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I Just Want You

Chapter Text

Yuta was only 10 when Taeyong came to live at the castle. His mother had sat him down and explained that his father had beaten the Ill I Chil rebels on their island and was taking their young son as a ward. Yuta had begun crying asking his mother if he wasn’t a good enough son; why else would his father be bringing a new boy home? She had hugged him close, tucking his nose against her neck so her scent would calm him. She had explained that his boy wouldn’t be a son to them, it was just a way to punish the rebels…that had only made Yuta more upset. It had seemed so cruel to him. He couldn’t imagine being away from his mother and father, he still slept in their bed sometimes. His mother had also explained that this boy wouldn’t know much of their language and he’d need Yuta’s help and guidance.

“You are to be a ruler one day, my little one.” She had said as she wiped away Yuta’s tears. “This is your chance to practice leading. And you don’t want this boy to be too sad, do you?” Yuta had sniffled shaking his head.

“No, I don’t. I’ll take care of him well. I promise momma.” Yuta’s mother had smiled once more and pressed a kiss to his forehead before taking his hand and leading him to meet his father at the docks.

Yuta still remembered how sad Taeyong had looked, his eyes were rimmed red and he’d kept sniffling. He was clutching at his own shirt, balling it up in his fists, a nervous habit that Yuta would begin to see time and time again. Taeyong had walked several steps behind Yuta’s father, Shin Youngbin – his father’s advisor – was pulling the young boy along behind him. They’d come to a stop in front of Yuta and his mother, his father had smiled at them. Yuta should have been happy to see his father – and it’s not that he wasn’t – but he’d only had eyes for the other young boy. Yuta pulled his hand from his mother and ran to the other boy, pulling him into a hug and tucking his face into Yuta’s neck the way his mother always did for him.

At first Taeyong didn’t like Yuta very much, this hadn’t discourage him though. He knew that Taeyong was upset because he’d been taken from his home and really Yuta couldn’t blame him, he would have hated the people who took him away from his family. But Yuta had been determined to make sure Taeyong felt as at home as he possibly could.

Yuta would pull Taeyong to sit next to him each morning at breakfast, the older boy wouldn’t say anything – but he never protested either. Yuta had carefully and slowly asked Taeyong what kind of foods he liked hoping that Taeyong would understand, but he just stayed silence. Yuta had then sighed and began piling a bit of everything onto a plate for the older boy.

“You don’t have to eat it all.” He would say each day. “Just eat whatever you like.” It seemed Taeyong had understood some of what he’d been saying because he left behind only certain things, so soon Yuta was able to pick out the things that Taeyong liked most. Yuta would then drag Taeyong into the yard where they would study with the Sword Master, Taeyong would sit on the sidelines and watch as Yuta was instructed. Then he’d bring him along to his piano lesson and all his princely trainings. Things went on like that for three weeks before Taeyong even spoke, and then it was only to say thank you or ask for the salt and other mundane things. Yuta was excited nonetheless and found himself waiting to hear Taeyong’s soft sweet voice and clumsy pronunciation. Yuta felt a bit bad whenever he had to leave Taeyong at the end of the day with one of the servants, usually Natsuki, would take the older boy by the hand and lead him to wherever he slept at night.

Yuta thought that one of the adults might say something at some point, like that he shouldn’t be taking Taeyong along to his lessons or to leave the boy alone, but no one had ever said a word. But still it took another month before the two boys were left to their own devices. Something big had been going on, but it was grown-up stuff that Yuta hadn’t really care much about at the time.

“Well, it’s just us.” Yuta had said with a sigh as he turned his body to look at Taeyong at the breakfast table. “What do you wanna do?”

“M-me?” Taeyong had asked softly, barely looking over at Yuta. “Let’s just do whatever you wanna do.” He’d quickly looked down at his plate, playing with his rice while gripping his shirt tightly with his free hand.

“That’s no fun! Come on Yongie.” He’d whined, leaning against Taeyong. “What do you like to do?”

“It doesn’t matter anymore.” Taeyong mumbled, he had looked so sad. Yuta sat up straight and looked at Taeyong in surprise. He’d been expecting Taeyong to make some kind of comment about their…arrangement a long time ago. “S-sorry.” Taeyong must have interpreted Yuta’s surprise as something it wasn’t.

“Don’t be.” Yuta said softly. “I’m sure you miss your mommy and daddy, I know I would. I…I’m sorry Yongie. Do you wanna tell me about them?”

“No…thank you prince Yuta.”

“Will you please call me Yuta….I want us to be on good terms.”

“I-I’ll try.”

“What did you do, Yongie…when you weren’t in your own princely lessons.” Taeyong had paused, looking away from Yuta once more.

“I liked to read.”

“Perfect.” Yuta grabbed Taeyong’s wrist and began to pull him along.

“Where are we going?”

“You’ll see.” Yuta said vaguely.

It takes Yuta longer than expected to drag Taeyong to the west wing and up several flights of stairs once they get to the large ornate door Yuta stops and takes several deep breaths. Next to him Taeyong had bent over holding onto his side.

“Did we have to run?” He’d asked, his voice came out high pitched and whiny. Yuta couldn’t help but smile, he was flushed and pleasantly surprised with how much Taeyong had talked to him on that day

“Technically…no, but you’ll be glad we did when you see what’s in here.” Yuta leaned against the door, his fingers tapping it as he wiggled his eyebrows excitedly. Taeyong stared at him with furrowed eyebrows and a cute pout.

“Fine. Show me.” Yuta had held out his hand once more, Taeyong had stared at it for a long time apparently conflicted on if he should take it or not. He’d sighed and rolled his eyes before slipping his hand into the younger boys’. Yuta steps back, Taeyong following his lead, he begins to pull open the door which is just a bit too heavy for him to do easily. Once he gets it open enough to fit them, he pulls Taeyong around the door with him and into the library. There was every kind of book imaginable in there, in many different languages for all different ages so Yuta had been sure he could find something for Taeyong to enjoy.

Yuta still thinks about the look that Taeyong had worn when he’d taken in the room around him. His eyes had gotten watery and the look in them was truly unexplainable…but wonder and love was probably the closest he could come to putting his finger on it. Yuta had wanted Taeyong to look at him the way he had looked at the library, the way he still looks at the library. Yuta still wanted Taeyong to look at him that way now.


Yuta had never been more thankful for who his father was until a day when he was 12 and the newest member of the royal guard had explained to him how his and Taeyong’s friendship was seen by those outside the castle. He hadn’t asked for the man’s opinion, but some alphas needed to put down those smaller or younger or ‘lower’ than them as if that was some sign of how powerful they were. Yuta hated those kinds of alphas. On that day Yuta had been dragging behind Taeyong and Johnny. Johnny was a young noble visiting from his own manor and Yuta was a bit annoyed with how much of Taeyong’s time Johnny had been taking up. So, he’d dragged them both out of the castle to watch him practice his sword fighting skills which had backfired on him greatly and now he was limping along behind the other boys who were trying to lead him to the castle healer but seemed more concerned with their own conversation that Yuta.

“The young master is quite far behind.” Yuta startled slightly at the sound of the guard’s voice filling the corridor around him, echoing off the tall arched ceiling.

Yuta turned to the man; eyes narrowed in annoyance. “Yeah well, my ankle injured, and my shoulder is bleeding.” He snapped. “I don’t really feel like running.”

“Well, you shouldn’t let that little brat get ahead of you.” The guard says, looking down the corridor where Johnny and Taeyong were turning the corner – out of sight. “Or get that chummy with someone of noble birth who is under you. He’s not equal to either of you.” Yuta had frowned at this, looking up at the man as if he was an idiot. He’d somehow instantly picked up on the fact that he was talking about Taeyong.

“Taeyong is a prince where he’s from. He’s more equal to me than Johnny is.” The man had laughed, it was a cruel and bitter sound that had made Yuta’s stomach turn over uneasily.

“He can call himself a prince all he wants but he isn’t anymore. His family lost to yours, young master, his alpha siblings died in battle and he was shipped off here.” The man leaned down to look Yuta in the eyes. “You basically own him, young master. He’s beneath you. He’s lucky he gets to follow you around like a needy little pup. He shouldn’t be allowed to do half the things he does; your father and mother indulge you too much.” He had paused for just a moment, an ugly smirk had form on his face. “If you’re lucky he’ll be a beta, or an omega and you can at least have a bit of fun with him in your rut until it’s time for your union to someone who’s worthy.” Yuta had felt bile rising in his throat and he’d glared hotly at the older alpha. He hated hearing anyone talk that way, but this man had gone too far talking about Taeyong like he was some alpha fuck toy. Yuta backed up so he could ram his foot into the man’s stomach hard enough it brings him to his knees.

