Genre: Romance, m-preg, au
Disclaimer: I do not own Arashi, only these words.
Summary: Jun is given in an arranged marriage to Lord Sakurai Sho. Against the odds, love blossoms.
A/N: I never meant for this to happen but this has now turned into my first chaptered fic. I have no idea where this is going or where it will end but you are welcome to come along for the ride.
Previously: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4
Jun was intent upon hurrying to the kitchen when Nino ambushed him and pulled him back to his room.
"Nino, have you heard? King Ohno will be paying us a visit tomorrow. I am on my way to bake him some lemon biscuits; if I am able to decipher the recipe that is. This child constantly craves lemon at the moment and I am unable to disobey his wishes." Jun realized that he was talking too much and Nino too little. "Nino? Is something troubling you? Are you still unwell?"
Out of nowhere Nino asked "What did it feel like when you first fell pregnant?"
"I was sorely fatigued. I wished for nothing more than to spend all of my time in bed. I often felt faint upon the slightest exertion and of course as well you know I was nauseous and unable to keep food down," Jun replied looking at his friend with undisguised curiosity. "Don't tell me you-?"
"Of course not," Nino said, indignantly. "I am merely curious."
Jun looked at him cynically, observing the greenish tinge to Nino's skin and the dark circles under his eyes before saying "If that is what you wish to tell yourself then so be it, but I rather think that you should be speaking to Masaki about this subject rather than to me. I am no expert; every day brings me something new and unexpected with this pregnancy."
Nino ineffectually attempted to wriggle free as he was suddenly embraced by a teary-eyed Jun who whispered "I will speak to no one about this conversation, not even Sho, but please allow me this moment." he said as he held Nino close.
"Forget I spoke," mumbled Nino. "I was merely curious," even as he surrendered and allowed himself to be held.
"Of course," replied Jun, his heart singing with hope. "But there are still bottles of Masaki's tonic in my chamber if you require them.
After Jun's departure Nino went to his bed chamber and retrieved the bottles. As he carried them back to his own quarters he told himself that it was only with the aim of clearing some space in Jun's room, not because he needed them in the slightest.
"Jun my love, I fear that you worked too hard and for too long yesterday," Sho said as he noticed Jun swaying slightly as he stood beside him.
"I am fine, just a little fatigued," Jun replied as he clutched his husband's arm to steady himself as they stood at the front of the house. He had spent the larger portion of the previous day baking an endless supply of lemon treats and ensuring that everything inside the Manor House was in readiness for the King's visit.
"Why did Nino not assist you further?"
"He is still not recovered from his illness. I ordered him to rest," Jun replied, his stomach flipping with excitement as he recalled his last conversation with Nino. His nervousness seemed to have spread to the baby also as he had almost constantly felt the fizzing sensation in his belly on and off for most of the morning.
His husband was looking far too pale for Sho's taste and he was about to suggest that he sit down and rest when he espied the King's entourage wending its way along the driveway.
Jun greatly regretted not heeding Sho's advice and spending less time in the kitchens on the previous day. They had felt hotter than a blacksmith's furnace as a feast was hurriedly prepared in honour of His Majesty's visit.
The world started to spin as Sho moved to introduce the King and as Jun bent forwards into a respectful formal bow he would have fallen if not for a strong tanned hand reaching out to steady him as a strangely recognizable voice asked “It is truly a pleasure to meet you at last. But are you unwell?"
Jun took a deep breath and steadied himself. As he pulled himself upright he found himself looking directly into a familiar pair of warm brown eyes. It was Jun's fishing saviour, but instead of his scruffy fishing clothes and floppy wide brimmed hat he was richly dressed. As Jun looked back along the drive he noticed Storm being held steady by a groom.
Unsure of what was occurring; Jun replied “A moment’s dizziness, nothing more. Your Majesty?" He could see a twinkle in the King's eyes and a slight wink and he decided that it would be best to follow the older man's lead and not acknowledge their previous meeting.
"Your husband told me that you were beautiful, but I did not expect you to be quite so stunning," King Ohno said as he took Jun's elbow and assisted him into the house. "Lord Sakurai, I apologize for taking liberties and making free with your home and your husband, but I rather feel that someone needs to sit down immediately before he falls down."
Sho led them all into the drawing room, where tea was set up for the three of them. The table was covered in an array of sweet treats and a selection of teas as the servants hovered nervously around the edges of the room.
