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Dark Souls Bad Things Happen Bingo

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This was quite a formidable foe. Ornstein couldn't help but be amazed at the enemy forces he and his soldiers were fending off. After all, they had managed to invade into Anor Londo, the best protected city in Lordran. This knights had to be the elite of their country.

This peculiar foe had managed to take down at least four of the silver knights before Ornstein arrived at the rafters and took up the fight. It was quite a bold move trying to enter the cathedral through that place, because one misstep would mean a deep fall. Ornstein knew this place like the back of his hand and knew perfectly where he could stand. With occassional backsteps and jumps over his enemy, he managed to evade their sword strikes with eases and kept them onto their toes until he saw an opening. Readying his spear, he lunged forwards and managed to take his foe out by burying it deep into their body.

Crimson red seeped out of the armour of the enemy knight while they stumbled and fell backwards to the ground. Ornstein grabbed for his spear to pull it out of the dead body when he felt a force pulling on his ponytail. He quickly forced the spear out of the corpse, planning to turn around and fight the new challenger, but just as the tip of the spear left the body, he could feel that this feet left the ground and the next thing he knew was that he was about to fall into the deepness.

Ornstein's heart stopped for the fraction of a second. Everything seemed to move slower while his right hand clutched his spear and his left hand shot up to find something to hold on to. Awaiting the impact, he quickly opened his eyes when he noticed that he wasn't falling anymore. He had managed to hold on to the rafter just in time. Suddenly the thought of wearing several pounds of armour wasn't so appealing anymore. He struggled holding his weight up with one hand alone and then there was still his foe. If they noticed that he didn't fall off... He looked up to see his fear becoming realitiy as the knight raised their foot to stomp on his finger. Ornstein braced himself a second time for the moment of the impact when the knight got knocked over by a large figure, which charged at them with a howling battle cry.

Artorias! He came at exactly the right moment. Ornstein just had to hold on a little moment longer. He perfectly knew how strong Artorias was. But had Artorias seen him fall? Did he even know that he was in such a life threatening situation? With one ear focusing on the battle noise, he felt his grip on the rafter slipping. Just as he heard a thud of a body hitting the ground, he readied his voice, really hoping that it hadn't been Artorias who fell.

"Artorias, help, over here!", he shouted just as his grip on the rafter slipped completely. He closed his eyes at the thought of the upcoming impact and only opened them again when he heard Artorias voice.

"I got you!", the wolf knight yelled, having grabbed his hand. "How did you manage to get into this situation? Let me pull you up." Artorias was on his knees, holding Ornstein's left hand with his own one, his greatsword rammed into the rafter and hold with his right hand for support. "You know, that would be easier if you could give me both of your hands...", Artorias groaned.

Ornstein had another concern right now. He spotted another enemy knight behind Artorias, raising their sword. In this position, holding him and trying to pull him up, the wolf knight was very vulnerable. "Artorias, watch out, behind you!", Ornstein shouted when a javelin impaled the enemy and knocked them down from the rafters. The silver knight archers had arrived! Ornstein's throat went dry at the thought of the enemy falling down. Soon, his fate could be the same. He could hear the voices of the silver knights yelling.

"Sir Artorias, we are making sure that nobody is distracting you. Concentrate on getting our captain into safety.", they yelled, probably preparing the next dragon slayer arrow to shoot at anyone who would try to attack Artorias.

"Ornstein, give me your right hand already.", Artorias pleaded once more.

Ornstein looked down, then at the spear he was clutching in his right hand. "I.. I can't. I can't let go of my spear.", he said.

"Are you crazy? A weapon can be replaced, a life not!", Artorias shouted.

"Without this spear I wouldn't have a reason to live more. For me, it is as valuable as my own life.", Ornstein yelled back while he felt his hand slipping. He could feel Artorias tighten his grip around his wrist.

"I know how important it is for you, but throwing your life away for it? Please give me your other hand. How did you even manage to get into this situation?", Artorias snarled at him.

"My ponytail. They grabbed it while I was distracting striking another foe down.", he answered. "Still hurts.", he added.

"Ornstein, you trust me, right?", the voice of the wolf knight suddenly sounded very calm.

"Huh, Artorias, what do you have planned?", Ornstein cried.

"Answer me!", Artorias bellowed.

"Yes, I trust you!", Ornstein shouted.

"Then I will let go.", Artorias said and Ornstein could feel how the grip of the wolf knight was released from his wrist.

"Artorias, what...", Ornstein started in disbelief feeling his body plunge into the deepness when he felt that particular sensation on his head again and got pulled up hitting the rafters with a loud clank.

"Ouch... Artorias, that was brutal.", Ornstein said, laying there shivering.

"I am sorry, but it was the only way I could think off. Letting you go and pulling you back up by your ponytail. It was the only thing I could have grabbed while you were falling.", the wolf knight said, heavily shivering himself. Then Ornstein felt himself embraced into a tight hug.

"How could you be so stupid? Don't ever think about throwing your life away like this again!", Artorias growled, but Ornstein could hear the relief in his voice.

"I am sorry..", Ornstein said. "But throwing my spear away... it would feel like I would throw him away... everything we got...."

"You got it from the Firstborn, right?", Artorias said and relased Ornstein from the hug. Ornstein nodded.

"We don't want to interrupt your moment, but there are more foes heading this way!", one of the silver knights upon them shouted. Ornstein and Artorias both stood up and readied their weapons.

"We can talk later. For now, we have some fighting to do.", Ornstein said with a newfound determination.

Artorias grinned: "Whatever you say, captain."

Chapter Text

Ornstein loved to jog. Or that was how he called it. Artorias often jokingly said, that he was the only person who would consider running at his full speed through Anor Londo and jumping from rafter to rafter a jog. He enjoyed the feeling of the speed, the wind which was blowing through his ponytail and the feeling of absolute control over himself when he jumped over the rafters. Granted, he didn't jump over the highest rafters, even he considered it too dangerous, but it was still a remarkable height. Ornstein didn't worry. He knew his jogging route by heart now and knew perfectly how to safely jump from rafter to rafter without any trouble at all. So when his foot slipped, he felt surprise, confusion and then the dreadful feeling of having messed up.

When Artorias saw Ornstein falling, a wave of dread washed over him. He had always feared that this would happening one day with the way, Ornstein would "jog" and so the wolf knight was running towards his friend despite knowing that he never would be fast enough to actually catch him. "Oh shit oh shit oh shit...", Artorias muttered under his breath when he arrived at the spot where Ornstein had fell. "Ornstein, where are you?", he shouted, not really believing he would receice answer, but feeling equally surprised and relieved when he heard the lion knight's voice. "Artorias...? Thank the lords that you are here... I think I need some help."

Alright, Ornstein was alive and conscious at last, but he must have been hurt really bad if he asked for help. Artorias rushed into the direction of Ornstein's voice and found the lion knight laying on the ground. He didn't look mortally wounded at least, but was very clearly unable to get up on his own.

"How did you manage to survive that?", Artorias blurted out.

"I trained a lot how to fall right, with fighting dragons and all.", Ornstein answered. "Would you help me up please? I think I have broken a leg."

"We probably should get rid of your armour first.", Artorias said and carefully helped his friend out of it. Luckily Ornstein would normally put on a few comfortable clothes under his armour, finding it too uncomfortable to wear all this metal on his bare skin. After his leggings were gone, which made Ornstein wince and hiss in pain, Artorias was able to view the damage a lot better.

"I think you may have broken both legs...", he said. Ornstein had gotten really pale after seeing the mess his legs had become and had put a hand over his mouth, implying that he felt sick. "I better get you the infirmary.", Artorias said.

A short while later the dragon slayer had been carried to the infirmary and was waiting for treatment, lying on a bed. His legs did hurt real bad and he felt stupid. He never had slipped whilde jogging before. He could consider himself lucky that he got out of it with a few breaks, it could have ended far worse. Artorias entered the room, smiling at him: "I have good news and bad news."

"Give me the good ones first, please.", Ornstein said.

"The princess has agreed to cast her new miracle on you, that will greatly shorten the healing process."

"And the bad news?"

"The bones still have to get set."

Ornstein sighed: "I had a feeling that would be the case. You better get me something to bite into then, that is going to hurt..."

Artorias was handing Ornstein a small piece of wood and soon after the physician entered the infirmary. "You are already informed?", she asked.

Ornstein nodded and Artorias sat down on a chair next to the bed. The physician took a look at Ornstein's leg. "We will have to get rid of these pants. Let me just cut them off, undressing will be unneccessary painful."

Ornstein felt a bit flustered about this, but he let it happen. It had hurt enough to get his leggings removed with the help of Artorias, he wasn't too fond of another unneccessary wave of pain. After his pants had been cut off, the physician was able to get a better look. Ornstein quickly looked away,without the cloth between it he could see how wrong the bend of his legs looked like and how bad they had started to bruise, which was making him feel sick again.

"Looks like in the left leg, the tibia and the fibula is broken and in the right leg the tibia is broken at two different places...", the physician said. "I will start setting them now. Are you ready?"

"Just a small moment please.", Ornstein said and took a few deep breathes to fight the nausea away. After he felt confident enough to take it, he took the piece of wood Artorias had given him and placed it between his teeth. He nodded to the physician so that she could start.

"Alright then, I will start with the left leg.", she said. Ornstein braced himself when he felt her touch. He hated this. Getting a broken bone set was such an awful pain. He tried to calm himself down, by thinking that it would just be a short awful moment and then it would be over. A short awful moment he had to endure for four times. Only thinking about it made his breath go faster again. He could feel Artorias taking his hand and turned his head to look at the wolf knight. "Don't worry, it will be over soon.", he said reassuredly.

"I am getting to the first one.", the phyisican proclaimed and shortly after Ornstein was hit with the pain and the cracking sound of a bone going back into its usual place. He winced, managed to notice that he had bit very hard into the piece of wood and tensed his whole body. Alright, three more to go.

"Tell me if you need a break.", the physican said. "I know this hurts real bad."

Ornstein was already sweating and panting heavily from the pain, but motioned her to go on. He wanted to be over with it.

"Now getting to the fibula.", the physician said. "That one isn't that bad." Ornstein braced himself for another wave of pain, but was relieved when it turned out to not be as bad as the first one.

The physician spent a moment to splint and bandage the set bones in the left leg before turning to the right one.

"You nearly are over with it. I think I may be able to set this bone in one going. It is broken twice, but I just need the broken piece to get aligned to the others.", she casually explained. Ornstein was sure that this would hurt a lot and tensed again. He could feel how Artorias laid a hand on his back, rubbing it.

"You are doing great.", he said.

"Ready?", the physician asked and put her attention on the right leg after Ornstein nodded. She spent a while determining where the broken piece was, making Ornstein hissing slightly in pain. After she had found it, she just slammed the bone into place, which made Ornstein howl in pain, a wave of fresh nausea flooding over him, making him fell down on the bed, just lying there shivering.

"That has been it. You were doing great.", the physician said while splinting and bandaging the right leg. "You can get the princess now."

"You were really doing great. That must have hurt a lot.", Artorias said next to Ornstein, still holding his hand. "How about we wait for a few minutes till you feel better and then I will go and get the princess so that we can fix you up?"

Ornstein spent the next few minutes concentrating on deep breathes, before he answered to Artorias: "That would be very appreciated." He noticed that he still was holding Artorias hand and let it go at once. "Um... and thank you very much for your support, Artorias..."

Artorias smiled at him: "Don't sweat it. I know you would do the same thing for me."

Chapter Text

As soon as he opened the curtains, Ornstein knew it would be a hot day. The sun was already up and shining bright at this early time of morning. Ornstein sighed. He wasn't made for the heat. At least it was still cool and pleasant in the cathedral. But his duties required for him to be outside. Ornstein considered scheduling all the outdoors duties he had today in the morning before the heat would reach its peak. He walked over to his chest and searched for the most light clothes he could find to wear under his armour, before starting the day.

At first, everything went smoothly. Ornstein had scheduled the silver knight training in the morning and knew it was the right decision when the knights sighed in relief upon hearing this. But even at that early time of the day, the sun shone down merciless, leaving Ornstein a sweaty mess beyond that armour. He was looking very forward to go back inside the cathedral and taking care of the paperwork at the afternoon. After he had eaten his lunch, Ornstein searched for Artorias, who usually helped him out with the paperwork. He found the wolf knight standing near the maingate to the cathedral.

"Are you ready for our patrol, Ornstein?", he asked.

Huh, what...? Apparently, Ornstein had made a mistake. He had completely forgot that he had promised Artorias to go on patrol this particular afternoon a few days prior.

"This was... today?", Ornstein asked just to be sure. He eyed Artorias, the wolf knight had taken off the chestplate of his armour and his gauntlets, which showed his naked, tanned and muscular chest. "And how are you even running around? Don't you have any dignity left?"

"Yes, it was today.", Artorias nodded. "And I would suggest you to take off some pieces of armour too, or do you want to get cooked alive?"

"In contrast to you, I still have my dignity left.", Ornstein quipped.

"Alright... but make sure to stay hydrated, yes?", Artorias said. Shouldering his greatsword, he stepped out of the cathedral. Ornstein had to embrace himself. Just around two hours and he would be done with this. He could take this. He stepped out of the cathedral following Artorias and was greeted with intense heat.

After they had been on their way for around 10 minutes, Artorias stopped.

"Are you sure you don't want to take some pieces of your armour off?", he asked. "Even the silver knights who are outside today have taken off pieces of their armour. Nobody will bat an eye if you are doing the same.", he said.

Ornstein, who had managed to sweat profusely in just this short time, grumbled. "You know I will only get sunburned if I run around like you." He stared at Artorias naked evenly tanned chest. Artorias ability to get such a nice tan was something Ornstein always had envied. He only would get freckles when the sun was exposed to his skin.

"We can walk in the shade and I am sure you have some clothes on under this armour. It must be awfully hot for you. Are you sure you don't want to take at least a little bit off?"

Ornstein shook his head: "I can take this. We will be done quickly anyway, there is barely anyone out here."

"Well, true.", Artorias said. "Even most of the market stalls have already closed down. Just follow me, I know a route where we can walk mostly in the shade."

But even in the shade it still felt unbearable hot. Part of Ornstein knew that the heat was contained in his armour. That he wouldn't get it out unless he would take it off. But he just... couldn't do it. Being in full armour helped him maintaining his composure as the dragon slayer and the captain of the knights and he feared, that it would crumble if he would take it off. Ornstein noticed that his breath got more shallow and his heart felt like it was racing. The sooner they were over with it and he could take his armour off in the coolness of the cathedral, the better.

But then they encountered the master. He came over after noticing them.

"Good afternoon, Prince Gwynfor.", Artorias said and intended for a swallow bow out off politeness, the master didn't exactly liked all these formalities. Ornstein didn't say anything, he just stared. Just like Artorias, the master had decided to take off the chest piece of his armour and presented his bare chest with all the battle scars from past fights. Ornstein's head started to spin around itself. He slightly leaned against the nearest wall, trying to shake this sudden dizzyness off.

"Ornstein, are you sure it is a good idea to run around in full armour at this temperatures?", the master asked. "I am a sun god and like the sun and even I had to take off some armour to make it bearable."

Ornstein's gaze slowly wandered from the master's chest to his eyes. "I am fine, master.", he said. "I don't even feel the heat anymore, in fact I stopped sweating." And then his world got dark.

When he awoke, the first thing Ornstein noticed was, that he was lying down. The second that someone had wrapped some wet towels around his wrists, head and ankles. And the third thing that the master was sitting next to him. Ornstein shot up, but regretted this decision instantly when a throbbing headache and a wave of nausea washed over him.

"Woah, stay down, you collapsed in the heat.", the master said and gently forced Ornstein to lay back down which wasn't difficult, cause Ornstein didn't had any strenght to fight back. The master put the wet towels, which had fallen off his head and wrist, back into place.

"...Where are we?", was the only thing Ornstein managed to ask. His memories went back to him staring at the master's naked chest and then only darkness. He couldn't remember getting back inside or what happened after he had reassured the master he was fine. Which obviously hadn't been the case.

"At the infirmary. I brought you here after you passed out. Artorias is continuing your patrol.", the master said. "The physician said that it was good that I brought you here that quickly, cause you needed help immediately. Seems like you have suffered heatstroke."

The master shot a concerned and at the same time scolding look at him: "That surely happened because you refused to take off your armour. Artorias told me he tried several times to convince you to take it off, but you refused."

Ornstein felt like shrinking under this look. "I am sorry...", was the only thing he said only to see that the master wasn't besides his bed anymore. He spotted him in a corner of the room talking to the physician. They both strolled over to his bed after a short talk.

"Now that you are awake, you need to rehydrate.", the physician said. The master placed a jar on Ornstein's night stand, while the physician seemed to take Ornstein's temperature.

"Still hasn't gone down...", she mumbled. "I would like for you to stay overnight. Heatstrokes can be deadly, you know. You were lucky."

"She's right.", the master said and helped Ornstein sit up so that he could take a sip from the jar wich was filled with water. "Luckily Artorias and me were there, but what if that would have happened if you had been alone? Only a few people here are able to carry a man of your size."

Ornstein was so used to be only the third tallest of the four knights (only towering over Ciaran), that he sometimes forget how big he was in contrast to regular people. The master was right. The silver knights would have great trouble carry him if he collapsed. And when some citizens found him, they first would need to get some help to get him transported. Until then it could have been already too late. Ornstein's face felt hot, but not from the rised body temperature, this time it was shame. Because he had been stubborn, he had brought himself in danger.

"I am sorry.", he said once again, lowering the jar. "I have been stubborn and now I am sick because off it. I promise it won't happen again."

"For now, the most important thing is that you are getting better.", the master said. "I don't want to say this, but you look awful."

"I also feel awful.", Ornstein said with a weak smile and laid back down after he noticed that the jar was empty. Even though he felt bad for having brought his condition upon himself, he felt like it wouldn't be too lousy to be a bit selfish.

"Would you stay with me until I feel better, master?", he asked.

"Of course I will. Can't let my student going through this alone.", he answered with a warm smile and placed the wet towel back on Ornstein's forehead who happily closed his eyes. Maybe it wasn't too bad to show weakness once in a while.

Chapter Text

Gwynevere was sitting at the desk at one of the study rooms from the archives, taking care of the paperwork. Ruling a country came with all sort of duties alongside her taking care of her twin sons and her husband. Luckily, Lorian was big enough now to carry Lothric around and the two children would be able to be on their own for a while before she had to check in on them. Oceiros, her husband, was also eager to spend some time with his sons which gave her the much needed time to check and sign the various paperwork that had piled up.

She heard the door to the study room open. From the corner of her eye, she could make it out as her husband, but didn't pay much attention to him at first. Only after she heard a lot of rummaging and searching in every single chest and cupboard, she looked up from her work sighing.

"Osi, what are you searching for?", she asked. It was so typical for him to not find what he desired. She would bet that she would find the thing he searched the moment she opened the cupboard.

"I am searching for some dressing material.", Oceiros answered. "Lorian knocked a shelf over while playing earlier and I got myself a nasty cut by trying to catch it. Luckily, the kids are fine. I let them help me putting the books away though."

Gwynevere stood up and walked over to her husband. "I should take a look at this wound.", she said. "Where did you cut yourself?"

"It will be fine once I could apply some bandages.", Oceiros grumbled. "I don't think there is a need for you to take a look."

"I don't think so.", Gwynevere said. "Also, you can't even find the bandages and how do you want to apply them with only one hand? I can see that it is your right hand that is bleeding." She glanced at Oceiros hand which was wrapped in a handkerchief and the blood was slowly seeping out.

"Oh, fine, alright, take a look, my love.", he said and raised his right hand. Gwynevere carefully removed the handkerchief to take a look. The cut was indeed pretty deep, between the thumb and the index finger. Gwynevere frowned when she noticed how dirty it was. Some minor splinters obviously from the shelf, some dust and and a lot of fuzz from the handkerchief.

"Osi, dear, this certainly needs to get cleaned out.", she said. "If you keep it like this, you only will get an infection." She could see how her husband got tense.

"Won't the blood just wash the dirt out?", he asked, getting a bit pale.

"From what I see, no.", she said. "Here, apply some pressure with my handkerchief on the wound, yours is too fuzzy and has made the wound worse. I am getting some supplies."

A short while later, Gwynevere returned to the study room with some water, soap, a soft washing cloth, bandages, tweezers and an ointment. She also had made sure to wash her own hands, cleaning a wound with dirty hands was a bad idea. Oceiros was sitting on the chair in front of the desk, gently applying pressure with her handkerchief on the wound. Upon noticing her, he looked up: "Oh, you are back, my love."

"Is it still bleeding? We need to make sure that it stops.", Gwynerve said and took a look at her husband's hand. "It is still bleeding. Let me take care of that. I am used to tending to wounds anyway."

Gwynere once had been the princess of sunlight, Gwyn's oldest daughter and knew how to use powerful miracles, but all this seemed so long ago now. She had let this time behind her. Her father was dead, her older brother had been banished and Anor Londo was put in the hands of her younger sibling, Gwyndolin. Now she was the queen of Lothric and as such she should take care of her family. She took the handkerchief from Oceiros and put just the right amount of pressure onto the wound that it soon stopped bleeding.

"Tell me, if it's hurt.", she said and dipped the washing cloth in the water. Oceiros did hold his hand out for her and she squeezed the water out of the washing cloth so that it could rinse the wound out and take most of the loose dirt with it.

"You still fine?", she asked. Oceiros nodded: "That hasn't hurt much, my beloved."

"Let's see if you still say that when I get out the stuck in dirt. She doused the washing cloth in the water again, squeezed almost all the water out of it, so that it would only be a bit wet and then started to clean the fuzz and dust out of the cut. Oceiros winced, clearly being uncomfortable.

"Gwynevere, please, could you a bit more gentle?", he hissed between clenched teeth.

"Osi, I am already as gentle as I can be.", she chuckled. "Are you really making a fuss because of a little bit wound cleaning? And that although you like to tell anyone who listens to it how proud you are of having blue hair, a symbol of true royalty."

Oceiros looked hurt at her bantering: "Yes, that is very much true, I am very proud of my hair, but that doesn't mean that this wound cleaning doesn't hurt."

"I am just teasing you, my dear.", Gwynevere said. "I perfectly know how much it can hurt to get stuck fuzz out of a wound." She applied some soap to the washing cloth and carefully cleaned the area outside of the wound. She saw how Oceiros visibly relaxed when she put the washing cloth away and tensed again when he saw her reaching for the tweezers.

"Gw.. Gwynevere, does that need to be done?" The proud and powerful king looked so small right now. Gwynereve found it quite a bit amusing, but the worry and compassion took over, she knew how painful this could be.

"Sorry, but I have to get the splinters out.", she said. "You could get an terrible infection otherwise. But don't worry, I will be very gentle."

Gwynevere readied the tweezers and began to pull out the first splinter. Oceiros did his best to retain a composure, but she could see him wincing and hear him whimpering every time she managed to pull one of them out. After she had pulled out the fifth splinter, she tossed the tweezers aside. She heard Oceiros release the breath he must had hold in all this time.

"There, you did great.", she said and readied some bandages.

"This had hurt, a lot.", Oceiros squeaked.

"I know.", Gwynevere said. "It isn't always easy. Just like running this kingdom isn't always easy." She applied some ointment on the cleaned out wound and finished with bandaging it.

"At least now you can continue to rule the kingdom without having to fear an infection." She smiled at him.

"And at least I have you.", he smiled right back at her. "You are always there to take care of me, my love. In front of you, showing a moment of weakness feels natural."

"Were you making such a fuzz because of that?", Gwynevere jokingly said. "I guess it must have hurt quite a bit. I am glad that you can show your true self in front of me. And don't feel ever bad for being in pain, we have feelings too, you know?"

She pulled Oceiros into a hug and kissed him. "How about we both stay here for a while until you feel better and then take a look at the kids?"

"That would be very much appreciated, my love.", Oceiros said and recopricated her kiss.

Chapter Text

Artorias grinned triumphantly when he saw the blade of the sword his enemy was wielding flying through the air after it broke with a clank. What he didn't see coming was, that the Darkwraith didn't falter and promptly shoved their hilt into his face with full force, making his face exploding and pain, making him see stars.

Artorias tumbled a few step backwards. He had let his guard down for only one second, what a stupid mistake. He had been sent to New Londo to hunt down the Darkwraith's, who were terrorizing the innocent citizens of the town once again. Artorias only had taken Sif, his wolf companion with him. He was the only one who had made the necessary pacts to walk safely on the ground the Darkwraith's inhabited. He already had killed three of them when the blow on his face of the fourth had happened.

After his vision cleared, he noticed something warm trickling down his nose. Oh no, the hit must have crushed his nose. He would need a moment to sit down and stop the bleeding, but he saw two more Darkwraith's approaching him. Was one of them the enemy from earlier who brought him into this situation or did they ran away while they had the chance? Whatever, Artorias adjusted his sword and made himself ready to fight. If only his nose wouldn't hurt that much and the blood running down his face and the taste of copper in his mouth wouldn't be so distracting...

Suddenly, he saw Sif jumping between him and his foes. Sword tightly in her jaw, a deep growl escaped her throat. While still young, the sight of a wolf wielding a great sword made even a Darkwraith wary. While the both of them carefully considered their options, Sif turned her head to Artorias and let out a sharp bark.

“Thank you, my friend.”, Artorias mumbled and retreated so that he would be able to take care of his nosebleed.

After he was far enough what he considered a safe distance, not seeing the Darkwraith's anymore, but still being able the hear the battle sounds to know how Sif was doing, he sat down on a rock and rummaged around in his pocket. Oh come on, he knew he had one with him. But even after desperately searching his other pocket, he couldn't find it. All he produced was a large handkerchief with a stitched on wolf. He clearly had forgotten to take a bloodred moss clump with him that would have stopped the bleeding immediately.

Artorias sighed. The handkerchief was better than nothing and he pressed it against his nose, head tilted slightly forward. What should he do now? He didn't had the time to sit around doing nothing for several minutes. The nosebleed wouldn't do him the favor to stop instantly. He was on edge. He wanted to help Sif out.

While he was still considering his options, he heard that particular sound of the Darkwraith magic. Artorias jumped to the side before their kiss could hit him and picked up his sword. With one hand busy trying to contain the blood loss of his nose, he hadn't his shield available at the moment, so it was only his sword for now.

Luckily, him dodging that sneak attack had surprised his foe enough that a single somersault attack in their direction was enough to cut them down. … And this had been a bad idea. Artorias could feel the dizziness in his head, he saw the blood drops slowly fall down to the ground, unsure if they were his own or the ones from his enemy.

Artorias slowly lowered the handkerchief, it took him some time to realized how much blood there already was in there, the blood was seeping right through it and stained his right gauntlet. Then he shot up, when he heard a pained yelp. Sif! He had to help her. He pressed the handkerchief against his nose again despite how wet it already was and hurried to her position. He felt blood trickling over his lips, more of it flowing in his mouth, the sweet coppery taste of it almost made him gag. But no, he was the wolf knight, he had a unbreakable will of steel, he wouldn't let get himself down by a mere nosebleed.

Artorias arrived at the scene and saw that Sif had took down one foe and was bleeding out of several deep gashes, one particularly bad one at her hind leg, making her limp.

“Sif, I am taking over.”, he shouted and forced himself between his companion and the Darkwraith. His opponent didn't waste any time and let their sword dash down. Out of habit Artorias was about to raise his right arm to block the blow with his shield, but quickly retracted when he noticed the blood flowing freely out of his nose, hissing when he felt the pain of the sword cutting into his skin. He raised his own sword and tried a hit from the left, but the Darkwraith easily blocked it with their dark magic.

Damn, he felt dizzy, really dizzy. He couldn't faint. He wasn't allowed to faint. Sif counted on him. He couldn't leave her alone. She wouldn't be able to take it on her own. He needed to get it together. He shook the approaching darkness away and was met with the sight of Sif jumping between him and the sword slash that nearly had cut his chest open, blocking it with her sword, but it made her flying from the force. She landed with a yelp and stayed down. Something in Artorias snapped.

