Denys wearily awoke at the sound of knocking. He tried to bury himself deeper into the sheets in response, but then Alfred came in to inform him that Nobutsuna Kamiizumi had something pressing to tell him, and no, it couldn't wait until morning.
Denys, got dressed enough so that he was decent, before going out of his room and to where Kamiizumi was waiting.
Kamiizumi stood in the parlour, clearly nervous, hands trembling at his sides as he looked to the former Kaiser.
"I…I apologize for the interruption," The Swordmaster stated, "But the matter I must ask you is urgent. It's in regards to Geist."
"Geist?" Denys repeated, swallowing as he gestured for the Swordmaster to take a seat opposite him. "What is it? Did something bad happen?"
Did Geist die suddenly? The man was, after all, older than Kamiizumi. The last time Denys tried to ask Geist about when his birthday was, the Exorcist simply shrugged and explained that he'd forgotten that for a long while, now.
"Nothing grave happened, I assure you. But it doesn't detract from its importance." The Swordmaster replied, seeing the worry on the other man's face. "From what I understand it's best to ask someone who knows him well, seeing that Geist has no other biological relatives other than his son Revenant, and I can't exactly tell him about this."
Something he couldn't tell Revenant about? That was strange.
"What is it exactly that you must speak to me about, Swordmaster?" Denys asked.
Kamiizuimi fidgeted, then spoke.
"I…I came to ask for your blessing to marry Geist Grace."
Braev Lee woke up to someone knocking on the door of the Yulyana Needleworks. Careful not to wake Mahzer, he snuck out of bed, threw on a housecoat and crept downstairs, opening the front door.
The Exorcist stood there, fully dressed and clearly drenched from the rain outside.
"Can I talk to you?"
Braev glared, rubbing sleep out of his eyes.
"This couldn't wait until tomorrow?"
"No. It can't. It's very, very urgent." Geist swallowed, and for once the Exorcist looked…nervous. "It's about Nobutsuna."
What could such news about his best friend be?
Braev quickly ushered the other man inside, closing the door behind him. Geist took a deep breath, looking to the other man before speaking.
"I…came to get your blessing."
Braev blinked. "A….blessing?"
"Yes." The Exorcist uttered. "For marriage. I want to marry Nobutsuna Kamiizumi—your best friend and hopefully my fiancé if he says yes."
It was only then that the Templar realized what it was about.
Denys stared a bit.
Nobutsuna Kamiizumi, marrying Geist Grace? The two had only been dating for not even a year yet, and they were set on marriage? The former Kaiser couldn't help but find that slightly odd.
…Then again, his own younger brother was engaged to Magnolia already, so maybe that wasn't so weird after all.
"That wasn't the announcement I was expecting." He finally confessed.
Kamiizumi nearly cringed. "I-I know it seems to be coming all so quickly, but…I really do want to marry him."
"I didn't mean to say that to demean you." Denys reassured him, and the Swordmaster relaxed a bit in his seat. "I know you both are happy together, and you both already have been living with each other for quite some time, now. It's just…"
He paused. How was he to word this? He'd seen his share of unhappy marriages (the one regarding his father and Yew's mother came to mind) and such.
"Marriage," Denys looked to Kamiizumi, "is a big commitment. I know I'm not the one getting married here, my brother is, but I think you have to ask yourself—do you want to spend the rest of your life with him? In the good times and the bad?"
Kamiizumi let silence fall between them as he thought of this. He and Geist were happy together, right now. They were used to living with each other, and all the conflicts they had…they did their best to talk it out with each other. He recalled the time when Geist feared his sadism would get out of control, when they'd talked in the shower about their past battles and scars, when they'd first talked to each other that afternoon about what they did the night before.
But they always managed to resolve things, and work it out, no matter how hard it got.
He nodded once, eyes trained on the former Kaiser.
"Yes." He spoke. "I do. I vow to spend my life with him in times both good and bad. To support him. I…I want nothing more than to see him and our family happy, Denys."
The Swordmaster paused, thinking back to what he'd done back then.
