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Desert Rose

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"Her eyes are Babylonian eyes and eyebrows like the crescent moon of Ramadan. Her body straight as in a canal."<br />
-Jaffar (Thief of Baghdad 1940)

Amana let her body sway to the music, her hands clasped together and moving horizontally and diagonally while her hips moved to the beat, paying no heed to the guests as she raised her arms to her sides, giving herself entirely to the beat.  Amana moved her body side to side, swaying her arms along with her hips until the music ended and she found herself greeted by loud applause.  Amana stepped off the stage, her body dripping beads of sweat from the dance as her body ached for rest.  She searched around the estate to see it decorated with various trees, the lanterns decorating the ceiling, the wooden floor decorated with rugs of various designs and colors while the guests mingled among each other dressed in the finest Arabian silks as the servants carried trays with all assortments of drinks from red wine to clean water.  Heydar, her bodyguard, stood in the corner, standing out with his ordinary red vest and white hakim pants, a sword equipped at his side.  Amana finally spotted was she was looking for; the refreshments table filled with plates of freshly cooked lamb and chicken alongside plates of bread with bowls of fruit filled with dates, grapes, watermelons and pomegranate.  She was about to head there when she felt a tap on her shoulder.  Amana turned around to see that it belonged to the Amir who hired her.

"Lady Amana," the Amir greeted.  "On behalf of my son, I must thank you for agreeing to perform."

"Thank you, Amir," Amana said with a smile.  "I am sure that your son appreciates how much effort you put into planning his birthday."

"My son is coming of age.  I felt that this birthday should be a memorable one," he explained proudly.  "Perhaps I might also request you for a private meeting with him."

"I'd be delighted," Amana said, the refreshments table looking very good to her right now.  "But perhaps we can discuss this at a later time."

"Of course," the Amir said, taking his leave of her as he went to greet the other guests.

Amana was about to continue her journey, when a skinny old man with a long grey beard and wearing robes of blue stopped her.  "That was a great performance," he said to her with a sleazy grin as Amana wondered how many obstacles there was going to be between her and the food.  "I know I couldn't keep my eyes off of you."

"Thank you, Minister," she responded as politely as possible, remembering the man as Abbas, the Minister of Infrastructure, the one responsible for keeping the economy of Agrabah stable but often used his power to satisfy himself.

"How much would it cost for a private dance?" Abbas asked her, moving closer to Amana than she found comfortable.

"If you wish to request me privately, then you may talk to my Madam, Ishtar, with a written request," Amana said, her voice getting more venomous as she moved away from Abbas.

"Why go through her when you're right here?" Abbas said, retrieving coins from his pocket as Heydar glared at him from his corner.  "How much would it cost you?" Abbas threw three gold pieces at Amana's feet as Heydar took a step forward.  "Three gold pieces?"  Amana waved her hand at Heydar, keeping him in place as he threw another gold piece.  "Four?"

Amana fought every urge to knee this man where it would hurt the most.  "I am a lady of the court, not a lady of the streets," she told him with barely concealed fury.

"A whore's a whore," the man told her dismissively.  "There's really no difference."

"Actually, there is a difference," Amana said, kicking the gold pieces Abbas's way.  "You could get a whore."

Then she finally made her way to the refreshments table, taking a few grapes from the bowl and popping one into her mouth, the sweet taste of the succulent fruit helping her momentarily forget her anger.  At least, until she heard footsteps behind her.

"If you did not understand my actions earlier, Minister, I was rejecting you," Amana said defiantly as she turned around to face the old lecher.  "And there is—"

Amana stopped herself when she saw that the footsteps didn't belong to Abbas but to a tall, dark and handsome man dressed in robes of black, red and gold, carrying a snake staff with a parrot perched on his shoulder.  "Forgive me, Grand Vizier," she said quickly, "I believe I mistook you for someone else."

"Such as the Minister of Infrastructure?" Jafar guessed bitterly.

"Abbas," the parrot repeated, making Amana laugh.

"Yes," Amana admitted, popping another grape into her mouth and swallowing it.  "I suppose you witnessed what happened?"

"Watching the man humiliate himself was rather entertaining," Jafar admitted with a slight sense of amusement.  "Though you might have made a powerful enemy."

Amana had one more grape in her hand that she was about to pop into her mouth but, instead, held it out for the parrot with a smile.  "Then I suppose I might need someone to protect me," the parrot took the grape from Amana's hand and swallowed it whole.  "Someone strong, powerful, intelligent, handsome and maybe well-dressed."  The parrot flew off Jafar's shoulder and perched itself on Amana's arm, who petted the adorable bird and said to him in a high-pitched voice.  "Sorry, little bird, but you just don't meet the criteria."

"If this is an attempt to seduce me, I should tell you that I am not as easily swayed as Iago," Jafar warned her.

Amana continued petting and cooing over the parrot.  "Is that your name, little boy, Iago?" she asked him in a high-pitched voice and turned her eyes to the Grand Vizier, changing her voice back to normal.  "I suppose you'll do."

The Grand Vizier's grip on his snake staff tightened while Iago perched himself back on his master's shoulder.  "You suppose?"

"As Grand Vizier, you are much more powerful than a simple Minister," Amana said thoughtfully.  "In fact, if you did agree to protect me from him, I would be very..." She took a small step toward the Grand Vizier and ran her finger on his smooth, neatly trimmed beard.  "Grateful."

"And how much would your 'gratitude' cost me?" Jafar asked her, keeping his stoic expression but Amana could see a slight twinkle in his onyx eyes.

Amana moved closer to Jafar.  "Is money really an issue for a man as powerful as you?" she whispered into his ear.

Jafar stayed silent, and then quickly moved away from Amana.

"Just because I have money doesn't mean that I should spend it frivolously," The Grand Vizier responded coldly, making Amana laugh.

"A man who puts his brain before his desires," she said admirably.  "Well, I assure you, I have never had one unhappy patron."

Jafar just stayed silent as she walked away from him and swayed her hips.  "Suppose I did take you up on your offer," he began.  "What would I need to do?"

Amana smiled as she turned around to face the Grand Vizier.  "You will have to submit a written request to my Madam, Ishtar," she began.  "Then she passes the request to me and, if I deem it worthy, I might say yes."

Amana kept a close eye on Jafar, watching for signs of interest.  "And what sort of requests do you receive?" he asked her.

"Any request will be acceptable," Amana explained innocently.  "Whether you need an entertainer, someone to accompany you to a party," and then gave a slight suggestive tone.  "Or just someone to keep you company."

Jafar stood silently for a minute as Amana was about to leave and then spoke to her retreating form.  "Very well, Lady Amana," he said to her nonchalantly.  "I will consider requesting your services."

* * *

Amana returned to the brothel with Heydar where Ishtar was waiting for them in the center chair.

"Amana, Heydar," Ishtar said, acknowledging each one of them.  "How was the event?"

"It was mostly pleasant, save for a few... darker moments," Amana told her Madam.

"One of the men treated Amana like a common whore," Heydar wasted no time pointing out.

"Unfortunately, Heydar chooses to only see the darker moments," Amana said sarcastically.

"Really?" Ishtar asked protectively, narrowing her eyes and crossing her arms.  "Which one?"

"The Minister of Infrastructure himself," Heydar answered bitterly, his hand clutching his sword.  "Abbas."

"He approached me during the party and behaved in a most ungentlemanly manner," Amana said, crossing her arms as anger seeped through her voice at the memory.  "I made it clear to him that I would not stand for this kind of treatment and he would never have the pleasure of my company."

"My sincerest apologies, Amana," Ishtar told Amana compassionately and then hesitantly followed it up with.  "Rest assured, if he treats my establishment in the same manner, I will have him blacklisted.

Amana could tell that Ishtar didn't like having to blacklist a wealthy client.  "As I said earlier, the night was rather pleasant," she assured her.  "The Amir wishes to hire me to make his son a man, and I have managed to draw the attention of the Grand Vizier of Agrabah."

"You managed to convince the Grand Vizier to become a patron?" Ishtar asked with disbelief as she sat back down in her chair.

"He said that he would consider requesting my services," Amana said thoughtfully.  "But I am quite certain that I left an impression on him."

"I am pleased to hear," Ishtar told Amana with a nod.  "Now you both have had a long day.  It would be best if you retired to your bedchambers."

"Yes, Madame," Amana and Heydar said in unison and headed straight for the circular stairs.

"You sound certain that the Grand Vizier was interested," Heydar said as they walked up the stairs.

"Good," Amana responded, letting some of her confidence slip from earlier.

"I was keeping an eye on you during the party, making sure there wasn't another incident," Heydar informed Amana.  "He seemed rather... intrigued by you."

"How intrigued?" Amana asked him.

"He was rather fond of your..." Heydar hesitated, as if he wasn't quite sure how to voice his next words to a lady.  "...assets."

This made Amana smile.  "Then I left more of an impression on him than I thought," she said proudly.

"I'd be careful around him, if I were you," Heydar warned her.  "I've heard rumors about the Grand Vizier and they're not exactly flattering."

"So have I," Amana told Heydar, recalling some of the nasty things she had heard about Jafar.  "But powerful men tend to get a bad reputation."

"I hope you're right," Heydar said as he stopped on his floor and went to his bedchamber.

* * *

Jafar went back to the palace to see The Sultan poring over his papers in his private rooms.  "Good evening, my Sultan," he greeted bitterly.

"Jafar," the Sultan said, not looking up from his books.  "How was the Amir's son's birthday party?"

Of course, the young spoiled son of the Amir who was coming of age.  Since he wanted to make it a memorable event, he invited all of the important people of Agrabah to attend.  Unfortunately, the Sultan couldn't make it due to having to attend to his many obligations, so he sent Jafar in his place.

Must be so nice being the Sultan, Jafar thought bitterly.  If you don't want to attend an event, just send one of your loyal servants to suffer on your behalf.

"The usual, incessant chattering, mindless sycophantism and frivolous spending," Jafar voiced aloud.

The Sultan laughed.  "I take it you didn't enjoy yourself," he said.

"The only part I enjoyed was leaving," Jafar responded icily.

"Liar!" Iago squawked.

Jafar really wanted to punch that bird but, thankfully, the Sultan paid no heed to Iago's comment.  "I hope that you at least pretended to enjoy yourself," he told him.  "It wouldn't do well if my representative behaved poorly."

"I do know how to conduct myself at a social event," Jafar informed the Sultan, holding back his rage.  "Whether I wish to be there or not."

"Forgive me, Jafar," The Sultan quickly said.  "I have been rather preoccupied with conducting trade with Basra, I had to oversee the punishment of a man who was committing treason, and plan Jasmine's birthday party."

"Yes, the princess's birthday," Jafar said, recalling another matter he needed to discuss with the Sultan.  "I believe that she's turning twelve this year?"

The Sultan nodded.  "Soon she will become a woman," he said with a bit of melancholy.

"And she will be ready to bear children," Jafar pointed out.  "Have you selected a prince for her to marry yet?"

"I am prepared to receive suitors for Jasmine," The Sultan responded thoughtfully.  "But the final choice will be hers."

"That is absolutely foolish!" Jafar exclaimed.

"Jafar!" The Sultan warned as if he were dealing with a spoiled child.

"As you have already pointed out, the princess is becoming a woman!" Jafar argued, doing his best to contain his rage.  "We must use her to form an alliance with a strong nation!"

"I won't force my daughter to marry a man she doesn't love!" The Sultan responded protectively as he shot up from his seat.  "You forget your place!"

Jafar's grip on his staff tightened, fighting every urge to shout at the Sultan for his insolence.  "Forgive me, my Sultan," he forced through his teeth as he readied his staff.  "I understand that forcing the princess to marry would be hard for you, but you need to put the well-being of Agrabah above the well-being of your daughter."

"I intend to look out for both," the Sultan said, taking his seat once again and returning to his papers.

* * *

Jafar was fuming in his lair.  "First, I have to go celebrate some spoiled brat's birthday in the Sultan's place, then a glorified whore tries to manipulate me!"

"You mean the pretty lady?" Iago interrupted.

"Yes, the pretty lady," Jafar said bitterly. 

She was far more than pretty, she was beautiful with skin like a light olive, hair a rich dark brown that fell into thick waves covered only by a red shawl, eyes as green as the leaves in the garden.  Jafar momentarily forgot his anger as he remembered watching Amana dance, how her large breasts moved side to side under that red top with the gold beads dangling from underneath. He remembered how her child-bearing hips swayed with the music and then seeing that up close when she walked away, drawing attention to her rear in those tight red hakim pants. How she ran her finger through his beard while telling him how grateful she'd be for his protection.  How she whispered in his ear, feeling her breath touch his skin as he inhaled her sweet scent of lavender, imagining taking her right then and there, not even caring what the guests think.  He felt his loins ache as he thought about buying Amana for one night just to see how grateful she'd be.  Then he imagined the foreign whore laughing at him with her friends about how she has the Grand Vizier eating out of the palm of her hand, replacing his arousal with rage.

The woman had to be foreign and, if she was Arabian, she certainly wasn't fully Arabian.  Jafar was sure that she used her exotic appeal to her advantage... and his.  Maybe he would purchase her, but he wouldn't let her control him.  Jafar's arousal returned as he pictured Amana in his bedchamber, teasing him but refusing to give in.  He stuck his hand under his robes and then pumped his arousal as he imagined grabbing her arms and forcing her on his bed, ripping off her clothes as she would put up a fight, but to no avail.  Then she'd scream and cry, begging him for mercy but he'd slap her, tell that whore to shut up.  He pumped himself harder and harder as he imagined taking Amana right then and there while she screamed and struggled.  Then her screams of pain turned into screams of pleasure.  After his final thrust, she'd swear her undying devotion to him, finally learning her place.  This thought alone allotted him release.

* * *

Amana finished her bath and went to her room, wearing nothing but a robe.  With a large wooden floor, a long plush bed decorated in pink and red covered only by a clear sheet, a wooden dresser to the side decorated with flowers and jewelry she'd received from her many patrons and a mirror attached to it, and the clear doors that led to the balcony.  Her room was fit for a princess.  No, a princess would have this luxury handed to her at birth.  Every luxury Amana had she earned, payment from Ishtar for being her most desired lady of the court.  It was a position she planned to keep and getting the Grand Vizier as a client would be a huge help.

Amana remembered meeting Jafar at the party.  She's seen him from afar, making note of how handsome he is.  It wasn't until she saw the Grand Vizier up close that she could truly appreciate that golden brown skin, those onyx eyes, that black beard so neatly trimmed, remembering how smooth it felt when she touched it with her finger.  How she whispered in his ear, seeing a tuft of black hair poke out from his turban.  Then she surprised him by backing up and still maintaining his pose and dignity with those elegant black, red and golden robes and the snake staff that he kept by his side.  Amana found herself wondering what the snake staff was for, clearly not for helping him walk.  Maybe it was magical, like her own snake bracelet, or maybe Jafar just saw it in the Bazaar and thought it would complete his look.  Amana was sure that Jafar would tell her.  It usually took one night with a man for them to tell Amana their deepest darkest secrets but, for Jafar, it might take longer.  She didn't mind, it would give her a nice challenge, one she'd greatly enjoy.

Amana plopped down on her bed as she imagined a night with the handsome vizier.  He'd be stressed from his job and seek Amana for comfort in her bedchamber, which she'd gladly provide by massaging his shoulders, whispering sweet nothings in his ear.  Then he'd turn around and take her in a passionate kiss, wasting no time as they removed each other's clothes.  She'd still cover her breasts just to tease him, but she'd lower her arms eventually.  Amana played with her nipples, imagining Jafar's fingers as he stroked her breasts, getting a warm feeling between her legs.  Then she lowered her right hand to her jewel, tending to it as she imagined Jafar's finger in its place.  Amana stuck her two left fingers into her wet cave, pretending that it was Jafar's hardness thrusting inside of her as she told him the very words he'd want to hear and, just like any other patron, he'd become another puppet, praying that Amana doesn't cut his strings.

Chapter Text

"Harley: I've always had this attraction for extreme personalities.  They're more exciting more challenging...
 
Dr. Leland: And more high-profile?
 
Harley: You can't deny that there's an element of glamour to these super-criminals.
 Dr. Leland: I'll warn you right now: these are hard-core psychotics.  They'd just as soon kill you as look at you.  If you're thinking about cashing in on them by writing a tell-all book, think again.  They'd eat a novice like you for breakfast."
-The Batman Adventures #1 Mad Love

Jafar entered the brothel, greeted by the smell of incense and surrounded by walls of purple and red carpeting with a table in the middle decorated with bowls of nuts, dates and grapes.  He saw a young well-to-do man talking to an aging beauty with long dark hair and dark skin wearing a purple dress who Jafar assumed was Amana's Madam, Ishtar.  He was about to take a seat in one of the chairs but, unfortunately, the only one available was next to Abbas.

"Apparently, your rejection at the party wasn't humiliating enough for you," Jafar remarked as he took his seat.  "You wish to humiliate yourself at the brothel as well?"

