Series: Kyou Kara Maou!
Summary: "I kissed you because I love you. Because I’m in love with you."
Yuuri and Conrad take a trip together through Shin Makoku; neither of them will ever be the same again.
If Ethel is a reliable barometer, everyone in the village knows what’s transpired between them in short order. She greets him later the next day with a blushing smile, her eyes mischievous. “And how is Sir Weller today?” she asks him when he comes across her at midday, seated again in the village square, now busy with darning. She has a basket of thick woollen socks beside her, and is doing the heels and toes over with thick coarse wool.
He gives her a sharp look. “Conrad’s fine,” he says. She giggles, and he sighs. “What?”
“You make a cute couple.”
“Is it that obvious?”
“The two of you have been going around all morning as if joined at the hip. The way you look at each other when you think no one’s watching… yes, it is obvious.” She puts in a few more stitches to the sock she’s currently holding while he watches. “I’m sure he will make a fine lover,” she adds, with a village girl’s perception. “Sweet, yet firm.”
Lovers, thinks Yuuri, blushing. If they haven’t already earned the name, they will soon. He’s eager to grow closer to Conrad, to give himself up to the swordsman and earn Conrad’s body and soul as he never has before.
“And you?” she asks, when he fails to answer.
“Will you make a good match for him?”
He’s been wondering the same. He has fame of course, and money and castles and horses and banners and servants. But he knows Conrad isn’t interested in any of those things. What does he have, that Conrad would want? “I love him,” he answers, simply. “I hope that’s enough.”
Ethel looks up from her darning. “If you believe it is, then it will be,” she says.
They decide to cut their trip short and return a week early. They’re both still battered from the bandit’s ambush, and have lost most of their supplies and their pack horse and, perhaps more importantly, Yuuri has lost his contact lenses. He’s also lost his thirst for adventure – he still wants to see more of Shin Makoku, but right now he wants to be back in Blood-Pledge Castle where everything is familiar and both he and Conrad are safe. They decide to head east to the ocean and buy passage on a trading vessel to return to the castle town’s port.
It’s a two day journey to the sea, and they take it slow. Yuuri is still healing Conrad’s broken arm, as well as his own scrapes and bruises. Conrad tells Yuuri the history of the people who live in these lands – he makes it far more interesting than Gunther’s dry leather-bound books, brings alive their hopes and dreams and desperation for a better life.
The more Yuuri sees of his kingdom, the more he’s committed to working not just for the 10 Nobles but for the people of Shin Makoku. He’s been taught that it is the work of the nobles to improve the circumstances of their vassals, but that’s not good enough. He’s going to university this year at home, and he’s going to switch his major to agriculture; he needs to know how to bring these people forward, to provide them with better lives. If things are to change, the first thing to do is build a more stable agrarian system.
He tells Conrad all these things, and sees Conrad’s pride in his answering smile. “Reforms will be difficult, Yuuri. Not everyone is open to change.”
“Not everyone was open to peace, either, but we made it happen.”
“You made it happen,” replies Conrad softly. “Where you go, I will follow.”
They spend the warm evenings in soft embraces, lying together on dusty dirt clods. The energy between them is growing more intense, kisses and touches growing hotter and heavier. But they both want to wait for a proper bed and four walls to take things further, each thinking of the other’s comfort.
Yuuri finishes healing Conrad’s arm the day they ride into the port of Meerburg, a small town with a stone jetty and several mid-sized sailing ships. A fleet of fishermen are out on the ocean, their tiny boats rocking with the waves. Seagulls cut through the sky overhead, their white plumage shining boldly in the sun. The surf hammers up against the jetty, soaking them; Yuuri laughs and Conrad smiles, while the horses snort disgustedly.
Yuuri sits drinking a hot spicy drink in the back corner of a tavern while Conrad barters for passage for them; with his black eyes plainly visible for all to see he’s trying to keep a low profile. He had a pair of sunglasses but they were lost with the rest of the equipment, and honestly they garnered almost as much attention as his black eyes. When he was in disguise as a rich dilettante they had suited just fine, but in his guise as a poor traveller they stand out like a sore thumb.
