At 13, Hakuren stands proudly between his father and his older brother, overlooking the people of Rakushou as his father talks of the glory of their new empire's future. After years of war and negotiations, they have brought the three neighboring countries together into one as Kou. And he knows that its future will shine bright in his father's capable hands.
Little Hakuryuu is adorable, Hakuren decies at age 14. He has never had a little brother before, always following in Hakuyuu's footsteps instead. But now he can't wait to begin teaching their youngest sibling everything he knows! He knows that Hakuryuu is still little, too young to even remember much of this part of his life, but Hakuren carries him everywhere, smiling the whole time. He can only hope, in time, to be at least half as cool in Hakuryuu's eyes as Yuu is to him.
Hakuren has his hands in his older brother's robes because at 15, he is pretty sure that he likes men as well as women. And really, what better way to test that than to get his hands all over Hakuyuu? Though, it's the sweet, soft catch in Yuu's breathing when his wandering hands finally slip lower that makes him realize that this is the best plan he's ever come up with.
He probably doesn't need to join Yuu in the baths anymore. Hakuren is 16, long since past the age where he'd followed his brother everywhere he went. But coming with him means that he gets to watch Hakuyuu dry off and he doesn't want to miss that for anything. Especially since he's also pretty fond of the flustered look on Yuu's face every time Hakuren offers his help in drying off his more delicate areas.
Hakuren is laughing openly as his youngest sibling tells him about an adventure that he and the young magi went on earlier in the day, running in the kitchens and then through the gardens. At 17, he of course still thinks that Hakuryuu is adorable and he's more than happy to watch Hakuyuu lightly bounce the four year old in his lap. Hakuryuu is still talking excitedly and Hakuren thinks that this is the sweetest afternoon he could possibly imagine.
At 18, Hakuren has perfected his mostly neutral, but still interested face. Hakuei has some rather interesting opinions on food seasonings, and rather than hurt her feelings, he and Yuu have learned to suffer through her concoctions. She's still young, and he's sure she'll learn better in time. He hopes. Today, unfortunately, is not that day.
He realizes that at 19, eight was quite a few years ago. But Hakuren doesn't remember being anywhere near as touchy at that age, he thinks as he pulls the young magi off Hakuryuu for what has to be the third time this week. Judal hisses like an angry cat until Hakuren puts him back down, and then he stares up at him with anger in his bright red eyes. Neither he or Yuu have figured out the best way to explain to the two children just why Judal has to stop kissing their young brother, but Hakuryuu at the very least is still willing to listen to them without much questioning.
22 is far too young to lose a brother, Hakuyuu thinks to himself in dull horror as he stares down at Ren's unmoving form. There are still people screaming around him and Hakuryuu is crying at his side, asking for an explanation. But he doesn't have the answers right now, just a slowly crushing emptiness that he can't begin to describe. This is a loss that he is entirely unprepared for, despite knowing the danger they were in leading up to his. He just never thought he'd lose Hakuren. Instead of stopping to mourn, though, he is pulling Hakuryuu along and to safety, moving them through the thick smoke and towards the hope of escape.
At 18, Hakuryuu stares down at his elder brothers' graves, with nothing but the soft sound of distant rain and a thick swirl of black rukh to keep him company. He tells himself that they would be proud of him: Gyokuen is dead, Al Thamen is under his control, and the Kou Empire is being ruled by the rightful heir. He's finally avenged their deaths, he's fulfilled that promise, and yet he feels nothing but emptiness inside. He feels cheated; at the very least, Judal was supposed to be at his side. But the only person to understand him is infinitely far away and he is slowly learning that there is nothing left to fill the bleak loneliness that follows him everywhere.