Claimer: They're oursssssssssssss :D;
Warnings: same as before.
Dragomir chuckled lightly as he reoriented himself after the fight. “The inn we’re headed to is just a little bit further down this direction. “ Dragomir said, indicating the way they’d been headed before the attack. Sure enough, they reached the inn quickly, and entered the boisterous main room that acted as both a bar and a lobby. They made their was up to the front desk and Dragomir inquired about the man.
“Do you mean Lazare?” the bartender questioned.
“That’s the man. “ Dragomir said brightly. “I’m an old friend of his.”
“I see…” The tender said slowly, remaining obviously unconvinced. “Well unfortunately, Lazare went out of town.” He said as he picked up a glass and started cleaning it. He seemed eager to end his conversation with the men from the military.
“What? Out of town? He just up and left?” Dragomir asked, thoroughly surprised. “Did he leave a forwarding address? Anything?”
“No.” The bartender said curtly, setting his glass down. “If Lazare doesn’t want to be found, no one can find him. No matter who’s looking.”
“Was it the Berceuse Malheureuse?” Dragomir asked under his breath. The bartender quirked a brow and looked at them out of the corner of his eye.
“Something big is about to happen.” He said ominously, his voice barely above a whisper. “That’s why Lazare got out of town.” The bartender filled a glass of ale and slid it across the bar to a customer before turning back to them. “I’d love to chat with you boys, but business and all…”
“Yes, of course.” Dragomir said courteously, inclining his head slightly. “Thanks for all for you help.” He grinned before turning and exiting the bar. Once they were outside, Dragomir leaned against the wall and sighed with frustration. “Damn it. A dead end.” He ran a hand through his hair and turned to Niles. “So much for that. Sorry to drag you out here for nothing… I don’t think there’s much else we can do here, though.”
"That's all right," Niles replied with a smile and shrug. "I didn't have any ideas at all, so at least you had something." Together, they began to head back to headquarters, Niles following Dragomir, as always. When they had made it about halfway there, however, an idea popped into his head, and he hurried a little to stand beside the other man, where he could catch his eye.
"Oh! Dragomir, if you don't have any other plans..." he smiled, "Would you like to come home with me for dinner? I've come over to your house twice and gone on your invitation to a party...it's the least I can do." He looked at Dragomir hopefully, praying that he would say yes.
“Ah, that would be wonderful!” Dragomir grinned brightly at Niles. It would be great to have the chance to see Niles’s house, and Dragomir was especially looking forward to enjoying another meal with Niles with the added bonus of not having Pierre or the rest of his family there with them. Sometime alone with Niles would be fabulous. “Would it be tonight?” Dragomir asked eagerly.
Niles’s smile brightened at the response. "Yes, if tonight is all right? You can just come home with me after work, if that works out for you," he offered, excitement creeping into his voice. Not only was he happy to have Dragomir over to his house, for once, but the fact that Dragomir seemed so happy about it nearly made him bubbly over with happiness. "Do you think that'll be all right?"
“Yeah, that sounds great!” Dragomir nodded happily. “I should tell Tatiana not to expect me home for dinner, though.” His smile lessened slightly. It would be so much nicer just to go home with Niles after work without stopping at his house first... “Perhaps I’ll wire her from the office when we get back.” He decided. He could afford it, especially since it was for more time spent with Niles.
They made their way back to the office in good time without running into any more problems. When they arrived, Dragomir went straight to the telegram office and sent Tatiana a wire informing her of his plans. Once that was taken care of, they both returned to the office in high spirits, entering together and proceeding through the formalities.
"Welcome back," the Major greeted with a grin, looking up from her desk. "Were you successful?"
"No, sir," Niles replied, glancing over to Dragomir before continuing. "We weren't able to find the person we wanted to interview."
"I see..." Major Delancy trailed, focusing on the cut on Niles' cheek. "Did something happen, Corporal?"
"Ah- we ran into some men who tried to mug us, sir," Niles replied embarrassedly. "But Dragomir saved me before anything really bad could happen, so-" suddenly realizing his mistake, Niles clapped his hands over his mouth, blushing fiercely.
