Kengo convinces Shirogane to let him help with work. Drama, I-3, MANGA CONTINUITY

Character(s): Asamura Kengo, Shirogane

Shirogane stood at one of his balconies and looked out over shadow, testing the weight and movement of it in his senses, and sighed. He’d expected this but that didn’t make it any less tedious to deal with.


He looked over his shoulder as Kengo leaned in the doorway, frowning.

"Do you feel…?"

"Yes." Shirogane smiled; his new king was coming along nicely. "It’s because the kings are still unbalanced, with Akira not fully awakened. Until he does we will need to hold shadow back from overwhelming the light again."

"Oh, okay." Kengo seemed perfectly pleased just to know there was an explanation and came to stand beside Shirogane. "So what do we do?"

"I’ll take care of it. Watch what I do, so you can learn it."

Now Kengo frowned, stubborn. "I should do more than that. I can do more than that, I know it."

Echoes of the past twitched at Shirogane’s nerves and he told himself firmly that Kengo was nothing like Homurabi had ever been. "In time."

Kengo looked up at him and said quietly. "All the weird things that happened to me while I was little, all the strange things that happened all over the whole city when I got older, all the stuff I never understood… all that was because of this, wasn’t it?" He waved a hand down himself, at the black-over-white regalia.

"Because of your potential for this, yes," Shirogane admitted.

"So let me fulfill it. Let me make it mean something."

Shirogane’s mouth tightened; the entreaty of Kengo’s expression tugged at him. Clearly he’d gotten soft while wandering around in the light. All he should be thinking about was the best answer for the purposes of balancing their worlds, not a young king’s eagerness. His heart still tugged.

While he was trying to decide how to answer, Kengo stopped waiting and stepped to the rail, stretching out a hand. He pulled at shadow, calling it, and Shirogane made an exasperated sound, raking his hair back. "Not like that." He reached out also, laying his command of shadow over Kengo’s, giving shadow a boundary for light to fill in against.

"Oh! Okay. Here, then." Kengo’s influence sank down to run under his, supporting him, and Shirogane had to steady himself. Not against Kengo’s power, but against his openness, his willingness.

Not like Homurabi at all, he reminded himself.

As they worked, gathering shadow back into its proper bounds, Kengo closed his eyes, chin sinking toward his chest. "Kengo," Shirogane murmured, attention on curbing his realm but not so entirely he didn’t feel the ebb of Kengo’s strength.

"Let me," Kengo said softly. "Please, Shirogane-san."

Shirogane cast an exasperated look at Kengo’s bent head, but let it pass. It would be just as well for Kengo to learn his limits while Shirogane was present. And he had to admit, to himself at least, the unstinting solidity of Kengo’s support made the work go more easily. It almost seemed to make his breathing go more easily, but that was probably just wishful thinking.

By the time they were done, Kengo was clinging to the rail, panting. "Is that it?"

"Yes, that’s all. For now." Shirogane was feeling a bit worn himself, he had to admit.

Kengo slithered down in a heap. "Oh good. Wow. That’s hard."

"I did tell you." Shirogane gave him a sharp look, which seemed to make no impression at all. Of course, he recalled with a sigh, this was Kengo who was used to being called dreadful names by his best friend as an expression of affection.

"Yep. You did." Kengo grinned. "Thanks for letting me help." He looked down, bright smile turning shy, and added, "It’s my job to support you, isn’t it?"

"Kengo…" Shirogane hesitated, but it could be an issue and better to know, "are you really sure of this? After all this time being Akira’s support…?"

Kengo looked up, eyes wide and surprised. "Of course I am. Akira is going to be rei, isn’t he? The direct king. So if I’m shin and we’re opposites, well… that means I still have his back, doesn’t it? From the other side."

"I suppose so, yes," Shirogane said slowly, startled by the wisdom of that. "But it is still on the other side."

Kengo smiled up at him. "Yeah, but I kind of always have been, from Akira. It still works." More softly, he added, "And now there’s you, too."

Shirogane blinked. "I beg your pardon?" he asked, lapsing into his mask of human politeness out of startlement.

"Akira’s my best friend, yeah. But he’s not the only one who’s important to me. I mean, there’s Nee-san too. And Aya. And now you."

"Kengo," Shirogane murmured after a long, silent moment. He would not, he thought, have trouble again remembering that Kengo was nothing like his last subordinate king. He stepped forward and laid a hand lightly on Kengo’s head.

Kengo colored a little but still smiled, happy.

"Come find me again, if you feel something wrong with our realm," Shirogane told him quietly. "And we’ll fix it."

Kengo lit up like sunrise. "Yes, Shirogane-san."

Shirogane smiled back and took a slow, deep breath. It wasn’t his imagination.

The old, old tension was easing.