Disclaimer: I do not own Kyo Kara Maoh.
Pairings: Yuuri x Wolfram
Warnings: This is an AU or Alternate Universe. Also, this story will eventually contain shounan ai (boy/boy pairings), you have been warned.
Author'sNote: I saw these really cute YuuRam pictures and just had to write something. ^_^ Also, Yuuri and his family are all full Mazoku in this story (mostly because I need the characters to age at around the same rate). Now, on to the main event.
Our Once Upon a Time
By V. Shalyr
Lady Cecilie von Spitzweig paused in her conversation and glanced over at where a little golden-haired head was poking cautiously through her study door. Falling silent, her guests followed her gaze and the child shifted nervously under their combined scrutiny.
"What is it, Wolfie?" Celi asked gently.
Emerald green eyes glanced uncertainly from her to her visitors and back again. "Little Big Brother isn't here and Big Brother is already asleep, so I was wondering if you could read me a story?"
It was hard to sleep without someone there with him. And he liked bedtime stories. Conrad always read them to him when he was home, only that was less and less lately with the battles going on along the borderlands. Wolfram knew his brother was an excellent soldier and he felt proud whenever people praised Conrad's swordsmanship, but that didn't stop him from wishing that it didn't mean they had to spend less time together.
"I'm sorry, dear, but Mother's busy right now. Why don't you ask one of the maids?"
The child's eyes flickered for a moment but he nodded mutely and shut the door as softly as he could. He stood for a moment in the hallway listening as the conversation within resumed then sighed and trudged back towards his room, the hem of his slightly oversized nightgown dragging along the floor. He didn't want one of the maids to read to him. It wasn't the same.
With another little sigh, he closed the door to his room and climbed up onto the bed that really seemed a bit too big for him too. Find then, if no one had the time to read a story to him, he'd read it to himself. He might not recognize all the characters or be able to read all the words, but he'd manage. He'd make it work somehow… Maybe if he picked one of the stories he'd already heard before.
By the time Lady Celi finally got out of the meeting, she was exhausted. Stretching her sore muscles, she covered a yawn with one delicate hand and made her way slowly from her study. She was definitely looking forward to when she could resign from the throne. As a matter of fact, she'd heard from the temple that the next Maoh had already been chosen. He was currently still too young to take the position, but once he came of age she would be free to kick back and finally relax.
She paused halfway down the corridor, a sudden pang of guilt shooting through her when she remembered a certain little blond angel she'd had to turn away earlier that evening. It really was a shame that Conrad was away. He'd practically raised the child with how busy she was all the time.
"Wolfie?" she asked quietly, opening the door to her youngest son's room. The light was still on but no answer came. Glancing around, she spotted the child curled up against the headboard of his bed with his head on an open storybook. He was already sound asleep.
Approaching the bed, Celi smiled fondly, carefully easing the book away and setting it on the nightstand. Wolfram really was growing up to look just like her, she mused, tucking a strand of golden hair behind his ear. And Conrad and Gwendal wondered why she liked to dress their baby brother in the kinds of clothes she used to wear. It wasn't her fault that she forgot half the time that she had a son and not a daughter, it felt so much like looking at a mirror of herself.
Oh, her Wolfie was going to be so beautiful and she could only imagine how many suitors were going to be after him. Her lips curled in amusement at the thought of how Conrad and Gwendal would react when that time came. Her eldest son had far too many wrinkles for his age as it was.
As if sensing her gaze, Wolfram shifted a bit in his sleep and mumbled something, his tiny hands clutching tighter to the pillow he'd been curled up against.
The guilt returned and Celi reached out to pull the covers up around his shoulders. Nights at this time could get rather cold even indoors.
"Someday, you'll find someone who will always be with you, your own handsome prince"—well, sherather thought it would be a man—"who will sweep you off your feet and you'll marry and spend the rest of your lives together. I promise." She leaned down to press a soft kiss to her youngest son's forehead. "It'll be your own little fairytale."
"Mother?" Waking up a bit more, emerald eyes fluttered open to regard her drowsily. "They're gone?"
"Yes, they're gone." For now, but she didn't feel like telling him that they would probably be back tomorrow. And if not, then probably a different noble. Sovereigns didn't really have vacations, especially when battles were being fought on their lands. Maybe if they lived in more peaceful times, things could be different.
"…What's a fairytale?"
Celi laughed. So he'd heard her. "Well, a fairytale can be a lot of things, love and romance and magic. It's not always easy, but I like the ones with happy endings."
Little Wolfram pondered this reply for a moment before nodding slowly and closing his eyes again. It didn't make any sense to him, but maybe it was one of those things people were always telling him that he'd understand when he was older.
Though someone who would be with him forever, he'd like that.
"So what kind of king do you want to be?"