"I think we may not need such formalities and are more than capable of serving ourselves?" Ohno suggested.
"Of course sir," Sho agreed as he waved the over awed staff away.
Sho insisted that Jun lay back on the chaise lounge with his feet up whilst he fetched him a small plate of lemon crème biscuits and a reviving cup of tea. Soon the foodstuffs had returned the colour to his cheeks, but Jun felt unaccountably drowsy and was unable to follow the conversation that passed between the two older men. He was however most pleased to see them both consuming vast plates of the product of his labours as they spoke.
Noticing just in time Jun's nodding head, Sho rushed over and rescued the tea from Jun's hand a moment before it spilled onto the upholstery. "Jun sweetheart, I think it best if you retire for a short rest in your bedchamber before re-joining us later. You appear to be quite exhausted."
"But I cannot be so rude when His Majesty is our guest," Jun mumbled sleepily.
"Perhaps if you gain you rest now you could entertain me with your company later?" Ohno suggested with an understanding smile. "I fear that your husband would be most angry with me if your health was to suffer."
Jun reluctantly agreed and shakily climbed to his feet, but before he departed the King said "Those biscuits and cakes were most delicious. Please pass my compliments on to your Cook and staff. Lemon is one of my favourite flavours. However did you know?"
Jun blushed shyly, at the praise being given to him by such a great personage, but he dared not take the credit for his work.
Sho beamed with pride as he replied in his husband's stead "Jun was personally responsible for the baking. It appears that he has a talent for it. I am most glad that you enjoy lemon, because it appears that our unborn child desires little else at this stage. I just hope that this has perhaps taught my stubborn husband a lesson with regard to overdoing things."
Ohno laughed as he replied "My lovely wife ate almost nothing but pineapple for weeks whilst she carried our firstborn son. With the second it was almonds and with our daughter she drenched everything with honey - even savoury items."
"We shall have our discussion whilst you rest and I shall fetch you when we are done," Sho said, kissing Jun lovingly on the forehead as he ushered him from the room.
"Nino? Why do you visit me? Does Jun not require your assistance for the duration of the Royal visit?" Masaki asked, puzzled that Nino was standing on his doorstep at this time.
"It was Jun who bade me speak with you," Nino replied in an unusually subdued voice.
Masaki was blessed with an ability to read others, and to instinctively sense what their ailments were, but with Nino it was different. Perhaps it was his emotional attachment that obscured this ability but it was impossible to read his lover's current state of being and health. "What do you wish to tell me?"
"Masa, please may we speak later. For now, please just hold me," Nino said as he entwined his arms around the taller man's waist.
"My Kazu. I love you so," Masaki said softly as he lifted Nino up, wrapping his legs around his hips as he carried him to his bed.
Masaki could feel that there seemed to be something akin to desperation in Nino's lovemaking. He clung tightly to Masaki, never letting him go for even a second, staring up at him with moist eyes as the Healer explored his body.
When Masaki slid slowly into Nino' tight heat, he was surprised to hear a supressed sob escaping from his tightly clenched lips.
Masaki instantly froze. "Kazu, did I not prepare you well enough? Are you still unwell?"
"Masa, I am fine. Please, please, make me yours."
"My tiger. You will always be mine."
Nino was strangely silent whilst Masaki brought him to orgasm, moving slowly and gently within his body, kissing him and murmuring words of endearment into his ear. Nino hugged him tightly, wrapping his legs around his waist, pressing closely against him as he shuddered and came in the small space left between them, never once taking his eyes away from Masaki's gaze. When Masaki came a few thrusts later Nino clutched at his buttocks and held him deeply within his body for the longest time possible.
When their breathing had calmed Masaki kissed the tip of Nino’s nose and asked "Have you come here to tell me that you no longer desire to be with me?"
Nino sat bolt upright and turned to Masaki "What? No! I would never…"
"Then what distresses you, my dear one?"
"I did not mean for this to happen. Not until Jun holds his infant safely within his arms. That was my promise. I..."
Masaki hardly dared to breathe as he waited for Nino to finish.
"I think...I fear...I...hope...that I might be carrying your child."
