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Title: Tale as Old as Time, 2/3
Chapter: 2 of 3, Part 1 is here
Author: Boots
Rating: NC-17
Genre: Romance, smut, semi-fairy tale AU
Warnings: : Male/male sex
Pairing: Yo-ka (DIAURA) x MiA (Mejibray)
Disclaimer: Mejibray belongs to White Side Group, DIAURA belongs to Ains, D=OUT formerly belonged to PS Company and are now free agents, X Japan is property of Warner Music Japan. Based on the 1992 Walt Disney Pictures film Beauty and the Beast, written by Linda Woolverton (there are quotes from the film throughout the fic; if you see something you recognize from your childhood, the words are most likely hers, not mine). Also contains elements from the original story written by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont and the 1946 film La Belle et La Bete, written and directed by Jean Cocteau.
Summary: Once upon a time, there was an island nation that had been ruled for years by three generations of brutal dictators, the latest and youngest of whom was known as The Beast. And then, a beautiful young man became a prisoner in his palace. Was he the one who could finally find the humanity within The Beast?
Comments: Cut in three pieces because of LJ’s post limits, there is a link to the next part at the end of each one. Inspired by the DIAURA vs. Mejibray layout in Shoxx 282, with Yo-ka dressed as a dictator in a fancy military uniform and MiA dressed as a fairy tale princess.

MiA spent the day being given a more thorough tour of the palace and its grounds by the staff. The gardens were certainly large and impressive, as was the fountain at the center, which looked more like something you'd see in front of a Roman palazzo than something that would be in a Japanese garden. (Not that MiA knew much about Roman palazzos, other than brief glimpses in the forbidden books his bookseller got from Japan).

And then, there was the collection of art and statuary around the interior of the palace – including many portraits of the previous leaders. The staff member made sure to toe the party line and sing the praises of how “our first Master” (The Ogre) had brought peace and order to the country, and “our second Master” (The Monster) had kept the good times rolling on. (Never mind the piles of corpses . . .)

“There are no portraits of the current Master?” MiA said.

“The Master does not want his portrait painted,” the staff member said. “He does not even show his face to most of us. Only his innermost circle have seen him without the hood and veil.”

“That's going to make my having dinner with him very difficult,” MiA said. “How can he eat with the veil on?”

The staff member gave him a quizzical look. “He . . . asked you to have dinner?”

“Twice. He asked the first time last night, and I turned him down because I was tired. He got really annoyed with me then.”

“That's unusual. He hasn't done that . . . well, ever. You will most likely be going to his private quarters in the east wing, then. Someone will come to fetch you when it's time.”

MiA was brought back to his rooms late in the afternoon, where he found a formal kimono laid out on his bed. Apparently, that was his dining attire. Once he was changed, he sat and waited, patiently, for the person that would inevitably come.

As it turned out, it was Minister Yoshiki who knocked on his door. “I've come to bring you to dinner,” he said. “Follow me – and remember, you're entering a section of the palace where not many people are permitted to go. Behave with proper respect.”

MiA knew that meant “kowtow to His Beastness at every moment.” He was not at all surprised to hear it, really. Quietly, he followed Yoshiki down the hall, until the minister knocked on an ornate door.

“It's me,” he said. “I've brought the Master's guest.”

The door opened just wide enough to admit the two of them. MiA looked around, and found himself in a dining hall with a long table covered with a white cloth. Despite its size, however, just two places were set, at opposite sides of the far end.

“Aren't you eating with us?” MiA said.

“I take my dinner with the rest of the staff – we have a dining room just off the kitchen you were in last night,” Yoshiki said. “No, the Master will be dining with you privately. Cogusuwarutu-san here is the Master's private butler, he will be taking the food out of the dumbwaiter as it's sent up from the kitchen and serving it to you.” The squat man in the tuxedo next to Yoshiki bowed; his shape reminded MiA of the old clock that sat on the endtable back home.

The door at the other end of the room opened, and an all-too-familiar voice said, “Thank you, Minister Yoshiki. You may take your leave of us now.”

Yoshiki bowed. “As you wish, Master,” he said. Cogusuwarutu opened the door just wide enough for the minister to exit again, and MiA wanted to beg him to stay. He was being left alone with . . .

He turned, expecting to see the familiar black-cloaked form. What he saw instead startled him.

The Beast was standing there, wearing a military jacket with golden epaulets, a peaked military cap, black pants and shiny black boots. But it was his face that was the most stunning. He was . . . beautiful. His features were soft, almost feminine, framed by reddish-brown hair.

Either he dyes his hair, MiA thought, or he has some foreign blood in him.

“Do you always stand there gawking at your host?” The Beast said.

“Sorry,” MiA said, “but I wasn't expecting you to not look like a dark shadow in the corner.”

“I don't hide in that cloak 24 hours a day, you know,” The Beast said.

“Just most of the hours of the day?” MiA said.

“Appearances are important,” said The Beast. “My father taught me the importance of always appearing strong and imposing, and of controlling through fear. An appearance of mystery makes you more fearful.”

