome down on the end table and followed in his wake. King Rupert could be such a drama queen sometimes.

"Why are you even bothering to chit chat with the enemy? Just get together a couple of contingents and wipe her aside."

Rupert shook his head ruefully as he shrugged out of his fur-lined great coat. Angel was as blood thirsty as he had once been, but in his years he had learned the value of strong negotiations. However, despite his wisdom, the idea of utterly destroying Queen Darla's army intrigued him more than a little bit. "It would not be nearly as clean a battle as you suggest. Her very feminine exterior only hides Queen Darla's keen military mind. Her forces could very well rival our own."

"When has the threat of casualties stopped us? There's always a threat. It's what makes us fight harder." Angel argued, his eyes flashing in excitement at the prospect of battle.

Rupert "Ripper" Giles, King of Tir as Sneachta, tossed his coat carelessly across the foot of the bed for a servant to later hang and moved to stand at the window. Fat, white flakes were falling quickly to the ground, and his breath fogged the window which was streaked with ice. A fire warmed the room from the hearth and gave a comforting glow that the grey sky outside could not defeat. Arguing with his son like this always made him feel everyone of his 53 years. It had been a taxing day, to say the least, and the last thing he'd wanted to do was start into another argument with his son, but since Angel's mother had died that's all they had ever managed to do. "There's no need to fight. We need a lasting agreement with these people, not another destitute province."

"You've gone soft, old man." Angel remarked bitterly. And perhaps that was true, but Rupert didn't see the necessity of yet another war.

He continued to stare out the window as his son fidgeted in the silence. "I'll be going out again tonight," Angel announced.

"I figured as much, just as I could do with the silence."

"Well, tonight I will not impede on your dusty books and brandy."

The king frowned, "Stay clear of their borders, Angelus. I mean it."

"Doyle, Gunn and I were just going to enjoy ourselves. We won't start any wars."

"As much as I doubt your intentions are such, I wouldn't put it past you" Rupert drawled dryly.
Angel smiled darkly in return, "Oh ye of little faith, I'll be on my best behaviour."

"Stay out of Oceania, Angelus" Rupert warned angrily, "or whatever punishment Queen Darla lumps on your heads will be yours to reap."

Rupert watched his son walk out his chambers with a smug smile. No doubt he would race to the borders now, hoping to outsmart both his father and their rivals. Nothing seemed to tame Angelus any longer. Jenny had once been able to contain him, but now there was no one. His late wife, Fiona, had been sharp with Angel, her personality grating against his, and had only succeeded in instigating further violence. Rupert's legitimate daughter idolized her brother far too much to offer any sort of stability or reason.

No, the crown prince was far too wild. The king sighed dramatically. It was hypocritical to complain, he'd been just as mercenary and wild until he'd had a family of his own... That was it. Angel should marry. It would curb his wild ways to care for a child or two. And Rupert couldn't help but admit to the excitement that bubbled up inside him at the thought of a grandchild. A smile lit his face as he crossed into the sitting room and propped his feet beside the fire. Angelus would marry, the sooner the better, and then he'd be the stable – if perhaps just a touch moody – leader that Tir as Sneachta needed.

* * *

The lanterns outside the small pub flickered against the biting cold of the wind. The snow kept falling in heavy sheets, while the wind whipped up what had already settled on the ground. Beyond the stone building the snow sloped into the forest that separated their land from Oceania. One small bridge crossed over the tepid waters, dividing the snowy vales of their small jet of land and the grassy hills on the other coast. Stepping out of the carriage of the sled baring the royal crest, he was quickly followed by two of his closest friends. The snow swallowed them up to the knee, but their stiff leather boots kept the chill out.

"Place looks lively" Doyle drawled from his left. And sure enough many shadows, men and women alike, shifted against the frosted glass of the windows breaking the light briefly before retreating again. The soft harmony of some band, a woman's soft vocals eery against the night, could be heard even behind the thick stone walls.

Gunn smiled, "this is nothing. The party hasn't even started yet."

"Too true" Angel added with his own malevolent smirk.

Wading through the snow, the three men, each cloaked in heavy leather, fur-lined coats made there way into the pub. Angel savoured this small rebellion just as he savoured all the other tiny acts of anarchy he committed to bait the king of Tir as Sneachta.

As the warm golden light of the cozy pub fell over them, they shrugged out of their coats. Casually each tossed their coat to the valet who trailed after the crown prince like a lost puppy. All of them had learned to simply ignore his presence.

Angel's eyes skimmed around the bar. Even though he had not officially crossed onto their rivals land, they were dangerously close and a mingling of the seedy elements from each kingdom littered this pub. It was easy to tell the difference. Where the Oceanians were golden from the kiss of the sun, his subjects were pale and bore the same dark hair and eyes as he did. They were also dressed practically for the cold. Furs and heavy leathers, suedes and velvets made up most of his wardrobe. Even those less fiscally endowed dressed under heavy layers of rough linens to combat the bitter cold. The Oceanians still wore their light, skin bearing garb. Though they did allow a heavier coat and the same thick boots all his subjects wore, they still were conspicuously under-dressed.

Even with a roaring fire in the hearth, Angel could discern the small shivers that played over the exposed flesh of the ill-equipped Oceanians. The bared, toned and golden midriffs of the Oceanian girls twisted erotically against the beat of the music. A few burly men with bared arms crossed over their chests watched closely. Angel smiled as the crowd of young people split to reveal the golden beauty hidden in the middle. Her hair was pulled up into a clip but the dancing had loosened it to drop in a tousled mess against her shoulders. Her big green eyes were glittering happily in the firelight and her supple flesh was dewy with a fine layer of sweat. She wore a scrap of suede tied tightly around her chest to hold the fabric in place. Her tight leather pants shaped erotically against her thighs and buttocks. Suddenly his own leather pants felt too tight.

"Mm-mm-mm," Gunn drawled beside him. "Got to love the sun that turns all that creamy skin so golden."

"Excuse me, boys," Doyle cut in his eyes caught firmly on the bartender's youngest daughter. Angel smirked after his besotted friend. Cordelia was definitely easy on the eyes, but the ears were something else entirely. But his attention quickly turned back to the golden beauty in the writhing throng of Oceanians.

He and Gunn made their way to the opposite end of the bar, listening intently as the lofty Cordelia berated her beau. Each ordered one of the dark lagers that the barkeep had on tap and sipped as they watched the other revellers.

Angel noted there were a few of the local revellers as well. His half-sister was among them. He smiled as he realized that his father likely had no idea his princess danced in skintight, burnt-out velvet.

Throwing back his head, Angel drank down the last of his beer and tossed down a handful of the golden coins only royalty possessed.

"Buy my lady Faith another drink" Angel told the barkeep and winked at his sister who had caught only the sound of her name. She smiled darkly in return and went back to grinding against the boy who'd caught her fancy.

Angel strode purposely through the crush of tourists toward the prize in the middle. Gunn was still busy mocking Doyle who'd been rejected yet again. As he came up beside the girl her eyes caught his. She was slightly intoxicated, her gaze lacked focus and her eyes were a little too wild, but her smile was welcoming as she stepped closer to him.

