Note: I've had a mental picture of the first scene in my head for two years. XD But I finally have a story to go with it. This story will be based on the second episode of the Ova, the World Tournament. Multiple pairings will pop up over the few chapters of this. I will be alternating between this and The King's Consort, so on to TKC part 39! LOL I'm off to write more.
THANKYOU WONDERFUL BETA OF MINE. Hehe you know who you are.
Baseball Field, Near the Shibuya Residence, Japan
Glaringly bright flood lights spilled down upon the dark head of the lone baseball player standing upon the pitcher's mound , the harshness of it was almost blinding, like a miniature sun had taken up residence in each bulb. The white orb of a baseball flashed from between his fingers to strike the backstop, making a satisfying sound when it hit the wire fencing.
The ball bounced energetically to the ground and rolled, settling onto the dry earth where it rested with at least half a dozen other baseballs.
"Strike one." The man whispered, dark eyes peering from underneath the edge of his cap, staring across the familiar grounds and feeling the dull, constrictive ache forming in his throat, sliding all the way down into his heart. He could still remember the feel of another ball in his palm and a comfortable leather glove on the other, the familiar scents drifting out of the kitchens in the late evening and the smile of a man who had filled a gap inside of him that now yawned empty and cold.
"We are going home."
There had been afinality to the single statement Shori Shibuya had uttered on that fateful day ten years before, as they stood amongst the smoking ruins of what had once been the Tomb of the Great One. The shimmer of another blinding light spilling around him, swirling like water spiralling down a drain, growing weaker and weaker as it faded away with each passing second. If he glanced back over his shoulder he would see it, see that endless swirling depth and know that it would only bring him a sense of disconnection.
"No." Back straightening, determined to stand against the immoveable force that was his brother. "This is my home." His own words had startled him with their certainty. He took a step forwards, his eyes lifting, finding those of his friends, his new family... and of the man who had edge his way undetected into Yuuri's heart. A small smile touched his lips at the thought of that single man who had been with him from the start, who had cradled his soul and cared for him in a way even he couldn't describe in words. His spirits lifted like the wings of a phoenix, stretching out for the first time from the ashes, gaining strength with each passing moment. This was where he belonged.
"Not here. Never here."
Dark eyes lifted to look into the grim set of his brother's features and a tremor of sudden anxiety rattled through him at the clench in the man's jaw and determination in his eyes. "Shori?"
"I won't lose you to this place. I won't fail to protect you."
And an arm like a steel band had coiled around Yuuri's chest, dragging him backwards, tumbling him towards that swirling vortex that would drag him from this world where he had decided to live forever. He wrenched at that arm, trying to yank himself free, his boots sliding in the dust and ashes. Yuuri's balance failed him and he was falling backwards, his body gaining momentum as Shori tugged harder, holding him firmly from the side. He could feel the sucking of that vortex, rustling his clothes, pulling at the very fabric of his being. His grip on reality slipped as his weakened state prevented him from touching his own magic, from reaching for the loose threads of Shin Makoku that would hold him firm.
Terrified eyes turned to Conrart, his hands stretching out as he was yanked hard into that maw, Shori's face like cold granite, determined to drag Yuuri from a hell that he had just witnessed and been powerless against. Never again, Shori had breathed then, more a breath than words.
"CONRAD!" Yuuri's scream echoed across the space, everyone responding immediately to their King's sudden and abrupt abduction by his own brother. "CONRAD!"
His hands stretched for the one that was reaching for him.
"YUURI!" Conrart had dived forwards, desperation and a terror that matched Yuuri's own marking his face, those cinnamon brown eyes wide and frantic.
Fingertips brushed, catching for just a moment before parting... the void and Shori dragging Yuuri away... back to a place that was no longer home, back to a world that had no Conrart in it.
The man's name had been a scream upon his lips and a howl in his soul as he had vanished from sight, swallowed up by that blank whiteness. The last glimpse of him being those tormented eyes, filled with despair as he watched Yuuri being torn from him once more.
