Title: Next in Line
: Lotusja Genre:
: BTVS/ATS?-Merry Gentry/Anita Blake? Spoilers:
Caress of Twilight and Season Seven of Buffy, the Myth of Anita Blake Series. Pairings: ???? Ratings:
Yes Please. Summary:
What if Buffy Anne Summers was not Hank & Joyce’s Daughter? Disclaimer:
All characters of BTVS and Angel belong to Joss Whedon, while the world of Merry Gentry and Anita Blake belongs to Laurell K. Hamilton. AN:
Hello everyone, this was my first fanfiction and the second time posting it. After re- reading it, I found that it needed a lot of work. However, as writers, we are never completely satisfied with our work, so I spent several weeks rewriting each chapter. I do hope this story is better the second time around. Please review and tell me what you think. I need the encouragement you guys. Thanks in advance…
AN: #2: Recently I noticed someone had taken up my challenge to continue the story. Not to take away from SunshineAradia
story, but after spending weeks rewriting this story it is somewhat changed.
Chapter 1: Los Angeles, California.
Looking back, Los Angeles was probably the wrong place to hide; New York would have been preferable, even with the city made out of cold iron. I could get lost in New York, anyone could. But I had chosen Los Angeles because at the time, I thought it was the farthest from faerie. My name is Merry Gentry and just recently, the whole world found out that I am also Princess Meredith NicEssus of the Unseelie Courts. As Merry Gentry, I had worked for the Grey’s Detective Agency and had a normal life. And once upon a time, I used to guard people, but now that I’m recognized as the faerie Princess, I am the one being guarded. Several months earlier, my Aunt, Queen Andais of the Unseelie Courts, requested that I come back for a visit. I was a little bit apprehensive about that, because the reason I had left in the first place was that I had to duel constantly for my life. To make matters even worse, the Unseelies treated me like an outsider because I was born both a magical null and a mortal.
However, to my surprise upon my return to faerie, the Queen ordered me to sleep with her guards. Her Ravens. To say I was shocked was mild because for centuries the men were under a royal geas. They weren’t allowed to sleep with anyone with exception of the Queen. And that was if they were in favor. What’s so special about me, you ask? Nothing.
But with one exception. Both my cousin and I are the Queen’s last surviving relatives. Fearing that faerie was losing its magic and the ability to reproduce, Queen Andais came up with a plan: whoever first produces an heir will be named King or Queen.
Upon hearing this, my cousin tried to have me killed. It was not different from the other times, except for one thing. A couple of days earlier by happenstance, I found out that my cousin was being worshiped by mortals, which was crime itself and punishable by death. Not wanting to see her son dead, I made a bargain with Aunt Andais.
With this bargain, I had six months before Cel’s punishment ends. Six months to produce an heir, six months to gather my allies with me, and six months to prepare to be Queen of faerie. Although, being punished did not stop Cel’s supporters from trying to have me killed. That is where Doyle came in; he’s one, out of many of the Queen’s ex-ravens, who is vying for the position of being my King. Sometimes I wondered if one of them gets me pregnant, would I have the strength to give them all up? After several months of lovemaking to my beautiful harem, I was not sure.
For the last couple of months, I had to get used to being “the Princess” once again, being surrounded by guards and not having time to myself. The only time I was alone was in my bath, but even that was rare because even bathing took time away from creating a child. At age thirty-three, I thought I had seen and heard it all and nothing could ever surprise me. I was wrong.
I stood in the middle of my wonderfully decorated bedroom, painted with the colors of mauve and cream, my body frozen in shock. A mild breeze was floating through the open windows, scenting the air with apple blossoms and spice. My mind was awhirl and I couldn’t quite grasp the shock I had just received.
The morning had started out great, but even that didn’t last long. It was one of those mornings, when no matter how much the sun was shining and the birds were singing, you don’t feel like you want to get out of bed. Since it was Tuesday, I had woken up with Rhys in my bed. My aunt had found it hilarious when I told her I chose them alphabetically, but I didn’t find anything remotely funny about it. However, what she found funny, ordinary people do not, but since she was the Queen, anything she found funny we had to laugh with her or suffer the consequences. Regarding the men, I didn’t just alphabetize the men for my benefit but for theirs. Because of this system, there wouldn’t be a fight to see who would come to my bed. In the meanwhile, Rhys had taken one look at my bemused expression and called for Doyle. In his haste to reach the door, he had tripped on the green silk sheets lying on the floor.
