Disclaimer: I do not own Kyou Kara Maou, and I'm only borrowing the characters for my own amusement and hopefully yours.
Thanks to CharmedReality, who not only turned me on to the wonderful anime Kyou Kara Maou, but helped me get this one-shot in order.
It was late at night, and the only sounds to be heard in Blood Pledge Castle were the soft footfalls of the young king as he snuck into the brown-haired soldier's room.
Across the expanse of the dark room, the Maou and the soldier locked eyes with each other. After a long moment, the black haired youth found his courage and approached the man that had served as his protector since before he was even born.
Conrad silently groaned as the dark haired youth sat at the foot of his bed. The only light to be had was the soft moonlight filtering through the window on the south side of his room, however he could still very clearly see that the Maou's eyes were rimmed in red; indicating that he had been crying.
Yuuri settled his hands in his lap, looking everywhere but directly at Conrad himself. The words that he had rehearsed over and over in his head seemed silly and inept, now that they were finally alone. His heart felt like a lead paperweight inside of his chest as he finally forced himself to meet Conrad's eyes.
The young king would give anything to return to the way things were before… before Conrad's betrayal.
Conrad knew why the youth was so upset. As usual, he was the one that had brought those tears to his eyes.
He sat up in his bed and leveled a steely look at the tearful and trembling youth.
The young king sounded like he was drowning. His voice was layered thick with emotion as he spoke his name, and he was trembling.
Inside, his heart felt like it was breaking in two, and yet his expression did not waiver once in response to the youth's heart rendering vocalization of his name.
He wanted nothing more than to tell him that everything was going to be okay. He wanted to gather the young king into his arms, and never let him go. He wanted to tell him how much that he loved him, how much he had always loved him.
But he knew that he could not.
'I'm sorry, Yuuri. I truly am... but it is for your own good.'
The gods must hate him, he decided. There was no other reason for them to be so cruel.
For why else would he have been fated to be the mentor of the one born with the soul of the only other person he had ever loved?
Perhaps that is why he failed in that responsibility so spectacularly. Yet, even though he would like to blame the gods for that, he knew that the fault lie within himself.
Conrad sat up in his bed and leveled a cool look at the tearful and trembling youth.
"Your Majesty. Is there something I can help you with?"
The tone of his voice was aloof and icy, and he knew before he even saw the flash of pain wash across Yuuri's face that he had wounded the boy with his formality and distance.
The boy did nothing to hide the tears that were starting to run down his cheeks like twin rivulets, as he remained sitting on the edge of his bed.
Yuuri's lower lip was trembling. He tried to choke out a response to the soldier's curt question, but all that came out of his mouth was the older man's name.
His expression never faltered, but internally Conrad's emotions mirrored the ones displayed so clearly upon Yuuri's tear streaked face.
Once again, he was making Yuuri sad.
Conrad kept telling himself that it was necessary for him to keep his distance. Hadn't he already proven that Yuuri only got hurt by depending on him?
He did not deserve Julia's heart back then, and he did not deserve Yuuri's unwavering faith now. If he were any sort of a man, he'd leave Shin Makoku for good, like he had intended to. He'd serve the new Maou from afar, and search for the last box… alone. In his eyes, he'd be doing Yuuri a favor by keeping his traitorous and unworthy self far away; since all he seemed to be able to do was inflict pain upon the young king.
If he was strong, he would not have succumbed to Yuuri's desperate pleads for him to stay.
"If you have nothing to say, you should return to your own quarters, Your Majesty. You should not be in here."
The look of anguish on the young king's face morphed into one of anger and then fierce determination.
"No! I will not allow you to push me away, Conrad! Don't you understand? I… I need you to be by my side."
And suddenly, the Maou was right in front of him, mere inches away. The boy was so close that he could feel his breath ghost over the side of his face when he exhaled.
The brown haired half demon couldn't breathe, couldn't think, and could barely even move as his mind threatened to shut down completely while his heart rate nearly doubled.
Conrad had to force himself to appear seemingly unaffected while the young Maou's arms encircled him and drew him close. He felt trapped, as the beautiful black haired youth looked at him pleadingly, completely unaware of the emotions that were being revealed in eyes that were simultaneously as black as the night sky and as bright as the morning sun.
He couldn't push him away when he was looking at him like that, no matter how much he wanted to - no, needed to excuse himself from His Majesty's presence.
'Yuuri. Do you know how much it hurts me when you look at me like that? How much it hurts to even be near you, now that I have failed you?'Internally, he was a wreck, and yet outwardly he remained calm and unresponsive.
But his exterior was beginning to crack.
The pitch black abyss of His Majesty's eyes seemed to tug at his soul with their intensity. Yuuri's eyes were pleading, wanting, and hurting from his tacit rejection of the youth's affection.
