East of the Sun

 

"We're what!?"

Hikari sighed and gave her brother a flat look. "Broke. As in, out of money. Out of business. Done. Finished. That's the end."

Taichi stared at her in dismay. "But how…?"

"You spent it all on that stupid western crap that you said gave the place 'atmosphere', you dolt!" she snapped. "Oh, never mind! It's not like we can do anything about it."

"So… now what?" Taichi sank into a chair. "We lose our diner, we've got no place left to live… Where do we go? What do we do?"

"I'm not sure." Hikari twisted the final warning notice in her hands, biting her lip.

"Hey, guys?" Brother and sister both looked up as their red-haired serving boy came into the room, carrying a broom and dustpan. "Did you want me to sweep up in here?"

"Why bother?" Taichi muttered, gloomily.

Hikari gave him a 'look'. "No, it's all right, Daisuke," she answered, trying to give him a bright smile. "Everything's fine. Why don't you go to bed?"

"Sure!" He dropped off the broom and dustpan, and darted off toward the stairs. "Thanks!" Daisuke was an orphan, and he was allowed to stay in the diner with Hikari and Taichi as long as he earned his keep, by serving drinks, sweeping floors, and doing various other chores. "Good-night, you two!" he called over his shoulder.

"Good-night!" Hikari answered. Then she sighed. "What is going to happen to him when we're kicked out of this place for not paying the rent?"

"Who knows?" Taichi stared at the floor. "He can share our gutter, I guess."

"Would you stop it?" she said, irritable. "We have to think of something. We've got until next week to come up with the rent money."

"Oh, yeah, and you think the answer's just going to come walking in through the front door?"

Before Hikari could answer, the door opened and a polar bear walked in.

They stared at it.

The bear, either not noticing their staring or trying to act like it didn't notice, made it's way up to the counter. It looked up at the two owners with very startling blue-violet eyes that didn't look like bear eyes at all. "I'll have a Pepsi," it said, quite clearly, in a human voice.

Brother and sister looked at each other. "Can we do that?" Taichi asked, after a while.

Hikari shrugged. "I guess so. The bear ordered a Pepsi. And the customer is always right. Go get him a Pepsi."

"I don't know where the Pepsi is." Taichi rooted around behind the counter. "Here's Coke, Sprite, Root Beer… Where's the Pepsi?"

"Don't you know?"

"Hell, no! Daisuke did the serving, and he's upstairs!"

The bear shifted impatiently. "Is this what people around here call service?"

"Hey guys!" There was a shuffling from the stairs. "Just came downstairs to get a - YIII!" Daisuke stood on the stairwell in his pajamas, staring at the bear. "What the hell…? Is this what you guys do every night when I go to bed?"

"No," Hikari answered. "Just tonight."

"Oh." Daisuke eased into the room, glancing nervously at the bear, who was studying him in return. "Uh… hey there, big guy. Don't wanna eat me, huh? I've got a lot of really small bones - you'd probably choke or something."

"I only want a Pepsi!" the bear snapped. "Is that too much to ask?"

"I can't find the Pepsi!" Taichi answered, frustrated.

"Well, why didn't you say so?" Daisuke bent down beside him, giving the other two a great view of his butt. The bear glanced over appreciatively - if a bear could look appreciative. "It's right here, see?" He pulled out a case of Pepsi, and straightened.

The bear looked disappointed.

"Thanks," Taichi said sourly, and handed his customer a Pepsi.

"No charge." Daisuke yawned. "Well, I'm gonna just get my glass of water, and go back to bed. See you guys in the morning. Nice meeting you… uh… bear." He filled a glass with water, and went back upstairs.

The bear watched him leave, then took a sip of Pepsi, looking thoughtful.

"What are we going to do about that little 'problem'?" Hikari hissed at Taichi. "Now we've got bears in here! What are people going to say? Nobody's going to come here any more!"

Taichi thought about that. "Hey, well, maybe we can make money selling drinks to bears."

"Yeah, right. And how many talking bears do you know?"

"It was just a suggestion!" Taichi looked injured. "Maybe we should sell some of our things and start a smaller business."

