Title: Limiter
A sequel to Strange Allergy
Author: Kyoko_godaikun aka sentaikat
Pairing: Akame, Junda
Genre: A/U Angst
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I do not own Kat-Tun. Wish I did. But I do own the concepts of the Gotsu Empire and the Miyagi Empire.
Note: This takes place in the far future.
Note 2: this is simply a love story with no war.
Note 3: This story is weird.

Summary: Maru is fighting very hard to keep his sanity. But has his efforts to save his mind, actually make him loose it?

Note: Limiters is a concept I borrowed from Terry Nations' Blake's Seven

 

Maru had stopped trying to think. It seemed like long ago when he had been allowed to think. But thinking only brought back the memories. The screams of pain haunted his mind. There was something in his mind that made his brain hurt. But always, the pain was there.

He was in a hospital. He wasn't sure what kind of hospital. He didnít' ask, asking meant that he would have to think. Instead, he just sat there. Almost like a doll. Staff would move him around, dress him, and clean him. Sometimes feed him. Doctors came, talking to him. Hooking him up to yet another scanner. Then the doctors would go, and leave him alone.

So Maru sat in a chair. He was outside. The staff had brought him outside. To get some sun. He was looking pasty again. The rays of the planets two suns would make him look tan again. Look healthy.

"Donít' think, don't think." he told himself over and over.

Sometimes his brothers came to visit. Jin hadn't visited for days. It was for the best. Jin made him laugh. Every time he laughed, he thought, the flashbacks came.

"Hi Maru," His brother Junno came into view.

Maru looked at him, but didn't talk.

"How are you doing?" Junno asked.

"Don't think, don't think." he told himself. But the look on Junno's face was so hopeful that Maru had to say something. "I am fine."

"That's good." Junno sat beside him, he took Maru's hand. "Are you feeling any better?"

Maru knew he shouldnít' talk, that if he did the flashbacks would come. But this was Junno, his precious little brother. The one that he promised to protect. The one in a fit of madness he had beaten.

"I feel better when I don't think." Maru tried to explain. "What is wrong?"

"I'm in love." Junno told him. "Is it all right for me to be in love?"

"Yes, of course."

"I sometimes get so sick when I'm with him." Junno told him. "But love makes you that way, I guess."

"Who do you love?"

"Prince Ueda," The look on Junno's face was so wonderful. His brother, his little brother had finally found happiness.

Suddenly the flash back came. No matter what Maru did, he couldn't stop it once it had started.

He was in a cell on Gotsu Prime. He could remember Shikayko gloating about the limiter she had placed in his mind. "Your limiter will be programmed to always remember what we're going to do to Prince Uchi."

The scene shifted, to an interrogation room. Shikayko was leading the interrogation herself. She loved watching men tortured. It turned her on. He had spent time in Shikayko harem. The way that she treated her husbands was inhumane. They were like toys to her. Toys that had to be punished constantly.

Maru was strapped to one interrogation table. His new limiter still hurt his mind. Uchi, his beautiful lover was on the other. Both tables were tilted in a way that they could see the other prisoner.

Don't make him watch," Uchi had begged. "It's my fault, all my fault. Don't force him to watch."

"It might be your fault," Shikayko gloated. "But Maru will watch. Not only that, when this is over. He will have the memories of your death implanted in his mind."

"How could you do that to him? He's your brother!"

"All Maru is a traitor!" Shikayko snapped. "When this is finished, he will be insane. A penalty better then death!"

Shikayko snapped. The torture machine was turned on. Then the sound that Maru would never get out of his mind began. The inhuman scream of Uchi as he was being tortured.

Once the flashback was over, Maru closed his mind off. Even to the point that he couldn't understand what Junno's voice said. He had learned to shut his mind off as a mediation skill. It had come in handy every time the three brothers were arrested. Now Maru hoped it saved his sanity.

"Don't think," He reminded himself. "It's better this way."

