Personaggi: Leo, Cody
Verse: Broken heart syndrome
Avvisi: Slash, AU
Rating: PG-13
Prompt: Written for the COW-T 4 (Prompt: Windrose)
Note: The title is half a line from the poem "The Spleen" by Matthew Green. I don't know who he is, but the line goes like this: Though pleas'd to see the dolphins play, I mind my compass and my way, which was very appropriate for the story with Leo and Cody being the dolphins and whatever.

Riassunto: Leo and Cody receive a letter from Blaine, who is away to war. This leads somehow to an history lesson and to the study of an atlas.

Leo looks outside the window and sees the garden in bloom. Trees are a vivid green against the perfect blue of the sky and all the bushes along the path of white tiles that leads to the central fountain have yellow little flowers that will smell so sweet later this month. He's been here for almost two years now, but it's still hard to remember that there's basically no winter in this part of the country. Nights can get a little chilly – nothing in comparison to what he was used to – but that's as cold as it gets.

Cody has never seen the snow and sometimes he asks about it. So Leo sits with him and talks for hours of storms and blizzards and snowmen that melt the first day of spring as if they were legends, bits and pieces of a world that once was and now it's lost. Cody is fascinated by every word that comes out of his mouth and listens to him carefully, eyes shining with the desire to see all those places Leo is talking about. And every time the story ends, he promises Leo they will see those lands together one day.

Leo knows this will never happen. Blaine doesn't even let them go to the market alone without protesting. He would never give them the permission to go all the way across the world to see mountains covered in snow. But he never says that to Cody. He likes the way he gets all excited at the idea of wearing fur lined boots and walk in snow up to his knees. How can he find in himself to tell him his dreams will never come true when all he basically wants is to feel really cold once in his life?

“You look very thoughtful.”

Cody's voice comes through his thoughts and brings him back to reality. It is sweet and childish like the rest of him, always soft as if he were asking for permission, a thing he certainly doesn't have to do in this house. Cody is thin, with black shiny hair and big blue eyes. He is the only person Leo knows for whom the words porcelain skin really fit the descritpion of his skin tone. Cody's skin really is milky white and it makes him look like a living doll.

Leo too has black hair and blue eyes but, apart from this, they couldn't be more different. Leo's got the tanned skin of someone used to be outside all day – his tan has faded in the past two years, but not enough to say his skin is fair – and his hair is curly and always messy. His eyes are narrow, almost almond shaped, giving him a defiant look. He is tall whereas Cody is small and his slim body betrays a past of excercise. Leo looks as untamed as Cody looks unreal.

Leo really doesn't know how Blaine can like them both.

"Actually, I was just looking at the garden," Leo answers, turning towards him with a smile. "It seems to have bloomed overnight."

Cody climbs on the cushioned windowsill, right next to Leo. But instead of sitting there like he does, Cody kneels, placing both hands on the glass and smashing his nose against it. "You're right," he says, after a long pause. "There are a lot more flowers now. Lady Spring must be coming."

"Hasn't she been here for the past six months?" Leo says, amusedly. This story of Lady Spring comes from an old gipsy fairy tale he told Cody once that they were both bored to death, and they had already spent most of the afternoon messing around. Cody were so impressed by the story that it stuck with him. Now he never speaks of normal seasons anymore, but of Lady Spring and Mrs. Summer, Master Autumn and of course, King Winter, who apparently doesn't care much about this country, since he never bothers to show up. Leo never told him that in the original story each season kills the one that comes before to take its place, in and endless loop of death and rebirth, because that's how his people see the turning of the seasons. Soaked in blood and drama, as they see almost everything. Cody wouldn't understand that.

"Ah! But I came here to tell you something," Cody says as he quickly comes down from the windowsill and jumps on the spot a couple of times with his fists closed. "You distracted me."

"What? I didn't do anything!" Leo protests, but then he lets it go. Now that he looks at him, Cody seems quite excited and, most importantly, unable to stay still. "What's with all this energy, anyway? What did they feed you at breakfast?"

Cody blinks. "We had bread and chocolate for breakfast. Don't you remember?" He asks. Cody can't quite grasp jokes sometimes.

"Nevermind," Leo sighs. "What's going on?"

"Oh, yes! I've got a surprise," Cody says, excitedly. He sits down again on the windowsill with a little hop, his naked feet swinging in the air. "Look what came in the mail today!"