"Taichi, we need to sell our things to pay for the bills!" Hikari answered. "Otherwise we'll get arrested! We've got nothing!"

"We've got each other."

"Oh yeah, like that does us any good!"

"Excuse me," the bear interrupted. "I couldn't help but overhear. Are the two of you having financial problems, by any chance?"

"No," said Hikari, at the same time as Taichi said, "Hell, yeah!" They looked at each other.

"Oh." The bear went on, as if the answer had been positive. "Well, then, I think I might be able to help. I have more than enough money to pay for your loans, and finance this place for a while."

"And you'd just do that for us?" Hikari asked incredulously.

"For you two? Hell, no." The bear sipped its Pepsi again, and gave them a sly look - if bears could look sly. "But I'd do it for the cute serving guy."

Taichi and Hikari glanced at each other again. "That's so sweet!" Hikari suddenly gushed. "Taichi, we're going to have to remember to give Daisuke a raise the next time we - "

"Um, wait a second," the bear said, interrupting again. "I don't think you understood me. I said I'd do it for the cute serving boy. As in, you get the money, and I get the serving boy. Got that?"

Taichi and Hikari stared at him for a moment, then huddled up. "That'd solve all of our problems right there!" Taichi hissed, excited. "We'd be able to stay in business!"

"But…" Hikari looked hesitant. "Daisuke…"

"What do you think he'd rather do? Go with a bear or live in the gutter? This is perfect!"

"Don't you think he'll be really mad at us"

"He's young. He'll get over it in a few years." Taichi shrugged. "Come on, this is our only chance! We gotta take it!"

Hikari thought about it. Daisuke being mad… living in the gutter. Okay, I can live with having someone mad at me! "All right," she agreed. "We'll do it."

Taichi straightened up, grinning. "We accept!" he said brightly, to the bear.

"Excellent!" The bear tried to rub its hands together evilly. "Damnit, that doesn't work well with paws, does it? I'll be here tomorrow at noon to pick him up. Thanks for the Pepsi." He left the can on the counter and went back out the door.

"Hikari?"

"Yeah?"

"How did a bear fit through our front door?"

~~~~~~

"You sold me!?" Daisuke's incredulous voice was not only heard quite loudly through the house, it was also heard through a good part of the surrounding houses. "To a bear!?"

Taichi glanced at Hikari. "I was afraid he'd look at it that way."

Hikari rolled her eyes. "What other way is there to look at it?"

"Good point."

"I can't believe you guys would do this to me!" Daisuke squawked. "I've been here for six years, doing everything you wanted, being perfectly agreeable at all times… okay, maybe not all the time, but still, I was a pretty darn good servant, I mean, come on, it could've been a lot worse! You could've had a - "

Taichi clapped a hand over his mouth. "Get the ropes, Hikari."

Daisuke's eyes bulged. Ropes?

By the time the sun came up the next morning, the red-head was sitting outside in between Taichi and Hikari, hands tied, gagged with a glove they couldn't find the match for, and wearing expression that could've killed the weak-minded. Taichi was nursing a cut lip, and Hikari had a piece of frozen meat over a rapidly forming black eye.

"I didn't know he had such a mean left hook," Taichi mourned.

"Shut up. We probably deserved that," Hikari muttered.

"Mmph! Mm mph mphmm phmm!" Daisuke glared at each of them, and then straight ahead, scowling like a thundercloud.

The bear walked down the street about five minutes later, attracting stares from everyone who was up that early. He ignored them, and stopped in front of the three sitting on Taichi and Hikari's doorstep. Daisuke had renewed his struggles, tugging at the ropes holding his wrists together. He made a little frustrated growling noise when that didn't work, and glared down at the ropes around his knees and ankles. Then he gave up.

"He's ready to go?" the bear said, its violet eyes gleaming. It made no attempt at small talk.

"Yup!" Taichi announced cheerfully, pushing Daisuke to his feet and hauling him over. "He's all yours!"

"Mm mmph mm phmm mph! Mmph phmm mm!" Daisuke looked furious.

"Daisuke!" Hikari looked shocked. "Watch your language!"

"Mph mm phmmph!" he shot back resentfully.

"What? Why you - !" She started toward the restrained boy, but Taichi held her back.

"Uh… Need any help getting him where you want to go?" he asked the bear.

"No, I'm fine. You two can go about your business." The bear attempted a shrug. "You'll find your rent is already paid for. I'll be sure to keep track of how you're doing, too."

"Great - thanks!" Taichi hauled his still furious sister back into the diner.

The bear looked back over at Daisuke.

Daisuke looked at the bear.

"Mphs mphmnp phmmr!" the red-head tried to wail, and his bottom lip started to tremble. He let his eyes fill up with huge tears, and stared at the bear sorrowfully.

"You don't really need to be gagged," the bear said, after a moment, and reached up with a paw to pull the glove out of Daisuke's mouth.

"This isn't fair!" the newly-freed captive wailed again, this time letting the tears trail down over his cheeks and trying to look as pitiful as possible.

"Not fair that you're going off to live in a mansion and have your every wish catered to, while your friends are stuck here in poverty?"

Daisuke stopped crying. "I'm… what?" he asked, wondering if he'd heard correctly.

"Well, I was going to take you to my mansion and give you lots of servants." The bear shrugged again. "But if you'd rather stay around here…" He turned to leave.

"No, no, wait!" Daisuke called, hopping a little and waving his bound hands. "I changed my mind! I want to come with you!"

The bear turned, a look of overdone surprise on its face. "Really?"

"Yes! Yes! Untie me!"

"Okay then." The bear turned and went back to collect its new - and now eagerly bouncing - prisoner. From the look in its eyes, if it had been human, it probably would've been smirking like anything.