“You will pay for this.”, he hissed. He dropped the handkerchief, he didn't care about the stream of blood coming out from his nose. He blocked the next blow, staggered the darkwraith with a heavy blow from his shield and thrusted his sword right through the chest of his foe.

Heavenly panting, he pulled it out. He staggered a few steps back and then let himself fall down on his bottom. He raised his hand to his nose and watched the blood trickle down the fingers of his gauntlet. He saw a shadow approaching him. If it was another Darkwraith, he would have a problem. But the shadowy figure turned out to be Sif, who sniffed him and then slowly licked the blood from his face.

“Sif, that tickles.”, Artorias chuckled. He eyed the wolf. “Look at how beat up you are, we need to patch you up...”, he murmured.

Sif nudged him with her paw and laid down besides him.

“You are right, I need to get rid of that nosebleed first.”

Artorias stroked Sif's fur, applied soft pressure to his nose, wincing in pain because of the break.

“And next time I make a double check if I have my blood red moss clumps with me...”

Chapter Text

Seeing her brother fight was a sight to behold.

It amazed Yorshka every single time she saw it. Gwyndolin's was able to form their moonlight magic into a single devastating blow and it managed to take out the first enemy in one hit. The second one was hit by a bunch of single magic shots, which didn't look very dangerous at first, but severely knocked the man down when he was hit by them all at once. And the next three foes were hit by the myriad of arrows Gwyndolin was able to shoot at them in short intervals.

Yorshka had the feeling, that she could just sit down and watch, but she spotted around ten more enemies in the distance. Clutching her spear, which also functioned as a hammer, tail risen into the air, she took in a battle stance. Yorshka knew she wouldn't be of much help. She had trained, but she never had been a very gifted fighter. At least she was able to heal some minor wounds with the cherished chime her brother had given her (alongside with her name). And at the very last, she would be able to at least slow their enemies down or distract one of them long enough for Gwyndolin to finish them off.

But this time Yorshka couldn't help but worry. The assaults of their enemies had gotten worse. It were gruesome looking men in long black robes, mostly attacking with pyromancies, but their candlesticks could be used as sharp weapons too. Yorshka had found this out the hard way. They seemed to follow some strange religion called the Deep or something, Yorshka didn't really understand this. From what she knew, she and her brother were the ones people worshipped. She actually had a church of her own in Irithyll, the city that was constructed by the priest Sulyvahn just outside of Anor Londo. And Gwyndolin had told her that the sun gods had been cherished since a long time. It didn't make the slightest sense to her why these figures should attack Anor Londo.

“Make yourself ready, Yorshka. Here they come.”, Gwyndolin mumbled and readied another bunch of arrows. Yorshka could hear the exhaustion in their voice. They were at their limit. Gwyndolin had spent the last months fending off this intruders. The few knights still at their service, were barely able to stop these waves, so Gwyndolin had taken up to defend their city on their own. They had taken refugee in the great hall of the Anor Londo cathedral, where they did their best to protect the city.

“Who do they think they are? I won't let these heretics take Anor Londo.”, they said and fired the readied arrows. After two more figures fell to them, Yorshka charged off to at least distract one of them while Gwyndolin would handle the others. The battle was short, but hefty. In the end Yorshka managed to remain victorious and pulled her spear out of the corpse. She turned around to see Gwyndolin standing between the bodies of the rest, breathing heavily. She dashed to them.

“Yorshka, are you alright? You aren't hurt, are you?”, they asked and eyed her intensely.

“I am fine. What about you?”, Yorshka asked.

“I am alright. These assaults though, something isn't right with them. They have to pass Irrithyl to come here and why would Sulyvahn let this happen? Is there something he doesn't know? I have to talk to him.”, they mumbled and turned away. “I have to take some more measurements against future assaults. Conjuring up some illusions for example. I should have thought of that instantly, I used illusions for a long time to protect this city...” Gwyndolin wiggled away deeper into the cathedral, but Yorshka only had eyes for the drops of blood that followed them.

Had her brother received an injury and was completely oblivious about it?

Yorshka quietly followed them. Maybe it wasn't even Gwyndolin's blood. Maybe it was the blood of their enemies just dripping off their robes. But Gwyndolin mostly fought with magic in close combat and moonlight magic wouldn't leave bleeding wounds, the wounds inflicted by it looked more like burns.

Gwyndolin stopped at a room that certainly had been used as a armory. They pulled out their catalyst and murmured a few words while a figure took shape in front of them. Yorshka watched how it became something that looked like a giant suit of armour with a halberd and a big shield and then watched Gwyndolin, or more, their robes. She instantly was sure that this wasn't the blood of their enemies. Blood seeped through the chest of Gwyndolin's robe and dripped on the floor.

“Brother...”, she started.

“Not now, Yorshka, I am busy.”, Gwyndolin said and rushed out of the room.

“But brother, you are bleeding...”, Yorshka finished after they were already out of sight.

It seemed like she had to take this into her own hands. Instead following Gwyndolin, Yorshka rushed to a room known as the infirmary. While there wasn't anyone there right now, the few citizens who had been there, had all been evacuated since the assaults had begone, the supplies were still there. She grabbed a few things she knew could help and rushed off again to find Gwyndolin. They weren't really hard to find, cause she just had to follow the blood trail. Yorshka's worries increased while she followed it. It seemed to have gotten worse. Gwyndolin would need help soon. How didn't they realize they were injured? They surely must have been in pain.

Yorshka found Gwyndolin busy creating an illusion of a fake broken staircase, probably hoping that this would slow any intruders down.

“Gwyndolin, please, would you let me help you?”, Yorshka said. Upon hearing her words, Gwyndolin turned around.

“Helping with what? You can't create illusions like I do. It would be the best for you if you would just rest before the next attack happens.”

Yorshka shook their head: “No, that's not it. You are hurt, brother. Didn't you realize it? You are bleeding all over.” She could feel tears starting to well in her eyes.

“I am... what?”, Gwyndolin said. “Shouldn't I have felt that? Are you sure that you aren't seeing things, Yorshka? Have you hit your head?”

“It's true. Just look down on yourself.”, Yorshka sniffed.

Gwyndolin's head slowly turned down and their hand touched their chest in disbelief. “What... when did this happen?”, they said, staring at the blood on their hand. “Why didn't I realize that...?” Gwyndolin's legs gave up carrying them and they fell over. Yorshka was at their side with a big jump.

“I am taking care of you, brother, like you always take care of me.”, she said, wiping the tears away. But that wound was bleeding so much. What could she do? She wrapped the bandages she brought around the wound, but they quickly started to bleed through. Yorshka quickly brought out her chime and channeled it onto the wound, but this also wasn't enough. The healing provided by the chime was too slow, the bleeding was to severe.

There was only thing Yorshka could do for Gwyndolin now. She may not be a great fighter, but she was still of the blood of dragons and possessed more strength than the average person. She lifted Gwyndolin off the ground and carefully but quickly made her way to Irithyll, until she was at the residence where the priest, Sulyvahn, resided, one of the few people Gwyndolin seemed to see as some kind of friend.

She knocked at the door and upon Sulyvahn opening it, she fell onto her knees, pleading:

“Please, help my brother.”

Chapter Text

When his little sibling had asked him if he could help them train with a dragon slayer bow, he didn't think anything bad would happen.

They had expressed the wish to get more skilled with larger weapons. Gwyndolin was already able to handle a moon light bow, but it was magic based. They told Gwynfor they had the feeling, that their father might respect them a little more if they would be able to be more like him. Gwynfor had gladly agreed to help his little sibling out and to supervise their training.

So why was now a misfired javelin stuck in his shoulder and Gwyndolin's face was twisted in horror?

Damn, that hurt. It would certainly bleed quite a bit when he would pull it out. It would probably be best to head to the infirmary right away to get it removed properly and receive treatment right away. If it weren't for Gwyndolin, he would have done that.

“I am so sorry, big brother.”, they said, voice shivering. He could see tears trickling down their face. He had to be a good big brother now. Gwynfor braced himself and put up his best smile.

“But Gwyndolin, I am fine. I did had much worse injuries than this. Don't you think I can handle a little javelin stuck in me?”, he said, trying to sound as calm as possible. He even walked over to a nearby wall and sat down on it, patting the seat next to him to invite Gwyndolin to sit with him.

“You did pretty well for your first time operating a great bow, you know?”, he said once Gwyndolin sat down. “Don't feel too bad cause one of your shots accidentally hurt something else than the target.”

Gwyndolin was still weeping besides him. “But, brother, you are hurt. And it is my fault. I shouldn't have asked you to help me out. I should have known that I couldn't handle it!”

“In hindsight, I maybe shouldn't have stood right next to the target...”, Gwynfor said and raised his left hand to reassuringly stroke Gwyndolin's back. It started to get hard to keep his smile. His right shoulder was hurting badly. But to him, calming his little sibling down was far more important. “I am sure with a little more training, you can handle this bow just as fine as any of the great bow silver knights.”, he added.

Gwyndolin sniffed a little bit more, but then said: “Do... do you really think so?”

“Yes, of course.”, Gwynfor said, doing his best to keep up his smile. He could feel sweat forming on his forehead, this was far more difficult to keep up than he thought.

“But still, I am so sorry, that I have hurt you, brother.”, they said. “I can't believe that you are taking this so easy. Doesn't it hurt?”

“Don't worry. Like I said, I had far worse. To me, it is only a scratch.”

“If you say so...” Gwynfor noticed that Gwyndolin finally had stopped crying. It would be best if he would just send them to their room and got fixed up. But before he could say anything, another very familiar voice was heard.

“Master, what in the world happened to you?”

Ornstein must have had the worst possible timing ever to walk by the training grounds right now. The dragon slayer came running to him and even though his face couldn't be seen in full armour, Gwynfor knew from the tone of his voice that he was furious.

“Who even dared to hurt you like that? Just wait till I get this particular silver knight into my hands. They would wish to never see the next day!”

Gwynfor looked at Ornstein with a silent look, part pleading and part “Stop talking, you idiot!” when Gwyndolin started to cry out loud again.

“Y.. You have to p.. punish me then. I.. It was m.. my fault...”, they sniffed.

Gwynfor made sure to keep the reassuring touch on Gwyndolin while glaring daggers at Ornstein. The Dragon Slayer physically shrinked under that look, he seemed to slowly understand what happened.

“But... of course the master can handle an injury like that without any troubles.”, he said. “So please don't cry, I won't punish you for something the master isn't even upset about.”

“See, I told you, it's fine.”, Gwynfor said and stroked Gwyndolin a bit more. “I think you just need a break for now. Ornstein, would you take them to their room please?”

“Of course.”, Ornstein said, bowing a bit at the order. “Would you come with me please, Gwyndolin?”

Wiping the tears out of their eyes, Gwyndolin stood up and followed Ornstein. Gwynfor waited for them to be out of sight. He wasn't too fond of the thought to go the infirmary and having to explain this whole situation. But he knew that he would need the right medical attention for this injury and that it could be dangerous to yank the javelin out himself. At least he didn't have to keep up a smile anymore. He got up and got on his way.

Before he had even made half the way there, he heard footsteps of heavy armour and Ornstein appeared at his size with a sudden halt.

“Have you brought Gwyndolin to their room?”, he asked. Ornstein nodded to this.

“And why aren't you with them anymore? They were pretty upset.”, Gwynfor's voice sounded a bit sharper than he wanted too. Must have been the pain. Ornstein winced.

“Sorry, master... they said they wanted to be alone...”

Gwynfor sighed: “I guess I have to talk to them later... But first I need to get fixed up. Can I count on your emotional support?”

“Of course, master.”, Ornstein said and the both of them continued their way to the infirmary.

As they arrived there, Gwynfor just nonchalantly knocked at the door, opened it without awaiting an answer and said after entering: “Hey, would you help me pull this thing out?”

The look on the physician's face was priceless and Gwynfor had laughed out loud if it hadn't been for the pain.

“Mylord, how did this happen?”, they physician demanded to know.

“I just learned that it is a bad idea to stand next to the target when someone is training with a dragon slayer great bow.”, he said and gave Ornstein a nudge so that he could back it up.

“Uh.. I already have taken care of the silver knight responsible for this.”, the dragon slayer added.

“If you say so...”, the face of the physician looked like she wasn't totally convinced, Gwynfor noticed that she was especially looking at Ornstein. The knight seemed to have noticed it too.

“No, it wasn't some duel with Artorias this time...”, he said and crossed his arms.

“Oh good, I guess I have to take your word then.”, the physician said and come over to examine the prince. “That is looking pretty deep, I don't get how you can stand so calmly here with this thing stuck in you...”, she said and turned to Ornstein. “Could you come over and yank it out? Don't worry, I'll show you how to hold it. I fear that I don't have enough strength to get it out in one go.”

“Uh, alright...”, Ornstein said and slowly trotted over to Gwynfor.

“Don't worry, you know I trust you. I am sure everything will turn out fine.”, he reassured his student.

The physician spend some time talking to Ornstein and showed exactly how the dragon slayer would have to hold the javelin. Ornstein made himself ready to pull it out, Gwynfor had the feeling that he was more freaked out about this than himself. Ornstein mumbled: “Normally we shoot these things into dragons...” and then yanked it out.

Gwynfor cursed loudly, he had expected it to hurt, but not that much. He could see some of his blood that had sprayed on Ornstein's armour and on the head of the javelin, obviously soaked in blood. The physician had been quick to give him a thick piece of gauze to press onto the wound.

“At least, it is only a flesh wound.”, she said and readied her supplies to get it stitched shut. While waiting and pressing the gauze on the wound, Gwynfor observed Ornstein who just stared at the javelin before slowly putting it down and be at this side in an instant.

“I am sorry, master, I hope that hasn't hurt as much as it sounded like...”, he said.

“It hurt more than I anticipated, but I am still here and alive, you did nothing wrong.”, he answered.

Next the physician showed up again and stitched the bleeding wound shut with a few pulls of the needle after cleaning the wound out. Then she bandaged the wound and gave Gwynfor a sling to rest the arm in.

“It would be best to not move the area of the injury for a while and this is the easiest way to make sure of it.”, she explained. “Also, it would be better to get some rest for now. I would suggest that you go to your room and lay down.”

“I am thanking you for your treatment.”, Gwynfor said and stood up. “Would you escort me to my room, Ornstein?”

“Of course.”, Ornstein said and the two of them left the infirmary.

At Gwynfor's room, Ornstein helped him getting rid of his armour before the prince decided to follow the instructions of the physician and lay down to rest. But laying in bed alone would be boring and lonely, so...

“Would you join me?”, he asked his boyfriend. Out in the public they could never allow to show their relationship, but when they were alone, it was possible and one of the best things in the world for Gwynfor.

“With pleasure.”, Ornstein said and got rid of his armour. Before he could join Gwynfor in bed though, a knock on the door was heard. Ornstein froze. Whoever this was, they couldn't be caught together like this.

To Gwynfor's relieve, it was the voice of Gwyndolin: “Brother, are you there?”

“Would you please let them in?”, Gwynfor asked Ornstein and watched the dragon slayer walking to the door and unlocking it to leave his little sibling in. They were one of the few people who knew about it and promised to remain silent.

Gwyndolin entered the room, carrying a little bottle. “I know you said that it didn't hurt much, but I have the feeling that you only said this to make me feel better, so I brought you some pain relieving medicine.”, they said and handed the bottle to Gwynfor.

“Aw, thanks, Gwyndolin.”, Gwynfor said and grinned at them. “Well, while you are right that it definitely hurt more than I acted like, I still had far worse injuries. And now look at this, now I can add a scar to the collection from my amazing little sibling.”

He ruffled their hair, making them slightly giggle. “I am still sorry that this happened in the first place, big brother. I just hope that you get well soon.” They looked at Ornstein who had sat down on the table at the corner of the room.

“I better leave you two alone now.”, they said. “But feel free to come to me for some tea later.” With these words, they left the room. Ornstein stood up, locked the door again and strolled over to join Gwynfor in the bed. The prince stared at the medicine bottle.

“I am pretty sure they have mixed this right now, while we were at the infirmary.”, he said. Ornstein stared warily at the bottle. “Do you really think about taking this, master?”, he asked. “You know that Gwyndolin's medicine tend to have... side effects.”

“They have gotten better with it lately.”, Gwynfor said but tossed the bottle in his nightstand. “But I am simply not in enough pain to require medicine.” He cuddled himself up against his boyfriend. “You being here is all the medicine I need.”

Chapter Text

It had started harmless enough with Ornstein crawling in his bed.

Smough didn't really mind that. They kind of had become a couple without even saying a word about it and the first thing that happened that day was, that the dragon slayer had crawled into the executioner's bed to sleep cuddled up against him. This went on for a few days until Smough questioned Ornstein about it, but ultimately allowed him to sleep in his bed. He found it kinda cute, Ornstein reminded him of a kitten when he acted like this. The dragon slayer didn't like that nickname at all and so Smough had lots of fun to pull it out at every occasion to tease him.

But it didn't stay the bed only. As the days went by, Ornstein was searching more and more physical contact. At first he came slowly closer and closer to Smough when the both of them guarded the cathedral until he was close enough to lean against him. Now it had become normal for them to just sit there, Ornstein leaned against Smough's big frame, waiting for whatever could enter the cathedral and threaten the princess.

That wasn't so bad too, it was nice to have some company and it wasn't like Ornstein was really bothering him. For Smough, the dragon slayer wasn't heavy at all, he easily was able to pick him up and carry him around. What started to annoy Smough was, that Ornstein didn't really leave him alone anymore. Ornstein wanted to stay with Smough the whole time, practically following him and cuddling up against him whenever he got the chance. He also liked to follow him to the kitchen and watch him cook, which was pretty cute. But once Ornstein had eaten his food, and he normally was the first one to finish eating, he got closer to Smough, one time almost sitting on his lap while the executioner was still eating.

Granted, they were boyfriends now and things like this should be normal for a couple, but it hadn't been that long and Smough felt a bit uncomfortable with the amounts of physical affection Ornstein already demanded. They just had started to get to know the other better. While Smough would like to tell Ornstein that he started to feel uncomfortable, he had trouble finding the right words how to tell him.

What didn't help was, that Ornstein reminded him too much of a particular kitten he once had met. Back in the days, when he still had his job as the executioner and actually could perform it out, Smough had rented a place in Anor Londo to get his herbal garden growing. Sadly, in the dungeon where he had his private rooms, there wasn't enough sunlight for it. So he often went out of the cathedral, not in his armour of course to take care of his plants. And the herbs he planted started to attract some stray cats. Eventually Smough started to bring some of his leftover food with him and fed them. Of course every time he came to tend for the plants, the cats were already waiting for him.

Smough always had liked cats more than people. They didn't care what he ate. They gladly shared his food. And one time he had becoming witness how some cats had hissed at Ornstein who had happen to walk along during his patrol and felt like he could relate very much to them. The relationship of the two hadn't been great at first.

One of the cats he remembered very fondly. It was a tiny red kitten and it took a liking to him almost immediately. It alos showed its affection very aggressively. It often would bump its head against Smough, purr loudly while sitting on his lap or climb on his shoulders to lay there and watch what he did when he tended to the plants. Of course the kitten had already died, they tended to not live very long. Smough remembered the day he found the dead body in front of his herbs. It had been a sad day, he really had liked this one. He decided to bury its body and plant a catnip plant on it in its honour. This way it death wouldn't be in vain.

Smough was wondering if Ornstein would react to catnip and made a mental note to test it out in the future. The two of them were sitting in the main hall of the cathedral in their usual position, waiting... for whatever would come through this fog gate one day.

“Have you ever tried catnip...?”, Smough asked, not even sure why he did that.

“Huh...?”, Ornstein turned his head and looked up to Smough. “What do you mean?”

“Oh nothing, just forget it.”, Smough said. “It is getting late, I think we can call it quit for now and get something to eat.”

Ornstein stood up: “And once again nobody entered this place. Sometimes I wonder what we are supposed to fight... We will meet in the kitchen as always?”

“Yes.”, Smough said. “See you there.” He watched as the dragon slayer slowly strolled to his room and then went to his own to change out of his armour.

When Smough entered the kitchen, Ornstein already sat on the corner bench waiting. Smough started to collect the ingredients for cooking under the watchful eyes of the dragon slayer. Part of him wondered if Ornstein only wanted to make sure that he didn't put any “special ingredients” in their food. Or maybe he was just hungry and impatient. Smough was thinking about starting to give Ornstein cooking lesson, his boyfriend was an absolute mess in the kitchen.

Today's meal was simple and Smough could soon fill the plates and took a seat at the bench himself. Before he even could take the first bite, he already noticed that Ornstein got closer to him... Smough ignored it and just concentrated on his food. But then he felt the warm body of Ornstein leaning at him... while he was still busy eating. Smough sighed and used his hand to push Ornstein away, like he would do with an invasive cat. The dragon slayer got knocked over with a yelp.

“What was that for?”, he hissed, covering a part of his face with his hand. He sounded angry and hurt. Smough sighed.

“You are being invasive. I am still eating. Could you please cut down the physical contact? You have been awfully clingy.”

Ornstein averted his gaze, looked down, then up to Smough and then to the side again. “I am sorry...”, he said.

This night, Ornstein didn't crawl into Smough's bed.

The next day, Smough found Ornstein sitting in the kitchen, clearly waiting for breakfast.

“Good morning.”, he said once he realized that Smough had entered the room. Smough stared at Ornstein for a good while.

“... You look tired.”, he said. He could see obvious dark circles under his boyfriend's eyes and he looked like he could doze off any minute.

“...Haven't slept well...”, Ornstein answered.

“I can see this...”, Smough said and stared at Ornstein a little longer. He had the feeling he noticed a slight bruise on the dragon slayer's forehead. “Are you hurt?”, he asked.

“Happened when you pushed me yesterday... You are awfully strong you know... Don't sweat it, it only hurts a bit.”, Ornstein answered, but it made Smough feel awful. He never intended to actually hurt his boyfriend.

“Shit, I am sorry, that was never my intention.”, he said. Smough started preparing the breakfast. “I wouldn't have mind sharing the bed with you, you know.”, he said.

“Yesterday you said something else.”, Ornstein said with a huff.

“That's not...”, Smough started. “I am fine sleeping in the same bed as you, but you were a lot more needy than I anticipated. I think we should take this relationship a bit slower.”, he explained.

“How should I have known this?”, Ornstein asked. “You never told me.”

“You also never asked me if you could get as close as you did...”

“It is just...”, Ornstein stopped, he seemed at a loss for words. “It has been such a long time since I could cuddle with someone. And even when I could actually do it, we had to hide it for a majority of our time together...” Another pause. “Smough, I think I feel starved. Like... touch starved.”

Smough stopped preparing the food and turned around to Ornstein. “Now I feel that I should be sorry... I didn't know that you felt like this...”

“...Maybe I should have asked first...”, Ornstein said.

“You said it had been a long time since you had the last physical affection?”, Smough asked. “How long has it been?”

Ornstein seemed to think about it a bit. “Let's just say... it had been a loooong time ago.” He sighed.

Smough came over to his boyfriend and pulled him in a long, tight hug.

“What..?”, Ornstein asked.

“You know, there is still a lot we don't know about each other.”, Smough said. “I think we should try to get to know each other a lot more.” He released Ornstein from the hug.

“What do you think? Shall we move into a room together?”

“Do you really think we are ready for this...?”, Ornstein asked, averting his gaze again.

“We have to start somewhere with this relationship and moving in a room together seems like the right start.”, Smough said. “So how about I prepare breakfast and you go and clean out one of the rooms that we could use?”

Ornstein nodded and left the kitchen. A part of him was happy that the executioner was trying to make this relationship work, another part of him was wary because of how annoyed he had been at his clinginess. Ornstein had to admit, that he was worried. He had been so glad to be able to get physical affection again, that he completely had forgotten how Smough would feel about this. The two of them had hated each other for a really long time, only recently they had sorted out their issues with each other. The dragon slayer still wasn't sure how they even had managed to fell in love with other...

He opened a door to one of the guest rooms and scanned the interiors. It should be big enough for them to share. It also already had a double bed, luckily large enough to sustain both of them. Sleeping in the same bed with Smough was something that Ornstein cherished the most. In fact, after Smough had pushed him yesterday, he feared that he already had messed up and this relationship could be over. He actually had cried himself to sleep that night. He had woken up early though and hadn't been able to go back to sleep, partly because he feared that the nightmares would come back and partly because of the slight pain in his forehead, so he had decided to wait in the kitchen for Smough and see his reaction. Needless to say, he had been relieved that it went rather smoothly. He had anticipated a big fight, like they often had had earlier.

Because it was a guest room, they weren't much there yet besides the bed, some night stands and a cupboard. It was a bit dusty though and that was what Ornstein should start with. He got himself some cleaning supplies to clean the room. Granted, he didn't enjoy cleaning very much. He always had procrastinated cleaning his room until the last moment. But he had seen how tidy Smough's room was and was sure that his boyfriend would appreciate the work he put into it. After the room was cleaned, he decided to put some new sheets on the bed and went back to the kitchen after the work was done to meet up with the executioner and see if breakfast was ready.

Smough was facing the stove and turned around when he heard Ornstein enter. “Have you picked a room?”, he asked.

Ornstein nodded. “One of the guest rooms for two people, I cleaned it and it is ready for us to move in.”, he answered.

“Good, then let us eat and this evening we are finishing it together.” The executioner set two bowls on the table and sat down. Ornstein waited a bit before sitting down next to him and picking up his spoon, then he remembered what happened yesterday and put down his spoon again.

“Do you mind if I sit here?”, he asked.

Smough looked at him, eyes widened in slight surprise. “Of course not.”, he said.

The two of them ate in silence for a while. As usual, Ornstein was the first to finish. He really wanted to just cuddle with his boyfriend now, embrace his warmth and this softness... but he knew that he had crossed boundaries with him. He put down his spoon and sighed slightly. After a few minutes, Smough put his spoon in the bowl despite not having finished eating.

“Do you want to come closer?”, he asked.

Ornstein's head shot up. “I am allowed too?”, he asked and already shuffled closer.

“As long as you aren't in my way.”, Smough said. “I can certainly tell how touch starved you are. I just was mad cause you were invasive without even checking if I was comfortable with it.”

“I am sorry, I am really bad at this..”, Ornstein said and cuddled himself in Smough's left side. A few moments later he had already managed to drift to sleep, the toll of his short night's rest.

A few moments later he was shaken awake by the executioner: “Wake up, kitten, we have to start our guard duty now.

“Don't call me that..”, Ornstein growled but got up. “We see each other in the great hall.”, he said. The knight then left to change into his armour and assumed that Smough would do the same.

After their shift was over and they did had their dinner, the two of them decided to set their room up. Ornstein once again was amazed how easily the executioner was able to carry the heaviest things with ease. He himself wasn't weak either and so they had set up their furniture there in no time. Ornstein had decided to go through the stuff in his room and decide what to take with him and what he could leave there.

In the end, the dragon slayer decided that next to his clothes, books and painting utensils he should take some personal stuff with him. He collected all the things and went to their new room, where Smough was busy putting some clothes in the wardrobe. Ornstein himself preferred to just stuff his clothes in a chest and it already had been brought there.

“Do you have everything you wanted to move now?”, Smough asked upon noticing Ornstein.

“Yes.”, the dragon slayer said and put his dragon shaped tea service into the cupboard, placed a wooden dragon figurine which had a dragon hairpin on it on top of it and laid a scarf, once again with a dragon motive, around it. Satisfied with his work, he took a step back to regard it.

“Ornstein, are these...?”, Smough started to speak but stopped midsentence.

“Yes. Gifts from the other knights. Their mementos.” He had needed a long time to accept that his dear companions would never come back. The thought of their deaths still overwhelmed him. He quickly turned to Smough to let himself embrace by the large man.

“It's still hard for you, what?”, he said and gently stroked Ornstein's hair. “It isn't a surprise for me at all that you acted like a starved kitten... And still do.” Ornstein got tense instantly and let go.

