Title: A Dance in Slow Motion
Fandom: Kyou Kara Maou
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Conrad/Yuuri, Murata, Günther, the boys on the baseball team (who I made up names for), the maids, brief mention of Wolfram.
Dedication: Peroxidepest17 Happy Birthday! I admit this wasn't what I had originally intended to be your birthday fic (although everyone certainly does deserve porn on their birthday), but I wanted to write you ConYuu puppy love except my idea would've been way too long and taken more time to write than I had. (Not that this didn't turn out really fucking long, too.) Anyway... enjoy!
Prompt: Friend: "So have you read any good ConYuu NC-17 fanfiction?" Piru: "I really don't read much fanfiction, and the idea of ConYuu porn especially just weirds me out. I just think a lot would have to happen to make it realistic. They're so PURE, and Yuuri's so naïve! I mean, don't you think that Yuuri would be almost completely naïve about sex? And somehow Hamano Jennifer doesn't strike me as a great teacher of sex ed. So, yeah. I do hope someone can pull it off realistically someday." Friend: "...COUGH" Piru: "...I HATE YOU."
Description: The road to intimacy is not a journey of love nearly as much as it is one of trust.
Rating: P for p-p-PORNY. Which means NC-17, yes.
Word Count: 6,235. My wordiness is like a disease, SRSLY.
Status: Complete. I didn't really go back to edit this one, though. I had a hard time coming to terms with the fact that I wrote smut and was too embarrassed to go back and read what I actually wrote.
Other Notes: PRACTICE SAFE SEX. USE A CONDOM. I know they didn't here because the technology didn't seem advanced enough for contraceptives, BUT. Be safe, kids. Anyway, my reasoning here probably makes a little more sense in the context of my other two fics, but they're not necessary reads in order to understand this one. This isn't necessarily PWP (I really tried to put it in a realistic context) but I realize that, given my usual penchant for poetic prose, this doesn't contain much literary value and I'm sorry. It's hard to be poetic when you're writing porny things.
Again: THIS FIC CONTAINS EXPLICIT MALE-ON-MALE SEX. If you are in any way homophobic, you should not read this. Also, THIS IS A CONYUU FIC. If you do not support this pairing or are not at least open-minded toward it, you should not read this. Don't say I didn't warn you! Flames concerning either of these two things will not be tolerated.

Yuuri can't remember whose idea the team bonding events were, his or Murata's.

It was Murata who had first brought up the fact that the team lacked a sense of unity and camaraderie; he can remember that much. Although they'd won several games, the team manager had quickly noted why overall they didn't seem to be improving.

So, every Friday afternoon, they had instituted mandatory team-building exercises and events. They had volunteered at an animal shelter, hung out at arcades, gone bowling, and did several other activities that were not too unusual for teenage boys to do.

On one particular Friday, however, the boys find themselves having to change their plans. They had originally talked about going to the park to play a casual soccer game, but heavy rain clouds now dot the sky, and they quickly agree that they had better find something else to do.

"Let's just go to karaoke again," Kensuke, third baseman, whines.

"But we went last week!" Fujio, shortstop, argues. "No, I say we go to the mall to meet some girls."

The team erupts into laughter then, and several of the older, more shameless boys immediately begin enumerating the kinds of features they like to see in girls.

"What about you, Shibuya-kun?" Kanetada, first baseman and the rowdiest of the bunch, finally slaps him on the back. "What's your type?"

Yuuri starts coughing frantically, and when Murata notices that his friend is not going to be able to respond, he quickly comes to the rescue. "Actually, Shibuya is already in a relationship—"

"Eeeeeeeeeeeeeh?" The announcement is met by sounds of surprise and disbelief. "But, Shibuya-kun! You're dating a girl? How come you never told us?"

"Actually—" Yuuri flounders again, too flustered to admit that he's actually dating an older man.

Murata shoots him a look, then. They've had this conversation once before. Murata had advised him that, for the sake of the team, he should never admit to being gay when on Earth with anyone but his family. Yuuri's confused about the term "gay". He isn't entirely sure what it means, much less whether it applies to him. He just knows he likes Conrad, a lot. That's all.

