Hello again my girls, Mitsukai here for another somewhat long oneshot. This is for Blodigealach, who has successfully guessed the meaning of my pen name. Her theme for me is "Kimi no Shinjiteru", the Sanada/Yukimura duet in the Musicals. At first I've thought long and hard on just how I'm going to make this work, and then I realized that she has first commented on my smut story Making Memories. And I was still in the FeudalEra!mood, so I mashed those two together to make this. This is sort of a sequel to that story, though you could definitely read it as a stand alone.
Agito, I'm sorry if this isn't exactly what you had in mind. but I was just so inspired by the piece you drew for me that I felt that I had to write something about it. And since this is one of my favorite songs, I felt that this setting would be the most fitting, since you discovered me that way. :)
Again, not mine. Same old, same old.
"What is going on!" Sanada Genichirou slammed his fist down on the table, staring down at the large scale map that showed the countries of the mainland. Markers dotted the flat surface, showing the colours of the different nations occupying it: white and blue for Seigaku, black and white for Fudoumine, brown and white for St. Rudolph, green and white for Yamabuki, red and yellow for Rokkaku, blue and gray for Hyotei, and yellow and black for their own Rikkai.
And right now, the map was a reflection of a country at the brink of real-life chaos. Blue and white dots made a single, steady path through the continent, coming from their own land, Seigaku, and demolishing through every country they passed through, the other coloured markers now lying sideways left and right on the map. The only thing that was standing left was the cluster of yellow on the eastern side, facing the ocean, and was now slowly being surrounded by the colours of sapphire and ivory.
"Seigaku is breaching through our borders! What impudence!" Even the nation of Hyotei had fallen, the General noted bitterly, seeing the scattered blue and gray on the map. For all Atobe's arrogance and assertions of being one of the most powerful nations, even they weren't strong enough to stop Seigaku's advance. At this rate, it will only be a matter of time before they will reach Rikkai's capital and finish their conquest for glory.
"Calm yourself, General." Yanagi Renji told the incensed man coolly, observing the pieces on the map, mind like lightning as he quickly planning out defence and counterattack strategies for different situations and possible scenarios. "Rikkai is not called the most powerful nation for nothing. Rikkai will not fall."
And I would not let it, Yanagi thought with grim determination.
"But my lords, the Emperor is–!" The moment the attendant spoke out he was pinned down by a dark, dangerous glare, making him squeak and quail under the harsh look. The Commander-General had never looked so murderous before, and he found himself praying that he hadn't invoked the man's wrath. Yanagi sent the raven a sharp, warning look, a glimmer of gold under closed eyelids, and Sanada slowly eased his grip on the handle of his katana that he unconsciously grasped, a shine of silver already peeking out from the scabbard. He slammed the blade back inside, fists clenching and unclenching as he reigned in his temper.
"His Majesty will expect us to act accordingly to the situation at hand," Sanada answered tightly, just barely able to keep his rage in check. "Even if the Emperor is... temporarily unable to handle this problem at the moment."
That was an understatement, and all of them knew it. Sanada gritted his teeth. Why must Seigaku choose to invade now, of all times, when Rikkai was potentially close to losing its beloved ruler? Or perhaps that was a part of their plan, attacking the enemy at its weakest, but Sanada didn't think that a nation with a leader like Tezuka was capable of doing such low-handed tactics. And yet...!
The general quickly shook his head, trying to get himself back into focus. He can't break down now; he couldn't let his personal feelings get in the way, not when his country needed him the most, not during the time when the safety of their country was at stake. Especially now that its ruler was now fighting for his life.
A shot of pain ran through him at the thought of the man. The royal family only had one weakness, and that was their delicate constitution, mainly due to constant marrying of close relatives. Every single family member succumbed to a disease in their early life, and half of them died because of it, while the other survived and lived to a very old, ripened age. It was what some people called the trial of succession, a test by God himself to see if one was fit to become a member of the royal family.
And Yukimura Seiichi, the youngest Emperor of Rikkai, started his trial of succession last winter.
