Warnings: Yaoi, pedophilia, angst, fluff, creeper-ness XD;
Beta'd by yomimashou
Dragomir glanced down at Niles and found his hand, taking it in his own and giving it a light squeeze. They’d just gotten out of Niles’s front gate, and were on their way to work for the first time since the incident with Donavan. Niles’s hand was still injured, and since Dragomir couldn’t drive, they had to go by foot. Now that Niles could stand and walk on his own, things were beginning to get a little easier for the two of them. Niles still hadn’t spoken yet, however, and Dragomir couldn’t help but worry about his condition. The last thing he wanted was for anything to happen to Niles that might, in anyway, inhibit his recovery. Dragomir knew that they both had to make an appearance, however, and it seemed as though Niles was as ready as he could be. This still didn’t calm Dragomir’s nerves though, and he couldn’t help but ask again, for possibly the fifth time that morning, “Are you sure you want to go today, Niles?” His voice sounded a little distraught with concern, and he tried to strengthen it slightly. “I’m sure we could stay home another day if you thought it would help…?”
Niles looked up at Dragomir unwaveringly and nodded. He knew Dragomir was worried about him, and he himself was extremely frightened, but he knew also that he would have to face the outside world at some point, and he hoped that maybe doing it now would help ease him back into normality. He squeezed Dragomir's hand for support; though his wounds were healing well, his legs were a little shaky, and he wanted support. That wasn't all, however; despite wanting to return to life, he was still frightened, and he clung to Dragomir for protection.
The walk was long, but eventually they made it, getting inside just in time. Niles bowed shakily to the Lt. Colonel, and she smiled softly. "I'm glad to see you back, Christian. How are you feeling?"
Niles bit his lip and tried to smile. There, she wasn't so scary. Maybe things wouldn't be so bad.
Dragomir looked down at Niles quickly and smiled, pleased to see that he didn’t flinch away. Maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea. Being around people he was familiar with could serve to help him get back into the swing of things. Turning up to the Lt. Colonel, Dragomir gave her an answer in Niles’s stead. “He’s doing a lot better. Everything is healing really well.”
Before she could answer however, the door opened behind them, and everyone stood at attention as General Perceval Rousseau stepped inside. They all bowed in unison, and the General acknowledged them with a slight nod. He held himself aloofly, and looked around the room with narrowed eyes for a moment before they settled on Niles and Dragomir. “Well, how nice to see the two of you back in the office!” General Rousseau said brightly. “I trust you’re both doing well?” He didn’t wait for either of them to respond before continuing. “Ah, and Warrant Officer Christian! How are you? I heard all about it… How terrible that something like that should happen. You poor thing. But really, how are you doing after all of that?” Dragomir was thrown slightly off guard by the General’s barrage of concern and questions, and scarcely had a moment to inform the General of Niles’s inability to speak.
“Um, sir-” Dragomir started to explain, but the General hushed him abruptly without looking away from Niles.
Niles froze when the General spoke to him, trying hard not to panic. He bit his lip and nodded, trying his best to answer the question silently. He opened his mouth in hopes of his voice somehow magically returning, but not surprisingly it did not, since he was so afraid, so he prayed that the General would be pleased and leave him alone.
The General narrowed his eyes again, and his lip curled slightly with disgust. “Don’t just stand there gaping. I asked you a question.” Rousseau’s voice was dangerously low, and Dragomir started to say something again in Niles’s defense, but he was too late. The General raised his hand and slapped Niles across the face backhanded, hard. Dragomir caught Niles, supporting him and keeping him from stumbling back with the force of the impact. “How dare you be so rude,” General Rousseau said coolly, even as Dragomir stepped in front of Niles, shaking with rage.
“Don’t ever touch him again!” Dragomir snarled viciously. For a fraction of a second, a smirk curled across the General’s lips, but it disappeared quickly as he set his face with calm indigence.
