I've been longing for some action scenes from Heine— not to mention that it'd be great to put him in the same position as that traumatic event when Viktor got shot again. So, here it is!
Heine blinked in drugged stupor as he woke up for the first time since his collapse in front of the princes. He would never have expected to see the king in the room with him, standing beside the window, gazing out with a melancholic expression.
It was dark outside. Night had fallen. And the king shouldn't be here of all places.
It could have been Heine's own hallucination. He knew he would conjure up the person he trusted the most in these moments, and there is no one else in the world but the person in front of him.
But then, the blond royalty turned to Heine at his murmur, and with quick light steps made his way to kneel beside Heine's bed, grasping his hand.
It was too sudden for Heine's muddled mind to process, and he just blinked. The drug was wearing off, but that also mean the pain was starting to come back too.
Just as Heine was about to speak, Viktor let go of his hand, stepped back to a respectable distance. His expression was unreadable.
"Are you well, Heine?"
Despite himself, Heine smiled, a small perk of the lips, just to tell that he was fine. Because how could he let Viktor worry about him by showing the pain? Viktor bore his own and visited him in the dungeons. The least he could do was repay that favor.
"I'm alright, Your Majesty. Is there anything I can help you with tonight?"
"Not particularly," Viktor shrugged, "But if you could allow me to stay here…"
"The palace is your domain to do with as you please, my king. I have no right to prevent you from choosing the room you grace with your presence."
Viktor let out a little laugh.
"Is that your 'do whatever you want' attitude in fancy words, Heine? My, the palace life is really getting to you."
"And who's to blame for that I wonder."
Offering a genuine smile himself, Heine tried to push himself up to a sitting position, so that he could have a proper conversation. It has been a long, long time since they had been able to talk like this, and Heine wasn't going to relinquish this rare chance.
Still, the pain shot up the side of his torso, the suddenness of it and the weakness it accompanied making him buckle and almost fell off the bed, if not for strong arms holding him up.
Heine was not accustomed to this kind of pain. He knew starvation. He knew the feeling of being beaten when you get caught stealing. He knew the painful twists of wrists or ankles, even broken bones. But he had never been stabbed or slashed before.
He cursed himself for letting it show, despite having just sworn to himself that he wouldn't worry Viktor. What excuse would he have left if he couldn't even sit up on his own?
"Thank you, Viktor." He said as Viktor helped him settle into a seated position against a pillow and withdrew once more.
"Actually, Heine, I have a few more questions about the case that I wanted to confirm with you, if you you are feeling up to it."
"I'll be glad to be of any assistance."
"If you can remember the time of entry, and describe everything, that would be highly helpful."
It was only a few hours before dawn at most, when the noise at his window woke Heine up.
He had only retired for no more than a few hours, having graded and prepared the princes' lessons and assignments, and he woke with a heavy ache at his temples and between his eyes.
He did not think that the noise would be from an intruder. After all, to reach his room one would have to pass heavily guarded areas, and he would not put it pass the princes or Viktor himself to pull of this kind of stunt in the middle of the night.
He sat up anyway, groggily steeling himself for the visit. His nightcap had came off and was lying on the bed. A strand of coppery red hair stood up from the rest in a perfect bedhead.
He rubbed his eyes, massaged his temples to gain a semblance of wakefulness, and was going to go to the window to let the visitor in when the left pane swung open and someone cloaked in black leapt in, knife flashing.
That flash was all Heine needed to instinctively react, swirling away from the bed as the blade ripped the mattress and spilled feathers like snowfall.
This midnight visitor is proving much more trouble than he'd anticipated.
He and the attacker circled each other in the small room, cramped with piles upon piles of books. Some were knocked down as the assassin moved while refusing to take his eyes off the Royal Tutor.
Heine needed a weapon, and he knows exactly where to find it. This is his room, after all, and though he doesn't keep weapons here, who's to say a sharp quill, a heavy inkwell— or furnitures for that matter— couldn't be a just as deadly?
Still circling each other, Heine spied his writing utensils from the corner of his eyes, waiting for the right moment to grab them and charge.
"You are aware that breaking into people's rooms at night and trying to plant a knife in them is quite illegal?" Heine asked, warily. Distracting the man would be nice, but Heine doesn't want to ship someone off to be punished without hearing things from his side either. After all, that was the principle of Viktor's rule.
