Legal Disclaimer: We don't own any of the characters or concepts here.
Note: This is loosely based off of The Princess and The Pea...very loosely. Hope you enjoy it!
The Prince and the Haunted Chamber
by: Cynthia and LadyDragon

It was one of those glorious summer days in the kingdom of Tamachi. Joy spread like a thick golden blanket all over the land. Crown Prince Osamu's wife had just been delivered of a healthy baby boy, so dynastic security was secured for yet another generation. However, it was not the new prince which made one small gardener's assistant so very happy. It was an older prince.

It was Prince Ken, the Crown Prince's younger brother, that was on the mind of Davis, who helped the royal gardener in his daily tasks. Davis enjoyed talking with the prince, and did so every day. Today, however, it seemed as if he were late. He did say something about his parents wanting to talk to him, the redhead reminded himself as he mulched some rosebushes.

A few moments later, he caught sight of a familiar head of blue hair making it's way through the waving green branches. When Ken was where Davis could see him more clearly, he noticed at once that the prince had a very unaccustomed scowl on his fair face. He never scowls. What's wrong?

The prince didn't appear to have noticed his friend at all as he walked down the crushed-stone path, kicking a stray pebble into the clear pond as he did so. Davis hurried over quickly, wanting to know what was wrong with his friend. "Your highness? What's wrong?"

"My parents are making me get married!" Ken snapped. "I don't want to get married!"

The prince dropped onto one of the marble benches and glared into the poor defenseless pond as it sparkled there. He absolutely hated the thought of having to give himself to some stranger!

Davis stayed beside him. "I know how you feel. Remember, I left home because they were talking about making me marry someone. They didn't have any candidates yet, but I'm going to make up my own mind on who I stay with forever."

Ken sulked, looking unconsciously adorable as he did so. "At least you have that option now. There's no way my parents will let me leave."

The young gardener dropped down so that he was on one knee beside Ken, the better to look into his face with. "Are they at least letting you pick someone for yourself?"

"Of course not!" Ken growled bitterly. Davis shook his head; this was not the Ken that he'd come to know so well over his two years here.

"Let me guess, nobility or higher?"

Ken shook his head. "Royalty, and nothing less. Who cares if I don't want to get married, that maybe I'm happy the way I am! But nooooo!!" The prince virtually snarled. "The challenge has been issued and Princes are coming from hundreds of leagues to see if they can pass the ordeal!" He ground his teeth in fury. "And that's not even the worst part!"

Davis blinked in confusion. What could be worse? "What?"

"They invited Princesses!"

The gardener looked slightly confused. "Well, some princesses are fairly nice." There had been that nice Princess Hikari he'd met once. She wouldn't be coming though. The last time he'd heard about her, she was safely married to some blonde. Davis was fairly sure his name was Micheal or Willis or Wallace or something like that.

Ken flashed his friend a dirty look. "Then you can have them!" He leaped to his feet and started to pace around. "This is ridiculous!"

The other leaned back a little and watched him go back and forth. "What's the ordeal anyway? I don't think you've mentioned it before."

Ken sighed. "There's a haunted room in the palace. It's perfectly safe: until dark. After the sun goes down, the ghosts come out. Family legend says that only a true prince or princess can stay in the room all night long."

Davis snickered softly. "I don't believe in ghosts."

"I wouldn't want to sleep in this room," Ken told him seriously, then started pacing again. "And now I have to marry the first idiot who can stay there all night."

The redhead shrugged. "Maybe you'll get lucky."

Ken sighed, all the frustration draining out of him, and looked very sad. "Sure I will. Except for you, I can't remember the last person who wanted to talk to me for me..." His voice trailed off briefly. "And even you're on the family payroll."

Davis stood slowly. "Highness, I don't get paid to talk to you. I'd probably be fired if anyone knew I did, since I'm obviously not doing my job when I'm talking to you."

Ken flashed a sad smile. "True. Good night, Davis." He turned to leave, his shoulders slumped, quite obviously very upset. Davis came over and placed a hand on Ken's shoulder, feeling the strength of it rippling beneath his fingers.

"Don't take it so hard."

Ken didn't move, but sighed softly. "I'm tired of being nothing but a shiny gem my parents pull out when they're bored, or feeling particularly parental." He flashed another sad smile. "I really envy you, you know."

The other looked confused. "You do? No one's ever envied me before."

"You took your life into your own hands, and are doing what you want to do." The sadness didn't change, and seemed somehow to get deeper. "I wish I could."

Davis grinned as the prince started to pull away. "We could run away together."

"You mean you haven't noticed the increase in guards the last few nights? My parents made sure to take away any chance I had of running away before they informed me of their decision." Ken glanced at Davis for a moment. "Not that I'd blame you if you wanted to leave."

"But would you mind if I stuck around?" Davis grinned. Ken shook his head, a smile trying and failing to tug at his lips.

"I'm surprised one of the maids hasn't turned your head yet."

Davis rolled his eyes. "Don't think they haven't tried." He'd ignored them, though. None of the ones who had tried had been his type, and he hadn't really found himself that interested in any of the ones who were his type.

