Eijirou is the young prince of a secretive but prosperous kingdom. He’s the only child of the queens, the heir to the throne. They couldn’t be more proud of him; he’s got a kind, sunny disposition, and they know he’s going to be a good king one day.
He’s full of energy, young and adventurous, compassionate and driven, brave and a little foolhardy. He likes to explore the kingdom and make odds and ends friends instead of taking his duties too seriously.

At 17, his kingdom goes to war.
No one tells him what the war is about, and three years later it doesn’t really matter; you’d hear a different story depending on who you talked to.
What mattered was that they were at a stalemate that was quickly heading towards a loss.
At 20, his parents sit him down. They explain that there is a kingdom on their souther borders that is willing to help them, but they want a hefty price for their assistance.
They want their kingdoms bound by blood. They want Eijirou.
At 20, Eijirou hasn’t thought very much into marriage. He knew he would get married, eventually, but.. privately, he was a romantic. He always pictured it would be to the person he loved, not to a stranger.
His parents emphasize that he doesn’t have to go through with it. They tell him a thousand times. They’ll find another way if he doesn’t want to do this, he can say the word and it will be done. They’ll figure it out.
But Eijirou has gotten really good at sneaking around over the years, and he knows exactly how bad their situation is.
He agrees to it.

What other choice does he have?
He’s supposed to meet him in the Winter, but things don’t go as planned. Things go from bad to worse quickly, and they end up having to send their reinforcements before the marriage is finalized or write Eijirou’s kingdom off as a loss.
His parents go to the front line to help; they don’t have another choice. They send him to their furthest hold on the distant shore to keep him safe. Before they leave, they tell him to prepare for the very real possibility that one or both of them might not come back.
He tells them he will, but it’s a lie. He knows they’ll come back; his moms are the strongest people he knows! He writes to them often, but otherwise throws himself into his studies; primarily his battle training.
He spends an hour a day on all his other studies; but he spends four hours on battle readiness. He learns every type of blade, long swords to daggers to dual blades and everything in-between. Hand-to-hand combat, archery, survival training.
Maybe he works himself a little ragged. It’s fine though. By the time he turns 22, he’s exceeded his teacher’s expectations. His parents have been gone for over a year, having left right before his 21st birthday.
It’s a week after his birthday when he gets the news.
Three days before he had planned on going to join them on the front lines.
The following day he’s ushered into a silent carriage to go back to the castle he was born in.
He holds his head high, shoulders back, teeth clenched, stands strong like he’s been taught to his whole life.
A crown is placed atop his head and a single brilliant pyre is lit.

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.
The death of his parents, surprisingly, does not turn the tide of the war again. They’ve been at a comfortable—if it could be called that—stalemate since the reinforcements were sent, and the stalemate remained.
Both kingdoms had suffered heavy losses and were licking their wounds and recovering. Eijirou was dealing with his duties as a new King, going through the political motions.
He hates it, but he’s good at it, just like his parents knew he would be.
The stalemate lasts a solid two years, and Eijirou is thankful for it as much as he despises the war as a whole. It gives him time to grieve, gives him time to process, plan, figure out his next steps, and grow as a ruler. Gives him time to win lesser battles.
Gives him time to plan his wedding.
Queen Mitsuki is surprisingly understanding about the delay, especially given that it has been nearing five years since they originally made their agreement.
“I used to be good friends with your parents when we were all little kids!” She tells him, loud and larger than life, when she comes to visit to renegotiate their terms. “They were really something special.”

“Yeah,” He agrees. “They were.”
Her son, sitting at her side, is suspiciously quiet. Eijirou has heard many, many stories over the years about Bakugo Katsuki. He’s an expert fire mage, said to wield them as easily as breathing, and an excellent tactician and warrior, having never lost a battle.
He’s also known to be a brash, rude, sarcastic asshole.
The entire time Eijirou talks to Mitsuki, Katsuki never says a word. He glares at the side of Eijirou’s head until he looks at him, and then instead glares at the opposite wall as if Eijirou didn’t see him already.
The terms are simple. They’ve been fighting as one for years now; with their marriage, Katsuki’s kingdom and Eijirou’s kingdom will be united as one, Mitsuki and Masaru ruling over the Southernmost edge, but Katsuki and Eijirou as the presiding kings.
That’s it. Those are the terms. Two kingdoms joined as one forevermore by their marriage.

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.
He has to do what’s best for his kingdom. He has to win this war, no matter what the cost.
He means to steal a moment of Katsuki’s time to explain what he expects of him from their marriage—but he doesn’t get a chance to. Their rival kingdom makes a push and they both have to go to face different battles.
Eijirou still has bandages on his shoulder from said battle on their wedding day.
Katsuki is a sight to behold, and Eijirou would consider himself a lucky man if he wasn’t so damn terrified he was going to fuck it all up.
On what is supposed to be the happiest day of their lives, Eijirou is second guessing every decision that has led him to this point and Katsuki is wearing his signature scowl and radiating waves of grief.
(Eijirou spares one moment to try to figure that out—the grief. Katsuki’s family were all in attendance; his mom, dad, younger sister. Eijirou can’t figure out why he smells so sad. He only gets to spare the one moment though; then come the vows and the after party.)
The party goes for a long time, and Katsuki sits next to his side, silent, the entire night.

Not that Eijirou would have been able to talk to him anyway, between accepting gifts and well-wishes and the like.
Finally the party dies down. Eijirou is exhausted, sweat from the heat of the bonfire causing his clothes to stick sample to him.

“Can we go now?” Katsuki bites out, probably the first words he’s spoken all night.
“Gods, yes.” He’s relieved that Katsuki is just as done with the festivities as he is. They slip away when no one’s looking, and the long walk back to Eijirou’s—and now Katsuki’s—room is quiet and heavy.
They stand next to one another after the door is closed, Eijirou trying to figure out what to say and Katsuki looking pointedly at every piece of furniture but the bed.
“I’m going to take a bath,” Eijirou says as he decides it. “They should have brought your things up already, but you can ask the guard outside the door for anything you might need.” Eijirou waits for Katsuki to nod, and then steps around him and into the adjoined bathroom.
Eijirou has never been so glad to be alone. He takes longer than is strictly necessary to wash the day off, contemplating his next moves as he does. Katsuki is in the next room but may as well be in another country for how close he feels to him.
When he comes out, Katsuki is not asleep and is doing a shit job of pretending he is.
Luckily the bed is gigantic, and Eijirou doesn’t want to face the elephant in the room tonight either. He gets dressed and slides in on the opposite side, far enough away that two, even three people could fit in the empty space between them.
Katsuki’s heartbeat is wild in his chest, and Eijirou wonders if it’s anger or fear making it so loud. He’ll talk to him tomorrow, he decides.

