Meine Liebe Fan Fiction ❯ Good Rest from Sorrow ❯ One-Shot

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Disclaimer: “Meine Liebe” and “Meine Liebe Wieder” belong to KONAMI and Bee Train. I hope it's obvious that I'm neither KONAMI nor Bee Train. The events in this work of fiction never happened—as far as I know, Naoji never left Kuchen—although there are scattered canon facts every now and then.
A/N: Yes, I switch points of view on this one-shot. I do hope it's been easy, figuring out who's who since the views switch various times; I can tell you, however, that the last—“Twilight”—is limited third person. Good Rest from Sorrow also features a Ludwig/Naoji scene, so please be warned if you are not a fan of shounen-ai, or of this pairing.
Good Rest from Sorrow is set ten years after the story of “Meine Liebe Wieder”; assuming that this series was set in 1935, ten years later would set it no other than the time Japan was really involved in World War II: 1945, the time when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed (thankfully, it was also that year that WWII ceased). The years are spanned throughout, and the very first section—Evening, courtesy of Ludwig's point of view—marks the beginning of the 1940s, so it's around four or five years in total. Confusing? It took a while for me to sort things out, too.
On another note... years after graduation, what could those four possibly still be doing at that Academy? Oh, I don't know. Teaching alongside being a member of the Strahl? I never actually did work that out.
Evening. Naoji has departed.
He heeded neither my words nor my pleadings, rare it is that I ever plead. Strange, that whilst I have been witness to many a departure—whether it may be that the person's next destination was the next world, or merely the next kingdom over—none of them have affected me as Naoji's has. There has been no unrequited bond between us, none that I am aware of, and yet Orpherus and Camus insist that Naoji departed Kuchen because of words that have escaped my very mouth. It is puzzling, bewildering even, that I as one man could cause another to leave Kuchen for his motherland. Orpherus had been right in the sense that losing someone `brimming with intelligence' like Naoji would be a complete waste. Eduard had been right in the sense that I could not have been happier in the company of Charlene than I would have been in the company of Naoji. And Camus had been completely correct in saying that I felt something deeper for Naoji than the unending dislike I kept for Orpherus' reasoning, something much deeper than the care and passion I held to my `heart' to elevate my family's status, however any higher it can go since I am directly related to the king.
But I never understood whatever that `feeling' was.
Morning. Ludwig has never left my mind.
I never expected my leaving that kingdom to be such a burden. I often mentioned to Orpherus—and most of the time, to Ludwig himself, although I do not want to remember our conversations at this very moment—that it is their incandescence, their luminosity that often outshone me in everything—may it be equestrian activities, swordsmanship—my very kendo was merely second-class compared to their fencing—or even their studious activities—that would prevent my following them. I often told myself that as well. But, as it seems, it was more than their incandescence. Their family's background was more than I would ever add up to... and yet it wasn't that that made leaving Kuchen such a burden, either. I honestly do not think that Ludwig is the reason that... that my heart feels as if... as if nothing but darkness enshrouds it, for I know even Orpherus has shed his light on my unworthy heart, and even Eduard has told my unworthy mind of his courage, and even Camus has seen my unworthy eyes with those of his, telling me to keep pushing forward. And Ludwig... Ludwig's reasoning—that passionate reasoning that never ceased to irk Orpherus' own—that has managed me to rethink the very reason I left Kuchen for.
Why must it be he who my mind remembers the most?
Afternoon. I hope life at Rosenstolz becomes `normal' again.
We have taken the steps and the commitments to becoming members of the Strahl. We had graduated with a flourish of colors, and grades, and yet... And yet the school seems empty without Naoji, and it was as if the very vision of him practicing his kendo never seems to leave our minds. Camus was depressed, more than the usual amount he'd been lately, and I had been less active in protests against Ludwig. How uncharacteristic of me, eh? Robertine must have been proud, since I have held myself grandly upon facing Ludwig and his dictatorial reasoning for the kingdom of Kuchen. Eduard hasn't been as lively, either, although I haven't concerned myself with anyone else so far so I cannot really speak for their feelings. Naoji's departing had caused some other disconcerting feeling that even Ludwig couldn't have suppressed, didn't bother to suppress. I'd noticed it, although I never acknowledged it in front of Ludwig's face himself. It was... different, because I often would just charge into a conversation—rather, an argument—with `Lui'.
No matter how much I occupy myself with, however, Naoji still does not leave my mind.
Dusk. There are so many questions left unanswered.
