Title: Not So Grimm
Author: gleefulmusings (formerly xanzpet)
Fandoms: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/The Complete Fairytales of the Brothers Grimm.
Genre: Fairytale bordering on crack (because aren't all fairytales kinda cracky?), human AU.
Warning(s): Sexual language.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, lyrics, etc. are the property of their respective owners. Snippets of dialogue may be incorporated from the original canonical episode(s) and belong to their respective authors/creators. The original characters and plot are the property of the author(s). The author(s) is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended, nor should any be inferred. No profit is being made.
Summary: The nefarious Duke William seeks to rid Cordeliana of its regnant prince, Alexander, and claim the lands as his own. Assisted by the White Witch, a pair of helpful dwarves, and a particularly surly magical mirror, Alexander seeks to reclaim that which is his while finding a suitable Prince Charming.
Once upon a time, there was an inordinately beautiful pastoral kingdom known as Cordeliana, so named for a wise and ancient Queen who, with the power of her stunning beauty, keen wit, and magnificent breasts, consistently defended her home against hordes of scurrilous invaders, and was still worshipped by adoring acolytes a millennium later.
Full of lush, verdant fields and boasting exquisite and unique types of flora and fauna, Cordeliana was the envy of all of the surrounding principalities, and while they were too fearful to launch attacks on the kingdom due to its people's fierce devotion to the royal heir, the rulers of these small nations nevertheless sought and conspired to incorporate Cordeliana into their own holdings.
The most persistent of these interlopers was Liam Angelus, King of the Realm of Aurelius. While his land was exceedingly wealthy and prosperous, King Liam was dissatisfied and longed to claim Cordeliana as his own. For over a decade, he schemed and plotted against Queen Darla, his former lover and ruler of the kingdom he so desperately desired.
All of his entreaties and nefarious plans were for naught, however, as the Queen, wary of his professions of renewed love – as well as his exceedingly large forehead – instead consolidated her power and thwarted him at every turn. After Queen Darla took a husband, Prince Lindsey of Attorneyata, and conceived an heir, Prince Alexander, it appeared as if nothing could unseat the Queen from her throne.
King Liam however connived with a neighboring nobleman and distant relative, the vainglorious William of Cloroxia, and the two hatched a vile coup and had King Consort Lindsey assassinated. This plot, too, failed, for as Queen Darla fell into deep mourning, her people united around her and the kingdom of Cordeliana emerged stronger than ever. Frustrated, King Liam and Duke William adjusted their vision.
After the appropriate amount of time had passed, Duke William began slyly courting Queen Darla, who was vulnerable to the Duke's beautiful cheekbones, piercing blue eyes, and abs of steel. Prince Alexander, a mere lad at the time, had, in the wake of his father's murder, been sent for his own protection to the far-off land of Sunnydale, ruled by the most good and gracious Queen Tara, cousin to Darla.
Here the young prince flourished and was much beloved by both nobles and peasants alike. He developed deep friendships with the Princesses Buffy and Faith, daughters of Queen Tara and the White Witch, Willow. Alexander also forged a bond with the Queen's clever and cunning Fool, a man known simply as Giles. The heir of Cordeliana, while though much aggrieved by his father's untimely demise and dreadfully missing his mother, nevertheless excelled in his studies and grew into a young man of considerable beauty and kindness.
He was renowned by all the denizens of Sunnydale for his warm eyes, the color of darkest chocolate, which always seemed to dance with laughter and merriment, and his thighs, so powerful they were believed able to choke chimeras. He had a number of suitors, but shyly and gently rejected their advances, content to be amongst his friends and hopeful that he would one day be reunited with his dear mother, though he knew that he would soon have to marry and beget an heir to secure his royal prerogative.
During this time, Duke William, through a series of dark spells, manipulated Queen Darla into taking him as her husband. He was abetted in this shameful endeavor by King Liam and a vengeful witch, Amy of Madison. After trying unsuccessfully for a number of years to sire a new heir upon the Queen, William became resigned to the fact that it was not to be. Liam suggested that disposing of the Queen would leave young Alexander in need of a guardian and the kingdom vulnerable to annexation. Anxious to be free of his albatross, William dispensed of Darla through a vicious curse which rendered her allergic to sunlight. Under the guise of protection, William had the Queen locked away in the dungeon, where she withered and at last perished from a chill which none of the royal physicians could dispel.
