.

.

The fire began to spread rapidly, licking door to door of the interior of the inn.

And the lone fire-caster with his eyes closed remained at a standstill as his power fluxed beyond control, as the occupants of the building — the women and men fleeing, soldiers following after, and then the kidnappers who dropped Yuuri's captured arms — as a wave of stinging heat cruised at them.

Conrad snagged onto Yuuri's shirt sleeve and forcefully yanked the coughing boy along to the cool, safe world beyond the flames before yelling at the top of his lungs for Wolfram to follow them. The blond soldier didn't move from his slumped position from an end table, flames spouting from him.

Yuuri clearly heard him from the inner trap of the inferno, murmuring repeatedly, "Stop…stop…stopstop..."

It had been Yuuri's fault. If he had been stronger, been able to fight off the kidnappers, Wolfram wouldn't have become so enraged… so worried for him…!

His stomach twisted painfully as Wolfram showed no signs of moving. He shouted, wretching free from Conrad's grasp on him. "Wolfram! Wolfram, I'm coming to get you!" Halfway there, the young soldier seemed to hear him. As Yuuri's outstretched hands clasped his lowered shoulders, the blue cloth of Wolfram's uniform let off hot, light smoke.

"I can't stop it…I can't stop it…" Wolfram said to him, his bright green eyes now glossed over.

A reddish ball of fire pulsed from Wolfram's open palm, feeding the energy to the magical fire destroying everything around them. Above them, the wooden rafters groaned warningly. Beyond the curtain of smolder, Conrad yelled their names, and then ordered the other soldiers to stay back.

Yuuri ignored his surroundings, smiling comfortingly at his dazed companion.

"Don't worry about it." He gently pressed his hands into the fireball and Wolfram's trembling palm, applying pressure until it felt his skin threatened to melt into the other boy's.

Wolfram's eyes snapped back to a horrified realization as he watched Yuuri grimace into it, hissing through his teeth but still trying to smile.

"You don't have to when I'm here, Wolfram," Yuuri whispered as the dying fire crackled, as his blood trickled dark between his fingers onto the scorched floorboards.

.

.

The stone room on the ground floor of the Blood Pledge castle — the east room where Wolfram usually painted in alone — didn't reek of the special Bear Bee mixings this time. With his back to the corridor, the blond Mazoku in his dirtied smock and tilted artist hat sat in front of his canvas, silent at work.

The paints he was using smelled like…well, how normal paints would.

"Are you painting the tree?" Yuuri asked him interestedly, approaching from behind. His black eyes stared thoughtfully at the long and thick tree straight through the windowpane in front of both boys, and then down at Wolfram's canvas. Wolfram answered, a slight bite in his tone, "It's Gwendal, actually."

Yuuri paused noticeably — his sulking companion half expected more criticism — and then he tilted his head, chuckling, "I was wondering why there was gray branches. It's not bad."

Wolfram huffed, his ears turning pink from the compliment. "I'm not an amateur, wimp." The other boy just chuckled some more, running his fingers absently through his jet black hair. Wolfram's eyes widened briefly as they caught sight of that palm marred by a patch of nasty black and red scarring in the center.

Yuuri caught onto the staring and tucked his hand behind his back, insisting, "Gisela said that it will get better after a couple more healing sessions. Since it is a magical burn, it will scar. But it doesn't hurt anymore so it's not a big deal!" Yuuri assured him, gauging his fiancé's guilty reaction in terms of his next reaction.

Wolfram set down his green-soaked paintbrush, cradling Yuuri's injured hand softly. Yuuri didn't move away from it. He closed his emerald eyes, mumbling under his breath for a few seconds. The scarred hand between Wolfram's warmed like Yuuri was holding it out of harm's way against a roaring fireplace, his fingertips tingling and cooling in sensation when he let go. The darker-haired boy gazed down surprised at his palm with fresh pinkened flesh and only slightly wrinkled.

"I learned during my early training that if I hurt someone with my magic that I could take away the burns with healing. It's not much but it is all I can do." The blond soldier responded mildly, sitting back down on his stool, and frowned up at Yuuri who took to staring at him instead, "Why are you looking at me like that?"

"No, no… thank you… I didn't know you could do this… It's just… amazing how your hands can create fire, but also... you create something so beautiful like art."

Wolfram's ears flushed from pink to a tomato red. He said, still frowning, "I'm not some kind of barbarian! You should know that your fiancé is more distinguished than that!"

"I do know. I really do," Yuuri replied to the accusation, patiently, smiling.

"You aren't going to contradict me?"

"About what? I know my fiancé isn't a 'barbarian'."

Green eyes narrowed suspiciously at Yuuri's straightforward tone with the handle of that word. "Since when have you referred to me as 'my fiancé'? What are you playing at?"

"I'm not," Yuuri said simply, his eyes speaking absolute honesty. He rarely ever hid a feeling from someone. "I'm not ready to be married to anyone. I'm only sixteen and I have never been in a relationship with anyone. But if I can, I would like to try... dating you first."

"…what's that?"

He blinked at the blond who frowned deeper and asked this uncertainly. He had almost forgotten. Wolfram didn't know his world's terminology very well. "It's… like going to a nice restaurant with someone you care about, and talking about yourself over dinner and drinks, and they talk… I mean, we could do something like that around here...?"