“Don’t ever talk about Taeyong like that again!” He’d screamed in the alphas face and then shoved the hilt of his sword into his cheekbone. Yuta could still hear the sound of bones cracking beneath the force of the metal. The had man screamed in pain and they had echoed around them as his eyes flash red at the young prince. Yuta spat in his eye and ran off as quickly as he could, ditching his heavy sword halfway along. He had been so glad his father didn’t talk like that, didn’t feel that way about Taeyong or tell Yuta he couldn’t be friends with. Little did Yuta know at the time his father truly wasn’t all that different from the alpha guard Yuta had beaten up in the name of his best friend’s honor.


At 14 Yuta notices Taeyong is growing taller than him, he couldn’t help but sulk and pout whenever he had to tip-toe to rest his chin on Taeyong’s shoulder or reach up higher than usual to ruffle his soft hair. They had always been just about the same height and Yuta had liked it that way, would have preferred it if Taeyong had been shorter so he’d be able to tuck Taeyong’s head into his neck more easily. Taeyong didn’t seem to take any notice though, he didn’t even tease him as Yuta was sure he’d have done if things were the other way around. Still, Yuta had been a bit jealous of this newfound height difference (even if it really wasn’t much of a difference) and he’d taken extra time to work out, so he’d still be bigger than Taeyong in other ways. He knew that was stupid and petty and that Taeyong probably didn’t care - that didn’t stop him though. So, he’d take time away from his friend to do just that which was fine as long as he did so when Taeyong was ignoring him for his new favorite book. Still, he’d always come back from a run in the forest to find Taeyong curled up in a corner on the library and Yuta would take pleasure in sitting next to the older boy, wrapping an arm around his thin waist and resting his head on his skinny arm. Taeyong would then complain that Yuta smelled terrible and that the sweat from his hair was staining the sleeve of his jacket. Yuta would giggle – something he only allowed himself to do around Taeyong – and snuggle in closer, trying to rub his head against Taeyong’s chest. He couldn’t help but wonder if Taeyong was as glad that they had met as Yuta was. After everything that had happened to him, Yuta couldn’t really blame him if he still hated his whole family. But he really, really, hoped he didn’t. If he did it might just break Yuta’s heart.


It was at 16 that Yuta’s life and his feelings for his delicate and sweet best friend changed forever. He could still remember how he felt when he’d woken up that day, he was irritated beyond belief before he’d even gotten out of bed which had to be a new record for him usually, he was a pretty upbeat person or at least he tried to be. But his head felt like someone had been repeatedly hitting it was a hammer in an annoyingly consistent rhythm. Still, he had known that certain things were expected of him, so he managed to pull himself from bed and dress for breakfast. His irritation would only grow when Taeyong didn’t meet him at the table that fateful morning.

“Where’s Taeyong?” He’d snapped halfway through breakfast, interrupting his mother and father’s conversation. His father had flashed him red eyes as a warning which usually would have put Yuta in his place, but it really only annoyed him more that morning. His mother set a hand lightly on his father’s shoulder to calm him and then turned a soft smile on her oldest son.

“He hasn’t come up today, perhaps he’s not feeling his best. Ms. Natsuki might be able to tell you more.” She’d said in that calming sweet voice that usually put her son at easy. Yuta had just pushed himself away from the table and swiftly walked out of the room, he’d really just needed the calming prescene of his best friend which made it easy for him to ignore the whining from his younger brother, Jaemin, who was trying to calm him back to the table. Yuta had never visited Taeyong’s room before that day, Taeyong had never let him but he knew he stayed in a room just above the servant’s quarters. It wasn’t the worst place in the castle, but it wasn’t the best either. Yuta was sure Taeyong was a bit embarrassed, so he’d never really pushed it before but now he didn’t really care what the other boy thought about him seeing his room. Yuta felt it was his only choice in that moment.

It wasn’t until he actually reached the floor Taeyong was surely on that the smell hit him and when it did Yuta’s knees actually buckled, bringing him to the stone floor beneath him. It was the sweetest most inviting and enticing smell he’d ever come in contact with. It was like vanilla and honey mixed but with a certain something else underneath that Yuta could never put his finger on. But it was beautiful. Once he had caught his breath, he’d climbed back to his feet only to find himself running down the corridor.

“Master Yuta, you shouldn’t be here.” Ms. Natsuki said when she saw him come into view. She and several other omega servants had been standing near one door, talking in hushed voices.

“What’s going on.” Yuta asked in a strained voice, just barley coming to a stop to do so. His eyes were darting from the group of omegas to the door they were in front of. He’d opened his mouth to speak once more but was cut off by a high-pitched whine filling the air. Yuta had never felt so such need until that moment, it filled him with lust, want, and fear for whoever was in pain. He’d instantly known it was Taeyong and he knew he had to get to him. Now, he figures his eyes must have flashed red because of the way several omegas’ shoulder curved and their necks stretched out in submission. But at the time he was too far gone to really notice any of it.

“Go get a few guards, who are betas.” Ms. Natsuki had spoken in a loud voice to the others, she was older and had known Yuta since he was born his newfound alpha power and pheromones didn’t seem to have any effect on her as she stood firmly in front of the door. Several other omegas scurried off glad to be away from the presenting prince. “Master Yuta, you need to go to your room now. You’re presenting right now and so is Taeyong, you shouldn’t be around each other. Yuta stalked closer to the door when he heard Taeyong’s soft cries coming through.

“He needs me.” Yuta growled. “Get out of my way.” Ms. Natsuki had gotten a sad look in her eyes, but Yuta didn’t really care about her in that moment and certainly wasn’t going to dwell on what that look might have meant. But he did for years later as the events would come back to him on sleepless nights.

“I can’t do that, Master Yuta. It’s not safe for either of you.” She had said and then…Yuta doesn’t remember much after that, he remembers hearing Taeyong’s needy whine once more and lunging for the door and the sound of the guard’s chainmail clinking as they race to detain him. After that it was all a bit blurry, he was glad now that he couldn’t remember much of what he’d said or done.

Yuta had spent four days locked away in his room as he experienced his first rut, it was longer than most which was to be expected for his first. Only beta servants had been allowed in during that time to bring him food and water with beta guards stationed outside his room. Yuta still blushes at the memories of those four days a bit embarrassed with how he had acted and how much he had thought of Taeyong during his rut. He ‘d stayed mostly in his room for another four days only leaving for meals and to allow his father a small celebration, it almost made Yuta uncomfortable with how proud his father was that his son had turned out to be an alpha. Most people had expected it of him, and he was glad he was if only because he wasn’t sure what his life would be like if he had presented as anything else.

On his ninth day in bed he woke to the smell of vanilla, honey, and the distinct beautiful Taeyong scent that doesn’t have a true name. He sat up quickly to see Taeyong at the end of his bed, looking at him with a warry look in his big round eyes. His knees had been pulled up to his chest, arms wrapped around them, face partially tucked into his arms.

“Hi.” He’d whispered and then Yuta had moved without thinking. He was in the omega’s space in a matter of seconds, pressing his nose into Taeyong’s neck. Taeyong had jerked in surprise and shivered slightly but he didn’t pull away.

“I can smell you.” Yuta had whispered against his skin. “You smell sweet...and homey.”

“You smell…woodsy.” Taeyong said after a moment of thought and Yuta had chuckled softly into his neck before finally pulling away -- just a bit.

“Sorry. I’m being one of those nosey overbearing alphas, aren’t I?”

“Well, we both just presented…we still have to get use to things. Don’t worry about it.” Taeyong’s voice was soft and sweet, Yuta shyly looked back at him wondering if he knew about Yuta tried to do.

“I-I don’t know if you know…but I have something apologize for. I came to see you and…well you must have been in hea-“

“Yuta! Shut up!” Taeyong said quickly, covering Yuta’s mouth with his hand. “I-It’s fine. Like I said, we both just presented. Let’s move on.” Yuta stared into the other boys eyes for a long time before nodding his head. Taeyong had sighed in relief and dropped his hand, body sagging slightly. And it’s then that Yuta realized he was in love with his best friend.


Yuta’s world falls apart when he’s 23. He was a bit surprised his father had given him so much time to grow into adulthood and his new responsibilities before announcing it, he’s a bit thankful he did though. He wishes they had been alone though, that Taeyong and Jaemin hadn’t been there but he figures that would have been asking for too much for the universe…of his father.

“Yuta!” Taiki’s voice booms out across that table, making Taeyong jump slightly and bat Yuta’s hand away. They were at the breakfast table Taeyong had been trying to teach Jaemin something from one his books. His eyes were all lit up and shining but his hair had been falling into them obstructing Yuta’s view, that’s when he’d reached out and brushed the offending strands of hair back away only to have Taeyong look at him in surprise. They’d shared a little moment right then and there at the table until Yuta’s father had rudely interrupted them, slightly scaring the omega. Yuta rolled his eyes lazily looking up at his father.