The ball hit the backstop with such force that it made the entire thing rattle loudly, bouncing off, and rolling back half of the way to him. Its white leather skin marked by the diamond patterns of the fencing where it had impacted so powerfully against it. Dipping to pick up another ball from the large basket that sat beside the pitcher's mound, turning the ball between his fingers, he felt the firmness of it between his fingertips, the scent of fresh leather filling his nose.
Eyes lifting from the ball that was clutched between his fingers, he gazed around at the baseball grounds he had played in as a teenager, the familiar expanse where he had decided to pursue a professional career in the sport and that finally five years before it had taken him back to the place where a silent dream had sustained him. Tossing the ball upwards and catching it with ease, practically plucking it out of the air. He had become a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, travelling all of the way to the United States, and had remained with them, feeling just a little closer to Conrart by remaining loyal to the team. Sometimes... sometimes he imagined what it would be like to know that somewhere up in the stands the soldier was sitting there cheering him on, a smile of pride on his face.
It had been ten years since he had last seen the faces of those he cared about, had last breathed the clean air and felt that certainty about who he was. And in that span of time he had done everything to cross the barrier between worlds to find his way back to that place where he belonged that his brother had denied to him. This was the first time in the five years since he had left Japan that he had returned, coming home for New Year celebrations. There was a choice before him, one he could feel deep down in his soul as he stood in the place where it seemed to have begun that fateful day where thoughts of Baseball had led him to walk a different path and try to rescue Ken Murata from those bullies.
Clenching his fingers tightly around the ball, he pulled the brim of his Red Sox cap down to shield his eyes from the blinding glare of the overhead floodlights. Either he gave up that world he had been clinging to or held on, kept on holding on until he could find his way back.
"Time gives us happiness, but it can also take everything away from us."
Conrart's words were so fitting, whispering through Yuuri's thoughts and reminding him of the one thing that had driven him for the past decade to improve himself. Kendo, political studies, language classes and magic lessons with Bob and a dozen more activities... all the things he could think of to ensure that when he returned he would no longer be a burden to those around him.
His jaw set grimly, his entire body straightening. Yuuri had not fought so long to give up now. He wasn't about to give up on his dream, he would not fail now. "You would fight your way through the entire world to find me. I would do the same. I will do the same."
And with the practiced ease of a skilled Pitcher, the ball flew through the air and Yuuri turned away from it not needing to hear it hit the wire fence this time. Picking up the handle of the basket of balls he had borrowed, he was intent on starting to pick up the ones he had pitched well away from the mound earlier. However, he heard no such sound... only the leather meeting leather in a familiar 'slap'.
The sound of his name froze him in place, his back still to the speaker who had breathed his name over the distance between them.
"Yuuri... Don't go."
Slowly he turned around, his dark eyes lifting to find the familiar face of the man he loved and was shocked by what he found as he gazed into haunted cinnamon eyes. Dishevelled, with a dark shadow of stubble lining his strong jaw, he looked like he had been through hell, but to Yuuri he was the most beautiful sight in the world. The handle of the basket dropped from his nerveless fingers and thumped against the ground, spilling its contents around his feet.
"...Conrart..." The man's name was a prayer upon his lips as he stared at the most welcomed sight the world had ever beheld by anyone. "Conrart!"
Conrart Weller was shocked by the deep tenor of Yuuri's voice, his weaving vision focused on the boy before him, his brows pressed together as he attempted to focus on that beloved face hidden by the deep shadows under the brim of the hat he was wearing. A hat which he recognised...Red Sox? This was Yuuri, his soul knew him anywhere, though it had been his heart that had guided him to this unfamiliar place, drawing him to the one he had been desperate to find.
Joy flooded through every part of his being, like an ocean that would never be filled as he gazed upon Yuuri with the feeling of wonder that came with knowing he had finally returned to where he belonged. Gratitude spread through him to whatever force had allowed him to cross that gap between worlds. His lips formed his King's name, whispering it like a prayer won from the heart of a man who had been given back his life.