Neither of them sleeps for a long time.
Three swift knocks on the door wake him up the next day. Katsuki is already up, bathed and dressed. “Come in,” Eijirou yawns. The servants bustle in, laying out trays of food on the table near the bed, and then bustle out again.
Eijirou rubs his eyes and gets up to make himself a plate. Katsuki remains seated in the windowsill. “Hey, Katsuki?”


“Are you afraid of me?”
There’s a beat of silence. “What the fuck? No! Fuck you, I’m not scared of shit.”

Eijirou blinks in surprise at his partner, and then bursts into laughter. “What’s so fucking funny?!” Katsuki snaps.
“Nothing, it’s just—you’ve been so quiet!” He snickers. “I thought you were never going to speak to me.”

“I just didn’t have shit to say to you.” He huffs. Eijirou snorts.

“You’re feisty.” He observes while eating his breakfast.
“I’m—shut the fuck up.” Kat snaps, face red with either embarrassment or anger. Maybe both.

“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.
“...what.” Kat answers, low and quiet, and if looks could kill Ei would be dead on the spot.

“Last night. Your heart was beating so loud I could hear it across the room.”

Kat’s frown deepens. “How the fuck could you—“
“I just can. Don’t avoid the question,” Ei shoots back, raising a brow.

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.
Kat gives in, letting out an annoyed, gusty sigh. “We didn’t—“ He gestures, and Eijirou frowns at it; it’s a little more intricate than just a random hand movement.

“I know we didn’t.” He says slowly after a moment.
“So this shitty marriage isn’t valid!” Katsuki finally bursts, hands sparking as he throws them in the air.

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—“
“—there’s really no point unless you want to.” He pauses. “Wait. Did you want to?”

“No!” Katsuki snaps immediately. Ei holds up a single placating hand, since the other is holding his plate.
“Good, me neither. No offense, but I don’t know you. I’m never going to touch you without your permission and I expect the same thing from you.”

“What if I never give you my permission?” Kat snaps.

Ei shrugs. “Then I never touch you.”
“...oh.” Kat says, and like the wind gone out of a sail, deflates all at once.
“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.
Ei’s parents had married for love, and so had Kat’s. There hasn’t been a proper arranged marriage in either of their kingdoms for so long that Ei doesn’t actually know when the last one was.
“I don’t expect anything from you, Katsuki.” He says quietly. “I just need you to rule beside me, that’s all.”
Kat looks like he doesn’t trust him as far as he could throw him, but nods once, slowly.
“Are you gonna eat something? We’ve got a lot to go over today.” He asks, finished with his own breakfast. “Like, a lot. I have no clue how to meld our two cultures and you’re going to have to help me.”
Katsuki lets out a long suffering groan, but gets up and starts eating. “I fucking hate politics.” He grumbles into his bacon.
Eijirou snorts. At least they agree on that.
Katsuki is not a patient man, and he also doesn’t care very much for tradition. “We can just do whatever you’ve always been doing, it doesn’t matter that much.”
“That’s fine, sure, but that means you’ll have to learn all our traditions instead.” Eijirou raises an eyebrow. Katsuki doesn’t seem like the type who would want to—

“Fine.” Katsuki says stubbornly. “Start fuckin’ talking.”
Eijirou is surprised, but talking is something he’s good at. “Okay, what do you wanna know about first?”

Katsuki makes a vague gesture. “I don’t fuckin’ know. The most important shit, I guess.”
“Ooookay... laws first then, I guess.”

Katsuki groans.
For all that he seems to not care whatsoever, Katsuki is smart and learns the laws quickly. They have a pretty forgiving society where it’s permitted, but they can be... harsh in their punishments, for certain things.
Katsuki doesn’t seem to mind that. He doesn’t offer any feedback as Eijirou goes over the most important rules he can think of, and the ones that he has to deal with everyday.
They’ve been sitting for hours now and Eijirou feels stiff and Katsuki looks bored. Ei rolls his injured shoulder and groans at the pleasant ache. “Wanna spar?” He asks.

Katsuki blinks in surprise and then a wicked grin crosses his face. “Now you’re fuckin’ talking.”
They’re surprisingly evenly matched. Eijirou is a mountain of muscle, standing several inches taller than Katsuki, but Katsuki’s no lightweight either, and he’s faster on his feet than Eijirou is.
Katsuki doesn’t go easy on him, and Eijirou respects him all the more for it, spitting blood from his now-split lip onto the ground and wiping his chin on the back of his hand. “You’re pretty good.” He chuckles.
“Of course I fuckin’ am!” Katsuki is a totally different man when he’s in his element. Cocky grin, bounds of energy, confidently taunting like a wolf among sheep.

Ei likes him better this way.
They spend the rest of the week doing much of the same; talking about politics until they both can’t stand it anymore, and then working out the stiffness in their muscles by beating the shit out of one another.
—metaphorically, of course. Though a few bruises or split lips or bloodied knuckles were a learning experience; they always left the courtyard with matching satisfied grins, feeling better than when they’d started.
The scent of grief still clung to Katsuki’s skin, but they’d fallen into a comfortable understanding and routine. Eijirou bathed at night and Katsuki in the mornings, and they ate their breakfast together and then went about their political duties.
They weren’t quite friends, but they were at least comfortable around one another, which was a definite improvement.
They face their first battle together six weeks into marriage.
Together they’re unstoppable.
Katsuki doesn’t ask why his flames don’t burn Eijirou, and Ei doesn’t offer up an explanation.

Things move slowly through much of the same.
Eventually, Eijirou might even consider Katsuki his friend. They’re a great team.
One day, the scent of sadness disappears completely.

