Published 8th June, 2003. Warning: disturbing violence ahead . . . No Sora in this chapter, thus no Sorato. Sorato in next chapter. Also, I haven't edited this chapter in 2007 as I did chapter one. So, bad grammar abounds . . . heh.


Hiroaki glared at the twins. He had seen the guests' off and now had returned to his bedroom where Tai and Matt were waiting in silence.

"Well" Hiroaki began, "Explain yourselves"

Tai looked at Matt, who was staring at the ground.

"I'm waiting" Hiroaki stated, "You two know very well that you are always meant to be on your best behavior when there are guests, if not all the time! What happened out there!?"

"We..." Tai began. His father had never been this angry at him before, Matt definitely, but not him. "Had a fight..."

"I gathered that!" Hiroaki barked.

"Sire, please calm down. I'm sure the Princes meant no harm..." One of Hiroaki's most trustful advisors said to him calmly from the side.

Hiroaki took a deep breath, "Look at me, both of you"

He gazed steely at his sons. Matt forced himself to do as told, and waited for their father's punishment.

"If you can not act like civilised people, then you will be treated as uncivilised people. Slaves"

"Father-" Tai spoke up, squinting his eyes as if confused.

Hiroaki held up a hand silencing him, "Soon, I will send you both off to one of the families that had to witness your awful performance. There you will work. Like slaves. And as I said, be treated like slaves, for however long until I say you two are welcome back here"

Tai stared at his father, his mouth agape. Hiroaki's advisor that spoke before, spoke up again.

"But Your Majesty, surely this is a much harsh punishment for the Princes. Slaves? They are of the Grand Royal bloodline, your sons, and to have them working-"

"Silence" Hiroaki shot, "That is my final decision. You will spend at least two weeks over at my chosen family. If I hear that you have done something wrong, as to disobey them, then I will extend your time. Understand?"

"Understood" Matt replied quietly.

Tai gave his father a slightly dirty look before repeating what Matt said.

"You may go" Hiroaki finished, watching them as they headed towards the door.

As Matt and Tai came out of their father's room, the guards closed the door. Tai scowled, clenching his fists, "I need to punch someone..."

Matt looked at him, then turned away.

Tai looked up from the ground, and glared at Matt.

"This is all your fault, asshole. If you hadn't apologised to Sora... God, I'm meant to be pissed at you for that! But dad... hell, This IS all your fault!" Tai lunged at Matt for the second time that night.

They were a good distance away from their father's room, since they had been walking back to their own rooms, so no one was there to see.

Matt did his best to defend himself, not bothering to hit back. It was no use, if he hit back, Tai and his cousins would only inflict more pain on him later as a group. The only reason why he even fought back a little in front of his father's guests was because he didn't want to seem like a wimp in front of Sora, but now that no one was watching them...

Tai kept beating on Matt's face until he was sure he had made it bloody enough, and so he stood up and began kicking Matt all over his body. Matt curled up into a ball, seemingly the best defence, but Tai kept kicking harder until Matt was too weak to hold his position and held one similar to a half open leaf petal instead. But Tai was still furious with him, and kept on beating down on him with his foot, and kicking him against the wall. He stopped only when he heard footsteps coming his way. Matt was semiconscious, his vision blurry. He mentally thanked whoever was coming, thinking they would stop Tai from hitting him. But it turned out it was Davis, Jensei, and Hiro. Not exactly his best friends. He wanted to die. Davis was the only one out of his other brothers that didn't really like him, mostly because his idol was none other than older brother Taichi.

"Whoa Tai" Hiro raised an eyebrow, looking at Matt, "Old man give you a heavy punishment?"

"You could say that" Tai said bitterly, then grinned, "I'm just giving little Matt here a lesson"

"Can I teach him as well?" Jensei smirked, kicking Matt in the ribcage.

Matt gasped, clutching the newly sore area.

The other boys laughed, and Hiro grabbed Matt up by his collar, shoving him against the wall and kneeing him in the stomach. Matt closed his eyes shut, wishing that he would fall unconscious real soon. Whatever they would do to him after he went out, he didn't know. Every time that happened he either woke up and found himself in the hospital wing, or his bed.

