A Prequel to Blue Boxes and Princes
Author: Kyoko_godaikun aka sentaikat
Note: This takes place in the far future. This happens before the events of Blue Boxes and Princes
Note 2: this is simply a love story with no war. Just a happy ending.
Note 3: This story is weird.
Summary: Junno, Maru and Jin are given to the Empress of Miyagi as husbands for her daughter. But the daughter is only twelve, and the three brothers aren't allowed to go home. Also, Junno falls in love at first sight with a beautiful princess, or is it a prince?
A unit that was what they called the three youngest sons of The Empress of Gotsu. They had been put together as a unit when Junno was only a few weeks old. They had been raised to someday be given to a Princess as co-husbands. It was the year 50,451 and men in the Gotsu Empire had no rights.
The unit knew that someday they would leave Gotsu, and be given to a Princess from a far off system to be her husbands. They had been born and raised to be given away in a diplomatic marriage. The princes were one step above chattel. The Empress and their sisters had little to do with the princes.
In the year they came from, women had the choice to carry their children naturally, or to have the child artificially incubated. Their mother the empress had chosen to have her eight sons artificially incubated. That way, when they were given away, it didn't feel so much like sending away her children. Her daughters were the only ones that had the privilege of being born naturally and raised by the Empress. They boys where raised in the Men's quarters.
The Unit had arrived at the capital planet of the Miyagi Empire. It was the empire one star system away from the Gotsu Empire. Their older sister, Princess Shikayko had come with them, to arrange the marriage. Shikayko had been the one to train the brother's to please their wives. All three brothers hated their sister.
They were staying in diplomatic quarters in the Empress's castle. It was very spacious. The brothers had even been given their own rooms.
"I'll go and talk to the Empress," Their older sister Shikayko decided. "Come here Jin"
"Yes, your highness." Jin went to his sister's side. He had stayed with Shikayko in her quarters during the trip to the Miyagi Empire. He hated it, but as a man he didn't get the choice.
"It's too bad you have to pay the prince for your brother's being criminals." She reached out, stroking Jin's cheek. "You would have made a good prize in any woman's harem."
"Yes, your highness." Jin was the best of the three brothers in tricking woman into thinking he liked them. He had his sister convinced that the only thing he wanted to do was to marry her.
"I have to give you to our enemy." She told him. "Simply because we know they wouldn't dare send them back."
"I will miss you," Jin said. "When we were training, I had hoped I would be able to join your harem."
"Don't blame me for that," her lips brushed Jin's. "Blame the two criminals."
"Your Highness, the Empress is ready to see you." Her servant told her.
'Good bye Jin," She gave Jin one last kiss. Then Shikayko left the room. She had no good byes for the other two brothers. They were simply embarisment to the family that needed to be gotten rid of.
All three brothers let out a collective sigh. They might miss their home empire, but they would never miss Shikayko.
"We better get ready." Maru decided.
"I'm sorry you won't be able to get a better wife," Junno told Jin. "But you suffer from our taint."
"How could I leave you?" Jin asked. "If I had to choose being alone in a strange harem, or with you. I would pick you."
"Thanks," Junno said.
"Get ready!" Maru snapped. "We have to be ready to see our new wife. We can't keep her waiting!"
Junno picked up his tunic. He had taken off his other tunic, now bare chested, everyone could see his scars. What would his new wife say when she saw the scars from his interrogations? Would she know he was a criminal, and send him away? He had heard that this planet didn't use passion drugs. He wasn't too sure how he would be able to trick his new wife into thinking he wanted her.
Units on Gotsu were expected to be bisexual. They learn to love each other so that they can entertain their wife. But it's only so that the wife will be happy. Not because they really want each other. But Junno and Maru committed the crime of not being attracted to woman.
His brother Maru picked up his own tunic. He too had scars. They had been convicted of a crime they couldn't control. When Junno had turned fourteen, all three members of the unit had been given testing. Maru and Junno had been found to have no attraction to females a serious crime in the Gotsu Empire. Then after intense treatment, the condition hadn't gone away. Both had been convinced of being homosexual. Criminals in the Gotsu Empire were tortured.