“Yes father?” He asked, voice coming out bored and lazy.

“Dong Sicheng will be arriving in a fortnight so that you two can come to understand each other. You’re to be married in half a year’s time.” The older alpha announced as if he was talking about the tasks his men needed to get done that day and not the marriage of his eldest son. The room filled with tense silence, son and mother staring open mouthed at Taiki Nakamoto. Jaemin was, of course, the first to speak and Yuta had never thought about strangling his younger brother until that very moment, but it seemed appropriate.

“I thought he was marrying Taeyong?”

Chapter Text

Yuta’s head felt fuzzy, racing with a thousand thoughts at once as he walked down the castle halls. He’d always, somewhere in the back of his mind, known he’d have to marry one day and that it would likely be arranged – and not Taeyong. Still, he felt shock coursing through him. Once the very sensible Taeyong had pulled Jaemin from the dining hall Taiki had discussed Yuta’s upcoming union as if he was asking Jaemin what he had learned from his mentors or what Yuta’s mother had discussed with members of the court. His mother, Eunho, had been as blinded by the news as Yuta had, her gentle voice coming out as confused and offended when she’d asked him out right why he hadn’t discussed it with her first. Yuta felt like a dumb little kid once more being; being told what his duties were. But he was a grown man and his father should have consulted him on such a matter. But Yuta hadn’t even said anything, he’d only said he’d wished he’d had more time to learn about Dong Sicheng’s family and begin his plans for courting the omega.

Yuta felt overwhelmed that he didn’t even acknowledge the men opening the palace doors for him. He didn’t even smile at the men and woman that worked in the palace square as he passed them. He exited the walls surrounding the castle and square to find Taeyong and Ten sitting on the cliff overlooking the ocean as they watched Jaemin practicing his sword skills. Two of the family guards stood near the wall, watching after Jaemin closely.

“I don’t know why my father wouldn’t tell me about this.” Yuta said, voice gruff and strained as he sat next to Ten in the grass. He didn’t bother explaining anything to Ten knowing that Taeyong had most likely already explained the events of that morning. “I think I’ve met Dong Sicheng…maybe once before? How the hell am I supposed to mate him?” Ten cleared his throat, drawing the attention of the Princes.

“Weren’t you always going to have to do that?” He asked in a soft voice.

“Shut up, Ten.” Yuta snapped, knowing Ten was right. Taeyong snickered into his hand looking away from his friends.

“We’ll help you through this.” Taeyong said softly. Yuta wanted to push Ten aside to pull Taeyong into his arms to smell his comforting scent, but he held himself back from doing so, knowing it would be inappropriate.

“Thank you, Taeyong. I’m glad I have you…you guys.” Ten raised his eyebrows at Yuta, a cocky smirk on his face that Yuta hated.

“Maybe you’ll be the perfect mates.” Ten put in, looking at Yuta with raised eyebrows. Yuta glanced over at the beta’s head to get a look at his best friend. Taeyong was looking away from them; watching Jaemin intently.

“I highly doubt that.” Yuta said, voice strained once more.

“What would you like to do?” Taeyong asks as he sets down his book on one of the grand library’s mahogany tables.

“I’m fine with this.” Yuta muttered with a small shrug.

“No…you’re not.” Taeyong’s eyes scanned him. “You smell disgusting, your scent is all soured with anxiety. Your jaw is clenched, and your leg hasn’t stopped moving for an hour. It’s not nice. What can we do to chill you out?” He inched closer to the alpha, it almost unnerved Yuta how well Taeyong knew him and how easy it was for him to read him.

“Thanks, Taeyong, but I don’t think I’ll be calm again for a long time…sorry.”

“Then I simply can’t be around you. You stink!” The omega leaned back, nose scrunching up.

“Hey! That’s no fair! You’re supposed to be there for me!” Yuta grabbed Taeyong’s arm and yanked him closer.

“Well, you smell like one of those overbearing alphas that train for knight hood in the gardens. You know the ones, who are clearly compensating for something.”

“Hey.” Yuta whined trying to press Taeyong to his chest. “That’s mean, take it back.” The heavy feeling that had settled into Yuta’s chest since breakfast was finally letting up and his mind felt much less fogged.

“Never!” Taeyong wrapped his arms around Yuta anyway. Yuta slipped his hands under the omega’s armpits, his fingertips running along Taeyong’s skin.

“Ah! N-no!” The older boy tried to slink away from the alpha. Taeyong’s giggles filled the air sending a spike of joy through Yuta. After a moment of Taeyong struggling to get out of Yuta’s grasp the alpha finally let’s go.

“Let’s go eat, before everyone else, I don’t want to see my father right now.”

“Okay.” Taeyong says, sagging against his best friend as he tried to catch his breath. “Do you wanna talk about it?” Silence fell over them for a long time before Yuta spoke.

“He apologized to my mother but didn’t care what I thought at all.” Yuta’s voice was bitter, almost mean. “And you know what I did? I went into perfect princely mode, I told him I should have had time to research his family. I still couldn’t tell him what I really thought.”

“I’m sorry, Yuta.” Taeyong whispered, squeezing him around the waist. “One day you’ll be in charge.” He reminded him in a whisper. “You can chang-.”

“Let’s go eat.” Yuta cut the older boy off and let go of him. Taeyong slowly pulled away from Yuta, letting go of him.

“Okay.” He agreed softly as he turned away to gather his things.

“I’ve been looking for you everywhere.” Ten complained as he came into the dining hall.

“Did you check the library?” Taeyong asked, looking up at the shorter boy as he sat down across from them. “That’s where we were.”

“That’s where they always are. Well, that’s where Taeyong is and you can’t find one without the other.” Jisung said in a sing-song tone from the end of the table. The dining hall was filled with many young men. Yuta’s father had started a program several years back for young people who lived in the village below the castle. If they left their families, servants, knights, soldiers, cooks, and other workers within the castle would teach these boys their craft. At the time Yuta had been naïve enough to think his father had done this out of the goodness of his heart. In reality this program was just a way to keep poor young boys loyal to the crown and in their right positions. Only the betas were allowed to truly pick who they learned from, but alphas and omegas were given certain things they were allowed to pick from. Yuta had seen many of the boys agonizing over what they should choose if they didn’t have any interest in the jobs that were supposed to be perfect for their secondary gender. And yet they still had a weird amount of morbid loyalty to Yuta’s family because the program was keeping them and their families alive and well taken care of.

“Ten is finally gracing us with her presence!” Hendery said excitedly, draping an arm around Ten who just rolled his eyes.

“I need Yuta, I’m supposed to make you special robes for…well, you know.” Yuta silently thanked Ten for announcing his engagement, it would be officially announced soon anyway.

“Alright then.” Yuta sighs as he stands up before any of the boys could say anything or try to pry anything from them.

“How long will that take?” Taeyong asks as he looked between the two.

“I don’t kno-“

“You want to come with?”  Yuta asked, cutting Ten off. Ten just looked up at Yuta in disgust.

“I haven’t finished eating.” Taeyong said, looking down at his plate. “I’ll catch up.” Yuta brushed his fingers through Taeyong’s hair and then followed Ten from the dining hall.

“So? You wanna talk about it?” Ten asked as he wrapped a measuring tape around Yuta’s waist.

“Why does everyone keep asking me that?”

“Because you’re clearly on edge.”

“I just need to get used to it.”

“Sure.” Ten said with a little snort. “We both know you can’t stand the idea of mating with anyone other than Taeyong.” Yuta felt his cheeks flush hotly so he glared down at Ten even though he knew he was right.

“I’ve always known I wouldn’t be with Taeyong; I just need to get used to it.” He insisted.

“I’m sorry.” Ten whispered as he stood. “You shouldn’t have to. You can change things when it’s your turn on the throne.” Yuta cleared his throat nervously.

“I’m not sure my father will ever give up the throne.”

“He has to die at some point.” Ten whispered, it was a risky thing to say if anyone else heard him. Yuta just snorted in response.

“I don’t know, maybe he’s figured out immortality.”

“Whose figured out immortality?” Taeyong asks as he comes into the room, slipping inside and quickly closing the door behind him to keep the Prince’s privacy.

“Hopefully not Yuta’s dad.” Ten said, looking back at the omega. Taeyong gave Yuta a confused look but the younger boy just shrugged and waved his confusion away.

“It’s nothing, how was lunch?”

“Fine. I brought you barriers.” He held up a cloth napkin that was already slightly stained purple from the fruit it held, he shook it in Yuta’s direction. “You didn’t finish eating.” Yuta felt his heart fill with warmth at the omega’s thoughtfulness. They had always naturally cared for each other and Yuta just wanted to be able to take care of his best friend for the rest of their lives.