Cody produces a scroll out of the folds of the light blue tunic he's wearing today. The scroll is made with yellow parchement and it bears Blaine's emblem in wax on the front. "It's from Blaine and it's for both of us," Cody goes on, pointing at the few lines scribbled in red on the side. "See?"

The missive is actually addressed only to Cody but his name is followed by a dotted L, in place of a second name Cody doesn't have. This little act of endearment brings a smile on Leo's lips. "I wonder how nobody noticed."

"They did," Cody says. "They just assume they don't know my full name, which is true. Half the people in this mansion are not aware that I still have my own surname. They just think it was canceled from existence the moment Blaine married me."

Leo chuckles. Blaine and Cody's marriage is something they never talk about because it reminds Leo that it will always be a step below Cody – even though both he and Blaine deny that strongly – but every now and then Cody accidentally lets something slip. He's never aware of that, so Leo is simply learning to deal with it. "So, what does it say?"

"I don't know yet. I was waiting to open it with you," Cody replies as he tears the sigil open. He unrolls the parchement and gently flatten it out on his thigh.

Blaine has a very tidy and precise handwriting. All the letters are the same size, except for capitals, which are big, frilly and convoluted. In his businesslike style he asks them how they are and hopes they are behaving. In his coded language – where you actually always means you two – this means that he expects them to be discreet since nobody must now that Leo is not just a common sex slave for Blaine and Cody but an active third part of their current and very illegal threesome.

Leo pouts a little, reading those words. They both know how important it is that they keep this a secret, Blaine doesn't have to repeat it every time. They are very discreet. Most of the times, at least. It's not like they have sex in the garden or outside the bedroom's anyway. And nobody enters without Cody's permission, so not only they're not taking any risk, but there's actually no risk to take.

Blaine goes on telling them that the campaign is going even better than expected. The enemy lost all battles so far and it is quickly retreating to the North. If everything goes as planned – and Blaine has no doubt it will – the war will be over before the Summer.

Then, addressing some of their concerns in their previous letter, he says that they don't have to worry because he's not wounded nor he plans to be so. As a retired officer, he has been called back in his capacity of consultant – since he has faced and beat these same enemies many times before – and he's only required to plan the attacks, not to actually perform them on the field. He would be requested to return to battle only in the event of an impending crushing defeat, which it is unlikely to happen at this point.

Both Leo and Cody have a very vague notion of the war. Despite the fact that Blaine is a military officer, Cody only read about it in books because Blaine never talks about his job, thinking that it's not a suitable subject for his young and impressionable husband. And as far as Leo is concerned, he had the luck to only experience war as a distant nuisance, the news of an incoming attack forcing his fathers' travelling teather company to move somewhere else. What they know, though, is that war is a bloody and messy affair and they constantly imagine Blaine in a pool of his own blood, trying to make it back to the camp with a knife between his teeth as his only weapon, a thing Blane has never had to do even when he was actually fighting. It's not like they really care about the war or have a real opinion about it – war is still a distant concept they can't quite grasp – but whatever it is, they don't want Blaine harmed. Blaine's reassurances of his wellbeing and mainly staying at the camp far far away from battle works for a couple of days, but since they receive only one letter about every three weeks, they worry pretty much all the time.

In the letter, Blaine goes on saying that he's currently in the Asada region and expects to move towards the city of Lumpur in a couple of days. He gives them the new coordinates to tell the messenger, so they can write him back and closes the letter with a five lines declaration of unwavering love.
No name is mentioned in this last part but he phrased it so skillfully that no unwanted reader would think he was referring to other than his husband, except for his kids who know exactly which line is for whom.

Once they have finished reading one of Blaine's letter, they are always a little dizzy; both because they have been holding their breath for days, and because Blaine's way of expressing his love can be rough but it's also overwhelming and it always leaves them a little shaken.

"I'm glad that he is okay." Cody is the first to break the silence as he carefully folds the letter to put it away in a box together with the others they received.

Leo nods. "He said he's in the... Asada region, was it?" He asks frowning. "It's supposed to be in the East but I've never heard about it."

"You haven't?" Cody looks at him, puzzled. It is a strange thing that Leo doesn't know that. He wasn't born a slave. So he can read and write and since he used to be a travelling actor before he was sold as a sex slave, he knows geography too. He and Cody talk about foreign countries – most of which Leo has actually been to – almost every day. Then Cody realizes something and instantly blushes. "Oh."

"What?" Leo asks, frowning.