Maru knew that Junno would return to visit him. Junno still was so hopeful. Junno had been Maru's favorite brother. Before, before all this happened. Before the limiter was placed in Maru's mind and made him insane. When the three brothers were young and innocent, and hadnít' been corrupted in the ways of the universe.

**********************

Ueda and Junno had gone on a double date with Kame and Jin. But everything had gone terribly wrong. Jin had collapsed during the game. His face flushed red, his skin burning to the touch. Jin had been rushed to emergency surgery. It was found that he had a limiter implant.

Limiter, the word terrified Junno. Limiters were illegal, against all galactic conventions. They were able to limit the behavior of a person. It had been designed for criminals, but at one time had been given to entire planets populations as mind control. It had been a horrible time in history, when the second Earth Federation had implemented their limiter program. When the Earth Federation had finally been overthrown, the use of the limiter had been made illegal. Never again, was the vow of the people of the galaxy.

A limiter had been place inside the brain of his brother Jin. The doctors wanted to check Junno to see if he had one too. Junno and Ueda sat in the Doctor's office.

"I need to wait for my brother to wake up." Junno told Mr. Morita, the one who had done the surgery on Jin.

"He's been put in a drug induced coma that will last three day." Dr. Morita told him. "You have enough time to be checked before he wakes up."

Ueda looked at Junno. "If you have one of those things in you, you have to get it out."

"My brother tells me that you where convicted of crimes in the Gotsu Empire." Morita said.

"Your brother?" Junno repeated.

"My brother's Koki," Morita sounded like he couldn't believe his ears. "I'm your cousin."

"No one told me." Junno said, the thoughts of his brother blocking out almost everything else.

"Anyway, about these crimes, what were they?" Morita asked.

"What has that got to do with anything?"

"Since my father is Gotsu, I know that serious criminals are treated harshly by the empire."

"Don't worry Prince Junno, no one will tell." Ueda told him.

"I was convicted of being homosexual several times." Junno admitted. "The last time I was arrested was for treason."

"Treason?" Ueda gasped. "What did you do?"

"It was Maru who committed the crime." Junno tried to explain. "He fell in love with one of my mother's husbands. Unfortunately Prince Uchi loved him too."

"But why were you arrested?"

"Unit members share the same punishment." Junno told him. "Just as Prince Uchi's unit members were tortured to death for something Prince Uchi did."

"The Gotsu Empire probably wanted to make sure that the three of you never committed Treason again." Morita guessed. "So they had a limiter implanted in all three of you."

*******************

Junno was run through a series of tests. It was found he had a limiter. There was a slight risk that the limiter surgery might kill him. So Junno asked if he could visit Maru before the surgery.

He went to the hospital that Maru stayed at. He went every day. He had a feeling that somewhere inside the shell of a man was the real Maru. When they were arrested for the first time, Maru had learned a meditation technique to turn off the pain. Junno wondered if perhaps Maru had turned his brain off and forgotten how to turn it back on.

He found Maru sitting by a window, the chair moved so he could look out.

Junno pulled a chair up beside Maru's. "Itís really nice out today, isn't it?"

"Yes," Maru's voice sounded empty. Maru talked to Junno sometimes. The doctors really didn't believe that Maru could talk to Junno. But his brother did often.

"How are you feeling?"

"I do not feel." Maru said. "I exist."

"I wanted to tell you, that I might not visit for a few days." Junno told him.

"Why?"

"I must have some surgery. Nothing major." Junno lied.

"Get better soon," Suddenly Maru's face grew blank, then he gasped. "No, please don't."

Junno took Maru's hand. His brother was having a flashback, and there wasn't anything Junno could do to help. All this was Shikayko's fault. The only sibling of Junno's that resembled him. If he ever saw Shikayko again, he would make her pay for what she did to Maru.

************************

 

"Don't think," Maru told himself over and over. It was for the best he reminded himself. "Donít' think about Junno. He'll be all right."

