Author Notes: Hello again, everyone! I found this WIP in my folder and decided to add the missing top and tail to complete it. Enjoy :)

Summary: Sometimes, someone putting their foot down is all that's needed.

Warnings: Not much plot, possible OOC-ness and a Yona who's had it up to here.

Dedication: This story is dedicated to fanofthisfiction, a talented writer who is wonderfully supportive of her fellow writers. Thank you for your continuous support!

Rating: T

Disclaimer: Akatsuki No Yona belongs to Mizuho Kusanagi.

- Story Start -

The Happy Hungry Bunch was trekking through a small forest near the Kai Empire when the ambush happened. With a single shout, dozens of arrows shot into the sky and arced down upon them, causing cries of warning and a mad scramble for cover among the sparsely grown trees.

Like well trained soldiers, the Four Dragons leapt to shield Yona and Yoon from the attack. After a quick glance to make sure the latter two were protected, Hak stood in front of the group and swung his glaive about as if it weighed no more than a walking stick, batting aside the arrows raining down upon them. Shin-Ah soon joined him, using his sword to good effect.

When the storm of arrows finally ceased, they exchanged cautious looks before taking stock of their injuries. Yona and Yoon were fine. The Four Dragons were fine. The only casualty was Hak with an arrow buried in his arm and another in his side.

- o -

Ten minutes after the attack, they learned that the arrows had been dipped in a fast acting poison.

At first, Hak's footsteps slowed down. Then he staggered and fell to his knees. Seeing his over bright eyes, Yona touched her hand to his cheek and found his skin burning hot. Despite the bright morning sun, he was shivering.

They quickly set up camp under a large tree. Despite his protests, Hak was soon lying on the ground with his head in Yona's lap. Yoon got to work, taking out a handful of ingredients to put together a general antidote.

"It's the best I can do for now," he muttered as he ground the herbs in his small pestle and mortar. "I'll analyse the poison once I apply this paste on his wounds."

Jae-Ha and Shin-Ah went to patrol their surrounding area, but no further attacks came. Whoever the enemy was, they seemed to have retreated for now.

"It's strange that they didn't press their attack," Kija remarked, sitting beside Yona. "They must have seen that Hak had taken two arrows."

"Agreed, but it's also a relief," Yona said, tucking the blanket closer around Hak who hasn't stopped shivering.

Just then, Jae-Ha and Shin-Ah hurried up to them.

"We know why," Jae-Ha said, his face and voice equally grim. "Shin-Ah spotted two dozen Sky Tribe soldiers on horseback heading this way."

"Sky Tribe?" Yona repeated, exchanging an alarmed look with Kija. "Anyone we know?"

"In the lead are General Joo-Doh, Advisor Kye-Sook and..." Jae-Ha's uncharacteristic hesitance was an answer in itself.

"Soo-Won," Hak growled. His breathing was laboured.

"Yes. Shin-Ah thinks they'll be here in half an hour, but we'll try to head them off," Jaa-Ha said.

"That's a job for Zeno!" Zeno jumped up and motioned for Shin-Ah to take his place beside Yoon. "Shin-Ah will help with the antidote."

"I will?" Shin-Ah wondered but dutifully sat as ordered.

As Zeno and Jae-Ha went off, Yona squeezed Hak's hand, so much bigger than hers, but cold and weak now.

"Princess, we shouldn't stay-" Hak began only for Yona to shake her head.

"We're not going anywhere," she said. "You can't walk and I can't carry you."

"The white snake can," Hak suggested and gave a weak chuckle which broke off on a grimace.

"The white snake can only drag you by your collar, but the White Dragon can carry you properly," Kija said with a sniff.

"No, thanks," Hak told him. "Wouldn't want you to hurt your precious claw."

Ignoring them, Yona turned to Yoon.

"Just two more minutes, Yona," he replied.

"Take your time," Hak told him.

- o -

Another ten minutes went by with all of them looking around and expecting Soo-Won or Joo-Doh or a dozen soldiers to burst into the clearing. Meanwhile, Yoon cleaned Hak's wounds and applied the green coloured paste before bandaging them tightly.

The sudden tromping of heavy footsteps approaching the clearing made everyone tense up. Then they stopped all at once, as if their owners were obeying an unheard command.

Yona, Hak, Yoon, Shin-Ah and Kija stared in the direction of the sound, none of them moving a muscle. Even Ao was gazing hard, perched on Hak's chest and holding a nut in her front paws which Hak refused to eat.

