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King's Lady

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Lady's maid Cordelia Abernathy sighed as she scrubbed at the stone walls of the palace corridor. Or...one of the many palace corridors. The woman she worked for -- not Princess Aurora; she wasn't classy enough for the lovely young woman -- had her doing more than she was supposed to. A lady's maid was only meant to run errands, dress her lady, bathe her lady -- things of that sort. But Cordelia had been stuck with Lady Annabella Scorsese, one of the most stuck-up ladies in the entire kingdom. How she'd gotten King Stefan to let her live in the palace was beyond Cordelia's understanding.

One of the things Annabella did differently from the other ladies of the court was having Cordelia perform menial labor tasks meant for the servants that littered the palace. When Cordelia had questioned her about this, Annabella had claimed she didn't want to take up the time of any of the king's own men and women. Day and night Cordelia swept the floors of Annabella's private rooms and bath chambers; cooked her food to near perfection every morning and evening and still she complained that it was either burnt or undercooked; washed her clothes and hung them up to dry; wrote her correspondences...

And Annabella treated her lower than the scum beneath her feet. Cordelia had been putting up with all this for nearly three years now, but if she walked away, she'd have to leave the palace. And -- though she would never come across him let alone experience his kiss -- Cordelia did not want to leave the home of the handsome King Stefan, whom she'd fallen in love with long before she'd ever become Annabella's lady's maid.

She'd only met Stefan once, about four years ago. His beloved wife Amelia had just recently passed away from heart failure and he'd been devastated. But he hadn't let his own personal pain hold him back from visiting his people. He was an excellent king who genuinely loved his kingdom and the people in it; one who would take the time out of his busy schedule to attend to sick villagers and introduce himself to the awe-struck women who swooned at his feet. Cordelia had been one of the poorest, lowliest peasants in town, yet Stefan had seen her struggling with her basket full of apples, bananas, and oranges on her back and had come to her aid, carrying the basket all the way back to her shack near the swamp. She'd invited him for lunch and he had gracefully accepted, making idle conversation until he departed once lunch was finished.

He'd been a daily constant in her dreams from hence forward. It had taken half a day for her to fall in love with him and she had done her best to train herself to be a lady's maid and find a lady who needed one. It was just her rotten luck that the only one available was Annabella.

* * * * * * * * *

King Stefan sighed as he ran his hand caressingly along the empty place in the bed -- the place where Amelia used to sleep. No matter how long it had been since her death, he still awoke every morning reaching out for her. He could still smell the scent of her hair though the sheets had been washed hundreds of times since the last night she'd lain in them. Lain with him.

There were whispers throughout the kingdom -- and the very castle itself -- that it was high time Stefan moved on and got himself a new wife. He was well aware he needed a new queen -- Aurora was too young to take over the kingdom and she could use some female support in her life from someone who wasn't being paid for it -- but he'd yet to meet a woman who enraptured him. He needed someone to enrapture him the way Amelia had. What was the point of spending the rest of his life with a woman if he wasn't truly, deeply in love with her?

Sighing, Stefan reluctantly -- and quite slowly -- dressed himself in beige dress pants and a blue silk shirt -- he was royalty, after all; he couldn't look anything other than his best. He placed his crown upon his head, stared up towards the sky to say a loving speech to Amelia -- as he did every morning -- and then left the royal chambers. He greeted everyone he passed with a kind word and smile, pausing any time anyone wanted more than a simple 'hello.' His people loved him and he in turn loved them as well. There was nothing he wouldn't do for them and the only thing he would ever put above them was his family.

Reaching the private dining chambers at last, Stefan fell into the seat at the head of the table and sighed. The room felt desolate without Amelia's presence, brightening only scantly when his precious Aurora entered the room five minutes later.

Stefan shot to his feet to greet her, amazed every time he saw her at how much she looked like her mother. Her beauty grew every day, alarming him as every father is alarmed when having such a beautiful daughter. He hated the way she disappeared during the daylight hours; he couldn't keep an eye on her when she was gone. Who knew what sort of young boys would be trying to court her or what dangers lay even in the walls of his own kingdom.

Fortunately, today that would change. He'd gone to one of her fairy godmothers and had them enchant a beautiful white dove to fly around with Aurora. If she got into any trouble or any men tried to seduce her, the dove would come to Stefan and alert him to her whereabouts.

"What are your plans this day, Smallbird?" he asked, using a nickname he'd given her the day she'd brought in a small sick bird. She'd nursed it back to health and had then released it back out into the world to reclaim its home. She'd always had a beautiful and kind loving heart, one that -- at certain times -- Stefan envied.

Aurora beamed at Stefan. If ever there was a daughter who absolutely adored her father, it was Aurora.

