Title: Worth the Wait
Author: Stormy1x2 (LJ username: travelingstorm)
Word Count: Approximately 3655
Pairing: Yuuri + Wolfram
Warnings: Mild Murata, Greta spoilers for up to episode 63 or so. But nothing huge.
Notes: My first KKM fic. I am such a sucker for new fandoms – I can't seem to join one without contributing something. :) Ultra-special thank you's go out to shayheyred and starrychan for going over it with fine tooth combs. Any mistakes remaining are mine alone. Particularly formatting errors - for some reason, OpenOffice has begun to fight on me regarding double spacing. I doublechecked and it looks right in my browser, but if it looks off in someone else's, please let me know. :) I don't usually dedicate fics, but in this case, all credit and dedications go to sharona1x2, without whom I wouldn't even know this series existed. Thanks for being you, Sharon!
Summary: Murata has a heart-to-heart with Wolfram to explain a few things about Earth, particularly regarding just why Yuuri puts up such a fuss about their engagement.
If one wants to find Wolfram Von Bielefeld, all one has to do is find one Shibuya Yuuri, and vice versa. This was a tried and true logical strategy employed by nearly all the members of the inner court of Blood Pledge Castle, and it had a success rate of approximately 85.
Murata Ken pondered this fact while peeking through the door that led to Yuuri's unofficial office. The young ruler was rhythmically thumping his head against the hard wood of the desk, trying to drown out the monotonous drone of Gunter, who was attempting to force-feed him yet another volume of obscure Shin Makoku lore. There was no Wolfram in evidence however, so after a few more entertaining minutes of watching Yuuri attempt to induce a concussion, Murata chuckled and closed the door.
The 85 rule was obviously not in effect at the moment. Murata recalled the rest of the logic the Inner Court had begun to swear by: Should Wolfram or Yuuri be absent from one another for any reason, there is a 10 chance the missing individual can be found with Princess Greta.
Murata raised an eyebrow and turned around. Through the open design of the corridors, he could see directly out into the courtyard. The adopted daughter of the Mazoku leader was in plain sight, giggling happily as the small white pony upon which she rode obeyed her commands. But instead of Wolfram holding the reins, Murata could make out the tall form of Conrad, Greta's unofficial bodyguard and trainer when Yuuri was trapped by royal paperwork, and Wolfram was busy elsewhere.
If, after checking on Greta, one individual is still missing, one may assume that either Yuuri was sucked back to Earth via the closest water source, or Wolfram is in the garden (or on patrol).
Murata had already checked with Gwendal regarding scheduling, so it was probably a good idea to try the last of the Inner Court Logic and head for the royal gardens.
The ICL was apparently still working at 100 overall accuracy. Murata could see Wolfram on the grass next to a bed of wildflowers mixed with Cheri's special hybrids. His sword flashed in the afternoon sun as he cut away at invisible opponents, twisting to strike at a phantom attacker from the rear. He halted in mid-swing, seeing Murata approach, and he straightened up, sheathing his sword.
"Your Highness," he greeted Murata neutrally.
Murata chuckled at the suspiciousness lurking in those vivid green eyes, and waved airily. "Ah, Wolfram! I've been looking for you."
Suspicion seemed to give way to the beginnings of concern. "Is something wrong? Yuuri?"
"Yuuri's fine. Well..." Murata corrected himself with a chuckle. "...he's probably going to have a nasty migraine later after beating his head against the desk, but he'll live." The Great Sage cocked his head, looking at the nobleman. "I wanted to talk to you for a minute. That's all."
Still looking a bit wary, Wolfram inclined his head. "As you wish, Your Highness."
Murata settled himself on the grass and motioned for the other to do the same. Waiting until Wolfram was comfortable, he adjusted his glasses and regarded the other man thoughtfully. Wolfram scowled under the scrutiny, fidgeting uneasily.
"What?" he grumped, crossing his arms.
