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I see the light

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Once upon a time, a single drop of  sunlight  fell from the heavens. And from this  small drop of sun, grew a magic, golden, flower. It had the  ability to heal the sick, and injured.

The centuries passed, and a kingdom was formed, ruled by a beloved King and Queen. The Queen was about to have a baby, when she got sick, really, sick. She was running out of time. And that's when people usually start to look for a miracle.

Or in this case, a magic golden flower.

They found it, giving it to the Queen, and she healed, having her baby. To celebrate his birth, the King and Queen launched a flying lantern into the sky. For that one moment, everything was perfect.

And then that moment ended.

A man broke into the castle and stole the child, just like that...gone. The Kingdom searched and searched, but they could not find the Prince. Deep within the forest, in a hidden tower, he raised the child as his own.

"Why can't I go outside?"

"The outside world is a dangerous place. Filled with horrible, selfish people. You must stay here, where you're safe. Do you understand, flower?"

"Yes, Daddy."

But the walls of that tower, could not hide everything. Each year on his birthday, the King and Queen released thousands of lanterns into the sky, in hope that one day, their lost Prince, would return.

--o—

Aoi was absolutely terrified of the thing in his closet. He opened it, letting it get out, and as soon as that made a sound again he smacked him with his pan, in hopes of reducing it and not having to fight it.

He fell on the floor, and he approached him slowly. He didn’t seem like a monster.

Who was he? Was he dangerous?

…If he… If he could handle this himself…

He would be strong enough to see the lights… Right?

It made a sound again and woke up, and Aoi didn’t think it twice before bringing the frying pan down on his head.

“I have a person in my closet. I have a person, in my closet! Haha! I can’t take care of myself, uh?” Something called his attention, and he pulled it out. “What’s this?”

Yoru made a sound signaling that it didn’t fit on his arm. Aoi put it on his head, looking at the mirror. It seemed… Weird.

His father called him seconds later, and he was absolutely ready to show off to him.

He was going to see those lights at any cost.

--o--

Sol’s head pounded. He had gotten into a tower, no? What had happened?

"Who are you, and how did you find me?"

It was a lovely blonde boy. Adorable. But he had a bigger problem. Was he… tied? With hair?”

"Who are you, and how did you find me?!" He repeated, pouting. So cute.

"I know not who you are, nor how I came to find you. But may I just say… Hi! How you doing? The name’s Sol."

"…Who else knows my location, Sol?"

“Look, I- …My satchel! Where is it?!”

“I’ve hidden it.”

It was obvious. “…It’s on the pot, isn’t it?”

Aoi panicked for a second, lifting his frying pan. It was lights out soon for Sol.

When he woke up again, the blonde boy with the way too long hair, talked to him about making a deal to go see the lanterns. Really, Sol? A thief? Go to the city? Why would he do it? Well, of course.

Money. And that crown was worth millions.

"All right, Blondie."

"Aoi."

"Alright, Aoi-chan. Let me just get this straight. I take you to see the lanterns, bring you back home, and you'll give me back my satchel?"

"I promise. And when I promise something, I never ever break that promise. EVER!"

"All right, listen, I didn't want to have to want to do this, but you leave me no choice. Here comes the 'smolder'."

"..."

Nothing. No reaction. "This is kind of an off day for me. This doesn't normally happen... Fine, I'll take you to see the lanterns."

"Really?" He dropped the chair once again, letting Sol to hit the floor. "Oops."

"You broke my smolder."

--o—

“Give me back my guide!” He kept struggling, trying to pull him from the criminal’s grip. “Put him down! Okay, I don't know where I am, and I need him to take me to see the lanterns, because I've been dreaming about them my entire life. Find your humanity! Haven't any of you ever had a dream?”

They stopped in their tracks, watching Aoi closely. Then, a hell broke loose.

They started singing.

The dark-haired guy looked at him, before talking. "I had a dream, once."

He sang, and then the other followed. The white-haired boy smiled at the first one, singing too. "I really want to make a love connection!"

"Iku would like to quit and be a florist!"

"Koi does interior design!"

"Rui is into mime!"

"Kakeru has little puppet shows!"

"And Kai collects ceramic unicorns!"

They were looking at him. You looked back before understanding. "No, no, no. I don't sing."

Well, he would have to. Aoi seemed excited, and it was soon his turn.

"I've got a dream! I just want to see the floating lanterns gleam!"

They weren’t trying to kill them, so that was nice.

But he thought that way too soon. The guards were there, looking for them. Hajime called their attention, bringing them behind the bar and opening a passage for them.

“Go, live your dream.”

“I will.” Sol said, smiling.

“Your dream sucks. I was talking to Aoi.”