"What will our wife say, when she sees our scars?" Junno asked.
"Don't worry about that." Maru told him. "Once she sees your smile, she'll forget about the scars."
"Of course," Junno slipped on his tunic.
"I wonder what our wife will look like." Jin asked.
Jin was excited by the upcoming marriage. Junno wasn't. He wasn't attracted to woman. He had gone through the usual training for a man. The education, the training in his mother's harem. Everything in life had been shaped around this day. The day he would be given to someone to be their husband.
Junno went to the window and looked out to the courtyard. Miyagi Prime was so beautiful. The Empresses castle was so inviting. With a very large garden. He could see himself living in this place. Perhaps he would be lucky, and his wife would let him continue with his studies.
Then Junno saw her. It had to be the princess he had been sent to marry. The princess was so beautiful. She wore a tradition silk Japanese kimono. Her skin light tan, her hair dark and curling around her neck. Her lips full, lush. Junno had never believed in love at first sight, but this woman gave him a doki doki feeling. His midsection began to tighten. The first ever woman to give him that feeling.
"I think I see her," Junno gasped. "The woman we will marry. She's so beautiful."
Jin ran to the window. "Who?"
"That woman down there," Junno pointed.
"Oh she is beautiful." Jin agreed. "She looks like the holo of the princess, except she looks older."
"Well, the holo was an old one." Maru pointed out.
"I think I love her all ready," Junno admitted. "She's the first one to give me the doki doki feeling."
"See? I knew if you found the right woman, you'd be okay." Jin told him.
"I hope we can marry her soon," Junno wished.
Maru went to the window. "Where is she?"
Junno pointed to the woman, who was now talking to a man wearing a security uniform. He bore a strange resemblance to Junno's mother.
"She is beautiful," Maru admitted. "But look at that security officer."
"He's not my type." Junno couldn't help but shudder. "Besides, he looks like mother."
'He does not!" Maru sighed. "He's so gorgeous. If he works for our wife, perhaps he might be able to guard me."
"I wonder if he's good undercover." Junno teased.
"Cut it out you two." Jin said. "We can't get arrested here. You are *not* going to do anything with the guards."
"Your right, of course." Maru grabbed Junno's arm and pulled him from the window. By the time Junno was able to get back to the window, the woman was gone.
A few minutes passed. They where told that the Empress was ready to see them.
They were taken to an office. That surprised Junno. His mother always entertained in an old fashioned throne room. But he was quickly learning that this wasn't the Gotsu Empire.
The Empress sat behind a desk. The princess and a kid in his late teens were sitting in chairs near the desk. The security officer was standing against one wall. Their older sister Shikayko was no where to be seen.
"Good day." The Empress told them. "Your sister has returned to your empire. Are you surprised that she didnt' tell you goodbye?"
"We are only men, your highness." Maru said. "Princess General Shikayko has always been too busy to speak to mere men."
"I've read the communication sent by your mother. She states the three of you are gifts."
Maru the oldest stepped forwards. "Yes ma'am. We are to be husbands for your daughter."
"All of you?"
"The princess is only twelve, too young to get married." The Empress dismissed. "Besides, when she does get married, she will have only one spouse."
Junno tuned out what his brother was saying. Instead his eyes went to the princess. He felt a tightening in his midsection. She was so beautiful. Her lips were even fuller close up. They were stained a light brown. She wore a cross necklace that showed off her slim neck.
"What are you staring at?" The Princess finally spoke. But her voice was too deep to be a woman.
"You're so beautiful." Junno gasped.
Jin poked Junno hard in the side. "Apologize! You know you're not allowed to talk to a woman that way!"
"I'm sorry, Your Highness." Junno bowed low.
"My brother's an idiot. Please forgive him." Jin said quickly.
"Who is the one that thinks that my son is beautiful?" The Empress asked.
"This is my youngest brother your majesty." Maru said. "His name is Junnosuke. We call him Junno."
"Why do you think my son is a woman?" The Empress looked very amused.
"I'm sorry, in the Miyagi Empire men are forbidden to wear kimono." Junno told her.