The Major smirked. "Did he now? Well, that is fortunate, isn't it? Very well, get back to work, both of you. You'll have to come up with some other plan to get information." She gave them a dismissing gesture, waving them away, and then looked back down to the paper she was filling out.
"Y-Yes, sir," Niles managed, feeling completely like an idiot. As they walked away, he looked up at Dragomir. "Um- I'm sorry about that..."
“That’s fine.” Dragomir laughed. “If anything, I’m happy that you’re using my name.” He grinned. They made their way back to Niles’s desk and Dragomir took his customary seat on top of it. “I guess we’ll need to go through these papers again to see if there’s anything else we can do to find this guy.” He said leaning over to look at the meager stack of information they’d been handed.
Niles leafed through it, nodding. "It really is unfortunate that there's not more information on him..." He smiled up at Dragomir. "I'm sure that we can think of something, though, if we work together." He was relatively sure that Dragomir would be able to think of something on his own, but Niles was eager to try and help as much as possible.
The day passed rather uneventfully and unproductively, and it seemed to drag on forever until finally it was time to leave. Niles stood happily, smiling at Dragomir. "Shall we leave now?"
Dragomir got to his feet as well and returned Niles’s smile with a grin. “I think so.” He said happily. They made their way out of the room, bowing to the Major as they left. Dragomir got the feeling she was probably smirking at their leaving together, but he didn’t care. He was too excited to really care about much else other then spending time with Niles.
They reached Niles’s automobile and Dragomir made a point to get to his door and open it for himself before Niles had the chance. Once they’d both taken their seats, Dragomir smiled over at Niles. “Thanks for doing this; I’m really looking forward to it.”
"Thank you for coming! I'm really looking forward to it, too!" Niles replied excitedly, starting up the automobile and pulling out of the parking lot.
The drive seemed to take forever, even though it was just as long as it always was, but finally, they arrived at Niles' estate. He pulled up around to the front of the house, then stopped and got out, allowing the waiting servant to get into the driver's seat and put the automobile away. The servant seemed surprised to see Dragomir, but Niles didn't say anything about it, and smiled at Dragomir. "Come on, let's go inside."
Dragomir followed him up the front steps and through the front door into the entryway. Niles quickly thanked and dismissed the servant waiting for him there, who also gave Dragomir and incredulous look before bowing and leaving. Niles smiled at Dragomir and looked around quickly. "Well, this is it. Um...do you want me to show you around?"
“Yeah…” Dragomir said awedly glancing around the impressive room in which they now stood. The place had always looked huge from the outside, but now that he was actually inside the massive estate, Dragomir found himself nearly at a loss for words. “Niles, this is amazing!” Curbing his excitement Dragomir looked back at Niles, grinning. “Yeah, I’d like that.”
Niles smiled, glad that Dragomir liked it. "All right. Let's see...let's start in the west wing." He led Dragomir down a hallway to the lower west wing, and through a bunch of rooms which he rarely used, not sparing them much time, as he didn't even remember half of their existences. At the end of the west wing, however, was the ballroom, extending up to the second floor and with doors to the outside for practical use. It wasn't nearly so nice or well kept as the Colonel's had been, and apologized for it, explaining that he rarely used it.
After the ballroom, Niles led Dragomir back to the lower east wing, in which was the formal dining room (where they would be having dinner), as well as the library, also two stories. After this came the upstairs, which was accessed by a large marble double staircase in the entrance hall.
He didn't spend any time on the west wing, as he never used it and it was probably dusty and gross and Dragomir didn't really need to see it anyway, and went straight to the east wing, in which was his bedroom and the other rooms in which he spent most of his time. He started at the far end of the hall with the study, which connected to the second floor of the library, and proceeded back towards the centre until they reached his bedroom. He was a little embarrassed to show Dragomir inside, but did anyway. It was large, with wardrobes (one for work clothes and one for everyday clothes) and a large, heavily draped bed. His bureau was neatly kept, with a box for ribbons in one corner and a large mirror. This drew the tour to a close, and Niles smiled, laughing lightly and embarrassedly. "Um...that's it. Sorry if it was boring."
