I don't own Kyo Kara Maoh!
A/N: This fic is dedicated to Tali-chan for her b-day :D
It was the most peaceful night anyone had ever been unable to sleep through. Silence filled all as even the castle guards were losing the battle to remain awake.
There was one, however, who was not only unable to sleep, but rather wide awake.
A sigh escaped Wolfram's lips as he sat in what he liked to claim as his own bed as well, back to the wall with his legs carefully bent underneath him. The nightgown he was wearing provided quite an immodest sight, yet he moved not an inch, well aware of the condition the room's only other occupant was in as he listened to the steady rhythm of the human's breaths and occasional snores.
Shibuya Yuuri, the current Maoh and ruler of Shin Makoku scratched the batch of exposed skin on his stomach as his other hand was sent over the edge of the bed before rolling over on his side, edging closer to the man he accidentally made his fiancé.
A gasp caught in Wolfram's throat as the moonlight fell down on Yuuri's silent form, highlighting his dark hair and soft, generous features. A small blush crept to his cheeks as he recalled those lips smiling in their usual childish, naïve way. At daylight he'd call him a wimp, an inadequate being at anything he'd do, all because of that smile of his which made the blonde frustration flare up.
Now, however, at night, he guiltily allowed himself what any other engaged young man would with his fiancé and reached a hand out to push a stray lock of black hair away from peacefully closed eyes. Truth be told, he wasn't all that surprised when – even in his sleep – Yuuri rejected his touch, and with a slight frown on his slumbering face, rolled to his other side, showing the blonde his back.
Being used to the treatment even unconsciously bestowed upon him by the human, Wolfram settled under the blankets on his side of the bed, pressing his lips to his fingers where he managed to graze a black strand of silky hair.
It was unusual for Wolfram to sleep in, and it was hardly the truth the commotion Gunter rose when he woke Yuuri up went past him, but he surprised even himself when he gritted his teeth and kept his eyes shut.
"Let him be" the Maoh said casually when addressed with the matter.
"It's ok if even Wolfram does it once in a while. He'll wake up soon enough, I'm sure."
He knew not whether to jump at his throat that moment, or forever more savor what might also have been a show of confidence. He did know, however, that facing Yuuri was not something he was up to that morning. Both his lips and fingers burned from the indirect kiss he knew only his feverish soul had conjured, but the reality of his heated cheeks and growing frustration refused to change. So he laid there quietly, not moving, hardly breathing, well aware of the fact Konrad was on to his little charade, but the half human kept silent until the group left the room vacant and quiet once again.
Cursing silently under his breath, Wolfram pushed himself up with stiffness in his limbs he knew was not physical, and with great efforts managed to bring himself to be remotely presentable.
The task completed successfully albeit slowly and painfully, he allowed himself a small reward as he fell on Yuuri's side of the bed, burying his face in the pillow and inhaling the other's scent.
When finally he brought himself to wonder the castle in search of Yuuri, Wolfram was distressed to discover what the first meeting that day had in store for the Maoh.
It was standard procedure in order to keep the peace within Shin Makoku. A sort of internal affairs meeting, where the Maoh had to host and somewhat entertain a group of young noblewomen from across the kingdom, as well as several neighboring ally countries.
The very idea of having anyone get too close to his fiancé always made Wolfram's blood boil, and Yuuri fawning over the girls almost as much as they were over him certainly was not helping.
"Ah, Wolfram!" Yuuri called out and waved at his fiancé once he noticed him, being left alone as the ladies went to fight amongst themselves over his attention. Wolfram looked away as his fists clenched.
"Admit your treachery now and I might forgive you." He threatened as he glared at the floor, but his voice was far more indifferent and numb than hostile. Yuuri took it for what it wasn't – a sign which said the blonde wasn't as pissy as usual.
It had some truth in it, mind you, though hardly in the way Yuuri thought; the night had left Wolfram far pissier than his usual self, though in a quieter, more depressed manner.
That's why he only looked at Yuuri sadly when the human went on telling him which noblewoman was which, which he liked better, and which he simply –had- to introduce Wolfram to.
