| Authors Note | I hope that you enjoy 'His Infernal Matrimony'. This story will go through the months and years of their marriage through each chapter (some years will take longer to recount than others) – look forward to twists and plots! At the end I'll be posting up both a happy ending, and a sad ending. I hope you enjoy, and PLEASE R&R! |

"Are you cold?"

He smiles, "Are you?"

There's naked skin on naked skin, the sharing of body warmth, the entanglement of limbs. I smile and run a finger along his arm, lingering on the moles. With his strong hands he wipes stray strands of my hair away from my face, so that he can look at me properly. I love him all the more for it.

"Not really."

"No," he replies, taking my hands and lifting it up so that he can kiss it, "Neither am I." He buries his face into the back of my head and inhales, his arms tightening around me, yet delicate all the same. I don't think he's comfortable with this physical development, considering I am quite younger than he, but I adore it.

"Thevron," I suddenly voice, getting to my knees and turning around, hoisting a silk sheet up around my exposed bosom, "What would happen if I were to fall pregnant?"

He looks at me for a moment, and I swear I see a steely glint in his eyes. I know that this is the thing he fears most, fathering the child of the Na'Cladian's Daughter when he is just a lowly alchemist. He runs his nose along my arm thoughtfully, occasionally lingering to kiss my skin and send an inferno of heat throughout my entire body.

"After being executed, you mean?" he asks.

I pale at the very thought, "Alas, then why do we persist!"

He reaches behind him and withdraws the bright pink flower he brought with him when he entered my tent, tracing the petals with his thumb, staring just above my shoulder, held deep in thought. I lay the palm of my hand against his jaw and he looks directly at me, gives my favourite, half-hearted smile.

"This holds natural nectar of the Sahvrian Desert. I mixed it into your drink three nights ago, do you remember? It makes you unfertile for a small number of weeks – so that we may embrace without the fear of birthing a child," he kisses my neck, "The concubines of many kings secretly acquire the petals to prevent birth."

After a small while, I smile, "Yes, we must not have a child."

He looks at me, perhaps detecting the hidden sadness in my voice, "Our stations are too different, Favria. I think we are both painfully aware of this. One day, you shall be a bride and I will have no option but to stand by and watch. I wish not to back any commitment if all it shall end in is sadness and parting!"

I look at him carefully for a moment, "Is that all?"

He shifts uncomfortably for a moment, "You are very young, Favria."

"For what? Making love or having a child?" I ask, kissing his throat suggestively.

"Favria." He warns disapprovingly, stilling my hands as they may their way past his hips, the sun is rising and has no desire to be caught in the tent with me, "I am twenty-four. You are but fifteen."

"You do not seem to mind." I tell him, kissing his nipple.

He inhales a shaky breath, "Be gone with you, Seductress!"

I roll my eyes theatrically and I stand up, very aware how his eyes trace my naked curves. Very deliberately, I bend down and pick up my silk garments, sliding them onto my skin in a silky dance, twisting and curving. Finally he groans and flops back onto a mass of richly embroidered pillows, covering his eyes, "Enough, minx! If you will!"

I laugh, "Away with you! Before my father catches you and lops off your head!"

He stands, dresses, his powerful figure magnificent in the dull light of the singular lantern hung from atop the tent. He slides his sword in his scabbard and makes towards me, slings an arm around my waist, pulls me towards him and kisses me hungrily. I always felt so small in his arms, not yet fully matured, I was but a curvy child within the arms of a man. But I was already a woman. Finally, he leaves without looking back, the fabric of the tent slapping shut behind him as he walks into the awakening light of the sun.

)( )( )( )( )(

"Are you nervous?" mother asks over and over.

Are you nervous? Favria, are you nervous?

I ignore her again, wincing as the ornamental hairpins pull at my bronzen hair. I was by no means the most beautiful girl within the clan, but I was by far the most intelligent, independent and athletic amongst them. I had proven so through various trails of contest throughout the years. My hair was not thick or luscious, bit is was silky and a golden brown colour that mother said represented fiery leaves in their last few moments of life. After my father, my skin was darker than most, of Native Sahvrian descent. I had large breasts, thank Ahmel, which amounted for my lack of height. I was a beauty, but not one worthy of renown.

Yet.

But now, I was glorious. Dressed in the richest plums and reds I had ever seen, spangled in golden accessories and lips painted with clay so red, it might as well have been blood. And nervous I was, heart hammering away in my chest.

I was about to meet my future husband.

