The Onion Valentine
Disclaimer: I don't own Kyou Kara Maou or the 'Valentine' poem by Carol Ann Duffy. But I would like to thank a friend for letting me borrow the poem!
Summary: In Shin Makoku, giving onions to your loved ones is normal for Valentine's Day. If two people has the same scented onion, they are destined for each other. Will he find his onion's (and his) true love?
'Finding your true love is like looking through a stained glass window; your lover unknowingly behind it. For every warm feeling you experience with that person, a shard or two breaks, slowly revealing the other side until you see the complete picture.' - Rachel Gutman
One Year Ago
"Conrad...why are we planting onion sprouts in the middle of February?" Yuuri's teeth chattered in the cold, holding the somewhat depressing sprout between his fingers.
Gunter lovingly began to place the sprout in its dug hole with a benign smile. "What is this...'February', you speak of, Heika? Is it a word from your original country?"
"He means, 'Februar', Gunter,"(1) Conrad answered with a friendly smile, even with the smudges of dirt gracing his cheeks, he looked completely angelic. "In answer to your question, Heika, we are planting onions in tradition to Valentine's Day next year."
"Call me Yuuri, Conrad," Yuuri eyes narrowed in confusion, trying to add two and two together. "But why onions?"
"Oh dear! I completely forgot to tell him about holiday customs!" Gunter wailed comically. "My beloved Heika! I have denied you of all the knowledge I promised to you! Please forgive this insignificant subject!"
Wolram, who was silently on Yuuri's right, rolled his eyes when his fiancé tried to appease the sobbing Gunter. "Wimp, we plant onions so we can give them to the people we care about. I thought your customs were the same as ours?"
"I'm not a wimp!" Yuuri retorted in a well-rehearsed format. "I mean, we give chocolates and romantic stuff for Valentine's Day and White Day, but never onions! Don't they repulse you guys?" It was rather eccentric to imagine giving your crush a smelly onion.
"Repulse?" Gwendal shook his head in exasperation. "Onions are the most diversified vegetables in the world."
"Why?" Yuuri tilted his head cutely to the side in confusion which caused Gunter another huge nosebleed. He had to watch himself from dripping blood on his precious sprout. "Do they come in different colors or something?"
"Actually, they look like any other common variety onion you find in your own world, Hei—I mean Yuuri," Conrad corrected gently after receiving a look from his King. "The only difference is that each onion planted by an individual gives off a different taste and scent."
"How does that work?"
"You pour your majutsu into it, wimp," Wolfram answered indignantly. "They don't magically become different for no reason. You use your majutsu to pour your heart into its growth and the ending product would be the onion that would shape your destiny with the one you love."
Yuuri was used to Wolfram's random poetic moments, but what he said got him interested. "Why? Is there a trick to this 'onion tradition'?"
"If your onion matches in taste and smell with another's onion, it is a sign of a fortunate love," Gwendal replied as if there was a bad taste in his mouth. He wasn't the romantic type. "It would mean that person to be your other half in every way."
"Really?! That's so cool!" Yuuri's smile caused the others to turn away from the brightness of it. "I can find that one girl I've been searching for!"
"What was that, wimp?!" Wolfram furiously began hitting his dense fiancé's head with a scoop. "You cheater!! Why have a girl when you've got me??"
"Ow, ow, ow!! Wolfram, stop it!!" Yuuri wailed in pain, feeling the multiple bumps on his head.
Wolfram swiftly and quickly finished planting his onion sprout, got up to brush himself off and went back into the warm castle, obviously hurt by Yuuri's comment. Conrad and Gwendal knew that Wolfram suddenly left to find a place to cry from the aggravation of Yuuri's naivety with their personal life.
Sometimes they wished that Yuuri would grow up to understand Wolfram's feelings. Or that Wolfram would just give up the fact that Yuuri would ever acknowledge them.
One Year Later
The residence in Blood Pledge Castle was bustling with people going left and right to retrieve the now sprouted onions, hoping that their scent would match their loved ones. But because Yuuri was too busy doing paperwork, Gunter had to retrieve his onion for him.
