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The Wolf Prince

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As soon as he dropped into Vollachia, Natsuki Subaru made a mistake.

Seeing the yellow haired child lying next to an unconscious Rem, he did the only thing he could think of.

“This is for the tower, Louis.” He wrapped his hands around her neck and squeezed with all of his might. Her muffled hacks, kicking legs, and pleading eyes did nothing to stop his ever-growing grip.

The wind kicked out of him, he flopped into the dirt. Straddling him the same as he did Louis, was Rem, awoken by the noise.

“Bastard!” she yelled. Her hands did the same as he did Louis. Subaru could only mouth out Rem’s name before the light left his eyes.

Before he knew what was happening, it had unfolded again.

“Bastard!” The only thing he could think of is how beautiful she was, and how smooth her hands were. Even as they wrung his neck.

“Bastard!”

‘Why, Rem?’

“Bastard!”

‘I love you.’

“Bastard!”

‘Please, stop.’

At first he would thrash and try to scream, but only spittle would leave his lips.

Hitting her, pushing her off, biting, it was all pointless. He had given up after countless tries.

Reaching up, Subaru caressed Rem’s face. It twisted into... Confusion?

No.

Revulsion.

The loop updated, Rem’s face eternally locked into disgust as he lay there, defeated.

He tried focusing on the softness of her thighs, the way her weight shifted when she moved, every curve of her body. Anything that would distract him from that look on her face. Something within him grew as he shut his eyes. Subaru didn’t know how long it had been since he opened them, but he knew it was verging on weeks.

Natsuki Subaru had given up wholeheartedly. Only then did it happen. He wasn’t being choked anymore. Maybe a miracle had happened?

Maybe.

He slowly opened his eyes.

Sticking out the back of Rem was a hand of shadows. It recoiled back, snapping into Subaru. As if a dam had crashed, a torrent of crimson splashed from the gaping red hole in her chest. Subaru was bathed in Rem’s blood. Her heart, destroyed. She opened her mouth, her chin wiggling, and blood spilled forth. Subaru’s eyes widened as he sat frozen under her dead weight.

“Rem?” he said, voice weak from the strangulation. She just stared at him, eyes lifeless.

A cold shudder engulfed his being. His hands shook at what he had done. His brain went into overdrive.

He had to think, and fast.

As if he had the mastery of using it his whole life, he brought the hand inside himself to his own heart and squeezed. Subaru spat up blood and went limp yet again.

Subaru had felt many pains in his life. The Great Rabbit, Elsa’s gutting, Rem’s torture. Nothing could have prepared him for this.

He still wasn’t being choked, he had returned and his eyes were still closed. Something ran down his forehead. Sweat, perhaps?

He opened his eyes, and there she was. Rem, his second love, was sitting atop his chest, her dead eyes staring a hole into him. Ribs poked out of her, heaving heavy last breaths. A deluge of burgundy flowed from her cavity, washing over him. Bits of bone and gore stained his shirt. Subaru’s blood ran cold, contrasting with the hot and sticky wetness that seeped into his clothing.

‘No. no no no.’ He called upon the black hand and squeezed his own heart again. Red spittle dribbled down his chin as his slothful power took his life once more.

Thrown back into awareness, the same scene awaited him. Every follicle of hair on his flesh stood on its end.

‘No! Wait! Please!’ He wouldn’t believe it. He couldn’t believe it.

Guttural screams shook the forest. Over and over, he broke his heart in every way possible.

Crushed, ripped, torn, smashed, eviscerated.

Days went by, yet time stood still.

Days of denial. Days of tears.

Days of screaming.

He begged and pleaded for Satella to take him further back. That he would do anything, anything, just to save her.

Each time he reached into himself to crush that which he no longer wanted, the light in his eyes dimmed ever so slightly.

There was no saving Rem. Not anymore.

That chance was squandered with his slothfulness.

Where hope had once resided in his heart, something new filled it. Black and tainted.

Rem’s ragged breathing was cut off with a bloody kiss, the first and last he would give to her. Holding her hand, he stole her last breath with his lips. Turning away, he closed her eyes. They were repulsed, wild orbs that stared him down with hate and confusion even in death.

Subaru stood up with a fire in his eyes as he walked down the yellow haired archbishop. Both of them were crying, but only one of them had a knife. She tried to crawl away. Tried. He kneeled into her stomach, gripped her golden hair as to keep her still, one cheek to the ground as she stared up at him and made some incessant cry as tears and mucus congregated on her face. Subaru raised the knife to her temple and slashed across. The cries turned to wails, echoing through the canopy. He sliced downwards from the top of her brow, making sure to cut her iris along the way. Blood made the skin slippery. Once Subaru had gotten a firm grip on the skin hanging from her brow, he pulled, slowly. Subaru couldn’t hear the shrieking, focused solely on prolonging Louis’ suffering. She shook and gurgled, her body convulsing as her life was snuffed out. Louis had died from shock. It didn’t last as long as Subaru had hoped.