Stefan listened with an attentive ear as Aurora regaled him with plans of exploring the trails in the woods she'd created years ago -- but hadn't used recently -- and then told him of the sparkling pools hidden in the gardens just outside the palace walls.

Stefan stopped her at that point. "Pools?"

"Oh yes, Father. Beautiful pools with sparkling clear water. Perfect for wading in."

"You haven't done this, have you?"

Aurora flushed guiltily. "A couple of my friends and I took a dip a few nights last year."

Stefan scowled in disapproval, causing Aurora to slink down in her seat. She so hated upsetting her father. "I don't want you being so reckless again, daughter. We don't know what could be lurking out in the darkness or under the water and I don't want to lose you." He reached out and grasped her left hand tightly. "You're all I have left, Aurora."

Aurora squeezed Stefan's hand in return. "I'm sorry, Father. I know you're thinking of that evil Maleficent you told me about. It was thoughtless of me to take such risks. I promise not to do it again."

Stefan smiled gratefully and resumed eating his meal, dread thundering through his heart as he thought back to the day Aurora had been presented to the people at the grandest gathering the kingdom had seen in decades. Everything had been so perfect, so lovely, until a cold wind blew in, forcing all the lit candles to die out. A lithe figure swathed in black cloth had entered the room, the crowds parting for her in fear.

He could still feel himself rising out of his throne, Amelia just behind him, as Maleficent approached the cradle where the tiny helpless baby lay. Maleficient had looked from the baby to Stefan and back again before cursing Aurora.

He may be overprotective now of his little girl, but he had damn good reason. And if Maleficent wanted to kill his baby, she was going to have to go through him first.

Chapter Text

Cordelia sighed as she ran an almost reverent hand over the bodice of her plain beige gown, feeling for all the world like a pauper. A silly pauper with silly fanciful dreams that she had no hope of ever achieving in this lifetime or the next. If anyone ever knew of the secret diary she kept stashed beneath the loose floorboard under her bed -- especially Annabella -- she'd never hear the end of it. She'd be ridiculed so horrendously that she would finally give up and leave this kingdom forever.

Hastily tying her shoulder-length auburn-brown hair up into a messy bun, Cordelia grabbed a soft cotton towel and expertly snuck out of the castle via the hidden tunnel in the kitchen pantry. She snuck past all the guards lingering about the inner castle walls and slipped through a small hole between the cracks in the wall that were often overlooked. She crawled through two feet of soft dirt -- a path she'd paved months ago -- before she emerged back into the bright yellow sunshine.

Stretching her short arms above her head, Cordelia moved stealthily through the thin forest that led to her favorite spot in all the kingdom. In all the world even. There was no place that she'd ever been that was remotely as beautiful or relaxing as this small lake, clear and bright blue.

Glancing around only briefly -- no one knew of this oasis aside from herself -- Cordelia slipped her unlaced dress off her shoulders and allowed it to drop to the ground, leaving her standing in nothing but a very thin shift. She reached up behind her to pull her hair loose, shaking it out into wild chestnut waves around her shoulders. Once that was done, she shimmied out of her shift, unaware of the ragged inhale of breath or the sharp eyes watching her.

*********

Stefan had decided to take a break from his kingly duties about an hour ago and had gone out in search of one of those pools Aurora had mentioned, finding one almost immediately. The soil had been disturbed -- indicating that someone used it on a daily basis -- and the bush beside him was uneven. Small footprints in the dark dirt led him to believe that this path had been used quite recently.

Curious, Stefan tiptoed through the brambles to come to a stop three feet away from the edge of the crystalline water's edge, still hidden in shadow. His breath caught in his throat at the sight of the most breathtaking woman he had ever seen in his thirty-odd years, watching with barely suppressed longing as articles of clothing fell to the ground at her feet. When she shook her hair loose, he nearly groaned aloud at the shocking effect it had on his nether regions. When her shift fell, leaving her bare to his greedy eyes, he almost lost his footing. He had never felt a lust this powerful -- not even with his beloved Amelia, though he had desired her beyond what most would consider 'normal' -- and he didn't even know this woman. He couldn't say if he'd ever met her or not because he'd met a good many of his people over the years.

Breathing heavily, Stefan remained in his slouched position as the enchantress slowly stepped into the water, eyes closed in bliss when the cool liquid engulfed her completely. He remained kneeling for several more minutes, content just to watch her swim about and enjoy herself on this unusually beautiful day. His heart hammered in his chest whenever he caught sight of the peaceful expression on her face and he knew -- with intense clarity -- that he was in love. He decided then and there that this woman was fated to be his; at last he had found his new queen.

Taking a deep breath, Stefan forced himself to his feet, stretched out the muscles in his legs -- sore from having been crouched for so long -- and then silently emerged from the bushes.