But Katsuki suddenly starts acting... different.
He rushes through their meetings, no longer has time to spar, comes back late at night. He smells like rivers and wildflowers...
Eijirou thinks to himself that several months into this is an odd time to suddenly want to explore the countryside, but it’s fine. He’s probably just feeling restless or something.
Eijirou ignores it at long as he can, but when after three days of Katsuki being gone before he wakes up, missing their meetings, and coming back late at night, he can’t just ignore it anymore.
He waits until he gets back one night, reading a book on battle strategy by candlelight to pass the time. Katsuki looks like a deer caught in a hunter’s crosshairs.
“Katsuki, where’ve you been?” He asks, frowning a little. “You’ve been missing our meeting, and—“

Eijirou doesn’t mean to start a fight, but Katsuki’s immediately on the defensive.
“Why the fuck does it matter where I’ve been?” He snarls. “It’s my fucking day, I’ll go wherever the fuck I want. What, are you going to start telling me where I can and can’t go now?” He demands.
Eijirou didn’t expect this, and holds his hands up placatingly. “Don’t put words in my mouth Katsuki, I never said that. I just wanted to know what’s going on, why you’re missing breakfast and our meetings—“
“My fucking business is what’s going on!” He snaps. “Are you going to be this up my ass every time I do something you don’t like?”

Ei frowns. “I’m not—I’m just trying to understand, we’re supposed to be partners—“
“Well we’re fucking not!” Katsuki yells with finality. “I never wanted this goddamn marriage and I don’t want you! What, you think we’re fucking friends now? I hate you!”
Eijirou reels back like he’s been slapped and the silence rings loudly between them. Ei swallows thick around the lump that has formed in his throat. “I see.” He says. “Alright.” And he steps around Katsuki and out the door, closing it softly behind him.
He goes to the library balcony and looks up at the stars, his head muddled and heart heavier than it’s felt in years. “I don’t know what I’m doing wrong,” He says quietly to no one. “I’m trying so hard but somehow I’m still fucking it up.”
He’s alone, so he lets himself be a little emotional, like a King never gets to be. He sighs and wipes his hands over his face, sniffles. “I wish you were here, Mom. You’d know what to do.”
“Ei?” A soft voice calls from behind him. He spins to find Mina frowning up at him. “What happened? Were you crying?”

“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.
He sighs. “It’s Katsuki. He hates me,” He confesses. “I thought we were doing really well, and now—he feels further away than ever.”

“You confronted him about his disappearing act finally, huh?” She pats his shoulder consolingly.
“I know he doesn’t owe me anything, and that he’ll never love me—but I just. I was hoping we could be partners, at least. Friends.” He sits on the balcony and puts his head in his hands. “I just don’t know what to do.”
Mina hugs him and he’s grateful that she’s there. She’s his best friend and the head of the royal guard, and he doesn’t know what he’d do without her. “You’re a King, Eiji. You keep—“
She makes a gesture. “—tiptoeing around him because you don’t want to scare him off. You’re stuck with one another, he’s not going anywhere. Tell him he’s not going to ignore his duties to the kingdom because of,” She huffs. “Whatever. Put your foot down.”
He laughs dryly. “I don’t know what makes you think he’ll listen to me.”

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.”
She’s... right, Eijirou realizes. Just because Katsuki hurt his feelings doesn’t mean he gets a free pass to leave the entire weight of the kingdom on Eijirou’s shoulders. They’re BOTH Kings. “Mina, what would I do without you?”
She shrugs and grins. “Wither and die, probably.” She says with a wink. “So. You gonna be okay?”

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.”
She hums quietly and nods, then pokes him in the chest. “Next time come and get one of us, okay? You know the guys would be upset if they knew you were out here being sad alone.”

He pouts a little, but nods. “Okay.” He agrees. “Please don’t tell them.”
She laughs at him as she leaves, but doesn’t make him any promises.
He looks up at the stars for a while longer.
By the time he gets back to the room, the sun is starting to rise and Katsuki’s getting ready for the day. Ei takes a deep breath. “You can go wherever you want,” He starts, and Katsuki cuts him off before he can continue.
“I know.” He snaps, and then he’s gone.
Eijirou grips the bridge of his nose and wills the fury away. Instead, he pulls on a cape and follows Katsuki out.
Tracking him is easy, since he’s slept beside him for months now and he’s memorized his scent. When he finds him, of all things, he hadn’t expected this.
He’s in a secluded garden, mostly hidden from view, kissing a beautiful brunette woman like his life depends on it. Her scent drifts over to him.
Rivers and wildflowers.
Eijirou goes back to the castle without confronting him. He’s processing, and after he works through all his emotions... it makes sense. And he gets it.
Katsuki was in love with that woman, and had been since before they got married. He understood why he had been so difficult at first, why he’d smelled like grief—he was heartbroken. He thought he’d never see her again.
At least, that’s what Eijirou guesses.

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—“
“—you’re a King before anything else, Katsuki.” Maybe he’s still a little pissed, maybe it comes out a little scathing. “Hate me if you want.”

After a tense silence, Katsuki bites out, “Fucking fine.”
And he does. He comes to the meetings, sits through the boring political bullshit. He leaves as soon as he’s able to though, and Eijirou gets used to the smell or rivers and wildflowers. Honestly, he doesn’t even really mind it that much. It’s a nice smell.
Unfortunately, all the amicable feelings that had built up between them are gone. They’re little more than co-rulers who happen to share a too-large bed. To be fair... Eijirou hasn’t made any attempts to mend the rift between them, either.
Katsuki is already gone when Eijirou gets summoned to the throne room. This rarely happens; usually only for bigger crimes, or racier arguments.
He waits for a handful of minutes, sitting on a stone throne that still feels too-large for him. Then, finally, the doors open and the guard marches in. He frowns; there are at least a dozen of them.
The crowd parts and they shove their prisoner forward.

Time slows to a stop.

