A/N: I'm true to my word, and I have written the first chapter in record time!!!! (also record length...I do not know how it came out that long) K, just a few WARNINGS...this is rated R for a reason, so if you're planning on flaming me because you think some things in the story are "inapproriate", save yourself the trouble and push the Back button, cuz I've got lots of "inappropriate" things planned. And, for those of you who didn't really like the new, darker Jesse towards the end of Angel Wings, you'll REALLY hate him here.

Enough of my babbling. Hope you enjoy!

Rebirth-Chapter 1

The only sounds in the tiny cell were the incessant drip-drip of leaking water, and the clank-clank of pipes long neglected. The only light was from a single candle, burning itself steadily away, wax dripping onto the wooden table upon which it stood…the only thing that furnished the small stone prison.

There was, however, a single pipe that ran across the ceiling. Not intentionally placed there for my use, of course. Nothing was placed anywhere for my convenience. However, by sheer coincidence, the pipe chose to run through my humble home, and so I made use of it in my spare time. Something to keep my idle mind occupied. They couldn't figure out why my muscle mass, rather than diminishing from disuse, instead kept growing. Growing to the point where they nailed boards across the wooden door for fear that I would just stampede right through it.

They knew if that ever happened, they'd all be dead. It was this cell and its god-forsaken "energy suppression" technology that kept me down. But for all its technology, it still looked like a ####### dungeon from the medieval times.

Currently, I was making use of the pipe, which I had dubbed "The Terminator" (some old movie I saw back when I was still a ghost). My legs were hooked over the pipe, subsequently leaving me hanging down. With my arms crossed over my chest, I timed my crunches to match the drip-drip of the water. I was already on crunch number fifty-two, and still going strong. I did the crunches automatically, without much thought, so as I counted mentally, I closed my eyes and meditated.

And the first thought that found its way into his mind was the memory of the wedding ceremony, if you could even call it that.

"Dammit," I muttered.

It wasn't that the memory hurt. It used to, a long time ago. It used to hurt me to the point of physical pain. To the point of not being able to breathe. To the point of my heart stopping once.

Now, the only thing I feel is the old anger. The helpless rage, the idea of knowing there's nothing I could do.

I wanted revenge. I wanted revenge for what had been done to me.

The poor girl by now had probably been used and abused so many times by now that she didn't care about me anymore. Only revenge. Just like me. We were kindred spirits. Miles apart, tied no longer by love, but by hate.


I sped up the pace of my crunches, leaving the drip-drip far behind. Anger fueled my strength. In that moment, I knew I could easily barrel through the door, despite the boards nailed across it. Nothing could stop me now…except a huge mazelike castle and infinite numbers of demons bent on destroying me.

Besides, I was due to die any day now. At least, that's what the little bastard had been telling me once every week for the last-what's it been?-five years? Six? But every time he comes to kill me, he says instead that I've got too high an entertainment factor to kill yet.

Little bastard. Yeah, really little. About a foot shorter than me, with puny muscles. And I'll bet he's smaller in other areas, too.

I grinned at the thought of my utter perfection over him, and slowed the pace of my crunches to once again match the drip-drip.

He would never conquer me. Never break my spirit. You can't break Hate.

Hate is eternal.

I sighed, and stopped the crunching, hanging down from the pipe, feeling the blood rush to my head. Listening to the drip-drip. Listening to the clank-clank.

Just when I was about to pass out, I reached up and grabbed the pipe. Tucking my legs into my chest and away from the pipe, I brought them down, and for a moment just hung there. A stray thought passed through my head, completely out of the blue.

How would she feel if she could see me now?

I'm no idiot. I'm fully aware of my good looks. I knew from the moment I met her that she was in love with my face, however much she denied it. And my abs. I saw her trying to sneak looks at them so many times that I actually felt a subconscious need to work out to keep them that way, even though, being a ghost, I didn't need to.

How would she feel if she could see me now, hanging from this pipe completely nude, muscles even further defined than before, glistening with sweat, doing these strenuous exercises? She'd force herself on me…against the wall.