It tore at his soul, and despite his reservations, he tentatively returned the youth's embrace.
The young king responded with a large sigh and a small smile, and suddenly those twin pools of ebony were revealing an emotion that he had only ever seen directed towards him from one other pair of eyes.
But behind both sets of eyes was the same unconquerable soul.
It was painful to see that particular emotion directed towards him, and it was even more painful to force himself to ignore it. After all, he had been down that road before, and it had been costly.
He should have never allowed Yuuri entrance into his quarters.
He had known how badly Yuuri had wanted to speak with him
regarding what had occurred in Dai Shimeron, and had also known how much the
ebony haired Maou wanted to grant him absolution that he did not deserve.
Yuuri spoke his name once again, except this time it was spoken softly right next to the older man's ear. As Yuri pulled away, his lips brushed against the side of the soldier's face, sending tremors down Conrad's back.
"You have no idea… how happy I am… to have you home. Please… don't leave me. Never leave me again. Promise me, Conrad. Promise me you'll stay by my side." Yuuri softly begged as he snuggled closer against the older man. With a small sigh of contentment, the young king laid his head on the soldier's shoulder.
Conrad found that he could neither answer the young Maou's plea, nor push him away. Instead, he tightened his embrace of the boy slightly and when he thought Yuuri wasn't looking, he allowed his expression to soften just a bit.
The young king did catch the slight change in his expression however, because he had chosen that exact moment to raise his head to meet Conrad's eyes.
Again there was that fierce look in Yuuri's eyes that commanded his attention. The obsidian pools reflected reverence,
confusion, and most of all, need. Conrad
felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up, as he trembled from the
intensity of it.
This time, his name was whispered by the young Maou; whispered in the same way that his name had once been whispered by her.
He remembered that moment; remembered it so very clearly. His name had fallen so sweetly from her petal soft lips, and had been followed by a sharp intake of breath when he gathered her in his arms and pressed his own lips against the soft skin of her pale, slender neck.
'No… banish those thoughts from your head. They will only lead to pain.'
When he turned to look at Yuuri, his mind briefly superimposed the image of a beautiful white haired maiden over the young boy. And when Yuuri smiled at him, he saw Julia behind his eyes.
They were one and the same, weren't they? And hadn't Julia wished to bind herself to him in this life as well? She had entrusted him with her soul after all; her soul… and her heart.
"My hand might be promised to Sir Adelbert, but it is you who will always have my heart and soul."
His eyes fluttered closed briefly in memory.
It was the night
before the battle. When dawn broke, each
of them would travel in separate directions. He to the front line with the other Shin Makoku soldiers, and she would
assist Gisela in the makeshift tents that had been set up near the battlefield
for the purpose of tending to the wounded.
A fair way into the
forest that surrounded
was a small and well hidden grove. Conrad had found the spot when he first came
to live in Shin Makoku with his mother. It quickly became his sanctuary – a private place where he often came
alone to think. There was only one other
who knew of its location.
She came to him with
tears in her eyes. She did not want him
to go; she feared that she would lose him. He took her into his arms and reassured her, and she turned to him with
that look in her pale blue eyes. His
hand reached out to brush against her cheek and she leaned into the soft
caress, desiring his touch more than anything. Her skin had been so very soft, and her lips were warm and pliant as he
captured them with his own. Her long
silky hair was as white as snow and it was feathered underneath her as he lay
her down on the soft grass.
"I love you,
Conrad. I want to be with you."
"Hai… I love you too… Julia. I always will."
That night, they made love on the soft grass. She had given herself completely to him – body, soul, and heart.
Julia had been… she had been everything to him, and when she died, a part of him died as well. To this day, he did not know how he found the strength to carry on.
For several months after her death, he spoke to no one. Not even Cherie-sama could break through the wall of silence he had constructed around himself.
Yet though he spoke to no one in return, he could not escape the words that were spoken to and about him. The words surrounded him, and they fell from the lips of the serving maids, and the lords and ladies alike.
"Poor Sir Weller… he's
really devastated by Lady Julia's death."
"I heard he hasn't
spoken to anyone since her death… not even Her Majesty."
"Hai. That's true he hasn't. But it's understandable. Lady Julia and Sir Conrad were quite close. She was like a sister to him."
'No, not a sister... she
was more... ever so much more...'
Even now, his dreams were filled with memories of that one precious night they shared together.
And now there was Yuuri, and Yuuri was so close to him that he could feel the heat coming off of the young boy's skin. Yuuri was everything that Julia was; perhaps even more. Certainly, her soul had evolved. Julia never possessed the authority that Yuuri had in abundance.
Yuuri who was lying so contentedly against him and taking measured breaths in his arms.
