Disclaimer: I do not own Kyou Kara Maou

Notes: Thank you for everyone who asked for the continuation of this story! I wrote it for all of you.

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Acquiescing Affinity

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"I'm not marrying you!"

Black eyes widened at the proclamation – loud and almost angry. The rest of the room, filled with courtiers and nobles attending the autumn ball, silenced, turning to the commotion in the center of the room.

A young maiden, fit in a slim, red dress beautiful enough for any queen, stood before the King of Shin Makoku. Her hand was cast protectively between her breasts, her other hand wrapped around it nervously as she stared in shock at Yuuri.

From the red mark still marring the young boy's cheek, it was clear what had just transpired.

"I- I didn't…." Among the stunned silence of the room and the whispers already beginning to break out, Yuuri stopped. He closed his black eyes, the revelation of a habit that had cost him once before stopped him from continuing. He stood frozen in the center of the room, caught in a moment of thought and calming, before he once more opened his eyes to the noble woman before him.

A small smile formed on his lips. It was no longer the usual expression he would use to get himself out of any situation; not that innocent and kind-hearted grin that would claim his obliviousness. It was a smaller gesture filled with scattered traces of nostalgic regret buried within in a curved smile. "No, I did mean it, but I shouldn't have said it so rudely. And for that, I apologize."

The young girl who had so boldly slapped their monarch's cheek only nodded, her cheeks flushed red now that the entire room had been called to attention. She looked up, obviously upset from the tears in her eyes, as the King grabbed each of her hands in his own, pulling them away from their sheltered position.

"You're beautiful and sweet, but I can't marry you," he began anew, working hard to keep his words even and say what he needed to say, what he meant to say. "You see, I'm already engaged."

The new change in the king often left nobles merely nodding in his wake, too taken with his honesty and new-found maturity to argue or even take offense. They would just numbly accept his words and watch him depart immediately afterward, though never with such haste as to be rude.

And this young courtier was no different, nodding as Yuuri cleared up his loud and rude refusal before giving her hands a light squeeze and excusing himself. On such occasions, he would never remain long and it was always a different prompt that had him leaving.

A proposal he would always refuse; a question about future heirs; a document about finding a certain blond deserter.

Only Conrad really knew where Yuuri went during these moments.

Gwendel, still too angry with their king to act anything but professional around him, let him have his time uninterrupted. Gunter, perhaps the least affected, would drop his cheerful façade and acknowledge that his presence was not wanted, and so would not pursue the king he so often chased after. Greta was most commonly asleep when such things occurred, or otherwise preoccupied in Anissina's lab and safely removed from the stupidity of men.

And everyone knew there wouldn't be a fiery blond chasing him through the castle anymore.

There was a second ball room in Blood Pledge Castle, not nearly as large or as grand as the one usually reserved for celebrations, but still an impressive installation. Its marble floors and high raised pillars could fit more than two hundred and the floor-to-ceiling windows along the far wall allowed a copious amount of light to enter, be it sun or moon.

Due to its lack of use and, frankly, the fact that most residents forgot about its existence entirely, the large scone torches along the pillars and walls remained unlit. And during these times when the King, who initially stumbled upon the room by accident, would sneak through the fifteen-foot double doors, the room was lit entirely by natural light.

Usually at night, as the king was often busy with affairs of state during the hours of daylight, the moon would cast a sheen of silver within the room, creating an atmosphere of hazy blues and whites. To most, it might have been calm, peaceful, perhaps even a littler mysterious.

To Yuuri, it was the perfect complement to his already dejected and sorrowful mood.

The wall-to-wall windows opened directly onto a balcony that spanned the length of the ballroom and it was usually here that Yuuri would come to a stop in his escape. He would lean against the thick stone railing that overlooked the back side of Shin Makoku's capital, a view up into the mountains and the moon that rose above them.

Conrad, always positioning himself just inside the ballroom doors, would watch from a distance, a peaceful look upon his seemingly guarded features. But there was always a sorrow in his eyes, something no one else would witness in the dark blue of that room.