With a chuckle, I began doing pull-ups. God, I was arrogant. I knew it, and I encouraged it. I knew I was better than everyone else in this stinking place. I knew I was the one who should be the king, not the little bastard. Me!

King Hector the Third.

I threw in "the Third" just because it sounds better.

And then of course her pet name for me would be Jesse…and she would be the only one allowed to call me that…everyone else, "Your Majesty, King Hector."

And the little bastard would be reduced to spending all day doing pull ups in a little room in the basement.



Twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three…

Maybe…maybe I will escape…

It shouldn't be too hard…one of the monks comes by with food, I make like I'm having a seizure or something, he rushes in, I grab him, shatter his stupid porcelain mask to kill him, grab his clothes, and walk out of here with his big, heavy leather cloak thing, so people can't tell it's me.

Then I'll have to find my way out of here. How? The Keepers don't ask for directions. They just glide around like ghosts and try to scare you by looking at you through the bars in the cell door with their creepy masks and doing some Darth Vader breathing noises.

And then the most interesting idea came to my mind, and I smirked at my own genius.


I miss the rain. The way it would patter against the window, slowly sliding down… I used to watch him, looking out the window. He had this thing about the rain. He would just stare out at it, like it was the most incredible thing ever. I would lie belly-down on my bed, pretending to read the latest issue of Vogue, but really just watching him, sitting on that bay window, Spike on his lap, just watching the rain…

Then he would notice me watching him, and he would look at me and smile. And my heart would skip a beat.

That never happened anymore.

There wasn't any bay window, no Spike, no rain, no Jesse…

There was this windowless, stone prison.

Sure, it was lavish enough. The sheets were silk, the walls were covered in exquisite paintings. My dresses were any girl's dream, though I really hated having to wear them all the time.

Everyone who sees me goes, "Good day, your Highness," and does anything I tell them to. Does anything I tell them to, but hates me anyway. Because I'm the only angel in the castle. The only one with white wings. And they hold me responsible for that.

No windows, so I can't see the rain…or the sun, or the snow, or the trees. I haven't seen the light of day since my wedding. Trapped in the castle. It's hard to feel trapped sometimes though, since the place is HUGE, and even though it's been seven years, I still get lost.

But times like this, I remember that I'm trapped. Times like this, when I'm sitting in our stadium-sized bedchamber, sitting on our bed, feeling so tiny, feeling so lost in that wide expanse of satin. Shivering in the cold. Naked, waiting for one of the servants to bring a dress for dinner with my husband tonight. Rolling the tiny band between my fingers over and over again, staring at the little stone on it…golden-red, glowing despite the darkness, shimmering mysteriously, reminding me of a time when everything was perfect, when everything was wonderful…

Jesse was dead. Paul had killed him shortly after the wedding, then, in an act of unforeseen sympathy, had let me stay away from him for as long as I wanted, dressing in black, avoiding him, sleeping in separate rooms. Then a month later, I started getting sick, probably from malnourishment, since I wasn't eating, and Paul came to help… Oh, how I hated him. How I still do…the kind of deep-seated hatred that never goes away, always burning quietly, stubbornly, just below the surface.

What he did that night so long ago could have easily passed for rape…if it weren't for the fact that we were married.

But when Rose was born, he didn't force himself on me anymore. Only asked respectfully, and most of the time I would say no. But sometimes, I would just need him. Need him the way any woman with no one to talk to, no one to listen, needs love. And these times, Paul was so gentle, so loving, that it was so easy to close my eyes and pretend he was someone else.

I could never love Paul. Never. I will always be in love with a dead man. And love can't be broken.

Love is eternal.

I just wish…that I could take a walk outside. Paul must have done awful things to humanity, to not even let me look outside. Things he didn't want me or Rose to see. I could only begin to imagine.

The earth was probably now only a great ball of flame, burning brightly forever, Hellish screams throughout. Earth was Hell by now.

