A Midnight Rendezvous
A knock echoes through your room. "My lady? It's Sugawara. May I come in?"
You cross your arms across your chest and continue to stare at the wall. Your lips are pulled into a frown and your shoulders are hunched, your hair wispy around your face and your countenance miffed.
The rapping sounds again before a mop of silver hair pokes its way into your room. "Lady (First Name)? Are you alright?"
You barely spare the butler a glance before you fall back onto your bed. "Hardly."
"I brought dinner," he says, pushing open the door and closing it with his foot. In his arms is a tray of food, filled with a few choice sandwiches, some fruit, salad, and a cake for dessert. He places it on the table in the center of the room and sits next to you on the soft bed. "You've been holed up here for the days. I think it's time that I asked you what's bothering you."
"I've been stuck in here for two days," you correct, wagging a finger at the butler. He smiles softly as you continue. "Thank you for bringing me my meals by the way, Sugawara. But the real issue at hand here is the king."
He chuckles. "Since when is it not?"
"He can hear you, you know," you murmur, slinging an arm over your eyes as you point towards the wall between your two apartments. "You told me that the walls here are thin, didn't you?"
"What happened with him?"
A shiver runs through your body and you grimace at the memory. "He kissed me at the ball."
"Wouldn't most girls like it if a king kissed them?"
"It wasn't out of love, I don't think. Probably more out of jealousy of the fact that king Oikawa can get a reaction out of me that he can't."
"True, but he does care for you, you know. Speaking of which, my lady, the king of Aoba Jousai and his advisor are still here."
You sit up and press a hand to your forehead, feeling your temples throb slightly at the mere mention of the brunet. "I know. For diplomatic reasons, yeah? He came all the way here, so he might as well stay a few days and discuss politics and foreign policy with us. When is he leaving?"
"Tonight. Are you sure you would not like to confer with Iwaizumi?"
You cast a sidelong glance at the butler. "Who?"
Sugawara hangs his head, a wan smile decorating his face. "King Oikawa's advisor. Did you really not know?"
"I knew that," you laugh, hitting the butler lightly on the shoulder. "I was just messing with you."
He shakes his head as he laughs. "Would you not like to meet with him?"
"I don't think I have to, right?"
"You shouldn't skimp out on your duties as the royal advisor and queen-to-be, my lady."
"What if I did? What if I just up and left?"
"Please don't," he murmurs before standing up. "Regardless, Iwaizumi has requested an audience with you. After you finish dinner, please meet him in the royal audience chamber." He walks over to the door and waves at you before shutting it behind him.
"Got it," you sigh before hugging a pillow to your chest and waddling over to the table to eat your dinner.
Having finished your meal, you sit back on the edge of your bed. What if I actually "left," though? How would Kageyama react? A sinister smile spreads across your face as you drift over to your dressers, pulling out articles of clothing.
You open and close the drawers loudly before padding over to the closet and forcefully tugging the clothes off of the hangers. Slamming the closet door closed, you grab your small bag and begin to fold your belongings before you shove them into the container.
"Oh! Bathroom stuff! I need that." Running off to the adjoined bathroom, you return with an armful of hygiene products. You shove those into your bag as well.
A knock sounds at your door. "Lady (First Name)?"
"Sugawara? Weren't you just here?"
"The king sent me this time. Please open up."
You shut your bag quickly and place it next to the door before making your way towards the butler, standing on the other side of the entryway; you press your body weight against the wood as you continue to talk. "Sorry, can't. What does he want?"
"He asks if you intend on leaving the premises any time soon, my lady."
"Is that verbatim?"
The butler is silent for a while before he replies. "Not exactly. What he said is not suitable to be repeated, actually, but that is the gist of what he told me to tell you. Do you plan on leaving soon?"
"Please open the door."
You reluctantly pull it open and before you stands the butler and the king, the latter fuming and the former smiling sheepishly at you. "You!"