They went under the secret passage, walking side by side.

"So… Sol. Where are you from?"

"Whoa, whoa, no, Blondie, not that. But I am becoming interested in you. We can't talk about your hair.”

"Nope."

"Or, the Father."

"Uh, uh."

“I’m scared about the frog.”

“Chameleon.”

"Well, here's my question, if you want to see the lanterns so badly, why haven't you gone before?"

"Uh, hey, well... I... Um.” He stopped, feeling a small stone hitting him, coming from above. Soon, sound could be heard, coming closer and closer. “Sol?” The guards appear, ready to attack. “Sol!"

“Run!”

"Who's that?" The guards.

"They don't like me."

"Who's that?" The thief partner that he had left behind.

"He doesn't like me either."

"And who's that?!" The horse.

"Let’s just assume for the moment, that everyone in here doesn't like me."

You thought that he was going to panic, but the blonde boy did none of that. He took a breath, and talked to him.

"Here." He said, giving him his frying pan. What was he supposed to do with that? Aoi tied his hair to a piece of structure, jumping out of the guards reach as if nothing.

Sol couldn’t do more than shield himself with the pan, being amazed at how much it actually worked to attack. Soon the horse, the actual competent being of the guards appeared, and it wasn’t long until he was reduced.

"Sol!” Aoi throw a bit of hair to him, and he wrapped it around his hand, jumping to get out. “Look out!"

Sol didn’t know how to get the out of the situation, but he didn’t have to think for long. That naïve boy was absolutely saving their asses once again.

It all happened so fast. Even thought they had gotten out of the others, they were on a dead end.

“Aoi-chan!”

They were in problems. The cavern started to flood, with no way to get out of there. Sol tried a few times to move rocks out of the way, but there was none that seemed weak enough to pull. Aoi started to panic and tried to submerge himself, but Sol stopped him.

“Aoi-chan. There’s no way to get out, is meaningless. It’s pitch black down there.”

“… This is all my fault.”

No. It was his. He had brought them there.

“I should have never done this. He was right. I’m… I’m so sorry, Sol.”

Aoi just… wanted to fulfill a dream. Sol could see himself on him.

"You.”

“…Eh?”

“My real name is You. Haduki You. Someone could know, I guess."

Aoi brushed his tears, smiling at him. "I have magic hair that glows when I sing."

"What."

"I have... Magic hair that glows when I sing! Flower gleam and glow, let your power shine-"

It actually glowed. They swam, the light (And the hair) helping them find the weaker rocks to move. The pressure was too much for the small aperture, and the rest of the rocks moved, getting them out. They got to firm land soon.

"We made it!"

"It glows."

"Alive!"

"Why does it glows?"

"You."

"Your hair actually glows!"

"You!"

"What?!"

"It doesn't just glow."

"...Why are you smiling at me?"

Aoi wrapped his hair around his injured hand. He started to sing, his hair glowing once again. You had to admit that he had a lovely, involving voice. He looked over Aoi’s chameleon, and he signaled his hand, who was soon about to be covered by the glow. The song ended, and Aoi smiled at him. The chameleon once again signaled for him to take the hair off the wound.

There wasn’t a single trace of the injury there. He took a deep breath, remembering that Aoi had asked him to not freak out.

It was difficult.

"How long has it been doing that, exactly?"

"Forever, I guess. Father said that when I was a baby people tried to cut it. They wanted to take it for themselves. But, once it's cut...” He moved his hair to a side, showing him a little strand of it. “It turns brown, and loses its power. A gift like this… It has to be protected."

Protected. Secured.

Trapped.

"So… You never... left that tower. And you're still gonna go back?" No freedom? Ever? How lonely would that life be?

"No... yes. It's complicated...” Aoi hided his face into his hands, screaming a bit before rubbing his eyes and looking at him. “So, Haduki You, huh?"

"Oh, no. We don't talk about the story. It's... boring and... sad."

They did talk about the story. You’s childish dreams and goals. Aoi didn’t seem to judge him in the slightest, his smile seeming different, softer. You couldn’t bring himself to stop thinking about it, and he felt his chest warming up. He didn’t feel ready to face that. He stood up, going to search for wood to keep the fire alive. He needed to breath.

"Hey. For the record, I think that Haduki You is much more cooler than Sol.”

He needed to get out of there. "Then you'd be the first. But… Thank you, Aoi-chan."

--o—

“AH!”

“Let him go!”

“Wow, wow, easy! Calm down!”

You watched as Aoi tried to calm the horse from the guards. The animal seemed more calm with Aoi’s voice already.

“Sit. Drop the boot! Drop it!”

The horse did it, resigned.

