Pairing: Sakumoto, Aimiya, (hints of past(?)Ohmiya and Matsumiya and Juntoshi? (but... well... you'll get it, when you read it. It's not a love triangle (promise!!) or anything, it's rather plot-relevant)
Rating: up to R
Genre: AU, romance, fantasy (There are no vampires or alike. It's more like a fairytale meets our world meets romance meets Nino in a tight gothic-like outfit)
Plot: When you have no other place to visit and lost all your hope, you'll go to a mysterious, little shop. Dealing with hopes and dreams and with his protector Ninomiya at his side, Jun keeps his real identity a secret, constantly on the run. No one knows who he is, what he runs from and where he comes from. One unfortunate day though a young doctor demands his services, asking for a piece of sunshine. It's the beginning of something... like the ticking sound of a clock you can't turn back...
Note: This whole story was inspired by yukitsubute writing me a message: *grumble* it's raining. - with my answer: Buy us some sunshine then :D
When Sho thinks about Jun, his heart clenches and his stomach twists. He was surprised first when he woke up and found his bed empty, seeing Jun’s stuff gone. Actually it wouldn’t be something to be upset about, because… well… Jun has a job after all, but something inside Sho was suddenly on alert. Like his alarm bells went off. He loosely remembered their little exchange in the middle of the night and how Jun kissed him, and suddenly his heart hurt.
He doesn’t know Jun for long, but it feels like he has known him forever. Somehow he got so used to him and so used to holding him in his arms that it felt weird not having him around. His kind words sometimes wrapped into piercing little comments, his warm arms, the way he could comfort Sho without words, how he was just there and understood, their little bickering and his cute flirting, his hot touches when they had sex. It was gone all of a sudden.
Suddenly Sho feels lonely.
Sho had believed they would need a spell or enter some mysterious circle that teleports them to this mysterious world of Jun and Nino, but it’s nothing alike. “Jun and I can wander between the worlds anytime, but as you are humans we need to get through a gate,” Nino explains casually after he has dragged them to Tokyo first. “Tiny towns do not have a gate,” he continues.
The gate as Nino referred it to is located in Yoyogi part. “I always thought this place is really mysterious,” Aiba states.
Right after they pass Meiji shrine, Nino pulls them to the restrooms. He hands both of them a bag. “Go and change your clothes,” he tells them. “You can’t run around in jeans and alike. We need to disguise you well enough or someone might get suspicious.”
“Are humans forbidden in your world?” Sho asks.
“To be honest, up to now no one ever brought a human along,” Nino admits. “There is no real rule for it, but we better not take any risk.”
Sho nods and hurries to one of the cabins. Nino has put a tight black trouser into the bag, so tight that Sho feels like he is putting on a second skin. Is this one of Jun’s? How does he even breathe in these? Then there is sleeveless dark-red vest with filigree golden ornaments gracing it and a long-sleeved off-white shirt with golden buttons down the sleeve. Sho isn’t quite sure how to put this stuff on, but he assumes first the shirt then the vest? The last piece is a longish frock coat with the same ornaments on the collar and sleeves. It’s more casual then the rest of the clothes and out of cord. Still Sho feels crazily overdressed. Once he steps out of the restroom he sees Masaki with a similar embarrassed and confused expression. Much to Sho’s relief he is also looking slightly overdressed, just the choice of colours resembles natural and earthen colours more. His frock coat is shorter and dark green, and his vest brown. The ornaments are thicker than the ones on Sho’s clothes and not as fragile. He looks good. If Nino was the one choosing his clothes, he really understood Aiba’s beauty well.
“Not happy with the shoes,” Nino points out once he checked on them. “But I couldn’t find any fitting ones so fast.”
Nino himself is clad in black, rather stretchy but tight material and laced boots. Sho assumes it’s basically his everyday clothes. Nino said he is a warrior after all, and he probably can move well in these clothes.
“Let’s go to the gate,” Nino commands.
The gate is not a real one as it seems. Sho was hoping for a mysterious gate appearing out of nowhere, but it’s nothing alike. They only pass a guard Nino greets casually, probably someone from his world, walk towards a forest, and suddenly it feels like light is covering them. Sho closes his eyes for a moment, when he opens them again, he is standing on a market place.
“Oh my god,” he mumbles.
There are quite some people looking at the stands and shopping, and Sho finally understands the clothes. Everyone looks like they do. The houses are built in baroque style, there are pillars and cupolas with rich exaggerated ornaments. When he secretly looks through a window though to eye the inside he realizes it’s not as pompous inside as he feared it would be. It seems to be darker and more narrowed inside. It’s like baroque and Victorian era had a baby – and this is it.
“You can look around later,” Nino tells them. “First we need to find Jun.”
“How will we find him?” Aiba asks while they follow Nino through the masses of people. The towns seem to be a lot smaller and Sho realizes that most people walk by foot, some on their horses. After a few minutes they reach a calmer area with huge houses and big gardens in front of them. It has to be the noble quarter of the town.