That was when, with a sigh, Wolfram hurriedly excused himself, heading out to attend to any duties he hoped he had at the moment.
"Are? Was it something I said?" Yuuri asked innocently, blinking.
"I can understand young Wolfram." Gunter said with tears in his eyes.
"To see our beloved Maoh surrounded by so many stranger women… AAAAH, I CAN'T TAKE IT!"
He cried out as he turned away, blowing his nose rather noisily on a handkerchief.
"Kindly refrain from comparing Wolfram with your unsightly self." Gwendal demanded calmly with crossed arms and crossed eyes as he too attended what he described as a ridiculing show of the Maoh.
"But… But… His Majesty!"
They went on in their usual manner, leaving only Konrad to worriedly look after Wolfram's disappearing figure while Yuuri was once again showered with now partially unwanted attention.
"Are? Wolfram?" Greta asked as she spotted Wolfram wondering the halls rather aimlessly. The girl's voice as though stinging him, he looked at her in shock before remembering where he was and what the girl in front of him was to him.
"Ah, Greta. Good morning." He said weakly with a small smile on his lips. The Maoh's adopted daughter pouted lightly as she studied his face.
"Wha, what is it?" He asked in confusion.
"You don't look too well." She said worriedly. Wolfram chuckled lightly in response.
"Ah, it's nothing. I just… haven't slept that well."
His fingers itched as again the feeling of soft hair against his skin returned.
"Well, Yuuri did say you overslept…"
A slight blush rose to his cheeks.
"That wimp talks too much."
A smug look decorated her face, making Wolfram take a step back worriedly.
"None of those noble ladies think Yuuri's a wimp."
A wave of shock and hurt washed over Wolfram before his fists clenched and he looked away with an arrogant 'humph'.
"Only because they don't know him long enough."
With a giggle the girl moved to the corridor's window, looking at the castle's inner garden. A longing look settled over her eyes.
"But they're all so pretty… they look good with Yuuri, too… I…"
She trailed off, but the caught her lips as they formed the word 'mother', and his frustration reached the point of explosion before he even realized his nails were digging into his palms.
"Well sorry I'm a man!" He shouted, as though freezing the entire hallway. His glare was set on the floor as he felt the servants and guards nearby staring at him, as well as two pairs of eyes that made the back of his neck burn. His eyes widened as he realized who they were, and he cursed his sudden inability to move.
"Wolfram…" Came Yuuri's soft voice, followed by his footsteps as he approached his fiancé.
He reached a hand to his shoulder but an instance before contact was made, Wolfram's feet disconnected themselves from the floor and he all but ran away from them, not once looking back.
"Oy, Wolfram!" Yuuri cried out, but Konrad's hand on his shoulder stopped him from going after his retreating fiancé.
"Going after him now would be the worst thing to do, your Majesty. Let him cool off for a while."
"You say that, but still…" Yuuri trailed off, biting his lip.
"It's Greta's fault…" The girl said as she approached the two, head bent over in shame. With a soft smile Yuuri knelt next to her, ruffling her brown mane fondly.
"I doubt that's the case. That guy's moody on a usual basis, and today's an exceptional example of that. I'm sure even if you said anything out of line, he's just blowing it way out of proportions."
"Really?" She asked, looking at her teenaged adoptive father with big hopeful eyes. He nodded at her with a reassuring smile.
"Ah. Besides, once he calms down we'll talk things through and it'll be ok."
She half pleaded with him. Again, he nodded.
"Well then, your Majesty…"
Konrad began peacefully, drawing attention to himself once he deemed the father-daughter moment came to a conclusion.
"I do believe you have your duties to take care of?"
He ignored the sour and rather desperate look on the face of the boy he named.
"I'll talk to Wolfram in a while once I see he calmed down, but you better hurry back, or Gunter will scold you."
Sighing in defeat, Yuuri rose to his feet.
"Ah, ah… it's times like this I wish I'd fall into the poor or something…"
"Greta will come along!" The girl chirped happily with a big smile on her face. It had the desired effect as a matching smile rose to Yuuri's lips.
