Title: To Love is to Hate
Characters: Gwendal, Wolfram, Conrart
Word Count: 723
Rating: PG
Warnings: Angst
Notes: Originally written for kkm_challenge's Round 45: Gwendal and posted here on September 27, 2009. Voted People's Choice.
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters or recognizable elements of Kyou Kara Maou. No copyright infringement is intended and no profit is being made.

Gwendal walked with his youngest brother through the castle grounds. At twenty-five Wolfram was still delighted by the multitude of colorful flowers filling the gardens, so their path meandered among the flowerbeds as the little boy scampered from one bright specimen to the next. Gwendal cherished the afternoons he could spend outside with his brother. Although training Wolfram to use and control his maryoku required a great deal of energy and focus it was far less exhausting than attending meetings and official functions and trying to navigate the intricacies of court politics.

Slowly they made their way to a little visited corner of the castle grounds that bore a closer resemblance to a battlefield than a walled garden. Amidst the broken earth and scorched walls stood a stone fountain filled with clear water. As Gwendal settled Wolfram on the wide rim of the fountain, he reminded himself to thank the gardeners for maintaining only the fountain here. He hoped that seeing the garden's ruined state week after week would impress on Wolfram the consequences of the power he possessed.

Wolfram removed his jacket and rolled his shirtsleeves up to his his elbows and waited expectantly as Gwendal did the same. “We'll work on your accuracy today,” Gwendal announced and Wolfram wrinkled his nose in irritation. “Not the most fun...” Gwendal agreed.

“...but the most necessary,” Wolfram continued. “Accuracy leads to control and power, but power alone brings only destruction.” The blonde looked up, waiting for his brother's reaction.

“Just so, Wolf,” Gwendal smiled at the boy. He knew the boy was only repeating the words, but hoped the repetition would eventually help his brother understand.

Gwendal moved away from his brother and knelt on an unbroken patch of ground between the fountain and the gate. He laid his hands on the earth in front of him. “Ready?” Wolfram nodded and Gwendal began to create. Simple targets at first, then more complex configurations of rings and targets. From time to time he would substitute the shape of a rabbit for one of the targets, testing Wolfram to ensure he saw his targets before attacking.

He was so absorbed in the cycle of generation and destruction that he didn't notice the soft sound behind him. He did notice the size of the fireball Wolfram was creating and the fury in his eyes. Gwendal didn't have to look to know Conrart was behind him.

He turned anyway, raising a wall between them as he shouted “Run!”

Wolfram's fireball slammed into the wall and dissipated in a shower of sparks. Gwendal turned back to see a second fireball growing in his brother's hand. “Wolfram, no. Let it go.” With a flick of his wrist the boy send the fireball hurtling into the wall and Gwendal felt his wall shudder at the impact.

A third fireball began to gather in the boy's hand, but it didn't have the cohesion of the previous two. “Brother?” Wolfram's voice shook.

“Relax, Wolf. Focus.” The boy shook his head, eyes wide and fearful as tendrils of fire snaked out toward his arm.

Gwendal pushed at the ground before him and a wave of earth washed over Wolfram, carrying him backward into the fountain. He heard the fireball hiss and fade as it hit the water.

Allowing the wall behind him to crumble, Gwendal hurried to the fountain and pulled a floundering Wolfram from the now muddy water. He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped the water from the boy's face, pushing his bangs away from his face so they wouldn't drip water back into his eyes. Wolfram shivered in the afternoon breeze and Gwendal wrapped his coat around his brother to keep him warm.

He knelt beside the boy. “Why did you do it, Wolf?” The blonde looked at the ground beside his feet. Gwendal put a finger under the boy's chin to bring his gaze up. “Why did you attack our brother?”

The boy chewed at his lip. “He's not our brother, he's a human. Uncle said the humans are bad and we need to kill them. Is uncle wrong?”

Gwendal stared at his brother a moment before replying. “Conrart is our brother. Our mother is his mother too. Never say he's not our brother.”