“Begging your pardon, sir, but my father always told me, 'Don't judge a book by its cover,’” MiA said.

“Your father was obviously not in government.”

No, MiA thought, he gave his life trying to fight your father's government. “It was the last thing in the world he would have wanted, sir. He was a repairman.”

“Sit,” The Beast said. “Dinner will be up shortly. Have you been comfortable?”

“Comfortable, yes,” MiA said, sitting down at the table. “But I'm afraid I'm going to be bored here.”

“What is it you used to do back home?” The Beast said, sitting opposite him.

“I was a designer's assistant and one of his models,” MiA said. “Mostly I'd sew the clothes after the customers placed their orders.”

“That is what you used to do for pleasure, then? Sew clothes?”

“Oh, no,” MiA said. “Sewing was my business, not my hobby. My hobby was reading.”

“Oh, really?” The Beast said.

“Yes, the local bookseller came to know me very well. I think I read every book that . . . well, that he had.” MiA had to be careful not to let it slip that he'd been reading illegal books. He didn't want his old friend to be arrested.

“Well, then, I will see to it that you have reading material,” The Beast said. “After dinner, I will show you something.”

MiA wondered if there were a bookseller somewhere within this palace. Given the size of it, he wouldn't be surprised.

Dinner arrived, first soup and salad, then a main course that was elegantly laid out on the plate, the fish and rice and vegetables arranged artfully. The butler poured them wine to go with the food. MiA drank his slowly, knowing that in a situation like his, it was important to keep his wits about him.

The Beast asked him about his family, and MiA said both his parents had passed on (though he didn't say why), then talked some about his brother and his crazy inventions. (He also omitted the fact that Kouki was currently designing a small submarine designed to get people past the usual patrols looking for escapees and over to Japan).

“You seem very fond of this brother,” The Beast said.

“I am,” MiA said. “He's all the family I have left. And he's taken care of me so well . . . what I did the other day, well, it was the least I could do for him.”

“What you did,” The Beast said, “it was very noble. I was surprised. Not everyone would have done it. It reminded me of . . .” He stopped. “Never mind. Why don't you tell me more about those clothes you work on?”

MiA was quiet. Was he about to say that he reminded him of . . . his mother?

The rest of the meal was uneventful, with MiA talking a bit about the fashion shows he'd been in, and then them discussing the gardens. He did notice, however, that The Beast seemed different overall when not surrounded by underlings. Less, well, angry, and more prone to real conversation.

After the dessert – an intensely rich chocolate cake – and coffee, The Beast stood up and said, “Wait there for a second, I'll be right back.”

MiA watched him leave the room through the door he came in, and came back holding something in his hand – a keyring, with two big keys on it and one small. “Here,” he said. “My father had two sets. One I have, the other I am entrusting you with. And I trust you will NOT abuse the privilege.”

MiA took them, gingerly. “What are these the keys to?”

“I will show you.” The Beast turned to his butler. “Cogusuwarutu, can you please make sure there is nobody in the outside corridor?”

The butler stepped out in the hall, then stepped back in. “It is clear, Master.”

“Come this way.” The Beast led the way out into the hall MiA came through to get to dinner and turned a corner. “We're now in the north wing – just up the main staircase. See that door over there, second from the right?”

MiA nodded. “Is that what the key goes to?”

“Yes. This key unlocks the front door.” He showed him the biggest key on the matching keyring he held. “Like . . . so.” He turned the lock, pushed the door in and turned on the light. MiA followed him.

There were bookshelves everywhere. Floor to ceiling, lined with rows after rows after rows of books. MiA's jaw dropped.

“Oh . . . my . . .God . . .”

“It's my family's private library,” The Beast said. “I've added to it in recent years.”

“This looks like more books than have ever been published in our country!” MiA said with excitement, flitting from shelf to shelf. Here were books about space and science, there were histories of the Japanese Samurai, and over on the far wall were Japanese translations of classic British and American novels.

“It is,” The Beast said. “Most of them come from Japan.”

“From Japan? Really?” MiA pulled one novel down from the shelf, leafing through it.

“We have the only books from Japan in the country,” The Beast said. “My father never wanted them in the hands of the populace.”

MiA suddenly turned and looked at him. “Do you do everything the way your father did?”

“I run the country the way he ran it. He said it was my duty as his heir to make sure the legacy of him and my grandfather was upheld, that our country continued to sustain itself and never got dragged into another nation's wars again.”

“But . . . hasn't it ever occurred to you that there may be another way?”

“My father said this is the only way,” said The Beast. “We must be a strong, self-sufficient country led by a strong leader. Outside influences will only weaken us, and weak countries are the ones that end up in wars.”

“But . . . aren't there ways to be strong other than brutalizing the people? Imposing your will on everything?”

“I leave enforcement of the laws to the generals. I trust them, like my father trusted his generals.”

“It seems to me that you might want to think about . . .” He sighed. “Never mind.” He bowed. “Thank you for inviting me here, and giving me the key.”