The sound of his true name split open his heart... that precious face... so unfamiliar, yet familiar all the same, brightened just at the mere sight of him. However, no matter what he looked like, he was still his King, still his Lord. Ten days. Ten days since he had heard that voice and the presence of the Demon King and there is no way he would ever allow such a separation to occur again. His place was by Yuuri's side, protecting him from all harm.
Before he had a chance to process anything else, he found himself opening his arms to moving form of his King when that warm body flung itself into his grip. His limbs slipped around a strong waist, having almost been knocked off his feet by the strength in that frame, his mind however was sent reeling as a mouth caught his own. Whisper soft lips parted against his own and his mouth was devoured as hands sank into his hair, keeping his mouth there, refusing to relinquish him for even a moment. All he could do clench his fingers into the sweat-dampened clothing that clung to Yuuri's skin and hold on to him desperately.
That first kiss seemed to stretch out indefinitely, two hearts for the first time beating wildly as one, caught between heaven and earth and the shimmering silver-edged clouds hanging overhead. Only the need for air drew them an inch apart, noses brushing softly, eyes meeting.
A man who prided himself on always knowing what to say found himself speechless, deprived of the ability to form words in any capacity. All he could do was gaze down into eyes so dark they seemed to be bottomless.
"You found me." The once, and now future, King whispered, liquid black eyes capturing the stars, brightening as he leaned into Conrart's heat, soaking it up like a sponge. "You found me." Fingertips lightly brushed against one stubbled cheek, feeling the bristles scratch softly against the sensitive pads.
Before Conrart could mutter a sound, he found his mouth once again being claimed, his head dipping willingly, surrendering himself to the wonderful sensation his arms supporting his King against him, responding for the first time to the heat of those tender lips against his. Lashes drifting downwards, he was swamped by the sweet taste of the smaller man, the sensation and textures of that inviting mouth intoxicating him. Senses spun as if in a windstorm, lifted and carried away to a place that defied every description, he was lost and for once he didn't mind it at all.
His hands gentled against the back of his King, palms smoothing down over the damp fabric and just resting there, as their lips parted slowly, foreheads resting lightly together, breath mingling between them. The moment was still and silent except for the racing throb of Conrart's heart echoing like a drum in his ears. Slowly. long lashes lifted over cinnamon eyes, rendered dark by the sensual promises bestowed upon him by his King's mind-blowing kisses.
"I..." The word slipped from a tongue, as shocked by these turn of events as the rest of him was. "Majesty..."
"Yuuri." The man corrected, his tone clearly expressing his thoughts. He never wanted to be 'your Majesty' to this one man again, he wanted to be more. A decade's worth of longings had filled that kiss and he was not about to let titles get in the way of something so important. "To you, I'm only Yuuri." Eyes softened as he pressed a playful kiss against the tip of the man's nose as he retreated so that he could see all of Conrart's face again, smiling slightly at the rather adorable expression of astonishment remained on those exhausted features. "Please?"
"As... you wish, Yuuri." Breathing out the name like a prayer, his legs felt like jelly beneath him, his entire body wanting to give into the shock of what had just occurred. "Yuu...ri."
Strong arms buoyed him up and encouraged him to look into that face once more, gazing into eyes that were no longer those of an innocent child, these were of a man who knew himself. Of a man who had kissed him with such a ferocity and sweetness tangled all together. The features of innocence were gone, instead of a fifteen year old boy, a grown man stood in his place, dark strands curling down to his shoulders in a style reminiscent of the Demon King. It was as if the two beings that had inhabited the same body had finally found a peace and come together to form an entirely new person.
"You have... grown." Those words didn't seem enough to describe what he had seen.
"Ten years have a way of changing a person." Yuuri Shibuya admitted, "Though it is my hope for the better. Though you... you haven't aged... though... you look like you've been through hell..."
"I... have. I was... unable to get to you... I was... too late."
"You are here now. You came for me..." And it appeared the man had been through that hell in an attempt to reach him. It deeply touched Yuuri's soul that Conrart had tried. "I did everything I could to get back on my own... I don't know how many times I've tried..." And there was one question that remained in his heart. "How long...?" Clearing his throat, his dark eyes shimmered with the anxiety of knowing just how much time had passed on the other side. "How long... has it been since I was forced to leave you all?"
