Disclaimer: I don't know why I have so much trouble remembering to add this, but it's not now, nor will it ever be mine. Sad but true.
“So if we time it just right, the dimensional gateways should align enough to send me back to my own world. Of course, it will be sad to leave. I like this place much better than the last one I was in. Of course, any place would be better than slavery. And I didn’t get there through the portal in the library, so it would be assumed that it would lead to a different place this time.”
The three men stared at the bubbly young woman in varied states of shock. The younger blond turned to the eldest of the three to whisper in his ear. “So, she just appeared?” The older man nodded, not taking his eyes off the woman. She was a pretty sort; although much too thin. Her long brown hair hung loose to her mid-back, and she wore an odd stringy shirt over a flowing blue skirt. She rushed around the room, organizing different objects in a way that made sense only to her, and mumbling to herself. The men would occasionally move as they found themselves in her way.
The older man had called for his hosts when the pretty woman had dropped, quite unexpectedly, on top of him as he prepared for the night’s ball. Her first words, after a long and profuse apology, had been an exasperated sigh of “Not again”. When questioned, she admitted it was not her first time in what she called an ‘alternate dimension’.
Then, upon finally noticing they were still in the room, she turned back to them. “Oh, I’m so sorry! I’ve been so busy working on a way home that I completely forgot my manners. My name is Fred. It’s nice to meet all of you, and I’m sorry again for dropping in on you like this so unexpectedly. And especially while you were changing.”
The youngest of the trio raised a single dark eyebrow. “Fred? I’ve never heard of a woman by that name before.”
The younger of the blonds elbowed his companion sharply in the ribs, but Fred acted as if she didn’t notice. “It’s actually short for Winifred. I just prefer Fred, that’s all. So… what are your names?”
“Please forgive us, Lady Fred,” the young blond responded. “I am Peter, High King of this land. This,” a motion at the brunet, “is my younger brother, King Edmund. The gentleman you landed on his King Lune of Archenland.”
“It’s nice to meet all of you. But… were you preparing for a party?” she questioned, motioning to their fancy outfits. Edmund grimaced in remembrance; he continually failed to enjoy himself at parties. Peter got a look of mild panic on his face; then dragged his brother out the door. King Lune smiled at Fred apologetically.
“Please forgive the kings. Their sisters are in charge of this ball, and the elder queen would be much displeased if they missed the opening dance.”
“Oh, I don’t mind. I have friends at home who are the same way. Cordy is always trying to have a party, and Angel has to be dragged in, almost kicking and screaming. Well, it would be if he actually kicked or screamed. Not that he doesn’t, of course, it’s just usually that only happens when he’s in a battle.”
King Lune smiled at her as a thought occurred to him. “Would you like to attend with me?” he asked.
Fred thought about it for a moment before answering, “I suppose it would be fun to attend a ball, but I don’t have appropriate clothes, and Cordelia is always telling me that I need to dress better.”
“You are nearly the same size as Queen Lucy. If you would like, after the opening dance I can ask to borrow one of her gowns.”
“Thank you, King Lune. That would be nice.”
True to his word, the king found Lucy and requested a gown. The valiant queen was only too happy to loan out a dress. That was how Fred found herself gliding across the dance floor of Cair Paravel in a sunshine yellow ball gown. She and King Lune, whom she liked more with each passing moment, danced to every song, the old king teaching her as they danced. As they danced, they shared their separate histories. Fred learned about the loss and return of Lune’s older son, the headache that was his younger son, and battle on a large scale. Lune heard of Pylea, growing up in Texas, demons, and what it’s like to work with an en-souled vampire, a self-taught street thug, a self-proclaimed demon hunter, and a former May Queen.
They were discussing proper methods for cleaning ‘medieval’ weaponry when Fred felt a tug in her ribcage. She stopped dancing abruptly and placed a hand against her chest. Lune leaned over her in concern. “Oh, this is uncomfortable,” she mumbled. Then an image of her team’s concerned faces was superimposed over Lune’s for a moment. The next thing she knew, Cordelia was exclaiming over her dress, and Angel, Gunn, and Wesley were checking her over for any injuries.
“Fred, please say something,” Angel begged softly.
“Oh darn. I think I stole Queen Lucy’s dress.”
Meanwhile, in Cair Paravel, everyone was staring in shock at the empty air where Fred used to be. King Lune met the eyes of the sibling monarchs and shrugged. “I do hope she got home alright,” Lucy whispered to Susan.