Author: Kiya Sama
Fandom: Kyou Kara Maou
Title: Jagged Diamonds 1?
Pairings: Yuuri+Wolfram (Main), Others as story progresses.
Warnings: AU, shounen-ai/yaoi, fluff/sap, angst, baseball terminology, unbeta'd.
Summary: Rivals on the baseball diamond, Yuuri Shibuya and Wolfram von Bielefeld soon come to realize that they have more in common than they'd like to admit. For neither know they are the reincarnations of a tragic royal couple from another place and time where magic lives.
Notes: An ongoing b-day gift story for my good friend, Blackster squishes in the hopes that I will be able to finish it by then. Enjoy and know that feedback is always and greatly appreciated.
It was the bottom of the eighth inning and the Lion Dandies were leading the visiting team by only a run. It was hardly enough of a cushion for the home team who knew that they had to win this game to make it to the regional championships. Of course, it didn't help that the 'away' team had their power hitters coming to bat in this inning and that the Lion Dandies had no other pitcher in the bullpen ready to relieve the one on the mound if the situation got worse.
For Yuuri Shibuya, a lanky dark-haired teenager of sixteen, the day couldn't possibly be going any slower. He yawned and swatted at a fly that buzzed around his head while waiting for the rest of his teammates to take the field. The afternoon heat was stifling and even though his baseball jersey wasn't all that thick (although the heavy pad and stuffy catcher's helmet felt like it weighed a ton), he could feel the cloth sticking to his body like glue. It was irritating and quite bothersome and he was really beginning to wish he was anywhere but here. He squatted behind home plate and tried to stifle another yawn, hoping the batters from the opposing team would make up their mind about their pinch hitter so they could get things rolling again.
He eyed the spectators in the small stadium with a long drawn out sigh. They were mostly made up of supporters for Hirohito Private School – their opponents – which was odd considering they were the visiting team. It seemed as if the local team didn't have much support and Yuuri couldn't blame them all that much. Compared to Hirohito's record of 20-2 for the regular season, Yuuri's team could only brag of a 13-9 record. It wasn't all that bad, at least in comparison to the others in their division, but it wasn't that great either. It was even a miracle they were leading by one so far although Yuuri had the feeling that their minor victory was going to be short-lived.
He tore his gaze from the crowd, blushing heavily as he heard the undeniable voice of his mother screaming from the bleachers.
"Good luck, Yuu-chan! Good luck!"
He groaned in humiliation and spread his thighs apart a bit more to make himself comfortable while shaking his head and hoping no one would look in his direction. Unfortunately, most of his teammates were already familiar with Jennifer Shibuya's antics and Yuuri was able to hear some snickers coming from the dugout on his left. He turned a little to glare at them, only to meet the amused dark eyes of his best friend and team manager, Ken Murata, who waved and gave him a thumbs up sign.
What's that for? Yuuri thought with a bemused frown. Don't give me a thumbs up like it's something to be proud of Murata! Someone should just take my mother out of here…
"And batting for number 4," came the announcer's loud booming voice over the speakers, "Is going to be pinch hitter, number 13, Wolfram von Bielefeld!"
Yuuri snapped to attention, just as the crowd roared its approval at the name of the new hitter for the Red Demons. An appropriate name considering their school colors were red and their mascot…well, a cute little Cupid-like figure with a pitchfork. It was hardly demonic enough but Yuuri guessed they were only called 'demons' because of the way they played on the field. Those guys were relentless.
Speaking of which, he had never heard of this Wolfram von Bie…whatever they had called him. Yuuri rose to his feet to stretch his legs – squatting took a toll on his hamstrings – and eyed the figure approaching from their opponent's dugout. He couldn't make out the face of the boy, since his helmet seemed to be covering his eyes. But he was just as tall as Yuuri and walked with precise and measured steps. From beneath the helmet, Yuuri could make out the shock of blond hair beneath it – too blond in his opinion. Hell, he could swear it literally shone like gold under the blazing sun.
