In Good Will.
"In war, resolution; in defeat, defiance; in victory, magnanimity. And in peace: good will.
Winston Churchill."

In War: Resolution.

If Weller was to have magic, he would have been earth as well, like Gwendal, Wolfram is sure. Not fire either – honestly! Just thinking about it is ridiculous – but somehow he can imagine him being a wind user either, which just fits the half-blood, of course, not to fit in. He observes hidden from the shadows ad Gwendal and Weller practice, sees the way swords clash against each other and he thinks 'I do not envy that'. But there's majesty in the way Weller handles the sword, strength in the way Gwendal strikes back, the quiet steadiness of the earth on big brother's moves, that only shows its power when needed, an earthquake quieting everything in the span of minutes.

There is nothing to envy, he tells himself; Wolfram's hands tighten around his own arms, nails against the linen of his shirt. Weller and Gwendal are both wearing their uniforms, the last afternoon they'll spend in Blood Pledge Castle where he is to stay, still a child by the military standards, still unable to join the ranks.

If he was to speak to Weller, he'd tell him that he is going to be the one to defend the castle, but Wolfram hasn't been that naïve since he was twenty. He is to stay because he's considered useless, because they don't trust him strong enough, reliant enough to fight. He is to stay because, when Conrad falls, mother will be devastated, and if the same fate follows Gwendal, he is to be the one to see their mother break down.

In the courtyard, Weller and Gwendal keep on crossing their swords as the sun dies, and Wolfram knows them both to know there will be no words between them, but that they won't allow anyone to be there at that moment. Wolfram grits his teeth and looks away. He doesn't need that. He doesn't need them.

Damn them all.

In Defeat: Defiance.

As expected, Suzanna Julia's wake happens in a gray, cloudy weather, with the moist promise of rain upon all those that mourn. However, it doesn't rain, and by the next day, when they are lowering her body to the ground, the weather has forgotten it was supposed to be mourning. Instead there are butterflies upon the roses, birds chirping and was it not for the lowered flags and the hushed voices of the townsfolk, one would assume it was a normal day. Wolfram doesn't say that he thinks Julia would have approved of this day.

Quietly, once back in the castle, Wolfram takes off his ceremonial uniform, lays face down on his bed and thinks about screaming or crying, but while he remains terribly upset and angry, he can't bring himself to do so.

Instead he stands up, walks quietly through the halls and comes to Weller's room, pauses by the side of it and thinks of coming inside, of betraying that he is, indeed, relieved that he has come back alive, relieved and overjoyed, even; that he had been scared and now he's glad that Weller is still alive, even if Weller is upset that he came back at all.

But thinking about that just makes him angrier and Wolfram turns around, ignores the maids and Gisella's voice calling his name.

If Weller wants to die, Wolfram thinks to himself, he's welcome to do so. They don't need him. He doesn't need Weller and he hasn't done so for years.

In Victory: Magnanimity.

Gwendal's back straightens up when he hears steps, turning to look towards him, and for a moment Wolfram is sorry to have interrupted his brother's quiet reflection. The last few months have been exhausting for everyone – two months believing Conrad was dead, almost the same amount of time not knowing if Yuuri was alright – and now that it's finally over, gods know that they need to relax, learn how to breathe again without feeling a sword to their throats.

"You should be resting," Gwendal tells him, standing up.

Wolfram resists the urge to remind him that that's what he should be doing, caring not for the moment at the thought of being babied. Not after everything they've been through, not when all of them are finally home, safe and complete.

So instead he smiles a little, nods to the courtyard with a hand on his sword.

"Do you want to practice, brother?"

He's rewarded with Gwendal's surprised look before Gwendal's expression clears a little and he nods, standing up and then reaching for his sword.

This is not something they have done a lot, he and Gwendal. Gwendal was already busy with helping mother by the time Wolfram came back from his service, and Wolfram thought about asking a thousand times but never did.

But now, as his sword and Gwendal's meet, he can enjoy the strength Gwendal offers. His technique is different than Conrad's and Günther's, more strength to his attacks than the easy grace Günther fights with, or the way Conrad moves against his opponent's weakness.

Still, Wolfram has spent enough years looking as his brother's train with each other, or when Günther and Gwendal take a time from their obligations to practice. He had always been too proud to ask if he could join them, even with Gwendal, fearing a rejection more than he cared to admit.

But there is something that this has taught him, at least.

It's somewhat a surprise, when he disarms Gwendal, and the faint wonder if his brother let him win is erased by the surprise that shines as well in Gwendal's face, even though it's already melting away, changing into pride as he nods at him. Wolfram feels his heart beat harder inside his chest.

Then, applause.

"That was amazing," Conrad says, approaching. His smile is genuine, honest. "Would you mind if I join you?"

Wolfram shrugs, but he knows he must be blushing with the pleasure at having been pretty much praised. "Why not."

In Peace: Good Will.

Chances are that there won't be a war like the one that happened twenty years ago, no chance for him to create a name for himself as a soldier, something that goes beyond being the son of, the brother of, the fiancé of.

But a few steps away from him, Greta is laughing with Yuuri, placing flowers on his head, and Yuuri is beaming as if that crown was more precious to him than any jewel that could exist. Mother is happy and free from a duty she never wanted; his brothers are alive and well for the first time in who knows how long; and he...

There are chains binding him, chains that Wolfram knows and the ones he ignores, the ones he can't break free of. The ones he doesn't want to be free of. But perhaps there aren't as much chains as they are links, bonds.

How could he dislike something as beautiful as that?

"Oiii, Wolfram!" Yuuri smiles, as if there were no worries in the world, nothing but blue skies and the gold of the sun. Greta is waving at him again. "We're having a picnic? You free to come?"

He smiles as well. "Sure."