“My, my. Such rude behavior.” His lip twitched slightly as he spoke, and Dragomir forced himself to calm down. He’d been about to lash out at the officer, and had only caught himself just in time. “One might think that in the time you’ve had off, you’ve forgotten your manners.” Perceval’s voice was austere, and he spoke through his teeth. “If I weren’t sympathetic to your struggles, I’d have you both court-martialed.” With a final glare at the two of them, he turned sharply to the Lt. Colonel and spoke evenly. “See to it that they both recover their disposition.”
Corinne had leapt to her feet when she heard what was going on, and stood, speechless, as she saw her superior hit Christian, and tried to do something to help the situation, but did not have time to get a word in. When the General turned to her, she nodded replied, "Yes, sir," through clenched teeth. He nodded to her, then left the room. She watched the door close behind him, then hurried over to where Christian and Hirlea were. "Are you all right? God, I don't know what to say..."
Niles crumpled in Dragomir's arms, tears flooding his eyes and rushing down his face. He cried limply in Dragomir's arms, his body shaking as he sobbed wretchedly. The fear was clutching him again, he could feel it rising in his body, crawling into every limb with an icy grip. It was strangling him, he could barely think for it, and he tried to hide in Dragomir's arms, simply terrified.
Dragomir looked up at the Lt. Colonel briefly before looking back to Niles, holding him tightly and not wanting to let go. It hurt him so much to see Niles in such pain; he was almost crying himself, and it took every bit as much self restraint to hold back the tears as it had taken him to keep from socking the General in the face. For all his vows, both to Niles and himself, he hadn’t protected Niles from the hit, and he couldn’t forgive himself. He couldn’t let anything like that happen to him ever again. He had to protect him, and he wouldn’t leave his side. “I’m so sorry… I couldn’t do anything… Oh Niles…It’s alright, he’s gone…” Dragomir soothed.
Niles nodded slowly, his tears far from subsiding. It didn't matter that he was gone now; he would be back, and if not him, there would be someone else, someone else to hurt him. His will to try was suddenly all gone, and he was afraid, alone and afraid and he wanted more than anything just to hide, to never expose himself again to anything so frightening and so detrimental. He clung to Dragomir, frightened to let go.
“I won’t let anything like that happen to you again, Niles.” Dragomir said resolutely. “I’ll protect you… No one will hurt you.” Dragomir was determined to protect Niles no matter what, and after that, he wouldn’t ever let another officer, or anyone else, go near him. From now on, Dragomir would have to be extra careful to make sure he was always there for Niles. “I’ll hold you as long as you need me, and I won’t let go.”
Niles held Dragomir, whimpering softly. He was comforted by Dragomir's words, but he was far from soothed. Dragomir couldn't always protect him, through no fault of his own, and he was afraid of being alone. He just wanted to curl up and hide in the dark, hide from everyone. Yet, he knew he had to be strong, he had told Dragomir he would be strong, and he sniffed back his tears and slowly pulled away slightly. Looking Dragomir blearily in the eye, he tried to convey to him that he would try to be strong. He would try for Dragomir.
When Niles looked up at him, Dragomir felt his eyes grow hot with the effort of holding back his tears. The fact that Niles could still be strong, after all he’d been through, touched Dragomir deeply, and Dragomir felt overwhelmed with admiration. Just the fact that Niles had pulled through everything was proof of his strength, and Dragomir knew that from here on out, he could only get stronger.
Perceval headed down the hall towards Algernon’s office with an extra spring in his step. He hadn’t stayed for long after hitting Christian, but it’d been long enough to see tears well up in the Warrant Officer’s eyes. Perceval couldn’t have received a more enjoyable assignment from Algernon, and he was eager to report what had happened to his superior. Pausing in front of the door, Perceval performed his standard routine before knocking and pushing the door open, carefully stepping inside and shutting it behind himself again. He bowed deeply, and straightened up, smiling brightly. “Good morning, Commandant.” He said cheerfully.
Algernon smiled pleasantly at Perceval, crossing his hands on his desk. "Good morning, Percy. What have you to report to me today?" He hoped that it was only good news about Christian, whom he'd heard had returned to work today.