In the end, however, he's more than willing to defer to Murata. The Daikenja is probably more knowledgeable about these kinds of things, anyway.

"It's true," Yuuri admits, blushing furiously.

"What's she like? Is she very pretty?"

Yuuri blushes even brighter, but nods, thinking that he's always found Conrad very handsome.

The boys then turn to Murata. "Is it true? Is she really hot?"

"Well..." Murata finds himself slightly flustered, then, too. "...not really my type. Yuuri has a thing for older—" Pause. "—women. But there are many who would consider her very attractive."

"Wow..." The boys' eyes are wide as they regard their catcher with newfound admiration.

"An older woman, huh..." Natsutarou, right field, breaks the stunned silence. "Does that mean... Have you done 'it' with her yet?"

Yuuri almost has a meltdown. 'It'... sex? With Conrad? He wishes fervently for someone to save him by changing the topic, but all of the boys are staring at him now with the same question in their eyes. Even Murata isn't sure how to get him out of this one.

"Well? Shibuya-kun?"

Yuuri finally timidly shakes his head 'no', but Murata can discern the flashes of panic in his eyes.

The boys' interest in the topic dissipates then, and the team winds up going to karaoke and having a jolly time. Still, Yuuri is absent-minded and fidgety, and when it comes time for the boys to part ways, Murata offers to walk Yuuri home, even though it's slightly out-of-the-way for him.

They walk most of the way in silence until Yuuri finally finds the courage to speak up. "Murata... can I ask you a question?"

"Of course!" Murata's answer to Yuuri's obvious distress is to try to sound as optimistic as ever.

"Is it..." Yuuri pauses, gulps, then tries again. "Is doing 'it'... really that important in a relationship?"

Murata sighs and reverts to his serious side. "Don't you think that's really something you should talk to Conrad about?"

"How can I ask him that?" Yuuri looks frantic, and there are beads of sweat on his forehead. "Besides, what if he's already having his doubts—about us—our relationship—because... because I won't do 'it' with him? Wouldn't bringing it up—"

"Shibuya." Murata stops walking and Yuuri is forced to follow suit. "I don't know Weller-kyou all that well, but I do know enough of him that I can say that if you truly believe that he could think that way, then I don't think you know your own boyfriend very well."

Yuuri looks down at the ground.

"Shibuya," Murata repeats while he pats his friend on the shoulder. "Just talk to him about it. One of the key elements of a good relationship is open conversation. Just try it."

Yuuri sighs, looks up, and manages a small smile. "Thanks, Murata. I can take it from here."

He walks the rest of the way home by himself, but he still doesn't feel very confident.

Upon Yuuri's subsequent return to Shin Makoku, quite a bit of time had passed in the other world, which does not serve to make him feel any better about the situation because it means that from Conrad's perspective, they have been apart for quite a while.

Therefore, when Conrad finally manages to convince Günther to let them have some time alone together, he finds Yuuri more fidgety and nervous than ever. At first Conrad disregards the boy's jittery state, figuring that it can hardly be anything serious and that bringing it up will probably only embarrass Yuuri. However, as time passes, which the couple spends sitting and talking about what has transpired during the Maou's absence, it becomes increasingly clear that something is indeed the matter. Finally, Conrad reaches for Yuuri's hand as though to comfort him, and Yuuri flinches. Conrad can't help frowning, then.

"Yuuri, you've been acting odd all afternoon." Conrad's concerned look only serves to make Yuuri feel even more guilty. "Is something the matter?"

Yuuri begins to pace about the room nervously, stumbling over his words as he tries to find a way to phrase what he's feeling that won't sound horribly embarrassing and yet will be clear and understandable at the same time. Conrad's heart aches to see the boy in such obvious distress, and so he gets up as well, walking over to Yuuri and gently stroking the other's hair. Yuuri responds by balling his hands in Conrad's shirt and burrowing his face in the other's chest.