No amount of pain or death inflicted upon her or any others would ever repay what was stolen from him that day.

Vincent found Subaru staring into a fire that reeked of charred flesh. Subaru was in a daze, dried blood covered him head to toe. Subaru seemed to be out of his mind, murmuring, “Why?” with his brows furrowed in thought. Or maybe it was anger? Vincent immediately recognized the man as the one who had slain the White Whale, Natsuki Subaru. The cogs in his head started to turn. Vincent wondered what Subaru had balled up in his hands. One of his hands was coveting some sort of bracelet or headband, he kept it close to his chest. The other was kept at a distance from himself, gripped fierce as if he was holding onto it in spite. It looked like mangled leather.

 

---

Gasping, Subaru sprung up and threw off the heavy white linen sheets that clung to him. The raven-haired prince tore off his purple pajama shirt and wiped the sweat off his body, before tossing it into the floor. Clutching his neck, he inhaled steadily. It was the same dream he had every night.

He squinted at the ceiling, making sure he recognized it before he proceeded with anything else. This was a room he knew well. Natsuki Subaru Vollachia’s own personal bedchambers. His eyes caught the silver wolf head embedded inside the top of the bed frame. It met his gaze and stared back into the deep, dark abyss. He ran his hand through his thick, dark hair, pushing back the locks that draped his eyes. Further investigating the room, he admired the lavender walls that were etched in an ornate white lily pattern. He ran his hand over the velvet-like texture. It was as if lilies themselves were embroidered into the wall. The flowers reminded him of his goal.

‘Emilia...’

As if brought out of a stupor by reflecting on his love, he turned to his bedside to make sure it was still there. Subaru slung open the drawer of his black wooden nightstand and snatched up the red flower headband. He clutched the soft woven fabric tight in his calloused fist. He couldn’t lose this. Thoughts of looping after misplacing it rushed through his head. It would return to it’s rightful owner. That he would make sure of.

Daybreak came. He had not moved from his spot on the bed since he woke. Subaru’s arm pulsed, still clutching the headband. He squinted as the sunlight leaked in from between the lavender drapes and stung his red and puffed eyes. The wind whipped his face, cooling him. The window was left open. Another slip.

‘I’m getting sloppy.’

Vollachia is a brutal country. Even in the confines of his chambers he had been killed before. He would not let there be another death without progress, no. For today was the day he would leave Vollachia. After one years time he could at last resume his duties as Emilia’s knight. Though for Subaru it had been four.

Starting the day off per the usual, his calloused hands shook as he poured amber into the crystal glass. The cubes inside rattled and swirled as the glass filled. He grasped the glass with force, as if it was Todd’s neck, and brought it to his lips. Gulps reverberated throughout his throat as he downed it with haste. The first sip used to be met with a grimace. Now, it was a release. It was oh so sweet. The whiskey dribbled down his chin and onto his coat.

In these shallow waters, he was drowning.

Heavenly were the days he drank away, when his mind could not recall the actions it took to get this god-forsaken kingdom back. And why would he? Everything was necessary. Everything.

Even Todd.

No, Especially Todd.

A light rasp at the door jerked Subaru out of his thoughts of Todd. His head swiveled towards the barred and latched oak door, not unlike an owl.

“Yes? What is it?” said Subaru. His tone was firm and demanding. He had Vincent to thank for that.

Through the thick wooden door came a voice meek and muffled, “Your carriage is ready when you are, your majesty.”

“Understood, dismissed.”

To the bathroom he marched to perfect his person. He approached the mirror, where the furies had made themselves at home. His eyes met themselves in the reflection. Yes, the bags were still there. He would be a fool to expect different with the sleep schedule he undertook. With slow and diligent motions, he smoothed out the wrinkles of his black suit and dried the moist spot where he had spilled his liquor. How slothful. Adorned upon said suit was a golden pin of a wolf with three swords piercing it. The crest of Vollachia. With eyes and brow narrowed, he adjusted the pin.

He was the prince, there was no going back now. Vincent needed an heir to keep nosy nobles from voicing their concerns for the kingdoms future. Vincent needed to sit on the throne so there would be no war. Thus, Subaru Vollachia was born out of necessity. Though this did bring questions from certain nobles. Said nobles quickly learned of what asking questions brought. News spread rather quickly about Subaru ‘The Flayer’ Vollachia.