“It's the least I could do,” said The Beast.

“What do you mean?”

“I really did lose my temper last night. I didn't mean to . . . not to that extent. And then, when I saw what that guy did to you, or tried to do to you . . .”

“Did you kill him?” MiA said, softly.

The Beast shook his head. “I only shot to wound,” he said. “He passed out from the shock. He's in the infirmary now – and then, he'll be on town patrols for the rest of his life, with strict orders to stay away from alcohol.”

MiA was quiet. So the monster who had been accused of untold numbers of deaths couldn't commit a murder himself. No, he just left the killing and torture to his generals – because that's how his father had done it.

“I'm very glad you joined me for dinner,” The Beast said. “I . . . I don't see many people other than my staff. Especially other people my own age.”

“Is that why you accepted my offer to take my brother's place?” MiA said.

The Beast didn't answer directly. Instead, he said, “Can I count on your company every evening? I will tell the staff to admit you to the east wing at dinnertime, and listen for your voice.”

“I would like that,” MiA said, bowing. “Thank you.”

And to his surprise, he found he was sincere when he said that.

“It's getting late,” The Beast said. “I'll have Cogusuwarutu show you back to your room. Feel free to come here whenever you want to.”

MiA nodded. He glanced back at the library while they left it. It was the kind of thing that, back home, he would have given his right arm for.

This is one heck of a strange imprisonment, he thought.

* * *

The next day, MiA headed for the library as soon as he was done with breakfast. He found it easily, used his key, and settled down in a big easy chair with an interesting-looking book.

He'd been there a few hours when he heard another key turn in the door. He jumped . . . and saw The Beast walk in, cloaked and veiled.

The dictator removed the head and face coverings, revealing the military jacket he'd worn the night before. “I'm not surprised to find you here,” he said.

“You did give me the key,” said MiA. “I'm surprised to see you, though.”

“I come here every day for a few hours,” said The Beast. “It's my quiet spot, so to speak.”

“A place to get away from being the Almighty Leader for a few hours?”

“One never gets away from being a leader,” The Beast said. “One is a leader at all times. That doesn't mean I don't need a few hours of downtime.”

“I can agree on that,” MiA said. “I'm not in your chair, am I?”

“No, mine is the one opposite.” The Beast pointed a finger. “And you found the book I read a few weeks ago. What do you think of it?”

“It's hard to put down – though I'm a bit confused about who that guy who keeps coming and going is. I don't know if he's important, or just a red herring.”

“Keep reading – you'll find out.” The Beast held up a book. “This is what I'm reading now.”

“You like adventure stories?” MiA was half-tempted to tell him about Star Wars – but again, he'd be giving away that he'd been reading illegal books.

“I've always liked them.” The Beast looked wistful. “Ever since . . .. since I was a boy.”

Is that the kind of thing his mother read to him? MiA thought.

They passed a pleasant few hours, part of it reading quietly, part of it discussing their books. He seems so . . . sweet, and almost kind, MiA thought. It's so hard to believe he's a ruthless dictator.

Dictator, or his father's puppet, still controlling his son from beyond the grave?

The Beast had to go back to business, and MiA felt rather alone. He went to the kitchen for a light lunch, then returned to the library and went back to his book, until he could see the shadows of late afternoon outside the window. He headed back to his room to get ready for dinner.

They shared another pleasant meal that night. MiA asked The Beast about his staff, and he talked about Yoshiki with affection, saying he'd known the man since he was a small boy. “I trust him more than almost anyone.”

“What about your generals?”

“I don't have much of a relationship with them,” The Beast said. “It is best I don't. I am their master and commander. They are my arm when it comes to dealing with the public.”

“Why not deal with the public yourself?” MiA said. “Interact with them, find out what they want.”

“I can't let them see me,” The Beast said. “Even if I went down there cloaked and veiled, they'd be able to tell how young I am. They wouldn't have the same fear if they knew that . . .”

“That behind the facade of The Beast is a handsome prince?”

“I am FAR from a prince,” The Beast snapped. “I am a leader, like my father was, and his father was before him.”

“A true leader would listen to the voice of his people,” MiA said.

“Nations who let the people lead are weak,” The Beast said. “That is what . . .”

“Let me guess . . . what your father told you?”

“I learned everything there was about governing from him. This island sustains itself and hasn't been in a war since the unfortunate entanglement before my grandfather came to power. Why should I change that?”

MiA was quiet. There was no reasoning with this man when it came to his father. He must have been flat-out brainwashed, he thought. It's best . . . to just change the subject.

“Have you ever changed this palace, though? Is it exactly as it was in your grandfather's day?”

“Most of it is the same. We did add some to the north garden, though . . .”

At the conclusion of the meal, The Beast walked MiA to the door. “Did . . . did you mean what you said back then?”

“What I said . . . when?”

“When you called me handsome.”

“Well, beautiful would be more of the word. But yes – you're beautiful.”

“Nobody's ever commented on my looks before,” The Beast said. “Not even the people I took to bed.”