As she nestled her body close to his own the rest of the revellers faded away. All that mattered was the feel of her silky skin, amply exposed by her top, and the warm flesh of her thighs hidden beneath leather that pressed against his own. Her back was melded against his front as she swayed, forcing him to move with her. Eagerly his hands crept around her front, pulling her back further against him. His fingers splayed against her warm, taught belly as her shirt was bunched between his fingers. The constant chill of his flesh warmed against her skin as his hand slipped under her top. She cooed appreciatively. Slowly she turned in his arms, reaching up to twine herself around his neck.

"Are you here often?" she asked coyly. Her soft pink lips begged for his attention.

Angel leaned closer, "I suppose you could say that."

"Do you have a name?" she asked in return, her own face tilting closer to his.

"Angel," he replied.

Her smile reflected her amusement. "Suits," was all she said.

"And your name, my lady?" Angel asked when she made no offer of it.

She giggled. Her eyes looked briefly over his shoulder, and then she pressed her lips to his. It wasn't a gentle kiss. It was rough and fleeting. Before he could even register the sensation he felt something crack down against the back of his head.

He managed to stay on his feet, but he staggered a couple steps before regaining his balance.

"Who the fuck are you?" he snarled at the burly blonde whose sword was clasped tightly in his large fist.

Angel noted Gunn and Doyle had drawn their weapons as well, each clasped a fully loaded semi-automatic trained on his attacker's accomplices. Faith's bodyguards had pulled their larger .45 calibres out of their hidden hip holsters. The bar's dynamic had shifted suddenly from merry to murderous. The two feuding countries stood at a standoff, though the Oceanians had a severe disadvantage.

The beefy guard said nothing, his eyes taking in the six weapons now trained on his and his small contingent. However, taking his eyes off Angel for even a second was a potentially deadly mistake. Angel quickly pulled out the .37 calibre he carried at all times and fired a shot at the guard's shoulder. The bar erupted into screams. As the younger men from both countries broke into hand-to-hand combat, throwing random and often misplaced punches and kicks, the guards of both royal families ushered their charges from the bar. Angel snarled as he was shepherded from the fight by Gunn and Doyle grabbing an arm. Faith was covered with her heavy velvet cloak and carried into one of the awaiting carriages as Angel strained to get back inside to throw another punch, then another and another. His eyes alighted on the injured bodyguard herding the little blonde he'd kissed far too briefly back toward their borders. Her head was covered by the dark blue cape she wore but she was staring intently at the bar where breaking glass and gunshots could still be heard. The guard quickly lead her away, the place where the emblem that proclaimed him a member of the royal guard, torn away by the gunshot.

* * *

Rupert pushed open the heavy wooden door of the lavish cottage on the edge of the city. A roaring fire painted the windows with golden light despite the grey chill outside. His cheeks were rosy not only from the cold but from the excite thrumming through his veins. After four long years of an empty marriage, Queen Fiona had finally birthed a daughter. A princess worthy of the title. Her head covered with dark curls, her dark eyes bright and inquisitive. Faith. He knew Angel would be excited to hear he had a little sister. Rupert ignored the flare in his gut that reminded him that she was only Angel's half sister and that Angel's mother would be far from happy to hear that Fiona had whelped an heir. Instead he concentrated on his fatherly pride and his beautiful children.

* * *

Something was wrong. Immediately, he sensed it. Angel, despite his name, was a terror. At eight years old, his son was always into something. Running carelessly around the house, up and down stairs, toppling tables and chairs, disturbing his poor puppy who tried to find the quiet places to nap. But tonight the house was silent. No Angel hollering after his mother or his nanny, not even his angry shrieks at being given yet another time out. Perhaps he was at one his friend's houses.

Poking his head into the kitchen Rupert noted that Jenny wasn't in the kitchen. There was no scents of supper wafting through the house. Despite her hired help Jenny genuinely enjoyed the domestic aspects of life and insisted on at least helping care for her son and to cook his dinner. She couldn't have gone anywhere. In a bizarre twist of fate Jenny had conceived again only thee months after Fiona. Angel had been ecstatic on both accounts. He desperately wanted to be a big brother. And Rupert had been just as excited to be a father twice over. There were no dirtied dishes in the sink and nothing had been set on the table. A cold knot of dread settled in the bottom of his stomach. "Angel?" he called anxiously, "Jenny?"

No one replied. Rupert took off at a run, taking the steps two at a time. The hallways upstairs were dark. The nursery where Angel still slept in close proximity to his mother and nanny, was cold and dark as well, and remained without a fire in the hearth to help heat the space. He called again for both his son and the woman he loved more than life. He'd been forced to marry Fiona but Jenny had loved him just as purely as he'd loved her. And their son was the absolute reflection of that love.

"Daddy?" A small voice whined from down the hall. Angel never called him Daddy anymore. Dad certainly, father occasionally, but never Daddy. That scared him more than anything else.

Jenny's door was propped open just slightly. Rupert shook in fear as he stepped closer to the door. Nothing could have prepared him for the sight that met him on the other side.
Angel knelt beside his mother's bed clasping her cold hand to his cheek. Tears stained his face and his eyes reflected nothing but utter anguish. "Help her Daddy, please" he cried.
Rupert stepped closer his body feeling cold and leaden. The sheets were pushed back and Jenny was laying silently, clad only in one of his large white shirts. The sheets and her thighs were stained with blood. Rupert stumbled to his knees beside his son, staring helplessly at the red stains on the white sheets.

"Daddy!" Angel screamed, "Make her wake up! Make her wake up, Daddy!"

Everything blurred. At some point the nanny who'd rushed out to send someone for help burst into the room and pulled a screaming Angel from his mother's side. The doctor arrived and filled out the death certificate listing unforseen complications with the pregnancy as the cause of death. She'd spontaneously aborted and bled out. Rupert watched it all with dead eyes as he waited in the cold dark parlour of the cottage. A barely touched whiskey rested in his fist. With a sickening crack the glass shattered as his fist closed tightly around it.

* * *

Rupert sat upright in his bed, his face pale and his forehead soaked with sweat. A quick glance at his hand convinced him it was more than a dream. Fine scars traced along his palm from where the glass had shattered. Drawing in huge draughts of air to pacify his racing heart he closed his eyes against the painful memories. Angel blamed him, had always blamed him and rightfully so. Both Jenny and the tiny baby boy he'd named Colin had died because he hadn't been there to take care of them. Fiona had only the finest doctors and Faith had always been the perfect baby in every regard. While he'd held court and waited the arrival of his newest child, the love of his life had been dying in their bed. He'd avoided visiting Jenny for the month or so before Faith's arrival because he hadn't wanted to risk Fiona's health by upsetting her by flaunting the mistress they both knew he loved. And Jenny had died because of it.

The old wounds still brought tears to his eyes and Rupert tried to blink them back but it was to no avail. Rolling out of bed, he went to pour himself a stiff drink.

* * *

Oceania's highest point was an extinct volcano, and the flat peak was perfect for the massive stone structure that adorned it. King Rupert was currently being led through one of the many long, twisting halls of the ancient castle to the meet her royal highness, Queen Darla. He hated meeting with Queen Darla. Her wiles were legendary. She tempted and lured men to do her bidding. And each meeting was a lesson in restraint. Like the mythical sirens, it was said Darla could turn mens minds to mush, and Rupert had no reason to contradict the rumour. Like a good leader he held firm against her charms, but he couldn't deny they were there. It was said her daughter had the same uncanny ability and it would be interesting to see if Angel possessed his father's restraint.

