Rating/Warnings: PG-13 for Yozak in a maternity dress (which probably ought to have a higher rating than that).
Summary: Yozak does things without Conrad's permission, Yuuri is confused, and Gwendal's head talks too much.
AN: this was supposed to be backstory for something else, but went completely out of control. thanks to ramen_addict who made me write 'Bandarbia' on the board 100 times.
To Bandarbia, With Love
Grier Yozak was nearly asleep, and very comfortably so, when there was a knock on Conrad's door. He grumbled a little as the well-muscled abdomen he'd been using as a pillow slid out of bed to answer the knocking.
He was planning just to go back to sleep, but the hushed grumbling on the other side of the door belonged to Gwendal, and that meant Yozak ought to rub his eyes and prop himself up on one elbow to see what was going on. His fears of remaining pillow-less were confirmed when Conrad padded back into the room with the expression Yozak called 'That's a Nice Bed You Have There, Too Bad I Won't Be Joining You'.
"Ulrike just sent word," Conrad explained, running a hand through his bed-mussed hair. "Yuuri'll be back in a few hours, she says she thinks he'll be turning up someplace in town. We're going to ride out to pick him up."
Yozak began sitting up, but Conrad pushed him back down.
"You don't have to go," he said, brushing some hair out of Yozak's eyes. "Go back to sleep."
"You don't have to go either," Yozak replied, but he gave Conrad a smile anyway before burying his face in a pillow that he found to be somewhat lacking, no offense to the pillow. He rolled over into the warm dent Conrad had left in the bed, listening to the rustle of Conrad dressing.
"I might be back before morning," Conrad offered before he left.
"Promises, promises, Weller," Yozak murmured, but he smiled just a little into the pillow when he felt lips pressed lightly to the back of his neck.
To love Conrad Weller, Yozak had long ago discovered, was to be willing to live in the small spaces Conrad left behind while running ahead to save the next damsel in distress, to hold on to whatever pieces Conrad had to offer in the moments before the next disaster.
Yozak fell back into a restless doze thinking about that.
"You're up early," Murata said as Yozak led his horse from the stables.
"And you're blond," Yozak pointed out amiably. The horse did not seem overtly happy about the pre-dawn ride that was apparently about to happen, and Yozak patted its neck soothingly.
"Human territory." Murata waved a hand which encompassed both the hair and the human clothes. "Besides, I heard they had more fun."
"That's a damned lie," Yozak informed him with a wink, reaching up to twirl a piece of his own hair.
"I also hear you're heading to Bandarbia?" Murata inquired, raising an eyebrow.
"Now where would you hear a thing like that?" Yozak bent his head to tug on the straps of his saddlebags.
"The Original Maou may have mentioned it in passing." Murata scratched his nose. "But he was otherwise silent on the subject. No news is good news, eh?"
Yozak lifted his head and stared for a moment at Murata's bright grin and knowing eyes. He gave a little laugh in response before swinging himself up onto the horse.
"I hear there may be unrest brewing in Bandarbia," Murata said, the sun glinting off his glasses so that his eyes were unreadable, but the grin was still in place. "I'm sending you to investigate the situation thoroughly. And if a maiden named Amelia still takes care of a certain shrine a half-mile to the east of the hot springs, tell her the Great Sage sent you."
"I'll do that." Yozak grinned back down at Murata before digging his heels in and forcing his horse into a gallop, leaving Blood Pledge Castle behind in a trail of dust.
Two and a half weeks passed before Yozak rode back in through the same gates in the pouring rain and shuffled in from the stables, sore and soaked to the bone. He had barely set foot in the castle when he ran into a mud-covered Maou.
"Hey, kiddo," Yozak said. Yuuri brushed sodden hair out of his eyes and smiled when he recognized Yozak.
"Yozak! How was Panda Bearia?"
"Bandarbia," Yozak corrected, mustering up a smile in return when Yuuri gave an embarrassed chuckle. "I left it in a better state than I started."
"Good, good," Yuuri slapped Yozak on the shoulder, and Yozak held back a wince as mud splattered in several directions. "Murata said you were doing something very important, so I'm glad it worked out. Oh, if you're looking for Conrad, he's in the bath; our game of baseball got a little out of control."
"So I see." Yozak shook his head in amusement as the Maou rushed off, then headed off himself in the direction of the bath.
Yozak took his time padding silently across the tile so he could get a good long look at Conrad, leaning his head back on the edge of the bath, features softened by the steam.
