Actions

Work Header

Swan Flight

Chapter Text

The wars of the old age had come and gone. Now it was time to welcome the new age of crows with an arranged marriage between the two once estranged kingdoms. It was to be the final seal to a treaty sixteen years in the making, first formed on the day that Sugawara Koushi was born.

For years Suga had been told that when he turned sixteen he would marry the heir to the kingdom of Karasuno. His father was forever telling him how important it was for the safety and the prosperity of his little kingdom that the two kingdoms would join together. These plans of alliance did not comfort Suga as he stood in an unknown bedroom, surrounded by maids, being dressed for his first meeting with his husband to be.

It was childish to cry, but he could not help but feel tears prickle at his eyes. He could not help wringing his hands together, nails biting into the flesh of his palm. He had to be brave, he had to be strong. His father assured him that all would be well. His husband was a couple of years older than him, a strong and reliable young man of eighteen. He had been told that he was a compassionate prince, the maids who dressed him babbled about how lucky he was to marry Prince Daichi. He was a great catch, a keen hunter, beloved by his subjects and yet Suga felt a pit of distress at the core of his stomach. So much was resting on this marriage. So much was resting on his shoulders. He didn’t know if he would be strong enough to carry all these burdens. He felt that at the smallest push he would falter and crumble. He would disappoint everyone.

It wasn’t long before he was walking down the corridors with his father to the throne room. Suga felt words stick in his throat. He wanted to tell his father that he was scared but when they reached the doors of the throne room his father took his hands gently and turned to look down at him with a tenderness.

“I’m proud of you Koushi. I know your mother would be too.” Suga couldn’t find a reply despite the warmth that spread in his chest, before he knew it, the doors opened before them and he was faced with the view of a lavish throne room.

A red carpet led up to the podium with banners of black crows at either side. There were two golden thrones on the podium. In one sat a regal woman. A golden spiked crown perched atop her dark hair. She had sharp intimidating eyes that softened when they rested on Suga’s nervous face. It was reassuring to see that the Queen of the Crows did not intend to frighten him. Next to her sat her son, the prince. He too had dark hair and deep eyes that were entirely focused on him in an odd expression that made the short hairs on the back of Suga’s neck stand up. He found himself inhaling sharply when the prince stood and stepped down from his perch to kneel at his feet and take his hand. Suga couldn’t help but notice how large and calloused it was in comparison to his slender hands. That thought was promptly wiped out when the prince connected his lips to the back of his hand with the utmost delicacy. He wanted to yank his hand away and leave all his responsibilities and the prince behind but he did not. He stayed put despite his heart racing as fast as a stampede of horses.

“It’s is a pleasure to finally meet you Prince Sugawara” were the words from the prince’s mouth that broke through the tense silence of the room. This was a meeting sixteen years in the making and Suga gaped as he tried to find words to make it seem like this whole meeting wasn’t something he desperately wanted to run from.
“Likewise, Prince Sawamura. It is nice to meet you too” The warm smile that he was given in return eased the knot in his stomach. Sawamura looked behind him at his mother for her approval before he rose and took Suga’s arm.

Daichi’s grin turned slightly impish as he looked down at Suga. “Shall we go for a stroll? Leave our parents to talk details.” Suga raised his eyebrows but nodded and allowed Daichi to lead him from the throne room and down the seemingly endless corridors arm in arm.

Suga couldn’t help but question Daichi’s reasons for leaving as they walked “I don’t understand why we left Sawamura… Wouldn’t it be better for us to hear what they’re saying?”

Daichi shook his head “Please call me Daichi. They’re just going to discuss borders and the details of the alliance. Nothing we need to worry about right now. Besides, you’ve travelled a long way Sugawara. You must be tired.” Suga nodded bashfully in agreement.

The halls of the large castle passed them by in an awkward silence. He didn’t know what to say. It felt like his heart was lodged in his throat preventing all speech. What do you talk about with someone you’ve just met but know you are going to spend the rest of your life with? What if he said something out of turn? What if Daichi turned out to be a horrible person? But his worrisome thoughts were interrupted as they halted at a pair of ornate doors with guards stationed outside. “Your quarters are here Sugawara. I’ll take my leave and allow you some time to rest.”

As he entered his room he heard Daichi call out to someone on the other end of the corridor
“Yes, yes I’m free now Kuroo! I’ll be over there in a moment!” his voice filled with laughter and mischief.

 Suga felt his stomach drop. Maybe what he thought was kindness was just a reason to get out of official business. Was he played the fool? But he did need to rest and the room in front of him looked so comfortable and inviting, all decorated in blue and gold with silks and furs lining the plush bed. He could only fall into it, sleep dragging him down as his cheek hit the pillow. A distant thought told him that the maids would chide him for not changing first, his father would be upset that he missed dinner but all of those worries were replaced by dreams.

In his dream he was underwater. He was drowning. Dark water was all around him as far as the eye could see, save for the pondweed lapping at him. His body was in agony. It felt like it was breaking into a thousand pieces. His lungs screamed for air as he hung in suspension. Only his pained gasps and his thunderous heartbeat could be heard until he heard a voice cut through the water like a knife, speaking to him in honeyed tones “I always get what I want. One way or another Prince Sugawara.”

Chapter Text

Sunshine poured into the courtyard where Bokuto and Kuroo waited for Daichi. A faint breeze passed through the trees lending itself to the tranquil nature of the gardens. Gardeners and castle staff could be seen from where they sat on one of the benches but as soon as Daichi came into sight the pair of them stood with chuckles nudging one another. A waft of “Ohohohoh’s” could be heard chiming through the lush, green courtyard.

Daichi scowled at his friends’ antics as he approached them, still wearing the base of his ceremonial gear. He had the sense to rid himself of the cloak before going to meet them but the gold buttons of his doublet and epaulets had a distinct sparkle in comparison to his friends’ plainer court wear.

“Here’s the man of the hour! Still looking like a hoighty toighty mama’s boy!” called Kuroo from Bokuto’s side. It swiftly earned him an attempted punch which he dodged from hiding behind a marble statue. Bokuto and Kuroo had grown up with Daichi. They learned together, they ate together, they slept together, they hunted together and they were very much like an inseparable trio of brothers. The court loved and loathed them for wherever they went, chaos followed in its wake. But they sure knew how to throw a hunting party. They were known throughout the kingdom to be highly skilled, and an excellent team. They had kept the kingdom safe from some of the wilder beasts that terrorised the villages and for that, the kingdom was grateful.

“How’s the new bride? I’m sure your mother’s not pleased you ditched him so soon?” Bokuto asked with a tinge of concern. Everyone was curious about the new addition to the Karasuno family. It was a subject that had been on everyone’s lips since the announcement and rumours had spread about the new prince. Bokuto and Kuroo spent a lot of time trying to ease Daichi’s worries that Prince Sugawara would not turn out to be a spoiled brat. That he would not be controlling of Daichi’s time and resources. Daichi honestly wanted this marriage to work for the good of the kingdom, he felt the responsibilities placed on him by his mother and the crown more than anyone. Despite his laughter and jesting with Bokuto and Kuroo.

Daichi sighed and sat down. “Mother can gripe at me later. He needed his rest.” His friends looked curious and hovered above him at his shoulders with a hum, desperate to know more. Daichi fumbled for words deep inside him to describe how he felt until they burst forward. “He’s just so young! I didn’t realize what a difference a couple of years could make but he shook like a leaf at court! I thought a stray wind would blow him over!”

“What does he look like though? Is he cute?” Kuroo asked leaning down further with a smile which turned to a snigger when Daichi’s ears began to turn red. “Oho?”

“He’s exquisite! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a boy so beautiful. He looks like he’s stepped out of a moonlight glade. And he has a little dot right here” Daichi tapped under his left eye to illustrate. “But I don’t think it’s painted like the ladies like to do. He’s just… so young! I don’t think I can do it. He looked like he was going to cry at my touch.”

“Well you are a big and scary guy!” Bokuto chimed in with a poke to the ribs on his other side, causing Daichi’s frown to deepen. Daichi knew from the moment he saw Suga that he was different from his friends. He looked like the sort to enjoy the comforts of a library rather than the wild outdoors he felt at home in. Suga seemed to hold a delicacy about him that most men grew out of. He wondered if that was the way of their kingdom or was it just because he was to become a bride? His silent thoughts were broken and mistaken for a foolish daydream by his wild friends.

“At least he’s pretty. Sounds like you’ve got it bad on looks alone Daichi! Ahh our friend is so shallow Bokuto! I thought we taught him to be kind and wise!” Kuroo stood wiping a fake tear from his eyes as Bokuto stood to hug him like a husband would a wife, joining in on the fake tears.

“I can’t believe our dear son has grown up like this! Our kindness and our teachings wasted!” Daichi smiled stiffly and felt a vein twitch in his head at those words, feeling a rumble grow in his chest. He knew they were kidding but at a time like this, those words hurt. Daichi stood at full height and ran at the pair to wrestle them into submission.

“You guys are a pair of assholes, you know that?” He barked as he gave chase to the cackling pair through the courtyards. They dodged past castle servants and guards skilfully until the trio crashed into a young woman with dark hair, pale skill and eyes that looked like murder.

“Cousin, shouldn’t you be with the Queen and your fiancé instead of messing around with these buffoons?” were the clipped words that flew out of her lips as she pushed the three muscular young men off her with relative ease. Bokuto and Kuroo whined slightly at the roughness of the push but they knew better than to protest.

Daichi had the modesty to look slightly ashamed at himself as Kiyoko, his cousin and leader of the knights chided him for his slack behaviour. His expression of guilt caused her eyes to soften as he looked straight at her. “My fiance is currently resting. I merely wanted to seek advice and council from my friends but they don’t seem to be helping.” His accusation caused a mock gasp of offence from his friends and a smirk from Kiyoko who then rested her hand on his shoulder.

“All will be well cousin. I’m just back from meeting with some of the knights of your Prince’s company and they all speak highly of his nature and wit.” Tension faded from Daichi’s shoulders at those words. Kiyoko was a wise leader and an excellent captain. In his opinion she should be the one to lead Karasuno to greatness, she has just as much claim as he does on the throne. Another wise and beautiful queen would be more suitable in his mind. He was merely a foolish prince who would rather spend his days hunting and trekking the forests rather than ruling a kingdom. Kiyoko sighed and patted his cheek at his silence. “Do not fear Daichi. You are more than capable. You just need to get your head out of the forests and you will be a great king. I must be off though. I will see you at dinner.”

Bokuto and Kuroo dodged Kiyoko as she marched past them to see Daichi looking a little bit lost at her absence. They looked at one another before huddling to either side of him, scooping him into an embrace. They rubbed circles into his back as they felt him relax even more, mumbling tiny apologies into each other’s hair for being too brash, too silly. Daichi was going to grow up first, he would become king and it hit both Kuroo and Bokuto in that moment that they would both need to grow up to become a strong support for him, especially with his new consort in the upcoming weeks.

The three of them decided that it would be best if they got to know Suga. First impressions were often deceiving afterall. A ride out in the forest followed by a fine banquet to welcome him would do just the trick in revealing the pale beauty’s nature. Daichi was sure that it would be a day to look forward to.

Chapter Text

Suga awoke to the sound of a tea set being carefully placed on a table in the next room. The smell of fresh pastries and tea wafted through to his chambers, causing his stomach to signal its hunger and his mouth to water. It took him a few moments to urge his muscles to engage in order to get up. If it weren’t for the temptations of the food, he would happily spend the day curled up in this wonderfully plush bed that he had been given.

The Karasuno climate was much colder than he was used to. Goosepimples covered his skin as he slid out of the cosy covers. His home consisted of lush warm planes and farmlands that spread for miles and miles. In Karasuno there were many glorious mountains and wide expanses of forest. Everything was so much different here, but at least they had warm and cosy beds and some of the best pastries he had ever had.

Over in the parlour, a small table sat by the window with a china tea set bearing all the goodies his heart and stomach desired along with a cosy dressing gown draped on the chair at his disposal. From the window he could see the well maintained gardens and the wild forests that surrounded them. It was all very peaceful and quiet. A perfect morning, for the perfect cup of tea.

As he reached down to prepare his tea he spotted an envelope bearing his name. The letter inside was folded in a haphazard fashion on cream coloured paper bearing the Karasuno coat of arms of the crow at the top. Suga held it in his hands carefully, reading the message inscribed below in a proud, sharp font. Each word meticulously yet boldly written as if they were orders to battleground. Daichi had sent him a letter to his room after three days of awkward glances across dinner tables. It seemed that Daichi had finally had enough of his attempts to dodge and hide in the library with the words,

“Meet me in the stables at 2pm. I have arranged for us to go out for a ride. I look forward to seeing you then.
 Daichi”

The sleepy prince looked up from the letter with a sigh and slumped back in his chair, his hand rising up to flop over his eyes as he groaned. His sleepy mind tried to process all the possibilities and the outcomes of the ride but he was interrupted by a meek knock on the door and the face of his friend, and guardsman peeking around the door.

“Good morning Suga, I hope you slept well.” The meek voice didn’t match the man’s stature nor his armour. A smile pulled at Suga’s lips as he waved his friend in to join him for breakfast. He wasn’t really supposed to do this, it wasn’t very proper but he was incredibly fond of Asahi’s company, considering him a dear friend and an excellent confidant in the midst of the hustle and bustle of court life. Asahi beamed back at him and moved to sit as handed the invitation over to Asahi’s leather clad hands.

Suga began to pour them both tea as Asahi examined the letter while exclaiming in a silly posh “I did sleep well but I think today is going to be a busy one. It seems I have been beckoned by my dear husband to be. He thinks we should go riding so it seems!” Asahi laughed at Suga’s mockery before bashfully removing his gloves and scratching the back of his head.

“I already knew about this Suga. Your fiancé spent the past couple of days trying to get the okay from Captain Ushijima about taking you into the forest but you know how Ushijima is! He wouldn’t even allow it until he had us all look through every path to check for any possible dangers. That man is a tyrant I tell you!”

Suga sniggered and handed a teacup over and patted Asahi’s hand before pulling back to grab a chocolatey pastry. He bit into it and let out the tiniest moan.
“He’s efficient Asahi. He’s a very good captain, you know that… He’s really not as bad as you think! You’re just being a big baby.”
Asahi’s nose scrunched at Suga talking with his mouth full “Sugaaaa! That’s disgusting! I’m not a baby! He makes us go on long treks at night! It can be very scary! There’s owls Suga! Owls!”

Suga couldn’t help but feel pity for his friend’s fears but he shook his head as he swallowed “But that’s your job Asahi… You’re a knight.” Suga pointed out, waggling a teasing finger the brunette’s way.

“But I didn’t want to be a knight Suga!” Asahi whined, desperately drawing arcs in front of him with his hands, causing the china to clatter on the table. It often seemed that he forgot how big his body was in comparison to his delicate behaviour. “I wanted to…”

“To be a gardener” Suga finished soothingly, saving the jug of milk from crashing to the floor due to his friend’s passionate outburst. His eyes softened as he gently placed the jug back on the table, stroking the edges of the fine china, before resuming a grip on his tea cup.  
“I know, I know. One day Asahi, when I’m married I’ll do my best to get you in with the palace gardeners here.” If there was one thing he could gain out of this marriage was the chance to make his friend happy. At the end of the day, Asahi had the luxury of choosing his fate. Suga envied him. He had no titles nor kingdoms to uphold. He would have the chance to be free. Suga vowed that one day he would make Asahi’s dreams come true but for now was the matter of a ride with his fiancé.

Asahi left Suga quickly after breakfast so as not to get caught. He had a lot to help prepare for the ride this afternoon and Captain Ushijima did not like it when his soldiers were late. Asahi often tended to exaggerate the negative but Suga was always there to help him up when he fell down into the pits of worry and uncertainty. He desperately hoped that today would be good for his friend as he quickly marched down the corridors to where he had to meet with Ushijima and the other knights. He endeavoured to be brave in the forest for Suga, he wanted to be a silent support to him and make his friend and captain proud.

The afternoon came quicker than Suga would have liked. Sunlight filtered through the windows of the stables making the air smell of warm hay and oats. The stable hands smiled and nodded as he passed by them, searching for Daichi and getting distracted by the many beautiful horses until he heard the doors open behind him.

Daichi strode into the stable with great confidence as he made his way to call out to get Suga’s attention away from a mare that had taken great interest in sniffing his hair. His words instead reduced themselves to a snort and a chuckle at Suga’s confusion.

“I don’t understand what’s so interesting to her about my hair!” Suga lamented looking towards Daichi whose chuckles erupted into a deep belly laugh as Suga’s face turned a glorious shade of red. Suga’s frown prompted Daichi to try and quell his laughter as he pulled the smaller prince towards him, away from the curious horse. 

“One of the maids must have washed your hair with something that smelled tasty to her. Unless you were rolling around in some hay.” Daichi mused as he leaned down to sniff Suga’s silver locks in an exaggerated fashion, huffing and puffing like a horse as he did so. He couldn’t help but notice that Suga did not smell like hay but instead he smelled really really good. Daichi could swear that Suga smelled faintly of flowers but whatever it was made him smile. Any tension that Suga thought that there would be between them seemed to disappear as he thumped Daichi’s chest lightly in protest at this silliness.

“Daichi! Don’t be stupid! I haven’t been rolling around in hay. You don’t need to check!” Daichi smiled widely and stepped away from his companion, holding his hands up,

“You never know! Your feather down pillow might have been swapped! But I don’t think that’s the case” He paused and beckoned Suga over to the horse that he would be riding. “Anyway, I invited you out for a ride through the forest. I want to show you something cool.”

Suga raised an eyebrow and tilted his head to the side. He hadn’t a clue what this something could be but it couldn’t hurt to learn more about Daichi, especially when his eyes sparkled with such excitement as they mounted their horses and set off on the path into the woods.

Daichi rode slightly ahead of Suga, leading him into a world of lush green foliage and birdsong. The sunlight made the air sparkle and when Daichi turned around to check if he was alright, he seemed to sparkle too. Air caught itself in his throat and his horse took the opportunity to embarrass Daichi by bolting off down the forest path, causing Daichi to yelp in surprise as he grasped for the reigns and control.

Suga snorted and cackled at the shock that flew up in Daichi’s features. Usually he’d try and have better manners but the way that Daichi’s eyes went so wide as if they they were about to pop out of his skull along with his cry of surprise caused Suga to break down into a fit of laughter. He heard Daichi call out to him from up ahead

“Sugawara! That’s not fair!” Suga caught up with him, biting his lip to hold in another chuckle before his expression turned to a serious one while leaning closer to Daichi.
“I heard rumours that you were a keen hunter…. Have your court been lying on your behalf all this time, my lord?” he mused, before locking eyes with Daichi.

Daichi’s eyebrows flew up to reach his hairline before he replied, voice darkening to a rich timbre as he too leaned in to challenge Suga
“Are you sassing me? Your elder and fiancé?” For a moment Suga felt a little sick. Panicked thoughts flew through his mind at a thousand miles an hour. Had he spoken out of turn? Had he just doomed his entire country to war? But he was too far into this to back out now. He couldn’t back down. If Daichi couldn’t handle him like this then what hope would there be for this marriage?

“Why yes sir I am! I’m afraid you’ll just have to deal with it.”

Any fear Suga had in Daichi’s response disappeared when two riders galloped to flank Daichi at either side, whooping and bellowing obnoxiously. Kuroo and Bokuto locked eyes with Daichi, watching his face turn to a picture of annoyance and embarrassment.

“Ohohooo! Daichi just got sassed!” cooed Bokuto in a stage whisper.
“I can’t believe it. Out of all the brides in all the world, Daichi got one with an attitude!” Kuroo added. Suga swore he could see a vein ready to burst in Daichi’s head as he smiled tightly.

“Sugawara, these idiots, are my friends, Kuroo and Bokuto” to both of them, as they waved in response with grins that were trouble incarnate. Daichi cleared his throat and sweetened his smile, “I had hoped to introduce you in a more civilised manner but it’s clear that these dolts cannot function in polite company so I will have to ask them to leave

“Oh! Are we embarrassing you?” Kuroo leered, lunging towards Daichi, almost sliding off his saddle in the motion.