Negotiations with Darla were always infinitely frustrating, due to both her beauty and her inability to make concessions. This time, however, Rupert had a secret weapon. Glancing at his advisor, he smirked. Lorne was immune to women, Darla in particular. In fact, when in the Queen's presence, Lorne became fiercely aggressive; a stark contrast to his usually passive way. When asked about it, Lorne simply stated, "Darla just brings out my inner bitch."

It was a stroke of genius, he'd decided to let Lorne facilitate the negotiations on his behalf. Darla's little mind games would not affect him when he was planning to offer something as crucial as his son's hand in marriage. Rupert had already made it quite clear that any questions at all had to go through his advisor and he would not be answering any of the Queen's questions himself.

He could only pray the negotiations ran smoothly. No one in his high court knew what he had planned besides Lorne, because God help him on the day Angel found out he was negotiating his marriage behind his back.

* * *

Darla's mouth twisted into an ugly sneer as she glared at Rupert Giles' advisor. She detested this man and his gaudy predilection for paisley and florescent, not to mention the fact that her usual ability to charm men into doing her bidding was completely ineffective on this annoying individual. When she'd heard the proposal to marry her daughter to Rupert's son in exchange for peace, she'd counted on using every ounce of charm she possessed to get all of her daughter's needs, as well as her own, taken care of.

"So, according to our agreement, your daughter will be spending most of her time in our lands and the first male offspring will be considered Angelus' heir."

Darla leaned back in her chair and glanced at King Rupert.

"Why isn't his majesty negotiating the terms for his only son's marriage? Are you trying to insult me by making me deal with your underling?"

Rupert merely shrugged and offered a knowing smile. He was playing his own game, was he?

"As I stated before, his highness has laryngitis," Lorne declared, "We would have called off the negotiations for the marriage, but seeing there is only a month left until we propose they take their vows, we didn't think it wise to delay."

Rupert shuddered at the thought of his son's ire as Darla fumed over having to do something she'd never had to do before: meet someone half way.

"Buffy being away from me for a year is unacceptable. I could tolerate six months in Oceania and six months in Angelus' home, but nothing less. As for the heirs, I do expect the first female offspring to someday rule this kingdom and expect them to live here after they reach five years of age. That is my last offer, Ripper. If you do not accept, I will have to assume you are not negotiating in good faith and call off the wedding."

Lorne nodded. It was a much better deal than any of them had anticipated. And Rupert inwardly cheered. The last thing he'd wanted was any relation of this scheming vixen living under his roof all year long. No doubt the daughter was as conniving as her mother.

"Queen Darla, in order to move the negotiations along, I accept your proposal. Now, moving on to the dowry."

Darla suppressed a groan. It was going to be a long afternoon.

* * *

"Six months out of the year? Goddess, mother! How do they expect me to put up with the ice and snow for six months?"

Buffy slammed the glass she was drinking from on the table, ignoring the shattering glass as she stood and began to pace.

"This is unacceptable."

Darla shrugged, "Darling, it doesn't matter. We've negotiated a peace treaty that cannot be broken once you are married. Turn your charms on Angelus and talk him into doing something grisly to prove his devotion to you – try asking him to throw himself in front of a bus, or a train. Once he is dead, you'll be free to do as you wish."

Buffy glared at her mother before replying, "So, I'm supposed to pledge my devotion to this, no doubt horribly disfigured, man one day and kill him the next? Does my word mean so little to you?"

"You'll be taking vows before their senate, not our Goddess. Vows made without the Goddess's blessing are meaningless."

* * *

Rupert paced anxiously outside his son's room. It had taken him three weeks to rack up enough courage to make it even this far. No doubt Angelus would break into a frightful rage, and on some level Rupert recognized it was rightfully so. His son had always been fiercely independent. From the time he was four years old and disobeyed his nanny and tried to climb down the tree outside his bedroom window in the dead of night. He'd fallen, of course, dislocated his shoulder and sprained his wrist. But the boy had not cried, and he'd flat out refused to admit he was wrong. In fact he'd said it was poor Karina's fault, because if she hadn't said no she could have watched to make sure he was okay. He smiled at the memory.

It had been nearly impossible to keep Angel from finding the alterations being made to the great hall in order to accommodate the astounding number of guests expected to see these two feuding nations align in marriage. Hot house flowers were being carefully tended so that hall could be decked in festive blooms. The brewers and kitchen staff were hard at work preparing the requirements of the great feast that would follow. Everyone within the castle was excited about the upcoming nuptials. Except for the groom, that is, who had no idea he'd be married a week from tomorrow.

Unbeknownst to Angel, the locks on the windows had been welded shut preventing his escape. And if necessary four guards were posted at the door to keep him from fleeing. Rupert had no illusions that his son would docilely submit to this union. Angel was too fond of his cheap drink and even cheaper women. Setting his shoulders Rupert strode purposely toward the doors to his son's suite.

Before he could reach the latch, the door opened. A young girl, her hair mused and clothing wrinkled tip-toed from the room. Her back was to him so he could not see her face. Her tall, stilettoed boots were in her hands, and her coat was thrown over her arm. She was smiling as she shut the door, but as she turned all mirth left her features. A tiny squeak escaped her as she sank into a curtsy at her liege's feet.

"He treated you well, I presume?" Rupert drawled his lips pressed tight in disappointment.

She didn't look up, "Very well, your highness."

"Good," he returned. "Kristian, please show our guest out once she's had something to eat."

The guard lifted the girl up from her place on the floor and pulled her towards the stairs that led down to the kitchens.

Rupert entered his son's chamber to find that clothes still littered the sitting room. The trail led into the shadowed bedchamber, where his son was still sprawled lavishly under the silk sheets and velvet covers. The sight was overtly carnal, the very image of bodily sin.

Angrily he strode to the windows and jerked the blinds aside, allowing the dull sunlight to flood the room. Angel groaned, his head obviously still filled with drink.

"Get up," Rupert ordered. His son had been doing this far too long, and he got away with far too much. He needed responsibility. The kind of responsibility only a family could provide.

"I expect to see you dressed and in my chambers in my chambers in fifteen minute."

Angel just smirked as he stretched out his frame, "Or what?"

"Or you'll be escorted under guard" Rupert returned, the dispassionate chill he used in battle was suddenly turned on his son. Something he'd never thought he'd have to do, but at this point he was at his wit's end. And Angel would be married next week.

* * *

"There's something not right about Julian," Angel drawled as flopped into the chair across from his father at the breakfast table. He eagerly accepted the cup of dark coffee that was placed before him. "He gets far too much pleasure from manhandling me."

"Perhaps that is what you need" Rupert returned darkly.

Angel drank deeply of the fragrant brew, "Touchy this morning are we?"

"I have made an arrangement with Queen Darla."

"The bitch refused to put out, didn't she, Dad?" Angel teased.

Abruptly his father's hand slapped down upon the polished surface of his Louis XIV table. "That is enough" he shouted.

Angel was silent for once in his life. Never had he seen his father so mad. The chair couldn't contain him and soon the king was pacing irritably in front of the hearth.

"You've gone far too long without discipline, Angelus. As Crown Prince, illegitimate though you may be, our people have fawned over you. Men long to have you recognize their hard work. Women pray you'll notice their craftsmanship. Sons beg to join your hunting expeditions and carousing parties. And daughters, well they would do anything to have you notice them. But you've become arrogant. You expect to be forgiven for every sin. Well, no longer. The bargain I made, involves you too, my son. One week tomorrow, you'll be wed to Queen Darla's only daughter, Princess Buffy."

