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Painful Possession

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Leo had felt… odd ever since he reunited with his father on their venture to conquer Hoshido. It was not long after they had taken Princess Sakura, her retainers, and the Hoshidan tactician Yukimura as prisoners of the war in which it had began.

First, there was a slight ache at the back of his head. He had presumed it to simply be a headache, but no matter how much healing and medicine he was allowed, it remained persistent. Annoying, but it wasn't too much of a hindrance.

Not too long after that, his vision had began to cloud over. Xander suggested that due to his tendency to read late into the night and for long periods of time, he was simply just straining his eyesight and would likely need glasses once they returned to Nohr. Leo couldn't help but agree with that.

But now… Even his dreams – or should he say nightmares – were beginning to become plagued by… something. He always felt as though he were there with someone, suffering alongside him as he watched his family be torn apart limb by limb by the Faceless, all being controlled by two human-like beings who only had one distinguishable feature – their shockingly red eyes. It always went in the same order… Xander would be killed first, then Camilla, and then Elise. Corrin would always try to resist, and turn into a dragon to escape, but they too were not safe from being severed apart. It was always when he felt the other person's fingers link into his when he was awakened, typically by Niles or Odin.

It had led the young Nohrian prince into doing his best to resist sleep, making his suffering much more noticeable to his siblings and even that dastardly Iago.

“Leo… Come sit with me for a moment. I wish to have a word with you.” Xander's voice was the first thing which he had heard after one such sleepless night, as the army was preparing to head towards and take over the Great Wall of Suzanoh, with the resistance there being headed by none other than his Hoshidan equal – Prince Takumi. “I need you to be completely honest to me, brother.” Xander firmly took hold of Leo's shoulder, and led him towards a part of the camp which was far away from everyone else.

“Do tell, Xander. Are you worried about something? Have I done something wrong?” The younger of the two kept a straight face as he stared his brother in the eyes, arms crossed with Brynhildr pinned against his chest. “Or is this a simple question, nothing to do with the war at hand?”

“I am concerned for your welfare. As of late, your attacks have been weakening, you have been distracted most of the time, and you are constantly tired. Have you been losing out on sleep? Corrin, Camilla and Elise have been expressing a lot of concern over your state, and father is close to requesting that you be forcefully removed from the army on the grounds of insubordination and a lack of effort if you do not start to show your willingness to participate.”

Leo winced as he heard his family's opinion on his state of tiredness, and almost gulped at their father's threat. It was the first that he had heard of any such things, and that was worrisome. Xander's intense stare forced him into responding to what he had just been told. “Yes, Xander. I am tired. Tired of people assuming that I am making any less of an effort simply because of their rapidly increasing standards.” Leo's hands dropped to his sides as he turned around, casting a slight glare at his brother as he did so. “I am doing the best that I can in the time which I have available, and I believe that my battles have been of more than sufficient standard. Out of anyone, I would have assumed that you would know what that feels like, Xander.”

Leo remained silent as he turn turned around and began to walk away, not wishing to continue the short-lived conversation for any longer. Getting questioned by Xander over something wasn't something which would normally happen to him, as normally it would happen to be Corrin or Elise at the opposite end to their brother's scornful glare.

“And Leo… Father wishes for us to engage with the Hoshidans at the Great Wall when the sun is directly above us. Get some rest before then. If not for me… Do it for everyone else.”

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

Once the battle began, Corrin's branch of the army had been directed to the most heavily guarded section of the wall – the very area being controlled by Takumi and his retainers. Whilst Camilla, Elise, and Xander were using themselves as a distraction, to keep the Hoshidan warriors situated at the base of the wall occupied, Leo was grouped up with Azura and Corrin as they tried to get to the top of the wall. They had decided that it would be best to stay in groups of three, simply because of the sheer numbers of Hoshidans. They were more exposed and vulnerable when in pairs or alone.

Azura was attempting to rally Leo and Corrin as best as she could with her songs, with it thankfully also captivating their opponents as she did so. It allowed for the pair doing the majority of the fighting to get through the enemies swiftly and efficiently, yet not killing them.

As they fought, the words fired at Corrin by Takumi were going through Leo's head. 'Today is the day you die! Even if I must give my life to achieve it, I will not fail.' His adoptive sibling was desperate to keep their Hoshidan siblings alive, so that once the war was over, they could all just try to get along. Yet they were all ready to kill all of them. The events which had happened in Izumo must have had close to zero impact upon the Hoshidan hatred…

It was hard to blame it on the second prince of Hoshido for wanting to fight like this though. In a way, Leo wished that there was no need for them to have to battle, but with his father at their throats, threatening them (him in particular) with execution for not doing what he ordered… It was impossible.

Xander was right, he truly was becoming distracted easily.

“Leo… We're about to go up the wall. Are you ready for this?” Corrin had placed their hand on his shoulder, before giving him a weak smile. “Remember… You are the only one of the three of us who can actually utilise ranged attacks, meaning that you are going to have to be the one to fight Takumi.” Corrin didn't sound happy with the arrangement, and yet again, Leo understood why. “Please, don't kill him. Neither Hoshido nor Nohr needs any more loss, especially when the loss comes from the royal family.”

Giving his sibling an understanding nod, Leo then flicked through the pages of Brynhildr. “I can try to immobilise him, or perhaps induce a death-like state to confuse father-”

“No. I want to speak to him afterwards… Just weaken him, Leo.”

It took a long time to be able to clear through the Hoshidans who were gathering on the top of the wall. Oboro and Hinata, which Leo recalled as being Takumi's retainers, were consistently calling for reinforcements, and it was easy to notice that Takumi was also fighting them using a ballista alongside his Fujin Yumi at the same time. Difficult, but not a challenge to any of the Nohrian royals.

After a long while, when the skies were starting to become a hazy hue of blue which the Nohrians were accustomed to, enemy reinforcements had stopped coming. Many were refusing to battle as they had heard of King Garon on a rampage, beheading any Hoshidan which he came across. Others were fearful for their lives against Garon's children. The rest were either dead or unconscious.

It was three against three now.

Corrin, Azura, and Leo against Takumi, Oboro, and Hinata.

Quickly, the one fight had ended up split into three separate ones. Azura was battling Oboro, the former using her lance as the latter was equipped with a naginata. Though Oboro was most definitely stronger, Azura was utilising her singing as a distraction alongside her speed. Corrin versus Hinata was the second battle, with a sacred blade against a forged Hoshidan katana, looking as though it were made of one of the best materials possible – perhaps silver? Either way, Corrin was triumphing, but the occasional taunt made them lose their guard.

And then… There were the two princes. They were on completely different levels in the wall, leaving Takumi at an advantage unless Leo moved quite the distance back. That left the Nohrian prince with only one option – he was going to have to go up to him…

Or at least that was the plan, until the pain which had been consistently hassling him in the back of his head began to grow stronger. It was trying to split his skull open, and make him cry out in pain. His vision was blurring even more, and his tome was becoming almost unreadable. “I must… fight prince Takumi… For Nohr...” Those words were the only words which he could bring himself around into saying just so that he could remember what he was actually doing as he staggered up the stairs leading to his opponent.

He knew that he was where he needed to be once he noticed the blue glow of Fujin Yumi's string and arrows.

“Prince Leo.” There was a hint of spitefulness in Takumi's voice, before there was a quick snort. “So, the traitor sends you after me. This is going to be easy… I will not lose!

“Believe me, prince Takumi… My magic is second to none in Nohr, there is hardly a chance that you shall escape from me. And aren't you lucky, Corrin requested that I keep you alive.”

Now another scoff was heard from the prince. “What, just so you can hold me as your prisoner alongside Sakura, Subaki, Hana, and Yukimura? As if I would let you do such a thing, Nohrian scum!”

Thankfully, Leo's vision had cleared up enough so that he could just about see an arrow be shot directly at him. A quick step to the side, and the projectile narrowly missed. In retaliation, Leo's hand became cloaked in the magic radiating from Brynhildr, and that was then sent towards the opponent.

Fierce was a mild way in which the battle could be described, with the way that trees were seen bursting out all over the ground, alongside arrows being let loose all over the place. Many of the taunts were heard from the highest level of the wall, and some of them were enough to bring the other close to tears.

Leo had shouted at one point about the tears which Sakura had shed since being taken prisoner, and about how pleased it was making some of his comrades. Takumi's eyes narrowed at he said that, and an arrow bigger than any other had materialised through his frustration.

At that point, the two were literally at each others' throats. The head of the arrow was pushing against Leo's neck, threatening to pierce his skin if he took a breath which was too deep. Leo's hand was held up by Takumi's, the magic circulating around his fingers as he threatened to choke him with the magic.

“Prince Takumi… You have been my worthiest opponent in years. I must thank you.”

“And you too, prince Leo. It is a shame that one of us are to fall now, and I intend on it not being me.

Chapter Text

Something wasn't right with either of the second princes of both countries. Both of them seemed to have a strange darkness surrounding their faces, their eyes were blank and emotionless, and there happened to be a strange purple aura surrounding them both. “If Hoshido loses their second prince… So does Nohr.” Leo's voice also sounded as though there was no thought made about what he was saying.

Little did anyone know, both princes had ended up under the same, strange influence. The headaches, the blurring of vision, and even the nightmares had both been shared by them. The hand which Leo takes whenever he was awakened? That was Takumi's.

And now…

Both of them were stood on the edge of the wall, threatening to step backwards and fall onto the ground below. Takumi's emotionless stare met with Azura's when he noticed her about to start singing, and the princes both smirked, as though they were almost like the same being. “Save your voice, Azura… It is too late.”

Takumi's hand then rose, and pointed at Corrin. Despite that, Leo was the next one to speak. “It's your fault… You couldn't save us.” He edged backwards a slight bit, the heel of his left foot now hanging over the edge. “Could you not see the force which was controlling us?” And now, Takumi had done the same with his right foot. “Could you not see that the darkness was taking over our minds?”

Tensions remained high for a few more minutes, with Leo and Takumi backing off the edge even more at any attempts of stepping closer to them or at singing. Corrin had finally decided that enough was enough though, and told Azura to step back and to not try to sing. Following that, they held out their hands. “Brothers… Please, listen to me.”

Leo showed emotion for the first time in a while and snorted. Takumi's eyes rolled, and he took another slight shift backwards.

“Take my hands… Please. I need my younger brothers, and so do everyone else! Leo, what would Xander and Camilla think, knowing that their little brother had died? What would Elise say, knowing that she now has only one older brother?! And Takumi, what of Ryoma, Hinoka, and Sakura? Yes, we have Sakura held prisoner at father's orders… But I intend to free her as soon as I can! Please, can you both come back here?… Can you step off the wall?...”

The looks on their faces then clearly said 'Oh, we can step off the wall, Corrin', but it was more than obvious that they weren't going to step forwards… They were going to step backwards.

It all happened in a matter of seconds once Xander, Camilla, and Elise had ended up reaching where they were on the roof. The first that they could process was that they had initially seen four people on the higher level as they approached the stairs up… Now there were just two, who had ran to the edge.

Corrin was in tears, and Azura was doing her best to calm them down. It wasn't a good sign to them either, seeing Brynhildr carelessly abandoned on the floor, and the Fujin Yumi resting beside it. Elise walked over to the two weapons, before picking them up, tears welling up in her eyes.

“Where is Leo?… He was meant to be fighting Takumi… Where are they? What… What happened?”

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

Takumi clenched his fists as he found himself surrounded by darkness yet again. This happened every time he had fell asleep for weeks, and now it was frustrating, to say the least. And what better than being stuck in the darkness alongside him?

“If I remember correctly, you dropped Fujin Yumi before I dropped Brynhildr. That can be seen as an act of forfeiting, and in turn, makes me the winner of our battle.” Leo's voice got on his nerves at times, especially when it sounded as though he were bragging.

The Hoshidan prince turned to face the Nohrian, before giving him a cold stare. “Shut up… Whilst we're stuck here, your father is probably doing his best to kill every Hoshidan he sees! How pathetic would it sound when my brother gets the message that I was a failure, and ended up being the cause of thousands of deaths?!”

Leo fell silent, before placing his hand on Takumi's shoulder. It was quickly batted off, and Takumi's stare turned into a death glare.

“I understand how that feels… Just from a different perspective.” Leo turned around then, and began to pace as he started to speak. “My siblings and I, Corrin included, never wanted to get involved in this bloodshed. It was all our father turning… Almost insane. At first, it was simply just 'send the Faceless into Hoshido just so we can get a few measly resources', just because of how starved and weak a majority of the Nohrian people are. After that, my father ended up sending Corrin and two of their retainers, Jakob and Gunter, to a fort which was under Hoshidan control. He never said that it was Hoshidan though. He simply said 'I wish to see if it is in a state suitable for our soldiers'. After that, Corrin ended up being taken to Hoshido, father being perfectly aware that this would happen. He knew that Corrin would be brought before Queen Mikoto, he knew that Corrin's sword would explode. All that father did was use Corrin as a weapon to start a war. Now… He is trying to turn us all into bloodthirsty, death-seeking warriors with no souls. Earlier today… Xander passed on a message saying that father was beginning to consider executing me for not killing as many people as he wanted me to, simply because of how tired and exhausted I have been, trying to escape from this darkness!”

Takumi's face had softened slightly at seeing Leo pacing faster and faster than before, hands running through his hair. This was probably the most human he had ever seen a Nohrian in years… He almost felt sorry for him. But not sorry enough to try and comfort him. Despite this, he continued to look at his Nohrian equal, thinking about what he had been told in the past.

'I know somebody in Nohr who is the same age as you, Takumi… He's even got similar tastes and interests! If tensions weren't so high between Hoshido and Nohr… I bet that you would both be great friends.'

As if the two of them could be FRIENDS.

Silence lingered between the two for quite a while following that, with neither of them wanting to be the one who initiates any new conversation. Takumi was simply just staring at his hands, wondering as to why he didn't bring himself around into shooting that Nohrian prince before this had happened. Leo has staring into the distance, his arms folded and foot tapping on the ground.

