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Title: Tale as Old as Time, 3/3
Chapter: 3 of 3, Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here
Author: Boots
Rating: THIS CHAPTER: PG-13. FIC AS A WHOLE: NC-17
Genre: Romance, smut, semi-fairy tale AU
Warnings: : FOR THIS CHAPTER: None. FIC AS A WHOLE: Male/male sex, attemped rape (non-explicit)
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 woke up the next day to warmth and comfort. He snuggled closer to the body next to him. Was he still dreaming, he thought, or . . .

He opened his eyes all the way. There was Yo-ka, sleeping beside him. It wasn't a dream at all. It was blissful reality.

MiA gently stroked his new lover's hair. He looks so innocent now, he thought, so peaceful. One would never know he was a monster in the eyes of his people. Except . . . he wasn't. And in his heart of hearts, he never had been.

Yo-ka yawned. “Good morning,” he said.

“Good morning to you, too,” MiA said. “Sleep well?”

“Better than I have since I was a kid.” Yo-ka wrapped his arms around MiA. “I could get used to this sight first thing in the morning, you know.”

“So could I,” MiA replied. He leaned over for a kiss. “You are really cute when you're asleep.”

“Cute?” said Yo-ka.

“Yes, cute!” MiA said. “I should take a picture of you.”

“If you get to have a picture of me sleeping, I get to have a picture of you sleeping,” Yo-ka said.

“Deal.” MiA said. “So . . . what now?”

“Well, I usually take my breakfast up here,” he said. “I'll just have the kitchen send up extra. And then . . .” He leaned his forehead against MiA's. “There just might be time for a round two before I have my duties.”

“What are your duties, anyway?” MiA said.

“Boring stuff. Looking at the monitors that show activity around the island. Meetings. Getting reports from generals. That sort of thing. I could show you the monitors before you go to the library. Let you see the island the way I see it.”

“That's after the other things, though,” MiA said. “I want to spend every moment with you here in this room that I can.”

The two kissed again. It was a brand new day, all right . . . in more ways than one.

* * *

MiA and Yo-ka were headed down the hall hand-in-hand when Minister Yoshiki approached them. They dropped hands quickly as soon as they saw him – although he caught a glimpse.

Good, Yoshiki thought. Very, very good. Perhaps . . . the miracle I've been hoping for has happened.

“Well, hello there,” he said. “You look happy this morning.”

“Good morning to you, too, Minister,” Yo-ka said. “I'm bringing MiA to see the monitors on the way to the library. I figure he's been here long enough that we can trust him with seeing that.”

“But of course,” Minister Yoshiki said. “I'll see you in the great meeting room afterward?”

“Yes,” Yo-ka said. He and MiA walked past the official . . . and then clasped hands again as they headed to the monitor room, laughing softly.

“Think he saw?” MiA said.

“I'd rather have him see than some of the others,” Yo-ka said. “They'd spread the gossip around the whole palace in less than a minute.” He opened the doors and stepped into a room lined with an entire wall of small televisions, each showing a different street in the main city – except for the last two rows, which showed strategic points in some of the small towns.

“Oh, my God,” MiA said. He looked from one to the other – here was the bakery where he used to get occasional cakes for him and his brother, there was the bicycle seller, over there was the schoolhouse . . . “It's like looking at a magic mirror. It shows you everything at once.”

“They're monitored at all times,” Yo-ka said. “I check them in the mornings, and then the military officials keep an eye on them all day.” He pointed to a control panel. “If we see anything of interest on any of the screens, we can push a button here to zoom in for a closer view.”

“It's . . . fascinating,” MiA said. He moved closer, looking up at the monitors again. “Yo-ka . . . is this the only way you've ever seen the island?”

“I was down there in the city when I was younger, when my father was still alive. Before . . .”

“Before you became The Beast.”

“And since then, well . . .”

MiA put a hand on Yo-ka's shoulder. “We'll go down there,” he said. “We'll live among the people once the island is free and a democracy has been established.”