“If they didn't think you were attractive, they wouldn't have gone to bed with you.”

“Not always,” The Beast said, quietly. “My father just took what he wanted without consent. My grandfather, too. But . . . that's the one area where I'm different from them, I guess.”

His mother's influence, MiA thought. The one thing that kept him from being a complete monster. He reached for the other man's hand and squeezed it. “You ARE beautiful. Don't ever forget that.”

They just stood there for a long moment, staring at each other. And then, The Beast said, “I . . . I'll see you tomorrow in the library, okay?”

“Okay,” MiA said. “Good night.” He bowed and headed for the doors . . . and then rushed back to his rooms.

What is this feeling? he thought. It's a warmth rising up inside me. He's the monstrous dictator who holds this nation in fear, and my father died trying to overthrow his father . . .

But is he like his father and grandfather, really? Or is there something else, someone else, buried under years of brainwashing and rhetoric?

Is there true beauty inside The Beast?

* * *

Things settled into a comfortable pattern after that.

MiA would wake up, shower and dress, and go down to the kitchen, where a cheerful Potsu-san would bring him breakfast. Sometimes, he ate with Minister Yoshiki, if the older man were available at the time.

Then, he would head for the library, where The Beast would join him. The two of them would read and talk, after which The Beast would leave for his daily business. If it were a nice day, MiA would take his books outdoors in the afternoon – and a few times, he ended up helping the gardeners in their work. It made him feel good that he was actually doing something productive during his stay.

He'd go back to his rooms and dress for dinner. He tried to keep the conversation away from The Beast's father and his ideals, the two of them talking instead about the palace, the staff, the books they were reading.

The conversation between the two became easygoing – there were no repeats of the snapping at each other from when MiA first arrived. At times, The Beast seemed almost like a normal young man his age – one could almost mistake him for a young executive instead of a ruthless dictator. (Well, except for the military uniform he still insisted on wearing).

Then came one day that started out almost normal. MiA and The Beast were in the library together, and MiA brought out the keys to the library he'd been given. “Hey – what's the other key for? You never told me.”

“The second key opens the balcony doors over there.” The Beast nodded to a spot across the room. “It needs to be strengthened, though, it's been there since my grandfather's day and it's getting a bit rickety. So I didn't want you to use it until it's fixed.”

“And what about this one?” He held up the smaller key at the far end of the ring.

The Beast frowned. “That's odd. I don't have that on mine.” He looked at his own keychain again.

“Are you sure?”

“Positive. You have the keys my father used to unlock this library. He had another set made for me. But . . . I don't see why mine would be different.”

MiA glanced around the room. He saw another door set into the far wall, smaller than the front. I haven't really noticed it before, he thought, but then again, I haven't been looking at anything but the books. “Maybe it goes to that?”

“I don't know what that is,” The Beast said. “My father never opened it when I was in here with him. I always thought it was a storage closet.”

MiA rushed across the room to it, looking at the doorknob. Yes, the keyhole under it looked small enough for this key to fit in. He pushed it in, turned it and tried the knob. The door swung open with a creak.

“It's another library,” he said. “A smaller one.”

“You're kidding me,” The Beast said.

“I wouldn't kid about something like that,” MiA said. “Take a look.”

The Beast walked into the room, looking around. There was a single light in the ceiling, and he flipped the switch to turn it on. It flickered to life slowly – it obviously hadn't been activated in years.

“It's . . . it's books about other countries,” he said. “Countries I've only heard of vaguely . . .” He pulled one down. “This is about the United States.”

“They're on the other side of the world, aren't they?” MiA said.

The Beast nodded. “That's the country that defeated Japan – and, by extension, us – in the Big War before my grandfather came to power.” He looked around at the other shelves. “There's a lot of books about the United States here, actually. And this one is about France . . . a revolution they held there. And these are about England . . .”

“There's books about England in the other room, isn't there?” said MiA.

“Yes – but nothing about England after the 1500s,” said The Beast. He frowned. What WERE these books, and why were they here?

“All our books about Japan are about old history, too,” said MiA. “Nothing after the time of the samurai.”

“These are books about Japan,” The Beast said, taking another off the shelf. “About Japan after the war . . .” He suddenly dropped the books and looked thunderstruck. “I don't understand it. Why are they here? Why did my father lock them away? Why . . . why didn't he put the key to this room on my keyring? I never thought his and mine were any different . . .”

“He probably didn't want you to know,” MiA said, gently. It was a hard truth . . . but one this man needed to hear.

“Why would he do that?” The Beast said. “Why would he keep anything from me?”

“Maybe we should read those books,” MiA said. “You might find out.”

“I'm . . . I'm almost afraid to,” The Beast said. His face was a mask of confusion, of conflicting emotions.

Of course he’s afraid, MiA thought. This is the first indication he's had that his father was anything but the perfect ruler.

“Don't be,” he said. “It might be something that it will be good for you to see. For both of us to see.”

