Warnings: Bad language and M/M sexual situations.
Disclaimer: The Bee owns none of the characters used
in this story.
Summary: A new take on the old fable of Rumpelstiltskin.
Xander is held in the tower prison of the evil King Liam and has
been ordered to spin a roomful of straw to gold. Can he do
it? Is there someone who can help?
Author's note: This story is not betaed or spell checked by anyone but me.
If there are errors that you simply have to point out, feel free but don't be upset
if I don't care.
Other than grammatical errors, comments are greatly appreciated.
Thanks to Naughty Fae for the pre-read and encouragement
Link to previous chapters HERE
Spike's wings were bound tightly around his body in the attempt to block out all that he
was remembering. He knew when he came here that just being in the castle again after
all these years would evoke memories and feelings long suppressed but he had no idea
the power those emotions still held.
The fury and anger boiled in his blood as though the treachery and betrayal had happened
only yesterday. The grief and sorrow lay in his belly like a rock just as it had when, nearly
eight years ago, the word of his father's death had reached the enchanted forest. It had been
said that the King had died of a broken heart over the loss of his only son. Spike had
always wondered if King Edward's demise hadn't been assisted and hastened by Prince
Liam who had, coincidently just turned sixteen years old on the day of Edward's passing.
It was at that time that Spike studied the placement of the stars in the night sky in order
to determine the route back to the castle even though he was not yet ready to make that
emotional and physical journey. In his present form, he would be rejected by his subjects
and imprisoned by the new King.
At sixteen, Liam was eligible to wear the crown of the Kingdom of O'Connor's if a high
ranking court official deemed him worthy and who more ranking than Sir Rupert of Giles?
The treason of the castle was complete.
It was too much. The memories were too overwhelming and Spike wished he had taken heed
of the pan, Oz who warned him not to come here. What did Spike hope to accomplish?
He wasn't entirely sure.
Spike quivered and he thanked the Gods that bats couldn't cry because he knew right now, as
he hung upside down, the tears and snot would be dripping off the top of his furry little head.
He should just go. There was no reason to stay. He had done his good deed and spared the
boy's life by spinning the straw to gold. There was nothing more to do. He was hungry and
cold and he longed to return to his home hidden deep in the trees of the forest. He longed for
the comfort of his cave and he hoped that a stray bear or clumsy Minotaur hadn't stumbled in
to claim it.
Maybe he would.
Maybe when the sun dipped again in the sky, Spike would unfurl his wings and fly away
leaving all of this behind him. He had made a life for himself in the deep woods. He
had companions when he wanted them. He had food and drink. He had everything
an ugly, deformed beast could need.
Well, then. So be it. It was decided. He would go. He would just go.
But then, as he affirmed his resolution to leave, one more memory came back to him. One
that had haunted him for years. It was the memory of a dream whose smaller details had
gone fuzzy over time but whose substance had never lost its impact. It was unlike any dream
he had ever had before or since. It had felt so real and so vivid that he awoke confused
It had come to him on the third night of his exile twelve years ago and he was still
completely stunned as to how he had somehow been turned into such a pitiful sight. A
small, ugly and deformed child who curled up on a bed of moss in a dark, foreign,
frightening land. He had quickly learned that covering himself with the strange, brown
cloak caused a transformation that he was not yet at ease with. Instead, he chose to
place evergreen branches and leaves over himself for warmth at night as he laid his head
on the ground to sleep.
He was terrified and bewildered. He had no idea where he was or how he had come to be
here. He had no clue or indicators as to which direction his castle lay or how he had come
to be separated from the rest of his travelling party.
But the worst was not the fact that was he lost and alone as much as the fact that he seemed
to have misplaced himself. Even without the tall, polished reflective glasses in the
castle, William knew he had somehow been transformed into something grotesque
and malformed. His legs were stubby and his feet were webbed. There was a slight bowing
to his back that prevented him from standing fully upright and when he ran his hands that
were not his hands over his face, it told him that whatever accident or disease that had
befallen him had done its worst.
He was a monster. A freak much uglier than even the jesters of the court.
For the first two days and nights he had run helter skelter through the forest seeking a path
or landmark to help him find his way but the only things he found were frustration
and exhaustion. On the third day, as he forced himself to calm, he had caught a fish to
eat and found a stream of clean water to drink. He had never imagined his survival skills
would serve him in such a horrendous situation.
When the sun finally disappeared on the evening of the third day, he laid down, dejected
and depressed and again he prepared to cry himself to sleep. At midnight, when the moon
rose high and the stars winked down, his body began to twitch as he sank deeper into the
arms of Morpheos.