********

Cordelia sighed as she spun in lazy circles in the water, suddenly freezing in shock at the sight of a man emerging from the foliage. And not just any man, but the man who'd been haunting her dreams for years.

"Your highness," she breathed softly, well aware etiquette called for her to stand and bow before him. But with her state of undress, she was certain the king would forgive her for not doing so.

"I do not mean to frighten you," he began, voice throaty in a way she'd never heard it the few times she'd heard him speak. "But you have captivated me, I'm afraid, and I cannot simply walk away."

"Captivated?" Cordelia repeated breathlessly. "Me?"

Stefan nodded in confirmation.

"But sir, I --" Cordelia blushed endearingly. "I'm not exactly...decent."

Stefan's eyes dilated, sending a tremble through Cordelia's entire body. "I can see that. And please address me as Stefan."

Cordelia watched with wide eyes as Stefan reached up to start undoing his tunic. "Wh-what are you doing?"

"I was hoping to get a little swimming in today," he replied, not once removing his eyes from hers. "I hope you don't mind if I join you."

Gulping nervously, Cordelia shook her head. "It-it's your kingdom; your land; your water. I'm the one being intrusive. I apologize, sire." She started to head for the shoreline to retrieve her clothes and bolt, but his words stopped her in place.

"Please don't leave," he whispered as his tunic fell to the ground next to her shift. "I'd prefer your company than that of my own. I've become rather -- well, boring and a pain to be around to be honest."

Ripping her eyes away from the deliciously bare male torso -- she'd never seen a man's naked chest before -- Cordelia vehemently shook her head. "I don't think you could ever be boring, my lord; or a pain."

Eyes rolling, Stefan began to push his breeches down his long, lanky legs. "I asked you to call me Stefan. And I appreciate that, but over the past several years I'm afraid I have gotten a bit stale."

Cordelia averted herself to the side to keep from looking at him, cheeks burning bright in a combination of embarrassment and arousal. The last thing she would have expected when she woke up this morning was King Stefan standing in naked glory before her.

She turned at the sound of water splashing to find Stefan less than a foot away from her, eyes dark, cheeks flushed, determined expression on his face. "Do you always come out here to swim in the nude?" he asked, barely restraining himself from pulling her into his arms. The way her skin flushed all the way down to her chest delighted him.

"Well, not every day, but sometimes when I can get away. I won't do it anymore, sir -- Stefan." She blushed at the intimate use of his name.

"I like the way you say my name," he breathed, slowly swimming closer. "And you are free to swim here whenever you like."

Cordelia's heart was hammering rapidly in her chest in a way it had never done before. This was why she hadn't accepted Antony's proposal three years ago. He couldn't make her tremble this way, couldn't make her envision any sort of happiness with him in any way. She might not have been outright miserable with him, but she would never desire him the way a wife should desire her husband. The way she was desiring Stefan now.

"I imagine your husband wouldn't approve of this right now," Stefan muttered casually, feeling her out.

"I imagine he wouldn't if he existed."

Stefan smiled at the admittance that she wasn't married. That settled that then. She was his, free and clear. He wouldn't have to call anyone out for a duel -- not that he would really; but he would have been heartbroken had she been married.

He was completely in her space now and Cordelia was finding it difficult to breathe. His left hand was reaching out to touch her cheek and when his fingertips came in contact with her skin, she trembled at the sensation.

Stefan himself hitched in a deep breath in order to control himself. It had been nearly five years since he'd been intimate with a woman. It wouldn't do to be intimate now -- it would be downright scandalous -- but her soul was calling out to his.

'What is he going to do?' Cordelia thought to herself as Stefan moved in even closer. 'Is he going to kiss me? I wonder what his kiss will feel like -- will taste like.'

When Stefan slid his right hand around to the back of her neck to pull her forward, she gulped nervously. Kissing her was exactly what he had in mind. She'd never been kissed before. What if she was bad at it? What if she just...did something to disgust him?

Cordelia's heart dropped and heat spread through her body at the first contact of Stefan's lips against hers. It was just a soft, subtle brush of lips against lips, but it was enough to make her shudder.

Stefan pulled back to stare intensely into her eyes. It was a look Cordelia had never seen directed at her before from any man -- a look she'd seen him direct at Amelia repeatedly the three times she'd been able to go to Court. It unnerved her and ignited everything inside her into flames at the same time.

Stefan tucked some hair behind her ear as he brushed his nose against hers. "Have you -- have you ever been with a man?"

Cordelia shuddered at his words. He wanted to make love to her? Her? He could have his pick of any beautiful woman in the kingdom. Had he lost his mind?

"No," she replied, voice soft and shaky.

Satisfaction thrummed through Stefan and he wrapped his hand fully around the nape of her neck to haul her against him. His hot breath again ghosted over her lips and he quietly whispered, "May I make love to you? Be the first man to touch you?"

