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Oranges and Honeydew

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He was never quite suited for this lifestyle, his throne was too big, his corset was too tight, the people were too greedy for him to care all that much about whether they were killed enough. Mutsuki wasn’t suited for the rich life, especially when he didn’t know where his family went. Family. As in the family he had joined over six years ago, he missed them all so terribly bad, it made his heart sink. Course, all he could do was hope, hope for some sort of change. This wasn’t going to last, he was certain, soon, someone was going to overthrow him and when they did he was going to fling himself welcomingly into their arms.

A jester was present in front of him, laughing at his absurd jokes and encouraging him to do the same. He wouldn’t laugh. He was as cold as a lake on a frozen over mountain. There was nothing to laugh about. Truly, this jester was trying his best, Mutsuki could see it on his face, he was chosen for this, forced to, he was fearful of his fate; who wouldn’t be? No one wanted to die.

It has been forever since he even cracked a smile, it had only been a few months, maybe he was just being overdramatic, no, it’s just that he would never smile for him. Mutsuki couldn’t even keep eye contact with the man that was his betrothed.

“Is there something wrong, dear? Is the entertainment not to your liking?” Immediate disgust welled up inside of him, a common feeling, never fleeting, it always stayed, festered, made him want to run out of the room and throw up. Mutsuki shifted in his throne, turned to look at Saeki, even when he was sitting, the monster still towered over him. Now was the time to think, he was getting better and better at it, selecting the options that wouldn’t send the man into a blind rage, wouldn’t end with Mutsuki having to go into hiding because of a black eye. The restriction of magic was mandatory, the drugs that were practically forced down his throat every other day didn’t help. Mages were wanted criminals after all, Mutsuki was just one of the painful exceptions.

“It’s fine, don’t fret about it,” There wasn’t much else to say, Mutsuki agreed to this, the last thing he wanted to do was make things worse. This marriage wasn’t pleasant, far from it actually, Mutsuki had spent most of his time locked up in the bedroom on purpose, knowing that the infamous “King Torso” would know better than to flatter him with compliments and shower him with gifts when he was in a mood. The one thing that Mutsuki respected about his husband, he understood what ‘privacy’ meant, despite it being a foreign word when it Mutsuki exited his chamber.

If he showed one single hint of displeasure at his current entertainment, the poor jester would be the one who paid the price. Executed like all of the other previous servants he had known for only a few weeks. If anyone was going to be hurt it would be him, and he was doing a damn good job at keeping Saeki at bay when it came to his favorite method of murder.

Chopping up torsos and hanging them up for display in the center of the kingdom, such a terrifying thing to witness, Mutsuki saw it himself when he was just stealing food for his own; there was no shame of the deceased’s genitalia being exposed, the bloody torso was always fresh and new, never old, and they always had scars, hauntingly on the one part of the body that Saeki flaunted in front of his many terrified citizens. That was one way to rule , he always thought. He was young and naive, only ten, he didn’t know any better, he couldn’t do any better either…

Mutsuki’s thoughts came to a slow stop, he didn’t want to think about that, it didn’t help that he was staring at Saeki the entire time, those gray eyes wandered too much, gazed over his body as if he were a treat. It was horrible. Was he really even concerned? Mutsuki didn’t want to find out, any form of affection would have been promptly rejected if they weren’t in public at the moment. He was humiliated by the fleeting cheek kisses, the supposedly tender holding of his hands, there were even occasions of actual lip on lip kissing, the most unappealing of them all. Tutting softly at his own foolishness, Mutsuki turned away and focused on the jester once more, taking notice of the sudden change in the man’s facial expression as his rulers’ turned their attention back to him.

It seemed like he was overwhelmed, he had to be, if he began to run towards the exit of the castle, whatever bravery that was left in him dissipated right before his eyes. Immediately, he found himself to be standing up, he knew where this was going, he didn’t want to be present to find out, hastily he backed out of the throne room, not even hesitating to turn away as soon as he heard Saeki’s wretched screams echo through the chamber, demanding that the man be stopped.