"Yes, my brother in law has told me this," The Empress said. "Many things are different in the Miyagi Empire, but I hope you will enjoy your new life here."
"Thank you your Majesty." Maru said.
"This is Crown Prince Ueda Tatsuya,"' The Empress gestured to the one that wore the kimono. "This is my other son, Prince Kame." She gestured to the security guard. "This is my nephew Koki."
All three brothers bowed to the princes.
"Prince Maru and I have much business to discuss." The Empress decided. "Why don't you, Ueda show Prince Junnosuke around the palace? Kame, you can show Prince Jin around."
Ueda groaned and went to Junno. "Let's go."
Junno followed Ueda into the hallway. Junno tried to make small talk the way he had been taught.
"Hush!" Ueda snapped. "I do not want to be your friend. I am only showing you the castle because the Empress ordered it."
"I'm sorry Your Highness." Junno felt his face burn with shame.
Junno watched Ueda walk off. He quickly followed. The prince was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen, but Junno knew that they would never be even friends
Ueda had heard a lot about the Gotsu Empire when he was growing up. His uncle was a defector from the Gotsu Empire. His uncle told tales of woman owning men. Ueda had never really believed his uncle's tales. He couldn't fathom a culture so repressive.
This prince was strange. Ueda decided. Thinking that Ueda was a woman. What kind of weird empire wouldn't let men wear kimonos? He was very upset that Junno couldn't tell he was a man.
Junno had stared at Ueda. Once Junno had realized that Ueda was a male, he seemed to be even more attracted. They walked around the castle. Junno was quiet. He walked with his hands behind his back. He didn't speak, but he would nod and smile at Ueda. Smile a lot, a whole lot, a smile that lit up the day. If Junno didn't drive Ueda so insane, he would be attractive, very attractive.
"Do you talk?" Ueda finally asked.
"You told me not to talk to you," Junno said politely. "I am just doing as you wish."
"I wish you to talk!" Ueda snapped. He didn't know why Junno was so irritating to him. Even his very presence drove him insane.
"But you are right Prince Ueda, Men are supposed to be quiet in most places. We can talk in the Menís quarters." The prince said by rote. "Why don't you show me your men's quarters?"
"We don't have men's quarters,"
"You mean the Empress's husbands aren't allowed to live in the palace?" Junno asked confused.
"The Empress is a widow." Ueda told him.
"My father died several years ago."
"Your father?" Junno repeated almost as if he suddenly didn't understand the language.
"My male parent?" Ueda couldn't believe this conversation. "What do you call your father in your empire? You know the man married to your mother?"
"Oh you mean my mothers' husbands." Junno realized. "They are called prince and their name. Unless she has more then one husband with that name, then we use their full name."
"Husbands? Just how many husbands does the Empress of Gotsu have?"
"My mother has fifty husbands. She'll probably add more soon. She's getting tired of her current husbands." Junno sounded like it was the most normal thing in the universe for a woman to have many husbands.
"Which one is your father?" Ueda persisted.
Junno didn't answer. Instead, he went through an open door into another room. It was the empress's library.
"I would love to study here." Junno said wistfully as he looked around the room.
"Don't get used to Miyagi." Ueda growled. "This will be the only time you see this room!"
"I don't understand, this is my new home."
"My mother will probably send you back to Gotsu." Ueda told him. "My sister is too young to marry anyone."
"The Empress cant' send us home." Junno looked around the room as if he never had seen a library before. "We are gifts. We are not allowed to return to Gotsu."
"You are a human being. You have rights."
Junno picked a book up off a table and began to look at it. "I'm just a man. I have no rights."
Ueda wasn't getting anything from this Prince. "Do you want to see my quarters?"
"Sure," Junno put up the book.
Junno followed the beautiful prince to his quarters. His guide kept on asking him strange questions about things that Junno really didn't understand. He kept asking about a thing called a father, and men's quarters. There was no doubt about it, Ueda looked down at Junno. He thought he was better then Junno. The little remarks Ueda made hurt Junno.