In the end, the first person to burst into the clearing with royal robes flying behind him was an alarmed Soo-Won, followed by a displeased Kye-Sook and an exasperated looking Joo-Doh.

"Hak! Yona!"

"Your Majesty, please wait!" Kye-Sook called out.

"Must you rush headlong into danger each time!" Joo-Doh growled.

Soo-Won paid them no mind, ignoring Kija, Shin-Ah and Yoon to plop down rather ungracefully beside Hak.

"Hak, you look terrible! Your lips are turning blue!"

Hak blinked up at Soo-Won before giving a soft snort.

"Thanks," he said, deadpan. Then, "What're you doing here?"

"Zeno said he was poisoned," Soo-Won said to Yona just as Jae-Ha and Zeno came sprinting up only to skid to a stop.

"Right," Jae-Ha said, his eyes going from the King kneeling beside Hak to the two silent men behind him, radiating silent disapproval from their matching scowls down to their arms folded across their chests.

"Sorry to worry you, princess," Hak said. He was still shivering although beads of sweat dotted his forehead. "I'll be fine. Doctor Yoon is in the house."

"You're not fine," Yoon fretted, his face was tight with worry. "I don't know what poison they used and my paste may not be able to draw it out!"

"Hak's skin is so hot," Yona said, pressing the back of her hand to his forehead.

"And his pulse is weak," Soo-Won added, two trembling fingertips pressed to the inside of Hak's wrist. With his other hand, he brushed a few strands of black hair from Hak's forehead, causing Yona to gape at him.

"Advisor Kye-Sook." Soo- Won looked up. "The special antidote you showed me earlier."

Kye-Sook looked stunned.

"Lord Soo-Won, that is one of the costliest antidotes we have! It is for your use only."

"Give it to me. Quickly."

"It's not even for me. Or for General Joo-Doh!" Kye-Sook protested.

General Joo-Doh glared at him.

"Besides, he's the Thunderbeast!" Kye-Sook continued. "The strongest soldier in a thousand years! Surely he will survive this unknown poison!"

Slowly, Soo-Won stood up, turquoise eyes blazing.

"Advisor Kye-Sook. The antidote. Now."

Kye-Sook's thin face twisted like he had bitten into something bitter. Slowly and with extreme reluctance, he retrieved a small bottle from his sleeve and held it out.

Snatching it from him, Soo-Won crouched down beside Hak once more.

"No." Bright blue eyes glared up at him.

"You must take it," Soo-Won insisted.

"No!" Hak snarled, somehow pulling strength from somewhere to jerk his head up from Yona's lap. "I refuse to take anything from you!"

"The Thunderbeast doesn't appreciate your assistance, Lord Soo-Won," Kye-Sook said with a disdainful sniff.

"Ahh." Hak slumped back in Yona's lap.

"Hak!" She cried.

"You must take it," Soo-Won said in a low, desperate voice. "Or you'll... die... "

"So what?" Hak gritted out. "Why do you care anyway?! Better for you that I die, isn't it?"

"No!" Soo-Won looked anguished. "I never wanted you to die, or Yona!"

Hak snorted.

"She would've if I had reached her just a second too late."

"She wouldn't have. I knew you'd arrive in time. I knew you'd protect her."

The others exchanged wary glances and raised eyebrows, suspecting that the conversation had somehow veered off in a different direction. Then Soo-Won made an impatient noise and held up the bottle.

"Quickly now."

"I don't trust you." Hak rasped. "Not anymore."

Soo-Won flinched as though he had been struck across the face.

"I would rather die." Hak's tone was deadly serious. Vicious, even.

Soo-Won's head dipped in despair and then he clenched his hand in the front of Hak's shirt, tugging him partially upright. Kija made an aborted move only to have Zeno grab his arm and shake his head.

"You are so stubborn, Hak!" Soo-Won shouted. "You can't die now!"

"Why should you care!" Hak shouted back at him, somehow finding another tiny burst to strength. Then he sagged and would have fallen if not for the hand twisted in his shirt.

"Because I love you!"

Soo-Won's eyes went impossibly wide. He released Hak's shirt and clapped his mouth with his other hand as if to push back the words. It was too late. The words had been spoken aloud and heard. They couldn't be unsaid or unheard.

Love. The one bond apart from friendship that they and Yona had enjoyed since they were small. The one thing that could possibly bind the three of them together now.