Ken glanced away again. "I'll leave you to your work."

"Come visit again soon?" Davis smiled a bit and nudged at one of the bushes. "You're a lot more interesting than rosebushes."

The prince sighed, deeply and heart-feltly. "If I get a chance to. Good night, Davis."

"Good night, Ken." Davis murmured softly. He watched as the prince graced him with a smile that didn't touch his eyes, then disappeared into the palace, an air of sadness still wrapped around him. A few moments later, the light in his tower room came on, and the gardener could see Ken in the window, staring across at the setting sun, one leg pulled up to his chest.

Wow. He's gorgeous. Davis smiled softly to himself as he watched. He didn't dare hope that no one would pass the ordeal. After all, how hard could it really be? I do hope everything works out for him, though.

* * *

Over the next few weeks, royalty began to arrive and participate in the test. Every last one of them wound up shooting out of the room screaming at the top of their lungs within the first two hours. That wasn't the worst of it all, though, at least not according to Ken.

He wandered back down to the pond at sunset, as he'd done for months before this had ever come up, and sighed. I wish they'd get the hint and leave. But they don't! They won't!! He looked up at a squelch and saw a dusty and dirty Davis coming towards him. Somewhere in the back of his mind he noted that he'd never seen the gardener when he was clean.

"No luck with the suitors?" The redhead asked quietly. Ken shook his head.

"They're not passing the night, which is fine with me," He smiled a bit sadly. "I'd started to hope word would get around and they'd start giving up, but they keep coming." He shivered. "And what's worse is now they're starting to ask for a kiss before they go to sleep." Ken growled softly at the memory. "And my parents think it's a wonderful idea. So for the last two weeks I've been forced into kissing someone every night."

Davis shuddered briefly, watching as Ken trailed his fingers through the waters and watched the ripples. "I'm trying to hide from the newest Princess," the prince murmured softly. He wasn't going to hide that, not from his friend. Not from Davis.

"What's her name?"

"Catherine." Ken made a face. She was pretty enough, but she wasn't that great. She had an accent and was from a faraway land; it had taken her months to get here, but Ken wasn't that interested in her. He'd been more interested in the other one from the other faraway land, Chichos. She would've made a good friend, if nothing else.

Davis thought for a moment. "I think I saw her. Blonde, blue eyes?"

"Yes." Ken nodded. "Mother seems fond of her. She's been giving all sorts of advice."

"So when does she try the room? Tonight?"

Ken nodded and sighed, then glanced at the rising moon, visible with silver light through the trees. The sun was already down by now, and the temperature was dropping. "Do you always work this late?"

"Not always," Davis smiled. "I was just finishing up, really."

"I should go." Ken stood, shaking his fingers off. "Before my parents come looking for me."

Davis nodded briefly. "Good luck."

Ken just smiled a bit then headed back inside. Davis was able to catch a glimpse of him through the windows, kissing a pretty blonde he assumed was Princess Catherine. She seemed to enjoy it much more than his friend did, as Ken wiped his mouth with the back of his hand with a shudder of revulsion and hurried off to his own quarters the moment the girl entered the haunted chamber. Davis' lips twitched just a bit in amusement then he went to his own room. He had plans to make.

It was almost midnight when a slightly accented scream echoed throughout the palace, and the princess came rushing out of the room, gibbering in panic. Ken's eyes fluttered a bit, and he couldn't help feeling just a little smug. I didn't want you either.

By morning, Catherine had packed up and left, muttering something about a cute guy she'd met before coming there. Ken thought he'd heard the name Takeru, but he wasn't all that sure. He wasn't paying that much attention as his parents discussed her departure over breakfast. There was something else that was on his mind. He looked at his parents hopefully.

"She was the last, wasn't she, mother?"

Queen Ayame checked over the list carefully. "Well, she would have been, but..."

Ken went stiff. "But?"

"A new prince arrived this morning." She sounded rather happy about it. Ken felt like strangling something. He'd been so close to being free!

"What?!?"

The Queen checked the notation again. "Prince Daisuke of Odaiba." She hadn't seen him yet; she'd just been brought the note by the servant who had met him, but he sounded very nice.

Ken glared at his parents and brother, all of whom looked back in confusion as he stalked out of the dining hall. The first place he went, as always, was the gardens. He had been there for almost ten minutes before something hit him.

"Davis?" He looked here and there, but there was no sign whatsoever of his muddy friend. That's weird. He's always here.

Ken sighed softly; today was just not his day. Shoulders slumped in disappointment, he started to walk, hoping to work off some of the frustration and sadness. He hardly noticed anything around him, until he headed back towards his own quarters, and passed by the haunted chamber.

"Excuse me, Prince Ken?" He stopped and looked back, seeing a young man in royal attire standing outside the door. He was a bit taller than Ken himself, with dark mahogony hair and sparkling brown eyes. Ken looked at him, his back ramrod straight. "I believe you're supposed to give me a good night kiss before I take the ordeal?"