"You can get a whore!" Iago squawked.

Jafar smirked at the angry expression on Abbas's face.  "That foreign whore was foolish, but I'm sure her Madam can see reason," he responded.

A young woman came down from the steps and embraced the well-to-do man.  Then the young woman turned to Ishtar and said a tearful good-bye as she left with the young man.  Ishtar turned to Jafar and Abbas with a sad, yet serious, expression.  "How may I help you gentlemen?" she asked.

Abbas wasted no time shooting out of his seat.  "Yes, is this where you house that exotic beauty?" he asked her.  "The one with the green eyes?"

This should be entertaining, Jafar thought with a smile.

Ishtar's eyes narrowed at the man.  "If you mean Lady Amana, yes, she is one of my girls," she said politely, yet there was a slight venom in her voice.

"How much would it cost me to take her off your hands?" Abbas said, taking his bag from his pockets.

"I am afraid that Lady Amana has requested not to have you as a patron," Ishtar told him, the venom getting stronger.

"You misunderstood me, I have no desire to be her patron," Abbas explained, putting more gold coins in her hand.  "I want her as my mistress."

Ishtar's eyes narrowed but she still maintained her poise.  "Minister, Amana is my most desired lady.  So I am afraid that I cannot sell her to you even if she wished for you to be her patron," Ishtar explained to Abbas.  "I have already had to let another lady go and selling my most desired one would greatly damage my profits."

"Would that be the woman who left with that young man?" Jafar asked.

"Yes, Grand Vizier," Ishtar responded, her face softening as she turned to Jafar.  "She fell in love with one of her patrons."

Jafar nodded as Abbas continued his negotiation.  "I'm willing to pay a monthly fee, compensate you for your loss," he told Ishtar.

"The lady has already given you her answer," Jafar told him, his grip on his staff tightening.  "It's best that you leave."

"This doesn't concern you," Abbas told Jafar sharply.

"The Grand Vizier is right," Ishtar told Abbas firmly.  "Minister, I believe that you should refrain from entering my establishment in the future."

Abbas left in a huff as Ishtar turned to Jafar.  "I am terribly sorry about this," she said to him.

"I am well-acquainted with that man," Jafar responded, waving her apology off.  "He often needs the obvious explained to him."

Ishtar smiled and then quickly adopted a professional tone.  "Do you have any business here, Grand Vizier?" she asked him.

"Yes," Jafar said, removing himself from his seat as he handed Ishtar his written request.  "I will be attending a wedding and I was hoping that Lady Amana would accompany me as my guest... if she'll have me."

"I will make sure she receives your request," Ishtar said, taking the letter from him.  "However, the final decision is hers."

* * *

Amana went to the sitting room, seeing Jamila with her long black hair falling in loose waves, light brown eyes and light blue dress with a group of girls giggling as she held a stack of papers in her hand.  "Can you believe that a Sheik wants me to accompany him?" Jamila bragged, noticing Amana's presence.  "Oh, Amana, so lovely of you to join us!"

Amana noticed Farah, a young girl in her tweens, in the corner rolling her eyes.

"Lovely to see you too, Jamila," Amana said with a pleasant tone.  "May I be the first to congratulate you on receiving a Sheik for a patron?"

"Why thank you," Jamila said with false modesty as a servant handed Amana her requests.  "He saw me when I was on the arms of an Amir at the festival and he just had to meet me."  Then she added condescendingly.  "I'm sure that you've received similar attention."

Amana browsed through the first letter.  "I'm afraid I have received nothing to that extent, only a request to make a powerful Amir's son a man," she informed Jamila and then put that letter on the bottom of the pile.  "A request from a visiting dignitary from Shirabad to meet him in his private chambers."  That letter joined the previous one at the bottom of the pile.  "A request from the Grand Vizier to accompany him to a wedding."

A collective gasp filled the room as Amana put that letter at the bottom of the pile.  "A request from—"

"Did you just say that you received a request from the Grand Vizier?" Jamila asked unbelievably.

"Yes, his was the last request I mentioned," Amana said nonchalantly as she looked up to see Jamila's astonished face.

Jamila quickly turned her expression into a smile.  "That is... quite an accomplishment!" she said, doing her best to mask the bitterness in her voice.  "Especially for someone of your... background."

"A Sheik is rather impressive," Amana said, giving Jamila a false comfort.  "It's rather noisy in here, so I believe that I will read these requests in my bedchamber."

Amana took her requests to her room with a smug smile, placing them on her mirror stand and about to dance around the room until she heard a knock on the door.  "May I come in?" An excited young voice asked her on the other end.

"Of course, Farah," Amana responded, which was all the invitation Farah needed to rush in.

The young pre-teen girl with long jet black hair, olive skin and wearing a pink dress took a seat on Amana's bed and giggled like mad.

"Did you see the look on Jamila's face?" Farah managed to say through her laughs.  "Her Sheik looked rather pathetic standing next to the Grand Vizier of Agrabah."

"You could say that," Amana said modestly yet a small smile tugged at her lips.

"And he's so handsome!" Farah said dreamily.

"Has the Grand Vizier replaced Heydar as your latest infatuation?" she joked, pulling out the chair near the mirror and taking her seat.

"N-no, of course not!" Farah said, her brown face turning red.  "Besides, Heydar belongs to you."

Ever since Farah first saw Heydar, she'd been infatuated with his strong olive toned face surrounded by a well-groomed beard and how his raven black hair would fall into his brown eyes.  However, she mistakenly believed that there were romantic feelings between Amana and her bodyguard.

"As I have told you before, Heydar and I are just friends," Amana informed her, getting up from her seat and shutting her door.

"Okay, I believe you," Farah said as if Amana held a deadly secret.  "How do you think Heydar will feel when he discovers that the Grand Vizier is your newest patron?"

"I highly doubt that Heydar will be concerned."

"As he shouldn't be," a voice said from Amana's doorway that sounded like Ishtar.

Amana opened the door to see her standing there with her arms crossed.

"Aunt Ishtar!" Farah greeted.

"Farah, will you please wait outside?" Ishtar asked her.

As soon as Farah left, Ishtar shut the door.  "I see my niece is still having flights of fancy about you and Heydar."

"She's young and impressionable," Amana said, sitting back in her chair.  "When she comes out to society, she'll realize that life is not the fairy tale she imagines."

"Which will be very soon," Ishtar said with a worried sigh.

"That is why you put Farah under my tutelage," Amana explained to her.  "So she can learn to sway powerful men rather than being swayed by them."

Ishtar nodded and then turned to Amana.  "As you intend to sway the Grand Vizier," she pointed out.

"I'd be a fool to reject his invitation," Amana responded.  "But his is not the only invitation I will accept."

"We have already made an enemy of the Minister of Infrastructure," Ishtar warned Amana as she walked around the room.  "It would be wise to ally ourselves with a powerful man."

"Not just any powerful man," Amana said almost dreamily.  "The most powerful man in Agrabah."

"Your patron is the Grand Vizier, not the Sultan," Ishtar quickly reminded her.

"Yes, but the Grand Vizier can manipulate the Sultan into doing his bidding," Amana explained.  "And, if I play my cards right, I can manipulate the Grand Vizier into doing my bidding.  So, in a way, it would be as if I ruled Agrabah."  Amana laughed at the look on Ishtar's face.  "I jest, Mama."

Ishtar stayed silent as if she were looking for the right words.  "Up until now, your patrons have been young and naive," she told her.

"The Grand Vizier is not an old man," Amana pointed out.

"Yes, but he is older than your usual patrons," Ishtar argued back.  "And, as a politician, he won't be easily manipulated."

"I am aware that the Grand Vizier may be more difficult than my usual patrons," Amana admitted.  "But my usual patrons was getting rather dull."

"Amana, you are playing a dangerous game," Ishtar told her harshly.  "If the Grand Vizier suspects that you are manipulating him, he could easily destroy you."  Ishtar turned to Amana.  "Do not misunderstand my intentions, I would be more than happy to have the Grand Vizier as a patron of my establishment."  Amana saw the worried look in Ishtar's eyes.  "However, you need to understand the risks involved."

"I understand," Amana told Ishtar and added with more confidence than she felt.  "And I will make sure to be subtle."

* * *

Amana looked through her wardrobe, narrowing down her more elegant dresses.  She stopped briefly at her red one, knowing it would go well with Jafar's dark robes but remembered what Ishtar told her.  Perhaps she needed a more subtle color such as white, a representation of innocence.  Then again, she was going to a wedding and would rather not appear as if she were upstaging the bride.  The knocking on her door interrupted her thoughts.

"May I come in?" A young feminine voice asked that Amana recognized as Farah's

"Yes, of course," Amana said, not looking away from her dresses.

She heard the door open and Farah's footsteps stopped just behind her.  "Is this for the wedding you're attending with the Grand Vizier?"

"Yes," Amana admitted, looking through her dresses.  "I need to make an impression."

"Why not wear one of your badlahs?" Farah suggested innocently.  "It would certainly make an impression."

"Badlahs are for entertaining as a dancer at a party," Amana explained.  "Or for when you're asked to entertain privately."  She continued browsing through her dresses.  "What I need is an elegant dress that will make an impression without overstating myself."  Then she found two dresses, one light blue and one dark blue, and held them up for Farah to see.  "Which one do you prefer?"

"Why does it matter?" Farah asked.

"The Grand Vizier will make a powerful ally," Amana explained.  "I need to plan every move carefully, from what I say to what I wear."

"You make it sound like going to war," Farah joked.

"I suppose, in a way, it is," Amana said, giving both dresses another look.  "While men fight wars with weapons and blood, women fight them with charm and beauty." 

"You sound like my aunt."

"It was your aunt who taught me that."

"I think you should wear the light blue one," Farah suggested.  "Bright colors are better at drawing attention than darker ones are."

"Ordinarily, such a strategy would work," Amana admitted in deep contemplation.  "However, considering the Grand Vizier's preference for darker colors, I think the dark blue might be better."

Amana put the light blue dress back in her wardrobe.

And so, the battle begins.

* * *

"I hope you didn't invite me to accompany you just to stand in a corner," Amana said only half-jokingly as she watched the guests dance with the bride and groom being the center of attention.

"Does it really matter?" Jafar asked her bitterly.  "You will receive payment no matter how you spend your time with me."

"Yes but, if you wish for me to accept your requests in the future, you may want to put in a bit more effort," Amana pointed out.  "Most of my patrons usually ask me to dance or introduce me to the guests."

"You seem rather confident that I will request you in the future," Jafar countered back.

A serving girl stopped by them holding a tray of red wine glasses.

"May I?" Amana asked, putting her hand near another glass.

"Yes, my Lady," the serving girl said and then left after Amana took one of the glasses

"Very well," she told the Grand Vizier aloud.  "Since you have no interest in dancing or mingling with the other guests, perhaps you'd like to converse with me?"

"That would depend on the topic of conversation," Jafar responded, indicating to Heydar in the corner dressed in armor and keeping his eye on Amana and the Grand Vizier.  "Would it be as to why your bodyguard stares at the two of us so intently?"

"He's only making sure that you do not harm me," Amana explained, savoring the sour taste of wine from her glass.  "I'll admit, he can be a bit... dedicated to his job."

"Thankfully, his dedication is protecting you from a real threat," Jafar told her as his grip on his staff tightened.

Amana turned around to see Abbas try to approach Amana with a sleazy grin on his face but, thankfully, Heydar intercepted him.  She saw Heydar's eyes narrow while the Minister smugly conversed with him.  Amana couldn't help but wonder what they were talking about, but felt a sense of relief that she would not have to put up with the Minister's harassment.

"I suppose that I will have to thank Heydar for keeping the Minister away from me," Amana admitted, turning back to face Jafar.  "But why discuss that snake when there are far more interesting subjects at hand?"

"Very well," Jafar said, his grip on his staff loosening.  "What would you rather discuss?"

"You," Amana answered.  "How did a man as young as you manage to rise in power so quickly?  How do you handle the burden of aiding the Sultan in his attempts to keep Agrabah prosperous?"  Amana stroked Iago with her free hand.  "How did you obtain this adorable parrot?"

"You wish to know so much about me and refuse to tell me anything about yourself?" Jafar asked her suspiciously.

"I suppose we can exchange information," Amana agreed.  "What is it you wish to know about me?"

"Why you chose to become a lady of the court.  How you managed to become so admired by the public," Jafar began, gazing into Amana's eyes as he ran a finger through a loose strand of hair that escaped her dark blue veil.  "How you managed to obtain those lovely green eyes."

Amana stayed silent as her green eyes looked into Jafar's black eyes, only giving him a coy smile.  "Perhaps we can make a game out of it," she suggested.

Jafar jolted back as if trying to comprehend what Amana said.  "A game?"

"We analyze each other and speculate," Amana explained.  "I'll go first."  She studied Jafar, noticing the expensive clothes.  "You come from a small noble family, but you had an ambition to achieve greatness.  I imagine that you spent most of your childhood studying."  Amana acknowledged the armor on Jafar's clothes.  "Eventually, you enlisted in the military and fought in the war, which would explain why a man with so much power would constantly have an expression as if he wished to fling himself off the top of the palace."  Jafar narrowed his eyes and squeezed his staff as Iago squawked " top of the palace."  "However, your military history did earn you enough recognition to have a seat on the council of viziers.  Then you focused on forming connections in the right places, particularly with the Sultan, and managed to earn the title of Grand Vizier."  Amana stroked Iago.  "As for this little bird, you obtained him during a vast pilgrimage and he's been your loyal companion ever since."

"I suppose it's my turn," Jafar said, studying Amana.  "You are the illegitimate daughter of an Agrabanian Amir and a foreign commoner from Skansland, Arendelle, or Corona.  Your father brought you back to Agrabah when your mother died and raised you as his daughter.  You were too high in class to be a simple servant, yet too low to be considered a true noble.  You would never receive a true marriage prospect, so you chose to become a lady of the court."

Amana took a huge drink from her glass.  "Very astute," she said admirably.

"Then I'm correct," Jafar said proudly.

"I said that you were astute," Amana teased.  "Not that you were correct."

The party died down as Heydar came to collect Amana.  "It's time to leave," he told her.

"I'm not finished with her yet," Jafar told Heydar harshly and then turned Amana.  "Tell me, were my deductions correct?"

"Why don't we finish our game another time?" Amana suggested.  "Keep the mystery alive for a little while longer?"

"Very well, Lady Amana," Jafar said hesitantly.  "I may require your services again."

"I have many patrons, Grand Vizier," Amana told him as she went with Heydar.  "But I will be sure to make time for you."

* * *

Amana walked the streets of Agrabah with Heydar, noticing some merchants still kept their stands open while others were closing down for the night as she wondered how correct her deductions about Jafar were.

"Seems like you had fun," Heydar acknowledged, breaking the silence.

"Surprisingly, yes," Amana said to Heydar.  "Thanks to you."

"Me?" Heydar responded shocked.  "What did I do?"

"You kept that snake away from me," Amana answered and, noticing that didn't lift Heydar's confusion, explained what she meant.  "The Grand Vizier and I saw you talking to the Minister of Infrastructure."

"I was just doing my job," Heydar told Amana, sensing slight anger in his voice.

"Is there something wrong?"

"It's nothing," Heydar responded, even though his voice betrayed him.  "Dealing with the Minister just made me feel a little... uneasy."

"How?" Amana asked as a nearby vendor asked her if she wanted to buy some jewelry.

"Just the usual," Heydar explained.  "How I don't belong at high society parties.  Asking how it feels to be pushed to the side, observing the life that used to be mine."

Amana sighed as she remembered hearing Heydar's story about how he inherited his estate from his father when he was younger but, due to not knowing anything except how to sword fight, became dependent on his uncle to run the estate.  Unfortunately, his uncle betrayed him by taking his estate away and leaving him out on the streets.  Had Ishtar not found Heydar and offered him a job, he wouldn't be alive today.

"I'm sorry he harassed you," Amana said sympathetically.  "But that's not the first time some snooty noble's put you down."

"It's more than that," Heydar admitted and then stumbled over his next words.  "The Minister told me that you need to watch out for the Grand Vizier."

"That's the third person who's said that in the past few days," Amana noted and then added sardonically.  "Though I highly doubt we should take the word of a man who tossed gold coins at my feet and asked me for a 'private dance.'"

"I'll admit, I was a little skeptical myself," Heydar said, recalling the conversation.  "It was the same rumors I've heard before, about how you shouldn't cross him and how people who do cross him have a tendency to disappear."

"In other words, the Minister didn't tell you anything that neither one of us has heard before," Amana said with an eye roll.

"Considering the way the Grand Vizier looked at you, I'm starting to wonder if the rumors are true," Heydar said in contemplation.

"How did he look at me?" Amana asked.

"I don't know really know how to explain it but he looked at you like you were a.. possession," Heydar said, stumbling for the right words.  "Like you belong to him and only him."

"So no different from my usual patrons," Amana remarked.

"Most of your usual patrons don't look at me like they want to kill me," Heydar countered back.

