How the heck did these three end up in bed together? The rumor mill at Blood Pledge Castle and the Maou's desire for everyone to be happy both had something to do with it, but it's a little more co...
Date written: 4/27/08, in less than 2 hours. Yozak-muse is amused.
Fandom: Kyo Kara Maou!
Rating and Warnings: Teen/R for suggestiveness, m/m/m love, humor, and general crackficishness. Spellchecked but not beta'd.
Disclaimer: Characters and settings are the property of Tomo Takabayashi and associates. I'm not them and nobody pays me to write this stuff.
Notes: Inspired by a comment by apapazukamori on the KKM OT3 Community "maoumagesage" and written for KKM Challenge Week 10. The switching back and forth between present and past tense is intentional; I hope it's not too confusing.
Summary: How the heck did these three end up in bed together? The rumor mill at Blood Pledge Castle and the Maou's desire for everyone to be happy both had something to do with it, but it's a little more complicated than that.
Yozak wakes up, opens his eyes, stares at the two men sleeping next to him for a few seconds, makes sure he's really seeing what it looks like he's seeing, and matches it to his memories of the night before. After a minute, he puts his head back down on the pillow and says softly, "Well, how the hell did this happen?"
But he knows perfectly well how it happened, the same way most things happen in Shin Makoku these days, in fact - because of Yuuri's kindheartedness and Murata's scheming. How else could he possibly end up in bed (and just possibly falling in love) with both Conrad Weller and Murata Ken, the former Great Sage of Shin Makoku? Unless Shinou had something to do with it, too, but he shakes his head at that idea. Bad enough as it is!
No, it was definitely Yuuri-heika's fault this time. It started sometime over a month ago, with a typical scene of confusion, when a red-faced Yuuri discovered that, no, contrary to the rumors that had gone around the castle for years now, Yozak and Conrad were not lovers, or engaged, or anything of the sort. Yuuri started to insist that it wasn't the rumors that made him think so in the first place. Yozak had chuckled, Conrad had coughed discreetly to hide his own amused grin, and Yuuri had slunk away looking like he wanted nothing more than a convenient puddle to disappear into.
As Murata had explained much later, after quite a bit more confusion, Yuuri had insisted to him that it was much more than the maid's rumors that had convinced him Conrad and Yozak should be together - and the more His Majesty thought about it, apparently, the more he became convinced that this was, in fact, the way it should be. Of course, he had no idea how to get the two of them to see it that way, which is why he'd enlisted the aid of his friend, the master schemer Murata, in making the rumors true.
"And you went along with this?" Conrad said disbelievingly, when they found out about it later.
Murata had smiled that absurdly innocent-looking smile, and shrugged. "I didn't have anything better to do at the time," he said. "Besides, I didn't exactly think Yuuri was wrong, you know. Rumors usually exist for some reason, after all!"
But they weren't, and they never had been, and if you'd asked either of them at any moment up until a month ago, Yozak was certain that they both would have sworn to Shinou that they had never had any interest in becoming lovers.
Not until Murata started appearing everywhere Yozak happened to be, chatting him up, joking with him, and generally making a rather charming pest of himself. Somehow, this led to Conrad becoming short-tempered with Yozak after a few days (and Gwendal frowning more than usual because he could never seem to find Yozak when he wanted him for something boring and serious, and Yuuri looking guilty and flustered whenever he saw Yozak, especially if Murata or Conrad was around as well). And it went back and forth like that for awhile, with tension growing between himself and Conrad, and Yozak not quite understanding why. Meanwhile, Murata seemed to become more charming by the day.
Yozak would also have sworn that he had no interest in young men, no romantic interest, that is, and didn't find them particularly attractive. He had guessed, even before the new Maou had arrived from earth, that Conrad had an eye for them, now and then, although he was also reasonably certain that he'd never acted on that kind of attraction - or on any kind of attraction at all, for that matter. But he'd seen the way Conrad doted on Yuuri, and he was only half joking that time he'd accused Conrad of falling for the cute knew Maou. He knew his captain well enough to see that there was more than just loyalty or guardianship in that gaze (and more, even, than the oddly mingled memories he might have had of Julia's soul inside Yuuri). But even after Yozak had decided that Yuuri was, in fact, worth doting on, he himself didn't have find the younger boy appealing in that particular way.
He was, therefore, taken by surprise when he found himself hotly defending the amount of time he spent with Murata, and when Conrad threw back at him the words he'd said about falling for the cute boy, Yozak was shocked speechless. Because, he thought suddenly, he might just be doing exactly that. Falling for him, that is.
