A/N: Hello! I know it's been months since my last one-shot and I apologize for not having brought you anything sooner. This idea hit me sometime in the middle of the night when I was on the verge of falling asleep.
This is actually a one-shot but because it spanned to nearly thirty pages and is almost 16,000 words, I decided to split it into two separate chapters. At least here, I can choose where to split it, at my livejournal there is a word limit and I had to figure out the best places to split it without going over the word limit.
Now, sit back, relax, and I hope you enjoy!
Summary: A single moment changes Wolfram's and Yuuri's life forever.
Warnings: Rated PG-13. MPreg.
A Moment in Time
Nothing pleased Wolfram more than waking up in Yuuri's arms every morning, feeling those strong arms wrapped around him tightly. It made him feel loved and cherished, Yuuri protecting him even when they slept. Not that Wolfram needed protecting, of course.
Wolfram snuggled closer, head on one of Yuuri's wide shoulders. He had woken up before the black-haired king, an unusual occurrence. Wolfram loved to sleep, preferred to stay in bed for as long as possible, while Yuuri tended to wake up well before breakfast was served. On the rare moments when the blond did wake up before his husband, he simply waited for Yuuri to wake up, using his chest as a drawing board as Wolfram drew imaginary shapes and lines on the bare skin.
Just as he was doing now. He could hear the birds chirping outside their window and he could faintly hear the sounds of swords clanging together from the men on the training grounds. Wolfram would have to go down there soon, but not yet. He wanted to enjoy this morning for as long as he could.
It was minutes later when Yuuri's breathing slightly changed. His body twitched and Wolfram perched his chin on Yuuri's chest just in time to see those rare dark eyes slowly open. A slumberous smile stretched Yuuri's lips when he caught Wolfram looking at him. Wolfram felt the arms around him tighten just a fraction more.
"Good morning, Your Majesty," Wolfram murmured.
Yuuri arched a brow at the formal greeting. "Good morning, Your Majesty," he retorted.
Laughing, Wolfram maneuvered himself until he was straddling Yuuri's waist. He was nude but his lack of nightwear didn't bother him. At least, not anymore. It had taken him a long while to get used to being naked around his husband. Before they married, they had seen each other naked on a number of occasions, but that had always been when bathing or dressing, and Wolfram had pointedly ignored anything below the waist. Once they had married, however, below the waist was no longer forbidden. Not only had Wolfram turn shy when looking at his husband's nude body, he had grown even shier knowing that Yuuri was looking at him. From the blushes that had adorned Yuuri's cheeks during that time, it had been the same for the dark-haired king.
"I didn't hear you come in last night," Wolfram commented, planting his hands on Yuuri's chest.
Yuuri made a soft noise of acknowledgement. Wolfram shivered slightly when Yuuri's broad hands slowly ran up his thighs. "I didn't want to wake you. It was late by the time I was done with the paperwork." Yuuri sat up and dragged his hands up Wolfram's sides before loosely wrapping his arms around the blond's slim body. "You looked so cute curled up in a ball."
"Well I had to find someway to get warm. You weren't here to keep the cold away." Wolfram put on his best pout, sticking his lower lip out.
"I'm here now," Yuuri murmured, leaning forward to nip at Wolfram's lower lip before giving him a proper kiss.
Wolfram moaned softly and wrapped his arms around Yuuri's neck. "I wish you didn't have to go," Wolfram whispered as Yuuri spread kisses across his jaw and down the hollow of his throat.
"I wish I didn't have to go, either." Yuuri nipped at the blond's soft skin. "Why not come with me?"
Wolfram grimaced and shook his head. Negotiations with Dai Shimeron were in progress, a step closer to solidifying the peaceful alliance Yuuri wanted between the two countries. It was a big accomplishment to even be able to negotiate with the human country after the many years of hostility that has always existed between them. If things went smoothly, then a new treaty would officially halt any future wars from ever occurring between Shin Makoku and Dai Shimeron.
At Wolfram's nonverbal answer, Yuuri frowned. "Why not? I'll miss having you next to me when I fall asleep."
Wolfram hesitated. He has always traveled with Yuuri wherever he went, no matter the destination, especially when the king ventured into hostile territory. It was no surprise to see the confusion in Yuuri's eyes, unable to understand why Wolfram had opted to stay home instead of going with him.
"I have finally realized that I can trust you not to cheat on me," Wolfram playfully answered, leaning in to rub their noses.
Yuuri arched a disbelieving brow. "Ah, glad to know that the last few years of marriage finally proved it to you. Never mind the yearlong courtship, and the constant rebuffs of potential brides, fighting in that one duel when some idiot had the audacity to challenge me over your hand—"
Wolfram chuckled. "You know I trust you, Yuuri." He sighed. "I just don't feel like going this one time."