“What is wrong?” Doyle asked rushing into the room with several men tumbling after him. “What is the matter?” he asked, his warrior eyes searching the room intently. “I haven’t felt any spell,” he announced, as he walked cautiously into the room. Doyle was black, not black as a human with shades of brown or purple, but thoroughly black. He was carved ebony from all angles, sleek. A warrior. Once he was the Queen’s Darkness, and when Queen Andais called for her Darkness, someone would bleed. But now, he was mine. “What is going on here Princess?” he asked, closing his eyes to detect any spell or an obvious hint to Rhys’ cry. His first and only responsibility as captain of the guards was to protect me.
The doorway to the bedroom was soon crowded with men, and each vied for position in the room. They relaxed a little after they had determined that no harm had befallen me. But their hands were poised cautiously on their weapons in case the threat manifested itself. I could hear Doyle; his voice was coming slowly towards me, as if he was in a long tunnel. “Princess,” he called, waving his hands in front of my eyes. I blinked to show him I was alive, but my brain was still processing the information which I had just received a few minutes earlier.
“What is happening?” demanded Frost. Frost was the very opposite of Doyle. While Doyle was dark, Frost was like his namesake, white as snow. He was a tall, handsome man, with a beautifully proportioned body and metallic looking hair that was soft to the touch. Some people might think Frost was cold, but he was just the opposite, warm and passionate.
Doyle cleared his throat. He sounded a little irritated when he said, “That’s what I’m trying to ascertain.” Sometimes Doyle had a way of speaking that made one feel like a naughty child, especially me. At times, I wondered if it was because he had lived over a thousand years or if it’s because he had to guide hundreds of warriors. Whatever it was, it was annoying. I know I’m not the only one who thought so, but I believe the others are too polite to tell him so, or they are too afraid.
“Merry received a call from her mother a few minutes ago,” Rhys said, his voice rough with anxiety.
“Did she say anything to upset you?” said Galen, concern in his voice as he ambled into the room to take me into his arms. Galen was the favorite of my guards. I had been in love with Galen since I was a child and I had wanted to marry him, but my father deemed him a political liability. At the time, I was angry, but after several months of living with him, I truly saw what my father had seen. Even though I knew that Galen would make a terrible King, he would always continue to be my first love.
“That’s an understatement,” Rhys muttered, frowning slightly.
Being in Galen’s arms should have been comforting, but it wasn’t. As a child, I would run into his arms whenever I was hurt both emotionally and physically. But not this time. I stood motionless as a statue in his arms, while a gamut of perplexing emotions flickered across my face. His arms felt binding, restrictive. I have to get out of here, I thought. Confused, I spun out of Galen’s arms to wander restlessly around the room. “S- sh,” I stammered. I couldn’t get the sentence out. I took a deep breath and pushed the sentence out. “She told me that I have a sister,” I said in bewilderment. I couldn’t wrap my mind around that piece of information.
There was silence as the men stared at me in disbelief.
“I did not know that Princess Besaba was contemplating marriage yet again,” Doyle said, the first to break the silence.
I couldn’t answer him as I stared bewilderedly around the room.
“She wasn’t,” said Rhys, eyeing me with his one blue eye worriedly. He was a handsome man with a rounded face and sculpted body that he worked hard at, white flowing hair that reached his waist.
“Then how do you have a sister?” queried Galen. Galen was the master of the understatement. My mind was working overtime as I was filled with doubts and confusion. I didn’t know what to believe anymore.
Noting that I was incapable of responding, Rhys then took charge. “You should all sit down for this,” he said, wrapping the silk sheet more tightly around his waist.
