A/N: You know, I realise I should really update and finish off Magnetic Attraction. Really. I do. But…well…let's just say I got an idea and I couldn't leave it alone (sweatdrop). Anyways, this is only the first chapter. If things get too much, I'll take it down and repost it once M.A. is finished. Yes, that is what I shall do. So, please enjoy. Reviews much appreciated!!
P.S. I've decided to make this an M because I'm going to go full out with this one. Sex, blood, war, you name it!
Disclaimer: I own nothing. All I own is the storyline! If I did own Cloud Strife, I would be doing all sorts of things to him. Same with Leon if he didn't have such a scary attitude!
Summary: A prince of a fallen kingdom and a slave of a cruel captor, Cloud of the House of Strife awaited death to salvage his honour. But now his own heart is under siege by the very man who captured him, the King of Radiant Garden, Leon.
Pairings: Leon/Cloud, Riku/Sora, Axel/Roxas, more possible minor pairings.
War. A terrible word. A terrible event. But sometimes, it was necessary. That was the thought going through the King of Hollow Bastion's mind. It was necessary, he reminded himself.
The casualties and deaths were large but the necessity of keeping his little kingdom safe was his top priority. He sighed as he looked through battle plans. His eldest son's army, destroyed. His second eldest, decimated. He refused to let his two youngest take part, no matter how much persisting and pleading his third son made. No. He, the king, would not let his remaining sons take part in the mindless war.
Of course, if only things were that simple.
"If we moved the prince's forces straight forward into the enemy's main force, we should be able to stall for time," the commanding general, a long silver-haired man named Sephiroth, suggested. "With that time, we can build up the city's defences and prepare ourselves for a siege."
The prince in question looked almost proud that he was chosen for such a meaningless task. The king looked at him, his third son, a strikingly beautiful man with the clearest blue eyes that were like polished and clean cut sapphires. But with beauty came pride. The young prince felt like he could achieve anything with just a mere look. His father worried. His father fretted. No. He could not send another son to his death.
"Why not send Lord Kadaj's forces instead?" the old king protested weakly. There was another thing. The king was getting older and more frail. His once golden hair was now grey with age, his skin lacking in firmness. He would die. If not by the sword, then by Death's scythe. He could feel it in his bones.
"Father," the young prince inserted. "I wish to fight for this kingdom I will inherit. Please let me fight."
Before the king could answer, Sephiroth confirmed it. Why did they not listen to him?
"Your contribution will be received warmly my prince."
"And I will go by his side." This was said by his youngest son, a near spitting image of his brother except he had a more cherubic face. And he was so much more innocent. The king forced himself to stand up, getting a few looks of concern on the faces of his advisors and warlords.
"No. You shall stay here. I will not have my youngest tainted by this war."
"But-!" the youngest tried to protest.
"No!" the king yelled loudly, surprising the boy who was no older than fifteen. Too young to fight. His third son was much too young as well at the tender age of seventeen. He wasn't even a man. The old king sat down again, repeating that very same word as if it were the only word he knew. "No."
His advisor came over to his side. "His Highness grows weary. General Sephiroth, please continue your strategies. Prince Cloud, we wish you all the best in your contribution to the warfront. Prince Roxas, please remain within the palace walls."
The day dawned. Prince Cloud looked upon the battlefield riding his faithful grey mare Fenrir, his newly polished armour glittering in the dawnlight. At his side, his faithful friend and loyal servant Riku, a youth of sixteen years, a brother of General Sephiroth, and the groomed advisor of the next king. Riku surveyed the scene on his palomino stallion Highwind, eyes unblinking.
"They are coming my prince," Riku stated quietly. "I can hear them banging at their shields."
The prince merely nodded before speaking. "Let them come then."
"You are not afraid?"
"I fear not them. If it is their king's forces, then I shall find their king and defeat him."
"That is a bold thing to say my prince."
"War is bold."