'The only man,' Stefan added to himself.

Still keeping her arms held down to her sides, Cordelia nodded, completely unsure of herself. "You're the king."

Frowning, Stefan pushed away from her about a foot. "That doesn't mean I just go around making love to women I don't know just because I have the authority."

Cordelia blushed scarlet red. "I didn't mean to imply, sir..."

"I haven't wanted to make love to a woman since Amelia passed on," Stefan admitted softly, pulling Cordelia close again to tighten his arms that were now draped around her waist.

"Then why are you -- are you choosing now? Me?"

"Because I loved you the instant I saw you."

Cordelia opened her mouth to speak again, but no sound emerged. She was stunned speechless. Love at first sight? If this had been five or six years previous, she would have thought the king had lost his marbles. But she'd experienced that same euphoric high upon seeing him out and about in the village, speaking kind words and doing things most other kings in the world would not. She knew what he was feeling.

"You must think I've gone crazy," Stefan continued.

Cordelia shook her head vigorously. "No, sire, though I would never admit so if I did."

Stefan chuckled in amusement. "Well, that makes me feel slightly better."

"I once fell in love at first sight too, so I can't say as that you've gone crazy. If you're crazy, so am I."

"Did you ever tell this man you loved him?"

Cordelia shook her head. "No. I've only ever seen him a few times since then."

Though Stefan had just admitted to falling in love with her upon first sight, Cordelia didn't have the courage  to admit that the man she spoke of was him.

"That poor man," Stefan murmured huskily. "Having to live his life without you." He stroked the fingers of his right hand along the smooth expanse of her exposed collarbone. "Well, his loss, my gain."

Cordelia laughed; the very man she was in love was feeling bad for himself without even knowing it.

"What's funny?"

"Just -- nothing, sire."

Growling in frustration, Stefan yanked her head back by the hair. "I have asked you repeatedly to call me Stefan. I don't want you calling me sire while I'm making love to you."

Cordelia bit down on her fully plump bottom lip as her whole body trembled at those words. "I apologize... Stefan." It still felt odd on her tongue, but it also titillated her. To be privileged enough to be able to call the king -- her secret love and dream lover -- by his first name so intimately... Well, there just weren't words enough to describe the honor.

Stefan groaned and lowered his head down to hers, mouth falling upon hers heavier than it had earlier. His tongue prodded gently at the seam of her lips and when she gasped in a shaky breath, it slid smoothly between them. She gasped again; she hadn't been aware people kissed this way. It seemed -- taboo wasn't the right word for it, but it couldn't be appropriate. In fact, it was probably downright scandalous. Not that she didn't like what Stefan was doing with his tongue... thrusting and stroking, exploring the inside of her mouth as he would swirl wine around to savor its taste.

Reaching up with his left hand, Stefan grasped the bottom of her chin to part her lips further. He wanted her to respond, but the way she was hesitant to use her tongue told him she'd never been kissed this way. She was innocent in all things and this fact hardened him further. The knowledge that he was going to be her first everything made everything inside him burst with unforetold euphoria.

Cordelia wasn't sure how to react when the king's hard member rubbed against the bottom of her stomach, but she did know that she liked it. That she wanted to explore...wanted to wrap her fingers around that hard flesh to learn the shape, the texture, what she could do to please him. And she did want to please him. More than anything she wanted to please him.

She jerked when Stefan sank his teeth into her bottom lip and a soft moan escaped her. Stefan returned it with a groan of his own and hauled her closer, sliding his erection up and down on her smooth bare flesh. She was trembling, body flaming like it was flush with fever. There was a desire in her now that she longed to quench, but she had no idea how to go about doing so.

Cordelia's hands gripped Stefan's biceps tightly as she felt her knees buckle beneath her. This man was one hell of a damn good kisser and she found herself longing for more. Desperate for more, even. She was so entranced by the experienced way he stroked his tongue over hers that Cordelia didn't even notice when he started to steer her towards the bank. It was when she felt the cool breeze chilling her bare breasts that she pulled away to catch her breath.

"You're beautiful," he murmured, darkened eyes falling to her heaving bosom. She blushed under his gaze and tried to shield herself, but he wouldn't have it. "Don't cover yourself," he murmured softly, taken completely with her natural shy nature. "You're a goddess. It is I who should shield my eyes."

"But you won't," she replied with a soft, small smile.

Stefan returned it with one of his own. "I won't. You're too enchanting."

"And you flatter me much too much."

Stefan tenderly brushed some hair out of her face and then leaned in to trail his tongue up the side of her neck. She trembled against him and her hands slowly, hesitantly, drifted up into his hair. His hands tightened on the small of her back encouragingly, fingers stroking smoothly over her soft skin as he ground himself against her stomach. When a soft, quiet moan escaped her, he growled and started pushing her back out of the water.