Sho gazed down as Jun who was sleeping on top of the heavily embroidered silken quilt that covered his bed. It appeared that he had been too sleepy to turn back the covers before lying down upon it. Since Nino had ceased to be his personal servant Jun had stubbornly refused any replacement, seeming happy enough with his assistance upon waking and fending for himself throughout the rest of the day. Sho made a mental note to speak to Masaki regarding the situation. He feared that soon circumstances would change and Jun would need more support from those who loved him.
He perched on the side of the bed and stroked a stray lock of hair from his love's forehead whilst admiring the length of Jun's thick eyelashes where they cast shadows upon his slightly flushed cheeks; wondering, not for the first time how someone so young could be bearing up to this pregnancy with such a mature and calm outlook. He could not resist running his hand over Jun's soft belly, sending thoughts of love towards the tiny life that was nestled within. Jun stirred at his touch and blinked up at him with an adorably sleepy expression.
"My kitten, do you feel able to leave your bed? His Majesty and I have finished our discussions and he has asked for your company; but only if you feel well enough."
Jun yawned and stretched, blinking dazedly up at him for a second. "I dreamt that we were walking along a river bank on a sunny summer’s day with our son walking between us holding our hands. It seemed so real."
"And so it will be sweetheart," Sho said as he held Jun in his arms and pressed a loving kiss onto his slightly parted lips.
"Please forget my words. I am just being foolish. It is an impossibility for me to be carrying your child. Perhaps being around Jun whilst he is in that condition is causing me to have phantom symptoms," Nino said, attempting to leave the bed, but Masaki held him firmly in place.
“Nino, will you allow me to examine you? I will be most gentle,” Masaki said, in a calming tone, trying to stop his lover from becoming too distressed. “Do you not wish to know the truth? It would set both of our minds at ease if you permit me to take such a liberty.”
Nino suddenly stopped struggling and surrendered to the inevitable. He knew that by allowing Masaki to touch him it could not possibly alter the outcome, but he had wished to hold on to his hopes for just a short time longer.
Masaki was extremely gentle as he enquired about the symptoms that his lover had begun experiencing and examined Nino’s abdomen. He had been aware that Nino had not quite seemed himself recently but he had ascribed it to the stress of learning the healing arts whilst watching over Jun’s pregnancy simultaneously rather than to any physical cause.
Nino was lying back with his eyes tightly screwed shut as he felt Masaki’s hands probing his belly hardly daring to breathe as he awaited the verdict.
When he hesitantly opened them his lover was looking down at him with such love and adoration that he could do nothing but burst into a flood of noisy tears.
“Lord Sakurai, I hope you will allow me to spirit your most enchanting husband away for a short time? I wish to stroll through the gardens designed by your dear late mother and I can think of no more fitting companion to accompany me,” Ohno said as he once again took Jun’s elbow and guided him through the French doors into the private walled garden.
“I am more than a little puzzled Your Majesty, by your subterfuge. I hope that I was correct by not revealing our first meeting?” Jun asked as he enjoyed the feeling of the sun’s rays upon his face. If Nino had been present he would have scolded him for ruining his complexion, but since he was not Jun allowed himself to lean back slightly and soak up the warmth.
“I think that after our conversation upon that day, you of all people will understand the need to be alone with your thoughts and to find an activity that brings joy and relaxation,” Ohno said as he led Jun to a bench under the shade of a lilac that had begun to shed its leaves with the approach of Autumn. “Sometimes I find my duties to be oppressive and seek solitude especially when there are troubles within my Kingdom. I sometimes wonder if in a past life I was a fisherman. I think that I would have enjoyed a very happy existence making my living from the sea,” he added with a sigh and a yearning expression.
“I am happy sir, that you have found the perfect outlet and are able to indulge yourself. I would clearly lack the strength to carry such a burden. That is perhaps why my Father asked you to find me a strong husband and arranged my marriage whilst I was but sixteen years of age to a man twice my years whom I had never before met,” Jun said challengingly.
“I am pleased that despite the odds you two have made a true love match, but I cannot offer you any apologies for making the arrangement in the first instance. It is my duty to keep this land safe even if it means causing personal unhappiness to certain individuals on some occasions,” Ohno said, looking at Jun with suddenly sharp eyes. "We may be speaking informally, but do not ever forget that I am your King."
“I am most sorry sir that I spoke to you in such a forward manner. My husband tells me that I am too impetuous sometimes, and I admit that he may be right," Jun said, blushing and looking to the ground as crystal teardrops trembled on the ends of his eyelashes. He had no comprehension of where such a remark came from. The words had been uttered before he even realized that they had left his mouth.
