Royal Love

Jul. 14th, 2015 02:05 am
promiseslala: (Default)
Kai/Luhan ?/?
nc-17
warnings: mention of war, character death (non of them from exo)
Lenght: 10900w (ops I'm sorry)
~
Hi :)! Thank you for clicking on my story and showing some interest! I am afraid to say that English is not my native language but please don't give this story up just because of that! I tried really hard to avoid mistakes (and I am always thankful for corrections <3)
Have fun!
WRITTEN FOR CURLEDUPKITTEN BECAUSE, WELL SHE DOESN'T KNOW WHO I AM BUT I AM A BIG BIG FAN
~

Standing in front of each other, aware of all the lies that were told, all the fake smiles, all the fake hugs…it hurt. Looking Kai in the eyes and being forced to endure the sadness in his orbs, the unwillingness to proceed…it hurt even more.
He took Luhans hand in his, holding it with shaking fingers - Luhan was ready to bolt, to run away and never come back. But he didn’t move. He looked at Kai and felt the last strings of attachment loosen and disappear with the wind that gently rustled through his strands.
“You ready?”, he whispered and his voice cracked. Luhan shook his head. “Not for us”, he said, maybe more to himself than for Luhan to hear. “It’s for them. It’s our curse.” And a curse it was. The doors opened and light blinded them for a second, then they took a faltering first step towards the altar.

~

They met, for the second first time in a large room with white walls and few furniture. Everything looked polished and neat, just like the drawings that hung everywhere.
Pictured were men and women in noble looking clothes that framed their plump bodies with lots of jewelleries around their necks and arms. They looked down on them, their heads high up and their backs straight. Luhan knew they would grimace, seeing him here and the thought amused him.
“Dear, are you listening?” It was his mother and it was obvious that he wasn’t paying attention at all.
“Of course I am.”
His mother shot daggers at him. “Well he’s nervous I guess”, she laughed and the women across from her mimicked it.
“That’s normal, he has all right to.”
Luhan hated seeing them trying so hard, to fake understanding. They couldn’t just set him up with a stranger and feign sympathy at the same time. That’s not how it works.
“You will like it here Luhan”, the other woman reassured. Luhan smiled at her, but it didn’t feel right. Someone snorted.
For the first time, he allowed his gaze to wander to the side, where Kai stood. His dark eyes heavy on Luhan. He was tall and had a lean body but enough muscles to tell he did sports. His hair was dark brown and fell occasionally in his eyes. He was good looking, handsome even, but at the same time so young.
“Well that’s it, isn’t it?”
“Yes I guess, we discussed everything.”
Luhans father and Kais father shook hands and Luhan felt nauseous. Throughout the whole discussion neither he, nor Kai had said a thing, but their parents didn’t seem to care.
“I am really looking forward to the marriage”, Luhans mother said, a wide smile on her small lips.
He looked at Kai once again and saw his own dread mirrored in his eyes.
A little while after Luhans parents went back home, to China, leaving their son in a kingdom they fought against for decades, Luhan was left alone with his personal servant in a country he didn’t want to live in, in a castle with too many doors and too many walls, separating him from the rest of the world.
It was obvious that Kai hated the situation as much as Luhan did. Eating together at a table that was way too long for four people only, not talking and just feigning appetite. Luhan started to hate meals. He preferred sitting in the huge library – the only place that emitted comfort.
Being forced to spend time together with Kai, was the first measurement his parents established, in order to get them ‘closer’. The second measurement was sending a servant after them, so that they couldn’t avoid each other, without Kais parents not knowing about it. This, Luhan decided, he hated even more than meals.
“Let’s go in the garden” Kai mumbled. “Maybe we can lose him along the way.” It seemed like a fine idea to Luhan, but hell it wasn’t. Kai guided him inside the labyrinth that consisted of hedges, way too high to look over, and way too many aisles they could get lost in. And well, they did.
“You have no idea where we are, don’t you?”
“I know exactly where we are”, he answered. “I used to spend whole days inside her, when I was a kid.” His face lightened up. “Just around the corner and we-“
Instead of the exit, there was a grand white pavilion, surrounded by roses. “Amazing. We didn’t get lost at all.”
Kai sighed frustrated and proceeded to sit on the stone bench. Luhan hesitated for a second, then sat himself next to him. “What will happen Luhan?”
“We will probably spend the night here and freeze to death. It’s basically your fault.”
Kai looked at him with annoyance in his gaze. “I’m not talking about that” he sighed. “What are we doing about the marriage? I’m not…not ready to marry.”
“Is it…” It was something Luhan felt insecure about. “Is it because of me?”
Kai looked at him, with big surprised eyes. He looked like a lost puppy to be honest. “No, it isn’t. You’re beautiful, you really are, but…can you imagine marrying someone you don’t know a thing about, a complete stranger.”
“I can’t”, ha answered. “It feels wrong.” Luhan chuckled as a memory flooded his mind. “Well when we first met when I was thirteen and you nine, we used to be friends.”
Kai smiled at him. “Well and in the end you tried to stab me with your chopsticks.”
“It was your own fault!” Luhan reasoned. “You poured juice on my robe.”
“I didn’t!”, he exclaimed and Luhan rolled his eyes.
“There is no Plan B is there? No chance to maybe get out of this engagement.”
Kai shook his head no, a sad smile grazing his lips.
“Then we have to make the best out of it.” It felt even worse feigning optimism. “Just…let’s be friends okay?”
“Okay.” They gave each other an awkward nod and stood up, to find their way out of the labyrinth.

Reading has always been a comfort for Luhan and the library was the only place where no one was bothering him. He spend whole days inside there, skipping meals and drinking tea that his personal servant brought him.
Once he felt something weird, looking up from his book he looked around the room, but the bookshelves were quiet as always. But the second he looked down to his book again he heard something falling to the floor. Immediately he stood up from his seat and walked over to where, he assumed the noise had come from. A few books laid on the floor, and while picking them up Luhan noticed the open spot, where they used to stand, and it had a perfect sight on the couch where Luhan was seated just a few moments ago.

