Title: A Billion Points of Light
Fandom(s): Kyou Kara Maou!
Spoilers: The end of season two.
Summary: It never ceased to amaze Yuuri how different Earth and Shin Makoku, and yet how they are so similar all at once.
Warnings: Is there a warning for fluff? I don't know. They never kiss or anything of that sort. Does that require a warning? XD
Disclaimer: Alice does not own Kyou Kara Maou. And you all should be very, very thankful for that.
Author's Notes: IS IT APRIL YET? Sioghsoghosg want season three now A
A Billion Points of Light
Earth, Wolfram had come to decide, was not a terribly unpleasant place to stay. He wouldn't want to live there, absolutely not, but visit for brief periods of time was acceptable (and by brief he generally meant less than two weeks. Not being able to properly communicate with people put a damper on his spirits rather quickly.)
Not that he could admit this to Yuuri. At least, not in a way that might give Yuuri the impression that it was okay to come to Earth often. Still, it was hard to deny the sheer beauty of the place when he was surrounded by it on all sides. He hadn't really been given the chance to admire it on his first few trips to Earth, but now without any threats or evil (unless those cute schoolgirls Wolfram saw Yuuri admiring counted), he had the opportunity to really look and observe and admire what was around him.
The city wasn't all that spectacular, far too industrialized for Wolfram's taste, though Yuuri constantly pointed out that it was one of the less advanced cities in Japan. He did enjoy the trees a great deal, the ones with the small pink and white flowers ("cherry blossoms," Yuuri had called them.)
"We have trees similar to this in Shin Makoku," he'd informed Yuuri the first time he saw them. "Not exactly like this, the flowers are a bit bigger and they're blue instead of pink and white. They're lovely, but they only grow in the outer most areas of the country so I haven't seen one since I was really little."
He didn't mention to Yuuri that he found these trees to be far more beautiful.
"It's strange," Wolfram commented to Yuuri one day when the young king returned home from school, "I was thinking today of how I would describe them – the cherry blossoms I mean – to Gwendal, mother, and Günter when we get back, since I'm sure they're something they would have liked to have seen, something they'd appreciate, but I can't seem to find the right words."
Yuuri blinked at Wolfram, fidgeting a bit as the blond boy set his gaze on him. "That's… a bit ironic, actually. A week or so ago, we were asked in school to write a paper describing what we considered to be the most beautiful thing in the world… and I couldn't do it." He let out a nervous laugh and tugged at his collar, seemingly very uncomfortable. "It's strange how it's so easy sometimes to take a very simple object, an object that isn't generally viewed as something beautiful, and with words you can make it beautiful. However, when presented with something that's truly, completely breathtaking and asked to describe it… it can't be done."
"Maybe," Wolfram said, running his hands through his hair and looking down at the table, where a few pictures Yuuri had taken of the cherry blossoms for him were littered about, "maybe it's because no amount of words could possibly do it justice. No matter how skilled a writer you are, there are some things that simply can't be captured and live up to the real thing."
Yuuri watched Wolfram, silently, his head tilted to the side as he examined the boy in front of him, taking in every detail of his figure, his posture, how he parted his hair, the folds of his clothes. Everything. "That's true," he said, a smile gracing his lips. "Some things are just too beautiful to ever be done justice with words." He had one such thing – or rather, one such person – but he lapsed into silence and watched Wolfram admire the photos and kept his thoughts to himself.
"I have to wonder sometimes," Yuuri said one day, looking at Wolfram with a dazed look on his face, as though he wasn't quite sure what he was saying, let alone why he was saying it. "I have to wonder… why someone like you would love someone like me."
Wolfram froze in mid-action, his hand which has been gliding over the camera he was examining, not lifting his gaze to look at the other boy. "Why… would you wonder about that? Is it so odd that I love you?"
"No! That's not it…"
"Are you that disgusted by it?"
"It's not that either!"
"Then why did you bring it up?"
"It's just…" Yuuri sighed and leaned back in the chair he was seated in across from Wolfram. "It's just… you remember that guy in town yesterday? The one who kept hitting on you?" Wolfram nodded, looking disgusted at the thought. "He kept talking about how… pretty you were. And that group of girls that were giggling when we passed… they said the same things too…"
"I don't see your point, Yuuri."
"I just… I mean… look at me!" Yuuri straightened suddenly and gestured at himself, pointing at his head and moving down. "I'm so… plain looking compared to you. You're so beautiful; you outshine me in every way possible! What about me could you find appealing."
"I don't like you for your looks, Yuuri, though for the record you are adorable."
"Even so," he replied, shaking his head, a frown set firmly in place. "You're always calling me a wimp and you used to treat me like I was inferior. You don't know," he added quickly as Wolfram opened his mouth to retaliate, "but you did and… I don't know. I guess I just don't get… what about me you'd find appealing, looks or otherwise. Our personalities completely clash! And I just don't get… why?"
