Disclaimer- Not mine. I’m just borrowing them for a little while and will return them when I am done.
Author’s Notes- One of my few complaints about Book 3 was that Tevan was the only recruitable ally from Book 1 that was mentioned. I wanted to see the bear again damn it (and Severin, though I’ve decided he died at the Battle of the Bay).
Summary- Kenna and Dom talk about her future.
“Dom, can we go for a walk?”
Dominic looked up at the designs that had arrived from the Foundry that morning, some invention that in theory would make next year’s planting more efficient though he didn’t actually understand how it was supposed to work, at the sound of Kenna’s voice. He immediately set the plans down. “Of course, where do you want to go?”
“Just around the gardens,” she suggested. She didn’t wander far from the castle grounds these days. Dom assumed it was one of the downsides of being Queen.
He nodded and offered her his arm, which she took with a smile. They walked in silence until they arrived at the gardens. He watched her carefully, knowing that something was weighing on her mind.
“I noticed that all our visitors have left,” he said conversationally, wondering if that was the reason for her melancholy. He and Kenna never discussed each other’s love life, their history made the subject a little awkward, but just because they hadn’t talked about it didn’t mean he wasn’t observant.
“Yes,” Kenna confirmed, “Everyone had to get back to their royal duties. The next council meeting will be at Thorngate in eight weeks.” She paused. “It was suggested yesterday that having a group of young, unmarried rulers is not in the best interest of the Five Kingdoms and that we should all be considering marriage.”
Dom felt his stomach twist at the idea of Kenna married, which made no sense because he loved Sei. However, Kenna would always be his first love. Unfortunately, the years apart had changed their love for one another and though they had attempted to see what could there could be between them, they had quickly realized they were better off as friends. Still, there was a little flash of pain at the knowledge that the door could be closing forever.
“I bet Rowan loved that,” he said, trying to make light of the situation.
“She was not impressed,” Kenna agreed, “Tevan immediately offered to marry me or Kai, though we both turned him down. Kai actually plans on handing that responsibility over to Noa.”
“And Diavolos?” Dom asked pointedly, “how did he react?”
“He was open to the idea,” Kenna said, with a small, dreamy smile. “Rowan was the only one who objected. After all, one of the duties royalty is to ensure the future of the royal line, my mother used to tell me that often enough.”
“I guess you always expected to make a political marriage,” Dom recalled, “I guess some things never change.”
“I actually made it very clear to the council that while I am open to the idea of marriage, I will choose my own spouse.” Kenna corrected, “I’ve sacrificed too much to settle for an arranged marriage.”
“I think most people will assume that the marriage between the King of Abanthus and the Queen of Stormholt is a strategic one,” Dom pointed out, smiling at Kenna’s look of surprise. “Kenna, I know you better than anyone. Plus you haven’t been that discreet.”
Kenna laughed, “I guess not, it’s just… You never said anything.”
“I figured you would tell me when you are ready,” he told her with a shrug, “and here you are. Is this where I offer you congratulations?”
“No,” Kenna told him, “not yet, anyway. Diavolos wants it to be more than a political alliance and he plans on returning soon and then…”
Dom had to admit that he was a little surprised since he wouldn’t have pictured Diavolos as a romantic, but then Kenna had a way of bringing out the best in everyone. Dom actually had no issues with Diavolos, he was a fierce soldier and had proven to be a loyal ally, besides it was obvious that he adored Kenna, which was what mattered most to Dom.
“How do you think my mother would feel about me marrying her killer’s son?” Kenna asked after a moment.
“Diavolos is not his father,” Dom said quietly, “he wasn’t at the invasion of Stormholt and he’s proven his loyalty to you. I don’t think your mother would hold his father’s actions against him. She would want you to be happy, besides she wanted peace and if you marry Diavolos, you’ll be creating a permanent alliance between two of the most powerful armies in the Five Kingdoms.”
“Thank you,” Kenna said quietly, “I needed to hear that. Jackson was all doom and gloom.”
“That’s kind of his job,” Dom pointed out, “he doesn’t get to think of the situations the same way I do, which is as your friend first. I mean, I see the complications too, but I also see the advantages, and more importantly, I care about your feelings and whether or not you love him.”