But then Junno knew that Ueda would never know how it felt like to be from Gotsu. Ueda was free. He didn't know, couldn't know how it was like to be laughed at simply because he was smart. Men weren't supposed to be smart. How everything he did was criticized to the point that he saw being given to another planet as an escape. Ueda didn't know the fear of the guards coming for him, simply because he let it slip out that he liked men. Ueda had never known the pain of being hooked up to the torture machine, until he promised he would never be attracted to a man again. Then it happened again and again because he could not keep his promise.
Junno wished he had grown up on this planet. In a way, he wished he could be like Ueda.
Finally, they arrived at Ueda's quarters. Ueda let him in. The door was locked by a touch pad. This was one thing Junno had never seen, a male room that was locked.
The quarters were like a small apartment. With a large sitting room. It was everything that Junno wished in men's quarters.
"This is really nice," Junno said. "Where are the other men that live here?"
"This is my quarters." Ueda told him.
"Yes, I know that, but it's huge." Junno said. "My brothers and I shared quarters even smaller then this."
"Well, there are three of you."
"I mean all eight of us." Junno said. "Of course our quarters got smaller once their units were given to other systems."
Ueda gestured to a couch. They both sat down. "I've heard that the Gotsu Empire was different then this empire."
"It is a bit." Junno admitted.
"Do you have a job?"
"I'm a man," Junno repeated. "It's against the law for men to work."
"Then what do you do during the day?"
"I study. I was working for my Doctrine in early Galactic history." Junno told him. "In my spare time, I play sim games with my brothers."
"That sounds very interesting." Ueda said. "What were you planning on doing with your degree? Teach?"
"I learn so that I might be a better husband to my wife." Junno said.
"If you had the choice, what would you do?" Ueda persisted. "What would your dream be?"
"My dream is to be free," Junno confessed.
"Free? Just free?" Ueda asked skeptically. "You can dream about anything in the universe, and all you want is freedom?"
"I guess that isn't a good dream," Junno realized.
There was a knock on the door. "Come!" Ueda yelled.
Jin came in with Ueda's younger brother. Jin looked around the room his mouth open.
"Ueda, I have to talk to you." Kame said quickly.
"Excuse us." Ueda told him. Ueda and Kame left the room.
Jin sat on the couch. "This place is too strange."
"I know, they don't have men's quarters." Junno told him.
"Where does the empresses husbands live?" Jin sounded as if he couldn't believe his ears.
"The Empress doesn't have husbands." Junno said.
"Why on earth would mother send us to this place?" Jin asked. "Prince Kame told me that women have only one husband."
"Prince Ueda told me that men work here!" Junno paused. "He keeps asking me about something called a father. What's a father?"
"Our male parent." Jin tried to explain. "On this planet, a woman has only one husband. He has rights over the child. He is called the father."
"Should I explain that we don't know who are father is?"
"No, he's probably wouldn't understand." Jin told him.
"What's wrong?" Ueda asked his younger brother. They where standing in Ueda's bedroom. Through a two way mirror he could watch Jin and Junno talking. The two brothers sat close together, a little too close. Almost like lovers.
"You know all those things our uncle said about Gotsu?" Kame asked.
"Yeah, so?" He couldn't take his eyes off of Junno.
"I think there all true." Kame said quickly.
"No, I just think that the Empress of Gotsu sent us her sons because their strange." Ueda said. "Especially Prince Junnosuke."
"I like Prince Jin, he's funny. He's so good looking." Kame said. "We both like sim games."
"Junno smiles too much and tells jokes that aren't funny." Ueda complained. "And he's going to college just to make his future wife happy."
"That's not what Prince Jin told me." Kame laughed. "He studies so much because that's the only time he's not under surveillance."
"Why would they be under surveillance?"
"Our uncle told us that every man is watched on Gotsu. None of them are allowed to be free." Kame told him. "They can be tortured for even wishing they were free."
Ueda realized that everything his uncle told him about Gotsu was true. How a man could be so repressed, that their only dream could be for freedom?
He went to the door, right before he opened it he heard Jin say.
"Junno you can't come here and begin to fall for men!"' Jin warned. 'You know that it's illegal to be gay."
"I can't help it when I'm with the prince." Junno admitted. "My heart goes doki doki when I'm near him."
