The Day with Wolfram
Shibuya Yuuri awoke, earlier than usual, with his right foot on his bed and the rest of his body on the floor of his bedroom. His ANNOYINGLY undesired fiancé occupied the rest of the bed and, from what Yuuri could tell, was still sound asleep.
/How does he even get in here…./ Yuuri wondered. /I wonder if he secretly had a locksmith make a copy of my key…./
Wolfram's snoring stopped abruptly as his internal alarm clock went off. That morning, Yuuri would witness a sight that he so often missed because Wolfram was always (well, almost always) out the door before him.
The blonde boy sat up abruptly, swung his legs over the right side of the bed, and marched out of the room.
/…where is he going/ Yuuri wondered. He realized that he didn't really know Wolfram's schedule; rather, he saw him whenever Wolfram WANTED him to see him.
Little did Yuuri know how far his curiosity would take him.
About an hour later, Yuuri found his daughter reading a picture book in her room.
"Father!" she shouted happily when she saw him, "Why are you up so early today?"
Rather than tell her that he planned on tracking Wolfram like a detective, he said "Because the earlier I wake up, the more I see you!"
Greta looked worried. "Well, I was going to go play with Gwendal today, daddy. He said he'd make me a stuffed animal if I helped him…."
Yuuri bade farewell to his daughter and continued on his quest.
/It's too late for him to eat breakfast…was anything supposed to happen today…do I have any meetings/
"Good morning, your majesty.
Yuuri turned around, startled, to see Conrad dressed in his usual tan uniform. He was smiling, as usual. "Hi, Conrad….have you seen Wolfram?"
If Conrad had been surprised by the question, he didn't show it. "Well, he's giving a demonstration to a few candidates for his personal guard today."
Yuuri's question was answered by a loud BOOM originating outside the castle. He and Conrad rushed to the closest window, and what Yuuri saw troubled him.
"They're….they're on the baseball diamond…" he said sadly to Conrad.
A group of forty Mazoku soldiers, all wearing armor and looking formidable, stood in front of Wolfram as he lectured. The subject of the lecture became obvious when Wolfram chanted his usual spell and shot a fireball towards the soldier who was standing directly in front of him.
Yuuri panicked. /What the hell is he doing? He's not just going to destroy the baseball diamond….he's going to kill those soldiers too/
He rushed out of the castle and onto the field, with a protesting Conrad at his heels. As he neared the baseball diamond, Wolfram cast another spell which he aimed at a soldier who was standing to one side of the field.
"Animals which compose the element fire—"
"WOLFRAM!" Yuuri shouted. Was this punishment for something!
His fiancé ignored him. "—this brave Mazoku summons you!"
Yuuri watched in horror as the fireball flew towards its intended victim. /Wolfram is attacking again needlessly…/ He could feel the anger of the Maou well up inside of him.
"Animals which compose the element fire, this brave Ma—WHOAH!"
The young king was shocked when the soldier began a chant of his own, then jumped out of the way of the fire ball and fell to the ground, laughing. A few other soldier also laughed, and even Wolfram couldn't hide a smile.
"Well," the blonde prince said, "that was pretty good, but you need to take the length of the chant into consideration. As soon as I say 'fire', you should start chanting." He turned to the rest of the soldiers. "When the element being used against you is fire, which element can be used to repel the attack…" he scanned the crowd, "…Julian?"
A soldier who looked about Wolfram's age came to attention "Fire, sir!"
"Correct." Wolfram smiled, then folded his arms as he paced in front of the crowd.
/Demonstration…./ Yuuri thought. He considered asking Conrad if this was what he had meant, but he was interested in the lecture, too.
"Any others?" Wolfram asked the crowd. "Let's see…Smith?"
Another soldier answered. "Earth, sir. And water."
"Correct. Not many people can use water-type magic, but it's the most effective against fire attacks." Wolfram was completely absorbed, and was oblivious to his fiancé and his brother (who continued to stand by silently, probably laughing at Yuuri in his head).
"Now, to review." The blonde prince said, taking a deep breath, "Each of you can use magic, but since human enemies can use houjutsu, it's important to be prepared to fight one kind of magic with another. Houjutsu isn't as compartmentalized as majutsu, and the attack types can be bizarre, but they can still be countered with majutsu."
Yuuri found that he was a little in awe of Wolfram. It was clear from the faces of each of his soldiers, and from his own manner, that this was an important lecture. Although the topic was simple, none of the soldiers were nodding off or dazed…they all focused on Wolfram.
"Now, for what you've all been waiting to hear. I have three spots open right now for my personal guard." Wolfram stood in front of the crowd now, his arms folded and his face serious. "Since I often accompany the Maou into human territory, a high level of majutsu skill is not necessary. Rather, the spots will go to men who are skilled with swords, who are brave, and," he said, adding emphasis and looking from face to face, "men who understand the importance of the Maou's safety."