Nothing escaped Yuuri. His husband eyed him suspiciously. "I don't believe you," he proclaimed. "You're keeping something from me."
"Now what makes you think that?"
"Because I know you. Something's up." Yuuri lightly shook him. "Tell me." A worried look came over his features. "It's not something bad, is it?"
Wolfram played with Yuuri's dark hair. "Don't fret, Yuuri. There's nothing wrong. I simply don't feel like going." That was a lie, of course. He wanted to go, he truly did, but he couldn't. Gisela recommended that he stay in Shin Makoku and away from any human lands. He cupped Yuuri's face and lifted it up so they could stare into each other's eyes. "Once the negotiations are over, you're going to take me somewhere so we could spend quality time together."
Yuuri's brows rose but his lips quirked into a smile. "Is that an order, Your Majesty?"
"It's a decree." Wolfram smiled before leaning forward to peck his husband's lips.
Yuuri growled softly. "I will need a little more than that to get me through the trip without you." Wolfram suddenly found himself on his back, Yuuri hovering over him. "I know you are keeping something from me," Yuuri said, becoming serious once more. "While we're having our quality time together, I expect for you to tell me."
Wolfram didn't respond, merely brought Yuuri's head down to kiss him again. Yuuri returned the kiss but Wolfram knew that Yuuri was allowing the distraction to happen. For now, that was enough.
Yuuri pulled back just a fraction, their lips still touching. "We haven't made love in the morning in a long time." Yuuri pulled further away only to lean to the right and press a kiss against Wolfram's shoulder.
"No, we haven't," Wolfram agreed softly.
Yuuri slowly moved down his body, kissing, nipping, sucking his skin. Wolfram hummed, enjoying the attention. But when the kisses suddenly stopped at his belly with nothing happening for several moments, Wolfram frowned and looked down to see what Yuuri was doing.
The king was staring intently at Wolfram's stomach, brows slightly burrowed together. Wolfram swallowed and felt his heart speed up a little. Did Yuuri feel it? Could he sense it? Gisela had said Yuuri might but she hadn't sounded confident that Yuuri's human blood would allow him to. Wolfram bit his lip. What if Yuuri figured it out?
A knock sounded against the bedroom door.
"Your Majesty?" Gunter's voice filtered through the door. "Are you awake?"
Yuuri sighed, looking more than a little disappointed. "Damn," he muttered. "He always comes get me at precisely the wrong time." Yuuri gave a rueful smile when Wolfram chuckled. In a louder voice, he said, "Yes, Gunter. I'm awake."
"We are set to leave within the hour. I suggest you start getting ready so you can have some breakfast before we set out to leave to Dai Shimeron."
"All right. Thanks." Yuuri sighed again and pressed his forehead against Wolfram's smooth belly. "Do you even remember the last time we had made love?"
Wolfram snorted. "Is that all you think about?"
Yuuri groaned. "When I'm this hard, yes." He gave Wolfram's stomach one last kiss before rolling out of bed. "I can't wait until these negotiations are over."
Wolfram rolled onto his belly and folded his arms on the bed, planting his chin on top of them. He watched his husband gather some clothes to wear for the day, all the while grumbling under his breath. Wolfram chuckled. He was glad to know that after several years of marriage, Yuuri still desired him so much.
Yuuri headed towards the door, presumably to head towards their private baths, but the king paused when he reached the door, looking over his shoulder at Wolfram. "You're not going to take a bath with me?"
Wolfram shook his head. "I took one last night." He rolled his eyes. "Besides, if I take a bath with you now you'd probably attempt to seduce me, and you don't have time for that."
"Not attempt, succeed," Yuuri corrected, completely unashamed by his admission. "But you're right. Gunter would probably come find me and the last thing I want is for him to walk in on us—again."
Wolfram was still mortified by that particular event despite it having occurred very early on in their marriage. It had been the first time that Yuuri and Wolfram had decided to make love in the baths and just as Wolfram was about to climax, Gunter had entered the baths looking for Yuuri. Wolfram hadn't been able to look at Gunter in the eye for days after that.
Wolfram was taken out of his thoughts by Yuuri's touch. He hadn't realized that Yuuri had returned to the bed. "What?" Wolfram asked seeing the concerned look on Yuuri's face.
Yuuri frowned a little, softly caressing Wolfram's cheek. "Are you sure that there's nothing wrong?"
Caught off-guard by the unexpected question, Wolfram blinked. "Huh?"
"It's just . . . Whenever you keep secrets from me, it's never a good thing. It's always something bad."