No time to be admiring his hair, he thought with a wince. He's just another pretty boy. No wonder the girls seem to be screaming much louder this time. But we've still got a problem here…
He glanced towards his coach, who was looking just as confused. It seemed as if he too had never heard of this Wolfram person before and wasn't quite sure of what to do. He made a motion for a timeout and Yuuri nodded and brought it to the umpire's attention.
"A few minutes on the mound!" Yuuri announced as he began to walk towards Mizuki, their team pitcher. He took a few steps forward, forced to walk past the silent blond who was coming closer to him. For a moment, when they seemed to be side-by-side, time stood still as an incredible scent, like wild flowers, horses and pure sunshine assailed Yuuri's senses. He felt his knees weaken and then the undeniable words uttered softly from the boy's lips.
"Yuuri, you wimp."
Just as suddenly as it had happened, the moment passed and the world returned to its noisy and colorful cacophony. Yuuri remained frozen with his eyes and mouth widened in surprise. He was vaguely aware of the rapid beating of his heart and the dry sensation on his tongue. He tried to swallow but couldn't find the moisture to do so.
"Oy, Shibuya! Did you die out there!"
The loud voice of his coach jerked him out of his dazed stupor and he shook his head rapidly to gain some semblance of control. He waved towards the frowning man although he stole a quick glance over his shoulder at the blond with growing bemusement. Wolfram seemed to be eyeing his bat and was paying no real attention to Yuuri or his teammates. In fact, it looked as if blond had never even noticed Yuuri to begin with. He tapped his bat on the plate and then lifted his head to pin cool emerald green eyes on Yuuri.
The effect was immediate - almost equivalent to getting punched really hard in the stomach.
Yuuri gasped and stumbled, sending him sprawling flat on the dusty earth as his teammates watched on in disbelief and amusement.
"What the hell is wrong with you, Shibuya!" the coach bellowed again and the umpires were beginning to get impatient. They tapped their watches. The game would be a forfeit if the Lion Dandies didn't get their act together.
"Sor…sorry," Yuuri mumbled as he rose to his feet and dusted off his now dirtier uniform. With cheeks flaming red in embarrassment, he managed to walk the few steps to the mound and struggled to listen to the coach give instructions on what kind of balls to throw. They could only assume that Wolfram was a power hitter or they wouldn't have put him in to replace Number 4. The coach wanted Mizuki to start with several change-ups and then to throw a fast ball somewhere in there.
"Feel this Wolfram boy out first," he advised. "Throw a few balls to scare him but don't hit him! We can't afford to keep anyone on base. Got it?"
Although Yuuri nodded, he doubted he had heard much of everything the coach had said. He walked back to home plate, his heart still pounding hard and fast as he came closer to the blond. He hadn't been dreaming. The boy had called him a wimp and by his name too! Okay, so that shouldn't really have been a surprise. Yuuri's name had been announced several times already and it was only natural for teams to know their opponents names and stats to begin with. But why? Why had the boy said his name so…?
As if we've known each other for a long time. He hadn't said it as an insult and if I didn't know any better, I'd say he had even said it…like he cared about me or something.
"What are you looking at?" came the curt question.
Yuuri blinked and felt his cheeks suffuse with even more color as he realized he had caught staring – although it was the dark blue helmet he had been gawking at all this time. But now that the blond had lifted his head again, Yuuri could feel the familiar sensation of being sucker-punched creeping over him. He shivered in the heat and forced himself to look away from those piercing green eyes. Damn it! He had never seen anyone with eyes that brilliant (beautiful) before. It was as if he could see right into Yuuri's soul and it was quite unnerving.
"Sorry…" Yuuri began with a shaky laugh. "It's just that I thought…"
"Save the chit chat for later!" the umpire bellowed. "Play ball!"
"Right!" Yuuri slapped the helmet over his face, grateful for the distraction since Wolfram had begun to stare at him as if he had lost his mind. He fell to his haunches again and braced himself, pounding his hand into the mitt while trying desperately not to stare at the set of powerful but slender thighs beside him.
