Hey there! I finally found time to update, hopefully it will happen more frequently now that summer has rolled around once more. Enjoy!
PS- A huge thank you to confused-Luna for pointing out my error with Keenan's parents, I will be fixing that shortly
Disclaimer: I do not own Wicked Lovely.
Keenan stared doorway that Donia had just run through, his heart dropping to his stomach. He let his head drop, letting out a sigh. No matter what he did, something always seemed to be going horribly wrong. He stayed like that, unable to face Ash in the wake of Donia's interruption. It was a wake-up call to the situation that they were in, and Keenan wasn't sure if he was ready for it. If he could just go after Donia and explain himself, maybe he could set things right…
"Keenan," Aislinn's voice brought him out of his thoughts. "I know that this isn't easy for you," she paused, steeling herself for her next words. "I am not going to pretend that everything will magically work itself out so that no one gets hurt, because it most likely won't." She touched his shoulder and he turned his head to look at her.
"What am I supposed to do? I have so many responsibilities and so little room for error." Keenan shook his head.
"I am not saying that it will be easy, Keenan. I telling you that things cannot go on as they have in the past. Circumstances have changed." She stared intently at him, "You need to make a choice. I know that you care for Donia, of course you do. She has always loved you and been there for you and I haven't. Whatever this is between the two of us is new and relatively easy to break off if you choose her."
Keenan opened his mouth to speak but could not find anything to say in the face of her honesty.
"But it helps no one by leaving the two of us in the middle. Until you decide I cannot give you my heart and Donia can't let you go." With that Ash left him to his thoughts, leaving out the same door. The Summer King ran a frustrated hand through his hair. He knew that she was right, but how in the blazes was he supposed to make such a decision? Donia had been there through his despair of waiting for his Queen, if somewhat unwillingly. They had been together since that night when Ash and Seth had set them up shortly after Beira's death, half a century ago. Their shared history was hard to ignore, especially overcoming their opposing natures for love.
But then there was Aislinn, the very being that Fate had designed to rule with him for all eternity. Now he finally had a chance to see what they could be together. Could he really afford not to take it? He knew he would get only one chance, for her heart could only endure being broken so many times.
He hadn't expected to be able to keep both of them, and now was the moment he would determine his future. He walked towards the door.
"Tell me, Evan. What made you betray your own regent?" Cyrus asked after the archer led the human girl away.
Evan gritted his teeth in frustration, reminded of his own foolishness being blinded by love. "I was deceived by the Winter Queen," he bit out. "I did not know I was to play the role of assassin."
The blonde faery raised his eyebrows, "Donia wishes to kill the Summer Queen? For what reason?"
"Keenan and Donia are lovers," said Evan a tad too harshly.
A knowing smile crossed Cyrus's face and he shook his head indulgently at Evan. "She is jealous of Aislinn just as you are jealous of Keenan. You love the Winter Queen, don't you, boy? You would have done anything for her no questions asked. Ah, to feel unrequited love. You really didn't stand a chance did you, poor chap?"
Evan clenched his fist and ducked his head slightly to hide his stinging pride. Cyrus chuckled. "Yes I will have a great deal of use for you, my friend. You were a member of the Royal Guard, were you not?" he stated more than asked.
Evan nodded stiffly.
"Good lad," Cyrus purred. "You will now be Aislinn's personal guard. Should you fail I will kill you in the most painful manner I can think of. This includes guarding her from herself and preventing her escape. Consider this your test of loyalty, do I make myself clear?" he asked with a slight sneer.
"Aislinn, sir?" Evan asked. Surely he couldn't go guard the Summer Queen he had just tried to kill?
"Yes, Aislinn, or rather Linn. Not the Queen, but rather the daughter of Seth, the Queen's love. The girl who just left," Cyrus closed his eyes for a moment, as if savoring his next words, "my most prized possession."
Evan pitied the girl already, being no more than a trophy to the powerful faery in front of him. He shook himself of those thoughts. It would do him no good to dwell on such things when he was charged with ensuring her captivity under pain of death. He resolved to harden his heart. When had it done him any good anyhow? With his mind made he looked up at Cyrus. "I accept."
The pointed toothy grin on Cyrus's face was more frightening than comforting as he stood and gestured toward the hall that his new charge had been led down.