After what felt like a good while, perhaps twenty minutes or so, the sound of what felt like a droplet of water hitting a cave floor echoed around the darkness. Both of them quickly stared at each other, thinking that they were responsible for it, but a similar sound proved otherwise.

“This has… never happened before. Normally when I've ended up here… I end up having a nightmare in which all of my siblings are killed by Faceless.” Takumi grumbled, folding his arms in a similar fashion to the Nohrian prince, though he wasn't aware of it. He did, however, notice how Leo shivered as he said that.

“I have the same dream, just with my own siblings.” Leo was starting to stare almost blankly into the horizon as he thought back on those sleepless nights. “Don't tell me that… You get the headaches and the loss of vision too.”

“As if I'd tell you.”

“I take that as a yes then.”

“… I hate you Nohrians.”

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

“The sacrifice of prince Leo to bring down prince Takumi… He was obviously more dedicated to our cause than he seemed, don't you agree, my lord?” Iago laughed, walking beside king Garon as the Nohrian army made their way through the Hoshidan capital. The royal siblings winced as they heard Iago's ramblings, aware of what had really happened.

Garon nodded in agreement. “Yes… I expect that if necessary, all of my children shall put their lives on the line such as he did.”

Xander was becoming angrier and angrier with his father's remarks. He was using Leo's death as a way of leading them all to their own demises. Of course, if necessary, the crown prince would do such a thing… But he would never allow any of his younger siblings to sacrifice themselves, Corrin and Azura included. It was annoying him to the point that he was considering turning Siegfried against his own father, his own king.

Elise was the only one of the group capable of softening the look of sheer rage upon his face. “Big brother… Calm down. Leo wouldn't have wanted you to be like this, he probably would have asked you to relax whilst he came up with a plan to stop this...” Her hands were shaking as she took hold of Xander's arm, before looking down at the ground. “Please… For Leo?”

Corrin couldn't help but feel guilty over what was going on at the moment. If they had been quick enough to grab them, or if they had never knew the impact of Azura's song on her body and allowed her to sing… Leo might have been here with them. Of course, that would mean that they would also have Takumi as a prisoner alongside his retainers, Sakura, her retainers and Yukimura… But they would be alive, they would have an opportunity to have a future!

Before anything more was said or done though, the siblings suddenly felt a warm liquid splatter all over them. Just in front of them… Garon had slashed the neck of a Hoshidan villager who had tried to pull their child away from him. Other villagers were fleeing in tears or screaming… Others were paralysed to the spot, looking at the blood which was seeping into the cracks on the road.

“Xander… I want this to stop.”

“I know, Corrin. I wish that we had a choice in the matter though.”

Chapter Text

“We're dead, aren't we?… It feels as though we've been here for days, and not once have I had the desire to eat or drink.” He was absolutely craving miso soup despite his lack of hunger though. “By now, we would be feeling ill, or at the very least faint after so long.” Takumi was resting his arms on his knees, sat with his back to Leo's. The two had barely spoke in the time in which they were stuck in the darkness, and this was one of the even fewer times that Takumi had been the one to strike up conversation. “Normally, I am woke up by Oboro or Hinata shaking my arm when I find myself here...”

Leo frowned, thinking of the many times in which Odin and Niles had done the same for him. “Your retainers, I am assuming?…” He had remembered Corrin mentioning Oboro and Hinata's names every so often when coming up with plans in Hoshido, and usually they were mentioned alongside Takumi. “Mine tend to do that too.” Following that, he then clenched one of his fists. “I wish that those idiots were here… I actually miss Niles' way of making an innuendo out of anything, and Odin's theatrical ways...”

Takumi actually laughed quietly, before sighing. “I miss my retainers too. Oboro is keen to do things such as making clothes… Any time a battle finishes, she would be there, likely repairing my torn clothes… She despises you Nohrians though. And then Hinata… He is very cheerful, though at times… He doesn't think before he acts.” The Hoshidan prince then looked down at his legs, and put on a small smile..

It was probably the first conversation which they had which didn't end up with the two arguing or snapping over something.

After a few minutes of more silence though… Leo could feel his eyes start to water. Following on from thinking about his slightly chaotic retainers, he had began thinking of his siblings… He had promised Niles and Odin that once the battle was over, he would tell them about everything which had happened. He had been quite literally ordered by Elise to stay alive. Xander and Camilla were simply with the expectations that he would bring Takumi as a prisoner with him. He had said to Corrin… That he would help them bring peace to Hoshido and Nohr in least violent way possible.

He had failed to keep a single one of those promises.

“You crying?” Takumi's voice, quieter and surprisingly much more softer than usual, was what snapped Leo back to reality. “Actually… Don't answer that. I feel as though I could start crying at any time too.” It was a surprise to see Takumi's hand reach back then, and fumble around to reach his hand. “Corrin was right… We do have more in common than we think. And at the very least, whilst we are stuck here… I guess we'll need some support from each other before we both lose our minds.”

That was enough to make Leo put on a very small smile. “I… couldn't have said better myself.” He felt the warmest he had done in ages when he returned Takumi's grasp. Oddly enough… It felt almost natural. “I never thought that I would ever say this, Takumi… But I feel as though we could actually be rather good friends if the war ends between our countries… It could possibly even make the countries and our siblings less hostile towards each other in general too, seeing the second princes getting along.”

“Heh… friends.” Takumi, only because he knew that he and Leo were still sitting back to back, then began to grin. “I guess so.”

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

Corrin felt nothing but pain as they watched Hinoka and her retainers escape from Castle Shirasagi's grounds. All that they had done simply for coming of age in Nohr was cause nothing but pain for their siblings – Hoshidan and Nohrian. Elise was constantly upset… Sakura was refusing to eat at times whilst she was kept as a Nohrian prisoner… Xander seemed to consist of nothing but anger as of late…. Ryoma was likely lying in wait, wanting to finish them off… Camilla had become more over-protective than ever…. Hinoka was now having to remain in hiding until the end of the war… And the worst of it all… Leo and Takumi were dead.

Camilla's arms slowly wrapped around Corrin's torso after she spun them around and smiled. “Oh sweetie, come here.” It felt almost like smothering at first, but it took a few moments for them to grow used to it. “Hinoka will be fine, just as I am sure that you will be. This war will be over soon, and we can go back to how our lives were-!”

“No! Nothing will be the same!” Corrin had to push Camilla away then, before holding onto the sides of their head. “Our little brother is dead! I might never be able to set foot in the libraries at the Northern Fortress or Castle Krakenburg again!” Shaking, they then reached to their side and took hold of the tome which was secured there. “H- He won't be there to teach me how to u- use magic… H- He just… won't… be there...” Tears fell onto Brynhildr's cover then, and they sank to their knees. “Leo… I- I want him back..” Moments later, they then reached for a weapon which was secured to their back, underneath their cape. “Takumi too...”

Ever since the two princes had fell off the Great Wall of Suzanoh, Corrin had insisted on keeping both of their legendary weapons with them. Their intention was, if they ever had to face up to Ryoma, to hand him the Fujin Yumi before laying down their own life if he resented them for it. Of course, that would only work if Garon were not there. If he were… Then Corrin would likely have to fight to the death with Ryoma.

Nothing would be so simple though…

“Corrin!” Elise’s voice called out then, and the young princess ran as fast as possible to Camilla and Corrin. “Things are getting really bad… Father just executed two of the prisoners, and I am not sure if Sakura was one of them! I know how much you don’t want her getting hurt, so… Come on! We need to stop him from killing any more!”

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

“I am actually… rather concerned about what is going on here. This darkness seems to almost be manipulating itself based upon our specific interests and similarities.” Leo sat down, watching as Takumi lifted up a small object which had ended up beneath his feet. “You claim that your Hoshidan shogi is rather similar to Nohrian chess… And that right there is a queen piece from chess.”

Takumi continued to mess about with the white piece, before his eyes narrowed. Something about it had rather annoyed him, and it didn’t take long to realise why. “It looks as though somebody has etched mother’s name underneath… Why?!” his eyes were wide, and then tears began to form in his eyes. “Mother… I’m s- so sorry… so, so s- sorry...”

Whilst the Hoshidan prince wept over Mikoto, Leo began to look over the other pieces which were scattered around or were on the board. It honestly looked as though there were more pieces than permitted in a traditional chess game all over the place, but it didn’t seem to bother him as he began to pick up each piece. On the floor, there were quite a few pieces which caught his interest as he analysed them. The black queen; the white king; and two pieces which he presumed were pawns, one black and one white, each of which looking as though somebody had brought a weapon to them, and were ruined.

As with the white queen, the other pieces also had names on them. On the black queen, the name Katerina was written underneath. That was Xander’s mother, and she was dead like Mikoto. The white king had Sumeragi written upon it. The late king of Hoshido – Takumi’s father and killed by his own father, king Garon of Nohr… It was because of that death that Corrin ended up in Nohr in the first place, and set this entire war into motion. And though crushed, the pawns just about had visible names on them.

“Oh.”

Takumi looked over at Leo, before noticing his hands clenching around the two damaged pieces. “Leo?” He sat down cross-legged beside him, before taking hold of his hands. It was obvious that the Nohrian was refusing to release the pieces. “What’s the matter?”

“These pieces have our names on… Every piece on the ground has the name of somebody dead on… And the pieces with our names were on the ground, just a lot more damaged than any others.”

A chill went through Takumi’s body as Leo’s words, before he started picking up more pieces which were on the ground to see if there were any more names. “Kaden? I believe that was a name of a kitsune leader which I heard in passing… Reina and Orochi… They were mother’s retainers… Scarlet… And… Oh no… No...” Takumi sounded as though he had to hold back a scream then. “Saizo, Kagero, Hinata and Oboro are dead too. No! That… That can’t be… That can’t be right! Mine and Ryoma’s retainers… They’re all too stubborn to die… They… They can’t...” Now Takumi’s hands were raking through the top of his hair. “And if Saizo and Kagero are dead… That could mean that Ryoma follows. I- I can’t… I can’t allow that! I want to get out of here, and now!

Before Takumi could even dare getting up to search for the likely non-existent exit to the strange place, Leo dropped the broken pieces and tugged at his sleeve. Following that, he pointed at the chess board with very few remaining pieces. They seemed to be moving of their own volition, and were playing what seemed to be an odd game.

A white pawn, the top half of which looking as though it had been dipped in black paint, moved into a position which seemed to be trying to get the black king into check. There was also a black pawn painted white doing the same. A white pawn and three other black pawns seemed to be doing the same, as though they were all white pieces… Odd, having three of the black pieces work against the king of the same side…

Takumi slowly moved over to the board, before picking up the pieces and placing them back where they previously were on the board. First was the white piece. “Ryoma.” Then came the black pieces. “Xander, Elise, Camilla.” The black king. “Garon.” And then the painted pieces… “Corrin, Azura...” Both of them knew what this seemed to be indicating…

Everyone left in the war was turning against Garon now.

After a few moments, something else had happened. “Where did those two pieces come from?” Takumi questioned as he and Leo were now intensely staring at the strange chess board. Two white pawns labelled with the names of Takumi’s sisters had now ended up on the board, and it seemed to have been out of almost nowhere.

Betrayal...’

Both of the princes froze as that word echoed through the still air around them, as though it were trying to answer the question.

Leo was beginning to have strange shapes and such form in his vision, and he knew what that meant. He was about to lose most of his sight once more. As he rubbed his eyes, hoping that it wouldn’t be the case, Takumi began to feel a nagging pain at the back of his head.

Don’t you both feel the pain? The betrayal?’

Leo’s eyes actually began to hurt, and it became a strain to even keep them open with that level of discomfort. Takumi slumped down onto the ground, his headache leading to him feeling too woozy to remain standing.

Pain, betrayal, suffering, death… It’s all around you. It’s all because of them.

Now Leo was beginning to get the headache, and Takumi the loss of vision. They knew that whoever was speaking to them was definitely behind this suffering, but they did not know how on earth they could stop these symptoms.

Because of Corrin.’

It was a surprise for Takumi to suddenly feel Leo’s shaking hand grasp hold of his arm after he too had fell onto the ground, and in return, Takumi took hold of Leo’s free hand before he too had to end up closing his eyes. “I’ve got you, L- Leo...”

Why don’t you both get your revenge? Kill them. Kill Corrin NOW.’

“A- And I am here for you, T-Takumi...”

They both blacked out, unable to see what had happened on the chess board around an hour later.

Garon’s piece was now on the floor… But their ruined pieces were back on it once more.

Chapter Text

Xander and Ryoma had ended up being rendered unconscious in what truly was the final battle… Everything was now resting in Azura and Corrin’s hands, and the future remained uncertain.

The strange being which had taken King Garon’s place had been defeated, and it had all felt as though the war was over. The royal siblings from both countries had actually started speaking, the Nohrians all bowing down and begging as much as they could for forgiveness over everything which their ‘father’ had done to them and Hoshido. That hadn’t lasted long though, as the conversation quickly fell to Leo and Takumi. All of them were mourning over the losses of the two princes, and both sides had spoke of their greatest feats. It was painful to hear Corrin and Azura explain how they had passed on though.

“You mean… They never killed each other?” Hinoka questioned, looking at the Fujin Yumi which was being held in one of Ryoma’s bandaged hands. “They… killed themselves?”

“Yes… I- I tried to talk them out of it, but some other force seemed to have control of their minds!” Corrin was doing their best to hold back their tears, seeing everyone else looking at her with wide, teary eyes. “I stopped Azura from singing… M- Maybe if I had let her, I could have stopped them from stepping off the wall! It’s all my fault!”

As Corrin sank to their knees weeping, the sound of hands clapping slowly echoed through the ruined throne room. “I couldn’t agree more, my dear older sibling. What of you, Takumi?”

A horrible, almost monotonous sounding laugh was next to be heard, and then another voice. “Oh, I definitely agree with that, Leo. Why, Corrin? Why did you kill us?!”