Upon seeing Jun's genuine distress, the offended Monarch disappeared and was replaced by the gentle fisherman once more. As he proffered the weeping youngster a lace edged handkerchief on which to dry his tears, he began to comprehend how frightening and distressing it must have been for Jun to be handed over to a complete stranger to be used as his husband saw fit. It was only by sheer fortunate happenstance that they had been able to find love with each other. At that moment he vowed that when the time came he would not force his own children into anything less than a love match.
"Please do not weep. It was obviously your pregnancy hormones speaking for you. My dear wife had a tongue as sharp as a razor when she was carrying," Ohno said gently as he patted Jun's back consolingly. "I beg of you to dry your tears, else I shall have your husband to answer to when we return indoors."
Jun took a shuddering breath and turned to the King with a watery smile replying "He would never think you to be the cause of my tears. He will most certainly blame himself first."
"And that is why I would wish him not to know of your distress. He has always been a most loyal and supportive friend to me as his father was to my own father beforehand." Ohno said.
"He is the most caring and kind man that I have ever known. He was so gentle and patient with me when we were first wed. What he could easily have taken by force he instead waited patiently to be given," Jun said as a soft pink blush crept across his cheeks.
"He is one of the few in this world to whom I would entrust my life," the King agreed. "But what of you? Did you find your niche? You appear to be in a better frame of mind than when last we met."
"My cravings led me downstairs to the kitchen and since then I have discovered the joy of nurturing others with foodstuffs that I have created."
"And does your husband approve of this? It is not a usual pastime for someone in your position."
"He approves of anything that brings me happiness, as long as I do not endanger either myself or our unborn child. He was particularly taken with my lemon posset," Jun said, smiling to himself as he fondly remembered the effect that his own enjoyment of the dessert had had upon his husband's libido.
"I think that it is time that we re-joined your husband. I do not wish him to think that I am trying to steal you away from him," Ohno said as he assisted Jun to rise from the seat. "I am glad that you have found your way and that we are friends once more. I only hope that we will remain so after my departure tomorrow," he added cryptically.
Nino's tears had finally abated and he was instead pacing the floor whilst angrily gesturing towards a helpless Masaki. "How could you do this to me? I told you that I did not wish to marry or bear your child until after Jun's baby is delivered."
Masaki thought it prudent to maintain his silence until the storm had blown itself out so he remained frozen in place trying not to anger his lover any further.
"It is your fault entirely. You took advantage of me!" Nino yelled as he took Masaki by the shoulders and shook him hard enough to make his teeth rattle together.
Masaki's head was instantly flooded with the recollection of the first time they had made love. Nino had pressed him backwards onto the bed and ridden his cock hard until they had both reached orgasm after he had earlier sucked him dry with a mouth that was obviously skilled and well-practiced. If anyone had been taken advantage of it certainly had not been the sexually confident and aggressive younger man.
He knew that if he valued his manhood he should not risk it being damaged by interrupting Nino's flow of words, but he could somehow not restrain himself from asking "So you are disappointed to learn of your condition?"
To Masaki's everlasting surprise his question caused Nino to once more burst into tears as he folded himself into a small heap on the bed. "Disappointed? You think that I am disappointed? I have never been happier in my entire life." Nino said angrily as he punched Masaki hard on the bicep before flinging himself into his arms.
To Jun the banquet for the King seemed endless. All the notable people in the locality had been invited and they all appeared to be so much older and more staid than Jun had anticipated. They happily sat at long tables that filled the ballroom consuming vast quantities of food and drink and speaking excessively loudly. It reminded him of his wedding banquet and stirred up the same feelings of isolation and loneliness that he had experienced on that evening.
Sho noticed that his young husband was looking completely overwhelmed by the occasion, so he leant over and spoke softly and encouragingly into his ear. "My kitten, I know that this is most difficult for you after such a stressful few days. If you could only endure it for just a small while longer?"
"I shall try my hardest. I do not wish to embarrass you in front of these grand people," Jun replied as he nibbled on the slice of chicken that Sho had placed on his plate as he leant in.
"Embarrass me? My love, you have made me the envy of every person in this room. Your beauty and charm are unparalleled." Sho said as he gave Jun's hand an encouraging squeeze under the table.
