It had seemed like such an easy answer.
The Slates magnified power, they granted power in excess and for a moment all of that power was the Silver King’s to wield. He had thought it to be a simple thing of righting the past.
If he could go back, like they were whispering to him right now- then he could save the young man up on the rooftop that the Colorless King killed to get to him. If he could go back he could offer his assistance to the Red King, keep his Weismann level from plummeting down to earth and keep his blood off of the hands of the Blue King.
Said Blue King whose Weismann level was starting to show signs of deterioration after the whole event. Japan needed the calm Blue King to keep everything in order. Already the Green King was making a pull for power and with his precarious position the Blue King had to know that he was risking everything going into battle so soon against another King. Or maybe he didn’t care, after all something seemed broken in the Blue King despite his strong walls since the death of the Red King. Shiro wondered if they were friends, or if they had been at one time, and now Red King’s blood was on Blue King’s hands and Shiro wanted desperately to wash it away.
They had never intended for any of this when they first started experimenting with the Slates. Shiro’s sure of it, they couldn’t have wanted it to end this way. They had just wanted to help, to end suffering. Now instead they had turned innocent people into living weapons.
A long time ago, shortly after gaining his powers as the Silver King, Adolf had come to the conclusion that the Slates might be able to play with the coming and going of time. With his own immortality now glaring him in the face he had thought that he’d go back, stop his sister from dying and stop the Slates from ever being awoken.
Of course they had not backed his plea back then and no matter how hard he had tried, the secret of time travel seemed to be just a silly myth. The dream of a crazy old man with all the time in the world on his hands. When Adolf realized that he would not be able to undo his transgression he took to the sky, claiming that it was his domain while the earth was the Gold King’s.
He always appreciated the fact that the Lieutenant never called him out on his cowardice. He had always let him pretend that he was just disenchanted with life, with a life everlasting. Adolf knew deep down that the Lieutenant knew otherwise. Adolf felt responsible, and this self-imposed exile was the only thought that he could come up with as his penance.
It would make sense though, for the Slates to feel the strain on the line of Kings and reply with a way to fix them. That they had called to the first King they made and offer him a chance to adjust what went wrong. To cruelly give him the option that they once deemed unfit to offer.
Of course they would offer when Shiro had something to lose this time around.
Last time he had already lost everything, he had nothing to live for and nothing to look forward to. He dreamed of being reunited with his sister and of erasing his transgression to god. He had been without anything for so long that it was almost ironic that they offered now.
Now when Shiro had so much to lose.
He had Neko, and he had Kuroh. Both of whom he loves with all of his heart, and if he does this- they’ll be taken from him. Neko will return to being just some stray cat wandering the streets, uncared for. Kuroh will return to being the Black Dog, the mutt without a master desperately seeking to fulfill his last masters dying wish.
They won’t be his clansmen anymore.
They won’t be his family anymore.
They won’t even remember him.
Because he’ll have rewritten time, adjusted everything that brought them together in the first place. He’ll have made their sacrifices and their battles meaningless to anyone else but him.
And he’ll have to live forever with that knowledge.
Shiro pauses and glances up at his reflection in a nearby window. He smiles slightly and inclines his head to the reflection of Yashiro Isana. He figures that it was amazing while it lasted. But he can’t be so selfish to condemn others for his own happiness.
He vaguely wonders if Kuroh would be proud of his decision as the power flows up his arm and turns everything dark.
It’s weird, to be back in his old body.
Adolf sighs as he absentmindedly plays with a long piece of silver hair. He forgot how tall just a few inches can make you feel as he makes his way over to the windows, pulling his hair back into a loose ponytail.
He doesn’t have much time. The Slates are powerful, but apparently they have limits. Adolf has no time to come up with a strategy, because he’s only been returned within minutes of the initial event.
Walking over to the open bay door, he feels the wind tug at him in a way that is no longer terrifying. He’s already fallen from here, except this time around it’ll be of his own design.
With that in mind- He jumps.
It’s almost amusing, the way that the Colorless King’s face drops in confused surprise. Adolf wonders if he ever wore that expression and he figures he must have with the way Kuroh would roll his eyes or respond to him sometimes.
Adolf does have to admit it looks really funny.
The bullet barely hurts, and it’s healed before Adolf can even spend a second thinking about it, a phantom pain that’s already gone away as he stands to his full height, holding out an arm to protect Tosuka from the fox. The brunette is taking everything down on his camera which is still recording and Adolf addresses the other King.
“It’s over. Come with me and let’s end this peacefully.”
“It’s not over, it’s never over.”
“You’ve already lost Colorless King. I know what you are, I know what you can do, and I know what you want. Most importantly, and unfortunately for you, I also know how far you’re willing to go to do it. This is unacceptable, for anyone but especially for a King.” It seems weird to call the body in front of him Yashiro in his mind, but he guesses that must be true now. Whoever was in that body before has already been consumed by the fox, Adolf feels remorse for a moment that he never took the time to figure out the young man’s name. Yashiro’s eyes dart back and forth frantically. “Tatara Totsuka, please refrain from making eye contact. Our friend here has a nasty habit of jumping bodies when it pleases him. I would hate to have you lost to him after coming down here to save you.”
Totsuka glances up at Adolf like he almost can’t believe what’s happening before he nods and glances down. Adolf figures that even with his curiosity, he’s guessing that it’s in his best interests to listen to the man who literally fell from the sky to take a bullet for him.