Linn had just wiped the last of her tears when a knock came at her door. She sniffled quietly and straightened up before walking over to carefully open the door, which strangely did not bring her any fear as it had the last time.
She was met with a grinning Cyrus and the man with skin that resembled tree bark. She flinched as Cyrus pushed the door open further and let himself in, brushing against her on his way. The tree man—Ethan?—waited patiently in the hallway for her permission. Wordlessly she stepped back and he gave a small nod before following Cyrus.
"Linn, darling," a pair of arms wound themselves around her waist, locking like steel bars. "This is Evan, your personal guard. Behave yourself and he will remain unharmed, cause a fuss and he shall pay the penalty, understood?"
Linn's stomach lurched at the implications that Cyrus was making. This Evan's life was in her hands. Her actions were not entirely her own any longer, and her guilt would ensure that she cooperated. She felt Cyrus's hair on her cheek as he whispered, "Perhaps you will think twice about leaving me, my little dove." He pressed his lips softly to her neck before releasing her. "I have business to attend to; I trust you two will acquaint yourselves whilst I am gone." Without another word he left, shutting the door firmly behind him.
Linn couldn't find any words to say, hating herself for still thinking of escape plans despite knowing that this poor soul would be harmed if she ever left. Maybe it would be better not to be friendly towards him. No, she decided, it was not his fault that she was being kept here and as such he should not be treated as an enemy.
"Hello. I am sorry that you are being kept here, but it is my duty to ensure your safety," Evan said quietly.
"Thank you," she said. She extended her hand for him to shake, "My name is Aislinn Morgan, but you can call me Linn."
He shook her hand lightly, "Evan."
She raised an eyebrow, "You don't have a last name?"
"True names are very powerful and dangerous. One does not give them out lightly. Evan is what I am called, but it is not my name," he explained. Linn still did not quite understand the difference but she dropped the subject.
"Why did they call you a traitor?" Linn asked, crossing the room to sit on her bed. She patted a space close to her.
"I was given an assignment to give a gift to my Queen that almost killed her," he said. Seeing her look of horror he quickly added, "I did not know, it was not my intention. I was only trying to gain the favor of a woman who did not wish to give it." He spoke quickly, though whether to gloss over details or convince her of them, she wasn't sure.
"I would tell you my story but I don't even know what it is. All I know is that I was at a park and blacked out for three days. A little while later I was kidnapped by Cyrus and dragged into the woods with creatures that I don't even think are human and am told that I will be staying here forever." Her voice had gotten louder and more upset as she had continued her story but by the end her voice had cracked and it was clear that she was on the verge of tears, "I am scared and alone and I didn't even get to say goodbye to my brother." A tear rolled down her cheek and her bottom lip trembled but she did not allow herself to break down in front of him.
She didn't look at Evan, knowing she would see pity on his face which was the last thing she wanted to see. Instead she wiped the heel of her hand across her eye and took a deep breath. "Don't take this the wrong way, but I am not sure that I want to be your friend just in case I accidentally end up getting you hurt."
Evan touched her shoulder gently, "I understand. Circumstances being what they are, I am not sure either of us would benefit from friendship, but," he paused, "what about allies?"
She looked at him suspiciously, "We shall see."
Ash left Keenan to make his decision but found herself with nowhere to go. After wandering around the town for a while she decided to look in on Joshua. The last she was told he was still staying in Seth's house with his girlfriend and son and she was eager to see him again.
She rounded a corner that led to the small house and was shocked to see Donia in the exact perch that Ash herself intended to occupy, peering in at the family. To her knowledge, Donia had never been terribly interested in Seth's life or his children, so why would she be there now, especially considering that she was most likely upset with Ash.
Her protective instincts flared to life. She would be damned if she would let Donia hurt Seth's babies out of spite. A wind picked up around the Summer Queen as she marched over to Donia, focused and ready for conflict. "Leave them alone, Donia," she warned, alerting the Winter Queen to her presence.
Donia snapped her head in Aislinn's direction, her white blonde hair partially hiding her face due to Aislinn's temperamental wind. "Why are you here?" Donia accused harshly.
"Look," she started, "I know you are upset with me, but that is no reason to hurt Seth's children."
