2nd part. Thanks livejournal. No, really, thanks.
As Yuuri came into the office in the morning, he found them both there, Gwendal behind his desk signing some papers, Conrad next to the shelf, sorting the files. He looked way better than two days before. In fact, he looked healthy.
The swordsman turned to him with a smile. His eyes were also clear. „Your Majesty.“
„Don’t call me Yor Majesty, you’re the one who named me!“
For a split second there was awe in Conrad’s eyes before it filled with affection and limitless happiness and Conrad smiled a true, genuine smile. „Yuuri.“
Yuuri also sat down and Gwendal promptly placed a huge stack of papers in front of him. With a look of displeasure, Yuuri noted that things were back to normal. Even moreso as (to their surprise) Wolfram and Günter joined them later and it seemed that everything will be alright again. Especially after the peace lasted untill lunch, when they ate together in the dinning hall. It seemed that everybody came to finally accept things as they were and Wolfram even passed Conrad the bowl. The thought, that probably no one would ever understand how a man could be happy from such a simple action, crossed Conrad’s mind.
„Hmph. I just didn’t want you to spill it all over the table.“ Wolfram replied and turned defiantly away. And Conrad’s smile widened exactly half an inch.
Günter still wasn’t talking to them, but it seemed that he at least acknowledged their presence and didn’t think of them as some kind of contagious disease.
Gwendal silently asked himslef where this change came from. Not that he minded, but it came too suddenly for him to let it simply pass as a ‚lucky occurence‘. He decided to investigate it, because asking wouldn’t do a thing. Wolfram would vehemently deny that he changed his mind and Günter would turn away and state that it’s none of his business. But deep down inside he was also relieved and perhaps even a bit happy. Maybe it had to do something with Conrad wearing a true smile again.
The peace lasted into the afternoon and through all of his suspicions, Gwendal also started believing, that things went back to normal. ...As normal as things at Blood Pledge Castle could be. That was untill one of Conrad’s soldiers burst through the door. „Your Excellency!“
Conrad turned to him with a questioning look. „Sargent Conolly. Did something happen?“
„You have to come quickly, Your Excellency!“
Conrad almost bolted to the door, knowing that there wasn’t much that could disturb the soldier. He heard the others following him.
„In your room, I didn’t mean to peak, but the door was ajar and I thought that it’s suspicious because I knew that you never leave your door open...“ the soldier was rambling, he knew, but what he saw just now would really disturb anybody. Conrad seemed concerened too.
They arrived at the room in no time and the sight that greeted them made them stand frozen on the spot, eyes wide, gaping at the display of horror. The sheets were torn, the furniture thrashed, the little porcelain lady Cheri had almost forced onto her son, broken, the clothes thrown across the room, some of them torn apart and the bed was a display of destruction. Not to mention the walls ‚decorated‘ with what they assumed to be paint, but it resembled blood that much that it made their stomachs twist and the lunch was suddenly eager to get out. And as if the mere sight of the red liquid wasn’t enough, it was former into a sentence with only a few words: Die, you dirty scum!
For a full minute there was absolute silence and nobody could move a muscle, petrified by the sight. Gwendal was the first to move as he headed straight towards Conrad’s wardrobe and opened it, taking the few clothes that survived the rampage, packing them into the remaints of Conrad’s backpack.
At the sight of his brother, Conrad regained his speech again. „Gwendal...what are you doing?“
„Packing your things. You are not staying in this room a minute longer. You’re moving in with me. Period.“
Conrad was speechless for a moment again, before a smile started tugging at the corners of his lips. „You know that living with somebody whom you aren’t at least engaged with, is considered inapropriate.“
Conrad didn’t really mean it. It was meant to be only a joke to ease the tension. Really, he meant nothing with it. But when he saw the flash that went through Gwendal’s eyes and the older mazoku headed towards him with sharp steps, he knew he said something very wrong. That was untill he saw the open palm of his brother and before he could react, it colided with his left cheek.
„There. Appropriate enough?“ and without any other word, Gwendal ressumed the packing.
Deep in his shock, Yuuri (probably like everybody else in the room) vagualy thought that he would probably never see his godfather this speechless again. Not that he himself found any words. He just now saw how Gwendal proposed to his younger brother Conrad. Gwendal proposed to Conrad. Gwendal proposed to Conrad. And Conrad, Conrad was speechless. This was so...illogical.