“No…this can’t be happening. You don’t interfere! You never interfere!” Yashiro spits at him and Adolf nods lightly.
“And yet, even I acknowledge that there is a time to sit idly by and a time to get involved. Congratulations, you’ve gotten me involved.”
It crosses Adolf’s mind that the fox is going to try to get away, but that Adolf can’t let him. If he does- the next body he might jump into could be Kuroh’s. Kuroh is looking for him after all and without knowledge of what he can do- Kuroh could be overtaken and consumed.
Adolf almost doesn’t realize that he’s clenched his fist for a few moments as he attempts to calm down the irrational fear and anger that just swept through him. Kuroh will be safe, even if he doesn’t remember making the pledge to Adolf he’s still his clansman and this time around Adolf will protect him. Even if they never become friends again.
Adolf figures that it was bound to all go wrong. Hubris after all is a common downfall of all men and it would appear that he is no different. He thought that he’d save Totsuka and take the Colorless King into custody where he would allow the other Kings to pass judgement. He figured that he’d watch Neko and Kuroh from afar and take care of them through their lives.
What he didn’t figure was that one of the Red Clan members would show up to come check on Totsuka. What he didn’t figure was Totsuka offhandedly mentioning that Yashiro had tried to kill him- and Yata? Adolf thinks that’s his name- Yata of course freaks out and tries to kill the fox as retribution.
It feels like hours have passed, but Adolf knows that it’s only been a few minutes at best. He glances down off the balcony at the horrible shape down below.
“Is he dead?” Totsuka asks quietly from alongside him and Adolf shakes his head. While it would be true of anyone else falling off the side of a building this high- Adolf figures that the fox abandoned the body and has grabbed a new vessel elsewhere.
“Unlikely.” He offers up to the other as Yata comes over to fuss about the brunette.
“Um…thank you…for saving me.” Totsuka offers up and Adolf gives him a gentle smile.
“You handled yourself pretty well all things considered. If you could do me one favor?” Totsuka nods enthusiastically and Adolf is hit with the thought that Neko would love him to pieces before he continues with his request. “I need to speak with the Red King. It’s a matter of upmost urgency. Please tell him that the Silver King is heading to Scepter 4 to hold a meeting between Kings. I formally request his presence.” Yata’s face clouds with anger.
“Mikoto isn’t going anywhere near those pansies.” Adolf just glances at the Red Clansman.
“The Colorless King just attempted to kill one of his vassals in order to start a war between Kings. I’m sure that he’d like to at least know our plan for handling the situation least the Colorless King tries again.” Whatever Yata plans on spewing next is stopped by Totsuka’s hand on his arm.
“Of course, we’ll inform him.” Adolf nods and sighs before taking to the air. He needs to contact Scepter 4, and he needs to get this well in hand. It wasn’t supposed to go like this.
There’s a brief moment of indecision that crosses his mind as he pauses in the air. Neko will be in the shed. She’ll be scared and looking for food. Adolf could go to her. He could offer his friendship to her, it won’t be the same as the first time around, but he can take care of her better this time.
He’s above the shed before he even realizes that he made a conscious effort to go. He’s wondering if this is a good plan, or if he should leave Neko out of it for now. Maybe he’ll come back for her after the danger has passed?
Any choice on the matter is taken away from him when a loud explosion of fireworks catches him off guard- cutting his concentration and causing him to plummet through the flimsy roof of the shed.
He lies there for a few moments, debris around him and the sound of Neko hissing in the background before a laugh forces its way out of his throat. He sits up, still chuckling as he brushes himself off before he looks at Neko with a soft look.
“I’m so sorry. I honestly didn’t plan for that to happen. I didn’t mean to frighten you.” Neko’s unsure for a few seconds, before Adolf holds out a hand for her and she comes over, sniffing him to see if he’s safe. It’s almost out of habit that he starts stroking her fur and scratching behind her ears.
By the time Kukuri enters the area looking for the loud noise, Neko is curled up in Adolf’s lap purring contentedly.
“I’m sorry…who are you?” Adolf smiles at her and stands up, cradling Neko in his arm.
“I was just looking for my cat. So sorry.” He goes to leave and glances around at the merriment, he has a brief moment of nostalgia before he shakes his head and walks away. He looks down at Neko before petting behind her ear. “Now this might scare you, but don’t worry. I’m not going to drop you.” Is all he offers before he takes to the sky again.
He’s semi thankful for his invulnerability as he’s a hundred percent sure that if he didn’t have it- his arm would resemble a scratching post with Neko’s initial response to flying.
She gets into it eventually, and Adolf pets her as a reward before they land at the gates to Scepter 4. The Blue Clansmen at the gate seem unsure how to handle the strange man who just flew to their door and he smiles with a small wave.
“Hello, my name is Adolf K. Weismann. I’d like to speak with Munakata Reisi the Blue King over a matter most urgent.” The two look at each other and Adolf pauses. “Oh…and you might want to give him a heads up that I may have already invited Suoh Mikoto, the Red King to this little meeting.” With the information that the Red King could be fast approaching, one of the soldiers rushes off to inform command of what’s happening.
It of course doesn’t take long before the Blue King comes outside himself to greet him.
“Adolf K. Weismann the Silver King. To what do I owe this pleasure?” Adolf inclines his head.
“I intend to inform you of a plot against the Kings being carried out by the new Colorless King. As well as to ask your assistance with handling the matter.” Munakata tilts his head a little before nodding for him to enter. He pauses for a few moments before Mikoto turns the corner. He’s got no one with him, his hands in his pockets and his body language completely at ease. He doesn’t say anything to the guardsmen as he just walks in walking past Munakata and heading into the building.