Donia let out a mocking laugh. "I should have guessed that would be your first thought. That I would want to hurt you; that I would even care enough about you to ensure your suffering." She gave Aislinn a disdainful look, "You're pathetic. To have had a chance with Seth, to give him happiness but instead robbed him of it. Now that he is gone you have decided that Keenan will suit your fancy for a while. After all," she sneered, "who could resist the lovely Aislinn, Queen of Summer?"
Ash felt like Donia had just slapped her. She had had no idea that the other Queen held so much anger towards her. "Donia, I—"
"Save it," Donia ordered. "I don't expect you to understand what you did because you were never here when he needed you. But do not dare to presume that you are the only one who cared about Seth or his family," she spat.
"How long?" asked Aislinn. "How long have you been hiding this?" She met Donia's cold stare.
"Long enough to be there for him when you abandoned him. Long enough to see how you broke him. Long enough to hate you for what you did to him," she said calmly.
It was Aislinn's turn to be angry. "Everything I did was for him, for his happiness!" she roared. "You don't think that a piece of me died every time I watched him live his life without me? I couldn't give him what he deserved so I let him go," she fumed. "I loved him with my entire soul and you will not condemn me for my actions. You have no right."
Donia's nostrils flared in anger, freezing the air with every breath she took. "If you loved him that deeply then why is it that you can go to Keenan so freely? Doesn't his memory mean anything to you? He died with a broken heart that never healed and if he could see you right now he would be crushed." Her voice cracked on the last word and Ash thought she spotted an icy tear in her eye.
Aislinn finally understood. Donia had fallen in love with Seth, but had been denied his heart because part of Seth had never fallen out of love with Ash. Irrational jealousy flared briefly at the thought of how much time Donia had spent trying to win Seth's affection in her absence but she tampered it down with the reminder that it was Aislinn's own decision to let Seth go. She understood where Donia was coming from, but that did not mean she agreed with her.
"I think it would be best if you left now, Donia. I came here to check on Joshua and Aislinn and I will not tolerate your interference," she said formally.
Donia laughed bitterly. "Yes, pretend like you care, Aislinn. Never mind that your perfect faery-free world for Seth and his children has been shattered," she said, brushing past the other Queen, leaving icy burns wherever she touched. "Do take a good long look at Dexter while you are at it." She turned to point at the window that she had been looking in with a cruel, sickly-sweet smile.
Ash watched her as she left, not allowing any emotion to reach her face until the Winter Queen was out of sight. She shook her head, trying to clear her racing thoughts and walked to the window. As she peered in, she saw Joshua rocking little Dexter to sleep, looking slightly preoccupied.
Her heart melted at the familiar features that resembled Seth's so closely with his dark hair and calm countenance. She watched as his brows drew together in deep concentration as the boy finally succumbed to sleep. He seemed just on the verge of inspiration when the girlfriend walked in the room, Ash could not seem to remember her name.
The blonde woman slowly ran her fingers through Joshua's hair, her fingers making their way to massage his temples. Aislinn gasped as she saw the familiar look of glassy eyed content wash over his face. She was using glamour on him, controlling his mind with her power, which meant that she was a faery, and not one to be trusted.
Quickly she spun and fled the scene, unsure of her next move but feeling as though Seth's children were in danger.
Unknown to Aislinn, Melinda had heard her gasp and had trained her clear blue eyes on the window, watching the Summer Queen's retreat. She narrowed her eyes; Cyrus would need to be informed of this new development before it threw a wrench in all of her King's careful planning.
For now she would continue as she had ever since she had met Joshua, keeping him close and docile, leashed to her side with a child. Because really, who better to convince little Linn of her place than her beloved brother. It wouldn't be long now before everything fell into place.
As long as they silenced the little Queen before she became a nuisance.
Joshua looked up at her with a lazy grin, still feeling the effects of her glamour and she returned it. Thankfully she really did care for the man, making her job that much easier. She planted a soft kiss on his forehead. "My dear, sweet Joshua, you won't even know what hit you, much less any reason why." She smoothed his hair down, "Maybe at the end of all of this I will even get to keep you."
If he survived, that is.
Alright! Showdown of the Queens! Well that is all for now, folks, but please review! I love hearing your feedback and it only takes a moment.
Until next time,