“I am sorry...”, the dragon slayer said once again.

“It's fine.”, Smough said. “As long as you respect my boundaries, I don't mind giving out physical affection. And receiving it too of course.” He grinned at Ornstein.

“One more thing to place, then we should think about taking a bath and going to bed.” Smough went out of the room and returned a few minutes later with a potted plant which he placed on the window board.

“I can't share a room with a kitten without some catnip in it.”, he said, broadly grinning.

Ornstein huffed. “I am not a cat.”, he said.

“You certainly act like one. Especially the way you demand constant affection.”, Smough said. Ornstein suddenly got doubts.

“Are we sure this will work out?”, he asked, looking at the floor.

“No.”, Smough said. “We can't be sure of this, but that doesn't mean that we can't try.”

Ornstein got a few steps closer. “I am like.. really bad with wording things like this out, but I promise that I will respect your boundaries for now.”

“And I promise that I won't push you away when you need my support.”

Chapter Text

Lothric was leaning back into the pillows with a sigh, his big brother Lorian at his side, the noises of the ongoing party filling their room.

“I always have to stay in bed because of my weak condition. I would like to get out of this everyday rut eventually... But mom and dad don't want me to attend their parties, they say it could be too exciting for me.”, the young prince pouted and crossed his arms.

Lorian laid his hand on the one of his younger brother: “I am more than capable enough to carry you around now. You don't think that some crowd would stop me?”

This piqued Lothric's interest and he pulled himself up, but pretty much instantly plopped back into the pillows. “This won't work, what if mom and dad are seeing us?”

“They don't have to know.”, Lorian said with a conspiratorial grin. “We make sure to stay out of their sight. We are just going to mingle into the crowd. We are small enough, no one will actually notice us.”

Lothric considered his brother's words, but one final concern remained: “But what if mom and dad are right and it could be too exciting for me...?”

“I will be with you the whole time, come on.”, Lorian said and stared with a pleading look into Lothric's eyes. It was hard to say no to his brother when he pulled out this stare. And Lothric really wanted to get out of bed and see something interesting for once.

“Alright, fine, let us take a quick look.”, he said and crawled out of bed and on his brother's back.

As they approached the party and the noises grew louder, Lothric pulled his hood down. He wasn't comfortable with anyone other than Lorian or his parents to get a clear look into his face.

The fear of his face being seen faded when the twins entered the room where the party was held. Lothric stared in awe. He had never seen so many people and so much stuff going on at once.

There were people talking to each other, people eating snacks, people dancing to the music and so much more. This was truly something different than just laying in bed and stare at the ceiling.

“Shall we take a look around?”, Lorian asked. Lothric scanned the area.

“I can spot mom and dad over there.”, he said and pointed in the direction where he had seen them. “We shouldn't go there, they might freak out if they see me out of bed.” And probably would punish Lorian for it. Lothric didn't know why but his parents treated him like he never did something wrong and it was Lorian far too often who would get into trouble, which left Lothric often feeling guilty.

“Understood, we should head into the other direction then.”, the older twin said and started moving. Lothric hold on tight to his brother who made his way through the sea of legs (why was everyone so HUGE here?), when it happened. Suddenly someone stepped in the way of Lorian who tripped and the next thing Lothric knew was, that he was lying on the floor separated from his brother.

“Lorian?”, Lothric called, but instantly knew that it was no use. It was far too noisy. But his brother couldn't be that far away. He was probably already on the way to pick him up.

But what if not? A tiny voice in his head whispered. Lothric felt a knot in his chest. He wanted to get back to his brother. Lothric tried to pull himself up from his sitting position and stand up, but fell back down on his knees almost instantly. He was using his legs so rarely, he wasn't used to walking by himself at all. Lorian would carry him wherever he wanted to be.

Lothric's heart started to pound in his chest. Why wasn't Lorian back for him yet? Why was nobody standing around noticing him? Breathing got harder. He started to sweat. He felt at a loss. He could feel his body shivering, tears starting to form and fall on the floor. He didn't know what to do? Where was Lorian? Why didn't his brother save him?

“Young one, concentrate on my hand. How many fingers I am holding up?”, a sudden deep but gentle voice was heard by the prince. He looked up, sniffing, spotting the hand in front of him.

“Tw... two..”, he said, still sniffling.

“Good. Don't look away. How many are it now?”, the voice wanted to know.

“Three.”, his voice had gotten more firm.

“And now?”

“Seven.”

“Are you feeling better?”

“...Yes, thanks a lot, sir.” After the fog around Lothric had lifted, he had a chance to look closer at his saviour, but couldn't get a glimpse of his face, he was wearing a strange, tree like mask. The robes the man was wearing Lothric could recognize as the ones of a priest.

“It would be better if you would sit down on a chair instead of the floor. Do you need help to stand up?”

Lothric nodded and took the extended hand which pulled him up and led him carefully to a nearby chair. Lothric crawled on it and sat down, taking a deep breath. “I wonder where my older brother is...”, he said.

“You got separated?”, the priest asked. “I am sure he is already searching for you. Maybe we should go searching for your parents instead?”

“No, please don't, they can't know.”, Lothric shouted. “They surely will get mad if they see me here...”

“Have you snuck out of your room, little prince?”

Lothric raised his head: “You know...?”

“I am in service of your parents, young lord. Of course they already have told me lots of stories about you and your brother. Please understand, they are only worried about your safety.”

Lothric's face darkened: “It's just... they never allow me to do anything. I have to stay in bed and learn all the time. They said that I am destined to become a lord of cinder but they have not asked me once if I wanted to be that.”

Lothric totally expected the priest to side with his parents, so he hardly could believe what he heard next: “That must be harsh for you, young lord. I am sorry to hear that you feel this way.”

“R.. Really, you think so?”, Lothric asked when he suddenly heard the panic-fueled voice of Lorian.

“Lothric, there you are! Oh, I am so sorry, I tripped and then I got lost in the crowd. Are you alright?”

“I was scared for a while, but this kind sir helped me out of it.”, Lothric answered and pointed to the priest. By the way, sir, I haven't asked your name.”

“Oh, it's Sulyvahn.” the priest said. “And it wasn't any trouble for me, I would be honoured to talk more to you. I am at the castle quite a bit, so I am sure there will be another opportunity.”

Lothric crawled on Lorian's back, settled himself in a comfortable position and waved to Priest Sulyvahn. “Thank you very much for helping me out.”, he said while Lorian carefully took them out of the crowd.

“I think we should head back now, that must have been enough excitement for a day.”, Lorian prompted. His voice got a bit gloomy then: “I am so sorry that I lost you...”

“Everything turned out fine, Lorian.”, Lothric said, resting his head on his brother's shoulders. “You found me and I feel safe now. How about we head back to our room now and I use my magic to play out some scenes from our favourite books?”

“Oh, certainly.”, Lorian said and dashed towards their room.

Chapter Text

Kalameet snuck through the hallway of the cathedral at late night. The black dragon had transformed into his humanoid form, he was hardly able to walk around in these halls in his dragon form.

Kalameet had preferred to be in his dragon form, but he was willing to take the sacrifice by turning into the form of a weak, puny human so that he could spend time with Gough.

Kalameet had a hard time understanding this humans. Chasing some of them around, setting some buildings on fire and they would completely lose their mind. He just wanted to have a bit fun. While most of the humans he had encountered ran away at his sight in terror, the ones in Anor Londo were a lot more brave. Even though they were still humans, they called themselves gods or divines. Kalameet knew perfectly that they once all were humans, they only learned to use the power of the lord souls and gained benefits. And because most of them pointed their weapons at him, there wasn't exactly a reason for Kalameet to like them.

But then there was Gough. The giant had been the only person to not point a weapon at the dragon, but actually had started to talk to him when Kalameet had rested from a hunt. And the black dragon quickly had took a liking to the gentle giant. He liked him even more than he first wanted to admit, until he couldn't take it anymore to wait for the rare visits and decided to come see Gough himself.

Kalameet's human form still had some features that could reveal his true self. He had very dark skin, unusual to see in Lordran, some sharp fangs and the one eye he was able to see with was red and had the slit pupil common for dragons. The one eye he couldn't see with he had patched up with an eye patch. It could fluctuate, but usually the right one was the blind eye.

Kalameet didn't enjoy to wear clothes, but he couldn't walk around naked in this form. Seath, who had been the one to show him how to perform the transform spell, had actually picked his outfit. Because of his exotic looks for this part of the world, the albino dragon had picked up an outfit which was worn by the desert folks. This contained of a long tunic made of silk that got down to his knees, some lose pants of the same material and a piece of cloth wrapped around his head in a fashion that was known as a turban.
At least he didn't had to do anything with his hair and just could let the black curls flow down his back.

When Kalameet and Gough had first met, the giant had been the small one, being easily able to lean on him and Kalameet would sometimes fold his wing above the man and give him a blanket like this. In his human form, Kalameet was the small one and he greatly enjoyed burying his face into the giant's chest and just feeling secure in his embrace.

And to let them keep their relationship like this, it was important for Kalameet to not getting caught. So the dragon froze, when he heard a voice calling: “Halt! What are you doing at this time in the cathedral?”

Kalameet turned around his head and hissed. Of course it had to be the dragon slayer who found him. That one had a personal vendetta against Kalameet. A young, cocky dragon slayer had once challenged the black dragon and got burned reaaaally bad. Kalameet hadn't even bothered to kill the boy, but a slight regret rose in him now. The once young boy had grown into an experienced fighter and he wouldn't stand a chance escaping in his human form. Changing into his dragon form was of course out of the question. Also, Gough had told him, would he ever dare to lay a single finger on Anor Londo the giant would make sure that the dragon would never rise into the sky again. So there was nothing that Kalameet could do instead of maybe talking his way out of this.

Expect... he hadn't a single clue what he should say. He didn't had the wits of Seath. The dragon slayer had arrived at his location in the meantime and scanned him extensive.

“I have never seen you around here...”, the dragon slayer said, spear ready in his hand. “And walking around at this late hour? How did you even manage to come in here? Maybe you tried to steal something or you could be an assassin?”, he mused.

Kalameet decided to just not say anything at all. The best scenario for him was, that the dragon slayer would simply suspect him of thievery. He didn't had any weapons with him so it would be very likely. And because he actually hadn't stolen anything yet, he probably would just get kicked out of the cathedral, the place he wanted to be anyway. That was when the dragon slayer looked directly into his eye.

“Your eye!”, he gasped. Well, shit!

“I have the strong feeling, that you are not the one you pose as...”, the dragon slayer said, Kalameet could hear a slight growl in his voice. The knight had smelled something and it was the worst case scenario for Kalameet.

“We can to this the easy or the hard way. The easy way is, that you just let me get you to the dungeons.”, the dragon slayer raised his left hand and closed it around Kalameet's arm. “I probably don't have to say what the hard way is...”

Kalameet was in big trouble now. His hope was that Gough would notice that he didn't make it out of the cathedral and come search for him. Or that the dragon slayer would tell him about his capture in the night. For now, he had to comply.

“I follow you, you don't need to be rough...”, Kalameet said.

“So you aren't mute after all.”, the dragon slayer said and released the grip on his arm a tiny but, but not much. After a short walk, they had arrived at the dungeons where Kalameet was being pushed into a cell. And what he heard the dragon slayer say confirmed his worst thoughts.

“I have a strong suspicious that this person is a disguised dragon. More so, a very certain black dragon that has terrorized this land for decades now. I don't care what it takes, get him to turn.”

Gough had been fickle the whole day after Ornstein had told him in the morning which capture he had made. It had been really unlucky, that Kalameet had encountered Ornstein in the night. The dragon slayer was absolutely convinced that the man he had captured was indeed the black dragon he had a personal vendetta with. Gough not only feared that Kalameet's secret would come out but also what they would do to him to try and make him turn...

Gough would have so liked to just run to the cell where Kalameet was held, but he couldn't risk showing that he had a relationship with the supposed dragon, that would bring him and his position as a Knight of Gwyn in serious trouble. So the giant had no other choice then to attend to his duties, worrying himself sick.

It was the greatest relief when the night hit and the other knights including Ornstein decided to head to bed. After Gough had made sure that the hallways were empty, he hurried to the dungeons. After he had assured the guards that he had business there and that it was of utmost importance that they would stay quiet about his visit, he could enter. It didn't take him long to find the cell, where Kalameet was locked up. And the giant was met with a gruesome sight.

The dragon was lying on the floor of the cell, stripped of his clothes (at least they had the decency to let him keep his underwear), multiple wounds on his body, left arm clearly looking broken, the dark skin covered with bruises. His curly black hair was completely matted with blood from a big laceration at his head.

“Kalameet?”, Gough whispered. “What did they do to you?”

Kalameet lifted his head a little, spitting out a bit of blood. “Gough, you came...”, he whispered, voice hoarse. “They tried to make me turn. But I didn't.” The dragon grinned weakly at Gough, showing his fangs.

“Did they torture you...?”, Gough asked, voice starting to tremble.

The dragon pulled himself up, wincing. “Oh, I think, that shouldn't bend like this..”, he groaned after he noticed the broken arm. “Shit, in my dragon form that would have barely hurt...”

“You didn't answer my question.”, Gough said, voice and gaze stern. Kalameet sighed.

“When their magic didn't work, they tried using potions. When their potions didn't work they started to hurt me.” Kalameet looked at the wall of his cell. “Damn, Seath warned me not to get hurt while being transformed, it could be really dangerous to turn back now...” The black dragon hissed in pain.

“Why didn't you just turn and fly away?”, Gough raised his voice, his anger had gotten too big to care if anyone could hear him. Kalameet hissed again.

“And when I would have turned into a dragon, would I have ever been able to come back here?”, he said between clenched teeth. “I wouldn't have been able to see you ever again. What if they had found out what kind of relationship we had? Shit, ow...” Kalameet sank back to the cell floor again.

“Don't tell me... you did this for me? You were so worried that I could lose my privileges that you took torture in favour of turning and escaping...?”

Kalameet nodded, some blood from his hair dripping down.

“We need to get you out of here.”, Gough said. “When they continue this the next day I fear for your life.”

Kalameet mumbled: “I had worse.”

“Yes, but you aren't a dragon right now.”

“But how? We don't have the keys...”

“Don't underestimate me”, Gough said and pulled out a key ring with all sort of wooden keys on it. “I made copies of every key from the cathedral as practice and let me tell you, they work.” The giant searched the key ring until he found the one that was able to open Kalameet's cell. Once the door was open, Gough entered through the door to embrace Kalameet into his arms. Luckily, the dragon had been put into a giant's cell, so that it wasn't any trouble for Gough to fit in there. After he had picked Kalameet up, the dragon groaned in pain.

“That was pretty impressive, Hawkeye.”, Kalameet brought out. “But we still have to worry about the guards.”

“Don't you think this place has some illusionary walls and secret passages?”, Gough said and cradled Kalameet softly in his arms.

“But... there is still one problem...”, Kalameet sighed. “I can't walk like this.”

Gough carefully put Kalameet back onto the ground, making the dragon wince when his injuries got jostled. He then pulled a bottle out of his pocket. “This is a divine blessing, a potion made by the princess herself.”, he whispered. “It is possible to heal any injuries at once.”

Kalameet had pulled himself up again and leaned against Gough's leg. “But aren't these things incredibly rare?” Gough nodded. “And you are willing to give something so valuable up for me?”

“The time I can spend with you is much more precious than any potion in the world.”, Gough said and carefully picked up Kalameet again. “Now stop talking and drink up.” With that, the giant set the bottle on Kalameet's lips, carefully instilling the potion into the dragon's system.

The next few minutes Gough could practically watch how the wounds on Kalameet's body closed, how the broken bone mended back into place and how the bruises vanished. Only the crusted blood on his body and the fresh blood in his hair remained. Kalameet sighed in relief.

“That's feel much better.”, he said and snuggled himself against the big chest of the giant. The both of them stayed a few more minutes like this in comfortable silence until Gough got up putting Kalameet back on the ground.

“Let's go, but be quiet.”, he said. “I have to pass the guards on the way back, so I can't escort you into safety. Don't let yourself capture a second time.”

Kalameet nodded and followed Gough to a seemingly solid wall. The giant punched the wall and it disappeared into thin air revealing a secret corridor.

“Makes you wonder why they build a escape route right here.”, Kalameet said, leaning against the wall.

“For whatever the reason was, it can get you into safety now. Follow this corridor, it will get you out at a fireplace at one of the guest rooms. From there you can go on the balcony. From the balcony you can fly away, but better make sure, that nobody sees you.”

Kalameet started to walk towards the corridor, but stopped and turned back to Gough. He approached the giant. “Please kneel down.”, he said.

“Huh?”, Gough said, but obeyed. Kalameet walked directly in front of Gough, raised both hands to raise the helmet of the giant and pressed a kiss on his lips.

“I owe you one.”, he said and vanished into the corridor.

Chapter Text

Gwynfor had gotten up early to prepare the meal for the day. It contained of mostly meat, cause recently Ornstein had trouble eating anything else than this.

A few months ago, the former dragon slayer had made his way up Arch Dragon Peak, both furious and relieved to finally have found the one he once had called a lover. Gwynfor had been very pleased to rekindle their old relationship and allow Ornstein to stay with him on Arch Dragon Peak. But then the already poor health of Ornstein had taken a turn for the worse. They had been sure, that the knight wouldn't have long to live anymore. That was when Gwynfor made a suggestion.

And Ornstein had accepted the suggestion and tried to walk the path of the dragon to save himself from death's bed. From the way Ornstein started to transform, Gwynfor knew the former dragon slayer would turn into something big. But it was a slow transformation. One that often was uncomfortable and sometimes painful for Ornstein. Gwynfor helped his boyfriend the best he could, getting him things to shred when his teeth grew, holding his hand when the horns were breaking through his head, finding a way to ease the itch when the first scales started to grow and staying with him in the night when his feathered wings and tail formed.

Ornstein had trouble talking while transforming, but from the look Gwynfor received from the green eyes of his boyfriend, he knew how grateful he was for the support. In fact, they had found a lot of little wordless gestures to communicate with each other, it seemed that the transformation slowly would take Ornstein's voice away.

Gwynfor finished cutting the meat and put it into a bowl. He considered roasting it up first, but Ornstein had developed a taste for raw meat lately and because he didn't get sick from eating it, it was completely harmless. Also, he was totally capable of roasting it himself with his new fire breath if he wanted to.

Gwynfor picked the bowl up when he heard the growl. He sighed. It was one of the bad days. It rarely happened, but it was possible for Ornstein to go completely feral and Gwynfor needed to calm him down. It was very important for the former prince to not make any sudden movements now. He slowly turned around, bowl still in his hands, when the growl turned into a howl and a clawed hand slammed him into the nearest wall, bowl falling to the ground, scattering the meat pieces.

Damn, that had hurt. Gwynfor was sure he had heard the cracking of a few broken ribs. He slowly opened his eyes, pulling himself up, gasping in pain. He could see Ornstein's frame standing before him, still growing, wings puffed out, tail lashing back and forth. His eyes showed no sign of him having a clear mind.

Gwynfor put his hands in the air, showing that he was unarmed: “Ornstein, stop it. It's me. Your master.”

This didn't had the desired effect. Ornstein sprinted forward and pinned Gwynfor against the wall, his claws digging in the flesh of his shoulders, blood slowly seeping out. This distracted the drake for a moment, sniffing in the smell of the fresh blood. Gwynfor tried to reach out to his boyfriend again: “Don't you recognize me, Ornstein?”, he asked. “We share our bed every night.”

At the sound of his voice, Ornstein snapped back and increased the pressure, a deep growl still coming from his throat. This was bad, really bad. Ornstein had become feral before, like Gwynfor had started to call it, but he never had attacked so relentlessly. Most of the time, he had been scared by something and his instincts just took over. Gwynfor wondered what could have made Ornstein so terrified that he saw him as a threat.

“Ornstein, please, you are hurting me.”, Gwynfor said between clenched teeth. “Did you had a nightmare?” Ornstein had nightmares quite frequently. Most of the time he would wake up in the night, shivering and sweating, but usually Gwynfor would be next to him to give him comfort. Only that this time Gwynfor had left him alone to prepare breakfast while the drake still had been asleep. The fact that Ornstein didn't even had put any clothes on yet and that his long hair was flowing freely made it also clear that he just had woken up, so a nightmare was the most plausible explanation.

The pressure of the claws increased even more, Gwynfor was sure that he would get some new scars of this. “Ornstein, please, snap out of it.”, Gwynfor begged. The answer of the drake was to slam him against the wall once again, shrieking loudly in the process.

Gwynfor's head exploded with pain and he saw stars shaking before his eyes. Ornstein just wouldn't calm down. But Gwynfor didn't want to take up the fight. First, he didn't had his weapon with him, second, he was hurt and third, if he fought against Ornstein in this terrified state, the drake would probably be scared of him forever.

He needed to get Ornstein out of this state without any violence.

Still lying on the floor, one hand touching the wound on his head, Gwynfor found his voice again.

“Ornstein please! You need to calm down! It's me! Gwynfor!”, he shouted.

The drake that already had prepared another attack suddenly stopped at this words, hissing and growling. He fell down on his knees, both hands grabbing his head, self-awareness slowly returning in his eyes. Ornstein looked around confused, noticing the blood on his claws with a frown and finally spotting his master lying on the floor.

“Master!”, he shouted, running up to him and kneeling down. “By the lords, did I do this?” Ornstein carefully laid his hands on Gwynfor's body but then promptly withdrew them and stared at his blood soaked claws with disgust.

“You are back, that is good.”, Gwynfor said, voice a bit hoarse. “Could you help me up and get me to our bed? I need to get fixed up.”

“O... Of course.”, Ornstein said and very carefully helped Gwynfor pulling himself up, supporting the man's weight. On their way to the bedroom, Gwynfor could hear Ornstein whispering “Sorry, I am so sorry.” all the way through.

Ornstein gently helped Gwynfor lying down in the bed and then rummaging around in the room searching for the medical supplies. He quickly found them, returned to the bed and sat down on the edge.

“Where did I hurt you, master?”, he asked.

“Ornstein, I appreciate that you want to help me out, but how about you get yourself dressed first?”, Gwynfor said with an amused tone in his voice. Ornstein looked down at himself and shot up immediately.

“Oh no, how embarrassing.”, he whispered and rushed out of the room.

“I don't mind seeing you naked, you know.”, Gwynfor whispered to himself and grabbed the bag with medical supplies. As a god of war, he luckily was sturdy and the injuries wouldn't hinder him much. He still needed to rest for a bit though. He assumed a few broken ribs, he had to treat the claw marks and he felt like he had a slight concussion from the second encounter with the wall. Gwynfor fished a bloodred moss clump out of the bag and pressed it on the bleeding wound on his left shoulder first. Right at this time Ornstein reentered the room, having been dressed in some loose clothes, his hair tied up to the usual ponytail. He also seemed to have taken the time to wash his hands, cause the blood on his claws was gone. Ornstein crossed through the room with a few large steps and sat down on the edge of the bed again, tail curled around his feet. Gwynfor knew that this position meant guilt.

“You don't have to feel guilty for this, you haven't been yourself.”, Gwynfor said and tossed another bloodred moss clump to his boyfriend. “Would you treat the bleeding on my head with this, please?”

Ornstein took the moss and searched for the wound in Gwynfor's long white hair. “This was a first...”, he mumbled.

“What do you mean?”, Gwynfor asked, satisfied that the bleeding on his left shoulder had stopped and moving on the right one.

“Attacking you, that is.”, Ornstein said, pressing the moss clump a bit too hard on the wound, which made Gwynfor wince. “Sorry...”, Ornstein released the pressure. Gwynfor noticed that the wings of his boyfriend were dragging down. A sign that he wasn't feeling well.

“What's on your mind?”, Gwynfor asked.

Ornstein looked up, then down, then up again but finally averted his gaze slightly so that he didn't have to look his boyfriend in the eyes. “I...”, he started and then his voice broke. Gwynfor used his free hand to take Ornstein's clawed one into his own.

“Take your time.”, he said.

Ornstein swallowed, tears starting to form in his eyes. “I start to think that his has been a mistake.”, he brought out.

“Ornstein, you knew what you were getting into.”, Gwynfor said. Now that the bleeding had stopped, he prepared some bandages for his wounds. “I explained everything to you.”

“But I didn't know how strong I would get. What would had happened if I hadn't snapped out of it? I could have killed you.”, Ornstein said, tears flowing freely from his eyes. “What will happen to you if I turn into a real dragon and start to lose my mind...?” Ornstein buried his face into his hands, curled his tail around himself and folded the wings in as to hug himself. Gwynfor extended a hand to gently pet one of the wings. Ornstein winced at the touch, his wings were a highly sensitive spot.

“I haven't been prepared.”, Gwynfor said. “I would have gotten out of this unscathed when I wouldn't had been so surprised. I simply had my guard down, that is all.”, he said.

Ornstein raised his head for a brief moment before burying it back into his hands again. Gwynfor decided to let him be for the moment and started to bandage the wounds, but soon needed help.

“Would you help me bandage my wounds, please?”, he said and hold the end of the bandage out to Ornstein. The drake broke out of his pose and silently got to work. When he was in the process to bandage the wound on the head, he suddenly spoke again: “It's just... I think I am scared of myself... of having this body.”

Gwynfor huffed: “Ornstein, being scared is what makes you go feral in the first place.”

Gwynfor could feel how Ornstein got tense. “You need to be more accepting of your own body. And you need to stop blaming yourself for everything that happened. Or your nightmares will never stop.”, he said.

“I know this...”, Ornstein hissed. “It's just.... it's so hard to wrap my head around it...”

“As long as you wrap the bandages right around my head.”, Gwynfor said jokingly. “I need to organize some ice for the bruises, ow...”, he said with a look down his chest. Ornstein immediately took in his guilty posture again.

“Look, we don't have to tackle this issue now, but promise me that you start to work on this, right?”, Gwynfor said. “And I try to not be taken by surprise anymore, so that you don't even have a chance hurting me.” Gwynfor softly laid back into the pillows, looking deeply into the eyes of his boyfriend.

“I promise.”, Ornstein said, practically forcing himself to not avert his gaze. “I promise that I work on not blaming myself for anything anymore.”

“That's the spirit.”, Gwynfor said, grinning. “And now that I need to stay in bed for a day or two, how about you get us some breakfast?”

Chapter Text

“Father, you are bleeding!”

The wound that made blood seep through the armour of the lord of sunlight must have been a nasty one, Gwynfor noticed this at once. Gwyn was hunched over, pressing a hand against it, but then straightened up.

“Bleed? I don't have any time to bleed. We have a war to fight.”

And with that the lord was on his way, searching for a new victim to shoot out of the sky, lightning bolt already prepared in his hand.

“Whatever you say, old man... And in the end I have to carry you to Nevy again cause you passed out...”, Gwynfor said, picking up his sword spear, following his father to the battlefield. A group of silver knights had formed around the lord and one of them pointed out the wound.

“We can take care of this later, for now we have a battle to win.”, Gwyn bawled at them. Gwynfor had managed to catch up in the meantime and could witness a few silver knights looking confused at each other, apparently that was new for them.

A spear silver knight noticed Gwynfor standing next to him and picked up the word: “Mylord, is that...?” An unfinished sentence hung in the air. Gwynfor sighed.

“Yes, it is normal.”, he finished and answered the question at the same time. “Do me a favour and have an eye on him. When he is in that condition, he could pass out from the blood loss.” The silver knight clutched his spear tighter and nodded at Gwynfor's word, then charged forward into battle cause a new dragon had been shot out of the sky and was ready to be tackled. Gwynfor joined them, every pressure taken from his father would be good.

After they had took down the dragon with minimal loss (it was a shame, but sadly a few silver knights would fall at every dragon they fought), Gwynfor caught up with his father again.

“There, the dragon is down. How about we tend to your wound now?”, he asked.

“Gwynfor, haven't you seen that the sky is still darkened with dragons? They could strike any time. My place is here, not in some medicinal tent.”, Gwyn said.

