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-A/N: Hi guys! I'm back with a new story that has been sitting in my drafts for about a year until I finally decided to finish it lol. Anyways, this is an AU I came up with, so warning-contains ANGST and FEELS

I hope you enjoy!

 

The ruby ring on his finger glistened from the light of the moon. Its gleam was so vibrant , it could put even the brightest of gold to shame, and he has seen quite the abundance of gold throughout his adventures.

Now, he didn't like to consider himself too much of a materialistic person; he had grown up with so little and had been humbled to not desire such things much, and still wasn't quite used to the much more exuberant lifestyle he now lived to this day. But he wouldn't lie, he did have a thing for fine jewelry. Jewelry to him was like candy to a child.

He had always found it amazing how gems could highlight one's aura; it was as if they were a symbol of fortune, of luxury. Never having to worry about not having food on the table, or not having the proper clothing, or not having to face the poverty and suffering most of the lower-class commoners did.

Then all of a sudden, flashes of many different faces, people of the small, poor village of Tison materialized in his brain. Memories played through, and he felt a pang of guilt form in his chest.

Those were the people he had left behind- for the sake of his dream to change the world. And to reach that seemingly unattainable dream, he knew—he hated— that he had to dirty his hands, and not just in a literal sense. With all the strife, the sweat, the tears, the guilt, the sacrifices. All of the blood that was shed, the blood he carried on his hands was all for his dream.

For his dream.

That was would he would constantly tell himself at night when the nightmares would reign in his head and the voices became too loud again. For his dream.

His mother's golden eyes looking at him, wide and with plead and sorrow burning inside the irises. The words that fell from her soft, pale lips were silent; yet they were always the loudest to him-

"Why did you leave me?"

For his dream.

Tiny, dirty hands clung to his clothes. A small child looked up at him, the soft smile a stark contrast to the blood and the grime and the soulless eyes that stared deeply into his own. Shadows in the form of other children appeared all around him. He could never quite see them clearly, but he didn't have to. Their words were always the same.

"Why did you let us die?"

For his dream.

Those large, tearful [E/C] eyes would look at him with such disgust and anger, as if he done such a dirty deed that being in his mere presence was enough for her to fall ill ; and he would reach out to touch her only to have his heart crushed into tiny little pieces as she flinched and pulled away.

It would be the same word he's heard before. But this time, it felt different and hurt worse coming from her lips.

"Why?"

For his dream. For his dream. For his dream. For his dream. For his dream. For his dream. For his dream. For their dream, for her dream, for your dream, for my dream-

And then he would wake up alone and scared, drenched in a cold sweat with tears staining his cheeks in a room full of darkness. The little boy that screamed inside of him wanted to run crying to his parents room and crawl in-between the warmth and protection of their bodies that would make all nightmares go away.

But then he'd remember that he didn't have parents anymore.

And that he had nobody to run to.

Because he could not afford to be weak. He was the rock in his friends' stormy seas, the very thing that held them all together. If anyone were to see their great, strong leader at such a weak and vulnerable state, what would they think? He couldn't bare the thought of what they would do.

So he'd take a deep breath and suck it up; he'd shut out the demons, he'd bury his emotions, and he'd drown his sorrows in his favorite bottle of liquor as he always did.

Alcohol had always provided him a sweet escape, a relief, and proved to never fail him otherwise.

There were times when he truly resented the path he took. Times that he wished the world would just come at a stop so he could just breathe. Or that he be a child again, where although things weren't very easy, but weren't as hard as they are now.

If you were to tell the naive, foolish, idealistic, 14-year old that saving the world and everyone in it would be so difficult and bring so much pain, he'd probably laugh at you and tell you to stop being so negative and something cheesy and ridiculous like 'destiny being on his side'.

What a fool he had been.

But then when he'd get so lost in those resenting thoughts, something would hit him, like a slap in the face to knock him out of it. Then he'd remember what his dream truly was. And why he really wanted it.

It was the way young children of the company run about the green plains of grass outside, the sounds of their playing, laughing, screaming would fill the air, as if they had no care in the world; the way young Sharrkan would angrily kick at the large tree that Masrur was resting in, demanding for the young fanalis to come fight him; the way his fellow workers would sit about, drinking beer and having a good time; but mostly, it was the way he would be able sit back and take in the sight of everything he had and achieved so far—his djinn, the company, but most importantly, his friends— the very reason why he pushed himself forward. It was not just his dream he was fighting for, but for all of theirs.

A peaceful and equal world for everyone.

No pain, no suffering, no loss, and no discrimination. Just the whole world to be whole. And everyday, from the moment he stepped foot off the Parthevian port, he would fight for his dream, and that was when the tides of fate turned and led him into meeting the people who would change his life forever.

It was something that he would always thank the gods above for.