"(First Name), where are you planning on going?" The king's words are laced with a poisonous bite, his eyes freezing you to the spot.
You avoid his gaze and instead stare at the butler. "I'm going to the royal audience chamber now to fulfill my duties as a royal advisor and queen-to-be. Iwaizumi has requested to meet with me." Pushing past the silver-haired male, you proceed to speed-walk away. You can feel Kageyama's gaze on your back the entire way down the hallway.
You tug at your skirt before pushing open the lavishly decorated doors to the royal audience chamber. "Iwaizumi?" Your shoes squeak on the marble tiles and you wince at how loud your voice sounds in the large, empty room. "Are you here?"
"Ah, (First Name)~ So glad to see you!"
A chill runs through your body as you turn towards the male sitting in a chair, smack dab in the middle of the room. "You're not Iwaizumi."
"And you're not very nice!" The brunet pouts at you before he takes a sip from his wine glass.
"Where is your advisor?"
"Do you like him more than me? You haven't said more than a couple of words to him, so surely you can't prefer him over me!"
You sigh, walking over to stand in front of Aoba Jousai's king. "King Oikawa, is there something you wish to discuss with me?"
His eyes narrow over the rim of his glass and a shadow falls on his face. You shiver at his expression. "Why, yes, actually. Have you given what I said at the ball any thought?"
"What you said?" Your mind returns to the grand gala and to the moment when he had whispered in your ear, before Kageyama roughly pulled you away and kissed you in the hallway. "No, not really," you flush, rubbing your arm. "What exactly did you say again?"
"I asked you if you would like to marry me instead of him, (First Name)." He shakes his glass from side to side, watching you all the while.
"I have a favor to ask of you, my lord."
"Oh?" He licks his lips. "Will you marry me after I grant you this favor?"
You cock your head and hold a finger up to your mouth. "Not so fast." Walking briskly, you stand next to the brunet and whisper in his ear, "Will you pretend to kidnap me?"
His eyes widen slightly before he narrows them again, glancing at you out of the corner of his eye. "What do I get out of this?"
"Pleasure at seeing King Kageyama squirm, sir," you say, drawing away from the king and curtsying slightly. "You know how entertaining that is, since you fluster him so often. However, he'll be in a tizzy because of me this time, and you can only imagine how he'll act when his fiancée's the one in 'trouble.'"
Oikawa gives a slight chuckle. "I'm leaving tonight, did you know that?"
"Then pretend to kidnap me tonight."
The clock strikes midnight, its hands inching across the face. "My lord! Lady (First Name) is missing!" Sugawara flies into the king's room, hair awry and eyes frantic. He grips the edge of the door tightly, knuckles turning white as his fingers splay across the wood.
"What?" Kageyama's eyes flash at the butler as he sits upright, comprehending the information. "Sugawara… secure the perimeters. Let nobody in or out until their identities are verified… and keep that king and his advisor locked in their rooms until I say otherwise."
"King Oikawa and Iwaizumi are missing, too, Your Royal Highness," the butler says, inhaling and exhaling slowly.
The onyx-haired male visibly tenses, gripping the parchment in his hand so tightly it seems that it might rip. "What did you say?" His voice, deep and slow, echoes throughout the room.
"I said, King Oikawa and Iwaizumi are missing, too. Do you think…?"
The king stands up quickly, pushing past Sugawara in his effort to get out of his room and into yours.
He stands in your suite, scrutinizing every corner; the butler sighs behind him, a ways off. Your suitcase is still leaning against the door frame, a detail not gone unnoticed to the king.
"Go close the castle gates. Both of them. Now."
"Yes, my lord!"
Your head lolls on your shoulder as you slowly open your eyes, blinking twice as you come to. "Where am I?"
"With me, (First Name)~"
A scowl etches itself on your face. "With you? Did you really have to drug me?" You wrinkle your nose in disgust and try to rub your eyes, only to find that your arms are tied together with a silk rope.
