Le nuove storie sono in alto.

Personaggi: Leo, Blaine, Adam, (Cody, Casey)
Genere: Romance
Avvisi: Slash, Slice of Life, Fluff, (hints of) Incest, Polyamory, AU
Rating: R
Prompt: Written for the Vesper Army @ Cow T (Mission 1: Sensuality)
Note: In this particular AU Leo, Cody and Adam are three very expensive escorts working for Casey's legal escort agency in a fictional modern New York. Blaine is an actor who has decided to quit his job at the peak of his career and retire in the Hamptons with his three favorite hookers, who he plans to buy from Casey. The only problem is that none of the boys knows about the others.
This story is obviously set - as you can see by the initial summary - well after the three boys have accepted to live together and share Blaine. At this point, Casey started to show up randomly at their house either to hang out with Blaine or Cody, and both things make Adam and Leo angry.

Riassunto: Leo is disappointed because Casey took his brother Cody away on the very afternoon they were supposed to hang out together. Venting about it, though, he finds out something unthinkable, and that leads to some sort of breakthrough over why Cody makes him and all his boyfriends so crazy for him.

Getting used to a polyamory life has not been easy for Leo, and in fact he never did.

The idea of sharing Blaine with two more people has never really suited him. Even when he was still an escort and he knew for a fact that Blaine was seeing other boys like him, he had always considered Blaine something his, and their relationship something special, if not exclusive. Being him an escort, he couldn't demand real exclusivity from Blaine, but he had come to think that if there was some gradient of exclusiveness to be reached in their situation, they had reached it. So, when he found out that he was not gonna be the only one living in the big Hamptons house with Blaine, he was pretty pissed.

Now, he hadn't lived his whole life dreaming and waiting for a knight in shining armor to come and take him away from the horrible life he was living. One, he was not living an horrible life. He lived in a two bedrooms apartment in Manhattan, working a couple of hours a day tops with only selected clients, for a sweet amount of money, health and dental care included. Two, he was a romantic guy, but not a complete idiot. So, he didn't spend his time hoping for something that would possibly never happen. He would have done with a rich partner alright, but if none was available, he was not gonna lose his sleep over it.

But then Blaine had come along, changing everything.

He was incredibly handsome and generally more charming and well mannered than half the other clients Casey would throw his way – money doesn't equal class most of the time – and he seemed inclined to not only receive pleasure, but give it also, which was a pleasant surprise for Leo, who loved to be handled more than he loved to handle things.

In time, Blaine stopped being a normal client and became something more.

He would even come over the apartment outside Leo's normal schedule and without paying anything, breaking two fundamental laws in this line of work. Clients are not supposed to make surprise visits to your home and under any circumstances they should be allowed to get a ride for free, no matter how gentlemanlike they are, or how much they make you scream in bed. And bypassing Casey was not a great idea either. The guy cared very much for his percentage for obvious reasons.

But Leo was willing to risk Casey's anger – or better, he blatantly ignored the possibility that Casey could find out and get angry – just to let Blaine spoil him disgustedly. When the man offered Leo to come and live with him in the Hamptons, it took Leo exactly zero seconds to answer yes. Finding out that he wasn't the only hooker Blaine had rescued was brutal for him. Leo was outraged – he often is – and offended – he often is too – and he didn't want anything to do with Blaine anymore, or with those other two for that matter.

But Blaine's deal was clear: it was all three of them or none of them. And after a great deal of cuddling, cooing, and being given the bedroom closest to Blaine's, Leo got over it and accepted to share his man with two other boys.

Then, as often happens with him (and as Blaine knew it would happen), Leo grew quite fond of the rest of the family – very fond in Cody's case – and as soon as he got himself the chance to know the others better, he found out that he liked them. He hadn't had many friends back then, and having friends was fun.
Not only he got accostumed not to be the only one for Blaine – even if the most spoiled – but the boys started to have their own routine when Blaine wasn't there or when he was with one of them. Everything fell into place, and a few months after Blaine took them away from New York, Leo was quite content with his new life.

That is why Casey's sudden reappereance set Leo off again.

But it's not just Leo this time, Adam is pretty upset too by the situation. And he never is, so this should be proof enough that something really is not right. Casey is not the most pleasant of people at best, and he has the uncanny ability to annoy everyone with one single action, in this case showing up at their house randomly and unannounced. Either he wants to spend some time with Blaine (that is fucking with him) – a thing he's supposedly not allowed to do – or with Cody (and it's still debatable doing what), someone is bond to get really angry at him. Not that this changes anything.

"I hate him," Leo says, entering the kitchen. Adam's already there, drinking one of his high-protein shake, ready to frown upon Leo's coke as soon as he gets it out of the fridge.

"Must be Friday," he comments, tilting his head back to get the last two drops of what looks like chocolate milk but most likely is not.

Leo glares at him from behind the fridge's door.
"Ah ah, you're definitely here 'cause you're funny," he replies sarcastically, deciding that just a coke is not what he wants. Seeing food made him hungry. Just like seeing certain people makes him horny. He's a very simple guy as far as his urges go.

"And what would you be here for, then?" Adam replies.

"Boys, boys, calm down," Blaine joins them in the kitchen, a smile on his face. He's been quite happy all the time, lately. Having three younger boyfriends tends to do that to you, despite all the drama three young men barely out of puberty can bring onto you.

"He's hating on Casey," Adam explains.

"Must be Friday," Blaine comments. He goes to the coffeemaker and pours himself a cup of coffe, which judging by the hour, should be his second or third one. It's still morning, but he wakes up way earlier than any of them, Adam included.

"Would you stop doing that?" Leo protests, stacking slices of cheese and ham like his life depends on the sandwich he's making. He always eats like there's no more food in the world. "I'm not even angry half the time you say I am."

Adam makes a very meaningful face.
"Now, let's just not talk about that," Blaine says, averting the storm before it can even happen. "Why are you hating Casey today?"

"What is there not to hate about him?" Leo asks, taking a bite of his sandwich.

"Silly me not to be more specific," Blaine says, chuckling at Leo's glaring face. "What exactly are you hating about him? What did he do?"

"Except breathing and living and existing in the same reality Cody and I exist?" Leo asks, sitting on the table. Why using chairs like normal people do, after all? "He showed up without even a call and took Cody away, messing up our whole schedule. Not mentioning his inappropriate behavior with Cody."
It's not clear which one is Casey's biggest crime, taking Cody away when he was supposed to hang out with Leo or his inappropriateness, a word that doesn't even begin to cover the way Casey hugs, touches and kisses his twin brother on the mouth any time he feels like it. Both things are equally upsetting for Leo.

"He's his brother, Leo." Blaine always tries to use logic with him, even tho it never works. Leo's brain starts to work only after a great deal of emotion-ridden reactions.

"Oh, yeah? How do you know?" He asks. "Maybe next time me and you make out, we're brothers too."

"Well, you do look disturbingly alike," Adam offers, half serious.

"Why are we keeping him, again?" Leo asks Blaine, nodding towards Adam.

"'Cause he's cute, same reason you're all here," Blaine answers calmly as if this was a perfectly normal question – which it is, all considered. He leans in to give Leo a kiss, before going to pour some more coffee into his cup. "Anyway, Casey does nothing wrong with his brother."

"Blaine, you can't be serious," Leo says, big blue eyes open and filled with incredulity. "You live here, you have eyes. There's no way you could have possibly missed it."

"Yeah, I'm with the brat on this one," Adam agrees. "The guy's creepy."

Blaine sighs. "The guy's a guy," he says, blowing on his cup. "And Cody can be very hard to deal with when you are a man. You both should know that."

Leo has been shameless about the strong, overwhelming desire he feels every time Cody comes too close to him. Cody literally can't sit next to him without having Leo all over him in some way or another, and despite having sex together only when Blaine is breaking the rules and having it with Casey (it's both a form of compensation and a way to calm Leo down, stopping him from breaking the furniture), they always mess around anyway. So, Blaine said nothing new about him.

Adam, on the other hand, has never seemed interested in Cody in that sense. Actually, he never seems interested in sex in general. He has it with Blaine, he likely takes pleasure in it, but sex doesn't make him thrilled as much as it should do, at least according to Leo. "Wait, are you saying that the Ice Queen here is hot for Cody too?" He asks, smirking. "Elsa, what are you hiding? Let it go!"

Adam snorts so loudly that the sound coming out of his nose is ridiculous. "Why every time you open your mouth, I can hear bullshit?"

Leo smirks. "Blaine, Adam's withholding something, and I reckon this attitude is in direct contrast with our fully disclosure policy."

They don't have a real policy in the house, but they do have a rule to be honest and open with each other. Since the main reason of disagreement seems to be jealousy (that is, when it's not Casey), Blaine decided that nothing can happen behind anybody's back. "Come on, Adam," Blaine encourages him. "There's nothing to be embarrassed about."

"I'm not embarrassed!" Adam says, right away. "I just don't wanna say it to him, because you know what he does."

"Blaine!" Leo whines again, insisting for the man's intervention.

Blaine chuckles. "Let's say Adam was victim of a series of unfortunate events in the kitchen."

"It was an accident!" Adam protests. "I wasn't even thinking about it. I was leaning on the counter and Cody came near me, reaching out to the top shelf and..."

Leo's smile has progressively become bigger and bigger while Adam was talking, and now he looks like the Cheshire Cat. "And you humped him, didn't you?" He asks, knowing the answer already. He could read it on Adam suddenly red face.

"See?" Adam cries out, turning to Blaine. "Did you see that? I told you! That's why I didn't wanna say it. He always does that!"

There's nothing better than seeing Adam fretting for whatever reason. He's always so calm that Leo thinks he needs to be shaken every once in a while. "Oh! I'm so proud of you, Adam." He chuckles impishly. "You shouldn't be embarrassed. This only proves that you are human, after all!"

"It was an accident!" Adam repeats frantically, in a high pitched voice that comes from the deep and dark abyss of his embarrassement. "And I know that it doesn't matter how someone is dressed, but he never is! He's always hanging around half-naked!"

"Oh, it's way worse than that," Leo says nodding. He looks like he knows what he's talking about. "'Cause, you see, if he was just naked, you wouldn't mind so much. I mean, he's cute and all, but nudity is not so shocking. The point is that he's always dressed like he was ready to be undressed or if had just been ravished a moment before. Sometimes, the sight of his shorts barely covering the curve of his ass makes you cry in joy. What are we supposed to do?"

"Well, leaving him alone?" Adam tries, frowning.

"You didn't," Leo points out.

"It was an accident!" Adam repeats for the third time. They are talking about Cody's clothes as if they justified sexual harrassment, and that's not okay. This is why the whole thing makes him awkward. "I don't want to say that the way he dresses forces us to put our hands on him. But I really wished he didn't do....what he does."

He closes his eyes, sighing. He's really distressed, and that makes Blaine smile affectionately. "I understand what you mean, Adam," he says, calmly. "But I can assure you that Cody doesn't do anything."

"Yeah, he just likes to dress like that, but he genuinely has no idea of the effect he has on people," Leo says, nodding. "I mean, he knows he's cute and everything, and sometimes he does do that on purpose, but those are the times that he's really lethal. Once I had him coming into my room with some frilly pants from last century or whatever and a girly shirt, and he knew I would go mental – which I did. But most of the time, he's just himself and that's enough to make people crazy."

"He's completely unaware of his potential," Blaine explains. "That's his charm. The way he moves..."

"What he does..." Leo adds.

"Yes, also what he does," Blaine chuckles. He can see the little red hearts in Leo's eyes every time he talks about Cody. "Nothing is planned with him. That's just who Cody is. And he's got a certan effect on people, his brother included."

Leo's blissful face turns into a frown in a second. "No, that's exactly the point. The fact that he is his brother should prevent him from wanting to bang Cody."

"I don't think he wants to have sex with him," Blaine says, implicitly correcting Leo's register. "He's just not immune to Cody's charms. Besides, they are twins, and twins always have a special bond. That together with Cody's magic results in some..."

"Weird shit," Leo concludes for him.

"I was about to say unusual conduct," Blaine says, sighing.

"Whatever it is, I don't think it's right," Leo continues. "Cody makes us all crazy for him just barely walking into a room in his pajamas, which is both a torture and an insanely exciting thing. And it's okay if it happens to us because he's your boyfriend, which kinda makes him our boyfriend too. But you wouldn't let some random man on the street humping him, would you?"

Leo makes a little pause, and Blaine realizes that he's actually waiting for an answer. "No, of course not," he answers, crossing his arms over his chest.

"Right! Because it's a fucking random man. And Casey is something like that."

"Well, he's not exactly random. He's his brother," Blaine protests.

"Yes, but that's totally not the point. We can't let everybody have a go with Cody just because he's this overly sexualized individual who doesn't even know that he is."

"Nobody's doing that, Leo!" Blaine says, shocked. "Casey is his brother, and he's not doing anything to him. He's overly touchy? Yes, maybe. But they are twins and you can't consider this whole situation as if he were a stranger. Plus, Cody can decide for himself, and he seems okay with this."

"So you won't do anything about it?" Leo asks. He was probablye expecting Blaine to take action.

"Well no?" Blaine answers. "I mean, what should I do? Stop them from seeing each other? I don't think Cody would be happy about it. He loves his brother."

Leo shakes his head and cleans the table from the bread crumbs he left behind. "Yeah, the problem is that Casey loves him too much," he mumbles, throwing the crumbs in the sink. "Anyway, when he's back, I call dibs."

"Excuse me?" Blaine arches an eyebrow.

Leo shrugs, nonchalantly. "We were supposed to go out and Casey took him away. It seems only fair that I get to spend time with him."

"Oh, so that's how it's gonna be?" Blaine says. "You were so mad that he was here, and now you're stealing him away from me?"

Leo doesn't worry because he can hear the playful tone in Blaine's voice. He walks to him and leans on his shoulder. "It must be his sexuality working his magic on me," he whispers on his lips, a smirk twisting his lips upward.

"Oh, I see," Blaine nods. "So you're not sleeping with me tonight?"