Maru was very concerned about his brother. He knew there was more to Junno's story then just a simple surgery. But there was nothing he could do. No one he could ask. Instead he had to will himself not to think. It was harder this time, much harder. He kept seeing in his mind's eye. Junno on a medical bed, soon after the limiter had been planted in his mind. Junno looked so innocent, almost like he had when they were children. Junno and Jin didn't know they had limiters, they had been told it was a translation device. Maru knew, but couldn't tell them. His limiter preventing him.

"Donít' think," he repeated. But he thought, of the little brother. The one that always made Maru smile. The one that had such a bright future, if only he had been born a girl. Instead, he was destined to be given to a woman as a political marriage. It wasn't fair.

The Empress of Gotsu's decisions about how her youngest sons lived their lives wasn't also fair to Jin. He had been given a test when he was only three. It came back 'retarded." After that, Jin had been kept from learning. He because the test said he was retarded, it had been decided that he couldnít learn anything. The training he received was in bedroom techniques. The only reason Jin knew how to read and write was because Maru had taught him. Jin had never been allowed to use the teaching machines

Then the flashbacks came. These more severe then before. Reminding him again and again of his failures. How love only brought pain.

Finally, the flashbacks ended. Maru was finally able to close down his mind. To go back to the refuge of not being able to think.

"Hello Prince Maru." It was Koki. Once, his friend had told him he loved him. Maru couldn't remember how long ago that was. When he tried not to think, days lasted an eternity.

"Hello," Maru's voice sounded empty, hollow. A shell, that's all he was.

"Jin's in the hospital." Koki told him. "So is Junno."

The news of his brother's being in the hospital made Maru look at Koki. "My brothers?"

"The doctors found they had limiters placed in their brains." Koki told him. "Jin's malfunctioned."

"Is he all right?" it was hard for Maru to find the words.

"He's recovering." Koki paused. "Do you have a limiter?"

Maru couldn't answer. The limiter prevented him. It took all his strength to nod his head.

He could feel Koki's hands on the wheel chair, pushing him inside. Koki was going fast, too fast. Koki always went to fast. That was why Maru loved him. Koki was strong, Koki was brave. Koki was everything in a man that Maru loved. It was so easy to love Koki.

Maru had to stop thinking again. He couldn't love Koki. Not after what happened to Uchi. Maru knew that if he loved someone, that person would die. He didn't want Koki to die. He wanted Koki to hold him again, like their one time together. To hold him and make the pain go away. To love Maru as much as Maru loved him.

"Don't think!" he caught himself this time. "He told you he loved you long ago. He doesn't love you." Maru told himself. "Don't think, don't think."

He could hear Koki yelling for Dr. Morita. Maru could remember that Dr. Morita was Koki's older brother. Koki's voice sounded so concerned. Maru couldn't understand what Koki was saying, but he heard the emotion on his voice.

Maru knew that they where talking about him. He tried to blank his mind. Trying not to think, it hurt to think when he was around Koki. He always felt sick when he thought of his friend. His heart beating so quickly, his stomach feeling like he would throw up. That's what the limiter did when he felt love.

"Can't love, can't love." Maru said. "Can't think, don't think."

"Prince Maru, we need to give you a scan," Dr. Morita told him. "We need to see if what we thought was a translator is really a limiter."

Maru couldn't answer; he had shut down his brain. Instead, he felt hands on his wheelchair. Then lips so very gentle touched his.

"We'll get you well." Koki promised. "Then we'll be together. I never stopped loving you."

***********************

Jin had been the first one released from the hospital. He went to Maru's side. When he woke, he found that both his brothers were in the hospital. Junno had Prince Ueda waiting with him. The prince had ordered that he be left alone with Junno. He would be the one caring for Junno, no one else. .

So Jin stayed with Maru. The big brother who had always cared for him. Who had often broken the rules to make sure his brothers were cared for right. Maru had been the one that taught Jin the pleasures of reading. How a story could take Jin to another world.