"Don't be so mean~ I went through all the trouble to get you here, you know? Would you rather I knock you out?" The brunet smiles at you from across the carriage, a glimmer in his eye.
You struggle with the knot, trying to pull your hands out of it before you sigh, "I told you to pretend to kidnap me, my lord."
"A pretend kidnapping wouldn't get the same reaction out of your fiancé, (First Name). Look. They're securing the gates."
"It's kind of hard to see when you've tied me up, sir," you say as you strain your neck to stare out the window. "Where's your advisor?"
"I drugged him. He's asleep right next to you."
You start, suddenly aware of the male slouched beside you. Exhaling softly, you glare at the king as you struggle against your bonds. "I thought this was a pretend kidnapping!"
"You said something along those lines already," he murmurs, examining his nails nonchalantly.
"Screw whatever I said before! You promised me it would be pretend!"
"I never promised you anything, though it did start out as a pretend kidnapping," he winks. "Won't you cooperate with me, (First Name)?"
"Where are they?!"
"My lord, please, calm down!"
"My fiancée is gone. Where is she?!" The king roars, eyes bulging as he shakes his butler back and forth. "Never mind sending the guards after them, I'll go myself!" He storms off towards the stables, pulling himself up on his horse. A soft growl comes from near the ground and he glances down to see Shadow, your wolf, making his way out of the stalls.
The king follows the wolf out, passing the butler as his horse accelerates to gallop at full speed until he's side by side with the wolf.
"Where was that wolf this entire time?" The butler muses as he watches the king depart. "(First Name) and Kageyama, they're really a pair, huh? But never mind that – guards!"
Kageyama leans over his horse, urging it on faster as his heart pounds wildly, desperately, frantically in his chest. Soon enough, an aquamarine carriage inlaid with white alabaster comes into view, stopped on the side of the road. The crest of the royal family of Aoba Jousai is present on the back, shining under the full moon. Your wolf companion is already there, circling the rear wheels cautiously.
"Dammit, King Oikawa, you didn't have to tie the knots that tightly!"
Your fiancé perks up at the sound of your voice. (First Name)'s okay. He slows the horse down to a trot as he nears the vehicle.
Your silhouette practically kicks a taller, larger figure out of the carriage and onto the ground. Kageyama watches as you grab the king by the collar, slapping him multiple times.
Your (hair color) locks practically glow under the moonlight and he can even make out your eyes from afar, your (eye color) orbs narrowed and staring daggers at the male in front of you.
He dismounts from his horse and walks towards you. "(First Name)…"
You pause in your assault, dropping your victim to the dirt before turning to look at Kageyama. "My lord?" A quick glance at Oikawa reveals that he's trying to escape, so you push him back onto the ground, dropping one of your knees onto his chest to keep him down. Your wolf growls at the brunet, who shudders. "Please excuse my diplomatic misconduct, King Oikawa, but it's all in the name of self-defense and justice."
"Are you… alright?" Your fiancé's chest rises and falls quickly, his cheeks sparsely colored. His shirt collar is crooked and his sleeves are wrinkled, no doubt from his arms being pressed tightly against his steed during his frantic ride to reach you. His lips, slightly parted, are dry and his eyes are frantic.
"Yes, perfectly fine," you say, brushing your skirt.
"Where's Iwaizumi?" Kageyama asks, staring at you and the other man pressed against the earth.
"Again with Iwaizumi!" Oikawa practically throws his hands up in the air, exasperated. "Why do people like him more than me?"
"It's because he's a better person than you. He has morals, my lord," you hiss. "Whereas you here drugged your own advisor to kidnap me."
"King Kageyama! Lady (First Name)! Are you two alright?" Sugawara dismounts from his horse as well, huffing a bit. "What happened?"
"King Oikawa drugged Iwaizumi so he could kidnap me to bring me back to Aoba Jousai and make me his bride," you deadpan.