“No, not at all.” Dragomir blinked. They place really was massive! They’d gone through the entire house in such a short time that Dragomir still felt a little overwhelmed. Nevertheless, he was thoroughly impressed. “Your house is amazing, Niles!” Dragomir said enthusiastically. He was certain he’d get lost in such a large space and so was determined to follow Niles closely wherever they went. He felt slightly embarrassed that the tour should end in Niles’s bedroom, but pushed the thought from his head quickly, as he looked around the neatly kept and organized space. “It all really nice.” Dragomir said smiling.
Niles smiled back happily. "I'm glad you like it!" he replied, happy that Dragomir had not found it ostentatious or unkempt or anything of the sort. "Um...if you wanna come downstairs again, dinner is probably almost done and stuff..." He trailed, hanging in the doorway of the room until Dragomir turned to follow him again.
Sure enough, Niles' servants, who had learned to make up for Niles' general lack of foresight and common sense, had set the dining room table for two, with one table setting at each end of the long table. Niles began to make his way around to the head of the table, and was informed that dinner would be ready presently. Taking his seat, he realized that Dragomir was a rather long way away, but there wasn't much he could do about it. He smiled across the table to the other man, hoping to make up for it.
“This is a big table.” Dragomir stated the obvious as he took his seat across from Niles. He returned the other’s smile and leaned forward, vaguely wondering if it would be at all possible to have a conversation at this distance. “Do you know what we’re having?” He asked, raising his voice slightly to make up for the distance.
"Ah- yes, it is," Niles replied apologetically. "Sorry about that..." At the next question, he thought for a moment. "I believe we're having lamb. I think." It was very difficult to try and hold a conversation at this distance, however, and Niles silently cursed the table. Why did he have it, anyway? It wasn't like he ever had company. Stupid table. Still, he had to try... "So... um... nice weather we're having...?" That was stupid, but he was feeling a bit awkward at the moment.
Dragomir laughed openly at Niles’s statement. “Yeah, I guess you could say that. It hasn’t been very cold at least.” What a silly thing to be talking about, Dragomir thought. But it seemed that at this distance, it was the only topic they could discuss. Dragomir was about to ask Niles if he thought it would snow soon, but realized all in an instant haw ridiculous the whole situation was. It really wasn’t as though he couldn’t simply move closer to Niles? As in just pick up his dishes and go to the other end of the table? Dragomir chuckled at his own silliness as he got to his feet and gathered up his dishes. He took the entire set down to Niles’s end of the table and set his place neatly next to Niles before taking his new seat. “That’s better.” He grinned. “Do you think it will snow?”
Niles blinked for a moment before breaking into a smile. "That is better," he agreed, nodding and not mentioning how Dragomir had re-set all of his utensils in the completely wrong order. "I hope it snows... it would be so pretty to have snow for Christmas, don't you think?"
As they talked, servants began to bring in the dinner, which was indeed lamb, along with a platter of small pastries and a large bowl of soup. They seemed slightly phased that Dragomir had suddenly moved, but didn't make any comment and began setting out the food. Wine, one of the best he had, Niles noticed, and made a mental note to thank the cook, was also brought and poured for them before almost all the servants dispersed from the room save a few at the door, should they need something. Niles thanked them as they went before smiling back at Dragomir. "I hope it's all all right," he said, waiting fro Dragomir to start, to see what he thought.
“Well, if the way it looks and smells is any indication, I bet it’ll be fantastic!” Dragomir said excitedly, picking up his knife and a fork at random. He had no idea why anyone would need quite so many, but he hoped the one he’d chosen would be alright. He took a small bite and admired the texture and flavor smiling at Niles who seemed to be waiting for his approval. “This is really good.” Dragomir said emphatically before taking a sip of wine. The flavor matched the dish exquisitely, and the quality of what Dragomir assumed to be Bordeaux was undisputable. Sighing slightly to express his satisfaction, Dragomir smiled again happily. “This is really wonderful, Niles. Thank you so much for having me over.”