Hand in hand, the father and daughter began their way in the direction from which Gunter's panicked voice was already heard. Konrad then headed in the opposite direction, after his brother.
He found the young pure-bred Mazoku practicing his sword in a secluded area of the garden, away from prying eyes. For several minutes he stood there, watching the young man swing his sword violently, his emotions reflected perfectly on the sharpened blade. Eventually the movement came to a stop as Wolfram brought the sword down, his eyes narrowing as he met Konrad's reflection on his sword.
"What do you want?" He asked irritably as he straightened up, returning his sword to its seethe. Konrad's calm expression remained in place even under the harsh glare those green eyes were sending his way.
"You seemed rather upset at the ladies' gathering earlier, and with Greta after that. Both times you seemed uncomfortable around the Maoh. His Majesty felt that-"
A bitter smile rose to Wolfram's lips.
"Did he send you to apologize for him? Or are you doing this of your own accord?"
The soldier went to reply but realized he was not meant to as he never even had a chance to do so as Wolfram continued on without so much as pausing for air.
"Don't. It's not your fault he's a cheating wimp."
The younger brother concluded as he finished making himself presentable again and stood before Konrad. The man looked at him carefully with warm eyes.
"Neither is it yours."
Wolfram's eyes widened for a moment, but the shock was soon replaced with bitter resentment – directed at whom – Konrad knew not. However, seeing that his brother had no intention of breaking the silence that fell, he did so himself.
"Do you know why his Majesty and I came looking for you earlier?"
Biting his lower lip, Wolfram stared at the ground in shame.
"Because I made a scene and humiliated him in public."
"Correct, and yet wrong."
Konrad said in his soft voice, making Wolfram stare at him in surprise.
"It's true your sudden leave did create a bit of a scene, but not as much as you'd think, and no one thought you embarrassed let alone humiliated his Majesty since you took your leave quietly. Someone in your position does have other duties he has to attend to, it's perfectly understandable."
"Then, why?" Wolfram asked with disbelief. He was rewarded with a soft look and a smile warm even by Konrad's standards.
"You caused such a scene his Majesty was worried about you, especially in light of this morning."
"Can't a person sleep in once in a while!" He asked with a cast away look, a soft blush on his pale cheeks.
"He can… but if that person is you, it's so out of the ordinary, people try and find the hidden meaning behind the act."
"People should mind their own business!" Wolfram barked back as he began walking away.
"Isn't one his fiancé's business?"
The question stopped Wolfram in his tracks, but he hadn't turned to look at the other.
"He's worried about you, Wolfram."
"Of course he is." Came the bitter reply.
"Because that wimp worries about everyone."
"I'd like to think of that as one of his majesty's good qualities."
You would, wouldn't you – Wolfram thought bitterly, yet the words never left his lips. It was that lack of comeback that made Konrad walk up to him yet still behind him, his eyes set worriedly on Wolfram's back.
"Have you tried talking to his Majesty about… whatever it is that's troubling you?"
The blonde chuckled bitterly.
"Of course, because that would go so well. 'Listen, wimp, stop caring about everyone and everything, even though that's one of the reasons I-'"
He stopped in mid-sentence, suddenly feeling exposed and sheepish. Konrad suppressed a sigh.
"I doubt that's what you really want to say to him."
"It doesn't matter. Even if I told him, it won't change anything. No… it might even make matters worse." He half concluded grimly.
"That guy… comes from a different world than ours. It's only natural some of our customs would appear odd to him."
"And yet, the engagement hasn't been called off." Konrad commented, making Wolfram's eyes widen in shock before he smiled sarcastically.
"Yet." Came the bitter addition.
"Do you really believe he'd do that, Wolfram?"
Wolfram turned to him with a determined expression, his mouth open to reply, only to look away with uncertainty a moment later.
"Sometimes… I wish he would."
A look of shock crossed Konrad's face.
"You don't mean that."
His fists clenched.
