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: First off I would like to say a huuuuge thank you to the amazingly awesome puck_the_elf for beta'ing this story for me! Second I would like to apologize for getting this fic out a little late, October was an insane month, but now that it is November, life has calmed down (yay!). Chapter 3 was being a huge grumblebum about being written, and then when it did decide that it wanted to be written it wouldn't shut up and it became long. So I decided to cut it into two parts :) Part 2 should be along soon! Thanks again for reading and your comments!
The need to relieve himself woke Gwendal up earlier than he expected. Seeing that the early rays of dawn were slowly creeping their way into the cave, he was pleased to find that they had made it through the night, as well they could be up early enough to forage for shelter and food before the day became too hot.
He shifted himself carefully as to not rouse Günter yet. Gwendal felt he should let his companion rest a bit longer seeing as Günter had exhausted himself from duress and his injuries. With a gentle flick of Günter's cloak, Gwendal covered the sleeping demon and left the cave.
As the sun lazily crept over the ocean's horizon, Gwendal took the time to wander about the cove to see if there were any other secrets it held or if it actually had a means to traverse the cliff-face without the use of his maryoku. He found that there was indeed a path (though it did not go UP the cliff) that had been covered by the tides yesterday, and it lead further out and around the side of the opposite cliff wall.
The path did not take him too far actually, though he could see another side to the island, but this side did not end in a cove or beach, rather waters smashed upon the rocky side of the island. He did, however, find that at the end of the path, just as it became too narrow to scale along the wall (his back hated him for it), he rounded the bend to its absolute point where it widened into a fairly large and full grouping of tidal pools.
Having not grown up near a sea, sealife in general was novel to him. He had, when he was younger, enjoyed a few excursions with his parents and tutors to the seaside. However, due to Wolfram's susceptibility to seasickness, the wars, and the other stresses of running his lands and kingdom, Gwendal had not in recent memory indulged in this curiosity.
The pool was teeming with life: sea weeds, anemone, and a few small fish, but most importantly, crabs and urchin.
Gwendal's stomach made its presence known right then - even though he had no idea how he would be able to cook or eat them. All that was important to him was the fact that he had found something edible.
With less care than he would admit, Gwendal stumbled back up the path and to the cave. His entry woke Günter, who blinked at him blearily. It was evident the other was disoriented as to where he actually was and was probably wondering for what purpose a shirtless Gwendal had suddenly burst into his bedroom.
"I need your bag," Gwendal offered in explanation as he reached over Günter's propped form for the now dried leather bag and carefully emptied its contents by a waking Günter's side.
He raced out of the cave and made for the path, this time taking more care to draw quietly near the pool. As he came upon the pool once more, he noticed that the life inside seemed oblivious to his presence. Perhaps they had never encountered humans or demons before, but it still unnerved him that the ocean life did not hide as soon as his shadow cast upon the surface of the pool.
He stood there at the mouth of the pool, the seawater lapping at and drenching his calves while he contemplated his plan of attack. It had taken too long for it to dawn on him that he did not know what exactly to do, considering that he had never eaten any of this fare before in his life.
Seafood was generally limited unless it could be procured fresh, but crustaceans in particular, were off limits to the royal family. Besides the worry that shellfish could carry significant food-born illness, its meat could easily conceal any potential assassination plots via poisoning. So much was this fear that the Maous and their families were banned from partaking in this sort of food.
However, he did know of nobles who did partake in this fare, considering that their lands boardered the seas and fresh lakes. Kleist was one of those territories, so perhaps Günter would know what to do with the crabs, providing that his family, being of the upper-tiers of Kleist nobility did not follow the same precautions that the royal family did.
Of course, all of this hinged on whether or not he could catch anything. He decided for now to leave the urchins alone and focus his efforts on the crabs. Tide was low to the pools, so there didn’t seem to be any place for the crabs to make a quick escape.
Seeing a decent sized crab that had its back to him, Gwendal plunged both his hands into the pool and grabbed the instantly flailing creature. The life in the pool swirled then, as the creatures that were able now made an attempt to flee.
Gwendal quickly shoved the crab (being mindful to keep its snapping claws away from him) into Günter’s pack and pulled the interior drawstring shut. He managed to catch four more (but ended up with a total of four, as the first crab managed to escape when Gwendal had re-opened the bag to place its fellows with it) before the rest burrowed out of reach or scuttled over the opposite side of the pool and into the waves.
Happy that he was able to provide possible sustinence, Gwendal did not mind that he now had a few decent cuts on his hands accrued from his scuffle with his meal.
He found Günter limping a few feet outside of the cave, his lavender hair flowing in jagged clumps in the morning breeze. The older demon’s face showed discomfort, but at least he was now able to put weight on his foot.
Günter gave him a curious glance and pointed to his bag, which was now wriggling animatedly off of Gwendal’s hip.
“I think I found breakfast,” Gwendal announced and opened the bag for Günter’s inspection.
Günter face lit up when he saw the writhing crabs, but then he gave Gwendal a cautionary look. “Have you ever eaten these, Gwendal?”
“No, I haven’t...”
“What if you’re allergic?”
Gwendal frowned. “It’s a risk I am willing to take.”
“It’s too much of a risk. Neither of us are that adept at healing. If you have an allergy or another reaction to the meat, it could be deadly.” Then he added a little less dramatically, "Please? We’ll find something else.”
Gwendal felt his temper begin to rise. He knew that it was from the stress of the situation and his hunger, and it wasn’t fair to take it out on Günter’s valid concerns, but he could not help the want to be stubborn. “I’ll be-”
“You don’t think your best when you’re angry. You know this,” Günter said more sternly. “And I know you’re angry. Your eye has done that twitch at least three, now four times since we’ve started this conversation.”