My heart just about stops all together when Thevron enters the room, gorgeous with his long hair tied behind him, muscles framed by his armour. Though his face is not the loving expression I am used to; just cold indifference that showed itself on his face the night I told him I was formally engaged to another.

"Oh, mine child!" my mother gathers me in her thick, powerful arms and kisses me repeatedly upon the forehead, "Be brave, my pet! I wait outside eagerly – you must, MUST tell me everything!" nodding absently to Thevron bows at her exit, she leaves in a mess of tuts, squeals and a flurry of skirts. Thevron looks at me for a full three seconds, and then holds out his hand. I rush forward and take them in my hands, kiss the bare skin of his palm, hoping his doesn't see the tears in my eyes. I had prepared myself for this the moment I first touched his lips, but it made the parting no more sour than I had expected.

"I loved you," Thevron whispers quickly.

"And I you," I reply immediately.

"I still love you." He continued.

I bite my lip, "And I you!"

He holds my gaze a moment longer and then disengages himself from my clasp, and whirls around, striding towards the tent entrance. He pauses slightly, turns around, and his face in once again a mask. He bows to me, "Lady Favria – I will return with your Fiancé shortly."

I can only reply, "Thank you, Thevron." But my eyes must say it all because his grimaces as he bows once again, and lays a hand against his chest as though his heart is in as much pain as my own. One year of loving each other, doomed to come to nothing.

Then it is quiet. I can hear nothing but the beating of my heart, this distant chime of symbols and the chocking gasps from my throat as my body tries to reject the emotional need to cry. Immediately, to prepare myself from the prince's entrance, I sit down on a mass of sheets and purple pillows, pull out a ridiculously large fan and cover the bottom half of my face. I pull the silken hood up and over my head, poise myself and await his company.

I am to marry Prince Alydien. He is the second son of King Garesh – a terrifying yet righteous and dedicated man. His first son, Prince Dymon was discovered a few years ago to be the bastard son of King Garesh's concubine, the infamous Lovette Du'Bon. Dymon was removed from the throne and demoted to the title of 'Lord', whilst Alydien was to become the crowned prince. I was told there was a certain amount of tension between the Alydien and Lovette Du'Bon.

Prince Alydien became the official crown prince at the age of nine.

It has been one year since.

I am sixteen, and he ten.

I was to marry a child.

The marriage was too perfect to deny. The young, rather attractive princess of Sahvrian, daughter of the infamous, brutal King of the desert who was well known for his lust for war and women. Despite his unfavourable disposition, my father loved me and was proud of me, and I of him despite many hated him with fury. Sahvrian was a considerable threat to the slightly more prosperous country of Dardenalles, so a marriage was quickly organised. I was the only daughter, and Alydien the only crown prince. Too young perhaps, but unfortunately unavoidable.

The sound of approaching voices reaches my eyes and my heartbeat quickens. I have little expectations of a child, but I hope he does not act as spoilt as he is and that he is intelligent and has the potential to be a handsome man. I can hear my mother's nervous voice, and the flaps to the royal tent open so quickly I barely have time to catch my breath. A powerfully built, ugly man steps into the room and for a moment I am riddled by confusion, sure than my fiancé was to be a young boy. He then clears his throat and addresses me, looking just over my head, as though too intimidated to look in my eyes.

"Prince Alydien of Dardenalles," he says in an unnecessarily loud voice.

I nod as gracefully as I can, the fan shaking my unsteady grip.

Seconds go buy, and nothing happens.

"… Your highness?"

"Yes – yes, I – I'm just…"

The flaps move again, and in stumbles a boy in fine clothing. The announcer looks relieved and with a quick and hasty bow, dismisses himself from our company. Then it's just me and my fiancé, both staring in different directions and hoping the other person speaks first.

"…Uh-…" he starts, but his voice dies like an echo on stale wind.

I finally wrench my eyes away from a nearby mat and look at the prince. I feel relief sweep through my body. Though only ten, I can already see that, with the right upbringing and training, he could grow to be a very handsome man indeed. With skin a deep, rich bronze and pitch black hair long and shaggy, tied up in a strand of diamond beads, I can easily see his sincere, emerald green eyes that stare at my with pure fear. His teeth, I am delighted to see, are white and even. No man is a true man with crooked teeth. He wears simple clothes that I think nicely gives the impression of modesty. Atop of it all, I can notice how easily he blushes and how sincerely afraid he is of me.

"Your highness," I say from behind the sanctuary of my fan.