I miss my family, and my friends, so much…

But I came to terms with my loss long ago. And now, seven years later, I need to be a pillar of strength, for myself…for my daughter.

"Mommy! Mommy! MOMMY!"

The door banged open, and Rose bounded in happily, her little cherub face lit excitedly, brown hair swaying as she ran as quickly as her stockinged feet would allow. I braced myself, tightened the sheets around my body, and caught her as she lunged at me. Quickly, while she was too busy giggling to look and start asking questions, I thrust the engagement ring under a pillow.

Maybe someday I would tell her about Jesse. But today was not that day.

"Rose," I said in disapproval, "I told you to stop doing that. Here I am waiting for the servants so I can get dressed, and you come in here to bother me. Can you at least wait until I can defend myself?"

But it was so hard to stay mad at her as she gazed down at me with so much love. There was something so comforting and familiar about her dark, kind eyes. Like coming home.

I never would have seen myself as a mother like this. Personally, I never really liked kids. But Rose here…she was the only one I could tolerate. More than tolerate.

Be happy with.

But his royal-pain-in-the-ass wanted a male heir. Too bad. He wasn't getting one. Rose was the only kid I could ever have eyes for.

"Mommy, Mommy, guess what! Guess, guess!"

I sat up with my daughter in my lap, and rocked her slowly back and forth, fingering a loose curl. "Well, can I have a hint before I go off guessing with no leads?"

I relished the bell-like giggle. "Nope, you have to guess all by yourself!"

I pretended to frown at her. "Ummm…aliens? You found aliens in your closet?"

She shook her head so fiercely I thought her head would fall off. She was so fragile looking in her little blue dress and white stockings. Like a glass doll, and I was afraid if I dropped her she would break. But I knew, somewhere in there was great strength. I saw it every time the child-demons wouldn't let her play with them, just because her wings had flecks of white in them. She would never cry, never be hurt in any way. She would shrug, and remind them that she was their princess. And they would mumble some insults, but do whatever she said.

"You found the lost treasure of Lucifer?"

She shook her head again. Why Paul considers tales of Lucifer and his killing and plundering good bedtime stories is WAY beyond me.

"Do you give up, Mommy?" she said, with an almost evil little chuckle at the end.

"Well, I don't think I'm smart enough to think of what it is…"

She crawled out of my arms, and stood over me imperiously. "Darn straight!"

I smiled sweetly at her. "So, what's so exciting?"

"I made a new friend today, down in the dungeons," she said, falling onto the bed, into a sitting position.

A darkness overshadowed my happiness at seeing her. "The…dungeons? I told you to stay out of there, Rose. Why were you there?"

Rose looked down, nervously twiddling her thumbs. "Well…you wouldn't believe me."

"Try me," I said, tightening the sheets again against the sudden chill that seemed to have settled over the room.

Rose looked up, but still avoided my eyes. "…he called me."


"The man. The dark man in the prison. He was calling my name, so I followed his voice down to the dungeon, and…"

"Rose, you spoke to a prisoner?" I said, hands tightening convulsively on the sheets. "There are very dangerous people in there! Why did you go there?"

Rose winced at my shouting. "But-but Mommy! He was very nice! He said he knew you!"

I tried to calm down, taking deep breaths. The last thing I needed was some psycho demon molesting my daughter's mind…well, besides Paul, but he didn't molest Rose's mind. Other people's minds, probably. My mind.

"Okay, Rose," I said, trying to talk normally, though there seemed to be a ball of cotton stuck in my throat. "I want you to tell me the man's name so we can get him away from you."

Hurt instantly washed over her eyes. "You can't take him away, Mommy."

"What was his name, Rose?"

"He…didn't tell me his name."

"You're lying."

"No, I'm not."

I looked into her eyes…but I knew what they looked like when she was lying. I knew the defensive slant when she was trying to hide something. Now, there was nothing but open and reluctant truthfulness.

"Then what did he look like?"