None of them expected that to happen. When he was still young, the crown prince was healthy, with no inkling of illness whatsoever, perhaps the healthiest child to ever be born in the family, and because of that the former Emperor and Empress hoped fervently that their child would be the one who would break the cycle. But when he suddenly collapsed one day on the way to the side gardens, it was as if fate was playing around with them with its very hands.
And as months passed the now Emperor's condition seemed to worsen considerably, looking more weak and sickly as the days flew by. For one so young, the Emperor was wise and fair, working solely for the happiness and stability of his people, and for that his people loved, respected and admired him with everything they had. But now he was almost bedridden, attended to daily by the royal physicians, and the whole country waited with bated breath, fearing the announcement of their ruler's demise.
But still the Emperor held on to life, fighting against his disease with everything he had, and the gods had granted a glimmer of hope: the healers had found a way to cure the Emperor's disease, but the price was high.
Yukimura Seiichi must gamble his life for his recovery.
It was a risk most of the advisors didn't want the man to take. The danger was too high, and he had no heir yet; the Emperor had firmly refused the prospect of marriage at his age, saying that the needs of his people came first. And yet, the man was insistent. If there was any way for him to get through this hurdle in his life, for the sake of the people that trusted and believed in him, then he was more than willing to take the chance.
And unable to dissuade the Emperor, preparations were made for his treatment, with the instructions that it should be done as soon as possible.
Then Seigaku decided to attack.
Sanada had never been so afraid in his entire life. It was at the moment when he realized how much, how deeply he cared for his childhood friend, that the mere thought of losing him was now unbearable. The young general felt helpless, not knowing how to stop something he could not physically fight. He would do anything, even exchange his very life, if it meant that Yukimura–no, Seiichi, would be well and safe. The Emperor's sickness was the bridge that closed the widened gap between them; Sanada had distanced himself once they were able to understand the difficulties of the world, even though it hurt to, because it was what society expected of him. Now that they were in the middle of a war, Sanada found himself being pulled in two directions; one reminding him of his duty, the other reminding him of his heart.
Before he was the General of the Imperial Army, he was Sanada Genichirou. And before he was the Emperor's sword and right-hand man, he was Yukimura Seiichi's lover.
The sudden spike of voices brought him back to the present, and Sanada looked up just in time to see the Emperor walk through the doors, head held high and wearing his formal, ceremonial robes. He still looked pale, but nevertheless determined as walked towards the table. Startled, Sanada stood up, surprised that the man was even moving. He should be resting right now, the general thought numbly, bowing low and sending a questioning look at Yanagi, who was as nonplussed as he was, though he did not show it outwardly.
"Your Majesty! You shouldn't be moving so rashly!" The servants followed their lord, alarmed and distressed that the man wasn't following the physicians' orders, but was powerless to stop him, as he crossed the room to stand in front of the table, observing the map carefully, eyes sharp and analytical, even in his weakened state.
"I'm quite all right. Don't worry so much," he assured his attendants, aware of the looks he was receiving from the Commander-General and the Royal Advisor. He sighed, turning back to the people at the room. His war generals and advisors were here, as well as various other high-ranked people in the palace, looking thoroughly shocked at his presence.
"Your Majesty." Yanagi was the first to speak out loud, "Your presence here is unexpected." The three of them were well-versed in silent, meaningful conversations and Yukimura easily caught on to his real meaning. What are doing out of bed? You need to rest.
Sanada was also looking at him with an unfathomable expression; it was a mixture of worry and anger, of helplessness and despair, and as much as he wanted to comfort the other man it was neither the time nor the place. It was taking all of his strength to keep on standing, to keep his voice unwavering, and he didn't need his emotions to distract him now.
"Excuse for interrupting your talk, gentlemen." He said smoothly, making them stand at attention. He looked through the map, analyzing the map, taking note of the strategies his war generals had thought of already and seeing them marked on the table. No doubt these were all his advisor's ideas, Yukimura knew Yanagi's style very well. Smiling satisfactorily, he sent a quick, apologetic look to the both of them before addressing the room at large. "But I believe that I should be present in these kinds of discussions, as it concerns the safety of our country."
