Temptations of the Heart

Epilogue

William sat in front of the small cottage, smiling as he watched Buffy. She had been sitting by the pond braiding wildflowers together for almost an hour. Her waist-length hair blew softly in the wind and the flower petals from the trees rained down on her constantly.

The whole area was alive with activity and he couldn't help the small sigh of contentment at how perfect his life seemed. Six years with her and he still had to remind himself that this was all real. The sounds of laughter rang out over the area and his smile widened as he turned, looking for the source of it.

Bella and a number of other pixies fluttered around, darting inbetween trees and swooping low to the ground while being chased. The game of tag had everyone playing in a fit of giggles.

Pushing himself from his chair, William walked across the plush green grass toward the pond, stopping as he approached Buffy before sitting down.

"Hey you," Buffy said, smiling as she looked up at him. "I was wondering if you were ever going to join us."

William leaned over, giving Buffy a small kiss before reaching out and grabbing up the small blonde sitting in front of Buffy. "I like watching you all play," he said, kissing the chubby cheek of the wiggling girl in his arms.

"Look," the little girl said, smiling as she held up the small ring of flowers Buffy had made for her.

William took it from her, placing the flowered halo atop of her head before giving her another kiss. "Did mum make that for you?" He asked her, smiling as her face brightened when she looked over at Buffy.

"Caroline is being Mommy's sweet girl today, aren't you?" Buffy asked, grinning at the smiling one-year-old.

Caroline's smile widened as she saw the pixies, her excited wiggles prompting William to place her on her feet before she happily giggled and chased after the brightly colored creatures.

Buffy and William watched her, both of them laughing as she squealed and tried to get into the game of catch.

Bella swooped low, barely getting out of the way of the small fist that was ready to clamp down around her before a loud, shrill scream pierced their ears. Stopping in mid-flight, Bella's eyes widened as she saw William and Buffy both stand and run.

"Why can't she ever play without getting hurt?" Will jr. huffed as he stopped and crossed his arms over his chest.

"Will, be quiet before Da' gets mad again and makes the fairies go away," Joyce Ann told her highly irritated twin brother.

"Well, I get tired of all the fun stopping just because clumsy girl can't stand on her two big feet!" Will almost yelled as Buffy and William finally made it to them.

"Rebecca Rose, are you okay sweetie?" Buffy asked as she leaned down, swooping her five-year-old niece from the ground.

"No," Rebecca almost squealed as she held her leg and cried. "Will tripped me!" She yelled, glaring at the curly-haired blonde boy.

"Did not!" Will yelled back as his face reddened with anger. "You're just a clumsy ox. Not my fault you can't run and laugh at the same time!"

"Will," his father said sternly, giving the boy a look. "Be nice or you're going inside."

Will gawked at his father, shaking his head before turning and stomping off toward the cottage. "Never fails," he huffed as he walked away. "Becka Rose gets hurt…whose fault is it? Mine!"

Joyce Ann was torn between staying to see if Rebecca Rose was okay or going after her brother. Her head darted between the two, watching as her mother and father attended to the crying girl before she would glance over to Will who was stalking toward the cottage mumbling under his breath. Deciding playtime was more important than a bloody knee, Joyce Ann ran for the cottage.

"I don't know why she has to come all the time," Will huffed as his sister finally made it over to him. "This is our special place. Why can't she just stay with Auntie Willow?"

"Because she likes the forest as well," Joyce Ann said as she stared at her brother. "And you did trip her."

"So," Will said, a devious smile forming on his face. "Don't like her. I wish the Trolothan would eat her."

"Edward William Giles!" Joyce almost shouted. "If Da' heard you say that, he'd switch you."

Will rolled his eyes, flopping down in the chair his father had vacated earlier before staring hard at Rebecca Rose. "Don't know why you always take up for her," he sighed as he watched them. "I think you like her better than me sometimes."

Joyce Ann glared at her brother as he glanced over at her before she crossed her arms over her chest. "You are so mean," she said shaking her head. "You know I like you better. You're my brother, but you have to stop being mean to Becca Rose or Da' is really gonna get you."

Will huffed, rolling his eyes as he watched his mother and father fawn over the red-haired girl while she continued to cry.

"I don't see why you dislike her so much anyway. She is family, you know," Joyce Ann told him, finally taking a seat.

"Well, let's see," Will said smugly as he sat up straight. "She has that stupid red hair. She's whiney and a brat! Grandmum is always inviting her to the castle and she tears up my toys, not to mention, she's not even royalty. She shouldn't even be allowed to play with us."