Because he might be the only one who knew where Yuuri went during times like these, but everyone knew who it was the king thought about.

To many, when he would abruptly stand and excuse himself, sometimes from a meeting with nobles or from the stifling hours of paperwork, he was running away. But those that knew Yuuri, knew he was running toward something and that only his uncertainties and fears kept him from finding it.

Or, more appropriately, finding him.

Wolfram had left more than four months ago and Yuuri had not left the castle since. Perhaps it was the fear of running into him should he leave the confines of the stone walls, but Conrad had a feeling that was not the case. As he watched his godson stand at the balcony nearly every night, he came to the conclusion that Yuuri was running towards Wolfram when he ran from his work or the nobles or the grand parties.

But his thoughts would stop him from leaving, his uncertainty in why it was that Wolfram left. His uncertainty in why he had yet to follow him.

And Conrad knew, with each realization brought about by a painful memory and hours on a balcony in the cold air, he was getting closer and closer to his answer.

Yuuri sighed, leaning a little more heavily on his arms that rested against the cold stone of the railing. The moon had risen some time ago, lighting the balcony and lands below with its half-formed glow. His shoulders, having desired the long-needed rest, slumped as he bowed his back, forehead coming to rest on the railing between his arms.

He had made a royal mess of everything.

'I'm not marrying you.'

As always, he had let something else blurt from his mouth without thinking. Recently, that had been happening less (he didn't want to think about why), but when it did, he found himself inescapably in need of time to think.

Because every time it happened now, it was always somehow about Wolfram.

Wolfram had been missing for four months and without the blond soldier, a crutch Yuuri had come to depend on, he was left alone with his thoughts.

'I'm already engaged."

Why, why had he said it? He sighed, warm breath brushing against the cold stone, creating a puff of visible condensation. Probably for the same reason he'd said everything else without thinking.

'I'm not interested in marrying anyone' when Gunter and Conrad had addressed him on the matter of finding a queen.

'He hasn't deserted!' when Gwendal had, stiffly, presented him with a document for Wolfram's search and arrest. 'He just needs time and then he'll come back!'

'No one's going to replace Wolfram,' when Greta had broken down in sobs, clinging to him in their old bedroom and begging him not to find a woman to fill her Papa's place.

Though he wasn't sure where the thoughts had come from, or why he was unable to stop them from forming into words, Yuuri knew that each and every word had been meant and one-hundred percent true.

And the reason lay with Wolfram von Bielefeld.

Since the blond's departure, Yuuri had given a lot of thought to, well, everything. He couldn't go after Wolfram until he understood why the fiery boy had left, otherwise, he would just mess the whole thing up again. In the beginning, tackling the question had proven useless and it wasn't until he had an epiphany one night, staring down at the bed the two used to share and the pink, frilly nightgown laid out on it, that he realized the reason.

He didn't know a thing about Wolfram. The prince had been his best friend for years, and he didn't really know a thing about him. His favorite color, his favorite food, why he got so angry all the time. Why he loved Yuuri so much. Why he left, despite it all.

To understand that, he soon concluded, he would need to understand Wolfram. And so it was that he came face to face with the biggest problem he had ever yet to solve: breaking down everything about the prince and his friendship with the King.

He had realized early on in the four months that Wolfram had played a much greater role in his life than he had ever realized. The blond had always been there: when he woke, when he ate, when he wandered the halls or snuck out for adventures, and when he went to sleep.

With his absence it was now quiet, peaceful. Boring.

Without realizing it, the fire demon had become a crutch, one which left Yuuri stumbling in its absence. It wasn't until his voice was gone from the halls that he realized Wolfram would call him a wimp when he was feeling uncertain and incapable. It wasn't until Wolfram was no longer there to tell him the truth that he realized the blond had always spoken when he needed it, despite everyone else hiding it from him, despite the knowledge that telling him might result in disaster.

The boy would always say what he needed to hear. His addresses were always blunt, painful, but true and it had always been exactly what Yuuri needed to know to act appropriately, even if he didn't realize it.