Leo and Takumi were stood in the doorway, and everyone grimaced at the sight of the princes. One of Leo’s forearms were twisted in a horribly awkward position, yet was holding what looked like a powerful dark magic tome which happened not to be Brynhildr – that was in Xander’s hands. On top of that, he was covered in dirt, his armour was dinted and damaged, and his eyes were a shockingly bright red colour… Almost the exact same as Corrin’s. Takumi was in a similar sort of state, just with one of his feet dragging behind him as he held an unfamiliar yumi instead.

Corrin couldn’t bring themself into turning around, as just hearing their voices confirming that it was their fault had brought them down into a snivelling wreck, hardly capable of even holding onto their dragonstone.

“I say...” Leo’s voice was heard once more, and that was when Corrin could see Xander and Ryoma pass Brynhildr and Fujin Yumi over to Camilla and Hinoka, before they approached the two dead princes. “We should get our revenge. Prepare for your final goodbye, Corrin!”

The sound of an arrow being let loose and of magic being used sent shivers down Corrin’s spine, and seeing Xander crash to the ground with an arrow lodged in a gap in his armour, and seeing Ryoma collapse with dark magic surrounding his stomach was enough to make them want to cry.

Want to scream.

Want to die.

And they felt exactly as they did as they held Mikoto’s dead body in their arms, all those months ago… Perhaps the feelings could have been stronger though. Either way… Their dragonstone was inneffectual at preventing this tranformation.

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

Leo wasn’t sure about what was going on. He could feel his body moving, he could see his lips moving… Yet he didn’t know what he was doing. He couldn’t even try to speak, as his lips were not his. The only things which he had control over was his mind and hearing (his voice being the exception to what he could hear), and nothing else whatsoever. What he was sure of was that Takumi was likely going through the same experience.

Every so often though, he would get a sudden flash of vision, and he could see something happening. The first of such things he saw was in a place which seemed to have Hoshidan style decorations, and he could see that he had just sent an attack of magic out at someone.

Once his vision was lost once more, there was sounds of pain coming from two men. One of the people was definitely Xander, but… Who could the other one have been? Perhaps it was Hoshido’s crown prince…

Big brother… Am I doing this? Am I fighting you? What… is going on there?

Takumi… I need you. You said that you had me… Where are you?

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

Takumi could see a yumi in his hand, but it just didn’t have the weight and familiarity which the Fujin Yumi had. He could see his arms be brought before him, as though it was trying to shoot an arrow at… the Nohrian crown prince. Leo’s older brother. Unlike Leo, Takumi had retained his vision of everything, but he couldn’t hear anything except for the occasional few sounds.

Beside him, Leo was stood with a tome, his eyes a horrific red colour, almost like blood. As much as he wanted to call out for his new friend, his lips were disobeying him, and remained still and pursed together.

One thing that pained Takumi though… The sight of Corrin hunched over on the floor, looking as though they were crying. As he focussed upon that though, he could see a deep purple blast of magic from the corner of his eye… Heading directly towards Ryoma, who already looked badly injured. But then he noticed that he had let an arrow loose too… Both of their older brothers were about to be taken out!

It made Takumi want to wince as his hearing returned for brief few moments as the two living princes yelled out in pain.

I am so sorry for letting this happen to me, Ryoma! Damn it… Maybe this wouldn’t have happened if I had been better!

And Leo… You said that you would be here for me. What is going on with you? With… us?

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

“I never thought that the day would come where I would have to fight my little brother to save everyone...” Hinoka sighed, attacking a faceless which had emerged from one of the corners of the room beside Camilla. “Neither did I think that I would have to fight with one of you.

Camilla rose an eyebrow, before laughing as she brought her axe down. “Not all Nohrians are vile and disgusting, princess Hinoka. At the very least, do not put that label upon my dear little Corrin, Le-, Ah… Corrin and Elise.” She found it hard to exclude Leo’s name from what she was saying. After that, she turned back a slight bit and could see Sakura and Elise doing the best that they could to fight off some of the faceless whilst also healing Xander and Ryoma when they had the chance.

Following that, both of the older princesses turned to face Azura, who was stood before the Hoshidan throne as she sang. The song was doing its best to allow Corrin some control of their body, at the same time as weakening the dead princes which had set the fight into motion.

In that moment of weakness, both Camilla’s wyvern and Hinoka’s pegasus ended up being hit by two newly created faceless, sending the pair crashing down onto the ground, the creatures even further back than them. The pain coursed through their bodies, but it was only for a brief moment. None of their limbs were broken, so it didn’t take long for them to be back on their feet. They couldn’t say the same about their flying companions though…

“I hope that we can snap them out of… Whatever this is… I can’t bear to see Takumi like this for much longer, he looks as though he’s in so much pain...”

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

Relief was one of the few things which Leo could feel when he heard Takumi’s voice above everything else. Not his strange voice, talking about killing everyone… But his actual one. Just the words were enough of a reassurance to him, and it made him feel so much calmer. ‘I am with you, Leo. I can’t hear you, but I need you to know that I am stood right beside you.’

Alongside that, he could hear the song which he had overheard Corrin forbidding Azura from singing in the background. From what he could remember, the song had some sort of strange property when sang as she used her pendant, and that it would cause Azura pain at some point afterwards. Despite knowing that it would cause Azura pain at a later point, that too helped him to feel calm.

Calm to the point that… He actually managed to regain some control over his body once more. His arms in particular.

Once he was able to bring his hands up to his face (and after he mentally grimaced at the state of his arm holding the tome), so that he could see if his control really were true, his vision flashed before him once more. In the distance, his siblings and the Hoshidan royals were in combat against the faceless… Just like his nightmare. One of the enemies had took hold of the limp Xander’s arms, and was attempting to tear his limbs of his body.

Leo felt thankful for the control of his arms and temporary vision then… It allowed him to send an attack at the faceless holding onto his brother. What surprised him though… was that he could hear himself whisper his brother’s name as he did so.

He didn’t care that he lost his sight after that… He retained control of his arms, so as long as he kept them by his side… his siblings and Takumi’s siblings would remain unhurt and uninjured by his hand. Perhaps… They could end his and Takumi’s suffering for good.

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

Takumi couldn’t believe it as he saw Leo’s eyes fade back to their normal colour for a few moments, and see the surprise which was there… But it was even more of a shock to see Leo save Xander from being brutally killed by the faceless, when up to that point, both of them had been attacking their siblings. Everyone barring Azura and Corrin stopped what they were doing for a few moments, with Azura continuing to sing and with Corrin thrashing around, attacking any faceless which came into their line of sight.

Once Leo’s hands fell to his side though, he noticed the tome fall down to the ground as the Nohrian’s eyes became red once more.

In a way… it was a great relief. Perhaps that would mean that Leo was out of the battle… for now.

Takumi I can’t see you. I can hear you every so often, but my sight has gone… Tell me, which side of me are you stood by?’

And then, hearing Leo’s voice made him feel so happy, so at peace… As though Leo almost… belonged by his side. It made him try his best to respond. ‘Your right, I am by your right.’ is what he kept saying over and over again in his mind, hoping that maybe… It would get through to him.

Gods, Takumi. There’s no need to say it that much.’ Takumi wanted to cry then. Not because he was sad, but through his happiness. He was able to think something, and Leo could hear it. Before anything else could happen though, he felt a hand take hold of his arm, and begin to force it down. ‘I believe that I can stop us both from attacking everyone, because I seem to have control over my arms, and I can keep your arms pinned down. But… can you control anything other than your sight, Takumi?’

Takumi couldn’t help but wonder then… Was there anything?

Carefully, he did the best that he could to move his limbs. His arms were incapable of anything, they were completely lost to him. But his legs… They could move. Even though he really didn’t like the state of the leg closest to his friend…

I can walk, just very slowly. Anything with my legs. Do you happen to have a plan, Leo? Because it looks as though Corrin is rather angry, and approaching us as a dragon!’

‘… Step closer to me. Close enough so I can take hold of your other arm… We won’t be able to escape from Corrin on time if they truly are going to attack us, as their dragon form is particularly fast. At the very least we could soften the blow if we are close to each other.’

R- Right then.’ Takumi forced his legs into moving him close to Leo, but he almost fell down on account of his injury. It was a relief to feel Leo’s other arm take hold of him though, and keep him held close. ‘Oh… And if Corrin does land this attack on us...I want to say one thing, Leo… I’ve never liked spending time with anyone more than I have done with you. Thank you…’

I should be thanking you too… I have never felt as though I have been needed any more than I have done recently.’

Takumi cast one more glance at Corrin, before forcing his eyes closed. He didn’t want to see this… He didn’t want to watch himself die…

But death never came around to him. Neither of them, for that matter.

His hearing slowly became more than pure silence then, and what was going on around him became evident from the voices.

“-ra, stop! You are in too much pain!”

“She isn’t stopping, Ryoma! Even though the faceless have been defeated now, she isn’t going to stop until Takumi and that Nohrian prince are back with us!” Hinoka and Ryoma were shouting, expressing their worries over what was going on.

Leo. His name is Leo.” Xander was heard grumbling, followed by a sigh from Camilla.

In the background, Azura’s singing could be heard too… “-he waters ever change, flowing like time, the path is yours to climb… You are the ocean’s gray waves...” Her voice sounded weak, and then there was a slight thud. From the sounds of things, Azura had collapsed once the song had reached its conclusion.

What happened next was even more surprising though. A pair of arms fell around both princes, and pulled them even closer together as the person embraced them, alongside feeling tears fall onto their arms. “I am so sorry for everything… For not finding a way for us all to get along… For making us all fight… For allowing you both to step of the Great Wall of Suzanoh… For not being there for either of you… Leo… Takumi… My little brothers… I am so sorry. Please… Come back to us.”

Chapter Text

“Both of them have a fever, but it doesn’t seem to be like any sort of fever I’ve seen...” Elise muttered, looking at Leo as he lay under a few thin blankets, his skin pale, arm heavily bandaged, and his eyes closed. “I hope that big brother will be okay when we return to Nohr...”

Sakura was stood beside the young Nohrian princess, but was instead looking at Takumi, who was lying to Leo’s left. “I- I promise, I will look after him when y- you return to your home… B- But you are right, it is strange… Why do their fevers become worse when th- they are separated?” Sakura couldn’t help but worry as she spoke, especially with Takumi looking more ill than he ever had done before, and with his leg in a similar state to Leo’s arm.

Once Corrin had ended up hugging their younger brothers after having returned to their human form, both Leo and Takumi had began to feel a slight bit dizzy. Not long after that, the other royal siblings had ran over to them, and had expressed their sheer relief that the two had returned to them. Once that had happened though, they had both began to burn up as Corrin let go of them, and pain had began to course through their bodies and it was enough to make them collapse. That had led to them both having to be cared for by Elise and Sakura in Takumi’s room in the castle, one of the few rooms which had remained undamaged by the Nohrian army.

There was one problem which had arisen whilst the two remained unconscious though. The Nohrian royals had intended to return to Nohr to allow Hoshido some peace, and wanted to take Leo to be cared for upon their return. Before they could even leave, Leo had began severely burning up, and his breathing had become extremely erratic, as though he were close to death. The same thing had happened to Takumi. Both princes returned to more stable conditions when they were lay down near each other once more.

Xander knew that it meant that Leo was either going to have to remain in Hoshido as he recovered, or that Takumi would have had to have been carried to Nohr also. On the basis that it was unlikely that either of the young princes would actually survive the journey to Nohr, alongside Hoshido having been put through enough, it was decided to have Leo remain behind. Xander, Camilla, Corrin, and Elise still had to return though, and to prevent any sort of uprising which was being threatened due to the death of Garon.

“I- If prince L- Leo takes a turn for the worse, I- I will send Subaki to Nohr straight away...” Sakura whispered, now placing her hand upon Takumi’s forehead. “I- I promise you that, p- princess Elise… Oh, and tell your family t- too…”

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

It was about two weeks later as Sakura was looking over Leo’s arm when Takumi had started to wake up, a slight bit disoriented with his surroundings. He wasn’t sure about what had happened, or on what was currently going on, with his only grasp of reality being the pain shooting down his leg and that he could just about make out the outlines of people.

“Big brother?...” Sakura had only become aware of Takumi’s awakening when he had began to try and prop himself up on his elbows. “Takumi, be careful!” She had to quickly grab hold of the arm closest to her once she had noticed that it seemed to be shaking under the weight of his torso.

Takumi allowed Sakura to assist him in sitting up, before he rubbed his eyes. A few minutes of silence followed that, until he ended up feeling Sakura’s arms around him. “… Leo. Where is he?… Is he okay?...” The young princess was rather surprised at the question, but she answered him nonetheless by pointing to the figure lying under some sheets to their right. “Thank you, Sakura...” He then returned his sister’s embrace, yet his eyes were fixated on the Nohrian prince.

“Takumi… Are you friends with prince Leo?”

“Friends? Yeah. Great friends, even.” Following that, after Sakura had ended up passing him a glass of water which was in the room, Takumi ended up explaining the events which had led up to them both ending up as friends. Sakura had heard the story all the way up to when both princes had stepped of the Great wall of Suzanoh from Corrin, but she was intrigued by what was explained afterwards, about the darkness, the discovery of similarities, and even the assistance which they had given each other as they tried to fight off whoever or whatever was trying to control them during the final battle. What intrigued her even more… was Takumi’s flustered face by the end of the story.

At first, she believed that Takumi’s fever (which had passed a few days previously) had returned, so upon her instincts, she pressed her hand against his forehead. He was at a normal temperature, so the idea of him still being ill was quickly ruled out. But why was his face the same shade of red as Hinoka’s hair?

“Sakura… What are you doing?” Takumi closed his eyes then, before using his hands to carefully remove the layers of blankets from over his injured leg to cool it down. “I’m not ill...”

“I was worried about you, your face had ended up turning red, almost like a-” It quickly snapped in Sakura’s head then. “You really do like prince Leo, don’t you?” She could feel the two days spent with Elise rubbing off on her then. “You love prince Leo!”

S- SAKURA!” Following that, Takumi grabbed the pillow which his head had been resting on, and hit Sakura with it just as Ryoma walked into the room. He had gone back for another attack as Sakura giggled, but it was intercepted by their older brother’s arm.