I still don't understand what underlying, subtle magic drew me away from that kingdom—from... from him—and yet it was beneath everything that I found my answer. It wasn't some other pulling that made me bid farewell to Kuchen, to Orpherus, to everyone. Honestly—and I know I shouldn't blame one who trusted me, who... who cared for me while I was at Rosenstolz—I do believe that it was Lui himself who drove me away from him. As gentle and kind and sensitive as Camus insisted he was, every time I saw him—and I did see him more often than he saw Camus, although I knew Camus was related to him—he felt as unapproachable as before: a cold, distant part of the plutocracy; a ruler with a dictatorial fist who would want to reform the world with no concern towards the peoples' welfare, as Orpherus' idea of a democracy offered; a man whose heart was as solid as iron, as indifferent as an unscathed diamond.
And yet, even if Ludwig was one of the colder plutocrats around, one of the higher-ranked aristocrats, there was still the incandescence that burned as a light in his eyes, the very light that pushed him to go on, even if his path toward joining the Strahl had been delayed many times already.
Ludwig has yet to cease to amaze me, and perhaps his shining light never will.
Dawn. I wonder if Naoji still meditates.
While he was still here, Naoji managed to teach me a lot of things, mostly spiritually. Although meditating and misogi never did work for me, Ludwig—uncharacteristic it is for me to admit—was right when he said Naoji had some sort of air around him that soothed and calmed. I can bet my reputation that even over half of the female population at the academy misses Naoji's appearances, even if he was the quiet type. It was strange, that one time, when so many girls had wanted to dance with him. I knew he was popular among the male population, even while their only reasoning would be because Naoji was almost always seen with Ludwig, and they wanted to be close to him, but I had never realized that he had fans among the females as well. It's pretty freaky, pretty weird that Lui and Orphe haven't been having too many arguments since he left. I guess, in a strange, paradoxical way, it was a `good' thing that he left.
I know I shouldn't be thinking like that. I guess I just miss the guy too much to be thinking straight.
Midnight. Why am I still so troubled?
It's been a while since I've pictured the scenery of Kuchen. I've had nothing but the gray-tinted sky of my country and the sound of absolute terror beating within my heart ever since then. Kuchen... Kuchen was the living, breathing embodiment of peace on Earth while I was there. Conflict arose every now and then, but these times of trouble would always be resolved by the ever-changing waves of reform that would constantly wash new information upon our kingdom's independent shore. Kuchen... Kuchen meant very much to me, and I fear that it still does. Why do I fear it? Why do I fear the kingdom that housed me, that was like another home to me, amongst my own people? Why is it that I grow tiresome, irksome, annoyed at the constancy that my own country holds, yet I never felt this way while there?
I am not too surprised that coming back home has arisen many questions, many of which I do not have an answer for. I know, however, why Kuchen has not reached my mind these few days now.
Deaths, and news of death, surround me daily. It honestly should not be surprising that he has not encompassed my mind, enshrouded my thoughts, and has not taken over my reasoning.
But I do miss him—dearly, should I dare say it.
Noon. Even the garden droops with sadness.
Germany and Japan's involvement in the Second World War have been all the professors and students have been talking and gossiping about. Naoji's Japanese heritage had not been hidden from them—there had been no reason to hide it before—and several of us had been worried for his safety. We were worried—I and the flowers, however strange that sounds, included. I know he didn't want us to know, but Lui was really worried when news of Hi—Hiroshima's, and Na—Nagasaki's bombing reached Kuchen; I could tell, and Orphe was worried about Lui's actions, too, because he wasn't up to debating as he usually was with Orphe. Even the sheer thought of swordplay, it seemed, succeeded only in furthering the dampening of Lui's mood.
I have to wonder whether Naoji knows we're worrying so much about him. The flowers in the Academy's greenhouse haven't been doing so well. The roses—both the reds and the whites—have not been blooming beautifully, and the carnations have ceased to bloom all at once as soon as he left. The plants with leaves... their colors were not as bright and cheerful.
I also have to wonder whether these flowers are connected to Naoji's mood, and not my own.
They seem to miss him so.
Sunset. The winds have shifted in such a clandestine manner.
I had never realized just how close to death I actually really was. I was far away from the bombs that harvested into the field of death several of my kinsmen, several of those that were my same flesh and blood, and yet I was never far from the terror of thinking it would be my body on the bloodstained lands of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, completely mutilated. I have a very... strange outlook on life. However, the countries are at peace now. I only wish for my heart to no longer beat for a terror that still hesitates to leave, for I want it to pulsate with a happy feeling, a light that will push me further into what I wish to do. But, now that the pathways to peace are finally clear, and no longer do rocks and darkness enshroud them and people can finally pave their ways on new paths, I know there are things I must do.