Behind them, the youngest prince of Hollow Bastion had managed to sneak away, disguised as a soldier though he rode on his bay stallion Oblivion. The royal youth would not be deterred from joining his brother. No; he wanted to stay with him, fight with him, be victorious with him. He rode forward, excited for this battle, getting closer to his brother and his servant…when he saw the first line of the enemy troops. His jaw dropped.
Prince Cloud did nothing at first, looking on in utter disbelief. This first line of enemy soldiers…they had painted themselves blue and red, wore only breast plates and shin guards, carried pikes and were making a large hullabaloo and the line…seemed endless. Now the next line appeared. These were armed with short swords and shields but were dressed in much the same way, rattling their swords against their shields and yelling battlecries. And then, after them, was the cavalry, horses painted with fearsome designs, riders armed with swords, lances, shields, maces, all kinds of weaponry, contributing to the erupting din, red and blue flags with the emblem of a ferocious lion pouncing on its prey emblazoned in fiery gold. Riku looked over to the prince.
"Your orders my prince?" Riku asked, looking at the sprawling troops in amazement.
"How are our forces?"
The youth looked behind him. "They are forming. Our archers are ready to fight at your command as is our foot soldiers and cavalry."
Their flags, a prussian blue with the moonlight silvery emblem of an eagle surrounded by stars, were raised and the fully armoured and armed troops made little noise, standing boldly in front of their attackers. Riku looked back to his prince.
"Do you have orders?" No reply. Riku made the signal to go but Cloud caught his arm.
"Wait. One of their cavalry men is coming forward."
Indeed, a tall male riding on a black steed with red markings painted on it, was riding forward in front of the army. The army quieted down, bowing to the rider. Whoever this rider was obviously commanded much respect. He raised his hands, were a white knotted cloth wavered about in the calm morning wind.
"Parley!" he called, voice deep and smooth.
Riku turned to his prince. "Shall I go?"
"No. We shall both go together. Tell the men to stay steady."
Riku nodded, signalling for them to not make a move before the two friends rode down, their horses padding carefully down the hill.
"He must realise that we have the advantage," the prince spoke. "We have the hill. His forces will tire trying to come up it while we shower them with arrows."
"He must be a good tactician if he can see where his disadvantages lie my prince," Riku replied as they came nearer and nearer to the strange rider. Now that the prince was close enough, he could see that this man was indeed very tall. His hair was a rich chocolate brown, his skin coloured like sand, his face strong, sharp and angular, defined by a large scar running from above his right eye and down across the bridge of his nose to his left cheek and decorated by streaks and handprints of blue and red war paint but it was his eyes, coloured like a stormy sky, that seemed to entrance Cloud. The prince also took note that he seemed to wear the skin of a lion as a cloak, covering his muscular shoulders.
"State your business," Cloud started crisply after a long study of the rider.
"Prince Cloud of the House of Strife, the new heir to Hollow Bastion…I presume," the rider began, not obeying to the direct order from the young prince.
"That is I."
The rider very shortly bowed. "Leon of the House of Leonhart, King of Radiant Garden."
For a moment, Cloud almost couldn't believe that he was even looking upon the head of the snake that dared threatened his home, let alone speaking to him. He quickly kept a face of stone, eyes boring into him. "State your terms."
Leon smirked. "You can choose to fight where all of you will die or you can choose to surrender where only some of you will die."
"Either way, life will be lost."
"Only those who are of no importance," the king gave the stoic reply. "The most useless being on your side prince."
Cloud gave him a hard stare. "And I suppose you believe that we will stand down and act like meek lambs in front of you."
"And if I said I expected it of such a womanly man?"
Riku's eyes widened, not believing what he had heard. "You have insulted the prince!"
"Your servant is very observant," the enemy king droned. "Maybe he is of more use in my kingdom than dead."
"Leave my friend alone! How dare you suggest something like that?! How dare you imply that I am not man enough?!"