It took Conrad a total of 5 minutes to finally form a halfway coherent thought and he uttered a completely dumbfounded: „You know, considering the current circumstances, you don’t have to pack the underwear.“
„You said WHAT?!“
Conrad watched Yozak exploading in howls of laughter, slapping his thighs and clutching his stomach, his whole frame shaking.
„You can’t, you wouldn’t, you, oh by the great one, this is rich!“
The first thing Conrad did after Gwendal proposed to him was to go and find Yozak to tell him the happy news, before someone else did. And of course Yozak would want to know the details. He wouldn’t be Yozak if he didn’t. And Conrad wouldn’t be Conrad if he didn’t tell him. Thus the laughter. Conrad waited patiently for Yozak to calm down at least to the point where he could form coherent sentences. Needless to say, it took a while.
„What...How...“ Yozak started, while he wiped away the tears of laughter. „What did Gwendal say? No, wait, what kind of look did he make? No, wait, tell me about bochan – what did he do? No, wait, tell me everything!“
„You’re too curious for your own good.“ Conrad smiled.
„I’m getting paid for being curious about things.“
„I thought you get paid for having a good memory.“
„That too. And believe me, I’m going to remember this untill my dying day!“ Yozak grinned widely. „Now, tell me!“
„Are you ordering me around, soldier? You seem to forget, that I’m the fiancé of your boss.“ Conrad smirked.
„Right now, I couldn’t care less.“ Yozak said without loosing his grin, his eyes holding a dangerous sparkle. „So tell me. Please...“
Ah, the puppy eyes. Too bad, that they had no effect on Conrad. But nonetheless, he had mercy with his redhead this time and he told him, but not before uttering a small sigh. „Gwendal froze to the spot and turned to me looking absolutely dumbfounded.“
„I wish I could’ve seen that. A dumbfounded Lord von Voltaire isn’t something you get to see each day. And it also isn’t easy to imagine. Even for me.“
„Are you trying to change the subject?“
„Not at all. As for Yuuri, he yelled something what suspiciously sounded like bloody murder. It made a nice duet with Günter’s scandaloused cry and Wolfram’s shout.“
Yozak snickered. „This, I can totally imagine.“
„Though, the room is a pity...I liked sleeping there.“
„But it still is no match for Gwendal’s, huh?“
„Are you trying to be a smartass?“
„Nope. Not at all.“
They grinned at eachother and Conrad’s eyes fell on the clock behind Yozak. „I should go. Dinner will be soon and I so don’t want to miss it.“ He smiled into himself, his golden eyes sparkling.
Yozak smirked. „You’re so wicked...“
„And you even ASK?!“
Despite the wonderfull occassion, the atmosphere at the dinning table was as tense, that, if it was solid, even Conrad would have had problems to cut it with his sword. Yuuri bravely tried to ease it with smalltalk. „So, Yozak. I see you decided to join us today.“
„Of course, young master.“ Yozak winked, absolutely unphased by the tension. „I couldn’t miss an engagement party, especially not if it’s the engagement party of my partner in crime.“
Yozak ignored him. „And then with my boss, really. That guy certainly knows how to chose. Now he will have complete control over me. Lucky guy.“
„Oh come on, like you aren’t happy.“
„If you continue this, I will have you thrown out. And now I even have the power to. Without resuming my former position, might I add.“
„Kiss my ass.“
„If you pull down your pants, gladly.“
Whatever Yozak was ready to retort died in his throat. Conrad, actually Conrad said that?! Conrad Weller? The nice, smiling, polite, maou-sitter Conrad Weller? The last time such words passed the lips of his friend was at the academy, 30 years ago, as he was a cocky, permanently pissed-off jerk. And judging how everybody (including Gwendal) choked on their food, they felt the same exact way as Yozak. Where was his captain?! Did something happen?
„You know“ Yozak was grinning in spite of himself, „maybe the engagement wasn’t such a good idea.“
Conrad snickered. „I wonder...“
„He’s right.“ The words were, contary to the original statement, serious and everybody turned with questioning gazes to the person that said them.
