Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon is the property of Takeuchi Naoko, Toei Animation, and Kodansha Comics.
By Gita Toronjil-Lee
He'd never been in denial of what he was. He just had chosen to deny all of his needs, and that included his desire for companionship. Drilled into his head since as long as he could remember was:
Your only purpose is to serve the Kingdom
Your only purpose is to serve the Kingdom
Your only purpose is to serve the Kingdom
You think nothing of yourself, and need nothing
You think nothing of yourself, and need nothing
You think nothing of yourself and need nothing
And, being the obedient slave that he had always been, he believed and followed this.
Until he became a teacher.
It had been unexpected, not even preceded with any notice from Beryl-sama herself. Early one morning in the Dark Kingdom, back before even what would eventually bear the name Silver Millenium, his study in his obsidian castle had flashed green, and that had started the whole thing.
Kunzite looked up from his large, dusty textbook when the light came on. Green was his self-programmed security system's code for a visitor on the premises who did not appear to have an army following or any other means to communicate ill intentions.
Didn't mean a safe visitor, of course. Kunzite had lived in the Kingdom for many years, and if those years had taught him any one thing, it was that there was no such thing as safety. He of all people was perhaps the best suited to be defended against any mishap, as the most powerful, well-respected soldier in the Kingdom's militia, but he also was a very intelligent man, and knew that he was in no way invincible.
Therefore, even a green-light visitor to his grounds required investigation. With a sigh, he closed the book and put down his quill that he'd been using to write.
He heard the intruder before he saw him. Kunzite was out headed in the direction of where the stranger was located, turning around one of the castle's large, irregular corners, when he heard a cry, followed by a dull thud.
The speaker had a high male voice -- in actuality, it sounded like a kid in late adolescence -- definitely not giving the impression of a seasoned warrior on his case. Not that he could judge by that, as he himself had decades of experience behind him, though he outwardly could not have passed for forty -- if not for the snowfall of white hair that fell to his shoulders, thirty.
Rounding the corner, he encountered the owner of the voice. Not someone he knew -- he did appear to be a kid, at least in build and from what Kunzite could see of him, which was his backside and legs only. The boy was picking himself up from the ground on hands and knees, his black military boot conspicuously caught under a large granite rock. He wore the gray-with-purple-sash-and-piping uniform of a cadet in Her Majesty's Academy, which was a fancy title for a boot camp -- one of the Dark Kingdom's many training compounds for youma and for human soldiers who aspired to make the ranks of the Kingdom's dark army.
Kunzite couldn't hide the chuckle in his voice at seeing the sprawled figure. "Can I help you?" he asked, quickly hiding the grin that had spread across his face.
The boy cried out in surprise, struggling harder to regain his feet. Quickly deciding that he wasn't going to free himself anytime soon, he turned his upper body toward the Lord of the Manor, sitting himself awkwardly on the black ground.
"I'm sorry," he said, flashing a nervous, disarming smile, "I seem to be…"
The moment he registered who he was talking to was obvious; the look of casual, humored embarrassment turned to outright shock. "Oh… Kunzite-sama… I'm really sorry, my lord."
Kunzite still felt like grinning. "Is that what you were going to say? I seem to be stuck?"
"Y… yes," it was difficult to tell in the dim lighting, but he thought he could detect a blush on the boy's face. "I was looking for a way in…"
The color deepened -- yes, he was positive the child was turning crimson-faced. "I was sent to speak to you, my lord." He reached into his violet sash as Kunzite tensed automatically for the removal of a weapon or detonator of some sort, but instead he pulled out a small scroll of paper and waved it in the air. "I was sent to give you this from Queen Beryl-sama."
"Queen Beryl-sama?" A bold, stupid move for a hoax, making Kunzite believe all the more that it was true. He sighed and stepped over some high rocks, moving over to the trembling trainee. "Put that away for now. I'm warning you, kid, if you make any move against me, I'm well warded; you wouldn't survive."
The boy nodded wordlessly and meekly, tucking the note back into his uniform and shaking harder as the supreme officer approached. "I'm sorry," he said tremulously, finding his voice, "I was only looking for the way in; I hadn't intended to appear like I was trying to…"
"Don't worry," Kunzite said, and bent down to pick up the rock that pinned the intruder. With that done, he reached out to grab the boy's hand and yank him to his feet, simultaneously teleporting them both into his castle's outer chambers.
"You see," he told the cadet, "there isn't a door to my castle. Entrance is only possible by teleport or other magical means, and that can only access this hallway. Anything further must pass through me, and nothing I've ever experienced so far holds that kind of importance."
He looked at the boy he had brought in. The only light in the outer hall of his castle came from the torches which hung on the wall, but it illuminated better than the darkness outside. The kid was short -- the top of his head was at a level with perhaps Kunzite's nose, which didn't make him tiny, as Kunzite was just shy of two meters tall, but it was in combination with his almost feminine slenderness that made him seem impossibly petite for a soldier. The firelight glowed off the tight braid of coppery blonde hair and the deep green eyes, making his delicate features look almost supernatural.
It didn't take long for Kunzite to decide that he was not dealing with a honed warrior here. Even the boy's stance was unprofessional -- it was obvious that he was scared to death, and just as obvious that he was favoring his left foot, which had been crushed by the rock.
"I'm sorry to disturb you, my lord," he said after a moment, unable to take any more of Kunzite's scrutiny, "but I was pulled out of my dorm just an hour ago, told to dress, and given this note, with the orders to deliver it to you. I was looking for a way into your house, like I said, when I tripped on some stones I didn't see and ended up trapped. I'm sorry."
Kunzite narrowed his frosty silver-blue eyes, turning their normal slightly slanted shape into dangerous slits. As he hoped, the boy took a step back, tensing into a more defensive posture. He absolutely abhorred laziness, and though the boy didn't seem lazy rather than nervous and undertrained, he still didn't like to see it. Silently, he held out a hand for the scroll and unrolled it.
It read, in gold calligraphy:
This boy is a recent inductee into Her Majesty's Academy. As you well know, each child before beginning his education undergoes a battery of tests to see where he is best suited. Captain Ilmenite, who leads the Academy, brought this youth to my attention three days ago -- his scores are off the charts in raw potential, far surpassing Ilmenite's, or any other instructors in any of the Kingdom's schools, coming close to rivaling yours.