"Welcome back," Conrad said without opening his eyes as Yozak slipped into the water beside him, hissing at the heat. "How was Bandarbia?"
"You mean Panda Bearia?" Yozak asked. He submerged himself briefly and ruffled his hair in the water to wet it. "I thought Gunter was teaching the kid geography."
"Gunter has his good days," Conrad replied, cracking one eye. "And then there are Gunter days. But I think you're being a bit harsh since it wasn't too long ago he was calling every other country 'that place we nearly got killed once'."
"At least 'Panda Bearia' does narrow it down more," Yozak agreed. He pushed himself away from the wall enough to turn around and throw a leg over Conrad's lap.
"What was in Bandarbia?" Conrad asked, sighing softly.
"Not you, more's the pity." Yozak leaned down to brush his lips over Conrad's, settling more firmly in his lap.
"Yozak," Conrad leaned back and eyed his armful of redhead warningly, "Bandarbia?"
"I took care of things." Yozak tightened his grip and nipped Conrad's earlobe. "Now stop asking stupid questions so you can get out of this bath and into me."
Conrad barked a laugh and slid hands into Yozak's hair to pull him down for a kiss.
Two trimesters later…
"Yozak, I've warned you about this," Gisela said.
"I've broken that rib five times," Yozak replied, "and it heals just fine every OW!"
"I warned you," Gisela repeated, baring her teeth and yanking the bandage even tighter, which made Yozak yelp again. "I told you that you couldn't do this anymore, I said you had to stop everything unnecessary!"
"I think you and the Maou might disagree on what was necessary in this particular incident," Yozak replied through gritted teeth.
"The Maou has bodyguards," Gisela snapped. Finally satisfied with the bandage on his torso, she moved on to the gash across his bicep. "The Maou has Conrad and Gwendal and Wolfram, in fact the Maou has an entire magic-hurling demon army, so I think he would agree with me that you don't need to throw yourself in the path of every lunatic who makes it into the Maou's receiving room!"
"OW!" Yozak bellowed at her, jerking his arm out of her grip. "He had a flaming crossbow, I think that counts as an emergen—"
"Flaming crossbows are not something you should be anywhere near when—"
"Oh, like I'm the only man in the military to ever be—"
"A man in your condition—"
"What condition," Conrad interrupted loudly from the doorway, "would that be?"
Gisela jumped a good four inches and turned her head so fast her braid slapped Yozak right in the broken rib.
"Perfect health," he coughed. Gisela tore her open-mouthed gaze back to Yozak, and her eyes narrowed, realization plain on her features. Yozak had exactly a tenth of a second to panic before Gisela spat,
"Perfect health for a man in his second trimester!"
Pushing to her feet, Gisela stormed from the room, shoving Conrad out of the way so that she could slam the door behind her. There was a moment of stunned silence while Conrad stared at Yozak, and Yozak stared at the floor.
"Except for the BROKEN RIB!" Gisela shouted back through the door.
The silence stretched out as Conrad took Gisela's place in front of Yozak and began bandaging the gash on his arm.
"Second trimester?" he asked, then continued before Yozak could respond. "Bandarbia. God I'm an idiot."
"Bandarbia," Yozak agreed, grunting as Conrad tightened the wrappings.
"Second trimester." Conrad shook his head. "Why didn't you tell me? I would've—"
"Taken me off duty," Yozak cut him off. "You would have cut me out of the information loop, refused to let me protect you, and forced me to sit around the castle, doing nothing for the whole time."
"And what's wrong with that, exactly?" Conrad asked, smiling just a little as he set the bandages aside.
"People do work while they're pregnant, Weller," Yozak rolled his eyes. "I'm not even going to show for months."
Conrad sighed and sat back on his heels, watching Yozak. Yozak stared right back, the silence stretching out for several minutes. Finally Conrad asked,
"Who's the father?"
"Here," Murata said, handing Conrad an ice pack as he sat down on the bench beside him. "Gisela said you'd need this."
"Thanks," Conrad replied, wincing as he pressed the ice to his right eye.
"Honestly, 'Who's the father'?" Murata shook his head and gave Conrad a reproving look. "You're lucky he only got you in the eye."
"Gisela held him back," Conrad admitted. "But I don't think it was out of concern for me."
"Nor should it have been," Murata sniffed. "Has Yozak slept with anybody but you in the last six months?"