He dreamed he was sitting atop his proud steed having ridden point, leading his convoy on
a journey through a strange land. All felt right and good and William sat his saddle straight
and tall with confidence until suddenly, a huge bird, a vulture had swooped down
nearly knocking him from his horse. He pulled the leather reigns sharply to bring his
mount to a halt as William ducked his head just in time to avoid the bird's pointed beak
that lunged at the Prince's eyes.
When William looked behind himself to make sure none of the others had fallen victim to
the vulture's attack, he realized he was alone. The other riders had disappeared.
Immediately, William swung his leg over the animal's broad back and he slid into a dismount
as he called out. "Hello? Liam. Sir Giles. Warren. Finn. Where are you? Where is
But no answer came. There were no voices within the forest save the echo of his own. No
birds sang. No insects chirped. No wind whistled. It was as though he were standing in
a dark, foreboding tunnel.
Somewhere, in the back of his mind, young Prince William knew he was dreaming but
that knowledge did little to diminish the terror that spiraled through him as the scene
continued to play out behind his closed eyes.
In his sleep state, Prince William stood near his horse and found a security in the animal's
heat and size. He squinted at the surrounding landscape while his feet moved in a full circle.
He studied the shadowy tree line while his ears strained to detect any enemy possible hiding
and planning an assault against the young crowned prince. Again he shouted. "Where
am I? Hello? I am Prince William O'Connor and I command that you answer me!"
As the prince called out in his dream, the sleeping boy's lips moved to form the words
as his body twitched and jerked on the damp, cold earthen bed.
At first, no friend or foe responded to the monarch's order and it appeared that William was
alone in the land of dreams. No familiar companion stepped forth to embrace him and no
enemy lunged from concealment to threaten his life. The lull gave the sleeping boy a
moment's relief. The tension relaxed in his limbs and he rolled over on his mat of foliage
and moss while his slumber continued.
In his dream, he was again handsome. His face was soft. His eyes were blue and his lips
were plump and pink. He wasn't sure how he knew this but dreams carry a certain assurance
of facts that require no confirmation. They just are what they are.
William smiled. Sure, he was alone in a strange forest and he seemed to have lost both his
travel companions and his sense of direction, but he was back to himself. He was no
longer deformed and grotesque so everything else must be all right too. It was an acertation
that proved erroneous.
William reached over and ran his hand down his horse's hot side which caused the huge
steed's flesh to ripple. The loyal animal tossed his head and snorted which filled William
with a sense of well being and familiarity. "You are still with me aren't you, boy? You will
Suddenly, William heard a rustling in the dry leaves right behind him and he spun around as
a renewed fear sent his heart to his throat and gripped his stomach. He leaned his back
against the solid reassurance of his horse and he tried to see into the dark of the woods.
"Who is it? Who's there? I command that you step forth and announce yourself!"
"Tee hee. Prince William." The voice that answered him was high-pitched. It was
soft, whispery and the tone almost mocking. It was hard to determine from which direction
it had come or even how far.
William twisted the leather reigns in his hands nervously and he called out again. "Who are
you? How do you know me? Show yourself!"
William's horse threw his head up and he whinnied as he stomped his front hoof on the soft
sod ground. The animal's restlessness added to William's anxiety and he instinctively reached
for the short blade he carried in his belt.
"You don't need that for me." The gentle, feminine voice spoke so near to William that he
felt the cool puff of breath against his left ear.
"AAHH!" Immediately, he drew his knife and he leapt away from the intruder as he dropped
into a crouch that spoke of his readiness to attack and kill. His hand had a solid grip on the
ivory handle of his weapon and he waved it as he swayed back and forth on a wide-footed stance.
He was ready for a fight. To the death if necessary but now, as he finally got a good look at
his adversary, he was caught off guard. It was not at all what he expected. It was no man
of size and girth. It wasn't a man of intimidation and power. In fact, it was no man at all.
Instead, what stood before William was a young girl. A girl William estimated to not yet be
of child bearing years. A girl perhaps near his own age and yet she was nothing at all like
him. Where he was pale and fair haired, she was darker complicated with long, jet black
hair. Her eyes were like smooth dark glass and her lips were red as though berry-stained.
She wore a long gauzy gown that alternated between clinging to her body and billowing out
as the night breeze seemed to sweep around and through her which was odd as he, himself
felt no movement in the air.
William's arm dropped back to his side and he relaxed his stance as he interpreted no danger
in her presence. Even the understanding that this was a dream did nothing to alleviate
the bizarreness of the situation. "Who are you? You know me but I don't remember you
from my kingdom. Are you a servant girl? How did you come here?"