“Well it appears that the Red King has decided to grace us with his presence. Should I be expecting any other Kings to show up?” Adolf considers the possibility before he shrugs.
“The Gold King tends to be everywhere, and I’m sure if he feels like coming he’ll come. If not, then I’ll visit him afterwards to inform him of our plan. As for the Green King…well we’ll deal with that when it comes time.” Munakata nods, seemingly not caught off guard by the fact that the Silver King knows about the trouble that the Jungle group is causing them. They walk through the doors in relative silence before Adolf reaches out and taps Munakata’s shoulder.
“I was wondering if I could make a request?” Munakata motions for him to continue. “The Colorless King is dangerous. He has the ability to steal bodies and consume souls… I am aware that the former vassal to the previous Colorless King is looking for the new one. I fear that without this knowledge he could find himself in danger.”
“You refer to the Black Dog?”
“Why should he concern you? He is not one of yours.” Adolf shakes his head.
“I don’t believe that we should look at it that way. A vassal is a vassal and as Kings we should endeavor to protect everyone that we can. There’s no reason to have a them or us mentality.” Munakata seems to take him in for a second, Adolf figures that it’s because his time as Shiro has changed him. Made him more like he was back before the Dresden Slates gave him these abilities. He hasn’t been like this for decades and he’s not surprised that the Blue King is filing away information about him for a later date.
Munakata doesn’t say anything in response he just pulls out his cell phone and places a call.
“I want all available teams out looking for the Black Dog, Yatogami Kuroh. No, not to apprehend him, but to inform him that we have vital information about the new Colorless King that he should have before he attempts to approach him. When he comes let him right in.” Adolf nods as he enters the room and he only prays that they find Kuroh before the fox does.
He takes his seat on the side opposite Mikoto and waits for Munakata to sit before he starts.
“First things first, thank you Blue King Munakata Reisi for allowing me the use of your territory for this meeting.” Munakata nods to him and he turns to Mikoto. “Second, thank you Suoh Mikoto the Red King for accepting my request for a meeting.” He feels funny, constantly saying their titles and being so formal but he figures that it’s a requirement this time around. It appears that for a second time the Blue, Red and Silver clans are getting ready to make a truce against a common enemy.
Just the meetings taking place in much nicer accommodations this time around.
“Now to the matter at hand. We have a problem, the seventh King- the Colorless King has decided that he will be the strongest and only King in existence. He has utilized his ability to consume energy and possess bodies to take on a King’s aura. He intends to take us all out one by one. Now under normal circumstances I would not find this troubling, however due to events that I cannot disclose I can tell you without a doubt that this is something that we need to take seriously. The breaking of the Red Aura puts us at a disadvantage, he intends to force your hand and use up your strength before consuming your power. I cannot repair your Sword, but I may have some ideas as how to prevent it worsening if you’ll hear me out.” Mikoto doesn’t respond and for a moment Adolf wonders if he’s fallen asleep. He realizes a moment later that no- he’s wide awake but he’s trying to temper the Red Aura. “I can try to help you Mikoto, if you let me.”
“Don’t waste your time.” Is the flippant response and Adolf leans over to whisper in Mikoto’s ear. Munakata arches an eyebrow at the breach of respect but doesn’t say anything.
“Please realize that I cannot tell you everything, but I will give you this. When you die and the Red Aura passes on to the next intended…It will take Anna.”
Adolf has to lean back at the sudden flames that engulf Mikoto’s body. His glare is powerful and Adolf holds up his hands in a peaceful gesture. “I do not lie, what I have told you is true. Please, allow me to help you.” Adolf knows he’s striking a low blow. Mikoto loves Anna, probably as his own daughter and just the thought of Anna being forced to contend with the strain of the Red Aura is enough to move him into action. He takes a second before the flames die down and he nods once. Munakata pushes his glasses back up his face.
“Well, that was an unexpected turn of events.” He states sarcastically and Mikoto shoots him a bored look. The almost playful challenge in the Blue King’s returned glance tells Adolf everything he needs to know.
There’s history here.
There’s a lot of history here.
And that might help him. That might help them all.
“Well, then to get to business. How are we going to handle the Colorless King’s ambition?”
It’s painful in a way he didn’t expect it to be. Seeing Kuroh again for the first time since he went back. His first reaction was to smile and wave, let Kuroh know that he’s okay and go to his side. It only takes a second to realize that’ll never happen again.
Instead the Black Dog walks through the halls with purpose. He doesn’t seem concerned by being surrounded by potential enemies and Adolf is stricken with the thought that Kuroh is all alone right now. Kuroh thinks that if this all goes down badly, if this is a trap then he’s alone. He’ll have to handle it alone.
He has no idea that Adolf would never allow it.
Adolf has to hide his response to Kuroh’s lack of acknowledgement to him. When the blue eyes of his former friend glance over him with no response. None of the softness that Adolf has become used to.
“Thank you for coming.” Munakata offers as he holds open the door to his office and Kuroh enters. Adolf is surprised for a second when Munakata follows him and closes the door after him. He almost wants to bang on the door and demand to know what Munakata is playing at before he realizes- Kuroh isn’t his clansman. There is no reason for Adolf to be in the room, or to even be near the Black Dog. Neko whines as if sensing his despair and Adolf smiles down at her and scratches her ear.