"The hell I will" Angel exploded. "I do not want some coddled whore for a wife."

"I assure you, Princess Buffy is no whore. The deal is based as much on her virginity as it is based upon your compliance with the marriage."

The young man snarled, "Well then you can go to war, because I will not marry this Princess Buffy."

"I had a feeling you'd resist," Rupert admitted with a wry grin.

Angel stalked angrily to the door throwing them wide only to be faced with Julian, Byron and Viktor posed in the doorway to intercept him.

"What is this?" he asked his father with a laugh. "You intend to arrest me unless I obey?"

Rupert's smile did not waver, "Essentially, yes."

Angel could only stare stupidly at his father as Julian and Byron each caught one of his arms and began to pull him back towards his own chambers.

"It is for the best, Angel. You'll see," Rupert called after them.

Settling back into his chair, he sipped from his cup of tea and lifted the first piece of correspondence from the pile set on the table. The decorator had to be paid upon completion of the bridal suite.

* * *

Angel twisted the doorknob and flung the door wide. Kristian and Viktor scrambled to their feet. It was nearly one in the morning. The rest of the house was silent. No doubt Byron and Julian, had made off to their beds when it appeared that their captive would be staying put for the night.

"Did you need something, your highness?" Viktor asked politely.

Angel raised his brows dubiously. Freedom would be nice, but somehow he didn't think they go for that one. At least not without some bodily persuasion in the form of a fist or two to the face.

"Does my father expect you to sleep on the floor?" he asked instead.

Kristian shrugged, "it is much worse in the tents on the battlefield."

"Why don't you come in for a drink? I'm not sure what I have left, but there must be something."

Viktor's eyes lit in excitement. He'd always dreamed of the day when he could say he was part of Prince Angelus' inner circle.

As the younger of the two guards eagerly stepped into the room, Kristian wisely hung back.

"Your father would not appreciate us deserting our post."

"Kristian, you take yourself far too seriously," Viktor drawled. "The sun has not yet risen and everyone is still asleep. Who will know if we step in for a drink?"

"I couldn't have said it better myself," Angelus remarked with a smirk. The boy was so stupid.
Kristian hesitated only a moment longer before stepping in the parlour and quickly shutting the doors behind him.

The guards looked over the mess of bottles that littered the floor as their charge headed to the liquor cabinet once more. "I apologize for the mess. But, my rooms have little to offer except a steady stream of drink."

He poured a splash of amber brandy into three glasses. Not one of his favourites, but the liquor cabinet had quickly been emptied during the last three days. He handed off two of the glasses, leaving his waiting on the side board. He didn't need his head fogged with any sort of alcohol, and he didn't need the wretched taste in his mouth either.

Both of the men eagerly drank from the crystal. Angelus politely chatted with them, asking about their girlfriends and their family. Though they stood perched at the door, Kristian wisely forbidding Viktor from fully letting his guard down, neither seemed particularly inclined to go back to work.

"Thank you, your highness" Viktor finally announced. He moved to place the glass back on the side board. His path to the cabinet was straight, but the world began to spin as he made his way back towards the door.

"Viktor, are you alright?" Kristian asked in concern. He'd sipped his drink much more leisurely, and the effects had not reached him quite yet.

Angelus just smirked as Viktor continued to stagger. "Don't take it personally boys, but I need to get out of here for a few hours."

Kristian's eyes flew to him. He turned as if to block the door but instead stumbled and slumped against them, sliding down the shining wood to pool on the floor.

Unconcerned, Angelus nudged the only half lucid guard aside. "I'll come back as quick as I can," he remarked with a patronizing smile.

Viktor was already snoring where he lay dangling off the edge of the couch.

"Y-y-y... you... can't... go," Kristian slurred drowsily.

Angelus smirked, "be a good boy and sleep quietly while I'm gone."

Thank God for Doyle and his half baked scheme to drug Cordelia. Who knew a couple of roofies could be so useful?

* * *

"I feel a palpitation coming on," Darla taunted as she put her hand over her heart.

Buffy glared at her mother while adjusting the soft, silk skirt of her dress. The tall, ornate mirror reflected the duo's beauty perfectly. The dress was part of Darla's plan for Buffy to make a cuckold of her husband before she married him – something Buffy wasn't entirely comfortable with. Peace between the two countries hinged on Buffy using her inexplicable powers of attraction to convince Prince Angelus to stay married despite her lack of virginity. Why her virginity was a point of contention at all amazed Buffy. After all, Angelus' reputation as a womanizer was legendary.
"I can't believe you're encouraging me to fuck a random stranger."

"I can't believe you haven't already done so," Darla shrugged as she put her arms around her daughter's waist and peered into the mirror over Buffy's shoulder, "Virginity is overrated."

"From what I hear, sex is too," Buffy deadpanned as she squirmed out of Darla's hug and headed toward the door, "Don't wait up."

Darla's cheshire-grin was more than Buffy could take as she slammed her apartment's door behind her.

* * *

The party was still in full swing as he arrived. He didn't have time to waste. No doubt his father would be alerted soon to his less than entirely stealthy exit. It was hard to miss a shining black Jaguar careening through the only partially opened gates of the palace. He snagged a drink off a passing tray, smiling at the common looking waitress who blushed and continued on through the crowd.

It was eerily similar to the last time he'd seen her: his Oceanian goddess, except this time no brainless guards lingered at arm's length. The same, golden blonde was dancing amid her circle of friends. She had no more accounted for the weather than last time he'd seen her. Her blonde hair was loose down her back. Her halter dress clung to her skin in a wash of sapphire silk. He smiled. What a way to spend his last night as a bachelor. Not that being married would stop him from having a good time.

He sipped the vodka concoction that he'd snatched. It was overly sweet, but the tingling burn down the back of his throat assured him it would do its job.

He circled the edge of the dance floor. Dru's parties were always fantastic, but she had out done herself this time. The abandoned hot house was over grown with flowering vines, but it only enhanced the decadent feeling.

Angelus swallowed the last of the cocktail and carelessly set aside his glass. The music continued to pump loudly from the speakers that hid amid the tangled gardens. Threading through the crowd he sent her friends scattering with a telling look. She turned and smiled. A small snort escaped her. "So, we meet again."

He returned her smile as he slipped an arm around her and drew her against his chest. "We would have met again sooner if I'd known your name."

"I like to be mysterious," she returned. Her arms looped casually around his neck, her fingers twined in his hair.

"Then what should I call you if you won't tell me your name?"

That sexy little smile crossed her lips again as she replied, "Whatever you want, Lover."

He pressed her closer, his head dipping to catch her lips in a searing kiss. She responded eagerly, her tongue tangling with his in a mockery of what was yet to come. She slid her hands along his front. Her nails scraping lightly against his chest.

His breath panted harshly against the shell of her ear as they caught their breath. Their bodies swayed but not in time to any music but their own. Never had he felt like this. So out of control. So utterly unsure of himself. He was usually reserved, never making the first move, always allowing the girl to chase him. But this one... She didn't chase. She caught and conquered with one quick glance of her hazel eyes.

"You want to get out of here?" she whispered against his ear. Despite the pounding music he heard her perfectly.

He said nothing, merely captured her hand in his own and tugged her toward the door.

