At 17, his kingdom goes to war.
What other choice does he have?
The King watches it all night until the sun bleeds the light of a new day over the mountains and the last of the embers burn to ash.
“Yeah,” He agrees. “They were.”
Eijirou agrees. He hasn’t warmed up to the idea of a loveless marriage at all; but he’s a King now, and what he’d wanted as a child doesn’t matter anymore.
Not that Eijirou would have been able to talk to him anyway, between accepting gifts and well-wishes and the like.
“Can we go now?” Katsuki bites out, probably the first words he’s spoken all night.
Neither of them sleeps for a long time.
“Are you afraid of me?”
Eijirou blinks in surprise at his partner, and then bursts into laughter. “What’s so fucking funny?!” Katsuki snaps.
“I just didn’t have shit to say to you.” He huffs. Eijirou snorts.
“You’re feisty.” He observes while eating his breakfast.
“What was wrong with you last night?” Ei asks, deciding it’s probably better to get it all out in the open now that the sun is up.
“Last night. Your heart was beating so loud I could hear it across the room.”
Kat’s frown deepens. “How the fuck could you—“
Kat stares at him, and Ei stares back, unwilling to back down even while he eats his breakfast. They need to have this conversation now before things get worse.
“I know we didn’t.” He says slowly after a moment.
Eijirou shakes his head. “Only if you tell anyone.” He shrugs. “I can’t put a baby in you and you definitely can’t put one in me, so—“
“No!” Katsuki snaps immediately. Ei holds up a single placating hand, since the other is holding his plate.
“What if I never give you my permission?” Kat snaps.
Ei shrugs. “Then I never touch you.”
“Yeah, oh. I’m not a fucking monster.” Ei’s maybe a little offended, but he can’t really blame Kat for it. Neither of them have any precious experience with arranged marriages after all.
Kat looks like he doesn’t trust him as far as he could throw him, but nods once, slowly.
Eijirou snorts. At least they agree on that.
“Fine.” Katsuki says stubbornly. “Start fuckin’ talking.”
Katsuki makes a vague gesture. “I don’t fuckin’ know. The most important shit, I guess.”
Katsuki blinks in surprise and then a wicked grin crosses his face. “Now you’re fuckin’ talking.”
Ei likes him better this way.
Things move slowly through much of the same.
But Katsuki suddenly starts acting... different.
Eijirou doesn’t mean to start a fight, but Katsuki’s immediately on the defensive.
Ei frowns. “I’m not—I’m just trying to understand, we’re supposed to be partners—“
“I—no, n-nothing,” He stutters and then groans. He doesn’t sound believable even to his own ears.
“You’re a shit liar.” She teases gently.
“You confronted him about his disappearing act finally, huh?” She pats his shoulder consolingly.
She shrugs. “It’s worth a shot. And if he doesn’t, just follow him and find out what could be so important that he’s ignoring the fact that he’s a King too.”
He nods and presses his forehead to hers. “Yeah. Thanks,” He murmurs quietly. “I’m going to stay here for a while. You go back to your post.”
He pouts a little, but nods. “Okay.” He agrees. “Please don’t tell them.”
“I know.” He snaps, and then he’s gone.
Rivers and wildflowers.
Still, that’s no excuse. When Katsuki comes back, he’s still up, again. “You’re coming to the meetings.” He says, not a question. “What you do with your free time besides that isn’t a concern of mine, but—“
After a tense silence, Katsuki bites out, “Fucking fine.”
Time slows to a stop.
“What is the meaning of this?” He demands, not yet rising from his throne.
“I—my claims aren’t unfounded, your Highness, I have several witnesses—“
“Silence.” Eijirou snarls, voice a rolling clap of thunder.
“C-consort?!” The Captain yelps. “She—but—she doesn’t smell anything like you!”
“N-no, your Highness—“
“I SAID SILENCE!” He snarls again.
“I-I,” The Captain stammers, and Eijirou takes snatches him forward by his collar from the spot he’s frozen to.
Ei helps him up, breaks the shackles like they’re made of paper, and then turns to the woman and does the same for her.
“Shut the fuck up, Katsuki!” Eijirou snaps, wheeling around and advancing on him. “You sloppy fucking idiot. You couldn’t be the LEAST bit discreet?!”
After a moment, Katsuki says: “I never wanted this fucking marriage in the first place.”
Eijirou roars. “I KNOW YOU DIDN’T!”
He waves a clawed hand dismissively, sighing quietly, secretly relieved.
“Well how the fuck was I supposed to know that?” Katsuki challenges, not meeting his eyes. “For all I knew you would’ve killed us both and been done with it.”
“Yeah, oh.” Katsuki answers, but he doesn’t sound as fiery as usual.
“You could’ve told me later, after you got to know me.” Ei fries. “I told you I wouldn’t—that if you never wanted me, that I’d be okay with that.”
“Yeah, no kidding.” Ei snorts. “Gods, apparently neither am I.”
“You really are a good guy, huh?” The woman says, drawing his attention back.
“I try my best. You, um. There’s clothes in the dresser.”
“So, what, you’re just fine with this?” He asks like a challenge.
Ei huffs. “I don’t like women, Katsuki.” He says bluntly. “I only said that to /save your ass./“
Eijirou groans. “Well, by now, the whole kingdom has heard what happened today.” He rubs his head. “Everyone will treat you like you really are our consort, and like we’re trying for a baby.” He frowns apologetically.
Katsuki huffs and hunches his shoulders. “Sure, fine, whatever. Bastard shouldn’t have put me in cuffs.”
“Um... Your Highness?” The girl says, but the title sounds stilted and awkward on her tongue. Eijirou hates it immediately.
“You can call me Eijirou, Miss...”
“...Uraraka.” He manages a smile and finds it’s not all fake. “What did you need?”