Grabbing Yuuri's hand, Wolfram led the fingertips to his lips and kissed them. "I told you, nothing is wrong." Although he didn't want to admit that he had a secret, he didn't like that worried look in Yuuri's dark eyes. Releasing Yuuri's hand, Wolfram got up on his knees and placed his hands on his husband's shoulders. "I promise you that whatever secret I am keeping from you, it's a good one." At least, Wolfram hoped it was a good one. He mentally shook his head. No negative thoughts allowed. He smiled brightly. "Nothing bad."
Yuuri eyed him for a few moments before nodding once. "Okay." He grabbed a hold of one of Wolfram's hands and kissed his palm. "Miss me while I'm gone, okay?"
"Of course," Wolfram promised.
The skies darkened and distant thunder announced the coming of a storm. Wolfram frowned and paused mid-stroke, lifting his paintbrush from the canvass as he slowly lost his natural light. He looked out the window, seeing the slow roll of the dark clouds covering the sky and he decided that that was enough painting for the day. It was just as well. With the storm rolling in, he wouldn't be able to concentrate on his painting, not when Yuuri was currently traveling across the ocean and would most likely have to deal with the storm.
Wolfram has experienced rough waters during a thunderstorm, and the nastier the storm, the rougher the waves. Yuuri had left Dai Shimeron yesterday, so if his calculations were correct, the king was midway to the human country. Yuuri had never really had to travel across the oceans during a rough storm and Wolfram wished that he could have gone. If the coming storm was bad, Yuuri was going to endure harsh conditions. Wolfram could just imagine the choppy waters, the high winds, the constant sounds of thunder as the sky was lighted by lighting strikes, the boat rocking to and fro. He was nauseous just thinking about it.
Wolfram knew that if things got too rough Yuuri would be able to handle it. With Yuuri being such a powerful magic-wielder, his husband could do a number of things to protect himself and the others on board if he had to. It didn't ease Wolfram's worries any less, though.
Wolfram went to the basin by the window and quickly washed his hands. Once he removed the paint stains on his skin and dried his hands, he quickly closed the row of windows he had opened earlier. He didn't want any raindrops falling inside his studio and falling on his numerous paintings that were perched up against the walls.
As soon as he closed all the windows, he left his studio and made his way down the corridors, nodding a greeting to those who bowed their heads in respect. It hadn't been much of a transition from being a Lord to a King-Consort. He had been born a prince and when his mother stepped down from the throne, he had been demoted to a noble, but he had still been very much a part of the royal court. The Bielefeld name was well known in Shin Makoku and even if some citizens hadn't known his first name, they had at least known he was part of the Bielefeld house. When he married the king, his first name soon became known to all citizens of the country.
However, being King-Consort didn't mean living a life of luxury as he was sure many of the citizens thought he had. No, marrying Yuuri meant sharing the power and the responsibilities, on top of the responsibilities Wolfram already had. Wolfram still trained his men, was still involved in Bielefeld affairs, but he also had input in any decisions made that would affect Shin Makoku.
Just as Wolfram passed by the king's office, the door suddenly swung open, startling him just a bit from the action. Gwendal stepped out and his gaze zeroed in on him. Damn, Wolfram had hoped to somehow avoid Gwendal while Yuuri was gone. If anyone could make him talk, it was his eldest brother, and Gwendal has long since suspected that Wolfram was keeping something from everyone.
Before Wolfram could do or say anything, Gwendal said, "There are some documents that you can sign. I've already approved them. All they need are your signature."
Wolfram hesitated. "Now?"
Gwendal's eyes narrowed. "Now."
Dragging his feet, he entered the office. Gwendal shut the door behind him, the sound loud in Wolfram's ears. He was stuck. He knew what was coming, but he could pretend that he was really there to sign documents. The thunder, now closer, momentarily distracted him. "Do you think Yuuri will be okay?" he couldn't help but ask. He turned to Gwendal.
Gwendal eyed the dark clouds through the large window in the office. "His Majesty has traveled through a storm before."
"But not a bad one, and this sounds like a really bad one." Wolfram's boots sank deep into the thick carpet as he made his way to the large oak desk. He sat down on the chair, detecting the faint scent that solely belonged to Yuuri. He missed him already. "And I was always there with him. This time I'm here and if something happens to him I won't know about it."
Right after he said the words, he wished he hadn't said anything at all. He should have just come in, sign the papers, and leave. He shouldn't have even sat down. To make matters worse, he had just given an opening for Gwendal to start the inquisition.
And as expected, Gwendal took it. "Which brings up the question, why didn't you go with him?"
Wolfram picked up a quill and looked over the first document on top of a tiny pile of papers. It was a neat way to avoid Gwendal's suspicious gaze. "I did not feel like dealing with sea sickness."
"That's never stopped you before."
"Yes, well, it's a good thing I didn't go, considering the storm."
"Like I said, that has never stopped you before."
For several minutes, Wolfram resolutely kept his head bowed as no words were spoken between them, but Gwendal was an impatient man when he wanted answers.