"Excuse me?" Ken grated the question out coldly. The prince just smiled.

"I don't think we've been properly introduced. I'm Prince Daisuke, and I'm here to take the ordeal." He sounded perfectly cheerful and happy, and Ken felt himself wanting to scream. He stared at the other prince, his eyes violet ice.

"I'm sure you'll forgive my lack of enthusiasm," Ken said coldly, looking right into his eyes. He had never seen someone who sounded half as arrogant as this jerk did.

Daisuke eyed him calmly, his rich brown eyes full of understanding. "Then we'll forget about the kiss." He entered the haunted chamber and closed and locked the door behind him.

Ken ground his teeth together as he stalked into his room. "I hope you wake up screaming." He sighed as he leaned back, trembling just a little. Where are you, Davis?

* * *

The haunted room seemed very pleasant as Daisuke settled down in his nightclothes. I wish I could tell you, Ken, but not yet. I have to get through this first. And I hope that you won't hate me.

Before long he had drifted off into Ken-filled dreams, ignoring a few odd noises as they started up. He snuggled under the blankets then growled softly as things began to bounce off the wall next to his head. He cracked one eye open to see a half a dozen disgusting translucent figures hovering around the bed and glowered at them. "Do you mind? I'm trying to sleep."

The ghosts floated closer, moaning and groaning and drool dripping in a few places as they hovered right next to him. Daisuke yawned. "Oh, come on, when are you going to get serious? I've seen my sister coming out of the bathroom without even soap on! You've got nothing on her."

He leaned back, completely unafraid. These things were standing in between him and Ken-chan and he would rather bathe in manure for the rest of his life than run from their scare tactics. One of them, who seemed to be their leader, looked at him. Daisuke thought he was confused, but it was a bit hard to be certain.

"Why aren't you afraid?" it asked curiously. Daisuke shrugged.

"Why should I be? You're dead, you can't hurt me. I've seen a lot scarier things than you in my life."

The leader looked almost offended. "Everyone else has been afraid."

"I'm not everyone else."

"You're here because you want the prince, just like everyone else." The ghost leader snorted, things that were better not named dripping from it. Daisuke didn't even bother to look; he'd seen worse things.

Daisuke shook his head calmly. "No, I'm here because I love Ken, and this is the only way I can get a chance to be with him. Now if you're done, I really need a nap."

The ghost leader inched closer enough to drip a little real ooze on Daisuke and glowered down at him. "You think you're in love with Ken?"

"No." Daisuke's voice was firm and confidant. "I know I'm in love with him."

"And just how do you know this?" the specter wanted to know, dripping even more. Daisuke calmly wiped the ooze away, not flinching for a moment.

"Well, if you're going to keep interrupting my sleep..." He looked firmly at the leader. "Were you ever in love when you were alive?"

The leader snorted and sneered at him smugly. "Who ever said I was alive?"

Daisuke rolled his eyes. "The fact you're a ghost. Ghosts are the remnants of those who once lived. But if you'd ever been in love, you don't have to ask. You just know."

"You'd have to know him to be able to fall in love with him." The leader pointed out even more smugly. "You just arrived this morning."

The redhead grinned mischievously. "Who said I just arrived this morning?" The ghost leader's jaw dropped, more drool and slime oozing all over the prince. Daisuke shook his head and motioned to a corner of the room. "Could you ooze over there? The maids are going to be pissed if you get the sheets messed up." The leader just continued to hover over him, exuding a hideous odor, and shook his head. "If you're supposed to be scaring me, you're not." Daisuke advised. "Even if you did scare me, I wouldn't leave here until morning."

"We will scare you." The leader gave a rotten, stenchy smirk. "You still haven't explained how you know Prince Ken."

Daisuke shrugged. "That's not really your business." He eyed the ghost calmly. "But if you ask me politely, I might think about it. Otherwise, I'm going back to sleep. I have more important things to do than yak to the undead."

The leader ground his rotten teeth together, coating Daisuke's chest with slime, then asked regally, "Will you please tell me how you know Prince Ken?"

"Simple. When I ran away from home a few years ago, I wound up here and took a job as the gardener's assistant. I didn't say anything about being a prince, I just told them my name was Davis. That's how we met. He doesn't know it's me in here." He eyed them for a moment. "Anything else?"

The ghosts glanced among themselves as Daisuke hummed, bored, and looked at them so very calmly, as if he had seen far worse things than any of them. The leader asked quietly, "What have you seen that can possibly be scarier than we are?"

"I saw Ken looking at me as if I were the worst thing that had ever walked this or any other Earth." The pure sincerity that rang in his tones echoed all around the room, and a rotten tooth fell from the ghostly leader's jaw as it dropped open in shock, disintegrating on Daisuke's chest. The redhead looked at him calmly. "Well?"

He couldn't say he was surprised when the leader faded from view, followed by the other ghosts in rapid succession. Then with a yawn and a triumphant grin, he went back to sleep.