"Well..." Murata hedged. "It's about Yuuri."
Wolfram blinked in mild surprise. "What about that wimp?" he scoffed. "What did he do now?"
Murata resisted the urge to rub his forehead. He had known this conversation wasn't going to be easy, but now that he was seated across from a two-seconds-from-bristling Mazoku, he was starting to regret ever deciding to stick his nose into his friends business. "It's about your...relationship. Or lack thereof."
BLAST OFF! Murata squeaked in surprise as Wolfram apparently teleported to his feet, waving his fist in the air, shouting something about 'cheating fiancés' and 'he can't break off our engagement so casually' and other sputterings that melted into a mass of gibberish, punctuated by stamping feet and green eyes spitting fire. Murata blinked in the face of such an onslaught and held up his hands defensively.
"Wait a second, I never said—WOLFRAM! Listen to me!" he shouted at the Mazoku, halfway to his feet.
Wolfram froze at his words, the realization that he'd been ranting and screaming at the Great Sage finally hitting him. Murata watched with amusement as a heated blush stole over the Mazoku's face.
"I...my apologies, Great Sage," Wolfram murmured, eyes firmly on the ground. "I didn't mean any disrespect. I just...well..."
"You fly off the handle whenever the subject touches on a certain King, hmm?" Murata grinned. "Understandable. I forgive you."
Wolfram breathed a sigh of relief. "What did you want to discuss then?" He gave the Sage a wry smile. "I promise to control myself this time."
"Good." Murata's tone changed suddenly, becoming more firm, more commanding. He nodded with satisfaction as Wolfram responded automatically, sitting up straighter, eyes snapping to the Sage's, awaiting his words. "I want to discuss your relationship with Yuuri. Particularly why he tries to deny it, or why he gets so..."
"Stubborn?" Wolfram groused, eye twitching slightly in obvious aggravation.
"I was going to say flustered, but eh, whatever." Murata shrugged. "You do know that it's actually not as bad as it looks, right?"
Wolfram looked at him incredulously. "You're not serious, right? He can't even look at me without shrieking when he sees me in his bed, he flirts with everyone but me, and he denies that he wants this relationship to begin with! Frankly, I'm surprised he hasn't called off our engagement. After all, isn't he always saying it was an accident?" Sadness flickered across his face so quickly it was almost invisible, but Murata caught it anyway, and he tilted his head.
"So why doesn't he?" He asked calmly. "If things are as bad as you say, why hasn't Yuuri called it off yet?"
Wolfram snorted, folding his arms. "He doesn't want to hurt my feelings."
"True." Murata nodded, acknowledging the fact. Yuuri never wanted to hurt anyone. "But still, if he's so dead set against having anything to do with you, I can't see him tolerating an engagement. Nor letting you sleep in his room, in his bed. Or riding double with you. Or sparring with you, raising a daughter with you, or doing any of the other hundred and one things he puts up with, in order to have you around." The Sage blinked. "I'm sorry, but if I truly didn't want to be around someone, I'd risk some hurt feelings in order to begin distancing myself, you know?"
Wolfram shrugged. "We're friends," he said quietly. "I like to think that even if we weren't engaged, we'd still do things together as friends, right? And whether he wants this engagement or not, until he breaks it off, as his fiancée, I am still half responsible for raising Greta."
Murata sighed, and suddenly felt a lot older then he looked. Wolfram had the idea that he wasn't worth much in the eyes of their King, but Murata knew better then anyone – even Conrad – just how deeply embedded the Mazoku was in Yuuri's heart.
He straightened. It was time to explain things to Wolfram, try and get him to understand. He had to because a time was coming where Yuuri would be tested. They all would be, but none more so then the young King, and Yuuri would need all the support and love he could get. Yuuri was confused about his feelings for Wolfram, but Wolfram didn't know why, and no one had bothered to give the Mazoku a few Earth-style home truths to make him understand.
