Disclaimer: I own nothing involved in this story unless I invented it myself. This is written for fun, not for profit.
Fandom: Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal
Title: Wish On A Star
Characters: Nasch, Iris, Durbe
Word Count: 2,015||Status: One-shot
Genre: Friendship, Angstl||Rated: PG-13
Note: This was written for Zexal Shark Week on tumblr.
Feedback: All forms eagerly accepted. Concrit is loved the most, but everything is welcome.
Summary: [one-shot, Nasch & Iris, Nasch & Durbe, past life, written for Zexal Shark Week on tumblr] Nasch can't sleep. Then, he hears the sound of sobs.
Nasch stared up at the underside of his tent. He knew he needed to sleep; the scouts reported that Vector and his army had holed up in the nearest town along their route and might be there a while. He couldn’t be sure it was true, but they had to try anyway. He would’ve urged them to march, if his people weren’t so tired from the march so far. They needed to rest.
He needed to rest. They’d already chased after Vector for endless months, and he’d barely let himself sleep more than a few hours each night in all of this time. Sometimes he didn’t even sleep that much. Whenever he closed his eyes, he could see Merag falling into the ocean…
The young king drew in a long breath and tried with all of his strength to ignore the memories. Never to forget them, but to put them at a mild distance, enough so he could function. Enough so he could sleep.
Yet still that release eluded him. He finally sat up and looked around, hoping for something that could relax him enough to rest. Perhaps Durbe would also be awake? Talking to him might well help…
Nasch moved silently out of the tent, nodding to the guard who stood out there as he did. Durbe’s tent rested only a few brief steps away, but Nasch’s hopes sank away the moment that he looked toward it. Durbe’s tent remained dark, and when he took those few steps, he could hear no sounds at all coming from inside.
Perhaps going for a walk wouldn’t be such a bad idea instead. He could tell himself he was inspecting the sentries and keeping an eye out for any of Vector’s dirty tricks. And he could use some fresh air anyway. Perhaps that was all that he’d need.
He hadn’t gone very far when a sound he knew far too well caught his attention. He stopped and looked toward Iris’s little tent, on the opposite side of his from Durbe’s. In truth, it was somewhat attached to his, since she didn’t sleep very well on her own and she’d told him it made her feel better if she knew he was there.
Nasch didn’t hesitate, no more than he would have if it had been Merag he’d heard crying. Not that Merag would’ve cried, and if he’d bothered her, she would’ve likely smacked him senseless anyway. But he brushed his fingers on the outside of Iris’s tent.
“Iris? Are you awake?” He kept his voice low, not wanting to disturb the guards, or distract them from their posts. The affection he had for this little girl was shared by all of his army, and he didn’t want them all trying to crowd in there.
“Your Majesty?” For all that he tried to get her to call him Nasch, she didn’t seem able to just yet. She turned over in her blankets and sat up, rubbing at her eyes. “I didn’t bother you, did I?”
He smiled, settling himself down beside her. “No. I was already awake.”
“Oh.” Iris dropped her gaze, drawing the blankets closer around her. She knew as well as he did what this war involved, though he’d tried his best to protect her from it the moment he’d found her. She’d already lost her family and her home. He wanted to make certain that she didn’t lose anything else that he could prevent.
“Were you having a bad dream?” He kept his voice low and soothing, hoping that he could get her to relax. His own sleep troubles didn’t matter as much to him anymore.
Iris sat up a little, her head still tilted downward. “It wasn’t that bad, Your Majesty.” “Would you like to talk about it?” Nasch had a few ideas on what her nightmare were like. He’d seen plenty of the shattered villages they’d passed over the last few weeks in his own dreams, far more often than he would’ve liked. So many of their residents rose up from where they lay, pierced by arrows or spears, hacked by swords, and demanded why he hadn’t saved them, why he hadn’t arrived in time, why he hadn’t defeated Vector in his own kingdom and spared them all.
He had no answers for them. He likely never would.
Iris bit her lip and shook her head, inching closer to him as she did. Nasch didn’t move; he’d seen this before. She was getting more and more used to him, but if he made any movements that indicated he didn’t want her around at the time, she always backed off. He hoped that once this whole war with Vector was over with and they returned home, she’d get over that.
He hadn’t told her, and didn’t intend to, but if she were amenable to the situation, she would be his successor to the throne. He didn’t want to inflict himself and his issues on some woman to sire an heir of his own, and none of his relatives were suitable for the position. He still wasn’t sure if she was, but at the moment, she was his first choice.
Slowly she leaned her head against his knee, turning enough so she could look up at him. “You’re going to fight soon, aren’t you, Your Majesty?”
“We should find them tomorrow.” He didn’t know if he wanted that to be true now. He knew it had to happen; Vector had started this war, but he would finish it. But he’d already been gone from his home for so long, and there had already been so many deaths.