When Yuuri finally speaks, he does not look up; avoiding Conrad's gaze is the only way he can muster the confidence to even have this conversation. "Conrad... are you... are you upset with me because... because we haven't done 'it' yet?"

"'It'?" Conrad looks puzzled, and it takes him a second to figure out what exactly Yuuri means. "You mean... having sex?"

Yuuri's only response is to nod his head while still hiding his face in the folds of Conrad's shirt.

Conrad's heart overflows with a mixture of love, sympathy, and admiration. He isn't sure what prompted this, but the issue certainly would've come up sooner or later, and he can hardly imagine what anguish Yuuri must've suffered through to find the courage to be the one to bring it up. He lightly kisses the top of Yuuri's head, one hand sliding down to rub his back while the other hooks under his chin and lifts the boy's face. Yuuri's blushing and refuses to meet his eyes.

"Yuuri," Conrad whispers, not quite commanding, but still slightly urgently. "Yuuri, look at me."

Finally, Yuuri's gaze shifts to meet Conrad's, and the tenderness he finds reflected there takes him by surprise.

"Yuuri." Conrad takes the boy's hands in his and then drops to his knees so that Yuuri's looking down at him rather than the other way around. "Of course I'm not upset with you. That, the sex—it's never been important to me. The only thing—"

"—you mean you don't want to do 'it' with me?" Yuuri's face is bright red, and he's starting to look away again.

"I never said that." Conrad's voice is calm and steady as he reaches out one hand to stroke the side of Yuuri's face. "What I'm saying is, I don't think that having sex is the only way to prove that you truly love someone. Especially if you're not sure if you're ready. I mean, if I knew that you—"

"—I want to," Yuuri blurts out, eyes closed, and gulps before continuing, "do 'it'. With you."

"But you're not ready." It's more a statement than a question, and Conrad follows it up by softly kissing Yuuri's hand which he's still clasping. "It's okay. We'll take it slow. The way we've always done it."

Conrad's gentle smile causes a flurry of butterflies in Yuuri's stomach, and he finally allows his boyfriend to kiss him on the lips. But his shoulders are still tense and his legs shaky, all indications of how unsure he still feels about the entire situation.

They don't do it every night. In fact, it only happens maybe once or twice a week at most. Conrad never pushes for more, always waiting for Yuuri's signals. They have a special look between them that indicates to Conrad that tonight's the night. Conrad simply nods to verify that he got the message, and then he will show up at Yuuri's bedroom door later that night, when the rest of the castle is slumbering peacefully.

The guards will let him in without saying a word. After all, now that the engagement's off, the Maou is free to court (and bed) whomever he wishes. Still, for a long time, it bothers Yuuri what the guards might be whispering to each other about this late-night traffic at his door, especially when they are still in the early stages and haven't actually progressed very far in terms of physical intimacy.

Conrad always tells him not to be bothered by it, and to let rumors be rumors.

Conrad. The good soldier will come in and shut the door carefully but silently, as though sensing that Yuuri's nerves are always on-end during these encounters. However, his next move is always to take off the military jacket he always dons—it does seem inappropriate on these occasions—and the first time he had done so, Yuuri had panicked and started babbling incoherently and shaking so convulsively that Conrad wound up wrapping the boy in his arms and just hugging him until he'd calmed down.

They hadn't gone any farther that evening.

It is months since that first encounter, however, and Conrad has since worked hard to encourage Yuuri to grow more physically confident with him. He never pushes, and he never takes. He just smiles and gives and gives. And he always stops when Yuuri doesn't want to go any further.

Tonight, Yuuri doesn't feel the need to stop, but it's taken time to get to that point. They really have taken it slow. Baby steps.

They'd started off just lying in the bed and looking at each other. It's funny, really; Yuuri had gotten dressed and undressed in front of Conrad many times before, but somehow, this was different. For some reason, this other look in Conrad's eyes sent shivers down his spine the first time they lay down together, even though he was still fully clad. So they just lay there, Conrad occasionally reaching out to play with Yuuri's bangs, until Yuuri stopped shaking and felt ready for more.

