Rating: PG - M
Pairing: Gwendal x Günter mainly, but there are other pairings in the background (Yozak x Conrart, Yuuri x Wolfram, etc.)
Genre: Survival, fluff, angst, romance
Summary: After the King's ship is attacked and lost, Gwendal finds himself ship-wrecked on an unknown island with Günter. As they help each other survive on the island, Gwendal tries to find a way to handle his suddenly known feelings towards his colleague and fellow castaway.
Notes: Thanks again to the amazingly awesome puck_the_elf for being my beta, and reassuring me when I am being silly :) ♥
Freeing Günter from the cocoon of wreckage took Gwendal longer than he expected, as he was impeded by the dying daylight and the fact that he had to go slowly as to not fully collapse the unstable structure on top of his comrade.
Occasionally, Günter would call out to him, letting him know that he was still there, but even in those short moments, Gwendal could hear how weak Günter had become.
Finally, Gwendal had found him, tangled just below the center of the wreckage, wrapped and trapped in the cables and sail, and cradled by the jagged wooden remains of the aftcastle. The other demon’s clothing, while in relatively good condition, had been pulled haphazardly along his body, exposing pale skin and giving him a rather disheveled appearance. His long, usually flawless hair was tangled about him and in the debris in such a way that Gwendal thought it a miracle that Günter had not drowned due to his hair getting entangled in something.
In the last moments of waning light he could see that Günter had sustained injuries, which made Gwendal realise how lucky he had been in comparison. The lavender-haired demon had visible bruises, and there was a dried cut across his forehead that ran from the hair line down the left side of his face. The left eye seemed swollen shut as Günter looked at him with only his dazed right.
“Can you sit up?” Gwendal gently asked his injured companion. Günter shook his head weakly in response.
“I am going to lift you then. Is there anything you are feeling that would indicate that I should not?”
“No...just please mind my right leg...I think something is broken,” Günter croaked.
Gwendal nodded and gingerly stooped to scoop the other demon up into his arms. However, when he had managed to pull Günter up slightly, Gwendal noticed that Günter’s tangled hair further bound its person to the wreckage-prison.
Gwendal drew the sword. “This is necessary,” was all he offered before he used it to carefully cut away the stubborn tresses. It was still long, but not as neat and even as Günter would have liked. He had a feeling once Günter was back to full strength, his companion would mind having his hair being so uneven, but for now Günter said nothing. He was docile and compliant which was a stark contrast to his usual flappable manner, and Gwendal did not want to admit that seeing Günter this way was a bit unnerving.
He collected Günter once more into his arms, being careful to support Günter’s neck while not jostling the other’s hurts, and began to move away from the wreckage. Perhaps if they managed to return to the clifftop Gwendal could still manage to make a fire before night completely fell.
“W-wait...” Günter said suddenly, causing Gwendal to think that he had somehow exacerbated Günter’s injuries, but then Günter continued in a measured tone. “My bag. It’s here. It has supplies.”
“It can wait until tomorrow.”
Günter licked his dried lips. “It may not be here tomorrow.”
Gwendal swore silently at Günter’s logic, knowing that the other was right. “What sort of supplies?”
“Medical, for the most part.”
Damn it. They could not afford to leave the bag behind. “Are you sure it is here?”
Günter nodded. “It shouldn’t be hard to find in the mess. I had it before the wreckage collapsed on me.”
Gwendal nodded, carried Günter away from the break of the tide, and carefully placed his companion so that the other was sitting up slightly against the rock. “Does it hurt to sit like this?”
“No...no...just a little sore,” Günter said with a tired sigh and then uncomfortably swallowed. The look of misery reminded Gwendal of his own a few hours ago, and that had been in the warmest point of the day. How long had Günter been trapped like that, helpless? At least Günter had been shielded from the sun as his fair skin did not seem to have been burned as badly as Gwendal’s.
“I found water. If you can bear a few more moments, I’ll carry you there.”
At Günter’s nod Gwendal broke into a run back to the pile. He hoped for the time spent looking for the bag that it was truly here. He had not come across it when he had initially searched for Günter, but it was possible it had been beneath where Günter had been lying.