"We have taverns outside the palace where the commoners live. Not these 'res-trent's." Yuuri stifled back a laugh as Wolfram stumbled over the foreign word. And the tavern was a definite no-go… the only drinks being served would be alcoholic… and he didn't particularly have a taste nor was legal enough for that experience.

Yuuri's eyes lit up suddenly. "Hey, meet me here tomorrow before sunset. I think I have a plan!" He called back gleefully, running into the open corridor.

Wolfram shook his head bemused.

what WAS Yuuri playing at?

.

.

And so, Yuuri continued acting strangely the rest of the day until sunset.

Wolfram caught him striking up conversation with several of his personal guards before training hours that morning and when he demanded an explanation, they told him that they had sworn to secrecy for the Demon King. The young soldier fought back the cruel and inhumane urge to make those guards run laps around the castle until they were too tired to train — AND THEN make them train with him at full power.

For a few hours during mid-afternoon, before Yuuri would meet with him, those guards went missing. Along with Yosak, Conrad, Gunter, Murata, AND Yuuri. When Wolfram inquired about their disappearances to his big brother Gwendal and Greta, they made no credulous answer to him.

Frustrated and a little bit betrayed, he waited in the stone room. Around the time the sun started to brush the horizon, Yuuri showed up, windswept, panting and grinning.

"Would you mind horseback riding with me, Wolfram?"

.

.

Yuuri climbed on the back of his mare in the stables, stroking Ao's mane as he waited for Wolfram to mount. He asked as a cold silence panned out between them, "Why are you mad?"

"Why would I be mad about my fiancé going behind my back to talk to everyone else but me today?"

"It didn't at all occur to you that I might have been getting help from other people for our date?" Yuuri countered.

Wolfram turned away from him, shifting uncomfortably on the saddle of his white stallion.

"Since when did you have this sudden desire to include me into your romantic life?"

The other boy flicked the reins to his horse, taking off in a dark streak, not bothering to bicker with him. After a moment, Wolfram followed reluctantly. They rode through the countryside past palace grounds until Yuuri made a sharp turn through the woods. At the clearing was a summit of one of largest hills in Shin Makoku.

"I'm not fighting with you." Yuuri informed him, unhooking the basket from his saddle, "So you can either enjoy this with me or pout. Either way you are coming with me to the hill."

"I don't pout..." Wolfram snapped, brooding when his companion slide from his horse, snickering at his predictable behavior. Yuuri spread out a blanket to lie on once they were on their destination. The stars began to peek through the night. "Why are we having a picnic in the middle of the night? It doesn't take sense."

"You'll have to be patient and find out," said Yuuri with a furtive but cheerful smile. The blond said nothing but crossed his arm skeptically as the other boy set out some wrapped sandwiches on plates. Wolfram gasped loudly when a thunderous bang went off in the distance and colored, sparkling illuminations flashed in the sky overhead.

"Yuuri! What in Shinou's name was that?"

"Wolfram, please stop crushing my arm," Yuuri said, tugging one of his arms free from soldier's rough, jarring grip on him. "I asked around and got some people to help set them up. They are fireworks. On Earth, the festivals used them to make the event seem more exciting. I know its lame and clique... but I thought they would be nice for…"

He hesitated, slowly smiling reassured at Wolfram's speechlessness as the show went on. He jumped and gasped at every explosion, sometimes pointing them out to Yuuri, but appeared less and less alarmed by them eventually.

"I'm glad you like this. I was hoping you would."

Everything — the stars, the woods, the cleared plates on the picnic blanket — bathed in a vivid purple and blue wash as another round burst. Fascinated how it made highlights off of yellow blond waves, Yuuri scanned his eyes over his companion and his cheeks burned pleasantly when Wolfram returned the look.

"We call this courting. Not dating." His green eyes rolled halfheartedly as if this was the most obvious explanation. "A date is a fruit, wimp."

Yuuri's throat throbbed in time with his heartbeat. "Oh…"

They weren't sure when they had moved closer — but Yuuri remembered the point connecting his own space and having it invaded by the other boy's forehead touching his—and he confessed, digging his tan fingers nervously into the checkered fabric beneath them, "I don't know what to do…"

"Don't worry about it…" This time, Wolfram was the one to smile soothingly, mouthing into the kiss they shared, "You don't have to if I am here with you."

.

.


KKM belongs to everyone who made it in the first place. They had dibs first obviously. Damn. Damn. And I apologize for any OOC. YE GODS THE SUFFOCATING FLUFF.

It's been a while since I've made an effort to post up a YuurixWolfram story. Honestly… I was discouraged for a bit. Sometimes… other fans and their ways are too much for me… T.T I will say it proudly to you all… I am an equal lover of YuurixWolfram (my first love), ConradxYuuri (my second love), and SaraxYuuri (my third love). And I don't care if someone holds it against me. Because I know I am allowed to support what I want. And I wish for everyone else reading this to feel like they can support what they want too and that you know you have someone who would listen to you… :DD PLEASE FEEL SHAMELESS! WHETHER IT BE THE PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED TO GUNTERxYUURI TO CHERIxJULIA TO CONRADxWOLFRAM TO YUURIxELIZABETH—LOVE WHAT YOU WANT! Because, I would never hold it against you, dear reader. Ever. That is my fandom sermon… and I bid you all a good day.