Parenthood.

Breath in, breath out, and try to ignore the way the Maou was panicking. Not out of lack of respect, Huber reminded himself, but because if he noticed it, he was going to get even more nervous. He drew in a deep breath, avoiding a wince when that stretched his bandages, just wondering.

Labor could take hours, at times even days; that much he knew. He also knew that it could be dangerous for humans, especially if they were young and – he clenched his jaw, closing his eyes at that – Nicola was. Barely twenty years old. Was that old enough for a human girl to have a child without risk? Would the baby and Nicola be alright?

He took another deep breath, reminding himself not to notice how the black haired teenager was panicking. Surely it would be okay, surely…

A loud baby wail broke through the starting morning then and Huber was almost certain that most of his bones had melted as he released the breath he had been partially holding for most of the night. A hand on his shoulder. He turned, looking Weller's hand on his shoulder even though the half mazoku wasn't looking at him.

"Huber!" Greta went out of the room then, running towards him. He stood up, although the young human girl didn't stop until she could wrap her arms around his waist. Greta beamed towards him. "It's a girl! Huber, the baby it's a girl!"

"Is she…"

"They're both perfectly fine, sir Brischella." Gisela came out of the room, holding a pink bundle on her arms. Huber didn't manage to move while the green haired healer came towards him. He could hear the voice of the other ones around him talking but he couldn't, for the life of him, understand their words. Gisela smiled calmly. "Nicola is fine, just tired, but she said that you would want to meet your daughter as soon as possible."

A daughter. Huber blinked, by some miracle managing to take the small bundle of baby Gisela gave him (obviously there was a part of his brain still working) before looking down to the babymoving the knit blanket a little bit away to look at the rosy, wrinkled face of his daughter.

Huber wasn't someone to believe in love at first sight. Even with Nicola, even if the friendship had started so easily, even when he had considered her a lovely woman, it had been months of friendship growing into love.

That thought changed as he held his baby daughter, touching the soft tuft of brown hair with a fingertip as carefully as possible.

"Wow, she looks just like Nicola, doesn't she?" that was the Maou asking in a soft voice.

"Pretty cute for a half human." Lord von Bielefelt, but his voice wasn't depictive. Huber knew it because it would have been the same kind of compliment he would have done before.

"Wolfram!"

"What?"

Huber only remembered about the fact that his daughter was half Mazoku after the remark. He looked at the baby in his arms, moving to cover her with the blanket, trailing his finger down one small hand. Five little, perfect fingers, and he noticed the continuous soft breathing; all that he needed to know. Huber looked up towards Gisela.

"Can I see her?"

The healer smiled and nodded. "Of course. You should also get some rest, sir Brischella."

"Huber! Congratulations!" the young Maou slapped his shoulder, a broad smile on his face. Greta was also smiling towards him.

"Ah… I… thank you, your-"

"Nothing, nothing, we'll talk later!" the boy… no, the Demon King grinned, putting a hand over Greta's shoulder. "Now go to your wife and tell her hi for us! And congratulate her for us!"

"I will, your majesty. Excellencies." He bowed his head a little bit, still a little bit dazed at everything that had happened when he went inside the room, hearing sir Weller's voice.

"We should leave the new family for a while and try to rest for a while."

Family. The word stuck even when Gisela closed the door, the maids bowing before walking out, the healer taking the baby carefully to put her in a crib next to the bed, motioning him to a chair on the other side. Nicola was dozing off, but she opened her eyes when he sat down, reaching a hand towards him which he was only to happy to take, smiling to him softly.

"… good morning…"

He smiled back, not noticing how Gisela shook her head while she walked outside of the room, giving the new family some privacy.

"Good morning."

-…-…-…-

Wolfram actually felt worse after learning that Yuuri had left for that other world of his when he saw how Greta's face completely fell down, brown eyes not quite crying but yes obviously depressed.

"You mean he is gone?"

Conrad smiled softly, moving to put a hand over Greta's shoulder, kneeling down to be at her same height.

"The Original Maou probably thought that he needed to go back, Greta."