"Give us a go" Davis whined.

"You're too small" Tai smirked at him, "You probably won't hurt him"

"I can so!" Davis exclaimed, grabbing a helmet off a knight nearby, "Just watch"

"Creative" Hiro sniggered at Davis.

"I'm surprised he can get the thing off" Jensei added, grinning.

Davis stuck his tongue out at them.

"Give him a try" Tai grinned, grabbing hold of either of Matt's shoulders and holding him against the wall firmly, "Come on Davis"

Matt's head wobbled to and fro, as if he were drunk.

"What? You mean his face?" Davis asked.

Tai shrugged, "If you want" Then grinned, "That would wreck his oh-so-perfect features"

"Isn't that right, pretty boy?" Tai gushed sarcastically, holding his jaw with one hand.

Hiro and Jensei laughed.

"So are you going to strike or what?" Jensei asked.

Davis brought both hands back seeing as he had to carry the knight's helmet with two hands, and rammed it into Matt's stomach instead of his face as Tai had said. He still however caused a lot of pain, afterall, the helmet was metal. Matt groaned loudly, and slowly slid down the wall on his backside, clutching his stomach-- Tai had let go of him.

"Good one" Jensei slapped Davis on the back, and Davis looked at Tai who grinned at him.

"See, I told you" Davis smiled proudly. As far as he was concerned, everything Tai did was alright.

Tai ruffled Davis' head, then turned his attention back to Matt.

"Don't think I've forgotten about you little brother" Tai grinned down at his twin, then bent down to yank him up, "But... I think that's enough. For the meantime"

The other guys smirked at Matt, who looked like he was about to black out. Tai slung him over his shoulder, and began to walk towards their destination-- Their rooms.

"So what was the punishment?" Hiro asked as they walked.

Tai scowled, "Sent off to one of the families that attended the dinner tonight, as slaves. Well, he said we were going to be treated like slaves there"

The other three boys rose their eyebrows in surprise.

"You've gotta be kidding?" Davis said.

"Yeah, that's... degrading" Jensei stated.

"Yeah, that's why I took it out on him" Tai smirked, jerking Matt up a bit.

"What did he do?" Hiro asked.

Tai glared at him, then muttered, "His existence is enough reason for me to beat him up"

They fell into silence after that, until finally they reached Matt's room. Jensei opened the huge double doors, and they all went inside. Tai dumped Matt onto his bed not too gently, throwing the covers over him carelessly. Jensei jumped onto Matt's couch and turned the TV on.

"What are you doing?" Hiro asked his cousin.

"Bunking here for the night. As good as anywhere else" Jensei shrugged, eyes on the TV screen.

Hiro shrugged as well, sitting down next to Jensei. Davis turned to Tai who was pulling out Matt's drawers.

"What are you doing?" Davis asked.

"Don't know. Just curious as to what he has in his junk hole" Tai replied, bored.

He pulled out a magazine. Royal-T. Issue 1257, this month's issue. The highest selling mag, since it sold billions of copies every month. Tai flipped it open, since he hadn't looked at it yet. It was bound to have pictures of some hot royal girls. He stopped as a familiar face was on a page. It was Sora. Tai smiled, and read her statistics. Female, heir to Takenouchi Kingdom of the Eastern Continent, red eyes, red hair... He skipped a few until he came to 'Favourite Grand Royal'. Sora's answer was: Well, I don't know them personally but if I had to choose... I'd have to say Prince Yamato. Yeah, typical answer. I mean, every girl says that, right? Just because of his 'blonde hair, blue eyes'. So yeah, he's gorgeous, I'm not denying that... But I haven't chosen him for his looks. I don't know, it's the way his smiles radiated in the pictures. Especially when he was younger... Is that looks? Chuckle.