King Liam had played his hand with extreme caution, ensuring that the assignation was performed with neither financial nor practical remuneration from himself and guaranteeing that any lingering evidence would be traceable to Duke William alone; political assassination was considered, at times, a necessary evil, but regicide was high treason. King Liam knew that were he found even remotely circumspect, not even his crown could save him; his own people would call for his execution. With Darla gone and her consort long dead, the only thorns remaining in his side were the boy, Alexander, and Duke William. However, the King of Aurelius had contingencies in mind to deal with them, as well. Soon, Cordeliana would be his alone to rule.
At once, William declared himself Prince Regent of Cordeliana and Lord Protector of Alexander. The people, bereft at the loss of their Queen, did little to stand in his way, save mumble a few protests. Most believed the evil Duke responsible for the death of Darla, and some of the older citizens made the connection between his arrival and the death of Prince Lindsey, though lack of empirical evidence wisely convinced them to hold their tongue. Those few dissenters who dared to denounce the Duke openly were quickly rounded up and executed for treason against the crown.
Lord William, as he now insisted he be addressed, was incredibly arrogant and awash with his newfound power. He enacted a series of unfavorable decrees which allowed King Liam to commandeer several aspects of the kingdom, sending the economy and the environment into a tailspin. The people of Cordeliana, angered by these developments, rallied the castle and demanded the return of Prince Alexander, insisting that he be installed on the throne. Though Alexander was not yet of age to rule, they believed that the child of their Queen and her Consort would right all wrongs done to their nation. Parliament was abuzz with plans to abolish the law of majority and coronate the Prince, regardless of his youth.
King Liam sensed the potential danger of the situation and forced Lord William to comply, though the latter was uninterested in little more than his gold and his beloved magical mirror. Before recalling Alexander to the kingdom, Lord William pranced and preened before the reflecting glass.
"Mirror, mirror on the wall," he cooed, "who is the fairest of them all?"
The Lady of the Mirror, Anyanka, who was disdainful of William's boastful pride, materialized and sneered. "Lord William, you are hot, 'tis true, but there is one even hotter than you!"
William scowled as his face darkened with rage. "Outrageous! No one is more desirable than I! Look at my face, my bearing, my tight and compact body! I demand that you show me this supposedly hotter individual!"
An image presented itself in the mirror. The sweet, lovely face of a youth of just sixteen appeared, his dusky skin glowing with health and vigor. Sensuous, full lips curved upward and then opened into a disarming, lopsided grin. Hair of burnt ebony fell in waves to his collar, and the most delicious eyes, glittering like the darkest of topazes, crinkled in happiness.
"Oh!" William cried, clutching his heart as his cock twitched uncomfortably in his snug codpiece. His feelings of anger were immediately subsumed by an overwhelming lust to possess this boy and make him his own. "Who is this gorgeous creature?"
The image was replaced by a smirking Anyanka. "Ah, Lord Protector, desist while you can, for you will never know the love of this man. He is Prince Alexander, soon to be King, the son of your Queen and he who first wore her ring. He will return to this kingdom and claim his throne; you will be banished, your future unknown."
Lord William smiled predatorily. So, this was young Alexander, the child he had convinced Darla to send away years ago. Whoever would have imagined that the boy would grow into such a captivating beauty? The Mirror's warning went unheeded as William's mind raced with schemes of how to bind the boy to him, affirming his own power and claiming the youth as his concubine.
He closed his eyes and purred in contentment as he imagined invading the boy's delicious body and making him a slave to his cock. He pictured those luscious lips wrapped around his quivering prick, eyes huge and guileless and begging for more, shameless in his desire for his Lord Protector. William dreamed of leaning Alexander's lithe frame over the very throne formerly occupied by the boy's dead mother and thrusting into that virgin entrance, making the young prince scream in both ecstasy and torment. So tender, so sweet.
"He will be mine," he vowed, ignoring the raucous laughter of Anyanka.
