I can't make you love me by Bonnie Rait
Your winter by Sister Hazel
Standard disclaimer applies
The room lay as it had always been these past few weeks. Empty but for the lone figure staring out into the fathomless night sky. A ritual observed religiously as if by his will alone would the sky part and return the one who holds his heart to him.
If it was only to return that heart back to him.
It was no secret to him or anybody of importance that the King's heart was not held by him but by his half brother, the same brother that he hated due to his dirty lineage and yet, every time his chest would tighten to a painful grip at just the hint of harm to said brother.
"Yuri, the things I would give up to have a hint of your love," was the soft whispers lost within the vast room. But all that Wolfram could claim to was the Maou's friendship. He was betrothed to a reluctant fiancée and all he had to show for it was friendship.
For a brief second the room lit up as a fireball flared to life and illuminated the inferno burning within the emerald eyes of its castor, but as the flare died, so did the fire in his eyes.
Here in the dark, in these lonely hours…I will lay down my heart and I'll feel the power…But you won't, no you won't
Wolfram couldn't even say for certain if Yuri will return this time. The newly crowned eighteen year old had talked of the most wonderful of things; a great and powerful institution called The University where only a selected few were allowed to join and once training was complete, a person would have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge and Wolfram supposed, be all great and mighty. It was only proper that Yuri be enrolled in such a place, he was the Demon King and what a meager human could do, Yuri would be able to do better. Even if he was a wimp.
Wolfram snickered a little at that thought. Contrary to popular belief and despite him repeating himself like a broken record, Wolfram did not believe Yuri to be weak. He believed that it was Yuri's compassion and trusting nature that separated him from the previous Maou's and the other reigning monarchs, his kind heart that made him stronger than kings with their strengths and manpower. Yuri had the love of his subjects down to the youngest in the kingdom, and that is the true measure of a king.
No, Wolfram enjoyed calling him that because it annoyed Yuri and it was something only he could do. It was the only thing that separated him from everyone else. The thought removed the soft smile from his lips, and a sudden flash of Yuri's smile brought back the despair to his self. It was the smile that the Maou gave everyone, allies and enemies alike. There was nothing in it that Wolfram could truly claim as his own. No, that, he guessed, was a privilege Conrad could claim to.
Can't make you love me if you don't… You can't make your heart feel something it won't
With another sigh, Wolfram left his cold spot and made his way to the empty bed. The bed that he had shared with Yuri, the very same bed which had witness his tears, his hopes, his dreams and tonight, his heart breaking one last time.
It was over. For too long he had held onto hope, telling himself that Yuri needed time to adjust, needed time to be a king first, needed time to… even in his own head the words were weak. Like him. Like Yuri. Like everyone in the DAMN kingdom!! Pain laced through him and he fell against the softness of the mattress.
So painful. How he wished he could just run. Run to the ends of the planet. Run until he slipped into a whole new world. A world where he would be loved.
No, no matter what he may feel right now, he knew when morning came and Yuri eventually returned, he would be there still, ready to protect and honor his place as Yuri's servant and friend. Yes, when morning comes he will be nothing more than King Yuri Shibuya's friend and confidant. For he knew that Yuri needed him, even if it wasn't in the same capacity as Wolfram. Come tomorrow he'll still not be here but its okay. He can't promise he'll be alright, but come tomorrow Yuri will not be keeping him up anymore.
Tonight. Tonight though, he'll dream one last time of a time that will never happen and when first daylight hits the kingdom he'll let go of his love with the last shadows of night.
Morning will come and I'll do what's right…Just give me till then to give up this fight…And I will give up this fight
The grey ceiling on the earth… Well it's lasted for a while… Take my thoughts for what they're worth
Eighteen year old Yuri Shibuya was pacing the full length of his bedroom. His room on earth, once meticulously clean, compliments to his mother, was in shambles. Specifically, two separate shambles. He paused and contemplated the two sections. On his left were stacks of mock exam questions, textbooks littered the floor, and the most significant, the admission form to qualify for the university entrance exams. On his right, was, the best way he could put it, his alternate life. A worn torn duffel bag partially filled with clothes and little knick-knacks lay half spilt out on the wooden floor. Draped on his bed, freshly cleaned and pressed was his high school uniform, and more importantly, the mark indicating his ranking in court. The highest of ranking.
He was Shibuya Yuri, 27th King of Shin Makoku.
For a second he mused over the vast difference between his small breadbox room here on Earth and his room in Shin Makoku, which, he presumed would easily fit his living room in three times over.
And the absence of a certain blonde.
He had been home for nearly a month and the same thought invaded his mind time and time again.
Wolfram wasn't here to yell at him…
…not here to call him a wimp…
…not here to tell him that he was a cheater…
…not here to tell him that he'd follow Yuri everywhere…
…not here to tell him he'd protect Yuri forever…
When?! When had that spoilt, possessive, jealous, wonderful, hot-tempered, loyal, brat become such a prominent part of his thoughts?!
"Well, that should be obvious…"
Somewhere along the line of saving the world and trying to learn to be king and between looking for this Maou artifact and rescuing that endangered species, he had fallen in love with Wolfram.