“What is the meaning of this?” He demands, not yet rising from his throne.
Kneeling in chains on the floor is none other than his husband. Katsuki’s shirtless and has clearly been roughed up, and his arms shackled in front of him burn with his magic even though the chains can’t be melted.
“We found him running around with this whore, your Highness,” The Captain of the guard says, shoving the brunette from before forward. She’s holding a blanket around herself but Eijirou can hear the clinking of chains.
Katsuki’s eyes are wild like a feral animal as he looks between them, lunging forward as if he can do anything in his current state.
The Captain raises his foot as if to kick him and Eijirou. Sees. Red.
A resounding snap rings out as beneath his hands the armrests crumble. Even as rocky as their relationship is, he’s furious.
“I—my claims aren’t unfounded, your Highness, I have several witnesses—“
“Silence.” Eijirou snarls, voice a rolling clap of thunder.
His control is slipping more and more the longer he takes in the scene before him. He knows his horns are showing, can feel the scales as they inch across his skin. “You dare put shackles on my husband,” His voice is low,
Smoke billows from his mouth, his rage burning inside him like an inferno. “And our consort.”
“C-consort?!” The Captain yelps. “She—but—she doesn’t smell anything like you!”
Eijirou roars loud enough to shake the panes of glass in the windows. “You dare to question me after what you’ve done?!” He growls.
“N-no, your Highness—“
“I SAID SILENCE!” He snarls again.
“I strip you of your position and title,” He growls, advancing on forward as they retreat backwards. “Get out of my sight.”
“I-I,” The Captain stammers, and Eijirou takes snatches him forward by his collar from the spot he’s frozen to.
“And hear me now: if you /ever/ lay your hands on what belongs to me again, I will bite. Them. Off.” He shoves him hard back into the rest of the guards gathered and turns to Katsuki, who is staring at him like he’s grown a second head.
Or maybe just like he’s a dragon and Eijirou had never deigned to tell him.

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.
He guides them both away from the throne room swiftly, all but shoving them into his and Katsuki’s shared room once they get there. The door slams shut behind him and he rests heavily against it, his breathing labored as he tries to get his emotions in check.
“What the fuck was that?” Katsuki says incredulously. “Consort? Like hell she is—“

“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?!”
Katsuki is caught between fuming and confusion. “I’ve known for weeks, you idiot! Do you know what would’ve happened if I hadn’t vouched for you back there? You would’ve been executed.” He gestures at the girl. “And so would she!”
Eijirou pants harshly in the resulting silence.
After a moment, Katsuki says: “I never wanted this fucking marriage in the first place.”
Eijirou roars. “I KNOW YOU DIDN’T!”
He collapses back against the door and slides down it to sit on the floor. He can’t get control of his shift, he’s left claw marks on the door and his wings are itching to fly away. “When are you going to stop punishing me for the marriage as if it was my idea?”
“I never wanted this, either. I only wanted what was best for my people.”
Head in his hands, it’s easy to tune them out while he listens to the rapid beating of his own traitorous heart and tries to get it under control.
His head snaps up at a gentle touch to his arm, and his eyes meet the pretty brown of the woman’s. “Thank you for saving us,” She says genuinely, “I’m sorry we’ve put you through so much trouble.”
She’s so... nice. All the tension goes out of him at once, seeing that she isn’t afraid of him, seeing the real gratitude on her face. Already she’s nicer than Katsuki’s ever been in the months they’ve been married.
“Ah—you’re welcome,” He’s taken off guard by her, completely disarmed. “I—Please tell me that you two are at least in love,” He says before he can stop himself. She blinks in surprise at the question, and he finds himself blushing in embarrassment.
Some king he is. He sounds like a broken-hearted teenager. She tries her best to smile at him but it looks strained. “We are. I’m sorry.”

He waves a clawed hand dismissively, sighing quietly, secretly relieved.
“It’s okay, you don’t have to apologize. You were together before we got married, right? That’s why Katsuki was so upset by it.” She nods a confirmation, still looking apologetic. His eyes move to his husband, who is brooding moodily on the windowsill.
“Katsuki, why didn’t you just /tell/ me?” He throws his hands arms wide, at a loss. “I would’ve understood.”

“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.”
Eijirou... hadn’t really thought about what it must’ve seemed like on Katsuki’s end, or what he might’ve thought. For all the Eijirou knew he was a good person and could be trusted... Katsuki hadn’t known him at all when they got married.
He remembers Katsuki’s scared, rabbit-fast heartbeat on their wedding night.
“Oh.” He says.

“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.”
“It’s not that fucking easy.” Katsuki grumbles. “I’m not fucking good at this shit.”

“Yeah, no kidding.” Ei snorts. “Gods, apparently neither am I.”

“You really are a good guy, huh?” The woman says, drawing his attention back.
She looks... relieved, maybe almost fond. Ei’s eyes drop to where she still has a sheet wrapped around herself, and then he feels his face heat as he hastily looks away.

“I try my best. You, um. There’s clothes in the dresser.”
He puts up a wing like a blinder to give her some privacy as he hears her shuffle around. Katsuki is looking at him like he can’t quite understand him.

“So, what, you’re just fine with this?” He asks like a challenge.
—I’m not sharing her with you. She’s no fuckin’ consort.” Is what he says, but there’s no real accusation behind the words.

Ei huffs. “I don’t like women, Katsuki.” He says bluntly. “I only said that to /save your ass./“
Katsuki looks at him like he’s grown another head, or is speaking a foreign language. Now dressed (in clothes far too big for her, oops) the girl pops back into view with a small wave. “Hi, not to break up the intense staring match you two are having, but—“
“—what happens now?”

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.
“So they’ll walk on eggshells around you and treat you like you’re made of glass, basically. You’ll have to start living here with us.” He makes a thoughtful noise. “You’ll have to be seen with me sometimes and not just Katsuki so that people don’t get suspicious.”
“—but,” He adds quickly, noticing Katsuki’s mouth open, “I won’t interfere with your relationship. If anyone asks, though no one should, just tell them I’m private with my affection. They’ll believe it.”
“And you,” He points at Katsuki. “Are going to help me find a new captain for the guard, since it’s your fault I had to fire mine.”

Katsuki huffs and hunches his shoulders. “Sure, fine, whatever. Bastard shouldn’t have put me in cuffs.”
Ei eyes the red marks still present on his wrists and silently agrees.

“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...”
“Oh! I’m Ochako Uraraka!” Her hands wave animatedly, an embarrassed smile on her face. “Sorry I didn’t get a chance to properly introduce myself before!