I believe that you are the best qualified to train this boy -- according to his test scores, he could become for me a fine officer if allowed an opportunity. He hasn't had many, as I understand it, and I feel that tutelage by the Dark Kingdom's finest is the greatest anyone could offer. Not that I'm worrying myself about him; if he gets to you and you receive this, he's your problem. Consider this an assignment. I know I haven't given you any lately, and I have been thinking lately that you are not being utilized to your full potential either, so I am ordering you to take him in as your disciple. Strong results would speak favorably of you, Kunzite.
The boy's name is Zoisite. I would like to hear it again as the name of a powerful Dark Kingdom warrior.
as dictated to youma #1537
Kunzite looked over the top of the scroll at the boy. "Zoisite?" he asked as quietly as he could, practically inaudibly, but the boy's head still snapped up from where it had been studying its feet.
"My… name is in that?" he asked incredulously.
"Yes." Kunzite frowned. "You've no idea as to what this is that you delivered to me?"
"No…" his voice was very soft, almost a whisper, and obviously scared.
The tall man tossed the rolled up paper at the boy, who caught it easily in his right hand. "Read it."
Zoisite unscrolled it as his eyes flickered over the message, and his pale skin went ghostly, his breathing becoming shallow. Kunzite hadn't expected this kind of reaction, and he quickly darted behind the boy, fearing that he would faint and crack open his head on the low table behind him.
While there, he caught a glimpse of the scroll in Zoisite's shaking hands. It simply read:
If you're reading this, that means you've opened the message. Your orders were to deliver it to Kunzite-sama, not to read it. Consider yourself expelled from Her Majesty's Army, and hope you're looking forward to working in the slave barracks.
Her Majesty's Academy
The damned letter obviously had a viewer-specific spell woven into it. Kunzite mentally chastised himself for not checking for that beforehand. He reached out a stabilizing hand and placed it on the boy's shoulder. "Steady."
"They told me it was from Queen Beryl-sama! They told me to give it to you! How was I to know it was all a test? You told me to read it!" He was quickly turning hysterical, his voice rising in pitch, but his skin was still clammy-looking.
They want me to teach this child? A little bad news, and he goes into shock… Kunzite thought, and said aloud, "Settle down. This message is viewer-specific… here, I'll show you."
He came back around to the boy's front and snatched the parchment from him, yanking it open and kneeling so Zoisite could read over his shoulder.
"Oh, my…" he whispered breathlessly. "I had no idea."
Kunzite sighed, and rolled the paper back up, straightening his spine. "Neither did I. I wasn't expecting anything like this; I've never been a teacher." He closed his eyes, collecting his thoughts. "All right. I suppose I will take you in. Metallia knows this castle is big enough to house an army, let alone one extra person. Do you have any belongings?"
"Except for my spare uniforms, my comb, and my toothbrush back at the dorms, no." Zoisite gave the matter some consideration. "Nothing important."
Chuckling, Kunzite responded, "Well, I consider a toothbrush important, and, looking at your hair, I'd say you appreciate your comb."
Zoisite blushed. Kunzite frowned. This kid shows all his emotions on his face, and doesn't do well when stressed. What's so special about him?
"What… exactly does this mean?" his eyes were fixated firmly on the floor now, and he couldn't believe his recent gall in dealing with this powerful man. He'd had beatings for so little as chuckling ever-so-slightly at an overheard joke between officers, and here he'd annoyed Kunzite-sama enough to make him frown. Zoisite was afraid.
Kunzite blinked, confused. The boy had gone from blushing shyly to looking completely terrified in a matter of seconds. He had always had plenty of self-confidence, even when he was a student himself so long ago, and was completely unused to being humble to and afraid of anyone save Beryl-sama, but he could read these emotions directed at him and at the situation in general on the child's face with remarkable clarity.
Forcing a reassuring smile, which felt quite unfamiliar on his features, he said, "This means I suppose I have to show you to your quarters. I wasn't serious about your personal belongings -- I can supply you with whatever you need. And I also suppose that you should feel important, as this is the first incidence where I actually have reason to bring someone into my home further in than the hallway."
He paused a second, then reached out a hand. "We're going to teleport again. I'll take you to an empty suite."
Zoisite gingerly touched Kunzite's fingers with his own small hand, and they vanished in a flash of blue light.
"You know, they told me you were good! What's with this foolishness?"
Zoisite frowned and spat on the floor -- as undignified as it felt, it also gave him some self-confidence, somehow. Kunzite had proven, in the three weeks they'd known each other, to be much more forgiving than any in the academy, but that didn't mean he was nice to him, by any means. Especially since Zoisite hadn't done anything in their training that impressed his teacher, and he was certain that nothing he had done made Kunzite feel that Zoisite deserved this privilege.
He wiped sweat out of his eyes, and gritted his teeth, feeling decidedly un-pretty, which annoyed him to no end, though he'd never voice that aloud. "I'm trying, dammit!" he muttered angrily, and picked up the sword he'd dropped, but he knew plenty well that trying counted for absolutely nothing in the Dark Kingdom.
He took another swing at his sensei, who parried easily and at the same time kicked a leg out from under his attacker, who stumbled and fell hard on his right knee. "Your weight's on your front leg again, Zoisite," he reminded, "you could be dead right now. Remember to stabilize yourself all the time. And if I catch you favoring that knee, I'm going to make you run laps on it."
Growling, the boy straightened and winced just a little. "Kunzite-sama, I've never been any good at swordplay," he complained.
Kunzite's silver brows lowered as he narrowed his eyes at his student. "I received your scores on the aptitude tests yesterday, and those tell a different story. Maybe you don't know how, but you certainly… " he suddenly thrust forward in mid-sentence, and the young man jumped back and brought his own blade down in a block, then instantly brought it back up to take a fast, deft jab at his opponent's midsection. "…have the ability to learn."
The tall man stepped back and looked down at himself. His gray uniform jacket had a thin slice down the middle, but the tanned skin beneath it was untouched. Raising his gaze, he grinned at Zoisite. "You see? Touché."
The slender man fought a losing battle to smile at that, but it didn't seem that Kunzite minded when a broad grin spread across his features. "Thank you, Kunzite-sama."
His teacher nodded. "I want you to practice… and for you to remember that you're far better than you give yourself credit for," He thought a second. "Half an hour, then we're going to work magic."
"All right." Zoisite was quite grateful for the reprieve, bowing in respect to his sensei. Kunzite nodded again, turned, and walked away towards his castle, not noticing the blatant way his pupil's emerald eyes followed his every step.