Jin read to Maru. His brother had always loved hearing Jin read. He had been able to buy a copy of the fairy tale book Jin had loved as a child. He read the stories to Maru. Over and over he read the same stories. He knew Maru wouldn't mind. It was helping Jin practice reading, and Jin needed that practice.

Jin used to be jealous of the teaching machines. His brothers were allowed to use them, and to learn. Jin had wanted to learn. But he hadn't been allowed to. The experts had said that Jin couldn't learn. That he was retarded. His learning would never be above a third grade level, so why even bother teaching him?

Jin could still remember the day that Maru brought him a flimsy. Jin was only six when Maru began to teach him letters and numbers. Then Maru taught him words. Jin could never get his mind around kanji, but he learned how to read and write. Maru printed flimsy books for Jin. Jin treasured the books, reading them over and over until he had each memorized. Then Maru would make more for him, sometimes even writing him new stories.

Jin was ten when they had been caught. Maru had been punished. He was forbidden to make flimsies. The books that Jin treasured had been confiscated and destroyed.

Jin was the stupid one. The one that was only one step above a pleasures slave. Pleasure slaves didn't need to know how to read.

"Maru," Jin said after he read the same book to Maru for the tenth time. "I've been using the teaching machines since you've been in the hospital. I'm on them even longer then Junno." He explained. "They were wrong on Gotsu, I can learn."

Kame came into the room, he looked at Maru. "How's he doing?"

"I've been telling him how I'm learning." Jin told his boy friend. They weren't lovers, not yet, that would wait.

"Your brother's very smart," Kame told the unconscious Maru. "Did he tell you that they tested his intelligence after he had his limiter removed?"

"No, I haven't told him." Jin said. "Why should I? I'm retarded."

"Jin, you're a genius," Kame said. "You have a very high IQ."

"The tests on Gotsu said I could never get above a third grade level ever."

"What grade level are you on now in your studies?"

"I'll be graduating from high school next week," Jin told him.

"Jin, that usually takes most children twelve years to complete." Kame told him. "It's taken you almost six months. If that isn't being smart, I don't know what is."

**************************

Junno woke; he was in a hospital bed. He had expected to be alone when he woke; both his brothers were in the hospital. His lover couldnít be with him. That was the side effect of being in love with the crown Prince. Ueda was always busy at work.

Ueda was working on paperwork at the small desk against one wall. His lover had brought his work along with him.

He no longer felt slightly sick when he thought of Ueda. Instead, all he thought was happiness.

"Your highness," Junno finally said.

Ueda stopped what he was doing and went to Junno. "How are you feeling?"

"Better," Junno looked around. "How are my brothers?"

"Jin is all ready out of the hospital. I'm supposed to contact him when you wake." Ueda explained.

"What about Maru?"

"He has to have a week of enforced sleep." Ueda explained. "His limiter was placed more deeply in his mind then yours was."

"So he'll be better soon." It wasn't a guess, it was a hope. All he wanted was his brother to get well. To be how he used to be.

"I hope so." Ueda took his hand. "I want to talk to you about something, it's very important to me."

"What?"

"I've been thinking it's about time I get married." Ueda said softly.

"Oh I see," Junno looked away from Ueda.

"I love you," Ueda told him. "I would be honored if you would be my husband."

"We can't," Junno said softly.

"Why can't we?" Ueda asked. "Do you love me?"

"I love you more then my life," He said. "Have you talked to the Empress about this?"

"Of course I have!" Ueda told him. "She thinks you would be a great son in law."

"The Empress doesn't know about my crimes, does she?" Junno countered. "How could she agree to allow you to marry a criminal?"

"No, I haven't told her." He admitted. "When the time is right, I will tell her."

"This isn't a good time for us to get married." Junno said softly. "Perhaps later, when Maru is well, we might think of it."