Without that voice constantly there, the reminders of wimpiness and how to be a good king, Yuuri swayed with uncertainty and stumbled with distrust. He was used to his advisers hiding things from him, but he wasn't used to staying in the dark about it.

And that was unacceptable.

Within a month, he had ordered a meeting – one of his first actual commands in more than a year. He had sat everyone down and told them, confidence climbing when he realized Wolfram would be proud of his strength, that there would be no more secrets.

He wasn't a great King, he understood that. But he couldn't grow and become a better one if they hid all the important stuff away. If they thought he couldn't handle it. A King would be nothing without his advisers and the people who stand by him, that's what he had said, but he couldn't have people by him that didn't tell him the truth when he needed it most.

Sure, it had led to several arguments and two misadventures that, luckily, ended with no injuries, but the important part was that they told him things now. And every time he met Gunter's eyes, there was a pride there that hadn't been before. And when Conrad talked to him, usually as they tossed a baseball back and forth between studies, he did so more as a friend and equal than a father figure teaching a young boy.

He was slowly growing, and it was all thanks to the boy that wasn't there.

Another thing he'd quickly realized was that Wolfram had not been nearly as selfish as everyone claimed him to be. With every night he spent on his balcony, Yuuri would analyze another aspect of their friendship, and by the end of Wolfram's fifth week missing, he had come to this conclusion. Sure, he was spoiled and bratty, but Yuuri had eventually realized that everything the blond did was done primarily for the King.

And Yuuri had never really given him anything in return.

Wolfram had saved his life countless times, jumped in front of swords and daggers and crumbling rocks. Had caught him when he fell and bravely promised that he would never let him fall, or never let him fall alone.

The young soldier had dedicated everything he had – his pride, his life, his love – to Yuuri. And the boy couldn't see what he had ever given in return.

It was a delay he faced, not understanding why Wolfram could possibly love him.

Despite not comprehending it, it was another understanding he had come to finally accept in his time without his best friend. The blond, despite initial anger and hate, had truly come to love him. Yuuri wasn't sure when it had happened because he had ignored all mentions of the engagement or emotion expressed by Wolfram.

But the blond boy had loved him.

The key word being 'had' only provided another delay. Yuuri, who knew from words he blurted before he could possibly think about them, needed the blond. Something within his subconscious, something his mind clearly did not understand, or wasn't ready to understand, wasn't going to let the blond go.

And though he wasn't ready to contemplate just how tightly that part of him held onto Wolfram, he was also not ready to run after the blond with it.

Wolfram had left. He might not have any interest in him anymore. And Yuuri was not the type to force another to return when he didn't want it. He wasn't going to go against Wolfram's wishes without reason.

'I'm already engaged.'

Yuuri gave another sigh, straightening and looking up at the moon once more. He had meant those words, even though he hadn't realized they were in him. Because, technically, he wasn't engaged anymore, not since Wolfram had left.

They had talked about it, almost immediately afterward, and what it meant for the country. Reluctantly, and only after Conrad admitted to all that Wolfram was not going to come back on his own, they had made the disengagement formal.

And all Yuuri could think about was how mad Wolfram was going to be.

Thanks to one of his realizations nearly two months later, that meant that Wolfram was going to be hurt. Because, as it had become apparent during endless hours of slowly trying to untangle the being that was Wolfram Von Bielefeld, the blond hid all his emotions behind anger. And the angrier he was, the stronger the real emotion being felt.

Yuuri was beginning to see the differences between the boy's hurt anger and his happy anger and even his real anger. It was all in the stance he took and the words he used. 'Cheater' was hurt anger. 'Wimp' was happy anger. Fire was real anger.

'I'm already engaged.'

He'd meant it. Pulling away from the railing, Yuuri gave one last glance to the moon and walked back inside, meeting Conrad at the door. His thoughts remained out on the balcony and within that crowded ballroom.

A part of himself that he was just now understanding needed more than a crutch and it was that part of him that had spoken most often in these past four months.

'I'm already engaged so I'm not interested in marrying anyone else because no one's going to replace Wolfram."