“Aw, such a good boy! Are you tired of chasing the bad guy?”

“He is a bad horse!”

“Oh, come on! He is a big sweet heart, right… Arata?” You couldn’t do more than watch him as he interacted with the horse, petting him in seconds. “So, Arata. The thing is, I’ve been dreaming with this day for my entire life, so can you please not arrest him today? …” A huff and a stare from the animal. “And it’s, also my birthday. Just for you to know.”

The day had started rough, with the horse finding them. But it was becoming better and better. They got into the city, and found some little girls to help them with Aoi’s hair, which was now tied into a cute braid, adorned with flowers. He seemed happier, too. There were so many things that he wanted to see, and he went from one place to another, amazed with everything.

You had to admit that he was happy, too.

Being together in the library, looking for recipes, tasting different food, escaping from guards. Buying interesting things, just, seeing the city together. It gave him a total different feeling that when he did it alone. It seemed like an interminable day.

You smiled at the sight, he had gone for a seconds to buy something to eat for them, and in the meantime Aoi was dancing along with the music, being surrounded soon by strangers. You went to them, just looking, but the horse pushed him, forcing him to join them.

Holding Aoi’s hand was amazing. You liked the contact. His hands were smaller, soft and filled his body with warmness. He was too happy.

“To the boats!”

He felt silent at that. It was time.

It was time to fulfill Aoi’s dream.

“Come with me, Aoi-chan. I have to show you something. You deserve the best spot tonight.”

--o--

“Hey. You look awfully down. What is it?” You asked, as he looked at the place where the lanterns were supposed to start appearing.

“…I’m scared.”

“Scared? Why?”

“…I’ve spent eighteen years dreaming with what was out there of the window. If it’s not… as beautiful as I always though it be?”

“…It’ll be.”

Aoi smiled lightly, before looking at him. “And what if it is? What do I do, then?”

“That’s the best, I think. You go and search for a new dream.”

They stayed in silence, smiling to each other. You took out the flowers of his hair, giving them to Aoi so he could drop them on the water.

Suddenly, the first light appeared, followed by a lot of them. Aoi let out a gasp, before dashing to the end of the boat, looking at them breathless.

All the lanterns were floating to the sky. Aoi felt tears in the corner of his eyes. It was indeed as beautiful as he dreamed. He admired them, feeling the excitement running in his veins.

His heart pounded when he looked behind him, seeing You holding two lanterns. For them.

He sat back on the boat, his hand reaching for the hidden satchel.

“I have something for you, too. I should have given it to you before, I was scared but I… I’m not scared anymore. Do you… understand?”

“I’m starting to.”

They held hands, moving closer to each other. You looked at Aoi, admiring the lanterns so happily. That smile was adorable. It made everything brighter. He wanted… He wanted to see it the rest of his life.

He moved a bit of Aoi’s hair out, cupping his cheek with his hand. He got closer, and closer. He could feel the aroma of the flowers.

He was leaning into him, ready to press his lips into his. Until he saw them. His smile dropped immediately, seeing a glimpse of the partner he had left behind. He couldn’t let him get near Aoi. If he ever found out about his hair…

He had to protect him.

“…Is… everything okay?”

The boat hit the land, and he tied it, grabbing the satchel.

“Yeah. I, uh… Gonna come soon.”

He went off, leaving him there. You faked a smiled, going to the thief that was looking at him. He threw the bag to him, but he didn’t catch it.

“The crown is yours. It would be better if we part ways. Well. A pleasure working with you.” He tried to leave then, but he stood up, ignoring the crown.

“Hah, lying as always. I’ve heard you found something much worthy that the crown. How much people would pay to stay young and healthy forever?”

“W-What? What are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about the boy.”

“Wait- No! Get away from me, asshole! Aoi-chan! No!”

The blonde sighed once again, his shaking hands holding his chameleon. “He said that everything was fine, Yoru. So we have to trust-” A movement was heard, and he stood up immediately, smiling. “You! I thought that… You had taken the crown and abandoned me, haha...”

“He did.” Aoi’s smile dropped as he noticed that it wasn’t You.

“What… no. He wouldn’t!”

“See for yourself.”

He looked at the side of the water. He was there. Going away. With the crown.

“You? You!”

“A fair exchange. The crown, for the boy of the magical hair.”

“No- No, please!”

He ran as fast as he could, trying to get away. He swore when his hair tangled with something, panicking as he got near, smiling. It was going to be his end.

“Aoi!”

“…Father?”

He had knocked down the guard, and was now looking at him.

“…” The lanterns had been great. Awesome. He had fulfilled his life-dream. Why did it hurt so much, then?