He looks at me, startled, nervous, "Yes." Is all he replies.

"Is everything al-"

"Am I going to have to kiss you?" he asks suddenly, cutting me off.

I am shocked for a full minute before I can bring myself to answer, "At the wedding ceremony it is a traditional custom,"

"Oh," he says, and his dark skin deepens further, "I – I don't… I mean, I haven't-"

"Haven't what, young Prince?" I asked delicately.

"Kissed anyone!" the Prince looks close to tears, "It is disgusting!"

Suddenly, I find everything hilarious. I drop the fan and begin to laugh, timidly at first, but at the look of utter shock on the prince's face I can't contain it and lapse into fits of mirth, my sides screaming, tears beginning to inch their way from my eyes. The shock eventually leaks from the prince's face and it changes slowly into confusion and indignation.

"Pray, what is so funny?" he demands.

"I really – I really must apologise, sir, I do not know what came over me," I try to look suitably chastened as I pick up my fan again, thinking about how odd the Prince and the cold, stony-faced Thevron was look standing beside each other.

"No, don't." the prince says unexpectedly.

I hesitate, hand outstretched towards the fan.

"Excuse me, my Lord?"

"Leave the fan – You seem nicer without the fan."

"Really? How so?" I ask, intrigued.

"I can see your face clearly – your emotions and your … your features. If you was to be my – my wife, then I want to be able to understand you, and see you honestly." He says this fluently, as though he has practised this repeatedly beforehand.

"Very well," I reply, leaving the gaudy thing on the floor.

I sit, he stands, and we both stare at each other, lost in our own thoughts, complete silence enveloping us as time ticks on. Finally, he takes a hesitant step forward and sits upon a large pillow, hugging his knees to him and looking slightly more relaxed.

"I've never done this before," he tells me earnestly.

I smile slightly, "To be honest, young Prince, neither have I."

He grins and then laughs, so innocent and pure it could seduce birds from the trees. I know it will be several years before I could see him as a man – but I could easily see myself pretending to be his wife whilst he grew, waiting for him to mature so that our marriage could truly begin. Perhaps it was better this way, too. I could forget about Thevron over time, and not forced out of it physically on our wedding night. Because it was unlikely that this young boy would want to sleep with me at such an age.

For the next hour we just talk about innocent, unimportant things like I would with a friend. He enjoys archery and sword training, just like any young boy his age would, and he admires his older brother above all else, which surprises me. He tells me about his mother, and how people come from far and wide to hear her play the harp. He tells me that his horse's name is Aslan, and that he's never been kissed before. His favourite colour is purple, and he loves to paint despite the fact that he's bad at it. He also shares the fact the he hates Lovette Du'Bon; and that if we are to marry, that I should not speak to her if I can help it.

In return, I tell him about myself. How I can hunt and am considered a fine female warrior, how I love animals and can't play any instruments. I try singing for him, to see if I have any musical talent at all, and the result leaves us in peals of laughter. I tell him nothing of Thevron, knowing that if that were to leak and he were to tell someone, it would end in an execution. Very shyly, he reaches out and holds my hand, and after the initial discomfort, we relax and ease into it as though it was the most natural thing in the world.

A gong sounds outside, and I know it is time for us to part.

He stands quickly, and looks down at me, shuffles his feet, "Well…"

"You must go, my Prince," I say, and his blushes at the use of inclusive language.

My curiosity is piqued as the Prince hesitates instead of exciting, and just as I hear the flap of a person entering the tent, he bends town and pecks me on the lips. This brief and unsensual contact sparks a smoulder of unease within me, despite it being harmless and more of an obligation instead of instinct.

"So that our wedding is not our first," he stammers, and leaves.

I look up, and notice that it was Thevron that entered. He says nothing as voices erupt outside my tent, but I can see that his jaw is strained, and I see the accusation in his eyes. I bend down and briefly touch my lips; the Prince's kiss still putting me on edge. Ashamedly, I can only think of Thevron at that very moment. How deeper and how lovely he used to kiss me.

So I stand up and move over to him, kiss him – and he kisses me back, briefly, but the lust is almost tangible. His hand moves to the small of my back and he pushes me up against him, my lips barely reach his shoulder. I inhale his scent, already feeling like a whore, a jezebel, as if I am already married. He then moves away, sighs and rubs his temples. That brief contact was enough to send a wave of fire throughout me, warming me through.

Prince Alydien, forgive me.

For I doubt that your kiss can ever make me feel like I'm burning.