Cordelia stumbled as she exited the water, but Stefan caught her and lowered her slowly to the ground. He resumed his tongue's exploration of her smooth bare skin, moving up to nip at the bottom of her earlobe. Cordelia squealed in pleasant surprise, back arching, nipples chafing his furry chest. Stefan made an indecipherable noise against her throat and trailed the tips of his fingers down the sides of her body, brushing over her breasts briefly, tickling her ribcage, and then moving lower. They skimmed the bottom of her stomach ever-so-lightly and she trembled noticeably. He grinned softly, setting her at ease, and slowly -- slowly enough that she could put a stop to his wandering hand if she wanted to -- trailed his fingers down through the soft wispy hairs that shielded her mound. He watched her face -- her eyes clamped tightly shut with embarrassment -- as he came to where the path of hair ended: just above her wet silky folds.

Cordelia held her breath, expecting to feel his manhood breaching her insides at any moment, waiting for the pain. But none came. All she felt, at that moment, were his fingers caressing the wet flesh between her legs, so soft she almost didn't feel it. She hesitantly opened her eyes to see Stefan staring down at her in awe.

"You're the most beautiful thing I've ever seen," he murmured huskily, dilated green eyes flashing with tenderness and sincerity.

Cordelia wanted to return the sentiment, wanted to say something, anything, but her brain wasn't quite functioning correctly. What was this man doing to her?

"I want this to be the best experience of your life," Stefan murmured, leaning down to nuzzle his nose into her throat. He inhaled the scent of her, drinking it in.

"I have no doubt it will be," Cordelia breathed. "You've never failed at anything you do."

Stefan paused unnoticeably and then resumed kissing down her neck. "It flatters me how much faith you have in me."

"You flatter me..." Cordelia gasped when the pad of his thumb pressed down on her clitoris, spiraling chords of pleasure shooting up and down the entire length of her body. "...by choosing to be with me, of all the women you could have."

"You make that sound like you've got nothing to offer."

"But I don't." She gasped raggedly when he purposely pressed down hard on her button.

"Only the world."

He leaned down abruptly to take a pert nipple into his mouth. She gasped and wiggled under him, causing his index finger to slip into her darkest cavern. A cry of mingled pleasure and discomfort escaped her as her inner walls automatically clamped down around the invader.

Stefan groaned against the soft round flesh in his mouth. She was so tight and warm and soft just around his finger. When she squeezed at his finger just so, he had to force himself to maintain a strong grip on his self-control.

Cordelia opened her mouth to speak, but no sound emerged. Stefan had entered another finger into her passageway, using both to massage the inner flesh of her womanhood. Her back arched as he whirled his finger and then his fingernail scraped over a spot inside that made her body tingle and she moaned as his fingers slowly started to penetrate deeper before withdrawing and then pushing in again.

"Feel good?" Stefan asked huskily, warm breath washing over the side of her neck.

"Y-yes."

"I'll make you feel even better, love." He nipped lightly at the bottom of her throat. "I promise."

He increased the speed of his fingers while tugging at her hardened nipples alternately with his teeth. She moaned softly, clearly trying to keep the noise to a minimum, and arched her back as her lower body started to tremble, her wet flesh quivering around his fingers. With one last flick of the wrist and a quick swipe of his thumb over her clit, she came apart beneath him, voice carrying to the treetops as she cried out in pleasure.

Stefan didn't remove his fingers as he slowly started to travel southwards, lips exploring every bare inch of flesh exposed to him. His lips traced the line of the three freckles leading to her navel; she jerked reflexively and laughed at the sensation. His laughter mixed with hers as he continued his trek. He took his time kissing and nibbling down her right leg, pausing briefly to sink his teeth into the tender skin below her knee. She moaned and his name fell out of her lips. His cock dripped at the sound and he moved to her left leg to kiss his way up.

When he reached the apex of her legs at last, he placed his hands on her soft bare thighs to spread her wider. She gasped in maidenly shock and tried to force her legs closed.

"Sir, this is highly improper!"

Stefan chuckled and kept her legs spread. "All of this is improper, my love."

He noted the tremble in her body at the latter part of his statement and his grin widened.

"But I'm not exactly opposed to being improper; are you?"

Cordelia licked her lips and shook her head.

"I didn't think so." Stefan lowered his head and gently, cautiously, swiped the pad of his tongue over the soft pink flesh between her legs. Her body jerked violently and Stefan had to tighten his grip to keep from being kneed in the face.

He kept his eyes trained on her face while he ran his tongue up and down her folds, sucking on each one individually, causing her to buck with a cry of scandalous passion. The taste of her flooded his senses and he reeled drunkenly from it, needing more.

