But Time Must Rest.
When Yuuri became conscious enough to pay attention to what Günther was saying, he groaned, pulling the covers completely over his head.
"… and you must remember to try and shield your eyes in a conspicuous way when the Cabalcade family greets you as to not offend them, Majesty, and also, please remember that –"
"… Günther?" He dared to take a peek. Yup, the early gray light pretty much said that he was up before sunrise. Yuuri could already tell it was going to be a very, very, VERY long day. "… just how many people are coming to the wedding?"
Günther paused mid list, searching for the information and giving him a beaming smile. He was definitely too cheerful for it to be crack-of-dawn. "It'll be a small ceremony, majesty. Just two hundred people."
Yuuri groaned, willing the pillow to swallow him whole. Günther continued, sounding all too excited.
"And about eight hundred people will come for the party afterwards, but don't worry, Majesty! We have enough for about the double of people, if it's needed!"
Yuuri gave another groan, pulling the covers over his head again while Günther went back to reminding him of the royal families' ways of saying 'hi', and wondered about his chances of jumping into the bathtub and appearing in Fiji.
There was a reason why Wolfram was a fire elemental, and no, it wasn't (at least not completely) because of his volatile temperament.
It was because when Wolfram was angry (or nervous), he was dangerous. At first because it was so easy for him to lose his focus over his maryoku or sword and grow reckless, impatient. Later, because as his focus and control grew, so did his chance to actually inflict damage.
That he was in a state similar as to when he had been nothing but a rockie and his usual state of mind really had Conrad a little worried, made him focus into disarming Wolfram before any of them (or both) got seriously injured.
Wolfram cursed at that, but he leaned over his knees, breathing hard, sweat rolling down his face. Despite the hour, they both had shed their uniform jackets a while ago. Now, looking at the sky, Conrad guessed it was time to go and wash up, get ready for the day.
But Wolfram was still looking tense, which he guessed was understandable. Conrad couldn't stop himself from remembering when Wolfram had been nothing but a young boy for a few precious seconds before shaking himself off that; he wasn't that old yet. Instead, he put his hand over his brother's shoulders and gave a squeeze.
"It's okay to be nervous."
Wolfram' tsked but didn't shake his hand off, something that he would've done ten years before without a question. Instead, Wolfram closed his eyes and gave a tiny, small nod that made him smile before moving his hand away.
"Let's go," he said softly instead, moving towards where Wolfram's sword's had been discarded and picking it up, taking notice of Wolfram doing the same with their jackets. "A long day is waiting."
"An impossibly long day." Wolfram muttered under his breath, and Conrad's smile widened.
"And this," Jen cooed, pointing towards the picture, "Is Uma-chan with Sho-chan and Yuu-chan in Disneyland."
Greta giggled, trying not to do so loudly – as to not disturb Sangria who was currently trying to do her hair – and failing completely. It wasn't about watching a man in a dress; it was, however, about watching one of her dads, one of her uncles and her grandfather all in matching dresses.
"My, Jen-darling," Celi-sama gave an appreciative nod. "I do love how the pink brings Souma's coloring. And the make up is just exquisite!"
"Right? I've told him a thousand times that Sunset Peach is his color!" Jen beamed, "Mou, men are so stubborn! Here, I've a few more pictures of that trip!"
"And I think I have one where I got my boys and darling Yozak matching outfits and had them wear them…"
Greta decided that failing wasn't that bad, all things in her life considered, and laughed out loud.
It was okay. Sangria was giggling too.
Murata hummed placidly, watching the priestess girls run around the shrine with the last arrangements. Poor Dorcas was taking his usual place with having to fix all the things the pretty girls asked for and, frankly, he didn't envy the soldier.
Of course, the one reason he wasn't being requested to help in manual labors was because he had already donned his formal attire for the ceremony (it had taken the best part of five years to convince Günther that they wouldn't get offended if they could wear something that resembled so much their uniforms, and even yet their clothes were black most of the times) and, oh yeah, he had on porpoise gone towards a part that wouldn't be needed for the ceremony and, thus, was being neglected.
