This is my first attempt at Yaoi Challenge and I wrote four pieces for it. Here is the first, including the prompt I developed it for.
I mentioned it was an obscure fandom challenge right?
Title: Half and Half
Fandom/Pairing: Twelve Kingdoms, Shouryuu/Enki
Warnings: Does fluff count?
Summary: Shouryuu and Enki question some of their beliefs about life in En.
A/N: Takes place not long after the rebellion in Gen (the events in arc 4 of the anime). Can't remember if kings and queens are able to have children after ascending the throne but I figure that if I don't know, Shouryuu probably doesn't either.
Prompt: Their first time, with a mix of old Japanese and Twelve Kingdom factors playing off each other (their preconceived notions, repercussions, social acceptance, etc) - can lean to humour and/or awkwardness here no problem *grin*. Also, their anniversary at, say a hundred years, or four hundred years, or five hundred.
Enki poked his head cautiously around the door, ready to duck out again just in case. When nothing tried to bite his head off he pushed the door open further, finding to his relief that the room was practically empty, only one chair occupied around the overlarge table.
If Shouryuu noticed him lingering in the doorway he didn’t give any indication of it, busy pouring over the map of En inlaid on the table’s polished surface. He was dressed in his traditional robes of state and Enki wondered absently if the Minister of Finance had been telling Shouryuu off again for his tendency towards more unassuming city clothes. Shouryuu’s hair was pulled up in a complicated-looking knot at the back of his head, only a few stray strands escaping to curl lightly around his neck. Enki was vaguely concerned that he found that a shame.
Shaking his head at himself, Enki pushed the door open the rest of the way and crossed his arms over his chest. “Plotting things again?” he demanded, trying for derogatory and not surprised when his king wasn’t phased in the slightest.
Shouryuu shrugged one-sidedly, busy measuring something out on the map. “It’s not plotting Rokuta, it’s planning.” He jotted down a quick note, then glanced over at Enki. “You’re looking better,” he observed, assessing him carefully.
Enki shrugged, shoulders hunching automatically under that measuring gaze. “I just needed some rest,” he dissembled, knowing that Shouryuu would hear the rest even if he didn’t say it.
I needed to get away from all that blood.
Dark eyes looked at him with a strange mix of sadness, understanding and pride as Shouryuu nodded. “I’m glad.”
Realizing he probably shouldn’t be staring at Shouryuu’s smile – small and private but just for him – Enki gave a restless toss of his head and wandered indolently towards he table. “I can’t believe your generals left you here unsupervised,” he remarked, stopping at Shouryuu’s elbow and glancing disinterestedly at the map. “Not after that stunt you pulled in Gen.”
“Which one?” Shouryuu asked, with poorly faked innocence. He grinned at the face Enki made. “They’re all out monitoring the new recruits’ training,” he told him, winking conspiratorially. “Since the uprising, we’ve had scores of men enlisting to serve in the Imperial army. I sent my generals to oversee the progress at the new training camp outside Yosho. It gets them out from underfoot for a while at least,” he observed, deliberately jovial as he changed the subject. “Although it seems their absence has attracted you, instead. Was there something you needed, Rokuta?”
“Hmm? Oh, yes.” Enki shook off unpleasant thoughts of wars and armies and reached into his tunic. “Someone came by earlier with a message…”
“You came all the way from the East gardens to deliver a message?” The amusement in Shouryuu’s voice was tinged with a well-hidden concern that made Enki want to sigh in sheer frustration.
He scowled instead, hair falling in his eyes as he rooted around for the elusive message. “If you try and tell me I should be resting, I’m going to drop you off the side of the mountain,” he warned.
“Just looking out for my precious kirin,” Shouryuu offered mildly.
Enki huffed, exasperated. “Shouryuu, I’m going mad sitting around the gardens doing absolutely nothing. And it’s been days since we got back. It’s not going to kill me to deliver a message from one end of the palace to the other.” His fingers closed on the scroll tucked into his sleeve and Enki brandished it aloft with an arched eyebrow and an innocent grin. “Of course, if you want me to I can always leave and find a servant to bring it instead.”
“No that’s alright,” Shouryuu decided with aplomb, straight faced as he accepted the proffered scroll. “Thank you for your hard work.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Enki hooked his hands behind his head as Shouryuu broke the wax seal and unrolled the message. “It’s an invitation of some sorts from the Lord Dunsmier,” he offered, as Shouryuu skimmed over the contents. “Wants you to come to a party or something.”