His stance is great, Yuuri thought as he spread out two fingers between his thighs, a sign for Mizuki to throw the change-up. A quick glance upwards told him something else. Great open position with his arms and shoulders. It's like he's been playing ball all his life. I don't sense any nervousness about him. He's so sure and confident. Maybe he transferred from another school or something. I've definitely never heard of…
"BALL ONE!" the umpire screamed, jarring Yuuri away from his wayward thoughts again. He grunted as he barely got the ball within his mitt, wincing as he realized he was going to have to concentrate on Mizuki instead of this boy standing beside him.
"Pay attention, wimp," came the low and barely audible words and this time there was no mistaking the small smirk on Wolfram's lips.
He growled and angrily made the curve-ball sign to Mizuki. Not surprisingly, the pitcher was confused at the sudden change. He thought they had agreed to throw change-ups to get a feel for the blond batter. But Yuuri was adamant about it. He felt sure that Wolfram knew what they had planned to do to him and he had no plans to let the blond win. He couldn't understand his sudden need to best this smug rich kid (all private school students had to be rich in Yuuri's opinion) but no one called him a wimp and got away with it!
Mizuki, seeing that Yuuri had no intention of changing his mind, shrugged and prepared to throw.
"You're going to regret this, wimp," Wolfram muttered as he changed his stance again. Since he was a right-handed batter, Yuuri watched in amazement as Wolfram seemed to lean further into the plate. His once relaxed stance had tightened like a man ready to face an unseen but deadly opponent – in this case an innocuous baseball. Wolfram held his bat a little above his left shoulder, the grip on the wooden handle now tight enough to turn his knuckles white. Yuuri winced inwardly, wondering if he had indeed made a mistake, but it was too late to change it now. Mizuki was winding up and the ball was going to be thrown at any moment.
Curve, curve, curve, dip, dip! Yuuri chanted fervently. Swing and miss this! Swing and miss!
Mizuki finally let the ball fly and like watching it in slow motion, Yuuri held out his hands in preparation. He had to get this ball! He had to make Wolfram miss this or the game was all over. There was something about the boy's stance that sent a sharp spear of worry through his heart. He held his breath as the ball came closer and in that instant - moving with a speed that Yuuri had never seen before - Wolfram swung the bat with a strength that had the dark-haired catcher gawking in shock and amazement.
The contact with the ball was like listening to a whip crackling against wood. It was a sharp pop sound that was soon drowned with the rush of wind that wafted past Yuuri's stunned features. Everyone in the stadium was left in the very same state, all eyes following the journey of the ball which now seemed to be flying into the very stratosphere.
Oh… my… God…!
Wolfram dropped his bat and began to run around the bases which now seemed nothing more than an obligatory gesture. No one was ever going to catch that ball so the homerun was a given. The game was now tied with one more inning to play…in fact, this eighth inning wasn't even over yet and more of the Red Demons' power hitters were coming up. Mizuki sank to his knees on the mound and moaned in disbelief. However, his pain of suffering became a glare as he trained it on Yuuri, who was now wishing the ground would open and swallow him whole.
Impossible. It was simply impossible. No human should have been able to hit the ball that high or that far away and yet…it had happened.
The crowd's roar of approval brought him back to reality and he had to suck in a harsh breath as Wolfram came to an emphatic stop at the home plate. He stomped his feet on the white pentagon shaped plate and grinned – a breathtaking sight which sent Yuuri's cheeks flooding with color.
"Nice hit, boy," the umpire said with a nod of approval. "Whew! Never seen anything like it."
"Thank you," Wolfram replied with a small bow as he bent to pick up his bat. He gave a hi-five to his teammate who was next to hit, and dusted off his bat. "Told you to be careful, wimp," he whispered as he walked past Yuuri. "You do not want to underestimate me."
