❯ Where I Belong – Where I Belong ( One-Shot )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]

Where I Belong
By: Vain
5.2.2005

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Disclaimer: I don’t own Kyou Kara Maou or any of the characters therein. This is a work of fandom; I am not profiting from this.

Summary: Post episode 40, pre episode 41 – Conrad/Yuuri implication: On the way back from Francshire, Conrad mourns the past and worries over the future, but finds solace in being back where he belongs.

Warnings: Angst. One-sided(??) Conrad/Yuuri.

Continuity: This story takes place post-episode 40 and contains S.P.O.I.L.E.R.S.

Notes: Written with love for Apapazukamori, (who is also my beta) because she MADE ME WATCH THIS SOUL-CONSUMING ANIME. All remaining errors are my own.

Please review.
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« Every subject’s duty is the king’s; but every subject’s soul is his own. »
William Shakespeare
King Henry V. Act iv. Sc. 1.

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< br> The wagon is swaying. Sitting up was hard . . . even with the healing magic, my body has been pushed to its limits these past few weeks. But from here, I can see light outside the drawn canvas and hear the voices of the soldiers and the others. Mother. Gwendel. Günter. Wolfram. They’re talking about me. They think I am still unconscious. That is the only way they would speak so freely of me. Or rather, listen as someone else spoke of me . . . Somethingoranother Ken, was it?

That boy . . . he’s the Great Sage, isn’t he? Whoever he is, he’s dangerous. I don’t have a drop of Maryoken but even I can feel can feel the raw power and knowledge that hums around him. At any other time, I would fear such a man. Even Günter defers to him, and Günter is not the type to bow unless he truly feels he must . . .

Or unless it is to you.

He was so angry with me. I never dreamed of a day when Günter would draw his sword against me in anger. But I understand; I deserved nothing less. I made you sad. I hurt you.

I’m so sorry.

And yet here you are: lying with me in my sickbed, hunched over because you fell asleep while sitting with me. Why did they allow you in here? Don’t they know that I am a dangerous man? But they have forgiven me . . .

Idiots.

If our positions were reversed, I would have killed someone on the spot if they had hurt you in such a way. But that would hurt you, too, wouldn’t it? You are the type who loves too quickly and too deeply. It is our duty as your servants to protect such a tender heart and delicate disposition.

A gentle Maou. I never thought I’d live to see the day.

But knowing the nature of your soul, what else could you be?

Neither of us really had a choice in what we became, I think. You are bound to the crown, and I am bound to you . . . always. In this life and in any other.

And yet I failed my vows. Failed you. It tore me in two and yet I did it anyway. I did it because I thought it was my duty.

What a fool.

My only duty is to be by your side. Where I belong. If I am not there, then I have nowhere else to go.

Looking at you now in the faded half light, your small body rocking every so slightly with the wagon’s swaying . . . I know that now. I am where I belong. Whatever happens when we reach Shin Makoku doesn’t matter. I will endure anything to stand once more at your side.

Even now, I can still feel it . . . the memory of your hand on my chest and your magic running through me and your voice . . . Whispering . . . Pleading . . . « Come back together with us to Shin Makoku. »

« Come back . . . »

. . . As though I had a right to seek the solace of your warm smile and dark, dark eyes. As though . . . As though I had not betrayed you.

Betrayal. The word tastes bitter on my tongue.

I made you cry.

Did my eyes betray me when you looked up, tear streaming down your cheeks? Wolfram, Günter, and the Great Sage wanted to kill me. I wanted them to kill me. I promised your father that I would never show you such a stern, cold face. I only wanted to smile for you. I only wanted to make you happy.

But how could I defy the Original King? He gave me my arm. He gave me you.

A part of me still thinks that I should have taken Julia’s soul and run. Should have disappeared into nothingness . . . But then I think of your smile and the boundless, unbelievably naive enthusiasm with which you tackle every single obstacle before you . . . And all I can do is thank Julia for her wisdom in accepting the Original King’s judgment. I thought that the light had gone from my world when Julia died, but I now know that my very axis would vanish if you ever left me.

I’m such a fool. And a coward too.

All this time, I wanted my sword to be your strength, but really, you were mine. It was the promise of your coming that kept me going. It was my promise to your father that taught me how to smile again when it seemed all the joy had vanished from my life. And then—when you came—it was your smile, your hope, your indomitable will that made the world meaningful again. These past few weeks without you have felt like the twilight of my life . . . Like losing Julia all over again.

I never want to feel that way again.

I never want to make you cry again. I never want to see you make such a sad face again. That betrayal . . . That look of hurt . . . I would rather lose all my limbs and have my skin stripped away than endure that terrible confusion and heartache in your eyes.