The white-haired man reappeared in the only room of his castle that overlooked the training grounds -- his personal study -- and watched his student train for a moment. It was obvious that the real problem with the boy was that he was horribly self-conscious and paranoid, far more so than most cadets, and this was what stifled his abilities.
Walking over to his desk, he picked up the sheaf of papers that had arrived the day before. Dark Kingdom aptitude testing was quite extensive, and covered all facets of a prospective officer -- contrary to the popular belief of those in their sister earthen realm, the Kingdom didn't accept every human who wished to join their ranks. Zoisite's results told that he had difficulty with asserting himself, but they also told of his amazing intelligence and reflexes, the small body's inherent strength and flexibility, and the ease in which magic flowed through his veins.
Kunzite had no doubt that the boy could be something special. Holding the test in hand, he walked back over to the window and peered down. Zoisite was hacking away at a wooden practice dummy with astonishing speed and dexterity, sending wooden splinters flying around him, his braid glimmering under the artificial bright light.
"If he'd fight like that against real enemies, he'd be unstoppable on the battlefield," he muttered, "and he might give even me a workout in sparring… I just need to break him." But he didn't know how. Maybe he would, had he been a real teacher, but he was just a warrior who'd been given a student.
He watched Zoisite practice for the majority of his half-hour break, and when time was almost up, he came back to the training grounds. It was only when he heard his instructor approaching that the boy stopped, panting.
"Commendable," was all Kunzite had to say. Zoisite shook his sweaty, curly bangs, too tired to even acknowledge the compliment with more than a shaky bow. "You've got two minutes left," he continued, "go get a drink."
He did, going over to a fountain and plunging his entire head into its blessed coolness. When he returned, dripping wet with a white towel wrapped around his neck, the tall man smiled. "Now we're going on to magic. First objective: get yourself dry, please."
That much was easy -- Zoisite had mastered the wind trick his second day of training. But that wasn't Kunzite's real objective, for as soon as the boy closed his eyes and lifted his head, letting the warm breeze refresh his soaked, exhausted features, he sent forward a quick blast of pinkish energy, hoping for some shock value. The kid's reflexes were supposed to be good, after all, and he had gotten success using this method just thirty minutes before, so maybe he would react and instinctively form a shield.
Well, he got results, but they weren't what Kunzite expected.
Zoisite felt the blast headed toward him, and quickly dropped the towel, recognizing how fast the attack was coming and knowing he had to get away from it. He caught a look at Kunzite's face smirking at his fright, and this spurred him on all the more.
He threw himself backward with nary a conscious thought, his palms planting firmly on the stone floor as he vaulted with an easy grace. This first, incredibly fast and smooth handspring extended into another, then another, till the surprising gymnast had maneuvered himself well out of harm's way. Landing easily at the far end of the field, he surveyed the considerable gap between him and his teacher.
Kunzite blinked hard. Great Leader, can that kid move… he coughed slightly into a gloved hand, and gave his student a long-distance nod of approval, then beckoned him to come back.
"That was a dirty trick," Zoisite complained to himself as he regained his balance in a voice that he thought inaudible, though the other man heard it nonetheless.
"I was hoping you'd form a shield; I didn't expect you to perform circus stunts for me," he replied, unconsciously grinning briefly at the thought. The boy reddened a little, but then tossed his braid backward over his shoulder and walked back toward his teacher across the arena, hands held carefully out in front of him at chest level with the palms forward, a warning look in his eyes.
"Just letting you know, sensei," he said in a cautious yet informative tone, "If you try that again I am completely ready for it. I will block anything you throw at me."
"That so?" asked Kunzite, and sent another blast -- this time, an ice blue fire. But he didn't send it from the place he'd been standing in just a moment before. In fact, his new location -- the one he'd teleported to in the blink of an eye -- was just enough forward of his original position to put him completely behind his student.
Zoisite whipped around as fast as he could, already preparing a block to the blast, because, in truth, he'd been anticipating a move like this. What he hadn't expected was the sudden agony that stopped him from creating his defense. It shot through the left side of his face, especially in his eye, blinding him on that side, and he gasped at the sharpness of the pain as he brought his hands to his face, thus leaving himself vulnerable.
The fire hit him a second later.
It sent him flying backward, too stunned to even fall correctly, and he hit the ground hard on his back, his head clattering to the floor a second later. He weakly rolled over onto his side and coughed, then fell very still. He didn't move for a good two minutes as Kunzite watched his shallow breathing.
When he didn't get up, the teacher shook his head angrily and walked over, kneeling beside his fallen student. He reached over and shook Zoisite's shoulder hard. "Get up."
Kunzite sighed, and rolled the boy over onto his back. The blast hadn't left any physical damage, but a quick examination showed that he'd hit the back of his skull when he fell. Righting himself, the tall man briskly walked over to the fountain, stopping on his way to pick up the fallen white towel. He returned and pressed the compress to the boy's face, cradling his injured head up off the granite floor with his other hand.
After a minute or two, he heard a soft groan, and a moment later, noticed the long, dark lashes surrounding the previously closed eyes beginning to flutter. Then he realized that what he'd mistaken for unconscious moaning was more than gibberish.
"…gomen… Kunzaito-sama… gomen nasai… I won't do that again, I won't…"
He continued to press the wet rag to his student's face, questioning gently. He'd progressed past his initial anger, and was now feeling quite concerned. "Zoisite? Are you all right? Zoisite?"
"…onegai, Kunzaito-sama… please don't punish me…"
His eyelids finally lifted themselves so that his eyes were completely open, slowly revealing behind elegant shades emeralds blurred by diamond tears of pain and shame, and though Kunzite wasn't at first aware of it, his breath caught in his throat.
"It's okay... it's okay…" he soothed softly, leaving the compress to rest on Zoisite's brow. The injured boy looked to him tiredly, exquisite eyes heavy with the fatigue that remains when a faint has ended, and it wasn't until the white-haired man began to feel dizzy that he finally realized that he had stopped breathing.
If not for the head that lay across his knees, Kunzite would have instantly left at such a revelation and buried himself in the most boring literature he could find, as was his usual remedy when something disquieted his highly disciplined way of thinking. However, since he was unable to do so, he ignored this disturbing reaction as best he could, making a conscious effort to focus.
This situation was relieved a moment later, thankfully, as Zoisite lifted his torso off the ground through his own means, using his hands to brace himself off the ground. After he'd finally managed to remain in a sitting position, he turned to his teacher with a weary, apologetic expression.