“I think we might be Kuroo. I think he’s going to hurt us!” Bokuto chimed before letting out a squawk as Daichi’s fist flew towards him. Suga watched the three of them wrestle and nudge each other on their horses. It seemed like they were in their own little world, he was completely forgotten about. Daichi may have been older than him but he certainly didn’t behave like it. The three friends seemed to speed ahead of him, all jeering and hollering at one another. Playful nudges, punches and pokes were exchanged. The trio rode in front of Suga in perfect synchronicity. In his mind’s eye they would make an excellent team in battle and in the hunt. From what he could see Bokuto was the one who seemed to hold back more but Kuroo went in for the kill no holds barred, it even seemed he was flirtatious at times. Pain twisted momentarily in Suga’s gut. He didn’t like the idea of having to compete for affections. There were times when Daichi could come across as intimidating to the outside perspective, with his commanding presence, and muscular build but in this moment he could see how weak he was against his friends. It made him feel lonely. There was no place for him in this group, no purpose. So he called out to them. They did not respond.

“I think I’m going to head back!” he projected. To his surprise Kuroo was the one to look up with a cat like grin and wave. Daichi’s head then swung around to see Suga turning his horse around.

“Would you like me to accompany you?” Daichi called over. Suga shook his head with a weak smile and waved a goodbye in response.
“No need, I’m just feeling a bit tired. Go have fun” he replied before kicking his horse into a trot, back the way they came.

Daichi watched Suga go feeling like he messed up but any regrets he had were quickly quashed by Bokuto and Kuroo cantering off deeper into the forest, he chased to follow.
It surprised him when Bokuto broke the rhythm of hoofbeats, his voice softly asking “Do you think I upset him there?”
Kuroo shrugged and nonchalantly replied with a noise indicating that he didn’t care too much but Daichi sighed and lifted a hand to rub his face as they slowed down their horses to dismount. He would try to apologize later at the banquet.

Suga wandered through the hallways aimlessly lost in a reverie. His father was still in meetings with the queen and various councillors. Asahi would be busy patrolling the area, unlike home he couldn’t pinpoint exactly where he would be at this time. He couldn’t go down to the kitchens to mingle with the kitchen staff and beg the head cook for a snack. The castle was vast and lonely and the hallways seemed to go on forever but he was knocked to the floor by a young man dressed in simple clothes. His hair was brown and seemed to be styled in a fashion that was effortless but clearly took time to do. Was he a servant? Perhaps but the way he held himself with a great elegance suggested that he could be a lord? Suga couldn’t tell but when he reached down a hand to help him up, there was something about this gentleman that unnerved him.

“Are you lost your highness?” he asked, his smile almost too sweet. He swore that his eyes had a predatory glint to them for a moment. Suga had no other choice but to disclose his disorientated state. If he didn’t he would probably never find his way back to his room.

“I’m looking for the royal suites” he replied. The man placed one hand on Suga’s lower back and gently spun him around as if they were dancing to face him in the direction he needed to go. Suga felt a shiver snake down his spine to where the man’s hand rested.

“It’s just down this corridor, up the stairs and to the left” the gentleman lilted before sauntering off in the opposite direction, leaving Suga alone again. If he weren’t so confused, if he were at home, he would have called for guards by now but the gentleman was already on his way. Suga could do nothing else but make his way back to his room and hope that he would feel better by the banquet tonight.

Chapter Text

Kuroo wandered down the vast corridors of the castle alone after the ride with Daichi and Bokuto. It had been a good ride in his opinion, just Daichi’s new bride raised his hackles a little bit. He wanted to be supportive, he wanted to be able to fully accept and embrace the fact that Daichi would get married and that everything would be okay. Except Daichi was too oblivious and too trusting. It worried Kuroo to no end. Growing up together, he had protected his friend as best as he could from any courtiers who wished to use Daichi’s good nature to climb the ranks of the court. He trusted no one except for himself and Bokuto. To make matters worse, he was to marry a boy from a kingdom that was once their enemy. He needed to test him out to check that he wasn’t weak. In his mind, Sugawara was still too weak, too soft and fluffy to be able to stand at Daichi’s side. He was only sixteen, maybe he’d grow but Kuroo wasn’t about to hope too much. Hope like that could destroy kingdoms.

There was to be a big banquet tonight, a send-off for Daichi’s fiancé back home after his time here. He would be back next summer for another visit, another chance for Daichi and Suga to get to know one another. Suga spent most of this visit hiding away while his father did the work. However Daichi wasn’t any better either, choosing to run off with Bokuto and himself into the forests like he usually did.

There were servants bustling about the corridors from the kitchens to the banquet hall, and then to the big ballroom where entertainment would be held. The queen had arranged for there to be a wonderful spread of things to see, enough to please everyone but the tidbit of news that piqued Kuroo’s ear was that the little princeling would be performing himself.

Sugawara’s kingdom took pride in their teachings of the arts. Sugawara himself was known to be a highly educated royal, especially for being so young but most did not know that he was an excellent harpist. Kuroo felt a smirk tug at his lips upon hearing this. He had just the idea to spice this boring evening up, even if Daichi and Bokuto wouldn’t approve. He would just have to rope them into his scheme one way or another.

Soon the clocks struck seven o clock and the guests and officials began to fill the banquet hall and the ballroom. They were all here to recognise the official treaty and courtship between the two kingdoms. Suga sat by his father and listened to speeches about what a wonderful relationship that would be fostered between both him and Daichi, about how they would bring the people together both socially, and more importantly for the kingdoms, economically. It was all very dull and Suga felt his mind wander to the moment where his father knocked on his door after he returned from the ride, requesting that he perform. He still didn’t have any key idea what sort of songs he would play but he figured that anything would be good.

The maids had shoved him in a deep blue velvet doublet and breeches that didn’t fit correctly, he was adorned with broaches and jewels to disguise the fact that he was nothing more than a small pale gangly sixteen year old with hips that most dressers didn’t know what to do with. The wardrobe ladies would click their tongues and sigh in displeasure as they poked at his ribs and hips commenting on how he was too skinny up top but too large on the bottom. They would pick and poke at the grey fluff that was his hair. It was short and unruly and would stick up in ways that made the maids just grumble in frustration, while sticking a circlet on his head and call it a day. Suga hated it but couldn’t say anything because in his heart, he knew they were right. He hated formal events. And tonight, at this formal event, Suga sat with his father feeling like an awkward ugly duckling, waiting for the time he would play his pieces.

Daichi did try to talk to Suga, he meant to. He could see the way his cheeks puffed and his lips twisted in discomfort as he fidgeted in his seat at the meal. He could see the way his smile would tighten as various officials asked him questions about his education and upbringing. Daichi meant to ease his young fiancé’s tension with a joke or a smile but every time he did, he was pulled in the other direction, mainly by Kuroo or Bokuto who were especially keen on telling jokes and wild hunting stories to all who would listen with Daichi being asked to interject with an anecdote every so often. The lords and ladies were especially keen on the story where Daichi stopped Kuroo from killing a mother in his misjudgement. It painted him to be a hero and the kingdom loved that sort of thing. Much to his surprise Suga even seemed to listen in on that story and Daichi wasn’t completely sure but he might have seen the corner of Suga’s lips twist up in a smile.  

All the frolicking and merriment was moved through to the ballroom where there was a band of musicians to entertain the nobility of the land. Suga spotted Asahi in the corner standing very tall, looking bored out of his mind. He brightened up when he saw Suga smile and send a wink of acknowledgement his way. It made Suga feel better to know that he wasn’t completely alone on the boredom front.

Then his father approached him and patted him on the back, pointing him towards where the harp stood, all golden and magnificent. It was time for him to entertain the kingdom that he would one day call home. Butterflies ate away at his stomach with each step he took towards the beautiful instrument but they faded as he rubbed and stretched his hands while sitting on the stool provided.

The room fell silent in awe as the first notes rang out across the room. The tiny duckling of a prince played a gorgeous melody. The warmth of the melody was like the warmth of his homeland he missed so much. Suga thought of all the planes and the rolling hills, the fields with golden wheat that shimmered in the summer skies, the meadows of flowers where he used to play with his mother. He wanted to show the court all of that through the power of his melody.

Asahi felt his chest puff with pride and joy as he watched the crowd melt at Suga’s beautiful playing. There were many smiles and looks of affection from the nobility in the room. Bokuto swung around from the conversation he was having with Kuroo and Daichi immediately to let out a “hoo?” and tilt his head at the sound. His eyes widened until they were big golden pits of wonder. Daichi turned towards the sound to see his small fiancé’s delicate, pale fingers deftly coax a warm and nostalgic melody from the strings of the harp that leaned back on his shoulder. The golden instrument towered tall above him making him seem even daintier than he was. Daichi felt a small blush warm his cheeks as the words “He’s so cute” resonated in his mind.

Kuroo meanwhile spotted the prime component to his plan. The tuning key. It was left sitting right next to the seat Suga was on. All he needed to do was to pinch it and tune the harp while Suga wasn’t looking but that would mean creating a distraction.

Lucky for him Suga had finished his piece and stood to bow meekly at the applause he was given. His father had taken him to one side with an arm proudly around his slender shoulders, telling the lords and ladies about his hopes for the two kingdoms to become peaceful and excellent trading partners. His father thanked Karasuno for their time here and extended an invitation to Daichi and his mother to come to their kingdom next summer. It made Kuroo click his tongue and roll his eyes at the saccharine nature of it all. He didn’t trust them one bit. He didn’t want them to come back.  He didn’t want them to hurt Daichi or his family or his kingdom. They were leaving tomorrow so he would have to send them packing in embarrassment. Who cares if the little prince cried in the process? It was necessary.

Kuroo slinked over next to the harp and while no one was watching. Everyone was either so absorbed in the speech or their own conversations to notice Kuroo slide up to the harp. He had a knack for sneaking around. He clicked the tuning key onto one of the pegs and tightened it as much as he could without snapping the string. And then another string, and another and another. He had plenty of time during the speech to wreak havoc before slinking back to Daichi and Bokuto’s side. He pulled them closer to where the harp was.

“I want to get a better view” he said as he nudged them closer before the crowd formed to watch Suga play once more.

Suga sat back down at the harp, feeling more confident than he did last time. Daichi was near the front of the crowd and he was flashing him a smile of encouragement. Suga couldn’t help but return the smile and then turned to rest the harp back on his shoulder and begin to play his next piece.

It sounded terrible. To his horror the harp was completely out of tune. Every string seemed to groan and cry out unhappily at his plucking and then worst of all, one broke with a terrible twang. More strings broke and snapped back at Suga in protest causing Suga’s eyes to widen in panic and horror. What had happened? Someone must have done this and he then looked over at the crowd who were muttering amongst themselves. He got up bowed and excused himself, rushing out of the ballroom. His father was left to make excuses.

When he left, running down the corridors, the tears that he had been holding back freed themselves. He was so embarrassed. It was just his luck that someone hated him enough to tamper with the strings, but he couldn’t think who would do such a thing. Surely he didn’t deserve this?  

Despite all of his agonising it wasn’t long until Daichi found him sitting on the balcony of the library. The place he spent most of his time during this short visit.

“I made such a fool of myself. I shouldn’t have played at all” Suga whimpered, small and tiny. Daichi’s hand reached down and touched his shoulder, squeezing it gently. Suga looked up to see Daichi smiling gently down at his tear streaked face.

“I thought you did a very good job. That crowd aren’t easy to entertain. I should know.” Suga smiled weakly at his attempt to console him.

“Aren’t your friends wondering where you are?” he asked, thinking although this moment was nice, Daichi would soon be swept away yet again but was surprised when Daichi sat down next to him.

“They know I went to look for you. Besides, I think Kuroo’s in a world of trouble right now. The tuning key for the harp was found by his feet.” Suga’s eyes widened and he looked down at his toes. His voice came out in almost a whisper “Why did he have to do that Daichi?” Daichi sighed in return and gently nudged the smaller boy with his shoulder.

“Kuroo is a jerk. He sometimes plays tricks that don’t land with the right tone. Usually he does it to be funny but I think this time he was just more worried about stuff? I don’t know why else he would do it really.” Suga leaned his head on Daichi’s shoulder and looked up at him with a raised eyebrow.

“Worried about ‘stuff’ huh?”

Daichi put an arm around Suga’s shoulder and nodded. He didn’t want Suga to get cold on the balcony. In Karasuno it could get quite cold. He was so small and spindly the wind would cut right through him. “Yeah stuff…” he murmured, looking out at the gardens bathed in twilight and the forest beyond. They both fell silent as Daichi searched for words to say to make Suga feel better about this evening.

“You know, you did a really brave thing. I would never be able to play the harp or any instrument like that to that many people. You were really good Sugawara! I respect that!”

Suga huffed and nudged into Daichi a little. “I’m leaving tomorrow and you’re only now just making the moves on me? I’m disappointed in your skills Daichi!” Daichi chuckled in return and ruffled Suga’s hair.

“I have no skills! I’ve never done this sort of thing before!”

Suga smiled a little and lowered his voice in a stage whisper. “Despite my ridiculous good looks, neither have I!” Daichi snorted and poked Suga’s side causing him to let out a tiny squeak and thump him back in return.

“You’re sixteen Suga! I should hope not! Your father would be scandalized!” Suga huffed and pouted and thumped Daichi again at that statement. “I might have! You never know!”

“Not when you hit like that you won’t, tiny bruiser!” Suga sniggered and shimmied his way out from under Daichi’s arm and got up to go to the door. Daichi swivelled himself around to look at him, lit from behind. He would never be able to get over how small he was, how tiny and fluffy he seemed. Like a little chick who hadn’t grown yet. He was confused for a moment by Suga’s features schooling themselves into an expression of shyness, his eyelashes lowering as he fiddled with a ring on his skinny finger.

“I would like to write to you while we are apart. I feel like I missed out an opportunity while I was here because I was so afraid to mess up. I didn’t get to know you as well as I would have liked.” He raised his eyes and scratched at a bit of hair at the nape of his neck. “May I?”

Daichi nodded just as he heard the whoop and a holler from an incoming Bokuto. His friend bounded in with endless enthusiasm and inhaled before bursting out with what would seem to be a whole font of information.

“Oh my goodness Daichi! Kuroo is in so much trouble! He’s been made to clean up all the horse dung in the stables for TWO WEEKS! TWO WHOLE WEEKS! Your mother was soooooo mad! It was hilarious! Oh Sugawara!” He turned and grabbed the smaller boy by the shoulders and gripped them tightly in his strong hands.“YOU WERE AMAZING! YOU WERE SO TOTALLY COOL! I’M SO IMPRESSED EVERYONE LOVED YOU!” he babbled loudly. Suga could only smile and nod and mumble thank you’s that were meek in comparison to Bokuto’s bountiful enthusiasm and energy, his cheeks turning redder at each compliment before he could take no more and stepped back with a tiny bow.

“Thank you for your kind words. I should head back before my father begins to worry. Thank you Daichi. I’ll see you around.” He waved and left the balcony, back through the library to return to the party that seemed to get louder as the night passed. Daichi’s kind words had certainly made him feel a lot better. Maybe when they wrote letters to one another they would reach a better understanding of one another? That’s what he hoped at least.

As he watched the party unfold further into the night he desperately hoped that each letter they exchanged would solidify the connection his father had hoped there would be. He didn’t know that Daichi would be pulled away by responsibilities that no one expected and that from a far corner of the ballroom, a pair of eyes watched his every move. Danger, more terrifying than a simple prank from Kuroo, was closer than he thought.

Chapter Text

A small voice cried out from the tiny blonde girl “You can’t do this! You’re going to ruin everything!” as the magic was pulled violently from her form and she changed into a small fawn. The little fawn cried and sobbed at her form and magic being stolen from her as a cloaked gentleman stood with a taller, more imposing, man made out of oak who loomed tall and creaked as he moved.

“Ruining everything? That’s such a strong way to put it little fairy. I’m just making everything as they should be. Those stupid kingdoms ruined my everything!” He spat venomously at the small creature cowering. His face schooled itself back into a smile as he twisted the precious pendant in his hands, gazing into it for a moment, as if it held all the secrets in the world. “So I’m just setting back the natural order of things. As a fairy you should understand that” he proceeded to saunter off with a giggle, smacking his oak companion’s behind while tossing the little, glowing star pendant up and down much to the faun’s horror. His oaken companion grunted in displeasure at the smack, thumping the gentleman back with a root as they left the fawn behind by a wild forest lake so blue and beautiful, set next to a picturesque mansion. “Look after the place while I'm gone little fawn! It took a long time to track you down and bring you here, so you best behave yourself! I'm off to have some fun with this power of yours!”

“Dear Daichi,

It was a good experience to be able to visit your homeland but I am very glad to be home in my own bed. There is nothing quite like coming home after a long trip to your own bed. Although I asked for us to write to one another, when I sit down to actually write, I find myself struggling.

I guess my intentions were good but the execution is not going to plan. I’m not sure what I expected. I think I just want to understand you better. You are older than me and have experiences in places that I do not. You seem to be better travelled than I and more worldly. I’m sorry if my bookishness and homeliness disappoints you. You must have hoped for an exquisite bride with a great taste for adventure. I am neither of those things.

This turned out to be quite sad! I’m sorry! Please write back soon! I’d like to hear about what else you like to do other than hunting. You never showed me that ‘cool place’ in the end.

I await your reply eagerly.

Suga
(P.S: You kept calling me Sugawara the whole time I was over there. I’d much prefer it if you called me Suga.)”

Summer turned to Autumn, Autumn turned to Winter, Winter turned to Spring and soon enough Summer had arrived again. In this time Suga, in his seventeenth year, had not received any letters back from Daichi, even though he had written him a good number of times. However today a letter from Karasuno did arrive. He hoped it would be arrangements about them arriving to his kingdom. He hoped that it would be so, he hoped that he would be able to talk to Daichi and ask him personally why he hadn’t replied to his letters but he all too well understood why upon opening the letter.

Karasuno would not be coming this year. Suga’s eyes frantically scanned the page and his hands crumpled the crisp cream letter in frustration. Daichi had been pulled into an urgent diplomatic matter. A prince of one of his allied countries, Fukurodani had gone missing.

It all made sense, Daichi was probably too busy and too stressed to reply to his silly letters about the courts. He possibly wasn’t even at home to receive them. Even though he tried to reason and tell himself with each letter that he wrote Daichi would reply he never did. He eventually resorted to crying in front of Ushijima of all people, letting out a howl and a sob, babbling about how he tried so hard and how he didn’t want to let anybody down. Ushijima broke all self-imposed protocol in that moment to envelope the still growing prince in his arms and hold him in an awkward yet comforting hug, metal clad hands rubbing circles on Suga’s back.
“You’re going to rust my armour sire. I believe you are trying the hardest out of everyone in this kingdom. In both the kingdoms in fact. Anyone who denies it would be a fool to do so.” Suga nodded and clung to Ushijima’s breastplate. He was allowed as much time as he needed to mourn his efforts before the anger took over. Suga decided that next time they met, he would show Daichi that he was not to be ignored. Even if he was busy, he should have written something himself to apologize. Rudeness like that would not be tolerated. No more wilting Suga, no more sweet, shy Suga, he would go back to Karasuno a force to be reckoned with.

And go back to Karasuno he did. Suga’s resolve had built up to be strong and unshakeable. He would get his own back for Daichi ignoring him and for Kuroo embarrassing him in front all of those officials. In his eighteenth year Suga had grown into himself, no longer the small ugly duckling of sixteen. He was now a magnificent swan with long limbs and hips that swished with purpose each step he took. During their time apart, Suga gained an understanding of the power he had with his body, taking care to test it out on the poor hapless knights and servants in his castle at home. No one could say no to him, not even Daichi.

Daichi was tired and worn thin from his expeditions up and down the country. He was constantly travelling and acting as an envoy from here to Fukurodani, trying to prevent any political disasters from happening. He had barely been home for a reasonable amount of time to settle and adjust to his new role. His mother claimed that it was going to help him become a great king, with great diplomatic skills. He had been travelling for three days solidly, lucky that Kiyoko had taken leave of her post momentarily with a carriage to collect him so he could at least nap on the way home. He wasn’t surprised to see that Kuroo and Bokuto had come to greet him. Bokuto bounded up to the window and rapped on the glass with a wave and a grin.

“Wakey wakey Daichi! You’ll never guess what’s happened since you were away!” he sang, getting out of the way for Daichi’s exit to the carriage. Daichi groaned and dragged a hand down his face, rubbing the sleep from his eyes in the process.

“No Bo… I haven’t a clue what’s going on here. I’m barely even at home. Can’t this wait until later? I’d really rather rest right now.” Kiyoko dismounted from her horse, took her helmet off and raised her eyebrows at Daichi.