And so, they put aside their novels, and began to read nothing but the history books from the secret library. They told about countries that were democracies, that chose their own leaders . . . of the revolutionaries who fought to free their nations from the tyranny of unjust rulers.

At first, The Beast was in denial. “These books are nonsense!” he said. “They're propaganda made up by people who want to overthrow my family! No wonder my father locked them away!”

“Are they?” MiA said. “All of them?”

“They have to be! There's no way a country could be governed by a constantly-shifting cast of elected leaders and be strong!”

“But this book was printed in Japan.” MiA showed him the flyleaf. “And it's a Japanese translation of an American book.”

“There's no way that can really be . . .” And then, The Beast took a closer look. “Oh, my God.”

“These books are real,” MiA said. “These societies exist, Beast-san.”

After that, The Beast read the books almost constantly. His time in the library grew longer, and he took them with him when retreating to his private chambers in the evening. He avoided talking about them when they were eating dinner – there were servants listening, after all – but they did discuss them when they were in the library, in hushed tones in case someone was passing by.

One day, while they were in their library chairs, The Beast suddenly let the volume he was reading drop to the floor. He looked absolutely thunderstruck.

MiA looked up, frowning. “Beast-san?” he said.

“It's about America,” he said. “America in the 20th century . . . and specifically, World War II. How they were able to defeat the Japanese . . . and how they remade Japan in their image. They taught Japan to be a society governed by the people . . . and Japan rose from the ashes of their destruction. They became stronger than ever.”

“That's . . . that's a good thing, isn't it?” MiA said.

“It's the opposite of what my father told me!” The Beast said. He jumped up and started to pace the library. “He led me to believe Japan was still governed by an emperor! They have an emperor, but he's just a figurehead! It's the will of the people that makes America strong, makes Japan strong, not a leader!”

MiA could only watch in sympathy. He'd thought the same thing when he'd been reading the book. The entire country had been sold a lie, a bill of goods, by The Ogre and The Monster. And it appeared they had sold The Beast on it, too.

The feared leader was now forced with having to admit his life, his government, everything he knew was built on a false foundation.

“He told me that only a strong leader who ruled through fear could make a nation strong, and I believed it. I believed every word, and . . .” He suddenly ran up to the wall and slammed his fist into it. “Why would my father lie? WHY?”

“Because he wanted you to carry on his legacy,” MiA said, softly.

“It was a false legacy! All those people who have been killed, been imprisoned, to preserve our nation . . . it was for nothing! Nothing!”

He suddenly bolted out the door. MiA tried to follow him. “Beast-san . . .”

But when he looked out in the corridor, The Beast had already disappeared.

* * *

There was no dinner outfit laid out on Yo-ka's bed that night. Instead, there was a note - “The Master regrets that he is feeling poorly, and he is to remain in his quarters tonight. You may take your dinner in the kitchen.”

The following day, The Beast didn't come to the library. MiA looked for him around the palace and saw no trace of him, asked the staff and got no answers. And that night, another note of regret.

When the same thing happened again the next day, MiA began to get genuinely worried. Fortunately, that night, he got another dinner invitation – Minister Yoshiki asked if he could dine with him in the kitchen.

“This is like old times,” the government official said with a wan smile when they sat down together. “We haven't done this since the first night.”

“Yoshiki-san,” MiA said, “have you seen him? Do you know anything?”

“That's why I wanted to talk to you,” Yoshiki said. “I'm the only person he has seen. He . . . confided in me. What's been going on in the library, I mean.”

“I'm sorry. If I knew it would create such a problem, I wouldn't have shown him that little key.”

“No, it's a good thing you did,” Minister Yoshiki said. “A very good thing, in fact.”

“How is it good if he's hiding himself away from everyone?” MiA said.

“He's digesting it all,” said Minister Yoshiki. “The whole idea that his father wasn't the perfect ruler he thought he was. That our form of government isn't necessarily the best one. And eventually, he will arrive at the conclusion that he has the power to reverse the evil his father and grandfather did. He wants to be strong . . . the greatest show of strength he could make right now would be to free his nation.”

“What if he doesn't arrive at that conclusion?” MiA said. “What if he just sinks deeper and deeper into despair?”

“He will,” Yoshiki said. “It may take time, that's all. Right now, he's undergoing a sort of symbolic death and rebirth. The end of The Beast . . . and, if all goes well, the rebirth of a human. Of Yo-ka.”

MiA was quiet. Despite Yoshiki's reassurance, he was worried. He had to see The Beast with his own two eyes, to speak to him.

And he had an idea of where he'd find him.

* * *

MiA snuck down the hall carrying a small flashlight. He was trying to be as quiet as possible, not wanting to give his presence away – yet.

And at the same time, he kept glancing around him, anxiously. After all, his last visit to this part of the palace hadn't gone well.

When he came to the door, he took a deep breath, and then tried it, gingerly. It swung inward just enough for him to slip in, then close it quietly.

“I know you're here,” he announced, loudly. “And I know you told me never to come here again, but I'm worried sick about you.”