“You are of no good use to our troops if you pass out in the battlefield.”, Gwynfor said. “How will it affect their morals when they see their leader passing out?”

“How will it affect their morals if their leader isn't even present? I already told you, Gwynfor, we don't have any time to bleed.”, Gwyn answered.

Gwynfor had enough. “Why do you always have to be so stubborn?”, he blurted out. Before any of them could say any other words, a dragon crash landed next to them and the next thing Gwynfor saw was a familiar figure in golden armour drilling a spear deep into the dragon's neck.

Ornstein pulled the spear out of the dragon with one hand and jumped down on the ground. Gwynfor used this moment to admire his student. Ornstein was one the few who were able to kill a dragon on their own without any help which had earned him the title of dragon slayer. And said dragon slayer noticed the presences of his lords.

“Mylord, master, everything is under control. The dragons are about to retreat.”, he said. “Mylord, that is some heavy bleeding. You should get this treated.”

“There isn't any time for that.”, Gwyn growled. “We have to make sure that no dragon here survives.” Gwynfor noticed the trail of blood on the ground. Time to make a decision. He walked over to Ornstein.

“Father won't stop this until he passes out... I knock him out and then you can help me carry him back to Nevy so that she can take care of him.”, he whispered. Ornstein simply answered with a tiny nod.

“Father, look over there, one of the dragons is coming back.”, Gwynfor shouted and pointed in a direction that would make the lord turn away from them.

“What, where?”, Gwyn yelled. Gwynfor was sure he wouldn't make it long anymore. He was hunched over again and had a hand pressed against the wound in his side, having started to pant.

Once the lord had his attention put into the sky, Gwynfor rushed forward and gave his father a blow to the head, heavy enough to knock him out. The lord slumped into his arms. Ornstein walked over and took Gwyn's legs.

“He probably will be mad when he wakes up.”, the dragon slayer said.

“Better than dead.”, Gwynfor answered. “This starts to turn into some kind of obsession. Sometimes I ask myself if we do the right thing...”

“What do you mean?”, Ornstein asked.

“Oh nothing...”, Gwynfor said. “For now, just let us get him out of here.”

Chapter Text

When Ornstein awoke, he saw the angry face of the executioner staring at him.

“Uh, what happened?”, he asked and pulled himself up in a sitting position. His legs felt weak and he had a slight pain at the back of his head.

“What happened? You passed out.”, Smough answered. The pissed look didn't leave his face.

Oh, that explained the slight pain in his head. Ornstein inspected his surroundings. He surely wasn't in his room and this wasn't a guest room either. Judging from how dark it was, there was only a lit candle resting on the nightstand, the dragon slayer came to the conclusion that this must have been Smough's room in the dungeon.

“Did you brought me here? Thanks.”, Ornstein said, slowly starting to wonder why the executioner looked so angry. Their relationship had gotten a lot better the past few weeks. Ornstein hoped he didn't said something wrong.

“Do you remember why you were passing out?”, Smough asked.

Ornstein considered. He had been walking through the hallway, when suddenly a wave of weakness had washed over him, that was the last thing he remembered. That must have been the moment he passed out. But he couldn't exactly remember why he had felt so weak.

“Don't know.”, he answered. “Maybe I am getting sick or something.”

Smough sighed: “Ornstein, when was the last time you ate something?”

Ornstein just stared at Smough in confusion. The executioner just had assumed that he had passed out from hunger. But his last meal couldn't have been that long away. Let's see, the last time he ate had been...

“Yesterday morning...”, he said, hardly able to believe it himself.

Another deep sigh of the executioner. “Ornstein, that isn't healthy at all. You barely eat something lately. I already see some signs of malnutrition.”, he scolded the dragon slayer.

“It's not that I wasn't eating anything on purpose.”, Ornstein said. “It's just... I kinda... forgot to do it?”

Actually, eating something had started to feel pointless after a while. Ornstein wasn't exactly a good cook, his meals tasted horrible or bland all the time and the effort making them wasn't worth it. He always would remind himself to eat something only to completely forget about it. But this was the first time he had managed to skip five meals in a row.

“You forgot to eat? How can someone forget to eat?”, Smough yelled.

Ornstein winced at the sudden raised voice. He still wasn't completely comfortable around the executioner. Their arguments had gotten famous with the silver knights (at least when there still had been silver knights there that weren't straight up summoned magic in armour).

“Difficult to explain...”, Ornstein just said. He didn't want the executioner to know that he practically dragged himself out of bed everyday nowadays and how pointless his whole existence had started to feel for him since he had found out the reality about the princess.

“We really need to get some food into you.”, Smough said and pulled a steaming bowl out of nowhere. It smelled lovely and Ornstein suddenly realized how hungry he was. The executioner gave the bowl and a spoon to Ornstein.

“Eat this, but slow.”, he demanded.

Ornstein was in the process of delving into the soup when a thought crossed his mind.

“Smough, I can't eat this.”, he said and put the bowl away.

Smough huffed: “You really think I have put people's part into this, Ornstein? Do you really think I am so low? It's perfectly safe to eat for you.”

Ornstein felt a pang of guilt in his chest. Smough had told him why he did cannibalism. That it was mostly an old habit that he also liked to keep cause it was a way for him to respect the deceased. Of course the executioner wouldn't put any weird stuff in a soup he would give to a person who despised this thing.

“Sorry...”, Ornstein said, but started intensely at the soup for a while. It smelled so good, his mouth started to water just at the thought of tasting it. He picked up the bowl again and carefully dipped the spoon in the soup and lead it to his mouth.

The taste was heavenly, it was probably one of the best things, no, that was the best thing Ornstein had ever eaten. He took another spoon, then another. He practically started to scarf the whole bowl down until a big hand stopped his own. Ornstein looked up angrily only to meet Smough's soft smiling face.

“I told you to eat slow.”, Smough said. “If you eat so fast, you could choke. Or it could be too much for your body and you could need to puke. We want the food in you, not outside of you.”

“Sorry...”, Ornstein said once again. Smough released the grip of his hand and watched carefully while the dragon slayer finished the rest of the meal.

“Smough, I must admit, that had to be the best meal I ever had.”, Ornstein said. “I didn't knew you were such a good cook.”

“I learned a lot from the ones who were once dear to me or from the kitchen servants here in Anor Londo.”, Smough said. “I really enjoy doing it, but there was barely someone who wanted to try my cooking. It's nice to see that you liked it so much.”

Ornstein smiled at him: “I wish I would have tried it earlier.” The dragon slayer grew silent for a moment. “But Smough, why were you so angry with me when I passed out from not having eaten?”

“Isn't that obvious?”, Smough said, face darkened. “I was used to see people starve to death. It was such a slow way to die, you could literally see them decaying before your own eyes.” Smough stared at a wall before picking up the word again: “I just can't see people starving. Especially when they have lots of food to eat but they forgot about it.”

“Sorry...”, Ornstein was truly apologizing a lot this evening.

Smough cleared his throat: “I, um, have no problem sharing my food with you, so just come to the kitchen when it's time to eat.” Smough glared at Ornstein. “And don't you dare forget to come by.”

“I won't.”, Ornstein quickly said. And he meant it. He truly didn't want to miss a single meal like this anymore.

Chapter Text

“Alright, this will take a minute, so hold still.”

Ornstein, still in the infirmary after his accident while jogging, listened to the princess's voice and stayed completely still. He knew that healing miracles could do more harm than good if one would move too much through it. The dragon slayer waited for the relief of the pain vanishing, expect... that it never came and his broken legs still were hurting a lot.

“I am finished.”, Gwynevere said. “You can move again now.”

“But princess, it still hurts.”, Ornstein said, slowly shifting around, wincing when he put pressure on one of the broken legs.

“Ornstein, these are some complicated breaks. I managed to shorten the healing time to a week instead of several ones. But you will have to stay in bed for this whole week. The magic mostly stimulates your natural healing and makes it go faster. It could put a strain on your body. So it would be for the best if you move as little as possible.”

“I have to stay in bed for a whole week?!”, Ornstein's face got pale.

“Better than being out for several weeks.”, Artorias joined the conversation. “See it as an opportunity to get some rest. You work far too much anyway.” The wolf knight looked to the princess who just nodded in confirmation to his words.

“I guess I have no other choice... Artorias, would you get me to my room, please?”, Ornstein asked. “But maybe we could take a route so that nobody sees us?”

A short while later Artorias had gently placed Ornstein on his bed and was rummaging through his wardrobe. He found a nightshirt and tossed it to Ornstein. “If you have to stay in bed, you should make yourself comfy, so why not change?”, he said.

“Yeah, I guess that would be the smartest thing to do.”, Ornstein said and started to undress himself. He stopped when he noticed Artorias staring at him. “What are you doing?”

“Thinking about offering you help.”, Artorias said.

“I can manage it myself, thank you.”, Ornstein said and put on the nightshirt after he finished undressing and tossed his clothes to the floor. He then flopped into the pillows, grumbling: “Damn, my legs really hurt...”

“It would probably help if we put some pillows under them.”, Artorias said and got to work.

“This... really seems to help already, thanks.”, Ornstein muttered.

“So.”, Artorias started. “You aren't really able to take care of yourself like this. I will tell Ciaran and Gough about it and we will check on you regularly to help you out. Is there something I can help you with already?”

“Actually, yes...”, Ornstein said, feeling a bit flustered. “I need to use the bath room.”

“Oh, that is easy.”, Artorias smiled and grabbed under the bed to present the chamber pot. “Just use the chamber pot for it.”

“You got to be kidding me...”

“Why? It's not any different than having to go a night.”

“I usually don't do this...”

Artorias looked down in the pot: “That explains why this thing looks so unused. Do you really wander to the nearest privy whenever you have to go at night?”

“Yes, but mostly I can hold it just fine until morning comes.”

“You won't be able to hold it for a whole week.”

“I know...”

“So you pretty much have no other choice.”

“I know... it is just... so embarrassing...”

“Look, you have to pee, right?”

“Yes?”

“And you literally can't walk right now.”

“Yes...”

“And using the pot is still better than pissing your pants.”

“Alright, give me this thing!”

Artorias handed the chamber pot over. “See, why was this so difficult? Do you need help with it?”

“No, I can do it on my own! And go out of here, now!”

“No need to yell, I am leaving. Just call me when I can come in again.” And with that Artorias left the room.
___

The door got teared open and the master entered the room: “Hey Ornstein, I heard you are sick, so I wanted to check on my favourite student.”

Ornstein had shot up in his bed, startled from the sudden sound. “Master, I would appreciate if you could knock first before coming in.”, he said. “Also, I am not sick.”

The master sat down on the edge of the bed and eyed Ornstein. “You are lying in bed and don't look too hot, that seems pretty sick to me.”

“I am hurt.”, Ornstein explained and pulled the blankets aside to reveal his broken legs.

“Both legs are broken? How did you manage to do this?”

“Well...”, Ornstein started, searching for words. “I fell.”, he simply finished.

“Down from the cathedral roof or what?”, the master asked. “I know how high you can fall without hurting yourself. This must have been a rough one.”

“Alright, I slipped on the rafters during my jogging routine.”

“Oh well, I got pretty close with my assumption.”, the master said. “How long are you out?”

“The princess casted a miracle on it, so it will be a week. And she said I have to stay in bed the whole time.”

“A whole week in bed? That sounds so boring. You can count on me keeping you company whenever you feel lonely.” The master ruffled Ornstein's hair. “What kind of boyfriend I am when I am not there for my partner when he faces a hard time?”

The master's gaze fell on the floor, more specifically on the chamber pot, that Artorias luckily had emptied out.

“Huh, I guess you hate having to use these thing.”, he said.

“Master, please, can we talk about something else?”, Ornstein could feel how his face got red and he had the sudden urge to go into hiding. The blankets he was holding were pretty tempting...

“What are you embarrassed about? You know, I would have to use the pot too with two broken legs.”, the master said with a smirk.

Ornstein vanished completely under the blankets. “Master, please, this is embarrassing enough without that picture in my head.”, came a muffled voice from under them.

“I am just teasing you. You are so cute when flustered.”, the master said. “Also, you are aware, that I can still see your pony tail?”

Ornstein appeared again: “Damn, that thing always sticks out when I want to hide in my bed...”

“You are aware that I perfectly knew where you were anyway?”, the master grinned. “Um, should I leave you alone for now? I have the feeling you need a moment to calm down. I am sorry that I was teasing you.”

The master was in the process of standing up and to head for the door, when Ornstein tucked at his scarf: “No, it's fine. You aren't a bother at all. Would you stay a bit longer?”

“Of course. Shall I join you in bed? But maybe we should lock the door then?”

“I promised Artorias to leave it open so that they can enter without trouble. I mean, I am not really capable of getting up and open it for them. But I made sure that everyone has to knock first. I don't want to be seen at embarrassing situations.”

“I mean, I am with you now, so locking the door will be of no trouble.” The master got up to turn the key in the lock. “Also, how do they know if they can enter?”

“I am going to say if it's fine to enter.”, Ornstein murmured. “And Artorias said, shouldn't I answer for at least five minutes, they will enter to check on me, assuming that something happened.”

“Sounds fair. Scoop over a bit, so that I have some room.” Ornstein carefully made some room for his boyfriend, who then joined him under the blankets. Ornstein cuddled his head against the master's chest.

“This will be a long week...”, he said.

“I am sure you will survive it. I will make sure to visit you as often as I can. Who is taking care of the silver knights?” The master gently stroked Ornstein's head.

“Artorias is going to take care of them. I told him that Ophelia can help out too, you know, the girl that wears the dragon slayer armour.”, Ornstein explained. “I am sure I can count on them. That this one week will not get the cathedral into chaos.” Ornstein yawned. “Huh, I feel pretty tired now...”

The master untied Ornstein's ponytail. “It is already pretty late, you were hurt and I guess Nevy's magic is having some toll on you. I will stay with you until you fall asleep, alright?”

“Thanks, master...” It didn't take Ornstein long to drift to sleep.
___

The next day Artorias knocked on the door: “Ornstein, good morning. I have brought you some breakfast. Can we enter?”

“Sure.”, Ornstein called. Wait, we? That question got answered when Artorias entered the room with Ciaran in tow.

“I thought that it would be nicer if we could keep you company while eating. Gough would have liked to come too, but you know that he is too big.” Artorias handed Ornstein a plate and himself and Ciaran sat down at the table.

“So, Ornstein, how are you planning to spend your time confined to bed rest?”, Artorias asked between bites.

Ornstein swallowed his current piece before answering: “Reading books. Drawing pictures. Staring at the wall waiting for the seconds to tick by. That was how I spent my morning by the way.”

“Right, you aren't able to get any of these things without help.”, Ciaran said. “I think we should be sure to get some books and some paper to the bed.”

“That would be appreciated. I already feel close to die of boredom.”, Ornstein said. “I actually have thought about some new training and formations for the silver knights, but I couldn't write or draw anything of it down. Shall I explain it to you instead?”

Ciaran quickly got some paper and a pen to Ornstein before he had a chance to involve them in a long and detailed explanation of his plans with the silver knights. The dragon slayer stopped eating his breakfast and got to work, sometimes taking a little break to get another fork of food in his mouth.

“Not even having two broken legs stops you from taking a break.”, Artorias said. “But you know what? I have some time in the afternoon. I will visit you then, cause I know the perfect activity.”

Ornstein just looked briefly up from the paper: “Yeah, whatever...”

“I am not sure if he heard you.”, Ciaran said.

“Ah well, than I just will have a surprise for him.”, Artorias grinned.
___

Shortly after lunch Artorias knocked on Ornstein's door again and after he got called in, the dragon slayer was faced with the sight of a wolf knight carrying a few scrolls.

“I thought we could do the paperwork from the last week. You are pretty much not able to do any other duty.”, Artorias explained and put the scrolls on Ornstein's bed.

“Good idea.”, Ornstein said, picking up a scroll. “At this opportunity, we can do the paperwork of the last month too.”

“What do you mean, the paperwork of the last month?”, Artorias had stopped dead in his tracks. Ornstein pointed on a commode and said: “Look in the bottom drawer.”

Artorias walked over to the commode and pulled the drawer out. “Ornstein, what?”, he said. “How did you manage to procrastinate the paperwork for this long?!”

“I kinda didn't find an opportunity to get started and every time I had time you were out on missions or something.” Ornstein opened the drawer of his night stand and pulled out quill and ink.

“Yes and when you had time and I was available too you decided to jog and fall instead.”, Artorias said, clearly discontented. “With just the ones from the last week we would have been done till dinner, but with all that...”, Artorias started to pull the scrolls out. “It will take until the late evening.”

“Sorry.”, Ornstein said. “I'll make up for it somehow. For now, we better should get started. I probably just start with the ones that simply needs to be signed.”

The both knights worked mostly in silence until another knock on the door was heard. This time it was Ciaran.

“I wanted to bring you guys some tea and the cookies that Artorias made earlier.”, she said and put the tablet she was carrying down on the table. “Did the paperwork suddenly increase?”, she asked when she was faced with the mountains of scrolls lying around.

“Ornstein's fault.”, Artorias simply said without looking up.

Ciaran fetched some cups to fill in the tea and handed one to Ornstein along with a cookie. “Procrastinated again?”, she just asked. “You know, as the captain you should be a better role model.”

“I know.”, Ornstein said and took a sip. “It would be easier if people could read my hand writing, so that Artorias wouldn't need to help me out all the time.”

“One day I will give you hand writing lessons!”, called Artorias from the table.

“I need to attend to my duties, but I will be back with dinner later.”, Ciaran said and left the room.

The both knights were still deep into the paperwork when Ciaran returned with the dinner. The assassin kept them company for a while before heading to her own room to call it a day. As the hours ticked by, Ornstein started to notice how the letters before his eyes began to swam and he had to yawn in much shorter intervals. The next hing he knew was, that it was morning and he saw Artorias sleeping with his head laid on the edge of the bed, the last scroll he had worked on still in his hands.

“Oh no, we didn't finish.”, Ornstein murmured and raised his voice: “Hey Artorias, wake up! It's morning already!”

“Huh...?” The wolf knight shot up when he noticed how bright the room was and then winced, massaging his necks and shoulders. “Oh, ouch, that was an uncomfortable position to fell asleep in.”

Ornstein eyed the paperwork. “We almost managed to finish it. If we pull through, we can do it before lunch.”

He heard Artorias groan just as another knock on the door was heard and Ciaran entered.

“I brought you guys some breakfast. I am sure you needed to pull an all nighter...” She looked at the mess they had made. “Don't tell me you fell asleep? Both of you?”

Ornstein and Artorias both felt like shrinking under her glare, even though they couldn't see it beneath her mask.

“Yes, but we intended to finish it right away.”, Ornstein said.

“With we you mean you and me.”, Ciaran said. “Artorias, after breakfast you have to take care of the silver knights. The prince got called to a dragon hunt.”

Ornstein listened attentively: “The master was called to a dragon hunt and hasn't taken any of us with him?”

“He took one troop of the silver knights and Ophelia with him.”, Ciaran said. “I mean, you are out of the question, Ornstein, and we were assuming that Artorias helped you all night, so not exactly fit to go hunt a dragon.”

“Even with the sleep I got, I don't feel fit for a dragon hunt right now.”, Artorias said, still massaging his sore muscles. “Alright, let's eat. I will check on you later.”
___

The pain in Ornstein's leg had flared up and so the knight had decided to just lay still for a while, waiting for it to pass over, when he heard a knock on the door and a voice, asking: “Captain, can I come in?”

Ornstein pulled himself up, wincing because of the pain. “Sure, Ophelia.”, he called.

The door opened and the girl which was wearing what was known the dragon slayer armour came in, carrying a tea can.

“I have brought some tea.”, she said and put it down on the table before removing her helmet. It was hard to believe that this shy girl with reddish blond hair tied in a ponytail and freckles was known as one of Anor Londo's strongest warriors.

“There are some tea cups in the cupboard over there.”, Ornstein said and pointed to it.

“I'll go get them.”, Ophelia said and opened the cupboard. After rummaging around for a bit she found them. “How cute, they are dragon shaped.”, she murmured.

“A gift from the master.”, Ornstein said, clearly remembering the day the master had managed to talk all his friends to get him dragon based gifts for his birthday. Ophelia finished putting tea in the cups, handed one to Ornstein and then sat down in a chair next to his bed.

“How are you feeling, captain?”, she asked.

Ornstein took a sip from the cup and answered: “Sometimes the pain is pretty heavy, just have to wait till it subdues then. How was the dragon hunt?”

“It went pretty great. That was to be expected because the prince was with us. We managed to get the beast down far quicker than anticipated. This village can have a moment of peace now.”

“Any losses?”, Ornstein wanted to know.

Ophelia's face darkened for a bit: “We lost Elric, Faelan and Egyd.”

Ornstein sighed. “Well, it is pretty good actually. We are used to lose much more troops. Prepare the condolence letters for their families. How are the other silver knights doing?”

“Most of them are doing great. Actually, there are rumours that Hilda and Trancred are getting married soon.”

“That isn't surprising, there had been a thing going on between them for quite some time now.” These two were a male sword silver knight and a female spear silver knight and it was obvious for anyone who wasn't blind that they liked each other more than friends. “Having a marriage actually could boost the spirits, but maybe they should wait with getting kids after the war is over...”, Ornstein murmured, staring in his tea cup.

There was silence between them, Ophelia was holding her tea cup with both hands when she asked: “Captain... have you ever thought about marrying?”

Ornstein, who had just took another sip from the cup, spat it out all over his nightshirt in surprise.

“Oh, I am so sorry! I didn't mean to.. That was an inappropriate question. Please forget that I asked this.” The girl looked horribly ashamed.

“No, it's fine, you just surprised me.”, Ornstein said. “And me getting wet was my own fault. I feel that I should change in dry clothes though, could you give me a new nightshirt? They are in this chest.”

Ophelia walked over to it and picked out a nightshirt that she tossed on the bed. “Oh, I better turn around...”, she said. “To give you some privacy. Or shall I leave the room?”

“You can stay, this will be done in a minute.”, Ornstein said and pulled the wet nightshirt off before slipping in the new one. The one with the lightning pattern on it. Another gift from the master. He wondered if Ophelia had picked it on purpose or by coincidence. He tossed the wet nightshirt on the ground. “I am finished.”, he said and Ophelia turned around and went to sit in the chair again.

“I haven't answered your question yet.”, Ornstein said.

“Oh please, captain, you don't have to, I was just curious.”, Ophelia said. “Because you are always turning any girl down that is brave enough to ask you for a dance.” she added in a quiet voice.

“I haven't thought about marrying, no.”, Ornstein answered.

“May I ask why?”, Ophelia wanted to know.

What should Ornstein answer to this? That he was in a relationship with the prince of this country who probably would become the next lord of sunlight and that they kept their relationship secret from others cause a knight shouldn't share the same bed as his master? Instead, Ornstein decided to tell a lie that he directly took from something that Artorias had once said: “I don't think it would be wise to marry someone and getting children in this times of war. I have plenty time for this after it is over. We don't even know if we live to see the next day, I wouldn't want to let a partner at home, worrying if I will ever return.”

“This... actually makes a lot of sense. Thanks for being honest with me, captain.” Ophelia smiled at him and Ornstein felt a slight pang of guilt cause of the blatant lie he just told her.

“Actually... that has been a lie...”, he admitted. “I am sorry that I didn't tell you the truth at first, but I know you long enough now... I can't tell you who he is, but I have been in a relationship for a while now.” Only after he finished talking he noticed his slip up with the pronouns. Not everyone would approve of two guys being in romantic love with each other.

Ornstein could see how some slight surprise washed over Ophelia's face but she maintained her composure.

“I see... thanks for admitting to being dishonest with me, Captain. And I am making sure that no one will know about your relationship with Artorias.”

Ornstein was glad that he didn't had any tea anymore or he would had needed to change a second time. “It's not Artorias.”, he blurted out.

“R.. really? Oh I am so sorry to have jumped to conclusions. You two look so close with each other, I guess that is, why...”, her words trailed off and she just stared at the wall in silence.

“A...anyway, I have to go now. Get well soon, captain.” Ophelia hastily collected her helmet and practically rushed out from the room, Ornstein could see how red her face had become.

“I wonder what Artorias will say when I tell him about this conversation later.”, Ornstein murmured and poured himself another cup of tea.
___

“And checkmate.”, Ornstein said. “Again.”

“Already? You are just too strong at this game.”, Artorias murmured.

“No, you just suck at chess.”, Ornstein answered. “Bring me a real challenge. Like Ciaran. Or Seath.” Ornstein considered his words. “On second thought, don't bring Seath here, or we will play chess for 24 hours straight.”

“Well, maybe we should play another game then? You don't seem to thrilled.”, Artorias suggested.

“Yeah, because we only have done this for an hour and I managed to beat you ten times. You were literally falling for the easiest traps. Chess just isn't your game, Artorias.”

“You are right, I have never been good at it..”, Artorias said. “My strategy always is to just charge in and don't let anyone even dare to attack. Easy when you can stagger them with your big weapons.”

“This strategy sounds like it could get you killed one day.”, Ornstein said. “You were talking about other games? Have you brought more?”

“Yes.”, Artorias said and put away the chess figurines and the board. “A new one has brought from the east, it seems to be quite popular over there. It is called Go.” Artorias put a board on the table that he had gotten nearer to Ornstein's bed and poured a sack with black and white stones on it.

“How do you play it?”, Ornstein wanted to know.

“One player has the white stones and the other one has the black stones. The goal is to trap the stones of your enemy so that they change their colour into your own.”

“Artorias...”, Ornstein said. “That is exactly as logic based at chess!”

“Maybe you want to try anyway? It may be more entertaining to beat me at a different game for once...”, Artorias said.

“Well, we can try... Have you brought a third game?”

“Yeah, I also have a checkers game with me.”

“Another one that is logic based... Maybe we should get two more people and just play cards.”, Ornstein suggested and watched Artorias make his first move.

“Ciaran should be done with her duties shortly.”, Artorias said and finished his move. Ornstein found a counter to it immediately.

“If Ciaran plays cards with us, she will win, she has the perfect poker face.”, Ornstein said. “But I guess it could be fun losing for once. Who could be the fourth player?”

“How about Prince Gwynfor or Gwyndolin?”, Artorias said, staring at the board.

“I would prefer the master, I don't think we should taint Gwyndolin's pure soul with card games already...”, Ornstein murmured. After a few minutes had passed, Artorias finally made his move.

“Really?”, Ornstein said and managed to counter Artorias move with ease again. “This is my first time playing this game and I am really close to winning.”

“Alright, I have to admit defeat.”, Artorias grumbled. “Let me see if I can find Ciaran and the prince to join us for a card game.”
___

With Ornstein grounded in his bed, there wasn't much things he could do, especially when he didn't had any company. Most of his time was spent reading books or drawings pictures. And because of the pain in his legs he would take a lot of naps. It was one of this naps he woke up from with a dry throat. Still very sleepy, Ornstein reached out from under the blankets for the jar with water that would usually stand on his nightstand. He grasped at nothing instead. Still sleepy, Ornstein pulled himself a bit closer to the the assumed position of the nightstand and reached out anew, only to completely lose balance. He wasn't near the nightstand at all. Before he could grasp what just happened, he had already made painful contact with the floor.

Luckily, Ornstein had instinctively used his hands to tone down his fall and protect his face from the fall. He carefully pulled himself up in a sitting position, still a bit shivering from the shock of the fall. He looked at this hand and noticed some grazes at them, nothing bad at last. But now he had the problem, that he had to make it back into bed.

Which wouldn't be a problem if he could have used his legs at all. Ornstein considered if he should call for help, maybe some silver knight patrolling outside would hear him, but that would also mean that his embarrassing situation would be known to all of them once dinner came. It shouldn't be too difficult to pull himself back up into bed...

But it already was made difficult by the fact that he couldn't put any weight on his broken legs at all, so getting up to his knees at last was out of the question. He turned himself around in his sitting position and tried to keep the balance without the frame of the bed supporting him anymore. He pulled out his arms to grab on the mattress and pulling himself back up in the bed, but completely underestimated his own weight. By the lords, he was heavy! This didn't work out at all. The slight pain in his hands from the scrape's didn't make it easier.