But aside from his dear friends... there was that one person that had a different, special type of impact on him. The very thought of her would get his heart skip a beat ; she could make his head turn just by simply meeting his eyes. It was every glance that bared no spoken words, every simple brush of skin that fed him so little, but made him desire more...

He remembered their first meeting as if it were yesterday. It was a hot day in Parthevia.

And it was the day that forever changed his life, that stirred him into the path he led now. He had taken down some bandits that were harassing innocent village women, who had led them to a wagon. Opening it was when he met the [E/C] eyes that would imprint on his mind, and continue to haunt it. As well as a eerie, mysterious man who went by the name of Yunan, who in turn propelled him forward on the path of his destiny, the dungeon, Baal, joined by the pretty, yet withdrawn girl.

And it was from then on, that their paths would become intertwined; Sinbad was one who rode the waves of destiny, he could see the path of fate through his own eyes, laid out clearly like coordinates on a map. She was tied to him, he knew, he felt, no matter how her stubbornness believed otherwise. Fate was not something that could be fought against. The utter pull, the push, that he felt towards her, how the rukh would spur about in a wild turbulence whenever they came together, as if fate wanted to bring them together itself.

It was undeniable.

But there was always an aura of distance she radiated; as if she had wanted to keep him at arm's length, never allowed him close enough to get inside of her head. Never stayed in one place enough for him to get know her, to read her. [Name] was a mystery for Sinbad, one like he had never known; an enigma. She was a puzzle that he couldn't quite figure out how to put together, and it drove him crazy.

And it only made him long for her more.

And time after time where they would cross the same path, he would hold out his hand for her to take, no words needed to be spoken as his eyes asked the question. But she held the answer...which was always the same.

And while his mind became infatuated with her spirit, his heart longed for her eyes, his body for her touch. He dreamed of her smile, soft and pleasant like a beautiful canvas painted with the loveliest of colors. Whenever his mind would drift off, he liked to imagine what it would've been like, to have her by his side. He was meant to be a king, and although he had never really thought of this much, she would be a wonderful queen. He could have given her the entire world if she were the one to have been by his side.

But fate had other plans.

Sometimes destiny had a way of knocking him off of his stead. He had lived with his head held high for so long, after all, destiny was on his side. Surely nothing would ever knock him down from his path, right?

He was wrong.

And a rude awakening came in the form of slavery. The cruel, tortuous sixth months of being a slave had stripped him from everything he had known. His pride, his ideals, his sense of self— during that time, his fate was in someone else's hands.

He had been broken but somehow, he had been able to find the strength to piece himself back together and come back stronger. He wasn't as naive as before, or so he'd thought. His time as a slave really had helped have a better understanding of the way the world truly worked. It was that event in his life that would help shape his method he would grow to live by; to dirty his hands. It was impossible to strive for such a dream without doing such, as someone 'wise' once told him.

Was it something he was proud of? No. He didn't like the thought of living with innocent blood on his hands. But the thing that kept him going, was the thought of seeing the light of day in a world where his dream would come true. For his friends. For her. And for all of that, it was worth it. He would never be strayed from his path again.

But doubt and a twist of fate came in the form of an all too prideful princess.

His mind drifted back to the words spoken by the former Parthevian royalty that had him shaken to the core. From all the truth that was laced in her words, from the idea that he was nothing without royal blood. Did that mean all he had been through meant nothing? His dreams meant nothing? Everything he built meant nothing just because he was not born to a crown? With no kingdom to his name, or on his back?

...And it drifted to the current predicament he found himself in now.

He glanced to the ring on his finger.

Why did something so beautiful make his stomach twist and turn and pit of something he couldn't quite put a finger on bubble in his gut?

Oh. Because it was a symbol of engagement. A sign of marriage. He was promised to someone.

What was the problem? Aside from the fact that he didn't really like the idea of being tied down to anyone. (Although if it were a certain someone, he'd probably do it in a heartbeat, no regrets.) He liked to be a free spirit, having many escapades and flirtations with many different women, but not letting them become close were just habits that couldn't be helped.

He had heard many tales from his mother as a child, the story of how she met his father and fell in love. She described the feeling as, 'something that transcends physical feeling and falls into a much deeper , almost spiritual connection.' And she had that far away look in her eyes, her conscious wandering off into memories.

None of that which, he felt anything to his betrothed.

It wasn't that he hated Serendine; oh no, it was far from that. Hate was the farthest thing that came to his mind when it comes to her. However, there were no strong feelings that he held towards the princess, none of which he felt a 'connection'. She was a precious person to his dearest friend Drakon. She had been a thorn to his side at times, one that would get really...exasperating at times, but he considered her an ally nonetheless.

If anything, his feelings towards her didn't go beyond physical attraction. He couldn't be at fault for— after all, she was a very beautiful young woman as well as a princess, and he was a growing man. That fact was undeniable. He liked beautiful women and he had hormones, it was just the way of life. But apart from that... there was nothing there. No chill down his spine or feelings of warmth in his chest—no spark, no fire.

