(Disclaimer & Warning: I don't own Digimon, its characters, nor the plot. Take note that this is MIMATO so if you're not a fan, don't read it. I respect those who are not fans of this couple, but I will not tolerate spamming and flames from them.)

(MUST READ A/N: Okay, so here are a few things you readers should know before reading the story.

Takaishi Michel (pronounced mih-SHELL) is Matt and TK's grandfather in France from the Digimon Adventure 02 series. For those who do not know him, let me say that's he's not an OC.

Confusing names: Hiroaki and Natsuko are the real names of Matt and TK's parents in the series. Keisuke and Satoe are Mimi's parents, and Hiroki is Iori's father. I'll only be using names from the Digimon series and if there are any OC's, I will always let you know.

On that note, Shinichi, "Shin" for short, is the name I've given TK's son. He's an OC.

"Hiro" is Mimi's nickname for Hiroaki. I thought the nickname would symbolize her familiarity with her adoptive father.

The names of the places are from the Digital World. The tribe names also relate to each place or region. Except for "Og'rilah," which I got from World of Warcraft. I used it because the people in the tribe are ogre-looking.

As for the characters' ages, I'm going to mess around with it. Matt/Tai/Sora will be 25, TK/Ken/Daisuke 23, Mimi/Kari 21, Iori will be way younger, and as for the rest, it's not that important… yet.

For the sibling thing, I had originally intended for Daisuke to be Mimi's and Matt's half-brother, but I thought Ken would be more suitable because he's light-skinned like Matt and Mimi and he has blue eyes. And he's super hot so it fits perfectly. Remember, Matt and Mimi are not related! They share a brother, but not parents! I'm not into incest.

That's it for now. I'm gonna try to have an author's note addressing things that might be confusing in every chapter.)


Chapter 1

Michel stood hidden in the shadows of the castle's stone walls and looked at his grandson, who sat in the window enclosure, Matt's golden hair bathed in sunlight, his handsome face frowning in concentration as he studied the manuscript before him. Michel didn't like to think how much this young man had come to mean to him over the years. Matt was the son he wished he had been able to breed.

As Michel looked at the tall, broad-shouldered, slim-hipped, handsome young man, he once again wondered how that ugly Hiroaki could have bred someone like Matt. Hiroaki called himself King of Draconia but he wore animal skins, his long blond hair was dirty and hung past his shoulders, and he ate and spoke like the barbarian he was. His name, meaning "widespread brightness" was a complete contrast to his dirty appearance.

Michel was disgusted by him and only allowed him to remain in his house at the request of the Minister. Michel had given the man the hospitality of his estate and had instructed his steward to plan entertainments for the loud, crude vulgarian, but Michel himself had stayed as far as possible from the hideous young man.

Now, looking at Matt, Michel's stomach tightened in remembered anguish. While Michel was busying himself far away from the barbarian king, his beautiful, kind, dear daughter, Natsuko, had been falling in love with the odious man. By the time Michel realized what was happening, Natsuko was so deeply bewitched by the man that she was vowing to kill herself if she couldn't have him. The stupid barbarian king didn't even seem to realize that Natsuko was endangering her immortal soul by the mere mention of suicide.

Nothing Michel said could dissuade Natsuko. Michel pointed out the repulsiveness of Hiroaki's person and Natsuko looked at him as if he were stupid. "He's not repulsive to a woman," she had said, laughing in a way that made Michel slightly queasy as he thought of that greasy man's hands on Natsuko's slim, blonde person.

In the end, the Minister had made Michel's decision for him. He said there weren't many Draconians but they were a fierce bunch, and if their king wanted a rich and beautiful bride, he should have her.

So King Hiro married Michel's beautiful daughter, Natsuko. Michel stayed drunk for ten days, hoping that when he sobered, it would all turn out to be his imagination. But when he woke from his drunken stupor, he saw Hiroaki, a head taller than his tall daughter, swooping down on her, and enveloping her fair loveliness with his darkness.

Nine months later, Matt had been born. From the first moment he laid eyes on him, Michel had been inordinately fond of the pretty blond child. His own sonless marriage made him hungry for a son.