He tried a few more times, but had to give up halfway through each try. Heavily panting, he channeled his inner strength. He would manage to pull himself up back into bed. He grabbed the edge of the bed, hold on tight and started to pull himself up. He just needed to get his body high enough so that he could crawl back into the bed... and he was close making it, so close, when a knock on the door startled him and he slipped back on the floor.

“Ornstein, can I come in? I brought some dinner to share.”, the voice of the master called through the door.

“Dammit, master, I nearly made it.”, Ornstein grumbled.

“Nearly made what? Can I come in? Do you need help? I heard a thud.”

“I actually could use your help...”

“Alright, I am coming in now.” The master opened the door and was faced with the sight of Ornstein still lying on the floor.

“Did you...?”, he started.

“Yes, I fell out of bed. Could you just help me back in, please?”, Ornstein murmured, his gaze locked at a wall, aware that his face was going red. The master casually walked over to him and picked Ornstein up like he was weighing nothing to him. Ornstein embraced the short moment being hold by the master's arm before he gently was put back into bed.

“I should get Nevy.”, he said.

“Oh please no, she surely will get mad.”, Ornstein said.

“Probably, but she has to take a look at your legs. A fall like this surely jostled the injuries.”

“I fell on my front, see?”, Ornstein presented his hands with the scrapes.

“She should still take a look. Wait here, I will be back shortly.” The master rushed out of the room. Ornstein remembered why he had woken up in the first place and finally reached properly for the jar of water to clench his thirst. Then he picked up a hairband to tie his ponytail and left his gaze wandering through the room. Ornstein noticed the plate with food the master had put down on the table. It was only one. Apparently he had meant the part about sharing food literal. Ornstein could feel his face going red again and asked himself why, he had been doing far more intimate things with the master. Before he could think about this further, the door opened again and the master entered with the princess.

Like expected, the princess was mad at his slip-up and spent a good five minutes explaining to him why he had to be more careful and why she had confined him to bed rest in the first place. After the lesson was over, she checked his legs, was satisfied to see that the healing process wasn't interrupted and would go on like intended and left the room, leaving Ornstein alone with the master.

The master locked the door and joined Ornstein in bed with the plate of food. He handed a fork to him. “Let's eat.”, he said. “I have already cut everything into pieces, so you don't have to worry about this. It isn't so easy for you to cut food while lying in bed.”

“Thanks, master.”, Ornstein said and accepted the fork. It was some simple dish consisting of some undefined meat served with rice and a few vegetables. As someone who favoured meat over vegetables, Ornstein started with them, wanting to save the best part for last.

“You have to taste this, this tastes absolute incredible!”, the master said and stuffed his own fork in Ornstein's mouth. “That is the first time they served this meat. I didn't knew it would be too tasty.” The eyes of the master were glowing with delight.

Ornstein carefully chewed and swallowed the piece of meat. The master was right, it was tasty, but: “Please ask me the next time when you want me to try something.”

“Oh sorry, I was just so enraptured in the taste... Don't you want me to feed you?”

The master had such a sad look in his face, it made Ornstein actually feel guilty.

“I have never said that...”

“Then open your mouth.” And before Ornstein could say anything, the master had given him a second mouthful. Ornstein just put his own fork aside, apparently he wasn't allowed to even eat on his own now. It wasn't even that bad. He just enjoyed spending time with the master. After they had finished eating, Ornstein rested his head on the master's chest and the two of them talked until it was time for them to go to sleep.
___

Ornstein waited for Artorias to bring the requested items. He wanted to wash up. Him being in bed all the time also didn't help with feeling clean. After a short amount of waiting time, Artorias knocked on the door. After Ornstein confirmed that he could come in, Artorias opened the door and brought a filled washtub in. He also brought some soap and a washcloth.

“Do you need help washing up?”, Artorias asked and moved the washtub on the bed. Then he fetched a few towels and handed them to Ornstein.

“I can do this on my own. This time my arms aren't hurt.”, Ornstein said and started to undress. “Do you intend to stay here?”, he asked after he noticed that Artorias had took a seat and stared at him with his chin in his hands.

“Well, I be there to intervene if you are getting in trouble.”, Artorias said. “But when you are uncomfortable of me watching, even though we frequently bath together in the public bath, I turn around.” With this Artorias turned around on the chair and bobbed with it.

Ornstein sighed and picked up the washcloth to gently remove the dirt and sweat from his body. When he was finished and was wringing out the washcloth, he noticed that Artorias was suddenly standing behind him. Ornstein got this sense of thread and made sure to hold his breath, knowing what would come next.

“Ornstein, don't think you are getting away without washing your hair.”, Artorias said and practically dunked his head in the washtub. Ornstein could feel how Artorias pulled the rest of his hair in the water. After he noticed that the pressure left, Ornstein emerged from the washtub, catching his breath.

“A warning had been nice.”, he grumbled while Artorias attached soap into his hair. After he was done, Ornstein submerged his head in the washtub again and Artorias helped him getting the soap out of it. After they were done, Artorias handed him some towels.

Ornstein wrapped some towels around his hair and used another one to dry off his body. Artorias had fetched a new nightshirt and Ornstein changed into it. Artorias was putting the washtub away from the bed and Ornstein tensed when he saw what the wolf knight had picked up next.

“You can't run anywhere.”, Artorias grinned while Ornstein had to suffer during getting his mess of hair brushed.

“I am glad when I can do this all on my own again...”, Ornstein said.

“You nearly have made it, only three more days.”, Artorias assured him.
___

“How are you feeling? Does it still hurt?”

One week had finally passed and the princess had come to Ornstein along with a physician to take a look at his legs.

“They don't hurt anymore, princess.”, Ornstein answered.

The princess touched Ornstein's leg, but was satisfied to see that he didn't flinch or wince. “I think we can take off this splints now.”, she said to the physician. The physician nodded and got to work. After the splints and bandages were removed, Ornstein actually felt like a weight had been lifted from him.

“This looks all healed.”, the physician said. “Try getting up.”

She didn't need to say this twice to Ornstein, who would have liked to jump out of bed, but with his restricted movements the last week, he simply was able to get to the edge of the bed and putting both feet on the ground. It felt good to actually be able to do this. Ornstein smiled and got up only to tumble and nearly fall hadn't it been for the princess catching him.

“Careful. Your legs seem to be still a bit stiff.”, she said.

“I guess I am a bit rusty...”, Ornstein said. “After not being able to walk for a week.”

“You should be able to walk normally soon. For now, I suggest that you still get some help. Like crutches or the support of a friend.” The princess gently pushed Ornstein back to sitting on the edge of the bed.

“Needing help from a friend? I am right there!” Artorias had entered the room, he probably had heard their conversation from the outside.

“Actually, I wanted to get some crutches from the infirmary...”, Ornstein said.

“Oh, um...”, Artorias started. “But maybe I can help you get to the infirmary?”

“If you insist.”, Ornstein said, smiling and let Artorias help him get up.

“If you are still experiencing discomfort or pain, tell us immediately.”, the princess said and left the room.

“I am going to prepare some crutches.”, the physician said and followed the princess.

Ornstein was supported by Artorias and while they slowly made their way out of the door, Ornstein said: “I really look forward to get back to my jogging routine ”

Artorias looked at him like he couldn't believe what he just heard: “You got to be kidding me. At least try to not fall next time.”

Chapter Text

“Good morning, daddy.”

Manus slowly opened his eyes, still feeling the kiss his lover had pressed on his lips to wake him.

“Morning, kid.”, he said and stretched, trying to shake off the fatigue when he suddenly felt a sharp pain in his stomach. He winced and grunted slightly.

“Is something wrong?”, Artorias wanted to know.

“I am just... still a bit tired. Give me a minute.”, Manus said, slightly concerned about the pain, but today was one of the few days, where he and Artorias both were free from work and he wouldn't miss this for anything in the world.

“I have prepared some breakfast so that we can get some energy before we leave with taking Sif for a long walk in the park.”, Artorias said and left the bedside. “Just join me once you are ready.”

Manus decided to stay in bed for a while longer waiting for the pain to subdue. Artorias had looked forward to have a whole day to spend with his boyfriend for weeks now. His job as a policemen and Manus job as the head of a pharmacy company didn't make it easy for them to find much time to spend together. Artorias had been thrilled to know that their free days would match this week.

After around ten minutes, Manus felt secure enough to crawl out of bed, making his way into the kitchen. He sat down at the table where Artorias was browsing his phone, and just stared at the amounts of food he had made. “Jeez, kid, who shall eat all this?”, Manus asked. Furthermore, Manus didn't even had much of an appetite today.

“Well, we don't want to get hungry later.”, Artorias said, beaming. “I will get you a plate, just keep seated.”

Typical for Artorias. He would always make sure that everyone had it as comfortable as possible, even though they shared an apartment for quite some time now and Manus had absolutely no trouble with getting up and fetching a plate for himself. But he also knew, that a discussion would only upset his boyfriend and he especially didn't want to get of the topic of his age again. That was bound to happen sometimes with the huge age gap both of them had. After all, Manus had jokingly started to call Artorias kid cause he was old enough to be his father and Artorias had taken this as opportunity to start calling him daddy in return.

Artorias came back and set a steaming plate of scrambled eggs and bacon in front of Manus, snapping him out of his thought. Manus just stared at the food, not feeling hungry at all, but in the end picked up the fork and started to eat slowly. While he was chewing, he was watching Artorias eat. Like usual, his lover had taken a serving that would be enough for two people on his plate and it wouldn't surprise Manus if he would take seconds. With his appetite completely vanished after only a few forks, Manus focused to watch Artorias intensely instead, they rarely had a moment where they could sit like this,
just bathing in the other's presence.

While Manus was busy watching Artorias, he could feel something soft pressing against his leg. Sif, Artorias trained police dog, a german shepherd girl. He leaned down and quietly got her some pets, picking up a piece of bacon of his plate and feeding it to her without Artorias noticing. Sif would never take any food of the ground, but she quickly had learned that Manus would gladly share his food with her. The dog panted happily and laid down next to his feet.

Even though Manus hadn't eaten much, he started to feel some slight nausea rising. This wasn't good, maybe he started to come down with a stomach flu. “Kid, you are still busy eating anyway, I will take this time to use the bathroom.”, he said and stood up.

Artorias swallowed his current mouthful and said: “Hm, oh yeah, take your time.” He noticed the leftover food on Manus plate: “You sure you are feeling alright? You have barely eaten anything.”

“I am older than you, remember?”, Manus said and vanished behind the bathroom door.

A while later Artorias was putting Sif on a leash while Manus was now pretty sure that he just had a constipation and that had been the reason for his symptoms this morning. This wasn't big trouble, he could just take a laxative later if it didn't resolve itself. It was pretty normal for his age to get into some digestion trouble, nothing to be concerned about. He still would enjoy the day with his lover to the fullest.

While they were heading for the park, the both of them were talking about stuff that happened at work. Manus mostly let Artorias talk, his boyfriend made even regular police work like giving someone a ticket sounding like an exciting adventure, but mostly refrained to talk much about his work, mostly be cause his company was pulling off some really shady things and Artorias should be the last person to know that. Manus actually felt bad that he was lying to Artorias like this. It had started because he needed to support for his four daughters after their mother had died, but now he was too deep into it to just opt out.

“You are so quiet today, are you sure everything is fine?”, Artorias suddenly asked.

“I just enjoy listening to your stories, kid. This is far more exciting than my work, this is only boring management stuff. I rather listen to you instead of talking about me.”, Manus reassured Artorias, leading the subject back into the desired direction. Luckily, Artorias took the cue and continued talking about his work.

At the park, Artorias pulled out some of Sif's favourite toys and started to engage her in playful activity that would ensure that the dog would be exhausted and content after it was over. Manus sat down on a park bench and watched. He noticed that his stomach ache had returned and it seemed to have taken a turn for the worse. It wasn't exactly bad yet, but surely distracting. He laid a hand on his stomach, trying to massage the pain away, when Artorias came over to him.

“How about you bond a bit with Sif too?”, he asked and pulled Manus on his feet. Manus sighed. If he would tell Artorias that he would rather kept sitting because he had a stomach ache, his boyfriend probably would take them straight home. So he tried to pull himself together and took the frisbee that Artorias had offered him.

“Alright, let's see how fast this girl can run.”, he said and threw the frisbee with a graceful motion of his hand. Sif happily ran after it and flawlessly caught it midair. Artorias pressed the dog treats for Sif in Manus hand, Manus knew, that he was supposed to reward Sif for bringing back the toy. After Sif had brought back the disc like wanted, she clearly was in for another round, so Manus threw it again. This continued a few more times until Sif laid down, heavily panting, clearly exhausted from the activity.

“Mission accomplished.”, Artorias grinned. “We have played a lot with her. Let's sit down for a few minutes before heading back.” Manus was very grateful for this offer, cause the pain didn't manage to become better while he was performing the activities for Sif. Luckily, they had planned on watching a movie in the afternoon, so no further physical activities were requested. Manus cuddled against Artorias on the bench, while it wasn't exactly cold yet, it was a sunny autumn day and the air could be quite fresh. Manus just enjoyed the stillness of the moment, while briefly thinking about that a lot of people often would think that the both of them where father and son before realizing that they were in fact in a romantic relationship and just had a huge age gap going on. Manus had to smile a bit at the thought about Artorias really being his kid, maybe at first he had viewed him like this, but it had quickly turned into more intimate feelings. Also, Manus found that having four daughters were more than enough children to have.

“Let's head back to the apartment now and after we have gotten Sif into her bed, we can go and grab something to eat.”, Artorias said and stood up from the bench, making Manus almost fall who had used his far taller boyfriend as support. He managed to regain his balance and stood up as well.

“You are still hungry after that breakfast of yours? Unbelievable.”, he said.

“I know I eat a lot, but I am also very active and need my energy.”, Artorias grinned. Manus was half expecting that his boyfriend would fell into a jog, but he seemed to consider the exhausted Sif and his aged boyfriend and walked a reasonable pace instead. Manus was able to follow it without being worn down too much by his pain.

Artorias dropped off Sif at the apartment, while Manus was waiting for him in front of the house. When Artorias came out of the house, Manus tucked arms with him and asked: “So, where are we heading for lunch?”

“I have picked out a nice little café, I am sure you will like it. I know you prefer fancy restaurants, but come on, you visit them because of work all the time. Let's get back to the ground for a bit.”, Artorias answered.

“Actually, I think I prefer the café right now...”, Manus murmured. The more light food served into a café would be the right thing for his upset stomach. If he would even be able to stomach any food at all, his stomach ache still hadn't dwindled down. Manus made a mental note to take some medicine later, when they were home. He half regretted that he didn't had came back in and take some when Artorias dropped off Sif earlier.

They arrived at the café and Artorias picked a nice table near a large window, so that they could watch the people outside, an activity that Manus thoroughly enjoyed. While Artorias got his signature Latte Macchiato, Manus preferred to get some herbal tea. He spend a long time looking at the menu, but in the end settled for a light salad. “Are you sure that is enough?”, Artorias asked.

“I am not very hungry today, that is all.”, Manus answered, trying to ignore the growing pain in his stomach. While they were waiting for the food, Manus got a text from his daughter Nashandra, who was asking for a new dress whose price nearly made his stomach ache worse. With the help of Artorias he managed to get her into buying a cheaper dress and then their food already had arrived.

Artorias had chosen a double serving of the steak bowl, Manus still couldn't comprehend how he was able to eat that much after that rich breakfast. He decided to concentrate on his own food instead, despite his appetite pretty much being non existent. He still ate, although slowly and had to stop after half the plate was gone, cause his nausea returned. And this time it felt really bad.

“Please excuse me for a moment...”, Manus whispered and made a beeline for the bathroom. He only intended to calm down there, trying to get the nausea to go away, but it was so worse now, that the salad and his breakfast made it into the toilet bowl.

Manus wiped his mouth, breathing heavily. He surely wouldn't tell Artorias about this. The movie they had picked out to see would start in an hour and Artorias had looked forward to see it for such a long time now, it was the newest one from his favourite series. It was a bit too much dumb action for Manus taste, but Artorias excitement about it made up for it. He stayed a while longer at the bathroom, but when he was certain that his nausea was gone for now, he cleaned out his mouth and returned to Artorias at the table.

“There you are.”, his lover cried. “I was starting to get worried. I was about to go and look if something was wrong. Is something wrong?” Artorias eyed him intensely. “I mean, I am sure you haven't been that pale this morning.”

“Don't worry, I am fine, kid. You know that old people sometimes take a bit longer on the bowl, right?”, he grinned at Artorias.

“Manus, that is disgusting.”, Artorias said, but grinned back at him. They payed and got on their way to the movies.

Manus was more than glad when they had gotten their movie tickets and could sit down. After he had vomited, the pain in his stomach had gotten even worse. He didn't feel like doing anything now, so he just was letting Artorias talk, who once again told him about all the other movies in the series and what he was expecting from the newest title.

When it was finally time to enter the hall, Manus was searching for Artorias hand while his other was holding his stomach. His pain had gotten so bad now.. he definitely needed to take some medicine later. Manus felt like he was barely able to follow the plot of the movie, if you even could speak of it having one. He was sure that Artorias would want to talk about it later, but he got too distracted by the pain. Manus sighed a breath of relief when the credits rolled, he was so ready to go home and just lay down in bed now.

Like anticipated, on their way out, Artorias was starting to talk about the movie, his favourite part, what he didn't like, the expectations that had come true and the ones which hadn't, but when Artorias asked Manus for his opinion, he was at a loss. He had barely realized what had happened in it. And before he could say anything, his pain flared up so bad, that the next thing he knew was that he was surrounded by darkness.

When Manus came back to his senses, he was laying in a bed, Artorias in a chair at his side, his usual bright smile a frown of worry and anger.

“What happened?”, Manus asked, confused. “Is this a hospital?”

“Indeed, it is.”, Artorias said with a deep sigh.

“Since when have you been in pain? Why didn't you said anything? The doctors said that it was really close, you should have come to them a lot sooner.”, Artorias hissed. Manus winced at his voice.

“What?”, he just said, still confused. Was this about his stomach ache? He had trouble remembering what had happened after they had entered the movie hall.

“Manus, you had an appendicitis. You got emergency surgery and everything, it was apparently really close to get fatal.”, Artorias scolded his lover. “Why haven't you said anything? I had the assumption that something was wrong this whole time, but because you insisted that you are fine, I decided to trust you.”

“Sorry.”, Manus said. “I just didn't want to ruin our day.”

“I wouldn't have gotten mad when you had told me right away that you were feeling unwell, then we could have gotten you treated right away.”, Artorias said.

Manus felt very small, even smaller as usual with their clear size difference. “I am sorry.”, was the only thing he could think of to say once again.

Artorias got closer to him and took Manus hands in his own. “Just promise me one thing.”, he said. “If you ever feel unwell again, don't lie to me, regardless what we have planned. Your health is far more important than having a free day.”

Manus just stared in the grey eyes of his boyfriend, eyes that looked like he could drown in them if he stared any longer. Finally he gave in and had to look away.

“I am truly sorry.”, he said once again. “I just didn't want to see you unhappy. I promise to you that I won't hide it anymore when I am feeling sick.”

“See, that wasn't so hard, right?”, Artorias said, smiling and pulled Manus in a soft hug.

“Don't ever scare me like that again.”, he said and Manus could have sworn he had heard his boyfriend sobbing.

“I won't.”, Manus said, reciprocating the hug. He sighed. “But now I have quite a few people to inform that I will be out for a few weeks... Will you help me sort this out, kid?”

“Of course, daddy.”, Artorias said and his usual beam returned to his face.

Chapter Text

He had found true enlightenment.

When Oceiros had stumbled upon these books, describing an ancient magic based on crystals, he instantly knew he had found something great. He had moved these books in his garden, spending almost every waking hour devouring their content until he felt that even this knowledge wasn't enough anymore.

These books, all carried together by a dragon from an age long ago, weren't enough. He felt that he was so close to actually get it, to understand what it was about, but at the same vein it slipped through his fingers. That was when he found the ancient texts about the Path of the Dragon. So Oceiros decided to become one.

The transformation was a lot slower than he had expected though. It started out with some scales slowly growing in, a very itchy experience. And so it didn't take Gwynevere long to find out what he was up to.

And instead of helping him finding true enlightenment, she was horrified. She didn't understand at all. She didn't want to see him becoming a dragon, so she forcefully intervened and tried to reverse the transformation. And it was after one of this painful treatments, that Oceiros had been chained into his room, his body covered with bandages where the growing in scales had been ripped out.

Oceiros felt weak and was shivering, he only wanted her to understand. He was so close to find enlightenment, he could be such a better king, to help them all, maybe even ending the constant binding of the flame. Instead, he was chained into his room in the dungeon, forcefully stripped from the power he searched out. He wasn't even allowed to see his own children.

The door opened and Oceiros head perked up. It was too early for another treatment, but Gwynevere only sat down on his bed.

“Have you finally understood that what you are doing is wrong?”, she asked.

“Gwynevere, I am so close to find it. I know it. Why do you take it away from me?”, Oceiros hissed as an answer.

“Oceiros, please, I need you to understand.”, Gwynevere pleaded. “You are slipping away from my, from our grasps. Don't you think I have seen enough suffering to know when something is serious?”

Oceiros stayed silent, just staring at her. Then he slowly lifted his arm, intending to reach out to her, but it dropped back on the blankets, blood seeping through it. Gwynevere shot the arm a glance.

“Oh, the wounds started to bleed again. I will get some fresh bandages, just wait for me, my love.”

On her way to the needed supplies, Gwynevere's thoughts raced in her head. It was true, she had seen a lot of suffering already. Starting with the fall of Anor Londo and she had to admit, she had copped out from it. After her father had went to bind the flame and never returned, Gwynevere had ruled as the princess of sunlight for a while before taken the first marriage offer and left to marry a god of flame and rule with him over his realm. It still hurt her a bit that all of the knights of Gwyn had chosen to stay behind in Anor Londo, at least a few of the silver knights had followed, but they had been given new armour and names, fitting for the kingdom of flames they now lived in.

But this kingdom couldn't hold itself up. And once again Gwynevere witnessed a downfall. She never had received children from her husband, so leaving this place was an easy decision. Eventually she made her way back to what once had been her home country, to see that Gwyndolin had took over Anor Londo. Luckily for her, the kingdom of Lothric, that had been built on the ruins of Lordran, already had a king in search of a wife. And while her reasons may have been a bit selfish at first, the king turned out to be really resonating with her and the both of them fell into a pure and mutual love with each other.

So seeing him like this... it was destroying her. She realized that she had stand before the door for a while now, one hand on her stomach. She knew she was pregnant with their third child. She hadn't told anyone but the old Emma about this for now, Gwynevere felt like the high priestess was the only one she could trust about this in the current state of the kingdom. Everyone else was starting to fall out of her grasp, her husband trying to turn into a dragon, her sons were spending more and more time with the Pontiff Sulyvahn, a man she held a deep mistrust for. She really needed her husband to be there for her in this dire times.

She finally had opened the door and got the bandages she needed. On her way back she really wished her brother was here. Not Gwyndolin, they were at good terms and they were busy ruling over Anor Londo, which they apparently had rebuild from scratch after even the last knight of Gwyn had left. It was Gwynfor who she longed for. He had been so fascinated by dragons that he gave up everything to be with them. She didn't had a clue what she was doing, she was just trying to reverse Oceiros transformation by trying out different things based on her knowledge about dragons. But... maybe it was better that Gwynfor wasn't here, he may have actually encouraged Oceiros into completing the path of the dragon.

Gwynevere finally re-entered Oceiros' room. The king shifted his gaze to her, saying: “Gw.. Gwynevere, you were gone for so long.”

“I am sorry, I didn't want to make you worry.”, Gwynevere said and inspected the bandage that had bled through. She cringed by looking at it, the bandages were soaked in red and needed to get changed quickly. She silently got to work, removing the drenched bandage and taking a look at the wound the scales had left.

“You know, Osi.”, she said, wiping away the blood from the wound. “My father had a dragon as one of his closest consultants. He was called Seath. He betrayed his race. He did it because he lacked something they had.”

“What are you trying to say..?”, Oceiros asked.

“The 'knowledge' you talked about, the things that make you want to walk the path of the dragon. They sound very similar to Seath's research.” She sighed. “And Seath didn't gain anything from it. My brother told me that he had gone completely mad and had to be put out of his misery.”

She finished applying the bandages and the lowered her head, so that she could look into Oceiros eyes: “Please don't do this. The kingdom needs you. Our sons need you. I need you. We don't need a man that has got mad...” A tear formed in her eye.

“Oh, Gwynevere...”, Oceiros said. “I.. I am sorry, I didn't knew how you feel. What have I done? My.. our sons. Lorian, Lothric. Where are they? Can I see them?”

Gwynevere shook her head: “I am afraid I can't allow them to see you in this state by now. But maybe there is another thing I can do for you? Speak your wish.”

“Then.. let me just lay my head on your lap...” Gwynevere could hear the disappointment in his voice, but she knew it was too early for Oceiros to see his sons. He had completely neglected both of them during his “studies” and they had gotten close to that awful priest, Sulyvahn. She really hoped that he would snap out of it soon and help her winning their sons back and prevent the kingdom from being taken over.

Gwynevere slid to the site and made her lap available for Oceiros to lay his head in. As a goddess of bounty and fertility her body was quite matching to this title and she had a very comfortable lap to offer. Oceiros laid her head into it and she stroked his hair, having an eye on the bandages, hoping that no other wound would bleed through.

They stayed in comfortable silence for a while until Oceiros shifted more on her stomach. She did had an uncomplicated pregnancy so far, but this sudden weight made her feel slightly nauseous.

“Osi, please, don't shift your weight on my stomach...”, she whispered.

Oceiros raised his head, looking at her with worried eyes. “My love, is something wrong? Are you sick? Or hurt?”

There he was, bandaged from the treatment she had put him through, still weak and he was worrying about her. “I am not sick.”, she said. “And I am not hurt either... It is... something else...”

A small sigh escaped her lips. “I know I should have told you this, but... I wanted to stay quiet about it for now. There is barely anyone that knows yet. I am carrying another child.”

Oceiros' eyes first showed signs of confusion, then they lit up and he pulled himself up as much as the chains allowed him to give her a gently hug.

“Oh, my love, hearing this makes me so happy.”, he said. “This time... this time we won't do anything wrong. We will raise them with all the love and care we can give.”

“And we will surely get Lothric and Lorian back from this accursed priest.”, Gwynevere said, returning the hug. “But you know... doing this would be so much easier when you are not a dragon.” She released him and he sank bed onto the bed. “So please, think about it. For me, for our sons, for our unborn child.”

Oceiros eyes locked to hers. “I want to, I really want to. But, enlightenment. I am so close to it. I can't. Please don't take this away from me.”

Gwynevere just stared at him with a sad look. She had been so close. So close to snap it out of him. But at least, it had been some progress.

“I think you should try and get some sleep now, my dear.”, she said. “I will stay with you until you have calmed down.”

Oceiros laid his head back down in her lap again, carefully avoiding to upset her stomach. Gwynevere stroked his hair until she could hear the regular breathing of him having fallen asleep. She sighed, then slowly stood up, getting a blanket for her husband and headed for the door.

At least she had gathered enough strength to face another day defending her kingdom from the corruption within.

Chapter Text

Ornstein hadn't been able to shake this bad feeling away. After Artorias had left for his mission in Oolacile, he felt like something was wrong, very wrong. Ciaran must have felt it too, cause the woman had disappeared one night only leaving a note that she would have an eye on Artorias. But Ornstein still couldn't find any rest, so he abandoned his post, his duties and his silver knights to follow Artorias to Oolacile, even though he knew it would get him into great trouble.

And there he was now, standing in an arena, hardly able to believe his own eyes.

“Artorias?”, he asked, unsure if the raging figure in front of him really was his friend. “It is you, right? My eyes aren't doing tricks on me, correct?”

