Five times Yasuo could fix everything with just a few simple words.
At the dead of night, only a few people were supposed to know that the heir to the Yayoi family had mysteriously disappeared. Even less people supposedly knew that there had been a fight between Iijima, the aforementioned heir, and his father, not hours ago. And what almost no one knew is that Yasuo was aware of all of this.
Careful to avoid being seen by any of Iijima’s other pursuers, Yasuo conducted his own search, looking high and low for his cousin. He thought his chances were much better than anyone else’s, what being Iijima’s confidant. So he quietly checked all of Iijima’s hidden spots, all his secret hideaways, hoping he could find his cousin before anyone else did.
He was almost out of places to look when he made it to a huddle of sheds on the outer part of the estate. They had primarily been used for keeping supplies and other farming equipment, so were less likely to have been noticed by anyone other than the farm hands.
However, Yasuo knew this place as one of Iijima’s favourite places for one reason alone…
“Iijima…?” He called out quietly as he opened the door. A surprise swipe came his way and Yasuo only narrowly avoided as he stepped back.
The door opened completely now and Iijima and Yasuo stood face to face, finally recognizing who was standing in front of them. “Yasuo…?” Iijima squeaked. Yasuo got a good look at him now that his eyes had adjusted to the darkness inside. Iijima had a short sword in hand and was positioned, ready to attack. His face wore a mixture of fear and anger but more than that, Yasuo realized Iijima’s clothes had been stained by blood. Somehow, he could see the rage of a man determined on his face, but the eyes of a boy scared on his cousin’s features.
“What are you doing here?” Squeaked Iijima.
Because I was worried about you, Yasuo wanted to say. “Have you ever killed anyone, Iijima?” he asked instead.
His younger cousin shook his head but kept his stance. “Never, but… If anyone tries to take us back…” There was caution as if to question whether that was what Yasuo intended to do.
Yasuo didn’t have to ask who he meant by ‘us’. His gaze had already drifted to the half-conscious figure rested against the wall behind Iijima. He knew exactly who the figure was, and why he was bloody and battered– at least he now knew where exactly the blood on Iijima’s clothes came from. Iijima must have noticed Yasuo was staring because he continued talking. “They’ll kill him, Yasuo. If we go back, Kirihiko will–” his voice cracked and he couldn’t finish his last sentence.
But he didn’t need to. Yasuo didn’t need telling to know what Iijima’s father would do to his eldest son’s male peasant lover when he got his hands on him. Especially when he thinks said lover is the one planting seeds of thoughts of independence and standing up for himself in Iijima’s head– though Yasuo felt somewhat bitter about not getting credit for that one.
Still, at the end of the day, he would not let anything happen to Iijima. “Pick him up.” he instructed his cousin. “I won’t let them take either of you.”
And in the dead of the night, he led the two out of the estate and to safety, helping them mount the horses he had secured for their escape.