"I'm sorry, Kunzite-sama," he said softly. "I… I don't know what happened there…"
Kunzite paused a second, sorting his thoughts and reviewing what he'd seen. "Why did you stop your defense? You were starting to block, but then you stopped. What was that all about?"
Chewing unconsciously on his left index finger, which was a bad habit he'd had since he could remember, the young man recalled his accident. "When I turned," he remembered slowly, "I suddenly felt a sharp, shooting pain driving through the side of my head, and it distracted me so badly that I couldn't create a shield. The next thing I knew I was on the ground, with you dabbing that cloth on my face."
That was interesting. After a brief period of meditation on that, the teacher realized that he knew what had caused the pain. He'd experienced it himself, on occasion, before he'd learned what the problem was.
Rather than merely telling Zoisite what it was, however, he grinned and reached across the boy's shoulders, grabbing the long braid in a white-gloved hand. Being careful not to yank it and thus aggravate the boy's injury, he slowly reached it around the boy's head.
"What are you doing?"
Without an immediate reply, Kunzite pulled the hair just a little farther around, and regarded what he saw. The elastic band that tied off the end of the braid, complete with a bit of hard, shiny metal to connect it in a circle, lined up exactly with the boy's left eye.
"Tell me, Zoisite," he said, still holding the rope of bronze hair in its owner's field of vision, "just how quickly did you spin around?"
"Oh…" realization dawned in the curious face. "I whipped myself, didn't I?"
Kunzite did not see that query deserving of an answer. It was obvious. Instead, he told him gravely, "I was told once that certain aspects of one's appearance can both benefit and harm oneself. Though your hair is very lovely like that, you need to do something about it. If you had been in battle, or that would have been a stronger blast, or you would have fallen just a bit harder on your head or neck, you could have been killed."
Very lovely… yes, it was true. He just couldn't believe he'd said that aloud. The boy flushed a little, though his teacher couldn't tell if it he was blushing at that or if the redness was an aftereffect of his accident.
"I'm sorry…" the boy was saying again. "I didn't know…"
"I think," he interrupted, "that you're going to have to cut your hair."
A look of horror passed over Zoisite's delicate features. "No!"
Kunzite smiled. He'd reacted much the same when someone had suggested that for him, when he'd worn his hair in a similar fashion and experienced the same situation. That had been a very long time ago, but he was now mentally chastising himself for not telling his student right away that he'd have to undergo a change in hairstyle. The braid was a commonly used look for cadets who wore their hair below their shoulders, as it was highly efficient and sharp-looking to please strict commanders, but in outright combat, where a full range of motions is required, it wasn't always the practical answer.
"Well, then," he said, letting the boy be terrified for a moment, "you'll just have to leave it loose as I do, or devise some other solution that won't affect your fighting performance."
Zoisite sighed, and reached back to undo his braid, looping the elastic around his wrist and deftly loosening the woven strands. While doing so, he carefully stood up, Kunzite rising with him. After he'd freed his hair of its constraints, the trainee bent over and teased his long mane with his fingers, loosening and freeing it further.
He looked up, and what was previously a tightly twined rope had become a resplendent mass of thick golden waves that hung to just below his shoulderblades, framing and defining his face like an angel's halo.
"Should I keep my hair like this, then? I've never liked leaving it down, because it can get so awfully cumbersome at times."
The tall man just stared for a moment, then furrowed his brow and cleared his throat. "Well, if it bothers you, find another style that doesn't. I'll admit, with hair of that…" he paused, searching for a suitable word, "…volume, and texture, I could see how it could be annoying. But that's your problem." Here he paused again, then made a decision. "In light of your recent accident, I'm going to terminate today's lesson. Go to your room and rest up; if you'd like, I'll summon a healer youma to look at your wound. I also want you to study a bit on what you know you are weak in, and to think about what you did."
With a nod, followed by a hand raised to his forehead, Zoisite nodded and vanished. He'd picked up on teleportation unnaturally easily.
After he left, Kunzite sighed heavily, with only one thought on his usually thoroughly-preoccupied mind: Oh, what did you do?
He stalked across the quadrilateral practice arena, hands locked behind his back, his rational mind firmly counting the steps to keep the irrational from thinking about what it wanted to. Fifty-nine paces going south before the corner forced him to turn. Seventy-six east. Fifty-eight north -- his stride must have been infinitesimally wider going up than going down. Seventy-six west. Fifty-nine south again. Hmm.
He has the most beautiful eyes…
Seventy-seven paces east.
And I'll bet his hair is so soft…
He moves like a dancer…
Seventy-five west, and moving faster.
And I've been alone for so very long.
Kunzite stopped dead in his tracks at his twenty-ninth step south. That was quite enough of that. He vanished and ended up in his own room, walking with utmost composure into the bathroom and turning the cold-water knob of the shower as far as it would go. He stood under the frigid stream for a very long time.
The next day, training was completely normal, though Zoisite's hair was now pulled back into a ponytail at the base of his neck, which kept it controlled but not aerodynamic enough to lash him. That suited them both just fine.
Practice continued like that, uneventful but productive, for some four months.
Kunzite was getting tired of cold showers, and he discovered that they were steadily increasing in their length, but they helped. He'd also found himself reading several times over the dullest pieces of nonfiction his library had to offer.
But he was all right with that.
The letter arrived approximately five months into his student's training. In the middle of the night, the security light flashed blue, which signaled the delivery of a message, and when he checked the box that was programmed to receive all incoming posts, he found a scroll, still glimmering with the energy that had teleported it there.
Are you still training that child? My reports say you are, and are gaining fine results. I am quite pleased with that. I would like to meet with him, and with you, to discuss his future. I am expecting you both in my throne room tomorrow at dawn. Please make sure he knows how to behave.
as dictated to youma #4795
It was not a request. Beryl had never once made a request of a subordinate during her considerable reign as queen.
So there was only one thing to do. Kunzite approached the door to Zoisite's quarters in the castle with more determination than was necessary in order to compensate for the fear that had curled somewhere deep inside him, and rapped lightly on the door with his knuckles.
A weak, tired voice came floating down the door, saying something that might possibly have been a "come in", but he knew with near-clairvoyant certainty that that was not a good idea. Instead, he told the portal, "It isn't wise to tell an intruder to just 'come in' without knowing who it is. Wake up."
This time, the answer came clearer, more alert. "I know plenty well who's out there. I programmed a detector the other day that magically gives me feedback on anyone who stands on my doorstep, though no one has yet. But it's working."