~~~~~~

They hadn't gotten more than 15 minutes out of town with Daisuke riding on the bear's back, when the journey on foot suddenly ended.

Daisuke looked down, puzzled. "Why are we stopping?"

The bear sighed. "You didn't actually think we were going to walk all the way home like this, did you?"

"But what - oh." A pick-up truck suddenly pulled up beside them. The driver had even redder hair than Daisuke.

"Right on schedule, sir," he said, bobbing his head toward the bear. Then he looked at Daisuke. "Hop in."

"Thanks." He was only too happy to oblige. Riding for miles on a polar didn't really sound like fun, when he thought about it. That bear thinks of everything. I could get used to this.

The bear climbed into the back, and they were off.

It was another hour in the truck before they made it the whole way. Daisuke chatted with the driver - Koushiro - who turned out to be pretty nice, even though he used a lot of big words the younger boy didn't understand. The conversation ended, however, when they pulled up in front of what looked like a huge palace. A blue-haired servant with a name tag that said 'Jyou Kido' came out to meet them.

"I could've been a doctor, but no…" he muttered. Koushiro raised a suggestive eyebrow at him and mouthed the word 'later', and he shut up.

"Oh wow!" Daisuke breathed, staring at what was about to become his new home as the servant took his bags. "That's amazing!"

