MONTH ONE: November
Chapter One: In Which Our Heroine Realizes That Escape Ain't Happening And Fae Are Handsome – Even The Kidnapping Kind
May didn't want to consider him handsome. She would never do that. She was a doctor and they simply did not fall for simple psychological tricks like Stockholm syndrome. Heck to the fracking no.
Besides he was sooo ugly.
What colors were his eyes even supposed to be?
Sometimes they were the pale violet of Amnesia Amethyst. Other days they glowed like the last rays of day, dark and filled with nightmares. And yet others they were almost black.
So purple they were black.
And then there was his face.
So long and thin, with eyebrows that gave him a perpetual smirk. Cheekbones so defined that she feared cutting herself on them if she slapped him properly. Oh how she wanted to slap him properly. This snake who had befriended her and then kidnapped her, stranding May Bloodstone in this beautiful gilded cage.
She was supposed to be a tame singing bird. She was supposed to be submitting to the whims of her captors. What was she doing instead?
What any Bloodstone would do. Stubborn refusal.
The bruises on her arms from the guards grasps were a livid shade of yellow by now.
Every day she tried a new escape and every day she was thwarted by a slim, arrogant ambassador who she once considered a friend.
She knew better now, he was the devil incarnate.
And his boss?
Aw that was the worst of it all.
May was never scared of Jim. She was scared of the towering, soft spoken fae who had dubbed her Moonflower and bade her describe her nightmares. And without fail she did, reciting like any dutiful schoolchild the dreams that plagued her.
She hated him.
She hated her dreams.
But most of all she hated herself.
Where were her friends when she needed them?
She'd only been here ten days, how was she going to last 356 more? A door creaked open near her and there he strode in, the object of her hated contemplations. James Fae was dressed in rich red velvet, his green streaked hair at odds with the blood red color. May, who had spent her entire life around the red leaves of Syfens, couldn't deny that the color green fascinated her. It was her older sister's favorite color, and one that wasn't very popular in the Bloodstone sections.
She was not fixated by his hair. She was not. She did not want to experiment and see if his hair was naturally that color and what odd genes coded for that, and what would he do if she yanked it out.
(Okay, maybe that last bit. Yanking his ridiculous ponytail seemed like an awful lot of fun.)
He was staring at her as if she had grown a third head. Maybe it was because she was sitting in the middle of his bed painting her toenails.
And she was painting them a depressing black.
And not caring that the paint was dripping all over his pristine white covers.
Maybe, but it was her small revenge for what she knew was coming.
In a few days the full moon would rise and she was going to be locked up.
May had never told anyone about her fear of being buried alive.
Maybe if she behaved bad enough he would lock her somewhere else.
Anywhere but underground.
Today his eyes were a luminous violet, as he glared in annoyance at her. A ceremonial sword hung from a scabbard on his waist and knee high yet functional boots were laced as tight as his personality.
That was James Fae, functional and laced tighter than a Viva Del Sol bow.
"What are you doing?" His voice cut like thorns and May wondered if he practiced that look in the mirror.
"What does it look like I'm doing?"
She loved taunting him, loved seeing that vein pop on his forehead.
One day she'd give him an aneurism and she would be so pleased.
"It looks like you're acting out again."
"Only looks?" The tone of her voice was light, but James felt the daggers she was tossing his way.
He was the unluckiest fae in the universe and he knew it.
First there was his captive.
With her ridiculously long hair (no he did not want to touch it, no matter how soft and wavy it looked. How many braids could be done with that much hair? Could he tie her to something with those braids so that she didn't run off and cause such trouble for him?) and strange red and gold eyes (really, who designed these people?) she was an annoyance through and through.
Add to that a penchant for wearing clingy clothes that set off the annoying lechers in the castle (another thing he had to protect her from) and an attitude that was almost enough to piss off Finvarra, this girl was bad news.
But she was his captive.
Which means that she was sitting on his bed and painting her toenails a ridiculous black.
His nice new duvet.
He was going to miss that.
She was ruining the one thing that gave him pleasure in this whole darn castle. His nice feather bed.
The second problem?
Well it started with an N and ended with an athaniel.
The prince of the Sand Fae was currently standing outside his bedroom door and waiting to be let in so as to force a visit with the unhappy captive.
(The captor was unhappy too and no one was giving him special visits)
(Not that he wanted them. Not from Nathaniel anyways)
"I get it, you wanna keep her all to yourself. Stingy fairy," then raising his voice louder as to talk to May, "I guess I cannot visit you today fair maiden, as James gets so jealous when you dote on anyone but him."
"DOTE ON HIM? Nathaniel, you better get in here just so I can wring your neck."
"I've been invited in James," Nathaniel sighed, "You must let me pass so that I can go to my execution."
Jim smiled tightly and opened the door wider, letting in the fae prince who dressed like a gang member.
(Nathaniel loved seeing Finvarra's face when he dressed like a gangster. It was priceless. Even old James the Storyteller giggled a little.)
"By all means, Nathaniel. Come into my humble room."
Nathaniel grinned at him and walked in, his eyes zeroing in on the human girl stretched out on the snow white covers of a four poster.
"Nice nails, May." Nathaniel gave her a thumbs up before tossing a bundle on her bed.
May grinned at him and returned the gesture.
"What's this, my prince in grungy t-shirts and combat boots?" She waggled her eyebrows at him, jokingly. Nathaniel smirked as he saw the frown on James' face deepen.