Conrad returns from his conversations on the far side of the tavern with a pint of beer and some information: “I’ve arranged for passage on a large trading vessel. They regularly carry a small number of passengers, and have a free berth. It will be cramped, but nothing else that carries passengers is sailing in the next week.
“When does it leave?”
“With the tide – in about an hour.”
Yuuri smiles. “Then I have time to finish my drink.”
The ship isn’t as modern as Shin Makoku’s leading hydrofoil or the cruise ship he took near Cabalcade, but it’s a large 3-masted vessel with a forecastle and ample deck room. Unlike their war vessels there are no cannons mounted along the deck; instead cargo has been fastened down with ropes and netting.
The ship’s lower decks are, as Conrad predicted, cramped. The ceilings are low and the berths small – theirs is a shared double bed with a tiny table and curtained-off cubby to serve as wardrobe. But the bed has a proper mattress, and it fit in neatly between the bulkhead and the side of the ship. A porthole looks out over the waves and lets in the sharp sea breeze.
The ship sets sail on the tide, the sun low over the mountains in the west. There are about ten passengers apart from themselves, all of whom cluster together on the deck to watch them sail out of the bay. Yuuri’s surprised at how small the crew is, but then he’s used to sailing on naval vessels which are crewed for combat. Merchant ships can’t afford more hands than absolutely necessary.
They dine with the captain in his quarters with a few of the other passengers; how Conrad arranged it he doesn’t know, and doesn’t ask. Dinner is a large cooked bird accompanied by several other dishes – northern hotpot, a strange kind of curry, and a vegetable ragout. The food was cooked on land, he is told by the captain; after tonight the food will starkly diminish in quality.
Some of the other passengers look put out by this news; Yuuri doesn’t mind. It can’t be worse than the dried meat and raw vegetables they’ve been eating between villages. Besides, he grew up on simple home cooking, not fancy nightly feasts. His time in Blood-Pledge Castle hasn’t changed that.
After dinner they head out into the cool night air, the breeze rippling the sails high above. The stars are shining, the moon casting a long pale carpet of light on the ocean below. Everything is calm, peaceful. Beside him, Conrad rests his hand on Yuuri’s shoulder.
In a few days, they’ll reach the southern port and from there Blood-Pledge Castle. And everything will get complicated again. His royal duties, his engagement to Wolfram, his obligations to Greta. His relationship with Conrad will impact all of them.
He doesn’t want to think about that yet. Wants to spend what little time they have together, alone.
“Let’s go down,” he says to Conrad. The swordsman nods, fingers tightening on Yuuri’s shoulder.
They end up together in bed, Conrad sitting with his back resting against the bulkhead, Yuuri straddling his lap. They’re lost in each other, Yuuri savouring the warmth of Conrad’s mouth and the silkiness of his hair. He’s framing Conrad’s face in his hands, his fingertips buried in Conrad’s thick chestnut locks. The intensity between them is building, Yuuri pressing closer to Conrad, his hips slowly canting against Conrad’s. There’s a warmth growing in the pit of his stomach, an aching need that’s spreading through him like wildfire. His fingers are twitching with it, his mouth hungry as his tongue probes Conrad’s with increasing passion.
Yuuri slips his hands beneath the hem of Conrad’s shirt, pushing it up to reveal his bare skin. His chest is incredibly firm, his skin soft and deliciously warm under Yuuri’s hands. He breaks their kiss for a moment to pull Conrad’s shirt over his head, leaving him naked from the waist up.
Conrad’s torso is mottled by scars. Yuuri’s fingers trace over the ones left by Big Shamalon’s arrows, wounds he had healed on the battlefield while his tears washed Conrad’s skin. He ducks his head and presses a soft kiss to one, then another, giving thanks with each caress for Conrad’s health and happiness.
While he’s doing this Conrad slowly unbuttons his shirt, pulling it gently from Yuuri’s body and conducting his own careful inspection of Yuuri’s paler skin. When Yuuri’s finished paying homage to his wounds Conrad pulls him up again and this time there is sweetness and saltiness in their kiss, followed by ardour so strong it makes Yuuri dizzy.