“So I see,” Shouryuu murmured, his lips twisting wryly as he glanced at Enki over the top of the scroll. “And so, it seems, does his daughter, the demure and lamentably unattached Lady Schade.” He sighed with a weariness that wasn’t entirely feigned. “Yet another lovely young headhunter looking for a husband.”
Enki blinked, startled, but Shouryuu had already started rolling up the scroll, dismissing the matter with his usual casual negligence.
Enki frowned. “…Shouryuu?” he asked.
“Don’t you want a wife?”
Shouryuu paused in the act of setting aside the scroll, the almost understated arch of his eyebrows betraying his surprise. “What?”
“This isn’t the first lady who’s been interested in marrying you,” Enki observed, memories of thirty years of pointless parties and giggling handmaids rushing up in the back of his mind. “But you’ve never seemed at all interested. Isn’t getting married something people normally do?”
Though he’d half expected Shouryuu to ignore the question or brush it off with his usual irreverent humour, Shouryuu surprised him by abandoning his work completely and turning to him with an unusually sober smile. “It’s funny,” he observed, almost conversationally calm. “Especially considering what I was brought up to believe in Hourai, but a wife isn’t really something I’m looking for. It’s not like it would make a difference for the kingdom if I had a family, after all.” He offered Enki a sideways shrug. “If I don’t need to continue my bloodline to protect the throne, what’s the point in marrying?”
“But don’t people get married for other reasons?” Enki persisted, intrigued despite himself.
“For love,” Shouryuu admitted. “But there are some things love can’t compensate for. Say I did marry, what would happen to my wife when I die in fifty or a hundred or five hundred years? Going from Queen to pauper in a day isn’t something most people would be willing to accept.”
“Five hundred years?” Enki asked, raising an eyebrow. “You’re awfully sure of yourself.”
Shouryuu’s lips quirked good-humouredly. “You expect me to give up any sooner?”
Enki hoisted himself up to sit on the edge of the table, crossing one leg over the other ankle as he considered the situation. “There must be rules in place to take care of the families of former rulers,” he determined. “Mustn’t there?”
“Probably.” Shouryuu shrugged. “But they wouldn’t be royalty any more, would they? And what if I had children?” Shouryuu’s eyes were serious and Enki realized, for perhaps the first time, just how small he was compared to his king. “I’m sure you know the frustration of being underestimated because you look like a child and I doubt I’d want to wait out the years trying to decide the exact moment to freeze a person’s growth to keep them in the prime of life. Neither way seems either fair or prudent.”
“Hmm.” Enki frowned. A thought occurred to him and Enki’s next question tumbled out before he could think better of it. “Why not have a consort then?”
Shouryuu gave him a narrow look.
Enki held up his hands in self-defense. “What? You already go down into the city to visit brothels all the time anyway – why not have an immortal girlfriend instead? It would save on travel time if nothing else.”
There was a brief silence – something Enki catalogued away with the handful of other times he’d managed to strike Shouryuu speechless – then Shouryuu smiled ruefully.
“I thought kirin were supposed to be innocent,” he remarked lightly. “Are you sure you should know such things?”
“Oh please, Shouryuu.” Enki rolled his eyes heavenward. “Like I can be your eyes and ears in the kingdoms without learning a thing or two about this sort of stuff. And having your ministers yell at you for hours at a time about your trysts is not the best way to keep them a secret.”
Shouryuu was shaking his head. “You’ve completely ruined my good opinion of you, Rokuta.”
“You’ll get over it.” Enki grinned archly. “And on second thought, maybe you shouldn’t get a consort – there’s no one stupid enough to want to put with you for the rest of time.”
“Just you,” Shouryuu shot back sweetly.
“Just me,” Enki agreed, deliberately not putting any undue emphasis on that. “Although I suppose it’s better than sitting in the garden staring at the fountain any longer.” He paused thoughtfully. “Maybe I should get a consort.”
That earned him a raised eyebrow. “Excuse me? Aren’t you supposed to be dedicated to the kingdom?”
Examining his nails absently, Enki treated Shouryuu to a raised eyebrow of his own. “The Kou Taiho has three consorts. What’s wrong with having one?”