Perceval strutted over to Algernon's desk and strode proudly in front of him. "Warrant Officer Christian returned to work today, sir." Perceval stated a fact he was sure Algernon already knew. "Out of concern, I asked about his condition, and he, in his impudent rudeness, refused to provide me an answer." He smirked cruelly before continuing. "Of course, I was most offended, and I made sure he regretted his lapse of manners." Perceval flexed his fingers and said absently, "The curious thing is that he doesn't seem able to speak..."
Algernon smiled back, pleased. "Excellent. Thank you, Percy." He thought over his plan of action for a moment before addressing the other point Perceval had mentioned. "Unable to speak? Are you positive?" A smirk curled across his lips, and he drummed his fingers once as the perfect degree of the situation fully sunk in. "That would indeed be excellent."
“Yes, I’m quite certain that is the case.” Perceval smiled proudly, pleased that things were going so well for Algernon. “As despicable as that Christian is, I know he’s not rude, and as such, I find that the only explanation for his inability to reply to a simple question would be a loss of speech, sir.” Perceval explained, folding his hands in front of himself neatly. “I think Hirlea was trying to tell me something to that effect, but I didn’t let the mongrel speak.” He pushed his hair back over his shoulders and leaned forward across Algernon’s desk slightly, smirking. “If I may ask, what are you planning to do with him next?”
"I think I'll have him back here for another little chat," He replied slowly, his smirk not fading. "His inability to speak is perfect for this situation; I may convince him as I wish, and not have to take any argument into account. However, I doubt he'll have enough mental stability to object to me..." He smiled wickedly at the thought, certain that, this time, Christian would be his. Looking back to Perceval, the smile melted into a somewhat proud smirk. He ran a hand down Perceval's cheek before taking his chin in his hand, and asked, "What do you think of my plan, Percy?"
"I think it sounds flawless, sir," Perceval cooed, unconsciously nuzzling against Algernon's hand and savoring the touch. "It will be so easy to bend his mind however you want it, I'm sure it will be a complete success." Perceval smiled serenely and hoped Algernon wouldn't withdraw his hand. "I'm quite certain everything will work exactly according to your will, Commandant."
Algernon smiled, releasing Perceval's chin to graze his fingers down his neck until they found a strand of hair which fell gracefully across his shoulder. "I'm so glad you think so," he replied smoothly, taking the piece of hair and twirling it around his fingers. "I feel so much more confident knowing you believe in me." He reveled in the thought of finally destroying Christian's trust in that stupid Captain, and released his grip absentmindedly for a moment before once more taking hold of Perceval's face and leaning closer as his voice dropped almost to a whisper. "Soon, Christian will be destroyed."
It seemed strange to Dragomir to be back at work. It was the most ordinary thing, and it had only been a short time he and Niles had been off, and yet, everything seemed so different that it made the entire experience seem almost foreign. It felt to Dragomir as though work before the incident had been another world entirely and he was still getting used to the new environment.
It had been three weeks since he and Niles returned, and Niles still had yet to speak. Dragomir knew that their bond was closer and stronger then ever before because he could intuit what Niles communicated to him. Still, things were different, and Dragomir was starting to accept the fact that they might never be the same.
They got on though, and everything was going as well as could be expected. Life went on, and Dragomir continued his vigilant guard of Niles, never once leaving his side. As much as they’d worked together before, Dragomir made every effort to see to it that now they worked together even more.
The two of them were just finishing some paper work when an enlisted man arrived at Niles’s desk and bowed deeply. “Warrant Officer Christian?” The man questioned, looking curiously at Dragomir. Dragomir noticed the man’s eyes on him and quickly slipped off of Niles’s desk where he’d been sitting, moving to stand just behind Niles and as close to him as possible. “I have a message here for you, sir.” The enlisted man seemed to snap back to attention as he realized his purpose. He carefully passed a sealed envelope across the table to Niles and bowed curtly before making his exit.
“Huh. What’s in it?” Dragomir asked curiously, leaning over Niles’s shoulders as he tried to decipher the script on the face of the envelope.