"Glad you approve," the bear said, climbing out of the truck. "Now let's get you settled."

~~~~~~

"Oh man." Daisuke sipped his drink, reclining back in the Jacuzzi with a cold lemonade beside him. "This is living! Jyou!" he called out, stretching luxuriously, "Can you bring me another tray of those brownies?"

Next door, the servant sighed, pried Koushiro's arms loose and grabbed for his pants. "Yes sir," he said, in a resigned tone. "I coulda got to med school… I would've made it…"

Needless to say, it hadn't taken much to get Daisuke settled. I am the luckiest guy on the face of the planet, the red-head thought, sighing as he sank even deeper into the frothing water.

The only rule, it turned out, was that Daisuke was not permitted to do things that would end with him hurting himself somehow - and he wasn't allowed inside the bear's room, especially not after the sun set. He wasn't complaining, though.

"Wonder how Taichi and Hikari are doing," he thought out loud.

"Pretty well." The polar bear had somehow snuck into the room with Daisuke noticing. How does that thing move around so quietly? It's impossible! "They're making a profit, anyway."

"That's good to know." Daisuke studied the bear for a minute. It didn't even blink. "Hey, could I go see them some time?"

The bear shrugged. "Whenever you wish."

"Cool." Daisuke rose out of the water a little. "Okay, I'm going to get out." The polar bear just looked at him. "I'm not wearing a suit," he clarified. The bear continued to look. "Um… turn around?" Daisuke tried. He couldn't explain why it was so important that a bear should see him in his birthday suit… It just didn't really… seem like a bear. His eyes were disturbingly un-bear-like.

"No," the bear said calmly, and kept staring.

Daisuke's face felt hot. "I'm not getting out until you turn around!"

"Then stay in there." The bear shrugged a little, and watched him some more.

"But it's hot in here!" Daisuke complained.

"That was the point, last time I checked."

"I want to get out!"

"So get out."

"I can't!" Daisuke glared. "Not until you turn around!"

"That's my hot tub, and this is my mansion," the bear pointed out reasonably. "If you're going to parade around naked in it, then I feel I have the right to watch."

"Great!" Daisuke made a rude face. "Of all the talking bears in the world, I get stuck with the voyeuristic one!" He scrambled out of the tub and snatched up a towel as fast as he could, face still burning.

The bear's eyes smirked at him.

"Oh sure, it's fun for you," Daisuke muttered, and left the room to get his clothes.

~~~~~~

A few weeks later, Daisuke made the trip to see Taichi and Hikari. He also conveniently 'forgot' to warn them that he was coming.

"Daisuke!" Taichi was the first to see the visitor, and he looked shocked. That might've been because Koushiro had taken the limo, since the bear wasn't going along and they didn't need a pick-up truck.

"You might as well go back home for tonight," Daisuke told him, ignoring Taichi for the moment. "I'll see you tomorrow morning."

"That sounds good." Koushiro nodded. "Have a nice time."

Daisuke watched the limo drive away for a minute, then turned to face Taichi, who had been joined by Hikari. Both were staring at him in astonishment.

"Hi guys!" he said. "Oh yeah, don't worry about the whole 'selling me' thing. I forgive you. The Jacuzzi helped that a little, though. Plus, the pool, the indoor tennis courts… Ah, the whole 'mansion' thing was pretty awesome! But I guess you guys knew about that all along, huh?"

"Uh… ye-e-a-ah." Taichi grinned weakly. Hikari bit her lip and looked away.

"So, do you have a room for me tonight?"

"Yes, we do!" Hikari answered quickly, obviously relieved at the subject change. She suddenly smiled. "You're going to have to tell us everything, Daisuke!"

~~~~~~

"You're not allowed inside his room?" Taichi frowned. "How come?"

"Beats me." Daisuke shrugged. "Who cares? And even if the bear's a little perverted… or very perverted" - the red-head made a face - "it's gotta be the best set-up ever! I got, like, everything!"

"But what if he turns into a monster or something?" Taichi pressed. "Aren't you even curious."

"Sure, but there's gotta be a good reason."

"Well, maybe you should sneak in while he's sleeping and see what the reason is!"

"But Taichi!" Daisuke protested. "It's supposed to be a secret!"

"Taichi!" Hikari smacked her brother on the back of the head. "Stop telling him to break his trust! You remember what happened the last time…"

"Hey, if Daisuke hadn't opened that box, I'm sure someone else would have!"

"It said 'do not open' on the top!"

"Yeah," Taichi agreed, grudgingly. "But I was curious."

"Well, keep your curiosity to yourself, and leave Daisuke out of it." Hikari hurried out of the room as someone came into the diner downstairs.

"But what if he turns human and he's hot!" Taichi scowled after his sister. "Aw, she doesn't know what she's talking about!" He slung an arm around Daisuke's shoulders. "Just stick with me - I know better than anyone. And do whatever I tell you, okay?"

"Okay, Taichi," Daisuke agreed.

"Here's what you're gonna do." Taichi pulled away and grinned at the younger boy. "All you gotta do is sneak into his room at night and just see what he looks like. He'll never even know that you were in there. And for light you can use a - "

"Candle?" Daisuke interrupted, eyes shining.

"Are we living in the dark ages? Who uses candles any more?" Taichi started digging through the junk piled up in his closet. "You'll be using" - he pulled out the object, and held it up triumphantly - "a flashlight!"

"Oh wow! You're the greatest, Taichi!" Daisuke took the flashlight, looking awed. "I wish I was as smart as you!"

"I know." Taichi grinned. "But, unfortunately, there's only one me. You'll just have to settle for using my brilliant advice and seeing what that bear's room looks like."