"Yozak does as he wills." Conrad ground his teeth.
"How about the last year? Has there been anybody else during Yuuri's entire reign?"
"I don't recall asking your opinion, Sage!" Conrad snapped, snatching the ice pack off his eye because the sharp edges of the cubes were digging into his face when he talked. "What I do recall is you sending Yozak to Bandarbia in the first place. You knew all along!"
"I didn't plot it with him, if that's what you're implying," Murata shrugged. "But I had a good idea what he was doing."
"Why didn't you stop him?" Conrad shouted. "Why didn't the Original Maou?"
"Yozak does as he wills." Murata stood and glanced over his shoulder at Conrad. "And so does Shinou. Put that back on your eye, or you won't be able to see out of it tomorrow. And Conrad?"
Conrad looked up, lips set in a tight line. "Yes?"
"Remember that the times when the Original Maou chooses to be silent are just as important as the times when he speaks."
Murata left Conrad alone, and Conrad sat on the bench for a long, long while.
Conrad was sitting at the desk in the Maou's office, the melted ice pack set aside, when the door opened and Yuuri came in, whistling off-key and wearing only pajama pants.
"Conrad!" Yuuri jumped when he noticed Conrad. "Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt you, but Wolfram and I were in here earlier, and he thinks he may have left his…"
"Your Majesty," Conrad held up a hand, barely suppressing a smile, "I don't think either one of us wants you to finish that sentence."
"Heh," Yuuri rubbed the back of his head, blushing a little, "you're right. But you shouldn't call me 'Your Majesty' when my husband's unmentionables are probably under your chair."
"It's good to see married life agreeing with you." Conrad laughed quietly as Yuuri flopped down into one of the chairs on the other side of the desk.
"Who would have thought?" Yuuri waved one hand a little. After a moment, he squinted at Conrad. "Is there something wrong, Conrad? You look worried. And where did you get that black eye?"
"It's nothing, Your Majesty." Conrad gave him a smile, but had the feeling it wasn't the most convincing smile ever.
"Conrad," Yuuri warned. "Come on, tell the Maou the problem."
"Yo—Yuuri," Conrad corrected himself when Yuuri glared, "it's not a problem exactly, it's just…" Conrad heaved a sigh and gave up. "Yozak's pregnant."
"Pregnant!" Yuuri leapt up from his chair to lean on the edge of the desk. "Now I understand completely!"
"You do?" Conrad raised an eyebrow.
"Obviously," Yuuri said imperiously, "if you get engaged by slapping someone across the face, then they must congratulate you on fathering their child by punching you in the eye!"
"That's not exactly it, Your Majesty," Conrad fought hysterical laughter by will alone. "And how does everybody know I'm the father?"
"Conrad," Yuuri rolled his eyes as he sank back down into the chair. "Who else is there?"
"No one," Conrad laughed, only a tiny bit hysterically. "There's no one else."
"But why are you making the Gwendal face then?" Yuuri asked. "That's great news. You told me that Mazoku men have to try really hard to get pregnant, and I didn't know that half-Mazoku could do it at all."
"We weren't trying," Conrad murmured. "At least, I wasn't. I just found out today. And then I said things."
"Oh," Yuuri's eyes grew round as understanding broke over him. "Oh, Conrad, you didn't! And Yozak only got you in the eye? The miracle of life must be making him lose his touch!"
"Gisela held him back," Conrad said miserably. Yuuri got up from his chair and came around the desk to put a hand on Conrad's shoulder.
"He'll forgive you, Conrad," Yuuri assured him. "He's probably waiting for you to come apologize right now."
"It's not just that," Conrad sighed again, rubbing his forehead with the heel of one hand. "It's complicated. I'm dedicated to protecting you, Your Majesty, above all else. If I have a child…"
"No one is forcing you to choose," Yuuri interrupted, squeezing Conrad's shoulder. "You will still protect me, and your child too. We all will. You aren't alone, Conrad."
"Thank you, Yuuri." Conrad covered Yuuri's hand with his own. "I just need some time to think. Don't tell Wolfram just yet, or anyone else. I'm sure Yozak will want to tell everyone himself."
"My lips are sealed." Yuuri grinned, and Conrad couldn't help but smile a little back. If only, Conrad thought as Yuuri crouched down to hunt for Wolfram's whatever it was, Yozak would be so cheerful about their conversation.