The kid was far too bright for his own good. "Magic isn't foolproof. Now get up and open the door."
A yawn so loud it was audible through the paneling met this request, but afterward came the creaking of the floorboards as a person's weight moved across the room. Zoisite opened the door, and blinked sleepy eyes at his fully-uniformed sensei.
"What's going on, Kunzite-sama?"
Making a conscious decision to look only at Zoisite's tired face and not at his lovely hair mussed from slumber or the exposure of a shoulder from his hastily-put-on bathrobe, the taller man frowned. "I received a message from the Queen saying that she wants to meet with the both of us tomorrow at dawn, and I need you to get ready."
The boy adjusted his slipping garment with one hand and wiped his eyes with the other, nodding as he silently closed the door to get dressed.
A few moments later, he returned to the hallway. Kunzite turned and began to walk down the hall, his student trailing at his heels.
"Remember," he instructed as they walked, "that you will be dealing with a woman who is in possession of nearly godlike power. She can cause you to live, and she can cause you to die. She at times can be generous to a fault, and at times her temper is hair-trigger. Never look at her unless she gives you permission. Never speak out of turn, or say anything that you don't think she would like to hear. If she ever pauses and looks at you purposefully, your best bet is to salute, right hand over your heart. If you annoy her somehow, or think possibly that you might have, apologize. She will kill you if she feels offended. I've seen it happen."
"But don't be too uptight. Show her what you've learned. You're a lovely… a very bright, talented boy, and…"
"Boy?" Zoisite whispered softly, not interrupting, but merely unable to keep this thought in his head. "Is that all I am? A child?"
Kunzite stopped. "You're not a girl, right? That would make you a boy." He considered Zoisite's meaning, then said, "and don't forget, when you've lived for over a century, your twenty-two years don't seem like much. I'm not trying to insult you."
"Oh." But he still hung his head a bit, and his teacher noticed. The white-haired man moved in front of his pupil sternly, and placed a pair of strong fingers under the boy's chin, lifting his face.
"Don't look downcast. Stand tall; be proud. You'd better not embarrass me in front of Beryl-sama, or I'll be quite irritated with you."
The boy, still upset, murmured an assent, and Kunzite let him go and turned away, straightening his long dress cape that marked him as the Kingdom's highest-ranked warrior and making sure that the folds around his open collar were perfectly pressed. Turning back around, he cast an inspecting eye over the other, then nodded his approval.
The darkness in the organically-formed window was becoming less black, signifying the imminence of dawn in the Dark Kingdom. There was no bright star that lit the sky in their realm, but nonetheless the sky did lighten, just a bit, in the transition from night to morning. There even was soft, dusky blue light that trickled, sourceless, from the sky during the daytime… at least, until the afternoon storms came, as they did every night.
"We need to go," Kunzite said softly, and, without looking at the other, held out a hand for the boy to grasp. "I'll take you there; you don't know the way."
Upon entering Beryl's throne room, Zoisite following carefully behind his superior and hiding his sense of awe at the frightening grandeur, there was a murmur in the crowd of youma who invariably stood before the sovereign.
"Kunzite…" a woman's voice cut through the rumbling. The tall man froze, and saluted where he stood. "Come forward, Kunzite, and bring your assignment with you."
He did so, slowly making his way through the legions who parted to let him through. When he reached the platform before the dais, he saluted again, and Zoisite, still standing a bit behind them, bowed as well.
The queen nodded and smiled, baring her fangs. "So this is the boy who broke the curve, hmmm? Smaller than I'd expected, but by the looks of things, you're progressing well, Kunzite."
Her finest soldier agreed.
"So. Zoisite. Have you anything to say?"
When he opened his mouth, Zoisite found that his throat had gone bone-dry, but he straightened, squared his shoulders, and said only one thing. "Thank you, Queen Beryl-sama, for giving me the opportunity to study with Kunzite-sama."
Kunzite knew what she wanted, but the boy seemed clueless. He had to intervene. "Your majesty, he knows not of the oath. I was unaware that you'd ask it of him. Forgive me."
Or at least that was what he'd meant to say, but he'd only gotten so far as "your majesty, he…" before a clear tenor voice cut through.
"And, of course, I swear to you, to your throne, and to She who Leads us All of my undying loyalty to the Dark Kingdom and to the cause. I offer my life and my power whenever the circumstance may require them, and I freely relinquish my rights so that I may serve whenever needed."
The woman with the long red hair and the low-cut purple dress nodded her approval. "You've done well, Kunzite."
Her white-haired servant was flabbergasted, but this was not apparent in his voice. "Yes. Thank you."
"And Zoisite," she said, lowering her eyelids to half-mast over the orange spheres, "you seem to be becoming quite powerful. That much is obvious in your aura. I have been receiving your test scores from Kunzite, and I will tell you now that I am strongly considering you for one of my top posts."
She noticed Kunzite's lips moving slightly, and turned to him. "Have you something to say?"
"Are you referring to the Shitennou?"
She had spoken for as long as he could remember of her goddess' wish for an inner circle of the four topmost warriors of the Kingdom, which would be mockingly named a word meaning the Four Kings of Heaven. And though she had picked three -- Kunzite, plus lords Nephrite and Jadeite, who respectively ranked second and third -- no one had shined enough for her to find her fourth.
Zoisite didn't know this before, but suddenly, as it had with the oath, the knowledge suddenly appeared in his mind. He was subconsciously drawing it from his teacher, who was subconsciously sending it, and, in a flash, he realized this, as did Kunzite.
The copper-haired cadet gasped lightly. "I…"
"I feel, however, that the best way to prepare you for such a position, if you ever want to attain it, would be for you to get some hands-on training. I want to send you to the battlefields in the outer regions of the Kingdom where several youma rebellions have been taking place. However, and this is why I asked you along, Kunzite, if you feel that he is not yet up to this, I would like to hear your honest opinion on it."
Kunzite took a deep breath, his thoughts whirling. When he didn't speak for several moments, Beryl frowned at him, and, noticing her anger, he finally said slowly, "This has taken me quite by surprise, Queen Beryl-sama. May I have some time to think it over? I would like to re-evaluate Zoisite's actions and test scores before making a decision that could either endanger his life or stunt his career."
She agreed, after some consideration, that this was wise, and dismissed them with an order to return at two days' noon.
They reappeared in the outer hall of Kunzite's castle.