Murata wanted Yuuri to be happy. Yuuri was good for Shin Makoku, and was good for Wolfram. They complimented each other in so many ways, and when Yuuri finally figured it out, all of their lives would be so much easier. Wolfram would definitely be happier. Murata steepled his fingers and leaned towards Wolfram, staring at him directly.
"It's time you learned a few things about Earth, Wolfram."
Wolfram watched silently as Yuuri chased their giggling daughter across the courtyard. It was nearly dinnertime, and obviously Yuuri had won himself an early reprieve from the mountain of paperwork Gunter always made sure he had on hand whenever the King returned. The sun was steadily moving across the sky, darkening from cheery yellow to shades of orange and red ocher, but still Wolfram stood, content to take in the scene before him.
The Great Sage had given him a lot to think about.
Wolfram had always known he was lucky to live the life he did. His mother was a...flashy woman, but she had always made time for him, even when she had been the Maou, and he always knew that he was loved. Gwendal was a stern and strict taskmaster, but Wolfram still had all of the stuffed animals his brother had made for him growing up. And the animal bandages he'd tied for the human children? He'd mastered that art practicing on Wolfram.
Conrad...he still had a lot to admit to himself regarding his brother, but even when he'd professed his hatred, he knew deep inside that his brother loved him dearly, and would sacrifice himself in a moment to keep him safe.
He had a fine roof over his head, sumptuous banquets at every meal, a (mostly) peaceful land in which to raise his beautiful daughter with a man who was destined to be the greatest and most caring Maou in Mazoku history. His every desire was granted, his whims fulfilled, and with the exception of the horrible tragedies – the war, Rutenburg, Julia - that had befallen the kingdom twenty years before, affecting everyone, he had never known the troubles that plagued the every day man.
"When you, Gwendal and Conrad came to Earth, you saw it as a peaceful, prosperous land. And it is, in its own way," Murata began slowly. "But within the hearts of people, there is always a war brewing. There is always something to find fault with, something to declare is wrong, no matter how it might look to someone else."
Wolfram was confused. "What are you talking about?"
"Simply put, I'm talking about you and Shibuya. Being together." Murata lowered his glasses and winked. "I'm sure I don't have to remind you that you're both men?"
The blond swordsman bristled. "What does that matter?" he spat. "We've told you - I've told Yuuri, that sort of thing is common here! Why can't you both remember that?"
The blond fell silent. Murata sighed, and then spoke again.
"Imagine, Wolfram, that all your life, you're told to believe something is wrong. You, your family, your friends, your teachers, your government – everyone you know, everyone you trust, has been told for years, generations even, that a union between two men or two women is wrong. Evil. Unclean. Considered despicable in the eyes of other men, society in general and whatever Gods you believe in. Imagine being brought up having been indoctrinated that 'normal' is man plus woman plus baby makes a family." Murata tilted his head back and looked up at the sky. "You've never thought of being different; you've never considered going against the status quo, because it just isn't done."
"But beyond just thinking that, try to imagine yourself with another of your gender, even in this society where you've been told to believe it's wrong. Try to picture a life with someone, living like that – and try to imagine the fear."
"On Earth, despite its peaceful appearance, there are many people who would harm those who are different." Murata's voice was oddly sad. "People fear that which they do not understand, and fear is very easily turned to hatred. On Earth, it can be very dangerous for Shibuya, or any person, to declare that they are gay."
Murata looked confused – and then he smiled. "I guess demon labels don't extend far past 'Mazoku' and 'human', hmm? In the human language, we refer to people who love their own gender, as being 'homosexual', or by the more colloquial term, 'gay'." The smile was replaced with a frown. "The fact is, Yuuri would be hated by most people for loving you."
Yuuri caught his laughing daughter and tickled her sides, making her shriek even louder as she kicked and squirmed, trying to escape. Yuuri's face, for once, was free of the accumulated stress he'd been carrying for the last couple of days, making him appear even younger then he usually did. Conrad stood to the side of the courtyard, smiling broadly at the young ruler and his charge.
