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It would be so easy to hate her.

It would be so easy to hold nothing but resentment toward her, Hoshido’s favored child. She was naive, inept, and witless, and yet she was absolutely adored. And for what? No amount of work or devotion, no loyalty to the kingdom, and not just in spite of, but because she had been raised in enemy territory? How could he stand to be in her presence, when she was the antithesis to everything he had to claw for to even get a whiff of recognition, but the one beloved even among his own siblings? Who could argue with him if he decided to cut her out of his life entirely, unneeding of any extra attention as she was? It would—should be so easy.

But he couldn’t, for a whole horde of damnable reasons; not least of which was her innocence to the matter. She acted no more haughty or spoiled for how treasured she was, instead affecting a nervous, low-born girl; every indication of her Hoshidan rank was met with meek nods and tentative glances. She greeted everyone with the same warmth, the same beaming smile, the same promise of meeting again, spending another day together. He could hate her for that too; how she thoughtlessly tromped about like a beast loose in the castle, blissfully ignorant of whoever she stepped on because it was her birthright. But every time she turned her soft, ruby eyes on him, sparkling with the excitement of seeing him, seeing her brother—all that resentment deflated back down into his stomach.

It roiled there, choosing him as its new target, sloshing around and burning him away. He was pathetic to even think of hating her. He was the second prince, and he should damn well remember the privilege of his station, instead of moping around and trying to find ways to blame his deficiency on her. He could rationalize it however he wanted, how she was an enemy, how she was a spy, how she barely had any claim to the throne, but those were all the excuses of a weakling; the only crime she was guilty of was being chosen. Being loved. It wasn’t her fault that he was unworthy in that respect. He was just a jealous, weak little ingrate, daring to blame others for his faults when it was a courtesy for him to ever be accepted in the first place.

Such was the storming froth that bubbled up within him every time he saw her. It roared into his ears and pulsed through his head, and his only shot at relief was to snap at her, to get her to leave him alone, to hope she’d just get the idea and never make him face that tide again. But all she ever did was jump slightly, retract into herself, and make a weak promise to talk to him later. The way she skittered off, making every effort to hide her glistening eyes, only made the howls of loathing grow louder. Thus was the vicious cycle he entrapped himself in.

For a moment, he thought he was finally breaking free of it—she had asked him to teach her archery, one of the few things in the world that made him feel strong. The tide died down then, when he could take comfort in his undeniable and complete ability to surpass her in this field. She mimicked him down to dress during practice, wearing a simple kimono and tying her hair back in an imitation of his. He took no pleasure in making her wince when he had to correct her stance, but gradually their anxiety started to melt away, and she began to meet his gaze without faltering. She wasn’t a reminder of his weakness anymore; rather, in her presence, he rarely found himself so impeded. The transfixed look in her eye, the silent awe she regarded him with, the endless stream of praise she offered—at some point it began to sink in, to evaporate the worry and self-doubt, and for a moment, he was happy.

Then began the ache. The incessant throbbing whenever his mind was set on her, thrumming louder in his ears the more he tried to ignore it. Archery was no longer a haven, just a countdown to the next time a wandering thought of her would pass through, and he’d miss his shot in a daze. Waves he thought were gone came crashing back with more fury than ever, spitting of disgust and revulsion. It was vile, loathsome of him to even have a flicker of a design like that on his own sister. When all she did was try her best to form a proper sibling relationship between them, even after he yelled at her to no end, and now he wanted to rip that away from her because of his own sick desires.

Practice decayed and soured. He’d catch his gaze lingering on her, on the way she stuck the tip of her tongue out when she was focusing on the target, daydreaming about her elated laughter at a successful hit. He’d scowl to himself and bark at her for some false reason or other, mercilessly on the rare occasion she caught him in reverie. The only thing he hated more than seeing her flinch at his treatment was the worthless coward he made of himself. Breaking her down again, watching her regress into the anxious girl she had been before, was his torturous penance. He didn’t get many more chances to daydream about her laugh.

All of it only stretched the cold shadows of the clouds in his head, those that had lurked around for a few weeks now—when did he start feeling this way? They had started to form before he had even really spoken to her, and being with her neither lifted nor provoked them; they were just another part of him, now. He felt...congested, like something was weighing his mind itself down, the sensation of something foreign lurking on the rim of his psyche. It lounged there like a cat in the sun, lazily imposing its own languid rhythm on the rest of his thoughts, pawing something out of order every now and again.