Flashback. After a vigorous lovemaking, Rhys and I were lying in bed. The musk of our lovemaking scented the air, the bed sheets were rumpled and thrown carelessly across the floor, when the gentle chimes of the mirror sounded. The mirror was used as a gateway between the mortal world and the faerie. Feeling lackadaisical, I wanted to ignore the call but the chiming became more insistent. I was enjoying my time with Rhys. Sometimes it is nice just being with one man, cuddling, enjoying the peacefulness and the scent of sweat and of sex. Just relaxing not worrying about Cel trying to have me killed or worrying about whom will be King to my Queen. However, the persistence of that chiming broke through that peace I was trying to achieve. Then I had a thought: only family would be rude enough to interrupt what I thought was a beautiful moment. “Shall I get that?” asked Rhys with a sigh. “Or shall we ignore it?” We were spooned together, his front to my back, and I turned around to looked at him. Just looking at him made my heart dance, he was that devastating. I smiled at him. “My first instinct,” I said, stretching languidly, “is to ignore it, but it could be Aunt Andais.” With a wink from his one eye, Rhys bounded out bed. I guess I was the only one feeling lazy. He bent down, giving me a nice view, to retrieve a couple of sheets at the foot of the bed. He wrapped one around his waist, while he brought the other to cover me with it. He was flexing slightly as he walked to the mirror. He’s such a showoff, I thought with a grin. To say I was surprised when I saw who was at the mirror would be an understatement. It wasn’t Andais, as I first thought. It was my mother, Princess Besaba. If someone had said that my mother would deliberately call me without wanting something, they would probably be wrong. “Hello Princess Besaba, Bride of Peace,” I said eying her cautiously. The last time we saw each other we had an argument. Now she’s looking at me like the cat that had swallowed the canary; if that didn’t raised my suspicion, nothing would. “Hello, Meredith,” she said, acknowledging my greeting, but her eyes had wandered from me to land on Rhys who was lounging silently on the bed with the green silk sheet a beautiful contrast to his beautiful white skin, while the light in the room gleamed off his sculpted chest. I don’t blame Besaba for looking, even though I had seen his chest every day, I admit it’s worth an eye or two. But right now I wanted to know what she wanted. A devilish look came into Rhys’ eyes. I knew he was going to do something before he did it. He lifted a corner of the sheet and flashed her. A soft gasp escaped her mouth. I closed my eyes in despair. “Rhys,” I scolded. However, part of me wanted to laugh. You should have seen the look on her face. “I am not doing anything,” he said with an adorable pout. I just wanted to go over to him and kiss that pout off his face. Seeing that look in my eye, I saw an answering flame reflected back at me. Soon we were gazing at each other so intensely that I had forgotten that my mother was watching us from the mirror. “Meredith, Meredith,” she chided, shaking me out of the storm of lust Rhys had ignited just by his look alone. Shaking my head bemusedly, I took a gulp of air and moved away from the intoxicating presence that was Rhys. “Mother,” I said, “I have acknowledged your title; I do wish you would remember to acknowledge mine.” She gave a grieved sigh. “Hello, Meredith, ‘Princess of Flesh and Blood’,” she said. “What can I do to help you this fine afternoon?” I asked. “I would like to speak to you alone,” she said with a sly smile. Seeing that smirk on her face, I knew that what she was about to tell me I would not like. To curtail her and just to be provocative, I said, “I am sorry that I cannot grant your wish.” If she was going to tell me something unpleasant, then I didn’t want to be alone with her. “I am not permitted to be alone without at least one of my guards present,” I sai, before she could come up with an excuse for us to be alone. “It is private matter,” she then insists. She insists. Uh oh, I thought. If she was this insistent on something, then I definitely didn’t want to be alone with her. I looked towards Rhys for guidance, but he just shrugged as if to say, it’s your call. I hated that. When I wanted support, I didn’t get it the way I wanted. The men could be stubborn. They always say you will be queen you have to make a decision for yourself, especially if it was a task they despised. Ha. Sometimes they would ignore me. They think because they are immortal and I am mortal, they know more about everything. But I know this one fact: as the queen, I will be an absolute ruler. “I am really sorry, mother,” I said to Besaba, “but I am not allowed to be alone, unless my Queen demands it.” Inside I was gleeful. If there was a chance to thwart my mother, I was taking it. “Whatever you have to say, you can say in front of Rhys. He’s discrete.” “My, my, so commanding,” she murmured. “You would make a good Queen yet,” she said with an amused frown. “Very well Meredith, Princess of Flesh and Blood,” Princess Besaba conceded in a mocking tone. “You knew that your father and I did not get along.” “Yes” I