Cody looks at him, a guilty expression on his face. Leo instantly knows he must have said something triggering – because that's Cody's reaction every time he opens his mouth before thinking – but he has no idea what it is. "Asada is one of the new territories," Cody explains with a sigh. "It was created after you were... imprisoned."

"Oh," Leo comments dryly. That was almost two years and a half ago, then. He spent six month in jail before they sold him to the slave merchant and it took them almost another month to reach the market where he was sold. Suddenly he realizes that in all this time, he has been too busy adjusting to his new life and he has no idea of what happened or what it's happening right now outside the walls of this house. "So," he clears his throat, "Where is it, this Asada? What was it before?"

Cody gets it, for once. This is Leo's effort not to transform this into a reason to get sad or angry. "I can show you!" He says, instantly. He pushes the box back under the bed where they keep it and runs to his bookcase. He's got tons of books in there, but he knows where everything is. "I've got a book."

He grabs an atlas, with a big wind rose on the front cover.
It's embossed in gold, with the four cardinal points tipped in blue and the other twelve in red. The names of the winds are skilfully written inside each line in that same old and fascinating font treasure maps are sometimes written. It looks ancient, even if it's not. Cody thinks that it looks like something you would find in the captain's cabin on a pirate ship. Blaine bought this book for him because he fell in love with that wind rose more than with the maps inside. This atlas is one of his most precious possessions, and he always finds an excuse to look at it.

He climbs on the bed and gestures Leo to join him as he flips feverishly through the pages. "This is the new atlas of the East, after the Seven Reigns Treaty," he explains, his eyes quickly scrutinizing every page. "It was Blaine's last real assignement in the Army. He was between those who signed the treaty."

"And they were only feeding me bread and water at the time," Leo snorts. "Go figure."

Cody looks at him, feeling his bitterness. "Do you want me to stop? I thought..."

"No, don't worry," Leo smiles at him. "I couldn't help myself. But go on, I want to know."

Cody hesitates for a moment, but then he nods. Once Blaine told him that Leo needs to make snarky remarks from time to time, even when he's not really angry. It's his way to deal with things he wouldn't know how to deal with otherwise. Besides, when Leo is really angry, he starts trashing things and being mean. So, Cody can assume he can safely go on.

"Well, there was a war on the coast. Here," he points at the East coast of the land, the one facing the Twin Oceans. Cody's finger traces a line connecting a few countries and then taps twice on one named Abaet in bright golden letters. "Abaet, which is our colony, won against three other countries that were also our colonies and were rebelling against us. After the war, their territories were combined into one, that was later divided between us and our six allies with the treaty, as a reward for their help. So, what now it's called Asada region were..."

"The reigns of Clare, Freca and Elphine," Leo finishes for him. "I knew those places."

"Have you ever been there?" Cody asks immediately. This is his first question every time someone says that they know a place.

Leo nods. "We used to perform in that area during winter because it was still warm enough to set the tent in the squares instead of renting places as we would have to do if we stayed up North," he says as he remembers his dad demanding to go to Elphine at the first draft because he hated the idea of being even a minute cold. "They didn't always understand our accent there, so we would change some words of the script with easier terms to make people understand."

"I understand you," Cody says. "Even though your vowels are so close."

"I never used my accent with you," Leo says, his tone and pronunciation suddenly changing. "Otherwise, you wouldn't have understood."

Cody shakes his head and covers his face with both his hands. "Stop! Stop! You don't even sound like you!" He says, laughing. "How do you do that?"

"What? Do accents?" He asks. "That's part of the job.... well, it was. I can do almost any accent you want."

Cody eyes glow, and Leo knows what comes next. "Let's play a game," Cody says. Every sentence that starts with those words leads to things that never last less than three hours. "I choose a country and you do the accent for me. If you know it and you prove it, it's a point for you. If you don't, it's a point for me. The winner chooses what we're doing tonight."

Leo watches him blush as he says those words. "How do you know I'm not making a random accent?"

"Well, I trust you," Cody pouts. "Would you lie to me?"

"No, I would not," he replies with a chuckle. "Okay, go ahead. Pick one."

As Cody carefully looks at the maps on his atlas, tapping his finger against his lips, Leo has already decided to let him win. If there's something he likes more than being with Blaine, it's waiting for him to return while Cody tries to tell him how he wants to have sex. That's why, despite all his travels, the only accent he remembers is his own and a couple more.

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