Yuuri fidgeted in front of the mirror, peering up at his mother while she fixed his black suit jacket. "But, Mother, what if I don't want to be the king? I don't know anything about being a king."
"It's Mama, dear, and don't worry about it. I'm sure you'll be a wonderful king, and you have plenty of time to learn before anyone will expect you to do anything. After all, you're still so young. Oh, I can't believe my little boy is going to be the next Maoh!"
Looking back at his reflection, Yuuri sighed. His mother was off in her own little world again. Sometimes, it felt like his father was the only person in the family that ever really listened to him.
"Now, I know I don't need to remind you but I feel it's my duty as your mother. Remember to be polite to our guests. They're all curious to see who the Original King has chosen for our next ruler."
Yuuri didn't need her to remind him. He'd been not looking forward to it ever since the dinner party had been announced.
The guests had already started to arrive by the time his mother decided he was ready. From a gap in the railing of the main staircase, Yuuri watched his father greet each newcomer with his grim-faced elder son at his side. Shori hadn't been happy to hear about Yuuri's appointment either, but he'd been somewhat mollified by the fact that he wouldn't have to start any of his duties until he came of age, which was still a good thirty to forty years away.
"What are you waiting for, dear?" A hand landed on his shoulder and his mother was suddenly standing behind him, practically glowing in a flowing, cream colored dress. "Let's go down and greet our visitors. You know the current Maoh is going to be here and she's bringing one of her sons. I hear he's just the cutest thing ever! I can't wait to see him."
Yuuri felt privately sorry for the other boy whoever he was. His mother had that dreamy gleam in her eyes that always spelled trouble, usually in the form of extreme embarrassment. Still, it was nice to know that he wasn't going to be the only child at this party. Feeling a bit more comfortable with this thought, he straightened his shoulders and started after his mother down the stairs and into the bustling banquet hall.
Wolfram pouted stubbornly at his shoes from his mother's side as she laughed and teased their host. He didn't want to be there. Conrad was supposed to return home that night and he'd wanted to be there to greet him, but his mother had insisted and Lady Celi was nothing if not good at getting her way. Maybe that was why she was the queen.
"Oh, he's so adorable!"
Wolfram started at the sudden, excited squeal and spun around to find a brown-haired woman bearing down on him. Before he could react, he'd been swept up into the woman's arms and she was squeezing all the air from his lungs in a bone-breaking hug.
"Celi, you should have sent me pictures! What's his name?"
"It's Wolfram," his mother replied happily. 'It's been such a long time, Jennifer. How are you? Do you still go by Jennifer?"
"Of course. Shibuya Miko is just so boring."
Wolfram squirmed as the two women continued to converse. He really wanted to be put down but his mother had strictly instructed him to be polite. After all, this was the next Maoh's family. Their son was going to be his king someday.
Though looking up at this crazy woman who rather reminded him of his own mother and her husband who was smiling sheepishly at the entire scene, Wolfram couldn't imagine what kind of king he was going to be.
Eventually, the grown-ups migrated into the dining hall where Wolfram was placed on a chair between the two women who had taken seats at one of the many small, round tables scattered throughout the room. Almost immediately, other guests began to gather around them, some to greet the current Demon Queen and the mother of the future king, and others to coo over the little prince. Wolfram batted at a hand that patted him on the head only to earn a warning look from his mother and sink lower in his chair to sulk. When food was finally set before him, he only picked at it. He'd quite lost his appetite some time ago.
Wolfram almost jumped when someone touched him lightly on the shoulder. Jerking around and almost falling out of his chair, he found himself face to face with a boy around his age with jet black hair and eyes the color of midnight. He'd never seen eyes that black before and he found them oddly mesmerizing.
"Do you want to go outside?"
Glancing back at the adults, Wolfram hesitated then nodded. The black-haired boy smiled and took his hand, pulling him off the chair and towards a door that led out into the gardens.
Yuuri had only just gotten out of his own knot of fawning grown-ups with the help of his father and older brother when he'd spotted the other child trapped between the two mothers. He knew firsthand how overwhelming his own mother could be and, judging by the way the current Maoh had all but smothered him upon arrival, she was probably different but not much better. He could see the desperation building behind those pretty green eyes and decided to do something about it.
The night air was cool despite it being summer when they made their way out into the gardens. Yuuri inhaled deeply, enjoying the fresh scent before turning to examine the boy at his side. Now that he was able to get a good look at him, he thought he looked a lot like an angel, albeit a small one with a faintly unhappy expression clouding his face.
"Are you feeling better?" Yuuri asked, uncomfortable with the silence and hoping he could get the other boy to smile. He didn't like it when other people were upset. "You looked really uncomfortable. You're name's Wolfram, right?"
Startled, Wolfram nodded, trying to remember if he'd seen the black-haired boy before. "How did you know?"
Yuuri laughed, rubbing sheepishly at the back of his head. "I heard your mother introducing you to mine. I guess you didn't see me."