Somehow, through the fog, he managed grasp the memory of what Mother had given him. A letter to reveal the true nature of who he would love. The word “love” had vexed him to no end at the time—he wouldn’t have ever imagined the agony it would cause him later. Despite how desperately he hoped not to have to face the scathing sound of that word, he wanted this to be Mother’s reason even more, so she could just say the right words to make it all go away.

He searched the letter for them, whatever they were; first in a skim, then in a frenzied scan. Corrin is my daughter, born in a different kingdom, but she is not a true child of King Sumeragi, nor your sister by blood. My condolences for only divulging this now. His pulse quickened; he scoured the page for some sort of shift, transition, anything. Your Father and I both hoped to never have this come to light. We wanted Corrin to be treated as a true member of the family. The days when she was were among the happiest I’d had in years. The days when he’d rejected her. When he snarled at her like a stray dog, all for his own failures. I had to leave you without warning, and I’m sure you’re in pain, but I knew you’ll keep going. You’ve always had the tendency to carry on on your own. It’s the strength you use to protect everyone. I’d always worried about you in that way; if you could ever come into happiness shouldering that burden by yourself.

But I saw you with her, Takumi. You looked so happy—when you were together. I can’t choose that future for you; all I can ever say is that I give you my blessing to find your own happiness. Your mother wishes that for you more than anything.

Shaking hands crumpled the paper further and further the more he read. Happiness. Mother kept saying that, like it’s what he would achieve by pursuing his sister. Like telling him they shared no blood would save him from being the one to tell her that, to look her in the eye and say that she wasn’t his sister, nor anyone else’s, to break her heart all for the chance to tell her he never even came to love her as a sibling. What kind of happiness could he possibly have if it was founded on tearing hers away? How could he claim to—to love her if he even considered that?

So he said nothing to her, continuing her training like he’d never seen that worthless piece of paper. He tried, at least. Sometimes he lost his focus, and the thundering of his own heart carried him away from his senses. He’d fantasize about what it would feel like to tell her, weighing just the right words to say, and the bliss of her saying them back. One such reverie even led him all the way to a jeweler—the tiny box the rings nestled in seared into him.

It couldn’t go on like this; if that lapse in judgement reared its head at the wrong moment, he ran the risk of having everything spill out, dissolving all his efforts to contain it. At the same time, he couldn’t reject her. That would crush her beyond what any words could do, and he’d never be able to tell her why. All she’d know was that her brother wouldn’t even speak to her anymore, and knowing her, she’d find some nonexistent fault in herself to blame it on. Those were the futures he could give to her: being despised by one brother, or having none at all. It was yet another weight that loomed upon him, perched atop dozens of others, choking him day by day. The clouds in his skull grew fatter and murkier.

He tried to stop dwelling on any of it, to avoid sparing a single thought to the impending future, that it may vanish on its own. That only resulted in him indulging in the greatest distraction at his disposal. More and more training sessions were marked by his gaze dropping from her face, appraising her form beyond her stance. The fog from his mind seemed to roll forward into his eyes, and thoughts he’d tried so hard to deny settled in. Not your sister by blood. She was his sister. She was. It’s fine to have an interest in her. You weren’t even raised together. No one could look down on you for being with her; Mother gave you her blessing. It’s what she wanted. It’s what you want. At the word want, his eyes were tugged to trace along her body.

He blinked and shook his head, but his sight remained unfocused and vague. It was comforting, warm, like slipping into a dream; he didn’t resist it. He watched her nock her arrow, release, and miss her target, and loosely felt words bubble up in his throat. He didn’t really hear them, lethargic as he was, but he saw her jump and flinch, huddling herself smaller. She said something, and then yelped as the word brother tumbled out of her mouth. The wide red eyes fixed on him snapped him out of his stupor, and he brushed it off and conceded his error. She winced and apologized herself, insisting it was her fault for not making progress under his skilled tutelage; her tone was practically groveling. She refused to meet his gaze all the while, keeping it firmly downcast. He hated it so much. He hated what he did to her.

It happened occasionally from then on; he’d slip into a daze, regain his senses after giving her scathing reprimand, and be met with whimpered promises to do better. He never remembered what he said, but it never seemed wrong. The words seemed to ooze onto his tongue from some unknown place in his head, but they were familiar, and he gave them voice.