The young girl shook her head and smiled. "I serve but I am no servant. You also serve but
have no master."
William scratched his head with the tip of his blade. "What the hell does that mean? Who
are you and where are the others?"
The girl's face took on a far-away expression. "The others are many miles from here and
there are no roads that lead to where you need to be."
William's head turned to the left then the right hoping there really was a path through the
woods that he had simply overlooked. "What? I don't understand you. If you found your
way here, you must know the way back."
The young girl threw her arms high over her head and she twirled up on her tip toes while
she sang quietly to the stars above. Just as William was beginning to think she was
moon-touched, she looked back at him and spoke. "My path is with the one who rides
against you. Your's is to grow and bloom among the flowers and undergrowth of the
forest until the seed of your blossom is claimed."
William stepped closer to the stranger as though shortening the distance may increase
the understanding of her odd words. "My seed? Claimed? What.. You speak in riddles
and as your Prince, I command you to be clear! I demand...."
The light tinkling sound of her laughter both annoyed and intrigued him and he found it
almost impossible to be angry with her. "Please. Just tell me. How can I get home?
Which is the way to my kingdom?"
The young girl with the long dark hair and the gentle, mysterious eyes placed her hand
on William's cheek. "You will be lost for a long time, Prince William. It is not I who will
find you but know this, your true path home does not lie in a place but rather a person. It
is with a boy of commoner's blood whose body and soul are untouched and pure. I waited
for you but another came in your stead. The peasant boy also waits for you and he will show
you the truth. If you save him, he will do the same for you."
The words were scrambled and nonsensical in William's ear and yet, in his heart, they carried
the weight of truth. "Who is he? How do I find him?"
The girl sighed and stepped back. "I must go now. You have miles of years ahead of you.
I can't change the cloak of magic that surrounds you but I can give you a gift. It is the gift
of the elements. It will serve and protect you. When you need it most, use it well."
Before William could try and unravel the meaning of her utterance, the girl clapped her hands
in front of her face. The action resounded in an ear-splitting clap of thunder as an
accompanying bolt of lightning exploded from her fingertips in ten, radiant, blinding
shards of white light. The lights vibrated through the air as they shot across and slammed
into William's chest knocking him backwards, off his feet and rendering him unconscious.
When he awoke, he was groggy. He was again deformed and alone and the bed of moss
beneath him was wet and acrid from the urination of fear. Despite the soreness and bruising
on his chest which he chalked up to a rock or twig beneath him, William knew it had been
a dream. It had to. What else could it have been? And over the years as he learned
a manipulation of the weather above and the water and earth beneath his feet, he believed
it to be part of the curse under which he lived and not the gift of an apparition.
At night, when he slept, often the details came back to him. Not in the bright vivid colors
or sharp lines of the first time but later, it was more a dream of a dream. The recollection
of a reflection and even as he grew from a twisted, cursed child into a strong, agile creature
of the forest, he carried the memory with him. The strange words were his only hope even
after he had given up all hope.
"A boy of commoner's blood whose body and soul are untouched and pure."
Later, when tales had reached him of Liam's ravaging of all young boys of the kingdom,
William had wondered if his cousin's behavior was simply a display of deviant power
and pleasure or if it was somehow related, farfetched as it may seem, to William's dream.
The stories came on the wings of the birds and the whispers of the wind. It was a sliver of
gossip that interested no one in the enchanted forest but William and it interested him very much.
'WAKE UP!! GET ON YOUR FEET!!"
Spike jerked to full alertness and he thought for a brief moment that the command was
being given to him. The booming voice along with the clank of a metal bolt being slid back
and a solid wooden door slamming open returned him to the here and now and sent a
quick shiver of fear through his tiny body. One that was dispelled in an instant. He was
still in bat form. He was still safe.
Along with his own self awareness, Spike recalled the reason for his being here and he
looked down at the handsome young man who was scrambling to his feet as the big, burly
guard stepped into the room.
"Gadzooks! Ye have done the deed!" The sentry stood and stared incredulously back and
forth between the bare floor and the spindle of slender gold thread. Wisely, Xander kept
silent as he stepped backwards away from the hulking figure. He couldn't agree and he
couldn't deny. He wished Spike was here. For some odd reason, he felt as though Spike
could keep him safe.
Immediately, the guard turned and shouted down the long, musty, empty hallway
outside Xander's cell. "Send for the King! Send for Sir Giles! The lad has done the
impossible! He has spun the straw to gold!!"