Instead of answering, Artorias howled and opened with a jumping attack. Ornstein managed to evade it at the last moment, a slight shock in him that Artorias would attack him. He clutched his spear in both hands, taking in a defensive stance.

“Artorias, don't you recognize me? It's me, Ornstein.”, he said with a pleading tone in his voice. As a response, Artorias swung his sword in his signature spinning move. Ornstein managed to avoid this attack too, he knew how deadly it could be. Artorias had never used it in a duel against him, knowing how devastating it would be if one day Ornstein wouldn't be able to evade it. His spear still tightly clutching, it felt like his knuckles were already going white beneath his gauntlets, Ornstein took a few steps backwards, as the wolf knight had to straighten up because of the attack's momentum.

Artorias took a few steps forward or more, he limped forward. Still walking backwards, Ornstein could see in what a bad state he was. He wasn't even holding his sword in the left hand, the whole arm dangled uselessly downwards, he had the sword in his right hand instead and didn't even had his shield with him. And where in the world was Sif? Ornstein could see the black sludge coming from him. Corrupted, he thought, taken by the abyss.

His armour clanked as Ornstein's back hit the arena wall. Artorias took this as opportunity to start another attack, Ornstein recognized the stance as the sword thrust. He didn't had any trouble to evade it, the distinct shape of the arena hindered that he could get cornered. Artorias immediately followed with another attack and this time Ornstein raised his spear to parry the swing.

If Artorias really had been taken by the abyss, he would have no choice. Ornstein felt a lump forming in his throat at the thought. He swallowed, it was a hot and dry feel, while the thoughts crossed his mind. Then I need to kill him.

He shivered at the thought. For now, he hadn't fought back, hadn't tried to hurt Artorias, simply evaded and parried his attacks. No, he couldn't do it. Artorias was his comrade, his friend, there had to be another way. He needed to snap him out of this rage. With a determined look at his face, Ornstein stepped back to evade another attack and swung his spear to parry the next blow of the sword.

“Artorias, you need to snap out of it.”, he said, pressing his spear against the sword, on which Artorias had laid a lot of force. Ornstein knew, if Artorias would have used his left hand, he wouldn't had any trouble to shove his spear aside and probably severe his arm in the process. “This is not who you are. You are Artorias, one of the four knights of Gwyn, one of Anor Londo's heroes who fought in the dragon war. You have a wolf companion named Sif.” Ornstein could feel that he would lose the battle of force, Artorias was close to push his weapon aside. He decided to pull back himself. The sudden absence of force made Artorias' sword collide heavily with the ground.

“Remember, who you are.”, Ornstein screamed over the noise. “Where is the Artorias that loved to bake cookies and would surprise us with them when we least expected it?”

The wolf knight only answered with another howl and started an attack that consisted of several successive flips. Absolute deadly if you got caught in it, Ornstein had to be on his toes to evade all three of them, but when Artorias got up after the finished attack, he had another chance.

“Artorias, please, don't you hear me?”, he said, his voice had a pleading tone in it. “You would always go feed the stray cats and dogs in Anor Londo, remember?”

Artorias turned his head and stared directly at Ornstein. Ornstein felt a chill running down his spine, the face of the wolf knight couldn't even been made out anymore.. it just looked like a black abyss.

“You were knitting all of us scarfs for the winter, remember?”, Ornstein said, feeling tears welling up in his eyes. There was no response.

“Fine.”, Ornstein said, sniffling a bit. “If I have to beat you out of this, so shall it be.” He readied his spear and started an attack, expecting Artorias to evade it, but the wolf knight just stayed where he was and Ornstein's spear connected with armour and flesh. He could make out blood that seeped from the fresh injury and Ornstein pulled his spear back immediately.

“Artorias, I am so sorry, I didn't want to... I was hoping...” What exactly? That Artorias would snap out of it by him fighting back? Staring at the bloodied blade of his spear, Ornstein didn't notice the sword coming down and a sharp pain in his left arm told him, that he hadn't evaded the blow in time. He could feel blood pouring out of the wound, the arm feeling limp, probably broken from the sheer force. “At least we are even now.”, Ornstein murmured and took his spear in his right hand alone.

Ornstein knew by heart how Artorias fought and the same should be true for Artorias and while the wolf knight used all his familiar attacks, he left himself wide open for Ornstein's own. Ornstein winced every time a blow connected with the wolf knight. After a while Artorias staggered back. “Artorias, are you back?”, Ornstein asked. “Have I finally beat some sense into you...?”

No answer. Instead, the darkness of the Abyss surrounded Artorias while he howled, Ornstein wasn't sure if it was in pain or in rage. Both probably.

“I know you are still in there somewhere.”, Ornstein screamed. “Artorias, please fight. Where is your unbreakable will of still you are so famous for?”

The black fog cleared around Artorias. Ornstein didn't knew if it was an illusion, but it looked like Artorias would glow with darkness. He took a few step backwards as the wolf knight limped forwards, adjusting his sword.

“It is of no use, right?”, Ornstein said, the tears which were welling up in his eyes starting to fall. “You have no clue who you are anymore, right?” He shivered. He didn't want to do this. He didn't want to kill his friend. But I have too, were all he could think about.

Artorias readied a jump attack. This would be his chance. Ornstein had to do it now or he would never be able to scrape together the will for this atrocious act. He didn't move, he didn't try to avoid, instead shortly before Artorias attack connected with him, he jerked his spear up and pierced it through the chest of the wolf knight, having activated the special lightning powers within it. A thing he normally wouldn't do in any of their duels. He heard Artorias scream, a sound that would haunt him in his nightmares.

Blood and goo seeped out from Artorias, he could hear him wheeze. Ornstein yanked the spear out of the wound, which made more blood splatter, from Artorias chest and mouth. The wolf knight collapsed to the ground.

“Oh, Artorias, I am so sorry.”, Ornstein whispered, kneeling down beside his friend. “I wish there would have been another way. Why didn't you hear me?”

He could hardly believe it when he heard the faint whisper of Artorias voice. “Ornstein?”, he said.

“I am here, don't talk. It isn't too late. Maybe we can still fix you up!”, Ornstein frantically started to rummage around his belongings, he must have a divine blessing somewhere.

“Ornstein, it's too late.” A cough and a wheeze. “I am already consumed... by the dark.. the abyss.” Another cough, Ornstein could feel how a weak hand hold out to his own. “I am so sorry, please, all of you, forgive me. For I have availed nothing.”

Ornstein shivered, feeling the tears streaming out of his eyes, clutching the hand of his friend with his own.

“Thank you... that at least... I can die.. as myself... with a friend at my side.” The hand of Artorias got limp. Ornstein shivered, the salty taste of tears on his lips, he felt like screaming, but instead, he just collapsed on the ground, feeling empty, as if some void had swallowed his heart.

He could feel a hand on his shoulder and raised his head a little, enough to make out Ciaran's mask.

“Ciaran... what have I done?”, he asked.

“What you had to.”

Chapter Text

To say that Ornstein had experienced a bad day felt like an understatement.

First, the other silver knights had made fun of him which he coincidentally had overheard. Feeling to shy and anxious to actually do something about this, he had decided to hide for the rest of the evening, but he couldn't find peace and barely slept, which made him fail horribly in silver knight training the next day, making the master disappointed in him and sending him away to cool down.

What made matters worse, the master actually came after him and it seemed like someone had spilled that he didn't get along well with the other silver knights. Ornstein quickly had lied to the master that it just had been a misunderstanding, under no circumstances did he want to be send away or have the other silver knights ordered around to get along with him, they were thinking that he was privileged enough already. The master had left but didn't looked completely convinced and Ornstein, feeling bad about his failure in training, had took his weapon and trained on his own for the rest of the day, even after a heavy rain had started to fall.

So he could have seen it coming that he would awake with a fever, a stuffed nose and a sore throat. He had went to the infirmary at once and tried to get some medicine to get through the day, but with his voice completely gone, he couldn't tell the physician what he wanted and was ultimately send away to cure his cold out the old fashioned way. And now he had taken refuge at the sick room of the silver knight quarters, having locked the door and nestled into the bed, feeling like a piece of shit (both physically and emotionally).

He just wanted his peace and quiet until he would be healthy again, so his heart skipped a beat when someone knocked on his door, getting him into a coughing fit.

“You in there? Are you feeling alright? Probably not.”, a dark and gentle voice sounded through it. Damnit, Ornstein knew he had heard this voice before, but he couldn't remember where and with the silver knights being in armour all day, it was hard to remember their names.

“I just wanted to ask if you need anything. Your cough doesn't sound so good.”, the voice outside the door said.

Ornstein finally had finished coughing and wanted to raise his own voice to answer that he didn't need anything, but his from the sickness damaged vocal chords still didn't to their work. He quickly searched for a piece of paper he had taken with him into the room, scribbling a note on it and slipping it through the door. Only after he had slipped the note, he remembered his messy handwriting. That person outside probably couldn't read it. Oh well, the thing on the note was literally “Can't talk right now, voice gone. I don't need anything. Please just let me be.” They would probably go away soon. He just had to be patient.

He heard the crumbling of paper in front of the door and a few moments of silence, probably the person trying to read his writing. Then the voice sounded again: “I am sorry about your voice, but are you sure you can take care of yourself? You sound really sick and I don't mind getting you some food or tea. I mean, I come by here anyway everyday and we silver knights should stick together.”

Ornstein just sat ins his bed, baffled. That knight outside the door had been able to read his handwriting. And it didn't even take him long. He ripped off another piece of paper and wrote: “Wait, you could read my handwriting?”

It didn't take the knight long to answer: “Why shouldn't I? It is quite of unique, I guess, but has a certain beauty to it. Looks kinda like lightning has struck paper.”

Ornstein was torn after this words. On the one hand, he just wanted to have his peace and didn't feel like talking to anyone, on the other hand it was kinda the first nice conversation he had with one of the silver knights. He scribbled another note: “You are the first person ever who complimented my handwriting. Sorry that I have been so rude. And you are right, I could need some help, at least with getting some food. Thanks in advance.”

He slipped the note through the door and waited sitting up in bed if the knight would reply to it.

“Oh, don't worry.”, they said. “I can get grumpy when sick too. May I ask your name?”

Ornstein froze at this question. He didn't want to say his name, not yet. Not after everyone had given him shit for being the master's student and let him feel that he had only been accepted to the silver knights because he was privileged. He wrote: “I am sorry, but I want to stay anonymous for now.”

“Well, I can't force you, but then it is only fair when I don't say my own name too.”, the knight said. “But may I ask if you are a male or a female? I don't want to say anything inappropriate.”

“Are you treating males and females differently or why do you want to know that?”, Ornstein wrote. “I am a male.” He slipped the note through the door and this time it took a while till the answer came.

“Well, my mother taught me that there are certain things I shouldn't say in front of a girl and it still sticks with me.”, they said. “Anyway, it was nice to meet you. I am a male too, so we are kinda brothers in arms. I will come back later and ask if you need anything then.”

Ornstein heard the sounds of metal footsteps which soon faded away and laid back in the bed, closing his eyes. He was in desperate need of some sleep now, but it felt nice to have at least one person who was concerned about him.

Ornstein awoke much much later by a knock on the door. While he still struggled to regain his consciousness, he heard the sound of a paper slipping through the door. After a good while, he finally manage to sit up and grabbed the paper, unfolding it to be greeted with the most pristine, beautiful handwriting he had ever laid his eyes on:

“I have brought you some tea, but I guess you are asleep. I'll leave it in front of the door. I hope it hasn't cooled down once you wake up. I hope it helps with your sore throat.”

A tiny smile flashed over Ornstein's face. He got up, put his feet ins some slippers and staggered to the door, unlocking it to find a can of tea and a tea cup. He got both items inside the room, put them on the nightstand and locked the door again. He nestled himself into the blankets again and poured a cup of tea. Luckily he had awoken early enough that it was still steaming hot. Ornstein took a first sip and was met with a wonderful warmth, that soothed his aching throat and made him feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

He was at his third cup of tea when he heard another knock on the door.

“Are you awake?”, the silver knight asked. “I hope the tea hasn't cooled down too much.”

Ornstein put the tea cup on the nightstand and quickly scribbled a note: “No, don't worry, I woke up when you knocked on the door but wasn't able to get up at once, the fever, you know... Thank you very much for the tea, it helps a lot.”

After he slipped the note under the door, he sipped on the tea again, waiting for an answer while he heard te rustling of paper.

“That is a relief to hear.”, the knight said. “You mentioned you have a fever... are you warm enough? Do you maybe want another blanket?”

Ornstein stared at the thick blanket he was nestled in and his long red curls that framed the upper part of his body. Slightly smiling, he wrote another note: “Don't worry, I am not cold. I have a thick blanket and my hair keeps me warm.”

“You have long hair?”, the knight outside the door asked, a thud sounded and Ornstein assumed that he had sat down.

“Yes, they are going down right to my rear.”, he wrote.

“Isn't it a hassle for you to get it in the armour?”, the knight asked.

Ornstein didn't wrote his answer right away. A memory flashed his mind, a memory of him struggling to get his hair in the armour on one of the first days in the cathedral and getting terribly lost when he realized that all the other knights had already left and he couldn't find the way to the training grounds anymore. Finally, he scribbled his answer: “Yes, it is, but I always had such long hair, as long as I can think and the thought of cutting it kinda.. feels wrong. So I rather deal with having to stuff it in the armour.”

“Oh well, as long as you are happy with it.”, the knight outside the door said. Then he fell silent for quite some time and Ornstein thought, he probably had left, when his voice sounded again: “Say, may I ask what your reason is for locking yourself in and wanting to stay anonymous?”

Ornstein was a bit torn when he heard his question. But a part of him had the feeling he could trust this guy with the gentle voice and the beautiful handwriting, so he wrote: “To be honest, I have a bit of trouble talking to the other silver knights. I have the feeling they don't like me very much and I don't know how to approach them.”

“Oh, that is your problem? You fear that the others are making fun of you.” It was a statement, not a question. Ornstein felt a knot in his throat and swallowed which he regretted cause it hurt.

“I guess some of them can be a bit of mean.”, the voice said. “Some of them just have to begrudge others to feel better about themselves. Pretty pathetic, when you ask me. We all could be such a greater force in battle if we would get along with each other.” The voice chuckled.

“So, how do you approach people like this?”, Ornstein wrote.

Ornstein waited tensely for the answer when he heard the familiar rustle of paper and he swore, he could hear how the face of the knight must have split into a grin. “Oh, that is easy. I treat them with the utmost care and respect, always making them feel that I am their comrade and I am there for them whenever they need someone to talk about. I swear, I have never heard any of the silver knights heard saying something bad about me. It is just not worth to go down on their level. Luckily, there are quite a lot of them who transpire to be great comrades, in battle and in civil.”

Ornstein laid back down in bed and thought about the words of the mysterious knight. Suddenly, he remembered where he had the voice again. One day when he had hidden in his bed, a silver knight had come to him and asked if he wanted to talk about it, but he had just told him to “Go away.” and the knight had just left with another word. That must have been him. Ornstein felt abruptly very bad about this, even though the knight outside the door couldn't even know that it had been him.

Instead he wrote: “I owe you an apology.”

“For what?”, the knight outside the door asked with a hint of confusion in his voice. “You have done nothing wrong. Anyway, I have to leave now, but I will be sure to be back later.”

This continued the next few days. The knight brought him food and Ornstein noticed that every time he took into consideration that he was sick with a sore throat and brought food that would be easy to swallow for him. He would take care of Ornstein's laundry and also bring the washed night shirts back to him. He also brought tea regularly and would sometimes sit outside the door, talking to him, always patiently waiting for Ornstein to have scribbled what he wanted to say on paper. One day during this conversations, Ornstein wrote something that had been on his mind the last three days since this started.

“How are you able to feel so happy and content with yourself? It feels like you don't have a damn worry in the world.”

A humming sound came from the knight after he had rustled the paper: “Hmmm.. I think there is much that we can worry about. We are going to fight a war soon.”

“So how can you stay so calm?”, Ornstein wrote.

“It is simple. Why should I worry about things I can't change anyway?” The knight laughed. “If we are starting to get doubts, we shouldn't have applied as silver knights in the first place. And I don't think we have to worry about a thing as long as we continue our training everyday. I am sure everything will turn out fine.”

How could this knight have that much confidence? Ornstein couldn't really get his head around it. Sure, he had applied as a silver knight cause he felt he had a certain talent for fighting, but the nearer the day came for them actually move out, the more nervous he got. He lost himself brooding in this thoughts, so that the knight eventually said his goodbyes and left.

The next day the master turned up in the silver knight's quarters, knocking on the door, asking if he felt better. Ornstein still couldn't talk and still felt very self-conscious about everything, so he wrote a note, trying to get it as pristine as possible for himself, explaining that he was feeling better, but still had a fever and would prefer to talk when he wasn't sick anymore.

The master left after reading the note (which took a while), but Ornstein still had his last words in his ears: “I was just worried about you.”

Oh no, he made the master feel unappreciated. Ornstein rolled around in his beds, occasionally coughing, alone with this thoughts. He had known the master a few years now, but lately he had noticed something... how much he thought about him even when they weren't together. He barely could await their private training sessions with each other, his eyes were always on the table of the gods during eating, he felt a pang of jealousy whenever the master talked to someone that wasn't him and he just wished that he would take himself in this strong arms of him and embrace of him. When had that feelings started to happen?But that wasn't right, that couldn't be right. The master would marry a princess fitting for him one day, he surely would never have feelings for a tiny knight like him. He was ripped out of his thoughts by the usual knock on the door and the question if he needed anything.

Ornstein wrote: “I don't need anything just now but someone who could probably listen to me. Are you alone here right now?”

“Yes, at this time nobody is here. Training is over and we have free time now, most of the other knights went into the city or explore the cathedral, there is nobody here but you and me.”

“I think I have fallen in love.”, Ornstein wrote. “But I don't think they know and see me the way I see them.”

There was a bit of silence before the knight answered: “To be honest, I am not too great with love things. I mean, I am sure I have fallen in love before, but it took a reeeaaally long time. Like, most people just say they see someone and start to like them, it was different for me.” A tiny pause. “But I will try to my best to help you. Why do you think they don't like you the same way?”

Ornstein started to write: “Because...”, he stopped, contemplating the next few words. “Because they are of much higher rank than I am. It just can't happen.”

The rustle of paper and a few minutes of silence: “So you already want to give up because a hurdle is in the way? Maybe they like you the same way, how should you know this when you never asked?”

“But... I have completely failed. They probably have lost all hope in me. I have done soo many things wrong and even now I just lay down there, sick and barely able to move. I am a failure as a knight.”, he wrote, shivering a bit, a tear stained the paper. He apparently was taking it worse than he thought.

“Aw, come on. Don't put yourself down like this.”, the knight said. “Everyone of us is having a bad day once in a while or gets sick. I am sure they don't take it ill on you. Maybe you should just talk to them when your voice is back.” It really surprised Ornstein that the knight had been able to read this note, that had been even more messy than usual.

“I don't know. I am a bit afraid. I think for now I just want to watch him from afar.”, Ornstein wrote. Only after he slipped the paper through the door he noticed his slip-up with the pronouns, but the knight outside the door didn't said anything more about the matter, getting the conversation back into a more casual subject.

After a week had passed, Ornstein's fever finally had vanished, he didn't need to cough all the time anymore and his voice was back. He properly dressed himself, put his hair into his usual ponytail and waited. As soon as the knock on the door and the question if he needed anything came, he unlocked the door and stepped out of the room.

“Oh, are you healthy again?”, the knight asked.

The first thing Ornstein noticed that he was huge, that guy must have been over two meters tall. That still was nothing compared to the gods, but for Ornstein with his mere 1,75 m it was a lot. The knight didn't had his helmet on and Ornstein could look into a tanned face with a warm smile, framed by black messy hair, grey eyes and a horizontal scar just at the brim of the nose. He cleared his throat, to make sure that his voice wouldn't fail him and said: “Thank you that you were looking after me this week. You have turned out to be a real friend and I feel bad cause I didn't want to give my name to you right away. But I want to do this now.”

He extended a hand: “I am Ornstein.”

The other knight took the hand and shook it formly: “The name's Artorias.”

Chapter Text

Smough had just finished grocery shopping and was on his way home. On foot, he wasn't exactly the best driver and his massive size made it difficult for him to find a fitting car anyway. Carrying the bags wasn't even a challenge for him anyway, he was used to carry far heavier things every day at his work as a butcher.

Smough had decided to take a route which would lead him through the side roads, it wasn't as crowded there and no one would stare at him because he was so gigantic. He just crossed a side road, in which he saw a flash of red and immediately stopped and turned back to take a second look.

In fact, that was his boyfriend, Ornstein, he had seen there. He was crouched down, a weapon in hand. He still had his police uniform on, so that implied that he was still on duty. Smough usually wouldn't disturb his boyfriend in such a situation, but he also saw the blood dripping on the ground. Smough dropped both of the grocery bags and was at his boyfriend's side in a few large steps.

“Kitten, you are bleeding!”, he shouted.

Ornstein winced at his voice. “Smough, what are you doing here?”, he whispered. “You shouldn't be here. It is dangerous. And keep your voice down, I am really close to find that gang's hideout.”

“You are still thinking about work? You are bleeding, Ornstein. I need to get you to a hospital.”, Smough said.

“Not now.”, Ornstein hissed. “Just go home, Smough. I know what I am doing. I am having this situation under control.”

“You should at least consider getting some first aid for that wound.”, Smough snapped, slowly growing impatient about his boyfriend's stubbornness. He always would put his work over his own health and wellbeing. “Let me see that wound.”, Smough demanded.

“Smough, please.”, Ornstein said, still in a whisper. “You are ruining everything. Just go home.” But Smough had already grabbed Ornstein's left arm, the source of the bleeding and carefully removed the ragged cloth covering the wound. What he saw was a clear gunshot wound which still bled profusely. Smough gasped.

“Do you really think I will leave you here after seeing this?”, he said with a raised voice while ripping off a streak from his shirt to press on the wound. Ornstein hissed and winced from the pain.

“Smough, go away already!”, Ornstein shouted. “I am really close to find that hideout, you are about to ruin weeks of work!”

A noise and a voice was heard around the corner: “Shit, the cops are here. Run!”

Ornstein gasped as he heard that, shot up and ran around the corner. Smough followed him, only to see a person vanish behind a corner.

“Shit, no..”, Ornstein said, a hand pressed on his wound. He turned to Smough, anger glaring in his eyes. “This is your fault!”, he shouted.

“My fault for wanting to help you?”, Smough said, he didn't want to believe what he heard. “What would you have done if you had found their hideout? Arrest them while being hurt and bleeding?”

“You don't understand!”, Ornstein talked back. “This case was almost solved! Now the work of several weeks has been for nothing. They are alarmed and will change places. We are starting from zero!”

Smough was about to raise his voice for an answer when he saw Ornstein tumble and fall. He quickly caught his passed out boyfriend in his large arms.

“At least I can bring you to the hospital now.”, he said and scooped the cop up.
___

When Ornstein awoke, he was laying in a bed. He blinked a few times until his eyes had adjusted to the light, feeling a bit confused. Last thing he remember was having a fight with Smough out on the streets.

“Are you awake, kitten?”, came a soft voice from the side of his bed. Ornstein turned his head to see the face of his boyfriend staring at him with a worried expression. “How are you feeling?”

Ornstein felt a bit torn. He vividly remembered that Smough had ruined the case he was working on, but seeing him sitting there with this expression, it felt like he couldn't be mad at him anymore. His boyfriend had only been worried about him.

Ornstein slowly tried to pull himself up but was forced back into a lying position by Smough's big hand.

“You should stay down for a while longer, kitten.”, he said softly. “You just had surgery. It surely still hurts?”

Oh, that explained why he was connected to an IV. He must have been brought to a hospital. Ornstein felt carefully for the wound and managed to notice that it was wrapped into a thick bandage. It still hurt quite badly though. He opened his mouth to answer Smough's question, but only managed to groan, he was more worn out than he thought.

“Take your time.”, Smough said. “After all, you are hurt. I am just glad I could get you to the hospital. I just wished that you wouldn't had need to pass out for it.”

Ornstein sighed. “You know, at first I wanted to be mad at you.”, he murmured, his gaze averted to the side. “But I know you were just worried about me. And you are right, how should I have fought a whole gang on my own while being injured?”

Smough came closer to the bed and stroked Ornstein's long hair, that had been untied from its usual ponytail. “Sometimes you are standing yourself in the way.”, he said. “You should have asked for backup, for example. Why did you even try to solve this case on your own?”

“I don't know.”, Ornstein said. “I don't even know why I wanted to do it my own. It is not like I have anything to prove. I shouldn't have blamed you at all, Smough, I am sorry, this was all my own fault.”

“At least you learned something from it.”, Smough said.

“Smough?”, Ornstein asked. “Have you carried me the whole way to the hospital? It felt like you picked me up earlier...”

Smough grinned at him. “While I had been easily able to do this, no, I called an ambulance. You were bleeding too much for me to feel comfortable to carry you through half the town.”, he answered.

“Kinda feels like a bummer.”, Ornstein said.

“I still can carry you through town once you are discharged.”, Smough said with a smile.

“That would be far too embarrassing.”, Ornstein mumbled with a flustered face.

“But I can carry you to the cab at least.”, Smough said. “Hm, I should call a doctor now. They wanted to see you once you woke up. Are you fine with me leaving you alone for a bit?”

“Hm, sure.”, Ornstein said and watched the large frame of his boyfriend disappear from his sight, once again feeling grateful that he would be there for him whenever he managed to stumble over his own feet.

Chapter Text

“What?” Gwynfor had been lost in his thoughts and didn't even notice that his father had talked to him.

“I was saying that this had been a successful dragon hunt, right, son?”, the lord said, scowling at his firstborn.

“Oh, I am sorry I haven't heard you at first, father.”, Gwynfor said. “But I don't know if I want to call it successful...”

“What are you talking about? That dragon is no more. Of course we have been successful. Once again.”, Gwyn said with a satisfied look at this face. Too satisfied for Gwynfor's taste.

“Father, that dragon hasn't even done something bad.”, he said. “It hadn't burned any fields, there weren't any signs of it having abducted villagers and it didn't want to get paid in treasures.”

“Gwynfor, you have seen enough dragons to know they can't be trusted. It could have started to act like this any minute. We simply got rid of it before it could act.”, Gwyn scolded his firstborn.

“Father, it feels like we killed it just because it was there, was a dragon and had the possibility to start torturing that villagers.”, Gwynfor said. “How is that fair?”

The expression of the lord of sunlight darkened: “Gwynfor, I don't think you understand...”

Gwynfor had enough. “No, it is you who don't understand.”, he shouted and rushed away from the scene, from his father, he just wanted to be alone. He only stopped when he arrived at his rooms, where a pain in his leg reminded him, that he had gotten a cut there earlier in the fight.

He sighed. He really didn't feel like taking care of this now. The wound wasn't even that bad, it was barely bleeding anymore and would surely close on its own. Gwynfor undressed himself and laid down into back, exhausted from the fight, exhausted from his thoughts, he just wanted to drift away into sleep.

When Gwynfor awoke later in the night in need to use the bathroom, he felt pretty hot. Hopefully he wouldn't come down with a sickness. His leg wound was also hurting more than earlier, but he didn't paid much attention to it. Surely, the next morning he would feel a lot better. He just needed the sleep.

Gwynfor awoke the next morning or what he thought was the next morning and felt like burning up. He felt hot, so awfully hot. And the wound on his leg, that little scratch from yesterday, it did hurt like crazy. He tried to pull himself up, but it felt like some hands pushed him back into a lying position. He could hear someone murmur something, but was barely able to make it out. He tried to lock his eyes with the person that was there, but his sight was so fuzzy... all he could see was a frame... a frame with long hair. The frame had just laid something on his forehead, which felt cool and pleasant, easing the burning a tiny bit.

