Title: Ghosts of Genovia
Author: Jinni (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, et al. All things Princess Diaries belong to Disney, et al.
Distribution: TtH and Silent Obsession.
Author’s Notes: For Echo. Sorry your original author flaked on you, hon. I’m editing the time line of Princess Diaries 2 just slightly. In my new alterna-reality, Mia doesn’t get ambushed by the Genovian people into getting a husband the second she sets foot back in her homeland.
Summary: Princess Mia thought she had seen everything…
Princess Mia thought she had seen everything. After all, she was a virtual nobody that had turned out to be a real-life princess. It was like something out of a fairy tale. She had met her grandmother, a real life queen, had the kind of makeover that any other girl would just die for… and spent the next few years of her life trying her best to learn all about Genovia in between finishing up with school. She had balanced the need to have a royal bodyguard with her during, in between, and after classes quite nicely if she said so herself.
She had attended state dinners, played the part of visiting dignitary for her country at diplomatic events, and had even somehow managed to turn out like a nice, down-to-earth kind of girl. Not at all very princess-like, at least in her opinion.
So, having lived through a fairy tale come true, it was with quite a bit of shock that Princess Mia found herself thrown right in the middle of an old-fashioned ghost story.
“Ghosts. We have… ghosts.”
The second the words left Mia’s mouth, she knew two things.
One – they were the absolute truth, as the shredded clothing, destroyed main parlor and all around chaos in the castle could attest to.
And two – she sounded just a little bit crazy saying such an off the wall thing out loud. If Lilly was there, she was sure that the teasing would never end.
Or, perhaps Lilly would be just as freaked out by the whole thing as she was.
“Ghosts,” Mia repeated, looking to her grandmother and Joseph for confirmation.
“Poltergeists, to be exact, Princess,” Joseph corrected. He was more tense than usual, Mia noted. Probably because of the –
“Wait… poltergeists?” Mia frowned. “Those are the bad ghosts, right? And how do you know this? Ghosts… poltergeists… they don’t exist.”
Her grandmother had the good grace to look mildly abashed, Mia was happy to see.
Right before she snatched the rug out from her under her completely, that was.
“Yes, well, Mia,” Queen Clarisse smiled gently. “There is precedent for… ghosts in Genovia.”
“You mean this isn’t the first time this has happened.”
Her grandmother shook her head. “The first time it has happened at the castle, yes. You see, this land wasn’t always as peaceful as it is now. The War of the Pears in the early seventeen hundreds brought much bloodshed to Genovia. We prevailed, of course, however the dead do not rest gently in our land. From time to time we find ourselves quite… besieged.”
And no one had thought to mention it to her before right now, Mia thought sourly, crossing her arms over her chest. She bit the inside of her cheek, refraining from saying something that would get her into hot water. Grandmother or not, this woman was the Queen of Genovia.
For the next three or so months, anyway.
Mia looked to Joseph for confirmation of what her grandmother had said, not feeling the slightest bit of relief when he nodded, however so slightly. So, sure, her grandmother wasn’t crazy. But that meant that ghosts… and poltergeists… were real.
She wasn’t quite sure that she was ready for her entire world to be overturned all over again, but knew without a doubt that that was exactly what was going to happen.
“Don’t worry, dear,” her grandmother laid a comforting hand on her arm. “We’ve already sent for someone to get rid of the problem.”
The comfort was anything but, given that it just further hammered home the fact that not only did this kind of supernatural stuff exist, but her grandmother and Joseph knew all about it.
“Who did you call? The Ghostbusters?” Mia quipped with a roll of her eyes. She would be brave, she told herself. She would. She was the future Queen of Genovia and, darn it, that meant she had to put on a brave front.
Which was all fine and good… except for the poltergeists chose that moment to start throwing around the furniture again. Mia yelped and ducked, watching out of the corner of her eye as Joseph and her grandmother narrowly managed to do the same.
Minutes later, the foyer all but ruined and everyone panting from having dodged furniture-turned-missiles, Mia shakily inquired –
“So… when did you say they would be here?”
“That it is.”
Connor scowled, sure by Wesley’s tone that he was being mocked. He sighed loudly, glaring harder when Wesley turned his head to actually look at him. What had possessed him to come along on this trip? The more his true memories and personality returned, the less he liked little things like… bonding… and socializing. His adopted family would be shocked if they knew how he acted when he wasn’t with them, forced to put on a show for their benefit.
But he did it because they were good people and damnit if they deserved this kind of hell just because his real father had wanted something “better” for him.
Whatever that meant. Better wasn’t a life lived not knowing who or what you were. But apparently no one had thought that through very well. They certainly hadn’t asked him for his opinion.
He was a freak, pure and simple. Like his father and his mother.
Though, at least he was mostly human. He had a one up on them there.
“How long will this take?”
“As long as it takes,” Wesley’s sarcasm was practically visible
That, and he rolled his eyes. It was enough to make Connor want to take a swing at him.
“At least two.”