* * *

The servants gathered outside the door of the haunted room, staring at it. There had been a few sounds from inside, but not the horrible screaming and rapid patter of feet they had come to expect. The door swung open, and Prince Daisuke opened it with the cheery smile that marked him as one of those hideous morning people.

"Hi!" He grinned at the shocked look on all their faces. "Sorry about the ooze and stuff on the bed. The ghosts just wouldn't stop drooling."" He looked at them. "What?"

The servants stared into the room, where it was very obvious the ghosts had been doing their thing, then stared back at Daisuke, who looked perfectly rested and calm. He eyed them a bit warily. "You guys can talk, can't you?"

"How did you do it?" the group asked in unison. Daisuke shrugged calmly. This was easy to answer.

"I talked to them."

The servants stared at each other in surprise, and Daisuke could hear one of them murmuring, "Prince Ken isn't going to like this."

Almost as if their words had summoned him, the blue-haired prince came by, and he stared at the redhead in complete and utter disbelief. Daisuke looked back at him with the faintest glimmer of hope in his eyes, only to feel it die as Ken turned on his heel and ran off.

Daisuke sighed softly. I think he needs his friend to talk to now. He was about to head off to change into his regular clothes when Queen Ayame popped up at his elbow.

"You did it, Prince Daisuke!" Ken's mother gushed at him. Daisuke plastered a happy smile on his face. He didn't like to conceal his emotions like this, but this was kind of a special occasion.

"It wasn't that hard, really."

The Queen smiled broadly. "We'll arrange a suitable ceremony immediately!" She was obviously quite happy about someone having finally won her youngest son, and Daisuke couldn't take that from her, not yet, anyway.

He was going to try something, though. "I'd like to see Prince Ken if I can."

"Oh, no, dear, I'm afraid that isn't possible now." Ayame denied him easily. "It's considered bad luck for you to see the groom before the wedding. You can see him at the ceremony."

Daisuke fidgeted just a little. This was definitely not how he'd been wanting things to work out. "So when is the ceremony?"

"In a week. Sooner if we can get the caterer here." She smiled broadly at him. "I'm sure that you can wait that long to see him." He was almost certain that she whispered under her breath, "Any longer and Ken might find a way to sneak out." She motioned briefly to a servant. "Please show Prince Daisuke to his room and make certain he doesn't see Ken."

The servant nodded obediently, and Daisuke followed him to a plush bedroom. "If you'll stay here, your highness, I'll make sure breakfast is brought right away."

"Thank you." Daisuke nodded quietly, peeking out the window to see Ken searching the gardens, a pained expression on his face. Blast it. Daisuke paced briefly. I can't leave until that servant brings the food back or I might get caught! He winced as he heard Ken calling for Davis, and decided it was worth the risk, just for a moment.

It only took him a few instants to change into the plain semi-rags that were Davis' clothes, and he slid out into the gardens by a back way he knew from his servant experience here. It was all for naught, however, as Ken headed back inside and closed the door just as 'Davis' started to call for him, and the redhead could see a servant leading him away through a window.

Daisuke made it back to his royal quarters and had changed back into his princely raiment just in time for his own servant to knock for entrance. "Come in!"

A covered tray gave off the most wonderful scents as the servant entered, and Daisuke almost forgot how sad he was at the thought of something to eat. The servant looked a little startled at his semi-dusty appearance and asked politely, "Would you like me to show you where the baths are, your Highness?"

Daisuke reacted with trained aplomb. "Yes, please. Those ghosts were rather dirty."

Half an hour later, cleaned and fed, Daisuke curled himself up in a comfortable chair by the window, and spent the day staring out into the gardens, keeping an eye everywhere that Ken might show up.

No sign of him all day. Daisuke sighed quietly as night began to fall. He leaped up, stretching as he started to pace in a circle, thinking as hard as he could. He needed to talk to Ken, and it was obvious that Prince Daisuke wasn't going to be able to do it. That's okay. I've got someone who can do it.

He quickly arranged the bed so it looked as if he were asleep, then changed into the Davis outfit once more, and slid out the window. After pausing to make certain he had his usual layer of dust over himself, it didn't take long to find Ken's quarters, since he knew them by the outside so well, and he could clearly hear Ken yelling anyway.

"...don't care!"

The Queen's voice answered him, calm and understanding and as firm as the mountains. "Ken." It was obvious she thought he was being childish.

Daisuke could see him now, or rather, see his back, stiff as a rail as he faced down his mother. "You don't!" Ken snapped. "All you care about is what you can get by marrying me off."

"I do care about you!" the Queen declared. Ken shook his head sharply.

"Then why are you making me get married!?"

Ayame gave him a penetrating look. "It's the law! All members of the royal family must be married!" Daisuke had heard that before, in other lands. He hadn't liked it then either. That was what had led to him coming here in the first place.

"Then change the law! I don't want to get married! Especially not to him!" Ken's shoulders slumped. "Why can't you at least let me choose?"

"He's a perfect nice young prince." Ayame pointed out. "What's wrong with him? He's passed the test and everything."

