First off, I just want to warn this story contains a yaoi aka man-on-man pairing (SinbadxJudal funnily enough) and things do get rather...heavy later on. I am well aware we can't all like the same things, so I wanted to mention it. I do understand there's a fairly scary thing of sexually explicit stories being removed from the site. I wholly can respect that, I just don't want it to happen to me, or anyone else or that matter, and feel that if people are given due warning it won't be an issue.I've worked fairly hard on this, as mainly it's been something of a creative experiment and have also (hopefully) kept it tasteful. I've also given it a mature rating.

And for something a little less scary - nothing is owned by me. Enjoy~

Night One: Simple Tastes for Complicated Minds

Before everything - the dungeon diving, adventures on the open seas and ensuing chaos - had taken place, his name had simply been Sin. And he had taken good care to never forget that.

Sin had, of course, not always been a king. It had been something he had earned in the latter half of his life rather been born into. His tale had begun at fourteen years of age; in a month where he had both met a hermit Magi named Yunan and lost his mother. Yunan had encouraged him to conquer dungeons, and his mother he would always cherish the memory of. After those events, he had no reason not to prove his strength. He could even seek to make the world a better place, even if such things were easier to dream about than bring to fruition. He had not abandoned such dreams and ambitions after all; the fact the world remained a dark and problematic place was more of a reason to keep moving forward. Having said that, the dungeons after the first he had conquered mainly for fun – pure and uncomplicated fun. At his core, he chose to believe he remained a man of simple tastes.

The world however had definitely changed the way it saw him. He after all was Sinbad, the self-made king of Sindria and leader of his Southern Alliance. A man who was tall, more violet than dark, yet handsome, and somewhat fixed under the world's collective gaze. He had not really wanted such world quake before him yet such a thing had happened as he reached a certain level of infamy – for better or worse. Right now, Sin simply stretched back lazily within his rooms of that Balbadd hotel. Today was a normal day, like any other, and he had woken to those ever curious surroundings. Sindria was a wild and savage beauty he had tamed himself after all, and she was nothing like the civilised, stuffy lands he lay in now. It barely even rained here, but business was business and trading here was beyond important. Soon he would leave for his beloved island, and none of this luxury really felt like him.

So much for simple tastes...the truth was he would still be dungeon diving if he could.

Carelessly he ran his tanned hands though his long and wild, sleep-tangled violet hair in an attempt to tame it. The reality was, he had little time for the entitled sort of person, even if diplomacy had it so he often dealt with royalty. Unfortunately the seven and southern seas and their accompanying monsters and wonders were things he encountered less and less. Instead, Sin now battled the beastly diplomats and advisors of foreign nations, which wasn't nearly as fun, although could sometimes be dangerous - the type who cared little for his rather simple aesthetics. Even if the rooms he woke to were indeed lavish and beautiful, and the privilege felt more than a little unnecessary. The only simple – and most enjoyable – thing he had woken to was that beautifully pure, cloudless azure sky peeking out from behind the lavish crimson drapes, in fact.

"Yo...idiot king..." an unfortunately all too familiar, mocking voice met him. Swiftly he drew up one of those numerous scarlet sheets around his nude form and turned. He really hadn't expected to wake to company, or to an intruder, but had known over the years to expect the worst. Well, he was seeing such a thing now. The other man, the much younger man, was definitely not someone he would invite to his bed. Judal, that Magi of Al-Thamen, lay behind and close to him; his rather charming face was ruined by a bored and disinterested expression. And Sin watched him as he was being watched; Judal's chin was propped careless upon his palm, and staring – admiring – Sin's bronzed, lightly muscular shoulders. "I didn't think I'd see you again in a backwater place like this."

Judal was dressed in his usual marring of black and white, with more golden bracelets glimmering brightly at his wrists than he had last seen him. Sin watched him cautiously out of the corner of his eye. He was surprised as a warm, yet cautious hand had reached out. Ivory fingers played over his side, and smirked as the other man shifted out of his lazy reach. They locked eyes; a calm, amber gaze meeting with one of a rather volatile shade of ruby. "...So are you going to tell me what you're doing here, Judal? In fact, how did you get in?"

That troublesome oracle, Lord Priest, dark Magi, whatever title could be given to a somewhat unpredictable and dangerous being, gazed pointedly over at the open doors to the hotel's balcony. "Ah, you invited me, don't you remember?"