He can feel Conrad’s erection through the swordsman’s tight pants, can feel his own straining against his underwear. He wants more than kisses, and he grinds his hips against Conrad’s to make that evident in the most obvious way possible. The resulting friction is amazing, but still not good enough. “More. Please,” he pants against Conrad’s cheek.
Conrad’s deft hands find their way to his belt and fly and open them, sliding his pants down over his hips. He’s wearing his usual briefs – not Gunther’s preferred g-string – and Conrad palms his hand against Yuuri’s aching cock through the cotton; he gasps and snaps his hips forward. Conrad chuckles lightly against his ear, then runs his tongue over the sensitive flesh there even as he coaxes Yuuri’s cock from his briefs. A moment later he’s shuffling his own pants and underwear down, and then in a moment that feels like heaven on earth he’s caught their straining erections together in one hand and is stroking them.
“Oh. Oh,” gasps Yuuri, unaware that anything in life could feel this good, this right. Conrad’s palm is slick with sweat and precome, and the sensation of Conrad’s hand on his cock – of Conrad touching him, jerking him off – is incredible. More than that the hard pressure of Conrad’s erection against his own is heady and hot as hell. He cants his hips forward, closer, desperate for more pleasure, desperate to be nearer to Conrad. He’s panting hard, skin shining with sweat, and he needs more. He seals his mouth over Conrad’s and locks their tongues together, moaning as Conrad’s hand moves faster, his fingers tightening.
Yuuri comes first, spilling up all over Conrad’s stomach and crying out as the orgasm is wrung from him; his entire body shudders with it, and Conrad wraps his free hand over Yuuri’s back to hold him close through the throes of his ecstasy.
Heartbeat beginning to calm he looks to Conrad and sees his head thrown back, eyes shuttered with desire, mouth half-open.
“Can I?” he asks, putting his hand over Conrad’s pumping fist.
Conrad’s eyes slide closed. “Please,” he groans, relinquishing his hold on his cock in favour of Yuuri.
Yuuri’s only ever gotten himself off, but it’s not complicated. He wraps his hand around Conrad’s prick and picks up the pace, pumping hard. He rubs his thumb over the tip and grinds his hand down at the base, palm passing over Conrad’s balls – Conrad moans, head thudding against the wall behind him. Noting the reaction, Yuuri does it again, and again. Conrad’s breathing hard – harder than Yuuri’s ever seen him, covered in a sheen of sweat and looking beautifully debauched. He’s only seen Conrad like this in his wildest dreams, never imagined that he could have this effect on the unflappable swordsman.
He grinds his palm over Conrad’s balls again and Conrad shudders; he keeps pumping with his right and hand and uses his left to caress Conrad’s balls, timing his movements with his stroking. Conrad gives a hoarse cry and comes, his hands gripping the bedclothes tightly, his eyes firmly shut. Yuuri strokes him off until he finishes, then slides down to sit beside him on the narrow bed, his head resting on Conrad’s shoulder.
“That was amazing,” he says, intertwining his fingers with Conrad’s.
Conrad gives a soft snuffle of laughter, squeezing his fingers back. “It was, wasn’t it?” Conrad turns and presses a kiss to his cheekbone, his eyelashes brushing against Yuuri’s temple.
Whatever happens when they reach port, Yuuri thinks suddenly, they’ll be okay. Because this is something he’ll fight for to the ends of the earth.
They clean themselves off a little while and get dressed for bed – much as he wouldn’t mind sleeping naked with Conrad, as Conrad points out there’s always the possibility of trouble at sea. For that reason Conrad’s sword lies on the table, within easy reach.
The sea grows a little rough as the ship moves out into open waters, but nestled against Conrad’s side Yuuri scarcely notices it. When he falls asleep, he doesn’t wake until morning.
They spend the sea voyage learning to give themselves to each other. They lie in together in the mornings, spend the afternoons shoulder to shoulder on the deck watching the porpoises leap alongside the ship’s bow, and come to know each other’s bodies intimately in the evenings.