“We’ll visit Shun-sama,” Nino explains.
The further away from the town they get, the more uncomfortable Sho feels. Within masses of people they can easily hide but at the moment it seems like they are presented on a silver plate. Sometimes people on their horses pass them, looking at them in confusion and through questioning eyes, but Nino ignores them, not even looking at them.
He only stops when they reach a beautiful villa right next to a forest.
“You, what are you looking at, never seen three persons walking a path before?” Nino huffs when they pass the guards who eye them in open surprise.
One of the guards blushes and shifts nervously. “But they are humans.”
“Really?” Nino frowns. “And I thought they were ducks!”
Sho watches in amazement. Up to now he hasn’t met anyone who could be so cheeky and sarcastic yet been taken so seriously at one time. They pass the further guards without any other complaints or inquiries, and Sho is beyond relieved. He is already so taken aback by his surroundings that he is sure he wouldn’t be able to voice even one coherent sentence. He has never felt so much out of place in his life before. He feels like everyone is looking at him, like people are actually hiding in their houses and pulling their curtains in front of their windows. He knows this is silly because they have hardly passed any inhabited areas after they left the town – Nino has brought them straight to Shun’s place.
The first person they meet that is not a guard is a young beautiful woman with long black hair and almost transparent skin, dressed in a black corset and a long grey skirt. “Ninomiya-sama,” she says in surprise.
“Mao-sama!” Nino answers with a half-hearted smile before he turns towards Sho and Nino. “This is Jun’s older sister.”
“What?” Aiba blinks. “Really?”
Sho tries to concentrate and look at Mao to see any resemblance between her and Jun. His heart clenches slightly when he thinks of Jun and about where he is and what might have happened to him. “Nice to meet you,” he finally says.
Her smile is strained but she bows politely.
“Mao-sama,” Nino continues. “Would have inherited the throne, but refused. She is also the main-reason why Shun-sama would probably never attack Jun.”
“Is she his wife?” Sho asks, and Nino nods.
Mao’s interest seems to be awakened though as she suddenly approaches them. “What’s with Jun?” she asks. “Is he alright?” She looks past them expectantly only to sigh in disappointment. “He isn’t with you?”
“Why…” Aiba mumbles. “Why do you all want to meet him but no one comes to visit or tries whole-heartedly.”
“Yes,” Nino agrees quietly. “That’s the question of the day.”
Mao looks away, her white cheeks flushed slightly. “It’s difficult,” she says. “Everything. And I couldn’t become the next queen.”
“Why not?” Nino wants to know.
“I’m just not fit,” she says quietly. “You know that. It’s just more convenient for you if I would have agreed. But he fits a lot better, you know that.”
Nino doesn’t answer to her words much to Sho’s surprise. Apparently she has said something that stirred something inside him. Once she told them were to find Shun and leaves them, he decides to ask. “What did she mean? I mean… who is he? Jun?”
Nino shrugs, but he looks kind of sad. “We need to go and find Shun-sama,” he says instead, leaving Sho with at least one hundred questions.
“He is working,” Mao tells them. “You’ll find him in his study.”
Just as Mao told them Shun is indeed in the study. He is black-haired guy with surprisingly calm and kind face. There is another person with him though, someone Sho knows pretty well. The weird dude who waited for Sho in front of the hospital. The day couldn’t possible become worse.
“You?” Toma says in surprise. “The guy that yelled at me?”
In place of Sho Nino frowns. “Well, if that isn’t the guy who dropped by to badmouth Jun-sama.”
“Hey,” Toma huffs. “You have no idea what’s going on in this country since you left.”
“True,” Nino admits quietly. “But this doesn’t give anyone the right to chase after Jun.”
Toma sighs, and he looks weirdly tired. Sho assumes that life for him and some of the others is pretty difficult at the moment. “Is there something you need? And a reason for bringing humans along”
“Yes,” Nino says and turns towards Shun. “You requested Jun’s services?”
“What?” Toma laughs. “Don’t be ridiculous!” When Shun remains quiet, Toma’s laugh subsides and he is earnest all of a sudden. “Shun-kun, why? It’s against our goals to get him back to ask for his services.”
“I needed it for Mao-san,” Shun explains quietly. “Jun-sama was my last resort.”
Nino shoves Toma aside, ignoring his glare. “Did you ask for a piece of a star?”
Shun looks at him for a long while. His eyes are tired looking and his face a bit pale. He doesn’t look like a bad guy. “Did something happen?”
“So, you did ask for it?” Nino bites down on his lips. “Damn it, I hoped it would be a mistake from my side and you wanted something else.”
“Why?” Toma asks all of a sudden. “Okay, a piece of a star is difficult to obtain, yes, and expensive, but-“
“Oh dear,” Nino rolls his eyes. “Don’t you guys know? The High Castle cut all supplies for stars and moons and alike.”
Toma frowns. “Are you serious?”