Wolfram snorted, crossing his arms, ignoring the glances and looks it brought upon him. Greta was still looking sad and almost heartbroken.

"…why couldn't he say goodbye?" sighed the small girl. The blonde prince snorted again.

"I've been asking the same question for months, now."

"Wolfram, you know it has nothing to do with what Yuuri wishes or expects." Conrad smiled kindly. He refused to acknowledge his half brother (even though the wimp better wished to stay and was unable to or else) but turned to look towards Greta, somehow, unreasonably, feeling guilty at that, trying to think of a way to make her smile again.

"But what should we do now with the papers concerning princess Greta's adoption?" wondered Günther with a worried frown on his face and that was when Wolfram realized that Greta was also going to be his daughter. Even if Yuuri wasn't there, he still had to care for the girl, and make her be as happy as possible. He uncrossed his arms, moving towards the desk where Gwendal had continued checking parchments.

"I will sign it. As the Maou's fiancé it should be enough right. Besides," at this, Wolfram raised his face even more, huffing a little bit while. "Greta is also going to be my daughter."

"What a great idea, Wolfram." Wolfram refused to admit he had blushed at Conrad's compliment, turning his head completely to the other side. "Isn't it, Günther?"

The assistant tilted his head a little bit, resting his chin over his hand while he frowned a little bit, his expression brightening at each moment.

"Well, since Wolfram is the Maou's fiancé, it should be enough until the Maou comes back… and as for witnesses…"

"We'll sign." Gwendal informed calmly.

"Then, it's settled." Conrad smiled, but Wolfram was still looking at Greta, who still looked sad. He frowned for a moment thinking – for the love of Shinou – what Yuuri would do to make her smile, and was surprised when the answer came to him.

"Brother, I request being excused of my duties today."

Gwendal stopped writing, looking towards the blonde with a calm expression.

"And why is that?"

"I'd like to spend some time with Greta, if possible. Maybe take her to town."

"With me? Really?"

"Well, I am also your father." He muttered, although for the way Greta was smiling he understood that she was touched.

"I think that's a wonderful idea. Don't you agree, Gwendal?"

The Mazoku looked at his two brothers before nodding, going back to the documents he was checking.

"Alright. Be careful."

"And why did you come, again?" Wolfram crossed his arms, keeping an eye on Greta, who was walking a little bit ahead, eyes shinning as she looked at the stores and the other children playing, laughing out loud at some of the street performers making magic.

Conrad smiled, tilting his head.

"To help in the protection of the Maou's daughter and fiancé, of course."

"Hmph."

"Wolfram!" Greta ran towards him, an excited smile on her face. "There's a toy store!"

"Would you like something?" he asked, feeling that Greta's excitement was pretty much contagious. Her eyes opened wide at that and he smiled even more.

"Can I?"

"Of course you can!" he huffed, taking Greta's hand. "Anything you like! And only the best for my daughter!"

Greta blushed and beamed, squeezing his hand softly, her happiness at something so simple that he was actually touched.

"Can we buy something for the baby, Wolfram?"

"If you want."

"And for Yuuri for when he comes back?"

"Sure. The wimp would like that."

And yes, Wolfram still pretended not to notice Conrad's amused chuckles, thank you very much.

When they went back to the castle, even Wolfram had to admit that it had been a fun day. Greta had spent most of the day making questions about the town, about the Mazoku and those that Wolfram couldn't answer, Conrad was just happy to answer for his niece.

Perhaps the only ones that weren't happy about the whole trip were the ones that had to carry all the bags and packages that they bought, of course.

That night, of course, included helping his new daughter to prepare to bed. Most of the awkwardness between them hadn't been present away from the castle, but inside it, Wolfram hated to feel that it was still present.

The blonde prince tucked the girl inside her bed and stayed silent for a moment, wondering what else to say. What would a father say in those occasions? Since he wasn't someone to concede defeat, he smiled softly to Greta.

"Good night, then. If there's something else that you need…"

"No, no. Thank you, Wolfram. It was a really nice day."