Just the thought caused him to erupt into a full body blush but that quickly subsided as the cold facts of reality hit him. He was at a junction. Shin Makoku was at rest and he knew he wasn't required as much as before. Slowly but surely all wounds would heal and scars will fade. The task Shinou had prepared for four thousand years had come to completion and with the Great Sage's guidance, the men he left behind in his wake will bring Shin Makoku back to its original glory and strength. While there would always be pockets of humans and mazokus that would resist the efforts of peace, they were easily eliminated. Demons and humans had finally agreed that they were battle-weary and neither party wished to instigate another war.
Nothing that would need the might of a demon king. While true peace was still in the distance, it was no longer beyond reach.
For the first time in a long while, he could truly think of his own needs without feeling a twinge of selfishness. After all he was the one who decided to be Maou, no one forced his hand into it. If he truly wished it, he could go back to being ordinary -18 year old Shibuya Yuri, hopefully next year a bonafide university student. But as Ken had said when they discussed this issue in Shin Makoku, if he went down that path, it could be years before he could return if he did. Despite his increasing ability for inter-dimensional traveling, the magic it required was limiting and constant traveling would only lead to a burn-out that could cost him his maryoku and more drastic, his sanity. Using up too much maryoku would and could result in him being nothing more than an empty husk of a person.
So, thus was his dilemma. To return and be a full-time king, or to remain and acknowledge that his part in the history of Shin Makoku had been played to the satisfaction of all parties present and was no longer required.
Not for the first time did he wished Shori was here to help him untangle this mess. Shori was the thinker in the family, the one with the above average IQ. Yuri, despite being Maou of all Demons, was still your average thinking, carefree boy… or young man now. He shouldn't have to deal with life just yet.
Startled out of his thoughts he could only blink in a dazed manner as his father walked in.
"Yu-chan?" Shoma Shibuya asked his youngest son. While looking dazed and confused wasn't an odd sight on his youngest son, he still thought he should ask.
"Dad, you're home early. Did Bob let you off early?" Shoma gave his son a bemused look. Perhaps there was a little more to the matter that he had first thought.
"It's seven, I would hardly call it early," he answered and watched as his son digested the information. The confused look was quickly replaced with a grin as Yuri rubbed his head.
"Yu-chan, what's the matter? Does it have something to do with you being home for so long?" Shoma asked and moved to settle himself comfortably on Yuri's study chair. Sighing softly, Yuri followed his father's example and sat opposite him on his bed, making sure not to crumple his uniform. Just in case.
"Yeah, it does. I'm not sure what to do. A part of me wants to stay here and be just Shibuya Yuri but another part of me…" he trailed off but his father gave him an understanding look.
"I do understand what you mean, but Yu-chan, even if you stay here, you'll never be the Yuri you were three years ago. You've been through so much in such a short period of time you can never go back to a time that was. Shin Makoku and the family you have there will always be in you no matter which dimension you land in. If you stay, think of what you'll be leaving behind," said Shoma.
"Dad, are you kicking me out of the house?" Yuri asked wryly. Shoma laughed at that and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder.
"No, I am telling you to do what your heart tells you. Don't think with your head about what is best for everyone, know with your heart what the right way is," he replied. Yuri sighed again and gazed out of his window.
Funny how the sky was the same shade of blue on Earth and in Shin Makoku. He looked back at the old man as he rose to leave.
"Yu-chan, you will always be the Maou just as your brother will one day be. It is a destiny you can not escape, and in truth a burden heavier that Shori will ever understand. But it is also your right to be true to yourself. An unhappy king can never be a just one. And an unhappy person can never find peace," with those parting words, Shoma left his son to decided his own future. There was only so much a parent could do before he had to let his children go and make their own mistakes to learn from. He just hoped Yuri's mistakes and choices won't be his ruin.
Yuri, on the other hand, was deep in thought. His father's words had triggered something inside him. A sudden understanding of the bigger picture.
"I am the Maou. The true and only demon king and the Maou bends to no one's will but that of his own heart,"
Wasn't that what Shinou had ultimately taught him as he was infected with the Soushu? Shinou had chosen to carry that burden at the risk of his life and afterlife because his heart told him it was the right way. Because Shinou was the Original King, and that is what kings do.
Yuri himself had depended on his own heart in deciding right from wrong. Hadn't his heart told him that violence solves nothing? To punish the wrong with compassion instead of an iron fist. And hadn't Shin Makoku strengthened because of his actions? Enemies had turned into allies, and a once feared nation was now a nation respected by humans and mazoku's alike.
So now, Yuri returned to his heart and sought within its depth the answers to his questions. A myriad of images flashed through his mind.
Oh remember please remember … Well I'm not a beggar but once more… If I hurt you then I hate myself
He saw his Nazukeoya Konrad his pillar of strength, his never ending trust in the man, who even as he sided with the enemy put his king's safety first. The giver of his name, Yuri saw the joy in the older man's face when he called Konrad 'brother' for the first time.
He saw Greta's sweet smiling face. The child who had tried to kill him was now more precious to him that all the jewels in the kingdom. His daughter, could he truly abandon her?
