Wishing on The Hellmouth
Fairy godmothers come in the strangest packages.Disclaimer:
BtVS belongs to Joss Whedon, and Kingdom of Heaven is the property of Twentieth Century Fox, written by William Monahan and directed by Ridley Scott.Pairings:
Based on the movie "A Kingdom of Heaven", and historical facts pertaining to the actual historical characters.
Please note it's completely AU as I've taken the movies collaborated character of Sybilla; yes, she was an actual historical person, just not the one portrayed on the screen, and squished her into the character I chose to portray as Buffy. Isabella was the king and Sybilla's younger stepsister; however, she wasn't the woman that married the real Balian of Ibelin.
That was her mother, the Dowager Queen of Jerusalem. The real Balian was quite a bit older than the luscious Mr. Bloom. I'm taking great creative license with the character I've created for Buffy, while trying to pull in more historical facts than portrayed in the movie. By no means, will I try to recreate the movie, or quote every line word for word, that's not the way I work, or very interesting in my humble opinion. Some easily recognizable quotes used, while others I've paraphrased or created new conversations, depending on what I was trying to portray. I created the original character of William II of Champagne, combining the stories of Isabella's first husband, Humphrey IV of Toran, who she married when she was about 11, and her second husband, Henry II of Champagne, who she fell in love with, but who was assassinated. I've combined their stories into one for my own purposes.
Buffy's mouth tasted like sawdust. The words she had forced out still choked her as she wrapped her arms around her waist. A deep ache settled in her stomach, and she wondered if it would ever go away.
She shuffled down the alley behind the Magic Box, wanting a few minutes alone to gather her thoughts. A noise from the shadows let her know that she couldn't even have that.
Her eyes went from the vampire to the sun blazing in the sky. She wrinkled her nose in confusion and continued walking toward him.
"Isn't it kinda sunny out here for you? You're still a regular vampire aren't you? I mean, they didn't use any kinda hoodoo on you too, did they?"
It was an innocent question, but the underlying tone held a wealth of meaning. His piercing blue eyes, studied her face. He could have stayed there all day just looking at her, taking in the wonder that was Buffy Summers, if he wasn't so damned scared that something was terribly wrong.
"Still the Big Bad, Pet; can wander about if I stay in the shadows."
He gestured toward the shadows cast from the building next door, which she hadn't noticed. Moving around the corner, he hopped onto a trash container and patted the place beside him.
Buffy tilted her head to stare at him as he sat there swinging his feet looking more like a little boy than a master vampire. She thought it strange that she felt more at ease with her former enemy than she did with her friends.
"Tell ole Spike what's the what."
"Just needed some time alone, get my bearings, you know?"
She gazed off at nothing in particular. He started to jump off the container to leave her when she stopped him.
"I can be alone with you here."
"Thanks ever so much, Pet."
He frowned when he saw that she wasn't teasing him and had gone back to her mindless staring.
"Uhm, Slayer, Buffy, I've never been to a Hell dimension, but I've been in some pretty rough situations. If you…"
"I was happy," she said whisper soft.
He almost didn't hear her, even with his vampire hearing. Spike stared at her in shock, with no snappy comebacks tripping off his lips. It didn't matter because she continued as if he wasn't even there, and she was speaking to herself.
"I was done, complete. Dawnie was safe and the world hadn't ended. Everyone that I cared about was safe. I was still me, but not. Nothing had shape or form, it just was, I was." She turned to stare into his eyes then looked away. "I felt finished...I think...I was in Heaven."
His mind had a hard time processing what she had said. An anger unlike anything he had ever felt before raced through him. Those horrible, stupid, selfish children had stolen her from Heaven. He swallowed back an angry roar, when he took in her huddled form as she continued to speak. Spike worked hard to keep calm and listen to what she was saying, realizing that he was only hearing it because he was in the right place at the right time.
"My friends pulled me out, tore me away from there." Her voice warbled momentarily as he continued staring, listening. "Everything here is…harsh. It's too bright and violent. This is Hell. It takes everything I have to get through one moment, and then there's the one after that…just knowing what I've lost, and that I can't go back…"
He watched those large hazel eyes dull and become lifeless as they once again looked off into the distance at nothing. Words, even snarky ones that could fire her temper, failed him. He had never felt more impotent than in that moment. Sliding down from his place beside her, he gently patted her knee with a shaking hand and faded back into the shadows. Spike swore under his breath that he would find a way to right this wrong if it was the last thing he did. He hated magic. It always came with a price.