Conrad will draw Yuuri in close, then, and they'll touch chastely, close their eyes, and just kiss. Yuuri never ceases to be amazed at how soft Conrad's lips are. It seems to contrast with the rest of him, much of which is hard and calloused thanks to the soldier's lifestyle. But his lips are so soft and warm—they feel like home, anyway. Like Yuuri's at home when he's kissing Conrad's lips.

Conrad never ceases to enjoy tracing the contours of Yuuri's face as they kiss—a light brush of fingertips, nothing more. Yuuri sometimes wonders if Conrad does it to constantly confirm and remind himself that this is really happening. However, when he asks about it, Conrad will simply smile and brush some of the locks of hair out of his eyes instead of responding.

Yuuri supposes that everyone has their quirks in these situations, like his own obsession with Conrad's lips.

Over time, their kisses grow more passionate; their hands begin to roam, and occasionally their mouths themselves stray from their standard locked position. Then come the little challenges of blindly fumbling with buttons and trying to take shirts off while breaking as little contact of skin as possible. Like all couples, they eventually discover the fastest and most effective methods, but as their relationship progresses, they also find themselves gradually growing more impatient, to the point where a single button that refuses to come undone as easily as possible seems detrimental to their skins' hunger for each other.

Yes, they grow hungry. Yuuri finds that he loves to touch Conrad's chest, feeling the curves of lean muscle and strong bones. His fingers love to linger around the point directly above Conrad's heart, tips drinking up, as it were, the heat and the strong pulse underneath. Conrad will keep one hand at the back of Yuuri's head, sifting his fingers through the mass of black hair, while the other strays across Yuuri's back, where the young Maou seems to be the most sensitive. If Conrad is in a playful mood, he might run a finger down Yuuri's spine, enthralled by the way the boy will lithely arch his back in response. This occasional teasing rarely progressed to the point of obscenity, however.

For weeks, they reach to around this point and then they stop. Or rather, they gradually slow down, both silently accepting that they have explored enough of each other's skin and mouths. Yuuri goes to sleep fairly swiftly in Conrad's arms, while Conrad lays awake a while longer, caressing his beloved to ease his passage into sleep—never stopping to give much heed to his own needs and desires, for that has never been his way.

Lately, however, they have both grown a little more bold and endeavoring. Conrad has allowed his mouth to roam and cover every inch of Yuuri's skin, and Yuuri has been feeling the sharp jolts in his nerves that lead to the heating up of a certain part of his body more and more intensely. The skin hunger seems to be increasing more and more drastically each time, to the point where Yuuri is loathe to even let a single part of his body go without touching some corresponding part of Conrad's lean form.

Tonight, for the second time in the entire span of their nighttime encounters, Yuuri whispers into Conrad's ear that it's all right for them to take it all off, and soon not a single thing separates their bare expanses of flesh from each other. Yuuri is surprised by the eagerness with which his cock springs to life the minute it is exposed to cool air and the heat emanating from Conrad's body. The entire area from his lower back over to his waist, down to his loins and spreading across his thighs, appears to be hyper-sensitive to any kind of touch, and Conrad's lightly teasing fingers are sending little shivers of pleasure up Yuuri's back. He and Conrad are still kissing like they're drinking from each other's souls.

The previous time had culminated rather quickly in Conrad stroking Yuuri to life and then jerking him off to a brief climax before Yuuri could get a word in edgewise. Fully spent, Yuuri had fallen asleep almost immediately, but not without a large measure of guilt that Conrad had pleasured him without him doing anything in return. The one-sidedness had bothered him greatly, and Conrad had woken up the next morning next to a fairly irritable Maou. They'd gone back a square or two, and it had taken some time to get back to this point.

To where they are now.

Yuuri is more prepared this time. This time, Conrad moves his head down in the direction of Yuuri's thighs, leaving behind a trail of butterfly kisses, then moving to kiss the most sensitive point of the boy's body. Yuuri gasps, and his eyes widen instinctively when Conrad proceeds to lick along the sides of the shaft and then take the entire thing into his mouth. It takes an effort not to jolt completely upright, beads of sweat dotting his forehead and all sorts of strange sounds crowding the back of his throat, wanting to worm their way out. Conrad continues to suck like his body's made of candy, and the shock factor is still so great that it takes a while for Yuuri to adjust to the strange new feelings and get his bearings, but when he does, he immediately croaks out, in what sounds like a strangled gasp, for Conrad to stop.

