Suitors (Chapter 01: First Contender?)
by Tetra26/Batty Gal
Fic Summary: After Wolfram ended his engagement in a fit of rage, suitors from all around started to flock to to the castle to seek his hand – much to Gwendal's dismay. Who will capture his heart? A random noble? Murata? Yozak? And, what about Yuuri? Sequel to 1 Up.
"Lord von Voltaire, please! Please, calm down!" a terrified voice cried out.
"Get out, get out, get out! My brother will not be marrying you or anyone else anytime soon! Now get out before I bury you alive!"
Wolfram and Conrart, who had been practicing sword-fighting, halted as they heard the commotion. Upon hearing more of the man's shrieks of terror and what suspiciously sounded like the ground caving in, they both started to snicker.
"Sounds like another suitor is being run off by Gwendal," Conrart said.
"That's the fifth one this week. Just where do they keep coming from?" Wolfram wondered.
"More importantly, why do they keep showing up knowing that they'll just be run off?"
"I have no clue."
Ever since Wolfram had angrily ended his engagement almost a year prior, suitor after suitor had shown up almost daily at Blood Pledge Castle to seek his hand in marriage. At first, he had found it amusing (if solely to laugh at how Gwendal was so very upset by it all), but the novelty had quickly worn off as he had to duck and dodge hands that were all too willing to attempt to strike him.
He wasn't stupid, however; he knew that most of the people that attempted to pursue him were only doing so for either a higher status with him as arm candy, or a better alliance with the castle. He didn't think that any of them actually wanted to be with him for love.
He frowned at the thought that he would probably end up with someone he did not really care for.
"What's on your mind, Wolfram?" Conrart asked.
Wolfram sighed. "I was just thinking... maybe I should just pick one to get them all off my back?"
"Is that what you really want? Just to pick one at random?"
"No, but regardless of the one I pick, they all want the same thing from me."
Conrart instantly understood what he meant, and gave his brother a pitying look.
"Don't give me that look, I'm fine with it," Wolfram said, and sighed again.
Conrart's pitying look turned to a pensive one. "I don't think you should pick someone solely because this is getting annoying. Just hold out a little longer – and I think you will find someone to your liking."
"Perhaps, if Gwendal doesn't run him off, too," Wolfram said. "Though I'm grateful for the interference at times, I wish that he would see that I'm not a little boy anymore."
"You'll always be a little boy to him – and me," Conrart said with a laugh.
"And Mother," Wolfram added, and joined in on the laughter.
At dinner that afternoon, everyone at the table listened to Gwendal as he described running off the latest suitor.
"So, Gwendal, what was wrong with this one?" Wolfram asked, amused.
"He struck me as the abusive type," Gwendal grumbled, which caused everyone at the table to start snickering.
"Gwendal, just who is going to be stupid enough to try and abuse Wolfram of all people? If anything, they'd be the one getting abused," Yuuri said, which promptly earned him a swat to the back of the head. "Ow! See?"
Even Gwendal had to hide a smile as everyone else laughed.
"So I'm the abusive type, Yuuri?" Wolfram said in mock anger.
"Please, don't hurt me anymore!" Yuuri said, his voice falsely fearful. He trembled, for emphasis.
The two looked at each other, and started laughing.
"There's something wrong with you two," Murata said, shaking his head.
"You say that like it's a bad thing," Wolfram said, still laughing.
If there was one thing good thing that came out of the entire mess with King Saralegui, he and Yuuri had become closer – and better – friends afterward.
After apologizing profusely for being so very distant with Yuuri and causing that scene at Saralegui's castle (but leaving out most of his other antics in between), the two had reverted back to being close – sans engagement issues and bed sharing. It didn't matter, however – their friendship had bloomed rather nicely.
Wolfram often wondered if they would have become this close earlier in their relationship had they not been engaged, but decided that it might not have ended up that way. After all, he sincerely doubted that he would have followed Yuuri around as much and bothered to get to know him as well as he did.
Still, it was nice to have such a wonderful friend, even if his heart still fluttered due to the Maou at the most inopportune of times.
"I noticed you had a suitor today yourself, Your Majesty," Gwendal remarked.
"Yes," Yuuri said with a sigh.
That was another thing. Yuuri was also gaining a lot of suitors as well. Wolfram wasn't surprised by that considering that, well, he was the Maou. However, he was shocked that Yuuri had not received as many suitors as he had. He supposed it was because of the whole issue about Yuuri being half-human that made some mazoku women (and men) avoid him.
"You don't seem too happy about it, Yuuri," Conrart said.
"Well... it's just, I don't know," the Maou said with a frown.
Wolfram figured that Yuuri was having the same problem as he was when it came to determining a person's true motives for pursuing him.
"Well, eventually the two of you will find someone. Just as long as you choose wisely and not quickly, you'll be alright," Conrart said.
Wolfram nodded at his remark, noting that Yuuri did the same. He only hoped that – for both their sakes – that they weren't driven crazy by their suitors in the meanwhile.