Hiroaki showed no interest in the baby. "Bah! It screams at one end and stinks at the other. Children belong to women. I'll wait until he's a man," Hiroaki had grunted in that strangely deep and barbaric voice of his. He was much more interested in when Natsuko would be well enough to return to his bed.

Michel had adopted Matt as his own, spending endless hours making toys for the boy, playing with the child, holding his chubby fingers as he took his first steps. Matt was fast becoming Michel's reason for living.

When Matt was two years old, his brother, Takeru, was born. Like his brother, he was a pretty blond child, and looked as if he had inherited nothing from his swarthy father.

When Takeru was five days old, Natsuko had died.

In his grief, Michel saw nothing but his own misery. He didn't see the brooding emptiness of Hiroaki. All Michel knew was that Hiroaki was the cause of his beloved daughter's death. So he ordered Hiroaki from his house.

Heavily, Hiroaki had said he would pack his men and children and leave in the morning to return to Draconia.

Michel had not comprehended Hiroaki's words, but when he heard noise in the courtyard below, he realized that Hiroaki meant to take Matt and the new baby from him. Michel went berserk. A normally sane man, he acted out of rage, grief, and fear. He gathered his own knights from the barracks and attacked Hiroaki and his personal guard while they slept.

Michel had never seen men fight as these Draconians did. They were outnumbered four to one but still, three of them, including Hiroaki, managed to escape.

Dripping blood from several deep slashes in his arms and legs and one across his right cheek, Hiroaki stood on the castle wall in the pink light of dawn and cursed Michel and his men. Hiroaki said he knew Michel wanted Prince Yamato but he would never get him. Matt was Draconian and someday, Matt would come home to him.

Then Hiroaki and his men had escaped over the wall and disappeared into the forest.

Michel's bad luck began with that night. Where once his life had been touched with gold, it soon turned to lead. His wife had died of the pox a month later, and then the pox had killed over half his peasants, leaving the grain unharvested in the fields. An early snow left the fields rotting.

Michel remarried, this time to a fat healthy twenty-year-old who proved to be fertile as a rabbit. She gave him four sons in four years then conveniently died with the last one.

Michel didn't grieve since he had found that when his infatuation with her beautiful young body had worn off, she was a stupid, frivolous girl who was no companion.

Michel had the care of his own four sons and Natsuko's two children. The contrast was stark. Matt and Takeru were tall and beautiful, golden-haired and handsome. They were intelligent, eager to learn, polite, while his own sons were stupid and clumsy, sullen and resentful.

They hated Matt and teased Takeru viciously. Michel knew this was his punishment for what he had done to Hiroaki. He even began to believe it was Natsuko's ghost repaying him for his crime against her husband.

When Matt was ten, a man came to Michel's castle, an old man with a beard hanging to the middle of his chest, a circle of gold set with four rubies on his head. He said his name was Gennai and that he was from Draconia and that he had come to teach Matt Draconian ways.

Michel had been ready to run the old man through with a sword until Matt had stepped forward. It was almost as if the boy had known the man was going to come and had been waiting for him.

"I am Prince Yamato," he had said solemnly.

In that moment, Michel knew he was losing the most precious thing on earth to him—and there was nothing he could do to prevent the loss.

The old man remained, sleeping somewhere deep within the castle—Michel didn't ask where—and spent every waking moment with Matt.

Matt had always been a serious child, had always taken whatever duties Michel gave him seriously, but now it seemed that Matt's capacity for study was limitless.

The old man taught Matt both in the classroom and on the training field. At first, Michel objected because some of the Draconian methods of fighting were, to a knight like Michel, entirely without honor.

Neither Matt nor Gennai paid him any attention and Matt learned to fight on his feet with sword and lance, with a stick, with clubs, and, to Michel's horror, with his fists. No knight fought except from the back of a horse.

Matt didn't advance as other aristocratic young men did but remained at his uncle's castle and studied with Gennai.

Michel's own sons left, one by one, to live with other knights and train as their squires. They returned with their spurs and their knighthood, their resentment for Matt even stronger. One by one, Michel's sons reached manhood and challenged Matt to a tilt, hoping to lay him low in order to gain their father's favor.