Said Maou felt his heart warming a little. /He's probably just saying that because he always follows me to make sure that I'm not cheating on him though…/ Yuuri frowned.
"Now, after lunch, I'll talk to each of your individually to find three replacements. I hope that you brought your girlfriends or wives; the kitchens have prepared a few specialties today and you should bring your significant other to share it with."
The last part was added a little loudly. Yuuri thought for a moment that Wolfram had spotted him, but then the words "girlfriends or wives" hit him.
/No boyfriends? Husbands? Unwilling male fiancés/
Wolfram's eyes found him right then, and he looked surprised. "Yuuri! What are you and Weller doing here?"
The crowd turned to Yuuri.
"Oh my god! It's his majesty!"
"The Maou came to visit the lecture!"
Wolfram strode up to Yuuri, shot Conrad a look, then glared at his finace. "What are you doing here, wimp?"
Yuuri sighed. /Translation: you startled me, so now I get to insult you. It makes me feel better./ "I was wondering what all the commotion was about."
"Commotion? Hmph. I'm looking for replacements for my personal guard."
Yurri turned to Conrad. "Do you need replacements, too?"
Conrad shook his head. "Whenever Wolfram accompanies you and you're not traveling in secret, he has his personal guard assist him." Wolfram suddenly looked downcast. "Because of the risks associated with those journeys, Wolfram's guards tend to have a higher casualty rate than mine or our older brother's."
The young Maou felt his heart sink. /More people who had to endure pain…/ He thought about that for a moment and then realized that the crowd of soldiers was still staring at him.
/Oh god…/ He couldn't hold back a nervous look. /Don't tell me that all of Wolfram's soldiers are gay…/
Wolfram cleared his throat, and then gave Yuuri an serious look. "Yuuri, they're you're subjects. Why don't you say hello?"
"Don't say 'eh?' like an imbecile!" Wolfram flared up.
/Translation: I NEED SOMETHING FROM YOU! DON'T TURN ME DOWN, JUST DO IT/
Wolfram slapped him on the back, very, very hard, and Yuuri stumbled forward towards the soldiers.
"Hi!" He said. /They're still staring…like I'm a celebrity./ "I'm your Maou, Shibuya Yuuri, Harajuku Fuuri. Pleased to meet you." They still stared at him, in awe. Yuuri now saw that most of Wolfram's candidates were younger than Conrad—maybe even all of them. He approached one of them and held out his hand. "What's your name?"
The man gladly took his hand. "Brookline, sir. Pleased to meet your highness."
As Yuuri greeted the soldiers, he didn't feel Wolfram's gaze on the back of his head. Conrad kept silent, although he knew what was running through his brother's mind.
/Whew/ Yuuri thought. /That was a lot of hands to shake…and I wonder why Wolfram didn't cut in and call me a cheater, even when Issac or whatever his name was kept making jokes and I was clearly enjoying the company of someone else…/
It was lunchtime, and the Maou fully appreciated Wolfram's earlier comments about bringing wives and girlfriends. The room usually reserved for ceremonies was packed with soldiers, pretty young women, and some of the best food that Yuuri had ever eaten. Yuuri had actually found time to talk to the soldier's wives/girlfriends, eat to his heart's content, and stay away from Wolfram. His eyes sought out the prince every few minutes, and he found that Wolfram was doing the same.
En route to lunch, Wolfram had pulled Yuuri to the end of the group of men. "Wimp, I need to ask you for something." He'd said in his usually haughty voice. He continued without letting Yuuri speak. "I already know that you're a cheater and a lecher, so this shouldn't be too hard for you."
"You ARE a cheater." Wolfram sighed. "I hate myself for saying this, but I would appreciate it if you would talk to the soldiers and their women and tell me how they act towards you."
So there Yuuri was, talking to Issac and his pretty girlfriend, Milenda. "Well, we met at her parents' bakery," Issac said. His arm was around her waist and she was giggling into his neck. "Oh, but it wasn't a HAPPY meeting…you see, my mother had bought some bread from there, and you wouldn't believe what she found in it, so…." He looked at his empty wine glass. "Oh, I'll be right back." He looked at Yuuri a second before leaving the Maou with his girlfriend.
She smiled at him. She had nice coloring…like Wolfram, almost. "So, your highness, I heard that you were engaged to the prince."
Yuuri colored. "Yes, but it was by acci…" His head hung in shame. "Yes."
"You don't seem very happy about it…" She pouted and shifted from side to side.
/Is she flirting with me/
"You know, I and Issac haven't been together very long…" She smiled. "And you're so very handsome…"
Yuuri gulped. He was glad that a pretty girl was flirting with him, but she was with someone…
Issac came back. Milenda turned her attention to him now, and Yuuri felt puzzled. Was this Wolfram's test?
