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The Tale of the Blue Panther and His Rabbit

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Sakurai Ryou is a meek and timid omega. He’s obedient, docile, ever submissive-- the complete epitome and definition of his second gender. From age seven and up, he was vehemently taught that he could never infringe upon those of a higher rank than him, could not excel at anything beyond the very nature he was designed and raised for. His sole purpose is to bear the seed of future generations, to a ruler-- a conqueror, that would raise nations and swallow ones that could only hope to dream of a heavy crown drooping over their brow.

That’s why he was the perfect candidate.

“Isn’t it great, Ryou, that your only pressure is to bear one lowly child from one desperate coupling?” Hanamiya Makoto, his older step-brother, had sneered. 

He had been a mere child then hearing such words, barely above twelve, and Hanamiya barely even fourteen. He remembered that they’d both just gotten out of lectures and heading down to the dining hall, where Hanamiya had then decided to tug on Ryou’s arm to pin him against an adjacent alcove.

Ryou had ducked his head low, tugging at the sleek edges of his vest, worrying at his lip and mentally bidding his brother to go away.

“It must be nice, knowing that your future is paved out for you, knowing that you would only have to open your legs to be showered riches and glory, little brother.” Hanamiya had twirled a strand of his hair in his meticulous hand, an affectionate gesture that Ryou recognized, but still could not appreciate. “Alphas, on the other hand… Our sole duty is to prove our worth.”

He began to tug on Ryou’s hair then, tightening it ever so slightly in his balled fist, the smirk on his lips widening ever so slightly. “Your worth is as any common whore Father picks up off the streets.” He’d pushed Ryou against the wall, and Ryou could feel him exerting the alpha pheromones, forcing him to slip into submission and weakening his defenses.

His tugging had grown so intense now that Ryou was already tearing up, muttering apologies under his breath, and just wishing that he had never been born an omega. Wishing he hadn’t been born at all. The thought of pulling away hadn’t even occurred to him because he simply didn’t have the right to.  

Just as Ryou felt that his knees would begin to wobble and collapse, the pain increasing to the point of lungful chokes, Hanamiya had giggled, a childish mirth in the crinkling of his eyes, smoothing Ryou’s hair down and kissing his forehead in mock affection. Ryou remembered his skin burning from it. “Don’t cry, Ryou,” he’d said. “It’s only our nature.”

It’s been years since then but Ryou could still physically feel that hand wrenching at his hair again.

He had to fight the urge to cover it. Instead, he watched the sluice of water trailing down his arm, busying his mind with the feel of warm heat enveloping his body, the steam of the bath, the stillness. Anything to calm his nerves. But it was all to no avail. 

He couldn’t break away from the events that occurred a day prior. No matter which way he turned his thoughts, the screaming reminder of his biology couldn’t be ignored. 

He’d had his first bleeding, bright red and splotchy on his sheets, and it hadn’t even been an hour since his 18th birthday had passed. Wakamatsu, his assigned body guard and main confidant, had immediately gotten rid of the evidence, chucking the sheets into the fireplace, and Ryou, in his desperate need to verify that all of it was gone, watched until but an ember was left of it. Wakamatsu had promised that he’d never breathe a word of this to anyone, but Ryou knew that it was no use.

His smell was different.

Even if there were no sheets, pillows, and clothes involved, his brother would only have to sniff the air around him to know that Ryou was fully capable of bearing children now, despite not even experiencing his first heat yet.

So, here he was, soaking in a bath in the hopes that it would drown out his scent and all traces of his nature.

The moonlight was filtering in through the open arched window to his right, the curtains swelling capriciously and flittering about, and a few lit candles, courtesy of Wakamatsu, dotted the tiled floor around him. Yet despite such measures, the calming ambience and scent of swirling lilac did nothing to appease the tremor in his bones.

He knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that it was only a matter of time.

Ryou hunched over himself, hugging his knees to his chest, the pattering of his heart so loud that he wondered if the beta servant outside his room could hear it.

He heard the cringe of the door.

Ryou stilled, then attempted to peer beyond the roman archway and pillars to get a glimpse at his disturber. “Kojiro-san?”