said. Why was she saying things I had already known? Dealing with my mother always made me suspicious. Where’s she going with this? I asked myself, watching her intently.Several years ago, the Unseelie and the Seelie Courts were looking to avoid war at all cost. My father, Essus, who was second to the Unseelie Courts, married my mother Besaba of the Seelie Courts for that political reason. If both courts should go to war, it would mean the destruction of faerie and all things fey, but after three years and no issue, King Taranis of the Seelie Courts had promised Besaba that she could take a Seelie lover. But that would never be because after a few months in Essus’ bed, my mother conceived, making the marriage valid without the possibility of divorce. For in both Courts, divorce was not taken lightly, and for that reason, she had always resented me. “Well, after living in the mortal world, Essus came to see me, and we ended up reminiscing about old times,” continued Besaba, with a bland tone. “And nine months later, I gave birth to your sister,” she said so smugly, so smoothly, that I wanted to tear her eyes out. Out of the corner of my eyes, I noticed how she was watching me, with such an anticipatory air, trying to see how I would react. I did not disappoint her. “What!” I said with a shocked cry. I stared at her, my mouth hanging unattractively open. I heard Rhys give a quick sharp breath that loosened my tongue, so I had to ask, “Did you just say that I have a sister?” Was she playing tricks on me? Once upon a time, humans had perceived that anyone who was fey would be the size of a butterfly, happy as a lark flying around granting wishes. But what they didn’t realize was that most fey tend to be sadistic, no matter their size. “Yes,” she admitted calmly, her eyes aglow with enjoyment. How can she be so calm? I wondered, my eyes narrowing. Did she just admit that for years I had a sister? A sister. All my life I wanted a playmate, and she took that away from me. If I didn’t resent her before, I would have happily resented her now. Rhys in his shocked haste had leapt out of the bed and the wrapped sheet had slipped from his waist to show a taut muscular stomach. Part of me wanted this to be a lie. She wanted something from me that’s why she was telling me this. But fey don’t lie. They can avoid the truth, but when asked a direct question, they must tell the truth. That was why I believed that I had a sister. “Where is this sister?” I demand harshly, my mind in turmoil. I wanted to go to that mirror and grab the woman who had given birth to me. She was less than a mother. At that moment, I didn’t know who she was. I wanted to shake her. My Gran was a better mother than she was. “Why didn’t I know about her?” I demanded. “And why after all these years, you are telling me now?” I asked in a choked voice. I wanted to cry, railing my hands to the heavens and have a big temper tantrum.
The smile slipped off her face, as she looked at me with the coldest eyes imaginable. Why is she doing this? I wondered. Why didn’t she love me? Does she really hate me so much that she wanted me to hurt? But I didn’t say any of these questions aloud. Pain was welling up inside, wanting to burst free. She wanted a broader response from me. I decided not to give into her because she wanted to hurt me.
I think she would be happier if I had broken down crying. Later I might do just that, but right now, I was trying to keep my emotions in check. Rhys walked towards me and wrapped me in the comfort of his arms, giving me support and warmth, but that wasn’t enough to counteract the chill that was invading my soul. Heat, I thought shivering slightly. I am cold, but it wasn’t any ordinary cold. The cold started deep inside the recesses of the heart, the same place that had once held love for the woman that bore me, but no longer. Ice started creeping slowly, encasing the organ, now it was a solid block of ice. I had cried so many tears over why she didn’t love me. No longer. I am going to be Queen and I will be strong. As I watched and listened to her gloating as she tried to justify her action of why she did it, I thought about how selfish she was. “I had used my glamour to hide that I was with child,” she said it so matter-of-factly that I thought I would scream. “Only a few loyal people knew,” she continued with a shrug. “But as to where your sister is? I really do not know, nor do I care. She was a mortal child like you and I could not see myself keeping another mortal child. So, she was sent to the mortal world where she was to live with mortal parents. And before you ask, I don’t know where she is right now,” she said, raising her hand in silence when I had opened my mouth to question her further. “I lost track of her when she was fifteen years old. I know she was living with her human parents in the west in the city of angels, but then I lost contact. Why am I telling you all this, you may ask,” she said with such an insolence smirk that I wanted to smack her. Now, she was showing her true colors. “Because I wanted you to know that there is someone out there who is next in line to become Queen. Especially if you and your cousin Cel do not produce a child,” she added maliciously.
