It would take more than a raging thunderstorm to interrupt Mikoto's sleep schedule. Like clockwork, he could be found sprawled out in bed for a few solid hours before getting up only to scavenge for food and smoke. Avoiding any human contact between bouts of sleep would be preferable. Being King was exhausting business.

A far more insistent power than thunder or rain was bent on disturbing him that evening; toweling off a head of damp blonde hair, it came to loom over the bedside like a pleasant, smiling shadow.

But it wasn't as if Totsuka came completely unexpected. He still earned a warning growl from the King. That went entirely ignored.

"The electricity's out," noted Totsuka softly. The towel remained draped over his head as he let himself fall back on the edge of the mattress.

With little effort Mikoto peered back over his shoulder. Even in the faint light he could make out his vassal's thin frame. And his head looked like it had been well and truly drenched.

"Don't tell me you were outside." Every word dragged out of the King, slow and lazy.

"We tried to fix the breaker," Totsuka rubbed the back of his neck, "just so happens it's in the back and Izumo needed someone to hold the flashlight. But doesn't look like it did any good." He pouted up at the dead ceiling lamp.

The King's irritable voice was muffled by the pillows he'd nuzzled back into, "He could've taken someone with more sense than t'get in the rain without an umbrella or some shit."

"I guess so," Totsuka laughed carelessly. Mikoto was odd about showing his concern. "But it wasn't like you were up and around to volunteer."

"Nobody likes a damp match."
There was a devilish tinge to Mikoto's voice.

"One of these days..."

Totsuka leaned in closer to the King's back, and played absently at the thin fabric of his shirt with warm fingertips. Near every muscle in Mikoto's powerful body seemed to tense then relax at his touch. Totsuka smiled to himself. It was like having a power of his own. So he wasn't completely defenseless.

"'re going to figure out sleeping your life away isn't a fix for everything."

For a while Mikoto was content to feel Totsuka keep tracing lazy circles against his clothed skin. Sheets of rain worried the glass of the bedside window. Coupled with the wind, it seemed as though the storm had it out for them both, trying to tear its way in.

It had no idea that anything that attempted to screw with Totsuka would have to go through him.

"Don't bank on it, brat" Mikoto finally huffed, though his words melted into a heavy sigh. "It's worked so far."

Another crash of thunder shook the very foundation of the building.

It was followed this time by a pair of little footsteps outside the room, but Totsuka's attention wasn't drawn away until that tiny, unmistakable voice appeared where the door cracked open.


Totsuka sat up immediately, letting the towel fall from his head and his slender legs dangle from the edge of the mattress.

There was a bit of hesitation before she crossed the room in the dark, allowing herself to be gently lifted up under both arms and onto the bed.
"What's the matter with my Anna-chan?" Totsuka's voice lilted.

"I woke up," the girl rubbed at one eye, "and everything was so dark."

"Now that's nothing a few candles couldn't fix. Too bad all the matches around here are damp."
Totsuka laughed weakly to himself. At this rate they were going to run out of bad, fire related one-liners.

The roar of the wind threatened them from outside again and he could feel the girl stiffen a little.

"But I'm sure the lights will come back on soon. And until then we have King to protect us, right?" He held her tight and they watched the rain against the glass for a moment.

"It's fine," Anna replied vaguely.

For a moment or so more the girl clung to him. Totsuka was the softest, after all. He gave the best hugs and somehow always knew what to say to fix what needed fixing. But Anna would soon find her place at the Red King's side. If there ever were two lost, lonely creatures who needed each other, there they were. Mikoto only regarded her with a blink of tired amber eyes as he propped himself up against the mass of pillows behind him. She understood completely. It was as if they spoke a language only the two of them knew.

She squirmed her way between them with one hand on Totsuka's sleeve to tug him along with her. Settling in, Anna hardly seemed to notice that she had brought them so close together, until Mikoto felt soft blonde hair brush against his cheek. There was a bit of awkward fidgeting at first, but after settling down Totsuka was mindful not to disturb anything where he lay against his king. Anna needed them both there.

"They would never let me sleep between them. On nights like this. Then," her words were so detached. She barely spoke above a whisper.

Totsuka nodded gently, taking her little hand in his.
"Your parents?"
Totsuka knew about these things. He knew how much the past and the people left behind within it could still hurt.

"Mother would take me back to bed," Anna nodded. "She would always say there's nothing to be afraid of."

"Were you afraid?"

"No," she murmured. "Not ever. I wanted to be where it was warm."

Mikoto stirred on his side of the bed and Totsuka was sure he was starting to get restless with them. There were times when King demanded a great deal of space. But instead he closed his eyes and felt Mikoto's arm finally reach around him, wrapping them both in half of a protective embrace. Close enough for Totsuka to tuck his head into the crook of the King's neck and sigh and feel his pulse. Anna stretched out then curled up again. Everything stilled.

They watched over the child they had taken into their care as she fell back to sleep. Anna fit so perfectly in the little space between them.

One day she won't need us anymore. Until then all we can do is try our best.

It wasn't in the blonde's nature to worry. He couldn't let himself linger on the inevitable for too long; not when he was so happy in that moment. With all of the warmth and the synced rhythm of their breathing Totsuka found himself unable to resist looking up, trying to read Mikoto's expression even in the dark. He wondered if his King felt the same way.

Once their lips pressed so naturally together it was difficult to read into anything. A fleeting, chaste kiss. Unusual- for Mikoto at least. It would have to suffice where words weren't good enough and quiet was absolutely necessary.