Amana turned to face her bodyguard as if he just said that he met Sinbad the pirate.  "What do you mean?"

"When I said that you had to leave, I got this feeling that he really wanted me out of the way," Heydar said, recalling the look in Jafar's eyes that sent a chill down his spine.

"He was probably upset that we didn't get to finish our game," Amana rationalized.

"What game?"

"I came up with this little guessing game where we look at each other and guess each other's past," Amana explained, smiling as she recalled their conversation.  "Though neither one of us knows if we guessed right."

"What did he guess about you?" Heydar asked, panic seeping into his voice.

"Relax, he didn't guess anything that would incriminate anyone," Amana reassured him.

"Good," Heydar said quickly.  "But you still need to be wary of him."

"I'll be fine," Amana told Heydar as they finally made their way to the brothel.  "I highly doubt that the Grand Vizier's any more dangerous than my previous patrons and, if he is, I have you to protect me."

"What if I'm not around to protect you?" Heydar asked as they entered the doors.

Amana lifted up her dress to show a dagger in her garter.  "Then it's a good thing I've come prepared."

* * *

Jafar retreated to his lair, burying himself in a book about genies.  He had to admit that the information was rather inconsistent, with one story that talked about a genie a fisherman had accidentally released from a bottle.  The genie explained to the fisherman that for the first hundred years of his imprisonment, he swore to enrich the person who freed him forever, but nobody freed him. For the second century of his imprisonment, he swore to grant his liberator great wealth, but nobody freed him. After another century, he swore to grant three wishes to the person who freed him, yet nobody did so. After four hundred years of imprisonment, the jinni became enraged and swore to grant the person who freed him a choice of deaths.  Then the fisherman tricked the genie back into the bottle, told a few other stories and then managed to convince the genie not to murder him.  He found another variation where a young boy tricked another genie into granting him three wishes and then, after fulfilling his part of the bargain, left to enjoy his freedom.  Another tale claimed that you can find genies in rings and lamps and that they would grant unlimited wishes.  While another said that genies were destructive forces of nature that would wreak havoc if unleashed and you needed to use the third wish to send them back into their prison.  Right now, there was a destructive force he would love to imprison. 

Great, that woman was invading his thoughts again.  No matter, there were more important things to worry about then whether or not he won her foolish game.  There was one tale where a little girl claimed that she purchased a magic lamp from the Bazaar with a genie that granted three wishes.  She used the first two wishes to make her life better but then used the last wish to go back to her old life and learned to appreciate what she already had.  It sounded like one of those stories parents tell their children to make them feel better about their pathetic existence.  He found another story claiming that sorcerers could summon genies and have them do their bidding, or possess unwilling victims, which Jafar found laughable.  If that were true, he wouldn't need to hypnotize the Sultan to make him see reason, and he would have used the genie to possess Amana to be under his complete control, being forever rid of her games.

Jafar slammed the book shut.  It was useless, no matter how hard he tried to focus on overthrowing the Sultan, that distraction in the form of an exotic tease would not leave his thoughts.

"Master upset?" Iago asked perched on top of Jafar's desk.

"No, Iago, I thought slamming the book would help get the dust off!" Jafar practically shouted.  "Of course I'm upset!  My only hope of overthrowing that sentimental old fool lies in a myth!"

"fling himself off the top of the palace!" Iago squawked, bringing that woman back into his thoughts.  "Just purchase her again."

"And become another pawn in her game?" Jafar said bitterly.

"Buy her permanently," Iago suggested.

It wasn't a bad idea.  If Amana was permanently his, she would be under his complete control and, if she did anything he didn't like, he would teach her a lesson.  Then he remembered what Ishtar said when Abbas had tried to do the same.

"The only way I could buy Amana permanently is if she fell in love with me," Jafar responded, remembering the young woman that left with a noble.

"Hypnotize her."

Yes, he could use his snake staff on Amana and hypnotize her into becoming his paramour.  He imagined Amana under his complete control, calling him master as she followed his every command.  Of course, the hypnosis wouldn't last and he'd have to waste more time trying to make sure that she didn't leave.  He'd save that plan for a later day.

"Isn't it about time that you went on your night time flight?" Jafar asked Iago.  "Maybe you can check on the woman while you're there."

"Yes, Master," Iago said as he flew out of the palace.

Jafar closed his eyes and concentrated on seeing what Iago would see and hearing what he would hear.  He saw the city through a bird's eye view, letting himself be enchanted by the evening sky as the sounds of crickets chirped in the distance while the buildings rushed past him.  For a moment, Jafar forgot his anger and felt a sense of calm wash over him.  Then he heard Amana's voice in the distance.

"I want to be a sailor, Sailing out to sea. No plowboy, tinker, tailor's, Any fun to be," she sang softly

Stop! Jafar commanded Iago as he turned around to see the brothel.  Do you hear that?

No, I went momentarily deaf, Iago sniped back.  Yes, I hear that!

"Aunts and cousins, By the baker's dozens, Drive their men to sea, Or highway robbery."

Iago flew toward the brothel, checking every window until coming across a balcony where the voice got louder.

" I want to be a bandit, Can't you understand it? Sailing to sea is life for me, Is life for me."

Iago finally found the balcony to Amana's room and Jafar saw her in her sleepwear, brushing her hair as Iago tapped on the door.  Amana quickly got up and let him in, smiling at the little bird.

"Iago, what are you doing here?" she asked, petting the bird and unintentionally giving Jafar a generous view of her cleavage.  "Did your master send you?"

"Master sent me," Iago responded, to Jafar's chagrin but Amana only laughed.

"Tell your master that I enjoyed being with him at the party," she told Iago, getting a jar of jam from on top of her dresser.  "And that he's free to request my services again, if he wishes."

"If he wishes," Iago squawked.

At least you won't need a genie to fulfill that wish, Iago mocked.

Shut up and concentrate! Jafar scolded.

Jafar hated being connected to Iago telepathically, as he never resisted the opportunity to taunt his master.  While Iago did taunt him often in physical form, he had trouble voicing his thoughts through his beak.  It was a problem that didn't exist in this mode.

"You must be hungry," Amana said, taking a jar of jam from her dresser and screwing off the lid.  "I was going to give this to Farah, but I don't think there's any harm in sharing some of it with you."

Amana took a little spoon and scooped some jam into it, looking at the food in her hand as if it were the most disgusting thing she'd ever held.  Then she held out the spoon to Iago who tilted his head back.

"Can't say I blame you on that one," Amana said as she put the spoon back into the jar.  "Unfortunately, that's all I have with me but, next time, I'll be better prepared."  She scratched the bird's head.  "Get you some bird seeds from the Bazaar, even get you a little bird perch."

"Next time," Iago squawked.

"I warn you, that might take awhile," Amana said sadly as she crawled into her bed.  "I have quite a few patrons I need to see and not a single one of them would want to take me to the Bazaar."

Patrons? Jafar repeated, feeling jealousy rise up inside him.

Might be a while before she can see you, Iago taunted.

"So, I'm going to need plenty of beauty sleep," Amana told Iago, curling up in her bed.  "Good night, Iago."

"Good night," Iago squawked back.

Amana closed her eyes and fell fast asleep.

What a waste of time, Jafar thought bitterly.  I've learned nothing of value!

Yeah, sucks to be you, Iago thought snidely.  Now can I go, or are you going to make me watch her sleep?

Then it occurred to Jafar why Amana would never say anything relevant to Iago.  She knew Iago would repeat what she'd say and would never be foolish enough to incriminate herself.  However, if Amana did talk in her sleep, she wouldn't be able to control what came out of her mouth.

Stay, Jafar ordered Iago.

In case you forgot, I'm a parrot not a dog, Iago responded.  I'll tell you the difference, a—

Before Iago could finish his thought, Amana's eyes moved and she uttered one word.

"Jafar?"

Chapter Text

"365 wives were mine but, in my heart, there was no love.  Fifty palaces and I had no home.  Riches among my subjects, I was the poorest of the poor.  Every desire satisfied, I grew empty of desire and in my holdfast Kingdom I could find nothing to do."
-Ahmed (The Thief of Baghdad 1940)

"A Coronian duke!" Jamila exclaimed as she held a letter in her hand.  "What are the odds that a visiting Coronian duke would request my company?"

Amana ignored Jamila as she looked through her own requests in the sitting room, trying to find one name and seeing nothing.

"Have you still not heard from your Grand Vizier?" Jamila asked sympathetically.

"The Grand Vizier is a busy man," Amana said nonchalantly.  "And I do have other appointments."

"Such as who?"

"I am keeping Sanjay company tonight," Amana explained absentmindedly as she noticed Iago flying outside and snuck a few nuts from the bowl.

"The Amir from Shiribad again, I suppose that's... somewhat impressive," Jamila said.

Amana knew that Jamila was thinking, "But not as impressive as a Coronian duke."

"Forgive me, Jamila, but I must prepare for my night with Sanjay," she told her, about to walk up the stairs until seeing Farah.  "Farah, why don't you come with me?"

Farah followed Amana to her bedchamber and then watched as she went to the balcony.  "I'm sorry for what Jamila said," Farah told her.  "A Shiribad Amir is just as impressive as a Coronian duke and I'm sure the Grand Vizier's just busy."  Amana opened the balcony doors to let Iago in, who perched himself on the stand.

"Sorry, little boy," Amana gently told the parrot.  "I didn't have time to go to the Bazaar, but I got this for you."

Amana opened her hand to show Iago the nuts she gathered, who ate them up greedily.  "Who's the little bird?" Farah asked, reaching out her hand to pet Iago.

"This is Iago," Amana told her as Iago swallowed the last of the nuts.  "He belongs to the Grand Vizier."

"Master," Iago squawked.

Farah gasped.  "You mean this is the Grand Vizier's parrot?" she said and then gazed at Iago in awe.  "And he sent him to you?"

Farah had that romantic gleam in her eye as she stroked Iago, who only squawked.  "Master sent me."

"Then could you explain why—?"

"Farah!" Amana quickly interrupted causing the young pupil to draw back as Iago repeated her.  "Be careful with your words."

"Why?" Farah asked with a confused blink.

"Because Iago will repeat what you say," Amana explained, going to her wardrobe.  "And he could easily repeat those words to the wrong people."

"I'm sure he doesn't mean it," Farah said, petting Iago and cooing over him.  "He's just a dumb little bird."

"You're right, he doesn't," Amana said, looking through her wardrobe as a frightening thought occurred to her.

But the Grand Vizier does.

She remained silent, continuing to stare at her wardrobe not even registering the different outfits in her mind.

"Amana, are you all right?" Farah asked her, distracting Amana from her worries.

"I am content," Amana said with a smile.  "Only wondering what I should wear to meet Sanjay."

"Since this is a private meeting, you should wear one of your bedlahs," Farah said, beaming with pride.

"You learn fast," Amana told her.  "However, not all patrons become aroused by a bedlah.  There are some who entertain fantasies about corrupting innocent princesses."

"Is Sanjay one of them?" Farah asked her, taking a seat on Amana's bed.

"Usually, yes," Amana said, looking through the more elegant dresses.  "Occasionally, he does have a preference for a bedlah but, this time, he wishes to see me in elegant attire."

"How are you so sure?"

"In his letter, Sanjay said that he'll be visiting Agrabah and he wishes to see his exotic princess once again," Amana explained, doing her best to hold back her laughter as her eyes stopped on a white dress with gold sequins and a black belt.

"Why not wear that bright blue dress and the lilac belt?" Farah suggested.

Amana had to hand it to Farah; she sure did have great taste.  She took the bright blue dress with the gold outlining from her wardrobe and placed it on the bed, taking off her current clothes as Iago squawked.

"I do believe the little bird is getting excited," Farah joked.

"I believe it far more likely that he just craves attention," Amana said, moving to the desk to stroke Iago's feathers.  "Isn't that right, little boy?"

"Right," Iago squawked.

Amana moved to collect the dress and put it on, modeling it for Farah.  "Does this compliment me?" she asked.

"You look like a princess!" Farah practically squealed.

"Like a princess!" Iago repeated.

Amana gazed at herself in the mirror and, while she loved the look of the dress, she couldn't help but feel that something was missing.  She took note of the lilac belt outlined in gold and grabbed a lilac veil from her wardrobe, placing it on her head and then looking at herself in the mirror with a smile.

"Perfect."

* * *

Jafar watched Amana through Iago's eyes, getting a nice full view of her backside as she undressed, wearing nothing except for a snake bracelet on her right arm.  Jafar imagined his hands exploring every voluptuous curve of her body and penetrating that beautiful round rear.

Call her! Jafar ordered Iago, putting him off guard to the point that he let out a large squawk, which, thankfully, made Amana turn around, and Jafar took in the sight of her large breasts with that narrow waist and a small tuft of black hair.  She was the very image of perfection.  Amana walked over to Iago, caressing his feathers in a way that made Jafar envious of his own parrot.  He put his hand out, wanting to flick Amana's nipples and make her moan his name.

Did you forget that you can only see and not touch? Iago mocked.

Yes, I'm well aware! Jafar responded watching Amana put on that blue dress outlined in gold with the lilac belt and veil.

She looked to be the very symbol of beauty and elegance, and she was about to be wasted on that Shiribad Amir, the very thought making Jafar clench his fists.

You could just buy her for a night and save us both all of this trouble, Iago suggested.

I do plan on purchasing her eventually! Jafar shot back.  I'm just... biding my time.

While you're 'biding your time', she's spending her time with the Shiribad Amir, Iago taunted.

She doesn't know that she's mine! Jafar defended.  At least, not yet.

Jafar could picture the future, him taking his rightful place as Sultan, carving out his own empire, Hakeem as his loyal captain of the guard, enforcing his rules, his Queen a symbol of beauty and grace, and Amana by his side as his exotic and seductive paramour.  Perhaps he would even pass a law saying that, if any man touched her, they would suffer death by beheading.

Nice fantasy, but you'll need a genie if you want to make it come true, Iago told him.

As much as he hated to admit it, Iago was right.  Jafar severed the connection, removed his more elegant clothes and donned a brown robe, leaving himself hooded so no one would recognize him.  He snuck out of the palace and went to the Bazaar, seeing the bustling of the people as the merchants advertised their wares and the smell of cardamoms, fruit and flowers assaulted his nose.  Jafar went to a merchant selling rare bottles, picking up one and concentrating his limited magical energy on detecting any trace of magic inside yet finding nothing.  He picked up another bottle and used his magic to sense if there was anything in it, again coming up with nothing.

"Sir, is there a particular type of bottle you're looking for?" the merchant asked him.

"The perfect bottle," Jafar said, taking another bottle and trying to sense magic.

The merchant kept prattling on, but Jafar paid him no heed as he checked every bottle and then left when he found nothing.  He went to the next stall that was selling oil lamps and, once again, found nothing.

"Magical bottle for sale!" a merchant from a nearby stall shouted.  "Rub it and it'll grant you three wishes!"

Jafar went to the stall but, not wanting to be mistaken of a fool whether he was in disguise or not, was hesitant to take the man at his word.

"Where did you find this 'magical bottle?'?" Jafar asked the man.

The man only laughed.  "I can see that you doubt me and, believe me, you have every right to," he informed him.  "You see, I found this bottle during my travels through the desert."

"And you knew it was magical, how?" Jafar asked, picking up the bottle and examining it.

"I heard a voice inside," the man explained.  "It said, release me and I will grant you three wishes!"

"So, you claim you heard a genie saying that he will grant you your heart's desires," Jafar said, concentrating on finding any trace of magic in the bottle.  "And you chose to sell this powerful being in your stall?"

 "Well, because..." the man said, struggling with his words as Jafar rolled his eyes.

Before the man could up with a decent lie, another man dressed in disheveled robes with a scruffy face ran up to him and started screaming.  "BECAUSE GENIES ARE EVIL!" the man claimed and then grabbed him by the robes, an act that would have been punishable by death had he not been in disguise.  "THEY KNOCK YOU OUT AND GIVE YOU THE ILLUSION OF A WISH WHILE SUCKING YOUR BLOOD DRY!"

Then the lunatic left in a rush, leaving Jafar standing there dumbfounded, finding no trace of magic in the bottle.

The merchant only laughed, "Street rats, huh?" he said lightly earning a glare from Jafar.

"I'm afraid that I can't purchase this bottle," Jafar told the merchant, trying to contain his laughter.  "Just in case it does contain an evil creature that wants to feast on my blood."

Jafar left the dishonest merchant's stall and went into a laughing fit.  He may not have found a genie, but hearing that ridiculous story certainly lifted his spirits.

"Flowers!" a nearby merchant shouted.  "Flowers for sale!"  She saw Jafar walk up to her stall.  "You, sir, would you like to buy a flower for a loved one?"

Jafar stopped by the stall, gazing at the flowers to see daisies, sunflowers, lotuses, jasmines, red roses and a small bouquet of blue roses.  "Are those blue roses genuine?" he asked her.

