ANNOUNCMENT: Happy Turkey Day, folks! Just like to say that as I get more ideas for this story, the more possibilities are open. So, I've decided to make this a romance/drama/fantasy. The whole-master-and-slave idea can get tired out very quickly, and even though I had planned out some twists to make it original, the fantasy genre applied to this gives me the ability to not only make it original, but also to make it unforgettable. It makes me excited!

Also, I would just like to say that I am so glad that many people are saying I have improved in my writing. I started writing in the seventh grade, and to get reviews that say 'If you read your past work and the work now, you can see the dramatic improvement' or 'This is so well-written' makes me so unbelievably happy! Thank you all very much!

Special Thanks To: SKaddicted, KageKitsune16, yaminakathy, anime-goddess17, flclnutri, Fallen angel named Alan, myredraincoat, starryeyes, Super Yam, Ickis Krumm, Uzumaki-sama, lun4r-flow3r, Slient Mousie, Blue Baroness, Rock-Howard-17, AnimeFan-Artemis, Yasai-chan, Rinoki Rio, Misery's haunted vessel, Joonie, Baby G., Katca Mcadar, IIoneke, Vash's Girl, FluffyInuDemon, and FallenAngel0104!

Summary: Unbeknownst to Prince Riku Ellipson II, a meeting seven years ago sets off a chain of events that tests the willingness to discard the dreadful knowledge of the truth for temporary sweet bliss. (RikuxSora)

Disclaimer: If I owned Kingdom Hearts, I would be filthy rich right now!! So, get off my back!!

Warnings: This is a yaoi (male x male relationships) and later on, has yuri (woman x woman relationships)! No flames. Warning is here.

Story Rating: Strong R.

Chapter Rating: PG-13

Things To Know (please review this list for clarification)

-six numbers /for a slave captured

-twelve numbers / for a slave born into slavery

-three numbers / for a slave prisoner of war

-ices / currency / (one is equivalent to one dollar)

-toshs / currency / (one is equivalent to one quarter)

-nesdas / currency / (one is equivalent to one dime)

-vembs /currency /(one is equivalent to one nickel)

-cembs / currency / (one is equivalent to one penny)

-remes / word for cents (example: 800 ices and 50 remes $800.50)

-Frost Holiday / similar to Christmas

-springs / years

Added Note -There will be an update list. People who review are automatically added, but if it is an anonymous review or your email is not available for public access, then just leave in it the review or send me an email (email in bio) saying you would like to join. Thanks!

Milk & Honey

Flirtation, Divination, and Preparation

The laughing spell that had settled over the pair as they wrestled while going back and forth in playful banter finally dissipated. Both were now situated on the bed, Riku leaning against the headboard with his legs crossed at the ankles and Sora laying on his stomach, his head leaning against a propped up hand. A comfortable silence surrounded them; an easy atmosphere that suggested none of the doubts expressed earlier in the day. The duo was back in the forests of Bridgewater - lounging comfortably as they waited for a new, exciting adventure.

Propping himself up to lean on his haunches, Sora turned his attention to the room he will be spending most of his time. As expected, the room was more of a masterpiece than his own; the size had to be triple the amount of space in his own room as well as being marginally more elegant.

The ceiling once again, with its crown molding and deep arches, portrayed the image of a wolf - this time a lone silver wolf was perched upon a hill, its head held high to depict its superiority, above a pack of wolves surrounding the base of the hill who howled to the moon to recognize their leader. Sora smiled at the image.

A leader of the pack, he mused as he brought his gaze down to rest on Riku, above all others in status... in personality.

Riku met his gaze briefly, questioningly, and Sora returned the look with a small smile before continuing his visual exploration of the room.

The color theme of Prince Riku's room fit the boy perfectly: a wide array of cool, sensual, sophisticated reds that varied in a myriad of hues. Upon entering the room, after descending the cherry banister-lined six-step winding staircase to enter, one would face grand ceiling-high double glass doors with marks that resembled wisps of a breeze along the frame leading out to the balcony. To the immediate left stretched cherry dressers with twenty drawers, each containing precious silks for bed, extra pillows, and necessary supplies. Approximately 65 feet away lay the king-sized bed with cherry nightstands on either side, its boisterous golden posters climbing toward the ceiling, holding up the sheer crimson veil that encased the bed. A thick canopy lay over the veil - burgundy with gold trim - and the matching comforter lay underneath fifteen pillows of the same color, complete with golden trim.

Diagonally across the room, at an enormous distance, two overstuffed armchairs and a couch surrounded a cherry coffee table with a panel of glass at its center. The lounging area was directly in front of a corner fireplace, its frame also adorned with elegant crown molding, with two reading lamps for the summer time situated at its sides.

His personal bathroom and walk-in closet lay side-by-side along the right wall.