Sin shook his head; even if he was very much aware of the not so subtle ache of a hangover, he knew he would never be quite that drunk...maybe. It must have been three years since he had last encountered that person, and watched said person sprawl back on a bed that was most definitely not his to sprawl out on. He had...changed, certainly and become a rather striking man, it seemed. Sin felt his eyes being drawn over the subtle curves of the young man's exposed hips and slim waist. At just how that slight, subtle definition of muscle was beautifully highlighted in the gentle light of the early morning. It seemed almost hypnotic, for a moment, until he reminded himself that was the last sort of thing he should be noticing.

He had, of course, really hoped that they would never meet again. Their encounters had spanned the times he had invaded the dungeons the Magi he had made; which Judal had erected for other people. Sin had conquered them himself, which was one of many reasons the two had a bad history. Judal seemed to think of Sin as an intriguing waste of time, and a chance to alleviate his boredom in claiming they should be allies so many times. When Sin had refused, he was little more than an enemy, someone who was a bother and intruded on Al-Thamen's plans far too often. Once Sin had cleared his seventh dungeon, and agreed never to do another, he thought - well, hoped - that he would never see them again.

Heat prickled curiously within Sin as he noticed something. Without that nasty expression, Judal's porcelain features would otherwise have grown to something extremely pleasant to look at. Those eyes had grown striking, alive with a vivid fire and hard to look away from. Still, he had been strong and dangerous than, and Sin dreaded what he would be like now; more than likely more lethal and unpredictable than an overzealous child would be. Back then that same child had always offered easy promises of power, even if their chance meetings had proved rather violent at times. It seemed Judal knew someone valuable when he saw them. To Sin, the young Magi seemed both bored and frustrated and that might prove to be a bad thing. As the young man moved, Sin watched the surface of the bed become veiled under his endless ebony hair as it was laced in silken shadows. He drew close, curling on the bed next to him, and again Sin shifted away.

He cleared his throat. "Then what are you doing here in Balbadd?"

"I was asked to be here, why else? It's not like I want to be," the dark Magi's tone just rang that Sin had no business asking him something like that.

Sin nodded. "And I decided that it was a good idea to come here."

"Eh, does that make us enemies again, do you think?" Judal inquired casually, perhaps hopefully and mostly to himself. He nodded, as he couldn't really imagine them ever being otherwise. He didn't care for complicated things, usually, including the rather attractive one currently sitting far too close to him. "Then don't get in my way, and I don't have to kill you. Unless you fancy joining up..."

He shook his head. "If you don't cause any trouble, I won't need to get in your way and stop you, will I?"

Three years...and even now there was that same arrogance of one who knew too well he could bend the world to his whims and magic. Of course Judal would know how important he was, how special and that any country would desire and give a lot for a Magi strong as him. Such thoughts wandered through Sin's usually calm mind. An offer to ally with someone like that had been desirable, but Al-Thamen in comparison was far from attractive. That organisation made it so the other man couldn't be trusted. Besides, by the time Judal had offered him power, Sin had already been in the process of attaining it and his country. He would have no problem if the Magi wanted to serve him instead, and serve Sindria, but that wasn't going to happen. So he turned him down; and Judal seemed to detest being rejected in any way; more than likely such a thing rarely occurred.

"So are you wondering, idiot king..." Sin's eyes widened slightly. A hand drew softly over his shoulder. It was a warm, oddly gentle, and ironically naive touch and his eyes closed. A strange and tingling sensation, not unlike muted lightening seemed to pass through him and he hadn't expected that. Judal leaned in, his breath warm and heavy with the fragrant, sweet tang of peaches. Aside from that, the rich aroma of incense and a summer breeze overcame Sin and he didn't move away. He just found it amusing as fingertips played nervously over his collarbone and neck, as if trying to tempt him with something he would never give into. "Are you wondering if I was seeking you out again? I am. And yeah...I don't care much if this miserable city burns. But you can make it fun for me; become mine. We could even add this rats' nest to our own empire when we rule the world together..."

Ah, the same naive, childish comments he was used to.