Buffy stared out at the midday sun; she wrapped her arms around her waist to fight off the internal chill that had plagued her constantly since her return.
Closing her eyes, knowing the power of such words on the Hellmouth, she whispered, "I wish that I was back in Heaven where I was just me."
Red eyes peered out from the shadows. "Wish granted."
Dark clouds suddenly rolled in blocking out the sun. Lightning bolts streaked across the darkness followed by loud claps of thunder. The air became thick as the angry skies forewarned of a coming storm. The wind picked up, throwing debris about before sweeping it down the streets.
People rushed to find cover when the heavy rains started as the lightning crashed down around them. One lone figure remained frozen. Rain slashed down at her, yet she sat unmoving, not even bothering to wipe her face.
The storm raged on, growing in strength, amassing greater power, until a large funnel cloud appeared. It swept downward with a single purpose, to grant a wish.
D'Hoffryn and his newest charge arrived from Arashmahaar in a heap before the Powers. The Vengeance Demon Master quickly rose to his feet, straightened his robes and tried to appear unphased by such an unusual summons. He worked hard to keep his doings far from the Powers notice for just this reason.
His beady eyes turned to the vengeance demon trembling at his side and knew he should have let this one slide, but some imp told him that an over-the-hill actress whose husband left her for her personnel assistant would know a thing or two about vengeance. He should've kept to his own rules, staying far away from Hollywood when looking for good help.
He bowed his head toward the higher beings, and asked, "How may I be of assistance, your graces?"
"Silence, lower being," their voices blasted him, nearly knocking him off his feet. "One of your charges has dared to grant a Slayer's wish."
The accusation hit D'Hoffryn like a Troll hammer. It was the one rule his kind dare not break. The Powers remained neutral in most things regarding demon affairs, with this one exception. A Slayer couldn't wish away her destiny, or the balance would come completely undone.
"S-she is new and didn't realize what she was doing. I can fix whatever she did, your graces. I'll immediately strip her powers and return her to her former life," he begged, even considering going down on bended knee.
"Too late. You cannot cross over to where the Slayer has gone. For the transgressions committed by you and your charge, we sentence you to Leporidae for one solar day."
"Please, no, anything but that. Please tell me where the Slayer is; I can retrieve her, just give me a chance!" D'Hoffryn yelled.
He watched in wide-eyed horror as a portal opened to a land overrun with rabbits of every size, shape and color. Wispy arms reached out to drag him and his companion toward the portal; they struggled to get free with no luck. The ghostly arms dropped them through the opening, which closed behind them, shutting out their screams.
"Where did you send the Slayer?"
"To the Kingdom of Heaven between the second and third Crusades. It was the closest I could come to granting her wish. Opening the dimensional folds to return her to her rightful place would weaken the balance even further."
"Won't her slayer skills rewrite history? We cannot reward her by harming others, no matter that she deserves it."
"She's no longer the Slayer."
She stared out at the city. A soft sigh escaped her lips, ruffling the sheer curtains that blocked out the harsh sunlight while allowing the cooler air to seep into the room. Jerusalem lay before her, the Kingdom of Heaven as some men called it.
She heard the bells ring out and watched the Saracens drop to their knees in their daily Salähs. Perhaps they were right, where else could Muslim, Christian and Jew worship side by side? Baldwin kept the peace with Saladin, but their peace was shaky, balanced carefully against the acts of men who would rather have war.
Her brother was a good man and a good king. If it weren't for the leprosy that ravaged his body, he would not have to suffer the likes of Reynald and his Templars.
Thinking about the Templars caused a frown to furrow her brow, because it brought her brother-in-law and sister to mind. Try as she might, she had never understood why Sibylla chose Guy of Lusignan after William died. Her sister had fallen in love with the overbearing, loud and arrogant man who wanted the crown on his head, the sooner the better. Sibylla's blindness to Guy's hunger for power worried her.
A young servant woman entered the room on silent feet, yet the young woman turned from the open window. It was a usual occurrence with the youngest member of the royal family. Princess Isabella hadn't inherited her older siblings height, instead taking after her mother, the former king's second wife; her eyes were a strange hazel that turned a startling green when her emotions overtook her and her hair held a kiss of the sun within its depths. Were it not for her proud bearing and a few minor features that she shared with her siblings, doubts would have abounded as to her paternity.