He immediately summoned King Liam, who put in an appearance but was annoyed by the presumptuousness of the Lord Protector. As William explained his plan to have the young prince recalled to Cordeliana, Liam carefully kept his face blank as his mind whirled with glee; with William so beguiled by Alexander, he could make short work of them both and claim the crown for himself, thus doubling the size of his kingdom and eliminating all threats to his power.
He encouraged William's folly, and suggested a messenger be sent to Queen Tara of Sunnydale, advising her of Darla's passing, which would necessitate the return of Alexander to be groomed to ascend the throne. Liam himself did not wish his name to be in any way associated with the machination for, while he was hungry for power, he was no fool; he was well aware of the talents of Queen Tara and her White Witch and did not wish to cross them. Further, he had designs on Princess Buffy, believing that were he to woo her successfully, he might forge an alliance with Sunnydale which would forestall Queen Tara's rage at his usurpation of her cousin's throne.
Excited, William deployed an envoy to Sunnydale and set about ordering the servants to ready the royal suite for Prince Alexander's return. The staff chattered animatedly about the son of their Queen coming home to the fold, and their whispers soon spilled out of the castle and into the environs. In a matter of hours, the entire kingdom was bursting with enthusiasm and undertaking preparations for a festival to welcome home their young prince.
Queen Tara read the scroll, her eyes widening with each word even as they seemed to cloud over.
"Sir Wesley," she said quietly, "please ask Prince Alexander to meet me in the library. If he be with my daughters, they are encouraged to attend him."
"Yes, Your Majesty," was the curt response, as the scholarly young man rushed from the room.
Moments later, Alexander and the Princesses Buffy and Faith entered the library with trepidation. It wasn't often they received such a summons from the Queen, usually only when there were serious matters which required their attention or, more rarely, occasions she had taken them to task for some silliness on their part, such as when Princess Faith tried to wrestle a crocodile for the amusement of her companions. The fact that she had triumphed over her opponent proved incidental to her mothers, however.
Queen Tara and Willow arrived quickly, and encouraged the three young people to sit and inquired as to whether they might like tea. After the formalities were dispensed and the offer of refreshment politely refused, the Queen came to stand before Alexander.
"Dear boy, cousin, it pains me greatly to inform you that your beloved mother, Queen Darla, has passed," she gently stated.
The Princesses gasped with shock and grief, but Alexander kept his silence and was carefully observed by the White Witch, with whom he had always had an almost filial relationship.
Thoughts swirled about the head of the young prince. He had not seen his mother for many years, having been sent from Cordeliana for asylum from those who had slain his father. He had not been permitted to attend his mother's remarriage to Duke William, not that he would have accepted had an invitation been extended. He wasn't quite sure why, but he had always fostered an antipathy for the man, deeming him little more than a social-climbing parasite. He barely remembered his father and already his remembrances of his mother were starting to dim. That he would be afforded no opportunity to see her again was a violation.
"Was her death a natural one?" was all he could fathom to ask.
Queen Tara's eyes widened. "Why of course it was, young prince! Your mother had developed a severe allergy to the sun, requiring her to be sequestered in the dungeons for her own safety. Unfortunately, the dank caused her frail form to succumb to a lingering chill."
The mouth of the White Witch set in a grim line. She thought the boy's question astute, and she too had her doubts as to the demise of Darla. Her wife's explanation did nothing to quell her suspicions; indeed, it only stoked their flame. Allergy to the sun? Not unheard of, but such an affliction did not suddenly present itself at such a point in life. She believed magic to be the culprit.
One look at her youngest daughter, and Willow ascertained that Princess Faith was also speculative. While she dearly loved her wife and eldest child, the Queen and Princess Buffy were often unwilling to consider the darker sides of people.
"Am I to return at last to my kingdom?" Alexander whispered.
"You are," confirmed the Queen. "You must begin preparations to wear the crown which is rightfully yours."
The young princesses wailed loudly as they realized they were soon to be parted forcibly from their dearest companion.
"And my advisor?"
"Why your stepfather, of course!" Queen Tara laughed. "Duke William has named himself Lord Protector until you are of age to reign."
Alexander inwardly shuddered but managed to suppress any apparent sign that this news distressed him. He did not want to be at the mercy of such a dastardly villain! And the audacity of that man to declare himself anything!
