Summary: What would have happened if the avalanche never took place? AU scenario of episode 65.
This is it… he thought, I'm going to die by the man whom I saved. Why is life so ironic.
Conrad hesitated slightly and Yozak thought he must be trying to see if him lying on the ground was a trap. Stupid miasma.
The sword swung down and Yozak squeezed his eyes shut. He couldn't help it, he didn't want to die, he was barely over one hundred years old. Something cold and sharp was touching his neck and, once he realised he wasn't quite dead yet, Yozak slowly opened his eyes, entire body shaking from nerves, disappointment and fear.
Conrad was standing above him, eyes narrowed and frowning. And though he didn't make the killing blow, Yozak could feel the sword tip pressing closer and closer until a trail was blood was flowing like lava along his skin. The sword didn't relent and kept digging deeper.
This is it…it was really quite surreal, being killed by someone Yozak had wanted to spend the rest of his life with. But he knew it was only the miasma, so he didn't blame Conrad. If only they hadn't come on this stupid journey then Yozak would have been able to ask for Conrad's hand in marriage like any other guy.
Not that he'd say yes; perhaps it's better this way.
"Oi!" a voice was suddenly distinguished from the sound of the storm and Yozak felt the sword move away slightly.
"Your Majesty!" And Conrad's concern was immediately on the kid, what else is new. "You shouldn't be here!"
"What are you doing, Conrad!" the Maou's angry voice cut through the air like a whip. Conrad hesitated, looked down at Yozak who was still bleeding, and guiltily sheathed his sword.
"We found the Minadia leaf, your majesty," Conrad said, turning away and heading towards the small bundle of plants.
Yozak sat still, hands shaking as he brought it up to his neck. The truth finally began to sunk it.
Conrad had tried to kill him, Conrad would have killed him if it weren't for his majesty. Yozak wasn't sure what to make of this.
It's only because of the miasma, he reminded himself but a nagging feeling won't go away. Had their situations been reversed, not that that was likely since he has yet to win against Conrad in a duel, Yozak was sure that however much he did not trust him, he would not kill Conrad. He couldn't. He'd never be able to kill someone he loves. To him, Conrad was more important than anything else.
I guess this proves that the feelings are completely one-sided. Yozak smiled, it was odd, he was relieved. Pained, sure…but relieved none the less. It meant that there was no point in hiding anymore, it was never going to happen, his instincts were right. Conrad would never love him like that.
It was as if a great weight had been lifted from him. He could tell Conrad how he feels, get rejected and then go and look for someone else to spend the rest of his life with.
What was wrong with me? He nearly killed him, he would have killed him if it weren't for Yuuri. Conrad wasn't sure what to make of this.
Since when did he kill people important to him? Miasma or not, this should not have happened. To think, he had pressed his sword enough to bleed. A fraction more, and Yozak would have died.
Yozak would have died.
Conrad shook his head a little, but the aching thumping of his heart would not stop, and images of Yozak spiralled out of control within his mind's eye.
It shouldn't have happened, why did it happen?! All he remembered was how strangely addictive it was, pressing the sword
"Hm? You drew blood?" Wolfram looked confused, perhaps he wasn't the best person to be asking for advice, but Conrad didn't dare bring this subject up with anyone else. He didn't usually enjoy voicing his own emotions, but this has been plaguing his mind so constantly that it was going to affect his performance in protecting the Maoh if it continued. Besides, he felt slightly more comfortable confiding in Wolfram, who voiced his emotions every day.
"What do you mean you drew blood?"
Conrad gave a sigh, "When we were on the mountain," he explained. "My hand wouldn't stop the sword from cutting Yozak. It was as if I enjoyed it."
"Enjoyed?" Wolf continued to frown. "Like sex?"
Conrad blinked, what on earth did sex had to do with anything? "I beg your pardon?" he said, trying his best to seem calm, however baffling the change of topic was.
"You know, sex," Wolfram frown deepened, as if annoyed that Conrad did not immediately understand. "I know you know what sex means, Conrad."
Conrad couldn't help but smile, his brother always manage to amuse him. "Yes, I know what it means. But may I ask what had brought this about? People don't usually bring up sex with their brothers with no reason you know."
"You're the one who brought it up!" Wolfram said hotly, face flushing with agitation. "If you don't want to talk about it, don't tell me about wanting to stab people!"
Again, Conrad was baffled. He chose to ask in a more direct fashion this time. "What does me wanting to- my hand, not stopping as it stabbed Yozak in the neck, have anything to do with sex."
This time it was Wolfram who looked confused. "It's your new kink isn't it? That's why you didn't want to stop right? You find it exciting to cut up Yozak."
Conrad did not speak for a long time, but eventually, he managed to say, "I'm pretty sure I don't want to cut up Yozak. The image of him getting hurt is…" he stuttered he, unable to go on. It was difficult and disturbing to think that perhaps some subconscious part of him found it arousing to make Yozak bleed.
"Well, I guess it might not be the actual cutting and stabbing," Wolfram reasoned. "What else was he doing?"
Conrad resisted his urge to roll his eyes, instead he smiled calmly. "He was lying on the ground, looking pained."
"Then that must be it then," Wolfram said, "you're a sadist."
The innocent bluntness with which Wolf delivered that last line made Conrad want to flinch. He was not a sadist!
"Couldn't it have been the expression?" Conrad ventured, even though that broken acceptance still haunts his dreams.