"You have a good eye, sir," the flower merchant praised.  "Blue roses are the rarest kind of flower, representing mystery and the unattainable.  It's said that the owner of one will have their wish granted."  Then she smiled at him.  "And, I can assure you, they are genuine."

"Don't they also erase the memories of those who smell them?" Jafar asked, remembering something he once read in a spell book.

The merchant laughed.  "Sir, I assure you that it's an old wives' tale," she told him.

Jafar took the flower and dropped a few silvers on the stall.  He left while holding a flower that was as rare as his future paramour's green eyes, the very woman who was about to waste herself on a Shiribad Amir.  Jafar was about to squeeze the stem in his hand until a beautiful woman walked up to him.

"Hello, handsome," she said in a seductive tone as she lowered his hood and then drew back when she recognized his face, refusing to look into his eyes.  "Forgive me, Grand Vizier."

Jafar put his hood back on.  "I believe you were about to proposition me," he told her

After all, if Amana could entertain a Shiribad Amir, he could have some fun with a lady of the streets.

* * *

"You ever thought about getting a cape?" Amana asked Heydar as the palace guards chased a young boy and a monkey down the streets shouting, "Stop, theif!"

"No," Heydar answered.  "Why would I want that?"

"Usually, palace guards wear capes to distinguish themselves from ordinary citizens," Amana pointed out, indicating the guards around them.

"I'm not a palace guard."

"No, but you are a bodyguard," Amana said, watching the palace guards try to catch the thief and his monkey, only for them to be outsmarted each time.  "And most of the bodyguards employed by Ishtar wear capes."

"I don't really like capes," Heydar admitted.  "They slow you down and get caught in things too easily."  Then he pointed to the young boy running from the guards.  "If that boy were wearing a cape, he'd be in the Agrabah jail cells right now."

"You do realize that you're protecting the ladies of the court, not stealing from the Bazaar merchants," Amana joked, looking at the boy with admiration as he jumped on the rooftops, always one-step ahead of the guards.

"True but, if I want to do my job well, I can't risk anything slowing me down," Heydar said as one of the guards got their cape stuck in a loose board of a merchant stand.

"You may have a point," Amana admitted after seeing the guard fall backwards and break the stand, to the merchant's chagrin.  "I suppose capes should be reserved for the higher up politicians."

Like the Grand Vizier, Amana thought before she could stop herself.

It wasn't long until they finally arrived at Sanjay's Agrabah Estate, a large building with two guards standing outside the door.

"Good Evening," she told the estate guards with her hands folded in front of her.  "I am Lady Amana and this is my bodyguard, Heydar."  Amana looked to Heydar, who bowed to the guards.  "I believe Amir Sanjay is expecting us?"

"Lady Amana," the guard on the right said, bowing to her.  "We were told to be expecting you."

"However, the same can't be said for your bodyguard," the one on the left added.

"Heydar is with me," Amana informed them.

"Very well, Lady Amana," the guard on the left said as they both let her and Heydar in.  "Enjoy your stay."

"Thank you," she responded to them as they both let Amana and Heydar into Sanjay's palace.

Amana found herself greeted by multi-colored walls and planted firs and trees as a young woman came to greet her, refusing to look her in the eye.  "Lady Amana," she greeted.  "Amir Sanjay is waiting for you in his private chambers."

"Thank you," Amana said as she took her leave of the room as the young woman directed Heydar to where he would be staying.

Amana walked to the private chambers to see it in the same multi-colored appearance as the rest of the palace.  There was a man with long and well-groomed black hair, dark brown eyes, a mocha complexion and wearing robes of purple and gold sitting on the dark blue chaise with a bottle of red wine in his hand and two empty glasses on the stand in front of it.  His face lit-up when he saw Amana.  "You look even more beautiful than when I last saw you," he told her.

Still spouting cliché dialogue, Amana thought bitterly.  Instead of voicing her thoughts, she returned his smile and responded with, "It's lovely to see you again, Sanjay."  She took a seat next to him on the chaise.  "What brings you to Agrabah?"

"Do I need a reason to see you?" Sanjay asked as he poured two glasses for them.

"I am very flattered," Amana said, taking her glass.  "However, I highly doubt you came all this way just to see me."

"I suppose I did need to get away," Sanjay explained, taking a drink from his glass.  "The life of an Amir may be luxurious, but it is rather demanding."

Sanjay then explained about the complaints he'd been receiving from the commoners, such as not having enough food and how they'll survive for the coming storm.  "Do you have any idea what a burden this places on me?" he asked her.

Must be difficult, Amana thought snidely.  Sitting in your cozy estate while the common people worry about where their next meal is coming from.

"I am terribly sorry about the burdens you face," Amana said aloud, doing her best to elude sympathy.

"During times like these, only two things can bring a smile to my face," Sanjay told her as Amana took a drink, letting the warm liquid run down her throat.  "Wine and you."

"And only one of us is legal in Agrabah," she told him jokingly.

Sanjay only gave a condescending laugh.  "Only for those of us who lack the wealth to persuade Agrabah otherwise."

As much as Amana hated to admit it, he did have a point.  Agrabah had no shortage of citizens unable to afford an apple, yet many of the nobles manage to purchase wine on the black market for their more elaborate parties.  Amana took another large gulp of the bitter liquid and put the glass down.  "Has the wine already done its job?" she asked Sanjay, leaning closer to him and running her fingers through his smooth hair.

Sanjay put his own glass down and accepted Amana's embrace.  "I'd say that it has."

* * *

"The Grand Vizier of Agrabah," the woman said in awe, unable to believe her eyes and she sat next to Jafar on his bed.  "Forgive me, Grand Vizier, if I had—!"

Jafar shut the woman up with a kiss that she eagerly returned.  "Right now, I am not the Grand Vizier of Agrabah," he told her as he led her to his dark colored bed.  "Just another customer."

The woman still refused to meet his eyes, but he put his finger under her chin and gave her a passionate kiss on the lips, his tongue waiting at her mouth as she granted him entry, massaging his tongue with her own.  Then he led her hands to the knots that held up his robes and let her untie them, exposing his muscular physique covered in red scars.  He quickly removed the woman's hakim pants and broke the kiss to take her top off.  Then he pushed her head down toward his hard member.

* * *

Sanjay wasted no time getting Amana's dress off as their lips melted into each other.  Amana took Sanjay's robes off to reveal a slightly skinny yet muscular physique.  Amana moved her lips to Sanjay's neck, leaving feather kisses as her patron moaned.  "What do you want me to do?" he asked.

Amana lowered Sanjay's hand to her jewel, moaning as she felt his fingers playing with it, giving her a warm feeling between her thighs.  Then she raised herself up, positioning her entrance right above his arousal with a teasing smile as he gave her a pleading look.  Amana lowered herself right on his member and raised Sanjay's hands to stroke her breasts. 

Would Jafar need my direction? She wondered as she moaned aloud.

Then, out of nowhere, she found herself picturing Jafar in Sanjay's place.

* * *

The woman wasted no time taking his dick into her eager mouth, her lips going up and down his member as he grabbed her head, thrusting himself inside of her.  Jafar closed his eyes, imagining Amana's succulent red lips on his hard dick, his hands grasping her thick wavy brown hair, as she tasted his essence on her tongue.  He felt himself nearing his climax, grabbing her head in one final thrust.  "Amana!"

* * *

Amana found her pace going faster, her moans getting louder and louder as she came, about to call for Jafar when she caught herself just in time and called for Sanjay.  Then she felt another climax approaching, feeling even more tempted to call out for the vizier but still managed to stop herself as Sanjay came inside of her, going limp.

* * *

The woman took her lips off Jafar's dick and took a seat next to him, refusing to look him in the eye.  "Is there anything else I can do for you?" she asked suggestively as her confidence picked up, putting her hands on Jafar's well-toned chest and tracing one of his scars with her finger.  "How did you—?"

Jafar pushed the whore off before she could finish her question.  Then he took a few coins from his wallet and tossed them at the woman.  "Leave," he commanded harshly as she just lied there on the floor.  "Have you gone deaf, woman?" he demanded, raising his voice.  "I said 'leave!'"

The woman scrambled up to her feet and put her clothes back on, about to leave through the front door.  "Out the back way!" Jafar ordered as she changed direction and then he threw a brown robe at her.  "And disguise yourself!"  The whore put the brown robe on her, covering her face with the hood as she finally left the way Jafar instructed.  As soon as she left, he put his clothes back on and grabbed the blue rose on the nightstand, taking it with him to his lair.

* * *

Amana lied in Sanjay's arms on the chaise, her head lying on his chest.  "I doubt that I have ever received such a reaction from you before," he acknowledged.

"Perhaps it's from how grateful I am to see you again," Amana suggested as Sanjay ran his fingers through her hair.

"Then maybe I should have stayed away longer," Sanjay joked.

Maybe never come back, Amana thought bitterly, despite knowing that she needed this connection to Shiribad.

"Would you really be able to go that long without seeing me, darling?" Amana asked him teasingly.

"I suppose that much is true," Sanjay told her with a smile.  "I can hardly stand being away from you for one second, much less years."

Here it comes again, Amana thought as she kept her smile plastered on.

"I want you to become my paramour," Sanjay said to her.

"Sanjay, we've had this discussion before," Amana told him sadly.  "I'm not opposed to becoming your paramour, but I have a life in Agrabah."

"You can have a life in Shiribad," Sanjay insisted as Amana got off him.  "I will shower you in gold, jewels, give you exotic foods from foreign countries, take you to see Corona."

"Why Corona?" Amana asked as she put her dress back on.

"Is that not the land of your birth?" Sanjay asked her as he got up from the chaise.

 "No," Amana said hesitantly, putting her veil back on.  "Arendelle is the land of my birth."

"Then I will take you to Arendelle!" Sanjay quickly corrected, putting his clothes back on.  "And to Corona, wherever your heart desires."

"Darling, you make a generous offer, but I'm sure that there are many other beautiful women who would love nothing more than to share their lives with you," Amana answered politely.

"Then I must be cursed," Sanjay said, walking towards Amana and placing his hand on her cheek.  "For the only beauty I can see is yours."

You say that now, Amana thought snidely.  But wait until you've had me for a few months.  You'll be seducing one of the serving maids in the kitchen.

"Thank you, Sanjay," Amana said politely as she walked to the door.  "But I really must take my leave of you now."

"Very well," Sanjay told her as she left his room.  "I will be counting the days until I can see you again."

Amana went to the sitting room to find Heydar in the middle of a sword fight with one of the servants.  She leaned back on the wall and watched Heydar and the servant's swords clash loudly as their feet danced with expert footwork.  Heydar managed to catch the servant off guard with a swing and won the practice duel, to Amana's delight.  She applauded as Heydar and the servant put their swords down and shook hands.  Then Heydar turned to face Amana.  "Time to leave already?" he asked, sounding almost disappointed

"My business here is finished."

* * *

"I take it the Amir asked you to be his paramour again," Heydar said as they walked through the marketplace.

"How did you know?"

"Because you haven't said a word during the entire walk," Heydar pointed out.

"I just don't understand," Amana said as a fruit vendor sold dates to a mother and her two children.  "Sanjay rules an estate, he has connections with the Sultans of both Shiribad and Agrabah, he can have any woman he wants and he has an exotic lady of the court who makes time to visit him."  Amana passed by a beggar collecting coins and tossed a few coppers in the bowl.  "Yet he's not content with everything he has."

"It's actually quite common," Heydar explained, dropping a couple of his own coppers in the bowl.  "The more people have, the more they want."  Then he added bitterly.  "Trust me, I'm living proof."

"How?" Amana asked.  "You're the most content guy I know."

"I didn't used to be," Heydar admitted.  "You didn't know me when I was a child, but I was horrible.  I was unreasonably demanding, I pushed the servants' children around for no other reason than I could, I refused to study and there was nothing my tutors could do about it.  I could have an entire playroom designed for me and throw a tantrum because it was the wrong color of beige."  Heydar's eyes went misty.  "I was always so focused on what I didn't have, and it took losing everything to make me appreciate what I've got."

"Must be common among men," Amana remarked.  "Because I am perfectly content with my life the way it is."

"Somehow, I doubt that," Heydar remarked.

Amana turned to Heydar angrily.  "And what is that supposed to mean?"

"If you were content with your life as it is, you'd be satisfied with being another lady of the court," Heydar explained.  "But you have to be the most desired one."

"So I fail to appreciate what I have because I want to be the best at my job?" Amana responded.

"Notice that you said, 'the best' and not 'your best,'" Heydar pointed out.

"What's the difference?" Amana asked with a shrug.

"Being 'your best' means that you'd be satisfied with your current patrons and being 'the best' means you won't be satisfied until you have everything," Heydar explained.  "Why else would you be so anxious to get a request from the Grand Vizier?"

This stopped Amana cold in her tracks.  "So, you know," she said calmly.

"You may be able to fool everyone else but not me," Heydar told Amana.  "I see the look in your eyes when Jamila taunts you about it, even if you tried to hide it with a smile.  So you either want to manipulate him or you're in love with him."  Heydar gave it a moment's thought.  "Knowing you, it's the former."

"Everyone manipulates someone," Amana told Heydar unapologetically.  "It's how the game is played."

"Just be careful how you play," Heydar warned her.  "From my experience, people who try to have everything often end up with nothing."

* * *

Jafar was in his lair, looking through his spell book as Iago slept on the perch.  He came across a forgetfulness spell, which was often casted on blue roses.  It would explain why he mistakenly believed that a sniff would cause you to forget everything.  Perhaps he could try it on Amana, make her forget her old life and convince her that she was his devoted paramour.  Then again, that could make people suspicious and he wouldn't be able to concentrate on overthrowing the Sultan if he had to focus on giving Amana a new life.  There was also that annoying true love clause that could get in the way, such as that bodyguard of hers trying to "rescue" Amana from him.  The very thought made Jafar laugh.  Somehow, he highly doubted that the meddlesome bodyguard would be able to break the spell, if he ever casted it.  Jafar heard the many fairy tales about women of high status falling in love with those beneath them, but they were just that, fairy tales.  Women as beautiful and sophisticated as Amana never fall in love with men below them, an image of a woman with straight raven black hair, skin kissed by the sun, a body as curvaceous as Amana's and covered in the finest silk and jewelry with a teasing smile entering his thoughts.

Such as you, her snide voice taunted.

He was Grand Vizier to the Sultan of Agrabah and Amana was the bastard daughter of a noble and a commoner.

She was living in luxury, tended to by servants and feasting on exotic dishes from faraway countries while you were stealing bread from the Bazaar.

He found a spell that could make whoever sniffed the blue rose obedient to every command, which was no different from his snake staff.  Therefore, there was no point in even casting that spell.

There's no point in this mission at all, the woman's voice said.  Nothing short of a magic spell will make her love a former street rat like you.

I'm not a street rat, he argued back.  Not anymore.

Doesn't matter, the woman mocked.  You're nothing more than a pawn in that woman's game.  As soon as you're no use to her, she'll dispose of you like waste in a chamber pot.

Her cruel laughter filled his head.

"SHUT UP!" Jafar screamed pounding the desk with his fists as tears formed in his eyes, waking Iago from his sleep.

"Is Master okay?" he asked Jafar.

"I'm fine!" Jafar responded harshly, that evil woman disappearing from his thoughts.

"Master doesn't sound fine," Iago pointed out.

Jafar was just about to tell that obnoxious parrot off until he saw the pages land on just the spell he needed.

* * *

Amana lied on her chaise, her head positioned on her folded arms as she gazed at the night sky of the balcony, thinking about Heydar's words.  She wasn't trying to have everything; she was only playing her strengths to her advantage in order to gain an ally in Jafar.

Who's clearly lost interest in you.

No, Jafar had not lost interest in her, not after their little game.  Then again, he might not have found her interesting enough to solve her mystery.  It didn't matter; Jafar was not the only powerful man who could protect her from that awful snake.

But none quite as powerful as a Grand Vizier, the cynical thoughts told her.  And nowhere near as handsome and mysterious.

That was true.  While Jafar might not want to know more about her, she certainly wanted to know more about him.  Then again, perhaps she was jumping to conclusions.  As Grand Vizier, his duties must keep him busy.

Too busy to request you?

Amana closed her eyes, hoping that sleep would drown the negative thoughts away.  Then a tap on the balcony door made her open her eyes as she got up from her chaise.  She let the bird in and watched him drop a blue rose with a note attached to it on her stand.  Amana took the note off the rose and read, "We still need to finish our game.  —J"

Amana held the rose in her hands and brought it to her nostrils, closing her eyes as she inhaled its exotic scent.  She couldn't help the smile that tugged at her lips.  "Yes, we do."