Jun rallied slightly when the dessert course finally was presented; noting with joy the special serving dish of his lemon posset that was placed before the King.
After taking his first spoonful Ohno turned to Jun with a wide smile, his eyes alight with enjoyment. "This is the most delicious thing that I have tasted in a very long time," he said as he scooped one of Jun's handmade lemon shortbreads into the creamy mixture and chewed with obvious relish.
When dinner was completed, the tables were cleared away for dancing. Jun went to take a seat to one side of the room, but the King caught his hand and escorted him onto the floor.
"You must honour me by giving me the first dance," Ohno said, giving Jun no chance of refusal as he waltzed Jun around in the centre of a ring of interested spectators.
After the dance was finished Ohno handed Jun over to his husband and indicated that they should lead the second dance together. But the exertions, both physical and mental, of the previous days had taken their toll and Jun soon felt as if the room was spinning in orbit around him as Sho skilfully spun him across the floor.
"S-Sho...I feel dizzy," Jun whispered, “Please may we…? I need to …the floor..leave. All of these people...I do not want...in front of…spinning."
Sho looked at him with deep concern because the words Jun uttered were nonsensical. Jun's face was ghostly white and beads of sweat were gathering on his brow. The combined heat from the candles blazing in the chandeliers the strong perfume from the ladies and the press of people had obviously had an adverse effect upon his pregnant young husband.
After carefully wrapping his arm supportively around Jun's waist he started to guide him out of the room even though he knew that it was against all etiquette for the host to exit the dance before the King. Sho's only thought was to get Jun to a quiet place and hope that the fresh air may revive him. He resolved to send a servant to Masaki's cottage as soon as possible and request he attend to Jun as soon as may be.
They were almost to the door when a voice spoke from behind them. “You are taking your leave without my permission?
Sho looked back over his shoulder to a slightly angry looking King. “I am sorry sir, but my husband is suddenly very unwell and I must take him for some fresh air.”
Ohno’s expression immediately changed from one of displeasure to a worried frown as he stepped forward and took Jun’s arm to assist him. Of course on the other hand It would not be a breach of etiquette if I were to accompany you,” the King replied as he departed the ballroom with the couple, leaving a buzz of speculation behind as the assembled guests looked on in astonishment, but as the music struck up once again and the wine continued to flow the evening was soon back on track, even without the guest of honour.
As they moved slowly towards Sho’s study, Jun seemed to become even weaker, and would have collapsed onto the floor if not for the support of his two escorts. Sho scooped him up into his arms, and for once Jun did not have the strength even contemplate uttering a single word of protest.
Sho seated himself with Jun nestled upon his lap, his head resting limply against his chest as if he was too weak to support it by himself; whist the King opened the windows as wide as possible to allow the cool evening breeze to enter the room.
“My kitten you will soon begin to recover. The room was far too hot and airless for you. I should have foreseen this and prevented you from overexerting yourself,” Sho said as he smoothed the sweaty locks of hair back from Jun’s forehead.
“I take full responsibility for your husband’s condition Lord Sakurai. I should not have forced myself upon him. He was unwell earlier today and still I made him dance in that overheated babble,” Ohno said regretfully. “I shall send one of my men to fetch your healer at once. Then I shall return to your guests and entertain them as best I can.”
“Your Majesty, there is no need. I shall…” Sho began to say. Torn between love and duty he made a move to slide Jun onto the chair and escort the King back to the revels.
Jun’s eyelids fluttered and he winced as Sho shifted his body slightly. “Hurts,” he mumbled.
“What hurts?” Sho asked but received no reply. “My love, please answer me. Where does it hurt?” he repeated as he shook Jun gently trying to rouse him.
“Here,” Jun replied in a weak voice as he rested his trembling hands upon his abdomen.
Sho and Ohno’s eyes met in a shared look of fear and the King immediately called for his man and sent him running to send a horseman to Masaki’s cottage so that the healer should arrive with all haste.
“I shall return to your guests as planned,” the King said. “It is best that you care for your husband as best you can until the Healer arrives. I did not bring my personal healer with me since the Crown Prince was suffering from a fever when I departed. I am so sorry that I can be of no use.”