Luhan always thought good of his personal servant. He was relieved when his parents told him, he was allowed to take him with him to Korea. He was relieved to have a little piece of security with him in a completely new place. It was also thanks to him, that he learned Korean. Thanks to him, that he was familiar with Korean formalities and traditions.
A servant brought him to the palest in China when Luhan was ten years old. Barely old enough to understand why that little boy was now entitled to him, but way too young to understand why his eyes were clouded and why he jerked away every time Luhan tried to touch him. Later on he asked his father where his personal servant came from and it was the first time in Luhans life that he truly felt sorry for someone else. The kid had been an orphan after the big war between Korea and China. The last war that killed thousands of people and drenched the earth of both countries in blood. A war so terrific that both kingdoms realized there had to be an end. And a peaceful one so.
The kid however lost his parents in the war. They were normal farmers with little land, barely enough so they could harvest rice for a living. They were killed when Chinese troops passed their farm. They ate everything edible the farmers had and killed the little kid’s father when he tried to protect his wife from the soldiers’ lustful eyes and groping hands. They were killed, just like thousand other innocent families that were entangled into a war they never wanted.
But the kid survived, he was six years old and got left in custody of a slave-trader. It was a mystery why the soldiers didn’t kill the kid. Just a few months later the war ended with both kingdoms being shocked and flabbergasted by the extent of cruelty and destruction. As a way to change the next generation a palest servant found the kid with black hair and took him with him to the Chinese palest. Because he was Korean and because Luhans parents wanted Luhan to learn the language of the people all his ancestors hated and fought against.
But the kid didn’t talk. He kept quiet for the longest time, and people already assumed he was mute, when Luhan broke the ice between them. Luhan has always been insistent and he would get what he wanted. Thus did he learn Korean and so did he befriend his personal servant.
“A good servant, my ass”, he mumbled while going through the corridors. Mentioned servant did make him wait for hours just for a plain cup of tea! “It’s way too hard to find good employees these days”, he continued his splutter while going through vacant hallways.

Kai seemed as distant as the first day Luhan set food in the palest. He never looked up from his plate while dining and he never tried to talk to Luhan. Luhan was relieved Kai didn’t try to initiate any kind of conversation, nor did he have plans to get closer to Luhan. And Luhan liked the idea of isolating himself in the library or his room, because then it felt like he was actually a free person. Being in power of his own fate. It was ridiculous, but Luhan had always been good at imagining things.


“You look happier these days.” Luhan mentioned while looking up from his book.
“Do I?”
“Yes” Luhan frowned, studying the face of his personal servant. “Is it because we are in Korea? Does it feel like home to you?”
The man looked at him with arched brows. “China is my home, isn’t it?” He didn’t look sincere while saying that and his fingers shook just the slightest bit, while serving Luhan some tea.
“Where have you been last week? I couldn’t find you.”
“I’m sorry” A smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “I was in town with another servant, she begged me to accompany her, to pick some fruit and vegetables.”
“Hmm” Luhan smiled. “Sounds like a girl you can’t deny a favour.” He turned pale and Luhan laughed loudly. “Don’t worry I won’t complain. And I won’t tell anyone.”
“Prince…” He never finished his sentence and just bowed more deeply than usual and left the library seconds later. Luhan imagined how nice it would be to just fall in love and be with the person you chose without political consequences. Without worries. Even a servant seemed to have more freedom than Luhan had.

Two months after he moved inside his ‘new home’, a servant told him that Jongins father, the king, wanted to see him. Luhan was nervous and unsure as to why the king wanted to talk to him. He shivered and it wasn’t because of the chill autumn weather.
In front of an unknown door the servant came to a halt and motioned for Luhan to go inside. Unsure Luhan placed his hand on the doorknob and shivered because of the cold metal.
Inside, it was quite dark, the curtains were drawn closed and stopped sunshine to get inside the room. Instead there were a lot of candles that were quietly burning down, giving just enough light, to dimly illuminate the room. A stench of burning herbs stung inside his nose and Luhan grimaced just for a second. Then he saw the king sitting in one of the sofas and he motioned for Luhan to sit in the one across from him. The king smiled at him, a little, gentle smile and Luhan relaxed a bit. It was only then that he noticed the shadow standing at the wall next to him and his eyes got round and confused. “What are you doing here-“
“Luhan” the king started, without paying attention to the other person inside the room. “Luhan I’m sorry to call you here I hope you didn’t mind.”
He shook his head no and put a polite smile on his face. “What did you want to talk to me about, your majesty?”
“It’s father for you Luhan. Of course it is.” His eyes were as dark as Kais, but his hair was lighter. “You’re soon going to be part of the family.”
Luhan hesitantly nodded. “Yes.”
“Luhan there are people I have to protect, you know that. I am king of millions of people, and I will do everything to protect my people.” His gaze was still gentle, but something sharp laid inside there. “You know why your parent sent you here, right?”
“Yes, I know.” It tasted like acid on his tongue.
“Do you really? I mean, do you truly understand how important it is, that you are here?” Luhan didn’t have an answer to that. “Listen, son, you know about the hatred between our countries, don’t you? About the disputes we had and the wars we fought.” Luhan swallowed dryly. “In the course of centuries millions of people died.” He looked genuinely sad. “Luhan, so many families lived all their lives in fear and now…now it’s time to end this war. It’s time to connect our countries, our strengths. There are more threats outside there, our kingdoms can’t afford to fight against each other, whilst there are other counties waiting to conquer both of our kingdoms, our homes.”
“I’m sorry” Luhan mumbled. The king’s words echoed inside his head and he felt so…guilty. Guilty for being selfish and wanting freedom over his people’s security.
“It’s okay”, the king smiled and stroked Luhans hair. “I just want you to talk to Kai. I want you to get to know him, to like him. It doesn’t have to be love, but I’m sure you will get along, if you try.” He smiled. “If the two of you can be together, the people in our both kingdoms will see your bond as an example to stop their grief, to stop their hatred. I’m so sorry Luhan that it has to be you who has to shoulder all this responsibility, but that’s what a king has to sacrifice for all this.” He motioned with his hands around, but of course he meant so much more. He meant the palest, the nice clothes, the good food and the servants. All that.
“Please promise me to try and get along with Kai.”
Luhan nodded with tears stinging in his eyes.

Luhan didn’t remember how he got inside bed after talking to the king, but he fell asleep with a vow to talk to Kai and to actually try and get along with him.