However, there was no contest as Matt easily knocked each young man from his horse then returned to his studies without so much as raising a sweat.

Michel's sons loudly protested their nephew's presence in their home and Michel watched as his ignorant sons unfastened Matt's saddle, stole his precious books, and laughed at him in front of guests. But Matt never got angry, a fact that infuriated his ill-mannered uncles.

The only time Michel saw Matt get angry was when his brother, Takeru, asked permission to marry a lessor land baron's daughter who was visiting Michel. Matt had raged at Takeru that he was Draconian and when he was called upon, he must return to his home as prince.

Michel was stunned, partly by Matt's show of temper, but more so by Matt's referring to Draconia as "home." He felt betrayed, as if all the love he had given the boy was not returned.

Michel helped Takeru in his marriage plans, but his wife had died after only two years of marriage and Takeru returned to his grandfather's home with his infant son, Shinichi. Matt had smiled and welcomed him.

"Now we will be ready," he had said, putting his arm around Takeru and holding his new nephew.

Today, Michel was looking at Matt. It was twenty-five years since a golden child had been born to Michel's lovely daughter and in that time, Michel had come to love the boy more than he loved his own soul.

But it was over now, for outside stood a hundred of the tall, dark, scarred Draconian warriors, sitting atop their short-legged, barrel-chested horses, each man wearing a grim expression and a hundred pounds of weapons.

They were obviously prepared for a fight.

Their leader rode forward and announced to Michel that they had come for the children of Hiroaki, that Hiroaki lay on his deathbed and Matt was to be made king.

Michel's inclination was to refuse, to fight to keep Matt until he had no more breath, but Michel's oldest son had pushed his hesitant father aside and welcomed the Draconians with open arms.

Michel knew defeat when he saw it. One couldn't fight to keep something that didn't want to be kept.

With a heavy heart, he went up the stairs to Takeru's chambers, where Matt sat in the window enclosure, studying. His tutor, old to begin with, was now ancient, but when he saw Michel's face, he eased his arthritic body from the chair and went to stand before Matt, then slowly dropped to one knee.

As Matt looked at Gennai's face, understanding came to him.

"Long live King Yamato," Gennai said, his head bowed.

Matt nodded solemnly and looked at Takeru, who had laid his baby down for a nap. "It's time," he said softly. "Now, we go home."

Michel slipped away so the tears in his eyes would not be seen.


Mimi stood very still in the knee-deep water, her light spear held aloft, poised above the lazily swimming fish, waiting for the moment to skewer the fish. The sun wasn't quite up yet, just enough to silhouette the Mugen Mountains behind her and the shadowy fish at her feet.

She had discarded the tap pants to her warrior's uniform on the bank and now wore only the soft, embroidered tunic that was the badge of her profession, her legs bare from mid-thigh down. The water was icy cold but she was used to discomfort and had been trained from an early age to ignore the pain.

To her left, she heard a footstep and knew someone was coming, a woman by the lightness of the step. She didn't show any outward sign of movement but her muscles tensed, ready to spring. She continued holding the spear above her right shoulder but now, she was ready to turn and cast the spear at the intruder.

She smiled without moving her face. It was Sora. Sora, her teacher and friend, was soundlessly—almost anyway—moving through the forest.

Mimi speared a fat fish. "Will you join me for breakfast, Sora?" she called as she pulled the flopping fish from the spear and walked toward the bank. Mimi was five foot ten with a body made magnificent by years of hard, demanding exercise.

Sora stepped from the trees and smiled at her friend. "Your hearing is excellent, as always."

She also wore the white tunic and tap pants of the Mistheart warrior, thick leather belt around her thin waist, soft leather boots reaching to her knees, wrapped with cross garters from ankle to knee, with hard shin guards matching the color of her uniform. She was taller than Mimi, with long, lean legs, high, firm breasts, a supple spine, and she held herself as erect as a birch, but her face didn't have that startling quality of beauty that Mimi's did. Her face was also beginning to show her age of twenty-five when she was next to Mimi's fresh twenty-one.

"He's here," Sora said softly.

The only indication Mimi gave that she had heard was the slightest hesitation as she arranged the twigs to build a fire to roast her fish.

