Fandom: Kyou Kara Maou, Yuuri Shibuya
Challenge: Five Loves
Warnings: none, except that it's self-indulgently long
A/N: Mama, Conrad, Flurin, Wolfram and....? On Yuuri's wedding day, who stands beside him?
I - Conception
II - Obsession
III - Impression
IV - Concession
Over the last six years, Shibuya Yuuri, 27th Maou, has had occasion to ask himself a number of tough and largely unanswerable questions:
- how exactly did he end up as Demon King?
- how does a Maou find time to do homework?
- how many times will he be shot at, kidnapped and endangered before the Mazoku and humans achieve peace?
- is there any way to arrange for Hidecki Matsui to be sucked down a toilet so he can play for Shin Makoku?
Remarkably, Yuuri's managed to accomplish it all. Well, except that last bit.
Today he's asking himself something infinitely more terrifying:
- how does the Maou survive his wedding day?
Yuuri stands at the foot of the high altar, ready to ascend to his -- doom? Fate? He tries not to fidget (Gunter says bridegroom-kings do not fidget, but on the other hand Gunter routinely collapses in sobs and/or nosebleeds, so his advice is at best suspect).
Nervously Yuuri casts his eyes around the chamber. Murata waves at him. Easy for him to be so light-hearted; he's not the one getting married! Baron von Stoffel is in attendance; he's clearly dressed to impress, and next to him Raven holds his accustomed place. After all this time, the two finally have acknowledged their commitment to each other. Yuuri's glad – he's never hated Stoffel, and Raven seems an okay kind of guy.
Flurin of Caloria is seated at the front of the honored guests. Seeing her, Yuuri feels a little pang; his crush on her was of the epic variety, and lingered until the day she gently told him she thought of him more as a brother. Cheri-sama hangs on the arm of her latest human lover. Perhaps she'll marry this one – though no doubt Wolfram would object, and Cheri loves her youngest son even more than she loves love. Her oldest, Gwendel, is – no surprise here! – scowling at the world at large. Anissina stands demurely by Gwendel's side, a position she's maintained since that day last summer when, having had quite enough of being tortured as Anissina's guinea pig, he grabbed her and kissed her soundly. The generally held opinion is that she chased him until he caught her. Anissina can outwit any man alive.
The wait is so long, Yuuri's seized by panic. A large, warm hand clasps his shoulder. "Don't worry," Conrad murmurs gently. "You haven't been left at the altar. Some people just take longer to dress, you know."
Of course Conrad would understand his fears. "I know," Yuuri says, He has a momentary image of Wolfram standing before his mirror for hours, and feels an old ache. But the memory somehow steadies him. "Thank you, Conrad."
"For what, Yuuri?"
"For—" He wants to say for everything, because it's true, but emotion closes his throat. Conrad has always been there as his support, his companion, his protector. No wonder he believed for a time that his feelings for Conrad were of the romantic sort. The truth is, they go far deeper than that; it's a love that has nothing at all to do with romance, and everything to do with the linking of souls.
Conrad ruffles his hair, though they are nearly the same height now, and his wide mouth curves into a smile. Strangely, absurdly, Yuuri thinks of his mother, and is comforted.
Conrad glances toward the door. "Heika. It's time."
There is a flurry of trumpets, the golden doors part, and the person to whom Yuuri has pledged his life and kingdom sweeps into the chamber. There is a murmur of approval from the gathered guests, and Yuuri's breath quite literally is taken away. He'd expected white lace and a veil, but instead he beholds a perfectly-fitted white uniform, with lace at the throat and cuffs, gold epaulets and shiny white boots. The short hair is artfully arrayed to curl over the wide, perfect forehead.
It's the sort of outfit Wolfram might choose.
--but then again, his is an unconventional bride, as much of a soldier as Conrad, as uncompromising as Wolfram, and if not as sweet as Yuuri's mother or as traditionally lovely as Flurin, still with a special grace of her own.
There is a sharp poke in his ribs. "Wimp. You have to say the words or it can't start!"
Yuuri turns his head; Wolfram, shoes and sword polished to a blinding shine, is glaring at him. Yuuri cannot hold his gaze; his eyes drop as he turns to utter the words he's rehearsed.