"I am not a wimp!" Yuuri returned in a harsh whisper. "I really wish you wouldn't call me…"
"Shibuya!" The coach's shrill cry had Yuuri jumping in panic. He knew what was coming and he was going to be either taken out of the game for going against the coach's wishes or given a stern lecture in front of everyone…especially his mother - something he couldn't bear to deal with at this time.
But as the coach continued his tirade, Yuuri couldn't help stealing another glance towards the Red Demons dugout. He could see Wolfram's teammates congratulating him – pats on his back (it was faintly amusing to see that no one dared ruffle his golden hair) and handshakes all around until he came to a stop before a tall and quite handsome brown-haired man Yuuri had not noticed before. He watched as the two men exchanged a few words. The brown-haired man suddenly broke into a warm smile and Yuuri could only stare in amazement as Wolfram blushed in response. Suddenly, Yuuri wished he could hear all that was being said but knew that it was going to be impossible because…
…there was a game at stake here. He nodded without really knowing what he was agreeing to as the coach stormed off the field and falling to his haunches, Yuuri hid his face behind the mask again. He could feel the dull flames of anger kindling within the pit of his stomach, knowing it was all due to being humiliated (I mean what other way was there to put it?) in front of his teammates. However, Yuuri also knew he would have to stop thinking about the snotty pretty boy with his enigmatic comments or he was bound to make his team lose this game. It was something he couldn't afford to do now.
"Never underestimate you, huh?" he whispered to himself as the next Red Demon batter took his stance. Yuuri frowned and pounded a fist into his mitt angrily. "Not if we beat you, Wolfram. Not if I defeat you first."
They lost after all. By one measly run.
"It's not so bad," Murata, ever the optimist, said as he pushed his glasses higher on the bridge of his nose. "No one thought we'd make it to the regionals to begin with and yet we did it. We should be proud of our accomplishments."
Yuuri grunted in response as he continued to stuff his bag with his equipment and uniform. The stadium was now a shadow of its former self – quiet and empty with only the clean-up crew working amongst the bleachers in the distance. The faint sounds of cars moving on the highway interrupted the otherwise idyllic scene and Yuuri, on any other ordinary day, would have enjoyed this moment. But today had not been any ordinary day. Besides them losing the game, there was that blond guy to worry about.
"I mean, how come no one has ever heard of him before?" he suddenly asked with clear frustration in his tone as he shoved a t-shirt into the black bag with more force than necessary. "All of a sudden and out of the blue, Wolfram von Battle…"
"Bielefeld," Murata corrected quietly.
"…just shows up from nowhere and starts acting like he owns the whole stadium!"
"Oh, he got to you that much did he?" Murata asked, his dark eyes now sparkling with curiosity and interest.
"No, no, no," Yuuri denied fervently, shaking his head and trying to glare at his best friend. "No, he did not get to me! He just…"
/Never underestimate me, wimp. /
"He's just annoying that's all!"
That sounded weak even to him and his cheeks grew dark with the knowledge that Murata might be laughing at his expense.
"But what did he do to you?" Murata asked, as he began to juggle a baseball between his hands. "I didn't notice him do anything out of the extraordinary."
The smirk – that smug motion of confidence and general condescending demeanor. Who did Wolfram think he was anyway? A Prince!
He grunted again and zipped his bag, rising to his feet to tug his baseball cap over his head and eyes. "Let's go."
Murata, sensing that his friend wasn't in the most talkative of moods, nodded slowly and walked after the striding boy, having to double skip a little to catch up to him. He knew how passionate his friend felt about the game of baseball and how much effort and time Yuuri put into each new season. Their dismal results over the past few years had not dimmed Yuuri's determination to become a professional player someday and Murata was always stunned at how knowledgeable his friend was when it came to the Big Leagues. There were evenings when Yuuri would simply sit and talk about baseball, how the players stacked up against each other while analyzing every strike, pitch and hit after each game he watched on TV. Yuuri had an incredible baseball card collection, consisting of every important (and not so important) Japanese Major Leaguer. His most prized possessions, of course, were his American card collections. From Babe Ruth to Barry Bonds, Yuuri had it all and would gladly display them to anyone who cared to see…just as long as they weren't touched.
