Kyou kara Maou : The Bedding of Wolfram
Summary: It takes a tragedy to crystallize Yuuri's feelings for Wolfram, but it may be too little too late. Can his family and Yuuri save a broken Wolfram?
Disclaimer: standard – Kyou kara Maou is not mine.
Warnings: not a very cheerful story, of course. Rated M for explicit gore and sexual details, but the aim is not particularly pornographic, just mature. I don't think there are any spoilers. Details that seem like spoilers are probably ones I made up.
Update: just cleaning up.
Note that the homepage link on my author profile goes to the illustrations page for my KKM fanfics. The main OC's all have portraits, and the stories (including this one) have illustrations. There are also summaries and character bios.
Chapter 1 : Yuuri Alone
"Ah!!!" Yuuri stretched happily in the courtyard with Conrad after their morning run. "Such a beautiful morning! I feel so refreshed! I slept so well with the bed to myself!"
Conrad gave him his usual quiet smile, and continued tossing a baseball into his own mitt, waiting patiently for Yuuri to finish his stretches. "I imagine Wolfram is complaining he misses you."
"Hm," Yuuri agreed vaguely, and politely refrained from adding, Well I don't miss him. Wolfram had left yesterday for a week with his hand-picked von Bielenfeld-liveried majutsu-specialist troop, patrolling the borders. Normally, this was his troop's duty, to patrol one week in four, though he often punted when Yuuri was in town. But lately, Yuuri had been in Blood Pledge Castle for three weeks straight, and still no disasters loomed, so Wolfram had resumed his usual routine. In truth, Yuuri was looking forward to a week without a fiancé, and had vague ideas about meeting girls during the break. Though he wouldn't care for Wolfram to hear that.
A blue-liveried blond horseman clattered in in a lather, and ran up into the gallery, the horse left heaving by the stairs. Conrad's eyes narrowed at this, but he simply said, "Ready to play catch, Yuuri?"
"Yes! Wonderful!" They tossed the ball a few times companionably. Yuuri asked, "Say, Conrad, what is it that Wolfram does on patrol, anyway?"
Conrad arched a brow in surprise. "Didn't Wolfram tell you?"
"Ah," Yuuri rubbed his head sheepishly, "I'd already had a couple hours' history lessons with Günter that day, so…" So I wasn't listening, so he got mad and called me a wimp, and an idiot, and a pathetic excuse for a ruler who couldn't be bothered to know what his own troops risked their lives for…. Actually, in retrospect, Yuuri smarted a little from the accusation. Realizing Wolfram was right was what prompted him to ask Conrad.
"Well –" Conrad began, but stopped when he spotted Gwendal beckoning to him from the gallery. He threw one last toss. "If you'll excuse me, Yuuri," he said with a slight bow. The two men marched briskly back into the gallery.
Since Gwendal clearly wasn't interested in talking to Yuuri, he assumed this was yet another military matter considered out of his league, and wandered off seeking Greta to play catch with.
After an hour playing together in the quiet courtyard garden, Greta asked, "Um, Yuuri? I have to do my lessons. I promised Chichiue Wolfram I'd do them every day, and I'd write him a letter every day, too. Don't you have work to do?"
"Ah," Yuuri rubbed his head sheepishly yet again. Now even my daughter's twitting me for acting like a child… "Usually Conrad or Günter tells me when it's time to start work, so…" So I'm hiding in the courtyard garden and they haven't caught me yet…. "You're right, Greta, I should go to my office. But if you want help with any of your lessons, you'll let me know, right?"
Greta eyed him skeptically. "I usually review them with Wolfram or Günter.… Well, will you have lunch with me, anyway? And…Yuuri? Will you read to me tonight before bed? I missed Wolfram reading to me last night."
"Ah," Yuuri blushed with a sinking feeling. "You probably read Shin Makoku writing better than I do! Um, tell you what, though. I can tell you stories from my world! And, maybe you can read to me a little?"
Greta looked a bit disappointed in him, which hurt, but she smiled anyway. "Sure, that sounds good. Well, see you at lunch!" And she ran off to do her lessons, without ever being told to. Well, that wasn't quite true – Wolfram had told her to. He kindly but firmly trained her to do all her appointed duties at the appointed time, without excuses. How does that guy manage to twit me when he's not even here? Yuuri thought ungratefully.
