Title: Keep Away
Disclaimer: I don't own MeruPuri.
Notes: Another product of a free lesson! In fact, this was a double free lesson, which equals one hour and forty minutes. I think I'm going to spend all of my free lessons writing, you know. Even though anything I write during free lessons will remain un-beta'd, since I'd rather post it right away. Beta-ing is an awkward process over school computers. And I'm sorry I seem to keep making everything with Jeile one-sided.


Jeile had been pacing for quite some time now. He was constantly fidgeting, not quite able to decide between sitting down and standing up, and he couldn't keep his hands still. He twisted his fingers together, he folded his arms, he ran his hands through his hair. His expression was twisted into something which resembled both confusion and fury, and to any onlooker he would have been the very picture of despair. Of course, no onlooker would dare to say that to the heir.

Under any other circumstances Jeile wouldn't have minded any onlookers making such a comment, especially if the said onlooker was a rather attractive female, but this time it was different. If anybody at all said anything about the state he was in, he would have erupted with rage. The subject he was pondering was rather a delicate one, after all. He wouldn't allow anybody to make comments about his marriage.

Well. His marriage hadn't happened yet, and he supposed for that he was thankful. He wasn't quite sure why; it wasn't as if Nei wasn't a pretty girl. She had the looks and personality that would make a wonderful queen when the two of them succeeded Jeile's father and stepmother. There was just something about her that made him a little edgy, and unfortunately he knew exactly what it was. It was that she bore such an uncanny resemblance to her brother.

In all honesty, Jeile would have preferred it if he had no idea why he wasn't exactly thrilled about the prospect of his marriage.

It wasn't a good thing. It should have ended long ago, on the first day he met Lei, and when he discovered that he wasn't a girl as Jeile had originally thought. In Jeile's defence, though, Lei did look awfully feminine back in the days of his childhood. Anybody else would have made the same mistake Jeile did in falling for him. But the moment he found out that he was male, Jeile should have come to his senses. He should have laughed at his own ignorance, and he should certainly have made sure that his little crush had escalated no further.

But it was just so difficult to forget him when Lei was not only his brother's man, but when he was also directly related to Jeile's own fiancé. He couldn't get away form him, no matter how hard he tried.

The frustrating thing was that it would have been completely and utterly inappropriate to do anything about it. Jeile was the heir to the throne of Astale, no questions asked. He was to have a queen to reign with him, and they would live for hundreds of years and keep peace. It just wouldn't do to announce that he'd fallen head over heels with a man. If nothing else, his stepmother would object since they would be able to produce no offspring, and thus no heir. She would probably exaggerate a little and talk bout how it would throw the entire kingdom into a state of confusion and anarchy, but the facts remained. The idea of Jeile wanting his life partner to be Lei was unrealistic and unacceptable.

Something had to be done, Jeile knew that much. But the question was what? He had tried to divert his attention to Airi in the hope that maybe she would be able to help him get over his unrequited love, but that hadn't worked out too well. In fact, that had only resulted in him seeing more of Lei, since Lei was quite firm on the fact that he did not approve of the relationship between Aram and Airi. He had tried throwing all of his attention into being the commander of the Astale magic army, but that idea hadn't worked out too well either. Then he had seen the face of his fiancé for the first time, and from that moment he knew he was doomed.

But what could he possibly do about it? He supposed that he could cast some sort of spell to sort out the whole problem, but both his stepmother and Nei would disapprove greatly. He remembered only too well the fuss he had caused when he cast that spell on Aram out of frustration; that had gone down like a lead balloon with everybody else, including with Lei. So any kind of magic was really out of the question.

After a considerable amount of additional pacing and groaning, he decided that he should tackle the problem head on. He would speak to Lei about it himself. Well, he wouldn't go into the details, obviously. But he would ensure that Lei made every possible effort to stay at least five hundred yards away from him at all times, with no exceptions.

Yes, that ought to help at least a little.

So, with his mind firmly made up, Jeile made his way towards Lei's room. He only hoped that he would actually be in there instead of attending to Aram in one way or another. Jeile, although he never liked to admit it, was insanely jealous of the attention that Lei gave to Aram, even if that was what he was employed to do

He allowed himself no time for second thoughts and rapped harshly on the door. He calmed himself as best he could and stood up straight in some effort to reassure himself. Having a conversation like this with Lei was definitely not one of the easiest things he would ever have to do.

Lei opened the door and bowed immediately. "May I help you, Prince Jeile?"