Because he'd been too busy glaring at the toes of his boots.
"Your mother?" Wolfram repeated then tilted his head slightly to one side to study his new companion more closely. He didn't look anything like Shibuya Miko, but all the same, that had to mean, "You're Shibuya Yuuri?"
"You're going to be the next Maoh when mother resigns," Wolfram continued, thinking aloud.
"Oh, well, um, I'm not sure I want to be the next Maoh," Yuuri admitted, looking away. It still made him feel uncomfortable whenever people brought it up. "I mean, I don't know if I can do it."
To his slight surprise, Wolfram crossed his arms and scoffed at this. "Don't be such a wimp. You haven't done it yet. How do you know you can't do it if you haven't tried?"
Yuuri was momentarily taken aback by the smaller boy's vehemence but eventually found himself smiling, warmed for some reason by the other's fervor. "I suppose you're right. Thanks, I'll keep it in mind."
It was Wolfram's turn to pause. "Y—you're welcome."
"Wolfram," Yuuri said suddenly, expression thoughtful, "isn't that the name of a flower?"
When Wolfram nodded, Yuuri grinned and took his hand, starting excitedly down the garden path. "I wonder if we have it here. Let's go see."
Celi had watched the two boys leave the hall out of the corner of her eyes, hiding her smile. She honestly hoped the pair would get along. Her dear Wolfie didn't have any friends his own age and had never had the chance before to make any. Sometimes, she worried about how this could affect him. When he did meet other children, they often ended up fighting. Wolfram wasn't the easiest child to get along with, and being the son of the Maoh probably didn't help. Maybe that was why he was always following his older brothers around, always trying to be more like them and win their approval. Not that it wasn't normal for someone to want the approval of people they admired, but really, there was so much more to life!
Bringing him here had definitely been the right decision no matter how much it had upset her youngest son. In any case, Conrad would still be there when they got home.
"Hmm?" Returning her attention to her table companion who was glancing curiously about the dining hall, Celi smiled. "Oh, the boys? They went to the gardens."
Jennifer's brow furrowed. "Should we send someone to get them?"
"I'm sure they can take care of themselves."
"I know. It's just that it's supposed to rain tonight."
Rain, huh? She knew Wolfram didn't like the rain, not surprising all considered he was a fire Mazoku. And being a rather young one, she supposed there could be problems. But still…
"They'll be fine. And if they're not back soon, we can send someone to go look for them. It's time that they start looking out for themselves."
They'd been wandering through the gardens talking about their older brothers and the academy they would apparently both be attending in another decade or so when it had begun to drizzle. Wolfram had stubbornly ignored it at first, but then the drizzle had become more of a mini downpour and it became a lot harder to pretend he wasn't affected.
The rain had never bothered Yuuri. In fact, he quite liked it most of the time, but he noticed that his companion was shivering and hugging himself as if to shield himself from the water that nevertheless soaked rapidly through his clothes. "Are you okay?"
"I hate the rain," Wolfram admitted, pouting. "It's too cold."
He looked so pale—even paler than he already was—that Yuuri worried he was going to get sick. Putting his hands on the smaller boy's shoulders, he steered him into the shelter of a tree and pulled him into his arms. Wolfram went stiff for a moment then gradually relaxed as heat seeped through him from the body pressed against his own. The deluge continued around them but the thick foliage above kept most of it at bay and the watery curtain made it feel almost like they were standing in another world.
Maybe the rain wasn't so bad, as long as he wasn't alone in it.
Yuuri shifted a little, unsure whether or not he should let go now. But the warmth was too comfortable for him to let go of it just yet.
"Hey, Yuuri," Wolfram said suddenly, "if you're going to be the king, then that means you're a prince, right?"
"Well, I suppose so. And so are you, since your mother is the queen right now."
"But I won't be once she's not the Maoh anymore."
Yuuri cocked his head at this, wondering where this was going.
"I'm going to be the best soldier ever, even better than my big brothers," Wolfram mused, seeming to change topic again completely. "Then I can help you when you take over after Mother and make sure you're the best Maoh in history."
"Because you're going to ask me to marry you someday."
"Huh?" Yuuri blinked down at the blond angel in his arms. "I am?"
The other child nodded sagely. "My mother said so."
Okay, now Yuuri was seriously having trouble following the other's train of thought. Married? They were way, way too young to be thinking about that. Besides, you were supposed to marry someone you loved. He liked Wolfram, but they'd really only just met. It wasn't the same thing.
Pulling away a little, Yuuri opened his mouth to explain this to Wolfram, but the words never made it into the air between them. Because Wolfram had turned around in his arms and smiled at him, a bright and happy smile that lit his entire face and made his green eyes sparkle. And Yuuri found himself thinking that maybe getting married wouldn't be such a bad idea at all.