He can’t help but lean up against the door to try and get snippets of their conversation. True to form, Munakata is being quick and thorough. He informs Kuroh about the fox spirit who has received the powers of his former master. He tells him not to ever look it in the eyes and certain other ways to protect himself from it.
“So you’re saying that in theory, the Colorless King could be anyone.” Kuroh states and he hears Munakata make a soft agreeing sound.
“We intend to deal with the situation.”
“I have my orders.”
“I understand that. Your loyalty to your former master is commendable.” Adolf almost wants to snort in amusement. Munakata has no idea how loyal and amazing Kuroh is. Kuroh who took Munakata on to protect an amnesiac even though he knew he couldn’t win. “It would behoove us both to work together.” Adolf pauses, what on earth is Munakata getting at? “I’ve seen your file, I’ve heard the stories about your abilities. I’ll admit I’m intrigued. Seeing as right now you have no clan I wish to formally offer you an invitation to join Scepter 4.”
Adolf feels like he’s just been submerged in ice. Kuroh can’t become a Blue Clansman. He’s his- he’s his clansman, he’s his family, he’s his!
“I appreciate the offer, but I’m afraid I must decline.”
“Too soon to pledge to another King?” There’s silence and Adolf wishes he could see Kuroh’s face. His face was always so expressive and always told Adolf everything he ever needed to know about what was going through the raven haired boy’s mind. “I understand. The offer is on the table, and I offer without recourse Scepter 4’s resources to help track down the Colorless King. Regardless if you’re one of mine or not we should work together.”
“Thank you for your hospitality.”
“Please repay it by keeping us in the loop with anything you learn.”
“Of course. You’ve shown me respect and kindness, I shall do the same.” Adolf hears Kuroh get up and go to leave.
“Remember that the offer is on the table.” Comes the last words spoken by the Blue King and Kuroh exits the room. He goes to walk away when Adolf calls out to him.
“Kuroh.” The Black Dog pauses and glances at him. “Um…I just…I just wanted to say hi. I never met the former Colorless King, but I hear he was a good man.” A painful look crosses Kuroh’s face and he nods.
“I just…if you ever need anything, please don’t be a stranger.” Adolf knows he means it in a different way, but Kuroh takes it in stride as just a friendly offer. “I was actually thinking of taking to the streets. Going to the last place that the fox was.” He wasn’t actually thinking of doing that, but the words tumble out of his mouth as Kuroh turns his back to him and goes to walk off. Kuroh stops and twists his head to look at Adolf. “If you wanted to join me. It might be nice to have a second pair of eyes from someone who wasn’t there when the whole thing went down.”
“You’ve met the new King?”
“Yeah, I was there when he tried to kill a Red Clansman.” Kuroh’s hand tightens on Kotowari and Adolf remembers the rule that Kuroh is under right now. “I’d love the company and I’d be willing to answer any questions you might have.” Kuroh seems to think about it for a second before he nods once and Adolf immediately finds himself going to his side and trailing after him. It’s weird being slightly taller than Kuroh, since he had gotten used to always looking up to the young swordsman. “I’m Adolf.” He offers up, having to bite his tongue to keep him from offering up the name Shiro. He’s not Shiro anymore, Shiro never existed and instead Adolf is just going to have to do.
Kuroh nods formally before they continue on to their destination. Adolf takes this as a potential start to their story again. He doesn’t know how, but he’s going to fix all of this. He’s going to stop the Colorless King, he’s going to save the Red King and he’s going to get Kuroh back.
That’s the plan. For better or worse.
“How did you surprise him?” Kuroh asks as he glances around the roof and takes in where Adolf said everyone was. Adolf points at the sky.
“I just kind of…dropped in.” He gives Kuroh a grin and the other gives him a blank look, it dampens some of Adolf’s amusement. “Oh…uh my ability. I’m invulnerable and I can kind of fly. I literally dropped down from my airship.”
“And the Colorless King was caught unaware?”
“Is that surprising? Wouldn’t you be a little surprised if someone just dropped down out of the sky in front of you?”
“My former master had the ability to predict the future. I can take it from his surprise at your arrival that the new King fortunately does not have a similar gift.”
“Oh…I see. Um, no I don’t think that’s something he can do. That would be really, really bad if he could.” Kuroh just nodded once, glancing around the area.
“There’s far too many windows and houses down below to even begin knowing where he went. I agree with the initial assessment that he is most certainly not dead.”
“Yeah, I doubt we’re that lucky.” There was a pause where Kuroh seemed to be taking in the various houses that the Colorless King could have gone to as Adolf glanced at the young man. With the moon behind him, Kuroh looked as breathtaking as he did the first time they met, when he saved Shiro from the Red Clansmen and pulled him into his embrace.
Adolf realizes he’s staring once Kuroh looks at him and tilts his head as if to ask ‘what?’ and Adolf gets a nervous smile as he feels himself flushing. “So sorry, I didn’t mean to-” Immediately Kuroh’s hand is on the hilt of Kotowari as he kneels down into a fight stance, cutting off Adolf’s apology.
“We’re surrounded.” He offers seconds before they’re beset upon by Gold Clansmen. The Gold’s pull out weapons, probably in response to Kuroh’s stance and his reputation for being quite capable in a fight. Adolf glances in his direction and he can see Kuroh taking in all the exits, he can see the look that Kuroh used to get when he had to figure out how to not only get himself out of a problem, but get Neko and Shiro out of it too.
Adolf’s hit with a strong feeling of fondness for the other. He doesn’t even really know him and yet he’s already made the decision to take on all of these people to protect him and get him to safety.
