title: by halves
fandom: Kyou Kara Maou
characters/pairings: Konrad/Yozak
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: Before Konrad realizes it, Yozak is a part of his life.
notes: for round 2 in the stages of love challenge, Exploration of a Relationship Through The Five Senses. ...actually, this didn't really end up as 'love'y as i'd expected/hoped. i think i needed to jump ahead more, but... i guess starting where i did... consider it a preview of future konrad/yozakness? ^_^;;;;;

sight

He wasn't afraid of Dan Hiri that day, even if he was a knight or a lord or something. He was nice, and he had a kind voice. Yozak could trust him.

He wanted to take Yozak away from this horrible place.

For some reason, though, the boy with Dan Hiri scared Yozak a bit. He smiled all right, but his smile was just... perfect. Too perfect. And even after riding for hours, his hair was perfect. And he wasn't sweaty. Well, not like Yozak was, anyway. He kept his back straight even after they'd been on the horse all day. And when they dismounted, he was able to walk levelly with no problem.

They went together to gather firewood. Yozak trailed behind him, watching him move with style and grace, even when he was just bending over and picking up sticks.

"Is there something wrong?" the boy asked.

Yozak gulped. "Nope. Why'd ya ask?"

He smiled, perfectly. "Well. You're really quiet. I mean. I'm sorry, your mother died, I know..."

"My mom," Yozak corrected softly. He shrugged. "Nah. I mean. Anyway. Are you a real Mazoku?"

The boy turned and blinked. "What do you mean by real Mazoku?"

"Like, you know. Pure-blooded," Yozak tried to shrug, because... well, it was no big deal. His dad was a Mazoku, after all, though he'd never met him.

The boy shook his head. "But it's my father who called out to you."

Yozak's eyes bulged out. "That was your dad?"

He looked sheepish. "Yeah. Well, I know. We're nothing alike..."

"Well, no," Yozak said quickly. "I just thought, you know, you had to be a pureblood because, well. Real Mazoku are really strong and amazing, and, you know, they're perfect." That's what was wrong with them, right? All the women wanted Mazoku men because they were better, so the human men had to punish the women to make sure that some women would be left for them.

The boy's eyes just widened. "Do I look perfect to you?" He laughed.

Yozak didn't think it was funny, but he didn't want to blush and not laugh, so he laughed, too.

The boy beamed, and smiled not so perfectly. "My name's Konrad, by the way." He held out his hand.

Yozak grinned, and took his hand. "Pleased t'meet you, Konrad. I'm Yozak."

hearing

The rumors had been flying ever since Dan Hiri... died. The Maou would send forces to destroy their town, because they let her husband die. The Maou would have them relocated. The Maou would have them enslaved. Everyone spoke in hushed whispers, keeping a worried eye watching for who might be listening.

When the 'contingent' from Blood Pledge Castle did come, it was only two Mazoku strong.

Well, one and a half, to be precise.

The tall, beautiful Mazoku with flowing silver-lavender hair stood watch while the half Mazoku boy went to the tree where his father had died. The townspeople congregated in view of the field, huddled together as they tried to avoid the gaze of the noble who had accompanied the Maou's son.

Yozak was in the tree, watching Konrad, listening to his stifled sobs. He thought it would hurt less if Konrad would just let it out, and not try to contain it all in his little chest. It hurt so much watching Konrad, it was like Yozak was mourning his mother all over again.

He thought he was doing a good job containing his emotions, but he must have let some small noise out, because Konrad looked up, and then smiled at him. "Yozak. You're here."

"I am," he sighed, grinning ruefully. He dropped gracefully out of the tree, and stood next to Konrad. "I'm... I'm really sorry, about your dad, I mean. I wish I had been stronger, maybe I could have protected him better..."

"Don't worry about it," Konrad shook his head, and he shouldn't be making himself smile, he should just let himself cry... "This is how... how father wanted it. To die in battle, protecting the people he cared about... I just. I don't understand. I. I would have wanted to be with him..." Konrad's voice faltered, and he reached out to put a hand on the tree.

Yozak patted him on the back. "I know. I'm.... man, I'm sorry, Konrad. It's ok. Let it out. When my mother died... thought I'd never stop crying. It's ok."

For another moment, Konrad tried to keep it all in, but he couldn't anymore, and the sobs wracked through him like a torrent. Yozak kept patting his back, murmuring softly words of understanding. His hand was pushed away, and the tall, beautiful Mazoku pulled Konrad into his arms. Konrad sobbed horribly, clinging to him for dear life.

Yozak had to just stand there and watch. He vowed to himself, though, that he'd never be this helpless again. The next time Konrad needed him, he'd be ready to be what Konrad needed.

touch

"You're griping too tightly," he said, and he put his hand over Yozak's. "Here, remember, you want to hold the sword so it's an extension of your arm."

He didn't mind the correction. He liked having Konrad's hand on his, and if this was how he could get it, so be it.

He could think of better ways to be touching Konrad that would be more pleasant, but one step at a time.

Following Konrad's instructions, he adjusted his grip and his stance, and tried again, but with no different results.

Konrad winked at him, the bastard, while he sent Yozak flying. "Not bad. More power from your shoulders next time."

"You know, Lieutenant," Yozak drawled, "you're the only one in the entire company that I have any trouble with."

"Ah, and you think our company is the greatest in Shin Makoku's army? Am I the greatest swordsman in the world, then?" Konrad laughed.

"Yeah," Yozak shrugged. "Well, since your father died... and you went on that little solo trip to hone your skills or whatever."

Konrad just stared at Yozak. "What are you saying? Don't be funny. There'll be plenty of people much more skilled than I, so we need to be prepared."

