But One Of Many.
It´s the twelfth time in less than two weeks that he wakes up from the same nightmare, half freezing and trembling bad enough that he has woken up even Wolfram, worrying him rather than annoying him.
"I'm sorry," Yuuri apologizes, accepting the glass of water Wolfram gives him, looking up as Conrad walks inside. "It's just so real..."
"What is it about, Yuuri?"
"There's a boy... or maybe two, I'm not sure," Yuuri answers Conrad, frowning a little. "I think two... one is in a tower and the other one is surrounded by bodies and they're cold and suffering and..."
And then he shivers, fighting tears because the boys had been hurting so badly and they were so thin and it hurt to know that, it hurt so much to know how scared they were. Wolfram's hand is warm on his back for a momen and Yuuri does his best to control himself.
"But it's just a dream, right?" Wolfram asks, frowning.
Conrad humms a little, thoughtful.
"I don't know. I thought it was, at first but I keep dreaming of these kids..." Yuuri one hand against his eyes, as if he could stop the images he has been having nightmares about, but they seem tattooed to his eyelids, impossible to get rid off, not while those children are suffering.
"We should bring this with the Great Sage," Conrad says finally. "And with Ulrike. They might now if this is an omen of some sort."
"Can we go now?" Yuuri asks. It's so late that it's even early, but he can't wait. He needs to know why he's dreaming about those two children and if they're suffering he needs to find a way to help them.
"Your dreams seem to be real, your Majesty," Ulrike informs him, sad and low, her eyes full of sorrow. Murata keeps his arms crossed and looks thoughtful.
Yuuri is broken hearted. "What? You mean... those children are really suffering through that?"
He really had hoped that it was some kind of symbollic dream, something that wouldn't make those things he had seen not real.
Ulrike nods. "I believe you are reacting to that place and those children wishes."
"That's not important!" Yuuri interrupts Günther from making anymore questions, Gwendal frowning. "The thing is, we have to save them!"
"It's not that simple, Majesty," Conrad starts, but Yuuri interrupts him too.
"Yes it is! I'm not going to let them like that! They're starving and alone and cold and they're not even together!"
"Are they here in this world, Yuuri?" Wolfram asks then, serious. "In human territory? Are they mazoku?"
"Those children are not from our world," Ulrike says, showing her crystal ball. Smoke gathers around it, hard and thick, and Yuuri feels frustration build up.
And then, Murata who had been standing off to the side, pushes his glasses up and grins, lazy and serious and with a hint of 'this is gonna be gold' and 'crap'.
"Well, I do know the Dimensional Witch, y'know," and then he sighs. "It's just not gonna be cheap."
"Well, it's been a while, Sage," the woman that speaks through the mirror says.
She's as beautiful as Cheri-sama, with dark, dark hair flowing down her back, her expression somehow similar to Murata's and yet different.
Murata grins and bows. "That, it has been. Have you been well, Yuuko-san?"
"I can't complain," and then her red eyes are focused on him and Yuuri tries to ignore the feeling of having seen her before, clenches his hands not to hide. "King Yuuri. You have a wish, I presume?"
"Yes," Yuuri swallows and explains his dreams, the wish to save those children no matter what.
The woman is silent for a long, long while and Yuuri does his best to keep on looking at her, even though the expression in her eyes seems to be burning down every single little doubt he has ever had. Then she takes a drag of whatever it is she's smoking, and the smoke curls away from her mouth and the mirror and it crosses over to them. Yuuri feels himself surrounded, but somehow knows this won't harm him.
"Would you really pay the price to be able to get there?"
"Yes," there is no doubt in his voice.
"Anything?" There's a drawl in Yuuko's voice, almost like a smirk. Yuuri is sure he has heard it before, somewhere, but he can't focus on that right now.
"If it's something I, Shibuya Yuuri, can give, then yes."
And then Wolfram hits him, right on the head.
"What this idiot of a king wants to say," Wolfram says, as if he hadn't just cuffed him. "Is that we'd like to know the price first, and then I'll also help with it."
"Well, if you're going to bring more children here, I'll have to get involved, won't I?" Wolfram says, haughty and huffing, but there's a soft dusting of pink on his cheeks that makes Yuuri smile, just a little.
"I as well would like to help to pay the price," Conrad says, bowing. Günther, and then Gwendal, also agree to helping, and Yuuri feels so much for these people that he could break down and cry.
There's something that seems pleased about the woman, and Murata's eyes seem hidden behind his glasses. But before Yuuri can ask, a crystal orb appears through the mirror, floating towards him.
"Each of you, touch it for a moment," Yuuko says, her voice serious. "It will extract exactly one eight of your maryoku, enough so that the way to the world you saw may open exactly twice and no more, but be aware that by opening the way, the shield that had been protecting your world might not be the same again."
"I will protect this world, no matter what happens," Yuuri says, firm.
Yuuko nods her head softly.
"Lord Weller, I will need five drops of your blood upon the water."