"Mimi," Sora said, her voice pleading, "you have to face this someday. He will be our king."

Mimi straightened and whirled to face her friend, her cinnamon, braided hair moving and her beautiful face showing her rage. "He is not my king! He will never be my king. He is an outsider. His mother was a soft white woman who sits by the fire all day and sews. She didn't even have the strength to bear Hiro many children. Ken is the rightful king. He had a Draconian mother."

Sora had heard this a hundred times. "Yes, Satoe was a wonderful woman and Ken is a great warrior but he wasn't the firstborn son nor was Satoe the legal wife of Hiroaki."

Mimi turned away, trying to get her anger under control. In training, she could be so cool, could keep her thoughts clear even when Sora devised some trick, such as ordering five women to attack Mimi at once, but there was one area where Mimi's fury could not be controlled, and that was when she thought of Ken.

Years before Mimi was born, King Hiroaki had traveled to a foreign land in an effort to build an alliance with an outside nation. Instead of attending to the purpose of his journey, he had neglected his business and fallen under the spell of some vapid, weak, and useless white woman. He had married her and remained by her side for two years, producing two puny, mewling brats who were too weak to return to Draconia with him after his frail wife had died.

People said Hiroaki was never the same after he returned from his journey. He refused to marry a proper Draconian woman, although he spent some time in bed with the beautiful, nobly born Satoe, who was in fact a princess from a distant land. Though Mimi was unaware of her mother's foreign origins.

A short time later, Satoe bore him Ken, a son who was everything a man could want, but Hiroaki still kept brooding. In despair, hoping to force him into marrying her, Satoe asked permission to marry Keisuke, Hiroaki's most trusted guard. Hiroaki barely shrugged his shoulders as he agreed. Two years after Ken's birth, Satoe gave birth to Mimi.

"Ken has the right to be king," Mimi repeated, her voice calmer.

"Hiroaki has made his choice. If he wants his foreign son to be king, then we must honor that choice."

Mimi was angrily scaling the fish with her knife. "I hear he has white skin and white hair. That he's as thin and frail as a stalk of wheat. He has a brother too. No doubt they will cry for their fancy comforts. How can we respect a foreign king when he doesn't know anything about us?"

"Hiroaki sent Gennai to him years ago. I've heard legends of the man's wisdom."

"Bah! He is Inkheart," Mimi said with contempt, referring to another tribe of the Draconians. The Inkhearts believed they could fight wars with words. The young men trained with books and learning rather than with swords. "How can an Inkheart teach a man to be king? No doubt Gennai taught him to read and tell stories. What does an Inkheart know about battles? When the Og'rilahs attack our city, will our new king try to tell them fairy tales until they fall off their horses in sleep?"

"Mimi, you aren't being fair. We haven't met the man. He is Hiroaki's son and—"

"So is Ken!" Mimi spat. "Can this outsider know half what Ken does about Draconia?" She gestured to the mountains to the north, those beloved mountains that had protected Draconia from centuries of invaders. "He has never even seen our mountains," she said as if this were the final disgrace.

"Nor has he seen me," Sora said softly.

Mimi's eyes widened. Hiroaki, long ago, had said he wanted his son Matt to marry Sora. "Surely Hiro has forgotten that. He said that years ago. You were only a child at the time."

"No, he hasn't forgotten. This morning when he heard his son was near Dragon's Eye Lake, he revived enough to send for me. He wants Tai and me to meet him."

"Tai?" Mimi gasped then smiled as she thought of the tall, handsome, chocolate-eyed Tai, the man she was to marry, the man she had loved since she was a child.

Sora gave her friend a look of disgust. "Your only concern is for the man you love? You don't care that I'm being ordered to marry a man who you have described as weak, puny—"

"I'm sorry," Mimi said, and felt guilty for thinking only of herself. It would truly be awful to have to marry someone one didn't know. To think of living day in and day out with a man whose every movement, every thought was strange and repulsive to her. "I apologize. Did Hiro really say he planned for you to marry this… this…?" She couldn't think of a description for this foreigner.