"My, Highness, aren't you looking handsome, all dressed up." Yozak's voice drawled behind him. Murata grinned and turned to look towards the spy, giving a low whistle as he noticed on the dress he was wearing.
"I could say the same for you, Yozak," he said with a grin before giving a playful bow. "May I say, the violet really brings out the blue of your eyes?"
Yozak affected a girlish giggle, batting perfectly curled eyelashes at him.
"Why, Highness, thank you! I didn't think you'd notice."
Murata grinned. "Of course I do! Especially since it's been a while since you last wore something like that…"
At that Yozak did pout a little, moving to stand besides him. "Well, with things going on so peacefully and kiddo befriending everyone, there's little job… which I guess it's good, but…" he sighed, the disappointed frown deepening. "That sumptuous red gown is just wasting away!"
Murata shook his head before looking at Yozak with another smile. "Maa, we can't have that, not at all. I'll make sure to find some kind of mission for you to wear that gown. Great Sage promise."
"Mmmm, is that so?" Yozak grinned, lips seeming fuller thanks to the lipstick. "I'll be holding you on that, Highness."
Never mind how many times he had come to Shin Makoku over the last ten years, Shouri still thought that there was vast room for improvements over the ways of arrival.
His son gave a short surprised wail that most certainly meant he agreed, tiny hands holding with all their might to his clinging shirt.
Suddenly that his wife had said that he should take the baby with him had a whole other dimension.
And, continuing with his luck of fussy-disgruntled-wet-baby and his own disgruntled-and-soaked self, everybody was busy, running to fix the last things for the ceremony and party, so finally Shouri contented himself to leave a trail of water as he searched for an empty room where to towel himself and Kichiro.
At least, after the third hall, he found Yuuri pacing up and down the hall, muttering and moving his hands as if to touch his hair or his clothes, face almost completely white in what he recognized as panic.
You could dress Yuuri as a king, but he'd always be the flailing boy he had grown with.
Kichiro gave another disgruntled gurgle, loud enough to call Yuuri's attention, his worried frown melting into a smile as he went close to them, grinning.
"Shouri! And Chiro-chan, too!" As if he hadn't been fussy at all, the baby gave a happy gurgle to his uncle, and Shouri eyed him for a moment before deciding that as long as it meant that Chiro wasn't going to start crying, he could chose his uncle before his father. "Where's Reiko-neesan?"
Shouri shook his head, even as his son started giving what seemed to be very affronted baby talk. "There was a last minute emergency that she had to deal with at work, but she'll get here as fast as she can. Here, hold Kichiro while I go and change."
Yuuri did move to hold his nephew, but stopped when he saw the water dripping from the baby, taking a step backwards.
"Um. Sorry, Shouri. You know I would, but Wolfram was very specific about what he'd do to me if I got my clothes dirty or wet."
Shouri raised an eyebrow. Yuuri gave a soft laugh, almost moving his hand to rub his neck and stopping halfway; Shouri supposed that Wolfram had also been quite specific about messing with his hair.
"Oh, but I don't have that problem!" Both brothers turned around to see Celi-sama, magnificent in a deep crimson gown, with her arms outstretched to hold the six months old baby, never mind his dripping state. "Awww, he looks just like you, Shouri! Yes, yes you do."
Chiro gurgled again, holding unto the ex-queen's gown, and Celi beamed to Shouri, who blinked slowly before giving a hesitant nod.
"Alright… here's the bag with his clothes and toys; I'll go as soon as -"
"Oh, don't worry, darling!" Celi continued beaming, bouncing the baby a little even as she took the offered bag. "I'll take care of the precious Chiro, and I think Jen is ready too so we'll be fine! Aww, he's so cute! Don't worry and take your time!"
Both brothers saw Celi go down the hall, still talking to the baby ("Aaaand you are going to be as cute as His Majesty Yuuri and Shouri, aren't you? Yes, yes you are!") with an impending sense of doom.
"… my son is going to come back dressed in pink lace, isn't he?" Shouri asked, almost toneless.
Yuuri refrained from answering, instead just patting his brother's – very wet – back.