I'm sorry. But I have to do this.
One of the lords tried to protest. "But your Majesty, your body is–!"
Sharp blue eyes darted towards the speaker, with a voice that was cold and hard as ice. "I will not let myself lie down like an invalid while my soldiers, my people, are out there risking their lives for my country." His hand clenched into a fist, right beside the drawn borders of their country. "I did not become the ruler of my people just to subjugate them to another nation's oppression. As her Emperor, I will protect Rikkai with everything that I have, even if I have to lose my life for it."
Nobody dared speak as the sharp, piercing gaze swept past them, even breathe out loud, daring them to challenge him now. At the moment, they saw the reason why Yukimura Seiichi, in his relatively young age, was called the Child of God. They stared at him in awe, watching him pace around the room, thinking deeply. In his frail, sickly state, their Emperor was still able to command his men, to bring order from chaos, and that sight was awe-inspiring indeed. "If it's a fight Seigaku wants, then it's a fight they will get. Yanagi, the preparations?"
"They're all set." The advisor answered, completely serious now. "The first and second battalions are stationed outside out borders, waiting for Seigaku's approach. I had the third and fourth battalions guard our gates, and the fifth and sixth inside the walls and foresee the evacuation of our people."
"Good. Prioritize the evacuation, I don't want anyone getting hurt that isn't directly involved in this fight. Take the seventh and have them back up the first and second. We cannot let Seigaku slip into the capital." Yukimura ordered, looking down into the map again. "Tell the third battalion to guard our western gates, and the fourth the eastern ones. I want every passage towards the city blocked and guarded heavily. Let no one enter unless it was approved by myself, the Advisor, or the Commander General."
"At once," Yanagi bowed his head and proceeded to relay the instructions, at his words the people scrambled back into action, a sense of stability in the air now that their Emperor was back to guide them. The tension in the room decreased, and everyone was suddenly in their elements, quickly running around and doing as the Emperor ordered.
"Assign the best generals for our main defence line. If it were possible I would also ride with you, but even that would be too much for my condition." A tinge of regret was heard in his tone, and how fervently they wished that it were so, but Yukimura knew that he would be a better help if he stayed back and directed their troops, instead having a physically weak Emperor riding with their side. "Push Seigaku back quickly. Crush them, make them retreat, until they wouldn't think of laying their hands on our land. They will not get this country," Yukimura said firmly. "Nor will I let them. Seigaku's quest for glory has gone far enough. I have not made Rikkai prosper just to give it to their hands."
His tone turned soft, but with a fierceness the radiated his strength and resolution. "Protect Rikkai with everything you have. Lay your life down for her. Rikkai is our land, our country, our mother, and I expect that every single man in this room will do its best to protect her who has nurtured and cared for us since the start of time. I will not tolerate failure." His gaze turned back to them, hard and concise.
"Am I understood?"
It almost scared them, how this frail-looking man managed to rally their forces in such short a time. Their respect and admiration, though already deep, suddenly reached unreachable heights, and if their Emperor so wished, they would willingly march on to their deaths with open arms, and would be proud to die in the glory and honour of his name.
The Emperor nodded, satisfied with their response. "Then move out, and let all know what is to be done. General Sanada, a word, if you please," he added just as the raven turned to go. Sanada stopped and waited as the war lords and advisors cleared the room to follow the lord's instructions, watching as Yukimura stopped the brunet just as he was also leaving, placing a hand on his arm. "Renji, I'll leave all preparations to you." He added in a more quiet tone, his unspoken words of apology hanging in the air. Yanagi was still worried about him, he knew, but he should know what their duty demanded of them. Then the advisor sighed resignedly, placing a larger hand that was covering his elbow.