“We,” Yo-ka said, softly.

“And don't worry about having to work,” MiA said. “I will still be able to have a job. I'm sure Gaston-san will take me back. See, that's his shop over there, on monitor number . . .”

Suddenly, MiA froze. There was something on that screen . . . he hoped he wasn't seeing what he thought he was . . .”

“MiA?”

“Zoom in. Monitor number five.”

Yo-ka did, and MiA gasped, his hands coming to cover his mouth.

There was his brother, Kouki, being yelled at and shoved against a wall by Avenant de Gaston himself. Kouki raised his hands, appearing to plead with the man – but got punched in the stomach, then dragged inside the store.

“Oh, crap,” Yo-ka said. He picked up a walkie-talkie built into the console. “Base, this is the Master. We need a unit down on . . .” He gave the address of the shop. “There's a disturbance.” He turned to MiA. “A crew is on their way down.”

“Let me go with them!” MiA said. “Please! It's my brother, he's in trouble!” MiA suddenly felt guilty for not thinking as much about Kouki lately as he had when he first arrived. Yes, he thought, I'm here because of him, because I volunteered to take his place . . .

He'd just about forgotten, recently, that he was a prisoner.

“MiA,” Yo-ka said. “it could be dangerous down . . .”

“I can reason with Gaston-san,” MiA said. “Please, Yo-ka . . .”

The former Beast suddenly embraced him. “Promise me you'll come back,” he said. “Promise me you won't run away for good.”

“I promise,” MiA said. “I swear on my life.”

“And when you come back . . . we won't be prisoner and captor anymore. We'll just be . . . us.”

“Yes,” MiA said with a smile. “We'll just be us.”

“Now, go to him,” Yo-ka said. “They'll be at the bottom of the right staircase. I'm going to tell them you're coming. Oh, and take this . . . ” He went into a cabinet on the wall. “It's a scroll showing the grounds of the palace. There's only one secret entrance, through the woods – and your brother happened to stumble into it the day we met. Use it in case you decide to stay awhile after my agents have gone back.”

“You trust me to do that?”

“Of course I do, MiA. Because it's you.”

MiA leaned over, gave Yo-ka a lingering kiss, then left quickly, not looking back.

Minister Yoshiki came into the room a few minutes later, to find his Master sitting by the console, walkie-talkie in hand, shoulders slumped – a dramatic contrast to what he looked like before.

“Master?” he said. “What's wrong? Where's MiA?”

“I let him go,” Yo-ka said in a dull voice.

“What? Why?”

“I had to.” He took a deep breath. “Because I love him.”

* * *

MiA had been gone so long that riding into town seemed almost surreal. He glanced to the left and right as the military vehicle made its way through the streets, the people scurrying into the nearest available buildings as it passed. Nobody wanted to be around the soldiers of The Beast.

The jeep stopped in front of MiA's once-familiar place of employment. He got out, along with the soldiers. They banged on the door.

“Who is it?” Gaston's voice came from inside. “We're open, you know.”

“Army,” one of the soldiers called. “We understand there's been a disturbance.”

“Disturbance?” Gaston opened the door with his all-too-familiar too-wide smile. MiA hid behind the soldiers and felt a shudder of revulsion. “I don't know what you're talking about.”

“You were seen on the monitors of the palace, sir, having an altercation with another man. A rather violent one. That sort of behavior is NOT tolerated.”

“Dear sirs, that was a basic conflict that got out of hand,” Gaston said. “He seems to think I know where his brother is – the boy disappeared several months ago. I do think he's losing his mind. I promise that if it happens again I will contact the proper authorities. Now . . .” Gaston opened a drawer and pulled something out. “Are we clear on this?”

Money, MiA thought. He's bribing them! He began to wonder how many OTHER people had bribed members of the military. Wait until I tell Yo-ka about this, he thought.