"I, Shibuya Yuuri, call for you, Leila of Francshire, to be my queen. Come forward, and let us be joined."
The crowd sighs. Gunter sobs profusely and Gwendel hushes him, though to little avail. Conrad gives Yuuri a final squeeze on the shoulder. Wolfram…well, Wolfram's gone uncharacteristically quiet. Yuuri's heart pounds, but as he watches his chestnut-haired, tomboyish warrior-bride approach, he tells himself she's everything he ever wanted. He's lucky to have found it all in one person. Yuuri takes Leila's hand, and together they ascend to where Ulrike waits to unite them.
There's a lot of talk and music and ceremonial details and Yuuri finds his mind wandering. He thinks about all the people he has loved in his short life, and his heart feels so full he's afraid it may explode. He wonders; if he falters, will Leila shore him up? Will she defend him with her life, as Conrad has done? Will she follow him against terrible odds, as Flurin did? When he is hurt, will she clasp him tightly and make everything all right, like Mama?
And if he falls, will she catch him and never let him go, and if she cannot hold him, will she choose to fall with him, like—
"Yuuri," Conrad whispers at his elbow, "pay attention."
"I…what?" he says, having lost his place.
"Wimp!" Wolfram's growl pierces the solemnity. When Yuuri looks, Wolfram is rolling his eyes.
"People of Shin Makoku, honored guests and witnesses to this ceremony," Ulrike intones, "As Shinou commands, these two shall now be united—"
Oh no! Who would dare interrupt! Yuuri immediately turns to look at Wolfram, but Wolfram just stares at him, with a look of disbelief on his face. Not Wolfram, them… King Antoine of Francshire, perhaps? He was Leila's intended, before Yuuri. But no; Antoine merely looks perplexed. Yuuri scans the chamber. And suddenly realizes--
every face is turned to him, with the same expression of disbelief.
I said it?
"Yuuri-heika?" Ulrike turns a serious face to him. "Do you, or do you not pledge your love to this person for all eternity?"
Yuuri opens his mouth.
And closes it again.
"Yuuri-heika?" Ulrike gazes at him with concern.
"Yuuri?" Conrad prompts.
"I…um," Yuuri croaks. "Well, I—"
"Yuuri!" Leila growls. Oh no, a scary face as terrifying as Wolfram's.
Words still are not forming in Yuuri's mouth. He daren't look at the woman by his side for fear Leila will start shouting at him, as Wolfram would do. As Wolfram always does, always will--
"Excuse me, please," he says faintly. "What was the question?"
"Yuuri-heika," Ulrike says, leaning forward, "Is there some reason you cannot pledge your love to this person?"
No, say no, Yuuri tells himself.
But strangely, when he opens his mouth, what comes out is a raspy, "Yes. There is." He swallows. "Well, yes, I--um. Have a reason."
"What reason!?" Leila hisses, and once again Yuuri sees Wolfram in her expression.
"Leila. You're…perfect. In every way. Really. But…"
Say it, Yuuri, say it, just say it! "But…I love someone else," he stammers. "I guess."
"You guess?!!" Leila's hand is on her sword, or where her sword would be, if she were wearing one. "WHO?!"
"Um," Yuuri says. He closes his eyes against a wave of vertigo, but when he opens them again, everyone is still there, still staring at him. This is hell. This must be hell.
What the hell.
He says a name.
And all hell breaks loose.
But when the commotion finally dies down, and Cheri is fanning Gunter, who has fainted again, and the three maids have finished squealing, and Conrad is sitting on the steps holding his head and laughing, and truly wimpy King Antoine has finally made his move and offered to kill Yuuri on Leila's behalf, and she's declined the offer because Antoine is far more appealing in this mood than he's ever been before, and Murata and Ulrike are off behind the tapestry ending 800 years of Ulrike's status as Maiden, and Gwendal and Anissina have decided to elope to avoid the whole rigmarole of court weddings and Stoffel and Raven are halfway back to their home after concluding the Maou has finally lost his marbles—
--when all this has happened and order is restored, Yuuri remains in the middle of the chamber, totally oblivious to the havoc he's caused.
Because he's still kissing a very startled Wolfram–
--and he doesn't give a damn who sees them.