Overhead, Gwendal could see the first few stars of the evening. The sky to the west was still pink, but he realised it would soon be completely set.
He scrambled around in the wreckage, eyes scanning the remnants and relying mostly on touch to find Günter’s bag. Finally his hands found soft leather. It was darkened from the water, but it was whole and definitely Günter’s bag.
With the wet bag slung against his sunburned back and Günter’s sword once again returned to his belt, Gwendal moved at a fast pace to where Günter sat. His stomach was protesting once more, and Gwendal cursed that all the water he drank had failed to sustain him longer than he had hoped.
Günter made a half-hearted attempt to smile at him when he returned, fatigue and dehydration evident in Günter’s battered face.
Gwendal once more lifted his injured companion into his arms. This time he noted that the attempt was more taxing on him as the adrenalin he had been relying upon had begun to wane. He stumbled up the dunes and back towards the cave. There was no point now in trying to go back up. Günter was in desperate need of water, and Gwendal himself needed to fill his stomach once more to keep the pangs of hunger at bay.
They would rest in the cave tonight, and if the sea water threatened them, he would use his maryoku to block the mouth of the cave. As long as they were near water, they were safe for now. Tomorrow, they could assess Günter’s injuries and find a better place to camp.
He dropped the bag as soon as they entered the cave, and Günter squirmed slightly in his hold as he looked about to understand where they were heading. “Where?”
“I found water here. We will stay tonight, as neither of us have the energy to use our maryoku or forage for kindling in the dark.”
“We are still inside the demon lands?” Gunter remarked with surprise. “Thank goodness...I didn’t realise I could use my magic...I’ve felt so sick since I woke that I thought we were in the human lands or there were houseki stones nearby.”
Gwendal readjusted his own shaking grip on Gunter’s form. “Once you have something to drink you will feel better. I have not managed to find food yet, but the water should sustain us.”
He felt Günter’s nod of approval against his chest as he proceeded into the darkness. Typically staying in a dark cave, especially one Gwendal had been unable to see if there was a back to or if it lead further on into a creature’s den, was not ideal, but it was a roof over their heads with the bonus that it contained a clean drinking source. Adding that the cave was not too damp, it would do for the night.
They would have to rely on body heat, though, to keep warm, but Gwendal knew Günter would not mind as much as His Majesty had when the pair of them had been stranded in the desert at night. So he settled Günter upon the sandy bank and helped the older demon bring cupped handfuls of water to his parched lips before Gwendal went to sate his own hunger with more water.
The silence was almost eerie in the darkness, punctuated by the sounds of them scooping the water to drink and the distant sounds of the ocean beyond the mouth of their “camp”.
“I can feel my toes,” Günter remarked softly, breaking the solemness of the darkness. “Perhaps it is only a sprain...”
Gwendal made a non-committal noise at the statement, glad to hear that Günter’s voice was gaining strength and its usual optimistic lit. “Are you finished?”
“For now.” He felt Günter shift besides him. “Will we go back to the front?”
Reaching blindly for his companion, Gwendal stood up. “Do you think you can put your weight on your foot?”
Out of sheer luck, Günter found his offered hands with minimal fumbling (though he did grip one of Gwendal’s burns a little too hard), and Gwendal helped him to stand. He could feel Günter’s body practically quaking from the duress. Perhaps it was too soon for Günter to be exerting himself, but after a few unsteady moments Günter stood and then yelped in pain. “No, no...Oh, there is something wrong with it...”
Gwendal caught Günter up into his arms before the other completely folded back onto the cave’s floor. “It probably is a sprain then,” Gwendal stated as he moved them back towards the cave’s entrance. “I know it’s probably not comfortable, but we shouldn’t take your boot off. For the moment it is acting as a splint.”
Günter nodded. “It doesn’t hurt that badly when the weight is off of it...I think that was what helped me, even though the position was uncomfortable. The way I was situated in the wreckage, my leg was elevated. It wasn’t until you moved the wood that it was resting on that I realised how bad the injury was.”
Ultimately, Gwendal found that they could have done without using Günter’s bag as a place-marker. The moon was bright enough above them that they could have found their way out of the cave.
Gwendal propped Günter against the wall, then touched the ground so that it rose high enough for Günter’s leg to be elevated properly.