It was a command, the tone of the voice that Gwendal has often used when he wanted Wolfram to look at him. He resisted for just a moment but eventually raised his eyes. He found his brother looking at him with slightly narrowed eyes. "I've been watching you, Wolfram. I've noticed that you switched your paints. You no longer use the paints with the bearbee extract." Wolfram opened his mouth to respond but Gwendal continued talking. "You stopped drinking anything with alcohol. When you go to the training grounds to train your soldiers, you no longer challenge anyone to clash swords with you. Instead, you have the soldiers fight each other as you watch on the sidelines. You've begun to eat fish, which is perhaps your least favorite foods in all the land."
Gwendal stopped and stared Wolfram down. "What is going on?"
Wolfram thought about lying. He thought about saying that nothing was going on and that his brother was looking into things far more deeply than he should. There were a million things he could do or say to get out of this interrogation. But in the end, he knew how Gwendal was. The older demon was not going to let Wolfram get away without a complete explanation and if Wolfram was truly honest with himself, he really wanted to share the news with someone.
He put the quill down and gave Gwendal a small smile. "I'm pregnant."
Gwendal wasn't the kind of man to reveal his emotions so it didn't surprise Wolfram when the facial expression didn't change. However, Wolfram has long since learned to read his brother's reactions a different way. The way his brother's body stilled showed his surprise.
"Come again?" Gwendal asked blandly.
Wolfram's smile widened. Gwendal was very surprised. "A couple of weeks ago, I was getting tired very easily. My magic was suddenly unstable. Certain foods also began to make me nauseas and I began to crave foods that I usually hate. I went to Gisela to see what was going on. After she examined me, she said that I was with child. I'm a couple of months along. That's why I couldn't go with Yuuri. Since I get weak on human lands, it might affect the baby."
Gwendal acknowledged his words with a single nod. He stood there for several moments, staring at the surface of the king's desk. Wolfram slowly lost his smile, unsure what this long silence meant. He hadn't expected hugs and kisses, but neither had he expected silence. Wolfram stood up and circled the table, slowly approaching his big brother. "Big Brother? Are you . . . upset?"
Gwendal slanted a look at him. "What makes you think that?"
"Because you haven't said anything."
"I'm just curious. Why haven't you or His Majesty said anything?"
Wolfram fiddled with his fingers. "Because I haven't told Yuuri yet."
Gwendal turned fully to face his younger brother, eyebrows arched high on his forehead. "You haven't told him yet? You've known for weeks."
"I know!" He took a deep breath. "I know how Yuuri is. He can get a bit overprotective. At first, I was waiting for the right moment to tell him but then Dai Shimeron sent that letter and they began to negotiate and I didn't want to distract him. Then he was invited over there so that they can negotiate face-to-face and I know how important this treaty is to Yuuri. If I told him that I'm pregnant, he would have wanted to stay here."
"As he should," Gwendal murmured.
Wolfram rolled his eyes. "But what is he going to do? Watch me as I grow fatter? If he stayed here, he might have lost this chance to work things out with Dai Shimeron. I have you and the castle staff to help with anything I need. Gisela had even told me that she was going to watch me closely." He looked down at the shiny tips of his boots. "I'll tell him when the negotiations are over."
"You do realize he will be gone for nearly a month? By the time he returns, you won't even have to tell him you are pregnant. He'll know by your waistline."
"I'll still be skinny." At least, he hoped he would be. He frowned. When will he begin to show? He'll ask Gisela. "I'll hide it if I start to show by the time he comes home."
Gwendal studied him for a moment. "How do you think he'll take it?"
"I don't know." He bit his lip. "I'm worried that he'll panic."
"Over a lot of things! He might panic because it's a man and not a woman who is going to give birth. Or he might panic because he's not ready for a baby. He might not even want it! I mean, there is so much going on. Even if the peace treaty with Dai Shimeron goes through there is still a lot of countries out there he has to negotiate with, plus all the stuff that's going on within Shin Makoku—"
"He loves you, Wolfram." Wolfram stopped talking and looked at his brother with anxious eyes. Gwendal cocked his head slightly, continued to study him for several more moments, and then moved closer. He put a hand on one of Wolfram's shoulders. "It does not matter what is going on with Shin Makoku or Dai Shimeron or any other country. He loves you more than anything and he will love the baby." Gwendal paused. "In all honesty I don't believe either one of you is ready for a baby right now."
"I don't think I'm ready, either," Wolfram muttered. "But I'll become ready by the time the baby gets here—"
"And so will your husband. And he will most certainly want the baby. Not only because it's his child that you are carrying, but because it's your child, too. He will love it just as much as he loves you."
