AN: I do not own Kyo Kara Maoh or it's characters. This is written for fun, not for profit. This is my first fan fiction, please review. Thanks!

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Thanks to everyone who has reviewed this story. I'd intended this story as a one-shot, but new ideas have come to me so this will be the first in a series of standalone stories exploring Celi's relationships with her sons. Suggestions welcome!

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Evidence

Lady Celi hurried to her suite, expectations high. Yuuri and Murata had returned while she was away and they had promised to bring back what she'd asked for this time.

Yes! On her bed were several waterproof bags, even more than she had hoped for. With a childish glee nothing like the persona she wore in public, Celi flung herself onto her bed in their midst and opened them one by one.

Each bag was filled with skeins of yarn from Earth. Murata had outdone himself. The huge selection of colors and textures were awe-inspiring. Once she rolled them into the more convenient balls that Gwendal preferred, she would have the perfect birthday gift for him. She'd dumped the first bag into her lap before she realized she wasn't alone.

"Wolvie?"

Her youngest son lay curled up in her window seat. She got to her feet and walked to his side. Brushing his bright hair aside, Celi could see the salt traces of tears on his pale cheeks. He'd cried himself to sleep. With Yuuri just back from a three-week trip to his Earth home, that could only mean one thing. They'd had a fight and Wolfram was avoiding him.

With a sad smile, she shook his shoulder. "Wake up, Wolvie! Rise and shine!"

Wolfram stirred, curled up tighter on the cushions in an effort to hold onto sleep. Celi's smile brightened. Her baby boy has always been a chore to waken, except when his survival instincts kicked in. Then get out of the way.

He opened his eyes. Their normal bright green were clouded until he recognized her. "Mother!" He reached up and hugged her. "When did you get back?"

"Just a bit ago. Why are you here, my baby? Shouldn't you be making memories with your fiancé?"

"That wimp? Not likely."

Definitely, more trouble in paradise. "Then you can spend some time with me. And your timing is perfect. I'm about to start balling yarn for Gwendal's birthday present. But you have to keep it a secret. I want to surprise him."

She took his hand and pulled him toward the bed. "Sit in front of me and hold your hands up as if you're telling a fish story."

Puzzled, he did as told, watching as she took the first skein, tore off its wrapping, found the end, and set the loops of bright orange yarn over the frame his hands made. When she began the process of winding it into the ball form that her eldest son preferred, Wolfram caught on and gave her a small smile to match her own.

They sat on her bed in a comfortable silence for several minutes before she decided it was time to speak.

"So, what did the wimp do this time?"

"Mother!"

"Well?"

Wolfram wouldn't meet her eyes, focusing on the blob of orange growing in her hands. Celi waited for him to make the next move.

Wolfram was a very private soul. Before Yuuri Shibuya came into his life, he has been the equivalent of a spiritual hermit wrapped in a firebomb with a short fuse. No one knew his true self, not his brothers, not her.

Her baby had built a wall around his soul that no one could penetrate. The trauma of war and her obligations as Maoh to the Great One and Shin Makoku during his early childhood had left scars she has been willfully blind to. Better not to see them than admit her failure as a mother.

His reactions to the double black on their first meeting had held more honest passion than he'd shown since before the war began. And Celi was willing to do anything to widen that breach in his walls, even if it meant taking advantage of the slap that could easily have been explained away to force an engagement between her son and the new Maoh. Now if only they'd…

"Did Father ever say he loved you?" the whispered question barely reached her ears.

"Not in so many words. Why do you ask?"

"Then how did you know he loved you?" He looked at her at last with such pain in his eyes that the gem-green seemed dull and washed out. "I… I love Yuuri, Mother. We've been engaged for four years now. In all that time, he's never said he loves me." Wolfram tried for a snort of disdain but it came out more like a muffled sob. "I don't think he loves me. And it hurts."

Celi put aside the yarn to grasp his shaking hands in hers and kiss his cheek.

"Oh, sweetie. Anyone can say the words. Love is much more than that."

"Then how do you know?"

"When love is real, it leaves evidence. Watch for the little things your loved one does for and with you. With your father, he would bring plants home whenever he traveled. Even though he really didn't pay that much attention to my garden, he always had at least three little pots of dirt with sprigs and cuttings. He'd try to be casual about it, saying things like. 'I saw this on the roadside and thought it might look good in your garden.' But I knew better."

She smiled remembering the exquisite rose he'd brought to her with that one. But she had recognized the rare hothouse breed. Von Bielefelt imported enough of its native soil so she could build a bed it could survive in. "Don't fret over the obvious, Wolvie. Look to the little things. They speak louder than the words ever can."

Celi started another ball of yarn and watched her son's face as Wolfram reviewed his memories of every encounter he'd ever had with Yuuri. And slowly, very slowly, he smiled.

"Thank you, Mother."

"Any time, Wolvie. Any time."

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AN: Thank you for reading, and again, please review!