Overwhelmed by the splendor of the room, Sora climbed off the bed, breathing out 'wow' as he turned in a full circle. Riku chuckled from behind him, and he moved to get off the bed himself to head over the dresser along his left wall. He pulled open a drawer that covered the length of the dresser out, revealing numerous weapons of various sizes, shapes, and caliber. In the center lay twin twelve-inched daggers sheathed in genuine leather. Their hilt were encrusted with silver moons and prowling wolves; as he slowly pulled the weapons out of their sheaths and turned to face Sora, the precious metal gleamed from the sunlight pouring into the room.

Riku smiled as he saw Sora's face light up in recognition.

--

Activities dealing with muscular endurance were always Riku's strong point, and for that he was glad. As he ran through the Vellima Forest just south of the Northland kingdom with Nexiun guards chasing him wildly, Riku was ever so grateful for the training Cloud and Leon had secretly given him. Without their training, he was almost certain he would be caught by now. He couldn't go back to the kingdom; the demands he were expected to fulfill built up with age, and to be a normal thirteen-spring-old boy was something he desperately craved.

He wanted to play Chases with the other boys.

He wanted to play outdoors, climb trees, grow his own food and be proud that he did it and no one else did.

He wanted to blend it - not always be the center of attention.

He wanted people to stop bowing down to him as if he were their lord and savior.

But most of all, he wanted a friend.

The shouts of dismay and annoyance tinged with fear of the wrath of the king ricocheted off the lush trees canopying the forest. The closeness of those shouts unnerved him - Riku knew it was time to lose them for good. He began to formulate a plan. He refused to go back to that gods-forsaken place.

The guards would have to chase across the lands, dragging him back unconscious!

Making a 180-degree pivot on his right heel, Riku sprinted full speed toward the unsuspecting guards. Most tried to stop as they recognized his sudden change, but the speed they were running at prohibited them. He barreled through them, avoiding groping hands and snickering at the guards who slipped in an attempt to capture him. From his current course he made a sharp left - heading to the densest area of the forest, he unsheathed his twin daggers before slicing through the thick foliage blocking his path as he ran.

The shouts weakened in volume as the distance between him and the guards increased.

Even still, Riku ran with all his might, dodging trees, cutting low-hanging branches, leaping over rivulets breaking the forest into sections like country boundaries. Soon he was out of the forest and out into the open plains of Laul; unwavering and unrepentant. Only then did he slow his pace and head into Meave. The small forest encased Meave Peak, the largest mountain in the Northland known for its dangerous hunters and wild animals.

Riku entered with his daggers ready.

The stillness of the forest gave Riku the information needed; someone other than himself was in these parts. At the slightest shift of the rustling trees, Riku hid. He scoured the land before moving on again, occasionally stopping to view his surroundings once again. It wasn't until twenty minutes later that he felt the cool, smooth surface of a blade being held against the back of his throat.

Tilting his head to see the person out the corner of his eye, Riku was stunned to see a boy no older than him frowning down upon him. The lean boy was spiky-haired with calculating blue eyes. He wasn't the slightest bit frightened, from what he could see, and Riku recognized the weapon as a duel-bladed pole arm.

"What is your name?" the enigmatic boy asked as he poked Riku with his weapon.

"Riku," the prince responded as amicably as possible. "What's your name?

The boy hesitated.

Riku used his hesitation.

Leaning forward, Riku tumbled away from the blade. He went into a low crouch and brought his twin daggers above his head just as one blade of the duel-bladed pole arm came down toward his head. The chink of metal resounding through the forest yet did not distract the two boys from their fight.

Sliding his right hand near the top of the pole, the boy stepped back quickly and thrust the blade forward, only to hit air as Riku flipped over his head. The escape maneuver drew a smile from the stranger; he had been expecting it. The small boy let his left hand from its current spot to join his right hand, pivoting on his heel and using its momentum to swing the pole arm around. The pole struck Riku in the side as he landed, causing him to fall on his right side. His opponent wasted no time - he slid both of his hands from the top to the bottom of the pole arm and raised it above his head to bring it down for to hit the head of his opponent. Riku deflected the attack and rolled out the way, only to jump up and step on top of the pole arm. Eyes widened in fear and shock as the young prince walked the length of the pole arm with catlike grace. Determined to not be defeated, the boy fell back to crouch on his left leg with his right leg stretched out, making Riku jump off the pole arm and land straddling the outstretched leg, with one end of the blade at Riku's stomach.

Riku's twin daggers were posed like scissors against his opponent's neck.

Neither said a word, silently appraising each other for weaknesses in their defense. The two realized that their battle came to a stalemate.

"Name's Sora."

Sora smiled brightly, clearly enjoying the battle that just ensued. "You're a good fighter," he exclaimed with awe in his tone and a grin on his face.