"He said it's what he has always planned." Sora sat down on the ground by the little fire Mimi now had going and her face showed her anguish. "I think Hiroaki fears what you fear, that this son of his, who he hasn't seen in twenty something years, will be all that you think he is. But still, he's determined to have his way. The more people who try to dissuade him, the more adamant he becomes."

"I see," Mimi said thoughtfully, and looked at Sora for a long moment. Perhaps Hiroaki wasn't such a doting fool after all. Sora was a logical, intelligent woman who had proved herself on several battlefields in the past. Sora was able to control her emotions, and most important, her temper, under the most stressful conditions. If this foreigner prince was as weak as people said, Sora's intelligence and wisdom could perhaps keep Draconia from falling under his rule. "Draconia may get a sulking brat for a king but we will have a wise Draconian woman for queen."

"Thank you," Sora said. "Yes, that's what I think Hiroaki has in mind and I'm honored by his trust in me, but I…"

"You want a man for a husband," Mimi said with feeling. "You want someone like Tai: tall and strong and lusty and intelligent and—"

Sora laughed. "Yes, I can admit to you, my best friend, that even though I'm greatly honored, I'm thinking with the softness of a woman. Does this foreigner really have white hair? Who told you that?"

"Hiro," Mimi answered. "One time, he talked about the white woman he so stupidly married. He did it once in front of my mother, and my father took her from the room." Mimi's mouth tightened into a grimace, although the expression didn't take away from her beauty.

Both of her parents had died when she was five and Hiroaki had taken her in and raised her—raised her in that big stone fortress-house of his without the companionship of women. When a washerwoman had stopped Mimi from playing with a sharp, long-handled ax for fear she would cut her toes off, Hiroaki had dismissed the woman.

"Hiro told us more than we wanted to know about his time there," Mimi continued. Sora knew the "we" referred to Ken, Mimi's half-brother, and Tai, who had been raised with them.

"Mimi," Sora said sharply, "are you going to eat that fish or not? If so, hurry up so you can help me decide what to take on the journey. Do you think Hiroaki's younger son will be wearing fancy silks? I heard he's no warrior. Will he look down on us Draconian women like those other outsiders did two years ago?"

Mimi's eyes gleamed. "Then we shall do to him what we did to them," she said with a mouth full of fish.

"You are wicked," Sora said, laughing. "We can't do that to my future brother-in-law."

"I have no such compunction. We ought to make plans for what to do to protect ourselves from their snobbery. Of course all we have to do is lead this Yamato into a single battle and that will be the end of him. Or do you think he sits on velvet-cushioned chairs and drinks ale while watching the battle from afar?" Mimi stood and kicked dirt over the fire then pulled on her tap pants and laced her boots. "And Tai is to go with you?"

"Yes," Sora said, smiling. "You can bear to be without him for a few days. We ride out to meet this foreigner and escort him back. I think Hiroaki may be afraid of the Og'rilahs." The Og'rilahs were the fiercest tribe of Draconia. They were as devoted to battle as the Inkhearts were to books. The Og'rilahs attacked anyone at any time and what they did to captives was what gave grown warriors nightmares.

"No Mistheart is afraid of an Og'rilah," Mimi said angrily, coming to her feet.

"Yes, but this prince is foreign and he believes himself to be king of all Draconia."

Mimi smiled in a nasty way. "Someone should let him walk up to Hiroki, the king of the Og'rilahs, and announce his kingship. That would be the end of our worries. At least Hiro's foreign son would be buried on Draconian soil, and, I swear, we would bury every piece Hiroki hacked from him."

Sora laughed. "Come on, help me choose what to take. We will leave in another hour and you must say goodbye to Tai."

"That will take much longer than an hour," Mimi said seductively, making Sora laugh again.

"Perhaps I can borrow Tai's virility some lonely night after I am married to this limp foreigner."

"That will be the night you die," Mimi said calmly, then smiled. "Let's pray Hiro lives long enough to see this softling of his and sees the error of his ways and corrects it. Ken will be our king, as he should be. Come on, I'll race you to the walls."


(A/N: This story was supposed to be the very first that I work on after Hearts and Daggers, but it took me forever to get into writing it. Hopefully you guys like it. Please read and kindly review! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. And please, don't flame me if you don't like the story. Michi moments are dedicated to PrincessJaded.)