“Maybe there’s something we can do about this!” Ten yelled as he barged into Yuta’s room.

“What?” Yuta groggily asked. “What the fuck?”

“Keep up lover boy!” The beta said as he nudged Yuta to the side to sit next to him, leaning back against the headboard.

“I’m going to put palace gaurds outside my door and instruct them to not let you in without a sane person escorting you.” Yuta grumbled as he sat up, rubbing at his eyes. Ten only waved this threat away.

“I’d just get Taeyong to come with me, you wouldn’t kick him out. So, I was thinking that maybe there’s a way to do something about this union you’re expect to be apart of. Like maybe we could get Dong Sicheng to hate you!”

“I don’t want to make his life miserable.” Yuta said with a small confused frown, still not completely awake.

“No! You wouldn’t have to.” Ten said, shaking his arm slightly, his hands wrapped tightly around Yuta’s bicep. “Just be more annoying than usual, that shouldn’t be so hard for you.”

“You’re a terrible keeper of the wardrobe, you know that?”

“You love me.” They both turn to look at the bedroom door when a soft knock echoes through the room.

“Taeyong! Just come in!” Yuta called, instantly recognizing his best friends’ particular style of knocking. The door squeaked open and the omega peeked inside. “The one person allowed in my room hesitates, but you just bust in nearly giving me a heart attack.” Yuta narrowed his eyes at Ten.

“I’m your keeper of the wardrobe, I have to come in here.”

“I thought you’d be ready by now.” Taeyong said as he walked into the room and sat in a chair across from the bed. He’d become an expert in ignoring their bickering. “We have breakfast to get to.” Yuta huffed out a groan and flopped back on his bed.

“I don’t want to see him yet anyway.” He mumbled into his pillow.

“We can have breakfast with the boys today, but you do know you’re going to have to face him one day, right?” Yuta rolled over; face squished into his pillow as he glared at Taeyong.

“Don’t remind me.”

“Don’t be a child.” Taeyong sat forward, leaning down so he would look into Yuta’s eyes. Ten got off the bed and began to gather Yuta’s clothes for the day. “I know this isn’t ideal, but this is how things are now. We’ll make the best of it.” Yuta’s heart ached even as a warmth spread through him at Taeyong’s use of the word ‘we’. He liked that they were a packaged deal to Taeyong, but he knew that wouldn’t be a truth much longer.

“Thanks, Taeyong. You always know what to say.” Yuta mumbled, rolling out of bed as Taeyong stood to leave to let him dress in privacy.

The week seems to pass impossibly fast to Yuta. He struggles to read through the history of the Dong house, when he sets the large book down with an annoyed huff on his third day of trying Taeyong had set aside his own things to take the book in his hands. He read aloud for Yuta something the younger boy usually enjoyed but the subject made him a bit sour on the whole experience. As the day of Dong Sicheng’s arrival grew closer the more worried Yuta got. What would happen to Taeyong once Yuta was married? That would question had been haunting Yuta’s mind both during his waking hours and while he slept at night. Taeyong was the son of a former King (who had been stripped of the title and given the title of lord after his rebellion) but his family had betrayed the crown after signing a contract to live as a Kingdom under the Neo Empire. Was Taeyong to give up all his princely lordly rights for the crime of his father? Or would he be given as a token to some alpha prince or lord? He couldn’t bring himself to ask, he was too terrified of what the answer might be. All of the things that haunted Yuta day in and day out since his father had announced his engagement seemed to all be fighting amongst themselves in Yuta’s head on the morning of Dong Sicheng’s arrival. This battle was most obvious from the pain in Yuta’s head which throbbed in a rhythmic beat similar to the one’s that the Minstrel created. His stomach churned with the anxiety and fear of the unknown that filled him. He was silent as Ten dressed him for the day, even the beta could tell it was no time to bicker or tease his prince. He had begun joining his family for breakfast but was silent throughout the affair, but that morning the tension could be felt so easily that even Jaemin kept his thoughts to himself. Yuta noticed Taeyong staying back near the doors of the dining hall as he and his family moved to meet the Dong family at the docks. He wanted to ask if Taeyong was to join them, but he couldn’t find the courage to speak. But before he or Taeyong could say anything his father told Taeyong to follow behind by at least seven steps. For once Yuta wasn’t sure if he wanted his best friend by his side or not.

They stood at the docks and as an impressive ship from the Kingdom of WēiShén pulled into the harbor, Yuta thought he might puke. He looked back at Taeyong, but the omega was staring down at his own shoes. Yuta grabbed onto Jaemin’s hand; the younger boy looked up at Yuta with wide eyes. It wasn’t often that Yuta went to his little brother for comfort. He loved Jaemin but he wanted to be the comforting big brother that Jaemin could go to, that he would feel safe with, and that always had his back. It was surprising for both of them that Yuta was seek comfort in the younger boy. Jaemin turned to look at their mother and asked the one question Yuta had been dreading to find out the answer to.

“Mother? Now that Yuta is marrying Dong Sicheng, and I’ll be an adult soon…what will happen to Taeyong?”

Chapter Text

Dong Sicheng is pretty. Yuta couldn’t deny it. He had full lips, sparkling dark eyes, and sharp features but a soft button nose. But he wasn’t Lee Taeyong. That’s not to say one was prettier than the other but that anyone paled in comparison to Yuta because he was truly lost in the feelings he held for his best friend. But still, the omega Prince was quite pretty, standing in front of Yuta at the docks with both their families’ watching them in a tense silence. Yuta blinks, taking himself out of his thoughts. He takes a deep breath and then slowly sinks into a deep bow the way he learned to when he was just a boy.

“Hello, Prince Sicheng. It’s a great pleasure to meet you.” Yuta stood from his bow; the tension had already eased some by the time he was standing straight once more.

“Truly, it’s mine.” Sicheng bows in return and Yuta would be lying if he said he wasn’t in awe of how gracefully the other Prince moved. Yuta clears his throat; he knew that wasn’t proper, but he needed to do so to keep himself grounded.

“Let me lead you to the gardens.” Yuta offers his arm to the omega, once he looped his through Yuta’s the Alpha could tell that the younger is shaking. His heart sank and he wondered if Prince Sicheng was scared of him or if maybe he was in a situation similar to Yuta – in love with someone else even though it was never meant to be. Two of the Dong family kings-guards follow them as well as Lucas – guard in training – and Yuta’s assigned guard Namjoon. They follow silently behind as their families begin to greet each other. Yuta hopes that if Prince Sicheng was scared of him that their entourage might ease him a bit.

They sit in a thick awkward silence for nearly 5 minutes before Yuta tries to speak up. “This is horrid, isn’t it?” He figures it’s best to go with the truth. “We don’t know each other but I’m expected to court you.”

“It’s going better than most of my mentors said it would.” The omega Prince gives a small smile and sits on the bench as far from Yuta as he possibly could. “I thought you’d be more aggressive. Maybe try to scent mark me or something.” Sicheng bites his lip, looks like he’s unsure if he should trust Yuta with this or not. Yuta’s heart aches, he sometimes forgets how hard it can be for omegas. It’s well known around the castle and with nearby nobles and others who often visited them or that they visited not to mess with Taeyong unless you wanted to have a problem with Yuta and Jaemin, he hadn’t seen omega oppression and harassment up close and personal in some time.

“I promise I won’t do anything like that. Honestly, this is all really hard for me. I always knew my marriage would be arranged but I actively avoided thinking about it. All of this is overwhelming, and I need to get used to it. I’m sure you do as well.”

“I wish I could have avoided thinking about it.” The other Prince whispered. “It was constantly shoved in my face.”

“I’m sorry.” Yuta breathed out, a lump in his throat. “Take time here to explore your interests if you ever need a cover say you’re were with me or will be with me.” Finally, the foreign Prince gave just a small but seemingly real smile.

“Thank you, Prince Yuta.”

Taeyong stood next to Ten on the cliff that overlooked the sea that the Weishen Prince had just arrived on. Taeyong loved the sea, until he was sent to live in Neozen he’d on an island his family ruled. He didn’t get to see the ocean up close much now that he lived above it but when he was anxious or upset, he liked to look out at it and watch its many moods. The ocean in Neozen was deeply different than the one from home that was beginning to fade from his memory. The one in front of him is a deep dark blue, it was angry and fierce, it wasn’t a friend to those who couldn’t understand it. It had harsh emotions but when it calmed it was still just as beautiful and welcoming as the turquoise waters of Taeyong’s home. Which is why he watched it then, to try and calm his aching stomach.

“Are you okay?” Ten’s voice was unsure and soft like Taeyong was fragile and ready to break.

“Yes, of course, I’m just fine.” Taeyong looked over to his friend. “I’m just thinking about how things are going to change.”