„Günter...“ Yuuri started. „What do you mean with that?“
„It was meant to be a joke, Lord von Kleist.“ Yozak added. Seriously the man could be such a spoilsport.
„I know that!“ Yozak actually flinched as Günter looked at him. Never had he seen such a fierce gaze on the lavendel-haired man’s face. „But still, you’re right! The engagement is wrong! A very bad idea!“
„Günter!“ Gwendal’s deep voice resonated through the hall. „We already had this subject!“
Whatever else Gwendal wanted to say, Günter silenced him. „It’s not because of me!“ The petit man sighed. „I have accepted that you two love eachother, really. I realized that at the conference, as Conrad burst through that heavy door, still weakned from illness and knowing that it isn’t his place to do that, but nonetheless determined to help you, stoping to care what others thought and what he should or shouldn’t be doing, not caring about the consequenes, only caring about being there with you.“ Günter shook his head. „It’s not my selfishness this time.“
„Then what?“ Gwendal’s voice was still harsh.
„If you were to marry...“ he paused.
„Yes? I’m listening.“
„Gwendal, you do, you both do know, that there are rules and restrictions in an incestual marriage and also...that condition. You know. You both know. Everybody knows.“
„Eeeh...“ their eyes travelled to Yuuri. „Not necessarily everybody, Günter.“
To everyone’s surprise, the royal advisor turned away. He was always ecstasic when His Majesty asked something let himself be taught. But in spite of that, they could understand him. This was a delicate issue.
„Günter?“ Yuuri looked around helplessly. Why was everyone looking so down?
Finally Wolfram grew tired of everyone being a coward and chose to explain. „As you might have already realized, in the mazoku society, incestual relationships aren’t forbidden, but not liked. The nobles highly disapprove of it and so does the lower nobility, the citizen class and the low class. Incest pairs are outcasts of society. There are only as much people who accept them. But it isn’t forbiden, so even if the world turns against them, they still have eachother. Worse is, when the pair splits up. Then they have nobody.“
„But why should they-“
„Because it will be always only the two of them.“
„It’s forbiden to have kids in an incestual relationship.“
„Yes.“ Yuuri turned to Günter again. „And as far as I know“ the lavendelhaired man looked at the pair in question „you both always wanted to have kids.“
Conrad smiled ruefully. „Günter, I have given up the wish to have kids 20 years ago.“
„Listen. If I wanted to have kids, I would have never gotten together with Gwendal. Sure, I love them, but if I can’t have them, then I can’t. It’s as simple.“
„I am the same.“ Gwendal said.
„Sure, we could both marry some nice girl, or some handsom guy, but for what? Only to have a child? In exchange for not being with the one I love? That’s too high a price. Besides, the only one, who could come in question besides Gwendal, is Yozak.“
Günter frowned at that statement. „And? What’s wrong with that?“
To almost everybody’s surprise, Conrad averted his gaze. „Forget what I said. I said too mu-“
„I can’t have kids.“
The room fell silent as everybody gaped at the non-stop cheerfull spy, who looked right at this moment like he bit into an exceptionally sour lemon.
„Ten years ago I had a miscarriage. And you know what a miscarriage does to halfmazoku males.“
Said one turned away as he saw the pitifying gazes.
„I’m sorry. I should have thought before speaking.“
He turned to Conrad and shook his head. „It’s alright. It had to come out sooner or later. And before you start to pry, I’ll tell you. The man I was together with back then lost his pregnant fiancé in the war and I was the first one whom he started to warm up to. After several months it started to get really serious and we were talking about engagement, but we passed it off quickly. Neither he nor I were ready for something like that, but we both wanted something more. Something deeper than mere dating. And then we decided to try having kids. But since I was a halfmazoku and he powerless, it took us quite some work. But eventually we succeeded and there was a small life under my heart. Of course I told Gwendal, because he is my boss and Conrad because he is my best friend.“
„Though, you never told me who it was.“
„I wanted to, after I was deeper into the pregnancy, as we were certain that nothing could go wrong. But after I miscarried in the 4th month and he left me, heartbroken, lonely and disappointed, it didn’t matter anymore.“
„He left you?!“
Yozak looked at Yuuri and nodded. „We tried to cope with it and start anew, but he didn’t have the strength. It was the second child he lost forever, without being able to get to know it, spend time with it, raise it, building a family. It was too much to bear. And I...even if we were together, it seemed like I didn’t have anybody, anybody as in a partner, a lover, to support me, someone whom I could lean onto, who could hold me tightly when I was too weak to stand. It was better for the both of us to split up. That way we could deal with it both our way. If we were unhappy in our relatiosnhip and unable to support each other, it was the best we could do.“ He shook his head vehemently. „Anyway, I’m over it and able to live with it. I had to deal and so I did. Period.“
„I see.“ The room fell into a heavy silence and nobody dared to speak.