Wolfram took in Gwendal's words and eventually nodded. "You're right." He smiled slightly. "I'll tell him as soon as he comes back and then maybe we can have a dinner celebration." His smile widened as he teasingly asked, "And if Yuuri doesn't want the baby, you'll teach him a lesson, won't you?"
"Of course," Gwendal promised. His lips finally turned into a smile. "Congratulations on your pregnancy."
Wolfram's small smile turned into a wide grin and he pushed himself away from the desk to hug Gwendal tightly, happy when his hug was slowly returned. Rarely did Gwendal hug anyone but when he did, it was a special thing to be a part of. "Thank you, Big Brother."
There were many things Yuuri has come to learn and accept about this world: People with magic, a population of dragons, animals that were a cross between bees and bears, flying sheep, and so much more. Yes, there were many things Yuuri has come to accept.
What he had trouble accepting, however, was the possibility of male demons becoming pregnant.
Yuuri was not sure why Wolfram thought that a book on demon anatomy would be a pleasant book to read on this trip to Dai Shimeron, but it certainly was interesting. He hasn't been able to put it down since he first start reading it last week. He now knew the reason why demons were able to carry magic—a gene that human and most half-humans didn't inherit—and how the differences in blood type indicated which demons would carry which elemental magic.
Those little tidbits of information were interesting, but not shocking. Demon male pregnancy, however, was another thing entirely. There was an entire chapter devoted to it and Yuuri read every word, taking everything in. At first, his logic told him to reject it. Male seahorses gave birth, not male humans. But as he continued to read the chapter, one word was constantly repeated: demon. Demons were not humans. They looked human, but they weren't. According to this book, they were a lot more different from humans than Yuuri had originally thought. When and if a male demon became pregnant, his body automatically began to change in order to accommodate the growing fetus and to prepare the body for birth. It made sense in a way.
It was still weird, though.
Yuuri sighed and rolled over on the bed in his guest bedroom. The room was small when compared to his own bedroom back at Blood Pledge Castle, but no less fancy. Velvet curtains on the windows, large canopied bed, white walls with gorgeous paintings hanging at strategic places, a fireplace that was currently occupied by a roaring fire. Yet it could have been a tiny, bare room for all he cared. The bed, as comfortable as it was, was lonely without Wolfram lying there next to him. Yuuri has gotten into the habit of using one of the pillows to hug at night, a poor substitute for his husband.
Using his left hand, he patted around the bed until his fingers touched the folded letter he had received. He has read it a dozen times, but it eased the homesickness he felt whenever his eyes looked over the neat, cursive writing that belonged to Wolfram. Nothing much was going on in Shin Makoku, except that Wolfram was apparently being kept hostage in his office to sign documents while Gwendal hovered his shoulder. Yuuri chuckled, imagining the scene all too clearly. He's been in that position himself quite a number of times. It didn't matter that Yuuri was king and could probably strip Gwendal of his power and title, Gwendal was still a force to be reckoned with and neither Yuuri nor Wolfram were willing to go against that force if they didn't have to.
He truly missed his other half, but the way the negotiations were going made him feel a little better about Wolfram's absence. Things were going remarkably well. There were some heated disagreements, of course, but with both parties willing to compromise, Yuuri was sure that by the time he returned home, a new treaty would be in place that would be satisfactory to all. Hopefully, that would end all hostility between Shin Makoku and Dai Shimeron.
He rolled over onto his stomach, face hovering once more above the anatomy book. He flipped the page and glanced over it. It was a section of symptoms that male demons usually possess when pregnant. The symptoms varied among demons, and not all of the symptoms were the exact same as it was for females, whether human or demon. Male demons did experience some nausea but it never got to the point where they had to throw up. They didn't gain weight like women do, and instead of their hormones being affected, it was their magic that became unbalanced. It was highly recommended that they stay away from human lands where their magic was severely limited, since a high number of esoteric stones might hurt the fetus. Then there were the symptoms that Yuuri would usually associate with pregnancy, such as the exhaustion, the belly growing, and the cravings. Just like pregnant women, male demons sometimes began to crave food they usually hate when pregnant.
On the next page, a particular sentence caught his attention. "Fathers of the baby can usually sense the baby's presence within the womb whenever they near the demon they have impregnated," he read aloud.
Yuuri frowned. Something tickled his mind. He returned to the symptoms and instead of scanning the passages, he carefully noted each word. He continued reading until he finished the entire chapter, then he flipped back to the page where that sentence had caught his eye. He read it numerous times, the same sentence over and over, telling him that fathers can usually sense the baby within the womb. The tickle persisted, telling him that the sentence was important.
He pushed himself up, curling his legs underneath him and planting his bottom on top of his bare feet. His frown deepened. What was it about that sentence that bothered him? As he smoothed his silk pajamas down with his hand, he stilled his hand over his stomach. Yuuri knew for a fact that he wasn't pregnant because only a full-blooded male demon could become pregnant. Like Wolfram.