The high prince raised an eyebrow as the pillows lowered and were returned to where they should have been. Sakura then stood up, and gave Ryoma a slightly apologetic look. “What is going on here?” He didn’t seem too surprised at the sight of Takumi being sat up, but he was surprised at the attack which he was carrying out.

“Takumi woke up, and the first thing he did other than sit up was ask about prince Leo… So I asked him if they were friends before he began to attack me with his pillows...” Sakura explained, before Ryoma’s hand rested upon her head.

“You missed out the detail about how you began to tease me though.” Takumi grumbled, lying down once more as he covered his face with his hands. “Anyway… Why are you here, Ryoma?”

Ryoma laughed at Takumi’s mumbled, before holding up what he was holding in his other hand. “I received some letters from Nohr this morning, for prince Leo once he wakes up. I was hoping that he may have been awake now, but it seems as though only you have...” Following that, Ryoma placed the two letters down on a seat beside where Leo lay sleeping, before turning back to Takumi. “It is good to see you back with us once more, little brother.” Then he turned to face Sakura, and requested that she leave, and tell Hinoka about the update on Takumi’s status.

Takumi once more looked over at Leo as his sister left, and watched as his chest rose and fell steadily. It was a slight bit odd to see him not wearing his armour over his clothes, but it made him seem... smaller than he was used to. Leo was still wearing his Nohrian outfit though, as it was possible to tell because of the deep purple and black material underneath the white blankets.

He also wondered how long it would take for him to wake up…

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

A further week had passed, and there seemed to be no sign of Leo waking up at any point soon. Takumi was on his feet once more, just with the aid of crutches. Despite that, he remained at Leo’s side almost constantly. There was one day in which he had to attend the funerals of his and Ryoma’s retainers, and that was the one day which he remained away from Leo simply because of those four deaths being caused by the dead king Garon, but that was the only exception.

At present, the Hoshidan prince was deep into reading a book on Nohrian history and traditions as he remained sat at Leo’s side, every so often taking hold of the other’s hand to see if he would return the grasp. Not once was it returned, but it did provide Takumi with some reassurance – knowing that Leo was still alive.

Takumi turned onto the final page, before sighing as he read the last few words. That was the fifth book about Nohr he had been able to go through, and even though he had so many questions about the country, the one person who could answer those questions was still sleeping. It was odd though… This was the first time he had ever read through any sort of books surrounding his friend’s country willingly, and it was also the first time in which he had read about Nohr without there being any sort of Hoshidan bias within it.

As he placed the book upon his blankets, there was the quiet sound of Leo turning onto his side, before there was a few quiet mumbles. “N- Need… to...” Leo’s bandaged arm shifted a slight bit, and his legs seemed to huddle up a slight bit closer to his chest. “Find him...”

Takumi turned to face Leo then, before noticing that the Nohrian’s breathing seemed to be a bit faster than it was before, as though he were panicking as he slept. Out of concern, he then lifted Leo’s head to rest it upon his lap, and rested his hand upon his head as he picked up a new book from nearby. “You’re missing out on a lot, you know...” Takumi’s hand began to stroke his hair after that, not aware that this actually ended up being what had woke Leo up. “This morning, Ryoma, Hinoka, and Sakura left to visit Nohr, because it is meant to be your brother’s coronation in a few days. We’ve got a lot of letters from all of your siblings and Corrin, hoping that you would be well enough to return to Nohr by now, and even attend the coronation too...” Takumi couldn’t read now, he was too distracted by the supposedly sleeping prince. “We’ve got the entire castle here to ourselves… If you were awake, I would show you around. I bet that you would like the library we have here… It is small, and some of it got destroyed in the fighting, but it is quaint. And the views of Hoshido from the very top of the castle are amazing… I could see if I could use one of the pegasi or kinshi to take us up there… But you’re being lazy, Leo...” Takumi then sighed, and tears welled up in his eyes. “Wake up...”

Takumi’s eyes grew wide at the sound of Leo laughing in a quiet yet exhausted manner, and the same went with his voice. “You could have just asked, Takumi… Though, it was a nice wake-up for me, having my hair stroked. I wouldn’t mind getting woke up like this every day...”

Chapter Text

Takumi, despite having to walk on crutches, was not going to allow himself to fall behind in his training. Once Leo had properly woke up, and had ate, he had ended up going to the outskirts of the castle and decided to pick up a wooden yumi which was there. Leo had decided that he would join in after that, and asked Takumi to teach him how to use the weapon too. After a few minutes of Takumi showing Leo how to position his arms (which was quite a challenge, with one of Leo’s arms being bandaged), the Nohrian prince fired a single arrow, aiming for a tree which was just in the distance.

As the arrow ended up hitting the tree, a slow clap was heard just behind the pair. “I have to admit, that is impressive, lord Leo. And lord Takumi, you are more skilled than the stories say. It is so… stimulating to see the princes of two different counties getting along so well!” Leo sighed as he heard the voice, whereas Takumi flinched and dropped the yumi which he had been using to teach Leo onto the ground.

Leo turned around then, before laughing quietly at Takumi grumbling as he attempted to reclaim his weapon. “Niles, I am used to you appearing out of nowhere, but Takumi isn’t.” Takumi then copied Leo by turning around, before shooting a glare at his friend’s retainer.

“He knows that, Leo. I spoke to him once or twice whilst you were sleeping, and every single time he got me by surprise!”

Niles smirked at seeing Leo then put his arm over Takumi’s shoulders, before he turned back to the Hoshidan. “Just as the question about your feelings towards lord Leo from your brother also caught you by surprise.”

Takumi dropped his yumi once more, before his hands covered his face in embarrassment. Just the day before, a few hours before everyone else left to go to Nohr, Ryoma had decided to question something which he had been noticing quite a lot in the few days which Leo had remained sleeping. Takumi had been absolutely doting over the Nohrian prince, to the point that Sakura decided that she wasn’t needed to heal him any more. He had been helping to keep Leo’s temperature constant, checked over the state of his arm repeatedly, and of course, stayed by his side almost the whole time. Of course, that made the oldest of the Hoshidan royals begin to wonder if there was something behind him acting like that… And so he asked what was motivating Takumi towards doing this.

“Oh gods… Get him to go away, Leo...” Takumi muttered, as he parted his fingers a slight bit to see what Niles’ face was like. He didn’t, however, see the state of Leo’s face at that moment in time.

“Aww, now, you two both look an image. Both so flustered, both so embarrassed… I should leave before this becomes any more intimate, if you both get what I mean...”

Leo stepped back a slight bit at that, before he decided to pick up the yumi which Takumi kept dropping. “Niles! Why don’t y- you just… Go back to Nohr! T- Tell Xander and everyone that I’m fine, and that I’ll… be home soon!”

The retainer seemed a slight bit suspicious at Leo’s pause before ‘be home soon’, and his smirk grew to bigger than it had been before when he decided what he thought it meant. “Understood. I shall tell them that you are bonding with lord Takumi before returning.” Neither prince had much of a chance to react to that as Niles quickly escaped, and they were both left staring blankly at the place where he previously was stood.

Takumi was the first one of them to speak after the moment of awkwardness. I feel so sorry for you, Leo… I thought that Odin was bad enough when I spoke to him a few days ago, just before he vanished saying that he needed to return to his ‘mysterious homeland’, but I never realised that Niles was like… that.” Takumi looked down at the ground then, before noticing that Leo’s face was flushed a pale red colour.

Leo felt almost humiliated at the way in which Niles had acted, and couldn’t believe that he had likely been acting like that in front of not just Takumi, but Takumi’s whole family, during the time in which he was unconscious. And then… There was what Niles had mentioned about the question which Takumi had been asked… Why had Takumi started acting as though he were humiliated after it was brought up?

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

My dear little brother Leo…

We all miss you so much. Xander, Corrin, Elise and I all wish that you were here in Nohr more than anything, but I assume that it is not to be right now. Upon receiving a message from that sweet little Hoshidan princess’ retainer, saying that your body was rejecting some of the Hoshidan medicine, we were worried that we would lose you! We had to send some medicine with this note to help tend to your fever.

Xander is having his official coronation as king of Nohr in a few days, believe it or not! I hope that you can be here for that, but if you need to continue resting in Hoshido, then so be it. We’ll have a little family celebration once you return! Corrin and Elise are already fussing over the details of the party, and they want to make sure that all of your favourite foods will be there. Though, they may have gone a slight bit over the top with tomato-based meals and appetisers… Xander and I had to stop them before they went about requesting things such as tomato juice and tomato cake or ice cream…

Elise is missing you dearly too, Leo. We have had to ask Arthur and Effie to keep a constant eye upon her, and to keep her from running to your side in Hoshido… If we could have stayed there with you, we would have. Please, come home to us soon… I don’t think that we can stop Elise from running away for much longer.

Also, Corrin is planning on becoming an ambassador for Nohr, under Xander’s request! That means that we should be able to go through with negotiations with Hoshido much easier than when father was alive… Perhaps this will be a brighter future for Nohr, with them leading the way alongside Xander and prince Ryoma.

Finally… I do not know if this is the best news to tell you over a letter, but I will do so anyway, Leo. I shall be renouncing my title of princess of Nohr after Xander’s coronation. Life as a royal simply is not for me… I believe that I have found another calling though. Many children have lost their parents because of this pointless war, and they have nowhere to go but the streets. I might just take them in, and care for them… Perhaps, once I have settled down, you could visit! I am sure that perhaps even you could help cheer up some of these poor orphans, maybe even teach them every once in a while.

By the way, little brother… I have heard that prince Takumi and you have become extremely close by both Corrin and that Subaki… Perhaps there shall be a royal wedding in the future?

Just teasing, little brother!

I hope that you recover soon, Leo….

- Camilla

Leo laughed quietly at the letter from his sister as he lay on the sheets in the guest room which had now been set up for him in the castle. Typical Camilla. Even on paper, she showed herself as a loving, doting, yet teasing figure. He missed her, but he still wasn’t in the perfect state to be leaving the Hoshidan capital for at least another few days. It was hard for him to adapt to the Hoshidan climate, alongside still having to take medicine to control his fever.

But still…

That made three people who had suspicions over the relationship between him and Takumi. Ryoma, Niles, and Camilla. There was no doubt that Camilla would have spoken to Elise and Corrin about that, and gave those two similar suspicions. Niles would be likely to inform Xander of it too once his message was delivered. From the very few minutes Leo had knew and heard Ryoma’s voice, he seemed to be very close to Hinoka, so the Hoshidan princess likely had similar suspicions.

After a few more moments of dwelling on this, Leo placed the note from Camilla upon two similar notes from Xander and Corrin on a table nearby, before sighing. He was just about to return to where he was sleeping, before he began to see a light from through the door, as though somebody with a candle was approaching the room.

“Leo...” Takumi’s voice, sounding particularly timid, came from the other side. “Are you awake? I… I need to talk to you...”

For a moment, the Nohrian was unsure on what to do. After what he had read, he wasn’t sure if he were ready to face up to speaking with his Hoshidan equal just yet… But at the same time, he felt more than ready. His heart was pounding, and he felt his face heat up a slight bit as he approached the door. He gulped as he reached out to open the door to the room. “Yes. I’m awake, Takumi.” The door opened, and unsurprisingly, Takumi was stood there with a candle, but seemed to have quite the slouch because of his lack of crutches. “Do you… want to come in and sit down?”

Takumi shook his head, before doing his best to place the candle down on the floor. “I… I should be fine. It’s just something quick I need to ask...” For a moment, Takumi remained silent, before taking a deep breath. “Leo, would you say that we are definitely friends?”

“Definitely friends?” Leo couldn’t help but laugh. “Of course, Takumi. We may not have known each other long, but I consider you the best friend which I have had. I… I couldn’t actually imagine life without you-!” Leo then froze. He had just said that. He had just said that he couldn’t imagine life without Takumi. Great. Just GREAT.

Takumi awkwardly glanced away then, before he laughed too. “I guess that we are on the same page then…” Following that, his face became much more serious looking. “Is it bad… that I want you to stay here with me, in Hoshido?” Now he was looking almost… guilty. “We have so much in common… We work really well together… Gods, if it weren’t for us being so close to each other, we’d both be dead right now! I don’t want you to go back to Nohr...”

Leo bit his lip, before picking up the candle and putting on a gentle smile. “You look tired, Takumi… If you want, we could stay here for a short while.” Then came the awkward laugh. “I kind of developed a habit of not getting much sleep when I had the problem with those headaches and nightmare… I’m guessing that you are likely to be in a similar situation.” Carefully, Leo pulled one of Takumi’s arms over his shoulders, being careful not to drop the candle in his injured hand, before helping him limp into the room and sit down.

Once sat down, Leo put the candle beside his letters as Takumi began to speak. “Everyone seems to understand how I feel before I even do… It’s silly, almost… Pathetic even. Even Niles could see it before I could…” Leo groaned at the mention of the conversation with Niles from previously. “Leo… I really like you.”

He knew it was coming. Of course it was, because he felt the same words building up on his tongue. He liked Takumi. He really liked Takumi. He wanted to hug Takumi… He even wanted to kiss him. “Takumi…” Leo wanted a way to get one or two of those thoughts out of his head. Thankfully, he found a way of distracting from those thoughts – specifically the one about kissing. “I… I won’t leave Hoshido. I’ll have to return to Nohr to retrieve my belongings, and visit my siblings… But I will not leave.” It made him feel so damn happy when Takumi’s eyes lit up. “I feel the same way as you, Takumi… I really like you too. I am never going to let you go… ever.”

Hearing Takumi burst into tears before grabbing hold of him in a hug made Leo want to start crying then. Everything bad which had happened to him… no longer felt so bad any more.

After all, he wouldn’t have ever found himself in this situation otherwise. He wouldn’t have Takumi.