The Beast was on the other side of the room, huddled next to the crystal rose in the jar. When MiA spoke, he jumped.

“How did you get in?” he snapped, his voice retaining some of the gruffness it had the first times he had spoken to his captive.

“You left the door open,” MiA said.

The Beast slumped down next to the rose again. “How did I know you would figure out where I was? You know me too well, you know that?”

“Of course you'd be here,” MiA said. “You take comfort here, don't you?”

“Yes,” he said, quietly. “This was her space. Her rooms. She was the only person who never lied, who never told me only what they thought I wanted to hear, who never wanted me to be The Beast. She just wanted me to be . . . me. And then, she was gone, and I had nothing but my father . . . and the things he told me.”

“They called her The Rose, didn't they?” MiA said.

The dictator nodded. “After this crystal rose she brought with her – her father was an artisan.” He tipped his head toward the opposite wall. “That's her portrait.”

MiA turned his head – he hadn't seen the picture before, but then again, he hadn't been in these rooms very long. It was a painting of a beautiful woman, who looked like her son in female form. “You're her spitting image.”

“Minister Yoshiki says the same thing,” The Beast said.

“What was the name she gave you?” MiA knew already – but he wanted to hear it from his own lips.

“She called me Yo-ka,” he said. “She always called me that.”

“Then I'll call you that as well from now on,” MiA said. “That's your true name, that's what you should be known as.”

“I . . . I like the sound of it,” he said. “I've been called nothing but Master or The Beast for so long . . .”

“You don't have to be if you don't want to. You have the power to change things.”

“But . . . but I wouldn't know what to do. All I've wanted to do is uphold my father's legacy, but now that I know that legacy is a lie . . .”

MiA suddenly walked over to The Beast – no, Yo-ka – and wrapped his arms around him from behind. “You can be your mother's living legacy now,” he said. “You can spread everything that she was about to the world – love and compassion. You can give your people freedom.”

“But if I do,” Yo-ka said, “what if there's chaos? Riots? Different factions fighting each other?”

“There's always a risk in a new government,” MiA said. “Remember the books we read? Every democracy goes through growing pains. But you can get help.”

“How?”

“Remember that one book that talked about the United Nations?” MiA squeezed his arms tighter around Yo-ka. “You can go to them. Japan is a member of the organization. You can take a boat over there, go to Tokyo, speak to their prime minister – I'm sure as a head of state, he'll grant you an audience. And he will help you get in touch with the United Nations.”

“Not just me,” Yo-ka said. “Us. You're coming with me.”

“Me? But I know nothing about government. I'm a model and a part-time tailor.”

“You read the same books I did. You know as much about democracy as I do. Besides, I want you with me . . . as my companion, MiA.”

“You . . . you do?”

“Yes. You've made me feel things I didn't think I was capable of feeling. Do you know why, when you offered to stay here as my prisoner instead of your brother, I put you in a room instead of a cell and treated you as a guest?”

MiA shook his head.

“Because when you made the offer . . . it was more nobility than I'd ever seen in anyone except her. It was as if . . . I could see you had a pure heart. And it fascinated me.”

“Do you still think that?”

“More than ever. In fact . . . I think the purity of your heart purified mine.”

MiA was going to say something – but instead, he found himself leaning toward Yo-ka. The other man leaned toward MiA, and their lips met for the first time.

Oh, God, MiA thought. Oh, God, it's finally happening. Because, he knew in his heart of hearts, it was meant to be all along.

Yo-ka pulled back from the kiss. “MiA, can I ask you something?”

“Of course you can.”

“If I asked you to come to my bedchamber . . . if I asked permission to make love to you . . .”

“You don't have to ask, Yo-ka,” MiA said. “I want to make love to you, too.”

“You do?”

“Of course.” MiA lightly bopped his nose. “Did you think I wouldn't?”

Yo-ka stood up. “Well, then, what are we waiting for? My bedchamber is at the end of the next corridor.”

They took off together, hand-in-hand – and in the west wing, the crystal rose seemed to sparkle a little more in approval.

* * *

When they came to a huge door that Yo-ka had to get out a key for, MiA realized he was being admitted to the innermost of inner sanctums in this palace.

“Has anyone been in here other than you?” he said. “And, well, your previous lovers?”

“Any experiences of that sort I had before took place in one of the spare bedrooms,” Yo-ka said as he unlocked the door. “Nobody's been in here but me and the maids. Minister Yoshiki and a few other officials have been in my sitting room, but not in here.”

“Do you have . . . um, what you'd need, then?”

“Lubricant, you mean? Yes. Lubricant is brought into this palace by the crate – plenty goes on between staff members, male and female. I took a tube for myself, just in case there was anyone I wanted to bring in here.” He tipped MiA's chin up. “And you're definitely the just in case.” He kissed his lips, softly.

MiA stepped into the room and looked around. Yo-ka had a king-sized bed with a canopy, similar to the one MiA slept in – except the coverlet and canopy were a dark crimson. There was a huge and heavy dresser covered in basic toiletries, a big mirror opposite the bed, a wardrobe and a closet.

