windsnocturne: (Niles/Leo)
[personal profile] windsnocturne
Title: in our little corner of the world
Game: Fates
Characters/Pairings: Niles/Leo
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Their relationship pushed the boundaries of prince and retainer, even friends. How odd that a former criminal could make Leo feel the safest of anyone he'd ever known.
Word Count: 649
Author's Note: Warning for mentions of child abuse.

Leo / Niles - A chance to safely let his guard down

He felt safe with Niles. Not simply because Niles was his retainer, though that was part of it, but because the more time they spent together, the less Leo felt he had to put on his usual airs.

Niles knew almost everything about him at this point. Had seen him at low moments Leo would sooner forget, and still looked at him as though he'd hung the moon. Niles wasn't the kind to try to make it all better or insist he get over it, even though he'd said many times in the past that he had no sympathy for spoiled nobles who cried over nothing.

"I'd hardly call being snapped at by your father after watching him smack your older brother onto the floor nothing," Niles said the day he found Leo holed up in one of Clarkenstein's secret rooms, knees drawn to his chest, his face pale. That room had always been Leo's refuge when life in the royal court became unbearable, and the thought of anyone else discovering it would have horrified him. But when Niles shut the door behind him, he instantly felt better.

He'd take Niles there himself sometimes, too, when neither of them could sleep. Usually Niles, but sometimes Leo himself. Leo would read aloud from dusty old novels or tomes, or the two of them would just talk.

Leo found it easier to open up more about certain things to Niles. Not everything, of course, but the things he could not easily speak even to Xander, Camilla, or Corrin about. His fears regarding the state of his family, his dreams, the indulgences from childhood he missed such as building snowmen in the courtyard or letting his sisters make flower crowns for him to wear.

"They look silly, but Corrin and Camilla are hard to resist," he said one rainy night as an elderly maid brought them a tray of sweets and tea. Niles grinned, taking a particularly sticky cinnamon roll from the tray.

"I bet you looked pretty cute. Maybe someday I'll make you one myself."

"And deny me the chance to see you in one?" Leo smiled wryly, sprinkling a bit of sugar into his tea.

He smiled more when he was with Niles. It was an odd feeling, but a good one nonetheless. The secret room soon became their special place, their sanctuary. They tried not to spend too many nights there, so as not to arouse suspicion, but that made the time spent there all the more precious.

How odd that a former criminal could be the person he truly felt his safest with.

Sometimes it was tempting to pretend they weren't a prince and his retainer, but two simple young men enjoying each other's company. Holed up in their own private corner of the world, hidden away from the wreckage left behind by past court drama and Father's violent mood swings.

It felt selfish, disloyal even, when he knew that outside the doors Father was taking his rages out on Xander and Camilla, Corrin was locked away in a drafty fortress never allowed to experience the outside world, Azura was missing, and Elise was in for a harsh awakening should they fail to safeguard her from the ugly truth about life in Krackenburg.

But they would understand, right? Elise goes to the underground city to visit her nanny, Camilla is always with Corrin, and Xander...he told us not to worry about him.

His worries were always lifted by Niles's hand on his shoulder, the sound of his voice asking to read more old stories, or the warmth of his breath on Leo's neck as he slept. They'd taken to sharing the bed recently, and despite the odd feelings brewing inside him at the proximity, it felt...natural. Right.

"I could get used to this. Feeling safe," Niles said one night. Leo smiled, tugging the quilts up over them as he listened to the faint sounds of the rain falling outside.

"As could I, Niles."
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