The question is pointless. Even if they hadn't already decided that tonight was Leo's night to be with Blaine, Leo would have always answered yes. "Of course," he answers, giving him a quick kiss. "Eleven o'clock. In your bed. We are gonna have sex, in case you were thinking oterwise."

"When aren't we?" Blaine calls after him with a sigh, as Leo leaves the kitchen. When Blaine looks up, he meets Adam's questioning eyes and his even more meaningful arched eyebrow.

"Why are we keeping him?" He asks, mocking Leo's word. "Cuteness can't be enough in his case."

Blaine's chuckles. "That's his charm, you know?"

"Being a a spoiled prick?"

"Being so good at being spoiled that I actually want to spoil him more, I guess." Blaine has no better explanation for the things he's willing to put up with for Leo. Except that he loves him, of course. In fact, the two things could be connected. He loves to spoil him because he loves him, and he loves him because of how good it is to spoil him.

"I see. So, one is unhealthily sexy and he doesn't know, the other is too demanding and he doesn't care," Adam summirizes. "I guess you have some masochistic kink you don't acknowledge. What flaw did you choose me for?"

"You're too good to be true," Blaine answer promptly, pulling Adam towards him.
Adam chuckles and Blaine kisses his smile.

As a matter of fact, none of them knows the effect they have on him, and he decided not to tell. He already knows that he's gonna die having sex, he just wants to postpone the moment as long as he can.
Personaggi: Blaine, Leo, Cody
Verse: Broken heart syndrome
Genere: Romance, Drama
Avvisi: Underage, AU
Rating: PG 13
Prompt: Written for the WRPG (Mission 03: Wedding, Nature, Sun, Moon, War, Ocean)
Note: I had a bunch of prompts and I couldn't wait to write about the slave!verse. Liz came up with the plot and... then we cried a lot.

Riassunto: Cody needs a change of air, and Leo takes upon himself to be the knight in shiny armor that will convince Blaine to make that wish come true. Surprisingly enough, Blaine accepts instantly. Leo's sure there must be a catch, though, and history will prove him right.

Blaine's house is a three stories mansion perched on a hill just outside the city.
You can see the whole of it from up there, from the columns of the Government Palace to the spires of the Temple, and the long, light blue line of the river dividing the circular city into two perfect halves.

The first time Leo got to see the house, it was the day he was brought here to be given as a wedding present to Blaine. Now, the memory of that horrible day and those that followed are slowly fading from his mind, drowned by the love and blatant favoritism Cody and Blaine shower him in every day, but you can't really forget the day you've been sold as a sex slave. He remembers how dark and scary the house looked to him, entering from the servants entrance. The hall where Blaine approached him with his deepest, hoarsest voice was cold and bare. It was designed to be used by errand boys and waitresses to come and go from the house without being seen. It was a thing of practicality, not of beauty.

For a few days Leo had only see that entrance and the dungeon where Blaine had kept him to break him – not that he managed, but anyway – and that was his whole new horrible world. A dark room where he was chained and starved, and an hall where he was forced to give blow jobs. Not exactly the best place to start for a love story. But, surprisingly enough, that's exactly how it went down.

Even when he was finally admitted to the private rooms, in the best part of the house, where Cody lived, the house didn't look better. All he could see was another place where he was going to be forced to do things he didn't want to do, chained as an animal and given orders to. On that premises, his own little room – which was actually bigger and more comfortable than his bedroom in his parents' caravan at home – looked like a prison no more than the dungeon's cell did.

Everything was horrible, back then. It took time, Blaine's threats to him, Leo's threats to Cody's safety, and a lot of convincing on both parts before things changed. If he looks back now, he can't believe he grew so fond of them that he refused his freedom when it was legitimately offered to him. Not that he doesn't want to be a free man on paper too, but the Law says that a freed slave must leave the house, and he would never do that. Not even in exchange for his freedom. So he stays, and makes everybody crazy by getting angry at Blaine's inability to both set him free and keep him.

He's officially still a slave, especially outside the four walls of their home, but Blaine and Cody treat him as one of them, a third party to their marriage, if such a thing even exists, and as a consequence of that the house is not a prison anymore. It's home.

The house is not huge as those of some of the other lords of the city, but it's big enough that it takes Leo at least ten minutes to go from one end of it to the other, and he enjoys it immensely when he can use that amount of time to annoy as many servants as it's humanly possible.

The house servants, they all hate Leo with a passion. He stands for everything they find unacceptable and, as if this wasn't enough already, he gloats about it. First of all, it's customary for a lord, especially of Blaine's standing, to get rid of his sex slaves the moment he marries. Since a sex slave basically lives in the lord's private quarters, it's considered unbecoming to keep one inasmuch as the lord's spouse would be forced to share space with him. According to the Law, sex slaves are freed after they have carried out their purpose, which would be prepare the lord to his married life. Actually, their lord's wedding is something they look forward to because it marks the beginning of a new life. But Leo was indeed a gift for Blaine's wedding, which was ridiculous to begin with.

Not only Blaine didn't get rid of Leo the moment he was given to him, but he somehow fell in love with him, which is preposterous. Now, none of servants would even dream of judging their master for whatever reason, but they can very well judge Leo, and blame him for everything that has befallen the house in the past year or so.

The servants social ladder can be even stricter than the common one.
A servant is born a servant, and can't aspire to be anything else. That is why, when your servant status is high, you stick to it, because it's the only form of pride that you can have. Looking down to those who are below you becomes almost mandatory in order to turn your own not exactly ideal position into a bearable one.
The house servants are the very top of the ladder – one step below craftsmen, who are out of the servants social ladder all together – and sex slaves are the very bottom of it. They are barely considered proper human beings, they are just props lords play with, as much as they would with a racket or a ball. The fact that one of them raised so high in rank to pass the status of the house servants and be allowed to act as a lord is unthinkable.

They think Leo doesn't know his place, and that he acts not only against the law but against what's proper for him and the likes of him. Basically, they reserve the right not to pass judgment upon their master's choice of treating Leo better than he would deserve, but they openly disapprove of Leo accepting the freedom that has been unfairly given to him, instead of politely declining it and acting accordingly to his lower status.

It doesn't help that Leo feels entitled to the freedom he has, and so he makes a show of it whenever he can. He never really considered himself a slave or a servant of any kind – he was an actor, son of actors, accused, charged and imprisoned for a crime he was forced to commit – and so now he's only acting as he thinks he deserves. He walks freely around the house, wearing whatever he wants, sometimes even clothes that belong to Blaine, his arms, neck and ankles always naked to show he's not wearing shackles nor his collar anymore. He leaves the masters' quarters whenever he likes, to go to the gardens or even the library, where he helps himself with Lord Blaine's books and reads them, not to Lord Cody – which would be unusual but not so shocking – but to himself, for his own pleasure.

After all, that would be the smallest outrage compared to the fact that he demands to take all his meals at the table with the masters, that he calls them by their first name and that he sleeps in their bed with them, instead of going back to his room after doing his job. And everybody knows that he's allowed to have intercourse with Cody alone whenever he wants, but nobody talks about that because Blaine would be hard to justify even for them.

Leo knows everything the servants say about him, and he cares exactly nothing.
He enjoys showing off and throwing the whole situation in their faces as much as he can, and when his relationship with Blaine and Cody began to take shape, turning into the closest thing to a marriage they could possibly have right now, he squeezed into it with great pleasure, taking the role that would have been Cody's, if Cody wasn't the tiny precious thing that he is. In this excuse for a marriage – as Blaine's father has put it too many times – Blaine is obviously the head of the family, the man who works and brings home the money, who should be guiding his much younger husbands and ends up being at the mercy of their puppy eyes most of the time instead. Leo takes care of the house, gives orders to the servants and reminds them what their masters like and dislike, and that despite the fact that most of the maids refuse to obey him the first time he says something, and they need to be pushed and screamed at. Leo has no problem doing that, while Cody would, that's why he's the pretty husband who, being legitimate, entertains the guests, attends to official events and is diplomatic for the three of them.

It works, despite all the frowning upon. Maybe that's why everybody is so pissed off about it.

Anyway, this morning Leo is not wandering about casually just to give orders and annoy the maids, he's out on a mission. Cody has been moody for the past three days, and that's weird because Cody is never anything but sweet, happy and calm. It took Leo a lot of coaxing and convincing to make him confess what was going on. It appears like the confinement they have been forced into is starting to weigh on him. Blaine's being busy trying to keep his career together, and he's only going out to attend mundane events he's required to go to if he wants to keep his job and status. Those are the only times he leaves the house, and he's not always taking Cody with him because he wants to shelter him from everybody's judgment as much as he can. It goes without saying that Leo has never left the house since he got here, because he can't go out alone and now he can't even do it with Cody because it could be dangerous. Sometimes that's hard to accept, but he's used to lash out whenever his anger is too strong, so his rage disappears as quickly as it came. But Cody is not like him. He bottles up. He's rarely angry, but when he is, he pushes his anger deep down inside himself to avoid hurting anybody. And now it reached the brim, and Cody is one step away to break down.

Leo saw it clearly in his eyes this morning while they were having breakfast together without Blaine.
The man has been holed up all night in his office and the idea that he's not gonna come out of it today either doesn't sit well with Cody's desperate need for a change of air outside this house. So, Leo took it upon himself to convince Blaine to go somewhere for a few days, even if he'll have to use violence to achieve that.

As he comes out of the bedroom and takes the corridor of the second floor, he comes across Harper, one of the maids. It's always a pleasure to meet her because she hates him as no one else in this house and Leo could set her on fire with the sole strength of his hatred. Their feelings of loathing clash against each other at such a speed that they almost generate visible lightnings able to warm Leo's self-entitlement filled heart.

She's a short, tiny thing with big blue eyes and dark blonde hair. Around his age, maybe a little older. She would be attractive, if she wasn't so unnerving. But she is, and Leo can only see her tensed lips set in a disgusted grimace as he approaches. “Clean that glass better,” he says as a way of greeting as she rubs the windowpane with a piece of cloth. “It must look like there's no glass at all there.”

“They are clean,” she protests, no trace of respect in her voice. “More than you'll ever be, anyway.”

Leo never gets offended when she – or anybody – just implies that he's a dirty thing just because he was a sex slave. As a matter of fact, he inevitably takes more baths in a week than she does in a month. “Clever for an house servant. Are they training you to repeat smart things like a parrot? Do you want a cracker?”

Leo watches her close her fists for a moment, struggling to keep herself from replying any further, or even from slapping him probably. Leo lives for the moment one of them will try and hit him. “I knew you would quickly run out of good sentences. Parrots usually do,” he comments. “Now clean them again. I'm gonna be back and I want to see them shine.”

He doesn't wait for a yes, sir. They never say it and he doesn't need it. Besides, he's taking enough revenge by having they actually do what he orders, instead of just forcing them to use words they don't mean at all. His good mood lasts until he reaches the private dining room they use when they are alone in the house – not that he has ever been present at official dinners anyway. There are maids here too, and they are setting the table for lunch. And as they do every day, at every meal, three times a day, they just set the table for two. Leo can't deal with it, and that's probably why they do it.

“You know the drill,” he says annoyed. “I don't want to repeat myself.”

“Then don't,” one of the girl says. “Have lunch where you're supposed to have it and be done with it.”

“Here is where I'm gonna have my lunch,” he says coldly, staring back at her. “Now, I know the concept is hard to grasp for you because your brain doesn't process complex thoughts, but things have changed. I came here as a sex slave, I'm not one anymore. Like you won't be servants anymore if you don't set the table correctly. It's your job, and I could get tired of the shit you pull off every day and tell Blaine you're not doing it right. I know you don't like it, but you know he would listen. So, it's up to you.”

They look at each other, uncomfortably. He could be bluffing, but it's true that Lord Blaine doesn't dismiss what comes out of his mouth as quickly as they would like. At the end of this staring contest among them, one of the youngest girls runs to fetch another plate and set of cutlery. Leo nods. “Now, before anyone even thinks about it, don't mess with my food,” he says in a stern voice, “because I'll make sure not to be the only one who eats it. And I know you don't want your masters to be poisoned or eat rotten food, am I right?”
Nobody answers and he speaks louder. “Am I right?” He asks again.

“Yes, Leo,” the governess says. She's way older than the rest of them, older than Blaine, and she's been in the house forever. She's disapproving of the situation, but she's not exactly hating him as the rest of them. Leo still has to understand what's going on with her, but he learned to deal with the old woman when things get particularly ugly between him and the other servants. She only gets annoying when he passes a certain line, but he only does that when they do. So, basically, she and Leo always manage to reach an agreement of some sort.

“Good,” Leo nods again towards her. He can hear the murmuring raising again as soon as he steps out of the room, but he doesn't care. For some reason, he know she won't let his food be ruined – maybe the importance she gives to the decency of the house prevents her from serving crappy food, even if it would mean to prank him – and he's got bigger problems to resolve.

Blaine's office is two doors down from the dining room. It's one of the biggest rooms in the house, excluding the bedroom which is an entire quarter on its own, and it's got heavy double doors that are mostly kept closed. Nobody is allowed in there alone, not even the servants, because Blaine keeps there very important documents concerning his work. Leo lost count of the times Blaine told him the importance of the books and ledgers contained in the bookshelves of his office. He doesn't care. Actually, he doesn't even care to enter the room, so his precious documents are safe. Why would he want to spend time reading war reports anyway?

The only thing that prevents Leo from getting offended by the implications is that Blaine says the same things to Cody, as if they were two children playing ball around very expensive exotic vases. They broke one last week doing just that but they were as far from Blaine's office as they possibly could, so it doesn't count.
Leo has spent so many time coming here to call on Blaine and try to take him out of this room that he would never come here alone for the sake of it. There are way more interesting places inside the house, like the pantry – which is his absolutely favorite place to take Cody and make out with him.

Anyway, before his brain gets lost in images that would distract him too much from his endeavor, he knocks twice and then enters before waiting for an answer. “We need to talk,” he declares, marching inside.

Blaine looks up slowly with a sigh. “I wonder what closed doors have ever done to you,” he says, rubbing his tired eyes.