Rose looked down, suddenly looking like she was about to cry. "Mommy, he said he wanted to be my friend…"

"Bad people can say a lot of things, Rose," I told her, and I reached a hand out under her chin, and lifted her eyes up to mine. "Now…what did he look like, Rose? You're not in trouble. I just want to keep you safe."

She pulled away from me. I hated to take away her happiness like this, but I needed protect her, no matter what the cost.

"I couldn't see him, Mom. It was dark in the cell."

Mom. That was what she called me when she emotionally detached herself from a situation. Her voice and her eyes were suddenly equally cold, seeming much too old for her seven years.

I matched her coldness to a tee. And suddenly, we weren't mother and daughter. We were wary strangers, speaking in cool and calculating terms.

"What did he say?"

"He…asked me about life at the castle. Wished me a happy birthday…"

She was holding back. I could tell.

"He was very nice. I could see his eyes." She smiled suddenly, almost like a schoolgirl with a crush. "He had very nice eyes."

"Rose…I need to know everything he said."

"He…he…called me…a word I don't understand. I think it was an old human language he said it in…"

"What was the word?"

For some reason, the hairs on the back of my neck were prickling.

"It was…" she was ######## her face cutely, trying to remember. "It was…kedilla. Kedilla. That's it. He called me Kedilla."

The anxiety went away quickly, and I let out the breath I had been holding. Why had I been so anxious?

Suddenly Rose went ramrod still, looking up, fingers curling. Like she was receiving some kind of signal. I reached out for her instinctively, but her next words made my blood run cold.

"Querida," she said quietly. "It was…querida. And…and he said…he said, 'Querida, please tell your mother that I will see her soon.' That's what he said, Mommy. I remember. And…he laughed when he said that."

She shivered ever so slightly. So did I.

The anxiety was back. My heart was in my throat.

He was dead. So many demons could know that word. It was just a word.

Just a word.

"What…" I swallowed, trying to control my trembling voice. "What did he say about knowing me?"

"Nothing," Rose said with a shrug. "Um…just that you were old friends…" She looked up at me, her eyes seeming to see into my mind. "You knew a man who called you querida." She squinted at me, and I suddenly remembered that Paul had begun teaching her to read minds. I threw up a mental defense, but she only squinted harder, and I could feel her mind, like tiny hands, poking through the barrier, trying to get glimpses of a life that was long dead.

"Stop that," I whispered hoarsely.

But she suddenly stopped squinting, and her eyes went wide, like she suddenly understood the secrets of the world. "Ohhhhhh…" she said. "The man in the prison was-"

The door burst open in the crucial moment, and Bonnie came bustling in, her arms full of a bundle of fabric. "Your Highness, I'm so sorry! Paul has come, and he is angry that you are not there! I'm so late…" She trailed off as she spotted Rose sitting on the bed beside me.

It was a little known fact that Rose and Bonnie were mortal enemies, ever since Bonnie had put blue dye in the washing machines as a practical joke, causing nearly every towel in the castle to turn, well, blue.

"Princess Rose," she said stiffly, curtseying. "It's a pleasure to see you."

Rose jumped off the bed and curtseyed gracefully before Bonnie. "Likewise, my underling," she said wisely. "I must be going, however, to meet my father. Please dress my mother nicely…not like that disaster you made her into last night."

Bonnie's teeth clamped together, holding her tongue in her mouth, and I could barely stifle a laugh.

"I'll…do my…best," Bonnie said carefully.

With one last wave to me, Rose left the room quietly, as if she were a dignified queen.


Well, Bonnie really had done a good job, dressing me in a sleek, skin-tight black gown that flared at the bottom. She had done my hair up in little braids, wrapping them all over my head until I looked like Medusa…I looked gorgeous. And I hated it.

Dinner with Paul was usually a quiet thing. We sat at opposite ends of the twenty foot table, ate quietly, paid respects, and left. I hardly had any interaction with him at all outside the bedroom…and I'm talking about actual conversation there, not what you people are thinking. After getting to know him…well, I couldn't help but care a little. Never love, of course, and still always hate for what he made me into (a decoration to dangle on his arm at feasts and balls and royal crap like that), but care…just a little.