Munakata Reisi will not get this bewitchingly stubborn man.
“Silver King, Adolf K. Weismann. Come with us please.” Kuroh slides a little closer to Adolf.
“He will do no such thing.” Kuroh states and it seems to rankle the Gold’s who are clearly not used to being denied. They seem to come to a unanimous decision though as they all tighten their grip on their weapons and Kuroh preps for battle.
“Enough.” His voice is strangely calm, if not deceptively so. Everyone seems to take in the command for what it is though and Adolf places a hand on Kuroh’s shoulder. “They’re right, I need to speak with the Gold King.” He offers to the young swordsman. “However, you will put your weapons away. Yatogami Kuroh is under my protection and I will not abide any harm befalling him. Is that understood?” The Golds seem to take in his dangerously serious tone and the leader nods before motioning for them all to put away their weapons.
“Our apologies. We did not realize he was yours.” He can feel Kuroh start to tense under his hand and he cuts off anything the other would have said.
“Kuroh is his own. However he is my guest at the moment, and I will not be pleased if you were to take action against him.” They nod and clear a path for him and he looks at Kuroh with an apologetic smile. “So sorry to get you mixed up in all of this. If you could please bear with me for a moment longer?” Kuroh pauses and seems to think about it, clearly wanting to go after the Colorless King before his manners catch up with him and he nods, taking his hand off his sword.
“Of course.” Adolf grins and pets Neko to calm her. It’ll be nice to see the Gold King again, perhaps he can save his old friend as well now that he won’t need to save Adolf from his own silly plans.
“You should have come to me.” The Lieutenant growls and Adolf grins sheepishly as he scratches the back of his head.
“Yeah…sorry about that.”
“The Slates act up, you come down from your airship and now the Red and Blue Kings are supposedly working together. What the hell have you been up to?”
“Okay…well that’s all a long story. You see…um…well do you want the truth or like a really, really well thought up lie that’s going to make you feel better about this whole thing?” The Gold King just arches an eyebrow and slowly Adolf crumbles under his bored look. “Okay, truth it is. I’m not the Adolf you know. Not really.”
“Remember when I told you that I believed the Slates to have the power to alter time?”
“When you wanted to undo the Dresden Slate. I remember.”
“Well, it works, but only when it wants to. You see in a year from now everything will be messed up. The Colorless King will have died, the Red King will have died, the Blue Aura is breaking, the Green King is making a bid for the Slates to unleash their power over everything, and you my friend…you finally use the last of your power to assist me…The Gold King falls as well.” He watches surprise cross the others face as he takes a seat next to him. “The Slates felt the unrest and pushed me back in time to adjust what happened.”
“Due to your invulnerability you might be the only one suited to make the trip.”
“Probably. So I’m here now, trying to fix it all.”
“The Red Aura is failing, Suoh is careless with his power.”
“I’ll help him.”
“Munakata is proud and unlikely to accept your help.”
“I’ll manage somehow.”
“This Colorless King sounds like he’s going to be a pain.”
“That’s why I needed everyone’s help. We shouldn’t go around seeing ourselves as separate entities anymore. We should have understandings, truces even. We should work together.”
“And the two downstairs? The Strain and the Black Dog?” He gave Adolf a look. “It’s not like you to pick up strays.”
“In the other timeline, they were my clansmen. I guess I couldn’t help but reach out to them again.” The Lieutenant’s face showed surprise at the statement.
“I thought you pledged to never take on a clansman?” Adolf found himself smiling.
“They’re different. They’re not just my clansmen, they’re my family. They reminded me what it was like to have a family, to be happy.”
“Careful Adolf…remember your…condition.” Adolf felt his smile fall.
“I know…believe me my friend I know, but I can’t help it. So I figure I may as well get as much time with them as I possibly can.”
“Well, let us deal with these troublesome Kings first, and then we’ll deal with whatever comes next for you.”
“Thank you Lieutenant.”
“That’s King to you.” Adolf grinned.
“Of course. My bad Lieutenant.”
“So sorry about that.” Adolf greeted as he entered the waiting area only to have Neko leap into his arms. She meowed piteously and he scratched behind her ear. “Oh, you must be so hungry. I’m sorry. They brought my ship here so let’s go make you some food.” Adolf opens the door to the balcony before glancing over at Kuroh. “Are you coming?”
“I respectfully decline. I should get back to tracking the evil King.” A pang of nostalgia hits Adolf and he shakes his head.
“You should get something to eat first. Besides, I’m rubbish at cooking, I could use the help.” Kuroh shakes his head before walking over and bowing at the waist.
“I appreciate the concern, but it’s not necessary. I’ll take my leave.” Adolf rolled his eyes, reaching out for the other and catching him by the wrist.
“I’m concerned, and what kind of host would I be if I didn’t at least feed you before you left?”
“I told them you were my guest remember? You wouldn’t want me to portray myself as a bad host would you?” Kuroh pauses like he’s not sure if Adolf is serious or completely kidding with him. Adolf figures he’ll take it, as he puts Neko up on his shoulder. “Hold on tight.” He tells her as he tugs on Kuroh’s wrist pulling the young swordsman off balance a little.
“What?” Comes Kuroh’s confused exclamation when Adolf secures an arm around his back and slides the other under his knees to pick him up.
“Don’t worry Kuroh. I’d never let you fall.” He offers up to the confused teenager as he walks out onto the balcony.