Niles bit his lip and nodded slowly, trying to find a way to convey to Dragomir the horrific nature of the letter's contents. He was to meet with the General Commandant tomorrow, completely unprotected, torn from the only person around whom he felt completely safe. He was terrified at the prospect, not mentioning the outcome of the last meeting, which had involved Niles becoming so intoxicated with some sedative that he was incapacitated.
He pointed hopelessly in what he hoped was the general direction of the Commandant's office, completely at a loss. How could he convey the news to Dragomir, and, even when he could, what could be done about it?
Selfishly, Dragomir first wondered why he hadn’t gotten an invite as well. After all, wherever Niles went, Dragomir was determined to go with him. However, judging by the type of paper and the general form of the invite, it looked to be a personal one, and therefore, it was a given that he wouldn’t have been invited. That being solved, Dragomir still didn’t know who it was from and what it was for. His only option was to ask yes or no questions only he chanced upon the answer. Dragomir looked again in the direction Niles had indicated and puzzled for a moment, biting his lip. “Dose that mean it’s work-related? Is that the area of the building? Is the person in that area of the building?” Dragomir hazarded a few guesses, hoping at least one of them was on the right track.
Niles nodded quickly, trying to think or some other way to convey the message. He was already terrified at the concept of having to meet the Commandant again, alone, but if he couldn't find a way to let Dragomir know what was going on, it would be simply unbearable. He simply couldn't think of any other way to let him know, however, so he bit his lip and looked at Dragomir expectantly, hoping he would figure it out.
“Hmmm…” Dragomir pondered. At least he was on to something; however unspecific it may have been at the moment, he could work with it. “Wait, you’re not getting transferred, are you?!” Dragomir asked, panicking before he even knew the answer.
Niles blinked before shaking his head hurriedly, gesticulating what he hoped was a definite negative. It certainly wasn't that bad, however terrifying it was. He bit his lip and gestured vaguely before once more pointing down the hall that led to the Commandant's office, looking imploringly at Dragomir and hoping he would understand.
“That’s good at least,” Dragomir sighed with relief and managed a small smile. He still had yet to guess the full meaning of the direction Niles kept indicating though, so he set about thinking again. If it had anything to do with a place in the building, then perhaps if he could think of what was there, he’d be able to come up with something. “Don’t all of the highest ranking officers have their offices down there?” Dragomir asked, furrowing his brow. “Are you meeting one of them?”
Niles nodded vigorously again, making motions for Dragomir to continue along that line of thought. He was sure to figure it out soon; after all, Niles had suffered such an invitation previously, and he was sure Dragomir remembered it just as well as he did...He looked Dragomir in the eyes, hoping somehow that that would help trigger a reaction.
“General Rousseau?” Dragomir asked questioningly. However, as Niles looked into his eyes, he felt the pit of his stomach drop as a realization came to him. “Wait…” He cut himself off abruptly. “…the Commandant?” His voice shook a little, and whether it was from anger or fear, he couldn’t tell. It couldn’t be the Commandant, it couldn’t, but a look from Niles assured him that it was. Niles had suffered so much already, Dragomir couldn’t stand the thought of Niles having to go speak with him again. It was simply too terrible. Besides…that would mean that Dragomir couldn’t go with him…and that Niles would be alone and unprotected from what ever foul thing the man might do to him. Dragomir wasn’t naïve enough to think that Niles would be untouched in the presence of the Algernon Mauvias, and without thinking, Dragomir blurted desperately, “No, you can’t go! It’s not safe!” There was no way he was letting Niles be in any sort of danger ever again.
Niles looked hopelessly up at Dragomir, not knowing what to do. Dragomir knew he had to go; there was no way out of it. But he was terribly frightened, and he wished desperately that somehow, Dragomir could come along with him. He was afraid of the Commandant, afraid of what he might do to him, and afraid of being alone, but he saw no way out. He couldn't turn down the invitation, and there was no way Dragomir could go with him.