He spread her thighs even further to his ravenous gaze and trailed the tip of his tongue from her clit down along her delicate wet flesh until it was probing the small puckered entrance. She inhaled raggedly above him and he took that as an invitation to explore her.

She seized up instantly when his tongue speared her in rapid succession, bringing her to the edge over and over again but refusing to allow her to fall. Not so soon after having already done so.

He pulled away and moved back up her body as she panted and tried not to cry at the sudden loss. "So sweet," Stefan murmured as he laid his body on top of hers, leaning down to trace his tongue over her swollen cherry lips, allowing her to taste herself. "Won't be able to get enough of you, darling."

Cordelia tentatively placed her hands on his broad shoulders and started to slide them down his chest, eager to touch him in the same manner. Stefan grabbed her hands, stalling their downward trek. Her eyes widened in innocent confusion and tender affection shone from Stefan's own blue-green orbs.

"Another time, love." He nuzzled his nose against the tip of hers. "I just want to make love to you now, if you'll have me."

Licking her lips, Cordelia nodded and re-set her hands on his shoulders, gripping tightly as she felt his engorged manhood press tightly against the entrance of her womanhood. She knew that pain came with this act and she braced herself for it, shoulders stiffening, back becoming rigid.

"Don't do that," Stefan muttered gently, reaching down once more to stroke her between her legs. "It will just make the pain worse. I promise you that if you relax, the pain will be over quickly. Some women don't even feel it that terribly."

Cordelia moaned as Stefan's talented fingers caressed her, not an ounce of self-doubt in his movements. As her back arched and her nails dug into his shoulder blades, Stefan gently began to ease into her body. Her hot, tight heat stretched to accommodate him, though it also tried to push the alien invader out at the same time.

Stefan's grip on the ground tightened as he pushed forcefully past that tight ring of muscle until he came to a stop at the wall that prevented him going any further.

"Ready?" he asked, concerned she might not want this after all. She wiggled her hips in response, unable to form any verbal reply at that moment as his fingers rubbed sensually over her clit. Stefan smiled affectionately before pushing forward with a heavy, quick thrust -- best to get it done as fast as possible.

Cordelia wailed at the brief flash of pain at the intrusion, legs clamping automatically around Stefan's pistoning hips, nails embedded so deep into his skin that she drew blood. Well, blood for blood, as it were.

Stefan paused when he could push in no further and stared adoringly down at her. Amelia had been a virgin as well on their wedding night and she had felt no less exquisite than Cordelia did right now. One big difference between then and now -- aside from the fact that he and Amelia had been legally wed -- was that Amelia had emphatically insisted on their first time being in complete darkness. Cordelia, on the other hand, didn't mind making love under the bright rays of the sun. He loved that.

"Are you -- are you all right?" Stefan asked between great gulping rasps of air. Her internal muscles were contractively spasming around his cock and it was all he could do to remain stationary while Cordelia adjusted to his girth inside her.

Taking a deep breath -- feeling her beloved king deep inside her where she would never have imagined anyone could go -- Cordelia nodded and squeezed her thighs around Stefan's flanks. He groaned and started to withdraw from her body until just the first inch or so was left and then he gently pushed back in to the hilt once more.

"You feel so good," Stephan murmured. "How are you feeling?"

"I'm...adjusting."

"Still in pain?"

"Not -- not much. More discomfort than anything."

"Do you want me to stop?"

"No. Please...go on."

Stefan pushed in and out several times before Cordelia finally began to respond. Her nails dug into the bones of his shoulders and her legs embraced his waist tightly as her own hips bucked up into his.

"Less pain?" Stefan asks, left hand drifting down to gently cup the curve of her hip.

"More," Cordelia rasped, back arching as her nails scraped down the length of his spine.

"More pain?" Stefan asked in amusement, groaning long and loud when her inner walls tightened around him.

"More...more...something."

Cordelia gasped as he hit a spot inside that sent her soaring into ecstasy once more. Stefan's own orgasm was ripped abruptly from him by the spasmodic clench and release of her muscles around his cock. A long, whimper-like groan fell from his lips to echo in the clearing around them.

He fell on top of her tiredly, rasping heavily to catch his breath. His fingers combed lovingly through her now tangled tresses as her own hands stroked up and down his spine. There was a glow about her now -- about both of them actually -- that entranced him; as if he hadn't been entranced enough before.

The sound of a bird's caw in the air seemed to jerk Cordelia out of whatever trance she seemed to have fallen into and she jerked back from Stefan as though he'd burned her with hot iron. It was far past time she got back to work; she'd only meant to be out here for half an hour at most. If Annabella discovered her absence, there was no telling what the horrid woman would have Cordelia doing in recompense.