“Nothing?” Leo says, puzzled.

“Then why are you unable to keep them closed?” The man asks.

Leo frowns. “If I wait for you to answer my knocking, I'm gonna grow old and die,” he protests, taking a seat on one of the two armchairs in front of the big wooden desk.

“Always so dramatic,” Blaine snorts.

“So, do you have a moment?” Leo insists, one dark eyebrow bent in a perfect arch.

“I suppose I do now,” Blaine sighs. “So, what happened?”

Leo's got the habit of playing with whatever happens to be around him, including rocks, precious items and Cody. And he's got a special fascination with Blaine's paper knife. It would be worrying, given Leo's records, but the truth is that the paper knife in question is golden and he likes to watch it spin because it shines. “Cody is sad, he needs a change of air,” he says, giving the knife another spin and sending a few paper clips to fly across the room. “We have to go on holiday.”

“You're right.”
Leo was expecting several kinds of refusals, to which he had several kinds of responses ready, so Blaine agreeing with the proposal confuses him. He looks up, blinking. “Excuse me, what?”

“You're right,” Blaine says, chuckling. “I know he's sad. And I know that makes you sad. And I can't deal with both of you moping around.”

Despite it being a wonderful news, Leo is suspicious by nature. “And where's the catch?” He asks, squinting at him.

Blaine laughs again. “No catch. The situation really is pretty bad around here, I'm not gonna lie. We need to relax, and if we can't do that by going out for a walk in the city, we're gonna change state entirely. I was thinking of taking you both to see the ocean.”

“You're really taking us out of here,” Leo says, in disbelief.

“You seem surprised,” Blaine says, maybe just a tiny bit offended. Every time he feels like that, his expression gets all stern.

“Yes! I mean no,” Leo clears his throat as Blaine glares at him. “It's just, it doesn't sound real that you want to come out of this office, pack and go somewhere with us. We were kinda losing hope, you know?”

“That's because you have no faith, both of you,” Blaine grumbles. “But one thing is true, I'm not gonna pack. You're gonna take care of it. Also, I leave you the honor of breaking the news to Cody. I'm sure that will keep you both occupied for the rest of the morning. Now, get out of here.”

Leo chuckles and pushes the armchair back, making noise.
Blaine looks up to scold him, but he's already out.


They leave the house at dawn, two days after Blaine and Leo's talk in Blaine's office.

Blaine refuses to take any servants with him, so they're a small caravan of three people, two horses and a little wagon containing provisions for a week and the big tent they're gonna pitch once they get there. There's enough room inside for Cody to sit when he gets tired of riding with Leo, but he never does. He's so excited by the whole adventure that he seems to run exclusively on enthusiasm.

They're crossing an almost completely desert land to get to the ocean, and there's not much to see except the golden sand and some very sporadic palm tree, but everything looks already interesting and magical to Cody's eyes, even the endless line of dunes that made Leo sick with nausea after two hours.

He rides in front of Leo, one of his big geographic books perched on the horse's neck and he points left and right at this or that particular landmark. Sometimes it's a rocky peak, sometimes the entrance of a cave that is apparently sacred for one nomad tribe or the other. Leo is not really listening to him.

He talks for hours. He asks questions. Every now and then he screams out of pure joy, just because he's so happy about this that he needs to let it out or he's gonna explode. He's enjoying himself so much that Blaine and Leo can't help but look at him with fondness. But at some point all this enthusiasm wears him out and he falls asleep. Leo puts his book away and gently wraps his arms around him, so he won't fall from the horse.

They ride in silence then, the sun burning so bright that Leo wonders what is it about with this people and this land. How could you possibly see such wasteland and think that it's gonna be the perfect place to build a country on. He was born in the northern regions. He's used to freezing winters and gentle springs. He loves running water and snow. Dry sand doesn't sit well with him at all, that's why he can't wait to see the ocean.
It's almost sunset when they hear the sound of the waves breaking on the beach. Leo leans in and kisses Cody on the cheek, waking him up. “I bet you wanna see this,” he whispers sweetly.

Cody blinks around confusedly. “Where are we?” He asks, but then his eyes grow bigger and bigger in awe and disbelief when he catches sight of the last of the desert, slowly declining into the bluest water he has ever seen in his life. “It's the ocean!” He screams, sitting straight up and then wiggling out of Leo's arms and off the horse. “We're here! It's the ocean! Blaine, it's the ocean!”

Blaine chuckles. “Yes, pet, it is.”

Cody screams excitedly and he runs to the shore. On the line where the desert meets the beach, he takes off his shoes and feels the softer, finer texture of the sand under his toes before breaking again into a run that brings him straight to the water. He splashes around, laughing, turning his face towards the setting sun, his eyes closed. The light of the sunset sets the horizon ablaze and turns the water a warm orange color.

Blaine and Leo bring the horses and the wagon towards a group of cluster pines a little far ahead. Once they get the tent set and the fire going, they will provide a good shelter from the wind. “He seems happy,” Leo says, watching Cody as he scurries left and right along the shore, bathing in what sunlight is left for the day, constantly keeping his naked feet where the water can come lapping at them.

“He surely does,” Blaine agrees as he ties his horse to a trunk. “But what about you? Are you happy?”

Leo smirks. “This is the first time I leave your fucking house in almost a year. What do you say?” He replies.

Blaine chuckles. “I'll take that as a yes.”

Meanwhile, Cody picks up shells and chases after crabs, screaming when they decide to chase him back. Blaine and Leo decide to let him play a little longer. He wouldn't be of any use pitching the tent anyway.
In fact, the tent is not a little structure made of fabric and a few poles, but a proper surrogate of their palace at home, something that is not supposed to be pitched by two people alone. Inside, there's room enough for the big bedding they need and the fire pit.

“Aren't you afraid I'm gonna run comes the night?” Leo jokes as he ties to the ground the rope Blaine just passed to him.

“Honestly?” Blaine looks at him from the other side of the tent. He took off his jacket to work, remaining in his short-sleeved shirt. His hair is messy and he's got stains of dirt on his face where he passed a hand on it to wipe away sweat. It's unusual for Leo to see him like this in a place that is not their bedroom. It's an image of intimacy he's used to associate with their little private world. It fills him with pride and a brand new kind of hunger to see him so disheveled and relaxed outside the house. “No. No, I'm not afraid of you running away.”

“And why is that? I know where we are. I know how to get to the nearest city, and I wouldn't need all this stuff to make it there,” Leo insists. He moves on to the next peg and hammers it in the ground.

“I don't doubt that. But unless you take Cody with you, and you wouldn't dare, I calculated that you can't stay without being all over him or me more than two hours. You'd be starving for cuddles halfway through the desert.”

Leo chuckles, knowing that what he's saying is true. “You got me.”

“You're good at this,” Blaine comments, watching him as he secures another rope.

Leo shrugs. “I used to do this with my father,” he explains. Leo never talks about his family because it's too painful, but at least now he manages not to get angry every time that the argument comes up. Possibly because, even if the current situation doesn't let him free to go and find his people, at least he has something he loves to cling too.

Blaine nods, and then leans in to give him a kiss. They both linger in it for a moment, acknowledging without words that there are things Blaine can't fix right now but that he promised to fix one day, and then Blaine sighs, leaving another kiss on his forehead. “Now go get Cody, before he grows fins.”

Leo chuckles and grabs a towel, it's gonna take some convincing to drag him away from the water, but he's got promises of chocolate to make and that always does the trick.


“Aren't you cold?”
Cody turns around and smiles at Leo as he approaches him.

They had a pleasant dinner around the fire pit, laughing and joking with each other as they only do in their bedroom. It was nice and Cody cherished the moment, but at some point he couldn't stay inside the tent any longer. With freedom so close at hand – just a step away – he couldn't think of staying inside four walls, even if they are made of fabric. He would sleep outside, if Blaine let him. So, he went out, leaving the other two alone for a while.

“It's not that cold,” he answers, and then the wind betrays him. Apparently, nights on the ocean are not as warm as he had thought. “Okay, maybe just a little.”

Leo produces a blanket and wraps himself and Cody in it. “Blaine didn't get you here to catch a cold, you know?”

“Did you know it was gonna be so cold on the ocean?” Cody asks, snuggling closer to him and resting his head on Leo's shoulder.

“Yes,” Leo chuckles.

“Of course you knew,” Cody pouts. “This is not the first time you see the ocean, is it right?”

“Well, it is the first time I see this ocean,” he answers, leaving a kiss on top of his head. “I went all the other way across the country once. I saw the ocean there.”

“Was it different?”

“No, not that much,” Leo says honestly. “Water is water. The sound of the waves is the same everywhere there's enough water for them to be born and die on the shore. It's a little bit like the Moon. No matter where you are, it's always big, shiny and magical.”

“But the Moon is only one,” Cody chuckles. “It always looks the same because it is the same. It does look brighter here, tho.”

They both look up at the full moon, a huge sphere just above their head. It looks closer tonight too. “It's because there are no other lights,” Leo says. “The city hides her from us.”

Cody frowns. “Then we should live here, so we can watch her all the time. It's beautiful, isn't it?”

Leo watches him, not the Moon. “Yes, it is.”

The morning after, Leo wakes up in a tangle of arms and legs, which is what he opens his eyes to every day, the only thing missing is Blaine.

They usually fall asleep hugging in an orderly fashion, gracefully draped around each other, but Leo is a messy sleeper and Cody is hardly less so, and they end up rolling around and kicking each other or Blaine until what is left is a muddle of limbs and faces press against the most improbable parts of a body. It's something everybody got used to pretty quickly – also because there was no other way – so when the number of legs and arms changes, they can feel it.

It's this, certainly not the right amount of sleep he got, to wake Leo up when the sun is not even out yet. He opens his eyes and blinks, seeing nothing but black strands of hair for a moment. Cody is sleeping on him, covering half his body with his own, one leg across Leo's crotch and his left arm wrapped around his shoulder. His face is buried in Leo's neck, and Leo's got black hair stuck in his mouth.

There's not enough light coming from outside the tent, and that can only mean one thing: it is too early to be awake, no matter the reason. He looks around, as much as Cody lets him, he's as heavy as stone when he's asleep, and he notices Blaine's gone. Now, it's not unusual for Blaine to be up and about hours before them to take care of some business or another. But they are on a beach away from everything and everyone, so Leo doesn't see what could have possibly dragged him out of bed at this ungodly hour.

He gently pushes Cody away towards his side of the bedding. Cody grumbles something that sounds like a complaint but he doesn't wake up. Instead, he grabs his own pillow and hugs him, showing Leo how replaceable he could be. “Thank you very much,” Leo hisses, crawling away. “I love you too.”

He finds his pants under the bed, where Cody threw them last night, and a shirt that could be his or Blaine's, he's not sure. He comes out of the tent squinting at the whitish light of dawn and looks around. Blaine's perched on the very same rock he and Cody were sitting last night, watching the moon. He's fully dressed and he's looking at the ocean, holding something in his hand.

“You are being too much of a morning person to be on vacation,” Leo says, climbing the rocks to sit next to him. “You're just not used to relax, aren't you?”

Blaine smiles at him and there's something in his smile that makes Leo cringe. “Did I wake you up?” He asks, pulling him closer.

“Yes, by not being there,” Leo answers. “I got used to have you somewhere on the bed. It feels weird when you're not.”

“I'm sorry about that,” Blaine says.

“So why do you sound like you're sorry for something else?” Leo asks, suspiciously. He's not very good with feelings, especially others', but he's always the first to sense that something is wrong, probably because he never expects things to go right. He nods towards Blaine's hand, there's a piece of paper folded in half in it. “What is that?”

Blaine sighs. “Something I need to talk to you about,” he says, giving it to him. “It's a drafting. A messenger brought it in this morning.”

Leo doesn't know what a drafting is, but it's immediately clear when he sees the seal of the Department of War on top of the page and the first lines of the missive. Blaine is called to the front, and by the look of it, his presence doesn't seem optional. “I don't understand,” he says, looking up. “I thought you were retired. Doesn't it mean that you don't have to work anymore?”

“It does,” Blaine confirms. “But in some special circumstances soldiers are required back on the field. When the army suffered too many casualties, for example. Training new soldiers takes time, the retired soldiers know what to do already. The situation at the front hasn't been good for the past three months. I was expecting something like that.”

“That's why you brought us here,” Leo realizes, suddenly. Blaine expected to see betrayal in his eyes, but there is none. All he can read in them is confusion and panic. Leo has never looked like the kid he is as he does now. “So there was a catch, after all.”

“Don't look at it as a catch,” Blaine says, calmly. “I just wanted to give you two a good memory, in case–“

“When are you supposed to leave?” Leo asks, interrupting him. The expression on his face clearly expects him not to say another world on that matter. But Blaine will, he has to.

“In about a week,” he answers. “There is no need for us to rush back home.”

Leo can't stop reading the few lines composing the letter. Some of the words are unknown to him, but the meaning is still pretty clear. They are taking him away. “Here it doesn't say for how long,” Leo notices. His voice doesn't show emotion, but the way he keeps swallowing is proof enough of how nervous he is.

“It's usually for how long it's needed,” Blaine says. Leo doesn't say anything. His lips close in a hard line, as if he was afraid that speaking he would let out too much together with words. Blaine feels a surge of tenderness and love for him because he is so scared that he can barely keep himself together, but he's trying so hard. Last time he saw him like that it was when they met. He was terrified of him, now he's terrified of losing him, and in both cases, Blaine doesn't know how to comfort him. “Leo,” he sighs, taking his hand and play with it in what he hopes is a soothing way. “Now you have to listen to me, because this is very important.”

Leo looks like whatever words he is about to say will be enough to make him calm down, which, considering what Blaine is about to say, is already a problem. Blaine holds his hand tighter, rubbing the back of it with his thumb. “In the last few days, I took care of things,” Blaine says, looking in his eyes. “If anything happens to...”


“If anything happens to me,” Blaine insists, “The title deed to you is in Cody's name, now. You will decide together what to do, of course, but it is important that he can now sign any document regarding you.”