Joyce Ann sat, staring wide-eyed at her brother as he clicked off reasons for not liking Rebecca Rose on his fingers. She was stunned by his admission and shook her head before sighing. "First off, she is royalty. Just because Uncle Oz isn't a prince doesn't mean that Becca Rose isn't a princess. Auntie Willow is a princess, so that makes Becca Rose a princess. You really need to grow up," she told him. "If Mum or Da' heard you talk like that, why, they'd lock you in the dungeon."

"Well at least I wouldn't have to hear Becka Rose whine all the time," Will said sarcastically. "Hey! Think we could convince Da' to put her in the dungeon?"

Joyce Ann sighed heavily, shaking her head at Will as he laughed before she stood and walked back over to where Rebecca Rose was finally starting to calm down. She glanced behind her, looking at her brother before smiling as she saw Caroline grinning up at Bella.

"Hey Caroline," Joyce Ann said, smiling as she bent down to her baby sister. "What's that?" Joyce Ann pointed to Bella. "Can you say pixie?" She asked.

"You going to be okay now?" William asked, helping Rebecca Rose stand as Buffy looked around, seeing where the other three children were.

"Yes," Rebecca Rose said, wiping her remaining tears away.

Buffy smiled as she watched her girls playing before looking toward the cottage. She couldn't help but smile as she saw Will and the stubborn look etched across his face before she looked over at William. "Do you want him this time, or me?" She asked, grinning.

William looked toward the cottage, seeing his son before sighing heavily. "That boy is gonna be the death of me," he mumbled as he turned and started for the cottage.

"You do know he gets that from you, right?" Buffy asked teasingly.

William shook his head as he started for the cottage, Buffy's laughter ringing in his ears before he tried to figure out how to handle the situation this time.

Will saw his father coming toward him and knew he'd had it. Sitting up straight, he held his head high as William approached him and sat down.

William sat down beside Will, holding back his smile as he looked at him. He was just as stubborn as Buffy, but saw himself every time he looked at him. The curly blonde hair that he shared with his sister hung loosely in his eyes and the bright blue eyes they both had stared straight ahead. He hid a smile behind his hand before he leaned back in his chair and looked over at Rebecca Rose.

"She skinned her knee up pretty bad," William said, glancing over at his son quickly before returning his attention back to Rebecca Rose. "Don't suppose you saw how it happened?"

"Nope," Will said quickly, his attention riveted to the pixies as they fluttered around Caroline and Joyce Ann.

"Think she's just clumsy then?" William asked, finally looking over at Will and staring at him.

"She's always clumsy," Will snorted out, shaking his head slightly. "Stupid girl can't do two things at the same time without getting hurt."

"Hey," William said sternly, "watch yourself young man."

Will glanced over at his father, ducking his head slightly. "Sorry Da'," he mumbled as he saw the way he was being watched.

"I don't think it's me you owe the apology to, now is it?" William asked him.

Will squirmed in his seat and William hid another smile. He knew without a doubt that Will had tripped Rebecca Rose. It wasn't any secret that the two despised being in the company of the other. Buffy had told him it was because of Joyce Ann. She was the calmer of the two and Will and Rebecca Rose both envied the other when it came to Joyce Ann's attention.

Will looked over at his father, defeated after he had stopped talking and knew by the look on his face that apologizing to Becca Rose was the only way out of this one. Sighing heavily, he stood before slowly walking to where the small, red-haired girl stood.

Buffy hide her smile as Will passed her before she continued her way to William. She couldn't help the small giggle that escaped her as she looked at her husband's face before he finally looked up at her.

"This is my payback, innit?" William asked as he wrapped his arms around Buffy's waist and sat her down on his lap.

"What's that?" Buffy asked, wrapping her arm around his neck.

"Will and the way he behaves," he stated as he watched his son. "Mum always told me that my kids would be ten times worse than me if I didn't start behaving and I'm beginning to believe she was right."

Buffy laughed quietly as she reached up, laying her hand on William's cheek before placing a small kiss on the other. "Well, I do remember Rupert telling me about you and your cousin Darla, something about the two of you not being able to be in the same room together without some sort of bloodshed."

William snorted and shook his head before the memory of his most hated family member crossed his mind. "Crazy bint lived to only to cause me grief," he said loudly.

Buffy laughed louder at that, shaking her head before turning William's head so she could see him. "And Will's behavior surprises you?"

"Well, yeah," he said looking confused. "Rebecca Rose is nothing like Darla. She was the devil incarnate!"

"You are impossible, you know that?" Buffy asked smiling before leaning down and kissing him.

"Ewww, why do they have to do that all the time?" Will stated as he scrunched his face up while watching his parents.

Joyce Ann and Rebecca Rose both turned and looked, both of their faces matching that of Will's as they watched Buffy and William.