Kunzite turned to look at his student with a proud smile, and Zoisite blushed and stared at the floor. "That wasn't what I'd expected, Zoisite, but you should be infinitely honored that Beryl-sama is even considering you for such a position. It is, frankly, unheard of."
There was a "but" in his voice, and the younger man knew it was there. "But…"
"But… I'm not certain yet that you should go into the battle. Excuse me, please, as I have to think about this."
Zoisite had to say something. "Wait!"
Kunzite stopped, the energies of a teleport still faintly surrounding him.
"I mean, please wait, Kunzite-sama; I'd like to ask you something."
"What is it?"
The youth looked up from the floor into his teacher's face. "I just wanted to ask you if you knew how exactly those words and that information just appeared in my mind. I didn't know them before, and it felt like you were helping me."
The tall man nodded, pulled a nearby chair out to seat himself, and rested his chin on his hand, thinking.
"What I believe that was," he mused, "was a sort of self-defensive reflex -- though not unheard of, something that is rather rare. If I'm not mistaken, what you did was to recognize the danger you were in at Beryl's displeasure, and then subconsciously reach out with your mind for anything that could help you. At the same time, I was concentrating on your predicament, and somehow you picked up on what I was thinking in order to save yourself. That's… not something that's happened to me before. It's quite interesting."
Zoisite didn't say anything. He just thought about that, the look in his emerald eyes growing distant, and Kunzite took that opportunity to make his exit.
He didn't leave his room at all the rest of the day, or the night, or clear up to early the next evening. He had spent that time doing some deep thinking and soul-searching.
There was a decision he had to make, after all, but either choice was bad in some way. It was overwhelming.
Then Zoisite knocked on his door and forced him to choose.
Though he'd never been anywhere near Kunzite's private chambers ever before, the time was running short, and Zoisite still had no idea as to what his sensei was doing. He was beginning to worry about what was happening with his future.
So he stood outside the door. Too scared to knock, he instead called gently through the door. "Kunzite-sama? What's going on?"
A sigh. "Come in, Zoisite. The door isn't locked."
With a creak, the boy tentatively opened the way in and entered, as quietly as he could, gently closing the door behind him. The white-haired man was seated at a desk -- this room appeared to be laid out similar to that of a study, complete with stacks of papers and books. An open doorway at the end of the room led into the bedchambers. There was an armchair against one wall, made out of a stonelike Dark Kingdom resource that was surprisingly soft and pliable. A single but rather bright lamp in a corner illuminated the room. In effect, this suite, though slightly larger, was not much more grandiose than his own. He suddenly realized just how hospitable Kunzite had been to him, offering him such quarters, and smiled a little inside.
Kunzite turned around to face his student, his face grave. He stood up from his chair and laid his papers down.
"I've been reviewing your various test scores and lessons, and…" Zoisite's eyes were shining beautifully as he listened in anticipation, and Kunzite knew that he had made the right choice, at least from his viewpoint, "I think that you should go. I think you could handle it."
To his surprise, however, the lovely face fell at his words.
"Isn't that good?"
"But…" Zoisite paused, "…you won't be going with me, will you." It was not a question.
"No." That would most definitely not be what he wanted. The major influence in his decision for Zoisite to go was that he didn't think he could live and be prosperous while fighting off his powerful attraction to his pupil. Going with him would be completely foolish.
Zoisite looked away. "I'm sorry."
"For what?" That was not a reaction Kunzite had expected.
"I don't know, but it must be something I've done for you to not want to be my teacher anymore."
"No, no, Zoisite, that's not it. I think…"
The smaller's breathing rate was accelerating, becoming more and more anguished. When he spoke, his voice was higher-pitched than normal, and his words came out faster. "You think nothing, Kunzite-sama. You think nothing. You know as well as I that I may have potential, but I've been training under you for less than half a year, and before that nothing I did had any worth on my abilities now. I'm not prepared to go out on my own, I know I'm not, and so I know you must be upset with me somehow if you're turning me away. I'm sorry; please, let me know what I did. Please?"
"It isn't anything except that you're too good to remain a student forever. Really. I think…"
"Kunzite-sama," he was very nearly crying at this point, "I'm scared. I don't want to go out on my own; not without you there to instruct me."
Exasperated, the tall man reached out to grasp his student's shoulder and look him in the eye. "I can't go with you, Zoisite. I can't."
He opened his mouth to reply, but before he did he noticed a psychic probing at his mind; the boy was obviously trying the same trick as he'd done during their conference with Beryl. And Kunzite couldn't let that happen. The incriminating thoughts greatly occupying his mind would show, painful but undeniable. That would be the worst thing that he could subject Zoisite to finding out. So instead, he pushed his student and walked away, facing the blank wall perpendicular to his desk and extending a hand to press against the board, lowering his head miserably.
There were no other options he could think of; he couldn't bear to hurt the boy like this, subjecting him to blaming himself. And maybe, just maybe, being honest with the boy might scare him off.
"You want to know the truth, then? All right. Here it is." Looking only at the wall, his back to the other, he began to speak, in a very quiet but audible monotone.
"Zoisite, I'm very sorry, but I'm very much physically attracted to you. No, not just physically; I'm attracted to you on every level that I can think of. Okay? Just your nearness drives me insane, and I've managed so far to control myself, but it would make things a whole lot easier on me if you were far, far away. And I'm sure that you could receive a better education from someone who is not so infatuated with your every move that the majority of his thoughts lie there rather than with how to improve your skill. I know I'm being selfish, sending you away to solve my problem, but I know you could do well, and I know you could be something incredible someday. All right? There you have it. My dirty little secret, out in the open. I just hope you won't go spreading it around; I hope you would respect me that much."
Shocked, the boy stared at his teacher's broken form for a few moments, his breathing shallow, his jaw slightly slackened. Finally, he whispered, "Kunzite-sama…"
"This is breaking me, Zoisite," Kunzite muttered, "I've always thought myself invulnerable to desires, but you are making me feel like I've lost part of my identity. I can't stand that."
"Kunzite-sama," Zoisite repeated, just as softly, wonderingly, "you could have told me this before. I could have handled it."
Straightening, the warrior turned around and looked at the youth with pained eyes, vulnerable despite his assertions otherwise. "No. You're disgusted, I know you are. I am, for feeling like this. I'm sure I'm nauseating you, that I could be… that I could be such a freak, such a deviate, and though I don't claim to be anything else, I'm sorry to make you endure this."