Sin, of course, was still a man of simple tastes. Lures of silks and luxury, of perfumes of gold, even women and men, whilst pretty and alluring had never been anywhere close to a hubris of his. They were simply currency or a past time. He wouldn't freely care to admit as to where his desires lay, but he knew seeing Judal again affected him. There was indeed something in that ruby intensity of his eyes that had changed. Eyes that drew him in, but that would be too high a price to pay, and something he had forbidden himself from. He would never abandon Sindria, for one thing.

Such thoughts continued to linger in Sin's mind as that same slim, rather delicate looking hand ran up and over his bronzed, powerful shoulder. It was then he resolved himself to meet the Magi's eyes and make himself clear. "I guess something like that just isn't meant to be."

"You know, I won't hold it against you if you change your mind here. Even now I'll be nice and let you take my offer. Come on; you must have thought about it..."

Sin laughed. "Why do you keep coming after me anyway? It's not like you haven't got everything you could ever wish for already."

"...Everything..." he felt Judal lean into his shoulder, and watched his hands clench into fists in quiet frustration. Interesting. It certainly wasn't something he had seen before, and knew better than to mention. " way it's too boring, and everything is too easy. You're..." the vulnerable look faded as a cruel smirk formed. A mocking hand had reached to Sin's chest before he had the sense to grab his wrist and stop him, encircling it tightly. To him, the dark Magi just looked confused...lonely. "But it's alright, you know. I figured it would just take one idiot king to end my boredom. And guess who that is."

"You'd get bored of me the moment you had me; someone like you would never be satisfied," Sin released his wrist, and slipped off the bed to dress, leaving the sheets behind him. He didn't notice how Judal averted his eyes from his tanned nude form, but if he had he would have found that interesting. "But I figure if you get restless or wound up you could cause some damage here, as you always used to. Just remember you'll have me to deal with if you get out of hand."

"Huh? What, some idiot like you thinks you can stand a chance against me?" this was apparently extremely amusing to him. "Sure, you're strong Sinbad but come on. A few metal vessels aren't anything compared to a Magi. We're amazing beings..." indeed they were, for better or worse. Judal likewise shifted off the bed, a shimmering of shadowy rukh tracing his steps. It felt as if all the darkness of the world protected and guided him, and in all likelihood it did. He watched the dark Magi step out onto the intricate marble balcony, and followed him. "...You're cold as always, you know; why shouldn't I just kill you? I should you know, I should crush you for always turning me down..."

Sin kept silent, knowing better than to respond to that. He watched Judal distract himself by watching that perfect sky and with it the white spires and golden domes of the highly troubled city. More than likely, the man probably thought Sin found it easy to refuse him. He didn't, but it was perhaps for the best he thought otherwise. Now he was clothed in his usual lilac and white, the king reached into his pocket. His fingers fell over the cool links of a long, golden decorative chain which he had infused with magoi many years ago. He paused as he remembered just why he and Yamaraiha had experimented with such a thing. A fleeting thought stuck him before he said jokingly, "perhaps you should just leave Al-Thamen and be mine instead. You could come to Sindria and be the Magi there."

Judal just laughed loudly at that. With one last look, the dark Magi soared into the air and disappeared from his sight. Once he was gone, Sin realised the skies were slowly changing. The dark threat of rain lingered as clouds drew in. The horizon had been tainted with blood red and gold; it seemed it was going to rain after all. What a beautiful, dangerous sight indeed; doomed to end in bad weather, but he had always enjoyed watching such a thing from a distance.

His fingers stroked softly over the chain before letting it go and drawing his hand out from his pocket, knowing that offer wasn't entirely serious anyway. Despite that, Judal was certainly an interesting surprise. His complicated mind wandered over what could be. One thing he did agree with was that boredom was also something he wasn't all that keen on. The other man was dyed in darkness, but he certainly had grown rather beautiful. He had a strange feeling over such a thought, an insane inclination; what if like so many others Judal just needed rescuing from Al-Thamen? Well, such things were too complicated and dangerous to consider anyway. So naturally Sin would think of it little, or a lot, more. If only, instead of those exaggerated and unattractive promises of joining with him, Judal just offered to join Sin and leave that organisation instead. To be his and to and help build Sindria with him. He knew he would accept something like that.

He heard a soft, polite knock on the doors to his rooms and turned back. Regardless of everything, he couldn't afford himself to be distracted; and thus found he was berating himself for entertaining such ridiculous thoughts.