“...Uraraka.” He manages a smile and finds it’s not all fake. “What did you need?”
“Well, I have some things at the place I’ve been staying that I need to get? Like my clothes, and some potions, and my books, my staff—“

Eijirou’s eyes go wide and he leans forward, suddenly interested. “Are you a witch?”
She blinks in surprise at suddenly having his full attention. “Oh—yes! I specialize in gravity magic but I’ve been learning a lot of things from old texts and—“ She launches into a tangent immediately, excited to talk about her magic.
Katsuki only wields fire magic, which wasn’t of any particular interest to Eijirou—as a dragon, fire was nothing special. But other kids of magic—gravity, healing, spells, summoning, all of it—Eijirou was /fascinated/ by those kinds.
Conversation with Uraraka is easy after that—she’s more than happy to answer his many questions, and tell him about her journeys and exploits. Ei is relieved to know that they’ll at least be able to be friends, he hopes, even if Katsuki hates him.
He’s so caught up talking with Uraraka that he doesn’t notice Katsuki staring at them from across the room, his eyes narrowed in thought, picking him apart like a puzzle he hasn’t been given all the pieces to.
“Eijirou.” Katsuki interrupts, and both of them turn to look at him. “You said you understood. Is there someone that you...” He doesn’t say it. “...that you’re not with because of me?”
Eijirou feels his expression shut down, can feel the shutters close and the walls go up. From the look on his face, Katsuki recognizes it. “No.” Eijirou says. “He was—no. There isn’t anyone else, Katsuki.” He won’t meet his eyes though, and Katsuki knows there’s more to it.
There’s something that Eijirou isn’t saying. “Eijirou—“

“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.
“Uraraka, if you tell me what inn you were staying at, I can send for your things,” Eijirou deflects. “Also, we have a bunch of magic books in the library that have been gathering dust because no one here knows how to read them. Would you like to see?”
Uraraka nods indulgently, but he can tell that she’s also curious about his outburst. He’s glad that she doesn’t press him for answers, and glad that Katsuki drops it as well. “Awesome, give me a moment to change.” He grabs some clothes and heads to the attached restroom.
He’s hiding. He knows they know he’s hiding. Katsuki’s eyes are sharp, and even if Uraraka’s are kind, he saw the recognition there—probably from dealing with years of Katsuki.
He leans back against the cool marble of the wall, taking deep breaths in.

He doesn’t want to think about Him. There’s no point in thinking about it—about lost old loves.
Just another reason to end the war and be done with it all.
So he can finally forget.
Eijirou takes a few minutes to get dressed, carefully peeling the shredded pieces of his favorite shirt off. He sighs; his wings had ripped right through it, there’s no saving it. His pants are virtually the same thanks to his spiked tail.
Thankfully, he’s calmed down—the anger that had caused his typically excellent control to slip had passed. He’s able to mostly shift back, looking in the mirror as he does. He rolls his shoulders, flexes fingers that no longer have claws.
He feels sort of like a fraud, somehow. A man pretending to be a king, a dragon pretending to be a man. Someone pretending to be okay.
He shakes his head though—none of that’s true, of course. He is a King, he is a man. He’s alright. One setback didn’t mean the end of the world. He leaves his horns after thinking about it for a minute, running his hands over them.
Maybe it’s been too long since he last shifted. He feels antsy with the need to fly and light things on fire, even with his wings gone. He’ll have to plan a trip soon.
But first—he heads out of the bathroom, now fully dressed. Uraraka is sitting on the bed patiently, talking to Katsuki about something that Ei can’t even begin to guess because he hadn’t been listening.
He gives an encouraging grin. “You’ll need different clothes if we’re going to run around,” He says, a little teasing.

“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.
He laughs despite the odd mood he’s fallen into. “My clothes are a little big on you, don’t you think?” He snickers. “We need to get your stuff anyway, we might as well just go instead of waiting for the guards to go.” He shrugs, glancing at Katsuki.
“Maybe we can all blow off some steam along the way.” Katsuki’s interest is definitely piqued. “If you want to. I mean, the library isn’t going anywhere...”
Katsuki huffs and goes to the dresser to roughly pull one of his own shirts over his head. “Well let’s fucking go then. I need to light some shit on fire after that bullshit.”
Uraraka’s eyes are fiery. “I have some explosion spells I’ve wanted to try out! Where are we going?” She asks with excitement.
Eijirou grins and gestures for them to follow him. “You’ll see.”
After collecting Uraraka’s thing (and getting her changed into clothes that didn’t pool off her body awkwardly) they followed Eijirou through the streets, cloaks pulled low over their faces so as not to attract any attention.
Ei took them through twisting turns and back alleyways, and eventually out of the main city altogether.
“Eijirou. How much further?” Katsuki asked, annoyed. “We’ve been following you for an hour.”

“Just a little bit,” He huffed back good-naturedly. “I promise you’ll like it.”
After ten more minutes, Eijirou was pushing open a gate that had been overgrown and sealed closed, attached to a tall, crumbling stone wall. On the other side... “Ta-da,” He said, hands thrown wide.
“Woah,” Uraraka whistled. “What IS this place?” She asked at the same time as Katsuki said, “What, this is 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.
“/Why/ would I like this place.” Katsuki asked, unimpressed.

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.
“Because you can break everything here!” He says, tossing the beam behind him after the dust settles. “Or set it on fire, or blow it up!” He gestures. “Why ELSE would you like it?”
“What’s THAT supposed to mean?” Katsuki asks, eyes narrowed.

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!”
It takes Katsuki exactly five minutes of watching Eijirou and Uraraka destroying things and laughing before he joins in.
They cause a lot of destruction, and then they migrate to the old training fields and they compete to see who is best at archery, and Katsuki ends up just setting the target hay bale on fire.
It’s... not a bad end to the day, Eijirou thinks, sprawled out on his back in the too-talk grass as the sun starts to set.
“You came out here a lot as a kid you said, Eijirou?” Uraraka asks, plopping down next to him. “How did you find it?”

“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.”
“From the sky?” Uraraka asks, tilting her head to the side curiously.

“Yeah! I don’t fly so much anymore—“

“You can FLY?” She asks, genuinely interested, looking a little amazed.
He grins. “Wanna see?”
A choice!!!! Posting a little late buuuut whatever!!!
“Please please please!!!” Uraraka says enthusiastically. “I’ve always wanted to fly!! That’s why I’ve been working so hard on my gravity magic! Pleeeease!!”

Eijirou... did not expect that much enthusiasm, but he can appreciate her spirit!
“Okay, okay!” He laughs, glancing to where Katsuki is in the distance still lighting things on fire and cackling like a demon. Does he ever get tired? Using that much magic has to be exhausting...
Hm, Eijirou thinks, yanking his shirt over his head and letting his wings unfurl to full size from his back. That’s none of his business.