"We will stay together, won't we?" Ueda asked.

"Of course," Junno smiled sadly. "You'll always be in my heart."

"I need to get back to the castle." Ueda kissed him. "I'll see you later today."

"Later," Junno watched Ueda leave. As soon as Ueda was out of sight, Junno turned his head and began to cry.

Junno had known the entire time that he had been lovers with Ueda that someday their relationship would end. Junno wasn't of the same social standing as Ueda. His lover was Crown Prince. Someday he would be emperor. When Ueda decided to get married, Junno knew that it couldn't be him. The public wouldn't stand the fact that a convicted criminal, a concubine would be Ueda's husband. He would have to be happy just being Ueda's lover.

*******************************

 

Maru woke. The pain in his head was gone. The dream, he had dreamed. It was a good dream. The dream is the thing that makes Maru realize that he is better. He didnt' dream when he had his limiter. Just flashback after flashback.

Junno, dear sweet Junno was sitting beside the bed. He was humming the song they used to sing as children. It seemed like the most natural thing on earth to sing along.

"Maru, you're finally awake." Junno looked concerned.

"How long have I been out?"

"A week." Junno told him. "You kept talking in your sleep. I guess you dreamt a lot."

"Yes, I dreamed." Maru reached up to his ear, to the familiar bump that was right behind it. All he found was smooth skin. "I don't understand." Maru gasped. "Where is my limiter?"

"It's been removed." Junno told him. "Dr. Morita found that it was programmed in a way to make you mentally ill. Your brainwaves triggered attacks."

"I thought that's what it was." Maru told him. 'So I had to make myself not think."

Junno pushed a button. A nurse came on the intercom and Junno told him that Maru was awake.

Dr. Morita came in a few minute later. "How are you feeling today?"

"My head no longer hurts." Maru told him.

"Does talking hurt your head anymore?" Dr. Morita asked.

"It wasn't talking that hurt my head." Maru tried to explain. "It was thinking. I had to try and force myself not to think."

"Since the limiter feeds on brainwaves. What you did probably saved your sanity."

"Will he be all right?ĒJunno asked.

"He should." Morita told him. "We'll give you a battery of tests to see if you're all right."

*********************

Junno and Jin were visiting Maru. It felt so good to have his brother's back. It was like a miracle that he could talk to them without his head hurting.

"How long have I been in the hospital?" Maru asked.

"Six months," Junno told him.

"It seemed like much longer," Maru admitted. "It was almost like hell, not being able to think." He decided to change the subject. "Okay, catch me up. Tell me what I missed."

"Junno's in love." Jin teased good natured.

"Jin! I told you not to tell him!" Junno blushed red. "Itís not like we're serious."

"Kame told me that Ueda asked you to marry him." Jin pointed out.

"I turned him down," Jin admitted.

"Why?" Maru asked. "Why not get married and be happy?"

"I can't marry him." Junno said softly. "Once the Empress finds out I'm a convict, she'll withdraw the permission."

"Do you want to marry him?"

"Of course I do!"

"Why don't you go to him? Perhaps the two of you could go to the empress?" Maru suggested. "Then you can explain to her about your convictions."

"What do you think?" Junno asked Jin.

"I agree with Maru, you deserve happiness." Jin decided. "Go to him."

"All right," Junno nodded. Then he left.

"What about you Jin," Maru looked at his brother, the one he always worried about.

"You're not going to believe this," Jin told him. "The doctors gave me an intelligence test after I had my limiter removed."

"Did the limiter make your intelligence get lower?" Maru had to make his brother feel better. "Not all of us can be smart...."

"You don't understand," Jin interrupted. 'The doctors say I'm not retarded."

"Well, if anyone had asked me, I could have told them that." Maru said. "There's nothing wrong with being average. I'm average."

"Maru, they say I'm a genius." Jin said softly. "I can go to college, make something of myself."