It felt like he didn’t sleep at all when he woke up the next day. Everything was blurry in front of his eyes and he stumbled inside his bathroom to wash his face. The fog only started to clear when he got dressed and left his room. It was way too early and no one seemed to be up yet.
With a sigh he decided to make a can of tea to bring to the library later on.
The kitchen was mostly empty too, the few people that chopped vegetables, probably for breakfast, looked sleepy and didn’t look up when he entered. He didn’t mind and walked to the cupboards where he knew all the teas were stored. He picked one with mild herbs that smelled like summer flowers, appropriate for the season.
He put some water in a metal can above the fireplace and turned to pick a cup out of another cupboard, smiling at the beautiful white porcelain cup with flower adornments he liked the best.
He was about to put the cup on a little tray he would need to get everything in one piece to the library, when someone bumped into him. He lost his balance, falling to the ground and crashing the cup right under his right hand. He didn’t even see the person properly and he or she vanished without looking back.
With shaking hands he hissed through gritted teeth and looked at his bleeding palm, there were a few pieces of porcelain sticking inside his wounds and he took a shuddering breath to calm down. It hurt and stung like hell.
“God, are you okay?” With a startle he looked up to look straight in the eyes of…Kai. He blinked a few times, unable to say anything. Kai looked genuinely worried. “That idiot should have looked where he was going, we should-“
“It’s okay, I’m fine”, he interrupted. “Don’t worry, it’s nothing.”
Kai frowned not convinced at all. “Let me help you with that.”
“No. It’s okay.”
Kai sighed. “Come on, you can’t nurse yourself with that hand, can you?”
Slowly he shook his head no and Kai beamed at him before carefully helping him up. “Just give me a second.” Kai looked around the kitchen, probably searching for a cream or some cloths to put around his hand. In the end he watched with worry, as Kai pulled the pieces of glass with chopsticks out of his wound and it hurt a lot, but Kai looked rather cute while apologizing every time he jerked or hissed.
“There are a lot of pieces”, Kai mumbled while chewing on his lower lip. He looked concentrated and turned his hand a few times before deciding he did a good job. Kai afterwards ordered him to rinse his hand under cold water, which he poured outside a wood bucket.
“And now”, Kai stepped a little closer and out of reflex he made a step backwards, his hips colliding with the table in his back. “Look deep inside my eyes…”
“What?” He felt Kai taking his hand in his and he felt his heart beating loud inside his ears. “What-“ He asked again, ready to push Kai away, when he suddenly felt an awful pain shooting through his hand and up to his shoulder.
Kai immediately stepped away (a good decision as he was close to punch the prince for that) an apologetic expression on his face. He held a bottle of Soju in his hand, shaking it in front of his face. “Sorry I needed to clean the wound, but I figured you wouldn’t be too happy about that.”
“You were right.”
Kai blinked a few times (cutely) before bursting into laughter. “Sorry, okay? Please don’t kill me with that gaze.”
The other just rolled his eyes. “It’s really alarming that you didn’t know where you could find a cream or proper clothes to nurse a wound, but obviously found a bottle of alcohol in the blink of an eye.”
Kai winked (and his heart definitely didn’t just skip a beat). “In the end it’s alcohol that saves a life, not cream or clothes.”
He rolled his eyes, not convinced at all. “I don’t think so.”
“Me neither to be honest.” He smiled, a little smile, which played around his lips like a glimmer of light.

That day Luhan sat in the library with a book balanced on his knees, drinking tea out of a red cup with gold ornaments.

He met Kai in private a few days later. They were passing each other in the corridors, but Kai didn’t look up, seemingly not noticing (or maybe ignoring?) him. He was almost past him, when Kai looked sideways and came to and sudden halt.
“Oh sorry I almost didn’t notice you.”
“It’s…okay?”, he said hesitantly, not sure how he was supposed to react.
Kai just smiled down at him. “Tea again?”
He shrugged helplessly. “Tea’s great isn’t it?”
“It is. How’s your hand?”
“Better, but it will probably leave a scar.”
“Ugh I’m sorry about that. I guess I am not the best physician out there.” About that he laughed quietly. “So you can laugh.”
“What?”
“You look quite grim, to be honest.”
His eyes just darkened on that. “Didn’t know people in Korea have to be happy all the time.”
“We don’t. We aren’t.” Kai shrugged, examining his face. “How’s China on that matter?”
“People love to watch drama acts, some are making fun of the Korean royalty, that’s always a spectacle.” He held his breath after saying something like that out loud. That was not his intention. Not at all. “I’m sorry I don’t know why I said something like that, I’m sorry.” He bowed in apology, balancing his tray in his hand and trying to get away from Kai as fast as possible.

It was like he waited for him. Kai leaned against the wall, looking at the ceiling while the sun played across his face. It was way too warm today.
“I knew you would come out of the library at this time.”
He swallowed the lump in his throat. “About last time- I’m sincerely sorry and I’m thankful that you didn’t mention it in front of the king or the queen while dinner, and of course also not in front of…”
“I wasn’t offended and if you stayed long enough you would have heard me laugh.” He pushed himself off the wall. “Actually” Kai was close enough that he could smell his odour. “Korean people also prefer gags about Chinese highnesses.” He shrugged, smiling. “It’s normal.”
‘Yes, maybe’, he thought. ‘But the things this smile does to my heart are surely not normal at all.’
The next time they met privately Kai took him outside. “But I was about to go to the library!”, he protested, but Kai didn’t mind.
“I want to show you something.”
“Why?” It was out before his brain could catch up with his mouth. Kai took him to the labyrinth and he shivered slightly as walls of green surrounded him.
“Because…” Kai hesitated and looked over his shoulder for just a moment. “I want to know more about you.”
And he felt himself melting just the slightest bit as Kai’s grip around his wrist tightened.
“I haven’t been here myself for a while”, he chuckled and it sounded a little bit nervous. “So I hope I won’t lose the right path…again.” He added the last bit under his breath.
In the end Kai stopped in front of a plain hedge, not a bit different from the other ones that the labyrinth consisted of, but he gripped inside the tendrils of green and his face brightened, just as he was about to tell Kai that he looked really stupid (well maybe also a little bit cute, but that he wouldn’t have said for sure).
Suddenly a bit of the plant wall swung back and his jaw dropped to the floor, when Kai took his wrist again and pulled him inside. What awaited them was amazing. It looked like a room, with four hedges and in the middle was a tree with a swing attached to one of the branches. It was completely different in comparison to the rest of the labyrinth, where every hedge was trimmed perfectly and beautiful roses grew where people wanted them to grow.
Here, grass grew up to his knees, sprinkled with wild flowers, making it look like a green blanket with hundred different patterns.
“It’s beautiful”, he whispered, not trusting his own voice. “What is this?”
“It’s the real heart of the labyrinth”, he could hear the smile in Kais voice. “Before everything else, this was a tree I loved to play around. Later my Dad ordered to build the labyrinth, and they grew the hedges around this place. Still its existence is a secret and I would only let my mother and father inside.”
He turned around, standing face to face with Kai. “And me?”
“And you.”
“Why? You don’t know me.”
“I don’t know why” Kais gaze dropped to his lips for just a second. “I just felt like sharing it with you.”
It was the most beautiful present that anyone has ever given to him.