The malicious visitor, however, remained perfectly silent. Which, Heine must admit, is a valid strategy. One less identifiable characteristics, if Heine was indeed left alive to tell of tonight.
"Whether you are desperate for hire or bear a grudge against me, I must advice that killing is never the best nor the smartest way to resolve a conflict."
A few more paces until Heine could reach for the quill he has his eye on.
"If you so desire, we can sit down and have a discussion over tea right now regarding your grievances. That would lead us to a much better solution, I am sure."
Still, only silence in reply.
Just a few steps more….
Then the cloaked figure seemed to catch on, because suddenly he lunged at the redhead, knife out for a stab. But Heine wasn't too far from the weapon, he ran the last few steps, grabbed the desired object, and dodged the knife's arc.
Then he went in close, following the arc of the right arm, but within a range almost impossible to attack. Before the assassin could finish his wide swing, a metal nib already glinted with moonlight just below his Adam's apple.
"I hate to threaten you in this way, but I do believe that if you refuse to resolve any concerns about me in a more peaceful manner, I would be forced to either kill in self defense, or bring you to the guards."
The shorter man said calmly, one hand holding the nib implacably steady at his attacker's throat, the other reaching for the knife-holding hand. In one smooth motion he grabbed the forearm, continued its momentum backward so that the arm was twisted painfully back behind him. The grip on the knife was not hard to break then, and its heavy metal clang echoed in the room.
All the while the sharp point never left the exposed throat, only shifted from apple to artery to the nerve bundles that connect to the spine. Heine wasn't even breathing hard. His eyes are now entirely alert, and the lights in them makes them no less than predatory.
"I speak truly— If you surrender, I'm more than willing to give you a second chance. No need for anyone to get hurt or lose their chance at having a respectable life."
Still, silence. Heine saw a bobbing of his apple, but that was all. No replies….
Then he knew.
He ducked, giving up on the weaponless attacker, just in time to avoid a bullet that would have taken him in the back of the head.
But not in time to avoid the knife of the shooter, slashing him in the side.
Things were a fury then. Heine couldn't remember what he had done. The gun was unable, but both his attackers now have their knives in hand and ready. He was being cornered, meanwhile warm liquid ran down his thigh and made his footing slippery and treacherous.
Somehow, somehow he had gotten one to lose grip of the weapon, used him as a shield to block the other, and with one blade thrown and one blade buried in a friend's gut, his opponent charging at him with a sharp pointy object and a vivid knowledge of anatomy, he fled—
Heine's account was cut off by the sound of glass breaking.
The two friends startled, whipping their heads to the large window. But there was nothing but broken shards and cold night air teasing the curtains—
The real threat was already inside the room, had rolled to a stop in the middle of the chamber, with his gun on his thigh and pointed right at the king.
Intellectually, Heine knew that the assailant wouldn't really shoot the king, of all people.
He knew that the assassin was after him, because there's no way they could get away with attempted assassination on the highest monarch in the country, unlike when he was still a prince. They could with a position like the Royal Tutor who was only a commoner. And there were no reasonable scenario that the blame could be put on him now, no reason for him to panic like this.
Their target was him. They aim at Viktor only to get to him.
But those intellectual voices wasn't heard by Heine right now, because something was roaring in his ears. Something ugly that had woken when he saw a gun pointed in Viktor's direction.
His entire body tensed, but he didn't feel the pain. Fear froze his feelings, coiled around his lungs, his wounds, his heart.
"Viktor!" He not so much shouted as croaked. The lump in his throat muffled the voice.
Before he even knew it he had thrown himself at his friend, sending them both tumbling onto the floor, a missed gunshot flown overhead.
Blood splattered on the floor, on Viktor. Heine pushed himself up, looked at the bloody clothes of his friend, and his eyes went wide. Viktor in a pool of blood. His mind supplied the image to accompany the fearful thought.
But the blood wasn't Viktor's this time. It was his. The wound on his side had reopened.
Heine didn't feel anything.
He was only seeing red. Red on Viktor's body. Red, red, red, everywhere. Was it blood? Was it rage? Was it scarlet fear? Heine didn't have the time to figure that out but whatever it was, it drove him up from the floor and towards the assassin.
This is exactly what they wanted. Part of him screamed. A reckless attack. Bringing him closer, into easier range. Better chance of him taking a bullet for someone else, so no chance he could dodge this time.