Isabella Costanza Maria Elizabetta was every bit her father's daughter, when it came to getting her way. Her brother had bestowed the rather unusual nickname upon her of Buffy for the way that she seemed to tear into a room like a mini tornado, buffeting them about with her demanding winds for immediate attention uncaring of their status. They were simply her family and she treated them as such. She would run to him to sooth her hurts and answer her questions. Her rather elfin appearance had hidden a surprisingly adventuresome child that had shadowed the crown prince and future king, demanding that he teach her everything that he knew, which he did to some degrees. It created a relationship that went far beyond sibling affection and bonded them into true friends for the remainder of their lives.
She rivaled her brother in her fervor for maintaining the peace, and went out of her way to ensure that it remained intact, regardless of what her brother-in-law and his lackeys wanted. She promised herself that she would keep her family and Jerusalem safe from those who intended them harm. Although being a woman, and the dangerous nature of the work, it forced her to use stealth and intelligence where others used force and hard, cold steel.
"It is time, your highness," the servant announced, bowing respectfully.
"Godfrey's son has arrived then? Help me with my cloak and helm; we don't want to keep my 'master' waiting."
She shared a conspiratorial smile with her servant as they completed her ensemble. Excitement raced through her as it always did when she prepared for these meetings. Few people knew about the role she played, and she planned to keep it that way. People rarely looked deeper into a matter when they could take things at face value, especially where the lower classes were concerned.
The heels of her specially made boots clattered loudly in the hall, telling Tiberias that she drew near. He sat at his desk reading over the numerous documents pertaining to his duties as Marshall of Jerusalem. Waiting for him to acknowledge her presence, Buffy studied her dear friend.
She noticed how his duties had aged him, adding gray to his once dark hair, along with fine lines around his eyes and mouth. As a child, she had thought Tiberias a giant among men who slayed the dragons to keep her castle safe. A soft smile tipped up the edges of her lips at the memory of when she had informed him that she intended to marry him when she reached the great age of ten. He had solemnly promised to wait for her as her steadfast and stalwart knight always ready to protect and serve his princess. Words said in jest to placate an imaginative child had marked the start of a long and beautiful friendship.
"Come in and sit down before our guests arrive," Tiberias' gravelly voice ordered as he finished his paperwork.
She walked across the room to sit down in a shaded area where a smaller desk stood. They heard voices approaching from the front entryway, and nodded to each other as their charade was set in motion.
Taking some parchment, she quietly started to write and continued working as a servant entered the room to announce their guests.
Balian entered the Marshall's offices uncertain what to expect. He had just come from watching Templars hung for following orders that went against the fragile peace treaty. The Hospitaler requested an audience. A model of the city caught his eye, bringing a brief smile to his lips. He lifted up a siege tower, quickly putting it back when his companion rejoined him.
He watched as a formidable looking man approached them. A scar scored the left side of his face from the corner of his eye down to his jaw line, close-cropped hair peppered with gray brought attention to eyes that were so dark that they appeared black. He stood nearly six feet tall and walked with a limp that in no way made him look weak. This man was a warrior through and through. His eyes held an intelligence that Balian had seen in few men.
The Hospitaler bowed his head in greeting. The two men exchanged knowing smiles as they turned to Balian.
Tiberias stared briefly at the young man that stood before him then said, "You're your father's son. He was my friend, and I am yours. His death could've come at a better time. Come."
He turned around and headed back in the direction that he had entered. Reaching his private offices that overlooked the courtyard where he had observed the Templar executions. Incense filled the air with a sweet scent that couldn't quite cover the stench from the unwashed masses. He walked over to pour drinks as his guest entered close on his heels.
Balian barely had time to take in the opulence that surrounded him. The Marshall certainly didn't walk like a handicapped man. When they reached their destination, he noticed a knight, wearing a chain mail cowl sitting in the shadows. His head swam with all that had happened to him in such a small amount of time. Bringing his attention back to the present, he passed on the drink offered him.
Glancing at the visitors from behind her helm, Buffy quickly took their measure all the while writing at steady pace. She knew that the Hospitaler accompanying Godfrey's son was a good man that lived his beliefs rather than spouting on about them. She had always thought he looked rather like a naughty cherub with his blond hair and bright blue eyes. The man beside him was a different story. His dark hair and eyes suited his quiet manner and the air of great suffering that hovered about him.
"They shouted news of your battle with a great lord of Syria in the streets. Thankfully, it did not breach the peace. Saladin himself sent word that you had cause."