Chapter Text

“Oof!” Takumi winced as he ended up falling back, after having tried to calm down one of the kinshi at the castle. He wouldn’t have fell over if it weren’t for his injuries, and that was rather frustrating. “I wish my leg wasn’t like this...” he grumbled as Leo helped him up to his feet, before burying his head into the Nohrian’s shoulder. “If it weren’t for that, I could have been able to walk and we could have gone that way…”

Leo sighed, and shook his head as he held onto Takumi’s waist firmly. “Takumi, don’t beat yourself up. It will likely take a while for it to warm up to you, that’s all.” Following that, Leo laughed quietly. “It reminds me of Camilla with Marzia at times...”

“Marzia?”

“Camilla’s wyvern.”

“Ah. Right.”

Not too far behind the princes, Yukimura was watching over them closely. He was the only person in Hoshido who was told in full confidence about the relationship between the two, but he still couldn’t help but be wary. Yet, seeing how Leo was looking after Takumi, and vice-versa… It made him feel a slight bit more open to the situation.

He then raised an eyebrow as Leo held Takumi back and attempted to calm the kinshi down instead. The horror in Takumi’s face as Leo got knocked back did seem genuine though, and so, Yukimura sighed and decided to intervene as Leo was pulled back up.

“Perhaps one of the pegasi would be better for you both if you wish to travel to Nohr...”

Takumi sighed, and shook his head at the suggestion. This was his kinshi, and had been his for a few years by that point. It had always been too young to go into battle with, but it was definitely more than capable of carrying the weight of many people, as often, he had to use it to move supplies about for everyone. “Just… give me a few more moments. I’ll get it to open up to me. I have a feeling that it is just a bit afraid because of all of the fighting from the war, that’s it.” After that, Takumi held his hand out, hoping to get the creature’s attention. “If I can prove that I am not trying to be hostile, I should be fine.”

Leo prepared himself to jump forward and grab hold of Takumi just in case he got knocked down once more, and Yukimura just sighed. It seemed rather reckless, especially with how he didn’t stop even when all previous attempts had failed.

The sound of a smug laugh as Takumi finally managed to rest his hand upon the kinshi’s head was quite the surprise, but it was even more of a surprise to see the kinshi’s wings spread out, as though it was going to try and attack.

“Prince Takumi, please, be careful! We do not wish for you to end up with any further injuries!” Yukimura was now close to pulling Takumi back, but Leo held his arm up to stop him. As Leo kept his arm in the way, the wings of the kinshi finally lowered, and it moved a slight bit closer to Takumi.

“There… see? It’s okay, we’re not going to be fighting… We just want to know if you can help us go somewhere...” Takumi was now stroking the head of the kinshi, and then he gestured for Leo to step closer. Once Leo was close enough to Takumi, one of his hands stretched back and took hold of his wrist. “Could you possibly help me and Leo here travel to Nohr? It is his home, and he wants to see his family before he lives here with me… Ryoma, Hinoka, and Sakura are in Nohr too, so we will get to see them too.” Takumi smiled at the creature, which now seemed to look as though it was wanting to huddle up to him. “So, could you?”

A collective group of sighs were heard as the creature cried out, and knocked both princes over – this time to nuzzle up to them.

“Amazing, prince Takumi...” Yukimura was actually quite impressed, considering that unlike when he was a child, he had escaped with minimal injuries from the kinshi. “So… Am I right in assuming that you shall be leaving to visit Nohr immediately?” The question wasn’t answered, but seeing Takumi climb onto the back of it was enough of an answer. “Would you like me to send a messenger ahead, to warn your siblings and the Nohrian royals of your arrival?”

Takumi remained silent for a moment, but Leo was the one to respond to the question. “Let’s surprise them. If we leave now, we should arrive just before Xander’s coronation…” Leo then noticed the look on Yukimura’s face, before sighing. “You aren’t trusting the wielders of two divine weapons? We will be fine, so long as we have Brynhildr and the Fujin Yumi with us. And if anything does happen, I will accept responsibility.”

“Also, Yukimura… Remember the temporary truce between Hoshido and Nohr that is in place before Ryoma and Leo’s brother decide upon some sort of more permanent solution? If any Hoshidans attack Leo, or if any Nohrians attack me, then the attacking country would have to face the consequences. It’s that simple.” Takumi stated, before smiling at Yukimura. “By the way… Don’t let anyone know about our relationship whilst we’re gone.”

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

“Oh gods-!” Leo was holding onto Takumi as though his life depended on it, terrified of the fact that Takumi was actually laughing as they flew through the air. “How are you not feeling sick?!”

Takumi stopped himself from laughing then, before turning back to face Leo. “Hinoka liked to take me out flying a lot when I was younger, and this guy has been my friend ever since he was little, so I’ve been flying on him a few times before now. You’ll get used to it if we do this often, I’m sure of it.” Following that, Takumi took hold of one of Leo’s hands and gave it a reassuring squeeze. “Why don’t you just close your eyes for now? Usually, if you’re not the one actually navigating it, it does help to close your eyes. You don’t even realise that you are flying after a while.”

Reluctantly, Leo began to close his eyes as he kept his grasp of Takumi, and his boyfriend sighed when he almost instantly felt his breathing become much calmer and steadier. It was even more reassuring when Leo’s head went and began resting on Takumi’s shoulder as he started quietly whispering. “Takumi… I love you. Thank you for being with me...”

“I love you too, Leo.” The warmth which Takumi felt all over his body as he said those words… Nothing could possibly compare to it. It helped him to feel so calm and relaxed, and so long as Leo was by his side, the feeling would never die away. “And I will never stop. I promise you that...”

Leo laughed at what Takumi said, now seeming much calmer than mere moments before. “Hah, save that line for if- no, when we get married...” His voice sounded a slight bit tired, and so Takumi only grinned in response to that remark before remaining silent, to allow Leo the chance to rest or even sleep before they arrived in Nohr by the mid-afternoon.

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

Corrin was sat looking out into the distance just outside Windmire, Azura by their side. “So… After you saved Leo and Takumi, you threw the pendant into a lake?” The darkened skies above Nohr seemed a slight bit lighter today, considering that it was meant to be the peak of the Nohrian summer at that time. At seeing Azura nod, Corrin grinned. “Everyone started to panic when it looked like you were starting to dissolve… It was such a relief when it stopped though. It looked almost as though… somebody was trying to make sure that you wouldn’t leave.”

After a few moments of silence, Azura quickly turned around and gazed over at a few of the nearby trees, which sounded as though something was rustling through the branches. She slowly approached the trees, and was surprised at the sight of a small group of very young children, about four years old at most, running out from it.

A boy with slightly messy hair with a toy bow began jumping about, grabbing hold of the hand of the other boy who was with him. “Hah! I win! I win!” He then threw the bow into the air, and hugged his friend. “I win because of you, Forrest! Yay!”

“We were attacked by chickens, Kiragi! We didn’t win!”

“Yeah, because I won! I just go like...” The boy quickly grabbed the bow, and sent one of his little wooden arrows out in a random direction. “This!”

Corrin’s dragonstone was shot out of their hand, much to their surprise. Instantly, the boy who had shot the arrow was now hiding behind his friend when he noticed Corrin’s face scrunch up as they picked up the stone from the dirt.

“Hey… Forrest… Let’s run away before the person and the blue haired lady come after us!”

“H- Huh?!”

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

“Leo… Hey, Leo.” Takumi poked his cheek, hoping that he could get the Nohrian prince to stir. “Leo.” The Hoshidan prince did the best that he could to kneel down, before shaking Leo’s shoulder. “We’re just outside castle Krakenburg now, Leo. You can wake up...” At the lack of any movement other than his breathing, Takumi chuckled quietly and leaned in close to his ear. “You’re too cute when you’re asleep, but unfortunately, I can’t carry you, and my kinshi has to wait outside for the time being. Don’t make me have to kiss you awake like that princess in those Nohrian children’s fairy stories.”

“Well, now that you’ve mentioned it….” Leo quietly smirked, just to have Takumi poke him on the cheek once more. “Sorry, I was just a bit tired… Give me a second to wake up properly.” It took a few moments for Leo to stand up from the kinshi which was also looking just as tired, before he leaned on Takumi’s arm. “It took a lot less time to get here than I thought...”

“That’s because you were asleep for most of the journey.” Takumi laughed, before looking at the entrance to the castle. Just inside the building were his and Leo’s siblings, all of which being completely unaware of their presence in Nohr. On top of that, they were all preparing for a coronation which was set to occur in just less than two hours… “So… Are you ready to meet our families again?”

Leo remained silent for a moment, before stretching out his bandaged hand as he nodded. The injury was nowhere near as bad as it was during the final battle, which was about a month previous by that point. That would definitely grant Xander, Camilla, Corrin, and Elise some reassurance.

It was a shock for Takumi to see that there weren’t many guards near the entrance to the castle, considering that a huge royal event was set to take place in a few hours. Despite that, as soon as one of them had noticed that Leo was present, the doors were instantly opened. He also seemed rather shocked that they were so quick to act, without even checking to see if it genuinely were Leo, but he knew that those sorts of procedures were more of the sort of actions carried out in Hoshido. Nohr seemed much more lax when it came to castle security, presumably because the Nohrian royals were used to intruder and assassination attempts, to the point that they were able to fend them off for themselves.

Once inside, Takumi was also taken aback by the sheer amount of candles and lanterns which were decorating the walls and ceiling, providing light for the building. He assumed that this was simply because of how dark Nohr was most of the time, and because of how the capital was built within a large hole within the ground. Alongside that, the deep purple and black colour scheme of the castle made it seem rather scary and hostile.

“Right then… So… I have a feeling that we should go to my quarters, and once the coronation starts, we should wait near the back of the room and let everyone know that we are here afterwards.” Leo stated, before holding onto Takumi’s hand. “Give everyone the surprise of their lives.” With that, Leo then looked up, and frowned. “There’s a few hallways nearby which lead almost directly to my room which hardly anyone uses. We can get there almost unnoticed if we’re fast enough.”

Leo was careful not to put too much strain on Takumi’s leg as they made their way towards his quarters in the castle, and once they had arrived, Takumi seemed amazed at the sheer amount of books which were present inside the room. There were many books which were covering his bed, a desk, a bookshelf and even all over the floor.

“Sorry about the mess… I was actually meant to be tidying in here when Xander decided to send me to join Corrin as they fought...” Leo grumbled, before walking over to his bed and doing his best to stack them on a bedside table. Takumi went over and began to take the books out of Leo’s arms once he noticed that his injured arm was shaking quite badly. “Ow… Thank you, Takumi.”

“Hah, I can’t allow my boyfriend to suffer now, can I?” Takumi smirked, before making Leo’s face turn bright red as he kissed his cheek. “Thank the gods that none of our siblings are here to see you so flustered, Leo.”

“Thank the gods that Niles isn’t here. I saw him as we entered the castle, so that’s why I had to take those creepy, almost abandoned halls to reach here… If he saw us holding hand, or even if he saw what happened outside...”

“Good point.”

Another hour was spent in Leo’s room, with most of it spent with the two lying beside each other in the bed, laughing as they exchanged stories about their childhoods and about their siblings through the years. It was only once they began to hear a commotion outside the room which they finally decided to move.

Leo peered through the keyhole then, and noticed that Corrin and Azura were there, the former looking rather frustrated as they slowly walked down the hall.

“But still, that kid could have broken my dragonstone! What if it had broke, and then I ended up losing my mind like when mother died?! Or when Leo and Takumi were possessed, and yelling that it was my fault that they died?!” Corrin looked close to tears, and it was taking a lot for Azura to calm them down. “I- I mean… Everything that h- happened to them… It was my fault...”

“Corrin… No, it wasn’t… There was some other external force behind what happened to all of them. Your mother died because of that tainted sword you were given by Garon. Leo and Takumi’s minds were taken hold of by somebody trying to exploit the fact that they are the third-born of the royal families, Takumi because of his inferiority complex, and Leo because of his envy of the attention which you and Elise received from Xander and Camilla.” Azura stated, and at hearing that alongside Corrin’s stifling tears, Leo and Takumi looked at each other for a moment, knowing the truth behind Azura’s words, before they carefully opened the door as the two slowly made their way past.

Takumi put on a small smile, before tapping Corrin’s shoulder. “Somebody need a hug from their little brothers?”

 

Chapter Text

Corrin and Azura had been sworn to silence about Leo and Takumi’s presence in Nohr, and were not even to mention that they were going to be present for Xander’s coronation. The group had a plan to make sure that their presence went completely undetected too. Leo and Takumi would remain in Leo’s quarters for the time being, and were not to leave until part-way through the coronation. Just as the event begin, and when everyone is too distracted with it, Azura was to slip out of the throne room, and would go to get them to make their way there. If anyone were to mention anything about Azura leaving, Corrin was to come up with a distraction.

Whilst waiting, the two princes were very impatient. Takumi had managed to call his kinshi up to the balcony of the room they were in, and was sat before it and stroking its head as Leo sat beside him, head leaning on his shoulder as he flicked through a short book.

“I wonder if Xander would notice us walking in on the coronation… I mean… He may be distracted, because Gunter is very strict on making sure that events move as smooth as possible, but he could still be focussing on the door as it is exactly opposite the throne...” Leo muttered, his hand slowly moving with his eyes across the page he was currently on.

“Who knows...” Takumi sighed, hand stretching behind his head as he let the ribbons tying his hair up loose. “You know your brother more than I do.” After that, he then took hold of Leo’s wrist and tied one of the two ribbons around it, and did the same with his own wrist.

Leo was a slight bit confused at that action. “Uh… Takumi?...” He looked at his wrist for a moment, before smiling. Takumi obviously had his reasons for it.

Takumi leaned his head on Leo’s after that, and he too began to smile. “It’s like a term of endearment from Hoshido. It plays a similar role to an engagement ring from Nohr. Two people in a couple wear a ribbon each of the same colour, on opposite wrists. According to folklore, it represents how the couple are always bound to each other, no matter what.” Takumi’s cheeks were a flushed pink colour as he explained that, before he then laughed quietly.

“That sounds… very mushy.”

“What, and our relationship so far isn’t?”