“...Nevy?”, Gwynfor murmured. That probably was his sister. It had to be. Who else did he know who had long hair and would take care of their sick big brother? He noticed that the frame in front of him had frozen in place for a tiny bit, damn, why was his sight so blurry? How had he managed to get so sick? He rarely ever got sick.

Oh no... he had an assumption. “The wound.”, he said. “It must be...”, he panted, bringing the words out felt exhausting. “...infected.”, he finished.

“Where?”, Nevy asked. Strange, the last time Gwynfor had heard his sister talk, her voice hadn't been that deep.

“Leg.”, Gwynfor brought out. The pain felt excruciating now. Damn, that just had been a tiny wound. In the back of his mind Gwynfor knew that he had forgotten to clean the wound out, that there was nobody to blame but himself.

He could feel how the blankets over him got lifted and Nevy carefully removed the bandages off his injured legs. He heard a gasp and then she shot up and said: “I'll be right back.”

“Wait, Nevy, don't leave me.”, Gwynfor whispered when he saw her leave, ponytail swinging. ...Did she change her hairdo? Or maybe Gwynfor was just seeing things because of the fever. At least he was able to hear her, that felt incredibly comforting. If not for his condition, Gwynfor almost had laughed out aloud. How could the god of war be reduced to such a picture of misery just because of a tiny wound?

The door flung up and Nevy returned to his side. The blankets lifted again and he could hear her say: “This will hurt quite a bit.” And it did hurt like hell when she finally managed to clean out the wound, Gwynfor couldn't see what she used for it, but from the smell it seemed to be something alcoholic. He was used to pain, he didn't scream, that would be unworthy of a god of war, but it still hurt a lot and he gasped and panted in pain.

“I am ready.”, Nevy said and Gwynfor could feel that she had applied some fresh clean bandages to the wound. “It is already festering so we have to change the bandages every two hours. Maybe you should try and sleep in the meantime?”

“Will you stay by my side?”, Gwynfor asked.

“Of course, Master.” He heard Nevy say. It should have occurred to him as a strange thing, that Nevy wouldn't call him by his name, but he was simply too exhausted to think about this.

Gwynfor didn't knew how many hours passed in which he was hazy from the fever. Sometimes he could feel that the cloth of his forehead was changed, sometimes he could feel the bandages changing and sometimes he got poured some water. And he also felt Nevy taking his hand in comfort when he reached out for it, waiting for him to calm down again.

It felt like an eternity, but one time when Gwynfor woke up and opened his eyes again, he didn't feel that fuzzy anymore. He blinked a few times and then remembered what happened, that he had been sick, that Nevy had taken care of him. Was she still there? He turned his head to the side and saw someone sitting there, but it wasn't Nevy. It was Ornstein.

“Are you awake, Master? How are you feeling?”, his first knight asked.

Gwynfor was bewildered: “Ornstein... has it been you the whole time?”

“Yes... but you seemed to think that I was your sister...”, Ornstein said. “I felt that it was better to not clarify the misunderstanding, you were really sick...” The knight wriggled around on his chair, a sign that he was nervous.

“Now that I think about it...”, Gwynfor said. “How could I have even mistook you for Nevy? The voice, the ponytail, Nevy never calls meMmaster...” He started to chuckle. “It feels insane, really.”

“I guess you are feeling better, Master.”, Ornstein said. The knight was wearing his armour but without the helmet, so Gwynfor could see a tiny smile on his face. He looked so cute with this smile. It pained Gwynfor that his feelings for his knight probably would never be reciprocated. But still... Ornstein had sat at his bed this whole time, taking care of him. Did he only do this because he was the knight of the prince or did it mean that he had feelings for him too?

“Allow me to ask, Master.”, Ornstein said. “How did you manage to get an infected wound? It... uh... felt like a very unlikely thing for you.”

“Oh, it is... I got into an argument with father.”, Gwynfor said, sighing. “And I didn't want to think about it and have gone to sleep without taking proper care of this wound...”

“Yes, the lord has been upset when he sent me to wake you.”, Ornstein said. “What were you even fighting about?”

“It was about the dragon we fought.”, Gwynfor sighed. “It felt like it was unnecessary. We should just have left it alone. It never had hurt anyone. Maybe we have taken the dragon hunting too far...”

Gwynfor was expecting all kind of responses from Ornstein, mainly a tirade about how dragon hunting was the right thing and his father would lead them all to glory, but he didn't expect his knight sitting there with a pained expression on his face, asking: “Does that mean that you don't need me anymore, Master...?”

The way he was sitting there like this, the sad expression on his face, Gwynfor just wanted to get up and hug him, kiss him even. It felt so hard to refrain from it. Nobody would ever need to know about his attraction. So he answered instead, as calmly as possible: “No, that was not what I meant, Ornstein. I would never dismiss you from your duties!”

Ornstein visibly relaxed. “I am so glad to hear this.”, he said. “Cause.. dragon slaying is the only thing I am good at. I am glad that I can stay at your side.”

“What? Ornstein, you are having plenty of good traits beside this. Look at you, you stayed with me when I was sick. And you are still here instead of just leaving after I felt better. This shows how much you care.”, Gwynfor said.

“Thank you, Master.” There was it again, that cute smile that he adored so much. Ornstein stood up and approached his bed.

“Are you still having fever? Would you let me check?”, he asked, his face was a bit red, as if he was embarrassed to even dare to touch his master.

“Sure, go ahead.”, Gwynfor said. “I don't think it is completely gone, I still feel pretty hot.”

Ornstein came closer to lay a hand on Gwynfor's forehead, close enough for Gwynfor to just grab him and the prince couldn't refrain himself anymore and pulled his knight into a hug, he didn't care about that he was still wearing his armour. He saw the very confused and red face of Ornstein right in front of his own. It would have been so easy to kiss him just right here and now, but... no, he couldn't do this, he wasn't allowed too. He released Ornstein from the hug. “Shit, sorry, I didn't knew what had gotten into me...”, he said.

There were a few long seconds of silence until Ornstein answered: “No, don't worry, it is fine. I don't mind...” He stared at the ground and Gwynfor could see that his face had turned almost as red as his hair.

“Do you want something to eat?”, Ornstein asked after several minutes had passed. “You must have been out for at last ten hours I think.”

Ornstein was right, Gwynfor felt pretty hungry. And that wasn't the only thing.

“Yeah, I think I should eat something.”, he said. “And also... I really need to use the bathroom.”

Ornstein shot up immediately: “Excuse me, I will give you the needed privacy at once.” and stormed out of the room, Gwynfor swore that he could see how Ornstein's face slowly had turned red again.

“I wouldn't even mind if you would stay.”, he whispered, but his knight had already left the room. And Gwynfor knew he was polite enough to knock first and ask if he was able to enter and everything.

“Oh well, he will come back at last.”, Gwynfor said to himself and stood up, realizing his lack of clothes. “...Maybe I should get dressed first...”

Chapter Text

“Do I have to do EVERYTHING myself?” The voice of the paledrake, Seath, boomed through the archives, making his servants and even his channelers cower in fear from his rage.

“It were very simply instructions. Unbelievable...”, Seath muttered to himself while preparing a spell. He just wanted to have a specific snack that helped him concentrate during his research. He had told his servant the exact location of the store, what to get in what order and even had given them the exact amount of money needed and they still had failed. Seath could hear a muttered apology while the spell engulfed his form, a blinding white light emitting from him and after a few moments his form as a dragon had been replaced by that of a tall slender human with skin as white as snow and red eyes. Two of his servants quickly ran to him, handing the duke some clothes.

“Out of my sight.”, Seath snapped to the failed servant while getting dressed. “I'll do it myself. You better don't enter my study room again until you learned to follow orders.”

With this, Seath strode out of the archives, heading for the busy market place of Anor Londo. He was lucky that he had managed to create a transformation spell which gave him a human form, cause in his dragon farm he was far too large to go out. He still kept his horns and wings in this form, to show everyone his true heritage though. The clothes he had been handed today were some simple pants and a tunic woven from linen, hardly a fancy choice, but suitable for the task he had to fulfill himself. Seath sighed. Why was he surrounded by incompetence? He had been granted dukedom by his Lord Gwyn and he couldn't make him proud when he had to go out and get a simple thing like a snack himself instead of spending every waking hour at his work desk.

When Seath was about to enter the town square, he heard some noises... voices screaming, some pained grunts, some people clearly in an argument. Curiosity drove him nearer to the noises and he saw a small group of people making a ruckus while two silver knights hurried up to them, trying to separate them. Seath watched for a short time and then lost interest, he should get going. That was when he felt an impact in his chest area, it felt like the air was pressed out of his lungs and the paledrake fell hard on the pavement, tasting some blood, seeing a few stars.

The next thing Seath heard, was a gentle voice asking him: “Sir, are you alright?” while picking him up and supporting his weight, Seath hissed and gasped from the pain blooming in his chest. He recognized the voice as the one of Artorias, one of Gwyn's four knights. That probably meant, that the dragon slayer wasn't far away and in fact, Seath could make out his golden form screaming at the silver knights, scolding them to be more careful when taking care of a ruckus, they couldn't involve innocenter passengers in this. After he had sentenced the silver knights to extra guard duty, the dragon slayer walked over to Artorias. “Artorias, have you secured the passenger?”, he asked and then stopped dead in his tracks. “That's the duke.”

Seath wanted to sigh, but it only came out as a pained whimper. Of course it had to be this two who found him. Knight Artorias was the kind who would stand in front of the archives with a plate of cookies and expect to have tea and a friendly chat with Seath, like it would be the most normal thing of the world. Seath had just send him away, but had to admit, that the cookies had been quite tasty. And the dragon slayer, Ornstein... even with his helmet on Seath could feel the poor mistrust the knight captain had for him. Sadly Ornstein was the only one who could keep up with Seath in chess. If not for that, Seath wouldn't have had any trouble to never see the knight again.

Seath could hear the dragon slayer sigh and his posture felt like he was saying “Let's get this over with.” He addressed the paledrake: “Duke Seath, I am very sorry that my silver knights have gotten you in this situation. You appear to be hurt. May we escort you back to the archives?”

“...What happened?”, Seath finally managed to say, still gasping. The pain in his chest was really bad. He could feel how the dragon slayer took one of his arms and helped Artorias support him.

“My silver knights had to use force to quell the ruckus and one of the thugs got pushed right in your direction and his kick has hit you...”, Ornstein explained.

“It is probably none of our business.”, Artorias said. “But, uh, can you change back into your dragon form like this...?”

“...”, was all what Seath brought out. He hadn't tried to change forms when hurt, but he only could imagine how bad it could turn out. The magic needed his body to be in top shape, so that everything would be at the right place after the transformation and when there was even only a tiny thing not as it should be, his body could deform even more than it already was.

“...Probably not.”, the duke finally answered and had to hiss and wince in pain once again. “By the lord, this hurts...”

“Don't worry, we will get a physician over to the archives right away.”, Ornstein reassured him. Seath knew that all this politeness was just acted, a thing the dragon slayer was awfully good at. He didn't want people to know his true face. But alas, even with their strained relationship, Seath knew how it was to keep a secret and had decided to respect the dragon slayer's boundaries. At least he had been awfully good at getting rid of the race that only had scorn and mockery left over him.

They had entered the archives and one of Seath's channelers came running when he spotted the trio: “Mylord Seath, what happened?”

“Long story. Prepare my bed please, I need to lay down. The bed for this form of course.”, Seath said. The two knights escorted him to his private rooms where the servants had prepared the bed and carefully laid him down.

“Get a physician over here, Duke Seath needs medical treatment.”, Ornstein ordered while Artorias seemed to stare at Seath with large puppy eyes, as if the knight would beg the paledrake to ask for emotional comfort. Seath only shuddered at that thought.

 

“Several rips appear to be bruised.”, the physician said after arrival. “There isn't much that can be done other than putting some ice on the injured spot, bandage it and moving as little as possible. You should stay in bed for at least a week.”

Seath heavily sighed, which turned into breathlessness right away. “I can't even change back into my dragon form like this.”, he murmured. “How am I supposed to pass the time?”

“We can read to you.”, one of the present channelers said. “Or we could play some chess.”

Seath huffed. “A whole week like this? I want to go back to my studies. Get out of my eyes, all of you.”

“Just ask for one of us if you experience additional pain.”, the physician said after she was done with the treatmant and then followed the knights who had already left the room. The channeler stayed a bit longer but hastened out of the room when Seath glared at his direction.

Sighing, Seath laid his head down into the pillows, cursing when he felt the horns get stuck at them. Normally he didn't need to sleep in his human form. Now he regretted keeping the wings and horns, they really would come into the way. He considered maybe using his magic to change his body a bit more, so that wings and horns would vanish, but he couldn't risk it. Every ounce of transformation magic at his own body could leave him with permanent damage. It felt like he had to live with this now...

He heard the tapping of bare feet coming into the room and supported himself to get into a sitting position. “Prilla?”, he said. “Is that you, my dear?”

“Daddy?”, a high pitched voice came from the little girl in the room. “Is that you? You are looking like me.” She giggled and came running to the bed, jumping on it with ease.

“Easy, Prilla.”, Seath said, gasping from the impact. Even at her young age Priscilla was already pretty big, what was to be expected from a crossbreed. She was his most proud creation, his very own daughter. He had taught her how to use the scythe from a very young age and he knew that she had amazing powers in her. He couldn't wait for her to grow big enough so that he could introduce her to Gwyn, as a new weapon for the dragon war.

“Daddy, are you hurt?”, Priscilla said, he could hear the worried tone in her voice and feel her fluffy tail curling around one of his arms.

“It's nothing, Prilla. I just got into a scuffle by accident. You better go back to your studies.”, Seath said and as on clue, a channeler barged into the room, shouting: “Lady Priscilla, you can't just sneak away from your studies like this. Oh, mylord, I am sorry that she escaped me.” The channeler bowed deeply to Seath, who normally would have shouted at him, but Priscilla's presence soothed him too much.

“Before you go, Prilla, can you do me a favour and get me the egg of your sibling?”, Seath asked his daughter.

“Of course.”, Priscilla said, jumped down from the bed and ran over to the shelf where the egg was stored. “I wonder when they will hatch.”, she asked when she handed the egg to Seath.

“I already told you, dragon eggs are moody. It can take them years to hatch, sometimes they just want to open for the right person.”, Seath explained. “Now go back to your studies, dear, we can talk about this later.”

He made sure to give the channeler a last glare when he took Priscilla's hand to make sure that he wouldn't let her escape her studies once more. Still, it has been nice that she was around. Priscilla was Seath's very own sunshine. He nestled the egg in his arms and dozed off to sleep.

 

“You idiot, that isn't the meal I wanted!”, Seath shouted, making the servant cower at his booming voice. “And this, this isn't the book I wanted to hear during mealtime!”, the channeler stayed calm however, answering to Seath: “I am very sorry, mylord, I will get the right book immediately.”

“And while you are out there, make sure to let my servants know that I wanted to have my blankets change twice a day! They are 10 minutes late already!”, Seath shouted behind him.

He grumpily laid down back into the pillows. It had been three days and he was in pain and massive discomfort. Such a tiny injury would have been nothing to his dragon body, as malformed as it might be, but it was still better than being stuck in his weak human body. He didn't despise to transform into his human form, but he usually wasn't stuck in it for that long and it started to go on his nerves. Especially the damn horns, they would get stuck EVERYWHERE when he tried to turn around in bed. If he even managed to do it, his injury was letting him know that it was there every waking moment, often giving him trouble breathing. Like right now. Maybe he shouldn't have shouted so loud, but if he wouldn't have done it, he probably would have already exploded because of the incompetence around him. He had to make sure to get some of his servants replaced. And the channelers seemed to have become lazy, lately they barely had brought new stuff to experiment into the archives.

While Seath had been lost in thought, he noticed that the failed servant had come back with the replacement dish, placed it down and left the room without another word. Shortly after, the channeler came back, Priscilla in tow.

“Excuse me, mylord, is Lady Priscilla allowed to join your meal?”, he asked. Seath's mood instantly lifted.

“Of course, come here, dear.”, he said and pointed for her to sit down on his bed, where the girl quickly came running, giggling with joy.

“Which book are we going to hear today?”, she asked and the channeler opened it while Seath took his meal.

“This is a book about the history of titanite.”, the channeler said. “A subject our duke is very interested in, especially in the form of twinkling titanite.”

Seath would have liked to been able to read the books himself, but alas, he had been born without eyes, one of his malformations, but he didn't consider it as bad as his missing scales. Even in his human form, where he possessed eyes, he still was blind. And while he was able to feel his surroundings very clear with the use of his magic, reading letters in a book wasn't something he could do. He was thinking about inventing a way that a blind person could read... maybe it would be able to make the letters touchable? However, for now he was left with his channelers reading to him. At least they did a good job at it, as long as they would bring the right book. And in this situation, with a good meal, his daughter at his side and a story to hear, he was able to relax.

 

“And checkmate.”, Seath said. “Next!” The beat channeler strolled away, head drooping down when the next took place.

“I won't make it easy for you, mylord.”, he said and positioned the chess figures on the board.

“I sure hope so.”, Seath said and a grin showed his sharp teeth.

Ten turns later the channeler was beaten and Seath sighed. “I now have beaten ten of you in a row, isn't there anyone be able to be a challenge?”, he grumpily said. His channeler just stared at one of his companions who just had come into the room, probably to be the next challenger. “...Don't tell me, the dragon slayer is the only one up to par in chess with me.”

“...I am afraid that is the case...”, one of the channelers said. “Shall we bring Sir Ornstein here?”

Seath huffed. “Of course, you think the dragon slayer just follows you to the archives for a friendly round of chess to ease my boredom. We all know how he thinks about dragons, even the ones who are on his side.”, he groaned. “I just take the challenge from the next best of you. At least it will pass the time for around another hour.” A deep sigh escaped his lips. He was more than ready now to be done with laying in bed.

 

“Alright, that looks all healed.”, the physician said after she had removed the bandages from Seath's chest.

“Are you serious? I don't have to stay in bed anymore?”, Seath asked, as if his ears had deceived him.

“Yes and try to not get into a scuffle anymore, Duke Seath. Your channelers all look like they are ready to barge in the infirmary.”, she said as she packed her stuff.

“That wasn't my fault.”, Seath grumbled and watched as the physician left the room.

Finally, finally he would be able to change back in his dragon form. Oh how long he had waited for it. Seath felt the magic seeping through his bones, felt how it engulfed him, felt how his body grew, felt how his head hit the ceiling... Oh, maybe he should have changed back in a larger room than this.... He noticed how his tentacles had knocked several things over. Sighing, he changed back into his human form, strolled out the door, ordered the next best servant to clean up this mess and changed back into his dragon form once he was back into his study room. Ah yes, that felt much better. Now he could continue his studies.

He heard the familiar tapping of the bare feet behind him. “Prilla, come in.”, he said. He could feel how the girl stared at him.

“Daddy, you aren't looking like me anymore?”, she said. Seath turned around to face her.

“Oh, dear, that is simply my true form. But you know what? I don't mind staying a bit longer in my human form, if it is for you.”

And with this he had changed back and picked his daughter up, which nestled and cuddled into his embrace.

Chapter Text

Ornstein was on his usual patrol, when he spotted Artorias just idly standing around, staring at the distance. Ornstein huffed. He was used to this behaviour by his silver knights, but not by Artorias, one of the Knights of Gwyn. It seemed like the dragon slayer had to reprimand his friend, cause he also was his captain and couldn't tolerate any slacking off.

Ornstein casually walked over to Artorias, who still hadn't noticed him and said: “Artorias, what are you doing?”

“Wha...?”, Artorias said, twirling around and emptying a whole bag of animal traits out on Ornstein.

“Artorias...”, Ornstein said, hardly able to contain his anger. “What did you do? Ew, gross, it is all in my hair!”

“Ornstein, I am so sorry.”, Artorias said and Ornstein could see the guilt in his face before his eyes turned wide and he stared into the distance slightly above Ornstein.

“Why do you carry around a bag with animal treats anyway?”, Ornstein said and started to pick them off his armour. “Help me getting them out of my ponytail. Where are you staring at? ...What is that sound?”

Ornstein heard the sound of flapping wings. And the sound of birds screeching. He slowly turned around and only one thought shot through his mind when he saw the flock of birds shooting down at his position: “I am so glad that I am wearing full armour right now.”

“Artorias, do something!”, Ornstein shouted while cowering in to himself as the birds arrived and loudly argued about the treats they picked off his armour. He felt a tug at his hair. “By the lords, get them out of my hair!” He began to shiver slightly.

“Oh, um, maybe I can scare them away.”, Artorias said and removed his cape to shoo the birds with it, which weren't impressed at all, it sounded like it made them even more angry.

“Artorias, stop, you are making everything worse.”, Ornstein groaned. He felt that he started to activate the lighting powers from his spear in his right hand, a usual reaction for him to flying menaces. He was ready to get the bolt directed at the birds, when Artorias used his sword to slap Ornstein's spear out of his hand.

“Are you out of your mind? You can't grill these poor animals for wanting a snack.”, he said.

“I can't do anything about. They scare me.”, Ornstein screamed, trying to reach for his spear, but Artorias simply tackled him and they both fell to the ground.

“Artorias, what are you doing?”, Ornstein shouted when he heard the crash of a sword on the cobblestone and the sound of a dozen birds hastily flying away.

“It is all good, they are gone now.”, Artorias said and got up, freeing Ornstein from his weight, picking up the treats that had stuck into his air. Ornstein slowly got up too.

“Artorias... I am sentencing you to double guard duty.”, he said, which made the wolf knight sigh.

“I deserve this, huh...?”

Chapter Text

When Ornstein heard of the black dragon terrorizing this innocent town, he was sure he could take on the beast by himself.

He had already proven his worth on many battlefields and was proud to say that he had managed to slay at least a dozen dragons with his own hands. He had been granted the position as one of Gwyn's knights, even had been appointed their leader and his master had granted him a very special weapon, so perfect for dragon hunting that it deserved the name it had been given, the dragon slayer spear.

So he walked up to the black menace just casually lying there, chest swelled with confidence, casually holding his spear in both hands, when he said: “Black Dragon Kalameet, I am Ornstein, the dragon slayer and I have come to take your life.”

The dragon just lazily turned around, eyeing Ornstein. “You seem to be awful full of yourself.”, he said. “When you have the guts to even introduce you to myself instead of trying a surprise attack.”

“You should at least know the name of the man who will become your doom.”, Ornstein said, readying his spear in a battle stance.

Ornstein heard the dragon chuckle. “My doom? Let's see if you will say this again after I am finished with you!”

Ornstein had prepared himself for the opening attack and easily dodged the fire breath, that the dragon had prepared with his last words. It was time for the dance on the battlefield. He dodged a tail swing with ease. Made sure to dive below the dragon when it was breathing fire. Jumped out of the way when it tried to crush him with his massive body. Jumped over it when it charged at him. Even though one thing was weird... the dragon didn't even use any aerial attacks. Hah, seemed like he apparently wasn't the one being full of himself. Ornstein spotted his chance to attack, when the dragon stood up on his hind legs, surely preparing another breath of fire.

Ornstein prepared the lightning powers of his spear, bend his keens and closed the distance to the beast with a dash, spear ready to be thrust into the now unprotected stomach of the dragon before its fire breath would even have a chance to hit him.

But shortly before his spear could connect with the dragon, Ornstein felt like his body was forced into the air and an awful noise rang in his ear. What was that? Why wasn't he able to move at all? The dragon slayer struggled and cursed but the invisible grip on him was too tight. Eventually the grip on his body lifted, but it felt like a very heavy punch to the guts and the next thing Ornstein knew was, that he had been hurled at the ground, a sharp pain traveled through his whole body but concentrated especially around his right ankle. Ornstein knew how it felt to be hurled at the ground and this had been extreme, the pain was far too intense. He gasped, struggling to get up. And Ornstein knew, he had to get up, there was a dragon behind him, a dragon that would not have second thoughts to just squish him and what had he been thinking, taking on this beast alone without any backup? He needed to get on his feet, now!

He finally managed to come to his feet with the help of his spear that he used to prop himself up when he felt the heat. He jumped to the side as quickly as he could, heavily wincing when his injured foot got jostled in the process... and then he felt the pain surging through the left side of his body. He was so surprised by the sensation that he didn't even scream, it was more a feeling of disbelief. He just connected with the ground, clutching his spear, his mind screaming at his body to just get up. Or he would be done for. He shouldn't have come, this was too much for him, why did he get so cocky for having slain a dozen dragons? He looked up to see the dragon preparing a finishing attack. “Was that all, dragon slayer?”, the dragon said and Ornstein closed his eyes awaiting the inevitable impact.

The buzzing of an arrow and the screech of a wounded dragon was heard and the next thing Ornstein noticed after he opened his eyes was Artorias at his side. “Ornstein, are you alright? What were you thinking?”, the wolf knight screamed at him.

“Clearly his status got to big for his own boots.”, Ciaran said, her daggers ready.

“Hmph.. fighting all of you would be too troublesome...”, Ornstein heard the dragon say and the sound of blazing fire followed.

“Careful, it will breathe fire.”, Ornstein brought out, gasping. He was in so much pain that his boy refused to move. Ornstein felt how Artorias pretty much hurled him to the side and used his shield to block him from the leftover flames.

“Gough, it is getting away.”, Ciaran shouted and the giant laid another arrow on his bow, but.... “It's no use, it blew up so much dust and with the leftover smoke... I can't make it out.”, Gough said and lowered his bow. “Also I feel we wouldn't continue the fight when one of us is hurt.”, he added.

With the dragon gone, Ornstein finally could allowed himself to relax and pretty much collapsed on the ground, gasping and wincing in pain as his injury got jostled by it. Lying there he could see how his three companions stared at him. And it wasn't in a good way, even with their masks and helmets on, he could feel the growing rage of them behind it. He tried to sit up but failed because of the pain.

Artorias was the first to speak: “Ornstein, have you gone mad? Going after this beast alone? What would happened if we hadn't tracked you down?”

Ornstein locked eyes with Artorias and felt a pang in his stomach by the sheer look of disappointment in his friend's face.

“...sorry.”, was the only thing he got out.

“Yes, you messed up. You could have at least left a note.”, Ciaran said. ”It was pure luck that some of the silver knights got wind of your plans and had an assumption where you went.”

“Even though I doubt the dragon will come back, I will keep guard.”, Gough said. “I got a good shot right through his wing. But Ornstein...”, the giant addressed the younger knight. “And you are hurt too, Ornstein, but it could have been prevented. This pain was your own fault.”

Ornstein started shivering. Now that the heat of the battle was over and the adrenaline rush was over, the pain kicked in and he started to grasp the severity of the situation. How close had been to losing his life in this battle and that in this few seconds before Gough's arrow hit he just had accepted it as his fate.

“By the lords, what was I thinking?”, he murmured to himself as Artorias helped him sitting up.

“Clearly not straight.”, the wolf knight said and helped Ornstein out of his armour. Ornstein was greeted with the stinging smell of scorched flesh. He forced himself to look at his left shoulder and winced. The burn was bad, really really bad. “Oh dear... anyone having some ointment with them?”, Artorias asked in the round. Ciaran had already prepared some bandages.

“Normally we are close enough to the healer tents, so we don't need any ointments on the battlefield.”, Ciaran said. “And we barely had time to pack. At least I brought some bandages. Do you have something with you, Ornstein?”

Ornstein shook his head. “No, I didn't take anything, cause I was so sure, that...” His words stopped there. He had been so sure that he could win. He had been so confident about himself that he didn't even thought about taking some first aid with him.

“Let us at least bandage the burns so that they won't get infected.”, Ciaran murmured. As she got to work, Ornstein hissed and groaned at the pain.

“Ciaran, be careful, it hurts...”, he complained. “Can't you be a bit more gentle?”

“I am already as gentle as I can be?”, Ciaran asked. “Also, this surely isn't your first burn wound. Since when are you such a crybaby about it?”

“I don't know, it just... it hurts a lot more than usual...”, Ornstein said. A part of him noticed that he had taken Artorias hand and squeezed it very hard, but the wolf knight just had stayed quiet at his side, not complaining once. Gough still scanned the sky for any signs of the dragon returning.