I cannot be your lover. I know that. There is Wolfram . . . But also, there is my duty. I swore my life and my blade to you before you were even born. I will die for you one day—I have accepted that. And when I do, Wolfram and Greta and Günter will ease your sorrow.

So it is best if you never know of these treacherous feelings. It’s better if you never know how my heart clenches when you laugh for Wolfram, or smile for Gwendal, or blush so sweetly for Günter. It’s for the best.

I know that.

But it hurts . . . It hurts so much.

This is my atonement, though—my punishment for making you cry. No injury to my body will suffice, and so my heart will bleed for you. And you won’t ever know it.

Günter knows, I think. And Yozak and Gwendal, too, because they know almost everything about me. Perhaps Mother knows as well. She’s so much more than she appears. They will see and understand and accept my atonement in your stead and that will be enough. You are the type to suffer if you think someone close to you suffers and I have hurt you enough to last a lifetime.

I named you, Yuuri. I gave you your life. But I live my life for you.

I know that now. And I will never again leave your side, Original King be damned.

The wagon jostles and you stir for a moment before shifting. And then you sit up, wide eyes blinking blearily in the shadows. You look at me for a long moment, eyes slowly focusing, and I feel as though my heart has stopped beating. Then you smile that wonderful smile that I would give anything to keep on your face.

« Conrad . . . »

My voice fails me and so I bow my head instead, ignoring the dull ache the motion sends through me. « Heika— »

« Yuuri, » you interrupt me with familiar ferocity. « You named me, after all. »

« Y—yes . . . » I cannot even meet your eyes.

The silence stretches between us for a long time as you sit up and pop you back before situating yourself more comfortably on the wagon floor-turned-bed.

Finally, you speak. Your voice soft and pensive. « We’ll be arriving in Cabalcade soon. Then we’ll go on to Shin Makoku. »

« What happens then? » Is my voice really that rough to your ears? I sound like a dead man.

You seem to think so too, because you dig around in the blankets behind you and eventually retrieve a water skin. I take gratefully, happy for anything that distracts me from the feel of your eyes on me.

Do you think that I will vanish again if you look away? . . . Perhaps I will. I feel thin and transparent beneath your gaze. Yuuri . . .

When you answer my question your voice is a whisper. « I don’t know. » You finally avert your terrible gaze. « I don’t know what will happen. » Your voice is wavering. Please don’t cry. I couldn’t bear to see you shed another tear for my sake. « . . . But . . . »

I shiver at your tone of voice.

You turn back to me, a hardness in your eyes I have witnessed only when you release your Maryoken. Punishment. « You have to promise me something, Conrad. Before we go back. Promise me, and I won’t let anything happen to you. »

So serious, my little Maou.

Anything, Yuuri. Anything. Ask me for my eye and I’ll tear it out for you. Ask me for the arm that I never should have regained. Ask me for my life. It’s yours. All of it is yours.

And then you grip my right arm tightly in your hand, forcing me to look up into your eyes. You shouldn’t touch me, Heika . . . I am . . . spoiled. But you’re watching me. How can anyone deny those obsidian eyes?

My breath catches somewhere just below my breastbone. « Heika . . . »

« Don’t ever leave my side again, Conrad. » The grip you have on my arm is painful, but I don’t care. You’re touching me. That’s enough. « Promise me. Promise me you won’t ever leave my side again. »

How could I deny you . . .?

« Hei— » You squeeze my arm in warning. So strong, my brave little Maou. I smile at you. Why am I crying? I should be happy. I should—

Your free hand rises and brushes away a stray tear. You don’t know what you’re doing to me, Yuuri. I catch your free hand in my own and slowly draw it away from my face. I can feel the tears sliding down my cheeks. This . . . This is atonement, too, then.

I bow as best I can between the blankets and my wounds. « Yuuri . . . My place has always been by your side. Always. I will not forsake my vows. Never again for any reason. I . . . I want to be here. With you. Where I belong. »

Where I belong.

And suddenly the air is filled with the scent of you as your small arms go around my shoulders. Oh God, Yuuri, please don’t . . . Please don’t . . . You don’t know . . .

« Yokatta. » Your voice is so soft . . . So soft . . . Yuuri . . .

You smell like soap and warm summer days.

Yuuri . . .

« I’m so glad, » you repeat into my hair.

Yuuri . . .

« So glad. »

Surprisingly, when you pull away, your warmth doesn’t leave me. It stays, a comfortable weight on my shoulders, and for a moment I feel nothing but something akin to joy. I’m glad, too.

You’re right. No matter what the other nobles decide, it doesn’t matter. I am by your side . . . right where I belong.
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~ Fin

o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o & nbsp;