The Balance of Intention

After Homurabi is defeated, Kou and Shirogane have to reach some understanding of what they are to each other. Drama, I-3, MANGA CONTINUITY

Character(s): Kou, Shirogane

The shadow world could be kind of boring, Kou had decided. At least now that there weren’t any crazy kings around stirring it up. And he certainly didn’t wish Homurabi back, but with only two people around to talk to, and neither of them Akira, he was definitely feeling out of sorts.

Fortunately there was a solution.

"I’m going to check in on Akira."

Shirogane looked up at that and frowned. "Wait, Kou." He turned away from the window and came to examine Kou more closely. "You’ve spent too long in the light already; it’s wearing you down. Stay here until you’re recovered."

Kou frowned back. "No. I need to make sure Akira is okay," he insisted.

It really shouldn’t have been a surprise, because he knew he wasn’t the only one getting frazzled, what with only two kings active. He still backed up in shock when Shirogane’s eyes narrowed and his power slammed down on the white-walled room like lead falling.

"You will do as I say."

Kou’s back hit the wall and he swallowed as Shirogane paced towards him. He hadn’t felt the raw edge of Shirogane’s temper and power since he’d been changed, and it was different now. It was inside him, now. Loyalty was the one thing he refused to back down on, though, and he wrenched his eyes away from the vice of Shirogane’s and found his voice. "He’s my king! I won’t leave him just because I’m tired!"

Shirogane was right in front of him, now, and gloved fingers caught his chin, turning him back to face that scorching gaze. "I am your king, now."

"I…" Kou’s teeth nearly met in his lip. It was true, but…

Shirogane sighed faintly, and closed his eyes for a breath, and the weight of his power gentled a bit. Kou shivered anyway as it folded around him, because the one thing it wasn’t doing was releasing him. "Ryuuko is my counterpart. Akira is my friend. I care for him too, Kou. Can you believe that I will be sure nothing happens to him?"


Shirogane wasn’t letting him look away. "And you’re mine now, so I care for you, also. You need to recover before you can spend much time in the light again." His hand tightened on Kou’s chin. "Tell me you will obey me."

"I…" Kou closed his eyes. "I can’t, please… I can’t stop there, not for Ryuuko. I can’t give just half of my loyalty."

Shirogane was silent for a moment. Finally he murmured, "Haven’t you, though?"

Kou’s eyes opened in shock and Shirogane was looking at him, cool and distant. The way he used to.

"You’re shin, for now, Kou. You’re my Child, and you agreed willingly to that. But you’ve only come half way, and stopped here." A gesture released Kou and took in the argument, Kou’s frequent absence, the whole thing. "You are fed from my strength, but you give as little of yourself back as you can. Is that the loyalty you’re so proud of?"

It felt like a punch in the gut, that kind of shock, that kind of breathlessness.

Shirogane stepped back, power contained again. "I’ll leave you to consider that. Consider it here, though."

Kou almost didn’t notice the last bit, as Shirogane left. He slid down the wall to the floor, staring straight ahead.

Lately he’d resented so much the limitations of being shin, of not being able to be near Akira constantly, that he’d forgotten the other side. The power that sustained him wasn’t just his own. The reason he had lived through the final confrontation to have the chance to be resentful was that Shirogane had taken him in, made a contract with him.

A contract he wasn’t honoring.

Shame bit at him. He wanted, needed, to return to Ryuuko, yes. But that wasn’t going to happen for a while yet, and right now…

Right now, Shirogane was his king.

And, his conscience reminded him now it was getting its licks in, Shirogane hadn’t flattened him just now, as he’d have damn well been within his rights to do when Kou defied him. The whole argument had started because Shirogane was…

…was taking care of him.

Kou banged his head against the wall a few times. "I’m an idiot," he sighed.

The question was, what was he going to do about it?


Shirogane looked up to see Kou standing in the door, and raised a brow. "Yes?" He didn’t sound in all that much better of a temper, yet.

Kou fidgeted as he came in. "I… Look, it’s…" He stopped and sighed. When he spoke again his voice was low but sure and serious.

"Only until Ryuuko returns. Only that. But until then." He bowed down to the floor before Shirogane. "You are my king." Softer he added, "Please, forgive me."

He waited there, wincing a little internally. He was probably in for something after the scene earlier. Ryuuko had let him get away with a lot, but Ryuuko was kind. Shirogane was brilliant but it was a fierce brilliance, harsh and unforgiving and—

A warm hand rested on his bent head, fingers threading through his hair. Kou’s breath caught as the touch resonated with the power running through him, something he’d only ever felt with Ryuuko.

"Yes, I suppose I do."

Kou looked up to find Shirogane smiling down at him, crooked, eyes lightened with amusement.

"You’re mine, after all," Shirogane told him, softly.

Kou swallowed, almost shaking with the warmth of belonging that he hadn’t let himself feel before. Maybe because he wanted it so much. "Yes, my king," he managed.

Shirogane’s smile turned real, if a touch wicked. "And the next time you defy me like that, I’ll make very sure you regret it."

Kou flushed and looked down. "Yes, Shirogane-san." That was, after all, how it should be.

"Go rest, Kou," Shirogane ordered gently. "You can see Akira again when you won’t collapse in front of him."

The warmth of Shirogane’s touch stayed with Kou as he left.