Chapter Text

"Satine: Christian, I'm a courtesan.  I'm paid to make men believe what they want to believe.
 Christian: Silly me... Just think that you could fall in love with someone like me.
 Satine: Ah... I can't fall in love with anyone.
 Christian: Can't fall in love? But..the life without love, that's terrible!
 Satine: No!  Being on the streets, that's terrible."
 -Moulin Rouge

Amana looked through her armoire, thinking about the request she recently received from Jafar, which was rather vague about what exactly he wanted from her.  She wasn't aware of any events happening recently, so maybe she could get away with dressing a bit more scandalous.  Amana grabbed the blue outfit consisting of a small top and a matching pair of hakim pants.  A good outfit for a private meeting, but Jafar might have something public planned and Amana knew that most men, particularly men of status, preferred to have women of modest dress accompany them.  She grabbed a silk cloth to cover herself with thinking that, if Jafar did want her for a more private engagement, her outfit underneath would be a nice surprise.  Amana grabbed her knife and equipped it, just in case Jafar tried to force a private meeting.  She looked at herself in the mirror, seeing a perfect combination of casual and elegant.  However, there was one more thing missing.  Amana grabbed the blue rose in the vase and put it in her hair.

"Perfect," she said to her reflection.

Then she left to see Heydar in the corner as Jamila giggled with a group of girls.

"He said that I was a rare jewel buried under tons of sand," she bragged and then saw Amana out of the corner of her eye.  "Of course, I told him that, in Agrabah, he is the true jewel."  Jamila went into a dreamlike trance.  "And such an exotic one."

"Really?" One of Jamila's friends asked excitedly.  "What did he look like?"

"You should have seen him, he had skin the color of a freshly plucked peach, hair as gold as the sun and eyes as green as leaves," Jamila turned to Amana.  "In fact, it was the same color as your eyes, Amana."  Jamila gazed into Amana's eyes.  "Could he be a relative of yours?"

"I highly doubt that such a thing is possible," Amana told her.  "My mother is from Arendelle."

"So you claim," Jamila said nonchalantly, earning a silent glare from Heydar.

Amana imagined disfiguring Jamila's pretty face but turned around with an innocent smile.  "So my father claims," she corrected.  "And I highly doubt that he would have any reason to lie."

Jamila only laughed.  "Forgive me, Amana, I never meant to imply that your father deceived you," she told Amana.  "I was only speculating if your mother might have been a disgraced exile rather than a commoner."

"You speculate much from one small detail," Amana responded politely.  "I imagine green eyes are as common in those lands as brown eyes are common here."

Jamila's smile slowly became a grimace.  "Which is why you are so desired by our patrons," she commented.  "At least by some of our young and naive ones."

A smile tugged at Amana's lips.  "I happen to be waiting for a patron at this very moment," she told Jamila as she pointed to the blue rose in her hair.  "One who was kind enough to send me this lovely token of his affection."

"Another young and naive Amir who has lost his heart to you," Jamila responded.

It was at that moment Jafar walked into the brothel.  Jamila's jaw dropped at the sight of the Grand Vizier, but she quickly regained her composure.  "Welcome, Grand Vizier," she managed to say with a forced smile as she curtseyed to him.  "May I ask why you have graced us with your presence?"

"I am here for Lady Amana," Jafar told her dismissively.

"Really?" Jamila said, her smile turning deadlier.

"This is the patron I was waiting for," Amana told Jamila, letting a tiny bit of glee seep into her voice.  "I understand that your night with the Coronian duke excited you but, in the future, try not to let your excitement cloud your perception."

Amana glanced at Heydar who returned her smile and then followed Jafar and Amana out of the building.  As soon as they left, Jafar took note of the blue rose in Amana's hair.  "I see that you have received my gift," he acknowledged.

"Then you must be the mysterious J," Amana said with a mischievous smile.

"I suppose sending Iago wasn't very discreet," Jafar admitted as Iago squawked "discreet."

"Why did you feel the need to send your parrot in the first place?" Heydar asked him suspiciously.  "You could have easily sent the flower through our mail system."

"Sounds a little impersonal," Jafar responded harshly.

Amana laughed as she reached up her hand to stroke the bird's feathers.  "Iago does have a habit of visiting my residence," she said understandingly.  "It's only natural that Jafar take advantage."

"Your parrot's been visiting Amana?" Heydar asked.

"This is actually news to me as well," Jafar admitted, not even bothering to face Heydar.

"Then you haven't sent your feathered friend to keep watch on me," Amana said humorously

"Why would I attempt such a thing when I can simply request your company?" Jafar asked her with a charming smile.

"And tell me, Grand Vizier," Amana asked challengingly.  "Where exactly do you require my company?"

* * *

"The Bazaar?" Amana said, looking around at the crowds of people shopping from the stalls as the merchants advertised their wares.

"Is this an issue?" Jafar asked her.

"No, just surprising," Amana admitted as she found her senses assaulted by the smell of cardamom.  "Usually, my patrons wish for me to accompany them to a party or take a tour of their private garden.  Not ask me to go shopping with them at the Bazaar."

"I hope I haven't disappointed you," Jafar said with a hint of sarcasm.

"Actually, I have been meaning to buy a bird perch for Iago," Amana told him, looking around for a pet stall.  "And it would be much easier for us to finish our game."

A smile tugged at Jafar's lips.  "Ladies first."

Amana laughed.  "Either you're being a gentleman or you're scared to go first," she teased, noticing the annoyed look on Jafar's face.  "All right, I suppose I will go first."

Amana walked with Jafar, noticing some of the onlookers trying to get a glimpse of the handsome Grand Vizier with the beautiful lady of the court as she looked for the bird stall while Heydar watched them from a distance.  "You were right; I am the bastard daughter of an Agraban noble and an Arendelle commoner.  However, I am not the product of a secret tryst."  Amana heard squawking from nearby and turned around to find the bird stall she was looking for.  "My father loved my mother and he would have married her had he been allowed."

"A forbidden romance between a noble and a commoner," Jafar remarked as Amana went to the bird stall.  "I always believed that those were found more often in storybooks than they are in real life."

"Occasionally, such things do happen," Amana said, looking at the squawking birds trapped in cages with pity as her eyes wondered over to the bird perches.  "Where do you think story tellers receive their inspiration from?"

"Fantasies, dreams?" Jafar answered sarcastically as Amana saw a bird perch.  "A yearning for what they can never have?"

"Do you wish to hear my story, or stand there making pessimistic remarks?" Amana asked him a bit more defensively than she intended to.

Jafar stayed silent for a while until he finally managed to force through his teeth.  "Forgive me, my lady."

"My mother died giving birth to me and my father brought me back to Agrabah to raise as his own," Amana told Jafar, noticing a bird perch that looked too weak to support Iago.  "My father made sure that I was well-provided for, but my step-mother made it clear that I was not of the same status as her children.  Yet my status was far too high for me to be considered another common servant."

"Did they consider making you a handmaiden?"

"Actually, I was a handmaiden to my sister for awhile," Amana admitted as she came across a golden bird perch with a red ruby.  "My father felt that no man would wish to marry a mixed-raced bastard, at least not any man he considered worthy of me."  The merchant smiled at Amana, noticing her looking at the golden bird perch.  "Then I met Ishtar at the Harvest Festival and, when she saw me, she offered to make me a lady of the court."

"I thought you looked far too lovely to be a simple handmaiden," the merchant said to Amana.  "And you have quite a good eye, if I might say so myself."

The merchant indicated to the golden perch Amana glanced at briefly.  "Forgive me, sir, but I am only looking for a simple bird perch for Iago," she explained politely and then jokingly added.  "I have no wish to crown him the Sultan of the parrots."

"Want that one!" Iago squawked behind her.

"No, he does not," Jafar said warningly.

The merchant laughed and then turned his attention to Jafar.  "Grand Vizier, I'm sure you can talk some sense into your lady friend," he told him with a grimace.  "Perhaps a man such as yourself can see that bird of the second most powerful man in Agrabah—" Jafar clenched his staff tightly.  "—deserves only the finest life has to offer."

"I do hope you're not trying to take advantage of my lady friend," Jafar said in a threatening tone.  "Because, if you were, things could become very... difficult for you."

The merchant gulped in fear and then turned back to Amana.  "But, if that perch is not to your liking, feel free to select something else."

"Anyway, you can imagine that my options were to stay in my sister's shadow, cleaning her bed pans and chamber pots, or accept Ishtar's offer and receive all of the luxuries of a lady with none of the constraints," Amana explained, finding a nice and sturdy wooden bird perch.  "I would like to purchase that one."

"An excellent purchase, m'lady," the merchant told her as he quickly took the money and gave her a pack of birdseeds.  "And here's some free bird seeds... for your trouble."

Then the merchant gave her the perch, but Amana shook her head.  "Actually, I was wondering if you could hold on to that for me for now," she asked him.

"Of course, m'lady!" the merchant said as if he were in fear for his life.  "It'll be ready for you when you come back."

Amana thanked the merchant and left with Jafar to explore the rest of the Bazaar.  "I suppose I should thank you as well," she said to him.  "If you hadn't frightened the merchant, he wouldn't have changed his mind about the golden perch so quickly."

"Wanted that," Iago squawked.

"The man tried to take advantage of you," Jafar explained as several of the passersby took notice of him and avoided him as if he were the plague, something Heydar took notice of as he gave Amana a warning glance.  "I wasn't about to allow that."

 "Which I do appreciate," Amana responded as she gave Heydar a reassuring glance.  "However, perhaps you should not use that strategy on every citizen of Agrabah."

Jafar noticed the people backing away from him.  "It is better to be feared than loved," he explained.

"If you cannot do both," Amana finished.  "However, people are more likely to support you if they love you rather than follow you for fear that they'll suffer death by beheading if they don't."

"That may be suiting for your line of work," Jafar told her sharply.  "But not in mine."

"I suppose it is unbecoming of me to discuss a topic that I know so little about," Amana responded and then added.  "Though I do wonder who schooled you in such a manner," Amana speculated, causing Jafar to stop in his tracks.  "I do hope you haven't forgotten your end of the bargain, Grand Vizier."

Jafar stood silent for a while.  "No, I haven't," he admitted.  "But it's best that we wait."

"For how long?"

"There is a reason I called you to the Bazaar," Jafar admitted.

"And why is that?"

"The princess's birthday is approaching and I was hoping that you would help me select a gift," Jafar said, leading Amana to the jewelry stalls.

"Everything I know about the princess is in rumors," Amana explained, looking at the jewelry.  "And I am sure that you have plenty of experience selecting gifts for her yourself."

"A task such as this requires a woman's touch."

"Well, all I know about the princess is that she has a pet tiger—"

"Cat," Jafar interrupted and, after seeing the confused look on Amana's face, explained.  "We prefer to think of him as a cat."

"I also know that her mother was the princess of Shirabad and that, ever since her mother's death, she's been kept under lock and key," Amana speculated, remembering every rumor she heard about Princess Jasmine.  "Perhaps a memento from Shirabad?"

"Shirabad?" Jafar said, gripping his snake staff with concealed rage.

"If it were me, I know I would love a gift from my mother's homeland," Amana explained and then, noticing the angry look on Jafar's face, added.  "Did you have a dreadful experience in Shiribad once?"

"My time in Shirabad is not important," Jafar said hesitantly.

"I hope you haven't forgotten about our game, Grand Vizier," Amana reminded him.

"Believe me, Lady Amana, I have not forgotten our game," Jafar told her.  "You were right; I am from a noble family."

"Your every need taken care of and your every want provided for," Amana remarked, looking through the jewelry.

"Why Lady Amana," Jafar asked her.  "Was that a pessimistic remark?"

Amana laughed.  "I suppose I deserved that," she admitted.

"Like your mother, my mother died giving birth," Jafar explained as he watched Amana browse through the jewelry.  "Unlike you, I wasn't blessed with a caring father."

"What do you mean?" Amana asked, turning away from the jewelry.

"My father blamed me for my mother's death and left me to be raised by the help," Jafar said bitterly.  "Whenever he did see me, it was only to criticize me about how worthless I was and how my mother died to give birth to such a disgrace."

"Is that why you're so ambitious?"

"All I wanted was to prove him wrong," Jafar told her with a hint of melancholy.  "So I spent my childhood studying everything I could learn about politics.  I signed up for the military during wartime and focused on making the right connections until I sat on the council of viziers.  The Sultan himself actually took me under his wing and made me his Grand Vizier."

"Your father must be proud of you now," Amana said with a smile.  "I'm sure he brags to everyone about how his son is the Grand Vizier of Agrabah."

"Even that wouldn't be enough for him," Jafar said with a scoff.  "In his eyes, you're either the most powerful man in the room or you're nothing."

"You advise the Sultan in all matters of Agrabah," Amana pointed out.  "So, in a way, you are already the most powerful man in the room."

"My father wouldn't see it that way," Jafar told her as they went to another jewelry stall.

A somber silence fell as Amana gazed into the eyes of a man who had so much power, yet his own father wouldn't be pleased with him if he were Allah.

"Is there anything in particular you're looking for, M'Lady?" the merchant asked.

"Yes," Amana said, grateful for the interruption.  "Do you have anything from Shirabad?"

"I'm afraid that I've sold out of Shirabad merchandise, but I do have this lovely jewelry set from Arendelle," the merchant told her and then showed her an emerald necklace with two matching emerald earrings.  "I believe they match the color of your eyes."

"You've been to Arendelle?" Amana asked, forgetting her sorrow from earlier.

"So, she claims," Jafar said accusingly.

"I'll admit, Grand Vizier, the metal was forged in Agrabah but the jewels themselves are from Arendelle," the merchant assured them.

Amana looked up from the jewelry as she met the merchant's eyes.  At least, she would have if the merchant hadn't kept her head down.  "What is Arendelle like?" Amana asked.

"Very different from Agrabah," the merchant told her.  "The place is mostly mountains, it's rather cold over there, even in the summer and the castle's locked up tighter than Agrabah's palace."  The merchant laughed.  "The King and Queen won't even receive suitors for the princesses."

"Then how will the King find an heir?" Jafar asked curiously.

"The King has already selected his eldest daughter to inherit his throne," the merchant answered.

"Really?" Jafar said, sounding almost stunned.

"They must be more lenient about gender roles in Arendelle than they are in Agrabah," Amana commented and, before she could stop herself, asked.  "Have you seen any trolls?"

The merchant gave a nervous laugh.  "I am afraid not, M'Lady," she told her.

"Thank you," Amana said, feeling a little disappointed.  "Since you don't have anything from Shirabad, I'm afraid that—"

"Actually," Jafar said, approaching the table and retrieving some coins.  "I would like to purchase that jewelry."

Jafar dropped a few gold coins on the stall and took it from the merchant, who thanked him for his purchase as they left.  "I'm sure the merchant appreciates your purchase, but I am not quite sure if it's right for the princess," Amana told him.

"I know that it's right for you," Jafar told Amana, handing her the earrings.  "A gift from the land of your mother."

Amana put the earrings on.  "Believe me; I do appreciate this Grand Vizier, however—"

"Jafar," he told her as he indicated to her to turn around.  "Hardly seems fitting for you to call me by my title, Lady Amana."

"Then I suppose there's no need for you to call me by my title either," Amana said as she turned around so that her back was to him and put her hood down.

"Very well," Jafar said as he put the necklace on Amana who felt his hot breath on her ear.  "Amana."

Amana flipped her hair and put her hood back up, trying not to think about Jafar's intoxicating smell as she turned to face him.  "Is my appearance pleasing?"

Jafar put his warm hand on Amana's right cheek, inching closer to her.  "Very pleasing," he told her with his beckoning lips.

"Very pleasing!" Iago squawked, causing both of them to draw back.

"Iago!" Jafar scolded.

"Don't be angry with him," Amana told him.  "He doesn't know any better."

Jafar didn't respond, as if he were distracted by something in the distance.  "You continue searching," he told her and then handed her some coins from his pouch.  "Use as much as you see fit."

"And where will you be off to?" Amana asked.

"There is some urgent business I need to take care of," Jafar told her as he was leaving.  "Iago will keep you company."

"Keep you company," Iago squawked.

"Very well," Amana said with an innocent smile.  "Hurry back."

She left to go to another jewelry stall, searching for a gift for the young princess while keeping watch on Jafar in the corner of her eye.

"Book of fairy tales from Shirabad on sale!" a nearby vendor shouted, making Amana lose sight of Jafar.

Amana went to the vendor, holding the coins from Jafar in her hand.  "May I see the book?"

"Of course, M'Lady," the vendor told her, handing her the book as she pocketed the coins from Jafar.  "A collection of the rarest fairy tales from one of Agrabah's oldest allies."  Amana took the book from the vendor and flipped through the pages.  "A must have for any book collector."

Amana skimmed the book to find a story about a lazy man who stole a horse in order to become favored by a wealthy merchant accompanied by drawings of the beautiful horse.  She found another story about a poor mother and daughter who worshipped the sun and shared one cake together every day until a beggar priest asked the daughter for food, causing her mother to throw her out of the house and marry a handsome prince.  She pretended to be a princess and denied her own mother's existence, praying to the sun to keep up this facade until he discovered her lie, bringing a tear to Amana's eye.  It was accompanied by pictures of a beautiful young woman praying to the sun.  Then she saw pictures of a giant cat transform into a handsome prince and standing beside a beautiful princess accompanied by a story of how a tiger transformed into a handsome prince in order to marry her and abduct her.  This made Amana chuckle as she recalled stories she'd heard of handsome noble men who had charmed women into falling in love with them and, once they married or, in the case of her fellow ladies, became their paramour, revealed their true horrible selves or, as the tiger in the story put it, "showed them their true form."  She turned to where Jafar was, hoping she could show him the book before he left, but saw him enter a building in the corner.  Amana thanked the vendor and paid for the book, leaving the stall.