But this was only a political gain, he told himself. That was the only reason he accepted her farcical proposal. He would use her, she would use him. That's all there was to it. It was a step closer in the direction of achieving his goal. Even though a part of him felt like a quitter somehow, like he was taking the easy way out.

Even if deep down in his heart, it felt so wrong.

"Drakon told me you would be up here."

Sinbad nearly jumped at the sound of her voice, his heart suddenly pumping quickly at the sudden intrusion. 'I hate it when she does that!' How had he not picked up on any sound? Oh, because she was silent and slick like a cat. He looked around, trying to locate where her voice came from. He really hoped that he wasn't simply hearing things; he had missed a few days of sleep.

"Up here." Turning to where he heard her voice, he found her sitting in a large tree that hung near his bedroom, extending from the garden. In one of her hands she held one of the yellow fruits that grew on the tree, taking a bite out of it. With her free hand, she gave a lazy wave.

"[Name]..." he breathed, still in slight shock from her sudden appearance. His heart was still beating quickly, but all of the dread that hung over him for the past few days was suddenly gone. Just like that. "What are you doing here? I thought you'd be-"

"Traveling?" She took another bite of the fruit , wiping away the juice that dribbled down her chin. "Eh, I grew tired of it. It can get quite boring after a few months of wandering from place to place, I've seen nothing new really. And I knew you'd be traveling to Parthevia, it appears that I arrived here just in time."

That statement caused his eyebrow to raise. "You knew?" A ghost of a smirk appeared across his handsome face. "How is that? Are you, perhaps, stalking me?"

"Oh, you'd enjoy that wouldn't you?" she scoffed turning her [E/C] colored eyes from his smug face and to the starlit sky. "If anything, you're the stalker. It gets awfully suspicious how you just happen to 'mysteriously' appear wherever I go."

"It's not like I did it on purpose!" The purple-haired male laughed, putting his hands up in defense. "It's a coincidence!"

"Sure it was," She rolled her eyes, tossing the fruit to the side and watched as it plummeted to the ground. "Keep telling yourself that."

Sinbad chuckled, resting his arms against the stone banister of the balcony, leaning against it. It was amazing, only a couple of minutes of her presence and his spirits were lifted so easily. All thoughts of the looming marriage, the future of the company , and just the world in general seemed to vanish.

"Seriously," he spoke after a period of silence, his eyes focused on the heavenly moon. "What are you doing here, [Name]?"

[Name] frowned, noting the solemn tone Sinbad's voice had taken on. Judging by the tense body language he had, something was bothering him. But she wasn't about to touch upon that subject just yet. " I found quite an interesting book in this little shop in Reim. I thought Ja'far might want to read it." She held up a bag.

"That's all?"

"Fine," she sighed as she bent on her knees and sprung from the tree, and Sinbad let out a noise in cross between of a screech and a gasp of surprise and moved to be ready to catch her, but halted when she landed perfectly on her feet. "Maybe I wanted to see you all."

"Any reason in particular?" His tone grew incredulous.

She raised an eyebrow. "I need a reason to come see how my 'friends' are fairing? I assumed you would be happy to see me."

It's not that, I am happy to see you, I'm always happy to see you, and I want you to stay, but it's just that-

"I'm sorry." He sighed, standing up straight, running his hands through violet locks. "You're always welcome with us." With me. "I've just...had a lot of things on my mind." You in particular...

Her tone was soft now. "...Is it about your marriage?"

Sinbad winced, an ache forming in his chest and swallowed thickly. "How'd you know?"

"Well, word travels fast." She said nonchalantly, but there was something in her eyes. Something that he couldn't read. "The ex-princess and heir to the throne returns to Parthevia as well as the infamous dungeon conqueror Sinbad by her side? Citizens and servants alike preparing for a 'grand ceremony'? I picked up on it pretty fast."

"You always were vigilant." He gave a weak chuckle.

Silence.

"So...that's what got you so down?" Her eyes were so crystal clear in the moonlight, shining brighter than the ring on his finger.

"Down?" He said, trying to brush off this feeling, putting on that facade he wore so much. "Who says I'm down?"

"Because you're not the type to be moping around in a dark room by yourself on such a young, beautiful night."

Ah. It was the truth. News of the engagement had spread fast, but he didn't pay any mind to it. He had returned to his home country feeling so bitter and just...out of it, not even alcohol could make this feeling go away. This was the one time it had failed him.

He didn't know what to say, and for some reason couldn't bring himself to look into her eyes.

"This whole marriage to the princess...it's stressing you out?"

He scratched the back of his head. The cold brush of wind tousled the long, violet locks, causing it to flow behind him like a river. "Yeah, that's it. I'm going to become the King of Parthevia soon. I'm one step closer to changing this world. But..."