Eijirou’s eyes go wide and he leans forward, suddenly interested. “Are you a witch?”
“Don’t,” He warns, glaring. “I don’t want to talk about it. There’s no one. That’s it. I’ve answered your question.” The resulting silence feels heavy. He clears his throat.
He doesn’t want to think about Him. There’s no point in thinking about it—about lost old loves.
“What, these don’t look good on me?” She shoots back, holding her arms out—her hands don’t even come out the ends of the sleeves.
“Just a little bit,” He huffed back good-naturedly. “I promise you’ll like it.”
Eijirou rolled his eyes. “It’s an old part of the city that hasn’t been used for decades! I used to come here as a kid and explore,” He explained.
Eijirou gave him his best bland glare while reaching out and yanking out the single rotting beam supporting one of the structures, immediately causing the entire thing to crash and fall into a heap.
Eijirou grins brightly as an explosion goes off next to them and Uraraka crows at the destruction of an old hen coop. “Nothing.” He sing-songs. “Nice one, Uraraka!”
“Oh, uh—I liked to explore a lot when I was little. I actually saw it from the sky and thought it was just a little town I hadn’t noticed before.”
“Yeah! I don’t fly so much anymore—“
“You can FLY?” She asks, genuinely interested, looking a little amazed.
Eijirou... did not expect that much enthusiasm, but he can appreciate her spirit!
“Woooooah,” Uraraka says with a low whistle, coming over to tug on one of his wings without an ounce of shyness.
Ei chuckles. “Of course! How else would they carry me?” Like this, his wingspan is at least 20 feet, or it was the last time he cared to measure it.
Ei hadn’t expected that, either. He glances again at Katsuki, who is still not paying attention. “Uh... are you sure that would be alright?”
He laughs. “I used to! Why do you think I’m so good at it now?”
Suddenly, Uraraka is lurching forward, almost out of his hold. “Over there!” She yells, pointing.
Eijirou just groans and covers his face with his hands, not really caring about the mud he’s smearing there.
“Like that?” Kat disagrees. “You’re not getting in MY bed covered in mud.”
“Yeah, and I’m gonna take a bath!” Kat shoots back. “It’s not that hard, you damn dragon!”
“The fuck are you muttering to yourself about?!” Kat snaps.
“What the hell else was I supposed to do?! Let it eat me?!”
“I’m not the one who flew off without saying anything.” Kat huffs.
“Fuck you, who said I was upset?” Kat snaps.
Ei lets the resulting silence answer that for him.
“Oh, are we suddenly telling one another where we go now?” Ei shoots back petulantly.
Katsuki’s glare is withering but without heat.
Ei stares at him. “For which part?” He asks. It’s not meant as an attack.
“What do you mean, which part?”
“Which part are you sorry for.”
Ei scoffs. “Of all this, don’t apologize for /that./“ He says, rolling his eyes as he wills away his wings and scales.
“You humans are nothing but surprises,” Ei snorts. “Did she say why?”
Ei had been reading. Kat’s sharpening his blade. They share a confused look as the girls embrace.
“Yeah!” Uraraka says brightly. “Mina and I go way back!!” Mina grins and nods, then pauses, looking between the three of them.
“We’re not,” Eijirou says quickly, holding his hands up at Katsuki’s venomous gaze.
He starts to sweat nervously.
She continues staring.
“Ei, can I talk to you outside for a minute?” She says, face deceptively neutral.
She grabs his hand. “Wrong answer,” And drags him out of the room.
Ei groans again. “I know!! I don’t know what I did wrong,” He rolls over on Mina’s lap and pouts at Uraraka. Mina pets his hair and laughs.
Uraraka giggles and waves a hand. “None taken, but— Ei-chan! What do you mean he hates you? Katsu doesn’t!!”
Uraraka gasps. “What! When?!” She looks confused. “He always says nice things about you to me!!!” She pauses. “Well. Nice for him, anyway!”
Next to them, Kami starts snickering.
Eijirou covers his face with his hands, flushed from the liquor and embarrassment. “Don’t say that!!!”
Collectively they all stare at him, not a single one believing him. “What about me? I’m a nice guy!” Kami announces, making exaggerated kissy faces.
Kami’s face goes dreamy as he flops back, starfished out as he looks up at the ceiling. “Yeah,” He sighs happily.
Ei blinks. “Who?”
“Your husband, obviously.”
Ei looks over at Uraraka, who is looking back at him, curious, her face as open as always.
Uraraka laughs. “There are people who are afraid of you?” She teases.
Uraraka seems to remember that all at once. “Ei-Chan!!” She yells.
He jumps. They /all/ jump. “Y-Yes?” He asks, startled.
“What? Uh. Yeah, sure—“
Eijirou just blinks at her, slack-jawed.
Mina giggles. “Eiji was born in a volcano!” She tells her like a secret, leaning over Eijirou and grinning. “He’s a fire dragon.”
Ei can do little more than nod. Mina, however, is drunk enough to take offense. “No fire can burn him!” She corrects. “Not even the hottest ones!!!”
They talk animatedly over his head. Mina’s fingers are still working magic against his scalp, and Uraraka’s thumbs are still idly rubbing back and forth against the scales along the tops of his cheekbones.
Maybe Eijirou has more than one problem.
“You’ve had enough,” Shinsou huffs, laughing quietly at his predicament. Kami is asleep draped over Sero, who is trying his best to stay awake but not doing a great job of it.
Shinsou stares blankly at him for a solid minute before sighing heavily and giving in to his puppy eyes, passing him the bottle.
She throws her hands up and cheers. “Yeah!!”
They trade drunken stories, and it eventually becomes a game.
“Bed? Where??” She asks, looking around, then bursting into a fit of giggles.