"You have to graduate from high school first." Maru pointed out gently.

"I've been working for six hours a day on the learning machines." Jin explained. "I'm set to graduate in two days."

"Wow," Maru could almost not believe his ears, but the earnest look on Jin's face made him realize his friend was telling the truth.

*************************

Junno went to Ueda's office. Koki was there, working security. Junno was nervous, very nervous. He had only been to Ueda's office once, when Ueda had shown him around the castle for the first time.

"Prince Junno," Koki stopped him. "I don't understand, you where going to stay with your brother while he recovered."

"Prince Maru ordered me to come here. He said I needed to talk to Prince Ueda, about a question he asked me."

"What do you mean he ordered?" Koki's eyes narrowed.

"He's awake," Junno told him. "Heís talking, without flashbacks. He's back to normal."

"I'll be right back." Koki went into the office.

Junno could hear Koki talking to Ueda very fast, excited. Then ran back into the main room. "He'll talk to you now." With that, Koki left.

"Where did he go?" Junno asked as he went into the office.

"Koki's gone to the hospital. Seems he wants to see Prince Maru." Ueda looked up from his work. "You needed to speak to me."

"My brother's better," Junno told him.

"That's nice." Ueda looked back down to his work.

"I see, I guess your question no longer stands. I was going to tell you yes." Junno gave a short bow. "Excuse me your highness." he went towards the door his heart breaking.

Junno barely got to the door, when Ueda ordered. "Wait." Junno turned to Ueda. His friend went to him. "Do you really mean yes?"

"If we can go to the Empress, and explain my convictions." Junno said. "If she gives her permission, then yes, I will marry you."

"Let's go right now," Ueda grabbed his hand and pulled him to the next office.

Junno followed Ueda faster then he would like. Ueda burst into the Empresses office.

The Empress looked up to him. "Did he agree?"

"Mother we have a small problem," Ueda said. "Junno, please explain."

"Your Majesty." Junno said. "I would be honored to marry Prince Ueda, but there are some things about me that might make you change your mind."

"What kind of things?" The Empress asked.

"The first thing is that I am co-husbands with my brothers." Junno said. "While this doesn't prevent me from getting married, the public might not like what they might consider a bigamist as Prince Ueda's husband."

"I see no problem with your co-husband arrangement." The Empress told him. "My brother in law is a member of a unit."

"That's not the bad part," Junno said. "I am a convicted criminal."

"What is the crimes you where convicted of?"

"I have been convicted of homosexuality many times." Junno paused. "I am also convicted of treason."

"What exactly did you do as treason?"

"My brother Prince Maru fell in love with one of my mother's husbands." Junno confessed. "On Gotsu, that is considered treason."

"So basically Mother, Prince Junno's been convicted of crimes that aren't illegal in the Miyagi Empire." Ueda told her. "Can we still have permission to marry?"

"Yes, you can." The Empress held up one hand. "I think the two of you need to have an engagement of at least six months. As your marriage will be a state marriage."

"Thank you," Ueda bowed. Junno also bowed.

**************************

"Can you remember any good memories of Prince Uchi?" Dr. Morita asked. It was about an hour after Junno had left.

"We used to play Sims together," Maru said. "Jin had this way of seducing the computers. He would make it so we might be in a war game, but where we were was peaceful. Uchi and I spent afternoons together. It was almost as if he didn't belong to my mother. We were free in the Sims. Sometimes, I didn't want them to end."

"How long were the two of you together?"

"It was only a year." Maru told him. "But that year was wonderful, full of memories I never want to forget."

"When I was scanning your brain the last time, I found that you have memories of someone implanted in your mind." Morita told him. "Do you know who they belong to?

"As part of my punishment, I was given a copy of Uchi's memories, his soul on the day he died." Morita said.

Do you want us to remove them?" Morita asked. "It would be fairly simple to have them removed."

"If I could, I would like to keep them." Maru said. "This might sound strange, but it feels like Uchi's alive within me."

