A Buffyverse Apocalypse Interlude: Sleeping Lilah


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A Buffyverse Apocalypse Interlude: Sleeping Lilah

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A Buffyverse Apocalypse Interlude: Sleeping Lilah

  1. 1. A Buffyverse Apocalypse Interlude: Sleeping Lilah An Apocaversary Gift By RoseFyre So, we have somehow managed to hit the two year mark on this story (if it takes three, please shoot me), and it is time to celebrate with another Apocaversary story! Yet again, this is NOT canon for my Apocalypse, nor is it set in the same universe as CinderBuffy. And yet again, it’ll make way more sense if you read my Apocalypse first anyway, as the characters are pretty much the same as they are there. Oh, and - the medieval clothing is just because I felt like it. Please ignore any inconsistencies. Enjoy! --- And, as always, I don't own Joss Whedon or any characters/places from Buffy/Angel.
  2. 2. Once upon a time, in the small kingdom - or perhaps it should be called queendom - of Sunnydale, California, there lived an old queen, her son, and her son’s new wife.
  3. 3. Queen Buffy had ruled her kingdom well for a very long time, since the death of her father a very long time ago, when she was not yet an adult. She had had a good life, by some definitions. She’d ruled her kingdom, helped her people, ran her household, did her job, and raised six children - one of them actually her nephew, not her son. By other definitions, her life had not been quite so good. Both of her parents and both of her siblings had died before her 25th birthday, leaving her the sole heir to the House of Whedon. Her consort had been a good man, but she had not loved him.
  4. 4. But now, whether judged to be good or bad, that life was coming to an end.
  5. 5. Her son Rupert and his wife Lynne sat quietly by her bedside, in chairs they’d carried up from the kitchen.
  6. 6. Buffy looked over at her son, her eyes clearer than they’d been in a long time. “I have some things to tell you before I go, Rupert.” “I’m not ready for you to go, Mother,” Rupert said quietly. Buffy smiled sadly. “It’s my time. Besides, I’m ready.” Lynne put her hand on Rupert’s as he manfully held back tears. “I’m barely out of university. How am I supposed to do a good job as king?”
  7. 7. Buffy looked directly at Rupert, catching his gaze. “I’ve taught you how to rule, how to run the household, everything that must be done to be a good king. You will be an excellent king.” She waited for his acknowledging nod. “There is one thing, though, that I must tell you before I go.” She took a deep breath. “Never ever - and I mean never, absolutely never - forget to pay your taxes.” Rupert and Lynne exchanged a glance. “Aren’t we the ruling family? Why do we have to pay taxes?” “It’s the law. Every Monday, give the tax collector - you know her, my old friend Rose - give her the tax money. They cost 60% of the worth of all of the objects within the house - not the building itself, just the items. You must pay your taxes.” Lynne’s brow furrowed. “But, don’t you make the laws? Can’t you change that?” Buffy shook her head. “There are forces far more powerful than you or I or anyone out there, and they are the ones who control the taxes. There is nothing we can do to change that. Rose shows up promptly at ten. Give her the tax money.”
  8. 8. They exchanged another glance. “Mother,” Rupert said, “what happens if you don’t pay your taxes?” Buffy’s entire body shuddered and a look of terror appeared on her face. “You don’t want to know. You really, really, really don’t want to know.” She turned to her son. “Please. I’m begging you. Please pay your taxes - and pay them on time.” Alarmed by his mother’s reaction, Rupert nodded. “I will. I swear it.”
  9. 9. Buffy smiled, finally at peace. “Good.” Then she lay back into the bed, her eyes closing.
  10. 10. Five minutes later, she was dead.
  11. 11. Lynne comforted her husband as he finally let the tears fall. When he was done crying, he stepped back. “I’m going to miss her.” “I know. She seemed like a lovely woman, though I didn’t really get much time to know her.” “She was.” “I guess you’re in charge now. King Rupert.” “And his wife, Queen Lynne.” The couple smiled at each other. “I guess we’d best announce that - what happened.” “Come, we’ll go make the announcement together.”
