Warnings: Features a much-older Tai (uke) compared to Matt (Seme). Tai is also happily married to Sora and has children with her at the start of the fic. If an older, married, essentially heterosexual uke is not to your liking, this isn't the story for you.

Tai was 29 years old when the King and his son, the 17 year old crown prince Yamato, came to town. While it was a fact in Tai's head that the boy (like all other Ishidas before him) was an alpha, his dominant-status wouldn't have been something Tai ever thought of. Hell, he hadn't even wanted to go to the parade in honor of the King's visit.

But Yolei begged to go, and when Dai joined in on the begging, Sora threw up her hands and said they would go. After that, Tai knew it was over. His wife had declared it. His family would be at the parade, cheering on their King. And so he was there, perched on a lamp-post stand with Yolei on his shoulders so she would have a better view.

He didn't expect split-second meeting between his eyes and Yamato's would lead to such life-changing consequences. Imprinted. It was supposed to be indescribable and Tai knew he didn't have any way to describe it. If he had to try to approximate the feeling, he would say from that moment on, he knew he belonged to Yamato Ishida. It was the most gut-wrenching, terrifying thing he had ever felt in his entire life.

Then the connection was torn as he stepped off the lamp-post and back into the crowd, mindlessly lowering Yolei onto her feet next to him. It was a confusing set of emotions: he at once felt his heart break and an impending sense of panic. But he didn't have long to dwell on the feeling.

"My Prince! What are you doing?" He heard the shrill yelling of the guards, the crowd on Tai's side starting to part. Already, he could hear the commotion as Yamato tried to maneuver out of his carriage and move into the crowds towards him. Of course. Yamato had felt it as well. And now the Prince was trying to get to him. To claim him. To take him away from his wife, his two children, his sister.

That wouldn't do at all.

Sora and Kari stood next to him, as unaware as the rest of the crowd of what had transpired. Tai knew he didn't have long – he also knew he wouldn't be able to take them with him right now if he wanted to move fast enough to get away.

"Sora," he yanked her around, "Get away from this part of the crowd."

She looked at him like he had grown another head. "But the Prince…" Kari also turned around, sensing a change in the mood.

"He's coming towards me. Our eyes met. He's imprinted on me." Tai whispered quickly for them, glad at the moment that the crowd was so enthralled by the Prince's strange behavior that they were paying no attention to him.

Both women gasped at the same time. Kari was the first one to get enough composure back to speak. "Then you must go to him. It's against the law..."

"No," Tai cut her off sharply. "I have to hide. Dai is 12 now, Yolei is 11. Sora still needs me for a few years more if we're going to get our kids grown."

The Prince was getting closer now, moving slowly because the crowd was quite deep. But inching ever close in their direction. Time was running out.

"You've got to get far from here." Tai whispered, feeling like a noose was starting to tighten around his neck. "As far from the crowd as possible. He will come after me first and if he doesn't find me, he will try to find everyone around me to ask. So Kari, you take one kid. Sora you take another. It was far enough away that he couldn't have gotten a good look at us. Get as far from this part of the crowd as you can." He stuck his head up and saw that Yamato was getting dangerously close.

"I've got to run but I will meet you at home in a few days if I get away," he said, pulling Sora to him and kissing her hard before turning on his heels and running off into one of the alleys.

Imprinting meant the Prince would sense him wherever he went if they were in close enough proximity. The only thing he could do was get as far away as possible. So when he came across an unattended horse, he thought it might be providence. Tai was a gifted rider and the horse he stole was a young, fast mount. He made it out of town and into the forests in record time and let his horse slow into a walk when only the sounds of the forest remained behind him.

A week later, he made his way out of the forest and back home.

That evening, Sora sent the children to bed early and came to join her husband.

"So what are we going to do?" She asked him, watching the sharp angles of his face as he stared into the fire. He was handsome, his dark skin burnished into the copper by the sun. But he was not the delicate femininely beautiful beta-males that alphas salivated over. In fact, he was the exactly the type of beta-male that females wanted as their husbands (if they couldn't have an alpha). He was strong, capable, trust-worthy.

When he first told her to run from the crowds and that the Prince was coming after him, she thought he had gone mad. But she did as he asked and got far away from where they were standing; thankfully, neither her, or Kari, or the kids had been questioned. And that evening, posters had gone up all around town, offering rewards for anyone who could identify the man standing on the lamp-post with a little girl on his shoulders.

"We cannot stay in town. There were so many guards – many more than usual. They were all on the look-out for me," Tai said simply. "We will move into the forest – go live at my grandmothers' cabin."

Sora nodded. "But for how long?" She needed to know. Sooner or later, the Prince would find him. Tai would never be physically harmed; but Sora didn't know what the Prince might do to her or the children to punish Tai for his errancy. She let out a deep sigh. "Maybe it's for the best if you go to him now…" A not-small part of her felt like it was breaking. Maybe you want to go to him… After all, he is your soul-mate… She left it unsaid. No need to go asking for heart-break and she could see how hard Tai was trying to stay with her.