Günter’s expression was one that was hardened, the one that was usually left to his military instruction, the one that Gwendal had seen too rarely since Yuuri’s arrival as king. Gwendal never backed down from a confrontation, but he knew that expression of Günter’s was one that was not meant to be trifled with. But neither was he.
“Thank you for your concern, Günter, but I am sure that I will be fine. Now do you know how to-”
“Cook and eat them?” Günter gave the crabs another look. “I do, but I am not done here. If you and I are going to survive on this island, we need to be careful. We cannot afford to be frivilous just because our bellies are aching. You, of all people, being a trianed soldier should know this.”
“I didn’t ask for you to dress me down, Günter,” Gwendal snapped.
“Then don’t act like a child, and use your head.” The older demon’s eyes were cool, yet filled with concern. It made Gwendal’s temper almost boil over. They stood there regarding each other, and the longer they stared, the more aggravatingly clear it became that Günter was still right.
Gwendal sighed. “Please do not think I was being flippant. It is just that..what if we do not find anything else to eat?”
“Then we’ll resort to these,” Günter said, pointing to the bag. “I can show you how to catch more,” he took Gwendal’s hand in his own, indicating the cuts, "in a less hazardous way, but for now, let them go. You shouldn’t keep them too long without water anyway if we aren’t going to eat them immediately.”
As he watched his early morning catch scuttle back towards the ocean, Gwendal tried to keep his anger and his tick at bay. It would not do any good for the two of them to become angry at each other. Günter was right. They needed to survive and work together. There was no other way around it, although he did feel slight vindication when he saw Günter standing behind him with a slightly guilty look upon his face.
“I am sorry,” Günter said with a sigh. “I know that it was hard for you to do that.”
Gwendal shrugged in response. It wasn’t in anger or indifference. It was merely how he usually responded to Günter. The other demon limped to stand beside him and touched his arm.
“I appreciate everything you’ve done so far. Please know that. I just don’t want to have us take any unnecessary risks. We do not know this island. We are out of our element, so we-”
“Need to work together,” Gwendal finished. “I understand your reasons, Günter. No need to sound like a stagnant ‘bad omen’ bird.”
He heard the little huff of annoyance that Günter tended to do whenever His Majesty had skivved off from his lessons, and it was somehow amusing to Gwendal.
“We should go back up to where I left my jacket and shirt. I’d like to have made camp before the sun becomes too hot.”
After they had made a trip to the underground stream and repacked Günter’s bag, Gwendal found himself carrying Günter (much to Günter’s embarrassment) bridal style as they rode the rock wall Gwendal had manipulated the night before up the cliff-face.
“We should, when we’re stronger and better rested, come back for that sail,” Günter said over the din of rock now falling up. “It would make for a good tent.”
Gwendal fought the pangs of a headache that was brought on from the duress of using his maryoku and Günter practically yelling into his ear, but he was interested in Günter’s plan. The sail that had been wrapped up in Günter’s wreckage cocoon, from what Gwendal estimated, would make for a nicely sized tent with material to spare for a blanket or two and scraps for bandages.
But that would have to come when they both had the strength to carry it between them.
The walk back to the camp was long and exausting. Even if Günter protested for Gwendal to let him down to walk, Gwendal was not about to slow their already crawling pace even more with Günter limping along behind him.
“What do you think is in that crate?” Günter had remarked as they passed by. “Have you checked it?”
“Yesterday. It is sealed very tightly. I did not have the strength to open it.”
“Whatever is in there is probably well kept. I hope it proves to be something useful.”
Finally, when they reached the treeline where Gwendal’s shirt and uniform jacket were hung, Gwendal had to keep himself from practically collapsing in the shade after he had put Günter down. He did, however, lay himself down in a more dignified manner when Günter suggested (he could practically hear the beginning of one of Günter’s famous fretting sessions, but thankfully, Günter had held off) that Gwendal should rest.
From here he lay in the shade of the trees. He didn’t budge when Günter had re-placed his cloak upon Gwendal’s exposed back and didn’t remark when he watched Günter limp past him into the forrest.
He must have dozed off again because he did not hear Günter approach from wherever the older demon had wandered off to, but when he felt something cold, thick, and wet touch his back, Gwendal arched up like a startled cat.
“Oh, Gwendal, I am so sorry. I didn't realize!” The advisor fussed over him. “Lie back down. I am sorry. I found some aloe plants.” He could hear Günter snapping the stalks and leaves from where he sat beside him. “This should help your burns for now. There are a lot of these plants in our immediate area, so we will have it in good supply.”
Gwendal tried not to wince too hard as Günter rubbed the sticky aloe across his back, but he could feel the effects of it starting to work immediately. The heat of the burn seamed to be dissipating with each pass of Günter’s hand.
Günter’s cloak was returned to Gwendal’s back. “Rest. I'll search for a closer water supply and something to eat.”
“Your foot. You shouldn’t push yourself so much.”
Günter smiled and then patted the sword that was resting in its sheath. “If I hadn’t been carried up a cliff and on a long trek, I would agree with your sentiments, Gwendal, but since you were so kind to lend your strength to bring us here, I’ll use my own now to see if I can be less of a burden to you.”
Gwendal made a noise of protest, but Günter crouched down to place a finger to his lips. “I will be fine. If I need you, I’ll call. You know that I am capable of being loud.”
Gwendal rolled his eyes but did not argue. “Don’t go so far that you get lost.”
More soon!! :D