Wolfram watched, and tried to imagine anyone hating Yuuri. He couldn't do it. In Shin Makoku, in his world, where countries fell before Yuuri's rakish smile and natural charm, where allies pledged allegiance to a boy king they couldn't help but adore, where the people fell over themselves trying to help him, trying to realize his dream of ever lasting peace...
Try as he might, he could not imagine anyone being able to hate Yuuri. Especially not for such a ridiculous reason.
"He would be hated, ostracized from his peers, threatened by those who would try to eradicate his 'abnormality' from their reality. Society would shun him, call him cruel names, and feel justified in hurting him, all because he dared to love another person." Murata's voice took on a harder edge. "And it wouldn't be just him suffering. He would bring dishonor and shame to the family name. His mother and father would run the risk of ruin, of being referred to as parents that failed to raise a proper child."
Wolfram simply could not believe it. His eyes grew wider with disbelief.
"Now, imagine being brought to a whole new world. A world with dangers you never dreamed existed, and being told you have the pleasant task of righting the wrongs here. Imagine suddenly finding yourself engaged to someone of your own gender – the very thing you've been taught all your life to believe is wrong." Murata paused, and looked down from the sky, focusing on Wolfram. "Even when you're told it's okay to do something, when you have a lifetime of teachings telling you it's wrong, it's very hard to change at all, let alone right away."
Yuuri finally released his daughter, and she scampered for the safety of Conrad's arms. The godfather of the young monarch lifted the princess high into the air, settling her on one shoulder, an arm firmly across her legs to keep her from falling. From her new vantage point, she made a face at her father and then told Conrad to run when Yuuri threatened to come after her anyway.
Wolfram smiled at the sight of the normally composed soldier dashing away from his king, the small girl clinging to his head. Yuuri gave up after a few steps and then stopped, grinning widely. Then he turned, and spotted Wolfram.
Wolfram froze. Yuuri gave him a huge wave and jogged over. "Neh, Wolf! Where've you been hiding?"
"You claim that Yuuri doesn't want or respect your engagement. You believe that there is nothing binding you two together." Murata shook his head. "Wolfram, I've known Shibuya since primary school. Maybe we didn't become close friends until recently, but we were classmates together. I've never seen him tolerate something he didn't want. You've seen it too, here in this world."
Wolfram protested. "I told you, he's just being considerate of my feelings--"
The young Mazoku stopped short.
"Yuuri has been confused about you from the very beginning. He craved – and still values – your friendship. He cares about you a great deal. But a lifetime of training is very hard to ignore, and it's more of a knee-jerk reaction for him to say you two aren't really affianced." Murata chuckled. "It's surprising, considering how open-minded and tolerant his family is – particularly his mother - but I suppose even the Shibuya family isn't ignorant of Earth's realities."
"You know, I once read a theory," the Great Sage murmured. "That all humans are born bisexual – that is, they are all born capable of loving both males and females. It's only our social norms – what we decide is acceptable - that create the great divide and make us tend to choose to be heterosexual. The more I remember of this world, of Shin Makoku, the more I find myself believing that theory." He turned dark eyes on Wolfram. "Somehow, those norms didn't develop here. Somehow, the people of this world decided that there were far more important things in life to worry about, then the gender of their significant other. That this happened – or didn't happen – is nothing short of amazing."
"I wasn't hiding, oh wimpy one," Wolfram sniffed, folding his arms. "You simply didn't see me because I was busy doing important things like training, while you were gallivanting around with Greta."
"Don't call me that," Yuuri said automatically. A goofy grin slid across his face. "And at least it was time well spent. Gunter keeps me locked up so tightly in that office reading four-hundred-year-old deeds, that I was dying to get out for some air and exercise."
Wolfram smirked. "Well, if it's exercise you want..." he tapped his sword and looked pointedly at Morgif. Yuuri blinked – and then grinned broadly. He withdrew Morgif from its sheath, the sword moaning in protest, and stepped away.