"How can you say that with so much certainty, so much confidence in what you just said when you can't even understand what I feel!" Wolfram yelled at him, feeling the fire burn inside of him along with his rage.
"Because the Wolfram Von Bielfeit I know would never give up so easily on something he feels so strongly about."
The young Mazoku gritted his teeth as he looked away, utterly frustrated.
"Does it even matter how I feel? As long as he's like that, nothing can come out of it. No matter what I feel, no matter how hard I try."
"I believe you are underestimating his Majesty's feelings in the matter."
"Ho? Care to explain, Sir Weller?"
His voice was dripping with bitterness and sarcasm as he buried one hand in his hair, pulling on golden locks. With a sigh, Konrad obliged.
"Like you said, his Majesty isn't used to our traditions. He finds many things odd, but I've yet to see him reject a single one so far. I doubt I will in the future." He added when he saw his brother about to comment on that.
"Therefore, I believe that saying that just because his Majesty is as his Majesty does is not only rude towards his Majesty, but also stupid."
An embarrassed blush rose to Wolfram's cheeks.
"And? Your point is?" He asked irritably with his hands on his hips.
"My point is… that like many things in general, and about this world, this Shin Makoku of ours in particular – his Majesty needs to have it explained to him. Sometimes, all if takes is a brief explanation, other times…"
"Babies who can't even speak understand, but he still won't." Came the reply, which sent relief washing over Konrad as he recognized the tone of voice used as Wolfram's usual snappy tone, rather than that day's unusual sulkiness and aggressiveness.
"Then explain it to him. Your current situation, what troubles you…"
"I thought I said that won't change anything for the better."
"I can't believe it would change anything for the worse." Konrad said gently, carefully studying his half brother's face. When no reply came, he continued, taking it as a sign he had a willing audience.
"Talk to him, Wolfram. His Majesty isn't one to ignore the feelings of others, especially someone as close to him as you are. It's hurting him to see you like this, all the more when he doesn't know why-"
"The hell he doesn't!"
Wolfram snapped, though it was obvious by now that it was his wounded pride being pushed to a corner rather than real anger. There was all the more backing it up when he quieted down immediately afterwards, again, stare fixated on the ground.
"The hell… it's not like I'm actively trying to hide it or anything…"
"And yet to his Majesty, your actions are just those of a dear friend, a bit eccentric at that –"
Wolfram pouted as a small blush rose to his cheeks.
"-but nothing more, not unless you come clean to him about it. You do feel strongly about him, don't you?" He asked in a tone often used with first graders about a subject they should be well aware of, mostly when awaiting them to admit a prank they pulled, like stealing the teacher's chalks.
"O- Of course I do, he's my fiancé after all!" Wolfram announced as he turned to look away, arms crossed, face now flushed. Konrad nodded to himself, letting the blonde get away with the comfortable excuse.
"Then in that case, come clean. Explain to his Majesty what he's done wrong, and how he can fix it."
"But I-" He tried, only to fall silent again under Konrad's intense stare. And with a final statement, the soldier turned and walked away, leaving his younger brother to contemplate the meaning of his parting words –
"Don't you own him at least that much as his fiancé?"
It had been many hours since the sun set when Shibuya Yuuri finally managed to close the door to his bedroom behind him and get ready for bed. The young Maoh had so much on his mind when he went into the bathtub, he forgot to either hope for or fear the possible transport back to his own world, as well as to either regret or rejoice as he stepped out of the water, still in the world in which he was king.
"I wonder how Wolfram's doing…" Yuuri pondered between him and himself once he was in his pajamas and ready to call it a day.
"He's been acting weird all day, and Konrad won't say what they talked about…"
The man who named him refused to dwell too much into the finer issues of his discussion with the Maoh's fiancé. He would only respond to a direct question about Wolfram's well being, and even then his answer was an enigmatic "we'll see".
Yuuri pouted as his cheeks steadily gained a rosy shade. He vaguely remembered something from the previous night… Could that have been…
He shook his head violently, forcing the embarrassment away.
