Conrad's Lullaby

Gwendal sat up in bed, giving up the notion of sleeping. It has been two days since Conrad and Yuri disappeared. This term used loosely on the subject of Conrad because no one knows if he was dead or alive. He could still hear Wolfram scream out for their missing brother. He knew Yuri was safe, Greta confirmed that much.

It was painful for her, he knew, but she told them what happened: the arrow Gunter was shot with, the sword fight Conrad faced, and the enemies cutting off his arm. All the way to Yuri disappearing into the picture. Gwendal had promised her that he would find Yuri, and he intended to keep that promise.

Lord Voltaire had much on his plate. From ruling his late father's estate to dealing with the royal duties in the Maoh's absence. To top it all, Gunter was poisoned with the Wincott poison, and Wolfram was even moodier than before. Despite it all, Gwendal knew his youngest brother was trying to be strong for his daughter. Lord Bielefeld was considered rather moody when he was unusually quiet.

With these thoughts running through his mind, Gwendal looked out to see rain pouring down. It was not storming, but it was heavy enough to reconsider of walking in. Gwendal thought a walk through Covenant Castle would calm his thoughts, and help him get some sleep. He got out of bed, put on his uniform, and a waterproof cloak.

He did not know why, but he felt he should bring an extra cloak with him.

Something told him to go into the palace garden. It was a feeling he had when he knew Conrad was close by. It was as if Conrad was there, telling him that there something was in the palace garden, of all places, that he needed to investigate. The rain kept hammering the grounds.

Through the heavy rain Gwendal could just make out the figure. The figure was of average height and thin, like many of the soldiers in the palace but Gwendal could see the difference of that figure from the other soldiers anywhere.

What was Wolfram doing up, and in the rain?

Gwendal walked over towards the blond and slowed as Wolfram bent down, looking at the blue flower. Gwendal then heard a soft murmur from him, the closer he came the more the words sound as if Wolfram was singing them. Singing was one of the few things Wolfram rarely did. Gwendal stood and listened.

May ah eh ya...
May ah eh ya...

See two young wolves
Gazing in the moonlight

May ah eh ya...
May ah eh ya...

Cast away thy nightmares fright
Brother is here throughout the night

Brother's the moon
which comforts you
from the evil midnight spell

Brother's the trees
which you lean on,
as you walk the long long road

Brother's the rock
which shades you from
the scorching desert sun

Brother is here throughout the night
To cast away thy nightmares fright

The blond's shoulders shook then. Sobs came from him.

"Conrad..." he murmured, a sob escaping his lips, "Koonichan..." It was then Gwendal stepped forward. Without a word, he wrapped the second cloak around the blond.

The sudden warmth made Wolfram look up in surprise. He hastily wiped his tears which really could not be seen with the raindrops running down his cheeks as well.

"Anu-we?" asked Wolfram. Gwendal still did not say anything as he grasped the blond's shoulder and led him into the shelter of the terrace. For a while, neither of them said anything. Wolfram avoided his brother's eyes.

The silence hung between them for a moment. Gwendal looked at his brother's small and wet form. Wolfram was avoiding his gaze. "Were you trying to get sick?" Gwendal asked bluntly, "If you want to worry your daughter more, then be my guest."

"I don't feel cold," Wolfram murmured. Gwendal arched an eyebrow at that. Wolfram was shivering from standing in the rain, but his teeth didn't shatter. He seemed to be in more pain than Gwendal had anticipated. Because of his duty as a high ranking soldier, the Maoh's fiance and a father, Wolfram did not have time to cry for Conrad.

Gwendal sighed then and hugged his brother. Wolfram stood frozen, surprise evident in his green eyes. "I told you before," Gwendal murmured into his ear, his voice softer and kinder, "Don't be like me." Hearing this Wolfram tried in vain to push Gwendal away, but the elder brother held him firmly in his embrace.

Gwendal continued, "Be like me, and you'd make other's around you sad." He was not about to let his brother go from his embrace any time soon.