But, he thought later that same evening after their argument, as he lay stretched out on the roof with his hands behind his head, staring up at the stars, Murata Ken was definitely not his type. Was he? He was definitely cute, no, attractive, young though he might be, but still... Then what, exactly, was his type? He'd dated a few girls, for no reason he could now explain, and he'd had more than a few men show interest in him (or in one of his disguises, which was always gratifying), but he'd never really felt interested in anyone. He'd never really cared what anyone else thought of him, never felt as comfortable talking about anything and everything to someone, as he had lately with Murata. And, well, with Conrad, of course, ever since they'd met as boys, practically - but that was different. Wasn't it?
It didn't take him half the night, out there on the roof, to figure out the answer to that question. But now he had a problem: he liked both of them, a lot. He didn't want Conrad to be mad at him, certainly didn't want to lose their friendship for any reason - but whether Conrad would be more angry about a confession of love than he already was about Yozak apparently liking Murata, he didn't dare to guess.
It was a little bit later still when it occurred to him to wonder why Conrad should be angry about him apparently liking Murata, and to conclude that he might actually be jealous.
"What do you know?" he mused to the sky. "Those rumors Yuuri-heika heard were true after all!"
Meanwhile, unknown to Yozak out there on the roof, Murata was having an earnest, mid-night talk with one Conrad Weller, apologizing for any misunderstanding, wishing he and Yozak would be friends again, and confessing that, well, when it had become clear that they weren't romantically involved after all, he'd assumed it was perfectly safe for him to pursue his interest in Yozak.
Conrad's unsmiling face grew more and more unsmiling (not frowning, not anything else at all really, but most definitely not smiling) as he talked. Murata did not quail under that calm, stern gaze; hhe had faced far more fearsome men in his various lives, after all. But for some reason, he found his planned speech for this inevitable confrontation - the one where he assured Conrad that he wasn't really personally interested in Yozak at all, and then pointed out how obviously Conrad was, and shouldn't he do something about that? - did not come out of his mouth. Instead, he said, quite firmly, "If you don't want him, I do!"
Conrad opened his mouth, and left it open; whatever he was going to say was stopped by the shocked expression on Murata's own face.
With a sigh, Murata's shoulders slumped; he pressed his palm to his forehead. "Oh dear. I've done this very badly, after all," he said.
It took Conrad a good minute to ask, "What, exactly, have you done, Geika?"
At which point Murata made a stumbling and awkward attempt to explain what he'd intended to do, what he'd been trying to do, and what he'd apparently almost succeeded in doing - which was to make Conrad jealous, or at least, to make him notice any particular attached feelings he might have toward Yozak, and also, somewhere along the way, to make Yozak realize that he wanted Conrad to feel that way, and that he felt the same in return.
"It was Yuuri's idea," Murata finally said, as if that explained everything.
Which it did, as far as it went. Conrad nodded as it all seemed to become clear.
"Yuuri-heika wants everyone to be happy," he said with a gentle smile.
"Except it wasn't Yuuri's idea for me to actually start to have feelings for Yozak, too," Murata added, with a sheepish grin at himself. "I suppose, though, you two really do belong together - don't you?"
He asked this, smiling up at Conrad like the innocent schoolboy he never really had been. Conrad was not fooled for an instant.
"Yes," he said. Obviously, everything he'd just said, and everything he'd said earlier to Yozak, had proved that it was true, at least from his side of things, so there was no point denying it now. "But, so it appears, so do you."
They stood there smiling at each other, and if the smiles weren't entirely what they appeared to be, they weren't exactly false, either.
"Then I guess the question is, what does Yozak think of the matter?" Murata said.
Conrad agreed. "I guess we'll have to ask him, then, won't we, Geika?" he said politely.
So they did, when they found him an hour or so later. The three of them met out in the castle courtyard as the sky started to grow light and the earliest birds started to twitter, and Murata explained, a little more smoothly this time but not by much. Then Conrad put forth the question.
Yozak stared at the two smiling men - one his close friend for 80 years, the other a mere boy with a soul more ancient than he could imagine. Conrad was beautiful; he realized he'd thought so for years, even to the point of being highly unimpressed when everyone else called Gunter von Kriest the most beautiful man in the kingdom. Murata Ken, on the other hand... well, when he looked down at the boy, he suddenly got the feeling he had that same dopey, doting look on his face he used to see (and still did, occasionally) on Conrad's face when he looked at Yuuri.
"You're making me decide?" he cried. He fisted both hands in his hair and pulled. "I can't do that! It's not fair!"
Murata said later that he'd been more shocked than he could remember being in several lifetimes when Conrad placed a hand on his shoulder, still smiling.
"Well, then, you don't have to decide right away, Yozak," Conrad said, sounding infinitely reasonable. "We'll give you plenty of time. Won't we, Geika?"