"Ten days." Conrart replied uncertainly, brown eyes gazing into those dark ones. "It's only been ten days since you were taken from me."
"Ten... days..." Yuuri repeated, shocked into a long minute of silence by the realisation that while time had stretched out for so long for him, barely more than a week had passed for those on the other side. To be honest, he didn't know what to say, it seemed neither of them did. "I should get you back to my parents' place, you look ready to collapse right here..."
"Yuuri...?" Troubled and anxious cinnamon eyes gazed into the face of his King as he felt himself buoyed up by a strong body resting beneath his shoulder, helping him to stand.
Yuuri could offer no reply as reality sank in with a finality that stole his breath away from him. "We need to get you out of this cold."
Conrart couldn't find any more words on his tongue as he allowed his head to droop, feeling the weight of that missing time coming down between them, more time lost... never to be found again. However, the man found his heart wanting to know more of those kisses and of that wonderful emotion that had shimmered in Yuuri's dark eyes before the length of their parting had been revealed.
Shibuya Residence, Japan
Conrart had collapsed the moment his body had touched the mattress, exhaustion dragging him under instantly, and Yuuri now sat beside him, his fingers smoothing over the wild and untamed locks that seemed intent on escaping his attempts to tuck them down. A smile tugged at the corner of his lips, for he adored the fact that strong fingers had caught on the edges of his jacket and were desperately clinging to it, knuckles gone white with the strength of Conrart's grip.
Gazing down upon the sleeping man, his fingers slipped into the shorter locks at the nape of Conrart's neck, caressing just there, hoping to ease the troubled depths of the man's rest. He could almost sense the nightmares lurking on the edges of Conrart's mind, dark shadows seeking a way inside. But, Yuuri refused to allow them past him, willing to stand guard all night over the man who had done the same so many times before for him. And, if he was to admit it to himself, he was afraid of closing his eyes, afraid that he would awaken to find the one he loved, once more banished to nothing but memories and that place deep inside of his heart where no one else could ever be.
A soft knock sounded against the wood of the door and it was pushed open just slightly revealing the face of his worried mother, her usually jubilant expression dimmed by what had occurred two hours earlier when he had returned just in time for what was to be a family meal... and instead had come up here with Conrart, refusing to even think of food when this man had come all this way to find him.
"Yuuri..." Her warm brown eyes softened at the sight of the two of them in the room that had once been Yuuri's before he had left for America. Gone were the days of 'Mama' and 'Yuu-chan'. Gone were the simple days of baseball and school and escaping wearing the ridiculous pink apron. "How is he?" The sight of them together had told her immediately that attempting to get Yuuri downstairs would be nigh impossible. It had been difficult enough getting Yuuri under the same roof as Shori, considering the resentment Yuuri still harboured for his older brother.
"Exhausted." Yuuri responded honestly, his heart melting that this beloved man had trusted him to take care of him at his most vulnerable, when adrenaline had failed to keep him awake any longer and he had practically collapsed. "I can't imagine what he's been through."
"I brought you both a little something." She offered, nudging the door open with one shoulder to reveal a tray that was piled high with food.
"Thank you, Mum." His dark eyes lighted on her, softening immediately at her thoughtfulness. "I'm sorry... that my visit hasn't going as we both would have liked it to have..."
"You came home, that is enough for your father and I." Miko Shibuya instantly responded, her usual bright smile returning to her face, while she crossed the space between them and set the tray down onto the table beside her son. "I guess this means... you will be going." Brown eyes settled on the face of the man who she knew had long ago claimed the heart of her son.
"I'm not sure." His answer was sincere, honestly not knowing if they would be able to return once more to the other side, even if Conrart's presence had demonstrated that the gateway was now open between the two worlds... for him at least. "But... either way... I'll be happy." A softness spread across his shadowed features, gazing down at the man who had stood beside him through so much. "I have him back, though... in my heart I long to return to where I know my soul belongs."
Miko hesitated, wishing she could be of more use to both men now, but knowing there was very little that she could offer to them.