Shouryuu looked suitably affronted. “I’d say it’s hardly a matter of quantity, Rokuta,” he sniffed. “And, as far as I recall, you’ve never been all that interested in settling down either.”
“Yeah well, you said yourself that people look at me and see a child. Not the sort of thing most look for in a lover. And such few as do enjoy that are not the kind of people you want to get into a relationship with.” Enki could tell by the widening of Shouryuu’s eyes that his expression was nowhere as convincingly bland as his voice. He shrugged, casually unconcerned. “Add that to the fact that no one but their king or queen touches a kirin with impunity and I’m not really left with much room for developing personal relationships.”
“You are more than just a child,” Shouryuu argued, frowning. “And more than just a kirin for that matter.”
Enki rolled his eyes. “Well I certainly know that. No one else does, is the problem.”
The expression in Shouryuu’s dark eyes was one Enki had never seen before, wistful and amused and resigned all at once.
He swallowed hard. “I know,” he admitted, quiet even to his own ears, feeling more than a little unbalanced around the edges when Shouryuu smiled at him.
“That’s good. I wouldn’t want my dear kirin thinking he’s unappreciated.”
They stared at each other in silence for a moment, the atmosphere heavy and awkward. Enki wished he knew what had just happened.
Then Shouryuu’s expression quirked oddly and he smiled. “So,” he said calmly. “You want some help looking for a suitable consort?” And there were any number of ways he could take that, but only one that matched the expression on his king’s face – fond and openly vulnerable, asking without questions yet expecting nothing not freely given.
And there was really only one way he could respond to that. Enki made a show of thinking about it for a moment, then shrugged with a crooked grin. “Eh, not really I guess. I’m already going to be stuck with you for eternity – I hardly need another immortal hanger-on.” If his expression was as goofy as he thought it was, Enki was going to be very embarrassed at himself. Later.
“I suppose not,” Shouryuu murmured with a smug sort of happiness, as handsome as Enki had ever seen him. “And if we’re not good enough for each other, I can’t imagine that anyone else is going to be any better.”
It was nice the way they understood each other.
“No,” Enki grinned, completely content for the first time in a while. “I guess not.”
“Rokuta? Are you in there, Rokuta?”
Enki opened his eyes reluctantly, pulling his thoughts back to the present with a lazy yawn. “I’m here,” he answered, tilting his head back as Shouryuu leaned forward over the back of the divan. Loose black hair cascaded over Shouryuu’s shoulders, its thick, warm scent curling around Enki’s senses and making him want to purr. “Just resting my eyes while I waited. The ceremony’s finished?”
Shouryuu raised an arch eyebrow. “If you’re trying to convince me you forgot about it, you’re not doing a very good job.”
“I didn’t forget – I just decided not to go.” Enki stretched leisurely, working out the kinks from sitting on the divan for so long. “No one can even see me standing next to you when you’re in your state robes anyway. I swear you cover half the terrace in that thing – and it seems to get bigger every year.”
“I know,” Shouryuu agreed, mouth twisting wryly. “One of the joys of living so long I suppose. You get more clothing to prove how important you are.”
Shouryuu maneuvered himself away from the back of the divan, heavy robes dragging on the floor as he settled down next to Enki. Enki reached out almost absently to fix one of the folds in the rich fabric.
“So,” he said eventually. “Five hundred years, huh?”
“Seems that way.” Dark eyes laughed as a strong hand reached out to cup Enki’s cheek in a reverent caress. “You must be a truly brave kirin to have put up with me for so long.”
Enki shrugged, shifting forward until his knees touched Shouryuu’s. “I’ve grown used to you I guess,” he offered, nuzzling absently into the hand against his cheek. “And you’re not all that bad a king, really.”
“Flatterer,” Shouryuu grinned, nothing but honest appreciation in his tone. His eyes drifted to a lazy half-mast as Enki’s hands dragged slowly up his chest, stroking the hard planes of muscle. “And you never thought we’d make it this long.”
“Did I say that?” Enki put on his best innocent face. “As I recall, I said you were awfully confident to be planning for five hundred years before we’d even made it to fifty.”
Shouryuu shrugged philosophically. “Couldn’t be helped. I had this irritating young kirin expecting the world of me. That sort of thing requires long-range planning.”
“Oh really? Well, I guess I can love you anyway.”
Shouryuu’s chuckle buzzed against his lips as he leaned in for a kiss. “Same to you, brat. Same to you.”~owari
More to follow!