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: Once again, I would like to say a huuuuge thank you to the amazingly awesome puck_the_elf
for beta'ing this story for me!
The sound of Günter’s voice brought him out of his ill rest, but Gwendal was glad for it. He was never one to suffer from nightmares, but when he did they tended to leave him anxious for the rest of the day. Thankfully he had been pulled out of it before any damage could be added to his stress levels, although seeing the corpses of his loved ones floating in a burning sea did unnerve him slightly at how real the dream had been.
“Gwendal? Are you awake?” Günter’s voice called again from the forest. Gwendal squinted at the tree line and ignored the pounding ache behind his eyes. Günter could not be too far off.
“I am!” he answered as he unsteadily got his legs under him. They were once again protesting his constant abuse of them.
He walked in the direction of where he had heard Günter’s call. It wasn’t too much later that he found his companion, relieved of his uniform jacket and sitting on a large rock looking absolutely winded.
“I am sorry,” Günter said with a kind smile. “I thought I could manage the rest of the way, but I stopped to rest, and I now my foot will not allow me to put weight on it.”
“I told you that you shouldn’t have pushed yourself too soon. You probably caused it to swell again.”
Günter 'hmmed' at Gwendal’s observation, then presented his jacket which had been bundled on his lap and held it out like a gift. “I found lunch,” he said with a smile that showed that he was all too pleased with himself.
Gwendal took the bundle of cloth and opened it to find a decent amount of wild carrots. They were long and thin, but at this moment Gwendal did not think he had ever been so happy to see a carrot before in his life.
“I think we will be able to sustain ourselves easily on this island,” Günter said. “Those carrots are part of a larger crop I found, and it looks like there may be other fruits and vegetables, and perhaps a source of fresh water nearby, but for now-”
Günter slid off the rock then and drew his sword to cut at one of the vines that had coiled around the tree behind him. He struck just above where the vine was close to the root and held the cut vine out to Gwendal. “You look like you need a drink. The water stored in here is surprisingly cold and plentiful. I spared some of the water from my vine to wash the carrots.”
Gwendal took the vine with an appreciative nod and drank. The water that poured into his mouth tasted earthy and sweet, but as Günter had noted it was cool and very clean.
Günter was beaming at him, at least as much as he was able. “I know it’s not meat, but I know this is safe for you to eat...unless you have a carrot allergy no one knows about.”
Gwendal shook his head at the joke. “No. I can eat carrots. And it is fine. I am grateful for anything that is edible right now.”
They ate their small meal in silence, but Gwendal was immensely relieved to have found something to fill his stomach other than water, and Günter seemed very happy that he had been able to be of assistance.
He knew from experience that Günter was always happiest when he could be helpful. A Günter without a schedule of tasks made for a very anxious Günter, one that often stalked around his castle looking for things to do and fret over, turning him into a flailing assassin of Von Voltaire heirlooms.
“We should take inventory of what we have before we make camp tonight,” Günter suggested as he nibbled on his last carrot. “It will make things easier if we’re organized. I know we are both trained soldiers, but this whole situation has put us out of our element. We’ve been too lax about the basics.”
Gwendal nodded. It was true that they had gone against survival protocol, but it was not like they trained their soldiers to survive on large, uninhabited tropical islands either.
With a promise from Günter to show him where he had found their food, Gwendal once again resorted to carrying Günter back to their “camp”, this time with less protest from Günter.
Once they were settled (and Gwendal had finally put his shirt back on, although it itched from where it rubbed against his burned skin), they decided to take inventory of Günter’s bag.
The items that had managed to survive the ordeal were surprising and very fortunate as they included wet gauze (which could be used once it was cleaned and dried), a few pots of Yarrow ointment, a small knife, vials of dried herbs (most did not survive, but Gwendal was sure that they could use the remaining vials for something), a pair of shears, maps, writing tools, Günter's journal (which was mostly ruined, but like the bandages, Günter insisted that once the journal was dried it could still be used), and a stuffed penguin that Gwendal recognized that he had made years ago before the penguin had been amongst the lot he had given to his dwindling list of “adoptive parents”.
“You have this, of all things, with you?” Gwendal said as he poked at the damp mass of yarn. Even damp with bits of sand encrusted upon the stuffed animal, it was still cute.
Günter scooped up the penguin. “Oh, you mean this little chicken you gave me? I always take something from home with me whenever I go on a journey,” he proclaimed with a smile. Gwendal made an amused snort. At least Günter’s assumption was closer to the species this time around.
“Also in our inventory we have one sword, the laces from our boots, our clothing which can be used to carry water until we find another way,” Günter prattled on. “Is there anything else I am missing?”
Gwendal shook his head. “Unless we are going to count possible items from the piles of wreckage that we’ve seen so far, in which case we have bits of rope, wood, a sail, and whatever is in that crate.” Gwendal gave Günter’s bag an appraising look. “It seems I was shippwrecked with the right person. The more I consider the situation, I think I would have been dead yesterday had I not found your sword, you, and your bag of useful tricks.”
“Says the man who can move mountains and found our water source,” Günter chidded. “Speaking of, we must find another one. We cannot rely on the vine water.”
“And we cannot subsist on carrots,” Gwendal noted. “We should, once we make shelter, really explore this island, see if there are more things we can live off of-- any game or roughage we can catch or gather.”
