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?
Thanks to Naughty Fae for the pre-read and encouragement
Other than pointing out grammatical errors, comments are greatly appreciated.
Link to previous chapters HERE
Spike all but fell from his perch at the introduction and arrival of the unexpected guest in
his boy's room. His beady little bat eyes blinked repeatedly through the uncomfortable
glare of the sunlight as he endeavored to get a good look at the woman who was, for some
odd reason, strangely familiar.
Cowering back into his rock wall crevice, Spike was certain that he could not be seen by
human eyes and yet, when she entered and spoke, Spike knew without a doubt that it was
he she was addressing. It was disarming and disturbing. How did she know he was here
and what did she mean about waiting on him?
Cautiously, Spike adjusted his grip on the wooden beam a fraction of an inch so that he
could turn to get a better look at her while his mind whirled with a dozen questions
and speculations. She had introduced herself as Queen Drusilla. It registered in his memory
that that was the name of the young princess that he had gone on his journey to
retrieve. Obviously, Liam had continued on and collected her then brought her back to
the castle and titled her, Queen in-waiting until her age of consent. Not surprising since
an alliance between the two kingdoms was the whole point of the arranged marriage. It
meant power and wealth for the O'Connors as well as safety and military protection for
the Castle Spencer.
Spike knew that the completion of this contract between the two bordering kingdoms was
critical and obviously the wearer of the O'Connor crown was much less important than the
crown itself. Whether William or Liam, a King was a King.
But, to Spike, the fact that Princess Drusilla had fulfilled her own destiny and become the
queen was insignificant when compared to the other startling elements of this scenario. At
the time of Prince William's cursing, the entourage had not yet reached the castle of
King Spencer so William had never actually seen his intended and yet, he was certain
this was not their first meeting.
His furry little brow furrowed as he studied her. He watched her flit and glide around the
small circular tower room as her full, flowing skirts stirred the straw dust into a rising cloud
that made Xander sneeze. Her long, dark hair flounced as the cork-screw curls sprang up
and down bouncing off her shoulders and carelessly dislodging the small garden flowers that
had been placed within them. For all intent and purpose she might have been attending a
ball in the castle's great room.
Spike tipped his head upward and he twitched his nose to catch her scent. She was so
familiar and yet, there was no way he could know her. During his long years of exile, he
had come across no human women, still, there was something so striking about her that it
made his blood run cold and his flesh ripple. He frowned and he concentrated. He searched
his mind and memory but the answer remained elusive and just out of reach.
Then, suddenly, she turned. She smiled and she wrinkled her nose as she batted her eyelashes
in a manner that was, on the surface, innocuous and subtle but for Spike, it was like a bolt
of lightning that snapped and struck him with a direct hit.
He remembered! It was the identical pose and playful expression she had taken the last time
he saw her. When she came to him. When she spoke to him.
In a dream.
In THE dream.
It was her! It couldn't be,,, and yet it was. He was certain. There was not an ounce of
doubt within him.
The changes that altered her appearance were to be expected considering more that a decade
had passed. She was older, shedding her innocent, flat boyish form for the shapely curves of
a fully grown woman, but that didn't matter. The transformation she had undergone
through puberty seemed to accentuate her features much more than conceal them. There
was no question. There was no confusion as the details of a dream that had grown fuzzy
with time suddenly flashed back to him in sharp detail and clear imagery.
Again Drusilla turned her back to the prisoner as she seemed to dismiss him as unimportant.
Her voice was soft, quiet and reassuring as though she were speaking to a skittish, wild deer.
"I know you are here and you have nothing to fear from me. I will not reveal you or put you
in danger but your time is short. I want to help you. You and your boy."
The hair on Spike's spine bristled and rose. She had looked directly at him as she whispered
the words. He held his tiny body still as he gauged the level of threat she posed. His
leathery wings clung to his torso protectively and his upper lip curled back barring his
pointy fangs in alarm.
It was incredible! It was impossible and yet it was a puzzle with pieces that seemed to
tumble into framework to fit perfectly. It was her! It was his dream come to life and adding
to the bizarreness was the fact that she seemed to see him. She acted as though she and a
cursed prince in the form of a bat were old chums and that apparently she was here, in
Xander's cell room for a casual chit chat.
For Xander, the entire situation was equally baffling. He had watched this regal woman enter
the tower room with no accompanying guardsman for protection and then she proceeded
to flounce about as though they were meeting for tea and biscuits. But the really perplexing
point was that Xander had the distinct impression that, although they were completely alone,
it was not he that she was here to see.
Xander watched her intently. He scratched his head and took a step backwards as he
attempted to determine her level of insanity. Obviously Andrew, the page, was right. The
Queen must suffer the moon-madness.