Leo looks away, biting his lips. “Blaine, I don't wanna listen.”

“You have to,” Blaine grabs his chin and forces him to look at him. “I need you to hear this. I need you to be aware of what me not coming back would mean. If you two are left alone, I made sure you will have the means to go on for a while.”

“It won't be necessary,” Leo hisses. “You will be back.”

“But what worries me,” Blaine goes on, ignoring Leo's protests, “is that someone could take advantage of the situation. My father, for once, would try and take back what is mine, based on the fact that it's his name and not Cody's. I need you to protect him.”

Leo snorts a laugh, nervously. “Me? How? From the chains your father would put me in, if he doesn't sell me?” He asks. “No, Blaine. You need to come back. You will come back!”

Blaine hears his voice breaking, and his own heart breaks too. “Cody can do anything he wants, if you help him,” he continues, trying to stay calm for the both of them. “I know you could work this out together.”

They both turn around and find Cody standing there, barefoot and disheveled as if he just got out of bed. They don't know how long he has been standing there, but it's enough to look at Blaine in horror as he shakes his head. “No, that's not possible,” he says again, shaking his head slowly and shrugging. “You are retired, they can't ask you to go back.”

He says each word as if it costs him all he has, and as if he didn't believe it either. He knows that the army can in fact call his husband back. He knows – as every husband or wife of a soldier – the rules of the military life. The fact that he hadn't had to live such a dreadful moment until now only means that he has been lucky.

“Come here, pet,” Blaine says, reaching out to him. Cody bursts out into tears the moment he touches him, and Blaine holds him close to his chest. He could tell him everything's gonna be fine, but he doesn't know that. He will have to fight in the field – a thing he stopped doing ten years ago – and he could be rusty, everything could go wrong. He doesn't want to lie to them.

Leo keeps his distance for a while, wanting to give Cody a moment with Blaine, and also trying not to breakdown too. But he does. Suddenly. He lets out a desperate sob that shakes him to the core, as if he had been trying to keep it down until now and it exploded just right out of him. Blaine reaches out for him too, and they all just hug for a while.

When this all weird relationship started, Blaine knew it was going to be hard, but it's nothing – really, nothing – compared to the pain he's feeling right now, knowing that he put them both in this situation and now, going away, he could be putting them in an even worse one. Cody is unprepared. The kid is smart, but he's too young and he wasn't supposed to be alone, taking care of the family name and business. Blaine had married him after he retired to avoid leaving him alone. Leo can help him, of course, but not outside the house, not in official matters. And he can't foresee how much Cody will be pressured for having him in the house without Blaine to act as a disincentive. People can be mean. Politicians can be even worse.

But he can't dwell on it. Not now. He did all he could to help them out, even in the event he doesn't come back. He believes they can do just fine on their own. He has to believe it. “Enough tears,” he says sweetly, when he feels them calming down a little bit. “Come on, look up. Look at me.”

Both kids look up, their eyes red and still shiny with tears.

“I know it's a terrible news but nothing's lost yet, and we won't act like it is,” He says, and the tone of his voice, though sweet, doesn't expect a negative response. They know, and in fact they both nods. “We will forget all about it for the time being, and enjoy our vacation. We will create good memories to cling on to during our darkest hour, and you will get through this as you got through everything else.”

He looks at them until the first kid breaks into a tiny smile, and he smiles back. He can't tell them what they want to hear but he can say the only thing that count.

Whatever happens, you'll be okay.
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.
Fandom: !Fanfiction, Glee
Personaggi: Blaine, Cody, Harper, Logan
Genere: Introspettivo
Avvisi: Slash, Future!Fic, What-if
Rating: NC 17
Note: Some time ago, Liz and I thought about a what if where Blaine cheats on Leo the day before the wedding (yeah, I know) with Leo's ex-boyfriend Cody. Now, I hate this storyline because it leads to Blaine and Leo's breakup and it makes me cry (for real!). Liz ships Blaine/Cody, tho. So, I wrote this for her birthday!
Prompt: Written for the Phade team during the Cow-t #3 @ maridichallenge (Mission 4: Travel)

Riassunto: Blaine takes the twins and Cody to the Hampton for the first holiday of his "new" family
(which makes us fathers and sons)

The Hamptons in summer were filled with outrageously rich people showing off their wealth to one another. They would spend the whole year preparing for it, so they meant serious business.

No day passed without a party in one of the big houses, a brunch on some yacht or a rich people's version of a simple picnic, which included security guarding the perimeter of a park – reserved just for the guests – champagne and caviar. Everyone was always invited either because their presence would increase the importance of the event or because they had to see how much more wealthy their hosts were. The only people around were adults. Kids and teens were usually sent abroad for the summer, where they would spend their time and their parents' money in way normal people couldn't even imagine.

Blaine knew it wasn't exactly the funniest place to take his five years old children on vacation, but it would have to do for the moment. Hopefully in six months he would be granted permission to take the twins out of the States for a week or two and he would show them Europe for the first time. For now, they had to make do with the Hamptons.

Luckily, he seemed the only one to mind. They all had been overly excited since he broke the news during dinner three weeks before. None of them had ever seen the old house he had reacquired and by the way they were imagine it, Blaine was really hoping they would not be left disappointed. It was one of those old beautiful houses all painted in white, with columns on the front and a huge park all around it. It would be huge if compared with the apartment they had in Lima, but very small if compared with all the other houses around it. He wasn't really worried about the twins noticing – they would be too busy exploring the place – but with kids you could never know. Lately, Harper made a habit of telling everyone what she thought of them, and she was unforgiving. You couldn't be fat, small, ugly or bald without her telling you so with the tone of someone who expected you to do something about it. For a man used to embarrass other people, Blaine experienced quite a few awkward moments in the past few weeks.

“Are we ready?” He asked. He hoped the answer was yes because the SUV was already more loaded with luggage than he felt comfortable with. It was already enough that he had to sell the Audi. He really couldn't bear to ride around in a car that screamed out loud that he was a family man, now. That didn't work well with his mid-life crisis.

“Wait! What about this?”

Blaine sighed and looked at the first aid kit Cody was showing to him. It was not the little box that could be shoved in the trunk and left there in case someone fell and scratched his knees or little more. It was a suitcase and, by the size of it, it contained some Frankenstein-like equipment to resurrect a corpse given the right amount of cut-and-sew and a proper storm. “Don't you think you're a little overacting here, pet?”

“What if they hurt themselves?”

“I think it's safe to say that a box of band aids will be enough,” Blaine smiled.
Most of the times band aids were all that was needed. Band aids – especially the cute ones with cartoons on them – worked with everything, including tummy aches. You kissed the hurting part and put a band aid on it, both Harper and Logan would consider themselves cured.

“What if something happens to them?” Cody insisted.

Blaine gently took the first aid suitcase from his hands and brought it back in the house. “Nothing will happen. Besides, we're going to the Hamptons, not in the desert. It's only a four hours car trip and there's plenty of hospitals there. Actually, you can say that doctors are all there is in the Hamptons. There's no need to worry.”

Luckily he had never got rid of his loft in New York or either they would have been forced to take two flights or, in the worst case scenario, embark in a thirteen hours car trip with two little kids, which pretty much accounted for suicide. Instead, they had spent one of his three weeks with the kids in New York and they were going to spend the most part of the remaining two in the Hamptons before going back home in Lima.

“Come on, pet. Everything's gonna be fine,” Blaine smiled even more, hoping this would be enough to stop his boyfriend to freak out. This was not the first time Cody had to deal with the kids more than one night, but somehow this happening away from Lima upset him greatly.

Cody took a deep breath and then nodded. “Alright. Sorry. I was just--”

“Freaking out, I know.” Blaine chuckled and kissed him on his forehead. “Go get them, I'll start the car. We need to get going.”

Cody disappeared in the house again and when he came back, he was holding a very sleepy Logan in his arms and holding Harper by the hand. The sight made Blaine smiled warmly. Cody was so good with them; it didn't really take long for them to like him. Actually, Harper was amazed by his ability to draw everything she asked him to and Logan went as far as declaring he was going to marry him when he grew up, and would follow him around everywhere he went. Really, Blaine couldn't ask for more.

The only way this could have been more perfect was if Timmy had been with them, but that would have taken much more time. He was a teen, which was a synonym for pain in the ass. Unlike his younger siblings, he couldn't be convinced to try and see if this new arrangement in their lives would work. Timmy simply thought that it was like giving up, clearly avoiding acknowledging that there was nothing to give up on anymore. He was angry with him and still felt a vague sense of betrayal that he was the only one to feel by now. Hopefully, his father was going to use this time alone with him to discuss it once again. If, by the end of the year, Blaine was going to spend Christmas with all three of his children, he would have considered it a success.

The trip was just half the nightmare he had thought it would have been. Logan threw up only twice and, except Harper's usual twenty minutes long fit about her wanting to listen to her favorite song over and over, everything went quite smoothly. They even saw some ducks with their ducklings in the little pond near a service station, which filled the kids with wonder as they had never seen a real duckling before. Harper kept pointing at the little yellow animals while her brother screamed in joy and jumped on the spot in the grip of pure ecstasy.

It was almost dinnertime when they arrived, and the kids were barely enough awake to eat at that point. Blaine ordered pizza and left them chewing at it in front of the TV as he helped Cody unpack. He entered their bedroom with the last of the suitcases and dropped on the bed, looking at him upside down. “I must be the worst father in the world right now,” he chuckled.

“And why is that?” Cody's sweet smile was always a balm for him, whether he was tired or sad. Luckily, this time it was only the former.

“My kids are dining in front of the TV with pizza. Can it be any worse than that?”

Cody chuckled. “I don't think that's so bad. They're not really watching TV, just looking at it. They are too sleepy to do more than chewing at the moment. I was the same. After a long trip you could have placed me in front of a shoebox and I would stare at it as it were interesting. I would not be even aware of where I was. It was like I was sleeping already but with my eyes open.”

“That's terrifying,” Blaine commented.

“A little,” Cody agreed, good-humouredly. Then he screamed when Blaine suddenly grabbed him by his hips and dragged him down on the bed. “Blaine!”

Blaine laughed like a kid and hugged him, leaving a playful kiss on his temple. “You're so cute when I get you by surprise. It's like, you never see it coming,” he murmured against his cheek.

“Shut up,” Cody said in that pale imitation of pout he could manage. It had been something new for Blaine. Cody never really pouted. Never really got mad at him or in general. If something was wrong with him or with them, he would say it. Even though he couldn't and didn't want to make parallelisms, life was indeed easier. At least in that.

Blaine laughed again. “Okay, let's do this. Why don't we put the kids to bed and then I make up to you for this disgraceful act of silliness towards you?” He proposed.

Cody pretended to be thinking about it. “I'll let you know if I see the solution fit,” he said and then laughed when Blaine tickled him.

“Were you saying?”

“Alright, alright!” Cody chuckled, fidgeting in his arms as he tried to get free. “I get it. Go take care of the kids. I'll be right here.”

Blaine instantly stopped tickling him. “Don't you want to help me?” He asked. “You've been declared the second best story teller of the family. It's an honor!”

“And I'm really grateful for that. But do you really think they need a story today?”

They didn't, but it was cute to have Cody there while he was saying goodnight, so Blaine brought him too. The twins' room was big enough for the two of them. It had been Timmy's room when he was little and he had had too many toys to fit elsewhere. Now that he was seventeen, the room at the end of the hallway was enough for him. Blaine had put a TV in there and a computer and everything he thought his son could like. He couldn't wait for him to see that. However, this was the last of his problems with him now and he really needed to put the whole Timmy thing aside if he wanted to enjoy this time with the twins.

Cody read this in his eyes and gently pulled him back to their room again.


“Everything's gonna be fine,” Cody said as he pushed him on the bed.

As far as Blaine remembered, this was what Cody said to him when everything went downhill, and he was also the first person who took the time to say it to him. Blaine had needed badly to hear those words, but he was alone, he was the one to blame. Nobody would care to reassure him that he was not going to die for the pain. Cody was there for him, even though he was not sure that he was going to be wanted after everything was said and done.

Blaine could not thank Cody enough for sticking with him without asking for anything. Knowing what both of them had done to Blaine's possible marriage, Cody had not tried to fill a place he was not supposed to take. Even now that everything was decided, Cody was building a new life at his side, without trying – even for a moment – to mimic the one Blaine had had before. He obviously took it in great consideration, but that was it. Blaine was sure this was the reason why everything went quite well in the end. Cody always knew when to stand aside and let Blaine deal with the other important things in his life. Cody was insecure about many things but not Blaine's love for him – possibly because Blaine had never failed him in that sense – so he could let Blaine's old life come between them every once in a while because he didn't feel threatened at all.

Blaine was quiet sure it wouldn't have worked the other way around.

He pulled Cody closer and nuzzled his neck. “It's already fine,” he smiled, leaving a little kiss there. “I promise you, this is gonna be the best holiday you've ever had.”

Cody chuckled, a hand playing messily in Blaine's hair and his nose pushing childishly against Blaine's. “It already is.”

There was something entrancing in the sweet way they were whispering reassurances to one another and it didn't take long before it led them to another path, which was filled with desire as much as it was with tenderness. Those two things seemed always to call for each other in Blaine's head.

He kissed his way along Cody's jawline up to his cherry-red full lips. He enjoyed their taste and the way they instantly gave in, letting him inside his mouth. Cody's compliance was never weak but trustful, which made it even more precious. Cody was not the fragile thing he had been when he was younger. He had actually proved himself to be way stronger than Blaine in many ways, but what he was doing now – not only the sex but being with him, with his kids, starting this new life with him – was more than just accepting him. Each day they spent together, Cody was willingly giving Blaine ways to hurt him badly if he ever screwed up. And Blaine was well aware of that.

That was why he had promised to himself to never do the same mistake again.

Cody unbuttoned his shirt, slipping gentle fingers underneath it as soon as Blaine's chest was revealed. He stroked him gently, his mouth and hands both waking him up, inviting more than asking him to respond to his ministrations. All that once was Cody – his cuteness, his shyness – was still there, but the way he moved on him, the way he touched him spoke of self-control and self-awareness.