Conrad does stop, lifting himself back up above Yuuri with a worried look on his face which speaks volumes: Is it all right? Am I moving too fast? Do you not like it?

Yuuri shakes his head and smiles broadly, the lingering tingling sensation in his loins making him feel light-headed and vaguely euphoric. "No, I like it. I do. But. What about you? I... I want you to feel good too. Not like... not like this."

"I do—" Conrad interjects. "I mean, if you feel good, I feel good."

"No." Yuuri's shaking his head. "I don't want it like this. If we're going to do this, we need to do it together."

Conrad tries to judge the determination in Yuuri's eyes along with those in his words. Yuuri is actually surprised by his own temerity—just a few months ago, he'd probably have died of shame before alluding to such things—but then, he supposes, this is why they have taken so much time to adjust to each other's bodies and the natural instincts these contain. He's still a little apprehensive about what exactly 'it' entails—he's heard about the basic actions and processes involved, but that still doesn't clarify to him why people are so eagerly engage in this activity, and the big aura of mystery that looms over it all is slightly terrifying—but he finds his fears overridden by his overwhelming desire to be with Conrad in every sense of the word.

So Yuuri doesn't blink or avert his eyes from Conrad's questioning gaze, and Conrad seems to understand, then, although he still seems to find the need to ask, "Are you sure?"

Yuuri just smiles and kisses him briefly in response, and Conrad can't help smiling back.

Conrad moves to lean over the other side of the bed, and although the world feels empty and hollow now that his body is briefly devoid of contact with Conrad's skin, Yuuri takes the opportunity to settle back into the pillow, relax, and enjoy the sight of the play of muscles across Conrad's back in the dimly lit room. He's trying his best to calm down and mentally prepare himself for what's to come, although he's mentally avoiding the exact details. He tries to think of it as embarking upon a journey to discover one of life's big mysteries with the person he cares about the most right by his side. Thinking of it that way, his breathing slows, but he can't stop his heart from racing.

Conrad finishes fumbling with whatever's on the floor beside the bed and quickly returns to his original position by Yuuri's side, one hand moving to cup Yuuri's head as the other is deftly opening up some sort of little jar—Yuuri can't tell exactly what it is out of the corner of his eye, but he has a vague idea. His suspicion is confirmed when Conrad dips his fingers inside and they emerge covered in a viscous substance.

Conrad's lips graze Yuuri's, teasing, distracting his senses, but nothing can entirely distract him from the way the other hand is trailing downwards, brushing his lower back and continuing down, down. His shoulders tense instinctively when one finger rubs the slightly sticky liquid in circles around the rim of his ass, and he forces himself to relax. Still, he can't help squirming a little when the finger finally pushes inside—not so much due to discomfort as much as because the fluid is so cold and foreign.

They share another kiss, with tongue this time, Conrad caressing Yuuri's cheek with the thumb of his hand that's still cupping his head and neck. As the lubricant heats up, Yuuri adjusts to the sensation of being invaded, until Conrad adds another finger. Yuuri gasps out loud this time; it's still not really painful, but it is a bit uncomfortable—in a way almost unnatural.

When he looks up, Conrad is watching him, that worried look in his eyes again. "Is it okay? Does it hurt?"

"No." Yuuri's voice sounds oddly strained, and he tries to smile to make up for it. "It just feels... weird."

"Weird in... in a bad way?" The tenderness in his voice is almost unbearable.

Yuuri really does give it thought though, and finally answers, "No." It really doesn't feel bad—just weird.

As though to reassure his lover, he wraps his arms around Conrad's neck, bringing his face closer so that it's easier to kiss. He doesn't know how much time passes; periodically, Conrad adds a finger or pushes deeper, but he's created a mental block to prevent himself from counting, from keeping track. He's too busy smelling Conrad's hair and skin and kissing his mouth and face—familiar territory to distract him from the less familiar.