When the silver haired Mazoku returned, though, Yuuri found him extremely depressed. "What's wrong, Gunter?"
All he heard was sniffles and 'They don't match'.
Yuuri looked at Gunter's onion, that had a silver wrapping and a rather strange smell emanating from it and the Maou took a cautious sniff of the onion. "It smells like sweet roses, Gunter..."
"Thank...you...Heika..." Gunter answered through his sniffling. "But...yours..." He gently held Yuuri's onion up.
It looked like a regular onion, the ones that his mother usually bought at the supermarket. It even smelled the same and he felt rather ashamed of it. "It's just like every other onion back on Earth." Yuuri sniffed disappointedly.
"Forgive me, Heika, but it does give off a strange smell..." Gunter visibly dropped the onion onto Yuuri's hands and stepped back to prevent himself from tearing up at the strong smell. "I haven't smelled anything like it before."
Yuuri sighed as Conrad came in and looked rather interestedly at the onion in Yuuri's hand. "Strange. I recognized that same smell from somewhere..."
"Well you've been to Earth, haven't you?" Yuuri grumbled half-heartedly. "It smells like all the other onions from Earth...heck, it even looks like them too! Did I do something wrong?!"
Conrad chuckled. "Of course not, Yuuri. It's your own, special smell."
"That's not funny," Yuuri mock glared. "The last thing I want to be known is that my scent makes girls cry!"
"It's not that you intentionally make them cry, Yuuri, it just...your scent is pretty strong..." Conrad revealed his own onion when his King practically demanded with his eyes to show him. It was a rather beige color and Yuuri could smell gingerbread wafting from it.
"This is so wrong."
Yuuri had then made it his personal mission to smell out his true love, even to go so far as to smell Dorcas' onion (which smelled of ginger).
Wondering whether having an onion the same as Earth was the inevitable reason, he visited Murata in Shinou's Temple, where he was flooded with priestesses begging to match onions.
When he finally got to him, to his dismay, he found Murata's onion an indigo shade that smelled of boysenberries.
"Did you want them to match, Shibuya?" Murata chuckled playfully at Yuuri's grumpy face.
"How come mines smells like any other onion back on Earth?" Yuuri grumbled, holding up his 'valentine' with a sigh.
Murata gave a good sniff and licked his lips. "Yum! The scent is so strong! It's a Maou's stench, alright!"
"Gross, Murata," Yuuri stuffed the onion into his pocket when the priestesses around them began to cringe from the smell. "No girl would want this onion!"
"Well maybe the onion's recipient isn't technically a girl...?" Murata whispered wisely to Yuuri's retreating back, the King going on another relentless search for his valentine.
Cheri's smelled like fresh strawberries, Gisela's tasted like green apples and Anisissa's had a pomegranate scent.
He considered starting a kingdom wide search when he accidentally bumped into little Greta down the hallway, who looked like she was having a fun time smelling the fruits of the holiday.
"Ne, Father!!" Greta pinched her nose in disgust. "Your onion makes me want to cry!"
"Sorry, Sweetheart," Yuuri placed his onion behind his back in an attempt to hide the smell. "Where have you been today?"
The little red head smiled almost sadly. "I came back from saying good-bye to Uncle Wolfram before he left for the borders. He didn't want anyone to wish him off, but I couldn't help it."
Yuuri's complexion turned sober. Ever since he broke off the engagement with the blond Mazoku, they've been seeing each other less and less with his awkwardness and the blond's obvious pain whenever they saw each other. Sometimes he even missed the eighty percent of his bed being occupied by the flame-crazy Mazoku.
Wolfram had volunteered to permanently move into the Voltaire Castle, whose Kingdom rested on the border-line between Shin Makoku's allies and enemies. When Gwendal questioned if his intentions were simply personal, Wolfram replied that his only use to Yuuri was to uphold the peace, something that he had to do. Yuuri was touched by his actions, but even more saddened by his words for some reason.
He nearly forgot that Wolfram was leaving today, being too busy finding his onion's partner. He began to subconsciously wonder what Wolfram's onion smelled like. Was it a creamy buttermilk scent he remembered giving off after taking a bath? Or, was it fresh bread and honey when they slept in his bed every night?
