From a Time Gone By

I. Just you and me
On this island of hope
A breath between us could be miles

'I love You', Sarah McLachlan

When his mother and Wolfram's grandfather finish their dance and his mother cheerfully insist that Adalbert just must have a dance with her, Conrad wonders how is it possible for a woman with a cleavage that goes so deep to be so subtle, even with the all too cheerful smile she gives him over Adalbert's smile.

Then again, he's wonders the same about Yozak half of the time, so he answers the smile with a nod, leaves his drink and goes towards were Julia is sitting down, eyes closed and a peaceful smile as the violins start again and he bows, both out of costume and out of respect.

"May I have this dance, lady Julia?"

Her head turns up towards him, smile warming up.

"Not if you insist calling me 'lady', Conrad." She answered easily enough, but she was taking his hand and standing up despite her words. "I must warn you, though." Julia says in a soft, secretive voice as they move towards the dance floor. "I'm a terrible dancer."

After their dance, in which they managed to bump against everyone at least once (twice against Gwendal and Anissina), while he's watching Julia dance gracefully with Adalbert, Conrad wonders if it there was any kind of secret meaning behind her words.

II. How clearly I first saw you smilin' in the sun
Wanna feel your warmth upon me.
I Will Remember You, Sarah McLachlan

It feels like cheating, when he finds out that Julia died. Part of it is because it's several days, almost two weeks after her body has been buried that he finds out the fact, out of Wolfram's mouth, for Shinou's sake, the one time his little brother went to visit when he was awake (probably a mistake on his schedule).

The conscious part of his brain tells him that they didn't lie to him: he had been delirious with fever, barely alive while his body kept fighting the war to survive. His family had feared that, if he learned of Julia's demise, it would have been fatal. They were just concerned.

It doesn't stop the irrational part of his brain to just be mad. He was denied the chance of saying goodbye, of anything. He's mad at his mother for accepting her request to join the medical team and at Adalbert for letting her, never mind that he knew that nothing would've stopped Julia when she made up her mind, due to her natural stubbornness. He's mad at Brischella for caring so much about something as stupid as getting acknowledgement from killing that he didn't care about protecting her enough. Mad at himself for not being there to protect her as he should have.

So he stays in silence for days, these two parts of his brain fighting for control, not even turning to look when Wolfram comes every two hours to check up on him, staying silent by the door.

He wonders if, by accepting her necklace, he stole Julia's luck.

III. Heaven bend to take my hand
And lead me through the fire
Be the long awaited answer
To a long and painful fight.

'Fallen', Sarah McLachlan

Yuuri is cheerfully waving towards where Wolfram is dancing with Greta, the girl propped up her adoptive father's shoes as they twirl around, giggling and beaming in her first formal dress. It's probably better for Greta that she is, too: Wolfram is quite possibly the worst dancer Conrad has ever seen, never mind his quite illustrious linage or the fact that he, alone, has had more dancing teachers than he and Gwendal combined. Their mother even tried to teach them with their help, and had had to give up after several weeks of practice, ten pairs of ruined heels and Gwendal developing three new wrinkles in that time alone.

Thankfully enough, it had also been during the time when Wolfram had tried his best to pretend he didn't exist, so his feet never witnessed that fact, thank you very much. He has gotten better, Conrad admits, even though he still has to pity whoever is going to dance with the blond Mazoku next.

So Conrad walks up towards Yuuri, who could probably compete with Wolfram for the 'Worst Dancer In the History of Shin Makoku' award if he most be honest, even though Lady Jen insists that she has tried to teach him how to dance since he was four.

"Your Majesty, do you care for a dance?"

Yuuri rolls his eyes at him, even though he's still smiling. "Y'know? I don't think you should be calling 'Majesty' someone when you're asking him to dance." He says easily enough, but taking his offered hand. "And even though you know it, I warn you again, just in case you've forgotten 'bout it… I Suck. With capital 'S'."

Conrad can almost hear a delicate, soft giggle at that and he smiles back, both at the memory and to the teenager who seems to be mourning for the way his feet are going to end. "I'll manage."