Sometimes, though, he chose to strike a conversation at dinnertime. And, unfortunately, he chose today to talk…today, when my mind was already a storm of thought about…something else.

"So," he said, his handsome tan face wearing a welcoming smile, "why were you so late today?"

"Bonnie had problems with the washing," I lied easily, without looking up from my dinner. Paul knew I was lying, of course, since my mental barriers were no match for his capabilities.

"Did she?" he said, and I could hear the amusement in his voice.

I glared up at him. "Yes, she did."

He held his hands up in 'backing off' gesture. "Ok, ok, problems with the washing, then."

"And don't even think about reading my mind, or I swear I won't ever talk to you again."

Ahhh…we're such a happy couple, aren't we?

"Well, I'd just like to remind you that I killed Rico Suave six years and eleven months ago."

I nearly choked on my caviar (which is nasty stuff, thank you very much).

Paul didn't look amused any more. "Would you like me to recount how his body was mutilated?"

"I hate you," I said boldly, giving him the iciest glare I possibly could.

"And how many times have I told you to get rid of that ring?"

"I'll never get rid of it, Paul. If you take it from me, I'll kill myself."

That wasn't a bluff. Paul already knew that I was suicidal.

"What a loving mother," he said dryly.

"Just as loving as her father," I replied.

For a long moment, we glared at each other across the table, exchanging silent challenges and promises of revenge. Then Paul spoke again, and the icy indifference was gone, replaced by something more familiar.

"You're my wife now, Suze. I'm just trying to do the best thing for our family."

"We're not a family," I reminded him, picking at my food sullenly. "We'll never be a family."

"Sure we are," Paul said warmly. "Husband, wife, daughter."

"Husband and wife by contract only." I looked up at him. "Forced contract."

"Suze, how many times do I have to remind you how much I love you before-"

"Goddammit Paul!" I yelled, pushing my chair back and standing up shakily. "I wish I never met you! I wish you were never born!"

For a moment Paul looked hurt. Then he recovered and said, "You say that but you don't mean it."

"I mean it with every fiber of my being," I said quietly, and I threw my napkin on the table and stormed out of the room. I couldn't take all his damn cockiness anymore. He has himself convinced that it's only a matter of time before I love him. But he has it all wrong.

It's a matter of time before a come to hate every single aspect of him that I don't already.

As I ran down the hall, furiously knocking people out of my way, I heard Paul calling out from somewhere behind me. Ignoring him, I ran to the only place where I truly ever felt at home.


When I entered the nursery, I thought at first it was empty. The lights were off, and everything was eerily quiet, lending all the cute teddy bears and dollhouses therein a quality of malice. I was about to close the door quietly and leave as quickly as I could to look for Rose somewhere else when I was stopped by a quiet voice.


I opened the door all the way and looked around. "Rose? Where are you? It's too dark in here…"

I fumbled around for the lights, but I heard a crash to my left and jumped in surprise. It was a priceless porcelain doll, which had fallen from a dresser. Another crash somewhere to my right. I couldn't see what it was, but I could tell it had been worth another million or so.

"Don't turn on the lights, Mommy…"

Another crash.

Okay, I was getting worried now.

"Rose, come out. And stop breaking all your dolls."

The was movement in the corner of the room, and Rose came tumbling out of a pile of pillows. "Mommy!" she cried pitifully as she looked around, dazed.

"Rose," I said quietly, walking forward and picking her up. She latched onto me like she was afraid of something. "What the matter?"

She was shivering. "…Mommy…"

"Rose, what happened?" I rocked her back and forth gently. "Please tell me."

"He was…calling me again…"

That cold feeling came over me again. That fear. That anxiety. Surrounded by the jeering teddies and smashed dolls, the feeling was worse than before. A foreboding feeling of things to come.

Reality suddenly seemed so fleeting.