Gaston slipped the envelope over quietly, and the soldier took it equally quietly – in a manner that couldn't be caught by the ever-vigilant surveillance cameras. “If that be the case,” the first soldier said, “sorry to trouble you, sir. We'll be off.”

“Wait!” MiA said. “I . . . can you let me stay for a few minutes and talk with this man? I know him . . . he used to be my employer.”

The soldiers nodded at each other. “We'll be next door,” one of them said. “We'll be back in an hour or so.”

Next door, MiA thought, is a bar. Soldiers drinking on the job. . . this got worse and worse. “All right,” he said.

As soon as they were gone, he stepped into the shop and slammed the door. “What the hell did you do with my brother?” he shouted.

“MiA, dear,” Gaston said. “What a surprise to see you back. Wherever have you been?”

“Don't sweet-talk me!” MiA said. “I KNOW you beat up my brother! Why? Where is he now?”

“Why, however would you know that?” Gaston said.

“I'm not telling you why!” MiA said.

“Well, your brother told us that he was taken prisoner at The Beast's palace and that you took his place. Although you look very healthy and well-cared-for for a prisoner in a palace run by a brutal dictator.”

“Don't call him that!” MiA snapped. “You don't know the first thing about him! He's nothing like . . .”

“So you've made his acquaintance, hmm?” Gaston said. “Maybe YOU will be more useful to us than your brother! We kept trying to get him to tell us how he got into the palace, and he keeps saying he doesn't know . . . so we decided it was time to FORCE him to tell us.”

He suddenly seized MiA's arm and dragged him across the room, throwing open a door at the back of the room, the one MiA knew went to the basement. He propelled him down the stairs, roughly, finally stopping at the bottom.

There was a collection of other men, most of them burly and gruff-looking, sitting in a circle on the floor, many of them with weapons in their hands. And in the middle of the circle was his brother, tied to a chair, a gag in his mouth.

Kouki raised his head, blinking. He seemed to be trying to murmur “MiA?” around the gag.

“You didn't know I was a member of the Liberation Front, did you?” Gaston said. “I have been for years. We've been trying and trying to find a way onto the palace grounds, but to no avail. And when we get there, we will kill The Beast and free this country from that family's tyranny once and for all!”

“NO!” MiA said. “You don't understand him! Not at all! He never really wanted to be this way! His father brainwashed him into it! He doesn't believe in all that anymore! He's really gentle and kind!”

Gaston turned toward MiA, slowly. “If I didn't know better,” he said, “I'd think you had feelings for that monster!”

“He's no monster, Gaston-san!” MiA shouted. “YOU are!” As he said it, he pointed at the designer, furiously . . . and the scroll he was holding fell to the floor with a clatter.

“What's this?” Gaston said, reaching for it.

“NO!” MiA shouted, grabbing for it – but the designer had snatched it away first, and unrolled it.

“Well, well,” he said. “The plans to the palace grounds! Complete with the entrance we've been looking for all along!”

“GIVE THAT BACK!” MiA shouted, grabbing for it – only to have two of the Liberation Front members grab his arms and pin them behind him.

“You've done a great service to your country, sir,” Gaston said. “All right, men, this is it! Get all your weapons! Take gas masks if you have them in case they try to gas us! And go NOW! We will take back our country! We will make our country great again! KILL THE BEAST!”

“KILL THE BEAST!” the mob echoed, and stormed up the stairs, pushing MiA roughly to the floor as they went.

MiA crawled across the floor to Kouki, quickly undoing his bonds as soon as they were gone. “MiA,” he said as soon as the gag was removed. “Is it really you?”

“Yes, it's me. I asked him to let me go to you as soon as I saw you were in trouble. What did that bastard do?”

“I tried to get you help,” Kouki said. “I tried and tried, but nobody knew how to get into the palace, and Gaston seemed to think I knew how to get into the palace, and I kept telling him I didn't know, and he kept harassing me, and . . .” He hugged his brother. “I'm just glad you're all right.”