“What are you doing? Put me down this instant!” There it is, some of Kuroh’s stubbornness and embarrassment. God how Adolf’s already missed it.
“Uh…nope.” He says cheerfully as he leaps into the sky- he’ll admit he treasures the look of confused terror on Kuroh’s face for a brief moment before Kuroh seems to realize that they’re doing the opposite of what gravity is supposed to be doing right now.
If he shows off a little, causing Kuroh to have to hold onto him a little in return- well Adolf figures it can’t be helped.
It’s strange to have Kuroh and Neko in the airship with him. He never realized how…opulent and well…slightly ridiculous the whole place is until he decided to host his friends there.
Kuroh is acting at home in the kitchen, Adolf always kept a steady supply of fresh produce and spices on the ship and right now they’re in the hands of a master chef. Adolf can’t wait until Kuroh is done, and apparently neither can Neko. Granted they did burn a few calories when she shifted back into her human form upon coming to the ship and Kuroh freaked out causing Adolf and him to chase her around trying to clothe her.
Adolf forgot how long it took to get her to leave a simple shirt on. By the time they had finished, Adolf was panting heavily and Neko was whining horribly about being hungry.
It’s strange to hear her call him her ‘Adolf’ instead of her ‘Shiro’ but at least she hasn’t changed in the slightest, so Adolf will take it. He glances at Kuroh’s back as the other continues cooking. He wonders what he can say to convince Kuroh to stay. What words will bring forth the friendship that they enjoyed before?
How can Adolf make Kuroh realize that he loves him without freaking him out entirely?
There’s a pause as Adolf thinks about his train of thought. Loves him? Does he love Kuroh? Of course he does, Kuroh is his family. Kuroh kept Neko and the school safe while Shiro was away. Kuroh never once stopped looking for him, and Kuroh is the only person besides the Lieutenant that Adolf can think about trusting implicitly with all of his secrets.
Because he knows Kuroh would never betray him. He thinks Kuroh loved him when he was his King.
But Adolf’s not Kuroh’s King anymore, no matter how much he wishes that wasn’t so right now.
He figures he’s not surprised, he’s been ignoring the writing on the wall for the last year and a half. He loved Kuroh back when he had no memories and Kuroh stayed by his side. At first it was because his master had told him to, eventually he stayed because he wanted too.
Adolf wonders how he can convince Kuroh to have that feeling again.
“So what are your plans? After we catch the Colorless King?” Adolf asks and Kuroh pauses slightly. “Have you thought that far?”
“I intend to only focus on the task at hand and not to get distracted by useless ‘what if’s’ that are irrelevant to me right now.”
“They’re not useless. With the other Kings involved looking for the fox, it’ll be here sooner than you think. It’ll be good to at least be prepared.”
“I have offers.” Adolf’s gut tightens in fear and horror.
“The Blue King’s offer?” Kuroh seems to pause.
“That’s right, I have that too.” Adolf pauses and tilts his head.
“If not another pledge then what? Working at a restaurant? You seem very good at it.”
“I know some people back where my master and I used to live. I always figured I’d return there after I had done what was bidden of me.”
“You just intend to go back and waste away in the small town where you used to live?” It sounds sad, unbelievably sad as Adolf says it out loud and Kuroh doesn’t answer him as he sets the table for them. They eat in relative silence for a minutes before Adolf tries again. “I know that we don’t know each other very well, but there’s something about you. Something trustworthy and I don’t know…the possibility of more?” Adolf realizes how that might sound by Kuroh’s sudden glance up and he corrects himself. “I meant like friendship or family. Neko and I are family, you could always come along.” Neko cheers at the mention of her status with Adolf. “You wouldn’t have to pledge or anything. We could just be friends, who knows maybe we could sail around the world. We could do anything really, if you two wanted.”
“You’d take me on, without pledging to you as my King?” Kuroh sounds skeptical and Adolf isn’t surprised. None of the other Kings would allow such a thing, it’s too dangerous to be with someone who holds no ties with you, especially when even those that do still betray you.
“If you didn’t want to, I wouldn’t want you too. I’d never want you to do something you truly didn’t want to do. I’d rather just have your friendship, not your required servitude.” Something crosses Kuroh’s face, Adolf remembers how Kuroh mentioned to him once his fear that if he ever pledged to another King that they’d demand everything of him and give him nothing in return, but that he’d have to stay because he made an oath and he would not break it.
“You don’t even know me.”
“I know that you were willing to take on the entire Gold Clan to get Neko and me off the roof. I know that you’re willing to keep your promise to your former King despite all of the challenges that are building up in front of you. I know you’re brave and ridiculously formal for your age. I know you’re an amazing cook and that you may not be as cold as you want people to imagine you are.” Kuroh looks at him and Adolf shrugs. “And I think you might be looking for the same thing we are.” He reaches out and pats Neko on the head.
“Family.” Adolf stands and starts clearing away the empty dishes, motioning for Kuroh to sit when he goes to help him. There’s a confused look on his face like he doesn’t fully understand Adolf, like he’s wondering what angle Adolf is trying to work.
Adolf just smiles and puts the dishes in the sink, he figures he’ll just have to prove it.
He gets his chance sooner than he expected.
Kuroh leaves the airship that night, despite Adolf offering accommodations and within the next two days, the Colorless King makes his move. They’re not really ready, Mikoto is still expending far too much energy despite Adolf trying to teach him how to plug the leak. They haven’t had enough time and Munakata thinks that this ‘fly by the seat of our pants’ thing that Adolf has going for him isn’t going to work.