They spent the next month in each other's company as often as possible, rarely apart for long. They talked about everything and anything (Yozak and Murata doing most of the talking, with Conrad dropping a thoughtful word or a random joke into the conversation at appropriate moments), and just as often, enjoyed a comfortable silence while they walked, or rode, or simply stood around together, watching life at Blood Pledge Castle flow on around them in its usual course of happy chaos.
Neither of them asked again, and Yozak forgot there was even a question after a while. Even before the rumors started to spread (and the entertainment they all shared from watching the maids and everyone else figure it out was just one more reason they enjoyed each other's company), it became quite clear what the outcome would be.
It still took Yuuri's clumsy but well-intentioned intervention to get them to this point, though, which, Yozak realizes this morning, was exactly what anyone would've expected.
"Is everything okay with you three?" Yuri had asked Yozak the day before, a little anxiously and very red-faced. "I mean, if you need anything..."
"Like what?" Yozak said, genuinely puzzled, since it didn't feel like he could possibly want for anything, certainly nothing it was in the Maou's power to give him. When the red spread up to Yuuri's ears and down his throat, he guessed "what" before the words stuttered out of Yuuri's mouth.
"More space, or you know, a bigger bed, or ... anything!"
"Ah," Yozak said, amused. He wagged his finger at Yuuri and grinned. "Who said we were sleeping together?" Because, after all, they weren't.
He thought Yuuri was going to choke.
"Never mind, Heika! We're fine as we are, no need to worry about us!" he said, and got himself away from there as quickly as he could.
A little later, he found the other two, ready for their planned morning ride across the hills. He started to tell them what Yuuri had said, and found it surprisingly awkward to say. It reminded him that he was supposed to be making some kind of decision about something, and that any decision he made could lead to him doing exactly what Yuuri thought they were doing, but with only one of them - and leaving the other alone. Thinking of that, he suddenly couldn't look directly at either of them.
"So, I guess the rumor is that we're all lovers already," he quipped, but the laugh he thought he'd let out after that statement didn't want to come out after all. He glanced sidelong at Murata, who was grinning (he did love to oil the rumor machinery!) and then at Conrad, whose mouth turned down at the corners.
"Listen, you two," he began, but Murata cut him off.
"Well, why aren't we?" said the Sage.
They both stared at him, open mouthed. Conrad's horse pawed the ground, the wind ruffled Yozak's hair, and Murata's glasses glinted briefly as he looked at each of them in turn.
Finally, Yozak shrugged. "I don't know. Why not?" he asked.
Conrad tipped his head forward, smile firmly in place again.
"Let's be on our way, shall we?" he said - as if he was changing the subject.
He led them through the countryside to a village Yozak was vaguely familiar with, so idyllic and peaceful a place that artists went there just to paint. Couples often stayed there on their wedding trips, and came back again years later for their anniversaries. Other than that, nothing interesting ever happened there at all, which was why Yozak had never spent much time in the place.
They found a room, with a very large and comfortable bed and a private bath and a charming, romantic view, and Yozak sent a pigeon back to Blood Pledge so no one would worry when they didn't return that evening.
And now... it's morning, and he's waking up to the truth of all the rumors.
Murata is asleep on his back in the middle of the bed, his face so serene in sleep that it's easy to imagine the old soul inside the body. What that body lacks in experience of the world, Murata more than makes up for not only with memories of former lives (which Yozak has decided not to think too much about, considering some of the things Murata had known to do the night before) but also with obvious care and affection for both of his companions.
And as for Conrad... Seeing him curled up beside Murata, all his guard down for once and yet, still, with one arm draped across Murata's side as if he just needs to protect something...Yozak can only sigh. The man is simply beautiful in his eyes, and if he hasn't felt this much love for him all along, well, he's just been an idiot, and that's all there is to it.
And, he'd been right: Conrad does have an appreciative eye for young men, or at least for a certain young man with a wise grin and an old, clever soul, but that is perfectly well matched by his enthusiasm (Yozak grins, remembering) for muscular, redheaded men who sometimes like to dress as women - of which he is the only one, as far as he knows.
Conrad shifts, opening one eye to look across Murata at him. There's a soft twinkle there that Yozak can't remember seeing before, but it looks very nice on the captain, especially knowing where it comes from.
Eyes still closed, Murata sighs and stretches like a cat - which means sliding his limbs alongside Yozak's and Conrad's bodies, which was probably more of the point than stretching was, anyway.
"Yuuri-heika was wondering if we need a bigger bed," Yozak says. It's a lot easier to say today than it was yesterday, especially with his face nestled next to Murata's ear, and Conrad's hand meeting his on the pillow above the boy's head.
"What did you tell him?" Murata asks, lips curling upward.
"I said not to worry," Yozak answers.
Because, after all, they don't.