One particularly brutal session, when she’d hardly managed to hit a single target, he was submerged in an odd wave of frustration. She’d never make progress if she couldn’t fix her stance; he told her that much in no uncertain terms. Inspiration slithered into his skull, prying his jaws aside to impart itself. She was told to remove her hakama; unused to it as she was, it was probably confusing her footing. There was a logic to that, but it wasn’t his. 

She obeyed, though with no small amount of trepidation. She undid straps and fastens with a tentative, almost sensual pace, as if expecting him to go back on the command any second. His only response was the unwavering attention he paid to her actions—no matter how disgusted he felt with himself, he didn’t avert his eyes. Her kimono was still the picture of modesty, but the fierce flush of her skin sent shudders to the pit of his stomach. 

He relented then, offering gentler guidance and greater praise. She relaxed a bit for the first time in days, and a fraction of that beaming smile surfaced on her face. Following sessions, she was given the same request; if she refused, her treatment was harsh, and if she obliged, her treatment was placid. He couldn't exactly call it conscious on his part—he just felt so angry when she denied him. It wasn't the vexation and animosity that had hounded him before, but a consuming, foaming rage. It always passed as quickly as it emerged, but that mercurial nature just made it all the more harrowing. He didn't know why it infested him, what rotting part of his heart it crawled its way out of, and he never managed to cage it in; all he could do was try to soften the blow with kinder words and slight reparations. 

But the demands continued, and she stopped putting her hakama on in the first place from time to time. Those days he treated her to glowing praise, rewarding her like a well behaved pet. She responded in kind, eyes hazy with the contentment of total loyalty, and the offending garment never came back.

It could’ve stopped there, with her broken spirit crudely reshaped to prioritize the need to please—The need to please him. That idea...did things to him, in the deep, bestial lobes of his brain; the only parts holding any sway through the thriving shroud. Other thoughts formed, but their voices were dim through the veil. Only one reached his ears: break her limits.

The next practice started as most did, as he outlined her goals for the day, what shortcomings to focus on, before airily telling her to remove her kimono, not even bothering to give a reason. She froze like a startled rabbit; a whirlwind of emotions passed across her face, settling on a look of dazed submission. Her hands slipped to her sash, loosening it with weak, listless motions. She let it fall quietly as she peeled off the rest of the cloth, flicking her gaze between him and the ground. Every inch of flesh she exposed received his undivided attention, and while certainly not shameless, he was absolutely enjoying it. She was left with a only plain, thin undershirt and equally simple briefs to clothe herself; there was still quite a bit left to the imagination, but she fidgeted and tried to cover everything she could with her arms. He could probably push her even further, but at the moment he was satisfied with drinking in her embarrassment, the beautiful red of her skin, and the heavy way she breathed. 

He surfaced to lucidity for an instant, realizing how foreign all of this was to him, and suppressed pain and loathing besieged him. It was incoherent as it was urgent, baying of how something was wrong with him, how this wasn't right, how he was decaying and foul. It grew distant as he was tugged back under, submerged into the sweet silence of fog. It was comfortable, more sedate; any turmoil that used to deafen him was stifled and fell silent, then absorbed into the vague mist. It's easier this way, without all that turbulence. Enjoy yourself. Enjoy her. Enjoy her...the way sweat glossed her shoulders and nape, making them shimmer at every shot she took...He nodded absently, eyes fastened to her.

The pattern of harsh and gentle conduct continued once more, though rarely did she ever necessitate the former. She stripped willingly, though uncertainly, never opposed him, and her skill with the bow was showing genuine promise. Whenever she did slip though, she was derided and degraded ruthlessly, driving her to the brink; but never further, so she could be coaxed and soothed back. Each time, she was pushed just a little bit closer to the edge, in preparation for that final break, when the beast of wrath exploded out of him. Its tone was measured and calm, but the cruelty in its words hit their ears like a roar. "You are not my family, and you never will be."

She didn't protest or cry, merely staring dumbly at him, hazily and unfocused. Her mouth hung open, like she had been paralyzed in the middle of saying something. He wanted to take it back, to explain himself, but he couldn't; he hadn't known how badly he wanted to say those words until they bubbled past his lips, absolving him of every thought that poisoned him. If they weren't family, he could be with her, he wouldn't be pushed aside anymore, it would all fall into place.