You know he has to belong to a woman." Jin told him. "She's probably beautiful."
"I don't think he belongs to anyone." Junno insisted. "He's free. Why can't we be free?"
"You're going to get into big trouble at home if you keep talking that way."
"Jin, I don't want to go home." Junno decided. "I never want to return home. In the Gotsu Empire, men can be free. I want to be free."
"Junno you baka, you know we only exist to please our wife." Jin chided. "You aren't meant to be free."
Just then, Ueda's communicator beeped. It was his mother; she was ready to talk to Prince Junno and Prince Jin.
Junno and Jin followed Ueda and Kame back to the Empresses office. Ueda walked beside Junno. If Junno had been quiet earlier, he was now so quiet that Ueda wondered if he suddenly lost his voice.
"Listen, I'm sorry about cross examining you earlier." Ueda told him. "I was not being a good host."
"It's not your fault that my brother's head is in the stars." Jin said.
"Junno thinks too much!' Jin interrupted. "He's always thinking and never listening."
"Prince Jin, you don't know what I was talking to Prince Junno about." Ueda told him.
"It doesn't matter," Jin continued. "Junno's boring because he's too smart."
Ueda could see the pain in Junno's eyes. He was about to say something, when Junno smiled. It wasn't a genuine smile. His eyes were still very sad.
"You're right Jin," Junno said. "I should have been listening to Prince Ueda."
"Yeah, if you had, you wouldn't have thought he was a girl!" Jin persisted. "You being so smart should have known that men wear kimono on this planet!"
"I'm an idiot." The fake smile widened. "You guys will have a lot to tease me about in the future."
"Just wait till I tell Maru!" Jin chortled. "You'll be the laughing stock of this Empire!"
Junno had tears in his eyes, but still he began to laugh with his brother. It was a fake, hollow laugh.
Suddenly Ueda realized why Junno was so strange. He came from a culture were he was always watched to make sure he didn't break the law. Not only that, his own brothers tormented him. Junno needed a friend, and Ueda realized he would have to be that friend. Perhaps, just perhaps Ueda could let Junno have some of that freedom he wished for.
Ten minutes later, the princes were in the Empress's office. The Empress told them that they would be adopted by her Imperial house. They were welcome to stay on Miyagi for the rest of their lives. Then she told him that quarters had been prepared for the three. She had work that Ueda and Kame needed to do. But Koki was free to show them the new quarters.
The new quarters were in an out of the way part of the castle. It was quite a walk from the Imperial familyís quarters.
"Sorry it took so long to get your quarters together." Koki told him. Koki was someone strange. He was the Empress's nephew, but he had no title. When his mother had married, she had renounced all of her titles. Still, he worked at the palace.
"It's all right," Maru said.
Jin and Junno walked several paces behind their brother. It was strange to Junno, to have a man working security.
"The Empress wanted us to make sure that your quarters would be more like your quarters on Gotsu prime." Koki continued.
"That is very nice of her." Maru told him.
They arrived at the quarters. There was a small walled off courtyard, then an entrance. There was a living room, a small kitchen.
"It's men's quarters." Jin marveled as they looked around. He opened a door and his face fell. "Oh no, a study room!"
"Really?" Junno perked up. He went into the room. Junno out of the three brother's Junno always excelled at his studies. His teachers had always moaned that only he was a woman, he could have made something out of himself.
"Prince Junno, her Majesty wants you to know that your teaching machine is connected to the local university. You can take any course you want." Koki told him. "She wanted to reassure you that you'll be able to finish your doctrine."
"Thank you," Junno said. "Tell her Majesty that I appreciate her letting me continue my studies."
Koki took Jin into the other room, leaving Junno alone with Maru.
"Oh goddess, you're going to be even more boring." Maru told Junno. "Your head's going to be so crammed full of knowledge that you won't be able to think straight."
The comment hurt Junno. "You're right. I'll try to keep my studying to a minimum."
"I like Miyagi." Maru moved closer to Junno. He reached out pinching Junno's arm so hard he knew he would have a bruise. "You are not going to mess this up for us." With every word Maru made another pinch, until Junno knew his arm would be covered with bruises.