They’re all caught off guard though when the fox finally attacks. Adolf was assisting Mikoto with his training while Munakata stood nearby filling out paperwork. Neko was playing with butterflies but staying in sight like Adolf asked her to.
Mikoto is barely starting to show some progress when Munakata’s second in command, the blonde who needs to lay off the bean paste approaches for his signature on something or another.
They hear the sound moments later as Awashima Seri plunges the blade deep into Munakata’s side, her other hand coming up and gripping the surprised King by the throat and halting any forward movement that Adolf or Mikoto would have done to assist the other King.
“If you come closer I’ll slit him, I’ll kill him. It’ll be okay, I’ll just find the new Blue King, I’ll eat the new one if I have to.”
Adolf held up a hand to prevent Mikoto taking a step forward towards Munakata and the fox.
“If you kill him, we kill you.” Adolf stated calmly and Munakata attempted to hide the flinch as the fox twisted the blade slightly in his ribs. There was a moment before a rush of energy and Adolf almost sighed as the Red Sword of Damocles appeared in the air.
“Mikoto…please calm yourself.” He glanced back and saw wrath and hatred in the Red King’s eyes. “You’re not going to help him if you overload your Weismann level.”
There was a moment when Adolf was certain that things were about to go horribly wrong- when a clear energy hand grabbed the fox’s blade, holding it still before an elbow slammed into Seri’s face, knocking her away from Munakata as Kuroh stood protectively in front of the Blue King.
Adolf couldn’t help but wonder how Kuroh knew to get here, but he couldn’t have been happier to see him.
“Well, that was unexpected.” Munakata stated as he slowly pulled the blade out, pushing a hand to the wound and using his Blue Aura to keep pressure on it.
“Are you alright?” Kuroh asked without turning around and Adolf almost bristled as Munakata placed a hand on Kuroh’s shoulder coming up alongside him.
“Much better. However this is a battle for Kings now, it might be best if you took the girl out of the area.” Kuroh paused and cast a glance in Adolf’s direction and Adolf paused before he nodded once.
“If you could please get Neko to safety Kuroh.” The black haired youth nodded once before turning and grabbing the small cat, ignoring her enraged yowl.
“I’ll return shortly.” He stated before taking off into the air. Munakata pulled out his sword as he came alongside Adolf and Mikoto.
“Then we better finish this up before he does. Don’t you think?” Mikoto matched Munakata’s smile and Adolf nodded.
In theory Adolf should have known better.
Nothing in this redo was going the way he wanted it to. The four Kings stood against each other in the open area, Mikoto burning half of the scenery while Munakata seemed to slice down every other tree.
“We have to get him out of her before he consumes her.” Adolf cautioned as they tried to contain the Colorless King. There was a moment of confusion when Mikoto attempted to blow up Seri and the fox together only to create a debris cloud that no one could see each other in.
“Mikoto? Munakata?” Adolf called out, knowing that he was revealing his location possibly to the fox, but with all of the debris all around it was impossible to make sure that they didn’t attack each other.
It all happened in a matter of seconds, one moment he was just walking along- in the next Seri attacked him. He wasn’t afraid, not really. Her blade wasn’t going to hurt him and he knew better than to allow the fox into his body. What he wasn’t expecting was for Kuroh to step in and stop Seri’s attack. He wasn’t prepared for Seri’s other hand catching Kuroh by the chin and managing eye contact for a brief second.
“Kuroh!” Adolf found the young man’s name being ripped out of his throat as Kuroh seized on himself as Seri’s body hit the floor unconscious. He was on top of the boy in the next second, pinning him down to the ground as the fox laughed in his face with familiar features that should have never sneered in this way.
Everything about Kuroh’s face looked wrong and the only thought going through Adolf’s mind was the realization that inside Kuroh’s body- Kuroh was being slowly eaten alive by the fox.
The fox was going to kill Kuroh.
Adolf couldn’t stand for it.
“The Silver King, so powerful and yet so helpless. Unable to save anyone.” Munakata and Mikoto came out of the dust and glanced at Adolf pinning down the youth.
“We should kill it.” Mikoto stated as he stepped forward with fire consuming his fist. There was nothing in his eyes, like this thing was just a rat to be exterminated and Kuroh was just the worthless shell that it was inhabiting. His response touched a deep, dark area inside of him and Adolf glared up at Suoh.
“Try to touch him and I’ll kill you.” There must have been something about either the look on his face or the tone of his voice because Mikoto stopped instantly in his tracks. Adolf glanced down at Kuroh and got a small smile. “I’m so sorry Kuroh, I never intended for any of this to happen. If we both manage to walk away from this, please know that my offer is still on the table.” The fox tilted his head and Adolf leaned back slightly. “You wanted me right? Well here I am. I won’t stop you, enter me instead.” The fox laughed for a moment before pausing and looking up at the Silver King.
“You’re serious?” He said with no small amount of confused wonder. “He’s yelling for you not to be so foolish. That this is his mission, to end it here with him.” A nasty grin crossed Kuroh’s face. “But you’re not going to let that happen are you? The untouchable King, all alone up in his little airship is willing to throw away his life for just some stray mutt.”
“You’re right. I am lonely, but I came down to save people. I came down to find a new way. Now come on, this is everything you wanted. My guard is down, and I’m offering myself up in his place.”
“Weismann you can’t be serious. We’ll take him into custody. Force him out.” Munakata stated in the distance and the fox grinned.