There it is, I thought. There was the true Besaba, out for numero uno. Number one. She wasn’t telling me about my sister because it was the right thing to do. No, she was telling me because she wanted to do anything to screw me, the daughter she hates. “But why tell me now?” I demanded. “Suppose I decide to use this information to get rid of this sister. Remember no one knows she exists and I would still be in the running for Queen,” I said, my voice thick and unsteady. “You are your father’s daughter, Meredith,” she said, speaking with a light bitterness. “You always will be. No matter that death had claimed him, he would have acknowledged the child and you cannot do anything less.” She was right about that, I am Essus’ daughter and I will always do the right thing. And the right thing is getting more information out of this pathetic excuse for a mother. It was time to bring my sister home. “What information do you have about my sister?” I asked suddenly very weary. We had been talking for fifteen minutes and I was exhausted. I was tired of the situation already. I wanted to get the men and find my sister. “My, my, demanding, isn’t she,” Besaba said, in a taunting voice aside to Rhys. She was trying to gain the upper hand. Here she told me about a sister, who may or may not potentially take away my throne, and because I didn’t react the way she wanted, I was demanding. Yea, me. “Princess Besaba, please don’t play games; tell Merry what she wants to know,” Rhys begged her. I put one hand over his arms that were holding me and squeezed it gently. “Okay, okay. You are no fun,” she said, affecting a pout. On Rhys, the pout had looked adorable, but on Besaba, it looked like a cranky child with a full diaper. “Your sister’s name is Buffy Anne Summers. Although, what kind of name these mortals choose to bestow upon their children,” she said with laughter in her voice, shutting off the mirror, choosing not to acknowledge that the child was also hers. “A sister named Buffy Anne Summers,” I mused aloud. It was a weird, but interesting name.
“That when I called for you,” Rhys concluded, looking bemused.
“What do you want us to do, Princess?” Doyle asked in his deep-timbered voice that still gave me shivers. Once it was a shiver of fright, but now after seeing him without clothes, it was a shiver of delight. I am glad I have Doyle. You can count on him to be levelheaded in any situation.
“Ugh,” I said with a distracted air. The situation hadn’t really caught up with me as of yet. Six months ago, I was exiled from faerie, missing the touch and the smell of being around fey. Now I seemed to be overwhelmed with them. Was that a good thing, I wondered?
“Princess? Princess Meredith,” Doyle called, shaking me out of my reverie.
Disoriented, I looked up. “Yes Doyle?” I said focusing my gaze upon him.
“What would you like us to do?” he asked, looking at me with one of his enigmatic smiles.
I hesitated, torn by my conflicting emotions. I shrugged. “First, I would like to dress,” I said aloud, not willing to admit that I was scared. “Then we must come up with a plan to find my sister.” Wow,
I thought shaking my head in disbelief. A sister?
“Doyle!” I cried, rushing into his arm. Out of all the men, Doyle’s arms are the only arms I could lose myself in; it is where I felt safe. Each man allowed me a measure of comfort. There were times when I needed comfort from my childhood friend Galen, and there were times when only Doyle’s embrace would do. Once upon a time, Doyle used to scare me; he was the embodiment of the boogeyman. Fey parents, both Seelie and Unseelie alike, would tell their misbehaving children that Doyle would punish them if they did not behave. But as I grew to know Doyle these last few months, I have seen his softer side. “I have a sister!” I cried happily.
“Indeed Princess,” he said, grinning down at me with a blinding white smile.