Ken's head shot up to give her a harsh look. "Just because some stupid ghosts didn't chase him away you think he's good enough for me!"

The Queen folded her arms and gave him a purely maternal look. "Just because the ghosts didn't, you think he isn't?"

Her son turned his back to her and stared out the window, his face a perfect image of misery as he stared up at the moon. "Just...go away, mother."

"Ken." She reached out for him, but pulled her hand back and quietly left. As soon as the door closed behind her, Ken drooped down into his window seat, buried his face in his arms, and sobbed.

Daisuke closed his eyes, shifting his mind into 'Davis' mode, and then slipped up quietly. "Ken?"

The prince looked up, his eyes swimming in tears. "Davis?" He stared at his friend, obviously not believing his eyes. "Where have you been? It's horrible! Someone actually passed the test!"

A solitary tear trailed down his cheek, and Davis brushed it away. "I had some things to take care of. I'm sorry I wasn't here for you."

Ken took a slow, quivering, deep breath and closed his eyes for a moment, another tear trailing down. "It's all right. You have your own life to lead."

"So you're going to be married..." Davis murmured softly. Ken tensed and pulled away from his work-roughened hand, shaking his head as tension filled him.

"No, I'm not."

Davis' hand followed Ken easily, enjoying the feel of him. "What are you going to do?"

He wasn't surprised with the answer. "I'm going to run away." Ken looked over as Davis made a small noise. "It worked for you."

Davis just looked at him. "You don't want to marry...Prince Daisuke...that's pretty obvious."

Ken pulled back and started to pace. "He just waltzes in here at the last minute like he knows everything and just expects I'll be happy about this!"

"But..." Davis hesitated for a moment. He had to phrase things carefully, he knew. This wasn't his best point, but he would try. "He's kinda cute, isn't he?"

The blue-haired prince stared at him incredulously. "What does that have to do with anything?" He paced again, then looked over at the window. "You're cuter than he is, dirt and all!" Davis turned a very fiery shade of red, quite visible under his dusty exterior, and stammered out something incoherent. Ken didn't notice, only went back to pacing again. "Not that it matters since you're still watching the maids." He moaned plaintively, "Why couldn't he have been scared off like the others?"

"He's a real prince." Davis couldn't keep the note of pride from his voice, and Ken snorted.

"I wish he'd go take a long walk off of a short pier." Davis mentally flinched, and did his best not to show anything, no matter how much he really wanted to. Ken flashed him a weak, watery smile. "I can tell you've been working hard, though. I don't think I've ever seen the gardens look so nice at night."

"The gardens...yeah..." Davis looked away, sad and depressed for a moment. He doesn't even want to give me a chance...give him a chance. If he really cared, wouldn't he like me no matter what I called myself? Isn't love supposed to be about what's inside, not outside?

Ken frowned worriedly as he watched his friend. "Are you all right, Davis?" He felt suddenly ashamed of himself. "Here I am complaining about how bad my life is and there's something bothering you." He sat on the window, his legs dangling from the ledge, and looked at Davis with honest concern. "Is it something I can help you with? After all, you've listened to me more than long enough." He smiled a bit faintly. "Sometimes I think you have the patience of a saint."

Davis blushed suddenly and fidgeted. Ken thought for a moment that he had never looked more adorable, then suddenly realized something was really bothering his friend. "Davis...if there's something wrong..." He felt more alive since the testing had begun suddenly. This was something he could do, something he wanted to do: help his friend.

"Well, there's kind of someone I like," Davis murmured softly. What could it hurt, after all? "But they don't like me. They won't even think about liking me. They hate the very thought of liking me."

Ken's eyes went wide in shock. This had never occurred to him. "Who couldn't like you?" He chewed his lower lip for a moment as what the brunette had just admitted sank in. "You...like someone?"

"Yeah." Davis looked away for a moment. "They're really gorgeous. The most amazing eyes. But they can't stand me."

Ken stared at the ground, something thick and green and hideous uncurling inside of him. He thought it was jealousy. "I'm sorry, Davis." He heard an odd catch in his voice. "Would it help if I talked to her?"

"I don't think so." Davis shook his head. "They're very...determined."

The prince took a deep breath and looked at him, squashing down his jealousy, though he was fairly certain his eyes still had a touch of green to them. "I'm sorry, Davis, but if she can't see what an amazing person you are, then she doesn't deserve you." He swallowed hard and tucked a loose strand of hair behind his ear, trying not to show how nervous he was. "And you definitely deserve better."

Davis stared at Ken, his voice pure and firm. "There is no one better." For some reason, the tone telling Ken that Davis had never specifically said his interest was in girls.

He tilted his head slightly in thought, then shivered mentally. I think I should change the subject. "You know, I never really realized how much I relied talking on you every day until you weren't here."

"I missed talking to you, too," Davis said honestly. Ken's eyes lit up a bit.

"Really?" Davis nodded, and Ken felt extremely warm and happy inside. Then he saw just how high the moon was and winced. "You should get to bed. I know you have to get up early in the morning, and I have plans to make."