"Easily." That smirk; that cold, unmerciful smirk. How Cloud wished to wipe that smirk off his face.
"I choose to fight then. And I will be victorious."
"I shall look forward to see you prove that," the other man said. He turned his horse around, the black stallion's tail flicking in the air. He then called over his shoulder. "Good luck Prince Cloud. You are going to be needing it."
"I need no luck, especially from the likes of you!" Cloud retorted, turning Fenrir around. Riku turned to follow.
"Oh, and we shall be taking spoils from this battle: treasure, armour and slaves," Leon added as an afterthought.
"We won't! You look like a poor army not worth stealing from!"
Leon had merely smirked at that. Poor army eh? Well, this 'poor army' had more fighting experience than that proud prince had experience of hot dinners so he didn't know what was coming. One of his more trusted warriors, a red-headed man named Axel, rode to him.
"I take it that they did not accept your generous offer then," he said with a wry smile.
"They did not," Leon replied, "but no matter." He rode up and down his troops, a battle glint in his stormy grey-blue eyes. "I order this from all of you. Take what you can, give nothing back. But the prince is mine. No one is to touch him. If there is a man who captures him, he must bring him to me alive. Are you with me?!"
His men let out a long loud battle cry, hungering for battle and thirsting for blood. Leon smirked and looked up the hill. He knew that the prince's forces had the upperhand but he was very sure that they had not accounted for troops to come from behind or for his next move.
"Men! Pincer manoeuvre!"
"You heard his highness! Get a move on!" Axel yelled at the troops while many more of the major warriors started ushering the rabble of men. "Crush the enemy in two swarms!"
The prince had arrived at the top of the hill with his friend when one of the soldiers riding a bay cantered to him. The prince wondered when the army had started to recruit mere children to their forces. "Prince Cloud, the enemy has started moving!"
Cloud turned around, seeing that the enemy forces had split into two parts, yelling and shouting and making an almighty clamour like the buzzing of angered hornets. He turned to the soldier. "The archers must split into two! One group to each side! Tell the foot soldiers and the cavalry to stand ready for a charge once the archers have run out of arrows!"
Riku had turned Highwind around, looking upon the split enemy, eyes flashing with concern. "Are you sure that is a sound plan?"
"Right now Riku, we have to keep the enemy from climbing up the hill in any way possible." He then looked over to his close friend. "If you see that king, let me know. I plan on defeating him"
He watched on as Cloud started riding behind his now splitting troops, a worried look gracing the silver haired youth's face. "Bold words. But are they too bold?"
Prince Roxas, otherwise known as Xaros in the army, cantered about behind the troops, ever watchful and waiting for the signal to fire. He had taken his helmet off, attracting the attention of many of the troops that were in front of him, in utter shock that he was here. Did their commander even know his younger brother was among them?
"Wait for the command!" he ordered, keeping a lingering eye on the swarm of angered warriors heading up their way, being led by a warrior painted solely in red and possibly dyed his locks bright red too. The soldiers waited, tense and frightened by seeing all these strange painted men charging right at them. Even Roxas had to admit he was spooked by the sight.
It was when the worst possible thing that could've happened, happened.
An archer let loose an arrow too soon, hitting one of the enemies that carried a pike. This triggered a rain of arrows, Roxas screeching at them to stop but they would not listen. Their instincts to survive had taken over and the enemy would not stop coming.
Riku had turned around to see what the ruckus was, eyes widening in horror when he recognized a familiar head of blond hair. "Prince Roxas!" He galloped over to him, dismay clearly written on his features. "What on the gods' green earth are you doing here?!"
"Fighting," Roxas explained. "Or at least trying to stop them from shooting anymore arrows!"
Riku turned, seeing that the mass of enemy soldiers was getting ever nearer and that the arrows were running out fast judging from the sparse shots in the air. He took his sword out. "Then there is only one thing for it! My prince, please keep to the back. I shall deal with this!" He charged forward, giving the orders for a full attack, leading the men towards the swarm. Roxas could only watch, now seeing why his father had been so against the idea of him going to war alongside Cloud. But he had made his choice. There was no going back now.