"Wolfram . . ." he breathed, and his mind immediately turned to that morning the day he had left Shin Makoku, when he had been kissing down Wolfram's body. He had paused when he reached Wolfram's stomach because he had sensed something there, something tugging at his magic.
"No way," he muttered. He shook his head, unable to believe that Wolfram could possibly be . . .
His eyes strayed back to the symptoms and without putting too much thought into it, he jumped out of bed and strode to the door. He opened it and peeked out into the hallway. As expected, Conrart stood by the door, ever cautious of his godson's safety whenever they left Blood Pledge Castle.
"Is something wrong, Your Majesty?" Conrart asked when he saw Yuuri's head poke out.
"No." Yuuri paused. "Yes." He grimaced. "Maybe, I don't know. But I have questions." He waved his hand, indicating Conrart to enter his room. Yuuri was glad that Gunter was asleep in his own guest bedroom because right now the only person he wanted to talk to was his godfather.
As soon as Conrart was inside, Yuuri closed the door and went right into things. "Wolfram has been keeping something from me," Yuuri flatly stated. "I didn't know what it was but he assured me that by the time I return he'll tell me."
"Okay," Conrart said slowly. It was obvious the half-human had no idea what to make of Yuuri's words, so he simply waited for Yuuri to continue.
"Have you noticed Wolfram eating seafood?" he asked. "He hates it and I've never seen him touch any fish but I've missed a few meals since I've begun the negotiations in Shin Makoku so I can't be too sure."
Conrart cocked his head and although he still looked a bit confused, Yuuri could tell that he was looking back over the days before Yuuri's departure. Seconds later, he nodded. "Now that you ask, yes, I did see him eat a couple of meals that had fish in it, but the fish was minimal."
"Minimal or not, Wolfram hates fish." Yuuri put clenched fists on his hips, frowning at Conrart. "Did you know that pregnant male demons are told to stay away from human lands?"
Looking very much taken aback by the question, Conrart struggled with a response. "Pregnant male demons?" he finally repeated for lack of anything better to say.
Yuuri marched his way to the bed and picked up the book. He handed it to Conrart, making sure the book was open to the pregnancy chapter. "Wolfram snuck this in my suitcase. I didn't know why but now . . ."
Conrart looked over the chapter curiously, and Yuuri wondered if maybe his godfather had been as unaware of male demon pregnancies as Yuuri had been. "Did you know about it?" he asked, tapping the top of the pages with the tip of his fingers.
A single nod was his answer. "But it is a rare phenomenon. One in every one-hundred thousand male demons has the gene that enables them to get pregnant."
Yuuri nodded grimly. "I know, I read the whole chapter." According to the statistics, less than half of those pregnancies were successfully carried to full-term, and of those full-term pregnancies, only a fraction resulted in a live baby.
"Why wasn't I told about this?" Yuuri demanded.
Conrart lifted his eyes, taking in the agitated state his godson was in. "While same-sex marriages occur, it is rare. In fact, you are the first king to marry another man. Since there aren't many men who marry within their own sex, the chances of finding a male demon with the pregnancy gene are very small. It seemed particularly unimportant for you and Wolfram because you are half-human and any children conceived in both the Spitzweg and Bielefeld family lines were through heterosexual marriages."
That made sense. The pregnancy gene was genetic. All it took was one child to be born by a male demon and all full-blooded male demon descendants of that baby inherited the gene. Any daughters that were born by a male pregnancy became carriers and passed the gene along.
That should have reassured him that it was unlikely that Wolfram was keeping that kind of a secret from him, but again his mind turned to that one tiny moment when he had kissed Wolfram's stomach and something inside of him tingled, an unknown, unexplained connection.
"Wolfram always comes with me on these trips," Yuuri muttered. He began to pace. "And I knew there was something going on, that's why I confronted him. But he wouldn't tell me, tried to deny that he even had a secret. But the book says to stay away from human lands and that is exactly what Wolfram is doing." He began to do hand gestures as he worked his way through all the clues. "Wolfram hates fish but now he's eating it. I've noticed that he also gets so tired doing things that usually doesn't tire him out." He pointed at Conrart. "He sleeps more, too! I mean, he loves to sleep, don't get me wrong, but he goes to bed earlier and he sleeps in later in the mornings more than usual. No one else seems to have noticed, but I certainly did."
"Your Majesty," Conrart said, getting Yuuri's attention. He now looked concerned as well as confused. "What are you talking about?"
"Don't you get it?" Yuuri threw his hands up in the air, his mind racing. "There may have been heterosexual marriages in Wolfram's ancestry, but one of those husbands must have had an affair with another guy and gotten pregnant because Wolfram is pregnant!"
