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Forever With You

Chapter 1: One

by isilelensar

“Oh! Be careful, Yuki!” Hitoka cried worriedly, reaching out to steady the wobbly little boy. But, he caught himself and was already running after his giggling twin brother Haru, as they played in the garden outside the nursery.

Lowering her arms, she shook her head at the two rambunctious little boys, so full of energy. She’d been working in the royal nursery for a year now, and she couldn’t be happier. There was no pressure to keep things in pristine condition each and every day, no expectations to do her best to please dignitaries and other royal visitors. No chance to run into… anyone.

She stayed with the children, both at Nekoma, and on the Crow Islands, which suited her perfectly. Besides, the prince consort, Tsukishima, had recently granted her request and made her a nanny for his sons. She had royal permission to stay in the nursery, and she fully intended to fulfill her duties to the best of her abilities.

From beside her, the sparkling sound of baby-ish laughter filled the air, and she smiled, turning to pick up her little girl. At ten months, Aiko was only just learning to walk, but still preferred to crawl. And she made a valiant effort to crawl toward Yuki and Haru, but made it only so far as the edge of the blanket. Aiko was an angel, laughing at the boys instead of screeching for them to pay attention to her. With bright golden curls and sky blue eyes, she was also the darling of the nursery. Second only to the boys.

Nevermind that there were only the three of them in the nursery.

“Soon you’ll be walking and running just like them, darling,” she said softly to her daughter, gently rocking her and humming a little tune. “They’ll be happy to play with you, won’t they?” Aiko cooed, waving her chubby little arms and reaching up to pat her face.

As if they’d been summoned, Yuki and Haru made their way back to her, reaching up with little hands to pat Aiko and smile at her. For a little while longer, these three would be almost like siblings to each other, and the center of her life. At least until the time came for the boys to start their education. Honestly, she wasn’t sure what would happen then, because once they begin their schooling, she wouldn’t be needed too much anymore. Her duties would be split with their tutors.

And because neither she, nor Aiko had an ounce of royal blood in their veins, the three of them would see less of each other too. Hitoka blinked away her tears. This wasn’t the time to be emotional, not in front of them.

“I see they’re doting on your daughter again,” a familiar, kind voice said from behind her, and Hitoka looked back.
“DADA!!” the boys cried, running to the prince consort, and startling Aiko enough to make her blue eyes well up with tears.
“Shhh, sweetie, it’s okay,” Hitoka swayed with her baby, calming her before she could really start crying. She would have stood up to greet Tsukishima properly, but she felt his hand on her shoulder, keeping her down.
“No, you stay there. I just came to see if you needed anything?”
He reached out with a long, slender finger and stroked Aiko’s chubby, damp cheek. Her little angel squealed with laughter, and latched onto the digit with her own.
“Oh, no! I’m fine! Thank you, your highness.”
“Yacchan, you can call me Tsuki, you know.”
She sighed. “I know.” With care, she pried her daughter’s hand from the prince’s finger.
He smiled and then tousled the hair on his sons’ heads.
“I’ll be back for dinnertime, okay, babies?”
“Okay!” Haru scampered off again, his dark head bobbing with each step.
“Want Papa,” Yuki said quietly, reaching both arms for his dada to pick him up. Which he did, as always the doting father.
“Come on, then. Papa will be happy to see you!”

Yuki snuggled his little blond head into his father’s neck. He was the miniature version of Prince Tsukishima… no, Prince Tsuki… and it made Hitoka smile. Of course, once Haru figured out Yuki wasn’t chasing him, he came racing back to wrap his little arms around Tsuki’s leg.

“Me, too, Dada! Me, too!”
“Oh, alright, you too!”
He laughed as he swung around and started walking awkwardly toward the nursery. It was difficult walking with a three year old attached to your leg, but Haru was laughing wildly, and no one would dare to deny him his fun. Before he went inside, Prince Tsuki turned to face Hitoka.
“Wanna come? Tetsu’s been asking about Aiko…”
“Thank you, but no.” She looked down at her daughter, who was sleeping soundly. “Maybe next time,” she said quietly, holding a finger up to her mouth and then pointing at her sleeping baby.
Prince Tsuki nodded and smiled gently. “Maybe next time,” he agreed. “Haru, hush now. The baby is sleeping.”
“Yes, Dada,” the little one replied with an exaggerated hush. “Bye bye, Aiko!” he waved a tiny hand at Hitoka, who giggled and waved back.

Placing Aiko on the blanket, she covered her with a light blanket, and then curled up beside her baby. The weather was perfectly warm, the breeze off the ocean was cool, and life on the Crow Islands was as peaceful as always. Hitoka smiled as Aiko gripped her finger in her tiny hand. It was a good time for a nap, after all.