* * *

Her skin prickled with goosebumps as her exposed skin met the frigid air. She snuggled against his warm back to avoid the chilling breeze. He led to his car. A sleek, black sports car entirely unsuited to the snowy climate he lived in. The car chirped and flashed its headlights as he unlocked the doors. He held the door as she slid against the black leather of the passenger seat. Her heart was knocking rapidly against her ribs. It was one thing to think about screwing some random guy just to piss off her mother's rival. It was another thing entirely to actually screw the nameless joe. Well, he wasn't entirely nameless. His name was Angel and she knew that name suited him to a tee. There was nothing less than angelic about the body she had fantasized about for the last six weeks. She had prayed he would be here tonight, and sure enough he'd answered her prayers. He slid into the driver seat and turned on the car. His hand reached down to shift the car into gear but stopped short, hovering just above the shift.

"What is it?"

He laughed ruefully. "I don't suppose you'd have a place near by."

"Not exactly, no."

He turned off the car. Neither of them said anything. She shivered not only from the cold that was quickly seeping into the car, but also from nerves. This was not how she had pictured losing her virginity, but it would have to do.

He had just opened his mouth, no doubt to make some lame excuse, when she pressed her lips over his. The kiss was carnal. There was nothing elegant about it, an overeager mashing of mouths. It held no finesse. She cringed internally, if he hadn't yet figured out she was a virgin he'd know it now.

But instead of pushing her away and trying to contain his laughter, he pulled her closer, draping her over his body. He slowed the kiss, probing her mouth with his tongue, wrenching every sensation he could. Her skin became super sensitive. She could feel the smooth lines of the leather seats. His wool pants stroked the inside of her thighs. His cashmere sweater slid against her silk covered breasts. Every ounce of her being was steeped in sensation. Nothing mattered but the feel of him. The feel of his hands on her skin. His fingers wrapped in her hair. His lips against her own.

He felt languid and dazed. On some level he wanted to break their kiss and catch his breath, but a bigger portion of him refused to let her go, even the fraction of an inch that breathing required. He had more class than this. He didn't go around fucking girls in the driver's seat of his car. But where else could they have gone. Going to Doyle or Gunn would have been inviting the guards to drag him back to his sentence. He sure as hell couldn't take her to his rooms at the castle. And no doubt his father would have already sent men to track his credit cards. And besides, he wasn't entirely sure he would have been able to keep his hands off her for that long. Eventually the need for air was too great and he had to wrench his lips from hers. His fingertips traced the delicate line of her spine. Her skin was as soft as the silk of her dress, and she was oh so responsive. He doubted she even realized the soft coos and moans she made as his hands danced along her body.

She tentatively let herself rest against him. It was delicious. Her breasts, that ached with a want unknown to her, were somewhat satisfied by the hard planes of his chest. The hard ridge of his arousal nestled against her cleft, drawing a startled gasp of relief from her. He moaned his own approval as his lips moved to nibble at her neck. His fingers slipped the knot at her nape loose and her dress sagged against her chest held in place only by tight seal of their bodies.

His hands slipped between them to cup her breasts in his palms. They rested perfectly in his hands. He leaned her back to get a better look at her. The top of her dress fell over the back of his hands, leaving her chest bared to his greedy gaze. The dress dripped to her hips as his fingers moved to trace the rosy circles of her nipples. She arched her back in wanton display. His head lowered and he caught one of the blushing crests in his mouth and his fingers toyed with the other torrid peak. She gasped and moaned as his tongue lashed against her skin. He devoted his attention equally between the blushing pair. The cool air only heightened the sensation as he switched from one breast to the other ,the heat of his mouth replaced by the icy air.

Angel slipped his free hand along the outside of her thigh. She barely noticed. He drew his fingers up the inside of her thigh yet again. Her muscles jumped under his fingertips. His hand brushed against the front of her lacy thong and she jumped. Her elbow bumped the horn and the car beeped loudly. Even through the fogged windows he could see a few patrons turning startled eyes toward the darkened car. Her cheeks flushed a charming shade of pink. His lips spread in a smile against her chest. For a moment she looked unsure, her eyes wide and innocent, but then her expression calmed and she pulled his face back to hers for another searing kiss.

"Let's take this back where we have more room."

Crawling over the seats she spread herself across the backseats of the car in invitation. His smile was devilish. He followed her back, spreading himself over her sprawled form. The car was still cramped but it didn't matter. His cock throbbed against her thigh as he bent down to kiss her once again.

She somehow managed to keep her hands from shaking as she undid his belt. He suddenly seemed so huge, looming above her. She felt oddly both safe and threatened with his weight pressing her down into the seats of his car. She managed to work the button of his pants free before slipping the zipper down inch by inch. The back of her fingers brushed against his erection eliciting an agonized groan from deep within his chest. She pushed at his pants and boxers trying to get them over his hips. His hand caught her wrist.

"Calm down," he whispered in her ear. "Let's just enjoy this."

She relaxed. His lips meandered down one side of her neck then the other, stopping at her shoulder to place a hard kiss in the crevice. His lips moved down her chest, circling around her breasts but never stopping where she needed him the most. A helpless cry of frustration broke past her lips. She was caught on the edge of a pleasure like she'd never known and he refused to let her fall back over the other side. His tongue came out to trace the lines of her stomach , stopping to tease along the edge of her bellybutton. He was hunched over her, his pants half undone, his hair in wild disarray from her fingers, his lips flushed from her kisses. Nothing in her life had ever prepared her for such a truly decadent sight.

She was in utter awe as he pulled his shirt over his head and allowed the expensive wool to fall carelessly to the floor. She'd known his chest was toned, but the well formed body that was bared to her eyes was more than she had expected. His arms and chest tensed and relaxed as he moved over her once again, pressing his naked skin against her own. They both shuddered in pleasure.

Her sun bronzed skin felt as if it burned. The heat from her skin kept the chill of the night air at bay. His stomach tensed as her thigh bushed against his groin. He wasn't going to be able to hold off much longer. He ran a hand along her thigh again. Her eyes held steady with his. Her eyes were hazy but calm. His finger traced the edge of her panties before slipping inside the thin, lacy covering. His finger graced against the small pearl that controlled her desire. She quivered against him. His thumb circled against the damp lace that covered her as his index finger traced around her center. Again, she shuddered against him. His cock throbbed at her response.
He simply couldn't wait any longer. He deftly pushed his pants and boxers over his hips and pulled her thong down her legs until she could kick it away. Poised at her entrance, he sighed as her dewy warmth coated only the very tip of his cock.

Her deep hazel eyes were shuddered.

Pressing forward he sank into her warmth barely registering the thin barrier that broke against his intrusion. Her eyes closed, her brows drawn together, her lips pressed tight. He couldn't see the moisture gathering behind her lids. The pain only lasted for a moment. As he rocked against her, her body awoke once again and soon she was lifting her hips to meet him. She had never imagined the intimacy she felt at that very moment. It was as if she knew all of his secrets, and he hers. They were fused together for one brief moment; mind, body and soul. And then absolute pleasure obliterated everything. In some far corner of her mind she felt him jerk against her before toppling into the same abyss of pleasure she enjoyed, but it didn't matter. She felt nothing but warmth. He'd collapsed on top of her, but his weight was nice and reassuring. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders and enjoyed the companionable silence.