"And so," Issac began again. His eyes were focused on Yuuri, not the pretty woman at his side. "So, what my mom found in the bread was actually—"
Yuuri, Issac, and Melinda all jumped as Wolfram stormed towards them. Issac instantly put his arm around Melinda.
"Yuuri, come on, chat time's over." Wolfram said as he gruffly pulled Yuuri away by his arm.
"But, Wolfram, you said…"
Wolfram was silent until he had pulled Yuuri out of the room. He then made Yuuri face him. The prince stared at Yuuri, trying to find something to say, and then he closed his eyes for a moment and looked at the floor.
"Quiet, I'm trying to ask a question."
/Translation: this is embarrassing./
Wolfram blushed, then spat it out.
"Are any of them gay?"
Yuuri's jaw dropped. Wolfram had confirmed his suspicions; the prince wanted a homosexual personal guard. He smirked, and Wolfram became irate.
"What is it, wimp?"
"Hm, I didn't know that you would look for THAT in your guard, Wolfram."
"What are you talking about?"
Yuuri smirked. "Well, I don't know if any of them are gay, really, but if you're interested in your soldiers then why are we engaged?"
"I am NOT interested in my soldiers." Wolfram said evenly. He was clearly hurt. "Rather, I don't EVER want to have a gay man in my personal guard."
Yuuri was now surprised. "Why? I thought that that kind of stuff was okay over here."
Wolfram glared. He was putting himself because his usual angry curtain. "Don't group all of that together. It's my guard. I asked all of the men to bring their girlfriends or wives so that I could ensure that they meet three of my requirements."
"Yes. All of my personal guard members must be talented, brave, young, and…" He started to count off with his fingers, emphasizing the number three, "attractive, charming, and heterosexual."
Yuuri was incredibly confused. He'd never pegged Wolfram as a homophobe…he couldn't even see how it was possible.
"Now, I need to get back to the party." The blonde prince shot him another hurt look and turned on his heel.
Yuuri did what he usually did whenever he needed answers: he sought out Conrad. He found him in the library, researching some complicated topic. Yuuri wondered if Annissina was involved.
"Oh, that's easy," the second oldest brother told him, "but I don't know if Wolfram would want me to tell you."
Yuuri frowned. Conrad would usually answer all of his questions, nothing withheld. "Why not?"
Conrad looked up at Yuuri from the book he was reading. "It's a very personal matter. I assume that he wouldn't tell you himself, but, if you really want to know…"
He sighed. "A few years ago, a talented soldier named Balint made his way into Wolfram's personal guard. Wolfram didn't know it, but Balint harbored strong feelings for him. He later told me that Balint would sometimes talk to him at night, or would come to his tent when Wolfram traveled. Because Wolfram was unaware of Balint's attraction towards him, he was surprised when Balint confessed to him one night."
Yuuri was shocked. "Someone fell in love with WOLFRAM?"
"Yes, it's not SO unbelievable, wimp."
Yuuri froze as he turned and saw the prince standing a few feet behind him, looking like his usual pissy self. He glared at Conrad, who quickly left while shooting Yuuri a "do your best" smile.
"Well, Weller, are you going to finish the story? No, I should tell him, if anyone." Wolfram stalked up to Yuuri.
"That soldier thought that he was worthy of me. He thought that because he was talented, and handsome, that I must have harbored feelings for him as well." Wolfram stared Yuuri down. "But, I have ALWAYS waited for marriage. I have always wanted a family…a husband, children, and the like."
Wolfram paused and bit his lip. Yuuri saw truth in what Wolfram was saying…he never looked at anyone but Yuuri, he was proud of Greta, and he didn't want Yuuri to stray.
"I tried to explain to THAT MAN that I was waiting for marriage, and that I did not consider any of my soldiers as possible bed partners." He huffed. "Well, he just exploded. He accused me of looking at my soldiers, of sleeping with them, and he attacked me in anger."
"After that, we had him thrown out of the army," He added. "It's treason to attack a superior officer, much less a prince."
The Maou held his breath. "So that's why…you don't want any gay soldiers."
Wolfram nodded. "Not all men share my traditionalist views. I do not want to invite another man like that into my personal guard, to have him assume such things about me and ACCOST me."
Wolfram looked out the window for a moment, then fixed his gaze on Yuuri. "So, did any of the men look at you more than they should have, or touch you on the shoulder or anything like that?"
Yuuri blushed. "I don't know why you're asking me. I would have thought that they'd go after you." He was bitter because he had realized that Wolfram had used him as bait. Gay-bait.
Wolfram rolled his eyes. "Yuuri, you know that you're attractive. If any of those men had been gay, then they probably would have been all over you." He narrowed his eyes. "And similarly, did any of their women hit on you?"
Yuuri thought. "Well, Melinda…Issac's girl…she did, I think." He expected an explosion.