“I am,” MiA said. “But I have to get to Yo-ka now. He's in danger . . . I just hope I can warn him before they get there . . .”

“Yo-ka?” Kouki said. “Who's Yo-ka?”

“Someone who's come to mean a lot to me,” MiA said. “Do you still have any working vehicles?”

“There's the Sonicmobile . . . it's still a work in progress, but it's faster than . . .”

“Perfect!” said MiA. “Just tell me how to work it.”

“I'm coming with you,” Kouki said.

“You're in no shape to . . .”

“I look a lot worse than I am,” Kouki said. “You helped me, now I'm helping you. That's what family is for, right?”

MiA hugged his brother again. “Come on,” he said. “Let's go – we have no time to waste.”

* * *

Years later, legends would be told about what came to be known as The Siege of the Leader's Palace. It was a great battle, to be sure -indeed, the stuff legends were made of.

It was said the guards were taken entirely by surprise, and that was true. The mob poured in, broke into one of the military weapons lockers, and stole guns equal to the ones their opponents would be using. They stormed the main gates, and then, the shooting started.

Bodies fell quickly. Before anyone knew it, there were Liberation Front members everywhere, shooting everyone they came into contact with – staff, officials, soldiers. By the time most of the military caught on and swung fully into action, the group had laid waste to the ground floor of the palace and was storming upstairs.

Minister Yoshiki, meanwhile, was looking frantically for the leader, to hide him. He tried the west wing, risking his wrath – to no avail. He tried his meeting rooms – empty.

And then, with a sudden burst of inspiration, he ran into the library. There was Yo-ka, sitting next to the chair where MiA normally sat, running his fingers slowly over one of its arms.

“Master,” Minister Yoshiki said, “the palace is under attack.”

Yo-ka looked up, slowly. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, you need to get out of here! Go up in the high turret and stay there! They've got guns, lots of them!” A pause. “Get out of here, if you ever want to see MiA again!”

At that, Yo-ka sprang to his feet. “Did he come back?” he said.

“If he knows what's good for him, he'll stay away right now,” Minister Yoshiki said. “Now, hurry!”

* * *

The figure in the gas mask crept along the wall, listening closely for any clue as to the information he sought. His group had scored significant victories until now, to be sure . . . but they hadn't gotten the big prize. They hadn't found the bastard himself.

And he wanted to be the one to take the son of a bitch out with his own hands. Not only for what his family had done to this country, but for how he'd bent MiA to his will. Gentle and kind my ass, he thought.

He heard a voice in the distance yelling, “The tower! The master's been taken there!”

So, Avenant de Gaston thought, that's where he is. He reached into his pocket and took out the plans MiA had so thoughtfully provided for him. The tower in question was easy to find.

He took off at a sprint. The Beast was as good as dead now.

* * *

Yo-ka sat at the top of the tower – an empty room that had been used as yet another place to put prisoners during his father and grandfather's time. Because they needed all the room for prisoners they could get.

His mind was trying to process it all, but it couldn't. His palace was under attack – the palace that had been safeguarded for so many years. They'd found that one vulnerability in the woods, that one place MiA's brother had slipped through . . .

It couldn't be coincidental, he thought. They didn't just stumble upon that entrance. They found it. Which means they probably got MiA. Why did I let him go like that? Why didn't I think that if his brother was attacked, he could be, too?

There was a noise at the door. Yo-ka jumped. Was it MiA? Had he made it back to the palace, and been told where to find him . . .

But it wasn't MiA. The door swung open to reveal a man in a suit and a gas mask, pointing a large, military-grade gun at him. And, shit, Yo-ka had no weapons.

“So, it's finally you, is it?” the voice behind the mask said. “Who would have thought The Beast would be a young pretty boy?” He shoved his weapon into Yo-ka's stomach, and Yo-ka fell to the ground.

“No matter,” the gas mask said. “Young or not, you're still the bastard who ruined this country, and you're still going to die.” He began advancing on Yo-ka, slowly. Yo-ka could only crawl backward, still on the floor.