~*~

“You have a few days to spare before you have to be at Nekoma, your grace,” Eita heard his advisor say from behind him. “But, until then, your schedule is clear.”
“Thanks, Taichi,” he said quietly. Leaning against the railing of his yacht, he squinted at the blue expanse of the ocean sliding by, and then up at the sky. “Isn’t there an archipelago nearby?”
He heard the rustling of paper and grinned. “The Crow Islands, your grace.” The answer came from his second advisor, Kenjiro. “The current Chieftain is Prince Kei Tsukishima, who took over for his father a year ago.”
“Hmmm…” Eita already knew all that, but he stayed silent and stared at the horizon thoughtfully. “I was under the impression Kuroo ruled over both the Crow Islands and his own principality.”
“He did for a short time. But, they changed the rules. Kuroo rules over the principality, Tsukishima is in charge of the archipelago. They rule jointly.”
“And that works?” Eita asked. He could just hear Kenjiro’s shrug.
“There hasn’t been anything to suggest otherwise, sir.”

He was quiet for a little while, scanning the water, feeling the breeze through his hair and playing with his clothes, finally seeing a hint of land far out on the horizon. His curiosity was getting the better of him. The Crow Islands were said to be almost primitive, but the young chieftain had been doing his best to ‘upgrade’ his small nation. Of course, he had Nekoma to back him up, but in the time he’d taken over the chieftaincy, he’d managed to bring them up to reliable cell service in addition to the aging landlines. All within his budget, in order to not put undue strain on Nekoma’s purse strings. Which was amusing, since everyone knew Nekoma’s vaults were, well, fathomless.

“Let’s go to the Crow Islands,” he finally said, turning to face his patiently waiting advisors. “I'm curious.”
“I’ll inform the captain, your grace,” Kenjiro said shortly, bowing crisply, and retreating down to the cockpit.
Eita shook his head at the younger man and then started walking down the stairs to the main deck. “When am I expected to be at Nekoma?”
“By the end of the week, your grace,” Taichi replied. “You’ll need at least one day to meet with Kuroo, and get settled into your rooms.”
“But otherwise, I have, what, two days?”
“I believe so, your grace.”
Eita stopped and turned to face his advisor… and best friend.
“I have an idea, Taichi.”
His advisor dropped his formal attitude quickly. “Oh really? Nothing too elaborate, I hope?” But he was smiling. “Tell me!”
“We’ll go incognito, Taichi. We’ll dress plainly, and we can explore the islands, like tourists!”
“And you’ll have your guitar, won’t you?”
“Well, yeah, duh. It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to play. My fingers are itching.”
“I’m sure they are. What else do you have planned?”
“Nothing, really. Just spending a couple days with literally no goal in mind. Stealing a little R&R, you know?”
“Right,” Taichi agreed. “Well, if we’re going incognito, what are we going to do with Kenjiro?”
“Leave him on the yacht? He couldn’t do incognito if he tried. And he’s just pompous enough to throw my title around. Due respect to the crown, and all that.”
“He’s new, Semi. He takes his role seriously.”
“That he does, and I appreciate it. But sometimes, he takes it way too seriously, ya know?”
“Is that why you acted as if you didn’t know Kuroo and Tsuki?”
Eita nodded gleefully. “Kenjiro needs to loosen up, anyway. Why not tease him occasionally?”
“On that note, he went to go speak with the captain about stopping at the Crow Islands, right?”
“Right.”
“Since he knows where we’re heading, don’t you think he might take the initiative to call ahead…?”

Eita veered toward the cockpit, immediately changing course from the stairs that would lead down to his quarters. It might already be too late to stop Kenjiro, but he hoped that any calls made would be to anyone of rank who might be there. He didn’t want to make this any kind of official, or even social, visit. He was only going to explore by day, and come back to his yacht at night. No important meetings, no discussing politics, no boring hours doing anything that resembled work. He was only going to be visiting for two days, and he meant to have fun while he was there.

“Kenjiro!” he called out when he entered the cockpit, and just as his advisor put the phone down on its cradle.
“Yes, your grace?”
“Who did you just get off the phone with?”
“His name is Nishinoya, sir.”
“Who is he?”
Taichi gave him a pointed look; Eita waved it off.
“One of Prince Tsukishima’s attendants, sir.” His head tilted to the side. “Is there a problem?”
Eita sighed. “Call them back, and then give me the phone. If I can fix it, there won’t be a problem if I can straighten everything out.”
“I don’t understand. Did I do something wrong?”
But he did as he was told, handing the phone over once he heard a ringtone.

Eita started talking the minute someone answered, and while he did that, he gestured for Taichi to explain things to Kenjiro. Luckily, the phone on the other end was eventually passed to Kei who understood perfectly what he wanted to do. It would cost him a visit to the main residence, but Kei assured him it would be completely informal.

“We’re looking forward to seeing you again, Eita,” Kei said cheerfully. He huffed a bit, and let out what sounded like a grunt.
“Everything okay over there?”
“Yeah, no, it’s all good. We have the boys with us for a little bit. They’ll go back to their nanny soon.”
“Got it. Well, we’ll see you in a few hours, then.”
“See ya when you get here.”

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Chapter name
One
Created
06 Aug 2022
Last Edited
06 Aug 2022
Hits
66
Words
1970