Wolfram raised his sword in salute, nodding once - and attacked.
"Yuuri may have been resistant in the beginning, but you've got more of an influence over him then you think," Murata said, smiling. "He protested only once about you sleeping in his bed, and now, he doesn't think twice about it." He winked at Wolfram. "Wasn't it him telling you to hurry up and get to bed the other night when you were late coming in from patrol?"
"How did you know that?" Wolfram spluttered, his cheeks burning.
Murata tapped his nose. "I know everything," he laughed. "And I know that Shibuya is starting to accept the differences in this world that he couldn't get past in his own."
Wolfram looked away. "Maybe."
"'Maybe', nothing! It's the truth!" Murata rolled his eyes. "Wolfram, you have a chance with Shibuya. Believe me, or don't believe me, that's your choice. But you have to decide if it's what you want."
Wolfram glared at him. "Would I be this upset if it wasn't what I wanted?"
"Well, excuse me!" Murata puffed out his cheeks. "I see you shrieking at Shibuya like a harping fish-wife, doubting him in his fidelity, and in his feelings for you. Eventually he's going to make his own decision. If he chooses to accept this – to accept you and your engagement, then you need to be patient with him. You need to start trusting him."
"I'm loyal to him," Wolfram stated firmly. "I trust Yuuri with my life."
"Ah," Murata said, pushing his glasses back up on his nose. Light gleamed across the frames, obscuring his eyes from Wolfram. "But do you trust him with your heart?"
Strike. Parry. Thrust. Repeat.
Wolfram and Yuuri danced around each other, swords clashing together with metallic rings echoing throughout the courtyard. Yuuri moved forward more quickly then Wolfram had anticipated and nearly scored a hit – Wolfram hid his smile as he ducked out of the way.
It seemed that after months of trying to pound sword lessons into Yuuri's head, they were finally starting to take effect. Yuuri was finally responding, reacting in the manner of a trained swordsman. He moved more confidently, no longer convinced that he was going to lose in the first exchange. Wolfram and Conrad's persistent efforts were finally paying off.
Wolfram froze, and was nearly run through by Yuuri who stopped in the nick of time, shouting something at him, which Wolfram ignored.
Persistence was the key to getting Yuuri's attention. Patience was the way to make him come to him.
"We have an Earth saying," Murata said, standing up, and brushing himself off. "'The ball is in your court', Wolfram."
"What does that mean?"
"It means that it's up to you to decide what happens next. If you really want this engagement, you have to see it from Yuuri's side. See what it is he's attempting to reconcile within himself. Try to understand. It's hard enough making a life-altering decision, without having the other person yelling at you about insincerity and cheating." Murata shrugged. "Be patient. Trust him. Yuuri would never do anything to hurt you deliberately, and you know it."
Wolfram stood as well, nodding thoughtfully. "I know."
Murata eyed him. "Knowing is one thing. But can you actually wait?"
"Ah, sorry Yuuri." Wolfram shook his head, and then looked up at his fiancée. "I was just thinking of something."
"Thinking about what?" Yuuri had returned Morgif to his scabbard and was looking at him curiously.
Wolfram shook his head. "Nothing," he said, smiling faintly. "I just...understood something, I think."
Yuuri looked like he wanted to say something else, but then Greta and Conrad were standing in the corridor across from the courtyard, waving at them. Wolfram waved back, and started for them, grabbing Yuuri's arm and dragging him along. "Come on, it's time to eat!"
Wolfram smiled as he moved along, listening to Yuuri complain about being dragged behind like a sack of potatoes, and he automatically threw back a 'wimp' at Yuuri who scowled, and then laughed. His smile shone brighter then the fading sun, captivating in its brilliance. It was perfect. He knew it was what he wanted after all.
Wolfram decided he could wait. It would be worth it in the end.
C&C greatly wanted and appreciated!