Sho barely heard his words as he lifted Jun with as much care as he could and carried him up the stairs to their adjoining bedchambers, trying to jostle him as little as possible. He gently lay him down upon his own bed, since it was the much larger of the two and sat on the edge of the mattress beside Jun clasping his hand tightly whilst Jun looked up at him with eyes made huge by fear as tears left tracks upon his waxen cheeks. The ring that Sho had given his husband as a gift upon the occasion of his seventeenth birthday glittered in the light as Sho lifted Jun's limp hand to his mouth and pressed soft reassuring kisses to his palm.
It had taken Masaki a long time to calm Nino down as he rebounded from anger to happiness and back to anger again. Masaki was sure that he would carry the bruises on his arms and chest for some weeks to come.
His examination had indeed confirmed Nino and Jun's suspicions and had shown that he was at least two months pregnant.
They were now sitting in stunned silence in Masaki's kitchen drinking cups of strong tea, normal for Masaki and herbal for Nino.
"I do not understand how this occurred," Nino said grumpily. "Since I was sixteen years of age I have been consistently told that I am not a Carrier. I had resigned myself to the fact and had made peace with myself."
"Nino...Kazu," Masaki said, taking Nino's hand in his across the table.
"No. Do not speak until I have finished what I am attempting to say," Nino said as he tried to pull his hand away.
"Yes dear," Masaki said meekly, earning another glare from his lover.
"I never expected to find love and when I did my biggest regret was that I could never bear your children. You kept reassuring me that it was possible and a tiny portion of me hoped that you were correct but the larger part of me was filled with disbelief. But now it is a reality and I do not know how to show you just how much I love you except to do my best to successfully give you a healthy child."
Masaki's eyes were brimming with unshed tears as Nino confessed his hopes and fears and most importantly his feelings of love to him. "Kazu, I never expected to find an eternal love such as ours and for this love to be sealed with such a product of that love is beyond my wildest dreams."
Nino smiled and moved around the table to sit upon Masaki's lap wrapping his arms around his neck and nuzzling his face into his chest. He could hear Masaki's heart racing with excitement as was his own.
"Kazu, I must ask once again if you will consent to give me your hand and agree to become my husband," Masaki said as he buried his nose in Nino's hair and inhaled his unique spicy fragrance.
"When the time is appropriate I shall, but the needs of Jun still come first. He has always been delicate and I gave my promise to his Mother that I would protect him always."
"Kazu, I admire your loyalty, but Jun has a husband to protect him now and you have our own unborn child's welfare to consider also."
Nino looked aggrieved at that statement. "You had best not be planning to molly coddle me throughout this pregnancy. I am perfectly fit and have always been strong despite my small stature.
Masaki could think of very many reasons precisely why Nino needed to be cared for now that he had fallen pregnant, but before he could compose his cautious reply their conversation was interrupted by a frenzied pounding upon his front door.
"I am here upon the King's orders. Open the door." A deep voice called loudly.
Masaki and Nino exchanged a puzzled glance as Nino hopped off Masaki's lap and curiousity led him to follow the Healer to the door.
The King's man had his fist raised ready to knock once again when Masaki pulled open the door. The visitor immediately showed great relief at the sight of the Healer. "His Majesty begs you to come at once. You are required urgently up at the Manor. The young master of the house has been struck down by a sudden illness. There are concerns regarding the welfare of his unborn child."
Nino seemed to be frozen in place as Masaki immediately rushed to gather the equipment he deemed necessary for whatever emergency he might face when he arrived at the Manor.
"Please take my horse. I am a family man myself and if my wife had been so stricken whilst she carried my son I would have soon lost my sanity if I had been forced to wait for her to be treated," the man said gruffly as he assisted Masaki to sling his bags over the saddle before adding "And the young fellow was so kind as to have earlier sent us sweet treats to keep our spirits up as we patrolled whilst the revelries were taking place."
Masaki thanked him and hastily mounted, glaring at Nino who rushed out after him, holding out his hand, “Lift me up behind you Masaki."
"Nino I do not want you riding a horse in your condition. I must travel at speed and it may be dangerous for you."
"My health will suffer more if you leave me alone here to fall prey to my imagination, conjuring up untold horrors in my mind since I shall be kept from the truth of Jun's condition, " Nino replied in a shaky voice as his eyes glittered with as yet unshed tears.
Masaki could see the truth of Nino's words so he took his hand and pulled him up behind him. Making sure that his lover's arms were firm around his waist he dug his heels into the horse's sides and raced to Jun's aid.