  12. 12. 40 Years Later
  13. 13. “Thank you, Rupert,” Rose said, smiling sweetly as she accepted the taxes. “I’ll see you next week, promptly at ten.” She turned to leave, but he stopped her with a hand on her arm. “I won’t be paying you next week.” She crossed her arms as she turned back to face him. “You won’t?” Her voice was icy. “Well, someone will, but not me. My daughter is moving back from university - today, actually - and I’m turning duties over to her as my heir.” “Oh. Well, that’s okay then.” Once more all sweetness and light, Rose smiled. “I’ll see you anyway.” “Right,” Rupert said. “Goodbye.”
  14. 14. Rose turned to leave, but before she could exit the throne room, the door to the outside opened and two young women came through it. “Dad!” “Welcome home, girls.”
  15. 15. They rushed over to hug him. Rose smiled as she watched them, then silently left the house. She’d be back next week. After a couple of minutes, Rupert pulled out of the hug. “Lynne!” he yelled. “Guess who’s here?” “I’ve got a cake in the oven, can’t it wait?” The voice came from somewhere above them. “Trust me, you’ll want to see them!”
  16. 16. A minute later, Lynne came down the stairs, wiping her hands on a towel. “You’re the one who wanted cake to celebrate the girls returning from university, you know.” She shook her head, looking at her husband. Then she noticed who was standing next to him. “Tara! Lilah!” She immediately rushed over to hug her daughters. “Mom, it’s great to see you,” Tara said, clutching her tightly. Lilah nudged her sister. “Hey, let me have a turn.” When Tara let her go, Lilah held her mother. “It is good to see you.” “I’m glad you’re home.”
  17. 17. “So,” Lilah said, pulling back from the hug, “you were saying something about cake?”
  18. 18. The girls spent the next few days learning all about their future duties. Lilah, as the heir to the throne, spent that time with her father as he showed her everything that needed to be done to keep the kingdom running smoothly. Friday morning, at breakfast, Rupert told Lilah that they were going to take a trip that day. “Where to, Dad?” “You need to know this kingdom like the back of your hand. We’re going to drive around the borders first, then through the main thoroughfares.” “I do know town.” “But not all the farms. You should know those as well.”
  19. 19. Lilah rolled her eyes, but nodded. “Alright. Is there anything else on the list for today?” “No, I think that’ll be enough. Most likely, it will take all day.” Rupert looked at his wife. “We’ll eat lunch at one of the restaurants in town, and possibly dinner as well. If we’re not back, don’t worry about us.” Lynne nodded. “We won’t. Tara and I have plenty to do of our own, anyway.” He smiled. “Good. We’ll be back before bed.”
  20. 20. Rupert and Lilah headed downstairs, towards the car. Lilah paused for a moment in the throne room, looking around. “Dad…why are you teaching me all this now? I’m not queen yet, and I won’t be for a while. Right?” He smiled at her. “I’m ready to rest, Lilah. I’ve been king since I graduated from university, and I’d like some time to relax with just your mother. Without the responsibility I’ve had all these years. I’ll still be here to help you for a while yet, but you’re my heir, and it’s time for you to learn to rule.” She nodded slowly. “Alright, Dad.”
  21. 21. When they got to the car, Rupert stopped Lilah before she got into the passenger seat. “Catch.” She put her hands up automatically, suddenly finding herself with keys in hand. “I get to drive?” “You do.” “Awesome.”
  22. 22. Lilah walked around the car and got into the driver’s seat. Her father got in the passenger side. “So, today we’re touring, right?” “Right. I think I’ve gone over almost everything with you, so today is for touring, and we can all relax over the weekend, then go over some final things on Monday.”
  23. 23. “Awesome. Relaxing is good.” Rupert frowned. He just knew he’d forgotten to tell her something. “Oh,” he said suddenly. “There is one thing I have to tell you. We owe taxes every week on Mondays. My old friend Rose - you remember her - she collects them, promptly at ten. The taxes are 60% of the worth of all of the objects within the house, though not the house itself.” “Taxes? Really? Aren’t you the king?” Rupert shrugged. “Even we have to pay taxes. I don’t understand it myself, but I know that we have to, and Rose is always here to collect them, and always on time. When I became king, Mother warned me to always pay my taxes, though she never did say what would happen if I didn’t or if I was late, just that it would be bad. But it is the law, so we pay taxes. That will be one of the duties you’ll take on, starting this Monday.”