Cordelia was quick to slither out from under Stefan, keeping her arms guarded in front of her exposed body as she went for her clothes. She dressed as quickly as she could knowing that Stefan's eyes were watching every move she made; of course, she was only able to close up the back of her dress to midway up her back.

"Need some help?" Stefan asked as he sat up, completely unconcerned with his own nudity.

"No thank you," Cordelia replied, more snappishly than she'd intended. "I'll need to strip out of it when I get back anyway."

She started to speak under her breath at that point about being thoughtless and shirking her responsibilities, never noticing the frown now marring her king's face.

Stefan stood to his feet, stretching languorously as she suddenly turned to face him.

"It was...quite enchanting to meet you at last, Your Highness, but I must be going."

Stefan's frown deepened at the abrupt dismissal. "You're leaving? But I haven't gotten your name or..."

"It's best to leave it that way," Cordelia insisted, already halfway out of the clearing by the time Stefan started pulling on his pants. "Have a good day, sire!"

"Wait!" Stefan called out, but she had already disappeared through the foliage. Cursing, he hastily pulled on the rest of his clothes and followed in the direction she had gone.

As they left, neither of them gave any notice to the black raven who squawked and flew from the tree branch it'd been perched on above their heads.

Chapter Text

The raven fell to the ground in front of the dark-clad fairy before transforming back into the form of a man. He shook out his mane of ebony black hair and took a few minutes to re-orient himself. It was always a hassle having to change from bird to man and back again. He'd originally started out life as a simple bird and nothing more, but had been turned into a man by the beautiful woman before him who had saved his life one night over fifteen years ago. He would do anything for Maleficent and not just because he owed her a debt of gratitude. He'd already repaid that ten times over.

"Where have you been, Diaval?" Maleficent asked in a bored tone of voice, green eyes dull and emotionless -- as they had been since the day Diaval had met her.

"Just resting my wings in that clearing I have a fondness for..."

Maleficent smirked; it was rare to get any sort of reaction like that out of her, but it did happen occasionally. "You mean the clearing with a naked woman you have a fondness for."

Diaval blushed at Maleficent's astute assessment.

"She was there today, I presume?"

"Yes, but it's not as though I know when she's going to show up. She doesn't exactly have a set schedule."

"But you do fly by every day in the hopes of seeing her."

"Mal, she wasn't alone this time."

"Oh? Someone finally stumbled upon her? I knew it was bound to happen sooner or later."

"Yes, but the man who stumbled on her...well, from what I could see and what I could hear -- and just what I could judge as truth -- he fell in love with her immediately. It was very clear in the way he looked at her, the way he spoke to her."

"Diaval, is there a point to your telling me all this?"

"Yes." Diaval took a deep breath and then released it. "Mal...it was King Stefan."

Maleficent stiffened instantly and there was a barely discernible twitch of her fingers. Her eyes flashed with fury and -- if one looked closely enough -- pain of past betrayal. She turned away from Diaval to look out over the fields of her kingdom -- once bright with flourishing color; now black with her rage and need for vengeance.

"Mistress?" Diaval whispered hesitantly, reluctant to approach her when she got like this.

"Go." Maleficent flicked her wrist and turned Diaval back into a bird. He squawked indignantly before taking flight, soaring through the air to find a different tree branch to perch upon.

Maleficent stared upon her kingdom with a heavy heart. Stefan had once loved her. Stefan had once promised the world to her. Said she had to be patient. Once he was king, he'd said, he would be able to give her all the jewels in the world. She'd told him she wouldn't need or want any of them; just him.

She scoffed at what a foolish child she had been to believe such malarkey. Amelia, too, had believed the man she'd been married to was a decent loving individual and had been fortunate enough to have died before she'd discovered the truth about him or how he'd become king in the first place. She had loved him before they'd even been married, had wanted to marry him of her own volition, but as a princess, hadn't been able to do so because he'd been nothing more than a simple peasant boy. She had been so happy when Stefan -- Maleficent scoffed at just the mere mention of his name -- had 'killed the evil fairy' just to win her hand in marriage.

Maleficent had hated Amelia and with good reason. Her father had taught her from a young age to despise anyone who wasn't quite like herself, especially fairies and any sort of magical creature, but it was her marriage to Stefan that had really incited Mal's ire. She was innocent enough in the loss of Maleficient's wings, but even so.... She had felt no pity in cursing their daughter. Having Stefan live out his days in fear for his daughter was the least of what he deserved.

Feeling a bit distressed, Maleficent pondered the news Diaval had imparted on her. Stefan had fallen in love with yet another woman, eh? And one he'd just met? This sounded like a woman Maleficent would have to start keeping an eye on.

And yet another pawn to be used in her revenge against Stefan.

That thought had a wicked smile forming across Maleficent's beautifully evil features.

Chapter Text

"Cordelia! What on earth have you done?!"