He shook his head venomously. He needed to stop that. "Did Wolfram have his onion with him, Greta?" When she nodded vigorously, he added, "What did it smell like?"
She opened her mouth to respond when Gwendal came out of one of the doors, a tic apparent on his face. "Don't tell Anisissa that I came through here." And with that, he ran the opposite direction.
And speak of the devil, the inventive red-head appeared, onion in one hand and a strange instrument in the other. "Have you seen Gwendal? I wanted to try out the onion-love-finds-its-true-love-kun on him!"
Yuuri shook his head in respect to Gwendal's request, then eyed the invention warily. "Does that really help find your onion's other half?"
"Do you want to give a go, instead...?" Anisissa edged up to him mischievously. "The stronger the scent, the easier it is to locate the significant other! Since Gwendal's had a strong scent of violets, he seemed perfect, but then there was a go around claiming that your onion has a scent that could bring people to tears...!" Yuuri frowned indignantly at her words. "Can I see it?!"
He grudgingly showed his 'prized' onion and she recoiled from the smell. "Sweet Shinou, it stinks!"
"Gee thanks," Yuuri replied sarcastically as Greta giggled. "Can you find her for me?"
"And what if it's a guy?" The red head whispered knowingly, causing Yuuri to blush madly.
"T-that won't happen! I'm not interested in guys!"
"Of course, Heika," Anisissa grinned a cat's grin. "Shall we test out my invention then?"
After Yuuri sent Greta to her daily tutor, he gave his onion to the crazy inventor in his futile attempts to find his Valentine.
It lasted nearly the whole day; following the invention's directions like a metal detector picking up the scents, until they reached Yuuri's room, to which he raised his eyebrow. The red head's machine going nuts at whatever was behind the door.
"Is the thing broken or something, von Karbelnikoff?" Yuuri opened the door to unsurprisingly, see an empty room.
"Hmm..." Anisissa shook the machine for good measure. "Must be the battery or something. Well, that's why inventors experiment their products before putting it on the market! Back to the lab!" With a dramatic sweep, she ran down the hallway to her mechanical sanctuary.
"Hey! Wait!" Yuuri yelled indignantly. "You were supposed to help me!" He then wondered if he should bring a cell phone to Shin Makoku and flaunt it to her in revenge.
Wolfram wouldn't have stood by and let others desert him like that. Thinking to himself all the things that Wolfram would have done if he were beside him, he grudgingly decided to at least see the blond off at an attempt to reconcile before he never saw him again.
Strangely, it made him empty inside at the thought of never seeing the blond again, something he was foreign to. He concluded that it may be because of the close friendship he had with Wolfram.
He reached the entrance of Blood Pledge Castle, to find Wolfram already finishing saddling up his prized horse. Knowing the little time he had left, he increased his speed, calling Wolfram's name.
Wolfram tightened the belt hugging the saddle and turned almost reluctantly to see his ex-fiancé halting toward him and braced himself. "Heika," He responded like an emotionless servant to the King. "Is there something you need before I go?"
Yuuri looked surprised. "What happened to calling me Yuuri?"
"I lost that privilege when you broke that engagement, Heika," Wolfram proceeded to mount the saddle when he felt the end of his sleeve being clenched by the dark haired Maou.
"Come on, Wolfram," Yuuri pleaded. "Just because we're not fiancé's anymore doesn't mean we still can't have that same friendship we had before!"
Wolfram met his eyes and Yuuri saw for the first time the pain and anger within them and he was frightened by it. The blond Mazoku pulled his sleeve away from Yuuri's fingers and tightened his reins. "It wasn't just friendship, Heika," He turned his horse so he could face away from the crushed look Yuuri was giving him. "For me, it was something more special than that."
"Wolfram..." Yuuri said quietly to the blond's back, unable to defend himself with those words. He knew that Wolfram wanted something more from him, but he didn't seem to feel the same way. At least, back then he thought so.
"Goodbye Yuuri." Wolfram led his horse out the gate to begin his journey, leaving a quite saddened King behind. It became quite clear to him and it daunted him for that one fact.