But still, there was another matter which had to be settled. „But Conrad...“ They looked at Günter, the only person who dared to talk. „Would it be really that much of a problem to submit at least once, for the sake of having children, instead of getting your maternal womb removed?“
„It doesn’t need to be removed.“
„If you two intend to marry, it is. It’s one of the conditions.“
„It doesn’t need to be removed.“
„Don’t you unders-“
„Mine has been already removed 20 years ago.“
Another heavy silence filled the room.
„What?“ Wolfram finally asked in a weak voice.
Conrad sighed, and opened his mouth to explain and he felt a rough hand squeezing his almost painfully. „At Ruttenberg, as you probably know, a sword went straight through my abdomen. It injured my spleen, my liver, my stomach and it scracthed my womb. It could have been healed without any problem, wouldn’t it be for the other injuries. They were fatal and needed to be tended to first. But it took too long and the womb kept bleeding. Of course, they could’ve called more healers, but the womb isn’t a vital organ. It was easier to simply remove it, than wait for more healers. And maybe, if they didn’t remove it, I would’ve bled out until the other healers arrived.“
There was some more silence in the room. And only to break it, Conrad spoke up again. „I didn’t tell anybody, because I didn’t want you to worry. Only mother and Yozak knew. Mother has been told and Yozak overheard the healers. At first I kept it a secret before Gwendal, but after some time, he also begun to pry and point out to me, that if I stay with him, I won’t be having any children and that’s when I told him everything I told you now. That I don’t care and even if I did, I couldn’t. Because I couldn’t as a bottom, and didn’t want to as a top. To marry a woman, or some fertile guy for that...marry someone whom I don’t love and never will...Only for such a foolish, selfish desire...“ Conrad shook his head. „It’s not worth it.“
„As for me, I’m the same: I don’t want to as a top, for the same reasons Conrad doesn’t...and I can’t as a bottom. I’m infertil and not even my strong maryoku can change that. It’s one of those few things maryoku can’t influence.“
„But don’t misunderstand us – we’re not together because we can’t have...and don’t want kids. In the first and furthermost place, we’re together because we love each other. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be together. It would be impossible for us to put up with each other.“ At this place Conrad tried a smile. It didn’t succeed. „That neither of us can is just a coincidence – lucky or unlucky is a matter of opinion. If anything, it’s convenient. But it doesn’t change a thing.“
And another set of silence reigned the room, this one more heavy than any other silence they have ever expierienced. And it was again Conrad who broke it. Whether it was bravery to face it, or cowardice to run away from it, he didn’t know.
„So you see Günter, your worries are out of concern. Though, thank you for caring.“
„I have nothing else to say to that.“ Gwendal said, finally coming to aid for his beloved, fiancé and brother. „Everything I could have said, Conrad already did. I love him and I’m with him because of that and for no other reason.“
Their eyes met and finally everybody was able to see the full extent of their love – love of brothers, love of friends, love of companions and the infinite love of two lovers, who were ready to spend their lifetime with each other. Finally the corners of their lips tugged up into small smiles and they both moved simultanously, their bodies joining into a tight embrace.
„I live to love...“ Conrad spoke,
„I love to live...“ Gwendal said,
„The love illuminating our path,
to what seems to be a happy life.“ They finished together.
„You know, we never really came up with a good rhyme.“ Conrad smiled.
„Does it need to rhyme if it already tells everything we are?“
„No.“ For a moment it was as if Conrad hesitated. But finally, he said: „I’m happy. The only thing I need for that is you.“
„What is it?“
Now, that was mushy.
I hope you liked it.