"Even if so, that gives him no right to behave like he did!" He fumed, pushing the doubts and blush to the back of his mind. At the time he shifted due to the pose he was lying in being uncomfortable. Why would Wolfram throw a fit over such a small thing?
"Aaaaw, besides, he never should've done it in the first place!" Yuuri barked out to no one as he paced around his bedroom, now devoid of any duty to perform as to keep his mind occupied and off the subject at hand. He was becoming so incredibly frustrated he forgot to be scared or at least surprised when an assertive knock came from his door. Once he came to a stop, though, he realized it really was late, and with Wolfram's recent tendency of staying away from him, he was also alone.
After a moment in which he stood there, frozen, another knock came, a bit more annoyed this time.
"Who, who is it?" He finally asked, wondering if he could make it back if he jumped out the window into the fountain in the inner yard.
That proved to be an unnecessary experiment, however – at least at that specific moment – as he was rewarded with an answer in a familiar voice and manner of speaking to him.
"If I wanted to hurt you, wimp, you'd have already been crying."
A bit flustered and more than a bit relieved, Yuuri opened the door only to be surprised again. It was Wolfram standing before him, but he was wearing the common looking clothes he usually did whenever they needed to move outside the castle undetected. His very posture, while it retained its dignity, also held certain – if forced – calmness and lowered guard. Above all, Yuuri was surprised by what the other young man seemed to have been hiding behind his back. He couldn't exactly make out what it was, but it did smell… sweet?
"Good evening, Yuuri." Wolfram said calmly, though there was a certain degree of anxiety in his voice.
"Are? Wolfram? Are you… going somewhere?" Yuuri asked half worriedly, blinking. Wolfram did his best at a careless shrug.
"Maybe. Can I come in? I promise I won't bite you."
A sheepish smile rose to Yuuri's lips as he moved aside to let Wolfram in, chuckling lightly.
"That sounds more like the Wolfram I know. Seriously now, you had me worried, acting the way you did today."
A small blush rose to Wolfram's cheeks as he nodded. Yuuri continued clueless.
"I mean, usually about half the things today you'd have lost your temper and accuse me of this or that… but today you just ignored me, I was beginning to think I did something wrong, and… Are?" He suddenly blinked, utterly confused as Wolfram revealed what he was hiding – it seemed to be a box of fine chocolates and a bouquet of snow white lilies. The blonde lowered his gaze shyly, blushing lightly as he presented the two gifts.
"I wasn't sure about your favorite flower, so I brought a sort of default. Do you have a vase? I'll go put them in some water." He said and turned away before Yuuri could respond.
"Wolfram, those… you… what's going on!" Yuuri asked, trying his best not to give in to his steadily growing panic. Wolfram nodded to himself contentedly as the vase was placed by the window, and he moved to open the box of chocolate when Yuuri's question hit him. Humphing superiorly, he settled down on the bed, the closed box lying on the mattress next to him.
"Hurry over here, or I'll melt them." He said as he gave Yuuri a teasing, daring look, a small flame dancing on his fingertips and in his eyes. Yuuri's mouth hung open for a moment before he shook his head, regaining his bearings.
"Wolfram, answer the question!"
The flame disappeared as Wolfram's hand clenched into a fist, and it was obvious in his features he was annoyed by the question.
"What, are courting customs that different on your world?"
"Courting… customs?" Yuuri asked with the right side of his mouth twitching.
"Are you saying that engaged couples on your world don't do this sort of thing?" He tried to keep his voice calm and under control, mainly because he knew a storm was coming.
"Who's a couple!"
"We are." Came the blunt yet overly simplicit reply, bringing a blush to both young men's cheeks. "Or did you forget that one of the first things you did when you got here was propose to me?"
"Look here, that was an accident! I didn't know what I was doing, and…"
He stopped immediately when Wolfram broke eye contact, clutching the sheets tightly in his clenched fist.
"But now you do, don't you?" The born and raised Mazoku asked softly, the steadiness in his voice a harsh contrast to the shakings which rocked his body.
"Now you know what that act meant, and the impact it has on everything."