In truth he preferred his other moniker, ‘The Wolf Prince’, but Cecilus, in all his whimsical and childlike nature, wondering what Subaru would do to Todd once he finally had him, had followed him into the torture cells. So when Cecilus had toasted to Subaru later that evening in front of the other divine generals and called him ‘Subaru Vollachia, The Flayer’, it had stuck.

But now he would leave all the bloodshed behind; a new chapter of his life would start.

Or at least he thought.

---

As he leaned out the side of the carriage, a somber smile graced Cecilus’ face.

“Well, Baru, it appears our paths split here.” Cecilus pointed towards the boarder checkpoint. “Your old man doesn’t want me going into Lugunica. Thinks I’m gonna go tangle with Reinhardt the first chance I get. He’s not wrong though.” He laughed.

The bottle left Subaru’s lips. He wiped his mouth with his sleeve, before retreating his hand under his cape.

“I’ll see you in hell, Cecilus.” Subaru shone a toothy grin. Cecilus smiled back.

“Go easy on that stuff, Your Highness,” He pointed towards the bottle Subaru had been coveting, “And good luck, Baru.” He stuck his tongue out, turned around, and jumped out of the carriage. Subaru watched as the dust the ‘Blue Lightning’ kicked up slowly faded out of view. Subaru turned around. Until he got to the boarder, not once would he look back. He thought of the divine generals, or what was left after the dust settled. He came upon a thought he had quickly forgotten about.

‘Could I ever tell Emilia?’

Yorna had forced herself on him. He was ashamed. He didn’t fight it, he even reciprocated. What would Emilia think? Or his other friends. Would they shun him?

And why did he do it again? Why did he keep opening his door every night for a month straight when she knocked? He wondered what he would say when he arrived. He looked down at the bottle again. It was going to be a long ride.

At the gated checkpoint he saw the ninth divine general, Madeline. Alongside her were two dragons, one of which he recognized. He stepped out of the carriage in disbelief.

“What are you doing here?”

“You didn’t even say goodbye!” she pouted.

As if it was instinctual, his hand reached in between her horns and patted her head. She blushed. The black dragon snorted, most likely jealous.

“I’m sorry.” She looked up at him and sighed, then smiled.

“It’s okay. Anyway, you remember this one, right?” she gestured towards the black dragon. “The one you rode during the capital revolt? Her name’s Suzy, and she wanted to go with you.” Subaru’s mouth hung agape.

“I think Patrasche would get jealous if I brought home another dragon... but alright, I was hoping to get there faster anyway. Thank you, Madeline.” He crouched down and hugged her.

“Don’t thank me!” She hugged back. “Thank Suzy, it’s not like I wanted to let her go.” Her tsundere was showing, just a smidgen of it.

“I’m going to miss you the most, you know?” he said as he smiled, patting her back.

“You dummy!” She pounded her fists against his chest. Madeline’s face was beet red.

---

Before he could say Reinhardt’s name, and long before he could lick his hand, Roy’s head hit the tiled floor. Memories flooded back into OD Laguna as names were restored. At last, the scourge that was Gluttony lay defeated. Reinhardt looked down at the body and shook his head. It was finally over.

---

It was an interesting evening for Petra, she was cleaning the outside of the mansion with fervent glee. Her memories of Rem had come back to her, as well as the rest of the mansions inhabitants. She had just left the meeting the camp had put together to discuss the matter.

As she bent down to trim the weeds, wind blew around her, the gust swaying her hair to and fro. She looked up, hand covering her face as she peered between her fingers. Upon recognizing a dragon, she immediately ran for the front door to gather the camp for a fight.

Up and down the halls you could hear tiny shoes tap tap tapping against the marble. “Everyone, the camp is under attack! There’s a dragon outside!”

The mansion was in uproar for a good thirty seconds. People barreled down the stairs as fast as they could. Otto decided to look out the window.

“Natsuki?”

The flapping of wings could be heard from the left-open front door. As the entirety of the camp, save Beatrice and Meili, walked outside, they were greeted with a visage they missed most dearly.

“Subaru?” came the voice of silver bells. For a moment, the earth stood still. Everyone gasped as they saw the dragon next to him, and the new attire he was sporting.

“I’m finally back, Emilia-tan.”

She ran to him, almost knocking him down as she latched onto him. Their arms locked around each other’s backs, heads resting on one another’s shoulders. Subaru had never felt happier to be home. The smell of her hair, the tears in her gorgeous amethyst eyes. Everything about her was mesmerizing.