"... I understand." He smiled gently, nodding. He too, knew what must be done. His eyes flickered to the general and squeezed the Emperor's hands in assurance. "You should talk to him, Seiichi. He's very upset." And with those final words, he left, leaving the two of them behind as he closed the door, telling one servant that was passing to not disturb the people inside for any reason unless it was a complete emergency.
Sanada waited silently for the other man to speak out, posture tense and waiting. The silence was oppressing, and he didn't have any idea on what was going to happen next. He wanted to be angry, angry that the other man was pushing himself, worried that his body might not be able to take the stress.
"Your Majesty–" He started to speak, then stopped as he saw the other man move.
The moment the doors slammed shut behind them the Emperor stood still, an immovable mountain. Yukimura Seiichi almost looked picturesque, his robes flowing around him, a flower profusely blooming in the midst of turmoil. He stood strong, powerful, refusing to bow down no matter how much the wind would howl. But then, like stone crumbling from the inside out, he started to sway, faltering, wavering.
He stopped, steadied himself, making Sanada's breath catch.
Then, slowly, like a petal detaching itself from its flower, Yukimura Seiichi started to–
It started with the crown that rested on top of his head; it toppled down to the wooden floor first, the quiet shatter as it collided jolting the man out of his trance. The tight bun of hair soon followed; it moved with the crown, tugging at the midnight-blue strands, unravelling it, undoing the numerous twists as it was pulled loose. The long, wavy hair now flew wild and free, following Seiichi as he leaned back, quietly descending, a hand reaching out to grasp thin air when he finally hovered between heaven and earth, waiting for the inevitable crash.
Sanada didn't have time to lose. He moved, faster than he had ever before, running forward to catch the other man before he crashed to the ground. His heart thundered, his pulse quickened, a sense of urgency and alarm filling him, telling him that he had to catch Seiichi at all costs, or something terrible might happen.
His hands finally touched soft silk, cloth dancing along his skin as he reached out and slid his arms around a thin waist, catching a full back to his chest, and cradling a head to his shoulder. The smooth fabric fluttered around them as the general staggered, both of them sinking slowly to the ground.
Sanada never noticed how thin the other man was until that moment, holding him close, managing to catch the fragile petal into his hands. His heart clenched painfully, seeing the pale, anguished face, every vestige of royalty and power forcibly stripped away to reveal the man he loved the most. His skin was warm to the touch, warmer than usual,
"Seiichi!" He shook the man gently but insistently, feeling his blood run cold when he saw that the blue eyes were closed, fear and dread clawing its way into his chest when the man didn't respond. "Seiichi!"
"... Hold me, Genichirou." Seiichi finally whispered in soft, shaky breaths, clutching on to his arm, voice laced with barely-concealed pain. Eyelids fluttered open, showing dull, sapphire-coloured orbs. "Just for this moment, just..." He wasn't able to finish his sentence as the man held him tightly, enough to hurt, a strangled sound that might've been a sob escaping from his throat.
For a moment they stayed unmoving, clinging to each other, seeking comfort and assurance with a desperation they didn't know was actually possible. Lips sought and found each other, kissing feverishly, tongues sliding and meeting with roughness and urgency. Seiichi closed his eyes and fell back to the almost-crushing embrace; a few tears managing to form and slide down his cheeks. He needed it. They both needed it.
"... Don't scare me like that," Genichirou murmured roughly, framing the beautiful face with his hands, pulling away to kiss the tears that gathered on the long, curling eyelashes. He nuzzled his face to the side of Seiichi's cheek, feeling the brush of soft, flowing hair against his skin, relieved that he could still inhale flowers and perfume, a scent so uniquely and completely his lover's. "I thought that–"
"I'm sorry. I've caused nothing but trouble for you." Seiichi let out a long-suffering sigh, stiffening as another wrack through his body. It hurt; it hurt so much to move his body, he could almost hear it shriek in protest every time he would breathe. He was startled as Genichirou twined their hands together and brought it up, brushing his lips against the back of his fingers. His heart stuttered, the act so gentle that it soothed the pain he felt.