Xander's eyes bugged as a new thought popped into his head. Perhaps her lunacy caused her
to take fits. He had once seen the village shoemaker fall into a sudden convulsion right
before his eyes. The man had gone stiff as a board. He had toppled backwards, foamed
at the mouth and then flopped around like a fish out of water. It was terrifying. It had
been decided by the town council that the shoemaker was bewitched and he was exiled from
Xander's breath hitched. Was the Queen bewitched or simply demented? Was she mildly
quirky or full-on bat-shit crazy?
In an effort to make that assessment Xander put a slightly forced smile on his face. He wiped
his sweaty palms on his tattered trousers and he took a step from the shadows into the light
where she continued to bounce and flit. Cautiously, Xander raised his hands, palms up to
convey his lack of threat as he spoke softly and carefully. "Your Highness? Queen Drusilla?
I am your humble servant, Alexander Harris."
At the introduction she stopped flouncing. The reminder of his presence seemed to surprise
her and she turned her head to fully face him. When she did, Xander was greatly relieved
to see the veil lift from her eyes and her focus clear. Her smile seemed genuine and
Xander fractionally relaxed as he lowered himself to one knee with his head bowed.
"I am honored, your Highness."
Gently, Drusilla placed her small hand on the top of his head and his senses were swamped
with her presence. The air surrounding her was warm and soft with the heady fragrance
of garden flowers. It tickled his nose and made him ache for the feel of the sun on his body
and the soft grasses beneath his feet.
Although physically she was a small woman, her heavy, flowing garment caused her to
interlope into Xander's personal space. The floor length skirt was a startling blue color
and it brushed against his arm with a silky, alluring feel and he was sorely tempted to reach
out and squiggle it between his fingers.
A move that would no doubt cost him his hands.
Suddenly, Xander felt very ashamed. His hair was not clean. His body and clothing had
not been washed in... well, he couldn't exactly recall the last time he had gone to the creek
with the cake of lard soap but he knew it had been more than a month. It was a realization
that caused him to flinch in disgrace.
Xander was but a lowly, unworthy subject of this resplendent, regal, surprisingly nice woman
and he wondered that she didn't cringe from the physical contact with him. But she didn't.
In fact, the moment dragged on and her hand continued to rest firmly on his bowed head. It
was a position made even more odd by the fact that the heat that radiated from the palm of
her hand against the top of his head had risen to the point of becoming almost uncomfortable.
All the while, she sighed and swayed and Xander's concerns for her mental faculties
But he held his pose. He remained kneeling on the cold stone floor, his head down and his
spine bowed. To do otherwise was unthinkable despite the fact that his legs were aching,
his back was cramping and he was developing itches in embarrassing places simply because
he knew that scratching was out of the question.
Overhead, Spike remained fixated on the queer scene that was playing out below him and he
was stumped as to what to do about it. If things became desperate, he knew that he could
fly down and, in removing his magical cloak of concealment, reveal himself to protect
Xander from danger. But, for now, Spike didn't feel that was the best course to take. There
didn't seem to be an immediate threat to his boy. It was strange but after all these years of
living with the memory of his dream of hope, Spike almost felt a comfortable connection to
this woman regardless of the fact that, in the real world, they had never actually met.
Finally, as if what she had been seeking through her physical connection to the boy had
been revealed, a soft, knowing smile played across Drusilla's painted red lips. She
swayed slightly and hummed a troubadour's tune as the bond between her and the boy
confirmed her visions. Her hand relaxed and she dug her fingers into his thick, dark hair,
lightly scratching his scalp as if he were a royal pet. Then, with a nod of her head, she
dropped her hand and stepped back. "Stand up, Kitten and let me get a good look at you."
With a grunt and a protesting twinge in his back, Xander hoisted himself to comply as
ordered. He rubbed his cramped knee but kept his eyes lowered so as not to look directly
into the woman's royal face. "Yes Ma'am. Your Highness. How may I serve you, my Queen?"
Drusilla's forefinger ghosted across Xander's jaw line down to his chin. "Lift your face, Kitten.
I need to see."
Reluctantly, Xander complied. He straightened himself and nervously licked his lips. It was
odd that the presence of this small, lithe woman should stir more fear and trepidation within
him than all of the eunuchs and sword-bearing guards within the castle walls.
The instant his eyes locked with hers, his insecurities and shame melted away as he felt
himself drawn into the black, deep pools that gazed back at him. Her pupils appeared
to shimmer and shift. They held him in an immobile grip that made his mind go blank and
his legs sway. In a passing coherent moment, he wondered if the page, Andrew had slipped
an herb or root into the water Xander drank which made his body and mind weak and
fuzzy but then, as quickly as it began, the moment passed. Xander was restored leaving
him feeling foolish for his suspicions.
Seemingly unaware of her affect on the boy, Drusilla turned her back on the prisoner.
She calmly walked around the cramped tower room strolling as she would through the
winding paths of the castle garden. It gave her time to think. He was the one. There was
no doubt. She was certain of it. The visions, dreams and premonitions she had experienced
all of her life were finally beginning to play out. In fact, the first critical event, the one
that would initiate the downfall of the reign of King Liam O'Connor had obviously
A small smile played at the corners of her mouth. "You came here an innocent, but that is
no longer the case, is it, young Alexander?"