Dammit, he thought, why don't I have a gun? Of course, he didn't think to put one on that morning . . . the day had gotten off to such a blissful start . . .

“What's the matter, Beast?” the gas mask said. “Too kind and gentle to fight back? MiA said that about you, you know.”

At the sound of his lover's name, Yo-ka stopped – then realized he had to keep moving, or he was dead. “How do you know him?”

“Why does it matter?” the gas mask said. “He's going to be mine when you're dead, anyway.”

Yo-ka felt the wall against his back. He was trapped, cornered . . .

“Why would he want a scumbag dictator like you when he could have a guy like me, anyway?” said the gas mask.

Yo-ka suddenly snapped into action. He kicked out fiercely, knocking the gun from his assailant's hands, and moved like lightning to grab it, leaping to his feet. Now the tables were turned – the gas mask man was lying on the floor, and Yo-ka was pointing the gun at him.

His finger wrapped around the trigger, and twitched . . .

No, he thought. I won't pull it. I'm not like my father and grandfather.

Instead, he said, harshly, “Get out. NOW.”

The gas mask man scrambled to his feet and ran for the door – because Gaston, like all bullies, was a coward at heart.

As he was running, however, another figure ran past him into the room. “Yo-ka!” MiA cried. “Are you all right? Please say you're all right!”

“MiA! You came back!” Yo-ka dropped the gun and embraced his lover, his back to the door.

“Did you think I wouldn't?” MiA said. “I wish I had come sooner, my brother's contraption had some trouble . . .”

Gaston, who was still just outside the door, watched the reunion with rage in his heart. He clenched his fist at his side . . . and then realized he still had a small pistol there. He raised it, aimed for The Beast, and fired.

Yo-ka suddenly gave a jolt, then collapsed in MiA's arms. “Yo-ka!” MiA screamed. “YO-KA!”

Minister Yoshiki, who had been on his way up the stairs after MiA, heard the shot. Without a second thought, he drew his own pistol and fired at the assailant. Avenant de Gaston fell to the floor, dead.

“Master!” Yoshiki shouted, running into the room – only to see MiA on the floor, sobbing, cradling Yo-ka's head in his arms.

“Maybe . . . it's better this way,” Yo-ka said in a choked voice. “When I'm dead, the people will be truly free . . .”

“Don't talk like that!” MiA said, tears starting to run down his face. “You're going to be all right!”

Yo-ka reached up and touched MiA's face. “At least I got to see you once last time.”

Yoshiki ran back down the stairs. “GET A STRETCHER, NOW!” he shouted. “WE NEED TO GET THE MASTER INTO SURGERY AT ONCE!”

Please don't let it be too late, he thought, as he ran upstairs with the medical crew – only to see Yo-ka unconscious, blood everywhere, and MiA crying out, “No, don't go! Don't leave me – I love you!”

“We're going to do all we can, sir,” the head of the medical crew said as they loaded Yo-ka onto the gurney they carried. “Hang in there, Master.”

MiA followed them all the way to the infirmary, until the doors were shut in his face. He leaned on the wall, trembling – and then felt a hand on his shoulder.

“Come sit,” Minister Yoshiki said, gently. “Your brother is with me.”

“MiA,” Kouki said, standing up to embrace him. “That man . . . is he . . .”

“He's The Beast,” MiA said. “Or at least he was.”

He was guided to a chair in the waiting area between the other two men, and he began to spill out the tale of everything that had happened since the day of his arrival, Minister Yoshiki filling in some parts.

“So you see,” Minister Yoshiki said at the end of it, “it's a fortunate thing, Kouki-san, that you got lost that day. Having MiA around turned The Beast into the man he's supposed to be.”

“If anybody could turn around a dictator, it's MiA,” Kouki said. “He's got the purest heart of anyone I've ever met.”

“Stop,” MiA said.

“Well, it's true,” Kouki said. “I want to meet your Yo-ka, once he's up to it. Well, re-meet him under better circumstances than the first time.”