"I don't expect we'll be able to run forever," Tai agreed, his voice a deep gruff sound. "But I want Dai and Yolei to be grown." He put his arm around her and buried his face in her hair. "And I want more time with you. The 13 years we've had is not enough."

Sora let out a soft sob and clutched at his shirt, remembering how they met when he came to work as a field-hand for her father. He moved fast back then, romancing her easily that led to a quick pregnancy and a hasty wedding. Her father was so angry, yelling and screaming about how she'd thrown her life away on a no-good, working-class field-hand with no future; Tai promised to work as hard as he could to give her the life she deserved. It all seemed so romantic back then.

And they made it work for 13 years. They had their ups and downs in marriage; but Sora was as sure of his love as she was of the sun rising in the East. And she reminded herself of that now. Imprinting or no imprinting, Tai was choosing to fight for them. And so, she would fight too.

They spent the next two years at the old Kamiya home-stead site, deep in the woods. Tai hunted their meat and plowed their small acre of land. Sora grew most of their vegetables in their garden. She went into town once a week to do some sewing and washing to bring home some money. Dai and Yolei pitched in when they could; they didn't know why they were uprooted from their friends in town. Yolei took it particularly hard. Dai did not complain much – he was a small beta, a pretty little thing with big brown eyes like his father. It brought on a lot of shaming in town; Sora could tell he was happier here. Life was hard, but the four of them were together, with occasional visits from Kari.

All in all, Sora decided it was a happy life. Of course they had occasional brushes with being found-out. But those only happened when Tai was forced to go into town and they tried to limit that to the minimum. Around the homestead, both husband and wife let their guards down and enjoyed being a family.

Then one day, Tai was working the field when Sora saw him drop his hoe and stand up right. The blank look on his face quickly morphed into panic and Sora could feel her own heart thumping hard in her chest. As Yamato's soul-mate, she knew Tai would be able to tell if the Crown Prince was relatively close by. That look of fear in Tai's face was all the indication she needed of what was happening.

"I have to get out of here, now!" Tai yelled, running towards their barn to get the horse.

He didn't even make it across the field before a group of riders burst through the trees, the Crown Prince at the head. His eyes were transfixed on Tai, a slow, triumphant grin spreading across his handsome features. Tai's eyes were glued to the Prince, fear and resignment playing across them.

"Mama, Papa? What's going on?" Yolei asked, coming out the front door. Dai followed on her heels, a book clutched in his hands.

Sora watched as the Crown Prince's gaze slid from Tai, first to her, then to the kids. Understanding began to dawn in his clear blue gaze. Out of the corner of her Tai, she saw Tai moving into action.

"My Prince," Tai murmured, walking slowly to stand in front of Yamato's horse. He bowed stiffly and then looked up into blue eyes. "This is my family. If you promise to take care of them, I will come with you now." His voice had a pleading tone.

"You'll come with me either way, my love," the Prince replied.

"Yes," Tai agreed. He glanced in the direction of Sora and his kids. Sora could see an uneasy look come over his face, but she saw him steel himself. Then he spoke again and Sora could see why he was reluctant to say what he had to say. "You can take me from here by force, but you will be taking me by force for the rest of your life. I will fight you every step of the way. I will find every way I can to abort any child you put inside me." The men around the Prince gasped. It was Tai's duty as Matt's soul-mate to become his bride and the mother to his children. But here he was using that duty as a bargaining chip instead of accepting it as the great honor it was.

Tai paid the men no attention and continued. "But if you promise that my family will be well taken care-of, my children provided for, then I will come with you willingly." He dropped his voice a little lower. "I will lie in your bed every night if that is what you wish, and open my legs whenever you ask me to."

Matt raised an eyebrow, a smirk playing on his face. "Maybe I would want you to fight. I should punish you for your insolence. Hiding from me for 2 years, though you knew you were mine and meant for my bed." Then he turned to look at Sora. "But I am certain I would rather have you willing than not." He looked back at Tai again. "What sort of life do you wish for your family here? Shall we take them to court with us?" He appraised the two teens standing silently at the door. "The daughter is a little young still. But the boy will make a fine bride now to some low-born noble-alpha at my court – he is beautiful like his mother and his father is to be future Queen."

Sora felt her face blanch as she watched her son drop to his knees. Dai wasn't even 15 yet. He was to be married so young? She stared desperately at Tai, but kept silent knowing that anything she said could only make the situation worse.

Tai tried to think desperately of some way to salvage this situation. "Your Grace's offer is most generous. But would it be possible to talk this over with my wife?" He collected himself. He and Sora had talked somethings out for this possible scenario. But neither had expected the Prince to try to take parts of their family to court. It was something they needed to discuss as a family. With that in mind, he dared to ask for a small reprieve. "Your Grace, can we have a few hours time to discuss what we should do? I meant my family and I?"