"I will behave." Junno promised.
"You better!" Another pinch, this one so hard that Junno could feel Maru's nails break his skin. "You will stay away from men!" His nails dug even deeper. "I'll be damned if I get tortured again because of you!"
"Please Maru, stop hurting me." Junno begged.
"We'll be missed." With that, Maru let go of his arm and left the room.
Junno looked down to his arm. He was bleeding. He took out a handkerchief and bandaged his arm. Then he plastered on a fake smile, and went to join his brothers.
As the weeks passed, the Princes began to settle in. Ueda had worked closely with Prince Junno. But he had trouble getting alone with the other brothers. His cousin Koki seemed to get along better with them then he did.
He was attracted to Prince Junno. Junno spent hours of his time in the study room, hooked up to the learning machines. He was studying about the differences in Miyagi cultures and Gotsu culture. The brothers would go places, but only as a group.
The two older brothers made fun of Junno to the point of torment. The youngest brother would smile, and laugh with the jokes, but in his eyes was always pain. Ueda realized he was crying inside. But what really worried Ueda were the bruises that sometimes showed up on Junno's body. Junno always had an excuse, he fell.
Junno and Ueda were in the study room, working on a paper.
"Just look at you," Jin teased. "You're going to get so smart; no woman will want to marry you."
"You should see how you look when you study!" Maru suddenly started to do an imitation of Junno. "I got to work hard, so I can be free."
"You're a fool Junno, nothing but a fool!" Jin began to laugh at him.
"Get out!" Ueda got to his feet. "Prince Junno's my friend, and no one makes fun of my friend."
"He's a part of our unit; we have a right to say what ever we want to him." Jin sneered.
"You are guests on this planet!' Ueda growled. "On this planet, no one makes fun of others!"
"We're sorry," Maru bowed, he grabbed Jin by the arm and pulled him out of the room.
Ueda shut and locked the door. He turned and realized that Junno was crying.
"You shouldn't have done that." Junno said. "All that will happen is that Maru will punish me more harshly."
"I'm sorry; I couldn't stand them picking on you." Ueda sat down; he reached out, wiping the tears from Junno's cheek.
"Theyíre right; my dream is a dream of a fool."
"No Junno, your dream is a wonderful dream." Ueda's fingers caressed his cheek. "Someday, perhaps, your dream will come true."
Junno took Ueda's hand in his, and then he kissed the palm. He let his lips run over it. "My dreams give me wishes of things I can't have."
Junno looked so lost, so lonely, that Ueda kissed his lips. He could feel Junno sigh and give into the kiss.
The next day, Ueda went to the Unit's quarters. It was almost time for the class they attended on the learning machine.
Maru opened the door. "We've decided that Junno can no longer see you."
"I'm just here to study." Ueda said.
"We've made up our mind." Maru said hostilely. "You are a bad influence of our brother."
"Whose there?" Junno came into the living room. He had a black eye.
"Itís no one!" Maru told him.
"Prince Ueda!" Junno moved towards the door.
"Go away!" Maru slammed the door in Ueda's face.
"Please Maru; let me study with Prince Ueda." He heard Junno beg. "I'm so close to getting my degree. Just a few more weeks."
Ueda could hear the sound of flesh hitting flesh. "You are forbidden to see him again."
"Prince Ueda hasn't done anything."
Another hit. "I am not going to get tortured again, just because of you!"
"People arenít' tortured on this planet." Junno said.
"How can you go around breaking the law?" Maru demanded. 'You know it's illegal to fall in love with a man!"
"It's not illegal here."
"It is at home!" Another hit. "When we get home, we'll be interrogated. Then they'll find out that you broke the law again. Then we'll be tortured!"
Ueda could hear the unmistakable sound of Junno being hit, and then it happened again, and again. Junno cried out in pain with every hit. It tore at Ueda's heart.
Ueda moved away from the door. He turned on his communicator. "Koki, I need the pass code to Prince Junno's door."
"That's top security." Koki said. "You know I can't give that to you."