"Hm, I don't know," Wolfram said, looking at the ceiling as he thought. "I mean, I always think Yuuri's cute, and hot, and sexy and if he ever wanted to, even if he was crying, I don't think I'll have any problem getting my-"
Conrad coughed; he didn't really need to know any details. Especially if he can guess Wolf's train of thought himself.
The next time he saw Yozak was in one of the weapon stores. Yozak was putting away a stack of training swords, looking slightly worn out. A small bruise marred his jaw.
"Hey," he said, gently.
Yozak didn't speak, just gave him an upward nod. He was avoiding eye contact. Conrad wondered why.
"Who bruised you?" It seemed unlikely that Yozak could have got injured by any new soldiers.
"No one," Yozak replied, still staring at the polished metal stacks, "just banged myself on the chin taking the swords in."
Conrad stepped close, one hand trailed along the bruise. Yozak involuntarily turned towards him.
And there it was, that pained, broken expression that had been on the mountain. Seeing it again made something click in Conrad's mind. Yozak looked damn sexy with a serious expression.
Perhaps he was staring for too long, or maybe there was something disturbing with his own expressions, but Yozak pulled away, eyebrows drawn together in a small frown.
"I should go," Yozak whispered. His eyes were downcast, there was no cheeky grin adorning his features. Conrad couldn't take it anymore, it was too arousing.
"Yozak," he said, grabbing his friend's arm and drew him close.
For a second, Yozak looked alarmed, but Conrad had already moved forward, was already guiding his face closer. His lips were already pressing against Yozak's.
Suddenly, Conrad realised what he had done and quickly pulled away. "I-I'm sorry." It wasn't like him to lose control. "I should have said- asked," he continued to stammer but Yozak wasn't listening. Instead the redhead was staring at him, as if he had never seen him before in his life.
And then, completely out of the blue, completely without warning, Yozak spoke. "Marry me."
Conrad startled. "Sorry?"
"Marry me," Yozak was starting to sound a little desperate now. "Please, I love you."
Conrad stared, wide eyed at the man before him. Eventually his brain started working again, finally registering that his best friend had just proposed to him.
"Oh," he uttered rather uncharacteristically. But Yuuri wasn't around, so it was okay.
"Conrad," a pleading look, strong hands grabbed his arms, pressing tightly.
He blinked, looking a little apologetic, "I can't."
Stared, arms dropping back to his side, and took a step back.
"Oh…" Yozak echoed. He nodded…looked away….nodded again. "Of course…" barely above a murmur, Conrad had to strain his ears to hear it. "Of course you can't….how stupid of me…"
"It's not that I don't want to," he clarified. It wasn't like Yozak to give up something important so easily, but he thought he should explain, just in case. "Nobility dictates that the eldest must marry first, before the second son can choose a partner and get engaged. So I need to wait for Gwendal."
Yozak paused, and turned towards him slowly, a questioning gaze set upon his face. "What about Wolfram? Isn't he, despite being the youngest, always pressurising the kid to marry him?"
"He's engaged to the Maoh. Nobility dictates that the person engaged to the Maoh must marry first in the family…which means I have to wait for Wolfram to get married before waiting for Gwendal." He had forgotten about that little detail, marriage had never been one of his priorities.
Yozak still seemed confused though. Odd, considering that he was sure Gwendal would have gone through these nobility rules with him. "Wait, then what was that whole thing with Elizabeth."
"She was a betrothed, that works a little differently."
"It's complicated," Conrad sighed, "but if you really want to know I can ask Gunter to give you a history lesson," he teased.
"No thanks, I've got work to be doing." As if to reinstate this, Yozak turned towards the cupboard in which Conrad knew the polish was kept. There was companionable silence as the redhead organised everything he'd need. Conrad was just about to leave, he had left Yuuri playing catch with Wolfram, when Yozak spoke up.
"Well…will you marry me after Wolfram and Gwendal partner off?"
Conrad grinned and kissed him again. "I thought the answer would have been obvious," Conrad whispered into his ear.
"From something as small as a kiss?" Yozak rose an eyebrow and gave him a wry glance.
"Then what about~" Conrad murmured something else, pressing his entire body against the redhead. Their next kiss was much deeper than the first. A hand slid down, tugging at the light-coloured tunic.
Yozak pulled away, "You know, I don't think we'll get to marry at the rate things are going."
"What do you mean?" Conrad asked, nonplussed as his nibbled down Yozak's jaw, careful to avoid the bruise.
"Well, the kid seems insistent that he marries a woman, and his Excellency Gwendal and Annissina only ever argues when they talk about anything outside of protecting Shin Makoku."
"Then we won't get married," Conrad replied, it didn't really matter to him either way.
However, it seemed to matter to Yozak, since he pulled away again, punching his fist into his palm as if suddenly determined about something. "Okay! We can't waste time kissing when there are two distressing couples so near to us. Let's get them married!"
Conrad had a sneaking suspicion Yozak really wants to wear a wedding dress.
Yeah, you'll probably notice that this was written in two parts. The angsty part was done YEARS ago, when I first re-watched episode 65 and felt very sorry for poor Yozak. I think this was originally meant to be a long, multi-chaptered fic exploring the possibilities that little difference would have made to Conrad and Yozak's relationship. And when I started writing Conrad's part recently, I suddenly came to the conclusion that if Conrad was to reveal this little detail to anyone, they were more likely to be think he was confessing his inner S&M fetishes. It was going to be Yuuri originally, but it was more believable for Wolfram to actually voice it, Yuuri would probably have kept that thought to himself. Besides, Conrad going to Yuuri for advice is completely OOC...not that he was particularly in character for this fic but I tried.