They sat there for what seemed an eternity, Kouki filling MiA in on what happened when he was gone (mostly him being harassed by the Liberation Front, even though he repeatedly told them he didn't know how he got into the palace, and the inventions he worked on to distract himself from MiA's absence – fortunately, he'd been able to sell some basic motorized carts to farmers to support himself).

Eventually, a doctor came out and approached the trio. Minister Yoshiki bowed to him. “How is he?”

“The man is very lucky,” said the doctor. “The bullet just missed some vital organs – and his spinal column. Fortunately, the public lined up to donate blood as soon as word reached the city there were a lot of injuries in the siege, so we were able to replace the blood he lost.”

Probably they thought the injured were all Liberation Front members, MiA thought. They certainly wouldn't have donated if they knew the blood was going to The Beast.

“We were able to save him,” the doctor said. “Mostly because he has an incredibly strong will to live. He'll be resting for awhile, but he's going to recover.”

“Thank you!” MiA cried. “Thank you so much!”

“Are you MiA?” said the doctor. “He's been asking for a MiA since he started coming out of the anesthesia.”

“Yes,” he said. “Can I see him?”

“Come this way.”

MiA was led into a room where Yo-ka was lying on a bed, bandages wrapped around his chest. His eyes were closed – but they opened when his lover stepped up to his bedside.

“Hi,” he said. “I don't look that good right now, I'm afraid.”

“You're beautiful, like always.” MiA took his hand in both of his. “I was so scared . . .”

“Did I hear you say you loved me back there?”

“Yes. Yes, and I mean it. Every word.”

“Good. Because I love you, too. And we're going to live together from now on as a couple . . . but I don't know where. I don't know how much of the palace is left.”

“This infirmary, of course. And Minister Yoshiki said they spared the south wing” - where the staff and servants lived.

“We'll live there, then. Your brother, too. At least until we can go through with our plans to free the country.”

“Sssh,” MiA said. “Don't talk. Save your strength. We'll think about that later . . . when you're well. For now . . .” He kissed the hand he held. “I'm just glad you're still here with me.”

Yo-ka closed his eyes. “Me, too,” he said.

Minister Yoshiki watched from the doorway, a smile on his face. His greatest hopes had been realized. A beauty had freed The Beast from his family's curse, and made him truly human again.

* * *

EPILOGUE

Several weeks later, word went out throughout the country that The Master would address the nation on television for the first time. At first, there was shock and disbelief – rumors had spread that The Beast had been killed during the siege, and they were disappointed to find out it wasn't true.

This gave way to curiosity, since The Beast was an enigma – he had never been seen throughout his reign. And so, at the appointed day and time, people were crowded around every television they could get access to.

When the young man in a suit appeared – for Yo-ka had stopped wearing the military uniforms – a collective gasp went up. This couldn't be The Beast! He was so young! So soft and pretty-looking!

“My fellow citizens,” he said. “I have never addressed you directly before. The time has come to do so now, because there are going to be changes for all of us. Big changes, which I think you will approve of. You may have heard that several weeks ago, my palace was laid siege to by members of the Liberation Front, resulting in deaths, injuries and property damage. The raiders had sought to overthrow me, if not kill me. What they did not know, however, was that their raid was for nothing – because what they sought was already in their grasp.”

He took a deep breath. “I had decided, before the siege, that I am going to ease out of the role of the country's Premier. This nation suffered for a long time in the iron grip of my father and grandfather, and for some time, myself. But my mindset has changed now, and I see that our people deserve a democracy – a government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Another gasp went up – followed by loud cheers. Nobody thought this day would come. Nobody at all.

The figure on the screen continued to speak. “To that end, I intend to appeal to the Prime Minister of Japan and the United Nations for help in setting up a democratic government and a system of free trade with other nations – not just the very limited trade we currently have with Japan. We will improve the quality of life for everyone here – better education, better medical care, better technology. I intend to find out what they have in Japan, and bring it here. No longer shall we be isolated from the rest of the world.”

