Conrad looked at his king skeptically. “A camping trip, your majesty? May I ask why?”
“You two are my best friends,” Yuuri replied matter-of-factly, “so of course I’d like you to get along with each other better. What better way for two young men to bond than through camping?”
Murata tried not to show how amused he was as he asked “Have you been getting advice from your mother again, Shibuya?”
The boy king coughed and plowed on. “All the arrangements have already been made, so you can leave as soon as your personal things are packed.” He smiled. “You need a vacation anyways, Conrad, I bet its been ages since you slept in the woods just for the sake of sleeping in the woods.”
Murata almost laughed out loud at the strained smile on Conrad’s face as the soldier replied. “Yes, your majesty, its been awhile.”
“How many times do I have to—”
“Yes, Yuuri,” the older man wearily corrected himself, “It’s been awhile.”
Murata covered up his giggle with a violent coughing fit.
After Yuuri bustled the unlikely pair out of his study with promises of a week of fun-filled communing with nature, Wolfram glanced over from his cushy reading chair with a rare grin on his face. “Yozak’s going to kill you when he finds out.”
“Yeah, well,” Yuuri laughed nervously, “It’s his own fault for not making a move, isn’t it? I waited long enough for him to make up his mind.”
Conrad didn’t mind spending his nights in the woods when it had a purpose—travel, reconnaissance, laying low after letting Yozak talk him into doing something incredibly stupid—but sleeping in the dirt for the sake of sleeping in the dirt was an absolutely pointless exercise.
Murata, not exactly fond of camping even when it was for a reason, was inclined to agree with Conrad’s assessment. There was absolutely nothing to do except toss a baseball back and forth while they talked about whatever random things came to mind: which, it soon dawned on them, was exactly what Yuuri had intended.
“Wolfram must’ve helped him,” Murata decided. “He’s a great Maou, but not all that cunning.”
Conrad threw the ball in a long, graceful arc that landed squarely in Murata’s outstretched glove. “You could be arrested for treason in another country if you said that about the king, you know.”
“Then it’s a good thing we’re not in another country.” Ken’s toss went wildly off-course and Conrad nearly fell over trying to catch it. He winced. “Sorry. Anyways, even if we were that totalitarian, I’m the Great Sage so I think I’d be pretty safe.”
Uncomfortable silences tend to trail along after the reestablishment of social boundaries, and this was no exception. Murata felt like repeatedly hitting his head against a tree for bringing up the vast gap between their ranks in society, especially when they’d begun getting along so well. When Conrad stowed away his glove and the ball, the young sage felt sick to his stomach.
Conrad knelt by the remains of their cooking fire and prodded it back to life, then looked in his companion’s direction. “Could you pass me the fish, Ken? I should start dinner.”
Murata looked nervously at Conrad and the older man smiled, and Murata smiled back as he went to fetch the fish.
Neither of them was entirely sure how it happened.
Oh, why it happened was easy enough to figure out. After five days in the woods it was inevitable that boredom would rear its ugly head. Cooking, fishing, and discussing how Yuuri was adorably ridiculous could only entertain one for so long. Having run out of options, it wasn’t really all that surprising that two healthy, attractive young men would choose to take the enjoyment of each other’s company to new levels.
However, that still doesn’t quite explain how they’d gone from cooking breakfast to engaging in a hearty game of tonsil hockey, though both swore it made perfect sense at the time.
It was, Murata reflected afterwards, not the best sex of his many lives, but that was due less to Conrad’s technique (which was impeccable) and more to the numerous twigs, rocks, and pinecones jutting painfully into his back at the most inopportune moments. Still, it was the resolution to several lifetimes of sexual frustration and—he gave Conrad’s unclad form a once-over as the man looked almost sleepily around for his clothing—he definitely couldn’t complain.
If Conrad was having second thoughts about fucking the second-highest ranking Mazoku in the country, his goofy smile hid it admirably.
Yuuri watched the pair trot into the courtyard from his fourth floor window, and even from that high up he could see Murata’s blush as Conrad helped him down from his horse. Ah, the wonders of youth and love and springtime, etcetera, as his mother would say.
“Yozak’s going to murder you.” Wolfram sounded far too gleeful at the prospect of his fiancé’s imminent and most violent death.
The young king just smiled. “At least they’re both happy now, that’s the important thing.”