Cody had changed in those last few years. He grew up away from Blaine and came back to him, and that was refreshing and healthy in ways Blaine couldn't even begin to explain. He was responsible for the way he treated him now, not for what he had become. And he became marvelous, and Blaine loved him.

Blaine undressed him quickly, getting rid of the t-shirt and jeans and hoodie that triggered some parts of his brains and always left him breathless and sadder than when they had begun. Only when he had Cody's naked body in his arms he felt at peace, able to discern what was now and what had been just by smelling his skin, recognizing Cody's scent.

Cody slowly parted his legs, making room for his body. He welcomed him between his tights with a low groan filled with ill-concealed desire. Blaine ground down on him, slowly turning every sound Cody was making into lustful moans. One strong rub after the other he watched as Cody descended into that state where he didn't know nor care what was happening around him. One kiss after the other he brought Cody to press against himself, pleading him silently, the dark blue of his glaze piercing him through heavy eyelids.

Blaine entered him in one single but agonizingly slow thrust. His eyes never left Cody's face to catch all the smallest changes in it as he was opening him up inch by inch. Cody bit at his lower lip, staring back at him and closing strongly around him as soon as Blaine's cock was completely sheathed deep in his body. For a moment they were still, enjoying the feeling of being so close to each other, only tasting the pleasure that was about to come. And then Blaine moved, breaking the silence with both his grunts and Cody's desperate moans.

Cody's fingers sunk deeper in Blaine's shoulders, and the man's hands closed around Cody's slim hips, pulling him closer, keeping him still as, thrust after thrust, he declared his desire for him, his love, and the need he had to feel him under his fingertips. Cody responded with the same intensity as he matched his strong thrusts, searching for his lips and asking for kisses that had always been about to come anyway.

Soon the room was filled with their voices, softened by preying lips to keep them quiet.
Blaine let him come first, and kept him stroking him gently as he came too, riding the last shivers of both their bodies. Just a moment passed before they were hugging and kissing, already settling down in the perfect enclosed world they had just created.


The day after was madness.

To keep them quiet during the trip, Blaine had told the kids they were going to the beach as soon as they got to the Hamptons. By the time they actually got to the house, Harper and Logan had been too tired to do anything but sleep and Blaine had made the horrible mistake of thinking that they weren't going to remember what he had promised them. He should have known better.

So, at nine o'clock sharp – basically dawn on a vacation day – Harper came knocking at their door, followed by her sleeping brother holding the entirety of his blankets. Knocking had been a hard concept to grasp for Harper. Before her father took her aside and explained to her that adults need a thing called privacy, she would burst into every room without asking anything. It had took all her parents ability to dissimulate what they were doing when she came in in the middle of the night, and all their patience to make her learn. Eventually, she did understood but she was still not getting why.

“Come in”, Blaine sighed, after he and Cody had put some pants on.

Harper pushed the door open and Blaine was amused to see that she was already wearing her miniature pink bikini. It was a frilly thing, made out of a butterflies fantasy fabric. Blaine was ready to bet the top would be thrown away within ten minutes from their arrival on the beach. “Can we go to the beach now?” She asked, while her brother lifted both his arms so Cody could pick him up and place him on the bed.

“Don't you want to have breakfast first?” Blaine asked, hopefully.

She shook her head. “Dad said I can't go to swim if I have breakfast,” she explained.

“Dad is right,” Blaine nodded, picking her up too.

“I wanna swim,” Harper said again.

“I wanna swim too,” Logan nodded eagerly. “But I'm hungry.”

Blaine laughed wholeheartedly. “What about we put some pants on...” he said, tickling Harper's tummy and making her chuckle, “we go to the beach, have a quick dip and have breakfast on the beach? What do you say?”

“Yes!” Both kids screamed.

“Will Cody come too?” Logan asked after a moment of hesitation.

“Do you want him to?” Blaine asked. Logan nodded eagerly. “Then, I think he will come. Is it okay for you, pet?”

Cody nodded too. “I wanted to go to the beach early anyway,” he said. “Less people.”
Blaine wasn't sure they were going to be able to take the kids back home before the crowd arrived but he preferred not to say anything to keep both Cody's hopes and his own up.

Getting ready didn't take much time.
Harper stuffed her little backpack with beach toys by herself with a little help from Logan, and they were out of the house just half an hour later, heading for the nearest beach. The kids were ecstatic, literally bunching in their baby seats. Logan asked all kind of questions. How big the ocean was. If it was bigger than their house. If there were sharks in it, to which his sister answered yes, panicking him. Luckily, everything was forgotten when the blue line of the water appeared behind a curve of the street.

Logan's first experience with the ocean ended in tears.
Despite being in his father arms and the water being barely lapping at his knees, he was scared to drown and just screamed and cried that he wanted to go back to the sand where nothing were moving under his tiny feet. Then, after seeing his sister fearlessly conquering the weaves, he entered the water again and magically salt water was not a problem anymore. Even dropping on all his four and barely having his head out of the water didn't scare him anymore.

A cute breakfast on the beach, consisting in fruits, followed. Logan, in particular, was very happy with peaches because he was a great fan of them, even if he couldn't eat them properly for his life and needed Cody's help to peel them and actually put them in his mouth. After that, Blaine could righteously sunbath, with his son sprawled on a miniature beach towel next to him, doing exactly the same, while Harper coerced Cody into making sandcastles, one bigger and more ornate than the other, forgetting that he was an illustrator and not a sculptor. However, since her uncle Adam always made sandcastles with her at the park, and he drew and did sculptures, then in Harper's eyes there was no difference between Cody and Adam's ability. Cody would have liked to disagree, but he kept quiet and complied to the little dictator's orders.

Blaine was really content for the first time in months, probably.

Things had been rough at the beginning with all the fights, the screaming, and the calls from their lawyers. They had even gone as far as threatening one another of taking away the kids. Luckily, at some point they calmed down before doing something stupid. They had met and talked, and it had been awful and full of all those mixed feelings that had always brought them back together in the past. However, this time one of them was too angry and hurt to forgive, and the other too tired to fight for something that he felt he had no hope to get back in the end.

After taking the decision, everything had been easier. They knew what they had to do, so they started to cooperate. A schedule popped out. The kids had now two homes, but they had made sure that they were twice as loved. Obviously, something was still awkward. They still couldn't look at each other when they brought the kids over, they could still not talk over the phone without hanging up as soon as possible, saying just what they needed to say. It was going to take time, Blaine knew it, but at least they were going the right way this time.

The only missing piece of the puzzle really was Timmy. That was why Blaine suddenly sat up when his eldest son's name showed up on his cellphone's display. “Hello?” He asked, hesitantly. Timmy had stopped talking to him the moment he had known what he had done. Therefore, the first thing that came in Blaine's mind was that something had happened and he worried.

“Hi,” Timmy's voice was grumpy, struggling to come out. Not that much of a news, actually.
Puberty had hit him, lately, and in the worst way possible.

“Hi Timmy,” Blaine said. “Is everything okay?”
For a moment, Timmy didn't answer. Blaine's heart skipped a beat. In his mind all kind of bad scenarios took place, and he was ready to pack everything up and go back to Lima.

“Yes, everything's fine,” Timmy said, eventually. “Dad wants to know if you arrived safely. You didn't call yesterday.”

Blaine smiled at his I didn't want to call, dad made me tone. He was coerced into calling him. That had been clever from his dad. “Yes, everything's fine,” Blaine answered. He tried to speak naturally, like Timmy calling wasn't a big deal or something he was expecting from him. Timmy was so mad that he thought he had the right to punish him by not speaking to him, and Blaine didn't want to diminish that. “Tell your father I'm sorry if I didn't call. We all fell asleep as soon as we arrived. The kids are alright, tho. They're having fun.”

There was another pause and Blaine held his breath. Timmy had said what he had to say already and he could close the call if he wanted to. Yet, he wasn't hanging up. Blaine heard him sigh. “What are they doing?” Timmy asked, eventually.

Blaine smiled and looked over at Cody who had caught his son's name and was now looking at him, waiting to see what was going to happen. “Oh, you should see them,” Blaine answered, and then proceeded to tell Timmy what his little siblings were about to.

Maybe they weren't going to talk about their problem. The problem, Timmy's anger and his sense of betrayal were still going to be there for a long time. Nevertheless this was a first step. Blaine really couldn't ask for more. And he wasn't going to.
Fandom: !Fanfiction, Glee
Personaggi: Blaine, Cody, Sam, Leo
Genere: General
Avvisi: Slash, AU, Underage, Lemon
Rating: NC17
Note: Writing AU of a story that is not written yet. Check ✓
Prompt: Written for the Phade team during the Cow-t #3 @ maridichallenge (Mission 2: Historical!AU) and for 500 themes (theme 458: Another fine mess).

Riassunto: June 1630. Leo is all alone in a city cursed with the plague. Blaine is a physician who's searching for a cure. What could possibly happen when the latter meets the other and finds out that Leo hasn't got sick despite everything?

The plague struck the city in the June of 1630 but Leo didn't know what was going on until the house of his father fell a couple of months later. Before then, all the bodies dragged out of the buildings and burned in the squares had meant nothing to him but being forced to stay indoor and bear the horrible stink that came up from the smoking piles.

Then the first of their servants caught it. She didn't show anybody the pustules growing in number by the hour on her back, lest Leo's father threw her in the streets like everybody else was doing with their servants in every other noble house in the city. So, she kept quiet. Within few weeks, all the servants were sick and it was a matter of time before the disease spread to the family too. The first to die was Leo's mother, the plague finding her weak from the pneumonia of the year before. Then went Leo's little sister Tana, and his uncle with his wife. His father was last. When the signs of the disease started to show on his chest and arms, he locked himself in his bedroom, hoping that the plague wouldn't reach the last member of the family still alive. He wouldn't let Leo inside and only speak to him through closed doors. So, when he died, he was alone, and Leo was left on his own and on the run.

Leo's father had told him what was left of the family's fortune and where to find it. His last order was to join the rest of the family out of the city, on the hills but it was too late to do that. By the time Leo had reached the town's walls, the gates were closed and the guards would not open them. Nobody could go in or out by king's command. The city was considered lost and condemned to die, eaten from the inside by the plague, that was spreading faster and faster now that the livings were gathered so close together with the dead.

The only help they got came from the nuns and friars that had always refused to flee the city as the authorities had done. They would walk around the city, bringing what little they could offer to the healthy people and comfort to the dying ones; but the food was scarce and the water poisoned, so even their labor was vain. The lazar house was quickly filling up, and of those who went inside, only a few came out.
A few doctors had stayed in town, wanting to avoid the accusations of cowardice from their colleagues, but they were mostly useless as they didn't know what they were dealing with. They had no cure, only experimental solutions that at best would kill the patient, putting him out of his misery.

People were scared and desperate, a combination that led to superstitions and the strong conviction that the disease was either God's punishment or the result of the action of plague-spreaders sent by the Devil himself. People were looking suspiciously at each other and lynchings were often performed on innocents accused to be greasing door handles with the epidemic.

That was the reason why Leo was running now.

He had entered what he thought was an abandoned house to search for food or something to sell for bread in the only tavern still standing, and an old woman had seen him rummaging in a wardrobe. She didn't give him the time to explain and just called the others. If Leo had learned something in the past few weeks was that a group of people that had been laying about in the streets for days could easily recover and run as if they had demons at their heels to beat the shit out of a man if they thought he was responsible for the plague. Leo had seen it happen too many times already and he didn't want to be the victim this time, so he propelled himself through the alleys as quickly as he could, trying to avoid the corpses scattered around or the more dangerous infected people who reached out for him.

People were screaming at him, calling to others as they passed by and providing each other with sticks and clubs to use once they would catch him. Leo was running out of options. He could keep going the way he was now, hoping that all the noise the crowd was making wouldn't alarm the people that was standing in the square he was heading to. But that was a miracle he couldn't really hope for because the city was so silent lately that you could have heard a pin falling, let alone a whole crowd screaming that there was a plague-spreader. So he was left with only one thing to do, and that was entering the area where the monatti stoked the corpses before burning them. There the infection was said to be raging and there was no way to leave the place safely once you had entered it.

But it was either die for sure by the hands of a furious crowd that had almost caught him already, or take his chances and go beyond a long line of dead bodies that could not harm him unless he touched them. He had been lucky enough to stay healthy all this time, maybe his luck was to last a little longer. Anyway, he had no time to think and he just entered the street where the stink of death and disease was strong enough to make him want to puke. Unluckily for him, the crowd chased after him, the desire of putting an end to the cause of the plague stronger than their fear to catch it.
The street was lined up with corpses wrapped in rags and piled up one on the other, sometimes in towers of three or four. Every now and then there was an empty cart ready to be used. The monatti would pull it around the city, going where there had been a death to take the body away. They were preceded by men with bells on their shoes and belts, who warned people of the cart's arrival, so that they could go out of the way both to make room and stay safe.

Avoiding the bodies wasn't as easy as Leo had thought, especially with the angry mob at his back. He kept stumbling and he was often forced to stop and look around to find a way out from a wall of dead people or carts blocking the streets. He came across a couple of monatti, who looked at him in disbelief. One of them cursed at him and called him crazy, while the other laughed and told him to run as fast as he could. Leo knew the man thought him dead already but his suggestion was sill valid.

He had just left them behind when he turned to see what the crowd was at and tripped over a body he hadn't seen. It was a matter of seconds and he would land on the rotting corpse or one of the many equally infective puddle in the street. But he didn't. Someone caught him in mid air and dragged him in the dark shadow of a sideways alley. He saw the crowd pass him by without seeing him as the stranger kept a hand on his mouth to prevent him from screaming. As soon as the crowd was gone, the hand was too.

When Leo looked up he found the unmistakable long beaked mask of a doctor. He was a tall man with a long black robe and white gloves, his face completely covered. The eye of the mask were big and rounded, but so dark Leo couldn't see the man's eyes underneath. “Come with me,” the man says.