  24. 24. “Right, taxes. Monday. Sure,” Lilah said. She carefully backed out of the driveway. “So where are we driving to?”
  25. 25. Meanwhile, upstairs, Lynne and Tara busied themselves cleaning up the breakfast dishes. “What’s on the schedule for today, Mom?” “We’ve gone over everything important. All that’s left is to share family secrets. Let’s start with recipes - from both my family and your father’s.” “So cooking, then?” “Yes.”
  26. 26. Later that morning, they’d gone over a whole bunch of recipes, and were taking a bit of a coffee break while a pie cooled and a cake baked. The silence was comfortable - or at least it seemed that way.
  27. 27. “Are you sure you’re alright with this?” Lynne asked suddenly. “What do you mean, Mom?” “Moving home, basically acting as Lilah’s housekeeper.” Tara shrugged. “She can’t do it alone.” “Oh, I know that. But that’s what a husband is for - to take over some of her duties.” Lynne didn’t look at Tara when she spoke, staring instead into her coffee cup. “Do you have any idea who Lilah will choose for that?”
  28. 28. Tara blushed a deep, dark red. She was suddenly glad her mother wasn’t looking at her. “No, no idea. That’s her business, not mine.” Lynne sighed. “She’ll need an heir of her own, one day. I think Lilah is the right choice for heir, and will be an excellent queen, but the line must continue.” “I know, Mom. And so does she.” “Of course.” They lapsed into silence again, stopping only when the oven timer went off and they had to take the cake out. After, Lynne started showing Tara how to make her special salmon.
  29. 29. Naturally, Miss Kitty Fantastico, the family cat, chose that moment to show up and pay attention to them. Lynne filled her bowl, then returned to the salmon, showing Tara what to do. For a while, they concentrated only on what needed doing, avoiding possibly inflammatory topics.
  30. 30. After some time, as they put the salmon into the oven, Tara spoke up. “I am fine with this, Mom. Don’t worry about me.” “You’re my daughter, I’ll always worry about you. And I know you’ve never wanted to be a homemaker.” Tara shrugged. “It’s not my ultimate goal in life, no. But there are other things I can do, while still running the household.” “Make sure to take some time for yourself to fulfill those goals. You won’t be happy if you don’t.” Tara grinned, thinking to herself of her ultimate goal in life and the plans she already had in place to get that started. “Don’t worry, Mom. I’ve got it covered.”
  31. 31. On Monday, Rupert spent the morning instructing Lilah on how to greet their subjects. Tara joined the lesson, just in case it was ever necessary for her to know how - if Lilah was sick or something happened. Also, so she could assist when needed. At ten, they heard someone walking up the stairs. “Oh good,” Rupert said. “Someone is coming. Experience is the best teacher. Tara, could you get the door?”
  32. 32. Tara headed over to open the door as Lilah and Rupert sat in the thrones. “Hello, Rose.” “Hello, Tara. I’m here to see your sister.” Tara nodded and stepped out of the way, leaving the path free for Rose to walk over to the thrones.
  33. 33. Rose stopped at the bottom of the stairs. “I’m here for tax collection,” she said simply. Lilah’s brow furrowed. “Tax collection?” Rupert looked at his daughter. “I told you about that on Friday.” “Yes, tax collection. You owe $14,924 right now.” Rose suddenly sounded much less cheerful. Lilah winced. “I forgot.” “I told you it was important!” “You mentioned it almost as a throwaway!”
  34. 34. Rose crossed her arms. “Am I hearing this right? You forgot to get your taxes ready?” There was something almost scary about her voice, and by the door, Tara shivered. “I’ll get them by this afternoon,” Lilah said. She stood up. “I know we have the money, I just forgot.” Rose shook her head slowly. “This afternoon isn’t good enough. Taxes must be paid promptly at ten on Monday. You are too late.”