"I'm sure the princess will love it," Amana said to Iago.  "And, if she doesn't like to read, she can always gaze at the beautiful pictures."

"Princess will love it," Iago squawked as Amana put her hood up.

"I hope Jafar agrees with you," Amana told him, about to make her way to the building.

"Jafar agrees!  Jafar agrees!" Iago squawked a little too loudly, drawing the attention of everyone in the Bazaar.

"Iago, quiet down!" Amana told him, but it was to no avail as the parrot continued to squawk loudly enough to wake the dead.

"Forgive me," she told the crowd, trying to maintain her composure despite her sheer embarrassment.  "Iago can be a little... restless without his master."

It's not that Amana wasn't used to attention.  Whenever she walked through the Bazaar undisguised, many people tried to catch a glimpse of the famous green eyed lady of the court, but having people stare at you because of a crazy parrot was another thing all together.  Thankfully, people recognized the parrot and accepted Amana's explanation, returning to their business.  Amana continued walking to the building with the book in hand as soon as she was sure everyone's eyes were off her, seeing a young starving girl stare at the fruit a nearby vendor was selling as if they were gold and then remembered the coins Jafar lent her.  She still had some leftover, and it would be the perfect time to prove her point.  Amana carried the book under her left arm and paid for an apple.  She took the apple to the girl, who beamed with gratitude.  "A gift from the Grand Vizier," she told the little girl with a humble smile.

"Wow, that's so wonderful!" the little girl exclaimed as Amana stood up and then shouted at her retreated back.  "Could you thank the Grand Vizier for me?"

"Gladly," Amana said, seeing the crowd whisper among themselves.

Once the crowd was distracted in a way that kept their eyes off her, Amana went near the small building hearing voices inside.

"Here!" she heard Jafar say, with a clanking that sounded like dropping coins on a table.  "This should be more than enough for you to give me the book!"

"As I've told you, Grand Vizier, money is not the issue," another male voice said calmly.  "The knowledge this book contains can be dangerous in the wrong hands."

"You seem very certain that I am 'the wrong hands,'" Jafar responded menacingly.

Yes, Jafar, frighten the man, Amana thought while rolling her eyes.  That will certainly make him see you deserve that book.

"I meant no offense, Grand Vizier," the man responded a bit shakily.

Amana entered the building, leaving the door open slightly.  "Jafar, I wished to inform you—"

Jafar closed the door before Amana could finish her sentence.  "No, don't!" Amana said, forgetting her composure as she tried to stop him.  Amana felt her heart beat faster as her breathing got louder, feeling trapped in this small, dark cage with only a few candles for light.  She dropped the book on the floor and banged her fists on the door screaming, "LET ME OUT!  LET ME OUT!"  She felt Jafar's strong hand on her arm, pulling her to face him. 

"Amana, calm down!" he told her, his grip tightening.

"Let go of me!" Amana shrieked, trying to pull out of his grasp.

Jafar positioned his cobra staff so that its bright red eyes looked into Amana's, Jafar's own eyes turning golden.  "Calm down," he told her, his voice echoing in the building.

Amana felt her heart slow down as her breathing returned to normal.  She finally got a good look around the building, seeing books on magic and magical artifacts and jewelry with a man behind the counter.  Jafar stood there, holding the staff as if he were contemplating something.

"You're one of Ishtar's girls," the clerk said, looking into Amana's eyes.

"I am Amana," Amana said, shortly breaking herself from Jafar's hypnosis and then added.  "One of Ishtar's ladies."

The man only smiled.  "Ishtar's mentioned you quite often," he explained.  "May I see the bracelet?"  Amana showed the man the snake bracelet on her arm.  "That's definitely one of mine."

Jafar removed the snake staff from Amana's eyes, ending the hypnosis.

"Is this where Ishtar purchases her bracelets?" Amana asked, gazing around in awe as she picked up the book.

"Yes, she's actually one of my most valued customers," the man said with a smile.  "She speaks very highly of you."

"Thank you," Amana said, returning his smile.  "Then perhaps my presence will convince you that Jafar is worthy of this book he desires."

"I'm afraid your presence isn't enough," the shopkeeper said sadly.  "The book the Grand Vizier desires is one that must be handed to a man with a kind heart."

"It was the Grand Vizier who asked me to buy an apple for a poor starving girl," Amana informed him

"What?" Jafar asked, a little confused.

"When you left me with gold to select a gift for the princess, you saw that poor starving little girl and asked me to spend some of it on an apple for her," Amana told Jafar.  "However, I am afraid that I might have gone against your wishes."

"How so?" Jafar asked, playing along.

"I informed the little girl that it was you who asked me to buy it for her," Amana responded, doing her best to sound regretful.  "However, I suspect that nearby citizens might have heard me."

"That's..." Jafar said, sounding almost angry.  "Quite all right, Amana."

"Why would you want to keep something like that a secret?" the shopkeeper asked.

"The Grand Vizier has a reputation for being a hard man," Amana explained.  "He does not wish for Agrabah to know that, inside that rough exterior, is a hidden heart of gold."

The shopkeeper regarded Jafar in a new light and then carried a book to the counter.  "Very well," he told Jafar.  "You may purchase this book."  The man took the coins on the counter as payment as Jafar picked up the book.

"Thank you," Amana said, opening the door to be greeted by the light.

"Give Ishtar my best," the shopkeeper told Amana as she and Jafar left.

Amana studied every inch of the book and was happy that her little outburst left it undamaged.  "Forgive me for my behavior in there," she said, almost embarrassed.  "As you can see, I am not fond of small, dark places."

Jafar paid Amana no heed and gazed at the book in her arms.  "I take it this is the gift you selected for the princess," he said.

Amana showed Jafar the book.  "Collected fairy tales from Shirabad with incredibly beautiful artwork," she said proudly.  "I'll admit that I was rather tempted to keep this book for myself."

"You bought the princess a book?" Jafar asked skeptically.

"Everyone there will be lavishing the princess with expensive jewelry," Amana explained.  "If you wish to separate yourself from the masses you must present her with something unique."  Then, remembering the time inside the magic shop.  "Though I highly doubt that you'll have any trouble being unique."

"Unfortunately, not everyone in Agrabah is as open-minded about the arcane arts as you are," Jafar told her quietly.

"It's a rather shame that the environment kept me from fully appreciating it," Amana responded just as quietly.  "That was the first time I've encountered true magic."

"Didn't the shopkeeper say that your bracelet is magic?"

"Oh, this?" Amana asked, showing Jafar the snake bracelet.  "A simple charm to keep me from having children and required for all of the ladies of the court."  She put the sleeve down.  "Nowhere near as impressive as your staff."

Jafar contemplated what Amana said and then whispered to her.  "Perhaps you'd like to see true magic."

Before Amana could answer, Iago came back to his master and perched himself on his shoulder with Heydar right behind him.

"Amana, what happened?" Heydar asked, his face flushed with worry.  "You look a little pale."

"I had to inform Jafar that I did as he asked," Amana said with a sweet smile as the people around her gossip about the kindness of the Grand Vizier, which earned a knowing glance from Heydar.  "Unfortunately, the shop he was in was rather... small for my liking, but he helped me calm down."

"You would think a bodyguard would do better at keeping Amana out of harm's way," Jafar said with a calm accusation.  "But, fortunately, I managed to be there when you could not."

"Believe me, I would've been here much earlier, but I lost Amana in the commotion," Heydar explained defensively.  "Didn't help that your parrot kept attacking me."

"Perhaps you did something to frighten Iago," Jafar suggested.

Amana waved her hand to dissuade any future argument.  "No matter," she said and then turned to Heydar.  "Heydar, if it's of no concern to you, I wish to speak to Jafar privately."

"Whatever the Grand Vizier has to say can be said here," Heydar told Amana.

"This particular matter doesn't concern you," Jafar told Heydar.

"When Lady Amana's involved, it concerns me a great deal," Heydar responded.

"Heydar," Amana said, gesturing to him that she wished to speak to him privately and then turned to Jafar.  "Forgive me; it will be just a moment."

Amana went to talk to Heydar near a different stall.  "Ready?" she asked him.

"No, not this time," Heydar said firmly.

"Come on, we've done this before," Amana reminded him.  "You act like the overzealous bodyguard, get distracted by something and I run off with my patron."

"I don't trust this patron," Heydar told her.

"Why?  Because he's a little confrontational?" Amana asked him.  "This isn't the first time one of my patrons has been jealous of you."

"No, but it's the first time they've sent their bird to attack me," Heydar pointed out.

"I'm sure Iago was just playing and he got a little rough," Amana rationalized.  "I mean, the damage doesn't look permanent."

"Lucky for me," Heydar said bitterly.

"Look, if Jafar tries anything, I'll have my knife," Amana reminded him.  "And you'll still be in screaming distance."

Heydar gave a reluctant sigh.

"All right," he agreed.  "But, if I think you've been gone a little too long, I'm coming to get you."

Amana went back to Jafar with a sorrowful expression.  "I am afraid that my bodyguard is rather stubborn," she told him, looking at Iago perched on his shoulder and then lowered her voice.  "Whatever amazing secrets you have to share with me will need to wait until another time."

Jafar made a motion to Iago who started flying in the center of the Bazaar and shrieking "rat!" causing the citizens and merchants to panic.  He held his hand out to Amana.  "Come with me," he said as Amana grabbed his hand, taking her to a secluded place near the Bazaar.  "Your bodyguard seems rather overzealous in his duties," he pointed out as they were far enough away from the crowd.

"He's very devoted to his work."

"One could say he's a little too devoted," Jafar said, a bit of anger entering his voice.

"Heydar is a close friend," Amana reassured Jafar.  "He's like a brother to me, nothing more, nothing less."

"Perhaps he wishes for something more," Jafar suggested.

"You misled me, Jafar," Amana accused humorously.  "I believe the intention of this outing was for you to demonstrate real magic, not to question my relationship with my bodyguard."

"Of course," Jafar said, leading Amana to a closed barrel of water for her to take a seat on and took his own seat on the closed barrel next to her.  "Any requests?"

"Perhaps you could glamour my hair pink?" Amana suggested playfully.

"That would look ridiculous," Jafar said a little too seriously for Amana's liking.  "And you wouldn't be able to see it."

"All right," Amana conceded as Jafar's eyes fell to the blue rose in her hair.

Jafar clutched his staff and muttered a few words, causing the blue rose to teleport right in Jafar's hand.

"Wow!" Amana said, losing her composure as she took the blue rose and held it in her hand.  "You certainly are full of surprises."

"That rose itself is magical," Jafar told her.  "It's said that one who holds it will have their deepest desires granted."

"Then no wonder the princess wanted one so desperately," Amana said as she placed the rose back in her hair.

"Princess Jasmine has expressed no desire for a blue rose," Jafar told her, sounding a little confused.

"Not our princess, a princess from a faraway land," Amana explained, remembering a story she heard from a wealthy merchant.  "She set a condition that, if a suitor wanted her hand in marriage, they had to bring her a blue rose."  Amana scooted closer to Jafar.  "Several suitors tried to win her hand with a blue rose of gemstone, a colored rose and a painted rose.  Each time, she rejected them saying that they haven't found a blue rose."

Jafar put his finger under Amana's chin, tilting her head up.  "Did any of her suitors manage to find this rose?" he asked.

"No, but one came close," Amana said as Jafar's face drew closer to hers.  "A traveling singer the young princess fell in love with presented her with a white rose.  She insisted that it was blue and they married."

Jafar's lips brushed Amana's in a light kiss that she returned, deepening it as she wrapped her arms around his neck, feeling his beard lightly brush her skin.  He wrapped his arms around Amana's waist, responding hungrily to her affection.  Then he pulled away from her, ending the kiss.  Amana struggled to catch her breath, staring into Jafar's onyx eyes as she heard Heydar's voice nearby.

"Amana!" he yelled.

"I suppose our time must come to an end," Amana told him, getting up from the barrel.  "Thank you for showing me your magic."

"What you saw here can NOT be discussed with anyone else," Jafar told her, getting up from his own barrel.

Amana gave him a knowing smile as they went back to the Bazaar.  "It will be our little secret."

Iago flew back to his master as Heydar returned to Amana.  "Where were you?" he asked Amana, doing his best to pretend to be shocked.

"Jafar wished to discuss a private matter with me," Amana explained, pushing back her hair.

"What 'private matter' was this?" Heydar asked suspiciously.

Iago pecked Heydar, making him yelp.  "Okay, that bird definitely hates me," he remarked.

"I wonder why," Jafar said dryly.

"Speaking of the bird," Amana said, looking towards the pet stand.  "I need to pick up that perch before I leave."

* * *

Jafar watched Amana go talk to the pet stand owner while he was left with Amana's annoying bodyguard.

"You seem very protective of Amana," Jafar pointed out.

"I care for her a great deal," Heydar explained.  "And I wouldn't want anything to happen to her."

"How does it feel to care for a woman you can never touch?" Jafar asked.  "Makes you wish you hadn't been so foolish, doesn't it?"

Heydar turned to him with a glare.  "What do you know about it?" he shot back.

"I know that you were once the heir to a powerful estate, wanting for nothing," Jafar told him and then added bitterly.  "Until your dear uncle stole what was rightfully yours."

"I've managed to be content," Heydar responded disdainfully.

"How content can you be, loving a woman who only sees you as a brother?" Jafar asked him.  "At least, if you still had your money and power, she could pretend to love you."

Jafar expected Heydar to punch him and shout "she thinks of me as more than just a brother!" or sorrowfully say "so, that's all she sees me as."  Instead, Heydar only smiled as if Jafar just told him that he got his estate back.

 "She really sees me that way?"

* * *

Amana returned to Jafar and Heydar with the bird perch in one hand and the book in the other.  "Forgive my delay," she told them.  "The merchant attempted to push all sorts of exotic bird feed on me, but I informed him that regular will do just fine."

"Exotic bird feed," Iago squawked.

Amana handed the book to Jafar.  "Give my regards to the princess."

"Actually, I rather hoped that you would do that yourself," Jafar responded, taking the book of fairy tales with the one he purchased from the magic shop.  "I plan to request you as my guest for the princess's birthday."

"Then I plan to accept," Amana told him and then added, just to toy with him.  "Assuming I don't have any other obligations on that day."

* * *

"Heard you in the shop," Iago taunted as Jafar placed the books in his lair.  "Had your chance."

"It wasn't the right time," Jafar defended as he left his lair.

He thought about how, for a minute, he had Amana under his complete control, considering hypnotizing her into coming with him.  No, it was best to use that as a last resort and it wouldn't do to take such an action in front of a witness.  Even if she had manipulated him.  He lent her his gold to buy the princess a gift, not to curry favor with the Agrabah populace.  When she was his, she would never act so freely.  At least, not without consequence.  Judging by how fascinated Amana was with his magic, that day would be drawing nearer.  As much as Jafar hated to admit it, Amana was right about separating yourself from the masses and he'd certainly done just that.  Now there was only the matter of her bodyguard, who seemed a little too happy to hear that Amana's affection for him was brotherly.  Perhaps he had no hidden feelings for Amana or, more likely, he was mocking Jafar for being foolish enough to believe that.  If something was going on between those two, then it was a higher up woman misleading a commoner for her own amusement.  Jafar had little time to dwell on that, due to spotting the very uncle he mentioned earlier harassing a serving girl in the dining area.

"Come on, celebrate with me," he said as the girl backed against the wall, shaking in fear while Abbas brushed her hair back, leaning in to kiss her.

"Celebrate what?" Jafar asked, distracting Abbas from his pathetic attempt at seduction.

The girl ran out of the room, burying her face in her hands and crying.

"You couldn't have worse timing," Abbas said bitterly.

"I beg to differ," Jafar remarked snidely.  "Had I arrived any later, I would have lost my lunch."

"Lucky for you, I'm in a good mood," Abbas said, taking a seat near the table with a wine bottle.  "I just received word from my estate that my wife is pregnant."  Abbas drank from the half-empty wine glass.  "I wanted to have a real celebration with that serving girl, but it looks like I'll be having a good old-fashioned toast."  Abbas took a drink and held the other glass out to Jafar who turned it down.  "I forgot, you don't drink."

"I tend to avoid anything that lowers my intelligence," Jafar explained.  "You, on the other hand, have no intelligence to lower."

"You're trying my patience, Jafar," Abbas warned.

"How are you so sure that child your wife carries is yours?" Jafar asked suspiciously.

"What is that supposed to mean?" Abbas demanded to know.

"As I recall, your wife cried at the wedding," Jafar said sardonically.  "And they were not tears of joy."