~~~~~~

Daisuke didn't make it back until late the next evening. Sweet! He grinned, and snatched up his flashlight, ready to try out Taichi's brilliant plan. Tai is so smart! I shoulda thought of this!

He snuck through the house, and up into his own room, where there was a door leading to the bear's chambers. Why they had connected rooms had never been made clear to him, and whenever he asked, the bear evaded the question and changed the subject.

Maybe I don't wanna know…

Pushing aside the question for the moment, Daisuke carefully opened the door, and peeked inside.

Nothing met his eyes. The room was totally dark. The only light was from the moon shining in the window, and by it Daisuke could see a bed at the other end of the room. There was someone sleeping in it.

That looks too small to be a bear. Still, Daisuke crept forward all the same, holding the flashlight. When he got near the bed, he saw - with some shock - that the form in the bed was actually a person.

Taichi was right! He hurried forward, and found out that whoever was sleeping there was a very sound sleeper, not even waking when Daisuke tripped over a footstep and took a nose-dive into the richly carpeted floor. Picking himself up, the red-head stumbled over to the bedside, and found himself looking down at what looked like a pale-skinned boy with dark haired fanned out perfectly around him as he slept.

"Wow," Daisuke whispered, awed. Without thinking, he flicked on the flashlight for a better look.

"Agh!" The boy sat bolt upright, shielding his eyes. "Turn that thing off before you blind me, you idiot!"

"Ah - sorry!" Daisuke turned the flashlight off.

The boy turned on his bedside lamp and stared at Daisuke in dismay. "What are you doing in here?" he demanded. The voice was familiar; it had been the bear's, too. "You're not supposed to see me in this body for another week!"

"Um, sorry!" Daisuke squeaked out again, but he couldn't seem to stop staring. The boy in front of him was gorgeous! He had beautiful violet eyes and silky dark hair, like night. "I… I was just… Taichi told me to…"

"You idiot!" The boy's eyes glittered furiously. "Do you realize what you've done? All you had to do was stay here and stay out of my room for a month, and everything would've been perfect! You've practically sealed my fate! How could you have… have… oh… damn, you're hot at two o'clock in the morning!"

Before Daisuke could fully process that remark, the boy had grabbed his shirt and pulled him down onto the bed, flipping him onto his back and kissing him desperately.

Ah… Daisuke felt like his mind was shutting itself down. Before he could completely lose himself, though, he pushed back his assailant and managed to gasp out, "I… don't even know you!"

"You've known me for three weeks already," the boy breathed, grinding his hips against the red-head's slowly. "But if you need a name to scream later on, it's Ken."

Neither of them did much talking after that.

And they didn't notice when two black-garbed figures entered through the window and joined them in the room.

"Uh…" The first witch looked doubtfully at the two on the bed. "Maybe we should come back in a half hour or so."

The second tried to look up and tripped on her nine-inch platform heels. She said a few very unladylike words, and looked up at the other witch grouchily. "Why should we wait half an hour?"

"Well…" The first witch nodded toward the bed. "I'm not sure, Mimi… but I think if we stayed long enough, it'd be like renting porn for free…"

"Miyako!" Mimi stamped her foot - and the huge clunker attached to it - angrily. "No! We have to kidnap Prince Ken now, and make him marry you!"

"Awww." Miyako made a face. "How come?"

"Because!" Mimi's eyes filled up with huge, dramatic tears. "If you don't, Sora's never going to be free of that spell!" She started to sniffle. "My poor Sora-chan…"

"Okay, okay…" Miyako crossed her arms over her chest. "I'll go get him, then."

Ken was missing his shirt, and had both hands exploring busily inside Daisuke's when Miyako stepped in to interrupt them. "Uh… excuse me?"