  35. 35. She climbed the stairs, walking right up to Lilah. Lilah fell backwards into her chair as Rupert stood up. Rose lifted one arm and shoved him away. He toppled onto the ground. She put her hands on her hips. “You forgot to pay taxes. Now you have to pay the price.” On the word ‘price,’ Rose suddenly changed.
  36. 36. “What the hell?” Lilah asked, looking up at Rose. “You broke a rule. You must pay. I am the avatar of apocalypse, and I pronounce judgment.” Rose kissed Lilah on the forehead, then disappeared.
  37. 37. Lilah slipped from her chair to the floor, unmoving, eyes closed.
  38. 38. “Lilah!” Rupert yelled, rushing over to kneel next to his daughter. “Where did she go?” Tara asked. Then she joined her father. “And what happened to Lilah?” “I don’t know. She seems to be asleep.” They examined Lilah, not moving her. “What do we do?” “We figure this out.” “I’ll call Riley. He studies all those books, he might know something about…whatever this is.” Rupert nodded. “I’ll get your mother and call the boys. The whole family should be involved in this.”
  39. 39. Ten hours later, the entire family was gathered around Lilah’s unmoving body. “What happened to Aunt Lilah?” Andrew asked. “We don’t know,” Wesley answered. “We’re here to find out.” “Do we have any sign of what happened?” Lauren asked. She turned to Tara. “You were here. Describe the event.” Tara nodded and told them what had happened. Lauren shook her head slowly. “I don’t know if we’re going to find anything. This doesn’t sound physical. And as much as Wesley and I do police work…”
  40. 40. Rupert nodded. “We know.” He turned to his youngest son. “Riley, I know you like to read. Have you seen anything about anything like this?” Riley shook his head. “Not that I know of. There’s a few books I might be able to check, though. I could use help with the research.” “Right,” Lynne said, taking command. “This is what we’re going to do. Wesley and Lauren are going to examine Lilah and see if they can find out what happened that way. Riley is going to research. Everyone else is going to assist him.” Everyone snapped to obey. Books were passed around, Lilah was examined.
  41. 41. As it was late, Andrew quickly got tired. “Mom, I’m bored,” he whined. Lauren looked over at her son. “I think you’re tired.” Her lips pursed. They needed to examine Lilah. Wesley noticed. He smiled at his wife, then looked at his brother. “Lorne, can you put Andrew to bed in our old room? I would, but…” “No, you stay with what you’re doing. I was getting sick of the books, anyway.” Lorne got up and stretched. “Come on, Andrew, I’ll read you a story before bed.”
  42. 42. After they left, the rest of the family continued with what they were doing. A bit later, Lauren stood up, shaking her head. “No sign of anything.” “Anything in the books?” Wesley asked, standing up as well. “We can help research, I guess.” Rupert shook his head. “Nothing so far.” Tara bit her lip. “I hope we find something.” “Hand me a book,” Wesley said. Riley grabbed a couple that he thought might be useful and handed them to his brother, who handed one to his wife.
  43. 43. As they were settling down to read, Lorne came back downstairs. “He’s asleep.” “Thanks,” Wesley said. Lorne surveyed the room. “This is gonna be an all-night study session, isn’t it? I’ll get some snacks.” He started to turn to head back up the stairs, but before he could move, something very odd happened.
  44. 44. “Who are you?” Rupert asked, standing up from the bench. Tara looked up. “He’s got the same wings as Rose did.” Rupert nodded, not looking at her. “Yes. He does.” “Were you involved in doing this to my daughter?” Lynne asked.
  45. 45. The man held up his hands. “Whoa, whoa. I’m not working with her, no. No, I’m Lilah’s fairy godfather. You can call me Joss.”
  46. 46. “Her what?” Tara asked, blinking. “I didn’t know she had a fairy godfather. Did you, Dad?” Rupert shook his head. “No.” Joss shrugged. “I only come when I’m needed, and I haven’t been needed til now. Look, I’m here to help. Can you all stop looking at me like I’m evil?” “You’re here to help? Then help.” Rupert sat back down.
