windsnocturne: (Niles/Leo)
[personal profile] windsnocturne
Title: it all made too much sense
Rating: PG-13
Prompt: Dreams
Warnings: Spoilers, brief mention of violence and molestation
Route: Conquest

Summary: It was extremely rare for their late night sort-of ritual to be reversed.




The only good thing about not sleeping well was that Niles could never be too sound asleep if Leo needed him.

The war was over. Xander and Charlotte were officially King and Queen of Nohr, and soon they would be attending Queen Hinoka's coronation and wedding ceremony. Nohr was improving steadily day by day. But Niles knew very well that just because life was good now didn't mean you just forgot everything. Not that Leo had suffered too badly overall, thank the Dusk Dragon, but Niles could still remember the moment King Garon sat on the Hoshidan throne. He'd never forget the horror in Leo's eyes.

And, judging by this moment, Leo wasn't about to forget the scene anytime soon either.

"Father...no, please, this isn't you, Father..."

Niles, still pretty much awake, gently pulled Leo close to him, squeezing his hand and murmuring gentle reassurances just as Leo had done for him countless times.

"It's all right," he whispered, "you're not in the throne room, there's no slime monster. You're right here..."

"Ah..." Leo suddenly jolted awake, panting a bit and rubbing his eyes. Niles smoothed back his mussed hair, stroked his face and held him closer. Leo curled into the embrace, breathing deeply, slowly calming down.

"Better now?" Niles asked after a long few moments of silence. Leo nodded, looking embarrassed but relieved.

"I apologize for worrying you," he said.

"It's no big deal," Niles murmured, stroking his back. Leo sighed, slipping out of the embrace and sitting up. He didn't seem eager to go back to sleep, a feeling Niles knew all too well.

"I feel so foolish," Leo said after another more silence. "Yes, I know there was no logical way for us to have figured out the truth earlier than we did, but Father's behavior should have at least been enough of a clue that something was wrong." He sighed again. "Father loved all of his children very much, make no mistake, but he and I had a very specific bond."

"So you were his favorite, but not really?" Niles asked. Leo smiled a little in spite of himself.

"In a sense, perhaps," he said. "But even near the end, when the infighting and the deaths of so many of his children embittered him, Father would have never said and done many of the things he did during the war." He folded his arms over his chest, sighing. "I remember Xander and I pleading with him to let Corrin live with us, outside the fortress...he snapped at me, said I was not to speak unless spoken to. He'd never talked to me like that before." Niles frowned, sitting up and gently touching Leo's shoulder.

"Did he ever...I mean, I never saw any bruises on you, but he could have had you cover them up somehow."

"No." Leo shook his head. "He never hit me or my sisters, anyway. I remember him striking Xander that day, just a slap to the face, but he could do just as much damage with his words," he said, leaning against Niles. "And even when he was so cruel we could scarcely believe it was him, we never thought to question whether it was. Seeing that creature upon the throne..." He shuddered, and Niles pulled him closer.

"It was too real, wasn't it? Made too much sense." Leo nodded.

"You could say that."

Silence came over them again, and Niles wished he could say something more comforting. But Leo seemed more relaxed now, his breathing soft and even.

Nightmares, simply put, were a bitch. Whether they were full of blood, stabbing, filthy hands touching you every which way or watching your dad turn into a melting pile of evil, you didn't want to go back to sleep afterward. At least Niles never did, and he wouldn't blame Leo if he didn't either.

"Want to sit up and talk for a while? Or play some chess?" he offered.

"Tempting," Leo said, unable to hide a yawn, "but I did promise Xander and Charlotte I would attend an important meeting tomorrow. It would be unwise to show up exhausted." Niles nodded.

"In other words, you don't wanna be a child like me and run away?" he joked. Leo, thankfully used to Niles's self-deprecative sense of humor, just smiled.

"I'm sure I'll sleep better now."

Niles lay back down, pulling Leo into his embrace again. Leo closed his eyes, taking Niles's hand and lacing their fingers together, just like he did for Niles on harder nights.

"Sleep well, Leo," Niles murmured. Leo nodded sleepily against his shoulder.

"I will, with you here."

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