Kai made it a habit to accompany him to the library, before he would go inside his room, doing some paperwork the king wanted him to deal with.
In front of the huge doors they hesitated, reluctant to part already. They froze when they suddenly heard the huge doors swinging open. In the doorway stood a guy with a long, lean body and blond hair that looked a little bit too long.
Kai exhaled the air he had been holding for just a moment too long. “Sehun.” The man – boy actually – just looked between the two males in front of him, a question mark written in his eyes. Kai seemed mad. “What are you doing here?”
“Nothing really.” The other replied, bowing slightly before walking away. Kais hands trembled.
“Are you…okay?” He almost didn’t dare to ask.
“Sorry, I’m fine-“, he started but couldn’t finish when he turned around. Kai looked at him for a while without saying anything before his face broke into a sad smile. He took his hand in his.
“Why…?”
“Just for a second. Please.” So they stood like that for a while, before Kai took a shuddering breath. “That guy just now, he…he’s my half-brother. The son of my father and…another woman.”
“Oh…I’m sorry I had no clue.”
“Of course not” Kais laugh sounded bitter. He hated that sound. “You are the first person I have ever told this.”
“Kai…”
“I was forbidden to talk about it, you know? Sehun lives as a shadow inside these walls. No one really knows who he really is and what he’s doing here.”
“That’s awful.”
“Yes it is, isn’t it?” Kai shook his head. “Still…I have always wished to switch positions with him.” His eyes lingered on him with meaning inside them. “These days more than ever.”

Luhan liked books about magicians the most. He knew they existed, but they lived their lives in secret, never showing their powers, if not ordered by kings to do so.

They kissed for the first time laying on the green grass in the middle of the ‘real heart of the labyrinth’ Kai caressing the soft skin of his cheeks. They looked inside each other’s eyes, and he knew, just knew that Kai was taking his heart away from him and he couldn’t do or even wanted to do anything about that.
“Kai”, he whispered and his lips quivered.
“It’s Jongin”, he whispered back and his eyes smiled down at him.
“Jongin?”
“Yes. Jongin.”
“But Kai…”
“Is just the name of the boy who will inherit the crown one day. Jongin is my real name that my parents gave me when I was born.” A shadow danced across his face. “It’s one of the things they took away from me afterwards, because it wasn’t suitable for a Kings name.”
“One of the things?”
“Yes. One. They started with my name, then my own will and my freedom.” Kais hand fell down next to his face. “Also my family –Sehun who would never be part of my life, although being related to me.”
“Jongin”, he whispered and it helped to enlighten his face just a little bit. Taking away just a little bit of the sadness that hid there, probably for a long time already.
“Yes?”
“Don’t worry. I will protect it. Your name, I won’t forget even when you will wear a crown and reign over a kingdom. I will not forget who you really are so…please don’t worry.”
And it was in that moment that Jongin pressed his lips down on the others and Kai started to believe that he was still Jongin. Not just the puppet that danced because of the strings that his father and the etiquette pulled to order him around. He was Jongin. At least with him, he was still Jongin.

Mostly it was exiting keeping their relationship a secret. They laughed in secret about the people who were clueless. But it was also hard…once they walked through the corridors, their fingers intertwined, when they heard loud steps coming their way.
Kai pulled him inside a room to his right and they ended up in a dusty broom closet, holding their breaths. The person walked away, mumbling under his breath and stepping on the ground like an elephant would.
Kai laughed quietly and kissed the frown between his brows away. They ended up in a make-out session inside the broom closet. Laughing loudly when one of the brooms fell and crushed Jongin even closer against him.

It didn’t feel quite right, when Jongin took him inside his room for the first time.
“That’s so damn much against the etiquette”, he mumbled while standing awkwardly in the middle of the room.
“If we would follow the etiquette we would have kissed for the first time in front of an altar.” Jongins smile fell and he was quick to kiss it back on his face. “Did you change your mind or…?” He didn’t leave him room to end his sentence.

They had sex for the first time in the exact same spot where they shared their first kiss. Kai laid him down on a bed of flowers looking down at him, as if he was the most beautiful creature walking on this planet and it was funny, because the sun was creating a halo around Kai’s head, not his.
He looked him in the eyes, while slowly buttoning up his shirt, searching for rejection but finding something completely different. Something he couldn’t hide anymore. Didn’t want to hide anymore. Kai kissed down his jaw and his throat, probably leaving marks but neither of them cared.
“Jongin”, he whispered. “Jongin, Jongin, Jongin.” Everything was blurry when Kai took his member in his hand and it only started to clear when he closed his eyes, crashing their lips together. He explored his mouth, just like his hands explored his body and he tasted like desperation and…love.
“I love you”, he cried when he came, his back buckling up and his world once again blurring together.
“Good”, he whispered between kisses he peppered his collarbones with. “Because I love you too and I’m not planning to ever let you go.”
“But-“
“I won’t. I promise. I love you.”
It was like the sweetest scent of the sweetest flower.
Kai took him to the grand ballroom with the huge chandelier that was only used for big, important events. Engagement or weddings for example.
He took his hand and guided him to the middle of the room, directly under the chandelier, that glistened in the autumn sun.
“Let’s dance a bit.”
“There is no music”, he laughed, but still positioned himself in front of Kai. “And I can’t really dance.”
“The music is inside our head and I will teach you.” He smirked. “I am teaching you a lot of things lately Hyung.”
“Brat”, he mumbled, but gripped tighter at Jongins hand, when he turned them around suddenly, pressing him closer against his chest. “I don’t think that’s how it works.”
Jongin laughed, the sound filling every corner of the room. It was music enough for his ears. “It is way better this way.” And he leaned forward to connect their lips.


Luhan didn’t remember how he got into bed, but he could still hear Jongins laughter inside his head and felt his hand around his waist, while they were spinning in the huge room, dancing and laughing and kissing. He blinked through the fog that blurred his vision. He didn’t feel like he slept at all last night, but he was not willing to get back to sleep. He bounced out of bed, getting dressed as quickly as he could. He wanted to see Kai, wanted to kiss him so badly.
He didn’t see him that day. Or the day after.

Luhan felt disappointed that Jongin wasn’t on their usual meeting points but he started to beam when he found him the third day, leaning against the wall where they usually met when Luhan was about to go to the library.
His eyes were closed and a frown wrinkled his forehead. Luhan quietly stood in front of him, leaning forward to kiss him. Their lips brushed and Kai sighed in relief. Until he opened his eyes and jerked away.
Luhan blinked a few times. “Kai…are you okay? What’s wrong?”
“Luhan”, his shoulders lost something of their tenseness. “Sorry I didn’t mean to.”
“It’s okay”, he smiled, wrapping his arms around Jongins familiar body (did he get smaller over night?) relishing in the warm feeling.
Kai laughed quietly, his voice horse. Luhan looked up once again. “Are you feeling sick? You’re voice sounds cracked and your eyes are bloodshot.”
“I didn’t sleep last night”, he said slowly. “I couldn’t stop coughing, so I couldn’t get any rest.”
“Oh you caught a cold, didn’t you?”
“Yeah…a cold.” Kai smiled apologetically and took a step away from Luhans embrace. “Sorry I don’t want to infect you.”
“I don’t really mind…”
“I do”, he insisted and Luhan sighed.
“Well, go to bed then, drink some tea. I can send my personal servant to bring you some.”
“It’s okay Luhan, I will just lay down.” He waved goodbye and Luhan sighed quietly.
He didn’t see Kai for the longest time afterwards. Just occasional glimpses, when he entered the dining hall to tell he wasn’t feeling well enough to eat with them.
It hurt seeing him ill and Luhan was worried, because he seemed to lose weight really quickly.