Davis nodded silently as he started to move back from the window. "I...I wish things had gone better for you. I know you hate the prince." He moved back a little more, his voice softer, but still very audible. "Without even giving him a chance." He slipped away before Ken could say anything, and the prince stared after him in surprise.

* * *

Daisuke got back into the royal quarters, divested himself of the rich raiment, had another bath, and was soon curled up into sobbing sleep on the bed. He hated having to talk to Ken as if he were someone else entirely. It had seemed like a good idea when they'd first met, but now...now he hated the whole concept.

He was awakened the next morning by some sort of odd commotion, and then Ken's voice came through loud and clear. "Don't you dare lock me in the tower, Osamu! You don't understand!"

The voice of Ken's brother answered him. "This is for your own good, Ken."

Feet scuffled into the carpet, and a crash that had to be a vase or something of that nature echoed as it became shards. "Why are you going along with this, Osamu? You hated being forced into being married! Why are you doing it to meeeee?" Daisuke could hear the betrayal and pain in Ken's voice and quickly slipped over to the door. He was just able to see Ken being carried bodily up a set of stairs, and thought quickly.

Those lead to the tower. He's being made a prisoner...because of me. Daisuke slumped back to the bed and lay down, feeling like the biggest traitor that had ever walked the world, tears sliding out one by one.

"Your Highness?" Daisuke looked up after a timeless time to see Osamu standing in the doorway. "I'm sorry for disturbing your slumber, but I thought you should know we're moving the date of the ceremony up. I hope tomorrow isn't too soon for you. Of course we'll be more than happy to pay for another ceremony where your parents can attend."

Daisuke blinked for a moment. Why do I think he wanted to say 'where Ken can't complain because you'll already be married' after that? Noticing Osamu was waiting for an answer, he quickly supplied one. "That won't be necessary. The second ceremony, that is. My parents and I haven't gotten along in years and I doubt they'd care that much right now, anyway." Especially since they have no idea where I am.

"In that case, I hope you'll come to think of us as family." Osamu bowed respectfully and turned away.

"I wish it were that easy." Daisuke murmured softly and sadly as he came over to shut the door. Osamu just shook his head.

"It is. Ken knows his place and his duty." As the door closed behind Ken's elder brother, Daisuke curled up on the bed once more, tears of self-hatred for what his presence was doing to Ken falling. He hardly noticed the servants who came in to get his measurements, nor their chatter as they excitedly gossiped about Ken's outfit, the food, and everything else.

"See how much he already likes Prince Ken!" One of them babbled, pointing out Daisuke's slightly glazed and unresponsive eyes. "He's so obviously the right prince for him!"

Maybe I should have told him who I am first, then tried the room... Daisuke wondered absently, nodding without really listening to the servants.

"You're free to roam the palace, your highness," the servant told him, things finally completed. "Although I'm sure you'd rather be spending time with your fiancé, he's...still going through fittings, so the tower is, unfortunately off limits." He bowed again and then beamed up at Daisuke. "You're going to make him a wonderful husband, your highness."

Daisuke plastered a smile on his face. "Thank you." He didn't bother with any other polite words as the servant left. Almost at once, an idea had formed in his mind. He knew what he was going to have to do, and though he had no idea if it would work or not, he didn't care. He peered out through the window and could see Ken pacing back and forth in the tower. That would work, he hoped. He quickly changed into the dusty clothes he wore as Davis, and wrote up the note he planned on getting to Ken.

I hope there aren't any guards. He slipped up the tower steps quickly and quietly and peered around the corner, then mentally groaned.

"For someone who has to greet the sun with the birds, you're up late, Davis." One of the guards waved at him. "Sneaking off to see your lady love?"

Davis plastered a quick smile on his face. Over the years he'd been here, he'd become friends with a lot of the guards and other servants, all of whom knew that he and Ken were friends. Though this might work out after all. "Something like that!"

"I can't let you up into the tower," the guardsman whispered softly. "Prince Ken is up there and he's not supposed to have any visitors."

Davis nodded easily and held out the note. "I know. Would you give him this for me. And don't read it. It's kinda private."

The guard grinned teasingly. "I don't know, maybe I should read it. Since you're a world famous assassin and all."

The redhead stuck his tongue out playfully. "Oh, yeah, I just pretend to be a gardener's assistant. I'm really here to murder everyone in their beds and steal all the royal treasure."

The guard rolled his eyes and chuckled. "And I'm the tooth fairy." He tweaked Davis' nose easily. "I won't look at it. In fact, if you'll stand here for me for a second, I'll run it up to him right now."

Davis nodded as he took the guard's place. "No problem." Oh, this should be fun if someone comes up here.

* * *

Ken paced here and there, his mind running over various other plans as he tried to figure out what to do. His head snapped up when he heard a knock at the door. "I don't care what you want, Osamu, I don't want to see you right now!"

"Your highness," it was one of the guards, he recognized the voice but couldn't place them right offhand. "I have a message for you from Davis."