When Ciaran had finished bandading the wound, she said: “That should suffice until we have arrived at the infirmary. Artorias, you better help him get up.”

 

Ornstein gladly accepted the help of Artorias and managed to stand up, but gasped and winced once his right foot hit the ground. “Crap, I think I broke my ankle...”, he said and sank back to the ground.

“This is bothersome...”, Ciaran said. “Gough, let me keep guard for a while, we are needing a splint. Broken ankle.”, she said, pointing at Ornstein's foot.

“I am getting to work right away.”, the giant said and scanned the ground for a fitting piece of wood. In the meantime, Artorias opened Ornstein's leggings and took a look at the foot.

“It isn't twisted, but pretty swollen.”, he said.

“It certainly hurts like a break.”, Ornstein said, gasping from the pain. He started to feel dizzy and soon after he was engulfed by darkness. When he awoke, he was carried by the giant arms of Gough and they already had arrived back in Anor Londo.

“Oh, Ornstein, you are awake? How are you feeling?”, Gough asked him in his gentle voice.

Ornstein felt blood rush into his face. “Gough, thanks for carrying me, but please let me down, I don't want the silver knights to see me like this.”, he said, completely ignoring his companion's question.

“Are you sure you are able to walk on your own?”, Gough asked.

“I'll help him.”, Artorias joined the conversation. Gough gently lowered Ornstein, who made sure to not strain his right foot too much and accepted the help of Artorias, who was at his right side in an instant. Ornstein's foot had been splinted and bandaged in the meantime, cause he could step on it without too many trouble.

“Where is Ciaran?”, Ornstein asked as the trio was walking through the entrance of the cathedral.

“She already went to the infirmary to get everything prepared for your treatment.”, Artorias explained. Ornstein shuddered. The wound clearly needed to be cleaned and he knew how much it hurt to clean out a burn wound. And this particular wound was hurting twice as much as usual. Ornstein wondered if the massive pain just came from the enormous size of the wound. The strange attack the black dragon had surprised him with still was ringing in his ears.

 

Ornstein had managed not to scream when the flames had burned him, but now that he was lying on the bed at the infirmary, the physician busy with cleaning his wound, he couldn't help but scream, muffled from the cloth they had given him to bite on. The pain was too much, so that his body had started to rebel against the treatment and Ornstein could feel how Artorias did his best to hold him down.

“Stop, I don't think I can hold him down anymore.”, Artorias shouted out. The physician stopped and Ornstein relaxed, which meant that he was shivering and breathing heavily. Artorias face appeared before his eyes: “Ornstein, this isn't your first burn treatment. Please try and get a hold of yourself, you know the wound needs to be cleaned.”

“I...I know...”, Ornstein stuttered. “It... it.. just.. h-hurts so much...”

A familiar hand touched Ornstein's shoulder. “What have you brought yourself into, Ornstein? That wound looks really bad.”, the master said.

“Master, it's...”, Ornstein started, but got hushed by the master.

“Ciaran has already told me. We talk about this later. For now we should make sure that you get proper treatment. It is a shame that Gwynevere isn't here right now. Artorias, do you need a hand?”

Ornstein lowered his head, he had disappointed the master. The way he had talked to him, it had hurt. More than the wound. Whatever, for now Ornstein couldn't worry about the talk that would await him. He closed his eyes, bit on the cloth and braced himself for the continuation of the wound cleaning. At least feeling the master's hands on his body was a welcome distraction.

 

Some time later Ornstein's body and left shoulder was covered in ointment soaked bandages. The ankle had turned out to not be broken at last, instead it was sprained. Ornstein wondered why it had hurt so much then, it didn't feel normal that his body was in so much pain. He wondered if the dragon had managed to curse him somehow. His mind wandered back to that attack that had stopped him in midair, he didn't had any control over his body at all when hit with it, it felt like he was forced to move against his own will. If the dragon really had cursed him and this was the reason for his bad pain, Ornstein wondered if that would subdue eventually or would he had to face to live with an increased experience of pain his whole life. His thoughts got interrupted by the voice of the physician.

“Sir Ornstein, Lord Gwyn wants to talk with you.”, she said.

Ornstein shot up, muffling a curse under his breath when it jostled his injuries. Lord Gwyn strode through the door with wide steps, stopping in front of Ornstein's bed, eyes burning. Ornstein bowed to him, as good as he could manage, sitting in his nightshirt on the bed.

“Ornstein, you know why I am here.”, Lord Gwyn started. It wasn't even a question.

“...I am sorry...”, Ornstein said, when Lord Gwyn started to let loose a tirade.

“What were you thinking? Challenging this dragon on your own? You should know your skills and your place, knight! Just leaving without saying anything to me or my son! Just leaving without even asking our permission! Not even taking any of your companions or a single silver knight with you! Completely violation your position! Ornstein, I am very disappointed in you! Be assured, that I won't allow you to face this specific dragon ever again. I prohibit it!”

Ornstein had cowered in on himself during the rant of his lord, but raised his head at the last bit.

“But, mylord... you can't be serious...”, he started, but got silenced quickly by the hissing of the lord: “This has been my last word on it. Think about what you have done!”

Lord Gwyn left the room and slammed the door. Ornstein winced at the sound and then flopped into the pillows, wincing again when his injuries protested at the impact. His chest and throat were burning and he could feel tears dwelling up in his eyes.

“Stupid, you won't start to cry over this.”, he murmured to himself. “It was your fault after all...”

The door opened again and Ornstein raised his head, quickly wiping the tears away, when he noticed his master stepping in the room, sitting down on the bed.

“Master, I messed up...”, Ornstein said.

“Yes, you did.”, the master nonchalantly said. Ornstein's jaw nearly dropped, he hadn't expected the master to just agree so bluntly to it. He sighed and buried his head into his pillow.

“Master, that doesn't help.”, he said with a muffled voice.

“You feel guilty, right?”, the master said. “And it is justified. Ornstein, I have heard the tirade of my father and he is right. And you know that. You have been cocky and tried to face a challenge that went over your head. But you know what is good? That you know that you did wrong and I am sure you will better yourself, right? At least I want to have a knight I can be proud of and I fully trust you to be that knight.”

“Master...”, Ornstein just said, sniffling and then fully blow started to cry in his chest, cry out all the pain, the guilt, the feel that he disappointed everyone around him. The master didn't say anything, just rubbed gentles circles in his back, making sure that he didn't upset the wound. When Ornstein's crying fit was over, he realized what he had done and jerked back from the master's chest as if he had burned himself. Again.

“Are you feeling better now?”, the master asked and Ornstein swore that he saw a hue of red on his cheeks. His own face felt like it was flushing red.

“Master, I am so sorry, I didn't want to...”, he said.

“It's fine.”, the master said. “You are allowed to cry out your feelings, you know? Just promise me one thing.”

Ornstein raised his head, looking the master in the eyes, but slightly averting his gaze so that he could avoid his look.

“What is is, master?”, he wanted to know.

“Promise me to never bring yourself in so much danger EVER again.”, the master said. “I could have lost you and that thought... it has been scary. I consider you a dear friend, Ornstein, and I don't want to lose you because of some delusion of grandeur.”

Ornstein thought that his tears had dried, but now they welled up in his eyes again. The master didn't know about the feelings Ornstein had for him, how much he wanted to hear these words, that he actually meant something to him. He quickly wiped the fresh tears of his eyes and said:

“Thank you, master, that you are saying this means so much to me. I will promise you that I will never do something foolish like this again.”

Chapter Text

Gwynfor stared at the size of the dragon that him and his father had brought down, now laying in a puddle of its own blood on the battlefield while the noises of the ongoing struggle started to fade, a sign that they had won yet another encounter.

The sunfirstborn felt comfortable enough to put his spear in front of him in the ground, its blade buried a bit underground so that it would stay still and could be grabbed by him at once should the need for it arise. He walked around the dragon, taking in every detail of its marvelous body. A part of him hated that they had to be enemies on the battlefield, even as a small boy he had found them to be some of the most beautiful beings he ever had been allowed to lay his eyes on.

Gwynfor had arrived back at the point where he had slammed his sword spear into the ground, the first weapon he had ever used and had to go back to fight with once he had gifted the much more modern dragon slayer spear to his student. Still, it was an excellent weapon and sufficed greatly for the envisaged task. Gwynor extended his hand to grab his weapon but something hit the back of his head full force and his face collided with the handle of his sword spear, making him taste blood.

“Ouch, what was that?”, Gwynfor murmured, grabbing the sword spear and search for the assaulter, but realized... what had hit him, was in fact the head of the dead dragon which had rolled off the body directly onto him. He could feel how some blood rushed into his cheeks. Well, that was embarrassing. He didn't even collected the heads of the slaughtered dragons as trophies like Ornstein did, so it felt like an even more stupid accident. Gwynfor quickly scanned the area but realized with relief, that he had been alone and therefore nobody could have witnessed this slip-up. There wasn't any reason for him to stay at the battlefield anymore so he returned to their collection point.
___

Later this day, Gwynfor changed from his armour into the prince's garb. He had promised to his siblings to have dinner with them and Nevy always would get upset should he decide to wear his armour and his scarf that would hide half of his face behind it, to it. While changing, he thought about the “accident” earlier and decided to look in the mirror, to see if he had injured himself in the process. A certain part of his mouth had hurt pretty badly after it. All he could spot though, was a burst lip and the cut was hardly deep enough to scar. He shrugged, that probably was the cause of the pain and the blood he had tasted. Time to meet up with his siblings.
___

“Ah, Gwynfor, it is nice to see that you could make it in time.”, Nevy said, hugging her brother with a shyly smiling Gwyndolin hanging at her skirt.

“Nevy, Dolin, of course I wouldn't let you wait.”, Gwynfor said and gave them his biggest smile. And wondered why both Nevy and Gwyndolin gave him such a horrifying look.

“Um, is there something in my face?”, he asked. “I just came from a battle, you know it is usual for me to have some cuts and bruises then.”

“That's not it...”, Nevy said. “Um, how do I put this?”

“Your upper left front tooth is missing, brother.”, Gwyndolin said and got quickly shushed by Nevy for it.

“Wait, what?”, Gwynfor asked and ran to the nearest mirror, opening his mouth and in fact, the tooth in question was missing and he could see that his gum had bled a bit because of it. Well, that explained not only the pain but also the taste of blood in his mouth. Why hadn't he checked earlier if all of his teeth still had been there?

“Did this happen in the battle, Gwynfor? Do you still have the tooth so I can try and reattach it?”, Nevy said, having appeared next to him, laying a hand on his shoulder.

“I... didn't even knew it fell out...”, Gwynfor said. “Shit, I am sorry, you two, we have to postpone our dinner to another time.” And with that Gwynfor rushed out of the room, he needed to find his tooth.
___

Ornstein had stayed a bit longer on the battlefield, collecting the identity tags of the deceased silver knights, saying a quick prayer to Nito whenever he found another one. A gruesome task, but one had to do it. He didn't look forward to the paper work involved with it, sending the letters of their deaths to their families and probably having to get some order back into the town when some protestants would claim that far too many young knights would lose their lives in this war... While he was absorbed in thought, he stumbled upon the corpse of a particular large dragon. With no silver knight corpses around it and with the way the wound was dealt, Ornstein immediately knew that his master had been the one to bring it down. He spend some time to admiring the work of his beloved and then continued his route from the fallen off head of the dragon to the next spot he could see still scorching burn marks. With his eyes plastered on the ground, he came across a strange thing and kneeled down to take a closer look.

“Huh, it's a tooth.”, Ornstein murmured to himself and picked it up, pocketing it. Maybe one of the surviving silver knights had lost it and he knew that the princess was able to reattach a lost tooth, as long as the original and the owner was brought to her. He would ask his silver knights at roll call tomorrow if one of them was missing a tooth.
___

Gwynfor sighed. He had searched the whole area around the dragon which head had fallen on him, this must have been were his tooth had got knocked out. But he simply couldn't find it. He even searched a bit farther around in case the tooth had rolled away and dug a bit through the ground, maybe the tooth had simply been covered by dirt. But now it was starting to get dark and he had to give up his search. His best bet was that maybe someone had picked the tooth up. For now, he should go to sleep. He could ask around tomorrow if someone had found and picked up the tooth.
___

“Before you all go attending your duties, let me know if some of you is missing a tooth.”, Ornstein said to the waiting silver knights. “Is there anyone of you who is missing a tooth?” He waited for a bit, but none of the silver knights took up the word and most of them just stared at each other or shuffled their feet. “Alright, then go attend your duties.”, Ornstein finished the roll call. So none of the silver knights had lost a tooth. Of course it was possible that it belonged to one of the deceased and in that case, he would just hand it over to their family, but how should he find out to which knight it had belonged? Ornstein sighed and started his own patrol. He could try to figure this out later.

As he was wandering through the cathedral, he heard the voice of the master. “Ornstein, come here.”, he said, peeking out of an usual unoccupied room at this day of time and practically hurled Ornstein into it once the dragon slayer came closer. The master closed and locked the door behind them and Ornstein knew, he were allowed to do it now. He removed his helmet and quickly embraced and kissed the master, they didn't had a chance to meet after the battle yesterday, the master had been out awfully long (even skipping the dinner with his siblings which had brought the princess into a very sour mood) and Ornstein had already went in his own bed before the master had returned.

“We did a good job yesterday, huh?”, Ornstein said after the master had released his lips. “I have seen the size of the beast you have slain, impressive.”

“You weren't even there, Ornstein, how did you know it was me?”, the master said and Ornstein was beginning to form an answer when he noticed that the master had a tooth gap. And it was a gap where the tooth the dragon slayer had found yesterday would perfectly fit into. He stared at his master with a slightly agape mouth. His boyfriend had a hue of reds at his cheeks when he noticed.

“Oh, please, Ornstein, don't stare at me like this. I have lost this tooth yesterday but couldn't find it. Say, have you happened to come across a tooth? I have already asked every single silver knight I could find and Artorias and Ciaran and Gough but nobody has found it...”, he said.

Ornstein's thoughts immediately wandered to the tooth in his pocket and his hand shot to it, already engulfing it, before he let go and shook his head: “No, I haven't found anything either, sorry, master.”, he said and detached from their hug. He already felt a pang of guilt in his stomach, he had lied to his master. He quickly put his helmet back on and murmured that he had to go back to his patrol. A part of him knew that he had to give the tooth back, but another part of him just wanted to hang onto anything he could have from bis boyfriend, even a tooth. He ran into his room to hide it there.
___

“No luck finding it yet?”, Nevy asked, frowning at him. She hadn't been glad that he promptly had ran off, trying to find a tiny thing like a tooth on the battlefield. “It is your fault for not having checked if all your teeth have been still at place when you lost it. Today you are not running away. You made Gwyndolin cry.”

“I am sorry, Nevy...”, Gwynfor said. “I have searched everywhere now and asked everyone but to no avail. I guess I need to get used to having a tooth gap...”, he said.

“Just see it as another scar for the collection.”, Nevy said and sat down at the table. “And make sure to apologize to Gwyndolin.”

“Will do.”, Gwynfor said and rushed off to find his sibling to give some comfort.
___

After dinner Gwynfor had retreated to his room and waited for the familiar knock of his first knight, gladly rushing to the door when he heard it, but raising his brows in surprise when he was seeing Ornstein there, kneeling in front of him, looking like he had been eaten up by guilt.

“Master, I am so sorry, for I have lied to you.”, Ornstein said. “I have found your tooth but kept it for selfish reason. I shouldn't have done this. I am accepting any punishment you will lay upon me.”

Gwynfor was taken aback at first, but then had to chuckle, which turned into a hearty laugh. Ornstein raised his head and Gwynfor could feel the confusion coming from his boyfriend.

“How about you come in first, Ornstein?”, he said and closed the door behind them.

“What was so funny, master?”, Ornstein wanted to know. “I have done you wrong. That isn't anything to laugh about...” His head was hanging low, clearly in guilt.

“Oh, Ornstein, it is just... I found it kinda cute that you wanted to keep a personal thing from me, even if it was a bit creepy.”, the master said. “So, um, do you have the tooth with you?”

“Yes.”, Ornstein said, relieving himself from his armour, rummaging around a bit and then handing the tiny object to Gwynfor.

“Thanks, now I can ask Nevy to reattach it.”, Gwynfor said, sighing with relief.

“So, what about my punishment?”, Ornstein asked, kneeling on the ground once again. “I will accept anything, as I said. I deserve it.”

“Ornstein, I won't punish you.”, Gwynfor said and the lion knight raised his head in surprise.

“But master, I have lied to you and attempted to keep something that belonged to you. More than that actually.”, he said.

“Yes, but you already found out that it was wrong to do it and you confessed your crime to me and I can see how much guilt you have build up over the day because of it.”, Gwynfor said. He sat down on the bed and tapped for Ornstein to sat next to him. His boyfriend came over and sat down next to him, like an obeying puppy.

“May I ask how you lost the tooth in the first place, Master?”, Ornstein asked and Gwynfor felt the blood rush into his face when he thought about how it happened.

“Uh... it was back at the collection point, some silver knights had already gotten drunk because of the victory and a blunt side of a sword has hit me in the face when I tried to separate them.”, Gwynfor quickly lied.

“Huh... but that doesn't add up where I found the tooth.”, Ornstein murmured. “It was near that large dragon that you had slain...” Gwynfor cursed under his breath, his knight was too observant.

“Fine, you got me... I got hit by the dragon's head when it rolled off and my face connected with the handle of my spear that I had stuck into the ground in front of me.”, he said.

Now it was Ornstein's turn to chuckle, but unless himself, the knight quickly got his composure back and they both sat in silence for a little while.

“So will you get to the princess now to reattach the tooth?”, Ornstein asked.

“No, Nevy can wait until tomorrow. So can my tooth.”, Gwynfor said. “And also, I think if you really want a punishment, I just thought of something.” He leaned down and whispered something into Ornstein's ear, which face split into a grin on return.

“Oh master, how naughty of you.”, he said and the both of them vanished beneath the blankets.

Chapter Text

Oscar had been sure that he would go hollow.

Now the only chance for his mission to be fulfilled, would be if another Undead would pick up the torch and carried on in his steed. He managed to found the most promising cell, praying that the Undead in it hadn't gone hollow yet and dropped them a key so they could free themselves from their cell. Then, he crashed in a small dungeon and waited. Waited for them to find him, waited for the inevitable, hoping that he wouldn't lose his mind before they found him.

The next time he heard a human voice however, he raised his head and was surprised to not see the Undead he had tossed the key, but instead a knight in iron armour, wearing a tabard with a huge yellow sun on it.

“Oh, another knight of Astora like myself? Splendid.”, the knight said.

Oscar just stared at the figure in front of him, barely able to make sense of it. He had practiced a speech for the Undead who was bound to find him in his head for quite a while now, so that he could get them on the right path before it was too late, but he hadn't expected this. So he opened his mouth and just asked: “Who are you?”

“I am Solaire of Astora. I became Undead to come to this land to find my very own sun.”, the knight promptly answered. Oscar just continued to stare at him dumbfounded. Had this guy just said that he had became Undead on purpose?

“You... what..?!”, Oscar stammered before finally getting a hold of himself. “So, you haven't been brought to the Asylum but instead came from outside?”, he asked.

Solaire nodded to him. “Yes. I am quite certain that Lordran is the right place to find my very own sun. I doubt to find it in the Asylum though, but you never know.” A hearty chuckle escaped the man's throat. “And see, I may not have found a sun, but a fellow knight of Astora, even one of the famous elite knights. May I ask your name?”

“It is of no use.”, Oscar murmured. “It is too late for me. I can feel that my humanity is slipping away. Soon I'll be hollow. Please, leave before I can hurt you.”

Solaire however, didn't made any intentions to leave. Instead, he sat down next to Oscar and asked: “Why do you think you are losing hope?”

“Regrettably I have failed in my mission.”, Oscar said. He didn't knew why, but the presence of the other knight somehow soothed him. “I wanted to fulfill the legend of the Chosen Undead, but to no avail... My only chance was that some other Undead would take up the mantle.” A sudden thought sparked in his mind. “Solaire, would you keep the torch lit in my place?”

“Are you sure you want me to carry on with your mission?”, Solaire asked. “Cause for me, it feels like there is still plenty hope left in you. Maybe, on your mission, you just need some jolly cooperation?”

And this question, this tiny thing of believing in him, had made Oscar able to get up again, escaping the brim of hollowing. “I am Oscar of Astora.”, he said to Solaire and the two knights had been travel companions since then.
___

After the astoran knights had gotten rid of the large red drake on the bridge, Solaire had stayed behind to gaze in the sun. Oscar had been used to the sometimes strange behaviour of his friend now. He felt pretty confident after they had managed to rout the the large beast and decided to go exploring the bridge a bit more on his own.

He had found a way to go under the bridge, but nothing special had been there, only some hollow soldiers and a chamber full of rats, which his sword made short work of. He found some stairs that would lead up a small tower overlooking the bridge. Oscar ascended it and stopped dead in his tracks, when he spotted the figure of a fierce black knight, having their back turned to him.

His first instinct was to leave, go back, ask Solaire for help or just leave it be, the tower was a dead end anyway. But the newfound confidence in him seemed to have turned into some kind of foolish pride, so he clutched his sword and took on the battle. Against a being twice his size wielding a great sword with only one hand.

Several minutes later, the unthinkable had happened. Oscar had been able to slay the black knight on his own, but his Estus flask was empty and there was still a large wound at his side, he could feel the blood dripping out. However, as an Undead he would just awake at the next bonfire should he bleed out. [i]But would he still be himself?[/i] A tiny voice in the back of his head whispered. With an uneasy feel in his stomach, Oscar returned to Solaire. He thought it would be better to not tell his fellow knight about his scuffle with the black knight, Solaire had a habit of worrying about him far too easily.

Solaire turned his head upon hearing Oscar approaching. “Oh, Oscar, you are already back. Did you find anything?”, he asked.

“There is a way under the bridge.”, Oscar answered. “I think we can use it should the drake decide to come back.” Oscar panted a bit, the fight with the black knight had left him pretty worn out.

“Are you alright?”, Solaire asked. “You seem to be a bit out of breath. Did you get in another fight?”

Oscar's hand subconsciously wandered to the wound on his side, but he shook his head and said: “There were just a few hollow soldiers, nothing to worry about, I already got rid of them.” Oscar stepped from one foot to the other. “Solaire, can we move along? I would feel far more secure after we have reached the next bonfire.”, he said. Of course Oscar was in desperate need of filling up his Estus flask and getting his wound healed. His eyes wandered to the flask of Solaire, which still was filled up half. He knew Solaire would share it with him anytime he would ask, but... they still needed to make it to the bonfire. He knew how strong Solaire was, but also that his fellow knight sometimes managed to take some unnecessary hit, so he probably would need the flask for himself. Oscar decided to just stay behind and concentrate on staying alive.

“Very well then, let us proceed.”, Solaire said and led the way. Oscar followed him quietly, his hand was finding the wound under his armour and squeezed it in an attempt to ease the bleeding. When Oscar saw that it only soaked his gauntlet in blood, he quickly wiped it away at the interior of his surcoat.

They were halfway across the bridge, when Oscar noticed the sound of soaring wings and the crackling of blazing fire. “Careful.”, Solaire shouted and rolled to the side, carrying down Oscar with him so that both of them landed on the stairs Oscar had descended earlier to explore. The elite knight gasped when the sudden movement jostled his injury.

“Are you alright, Oscar?”, Solaire asked and Oscar could see the worry shine in the blue eyes of his friend.

“It is fine, I am fine.”, Oscar said and sighed. “I must admit, I don't feel like fighting this thing again. Shall we take the way I discovered earlier instead?”, he asked.

“That sounds like it would be the best idea.”, Solaire said and the both knights stood up to continue their way. Oscar needed a bit but Solaire helped him up without saying another word.

When they reached the area where the rats had been, Solaire noticed the stairs to the tower. “Have you been up there?”, he asked.

“There had been nothing there.”, Oscar answered, maybe a bit too quickly, cause Solaire stared at him for a split second too long. He really didn't want for his fellow knight to find the corpse of the black knight and know about his struggle with it. They continued their way and managed to arrive at a large gate.

“Seems like we are unable to reach our bonfire.”, Oscar said. It was really unfortunate. There was it, the saving light, but they were unable to reach it. The gate was shut close and could only be opened from the other side and to reach it from the bridge they needed to take on a fire breathing drake.

“I guess... we have to find... another one.”, Oscar gasped, his wound really hurt. And they didn't had to do any fighting yet. “Solaire?”, Oscar asked, confused why his friend didn't answer. Solaire kinda stared at the other side of the gate with a longing glance, like if there would be anything he wanted to reach. “Solaire, let's move on?”, Oscar asked again and the sun knight winced at his voice.

“Oh, I am terribly sorry.”, he said. “I just think I have seen something that could bring me closer to my very own sun. I would like to try and reach this place later, if you don't mind.”

Oscar was the first to ascend the steps in front of him and bit away a curse when the first hollow soldier stormed at him, readying his sword. Luckily, Solaire was at his side in an instant and the hollow soldier soon laid on the ground, lifeless.

After they had ascended the stairs, Oscar didn't bit the curse away anymore. “Shit.”, he said out loud and got an admonitory look from Solaire, the sun knight didn't endorse the use of profanities. “Sorry.”, Oscar groaned. The sight of the foes in front of them were troublesome. He spotted quite a few hollow soldiers, some of them equipped with crossbows and the worst, a large armoured boar, which wouldn't hesitate to trample them down once spotted.

“Come on, my friend, we can do it.”, Solaire reassured him. Oscar stared at him deadpan. He was sure they could have done it, when both of them had been well, but with the bleeding wound at his side... he actually started to get dizzy. This wasn't good. They needed to reach the next bonfire soon. So he only listened half when Solaire explained the tactic he had thought up to him.

“I am sorry, what have you said?”, Oscar asked and got another worried look from Solaire.

“Oscar, are you sure you are feeling alright? Do you need a break? Or a sip of Estus? I can see that your flask is empty, you know.”, Solaire said.

“It's fine, it is nothing.”, Oscar said. “I just managed to get some unlucky hits in when fighting the soldiers. I am fine. Really.” His hand found the wound again and he desperately hoped that the blood wouldn't seep out.

“Alright, I will trust you on this, my friend.”, Solaire said. “I was suggesting that we would try to avoid the boar for now and take care of the hollow soldiers first. Then we can strike from up above.” Solaire pointed to the little bridge just above the area where the boar was patrolling around. Oscar nodded. “Sounds like a plan.”

So the two of them put their plan in action and at first, it went surprisingly well. Solaire managed to take care of the hollow soldiers with ease and Oscar only had to fight one of them on his own once, which he managed even in his worsened state. Oscar noticed however, that Solaire managed to empty his own Estus flask in the process. Now any chance of healing their wounds was out.

“Ready?”, Solaire asked when they stood on the bridge and the boar was just under them.

“Ready.”, Oscar said and the two of them plunged from the bridge, driving their weapons into it, making the creature cry out in pain. But it wasn't the only one crying out in pain, the impact had jostled Oscar's bleeding injury so much, he felt the darkness engulfing him, felt the darksign in his chest tugging at his humanity, he was dying, once again and he didn't know if he would come back this time...

When Oscar awoke, he wasn't at a bonfire. He was engulfed by a warm light, Solaire staring at him, eyes full of worry but also a mild anger.

“Oscar, why haven't you said anything about your injury?”, Solaire scolded him.

“I am sorry... I didn't want you to worry... and I thought we would need the rest of your Estus to make it to the next bonfire...”, Oscar said, feeling very very small. “Wait... why ain't I dead?”

“I know a healing spell.”, Solaire said. “I just like to keep it for emergencies. Like this one had been.”, Solaire said. “Oscar, you were so close to hollowing when I found you, nobody can say if you are able to face another death. Please don't do anything like this to me anymore.”

“I am sorry.”, Oscar said, once again and then added: “Solaire, you said to me that you are searching your very own sun. But you know what? You already are the sun.”