Without warning, Conrad removes his hand, and the sudden lack of the burning sensation of skin being stretched beyond its normal limits causes Yuuri to let out a soft yelp that he's not even conscious of. Somewhere in that timespan when he had forced himself to abandon his higher mental functions and just focus on savoring the taste of Conrad's lips and the scent of his face, his body had grown somewhat used to being penetrated, almost to the point where it didn't feel that unnatural anymore, and now that Conrad's fingers are gone, the emptiness feels almost just as foreign.

Yuuri is torn from his thoughts by the sensation of cool liquid on his right hand. Conrad's picked up the little jar again and is dipping Yuuri's fingers inside along with his own, carefully spreading the viscous fluid to cover Yuuri's palm, too. Their fingers entwine as Conrad guides Yuuri's hand down, down, until they touch steaming hot flesh, and Yuuri realizes that he's holding Conrad's cock, with Conrad's own hand covering his to prevent escape.

He's blushing a little as Conrad's moving his hand up and down the shaft, spreading the liquid from their fingers as well as giving Yuuri a better idea of the size. Big, but not impossibly big. Yuuri finds himself vaguely fascinated by how this part of Conrad's body seems to react to even the most minute touch, straining for the sensation of rubbing skin against skin. It's interesting, too, to observe the small changes in Conrad's face. Decades of command of an army unit and involvement in court politics have given the soldier an excellent poker face, superb self-control over his features. But Yuuri, who's made it a point to know every detail of Conrad's face now discerns little creases that weren't there before. Little droplets dot his forehead when otherwise it's nigh impossible for anything to make Conrad break a sweat.

But Conrad doesn't allow himself the liberty of losing control for more than a split second, and when his cock is properly lubricated, he quickly removes Yuuri's fingers—still entwined with his own—and leans forward for another kiss.

Yuuri carries through the motion so that Conrad slides on top of him, and he spreads his legs instinctively, sensing what's coming next. But Conrad's busy attacking his mouth, one hand curled in Yuuri's hair while the other arm cups his waist. Conrad's kissing like kisses alone can carry them to Heaven, and he's entirely lost in the sensation of lips and tongue and teeth and desire.

So lost that when Conrad finally pushes inside, it catches Yuuri entirely off-guard, and he can't help crying out.

There's true pain now, and unlike going to a doctor and getting a shot, it doesn't go away again immediately. Tears spring into the corners of his eyes involuntarily. He's trying to be brave and bear it but it's hard to do when it hurts so much.

"I'm sorry," Conrad whispers against his lips.

The pain in his voice mirrors what Yuuri's feeling, almost as though Conrad is living vicariously through him, like an empathetic connection—experiencing the same sensations when physically this isn't actually the case. He's kissing the half-formed teardrops beading along Yuuri's eyelids, in between whispering "I'm sorry" over and over again, like a mantra.

But Yuuri realizes that the distraction was for his benefit, and that there's no way of getting around the initial pain, and so when he finally regains control of his breathing long enough to talk, he chokes out, "No. Thank you."

He's smiling, and that's probably the only true way he can signal to Conrad that it's okay to keep going.

As Yuuri manages to get his breath back under his control and relaxes his back muscles one by one, slowly, steadily, Conrad begins to move. It's still quite painful, but Yuuri's trying hard not to let it show too much. The concern in Conrad's eyes is almost heart-breaking, and if Yuuri didn't know that it was out of love, he might've easily felt slightly insulted. He isn't made of porcelain, after all.

Yuuri's just discovered that moving with it rather than against it makes it less painful, and their motions are starting to speed up when, without any advance notice, Conrad suddenly hits that spot. The boy's eyes surge open as his back arches at an almost impossible angle.

