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!
Darn you LJ character limits!!!
Dinner proved to be filling, and the pair of them gladly enjoyed an unhurried meal that was warm.
They spoke of hunting tactics to be used and ideas for resources they could find on the island. Gwendal was finding more and more that he was stranded with the best possible person, as Günter was proving to be their own personal living library.
"I don't think the academy teaches or even knows of the information that is in your head. Do you spend your days memorizing every tome in the castle?"
Günter rolled his eyes. "You know I am always trying to be prepared for anything His Majesty needs." Then, "...or gets into."
The conversation eventually turned away from their current situation and into a smattering of state intrigue.
"I was thinking," Günter said as he stared quietly into the fire. "Since we're on the subject of state affairs, how are you going to keep your uncle away from Von Voltaire? Anissia too, for that matter."
Gwendal looked up at his companion. "What do you mean?"
"You have no heirs, and Hube, due to his criminal past, would be ineligible to take over, and his son is too young to rule. Since Voltaire is still one of the few nobles' lands that still require that the heir be male and a noble, the only person in this case would be Von Spitzweg, since your mother is unable to claim it, and Wolfram is engaged to His Majesty, which now excludes him from any succession other than Belefield...I don't know about you, but it makes me uneasy for your uncle to be in closer proximity to His Majesty."
Gwendal broke a piece of the coconut fruit in his hands before placing the sweet bit of fruit in his mouth. "Ah, I see. I have already made arrangements in that matter. Hube will rule over my lands."
“But he can’t...”
“In Conrart’s stead. I’ve named Conrart as my successor.”
Günter's reaction was shock, but Gwendal knew it wasn't because he had named a half-demon, but more so that Günter didn't get the logic.
"Think about it. The Voltaire creed states that only a male of noble birth with relationship to the Voltaire ruler can run the lands. As you stated, my only male cousin, Hube, has been rendered inelligable from succession, and Eru is too young and of course a half-demon, so the other nobles will not have that."
"Yes, I agree, they won't. So given that most of them are prejudiced towards humans and half-demons, how does that make Conrart eligible?"
"Oh, he will be. See, right now Conrart is the only one eligible, being that he is my brother and the son of the former Queen and human nobility, he is closer to me in succession than Stoffle would be."
"Yes, I see, but, Gwendal, what is it that makes Conrart able to overcome the fact that he's a half-demon? His background alone would disqualify him, even if they can't stand your uncle."
"The king has to sign off on the agreement and reasons put forth by the council."
Günter paused. "Excuse me?"
Gwendal took another sip. "In order for my lands to be transferred outside of my line directly, the king must agree to what the nobles vote on and their reasons as to why Conrart would not be eligible...do you see where this is going?"
The look of amazement began to dawn on Günter's face as his mind leapt from rule to outcome. "They wouldn't even dare to bring up Conrart's heritage as a factor as to why he would be ineligible to your lands to his Majesty."
"Exactly. They'll have no choice but to allow my lands to transfer to Conrart instead of my uncle. And seeing as Conrart will not leave his majesty's side for any reason such as ruling my lands..."
"He'll appoint a regent."
Gwendal smiled. "And seeing as there is a stipulation, while at the disgression of the successor, that any regent appointed of my lands MUST be a male noble from Voltaire, the only person eligible is:.."
"Your nephew, Eru."
"Who is too young to rule, so..."
"Hube," Günter breathed. "And Hube would never allow Stoffle to come anywhere near your lands, and he has pledged unyielding loyalty to Yuuri. Of course he would never dream to cross you or Conrart." He looked at Gwendal with admiration. "That is genius, Gwendal."
"Thank you. Conrart and I had a good laugh over it when we designed the whole plot."
Günter smiled, but then, “How does that keep Annisina out?”
Gwendal sighed. “It doesn’t. That, unfortunately, is something that won’t be stopped. Anissina made sure that she became very close with Nicola. Even if Hube fortified my castle against her contraptions and entry, I am sure his dear wife would leave a side gate in the garden open for her.”
“Or just open the drawbridge,” Günter said with a roll of his eyes.
Günter grinned, a laugh threatening to spill forth. “Can you imagine, the nobles trying to find some way to discredit Conrart that does not involve his heritage to his majesty? I wish I could be there to see them frantically scrambling to find some backwards way with the appearance of tact to explain that they don’t want a half-demon as part of the Ten Nobles to their half-demon king.”
Gwendal had to admit that the mental image would be humorous, but then again, hadn’t the whole purpose of his succession plot been to stick it to his uncle and the kangaroo court that often defined the ten nobles? Gwendal was personally sick of dealing with their backward methods and sneaking tactics. Thank goodness Günter was appointed as his cousin’s representative. Even if it took a lot of coaxing, he and Günter were always able to get things done.
“I can see Anissina’s brother trying to arrange a financially strategic marriage between her and Conrart with your uncle and mother, post-succession.”
“Not if Yozak has anything to say about it. At that point, I think he would drag Conrart to my castle on the back of his horse,” Gwendal sighed. “And then he would have his hands full with keeping mother away ‘for all of the details'.”
“Ah, so they are together. I didn’t realize Yozak was the possessive type.”
Gwendal nodded. “Oh, he is. But then again, so is Conrart.”
“A trend I have seen amongst you three brothers.”
Gwendal bristled slightly at that comment; was it so much of a crime that he wanted his time in this quarters private, his peace when he worked, and his castle protected from whatever monstrosity Anissina’s twisted mind produced?
"And you aren't possessive about the things you care about?” Gwendal retorted, “I seem to recall several scenarios where someone dared touch His Majesty. Don't act like you're not as bad as Wolfram sometimes, Günter."
The older demon made a soft smile., "Ah that is true, when it comes to our dear king I lose my head, but you've known for years now how attached I become to those who resolve to do well by our country."
Gwendal took another sip of the water, ignoring how the few lingering pieces of the husk tickled against his lips. "So all of that wailing, swooning, and fretting is because Yuuri has sworn vows to the Demon Kingdom?"
Günter gave a soft laugh. "Yes, I suppose I have allowed my dramatic flare to get the better of me, but for so many years of darkness and instability it is is finally good to see a proven light." The older demon took another sip of his own drink before continuing. "But that didn't answer your question really, other than to explain myself and His Majesty. But, yes I am possessive."
"You knew the answer already, Gwendal," Günter said with a note of amusement in his voice. "You've seen it first hand. The things and people I am possessive over, well, I find that I tend to linger longer around them." Then with a cryptic smile, "You've complained often that I managed to find myself in situations where I should have left well enough alone or those in peace…”
Gwendal thought that the pointed look Günter made was a trick of the fire’s light, but in a blink it was gone entirely.
“I’ll take the first watch,” Günter stated as he stood, “You should get all the rest you can, seeing as I am physically unable to heft my share of this burden until my foot heals,” He sheathed his sword, “I’ll wake you in three hours.”