He faintly noticed how fuzzy everything around him suddenly looked. Familiar vapor choked the area, barely leaving her visible steps in front of him. Effluvium wreathed her form, slinking across her face, settling into her eyes, clouding them over entirely. A voice—not a thought, a voice—spoke softly from inside his head. It resonated like ripples on water, growing larger and deeper with each echo on the edges of his skull, commanding him to comply before the words even reached him. This is her ideal state to serve. 

She hung limply, swaying on her feet for a moment, before collapsing. Her body crumpled to a kneeling position, hands folded neatly in her lap, posture unnaturally perfect and pin straight, like a porcelain doll. Her head inclined up to stare through him vacantly; her lips were slightly parted, and a deep flush tinged her skin. Air came to her shakily and thickly, making her pant heavily. 

He could do nothing but look at her at first, out of both stupefaction and the fear of what would happen when that trance broke. When he moved to her, it was gentle, gentler than he had ever dared to treat her prior; he cupped her face in one hand, curling his fingers behind the curve of her jaw, running his thumb along her cheek. He gauged for some sort of reaction, but somehow knew to expect none. Her expression remained blank, any dim light left in her eyes swallowed by mist. They followed him emptily, pausing as she seemed to notice his touch against her satin-soft skin. She sunk to meet his thumb, first in a soft kiss, then sliding it past her lips.

He went rigid as she pulled him into her mouth, but didn’t stop her. The back of her tongue rubbed along the tip of his digit, while she let the rest of the muscle slide out and play across his palm. Both of her hands braced his one, splaying his fingers and closing them together as she tried to soak more in her saliva. She slipped one into her mouth, then another, sucking them slowly as far in as she could fit. That seemed to be her capacity, at least; she tried to nudge one more in, failed, and lazily moved it aside, painting a trail of drool across her cheek. She ran her tongue up each digit, sliding down it to the next, alternating from using the rough, velvety surface to the hot, slick underside. There was nothing to say of the sensation, but the burning it invoked in him was another matter. The submissiveness of her glances, the gentle way she squeezed his wrist, the long, slurping licks she covered his skin with, were all promises of what was to come—what she could make him feel. Heat rose in his collar and sunk to his groin, making him brutally aware of how close it was to her face.

She lagged to a halt, looking sluggishly up at him for approval, or perhaps an order. He could give none, not while his complete bewilderment and apprehension were struggling with depraved arousal for command over his body. Always a battle. the voice tutted, pulsing in an unearthly frequency. Each word it spoke hummed through his every bone, prickling and itching at him from the inside out. So much to think about. Acting inexorably bears more fruit than simple reflection. The body knows more than the mind in that regard. Tension drained from his limbs, wisping away out of his skin in a dozy tide. It's hard to think. Any thoughts that formed instantly lost cohesion and wobbled into nothingness, leaving only the throb of need to drive him.

What even is there to think about?

He slid his hand out of the sodden heat of her mouth finger by finger, drawing each viscous, translucent thread of saliva away from her face. They broke onto her cheek as he smeared spit up it and into her hair, where it hung and beaded like dew in a spiderweb. He tangled a lock around his fist and jerked her closer, drifting his other hand to his waist to frantically untie and discard anything in the way. She let out a small puff of air, something short of a gasp, as he forced her between his legs, just askew of the brazenly tenting fabric he was trying to push aside. There was no resistance from her, but no motion either; she only gazed up at him, mouth slung open, breath melting through his clothes to run hot along his flesh.

The arousal was almost painful at that point; even if he could still think, he wouldn’t be able to entertain any thought but release. His fingers twitched against her head as visions of attaining it flooded through him, pooling into his aching shaft. With a final grunt, he tugged his breeches past his erection to let it bob freely into the thick air. Red eyes remained blank, fastened on his face instead of that part of his body that so sorely needed her attention. He dug his grip into her hair further, crudely pointing her towards his member, so close that her lips nearly brushed against the flushed skin. Dim recognition slouched over her face as she raised her hand to caress the underside, encircling his cock in featherlight touches. He hissed in gratification as the heel of her palm sunk into his flesh, her fingers roaming over the rest of his length to prelude a languid, pumping rhythm. 

