Title: "Ice Castles"
Author: monimala
Fandom: "General Hospital"
Rating/Classification: AC, Stefan/Lydia, angst.
Disclaimer: Nope. I don't own her.
Summary: A sequel to "A Touch of Frost." I have concluded that Lydia's life sucks beyond the telling of it.

One little word has become her entire world. "Him."

The way he looks at her across the room...with that hint of scorn and that arrogant smirk that says he remembers how she screamed his name the night before. The way he buries his hand in her hair, cradling her head, when he bends to kiss her. The way he holds her...at two a.m., when she's apologizing, softly, and he says, "It's all right. We will keep trying."

When she was growing up, she used to dream that a prince would ride up on a white horse and rescue her...take her to her real family's grand castle, where they actually loved her and wanted her. Now she's grown...and she's here... and she will not be made to leave.

She is almost disappointed when Nikolas doesn't discover them.

He doesn't even notice the compact gathering dust in their bathroom ...with all the pills she's no longer taking. It's on her side of the dual marble sinks. She all ready knows he pays no mind to anything of hers. She could poke holes in her diaphragm right in front of him and he wouldn't catch on. He doesn't want to. In his mind, her methods can't work if he doesn't comply.

He's naive.

Lydia...Lydia has never been that. Many things, but never naive.

And now she is screwing her husband's uncle every chance she gets. In every room in this drafty, freezing cold, castle...although they always seem to return to the east wing, the desk... the desk that now seems to hold her soul within it.

That doesn't happen in fairy stories. You don't fuck Prince Charming's uncle. Even if your prince is not so charming and is patently obsessed with cancer-stricken ingenues.

But now she's spreading for a man who has threatened to have her killed on more than one occasion. A man who *did* have someone killed when she first arrived in this pathetic excuse for a bustling North American metropolis.

And she can't bring herself to care.

She actually sobs with relief when she gets her period. Collapses on the cold tiles, staring at the blue-tipped stick, and sobs. Not because she's terrified that any child of hers would fall somewhere in importance between the Karanin Faberge egg collection and a new Gucci handbag...but because it means she's still of use to him. *Him*.

She never thought it would be him. That it would be his name she pants in the darkness as her hands skate over his flat-hard chest, scrambling for something to hold onto, when he sends her over the edge. She thought Lucky Spencer. Handsome in his rough way. Like so many pool boys and cabana boys and earnest polo players she's known.

She thought a lot of things.

But there are no 'happily ever afters'.

There are only fleeting hours in Stefan's arms...when he makes her shiver because his skin is so cool and his mouth is so warm. Where his tongue cuts deep enough to bruise and he kisses each mark and she feels him deep inside her where no one else has ever reached. Like a chill settled into her bones.

When she finally achieves their goal, and her stomach begins to swell over the waistline of her two thousand dollar jeans, her darling husband gets a clue. Her husband gets a clue, and his uncle...kisses her on the forehead like a good little girl and says 'excellent' before he locks his bedroom door with her on the other side of it.

"Whose is it?" Nikolas asks, as if he's wondering after a puppy she brought home from a shelter. "Lucky's?"

"Wrong side of the family for a close DNA match," she reminds, icily. And she is remarkably capable of frost now...having been frozen to the core by a master.

"Then who?" She wonders how she could ever have found him charming at all. A Prince of fools. "Whose baby are you carrying?" he demands, with the same lips that have just been kissing another man's wife.

She tells herself she isn't lying when she says, simply, "Ours."

She tells herself she's home.

Wanted. Loved.

One little word will become her entire world. "Mom."

And maybe...just maybe...she'll learn to be naive.


September 17, 2003.

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