"You're welcome." The silence was somewhat uncomfortable and he barely refrained from shifting on his feet. "…if there's nothing else, then…"

"Ah… I…"

"Is something wrong?"

Greta seemed ashamed then, shaking her head no, small hands taking fistfuls of the covers. Wolfram looked at her for a moment while he was turning to leave, but then, he could remember all to well also being too small, missing his mother and brothers when they were too busy to be with him. No matter how many toys he had then, when they weren't near, he felt alone. He turned to look at the small human girl that he himself had said he'd adopt.

She was cute, and harmless – if one ignored she had tried to kill Yuuri once – and she was probably missing Yuuri terribly, since they both had gotten to be close so soon, in a castle that she still didn't know with people that, although family, were still very much unfamiliar. He turned towards Greta again, still not sure of how he should address things with her.

"I could… read you, if you want. Until you fall asleep" He said, trying to ignore the uncertain tone his voice had taken.

Greta blinked before a smile blossomed on her face, the young girl nodding. Wolfram found himself also smiling, going towards the bookshelf, recognizing most of the book covers before picking the one that had been his favorite, moving a chair near the girl's side, watching Greta curl on her side towards him.

Wolfram cleared his throat and started to read. "Once upon a time, in a land far, far away…"

-…-…-…-

Two weeks after that, in which Greta spent more nights than not in his and Yuuri's room (he was discovering to be quite soft hearted when it came to the girl), while walking with Greta after breakfast through the castle so the girl could get used to it, Wolfram was surprised to hear a very, very, very familiar squeal.

"Mother…?"

He hadn't finished turning around before he was wrapped in an exuberant hug, Celi holding him tightly.

"Wooooooooolf! I'm so happy! You've made me so proud! It was about time! Oh, I can't believe it! To think that I'm finally a grandmother! Oh, thankyouthankyouthankyou!"

"Mother, perhaps you'd like to let Wolfram so he can speak?"

Okay, perhaps he owed Weller one after that. Wolfram drew a deep breath, noticing his two brothers staying a few steps away with a calm look upon their faces, trying to wonder how his mother had found out about Greta when he felt a small hand closing over the jacket of his uniform. He smiled down towards the human girl, trying to calm her.

"It's okay, Greta. This woman is my mother, Cecilia." He said softly before clearing his throat, looking at Celi who was beaming even more than usual, green eyes sparkling, hands clasped together in obvious excitement. "Mother, I'm pleased to introduce you my and Yuuri's daughter, Greta."

Greta let go of his uniform, but stayed next to him, smiling shyly towards the blonde ex queen.

"Pleased to meet you… ah..."

"Awwww, she's so cute and pretty and lovely!" In the time it took for Celi's sons to Celi hugged the girl then tightly against her, rubbing their cheeks. "You're the most adorable of granddaughters! I'm your grandmother Celi-sama! And you're sooooo cuuuute!"

After they managed breaking Celi and Greta apart and they decided to go to one of the gardens to have some tea, Wolfram was surprised when Greta immediately sat down besides him, but it also gave him a nice feeling, knowing she trusted in him.

"We didn't know you were coming back so soon, mother." Conrad said calmly. "I thought you were near Bandarbia?"

"I was!" Celi smiled, sighing contently. "Such a lovely weather! But I found out the good news and I couldn't wait to meet my granddaughter because finally one of my sons gives me a grandchildren! And such a cute one!" Celi sighed, moving a hand to touch Greta's hair. "I always wanted a daughter!"

Conrad and Gwendal shared a look then, remembering all too clearly when Wolfram had been a small boy and lots, lots of ribbons and lace and Conrad just chuckled silently.

"Mother! You're scaring Greta!"

"Don't be silly, Wolf, I'd never scare my beautiful granddaughter!" Celi winked to her younger son before smiling warmly to the young human girl. "I brought you some gifts! Some of them will probably not fit since I didn't exactly know how old you were, but don't worry, grandmother Celi will take care of them in no time!"