"I didn't think that I'd be…loved. Especially after all I've done. I wasn't always seen as honourable by everyone—the Eisen Civil War is proof of that. I did grievous things—I let children be enslaved, for Crystal's sakes. The Toxic Mist Incident killed thousands of people. I even came to blows with those I saw as family. I felt like I wrecked everything. I spent the years after trying to understand that that I don't want to go down that path. A sword to protect should not mean having to destroy so many lives, surely, and I know that's difficult."
Denys said nothing, instead motioning for Kamiizumi to continue. And so he did.
"I want to fight for the people I love. To protect them. But I also know now that I can't let everything just fall to fighting. That there are more peaceful ways to solve this. And Geist…"
He thought back to the times when Geist had touched his scars and asked about them.
"He's been there for me, cared for and still cares for me despite all I've ever done. I vow to do the same for him."
The former Kaiser was silent. Kamiizumi fell silent, as well.
Then, a smile flickered onto Denys' face.
"Your deep devotion to Geist is admirable, and genuine. I can see that in you." He chuckled slightly. "Yew told me of that Christmas gift incident, and from what I've heard from Geist about you whenever we've talked, he's…happy. I'm glad to see that you two are, indeed, happy with each other. And so…"
He made eye contact with the Swordmaster.
"I give you my blessing."
"Did you have to ask me for the blessing, Geist, at three in the morning?"
Braev frowned a bit. Geist grimaced.
"W-well…I just did." The Exorcist weakly pointed out. "It's a bit too late to take that back."
The former Templar sighed. "I suppose you have a point."
The two men fell into awkward silence, and then Geist finally spoke.
"To be honest, I was thinking of proposing to him at Christmas, but decided against it because it would be a bit soon."
"Wise choice." Braev tried to imagine Geist proposing to Kamiizumi just six months into their relationship, and how the Swordmaster might react. "He…might've been taken aback."
"I think a proposal at any time would take anyone aback, honestly." The Exorcist managed. He paused, thinking, before speaking again. "I truly do wish to marry Tsuna, though. I am serious."
Geist then faintly recalled what Kamiizumi mentioned during their conversation with Braev about the two of them being in a relationship.
"You're…not going to take out your sword and fight me, are you?"
Braev couldn't help but chuckle slightly. "Afraid I cannot, given how I can't exactly wield a sword that well anymore. However, even if I was able to, I wouldn't do so."
Geist blinked. "No?"
"No." Braev shook his head. "I think I've learned that clashing blades isn't the best way to get one's blessing."
"Ah. Good." Awkward silence. "So…does this mean I get your blessing to marry Nobutsuna, assuming he says yes?"
"I didn't say I was done telling you my whole thought process."
"I'm aware you love him very much," Braev stated, "But why do you feel that you want to marry him?"
"I know we're both living together already," Geist responded, raising an eyebrow, "And I know we've only been dating for nearly a year at this point. However, I just…I just know that he would support me, no matter what. He accepts me for all of who I am—even the most twisted, sadistic parts of me."
He thought back to when he'd pinned down the Swordmaster, placed a knife to his throat because his lover had permitted him to do such a thing. There'd been no judgement there.
"I didn't think I'd ever be loved like that, especially since all know me as the Bloody, now. I know too well that I love him, and I vow to support him like how he supports me. In good times and bad."
Braev and Geist both went silent. The Exorcist feared that the man might say no.
"You really do love him."
It wasn't a question, just a statement.
Geist nodded. "I do."
"Then," A grin formed on Braev's face, "You have my blessing."
"You…do?" Geist had to let that register, and then he smiled. "Thank you!"
He nearly went in for a hug, but Braev stopped because that might get a bit awkward and the man was still sleep-deprived, after all.
Oh. "Geist? You're up—why?"
Crystals, he's up! "…Uh, I had to use the washroom. Why are you up, Tsuna?"
Crystals, that was my excuse. "I…couldn't sleep. I had something pressing on my mind."
Is he okay? "Is it the past? Do you want to talk about it?"
"It's nothing that bad, I assure you. I have it cleared up, now." He looks concerned.
"Thank the Crystals for that." I was worried for a second, there. At least he didn't notice I was out the whole time. "Shall we get back to sleep?"
Looks like he didn't realize I was out. That's good—need to keep it a surprise… "Yes."
Crystals, I love him so much.