As Yuuri picks up the orb, he closes his eyes and thinks – those children, so alone and sad and then he thinks of water and then there's this pull... he staggers for a moment, right unto Conrad's arms as he takes a deep breath, his blood rushing and part of him panicking and...
"I'm fine," he says, doing his best to stand up straight. "I was just not expecting it."
He offers the ball and Wolfram mutters a 'wimp' before he takes it: Yuuri sees him go pale and he feels the maryoku as if it was going to attack and then it's quickly contained, two balls – red and blue – inside the orb. Gwendal picks it up next, and his maryoku seems green inside before Günther takes it, and then Murata is taking the orb again, offering it towards the illusion of the witch.
"The price has been given. Now, Majesty," Yuuko adds with a soft smile that eases whatever dreariness he had felt before. "Step unto the water, if you'd please, and think about the children."
Yuuri nods. He's still a little shaky after the loss of maryoku, but then he closes his eyes and pictures the blond hair and the thin faces, the ragged fingernails and he feels just sad and angry and--
--Cold, very cold as he realizes that he's in the cell he saw, and the little boy he had seen is pressing against a wall, his eyes wide as he trembles in fear.
Yuuri kneels down and smiles. He wishes the witch had given him more warning: he would've brought jackets or coats or something.
"My name's Yuuri," he tells the kid, trying to make his voice sound as soft as he can. "And I'm here to take you and your brother somewhere else."
"My..." and that makes the boy react: his eyes go fierce and sudden and he gets close to him. "My brother! Please, sir, you have to help Yuui! I don't care what happens to me, but... Yuui... please, save him!"
Yuuri sees how thin he is, how sunken the eyes despite the tears that are appearing and for one long moment he wishes he could find whoever did this, but he doesn't press upon his rage. Not the place, not the time.
Instead he makes himself smile as he puts a hand on the boy's shoulders, nodding a little.
"I'm here to save you both. What's your name?"
The boy's still trembling, both in shock and hopes and plain exhaustion, and Yuuri doesn't doubt anymore before he takes off his jacket, drapping it over bony shoulders, wishing that Wolfram was here so that he could help him keep this boy warm.
"Okay, Fai. Let's go and pick up Yuui, okay? And then we're getting outta here."
The boy takes the offered hand and Yuuri smiles at him before he does what the witch told him again – he thinks about the boys and how sad and his name is Yuui and --
Yuuri opens his eyes and he tries not to gag as he sees the corpses that are around. They're not decomposing, any of them, wide eyed and with the blood looking almost fresh. Fai let go of his hand the second he saw his brother, and Yuuri notices the small boy that's huddled over the snow for a moment before he launches himself to his brother's arms, sobbing and screaming in panic.
His heart aches and Yuuri waits by their side as both brothers cry, knowing the relief that comes through tears and if he wipes his eyes a little too much, well.
After a little while, when the tears have almost stopped and the brothers are holding unto each other's hands as tight as they can, Yuuri gets close to them again and he kneels by their side. It's kinda hard to be sure about their ages, but Yuuri can't wait until the moment where they're well fed and bathed and they actually smile. For now, he smiles for them both, as he introduces himself towards Yuui and he repeats that he's taking them both home.
"But we're dangerous!" Yuui says, as if hoping for something better was actually painful. "We're cursed! We brought bad luck to this whole country! I-it's our fault that..."
Fai swallows a little, holding Yuui's hand a little tighter and he, too, looks at Yuuri as if he wanted very much to say yes, but at the very same time wanted to say no.
"W-we can't be together... t-that's why we're here..."
So Yuuri stops trying to fool himself and he hugs them both. He feels the way they tense and he's reminded of Greta, the times when she used to do the same when he and Wolfram had just adopted her, unused at someone being kind to her, unused at someone caring so he keeps on holding them.
"I've never heard of something like that in Shin Makoku," he tells them both, doing his best to keep his voice cheery. "And even if there's something like that, I've got a whole bunch of people that's used to me causing mayhem every other day, so things will be alright. I mean, if you wanna."
He pulls a little back and sees wonder on their little faces, and Yuuri smiles again.
"I can't promise a lot of things, but I can promise you that, in Shin Makoku, if you want to be together? I'll do everything in my power to keep you safe and happy."
He waits for a few moments as the brothers look at each other, mirror expressions on their faces that Yuuri would have to be blind to miss. They want so bad to believe him... so Yuuri offers them his hands and he grins.
"Let's go home."
Conviniently enough, they appear upon the bath: Yuui and Fai still gasp, shocked, clinging to him as the warm water bites upon their cold skins. Yuuri manages to hike one of them upon his back and the other one over his hip as he takes them to the side of the tub, not at all surprised when Conrad and Wolfram rush inside; the arms around his neck tighten, and Yuuri winces a little, but he reminds himself this is okay.
"Yuuri!" Wolfram glared a little, concern upon his face. "You've been gone for almost a week!"