But all good things must come to an end.

“Barasu,” Ram’s voice was cold and distant. “where is my Rem?” His eyes snapped open. “Why? Why can’t I... feel her Synthesia?”

He stopped hugging his liege and trudged over towards Ram as if he was wading through a marsh. The liquor wasn’t helping him walk too straight either. Approaching her, he fumbled with his coat pocket, and pulled out a headband. Rem’s headband.

“I’m sorry, Ram,” he said, holding it out to her. She snatched it.

“What is this!?” With her hands trembling and the tears pouring down her face, she obviously knew. Subaru couldn’t bare look her in the eyes.

“I’m sorry,” he repeated, lowered voice and eyes closed. His cheek stung, it was the hardest slap he had ever felt. But the thing that he would remember was the scream she let out afterwards, ear-piercingly primal, like a dying mabeast. She crumpled down onto her knees, bawling. Subaru didn’t know what to do. He felt the gentle, warm hand of Emilia grasp his own and guide him away and into the mansion. His eyes never left Ram as he was led, watching his camp console her in a way he couldn’t.

From the paintings they passed, the stairs they climbed, and the drab paint on the walls, he could tell that she was leading him to her room. When they arrived, she sat him down on her bed, and threw herself into a hug once more. Her hands rubbing circles into his back. “I’m sorry about Rem, Subaru. I know she meant a lot to you.” She reached up and ran her hand through his hair.

“I just... I just don’t know what I could have done for her. Could I have saved her?” Emilia paused, then shook her head.

“I’m sure if you could, you would have. Please,” She looked him in the eye as she stroked his cheek. “don’t be so hard on yourself.”

She could see the bags under his eyes, and the sour frown on his face, and although she liked that he was wearing his hair down and his new choice of attire, Emilia knew something else was off. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it.

“I’m sure Ram hates me now.” His eyes drifted down to the sheets beneath him, his head resting in his hands. She cupped his cheeks and tilted his face upwards to match her gaze.

“Give her time,” She leaned her forehead onto his, and whispered, “I’m sure we all need time to process Rem’s loss.”

“No one even remembers her. Not much to process.” He sighed.

“Subaru...” Her voice was gentle, like a cool autumn breeze. “We actually got our memories back this morning. Everyone remembers Rem.”

“Oh,” His mouth hung open. “Oh.” She saw the realization in his eyes. His news of Rem’s death was worse than he thought. The door blew open. Beatrice flung herself onto her contractor.

“Subaru!” she cried. Her voice muffled in his chest. She was clinging onto him as if he would disappear the moment she let go.

“Beako,” He pat her head and hugged her back. “I missed you so much.”

“Don’t ever leave me like that again!” Tears, like raindrops on glass, slowly rolled down her cheeks and onto his coat.

“Never again, Beako,” He squeezed her tighter. “Never again.”

---

Dinner was silent. You could flay the tension with a knife.

The paintings of the Roswaals before the current Mathers were silently overlooking and judging the eaters below as the occupants of the room stole glances at Subaru. Ram stood behind Roswaal as she always had, her expression twisted as she glared relentlessly at Subaru. He tried to ignore her, focusing on the food, and the spirit in his lap. Occasionally, Subaru pulled out a small leather-wrapped flask, and put it to his lips, sucking down the one thing he thought he would quit the moment he was back. The only sounds in the dining room were that of utensils tapping the plates, it seemed nobody wanted to talk when Ram and Subaru were in the same room.

Roswaal didn’t seem to have that problem.

“It’s good~ to see you back~, your highness.” His sing-song cadence was something Subaru did not miss.

“Highness?” ‘Shit.’

“Yes~, it seems your station outranks~ us all now, seeing as how you are~ crown prince of Vollachia.” The clang of cutlery rang out, quite a few people had dropped their forks. The room screamed out in silence as every member of the camp turned their heads towards Subaru.

“I was meaning to address that, eventually,” He started.

“Cap’ns a prince? How’d ‘at ‘appen!?”

Emilia’s eyebrows scrunched up. “Is that true, Subaru?”

Otto chimed in, “Sir Subaru? A prince?”

“Yes, I’m the prince, if only in name. Vincent needed an heir to continue sitting on the throne. He’s impotent, so he chose me, seeing as how we look alike, to be his heir. Honestly, I’d prefer if we just go back to calling me Emilia’s knight and keeping this from everyone else.”

Everyone’s mouth hung agape. Except Roswaal, who wore a devilish grin. “It seems~ that would be... impossible~.”

“And why is that, Roswaal?” His eyes narrowed at the clown. Oh, how he would love to ruin the bastards makeup.