* * *

He wasn't entirely sure how long he'd lain there, but he suddenly felt awkward. He'd never felt so connected. He didn't feel like asking her to leave, nor did he feel like just rolling over and going to sleep. He wanted to talk to her. Wanted to know her. Wanted something completely out of his reach. She was Oceanian and he was supposed to marry her future queen in just a few days. This was insane. He didn't even know her name. How could he even possibly be contemplating bringing her home to Dad?

He slowly, but purposefully, broke her light embrace. He didn't dare look at her as he pulled up his pants and fished his shirt out from where it had been pushed under the seat. She didn't move for a long while as he refused to even look at her. If he looked at her he'd see that hopeful look in her eye. The one all girls he slept with had. They all thought they'd get to be the next princess, get to hang off his arm at balls, get to pick and choose the very best of everything. He didn't think he could say no to that look in her eyes. Hell, he couldn't say no to anything she asked for. He couldn't even hold himself off from fucking her in the backseat of his daddy's car like some stupid freshman. Finally, she sat up and awkwardly righted her hopelessly rumpled dress.
Like the coward that he was, Angelus didn't even look up as the door opened and closed. He saw the faint outline of her form walking through the snowy parking lot, back towards the party that was just now beginning to wrap up for the night. She disappeared into the crowd, likely trying to find her friends again. It was then he remembered the stray tear that had leaked over he cheek despite her best efforts to stop it and the startled jerk as he'd first tried to touch her. She'd been a virgin.

His head fell back against the seat with a groan.

* * *


It was the morning after her sexual escapades with…

…shit, she never did get the guys name. The Guy. From now on, she'd refer to him as, The Guy. Anyway, her mother was already bugging her about it. Goddess, she couldn't even get some coffee before her mother's inquisition of her sex life! And, really! Like it was anyone's business but her own! Buffy hunched over a bowl of frosted corn flakes, shovelling in one mouthful after the other. She had no intention of sharing with her mother. The thought of comparing notes about sex was giving her the willies. Ew!

"So, what?" she replied insolently.

"So, tell me!"

Buffy looked up at her mother with innocent eyes and returned, "Tell you what?"

A look of complete fury passed over Darla's features as she clenched her glass of orange juice so hard, Buffy was surprised it didn't shatter.

"Tell me what happened last night!" the queen roared.

Buffy shrugged her slim shoulders, a mischievous smile moved across her lips as it suddenly came to her what she'd say.

"You gotta be kidding, you really thought I'd go out and fuck the first random guy I came across?"

Buffy gave her mother a very prudish look before shovelling another spoonful of cereal in her mouth. A small thrill went through her as she watched Darla's mouth gape open and close as if she were some sort of fish pulled out of water. The tiny blond almost choked on her breakfast as she tried to keep from laughing.

She took a few deep breaths before primly lying to her very pushy mother, "I'll have you know, I'm going to be a virgin bride and there will be no talking my husband into taking a walk in front of a bus to prove his love to me."

Buffy couldn't help letting out a titter when the glass in Darla's hand shattered. It was about time she started doing what she deemed best, the young woman thought to herself, and beginning to make some boundaries between her and her mother seemed like a good place to start.

* * *

Angel sat patiently in his car. The guards would be there soon enough. He sat until dawn. The car still smelled faintly like her perfume and sex. The windows were slightly fogged from the heat trapped inside. No one came to disturb his brooding.

He'd never see the little nameless blonde again. If he was caught he'd be married to her queen before the end of the week.

Wait, why wasn't he already caught? Why hadn't he been dragged back to the castle by the much too eager to please, Julian?

The sun was casting a warm yellow glow over the barren, icy trees and the crisp snow. The hot house was dark and quiet now. There were no other cars or snowmobiles or sleds in the area. He was alone. For the first time in his life, he was utterly and completely alone.

He climbed out of the car and slid back into the front seat. He pulled his cell from his pocket and frowned as he noticed that the battery was almost dead. There was no point in waking up Doyle or Gunn just so he could crash on their couches. Hell, it'd be the first place the guards would look. They were probably already posted at the door.

Instead, he drove himself to the closest motel and layed down the last of the cash he had on his for a room. It was an old, smelly bastard who owned the place and demanded cash per night. His mildly attractive daughter had loomed in the door frame. She obviously recognized him because she looked appalled when her father told him he'd be paying double for the room because it had already been booked "on account of the royal weddin', you know." He could hear them arguing as he left the office with the key in hand. He couldn't have cared less. At this point all he wanted was a warm shower and a bed. The only problem was he opened the door to find a vermin infested box of filth. The shower looked like a biohazard and the bed was stained and likely the nesting ground of whatever couldn't survive in the shower. With a sound of disgust he left the key in the door and got back into his car and drove away.

* * *

Neither Doyle nor Gunn had opened the door or answered his calls. It was odd to say the least. And as far as he could tell there still wasn't anyone out looking for him. Even the locals looked surprised to see him not in a ‘Oh, I found Prince Angelus, imagine the reward!' kind of way, but the typical ‘Prince Angelus is in my shop, maybe he'll fall in love with my daughter!' kind of way.

Something wasn't right here. His wedding was a day away. His father should be frantic to get him back and make it look like this wedding was the fairytale the people wanted it to be. But nothing seemed to be happening. None of his friends were home. There were no guards hot on his heals. And there was no royal decree the he return to the palace.

Standing in the cold outside the nearly barren restaurant he'd finally stopped into to use the phone, he didn't notice the little blonde girl stop beside him.

She tugged at the edge of his coat with grimy fingers. "Excuse me, your highness," she said, "but shouldn't you be at the palace?"

He had been about to offer some retort when he glanced down and saw her. Blonde hair was a rarity in Tir as Sneachta as were blue eyes, but she had both. But her eyes weren't quite blue, they were turquoise, an odd combination of both blue and green. It was almost the color of the waters dividing Oceania with Tir as Sneachta. Those waters clung turquoise to the sunny shores of the island where the icy blue waters of his home could only mingle harmlessly within their warm waves.

"Why would you say that?" he asked instead.

"The princess is arriving today." Her smile was bright and cheerful.

"What is so special about this princess?" he returned.

She stared him straight in the eye and replied, "she'll make the war stop."

The more he looked at her, the more he realized she had to be a street urchin. Her clothes were streaked with grime. Her hair was in ragged curls. She stood in a drift of snow up to her knees but she was only wearing some worn leather ankle boots. She had to be freezing to death.

"Where are your parents?"

She didn't say anything, just smiled.

Impulsively, he asked, "did you want to meet the princess?"

She shook her head. "I don't have pretty dress to wear. And I have to go."

"I'll get you a pretty dress and take you to the castle. You can be my guest." He felt oddly inclined to help this child. He didn't know her name. Where she was from. Nothing. Then again, that didn't stop him from falling in love with some girl he saw twice. In love? No, he liked her that was all. He couldn't possibly fall in love with a girl he'd never spoken more than a handful of words with.

He glanced down to try to convince the little girl to come with him once again but she was no longer beside him. He glanced down the empty street to his left and his right but there was no one. She was gone. His fingers were numb and he slid his hands in his pockets as he started to walk toward his car. His fingers grazed across some kind of cloth in his right pocket. He pulled it out. The fabric was ripped and slightly singed. It was a dark shade of blue. He turned it over and found the mark of the Oceanian Royal Guard embroidered on the other side. He stared at the scrap of fabric in confusion. The little girl must have slipped it into his pocket, but why?