Yuuri thought again, a little nervous. "He kept looking at me."
Wolfram nodded. "Then it was probably a set-up. He's gay, and she's some girl. I'll keep him out, then." He looked thoughtful. "He was pretty good, too." Worry crossed Wolfram's pretty features.
"Well, whatever," Wolfram said as he left.
Yuuri sat down in a nearby chair and thought for a while. Today had held many surprises. Wolfram didn't want gay soldiers in his personal guard. Wolfram had been attacked by a member of his guard in the past.
Why didn't he tell me in the first place?
Wolfram entered his own bedroom later that night. He was worried about the information he'd shared with Yuuri. /He'll probably make fun of me for it, the wimp./ Wolfram thought. He changed into his pink nightgown and prepared himself for sneaking into Yuuri's room.
His secret: a hairpin. Wolfram had happened across one of the maids one day, as she tried to open a locked door using a hairpin. He'd actually been brooding over the problem of Yuuri's locked door the entire morning.
"What are you doing?" He'd asked in a very intimidating manner. Lazania had jumped and hit her head.
"Oh, prince Wolfram!" she said, bowing politely. "The key to this room was lost, but one of your mother's dresses—actually, about eighty of them—are in here." She blushed sheepishly. "I know this works with some locks, so…"
"Give me that."
She'd handed the hair pin to and intrigued Wolfram, who tried to unlock the door himself. He found that the hairpin was too wide, so he carefully cut it with his sword and tried again.
He opened the door after a few minutes to find that the room contained not only an obscene amount of fabric in the form of lady's dresses, but also a man's uniform hanging up, kept neatly.
Wolfram had stared at it for a few minutes. It was red, not green, tan, or blue like his and his brother's, and it was also adorned with a crest. Wolfram felt his heart sink when he realized the identity of its late owner.
"Oh, thank you, prince Wolfram!" Lazania said. "Um, your mother wanted, um…"
"Do you mind if I keep this?" He asked her suddenly, holding up the hair pin.
"No, not at all!"
He smiled a rare smile. "Just ask me if you need any more doors unlocked…it might take forever otherwise…"
So now, the prince crept to Yuuri's room, hair pin in hand. He unlocked the door silently, as he was so accustomed to doing, and shut it as he entered the room.
Yuuri was lying on his back as he always was when Wolfram entered. Ever since that first week, the Maou had always kept to the left side of the bed.
Maybe he's glad that I come to him.
Wolfram gently pulled up the covers and crawled in next to Yuuri. He let himself look at his fiance's handsome face for a few minutes before shifting into a lying position.
Yuuri stirred, and sat up. Wolfram did his best to feign sleep.
Nothing, nothing, I'm asleep, shut up, I'm asleep…
"I'm gonna go sleep with Milenda."
"YOU WHAT!" Wolfram shot up, glaring at Yuuri, ready to wrestle him down to the bed to keep him from leaving.
"I knew you were awake."
Wolfram realized that he'd been had. "Hpmh. I can't believe that you'd say anything so insensitive!"
Yuuri smiled at him gently, the smile that made him feel warm.
Even though he doesn't want me.
Even though he won't touch me or kiss me.
Well, you shouldn't have sex until marriage anyway.
"What are you smiling at, wimp? Are you in some kind of strange mood?"
Yuuri shook his head. "No stranger than you."
Wolfram knew that he was weak right then. Usually, when he came to bed, the Maou was asleep (thought not snoring) and he kept away from Yuuri by thinking of himself as Yuuri's protector. He was strong, and disciplined, so their nighttime proximity did not tempt him. He was above that, above taking free "shots" at Yuuri's body while he was asleep.
But now that they were awake…
"Well, I don't know what you're implying, but it seems insulting." Wolfram glared at Yuuri, glared to keep from smiling back or adoring his fiancé.
Yuuri's smile broadened, but he seemed nervous. "Since I was awake when you broke into my room, that means that I caught you and you have to leave for tonight."
Wolfram looked worried for a moment, and then…
"Ah ha! We never made that rule."
"But I' the Maou…."
"But you're a wimp!" Wolfram now grinned, while Yuuri rested his forehead in the palm of his hand.
"Fine…" Yuuri said softly. "Good night." He laid down again, and Wolfram had to resist the urge to cuddle up with him.
If I do that, then I'm no better than Balint. My love for him is too strong for that; I can wait to touch him until after we're married.
Wolfram laid down on his side, facing away from Yuuri.
I love him, and I love our daughter.
He heard Yuuri's breathing become slow and heavy.
I'll listen to him fall asleep tonight.
Although he had never directly told Yuuri that he loved him, he could feel that love burning a hole in his chest every day. The only thing that kept him from telling Yuuri was the reaction he knew he would get.
Wolfram sighed, and it was the last sound Yuuri heard that night.
/Translation: love me./