Conrad could count on one hand the number of times he'd found Yozak in his room in the last decade. Even despite the fight, Conrad still felt a surge of disappointment when he opened the door to his own room and found it empty. Although he had decided to talk to Yozak in the morning rather than the dead of night, the thought of lying awake alone in his bed until dawn made Conrad shut the door and go back down the hall.
Even when he found Yozak's door, identifiable by the pair of slingback heels lying next to it, he loitered outside for a few moments, wiping his palms on his pants and taking very deep breaths.
"I can hear you out there, you moron," Yozak shouted through the door, and Conrad decided going in might be a good idea.
Yozak was sprawled on his back in his bed, hair mussed from the pillow, but if the lines under his eyes were any indication, he hadn't been sleeping. One arm was curled over his bandaged ribs, and blood was starting to seep through the bandage on his bicep. Conrad, who had been about to say something about protecting the Maou with everything he had, suddenly felt very small and stupid.
"Why didn't you tell me, Yozak?" he asked instead, sitting down on the edge of the bed. Yozak made a disdainful noise. "How could you do this without asking me?"
"You would have said no," Yozak shrugged, looking away.
"Didn't that strike you as something to think about?" Conrad demanded, feeling his voice rise in spite of his best efforts. "I didn't agree to this!"
"You shouldn't have even been able to do this without me wanting it!"
"And yet," Yozak reached up with his good hand and pulled one of Conrad's hands to lay flat on his stomach, "here we are. Maybe that should strike you as something to think about."
A few minutes passed in stillness, Conrad's hand rising and falling gently with Yozak's breath. He watched it move, feeling Yozak's gaze on his face but not meeting his eyes.
"This won't change my duty to the Maou," Conrad murmured.
"We can take care of ourselves," Yozak replied. Conrad finally lifted his head to look at Yozak, and his breath hitched just a little because of the heavy-lidded blue eyes watching him.
"Tell me why."
Yozak heaved a sigh and closed his eyes for a moment before answering.
"You've got all these obligations, to Yuuri, to your brothers, to the Original Maou, to everyone, and your whole life is just you running to put out the next fire because you think nobody else can do it but you, and don't you dare interrupt me!" Yozak eyed Conrad until he shut his mouth sheepishly, then continued. "All you damn Wellers are like that, and I'm not fool enough to think you're going to change after all this. I just wanted a piece of you I could hold onto while you go haring off to single-handedly prevent revolution, or whatever."
"Yozak," Conrad said, smiling in spite of himself.
"And anyway," Yozak barreled on, "it's done now, so are you on board or not?"
Conrad took a long look at Yozak's set jaw, then there was a blur of movement as he pulled his hand back and brought it down, open-palm. Yozak was faster, and caught Conrad's wrist several inches away from his face, making Conrad blink in surprise.
"No," Yozak shook his head. "You have things you have to do, and if you give them up for me you won't be thanking me later. I told you, we can take care of ourselves."
"Yozak," Conrad tried to shake him off, but Yozak's grip tightened, "I would really like to marry you, not just because of this."
"I know." Yozak kissed Conrad's palm before releasing his hand. "That's why you pay me to be the brains of this operation."
"I thought I paid you to look good and keep my ass out of a sling?" Conrad's smile was soft around the edges, and his eyes were warm.
"I wasn't aware you were paying me at all," Yozak retorted, tugging Conrad forward by the collar until he got the hint and pulled his legs up on the bed and stretched out beside Yozak.
"You can take it in trade," he yawned. He put an arm across Yozak's chest, careful of the broken rib and the various other injuries. "Although I think that's how we got into this mess."
"This mess," Yozak scoffed, tugging the blanket out from underneath himself to throw over both of them.
"And by mess, I mean blessed event." Conrad grinned as Yozak thwapped him in the shoulder with his good arm.
"I don't understand," Greta said, staring expectantly up at her fathers. They were sitting at breakfast the morning after Conrad and Yozak's big announcement, and in retrospect Yuuri should have really seen this coming.
"Er, you see…" Yuuri swallowed a mouthful of toast and looked at Wolfram, who raised an amused eyebrow over his orange juice glass. "When two people love each other very much…"
"I know all that," Greta interrupted, making both Yuuri and Wolfram blink. "Anissina told me that stuff when I was like ten!"
"Okay then," Wolfram forged ahead, looking slightly less amused, "when two men love each other very much…"
"Ten?" Yuuri demanded, setting down his spork.
"No, I know that too," Greta said in exasperation.