Leo frowned. He didn't think so. This man could dress like a doctor but he didn't act like one. They didn't grab people from the streets and hide them from angry mobs. Usually they were scared of strangers as everybody else. And they didn't touch you, unless it was strictly necessary. “Thanks, but no. I know my way out of here,” he nodded, trying to get away.

The man's grip on Leo's arm tightened. “I meant a way out where they aren't waiting for you,” the man said, pulling him along. “They have surrounded the area to get you.”

“How do you know that?”

His long beak pointed at him as the the man turned to look in his direction. “I saw them,” he said, quite obviously. “They seemed convinced you're spreading the disease.”

“Well, I am not. I was just looking for food,” he answered, doing very little to stop the man from dragging him around a labyrinths of little alleys he had never seen before.

“In an abandoned house? Good luck with that.”

Leo frowned. “How did you know that?”

But the man didn't answer. He stopped at the end of the street and peeked around the corner, keeping him behind himself. They were a few feet away from the city's walls and there were two soldiers guarding them. Pressed against the man's robe, Leo noticed that it didn't smell awful like those robes usually did. It smelled cleaned and freshly washed with something that reminded him of his mother cologne. “Now, listen to me” the man said, still watching the doors. “How good are your acting skills?”

That was a strange question. “I don't know. Never done that in my life.”

“Well, try to be good, then,” the man said, offhandedly. “I need you to play a part and I need them to believe you. So, as you see, the entire success of the plan depends on you.”

“Great!” Leo said, sarcasm pouring out of his words like acid. “I'm so much more motivated, now. Especially since I don't know who you are, what do you want and where the hell are we going.”

The man suddenly realized that he had dragged him around without any introduction on his part, and that seemed to upset him somehow. He pulled back his mask, revealing his face. He was a man on his thirties, with black curly hair and eyes of a golden shade of brown such as Leo had never seen before. “My name's Blaine Anderson,” he said, showing that the light accent Leo had heard wasn't because of the mask. “I am a physician.”

Leo looked closely at him one more time. “Leo,” he simply said.

Blaine nodded. “Leo, I can take you out of the city with me but we have to be very careful.”

“Now, that's bullshit,” Leo said, almost happy to be finally able to declare the man mad once and for all. “Nobody can leave the town. Believe me, I tried. You can't get past those doors.”

“Unless,” Blaine corrected him, retrieving a piece of paper from an inside pocket of his robe, “you have a special wavier of the Pope for medical research and merits.”

Leo frowns, eying the parchment. “You have Pope's wavier?”

Quickly, Blaine put the thing away. “Sort of. I have a very good fake one” he precised “and it never failed me. My assistant made it. He is a wonderful falsifier among other things. Now, listen to me. You are going to be my trainee. Your task is to assist me in my daily work. In case they ask you, tell them that you were with me even when I entered the city this morning. They just don't remember it.”

“This is crazy. They will never believe me,” he protested.

“They will if you do,” Blaine said seriously. “Just act like my trainee and leave the rest to me.”

There was no time for protesting any longer because Blaine pulled his mask back down and pulled Leo's hood up, then he grabbed his arm again and dragged him toward the doors. He approached the guards with long, sure strides and stopped a few inches away from one of them, forcing him to take a step back. “Open the doors, please.”

“I am sorry, sir. Nobody can enter or leave the city.”

“We can,” Blaine said. He showed them his fake wavier and as they checked its veracity, he proceeded to stun them with words. “Actually, we arrived this morning and you let us pass. My name is Blaine Anderson and I've been sent here by the Holy Father himself to try and find a cure for this disease.”

“I remember you,” the other guard said, looking at them suspiciously. “But not the kid.”

“You're probably experiencing some level of memory loss, because the kid was indeed with me and he has been for almost three years now,” Blaine said immediately while Leo at his side just held his breath. The worst that could happen was to be sent back. But after being one step away from escaping, even that seemed an awful punishment. “But don't worry, my friend, this is nothing to worry about. Long, tedious hours guarding doors that don't do anything but be closed would do that to anyone. A good night of sleep and everything will be alright.”

The guard, actually worried for a possible mental illness causing him memory loss, grumbled that he thought he remembered the kid now. “Is the wavier in order?” He asked his colleague.

The other guard read the thing again, causing Leo to tense even more. The man seemed to watch closely at some part of the parchment as if he wasn't convinced with it, but it turned out he only had problems reading in general. “Yes. You can go.”

When they opened the doors for them, Leo couldn't believe it.
By the time he managed to get his head around the idea of himself leaving the city, they were halfway to Blaine's house.


The first thing they did was reach the house of Leo's relatives – despite Blaine telling him that everyone in the area had died or moved – but when they got there, they didn't find anyone. The house seemed abandoned. All the furniture was covered with white sheets and all the precious things Leo's relatives had owned were missing, but the house didn't look like it had been robbed. They had just moved somewhere else, probably in another country all together. So, alone and with no other places to go, Leo agreed to go with Blaine.

Blaine lived in a beautiful big villa on the hills, like the one they had just left. It had a beautiful garden around it that shined in all its glory even if it was clear that nobody had had the time to take proper care of it. The access to the property was through a gate almost completely covered in ivy and surmounted by two stone lions that looked gravely upon them when they passed.

“So this is your house?” Leo asked as they walked on the path that led to the villa. Trees and bushes were so overgrown that Leo kept looking around, sure that there had to be real lions as well as stone ones in there.

“My family's, from my mother's side” Blaine answered, taking off his mask and robe. “She used to live here when she was still a maiden.”

They passed over a little bridge – a miniature arch of wooden planks, like a toy in a country doll house – over a little river sprouting out of nowhere. This part of the garden had to be extremely pretty in the past. “You don't sound like someone who grew up around here,” Leo noticed.

“Because I didn't,” Blaine gave him a big relaxed smile. There had been something different in him since the moment he had entered the property. “I was born in Virginia.”

“Where is it?”

Blaine chuckled. “The New World,” he said.

“So why did you come here?”

Blaine chuckled again and ruffled his head, which was something Leo hated with a passion. “To be someone I've just met, you surely ask a lot of questions.”

Leo wanted to remind Blaine that he had just invited him to live in his house, which was a little bit more intimate than asking perfectly reasonable questions, but he didn't have the time because, when they were about to reach the villa, they were approached by a black haired kid about his age who threw himself in Blaine's arms before doing anything else, included greeting them. And then he proceeded to scold Blaine so badly that even Leo felt a little sorry for him.

“Are you out of your mind?” He screamed as his puffy cheeks turned red out of rage and anger. “You said three hours, Blaine! Three hours. And you've been gone all day!”

“I know, pet, I know.” Blaine spoke soothingly but he really looked sorry for having upset this kid so much. “I did wanted to come back on time, but nothing went as planned and I had to improvise.”

“I don't even know what your plans were,” he sighed in resignation. Apparently, his anger came only from his concern for Blaine. So, once he saw the man was well, he calmed down.

Blaine let out an amused little laugh. Leo expected him to ruffle Cody's hair too, but he didn't. “I didn't know what they were either, actually” he said. “By the time I figured them out, it was already late. I'm really sorry, pet. It won't happen again, I promise.”

The kid frowned at him, as if he didn't believe him. “Right, 'cause you usually keep promises like these,” he said in fact. Then he sighed, relaxing. “Never mind. The important thing is that you're here safe and sound.”

“Right,” Blaine nodded. “Now, Cody, this is Leo. Leo, this is Cody.”

Cody – who apparently had a real name and wasn't called pet like Leo was starting to think – turned to him for the first time and looked as if he had only noticed him now. The expression on his face was unreadable and Leo couldn't say if he was fine or annoyed with his presence but, if he had to guess, he would have said the latter. Leo quickly waved at him, feeling a little awkward. Cody just gave him a nod and then turned back to Blaine, not actually asking anything to him but still managing to demand an explanation by the mere look in his eyes.

Which Blaine promptly avoided. He gave Cody his robe and mask with an elusive smile. “Please, dispose of these,” he said, gently. “And would you take care of Leo? He's gonna stay with us.”

“What?” The two kids said in unison, even if for two different reasons. What Blaine had just said was so incredibly weird for both of them, that they didn't even turn to look at each other in surprise for the twin outbursts.

Blaine ignored them all together. “He needs a bath and food,” he said as he climbed the stairs, already heading inside. “Oh! And check for any sign of the disease. You know how to do it, right?”

Cody's baby face just seemed to melt in annoyance and frustration. “Blaine, are you kidding me? I've still tons of other things to do!”

Blaine didn't stop to answer to him. “I'm sure you'll manage everything as you always do,” he said over his shoulder. “Leo, come to me when you've done. Cody will tell you where my lab is.”

For a few moments after Blaine had closed the entrance door behind himself, Leo and Cody just stood there in silence, Cody still watching the door in disbelief and Leo not knowing exactly what he should have done now, or even what was expecting him.

“Right!” Cody turned suddenly with a clap of his hands. He tried to make it look like what just happened was no big deal, but he made a poor job of it. “Come with me. It's gonna take a while with you.”

“Hey! What is this even supposed to mean?”

Cody, as his master, didn't answer. He just led the way around the house, bringing him to a backdoor. Once inside, they walked through a narrow hallway and climbed down an even more narrow staircase to what looked liked a very spacious bathroom in the basement. Four little windows at ground level let the sunlight in and a line of oil lamps hanging from a rope on the ceiling gave the room all the light it needed. There was a bathtub right in the center and a coal-burning stove on the side, with several buckets filled with water resting on it. Cody threw Blaine's robe in the stove and put the beaked mask on a shelf. Then he grabbed the buckets with a rag, to avoid burning himself, and emptied them in the bathtub one by one.

“Take off your clothes, please” he said.

Leo frowned. “What? No!” He exclaimed outraged, crossing his arms on his chest. “Not until you leave the room.”

Cody seemed unaffected by this. “I'm supposed to give you a bath,” he just said.

“I can bathe myself, thank you.”

Cody tried the water in the bathtub as he would have done for a child, then he sighed and stood up, facing him. “No, you can't” He said. “I need to check you for signs of the plague. So, take off your clothes, please.”

“I know what the plague looks like!” Leo protested. “My whole family died because of it.”

Cody's patience seemed to run really short on this one, if the frown on his forehead deepening by the second was of any indication. “I won't look for the signs of the disease when it's already spreading, but for the ones that forecast it.”

“Which ones are they?”

Cody nodded. “Exactly. I know them, you don't. So, would you take off your clothes, please?” He asked again, this time barely containing his annoyance. “I assure you, you have nothing I haven't seen before. God, you're worse than a girl!”

Leo glared at him. It was weird to hear that coming from a boy who was way more effeminate than him. And that was saying something, considering that Leo was very small and slim for his age. Still, Cody was really petite and elegant, with delicate and feminine features, as if he had never hit puberty. It didn't even cross Leo's mind that Cody could be referring to his mien and not to his appearance. It had been only logical to him to hide his body from the eyes of other people, especially stranger. He had never undressed in front of someone else before.

However, he did now because it looked like Cody would do it for him if he didn't obey. Once he was naked and covering himself miserably, Cody took his clothes without a second glance to him and threw them too in the stove. “Hey!” Leo cried out. “Those were the only one I had!”

“We will give you others,” Cody assured him. “Now get in the tub, please.”

Leo complied, also because standing there naked wouldn't have been any better. The water temperature was perfect, which surprised him, because Cody clearly hated him and trying to boil him alive or making him freeze wouldn't have been so strange on his part. Once he was fully immersed, he let out a moan of real pleasure. He hadn't realized how long he had done without a bath. Now he understood how dirty he was, how tensed, how much he needed it. “God, this is heaven.”

Cody knelt beside the tub and started to gently sponge his back and arms, carefully checking the tone and color of his skin as Blaine had taught him. “When was the last time you ate?” He asked.

“I don't remember exactly,” Leo answered. “Maybe it was five or six days ago. A nun gave me a piece of bread.”

Cody lifted one arm and gently palpated his armpit. “Did you lose a lot of weigh?”

Leo shrugged. “Not that much, considering I haven't been eating enough,” he answered. “I've seen sick people losing way more than me. What are you doing?”

Cody shushed him and walked around the bathtub to wash and check his other arm. He stayed silent for the longest time, cleaning him carefully and even washing his hair twice. When he spoke again, his voice was lower and somehow troubled. “How did he find you?”

“I was running from an angry mob. They thought I was a plague-spreader,” he chuckles. “He hid me.”

Cody put the sponge away. “And you didn't know him?”

Leo shook his head. “Nope. Never seen him before.”

Cody's face remained dark as it was, but he nodded and smiled somehow gently at him. “Now get out of the water,” he said, giving him a towel. “I'll get your clothes.”

He left the room and came back five minutes later with a new pair of black breeches and a white tunic that were probably his own. “Here, for now you can wear these,” he said, passing them to him. “If you're really gonna stay with us, we're gonna buy some new clothes for you.”

Then, he barely waited for him to be fully dressed and told Leo to follow him again, leading him upstairs. He didn't show him the house at all. He walked fast, urging him to hurry up, until they reached a room at the farthest end of an awfully dark corridor. “This is your room,” he announced, opening the door for him. “If you need anything, you will find us downstairs. Blaine's lab is on the second floor, right next to the stairs. I suggest you to join him in a little while. Dinner will be served in two hours. Until then, I left you bread, cheese and some fruit in your room.”

Then he walked away. Just like that. Not really giving Leo time to say anything.
His thank you - if he was ever prone to say it – remained unspoken.


Blaine's lab was not the crammed little space some other doctors had, but a spacious room with a big table in the center and shelves on the walls to keep everything in order. Cody would always see to that. The lab was cleaned twice a day – more if Blaine's experiments happened to be too messy – and Cody was always there at the end of the day to put everything back to his place, since he knew Blaine wouldn't do that more often than not.

Today was no different. Even if Blaine had been away all day, he had still had enough time since he came back to make a mess. So, when Cody walked in the room and found everything scattered around, papers everywhere and tons of recently filled phials that he was going to either clean or label later, he wasn't even remotely surprised. He just closed the door behind himself with a sigh.