“Really Daichi? You’ve forgotten the season?” she quipped. Both of Daichi’s hands flew up to his face as he leaned back and groaned as they made their way inside and towards his suites.

“Really? Truly? He’s here already. For fuck’s sake give me a break! I just needed a day or two to get myself in order.”

“No one’s seen him around though. Rumour has it he’s quite angry with you for some reason or other” Kuroo added.

“You mean he’s mad at you Kuroo. After all you did pull that idiotic stunt last time he was here. Mother wouldn’t get off my case about it for months! You have to behave yourself this time Kuroo!”

Kuroo shook his head and waved his hand as they picked up their speed, quick marching and leaving Kiyoko behind to report back about the trip.

 “No no, I don’t need a rumour to tell me that he doesn’t like me. That’s clear as day! But the rumour flying around is very specifically about you. Ask any of his knights”

 Bokuto backed up Kuroo’s claims with a sombre nod. “Yeah Daichi he’s right. I don’t know what you did to make him angry but you should try and make up with him…. He’s a nice boy afterall. It’s not cool if you made him cry!”

They had reached Daichi’s rooms and Daichi opened the door, flinging his cape off onto the nearest surface and slumping down on one of the couches that inhabited his lounge. He didn’t even complain about Kuroo slinking through to his office without his permission. What did surprise him was the “Ooooooh!” that echoed through, paired with a chuckle before Kuroo appeared in the doorway with a bunch of letters.

Daichi looked confused at the moderate pile in Kuroo’s hands. Weren’t those just boring letters about his diplomatic work? It wasn’t until Kuroo dumped them in his lap and he saw the emblem. The white crow. He felt sick to his stomach and his memory flashed back to Suga on the balcony shyly asking him if he could write to him. He had just tossed them aside in his foolishness, assuming they were not important. He messed up. Again.

Bokuto picked up a couple of letters that had fallen to the floor and let out a gasp and looked at Daichi with a frown, disappointment lacing his voice. “These are from Suga! Suga had been writing to you had you hadn’t read them?! But he’s so cute! Why wouldn’t you want to be penpals with Suga?! Daichi!!!?” Daichi looked up at Bokuto like a kicked puppy.

“Bo… I didn’t receive most of these while I was here. The first couple maybe but the rest, I was away so much… I’m such an idiot. I forgot our promise.” Bokuto nodded fiercely in agreement with that statement before making his way for the door. “Bokuto what are you doing? Where are you going?” he groaned feeling like he could muster no energy to get up off the sofa.

“I’m going to do the decent thing, lazy bones!” he called back before placing the letter gently on the table next to the door and running out, a blur of black and white hair.

 Kuroo ended up shoving Daichi up and off the sofa and ushering him to the bed before leaving the room himself. He pondered the letter situation seriously. There was every possibility that someone was meddling with the post and preventing Daichi from receiving the letters within a reasonable time. It then again could have just been down to human error and bad timing. He knew for sure that he didn’t do it. Kuroo had promised Daichi’s angry and tearful mother to never pull a stunt like that again. Daichi wasn’t happy with him either for that night. Daichi gave him a very stern talk once Suga had left about if he wanted to protect him, he had to protect Suga too. They were to be married and all. It was probably one of the most mature things he had heard from his prince in a long time. So he decided to give up on running Suga out of Daichi’s life and just let it happen. He had grown up enough now to learn to protect Daichi in other ways. If someone was messing with the letters, he would find out, but for now, it was none of his concern. He just had to make sure that no one interfered with Daichi’s courting of Suga during the visit.

Bokuto rapped on Suga’s doors urgently despite the bearded knight with long hair begging him not to. Suga came to the door looking as sleepy and grumpy as Daichi was when he left him but Bokuto felt his jaw hit the floor. Where was Suga? Had a being of pure light come and replaced Daichi’s fiancé? There was no other explanation because the young man that stood before him was exquisite in every way, even if he had sleep mussed hair and a glare that told him that he better have a good reason for disturbing him.

“I’m sorry Sugawara! I just….. I just….” He shook his head trying to focus on anything that wasn’t Suga’s prettiness, the way his neck gracefully arched as he tilted his head to the side. “LETTERS!” he finally found the words. “The letters! Daichi didn’t get them! I’m so sorry! He’s an idiot Sugawara! He’s been so busy and I’m just really really sorry. Try not to be too mean to him please! He’s been working so so hard for the kingdom. He just got back and he’s so tired!”

Suga stopped Bokuto’s babbling with a small smile while resting his hand on Bokuto’s shoulder. “It’s alright Bokuto. I understand. Thank you for telling me this. But I do admit, I am rather hurt by my fiancé’s stupidity. I put a lot of thought and time into those letters so please forgive me if I can’t help but tease him a little bit. I think he deserves to be taught that he should pay attention, don’t you?” Suga winked and Bokuto’s face went bright red. This was an angel before him. He was sure of it. An angel with his heart set on revenge and he could do nothing but nod and agree with him. 

Still, this alone didn’t feel like a good enough way to apologize to Suga. Maybe if he arranged something? Not too tiring and it had to be fun. That was essential! The idea struck him and he gently grabbed Suga’s hands and squeezed them. “Please play poker with us tonight!” Suga could only laugh at Bokuto’s earnestness and so he agreed. Tonight he would play poker with Daichi, Bokuto and Kuroo.

Chapter Text

Bokuto had later sent a note to Suga with the place he had arranged the game of poker would be held. They would be playing in one of the parlour rooms in the royal wing at eight o clock. Also included on the note was a small drawing of a big fluffy owl with a speech bubble that said “Let’s be friends!” It was very cute and made Suga smile. Asahi also found it very endearing, letting out a coo of appreciation when he was handed it briefly to gauge where they were going.

They walked down the vast corridors with Suga humming a tune to himself before Asahi piped up, “I don’t think your plan is a good idea Suga? What if they’re good at poker?” Suga grinned up at his friend and waved his hand to shoo away any negative feelings there were.

“Don’t worry so much Asahi! It’ll be fine! Besides you’ve played poker with me many a time and there have never been any problems before. I don’t see what the issue could be. Besides, I have a distinct advantage” he cooed, clinging onto Asahi’s arm and leaning into him causing his bracelets to clink softly against Asahi’s light armour. Asahi could only grumble in response as they came closer to the room directed. “Also you’ll be there to back me up!” Asahi perked up and his eyes widened as he raised his hands and shook his head.

“No I can’t! I’ll get in trouble! I’m really bad at poker Sugaaaaaa!” Tears formed in his eyes for a moment before Suga grabbed his hand with determination and then pulled out the dreaded puppy eyes tactic.

“But you can’t leave me all alone with them Asahi…. They’re bigger than me and I’m just a small waif in comparison to me. I need my strong knight friend to help me….. pleeeease? Don’t throw me to the dogs!” His eyes widened and crocodile tears welled up causing Asahi’s grumbles to turn into whines and huffs and sighs before throwing up his hands in defeat.

“Fine! Fine! But I still think this is a terrible idea and if you end up burned because of it and I end up in trouble I am not going to be saving your ass Suga!” Suga grinned impishly and chuckled before gesturing to the door for Asahi to knock on. He wanted to truly show Daichi that he was not one to mess with and what better way to begin the evening than being announced?

Bokuto perked up as soon as he heard the knock on the door. This had to be Suga! They had spent the past ten minutes setting up the parlour to be as comfortable as possible and optimum for playing poker. Chairs sat around a table at the centre of the room with the divans of the parlour pushed to the side against the book cases at the edges of the room. A fire was lit, providing a warm glow. Kuroo sat lazed back as he shuffled the cards with quick ease in his hands, Daichi paced the room nervously and only stopped when he heard the knock.

The door opened to show a tall brunette knight.
“I’m here with Prince Sugawara” he said before stepping aside to allow Suga to swish his way effortlessly into the room. Bokuto bounced and grabbed Suga’s hands. He bounced and swayed excitedly.

“I’m so glad you could make it Sugawara! This is gonna be so much fun!”

Earlier on Daichi had been woken up from his nap by Bokuto clattering into his room. His friend never went anywhere quietly unless he needed to. The reason for the noise this time was that Bokuto had to tell him about this evening. Also he had encountered Sugawara. This was news in itself as he could not stop sighing and exclaiming and sobbing about how beautiful he was and how stupidly lucky Daichi was to get such a beautiful bride in an arranged marriage. At the time Daichi didn’t see what the big deal was about.

Looking over at Suga standing next to Bokuto and the knight now, he could see exactly why Bokuto had made such a fuss. He stood over there dressed almost like an exotic dancer. Jewel toned silks and brocades hung off his body, clinging to him in all the right places. When he walked his ass held a gravitational pull that his eyes could not escape. His long, pale neck was made for kissing and was framed beautifully by several strands of delicate gold chains. He had grown taller and into himself and Daichi swore that when he stood up to go over and greet his fiancé he almost felt dizzy in his presence.

Suga felt a smile tug at his lips in satisfaction. Daichi walked over to him and took his hand and raised it to his lips in an act of courtesy.

“It’s good to see you again” said Daichi after his lips were done brushing the back of Suga’s hand. Suga smiled in return.

“Likewise. I’m happy to be here, especially when a good fun game of poker is promised!” He clapped his hands together and sighed a little mournfully. “I’m afraid I’m not terribly experienced so you’ll have to forgive me if I mess up.” Daichi, Kuroo and Bokuto stood respectfully as Suga was led by Daichi to the table to sit down before Suga stopped and looked over his shoulder at Asahi.

“I brought Asahi to play too! I hope you don’t mind. I just thought it would be more fun with more players.” His face was a picture of innocence and his smile was shy as he lowered his eyelashes and looked up at the trio hopefully. A resounding chorus of “Of course!” told him that he would have an easy night. He had the boys right in the palm of his hand. All he had to do was play his cards right and he would be out of here with his just deserts.

Everyone sat around the table as Kuroo dealt the cards for the first round. The dealer would move clockwise from Kuroo, to Daichi, then Suga, Asahi, to end on Bokuto. Asahi looked like he had been thrown to a pack of wolves when Kuroo handed him his hand with his trademark grin that could only mean trouble. Despite that, there would be no cheating here. Bokuto made sure to give his friends a lecture on this. They wanted to make Suga feel welcome, not like he had no chance.

The first game went as smooth as it could. Bokuto took all the cards back from everyone and then they did a tally on the chips to see who won. Daichi did fairly well for himself earning a good number of chips in return. Bokuto and Suga didn’t do terrible either, Asahi on the other hand was left a wibbling wreck, especially when Daichi locked eyes with him. Suga countered that by gently leaning and nudging against Asahi in a friendly manner and whispering comforts in his ear. To the outsider it looked like Suga was flirting. Quite the opposite.

“I think I’m going to start the plan” he murmured. Asahi could only nod and glup in return, feeling all of his meagre luck fly out the window. Daichi’s pout was interrupted by Suga piping up as he handed his cards back to Kuroo.

“I think we should maybe liven up the game a bit! This is fun and all but I propose a variant!” Everyone except Asahi looked curious and confused at Suga’s suggestion but remained silent so he could continue. “I suggest we play strip poker!” He leaned forward and clasped his hands together neatly, feet swinging below him in a giddy fashion.

Bokuto and Daichi’s mouths dropped in unison, Asahi whimpered and Kuroo let out a chortle before declaring “Yes!”

Daichi cleared his throat, face turning a tomato shade as he mumbled “I don’t see why not….”

Bokuto followed up with “It would be so much fun…. but we could get in trouble!” Asahi nodded wildly in agreement with Bokuto but Suga tapped the table firmly with a sweet grin. “Then it’s decided! You lose the hand you lose an item of clothing instead of chips. Last one with clothes on is the winner!”

Daichi could almost feel his chest puffing out. He felt like he had a good chance to win this. Seeing Suga strip off would not be bad either. He’d already seen Bokuto and Kuroo naked on many occasions, it was one of the things that happened when you grew up together.

No one except Asahi expected Suga to up his game to the degree he did. He went from being a moderately okay player in the regular rounds to a formidable opponent. Kuroo whistled and raised his eyebrows as Suga laid down his hand watching Asahi lose his shoe.

Then Asahi lost another shoe, his jacket, his shirt and then finally his breeches before he sat almost in tears before everyone else in his pants alone. One more losing hand and Asahi would be naked.

But luck turned in his favour as the others, except Suga started losing more and more clothes. Maybe it was desperation but Asahi clung on to his underwear for dear life with each hand he laid down. Panic seemed to sharpen his mind.

 Suga let out a whoop as soon as the shirts tumbled to the floor and he could appreciate the fine muscular physiques of the men around him.  Kuroo was slender and lithe, built for speed and finesse. Bokuto was ripped and had abs that could grate cheese but Daichi was more to his taste. Golden and toned to perfection with biceps that whet Suga’s appetite. Asahi wasn’t a poor show either. After years of knight duties his body had been sculpted to bear the weight of his hefty duties.

“It’s not fair that Suga’s not the only one with all his clothes on” Bokuto whined as his trousers finally hit the floor to reveal an impressive set of thighs. Suga’s smile widened and his eyes darkened in anticipation. Everyone in the room knew at that moment that Suga was to be feared. They had to try fight back.

Eventually Suga lost his first item of clothing. He stood up and dumped his bracelets on the table and let out a laugh as everyone at the table looked scandalized at the fact he wasn’t stripping off anything significant.

“Should have worn more clothes boys” lilted Suga as he sat back down.

“You planned this from the start didn’t you?” Kuroo gently accused, giving the silver haired beauty a side eye. He received a giggle in return as Suga locked eyes with him, hand resting on his cheek as he leaned on the table.

“Caught me~. I don’t think you have any right to complain though Kuroo. Especially after that particularly nasty stunt you played with that lovely, lovely harp. It was so very very mean of you.” Everyone laid their hands down and Suga smiled and clapped his hands in joy “Oh look! I win again! Kuroo I’m afraid you’re losing the trousers!” Kuroo pouted and grumbled as he shimmied out of his breeches. Too skinny. Not enough meat on his thighs for Suga’s refined pallet.

Then finally Bokuto lost his underwear and bared all to the world. He was sizable to say the least, especially in the girth department. Pale pubic hair messily crowned his package and made its way all the way up to his belly button, shimmering with an iridescence. To his credit he proudly displayed himself with no shame at all. Suga sent a wink and a thumbs up his way which caused Bokuto to puff his chest out in pride but it did mean that with no clothes on, he was out of the game.

Kuroo followed not too long after. Asahi and Daichi were fighting for the win against Suga with every bit of tooth and claw they could muster. Kuroo simply didn’t care enough. His underwear was peeled off and added to the pile near his feet. Like his body, his cock was a slender specimen. Nothing that particularly caught Suga’s eyes.

Bokuto thought he was big but when Asahi lost his underwear he felt his testicles retract just a little in deference to the horse-like quality of Asahi’s genitals. He was hung and Suga laughed at the reactions of the other three players. Eyebrows were raised and looks of slight jealousy were directed Asahi’s way. As impressive as they were, they were much too big for Suga’s taste. Asahi did not display his as proudly as Bokuto had. He instead sat with his hands gently covering his crown jewels, almost on the edge of tears. “Suga you’re so mean” he whimpered.

Suga smiled brightly in return “Don’t worry Asahi, it’s nothing I haven’t seen before.” Everyone else looked around at Suga, eyebrows raised in question. Suga laughed, he was not as much of a sheltered flower as they had thought. “Strip poker is my speciality! I’ve never lost a game yet. Asahi on the other hand…” Asahi whimpered and nodded in agreement.

Now it was time for Daichi and Suga to go head to head. Who would lose and who would be the ultimate winner? A tense silence filled the room as Kuroo dealt the cards to the two players. Daichi was determined to get Suga to lose some clothes but all he did was strip of pieces of jewellery. All he could do was continue to not lose against Suga but it felt like Suga was playing with him. Then finally he had rid himself of every jewel and bauble he wore. Daichi thought that maybe just maybe he could get Suga to lose his shirt, something! He just wanted to see some of that pale expanse of skin revealed to him…. He could do it. He just had to lay down this hand.

“Four sevens and a ten!” he called out, placing down his hand.

“I think I’ve won again!” Suga called back before leaning forward and nodding towards Daichi’s underpants. “Take em off Daichi, show me what I’m going to be expecting!”

Daichi grumbled and slid his boxers off, stepping out of them before kicking them aside. Suga’s face went bright red. He was just right. Thighs that could strangle a horse, a bottom that the gods had sculpted themselves and a cock that seemed weighty and sturdy. Dark hair trailed itself up invitingly onto Daichi’s golden abs. Oh… he was perfection. Suga was a very very lucky boy.

To stop himself from becoming a drooling mess he did get up and go around the room to where each pair of boxers lay, picking them up, while humming a bright little ditty.

“Thank you boys for a lovely game. The view was striking to say the least. I’ll be off now!” and with that Suga sauntered out of the parlour with four sets of different underwear as his spoils of war, accompanied by the shouts and hollers of the losers left behind.

Everyone was left to return to their business commando, knowing that they had truly been bested by an angelic trickster. Suga had made his point clear. To mess with him was to lose all your pride while being smiled sweetly at.

Daichi got back to his room and slumped down on his sofa with a chuckle. He hadn’t felt this relaxed or entertained in such a long time. Despite having been stripped down, he couldn’t find it within himself to be mad. He was enthralled the whole time by the charisma and charm Suga showed. His laughter was never mean despite Asahi’s protests. He actually found himself feeling a little bit proud, Suga of sixteen would never have attempted anything like that. Or at least he didn’t think so.

The letters on the table caught his eye. Each one with his name neatly written on the cover and the emblem of Suga’s family stamped on the back. Carefully, he opened one and unfolded the letter inside to read the contents.

“Dear Daichi,

Have these gotten lost somewhere? Are you too busy? Do you simply not care for the words that I have to search deep for before writing them down on this scary blank page?

I ask these questions time and time again each time I write you, each time I don’t get a reply, each time I send these out in hope that you will get these.

I am scared. I’ve been having these terrible dreams that none of this will work out. That something will come along and tear me to pieces, a feeling of doom and desertion. I am selfish. I just want to be happy in the end. I want to be happy and comfortable with you but these dreams… they’re telling me that nothing good will come of this.

I want you to reassure me. I want you to tell me that it’s all going to be alright, that I don’t have to be scared, that you will be there at my side to do what’s best for both of our kingdoms. I keep hearing that you’re so good and capable but I want you to focus on me just for a moment. Look at me. Tell me it’s going to be okay.

Writing this was a mistake. Writing to you was a mistake. It doesn’t matter, you won’t read this. You haven’t read the other ones.

I just got news that you are far away in Fukurodani. Of course you won’t get this. I am a fool for trying.

This will just have to be an exercise in self-expression instead. To you, my silent, absent fiancé, my last letter. I give up.

Suga”

Daichi felt like he had been slapped, all of the wind had been knocked out of him but he reached out for another letter, tore it open and read the contents.

In these letters were all of Suga’s hopes and fears for the marriage. He hoped that Daichi would be kind to him. He hoped that their kingdoms would thrive and that everyone would be happy but with each letter that passed, those more selfless hopes took more of a backseat until it ended in the culmination of the first letter Daichi had read. Suga wrote about the love he had of the gardens in Daichi’s castle, how he desperately wanted to see that special “cool place” that Daichi had promised to show him all those years ago. How he wanted to show Daichi all sorts of places in his homeland in return but his writing almost too him there. The descriptive passages about the markets, the flower fields, the apple tree with a swing by the river that would become full of blossom in the spring. Daichi wanted to see Suga surrounded by blossoms in the spring.

He groaned and leaned forward, the opened letters tumbling at his feet as he cradled his head in his hands. He had truly messed up. He had to make it up to Suga, reassure him that everything would indeed be okay. Let him know that he would try and be a good husband, not the flighty adventure hungry boy he had been all those years ago.

Tomorrow would be the grand ball, there would be music and dancing and all sorts of merriment to offset the announcement of their official engagement. Tomorrow night their marriage would be fully set in stone. Suga was now of age, they would be engaged and hopefully after all this mess with Fukurodani had blown over and their prince had been found, they would be married in a prosperous and happy ceremony. That’s what Daichi hoped at least. He just needed to find a way to convey those hopes to Suga. So he sat down at his desk and finally wrote back.