"Right, right. When was the last time you lost a match?" He nearly laughed at the look on Konrad's face. Somehow, Konrad seemed innocent, still. "Of course, that doesn't mean I can't get the jump on you..." He lunged forward quickly, grabbing Konrad by the waist and tackling him.

Laughing, Konrad squirmed around in his arms, and tried to get out, so Yozak had to squirm and hold him down, and they ended up rolling into the flowers.

Konrad finally pinned him down, and try as he might, Yozak couldn't see a damned thing wrong with their position. "We're too old to be horsing around like this."

He tapped Konrad's nose. "And too young to be talking about what we're too old for."

Konrad laughed, and got to his feet, holding out his hand to Yozak. "Whatever you say, Yozak, we're not skipping out on sparring practice."

Yozak grabbed Konrad's hand firmly, and rolled his eyes. "Fi~ne, lieutenant."

smell

Battlefields smelled like blood, mud, and sweat. And probably ten million other things. Death. If death had a smell, it would definitely be present in a battlefield.

Hospital tents smelled like blood, and death, too, and sickening alcohol, and pain. The smell of pain was hard to take. It made a man want to run back out to the battlefield.

The castle smelled like flowers, and rain. Yozak couldn't put his finger on it, but it always smelled like rain. Fresh, clean, and newly washed. The floral scent, of course, was because of the Maou, but the smell of rain seemed to come from the stones themselves.

He carried Konrad's soup through the hallways carefully so he didn't spill a drop. The maids were being extra good, because it was the Maou's beloved son, the hero of Ruthenberg. The broth was clear, because he was still healing, but they used the best cuts of meat, and the freshest vegetables, seasoning the soup perfectly. That, with the tea, combined to make the best meal a recuperating patient could hope for.

Konrad's room smelled sterile, and empty. As with every other day that week, Konrad had been sitting up in bed, staring at the blue, sparkling pendant in his hand.

If regret had a smell, Yozak would be choking on it.

"Come on, Lieutenant," Yozak smiled, speaking kindly. "It's time to eat. If you don't eat, Gisela will yell at the maids, and your mother will worry. The Maou has enough worries, I think, doesn't she?"

Konrad started a bit, and looked at Yozak blankly. "She said. When I was well, I have to go to His Majesty Shinou's temple. I've been. Summoned."

"Oh ho. A summoning from the Shinou himself. Who knows? Maybe you're the next Maou. That would take a load off your mother's shoulders," Yozak joked, holding out the bowl of soup for Konrad.

"Not really," Konrad said, his eyes narrowing. He squeezed Julia's pendant. "If I were Maou, I would set fire to this world, and I wouldn't let it go out until every human had paid for Julia's death."

Yozak sighed, and stirred the soup. "Well, you're not going to be Maou, so. No point picking up tomorrow's worries today. Here. Don't make me feed you, Lieutenant. Smell this. It's good."

Konrad stared blankly at the soup. "I can't smell anything."

"Trust me, then. It's good. Eat," Yozak pleaded gently.

Konrad slowly opened his hand, and let Julia's pendant go, and took the bowl of soup to feed himself.

taste

"So, what is this other world like? Is our future Maou living someplace soft?" Yozak frowned, turning the odd... glove over in his hands. Why was it so big and puffy?

Konrad laughed. How long had he been doing that, Yozak wondered? He'd forgotten what Konrad's laugh sounded like... "Perhaps. It's a good, safe place. He's with good people who will raise him well."

"Eh? I hope so," Yozak yawned. "He should hurry up. Her Majesty could use a break."

"I know," Konrad sighed. "We all just need to wait. This Maou will change everything." He sounded confident.

He sounded like he had faith.

They got to Konrad's rooms, and Yozak dropped the strange bag that Konrad had. "Because his soul is Julia's? I suppose she would make a good Maou. You should've put the soul into a girl! Will you be all right with a boy?"

Konrad laughed. "What makes you think that would make any difference to me?" Yozak turned quickly, putting the odd glove on the chair. What had made him think that? "Anyway, Julia and I don't... didn't have that kind of relationship. If anything, Adelbert should have been consulted. However, Yuuri will be his own person."

So, Konrad traded love for faith in the other world. Or maybe... faith was always what Julia was for Konrad.

"Ah, I have something for you..." Konrad picked up the bag to go through its contents.

"Something for me?" Yozak raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean?"

"Which word are you having trouble with?" he smirked at Yozak, and then pulled something out. It was flat, and wrapped in gold foil. Konrad tore the foil, and Yozak frowned. What was underneath was brown.

"What the hell is that?" Yozak frowned.

Konrad laughed. "It's called chocolate. Here." He broke off a piece, and held it out for Yozak. "It's sweet. Go on. Eat it."

Yozak took it, distrustful. What weird stuff! It was getting on his fingers. He lifted it to his lips... "Ah! This is good!"

Konrad laughed. "Here. Enjoy."

"Are you sure?" Yozak took it, anxious. "It's not like you can go back to the other world whenever you want."

"It's ok. I got it for you. I thought about you a lot, there. When it was close to the time I would return, I made sure to get something just for you." He shrugged.

Yozak beamed, and took a deep breath. "Yeah, I thought about you a lot, too. Captain."

"It's good to be home. I think... Julia is where she wants to be. And I'm. Where I belong." He reached out, and brushed his fingers over Yozak's fingers.

Yozak turned red, and started to laugh. "Well, I'm glad you're back where I can keep an eye on you. Who knows what trouble you got into in that other world!"

"Mm, wouldn't you like to know?" Konrad winked, and smiled.

Definitely good to have Konrad back where he could watch over him, like he should.








BACK