Tiberias got down to business in his straightforward manner. He moved behind a large desk, sitting down and motioning for his guests to follow suit. The Hospitaler took a chair placed before the desk for just that reason, while Balian preferred to remain standing. His mind and body were too wound up to sit still.
"What know you of Saladin?" Tiberias asked, ignoring the soft snort coming from the shadows.
"He's king of the Saracens," Balian answered, unsure where this line of questioning was leading.
"He has two hundred thousand men in Damascus alone. Should he go to war, he would win. Daily he's given cause by fanatics and Templar bastards like Reynald de Chatillon." Tiberias slammed a hand down on the large desk. "Here, from this room, I keep the peace, as far as I'm able. Even so, Saladin and the king between them…they would make a better world."
His dark eyes held a sad note that let his audience see what he had always known. It was only a matter of time.
"Even if only for a small time, Tiberias, it still has lived," the Hospitaler said.
His voice and words had a calming effect on the Marshall. The tension eased away from his shoulders and his eyes once again lit with their well-known passionate zeal. He leaned back in his chair, turning that piercing gaze back to his young guest.
"What did your father tell you regarding your obligations?"
Tiberias felt his little shadow grow still, listening, absorbing, measuring and deciding. It would lead to either his and Jerusalem's salvation or destruction. He was never sure how or why he had ever agreed to this charade, but it was far too late to turn back now. Truth to tell, he wasn't sure that he would want to. It had certainly brightened his otherwise lonely life.
Balian watched the play of emotions that raced across the older man's face. He wasn't sure that others would even notice, but he had spent his life observing. The Marshall, Tiberias, was a deep soul.
"That I was to be a good knight," he answered softly, remembering the exchange with his farther and the far too short of time that they had known each other.
He only hoped that he could fulfill his father's dying requests. A heavy pause filled the room at his confessions.
"I pray the world and Jerusalem can accommodate such a rarity as a perfect knight," Tiberias responded in a heavy tone. Taking a drink of his wine to gather his thoughts, he asked, "Have you dined?"
He invited them to dinner at the King's table, calling a servant to show them where they could freshen up, and telling them that he would join them shortly.
Tiberias waited until they were alone, before turning to his shadowy guest. "Well, what say you of Godfrey's son?"
She sat aside her writing aides, pulling cumbersome gloves from her hands before settling back in her chair.
"I think that many will underestimate him due to his birth and quiet ways. It would be a foolish thing to do. I'm a prime example that the package doesn't always show what's held inside." She let out a giggle at the face he made. "Godfrey stood beside my brother whenever he needed him, and even when he thought he didn't. I don't see his son doing any less. But," she added a dramatic pause, "if you'd like a second opinion, you could always ask Sibylla."
He frowned at her, knowing that she liked to twist him around in knots just to watch him dance. It was part of her charm, though at times he wanted to strangle her for it.
"What interest would your sister have in Godfrey's son? And, how would she have met him before either you or I had?"
She couldn't suppress the laughter this time at the sour look on his face. A tinkling chime of laughter filled the room, which she quickly hushed before someone could hear her and come to investigate.
"I'm sorry, but your face was priceless. My dear sister heard of Balian's great deeds and no doubt, her romantic heart had to see the fair knight in person. Either that, or Guy sent her so that he would know who to tell his assassins to kill."
Shrugging slender shoulders underneath the large blue tabard created a negligible movement that spoke volumes.
"Sibylla's heart is a mystery to me. She loves the lout that she married, turning a blind eye to his power-mongering and various other vices."
Her nose wrinkled up at thoughts of Guy. Saying that he wasn't her favorite person was like saying that the desert had sand in it.
"She's still a woman underneath her posturing and scheming. Thoughts of a young, handsome knight who slayed the mighty dragon would be enough to send her romantic heart racing, though she loves her husband, red blood still flows in her veins."
"Uhm." He cleared his throat at such intimate talk, wanting to get back to the matter at hand. "Do you think that she will pose a problem?"
Buffy stood and moved around from behind the desk and started to walk toward the hidden entrance that she had entered. She paused before leaving the room, turning back to her friend, staring into his dark eyes.
"That depends on whether or not she can tempt him into her bed. If so, then he's not the man we thought him and if not, then he's added another enemy to his list; either way dangerous times lie ahead for Godfrey's son. May God watch over him."
She left without a backward glance, knowing that her words weren't the ones that he wanted to hear. They were the truth nonetheless.
Tiberias watched her go with a heavy heart.
"May he watch over us all, my princess," he whispered into the empty room.