“Very well, I accept your generous offer.”
It’s a familiar feeling, the fox entering his body. It’s not something you ever forget as he turns the tables on the fox spirit. It takes a moment before he exits his inner mind where he’s holding the other King and he opens his eyes.
He’s still got Kuroh pinned on the ground under him. The raven haired youth is glancing at him with an unsure look and Adolf gently releases his wrists and gives him a reassuring smile.
“Perhaps next time we should plan that out better.”
“Weismann?” Kuroh asks and he nods.
“Adolf is fine, I’ve got him. But even I can’t hold him for long. He is a King after all.”
“That was foolish. It was my mission to end the evil King. I was prepared to die.” Adolf gives him a sad grin.
“Perhaps, but I wasn’t ready to let you.” He cringes as a powerful kickback from the fox inside causes him to hiss in pain. Kuroh’s face shows a sudden concern for him as Munakata steps forward.
“Tell me you have a plan for this?”
“I have a plan.”
“Now tell me it’s a good one.”
“…uh…I think it is?” He offers up to the Blue King who rolls his eyes as he pulls out a pair of handcuffs. “That’s probably for the best.” He mentions when he sees them and there’s a moment before Kuroh clears his throat lightly.
“Weismann?” Adolf looks down at him.
“…Is there a reason you’re still on top of me?” There’s a pause as Adolf takes in the statement and he has a brief moment of embarrassment before he shrugs.
“Maybe I like the view?” He offers up and watches as Kuroh’s face turns red as Adolf grins and winks at him before he stands and offers his hands to Munakata. Kuroh stands, keeping his back to them and Adolf knows that it’s because he’s trying to get his reactions back in check.
“Yatogami, if you would like to return to Scepter 4 with us you are more than welcome.”
Adolf ponders for a second how this is the first time in a long time that he’s been in handcuffs, he figures by everyone’s reactions that he might have said it out loud and he shrugs.
Priorities he guesses as he’s led off.
The Lieutenant was furious.
Adolf figures that it was understandably so, so he withstands the two hour lecture that he receives the moment that they’re able to purge the fox spirit from him and take care of it.
Adolf isn’t one for loss of life, but that fox touched Kuroh so he says nothing as the Gold King puts it out of all of their miseries. He’s a little surprised when he steps outside to see Kuroh playing a little bit with Neko in her cat form before she sees him and comes running over to throw herself at him.
“Hey Neko, I hope I didn’t have you too worried.” He offers as he pets her reassuringly. Kuroh has stood up, his body language is slightly stiff and uncomfortable as he takes in Adolf.
“Hey Kuroh. Thank you for looking out for Neko for me.”
“Are you feeling better?” Kuroh asks and Adolf nods.
“Much, the Colorless King has been dealt with. I figure a new one will manifest soon, but at least it’s not that psychopath.” Kuroh nods before he comes over and takes a knee. To say he’s surprised by the turn of events is an understatement. “Uh, Kuroh? What are you doing?”
“I owe you my life, and if you will take me I wish to repay that debt.” It takes Adolf a second to realize what Kuroh’s saying and it makes his blood run cold.
This isn’t like last time, when Kuroh pledged himself to Shiro. Kuroh had done that of his own free will, this time he’s doing it because he thinks he has to.
“Kuroh please stand up.” Kuroh goes to say the familiar words, to offer himself as a vassal and Adolf catches him by the bottom of his chin and tilts his head up. “Kuroh stop please.” There’s confusion on the boy’s face and for a moment Adolf remembers how young Kuroh actually is. “You owe me nothing, and you certainly don’t owe anyone your loyalty. If you truly wish to be one of my vassals then please feel free to ask and know that it is yours. However, if you’re doing this because you feel like you owe it to me- realize you owe me nothing. You saved Neko, you got her out of there and you clearly watched out for her while I was away. There was never any debt to be paid, but I thank you anyways. Neko is very special to me, being my only clansman. I would be thrilled if you wished to join us, but realize you can do that with or without pledging.”
“You don’t wish me as your vassal?”
“I don’t wish for you to do it without it being what you truly want. Only you, no other outside factors.” Kuroh takes a moment before he nods and stands and Adolf feels a moment of panic at realizing that Kuroh could walk away now and there would be nothing holding him to Neko and himself. “I would like to offer you a trip though.”
“Yeah, Neko wanted to go flying around Japan. I promised her when this was all done we could do that. Would you like to come?”
“As a friend, as our friend.” Neko lets out a little happy meow to show her solidarity with Adolf’s statement and Kuroh nods.
“That sounds satisfactory. I have no other responsibilities at the moment.” Adolf smiles as he looks up at the other.
“Perfect! Then let’s go!” He reached out and immediately pulled Kuroh to him before picking him up in his arms again in a reminiscence of the Gold King’s balcony.
“I doubt this is necessary!” Kuroh snaps as he starts to try and get down and Adolf grins with a shrug.
“Probably not.” He states before he takes to the air.
It’s not the same story that they had before, but for the first time Adolf isn’t afraid of the differences.
Not anymore, because now they’re back together. He may not be Shiro anymore, but he has Neko and Kuroh at his side. Perhaps it was time to no longer be afraid of who Adolf K. Weismann is, after all Weismann has the best family now and he’s going to take care of them.
He’ll never abandon them, he’ll be a better King this time around.
Who knows, maybe the Slates gave him back just as much as they took away. Perhaps he didn’t just fix the story, perhaps he fixed himself somewhere along the way too.