It’s a week of discovery and closeness, a time when they have little to worry about beyond themselves. They reforge their friendship into something stronger; for the first time Yuuri feels that they have all the means at their disposal to make it clear how essential they are to each other. In their touches and their kisses Yuuri can feel Conrad’s passionate love – and signals his own right back.
The entire ship has come to think of them as newlyweds and they do nothing to disabuse this assumption; it allows them an uncommon amount of privacy for a sea voyage, excusing their unsociability and focus solely on each other.
They do occasionally focus on serious matters ahead, notably on their shared future and the barriers they’ll face.
“Wolfram might have accepted your breaking your engagement to take a true lover, but to do so in favour of his brother…” Conrad sits on the single chair in their tiny berth, Yuuri perched on the side of the bed. The swordsman’s elbows are resting on the table, his hands supporting his chin.
“We can wait as long as we need to,” answers Yuuri. “I won’t lie to anyone, but we don’t need to make any announcements. We can end the engagement and worry about replacing it later.”
“Are you proposing not telling Wolfram?” asks Conrad, glancing at him.
Yuuri feels the words like a blow. “No,” he says, drawing his legs up to his chest. “I couldn’t hide that from him. Or from Murata or Gwendal or Gunther. Or Cheri-sama. They all deserve to know. What they’ll think…” he trails off, staring out the porthole. “Maybe I should have broken it off with Wolfram a long time ago. Things would be easier now.” He can’t very well jump out of a relationship with one brother right into a relationship with the other. Even if one was nothing more than empty words.
“Your reasoning for maintaining your engagement was sound,” replies Conrad. “And you’re right. We have time. You will be away much of the next few years studying at university. We can wait for your return to fully begin our life together. For now, we can lay the ground work.”
Yuuri sighs. “You’re right. But… I don’t want to wait. I want everything now. I want everyone to know, and I want them to be happy about it.”
Conrad smiles. “It’s a nice wish, Yuuri. But relationships take time.”
“I know.” He rests his chin on his knees. “You’re right. I’m just not very good at being patient.”
“You’ll still have me. We’ll just have to be discreet.”
Yuuri sighs again, looking at Conrad and giving him a lopsided smile. “I’m not very good at that, either.”
They have one night left before they come into their port of call. The sea is calm, the stars shining like bright candles in the firmament. They dine with the captain again; at the end of the meal he wishes them the best in their future life together, wherever they’re bound. Yuuri thanks him, wondering how they’ll ever conceal their relationship in Blood-Pledge Castle when everyone on the ship figured it out in under a day.
They retire together to their berth, full of salt beef and hard tack and the captain’s mediocre wine.
This close to home, Yuuri feels even more desperate for Conrad’s touch, for the reassurance of his presence. It may be days, or even weeks before they can find time alone together again.
Yuuri sits on the bed, pulling off his socks and shoes, while Conrad stands gazing out the porthole at the night sky. “Conrad?”
“Mm?” Conrad glances at him, his long back straight as if he were sitting a horse, his weight balanced over one hip.
“Tonight… I want you. All of you. Can we?”
They’ve kissed and fondled, given each other blow jobs and hand jobs. But Conrad’s been holding back on going further, and Yuuri’s followed his lead.
“Are you sure?” asks Conrad gently.
Yuuri nods firmly. “I want you. More than anything.”
He stands and steps over to Conrad. Together in the flickering lantern light they undress each other, Conrad setting a slow pace. They take off tunics and undershirts, belts and pants, until they’re standing naked under the lantern’s glow. Conrad produces a small bottle from his pack and places it on the table, then seats himself on the edge of the bed and pulls Yuuri over to straddle his legs.
For several minutes they embrace, kissing each other with increasing abandon. Yuuri’s already half-hard at the idea of what’s to come; he feels Conrad’s answering erection pressing against his thigh, and thrusts his hips forward with a soft sound. Conrad’s hands drift down from Yuuri’s shoulders over his back, then slip over the roundness of his ass to begin to knead into the soft flesh there, pulling his cheeks slowly apart. His fingers are strong and dextrous, and the feeling as they gently open him is intoxicating. For a minute he stops; when he starts again the fingers of his right hand are slick.