"You mean soul sharing?"

Morita was surprised that Morita had heard of the belief of the Gotsu people. "Yes, soul sharing. This might sound crazy, but I feel as if he and I share the same soul. If you remove him from my mind, it would kill him again."

"I understand," Morita told him. "Remember my father came from Gotsu."

"How could I forget?" Maru smiled. "I want to ask you something."

"What's that?"

"I fell in love with someone before I got sick," Maru told him. "He's visited me before my surgery."

"You mean Koki?" The Doctor guessed.

"Yes, Koki." Maru looked down. "I still love Uchi. I don't think I'll ever stop loving him. But somehow Koki's come into my heart."

"So what's your question?"

"Is that normal?" Maru asked concerned. "For me to love Uchi, but love Koki too."

"Since you believe that Uchi lives inside of you, why don't you close your eyes and ask him."

Maru did as he was told. He closed his eyes. Then he thought; "Uchi, I will always love you. But I think I've found someone else. Can I love him?"

"I'm dead," He could hear Uchi's voice in his mind. "But you live, and must continue to live. You must find happiness. Are you happy with Koki?"

"I'm very happy," He thought.

'Then find your happiness with him." Uchi told him. "I give you my blessing. Goodbye my beloved."

Suddenly he felt as if Uchi was sleeping in his mind. Maru opened his eyes. Suddenly everything seemed clearer to him.

**************************

Finally Dr. Morita left. Maru expected one of his brothers to come in the door, but instead, Koki was the next visitor.

"How are you doing, your highness?" Koki stood several meters away from the bed. Koki looked as if he had been glued to one spot on the floor.

"Since when did you call me your highness?" Maru couldn't help but smile at the terrified Koki. "You can move closer to me, I'm not contagious." Still, Koki didn't move. "It must be strange for you to visit me, and me talk back,"

"You remember my visits?" Koki asked.

"Every one," Maru told him. "I can't believe someone would come and visit someone who wouldn't even talk to him."

"I had to, for security," Koki lied. "Had to make sure no one would kidnap you."

"Oh is that the entire visits were?" Maru tried to hide his smile.

"What else would it be?" Koki asked. "I mean I am in security."

"So do you kiss everyone you protect?"

"Who said I kissed you?"

"Am I supposed to forget the feel of your soft lips on mine?" Maru asked. "How gentle, but how strong they were?"

"I didn't kiss you,"

"Fine, then send me a bill for your services." Maru pretended as if Koki's words didn't matter. "Someday I'll be rich, you know, my brother wants to marry the crown prince."

Koki just looked at Maru. "You can't be serious can you?"

'Yeah, Junno's gone off to tell Prince Ueda that he'll marry him."

"I mean about my visits?" Koki's voice was soft. He moved close to Maru. "You really want me to send you a bill?"

The look in Koki's eyes made Maru stop playing. "Of course I don't want a bill from you."

"But you said...."

"I loved your visits." Maru told him. "Everyday, I looked forwards to you coming. To the feel of your lips on mine. I couldn't talk back to you. I had flashbacks when I thought. But your visits were the thing that made my existence worth while."

"Even though you morn for Prince Uchi?" there was trepidation in Koki's eyes.

"I love Uchi; I think I'll always love him." Maru said. Suddenly Koki looked heartbroken. Quickly Maru said. ďI love you too. I didnt' think I could love again, until I met you. You cared for me; every day your visits showed me that you loved me. You didn't have to tell me, I just knew. But I wonder has too much time passed for us to be together?"

"No, I waited. Hoping beyond hope, you would talk to me." Koki told him. "To tell me you loved me. Now here you are, talking again."

"I do love you," Maru said.

"I love you too," Then Koki was kissing Maru.

Maru knew that Uchi would always live in his heart. Maru realized he had the freedom that they had always wished for. Now Maru would have happiness, this time with his new love Koki.