At once, the White Witch rose to her feet and dismissed her daughters, while asking the Queen to allow her to speak with Alexander in private. Confused, Queen Tara nevertheless capitulated and escorted her still-sobbing progeny from the room. Willow came to sit next to Alexander.
"I share your concerns," she began. "I do not believe your mother's death was mere happenstance."
"That man is evil," Alexander hissed, his rancor palpable.
"Aye, that he is," the Witch agreed. "He has undoubtedly recalled you to appease the people and will seek to rule the realm through you."
"I will not allow it!" the boy bellowed, slamming his fist into the arm of the chair.
"You have not much choice," Willow gently reminded him. "You are not yet of age to rule and he is your closest kin, though not of your blood. While my Queen is much admired by your people, they would never consent to allow her to rule until you reached majority; they would see it as a conflict of her interests."
"Praise Cordelia, what am I to do?" asked the now desperate youth, wringing his hands. "I cannot condemn my people to be subject to that murdering fiend! And King Liam! You have heard the rumors as well as I that he is still trying to conquer my lands. Further, my stepfather will surely try to force me into a union with a bride of his choosing, undoubtedly that horse-faced harpy Eve, Countess of Wolframhart."
The White Witch silently debated the best course of action, for she believed the young prince correct in his summation. Were the Duke allowed to reign for the next two years, the kingdom of Cordeliana would fall into the hands of Aurelius or go bankrupt, due to the Duke's propensity for leather pants and expensive footwear.
"If you would consent," she cautiously stated, "I could place a spell upon you which would prevent the Duke or his faction from any attempt to control your mind."
Prince Alexander nodded enthusiastically, for he would not put it past his stepfather to endeavor in such a heinous scheme, and he knew his cousin's power to be second to none.
"This is not a long-term solution, however," the Witch warned. "I think it best were you to appoint an independent paladin above corruption by the Duke. William will not dare challenge your authority to do so, and you would have the support of the Queen's Council."
"Suggestions?" he queried.
She thought for a moment. "I would recommend either Sir Wesley or the Lady Joyce. Both are remarkably learned and sound of mind and judgment."
"I think Lady Joyce," Alexander said after contemplating the matter. "She is a direct descendant of the Great Cordelia herself and is a distant cousin of my mother. She is above reproach and will tolerate no nonsense."
"A wise decision," Willow smiled. "I will send for her immediately, although you will arrive at Cordeliana before she."
The prince nodded. "But what shall I do should my stepfather press me to marry?"
"Have you given the matter any consideration?"
The young man flushed. "I have been corresponding with Charles de Gunn, Earl of the Land of Angels, as well as Princess Winifred of Illyria. While I greatly enjoy their wit and demeanor and either would make a good match, I feel not for them as one should for a spouse."
"You are young yet," the White Witch smiled, patting his hand. "It should be unnecessary for you to enter into such a commitment at this point in your life. I will draft a missive to your stepfather, advising him that the Queen and I have consented for you to court the Princess Faith. She is of royal stock and is more than a suitable match. No one would dare question it. It will buy you some time."
He nodded with relief, and Willow pressed a soft kiss to his forehead.
"Cousin," the boy said slowly, "are you aware of the rumors that King Liam wishes to wed the Princess Buffy?"
"I am," the witch replied in a low voice.
"If we can dispose of him," Alexander casually began, "I believe it is in all of our interests to do so, either by forcible abdication or execution for treason against both of our kingdoms."
Willow regarded him with keen interest, part of her shocked that the young man was calmly suggesting the regicide of a sovereign king, but the greater part of her was rather thrilled.
"You have been rather underestimated, Prince Alexander," she smirked.
"The Princess is my best friend," he whispered, "but she is at times too naive for her own good. She has not the guile of you nor her sister, and while I have no doubt that she will be as glorious a ruler as Queen Tara, I nonetheless worry."
"As do I," confided the mother of the girl in question. "Prepare your things," she advised, "for you must journey home by nightfall. I will have the scroll sent on ahead of you, and Lady Joyce will be deployed as soon as she is apprised of the situation."
"Thank you, cousin," the boy quietly said. "Were it not for you, I fear that I should soon join my dear parents in the royal mausoleum."