Riku laughed nervously. "You are as well."

--

"I won that match," Sora boasted as he fingered the memorable daggers.

Riku looked at him incredulously. "You must be joking," he said as he readjusted his hair ribbon. "My daggers were at your throat. I could have sliced you to pieces before you even had a thought of thrusting that blade into my stomach!"

"I'm talking about after." Sora adopted a matter-of-fact tone. "You brought your daggers down yet my blade was still there on your stomach. That means I win."

"I will let you live out your fantasies for now, brat."

Sora pointed an accusing finger at the prince, who was now wearing an innocence, devilish expression on his face. "Brat? Don't start that again!"

--

"What are you complaining about?" Riku breathed out as he sprinted through Sash Village into fields beyond. "I just risked my life to get those apples!"

Sora, who was struggling to keep up with the older boy, let out a small whine. "Apples are not as good as the blackberries!!"

"Apples will last longer! Besides..." Riku stopped suddenly to scale the large tree that served as their base for the last few weeks. "The old lady knew I was coming. She had a guard next to her booth!"

Collapsing against one of the thick branches of the tree, Riku pulled the parcel of apples from his bag and began to nibble on one. Sora reluctantly grabbed one as well, complaining that 'if the blackberries were guarded, he should have headed toward the raspberries.' Riku heard the complaint, stared at the younger boy, and frowned and he viciously bit into an apple. "Brat," he muttered.

Sora had the good graces to look indignent as he stood glaring the older boy, who adorned an innocent expression while watching the residents of Sash Village pass with their weapons. "I'm am not a brat!"

His tone had an underlying current of whining to it.

Riku raised a single eyebrow.

"I'm not!"

"Calm down or you'll reveal us...brat."

Sora growled.

--

Riku slowly walked past Sora, eyeing him with a mischievous smile, to head up the small staircase to the entrance of the room. "When you act like a brat, that is what you are called."

"Who was the one who threw up because of a fish being cooked?" Sora retorted without recrimination.

"Who had to fight with squirrels and raccoons to actually keep his food?"

"Who didn't want to hide our supplies because he was afraid that his hands would get really dirty?"

Riku glared at him.

Sora won the battle of the wits.

"I'll be back, brat. I have some more business to attend to. Make yourself at home while I'm gone and do stay out of personal things."

While Sora 'hmphed' and sat on the bed like a petulant child, Riku grinned and exited the room, straightening his clothes in preparation to meeting an old friend. It wasn't until Riku was a ways down the hall, and Sora mulled over their conversation that both started in shock and slight embarrassment.

Was I flirting with him?!


Riku dwelled on the fact that he flirted with Sora until he reached the fourth floor of the castle. In all actuality, it could not be considered a "floor;" The only two objects present were a window to the right side and a single maple door with stars emblazed on its front. Riku open the doors without hesitation, ascending the winding staircase that leads to the observatory with haste. The sanctuary's roof was made completely out of glass, making the place brightly lit from the sunlight, but a golden, moving replica of the solar system hung over the rest of the room, complete with stars, planets, moons, and suns. A single figure sat cross-legged in the center of the room as she gazed heavenward, expression screwed up in concentration. Her thick dark blue robes pooled around her while her brown hair, braided, pooled at the small of her back. She brought her gaze from the heavens as soon as Riku reached the top of the stairs. "My Lord," she breathed out in a delighted tone. "How good of you to visit."

Riku smiled brightly, crossed the room, and brought her into a warm hug. "I can never leave you here, Aerith," he said genuinely as he settled back to mimic her position. "You would stay up here isolated from the rest of the world if you had the chance."

She smiled peacefully and looked back toward the heavens. There was a comfortable silence between them before she rested her gaze back on Riku. "The reason for your visit, your Highness?"

Riku sighed before looked away. "I...wish to know what is to come of the new spring. This last spring is coming to a close, and it really has been a marvelous spring, but...this feeling that I have, this ominous feeling at the pit of my stomach has only been increasing as the spring ends. Already has the tide began to turn..."

He fell silent.

Aerith placed a gentle hand on his shoulder, all the while looking heavenward, and breathed in deeply. Riku felt the change in her; she was going into a trance. Running to the far side of the room, Riku grabbed a sheet of parchment, a quill, and a inkpot before racing back over to the small woman.

"In the Year of the Serpent,

the Soulless Lord reaches the pinnacle of power.

the Bond shall be broken;

the Strength shall be weakened;

and the Clear shall be unfocused,

blinded by greediness and corruption.

Threescore has the Soulless Lord prepared,

gathering friends, family, and foes to join

together for the wicked cause.

Blood will breach the confines of sanity,

troubling the fate of dignity's precious jewel

for the Soulless Lord, and he will prevail.