"Well, I don't!" Yuuri exclaimed. "Can we go back a second?"
"I thought Conrad already gave you the Talk?" Wolfram peered at Yuuri suspiciously.
"He did." Yuuri fidgeted with his napkin. "But he didn't say half-Mazoku could get pregnant, or exactly how male Mazoku manage it. He made it sound like I could kn—" Yuuri snuck a quick glance at Greta and flushed, "ah, get you in the family way at any moment."
"I'll have you know," Wolfram sniffed as Greta giggled, "that the von Bielefelds are renowned for their fertility!"
"Of course you are, Wolfy baby!" Celi purred suddenly from behind Wolfram's chair, making Wolfram and Yuuri jump.
"Mother!" Wolfram exclaimed, twisting around to glare at her. She slid into the seat next to Yuuri and patted he hand.
"Poor Majesty," she said, pouting at Yuuri and making him cough nervously, "didn't my sons give you the whole story? How am I supposed to get any grandchildren if you don't tell him how it's done, Wolfy?"
"Mother!" Wolfram turned bright red and scowled harder. "Look, you go to Bandarbia, all right?"
"Bandarbia?" Yuuri wrinkled his brow.
"There's a special hot spring there," Celi picked up the story readily, "where any male Mazoku who wants to get pregnant goes and meditates for three days. Then, you go to the shrine and ask for the Original Maou's blessing. When you get home, if everything goes right, you'll be picking out nursery curtains and knitting booties!"
"Wait, the Original Maou doesn't impregnate people, does he?" Yuuri's eyes were huge.
"No!" Wolfram snapped. "The Maou isn't even involved, it's the temperature of the hot springs. A long time in the hot water will raise your body temperature for a week or so, and Mazoku need to be a certain temperature to be fertile. Women don't need the spring because they're naturally a few degrees warmer than men. The shrine doesn't have anything to do with it!"
"It's tradition!" Celi frowned at her son. "Honestly, Wolfram, you have no romance in your soul."
"Better than having no brain in my head," Wolfram grumbled, glaring at Yuuri, adding a muttered "wimp" for good measure.
"I knew that," Greta reported.
"What is it that you don't understand then?" Yuuri asked, eyeing Wolfram, who was looking progressively more apoplectic.
"Murata said that we won't know if the baby will be a full Mazoku for months yet." Greta glanced at each adult in turn. "But Conrad and Yozak both are half-Mazoku, won't their baby be quarter-Mazoku?"
"Months?" Yuuri exclaimed. "Yozak's six months already, how long does this business take?"
"Mazoku blood doesn't work like that, sweetie," Celi explained. "Conrad and Yozak have some Mazoku blood and some human blood. The baby might get human blood from one of them and Mazoku blood from the other, and be half-Mazoku like them, or it might get Mazoku blood from both and be a full-blooded Mazoku."
"So could the baby get human blood from both and be human?" Greta furrowed her brow.
"Yes," Wolfram answered, "but we'd already know if it was going to be human, because humans mature faster. Yozak would be showing already. If the baby is half-Mazoku, Yozak will start to show in the next three or four months, but if it's a full Mazoku, it will take even longer."
"This is making my head hurt," Yuuri moaned. "This sounds like so much work and it takes forever!"
"It's fun!" Wolfram bellowed at him. "You'll love it!"
Greta shared a look with Celi from in between her bickering daddies, then went back to calmly eating her cereal.
Several trimesters after that…
"Mother sent this over," Conrad said, handing Yozak a floppy package over the desk and tearing open the letter that had been attached to it. "It's an early shower present. She says it's the latest fashion in…well, wherever she is."
"Oh, will you look at this," Yozak laughed as he tore the paper and held up a tiny blue-flowered dress up next to his own floral maternity shift. "We'll match!"
"Um," Yuuri looked up from where he and Gunter were sorting the rest of the royal mail, "did you find out it was a girl?"
"No," Conrad answered, both he and Yozak looking up. "Why do you ask?"
Yuuri mumbled something that included the word 'unique' and put his head back down. Just then the door opened and Gwendal marched in, holding out a pink-tissue-wrapped package rather awkwardly. On his head was an unmistakably Anissinian device which looked like a colander with runway lights.
"It's called 'please-share-with-everyone-kun'," Gwendal reported before anyone could even ask. "Anissina says I keep all my emotions bottled up too much." Gunter developed a strange cough, and Gwendal dropped the package in Yozak's lap. "Here."