Abbas's gripped on his glass tightened.  "She still does her wifely duty," he said as he chugged his wine down.  "And rather well."

Now Jafar felt that he actually would lose his lunch.  "You spend most of your time here than you do at your own estate," he pointed out.  "And I imagine that she has plenty of guards to keep her 'company.'"

Abbas drank from the other glass.  "Just like that exotic fruit of yours has plenty of patrons to keep her 'company.'"

"Yes, the one that refuses to be in the same room as you," Jafar said, his grasp on his staff tightening.

"Yet she's willing to waste her time on a street rat the Sultan took pity on," Abbas said, taking another drink and then smiling as if he just had a moment of clarity.  "Wait a minute; does that girl know you're a street rat?"  Abbas laughed as Jafar's eyes narrowed.  "She doesn't!  You've been misleading that poor girl!"  Abbas leaned back in his chair, glass of wine in hand.  "I suppose it will be up to me to tell her the truth.  'Oh, Amana!  That vizier you've been on the arms of is a former street rat!"  The snake continued laughing as if he told the most amusing joke in Agrabah.  "The poor girl will be so devastated!  She'll be crying about how sorry she is that she let you touch her!"  Jafar set his staff to the side, inching towards Abbas.  "Don't worry; I'll be there to comfort that exotic fruit." 

Jafar grabbed Abbas by the collar, making him drop his wine glass in shock.  "IF YOU EVER GO NEAR AMANA, I WILL CHOP YOU INTO PIECES AND FEED YOUR REMAINS TO THE PRINCESS'S CAT!"

"What's going on?" a voice asked that Jafar recognized as Hakim's.

He turned his head to see the very guard standing in the doorway.

"We were just having a conversation and Jafar lashed out," Abbas said as Jafar let the Minister go.

"What was this 'conversation' about?" Hakim asked as Jafar took his staff.

"I was giving Jafar instructions on how to improve Agrabah," Abbas lied through his teeth.  "Unfortunately, the 'Royal Vizier' believes that he and he alone knows what's best for our fair city."

"I'm sure," Hakim said, not even giving Abbas a second glance.  "Jafar, may I talk to you privately?"

"Of course," Jafar said.  "I was about to retire to my bedchamber."

As soon as they were out of earshot of the Minister, Hakim spoke.  "What did you and Abbas actually talk about?"  Jafar only gave Hakim a look that clearly said, "What do you think?" that earned a knowing glance.  "You need to learn not to let Abbas anger you so easily."

"I doubt anyone would be remorseful if anything happened to that man," Jafar remarked dryly.

"I'm sure the citizens of Agrabah would throw you a parade," Hakim said sarcastically.  "But we'd still have to put you on trial for the public's benefit."

Jafar reluctantly nodded.  "Then I give you my word that I will do my best to control myself around Abbas," he told him.  "No matter how much it pains me."

Jafar retreated to his bedchamber and shut the door.  "Insolent old fool!"  He shouted, all of his rage pouring out of him.  "Threatening to take what's mine!"

"Comfort that exotic fruit!" Iago squawked.

"Shut up!" Jafar shouted.  "Amana would never let that disgusting old man touch her!"

Nevertheless, she will leave you once she finds out what you are, the woman's voice returned.  Why would a woman like her waste her time on a former street rat like you?

"Kill him," Iago suggested.

"If I kill him, I'll be the first suspect!" Jafar responded, but then remembered the serving maid Abbas harassed.  "But maybe he won't have to die by my hands."  Jafar turned to Iago.  "Go check on Amana, see what difference today's outing made."

* * *

Amana put the blue rose back in her vase and took her jewelry off, hearing a knock on the door and quickly opening it.  "Good evening, Farah," she said, seeing a pile of letters and a jar of jam in her hands.

"One of the servants was going to bring this to you," Farah explained.  "But it was on my way, so I thought that I would do it."

"Thank you, Farah," Amana said, taking the letters and staring at the jam as if it were a jar of poison.  "You can keep the jam."

Farah beamed at this.  "Thank you so much!"  Then added, a little confused.  "Which one of your patrons sent you the jam?"

Amana looked at the first letter with a frustrated sigh.  "Apparently, Sanjay," she said dryly.  "He claims that he's fallen in love with me and this is one of the many luxuries he will send me until he wins my heart."

Amana rolled her eyes.

"Another patron has fallen in love with you?" Farah asked admirably.

"Another patron claims to have fallen in love with me," Amana corrected.  "If Sanjay were actually in love with me, he would have remembered that I despise jams."

"Perhaps it slipped his mind," Farah suggested.

"Just as it 'slipped his mind' that my mother is from Arendelle," Amana said, seeing Iago near the balcony doors and letting him into her room.  "Hi, little boy," she greeted, watching Iago sit on the bird perch.  "How do you like your new bird perch?"

"Like," Iago said as Amana put the letters down and gave Iago some birdseeds, who quickly gobbled them up.

Then Amana returned to her letters, bursting into uncontrollable laughter.  "By Allah, this just gets worse," she said, picking up the letter.  "'My dear sweet Amana, you are my water in the desert, my rare exotic flower.  Every moment I spend away from you feels like a thorn digging in my heart.  Please say you will be mine and mine alone, my sweet desert rose.'"

"I think it's romantic," Farah said in a dreamlike state.

"Iago, I believe your master misses you," Amana told the parrot, who squawked, "Master!" and flew out the balcony.  When Amana was sure Iago was out of earshot, she turned back to Farah.  "Sanjay has had everything handed to him since birth, just like every single one of our clients.  To people like them, we are just possessions to acquire."

"What happens when they acquire us?" Farah asked.

"We become something they decorate their estate with and ignore as if we're little more than a used painting," Amana said bitterly.

"It can't happen all the time," Farah said hopefully.  "Some ladies of the court do fall in love with their patrons."

"Those women are weak-minded fools who become the mask they wear," Amana told Farah.  "Do you want to know what separates a lady of the court from a lady of the streets?"

"A lady of the court lives like a princess while a lady of the streets lives on the... streets?" Farah guessed.

"Well.. that," Amana admitted.  "But, more particularly, a lady of the court sells fantasies while a lady of the street sells fornication."  Amana walked near the balcony.  "We become everything the man wants in body and mind.  In other words, we put on a mask and men fall in love with the mask."

"Do you put on a mask with the Grand Vizier?" Farah asked, catching Amana off guard.

"Jafar is one of my patrons."

"So, now he's Jafar, not the Grand Vizier?" Farah teased.

"I'll admit, I have come to enjoy his company and he did earn his position," Amana said, gazing at the blue rose.  "But he is still a spoiled noble who has had everything handed to him since birth."  Amana turned to look at Farah.  "I could never love a man like that."  Then added in a practical tone.  "Which will work in my favor."

"Why?"

"Never forget the golden rule," Amana advised Farah.

"A lady of the court never falls in love with her clients," Farah said bitterly.  "I know, Aunt Ishtar told me."  Then added with melancholy.  "But it's so sad that we have to live our lives without love."

Amana turned to the balcony doors.

"There are worse things."

* * *

Well, what do you know? Iago mocked.  The one thing you don't want Amana to find out is the one thing that could make her fall in love with you.

Jafar couldn't even respond, feeling dumbstruck by what he just heard.  This exotic beauty, desired by not only the wealthy men of Agrabah, but visitors from faraway lands absolutely despised her patrons.

What could she possibly know about suffering? Jafar thought snidely.  She grew up raised in the exact same luxury as the nobles she despises.

Still, it was an advantage, and there was something about the way Amana said, "There are worse things," that made Jafar wonder if she herself wasn't hiding a secret.

Perhaps Abbas can stay alive for a bit longer.

Chapter Text

"Harley: It took nearly three months of pleading before Dr. Leland finally gave in and let me do a session with The Joker. She told me he was an animal, plain and simple. A fiend who enjoyed twisting the minds of those stupid enough to trust him. I was determined not to be taken unaware, and studied up on all his jokes, tricks and gimmicks. Then I went in, ready for anything.
The Joker: You know, my father used to beat me up pretty bad.
Harley: Anything except that."
-The Batman Adventures #1 Mad Love

Amana put a silver circle around her head with a pink veil in the back, gazing at her pink dress with silver decorations and the necklace and earring set Jafar bought for her with the snake bracelet on her right arm and the blue rose in her hair. Today was the princess's birthday and she would be in the palace, on the arms of the Grand Vizier. Not only would that make Amana an unofficial member of the Royal Court, her presence as the Grand Vizier's guest would make her more desirable among citizens and foreigners alike. A knock on the door interrupted Amana's thoughts.

"Come in," she said.

Amana heard the door open and saw Heydar walk through the drapes in her mirror. "Ready to go?" she asked.

"Actually, I won't be going," Heydar informed her. "I've been assigned to guard Jamila on her nightly visit with the duke."

"He's still in the city?"

"Yep," Heydar answered. "And she never shuts up about him."

"Sounds like Jamila's infatuated with this man," Amana said with a smirk. "It would be a real shame if she fell in love with him."

"I'd hate to disappoint you, but I don't see that happening," Heydar pointed out. "Jamila loves being adored and I don't see her giving that up for anyone, no matter how exotic his appearance is."

"And while you're keeping Jamila safe on her journey to meet with her lover, I'll be going to the palace unguarded."

"Actually, I think I can find a replacement in a moment's notice."

"It's all right," Amana reassured Heydar. "I don't mind going without a bodyguard."

"Well I do," Heydar told her. "There will be many important men there and some of them won't take no for an answer."

"Once again, you underestimate me."

"No, it's not that," Heydar clarified. "It's just that these aren't random hooligans off the streets. Even if you did hold your own against them, you could still get in trouble for attacking a powerful man."

"I will be on the arms of a Grand Vizier," Amana pointed out. "And we both know how feared he is among Agraban citizens, rich and poor alike."

"That's another thing I'm worried about," Heydar admitted.

Amana sighed, getting up from her chair. "Heydar, once again, I'm really sorry about Iago," she said. "But Jafar felt that he'd be the best way to distract you and Iago does get carried away."

"It's not Iago I'm worried about," Heydar explained. "It's his owner."

Amana rolled her eyes. "Oh please, Heydar. Not this again," she said exasperated. "How many times do I have to tell you that Jafar is not a threat?"

"You didn't hear what Jafar said when you left to pick up the bird perch," Heydar defended. "He taunted me for losing my fortune, accused me of being in love with you and thought he was insulting me when he said that you think of me as a brother." Heydar paused as if he just had an epiphany. "It was like I was talking to the Minister."

Amana turned around to face Heydar as if he just told her Jamila replaced her as the most favored lady of the court. "Jafar is nothing like that miserable snake!"

"Jafar might be young, handsome and charming but, inside all of that, is a skinny old goateed man clawing to get out!" Heydar warned. "The man looked at me like he would kill me if he thought he would get away with it and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that he actually has!"

"Do you have any evidence to support your claim?" Amana demanded to know. "Or are you basing this on a mere feeling?"

"Lady Amana," a feminine voice said from the doorway. "Forgive my interruption but the Grand Vizier wished to see you."

"Thank you," Amana said, and then turned to Heydar as she walked toward the doorway. "That will be my patron." Amana left, not even bothering to give Heydar one last look. "Have fun with Jamila."

"Be careful," Heydar told Amana's retreating back.

* * *

"I am rather bemused," Amana admitted as the line moved forward. "I believe this is the princess's birthday, not the receiving line for a wedding."

"I take it you've never been invited to the Princess's birthday before," Jafar acknowledged.

"This is not my first time inside the palace," Amana informed him as the line continued to move forward. "However, this is my first invitation to the Princess's birthday."

There were only two people ahead of them and one of them looked to be a Sultan as he presented the princess with a beautiful extravagant necklace. "My congratulations to the princess," he said, bowing to the Sultan who smiled generously while the princess looked as bored as Amana felt.

"Thank you," the Sultan said, about to send the man away and receive the next person but the man was hesitant to leave.

"Actually, there is a matter I would like to discuss with you," the man said. "Your daughter appears to be the same age as my ninth born son."

"Perhaps we can discuss this later?" The Sultan suggested, but the man was not about to be put off.

"I would like to discuss this now," the man insisted. "Unless you have an objection to marrying our children and forming an alliance."

Seriously, you're bringing this up now? Amana thought as the man rambled on about why his son should marry the princess. While there's a huge line behind you?

Amana looked for Heydar nearby, hoping to share a "can you believe this guy?" glance only to see that he was nowhere in sight. She gave a sad sigh, which didn’t go unnoticed.

“I understand that you find the man rather irritating,” Jafar told her. “But it’s hardly cause to be sad.”

“What saddens me is that the man seems bereft of intelligence,” she whispered to Jafar. “If he was really that determined to marry his son to the princess of Agrabah, he’d discuss this casually as everyone mingles rather than forcing this on the Sultan in the receiving line.”

“I thought you had little knowledge of politics,” Jafar challenged.

“And, yet, even I know this is the wrong method,” Amana pointed out, causing Jafar to smile.

"Can't I at least meet this boy before I marry him?" Jasmine asked.

"An excellent suggestion," the Sultan told his daughter and then said to the man in line. "Let us have our children meet before we discuss arranging a marriage."

Then the man left and the next one in line just gave Jasmine his gift. Now it was Jafar's turn.

"Jafar," the Sultan greeted with a genuine smile. "I see that you've brought a guest with you this time."

"This is Amana, one of Madam Ishtar's ladies."

Amana curtsied to the Sultan and Princess Jasmine, giving a small glance to the handmaiden next to her who refused to meet Amana’s eyes. "A pleasure to meet you, my Sultan." Then turned to face Jasmine. "My princess."

Jasmine gazed into Amana's eyes. "Why are your eyes green?" she asked

"Jasmine," the handmaiden warned her.

"That's quite all right," Amana reassured them with a pleasant smile. "My eyes are green because my mother is from Arendelle."

This perked the young Princess right up. "What is Arendelle like?" she asked. "I've only read about it in books."

"Unfortunately, my knowledge of the land of my birth also comes from books," Amana admitted. "However, I am pleased to hear that you like to read."

"I love to read!" Jasmine exclaimed and then calmed herself at the handmaiden’s disapproving look. "It's my only link to the outside world."

"Here is our gift to you, Princess," Jafar said, presenting Jasmine with the book of Shirabad fairy tales.

Jasmine took the book and gazed at it with wonder. "Thank you so much!" she said, momentarily forgetting her composure until the handmaiden beside her sent her a warning glance. "I mean... this is certainly a lovely gift. I will treasure it."

"I am happy you enjoy it," Amana told the young princess.

"Now we must take our leave," Jafar said, wasting no time taking Amana away from the line and back to the party.

"She seems very..." Amana began

"Rambunctious," Jafar finished for her.

"I was going to say passionate," Amana corrected. "But I suppose rambunctious can mean the same thing, though in a more negative way."

"Hopefully, she'll grow out of it."

"I hope not," Amana admitted. "She seems much more interesting this way."

"What you find interesting future suitors will find repulsive," Jafar pointed out. "And Agrabah may never have an heir."

"Perhaps future suitors might be intrigued by the challenge the young princess presents," Amana suggested. "Though I doubt there are many men who will meet her standards." Then the music started and the couples were gathering around the dance floor. "I suppose the two of us will be standing near the refreshments table again."

Instead, Jafar surprised Amana by holding out his hand. "Would you care to dance?"

"Quite a sudden change of heart," Amana said, keeping her guard up. "Should I be worried?"

"I will dance with you if you agree to see the rest of the palace," Jafar told her.

Amana smirked. "I get to dance with you and see the palace," she said, taking his hand. "I fail to see what it is I sacrifice."

Jafar led Amana to the dance floor, taking her place across from Jafar and letting her hips sway to the music as she clasped her hands together, moving them horizontally and vertically as if she were on stage performing for a crowd. She kept her eyes locked with Jafar's, taking his arm and twirling into his body. Amana put her hand on his cheek and went back to the center with the other women, beckoning to him with a slight motion of her hand. Amana and Jafar twirled around each other, their moves in perfect sync. While Amana kept her eyes on Jafar, his eyes wandered around as if he were looking for someone to strike them. Amana paid no heed, moving her body to the music as if she and Jafar were the only two people in the palace… the only two people in the world. She turned around and stepped forward slowly, knowing Jafar was right behind her. Amana twirled in a circle and then stepped side to side, letting her body sway to the music. Then Jafar took her arm and brought her back to him as the music ended, Amana's head laying near Jafar's strong chest, his beckoning lips only inches away from hers.

"For a man who doesn't care to dance, you are rather talented," Amana told him, letting the appreciation show in her voice. "However, next time, you might want to focus more on your partner and less on the surroundings."

"Considering the absence of your bodyguard, I'd think you would appreciate my constant vigilance."

"If anyone were to attack me, I doubt that they would do so out in the open," Amana pointed out, pulling herself from his grasp. "Now how about that tour you promised me?"