Finding a stack of papers to sign in his office, but no Conrad or Günter, Yuuri wandered over to Gwendal's office, to find him in the foulest mood he'd ever seen.
"I'm busy, heika. I'm sure you have paperwork to attend to. Please attend to it," Gwendal barked, not even looking at Yuuri.
"Ah, I was just going to ask where Conrad and Günter are…?"
Gwendal paused a moment, eyes closed and grimacing. Then he looked back to his papers and dismissed Yuuri angrily. "Not. Here. Obviously. Now you'll excuse me!" As he showed himself out, Yuuri noted guiltily that Gwendal's stacks of papers were bigger than his own by a factor of about five to one.
At lunch, he found only Greta waiting for him, sadly pushing bits of soggy orange lettuce and purple fruit around her plate. Blech, I hate that salad, Yuuri thought, but resolved to set a good example in front of our daughter, feeling yet again as though Wolfram was breathing down his neck.
So he smiled brightly and sat down as though looking forward to his lunch, "Ah, Greta! You inspired me this morning, you know. After I finished signing my paperwork, I practiced my reading until lunch."
Greta looked up puzzled. "Don't you read the papers before you sign them?"
"Ah… Sanguria! That looks lovely!" he said, as Sanguria brought in his serving. Truthfully enough – the salad was very colorful, much as he'd prefer rice and soup over leaf and fruit salad for lunch. As Sanguria spread out his lunch, he added, "Conrad and Günter never did show up. I wonder if they'll join us for lunch?"
Greta answered, "But they're not here. They went to rescue Wolfram."
Yuuri's body didn't seem to know how to react. He stopped breathing, started again, tensed to rise to demand answers from Gwendal, released in realization he couldn't do that in front of Greta. "Ah…Sanguria?"
"There was a rider this morning," Sanguria said with a quick covered glance at Greta. "I'm sure von Bielenfeld-kyo will be fine. Weller-kyo took von Krist-kyo and Giesela and Yozak and Dorcas and four full troops. If you'll excuse me, heika, please enjoy your lunch."
"That's a lot of troops," said Greta, echoing Yuuri's own hammering unvoiced thoughts. "They must be worried." She looked up at him with huge scared eyes.
Yuuri gulped. No doubt Wolfram would derail this with some calmly assured and clever comment about dragons, but Yuuri couldn't think of one. "Ah, I'm sure there's no need to worry. I've been in, uh, tough spots with those guys plenty of times. There's nothing they can't handle." Though…often it was me, or at least the Maou, who got them out of those tough spots alive. WHY THE HELL AREN'T I WITH THEM? "Ah, so, was there anything in your lessons you needed help with?"
"Not really," said Greta. "May I be excused, Yuuri? I want to write my letter to Wolfram now."
"Don't you even want dessert?"
"I'm not very hungry." She sadly started padding away, then ran back and flung her arms around Yuuri and kissed his cheek. "In case you go, too," she whispered in his ear. Then she ran from the room.
Though his stomach had been rumbling before lunch from the early start with Conrad, eating was the last thing Yuuri wanted to do now. But mouth tasting of ashes, he gulped down some bread and tea and a little bit of everything in the salad, giving Greta time to clear the halls before he rushed out to accost Gwendal. The least he could do was avoid worrying Greta even more. And there's a whole lot more I can do than that!
Marching down the hall to Gwendal's office, he threw the doors open wide, determined to join the rescue party. He found Gwendal still at his desk, writing furiously, easily ignoring the pint-sized theatrics at the door.
"Ahem," Yuuri cleared his throat assertively to get his advisor's attention.
With a sinking feeling, Yuuri was gradually recalling that there were several of his royal court who obeyed him and upheld his authority. None of whom were Gwendal. Indeed, all of whom were gone.
"Ah… I had to hear from Greta and Sanguria that a rescue party has been sent out for Wolfram. What is going on? And why was I not consulted? I would have gone with them!" Yuuri feared his voice squeaked a little on that last. This pretending to be assertive with Gwendal…wasn't really working for him.