"Right now, Maru is beating up Junno. I can't just stand by and listen to it." Ueda said. "This is an order, do you understand me!"
"I'll be right there." Mere seconds passed and Koki came running down the hallway. He stopped at the door, and listened.
"Stop hitting me Maru!" Junno begged. "Please Maru."
"Uchi died because of you! I had to watch my first love be tortured in front of me!" Maru thundered. "You have to be punished for his death!"
Koki punched the code into the lock. The door opened. Both Koki and Ueda ran into the room. Junno was curled on the floor in a ball. His brother was beating him with a belt.
Koki pulled Maru away from Junno. Maru fought to get away from Koki. Ueda went to him and punched him hard in the face.
"Keep your hands off of Junno!" Ueda screamed. Then he punched Maru one more time.
"Unit discipline is a private matter!" Maru spat. "I'm allowed to discipline my brother if he needs it."
"You are no longer on Gotsu!" Ueda thundered. "What you did to Prince Junno is a crime, and you can be jailed."
"A crime?" Maru sounded like he couldn't believe his ears. "Tell him Junno! Tell him you don't want to ever talk to him again!"
"I can't," Junno gasped. "Don't make me tell him that."
"Come on Maru, let's go to my quarters." Koki strong armed Maru out of the quarters.
Ueda knelt beside Junno, and then he reached out, touching Junno gently on the cheek. "It's all right, he's gone."
Junno looked up. "He'll be back. Then he'll hurt me again."
"Why does he hurt you?"
"I'm a criminal. I should be able to stop my crimes, but I can't." Junno began to sob. Ueda felt himself taking the sobbing Junno into his arms.
"I'm sorry I caused you to be beaten." Ueda rocked him as he cried. Junno's crying seemed to last forever.
"I told you, not to stick up for me." Junno said when he finished crying. He pulled away from Ueda and wiped his eyes. "Now Maru knows we're together. I'm not allowed to be involved with men."
"Why is he going after you, when he's involved with Koki?" Ueda countered. "It doesn't make sense."
"Iím the one that can't keep quiet about my relationships." Junno said. "So I'm the one that always gets arrested. Then all my brothers are tortured."
"I don't understand, why would they be tortured?"
"When one unit member commits a crime, all get punished." Junno said softly. "Everything that happens is my fault."
'But they break the law too!' Ueda insisted. "Your brothers are hypocrites! They are just as guilty as you are."
"I can no longer see you." Junno reached out touching Ueda's cheek. "I will always remember you."
"I can't leave you." Ueda said. "If I go to the empress, she can order us to be able to work together."
"Maru will punish me," Junno's eyes were afraid.
"I'll take care of you," Ueda promised. "He won't hurt you again. Do you believe me?"
Junno nodded. Ueda kissed him very gently on the lips. Ueda hated having to go to his mother, but he had no choice. He couldn't see Junno hurt again.
Jin came back to the quarters a few minutes after Ueda kissed Junno. Jin wasn't like Maru. He had never hurt Junno. He was Junno's favorite brother. He might tease Junno, but Junno knew Jin didn't mean it.
"What happened?" Jin demanded. "Did Ueda beat you up?"
Junno looked down to his hands; he couldn't tell his brother the truth.
'Something in Maru snapped," Ueda told Jin. "He is the one that beat up Junno."
"Is it true?" Jin demanded. "Did Maru hurt you?"
"Yes, itís true." Junno said. "Ueda came to the door. It was our study time, but Maru said the unit decided that we couldn't see each other anymore."
"That's not true!" Jin said. "You're so happy with Prince Ueda. I told Maru we should let the two of you go out."
"I want to go to the Empress," Ueda decided. "I think that Maru's sick."
"He hasn't been the same since our last arrest," Jin said. "We were arrested two of weeks before we were sent here. Maru had a lover, who was tortured to death in front of him."
"That's when he started hurting me." Junno said. "He only does it when Jin's gone."
"Did they pick on you back on your home planet?" Ueda asked.
"My brothers teased me." Junno said. "But it didn't hurt the way it does now."
"I'm sorry," Jin told him. "I never wanted to hurt you. You're my only family."