"Grownups are always doing that," Joyce Ann told them. "I've seen Aunt Cordelia and her suitor doing that a lot."

"Yeah, but they don't do it in front of us," Will said in disgust. "Mum and Da' are always doing gross stuff like that."

"That's 'cause they're in love," Rebecca Rose told them, smiling. "Mum said someday a handsome prince would come and sweep me off my feet just like Da' did her and we'd live happily ever after."

"Like anybody would want you," Will said, chuckling. "Not with stupid hair like that."

Rebecca Rose stared at Will wide-eyed before he stuck his tongue out at her and ran. "You are going to get it," she yelled before she took off after him, leaving Joyce Ann standing there watching them.

"What do you think Caroline?" Joyce Ann asked as she looked down at her baby sister. "Think Will and Becca Rose will ever stop fighting?" The smile from the chubby little blonde caused Joyce Ann to smile as well before looking back up at her parents. She couldn't help but smile wider as she watched them, for no matter what Will said, she knew her parents were happy.

William opened the door, smiling as he glanced back at Caroline before shutting the door quietly behind him. He smiled as he walked down the short hall, trying to be as quiet as possible before reaching the bedroom door.

The faint glow of candlelight flickered across the walls as he slowly opened the door and his smile widened as he stepped inside.

"It's about time," Buffy said, smiling as she saw him shut the door. "I was beginning to think you forgot about me."

"Sorry luv, couldn't get away," he said softly.

"I bet," she grinned. "You do realize that Caroline is going to grow up, don't you? She won't stay little forever."

"Well, we'll just have to have a castle full of kids so we'll always have a baby around," William said, returning her smile as he crossed the room to her.

Buffy smiled up at him as he stopped in front of her and the play of light across his features made her sigh. "I love how the light plays across your face," she said, raising her hand and running it over his cheek. "Makes you look even more beautiful."

"What'd I tell you about that 'beautiful' mess?" William grinned, as he closed his arms around her waist. "You're gonna make me into some bleedin' poof if you keep that up."

"No I'm not," Buffy giggled, rising up on her toes before lightly kissing him. "And don't you think three kids are enough for now?"

"Never," he told her as he took a step forward, leading her toward the bed. "I rather like you pregnant."

Buffy smiled as William led her to the bed, her arms wrapping around his neck as he deepened their kiss. She sighed in contentment as he reached down, picking her up before laying her on the bed.

Her eyes opened as William broke from her lips and rained slow, light kisses across her face. Her hands moved to his hair, her fingers running through the soft curls as he found his way to her neck.

"I'm actually glad you think that way," she said softly as she smiled.

"Why's that?" William asked, kissing her neck before looking up at her when she didn't respond.

Buffy smiled as he grinned at her and his hand snaked down her body, pulling the silk of her dress up over her thighs before his hand found the smooth skin that lay beneath it. She was still amazed that after six years, the slightest touch from him sent shivers through her body.

Buffy leaned up, kissing him softly before her smile widened. "Because we're having a baby," she told him, ginning.

The smile that crossed his face caused her to giggle before she yelped as he lunged for her. Wet kisses were spread across her skin as soft whispered words of "I love you" danced in the air.

As clothes were gently removed and they both lay naked, Buffy had to marvel at the wonder of it all. Every time they were together, it was like being reborn. A small death that came crashing down around her before the most exquisite ecstasy she had ever felt surrounded her, pulling from every direction until there was nothing left but him.

As all thoughts left her mind except for the way he felt, the small explosion of pleasure that left them both spent and panting for air caused a contented smile to cross her face as William pulled her to him and held her tightly.

"I love you," he whispered into her hair as his hand ran small circles across her stomach.

"And I love you," Buffy said as she tucked her head under his chin.

As they both lay there, basking in the afterglow of their love, they both had matching smiles etched across their faces. What had started out as an arrangement between their parents to secure the future of a kingdom had left both of them with what they desperately wanted. Someone to love and have return their feelings without question.

As the moon rose high above the Enchanted Forest, the small family nestled safely in their beds in the small cottage rested in peace, knowing that for the duration of their lives, they were all truly loved.

"And while Cinderella and her Prince did live happily ever after, the point, gentlemen, is that they lived…" –Grande Dame

A/N…There you have it! The end of our tale…well, for now that is…lol. I DO have a sequel planned, BUT I have no plans on starting it until I get some of my other WIP's finished, or at least almost finished. I may write some on it when that blasted writer's block creeps up on me, so if you see a chapter pop up every so often….don't freak when it's not updated for a while. I will be concentrating on the others first.

I do hope you have enjoyed the story and thanks again for the reviews!

Next up?  'Sweet William'!!! Look for it in a few days.

Zarrah