He might never hear the outspoken blond call him Yuuri again.
Wolfram's departure from the castle pained him more than he anticipated. It felt like the castle wasn't homely anymore; the hall seemed cold and empty without the fiery presence of the third Mazoku Prince stomping through them.
He found himself tossing his strong smelling onion up and down with his hand, visualizing every memory his ex-fiancé had done with every room he randomly went into. He even sat down in Wolfram's favorite plush chair in the library, subconsciously realizing that the chair's warmth once belonged to the blond.
When he worked on this world's handwriting he found himself quite agitated with how childish it looked and expected Gunter to criticize it since he had been working on it for a few months now.
But when Gunter complimented him on his effort, he found himself strangely disappointed.
Wolfram would've told it to me straight. Yuuri had thought as he started tossing his onion again.
Later on, he had an economy lesson with a singed Gwendal, (Anisissa had finally caught up with him), and could not muster up the concentration needed to answer Gwendal's review questions.
He was expecting, no, hoping that Gwendal would antagonize him for not doing his job learning, but the stoic sibling only grunted in annoyance and moved on to the next section.
Wolfram would've smacked me upside the head for my attention. Yuuri's second thought was preoccupied with the rolling of the onion against the desk.
Cheri and Gisela had a couple of formal outfits he needed for social gatherings to try on and he was forced into an over-exaggerated frill coat that made him look like an England Loyalist back in the Revolution.
But the two women found it quite handsome and praised it so much that he had the sinking feeling he was going to wear it at the next social gathering.
Wolfram would've found it revolting as well and would demand for something else that would compliment my body shape. Yuuri found himself squeezing his onion without knowing it.
When he sparred with Conrad, he made half-hearted attempts at lunging his blade at his Godfather, too immersed in a strange emptiness inside of him.
Knowing that Yuuri would not be able to concentrate this way, he called it a day and led him to a resting spot under the tree that Yuuri remembered Wolfram sitting under while reading a book when he and Conrad sparred.
They sat down gratefully on the soft, but cold ground; Morgif moaning and whining from the February cold.
"Miss Wolfram, Heika?" Conrad's all-knowing smile was slowly making Yuuri annoyed.
"He's only been gone for a few hours, Conrad," Yuuri muttered mechanically. "And call me Yuuri."
"I see you haven't been successful with finding your valentine," Conrad noticed the infamous Yuuri Onion sitting innocently beside Morgif, who weeped from the stench. "But I'm pretty sure I've smelled that same scent somewhere in the castle today."
Yuuri shook his head in defeat. "I've tried everyone today. No one has the same disgusting stench as me..."
"Then, I guess that's it then?" Conrad complied as he heaved himself up. "Maybe next Valentine's Day."
"That's it?" Yuuri echoed incredulously. "Just hit the showers and call it a day? Goodbye true love?!"
Conrad shook his head in placation. "Not everyone finds their true love every Valentine's day, Yuuri. Don't get discouraged."
"But..!!" Yuuri sighed in agitation and looked away, perturbed. "Wolfram would've helped me in the end no matter how hopeless it got."
That was when Conrad gave an even bigger all-knowing smirk. "But Wolfram isn't here anymore, is he?"
"It wasn't my fault!" Yuuri defended, despite the fact that Conrad had not blamed him for anything. "He just suddenly decided to move to the edge of the world on his own accord! I didn't ask him to leave!" Yuuri picked up the onion and began to clutch it in his hand so tightly that he caused the brown paper to break under his fingers. "Why did he do such a stupid thing?! Why does he make it so difficult for me to cope?! It always has to be his way! Why can't it be my way?!"
"No one is in control of your actions but you, Yuuri," Conrad peacefully answered. "Maybe you think Wolfram's having such an influence on you negatively is because you won't understand the fact that maybe somewhere deep inside, you find it endearing."
"Me? Enjoying the fact that every interaction I had with a girl ended with him calling me a cheater? Or how he would get clingy with me at every private interval? How about him calling me a wimp whenever I screw up at something?" Yuuri could drone on and on about Wolfram's faults, but then it suddenly felt insulting to do so without the blond to back himself up.