"Thank you, Celi-sama, you don't have to…"

"Oh, darling, it's no bother at all!" Celi sighed again. "Such a cute girl! Although it's a shame that I couldn't get in time to see his majesty Yuuri again… and to think I even brought him a present!"

"Mother!"

"How long are you staying, Mother?" Gwendal asked quickly, before Wolfram could start another one of his 'Stop-Flirting-With-My-Fiancé' rants.

Celi smiled. "Ah, only a couple of days, I just wanted to meet my granddaughter!" the ex queen smiled to Greta again, squeezing her hand. "And, now that one of my sons finally gave me a granddaughter, maybe your uncle Conrad and your uncle Gwen will give me more grandchildren so that you can have beautiful cousins to play! Wouldn't it be great?"

Greta also beamed. "Really!"

"I need to go back to work." Gwendal said immediately, standing up. Conrad also followed suit, finishing his tea.

"And I'm also late for practice. Mother, Wolfram, Greta, if you'd excuse us."

Wolfram looked after the retreating backs of his brothers, frowning slightly, because if he didn't know better, he would have thought that his strong and brave older brothers were pretty much running away.

-…-…-…-

In just four weeks, the baby was already growing up and changing. Celi-sama had told them that Conrad had grown up as a Mazoku boy until he was around his twenties, but everyday Huber found small differences on his daughter. That day, it was her eyes. They had also been told that the color of her eyes wouldn't settle until a few months had passed, but just watching how she woke up, blinked big, grey-bluish eyes around a yawn before going back to sleep was fascinating enough.

"Nicola?"

His wife turned from where she was folding the baby clothes, smiling softly.

"Yes?"

It was easier looking at the girl again than at the complete trust Nicola's warm brown eyes were showing him just then. Huber closed his eyes a moment, taking a deep breath before speaking again.

"About my past. I know you must have heard of it and I…"

"I don't care."

He turned to look at the woman, surprise clear on his face. Nicola's smile didn't change at all, her eyes still on him.

"I've heard what happened, Huber, just about everything and I'll hear whatever you want me to know, but you don't need to feel as if you must tell me about it." she shrugged, walking towards him, holding the blanket against her casually enough. "I'm no one to judge you about what you did then and, besides… I know you're not that man anymore."

"How can you be so sure?" he asked softly, sitting on the bed.

He felt Nicola leaving the blanket besides him before leaning towards the crib, picking up the baby from the crib, shushing her small whimpers of discomfort and giving her to him, running her fingers over the baby's forehead before leaning to kiss his cheek. Huber turned to look at her, noticing her smile, then turning to look at the baby, at how she she snuggled on her blankets, moving closer to him and his warmth.

Nicola's voice was soft and certain, just as the touch of her hand on his shoulder.

"How can I not be sure?"

-…-…-…-

The blonde prince raised his head almost frantically at the sound of a knock on the door, eyes still very much closed and trying to go back to his dream as soon as possible.

"… imp?"

"… Wolfram?" the fire elemental managed – with a whole lot of will power, by the way – to crack open one eye, trying to focus on the somewhat cloudy figure of Greta standing over the door, without her slippers or dressing gown from what he could see, in a direct path to getting sick. He groaned slightly, opening both eyes in an attempt to look more clearly to the girl.

"Greta, you can't keep on coming to sleep here." He muttered sleepily, barely keeping his eyes open, yawning.

"But…" he looked at the girl again, at the way that her eyes widened and how she was almost pouting (oh, and that had had to be Celi's doing before she went to continue her traveling), looking so sad and small in her pink nightgown that he felt as if he had been the most awful of the mazoku for saying that.

He sighed, rolling his eyes before he opened the blankets to Greta, motioning her to come with a toss of his head, moving to the middle when, after a smile, Greta run inside the bed, curling to his side almost immediately while he yawned again, trying to go back to sleep as soon as possible.

"Good night, father." Greta said, dropping her head against his shoulder and Wolfram couldn't stop himself from smiling, moving the blankets all the way up to the girl's chin before going back to sleep.

There were nice compensations on being a father, after all.