Maybe there would be use for his axes, after all. There was always the possibility the poltergeists would manifest in tangible form. Or maybe even possess someone. A nice fight would take the edge off and at least make this trip tolerable.
“You will be on your best behavior,” Wesley continued on in a lecturing tone. “The Queen has been nice enough to offer us accommodations while we deal with the matter. I would hate for there to be an incident to force her to sever ties with Wolfram and Hart.”
Connor grunted in acknowledgment. Same song and dance that he’d heard before they left LA. Be nice. Don’t attack the royals.
Did they really think he was that uncivilized?
Mia felt a heavy weight plow into her as she turned to see a heavy high-backed chair flying at her head. She went limp instinctively, letting the force of the weight send her out of harm’s way. She fell to the floor, the wind rushing from her lungs in a soft ‘oompf’, followed by a second as the weight joined her on the floor.
Well, more on top of her, really.
Half on, half off, if she had to be exact.
She swallowed as her rescuer looked up. Blue eyes, she thought sluggishly. He had the most amazing blue eyes, surrounded by shaggy, almost unkempt, brown hair.
“Stay down,” he ordered, and it was more of a growl than a request. Mia nodded dumbly, wondering where the stranger had come from.
“They’re quite riled up,” she heard another new voice speak above the ruckus the poltergeists were causing.
“You can banish them nonetheless?”
Mia rolled toward the sound of her grandmother’s voice, careful to keep her body flat to the ground like her rescuer had left her. He was there, with another man, surveying the flying bits of furniture and debris that the poltergeists were hurling about. The sound of whooshing filled her ears and she looked up to see that the heavy curtains from the dining room had managed to make their way to where they were and were now currently swirling about like a burgundy cyclone near the ceiling.
“We can.” The second of the two strangers nodded. “A day or two at the most, I would think. Though, there appears to be four, not the original two that were reported.”
If Mia didn’t know better, she would say that he was fascinated by the entire thing.
Sort of weird.
But no more weird than the boy that had rescued her brandishing what looked like hand-axes at any piece of furniture that got within a few yards of him.
Why did she get the feeling that her life had just gotten a whole lot weirder?
“Do you go ghost hunting often?”
Connor didn’t even stiffen at the sound of her voice. He had heard her coming down the hall. She didn’t even try to move quietly. Any vile thing could easily get the upper hand on her.
Then again, he didn’t suppose that princesses were often in a position where they needed to move stealthily.
He frowned as she stopped next to him, looking down over the balcony at the ruined remains of the foyer.
“Are you always this antisocial?”
The frown deepened to a scowl and he turned, raising his eyebrows. She was dressed in a t-shirt and jeans. Not the kind of thing he thought princesses wore. She’d been wearing a dress when they first arrived.
When he had tackled her to the floor.
He swallowed, remembering the way that her body had felt under his. Girls were a distraction and he knew it.
But that didn’t mean he didn’t sometimes… want.
“Do you always question people you just met?”
Her mouth dropped open. “I was just trying to make conversation.”
“Don’t.” He snapped, turning back to his foyer surveillance. The social skills he’d been given with his false memories would be a blessing right about now. Maybe. He had a job to do and chit-chatting with her just didn’t figure into it. Wesley was watching the library and dining room. He had the foyer and throne room. Those were the only four rooms the poltergeists had ransacked. So far. And they needed a little more observation time before they could attempt an exorcism.
Which meant he had to stand here… and watch. And then move to the throne room… and watch.
None of that included making nice with the Princess.
“Has anyone ever told you that you’re very rude?” she huffed.
The corner of his mouth twitched. Had anyone ever –not- told him he was rude? “Yes.”
“And yet you don’t try to be anything else. Unbelievable.”
“You can’t talk and glare at the same time?”
He slanted another glare her way. “Aren’t I doing that right now?”
“Impossible!” Mia threw her hands up. “Forgive me for intruding on your… brooding.”
He stiffened and actually had the nerve to look offended. “I do not… brood.”
“Sure you don’t. You’re just a bundle of sunshine.”
His lips pressed together into a tight, thin line. “I am not sunshine.”
Apparently her rescuer, who went by the name of Connor (or so she heard, it wasn’t as thought he had introduced himself), was one of those “nothing you say is right” kind of guys.
That was okay, because she was just about fed up with him anyway. She had intended to start up a conversation and ease into a big ‘thank you for saving my life’ moment. Maybe end it with an impromptu kiss on his very kissable cheek. He sort of reminded her of Michael, Lilly’s brother and her one-time sort of boyfriend.
Except for the fact that Michael was friendly with her.
Obviously friendliness was asking for too much with Connor.
For that matter, basic civility also appeared to be just this side of out of reach.
“Whatever,” she offered him her brightest “meeting with the Genovian council and hating every moment of it” fake smile. “Have a good night. Don’t let the poltergeists bite or something like that.”
It was her fault, in retrospect.
She should not… absolutely not… have said the “P” word.
Because it woke the darn things up.