Tai closed the magazine shut, only to be looking at the front cover which had Matt on it posing with his hands in his pockets. Tai shoved the mag back into its drawer, and glared at Matt's 'sleeping' form. Just as Matt groaned quietly, opening his eyes slowly. He saw an angry look on Tai's face, and closed his eyes again. Bad timing.

He waited for Tai to grab him, and sure enough, he did. Matt opened his eyes again to stare into his twin's angry brown ones. Tai pushed him against the headboard, where Matt winced.

"Bastard" Tai hissed.

"What?" Matt asked weakly, tasting relatively fresh blood as his lips moved, and the thought of spitting it all over Taichi crossed his mind.

Taichi closed his eyes, and then clenched his teeth.

"Go clean yourself up, loser, in your bathroom. You have five minutes"

Matt got up, ignoring the fact that his whole body ached. He made his was to his bathroom slowly, and then closed and locked the door after him.

"You better come out in 5 minutes, or we'll barge the door down!" He heard Tai yell on the other side.

Matt muttered curses under his breath, then took a good look at himself in the mirror. Not good, not good at all. His clothes were all tattered, and he had blood dripping down his nose, and mouth. His whole mouth actually was stained with red, from all the hits Taichi had given him not long ago. And damn was it hurting. Matt resisted the urge to punch the mirror, and instead began to wash all the blood away. Once that was cleared, he could clearly see all the bruises and cuts all over his face. Tai had went all out this time. But it wasn't a first.

With me looking like this, I won't be able to do the shoot tomorrow... and that was my only chance at getting away from Tai for an entire day. Damn... Idiot. I shouldn't have apologised to Sora... Was she really worth it? I mean, I'll probably never see her again... so what was the point? Damn.

"Hey dick, get out now!" Tai yelled through the door.

Matt took another glance at himself in the mirror, cursed at the bruises, then opened the door, awaiting more pain.

"Oh, you don't look too good even when you're cleaned up" Tai said in a mock-sad voice, "I guess you'll have to cancel Royal-T's shooting tomorrow... but hey, you can spend the day with me!" Tai grinned.

Matt stared hard at him, saying nothing.

"Aren't you gonna remark?" Tai just smirked.

"Great" Matt muttered flatly.

"Knew you'd love it" Tai grinned.


//flashback//

They're around eight years old . . .

"Hey Tai!" Matt yelled out, smiling, running towards him, "Guess what?"

"What?" Tai said flatly, stopping.

Matt shrugged off the fact that his twin didn't seem to be in the best of moods, "They want to do their first huge special edition on me! You know, Royal-T!? They say all the girls think I'm 'adorable' and 'cute'. Ugh. But still! I'm the only one ever to be in the mag alone! Isn't that great!"

"Yeah. Sure" Tai said, and began walking away.

"Hey" Matt paused, and then followed his older twin, "Something wrong?"

"Just leave me alone, ok" Tai said, shrugging off Matt's hand that was tugging him.

"Ok" Matt said with hurt evident in his voice, "But I came to tell you Dad wants all of us at the front to meet the visitors and relatives anyway..."

Tai grumbled, and let Matt lead him to the front. When they reached their destination, Tai saw his other brothers, their mothers, and his father there already. Matt went slient as soon as they came into view. Tai knew he was afraid of them. 'Them' would be their own father, and the rest of his wives. And Tai must admit, they don't exactly show that they care for Matt one little bit...

The guests arrived right then, and tai greeted them as he was told to do, gentlemanly. Matt shot them his usual friendly kid-like innocent grin that only he would be able to pull off. Tai suspected the guests would also get conned by him in this, but still felt his blood boil at the sounds of them complimenting their father on how sweet and cute Matt was. Why didn't they say that about him? Afterall, he and Matt were twins. Not identical, but still... Ok, so he was jealous that Matt was more... 'cute and adorable' then him. He'd just recently admitted to himself that he was starting to get attracted to girls at the age of nine. And all the girls around him have told him they think Matt's cute as can be. Why couldn't they have been identical? Then he could of at least be as cute as Matt. And besides, he was born first-- Shouldn't he have the better looks? Matt was just scraped over from him wasn't he? The last twin... The one that killed their mother... Or so their father thought, only Tai and Jou knew that though.