Hak tipped his head back to look at Yona who nodded. Then his gaze went to Soo-Won.

"Say that again," he requested, voice barely above a whisper.

A sad smile trembled on Soo-Won's lips as his cheeks flooded with pink.

"I love you. Both of you."

Silence fell across the clearing, no one daring to speak aloud although there were enough meaningful looks from all present to count as silent conversation. It was Yona who moved first, nodding to herself and inhaling deeply.

"Good," she declared. "Because. Nobody. Is. Going. To. Die. Today."

Those eight words weren't shouted. They were uttered in a low voice which throbbed with emotion. Slowly, Yona shifted Hak to lie on the ground and stood up to her full height of five feet. Her red hair was like a crimson flame around her head, her eyes like purple coals of fire.

Nobody said a word.

"Soo-Won, the antidote, please."

Without a word, Soo-Won held out the tiny bottle.

"Thank you." Yona took it and crouched down beside Hak.

"Drink this."

"But..."

"Drink it now or so help me, I will force it down that proud, stubborn throat of yours."

Yona hadn't raised her voice at all, but Hak gave a quick nod and reached for the bottle. She shook her head and gestured for him to open his mouth. When he did, she tipped the contents of the bottle into his mouth. He gulped it down, widened eyes still fixed on her face.

When he had swallowed every drop, she tossed aside the bottle and sank onto the ground, limbs as stiff as a puppet's. Then she lifted his head onto her lap again and stared down at his chest, as if she could see the antidote inside him, as if she was willing it to work its magic on him.

For the next five minutes, no one else moved. The tense silence soon turned awkward and oppressive.

Gradually, the blue tinge faded from Hak's lips and his tremors subsided. It was only then that Yona sucked in a huge breath, shoulders slumping, seeming to crumple up as if her earlier anger had been the only thing supporting her. Raising her head, she looked around at the others.

"No one is going to die," she vowed in a soft, trembling voice. "Not if I can prevent it."

Tears filled her eyes as she took another breath, a hiccup accompanying it. She looked down at Hak.

"You can't die, Hak. You can't! What would I do without you?"

Hak gulped.

"I'm not going to die, Princess. Look, I feel loads better already."

"Only because I forced you to take the medicine!" Yona glared at him.

"Ah. Right." Hak looked guilty as he struggled to sit up.

"He'll be fine, Yona," Soo-Won assured her and almost flinched when furious purple eyes turned to him.

"Because I insisted!"

"Oh. Yes, of course." Soo-Won shifted, looking uncomfortable. "Because you did."

Good! Because you... two... are... driving... me... up... the... wall!"

The swiftness with which her voice gained volume had Kye-Sook and Joo-Doh blanching while the Four Dragons nudged each other, lips twitching.

"You two work so well together!"

Hak and Soo-Won exchanged sheepish looks.

"You two understand each other's fighting styles, each other's thoughts so well!"

Sheepishness morphed into embarrassment. Hak and Soo-Won flushed as they looked away.

Yona jumped to her feet again, eyes flashing fire. Soo-Won had to grab Hak's shirt to stop his head from hitting the ground.

"Never again!" Yona shouted. "From now on, we're all on the same side which is Kouka's! That means no more fighting and no more scheming! Do you hear me?!"

Her voice, so powerful for someone so petite, rang out through the clearing, startling a few birds into flight. In the distance, they heard the sound of horses whinnying and the stamping of their hooves. Anyone not dead for a radius of five miles around would have heard her.

"Yes, we do," Hak muttered.

"Yes, we do," Soo-Won echoed.

Yona folded her arms across her chest and tossed her head, every inch a Queen.

"Good!"

When she turned to Kye-Sook and Joo-Doh, they both took a step back in unison.

"We hear you," General Joo-Doh quickly said.

Kye-Sook glared at him and then he sighed.

Yes," he muttered.

"Even better!"

Yona smiled at them all and it was like a benediction, as sudden as it was sweet.

"You see, boys? There's no need for fighting after all, is there?"

No one dared to say a word or do anything except shake their heads in agreement. They were forcefully reminded that Kouka Kingdom had a Queen. She stood before them now. Only five feet tall, but with the spirit and will to move mountains.

- Story End -

A/N: Thank you for reading! Phew, that was cathartic, I just wanted Yona to be done with all the different agenda and just take charge :) Please leave a review if you enjoyed it!