He had meant it all, even if he had yet to realize why.

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On the anniversary of the fifth month of Wolfram's departure, the kingdom was exceptionally busy. The ten nobles had chosen to convene, and do so at Blood Pledge Castle, to discuss the future of the country with the King.

Yuuri, fearing what this talk was going to be about, entered the meeting room with a heavy heart and dragging feet.

He sat down reluctantly, desiring to be anywhere but there. Luckily, with several hours of heartfelt pleading, they had agreed two meetings ago to disable that horrible chair. Now he sat at the head of a U-shaped table, with each of the ten nobles facing him.

And they did not look pleased.

The instinct to run – to make an excuse and run – was stronger than ever. Yuuri, however, shoved it back down deep within himself. He had been growing; he had told his advisors and friends he could handle anything they had to tell him.

That meant he had to be able to handle the words of the ten nobles as well.

The meeting proceeded with its usual lengthy introduction and semi-pleasant exchanges of recent ordeals important to the kingdom. It wasn't until Gwendal cleared his throat, tired of the polite politics, that the real reason for convening was breached.

"With the recent desertion of Wolfram Von Bielefeld," Lord von Radford began, folding his hands before him while looking at the king. Waltorana was glaring at his tabletop but Yuuri could see the distress; the worry, in his eyes. "We are in need of an heir to rule in your place, should anything happen to you."

"This would be best suited in a Queen, Heika," Gunter intervened, letting the boy know what was being asked of him without hesitation, as they might have before.

Yuuri should his head. "I don't need a queen."

"Sire," Lord von Wincott's voice called Yuuri's attention to him and, as always, he wondered how much the young man resembled Julia, the soul the king supposedly housed within his own body, "without a queen, you have no Heir. Your adopted daughter is too young, and many in our country will not follow a human, despite the progress we have made."

In spite of Yuuri's obvious intent to interrupt, the nobles continued. "Without Shinou-Heika to appoint a ruler, the country must be guaranteed an heir to continue in your place; a child or spouse that will rule as you have," Lord Von Gyllenhaal spoke up, calculating eyes regarding the king.

Yuuri just shook his head, unwilling to let any words pass his lips. He was going to say something he would regret, specifically because he would mean it.

"For the security of this country, we have arranged several young nobles for your consideration." It was Waltorana who spoke this time, voice tight and his obvious discontent with this decision clear in his voice. But he was doing this for his country because the other nobles were right, they could not be without the certainty of an heir for long.

Watching the lord of Bielefeld concede to finding a replacement to his own nephew was the last straw for Yuuri. He slammed his fists down on the table, standing even as he did so. Holding his tongue, be damned, he would not watch this man, a man he had come to respect, agree to find him a bride.

Not someone to replace Wolfram. No one ever would – ever could. He wouldn't allow it.

"I won't be marrying anyone you pick for me!" he shouted out, meeting each and every one of their eyes. They stared at him in shock, mostly for his outburst rather than his words. But each found their voices soon enough, two even standing to debate his decision.

He ignored them all, realizing somewhere in the back of his mind that he should shut up and sit down, but the rest of him unwilling. He was not going to allow these men to pick a bride for him; someone he didn't know, didn't love.

He had Wolfram, and he wasn't going to let anyone take his place.

"I already have a fiancé." Black eyes widened slightly, even as the words left his mouth and his thoughts caught up with him. But he had said it, and he knew without a doubt that he had meant it. And now, finally, after five months of near constant thought and analyzing, he knew why.

"Wolfram Von Bielefeld broke off your engagement, Maou-Heika."

Yuuri sent a withering glare in Gwendal's direction, tired of the constant reminder of his mistake expressed in every frown the older man would send him.

"I don't care. When I proposed, he challenged me in a dual for his honor and for his hand. I won. Wolfram did not have the right to break off our engagement by leaving." Yuuri met every one of the nobles' gazes, finally understanding. It was as if everything he'd ever done, everything Wolfram had ever said, made perfect sense. He straightened, pushing back the chair behind him. "I don't need your brides. I already have a fiancé that I love and I'm going to go find him."