Wolfram turned the camera over in his eyes, taking in every detail, looking at each button and assessing what its function was. He didn't raise his eyes to look at Yuuri as he spoke. "Yuuri, why is the world round?"
"The world is round. Why?"
"I… I don't know! It just… is! I'm sure there's a reason I just don't know it! What does that have to do with anything?"
"The world is round," Wolfram said, raising the camera up and examining the screen and how it worked. "There's a reason for it, probably, but you don't know what that reason is but it's there and you know it's there but do you ever really question it?"
Yuuri blinked. "I… no?"
"Precisely," the Mazoku said, placing the camera on the table and smiling, pleased with himself.
Yuuri blinked again. "Wolfram, I don't get how that answers my question!"
"Exactly!" Wolfram finally looked at Yuuri and the young king suddenly felt as though he was burning from the intensity of his eyes, such a vivid, livid green that it sent shivers up his spine. "It doesn't. The world is round and it keeps turning and turning and there are reasons for it, some that are obvious, others that require thinking and digging, but they aren't things that you really think about all the time but come to accept as fact anyway. That's sort of what this is like. It's there, no doubt it's there and there are reasons for it, but you just go with it and accept it. Don't question it or ask why, just know that it exists and is strong and constant and will never, ever change. Not while you're alive."
Yuuri blinked, his brow furrowed in confusion. After a minute his eyes widened as though he'd just had some sort of greatepiphany and he smiled. "I don't… completely get the comparison! But I think… I kinda get what you're trying to say. Just be appreciative to the fact that it's there and don't bother with the why or how." Wolfram nodded and Yuuri's grin grew. "I guess… I'll just have to trust you, then! I still think you deserve better but…" He paused here, tilting his head to the side, entirely focused on Wolfram. "But… thank you. For loving me so much. It's a strange feeling… but good, at the same time. That someone in the world, especially you, Wolfram… love me."
"As you should," Wolfram said, raising the camera in front of him to conceal from Yuuri that he was blushing, and mentally reminding himself not to get his hopes up, while Yuuri continued to grin, and they passed the rest of the evening away in a comfortable silence.
"It's weird," Yuuri commented to Wolfram the evening before their return to Shin Makoku.
"What's weird?" Wolfram asked, raising an eyebrow at the other boy who was standing by the window staring listlessly up at the darkening sky.
"The sky is weird."
"Why is the sky weird?"
"Because. It looks like Shin Makoku's sky but it's not." He tilted his head to the side and narrowed his eyes.
"I still don't get why it's weird."
Yuuri was quiet for a moment, drumming his fingers against the window sill. Wolfram frowned and moved to stand next to him, looking him over for a sign of what was ailing him. With his gaze still turned upwards, Yuuri spoke.
"On the first night I spent here on Earth… after I chose to stay here, instead of Shin Makoku… I looked up at the sky and it occurred to me. All those times you and I were separated, or Conrad and I, or Gwendal, Günter, whoever, and I were apart from each other… no matter where in the world we were, I could look up at the sky and know that wherever you were, you would be looking up at the same sky as I was. Maybe the sky would look different, different stars above you, but still the same sky." He paused; brow furrowing and a small, bitter laugh escaped his lips. "It wasn't like that when I was here. I was looking up at this sky, my sky, which looks so much like your sky but isn't the same sky. Oddly enough, that's what really made it sink in that I wasn't going to see you again. We weren't under the same sky anymore."
"But you were wrong," Wolfram pointed out, placing his hand on Yuuri's shoulder and giving it a slight squeeze. "See? I'm still here. You came back."
"I know that…" Yuuri said, leaning slightly into Wolfram's touch without consciously noticing himself doing so. "It's just the idea of it is… kind of alarming to me." He reached forward suddenly and pushed the window open and leaned forward on his elbows so his face was just barely out the window, a gentle breeze filtering in. Wolfram noted in the back of his mind that the stars were reflected dimly in Yuuri's large, dark eyes. "There's a billion points of light up there," Yuuri said, quietly, "and the world shifts and the ones we can see changes but they are all still there. It's weird to be under a sky with another billion points of light and none of them are familiar. None of them are the same."
Wolfram didn't speak for a moment, following Yuuri's gaze. He let out a small laugh. "I'm impressed with you, Yuuri. You're not normally this perceptive."
A lighthearted chuckle was his response. "I know, it's just… it's something that I noticed that really bothered me. And I just think it's weird. Same sky but different. It's a bit upsetting, you know?"
Memories immediately flooded back to Wolfram of the days following Yuuri's departure; how he couldn't stand to so much as look out the window at the star filled sky at night and how those twinkling lights had seemed to mock so much more than bring him comfort in those times. His lips curled upwards in a bittersweet smile. "Yeah. I think I know what you mean."