Opening, the car door he slid behind the wheel and turned on the car. She was right. If nothing else , his marriage to this princess would stop the wars. And for once in his life, he was going to put his country before himself. After all, he'd already lost the girl he loved so what was the difference? There was that ‘love' word again.

* * *
She was cold. Really cold. She was DAMN cold, and the creamy fur-lined cape wrapped around her tiny body wasn't helping at all. The limo's door opened, and Buffy glanced at her mother as cold wind blasted inside. Darla's corn-silk hair fluttered around her face and The Queen slipped her hands deeply into her muff.

"How am I supposed to live like this?"

Darla shrugged, "Have him walk in front of a bus and you won't have to."

Buffy's eyes narrowed to slits as she glared at her mother. Darla's views on love weren't exactly helpful in this instance. Buffy had always felt that she should be aligned to some sort of moral compass that wasn't pointing her directly to hell. Darla didn't share this point of view.

"You're twisted," the young woman growled before stepping on the ice covered walkway that would lead her to her husband to be.

As Buffy glanced up at the monstrous, gothic castle that would serve as her home, she decided that life probably couldn't get much worse. Tripping up the stairs, guards in arms saluting as she and her entourage entered the building, Buffy tried not to hurry through the nine-foot-tall, gilded doors toward warmth, though it was very tempting. A rush of heat surrounded her as she made it through the entrance and she was relieved to finally not be cold.

"Princess Buffy?" a voice asked.

She turned and smiled at the tall, blond man who reached for her coat. Kind eyes smiled down at her as she raised an eye brow. The only word that came to mind as she glanced at the man's outfit was paisley. By Venus, this couldn't be Angelus. Please, Goddess, let it not be Angelus.

He bowed, and stated, "My name is Lorne, King Giles asked me to greet your highness before your introduction to your future husband."

Lorne eased the cape off of Buffy's shoulders, leaving a fuming Darla to cope on her own.

Lindsey slunk up behind her mother and quietly took her coat and muff.

"Is there anything you need before…"

"No," Buffy interrupted and colored slightly, "I'm quite ready to meet my future husband."

Lorne nodded a small smile on his lips as he gestured for the group to follow him down the hall. The sound of their steps echoed loudly through the hall, bouncing from the marble flooring to the tall, arching ceiling as they moved closer and closer to Buffy's perceived doom. Angelus, Angelus, Angelus… she briefly wondered what he'd look like, if he was as ruthless and cruel as the tabloids hinted.

Lorne came to a pair of enormous, double doors and she took a deep breath as he opened it. Buffy's steps seemed frozen for a moment, but a hand at her back moved her comfortingly forward. Lindsey smiled down at her before pressing a small kiss to the crown of her head.

"It'll be O.K., sweetheart."

Buffy nodded and stepped into the room. Lorne's voice announced her and her mother to the sea of people waiting. She smiled as camera lights flashed, blinding her for a moment as she was guided forward. Blinking she looked up into cold, angry eyes.

"Prince Angelus, may I introduce your future bride, Princess Buffy."

"Oh, shit." She hissed as The Guy who took her virginity scowled down at her.

* * *

As soon as Lorne guided the press out the royal hall, it was simple to yank her away from the group.

"What the hell is going on here?" he hissed as he pulled her into an alcove just beyond where the court officials were filing from the great room. "My father said you were suppose to be a virgin when we married."

"I was," she returned. She didn't cringe in the face of his fury, but she couldn't exactly meet his eyes either.

"So, what the hell was last night?"

"I think you know, your Highness."

"You came on to me like a bitch in heat."

Her face flushed an angry red and her eyes bore into his with firey rage. "Excuse you?"

"Is this some trick you thought would get you out of this marriage? Or are you just as conniving as your mother and thought I'd be some dumb fop you could walk all over?"

"You better believe I'll be pulling the strings around here."

His smile was cruel. "Your plan backfired, Lover. You picked the wrong guy, on both counts."

"So, what? You're going to call off this farce of wedding? Thank Goddess."

He laughed at that. "That's too easy, Lover. You and I are going to get married. And we're going to play all nicey nice for my father. Then you can go back to your country, I'll stay here and hopefully we will never cross paths again."

"If we're just going to go our separate ways, why should even bother with this marriage?"
He grabbed her and angrily pressed his lips to hers. It was nothing like the night before when he'd been cajoling and playful. This was a punishment. For what, she didn't know, but she didn't resist and gave as good as she got.

A throat clearing near by broke them apart. Julian stood just outside the alcove casting his shadow back over them.

"I am to escort the princess to her chamber," he announced with a smug smile pulling at the corner of his mouth.

Angelus growled, "Take her. We're finished here."

Without another word he turned and walked to his own chambers his back straight and proud.
Buffy was left to contemplate what that kiss meant.

"This way, your Highness," Julian announced, stepping back to let her pass.

* * *

"You came home," Rupert drawled as his valet left with the royal attire worn only at formal state functions.

Angelus growled beneath his breath and stalked off to the liquor cabinet. "I had an interesting morning, to say the least."

"From the looks you shared, I take it you know the princess?"
Swallowing back a healthy shot of what ever it was he'd poured himself, he returned, "You could say that."

"You haven't done anything stupid I hope."

"You mean like fuck the girls brains out last night in the back seat of my car?"
Rupert sipped from his tea, than quickly spit it back out all over his Aubusson rug. "You did what?"

"It was completely consensual." Angelus drawled as he tossed back another shot and refilled the glass again and took a seat.

Rupert was pacing now, "But she– ... But you– ... I'll kill her."

"Calm down," his son drawled, "the wedding's still on. No one needs to know."

"That's not the point, Darla lied to me."

"Is that surprising?"

"Do shut up." Rupert tiredly pulled his glasses from the bridge of his nose and wiped them clean.

The doors were thrown open as Faith happily sauntered into her father's chambers. She'd changed out of the elegant red velvet dress she'd worn to court in favour of some skin tight leather pants and a cropped black t-shirt. "Cutting it close, weren't you?" she asked her brother with a mischievous smile.

"Didn't see you at the party last night, Faith."

Faith scowled as Rupert frowned at both his children. They were so like him. Why, oh why, couldn't they have taken after their more mild mannered mothers?

"Faith. Angelus. Please. I'm not sure I understand why my son who drugged two guards and stole a car in order to escape his wedding is suddenly willing to marry his tarnished bride when he has an east escape."

Angelus held his tongue instead taking a drink from his half filled glass.

Faith grinned, "Princess Buffy isn't as saintly as she appears?"

Rupert rolled his eyes.

"Brother dearest has got feelings for the little princess."

Angelus scoffed into his glass while Rupert stared incredulously at both his children.

"I saw that kiss in the hallway. That is, if you want to call it a kiss."

Rupert began to smile and then began to laugh.

Angel drained his cup and sat petulantly in his father's chair.

"You fell in love with her," his father teased.

"I have not."

"Oh get off it," Faith returned. "It's so obvious. Why else would you have come back? That night at the bar? She had you wrapped around her little finger. Can't say it's a surprise she's royalty with the artillery she was carrying."

"I will ignore the fact that my daughter was at a bar, for the moment," Rupert announced with a frown at his youngest, before turning to his son, "in order to offer my congratulations."