"I… I do." Yuuri finally said hesitatingly when Wolfram paused for a reply. The answer, however, seemed to have been the wrong one, at least as far as immediate consequences were involved. Wolfram stood up, turning to glare at him.
"Then why keep at it? Why not just call it off? Why keep pretending like this?"
"No one's pretending to be anything!" Yuuri tried reasoning with him, but even he knew it was too little too late and without basis.
"Then tell me! Now, straight out and I'll stop! Tell me – are we engaged or not!"
Yuuri's tongue faltered at the sudden question, and his cheeks grew hotter under Wolfram's intense glare. He looked away, unable to have those green eyes burn into him any longer.
"We, well, technically we –are-, but…"
"But what?" Wolfram demanded angrily through clenched teeth.
"But it was an accident! I didn't mean to!" He tried again, and he knew better than to think Wolfram averting his gaze and lowering his voice was a good thing.
"Then call it off." He said quietly, the words though silent filling the room and as though echoing mockingly back at the two boys.
"Wolfram…" The soft way in which his name was said broke the resolve which held him together, and Wolfram once again turned to glare at the Maoh, rage burning in his eyes.
"It was a mistake, wasn't it? You didn't mean to do it, did you! Then just call it all off!"
Lacking a good enough answer and feeling increasingly embarrassed as the air was slowly filled with the smell of lilies and chocolate, Yuuri looked out, right back at him.
"I will if you're that insistent on it! And anyway why are you so upset! What's the big deal about our accident engagement?"
He knew he should've stopped once he saw the hard look on Wolfram's face, but if anything, his sense of dread and guilt only made it harder for him to stop. He felt as though if he just said one more thing, brought up one more seemingly innocent question, one more 'why' to make the other see his point, it'd all go away, they'd cool down, settled down, and he'd once again fight to keep Wolfram in his side of the bed…
Then why did it have the exact opposite reaction when the words came out of his mouth?
"Why does being engaged to me mean so much to you!"
"Because I love you!" He finally screamed, eyes shut tightly, fists clenched, cheeks flushed.
Yuuri couldn't say a word. He stood there, frozen, eyes wide. He was shaking. He knew he'd hear it eventually – those words – one day, but he hardly imagined he'd hear it so soon in his life, from someone whom he essentially knew nothing about, least of all… that someone being a guy. All of a sudden, though, that hardly seemed to matter, and he knew raising the issue then was perhaps the worst thing he could do. He had to find some other way to handle the current situation which was as following –
A person he came to think of as a friend, to whom he accidentally proposed on their first meeting and simply –refused- to take it back, friend-fiancé's gender not withstanding, was now standing there in front of him, having just confessed his true feelings after a long day of quarrels and discomforts.
He had to say something, Yuuri knew – something – anything! – but as he opened his mouth to speak, before he could even begin coming up with a reply, Wolfram's voice came in, low and soft, hurt and broken, shaking almost as the young man was then.
Yuuri's heart ached; he was the cause of the usually proud young man's miserable state.
"Because more than anyone, I tried not to see it… but at the same time, more than anyone, I searched for it… a reason to call it off on my own… or to at least comfort myself, even a little… even if it was to the Maoh, I… I never wanted to marry just for the sake of politics."
Yuuri could only stand there silently and nod as the monologue continued in front of him.
"So I looked for it… the thing which could make me tolerate you, if only a little."
He stopped for a moment, obviously fighting to regain his hold over the courage to continue.
"Truth be told, I kept telling myself I was right, at first. Such an idiotic, weak, pathetic wimp who couldn't even control magic…"
Yuuri's pout deepened with every insult.
His comment went by unnoticed.
"I kept telling myself 'someone like that, he'd call it off any day now. No need to worry.' But time went by, and you kept it, even though you never gave it much thought, or maybe, because you never thought about it… I ended up realizing that just as I was wrong back then, I was also right."
"What about?" Yuuri asked carefully, too embarrassed and red-cheeked to be relieved by the warm and gentle spark in Wolfram's eyes as he gazed at him.
"Not calling it off on my own."