“Woooooah,” Uraraka says with a low whistle, coming over to tug on one of his wings without an ounce of shyness.
“They’re twice as big as they were before!!” She says with a grin.

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.
“Can you carry me too?” She asks, excited. “Pleeeease? Just for a few minutes! I just wanna know what it’s like!!”

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?”
She gives him a weird look. “What, like I have to ask permission? He’ll be fine! Look, he’s not even paying attention,” She waves a hand dismissively, grinning. “I’ll deal with him when we get back if he’s mad, don’t worry!” She winks conspiratorially.
“I’ll protect you!” She announces.
Eijirou laughs brightly despite himself. It’s no wonder Katsuki likes her, she might be nice, but he can tell already that she doesn’t put up with any of Kat’s shit.
“Well, after all that, I can’t really say no, can I?” He laughs, kneeling down. “Wrap your arms around my neck and hold on tight, okay?”
He holds open his arms and swoops her into a princess carry after she whoops in victory and throws her arms around his neck. He is careful to make sure his grip is firm but not at all inappropriate.
He braces himself and with a powerful gust, they take off. While her additional weight makes him have to work twice as hard to get them airborne, it doesn’t really make much of a difference once they get a bit of elevation.
He notices that her eyes are squeezed closed after they break through the cloud cover. “You can open your eyes now,” He tells her as quietly as possible with the wind whooshing around them.
“Wooooow!!” She says in awe as soon as she does. “Eijirou, it’s beautiful up here!!” She exclaims. “How do you not just—fly! Everywhere!! All the time!!!”

He laughs. “I used to! Why do you think I’m so good at it now?”
As an example, he does a few loops and twists, just for fun. She screeches excitedly, but looks a little green once he levels them back out. “Ah—are you alright?!” He asks, alarmed.
“I’m, um—“ She moves one hand over her mouth, and looks a lot less confident. “A little motion sick, but it’s fine!!!” She assures him. “It’s fine—“ But Eijirou Knows That Look. It is Not Fine.
“I’ll take you back down, please don’t throw up on me!!!” He says quickly, heading back towards the ground. “Close your eyes, that should help!” He thinks, maybe. He’s never had motion sickness before in his life.
When they duck down under the cloud cover, it’s raining. Not a thunderstorm, but definitely more than a sprinkle.
The visibility is low and—something is growling?????
Katsuki’s fire is useless in the rain, so Ei is a little bit concerned when he doesn’t immediately spot him.

Suddenly, Uraraka is lurching forward, almost out of his hold. “Over there!” She yells, pointing.
Eijirou spots Katsuki just in time to see him punch a bear in the face.
The bear, of course, is less than pleased and not even slightly dissuaded from trying to make Katsuki it’s dinner.
It roars and slashes at him, which he deftly avoids (thank the gods that Kat is quick on his feet) and Eijirou has just enough time to drop Uraraka in the grass and then jump in front of him, catching the bears paws in his hands as they come down.
He’s grappling with a bear right now, to protect a husband who has a mistress, who he just spent the last twenty minutes flying around with.
His life derailed somewhere and he’s not sure how he got here.
He slips and the bear manages to knock him off balance.
He’s a goddamn dragon, he’s not getting killed by a /bear./
There’s a sudden pressure against his back, and he glances very quickly to see that Katsuki is now pressing against him, trying to support him and keep him from, if not overtaking the bear, at least not losing anymore ground to it.
He remembers that they’re a pretty good team when it comes to fighting.
He also remembers he’s a dragon. Like, a whole dragon. A rumble builds in his chest and then before he knows it he’s roaring right back at the beast, scales starting to skitter across his skin, his wings flaring out aggressively.
It growls—just once—and then disengages, running away as Eijirou continues his threat display.
“Katsuki—“ He starts, wheeling around, and... accidentally knocking him off balance with one of his wings. He scrambles to catch him, but the grass is slippery from the rain and they both end up tumbling into the mud.
“Are you both alright?!” Uraraka asks, panting, when she finally catches up to them. Eijirou accidentally dropped her off further away than he thought.
“Where the fuck did you two go?!” Katsuki asks, panting, from where he’s sprawled in the mud next to Ei. “I thought you fuckers got eaten!”

Eijirou just groans and covers his face with his hands, not really caring about the mud he’s smearing there.
“Let’s just go home,” He grumbles. “It’s starting to get late and it’s rainy and I need a bath. Come on,” He heaves himself up with not inconsiderable effort, and extends a hand for Katsuki too.
He doesn’t expect him to actually take it, but he does, he lets Eijirou pull him to his feet.
He can’t find his shirt so he abandons it to the wilds. Whatever. He can’t get sick anyway, a little rain won’t hurt him.
He does let Uraraka and Katsuki walk beneath his outstretched wing though, using it as a makeshift umbrella. Neither of them asked him to, but neither of them complain about it, either.
Which is a start for Katsuki, at least.
By the time they trudge back into the palace, it’s night, and they’re all exhausted. The servants and guards look at them like they’ve never seen them before, except for Mina and Ei’s friends. They laugh instead.
“I’m going to bed,” Eijirou grumbles as soon as they get to their room.

“Like that?” Kat disagrees. “You’re not getting in MY bed covered in mud.”
Ei stares at him. And then he stares some more. And then he slowly throws his hands in the air. “You have just as much mud on you as I do Katsuki!” He exclaims, exasperated.

“Yeah, and I’m gonna take a bath!” Kat shoots back. “It’s not that hard, you damn dragon!”
Eijirou holds his head as he looks into the far distance. “Gods help me, I’m going to kill him myself.” He mumbles. “I should’ve just let the bear eat him. Hindsight is 20-20.”