"But?"

I don't want to marry Serendine.

"It...it just doesn't feel right."

"How so?"

Because I don't love her.

His heart was beating fast. His throat contracted, and heat was forming in his chest, spreading all throughout his body like a fearsome fire. Why was it difficult to breathe all of a sudden? "Because..." He swallowed again as his throat was feeling dry. "Because...I don't know..."

"You don't know?" He could hear the surprise in her voice.

I could never love her.

"Sinbad..." She came closer and placed her hand on his shoulder. He tried to avoid her eyes. He just didn't couldn't bear to look at them for some reason and he didn't know why. "There is always a reason for everything. You wouldn't just say that if there wasn't a reason why you felt that way."

A lot of things didn't feel right.

"I feel like I'm giving up." It wasn't a lie, but it was quite a stretch from the truth. If he told her the real reason as to why it wasn't right, he didn't know what she'd do. Probably run away and disappear, and he couldn't take the thought of that, especially not now. "I feel like I have been wasting my time. As if all the sacrifices I made to build my own country were all for nothing."

A cool breeze shifted once more, the cool night air running through violet and [H/C] locks and. [Name] blinked and stared at her hands, twiddling her thumbs. She knew what Sinbad said was true, but something didn't sit right. He didn't sound sure of himself —and if she knew one thing about Sinbad, it was that the man was always sure of himself. He always had the answer and he always knew what to do and what to say. It was one of the things she lov-admired about him. But now, it almost seemed as if he were...hesitant. Afraid. Afraid to tell her something.

"That makes sense. You feel as if all the trials and tribulations you've faced as well as the others, were all fruitless. That you're going against your will all while bending too easily to someone else's." He gave a nod, but still refused to look at her. "Even so, you'll still be king in the end."

"I don't agree with Parthevia's methods." He stated abruptly, which caused [Name] to raise an eyebrow at this. He had grown even more tense. There was a crack in the wall.

"As king, you will be able to change that."

"Not with her at my side."

[Name] furrowed her eyebrows, her suspicions rising. "You say that with so much hostility. I'm not as informed as you are about politics and monarchy and what not, but if I'm correct isn't the king the one in charge?"

That was very much correct, but he didn't know what Serendine was planning, or even if what she promised was true. Even if he did hold certain power in the position of king and would be able to "use her" as she claimed, that didn't even matter at the moment. This was a battle within his conscious; the mind or the heart?

Something connected within [Name], as a thought struck her. While Sinbad's decision to marry the princess was sudden and didn't make much sense, the problem wasn't exactly his ideals. But something else. The marriage itself. And the way he spoke about the princess...

"You don't want to marry her, do you?"

He didn't respond. But his silence was the only answer she needed.

"Oh. I see..." Her mind was so void of thought, she couldn't think of anything to say. What was the right thing to say? She wasn't one who got involved in politics and countries, as she never stayed around long enough to be bothered with it. But when it came to things such as marriage she knew one thing.

A sudden feeling came over her, and before she could stop herself she placed her hand on his cheek, turning his head to face her. And she was met with those stunning, molten golden eyes of his.

They were eyes that could pull anyone in, anyone could get lost in them. And as much as she liked to deny it, deep down she knew she had fallen victim to them.

"I know monarchies have their reasons for arranged marriages but...I think it's ridiculous to marry someone you don't want to."

Oh, it is ridiculous.

" Especially if there's no love...you don't love her, do you?"

He shook his head, he was melting into her touch, and losing his train of thought as he looked into her eyes. Her lips looked so smooth.

"I never took you as someone who would submit so easily to someone else's will...especially if you have to put your beliefs and desires behind you."

All thoughts of Parthevia, the princess, the marriage he didn't want gone; he was entranced by her. There was an unbearable desire growing within him for her, her eyes, he smile, her lips.

Her touch.

Her body.

"But sometimes, it's not so bad to follow what your heart tells you to do."

And so he did.

Before she could say anything else, he was leaning in close and pulling her closer, one hand cupping her cheek with one hand, the other tangled in her hair as he closed his eyes and let his lips lock with her own in a passionate kiss.

And he felt complete.

There was a few seconds of hesitance from hers, as if she were afraid almost, afraid to give into the feelings that had been swarming inside of her for so long, and that had ruptured from the second she heard of Sinbad's soon to be marriage; afraid of the feelings that would stir up in her chest whenever he looked at her, the warmth that would blossom in her heart whenever she was around him, the dozens of emotions she would feel all at once just at the mere thought of him.

Until realization dawned.

He would soon be bound to another; tied by the laws of marriage and promises, weighed down by the burdens of being a king of another's country as well as a husband.

By the current path of fate, he would never be hers. But for this night, only she would have all of him.

And that was something nobody else would ever get to have.