Author:  Meltha

Rating:  G, nothing objectionable

Feedback:  Yes, thank you. Melpomenethalia@aol.com

Spoilers:  Fool for Love in Season Five. 

Distribution: Fanfiction.net, the Bunny Warren, and the 500 Club.  If you're interested, please let me know.

Summary:  An impoverished William ponders what he can give to the girl who has captured his heart.

Author's Note:  The seventh in the Jewel Box series, a collection of 500 word fics (in response to The 500 Club) and an idea taken from Challenge in a Can www.dymphna.challenge.com.  In this case, it's William, jewelry, and hopeful.  Do note that I'm pretty much ignoring the financial status of William's family from Lies My Parents Told Me.

Disclaimer: All characters are owned by Mutant Enemy (Joss Whedon), a wonderfully creative company whose characters I have borrowed for a completely profit-free flight of fancy.  Kindly do not sue me, please, as I am terrified of you.  Thank you.

Beyond Price

William had no precious gems to give his beloved:  no sparkling jewels or gold and silver intricately wrought were his to present to her. But, in a way, he was almost glad.  Rubies could never hope to look anything but dull beside her scarlet lips, and what emerald could compare to the color of her eyes?

Or sapphire.  Maybe it was topaz?  Dash it all, he had to work up enough nerve to look her in the face long enough to figure out exactly what she looked like!  He had always been a timid soul, but she made the condition a thousand times worse.  Every time he opened his mouth near her, his tongue stumbled over words as though he were drunk, and his hands took on a life of their own, sometimes fluttering about helplessly like a pair of barnyard chickens trying to take flight or, at the very least, perspiring so profusely that anything he held slipped from his grasp and smashed to the floor.  To date, he had shattered three glasses of punch, two pairs of spectacles, and a porcelain figurine of a poodle in her vicinity but had yet to address a single coherent sentence to the maiden fair.

Unnoticed, he watched as at least a dozen of her admirers had, at one time or another over the last few weeks, given her tokens of their esteem.  Cameos hung around her fair neck and brooches were pinned over her heart, lace fans kept a cool breeze about her face and silk parasols protected her ivory skin from the sun's glance… all of them things he could never hope to afford.  From a distance, he had seen her face shine with delight over each new trinket – not, of course, from avarice.  That, he was certain, was beneath her pure soul.  No, it was from the joy of being adored that she smiled so brightly.

But though William's purse had always been empty, his soul was something else entirely.  While the others could drape her in lavish presents from head to toe, he did have one thing they did not.  He had his words.  Since childhood, his books had been his dearest friends, offering him an escape from the harshness of a world that could be cruel to an outsider.  He cherished the words he found far more than gold.  Money could be spent in a moment and never seen again, but the happiness of a beautiful word was his forever.

So, he hit upon the only way he could think of to win the love of his darling.  He would share with her the single thing that he had of value in the world.  He would give her his dreams, his hopes, his heart in the words he would write for her.  His faulty poems weren't the stuff of Shakespeare, he knew.  But they were his greatest treasure, one he would humbly lay in offering at the feet of his radiant angel, his effulgent Cecily.