"G'way, m'busy," he mumbled, attacking Daisuke's neck. The red-head moaned faintly, almost unconsciously kneading Ken's bare shoulders as his eyes closed in bliss. He didn't seem to take notice of the witches at all.

Miyako turned and shrugged. "Well, I tried," she told her sister. "What do you say we go grab something to eat and come back when they're done?"

Mimi glanced at the two on the bed. "Oh, okay!"

They returned a while later, with donuts and hot chocolate. Daisuke was lying sprawled out on his back staring at the ceiling like he was in a daze. Ken was smirking in a self-satisfied sort of way.

"Okay." Miyako smiled sweetly when she got their attention. "Now we go."

Ken sighed and looked down at Daisuke. "Sorry I'm going to have to leave you and all…" He shrugged. "But, you can always come and rescue me here." He scrawled something on a sheet of paper on the beside table. "I'll be waiting for you," he added, in a more sultry tone.

"Uh…" Daisuke took the paper, not really comprehending much just yet.

In a flash, the witches and Ken were gone.

~~~~~~

When his thoughts were coherent again, Daisuke sat up and stared down at the paper in his hand. The directions, scrawled out in a neat hand, read 'East of the Sun, West of the Moon, 1274 Victoria St. - turn left at the first convenience store, you can't miss it'.

"Great!" Daisuke scowled. "I finally meet a really cute guy, and he's off on the moon where the sun won't come east or some junk! Figures!"

All the same, he decided to go try and rescue Ken. The sex was just too good to give up because of a couple of witches and some messed up directions.

Now I've got a problem. Daisuke frowned thoughtfully, staring at the paper as if it would make sense if he looked at it for long enough. How am I supposed to find out where 'East of the Sun, West of the Moon' is? And there's an even bigger problem, first…

He glanced around at where the tattered shreds of his clothing were scattered about on the floor. How am I going to keep from being arrested for indecent exposure when I go out in public in these things!?

~~~~~~

Eventually, Daisuke managed to piece together a decent outfit, and he set off, without really knowing where he was going. He made sure to travel in the opposite direction of Taichi and Hikari's diner.

However, beyond that, there just seemed to be a huge expanse of flat country, and no habitations.

Still, Daisuke borrowed one of Ken's many cars and swiped some food from the kitchen, setting off at last on his quest to find his one true love. Alright, well, I'm going sort of eastward, and he said 'east of the sun', right? But what about 'west of the moon'? Argh! I'm confused! Maybe I'd better stop and ask for directions somewhere!

Fortunately for Daisuke, there was a convenience store coming up, and he pulled over to go inside and beg for advice.

Inside, a short, green-eyed boy was minding the cash register. "Can I help you?" he asked, as if they weren't out in the middle of nowhere and customers stopped by every day.

"Yeah, if you know where this is." Daisuke dug into his pocket for the directions. "I'm not sure if I'm supposed to go east or west, or what."

The boy looked at the paper for a few seconds, then straightened. "Takeru-chan!" he called, knocking on the door right behind him that Daisuke hadn't noticed until just then. "Something for you!"

"For me?" A grinning blonde stepped through the door and into the room. "Let me guess - you!" He grabbed the shorter boy, and attempted to push him back down behind the counter, not seeming to notice Daisuke at all.

"Agh! Not me, you idiot! Eeep! Takeru-chan!" The green-eyed boy let out a squeak, then a series of muffled protests. "You've got a customer!" he finally managed to gasp out.

"Oh." Takeru appeared once again, behind the counter, unruffled, and a still-gasping green-eyed boy pulled himself back upright. "How can I help you?" the blonde asked pleasantly.

"Uh… here." Daisuke shoved the paper at him. "I want to go here. How do I get there?"

Takeru peered at the page for a moment, then smiled. "Well, unless I take you there, you'll probably get hopelessly lost and never make it." He grinned at the green-eyed boy. "So, Iori-chan, it looks like we're going on another road trip. Get your bags packed and - "

"No!" Another blonde burst through the door, interrupting. "Think again, bro! You're not leaving me here all by myself again! Last time my only entertainment was counting tumbleweeds!"