  47. 47. “Alright,” Joss said. “This is going to require a bit of history. Everyone, put down your books.” They obeyed, pulling the benches over so that Joss could talk to all of them - though some of the younger adults chose to use the floor anyway. “A long, long time ago, an agreement was made between your family and the, well, I guess demons is the right word. A series of devastating events had occurred - the details are not important - and the demons basically ruled the world. One of your ancestors decided to try to fix things.” “Let me guess,” Riley said, “the demons weren’t happy.” Joss pointed at him. “Got it in one.”
  48. 48. “So what happened?” Tara asked. “An agreement was reached. Your ancestor would be allowed to fix things, if certain concessions were made to the demons. Slowly, your ancestor and his descendants fixed things, removing many of the concessions, becoming rulers of this area in the process, but a few of those concessions are still in place. The most important one, of course, is taxes.” “So when Lilah didn’t pay taxes on time…” Lorne said. “A curse was placed on her.”
  49. 49. “What kind of curse?” Rupert asked. Joss turned to him. “I’m going to assume your mother never told you much about her history.” Rupert shook his head. “No. Not at all. Nor did Dad. They seemed - it was like they wanted to forget it.” “I’m not surprised. Your grandfather forgot to pay his taxes once, when your mother was in her late teens. The same curse was placed on him, and it was never broken.” “So it can be broken,” Riley said. “All curses can be broken. It’s part of what makes them curses.”
  50. 50. “However,” Joss said, “it’s not always easy to break those curses.” He avoided looking at the family. “This curse is worse than most, however. It spreads.” Rupert froze. “What do you mean?” Joss kept looking away. “Have you never wondered why you don’t have any grandparents, or any other relatives?” “Well, yes.” “As I said, this curse spreads. If it is not broken within three years, three people who are close to the original victim - in this case, Lilah - will be struck as well. At that point, it is no longer breakable, and all four victims will die within a year.”
  51. 51. The entire family had gone white. Three people close to Lilah? That was them.
  52. 52. “So Mom’s family…” Rupert finally managed to choke out the words. “Yes. Your grandfather was the original victim. Your grandmother, aunt, and uncle were the secondary victims. Your mother was the only survivor. She became queen by default.” “They couldn’t break the curse then?” Riley asked. “There was no fairy godfather or godmother assigned to any of the family at that point in time. They didn’t know how. And even if they had, I’m not certain it would have been possible.” The family exchanged glances. “What do you mean?” Tara asked. “How do you break the curse, and why wasn’t it possible?”
  53. 53. “The curse can only be broken by a kiss from the victim’s true love.”
  54. 54. “Well, shit,” Tara said. “Tara!” Lynne was shocked. She didn’t like cursing, and her children usually didn’t do it in front of her. “No,” Riley said, “she’s right. Shit is definitely the right word.” “We are never ever going to break this curse, are we?” Wesley asked. Lorne shook his head. “Probably not.” Their parents exchanged glances. “Okay, you four,” Rupert said. “Explain. Now.”
  55. 55. “Wait,” Riley said. He looked at Joss. “Wasn’t our great-grandmother his true love? I’m sure she must have kissed him in the three years she had to break it.” “True love is…it’s an interesting term. She did kiss him, yes, but for a variety of reasons, she wasn’t his true love. A true love is a universal constant, not limited to one ‘verse, and not everyone has one.” Everyone stared at him, confused looks on their faces. “I don’t know if he had a true love, but it wasn’t her. Whether Lilah will or not…I don’t know.”
  56. 56. Then Joss cocked his head, as though listening to something only he could hear. He looked at the family. “I have to go. I’ve given you the information you need. It is up to you to save her.”
  57. 57. And then, with a rush of air, he was gone.
  58. 58. Everyone stood up, shouting, trying to figure out what to do and where Joss had gone. Rupert put his fingers in his lips and whistled loudly. His children, his wife, and his daughter-in-law all fell silent. “Alright. We need to solve this thing. It sounds like we have three years to try and find Lilah’s true love.” He scanned their faces, noticing that all four of his children looked guilty. “First, you four explain why you think we won’t find her true love. Then we’ll work on finding whoever that true love is.”
  59. 59. The four siblings exchanged glances. Tara took a deep breath. “Okay. Why we think it’s going to be fucking impossible - pardon the French - to find Lilah’s true love.” And with that, Tara told the story of Lilah’s years at UC Sunnydale, assisted occasionally by her brothers.