Niles smiled brightly. "Really? It's all all right? I'm so glad you like it!" He then began to eat his own food, glad that everything was going so well. As dinner went on, servants came and removed the soup bowls to replace them with a tray of sliced fruits and later a tray of sweets, which Niles also hoped would be satisfactory. Just pleasing Dragomir made him ecstatic, and so far, it seemed, things were going perfectly.
“It’s all so elaborate.” Dragomir commented with awe and excitement as he tried one of the sweets. “Is this how you normally eat?” He asked through a delicious and sticky mouthful of caramelized nuts. After asking, he felt a little bad about what he’d served Niles. Even if this was a little fancier then how Niles generally ate, it was far above and beyond anything they had served Niles, even when using all of their best dishes and ingredients.
"Well, this is a little nicer than my normal meals, because my servants are wonderful and made something especially nice for you," Niles admitted. "But I generally do eat something like this." He only realized why Dragomir had asked after a moment, and added, "But it really gets boring after a while, having everything so fancy. Having a simple meal was really nice." He smiled, hoping he had said the right thing.
Dragomir nodded and ate another candy, realizing that Niles had only added the last bit as an afterthought. He still felt a little bad about the whole situation, but the fact that Niles had made an effort to complement his attempts reassured him slightly, and he was determined to enjoy his time and the meal without comparison. "I think it's really nice that you're so polite to your servants." Dragomir smiled, changing the subject. "My mother worked in a manor as a servant before she got ill." He stated before taking a sip of wine. "Many masters aren't nearly so kind, you know." When it came down to it, Niles was simply an all around amazing person, Dragomir thought. He was always so caring towards other people, and Dragomir found it thoroughly admirable.
Niles blinked. "Really...? I guess I never thought about it." He laughed embarrassedly, putting a hand behind his head. "I guess it just seems like servants are people too, right? And if I was working for someone, I'd want them to be nice to me. If they're sick, or need a break, they deserve it, and they're always doing things even though I forget to tell them to. So I owe it to them to be really nice. Don't you think?" He thought a moment. "I guess, since they've been with me since I was orphaned, I've always really felt like they were the only other people I had, you know?"
"Yeah, I can understand that. I wish more people shared your ideas, though. The world is, unfortunately, very cruel for the most part." Dragomir said solemnly. "Surely though, you had friends growing up?" He added with a brighter tone to his voice. Of course Niles had friends and attended school, and such, right? He had only been referring to his association with his servants as family. That must have been it.
Niles' expression darkened slightly, and he looked down at his hands in his lap for a second, composing himself, before looking back up with a forced smile. "No. I...I never left my estate for the first 16 years of my life. I had a private tutor instead of going to school and anything I ever needed was brought for me." He bit his lip and took a breath, trying to keep his composure. It was painful to think of, painful memories, but he had to tell, he couldn't lie to Dragomir. "When... when I was 16, I tried going to private school for the first time. I- I wasn't really sure how to interact, because I had never been with people my age before. But I had good intentions, I really did!" He paused again, realizing his gaze had returned to his lap. Forcing himself to look up and look pleasant again, he continued, "No one liked me. In fact, everyone hated me. It wasn't much better once I got into the military... I tried to be good, and I always did what anyone told me, but everyone just always laughed at me and I always got forced into doing all the paperwork, and I got blamed if anything went wrong. I mean...I mean, I know it was mostly my fault, but everyone just laughed when I got in trouble, and no one cared...I was only trying to please them..." He wasn't going to cry, he wasn't going to cry, he wasn't going to cry...oh, darn, he was going to cry. He bit his lip and sniffed, trying to fight back the tears as much as possible. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to start complaining...I'm sorry..."
Reaching over, Dragomir gently took Niles’s hand in his own. He hadn’t meant to bring up such a painful subject, and now he hardly knew what to say or do to comfort Niles. “You’re not complaining…” Dragomir said with a small and caring smile as he squeezed Niles’s hand lightly and wished he knew how to better comfort the other. “It must have been terrible…but the fact that you’re still so kind to everyone is proof of your strength.”
