windsnocturne: (Niles/Leo)
[personal profile] windsnocturne
Title: trash into treasure
Rating: PG-13
Prompt: Treasure
Warnings: Violence, fade to black smut
Route: Revelation

Summary: He keeps forgetting he has it, until one night leads him to the best decision he's ever made.

The memories of his past are a blur, but he remembers the night he got his hands on the silver trinket he always keeps forgetting he has. His first robbery as part of the gang, one of the guys had given him the ring as a welcome gift. He tossed it in his bag and forgot about it until after he'd become Lord Leo's retainer.

He's meant to pawn it for cash all this time, but he always kept forgetting. How much could he get for it, anyway? It's silver, it's not even in the best shape, so he might as well throw it out.

One night, a gang of bandits attacks a nearby town, among them one of the old gang. Of all the faces Niles could never forget, it's his; same shock of dirty red hair, same scar on his cheek, same sharp green eyes. He's the one who got Niles into the gang and he's the one who shoved him into the guards' path the night they broke into Krackenburg.

"Been a while, Zero." The sound of his old name makes Niles flinch angrily, and he wastes no time ending the bastard's life with his own arrow. I don't want to talk to you, I don't even want to know you were here, you sold me out but I have better now.

Seeing Ric fall in a dead heap bleeding from the throat is a short-lived victory, though. Niles has always held that night in his memories as the night he met Leo, the first time he had a true purpose and a permanent home, but seeing his ex-friend brings back the worse memories full force. It was the night he was thrown away, abandoned by people he'd called his family for years, the night he wished for death for the first time in his miserable life.

If anyone else had found me, I'd be dead. I wouldn't have cared.

He's in their room, staring out at the moon when Leo finds him. There's not much of a moon tonight, it's kind of cloudy, but Niles will take what he can get.

"You haven't said anything since we got back," Leo says quietly, sitting down beside him. "Are you going to be all right?" Niles sighed, shifting closer and leaning against him.

"I guess. I just didn't expect it all to come back like this, you know?"

"Do you want to talk about it?" Leo asks, but Niles shakes his head.

"I don't even remember much of him aside from how we met, or that night..." He smiles bitterly. "Besides, he's dead now and I don't think anyone'll miss him. I sure won't." He wraps his arms snugly around Leo. "You're my family now, you matter more than he ever did."

Leo nods, he's not one to press an issue. He does, however, kiss Niles and gently lower him to the bed, and Niles loses himself in the warmth. Leo takes control tonight and Niles lets him; usually it's the other way around, Leo's way of showing his trust, but tonight he seems to sense Niles needs this.

Leo falls asleep shortly after the unusually gentle sex, but Niles is still awake. For once, he remembers that useless old trinket in his pack without having to feel around in there, and realizes he can do better than simply selling it for a few coins.

After breakfast the next morning, he takes Leo to the crystal spring. It's quiet there, and the sky's clear even though the dragon-bird senses rain. Niles doesn't waste even a second, doesn't even bother getting down on one knee. Instead, he takes Leo's slender hand and slides the clean but aged silver ring onto his finger.

"You saved my life that night, and that's how I always want to remember it. Not how they betrayed me, but how I met the person I love." He can't help feeling embarrassed at how sappy he sounds, but it's the truth. He kisses Leo's ring finger, and Leo makes a soft noise of both surprise and joy.

"Niles..." He shakes his head. "Is this your way of asking me to marry you?"

"Or to just let me call us husbands from now on," Niles chuckles. Leo's response is to dig into his own pocket and pull out a silver chain with a small charm on it, which he fastens around Niles's neck.

"This was passed down to me by my father after my mother died," Leo explains. "I kept it out of respect for what Father used to be, but...right now, this is the first time it's ever meant anything beyond what I had to contend with growing up."

"Leo..." Niles brushes a fingertip over the charm. It's a flower, though he can't tell which one. "Does this mean..."

Leo kisses him lightly on the lips.

"I do."

"I do, too." Niles pulls him close for another kiss.


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