Yuuri's eyes widened slightly before he looked away.
"I probably won't ever say anything like this again and I'll call you a liar if you tell anyone about it, so listen up!" Wolfram demanded, letting his offensive nature take over his embarrassment.
"You're strong when you need to be. You're smart when it comes to people. You're kind, generous, even towards your enemies, but while that's part of your stupidity, it's also part of what makes people captivated by you, and it gives them a resolution stronger than anything to protect you."
'Like you have so far…' Yuuri remembered guiltily, but he obeyed Wolfram's earlier command and kept silence. Wolfram's face softened a bit as he continued.
"You're funny in your own goofy way, you worry over people, and you're warm. The idiotic naivety plastered all over your face is just one of the indications you give the world about how innocent and pure you really are. But because you're so weak, because you're such a pathetic wimp, I… I know…"
His pose straightening, his expression becoming determined and his eyes bright, he looked straight into Yuuri's eyes.
"Maoh or not, you're still human. You're not perfect, you're not some unreachable being, something to be watched fearfully from afar and worshipped. You're still the fiancé I'll have to protect until the day I die, or…"
He fell silent, though his tone of voice not dropping even a bit told Yuuri it was up to him to continue. While hesitatingly, he did so, not looking away in the slightest.
"Or I'll call it off."
The blonde nodded.
Yuuri blinked, suddenly confused. Wolfram sighed.
"So… all I have to go on is you pushing me out of the bed, hiding from me occasionally, and shamelessly flirt in front of my eyes. Had it been almost anyone else, I wouldn't have minded taking the hint, but I do mind… and it's you, after all. I can't believe you did all those things from those reasons. So I… I need to know. How you feel about me."
The way in which he looked at Yuuri made it impossible for the Maoh to turn away, and so he promptly settled his gaze on Wolfram's chin. His cheeks were burning by now, and the question, the demand… no, he reckoned. There was nothing demanding about what was just said. It was a simple request… as simple as those requests can get… but he found himself fighting for words, fighting for a meaning, fighting for… for what?
His eyes widened when suddenly he felt Wolfram's hand gently rest on the back of his neck as his other arm went to encircle the other's waist, pulling him close.
As the blonde edged closer, almost painfully so, an unexpected yet warm look in his eyes, Yuuri blamed it on his shock when he hadn't pushed him away. In reality, however, he realized there was another reason – for better or worse, he had kept their engagement. This was Wolfram's right…
His eyes slid shut and he contemplated pouting his lips when he felt warm breath tickle his cheek as soft lips brushed against it, caressing his skin and leaving a devastating coldness once the contact was broken second afterwards. He felt Wolfram's hands leave him, slowly yet surely, and was amazed when he realized how lonely he suddenly felt.
"I'm sorry…" Wolfram began in a soft voice, standing with his back to his fiancé. His fists were clenched yet not in fury, rather –
He was simply trying to keep the feel of the other for as long as he could, as though unclenching his hands would mean letting go of more than mere body heat. Yuuri stared at his back, at a loss for words.
"What are you…"
"I'm not sorry about what I just did, mind you. Even if I were, saying something like that would only dishonor and embarrass us both."
Wolfram turned to him, mouth open as though to say something, but he instantly looked away, frustration showing on his features.
"I'm sorry… I'm not a woman."
Yuuri blinked sheepishly, mouth hanging slightly open in confusion.
"Because then… you wouldn't have had a problem with it, right? Because then something this little wouldn't have bothered you, wouldn't have made you so petrified…"
"The hell it wouldn't!" Yuuri claimed, finally finding his voice long enough to complete a whole sentence.
"Besides, how can I blame you for something like that! People are born the way they are born, how can I blame them for it!"
"But it's true, isn't it?" Wolfram asked, his voice steady and silent. Yuuri's eyes widened in realization – his fiancé had reached despair.
"If I were a woman, you wouldn't have minded being engaged to me… after all, I probably would've looked even more like my mother… a beautiful noblewoman… even you couldn't have found a way around it."
"But then… I probably wouldn't have slapped you."