“Everything will.” Ten was always so painfully honest.

“Yes.” Taeyong was often painfully realistic.

“And your feelings?” Now Ten’s voice faded to just a whisper. Taeyong looks at Ten with a soft graceful smile and shimmering tears in his large round eyes. “Those will never change, of that…I’m sure.”

Yuta is expected to spend a lot of time with Sicheng, but he finds he doesn’t really mind it as he had thought he would. He likes Sicheng. At first, he’s calm and quiet and sweet but the more time they spent together the more Sicheng opened up as he realized Yuta wasn’t like the Alphas he was taught to expect. Yuta learned that Sicheng was also sarcastic and funny, they easily got along. But the change of it all is kind of jarring for Yuta, he misses the way things used to be for him -- before Sicheng arrived. He barley sees Taeyong and they haven’t really talked since the other Prince arrived, it felt more like they were acquaintances then childhood best friends that knew each other better than their own selves.

“You seem upset.” Sicheng says on the fourth day since his arrival, as their guard’s escort them to the Royal Beach Sector – a part of the beach blocked off for the Royal Family, completely cut off from the docks and the rest of the beach. The Omega Prince had admitted to Yuta he much enjoyed swimming, and so Yuta thought he might like to spend the day in the water. One set of guards walked ahead of them while the others followed behind, hands on their swords. “Are you alright?”

“Yeah.” Yuta sighs. “Just thinking about some stuff, weighting on my mind.”

“Do you wanna speak of it? It may help. I like to talk to Kun or Junhui when something is troubling my mind.”

“Not yet, still need stew upon it…thank you, though.”

“No problems.” Sicheng hums softly, his deep voice like melody. “Just tell me if you ever do.”

The day is just hovering around hot and the water was cold like melted snow. Sicheng still seems to be enjoying it, flipping through the water and diving into oncoming waves. Yuta watches from the beach with large history book resting on his thighs, he’d like to think he knew the entire history of Neozen as perfectly as he remembered the pattern of freckles on Taeyong’s back but he was to be King one day and he hadn’t always been the best study when he was a boy. A quick look back wouldn’t hurt, though it probably wouldn’t bring anything new to light.

“Why’d you bring me out here if you were going to ignore me the whole time!” The omega yells as he starts wading through the water and back to the shore.

“So that you could have some fun. You’re much too serious all the time.”

“I’m too serious? You’re just a mopey sad sack!” Sicheng stood at the shoreline with his hands on his hips, he was skinny but with defined and lean muscle. Yuta was sure there were many who’d love to switch places with him. “Come on! Let yourself enjoy the day!”

“I won’t make any promises!” Yuta called with a chuckle as he got to his feet, closing the history book and setting it aside on the warm sand beneath him.

Ten and Donghyuck are the ones who come looking for Taeyong. He’s stuffed into a corner of the library with an oil lamp next to him for light within the darkness of his corner. Taeyong hadn’t felt like doing much the past few days even reading hadn’t captured him as much as it usually did. He felt useless. But at least it wasn’t a new feeling for him. There was no Yuta to come and make him look up from the words on the page or to go outside and practice something other than absorbing knowledge or take him to eat after hours of an empty stomach. “How’d you find me?” Taeyong asks the two younger boys as he sets aside his book.

“Really?” Donghyuck asks with a huffed-out laugh, he was best at courtly manners yet. Taeyong found him very endearing. “This wasn’t our last resort, it’s the first place we looked.”

“Ignore him, Lord.” Ten says rolling his eyes as he covered his protégée’s mouth with one small boney hand. “We have given you a few days, but we can’t let you sulk forever. Let’s go do something.

“I like just reading.”

“Well, it’s depressing, and I’m bored because Yuta isn’t around to annoy, and we wouldn’t even let me help him today when it’s my job.” Ten did know how use courtly manners and yet he never did with Taeyong other than throwing the title of ‘Lord’ around – he managed to always make It sound teasing or sarcastic.

“Fine.” The older Omega sighed. “What would you like for us to be doing?”

“No, no, no.” The Beta boy shook his head firmly. “We are doing something for you.

“I truly would just like to read.”

“Bullshit.” Ten says as the same time Donghyuck says, “You really just want to be with Prince Yuta.” - Ten slaps the back of the young Omega’s head.

“Let’s go down to the beach, I know you like the water.” Ten’s voice was softer now, as if he was trying to sooth Taeyong. Taeyong hated being babied. Treating omega’s like they were fragile things was much too common – but he knew Ten meant well. And so, he agrees.

Taeyong had to admit it was nice traveling outside the castle without Yuta purely because they didn’t have to bring guards with them or draw attention to themselves. Taeyong usually only went to the beach with Ten, he didn’t want to tell Yuta how much he missed his home and it was easy to see it when he was on the beach. It might not be the same as his home, but it was the ocean all the same. Ten could understand that side of Taeyong that missed his home so dearly. Not only did he live far from his parents, but they had also moved from his hometown to the village just below the palace. Although they lived in the same Kingdom still, they had lived so far away in such a large Kingdom that the cultures and environment were entirely different. Ten and Taeyong could talk about these things only with each other when Yuta wasn’t around. They didn’t want him to feel hurt because it wasn’t about him but culture and home and family all things he had in Neozen.

“I’ve always wanted to travel somewhere else.” Donghyuck said as he carefully picked which rocks to walk on, the ground leading down from the cliff the palace sat upon was jagged and covered in many obstacles. Ten had explained why Taeyong loved the beach so in as quick and simple way possible when the younger boy had asked, saving Taeyong from answering a question that brought a mix of emotions into Taeyong’s heart.

“Well, if you stick with the keeper of the wardrobe than you’ll travel with whoever you dress.” Donghyuck looked back at Ten excitedly.

“Really? Then I totally will!” Taeyong giggled softly at the young omega’s excitement at such a small part of his would-be career.

The three boys travel down the slopping hill that forked into town roads – the village or the beach. They followed one to the beach where the docks were loud and bustling. Donghyuck talked most of the time, entertaining the two older boys who would smile and glance at him fondly. The younger omega only stopped talking when they reached the Royal Beach Sector. It was set back from the docks, far down the beach, a large wooden structure that managed to look towering, elegant, and homey all at once. Inside it was open to the ocean and had many luxuries such as places to sit and draped curtains along the glass ceiling that could be pulled back to let in sunlight, tabletops to eat at, and a small pit for a fire if one so desired. Taeyong usually just swam and soaked in the smell and the sun and the salty water on his skin while Ten sat at the shoreline with his feet dipped in the water as they discussed things that didn’t really matter or that matter so greatly they could tell no other soul.

“Are we really allowed to be here?” Donghyuk suddenly asks nervously as they reach it.

“Yes.” Ten answers without hesitation. “Well, Lord Taeyong is and we are basically his guests in this situation. Plus, Yuta would get us out of any trouble if we were to run into it.”

“Comforting.” The usually cheerful boy muttered with a look of anxiety coming over his face. Taeyong chuckles softly as he takes the lead, not worried about being in a place made for the royals even if he probably should be. He enjoyed it too much to care. He was actually beginning to feel much lighter after traveling with Ten and Donghyuk, talking casually and openly, under the slightly cloudy blue sky and the shinning – but not overwhelming – sun. There was still an odd sort of heaviness that he felt in the middle of his chest but at least he wasn’t moping any longer.

Yuta was surprised to find that Sicheng had a playful side to him. With their guards asked to wait on the western side of the structure behind the walls – a request from Prince Sicheng as Yuta would never dare make his new friend afraid to be around him. He seemed lighter and happier without watchful eyes following his every move, and with his wet hair and salt on his skin he was more in his element. As Yuta had followed the skinny Omega into the water, he began to lead him further out until the water reached their chests and then he began to splash and tease Yuta. It was nice, it actually seemed normal and light. Like something he might have done with Ten, Taeyong, or Johnny in their youth. It starts a bit of a childish water war which leads to dunking one another in the water and chasing each other up the beach. Yuta grabs the omega Prince around the waist and lifts him into the air, kicking up sand around them as he rushes back to the water with a struggling Prince in his arms. He has to grab on to one of the boy’s muscular thighs as he twists and turns in an attempt to free himself from Yuta’s hold but he’s giggling and breathless with a bright and shining stretched out upon his face. The door to the east opens loudly as wood scraps on wood and the hinges creak with age, it’s so heavy and old it takes two to open or close. Yuta turns to tell the guards to leave them be, but no words leave his mouth as his smile slips off his face. His heart is in his throat and his stomach swoops feeling empty yet achy all at once. His grip on Sicheng tightens ever so slightly. Taeyong stands in the doorway, Ten and Donghyuck hovering just beyond him hands on the door while trying to get a look inside at what had made the older boy freeze where he stood.

