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Lessons have piled up for him lately. Even though they would usually instruct Riku at a slower pace out of consideration for his weak constitution, the disappearance of the original heir had put the entire kingdom in a state of chaos. Seeming to have no other choice, the King had ordered for Riku to pick up his brother’s prior schedule.

Honestly, it’s a lot to process. Of course, they didn’t stack up on the physical training his brother had done, and to Riku’s disappointment, nor was he allowed to attend sword fighting lessons quite yet. Already, though, Riku did feel like his health was improving for some odd reason.

It was almost miraculous. He’s gotten well enough so that he wasn’t constantly bedridden as he was before.

But his older twin brother… he would never see again. Now’s not the time for him to be sneaking away from his lessons, but he’s really overwhelmed. Usually, he’d be able to absorb the knowledge pretty easily, but it’s like his brain has run out of capacity. After the kidnapping of Prince Tenn, Riku can only focus on the fact that his older brother seems to be gone forever. It is a lot for a twelve year old on the brink of adolescence, after all…

So, these days, Riku has taken to skipping out on some of his lessons to take a breather. Even a week later, Riku can’t get used to it-- and besides, now that he has the chance to experience fresh air and be with nature by himself, there’s no way he wants to be stuck in a stuffy room and be forced to study.

However. It seems like someone has taken his hiding place.

A mature looking boy, although he doesn’t seem too much older than him, looks almost ethereal. He has blond hair that has become slightly disheveled and speckled with leaves that he has yet to take out. His clothes are worn down and dirtied, although it looked much too regal for an orphan. His eyes are shut as if he were sleeping. Riku doesn’t question it, no matter how much he wants to.

Instead, the prince stares at the other boy with wide and curious eyes, lips parted slightly as he hesitantly steps closer to him. He crouches down, dismissing all hesitant thoughts of getting scolded for the grass stains on his pants. Riku reaches out his hand, and he brushes his fingers against the other boy’s cheeks.

It’s warm. The boy’s skin is softer and smoother than he thought it would be. For some reason, he was starting to think he was a doll abandoned on the side. His breathing slows, despite the rapid beating of his heart.

Riku is soon met with bright blue eyes.

“Whoa! So you are alive?” Riku exclaims, cheeks flushed as he draws back, losing his balance and almost sprawls back to the ground. He manages to somehow catch himself by landing on the grass with his hands.

The other boy smiles, “Oh? No one goes around touching corpses.”

He’s really too pretty to be homeless. 

“Ehehehe…” Riku chuckles nervously, scratching the back of his neck sheepishly. “What are you doing here?”

“OH… I was enjoying the weather.” The other boy replies vacantly.

“Like that? But your clothes--”

The stranger is quick to cut him off by standing up. “Don’t worry about it.” He dismisses his concerns with a single wink, offering a hand for Riku to take. 

Still dumbfounded, Riku hesitantly takes his hand, and the stranger then takes to lifting him off the ground. Riku nods back at him as thanks, grimacing at the stains on his clothes. He’s going to really get scolded for this, isn’t he?

He diverts his attention back to the slightly older boy before him, and smiles. “Well, I’m Riku! I don’t usually see a lot of people near the palace that I don’t know, so… who are you?”

“Riku, yes?” The blond pauses as if lost in thought for a moment, but then he shakes his head. “Then it’s a pleasure to meet you! I am Nagi!”

He just gave his name-- no title or any explanation of how he ended up on palatial grounds. He must have to be someone important, right? Riku frowns, staring at Nagi intently to study his features if it could be anyone he actually recognized. Or maybe it’s a new servant at the palace? Well, he might as well ask…

“Um, but.. How did you get here? This is the Rainbow Kingdom’s palace. It’s not that easy to get in here.”

Nagi shakes his head with a frown, shrugging his shoulders as if he knows nothing. “No idea! I just woke up here only remembering my name.” And… it looks like he doesn’t know anything at all. Great?

“Eh? You don’t know anything? But you were acting so calm earlier-- enough to go back to sleep!” Riku protests, trying to make the connection between his first sight of Nagi sleeping away peacefully and that he claims that he has lost his memories somehow.

“OH, I thought it would be all fine if I just went back to sleep. Like it was just a dream!” Nagi returned with a slightly dazed laugh, pausing as he looks over his clothes. “But it doesn’t seem that way now.”

Even if the whole situation is pretty confusing, Riku wants to do something for him-- he can’t just turn away Nagi. If Riku is to be the future king now, doesn’t that mean he should try do something for his people? And that means starting with little things. Right! He can do it!