Conrad swallowed thickly as he looked at the boy – really looked at him. His skin was as fair as his hair was dark and even in the dim light of the moon, he could see that boy's cheeks were slightly flushed with color. The boy's obsidian eyes were closed as he snuggled against him, and with a slight smile, Conrad realized that the Maou was falling asleep.
How could he lay so complacent against him after what he had done?
Conrad sighed, and freed one of his hands in order to run his fingers through Yuuri's hair.
"Yuuri." Conrad spoke his name softly, and gently prodded the boy with his free hand.
When the young king merely took in a shuddered breath and snuggled closer, he shook his head and laughed at the boy in his arms. Leaning over so that his lips nearly brushed the top of the Maou's head, he tried again.
The dark haired youth lifted his head and looked at him. Yuuri's eyes were halfway lidded and a little sleepy, and his lips were parted slightly, showing just a hint of a wet, pink tongue.
Conrad swallowed heavily. He envisioned himself closing the small gap between them and capturing those soft lips with his own. Unknown to him, Conrad's eyes darkened slightly as his hand shifted from where it was coming through the top of Yuuri's hair to the back of his neck.
And then Yuuri smiled at him. The smile was so innocent and boyish, that Conrad immediately chastised himself for his thoughts and pulled away.
He couldn't think about Yuuri the same way he thought about Julia. No good would come from that.
They were not the same, no matter the similarities. Besides, he couldn't do that to Wolfram… no matter how much his heart desired the dark haired Maou.
"Yuuri. Please, go to bed. I assure you, I will be here in the morning. If you wish to talk, I won't turn you away, I promise." Conrad's voice was thick and hoarse as he gently pushed Yuuri away.
The boy blinked owlishly at him for a moment before he responded.
"But… but they won't let me. Gunter, Gwendel… Wolfram…"
Conrad noted with sadness how the last name was spat out with vehemence.
It appeared that Wolfram might be hurt eventually by the young Maou regardless. But he would not… could not be party to it.
"Gunter, Gwendel, Wolfram won't let you what?" He asked softly.
Yuuri gave him a pitiful look and for a moment sounded much like Wolfram, since he pretty much whined his response.
"They… they won't let me see you. I've been trying to speak with you alone for nearly a week, Conrad! Just let me stay for a few more minutes, and then I'll leave."
Ah. That. That was partially due to them, but also because he himself thought it was for the best.
Conrad looked down at Yuuri and nodded slightly.
"Just a few more minutes…" He echoed.
The young king sighed and smiled softly. He wrapped himself around Conrad once more, as if the soldier was a security blanket for the dark haired Maou.
And perhaps he was, in a way. Perhaps he had been wrong to avoid him.
Since their return to Shin Makoku, he had wanted to keep himself distanced from his liege. It had not been hard, given that neither Gunter nor Gwendel trusted him in the presence of His Majesty anymore. Not that he could blame them – whether or not he was under orders from the original king to infiltrate Dai Shimeron's ranks, he still drew his sword against the young Maou. And for that, he could not and should not be forgiven.
Now, there were always watchful eyes following his every move in order to ensure that he did not get too close to His Majesty. The guards not only ensured that he would not approach Yuuri when he was alone, but they also kept Yuuri from confronting him. In a way, he was grateful for the buffer between them, especially since one of those pairs of eyes that kept them separated were a deep emerald green filled with jealousy and anguish.
Because Wolfram could also see that certain look in Yuuri's eyes when the young king looked at Conrad. It wasn't as if Yuuri didn't look on the blonde princeling with fondness. But it paled in comparison to the look that he always gave Conrad whenever he saw him.
His soul… sang for Yuuri's like it had sung for Julia's, and so for the sake of his liege as well as that of his ever watchful younger brother, he really should leave – especially now, now that he could finally admit to himself just how much he loved and desired the young king.
The young king who not only hadn't moved from his bed, but had somehow found his way back into Conrad's embrace.
The tired soldier cleared his throat, drawing Yuuri's eyes to his own once more.
Yuuri pouted, pushing his bottom lip outwards before his eyes narrowed in mock indignation.
"Don't call me that. It hurts when you call me that. You were the one who named me, after all."
Conrad took a deep breath.
"Yuuri… you need to go back to your room. There would be quite a scene if Wolfram wakes and finds you missing. It would be even worse if they found you in my room."
"Fine, fine, I'll go back to my room… as soon as you give me your promise."
Conrad blinked his eyes several times in confusion, as the younger boy smiled at him. Yuuri's eyes were true windows to his soul… a soul that he loved in any form, and those eyes were now reflecting love, trust, and hope in such quantities that it made Conrad's heart soar.
Suddenly he remembered what the Maou had asked him to promise. With a small smile, he placed a tiny kiss upon the top of Yuuri's head before letting him go.
"I promise, Yuuri. I will never leave your side again."