Fic: Happiness in Exchange
Title: Happiness in Exchange
Word count: 18,567
Summary: When Belle ascends to the throne of Avonlea after her father’s death, shocks the court when she appoints the mysterious Lord Gold, the new owner of half her lands, as her Chancellor. Alone in a realm of strangers, finding themselves united against a common enemy, an unlikely partnership is born. But with everyone waiting for the Princess to marry, Belle has a choice to make: to fight to rule alone, or to find a partner who can meet her halfway.
A/N: HAPPY RCIJ @junoinferno!!! Hope you enjoy this (loose) Victoria/Melbourne AU!!
“Presenting, for the first time: Her Royal Highness, Belle, Princess of Avonlea!”
The announcer’s voice rang out through the ballroom, and Belle took a confident step forward, out of the shadows and into the light. The metaphor was not lost on her, as she blinked out at a sea of strange, unfamiliar faces staring back. They were applauding, cheering, but how could they not? She was their ruler now, their young, completely unexpected ruler. For all they knew she would hold public executions for dissenters.
Belle took two more steps forward, once the applause had died down, and came to the top of the staircase. She gave a deep curtsey, and descended slowly, allowing everyone to look their fill. Her skin crawled. Belle hadn’t been the centre of attention this way since her betrothal ball, over a decade ago. Then, they had eyed her ten-year-old body seeking signs of fertility, deciding whether Lord and Lady Gaston had made the right choice for their son.