But how can he listen to the logical side of himself when his own savage cry rang across the palace? When the thump thump thump of blood roared in his ears? When Viktor is in danger of being shot because of him— again?
He needed to destroy that damned gun. He needed to destroy every gun in the entire world. He just need Viktor to be safe, safe, safe.
So Heine darted away from the stunned Viktor, and as expected the gunfire followed him. He needed to get closer without getting himself shot useless in the process. Fortunately, the disadvantage of guns is that they take time to load.
After he heard the second shot Heine immediately took a different course, cutting directly to the cloaked man fumbling with the reload.
He has no weapons, but the assassin of course came ready. He discarded the gun, without a round within it, it's useless in close combat, but then pulled out a dagger. He was ready for Heine to leap at him, and from their prior experience, the redhead was not a sloppy fighter, even severely disadvantaged.
But as soon as his foot touch the floor again Heine ignored the man and lunged for the fallen gun. His vision was filled with a red haze, and all he could think of was destroy that gun before it had a chance to shoot Viktor.
He got the weapon, and banged it against the floor, repeatedly. Parts flew off. The barrel was bent. But Heine couldn't seem to stop.
Blood. Viktor lying in a pool of blood. Hands holding him back, dragging him away. The smoking rifle.
He smashed the broken gun to the broken marble tile. A cracked piece of something flown beside his face and blood dripped from his chin. He smashed the useless piece of metal down yet again.
At the sound of Viktor's voice, he snapped out of it, saw the knife descending on him, twisted away. The steel caught him in the shoulder, and Heine suppressed a pained scream.
With his other hand he went for the eyes. It was cowardly fighting, but he was severely disadvantaged, already wounded, and desperate to know who the bastard is waltzing in and trying to kill him and hurt Viktor.
His fingers found the slimy orbs and dug in, just as the assailant twisted the knife still burrowed in Heine's shoulder. This time he screamed and staggered back, but his fingers also came out bloody. He had a few moments while the assassin was stunned by his wound and disoriented by the loss of half his vision.
Heine gritted his teeth, grabbed a shard of glass on the floor, and went in for the kill.
He's going to slit the bastard's throat open and thrust his own dagger through his heart. Even Viktor couldn't stop him this time. Even Viktor's voice couldn't contain this ugly rage inside him, the rage that had been simmering and boiling for two decades, waiting for just this moment to be released.
Heine quickly charged. But on the third step, the room suddenly tilted.
Then electric fire erupted in his side, his vision flashed black and white and red, his ears roared with a scream he couldn't feel in his throat, but knew was his own.
It took him a few moments to register that his legs had given out, that he was lying on the ground, and that the assassin had kicked him in the side, where he took a knife in the last attempt.
Then, it took him a few more moments to wonder why he was still alive, regained his vision enough to see Viktor tossing away a body he had held from behind by the hair, dropping a shard of broken glass, and rushed in to kneel by him.
"Heine…" Viktor muttered softly, all the while his hand was at work tearing the bed cloth and tying them with expert hands to stop Heine's profuse bleeding. An expertise earned by hard years of leading an army in bloody battle.
Heine sat up, not feeling the pain he felt he should. He should have been ashamed too, to be treated like this by Viktor. To have shown his reckless, violent, and abominable side. To have been so stupid and irrational. By all rights Heine thought he should be drowning in shame.
Yet all he felt was relief. A relief so strong that his eyes water along with his wounds. A relief so strong no common sense or rules of etiquette could restrain.
He throws his arms around Viktor— his dear Viktor, still safe and relatively unhurt but some cuts on his hands that had saved Heine's life.
"I'm—" he tried, but it came out between a sob and a rasp. He plowed on despite it, "I'm so glad you're safe. I'm so glad you weren't hurt because of me again."
Viktor looked like he was going to cry, too. And Heine knew that expression well. He knew it was the one twisted onto his face all those time in the dungeons. It was the pain of seeing someone you love hurt and dying.
But Heine didn't care. He allows himself the selfishness in this one matter.
It is better than Viktor dying, and better than Heine himself falling apart.
"Hang in there, Heine— I'm going to get the guards, and doctors." Viktor said already opening the chamber door, and the two dead bodies outside were the last thing he saw before the world went black.