Anissina grinned. Gwendal had to wonder how it was possible for a woman with such full lips to give a grin so sharp and dangerous, but even if usually he'd be searching for shelter after that smile, he stood his ground.
"Aw, come on! Instant-refiller-kun only burst into flames twice! There's little to no chance that it'll do so again!"
"Anissina," Gwendal frowned, already craving the night when this whole wedding-craziness would be over so he could go to his studio and knit himself silly, "A wedding reception is not the proper way to try one of your inventions."
"Aw, but Gwen –" and her smile grew, if possible, even sharper.
He was lucky enough to be interrupted when a voice called for him, Ernesto's arms trying to wrap around his waist and just clinging to his jacket.
"Uncle Gwen!" The boy grinned and Gwendal couldn't help but smile back, wondering just how long it'd take for Huber and Nicola's eldest to get his clothes dirty and quite possibly find a pet, despite all the times that Huber had, no doubt, told him not to. "Aunt Ani, hi!"
"Hello, Eru!" Anissina bent a little, grin going softer for the little boy. "You're so big, now! Now, tell me, where are your parents?"
"A couple dozen steps behind," Huber answered, Nicola and their baby daughter by his side, raising an eyebrow while looking at his son; Eru gave a sheepish grin and let go of Gwendal's jacket but stood besides him. "Eru, what have I told you about running inside the castle if it's not an emergency?"
"That I shouldn't do it… sorry."
"Excellency, lady Anissina, good evening," Nicola smiled, picking up the baby that had been slowly walking by her side and holding her, while Adline moved a pudgy hand to her mouth, sucking on her thumb and mumbling a few words around it that were, quite possibly, her own hellos.
"Uncle Gwen, uncle Gwen, dad says we're staying for a few days here!" Eru started again, never one to stay quiet – or calm – for too long, something that, Nicola cheerfully admitted, the boy had also inherited after her. "Can we go riding? Can we, can we CAN WE?"
"Maybe later," he said with a smile. Anissina chuckled and then winked at the boy again.
"Eru, did you know that there's going to be a sandbear?"
Huber sighed and Nicola shook her head a little. Even Adline, as shy as she was, seemed to know this was bad news, as Eru's eyes grew wide and the boy almost immediately started pulling on his jacket again.
"A sandbear?! Really?! OH! Uncle Gwen! Can we go see him right now? Can we go? Can we go can we go can we –"
"Ernesto Brischella," Nicola clearly enounced; Gwendal supposed that he really shouldn't felt amused, as it was probably something that every mother learnt, and he did remember the few times that Celi had used that tone on him and it hadn't been pretty at all. Eru let go of his jacket and slowly turned to look at his mother, giving him what was, no doubt, his most charming smile, but Nicola was still frowning. "You are not to play with any kind of animal at least after the ceremony, didn't I say that?"
Eru shuffled on his feet a little. "… I guess…"
Huber smiled a little before suddenly getting an armful of his daughter, who had no apparent trouble to latch to him instead of her mother, even leaning her head against his shoulder and sucking on her thumb some more. Gwendal also assumed that a situation like this was frequent enough for her to be used to.
"Lady Anissina, would you be as kind to direct me towards Greta's room? I promised her I'd help with the bridesmaids."
Anissina nodded, giving another wink to Eru, who was trying to look contrite and failing spectacularly.
"I have to go there too, let's go."
"Now, Eru, let's go with lady Anissina."
"But I wanna stay with dad and uncle Gwen!" The little boy pouted. Gwendal supposed that he would've collapsed under that stare probably months ago and he'd still be building resistance for it.
Nicola, however, was unperturbed. She gave a smile to Huber, reached to tuck a strand of dark hair behind Adline's ear and then took Eru's hand and started walking.
"If I was to do that, your clothes wouldn't last clean even for ten minutes."
"Awww, but mooooooom!" Eru complained but followed his mother, still trying to win her over with a pout that would, no doubt, make his mother proud.
Huber looked at his wife and son go with a fond smile and Gwendal shook his head a little before leaning to look at Adline, who blinked slowly at him without moving her head from her father's shoulder.