He did remember the many times Wolfram threw himself into the path of danger when he had done something stupid for the sake of peace, or how he took such a liking for Yuuri's human daughter that he accepted her as part of the family so easily. Wolfram criticizing him when needed, backing him up whenever he came up with a lame idea to solve a conflict, respecting his wishes not to battle, nursing him when he fell ill...
Wolfram teaching him how to ride a horse.
Wolfram spending quality time with his mother on Earth.
Wolfram affectionately calling him a wimp.
His strengths out-weighed his faults and he knew it, no matter how much he tried to suppress it, there was no other substitute.
Heaving the howling Morgif on his shoulder, he bade Conrad good evening and journeyed back to his empty bedroom, the onion stabbed into for dear life on Morgif's blade.
Throwing the onion stabbed sword on the love-seat, he flopped onto his bed, ready to just sleep the unknown pain away.
He stayed as far away from Wolfram's side as possible, not willing to come to terms with the fact that he might never see the blond again.
But during his self-induced depression, he resolved to flip to the side of Wolfram's side to least remember how the frilly pink gown moved, he smelled his onion wafting around there.
That was impossible. His onion was dejectedly stabbed on the love-seat, which was near Yuuri's side of the bed.
Resolute to find the source of the stench, he turned to Wolfram's side and was face-to-face with his onion's double, sitting rather simply on a note.
Save the crinkly brown paper and stabbed hole like his onion, the onion on the bed looked exactly like his. It's stench was even as strong as his, if not more.
He held it in his hands and it seemed alive the moment he touched it. Glancing at the paper still sitting on the pillow, he realized that it's contents may hold the name to his true love.
Picking it up and unfolding it, the writing format was surprisingly in Japanese instead of Mazoku handwriting, written in a poem format.
Not a red rose or a satin heart.
I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.
It will blind you with tears
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.
I am trying to be truthful.
Not a cute card or kissogram.
I give you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
possessive and faithful
as we are,
for as long as we are.
Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding ring,
if you like.
Its scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife.
It didn't have a name on it, but it didn't need one. Yuuri knew at once, who the note belonged to.
He felt his eyes water, but it wasn't from the onion held quite limply in his hand. The realization was becoming clear to him. It wasn't really the matter of love or friendship. He couldn't understand love if he never experienced it before.
Wolfram could possibly be the only closest thing to his version of true love. Could it be considered love if the only reason he thought of Wolfram was because he needed him? Wanted him to hog the bed again?
For the moment, he felt more happy to have Wolfram next to him than a lone onion. Maybe...even if the onion was the complete opposite of his it wouldn't have mattered. His feelings wouldn't have changed because of it.
He finally understood the meaning of the Mazoku Valentine's Day. The onion was a metaphor of the type of love one can give to someone. Wolfram had summed it all up in one poem.
Wolfram was good at telling it to him plain and simple so he could understand.
Smiling to himself, he summoned a messenger over.
"Please give this to Wolfram von Bielefeld as soon as possible," Yuuri un-skewered his onion from Morgif and dropped it onto the messenger's confused hands. "Tell him the castle wants him to come home...I...want him home. And if he won't listen, tell him that he can torch me if he wants, just as long as he comes home. I want to see him."
Saluting, he left as quickly as possible, leaving Yuuri to stand at the window and wait...hoping, no-- faithfully waiting for Wolfram to come home.
And by the breaking of the day, when Wolfram will come riding towards the gates, loyal to the summons of his King and the golden sun shining brilliantly on his blond hair, Yuuri would reaffirm the fact that it might not be love now--
--but it was getting very close to be.
(1): I'm pretty sure in Kyou Kara Maou, Shin Makoku's language is German, because Yuuri (who was named for Shin Makoku's July), would make it Yuli, therefore February would be Februar in German. Yuuri's interpretation of February is not the English term, but the Japanese one: Nigatsu, which means, 'second month'. There's no strange name to it like February, that's why he was confused with the name.
Edit: I spelled Anisissia's last name wrong, so I changed it. Nothing else, really.
Happy Belated Valentine's Day!!