"But Yamato!" Takeru protested. "How's this guy going to get to the witches' castle without my help?"

Yamato glared, and crossed his arms. "You're not going anywhere until you find me some company. Preferably in the form of a cute guy that I can - "

"Hey!" Daisuke interrupted. "I've got an idea. Um… how about him?" He pulled out his last option, a picture of Taichi and Hikari that he'd saved. "I'll write you a letter of introduction if you let these two go."

The taller blonde took the picture, and his eyes went wide. "Oh baby! Hell, yeah! I mean… uh…" He coughed, and tried to look nonchalant. "I guess he'll do, if there's nothing better."

"Great!" Daisuke grinned, relieved.

~~~~~~

So, after Daisuke had finished with the letter, and Yamato had taken his car to go and meet up with Taichi, the three travelers were on their way.

"So, do we actually have to walk?" Daisuke wasn't feeling great about making a huge journey on foot.

"Walk? And risk getting blisters?" Takeru laughed. "Hah! Yeah right!"

"Um… Okay." Daisuke was a bit confused. "So how are we going to get there?"

"Iori has a great flying carpet that we got from some Arabian guy who needed guides to get to a secret cave with magic lamps." Takeru shrugged. "We'll use that."

Daisuke blinked. "We're going on a flying carpet to get to a castle that's east of the sun and west of the moon, to save a really hot guy, who used to be a polar bear, from a couple of witches who wear platform heels and watch gay porn?"

"Yup!" Iori finished unrolling the carpet which he seemed to have pulled out of nowhere. "That's about right."

"Just checking." Daisuke shrugged. "Let's go then."

~~~~~~

They made it to the castle just as the sun was going down. The place was actually quite big, but Takeru and Iori didn't have any trouble finding Ken's room, particularly since his was the only window with bars on it.

"Aren't those kinda gonna be a problem?" Daisuke asked, staring at the iron rods covering Ken's window. Lacy pink curtains blocked his view of the room.

"No," Takeru said cheerfully. He looked at the curtains with distaste. "Who was their decorator? Yeesh!"

"So how are we gonna get the bars off?" Daisuke demanded, ignoring the comment.

Iori gave the bars a tap, and they fell inward with a clang.

Daisuke stared. "But… how…?"

Takeru shook his head. "People who spend that much money having the windowsills professionally carved probably aren't going to install bars properly."

"Oh." Daisuke slid off the sill and into the window. "Look, guys, I'm probably going to need reinforcements when I have to get Ken away from the witches. Can you handle that?"

"No problem." Iori shrugged.

"Thanks." He climbed into the room.

Miraculously enough, Ken was actually sleeping soundly. Daisuke stared at him for a moment, caught by just how utterly gorgeous his lover really was. Hell, wasting him on a chick would be a crime against humanity!

For a few moments, he stood there, with a goofy grin on his face. Then he leaned down, and gently kissed Ken to wake him.

Unfortunately, that sort of thing appeared to only work in the movies. Ken was completely conked out.

Okay, then… if that's how you wanna play it… Daisuke grinned wickedly, and let his fingers trail down lower…

"Ack!" Ken sat straight up. "Stop that!" He twitched uncontrollably. "How did you find out that the soles of my feet were ticklish?" he demanded, glaring at Daisuke.

"Just a lucky gue - mm mmph!" The red-head was interrupted as Ken grabbed his face and kissed him passionately.

"Let's get out of here," he said, when they broke apart.

"What about the witches?"

"Who cares?"

"Hah! Well, you should care!" Mimi stood in the doorway, her black witches robes replaced by a fluffy pink bathrobe. Miyako stood a short ways behind her, suddenly nearly as tall as the other girl now that the platform heels were gone.

"You'll never get away with this!" Mimi shrieked, and started laughing wickedly. "Never!"

"Oh yeah? Well, you're not taking him!" Daisuke leaped up, in front of Ken. "Not as long as I'm still alive!"

"Aww!" Miyako squeaked. "That is so sweet!"

"Hey!" Mimi stomped her foot and glared at her. "We're supposed to be trying to kill him and make his boyfriend marry you!"