“Do you think it’s something serious?” Luhan asked his personal servant one night, lying in bed and looking to the ceiling.
“What do you mean?”
“Kai…he seems ill. He doesn’t come out of his room and he’s barely eating.”
His personal servant shrugged. “Maybe he should go see a doctor.”
“He should”, Luhan mumbled. “He absolutely can’t nurse someone else’s wound and he won’t be better at nursing his own.” His personal assistant stilled and looked at him with wide, questioning eyes. “It’s nothing”, he said, smiling to himself.

He was wrong. The cut didn’t leave scars. His hand looked as if nothing had ever happened.

Luhan went into the library to distract himself. Kai was still ill, nothing changed and he forbid Luhan to get close to him. As Luhan entered the library he, for the first time, heard other voices, laughing and bickering.
Mildly confused he closed the doors behind him, slowly walking inside the room looking behind the shelves to find the source of laughter. What he found knocked the air out of his lungs.
There were two boys sitting on the floor, a board floating in the air between them.
“Hello”, said the boy with his back to him and turned around. The smile on his face growing wider. “We thought you gave this room up.”
“What?”
“You didn’t come here for a week or so, so we assumed you wouldn’t come back.” The boys’ shoulders fell. “Sadly we were wrong.”
“Lay!” The other boy hissed and with a startle he noticed it was the same boy he met a while ago with Kai. His half-brother…Sehun it was, right?
“I’m sorry” Sehun said and bowed his head really deep. “Let’s go Lay.” He was about to stand up and take the other (pouting) guy with him, when Luhan interrupted: “You are magicians, right?”
Lay looked between the floating board and Luhan to and fro. “Yes we are!”, he exclaimed as if surprised himself.
“Don’t mind him”, Sehun said, taking the others arm to get him on his feet.
“Can’t you…stay? I won’t bother you, it’s just…I never really saw magicians before and it’s fascinating.”
“Well of course you can stay!” He blinked a few times. “Mh…we can stay, I guess.” He looked pleadingly at Sehun. “Can’t we?”
Sehun rolled his eyes before looking at Luhan with a nervous glimpse in his eyes. “Okay…well, that is Lay, and I am Sehun. Nice to meet you.” He bowed again.
“I know”, Luhan laughed. “Don’t you remember? I met you once in front of the library. With Kai that was.”
Sehun tilted his head to the side, seemingly not sure what Luhan was talking about.
He shrugged it off. “It’s not important”, he reassured and sat down next to Lay, asking what kind of board that was and why it was flowing in the air.
“This, prince of China who has never seen a magician before, is art.” His eyes glistened while talking. “It’s a game as fascinating as the night sky.”
Sehun rolled his eyes. “It’s just a game to be honest.”
“No it’s art!”
It wasn’t art.

The next day Luhan went to the library he noticed, with joy, that Sehun and Lay were once again sprawled on the floor. Their board again floating in the air between them.
The game was basically a replication of a war scene. Both players had some soldiers (little things like stones or leaves with arms and feet that could move) and were send into war against the other troop. What Luhan learned by watching was that there are basically no rules and the little soldiers acted as they wanted. Being bitchy some of Lays soldiers changed sides suddenly and fought next to Sehuns stones and buttons. Lay cried bitter tears over every loss.
In the end Sehuns soldiers sparked a little bonfire to burn the last of Lays soldier – a thimble – and danced in victory around the fire.
Luhan was holding his tummy with tears in his eyes because he was laughing way too hard at the spectacle.

Luhan learned that Sehun was Lays magic-trainee.
“Just concentrate”, Lay proposed, watching with amusement in his eyes, as Sehun stared down at a little piece of paper, trying to enflame it with his gaze.
“I am concentrated.”
“You have to imagine how it feels burning down. You have to taste the flames on your tongue.”
Sehun stopped staring at the piece of paper and instead looked at Lay, a confused expression on his face. “Flames on my tongue?”
“Yes.”
“That’s stupid.”
“It’s necessary.”
Let me correct: You’re stupid.”
“I can burn this piece of paper. You can’t. I’m definitely ahead of you.”
Sehun swallowed his protests and with a sigh concentrated once again on the paper in front of him. Nothing happened. “I give up. I hate fire.”
Lay chuckled, turning towards where Luhan sat, watching in awe how Sehun went through his exercises. “You want me to show you something?”
“Of course.” With a sparkle in his eyes, Lay made a quick hand gesture and suddenly there were several books floating in the air. “That’s pretty cool-“, he exclaimed, ready to clap, when the books suddenly caught fire. Luhans eyes went wide in shock. “What-why…”
“That’s not funny.” Sehun argued when all these dear books were nothing more than little piles of ashes.
“That’s horrible”, whispered Luhan and Lay strode through the room, to stand next to him, putting a hand on his shoulder. “I’m sorry?” And in that exact same moment, the ashes started to move, to flow in the air and to recreate themselves. With disbelief Luhan picked one of the books out of the air, reading through several pages and noticing every word was on its right place.
Sehun smiled at him. “Lay has a quite grim sense of humour.”
This, Luhan would experience a lot in the future.

He was lonely without Kai. His illness still forcing him to stay in bed and thus away from Luhan. He wasn’t even allowed to visit him. His heart ached and he missed the other. He missed him so much.
It was once again the comfort of the library that helped him, getting through tough times. But this time he wasn’t alone. Now he entered the library to laughter and it helped him, forgetting how he wished Kai would finally get healthy again, so they could be together. Just like they used to be throughout summer.

Luhan learned how to play ‘war of things’ and figured it was mostly fluttering his eyelids, so that his little soldiers would not change sides and instead fight for him. Sehun and Lay watched with horror in their eyes as Luhan won against them round after round.

Sometimes, when Lay, Sehun and Luhan just laid sprawled on the library floor, exhausted because they laughed too much, Luhan wondered how he didn’t notice how attractive Sehun was, when they first met in front of the library.