"I'm sorry...I'm sorry..." Niles apologized still, not even fully registering what Dragomir was saying to him, choking on his tears as he tried to hold them back. "I'm sorry..." he knew he must be making Dragomir uncomfortable, but he didn't know what to do besides, possibly move them somewhere more private. "Um...here...come with me...we can go to...um... a sitting room.” He forced himself to his feet and led Dragomir out of the dining room and to a sitting room somewhere down the hall, shutting the door behind them.
Looking around at the almost ostentatious furniture that he didn't remember buying, he sniffed. "Um...you- you can sit down anywhere, um..." He trailed off, still biting his lip so as to hold back tears. How could he be so stupid? Dragomir was probably going to think him weak and useless now...he shouldn't have let himself get so emotional...
Without even thinking, Dragomir moved forward and wrapped his arms around Niles’s quivering shoulders, pulling him into a tight embrace. “Niles, it’s alright.” He said softly, pulling back a little and kissing the other on the cheek briefly before looking into his eyes. “Please don’t apologize to me…. I…I don’t know what to do with myself when you cry.” Dragomir sniffed. Looking at Niles’s tear streaked face made Dragomir feel as though the tears would just spill from his eyes as well, but he wanted to be strong for Niles. “Niles, I love you. I want to be here for you so that you can tell me anything… Please don’t cry.” He smiled weakly, trying not to become too emotional himself. “Niles…” he breathed, as he pushed forward into another brief kiss, brushing against Niles’s lips softly. “Please…I love you.”
Niles looked up at Dragomir, bleary-eyed, for a second before feeling himself breaking down completely, he buried his face in Dragomir's chest, sobbing uncontrollably. It was too good to be true, it couldn't really be true...he simply couldn't believe what he was hearing. But yet, the strong arms around him were unfaltering and the voice had been sincere... Just the thought of having someone who would care for him, no matter what, who he could say anything to...it was too much.
Finally, he managed to get a hold of himself, control the sobs to weak sniffs and hiccups, and he looked up at Dragomir again. "I- I'm sorry, I just... oh, I love you too! And- and that you love me is just...it's just really hard for me to imagine that anyone could love me, because there must be something about me that makes people hate me because everyone hates me, and- and- and I really really love you, and-" He realized how stupid this all must be sounding, and, on impulse, stood up on his toes to hesitantly place a small kiss on Dragomir's lips. Realizing what he'd done, he blushed fiercely, but didn't look away. "T-thank you. For being here for me."
Dragomir, surprised by Niles’s kiss, blushed too, as his heart seemed to lurch with excitement. He smiled at Niles fondly, pulling him a bit closer. “I’ll always be here for you—nothing will keep me away!” His smile spread into a grin and he kissed Niles again, waiting slightly longer before pulling back again, his blush returning along with his grin. “Niles, I don’t know how anyone could ever hate you. I just love you so much…” He almost couldn’t believe it. Who could hate someone as amazing as Niles? Dragomir felt a bit of anger boil in the pit of his stomach at the thought of anyone being so cruel, but he suppressed the feeling and pushed against Niles’s lips again with another kiss.
Niles, blushing deeply, leaned up into the kiss slightly before they pulled apart. "I...I'm really happy..." he managed, feeling extremely embarrassed. But, yet, at the same time, there was a fuzzy feeling spreading throughout his chest at the thought that someone actually cared enough about him to want to be there for him. He wrapped his arms around Dragomir's waist and held him tightly, wishing he could just stay this way forever. "I- I love you so much. I...I want to be here for you, too...if there's any way that I can..."