Ken quickly hurried over and opened the door. "Is he here?" He looked around eagerly for some sight of his dusty friend, but couldn't see him anywhere.

The guard held out a folded note carefully. "He wanted me to give this to you."

"Why didn't he bring it to me himself?" Ken wondered, peeking down the stairwell in case Davis was still in sight. This wasn't like his friend at all...

A polite cough came from the guard. "You're not allowed to have visitors, your highness."

"Davis isn't a visitor, he's a friend." Ken looked at him, his violet eyes pleading for a little leniency. The guard just shook his head.

"I'm sorry, highness."

All expression dropped from the royal visage as Ken took the note. "Very well. You may leave." He slammed the door in the guard's face and settled down into a chair to read his mail.

Ken, I wish I could've told you this in person, but I can't. I'm leaving the palace and I won't ever be back. You'll never see Davis Motomiya again. Good-bye. Signed, your friend, Davis.

Ken stared at it incredulously. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. Wasn't his life enough of a nightmare without this happening? "No...no!!" He ran to the window and leaned out of it, screaming as loudly as he could. "Davis! Davis!!"

There was no reply. None whatsoever.

Ken curled up on the bed, clutching the pillow closely to himself, and quietly sobbed his broken heart out. Things were so clear now, so painfully clear, and it was tearing him apart. I love him. I love Davis. And he left me. He left me...

* * *

The next morning, Ken and Daisuke were both made ready for their wedding, and the servants babbled about how happy they both seemed. Daisuke was making all the proper noises that any reasonable prince would about his marriage, and Ken's eyes were full of tears that just had to be tears of joy. After all, what else could they be,?

"Look," the servants whispered among themselves. "Prince Ken finally looks happy about this!"

Daisuke caught a glimpse of Ken's eyes, and tried a smile, hoping the other would notice, but all that he was paying attention to was a small piece of paper clutched tightly in one fist. The redhead sighed quietly; this was not how he'd hoped things would go.

The wedding itself was not memorable for the participants, who made the right answers when they had to, and at last were pronounced a mated pair. Ken turned to leave, hardly paying attention to his new husband. "Ken?"

"Not right now, your highness." Ken murmured distractedly, then hurried away. Daisuke stared after him, then ground his teeth. This was really starting to annoy him. Just how blind could Ken be?

The servants had already moved their things to their married quarters, and Daisuke marched there as swiftly as he could. He was going to get this settled once and for all. Maybe if he saw Daisuke in Davis' clothes, Ken would wake up and finally notice.

As he entered the suite, he could hear Ken moving about in another room, then saw him going by, heading for what was obviously a bathroom. Daisuke watched him for a moment. "Your Highness." His voice was angry and annoyed and slightly bitter. All of Ken's pigheadedness had finally gotten to him.

"Your highness," Ken replied, honesty in his tones. "I'm tired. It's been a long day and I just want to take a bath and get some sleep." Unbeknownst to Daisuke, he was also thinking, and find the person I really love, but you don't need to know that.

"Of course." Daisuke snapped. "After all, your wants and needs are the only thing that exist in the whole of the universe, aren't they?" He snatched up his gardener's assistant clothes while Ken's back was turned and hid them just as the other looked back at him.

"I am sorry you were dragged into this, your highness, but my heart..." Ken sighed quietly. "You wouldn't understand."

He slid into the bathroom and started to run a bath, then heard Daisuke's voice behind him, and it was so cold Ken was almost surprised that ice didn't form on the water. "And you've given me so many chances to prove that. If I had known how much of a selfish bastard you are, I would have never bothered to come here."

Ken hesitated for a moment, then heard the other prince leave, the door shutting firmly behind him. He doesn't understand anything, Ken reminded himself, then quickly took his bath and changed into plain riding clothes. With his marriage completed, he wasn't guarded anymore, which meant that he was finally able to do what he really wanted: leave.

He headed straight for the stables, then saddled and bridled his horse, keeping the stallion as quiet as he could, then mounted, tugging the note out for a moment before dropping a kiss on it. "I don't care where you go, Davis, I'll find you. I swear I will."

Ken headed for the gate, his mind focused only on getting out of the palace as quickly as he could. He jerked at the reins as Daisuke's voice spoke out of the darkness nearby. "Where are you going?"

"That's none of your concern!" he snapped, looking around for the other prince. Why couldn't he just leave him alone? That was all he asked for, all he wanted!

The voice seemed to lose the regal tone, and became something almost more familiar, and friendlier. "It damned well is my concern! I love you, I'm married to you, and anything you do is my concern!"

Ken gripped the reins even tighter, growling under his breath at this prince's impertinence. He was usually a good horseman, but he was so angered right now he didn't even notice that his horse's head was tossing in pain from how hard he was gripping the reins.

"I'm leaving to find the person I love, if it's any of your business!"

"And you're too damned stuck up and blind to see him when he's right in front of you!" Daisuke flared, starting to come out of the shadows surrounding him.