"Sorry, sorry. Here, lemme introduce you. These," he says smiling, letting go of the twin in front of him to sit down, and then turning so that the other one can do the same, curling close again. "Are Fai and Yuui. Fai, Yuui, these are some of the people I told you make sure I don't do crazy things."
"And yet it never seems to work," Wolfram snorts, but he's taking off his jacket and then rolling up his sleeves, and he's smiling gently as he kneels by the twins' side. "I'm Wolfram. This idiot's fiancé."
"I'll ask one of the maids to bring some clothes for Fai and Yuui," Conrad says with the warmest smile he has, the smile that Yuuri is sure would make anyone trust him, and he's aiming it directly towards Fai and Yuui, who're looking wide eyed. "Is there any color in special you would like to wear?"
Both boys shake their heads no, and Conrad smiles, bowing a little before he steps out. Meanwhile, Wolfram has brought shampoo and soap, and he offers a hand to one of the twins.
"Yuui," the boy says, taking his hand, but not letting go of Fai's.
Wolfram is still smiling the way he usually only does for Greta, when he lets himself be as sweet as Yuuri's sure he actually is, but he pretends he doesn't notice.
"Nice to meet you, Yuui. Would you let me heal you a little bit?"
"Oh, that's right. Is it okay with you, Fai, I can do the same."
"Wimp," Wolfram rolls his eyes: Yuuri sticks his tongue out before the twins look at each other again. Fai is the first one to nod, closing his eyes as if he was expecting it to hurt.
Gisela is going to want to look at them anyway, but at the very least Yuuri can start to help. He lets his maryoku flow, concentrating on the frostbitten fingers, on the little toes, on the scratches upon Fai's face. He hears Yuui mutter about feeling warm, and when he focuses again, Yuui's fingers aren't as red as before, and neither are Fai's.
He smiles and nods a little. "Alright! Now, it's time for you to get clean."
It takes about three hours from the moment that Yuuri arrived with the children to get them unto their room. Once he and Wolfram had helped the boys take a bath and dress upon pajamas that were a little too big on them, Gisela had, indeed, insisted upon checking them. They had eaten upon the infirmary, and it had broken Yuuri's heart the way the had devoured the light soup that Gisela assured them was what they could eat for a couple of days, until their stomaches got used to food again.
At the very least he hadn't been the only one: he had caught the way Wolfram's hands had tightened into fists, and Yuuri is certain that if the person that had put Fai and Yuui there were to be alive still, it wouldn't last for long.
"My older brother helped fix the room," Wolfram tells Yuui, whom he's carrying. The twins're obviously fighting to stay awake despite the fact the sun had just set, but Yuuri can't blame either of them for that. "We can change anything you don't like."
"If you decide to stay with us. You don't have to choose that today or anything," Yuuri says, smiling towards Fai, reaching for the door, but before he is able to, it opens wide with a beaming Greta standing in the middle of it
"Yuuri, Wolfram, I've been waiting!" Their daughter smiles like the sun as she takes upon Fai and Yuui, half bouncing. "Hi! I'm Greta, and I'm your older sister!"
"Greta, we're not sure of their ages."
Greta pouts a little. "It doesn't matter, I'm still your first daughter."
"Nice to meet you," Yuui says, Fai nodding, his greeting drowned by his yawning, which at least made Greta move from the door.
Though the room had, in fact, two beds set, with only a night table between them, Yuuri and Wolfram glance at each other before they go towards the same bed, both knowing from experience how comforting it is when you're scared and your brother is there to keep the nightmares away. Greta picks up one of her fairytale-Anissina-pattented books and she makes to sit by the bed' side.
"I'll read you my favorite so that you can have sweet dreams," she promises, smiling gently. Yuuri laughs a little, shaking his head, tucking the covers around them both, Wolfram leaning against the wall but smiling.
"D'you want anything else? Water?"
Both twins shake their heads no, but Yuui – he had the green nightgown, while Fai had a purple one – looks at him, as if expecting this to be a dream.
"... can we really stay here?"
"If you wanna, sure," Yuuri says, smiling, reaching to caress his hair a little. "No-one's gonna make you do something you don't want to do. If you don't want to be here, we'll find you a nice place to stay there. And if you wanna stay here..."
"I'll show you all the fun places, and I'll help you study!" Greta adds, smiling and excited. "And Lasagna usually gives me extra dessert, I'll tell her to give you some, too!"
"We'll also help you learn how to control your maryo-- your abilities," Wolfram says, his expression warm.
Both boys look overwhelmed, and Yuuri is sure that they're holding hands beneath the covers. He remembers how scared Greta was when she thought that they might, somehow, make her leave, and he can see that fear still deep inside Fai and Yuui's eyes.
Before he can say anything, Wolfram goes to the empty bed and sits down, shrugging at his look.
"I want to hear the story too," it's all that he says.
Yuuri smiles as Greta turns towards him, nodding before he goes to sit down as well. Greta starts reading, sweet and kind, and the twins that have been haunting his nightmares for over two weeks are finally safe.
It's all going to work out, one way or the other. Yuuri's sure of that.