“Oh, I-I’m sorry Y-Prince Yuta. We didn’t mean to interrupt your time together.” The Omega’s voice is shaky…almost scared. Yuta holds his breath. Taeyong then does something he hasn’t done with Yuyta…maybe ever, as Yuta is setting the other Prince back on his feet – one hand still on the other boy’s waist his other now nearly resting on his ass but Yuta wasn’t really paying attention to anything other than his best friend. Taeyong dips into a bow with his back straight and his body rigid, it looks painful.

“Oh, no it’s-I didn’t know you guys would spending the day here.” Yuta says, bolting away from Prince Sicheng when the Omega looks up at him with raised eyebrows.

“I’m fine with them staying.” Sicheng says softly, eyes darting between the three newcomers faces to Yuta’s.

“We wouldn’t want to interrupt. You clearly want time together, alone. Courting is a private process.” Taeyong’s voice cracks somewhere in the middle of his sentence. His eyes are glazed, he won’t look at Yuta.

“It’s okay real-“ Sicheng is cut off before he can really say anything at all.

“No really!” Taeyong says in a nervous rush. “Let us get out of your hair. Prince Sicheng, Prince Yuta.” Taeyong bows stiffly once more and turns, nearly running into Ten, to usher the other two away from the door before pulling it closed with surprising force and strength. “Don’t. Say. Anything.” His tone is both crisp and empty at the same time. His breathing is now shallow from the effort it too took to close door on his own. Ten and Donghyuk both hold their hands up and let the other boy pass them at a brisk pace, they exchange worried glances behind his back. Taeyong doesn’t looked to see if the others are following, his chest is tight, and he feels so foolish that he’s already so close to tears. He wishes only to lock himself in his room and forget the day had happened.

Chapter Text

Jaemin has friends. There was Taeyong and Ten of course but they seemed so attached to Yuta…did they even count? Then of course there was Seungkwan his keeper of the wardrobe and Doyoung his advisor (who felt more like his actual keeper), he considered them to be friends. Then there was Jeno, Donghyuck, and Jisung who worked about the castle, Jaemin was very close with them. However, Lord Chenle was his only friend who didn’t live in the castle and he almost never saw the other boy. He wasn’t even sure if he’d presented yet and what he might be if he had. They had once sat under a table in the ballroom and discussed their secondary genders. Jaemin admitted he wanted to be an Alpha like Yuta because he looked up to him so much, but that when he looked at Taeyong – someone else he greatly admired – he thought maybe that would be nice as well. He’d had nothing against Beta’s but…they didn’t seem special in Jaemin’s eyes when he was a kid. They weren’t known for being strong and brave or nurturing and soft. Beta’s could be trackers and they were generally the calm and collected type. Jaemin was a messy kid, all over the place and excitable and yet…he still turned out to be a Beta. Chenle had said he wanted to be Beta, his sister and mother were Beta’s and compared to the Alpha’s and Omega’s he knew they weren’t nearly as calming to him.

Chenle was his only other friend though. Outside the Palace that is. He was so stupidly excited to have another young Prince his age in the Castle that he avoided him completely. He didn’t want to act like a fool in front of the pretty new Prince. His name was Renjun, he was kind of small and skinny with hair that was all shiny and smooth looking. Jaemin wanted so badly to just talk to him, to make the foreign Prince like him, and finally have another connection outside the people he’s known since he’d come out the womb. Instead he just watched him from afar in a way he insisted wasn’t actually that creepy.

“Don’t make me be the one to talk back to the Prince.” Donghyuck groaned into Jisung’s arm as he rested his forehead against the younger boy’s shoulder in annoyance. “We have spent two days like this, it’s worse than the days of avoiding him. Just go up to him and ask if he wants to mat-“ Donghyuck’s mouth is covered by Jeno’s hand, the other boys’ eyes are wide as Donghyuck looks up at him.

“Think about the words you are about to say to a Prince.” Jeno growls softly. Jaemin looks back, rolling his eyes. He thought Yuta and he must have truly been ignored by their father if they’d learned nothing of the distain of commoners, friendships, and banter.

“He truly shouldn’t say that.” Jaemin agrees with Jeno, who drops his hand. “Not because I am royalty but because I’ll kick his arse for being so crude.” Jisung lets out a bark of a laugh that sounds like a small pup, which distracts Jaemin he reaches out and pinches the younger boys’ cheeks.

“Cute, cute, cute!” He sang, tilting his head from side to side as Jisung attempted to push the Prince’s hands away.

“Ah! P-Prince Jaemin!” Jeno was staring behind Jaemin’s shoulder, eyes wide and nervous. “You might want to turn around.” Jaemin turned slowly, behind him stood Prince Renjun with his advisor, Yanan - who was unnervingly tall though he had kind eyes and a pretty face. Prince Renjun looked incredibly unamused.

“Why have you been following me around for days?” The Prince asked, a crease between his eyes and frown pulling down each side of his mouth. Jaemin was sure he was about to pee his pants.

Sicheng isn’t a fool. Clearly that Omega with the soft looking hair and sparkling eyes felt a certain way about Prince Yuta. He couldn’t tell if it was fear or affection from his reaction that day at the beach. Yuta had refused to explain anything, he’d been quite distraught the rest of the afternoon. He supposed it could have been something to do with Sicheng himself, but he didn’t think that was the case – not from how Yuta had reacted. It might be silly to meddle in his betrothed’s affairs, but he was very curious, it was in his nature, and they were to be married after all. The opportunity to learn more came to him not long after their trip to beach. His keeper of the wardrobe had fallen quite ill and he recalled Yuta’s playful words that had accompanied a pinched sort of look as if he’d been fighting between a kind of pained expression ‘what’s mine is yours’.

“Kun!” Sicheng called from the bedroom to his advisor who was waiting in the sitting room.

“Yes, Prince?” The other man asked as he entered the room. “Call down to Yuta’s advisor, ask him to send the Prince’s keeper of the wardrobe.” Kun looked shocked at this.

“Sir, I know it’s not exactly my job, but I can help you dress, in Junhui’s absence.”

“No need.” Sicheng said with a flick of his wrist. “Yuta had told me that I could use whatever I need, ‘what’s mine is yours’.” He said, quoting the other man.

“Of course, Prince.” Sicheng rolled his eyes at Kun’s formal nature, he’d known him nearly all his life and he just wanted people to treat him normally from time to time. Junhui knew how to but Kun struggled with it after Sicheng’s father had once caught them speaking informally with each other and had someone punish Kun - a boy of only 10. Sicheng couldn’t blame him for his worry.

Yuta’s servant was called Ten, strangely enough. He seemed very confident when strolling in the gardens next to the Prince in the mornings, yet he now seemed nervous as he carefully sorted through Sicheng’s trunk after getting rid of the Prince's wet beach clothes. “I hope Junhui recovers soon. I’ve talked with him a few times at breakfast, he’s very sweet.” 

“Yes. He’s a good worker as well. He’s to be making me an outfit for the ball, he’s drawn some beautiful things and I’d be disappointed not to wear them. I’m sure he’d be sad not to create them.”

“I’m sure he’ll be glad to hear you think so highly of him and his work. Yuta isn’t as inclined to think of his wardrobe at all. I usually have to track Taeyong down to get any feedback on my work.” Ten talks rapidly as he kneels in front of Sicheng and begins to roll his socks onto his feet. Sicheng, tilts his head as he watches the beta below him.

“Taeyong, that’s Omega you were with at the beach. Correct? I haven’t seen him much.” Ten stiffens and Sicheng’s heart rate picks up, he’s not the best at concealing his alternative motives on the rare occasions he has them. He wasn’t made for sneaking and lying and gossiping as many others within the court so often are.

“Ah, yes. That’s Taeyong. Lee Taeyong, he’s a Lord and ward of King Taiki, he’s usually reading in the library or gardens. That’s probably why you haven’t seen much of him.”

“A ward. How long has he been here?” Sicheng feels a sort of pit in his stomach. He couldn’t imagine being a ward to another King.

“Since he was 10.” Ten whispers. “I’m not sure I should share much, it’s not my place or my information…I’m sure you understand.”

“Oh, yes of course.” Sicheng is a bit disappointed but he understands and likes that this Beta seems to be a good person. Better than Sicheng was hoping for but that’s not a bad thing. “You’re a good friend.” Sicheng says softly and Ten offers a small smile and continues to dress him.

Taeyong’s muddy mind is pulled from sleep by the sound of frantic knocking on his door. Taeyong slowly pushes himself up from where he’d been laying on his belly. His mind is still slowly starting back up after hours of sleep and his blurry eyes take in his darkened room. He glances at his one window where the drapings were pulled closed, there’s no sunlight peeking through which makes him wonder what time it was. The knocking starts up once more making Taeyong jump slightly in surprise having forgotten why he’d woken in the first place.