  60. 60. By the time the tale was done, everyone was sitting once more. “Well. That was. Well,” Lynne said. “I did not know our daughter was spending her time at college that way,” Rupert added. “She’s still the right choice for heir, though,” Riley said. “She can lead. And she wants kids, unlike me or Tara or Lorne. She’s a good choice.” Rupert nodded. “Lovers do not determine suitability for heirship. Lilah is still my heir. Provided, of course, we manage to save her from this curse. Now, I want you four to come up with a list of every single one of her lovers, and invite them here, later this week, to try and wake her up. We will also advertise, in case there are any you don’t know about.”
  61. 61. Rupert paused, looking each of his children in the eye. “Does everyone understand?” Everyone nodded. “Then let’s do this.”
  62. 62. They came up with a list, and began advertising. Soon, there was a line of people - both male and female - waiting at the door. Tara and Riley quickly took charge of the process. Someone had to rule the kingdom, and for now, that would have to be Rupert. Wesley and Lorne both had jobs to return to, as did Lauren, and Andrew had school. The four of them returned home to wait for news, and to live their lives. Lynne supported everyone - her husband, her children - but couldn’t quite bear to stay in the same room as Lilah’s unmoving body for hours on end. That left Tara and Riley. Riley did have university classes, but he took a short leave of absence and brought his books with him. He could study while working on fixing this. Tara, as Lilah’s twin, absolutely wasn’t about to let anyone else watch over Lilah instead of her. The others helped occasionally, but Tara and Riley were almost always there.
  63. 63. They let each person in individually, allowing him or her to see Lilah and try kissing her. To make the process easier, they found a table and placed Lilah’s body on it. This got her off the floor - which was distasteful to the entire family - and put her higher up, making it easier for the lovers to reach her.
  64. 64. The applicants varied - from the peasants to the nobles and everyone in between. It seemed Lilah had been very busy during her time at university.
  65. 65. Most of them kissed her, and when she didn’t wake, simply left, shrugging. A few were more interesting.
  66. 66. Gunnar Roque, a famous bard, got down on one knee and sang a song to Lilah before attempting to kiss her. Like everyone before him, he was unsuccessful.
  67. 67. When he was gone, Tara sat down and rubbed her forehead. Riley looked up from his book. “Lilah sure dated some weirdos, didn’t she?” “Well, he is famous.” “Also a terrible singer. And a horrible songwriter. That didn’t even rhyme. Or scan, for that matter.” Tara leaned back, laughing. “So, so true.”
  68. 68. Others seemed barely interested in the process. “Do I really have to try this?” Madeleine Doran grimaced as she walked up to the table. “Well, yes,” Tara said, blinking a bit.
  69. 69. Madeleine leaned down and kissed Lilah quickly, then stepped back. Lilah didn’t wake. “Oh, thank Plumbbob.” “Er, aren’t you here to try and wake her?” “Well, yeah, I mean, it’s the right thing to do. Hell, I like Lilah. But I have no interest in being her consort. Or her true love. Or anyone’s true love.” She looked at Lilah, then Tara. “Good luck in finding whoever that is, but I am damn glad it’s not me.”
  70. 70. At least a few of them were not actually Lilah’s lovers. Riley looked up from his book at the person his mother was greeting. “Tara,” he said quietly, nudging her with a foot. “Isn’t that the maid?” She stopped rubbing her forehead, despite her headache. It had been a long day. She looked up. “Yeah.” “Did she actually sleep with the maid?” “No. She used to complain about him following her around.” “So what’s he doing here?”
  71. 71. Tara got up and went over to them. “You’re not one of Lilah’s lovers,” she said. “In body, no. In soul, we are mates.” “Mom…” Lynne shrugged. “We did say anyone.” “Fine. Try.”
  72. 72. Remington leaned down and kissed Lilah on the lips. He stood up slowly. When she didn’t wake, his lip quivered. Then he ran from the house, knocking down some of the line of lovers still waiting at the door.