Running in a dress was difficult, unfavorable and painful since he couldn’t breathe properly because of the damned corset, but Mutsuki didn’t stop until he was back up into his chamber and had slammed the door shut before locking it. Here, he had some form of peace, looking out over the more scenic part of the kingdom, a large forest with almost inhumanly ginormous trees sprouting up and almost stabbing the blue sky with their green leaves.

Saeki didn’t chase after him, not until everything was ‘settled’, sometimes it took hours for him to come rushing up, cooing to Mutsuki through the door for a good fifteen to thirty minutes before ultimately giving up and leaving to do god knows what. His method of hiding wouldn’t last forever, he knew, if he kept this up the guards would probably barge in one day and cease him, even if he was dragged out screaming and crying for release. What was going through Saeki’s brain was beyond him, there were times where he worked extra hard to be as caring as possible and there were other time where he would go into a screaming and raging fit, this man was currently in his early thirties, it bewildered Mutsuki as to how he managed to stay ruler without being overthrown at some point for being so childishly dangerous.

It had to happen sooner or later. It just had to happen. Saeki’s iron fist on his kingdom would soon be unclenched at some point, when it did Mutsuki would take great pleasure in watching him die. But not yet, he needed to be patient. He would wait as long as it takes. Maybe his family would return one day, to rescue him, there was truly no way he was going to get out of this. At first he was in denial, but now he was relying on outside forces to come to his aid. Pathetic, he was pathetic. He shouldn’t have to need help, but he did, and that only upset him more.

With that in mind, Mutsuki hesitantly cracked the door, leaving it ajar before sitting down on his bed fiddling with the outfit that was supposed to be the castle’s most comfortable dress. He didn’t know how to handle his own situation at the moment, the best thing he could do was to just get used to it, something that he was very reluctant to do. Through his partially shut door and the almost soundproof wall, Mutsuki could still hear the muffled desperate pleas of a man who did nothing wrong. It almost made him consider shutting the door again but the noises were just enough to leave him frozen. Would he end up like that one day?

He knew back in the old days he might have, but now he was almost certain that Saeki was infatuated with him. He gave him a chance to survive after being caught, he even offered to fetch him a fresh pair of clothing when his old ones were torn to bits on that night. Mutsuki was merely foolish enough to accept, his terribly optimistic side making its appearance at the worst time possible. Because of that one kind gesture, Mutsuki wondered if Saeki was good after all. A price he would have to pay only a week later.

The young adult stayed in his sitting position, at least until the screams stopped and then laid down on his back, gazing up at the ceiling, watching, waiting, listening. As soon as he heard footsteps he would be shocked into fear and transformed into a submissive nobody, a nobody who would run, hide, and cower. If he had actually loved Saeki, well, that would be a different story, he would probably punch him and slap him and kick him for killing someone, but he couldn’t bring himself to do something like that, especially since his maid considered their marriage to be, “As fragile as a flower in a desert. Since it’s so new.”

Needless to say, that definitely meant that Mutsuki would fuck himself over if he retaliated in any way shape or form. He was already pissing Saeki off just from his constant hiding, more direct rejection would lead to anguish. As he was once again lost in his own abyss of thoughts, Mutsuki failed to notice the footsteps that he was playing in his mind were actually real. He failed to notice Saeki enter his bedroom as well.

Tap. Tap. Tap. It was faint, but somehow the noise that wasn’t made up in Mutsuki’s mind was the one that caught his attention. Tap. Tap. Tap. It was becoming louder, he was coming closer. Mutsuki felt his eyes trail away from the “Torso’s” direction, one last thing he could do to salvage at least some of his dignity.

His long bone like fingers were cold against his cheeks as his face was almost forcefully turned in the direction of the tall, intimidating man. That smirk, he didn’t like it, how Saeki’s gaze immediately travelled down, feasting his eyes on Mutsuki’s body as if it were a treat to be devoured.

Of course, Mutsuki would be lying if he said they hadn’t done it, it was forceful, and he was crying the entire time. It was obvious Saeki was expecting to get a pregnancy out of it and he was disappointed when it didn’t, that ruined him, Mutuski thought his distraught attitude was amusing to see. That month was fulfilling to say the least, he didn’t get hurt until something urged Saeki to go back to his normal self.