“You couldn't just call it a day, could you?” He asked, picking up notes from the floor.

“I had to write something down, but I couldn't find the right journal,” he explained, looking very closely at the liquid inside a phial that he was holding up in the air. “So obviously I had to check them all.”

“You could have asked.”

Blaine corked the phial and put it together with a bunch of others, all containing a different colored liquid. “You were busy taking care of our new guest,” Blaine said, quickly moving around the room as he was used to do. He was always doing two or three things at once. It looked like he couldn't bare to have a single moment of idleness when he worked. “I didn't want to bother you with my disorganization.”

Cody clacked his tongue. “Oh the irony!” He said, wondering if Blaine realized that his mere presence bothered him with his disorganization every single day. This Leo guy was simply the last proof of it.

That caught Blaine's attention. He finally stopped swirling around and looked up at him, frowning. “What is that supposed to mean, now?”

Cody crossed his arms to his chest. “I don't know, you tell me.”

Cody had never been the passive-aggressive type, so Blaine instantly got that something was wrong, and above all what it was. Anyway, knowing what the situation was didn't mean he knew how to handle it, so he did the only thing he was sure was going to work. He walked to Cody and grabbed him by his hips, pulling him closer. Then, he started kissing him along his neck, slipping his long fingers under Cody's tunic.

“Don't you even dare,” Cody threatened him, slapping his hand away.

“But I missed you!” Blaine looked at him with the perfect puppy eyes, but it was useless. Cody looked very dangerous, his clear blue eyes were a darker shade of anger.

“I said, don't you even dare.”

Blaine let him go, but he didn't step away. “You weren't so mean a few months ago,” he whined, massaging his hand in place of the hurt pride that he couldn't cuddle.

“I wouldn't have needed an explanation a few months ago,” Cody replied, his arms still firmly crossed to his chest, denying Blaine all kind of access preemptively. “Now, I do. And I don't reckon this is too much to ask.”

Blaine sighed, realizing there was no way out of it. “Well... He seemed fit,” he said.
Even the way Cody slowly raised his eyebrow was threatening. “Fit,” he repeated, dryly.

“For the experiments!” Blaine quickly added. “He is fit for the experiments.”

Cody didn't seem convinced at all. “Yeah. Sure,” he nodded, even more dryly.

Blaine thought that that was a pretty good explanation, but evidently it was not. Then, finally, sudden realization came and Cody could see it dawning in his dumb, unaware eyes. “Wait! Do you think I like him?” He asked with a nervous laugh. “Come on Cody. I don't even know him!"

“Yeah, 'cause you actually need to know people to like them, do you?” Cody replied, growing more and more annoyed with Blaine's every word. “You put your hands on me two weeks after we first met!"

"Well... Well, that was different!” Blaine said. He grabbed his arms, forcing Cody to uncross them, and pulled him to his chest. “You are you. It's a totally different matter. Can I have a kiss now?”

“No, you can't!” Cody pulled his hands away, closing both his fists in anger. “And you, Blaine Anderson, are unbelievable. How dare you try and win me over with some random romantic bullshit after you just brought a stranger you're all head over heels for into our home?"

"I am not... “ Blaine sighed, tiredly. “Cody, he's been alone in the city for at least three weeks. I saw him twice, two different time and places. He was wearing the same clothes both times and he had lost weight. Yet, he is not sick.”

The way Blaine was looking at him was clearly telling Cody that all those information were important, and he knew they were. Usually people got ill in two weeks top, less if they couldn't wash themselves or their clothes. Leo was the dirtiest thing Cody had ever seen in a while, and yet he didn't have any sign of the epidemic, which was a good sign for Blaine's research. And Cody knew Blaine cared for his research more than he cared for random fucks, which was saying something. “Yeah,” he sighed, finally giving up the pout. “So those gorgeous sky blue eyes and his wild black curls are in no way involved in your decision to bring him here?"

“Does he have sky blue eyes and wild black curls under the dirt?” Blaine asked, playfully. “I hadn't noticed that.”

Cody glared at him so bad that he was almost comical. “Blaine...”

“I hadn't! I swear! Besides,” he chuckled, not believing Cody to be seriously angry, “I already have my black haired beauty in the house.”

Cody put his hands on his hips. “Oh, really. And who would that be? Do I know him?”

Blaine smiled, amused. There was a time, a year before, when Cody would never play like this. So, seeing him doing that made Blaine extremely happy. “I don't know, maybe. He is a gorgeous boy, seventeen years old next week, best painter I've ever known and I'd be lost if it wasn't for him. Any idea of who he might be?”

Cody pretended to be thinking about this mysterious brunette beauty hanging around the house. He pushed one of his hips out in an even more girly pose of himself and tapped his bottom lip with his index finger, pensively. “Mmmh, I don't know,” he eventually said, shaking his head. “Nobody comes to mind.”

“Really? Last time I checked, there was only one painter in this house,” Blaine chuckled as he tried again to slip a hand under Cody's t-shirt. “Did you multiply when I wasn't looking?”

Cody giggled happily, but he he slapped his hands anyway and he moved away too. “You'd surely like that, wouldn't you? Maybe that's why you brought the new kid in!”

Blaine rolled his eye. “Again? If you keep saying that, I'll start thinking you are the one who likes him.”
Cody made a face, pretending with himself more than Blaine that he hadn't looked at the new kid twice. But he had, so the comment hit home a little bit. That's why he stirred the conversation on Blaine again. “I bet you thought about that too. I can totally see you picturing us making out for your pleasure.”

Blaine became suddenly still as his eyes fixed on something that was only in his head. Just for one blissful second his lab disappeared to leave him in his bedroom, looking at Cody making out with another kid. He hadn't seen Leo clean yet, so the other kid on the bed had some generic features resembling those of Leo, but the perfect picture of the two of them naked exploring each other body did the trick anyway. Actually, it was good enough to make Blaine swallow in discomfort. “Now, that's not fair.”

Cody slapped him on his chest, outraged. “You thought about it!” He slapped him again. “You actually just thought about it, right in front of me!

“Stop it!” Blaine whined and laughed at the same time, wrapping him in his arms to make him stop. “You were beautiful in my head!”

“Should that justify you in any way?” Cody slapped him again as he tried to wriggle out of his embrace, but not really managing because he was light as a feather and outrageously small.

Blaine couldn't stop chuckling. Cody was always incredibly beautiful, but he was never so stunning to look at as when he was mad. Anger made his beautiful porcelain face fierce and a pout just stressed how much puffy and rounded his face could still be despite his age, and these two characteristics just made him irresistible for Blaine. “Yes!” He answered, in fact as he kissed his cheek. “Because I always picture you, anyway. You're always there in my head.”

“I'm always naked and doing inappropriate things in your head!” Cody protested, trying unconvincingly to push him away. “Come on, stop it!

“Because you do inappropriate things very well.”

Once turned on, Blaine rarely could be stopped. Mainly because he didn't even try to control himself when he had toyed with the idea of having sex. It was like lighting up a fuse, the sparkle would always run to the explosive way much faster than you. And it was clear to both of them that Blaine's fuse had been burning for minutes now by the way his voice lowered and his kisses had move from Cody's cheek to his neck.

“I do not!” Cody said, tilting his head to try and reduce Blaine's space of action. But his denial was way less effective since he was already caressing Blaine's arms more than pushing them away.

Blaine nodded, slowly. “I clearly remember you doing very inappropriate things on my bed yesterday,” he insisted, going back to kiss him on his cheeks and lips. “But I may be wrong. I say we should check if you really can do them, now.”

“You can't possibly want to check now! I still have to go and take care of dinner, and set the rooms for tonight, and prepare for tomorrow's breakfast and clean up the lab...”

Blaine had long stopped listening to his pointless protests. “Actually, I do,” he repeated as he picked him up and moved away with one arm everything that was on the table, so he could place Cody on it. “Everything else can wait, pet.”

Cody squealed a little as he landed on the table. “Blaine, I didn't even lock the door! What are you even thinking?” He protested, closing his legs to make himself clearer. Apparently this wasn't enough to stop Blaine, who was all over him anyway. “Somebody could see us.”

“Who?” Blaine asked as he started unbuttoning Cody's tunic without permission. Cody, still chuckling between his protests, allowed him to do so. “With the sounds you're making, Sam will know better than entering here.”

“I'm not making any sound!” Cody said outraged, and actually moaning. “Besides, we did it already, today! I was half asleep, but it still counts.”

At this point, Blaine was totally unaffected by Cody's slapping, pushing or weakly protesting, especially because he knew they weren't real. “Yes, and you were so totally cute... “ he confirmed, murmuring in his ear. “But it still counts as only one and I want you again.”

Cody sighed affectionately, as his hands finally stopped pushing and slipped underneath Blaine's jacket, reaching inside to tug at his waistcoat and at the shirt underneath. “Aren't you even tired? You've been out running around the city between corpses forever!”

“I don't actually run,” Blaine smiled, feeling him relaxing under his caresses. “I'm a slow walking man who peacefully stroll between patients and bodies.”

Cody rubbed the tip of his nose against Blaine's jaw, watching him closely. “So you didn't get tired saving that kid's life and all? I can totally picture you play prince charming as you hide him under your coat.”

Looking like a kid that never really hit puberty – let alone grew out of it – Cody was indecently beautiful. Blaine knew that that should have made him thinking, but since he only liked Cody and not every kid in general, he ascribed his desire for someone nearly twenty years younger than him to Cody alone. And currently lost in said desire, Blaine really didn't get what was going on with Cody's fixation with their guest but he played along. “I didn't hide him in my coat,” he explained, letting Cody's shirt sliding off his tiny shoulders.

“Didn't you?” Cody asked, biting the man's jaw. “But he had the smell of your cologne on his skin.”

“How do you know that?” He asked amiably as he slipped a hand in his pants and cupped his butt. “I only pressed him against myself to keep him from running away in front of the city guards.”

Cody moaned a little bit, surprisingly founding himself more aroused already than what he had thought himself to be. Now the open door was only a distant concern he was not sure he really had. “I had to clean him up, remember? You asked me to,” he answered, slowly parting his legs. “I'm jealous.”

Blaine had never heard this word coming from Cody's mouth before, but he thought it to be quite predictable, if not justified, after he had brought home a kid his age. It had to have something to do with some sort of territoriality. Hopefully, it was cuter than dangerous. “Jealous?” He asked, sweetly as he teased him between his buttocks. “You shouldn't be. I plan on doing way more than press you against me.”

Cody moaned a little louder, lost between his need to let himself go to Blaine's ministrations and to be reassured about Leo. “But you like him,” he insisted as he closed his hands around the fabric of Blaine's shirt and lifted his hips from the table to help him take off his pants.

“Maybe he is cute under all that dirt,” Blaine conceded. “But I don't like anyone as I like you.”

Cody looked at him, pouting. “I hate you so much, really.”

Blaine leaned down to kiss his chest and belly as he strokes his open legs. “Why now?” He asked, just barely looking up.

Cody sighed and caressed Blaine's cheek, rubbing his knees against his sides. “Because I love you too much,” he said with a little chuckle. “And because you're wearing too many clothes.”

“That's something that can be easily fixed,” Blaine smirked as he stripped, looking Cody in the eyes. But when he went back kissing him and he reached down to resume touching him too, the position wasn't very good, so he had to fix that too. He made Cody slide all the way down toward himself, until his naked ass slammed against his crotch. ”Now, that's better.”

Cody squealed again, only louder, and he grabbed the edge of the table, scared to fall down even if he knew Blaine wouldn't let him. “God, you're so rude!” He protested, biting Blaine's bottom lip. His perpetual complaining nullified by the lust filled noise he was making.
“I'm not rude, pet, I'm rough,” Blaine precised, and as if to make a point, he inserted two fingers in him, knowing both Cody could take them and they needed to speed everything up since he was dying to be inside him and Cody had been teased enough.

Cody moaned loudly, closing instinctively around them. Since Cody was generally so small, Blaine's fingers alone were cumbersome and extremely intrusive, especially when they didn't waste too much time in foreplay. “Blaine! Slowly... “ he whined, but still met those fingers with his hips. “This is not... you shouldn't with your fingers... It's dirty!”

“Do you like it?” Blaine asked, looking up from his neck. Cody's cheeks turned a brighter shade of pink because he did like it, no matter how dirty it still looked to him, and he could never lie to him. So he nodded and Blaine smiled, leaving a tender kiss on his forehead. “Then it's not dirty.”
After that, Blaine pulled his fingers out and, following a request that had not been made by either of them but could be read on both their bodies, he slipped his cock inside, tearing out a proper yell from Cody's throat.

The boy crossed his legs behind his back, calling Blaine's name and telling him things that only made his thrusts stronger, deeper and rougher as the lab, drowning in the shadows of the upcoming night, was filled with their moans.


Apparently, Blaine and Leo weren't the only people living in the house. While Leo was coming down for dinner, as Cody had told him, he came across a tall blond woman who responded to the name of Sam, and who squeaking welcomed his presence with a – frankly quite strong – bear hug, insisting on walking him to dinner. She told him that she was Blaine's colleague, more of a lab assistant than a real physician though, which made Leo wonder how many assistants Blaine had exactly, and what the word really meant to him.

In fact, Leo had had the unfortunate experience of choosing the wrong moment to show in Blaine's lab half an hour ago, and saw Blaine and Cody together. He had gone away before they could see him, but he had seen them nonetheless. And not only the sight upset him in ways he couldn't – or didn't want to – explain to himself right now but it also made impossible for him to look at either of them now that they were both sitting at the table with him, let alone the fact that sodomy was illegal and punished with death.

Dinner was served in a big old room of the first floor, where the kitchen was too. As Sam was explaining to him right now, about thirty people lived in the villa when Blaine's family was still alive, but it was too big for just the three of them now, and only a few rooms were used.

“And they are enough mess to clean for me alone to add another room,” Cody said, not so casually glaring at him.

Blaine put a hand on Cody's. “You do a wonderful job, pet,” he smiled. “We would all be lost without you.”