Then he saw Gunter's lovely face, how the man would split the skies if it would suit his king's fancy. For all his wispiness and Yuri-worshipping, the Mazoku had worked hard to instill Yuri's sense of justice into the kingdom and enforce his thoughts with least violence. For that Yuri will always be indebted to him.
Gwendal, who seemed so stern and immovable on the outside, had the heart of a gentle bear beating within him. He was the voice of reason, the true foundations of the kingdom's monarchy, and though his ways were silent and mostly secretive, he had his loved ones best interest at heart. Something Yuri could proudly say he was a part of.
More faces flashed through his mind, Anissina, Lady Cheri, Giesela, Ulrike, Adalbert, Hube, Nicola and many, many more that had become a piece of him, each had contributed in their own special way to help mould him as he was today.
And finally the face that could be said to be the root of his dilemma, Wolfram von Bielefeld. What had begun as a feeling of loathing between the two had flourished to become an unbreakable friendship. The beautiful boy who would call him a wimp at the drop of a hat was now so important to him, his derisive opinions of the way Yuri lived his life had become words of gold, because Yuri could only become better. Wolfram had never lied to him, never cushioned the blow of Yuri's mistakes, and always told him a duck was a duck and not a swan. Wolfram had risked more than his life to protect Yuri, he had overcome his fear to travel the ocean vastness and stay by Yuri side. He had turned his back on his own needs to help Yuri with his. He had survived humiliation and put his pride on the line so Yuri could keep his. For all the insults and the name calling, he had loved Yuri tirelessly knowing that Yuri may never reciprocate, knowing how deeply ingrained in him was society's prejudice against same sex love, never knowing if Yuri would ever overcome it and love him back.
I said I'm sorry but for what… If I hurt you then I hate myself
Yes, Yuri knew all of this. He wasn't that blind to Wolfram's thoughts, his caring actions behind his harsh words. And he knew that Wolfram had finally permeated him homophobic armor as he vowed to return Wolfram's beating heart to him. The heart that he knew his own beat for.
And it was at this moment that Yuri's heart decided.
He will return to Shin Makoku. While his Earth family would always be important to him, his Shin Makoku family needed him more. As he needed them. Shori can manage things well enough here without him and look after their parents better than he could but Shin Makoku has only one king. His services it seems were not over just yet.
Yanking open a drawer, he grabbed a small item he had bought weeks ago on a whim. He was slightly richer now that he was king, Bob had been generous enough to convert several gold coins for yen when he had arrived. He will have to remember to give the notes to his parents before he leaves. He will not be needing them where he's going. Careful to place the item deep inside his jeans pocket, Yuri grabbed his uniform and shoved it into the duffel bag previously lying on the floor. He made a grab for a few other things before zipping it and hiking it over his shoulders. There should be just enough space for him and the bag to fit inside the bathtub.
But it was not meant to be just yet. As he was about to leave his mother came in.
"Yu-chan, are you going somewhere?" she asked eyeing his beaten down bag distastefully.
"Yes, I'm returning to Shin Makoku," he replied. He towered over her now, having gone through a growth spurt but somehow, she always made him feel like a little boy again. Obviously delighted, Miko's head bobbed up and down and flashed Yuri a delighted smile.
"Yu-chan, that's wonderful! You can take some small presents I bought the other day for our friends!" came the delighted squeal. In the distant Yuri could hear his father saying he'll bring out the paddling pool again. Groaning, Yuri held out a hand to stop her chattering.
"Will it take long? I would like to leave soon," he asked partially pleading to his mother. He really wanted to settle things between himself and Wolfram. He had no idea how long had pass in Shin Makoku and he didn't want to delay it any further. His mother gave him a mischievous look.
"Eager to see Wolf-chan again aren't you? Of course you are. You shouldn't stay away from your fiancée too long Yu-chan, who knows what could happen. And why didn't you bring him? I have so many baby pictures I want to show him. Do you remember the pink dress I bought for you with the lovely ribbons? Oh and the angel costume for Halloween, with the darling wings? I still wish you and Shori had your own wings…." And with this Miko turned away chattering endlessly all the way to the kitchen. Yuri sighed in relief to hear the last bits of her talking fading away.
"Stay and have dinner with us. Shori is coming home as well," his father who he hadn't notice standing to the side said. He wanted to object and say next time but seeing the hopeful look on his dad's face he knew he couldn't. Besides, he didn't know when the next time would be. And it would be nice to say a proper farewell to his brother.
"I'd like that," and the Shibuya men shared a smile and a moment of father-son silence before that was shattered by his mother.
"Yu-chan, Uma-chan, come down. Sho-chan will be here soon!" she cried up to them.
"Coming honey," was his father's reply before he turned to descend downstairs. Inhaling deeply, Yuri took one long look at the life he was leaving behind and smiled at the thought of the life he was stepping into.
"Coming mother," he replied with a sigh and followed his father's footsteps. A loud chuckling sound could be heard when his mother replied.
"Yu-chan how many times do I have to tell to call me Mama!"
And I won't be anyone's excuse to cry… And we can't be forgiven… And I will be here I wont be your winter