His head lolled back as he gasped and panted to her efforts, scalding bliss pulsing through his veins. Both hands were on him now, one moving along at the base of his shaft, the other playing about the head, coaxing out drips of pre; she swiped some away with her thumb, bringing it to her mouth to clean off. Flaxen hair tumbled loosely out of trembling fingers as his control slipped with it. His eyelids drooped as pleasure faded into complacency, needy as he was to let himself go. The haze coiled about him, however, was far from satisfied—it constricted his throat, furiously reminding him that she wasn't obeying his desire, provoking the froth of beastly ire into a tumult. 

Dominance ripped through his body to yank her forward once more, this time unrelentingly onto his cock. Soft lips enveloped the glans, and aggression evaporated instantly as he choked on his breath. She didn't react to the force, insensate beyond finally recognizing her directive. One hand remained clasped on his length, stroking all the way down to the hilt, the other limply falling to her side. She slumped forward, taking his shaft into her mouth in a laggard trance. The velour of her tongue welcomed him into its slick, torrid embrace, slathering drool across his flesh. Pathetic, whining moans punctuated every slight bob of her head, tangled with incoherent obscenities and words of praise. Whether it was encouragement or some deep seated, carnal tempo, she picked up the pace, lips gliding further and further down his member, tongue swirling about the tip. 

The melting, dripping warmth he sheathed in was more then enough, but that it was her...The face so many people knew as the embodiment of innocence, buried into his groin, slobber and pre staining the corners of her mouth, white-gold tresses disheveled and stained with moisture, once shining, ruby red eyes diluted and blurred to a dull sanguine; that image of her, depraved and debauched, looking up at him demurely, obediently, sent shivers to the base of his spine that drove every jolt of his hips. It disgusted him, that he had some long hidden desire to see her like this, but he was long past caring about anything beyond how good it felt, how he had her to himself—isn't that what he'd wanted?

He found no answer to that question. Straining tugs in her hair turned to gentle strokes as he foundered about for his dissipated resolve in the endless veil. It should've—would've been easy, before...before...?

His body abruptly slammed forward, burying every inch of his cock into her, all the way to her throat. A strangled, gasping yelp escaped him as the new wave of stimulation nearly drowned him, washing away his senses. The wet, silken sleeve around his shaft was more than he could even hope to resist, and he helplessly bucked into it without regard to her. All the same, though; she didn't even gag, simply drifting her eyes closed to resign herself to the frenzied pummeling. Salacious, wet slaps and slurps faded into the air, growing in volume with his desperate cries. He braced himself into her hair, deliriously grasping for both control and something to keep him from losing his balance; he settled with one hand atop her head, the other behind her ear, sliding her up and down his length. 

Humiliating babble sloshed out of his mouth, passing only as muffled whines when he bit his lip. Lost in pleasure as he was, his expression contorted; one eye screwed shut, the other doggedly on hers, so her face would be burned into his vision when he reached his rapidly approaching climax. A long, sharp vibration in her throat shook him out of his focus on that horizon—not enough for him to stop, or even slow down, but enough to have both eyes blearily attempt to focus on her. He tore his gaze away from the hypnotic way his cock disappeared past her lips again and again to appraise the rest of her body. She still knelt dutifully, the chaste position only highlighting the bright red blooming on her chest, creeping up to her shoulders. One arm hung loose in her lap, but the other slid between her thighs; her hand left a slender outline in her underwear that dipped in sync with his thrusts.

That was the final push. He howled in ecstasy as it engulfed him, surging up his shaft and tingling through the rest of his body in glorious release. His knees buckled as spurt after spurt of semen flooded directly down her throat, which flexed and rippled in the intent to drain out every drop. The orgasmic thrill demanded him to ride himself out until that wish was satisfied, and he obliged. Ropes of cum became threads, drips, then ceased; the tide of gratification ebbed away, surfacing suppressed rationale—moans hollowed and cracked into sobs. 

For a moment, complete and total clarity suffocated him, scorched him as hot tears rolling down his cheeks, forced him to remember every deplorable, despicable act he'd committed, how this was his miserable goal, satisfying his desire and rendering her even more pathetic than him all at once, spat at him in his own voice about his betrayal to his own mother, and for daring to be unsatisfied with the results he'd worked so hard to cultivate—but only for a moment.

Then the silence rolled in, the effluvial, calming silence, blanketing both of them, swallowing their pained, crumpled forms into its endless promise of ease and ataraxia.