Chapter Text

Glittering chandeliers hung from the ceiling making the ballroom shimmer with a wondrous glow. Music flowed through the air as people danced across the floor, being swept along by the sweet sounds of the piano and strings.

Daichi stood near his mother with the letter he had written in the chest pocket of his dress jacket. He was adorned with all the formal finery that was expected of a prince of the land. He looked very dashing in a deep red which complimented the golden tones of his skin. His mother made her approval known by kissing him on the cheek in greeting.

He was excited to give Suga the letter, to let him know that he had not failed completely. He had spent hours yesterday considering each and every word. How exactly does one comfort the Suga of the past and the Suga of the now? He tried his very best to convey the growing affection that he felt for the younger prince. That he would not be alone to face the trials of the world and their kingdom alone.

He could see Bokuto and Kuroo milling around the room, sampling the fine foods that were being carried on platters. Kiyoko was dressed in a similar red to himself. She looked bewitching with her dark hair tumbling down her back, encased by a golden circlet atop her head. It was sure to be a fun and enchanting night.

But when Suga arrived, he felt the breath catch in his throat. The world seemed to stop for Suga and his party entering the ballroom. He was escorted by his father and followed by their knights and nobles who dispersed into the hall. But all eyes were on Suga.

He was a vision, a mirage, an ethereal wondrous beauty that made Daichi want to fall at his knees and weep. Suga wore what seemed to be two pieces of silk. One that hung from a silver choker at his neck, white gradating into a pale sky blue. It was tucked into a beautiful silver belt that accentuated his sinful hips where the second piece of silk began. Slits into the legs showed off his beautiful calves. He looked like a dancer that had come down from the heavens to bless all with his beauty and wit.

Daichi didn’t start breathing again until Suga was right before him pushing his lower jaw up to close his mouth.

“You want to close your mouth, your grace. You might attract flies” he quipped, but the blush on his face was undeniable. Daichi was also very attractive in dress and appearance. The white breeches he wore, coupled with his boots, accentuated his muscular thighs and buttocks. The magnetism between the pair was undeniable.

Daichi cleared his throat and looked away for a moment to try and regain his composure. His eyes flitted to the dancefloor where a dance was just finishing. He held his hand out to Suga and bowed with a dashing smile.

“Would you care to dance?” Suga smiled in return and nodded, carefully taking his hand to follow him to where the new dance would begin.

The delicate melody of a piano flitted across the room in a waltz. Daichi led Suga across the floor doing his best not to step on his toes. Years of dance training had been enforced on him by his mother but when he held Suga in his arms, he felt all nervous and giddy. He felt so light and delicate that he felt that one misstep would break him. Suga squeezed his arms and stepped closer to Daichi with a chuckle to try and assure him that this would not be the case.

“It’s alright Daichi, you’re doing just fine” he murmured, leaning close into his ear. As the piano crescendoed, they both got into the rhythm of the waltz, turning around the room, causing the silk that Suga wore to swish magnificently. The pair of them were a picture of beauty, red and blue sweeping and gliding together. It felt like the world melted away in that moment, it was just them and the piano. Their hearts raced and they felt their breath catch as they became lost in each other’s eyes. They didn’t realize that the dancers that surrounded them had stopped to watch them. So when the final notes quietly rang out across the hall played their foreheads and noses were touching in an eskimo kiss. Suga smiled and giggled, giddy from the moment as he nosed Daichi in return.

“I think we have an audience” he whispered, as if sharing some grand secret. Daichi looked away from the golden cinnamon of Suga’s eyes to look at the enraptured onlookers before turning a delightful red. He could see Bokuto and Kuroo in the distance sending him a manner of gestures of good will and encouragement. From thumbs up to taking each other into one another’s eyes and fake-smooching each other in a pantomime fashion. Daichi held down a laugh at their stupidity before looking back down at Suga who leaned comfortably into his side. It felt like he had won big time. It looked like Suga was always supposed to be right there, tucked under his arm, safe and sound, snuggling gently. Daichi’s heart swelled and he swept Suga off the dancefloor as an idea struck him.

“Daichi where are we going?” Suga asked in a bubble of laughter, giddy from the dance. Daichi smiled brightly in return and only proceeded to lead Suga out of the ballroom and into the gardens and down the path they had rode down all those years ago. “I’m going to show you the cool place!” he replied with mischief in his eyes.

It was a beautiful, crisp summer night. The moon was full and bright in the air and every star seemed to be out sparkling just for them. In Daichi’s mind Suga looked like he could easily jump and fly off into the sky to become one of those stars. He wished he wouldn’t though, he would rather Suga stay down on earth with him. They walked for a good while before they reached a unruly mass of bushes that twisted and turned upwards towards the sky. Suga looked confused at the mess.

“Is this it?” he asked. Daichi shook his head and let go of Suga’s hand, beckoning him to follow as he wound his way around the side of the bushes, past a couple of trees until he found an old iron gate.

The gate creaked back to reveal a beautiful secret garden. The moon washed over the place, revealing an abundance of lilies and roses and grand old trees that would blossom in the spring. On one of those trees, tied up to a particularly strong branch was a swing. Suga gasped with joy and clapped his hands at the sight of the swing before looking at Daichi as if to ask permission. Daichi only nodded his approval before Suga rushed forward and sat himself down on the swing.

Daichi watched as Suga swung high, laughing as carefree as a child as his silks swung with him. He wanted to ask if Suga was a spirit bathed in moonlight but he could not find the words to convey the precise emotion that he felt until Suga shook him out of his reverie.

“Swing me higher!” he called and Daichi could do nothing but oblige. Suga laughed as the momentum of Daichi pushing him launched him higher and higher.

“I can touch the sky Daichi! I’m sure I can!” Daichi’s heart felt like it would soar with him.

Eventually Suga did tire of being swung and he leapt off the swing, flying into the air, silken cloth forming wings at his sides before he landed and spun around to grin at Daichi in the moonlight.

“That was so much fun! I love this place!” Daichi walked towards Suga and he thought about suggesting they head back in case anyone worried but he heard the swell of the strings from the castle. It seemed that Suga heard it too because he was soon arranging himself into a dancing position. Another waltz, a grander waltz.

“Dance with me Daichi!” Suga laughed as Daichi grabbed at his hips and lifted him up into the air before luxuriously sweeping him around the garden, just as he did in the ballroom. They spun around and around, turning with the bold and vibrant melody that joyously rang through the garden. Daichi would lift Suga as the music surged, making him squeal and giggle in delight. They seemed to meld together as a perfect team. Suga felt his heart flutter in his chest. Daichi looked so handsome and held him so secure with every lift and every spin on the stone slabs that were set into the secret garden. It was their secret ballroom just for two. The music eventually died but they still stayed gently rocking in one another’s arms.

Daichi pulled back a little, he wanted to tell Suga about his letter, to give it to him in this grand gesture of comfort and friendship but the words left his mouth. He found himself leaning down, attracted by the starlight in Suga’s eyes.

“Suga…. Your eyes are sparkling” he murmured, voice husky before his lips gently placed themselves upon Suga’s own in a sweet kiss.

He didn’t expect Suga to respond by throwing his arms over his neck and pulling him closer with a sound of approval. Suga’s lips were so soft and giving. Daichi could only sigh and pull Suga closer by the waist, gloved hands reverently brushing the bare skin of Suga’s sides that peeked through the silken mist. They kissed with such sweetness, playfully testing the waters of how far they were willing to go before Daichi figured that the music had been silent for too long and broke apart the kiss with great reluctance. Suga stood before him with a pout. He too wasn’t satisfied by just that and it made Daichi smile bashfully and scratch his head in shame at disappointing this fair beauty.

“I think the music’s been too quiet. Maybe they’re looking for us?” he explained to Suga, hoping to appease his disappointment.

“I suppose we should go back them” Suga huffed as he took Daichi’s arm and they left the secret garden together, shutting the gate behind them.

They did not expect to see a panicked Asahi riding down the path to meet them. Worry would have been normal but Asahi looked simply frantic. Suga felt his stomach drop in fear.

“Whatever is the matter Asahi?” he asked his breathless friend who only reached out his hand to Suga, beckoning him to get on the back of the horse with him.

“It’s an emergency! Your kingdom! Your father! He’s received a letter! Something is terribly wrong! We must leave!” he gasped and it felt like all of Suga’s fears had come to fruition. Daichi’s hand comfortingly rubbed his back before he leapt up onto the back of Asahi’s horse.

“I’m sorry Daichi. I had such a lovely night” were the last words he said before Asahi turned the horse around and he rode back to the stables to bundle Suga into a carriage with his father. He saw Kiyoko at the head of the pack with Ushijima, which was reassuring but Suga felt the greatest sense of relieve at the sight of his father. With the knowledge that his father was safe, he had to know what was wrong.

“Father, what has happened?” he asked but he was handed an official letter from one of the King’s key advisors. It demanded their immediate return for a matter of great urgency that had to be discussed at home. No wonder he wanted to leave so quickly.

“This won’t affect the marriage will it?” Suga desperately hoped it wouldn’t affect their alliance. “Karasuno will be able to help us I’m sure?” His father sighed and looked out the window before waving to Ushijima to start the caravan.
“I think the alliance will be fine but we must return. If it’s as urgent as they say, Karasuno won’t mind. Besides, you seemed pretty taken with the Prince” the King gently prodded causing Suga to blush and turn his eyes out the window into the dark night.

They travelled for a few miles. The forests seemed to stretch on forever and the further on they went the deeper they went until they came to an abrupt stop. For a moment all was silent aside from Ushijima’s orders.

“Men! Stand your ground!” And then the sound of trees crashing and a terrible screech filled the air. The King leaned out of the window to see what the trouble was. He let out a horrified gasp at the sight that was set before him. Suga went to peek out of his side too but the King yelled for Suga to stay hiding inside.

Inside the carriage Suga curled up small. He could hear crunches and screams and wood creaking. Suddenly what seemed to be a tree branch reached inside and ripped his father out of the carriage. Suga’s eyes widened in horror and he reached out his hand to try and grab for his father but he couldn’t reach in time. The carriage was ripped in two, leaving him bare to attack. He could see most of the knights scattered around throughout the area, injured or worse. Only Kiyoko, Asahi and Ushijima were left standing. To his relief his father was hidden in a grove of bushes, injured but he seemed to be alive.

What he saw was what seemed to be a great demonic tree with great branches that attacked all that stood close. A harpy also flew across the skies, its screech sending shivers of terror down Suga’s spine. The worst thing is that they both targeted onto him as soon as he stood. The three knights rode towards Suga to defend him. Why were they interested in him and not his father? He couldn’t think clearly as Asahi lunged in front of him to defend him from the monster branches that tried to grab him. To his horror they hit Asahi instead, ripping him away from Suga. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion as Suga watched Asahi’s body arc through the air. He landed with a crunch. He couldn’t have lived. Panic filled Suga’s mind. He had to check his friend was alright so he ran towards where his friend had landed, desperately hoping, tears blurring his vision.

Ushijima had to do something. The prince’s life was in danger and the monstrous harpy was approaching for the kill, so he flung himself in front of the prince, cradling and holding him close to him, not letting go for a second. Kiyoko would be able to kill the monster from here. He heard her draw the arrow in her bow but then they were both being lifted higher and higher. Suga in all his shock had stopped his screaming and proceeded to faint. The weight of his body proved to be too much even for Ushijima, leading him to drop the prince from up in the air. A great shame filled him but a small relief followed as the demonic tree stopped him from plummeting to his doom. He expected the harpy to drop him too but instead a great feeling of sleepiness overtook him. The last thing he saw was Kiyoko’s tiny form riding off to get help.

Suga bolted up awake, hoping that what had happened was just a bad dream. It wasn’t he saw a familiar face from long ago smiling down at him with a great giddiness.

“Asahi! Is Asahi alive” he asked, begging for any information of his friend. The gentleman’s giddy smile turned to a dark smirk and his eyes glinted with a nastiness.

“Don’t worry princeling, he’s dead.” Suga felt the air rush out of his lungs before he was lifted up by the shoulders by a man made of oak. Was this the demon tree? He looked so human-like, his face seemed to be set into a permanent frown but Suga didn’t have much time to ponder that or mourn his friend’s death before he was thrown into the lake that stood behind him.

“Don’t worry at all little prince! I’ve got nothing against you personally. I’m just having a little fun!” the man lilted as Suga struggled to keep his head above the water, kicking and paddling for dear life. They meant to kill him surely.

“Your family and your fiance’s family however…. I can’t have you getting married and creating peace. Oh no. That would be terrible! But you’re the lucky one princey-poo. I’m going to let you live!” As Suga bobbed in the water he could see the brunette dance about on the shoreline in excitement before lashes of teal blue light flew from his fingers towards him and Suga was hit by the colourful sparks of magic.

Then he felt a crunch, a crack, a feeling of wrongness and his body rearranging. He was in such pain, such searing white hot pain that he couldn’t focus on not drowning. Instead he sank deep into the water, a scream of agony releasing itself from his throat. What had he done to deserve this? How was this fun? They killed Asahi! But even in all his anguish there was one good thing that struck out, Daichi. He thought of his night with Daichi and the pain lessened. Daichi would somehow help him, he would find him. He didn’t know how but it was a feeling deep in his gut. It would work out, hopefully?

But the pain in his body didn’t subside, it only proceeded to worsen as his bones rearranged themselves into something not human. Then he saw something in the water. A being made purely of water. A beautiful young man with sad eyes drifted towards him, holding his arms out for Suga to drift into.

“Shhh it’s alright. I’ll look after you. I know you’re in pain but I’ll make it go away” the being said. The pain indeed did subside and Suga was then led above water, his body feeling entirely different.

“Haha! I knew a swan was a good choice Iwaizumi! I’ve got excellent taste!” said the gentleman to the tree-man clapping his hands in delight.

Suga looked down at his reflection to see that he was indeed a magnificent swan with a graceful neck and great white wings that could fly for miles. The thought entered his head immediately but just as he was about to take off he heard the gentleman call out to him.

“Ah ah ah Birdy! You can’t go far! If you don’t reach the lake by the next time the moonlight touches it you’ll be a swan forever!” As if on cue the clouds that had been covering the moon parted and the moonlight hit the lake. Suga felt his leg being pulled by the watery being who held him once again as he transformed into his true form before drifting him over to shore.

Anger welled up deep inside him causing tears to flow from his eyes. He wanted to scream, he wanted to punch the man who did this to him but his oak friend was very scary and big in comparison so he didn’t dare. The gentleman sensed his feelings and smiled sweetly, coming towards him to cup his cheek in almost a loving way.

“Yes… Get angry. Feel as I felt. Let it consume you. Maybe one day you’ll come to understand that I’m not the bad guy. I’ve only set you free.” And he placed a gentle kiss on Suga’s forehead before disappearing into a magical mist.

Suga sat at the edge of the lake, a moonlit forest surrounding him and sobbed bitterly.

Chapter Text

Suga sat by the lake and felt his worries pile higher and higher. Asahi was dead, his father was probably severely injured. However he was brought out of his reverie when he heard a young boy call out.

“It’s alright Yachi! Oikawa’s all gone now. You can come out now.” Suga looked around and couldn’t see any boys around but there was a small crow with an orange tuft of feathers. From the bushes he heard a rustling and then a small doe emerged. She looked at him before coming closer and nosing him gently as if she was wiping the tears away.

“Poor you. You poor thing. I’m so sorry he did this to you” she said. Suga blinked and shook his head slightly. He must be going crazy. This fawn is talking to him. So the boy must be a crow?

“He cursed us too. At least you can change back. We’re all stuck like this” the crow said, flying forward to land in front of him. “I’m Hinata by the way! The fawn is Yachi and the guy who did this to you is Oikawa” he explained, feathers ruffling at the mention of Oikawa.

Suga couldn’t help but be baffled by the situation he was in but he looked out to the lake, more tears welled up in his eyes and his sobbing resumed “But why me? I did nothing to him! I was supposed to get married to Daichi and fix the kingdom! Now I’m missing we’re probably going to go to war with each other! Asahi’s dead and it’s all my fault!” Hinata jumped back in panic at the prince crying but all he could do was shrug his wings and hop about on the ground looking towards his friend. “I dunno… Yachi?”

“Shh it’s alright! I know it’s a shock now but you’ll get used to it. I promise!” she tried comforting him by rubbing herself against his side and nuzzling his face. She wished she had arms to hold him but all she could do was this. “I’m honestly not too sure myself. I just know that it was all my fault to start off with…. If only he hadn’t stolen my magic from me then we wouldn’t be in such a mess” she lamented, trying to explain what she knew before sitting down next to Suga, she owed him that at least. She rested her head on his lap.  Suga felt his heart warm as this tiny doe nuzzled his lap in a show of comfort, Hinata perched himself on his shoulder and nuzzled into his hair. His heart calmed and he gently stroked his fingers atop of Yachi’s silken fur.

“Your magic huh?” he sniffed, drying his tears with the back of his hands. It was good to know he wasn’t alone. His eyes were drawn upwards watching the moon’s path across the lake. He knew that as soon as the moonlight left he’d turn back into a swan. He thought of Daichi. He wished he was here. He hoped he would be safe. He missed him.

“Yeah I used to be a fairy. He stole my magic and I’m trapped in my animal form until I can get it back” she explained, big brown eyes flitting up at him. Hinata perked up and puffed up mightily making him look almost twice his size. “Yeah… I was gonna be a knight’s squire! I was gonna train so hard and become the best and bravest knight there was! But he caught me on the road. He said I was one of his ‘experiments’, whatever that’s supposed to mean…” by the time he had finished he had wilted but Suga’s gentle petting atop his head coaxed a nuzzle out of him. The mention of knights had drawn Suga’s thoughts back to Asahi and then he noticed that the moonlight was going to be leaving the lake soon so he stood in his tattered clothes, shivering at the loss of his new friends body heat and made his way into the waters. Yachi and Hinata waited for him on the shore but they didn’t expect to see a watery figure rise up from the lake.

Suga looked at the young man who was pale and with dark hair. It looked like he was made of water and moonlight. His fingers were long and elegant and his face was so sad as if he had seen so many cruelties and injustices. He held out his hands for Suga to take. “Who are you?” Suga asked quietly feeling a sense of awe and wonder flow through him as he took the man’s hands.

“I am Akaashi. I am the prisoner of the lake.” he replied before looking up at the moon, it was leaving. He pulled Suga close to him in and embrace and plunged them both into the depths of the water. Suga felt his muscles twist and rip and bend themselves and it hurt so much but Akaashi held him tightly and hummed gently. “Do not be frightened. You will be alright.” His voice was still so clear under the water. Suga was now a swan again, neck long and elegant, wings great and white. Akaashi looked at him with such fondness and drifted close to kiss his forehead. “I believe you can help them.” Suga floated up to the surface and watched as Akaashi floated up with him too.

“Why can’t I help you too?” he asked, swimming closer to him. He didn’t notice that Hinata and Yachi looked incredibly surprised to see Akaashi. Akaashi smiled sadly in return and stroked the surface of the water, watching the ripples form at his fingertips. “I can’t leave the lake.” Suga tilted his head and blinked up in confusion. It didn’t make any sense. Akaashi walked to the edge with Suga to prove his point. Suga could climb out onto the shore to greet his surprised companions but Akaashi physically could not leave. Much to Akaashi’s surprise Hinata flew up to perch on his shoulder but Hinata’s landing did not connect with what he thought would be a physical shoulder so instead he fell into the water with a loud splash. Yachi tried not to giggle at the soggy crow but then her eyes grew serious looking at Akaashi as he leaned down to pick Hinata up and place him back on the shore, shaking his feathers dry to become the fluffiest ball of black feathers that you ever did see.

“You’re not tied to my magic at all. Oikawa created your circumstances entirely on his own using wild magic.” Akaashi nodded at Yachi’s theory. Hinata started to bounce up and down excitedly. It seemed like he would bounce right off into the stratosphere, he launched himself so high.

“You can help us Suga! People still remember you! Oikawa said you were a prince! You’re important! I’m sure we can find a way to break the spell and then… and then… I don’t know. But we’ll help Akaashi too!” Hinata’s bouncing ceased. He couldn’t think of anything else. They had to come up with a plan. If they could come up with a plan to thwart Oikawa, get Yachi’s magic back and find their way back to Karasuno, they’d be fix everything.