"It's a little strange you know...?" The corner of Yuuri's mouth turned up into a charming little grin, finding some of the humour in this entire situation. "We're about the same age now, at least physically. I wonder if... they are still the same. All the people I care about... if they will be as I remember them. Still a wild assortment of personalities, each with their own strengths and quirks, which fit together like a puzzle to create something... so very welcoming." A soft laugh escaped him.
"Gwendal's stoic nature... and tender heart. Gunter's devotedness and hugs." A shudder rippled through him at the thought of those 'hugs' which had a way of ending up making his clothing wet and twisted around him and leaving him well out of breath. "Wolfram's ferocity. Celi's love. Anissina's schemes. Murata's plots. Gisela's strength of heart. And... Greta."
And his earlier statement of happiness cracked right up the middle, spilling out Yuuri's emotional innards all over his old bedroom floor. "I was never... much of a father. I was thoughtless and selfish when it came to her. I left... never thinking of the impact it would have on her... I never... settled things with Wolfram when I knew... I knew I could not love him as he desired me to. My heart belonged to someone else... it always did." His gaze drifted down to the man curled against him, still wrapped up in warm blankets and drawn wholly into the depths of sleep. "So much left unfinished... so much to do. I want to see my people flourish, I want to be a part of it... to help rebuild and make them even stronger than before. To make the entire world that little bit stronger... and bridge the gap between humans and Demons forever."
"My Yuuri." It was a half muffled little sob that escaped Miko hearing those words from her son, getting a glimpse at the man her son had become over these past ten years. The boy had long given way to a man, one ready and waiting to return to his people, strong enough to shoulder the burdens of an entire world. "My son."
Startled by the sound that escaped his mother, he looked up, dark eyes widening to see the twin tears slowly streak their way down her cheeks and plop with a soft drip onto the polished wooden floor.
"Oh, Mother." He breathed, immediately spreading out his arms to her, drawing her into a hug. "Mother..." Yuuri had definitely not intended to make her cry.
"I'm happy." She whispered against his dark hair, holding her younger son close. "I'm happy you found your way." Pride marked every word, her joy absolute, though she might not see him again... she would know in her heart that her son would be a man who would do everything he could for his people. This was the man her son had always meant to be. "My Yuu-Chan."
"Mama." He responded just once, holding her close, the distance falling away as family found their way back together.
"Be a good King."
"I have every intention of doing that if I get the chance." He also had every intention of being a person who could stand side by side on equal footing with those that had protected him for so long. "One that will make you proud."
"I always have been. Always." She said firmly, before slowly straightening up and feeling his arms fall away from around her. "I'm a proud mama bear."
A soft chuckle escaped Yuuri and he leaned back slightly, letting out a long breath and with it so many concerns that had crowded themselves into his heart. No matter how much he longed to be in the place he called home, he had to admit to himself... this opportunity had allowed him to mature in ways that his time in the Great Demon Kingdom had not allowed him. He had found his own motivation and it was something he had no intention of losing.
"Could you ask Father to contact Bob for me?"
"Certainly." She replied, knowing that Bob would probably be more than willing to assist Yuuri in his efforts to reach the other side. "It never does any harm asking for help."
"No, it doesn't." Yuuri nodded, before shifting a little closer to Conrart, his dark eyes being caught up in the beauty of the man, even as worn as the man was, there was just something special to him.
"Goodnight." Miko whispered, almost wanting to laugh to herself that there was one thing that hadn't changed about her little Yuu-Chan, he was still so easily distracted when it came to any mention of Conrart Weller. The man was like a sun that drew Yuuri in close, keeping him there in orbit. Slipping back through the door, she lightly shut it behind her, humming softly to herself as she moved down the hall, comforted to know just what the future might hold for her son, that Yuuri would find his way once more. "My boys..."
Though... Shori was another matter entirely. One that remained stubborn in his refusal to see what was right before him.
Hopefully... something could be done to ease the tensions between her sons before Yuuri left them once more for an adventure beyond one even she could imagine.
