"Thunders & Storms"
It was just another ordinary day with sunshine and fluffy white clouds hanging over a very peaceful kingdom. The two young people sprawled on the luscious carpet of soft green grass could as well be passed as just two common siblings enjoying the sun. Only they were not.
"You know, Ren, I sometimes wonder, that this psycho, the one that's causing all this tensions and stuff, is he really worth all the attention?"
"I don't know, Ayano-sama. But to be frank, it makes me a little nervous."
The younger blonde was quite frank with his answer as he sat up, picking some grass in his fists and blowing them in the wind. The fire user was still slouched on the grassy ground, her red head propped on one palm, elbows digging into the soft soil, slightly spoiling her expensive silk kimono.
"First of all, Ren, don't call me Ayano-sama, nee-san is just fine. Secondly, there's nothing to be nervous about. I bet he's some attention craving psycho. I could take him out in a second, like this!"
She made an enthusiastic but awkward movement with her hands causing her to lose balance and fall flat on her back. Ren immediately ran to the aid of his nee-san, his voice filled with concern.
"Nee-sama, you okay?"
"Yeah, its fun being on the grass flat like this."
"But its not proper for a member of the royal family to exhibit such ill-mannered posture in public."
Both Ayano and Ren jumped to their feet at the dark voice and turned around to face the king himself, flanked by officials at a distance on the porch of the private gardens of the palace.
Bowing low quickly, Ayano scrambled to her feet whereas Ren shuffled from feet to feet looking nervously at his father like a child waiting to be rebuked. Her Majesty, the Queen was a soft-hearted lady who cared less for the show-off etiquettes but His Majesty was all rules and proper manners.
"Ren, remember your manners the next time your outside your personal chambers and never forget who you are. Escort Her Highness inside and inform the Crown Prince of the emergency meeting in the outhouse."
Ren bowed again muttering a low "Hai" and nudging his sister-in-law to bow as well, who had been standing motionless still digesting the sharp words of her father-in-law. Never in her life has she been bound by royal etiquettes and never had she ever been told off in her kingdom, by her father or anyone else, even as a child. The king had not directly scolded her but she knew the words were directed at her. And it stung. As soon as His Majesty disappeared out of sight, she tugged Ren's hand and stormed off towards the palace.
At the same time, Kazuma was walking through the same corridor but in the opposite direction, urgency in his pace but the trademark heart-melting smile still etched on that handsome face of his. As his pretty wife came into view, his smile spread wider and he couldn't help but call out to her in his usual flirtatious tone.
"Hey there, Princess. You look pretty flushed this morning."
"Not now, Kazuma. I'm not in the mood."
Kazuma arched a perfectly shaped brow at her chipped reply and shifted his curious gaze to his brother who guiltily stared at the retreating back of a stomping Ayano.
"Ano….Nii-sama…Ayano nee-sama is very sad." Kazuma turned his full attention at the fidgeting boy as he continued in his sad voice. " Actually, we were slouching in the sun outside in the garden, and…and Father saw us….and you know him…he…."
"That is enough. I understand." Ren snapped his eyes back to his elder brother, whom he practically worshipped as an idol. He had always seen the playful side of him, and his now grave voice unnerved him to some extent.
"Nii-sama! I'm sorry, its my fault! Don't be mad at Ayano nee-sama!"
Kazuma smiled assuring his brother. He crouched slightly to be at his eye level and ruffled his yellow mane affectionately.
"I'm not mad at your Nee-sama. Nor at you." He chuckled, the twinkle returning to his eyes. " You're too serious Ren, have some fun, live a little." He teased as he walked away. "May be I should ask some of the ladies to teach you how to…."
And without seeing, Kazuma knew that Ren's face was as red as Ayano's hair by now.
The meeting was short but very important. It was arranged urgently to decide on the actions to be taken at the sudden youma attacks on the outskirts of the kingdom. The messenger delivered a scarlet envelop, informing that a very huge swarm of different kind of youmas had attacked and the patrol battalions were already losing. They needed help. A big and very skilled army. At the end of the meeting, it was decided that the King himself would lead the medium sized army along with Prince Kazuma, who was a very skilled warrior and most of the first grade wind users, leaving Prince Ren and some others to defend the castle. As they needed no other weapons, it wasn't long before the men assembled and marched out, not even waiting for the ladies to wish them luck , success and safe-return.
A sudden shrill scream jerked Ayano out of her depressed state and she tiptoed out of her chamber to investigate. It had been a few hours since the men had left for the battle, and she'd rather die than agree that she was a little, just a little worried about Kazuma and the others. Before she could reach the main corridor, leading to the central palace, a maid came running and skidded to a harsh stop and bowed nonetheless.
"Your Highness! You have to leave!" She spoke through chattering teeth. "There's been a youma attack and Prince Ren and the other warriors are fighting them in the eastern wing. Her Majesty has already lead the other maids and women into the secret chamber to protect them and I, I have been sent here to inform and lead you."
A sudden gleam in Ayano's eyes caught the maid off guard. Youmas, fight, action. Really?
"The eastern wing , you say, huh?"
"Y-yes your Majesty. But..but…"
"You know what, you go ahead and I'll see you after I slice some youma's off!"