* * *

Jafar led Amana through the palace, noticing some of the serving girls sneaking glances at Jafar and giving Amana looks that said "Of course." Jafar paid no heed to them as he led Amana to the garden, treating her eyes to the sight of beautiful flowers such as daisies, jasmines, tulips and roses growing in the green grass with a white cage filled with doves and a fountain in the center.

"It's beautiful," Amana said, enraptured by the sight and the sound of the singing birds.

"Beautiful," Iago repeated.

"First the dance and now you take me to the garden," Amana said, taking in the smell of the flowers. "One might think you have an agenda."

"I only thought that, since this is your first time visiting the palace, it should be a memorable one," Jafar insisted. "Which is much easier without your bodyguard."

"Don't pretend you didn't enjoy avoiding him on our last excursion," Amana said, scooting closer to Jafar.

Jafar put his arm around Amana's waist. "The time you managed to arrange," he accused.

"And how would I be able to do that?"

Before Jafar could answer, one of the guards arrived in the garden. "What?" he said, turning to the guard sharply.

"Forgive the interruption, my vizier," the guard said, refusing to look Jafar in the eye. "The Sultan requests your presence."

"Tell him I'm busy!" Jafar snapped.

"It's all right," Amana reassured him. "I can survive without your presence for a few moments."

Jafar stayed silent, looking between the guard and Amana. "Very well," he said, turning to Iago on his shoulder. "Keep watch over her while I'm gone."

Iago flew to Amana, perching himself on her shoulder as Jafar was about to leave with the guard. "Wait," Amana said, going up to Jafar and wrapping her arms around his neck.

She enveloped his lips in a fiery kiss, which he gladly returned as he wrapped his arms around her waist. Jafar's tongue smoothed over Amana's lips, asking for entry which she instantly granted. She massaged his tongue with her own, moaning into his mouth. Then pulled away from him with a seductive smile.

"Hurry back, darling," Amana said as Jafar turned to leave.

The palace guard blinked, looking at Amana as if she were sent by Allah.

"Come along!" Jafar barked at the guard, taking him out of his dreamlike state.

"Yes, my vizier!" the guard squeaked, picking up his pace and following Jafar out of the garden.

Amana took a seat on the fountain's edge, gazing at her reflection and moving her hand lightly in the water, humming as she recalled one of her patrons, a prince from a faraway land. How he told her a story about a young princess who dreamed every night of the prince she would fall in love with. Then tried to seduce her by saying that he remembered her, claiming that they met in a dream. Amana had scoffed inwardly at this claim but, outwardly, pretended to be slightly skeptical yet flattered. She remembered the man from before and realized that it wouldn't be long until the young princess would have to put up with such ridiculous claims from suitors and, unlike Amana, she wasn't trained in how to spin them to her advantage.

"What's a beautiful desert bloom like yourself doing all alone?" an unwelcoming voice said.

Amana turned around to see that it belonged to Abbas. "Iago, get Jafar," she whispered to the parrot who quickly flew away and then stood up to face the Minister. "What do you want?"

"Just your company," Abbas said, getting a little too close for Amana's comfort.

"Something you have been deemed unworthy of," Amana responded, taking a step away from the man.

"Yet Jafar is?" Abbas said with an angry glare.

"Jafar treats me with respect," Amana said, becoming more aware of the knife resting on her thigh. "Unlike you, who compared me to a common whore."

"Is this the same Jafar who left you with no protection?" Abbas asked, scooting closer to Amana.

"Jafar left for official business with the Sultan," Amana explained, her hand itching to pull her knife out. "He should return any moment." She scooted away from him with a glare. "And he will not be pleased to find you harassing me."

"Then he shouldn't have left you here without protection," Abbas said with a lustful grin. "If you were on my arms, I would never let you out of my sight."

"All the more reason I will never be on your arms," Amana said, not even bothering to hide the defiance in her voice.

"Then why do you willingly allow yourself to be on the arms of a street rat?" Abbas demanded to know. "Yet you refuse to be in the same room as me."

Amana laughed. "I believe your old age has made you senile," she mocked. "A street rat could not afford to be seen with me."

It was Abbas's turn to laugh. "Tell me, my dear," he asked in a condescending tone. "What has Jafar told you about his past?"

"That he comes from a noble family," Amana answered, not wanting to tell Abbas anything personal. "And he worked his way up to Grand Vizier."

This only made Abbas laugh harder, confusing Amana. "You poor naive girl, being mislead by Jafar's lies," he mocked. "Allow me to enlighten you, my sweet."

Amana felt something rise up in her throat but managed to keep it down. "And what could you possibly have to say that would interest me?"

"Only that your precious vizier spent his childhood stealing food and running from palace guards," Abbas explained with an air of superiority, catching Amana off guard.

"You mean to tell me that Jafar began life as a..." she said in disbelief.

"A street rat," Abbas finished for her. "Hardly worthy of a woman like you."

"And how could a street rat become the Grand Vizier of Agrabah?"

"The Sultan took pity on the worthless boy and offered him a spot on Agrabah's court," Abbas said, as if such an act should be a crime. "The title of Grand Vizier is wasted on that street rat." Abbas moved closer to Amana, backing her up against a wall. "And so is a woman like you."

Amana felt even more tempted to pull her dagger out and slit this man's throat.

If the guards find you standing next to his corpse, you'll be in serious trouble with the Sultan, Amana reminded herself. Not even Jafar will be able to save you.

"I hardly believe a man who was blacklisted by Lady Ishtar has any right to instruct me on who I should spend my time with," Amana shot back, scooting sideways.

Abbas grabbed her arm. "Unlike Jafar, I come from a long line of nobility!" he hissed. "I have my own estate, yet he's the one with the title of Grand Vizier!"

"A title you feel belongs to you?" Amana asked, trying to remove her arm from his grip.

Keep him talking, Amana thought to herself. If you're lucky, he'll get so distracted by his own fantasies, he'll forget all about you.

"Yes!" Abbas said gleefully, tightening his grip on Amana's arm. "Picture it, me as the Grand Vizier!" Amana struggled to break free, but discovered that the Minister was much stronger than he looked. "That worthless street rat tossed out of the palace!" Amana kept trying to shake her arm free, feeling the Minister's grip somewhat loosening. "And you as my exotic paramour." He put his finger under her chin and leaned in to kiss her.

Amana's eyes widened and she gasped as the image of Abbas was replaced by a fat bald man with a twisted goatee. "A lovely addition to my harem."

"GET AWAY FROM ME!" Amana screamed as she yanked her arm out of his grip with strength she didn’t even know she had. Then she pulled her dress up and took her knife out, causing Abbas to draw back. Amana saw her knife at Abbas's throat, only a few inches away from his skin and calmed her heart. "Consider this a warning, Minister."

"You so much as scratch me with that dagger, the Sultan will have you thrown out on the streets!”

As much as Amana hated to admit it, Abbas was right. She could charm her way out of this but, if someone saw her use her wiles on another man while she was on the arms of the Grand Vizier, they could easily spread rumors about her that would have the same result. Fortunately, Amana saw Jafar come in behind Abbas with Iago on his shoulder.

"And I wonder what the Sultan will say when I tell him that you harassed my lady friend," Jafar threatened, grabbing Abbas by the arm and throwing him to the side.

Amana put her knife away and ran to Jafar, burying her face in his chest.

"Get Jafar!" Iago squawked.

"It's too late, Jafar!" Abbas yelled as Jafar wrapped his arms around Amana, holding her to him. "She already knows what you are!"

Amana turned to Abbas with a hateful glare. "Jafar could be a beggar on the streets and still be worth far more than you!"

* * *

"Forgive me," Jafar said, holding her close to him in the hallway. "I should not have left you alone." Amana said nothing, gazing at the man in front of her. "Amana, are you all right?" Then he pulled her closer with a fierce protectiveness. "Did he hurt you?"

"I'm fine," Amana said, looking at Jafar with newfound admiration. "Is what Abbas said true?"

"It's all right," Jafar reassured her, running his fingers through her hair. "I will not let you be thrown out on the streets."

"No, not that," Amana corrected. "Is it true that you...?"

Jafar gazed at Amana, as if he knew what her next words were going to be. "Come with me," he said, pulling away from her and leading her through the palace.

Amana followed Jafar until he led her to his bedchamber. She found herself greeted to a black room with red drapes, a black armoire on the left side, a long red chaise to the right, a bird perch in the corner where Iago flew straight to and a large black bed with red sheets leaning on the far wall.

"I was hoping to never reveal this to you," Jafar said, taking his turban off revealing short black hair and placing it on the chaise. "But what Abbas says is true." Jafar hesitated before finally revealing the truth. "I did start out as a street rat."

Amana sat down on the bed, gazing at the man in front of her. "So, that story you told me was just that," she stated. "A story."

"Not entirely," Jafar said, sitting next to her. "My mother did die in childbirth, my father did hate me for it and I did fight in the war."

"But you weren't born a noble."

"No," Jafar admitted, leaning closer to Amana. "While you were raised in the luxury of your father's estate, I spent my childhood stealing to survive." Amana flinched a bit at this statement. "I know a former street rat is hardly worthy of a woman such as yourself."

"That's not what bothers me," Amana admitted. "What bothers me is the image of a young boy starving on the streets."

"Forgive me, I never meant to upset you," Jafar said, brushing Amana's hair back.

"Tell me, Jafar," Amana asked, scooting closer to him. "How did such a powerless young boy rise up to become the Grand Vizier of Agrabah?"

"I suppose it all started when I fell in love with the Princess of Shirabad."

"You were in love with the Sultan's wife?"

"No, her younger sister," Jafar elaborated. "She was beautiful, cultured, seductive, much like you." This brought a smile to Amana's face, which disappeared when Jafar scowled. "She was also a vixen, making me believe she actually loved me." Jafar's voice turned bitter. "She sold me stories about how devastated she was about how she could never marry me and how much she wish she could change the rules. Then, when her father caught us together, she accused me of trying to rape her and I was sent to a Shiribad prison!" Amana felt her eyes water at Jafar's rage. "I gave my heart to the wrong woman and spent five years paying for it until the Sultan finally released me, but only if I agreed to fight in their war.”

"That hardly sounds like much of a choice," Amana remarked.

"You're right, it wasn't," Jafar agreed. "I spent months training for battle under seasoned soldiers. I was even one of the few who qualified to train under a skilled sorcerer." Amana couldn't help looking at the man in front of her with awe. "I met the Sultan on the battlefield, who was promised to his future Queen in exchange for an alliance." Jafar smiled. "I even saved his life."

"Then he rewarded you with the position of Grand Vizier," Amana said in awe.

"Actually, he rewarded me with my own estate and title," Jafar explained. "What I said about having to work my way up to Grand Vizier was truthful." Amana gazed at Jafar as if she were seeing him for the first time. "Now that you know who I truly am, what do you see?"

"I see a man who started out with humble beginnings fighting tooth and nail to become something greater than he was born into," Amana said, caressing his cheek. "One who kept his word to protect me from that awful snake." Amana put her arms around Jafar's neck with a seductive smile. "And believe me when I say that I..." Amana pulled Jafar's face closer to hers. "Am very..." Jafar wrapped his arms around Amana's waist, inching closer to her lips. "Grateful."

The distanced between their lips closed, enveloping each other in a deep kiss as Amana unlatched his armor, leaving him in only his cape and robes. Amana felt his tongue enter her mouth as she removed his cape. Amana started removing his robes, getting them halfway off and finding herself treated to a nice view of his strong chest and arms with rock hard abs. It was a beauty tarnished only by the red scars on his body. Amana broke the kiss, gasping at the sight while Jafar removed his robes, leaving himself in nothing but a pair of linen pants.

"A memento of my time in Shiribad," Jafar explained as Amana gently stroked his scars, lowering her head to his body and kissing each one of his blood red marks as Jafar lowered Amana's dress enough to expose her large and supple breasts. Amana raised herself to sit straight up, letting her dress fall to the floor. She took her circlet off and was about to remove her necklace.

"No," Jafar said, raising his arm to stop her. "Keep that on."

Amana laughed, removing her hands from her necklace. "Your wish is my command," Amana said in a husky tone. "My vizier."

Jafar pinned Amana down on the bed, his onyx eyes burning with passion. Yet he froze, as if he were studying Amana wearing nothing except her emerald necklace and earrings, the blue rose in her hair, the snake bracelet on her arm and the knife held by a garter on her thigh. Amana was about to remove the knife when it disappeared right before her eyes. Jafar held the knife out with an arrogant smirk.

"Is that more magic?" Amana said, amazed.

"Just my natural talent," Jafar told her, throwing the knife to the side.

Jafar laid soft kisses all over Amana's neck as she grabbed his bare shoulders, enjoying the feel of his soft lips on her neck as his beard lightly graced her skin. Jafar moved his hand to play with Amana's nipple, moaning as his finger worked it’s magic. No, it’s natural talent. Then he moved his lips to Amana's other nipple, her moans getting louder at the combined attention of Jafar's wet tongue caressing her nipple while his finger played with the other. Then he removed his hand, slowly running it down her body as if she were a fragile vase and then finding her jewel, rolling it around. Amana felt her entrance moistened as she moaned, “Jafar,” as her entrance tighten, begging to be filled. Jafar answered her plea as she felt his fingers inside of her, exploring every inch of her wetness and then pumping inside of her as her hips rocked to his thrusts. No, Jafar did not need her direction. He continued flicking Amana's nipple with his tongue as his fingers pumped inside of her, her moans getting louder and louder as she released. Jafar removed his tongue from Amana's nipple and his fingers from her wetness. He licked her residue off with a satisfied smile. "You have no idea how wonderful you taste," he told her.

"Then let me have a taste," Amana suggested, reaching out to grab his wrist only for him to pull it away.

Then he lowered his finger to Amana's lips, letting her lick her bittersweet taste off of it. Jafar opened Amana’s legs only for her to close them with a teasing smile and earning an impatient glare from the vizier. "Open up, woman!" he demanded.

Amana laughed, opening her legs up. "As you wish."

Amana felt Jafar's beard tickle her thighs as his tongue explored every inch of her wetness while his finger played with her nub, sending ecstasy rushing through her body like waves forming on the ocean surface. She closed her eyes, screaming, "Yes! Allah! Yes!" Jafar removed his finger, his tongue tending to her jewel as he grabbed Amana's thighs. Amana grabbed the covers, her grip tightening as she felt the waves rush throughout her entire body, her screams getting louder and louder. Amana felt her second release approaching but, before it came, Jafar stopped. He positioned himself back on top of her, taking his pants off and exposing his hard arousal ready to enter her.

"How much do you want this?" he tempted her.

"Darling," Amana said, stroking his beard with a seductive smile. "Would you really deny me?"

Jafar only put his mouth near her ear. "How much?" he whispered.

Amana felt the tip of his arousal inching closer to her entrance. "More than anything," she admitted.

Amana gasped as she felt Jafar’s throbbing member thrusting inside of her. She put her arms on his back, rocking her hips as her bracelet glowed. "How good do I make you feel?" he asked Amana through his own moans and grunts as he slowly rode her. "Amazing!" Amana answered as she wrapped her legs around his waist, her bracelet growing brighter. "Better than you've ever felt before?" Jafar demanded, speeding up his pace. "The best!" Amana admitted, her fingernails digging into his skin as Jafar moaned in a mixture of pain and pleasure. "I swear to Allah, you are the absolute best!" Jafar's pace got harder and faster as Amana’s bracelet shined with the light of a thousand suns. "Tell me who you belong to!" he ordered. "I belong to you!" Amana shouted, her bracelet glowing as she felt the final wave rush through her body. Jafar continued thrusting inside of Amana, feeling his throbbing member thrust inside of her as he shouted. "Mine!" He grabbed Amana's hips for one final thrust, releasing himself inside of her. "All mine!"

Jafar collapsed on top of Amana as the glow from her bracelet dimmed. Their bodies drenched in sweat as they tried to catch their breath. Jafar gave Amana a satisfied smirk. "Am I really the best?" he asked her.

"Well, you certainly know your way around a woman's body," Amana admitted, putting her palm on his sweaty cheek. "Much more than any other man I've been with."

Amana saw a brief flash of anger in Jafar's eyes as he rolled off of her. Amana was about to remove herself from the bed when she felt Jafar grab her arm. "Stay," he commanded.

"I'm afraid that I can't," Amana explained. "I am sure that the party's over and Ishtar will be expecting me back."

"You're mine," Jafar told her, the venom in his voice unmistakable. Amana turned around and looked at the man lying next to her as if he'd gone insane. "For as long as I'm willing to have you."

Amana let out a breath that she didn’t even know she was holding. "I believe you're starting to spend frivolously," she joked, easing her tension.

"I am rather fatigued," Jafar explained, softening his voice. "It would be better if you just stayed here for the night."

Amana yawned, her eyelids feeling heavier as her head started to pound. "After our little activity, I certainly don't blame you."

Amana got under the covers, closing her eyes as she laid on her side. She felt Jafar put his strong arms around her, giving her a soft kiss on the back of her neck. Amana nuzzled closer to Jafar, feeling safe in his arms as she drifted off to sleep.