Tap. Tap. Tap. His fingers weren’t even against the wall, but his tick was still present, the tips of his fingers going in a certain pattern on his face, Mutuski felt like it always was when he dared to even sit next to him at the dinner table. Whenever he tapped he was thinking in some way, shape or form, leaving Mutsuki to try and analyze him as much as possible.

“You know Dear, I personally would like to believe that our relationship had a rough start. That being said, it seems like you’re warming up to me, leaving the door open, you’re too kind,” Saeki’s smirk only grew wider when Mutsuki whimpered, moving to squish his cheeks tightly as his own version of affection. Mutuski didn’t like that, one of his hands going upwards and yanking Saeki’s hand off his face, an action that the mindless king would consider to be simply adorable.

“I will never warm up to a murderer like you—” Mutsuki began in a dry and unsatisfied tone, yet his voice was still soft and fearful.

“And I especially didn’t leave the door open for your own satisfaction,” That was enough to shut Saeki up, at least, his fingers seemed to stop tapping. He was no longer thinking, he was getting mad, oh god why did he think saying that was a good idea, he’s done it now, he was going to get hit. Saeki lifted his other hand and Mutsuki braced himself, only to be met with a surprisingly gentle touch, that was… actually gentle. He should have known by now that it was disingenuous.

“Tsk, if you’re rude I’ll have to teach you a lesson, I’m the man of this relationship, you are the woman, you follow me , you respect me . But I’ve realized I’ve might have been unfair, clearly you aren’t ready to carry out the duty of a mother just yet. So, I’ve decided to allow you to leave, wander around, do women things. You’ll need a guard however, to keep you in check, I know you’re a whore, that’s why you were cross dressing around all those men when I found you. This guard will keep you from going astray,” Mutsuki flinched at the insult, flinched at not being considered a man, flinched because Saeki really was attempting to start a family with him just so that he could carry on his twisted bloodline.

Saeki’s hand trailed down towards his neck, wrapping around it and giving his throat a tight squeeze before promptly releasing it when he managed to get Mutsuki to muster out a hoarse choking noise, “You never make that face. Why don’t you make more expressions for me Tooru?”

His grip tightened again, Mutsuki was once again a submissive victim, to fearful to fight back while also praying that he wouldn’t die either. However, whether he wanted to fight or not, Mutsuki still squirmed like a fish out of water, his eyes beginning to tear up, this time Saeki wasn’t letting go, “All I get are blank stares and you chose to show emotion towards other people. Why? I give you presents and compliments. Even now you look ungrateful. I’m letting you leave . I’m letting you go outside of castle grounds, despite knowing you’re going to be a whore. You’re such an ungrateful little bitch.”

The insults pissed him off but as the lack of oxygen began to take its toll on him, so did his ability to think straight. Desperate to live Mutsuki squirmed more aggressively before feebly reaching up and punching Saeki square in the jaw, the release of air running down his pathways and arriving at his lungs making his actions all the more sweeter. He gasped and wheezed for a solid few seconds, in taking as much air as possible in case he was strangled. Saeki clearly didn’t have that in mind and instead punched him in the face in return, except his punch was much more powerful, had Mutsuki been standing upright he was almost certain that he would have been knocked onto the ground.

It hurt, obviously but the pain was almost worth it. Mutsuki would take almost any pain in exchange for his life. He couldn’t help but consider taking Saeki up on his offer, leaving would mean he was far away from any beatings, he could see what he was missing past the castle grounds. But if he had a guard, would that mean he would be hit by him too? Or would the guard be blissfully unaware of the abuse? Either way he did want to wander about, of course, he wasn’t going to go astray and be with other men or women, he already knew doing something like that wouldn’t last long.

Now all he had to do was just word this properly, anything could be said wrong nowadays, “I-I’ll leave and do women things… I’m sorry for putting you through all this trouble.”

Immediately, Saeki smiled his creepy smile, pleased with himself to an extent, “That’s good, the guard will be here in a few hours. I’m glad you’re learning your role Tooru. I knew I was right about you. You’re so cute. Like an angel.”

Flattery was getting him nowhere but Mutsuki still kept eye contact, even if he wasn’t free at least he would be out of the confining walls of the castle. He wondered if Sasaki was going to come and save him.