His student swallowed hard, his eyes blurry. "No, you're not. You're not."
"I am." The self-loathing was still there, deep in Kunzite's sterling eyes, the look completely out of place with his usual persona.
"No! Kunzite-sama, I feel the same way!" Small tears trickled down his face, but Zoisite made no move to wipe them away as he made his declaration as forceful as possible. "That's why I don't to leave you; I couldn't stand to leave you! I…"
"Zoisite…" He knew with a sudden certainty what the younger was going to say, and so Kunzite walked forward quickly to place his right forefinger on Zoisite's lips, but it was too late to stop what was coming.
"I love you, Kunzite-sama… please don't leave me; I love you…"
This had stop. "Don't say that!"
"It's true, I do; please, you're so kind, so gentle, so wise, so handsome; you're the only one who's ever cared about me, who's ever made me feel special, and…"
Unacceptable. This was something that he refused to hear, because he knew that this could break his resolve. With only the intention of quieting the boy on his mind, Kunzite reached out both hands to take Zoisite's shoulders and shake him.
However, when he jerked, the sobbing young man took a step forward, stumbling to maintain his balance, and in doing so, lifted his face to the taller's, his lips brushing against Kunzite's cheek.
Neither later was positive as to who had moved to compromise this position, but somehow one of them -- or both -- moved slightly, and this awkward embrace turned into a passionate, mouth-to-mouth kiss, fueled by the emotion of the moment, by their mutual pent-up desires, and by something that approached desperation.
After some time, they parted, breathless, and horribly disorganized -- Zoisite's hair loose and his jacket on the floor, Kunzite's jacket still on but unbuttoned, his cape on a level with Zoisite's top, both filled with something akin to dizziness in their eyes as they stared at each other. The elder had one hand on the younger's hip and the other pressing against his mid-back, while the younger had both arms up and around Kunzite's shoulders.
Slowly regaining his breath, Kunzite broke his gaze away and turned his head sharply to one side. "I'm sorry," he whispered, closing his eyes, "I won't do that again."
"Kunzite-sama…" the boy murmured, not wanting to speak too much lest he'd lose the taste from his mouth, and nuzzled his neck.
"I... one kiss. That's as far as this can go. I…" he broke off as he felt another surge of desire washing over him, and in reaction he pushed away from the closeness.
"I love you." He was pleading and knew it.
"That's not going to work, Zoisite."
The feeling in those exquisite eyes was obvious. "I will always love you, and no matter what you say I know you love me too. You told me so, though in not so many words, but I know you do."
"I can't!" Kunzite shouted, and Zoisite flinched back. "I can't. Don't tell me that I do, and don't tell me that you do. You don't understand. You're a child; you haven't lived for uncountable years here in the Darkness like I have. You don't understand that love, that affection, that anything here besides tolerance and hatred is completely pointless! We live in a world of madness, Zoisite, a world that will swallow you whole and consume your very being if you let it. To open yourself to another here, to make yourself vulnerable, to willfully chisel through your shields enough so that you will care for someone besides yourself is absolutely crazy!
"You have no idea how long and how hard I've worked to make myself invincible, and I don't need an upstart child with a silly notion to destroy that! Don't tell me you love me, Zoisite, because love is pointless, is detrimental, is absolutely insane. If you must, tell me you desire me. Tell me you lust after me. Tell me you want me physically, that you want us to screw ourselves completely silly together, but don't say you want more than that. Don't."
Zoisite turned his back. "So I'm a fool, am I? I'm crazy for loving you. I'm sorry for my foolishness, then; I'm sorry you had to be saddled with teaching an idiot. I'm sorry."
Kunzite reached out a hand, not knowing exactly what he intended to do, but knowing he had been too harsh just then and seeking a way to comfort, but Zoisite shied away.
"It's all right, Kunzite-sama. I've heard it all my life. I've never fit in anywhere, and if that's what you want, I can continue to hide my feelings for you. I've hidden myself all my life, you know. Growing up as a small boy on earth I had to hide my powers and my sexual preferences or be subject to treatment as a freak. In Her Majesty's Academy, I had to still suppress both or end up beaten for showing up or grossing out my so-called teachers. But I thought… I thought that even if I kept my attraction to you under wraps, you still were forgiving enough to let me be closer to myself than I'd ever been. And if I were allowed to love you… if I could love you I could be completely be who I am. But it's okay. I'm used to hiding myself, to losing myself in secrets."
"You could have been describing my childhood," the tall man muttered to himself sadly in his dark, deep voice. "Zoisite, please. Look at me."
The lovely face was blotchy with tears, and that pained Kunzite all the more. "I don't mean to hurt you. I don't. I just have fought with myself for so long, and I feel like if I succumb to you," he reached out again, but instead of putting his hand on Zoisite's shoulder, he gently traced his fingers over a wet satin-skinned cheekbone, "then I lose the battle. You may have been alone all your life, but I've been alone longer than you have, because I've lived so much longer."
"But Kunzite-sama… if I'm with you, you won't have to be alone…"
He'd never known that solitude was lonely until he'd met someone he wanted to be with, but now, endless isolation seemed so, so trying.
They looked at each other a moment, Zoisite's tears drying as Kunzite's willpower was fighting a losing battle not to disappear. Then they both sighed, deeply and simultaneously, and looked at each other again, which set off a fit of laughter in both parties.
That was enough. He didn't think he'd laughed like that in decades.
"I'm not making you any promises," Kunzite said, when his chuckling had ceased, but he reached out to pull Zoisite close and kiss him again. The younger complied to this motion, and eagerly yielded when his hand was yanked in the direction of the open door.
"One time. That's all," Kunzite murmured softly to Zoisite's sleeping form, stretched out on its side and pressing against him gently, held in his arms. The other awoke at the sound.
"Oh, Kunzite-sama, I'm afraid it's already too late for that," he smiled, and closed his eyes again at the thought.
"You know that's not what I mean," he chided affectionately, and kissed the boy's forehead, softly stroking his hair.
Realizing what Kunzite had said, Zoisite froze. "Even now, Kunzite-sama, you're pushing me away?"
He wriggled from his lover, sitting upright, looking a small occupant of a very large bed, looking out of very large, very innocent eyes. Kunzite sat up also and reached across the mattress.
"Zoisite, I don't know. I'm trying my best to be logical, and my logical mind tells me that I quite possibly committed the greatest mistake I'll ever make last night. Now, if you go right now I'll miss you terribly, as I know now I would have anyway had we not spent the night together, but if you stay with me I know you'll have to live with the accusations that you slept your way up, anytime you receive a promotion. That's not a nice reputation to have."