"Neither Queen Tara nor I would ever allow such profanity," she assured him. "We begged and pleaded with your mother to divorce and exile William of Cloroxia, but she refused; I believe he may have enacted a spell upon her person." She ran her fingers through his hair. "You are beloved of both your family and your people, sweet prince. While the Duke may currently hold unchecked influence, that will not be the case much longer." She paused and took his hand. "Take these next few hours to mourn for your mother, and then take satisfaction that you will soon avenge her murder."
Meanwhile, King Liam was more closely considering the return of Prince Alexander. He deemed the Lord Protector foolish in his desire for the boy, and was wary that the young prince could manipulate it for his own ends. If William could be swayed by the lad, he might forget his allegiance to Liam and then Cordeliana would be lost to him.
A more intriguing option was to do away with the prince altogether, leaving the kingdom ripe for a coup before the lands could pass to Queen Tara. Alexander's death so closely following that of his mother would completely devastate their people, and they would most likely be unable to muster an effective resistance. All he had to do was make sure it could never be traced to him. Smiling, King Liam summoned his witch.
William, the Lord Protector, was angrily pacing his chambers, the freshly-delivered communiqué crushed in his hand.
"How dare that insolent whelp!" he raged. "He knows full well that he must secure permission to court a potential spouse! And appointing that...that womanto serve as his counsel!"
Of course, he knew that Alexander, as the Regnant Prince, would neither suffer nor receive any opposition for these decrees, as he was free to appoint advisers as he saw fit, and no one would dare challenge his courting of the Princess Faith.
William frowned. He had heard rumors of the Lady Joyce. She was supposedly fearsome and intractable; with her watching his every step, he knew he stood only a slim chance of acquiring the delectable boy.
Even worse, rumor held that the Lady Joyce had a penchant for disposing of her enemies with a strange blend of mysterious cocoa! This was truly distressing, as there was nothing more he loved than a steaming cup of cocoa, unless it was unwarranted bloodshed of the innocent or the perverse defilement of a nubile youth. He had cocoa frequently throughout the day. Whatever was he to do?
"Preparations must be made."
The eyes of Amy of Madison grew dark with vindictive pleasure as King Liam delivered his instructions. She could not be bothered with feeling one way or the other about Prince Alexander, but the opportunity to exact vengeance upon the White Witch, who was undoubtedly protecting him, was heady indeed. Still, she knew she would pay dearly for any untoward action.
"I do not care what fate he suffers," Liam hissed, "so long as the young prince is unable to claim his throne. Do not inform me of what you will do so that if questioned I can deny any knowledge. Just ensure that he is removed and that I am not held responsible. Is that clear?"
"Perfectly, my liege," Amy murmured, offering a deep curtsey.
The king sniffed and took his leave.
"Bastard," she whispered.
Oh, how she loathed him! If only she had not challenged the White Witch, she would not be indentured to the maniacal pillock. She should have waited until she was advanced enough in her powers before daring to face off with Willow. Instead, the White Witch had stripped her of almost all of her power, leaving her little more than a husk, a fate truly worse than death. The late Queen Darla had been kind enough to offer sanctuary, but Amy had refused, preferring the allure of renewed magic which King Liam had extended.
"I have been such a fool."
She tugged ineffectually at the collar around her neck which bound her to Liam.
She would not kill Alexander for several reasons, not the least of which was that should Willow ever discover her treachery, Amy knew she stood no chance of survival. Too, the boy's mother had done her best to rehabilitate her, and Amy had wrongfully believed her inferior and weak-minded.
Were she to abide by Liam's decree and the people of Cordeliana ever to learn that she had been party to the demise of their prince, they would call for her head, and no doubt Liam would offer her up as a sacrificial lamb, proclaiming she had acted alone and not at his command. She had stood by and done nothing as King Liam and Duke William had Prince Lindsey assassinated, and she refused to condemn the blameless boy to the same fate of his equally blameless father.
After all, though she might have been dark, she was not evil. Still, the promise of hurting Willow even a little appealed to her, but she would need to plan carefully. According to Liam, young Alexander should be in transit to his kingdom.
"Well," she concluded, "a little storm will knock him off his course."
Pleased with her decision, Amy of Madison began calling the elements to her.