Before the maid could protest , Ayano had taken off in the said direction flexing her muscles dramatically. The maid scampered to her feet and disappeared who knows where, after all, survival came first. As Ayano neared the eastern wing, the sounds of a gruesome battle got clearer. She heard men shouting and youma's meaningless gurgles and she knew it was sick, but couldn't help but smile at the upcoming excitement.
She clapped her hands together as she stepped into the eastern wing, now a battle field and screamed.
"Enraiha! Come forth!"
Several eyes turned in her direction as she skillfully fought off a number of large sized, pea-brained youmas. Soon their concerned eyes converted into smiles as they knew they had one more valiant warrior on their side, making their already falling team stronger. Only, one young boy wasn't happy.
"Nee-sama!" He screamed as he tried to run towards a ferociously fighting Ayano, slicing several youmas with different wind attacks. "Nee-sama! Go back! You'll get hurt!"
Definitely, he hadn't seen his beloved Nee-sama fight.
"NO WAY, Ren!" She screamed back over the loudness of the battle. "I'm having too much fun!"
"Damn! I'm outta practice!" She yelled as one youma nearly bit her arms off. Ren watched open-mouthed as his sister-in-law abused the youmas physically and verbally, almost forgetting that he was in the middle of some serious fight, until one warrior nudged him in the back.
"TAKE THIS! YOU STUPID, FATSO! YEAH! LIKE THAT! SHOW ME WHATCHA GOT!"
Ayano was so engrossed in her fight that she didn't notice that the battlefield had grown completely silent and she was decapitating one single youma repeatedly, turning it into a lump of brown mess.
"C'MON! IS THAT ALL! GET UP AND FI…."
"That is quite enough, Ayano."
She stopped abruptly at the voice laden with barely concealed amusement. and turned around sluggishly, enraiha disappearing into thin air. She took in the sight of the huge army behind her, realization clicking into her head. That's why the battle was over so quickly! Kazuma watched the changing expression on Ayano's soiled face, shock, realization quickly followed by embarrassment. As soon as they had realized that it was just a diversion, they hurried to the castle with wind magic and found their men fighting bravely against a hoard of youmas, led boldly by the fire heiress, her royal kimono burnt and torn at paces. Inside he was very proud but he knew his father will not be very pleased. He glanced at his father sideways, displeasure and anger evident in His Majesty's stoic face. But never in his life had he realized, his father would give into anger and reprimand his wife in public.
"Kazuma, take your wife inside and remind her of her royal etiquettes and duties. Make sure she never forgets that Yagami women never step out of their kimono's into the battle field yelling like a fish monger in the cheapest of markets. Also, remind her that she is no longer some spoiled brat but the wife of the Crown Prince, and that her behavior might be tolerated in some low class state but not in the Wind palace."
Kazuma watched as Ayano's eyes teared at the rude words against her upbringing and home and immediately stepped forward taking her hands into his. Bowing slightly to his father, he led his wife away from the scene and handed her to Ren, who was slightly limping but otherwise okay.
"Ren, will you please escort your nee-sama to our room?"
The younger boy sagely nodded as he grasped Ayano's hand firmly and his face brightened considerably at his brother's next words.
"And Ren, I saw you fight. You did very well today."
Glancing one last time at his wife's bowed figure, he nodded in understanding at Ren and hurried back out. There was so much left to be tied up. And he needed to hurry because right now, Ayano needed him the most.
By the time Kazuma had returned to his bed chamber after settling the after fight affairs amongst other things and freshening up, Ayano was already curled up on her side, wrapped snugly in the soft sheets in their futon. Smiling tenderly, he slipped into bed and under the covers beside her, but not before offering a gentle kiss to her forehead. He knew she was sad and hurt, but the traces of salty tears on her rosy cheeks still wrenched his heart. And before he knew, he had already made a mental promise to never let those pearly drops fall again.
As he got comfortable into the futon after the day's drama and action, he turned slightly to find his wife stirring closer to his larger form in deep slumber, her hands seeking and finding his clothed chest and fisting into it, getting nice and cozy. Like every other night, he pulled her closer and tucked her head under his chin and held her tight, providing with her peace and comfort. Though he knew, tomorrow, he'd be chased again with her Enraiha and called names like pervert and sick, he'll never tell her that she was the one who sought the warmth of his embrace every night. And like a loving husband, he fell into sleep with his wife in his arms, offering her love and protection throughout the night and with a determination to do so all her life.
A.N: OMG! Look at the size of the chapter! Its twice the size of a normal chapter! Thanks to all of you reviewers! You guys rock! 11 reviews, that's a record! Thank you! Hey , you guys wanted bigger chapters, here it is. Now I want bigger reviews! Not that I mind. Anything is fine!
I am missing HOLS. You there?
P.S: I thought of using Japanese honorifics cuz I think it expresses the closeness of their relations. Although, I accidentally used Nii-san for Kazuma in last chapter, but I think Ren actually uses "Sama" in the anime. But "Father" and "Mother" should remain as it is. Because I think calling that is ok but I really don't like " Brother Kazuma" or "Sister Ayano". So, I hope that's ok with you.
JASMINE: GARRETT HEDLUND is hot but not my type. Thanks anyway!
SAYAH1234: Thank you!
N. Rin: Its for you. Biggest chapter. Happy now?