"You mean that tall, dark, and snarky hasn't won you over yet?"
Nathaniel thought of May as an extra kind of sister. He definitely wanted to know if May was being mistreated. Besides, their friends Marci and Arianna would murder him if they didn't find out how their missing friend was. And her sister Isabella?
Isabella wouldn't just murder him, she'd murder him with iron and laugh maniacally.
Then she'd dance on the ashes and use them to grow carrots or something.
Nathaniel had no desire to end up a "youthful" carrot.
"Tall yes, snarky, definitely, and his soul has all the light of Syfen bark. But won over? Ever heard the tale of December Bloodstone and Rory Viva Del Sol?"
May replied to his question, opening the package to find letters and medical tools tucked into the package. Nathaniel scratched his head thoughfully.
"Can't say I've heard that one, no."
James cleared his throat and glanced pointedly at Nathaniel.
"Rory cheated on December with an Apothecary back in the earliest days of the forest families. Ever since then the three families have never gotten along. The still hold a grudge over that long ago adulturous affair."
"What does that have to do with this?" Nathaniel asked, slightly perplexed.
"The Apothecaries attempted to 'win' over the Bloodstones with a feast one time. It resulted in the deaths of everyone. The Viva Del Sols attempted to make things right with a gift of some crops. The crops were infested with weevils. They are not 'won over' well."
May nodded solemnly. "It's like fate said, nope, you guys will never be good with each other." She held up a thick journal, one made of red and gold leather and locked firmly with what appeared to be a small iron chain.
"Who sent me this?"
James blanched at the thought of May having any bit of iron available to her.
He had to sleep in the same room as she did.
Nathaniel shrugged. "I didn't actually see that in there. Wonder where that came from?"
May opened it and saw that there was no note.
"Hmm. I see nothing here." Nathaniel nodded, glancing at the time.
"These castles are strange like that May. As much as I want to protect you my lovely maiden, I must be off. I have a meeting with Cook tonight," Nathaniel blew her an imaginary kiss.
May returned it with sad eyes that made Nathaniel want to stay if only a little longer.
May was a decent person and he didn't believe she truly deserved to be trapped in a Fae castle for a year.
He'd seen what that did to people far stronger than a spunky Bloodstone woman who was barely 19.
James pointedly opened the door.
Nathaniel threw him a look that was deadly serious before turning and leaving.
May went back to painting her toes and James groaned.
It was going to be a long evening.
Later that Evening...
May had taken to wearing shorts and a rather long button down of James' that she'd stolen (since he had never given her permission) and treated like a spoil of war. He would die before telling her that the particular shirt she'd 'borrowed' was his favorite and he missed it quite a lot. James didn't like to dwell on the physical looks of his captive, after all in his line of work, to focus on an appearance was to miss the danger beneath. He'd seen plenty of Fae who used beauty as a shield for the daggers they wished to lodge in one's back. Besides, it would be rude to do so. He and May had been acquainted for roughly a year prior to his King's choice of captive, and he had thought that their relationship was amiable, even bordering one what Nathaniel would foolishly insist was friendship. Regardless, she was his 'guest and it was poor hospitality to realize she had rather pretty legs and that he felt something he shouldn't every time he saw her wearing his shirt.
(Retaliation for the shirt came when Jim replaced her one medic dress with a 'borrowed' fae corset and gown one morning. She threatened to go naked and he had just stared until she started to unbutton the cursed collared shirt, watching until he got so self conscious that he growled and returned her regular dress. )
May was tossing and turning on her cot in the corner, obviously unable to get to sleep.
"Either be still or take the sleeping draught on the table." His voice sounded irritable even to him, and Jim mentally cursed himself for sounding annoyed. He liked to pretend he was above such emotions, but this wild human girl brought out the worst in him.
"I don't like your potions, fairy." May replied sweetly, turning rather viciously and kicking one of her covers off. Jim tried not to roll his eyes, secretly agreeing with her. He hated those draughts too, but they were good for sleeping and he had to sleep sometimes.
(She didn't know about his nightmares yet. He wanted to keep it that way as long as possible).
"They're not my potions." He replied, a sigh evident in his voice as he turned over as well, ignoring the black smudges on his once pristine covers. James heard May sigh and mutter something.
"What was that, Miss Bloodstone?" He called back, feeling rather peevish after being denied the sleep he so sorely needed. Tomorrow negotiations began with the glass fae on trade with their people and he needed to be on his toes to deal with his insane tikki brethren.
"They work by no medical science that I can figure out." She replied louder, tossing again and losing a pillow this time in the process. Jim groaned in frustration.
"Must you always have proof to trust something?" The unspoken "or someone" hung in the air, a reminder of the short time they had been friends before this debacle.
"Yes." Was the short and serious remark, hissed at him from the corner. He would have taken her more seriously if she wasn't nested in a giant bundle of blankets and pillows.
All he could see of the girl was a small, pale foot sticking awkwardly off of the cot.
She was as far from an authority as he had ever seen her at that moment.
(He tried to forget the countless times he'd seen her heal others, the one day she'd healed him. He tried not to think about how still her face got when she saw an injury and how quickly she jumped into help. Jim who had never seen such care directed towards himself shuddered inwardly at the intensity of her expression in those still, limbo moments. How could one person care so much for someone who was not themselves?)
The two occupants on the ambassador's suite finally quieted, though their quiet would not last long.