Conrad traces his fingers down the cleft of Yuuri’s ass and over his entrance, smearing slippery liquid over it. He breaks the kiss to whisper, “Ready?” in Yuuri’s ear; Yuuri nods against him.
Conrad slides one finger inside him. It’s a strange sensation, a feeling of tightness and tension. It’s not bad, but it’s also not the ecstasy he had imagined. Conrad begins working the finger in and out of him, still kneading Yuuri’s ass with his other hand. He presses his mouth back against Yuuri’s, and for a moment Yuuri almost forgets about the finger inside him.
Then it’s joined by a second. The feeling of two fingers is more than double the feeling of one. Yuuri catches his breath – this time, as Conrad kisses him deeply, he feels his cock twitch, feels the flush of arousal in his stomach. Conrad begins scissoring his fingers apart, spreading Yuuri’s entrance wide and it feels good. He ruts his hips forward against Conrad and the answering throb from his cock sends a delicious wave of ardour up his spine.
Conrad pulls his fingers out slightly and then presses them back in at a new angle; as they slide in they press against something he had never known was within him. The sensation jolts him – it’s a strong shock, halfway between pleasure and alarm. “Does that feel good?” asks Conrad.
“Do it again,” suggests Yuuri.
Conrad does, rubbing his fingers more slowly over the spot. This time, with the increased pressure, his hips snap forward of their own accord, pleasure coursing through him. “Yes,” hisses Yuuri between his clenched teeth, and then, “Again.”
Conrad obliges. Yuuri moans and starts screwing his hips forward, eager for friction against his cock to match the throbbing rapture Conrad’s fingers are creating inside him. A third finger is added – this he hardly notices, lost now in his own pleasure. And then Conrad is half-pulling, half-lifting him into the bed on all fours, his face near the outer hull of the ship.
The sensation of Conrad’s cock pressing into him is nothing like his fingers. It’s far thicker, and as his prick’s head breaches Yuuri’s entrance the tightness is incredible. Conrad swears – something he’s never heard before – while Yuuri scrabbles to find something to hold. He’s almost overwhelmed by the feeling of Conrad pushing inside, but then he’s in and sliding slickly against Yuuri and they’ve fit together like two matching puzzle pieces. Conrad thrusts forward, locking them together, hips against hips, his stomach against Yuuri’s back, his arms surrounding Yuuri like the sky enveloping the land below it.
“Oh God,” mutters Yuuri, panting with exertion and the intensity of the experience.
Conrad begins thrusting, canting upwards into Yuuri, his breaths coming in tight gasps. His hands slide down to rest against Yuuri’s hips, pressing himself more tightly inside.
As he pushes in, in, in his cock is sliding over that pleasure point within Yuuri, hitting it not every time but often, and each time he does Yuuri gasps and shudders and feels like he’s about to burst. He’s over-full with pleasure, so tight with it that it threatens to split him at the seams. “Conrad, Conrad,” he gasps, unable to think of anything else to say, mind totally filled with the enormity of his ecstasy.
Then Conrad’s hand slips around and finds his cock, and the pressure of Conrad’s palm against him combined with the repeated throbbing bliss of being fucked from behind is too much. He bursts into orgasm, coming hard and fast and shuddering as he does, Conrad pounding into him the whole time making the experience even more mind-blowing than he had ever imagined.
Conrad finishes almost immediately after him; he feels the warm spurt of Conrad’s rapture inside him, Conrad’s arms slipping up to hold him tight as he thrusts his seed into Yuuri. A moment later they tumble down into the bed together, panting for breath.
It’s a long time before he can find any words to say, before he trusts himself to speak. “Conrad?”
Conrad presses a kiss to his shoulder, his thumb rubbing against Yuuri’s wrist. “Please never leave me,” Yuuri whispers.
Conrad blows a soft, warm breath into his ear. “Where you go, I will follow. Always.”