One week from then, Tai was walking through the corridors not really headed anywhere. The past week he had been snobbing Matt off, and Matt never said anything about it to him. He just ignored it and went away to play with their younger brothers, or to play with Jensei and Hiro, their cousins, that is if they weren't already playing with Tai.

"Hey Tai" Hiro's voice was suddenly heard by Tai.

Tai looked up, and sure enough saw Hiro, and with him was Jensei.

"Hi guys" Tai replied, "Where you going?"

"Matt wanted to play a game, so we're just going to him right now. Wanna play? We asked if he wanted us to ask you, but he just said 'Tai's being a mean snob right now. I don't care if he does or not' Your fight that bad?" Jensei asked.

Tai frowned, "He said that did he? Well, maybe there's a reason! That moron!"

Hiro and Jensei looked at eachother uneasily. Meanwhile, Tai was in his thoughts.

Calling me a snob! Who does he think he is!? He's the snob! Practically bragging about how perfect he is! How he gets all the girls! Everything! How he's SO popular... Everyone loves him... Everyone... Dad... Wait, dad hates him! ... Perfect.

Tai smiled. Then looked back up at Hiro and Jensei.

"Are you on my side, or Matt's?" Tai stated.

"Huh?" His cousins asked, confused.

"Who's side! And I'll tell you now it'll be way better if you're on my side. I have my dad backing me up, Matt doesn't. So?"

//end flashback//


Matt awoke the next morning next to Tai. They had indeed bunked in his room. Matt looked around tentatively, seeing if anyone else was awake. When he realised they weren't, he crept cautiously out of bed, realising quickly that his bruises were aching more than ever. He groaned softly, and kept on walking around the bed towards the door quietly. And he made it. He opened the door as gently as he could, and slipped out, leaving the door slightly ajar though, incase he closed it too hard and it woke Tai and the others up. Matt proceeded to walk several steps until he stopped to glance at the huge portrait hanging on the wall that he always stopped at every morning as he passed it, to gaze at it for a while. It was merely a picture of him and Tai when they were younger, around eight years old. What was odd about it, though, was that both of them were grinning and seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the others company. And they had their arms around each other, in a brotherly fashion.

"Trying to sneak off to hide from me?"

Matt turned around, so his back was facing the portrait.

Tai's eyes flicked to the portrait behind Matt, then back to Matt, smirking.

"I never noticed that before. I mustn't come this way often. Why do you keep it up?"

"I don't do the decorating." Matt replied icily.

Tai smirked again, "Take it down."

"Why?" Matt asked.

"Because that portrait obviously tells a lie. And lies are bad, right Matt?"

Tai sneered, pushing Matt against the wall and into the portrait, which then made a resounding crack. Tai let go of Matt, and walked off, saying, "Dad wants to talk to us. Be down in ten minutes."

Matt glared at Tai's disappearing back, and turned back to the portrait. It was cracked, and oddly, right through the middle, making it seem like it had caused a rift between Matt and Tai.

"It doesn't lie anymore, does it, Tai?" Matt muttered.


//flashback//

"Hey guys!" Matt said as he saw Hiro and Jensei, but then looked bored when he then saw Tai tagging along behind him, "Why'd you bring him?"

Jensei and Hiro looked at eachother hesitantly, and then at Tai. Tai gave them a glare, and they quickly walked to either sides of Matt. Matt looked at Hiro, and then at Jensei, looking from one to another. He had a suspicious yet confused look on his face. Tai then walked to stand right in front of him.