“I received a letter two weeks ago from the emperor of Vollachia himself. Apparently, he has sent all the camps letters, along with the sage~ council, pertaining to his foreign interests. It said that he was sending~ his son to the Emilia~ camp to continue his duties as her knight, now that he was done helping oust~ the fake emperor. He has sung you high~ praises, your highness.” Roswaal steepeld his fingers, his grin grew wider.

‘That bastard!’ Subaru thought. ‘He’s ruined it all!’

“Why wasn’t I made aware of this, Roswaal?” said Emilia. Subaru couldn’t believe it. ‘Emilia? Being assertive?’ His heart fluttered at the thought.

Roswaal’s grin dropped ever so slightly. “I’m sorry, lady Emilia, but I thought it would come off better as a surprise~. There is to be a party at the castle in two days time, celebrating the new peaceful~ relations Subaru brings from Vollachia. All~ of the camps will be in attendance, of course.”

Subaru sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. Going under the radar was out of the question now.

“Speaking of your new rank, your highness~, I would like to apologize~ about Ram’s behavior~. She will be punished accordingly.”

Ram bared her teeth at him, the bulging veins on her forehead looked as if they could burst at any second.

“No, don’t punish her. She didn’t do anything wrong.” Subaru gripped his silverware tight.

“Oh~? But she did strike you, did she not~?” His grin regained its lost vigor twofold. Subaru doubted Roswaal’s lips could curve any higher without the skin on his face tearing

’Damn it Subaru, stop thinking about skinning people!’ He wanted to smack himself, but instead narrowed his eyes at the clown.

“She did, but her reason for doing so was understandable. Please don’t punish Ram for my mistake.”

The others averted their eyes, nobody wanted to intervene in this matter.

“Well,” Roswaal took on a somber tone, yet his smile remained. “Regarding her reason, her slap was for her dear~ sister, Rem, was it?”

Ram’s face matched her hair in color. Her lip was bleeding as she had been biting down on it throughout the conversation. Just like Rem in her last moments, she was seething.

“Yes?” said Subaru, raising one of his eyebrows. He tried to ignore Ram’s state as best he could. He was failing.

“You say it was your mistake for Rem’s untimely~ demise?” Every time she was mentioned, Subaru felt as if his heart was set on fire. It stung, it ached, like a scab being ripped off and lathered with salt. “I doubt you would have any... supernatural~ ability to save poor Rem, would you?” The last two words were spoken without his jovial cadence, a silence filled the room as the eyes of each camp member flocked to him. Subaru sat there, stupefied.

It was as if he laid down on a track and a train of guilt forty cars long had ran over him. His slothfulness was not hidden from Roswaal. Gritting his teeth, Subaru bent the fork he was holding, every muscle in his body was tense. ‘This bastard clown. I didn’t do it on purpose!’

Roswaal took his silence as a means to keep going, “If~ not, then it was~ uncalled for, as it was not your fault.”

Roswaal gestured towards Ram. “But,” his grin had finally subsided. “since you insist~, I will not punish Ram. Again, my apologies~.”

---

Meili’s room was a long walk. He had sent Beatrice to his room. Emilia wanted to accompany him but knew he needed his space by the look in his eye. They would talk later.

Walking down the steps to the dungeon was a familiar feeling. Anxiety. It brewed within the young prince, as he had not seen his adopted daughter in, at least to him, many years. Approaching the door, he didn’t know what to say. Nor what to feel. He rasped at the door anyway. The door swung open with a creek.

“Da-” She caught herself. “Mister?” Meili had dropped the Subaru plush she was holding when she had seen the genuine article. The room was the same as the last time he had seen it. Cozy, familiar.

“Hi, Meili. I missed you.” He dropped down to his knees and hugged her. She threw her arms around him the same, almost stunned by his sudden appearance.

“You’re finally back huh? You and that blue maid?” He froze.

“No. Shes,” he squeezed his eyes shut. “Dead.”

“Oh,” She loosened her grip on him. “Well. That happens sometimes, I guess.”

He sighed. “Yes, it certainly does.” She looked up and grimaced at the pained smile he wore.

“I’m sorry, Dad.” She regained the strength in her hugs grip. This was the least she could do. Sniffles reached her ears, he was crying.

“It’s okay,” he said. “I’m okay.” More sniffles. “We’re okay.” She didn’t know if she could hug him any harder than she was right now, she squeezed with all the might within her petite frame. He looked broken, Meili had never seen him like this.

Thoughts of his real father washed over Subaru.

 

Stroking her violet hair, he vowed to be the best dad in Lagunica.