And as he'd said it, he meant it. Yuuri Shibuya left the ten nobles staring in a mixture of shocked expressions, angry outcries, and more than a few ear-to-ear grins.

- o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o -

It didn't take long to find Wolfram. In fact, with Yozak leading the way into the Voltaire lands, Yuuri had to wonder if the orange-haired spy had known all along.

Come to think of it, Yozak had disappeared for nearly two weeks after Wolfram's disappearance. Yuuri had decided against ordering the spy after his fiancé originally; at the time he claimed he was giving the blond space to cool down but now knew, more than anything, he hadn't been ready to know where the prince was.

Because if he had known, he might have gone after him before he could understand why.

But now that the time had come, he realized Wolfram had made no attempt to hide himself from his king. Even without Yozak, who was happily humming in front of the procession, finding him wouldn't have been that difficult. The village folk were more than willing to admit the presence of the blond prince, passing through five months back.

Guilt fought to overwhelm him when he realized how simple it had been to find Wolfram. The blond hadn't tried to hide. Had he, as he always had, hoped that Yuuri would come after him?

The king fought down the guilt, knowing he was still causing his best friend pain to this very moment. The only way he was going to make this all right again, or as right as he could make it, was to find Wolfram and talk to him.

The prince, much to his surprise, was found at the base of a mountain only four miles from Gwendal's family castle, just off the main trail they were using. He stood in a small clearing within the forest where the road traveled through, watching them approach with a hand on the hilt of his sword. From his surroundings – a tent, a fire with embers still smoldering, and the sparse equipment on the ground – it was obvious he had been camping out during his missing months.

Yuuri was once more surprised, having unconsciously assumed that the boy would be staying in a grand castle or one of the mansions in his brother's lands. Once more, Wolfram von Bielefeld managed to shock him and only further the realization that he didn't know that much about the blond he called his fiancé.

"Wolfram," the soft name was out of his mouth before he'd registered that he was speaking. Slowly, he slid from his horse, black eyes cautiously noting the hand Wolfram had to his sword. Yuuri raised his hands slightly, a common gesture of peace. As he opened his mouth, he thought through his words carefully, both trying to be proper as a king confronting a soldier and comforting as a friend who had badly messed up.

"I'm sorry for showing up without warning," he began, wanting the blond to know that this wasn't about hunting him down. "I just needed to talk to you."

Green eyes, guarded against emotions that would have easily shown before, took in the rest of the King's party. Both his brothers sat stiffly on their mounts, though Conrad looked relieved to see him. He ignored them both, returning his attention to Yuuri. "And after we talk?"

The Japanese boy immediately bit down on his tongue, a lesson he had learned to do when he didn't understand a question. Instead of childishly blurting out 'huh?' or asking for clarification, he took the time to find the answer himself. It had taken a lot of practice, but he was getting quicker.

Trying to go over everything that had happened in the last five months, and the fact that Wolfram had asked this only after looking at the others, Yuuri decided it had to be about his desertion. If Gwendal had called it that, then surely Wolfram, who looked up to his older brother, would think of it the same way.

Yuuri hated the fact that the blond might believe they were there only to drag him back for punishment.

"I'm only here to talk," the double black explained after the stretched moment of thinking. The others, who usually would have answered for him, remained silent, knowing Yuuri was trying to grow through the changes of the past five months. "I'm not going to make you return with us, Wolfram."

The blond, taking in Yuuri's firm, though somewhat hesitant words, relaxed his stance slightly. His hand lowered from his sword and, as he did so, the others behind the king seemed to sit back somewhat. There had been little threat to begin with, but the formality of protecting their king, even against one of their own, had been a priority.

Yuuri, taking this as a good sign, turned around to his entourage. "Uh…could you guys give us some space?" he asked, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly. He blushed a little at the request, not able to place the heat in his cheeks and so chalking it up to giving orders.