"What's going on?" Matt asked, just as Tai punched him for the first time that was no way near playful. Matt groaned, falling to his knees with his arms clucthed around his stomach. He then felt Hiro and Jensei grab either side of him with both their hands, and pull him up forcefully, where Tai then again swung out at him, this time at the face. As that punch impacted, he released his hold on his stomach from the pain, his arms hanging loosely at his sides as Jensei and Hiro then grabbed them behind his back, keeping him upright still so he wouldn't be able to slide to the ground. Tai then revved his arm back again and began continuously punching Matt in the gut and face, each time punching harder as he heard Matt's groans of pain. Finally, Tai indicated for Hiro and Jensei to let Matt go, making Matt fall slowly to the ground in a heap of pain. He stayed there for a while, clutching his stomach, and then began to cry. Hiro and Jensei turned away looking guilty and ashamed of themselves, and Tai smirked evilly, as if Matt had deserved it. Tai then grabbed Matt up by his shirt collar, and looked into his teary eyes.

"Wuss" Tai said, "You are such a crybaby"

That only made Matt sob more, trying to wipe his tears away. He then all of a sudden swung at Tai, wacking him straight across the face. Tai looked shocked, and then angry. He lifted his leg and kicked Matt in the groin. Hard. Matt shouted out and fell to the ground on all fours, crossing his legs. Tai kicked upwards, hitting his stomach this time, and making Matt jump a bit before hitting the ground hard.

"Tai- come on..." Hiro tried to make him stop.

"Shut up" Tai growled, and Hiro shut up, "Flip him onto his back and hold him down. Now!"

Jensei and Hiro scrambled towards Matt's fallen body, and did so. Either of them holding onto an arm each, securing their grips. Matt sniffled continuously. Tai then came back into his view, wearing a grin. He lifted his hand, and there Matt saw him holding up a brick.

"What are you doing?" Hiro asked, total shock in his voice.

"Yeah Tai, come one. Give him a break-" Jensei added.

"Shut up! Just hold him down!" Tai yelled, and lifted his hands up with the brick over his head, ready to bring it down on Matt's squirming legs. Matt tried to back up but Hiro and Jensei were holding onto him, and they were looking elsewhere as so they wouldn't see what Tai was going to do.

"Hiro! Jensei!" Matt sobbed, "Let me go!"

They didn't reply, and Matt looked up at Tai.

"Tai!" He sobbed again, "Please. Whatever I did to piss you off- I'm sorry! I won't do it again! Just- don't do that, please!?" He begged pathetically.

Tai sneered, "This will make up for it... Only by a little bit though, so I guess you get used to me doing this sorta thing to you for the years to come... You hear me Matt, for the years to come..." And with that, Tai smashed the brick down onto Matt's left leg.

Matt let out a horrifying scream, which was then gone in about three seconds. All was quiet, and Jensei and Hiro both turned there heads slowly downwards as they felt Matt go limp in their arms. Some of the brick was inbedded in Matt's leg, blood was gushing out all around it, and they could even see bits of bone. They turned away at the same time, both thought they were going to be sick. Tai was already staring at the wound, kind of frozen on the spot as well.

I can't believe I did that... That's barbaric! ... Oh my god... I just smashed a BRICK into his... But he DESERVED IT! He's an asshole! ... I don't care that I did this!!!!

And that was the beginning...

//end flashback//


"When you said 'soon' you didn't tell us you meant 'tomorrow'. . . or, now, 'today'." Tai grumbled in the backseat of the limo next to Matt and across from his father.

"Well now you do know." Hiroaki replied warily.

Tai only grumbled some more.

Matt looked out the window as the limo pased the huge iron gates of the Royal Family they were "staying" with.

"So how long are we staying here again, dad?" Tai asked grumpily.

"At least two weeks. I'll make it longer if you keep behaving like that." Hiroaki answered sternly.

"Your Majesty, we're arrived." Their driver told Hiroaki, as the limo stopped.

Tai rolled down his window, and looked out, as did Matt, at the Royal Family they were going to be staying with, standing in front of their home.

Tai's frown turned into a grin, and Matt looked surprised.

"You two will stay with King and Queen Takenouchi and their lovely daughter for at least two weeks." Tai and Matt heard their father say.

Two weeks? I wouldn't mind staying here forever . . . Tai thought, grin widening.

Sh . . . it. Was Matt's thought, glancing at Tai.


. . . I really should go back and edit this chapter . . .