"I have to be strong," Wolfram protested, his hands clenched into fists, "I have to be strong like you."

"I'm your brother," Gwendal reprimanded gruffly, "I have to be strong for you."

"You don't know what I'm feeling!"

"Enlighten me, then."

Wolfram just grunted and clenched his fists, Gwendal's green uniform entangled within his fingers.

"Am I really that predictable?" Wolfram murmured through clenched teeth.

"Conrad could very well see through you," Gwendal replied, "He accepted you, and loved you. Do you think he'd be happy to see you out in the rain, mourning for him?"

"I don't want his efforts to be in vain," said Wolfram, shaking his head, "Yuri..."

"Is not here now," Gwendal said bluntly, "When he returns, yes, you have to be strong for him. Right now, you don't have to be strong in front of me. And if I know his Highness, he would say the same thing." Wolfram avoided his eyes.

"Besides," he added, his blue eyes softened, "Conrad's still alive somewhere."

The statement the older man made Wolfram look up in surprise, "How do you know he's still alive, anu-we?"

"Because he's here," said Gwendal, laying a hand where Wolfram's heart is, "Otherwise, you wouldn't be standing near those blue flowers and murmuring that lullaby."

Wolfram released the tension in his body then and leaned against Gwendal's sturdy frame. "It was Conrad's lullaby," Wolfram murmured, "He used to sing it to me whenever I had nightmares."

"You had a nightmare tonight?" Gwendal asked, bringing Wolfram close to him again. He then guided the blond to a bench, overlooking the garden. It was awhile before Wolfram nodded in answer. "I kept seeing that arm," Wolfram explained, shuddering, "it was moving on it's own. I kept hearing Conrad's voice too."

He paused for a long moment before continuing, "I then found myself running towards his voice, but... he kept moving away. The more I ran to him the further I am from him..." Tears came to his eyes again, Wolfram quickly shut them tightly. "I want to tell him I'm sorry," he whispered then.

Gwendal, for the first time in years, felt sorry for his youngest brother. Conrad was no longer there... Wolfram, trained as he was, looked defenceless. "I've been nothing but a selfish, arrogant, brat," Wolfram whispered. Tears poured. "I know what people say about me behind my back," the blond continued, "but I cannot forgive myself for treating Conrad that way. I don't know why he kept tolerating it."

He knew what Wolfram said was only half true. Wolfram was a brat. The blond was selfish and irrational. And as reckless as his brothers were, though Gwendal would never admit it. But what was untrue about the statement, is that Conrad never did tolerate Wolfram. No one deserved to be tolerated, least of all Wolfram. It takes patience to be around Wolfram, but never tolerance. It was patience Conrad displayed, patience fuelled by love. He debated whether to tell Wolfram whether it was patience rather than tolerance.

It was time to tell Wolfram the truth.

"Wolfram," Gwendal spoke in the most gentle voice Wolfram had ever heard, "He loves you, no matter what you are."

"How do you know that?" the blond asked, his green eyes filled with un-shed tears.

"I'm the same," said Gwendal. This proved to be too much for Wolfram. He buried his face into Gwendal's chest and cried his heart out, cried his loss of a brother. Gwendal just sat there, holding him. It was sometime before the blond said, "You can let go of me now."

Gwendal gently removed his arms from his baby brother. Wolfram stood up. For a awkward moment they stayed at that position. Silence within the rain.

"Thank you," Wolfram murmured, and smiled. Gwendal smiled back. They both shared a silent agreement then. Their smiles were Conrad's, it was proof that they were brothers. Gwendal felt sleep creep up to his senses as he and Wolfram parted ways to retire to bed.

Gwendal began to undress when he reached his room. He glanced at the mirror and saw the tear stains Wolfram had shed on his uniform. He smiled a sad smile then.

Tears, decided Gwendal, as he looked out of his window into the rain, can sooth the pain. A tear crept out of his eye.

Conrart, he thought, please be safe...