Words could not come to Leo’s mouth at Takumi’s response, and with that, he placed the book down beside him and turned to face his boyfriend. He couldn’t help but that his prince’s eyes were closed at that moment in time, and his face looked so calm. He looked even nicer with his hair loose too... Unfortunately, because of that, his thoughts from a few days previously came back to his head. He wanted to kiss Takumi. And he did. Quietly, he moved his hands towards his face, and cupped his cheeks. “I love you, Takumi...” he whispered as he pressed their lips together just when Takumi’s eyes ended up opening.

At that moment, as the two were kissing, Azura had opened the door and laughed quietly at the two. She honestly wanted to leave the two be in the moment, but upon seeing Takumi pulling Leo even closer to him, she decided to intervene before it became something a bit too much. “When is the wedding?” She teased, after having seen Camilla write those same words in a letter to Leo about two or three weeks previously.

Startled, the two quickly pulled away from each other with bright red faces and a lack of breath. Unfortunately, Leo fell back into the kinshi which was by them, and the creature quickly shoved him away with its wing.

Azura felt bad for that, but she noticed that the two had began to laugh the entire situation off, which was a relief. “Come on… Ryoma rose an eyebrow at me leaving the ceremony, I do not think he would want me to be absent for long.”

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

“-shall now be declared as the new king of Nohr.” Gunter’s voice could be heard from inside the throne room from the little gap which remained after Azura had slipped back inside. The two princes remained outside, simply because Leo was actually a slight bit anxious about going inside. “Lord Xander, please accept this crown as a symbol of your reign over Nohr.”

Leo was having to breathe deeply as Xander’s voice was then heard over the muffled conversations of the small crowd, and Takumi was doing his best to calm him down. “Everything will be fine… If anything, I think that everyone’s moods will be lifted even more with you being there.” He reached over to Leo’s bandaged hand, before gazing down at it for a moment. “We can go in together, hand-in-hand if you wish.”

Quickly, Leo nodded as he returned the grasp, and then turned to face the door. He seemed reluctant still to enter the room, despite the fact that his free hand slowly reached up to the door closer to him. As a way to motivate him, Takumi reached his free hand forward too, and pressed it against the other door, giving him a nod as if to say ‘I’m ready when you are.’ With that, the two pushed the doors open, Leo bracing himself for a likely lecture on interrupting important events.

Xander was still speaking at the two stepped inside, with his speech currently being about how he would do his best to maintain peace within Nohr. “I vow to make sure that Nohr shall experience an era of peace, and I shall guide us all-” He froze as soon as he noticed his brother. At seeing Xander suddenly fall silent, Elise and Camilla both rose from their seats, and turned around. Xander was smiling as he looked over at where his younger brother was stood. “It is good to see you back again, Leo.”

LEO!” Elise was quick to run over to him then, and began to cry as she held onto him as tightly as she possibly could. “I’m so glad that you’re here!” Before Takumi could even react to having Leo almost literally wrenched away from him, he also got pulled into Elise’s death grasp. “And thank you for looking after my big brother, Takumi!”

Within the room, there were a few people (namely the small group of Nohrian nobles present who agreed with Garon’s methods but not Xander’s) who were very disapproving of Leo’s interruption, and were yelling various different remarks about how all of the Hoshidans were to blame for this, and that all of them and Leo should be executed for the ‘insolence which they dared display’. Needless to say, Xander had Peri take them out of the room, and said that she could do as she wished to them to make them leave, so long as they remained alive. After a bout of yelling and screaming, the retainer returned to the throne room with a wide grin and blood coating her hair and armour.

At the same time, Ryoma, Hinoka and Sakura went over and helped to free Takumi from Elise, before embracing him happily. They were more than glad to know that their brother was safe. Sakura ended up noticing the ribbon around his wrist as she held onto his hand and made him sit down beside her and also Azura. The young Hoshidan then looked over towards Leo as he was having Camilla try to pinch his cheeks as Elise remained attached to him, and smiled when she noticed the matching ribbon. No wonder Takumi’s hair was down.

“Ahem… I understand that it is an honour to now have prince Leo and prince Takumi of Hoshido amongst us… But we have a schedule to keep for this coronation. You can all socialise once this has finished.” Gunter stated, getting the attention of the remaining people in the room. Following that, Camilla and Elise dragged Leo over to sit with them and Corrin (who had fell asleep at an earlier point in the ceremony, because of Gunter making a particularly long speech) at the opposite side of the room to the Hoshidans. It never stopped the two princes from exchanging glances and small grins for the remaining thirty minutes which the ceremony lasted.

After the coronation, a large banquet had been organised for the royals of both countries, and their retainers. The Hoshidans had to confess, the atmosphere didn’t feel… right to them, because of the lack of Saizo, Kagero, Hinata and Oboro. If the four were not dead… Then perhaps things would have been much different. Ryoma and Takumi would have probably been dead instead, and perhaps also Sakura, Subaki, and Hana. As for the Nohrians, the lack of the three most mysterious retainers, Laslow, Selena, and Odin, made the room feel just a little bit plainer than it could have been.

“Wow… Is this that ‘stew’ you’ve spoke of, Leo?” Takumi gasped particularly loudly as he had a bowl of the food resting on the table before him. “It’s delicious. I swear, I am going to have to see if we can make this in Hoshido.” Hinoka laughed at the way in which her brother seemed to be salivating, and Sakura began to look around to see if she could find some of the stew too. Though Takumi was typically awkward at banquets, especially with Sakura, he seemed a lot more confident as he had Leo sat by his side.

Corrin grinned then, before stretching their arms as they finished a sip of some tea which they had. “Well, you have to try Mozu’s stew at some point, Takumi! She is amazing at cooking things like that! She lives in Hoshido too, so you might be able to see her at some point when she is rebuilding her village. We could take you to meet her if you wanted. Though… Maybe when the last few hostilities have died down between Hoshido and Nohr...”

As the small conversations amongst the table continued (with at one point a food fight almost breaking out between Peri and Azama, because of him making a remark which had annoyed her), Niles’ eye remained fixated upon his lord and Takumi. The two seemed so close, yet… Nobody seemed to be questioning it. Perhaps that wouldn’t have been the case if Odin were still present, but it wasn’t. He was also the only one to have noticed the hand-holding under the table. Yet… he didn’t want to ruin the banquet for either of them by mentioning that to everyone. It never stopped him from teasing about it though.

Every once in a while, he would scrape a fork across a plate just quiet enough to catch Leo’s attention. Once he noticed the prince’s eyes resting upon him, he would make various different inappropriate gestures with the small carrots and his hands, sometimes his mouth too.

During one of those times though, Leo’s face ended up turning a furious red shade, because of the quiet sounds which he was making as he did the actions. The prince rose to his feet, and slammed his uninjured hand onto the table. “Niles, could you please stop?!” His face went even redder (to Elise, as red as a tomato, much to her amusement) as everyone fell silent then. “I get that you like to tease, but this is genuinely the first time I have liked somebody, and I- I don’t want to ruin this because of y- your teasing being on my mind!” Xander’s eyes narrowed at Leo’s remark about liking somebody, with him starting to wonder as to who this person could have been. His question was answered particularly quickly though. Leo was now looking at Ryoma, more anxious than he ever had done before. “Please… M- May I have your permission t- to marry Takumi, prince R- Ryoma?!”

Chapter Text

Takumi’s heart was pounding. Ryoma had accepted the two of them being a couple. After Leo had asked if he had permission to marry him, Ryoma began to smile and nod, as he said ‘I have never seen my brother be so happy and caring over somebody before, not even to Hinoka, Sakura and I. Of course I give permission.’

Following that, Takumi then abruptly asked the same question to Xander, seeking his permission to marry Leo. When he heard the king of Nohr say ‘So long as you do not find yourselves at the end of Siegfried, I grant you my full permission also. Please keep my brother safe for the rest of your days, prince Takumi. Or perhaps that would be… my new younger brother, Takumi.’ His face had flushed after that moment, and the two had embraced as tightly as they could, relieved that their engagement was now known to both of their families.

At present, the two were lying in Leo’s bed, the Nohrian in what seemed to be a very deep sleep. He was adorable as he slept, with his hair band discarded, allowing some of his normally held back hair to fall to cover a small part of his face. His breathing was light, his chest rising and falling ever so slightly.

Takumi had already slept for what he assumed was a short while (it was hard to tell the time in Nohr, unlike in Hoshido), and was now unable to fall asleep once more. At one point, he had seen Niles quickly try to check to see if the pair were okay, and also had Elise sneak in just for the sake of telling him that she was going to mess about with his hair the next day for ‘a very important reason to do with Leo and there was absolutely no way in which he could say no and that was that’.

Leo stirred a slight bit, and was now lying flat on his back. “Xander… Elise...” He muttered under his breath, moving his arm closer to his chest. Almost instantly though, Leo suddenly sat up, his eyes wide and body shaking. “M- My brother and sister, I have to see if they-!”

Quickly, Takumi put his arms around his boyfriend’s waist, and rested his head upon his shoulder. “Xander and Elise are fine. Everything is fine, Leo...” At seeing how the only reaction to that was his breathing becoming more frantic, Takumi quickly moved to sit before him and took hold of his cheeks. “Everything. Is. Fine.” He then pulled Leo in for a hug. “Elise was speaking to me just a few minutes ago, and if anything had happened to Xander, the whole castle would likely be on high alert.”

For another few minutes, Leo’s breathing remained frantic as he brought himself around into calming down. “T- Takumi… I think that… I had a nightmare...” Leo whispered once he seemed to have more steady breathing. “Corrin… E- Ended up going with you, and your siblings… A- And you were all fighting to stop father… In the- the process, Elise got between a fight with Corrin and Xander… And Xander died f- fighting against Corrin… L- Later, you all killed father, b- but Camilla stepped down from being next in line to the throne, a- and the burden of running Nohr was on my shoulders…” After that, Leo separated from Takumi, and reached to a table beside the bed and took hold of Brynhildr. “My divine weapon turned on me as I caved in under the stress.” He stroked the cover, and then closed his eyes as he went to lean on Takumi for some reassurance.

“Well, at least you have me to be with you… If you ever do have to take charge of Nohr, I will always be at your side.” Takumi surprised Leo with a gentle kiss on his forehead, before smiling at him. “That’s the promise which I will make you, right here, right now...”

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

“Don’t worry, p- prince Leo…” Sakura whispered, before threading a flower through the stem of another. “I am sure that E- Elise is looking after Takumi. She really likes how long his hair is, a- and how it is much t- tamer than Ryoma’s and Corrin’s...” She then smiled as she looked at the flower crown in her hands, before leaning forward and placing it on Leo’s head. “A- Anyway… She’s excited to know that she is going to be getting a new big brother soon! Just like I- I am happy that you are going to be my new brother!”

The two had been speaking for a good few minutes by that point about how Elise had ended up forcing Takumi into going with her, and had dragged him to elsewhere in the Nohrian castle. Leo had been worried, considering that Takumi had mouthed the word ‘help’ as he ended up being pulled away.

All that Leo had wanted was to spend the day with his Takumi. He had an entire day of events planned out for the two of them, but Elise and Sakura had ended up disturbing that.

Elsewhere, Takumi was grumbling as Elise, Corrin, Azura, and Camilla were trying to ‘sort out’ his hair. It was enough with Azura doing that in Hoshido, but having four people, three of which being somewhat like strangers to him, trying to dictate how his hair had to be?

“Ah, our precious Leo will be so happy when we’re finished with you!” Camilla smiled, leaning in to the Hoshidan prince as she tried to pin back a bit of his hair above his ear. “It will certainly be a happy birthday for him once we allow little Sakura to let him back into the castle!”

“Wh- What?!” Takumi hadn’t been aware that it was Leo’s birthday. He tried to quickly stand up, but the two pairs of hands which were trying to braid his hair whilst Corrin threaded flowers through it were quick to have him pulled back down into the seat he was in. “Why was I not told about his birthday earlier?!”

“Because… Leo never really celebrated it growing up. He ended up disliking it after the discovery that his mother, one of… Garon’s concubines… only gave birth to him as a way of getting his favour. Of course, she never would get more favour than Xander’s mother.” Corrin explained, remembering what she could of what Leo had said to her time and time again. “Though please… don’t mention it near him, Takumi. He gets quite upset about it, and tends to lock himself up in the library for a few days whenever it is brought up.”

Elise nodded, before giggling as she tied a purple ribbon at the bottom of the braid in Takumi’s hair. “We’re hoping that maybe, if he celebrates a birthday with you, he will realise that birthdays aren’t a bad thing to celebrate!” Elise then jumped to in front of Takumi, and grinned. “There! You look adorable, Takumi! Now, come on! We need to finish sorting out your outfit now!”

“… I am fine with wearing what I am.”

Camilla then stared at the prince, which made him feel like shrivelling up into the seat. “No! A birthday party is meant to be fun and in a way, formal. That silly animal skin… thing… just screams disaster! And besides, it would be oh so cute to see what my dear Leo’s boyfriend looks like in Nohrian attire! It is only for today!”

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

Leo had spent quite a while hunting down Takumi after he had ended up creating a tree with Brynhildr and watched as Sakura fell asleep against it about thirty minutes previously. Almost every crevice and corner of the castle had been searched, and there was literally no sign of him. Ryoma and Xander had been speaking in the library, and he had ended up being ushered out by Peri almost instantly in his search, so it was very unlikely that Takumi could have got in there without being sent back outside.

At one point, he had bumped into Hinoka, who was exploring the Nohrian castle, but she didn’t know where Takumi happened to be either. He did, however, explain to her about Sakura being asleep under a tree, so she went off to try and wake up her sister.

“Hey! Lord Leo-oooohhhhhhhh no!” A voice called out from behind him, before there was a loud clatter of a tray falling onto the ground and cups smashing. “Oh no… Lord Takumi’s note is all damp now!” Felicia sounded really upset as she did her best to try and quickly clean up the shards of broken cups.

With a sigh, Leo turned around and looked at her frantically attempting to sort out the mess. “Need a bit of help with that?”