It doesn't looked lived in, MiA thought. He literally must use it just for sleeping.

“I'll be right back,” Yo-ka said, heading for the bathroom. MiA heard water running – he must be washing off really fast, he thought. He must have not showered while in his “beast-to-human transition” phase.

MiA sat gingerly on the bed. It had been quite some time since he'd had a boyfriend, since he'd been in a sexual situation. What do I do now? he thought. Do I wait for him to come out and start undressing me, do I start stripping off for him . . .

He decided, spur of the moment, that he'd take out the guesswork. He removed his clothes, folded them neatly over the back of a chair, and climbed into the bed.

Yo-ka came out of the bathroom, wearing a yukata. MiA suddenly found it endearing – it was the first time he'd ever seen his about-to-be lover in anything other than a cloak and veil or a military uniform. He approached the edge of the bed – and then stopped.

“Well,” he said, “looks like I don't need this – if that bare skin goes down as far as I think it does.”

MiA flipped the covers back, letting Yo-ka see his whole body. “It does,” he said. He paused, breath catching in his throat, as he felt the other man's eyes running over him, taking in every centimeter of exposed flesh.

“MiA,” Yo-ka said in a whisper. “You're so beautiful . . .” He began to move a hand down his body, slowly and reverently, caressing his shoulder first, then moving down to his chest, fingers brushing lightly over a nipple. Then lower, down over MiA's stomach, moving here and there to trace the patterns of the muscles . . .

He stopped before he could reach his ultimate goal and unfastened his yukata, tossing it aside. Now it was MiA's turn to feast his eyes, slowly looking over the muscled arms and chest – yes, he'd been working out, there had to be a gym in this palace . . . and then lower, over his belly, and . . .

“Oh,” MiA breathed as he looked at his lover's growing erection. Yo-ka was endowed, to be sure. He ran his fingers over it, lightly, feeling the shape of it . . .

Yo-ka slid onto the bed beside him and kissed MiA hard, their tongues rubbing against one another pulling back, then rubbing together again. They wrapped their fingers around each other's cocks, beginning a gentle, slow stroke, rubbing and caressing the hot flesh as they moved from root to tip and back again.

MiA closed his eyes, feeling Yo-ka harden in his hand, the way the other man responded to his touch, the way he shifted his hips forward, toward MiA . . . while MiA moaned into Yo-ka's mouth at the warm tingling that was spreading through his whole body from the fingers stroking him, caressing him . . .

Bliss. Sheer, unadulterated bliss. MiA could think of no other way to describe it.

Yo-ka moved his mouth to MiA's neck, kissing along the column as they continued to stroke, memorizing the shape and texture of one another, the spots that made each man arch up and moan. Then, realizing that if they got carried away, this would come to a too-quick end, they slowly let go of each other.

Yo-ka rolled them both over so that he was on top, and began to kiss down MiA's chest, running his tongue back and forth over a nipple when he came to it, then wrapping his lips around it, sucking rapidly. MiA cried out, gripping the back of the man's head, tugging ever-so-lightly at his hair. When he moved over to suck on the other bud, MiA moaned his name, his real name, and it sounded like sweet poetry to both of them.

MiA found himself breathing heavily in anticipation as Yo-ka's tongue traced a wet line down his stomach. “Please,” he murmured. “Please, I want to feel your mouth on me . . .”

But nothing could compare him for the jolt of pleasure when Yo-ka took his erection in his lips, running his tongue back and forth over the tip, then quickly moving down. MiA let out a loud cry of “Oh!” and his head and shoulders rose up from the bed, looking down at Yo-ka bend over him, cock sliding through his lips in an act of worship.

The dictator, the most powerful man in the nation, had been reduced to a supplicant before his lover, wanting only to pleasure him. And suddenly, that seemed almost as arousing to MiA as the feel of wet heat enveloping him, moving all around him.

Yo-ka pulled the cock out of his mouth, only to stroke gently from bottom to top with his tongue before taking him in and sucking again. MiA leaned back again, eyes tightly closed now, just completely lost in the pleasure, in this man and what he was doing to him.

The mouth eased away, and Yo-ka moved up, kissing MiA's lips again . . . and they both rolled over so MiA was on top this time, quickly kissing his way down Yo-ka's chest the way his new lover had done to him. He eagerly tongued a nipple, listening to Yo-ka's moan, wanting it to grow louder . . . he began to suck, and the moan became a loud cry, fingers tangling in his hair.

I have the dictator under my control, MiA thought, and a shudder of wicked pleasure ran through him. In this moment, now he was the most powerful man in the nation. It meant nothing outside this bedroom – MiA wouldn't want it to – but that didn't mean it wasn't delicious.

MiA began to move down further, his heart fluttering, wondering how he was going to get that in his mouth. He was bigger than his previous boyfriend had been, he'd never handled a cock like that before.