“I do,” Kenna said quickly, “it took me by surprise, but I really do.” She grinned. “What about you, do you think you and Sei will…”
“Not anytime soon,” he said with a laugh, “she still calls me lowlander most of the time, honestly we’ve never really defined what we are and I’m ok with that.” He knew he loved her and he thought the feeling was mutual, but beyond that, he wasn’t sure what was going on with their relationship and he wasn’t sure how to broach the subject. So for now, he just accepted things as they were.
“Are you going to let Annelyse plan the wedding?” He asked after a moment.
“She’ll never forgive me if I don’t,” Kenna groaned, “but I’m terrified of what she’ll come up with.” She laughed. “It feels nice that that’s the sort of thing I worry about these days. It feels nice to be planning celebrations and planting crops and talking about the future instead of composing battle plans and worrying about the next invasion. I spent so long trying to reclaim my kingdom that it feels really nice to finally be able to enjoy it.”
“It’s what we all fought for,” Dom agreed and then he laughed, “though I know I never quite imagined everything that we went through. I mean, I’m a dragon and you ended up with quite the collection of characters following you around, including a bear and a talking puppy.”
He liked Fenris, but he was still wary of Ursa. Him and everyone else at Stormholt, except for Kenna. Which was why Ursa lived in a special habitat that only Kenna and Clover, who placed loyalty over personal safety, would go near.
“No insulting my pets,” Kenna scolded, “I don’t know what you have against Ursa, she’s a loyal protector.” She grinned, “though if it makes you feel better, Diavolos is terrified of her, though he won’t admit it. I think he remembers how many Nevrakis soldiers she’s torn apart.”
“Or it could just be that she’s a bear,” Dom responded, “and both normal people keep their distance from wild animals. It does say a lot about you, that you can recruit anyone to your side: hardened mercenaries, assassins, dragons, bears. No one stands a chance against Queen Kenna and her magical army.”
Though he wasn’t sure if it was the army that was magic or if it was Kenna herself. Somehow she had recruited a rag-tag team of allies and won their loyalty and now that the war was over, she was building on those alliances and that good will to create a lasting peace. He was confident she would succeed, mostly because he knew that she could do anything she put her mind to.
Day 6 | 19th August : Victories (“Love recognizes no
barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at
its destination full of hope.” - Maya Angelou / Same Team AU)
The air is still and electric as the ball finally hits the court again, both teams still finishing their last movements before standing frozen, staring at the point of impact. It’s not even something that they have to wait for a call for, obvious in the way that it’s completely inbounds, in the middle of the court. Hajime watches as the other team’s libero slumps to the floor, having missed the ball by a bare inch, even as the game is officially called and the stands erupt into cheers. It’s the loudest that Hajime’s ever heard anyone get for a team he’s been on, but even the roar of it dulls as he turns and looks across the court.
He meets Daichi’s eyes, and his heart pounds, until the only thing Hajime can hear is the blood rushing in his ears. It’s like moving through molasses, trying to get to each other through the rest of their overexcited team, though he really can’t blame them. It feels like hours until Daichi is close enough to touch, even though Hajime knows it’s only a minute or two, and when Daichi raises his hand, Hajime slots their fingers together. He knows that’s not what Daichi was going for, but it feels right in a way that Hajime’s never quite felt before.
Someone slams into him from behind, and then he and Daichi are pressed together, chest to chest, surrounded by teammates that Hajime only barely notices. Daichi’s wide, hopeful eyes are far more distracting, the way his tongue darts out to trace along his bottom lip, the tiny hitch in his breath that Hajime can hear like it’s been projected over the loudspeaker. And Hajime knows, like he knows his own name, concrete and unyielding, that this is the moment they’ve been waiting for, the one perfect moment they’ve been unconsciously working toward for longer than Hajime can figure out.
Daichi tilts his head and closes his eyes, and Hajime leans forward and presses their mouths together, soft and sweet and the exact opposite of the frenzied excitement all around them. Hajime feels a warm hand around the back of his neck, and then Daichi is pushing in more, taking over the kiss, intense and passionate. He pulls away after a lifetime and no time at all, eyes glittering and cheeks flushed, and the world around them finally rushes back into focus.
Their team is gathered around them, still yelling and crying as they hug in the middle of the court, congratulations to he and Daichi intermingled with the high of the win. Hajime grins, excited, and thinks that he couldn’t have chosen a better way to remember winning the Olympics than Daichi flushed and freshly kissed right in front of him.