“One moment!” Taeyong calls, rubbing his sore eyes with the palms of his hands. He stands, hissing softly at the cold of the stone floor seeping into his body when his bare feet touch it. He pulls on a heavy red embordered buttoned tunic on his way to his door as he was only in his trousers. Taeyong pauses once he gets to the door, he knows who is on the other side. He can smell his sent through the door even if he couldn’t see him. He felt so stupid in so many ways and all he wanted in the world was to wipe the incident from their collective minds so they could go on as normal once more.

“Taeyong?” Once more the omega finds himself jumping in his own skin after forgetting himself. “I know you’re right there. Please open the door?” Yuta’s voice is soft, he sounds deeply sad with exhaustion clear just from the sound of his voice. Taeyong finally opens the door leaning his shoulder against it. Yuta’s hair is messy and a bit oily from his day of sunshine and exercise, he’s wearing an old and much too big linen shirt over his beach shorts, his eyes wide flicking back and forth over Taeyong’s face.

“It’s late.” Taeyong points out voice coming out much softer than he’d meant for it to. “You should be in bed.”

“Sleep doesn’t seem very important right now.” Yuta frowns his voice coming out rough, Taeyong tries not to take it personally.

“What about my sleep?” He offers a smile, it small but his voice is sweet, but Yuta’s eyes widen and he freezes.

“You’re right.” He nods and Taeyong’s smile falls. “I’m sorry I woke you. Please go back to sleep we can ta-“

“Yuta!” Taeyong cuts him off. “It’s fine. You’re already here and I’m already awake, what is it you wanted to discuss?”

“Today..The way you took off-“

“It was nothing, I guess I was just surprised. We usually don’t even talk to the others without each other. It was quite surreal. I was being a hypocrite; I was just coming there to spend time with Ten and Donghyuck.”

“But you called me-“

“It was just a weird moment.” Taeyong cleared his throat and looked down at Yuta’s shoes and his own bare feet. “I’m sorry. I’m really glad you and Prince Sicheng are bonding it’s best for you two in the long run.” Yuta clears his throat and finally makes eye contact with Taeyong.

“I guess. Can I come in?” Taeyong glances back into his dark room.

“No.” Taeyong pushes Yuta further into the corridor as he closes his tunic, fumbling with the button as he moves into the corridor and pulls his door closed.

“You’re not wearing shoes.” Yuta points out.

“Let’s not go outside then.” Taeyong gave Yuta a little smirk and let him lead the way.

“Tell me about something else?” Taeyong asks, his voice echoing around the throne room.

“Like what?” Yuta asked, his voice filled with amusement.

Anything. You’ve been going to your father’s council meetings, right? Tell me about those.” Yuta scrubs a hand through his hair looking stressed.

“You don’t wanna hear about that, it’s a bit doom and gloom at the moment.”

“Well, now I need to know even more. Is something wrong?”

“Northern invaders have made it past our boarders. We’re trying to push them back. Our alliance with WēiShén is more important than ever right now, they’ve brought us men to strength our forces.” Yuta explained, his voice strained with stress.

“Will you have to fight?” Taeyong asked, he knows there are many other possibilities to worry about from the information Yuta had just given him, but he couldn’t help but imagine the Alpha in heavy armor dirtied with mud and blood. He imagined him fighting the larger invaders from the North and he imagined him falling in the middle of battle. Again, he saw the Alpha fall but this time he was trampled by other warriors to become just another body among the piles and piles that war creates, that they burn away without any care. He sees his best friend fall in war a hundred times in a hundred different ways.

“Who knows. If we can push them back or scare them with the amount of men, we have in our army perhaps things will settle before thousands die in war. My father will leave soon, to go fight with his men on the front lines. He says it’s important for Kings to fight with their men or else their men will have no reason to fight for them. I’m sure they’d still fight for their families, but I suppose that’s the most noble and humble my father can get and it’s better than nothing.” Taeyong instinctively reaches out to take Yuta’s clenched hands. Taeyong unfurls his long thin fingers to smooth them out, Yuta visibly relaxes, Taeyong’s thumb runs along his palm and massages in slow smooth circles.

“I should go. I’m too old to hide behind the palace walls and let my people fight for this Kingdom.” Taeyong freezes, his hands stopping their massage.

“Don’t go yet.” He whispers. “Just wait…just a little longer? Wait to see if they can push them back.”


“Please. For me?” Yuta turns his head to look up at the Omega, his eyes shining with unshed years. “I am so afraid to be alone here. I do not know what is to come of me if you’re not here.” Taeyong whispers, his voice nearly breaking. Yuta sits up straighter and leans in until their foreheads are touching. Taeyong lets his eyes fall shut as his heart aches painfully within his chest.

“Taeyong I-“ The couple is shaken from their own world when the castle shakes, the sounds of falling bricks that make up the outer wall falls. They jump up and Yuta grips Taeyong’s wrist painfully. “We have to leave the castle.”

Chapter Text

“What’s going on?” Taeyong asked, his hands grabbing at Yuta’s arm as they stood up. Distant yelling, metal clanking, and other loud but unintelligible sounds reached Yuta’s ears as his heart raced.

“Rebels or invaders.” Yuta muttered as he tried to think of everything that could be happen, which Lords had been causing unrest, how the invaders would have been able to get to the Palace so quickly, going through any scenario that might currently be happening. “We need to find Jaemin and get out.” He began pulling the Omega from the throne room.

“What about Prince Sicheng?” Taeyong asked. Yuta looked back into Taeyong’s worried brown eyes, they pause there in the hallway before the sound of breaking glass comes from the throne room. Yuta looks away, breaking whatever spell had been put over him.

“Shit.” Yuta yanked Taeyong down the hall and into a small nook that lead to a servant’s door. “Do you trust me?” The Alpha had pulled the Omega’s body close to his, only a breath between.

“What? Of course?”

“Good. I’m sorry if this is an invasion but I only do it for your safety.” Yuta leaned forward and brushed his nose against Taeyong’s scent gland on the left side of his throat. He let his breath ghost over it before running his cheek over it. “Do the same to me, they’ll think you’re mine. They might not respect that but it’s better safe than sorry.”

Jaemin yanked the other young Prince down behind the bush they’d all been using to hide from him when the sound and sigh of the Palace wall being struck down in the distance.

“What the hell was that?” Renjun asked in an accented and panicked whisper.

“I-I don’t know.” Jaemin was so panicked he didn’t even notice how his arms were still cradling Renjun’s.

“We should go help the guards.” Jeno said, glancing over to Jisung who was already beginning to nod.

“Are you insane!” Donghyuck asked in a livid growl. “You’ve barley had any training you fucking nitwits. We’re under attack and you want to run towards the enemy with no knowledge on how to fight them?” Jeno opened his mouth to speak his eyes flashing red.

“Donghyuck is right.” Jaemin hissed. “We should find Yuta. You guys will stay with us and cover our backs. I…I know the Palace the best, I’ll lead us.”

“Sir,” Renjun’s advisor began. “I don’t think that’s the best idea, you’re very im-“

“I know the Castle the best.” Jaemin snapped. “You should stay close to Prince Renjun and Donghyuck doesn’t know his way around like I do. Jeno and Jisung will protect us as we go. We’ll stay low and quiet. Let’s go.”

“I can lead you through the servant’s hallways.” Taeyong whispered, pulling away from Yuta to see if the door was unlocked and thankfully it was. He felt like some had lit a match in his stomach and the flame was quickly growing and spreading throughout all of his limbs. He and Yuta had been close in many different ways in the years they’d known each other, it came with being as close as they were and living in the same place but having Yuta scent him was a completely different thing altogether. From the act itself to Taeyong knowing that others would smell Yuta on him. That others would think he was Yuta’s and Yuta his. It was all too much for the Omega and he was beginning to feel dizzy. That coupled with the panic of a siege going on in the place he’d called home for his entire childhood was almost too much for him to handle.

“Do you take this way a lot?” Yuta asked quietly as they walked up a set of narrow staircases.

“Sometimes, at night. The guards don’t have keys and even if one of the doors is unlocked, they don’t really know their way around from back here. So, it’s a good way to stay away from the more unsavory Alpha guards or trainees.” Taeyong glanced back to see the uncomfortable express that Yuta was wearing. Taeyong tried not to bring up the problems he and other Omega’s go through and the things he’d gotten use to that he wouldn’t have if he’d never become King Taiki’s ward.


“It’s okay, Yuta. Let’s just get Jaemin, Prince Sicheng, and get out of here.”

“And Ten.” Taeyong glanced back at the Alpha with wide eyes.

“Of course.” He said firmly with a nod and then cleared his throat. “We’d better hurry.” The two men make their way through the back halls of the castle.