“I’m pretty sure it’s not a dream,” Riku replies as he tugs gently on Nagi’s hand, placing his other hand around it. “Nagi, come with me. If you don’t remember anything, then… why don’t you stay here until you remember?”

“Oh?” Nagi blinks, putting his other hand around Riku’s as well. “I’m not dreaming, yes?”

Riku shakes his head, grinning as he squeezes Nagi’s hands. “Not at all, see? You feel that, right?”

“Yes, of course!”

Without any further discussion, Riku takes Nagi by the hand and leads him back to his room, garnering attention from the other servants in the castle. Maids scramble over to attend to the two of them, and in particular one of his attendants and his friend, Iori, stomps over.

“Your highness, what are you thinking? You skipped out on lessons and you brought in a total stranger? Don’t you know how dangerous that is--”

“But he has amnesia! I can’t just leave him there! Geez, Iori! You know you’d do the same thing if you were me.” Riku pouts, letting go of Nagi’s hand and crossing his arms. “This is Nagi. See? Now he’s not a stranger!”

Iori glares harder, narrowing his gaze, “ Your highness. I’ve never seen him before. Prince Tenn went missing not too long ago. You know you’re being reckless. How did he even get in here? Also, what were you thinking, ditching--”

“But you took notes for me, didn’t you?” Riku interrupts Iori again with a toothy grin. 

Iori grumbles, “I did. Since I knew you were skipping out and I wasn’t going to let your history tutor’s time go to waste.” He glances over Nagi again, “how do you know he can be trusted?”

“No! I’m not dangerous!” Nagi exclaims while flailing his hands about, “I don’t remember anything besides my name!”

“Oh, so convincing.” Iori remarks sarcastically, but sighs. “If he ends up being dangerous, then I’ll take responsibility.”

“Iori! I knew you’d come through!”

“Don’t be so loud.” Iori sighs, massaging his temples as he updates the rest of the attendants on the situation, sending a look at Nagi one last time before he takes off to report to the head maid.

Nagi chuckles, causing Riku to turn back to him whilst tilting his head to the side as if expectant of an explanation. Nagi shakes his head, shooting Riku a smile. “I was just thinking you get along well.”

Riku returns the smile, “You think so? Haha, Iori’s been helping me out a lot after my older brother went missing.”

“Oh no! Your brother went missing?”

“Yeah, he got kidnapped by someone with a mask.” Riku recounts the whole story about that day, growing a bit somber as he finished explaining the situation. “So now I’m next in line for the throne.”

“Oh! So you’re a prince!” Nagi’s eyes widen, glinting with amusement. “What’s a prince doing with an amnesiac?”

Riku laughs, “well, Nagi. Since I’m the prince, you’re going to be stuck with me from now on! We’re friends, and… I needed to get a personal attendant of my own. I don’t think Iori could deal with me so long. I just thought you were good for the job!”

“I will make sure you don’t regret it, Riku.”

--- 5 years later ---

“Nagi, remember when we met here?” Riku asks with a small smile. He glances over at his most trusted attendant, gawking at how much taller he has become since then. Honestly, Riku has been a bit concerned that his vassal looked more like a prince than he does.

It’s been five years, but even then Nagi has not shown any signs of remembering who he was. Over the years, they learned that Nagi is quite proficient in various languages and in combat. He’s become Riku’s protector and confidant.

“Yes,” Nagi nods in agreement with a matching grin of his own. Nagi looks over fondly at the part of the castle he had slept against all those years ago. “ It was a happy day.”

“Wasn’t it?” Riku laughs, “it’s still weird that you still haven’t remembered anything yet. Doesn’t it bother you? You got all these skills, look beautiful, but you don’t know how or why…”

“Oh! But isn’t it just how it is? I am beautiful. I am talented--” Nagi hums, turning around to face Riku. He then grabs Riku’s hand, and raises them up to his mouth.

Riku stares at him, taken aback by the sudden action. “Nagi?”

Nagi presses his lips against Riku’s hand with a wink, “and I’m here to protect you, Riku.”

“I like that a lot, Nagi, but…” Riku blushes for a split second, but tries to will his embarrassment away as he tries to put their conversation back on track. “Your memories… and what you really want to do.”

Oh, how I wish I could tell you…” Nagi murmurs, but closes his eyes as he gently releases Riku’s hand. “Right now, what I want to do is stay by your side.”

All the prince could do is blink owlishly at the declaration and Nagi’s resolve, but his lips curve up into a wide smile. “I want you to do that too! It’s always fun with you, Nagi! I’m really glad we met.”

Nagi laughs, then pulling the younger prince into his embrace, swearing his fealty into Riku’s ears.