KKM The Future

It was not quite the way he'd envisioned it.

Which was okay, really. He had time to fritter, for the first time in never, now that Shibuya had accomplished the impossible.

Time was a luxury Murata Ken planned to relish. He never once remembered being blessed with the prospect of days – years – stretching on before him with literally nothing to accomplish, never. Oh, Shibuya would probably need his services again as Sage, but it would be minor things – those pesky White Crows, for example.

Nothing Yuuri couldn't whip with one hand tied behind his back.

Murata would barely have to lift a finger. He could loll around in Shinou's old digs, surrounded by pretty women, and relax, eat bonbons and read novels from Francshire…if he wanted to. Emerge, eventually, and find someone (or perhaps several 'someones' – a Mazoku lived a very long time, didn't he?) to hook up with…or at least date.

It was a pity von Bielefeld and Shibuya-kun were both out of the question romantically. He was very comfortable with Yuuri (dared he admit he admired that naïve idiot? Thought he was cute as the bearbee's knees? No!) and Wolfram-kun looked just like Murata's old flame…and even, on very rare occasions, acted like him.

But no, neither of them were possible. He had no interest in engineering a tragedy, really. And Shinou would probably haunt him forever if he pursued either of them, instead of just annoying him for the rest of this lifetime.

…What a thing to look forward to: Shinou finally leaving him alone after 4,000 years and countless lifetimes. What would he do without that stupid King inhabiting him – his soul, his heart…his memory?

For that matter, what would he do without those memories? He'd never been without them, just as he'd never been without work to do, and the Original King whispering in his head. What would he do? They were precious, his memories.

And yet, here was his opportunity to forget. He was no longer charged with keeping them intact. His eons-long penance was finally complete.

Indeed, he was (very nearly) home free. Just another few hundred years and it would be all over. Bye-bye to that irritating, cheating, oblivious old bastard. Adios to the Great Maou and intimate, personal knowledge of Shin Makoku's bloody and glittering history. Hasta la vista to 'missions' and 'fates' and 'the inevitable'.

[He had to admit it bothered him more than a little, not being able to see himself in the next life. Sheesh, he could barely make out all the details from this one, or at least not much past the Sousho showdown. It made him uneasy, not knowing if he was going to have a good time or if it was going to suck.]

Of course, he was the type to be very uncomfortable when he felt unsure. It didn't suit his personality to be thrown off-center by every little thing, like Yuuri was. He preferred knowing.

This thing with Gurrier, for example. It annoyed him, almost as much as that unwilling attraction to Yuuri's fiancé had annoyed him. It excited him; gave him a fillip of anticipation to liven his days. And… he didn't know what to do about it.

Odd, to be without the expected direction always provided – but Shinou was strangely silent on the subject of Yosak Gurrier. With his head spinning in this odd way, Murata couldn't even manage a clear understanding of whether the redhead was merely teasing him with those burning sideways glances and occasional kisses…or whether he was , well, 'serious'.

[And what about Conrad Weller? Where did he figure in all this? Would he be heartbroken if Murata took his Queen? Or would he shrug it off, as always?]

Murata Ken wanted no more bloodshed and suffering to be laid at his door. He didn't want to be the one responsible. He didn't want to feel culpable if Gurrier really was using their undeniable attraction as a smokescreen and Weller realized too late those disapproving glares he sent the Sage's way every time he and Gurrier were 'accidentally together' in public were actually the symptoms of vicious jealousy.

And… he didn't want to be the one abandoned, not again. He'd done that already, thank you. That road was not an option.

So, why didn't Shinou let him see the outcome of this delightful flirtation? Why jerk him around like this? Had he not done everything expected of him and more? Had he not proved his love and loyalty over and over again, in every one of those lifetimes? Jeez, if he examined the silence carefully, that immaterial blonde bastard was actually acting as if he were jealous - as if he wanted Ken to take a prat fall in this (possible) relationship with Yosak and suffer some more.

Or, was it…could it be that Murata still had to prove something to his old liege, simply by patiently waiting through this lifetime? Did an affectionate and constant Shinou have some plan in that squirrel's nest he called a brain for a future meeting between them, unencumbered by 'past' and 'fate' and 'obligation'?

Was that even possible?

Would he want such a thing, if it were?

Or did he want Gurrier for a boyfriend? Would it be the better course to choose the (possible) 'bird in hand' as opposed to the one flittering around aimlessly in the bushes?

…And how, exactly, did Shibuya manage to make any decisions at all – if he had to go through such emotional and momentous consideration as Ken was now experiencing every single time? How had he figured out von Bielefeld was the right choice? How had he—

Chosen the future?

When it wasn't necessarily a 'choice' at all?