However, it hadn't always been this bad for the Lion Dandies. They had had several good seasons in the past, but the last two years had been especially sub par to say the least. Murata had taken up the job as manager in the hopes that he would be able to cheer them to victory. But so far, it hadn't yielded the results anyone would have liked. Murata didn't like to consider himself a failure but the next year would be his final year in school and he needed to establish a legacy. He would have to make sure this team makes it to the Nationals next year or else he would be considered as nothing more than a dud manager for the rest of his life!
"Ooofff!" came the low cry of pain as he slapped a hand over his nose and tried to steady himself, shaking his head lightly to clear the fuzziness from the sudden bump into Yuuri's back. "Whuff auff yuf stuffin fur?"
He removed his hand from his nose, glad to see that nothing was broken and asked again. "Shibuya? What are you looking at…hey!"
He yelped as Yuuri dragged him behind a clump of bushes on the busy sidewalk. Ignoring the passersby who were now staring at them in bemusement, Yuuri pointed to a building across the street. His eyes were wide with excitement and Murata could see the flush of color on the boy's cheeks. He didn't think he had seen his friend this hyped up for anything in a long time.
"Look! Look!" Yuuri whispered harshly. "It's that Wolfram von Battle…"
"…and that tall brown-haired guy who was at the game with him today! What are they doing in a place like this?"
This, being The Mirage, was one of the most expensive restaurants in the city. As they watched, they could see Wolfram and the brown-haired man standing before the doors of the restaurant, looking as if they had just stepped out of the pages of a glamorous men's fashion magazine. Yuuri swallowed tightly at the rush of heat that seemed to flow through his very being as Wolfram laughed at something the tall man was saying. He hated to admit that the blond looked dashing in his black tuxedo and his easy camaraderie with the other man was a bit aggravating. It looked like they were waiting for someone or something and soon enough a brand new Sedan – looking quite sleek in the evening lights - pulled up to the curb. The doors were opened by the chauffeur and out stepped yet another tall black-haired man with a ponytail and quite stern albeit handsome features. Draped on his arm was a vivacious-looking red-head and it was clear that all four knew each other as greetings and kisses were exchanged.
Murata sucked in a harsh breath in awe. "Holy crap! Do you know who that is, Shibuya!"
"That's Sir Gwendal von Walde! He was in the news yesterday, remember? He's the new owner of the Royals – the city's National Baseball team!"
Yuuri's eyes widened in disbelief. Of course he had heard the news yesterday but had been too sleepy to pay much attention it. No one knew much about Sir von Walde except the tales about him being an aristocrat and a man with too much time and money on his hands. Either way, many had hopes that the no-nonsense businessman would lead the Royals to another World Championship. Yuuri, for his part, still hadn't torn his gaze from the cozy scene in front of him and he couldn't even do it if he tried. Suddenly, he felt a white hot jolt of jealousy sear down his spine as the four people made their way into the restaurant. There was no doubt on what was to take place in there. It was clear that Wolfram was being scouted by the best team in the country with every intention of playing for them by this time next year.
"Shit," he muttered to himself as he rose to his feet slowly. "Shit! Shit! Shit! It's not fair! I'll show him! I'll show him I can be better than his rich, snobbish self!"
He kicked the trunk of the tree beside him in an angry gesture, ignoring the pain that flared up his leg afterwards. And with a low cry of jealous rage, he took off running with Murata following close behind with obvious concern on his features. Neither boy noticed that the blond they had been speaking of, had glanced in their direction with a light frown on his fair features.
"Is something wrong, Wolfram?" the brown-haired man asked quietly. "What's the matter?"
"Nothing important," came the firm reply as he spun on his heels to make his way into the restaurant. "Just two bugs that caught my attention. Let's go in. I'm starved."