Sometimes Seiichi felt that he would give anything for these few moments that he could spend with his beloved, even his blood, his crown if it meant that he could spend his days like this in peace for the rest of his life. It was during these times that he was glad that that he had the time to appreciate these stolen moments, though the threat of enemy nations and his own sickness may once again try to drive them apart. Even though they were in the verge of a war he felt so safe, so content, enjoying and appreciating the strong, firm embrace, resting his head against the crook of a neck and a shoulder, feeling ridiculously comfortable even though they were both sitting on the floor surrounded by tables and scrolls.
"How are the rest?" Seiichi asked softly, eyes looking far away, perhaps to a future that Genichirou wasn't able to see yet. As the Emperor, he held a duty to his people, and yet he was also human. He held a duty to his heart, one that he must forcefully push aside in favour of many. It was a large burden, one that he must carry by himself, though now he had someone to share that similar burden with.
"... As you've instructed, Marui and Jackal are on the first battalion, and Yagyuu is on the second. Niou will soon follow after him, but he's organizing the archers right now into their positions on the castle walls." They were General Sanada's most trusted men, his closest friends, people who he would trust with his life–and the life of their men. They were capable men, highly skilled and unerringly loyal to their country, and Genichirou couldn't have picked anyone less to lead their army. The general paused, as deciding what to say next, before saying further, "Renji is also going to ride out with us. He's going to be in charge of guarding the city gates."
"Renji?" Seiichi repeated, a little surprised. The tall, brunet man, if ever, rarely showed his fighting capability, even though he always ranked second during his days in the academy, just following the young general himself. He preferred to be behind the lines, to direct instead of to lead, though if it came down to it, Yanagi's swordsmanship can rival those who were thought of to be the best. "But why...?"
Genichirou stroked the long, wavy locks. "There is something that we all need to protect." Genihirou didn't say it, but he knew what each of them was fighting for. For Marui and Niou, it was their home, for Jackal and Yagyuu, it was their sense of belonging and the people they've come to care deeply for, and for Yanagi and him...
It was for the persons they loved, treasured enough to give them the whole world if they so wished.
"... I see." Seiichi sighed after a pause, knowing that there was still something that the other wasn't telling him, but he wouldn't pry. Not yet. The seconds ticked by, the time they had together getting shorter and shorter. They didn't have much time left, and in any moment one of them might be called out. This was their last time together, before they faced what destiny intended for them.
"Genichirou, listen to me." He forced himself to sit upright, ignoring the pain that shot up his spine as he did so. He had to say this, not just as the Emperor, but as Sanada Genichirou's lover. "If ever I don't make it–no, listen to me...!" Seiichi pulled his hand away to hold the square jaw firmly with a strength he didn't know he possessed. A pair of hands steadied the handsome face, who tried to look away, unwilling to talk about the possibility of his lover's death. Blue and brown met, sinking deeply into each other's gaze.
"There is a large possibility of me dying during the treatment." Seiichi started softly, admitting the truth that they both knew well, but didn't have to courage to say out loud. "Denying it would be pointless, and to do so would be foolishness. Genichirou," he pressed their foreheads together, breaths mingling, waiting.
"You know what to do when that time comes."
Genichirou nodded, closing his eyes, letting himself feel as hands brushed through his hair, calming him, though he was once again painfully reminded of what would come if the Emperor didn't pull though. Even though Yukimura Seiichi didn't have a son, he had already selected his heir: his younger half-brother, Prince Akaya, born from the Emperor and one of his concubines. Though relatively young, the boy had shown great potential to lead, one that his older brother didn't allow to be wasted. He was also riding out against Seigaku, his first real fight outside of training, and despite the opposition Seiichi gave when the idea was first presented to him, he knew that it was necessary.