“You do so much for me already, just being here with me…You mean so much to me.” Dragomir’s expression softened to one of contentment, which slid after only a minute, into a slight smirk as he started shuffling back little by little. Niles seemed slightly confused, but Dragomir didn’t give him time to ask about his movement. As soon as he was close enough, he fell backward into one of the plush sofas that lined the room. He didn’t release his hold on Niles’s waist as he fell, but rather pulled the other down and on top of himself, laughing at the absurdity of his own actions. Sitting up taller and pulling Niles closer, Dragomir captured his lips in another quick kiss, which he broke by laughing lightheartedly again. He wanted to make Niles feel better, and was determined to do whatever it took. “I love you, Niles.” He said though a broad grin.
Niles smiled contentedly, resting his head against Dragomir's shoulder. "I love you, too," he murmured, feeling the happiest he had in ages. In fact, this feeling of contentment even surpassed the way he felt at the end of that first dinner at Dragomir's home. The memory made him smile fondly, but then a thought came to his mind that made him look up, blinking into Dragomir's eyes.
"When I was at your house, you found out everything about me. So, if you wouldn't mind...could you tell me about yourself?" He smiled softly. "You know, just silly little things, like your favourite colour and food, and things." He wanted to know everything he could about Dragomir. That just seemed like the right thing to do, and besides, he was truly interested.
“Sure, anything you want.” Dragomir smiled. Come to think of it, Niles really didn’t know very much about him at all… Sometime tonight he still had to talk to Niles about himself, and not just the silly little things, either. But that could come later. “Well, for starters…” it seemed a little funny to be talking about something so miniscule, but Dragomir knew that he had appreciated learning so much about Niles through Viorica’s interviews, and so was happy to share whatever little details he could about himself. “I really like the color red.” Dragomir stated with a nod. “And I like food that I cook the best.” He said with a smirk. “But mostly, I like cooking for other people, when I have the time.”
Niles nodded slowly, listening carefully to what Dragomir said. "That makes sense, because you're so good at cooking," he agreed with a smile, thinking a moment before continuing, "So...um... What's your birthday? I have to make sure I don't forget it." He grinned, slightly, catching Dragomir's eye.
“August eighth.” Dragomir grinned back at him. “You don’t have to worry about forgetting, it’s still a while off.” He laughed lightly. It actually felt nice to be talking about himself so openly, and to be sitting with Niles especially. The close proximity had a calming effect, and he felt perfectly at ease.
"I'll remember," Niles said determinedly, nodding to himself. He laid his head back against Dragomir's shoulder, thinking. "So...how come you know how to cook so well? You're so amazing at it...how did you learn?" He hoped he wasn't being nosy, but he was really curious.
“Well, that’s sort of a long story.” Dragomir laughed a little uneasily. He didn’t want to keep anything from Niles, but at the same time, he thought one conviction to tell Niles something unpleasant about himself was enough. He wouldn’t go into detail about everything now. “But the short of it is that when I was growing up, I basically ran the house. I did all the cooking and cleaning while my mother worked.” Dragomir smiled mildly. “With seven people to cook for, I got a lot of practice.” He added lightly with a slight smile. “When I started working, Tatiana took over most of the house work.”
"Oh, I see," Niles replied slowly, not really seeing at all. He couldn't imagine what a hard time Dragomir must have had but he knew it must have been tough. "I guess you must have had to start working pretty young, huh? What did you do as your first job?" He looked up curiously, smiling innocently at Dragomir.
So the question had come, huh? Dragomir supposed that now would be as good a time as there ever would be, and knew that it would be difficult to avoid talking about for much longer. “Niles…” He said slowly, looking down. What if Niles thought badly of him? He didn’t know why he’d only really just now thought of that possibility, but now that it had come to his mind it would be really difficult to give up one of his most guarded secrets. “I…I need to tell you something important…” Inhaling deeply, he looked up and directly into Niles’s eyes. “About my work… I-I was in the Berceuse Malheureuse.” Dragomir looked away quickly, before continuing with a weak voice and speaking very fast. “It was a long time ago, and now I don’t want anything to do with them!” the strength returned with conviction in his voice and he turned back to Niles. “I’m so sorry if it seems like I’ve been keeping this from you, but I…I just didn’t want… I don’t want anyone to know what I’ve done… especially not you. I want to be strong for you…” his voice grew low again and he bit his lip, focusing on a point past Niles. “I didn’t want you to know my resolve was so weak that I joined.”