Jeile gulped and immediately felt some of his reserve slip away. He had known that this would be hard, but he'd forgotten how attractive Lei was and how nice his voice sounded. Nonetheless, it had to be done, and he cleared his throat in attempt to shed some of his uneasiness. "I have a request to make of you that you might find a little odd."

Lei moved aside in a silent invitation, and Jeile accepted it without even thinking. It was only afterwards, when he was standing in Lei's room alone with Lei, that he realised what a mistake it had been. He should have stayed outside. He scratched at his nose nervously and tried to inconspicuously keep his back to Lei. He knew that if he looked at him again, he wouldn't be able to look away.

"An odd request?"

Once again without thinking, Jeile turned to look at Lei and had to gulp again. He was standing against the closed door, effectively blocking the only escape exit, and his eyes were looking straight at him with barely reserved curiosity.

As Jeile had predicted, he couldn't look away and this made him a little worried. He fiddled with his cuff and continued, trying to keep his voice from giving his anxiety away. "Yes, an odd request. I must admit, I'm not entirely sure how to go about saying it…"

Lei gave a small smile. "Please, take your time."

Jeile almost growled. Damn that man and his soft politeness and his nice voice and his eyes that seemed to be able to see right through him. He had to wonder whether Lei knew about his feelings and was doing all of this on purpose, just to torment him. It was exactly the kind of thing he'd do; Jeile wasn't completely ignorant of that malicious streak that Lei seemed to secretly harbour. But it didn't seem likely. After all, Lei always treated him like that. It was because he was of royal birth, and if you were rude you could end up being sent to the eternal prison. Lei was probably just looking out for himself, although Jeile couldn't help but wish that he'd be a bit more approachable.

Lei tilted his head only the slightest bit, making his hair fall across his face, and Jeile felt a little bit more of his self-control vanish.

"Well…" he struggled, "first, you are to tell no one, not even Aram, that I'm asking you this. It's not a big secret, but keeping it quiet would avoid a lot of rather awkward questions."

Why was he stalling so much? Why was it so difficult to just ask him to stay away? It wasn't like Lei was in a position to refuse.

Lei raised an eyebrow almost unnoticeably but said nothing, instead opting to wait for Jeile to continue. And Jeile really was trying, but it was difficult to maintain his self-control when he was alone with the object of his desires.

This remaining self-control promptly vanished when Lei's tongue quickly darted out to wet his lips, and Jeile almost melted.

"Would you mind terribly if I kissed you?"

It wasn't what he had meant to ask, not by any stretch of the imagination, but after he had seen Lei's tongue he couldn't possibly think of anything else. Especially not when he had wanted it for so long, and now that he had the perfect opportunity. And, like he had mentioned before, Lei wasn't in a position to refuse.

At least he had the decency to blush a little and look taken aback, even if he didn't avert his gaze. It was amazing to Jeile how he could so easily maintain his composure. "With all due respect, Prince Jeile, you're engaged to be married. To my sister, no less."

Jeile was just pleased that it hadn't been an outright 'no'. It encouraged him to pursue the matter. "I'm aware that it's inappropriate. But every time I look at your sister's face, I think of you. I can't stop thinking about you. And I won't tell if you won't."

Jeile had certainly not meant to out himself like that, and he hoped that Lei would give him a response that wouldn't allow him to put any more feet in his mouth. Surprisingly, Lei pondered the offer and after several agonising moments answered, "Alright."

Unable to contain himself any longer, Jeile pounced. He wouldn't waste this opportunity; he would take it for everything it had. Lei seemed surprised by the eagerness, but even so it didn't take him long to relax and join in. For that, Jeile was grateful; he doubted he'd have enjoyed it much if he was kissing a statue. He wrapped his arms tightly around Lei, pulling him as close as he possibly could, as if he was hoping to merge them together. Lei's tongue found its way into his mouth and his hands found their way into his hair, and Jeile couldn't suppress a moan.

It was over too quickly. Jeile took a step back since in his eagerness he had pushed Lei against the door and neither of them seemed to be able to find any words for a while. He wished he knew what Lei was thinking; he had seemed to enjoy it, but he knew that with Lei one could never be too sure. Lei found his voice first, although it wasn't anywhere near as calm as it had been at first. "If that's all, Prince Jeile…?"

Jeile nodded silently and moved past Lei to open the door. Why on earth had he done that? He had just jeopardised his entire future, as well as Lei's. Well, something had to be done about that. He paused as he was about to leave and turned back to Lei, who looked back with expectation.

"Don't tell anyone, remember?"