“Thank you, Gwendal,” Günter said as he gingerly placed his hurt leg upon the support. “I hope that once my leg is properly dealt with, and I am at full strength I’ll be less of a burden.” It was said was a hint of a smile in his voice. Good, Gwendal thought. It was relieving to hear that Günter was returning to his usual self.
He pulled Günter’s sword from his belt and handed it to its owner. “Thank you, for managing to keep your sword. If I had not seen it, we both most likely would not be alive.”
Gwendal noted the somber expression that flickered across Günter’s thin face. “We are the only ones here.”
Gwendal sank bonelessly down against his companion, waves of exhaustion creeping over him. “That is what it seems for now. I did not get to explore the entire island yet.” He leaned up against the wall and then cringed. Damn it. He kept forgetting about his back.
“Here.” Günter was now unfastening the clasps of his uniform’s cloak and pulling it off. “Put this around your shoulders; you are very burned.”
At first Gwendal was going to refuse Günter’s offer for reasons that Günter should keep himself as covered as possible, but the older demon was already pushing the long piece of fabric insistently upon him.
“Where in Shinou’s name is your shirt anyway? Did you lose it when you fell overboard?” Günter asked as he helped drape the material across Gwendal’s shoulders.
“Hanging on a tree...about two hour's walk west.”
He could almost see the frown in Günter’s voice. “You know that you should keep your skin as unexposed as possible,” he tutted.
“I was hot. I was not wrapped up in a cocoon, shielded from the sun, as you were. How did that happen anyway?”
Günter gave a long sigh as he settled against the wall, leaning up against Gwendal’s shoulder. “Do you remember much of what happened after the boat began to sink?”
“Just that I was fighting while the ship was breaking apart, and then falling into the ocean.”
Günter nodded. “I was running to cover you. You were about to be attacked from behind, but then, as you said, the floor broke apart, and we plummeted into the water.” The advisor paused for a moment as if sorting his thoughts. “When I finally managed to break the surface of the water, there was falling debris. The ship was on fire then, and I could see people either jumping over board or clinging to the few lifeboats that had managed to get underway. I attempted to swim for one, but then I saw you clinging to a floating piece of the ship. I tried calling to you, but I think you were unconscious.”
Gwendal shook his head. “I must have been. I do not recall any of this.”
Günter hummed a bit as he snuggled closer to Gwendal. “So I swam over to you, or at least I tried to. It was fortunate though, I mean, fortunate for me....” he trailed off for a moment, most likely reliving a terrible memory. “The side of the boat I would have been on had I continued for the life boat broke apart, and its burning mast fell.”
Gwendal nodded. He understood what Günter was trying to convey. The people on the life boat had been struck and most likely killed.
“Do you know who was on the boat?”
Günter shook his head. “No. No, I do not. But I cannot help but worry if it was His Majesty’s life boat. Conrad, Yozak, and Wolfram were with him. I saw them underway before we fell.”
“Let’s hope that they escaped.”
Günter nodded. “By that time, you had drifted further away. I tried to follow as to not lose sight of you, but I am not the strongest swimmer compared to you or the others even under normal circumstances, and getting tossed about in the ocean, I could barely keep my own head up. I was tiring and, in my panic, becoming disoriented. So I used my maryoku to gather the debris about me, hoping that I could find something large enough to float on.”
He paused a moment to let out a tired yawn. “I don’t know what happened then...perhaps I lost control of my element, but the next thing I knew, it was morning, and I was tangled on top of that wreckage.”
Before Gwendal could ask how Günter had manged to get tangled inside of the wreckage, Günter answered. “I underestimated the stability of my structure. I managed to free my sword from its sheath, and while I was twisting around to free myself, the wreckage collapsed beneath me.” He then added thoughtfully, “I suppose that’s how I came to lose my sword and injure my foot, but I do not know really…I fell unconscious again. I did not wake until I felt the structure bobbing in the tide.”
Gwendal sighed. “And here we are.” His eyes were growing heavy, and the comforting warmth that Günter’s body offered was lulling him to sleep.
He felt Günter settle closer to his frame and heard him yawn again. “Yes. Here we are.”