Xander was stunned. What the hell was she asking? He had expected queries about the
spun gold or possibly even his background or village but, of all the things the Queen might
have asked, Xander's virginity was certainly not even on the list. "My um,.. Innocence?
I don't think I understand the question, my Queen."
Drusilla turned and tipped her head as she watched the boy squirm, shuffle his feet and
avoid looking directly at her. She found his unease highly amusing. "Innocence. You do
not know the definition? Perhaps I should be more specific. Innocence. Virginity.
Sexual experience. Anal submission. In this case, it refers to the opening of your body
up for penetration by another man's ......."
"STOP!" Xander was horrified. He had his hands clamped over his ears while his eyes
bugged and his mouth dropped. Overhead, Spike snorted and snickered. He liked the
Queen. He liked her a lot.
Wildly, Xander waved his arms in all directions. "I am here alone, your Highness. I have
not had... relations.. with any of the guards or the page and as you know, the eunuchs
Drusilla flipped her small hand dismissively. "De-balled. Yes of course. My husband, the
King generally likes to watch when they are modified for service within the walls of the castle."
Xander flinched. He cupped his hands at his crotch protectively at the thought of the poor
men being 'modified' and he seethed at the image of a sadistic King who took pleasure in
the suffering of others. For a brief second, Xander wondered what a kingdom would be
like if the story Spike told were true and William was the king.
Moving his right hand to behind his back, Xander crossed his fingers as he told his lie.
"Yes, well, anyway, these are the only men I have had contact with since my imprisonment.
So I could not have...."
Drusilla huffed and put her fists on her slim hips. "We don't have all day, Alexander.
My husband's guards will be here soon with several more bales of straw and you need to
decide what you are going to do. Will you continue to play out this sham while depriving
our William of his true destiny? The future lies with you Alexander. By entering in
congress with him you have shifted the tides of all the kingdom."
Xander shook his head. He wasn't sure if she was again babbling incoherently but he didn't
think so. Something in the tone of her voice and the clear look in her eye gave credence to
what she said. But what did it mean? How could his love and sexual submission to Spike
have anything to do with the King's world?
The thought that he, a simple peasant could affect anything was preposterous and yet, what
about the last week of his life had been logical or reasonable? He had been captured, accused
of having magical powers, met a mysterious man who could actually spin straw into gold
and, most incredibly of all, Xander had fallen head over heels in love. So much so that he
had offered his virtue to this strange, twisted man with no hindsight regret.
Xander hugged himself protectively as he wondered how the Queen knew about his
gifted innocence and what that had to do with anything? "I have shifted tides? What tides
have I shifted? I am very confused, your Highness. When you speak of William do you
mean Spike? The man who came to me said his name used to be William but I thought...."
Suddenly, Xander realized that he was revealing too much and he quickly began
back-stepping. "I mean, William who? There is no William here." Xander shuffled
and waved his hands in all directions to indicate the obvious. That they were alone
although in his heart, he wished that was not the case.
Drusilla smiled sweetly as her eyes drifted up towards the corner of Spike's concealment.
She appreciated the boy's attempts to protect the true King. It was a loyalty that would be
sorely tested in the very near future. "Oh, he is here. William is very near and he is, at this
very instant, watching over you."
Before Xander could respond, A deep, resounding banging struck against the heavy oak
door followed by a low. muffled voice. "Your Highness. Please hurry. We must go or
be discovered. Please, Queen Drusilla."
Drusilla's non-verbal response was a nod that she knew her loyal guard would know
without needing to see. She then gathered up two handfuls of her heavy skirt to clear the
hem from the floor and she marched toward the exit where she stopped. "This is it,
young Alexander. It is your time of choosing. William's destiny and the future of the
Kingdom of the O'Connor's lies in your hands."
Xander felt the cold rush of panic race through him. He wrung his hands and the hair on the
back of his neck prickled as he implored her. "But I don't know what to do. Tell me, please.
I'm afraid I'll do the wrong thing. I would die before I hurt Spike."
Just then, the door swung open and a burly guard stepped to the side to let the Queen move
past him. His eyes darted nervously in the direction of the hallway and Xander knew she
had gone to great personal peril to be here.
With a small wrinkle of thought on her brow, the Queen turned back at Xander. "I have
no power to alter the spell that curses our William. My only ability is in the divination of
dreams that tell me of the hidden corners of the incantations. Know this. All spells have an
out. A built in escape that sometimes even the spell caster is not aware of. William's is in
a name. It is a jester's insult. If your love of all parts of him is true and you can find the
name of his shame, the spell will be broken and the Kingdom made right."
"What? What name? His shame? What does that even mean? Please, your highness,
I..." But it was too late. The door was slammed and she was gone.