However, his words were heeded and Conrad led the others back down the trail they had come along. He knew that the brunette soldier wouldn't remain far away, but he was also aware that of all of them, Conrad was most likely to respect his request.

As they left, he turned back to Wolfram, giving a small smile and almost a half shrug, as if to ask 'now what?' The gesture was not returned.

"Um…" the king let out a nervous laugh, still not able to lose all his boyish habits. He tried for another meek smile. "Greta misses you. She asks about you all the time…"

At Wolfram's narrowing eyes, Yuuri knew he had said the wrong thing, yet again. Nervousness had led him to ramble rather than think about the words he had promised himself he'd say. The words he needed to say.

This meeting couldn't be about what Wolfram had left behind. This couldn't be about others and their thoughts on the blond. This had to be about the king and his fiancé.

Because nothing, and no one else, could fix this.

"I'm rambling," he started suddenly, meeting Wolfram's emerald-colored eyes. "I know I am. I'm…I'm sorry."

Wolfram, who did know Yuuri better than anyone on the planet, was a little floored and suddenly uncertain at the immediate recognition and apology. The boy-king had certainly changed in his absence, he had realized that the moment Yuuri had answered the question he thought Gwendal would handle.

It seemed as if the king had grown up more in five months than he had in the entire six years he had known him. It created a hesitancy in Wolfram; the boy wasn't sure exactly what changes Yuuri had grown into, and therefore didn't know what to expect, or how to react appropriately. As a soldier, being thrown off balance was a terrifying aspect.

"I came here to tell you that I'm sorry." Yuuri was talking again, his black eyes desperately trying to convey their sincerity, oblivious to the internal struggle and disarray he had caused within his best friend. "For everything."

Wolfram stiffened and, having grown somewhat as well, bit down on his own tongue so he wouldn't let his anger overwhelm his words. So he wouldn't yell that sorry wasn't going to fix anything. So he wouldn't tell Yuuri that none of it mattered, because he had come for him. So he wouldn't launch a fireball at the king. So he wouldn't launch himself, desperately missing the touch of the double black.

"We always mean what we say." Green eyes focused sharply on the king before him, dragged out of the war he held within his mind and heart. The very words he had hated so passionately these past five months, as well as the year leading up to his desertion, drove away any of the pitiful longing he had for this king.

He clenched his fists automatically, one tightening over the hilt of his sword once more. It shook in its sheath.

But this was not their normal mantra. It was not the words that had driven him to realize their love was one-sided, and always would be. They were not the words he had grown to despise as much as he did himself.

Emerald eyes took in the king before him, trying to figure out what he was saying, where he was going. And trying to do it all while battling his anger and heartache.

Yuuri fidgeted. He was still no public speaker, nor a great orator of his thoughts or emotions, and it was every more difficult with Wolfram's hand returned to his sword.

Wolfram would never hurt him. Not physically.

He supposed he and his prince had that much in common. He would never hurt the blond boy physically. There was a time when he would have said 'on purpose' which, to some extent, was true. He had never meant to hurt Wolfram, but he had meant what he said and did that had resulted in the prince's pain.

So he couldn't claim he hadn't purposefully hurt him.

"Whether we want to or not, when we say something, we've thought about it, somewhere up in our minds, maybe not even knowing we've thought it." But this was what this was all about. Showing Wolfram that he recognized his mistakes, that he knew he had hurt him. And that he never would again.

He was rambling and he knew it. But he also knew that he was at least on the right topic, the one he needed to be on. And Wolfram wasn't running away. "But we have thought it, and we mean it when we say it. Even if we don't mean to say it, we always mean what we say."

The blond was regarding him with a closed expression, something he had never seen on the boy before. Wolfram had obviously learned to better control his anger, all his emotions, just as Yuuri had gotten a better handle on his own thoughts and words.

But even having previously known so little about the blond, after five months of non-stop thinking about him (missing him, wanting him), he wasn't oblivious to that spark of hope hidden in those green eyes.