“Here.” Taeyong stopped in front of a dark red door that led into a familiar corridor. “This is where Prince Sicheng is staying, correct?”

“Well, I don’t actually know. I wouldn’t want him to feel unsafe here so I figured I should let him keep his room as a safe place – a getaway for all the new stuff around him.”

“That’s very kind of you.” Taeyong said softly, his eyes and heart softening.

“But, uh, I do think this is where he is.” Taeyong took the role of follower once more as Yuta began looking for the room Sicheng would most likely have been put in. Taeyong’s heart nearly stopped when they saw someone standing near one of the suite doors. His hands shot up to grasp Yuta’s shoulders as he tried not to gasp, but once he recognized who’s back was facing him.

“Ten!” Taeyong moved past Yuta and barreled over to the Beta who’d only just turned around. He yelped in surprise but managed to catch Taeyong in his arms.

“Yongie?” Ten asked sounding slightly out of breath. “Gods, you scared the hells out of me.”

“Sorry. I’m just so glad to see you.” The Omega said as he pulled back, eyes bright with unshed tears.

“What’s happened?” Ten asked, eyes landing on Yuta.

“I think the attacks in the North were a distraction to get a team into the Palace while most of our forces are gone.” Yuta explained as he walked over to the two of them, his hands coming up to rest on Taeyong’s shoulders. “Is Prince Sicheng in there?” The Alpha nodded to the door behind Ten.

“Yes, this is his room. His advisor won’t let me in.” Yuta moved Taeyong and Ten out of the way.

“Kun?” He asked after giving the white and gold door a little knock. “It’s Prince Yuta. No tricks, I just want to protect Prince Sicheng, like you do. Ten and Taeyong are trustworthy…” Yuta paused, closing his eyes and hating himself for his next words. “Ten is a Beta…and small – Taeyong’s just an Omega. If they were threats, I’d be able to handle them.” He took a step back when he heard the lock clicking out of place.

Taeyong stepped back as the door opened. His head was buzzing, and his heart rate increased, Taeyong tried to tell his stupid heart and stupid brain that he couldn’t afford to breakdown at the moment, but they didn’t seem to be listening. Ten’s hand on his arm pulled him further away from Yuta, the door, and the advisor coming out of said door.

“The castle is under attack and you’re upset about meaningless words Yuta said to get Sicheng’s advisor to trust him? Pull it together. Your smell has soured, you can’t let Yuta know you’re upset we need him focused.” Taeyong nodded rapidly, wiping at his face.

“Sorry, sorry, you’re right. Thank you. Go. Let Yuta scent you, I’ll pull myself together.” Ten paused at his side for just a moment longer.

“He didn’t mean it. Kun doesn’t know our relationship with Yuta. We’re just…a commoner and the son of a rebel to Kun and he’s trying to protect a Prince.” Taeyong nodded knowing Ten was right even if his heart was having a hard time believing it. Taeyong closes his eyes a Ten leaves his side to allow him to collect himself. By the time he’d pulled himself together the entire hallway was filled with the smell of blooming cherry blossoms, strongly brewed jasmine tea, and intense spring-time rain – Yuta’s scent. It was bittersweet to the older Omega; he loved the Alpha’s scent – it had become home to Taeyong. He could no longer scent his mother or older sister and brothers and as endearing as Jaemin and Ten’s scents had become they were nowhere near as comforting, as family, as Yuta’s was. But having the Alpha’s scent all over two Beta’s and another Omega while also being drenched in his scent was overwhelming in a not so great way. The Omega in him felt like he wasn’t good enough and he wasn’t wanted. But maybe that was for the best. At least he hadn’t watched the scenting.

“What’s your plan here?” The Weishen advisor, Kun, asked setting his hands on his hips.

“I’m getting you guys out of the castle and into hiding. There are plans in place for these kinds of situations, but they were able to get in so quickly and I’m sure the guards and Knights are focusing on fighting it’s no place for you.”

“And where are we to hide exactly?” Kun raised an eyebrow, voice hardened which made Taeyong frown and his eyebrows furrow. It was like the Beta was upset with Yuta as if this was his fault. Taeyong glanced down at Yuta whose jaw was tightened and shoulders stiff under the accusation of the Beta.

“This is still my Kingdom. The Nakamoto Family have many friends throughout the Kingdoms and many places to stay.”

“And you just know you can trust them? They could-“

“We don’t have time for this!” Taeyong snapped, drawing all eyes to him. “Right now, we need to leave! Unless you want to stay here and watch as the invaders rape Prince Sicheng.” Kun’s eyes widened and his eyes held anger and offence. “Didn’t think so!” Taeyong wouldn’t let the other talk. “Lead the way, Yuta-ya.”

Prince Sicheng had pulled out the darkest cloaks he’d packed – pure jet black, deep burgundy, midnight navy blue, dark emerald green, and deep plum – and they’d all downed them to help them melt into the shadows. Yuta had Ten and Taeyong lead them through the servant’s corridor for as long as they could to get to the back courtyard.

“Okay, this is the tricky part.” Yuta whispered as he slowly opened the door and peered out. “We need to get to the crypts. We need to get outside and stick close to the walls, okay?”

Jaemin was leading Donghyuck, Renjun, and Yanan through the darkened brick archway that lead to his family crypts. He figured their only course of action was to hide and wait out the attack. Hope their guards won and took the Castle back.

“We’ll need light.” Donghyuck whispered in a panicked tone.

“There are matches down there.”

“And how are we going to get down there to get the matches!” Jaemin flashed his slowing, yellow, Beta eyes with a smirk dancing across his lips.

“Beta senses come I handy sometimes. I’ll lead the way.” Jaemin leads his little party down the steep narrow stairs that led to the resting place of the dead. But instead of the deep dark emptiness Jaemin was expecting the crypts were filled with golden fire light. Five figures turn towards them and Jaemin blinks in surprise confusion. “Hyung?”

“Jaemin!” “Oh, thank gods!” Two familiar voices say at the same time another deeper voice says. “Renjun-ah! Thank the gods you’re here!” Jaemin is enveloped in a hug by two slightly larger but slim bodies.

“Are you guys going to hide down here too?” Jaemin asked once Taeyong and his brother had pulled away.

“What? No. We need to get off the grounds.” Yuta explained.

“How do you plan on doing that from down here?”

“Father never showed you, did he? There are tunnels down here not officially apart of the crypts that lead far past the village below. That’s where we’re going. You’re now coming with us thank gods.”

“Lead the way, hyung.” Yuta turns away from Jaemin, taking the torch he’d passed off to Ten when he’d gone to hug Jaemin.

Yuta lead them down rows and rows of statues and plaques that marked the graves of the dead. Jaemin’s eyes linger on his aunt Eunbin’s fierce Alpha style statue, her Beta husband’s name was on the plaque in front of her. The young Beta knew their story well. He glanced at Taeyong’s back and wondered – not for the first time – what his family must be like. Jaemin’s family may have beaten them down but they had killed Eunbin and her husband leaving their daughter, Juhyun, an orphan all for a senseless rebellion they never could have won. The Beta wondered what Taeyong would have been like if he’d never come to the Palace as a ward. He wondered what his sister and remaining brother were like and if they remembered Taeyong, or if Taeyong even remembered them. He was pulled from his wandering thoughts when the group stopped at the end of one hall. Yuta passed the torch to Ten once more and approached the marble slab that their family crest was craved into. There was one at the end of each hall and Jaemin wondered what was different about this one.

“We have to move it. I’ll need some help.”

Chapter Text

I wanna start off by saying a HUGE thank you to everyone who has been supporting this fic, it seriously means SO SO much to me. But now I'm going to ask something of you. I've been having HORRIBLE writers block when it comes to this fic, I love it so much and I have a general idea where it's going and yet I can't seem to write more than a sentence when I sit down to write it, I have like barely even half of the next chapter written. So I was wondering if there is anything you'd guys really like to see, anything you'd really like to see in this fic (like literally anything at all no matter how small or big) put it in the comments. Next! If you are a fellow writer or artist I'd love to know how you get yourself out of writers block for certain pieces because it's not an overall block it's just for this story (which honestly makes it even more annoying) so If anyone has any tips/tricks/advice I'd love to hear them! Next thing is if anyone would like to be a beta reader for me? I don't have one and it would be really helpful if I did so if anyone is interested please comment. You can also come talk to me on my tumblr if you want to privately message me about any of this! Lastly, should I put smut in this or nah? I'm not a big smut writer but I have done it. Not sure if I should have full on smut or just suggestive scenes, thoughts? Thank you guys for reading this and again for supporting this fic and reading it! I love all of you! (also sorry if there are any mistakes in this I am not going to read through it before posting lmao)