"I know…" Miyako grinned sheepishly. "But you gotta admit, it is really sweet!"

"Hold it right there, witches!"

Everyone looked up. There, besides the window were Takeru and Iori. With them, they had Yamato, Taichi, Hikari, Jyou, and Koushiro. The force probably would've been more frightening if Jyou and Koushiro were fully clothed, and if Taichi and Yamato hadn't immediately dropped to the floor in a make-out frenzy once they'd arrived.

"Hey, wait a second!" Daisuke protested. "How did you guys get here so fast?"

Takeru and Iori looked at each other and shrugged. "Magic?" Iori suggested.

"Darn it, this isn't fair!" Mimi wailed. "Sora's only going to be free when Miyako gets married to the prince, and now people say they can't because he's gay! How am I supposed to free my darling buttercup now!" And she burst into tears.

Taichi looked up for a moment, confused. "I thought her name was Sora."

"It is," Yamato said, trying to draw him back down.

"But she said butterc - "

Yamato cut him off before that line of thought could continue.

"I have an idea!" Miyako stepped forward. She had a huge smile on her face. "How about if I marry… someone else." Her eyes locked on Hikari, who seemed surprised for a moment, then smiled cutely and fluttered her eyelashes.

"Someone else?" Mimi looked up hopefully through her tears. "But - but it's supposed to be somebody royal!"

"Is that all?" Ken stood up. "Well, why didn't you just say so. Here." He pulled a piece of parchment from the front of his shirt with some official-looking writing on it. "Does anyone have a pen?"

The others looked at each other, confused.

Ken sighed. "Fine, I'll use mine!" He reached down the side of his boot and pulled out a huge quail-feather pen.

Daisuke gave him a funny look. "Geez, what else have you got hidden in your clothes."

Ken smiled flirtatiously at him. "You can find out later," he said in a low voice.

Daisuke blushed furiously, and Ken used Hikari's back as a writing surface, even though there was a table right beside them. "There," he said, holding up the document. "I've adopted her into the royal family. Now you can marry her!"

"Yay!" Miyako clapped her hands together and squealed happily.

Hikari looked confused. "So now you're my father?"

"No!" Ken shoved the parchment into her hands. "Your brother. Have a nice life."

"Thanks." She stowed the paper away, and crossed the room to kiss Miyako passionately.

"Awwwwww…" Mimi wiped her eyes. "That's so sweet."

"Okay, time for the weddings!" Ken announced, cutting into the romantic moment.

"Weddings?" Daisuke repeated. "More than one?"

"Well, you didn't really think I was going to let you get away from me, did you?"

~~~~~~

The weddings took place the following week, and everyone involved in the whole business was invited. Even Sora attended, as the mysterious enchantment she'd been under seemed to think betrothal was good enough to meet the conditions of the spell. No one knew what spell she'd been under. No one cared much, either.

Taichi and Yamato spent the weddings making out, and then the two of them went back to the diner and took over its management. With Ken's financial support to back them up, they actually managed to be quite successful.

Jyou quit his job and went to medical school. He took the courses through correspondence, and was allowed to stay at Ken's palace, provided he lived in Koushiro's quarters. Neither of them minded.

Takeru and Iori continued to run their convenience store, as well as the secondary career as magical guides. They got quite a few customers, mostly people wondering how to navigate the West Edmonton Mall.

Sora made a full recovery - though no one really knew from what, except for Mimi and Miyako, and perhaps Hikari. She and Mimi continued to live in the witches' palace at 1274 Victoria Street, East of the Sun and West of the Moon.

Miyako and Hikari turned out to be one of those deliriously happy couples that made everyone sick to death of their unceasing sweetness. They decided to take up world traveling, and were last seen riding the magic carpet to Bermuda.

Daisuke and Ken spent the first few weeks of their marriage alternating between the bedroom and the Jacuzzi. After that, they got more kicks out of finding new and exciting places to make out, and testing out Ken's many cars. Later in their marriage, for whatever reason, Ken turned their anniversary into a national holiday. No one minded.

And they all lived happily ever after. (or reasonably so, anyway)

 

The End