"...Oh. Oh." It finally dawns on him why people get addicted to this. "Oooohh—"

Conrad smothers his moan with another kiss, his free hand moving to gently stroke Yuuri's cock, and soon the boy loses himself almost entirely in the strange but utterly wonderful sensations behind, in front, in his mouth—everything. It's too much, almost. Yuuri thinks that maybe this is what fireworks feel like the second before they explode in a myriad of colors. Every force at work in the universe seems to have come to a halt for an instant, except for this amazing building, burning, bubbling, bursting energy between them. Nothing makes sense anymore—red is blue is gray, rectangles and squares are circles, and everything is light and dark at the same time. Somewhere, he knows his body ends and Conrad's begins, but he can't tell, can't tell the difference anymore. The fire inside is consuming everything in its wake and he doesn't resist. How could he, when it feels so damn good?

Then everything explodes in a suffusion of light and indescribable sensation, and his mind can't even process what's happening, except that he's shaking, crying, laughing, babbling: "—love you. Conrad, I love you. I love you."

At first, Conrad's too occupied with trying to catch his own breath and to stop shaking to process Yuuri's words. However, as he dislodges their bodies, which for a while had truly seemed to be welded together, slowly but surely, their implication begins to dawn on him.

I love you.

The phrase has always been off limits, in a way. Conrad made sure of that. Yuuri had used it once before, when they had only begun their official courtship, and they had just shared one of their first true kisses. Though Conrad had initially been pleasantly surprised, as he gave the matter more thought, his mood had grown dark and moody, and the night had ended with him begging Yuuri upon his knees not to say those words again. He doesn't want the boy to say it unless he's truly, absolutely sure he means it.

When he's finally calmed his senses enough to be able to speak, he whispers, "Yuuri—"

But, still wrapped in his passionate embrace, the young Maou has already departed the world of the waking.

Conrad's inner clock has never failed to wake him up before the crack of dawn, and today is no exception. Yuuri's still fast asleep, of course, curled up in his arms in an almost childish fashion. But Conrad won't ever regard his lover as a child again.

Smiling to himself, he decides to stay in bed a while longer, a luxury he permits himself only in rare circumstances. He knows it's a terribly irresponsible thing to do—the commander should always awaken before his troops—but just this once he feels bound by a duty of another sort. It'd be inappropriate for Yuuri to wake up alone this morning.

Pressing a kiss to Yuuri's forehead, the fleeting realization crosses his mind that if he digs deep enough inside his own heart, he'll admit that he's doing it for himself as much as for the young Maou.

Certain things in life exist to be savored, after all.

Yuuri's surprised to find Conrad still asleep when he wakes up. His initial reaction consists of the thought that everything in the universe must've become displaced if Conrad failed to rise before the rest of the castle. However, his worry is quickly replaced when his focus shifts to the calm expression on his lover's face, and the soft, steady breathing. He realizes that he is perhaps the first person in decades who's been allowed to watch Conrad while he slumbers, and Yuuri decides to treasure this rare moment as though it were a gift.

With a peck on Conrad's cheek and then a grimace, Yuuri manages to slide out of the bed without making any noise, although it does take a measure of self-restraint when he lands on his feet and attempts to stand up straight. There are worse things in life, however, he reminds himself as he proceeds to pick up some of the discarded clothing—whatever comes within his grasp first is what he pulls on, his mind elsewhere entirely.

He then slips out of the room just as silently. His mind is still groggy and his body could certainly go for a relaxing morning in bed, but he needs to be alone and collect his thoughts for a while, to go outside and smell the fresh air and affirm that it all really happened.

It's an uncommonly cold morning, and he doesn't last too long in the castle garden before seeking refuge by the furnace in the adjacent kitchen. The smell of fresh bread in the oven elicits growls from his stomach, reminding him that it's been a while since he ate. He stumbles about the kitchen in an attempt to figure out what to do about breakfast, blissfully unaware of the amused manner with which the maids regard their king's unkempt appearance—his wild hair, his disorderly dress (where it is obvious that only about half of the articles of clothing are actually his and the other half look suspiciously like they were made for someone with the height of Sir Weller), and his odd gaze that sees without really seeing and suggests that the rest of the world has all but disappeared.

Finally, the girls can no longer contain their giggles and rush to escape the room. Yuuri doesn't even notice their departure.