"I'm marrying her, but that's all. She's going back home after that."

"But– why?" Rupert asked.

Angelus smirked, "I admit I have some feelings for her, but that doesn't mean they're returned. I was means to an end, Ripper. Nothing more."

"Wasn't she kissing you back?" Faith replied. She'd completely forgot about the glass of whiskey she'd pilfered when no one was looking but now both her fath and brother were staring at her, neither particularly pleased. She threw back the rest of the amber liquid with an unrepentant grin. "It looked like it from where I was standing anyway."

Angelus just stood and set his glass aside. "I'm tired and my wedding is early tomorrow. I need to get some sleep."

"Angel, please, reconsider this. You can't hope to make her return your feelings if she's miles away."

"I don't care, Dad. I just want this to be done."

* * *

The guests crowded the only partially finished hall for a practice run of the ceremony that would take place at dusk the following day.

"You may now kiss the bride," the priest intoned sanctimoniously.

The crowd seemed to lean forward in anticipation as Angelus turned to face his future bride. The Prince was dressed informally for such a sacred occasion in low slung leather pangs, and a crisp white shirt that was buttoned low enough to give Buffy a promising view of his muscular chest, but not low enough to make him look like a gigolo. Buffy stared at the hard expanse of chest, remembering distinctly how smooth his skin was to touch. Goddess knew she wanted to touch him like that again. In fact, she'd pretty much give up anything to erase the damage she had inflicted on their relationship. Gulping, she looked up to meet his eyes wondering if he'd go ahead and give the crowd what they wanted and kiss her.

Smoldering eyes glared down at her as strong fingers wrapped around her bicep and pulled slowly, toward him. She closed her eyes, wishing she could be anywhere but here. She didn't see the flash of tenderness that crossed Angelus' face as he bent leisurely, deliberately down to kiss her. One hand seized her arm while the other tilted her chin up in a punishing grip. His forehead pressed to hers and he gave her a small, half smile and the crowd seemed to give out a collective sigh at their Prince's actions. He paused, a showman to the end, and dipped his mouth down to hers. His lips brushed her mouth softly; tongue lightly grazed her lips. Buffy's eyes fluttered open to meet his dark, angry stare. The was no tenderness or caring in his look and as their eyes met, and abruptly his kiss turned hard and cruel. Buffy tried to draw away, but he held her in his embrace until she began to grow light headed. When he finally moved away from his bride to be, the crowd of friends and family cheered. None of them heard the small whimper Buffy let out when the kiss ended, no one except Angelus.

Through gritted teeth, Angelus hissed, "Smile and wave, sweetie. Don't want to disappoint, now do we?"

Buffy blinked back tears as she plastered on a smile.

* * *

Make no mistake about it; Angelus was not drunk. Not quite drunk anyway. Surrounded by a bevy of beauties all vying for his attention on this, the last night of his bachelor existence, he was having a hard time choosing. The wedding party had retired to his father's private apartments hours ago. Dinner had been served with the hype and fanfare a royal dress rehearsal deserved. Now his bride to be stood on the opposite side of the room, surrounded by friends, family and well-wishers. More than once he had caught her wide green eyes sorrowfully glancing his way. To be sure, she had been a virgin the night he had her, and that thought gave him some small satisfaction. With one, quick gesture, he gulped down his scotch and headed toward his future wife. He wondered if she'd been so vengeful as to be with another since their last encounter and, as his long, strong fingers wrapped around her arm, he intended to find out.

* * *

Buffy followed him docilely enough to the hallway. She really didn't know what to expect, but she did know they had to figure out a way to get along. Royals didn't divorce. It just wasn't done, and there was no way she could lure him to his death as her mother had previously suggested.

"So, how many other men have you been with since our encounter the other night?'

A confused look crossed her face as she glanced up at her intended. His features were cold and angry, which confused her more.

"I'm not sure how that is any of your business," she retorted.

Angelus moved forward until Buffy could feel his hot breath on her face.

"As my bride, everything about you is my business."

He had expected her to be cowed by his aggressive behavior, but she wasn't. Instead of cowering and begging for his forgiveness, she laughed. White, hot anger burned through him as he clenched and unclenched his fists.

"I'm not your wife yet, you fucking hypocrite."

Angelus barely contained his rage as he bit out, "You fucked me in the back seat of my car like some cheap…"

Buffy put a hand over his mouth, effectively silencing him.

"You were in the back seat of that car too, asshole, so don't go on pretending you have the highroad in this situation."

Angelus shook off her hand and tried to think of something intelligent to say. Something that would make her the bad guy in this. Something to ease the embarrassment that was pulsing through him. Nothing came to mind. He took a step away and folded his arms across his chest.

"Now, we can continue fight and fuss, or we could try to make the best of the situation in front of us."

He glanced down at Buffy from hooded eyes and snapped, "What are you suggesting, Princess Buffy?"

He almost laughed as she nervously bit her lip and glanced down at her shoes. A blush crept up her neck as she took a deep breath and continued.

"I'm suggesting that both of us seemed to have a good time in the back seat of your car, and maybe we should focus on that positive implications instead of the negative ones?"

Angelus considered her suggestion carefully as his eyes roved over her petite form. She was just as enticing tonight as she had been at the dance club. He stepped forward, pulling her against him. His thumb gently caressed the smooth flesh of her arm as she tremblingly looked up .
He drew her close and kissed her, a thorough, searing kiss, suckling the wet heat of her tongue as he explored the cavern of her mouth with a hungry passion.

When the pair pulled apart, both were breathing heavily. Buffy glanced up, a sly look on her imp-like features.

"That's the positive implication I was talking about."

Her hand traced the corded lines of his neck before sinking into the silk of his hair and pulling in down for another kiss.

* * *

"Do you, Angelus William Giles, Duke of Leac Oighir, Crown Prince of Tir as Sneachta, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?"

Angelus dutifully replied, "I do."

"Do you, Buffy Anne Summers, Princess of Oceania, takes this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?"

Angelus glanced askance at her. She was donned in a pale blue dress of silk. On this occasion she had made adjustments for the cold climate. Her dress had long sleeves, but a deep V in both front and back exposed her golden skin. The dress swept the floor with a slight train. Her golden curls were pinned to her head with tiny diamonds and a golden tiara surrounded the cascading mass. She looked beautiful.

He held his breath until she replied, "I do."

Her eyes briefly caught his and she offered a smile.

Taking the platinum ring from the officiant's hand, he carefully slid the ring onto her finger repeating the words he was told to say.

She did the same with her own vows to love, honour, and cherish til death do them part.

"I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride."

Without delay, he eagerly leaned forward to kiss his bride. Their lips clung to one another's as the assembly cheered. He couldn't help his smile, but she was smiling as well. He couldn't resist stealing another kiss from her as she smiled back at him. Her hand clasped in his, Buffy turned to meet her new people. She accepted a kiss on the cheek from her father-in-law and her new sister, as Angel placed a kiss to her mother's cheek. While the calculating Queen of Oceania ginned maliciously, he smiled back with all the joy he felt. Let her scheme, her daughter didn't share her murderous bent, and soon enough she'd bee shipped back to her little island never to be welcomed back. The bride and groom slowly made their way out of the hall stopping to receive congratulations from the crowd gathered to witness what would go down in history as the marriage of the century.


The End

please feed Kyria & Desdemona

back to authors     back to awards     back to challenges