"It's under control." Gwendal stated. His furrowed brow and jaw were rigid, and a muscle twitched at his temple. Gwendal himself did not appear in very good control. His hooded eyes fixed several feet to the right of Yuuri's elbow.
"Tell me!" said Yuuri. Still too squeaky… he thought with a sinking feeling.
"Heika," Gwendal barely assented, teeth still clenched, "von Bielenfeld's troop was overcome in camp last night. The watchmen and half the troop were slain, most injured. Von Bielenfeld himself and two of his men were taken. One man from the troop rode in this morning and reported. He led the rescue forces back to the scene."
Yuuri waited a beat, but no more was forthcoming. "Taken. Taken…by whom? For what? Are they hostages? What are the demands?"
Gwendal paused so long that Yuuri was afraid he wouldn't answer. "The attackers were houjutsu users. There are never demands from the raiders on the Mizrat frontier. They raid because they hate Mazoku." He paused again, his furious gaze shifting to 6 feet to the right of Yuuri's head. "Wolfram was the commanding officer. So they took him."
"They – " breathed Yuuri. "I ride out after them immediately!"
"No," said Gwendal flatly. "You will stay here."
"I demand to – " attempted Yuuri, but Gwendal rose to meet a Kohi clattering on the landing bearing a message. Gwendal visibly slumped as he read the note.
"What does it –" attempted Yuuri.
"I don't have time for your posturing, heika!" shouted Gwendal. "Begone!" And Gwendal pushed Yuuri out of his way to exit the office at fastest march.
By dinner, Gwendal and Cheri were also gone, with no further explanation. Yuuri didn't dare ask Greta if she knew anything about the raiders on the Mizrat frontier. He managed to take Sanguria aside for a quiet word, but she averted her eyes and whispered, "I don't want to say. Please go back to Greta, heika," and she fled the room.
Instead of a story, Greta chose to read him her letter to Wolfram for the day. It ended with,
Everybody here is worried about you. But please don't worry about me. Yuuri is taking good care of me and the castle with everybody away. You'd be proud of him. I hope you come home safe soon. I miss you, Chichiue. Love, Greta.
"That's a beautiful letter, Greta," Yuuri said. "And you have such nice penmanship, much better than mine." He winced as he realized he was parroting something he'd heard Wolfram tell her. When did parenting become parroting Wolfram? "Well, how about a story from my world next!"
"This is our world," Greta grumbled, then looked very guilty and apologetic. "I'm sorry, Yuuri. I…think I want to go to bed. Good night."
Abandoned, Yuuri wandered up to his room. He could probably press people for more information, but he decided to leave off with that until morning. He had to ask the guards for a match to light the room lamps. Wolfram did that with an artful flick of the wrist. The bed wasn't turned down, or his pajamas laid out, nor were glasses of water set on the nightstands. Wolfram did that, too. And I called him a fussy old woman once in thanks for it.
Yuuri sat in a window embrasure and pressed his forehead against the dark glass. I was just teasing. He knew I was just teasing. He teases me all the time, too. That much is OK…
But a whole lot wasn't OK. I wasn't just teasing when I crowed to Conrad this morning about having the bed to myself. I resented Wolfram for being the responsible wet blanket parent to Greta. I didn't even listen when he tried to tell me what he was riding into on the Mizrat frontier. Serves me right no one will tell me now….
The truth is, Wolfram, I haven't gone 10 minutes without thinking about you since you left. What you'd say, what you'd do, what you'd think. How you'd react, how you look… What I'd want to tell you. I keep turning to tell you something, and it's jarring to remember you're not there to talk to. This whole world…I've never faced it without you or Conrad or Gwendal by my side. But they're…well, you're a grown man too. Even so, emotionally you're younger, like me.
You're my best friend.
Yuuri chuckled darkly. Everybody here is worried about you. Greta's a real trooper, and her gallant soldier Chichiue Wolfram would be proud of her. Yuuri's doing a lousy job at pretty much everything. But I'll try harder. Don't worry about me. Just…come home safe soon. Love… love? Like I'd know anything about that. I've never even kissed anybody. But… I miss you, friend. Yuuri.
Please review… Pretty please?