Far away back in Karasuno Daichi lay asleep after the night’s revelries. In his dream Suga lay on Daichi’s bed dishevelled in the best way possible. His clothes seemed to glide off his body at the tiniest movement much to Daichi’s delight. Cinnamon eyes flitted enticingly up to meet Daichi’s reverent stare. Daichi felt his mouth go dry and he had to gulp and lick his lips to try and regain some moisture and composure. He felt like he was just going to melt into a buddle of longing and wanting at the sheer presence of his wonderful beauty who lay down before him. Glimpses of collarbones and hips teased him, torturing him with all the possibilities of places to kiss and worship. He was so hard, he felt like he might burst but instead of seeking self-gratification he had to pay tribute. He had to worship every inch of skin that he could with silent prayers delivered in the way of kisses and caresses.

He reached out and unclasped the belt surrounding Suga’s waist. Suga smiled and reached his hands out to gently stroke up Daichi’s arms before pulling him down atop his body for a kiss. Lips met eagerly. Gentle at first with laugher mixed in between. “You’re so eager Daichi” Suga purred, his fingers gently drawing patterns on Daichi’s neck near the hairline. But then their kisses deepened and Daichi couldn’t help but try to draw moans out of Suga by stroking up and down his ribs, gently mapping his way towards his nipples. He loved the cadence of his breath and sighs. Daichi felt like he could play Suga like an instrument but Suga responded in kind by scraping his nails gently up and down his back, clutching to Daichi’s shirt impatiently to tell him that he was not the only player in this game.

Suga quickly undressed Daichi, hunger clear in his eyes as he languidly took inventory of everything Daichi had to offer him. Daichi felt like he would be eaten alive but instead, much to his relief, Suga drew their naked bodies flush against one another to crash down like waves along the shore. They were so close but not close enough. They rocked into one another, rubbing against one another, holding each other close. Suga’s skin was so soft, so luxurious, there was nothing finer in the world by comparison. Daichi could feel Suga’s hot gasps on his ear. When he pressed harder Suga would let out a delicious whimper and Daichi couldn’t help but slide his hands underneath his cushiony backside to press Suga even closer, grinding down onto him, feeling their members rub together. He wanted them to melt into one. Every so often Suga would nuzzle his ear, nipping it gently, sending a shiver up his spine releasing a soft growl from his lips. Suga giggled and continued to gently mouth and nibble his way from his way down to his neck. Daichi could stand it no more. He had to pick up the pace. He had to grind down hard enough to make Suga squeal. And he did squeal, loud enough to wake the whole castle. He swore that Suga must have drawn blood from the way his nails dug into his shoulder.

They were so close to climax, he could almost see the stars in Suga’s eyes. He opened his mouth to whisper words of love, words of undying appreciation and devotion but as he was about to tell Suga how much he meant to him, he heard a crash.

Next thing he knew he was sitting up in bed awake. It had all been a dream. A wonderful blissful dream of how he hoped the night would have ended but instead of having Suga in his arms, enjoying the morning sunshine together, he had Bokuto looking significantly less cheerful than usual. In fact it looked like all colour had washed out of him, turning him as monochrome as his hair.

“Daichi you have to come with me” Bokuto said with a quiet urgency, hoping that Daichi would understand that now was not the time to laze around in bed. Daichi wasted no time getting up, grabbing a robe from the chair and following Bokuto closely to wherever his destination was.

They walked quickly in silence until they reached a parlour where Kiyoko sat looking utterly despondent. It looked like she hadn’t slept one wink, like she had cried out every tear she had to give. Daichi sat carefully at her feet and rested his head on her lap like he would do when they were younger, gently holding her hands to let her know that he was there. He didn’t know what was wrong but he had a feeling that it was something terrible.

“I failed the kingdom” Kiyoko said in almost a whisper. “I failed everyone… but most of all I failed you.” Daichi gripped her hands tighter and shook his head.

“Kiyoko? I don’t understand? You haven’t failed anyone. You haven’t failed me at all” he tried to reassure her but Kiyoko silenced him by placing a gentle and calloused hand on his cheek.

“I was supposed to escort Sugawara’s party. Make sure that the returned safely to their kingdom. It seems the letter was a hoax. We were ambushed.” Daichi visibly bristled at the news but he stayed silent. “We fought so hard Daichi…. There was a great beast… a monster and a tree. A huge horrifying tree.” Her voice began to waver and tears welled in her eyes. “They hurt so many. They killed so many. I did my best! I did my best!” Despite thinking she had cried every tear she had, Kiyoko broke down into sobs and Daichi could only stand and embrace his cousin and stroke soothing circles into her back but there was a knot in his gut. “They…. They took Sugawara, Daichi. They took him… He’s probably dead. I failed you all”

His gut dropped and he felt like all colour drained from his face. Suga dead? Surely not? “Kiyoko please tell me you’re mistaken. Suga’s okay? The king?” Kiyoko shook her head with great certainty. “The king is in the medical ward with all the soldiers we were able to recover but Suga and the Captain were missing.”

Daichi couldn’t help but take a step back and look at Bokuto who could only nod grimly to confirm the news. “She’s right. Kuroo is still out there looking to see if we can find any trace of them.”

It was in that moment that Daichi felt his mouth go dry and his heart leap right up into his throat. He thought he was going to be sick but at the same time so many thoughts wildly flew through his head. How could he have been sleeping? How could he have not known? Why wasn’t he out there right now with Kuroo searching? Was Suga’s father okay? What of the other soldiers? Maybe he knew something? Maybe they had clues He took another step back and let go of Kiyoko’s hand after a final squeeze. He had to try find something out. He had to do something. He couldn’t just sit there like a duck. So he sped out of the parlour with Bokuto franticly giving chase with thoughts of Suga and the fate of his father firmly on his mind.

Despite the fact that he should know better he burst into the ward and looked around and everything he was thinking was silenced by the sight before him. Bokuto was beside him within a moment but to his surprise Kiyoko had also reached him. Many injured soldiers lay on the beds with lashes and lacerations that looked like they had been caused by a very thick whip. It looked like they had been beaten by trees and the claws of a large bird. He looked around the room to see the King sitting up in bed, staring out the window mournfully. As he went closer he was told by the doctor that he refused to be separated from his men. He sat down by his bed. This was the first time he had been so close to Suga’s father. It struck him how old he looked, how tired he seemed, how much sadness his eyes held.

“My Son… my precious son was taken from me” he began before taking Daichi’s hands in his own and squeezing tightly “We did all we could. Everyone fought so valiantly but my light, my beacon, he’s gone. Please find him. Find my son. He has to be alive. He’s the only hope we have.” Daichi felt tears well up in his eyes. All he could do was nod and try to reassure the King “I promise I will. I will do everything in my power to find him.”

He stood to leave the room taking one more look around when his eyes fell on a certain bed. On that bed lay a heavily wounded soldier with cast broken bones and bandages covering his body. Kiyoko stood beside Daichi and quietly said “He took a blow for the Prince and was thrown away from him by the monster. I’m surprised he’s still alive.” Kiyoko didn’t know who he was but to Daichi and Bokuto he was unmistakeable. The brown hair, the small beard and the way he looked so small and fragile despite being so tall. It was Asahi.  

Chapter Text

Ushijima opened his eyes and groaned. His throat felt dry and like it hadn’t been used in some time. He took inventory of his body's whereabouts in the dimly lit room. It seemed to be a bedroom, an old bedroom. He was chained to the corner of the room with a sturdy manacle on his ankle. The thick chain coiled its way up his leg from tossing and turning in his sleep. Cold air cut him right to his core making him involuntary shiver. His armour had been removed and his wounds were bandaged and clean. How long had he been out for? He could only guess but the sunlight streaming in through the dust coated window told him that it was late morning. The fireplace had been lit earlier but had died down to very weak embers.

He sat up from the makeshift bed that had been made for him, the pillows that smelled old and damp on the stone ground. Velvets and furs hung around the room, dusty mirrors and portraits lined the walls next to bookshelves that looked like they were dragged from elsewhere. In fact the whole room looked like a mishmash of various things that had been brought in. A desk littered with books and maps that he could not hope to read at this distance sat at the other end of the room, near the window. However what stood out was a family portrait in a large gold frame. The family were dressed finely, they all looked joyously happy. A beautiful happy couple with their son. The man was dressed elegantly in a teal blue with a large grey fur mantle around his shoulders, probably ceremonial. The woman was a fine beauty. Brown hair tumbling over her shoulders in waves and soft brown eyes. Ushijima felt a pang of recognition but he couldn’t place where from. Then his eyes came to the child, held ever so lovingly in his mother’s arms. He seemed to be seven or eight in the portrait. He resembled her strongly, chubby cheeks a bright smile and big brown eyes that glittered with laughter.

The boy reminded him of Suga when he was small. Chubby cheeks and glittering eyes, filled with mischief and joy. In his haze he couldn’t help but see a smaller Suga running down the halls of the castle. He had run off from his nursemaid, refusing to put his clothes on after a bath. He would scream and giggle his name as he chased. The fond memory of the castle staff jumping out of his way in fear but there was never any fear in the prince’s eyes. He would wriggle in his hands as he picked him up and gently paw at his face with soft chubby hands, a stray finger making its way up his nose. “Toshiiii Toshiii I don’t wanna go to bed! I wanna plaaaay”

Ushijima shook the images of his prince from his mind while stretching and took account quickly of each ache and pain he had. He would need to be mindful of them during his escape of this place. That would not be easy chained to the wall. He found much to his surprise that he could stand up and walk around the room. As he walked closer to the bed he realized that he was not as alone as he thought he was. In the bed lay a young man with a messy nest of brown hair, shivering beneath thick covers and furs. He looked tiny and thin in comparison. He assumed that this was the person who brought him here but he looked so weak and frail, like the boys he took in from starving villages before he trained them up. Ideas flew through his mind of using the chain that kept him prisoner to strangle the man before escaping, it wouldn’t take much to make him faint but before he could even contemplate the technical logistics, the man yawned and sat up before looking disdainfully at him.

“Oh… you’ve finally woken up.” His hair stuck up at odd angles and a sleeping shirt fell off his shoulder. A star pendant fell around his neck, softly glowing. The man looked around the same age that his prince did maybe slightly older? He wasn’t sure. What surprised Ushijima was that when he clicked his fingers the fire burst to life accompanied by a smirk of satisfaction.

Ushijima wasn’t sure what to say in a situation like this. Human magic users were rare and highly uncommon. Most stole their magic or gained it through a painstaking ritual. He knew from experience that they were incredibly hard to fight, as proven by the battle last night. Or was it last night.

“Has being out that long dulled your brain Captain? It’s polite to speak when spoken to” the man lilted as he climbed out of bed, undressing with no shame. Ribs jutted out ever so slightly from his pale skin before they were covered again by clothes that had been gathered off the floor where they had been left the night before. He was undeniably beautiful, dangerously alluring, if not underfed.

Ushijima looked directly in his captor’s eyes. “How long have I been out for?” he asked. He had to know how long he had been of no use to his prince. “Where is the prince? What have you done with him?”

“Ahhh well Captain, you’ve been out for almost a whoooole week and I’ve taken such great care to make sure that you didn’t die. Iwaizumi and I spent a good deal of time making sure your wounds weren’t too serious…” but the young man’s crooning story was interrupted by Ushijima’s insistent question of “Where is the prince?”

The man clicked his tongue and looked incredibly hacked off before making his way to the door. “I keep you as a guest in my home and take such good care of you and you’re so rude! But you needn’t worry your pretty little head. He’s alive. Iwaizumi and I are off to take care of some business. Try not to make a mess of my home while I’m gone. I do assure you that you will regret it.” He left, shutting the door with a mighty thud, leaving Ushijima alone to his thoughts.

Suga was not far away on the lake. A week had passed since he had changed and Hinata had been kind enough to show him the ropes of flight with plenty of vocal descriptions involved. It was a good way to busy himself and stop him from focusing too much on his current situation. He was very clumsy at first, his body plunging down into the lake each time he tried to take off with a mighty splash. It was thoroughly embarrassing. Even though Yachi, Hinata and Akaashi tried not to laugh but the indignant squacks and honks that accompanied the great splooshes sent the trio into peals of laughter that bounced off the trees.

Their laughter was cut short by the appearance of Oikawa and Iwaizumi. They hadn’t bothered them all week but now they were approaching the lake side from the ruined mansion. A great anger bubbled up in Suga’s breast. He flew off the lake at them and flapped right at Iwaizumi’s face honking and hissing. Yachi and Hinata took this time to run off into the bushes to hide.

 Oikawa laughed at his oaken friend’s displeasure as he peeled the angry swan off his face. Iwaizumi held Suga carefully in his hands despite his struggle. This was the first time Suga had bothered to look at him. He looked like a man made out of a tree, leaves and branches sticking out of various places on his body. He wore a loincloth made of leaves and moss. His hair was green and spiked up towards the sky. But the most curious thing about him was that his eyes were dark and filled with a magical energy. Suga noted how carefully he placed him down. Iwaizumi looked down at him. “Please do not do that again Swan. I do not like birds in my face” he said in an accent that sounded nothing like anything Suga had heard before. The strangest thing was that he didn’t open his mouth.

Oikawa’s laughter died down “Ahh that was entertaining Princey poo! However I have no business with you today. I’m here to speak to my friend in the water over there.” He nodded over to the lake where Akaashi stood looking irritated and bored. “I want you out of here swan. Now.” His tone held no room for argument. There was no telling what he could do to them so Suga had no choice but to leave and pick his battles another day. When he looked around he saw Iwaizumi watching Oikawa wade out into the lake to meet Akaashi.

When Kuroo returned from his search he found Daichi and Bokuto in the library with Kiyoko searching through all the books they could. Daichi was a mess of misplaced energy, furious at himself and the situation he was is. News was that he was not allowed to leave the castle in case he was targeted. The atmosphere in the castle was tense after a week of finding nothing of Sugawara or Ushijima. Thanks to the injured soldiers they couldn’t put out as many search parties as they would like. The search parties that could go were cumbersome and slow compared to Kuroo’s quickness. Rumours were flying amok that someone here had done it to create political chaos, but the match was uncontested previously by everyone who mattered in the council so how could that be possible? Sure, Kuroo was originally displeased by the arrangement but as he saw Daichi almost tear himself to pieces begging Kuroo to search begging Kuroo to try to find something for him to go off of, he couldn’t deny that Daichi had seen something in Sugawara. He had seen something in this match. Bokuto stayed with Daichi as much as he could, lest he crumble under the stress of it all.

Kiyoko was here today, there was a gap in her agenda. She had time in between keeping the castle guard on their feet, making sure the injured soldiers were rehabilitated correctly and going to countless meetings between the Queen and the various heads of state about the diplomatic mess this had caused. To be here was a small respite.

“I just don’t understand! You’re describing tree people and great beasts but I don’t understand how this could work? How it could link?” Daichi vented as he slammed one book of many on the table. He thought that if they could find out who their enemy were then they would be able to figure out what the agenda was and where Suga could be kept if anywhere at all. Kuroo leaned on the table and felt a pang in his chest as Daichi looked at him with desperation, hoping for answers.

“I’m sorry Daichi, I went back to the place Kiyoko described. I searched all around but all I found were forests. No tree people, no nests, nothing.” Daichi groaned and looked out the window, his eyes flitting over in the direction that Suga and his company had left. He was working himself to the point of near destruction, staying up late studying maps, reading all sorts of books on mythical creatures and magic.

“Maybe it’s linked to Fukurodani’s problem?” Bokuto mused as he studied a map of the areas surrounding the kingdom. He had a keen interest in that problem as his mother was originally from there. Kiyoko looked up from her book and adjusted her glasses.

“No one knows what happened to him though. One day he just vanished besides wasn’t it decided that it was probably an assassination? There was a lot of trouble in his family thanks to disputes for the throne. His uncle’s in charge now I think…” Bokuto frowned deeply and puffed his cheeks out in displeasure looking to Daichi for support.

“You were just there Daichi? What did you see there?” Daichi’s head swung around quickly at his name being mentioned.

“Oh… I didn’t know about that Kiyoko. Everything seemed pretty much in order when I went there. Went to a few dinners, met with the family. They genuinely seemed concerned.”

 Kiyoko stood to fetch another book from the masses of shelves. “It was on a strictly need to know basis. His mother was a commoner. No other heirs. His father had died on the battlefield, of course there would be suspicions. I don’t think it has anything to do with” Her sentence trailed off as she opened the book and then let out a yelp of recognition before rushing over to the table and pressing the book she held down with great conviction. She pointed at the page. “This is what I’m talking about! This was the kind of man the tree was!”

On the page was a tribe of treefolk. They looked mostly human except for the fact they seemed to be made of bark and foliage. Daichi read the passage thoroughly. They seemed to be a peaceful folk that kept to themselves in the deepest parts of the woods. They spoke a language not understood by human ears. Not many were seen these days. It was unusual for one to be seen on the roads at all. And the great beast that worked with him? What was it? Who was it? Daichi rubbed his head in frustration, feeling a headache coming on. He could do nothing just sitting here obeying his mother. He could understand her worries and frustrations, she didn’t want him to end up the same way but he desperately wanted to help Suga. For the kingdom, for peace, for himself.

Everyone around Daichi could see him wilting in frustration. What leads they did have weren’t exactly the best. Staying here was doing no good. Kuroo could only do so much by himself. Kiyoko placed a hand on Daichi’s shoulder.

“I’m going to talk to your mother. I’ll make sure that you can go out and look. With your friends of course. You’re a keen hunter, you can fight. I know you can handle yourself.”

Daichi perked up and stood to envelope her in a hug, pressing kisses of gratitude into her hair. “Thank you Kiyoko! Thank you!” Kiyoko gently smacked Daichi away from her and cleared her throat, a blush on her face at the display of affection.

“It would do no good for the Karasuno’s prince to simply wilt. This would be a good test of leadership and a good show of sincerity to the union.”

Daichi smiled down at her and raised an amused eyebrow at her formal talk. “Is this what you’re going to tell my mother and the council?” he quipped.

Kiyoko nodded and made her way to the door “You three will need to formulate a plan. You’re good a hunting and tracking. I’m sure you could track down your bride.”

They watched her go for a moment and then Daichi pulled out a map of the area, pointing down at the scene of the kidnapping. Kiyoko was right. They did need to plan. They would need to search the whole area for any clues and be prepared to take down the beasts that caused this mess. Kuroo and Bokuto smiled at each other as Daichi set to work. They could feel in their bones. This would be a hunt to remember.

Chapter Text

Suga returned to the lake in the late evening with Yachi and Hinata after Oikawa and Iwaizumi left.  The sun was beginning to set and Akaashi was nowhere to be seen, he probably was resting in the depths of the lake. Hinata excitedly bounced on Yachi’s back as they settled down in the shade of one of the trees.

“You flew Suga! You flew right at his face! It was AWESOME!” Yachi nodded in agreement with Hinata’s statement. “Yeah! He looked so mad! It was so funny!” she chirped.

Suga felt himself smile and looked out onto the lake with worry. He was happy that they found it amusing but something, other than the obvious being turned into animals deal, just didn’t seem right. He was worried about Akaashi. What did Oikawa have to talk to him about? “Well now I can fly at least we can start forming a plan to free ourselves from this curse.”

“Well do you have any ideas? I’m afraid I can’t help much with finding either of the kingdoms. I know the forests but the manmade roads… nope” Yachi said, sitting herself down next to Suga. Hinata stayed sitting happily on her back waiting for Suga to speak first. He seemed a lot smarter than he was.

“I think it would be a good idea to get an idea of our bearings in relation to Karasuno. My father and the soldiers are probably there after the attack. My home is still too far away to get there. Once we do that we can alert them where we are.”

 Hinata began to hop up and down on Yachi’s back before she nudged him off onto the ground. “I know where Karasuno is!” he piped up. “I was going to go there to train!”

Suga nodded and looked more hopeful, gently encouraging Hinata to give him more information “That’s really good but do you know where Karasuno is in relation to here Hinata?”

Hinata’s bouncing ceased and he seemed to deflate a little bit. “No. I haven’t flown far from Yachi. I don’t want her to get eaten by wolves or anything while I’m gone.”

 Yachi sighed and nudged Hinata “I told you Hinata! I’m not going to get eaten or anything. I don’t mind as long as you’re safe! I think you’re scared of going anywhere by yourself” she teased.