Wolfram turned to look at him, his green eyes wide with confusion.
Taking a deep breath, the Maoh knew he could no longer remain in the same spot. His body moving on its own, he found himself standing next to the vase Wolfram had placed the lilies in. His gaze wondered out the window.
"Because if you were a girl, no matter how much you would've insulted even my mom, I never could've hit you, least of all in your face. Then we never would've gotten engaged… and while I'm sure we'd have spent time together, I doubt we would've gotten to know each other as well as we do now. At best, I think we'd have become acquaintances, but… that's hardly the case now, is it?"
Green eyes softened as they stared at the Maoh. Wolfram fought against his body's shivers, awaiting Yuuri's next words as much as he dreaded them.
"If… if I were to choose between a…"
Yuuri's cheeks reddened.
"… a male fi- fiancé I know I can trust, a person who is a close and dear friend of mine, or a female stranger…"
Closing his eyes, he slid his fingers across a white flower petal. When next he opened his eyes, they were directed at Wolfram, filled with soft determination.
"I much rather what I have right now."
Cheeks flushed under the warm gaze, all Wolfram could do was gently utter the other's name in disbelief.
"I'm sorry too, though."
"Eh?" Wolfram blinked at the apology, caught completely off guard. Yuuri offered him an apologetic smile.
"'You're a great friend' is hardly what one would like to hear from his fiancé…"
"You could've said less." Wolfram hurried to protest.
"I could've said more." Yuuri tried, only to have Wolfram close his eyes in a finishing manner.
"No, you couldn't have. And as much as I'd like to hear… more… I won't force it out of you."
"Then… where do we stand?" Yuuri finally asked, looking at Wolfram with uncertainty. Wordlessly, the young Mazoku approached him, reaching out a hand and picked one of the lilies. He looked at Yuuri over the flower's petals for a moment before chuckling. Yuuri was already confused, Wolfram handing him the lily with a smile only added to that.
"I guess that means… we're still engaged."
Nodding once, Yuuri accepted the flower. Now free, Wolfram turned to the bed, picking up a piece of chocolate and sucking on it lightly as he made his way to the door.
"Where are you going?" Yuuri asked hastily. He was answered with a shrug.
"I have my own room, I just don't use it that often…"
"You're not… staying over?"
He himself was amazed at the disappointment in his voice. He was rewarded a chuckle.
"I'm not the kind of person who could stay the night over after getting such a reply, having spilled my heart on my sleeves."
"Don't look at me like that." He requested, feeling Yuuri's pleading and worried eyes on the back of his neck without even turning.
"I'm too proud to do that… but you already knew that, didn't you?"
"Then you'll leave your fiancé without even kissing him goodnight?"
Both's cheeks reddened. Yuuri pouted lightly as Wolfram turned to look at him over his shoulder. The rather sad look in his eyes bore a startling contradiction to the smile on his lips.
"Good night, Yuuri."
Feeling the tiredness in the other's voice, Yuuri nodded, suddenly feeling tired himself.
"Good night, Wolfram."
The double doors closed behind him, hiding the noble Mazoku's slim figure from black eyes.
Now alone, Yuuri lowered his gaze to the flower in his hand, looking at it as he moved to his bed. How long had it been since he last slept alone in that world? Months, at least.
The big bed was wide and empty, and he needn't even remove the box of chocolates in order to have the space he needed. He had too much of it, he reckoned as he buried himself under the covers, placing the lily on his pillow next to him, letting the blossom's sweet scent lull him to sleep.
Come morning, however, he found the entire bouquet scattered over his bed, several chocolates missing from the box, and one messy blonde head resting on the pillow next to him.
Yuuri sighed as he reached out a hand to move a golden lock from peacefully closed eyes, uncertain whether it was more than simply returning the favor. Seeing, however, as the other was keeping to his side of the bed, and that he had apparently spent half the night – at least – leaning against the room's doors, Yuuri pulled the covers over both their heads, deciding that if the good lord Von Bielfeit could sleep in twice in a row, than by the Original King, so could the Maoh.