More cheers went up from the citizenry. An old man in his 90s, who could remember life before the Ogre, sobbed as he watched the broadcast in his granddaughter's living room. “I never thought I'd see the day when our country was returned to us,” he said.

“Furthermore,” said the figure on the screen, “I am calling an immediate halt to all hyper-surveillance of citizens. There will be no more secret police, no soldiers marching down the street all hours of the day and night, no people being dragged off to prisons for the least slight against someone in government. The surveillance cameras that sent a constant feed to the palace have been turned off. In short, my fellow citizens . . . you have been set free.”

Cheers resounded everywhere. Some people stumbled into the streets sobbing with joy. Corks were popped from hard-to-get bottles of wine throughout the island.

“I will be setting up a transitional government to guide the country until we can set up our new government,” said the former Beast. “The head of it will be Minister Yoshiki, an official who truly loves this country and has wanted it to be free as much as you have. And one more thing – I am christening our reborn nation with a new name. For too long, it has been a prison and a hell for you. I want it to be a paradise for our people instead. To that end, I now call this country by the name of a legendary paradise – Eden.”

More cheers – by this time, people were literally dancing in the streets. In fact, there weren't that many that heard the end of the speech, though what he said then was important.

“And so, I will make one last decree as absolute ruler of this country. I will grant full rights to our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community – including the right of marriage. I do this because I am a member of that community myself, and because there is someone very important in my life who I want to make my spouse – someone whom without, you would not be listening to this speech now. I wish you all the joy that I have found. Thank you, my fellow citizens, and may you all have happy and peaceful lives.”

* * *

Yo-ka kept his word. He and MiA journeyed over to Japan on one of the merchant boats to Okinawa. Of course, having no foreknowledge of the country other than what was in books, they had no idea how to get to the Prime Minister. Fortunately, the captain of the boat pleaded their case to the habormaster, who got in touch with the local government, who got in touch with the Prime Minister's office and got them an audience.

They traveled to Tokyo in a shinkansen – which to Yo-ka and MiA was like a flying carpet – and beheld the capital city, with its electronic wonders, as if they were in an enchanted kingdom. When the Prime Minster met with them, he was baffled about the fuss they made over his cell phone and iPad – and realized they must be telling the truth, because you couldn’t fake a reaction like that. He not only agreed to help, he got their story carried in the media.

The story – a dictator in an isolated, backwards country stepping down and wanting to bring his nation into the modern world – spread from Japanese media to the rest of Asia, then to America, then throughout the world. In short, it went viral. Everyone loved a story about a bad guy turned good.

The United Nations offered to help. So did the governments of America, most of Europe, and South Korea. Canada sent a team of technology experts to analyze where Eden was at the moment (they concluded the country was “living in the mid-1950s”) and get them started in the right direction.

Soon, satellite dishes appeared around the island, bringing programming and news from Japan for the first time. Technology companies in America got into the act, sending over crates of refurbished cell phones and laptops, and the nation was wired for Internet and full cellular service. Within a year of the improvements, they even had their own .edn web domain.

Teachers began streaming onto the island to improve the education levels of both adults and children. Agriculturalists came to help improve the farming. Old businesses got a boost, new businesses sprang up everywhere – including franchises. By the third anniversary of Yo-ka's speech ending the dictatorship, the island had a couple of Starbucks outlets, Mos Burger, Mister Donut . . . even a Don Quixote.

The government formed slowly but surely. A series of citizens' meetings were held to determine what people did and did not want – and those with dissenting opinions were encouraged to forge their own political parties. By the time the first elections were finally called, five years after the speech, there were three parties – one on the right, one in the middle, and one on the left.

Minister Yoshiki was chosen as president in Eden's first ever nationwide elections – and he went on to be a founding father of which the nation could be proud.

* * *

But what of Beauty and The Beast, you may ask?