Kai started to attend dinner again a few weeks later. He was still pale and way too thin, but he didn’t show the usual signs of a cold, so Luhan was relieved.
He kissed him after they were excused by Kais parents and the brown haired boy shuddered under Luhans touch.
“You okay?”, he asked, his lips just a few inches away from his.
“That was sudden…”
Luhan chuckled, again kissing him chastely on the lips. “Do you need me to write you a warning before I kiss what is mine?”
Kai laughed awkwardly. “We aren’t married yet.”
“That didn’t stop you from doing…other things to me yet”, he whispered in his ear, pressing himself closer against the other.
“I know and it was a mistake…I mean, let’s wait until we are married okay?”
Luhan frowned at that. “Did I do something wrong? Are you mad at me?”
His gaze softened. “No. You didn’t, it was all my fault.”
“Kai?”
He stroked his cheek with the knuckles of his right hand. “Don’t worry.”
He had sad eyes.

“Try it.” Sehun held a spoon between index finger and thumb, directing it towards Luhan.
“What…is that?”
“My very first self-made cake.” Luhan hesitated. “Don’t worry its edible.” And Sehun’s eyes formed into little half-moons, so Luhan couldn’t say no. His eyes were beautiful.
“It’s good”, he said while chewing. It was sweet and creamy.
“Okay perfect!”, he beamed and Luhan almost choked on the little piece of cake in his mouth.
“What is it for?”
“It’s Lays birthday in a few days”, he met his eyes through his bangs. “Will you come?”
And who was Luhan to say no to that.

Luhan was happy. He had found himself amazing friends in Sehun and Luhan and as Kai felt better now, he could see him more frequently. He was happy. Of course he was.
Luhan pressed his eyes together, putting his hands over his ears, cold sweat running down his back.
He was Happy.
Luhan was happy.
He was happy.

“We are going to host a ball to celebrate your engagement” Kais father announced over dinner. “We will invite a lot of important people, so we hope you present yourself from your best side.” His eyes laid on Kai while speaking.
“We will”, Luhan promised, putting his hand above Kais across the table.

“Will you come?”
“Whereto?”
“The ball!” Luhan rolled his eyes, as if he didn’t talk non-stop about this Goddamn event over the course of the last few weeks.
Sehun shook his head apologetically. “I can’t. Sorry.”
Luhan chewed on his lower lip. “But…you’re his brother.”
Luhan felt Lay’s stabbing eyes in his back. “I’m not really that kind of brother someone would brag about.”
“But you are!”, he exclaimed, unable to stop the words from slipping out.
“What?”, he blinked. Surprised.
“You are nice and funny. People would love you if you let them met you.”
“You think?”
“Yes!” And he wasn’t lying. He felt it deep inside him.
“Thank you Luhan.”
He smiled and it was doing weird things to Luhan.

The night before the ball Luhan stumbled out of his bathroom, his knees not able to hold his weight anymore. He crashed to the floor, unable to move.
His head felt like it would explode any second. He wished it would, so that the noise would finally vanish.
‘This is wrong. This love is wrong.’
Luhan blacked out.

They wore masks in colours that fitted with the colour of their clothes. Masks that covered all their face, sometime just half or maybe just one side of it. The guests laughed, praising the king and the queen, who decided to make it a mask-ball instead of a normal ball.
Luhan danced with a lot of strangers that night, listening to congratulations and people making compliments about his pretty face. He just smiled through everything.
He didn’t see Kai since the first dance they had to dance together in order to officially open the ball. Since then hours had passed and Luhan was tired and his feet started to hurt. He decided to politely excuse himself from the dancefloor after the instruments stilled, but the moment he opened his mouth to say his goodbyes, another arm slung around his body, turning him until he was pressed against the chest of another person.
“Excuse me I was just about to go…”, he exclaimed, more annoyed than he had intended.
“I’m sorry. It was the only chance I got.”
Luhan blinked in surprise, looking up to a face, half covered of a mask. “Sehun?”, he whispered.
The man laughed, leaning forward so that his lips brushed Luhans ear. “Are you still mad at me?”
“I am”, he lied, relaxing in his arms. Sehun was really tall. And Sehun was even more handsome in traditional clothes. “What are you? Cinderella who is sneaking onto the ball of her prince?”
“Are you the prince?”
Luhans heart skipped a beat. “Of course I am”, he laughed, trying to sound smug, not nervous. “Didn’t you know?”
“How could I forget? It’s your engagement party. Congratulation.” Sehun didn’t sound sincere.
It was hot inside the ball room, way too hot. In the middle of their second dance Luhan came to a sudden halt, yanking at Sehuns hand. “Let’s go outside. I need some fresh air.”
Sehun followed him outside to the grand terrace and down the steps to the fountains. It was cold and windy and Luhan shivered in his thin clothes. Suddenly the wind turned making it more pleasant for him.
“Thanks for that”, he smiled at Sehun.
“What else would I use my magic for? Saving damsels in distresses is my profession.”
Luhan laughed, shaking his head. Their arms touched.
“Am I looking like a damsel in distress to you?”
“No you don’t”, he answered. “But you are, aren’t you? Caged in this palest, forced to marry the son of the king.”
“That’s not how it is”, Luhan answered with a quiver in his voice. “I am happy.”
Sehun didn’t say anything for the longest time, until his shoulders sunk. “You are.”
He…he didn’t sound happy about that fact. And with horror Luhan noticed, that he liked that fact.
With a startle he looked to the side, where a person did just stumble out of the labyrinth. Guests weren’t supposed to enter the Labyrinth in the dark as it was too easy for them to get lost. But the moment the person came closer Luhan noticed he was familiar. So very familiar.
“Kai!”, he exclaimed, immediately walking towards his fiancé. The boy startled, looking at Luhan with…with tears in his eyes! With tears on his cheeks! “What…what happened?”, he whispered trying to lace their fingers together. Kai took a step away from him. “What?”
“Let me alone Luhan.”
“Kai…”
“God dammit, get lost!”, he shouted at him. “
“Why are you so mad?”
Kai shook his head, trying to get away from him but Luhan was not ready to let him get away this easily. “Talk to me, you can trust me, rely on me”, his voice was soft. “I love you. I want to care about you.”
Kai looked at him, as if he was crazy. A mad man. “You don’t love me Luhan. You don’t.”
It felt like Kai had punched him right in his stomach. It hurt so badly. “Why are you saying that?”
“Because it’s the fucking truth!”
Luhan was unable to say something, tears welled up in his eyes and the moment they fell to his cheeks Kai looked at him with surprise written all over his face. “Luhan…” The same second someone walked past Kai, shoving him backwards and putting a coat around Luhan. The man took his arm and led him back to the palest. Leaving Kai all by himself.
Sehun led Luhan to his room, lulling him in blankets and keeping him warm while Luhan sobbed into his chest.

‘Maybe we were fated to meet.’
‘I don’t want to believe in fate. It has always been cruel to me, why should it be different this time?’
‘I won’t leave you. I can’t.’
‘I hope my fate has closed his eyes. Just this once’, he whispered.

