header art by @edalnem on twitter
Tip: If you are using Chrome there is a little add-on called InteractiveFics with that the story is much more vivid since Y/N will be replaced with the name you type in. Give it a try you won’t regret it~
“About your friend-“, he started and immediately I reacted with an answer.
“Sorry to disappoint you but I do not have any friends.”
His expression turned concerned and a bit of a sad undernote as he furrowed his eyes, “Wow I need to say that this is kind of saddening to hear”, he sighed, “if it wasn’t a complete lie. I may be easy-going but not an idiot”.
I averted my gaze when he gave me a knowing look that I shouldn’t push his patience further.
“Please don’t tell my mother…”, I only could mutter because next to Chiaki this was my other main concern for her and my own sake.
My mother may be nice and very invested when it comes to helping commoner folks. But that’s the line she draws, helping no more no less. There are differences between the commoner folk and us as she says despite that I think that it’s completely wrong. But in her eyes it seems like she doesn’t believe in such friendships, she thinks people will be jealous of us, they could use the easy gullible me or worse. We are not like them and especially you don’t understand, those words were the things that they told me on a daily basis. And more over for my mother it was more important what others thought about us, whether strangers or not. A life that is not for me.
“Well, if I wanted to I wouldn’t have waited until everyone left and also wouldn’t have made the effort to come here in the first place, would I?”, he furrowed his eyes at this obvious answer but I couldn’t look up properly nor did I answer him.
“From the events of today I could make out quite an image why you would say that to me. It’s odd, you know. The commoner girl dressed up in a dress which brand she doesn’t even know. Nobody knew who she was in the first place and also they way both of you interact inside and outside of events. Pretending to not know each other.”
He was more attentive and full of knowledge, a bit too full. How did he know-
“Outside?”, it slipped out as I was still deeply in thought, finally facing again forgetting how scary that ominous smile of his was.
“Finally catching up?”, he sat straight and placed one leg over the other as he positioned his hands on his knee on top.
“What do you think I have been parading this city the whole week for, hm?”, he tilted his head and it finally sunk in.
He wasn’t just wasting time or taking a stroll like his brother stated-
“She… didn’t contact me at all. Don’t tell me it has something to do with”, he cut me off and clapped his hands.
“Amazing! Nothing more to expect from her closest friend”, he cheered and took out something before he dangled it in front of my face.
“Now about that deal, I guess you wouldn’t refuse even if you wanted to. Not even for your own sake”, the object that was hanging in front of me was no other than Chiaki’s ribbon that she usually wore when she was busily working at the bakery on the evening shift.
I gulped and tried to slowly grasp it but he pulled it away while shaking his head.
“I must disappoint you, this is mine now. But I want nothing big from you, on the contrary you will most likely do your part of the deal anyways.”
I gave him a confused stare while hiding my shaking hands behind my back.
“Despite that I love my friend dearly, and your confidence about me fulfilling my deal, I still cannot promise you if I am really capable to do my part depending on the circumstances”, out of the anxiety that dwelled in my I intervened my fingers behind my back so hard that they felt like breaking apart.
Lost in my dreadful thoughts, the sudden touch of a firm pat on my shoulders made me almost faint when Prince Tooru’s smile was right in front of my face.
“No worries”, he said cheerfully, “all the circumstances and conditions have been met. There is only a tiny part, oh well scratch that it’s a bit bigger than that but believe me, if you hang in there I might think great possibilities will open up for dear little you who had been caged up in her fear all this time”, I shot my head up to meet his eyes seeing his smile being darker than it had been before as his voice changed from his cheerful tone.
“Let’s be honest”, he dropped his smile and his grasp loosened around my shoulders, “you want to escape. If even someone as dense as my brother who doesn’t care a slightest bit about strangers realized that and made up his mind to marry immediately, do you think I wouldn’t realize as well? Come on, Y/N let’s drop the honorifics and get this deal done. Hajime needs a wife in order to regain part of his power in this kingdom. Things have been a bit complicated in our palace, too complicated to tell you the whole ordeal, the eldest still being the second prince in order”, I widened my eyes.
Due to many things, him being so formal, dropping this charming show of his, the seemingly heavy problems and-
I didn’t know Prince Hajime was the eldest, if that’s the case why is Prince Tooru the seemingly well-liked head of the family?
“Prince-”, he cut me off.