Yo-ka and MiA were married a year after the speech, and they became the nation's ambassadors to the world. They traveled from country to country, meeting heads of state, talking about their project to improve their homeland. They spent a lot of time in Tokyo, since the Japanese government was their closest allies.

They continued to live in the palace, which was repaired and renovated to become the new seat of government and home of the president. As Liberator of the Country and national ambassador for as long as he wanted the position, Yo-ka was entitled to apartments within the complex. They chose the west wing – although the rooms that had been occupied by The Rose were still kept as they were as a shrine to her.

MiA also returned to his old profession, at least somewhat – he was a model for photographers both at home and in Tokyo. He even tried his hand at some designing himself – but never again would he sew clothes for someone else. (Gaston's old showroom, by the way, became a free public library – featuring the formerly forbidden books that the bookseller used to offer.)

Anyone who knew the couple said that they seemed always happy and always in love. They were rarely seen without each other. Of course, away from the public they had their ups and downs like any other couple – but they were willing to work on solutions, because their bond meant that much to them.

It was a bond that had healed a nation – and one very human heart. For the first time in his life, Yo-ka was truly what Yoshiki always knew he had the potential to be – one hundred percent his mother’s son.

In short? It's pretty safe to say that they lived happily ever after.

END NOTE: The final confrontation between Gaston and The Beast is based both on the scene in the original film and DIAURA’s Blind Message PV.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
hamhamheaven
Jul. 2nd, 2016 02:33 pm (UTC)
Looks like my comment from last night didn't post. Rude! So I'll post it again and try to remember everything I was fangirling about. The surveillance cameras instead of the magic mirror is a great, if totally creepy, twist, because it's something I can totally imagine happening in an ultra-militaristic society.

I see what you meant about one of your characters suffering a lot of abuse. Poor Kouki is going to need some love and attention after getting beat up like that.

It's really fitting that Yo-ka's final act as dictator was ensuring his own freedom to marry MiA. After giving everyone else in the country their liberties back, he deserves to take that piece of happiness for himself as well. Great job overall!
puss_nd_boots
Jul. 6th, 2016 04:43 pm (UTC)
Kouki definitely is going to need something nice to happen to him after this. Just about every appearance of his in this fic, he's being imprisoned, beat up, or both. (Well, at least he didn't get thrown in an insane asylum like his counterpart in the original film!)

I needed some kind of a substitute for the magic mirror, since it's such a big part of every incarnation of Beauty and the Beast. (Believe me, taking the magic out of a story that's magic-based is a huge challenge in itself.) I came up with the idea of the wall of monitors - serves the same purpose (lets MiA see his brother is in trouble) and definitely is in keeping with a totalitarian society.

Yo-ka was definitely looking to grab a tiny bit of happiness for himself after setting everyone else free (not to mention sharing his happiness with the rest of the island's LGBT community, which hid in silence during the time of his father and grandfather). Mostly, he was looking to give himself something he'd never had, especially after his mother died - a "real" family. Once he and MiA were married, he had a loving spouse and a brother-in-law - instead of a father who treated him more like a pawn than a son.
leifang666
Jul. 2nd, 2016 04:47 pm (UTC)
I love, love, love this! I remember seeing the photo that inspired this on my facebook page and that made me happy. :) Now this fic has made me love it more. You know a story is good when you finish it and just can't get the story out of your mind.
puss_nd_boots
Jul. 6th, 2016 04:50 pm (UTC)
I am so glad that the fic made such an impression on you! The picture was most definitely inspirational. All I had to do was see Dictator!Yo-ka and Princess!MiA and the whole thing started sprouting. (I'm hoping for more magazines to do imaginative photoshoots like that in the future, since it's to my advantage!)
leifang666
Jul. 6th, 2016 06:06 pm (UTC)
I love it when a photo shoot really gets your mind racing. :) That being said, this year I'm trying to finish things I've started and focus on multichapter fics. I don't want inspiration, except for what I'm already working on!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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