  73. 73. Tara went to the door. “We’ll get to the rest of you in a minute!” Then she firmly closed it. Riley looked up again. “Weirdos. Definitely weirdos.” “Yeah, but she didn’t date that one.” Lynne sighed. “This is…are we ever going to find the one?” “I hope so, Mom,” Tara said. She looked closely at her mother. “I think you need a break from this.” “You two have been doing this much longer. I can keep going.”
  74. 74. Riley stood up, putting his book down, and joined them. “Mom, you’re not handling this well. We can do it. Trust us.” She burst into tears. “It’s my daughter!” Her children surrounded her, comforting. “I know, Mom,” Tara said. “She’s my twin. We’ll find her true love. We will.” “We will,” Riley agreed. Lynne took a deep, shuddering breath. “We will.”
  75. 75. After that, Lynne supplied food, but spent as little time as possible in the throne room. Others still helped Tara and Riley, however.
  76. 76. “Marianne!” “Lorne!” “What are you doing here?” “I’m here to try kissing your sister and see if it wakes her up.”
  77. 77. Wesley, also there for the day, looked at Lorne, then looked at Lilah, then looked at Marianne. He sighed. Tara looked at him, eyebrow raised. He tilted his head at his brother and the woman at the door. Tara put her face in her hands. Riley, reading once more, looked up from his book. “You two are lovers, aren’t you?”
  78. 78. Lorne grinned salaciously at Marianne. “So, are we lovers?” She smirked. “Just a bit.” He stepped aside. “Lilah’s waiting.”
  79. 79. She came inside and kissed Lilah on the lips. It didn’t wake her. “So,” Lorne said, “since you’re not her true love, want to be my love for today?” “Of course.” Lorne turned to his siblings. “I’m off. See you tomorrow!”
  80. 80. Wesley, Tara, and Riley were left alone in the throne room. “…Right,” Wesley said. “That was. Right.” “How about we never speak about this again?” Tara asked. “Please?” “Sounds like a plan.”
  81. 81. At least a few of the visitors led to awkwardness for all involved. “Joe, hi.” Tara let the guest in. “Tara. Hello.” “You’re here for Lilah, right?” “Yeah.” She gestured at the table. “Go for it.”
  82. 82. Like everyone before him, Joe’s kiss failed to wake Lilah. On the way out, he stopped to talk to Tara. “How are you holding up?” She shrugged. “I’m fine.” “You’re always fine.” “I have to be fine. For Lilah.”
  83. 83. He nodded, then reached up and caressed her cheek. “We wouldn’t have been good together, would we?” She shook her head. “I don’t think so. Thanks for trying, though.” “No problem.” Then he turned and left.
  84. 84. Riley looked up at her, one eyebrow raised. “Am I sensing some sexual tension here?” “Haha, very funny,” Tara said sarcastically. “No. Joe is a friend of mine.” “Who wants to be more.” She shrugged. “When Dad was still choosing his heir, I think Joe wanted to be my consort. I never felt that way about him.” “And then he slept with your twin?” “Never said men made sense.”
  85. 85. “Hey, some of us do.” He closed his book. Tara patted Riley on the arm as she sat down next to him. “You’re just as asexual as me, Riley dearest. That exempts you from the un-sense-making.” “Good to know sense and sexuality are contradictory terms.” They grinned at each other. “Thanks, that helped.” “On to the next?” “On to the next.”
  86. 86. Before they could open the door, they were interrupted by Miss Kitty Fantastico jumping up onto Lilah’s table. “…Her true love has to be human, right?” Tara asked. “I sincerely hope so.” Miss Kitty touched her nose to Lilah’s, then curled up next to her head. “Well, even if a non-human counts, it’s not Miss Kitty,” Riley said.
  87. 87. Tara went to the door and opened it. The line was still quite long. “I hope whoever’s next doesn’t mind cats!”
  88. 88. The line of visitors was long, and varied, and most of all, long. Tara and Riley, who had lived with Lilah for most of her time at university, were fairly certain that a good number of the visitors weren’t actually Lilah’s lovers, and were just there for the opportunity to kiss the heir to the throne - and possibly to be her true love. They were equally certain that a good number of the visitors were Lilah’s lovers. She’d had a lot of them, after all.