“Tooru would suffice, thank you very much”, he also waved away my question in an urgent manner, “I know you want to know why and such things. But believe me you will find out soon enough. Yet my brother needs someone like you. It may seem weird for you but I am always watching people around me, I know the people, I need to know those around me in order to survive”, the way he said it seemed like he remembered something he rather would not, so I kept shut and listened closely.
He reminds me of someone…
“All I need from you in the beginning is to get that marriage working and make him feel safe. In front of our parents and others make sure to show that you have a good life together and also-”, he rolled his eyes, “he is a bit of a dimwit when it comes to behave properly around lady you need to be patient with him. I am not saying this because I worry about his love life, God no I don’t even have time thinking about my own, but the walls see and listen to everything. You need to make sure that Iwaizumi Hajime’s name is being spread around the Province. He needs his power back, the power that was refused to be given to him”, he took a deep breath and watched the door from time to time, “he is a genius when it comes to logical approaches in both military and diplomacy plan, even if he is not very well-spoken when doing them himself.”
I cleared my throat, “why am I supposed to be the one to help him? This is such a big task, maybe he should have searched for someone else-”
“Too late you already know, might kill you if you don’t”, he pulled back and had a serious expression until I almost fell from my seat if he hadn’t grabbed my arm.
“It was just a joke I cannot kill you even if I wanted to”, with his other arm he stabilized me again and I sat straight.
That doesn’t really help.
“As I said, it has to be you. From all the noble families that I had watched and visited, you are the only Princess who doesn’t have twisted intentions. Also, you are not in love with him which makes things easier if you stay in the palace after the wedding. You can work properly and make sure to do your given task. Also- “, he played with the ribbon, “I had heard that you have a very gentle heart despite that you live in such a family. Making you even befriend commoners. You see past those things”, there was a genuine smile on face as he stared at the ribbon, “I think that is amazing in itself.”
“Now what is your offering?”, it slipped out of me and his gaze wandered over to me, a bit surprised.
“Ah”, it almost sounded like he forgot.
“Let’s say your friend is missing for a while”, the eerie smile on his face gave me goosebumps.
So he really did kidnap her?!
“But don’t worry if you manage to do well, I might make things work out so that you can easily be friends with her and see her as much as your heart desires”, my eyebrows furrowed in confusion.
“I don’t know if you forgot the beginning of our conversation, but despite that I would be at your palace I still cannot meet her without my mother finding out. She will believe me and as you said people will chatter about it, Princess Y/N and the simple commoner girl working at a bakery who only wanted to be friends with a noble, they will say that”, out of reflex I almost snatched away the ribbon he was playing with before he pulled it back last second and hid it in his hand.
“Hey come on, I am a very good listener. You just assumed things on your own”, he heaved his index-finger and pointed it at me, “Nobody said something about you befriending a commoner girl.”
My face heated up and I couldn’t hold my wild thoughts.
What happened between them?!
“W-W-What d-do you mean?!”, I could only blabber out.
He tilted his head in confusion and the ribbon in his hand etched into my vision even more.
“Why are you so upset? She only needs to change her status, right? I talked to her and spent some time, she is not bad at all. Sometimes it’s even hard to think she is a commoner I have to say, especially when I visited the public university, by the way the girl’s uniform there whoever invented them should get my best regards, but she is a lot different than her bakery self. Even her mother said that”, he seemed lost in thought as he rubbed his chin and faced me.
Why does he know so much?
Why does he know where she goes for her studies?
Why does he know her mother?
Why does he have the ribbon-
“You are having the wrong thoughts”, he had a slightly annoyed expression.
“Huuh?!”, I bursted out and clasped my hands over my mouth.
“Oi, you jerk, where are you, everyone is waiting!”, both of us stood straight and almost dashed to the door as we heard Prince Hajime’s voice.
“Well we will meet soon enough. What is your response?”, he turned to the door and then to me.
“Is there a choice?”, I felt it was unfair but he also sadly shook his head.
“You mean it, right? That I can be friends with her and see her whenever I want?”, he raised his eyebrows and his expression grew soft, a warm smile emitting from it.
“Of course. Leave it to me. I stay true to my word. But as I said it will only be possible if things work out”, he looked back to the door.
“Then we have a deal, Tooru”, it took me a while to say his name like that and he shook my hand.
“A deal it is.”