He rushed to his father’s embrace, feeling how his heart broke. “You were right father. You were right about everything.”

“I know, flower. I know. The world is cruel, and egoist. And the minimum ray of sunshine, it destroys it.”

As they get back to the tower Aoi didn’t talk, letting him take out the flowers out of his hair and getting it back to normal, one of the little things that he had left from his trip to the city. As his father left he held a little flag, with the kingdom’s symbol on it, remembering what he had seen before getting it. A mural of the Royal Family.

“It’s for the lost Prince.”

“The lost Prince?” He asked to You.

“Ah, yeah. This year would be his eighteen birthday. He was stolen from the castle, and never found again. The King and the Queen throw the lanterns to the sky for him.”

It seemed accurate. Why had he been locked in the tower for his whole life? Why had he been alone?

How had the Queen restored her health?

Why…Why it felt correct to use that crown?

Who… Who was truly his father? The world had been wonderful. Not scary. He wasn’t right on that.

But if he was trapped forever, fearing the outside… He would never want to go out, right?

He moved when he heard his voice, with a strange feeling stirring his stomach.

“I’m the lost prince...”

“What? I can’t hear you. You know that I hate when you mumble.”

“I am the Lost Prince. Isn’t that right, father?”

He seemed shocked for a second, but then he laughed. “Where do you get such ridiculous ideas? Please, Aoi.”

“I spent my entire life hiding from the world that would use my powers! When… When I had to hide from you!”

“And where are you going to go? He is not waiting for you. That criminal will get hanged for his crimes.”

“No…”

“Oh, calm down. This had to happen. We will be together and in peace like-”

“No! The world is not like you think it is! It’s wonderful and happy and- And I’m not like you think, either! I will never let you use my hair again!” Aoi pushed him, making him break a mirror, and making him drop his glasses.

“…You want to make me the bad guy? I’ll be the bad guy, then.”

--o—

You galloped as fast as Arata could take him. He needed to get to the tower.

“Aoi-chan! Aoi-chan, let down your hair!”

He felt relief as he saw it going down. He was okay. He had gone back to a safe place. You still could make it up to him, to explain all and apologize properly.

“Aoi-chan! I thought that I would never see you again.”

You!”

His smile dropped when he felt his muffled scream. Just seconds after he felt a sting in his stomach, seeing a tall man, blonde, with glasses. Aoi was chained. He fell to the floor, holding his stomach.

“Look at all that you did. But, our secret dies with him. And, us, we will go where no one will find you again.” You tried to move as he saw him pulling Aoi, but he couldn’t. “Stop fighting me!”

“No! I won’t stop fighting! I will always try to get away from you! But… If you let me save him… I’ll go with you. I promise. I won’t fight again, and everything will go back the way it was.  Just… Let me heal him!”

No.

No.

He had to stop him.

The man chained him too, leaving Aoi free.

“Oh, You. I’m sorry. Everything will be fine.”

“Aoi-chan. You can’t do this. I won’t let you.”

“And I won’t let you die!”

As Aoi prepared himself, You called his attention, his hand searching for a piece of broken glass. It was sharp enough.

He leaned to kiss him, using the last of his strength to cut his hair with it.

It was just a second before it all turned brown.

“No- WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!”

Yoru grabbed a bit of the hair with his mouth, using it to make the man fall out of the tower. Aoi stayed in shock for a seconds, before turning back to You.

He tried to sing again, but nothing happened. You stopped him then.

“You were my new dream, Aoi-chan.”

“…And you were mine.”

Aoi was free. Free to explore the world. Free to find a new dream.

Free to live for himself.

Nothing else mattered.

You let go, with a smile on his face.

Aoi sobbed, holding You’s body. His tears fell over You’s face. He had the time of his life with him. He had learned and see so many new things, experienced so many new feelings. Why did it had to end like this? They had opened to each other, talked about things that no one else knew. The emotions he felt weren’t one-sided. He wanted to feel more, he wanted-

Aoi closed his eyes, remembering for a second the warmness that You’s body usually give, making the fact that he was cold even more painful.

He was so sorry.

He couldn’t do anything for him at the end.

Suddenly a bright appear in his stomach, where the wound was.

It felt warm. Warm like the sun. Warm like You. He lifted himself from him, looking at the bright surprised, the tears stopping by the shock. He saw how his hair turned blonde again, and a small movement from the body under him.

"Aoi...-chan?"

"…You?"

Aoi smiled, getting back his focus and looking at him. You cupped his cheek, before giving him a little smile too. "Did I ever tell you that I have a thing for short hair?"

"Oh, You!"

Aoi gripped his clothes, pulling him to a kiss. You smiled, responding to it while stroking his hair.

The best kiss of his life.