The echoes of his own voice and the chirping of the cicadas were the only answers he received. Then the trickling of childish laughter pervaded the room and that was all Ryou needed to know that this would be the climactic reveal he’d been wanting to avoid.

Hanamiya, clad in nothing but a bathrobe, emerged from behind the partition, bearing that carnivorous smirk, a telltale sign that his brother was to be completely obeyed and worshipped if Ryou wanted the night to end well for him. Quickly, he stood to his feet, the water parting around his figure and disrupting the surface as he bowed the way that his brother taught him to whenever he returned home from a venture.

“W-welcome home, my king,” he squeaked, his hands at a steeple reminiscent to that of a pleading prayer.

Hanamiya approached him with steady sway, giggling softly to himself, but Ryou didn’t dare to raise his eyes. Not until his brother gave him the go-ahead. “It’s good to be home, I guess. Look at me, Ryou.” His voice was menacingly gentle, but Ryou didn’t disobey. He lifted his eyes, meeting with steely gray. As par for the course, Hanamiya swept his damp bangs out of the way to bestow a light kiss to his forehead, then massaged at his temples down to his cheeks before resting upon his quivering lips. “It’s unfortunate I wasn’t able to spend your birthday with you.”

Ryou stiffened at the notion, but his brother didn’t seem to notice. His hands continued their trek down to his neck, the feather-light touches examining his Adam’s apple to advance down to his collarbones. “If I had been there, I would have thrown a massive celebration fit for the omegan prince. One of the ones Father used to throw, although they were only ever for his honor.” The hands began to sweep along his chest, softly brushing his budding nipples, Hanamiya’s eyes closely watching for any reaction. Ryou swallowed, his hands balling into fists behind his back with nails biting so deeply he could’ve ran blood.

Hanamiya cocked his head to the side. “Well, since I wasn’t there, what did you end up doing, little brother?” Hanamiya’s thumbs began to dig a little deeper into his nipples, massaging them with intent. Ryou bit his lip to resist the urge to cry out. “Hmm?”

“I… I stayed in my room all day, my king. I wasn’t feeling too well.”

Hanamiya, seeming to have become bored with the lackluster response, moved away from his nipples, much to his relief, and began to caress at his sides before dipping lower and fondling at his ass, twisting his skin like moldable dough. Ryou, again, resisted the urge to cry out, his skin becoming particularly more sensitive to the sensations. His brother had always had a fascination with anticipating his reactions at the slightest touches, but he’d never been so violating till now.

“Oh, that’s too bad, Ryou. But, it doesn’t matter. I’m back from my little trip, so let’s enjoy this time together. Take this off me. Let’s reacquaint ourselves in the bath, neh?” The curious hands released him and Ryou swiftly made to divest his brother of the bathrobe, folding it neatly and placing it on the rack next to the tub. “Good. Now give your brother a massage. It’s been a long week.”

Ryou did as he was told, sliding over to make room for him as Hanamiya made to situate himself in the bath. He didn’t say a word as Ryou tended to his shoulders and back, letting out momentary sighs and gasps, but nothing more than that. Ryou tried to stop his hands from their shaking, focusing on the slide of his fingers against Hanamiya’s skin, the lavender oil filling his senses, but as each minute ticked on, the more nervous he became.

His brother should have already noticed the difference. He was observant to a fault, so Ryou couldn’t understand why he hadn’t brought up anything on his coming of age.

Hanamiya shoved his hands away. “Enough. Come to my lap, Ryou. I wanna see your face.”

Ryou shivered, anticipating another search on his body, but Hanamiya only made to have him sit between his legs. He maneuvered Ryou’s arms to rest around his shoulders, while his hung off the sides of the tub. Even though Hanamiya’s expression was open and seemingly unaffected, Ryou knew better than to assume that he wasn’t being keenly watched for any discomfort or twitch of the lip. He remained petrifyingly still.

“You’ve grown since the last time we’ve done this, Ryou. You don’t look like the little runt I used to remember. I wonder why that is. Don’t you?” Hanamiya almost whispered, mouthing against his neck.