“M-Maybe I am!” he chirped but Suga gently raised his wing for him to bury himself under in a cuddle. Hinata was only fourteen, still so young. He’s been so brave to deal with such a curse. Suga took comfort in Hinata burying his little orange and black body into his soft white downy feathers.

“The best course of action then would be to find a map then.” Hinata and Yachi looked at him like he had spouted some complex mathematics.

“The only place around here that would have a map would be Oikawa’s mansion!” Yachi yelped, standing up. “I’m not going anywhere near that place! It give me bad feelings all over! I think I’ll stay here!” she finished hiding behind a tree to show her keen dislike.

Hinata however had squirmed his way out from the cozy confines of Suga’s breast. “I’ll go with you Suga! My mother told me that knights have to be brave! And I want to be a knight! So I’ll be brave and go with you! We can get inside together I’m sure!” Yachi smiled and jumped a little in joy at Hinata’s enthusiasm. Hinata followed by bouncing and jumping up at her and soon they were off into the foliage, laughing and jumping together.

Akaashi had taken this point to emerge from the water, sitting on a rock near the shore, his feet still submerged in the lake. “It is an admirable plan but I suggest you save it for today” he softly said watching the enthusiastic pair go deeper into the forest where he could not hope to follow. “Oikawa will be leaving the estate for the next two days. I suggest you scout then.”

Suga looked at Akaashi in worry, padding up to him, resting his head on his knee. Each night Akaashi had taken such care of him to make his transformation as painless as possible, he wanted to make sure that Akaashi was alright too.

“Are you alright? I hope Oikawa didn’t hassle you earlier. If he hurt you I’ll make him pay for it!” Suga rose up a little, his chest puffing out causing a small laugh to fall from Akaashi’s lips at his display. He smiled sadly and shook his head. “No no. Oikawa wouldn’t hurt me. He needs me. Just you focus on getting yourself and those two free. Don’t worry about me.” Suga was relieved to hear that Oikawa wasn’t harming Akaashi but he was not satisfied by Akaashi’s attempts to dodge his concerns so he tried again. “How did you get here Akaashi? Did he seal you here?” concern laced his voice. Maybe his answer would help him find out why he was targeted.

Akaashi pointed up to the moon that was making its way onto the surface of the lake, standing to hold his hands out to Suga. They plunged deep into the water, Akaashi holding Suga with tenderness. Suga returned that tenderness as they came up back from the depths, both in human forms, gently stroking his cheek with his fingers in his tattered party clothes. “I just want to help you Akaashi” he repeated so softly, so gently, head resting against Akaashi’s temple. Akaashi smiled and took a step back, hands still linked with Suga’s.

“And I appreciate that. I really do but you do not need to help me. I may be a prisoner here but it’s in name only. Me being here… it’s easier this way for everyone.” Suga felt his heart ache for his friend but he also felt the cold without his white and silver feathers to keep him warm. Akaashi chuckled at his shivering and stepped away, holding out a finger to ask Suga to wait a moment before closing his eyes to concentrate. Tendrils of water came up from the lake to enfold Suga and when they faded Suga’s clothes were repaired and he was clothed in a beautiful warm cloak made of white fur.

Suga felt tears in his eyes at the act of kindness and a sense of awe at Akaashi’s abilities. “You have done so much for me already. I just want to repay you” he whispered, voice full of emotion.

 Akaashi slipped back into the water. “Please go rest for now Suga. You’re going to need it. Hinata or Yachi will wake you when it’s time to turn back.”

Daichi was satisfied at the plans laid out by the council after Kiyoko’s string of meetings. She had made it clear that it was not a politically wise position for Karasuno to be seen to do nothing. Daichi had gone along to the final meeting to talk about his promise to Sugawara’s father. He spoke passionately about how something needed to be done to regain the trust of the two kingdoms. Even using Bokuto’s proposal that the Fukurodani case could be linked. Eyes did not remain dry as the council watched their future king beg and plead with them to cast aside their fears and let him go out and show the world what he is capable of.

Bokuto smacked Daichi on the back with a huge grin as soon as he found out the news. “We can finally go looking!” Kuroo followed Daichi and Bokuto to the stables and they set about into their usual routine for preparing for a hunt.

They had discussed their plan of action with one another after Kiyoko had left them in the library yesterday. They would each take a portion of the forest near the event site. They would spend two hours searching as far as they could before they had to return to the starting point. If anything was found or if they were in any danger, they would signal each other with their calls. Bokuto liked to use an owl hoot, Daichi made the sound of a crow, whereas Kuroo took a completely different approach by using a wildcat’s roar.

They prepared their horses and rode out like a well-oiled machine. It took them an hour at full pelt on their horses to get to the starting point that Kiyoko had pointed out. It was clear to see from the smashed trees and the debris of the carriage on the ground that this was the right place. A glint on the ground caught Daichi’s eye. Upon closer inspection he found that it was a ring that Suga wore on the night of the ball. He felt his heart twist as he clutched it in his arm tight, bringing his fist to his lips in prayer. He hoped that the diplomatic nonsense hadn’t ruined Suga’s chances for survival, if he was still even alive.

Daichi turned to look at his friends. “Two hours. We meet back here.” Bokuto and Kuroo nodded and tried to smile reassuringly although they felt the seriousness of the situation too. They split up into the forest, Daichi heading North, Kuroo heading East and Bokuto heading Westward.

For the first hour, their searches were fruitless. Kuroo expected it to be this way, the path he took was familiar from his searches but still he tried to see if there was anything new. Daichi could feel his frustration turn to anger as he raced through the forest, searching high and low for anything. Nests, claw marks, trees that had been moved the wrong way. He found nothing.

Bokuto however ran at full pelt, choosing to trust on his instinct to guide him. He had a feeling that if he kept running he would find something eventually. Then he saw something. It was a fawn. Except the colouring was weird. A blonde little creature with white star shaped speckles on her flank. This had to be something! He daren’t call his friends and scare the timid creature. He would report later, he still had time! So he followed carefully through the bushes until despite all of his carefulness, he stood on a twig and startled the deer.

It was now or never. He had to give chase. He had to follow or he would lose the only lead he had! He ran at full pelt after the small creature, taking care not to crash into any trees. Bokuto almost had her in his arms and then she leapt! She soared! She dived right out of the way and Bokuto dived right forward, tumbling off a cliff, twisting his body over to see the small creature lean down with what he swore was a look of regret. He braced himself for a hard landing on the ground, hoping that the tree foliage or bushes would cushion his landing, but instead he was splashing right into water.

The shock of the landing sent Bokuto’s body into panic. He found himself choking and gasping for air as he sunk deep into the dark depths of the water. What an idiot he was. What a fool, thinking that he could help Daichi and Suga. His vision grew blurry as his surroundings darkened more and more. Maybe he would die here? As he closed his eyes and heaved what he thought would be his last breath, he felt a pair of hands cup his face. Soft, gentle, slender hands. They stroked his cheeks tenderly before he was drawn into a sweet, sublime, air giving kiss. When his eyes opened he saw pale arms, pale hands, softly, carefully pulling him up towards the light. Dark hair and dark eyelashes gently framing a slim and delicate visage. He was pure magic, pure light, an angel of the water. Bokuto couldn’t help himself but dash forwards and upwards into his arms for another life giving kiss.

The beauty seemed shocked and a little uncertain by his eagerness but he allowed and even indulged in it, seeming even amused as he held Bokuto close in his arms, drifting him to shore. Bokuto lay flat on the ground, coughing and spluttering for a moment, getting his land legs back, hoping that when he turned around that he would see this ethereal wonder in front of him. But he was not. He had gone. But what was left for him was a wondrous clue. A piece of Suga’s clothing. The same silk that he wore at the ball! Bokuto snatched it up and held it close, searching around the immediate area for anything but he found nothing, except in the distance he saw a mansion. There seemed to be a fair bit of bird noise coming from that direction. First and foremost, he needed to get this news to Daichi. Two hours had passed and they needed to be back at the castle before there were search parties formed and Daichi’s mother refused to let them go again. He needed to get back to Daichi and fast.

Daichi and Kuroo were impatient to see Bokuto, but also surprised to find him soaked through. He lauded them with stories that didn’t seem to make sense at the speed he told them out, about how he ran after a deer and then landed in a huge lake and then got kissed by a water spirit and then he found a scrap of Suga’s clothing. Daichi was turning his horse around and making his way back but Kuroo and Bokuto stopped him, dragging him home to report to the council and his mother. He would have to wait until tomorrow to discover the secrets of the lake for himself.

Chapter Text

The old, marble mansion stood before Hinata and Suga. Suga supposed that many years ago, this was a beautiful and majestic place to take pride in. Statues of beautiful classical men and women, not at all dissimilar to the ones in Karasuno’s gardens lay in a state of disarray. Some of the sculptures were missing heads or had tumbled to the ground, broken completely. Others were covered by foliage and moss that had grown to repossess the stone as a part of nature, much like the house. It was clear when they flew closer that they could not get in through the front door, it was locked. They had to find another way in.

“Drat… I knew this wouldn’t be easy” Hinata chirped in frustration. It would have been nice if they could just waltz in through the front door and take what they needed but Oikawa wouldn’t be that stupid. He seemed like a very smart person, especially to have placed them all in this state.

“We should split up, I will go around to the right of the building, you go to the left and we will meet behind the house. If you see any kind of broken windows or holes that we could get through we’ll get in that way” Suga explained to Hinata who nodded and took off at a great speed. Suga added in a shout “Please be careful! Don’t get yourself cut on any glass!” before setting off to check out the right side.

Moss and vines covered the marble making it hard to see any holes in the structure. Suga mused that if the building were made of anything else like brick, it probably would have fallen to pieces. What a mess it was. The windows he peered in were dusty and the inside of the rooms looked trashed or so disused they were falling to pieces. Why did Oikawa stay here when he could just magic up a new place? Maybe it was naive for Suga to think that. Maybe it was naïve for him to feel pity for his captor. He tested the windows for any wobbles or looseness, willing one just to open for him. He really didn’t want to smash any windows just in case. It was better that they kept themselves as sneaky as possible. The less Oikawa knew that they were here the better.

Then he heard Hinata let out a peep and a yell “I found something!” he cried. Suga flew around to meet him as fast as he could to see what Hinata was meaning. Hinata’s discovery took his breath away. There was a man inside! He couldn’t see very well because of the dust coating the window but it clearly was not Oikawa, he looked much too bulky and broad. Dark hair and broad shoulders. It made Suga’s heart ache, he missed Daichi.

The window was loose so all they had to do was push it open and make their way into the room but the man inside could be dangerous. However they had no other options. They had to do this or lose their chance at finding their way to Karasuno. Hinata sped into the room and did a lap, staying as far away from the man sitting in the corner, reading a big dusty book. Suga followed being careful not to disturb more than what they needed to.

“I don’t know what a map looks like” Hinata chirped. “I don’t even know how to read!” Suga couldn’t help but smile a little bit. He couldn’t wait until this curse was removed and then he would take Hinata home with him and teach him how to read and write. It was important to know if he was going to be a knight. Then he spotted it. It was in the corner! Hinata looked around for anything that could help them in breaking their curse and found a drawing of the necklace that Oikawa wore around his neck. He called Suga over and pointed to it. On the drawing it read ‘This will help with the sealing factor.’ Scribbled next to it was a love heart with a question mark and the note ‘There’s mentions of the power of a love confession to the world being used to break curses. I want to do my best to eliminate this. Necklace should help.’

Ushijima looked up from his book that he had managed to grab from the bookshelf in Oikawa’s room. It wasn’t a terribly interesting book but it distracted him from the boredom he felt and the anxiety surrounding his means of escape. He figured that it would be best to wait here if Oikawa had Suga tucked away and aid him once he had more information. He had tried searching the room himself but he could only reach a small portion of the bookshelf with his foot chained. He didn’t expect to see a swan and a small crow burst in through the window that was ajar for fresh air, causing a puff of dust to cloud up the room. He didn’t expect the birds to fly about the room looking amongst all the papers and notes that Oikawa had scattered around the room, pinned to the wall in different areas. Curiously they hovered by a particular note and squacked at one another in what seemed to be excitement but all they took was a map of the area, positioned as far away from Ushijima as possible.

They had the map and an idea of how to break the curse! Suga held it in his beak triumphantly but the man in the corner felt familiar. Curiousity got the better of him, he flew closer to look at the man who looked up at them. It was Ushijima! It was Toshi! He honked out in surprise and joy, flapping his silver tipped wings in jubilation. He was alive! Suga’s heart soared and flipped. If Ushijima was alive then he could help them! Maybe? He hoped. Ushijima just looked at him in confusion. He looked tired and worn out. Oikawa must be keeping him as a prisoner here. But why?  Hinata bounced on the windowsill impatiently. Suga wanted to let him know that he was okay. That there was hope, that he would bring help and sort everything out. “It’s going to be okay Toshi. I will bring help for you! I will save you! We think we know how to break the spell! We will be okay. The kingdom is going to be okay!”

The swan danced and honked in front of Ushijima, it was like he was trying to tell him something but he couldn’t understand. He watched it leave after the crow with the map in hand. All he could do was wait for Oikawa to return. He hoped that he had eaten something and would return sooner rather than later.

Suga saw Akaashi sitting by the lake looking wistful as he came into landing. Yachi was close by and excitedly bounced around at the sight of them landing with map. “You did it!” she cried before nosing Suga and Hinata affectionately. Suga placed the map on the ground and used his beak and wing to smooth it out, taking a moment to read it carefully.

“The lake we are on is here” he said pointing to the area on the map with his beak. “The mansion we were at is here so that must mean that Karasuno is…..” he surveyed the map carefully, the bridge after the forest they crossed into Karasuno was there so Karasuno was further south and… “Here. We have to fly south once we get onto the road which is East.”

It was then that Yachi piped up “There was someone here earlier with funny hair! He chased me!” It looked like a faint blush started to cover Akaashi’s ears. Suga tilted his head. “Funny hair?” he asked, looking for any clarification.

“Yuh huh! He had black and white hair and dressed like a hunter. I was scared he was going to eat me but he fell off the cliff up there and into the lake! Akaashi stopped him from drowning and then he left up thattaway!” Suga felt his heart jump up in his throat and looked at Akaashi who was making every effort not to make any eyecontact with anyone. His ears went redder and redder.

“Y-yes there was someone here! I stopped him from drowning. Yachi is right. He left in a hurry though. I’m not sure if he’ll be back” Suga looked at the sky hoping that there would be enough light left in the day. Maybe he could catch them and bring them back? Maybe he wouldn’t have to fly all the way to Karasuno, risking not being able to get back to the lake. If he wanted to write a letter and send it via Hinata then they’d have to sneak back into the mansion and entering once was bad enough. There were too many variables. Too many things that could go wrong but Suga wanted to see Daichi.

He shook his head and gave up on the idea of going anywhere for now. “Yachi, Akaashi, we found a note on Oikawa’s desk. There was a mention of a necklace that Oikawa wears and a love confession. Do you know anything about these?”

Yachi bounced and nodded wildly. “Yes! That’s my necklace! He stole that to get my magic! If I can get that back we will be free for sure!”

Akaashi nodded in agreement “Yes, you and Hinata will be free for sure. I think that paired with the love confession will be to free you Suga but…”

Akaashi was interrupted by a loud noise coming from the top of the cliff. Suga flew up into the air to check it wasn’t Oikawa, speeding in through the trees. The closer he got the clearer the sound became. Hoof beats speeding closer and closer. Oikawa didn’t use a horse, he flew in his beast form or used Iwaizumi to get around but this had to be help! He didn’t even consider that it could have been a bunch of hunters. He didn’t even consider that he would be met with Daichi, with a bow and arrow trained right on him.

In Daichi’s mind, the beast could be anything that flew and here was a swan flying right at him from the direction Bokuto had mentioned. Against all better judgement he had snuck out after returning home to see if he could find any traces of Suga or the beast that took him and hurt Asahi. Asahi woke up earlier in the day calling out for Suga. He had to avenge him somehow and this swan could be the key behind Suga’s disappearance and even if it wasn’t, a swan was a fine meal to share between friends. He cocked an arrow in his quiver and gave chase, ready to strike at the best possible moment.

Suga was aghast at what he was witnessing he should be rejoicing at seeing Daichi again but for whatever reason he was attacking him, hunting him down with the great determination that he was renowned for. Fear made his blood turn cold as he flew between the trees back to the lake, dodging arrow after arrow by a hair breadth, flying up into the sun to try and blind Daichi. Much to his horror, it was setting. The sun was setting! He led Daichi to the edge of the cliff and landed on the lake.

The swan was in clear view, no sunlight, no trees to block his arrow. He just needed to pull back and strike. He stood on the cliff, breathing the cooling air deeply as the moon began to rise, his heartbeat being the only sound he could hear as he focused in on his prey. And then a crow flew into the side of his head, knocking his bow to the side, his arrow flying off into the water with a splash. Daichi could only yell in frustration as the small crow pecked at his face until moonlight hit the lake and something strange began to happen. The swan was surrounded by glowing water that came up like curtains shielding it from view and then when the water fell back into the lake, there stood Suga, staring right at him, eyes full of emotion. Daichi lost the ability to breathe for a second and then he was leaping right off the cliff, diving into the water and swimming towards his lost fiancé.

Suga yelped in joy and surprise when Daichi rose up from the water, in the shallow end and lifted Suga up into the air in a tight embrace, spinning him around, sending pondweed and water flying everywhere. Yachi and Hinata dodged droplets and green leaves that flew their way. And then they started kissing and Hinata couldn’t watch, hiding his face in his wings from the scene of reunion. Yachi decided that it would be best to give the lovers some peace and carried Hinata off into the forest.

Their sweet kiss parted with noses nuzzling. Daichi stroked Suga’s arms with great tenderness, as if he was trying to reassure himself that Suga actually stood before him. He tried to think of things to say, to tell him how long he fought to be here, how much effort and work everyone put in but all he could do was scrunch his face and burst into tears, squeezing Suga close to him.

“Oh Daichi... it’s alright. I am safe. I am…” he soothed, stroking circles into Daichi’s back. Daichi clung back tightly, taking in that Suga was really here before him. It wasn’t another dream where he would find Suga and then wake up for him to be gone.

Daichi looked up at him, stepping back and taking his hands, making sure he wasn’t injured or hurt. “I’m so glad. I was so scared that you had died. Everyone was saying that you probably didn’t survive the attack but I knew you had to be alive… We didn’t stop trying to find you! We looked everywhere we could! Your father and Asahi have been so so worried.” Suga’s eyes widened and his mouth fell open slightly at the mention of Asahi’s name. He was alive?

“Wait no… Asahi can’t be alive. I saw him get hit into the tree. He can’t have lived from that…. Oikawa said…” Daichi shook his head and squeezed Suga’s hands reassuringly. “No Suga, he’s in Karasuno in the medical wing. He’s been speaking about you constantly.” Daichi raised a hand up to stroke Suga’s hair gently behind his ear. Suga nuzzled his hand in return and closed his eyes in relief, tears of his own forming at the corners of his eyes but he blinked them back and let the warm feeling of being back with Daichi, something familiar, wash over him.

Suga told Daichi all about what had happened to him as they took a seat by the lake. He told him about Oikawa and Iwaizumi. He told Daichi about Ushijima being kept prisoner in the ruined mansion and that they had turned him into a swan despite not knowing the reason why. “Oikawa’s stolen Yachi’s magic and turned us all into animals. I can transform back each night by the light of the moon on the lake but we just figured out today that we might be able to break the curses!” Daichi nodded and waited patiently for Suga to continue, content that he was tucked in underneath his arm, so soft and cozy. “If we manage to get Yachi’s necklace back, and a confession of love from you to me in front of the world, the curse will be broken and we can go home!”

“I understand” he said thinking carefully about the information that he was giving, stroking lazy patterns up and down Suga’s arm. He wanted Suga to come home now and be safe with him if possible but the lake meant that he couldn’t. It was also dangerous to Suga to stay lingering here. The longer he stayed, the more chance he would be caught by Oikawa, also the castle would know by now that he had snuck out. He would just have to take his chances. At least now he had an idea of what needed to be done. Daichi reluctantly peeled himself away from Suga and stood up, dusting himself off.

“I need to get home and begin planning then” he said, watching Suga stand and step back into his arms to press another kiss to the corner of his mouth before letting him go. “Tell Asahi I’m glad he’s alive. Please be safe. I’ll be here, waiting to hear from you” Daichi nodded and squeezed Suga’s hands once more before heading up the cliff off into the night.