It would be easy just to tell Rose to take me to him. Just follow her down into the dungeons, right to the cell. But…I couldn't do that. I was scared of what I would see. Amazing…I always thought that given any hope of his life, I would be filled with happiness.

Not this unspeakable dread.

"Querida, querida…" Rose moaned out, her eyes wide and terrified. "Querida, querida…Rosie, Rosie, ring around the Rosie…"

"Rose," I whispered, panic rising. "Rose! Rose, snap out of it!"

She wasn't even aware of me being there anymore. Tears were trembling in her eyes, and she let out a cry of agony. "Black Rose, little black Rose, black like your dear mommy…querida, querida…he won't stop, Mommy, he won't stop--!"

Then she put her hands on her ears and screamed. So loud, so terrifying that I nearly dropped her. But instead I squeezed her to my chest and ran from the forsaken room. Down the hall, towards the medical wing, where the doctors might be able to help. Still screaming, getting steadily louder, running as fast as I could…and then I stopped.

We were alone in the hall. I had never been here before. Never. Somehow, somehow my feet had carried me here, and I knew.

I was standing in front of the door to the dungeons.

I shivered. The doorknob seemed so inviting. I was hearing it now. So faint and far away. So near and dear to my heart. So…horrible…

"Now the big one hears me too…oh, you evil, evil black Rose, you…querida…" Mocking me.

Rose had stopped screaming. Now she was perfectly still in my arms, her ragged breathing not nearly as heavy as my own.

"Why?" I whispered, and I realized just how many things I was asking in that one word.

"Because you're mine, Susannah…"

I wheeled away from the door in horror and turned to run, but I bumped headlong into someone and fell backwards, taking Rose with me. Rose looked up, and screamed. "Mommy, it's him! It's the dark man! Help me, he's going to hurt us! Mommy!"

The figure was tall, covered in shadows, wings outstretched boldly…

And suddenly the shadows melted away, revealing…Bonnie. She was running down the hallway towards us as quickly as she could, carrying a lantern.

"Your Highnesses!" she huffed, coming to a stop in front of us, her servant dress and bonnet in disarray.

"That was him, Mommy," Rose whispered to me. "He was there in front of us, and then he disappeared…"

She was right. I knew she was. I bumped into him. I couldn't have bumped into Bonnie, she was running to us from the other end of the hall.

Why had he scared us like that? What was wrong with him?

"Your Highnesses," she said again. Looking extremely distraught. "I've been looking everywhere for you-"

She bent down and pulled Rose and I to our feet. Then, holding each of our hands, lantern forgotten by the tall, wooden door, she began running again, pulling us along behind her.

"Bonnie!" I said, trying to keep up. She was surprisingly fast. "What's going on!"

"I must get both of you safely into the bed chamber! The King will not be able to join you tonight-" she took a deep breath, "-and he ordered me to get both of you to your bed chamber, and he will post Keepers at your door to guard you."

"Why!" I shouted, already getting tired. Poor Rose was tripping over her feet, not being able to keep up with this pace at all.

Bonnie slowed somewhat, and turned left so we were out of the dungeon hallway. She looked around the deserted hall, making sure it was empty, then she leaned towards me and Rose.

"I'm not supposed to tell you this…but a very dangerous prisoner has escaped from the dungeons. The castle is on high alert. The man is loose in the castle right now, and the King is leading a search for him. Do you understand? We need to get you safely to your bedchambers…he could be anywhere!"

Bonnie then grabbed our hands again and started running again, now at an almost frantic pace.

He was alive…after all these years, he was finally alive…and I was running away from him.

I had never been this scared before in my life.

A/N: K, gave it my best shot, and I worked ####### it. Some of you may be shocked at seeing the bad guy win like that, and seeing Suze with a daughter. But trust me, Suze is not as helpless as she may seem in this first chapter.

And...um...do you see what I mean about Jesse being...different? Well, don't worry too much about that. We'll fix him, lol lol, *cough*...um...anyways...REVIEW, I need opinions here...