“Yes, they knew that eventually someone would ask for it, and that Jun would be in need for a it then. What will he do once he needs a piece of a star?”
Shun and Toma share a look of surprise, both of them looking appalled. “Damn,” Toma finally curses. “If that’s true they indeed went too far. It’s forbidden to cut down resources.”
Shun nods and grasps Nino’s arm. “Ninomiya-san, Jun didn’t go to the castle. If you believe, he went to them to ask for a piece of star in exchange of his freedom, you are wrong.”
“Yes,” Toma agrees hastily. “If he had returned, we would know it! Immediately!”
For a while it’s silent, uncomfortably so, and something inside Sho’s stomach clenches. It hurts so much that he has to gasp for air. Nino spins around in surprise. “What is it?”
“Sho-kun?” Aiba asks carefully, touching Sho’s arm. “Are you alright?”
“There is something off,” Sho mumbles. “It hurts so much. I swear, I have a feeling. Jun is in danger.”
“Damn it,” Toma huffs all of a sudden, making Aiba jump slightly. “If the public and the High castle find out that he is in danger or if something happens to him, it’s going to be like a civil war.”
“But, why?” Aiba asks in surprise. “I don’t understand anything anymore. Didn’t everyone want to capture him in the first place? Why do they bother if he is in danger or not?”
“He is still a prince, an important figure to this country.” Shun explains. “And the ordinary people like him. He has always been there for them.”
Nino nods bitterly. “He never sends away a customer, remember? He doesn’t take money if his customer doesn’t have any. Sometimes he trades promises and alike. It’s his number one credo to never send an honest customer away, and it’s also the reason he even is in trouble now.”
Sho and Aiba nod.
“He has always helped the ordinary people. His gift isn’t the only reason the High Castle wants him to return. Just see the voting for the next king as a popularity vote. You need someone popular at your side to win.”
“Seriously,” Aiba huffs. “I could throw up at all of this.”
Nino blinks in surprise, then a rare warm smile curls around his lips. “Yes,” he says softly. “Me too.”
Shun accompanies them outside. By the way his eyes are squinted and judging the obvious tension in his movements, and the way he hurries, Sho can guess he is pretty nervous and appalled.
“You need to find him, Ninomiya-sama,” Shun mumbles.
Nino sighs. “I know, the country will be instable otherwise.”
“It’s not the only reason for me,” Shun argues. “But I’m also married to his sister, and it was my request that made him do something reckless. Also, I know he is a good guy.”
“Seriously?” Nino asks bitingly sarcastic.
“Yes,” Shun answers earnestly. “Seriously. He could have sent me away after all the problems we gave him, but instead he decided to help me. I’ll never forget that.”
Nino bites down on his lips for a moment. Sho assumes there are a lot of things he could say now or argue, but he probably holds them back because Shun honestly voiced his sentiment.
“Where did he go to?” Aiba asks all of a sudden. “Where will he be looking first?”
For a moment Shun and Nino exchange an inscrutable glance. Then Nino sighs deeply. “The place I hoped I would never need to return to.”
“The High Castle?” Sho asks.
“No, I wished it was the castle.” Nino’s eyebrows are furrowed, his eyes looking almost pained. “We need to visit Ohno-sama.”
“You think he really went to him?” Shun asks quietly.
“I think that the High Castle is the last place he would go to,” Nino explains, his voice vibrating slightly. Sho is sure he is nervous. He just doesn’t know why. Because of meeting Ohno or because of where Jun could have gone to next? “So before he goes to the High Castle he would even visit Ohno. Even though he dreads visiting him.”
“And then?” Shun asks, eyes shifting around nervously. “What if Ohno-sama sent him away in hopes he would go to the High Castle then?”
Nino stops his movements for a moment, staring at the ground for a long while. “No.” He finally shakes his head. “I just hope he is still at Ohno-sama’s place. I don’t want to imagine anything else.
Cold water gets splashed over him, and brings him back to consciousness again. They have interrogated him for what seems like hours, and whenever he was about to just drift away, they got him back by using ice-cold water or their fists. At one point however their efforts seemed to be useless as Jun wakes up alone in a cell and assumes they weren’t able to keep him awake.
His eyelids feel heavy when he wakes up. It’s like someone kicked him in his stomach several times. His body aches when he sits up, and it remembers him that they indeed did hit him several times. Around him its pitch-black, there is hardly any light coming into his cell, except from the moon far away.
He blinks slightly when the door gets opened all of a sudden and the heavy-armoured guards come back inside. One of them reaches out his hands and grabs his collar. For a moment Jun thinks they are going to beat him up again, but they don’t. Instead the guy grins slyly, pulls him up his feet and drags him along. Something inside Jun’s stomach tugs, the ground beneath him shaking slightly. In fear, what they are going to do to him.
A/N: I'm late again. I was out on Friday night, and later too tired to post ^^
So, Jun is in danger! And Nino&co try to find him. Next they will stop at Ohno's place...