  89. 89. It went on for ages - the two of them, and occasionally their brothers or parents, sitting and watching guest after guest try to wake Lilah up. Life went on in the meantime. Rupert ruled, though he somehow managed to do it without a throne room. As multiple weeks passed, he paid taxes to Rose every Monday at ten. He was never ever late, and the taxes were never incomplete. The rest of the family went on with their lives - school, and work, and family life.
  90. 90. Until, one day, when Tara opened the door for the next visitor, there was no one there.
  91. 91. She closed the door, gently. Riley looked up. “No one?” “I think we’re done.” They both looked at their sister, still lying unmoving on the table. “I guess we’d better tell everyone.” “Yeah.”
  92. 92. Later that evening, the entire family gathered once more around the sleeping Lilah. “So the lines are gone,” Lauren said awkwardly. “Yeah,” Tara said. “Completely gone. We’ve had hundreds of people come through here, every one of them kissing Lilah, and no one has woken her up. I don’t know that we’re ever going to find her true love. I don’t know that she even has one. And then…” She trailed off, and everyone let her. No one wanted to think about what would happen if Lilah’s true love wasn’t found.
  93. 93. “Does anyone have any more suggestions?” Lynne asked. “On what to do?” Everyone shook their heads. “We’ll just have to expand the search, then,” Rupert said firmly. “We can try Los Angeles, go farther out. She’s got to have a true love somewhere.”
  94. 94. “Do you think that’s actually going to work, Dad? Lilah sleeps with anyone with a pulse, for all I know, her true love is everyone together!” She took a breath. “I’m sorry. I’m just frustrated.” “You have a right to be frustrated, honey,” Lynne said. “She’s my twin. I need her.”
  95. 95. Tara got up and went over to Lilah. “I’m sorry, sis. I wish I could wake you.” Then she leaned down and kissed Lilah on the forehead.
  96. 96. “Whoa.” “Lilah?” Lilah sat up. “What the fuck was that? Rose went all creepy crazy dark fairy, and why was she kissing me? And how the hell did I end up on this table?” “Lilah!” Tara pulled her sister into a hug. “Oh Plumbbob, Lilah.”
  97. 97. “So…true love?” Wesley asked his eyes wide. “But what, I mean, how…” “He didn’t ever say romantic love, did he?” Riley asked, clearly going over the whole conversation in his mind. “Just true.” “And what love is truer than that of twins?” Rupert said quietly. Lynne placed a hand on his.
  98. 98. At that moment, Lilah got fed up with Tara clinging to her and crying, and she pushed her away. “So, wait, what happened? Why are you all here? Can someone just tell me what is going on?” Rupert stood up. “I think I’ll leave that for your siblings to explain to you. I’m going to go call my twin.”
  99. 99. And he did. It was all eventually explained to Lilah, and once she realized that her parents knew about her many lovers, she stopped trying to be discreet when she brought them over. She also stopped the few overtures she’d made toward looking for a consort, choosing instead to have - and raise - her five children alone. Of course, she wasn’t completely alone. Tara stayed in the house, acting as her sister’s housekeeper. She also wrote seven bestselling novels, including a fictionalized account of what had happened to Lilah, and ran a successful criminal enterprise that no one - not even her sister - knew about. Rupert and Lynne retired and spent their last years vacationing, visiting Yellowstone, Kyoto, Lihue, and many other places.
  100. 100. Wesley and Lauren raised their son and eventually had a second child, a daughter this time. Lorne spent time with his many lovers, and became much more open with Lilah about which women were attractive to both of them. Riley became a famous scholar, due to his need to learn about everything first-hand, rather than solely from books. As for the taxes? No one ever forgot to pay them on time ever again. And I do mean ever. The End.
  101. 101. SimRose the totally insane says thanks! Actually, honestly, I do want to say thank you to everyone who helped while I was writing this. First, and foremost, thank you Marina. For bouncing ideas, for reading and letting me know about the really rough bits, for finding me the medieval clothes - thanks! Second, to all you lovelies who listened to my ranting, despite my being deliberately annoyingly vague. I love you all, and quite adore your help! BTS is coming soon on my LJ, but I hope you enjoyed this first. :D