"I have some toys she could play with," he told Huber, who nodded and smiled before following him.
After having paced up and down the hall more than ten times, Yuuri finally took a deep breath and knocked over Greta's door. There were a lot of shrills and running, until finally Wolfram opened the door, his usual jacket replaced by a mostly white one with black leaves sewn unto the sleeves, frown softening a little when he saw him.
"Oh, it's you. What?"
Yuuri cleared his throat. "I… uh… was wondering if I could speak with Greta for a second? In private, if possible?"
Wolfram closed the door in his face. Yuuri spluttered, just about to bang over the door before it opened; Wolfram raised an eyebrow when he noticed his raised fist, but he motioned him inside.
Eru was playing with – yes, using a pink something – Chiro, both boys white with what he assumed was baby powder, and Greta was covered from head to toes with a robe; he could hear his mother and Celi-sama talking behind another closed door and decided that the least he was there, the less chances he had to go out wearing something that'd match with Chiro's outfit.
Yuuri gave a small pout. "Mou, I thought that I'd get to see you ready!"
Greta giggled a bit, her earrings shimmering with the light.
"Not yet, daddy! I want to see your reaction when you see me."
"How come Wolfram is here, then?"
"Non-wimpy-fathers are allowed inside."
"Daddy…" Greta shook her head but smiled. Yuuri could just assume that if he had been a nervous wreck most of the day, how had his daughter felt and he got another one of those weird pangs he had had since she got engaged. "What is it, daddy?"
Yuuri shook his head again and smiled. "Uh… well… did your grandma tell you about Earth Wedding traditions?"
Greta tilted her head to a side but nodded. "Just a few. Why?"
"Well, she always said that when she married dad she didn't get to have something blue because things had been so hurried… and even though this wedding has way more traditions than I know," or felt comfortable with, Yuuri added silently. "Well… I thought… for extra luck, you should have something blue. Not that you need it or anything, just... in case."
As he talked, Yuuri took out of his pocket his necklace, reaching to clasp it around Greta's neck, careful with her hair. When he looked again, the necklace was resting between Greta's collarbones, and his daughter was blinking quickly, her eyes full of tears.
"Uh, I mean… I don't know if it goes with the dress or anything, but –"
"It goes, daddy," Greta managed with a sniff, stepping closer to him and wrapping her arms around him. Yuuri supposed it was a good thing that despite the fact that his princess was now a grown woman, she was still smaller than him as he pressed a kiss over her forehead. "Thank you."
"Okay, Yuuri. Time's up; Greta, go and put on your dress, the ceremony will start soon. I'll be right back." Yuuri thought that Wolfram's voice sounded strangely hoarse, but he didn't have much time to think about it as Wolfram dragged him out of the room and to the hall; by the time he could look at Wolfram's eyes, they seemed normal. Happy, but normal.
"Wimp," Wolfam finally said with a small smile that made him smile, reaching to fix the clasps of Yuuri's cape, letting his hands linger.
And yet, he couldn't avoid a sigh.
And Yuuri gave a small whine and pouted. He knew he was being childish, but for a second he really considered throwing himself to the floor and giving a royal temper tantrum.
"… I was just thinking that chances are I'm gonna be a grandfather before I'm thirty! Wooooolf! We're too young for that!"
Looking at him as if he wish they had the time to throttle him, Wolfram gave him a hard push that sent him directly against Conrad, telling Conrad to keep an eye on the wimp before he tried something silly.
"It's not silly!" Yuuri whined again once Wolfram had gone, but let Conrad led him towards a sit. He was going to have to go and start greeting the guests, he guessed; Günther and Gisela were doing it so far, which was probably wrong. "Conrad! It's not fair! I'm barely twenty five years old! It's unfair!"
"Of course it is," Conrad at least agreed with him, somewhat. Then, the soldier smiled at him. "Take a deep breath? Try to calm down."
Yuuri did so and resorted to pout, because, for him, the day still seemed to stretch on and on.
But that, he guessed, probably had more to do with his only daughter marrying than the gods of time – or a particular nosey dead king – interfering this time around.