The next day, Yuuri – who was shirking his duties like usual – lounged around in the gardens with Wolfram and Murata.
"So Wolfram, I hear your mother is coming today," Murata said.
"Yes, she should be here soon," Wolfram replied. He groaned. "I hope she doesn't try to instigate anything with all of these suitors showing up."
"Me either," Yuuri moaned. "The last thing I need is to be pushed together with some opportunist."
"Maybe one of you will find your life mate soon," Murata said.
"I wouldn't count on it," both Yuuri and Wolfram mumbled, simultaneously.
Murata raised his eyebrow at the two. "Listen to you two! You both sound like jaded, old men. There's someone out there that doesn't care about either of your statuses, and it's only a matter of time before you find them – if you haven't found them already," he said, sounding more Sage-like than normal.
Though Yuuri really wanted to believe what Murata said was true, Saralegui's words the night that he tried to assault Wolfram still rang in his mind.
Hearing that those women that pursued him on a regular bases only did so as opportunists disappointed him, especially now that he realized it was true. Every time he found himself talking to or dancing with a woman, he wondered whether or not she was interested in him or his title.
Most of the time, he thought that it was the latter.
Probably the only person that he was certain that had showed romantic interest in him and didn't care about his title was Wolfram – and he didn't want to think any further about how that made him feel. He mentally pictured himself booting that thought right out of his mind.
"If you say so, Murata," Wolfram said with a sigh. "Either way, I just wish they'd all stop coming."
"At least you have someone to run them off for you," Yuuri grumbled. "All I have is Günter allowing them in and pointing out how the relationship would benefit the country – as well as sighing because I won't choose him."
"Marrying Günter von Krist would be most beneficial to the country, Your Majesty. Just think of the political clout you would achieve, as well as gaining more of the citizens' affections," Wolfram said, perfectly imitating the mentioned mazoku.
He clutched his hands together for emphasis, and got a far-off look in his eyes. "Though, Your Majesty, I'll have to admit – the day you wed will be the most heart-wrenching day of my life."
Yuuri and Murata, who were already snickering at the first bit, started to cackle loudly at the last part.
"Oh man, if he heard you do that..." Murata started, unable to finish due to laughing so hard.
"That was eerie. That was extremely eerie. Where did you learn to do that?" Yuuri asked, utterly amused.
"Ah, just from being around him for so long! Yeah," Wolfram said, hurriedly.
Yuuri wondered why Wolfram was suddenly blushing, and was about to call him on it when he heard a loud squeal in the distance.
"Sounds like she's here," he said upon realizing who it was.
"The match-maker has arrived," Murata said.
"Come, Yuuri... our respective romantic futures await us," Wolfram said as he stood up, giving Murata a smirk.
Murata gave him a look over his glasses. "Why are you so cynical, Wolfram? I meant what I said. There's someone out there for both you and Yuuri, someone that doesn't care what your respective statuses are."
"Really? Well, when you can name one for me, get back to me, will you?" Wolfram said, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
"I can name one," Murata said.
"Yeah right, are you even a candidate?"
"Perhaps I am."
Yuuri, who's mind had drifted away from the argument and was focused on dessert, snapped out of it and stared at Murata. He couldn't believe what he had just heard.
Apparently, neither could Wolfram.
"What? Like you're interested in me other than those perverted games you like to play with me!" Wolfram sputtered.
Perverted games? Murata and Wolfram played perverted games with each other? Yuuri wondered just what went on between the two when he wasn't around.
"I feel you up that one time and now you can't consider me as anything other than a pervert. I was drunk, for Shinou's sake!"
"Oh yeah? Then what about that time you pinched me on the butt?"
"There was a ball of lint there, I tell you! I was just getting it off."
"You were getting something off, alright!"
Yuuri simply couldn't believe that Murata had felt Wolfram up. He was about to interrupt and ask just when that had occurred when the Sage spoke up again.
"Either way, I'm serious. I don't care about your status Wolfram, and I'm interested in you. And since Shibuya here let you slip through his fingers-" he said, winking at Yuuri at the same time, "-I no longer have to feign indifference towards you. If you would attempt to see beyond pervert, and try to discover the real me, you might like who you find."
Yuuri watched Wolfram's mouth drop open, and he was fairly certain he was wearing a similar look. He waited for Murata to start laughing with a "gotcha", but it never came. The Sage simply smiled at Wolfram.
Murata stood. "I'm going to greet your mother. Got to get in good with my potential mother-in-law," he said, before turning and setting off in that direction.
Yuuri looked at Wolfram, who's face showed as much confusion as he felt. He held his hands out in an "I don't understand what happened here" gesture, and Yuuri shrugged his agreement as he stood.
He followed Wolfram to greet his mother, staring at Murata's back and trying to figure out just whether he was serious or not.
Author's note: This is the re-edited version of this chapter. I only changed "Sir" to "Lord", "Conrad" to "Conrart" (unless Yuuri is addressing him), and corrected a few other errors. Next Chapter: Something Yuuri did unwittingly months prior comes back to haunt him.