Felicia glanced around for a moment, before shaking her head as she picked up a scrap of paper stained by tea. “Um… No! I am fine, unlike lord Takumi… He says that he is suffering at the hands of your sisters.” She muttered, handing over the piece of paper. “He quickly scribbled this message for you whilst they were having a short tea break. A- Anyway, I had better clean this all up before Jakob sees the mess! He has been getting really strict over me not being as clumsy recently...”

Once the maid had ran off, doing her best to keep the broken cups on her tray, Leo sighed and began to look over at the note.

Leo. Please. Save me.

You know that Elise dragged me away before, and left you with Sakura? Well, she wasn’t alone. They (and by they, I mean Elise, Camilla, Corrin, and Azura) asked for Sakura to keep you occupied as they tried to dictate what I looked like for you! For about twenty minutes, they were trying to braid my hair, and gods damn it, Camilla had put some silly hair pins in and it hurts to try and pull them out! Every time that I try to let my hair down again, they’re using my own Fujin Yumi as some sort of stick to hit me with!

Next, once they’ve had this tea break, they’re wanting to change what I am wearing too! I like my clothes! Please don’t let me suffer… MY LIFE IS IN YOUR HANDS, LEO.

I’M BEING HELD HOSTAGE IN CAMILLA’S ROOM.

P.S. They’re only doing this because it’s your birthday. Happy birthday by the way…

A quiet groan left Leo’s mouth as he realised what was going on, before he then realised that he right by the hall which Camilla’s quarters were located in. If Felicia had only just made it there, that meant that he would have written the note only a few minutes ago. Briskly, Leo then began to make his way down the hall, and rolled his eyes at seeing his sister’s door a slight bit open. Felicia mustn’t have closed it properly.

”C- Corrin! No! Don’t do that!” Takumi’s pained cry was heard as he peered through, and noticed his sibling had turned into a dragon, and had pinned his arms down onto the floor. “D- Do you Nohrians have no sense of decency?! Trying to strip a visiting prince of his clothes?!”

Azura giggled, and knelt down beside him. “You let Hinoka, Sakura, and I play dress-up with you when you were a child though! What makes this any different?”

“What makes this different is three major things. One: He is an adult, and none of you are children any more. I expected more from you at least, Camilla. Two: Takumi is my boyfriend, and it annoys me that you all want to try and make him any different. I love him as he is! And three… You know that I don’t celebrate my birthday. It is just any other day.” Leo was staring at the four people in the room, before he used Brynhildr to conjure up vines to push Corrin away from Takumi. He then went over to him, and held out a hand to help him up to his feet. “I appreciate the gesture, Azura, sisters… But please, not today.”

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

An escape to Windmire was made by the two princes after the ‘rescue Takumi from the clutches of the princesses’ incident, with the two doing the best that they could to laugh off the situation. They were only walking slowly, on account of Takumi’s recovering leg injury (it was tended to with staves and rods often, accelerating the healing process), but it still felt as though they were moving a bit too fast through the city.

It felt odd for Leo, knowing that this would be the last time in quite a while that he would be able to have such a leisurely stroll here, if he were going to be residing in Hoshido in less than a week. Those thoughts induced a sigh, and that made Takumi take hold of his hand in an attempt at reassurance.

“You know… Windmire is completely different to the capital of Hoshido. There is a festival there every other week, and there is almost always a crowd. It is so… quiet here.”

“That is because there is an underground Windmire. Normally, this area is only visited by criminals and those of wealth, but I have heard from Xander that since the death of my father, it has been quieter than usual.” Leo squeezed Takumi’s hand after that, before he then looked up into the dark skies. Despite knowing that he would miss Nohr… he was already desperate to see the bright skies of Hoshido once more.

The two fell silent for a good while after that, both of them thinking about what their future would be like together. When were they going to get married? Which of their homelands would they get married in? Would they end up living together until they were both old and on the doorstep of death? Would they ever fall out, and argue at any point?

A child-like scream was heard from nearby then, making the two princes stop in their tracks. “Ouch! S- Stop it!” There were a few frantic sobs, before an even louder scream was heard at the same time as a sudden shriek. “Forrest! Let him go! D- Don’t hurt him! He is good! I took the b- bread, not him!”

Leo frowned, before turning to Takumi. They knew that it had to be children who the yells were coming from. It sounded as though a child had ended up taking some bread for themself and a friend, but both of them were being punished for it.

“I think that I will pierce this knife right through your little friend’s stomach, and have his body pinned up on the front of my stall as he bleeds out to act as a warning for all of your fellow thieves. And you… you little brat… I might just tie you up and let you watch this little blonde kid die.”

No! S- Stop it!”

Takumi completely dismissed the state of his leg as the begs for mercy became louder, and he ran to the street which the sounds were coming from. A rough looking man covered in scars and tattered clothing was holding onto the neck of a boy with slightly curled blonde hair, and had a dagger held at the boy’s stomach as he did the best he could to struggle. Under the foot of the man, another boy with scruffy silver hair was being pinned down onto the floor, a small wooden bow discarded by his hand.

Both children were crying as the man continued to threaten them, and to Takumi, that was just vile. No shopkeeper from Hoshido would act so disgusting towards a pair of children who looked half-starved as it was. But this was not Hoshido – this was Nohr.

“What are you doing to those boys?” Takumi then pulled out the Fujin Yumi, and stared at the man as the blonde boy began rasping for breath as his grasp tightened. “Release them immediately. You have no idea who you are messing with here.”

The man’s eye twitched, before dropping the boy onto the ground and turning to face the Hoshidan. “You have no idea who you are messing with, you little shit! I’ll just kill you before I kill these two! You are all the same!”

A string and an arrow appeared upon his yumi, just as he noticed Leo quickly emerge behind the man and pull out Brynhildr as the two children tried to recover from the damage that the man did to them both. “Kill me if you wish – but know that you will have broken one of the most important treaties in the history of Nohr.”

“That treaty only applies to royals!” the man quickly dived at Takumi, pulling out a second dagger in an attempt to stab him and get him to back away.

Quickly, Takumi stepped to the side, and fired an arrow at the man with the intention of pinning him to a wall with it. At the same time, Leo conjured up thorny vines in order to restrain him. Their attacks did exactly as they both wished, and it was a relief for the two boys to see the man who was close to killing them now in trouble himself.

Leo sighed as he walked past the two boys, and shook his head as he looked at the man who now had blood tricking down his arms, legs, and stomach. “Well, sir, meet prince Takumi of Hoshido.” He then pulled out a new tome, and his eyes narrowed. “You are lucky that my brother is not as harsh with his punishments as my father before him – you have avoided execution for attempting to kill a member of the Hoshidan royal family. You shall, however, be punished brutally.”

It was at that moment a few guards who had been patrolling nearby ended up running over to the location of the situation, and following the explanation of the situation, the violent shopkeeper was properly restrained and taken to the castle’s prisons to await punishment.

Leo and Takumi were surprised that once the assailant had been taken away, the two boys who were being attacked ran over to them, crying in relief. “Th- Thank you!” The blonde boy was crying happily, before latching onto Takumi’s leg crying.

“Yeah! You saved us prince Leo! And you, prince Ta… Ta… Takumi!” The other boy was giving a bruised, toothy grin up to Leo.

Takumi knelt down before the blonde boy, before looking between both children. “What was happening? Where are your parents?”

The silver haired boy was obviously the more vocal of the two, because he was the one to answer. “Uh… Yesterday, we were hunting for food in the nearby forest, but we got attacked by evil chickens! We had to run away, but I won because I was awesome with this!” He quickly ran over to and picked up his wooden bow. “I then accidentally shot a weird blue stone out of a person’s hand who was with a strange blue haired lady, even though we didn’t know they were there… They seemed annoyed, so we ran here, to the town! We woke up this morning super hungry, so we went to find money to buy food! But it didn’t work… So I took some bread from that man because he had loads! But he attacked us all angry...”

“A- And our parents… They died in the war...” The blonde boy whispered, looking upset. “W- We both saw them die b- because of king Garon!”

Leo was the next one to answer a question as he sat down on the floor. “Are you two… brothers?”

“Y- Yes...” The blonde boy was now sobbing as he held onto Takumi very tightly.

At that, the two princes exchanged similar looks, with a similar idea in their minds. “We are both so sorry about what happened to your parents… Truly. Our parents are all dead too.” Takumi whispered, before taking hold of the blonde boy’s hand. “Would you both like to stay with the two of us? I am sure that our families would let us look after the two of you, even if it is for a short while...”

“R- Really?!”

“W- Wow! Y- You two are the best!”

“What are your names, by the way?”

“I’m Kiragi! And my brother here is Forrest!”

Chapter Text

“Thank you… Dad...” Kiragi yawned, resting his head on Takumi’s chest as he fell asleep. It had been about four months ever since he and Leo had saved the boy and his brother, and was three months since they were officially adopted and their own little family. “I want to sleep now...”

“Okay then… Sleep well, Kiragi.” Slowly, Takumi ran his hands through Kiragi’s hair as his eyes closed. The prince, despite looking and sounding calm, was actually overwhelmed with emotions, and for good reason. That was the first time which Kiragi had ever called him ‘dad’. About a month previously, Forrest had called him dad too, just as he had called Leo ‘father’. But Kiragi calling him dad… It felt like an achievement, almost, such as when a newborn baby says their first word.

Once Kiragi’s breathing had steadied, that was the cue for Takumi to burst into tears. He never felt as though he belonged any more than he did now – if he and Leo hadn’t have saved the two brothers, then things would have been much different. Kiragi and Forrest would have likely been killed by that cruel shopkeeper, and he and Leo would just be… living their lives, unaware of those goings on.

Another thing which he was feeling emotional over though was his retainers. Both of them would have been so happy to see his pride over being a father… But Hinata and Oboro were dead, and there was no changing that.

The door to the room suddenly opened, and Forrest emerged, completely out of breath. “D- Dad! Look!” Despite being older than Kiragi by about two years, he was definitely not the energetic one of the two. “Sakura let me try on her kimonos from when she was young! Don’t I look pretty-!” Leo suddenly emerged behind him, and quickly scooped him up into his arms. “F- Father! Let go of me!”

Got you.” Leo had a smirk on his face, and laughed at Forrest pouting. “I just wanted to say that you look adorable.” He laughed, before noticing Takumi wiping his eyes. “And you look adorable too… But I’m guessing that isn’t down to you wearing something different.”

Takumi laughed as he wiped away his tears, and nodded his head as Leo went and sat down beside him. Forrest went and took hold of one of Takumi’s hands, and gave him a concerned look. “It feels strange… getting called ‘dad’. But it is such a nice feeling too… Hah, this will take some getting used to.” He squeezed Forrest’s hand back then, before gazing upwards. “I am so glad that you and Kiragi allowed me and Leo to take care of you, Forrest. I’ve never felt more happy in my life...”

"Dad... You and father make me and Kiragi happy too..."

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

It was still taking quite a bit of time for Leo to be able to find his way around castle Shirasagi, as it was more of a maze than he had originally assumed. Just before, he had thought that he was on his way to the library there, but he had ended up in the throne room, which was still being rebuilt.

Currently, he was being showed about the castle, just so he had some awareness on as to where he was going, and as to where the more important places in the castle had been. It was quite the relief when Hinoka had approached him, and offered to take time out of her somewhat busy schedule to show him around whilst he was lost. “So… Down that hallway, marked with the three samurai swords just above it, is Corrin’s room from when they were a child, left untouched since they were taken to Nohr, and also Mother’s room… Nobody has dared to go down there since Mother’s death except Ryoma and Yukimura… They were clearing both rooms out.” Hinoka had slightly worried look upon her face, before sighing. “Apparently, Corrin is going to be returning to us for a few months, so we kind of needed to have their room sorted… As for Mother’s room… Well, everyone thought that perhaps Kiragi and Forrest could stay in there. You and Takumi have been looking very tired, chasing those two around all of the time.”

Leo quietly laughed, before looking at the floor with a worried frown. “Aren’t the people in Hoshido rather… Unnerved at the amount of Nohrians suddenly residing here?” He glanced at the older Hoshidan princess then, and shuffled his feet a slight bit. “I mean… Quite a few people backed away from me and Takumi a few days ago, as he decided to take me to visit your capital… And then there is Corrin… Last time that they were here, the people apparently screamed ‘traitor’ from the rooftops – quite literally.”

Hinoka looked as though she had something on her mind then, and that she was desperate to tell it, but no words left her mouth as she then decided to start walking down the hall. Almost as if on cue, Ryoma ended up stepping outside the room holding something in his hand. In a way, it seemed as though Hinoka had been anticipating it.

Quietly, the two siblings began to converse, and Leo felt a slight bit awkward, just lingering around behind Hinoka. He still didn’t feel as though he completely belonged in Hoshido, but it had only been a few months. After all, he still wore his Nohrian outfits most of the time, every so often daring to try out sorts of Hoshidan outfits; he found it hard to adapt to the way in which they simply just ate, and on top of that, the sun got to him quite a lot, meaning that he had to stay indoors most of the time. Every once in a while Takumi would take him outside, but the brightness and warmth always made him want to pass out.

As he thought about how he didn’t belong, a hand suddenly rested upon his shoulder, and made him flinch. “P- Prince Ryoma!”

“How many times must I tell you? You are getting married to Takumi, so that means that you are family. Just Ryoma is fine.” The future Hoshidan king laughed at Leo’s slight fumbling then, before he produced what looked as though it were a letter. “I just want to give you this. It was found in Mother’s room, but it was addressed to you.”

“Addressed to me? But… Queen Mikoto didn’t even know me. How is that possible?”

Yukimura emerged from the room then, and he turned to face the Nohrian as he pushed his glasses up his face. “Lady Mikoto, and her retainer, Orochi, were prophetic – they had many visions of the future, including Corrin’s return to Hoshido and the death of lady Mikoto herself. She may not have personally knew you, but she would likely have been aware of prince Takumi’s future, and in turn, yours.”