“How are things with Kai?” Sehun asked cautiously two weeks after the catastrophic ball.
“Not good”, he answered truthfully. Kai and Luhan haven’t talked since that night.
“I’m sorry for you.”
He wasn’t.

‘They cannot take you away from me.’
‘They will try.’
‘They won’t succeed.’

Luhans headaches came more frequently, leaving him in unbelievable pain, until they vanishes as suddenly as they came.
Just the voices lingered long after.

“I don’t see Lay around as often as I used to”, Luhan admitted looking around the library as if expecting the magician would appear any second.
“He has to cope with another magician.”
“Why?”
Sehun tilted his head to the side. “He said he wasn’t allowed to tell me, but it was something about a magician being under a spell.”
“A spell?”
“Yes, something along these lines.” He shrugged. “You know Lay, he’s vague and his explanations probably a lot more complicated than reality is.”
Luhan smiled fondly. “Yeah, sounds about right.”

Sehun showed Luhan where he spent his days as a kid. It was a small room with a lonely piano standing in the middle of it.
“My mother brought me into palace when I was six. She broke up with my father when she noticed she was pregnant.” That was right after Kai was born. “We lived good, I still remember bits of the little house we lived in, the animals that we fed…”, he frowned. “But she got ill. Really ill. And she decided to bring me to my father, telling him he had a son, begging him to take responsibility.” He paused for a second. “And he did. He loved my mother, I could tell. And Kais mother could also tell. She did never forgive him. Father went everyday here to see my mother, stroked her hair, while she played piano and held her hands when her fingers got too thin to press the piano keys, laid thousand kisses on her face when she passed away.”
Sehun smiled sadly at him and Luhan gathered the boy in his arms, kissing his head and feeling strangely at ease.

Sehun confessed to him, when they sneaked out of the palace, taking two horses and racing against each other until Luhan admitted his defeat.
They were both laughing and breathing heavily and Sehuns hair was ruffled from the wind. He was beautiful.
“I love you.” They were both shocked about his words. “I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to… so suddenly it wasn’t…” Luhan kissed him, crashing their mouths together.

Please…please. Just kill me.

Kwanghee called himself an event manager but was actually a devil in disguise. Kais parents ordered him to plan their wedding and Kwanghee took his job way too serious.
He put Kai and Luhan under a strict diet (‘One small meal a day will keep the pounds away’). Dressed them like they were dolls, not caring about what Luhan or Kai wanted (‘You have to wear this colour, otherwise the napkins won’t fit anymore.’) and annoyed them by taking them with him everywhere! The tailor, the gardener, the chef (whose food they weren’t even allowed to try because of their diet) and in the end they weren’t even asked about their opinion! It was a lot of wasted time.
There were still three months left before the wedding.

The headaches worsened and Luhan ended up for two whole days in bed with a fever and voices in his mind that were sometimes happy and sometimes crying in agony.
Two months before the wedding.

Sehun held his hand in the library, kissing every finger. “Will you marry him?”, he didn’t kiss the ring-finger of his left hand.
“I will”, he swallowed dryly. “I’m in love with him.”
“What about me?”
Luhan didn’t have an answer to that.
“Would you miss me…miss me when I went away?”
“Yes, I would.”
It was the truth.
One month before the wedding.

His head told Luhan that he loved Kai, but his heart felt at home when he kissed Sehun, when he allowed himself to be hold by the younger. He was selfish wanting both of them. Loving both of them. It made no sense to him.
Three weeks before the wedding.

“We haven’t talked in a while.” Luhan closed the book in his lap. He had lost conscious in the hallways and was brought to his room. When he woke up his personal servant was sitting on a chair next to his bed. It had felt like years ago when Luhan was a kid and his parents too busy to take care of him when he caught a cold, instead his personal servant did look after him.
“It’s really been a while.”
“How are you? How is live here?”
The other shrugged. “Okay I guess.”
Luhan frowned. “You sound unsure.”
He hesitated, probably contemplating whether or not he should open up to Luhan. “I don’t know, but I sometimes feel like I lost something.” He sighed. “But I can’t remember what it was.”
“I can relate”, Luhan laughed without humour. “But I feel rather like I can’t find what I’m looking for.”
“There is a difference between these two feelings?”
“There is Kyungsoo. There is.”
Two weeks before the wedding.

Luhan met the magician Sehun was talking about for the first time in the hallways, when they passed each other. Lay was by his side, guiding him towards the library where Luhan just came from.
“Prince”, the man smiled and bowed deeply. “How is your mental health?”
Luhan almost stumbled over his own feet, turning towards the smaller male. “Excuse me?”
He tilted his head, looking at – or rather through – Luhan. “Looks bad.”
“What is he talking about?” Luhan directed the question towards Lay.
“I can’t tell”, he sighed. “Minseok is saying all kind of weird things.” And this out of Lays mouth, what kind of sick irony.
“It’s rather cold in autumn isn’t it?”
“It’s spring…” Luhan answered confused.
“Is it? It’s not summer anymore?” Minseok smiled at him – the glint in his eyes not crazy at all.
One week before the wedding.

“Next week I will marry you and I promise I won’t ever disappoint you.” Kais confession came suddenly, startling Luhan.
“Why are you telling me that?”
“Because we have to stop a war, don’t we?” His smile was thin and sad. “We can’t be selfish anymore.”
“Have you ever been selfish?”, he asked quietly, thinking about Sehun who kissed him this morning, telling him he loved him. And Luhan had wanted to confess his feelings to him too, wanted it so badly, but he didn’t. In the end he bit on his tongue to hold the words in.
“I have been selfish Luhan.” He closed his eyes and kissed him. Kissed him like a long while ago. It felt wrong. So wrong.

The night before the wedding Luhan was a mess. He was shivering at the mere thought of getting married and his stomach twisted.
Knocking made him open the door and he found himself face to face with Lay and Sehun. They brought food and games and Luhan was happy about both things. They played poker and ate muffins and laughed about the stories of Lays and Sehuns childhood adventures. (“Back then it was me who made that glass fall, so that juice splashed onto your robe. Not Kai. I just wanted to play a prank on him.” Lay confessed to an open-mouthed Luhan.)
Long after midnight Lay excused himself, looking at Sehun with meaning in his eyes. He enveloped Luhan in a bone-crushing hug, kissing his cheek and wishing him good luck.
Then it was only Sehun and Luhan.
The boy in front of him played with the blanket, letting his fingers dance across the patterns, not meeting Luhans eyes.
“Won’t you wish me good luck?”
“No”, he whispered, finally looking up. “I can’t.”
“Sehun…”
“This palest was never a home for me. The family of my father never my own family.” Sehun searched something in Luhans eyes. He wasn’t sure what. “It was you who made me feel at home for the first time.”
“Sehun what-“
“I will leave the palest the moment you will say yes to Kai.”
“What are you talking about?” Luhans hands were shaking.
“I can’t stay and watch the two of you…I won’t beg you to come with me, but…” His voice cracked. Luhans eyes started to tear up.
“You will leave me?”
“No Luhan”, he was so gentle, so nice. “I don’t have the strength to leave you. You’ll be the first one to leave.”
It was pathetic and selfish but Luhan begged Sehun to stay the night. “Just once”, he whispered. “Only this night.”
And Sehun stayed, because that’s how Sehun was. Nice and gentle and in love with Luhan.
They made love for the first time and Sehun left his marks all over Luhans body.