Gwendal could see Günter make a mental check on his list at that point before he brought up another point. “Do you wish to stay here in this area? Or would you want to make a camp elsewhere on the island?”
Gwendal nodded at Günter’s words as he weighed their known options. The cove, while it did have the added perk of a water source, was not really ideal for a longer term shelter. Even if Gwendal could carve out a cave for them to sleep in, there was still the threat of flooding and being too far inland to create and maintain an effective distress signal. Also, until Gwendal had the excess maryoku to spare, there wasn’t at this time an easy access to the cove. Any hunting and gathering would have to be done on the upper levels of the island and then brought down to the cove.
Where they were at the moment provided shade, and there was a small source of water and food nearby. They could easily keep a lookout for any ships, and the trees were dense enough to keep them from being too exposed to the elements. However, the trees were very tall, not the best to make a lean-to unless they had enough ropes to tie about the trunks, so at the moment, they could not even think about draping any sails or what-not over a branch to make a roof. There weren’t a lot of low hanging long branches either to make up for their lack of sail.
But this was okay for now. The sky was clear, there was so sign of rain, and the small thicket they were now sitting in would provide enough shelter until they could gather the necessary materials and find another location to make a better shelter.
Günter nodded quietly in agreement as Gwendal outlined their options. It was decided that Gwendal would be the main hunter/gatherer in the known area, while Günter would be a lookout for any potential rescuers, to give Günter a few days to heal before they would strike out to explore their (hopefully temporary) new home and find a better shelter location.
Today Gwendal would search their known area for more food and other tools, while Günter made and tended to a fire.
“We should look at that crate today. If there is food or other stored goods in there, it would be a waste to allow them to potentially rot. If anything, that crate could be used for something else, perhaps something to store food or our camp while we search the land,” suggested Günter.
Gwendal nodded. It made sense to go back and look at the crate before they really settled in for the night, even if it meant another trek along the beach now during the hottest point of the day. There was no point in making a fire or camp if neither of them were going to be around to tend to it.
“Fine, but before we go back for the crate we should look at your foot. We have been assuming that it is just a sprain, and even though you put a lot of your weight on it today it is better to just be sure.”
“Gwendal, I am fine,” Günter insisted. “It is probably best to keep it in the boot-”
“And risk that you have a cut or an actual broken bone that could cause an infection?” Gwendal interrupted. “As you said before, you and I are not that adept at healing. Who is not using his head now, Günter?”
Günter gave an annoyed huff. “Alright, but if I cannot get my foot back into the boot, I will not be happy. I do not plan to wander around barefoot while my ankle heals.”
Gwendal made a noise of consent as he pushed the the older demon to lean back on his elbows, as Gwendal gingerly eased Günter’s boot off of his injured foot.
As they had suspected, Günter’s ankle was badly sprained, but fortunately nothing was broken nor had the skin been ruptured in any way. The pale skin was a blotchy blueish-black, and the ankle and surrounding area was a plump sphere protruding off of the bone.
“We need to wrap it,” was Gwendal’s quiet diagnosis. “And you need to keep off of it for a while.”
“Gisela told me that it is best to walk as much on a sprain as you're able so that the ligaments do not get shortened and stiff. It could cause re-injury. Anyway, it is not as bas as-please do not prod at it!” Günter hissed out the last part as he winced in pain.
“You did too much on it today. Don’t try to hide it, Günter. You would not have called me to retrieve you if it wasn’t so painful.”
Günter’s expression was dark as he nodded, his eyes flicking away from where Gwendal was handling his foot.
“No need to be proud over it either. You are not invincible, and neither am I.” Gwendal tried to keep the amusement out of his voice, but it had been so long since he had seen Günter in soldier form. A petty injury like this on what Günter was probably regarding as a battlefield was probably more wounding to his personal pride than if it had happened at the castle where Günter could wail for his daughter and would fret over a possibility that he could not be able to serve his king.
Gwendal sighed as he focused his maryoku into the injury. It wasn’t a healing spell, but he knew how to soothe enough to take the edge off of the hurt.
“You shouldn’t be wasting your maryoku on this,” Günter said quietly, but Gwendal could hear the relief in his voice.
Gwendal said nothing as he then used his power to make another support out of earth for Günter’s foot. “Let’s use the gauze to wrap this for now.”
“If you go and wash them with the vine water, I can use my power to dry them,” Günter supplied. “Then we’ll go to the crate?”
“Only if you allow me to carry you.”
Günter made a noise of protest. “Only if you let me walk on the way back.”
The crate’s top was surprisingly easy to open now that they had Günter’s sword to use as a prybar. All it took was finding a small weak spot in the wood and seal, and Gwendal using his brute strength to wedge the sword tip into the spot to give them enough leverage to crack the top open.
Pulling themselves up so that they could see into the crate’s contents, they found that whatever it was was packed in an interior crate. After that one had been dealt with in a similar mannar to its bigger brother (they used their weight and Günter’s air maryoku to tip the exterior crate over), they pulled the top off and found a thick padded material that covered another large but differently designed crate, which they assumed had to be protecting a delicate cargo.
And it was. Gwendal felt his eyes twitch when he saw what the contents actually were.
“Oh my! Look, Gwendal, these are the brand of soaps, hair products and oils that your mother fancies!”