"Is that true?" Kageyama and Sugawara both turn to look at the other male lying on the ground.
"Haha! Funny story about that, actually," the brunet chuckles. "I'll explain everything, so won't you hear me ou—"
"Please get off of him, my lady," the butler says, smiling. His friendly expression doesn't reach his eyes and you shiver, slightly frightened at this new side of Sugawara.
You stand up quickly and hold out a silk rope, wrinkled and torn in places. "Here. He used this to tie me up, so you can tie him up with it, too. It's pretty long, actually."
The butler nods quickly before pushing the king off the ground and forcing his arms behind his back. "Sorry, my lord, but I must ask you to return to the castle. You're under temporary arrest, King Oikawa."
"How did you get out of the rope?" the brunet murmurs, staring at your wrists. A red rope burn is evident there, probably from the chafing of the makeshift manacles against your skin as you struggled to get out of them.
You smile cheekily at Oikawa. "Make sure you don't leave any sharp objects lying around in your carriage when you try to kidnap someone, okay, my lord?" You toss a sharp, chopstick-like silver pin at his shoes. "I would hate for a court lady to lose her favorite hair pin again."
Back at the castle, you make a beeline for your suite, your wolf companion padding down the hall to its own personal room next to yours. Kageyama follows you to your room, shutting the door behind him as he enters.
A thick silence falls over the two of you, him staring at you and you collapsing on your bed as you hug your teddy close to your chest.
"What?" you mumble. "Out with it, My Royal Highness. What do you want?"
"Are you crazy?" His voice is soft, his eyes dangerous as he watches you.
You sit up. "What are you talking about?"
"He's the king of Aoba Jousai. He's trained in the martial arts; what made you think you could take him on? You're a girl – be more aware of who you are!"
Your muscles tense and you stiffen, standing up to glare the king in the eye. "Don't you dare baby me! I'm a grown woman and I can take care of myself. I took him down and I'm okay. Shadow was there, too, so don't look down on me just because I'm female!"
"You don't get it! What if Shadow wasn't there? What if I hadn't showed up when I did? You could be dead right now!"
"I doubt Oikawa would have killed me," you scoff.
He grabs you by the shoulders, pushing you down onto the bed. "And if he did? Where would we be then? Where would Ibe?"
"Stop treating me like I'm someone to be protected! Dammit, I can handle myself!"
The king collapses onto your chest, gripping your shirt in his hands. "And if you couldn't…?"
"If I couldn't what?"
"If you couldn't protect yourself, then what?!"
You shove him off of your chest and grab your teddy bear, hugging it to your chest as you glower at the king. "King Kageyama, please leave."
"If you couldn't protect yourself, then what? Answer my question."
"I said, get out."
"Answer my question."
He takes a step back as you stand and force him back towards the door. "Get out of my room."
"And then what, huh?" His Prussian-blue eyes blaze as his eyebrows furrow, lips pulling into a discontent line. "And then what?"
"You know what?" You thrust the teddy bear into the king's arms, the expression in his eyes flickering from anger to confusion to betrayal. His arms wrap around the soft plush, hugging it to his chest as he searches your face for answers. He gets none as you continue speaking. "I don't want this anymore. You want to know why? I'll tell you what you told me, okay?"
He shivers at your tone, the atmosphere surrounding the two of you becoming frigid and heavy. The clock chimes one am, the only sound filling the silence besides your labored breathing. His black bangs fall into his murky orbs swirling with despondent emotions as a sliver of moonlight shines in through the window, illuminating your side profile. The male studies your face, from your arched brows to the bridge of your nose to the subtle curvatures of your lips and chin, down to your neck and to your collarbones. He watches you clench your teeth and set your jaw into a firm line, watches your shoulders tense and your hands ball into fists at your sides, watches you lower your head to stare at the ground and your hair fall into your face.
He watches a single tear streak down your cheek.
"You know, Tobio… I can't trust you anymore."