But the land and the sky will unite,

soaring without wings through veils

of illusion and voids of emptiness,

threatening the Soulless Lord.

However, eternity distracts them,

separation betrays them,

and the truth divides them;

Only the lion-hearted can save them.

Bond mended, Strength renewed, Clear

focused, the Four Lands shall be reunited;

the Soulless Lord banished from which he came."

Aerith slowly closed her eyes before drifting into unconsciousness. Riku looked over the prophecy with weariness.


It was now dinner time, as the bell from the kitchens indicated, and the royal family was situated at their place at the dinner table - King Sephiroth at the head, Queen Reicia on his right side, and Prince Riku on his left side. Every butler lined the massive table to wait for orders. A butler waited at his side for his order, but Riku didn't notice. He had managed to complete several tasks he had been meaning to complete yet another load of worries replaced the new ones.

The prophecy.

The marriage.

The new slave who happens to be his best friend from the springs he was a fugitive.

Hearing the clinking of a chain, Riku looked down to see Sora on the right side of his chair shifting to make himself more comfortable as he knelt on one knee. It was the most important rule of a personal slave; that he be in attendance at lunch and dinner in case his master needed anything. To prevent escape, a chain linked the collars around their necks to the right leg of the chair the royal sat in, even though means of escape automatically meant ten floggings.

Sora must have sensed the uneasiness in Riku as he watched his best friend chained to a chair and flashed him a small smirk. Riku tilted his head to the side in question, causing Sora to mouth 'you like me chained don't you?' while nuzzling his thigh adoringly.Riku shot his head up and stared ahead, a blush staining his features, ignoring the heat pooling at the pit of his stomach. His parents didn't notice.

"It is time for the preparation of the ball," the Queen announced suddenly as she nibbled a piece of her sirloin steak. "Of course, there are many elements key to this ball that were not in the last ball, as I have seen it fit to change some of the proceedings."

She began to explain her changes. His mother was short, concise, and to the point when she spoke of the masquerade ball to Riku and Sephiroth. She made it clear that everyone will be there - including Amnia, Riku thought bitterly - and how that the preparation must be immaculate in order for the ball to be a success.

It was that time of year again. The winter months had finally ended, signaling the time for the new spring. Every even-numbered spring - this being the 976th spring - a masquerade ball is held for Versee, the goddess who created the seasons and its ability to produce certain fruition. It's a land-wide tradition; The Nexiun (Northland), Denat (Eastland), Klerium (Westland), and Lasears (Southland) kingdoms celebrated it profusely. This spring, it will be held at the Nexiun Kingdom, meaning several things: for one, all of the royals and their servants would have to provide some form of entertainment, such as a play or a concert. Two, the banquet must include all of the foods most popular to that particular land. With the North, it was fish; with the West, it was fruit. And three, an engagement must be announced for sons or daughters coming of the age.

Riku was overjoyed.

His mother always had the tendency to...lose all rational thought...when it came to the balls. She spent money, loads of money, for each small detail, and there was nothing King Sephiroth or Prince Riku could do about it.

They couldn't even if they actually tried.

So the two went along with everything she spoke of doing for the ball.

"Riku, you are now of that age to perform something more than a mere play at the ball."

Damn!

What is wrong with my plays, mother?" Riku asked. "They are beautifully directed with valiant costumes, props, wonderful actors--"

"There are nothing wrong with your plays," Sephiroth added as he waved a butler to fetch more water. "But you haven't been doinganything else except plays since you were eight springs old."

The massive dinner table separating the family allowed Riku to frown openly. He heard snickering at his feet. Riku glared at Sora.

"Did you have something in mind other than a play, dear?"

Both the King and the Queen looked at him expectantly as he tried in vain to come up with some form of entertaining. "Well," he started as the snickering grew. "I was thinking of duel."

The snickering stopped.

"Really?" Sephiroth seemed genuinely interested.

Riku straightened as his confidence in the idea grew. "It could be a tournament of sorts...an event that would include everyone willing to participate. The two winners from a section will battle each other for a prize."

"When you say everyone, Riku, what do you mean?"

"Lords, ladies, slaves..."

Silence.

"Excellent idea," Reicia exclaimed as she had one of her planners come to the table to write it down. "But I must draw you from that sector of the ball to plan for the engagement announcement."

The nuzzling stopped.

Riku sighed wearily. "Mother..."

"We must plan, sweetheart! Princess Amnia Reynel and their whole family are known to be...picky when it comes to how things are executed. It must be perfect!"

Riku glanced down to see Sora bowing submissively.


To Be Continued...


Find out Sora's feelings on the engagement, Riku's take on the prophecy, and how much Riku is tempted to pounce Sora!

Stay Tuned!

-MercuryGoddess-