Fotf a\n; uh hi. This is a joint project w/ the lovely Azadari. I dunno. Yeah. It's been a while doing yeah. Whatever. Ps the title is a wip.

If he was to talk about the weight of the crown, perhaps that is all he would have to say. His father isn't really dead. But he is dying. And the kingdom needed a strong leader, so… It was only natural, he tells himself. Sooner or later.

But that doesn't make it any easier.

He is king, and will most likely be king until he dies. (And he's tried it before. Escaping.)

There are wars to be fought, and battles to be won. He is expected to lead an army at some point in time, though he is sure that he is entirely incapable. Taxes to be collected, councilmembers to be appointed, tournaments to be held, court to be called into session, disputes heard (and then presumably settled,) grievances addressed, balls to be attended, parties to be thrown, and perhaps, the worst of all, a lady to be courted. He's overwhelmed by it all.

"My lord." He thinks Toshio is cordial, because he is king. Because he is king and made the man take a mean oath. No lands, no wife, no child. Perhaps his knight had dreamed of it once. But for, or with a different man. His father was a warrior king, and his father before him. Either of them would have sufficed, he knows.

He's been held at sword-point before. Steel against his throat, before one of the elder knights beat some sense into his squire. Seishin was a prince.

But they are more alike than Toshio cares to admit. Without their fathers, they would be nothing.

"My lord." He says again.

Seishin nods. It's this thing he's dreamed of for years, this defiling the chair, and the crown. He's not entirely above using coercion. For a long time, he thought himself above his father. But in the end, he supposes that the two of them are quite similar.

His doublet is undone for him. He's cold. "Are… you…?"

"What?"

"…It's nothing." He thinks that there might be a scowl. He's afraid that his knight, the one that is as sharp and enduring as a blade tempered from folded steel, detests him. They haven't spoken much. Or if they have, he doesn't recall. Not since he was brought here, and made a squire. Their first words might as well have been their last.

Toshio is on the throne, and he's on the knight's lap. His touch is reassuring, and that makes the king ease into a contented smile.

He presses his forefingers against a scar on the other man's abdomen, only to be reprimanded for it. "Not tonight."

His neck is nuzzled, and Toshio's hands slip beneath his waist.

It's as over as quickly as it begins. He's tired, and Toshio has to hold him steady. He thinks that it's just another one of his shortcomings. He's urged back into his robe.

"C'mon. We shouldn't be here—I mean. I shouldn't."

"…you just got back…"

"I'm leaving tomorrow."

"…oh."

"I'll write to you or something. I need to now, don't I? Tell you about all the stuff I'm doing?" He forces a laugh.

"You could just leave."

"My lord?"

"…you've never called me that before." He sighs. "Go down South, I mean. You don't have to stay if you don't want to."

"I took a vow." He says. "And I'm not the type." He shrugs. "You're king now. It'd be disrespectful not to. I should have been more mindful of it earlier."

"I don't like it."

"What? My lord?" He snorts. "I can call you your majesty, or your highness. Whichever you prefer, really."

"None of them." And he knows he's being petulant.

"Fine."

"I'm sorry."

"For what?"

"The oath. Everything. I'm not a very good king. You were right, that first night."

"The oath would've come eventually, anyways. And I wanted it. Remember?" His knight scowls. "Look. The rest'll happen in time. Anyways, I've got to go. I'm supposed to be up before dawn."

"…good night."

"And you, my lord." He bows, perhaps out of habit. The young king does not have any merit of his own. He is not adept with a sword, as his father was.

Campaigns are entirely beyond him, so he has his knight lead. (And loses him for months at a time.) Were he not a bastard, he might have crowned the man, and left the realms entirely.

But he knows that some things aren't, and will never be.