Ken narrowed his eyes. "What the hell are you ta——ahhh!!" His horse reared as his grip became too tight, shaking his head massively. Ken's hold on the reins slipped, and he lost his seat.

Daisuke dartred forward and slammed into the ground, catching Ken just before he would have landed on the ground, his arms going around the prince in a way that called up memories from the first time he'd ever met Davis. The horse snorted and shook his head, giving Ken a very irritated look, but Ken wasn't even noticing. All of his attention was on the one who had him in his arms in that oh so familiar way.

The moon slid from behind a cloud just then, and framed Daisuke's face in silver light. Ken could hardly trust his eyes. He'd seen Davis like this so many times he could have drawn it blindfolded, but this wasn't...it couldn't be... "D...Davis?" Daisuke nodded, and Ken's eyes lit up as he hugged the other tightly. "I was going to find you!"

"I was never gone." Daisuke returned it, almost wanting to weep in joy. "I was right in front of you. And you didn't see me."

Ken looked very confused. "But...your letter?" He held out the much crinkled and now very obviously tearstained folded paper. Daisuke shrugged casually.

"I can't be both Davis and Prince Daisuke. One of them had to go, and the only way I could stay with you was as the prince."

Ken's jaw dropped, then he wriggled free and dragged Daisuke into a pool of torchlight to see him clearly. "You're that prince!" His voice was almost accusing, and Daisuke rolled his eyes.

"Well, duh!"

"You're clean!"

Daisuke rolled his eyes. "I can take a bath you know." The dust had been part of the disguise, but he'd never thought it would go this far.

Ken stared at him. "I've known you for three years and I've never seen you clean! How was I supposed to know that he was you?"

The other looked at him, pain in his voice. "You only saw me with his eyes." It was rather obvious that had hurt him as well.

"I didn't get to know any of them, you know that." Ken stared down at the ground and swallowed hard. "And I didn't realize...how I felt...until I thought you left me." His voice throbbed with his own remembered pain.

Daisuke's voice was just as sad. "Even when I wouldn't kiss you, didn't that get you the least bit curious."

"I just wanted you to leave, so my life could go back to normal." Ken murmured quietly. "You were the last. Once the room chased you away, I could go back to spending my days reading and talking to you." Daisuke giggled a little, and Ken glowered at him, then smiled as what he'd said sunk in. "I guess that does sound a little oxymoronish now, doesn't it?"

The other prince nodded quietly. "I...I think we both screwed up. I should have told you who I am from the start, then you wouldn't have been pushing me away."

Ken looked at him apologetically. "I didn't mean to hurt you."

"I know." Daisuke looked him deep in the eyes and seemed to come to some kind of decision. "I think it's time for a formal introduction."

A lock of hair fell into Ken's eyes and he absently brushed it away as he eyed Daisuke nervously. I'm married, and he's not a prince...my parents are going to kill both of us when they find out... He chewed his lower lip nervously as Daisuke stood up straight and proud.

"I am Prince Daisuke Motomiya of the kingdom of Odaiba, and my sister's childhood nickname for me was Davis, which is why I called myself that when I got here...and I love you."

Ken's eyes went wide. This was something he hadn't expected. "You mean...you really are..."

"I told you, I ran away because my parents were trying to betroth me to someone." Daisuke reminded him. Ken nodded as he recalled that conversation, then shyly reached out to brush his fingers across one soft, clean cheek.

"But why here?"

The other shrugged. "First place that would give me a job, really. I wasn't expecting to fall in love, or really looking for it. But I'm glad it happened."

"And your family?"

Daisuke thought for a few moments. It was true they didn't know where he was, but he had mailed them once or twice during his traveling time. "I should probably send them a letter. I told them I was happy where I was and not to look for me any time soon."

Ken nodded, then something hit him as he gazed into Daisuke's eyes. "I should have known," he murmured softly, still staring into them. "I should have known. Your eyes."

His husband looked a little confused. "They're just brown. Lots of people have brown eyes. Not like you. So rare and beautiful..."

"You're wrong." Ken told him. "They're not just brown. They're beautiful, so warm and full of life and emotion." Ken couldn't imagine how he'd ever mistaken them for anything else. He felt completely ashamed of himself.

Ken stared into his eyes as Daisuke folded one hand around his own, and there was a faint crinkle of paper. "I love you, Ken. And I'm never going to leave you. Ever."

The other squeezed his hands tightly, the letter crinkling again. "You promise?"

"Promise."

Ken's eyes lit up, then he looked down as Daisuke tugged the letter away from him and looked at it. "That's the first letter you ever wrote me, you know."

"I know." Daisuke smiled. "I'll write you more if you want. Little love notes everywhere." That would be kind of fun, actually.

Ken smiled at him warmly. "I'd like that."

"So would I." Daisuke pulled Ken into his arms and smiled as his husband yawned, exhaustion and emotion catching up to him. "Let's go back." He leaned over to kiss Ken gently as the other nodded, then gasped as the violet-eyed one threw his arms around Daisuke's neck and kissed back enthusiastically. They kept on kissing, and more, for a very long time.

The End