"Can you take care of Prince Junno?" Ueda asked.
"I'll make sure no one hurts him." Jin promised.
Junno got up, and walked Ueda to the door. Ueda kissed him very gently, and then left.
"Maru's going to hate us for this." Junno said softly after he closed the door.
"When Maru's mind is healed, he'll be grateful." Jin told him. "Is Maru the one that gave you the black eye?"
"Yeah." Junno admitted. "He only hurts me when your not here."
"I shouldn't have started going out with Kame." Jin reached out, touching his cheek. "If I had stayed with you, none of this would have happened."
"No regrets." Junno told him. "Maru will get well, and then we'll have our family back."
Jin took Junno into his arms. Junno felt comforted in his touch. He closed his eyes and hoped that Maru would get well.
Ueda discussed Maru with the Empress, who agreed that Maru needed to go to the hospital. Then he called Koki. His cousin agreed to take Maru to the hospital. Maru was getting help, perhaps when he got out of the hospital, Junno would have his brother back. The one that was so kind, so loving.
Jin had been called to the empress. Junno did not know what was said, but suddenly Ueda was allowed to work with Junno again. Not only that, but Jin had stopped picking on him.
"Hey Prince Junno?" Ueda asked, they were sitting together in the study room. They had just finished another session of learning.
Junno looked up to him. "Yes my prince?"
"We've been working really hard on our school work." Ueda said. "Do you want to go somewhere?"
"You mean the yard?"
"I was thinking of the historical museum."
"I would love..." Junno stopped and looked down to his hands. "I'm sorry Prince Ueda. I don't think Jin would like to go."
"Does he have to go?"
Just then, Jin came into the room with Kame. He looked at Junno's glum face. "What's wrong?"
"I asked Prince Junno to come to the historical museum with me." Ueda explained. "He refused to go, even though it would help his studies."
"Then you need to go." Jin told him.
"I'm not allowed to go anywhere alone with Prince Ueda." Junno said.
"That was before," Jin smiled. "You deserve to go out. Have some fun."
"Besides, Jin and I have plans." Kame smiled.
Junno loved going to the museum with Ueda. There was so much there that he had never seen before He felt a tightening in his midsection when he was alone with Ueda. The prince had a way of smiling at Junno that made him feel special. Ueda had called what they did a date. He had learned much about Miyagi culture. Even what the word date meant. Two people who were involved went on dates. Were they involved? Or did Ueda's kisses mean nothing?
"Do you belong to someone?" Junno asked softly they had finished with the museum early, and were now in Ueda's small get away apartment. It was only a few blocks from the museum. Ueda had poured wine, and Junno was sipping a glass.
"Just you." Ueda moistened his lips with his tongue. He did this very slowly, very seductively.
"I see," Junno tried to find something else to ask him about. "Your girlfriends must be very lucky."
"I don't have girlfriends." Ueda told him. "I'm gay."
The lump in Junno's throat grew bigger. He had learned that being homosexual wasn't illegal in this Empire, but it still made Junno nervous. He studied the wine glass, trying to center his thoughts.
"Junno?" Ueda asked concerned. "Is something wrong?"
"No, I was just thinking. Sometimes I wish I had grown up on Miyagi Prime." Junno confessed.
"What's so special about this planet?"
"It' so free." Junno put the wine glass on the table in front of him. "I wish I could explore the entire planet."
'Anytime you want to go somewhere just ask." Ueda told him. "I won't be too busy for you."
'Thank you your highness."
"I want to give you freedom." Ueda told him. "For a least a few hours. Perhaps every once in a while, I could give you that gift."
"Freedom," Junno said wistfully, "Does that include freedom to love?" Then Junno realized what he said. He blushed deeply.
He could feel Ueda reached out, touching Junno's cheek. "Yes, my beloved Junno, it includes freedom to love."
Then Ueda was kissing his lips. Junno knew what he was doing was wrong. That he was breaking the law, but he didn't care. Being with Ueda made him feel free, alive. He wanted, no needed to be shown that it felt different to love without the passion drugs. That it would feel different when he wanted it. Right now, all Junno wanted was Ueda's touch.