Yuuri wasn't one for staircases, especially long, winding staircases that seemed to go on forever and ever, and definitely not narrow ones that made him feel as though the walls were closing in on him as he ascended. As such, being forcibly dragged up such a staircase in the middle of the night, after being rudely awakened by a somewhat impatient Wolfram, was a less than pleasant experience for Yuuri. He didn't complain, though. Wolfram seemed eager to show Yuuri whatever it was he wanted to show him and Yuuri was curious as to what was so special that it couldn't wait until morning. Wolfram had specifically instructed him to wear something loose and comfortable; not his pajamas but not his normal uniform, either. Wolfram was dressed similarly and Yuuri couldn't fathom what Wolfram could want to show him that would require such a change and why he had insisted on bringing a blanket.
"We're here," Wolfram said, suddenly, and Yuuri noticed they'd reached the top and were now in front of a door. They must've been in one of the tallest towers in the castle, Yuuri noted, glancing out a small window to his left and taking in just how high up they were. "Come on in," Wolfram said, pulling a key out of his pocket, unlocking the door, and swinging it open. Yuuri followed Wolfram in and immediately felt his breath catch in his throat.
There was a garden on the balcony, not nearly as grand as the ones down below, but equally as beautiful, possibly because it was more simplistic. There was grass beneath Yuuri's feet and a grove of Conrad Stands Upon the Earth a ways to his right as well as several lovely lilac flowers that Yuuri had never seen before scattered around here and there. There was a bench in the middle and Yuuri could see past it a place where the ground seemed to have been turned up, ruined, and never mended. He looked around again, taking it all in, before looking to Wolfram for an explanation of why this was here.
Wolfram seemed to hear the unspoken question.
"When we were younger," he explained, looking around at the place fondly, "shortly after Günter first came to this place, tension between Shin Makoku started rising and it was deemed unsafe for us to come out into the gardens in the evening. Günter thought that wasn't fair to us, because we liked the gardens, and saw how they seemed to put us at ease and so he convinced mother to have a special mini garden just for us placed here. It took almost a year and a half for it to become usable for us but it was well worth the wait. In the evenings, Günter brought us up here and would read us stories and teach us about the stars and their movements and what they meant, the tales about them. Teach us things we didn't learn about in our lessons and just… help us relax and relieve us of our stress."
"All three of you?"
"Yes. It was one of the few times we all could be together and one of the few times I could stand to be around Conrart. It was… nice. See that over there?" He pointed to where the ground was destroyed and Yuuri nodded. "Believe it or not, that's where Gwendal first used his magic successfully. Almost knocked Günter off the balcony, if I remember correctly. He was proud, though."
"So wait… do you guys still come up here?"
Wolfram nodded. "Not together like we did before and not as frequently… but look at this place. It's still alive and thriving. The maids can't get up here, only Gwendal, Conrart, Günter and I have access to this place. So we take care of it… come up here to think and reminisce, I guess. Anyway," Wolfram turned suddenly and grabbed Yuuri's hand, "let's go!"
Yuuri couldn't even open his mouth to respond before Wolfram dragged him over to where the bench was. He released Yuuri's hand as they got there and proceeded to place the blanket on the ground and then lay on his back, facing the sky. He patted the area next to him. "Come on."
"Uh, Wolfram," Yuuri said sheepishly, looking at the prince as though he was just a bit crazy, "there's a bench here you know."
Wolfram nodded up at him. "Yes I know but you can't get as good a view. Come down here."
Yuuri sighed but complied with Wolfram's command, lying himself out on the grass besides Wolfram and turned his gaze upwards. Thousands upon thousands of stars blinked down at him. "It's a really clear night tonight," he commented, not sure what else to say.
"Yeah. That's why I picked tonight."
"You've been planning this?"
Silence lapsed between them, Yuuri growing a bit bored and counting the stars and Wolfram fidgeting a bit beside him, seemingly impatient. After several minutes of awkward silence, Wolfram gasped. "There! There it is!"
"What?" Yuuri said, looking around quickly before he saw what it was Wolfram was talking about and his mouth fell open. "Wow…" he muttered, completely in awe of the spectacle. "That's a comet…" he said, eyes following it as it moved rather slowly across the dark sky, one streak of blue against the black of night.
Wolfram nodded, imitating Yuuri's movements watching the comet. "They call it Shinou's Eternal Light. It comes around once every year and that's probably why you haven't heard of it before since it's not a rare occurrence but… still, it's the first time since you came here and that makes it special. So I wanted you to see."
"That's a lot like something we have on Earth," Yuuri said. "Though it is a rarity there. It's still… really beautiful."