Niles' eyes widened at what Dragomir was saying; at first, he couldn't believe what he was hearing. Certainly... certainly Dragomir would never have gotten involved with something so terrible? But yet, he wasn't lying, and, now that Niles thought about it, his life must have been really tough, and he probably needed money badly... It all made sense. That was why Dragomir knew so much, that was why he was probably even on the job. The pieces fell into place in Niles' mind now, it all made sense...
When Niles had had a chance to process all of the information, he suddenly realized what else Dragomir was saying. I want to be strong for you... Without thinking, he flung his arms around Dragomir and held him tightly, as if he might slip away. "It's okay!" he assured, not releasing his hold in the slightest. "Everyone makes mistakes. I'm not going to think you're weak for something you did because you were in a bad situation. So don't worry! Please don't be upset... okay?"
It took a moment for Dragomir to realize what was going on. He’d been trying to prepare himself for a much different response then what came, so when he felt Niles’s arms around him, his body took a moment to adjust and respond. He slipped his arms around Niles’s waist and held him closely, as stunned relief swept over him. Dragomir didn’t want to cry, so he shut his eyes tightly and buried his face in Niles’s hair. “Thank you…” Dragomir breathed. “I was so worried that…that you would…” Dragomir didn’t want to finish so he squeezed Niles tightly and bit back his tears.
Niles smiled softly, feeling very secure in Dragomir's arms. "I wouldn't be upset with you for something so silly as that. You quit, didn't you? That must have been harder than anything, and you were strong enough to do it." Feeling oddly responsible, he looked up at Dragomir and pressed a reassuring kiss to his lips before once again leaning into the embrace. "I think you're the bravest for being able to do that, in the end."
Dragomir summoned up a small smile and slid a hand across his face. “Thank you.” He said with much more composure as he drew back to look at Niles as he spoke. “My whole involvement with them was cowardly, but to know that you can see past it is…” Dragomir sniffed and ran a hand through his hair. “It really means a lot to me.” Dragomir sighed, feeling as though a weight had been lifted from his shoulders, and he smiled at Niles. “You really mean a lot to me.”
Niles blushed slightly, smiling up at Dragomir. "I'm really glad," he replied. "And you mean a lot to me. You're the kindest, most caring person I've ever met, and nothing you did in the past would ever make me stop loving you." Dragomir looked so much relieved that Niles was also relieved that he could successfully comfort him. It wasn't something he was very skilled at doing, but he felt that, this time, it had been easy, since he had really just said exactly what he felt.
Dragomir leaned forward and pressed a quick kiss to Niles’s lips before pulling back with a grin. “You make me feel so much better about everything when I’m around you, Niles. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have you with me… In everything that you do, you’re just so amazing. Whatever you say and whatever you do always strikes me as being wonderful.”
Niles blushed, flattered and honestly surprised. “I- I’m flattered that you think so,” he stuttered, “And I really don’t know how. I- I don’t think I’m very amazing. I just…I just want to make people happy. And… to be loved, I guess. So, that I can be amazing to you…well…it really makes me happy.” He smiled sheepishly, looking up at Dragomir.
“I can’t think of anyone more deserving of love then you, mine or otherwise.” Dragomir said grinning. “And I don’t see how anyone would be anything but happy around you!” Niles seemed to exude an aura of innocence which always put Dragomir at his best, he thought. The general happiness he felt when he was with Niles was further amplified by warm feeling of love for the other, and all and all, Dragomir tended to feel rather giddy with Niles.
Niles looked lovingly up at Dragomir, wrapping his arms around his neck. "But I can't think of anyone's love that I'd want besides yours," he replied, leaning up to kiss the other man softly. "And...I'm glad I can make you so happy, because I have to do something to make up for how happy you make me." He leaned into the embrace, smiling to himself. All those years of being hated, he decided, he go through them again to be even a fraction as happy as he was tonight. It didn't matter what anyone else thought anymore. Now that he had Dragomir, it seemed, everything was perfect.