One hour before the wedding.

The papers were signed, so Kai and Luhan technically already belonged to each other. The only part missing was the walk to the altar and the vow of fidelity in front of all the guests. Somewhere in the crowd would be Sehun, waiting for Luhans decision. Waiting for Luhan to leave him, so he could turn his back to the palest, like he always wanted to do, but never gathered enough courage to.
They left Kai and Luhan alone in a room that led directly to the garden, where the priest and the guests already waited.
“You have an hour.” Kwanghee told them, looking at them with a judging glare in his eyes. “And cheer the fuck up, you look horrible. Both of you!”
Kai gathered Luhan in his arms, spending comfort or rather seeking for comfort himself.
“Was it a lie?” Luhan finally whispered. “You loving me. Was it a game?”
“Luhan…”
“Just answer my question. Did you ever truly love me?”
“Do you?”
“Screw you!” He hissed through clenched teeth pushing Kai away. “I have always loved you! Since summer there was only your name ghosting through my mind! Ever since I broke that fucking…” Something crashed inside his head. It sounded like porcelain on stone. “Forget it.”
Kai looked scared, watching him with wariness. “I will talk to you after we got all of that behind us, okay?”
“What is there to talk about?”
“Luhan…”
“Jongin!” Kai jerked away. “If there is something you have to tell me. Say it now!”
Kai sighed, avoiding his eyes. “I have never told you my real name Luhan.”
“Stop avoiding the topic by coming up with stupid lies!”
“THIS is the topic”, he insisted, finally looking into Luhans eyes. “I have never told you my real name.”
Luhan rolled his eyes. “We were lying in the grass. In the ‘real heart of the labyrinth’ I promised you to protect your true identity.”
“You’ve never been there Luhan. The heart of the labyrinth that is. I never took you there.”
“What kind of sick game are you playing?”
“You wanted the truth, here it is.” He grabbed Luhans shoulders with both his hands. “Please concentrate Luhan. The day we met. In the kitchen you hurt your hand pretty badly, but there are no scars one your palm, are there?”
“I thought the shards would leave scars but they didn’t. I was wrong.”
“They did, believe me.”
“What?”
“Do you even know how to make tea?” Kai pressed on.
Luhan blinked confused. “Actually…”
“And why would you make tea for yourself?”
“It was early…”
“You can dance since you can walk. You know every dance there is on this planet and you are perfect in every movement.”
“I was so unsure when we danced together under the chandelier…I tripped over my own feet.” Luhans head hurt. It didn’t make sense. All the little pieces in his memory looked weird suddenly.
“Just one last thing” Kais eyes turned even sadder. “The day before we met, as it is in your memory, a servant took you to a room, where my father wanted to talk to you. Am I right?”
“Yes. He asked me to try and get along with you. He begged me to think about the people who have seen more than enough blood.”
Kai nodded. “When my father wanted to talk to you, you’ve already spent two months in the palest. Spending your days in the library. You came in summer, by the time the king called to talk face to face to you it was autumn.”
Luhan stumbled away. “That’s impossible.”
“When did you fall in love with me Luhan?”
Luhan shook his head. “Stop. Stop it.”
“Luhan, please. Answer my question: When did you fall in love with me?”
“In summer.” His head felt like it would explode any second. “What does this mean Kai? How could I have talked to your father in autumn but fell in love with you by summer?”
“It has never been you, Luhan. Not once.”
“What?”
“While you hid yourself in the library…I fell for another person. We spend the summer together and got caught in autumn. Your memories ended in the room with the chandelier, didn’t they? It was that day my father ordered soldiers to separate us…to force him away from me.”
“So…this, all this are actually…his memories? They aren’t mine? That was the life of a completely different person?!” Luhans voice sounded shrill even in his ears, but he didn’t mind. He was furious. He didn’t want to believe Kai…But everything made sense. He didn’t remember Kai calling his name even once. He never saw himself in a mirror and he remembered all the fog…
“So it was a dream? I relived all the memories…that OTHER person shared with you…in a dream?”
“Yes.”
“Who is it?” Luhan gripped Kai by the collar of his traditional robe, ready to punch him in the face.
“Luhan I won’t…”
“GOD DAMNIT KAI! Someone played with my brain you fucking OWE me at least this much!”
Kai grimaced. “It’s Kyungsoo”, he whispered and Luhan couldn’t stop himself from punching Kai right in the face.
“My personal servant?! You had an affair with my personal servant Kyungsoo?!” He laughed. Of course! Who else would go every day to the library to bring ME some tea…who else would be allowed to be close to me the whole time (leaning against the wall while dinner) than my fucking personal servant! He suddenly remembered something else. “It was Minseok right? That crazy magician. He was the one switching our memories. Kyungsoo was there that day, I remember now.”
“Not switching actually.” Kai held a hand against his cheek. There was no blood God dammit. “He was giving Kyungsoos memories to you - manipulated of course so you wouldn’t notice - and wiped out all of Kyungsoos memories of me…of us.” Kai looked away.
“That’s crazy. Everything is crazy.”
“Let’s talk about it after the wedding.”
“You think I am still ready to marry you?! Don’t overestimate yourself!”
“THIS has nothing to do with you or me, okay? This is still about two kingdoms that fucking need to get united.”
“This is crazy.”
“No. It’s even worse.”

Standing in front of each other, aware of all the lies that were told, all the fake smiles, all the fake hugs…it hurt. Looking Kai in the eyes and being forced to endure the sadness in his orbs, the unwillingness to proceed…it hurt even more.
He took Luhans hand in his, holding it with shaking fingers - Luhan was ready to bolt, to run away and never come back. But he didn’t move. He looked at Kai and felt the last strings of attachment loosen and disappear with the wind that gently rustled through his strands.
“You ready?”, he whispered and his voice cracked. Luhan shook his head. “Not for us”, he said, maybe more to himself than for Luhan to hear. “It’s for them. It’s our curse.” And a curse it was. The doors opened and light blinded them for a second, then they took a faltering first step towards the altar.





Thanks for reading <3

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