Akaya needed to know how it felt to stain his hands with another person's blood. Seiichi loved him dearly, and would protect him from the world if he could, but doing so would be a hindrance to the boy's growth. But still, being so young, just in his teens, Seiichi couldn't help but worry for him. Knowing this, Genichirou has assigned the young prince closer to the city, to help with the evacuation of the citizens and to protect the capital if ever Seigaku managed to pass through the first and second blockade. Yanagi would also be close by, and the general knew that it was one of the drives that pushed the brunet into participating physically in this war. Like everyone else, he too wanted to make sure that the person he felt for was completely protected.
Genichirou could feel the other man lightly trembling in his arms. He didn't realize before that they had so much at stake, that they had everything to lose if they lost. And, perhaps, it was Seiichi who felt that the most, not only losing his younger brother, but his friends, his lover, and his very country weighing heavily in his mind. It was something the general understood very well, and because of it, he spoke out the words that showed his willingness to share that burden.
"Tell me your orders, Your Majesty."
"... Come back to me, General Sanada." Seiichi commanded in a whispered tone, fingers curling under a strong jaw, lips brushing against the corner of Genichirou's lips, closing his eyes as well and leaning forward, letting their foreheads touch gently. "Return victorious and alive. And stay with me, by my side, until the day I die."
"Then fight, and live." The general turned his head and kissed the closed fist, bringing up his hands to cover white, thin ones. "Fall in love with me." Sienna eyes flared with a dark intensity that burned, nudging their heads up so they looked directly at each other. "Love me more and more, until you can't bear to be away from me." He whispered against gasping, parted lips. "The rest, you can leave everything to me."
His tone quietened, but overflowing with a confidence and resolution that shone in his eyes as he gazed at the beautiful face of his beloved.
"I'll protect you, even at the cost of my life."
It didn't disturb him on just how possessive, obsessive those words were. But it didn't matter, not when Seiichi felt for him just as much.
"Genichirou..." Seiichi didn't know what to feel. He was a jumble of emotions, all of which could only come out as clear, pearly tears. It was very confusing, very stressing, but more than ever, he held a great deal of faith and trust to this man who he had given his heart to, knowing that, if it was him, if it was Sanada Genichirou, everything will be all right. Rikkai would not fall. Rikkai would be saved, their people recovered, and their country will shine brighter after weathering this terrible storm.
Seiichi smiled, a true genuine smile that spoke for more than words ever could. "... Thank you."
Neither of them knew moved first, but before they knew it their mouths had melded together sweetly but passionately, imprinting one last memory in their minds and hearts. They both knew it, that their time together was almost over, and that they might not see each other again.
But it wasn't a goodbye. It will never be a goodbye.
Seiichi pulled back first, breathless, the pain in his body rendered almost non-existent, replaced by a bittersweet ache in his heart that was more painful to bear. But he savoured this pain, cherished it, forever glad that he had the chance to love another, and to have that love returned a thosandfold, even though his life might already end. Now, he had no regrets. "Hold on to your vow, General. When I wake, the first thing I want to see is your face."
Genichirou smiled back at him, a smaller one, but there. He considered himself a lucky man to experience something so special, so unique, though it caused him trouble and heartache. He loved, and was loved, and that was better than if he had never loved at all. In a last gesture of affection, Genichirou reached for a long lock of blue-black hair, running his fingers through it, before raising it up, placing it to his lips with reverence.
"If it is what His Majesty wished."
Tomorrow, for the sake of their future, they will go, and face their own destiny. Rikkai might fall, and her Emperor might follow after. But a single promise will keep them fighting back, if this was what fate decreed.
The Emperor and his General, it was for the sake of their country.
But for the man and his blue-haired lover, it was for the sake of their love.
For those who had a little trouble trying to imagine what Emperor!Yukimura would look like, Agito made the very first fanart of a story of mine, and you could see it here:
Replace the dot with an actual dot, and you would see it. The image is actually Masuda Toshiki, the Second Yukimura in TeniMyu. While I'm partial to the First cast (Ouji is a very, very pretty man) I have to admit that Massun really sings better, though for me, he fits the 'gentle Yukimura' more.
And, if you know the PoT canon, you know where this story would end. Read and review everyone.