Cordelia jumped at the abrupt shriek of Annabella's voice echoing through the corridor. The woman sounded angry and very, very annoyed. What could Cordelia have done now to make her so mad?

For the last several weeks since her impromptu lovemaking with King Stefan in the clearing, Cordelia had committed herself to working three times as hard as she ever had before in a moot attempt to keep her mind from slipping back to that magical moment, one which she still strongly believed had been nothing more than an extremely vivid lucid dream.

Dropping her wet cloth back into the bucket of soapy water she'd been using to scrub the concrete floor of one of the upper stairways that led to the towers and turrets of the castle -- there were four other such stairwells in the east, west, and south corners of the castle; Cordelia was only required to clean the north corner as that was where she and Annabella resided -- Cordelia leapt to her feet and sought out the angry voice still calling her name.

"Yes, milady?"

Annabella came to a huffing stop in front of Cordelia and held up her ruined sapphire gown made entirely of silk. "What have you done to my dress? My favorite dress that was specially imported from France. What ever shall I wear now to garner the king's attention?"

Cordelia ignored the painful throb in her chest at those words and cleared her throat. "I've done nothing to your dress, milady. I haven't actually touched that dress in months."

"It was washed with common peasants' clothing!" she spat in distaste. "Explain that!"

"I can't! I had absolutely nothing to do with it!"

Annabella opened her mouth to give her the proper tongue-lashing she deserved when there was a heavy knock on Annabella's door.

"Leave the dress there on the bed and go finish up what you were doing. Don't think this is yet over."

"Of course not. How could it be?"

Cordelia slunk back into the corridor she'd just left and picked up the wet rag from the bucket just as the door to Annabella's chamber opened up and the sound of a male voice boomed through the small room, echoing out into the hallway where Cordelia sat.

Her back stiffened, recognizing Stefan's voice as he spoke to Annabella. What could he possibly want with Annabella? Had he found her? What would she do now if he discovered she lived in his palace?

* * * * * * * * *

Stefan finished off his apology to Annabella for the state of her dress, which had been thrown in with his own personal wash by mistake. He usually didn't apologize for ridiculous mistakes like this himself -- that's what his servants were for, after all -- but he was taking every opportunity he could to search his castle and kingdom subtly for the girl who had stolen his heart and run off.

The woman in front of him stared up at him in some kind of mix of lust and awe, making him feel entirely uncomfortable beneath those perusing green eyes. Those eyes shamefully reminded him too much of Maleficient's green eyes, so instead of inquiring as to whether there was another woman sharing her quarters, he quickly stammered a need to excuse himself and practically ran off down the hallway.

It had been a little over three weeks since the incident in the clearing and Stefan had searched relentlessly for the beautiful maiden he'd met. Of course, he'd gotten nowhere because he hadn't had a clue where to start. It would have been easier if he'd a name to inquire of, but he didn't. She'd made sure of that. Stefan questioned whether she was still in his kingdom or not, but he had a strong feeling in his chest she was closer than he knew.

One thing he knew for certain was that he wasn't going to give up until they were properly married and she was in his bed where she belonged.

* * * * * * * * *

Another week slipped by in which Cordelia found herself narrowly avoiding running directly into Stefan's chest. It was unusual for him to go around the castle so often and she wondered at the reasons behind it.

Rumor was going around the castle that Stefan had decided at last to marry once more and that the reason he wandered around the castle these days was that he was in search of the perfect wife. Cordelia longed to be that woman, but she knew it was an impossible dream. Kings didn't marry common nobodies, no matter what intimacies may have transpired between them.

No. Stefan would marry one of these fancy ladies like Annabella and forget all about the girl whose maidenhood he'd taken in the clearing. She would remember him for all the rest of her life and he would simply move on with his.

* * * * * * * * *

Stefan blew out a deep breath of aggravation as he took a seat for a brief rest. Nearly three weeks had passed since he'd made the announcement that he was searching for a new queen, but the woman he wanted had yet to step forward. He wondered at this. Did she regret what had happened? Was she repulsed by him? Maybe she was just embarrassed? That seemed the most likely.

"Father!"

Stefan jumped in alarm at the suddenness of Aurora's voice calling out for him. He stood to his feet and turned just as Aurora skidded to a halt in front of him, resting her hands on her knees to catch her breath.

"What are you so anxious to see me about, daughter, that you would embarrass yourself by running in public?" Stefan asked in disapproval, mouth turned down in a frown.

"I've...I've found the perfect wife for you."

Brow furrowing, Stefan simply replied with, "Have you now?"

"You remember my friend Felicity?"

Stefan rolled his eyes with a groan. "Aurora, I am not going to marry Felicity. For one thing, she's far too young to be queen. Secondly, I already know who I want to marry." His voice took on a softer tone. "I just have to find her."