One minute she was turning away in a move that she was sure felt a whole lot more flouncy than it looked, and the next she was once again being tackled, presumably by Connor, to avoid being bashed in the head by a flying piece of furniture.
“They’ve found the ornamental weapons.”
“They’ve –what-?” Mia shrieked, covering her mouth with her hand when Connor winced. She hadn’t realized his ear was that close to her lips. And that was a good thing, because the second she did, she also realized that his lips were so close to his.
And he was so very cute.
She licked her lips unconsciously, feeling a surge of something sort of like power when his eyes were drawn there seemingly without his consent.
Then he was scowling again.
“I don’t have time for this,” he snarled, rising up off of her. He spun, whirled, and ducked under flying things that flashed a little too much like swords in the light of the hallway and she cringed. Even if he was rude, she didn’t want to see him get skewered.
And, besides, for just a second there, it sort of seemed like maybe he wouldn’t have minded if she kissed him.
Talk about mixed signals!
She was doing it again.
Connor didn’t glare over his shoulder at the annoying princess, but just barely so.
She was always right there. Looking at him, watching him. Sometimes from a distance and sometimes up close and trying to… talk to him.
Did he look like he wanted to talk?
At least, he hoped he didn’t look like he wanted to talk. He was trying very hard to perfect that kind of glare and attitude that kept people from striking up random conversations.
It wasn’t working with her. Not ever since last night when he had saved her for the second time.
He would have thought that would have earned him some kind of gratitude in the form of her leaving him alone.
“Can I help?”
Connor slammed the book shut and glared at her, not saying a word.
Her tongue came out, darting across her lower lip.
And damnit if now he didn’t want to kiss her. Again.
He didn’t like wanting to kiss her because, one, she annoyed him. And two –
Well, there wasn’t a two. Yet. He was sure he could come up with one before he left, though.
So why did the idea of leaving not make him quite as thrilled as it had the day before?
The chair next to him creaked as she took a seat, reaching for one of the books Wesley had left for him to go through. The poltergeists weren’t as easy to get rid of as they had thought they would be. There was something keeping them on this plane and that meant researching for another spell. A stronger spell.
And he had gotten stuck doing that while one of the royal advisors took Wesley on a tour of other Genovian buildings that were known to get haunted every now and then.
He let her take the book, watching as she thumbed through it randomly, forehead creasing. There were pictures. Gruesome ones.
But she didn’t put it back down like other girls would have.
And that sort of made him… happy.
He frowned at the warm sensation in the pit of his stomach and turned back to his own book.
The sooner they got rid of the poltergeists, the sooner he could get out of this country…
… and away from all these feelings he sure as hell didn’t want or need.
“What about this one?”
Mia sucked in a breath when Connor leaned in to look at the page she had found. He shook his head.
”Only works for T’Zani demons. See?” His finger hovered over a word she hadn’t understood as if it would make everything crystal clear.
Maybe to him it did. She wasn’t very good at this supernatural research stuff, she had found. But, after an hour of her trying to decipher the weird books, Connor had at least started acting like a human being to her instead of a rabid dog.
So it wasn’t saying much, but it was still something.
Maybe by the time he left she could actually get him to, gasp, carry on polite conversation with her instead of just half-sentences.
She wasn’t holding her breath, though.
Turning the page in her book, Mia sucked in a breath and fought to hold back her revulsion. She’d gotten the feeling right from the start that Connor wasn’t the type to get impressed when a girl acted girly about gory stuff. The pictures in these books certainly qualified for a parental advisory label, though.
The rest of the book went by quickly, with nothing jumping out at her with a huge sign that flashed “poltergeist removal.” Tossing it on the table, she reached for another.
Her arm brushed against Connor’s, and Mia felt her breath catch in her throat. She felt like she was back in high school with a crush. No, this was worse somehow.
“This is hopeless,” Connor growled suddenly, just as her hand closed around the spine of another book, her arm pressed against him. She stiffened.
“Well, I wasn’t going to say hopeless. Joseph said you guys are good so I’m sure you’ll figure it out –“
Her words were cut off by his mouth, slanting over hers. Hard and demanding, he pressed his lips to hers.
It was the kind of kiss that stole a girl’s breath, literally, and when she gasped for air his tongue slid with inexpert force into her mouth. He fumbled for a moment and she wondered briefly just how many girls he had kissed. Despite an apparent lack of practice, he found a rhythm quick enough and soon all thoughts of research and poltergeists was… lost.
She didn’t ask him to call, but Connor decided that was probably because they hadn’t actually done much talking while he was there.
Lots of kissing, which he had found to be highly pleasant, even if due in part to the fact that it made her stop asking annoying questions for a few minutes.
Or hours, as he’d found out.
It was almost too bad that the poltergeists had been banished with the spell Wesley found the same night she’d finally made him snap and shut her up. The Princess was actually kind of tolerable.
Leaning back, Connor let a small smirk pass over his lips, ignoring the questioning look from Wesley.
Maybe he would call her, after all.
Just for the shock factor, of course.