Ryou didn’t say a word. He couldn’t.

“I wonder where the times have gone. If only that old geezer didn’t die off, we’d probably be out having fun like little kids still.” Hanamiya guffawed as if he uttered the funniest joke known to man. He shook his head, grappling at his hair, his smirk almost maniacal. “That damn bastard really screwed us over, Ryou. He made all these kingdoms mad at us because he promised military support, but our cavalries are bar to none because the economy, our economy’s, gotten that shitty.”

Hanamiya bowed his head against Ryou’s sternum, wagging his head like a pouty child. “I don’t know what to do, Ryou. I’m lost.” Hanamiya picked his head up, peering into Ryou’s eyes with the most desperate of looks that Ryou could almost feel sorry for him. “Say, if there was anything you could do to save your older brother, you’d do it, wouldn’t you?”

Ryou couldn’t tell if Hanamiya wanted him to answer or not, but thought it best to at least nod his head to appease him. Hanamiya, like a starved man finding sliced bread, sighed in relief, hugging Ryou’s midriff with his ear against his pattering heart. “I knew you would, Ryou. You would never lie to me,” he said, kissing at his chest and dipping a thumb into his belly button. Ryou jolted from the ticklish sensation.

“You’d never lie to me,” Hanamiya reiterated. Then his ministrations stopped. “That’s why, when you didn’t send word out to me that you’d had your first bleeding, it really hurt my feelings.”

Ryou couldn’t breathe.

Hanamiya’s expression had hardened, his gray eyes cutting with not an ounce of a gleeful smirk on his lips. His fingers, which had been unmoving, grit into his hips, forcing involuntary squeals from Ryou’s mouth. “Did you think you could fool me with a spritz of azalea?”

“I-I’m sorry, brother, I-,”

Hanamiya slapped him. “Did I say you could speak?” He covered Ryou’s mouth with a vice grip, prohibiting him from uttering one more word. “From the hallway, your wretched stench was potent enough to make want to gag, and even being this close to you, I’m ready to vomit.”

He hurled Ryou away from him, uncaring whether it’d bruise his skin or break his rib. “Hmph, it doesn’t matter. This works out better in my favor. Even if you weren’t ready to bear children, I was still gonna set my plan in motion.”

Hanamiya stood to his feet, reaching for the towel so he could wipe himself off. Ryou stayed firmly in place, shakily adhering against the side of the tub, fearing any violence that may come his way and cowering even further when Hanamiya made to get closer. His brother cackled, unplugging the bathtub and watching as the water began to drain, leaving Ryou in a cold and quivering mess.

“Oh, guess what, Ryou? Remember that birthday present I was telling you about? I got it for you.” Hanamiya tossed the towel to the ground, kneeling next to the tub and invading Ryou’s space so that only a sliver of a piece of paper could get between their faces.

Ryou closed his eyes, willing the tears away, knowing what’s about to come.

“So you know that Touou kingdom we’ve heard about ever since we were kids? The one that’s known for its ruthless pillages and merciless killings? The king is looking for a suitable omega to bear his devil spawns. Haha! So, I mentioned my little brother’s name, unsullied and completely virginal.

“And whattaya know? His loony administrators were so moved by it that they immediately want you both to be wed at the earliest convenience. And get this! They promised me 8,000 horses and men with a solidifying contract between our kingdoms.” Hanamiya howled with uncontrollable passion, tossing his head back. “Oh, Ryou. You don’t know how much you’ve saved me. All you have to do is offer your ass to that damn Touou bastard, and let him fuck you till you’re good and pregnant.”

Ryou was crying but Hanamiya didn’t care. He only continued to laugh. “You’re serving your kingdom, Ryou. And that’s a lot more than any omegan whore in this place could amount to. Be proud.” But even as he said that, his words were mocking and they held no solace for Ryou whatsoever. Even when Hanamiya was already long gone, all he could do was sit in the bathtub, uncaring that he was shivering and purpling from the cold, hugging onto the last vestiges of freedom his limiting biology could give him.