Conrart inhaled deeply, drawing air fully into his lungs as he slipped abruptly from sleep into wakefulness as a stray beam of light flashed across Conrart's face from the gap still left between hastily closed curtains. With that first wakeful breath he'd drawn in the scent of something familiar and beloved., and he shifted on the bedding, pressing his face back into the slightly yielding hardness of someone's thigh. The stray warmth of a palm rested amongst the ruffled strands of his hair, laced through the longest lengths, and the feel of that hand made him want to keep his eyes closed against the rest of the world and just remain right there, beneath the hand of the one... he desired beyond all others.
"I know you're awake." Yuuri remarked lovingly, rubbing his fingertips across the curve of his knight's ear, a thumb caressing just behind it and leaning down to press the softest of butterfly kisses against his temple. "How are you feeling now?"
"I am... well, Sire..." His voice was a rasp in his throat, his tongue and lips parched. Conrart's mind was still reeling from what had occurred the night before between them, his heart eagerly drawing the memory of that sweet mouth against his own, demanding and devouring him until it seemed there was nothing left of him.
A whisper of a groan escaped him at the thought that continued to repeat through his mind, his body becoming awakened by it too, thankfully he was resting on his side beneath warm blankets and his physical weakness was not obvious to the man he treasured more than anything else in the world. Yuuri was a man, there was no denying that fact as his lashes lifted and he caught his first true look at that handsome face, with eyes that reflected a soul within that had grown in these years past. However, there was also a tiredness that lurked around those obsidian orbs and his own widened with sudden realisation.
"Yuuri." He corrected with a smile, rubbed the back of his fingers across one stubbled cheekbone. "Don't concern yourself with that, I was content to stand guard."
"I assure you, I will take the opportunity to sleep against you during breakfast." A hand supported the man's arm as Conrart slowly sat up, before reaching out and offering him the glass of water that had sat on the mostly untouched tray from the night before. "I think... there is a lot to talk about..." He admitted softly, watching as Conrart downed the entire glass of water in several large gulps, cinnamon eyes looking deeply troubled by what Yuuri might say to him.
"Yuuri... last night..." A hand lifted ever so slowly to brush fingertips against soft lips, feeling the butterfly kisses dancing against the pads of them, the sparkle returning to those dark eyes. "I..."
"Yuuri Shibuya! Breakfast time! Don't sleep away the day!"
"Bring Weller-San down with you!"
Conrart and Yuuri looked at one another, neither daring to open their mouths for fear of being talked over by Yuuri's Mother who hovered on the other side of the door, more than likely with her ear pressed against it.
"We will talk." Yuuri promised.
Taking the chance to dart in and press his lips lightly to Conrart's, Yuuri suddenly found hands capturing his elbows as he was drawing away, preventing him from going any further. Conrart's mouth found his own again, their lips clung together in a heated blaze, the knight refusing to have Yuuri believe he didn't return every single one of those emotions that shimmered unspoken and unnamed between them. It was a sweet kiss, one full of longing and a hope that bridged the years that stretched between them, building the foundations for something much more to grow upon.
"I missed you." Conrart breathed out against Yuuri's soft mouth, foreheads touching for a moment, the world seeming to stop its turning for them. "I missed you every single moment."
"I..." Yuuri was about to reply when...
"Miko, what are you doing, honey?" Came clearly from the hallway outside the shut door, Shoma Shibuya having come up to see what had kept his wife upstairs.
"They were just about to...!" Miko replied in a rather bad stage whisper, clearly making hand motions on the other side of the door she had been listening at.
Yuuri groaned at the scene he knew was playing out beyond the bedroom door and slipped both arms around Conrart's broad shoulders, leaning into him as his face tucked into the side of that strong neck and hid a smile there. "Family." He mouthed against Conrart's skin, feeling a soft laugh escape him as he just held on and felt the world start to turn again as strong arms coiled around him, holding him close for a long moment.
Conrart felt a smile touch his own lips as his cheek rested against dark hair, his eyes closing as he just held on for dear life.
My Beta and I both admit, we would be listening at the door too! Hehe!