“The fuck are you muttering to yourself about?!” Kat snaps.
Eijirou briefly debates throwing himself out the window, but that seems a little dramatic. “Fine!” He groans. “I’m not waiting for you though!” He says, kicking off his soaked shoes and pants.
Uraraka has already tossed off all her wet clothes and is asleep strewn in the middle of the bed. He has never been more jealous of one woman in his Life.
Their bath is built into the floor and part of a hot spring that runs right through the mountain the castle is built on, so he’s sure they can just share it. No big deal.
It is apparently a SPECTACULARLY big deal. He listens to Katsuki pace outside the room indecisively for ten minutes before he loses his patience. “Just come in already, it’s not like I can see anything under the water anyway! Gods.” He shakes his head.
“My eyes are closed, your dignity is preserved, /whatever/.” His eyes aren’t closed, but he’s also not facing the door, his head pillowed on his arms on the lip of the pool facing the window.
“Don’t fuckin’ rush me!” Katsuki snaps, but comes in a few seconds later, bare feet loud on the wet granite.
“I’m tired and this is your fault,” Ei huffs. “Who punches a bear in the face?!” The water displaces and sloshes a bit over the sides as Katsuki gets in.

“What the hell else was I supposed to do?! Let it eat me?!”
“We had our bows with us!” Ei can feel the glare he’s getting in response to that, and he can’t help but grin a little. “Okay, I’ll accept that one. Still.”

“I’m not the one who flew off without saying anything.” Kat huffs.
“Oh, so /that’s/ what you’re really upset about.”

“Fuck you, who said I was upset?” Kat snaps.

Ei lets the resulting silence answer that for him.
“You could’ve at least given me a warning. I looked up and you were both just fuckin’ gone.”

“Oh, are we suddenly telling one another where we go now?” Ei shoots back petulantly.
He’s not even honestly that mad about it anymore. Uraraka is nice, and he hadn’t thought about /their/ side of things, but now that he has, he gets it. He would’ve snuck around too, if— If.
Katsuki groans in frustration, and the water sloshes as he moves—probably running his hands through his hair as he tends to when he gets upset. “Fuck, I’m—“ He snarls out.
And then, like the words are being physically dragged from him with a white-hot pitchfork, “—sorry.” He ends quieter, teeth grit together.
Ei spins around to look at him, but Katsuki’s gaze is set on the wall, his face clearly displaying his displeasure. “What?” Ei asks. He can’t have heard that right.

Katsuki’s glare is withering but without heat.
“You fucking heard me.” He grinds out.

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.”
Katsuki looks... uncomfortable, to say the least. “That you got pegged with me for the rest of your damn life.”

Ei scoffs. “Of all this, don’t apologize for /that./“ He says, rolling his eyes as he wills away his wings and scales.
“When you actually /feel/ like it, you’re a decent enough co-King.” He says. “You can be sorry for the lying and for being an asshole.” He works soap into his own hair, looking away from him. “I’m sorry you don’t get to marry Uraraka.” He says though, quiet.
“Hah!” Kat laughs dryly. “She told me no three times before we even got engaged.”

“You humans are nothing but surprises,” Ei snorts. “Did she say why?”
Katsuki huffs. “‘You’re an insufferable asshole, Katsuki. I love you, but you’re gonna have to try better than that.’” He repeats in a terrible approximation of Uraraka’s voice.
Ei can’t help but laugh at him. “What did you do, ask her in the middle of an argument about your futures or something?” He jokes.
Katsuki goes quiet, and his face gets redder and redder.
Eijirou is surprised that his laughter doesn’t wake up Uraraka.
He leaves Katsuki to stew in his embarrassment and shame so he can go get dried off and find some pajamas. Unlike Katsuki, he has no shame about walking around naked.
BUT, there are ladies present. A lady. She’s snoring. He can’t help but snicker at her, too, imagining what their arguments must’ve looked like. He can tell they really love one another; he can see it in the way they look at each other.
Thankfully Uraraka has remained asleep, so he’s able to get dressed without feeling like his moms are about to rise from their grave and take him by the ear to berate him about manners.
He collapses face-first into the bed. Uraraka grumbles in her sleep but otherwise remains starfished out in the middle of the expanse.
Ei debates rolling her over to Katsuki’s side, but he decides he doesn’t actually have the willpower to move after relaxing into the pillows, and also doesn’t want to freak her out by touching her while she’s asleep.
The last thing he needed was to be turned into ash because he freaked out a sleeping witch.
That’s the last thought he has before he falls asleep. He’s not even awake long enough to see Katsuki get in bed.
Katsuki looks at them for a long moment before he does, shaking his head softly. They both have the same dopey sleeping face. “Idiots,” He says quietly under his breath, careful not to wake them as he gets in the bed on his side.
Maybe they all sleep in late the next morning because Mina kept turning everyone who came to their door away.
That was fine though. They needed the reprieve.
In case y’all were curious about how Eiji looks in this!!! ;)
Come midday, Mina barges unceremoniously into their room. “Mina?!” Uraraka says, at the same time as she says, “Ochako?!”

Ei had been reading. Kat’s sharpening his blade. They share a confused look as the girls embrace.
“You know each other?” He asks, confused.

“Yeah!” Uraraka says brightly. “Mina and I go way back!!” Mina grins and nods, then pauses, looking between the three of them.
“Wait. YOU’RE the consort?!” Mina’s jaw drops open. “What!! Eijirou you didn’t even TELL ME you guys were trying to have a kid, I’m so—“

“We’re not,” Eijirou says quickly, holding his hands up at Katsuki’s venomous gaze.
“It’s... sort of a long story. Basically, Katsuki was cheating on me with Uraraka, but it’s fine because our marriage interrupted their relationship.” He explains. “I may have overreacted a little bit with the guard, admittedly.”
Mina stares at him.

He starts to sweat nervously.

She continues staring.

“Ei, can I talk to you outside for a minute?” She says, face deceptively neutral.
Eijirou feels fear.
“Uh.... no?” He tries.

