Can't Take 'No' For An Answer.

Sometimes, Stoffel had to stop and wonder if things were even worth it. After Lady Krehnikov's last invention had exploded into a big ball of fire and he had failed again to impress His Majesty and his nephews Wolfram and Conrad had once again saved the day, he let himself feel down.

At times, he even wondered if there was anything left for him, other than his name. And, these days, that really wasn't enough. He also mourned the fact that it was a painfully bright day.

"Big brother!" Stoffel turned from the window, surprised to find Celi walking towards him with a smile that, somehow, seemed to show lots of very white, sharp teeth. Raven was behind the blonde, with a face that clearly said "I-tried-to-stop-her-but-you-know-your-sister" without so many words.

"Celi? What are you doing here?"

"I came to visit of course!" His sister said, wrapping her arms around him. It was right then and there that Stoffel regretted that he hadn't finished his will. Arms still wrapped around his neck, Celi turned towards Raven. "It's okay, Raven! I just want to have a few words with my brother, mmm?"

"I…" His right hand looked from his to Celi's face, clearly wondering what he ought to do. Stoffel decided to help the poor man (and try to avoid broken bones as best as possible) and confront his sister as a man would.

"It's okay, Raven, you can go." Relief shown on his face at not having to fight himself against two different orders, Raven bowed before walking out of the door, closing it behind him. Once the door clicked, Celi let go of his neck, hands over her hips. Stoffel tried not to cower against her stare, instead turning towards his now-probably-cold tea, picking up his cup. "You wanted to talk, Celi?"

"Big brother." Celi started with that tone that had been the undone of his father and many, many young Mazoku men (and a few humans too). "Just when are you going to tell Raven what you feel for him?"

Next thing he knew, Celi was pounding his back, trying to help him get the tea out of his lungs. Red faced and still chocking a bit, Stoffel managed to croak a 'what!'

Celi giggled after that, handing him a napkin, moving to sit over a chair, crossing her legs. Whatever she had been angry about before seemed to have moved to clear amusement… at his expenses. That wasn't a situation Stoffel wasn't used to: it all came to being her older brother and being found out more often than not in embarrassing situations… and having a little sister who had erased the word 'shame' from her vocabulary.

"Brother; when are you going to propose to Raven? You're over three hundred years! It's about time you start a family, and you love him so much! I could help with the wedding! Aaaaand, that'd help me practice for the next wedding!"

Painfully aware of the blush that wanted to appear over his face, Stoffel tried to fought it with a glare towards his sister.

"I've no idea what you're talking about, Celi. If that's all…"

"You've been in love with him since we were kids, brother." Celi interrupted him, her voice soft and caring, the previous amusement gone for the moment. Celi sighed, standing up and going towards him, helping him fix his cape. "Don't you think it's about time you finally said something? Raven also loves you, brother."

At the mention of his right hand and best friend, Stoffel sighed a bit, shaking his head, looking towards his sister Celi.

"And you love him. And he loves you." Stoffel said calmly. He had had so many years knowing that fact that, saying it out loud, didn't felt weird. He always knew that, if Celi hadn't been engaged to Lord von Voltaire when she had been named Maou, Raven would've proposed. Instead, the man had stayed with him, no matter the disgrace he had ended up in.

"Ah, but I'm no longer in love with him." Celi said softly, a hand cupping his face. "And I'm sure that you'd be surprised if you just asked him."

Standing up on her tiptoes, Celi kissed both his cheeks, interrupting his words. She then winked at him, a giggle breaking free from her lips. "Do it today. Aaaaand, I want details, big brother!"

Completely dumbfounded, Stoffel could only nod at Celi's words, watching her almost dance her way towards the door, startling a Raven that had been waiting outside, even more when she winked at giggled at him.

"Is everything alright, Excellency?" Raven asked, eyes quickly scanning to see if there was any obvious injury. Watching his dark haired advisor, Stoffel just wondered if his sister might be right after all.

"Everything's alright, Raven. Thank you." He smiled towards Raven, content when the man smiled back. Suddenly the sunny day wasn't so terrible. He was almost calm again when Raven excused himself when he heard the squeak of the doorknob… and no door opening.


"Excellency," Raven said, a bit of panic over his voice. "We seem to be… locked in, Excellency."

Stoffel moaned, head hitting the glass. He could practically hear Celi giggling all her way down over the yard, where she cheerfully waved towards him. She never did learn how to take 'no' for an answer.