"Since when does nice matter in this Kingdom?" the green-eyed boy asked.
He had a point. "Well, if it doesn't bother you…"
"I love you."
Kunzite sighed. "Please, don't say that. If you must feel it, if you must think it, if you must believe it, then do. But don't say it. It's dangerous to acknowledge."
"Well, I do."
He had to change this line of conversation. "Tell me what you want, Zoisite."
Zoisite giggled. "Well, let me think. I did tell you last night was my first time, didn't I? I'm not all that well-versed in…"
"I mean, do you want to stay or to go?" Silly, adorable thing. That bit of knowledge had been a bit disconcerting, but he had decided with very little deliberation that the boy had to learn sometime.
"I want to stay with you…"
"Don't you see, though? It could cost you your career!"
"But if I leave you, it will cost me everything that I want."
Kunzite was nothing if not a logical man, and that reasoning was something not even his most rational sensibilities could argue with.
Beryl turned her sunset gaze to them as they entered her court, and spoke one word. "Well?"
"Queen Beryl-sama," Kunzite greeted as confidently as he could, "I have a question to ask of you."
She narrowed her eyes at the crystal ball in front of her, then looked directly at her strongest warrior. "Ask."
"I was researching the youma rebellions from the reports given by the officers there, and it is, as you must be aware of, becoming quite bloody."
"That is not a question, Kunzite. Your point being?"
Zoisite cast a frightened glance over at his teacher. He hadn't heard any of this; Kunzite definitely hadn't done his research while he was around. And there was a different tone in Kunzite's low-pitched voice, one that made him infinitely alert.
"I believe that my student would benefit the Dark Kingdom's armies greatly. However, I have not had the opportunity to train him for any position of leadership, and I believe putting him in the regular battalions would be useless."
"Therefore, Queen Beryl-sama, I request that the mission of putting down the rebellions be assigned to me, so I may be allowed to demonstrate the proper etiquette and demeanor necessary of a Dark Kingdom field commander. I believe that this would be expedient on multiple levels -- it would allow me to give my student hands-on training, as well as to ensure the quick defeat of those causing the kingdom problems."
The red queen nodded thoughtfully. "That it would, Kunzite. I agree with your thinking. However, I do not understand why you see that an officer of your status is required to go away from his home in order to merely teach a point and to do something that is more along the lines of a task requiring a much more junior officer. It would be possible that I could get either Jadeite or Nephrite to be the one to teach your student; he may need to meet them anyway, and then you would have no need to inconvenience yourself."
He didn't even pause, or look at anything but his monarch's orange eyes. "If it pleases you, your majesty, I would prefer I went."
"Kunzite-sama…" Zoisite whispered softly, the same way and in the same tone he had used when Kunzite first touched him intimately, but Kunzite had too much self-discipline to acknowledge that he had heard. Beryl, fortunately, hadn't caught that the boy had said anything.
"And do you have a reason for wanting to do something so foolish?"
Foolish indeed… "It is what I think is best," he said simply, and finally spared Zoisite the briefest, most imperceptible of glances that seemed to the both of them to last an eternity when their eyes met.
Though Beryl read this look incorrectly, thinking it a teacher's look of reassurance rather than a lover's of affection, she still understood the underlying fact: that her highest warrior didn't want to leave his young student.
And, she had to admit, it would not be entirely stupid. This revolt was certainly draining her units, and Kunzite had always been good at cleaning up the Kingdom's messes..
"Very well," she said with a dismissal wave, "I want to hear of your success as quickly as possible."
Bowing, they both teleported away as hurriedly as possible.
"You did that… for me…?"
Kunzite looked around at the black walls of the hallway in his castle before turning to his student. "I chose what I did because I had researched the battles, and found that they were going very badly. If you would have gone alone, chances were you could have ended up killed. So yes, I suppose I did that for you."
"Oh." Zoisite looked to the ground. "Is that all."
"Of course not." The white-haired man reached out a hand to ruffle white-gloved fingertips through the other's golden bangs.
The boy thought a moment. "I thought you said, though, that I should have gone alone."
"That was before I received the final report on the battle conditions. Even if you'd agreed to go without me, I would have stopped you. Didn't you see me pick up the message and read it just before we left?"
In truth, he had been too busy fantasizing about what had happened to notice anything minor like that -- he had barely noticed when they teleported and ended up in Beryl's antechamber.
"Oh," he repeated, trying to look like he remembered. Kunzite chuckled and reached down to tilt Zoisite's head back, tracing his fingers over his lover's jaw.
"But I will freely admit that I would have never suggested to go with you if I were still too paranoid to touch you like this."
The emerald eyes closed as their owner enjoyed this gentle caress. When Kunzite moved his hand away, Zoisite, eyes still shut, reached to take the other's hand and put it back up to his face.
"Why is that?" he murmured.
Kunzite hesitated, thinking. "I don't know. I don't know what it is about you, I don't understand it, and I know that it's ridiculous, but I…"
He stopped, and bent to kiss his student for a moment, then pulled back and regarded the look in the boy's eyes, which glowed with happiness. That twisted something within him and shot pangs of something warm through his chest, but he ignored them, pulling the smaller form even closer.
"But I like it."
The wise response was to not say anything to that, but Kunzite didn't mind when the whisper reached his ears, though he pretended he not to hear it.
They held each other for a moment, then Zoisite lifted his head to regard the taller.
"Don't we need to get going? There's a battle out there that needs to be fought, and we're the ones who need to be there to fight it, you know."
Author's Notes: Well, that is the end, but there is a very strong chance for a sequel. The Kunzite/Zoisite "first meeting" to the "unrequited longing" to the "aww… now they're in love" stories are always my favorite, no matter how many times the subject's been done. How easy it is... to meet, then in just a few pages, wind up in bed together, usually after only a little bit of angst and soul-searching, if any. But I love 'em, I do.
And really, what interests me most is Kunzite's involvement in their origins together-- after all, Zoisite wouldn't give a relationship a second thought, as he's impulsive, controlled by his emotions, and infatuated with the high king. Said high king, however, is as cold and calculating as they come. He'd know that involving oneself in a romance would have more cons than pros. So why would he put himself in such a dangerous position?
Hence the story's title. If there is a sequel, I'm certain it will be called "For You". That's all I know.
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