"Thank you, Gwendal." Yozak smiled brightly. "Should I open it now?" Gwendal gave a curt nod.
"Why are you giving him his present early?" Yuuri asked as Yozak dug into the wrapping paper.
"Gwendal will be at the military ceremony with me," Conrad answered, leaning forward in his chair to see what the present was over the desk. "Neither of us will be at the shower."
"Thanks again for leaving me all alone." Yozak made a face at Conrad.
"Wolfram is running the whole thing," Conrad pointed out. "Besides, the hardest thing you have to do is have people measure your stomach with toilet paper. I'll be getting whacked across the rear with dozens of sword!"
"And you'd better not break his ass, either." Yozak pointed a finger at Gwendal. "I have plans for it."
Gwendal smiled thinly, and the please-share-with-everyone-kun announced in a tinny voice, "You won't be able to sit down for a week, a-ha a-ha a-ha."
"What on earth are you talking about?" Yuuri demanded, looking as though he was pretty sure he didn't want to know.
"When a man in the military is about to become a father," Gunter explained, "his unit holds a ceremony in which the father runs past a line of his fellow soldiers, all of whom slap him with the flat of their swords as he goes by. It's to remind him of the difficulties of protecting both Shin Makoku and his new family."
"You have to run the gauntlet?" Yuuri giggled. "Murata made me do that with the baseball team right after Greta…" Yuuri's expression darkened suddenly. "Oh, I see how it is."
The wrappings finally fell apart in Yozak's hands to reveal a sort of strange strappy knapsack, in the shape of a black and white animal.
"Sand bear?" Yozak hazarded a guess, eyeing the face of the animal. Gwendal opened his mouth to deliver his usual correction.
"Tiger," Gunter beat him to it, and Gwendal shut his mouth with a snap, looking as though his facial muscles were attempting to register 'pleased', but had forgotten how it all worked. Conrad and Yozak eyed Gunter suspiciously, who suddenly was very occupied with the mail.
"What is that?" Yuuri asked, pointing at the present.
"It's a snuggly," Conrad said as Yozak slipped the straps over his arms to test it out, making it look as though the 'tiger' had him in a mad embrace. "Mazoku parents use it to carry their children around but keep their hands free for working or traveling on horseback."
"Or swordfighting!" Yozak put in, making Conrad glare at him. Yozak's smirk suddenly grew pinched. "Sorry, the little bastard's kicking my spleen again."
"Stop calling the baby that." Conrad looked sour.
"Maybe if you made him an honest w…er, man," Yuuri suggested, making Conrad scowl harder.
"I've asked him several dozen times by now," he said. "Perhaps Your Majesty would care to issue a decree on the matter? An imperial mandate?"
Laughing, Yuuri held up his hands and leaned back to keep out of the argument, and Yozak tossed a balled-up piece of tissue paper at Conrad's head.
"What would you do with me if I were honest?" he asked, smiling.
"That's an even shorter list than what Wolfram would do with underwear," said the please-share-with-everyone-kun.
Several more trimesters and very many 'hoo hoo heeee's after that…
"See?" Yozak said, reaching down to smooth down his daughter's very fashionable blue onesie. "I told you we'd match."
"Good thing it was a girl," Yuuri said, peering over Wolfram's shoulder at the infant, who was giggling at Wolfram's tickling.
"Why?" Yozak and Conrad asked at the same time, and Yuuri sighed. Murata gave him a comforting pat on the shoulder.
"And just in time for the Newborns' Ceremony!" he said. "The little princess has her father's timing."
"Princess!" Yozak guffawed. "She's a lower-class bastard, born and bred!"
"Would you stop saying that!" Conrad demanded, eyes glinting with long-endured frustration. Wolfram was opening his mouth to point out that Yozak was absolutely right when Gunter and Gwendal entered the room and saved him from certain maiming.
"Gisela says it's time for you to go down to the ceremony," Gunter reported. Gwendal leaned over to drop a lime green stuffed animal in the crib, and before anyone could ask, Gunter added, "It's a bearbee."
"How can you TELL?" Yuuri finally exploded.
"Oh please," Wolfram snapped, looking up from the baby in irritation. "Gunter's been sneaking looks at his knitting patterns, obviously."
Gunter blushed, Gwendal scowled, Yuuri and Murata snickered, and Yozak leaned over to kiss Conrad.
Making sure both Conrad's hands were pinned firmly to his sides, of course.