So he cautiously stepped towards the blond, as one does a wild animal that may buck and charge at any time, or take flight and flee. He took another step, and another, stopping only when Wolfram tensed. They were no more than five feet apart, but Yuuri's heart and body ached at the distance. For five months, his heart had remained constantly wounded, his body suffering the ups and downs of realizing his attraction. There had been nothing he could do to ease the pain and discomfort.

So now that said attraction was so close, he didn't want to be one foot away, let alone five.

"I don't always say what I mean to say," Yuuri continued again, forcing himself to ignore the way his body hummed at the very prospect of being so close to the blond. He still didn't fully understand it, mostly because thinking about it made the narrow-minded part of his socially brought-up mind shudder, but it was a pleasant feeling: an excited thrill that made him almost giddy.

"I stumble, and I can't think straight, especially around you." The king wasn't even sure what he was saying anymore, having lost check of his words somewhere around the time his heart started to beat louder in his ears than his own voice. But he trusted himself to say what he meant and mean what he said.

After all, he had a habit of doing it.

Wolfram looked as if he wanted to take a step back, but he held his ground, his pride being something he hadn't even begun to tackle in the five months of his absence. His grip on his sword, though his fisting hand wanted to hold tightly, loosened, knowing that his defensive stance against the king would be viewed as an insult.

Not that Yuuri would ever notice.

But the thing Wolfram hadn't quite grasped, with the changes he couldn't comprehend, was that Yuuri did notice. He noticed when the blond struggled not to back away. He noticed when the prince reluctantly released his sword.

And though he took such things as good signs of his progress, he also realized that Wolfram was still the soldier and subject, worried more for how he stood before the king then how he was seen before a friend.

The suspicion was there, among the hope Wolfram was trying to hide and the calculations his royal upbringing was forcing him to make. Even as he fought to hide anything he might be feeling, even as he tried to discern what would be the best course of action as a subject and ex-fiance of a king, Yuuri could see that Wolfram was there: angry, hurt, and afraid.

But the boy-king had nothing to hide. He had before, he just hadn't been aware of it.

"I should have said what I meant that night, Wolfram," he continued, confidence building with every step he took forward that Wolfram didn't counter; with every glimmer of emotion in those green eyes. "I should have told you that you mean the world to me; that I can't function without you; that you were- are- always will be everything to me.

"But I didn't know it that night, so I didn't say it." Wolfram was shaking and suddenly turned away, hiding his vulnerability from the Maou – from the man he still loved, despite how hard he had tried for five long months to hate.

Yuuri's hand grasped a pale wrist. Wolfram tensed at the touch, not daring to glance over his shoulder at the king; at black eyes so sincere and truthful that he found himself terrified to dismiss them and even more terrified to believe in them.

"So I'm saying it now," Yuuri's voice had lowered, grown softer, as if he didn't want the very trees around them to hear. This moment, what he needed to say, was for Wolfram's ears only. "Because I don't always say what I mean, and I can't screw this up again. I can't live without you any longer, Wolfram."

The blond didn't resist as his king turned him around, bringing them face to face. Yuuri hadn't physically changed at all in the five months; still wimpy and boyish as ever in looks, but his eyes were older, far more understanding than they ever had been before. The distance between them was closed as the Japanese boy took the last step forward. His grip on Wolfram's wrist kept the boy from backing away, not that he had the willpower to do so under his king's black gaze.

Keeping their eyes locked, Yuuri lowered himself to one knee, causing emeralds to widen in a mixture of shock, panic, and embarrassment. Something in the back of his mind, something he had contemplated on the trip here, told him Wolfram wasn't aware of this Earth custom, and probably thought it very wrong for a King to bow before a subject.

But Yuuri didn't care.

"Wolfram von Bielefeld, I am hopelessly in love with you." Yuuri moved his grip from Wolfram's forearm to his hand, entwining their fingers as he looked up at the angelic figure of Shin Makoku's future Prince Consort. "Will you marry me?"

The blond looked away, fiercely blinking tears out of his eyes and hating himself for the overly emotional reaction to such a sappy scene. His heart longed to believe the king, but the scars crossing it were as ever stubborn as their owner.