There was silence in the room after that proclamation. Now that the words had been said, Yuuri clutched at his chest. "Wolfram is pregnant," he repeated, this time in a softer voice. His husband was pregnant. His blond, feisty husband was sitting back at home with a child growing inside of him. Yuuri's child.
"I need to sit down," Yuuri muttered. "I really need to sit down." He stumbled to the bed and lowered himself on it, head in his hands.
"Are you sure, Your Majesty?" Yuuri could hear the skepticism in Conrart's voice. "Perhaps there is another explanation for how Wolfram has been acting lately."
Yuuri shook his head. "He's pregnant, Conrad. I'm sure of it." Boy, was he sure of it. This was Wolfram's secret, and if he didn't love that blond idiot so much, he would have killed him for keeping such a thing from him. Though it didn't take much for him to figure out why Wolfram kept it from him. "He knew I wouldn't have come here. He knew that if he told me he's pregnant then I would have delayed these negotiations, or sent someone else in my place, so I can stay home with him." Which probably would have shot any chance of a peace treaty to hell. Dai Shimeron's king had made it perfectly clear in his letters that he would only negotiate with Yuuri and that this would be the only time he would be willing to reach a compromise with Shin Makoku.
"Your Majesty, perhaps you are jumping to conclusions. After all, you've been reading this book—"
"Which Wolfram put inside my suitcase." Yuuri suddenly jumped off the bed. "You know what? Let's wake up Gunter."
Conrart looked taken aback by the sudden words. "Gunter? Why?"
"Because he's a lot older than you and he probably knows more about Wolfram's family history than either of us, since the House of Christ has associated with the House of Bielefeld and the House of Spitzweg since Shinou's time." He grabbed Conrart's arm and began pulling him towards the door. "He might know about Wolfram's ancestry and can tell us which husband got pregnant."
"This could wait until morning—"
"No, it cannot!" He turned to Conrart with a determined look. "If you haven't noticed, Conrad, I am currently freaking out about all this because I know for a fact that Wolfram is pregnant and your skepticism is really not helping me, so I'm going to prove to you that I'm right. That way, once you know I'm right, you can help me not freak out."
Conrart studied him for a moment before sighing in what sounded like defeat. "All right, Your Majesty. As you wish."
"Good. Let's go." Yuuri led the way out the door. Even if Gunter couldn't help prove his conclusion correct, Yuuri knew deep down that his husband was carrying his child. As soon as his godfather understood that the better because Yuuri seriously needed someone to help him calm down.
Preferably, before he fainted.
With a critical eye, Wolfram examined his men's offensive and defensive techniques. His unit held a total of forty men and for today's exercise, he had divided them up into pairs. Twenty used defensive techniques to avoid the thrusts of their sparring partner's sword and the other twenty practiced their offensive. He walked down the rows of fighting men, hands clasped behind his back.
"Careful, Gerard," Wolfram said, pausing by one of the pairs. They stopped fighting at his words and Wolfram stepped in between them. "You're leaving yourself wide open for an attack." He took his own sword out of his sheath and put his body into a stance. "You're doing a great job blocking your upper half but you're leaving your legs unprotected." He angled his sword, putting the steel in front of his leg. "When they aim below, angle your sword like this. It will block the attack."
Wolfram removed himself from the middle and allowed them to resume their sparring. Wolfram watched them for a moment and nodded with satisfaction once he saw Gerard doing as told.
The hairs in the back of his neck told him he was being watched. He twisted his upper body around, traveled his gaze up the castle walls, and scanned the windows until he found the one with a silhouette behind it
Wolfram sighed irritably. He hadn't realized just how overprotective Gwendal would become once he knew of the pregnancy. It seemed that no matter where Wolfram was on the castle grounds, his brother was watching him from somewhere close by, like a lioness keeping watch over her cub. It was worse when he did leave the royal grounds, because Gwendal always sent some of his men to join Wolfram's personal guards whenever the blond decided to venture out into the capital. His guards, of course, couldn't understand why the Commander of the Demon Army was suddenly sending several men to join them on Wolfram's travels. Despite Wolfram's various attempts to get rid of the extra baby-sitters, his brother refused to back down.
Gwendal moved closer to the window and even across the distance, Wolfram could see the disapproval in his eyes. If it were up to the earth demon, Wolfram would be resting in bed all day, being waited on hand and foot. That might be paradise for some but certainly not for Wolfram. He couldn't be cooped up all day in his bedroom nor could he stand having every single thing done for him. No doubt, Gwendal's current problem was not just that Wolfram was outside, but that he was right smack in the middle of several men who were using their swords in close vicinity to Wolfram. Accidents happened, the blond didn't deny that, but all the men in his unit were well-trained soldiers. The chances of any of them letting their swords slip and wounding Wolfram were practically nonexistent.