There was no problem whatsoever, though. Soon as it was in his lips, as he was breathing in his lover’s musky scent, MiA's own eagerness took over. He was able to open wide and slide down, feeling it fill his mouth, sucking on him hard.

He heard Yo-ka's ecstatic cry, felt his lover grip the back of his head, and it just made him suck faster, harder, moving his head up and down rapidly. That surge of powerful feeling was back, just feeding into the desire within MiA, making him swirl his tongue around the head when it was almost all the way out of his mouth just to hear the loud moan.

MiA knew that he needed to feel Yo-ka inside him, to feel them joined. He slid his mouth away, rolled off his lover, and got on all fours on the bed, lowering his head so his ass would stick up in the air, offered freely.

Yo-ka got the message immediately. MiA heard the scrape of a drawer being opened, then a squish sound, and then . . .

There was a finger pushing into his body, gently, opening him up little by little. MiA ignored the little bit of pain that resulted, focusing only on the warm pleasure that followed, moving through him slowly as Yo-ka moved in and out.

He moaned when the second finger pushed in, arching back toward his lover, and then the third, the sensation of stretching more intense now – but MiA welcomed it. He wanted to be fully ready, wanted the moment of their joining to be nothing but sheer ecstasy.

The fingers slid out, and Yo-ka said, softly, “I want to look at you . . .”

MiA flipped over on his back, raising and spreading his legs. Yo-ka quickly lubed himself, and then lay on top of the other man, settling between them.

They joined hands and looked into each other's eyes. No words were said. None were necessary.

Yo-ka began to gently push into MiA, and MiA's breath caught as the inevitable pain came. He willed it to go away, though, and it did, a warm and delicious feeling starting to take its place as he penetrated further.

He paused for a moment, lowering his head, and the two kissed, tenderly. Then, he started to move, a gentle thrust at first, then gradually getting harder, faster, deeper.

If Yo-ka had felt good in MiA's mouth, he felt like absolute heaven now, each movement stimulating nerve endings that made MiA let out loud moans, made him spread his legs wider so the other man could thrust deeper.

He reached up and ran his hands down his lover's back, feeling the sheen of sweat there, the heat of his body. MiA began to pump his own hips, meeting every thrust. “More,” he moaned, and Yo-ka thrust harder, the two feeling like they were truly joined now.

MiA wrapped his legs around Yo-ka's hips, and gripped onto his shoulders, and moved with him, again and again. Everything about Yo-ka was enveloping him now, his scent and his heat and the beautiful sounds of his moans . . .

And then, Yo-ka suddenly hit a spot within MiA that made stars explode behind his vision. He cried out, and Yo-ka thrust against it again and again . . .

There was an explosion of ecstasy within MiA more hot and intense than anything he'd ever experienced before. He arched up against Yo-ka, nearly screaming as he was overwhelmed with it, as it passed through him in long, pulsing waves. He never knew an orgasm could feel quite like that.

Yo-ka thrust hard into him a few more times, and then he let out his own cry of ecstasy, pouring himself into MiA, then finally collapsing op top of him, panting.

They kissed again, gently, and snuggled against one another. They both knew that they were going to have to let go – Yo-ka would have to go get something to clean them off – but they were going to make this moment last as long as they possibly could.

In many ways, both of them had been waiting for it all their lives.

To Part 3

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
hamhamheaven
Jul. 2nd, 2016 04:13 am (UTC)
I love that MiA's Star Wars obsession crept into this fic, and that he almost accidentally spilled the beans about the forbidden fics he's been reading in his enthusiasm about it. Too cute! Also, "Cogusuwarutu" made me chuckle; since Potsu-san runs the kitchen, I guess that means Yoshiki-san is the equivalent of Lumier. ^_^

I'm glad to hear that for all the terrible things Yo-ka has done, he's never forced someone into his bed. Further proof of his mother's influence. His anger and disappointment when he learned the truth his father kept from him was really poignant. To have been living a lie so long... but at least now that he knows the truth, he has the power to change things. And a pretty companion on his arm...for now at least.
puss_nd_boots
Jul. 6th, 2016 05:19 pm (UTC)
Getting MiA's Star Wars obsession into a world that's so technologically backwards that they don't have movie theaters was a bit of a challenge! I decided that the bookseller had imported Japanese translations of the movie tie-in novels that had been written for each Star Wars film, and that's the books MiA read to ribbons. (They definitely would be condemned by The Monster, since they dealt with a rebellion against a totalitarian government!)

Yo-ka would never think of forcing someone sexually; it was the one thing his father did that he always knew was inherently wrong. The fact that his beloved mother was kept as a prisoner and a sex slave for so many years - much like your own pets - left a deep impression. He knew that as much as she loved him, she would be happier NOT being in the situation she was in.

Finding out his father had lied to him really was a death and rebirth for Yo-ka - THIS is the point where The Beast becomes human, not at the end of the story. If he hadn't had MiA there, it probably would have destroyed him psychologically. It was hard enough as it was - fortunately, MiA went after him and pulled him back up again.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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