And if I stop now, there will be even more. It wasn’t something he could argue about. That burning need drove him as surely as the sun drove across the sky. There would be more children like Iris if he didn’t stop Vector. Assuming there weren’t already, which was a fool’s dream to even consider.
He breathed in for a moment, resting one hand on top of her hair. She looked so much like Merag had as a child. Not a complete mirror image, but enough that he wondered if one of his relatives had passed through Iris’s town some years earlier. He considered asking them when he had the chance.
“When we go off to fight, I want you to stay in the camp, where it’s safe.” As always, he’d leave enough of the army behind to safeguard their possessions and those non-combatants who made up a force that nearly equaled his army in size. Cooks and servants, those who tended the armor and weaponry of the warriors, all of them unable to defend themselves the way that a fighter could.
And Iris. Sweet little Iris who had seen her entire village die all around her. He hadn’t asked how she’d survived, but from what he’d seen in the burned out remains of her village, she’d probably just hidden somewhere and hoped with all of her heart that she’d be passed over.
She nodded at that, then her little face puckered up in thought. “Can we go outside? I want to see something.”
It was late, even for him, but they were both already awake, and it didn’t make much of a difference to him. Scooping her up into his arms, he rose up to his feet and headed outside. “What is it you want to see?”
Iris pointed up to the sky. “Those.”
He followed where she pointed to see only the stars and a little of the smoke from the campfires. “Those?”
“The stars.” Iris peeked back at him, and Nasch at once moved along, heading out of the main circle of tents, and to a clearing where the skies could be seen in all their majesty. Iris looked back up, turning her head this way and that in clear search of something in particular.
“There!” She pointed at last to a constellation that he knew so very well. “I wished on that one there.” She pointed again and he stared harder, trying to figure out which one she meant. “The one on the end. Mommy and Daddy used to tell me that if I really wanted something, to wish on a star, and it would come true.”
He could feel her shivering in his arms, with a chill that had nothing to do with the warm temperatures, and held her closer. “Did you wish on something before?”
Iris nodded, her eyes still on the star above them. “I wished that they wouldn’t find me. And I wished that someone nice would.”
Nasch soothed her as best that he could, running one hand over her hair. “Did you want to make a wish now?”
Again she nodded, all of her attention focused on that star now. “I wish…I wish…” Her whole body tensed with the strength of her desire for this wish, and Nasch found himself wishing right along with her. “I wish that all of us can go home safely, and soon.”
I wish that we can finish Vector and go home. He didn’t know if he believed in wishes, but he believed that Iris did, and maybe that was all that was necessary.
Iris yawned, pulling one hand up to cover her mouth, and leaned a little more against his shoulder. “Sleepy.”
“Time to go back to bed, then.” He carried her back to the tents, not at all surprised now to see Durbe standing outside of his, a worried tilt to the young knight’s head. Durbe always seemed to know when he was bothered by something, whatever it might be.
He said nothing, though, as he re-entered Iris’s side of the tent and settled her back into her blankets. She curled up underneath them, yawning again, and smiled at him.
“Thank you, Your Majesty.”
Nasch patted her on the shoulder. “Get some sleep.” He waited only long enough for her to fall back asleep, which took only a few moments, before he stepped back outside into the cool night air.
“Nightmare?” Durbe whispered softly, coming over to him, moonlight gleaming in his pale hair.
Nasch nodded, tilting his head back to see the stars overhead. The one she’d wished on remained hidden from here, concealing by the tall trees they’d camped under. He hoped that her wish came true. He hoped that his came true.
“We should finish this soon enough, Nasch.”
He wasn’t surprised at how easily Durbe followed his thoughts, spoken or unspoken. “It can’t ever be soon enough.” Soon enough would mean it hadn’t ever happened in the first place. Soon enough would mean that everyone who died wouldn’t have.
Durbe squeezed his shoulder in reassurance, his hand warm through the thin nightshirt Nasch wore. “It will happen nevertheless.”
Nasch didn’t want to argue about it. Durbe was right anyway. They would finish this. All he did was look back through the tent opening to where Iris slept peacefully.
“She said she wished on a star that no one would find her when it happened.” That still stirred something in Nasch’s heart. Seeing that particular star did so as well. “And that someone…nice would.” The thought of himself being nice, when he still carried blood on his hands from all the battles he’d fought, made him wonder if her wish hadn’t come true yet.
Durbe smiled. “And he did.”
Nasch might have argued, if a deep yawn of his own hadn’t caught at him just at that moment. Durbe’s smile darkened almost at once and he gestured to the tent. “Go to bed. You need all of your rest, Nasch.”
Few people dared to tell Nasch what to do. Durbe would forever be one of those people. Nasch slipped back into his tent and stretched out on his cot, staring once again at the material overhead. He could feel fingers of sleep snatching at him and didn’t resist them. Perhaps tonight, in his dreams, he could show Iris to Merag, and they could all be happy together, in a world where Vector wasn’t a problem and never would be.