So to irritate his brother, Wolfram promptly turned his back to him and continued walking down the training grounds.
An hour later, training was over and Wolfram wiped an arm across his brow. The sun was broiling, a stark contrast to the last two weeks when quite a few thunderstorms had unleashed severe rainfall. The sun had returned vigorously just the day before, and it didn't show any signs of letting up.
Thirsty, Wolfram was about to head towards his water bottle that he had sat nearby, but as he turned, his brother was already there, bottle in hand.
Wolfram sighed. "You really need to stop flocking around me like this," he muttered. "People are already suspicious."
"I will not apologize for having your best interests at heart," Gwendal replied in a dignified manner. He inched the bottle closer. "Drink. You've been standing under the sun for hours."
Wolfram took it without complaint. Not only was he hot and thirsty, he was exhausted as well. His pregnancy seemed to sap so much energy from him that even the simplest things wore him out.
"You're done for the day," Gwendal decided.
Wolfram scowled at him. He opened his mouth, automatically wanting to fight Gwendal's high-handedness, but he found himself too tired to argue. What he really wanted to do was take a long bath and then take an even longer nap. So he closed his mouth and nodded.
Gwendal walked him back to the castle. The interior was cool when compared to the heat outside and he sighed in relief. "I'll be taking a bath and then a nap."
A hand stalled his steps. "A letter arrived for you."
Wolfram instantly perked up. "From Yuuri?" At Gwendal's nod, Wolfram headed toward Yuuri's office. The letter was waiting for him right on the desk and he wasted no time opening it.
He read the first few sentences and smiled. "The negotiations are done," he announced with glee as Gwendal entered the office. "Yuuri managed to reach a compromise with Dai Shimeron. There are a few things to smooth out before they write the treaty down, but Yuuri says he's coming home next week." He couldn't help but do a small happy dance right where he stood. As happy as he was for the negotiations having reached a satisfying conclusion, he was happier about Yuuri coming home soon. He has missed his husband terribly.
He calmed himself down and finished the letter, but his smile vanished when he read the tiny message Yuuri had added after his name.
Wolfram reread the last few words, wanting to make sure he was seeing things right. "'P.S. I know your secret," Wolfram read out loud. "'You have a lot of explaining to do.'" He looked at Gwendal with wide, shocked eyes. "He knows I'm pregnant?"
Gwendal took the letter and read the entire thing. "He doesn't hint at it." He folded the letter. "Perhaps he doesn't know you are pregnant. It could be something else. Besides, he is unaware that male demons can get pregnant."
"Well, not necessarily." Wolfram took the letter back, nervously tapping a forefinger against the material. "When he was bathing, I snuck in a demon anatomy book into his baggage. There is a chapter that describes in detail how, when, and why some male demons can get pregnant." At Gwendal's questioning gaze, Wolfram shrugged. "I wanted him to get used to the idea. You know how Yuuri is. Every time he encounters something that seems impossible to be real, it takes him a while to fully accept it."
He reopened the letter and reread it. Like Gwendal said, there were no hints whatsoever that Yuuri even knew that he was going to be a father, but what if Yuuri really did know he was pregnant? If so, how could he have possibly figured it out so fast? Wolfram had done all he could to hide it and he had thought he had done a fairly good job of it. But he obviously hadn't, considering that both Gwendal and Yuuri had realized that Wolfram had been keeping something from them.
He couldn't help the pout that formed on his lips. "This isn't fair. I wanted to tell him! I had it all planned out."
"Let's wait until we are absolutely sure that he knows. Knowing His Majesty, he could have jumped to an entirely different conclusion."
Wolfram thought that over. He hoped that was the case. Timing had been everything in his plans to reveal his pregnancy to his husband. Private lunch, walk in the gardens, then Wolfram would gently take Yuuri's hand and place it on his stomach. Only then would he reveal his secret. Corny, cliché, but that's how Wolfram wanted it to be.
If Yuuri had managed to figure it out all on his own, Wolfram was going to throttle him for ruining his plans.
Just as he was about to reveal the possibility of becoming a widower sooner than expected, a sharp pain in his abdomen made him gasp and wince. He placed a hand on his belly, surprised by pain. Then it came again and this time he clutched at his stomach with both hands, dropping the letter and hunching over.
Gwendal called out his name. Wolfram could barely hear the concern in his voice as the pains grew so severe he couldn't stand up anymore. Only Gwendal's arms quickly coming around kept him from falling. "Something's wrong," he gasped.
"I'm taking you to Gisela."
He was hauled up in Gwendal's arms as his brother began to take him to the hospital wing.
Please be okay, baby, Wolfram thought frantically as he clutched his stomach. Please be okay, baby, please be okay.