They lapsed into silent and watched it cross the sky and just as quickly as it had come, it disappeared over the horizon and was gone. Neither of them budged or said a word, still staring up at the sky as though they expected it to suddenly return for an encore.
Finally, Wolfram nudged Yuuri to get his attention and once he had it he pointed to a tight bunch of stars. "Have I ever told you about the old legends about what happens to you after you die?"
"…do I want to hear this legend? I don't know if I really would like to hear about death…"
"It's not depressing. Actually, it's sort of happy."
"Oh." Yuuri blinked. "Well. Go on then."
"In Shin Makoku… we don't believe in things like Heaven or Hell the way humans do. We believe in reincarnation for some people but a very popular belief handed down from before Shinou's time is that when we die, we go to an eternal paradise; everyone, including those who, by human standards, would normally be condemned to Hell. They say that those who've sinned in life are not sent to suffer to instead are placed in the sky, isolated, to think, reflect, and repent and once they've completed that they then can enter paradise. So every star we see," Wolfram said, gesturing once more at the lights above them, "is a soul waiting to rest in peace and whenever you see a star go out, it's that soul finally reaching their salvation."
"Ah…" Yuuri wasn't sure how to properly respond to that. It was hard for him to imagine the stars as souls, especially since he knew from school back home that that was a far cry from the truth, but even so, it was an interesting idea and in a way sweet. He liked that everyone could reach this paradise Wolfram spoke of.
Yuuri did a double take and squinted at a certain point in the sky. "Hey, Wolfram?"
"I think I just saw a star go out."
Wolfram leaned closer to Yuuri, trying to see from his angle and frowned. "I think you might be imagining things, Yuuri."
"No, no, I really saw it! A star went out!"
Wolfram frowned deeper and continued to scan the sky. Yuuri glanced at him and then burst out laughing. "What's so funny?" Wolfram asked, bewildered.
"Y-you look so serious!" Yuuri said as his brief laughing fit calmed down, grinning widely at the other boy. "Like it's really something very distressing to you!"
"It's not…" Wolfram said, pouting a bit. "I just think you're crazy is all. Now," he turned his attention back to the stars and Yuuri knew he was trying to change the subject, "I'm going to see if we can spot any constellations… oh! There!"
The rest of the night was spent with Wolfram pointing out various stars, constellations, recalling different tales Günter had told him about when he was younger, and Yuuri listened, completely captivated. There were many strange things in both of the worlds he belonged to but the strangest by far was how the two could be so different and so similar all at the same time and Yuuri couldn't fathom how he had no noticed it before. And here it was, spread out in front of him like white sparkles on a black sheet of velvet, small but so easy to see. "You know what's sad?" Yuuri said, interrupting Wolfram's explanation on the name of the Constellation Rotation.
"I really wish I had a camera right now," Yuuri said, and Wolfram noticed once more how, even under the sky of Shin Makoku, he could still see the stars in Yuuri's eyes.
"Yeah. Me too."
Conrad came up to the balcony garden in the early in the morning at Günter's request. ("The plants need watering, Conrad, and I can't go! I must prepare for my lessons with his majesty!") He couldn't much complain, however, as he enjoyed being up here by himself where none could disturb him and he could find peace.
What he found instead on this morning was Yuuri and Wolfram, curled up together on the ground, a blanket tangled all around them, fast asleep. Upon finding them, Conrad found himself relieved that it was he who found them and not Günter. The advisor was sure to have thought the worst. They didn't wake when Conrad knelt down beside them and gave them both a light shake and it became obvious that they had been up very late. It was also hard for him to miss the fact that Yuuri's arm was thrown over Wolfram's waist and Wolfram's head was resting against the crook of Yuuri's neck.
A fond smile on his face, Conrad seated him on the bench and waited patiently for his godson and little brother to wake up. And two hours later, when Yuuri would wake up, he'd spring to his feet, declaring over and over that it wasn't at all what it looked like. He'd throw his arms in the air and flail a bit, moving away from Wolfram and telling Conrad to whip that grin off his face. His antics would wake Wolfram, who'd accuse Yuuri of being noisy and a wimp and that would lead into an argument like every other morning, and Conrad would watch, that knowing smile still in place. And they'd all leave together, and Yuuri and Wolfram wouldn't explain to Conrad, and Conrad wouldn't mention to anyone, and they'd forget the blanket they'd slept on behind, forgotten, the only proof that their night under the stars had happened at all.
I honestly can't decide if I like this piece of not. Part of me does, part of me doesn't. I really don't know, so I'd love some feedback. Love, hate, want more, want no more? Not more of this piece, obviously, it's a one-shot, but more like it, I guess? And as always, thoughts on characterization and how I can improve in that department are much appreciated.
Thank you all for reading!
…please be April now. A