The Maou is too busy gathering together ingredients for the perfect breakfast. He finds a basket of eggs that he proceeds to break open above what he assumes is the Mazoku version of a frying pan. He'd never graduated from his mother's cooking lessons beyond making scrambled eggs, but he's awful glad that he can put the skill to use now.

At one point, Günther enters the kitchen, having deduced from the maids' excited chatter that there's something the matter with the king today. At first, he doesn't really notice a change—true, Yuuri is cooking, but the Maou had never truly understood the hierarchy and the workings of castle life—but then he notices the change in Yuuri's face. Gripping his upper arms, he turns the boy around to face him properly, then lets out a dramatic sigh.

"Heika—you're glowing!" The sound of his voice could be equated with a wail.

Yuuri responds by smiling his brightest smile yet, and when Günther sees the sparkles in his eyes, he starts to cry and runs out of the room, babbling about how his "Heika is all grown up" and reminding himself to berate Conrad later because it's painfully obvious that the Maou is going to be tripping up staircases and running into storage rooms and talking to broomsticks the entire rest of the day.

Yuuri takes little notice. What concentration he can muster is focused on loading an extensive breakfast on a tray and taking it back upstairs with him as soon as the water's done boiling so that he can pour the tea.

Although the rest of the castle is bubbling with excitement, inside his head, there is only a surprising sense of calm. Shortly after waking, he had begun to realize that the step further that he and Conrad took last night actually does not represent as big of a change in their relationship as he'd imagined it would. True, he's even less afraid now that Conrad might one day leave him. But Conrad had told him, "Having sex is not the only way to prove that you truly love someone," and now he knows that his boyfriend was right. The words he'd called out during orgasm were nothing new—they were simply a realization and affirmation of a feeling that had already been present for a long, long time. Their long road to intimacy, then, had not been a journey of love nearly as much as it had been one of trust, in order to build something that will last through the ages.


Briefly, the thought occurs to him that perhaps, if they hadn't accidentally wound up engaged and if his fiancé had not forced his way into Yuuri's bed each night, perhaps things might have turned out differently between he and Wolfram. But certain things can no longer be changed, and as much as he wishes for Wolfram, as a friend, to be happy, right now, his heart is only really filled with one person.

Thus absorbed in thought, he finishes preparing the meal and then takes it back to the bedroom. Just as he places the tray on the nightstand, Conrad stirs, and Yuuri can't suppress a bashful smile as he slips back under the covers. Conrad's arm reaches out to draw him close automatically, his voice lazy and sleep-drugged as they exchange "good mornings".

"I, umm." Yuuri's blushing a little as he points to the tray. "I made you breakfast."

Sitting up to see what Yuuri's gesturing at, Conrad gives him a puzzled look; he doesn't remember being offered breakfast in bed since he was a small child. "...I'm not sick, though."

"I know. But." Yuuri laughs nervously to hide the sudden wave of embarrassment. "My parents used to fight sometimes, and when they made up, my mother would bring my father breakfast in bed to show that she loves him. And I know we didn't fight, but I still—"

Conrad silences him with a kiss. "About that, and about last night... Listen, I realize that sometimes, during orgasm, people will say things that they don't really mean—"

"Conrad." Yuuri's tone of voice resembles that of a plea. "I did mean it. Every word. I simply said something I've been wanting to say for a long time now, but I. I guess I just... never had the courage to."

There's a sharp intake of breath, almost like Conrad is afraid to admit to himself that this is really happening. At the same time, though, he knows full well that Yuuri is practically incapable of telling a lie, so refusing to believe the young man's words is really just another way of denying the truth to himself.

There are no words to appropriately respond to Yuuri's confession, but thankfully spoken words have never been an integral part of their relationship. He finally just draws Yuuri in close, touching their heads together for an instant before reaching out to grab the tray and set it in front of them.

"This is a lot of food," he whispers with a grin. "I hope you'll help me with it."

"Together," Yuuri grins back as he reaches for a slice of bread and tears it in two. "As always. Now and forever."

Conrad simply nods and takes the other half of the bread.