If only I had realized this much sooner.
Sunrise. The weltschmerz has finally disappeared.
It is amazing that, for nearly four years, nothing but dread has clouded the atmosphere of this academy. It would be nothing of my `self' if I were to admit that I had actually longed for a brighter atmosphere, yet I did. Four years of war, of danger, of threats from other already-dependent nations, of pleads, seeking for our men's strength. Kuchen, they did not seem to understand, was more of peace rather than dirty bloodshed. We were `light' to their `dark', however strange that was, as light was nothing but a mere absence of dark, and dark was nothing but an absence of light. Camus had left the academy, months ago, to begin his own small school, which appealed to me as strange for Camus was never good with the public. Eduard and Orpherus had shifted from teaching at this prestigious academy, and had settled for living in the palace as most members of the Strahl were accustomed to. Daniel and Nicholas visited often every now and then; Elmunt was still a permanent resident of the academy. Of the Strahl candidate class that consisted of myself, Orpherus, Eduard, Camus, Elmunt, Daniel, and Nicholas that had actually stayed at the academy and finished and graduated, selected as members of the Strahl, only two remain at the academy itself.
I find it strangely... aesthetic, the memory of the `peace' we often had around this academy before the war...
...before he left...
But that in itself is a completely different matter. I had once been convinced that his path, his destiny had been paved to cross with mine, that one day we would walk side by side on the same pathways that destiny and fate had carved for us. However, I was proven wrong on several accounts. Our paths did cross, yes, but as it seems, Ishizuki Naoji and myself... we were not meant to have walked the same paths, to have traveled the same roads, to have crossed the same bridges. I was right in a sense that he would walk beside me, but not for the whole journey, and merely a part of it.
In a sense, it was better that the war happened, because I truly do feel a sense of achievement in helping Naoji—helping him—find his own path.
Twilight. All are at peace now.
Ludwig didn't know—and that was a first, because Professor Ludwig, now ceremoniously Duke Liechtenstein, the next in line to the throne of Kuchen, as all students assumed, knew everything that happened within the walls of Rosenstolz Academy.
It irked him that he had no idea whose feet were pounding against the floor of the academy, no idea what sorts of ideas were being rummaged through their heads by the students, and it annoyed him to no end. The duke stared piercingly through his large, clarion windows at the moon that peered endlessly at him, on the book in his hands. There was motion beneath him, by the entrance to the academy, and he caught no sight of blond—or even orange—hair, and thus concluded that neither Orpherus nor Eduard came out of the castle for their bi-nightly visits. He knew none of the students would dare leave the academy while his lights were still on—he slept with all lights on to ensure that the students were `trapped' conveniently within their rooms—and had to ensure himself that it was a visitor, for the headmaster perhaps.
Ludwig Herzog von Mohn Nahe Liechtenstein sighed, releasing a breath he didn't realize he was holding, and let his book settle against the cloth of the small table that stood beside his window and in front of his comfortable-enough armchair. He sat back, closed his eyes for a moment, and then opened them again, feeling that that was all they needed to feel more refreshed. He never pleaded for rest, had never needed it for his mind—even if his body was asleep—was frequently active, and he was very sure he did not need it now. But. There was always that one excruciatingly drawn-out word—but—that always seemed to accompany his sentences now: during his lessons, which led to his students' questioning him, during conferences with other teachers, with the king and his advisors, and it was that single word that ruffled the cold exterior of Duke Liechtenstein.
Three steadfast knocks came upon his door. His eyes flared. Who dared walk out of their dormitories past curfew? The duke said imperiously in his native tongue, not bothering to move from his seat, “Kommen Sie herein.
He could almost feel the hesitation outside the door—perhaps the tone of his voice had managed to scare the knocker away?—but he heard the door turning open, and his very eyes widened at the surprise the door had kept hidden.
You,” he managed to whisper as he stood up, his cape billowing behind him as if a strong wind had suddenly blown through the room from the figure's arrival and presence. “Is it really—?”
Ishizuki Naoji smiled tenderly as he closed the door behind him and crossed the room to capture Ludwig's mouth in a kiss.
Tadaima, Ludwig,” he whispered. “It is, and I'm finally home.”
A/N: A final thing: “Kommen Sie herein” is “Come in” in German; “Tadaima” is “I'm home” in Japanese.