"Do you mean it?" he asked, voice so quiet he wasn't sure if Yuuri would hear him. He cleared his throat and repeated the question, throwing in more of his trade-mark arrogance to hide the weakness in his voice.

Yuuri smiled gently as a little more of Wolfram's true nature – that nature he had somehow fallen in love with – came out. He took both of Wolfram's hands in his own, running his thumbs experimentally in circles over the skin, as he'd seen in all those romance movies his mother made him watch with her as a child.

The bright blush on Wolfram's cheeks was worth the hours of torment at the hands of Miko Shibuya.

"I always mean what I say," he replied, that smile taking a light air of humor to it. "You taught me that." At Wolfram's light glare – a warning that he better answer seriously – he cleared his throat, stuttering for a moment. "B-But, I meant it…and it's everything I've wanted to say for five months. Even if I didn't know if for four of them."

Slowly, he stood, more of a king than he had ever been before; a man finally meeting his potential as he stood before his intended. "I love you, Wolfram von Bielefeld, and I will say it every day for the rest of my life if makes you happy." At the slight narrowing of green eyes, Yuuri smiled his cheerful, boyish smile. "And I'll keep saying it, even after you get sick of hearing it, because it makes me happy."

Green eyes, still unsure but longing to accept the words spoken, closed shut out of instinct as Yuuri raised his right hand and softly slapped the blond's left cheek. Wolfram stared, wide-eyed, at the double black before him, who was still smiling, though far more gently than he had ever seen.

It was a smile similar to the ones he would share with his mother, or Conrad, which would usually send Wolfram into a rage, except the boy's eyes were different. Yuuri was staring at him – solely him – with the most caring, loving, look he had ever seen on the King.

"Will you do me the honor of marrying me?"

The prince could do nothing but stare, still shocked and unable to comprehend the events of the last five minutes. But as his brain caught up, and he realized there were indeed tears now running down his cheeks, he let out a loud huff, crossed his arms, and turned his head sharply to the side, pointing his nose up into the sky.

"What a wimpy way to propose!" he rebuked indignantly, but glanced at the boy out of the corner of his eye. Yuuri was grinning ear to ear. It only infuriated Wolfram more and he faced his fiancé, hands on his hips and forehead creasing. "To think: a King kneeling before a traitor! And what kind of grammar is 'do me the honor!' I've never heard anything so preposterou-"

Wolfram yelped, anything further he had been planning on saying cut off as Yuuri let out a joyous laugh and all but tackled the boy, taking both of them to the forest ground. The blond blushed, sputtering as his spastic body attempted to regain his lost dignity and push the boy-king off of him.

Yuuri just continued to laugh, tightening his arms around the other boy's waist, lying atop him. His body was practically buzzing with the contact, and he soaked in the feeling of the body beneath his, even if it continued to send his Earth-trained mind into a frenzy.

He wasn't ever letting go, no matter how much his social upbringing argued with him. Because Wolfram had called him a wimp, and he always called Yuuri a wimp when he was happy.

"I don't care if you think it's wimpy or preposterous, or whatever!" Yuuri pulled away enough to look Wolfram in the eye, his own cheeks matching the boy's light flush. "Just say yes."

Wolfram, flustered, blushing, and trying very hard to regain his pride and composure, glanced to the side before meeting his love's black eyes and muttering, "Yes, you wimp."

- o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o -

Acquiescing Affinity

The reluctant agreement that we do, in fact, belong together

- o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o -

Well, there's the sequel. I have to admit, I'm not as happy with the overall result as I am with Intransigent Incompatibility, but at the same time, there are parts of this one I like more.

Thank you all so much for your support, reviews, and requests for continuation! There's nothing better for an author than to know one's story is liked. So thank you all very much!

Author's Notes:

I am hopelessly in love with you…I can just see Yuuri, clueless on how to proclaim his love, using something so cheesy that he probably got from some sappy movie Mama-chan forced him to watch as a child.

End Author's Notes

Thank you again for all your support, I hope you enjoyed and please review, if you would, to let me know how I did.