With a swift kick, he galloped into the fray, drawing his own short sword out and slashing wildly at his foes, keeping in mind to avoid the red-haired warrior on a dark horse at all costs.
Cloud had been very careful with his troops, telling the archers to stay steady and take aim. Fenrir under him was getting restless, padding the ground with her metal horseshoes.
"Easy," he soothed. "Easy."
The rabble came closer, but his troops remained still, unmoving even a muscle or batting an eyelid.
"Fire!" Cloud yelled. A storm of arrows showered the enemy, coming in great waves and crashing Death upon them. But Cloud could not see the enemy king among them and he was sure that King Leon was the type of leader to be at the front of his men.
Apparently not, the prince had thought.
He hadn't noticed the silent yet deadly group that were coming up the hill behind his forces' backs being lead by the king himself.
Many hours of fighting had passed and now many bodies, both friend and foe, lay dead on the hill, blood staining the grass. But Cloud pressed on, no longer knowing if his dear friend was still alive or not. He slashed precisely at those who dared to come near him, managing to keep them away. It wasn't until a pike-man from the enemy side changed ends of his weapon and now used the glaive, a curved blade made for hooking at armour and pulling riders of their horses. And this pike-man did just that, jerking the prince right off Fenrir who went galloping away only to be caught. The prince, his armour having protected him, struggled to stand, waving his sword about wildly, blood dripping down his face from the stained grass. The enemies kept away, sometimes jabbing, sometimes trying to trip their foe up but never making a move to kill him.
The men moved away…and Cloud had sight of Leon once more. The king had blood and runny paint all over him, beads of sweat glistening in the sunshine. He jumped off his black horse, handing the reigns over to a nearby soldier who took it graciously, honoured by such a task. He sheathed his weapon, a strange looking sword that had a wide blade but a crooked hilt with a small ring for a finger to wrap around for better grip. He walked over slowly to the prince. Cloud brought his broadsword up, holding it threateningly at the king.
"The battle is lost and yet you still persist in fighting," the king smirked. "Have you no sense of the reality of your situation highness?"
"I will not surrender," Cloud growled, tightening his grip on the hilt of his sword.
"I think you should honour one of the noblest of traditions: surrendering so you can fight another day." Leon twirled his weapon in his hand aimlessly. "I might just send you back to your city as an example of what is to come."
"I refuse to bow down to you."
"Then you will suffer."
As if the battle had not drained him at all, King Leon came charging at him, barely giving Cloud the chance to block the attack. Cloud's knees buckled under the strain, trying to overpower the enemy king but all his energy had been spent fighting alongside his men. Leon pushed back before lunging again but Cloud managed to parry the attack. Leon stepped away.
"Very good," he smirked ever so slightly. "Even though you are tired you are still as fierce as a wild cat."
Cloud didn't give him the honour of an answer, glaring at him angrily and charging with all the power he could muster at this man. Leon hardly moved, eyes passively waiting for the attack to be made. Cloud jumped, planning on giving a jumping lunge but Leon was much quicker. The brunet sidestepped out of the way and knocked the blond's head with the hilt of his weapon, sending the blond to the floor with a thud. Leon then placed a knee at the small of the enemy prince's back, hand pinning the smaller boy's wrists to the floor tightly and painfully. Cloud growled.
"Fine. You defeated me," he grunted. "Go and kill me. It will be the last thing you do."
Leon could only give a lopsided smirk. This prince was so resigned to being killed…but he was in no mood to reward the defeated prince with death. No…he had a better idea for this proud enemy.
"I won't rid myself of you," he said into his ear, feeling the prince tense. "You are more use to me alive than you are dead."
Cloud shivered at those words. What use could he, a defeated prince, be to this conquering king?