Sam frowned, looking at Leo blushing face. It was so obvious that he was feeling awkward that she couldn't let it go. “Are you okay, Leo?” She asked. “You seemed flushed.”

Leo turned even redder. “No, I am fine, thanks,” he quickly said. “I'm just wondering why exactly I'm here.”

“Then it makes two of us,” Cody chipped in.

Leo coughed. “I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm grateful that you got me out of the city and all, but it seems strange that you would go around infected cities to pick up perfect strangers and bring them to live in your home, don't you think?”

“Actually, that's exactly what he does,” Sam chuckled, amused. “Isn't it funny?”

Leo blinked a couple of times and the news even brought him to look up, forgetting for a moment what he had seen in the lab. “So you were all--”
“We were all sick,” Cody precised. “Blaine caught it on the vessel that was bringing him back here from one of his journeys.”

“You could say he actually brought here the plague,” Sam mocked him. Blaine childishly threw her a piece of bread.

“He was brought to the same leper hospital I was in,” Cody continued, apparently oblivious to the bread war that was taking place across the table. He was taking some sort of pleasure in telling Leo how long back his history went with Blaine. “And we both recovered from it by ourselves.”

“So, when we were on our feet again, I started making experiments on our blood,” Blaine explained. “I was convinced that it contained something that had fought the disease and won it.”

“On blood? Isn't it something about the air?” Leo asked, confused. Cody laughed so mockingly that Leo felt instantly stupid and looked down. “At least that's what they said.”

Blaine looked at him tenderly, which actually brought Cody to pout a little bit. “Yes, and they are wrong. Some oriental physicians think that it's a blood infection caused by fleas, and I'm prone to believe this is correct.”


“Yes. Rats carry them everywhere. And there are rats on ships, so the plague can spread so fast,” Blaine explained.

“That's why we burn clothes, so the fleas die,” Cody added.

“So,” Blaine carried on, “I tried to mix parts of Cody's blood and mine to a formulation that in oriental medicine is used to cure similar blood infections, but it didn't work. Apparently, when you recover from the plague you're only able to avoid getting sick again. Whatever there is in your blood, it protects you and you alone.”

“And that's when I come in,” Sam barged in. “They were traveling a lot more one year ago, looking for some special place or person that could help the research, and they obviously found me.”

“And you were sick too,” Leo nodded.

“Sort of,” Blaine said. “She had it, but it was a different kind of what we had. She was experiencing fever, weigh loss, pale complexion, everything but the pustules. It was like she was at some first stage of the epidemic and it would never get worse than that. I waited to see if she recovered and, when she did, I tried to use her blood too, but it was useless.”

“Apparently, I recovered from it and I can't never get it again,” Sam shrugged. “But I can still give it to others. Don't ask me how.”

“We don't know how that works yet,” Blaine confirmed. “Anyway, she came to live with us and I continued my research for a suitable blood donor.”

“Which would be you, by the way” Cody said, with a little bit of acid in his voice. “You're basically a lab sample.”


Blaine beamed. “Yes!” He said, excitedly. “You didn't catch the plague in three weeks that you lived alone, malnourished, dirty and among sick people, so I'm positively sure you never will.”

“What do you mean? That I'm immune to it?”

“Yes!” Blaine exclaimed again, even more excited. “That's what I'm hoping for. So, if you really can't catch it, maybe your blood has what I'm looking for.”
Leo was even more confused than he was before. “So do you want to get my blood?” He asked, a little scared, maybe.

“Just a little bit,” Blaine smiled. “It won't hurt too much, I promise.”

Leo nodded, hesitantly. “And then?”

Blaine shrugged. “Then we will see. If it works, it will be the greatest discovery of all times,” he answered. “If not, we'll keep on searching and you could even stay with us, if you want.”

“What?” Cody asked.

Blaine smiled at him too. “He doesn't have any other place to be, Cody. What would you wanna do? Leave him in the streets?”


Blaine leaned on him and kissed him tenderly on his cheek, making Leo blush furiously. He got so agitated that his piece of bread slipped from his hands twice before he could get hold of it. Sam chuckled, as she often seemed to do, “Well, welcome home, Leo,” she said, smiling brightly at him. Then she leaned in to speak to his ear. “I reckon by the color of your cheeks that you must have seen something in the lab earlier. That's what you were peeking at, am I right?”

“I don't know what you're talking about,” he whispered back, trying to act casually and failing.

She chuckled again. “Yes, you do. But I won't insist,” she said. “Just know that if there's something that you want to know, you can easily just ask.”

Then she went back to eat as if nothing had ever passed between them.
Leo didn't ask that day or the day after but Cody would go on and be really loud in his appreciation of whatever Blaine was doing to him – which Leo would never peek at again since his memory served him embarrassingly well enough – and eventually, some day the question that was burning on his tongue right now would come out and make Sam laugh some more.

In the meantime, he just agreed to stay and hoped he hadn't get himself into bigger troubles than the plague was.
Personaggi: Leo, Timmy (citati) Blaine, Cody
Genere: Drammatico, Introspettivo
Avvisi: Slash, Future!Fic, Angst, What if
Rating: PG 13
Prompt: Written for the Blood Devils Team @ Cow T (Mission 1: Year) and for the Zodiac!Challenge (Bad Ending)
Note: Who's gonna read this? Me and Liz of course. This is something that didn't really happen and never will. I hate it. I can't even think about it. It's a big no-no, 'cause Leo and Blaine love each other and they can't be with anybody else (unless it's for short periods). No, no, no, I don't wanna hear about it. La la la la la.

Riassunto: It's been a year since the break up and it's time for Leo to sign the custody agreement and sum up.

Leo thinks that deep inside himself, a tiny part of him had hoped for things to turn out differently.
Maybe he hadn't consciously believed they would fix everything, but he hadn't thought they would be apart for good either. Instead, as he looks at the documents on the desk now, everything feels suddenly real and he doesn't know how to cope with that.

The house is quiet. The four of them seem to make no sound at all, when just one year ago two of them where enough to turn the two stories house into hell. One person down and nobody wants to make noise anymore and this place feels empty and preposterously huge.

The twins are sleeping in their room, using each other as stuffed animals to comfort one another. This is the first time in six months that they actually fall asleep in there alone, like they used to do before all this. Somehow they feel it's over too. Leo guesses they stopped fighting like he did.

Timmy is downstairs, watching TV. Leo has noticed he doesn't really watch it, he just wants to hear noise and pretend to look at the screen so he doesn't have to talk with anybody. Leo remembers how it had felt when he was a teen and he had all this rage inside, and he couldn't let it out. Back then, Blaine had helped him through it.

Leo can't even think his name. He knows he should, but it became a trigger for all his sadness and he can't afford to say it aloud or in his mind anymore. It's like pulling a cork. He says it and tears fall down. After a whole year of fighting and lawyers he should be able to deal with the fact that he and Blaine are no longer together and they will never be again, but he can't. Maybe because by the time he came around his rage and sense of betrayal, Blaine had already got over it. Blaine had tried and tried and tried to reach out for him, but Leo had been too hurt to let him. And when he was finally ready to sort things out, Blaine wasn't interested anymore. Leo has lost his chance and he remembers very clearly the moment he has realized that, because his recovered heart has broken again. It's still in pieces.

Sometimes he thinks about what happened and he can't believe it.

Millions of couples break up everyday because one person cheats on the other. There is nothing strange in that, but what happened to them was just so stupid. And Leo kinda knows it now. His therapist keeps saying to him that maybe – just maybe – things went exactly like they were supposed to. He and Blaine have a twenty years long history of break ups and make ups, so it was probably bound to happen. Still, they had fixed much worse things so many times before, that he has no clue how to live a life where this isn't possible anymore.

He pushes the papers aside. He needs more time, just a little bit. The agreement for the kids custody is not due before Monday. He still has the whole week end to pretend Blaine is just out of town for work and not living in another apartment with another man, waiting for a document that states his rights to see his children.

At least, they didn't fight over them. They both agreed that whatever problem they had was theirs only and children shouldn't have been affected by it more than it was necessary. They both agreed on joint custody, but since Blaine travels a lot and he spends a lot of time away from home, Leo is the one who's got physical custody of the twins. Timmy was a different matter. He turned sixteen before the document was written, so he had the chance to choose where he wanted to live, but even though he and his father are on the right path to reconciliation, he still hates Cody and blames his presence for everything. So he chose to stay with his siblings and with Leo.

Leo knew that would have broken Blaine's heart, so he agreed on letting him see the kids and take them for weeks at a time whenever he wants. He will not stop him from being with his own children as long as the two of them can still be civil deciding for them together. And despite what happened between them, he is sure they won't fail on that.

Not wanting to rob the kids of their home, Blaine has left him the house, but Leo will have to take care of the bills alone from next month on. Since they are both wealthy enough to cover the kids' every need, it seemed fair that Blaine would pay just half the maintenance he should, but he and Leo will share all the kids' expenses from school to medical care. This will probably be the sole collaboration with Blaine Leo can hope for, and he clings to it desperately.

While he and the kids remain in the old colonial house, Blaine has bought a huge apartment for him and Cody in the same neighborhood but not in the same street. Leo sees the building every time he brings the kids to the nursery school and he has run into Cody at the supermarket a couple of times. The awkward greetings and random conversation about the price of tomatoes nowadays have given him an idea of what their Christmas and kids' birthdays will be. He hasn't liked the feeling at all, but at least he has realized that he doesn't hate Cody anymore. Of course he'd rather not see him at all and he doesn't have contact with him, unless it's strictly necessary – when he calls Blaine to let him know about something regarding the kids and he is not home, for example – but after realizing that he would probably have Blaine back by now if he hadn't been so stubborn, he doesn't see the point in blaming Cody anymore.

The first mistake was Blaine's, the second one was yours. The sooner you take responsibility for the things you have consciously decided, the quicker you'll heal. That's what his therapist says. And he is trying his hardest. He just hopes that someday, as a reward for him not being too bitchy toward his ex's boyfriend, he will be able to fall asleep without crying his eyes out.

He has no idea how to live without Blaine. Since he was fifteen, Blaine has been at this side. Leo has grown up with him. Now when he wakes up in the morning and realizes that whatever the day brings, he is going to have to deal with it alone, he panics. His therapist says that this should give him the measure of how wrong their relationship was on certain levels, because Blaine was for him more a fatherly figure than he should have been and that Leo has never really learned how to be independent. But he doesn't care. He just feels lost and lonely, he doesn't want to hear any of that. There are times when he just wants Blaine back and knowing that he can't makes him feel so bad that he is afraid his heart is going to stop or something.

He senses that feeling coming back again in this very moment. He stands up and takes a deep breath, trying to look straight at the floor, so his eyes won't see anything that can bring back memories. In that bedroom, almost anything does. When he feels his sadness is under control again, he just leaves the room and doesn't look back. He will sleep in the guest room tonight, hoping the twins won't come to look for him.

He goes to check on the twins. Their room is just across the hall. It used to be Timmy's, but then he asked for a bigger one and Blaine let him move to the one on the back of the house that has a balcony and it's almost as big as the master bedroom. The twins sleep in a bed that's basically a huge nest and it also looks like one. It consists in a rounded mattress set on a wooden structure and decorated with colorful felt leaves. Blaine found it on the internet and went crazy over it. Despite Leo's doubts on having a huge eagle's nest in the center of the room, he wanted it for his little birds. That thing arrived two weeks after and Blaine went head over heels at the idea of assemble it all by himself. The new bed made the twins really happy because it was so big they could roll around in it as much as they wanted without any real danger. Blaine would tell him that it was so huge there would have been room for other two or three kids in it. And Leo would chuckle and tell him not to even think about it.

He didn't know back then that the family was going to shrink instead of expanding.

The twins are sound asleep and their little star-shaped light on the wall casts a soft blue light over the room. They stopped using their pacifier a few months ago but Logan still sucks on his thumb sometimes, especially when he's troubled and he doesn't feel at ease. Leo cringes, seeing him doing that in his sleep right now, as if even his dreams weren't happy. Leo gently strokes his son's hair and daughter's cheek, then he tucks both of them in and leaves their room, leaving the door ajar.

He can still hear the soft noise of the TV coming from downstairs and he hesitates on top of the stairs, wondering if he really wants to face Timmy right now but, when he enters the living room heading for the kitchen, Timmy turns around and smiles sweetly at him. Leo asks him if he has eaten something and when Timmy says no, he heads to the kitchen to fix something up for him. Cooking is becoming more and more Leo's way to distract himself, much as it has always been for Kurt. Another perfect example of the fact that what genetics can't provide, closeness and love can. He really hopes to develop with his three children the same connection he has with his own fathers.

Timmy joins him in the kitchen, as he warms over some chicken leftovers. He wanders about for a while, doing nothing in particular and gathers the courage to say something. “Did you sign it?” He asks, eventually.

Leo tenses and he looks down in the sink. “Not yet,” he manages to say.
He feels it, the wave of hope that irradiates from Timmy's body at his answer and it breaks his heart. He closes his eyes, waiting for the question he know is going to come.

“So you are... reconsidering?”

Leo leaves the knife on the counter and goes to sit with him. He takes Timmy's hands in his and only looks up when he thinks he has found the right words, even though he knows really well they don't really exist and anything he's going to say won't never be right for the kid in front of him. “Timmy, I can't reconsider.”

“Yes, you can!” Timmy says right away. “I know that guy is living with him, but I bet daddy would get back with you. You just have to say it.”

“I don't.” Leo's eyes fill with tears again as he slowly shakes his head. The fact that Timmy doesn't get it makes it more painful because he has to say it loud and clear. “It's not my call anymore, honey. I just get to sign, now.”

That's when it dawns on Timmy what the situation really is. “Then it's really over,” he says, and his voice breaks. The sadness in it is so deep that Leo's heart just cracks. He tries to hold back the tears but it's useless when Timmy starts crying too, feeling as hopeless as he does. Leo just opens his arms and hugs him, hoping it will be enough for both of them and knowing very well it won't.