She grabs his hand. “Wrong answer,” And drags him out of the room.
She lectures him just a little bit, about how he needs to stop putting everyone else’s feelings before his own, and it’s true, but he explains his side of things and feels lighter for it after. Besides, he explained, he actually really likes Uraraka!
Mina hadn’t really believed him until he’d explained why, but then she’d sighed and said, “You’re the king here, Ei, so whatever you want, I guess.” But she’d still looked unconvinced. “Just don’t get yourself hurt, okay?”
Too late.
Still, he and Uraraka end up getting along very well—much better than him and Katsuki had at first, better than they were now, even.
Uraraka is much more tactile than Katsuki, always putting her hands on him somehow when they’re out, or hugging him in thanks, kissing his cheek when he does something really nice. He appreciates it, honestly.
His friends don’t really get to show him much affection anymore unless it’s behind closed doors, since it wouldn’t look respectable for a king otherwise. So it’s... nice.
Plus, she lets him buy her things. He loves to give presents, but Kat never accepted any from him when they’d first gotten married, so he’d given up on him. Uraraka? She loves presents, and books, and spellcasting.
Honestly? He spends more time with her than with Kat these days. She even spars with him, sometimes, challenging him to dodge her magic attacks and pushing him to be faster on his feet. Kat is quick, but she’s twice as quick as him.
So it feels only natural to invite her to the get together Mina throws for his birthday.
It’s a semi-private affair, just his closer friends—Mina, Kami, Sero, Shinso, and now Uraraka.
He doesn’t invite Katsuki. He honestly just... doesn’t think he’d show up, even if he had.
Katsuki hated him. He’d said it himself.
Which is what he tells them, when, halfway through the night and a lot of alcohol in, Kami asks where his husband is. Ei frowns from where his head is in Mina’s lap. “He hates me,” He bemoans, a little drunk and a lot slurred.
Uraraka, tipsy, across the room, whisper-shouts, “What!”

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.
“Maybe he’s just dumb?” She suggests. She pauses. “No offense Ocha!!!”

Uraraka giggles and waves a hand. “None taken, but— Ei-chan! What do you mean he hates you? Katsu doesn’t!!”
Eijirou frowns at her. “He does! He told me himself!!!”

Uraraka gasps. “What! When?!” She looks confused. “He always says nice things about you to me!!!” She pauses. “Well. Nice for him, anyway!”
Now it’s Ei’s turn to look confused. “What? He does???” He frowns. “You don’t have to lie to me ‘cause it’s my birthday, Uraraka, it’s okay! I already accepted it a while ago. He told me before I found out about you!”
“What! That was months ago, an’—“ She frowns. “Why would you help us if he said something so mean to you?” She asks, looking concerned and confused and maybe a little more than tipsy.

Next to them, Kami starts snickering.
“Because assholes are Ei’s tyyyype,” He laughs, draping himself over him when Eijirou cries out in alarm. “We all know it!”

Eijirou covers his face with his hands, flushed from the liquor and embarrassment. “Don’t say that!!!”
“I like nice guys!!!!”

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.
“No you’re not, you’re a traitor,” Eijirou huffs, shoving his face away with his hand. “And you’re about to get married!!!”

Kami’s face goes dreamy as he flops back, starfished out as he looks up at the ceiling. “Yeah,” He sighs happily.
Eijirou groans again, and everyone laughs at his expense, but it’s all in good fun, and he’s not even upset about it.
Outside, Katsuki shoves his hands in his pockets and walks away from the cracked door.
None of them noticed him standing there, and none of them notice him leave either.
“So DO you like him?” Sero asks after a while.

Ei blinks. “Who?”

“Your husband, obviously.”

Ei looks over at Uraraka, who is looking back at him, curious, her face as open as always.
He sighs. “I mean, yeah.” He says finally. “Like—as a friend, I mean. We work really well together! And he’s not afraid of me? Which is nice,”

Uraraka laughs. “There are people who are afraid of you?” She teases.
Ei huffs. “My reputations preceeds me,” He announces, throwing his hands out extravagantly. “But, I mean. Yeah. Apparently they called me The Cursed Prince for a while, and said that I cursed our rival nation. Apparently that’s what the whole war is about?”
He shrugs. No one these days actually knows what it’s really about anymore. “Plus I’m a dragon, so.”

Uraraka seems to remember that all at once. “Ei-Chan!!” She yells.

He jumps. They /all/ jump. “Y-Yes?” He asks, startled.
“Can I touch your scales?!” She asks, eyeing him with open curiosity. He blinks.

“What? Uh. Yeah, sure—“
He goes to hold his hand out, but stops because she’s crawling across the floor to where he’s laying with his head still in Mina’s lap, and then she’s sitting unceremoniously down on his stomach.
He grunts at the unexpected weight, wriggling to get comfortable as he frowns in confusion up at her. She leans forward and both her hands touch his cheeks gently, her fingertips light as they caress the red scales there.
“Woooah,” She breathes. “They’re warm. /You’re/ warm!”

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.”
“That’s why Katsuki’s fire doesn’t burn you!” Uraraka says, marveling down at him. “That’s so cool!!”

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!!!”
“Really?!” Uraraka asks her.

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.
“I want more wine,” He says, face flushed for an entirely different reason.

“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.
“It’s my birthday and I want wine, Shin,” He pouts. Neither of the girls notice his side conversation.

Shinsou stares blankly at him for a solid minute before sighing heavily and giving in to his puppy eyes, passing him the bottle.
The girls are suddenly interested in him again once the wine is in hand, and between the three of them, they finish the bottle off.
Mina abandons Ei to pick up Kami and Sero (“My two idiots, I gotta deliver them to their boos,”) and take them back to their own rooms. Shinsou, enigma that he is, disappears shortly before her.
Uraraka is still sitting on his stomach. “More wine?” He asks.

She throws her hands up and cheers. “Yeah!!”

They trade drunken stories, and it eventually becomes a game.
Unfortunately, they’re both competitive.
Uraraka wins.
They have drank /far/ too much. “We gotta go to bed,” Ei says, laughing at the last story Uraraka told.

“Bed? Where??” She asks, looking around, then bursting into a fit of giggles.
“In our room!!” He chuckles. “Can you—can you walk?” He blinks at her, his vision not quite working properly. There are maybe three Uraraka’s sitting on him now, which is an amount he knows there shouldn’t be. Should any Urarakas be sitting on him???
It’s his birthday so he decides he doesn’t care.
Uraraka stands and walks two steps on newborn fawn legs, then collapses. She’s still giggling. Ei chuckles and pushes himself to his feet.
He’s a little more steady than her, probably only because he’s quite a bit larger and has a dragon metabolism going for him. He’s still /super/ drunk, but not to the point that he can’t walk. Or navigate back to their room. “Lemme—cary ya,” He offers.
She answers by making grabby hands at him from her spot on the floor, and he laughs as he hoists her up, holding her with his arms crossed beneath her and her arms thrown around his shoulders, face tucked against his neck.
Together they drunkenly whisper (not at all quiet) and stumble their way down the hall towards their room. Uraraka keeps telling him funny jokes and then shushing him when he laughs too loud, but giggling too, so the effect is null.
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