Leo stared at the paper for a moment, not really wanting to dare unfold it, and see what words were written upon it. In those few moments, the group around him partially disbanded, with Hinoka suddenly having a bad feeling about Setsuna being caught in a trap somewhere, and Yukimura dealing with some business to do with the two main events in Hoshido which were fast approaching – Ryoma’s coronation and Leo and Takumi’s marriage.

“You know… You don’t have to read the letter if you wish not to. Takumi still hasn’t read the letter which he received before Mother’s death from what I am aware, and neither has Sakura.”

For another few moments, Leo’s eyes scanned over the letter, before he sighed and ran his hands through his hair. “I… No, I want to read it. Just… Not just now. I think that I… should go and see where Takumi, Kiragi, and Forrest are though…” Slowly, he began to walk the way which he had come from, before remembering that he had absolutely no idea where his family was. “Uh… Ryoma, do you-?”

“Hah, they are gathered just outside the castle. I can show you the way, if you want.”

Just outside, as Ryoma had said, Takumi was sat with Kiragi and Forrest. Kiragi was trying to figure out how the Fujin Yumi worked, and was trying to see where the string and arrows for it came from. Forrest had ended up letting all of Takumi’s hair loose, and was brushing his hand through it with his face almost filled with amazement. Takumi was just laughing at the way in which they were both acting.

Ryoma smiled at the antics which were going on, before looking straight at Leo. “I never would have thought that my little brother would actually get along so well with children, especially two orphaned children from Nohr. He would usually be a slight bit cold, perhaps even distant because of how he always felt as though he never fit it… But this is perhaps the happiest I have seen him in years. Since he was chosen by his divine weapon, actually.” The prince then noticed that Leo was still looking at the letter, before he then gestured over to Takumi. “I am sure that he is missing you. Why don’t you forget about the letter for now, and stay with those three?”

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

It may seem strange that I have a letter which is addressed to you, prince Leo, but please trust me with what I am about to say.

I was able to foresee the future which Takumi had set out before him, and within it, you seem to play a major part. His life will grow to revolve around you, which will be both a blessing and a curse.

Please, watch your backs. There will always be those who wish for the relations between Nohr and Hoshido to cease, and none more than a hidden being which I am unable to speak of or even write about, or else I shall have to forfeit my existence. Invisible warriors shall begin to hunt you out, but not at first. It shall be a few years before you become targets to them, so you should be safe at the time which you first read this note. The nightmares which you both experience will be an indicator of your safety – once they stop, you shall no longer be safe and you must remain vigilant. Takumi is likely not to have told you of his recurring nightmares too. Ask him to tell you about them.

Also, I wish to grant both you and Takumi happiness in your endeavours together. Despite not being Takumi’s mother through blood, I hope that he accepts my well wishes, and that you do too.

Stay safe, prince Leo of Nohr.

- Mikoto 

Chapter Text

Leo,

I apologise for not being able to attend your wedding, as is Elise. We never expected for things in Nohr to get so hectic so fast, and only now that you have left to live in Hoshido, we have began to notice just how much you assisted here. Elise says that she is too worried about my welfare to leave me here with just Peri, now that Laslow has gone missing, so she is insistent upon remaining here with me. Corrin and Camilla shall be attending your wedding though, and once they have returned, Elise and I shall journey to Hoshido with the intention of personally congratulating you and Takumi.

Now, to serious matters. I have decided, alongside prince Ryoma, that it shall be best in regards to the safety of both yourself and Takumi to have at least one retainer, with the disappearance of Odin, and the unfortunate deaths of Takumi’s retainers at the hands of father. Niles shall also be relocating to Hoshido within the next few days, and he shall be continuing his services as retainer to you and your husband. Ryoma has, however, also requested that a man known as Yukimura shall be also looking out for you both whilst you are present in the Hoshidan castle. Please rely upon them both, and in turn, allow them to rely upon you.

Also, I expect for you to be making a positive impact upon the Hoshidan people, and I hope that they are growing to accept you, as a future prince of their country. I hope that I never have to visit Hoshido just to receive news that you or Takumi have been grievously injured on account of people not willing to see that they can trust you. I care too much to have anything like that happen to you, little brother.

Please take care of yourself, and please be happy with the life that you have chosen, because I believe that you have a bright future in Hoshido.

- Xander

Leo sighed as he read the letter from his older brother, before leaning back a slight bit on the chair he was sat on in the brightly lit Hoshidan library. Kiragi looked up from the book which he had almost fell asleep on, before trying his best to grab hold of the letter.

“What’s that, father?...”

Forrest looked up from a different book then, because of his brother’s question. “Is that a letter? The paper looks purple… Is that from Nohr? Is it from aunt Elise?!”

“Yes, it is a letter from Nohr… And it is from Xander, not Elise. Neither of you get to read it.” Leo stood up, before ruffling Kiragi’s hair a slight bit. “Though I might have to warn you, Kiragi.” The boy looked on in confusion. “Corrin is visiting soon.”

Almost instantly, Kiragi jumped to his feet and hid behind his brother. “Oh no… Corrin?! I’ll shoot that stone again and they’ll get mad and turn into a dragon and cover me in water again and I’ll cry and Forrest will sigh and Dad will-!” Kiragi suddenly had to stop to catch his breath, before groaning loudly. He really did not like Corrin much.

"I tell you what...I'll get Corrin to leave you alone if you check to see if your dad has woke up yet. He fell asleep after he ate before..."

"Fine..."

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

Takumi was on his own for the first time in a while, and now that he was fully recovered from his injuries from a few months back, he decided that it was the perfect time to get in a little bit of training before the busy day which was now a mere few hours away. As he held up the Fujin Yumi, and felt the string form and a bow materialise, he felt in his element. The weight of the bow was familiar, the light seemed perfectly adjusted, the wind happened to know that he wished for it to maintain a calmness to it.

As he peered around, a target was quick to fall within his sights. A tree, with the wooden head of an arrow remaining lodged within its bark. Just from the top of the nearby castle wall Leo had fired that arrow with an injured arm, and had hit the tree dead on. Takumi intended to do the same.

He missed.

For the first time in months, he had missed. The blue energy of his arrow continued to travel into the sky, before it began to dissipate amongst the clouds. His hands were shaking, and his vision blurring. This was a familiar sensation…

Leo. He needed Leo.

Staggering as he tried to take a few steps forward, Takumi began to feel his head hurting. Not now, not now… Where was Leo?! Surely he could feel this pain too… They always felt this pain at the same time!

“Ah! Be careful!” An arm suddenly positioned itself to in front of the stumbling prince’s chest, and he was caught as he fell forward. “We can’t afford to let Lord Takumi get hurt! Isn’t that right, Hinata?”

“Yeah! We gotta keep you safe, even if it means keeping you safe from yourself!”

For those few moments, Takumi’s vision cleared, and he looked around. The sun seemed… higher in the sky than it had been, as though time had gone backwards. The trees had blossoms growing within them, but they hadn’t been blooming moments before. No arrowhead was positioned into the tree. Oboro and Hinata were by his side.

He was helped to reposition himself into a sitting position on the ground, and his retainers were both smiling widely at him. Weren’t they dead? Oboro had been the person who had caught him as he had fell forward, by the looks of things. Were they dead? Hinata had his typical goofy grin on his face, and his hair was messier than ever. In a way… He looked younger. Did they even get killed? As a matter of fact, both he and Oboro looked younger too. Was the war… Just a dream?

“Hey! Earth to Lord Takumi!” Hinata crouched down then, and poked the prince in the head. “You need to wake up!”

Wake up?

“Wake… up?”

Oboro rolled her eyes, before pointing to behind him. “They’re waiting for you. You need to wake up.”

Takumi’s eyes followed her finger, but he saw nothing. “Nobody is waiting for me… At least I think.”

“Lord Takumi! Please!” The woman slapped him across the face then. “The darkness is trying to make you forget.” She pointed once more. “Please… We’re already gone. At the very least, live your life for us.”

Hinata nodded, before picking up the Fujin Yumi and carelessly throwing it to behind the prince. “You have a family waiting for you! You know… Prince Leo and those two children?”

“Leo?...” Why did that name ring a bell? It’s weird, the name rolled off his tongue, and yet… “Oh gods, it is trying to make me forget!”

As those words left the prince’s lips, the skies suddenly darkened. Oboro and Hinata looked stressed out then, and they had to quickly pull Takumi up to his feet. “Run, Lord Takumi. I swear, we are more than happy to know that you have somebody that you love, that you are filled with pride as a father, even if your family is Nohrian...” Oboro whispered, before picking up her naginata, which seemed to appear from almost out of nowhere.

“We’ll keep protecting you from the darkness, Lord Takumi! It’s the only thing we can do from the grave, but we promise, we will help you to control it, even if you do forget us.” Hinata had never sounded so serious before. “By the way – you had better not forget us.” He had thought too soon.

Takumi turned around to face his weapon, before slowly approaching it and picking it up. “I promise… I won’t ever forget you both.”

The next thing that Takumi could recall was lying upon a few layers of sheets, a small body huddled up next to him. He smiled at the sight of Forrest drooling a slight bit onto his arm. Ever so carefully, he pulled the boy closer to his chest in order to hug him. Though the room was dark, it wasn’t as dark as it could have been either.

A candle was lit on a desk, and sat on the desk was a child, with somebody seemingly crouching before him. “How you managed to scrape your knee in your sleep is beyond me, Kiragi…” Leo’s voice, sounding more tired than usual, echoed through the room. “We may have to get Sakura to look at that cut properly in the morning...”

Kiragi made a quiet yawning sound then, before his head moved forward slightly and rested upon Leo’s shoulder. “But father...” He mumbled a few more words, just as Leo quickly blew out the candle and pulled Kiragi closer to him so that he could properly carry the boy to bed.

Leo made a quiet grumble as he lay down beside Takumi, keeping hold of the child in his arms. He wasn’t aware that Takumi was now awake until he lay Forrest down beside him and pulled the younger of the boys into his grasp. The Nohrian gave him a faint smile, before turning to lie on his side and took hold of his arm. If he were drooling, he would have been a mirror image to Forrest mere moments ago.

“You’re so sleepy, Takumi… You fell asleep after eating lunch.” Leo mumbled, yawning as he moved his arm in order to take hold of his prince’s hand. “You had better not be tired tomorrow… Can’t have you falling asleep as we get married, can we?”

Takumi laughed at that, before moving Kiragi to now sleep beside his brother. That granted Takumi the room to lie on his side and to put his arms around Leo’s waist. “I had an… odd dream. I can’t tell if it were a nightmare or not.” After getting lectured over keeping his dreams and nightmares to himself, he felt almost obliged to explain the weird events to Leo now. “I was training… Trying to shoot the arrow which you fired into the tree, but I missed...” Takumi then went into a long-winded explanation of everything, including the moments where his memories had began to turn hazy, and with Oboro and Hinata swearing that they would do their best to help him even from beyond the grave. “I… I can’t help but feel confused, Leo…”

“Don’t worry… I think that was a reassurance which you were giving yourself. Perhaps Oboro and Hinata actually are trying to protect you even now, but know that at least you have that as a reassurance...” Leo was now running his hands through Takumi’s hair as he rested his head in the crook of his neck, before he then adjusted himself to plant a gentle kiss on his lips. “Now come on… We’ve got a busy day ahead. We need to sleep… If only we could take a leaf out of their books?” He made a slight gesture over to the small children beside them, before closing his eyes. “I love you, Takumi...”

“I love you too, Leo...”

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

The skies were slightly clouded, but Leo didn’t mind. If anything, he could stand being outside in Hoshido for longer with the weather like this. So long as there would be no rain, the day would probably be perfect. The Nohrian prince had a particular reason for being outside though… He was visiting the graves of Takumi’s retainers, offering them his thanks for their approval of his relationship with Takumi.

Leo had taken Takumi’s dream from the night just gone as a sign. He may have just played it off as Takumi’s mind trying to reassure him just so that he could get him to fall asleep sooner, but he knew that is had to be a sign.

“I swear, right here, right now… I promise that I will protect Takumi. Not just for myself, but for Ryoma, Hinoka, Sakura, Forrest, Kiragi, Corrin, and the two of you. I would die for him, just as I am sure that you two would have...” Leo then looked between the sword and naginata marking both graves, and sighed. “I would have liked to have got to know you both, you know. If we had ever got past the ‘you’re Hoshidan, I am Nohrian’ barrier… I have a feeling that we could have got along well. I would have liked for your advice on me trying out Hoshidan clothing, Oboro… And I would have liked to have seen how you used a sword, Hinata.” He looked down at his hands then, before he felt tears welling up in his eyes. “I am filled with regret over my father killing you both… I hope that you can forgive me for not turning against him. Perhaps you both could have lived...”

Never before had he felt so emotional over people he had never met besides on a battlefield in passing. It was getting to him though, knowing that the two people he was talking to were perhaps the closest people to Takumi that didn’t happen to be family.

“Faaaaaaaaaaaaatheeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrr!” A long shout was then made from nearby, before there was a gasp. “Father! There you are! Dad, I found him!” Forrest quickly ran out to him, and grabbed hold of his leg. “Dad was worried, it is nearly time for you both to get married and you went missing!”

Almost out of the blue, another child ended up latched onto Leo’s other leg. “Yay! Father!”

Takumi’s laugh was heard then, as he walked over to the three, looking amazing to the Nohrian in his kimono. “Gods, Leo. Had me worried when you vanished from our room.” He then noticed the weapons lying on the grass, before sighing. “Speaking to Oboro and Hinata, huh?”

“More like… Promising them something.”

“Oh? Promising them what?”

Once Takumi was in arm’s reach, Leo pulled him as close to him as possible and rested his hands on his waist. “That I will always love you, and always protect you.”

“Hah… Niles forced me into promising the same thing before.” Takumi put his arms around Leo’s neck then, and he began to whisper as he slowly leaned in for a kiss. “And we’re going to promise each other in a few minutes… I can’t believe we are about to get married.”

“Neither can I… I love you, Takumi.”

“I love you too.”