Neither of them knew that while they were talking, Oikawa had returned and he had been watching perched high on Iwaizumi’s shoulder. He turned to his friend and smiled. “Well, I think it’s time for me to start stirring things up don’t you think?” Iwaizumi’s leaves rustled in response and Oikawa nodded in understanding, hopping down from his perch to make his way up to the door of the mansion, unlocking the door with the key before turning to wave at Iwaizumi, watching him make his way to his home in the forest. “I’ll see you tomorrow morning. I’m going to see if our guest has anything to say about the break-in we had” The trees rustled and the wind whistled in response, a gentle goodnight and Oikawa made his way up the stairs to his room in the mansion.

Chapter Text

Oikawa blew the door of his room open loudly. The night air was freezing and he needed to feel some kind of warmth to fight off the chill. A fire was out of the question, he did not like fire. Too many precious things in this room to risk an open flame. He has had enough claimed by the fires before. His blankets would certainly help, but in the corner of the room lay another heat giving asset. The captain of the guard who would be instrumental in helping him to achieve his revenge. He clicked his fingers and Ushijima moved from the cold wooden floor to the bed.

The bed was very plush in comparison to the floor and Ushijima couldn’t help but peer open his eyes to see what had changed. He watched his captor undress before him. Oikawa tilted his head over his shoulder once he was fully nude, waggling his bottom just a tad and staring him down with a twinkle in his eyes and a smirk on his lips.

“Pervert”

Ushijima guffawed and rolled over, enjoying the warmth that the bed gave him and closing his eyes intending to go back to sleep immediately, only to be disturbed by his bony bedfellow shuffling in beside him. He was ice cold on his back, shivering gently. He was being used as a hot water bottle. Ushijima didn’t have the heart to ignore him, turning back over and offering him the comfort of his arms. It was the least he could do for allowing him to sleep in his bed, even if the situation was undesirable.

Silence fell over the room and Ushijima began to dose off with Oikawa tucked neatly into his embrace, huddled close for all the warmth that his big muscular body could give. Oikawa let out a sigh and shifted slightly, unable to find sleep himself, unable to find the satisfaction he desired from having Ushijima in his bed. It reminded him of how lonely he was, even if he had Iwaizumi, he was a Tree person at the end of the day. He would never have any words to give him, only flowers and rustling in the wind.

It had been so long since he had this kind of contact or comfort from anyone. Iwaizumi was too strong, too big to hold him like this. It had been so long since he was lulled to sleep by the breathing of another human, softly, gently, peacefully, warmly.

Suga could barely contain his excitement when Bokuto and Kiyoko arrived the next afternoon with a beautiful letter for him. He bounced and danced on the shoreline, flapping his wings and hopping in a way that was reminiscent of Hinata’s own excited leaps. Bokuto couldn’t help but smile with fondness as Kiyoko posted herself to keep watch, unaware that from the bushes Yachi was gazing upon her shield maidenly self with a sense of wonder and awe.

Yachi had never in her long existence as a fairy seen someone so elegant and wonderful. Especially not a mortal. Yachi’s breath hitched at her dark lusterous hair, threatening to spill out of the hair tie it was in, her dark lashes gently framing her deep eyes, filled with knowledge and wisdom. And then she spotted the beauty mark, it was similar to Suga’s in size and shape but the placement made her heart leap and race like she was caught in a hunter’s trap. She tried to dig deep for the courage simply to move from her hiding spot, to gaze closer at this goddess in her midst, but she found none and instead sat in the bushes filled with her aches and longing. Then the goddess in armour looked at her! Spied her deep within her hiding place (even if it wasn’t the most well hidden) and smiled. Yachi felt like she would pass out at any second but instead she bounced right out of the bush and ran deep into the forest to hide in her shyness and shame.

 Bokuto knelt down to the swan with all the reverence he would to Suga, the letter looking small and dainty in his large hands. “It is an invitation to a ball Daichi has arranged tomorrow night. If you were to come he would be very happy. I would be very happy too!” he said before looking wistfully at the lake. “Your friends may come too if they wish” he added, hoping that the beauty of the lake whom he had kissed had heard this.

Suga felt a pang in his chest. He hoped that Akaashi had. He took the letter from Bokuto and rushed him into the water. Akaashi seemed to enjoy Bokuto’s company enough to kiss him last time, even if it was only to save his life. But it couldn’t have been! Not with the way he blushed and averted his eyes when Suga asked about him. Not with the way he sighed in a way that wasn’t of resignation. Not when his dark eyes sparkled just a little bit more when Bokuto’s name was mentioned. Maybe Bokuto was the key to freeing Akaashi?

As Suga expected, as Bokuto entered the water Akaashi materialized to stand before the black and white knight. Bokuto smiled wide and easy at him, a fondness and worry in his eyes. He stepped forward to murmur something into Akaashi’s ear. Suga couldn’t hear what it was but the way that Bokuto cupped Akaashi’s cheek oh so softly, stroking his cheek like it was made of the finest porcelain, brushing his dark luscious curls behind his ear before placing a bold kiss on his cheek. Suga could only sigh and turn his head away, allowing them both a moment of privacy together. He wished that Daichi had come today but he was probably preparing arrangements for tomorrow. He would see him tomorrow at the ball. Daichi would confess his love to him there and the spell on him would be broken. He had to have faith in that.

Lost in his thoughts of what he should do, he didn’t notice Kiyoko standing next to him, clearing her throat at Akaashi and Bokuto’s silent conversation. They had to leave now. Bokuto reluctantly let go of Akaashi’s hand and turned to leave with Kiyoko. Bowing in a way so grand it was comical before running off into the forest. They spied Yachi, with Hinata and waved at them, causing the little deer to run straight back to Suga and Akaashi, Hinata following frantically.

Iwaizumi had heard and seen the lot through the whispers of the trees and decided to report to Oikawa by tapping on his window. When he got no response he groaned and rumbled in annoyance before growing his arm long enough to reach inside and carefully shove his human companion out of bed. Oikawa let out and indignant yelp before looking up at his bed and seeing the solider there sleeping like a babe. He didn’t take time to register the flush that warmed his cheeks before rushing to the window to find out the news from his friend.

It was not good. He had spent enough time in Iwaizumi’s care, since he was a small child, to understand what his various rustlings and gestures meant. He gratefully took the wooden bowl filled with berries, fruit and grain from him to sit on the bed angrily and munch away at breakfast while Ushijima slept like a rock. Stupidly, drooling slightly on the pillow. How disgusting. How vile. How endearing.

He thumped Ushijima’s side carefully and watched him shoot up with all the alertness as expected of someone of his station and handed him the bowl of berries. And then an idea sparked into his mind a nasty idea, a wonderfully horrible idea. Tomorrow would be a new moon, the perfect night for his revenge.

Ushijima reached out to carefully accept his breakfast before Oikawa snatched it away with a beautifully cruel smile. The cogs in his head ticking up a genius plan at a thousand miles an hour.

“Ah ah ah Soldier boy! You have to sing for your supper now! You’re going to help me with my plan!” Oikawa lilted before picking a red apple from the bowl, messily biting into it, juice spilling from it, pouring down his chin and onto his collarbone, revealed by his slipping nightshirt.

Ushijima felt an immoral pang deep in his gut but he hardened his heart for his King and for his prince. He had only just woken up and yet, he could feel that this would be a long and arduous day.

Chapter Text

Daichi was surrounded by party planners of every kind, from cake makers and chefs to interior decorators. He had become a true leader in party planning. Every detail had to be just so for Suga. The lilacs and the blues would complement his fair colouring perfectly. Asahi helped to point out things that Suga would like best, mentioning his particular love of dark chocolate and spicy food. Kiyoko helped to organise the budget once she returned from the lake, with thoughts of a little deer at the corner of her mind.

 He discussed in great detail the kind of music he wanted to be played at the ball. ‘Elegant and soft like a swan’ was the main note given to each and every person involved in helping him to create the party that would bring an audience from far and wide. The whole world would come to Karasuno. All for the purpose of breaking the curse that befell Suga.

 His mother was incredibly pleased by the initiative he was taking to boost Karasuno’s morale after such a tragic incident. She also approved of all the invitations to many important figures in the kingdom and beyond. It would help strengthen their bond with Fukurodani and provide some joy to the soldiers and the King, still mourning the loss of Suga.

Bokuto watched the proceedings unfold with a daze. He had done as Daichi had asked, going to where Suga was and inviting him to the ball. He even tried to lure his watery beauty to the party but he made it incredibly clear that he could not leave. He sighed almost mournfully, attracting the attentions of Kuroo.

Kuroo slid up next to him and gently nudged his body into Bokuto’s side in a show of comfort, like a cat rubbing affectionately against its owner. “What’s the matter bro? The castle is filled with excitement but you’ve been moping ever since you got back from the lake. What gives?”

It seemed that even the hair on Bokuto’s head wilted as he slumped down even further, prompting Kuroo to smack him on the back to get him to straighten up. “The one from the lake. The guy who’s in the lake. He’s beautiful. I can’t stop thinking about him. I don’t want to stop thinking about him. I want to help him but I don’t think he wants anyone’s help. He reminds me of my mother.”

Kuroo raised his eyebrow. When Bokuto first returned from discovering the lake he wouldn’t stop babbling about this guy in the water who kissed him. Bokuto had been hit by the love bug hard, so why compare the guy to your mother? It baffled Kuroo. “Bro… that’s kind of incesty if you don’t mind me saying….”

Bokuto huffed and looked at his dark haired friend straight in the eye, golden eyes glinting with determination to make Kuroo understand. “No! Not like…. Not that he is actually my mother but he carries himself in the same way she did. She was from Fukurodani y’know!”

“Yeah so? What is that supposed to mean? So what if he carries himself like that.” Kuroo’s voice was laden with confusion. Bokuto didn’t exactly explain himself very clearly at times.

“Well I have a theory. I think he’s the missing prince from Fukurodani! He’s got the same dark eyes and hair that they do there. They all seem to carry themselves like they’re gonna just…. Take off and fly away.” Bokuto waved his hands around in illustration of flight. His eyes were soft as he pictured Akaashi in his mind’s eye. Beautiful and pale, looking up at the moonlight alone on the lake, a pale and slender neck just begging to be kissed. Oh how he ached!

His daydreams were disturbed by a punch in the arm from his friend. “Okay so you have your theory. It might be true, the guy could just be a spirit for all we know. If he is the lost prince then that’s great but we can’t go declaring that at the party, you might really upset some folks.” Bokuto sighed and slumped at Kuroo’s reasoning. He was right. There was nothing he could do right now but try to support Daichi as best he could and if that meant keeping his mouth shut for the time being until things sorted themselves out around Suga, then so be it. But in his heart he knew he was right, his gut was very rarely wrong and it wasn’t as if Kuroo didn’t believe him either, just that he had more sense to be cautious about it. Kuroo swung his arm around Bokuto’s shoulder and squeezed gently, causing Bokuto to straighten with a new resolve. It was time for them to go off and brush up on their amazing dancing skills.

Suga knew the smoothness of their plans was too good to be true as soon as Oikawa arrived on the shore of the lake with a certain kind of smugness in his eyes and his hand holding out expectantly for the precious invitation to the ball.

“The invite. Now” he demanded of the swan, fingers curling forward in a demanding motion and when Suga held his ground on the shore, determined not to give over that precious piece of paper, Oikawa nodded over at Iwaizumi and he heard a tiny, terrified squawk as Hinata was plucked from the air, held tightly in Iwaizumi’s wooden hands. Suga glared up at Oikawa, dark eyes burning brightly with the will to defeat all the curses that Oikawa could ever possibly throw his way, but he had no other choice but to hand him the invite. Hinata although big in spirit and will, was fragile of body and Iwaizumi could easily crush him. No invite was worth his friend’s life. At least if he was in his human form he would surely be let in on sight alone at the door. Daichi wouldn’t let him be shut out.

Oikawa laughed at Suga, reading the contents of the invite carefully and then twirled the gorgeous envelope in his hands before sticking it in his pocket. “I doubt you’d even get in princeling!” he mocked. “The ball is tomorrow night!” Suga looked confused but also relieved as he spotted Hinata fly back to the safety of Yachi’s side. “You’re a prince! You should have enough of an education to know that tomorrow night is a new moon. Which means no moon! Which means no ball for you! Oh this is rich!”

Oikawa’s laughter rang throughout the trees and Suga felt a sickness deep in his stomach. The ball was their only chance and Oikawa had a look in his eyes which told him that nothing good would come tomorrow.

Chapter Text

All Oikawa needed was a way into the castle. The invite was his ticket and as he hummed joyously around his room, Ushijima watched him baffled at why someone could be so hellbent at causing destruction like this. It just didn’t make sense.

Oikawa turned his head around and smiled in a way that made Ushijima’s heart twang with desire. “You could accompany me!” Oikawa lilted, shuffling papers and maps, examining each one for notes that he had written on his plan.

“Why?” Ushijima replied.
“Because you are handsome, I think that it’d be fun to dance with you and you’d give me a strategical advantage. You know the castle well. We’d watch their faces as the kingdom came crashing down! Doesn’t that sound fun?”

“No. I mean why are you doing all this?” Oikawa’s shuffling and movement came to a stop and he raised one hand to point at the portrait of the family that looked so happy.

“I’m doing it for them. I’m doing it for this house. I’m doing it because those two kingdoms, in their fighting destroyed everyone I cared about!” Oikawa’s voice rose in pitch as he frantically waved his arms about in rage as he swept around the room, magic flying in dazzling colours from his fingertips. “My father fought for your stupid war and died. Was my mother taken care of? No! I doubt you’d understand what it feels like to be alone in your house, watching it fall to pieces from fire.” Ushijima watched in awe and slight terror as Oikawa’s appearance changed to one of his beloved charge. Hair turning from brunette to silvery blonde, eyes from brown to dove grey. His eyes leaked tears of hysteria and desperation. “I doubt you’d understand what it’s like to be alone and fend for yourself, soldier boy! You were probably taken care of your whole life! Me I was brought up by a fucking tree man!” Oikawa now stood before him as Suga, dressed like he was ready for a ball in all his finery. “Now you will fucking shut your mouth and help me or I swear I will make you feel a hint of how miserable I was.” A heavy realization hit Ushijima as he watched Oikawa weep before him, chest heaving as his slender body shook in desperation. He had begun to feel fond of his captor over these past few days and there was nothing that he could do to stop it, nor could he refuse his pleas, even if it would destroy the whole kingdom.

Daichi could barely contain his excitement as he sat in his chair watching the many guests from all over the many kingdoms pour in. It was truly a parade of colour and light as the crowds gathered to show Karasuno their finest and most beautiful people and entertainments. Dancers and acrobats twirled and jumped onto the floor while musicians played melodies sweet enough to make the heart soar. Bokuto and Kuroo sat next to him, glad to see Daichi so relaxed and happy after so long searching for Suga. It was almost as though they had their own friend that they knew and loved returned.

Daichi pointed out Asahi with laughter in the crowd being propositioned by one of the palace gardeners. He was a shorter man who was known by all the staff for having boundless amounts of energy and a great pride in his hard work. Daichi’s laughter boomed louder the redder Asahi turned, the visual combination of a shy giant of a man coupled with an enthusiastic shorty was enough to tickle his funny bone into action. Kuroo could only feel relief that Daichi was at ease, especially as everything would end cleanly tonight.

Bokuto however fretted quietly to himself, he didn’t have the same good feelings that Daichi did, afterall the appearance of the Fukurodani royal family only cemented his theory of Akaashi being the lost prince. The resemblance he held to the queen was uncanny. She looked like an older female version of his love. A tall dark haired beauty. He didn’t know what to do with Akaashi at all and bringing up his absence on such a joyous night would not be a good thing to do, so he sat there silently and waited for the night to unfold.

The atmosphere at the lakeside was all but a flurry. Hinata had reported that he had seen Oikawa speed away into the early evening in a carriage only moments ago and Suga felt his gut twist into an even tighter knot. He had to stop Oikawa from destroying everything they had spent so many years trying to cultivate all of the sake of his own madness, his own pain.

Suga locked eyes with Akaashi, begging for any kind of help that the magic of the lake could give him. Akaashi could only watch sadly, without the moon’s light he could not transform Suga. It was a new moon and there would be no shred of silvery beams hitting the water tonight. “I am sorry. All I can say is that you must fly there and fast. Your wings are powerful Suga, you are strong at heart I believe you will do this. You can do this.”

“But how?!” Suga cried. “If I am a swan how will Daichi know that he is being deceived? Why is it that I feel my heart will tear in two on the moment of their meeting? Why do I feel like I am already doomed?” Akaashi’s eyes softened at his friend’s pain. He pitied him and could only wish the nicest things upon him but all they could be were wishes. He could do nothing more.

“I would hope that if he loved you as dearly and as deeply as you love him, that he would know that Oikawa is not you. He does not have the same warmth you hold in the very core of your being. That is something he must learn himself but you, you possess all the warmth and light in the world right there in your heart. If Daichi loves you, truly, he will see it.”

Those were the words that gave Suga the strength and the conviction to run at the lake, beating his wings powerfully and fly off into the night after the carriage as fast as he could. There was no hope for Hinata or Yachi to try catching him, all they could do was wave their dear friend off with all the luck in the world and hope for his safe return.

When Oikawa entered the ballroom swishing elegantly with Ushijima at his side the room stopped to gasp and stare. He couldn’t help but smirk in his heart when tears were shed over him. This is what he had wanted. Acknowledgement, love, adoration, attention. This is what he had always desired but the bitterness set into his stomach when he quickly realized that these feelings and sentiments were not for him. No. They were for Sugawara. Still, he did not let the façade slip, he smiled sweetly and as fondly as he could muster at the crowds that babbled and wept for joy at the prince’s return. Clusters of people held each other and cheered in jubilation, dressed in bright colours with dazzling lights, things he had only witnessed before hidden in the shadows but never directly in the spotlight. It was intoxicating to know that tonight he would be the one to bring this all crashing down, but it was at risk until Daichi swiftly reached his side, kissing his hands that were too pale and too slender. Ushijima dutifully stepped to the side, his dark eyes beseeching him not to continue, just to let the glamour slip and let everyone go. The soldier that had a heart that was too big and too kind and made his skin crawl and his heart ache. All the more reason to destroy it all.

Daichi held Suga close in his arms, the music drowning out the world around them until it was just the two of them. He couldn’t believe it. Soon this pain of being parted would be over. He had planned it very carefully, they would dance together and make a show that they were together again before he would bring Suga onto centre stage and declare his love for him to the world. But something didn’t feel right? Why was he hesitating? Was he afraid that as soon as he had declared his intent to Suga that all the adventure would be over? That he would be condemned to simply be a king. But Suga smiled sweetly at him (perhaps a little too sweetly) and they danced so elegantly across the floor (but where was the laughter and the joy and the wonder they had so previously shared?) His mind was in turmoil but he had to follow the plan.

Oikawa had to follow the plan. He would follow the plan right until the end. He locked eyes with Ushijima right over Daichi’s shoulder and smirked, causing the knight to look at him with eyes that condemned him for all of his wrong doings. He felt like throwing up but the plan had to go on.

Kuroo could see the plan falling to pieces all around the two. He could see the way that they did not quite connect. Bokuto could see it too and they stood together eager to figure out a way to make the world see that this was not the plan that they had intended. This was not the way things were supposed to go and then they saw it almost in unison as the dancing had come to an end and Daichi had taken Suga up on to the stage. Suga clung to Daichi’s arm tightly, too tightly.

“Esteemed guests! I am so incredibly grateful to have your attention and your company on such a joyous occasion!” Daichi had began, his voice booming confidently for the whole world to hear his happiness, even if something didn’t feel quite right.

Suga was behind the glass of the window watching Daichi present Oikawa to the world. His heart raced faster than it ever had before as he hit his beak against the thick glass. Bokuto and Kuroo had seen him but Daichi was steadfast like always. He couldn’t hate him. His beautiful steadfast love continued on and on despite any possible distraction off in his own little world. Suga lamented in his heart that he would be a great king, unshakeable and righteous, but those virtues would be his undoing unless something could stop him from finishing his speech.

Daichi didn’t understand why Bokuto and Kuroo were so frantically waving at him. He didn’t notice the way that Suga almost forcefully dug his nails into his arm, egging him on to continue despite his momentary pause.

“My fiancée has returned! And to mark this special occasion I am going to make a vow!” The crowd cheered in support.

Suga’s beak hit the glass harder in desperation.

“Of everlasting love!” The ladies of the court sighed and the King and Queen respectively had pride glistening in their eyes. How could he not be doing the right thing. And then he looked down at Suga at his side and something hit him deep in the stomach that what he was doing was very wrong, but his mouth would not stop.

“To Sugawara Koushi, my beloved.”

If transforming into a swan was painful for Suga, this was a thousand times more. It felt like his entire being was being ripped into a thousand pieces. How could he not know? Maybe his love was not true? But if it was not true then why did it hurt so much? He felt tears come to his eyes as he let out a scream of pure anguish that caused Daichi to turn around before he was pushed away from Oikawa by Bokuto and Kuroo who had reached his side in the confusion that was caused by Oikawa’s true form coming to light as he laughed hysterically.

“Congratulations Prince Daichi, you just condemned your sweet love to death!”

And Suga believed him.

Chapter Text

Akaashi could see him from the lake. A white swan flying, falling, gasping for breath. Its beak letting loose songs of agony and heartbreak and death. Akaashi felt his own heart resonate in his chest, plummeting even deeper than the place he had kept it safe in the cool waters of the lake, like Suga’s silvery white form splashing into the lake with a song that shook through the forest, his swan song.

He looked up with anger and fire in his eyes at the hoof beats that raced towards him. Yachi and Hinata had arrived to pay a fearful vigil to the fallen prince but it was the appearance of Daichi and his friends that had caused his ire. How dare they hurt Suga. How dare they cause him such pain, to break his gentle heart in such a way that he was now growing colder and shivering in his arms, heart beating faster than any wild animal’s as he gasped for breath. How dare they, Suga chose none of this. Not like he did. Suga never wanted to run from his family, his kingdom. Suga never was at any risk of becoming a disappointment, he would be loved and cherished whatever he did. Not like him. He didn’t have the fear that ate away until he fled, too many expectations having crushed his very being leading him to seek any way out. Then the accident happened and he ran to this lake and Oikawa offered him a deal. And he took it with both hands and became what he is now. Water.

Water couldn’t help Suga, love was the only thing that could do that. Love that he was so sure Daichi would provide for him, but it had been squandered. It had been mislayed and when he looked up again from Suga’s form to see Daichi on the edge of the lake, his heartbreak, his foolishness, his woe depicted clear as day in his dark eyes, Akaashi couldn’t hate him. But he could help him. He could help Suga too, the sweet prince who so desperately begged to help him time and time again. Now was the time to repay his kindness.

Akaashi plunged the two of them deep into the water for the last time. He heard shouts and screams from Daichi and Bokuto as he took his friend deep into the heart of the lake. Suga opened his eyes weakly, so sad, so lost. He had really tried his hardest to make everything work out in the end but even now he failed.

“I give a piece of myself to you Suga. You deserve to try again.” Akaashi kissed his forehead and watched as the magic of the lake drew the form of the swan away from Suga’s perishing form. Magic didn’t like dying people it needed life and now this wild magic was Akaashi’s to use as he wished along with the magic he had been storing for a moment when he needed it, a moment like this.

They rose up to the surface, Suga’s scantily clad body washing up from the lake and into Daichi’s arms. Daichi held Suga tightly and apologized countless times. “I am so sorry, the vow I made was for you” he cried, tears dripping down his face in torrents heavy enough to carve stone. Suga weakly opened his eyes in return and smiled, tears of his own overflowing and shallow breaths rasping out from his lips. His hand reached up to tenderly away Daichi’s tears, his touch gentle and weak, his heart fluttering in his chest, working so hard to keep him alive. “Please don’t cry Daichi, we tried. We did our best. I still love you all the same.” But his body could hold out no longer, slumping after his brave efforts to comfort his love. The magic had left him completely, returning to the lake where it began. Daichi watched in horror as Suga’s eyes closed and his hand fell from its place on his cheek, like a puppet that had its strings cut. Daichi could almost not believe it. He didn’t want to believe it. This couldn’t be it. He was supposed to grow old with Suga, he was supposed to cultivate peace between their kingdoms, he was supposed to love him and cherish him forever but now he couldn’t. All Daichi could do now was hold Suga’s limp form to his chest and sob bitterly while the onlookers watched with great sadness in their hearts and tears dropping from their eyes. It was at that moment that Oikawa decided to appear with a distressed Ushijima chasing after him.

“You have done enough! Haven’t you taken enough from us all?!” the captain yelled, feeling his heart break at the sight of his prince barely breathing in Daichi’s arms. Oikawa however paid him no mind and pointed right at Akaashi’s form that was retreating back into the water.

“You! Don’t you go back into the water! We had a deal! I made you! And now you shall aid me!” Oikawa yelled, voice booming and reverberating right into Akaashi’s ears.

Bokuto had never seen a sight more majestic, the way that Akaashi turned, head tilting just so, a small smile curving on his lips at Oikawa’s words like they were the most idiotic things he had ever heard before bursting into laughter. Bokuto knew power when he saw it and right now Akaashi, the beloved spirit of the water, the man who he was now completely sure was the lost heir of Fukurodani displayed all the power of a rightful heir, magic imbued in every fibre of his being.

“No Oikawa you helped me of your own volition. I made myself. You and your little revenge tantrum is over now. I am done with giving you handouts of my power. No more.” Akaashi’s eyes with met briefly with Daichi and Bokuto as Oikawa was too stunned to reply and they launched themselves on him to hold him down.

Oikawa was not one to go down without a fight though, he let out a roar and threw the two muscular men off of him as he transformed once more into his griffon form to try and attack anyone else who stood in his path. He dove at Daichi and Bokuto who dodged by diving into some nearby bushes. Yachi found her courage and kicked a hoof in Oikawa’s face when he tried to come close and Hinata pecked and tore at his feathers with all the might he could. It was when he dove in to attack Ushijima that he faltered. The captain’s dark eyes locked with Oikawa’s as he reiterated “You have done enough Oikawa. You must stop this now” as he steadfastly stood with his sword, ready to strike if Oikawa dared to attack him, but Oikawa couldn’t find the heart in him to dive that close. His strike faltered and it was that split second that Akaashi hammered the final nail in the coffin in Oikawa’s plan.

A strand of water flew out from the lake to hit the small glowing star against Oikawa’s feathered breast, snatching it away with great force. Yachi let out a gasp as the force of her stolen magic and Akaashi’s magic from the lake combined to create a burst of great white light. It started from the lake, glowing as it did whenever Suga transformed and exploded outwards, encompassing them all.

Bokuto saw for just a moment before his vision disappeared in the blinding light Akaashi turn to him with a gentle smile as his lips formed a thank you, and then everything for a moment was gone.

The light faded as quickly as it came to be replaced by a cold sparkling rain of light and white feathers down from the sky that burst with a sparkly ‘pop’. Daichi, Bokuto and Ushijima were the first to regain their vision. They were met with the sight of Oikawa, Yachi and Hinata’s animal forms melting away as the rain fell down on them to show their human forms again.

Yachi and Hinata were instantly on Oikawa, sitting on top of him, pinning him down to prevent escape until they figured out what to do with him. Ushijima joined the pair of them, standing sternly next to the three as Iwaizumi emerged from the trees to watch the scene of Daichi clutching Suga tightly to his breast, gently shaking him and stroking his face to try and rouse his love.

“Suga….. Koushi please wake up. We fixed things… your friend he made you better. Koushi… you have to wake up. Please” Daichi desperately whispered. “You said you wanted to make the kingdom better. Your letters. You wanted to build a happy kingdom with me. I can’t do this without you. I can’t do it alone. I need you. Please just…. Wake up.” Suga still didn’t stir and Daichi felt an even greater sense of desperation and despair well up in his chest.

Everyone watched mournfully, even Oikawa who lay pinned under a fairy and a small boy. Maybe even after all of Akaashi’s efforts, his sacrifice, maybe it had all been for naught.

Daichi let loose a fresh sob, it wracked his body as he just begged and pleaded with all the higher powers that his love would wake, guilt coursing through his body, consuming him fully until it hit him that he could do no more except give him a last kiss. So he leaned down and gently and tenderly placed his lips upon Suga’s own. A sweet and sombre kiss.

“Koushi… I love you” he whispered as their lips parted, his tears dripping down on Suga’s cheeks before he looked up at their friends.

But then the most curious thing happened. Like all good stories the kiss was the key. Suga’s heart began to beat again. A gasp of life burst forth from his lips and his hands, gently and weakly gripped Daichi’s arms.

“Daichi…. I had the most wonderful dream. You called me Koushi and you told me you loved me” he said in a sleepy voice, as if he had woken up from a long slumber. Daichi couldn’t help but laugh through his tears at Suga’s words. It was a miracle! But despite his overwhelming joy he couldn’t stop crying even as his smile widened greatly.

Daichi picked Suga up in his joy, spinning him around causing Yachi and Hinata to laugh and clap their hands in joy. “I do love you Koushi! More than anything and anyone in the world!” Suga let out a peal of laughter in response and gripped Daichi’s face before kissing him deeply.

“Well I love you too so don’t cry. You won’t be alone to run this kingdom” he said tenderly while wiping Daichi’s tears from his goofy grinning visage.

Bokuto meanwhile couldn’t help but feel the great ache in his chest spreading. Akaashi was gone. Dead or otherwise he was gone and he wouldn’t be coming back as easily as Suga had at least, not until he was ready. He hoped that it would be sooner rather than later.

“Hey! What do we do with him?” Hinata called out bouncing happily on Oikawa’s chest causing him to let out a pitiful groan.

Yachi looked up at Iwaizumi and smiled at the large tree man. “I don’t know? What do you suggest Iwaizumi?”

Iwaizumi spoke in his rustles and groans and Yachi nodded in full understanding. “I see… Do you really think that would be best?” Iwaizumi nodded and looked fondly upon his small friend. This would be his goodbye. It was time for Oikawa to grow outside of the forest with his own kind and learn to forgive. He then looked sternly at Ushijima and a large wooden finger poked his chest. Yachi giggled wildly.

“What is he saying?” Ushijima asked.

“He says that Oikawa is your responsibility now and that we could deal the punishment as we see fit. However I don’t think killing him would be the best way to help him learn his lesson. Are we in agreement?”

Everyone nodded in response. No one wished for more bloodshed. Oikawa had gone too far but to kill him would just be sinking down below his level.

“I propose that we give him a taste of his own medicine!” Yachi called out. Hinata bounced excitedly on Oikawa’s chest calling in response, “Yes! Yes!”

Suga and Daichi held each other close and tenderly, unwilling to let each other go so soon. Daichi would under normal circumstances call for a fair but harsh punishment but as Yachi was the first victim, it was only fair that she get the choice of Oikawa’s sentence.

“Then we are in agreement!” and with that declaration Yachi stood up calling forth her precious pendant from the depths of the lake, no longer bound to anyone or anything and began to weave a magnificent spell. “Stand back Hinata!” she cried as she aimed her gorgeous, sparkly golden magic right at Oikawa.

What emerged from the cloud of sparkles was a small, incredibly cute, brown ferret with a teal blue collar. Oikawa squeaked and squirmed on the ground before Yachi picked the little fluffball up gently and tenderly, patting his head and tickling the back of his neck.

“Now, the conditions of this spell are that you must behave yourself Oikawa. This lovely large gentleman will decide when you have been good enough and learned your lesson. Don’t worry though! You’ll be human at night time, just like Suga here! But if you misbehave you’ll turn back into a ferret immediately!” After her explanation she handed Ushijima the small animal, watching as he took Oikawa into his hands with fondness and wonder at the tiny beast. He vowed that he would take good care of Oikawa.

With everything taken care of Suga stretched and nudged into Daichi’s side. “Can we go home now? I would love to sleep in a bed. I also can’t wait to tell Asahi about all the adventures we’ve had!” Daichi smiled fondly and nudged back lovingly. “Yes! Of course, let’s go home.”

So they all rode off into the dawn that was just breaking, back to Karasuno, back to their home. With a promise of a wedding and the hope of redemption and Akaashi’s return hanging in the air.

Chapter Text

Ushijima’s shoulder was not a bad place to watch the wedding of the century, especially when he was captain of the guards. Front row seating to watch all the majesty and the drama! Well, that is what Oikawa had hoped.

The marriage of Suga and Daichi was indeed turning out to be a lavish affair. Oikawa sat patiently, his small fluffy body on the broad, caped shoulder as they paraded down the streets. Ushijima led Suga’s party, followed by Asahi and Hinata who did not hesitate to wave and smile at the joyous crowds. Yachi flew above the convoy enchanting many kinds of flowers and sparkles with her fairy magic, causing several children in the crowd (and Hinata) to whoop and cheer at each flurry.

The crowd also sought to partake in the festivities by throwing flowers and confetti of their own in a magnitude of colours and styles, overjoyed by the union of the two princes and the two kingdoms. Songs could be heard for miles around. They had been waiting for months since Suga’s return to the kingdom for the wedding.

For the first few weeks Suga could do nothing but sleep in order to regain his energy from the curse. Daichi would come and go each day with food for him and letters describing how the day had gone. Asahi would sometimes slip letters of his own in, telling Suga of how he had been accepted by Daichi’s court. Of how his right arm would never hold the same strength it did since the accident and many other details.

Suga would sit up and read each letter with fondness, feeling his heart swell mightily with the care and love he was shown through each letter. He remembered the letters that he sent Daichi at the beginning of their engagement, he remembered how fearful he had been for this union but now sitting in the carriage on the way to the wedding at the citadel, all of that fear was gone. He clutched the final letter from Daichi in his hands. He just received it yesterday.

“Dear Suga,

I know that you told me that you gave up in that final letter but I’m not giving up on you. Not now, not ever. I can’t live without you.  My life doesn’t hold the same satisfaction. I know that things will be hard, maybe even harder than the curse, but together with you… I feel like we can defeat anything.

Yours forever and always,

Daichi”

He felt relief wash over himself over a quick read of the letter before tucking it away safely. It reassured him that he was sure of himself and certain that this was the best thing for both himself and the kingdom. He loved Daichi, the ordeal of being a swan had taught him that. He was determined that no one would ever place him in a position of utter helplessness. There would be no more people who would hold power over him like Oikawa did. He would lose no more friends like Akaashi, he would keep them all close and use his position to defend and make the world a better place, not throw it into the fires of war.

The procession came to a standstill when they reached the citadel. It was time to walk the walk that matched the talk that many years of negotiating had been building up to. He adujusted his veil as Asahi opened the door of the carriage with a smile and tears in his eyes. Suga couldn’t help himself but lean up towards his friend and kiss those tears away through the veil, reaching up to cup his cheek and stroke a thumb to catch any small drips. Yachi waved at him from above, showering him with more flowers as he grinned up and laughed at her over enthusiasm, something that she picked up from Hinata who cheered loudly from his horse, garnering a brief stern look from a couple of the surrounding knights.

Years ago Suga would have run straight to the door for fear of being swallowed by the crowds of people. He would have begged Asahi and Ushijima to help him get away from the situation but today, here he waved to the citizens of the kingdom with ease, thanking them deeply from the bottom of his heart as they passed him flowers to create a bouquet that was as full as their love for him. By the time he got to Ushijima standing by the great doors of the citadel and looked up at him he couldn’t help but laugh like all his worries had faded away.

“I’m proud of you” Ushijima murmured down at his charge, taking his hand reverently, allowing Oikawa to scurry down his ceremonial armour up to Suga’s shoulder before the small ferret placed a small kiss on his cheek. Suga laughed and peeled Oikawa off him, holding him in both hands.

“Now now Oikawa, Ushijima has to look after you, not me. I’m sure if you ask him nicely you can dance at the party letter” Oikawa stuck his little pink tongue out and scurried out of his hands onto Ushijima’s palm before they escorted him inside to meet with his father and the nobles in the citadel.

Light refracted and created rainbows through the crystals and the stained glass windows. Suga knew that he should spend a moment with his father who held him close and kissed his forehead tenderly murmuring words of pride but he was tempted to let his mind be captured by the dazzling surroundings. Delicate music filtered through the air and drowned out the voices of the people around them, allowing him to only focus on what mattered, what stood before him, his end goal, Daichi.

Daichi’s eyes widened as soon as Suga’s father stepped away from him to reveal his husband to be, dressed like he could be an ethereal spirit in silks so light and pale that the rainbows painted watercolours upon his silvery skin and hair. Joy radiated out from his chest that he forgot the uncomfortable ceremonial gear that he had been forced into earlier that day by Kuroo and Bokuto. If he were to glance at either side of him he would notice Kuroo grinning widely and Bokuto with a look of great fondness.

All over again it felt like Daichi was seeing Suga at the moment he transformed back from being a swan into a human. He wanted nothing more than to run up to him, lift him up, spin him around and kiss him deeply and passionately but for now he just needed to wait until Suga was at his side, holding his hand and listening to the priest bless them with words of love and togetherness.

Their eyes met and their hands connected, fingers intertwining with giddiness. Tears found themselves at the corner of Daichi’s eyes as he looked at Suga’s own smile radiantly blossom as his heartbeat drowned out the priest’s explanations on how this was a perfect political marriage.

“You’re crying” Suga mouthed through his veil prompting Daichi to nod just a little, smile widening as a tear dripped down his cheek. He didn’t have the luxury of remaining mostly unseen otherwise Daichi was sure that he would blub with happiness. He took the opportunity to discreetly wipe his eyes with a gloved thumb while the priest’s speech distracted all. Besides, no one would bother to look at him anyway, not with how radiant Suga looked today.

But then the attention turned back to them as the priest began to recite the vows that they were to give to one another.

“Prince Daichi Sawamura of Karasuno, do you take Prince Sugawara Koushi to be your lawfully wedded husband? To protect and shelter, through sickness and in health, with a bond of everlasting love, as long as you both shall live?” Daichi gripped Suga’s hand tightly and nodded with the most certainty he felt in his life.

He took almost no time to respond. “I do.”

“Prince Sugawara Koushi, do you take Prince Daichi Sawamura of Karasuno to be your lawfully wedded husband? To protect and shelter, through sickness and in health, with a bond of everlasting love, as long as you both shall live?”

Suga smiled through the veil, a deep blush forming on his cheeks from the nerves of having so many people hang on his every word on this moment but he nodded sincerely and squeezed Daichi’s hand tightly in return as he replied “I do.”

The energy in the room spiked as the crowd waited on baited breath for the priest’s next words.

“I hereby pronounce you both wedded! You may now kiss!”

The crowd cheered loudly and a rain of flowers began once again in the rainbow painted light of the citadel. Bells and music rang out across the land as Daichi leaned down to remove Suga’s veil, cupping his cheek so tenderly.

“I love you Koushi” he whispered, stroking his thumb along the softness of his cheek.

Suga reached up to wipe the rest of the tears that were threatening to spill from Daichi’s eyes. “I love you too Daichi” he responded before standing up on his tiptoes just a little, throwing his arms around Daichi’s neck to claim his lips in a deep kiss.

The kiss was interrupted by Suga’s squeak as he was swept off his feet only to be kissed again as he was carried out of the citadel by Daichi Bridal style, throwing the bouquet into the crowd with a wave and a smile in between kisses. The crowd roared and cheered as Daichi and Suga tumbled into the carriage only to continue kissing like a crazy pair of lustful teenagers. Suga didn’t care about the lecture he would get from his father about how it was improper to crawl into the lap of his husband in public like he did. And Daichi couldn’t give two hoots about how his mother would tell him that it was highly inappropriate to massage his husband’s ass in public mid kiss. Suga drew his lips away from Daichi’s with a lick of his lips, eyes darker than their cinnamon colour in passion he stroked Daichi’s handsome face and felt a swell of happiness in his breast at how happy he was to be here. Laughter bubbled up from their chests as great relief washed over them. They were finally married. Words were not needed as they continued on their way back to the castle, back home. Today was the start of their new life together. To them nothing was sweeter.

What mattered to them is that they were together, and they would always to be together. They had overcome a curse that had threatened to tear themselves and their kingdom to pieces. Tears were shed, a friend was lost and lessons were learned. Daichi would never forget the fear he had felt holding Suga in his arms before Akaashi so selflessly gave up his life for his friend. Suga would never doubt his power again. No more would he be ruled by fear. However, most importantly, they had grown and flourished together to become a team that would rule Karasuno with kindness, humility and everlasting love.