Dragomir put a hand on his face and sat back discouraged against Niles's desk. Of course Niles had to go; there was no turning down the Commandant. And yet, Dragomir refused to accept it. There had to be some way around the meeting, or something he could do to prevent it...and if not, he'd just have to show up uninvited as well. There was no way Dragomir was letting Niles be alone with the Commandant ever again. He'd just have to think of something to do. Dragomir let his hand slide down off of his face and reached quickly for Niles's left. "Niles," he said softly, "Isn't there any way we can get out of this?" He bit his lip and slowly bent over Niles, wrapping his arms around him lightly. "I-I can't stand the thought of you being apart from me..." Dragomir knew they were still at work, and that he had to be discreet, so he pulled away softly, retaining his hold of Niles's hand. "What can I do?" Dragomir implored miserably.
Niles felt equally as miserable as Dragomir sounded, and he could think of no way out. Looking desperately back at Dragomir, he couldn't help but break down, and began to cry once again. It seemed completely hopeless, and he was terrified of being alone with the Commandant again. Shaking his head desolately, he could think of nothing to do but cry.
Dragomir felt tears rushing to his own eyes as well, and disregarding the place they were in, he wrapped his arms around Niles once again, holding him close. He’d hold on to Niles as long as he could; Dragomir was quite sure that they still had a few days, and hopefully, something could be done in that time.
Lucette was seated apprehensively just outside of Cecile’s room where the queen was changing in preparation to receive a very important guest. Algernon Mauvais was paying the palace a visit, and Lucette was very worried about meeting someone from the military, the highest ranking general, no less. She was generally rather timid, and probably would have avoided the meeting all together had Cecile not asked her to attend. Of course Lucette would do anything for her queen, so she assented without hesitation. Now, however, she was back to being frightened. She had no idea what a general would be like, and she was practically shivering with nervous anticipation. She hoped Cecile would be done changing soon.
"Harder!" Cecile clutched the back of the chair, pushing her shoulders forward, and holding her breath as she was laced into her corset. She was wearing a brand new dress just for the occasion of meeting the General Commandant, an emerald dress that matched her eyes with royal purple trimmings. She had ordered a new set of jewelry to go with, too, large amethysts with smaller emeralds and diamonds. But all of that was forgotten momentarily as she was tied in and worked to get her breath back. "Yes, that's good...thank you," she gasped, moving towards her dressing table and clutching it for a moment as she finally got back into the swing of breathing with her lungs compressed. Standing back to regain her balance, she turned back to her handmaid. "My jewelry, please, dear."
She slid her gloves and rings onto her fingers as her maid clasped on her necklace and earrings, then stepped back and smiled. "All right. I'm on my way." Stepping outside, she smiled at Lucette, who she found sitting outside her bedroom. She looked positively terrified, and Cecile felt a little bad, knowing how much Lucette was timid of meeting people. Still, she had seen the General Commandant before, in passing, and she knew he wasn't frightening. "Come on Lucy, ready to go?"
Lucette stood up quickly and bowed as Cecile emerged from the room. “Yes,” she said, trying to sound confident. She knew her voice had wavered slightly however, so she added a small smile. “Thank you for letting me go with you to meet him, majesty.” Lucette liked being with Cecile whenever she could, because even if she herself was frightened, she had this notion in her head that she might be able to do something for the queen if she was there with her.
Cecile smiled. "Excellent. Let's." She gave Lucette a last grin before taking her skirts in one hand and her fan in the other and delicately beginning out to the garden terrace, where they would be having tea.
Algernon waited in the sitting room to which he had been directed upon his arrival at the palace, strumming his fingers against the arm of the sofa on which he sat and tapping his cane against the floor. He was not nervous; Algernon didn't get nervous, but he was a little anxious to get along with it. He wanted to secure the Queen's good favour before he set his plans into motion, and he was anxious to have completed another step in his plan.
He stopped his tapping as a servant appeared in the door to the sitting room and curtsied to him. "The Queen will see you now, sir," she said. "If you'd be so kind, I'll show you to the terrace." Algernon nodded and smiled congenially, rising and following the girl outside.
Cecile heard the footsteps before the servant and the General Commandant arrived, and quickly stopped slouching and sat up ladylike, shifting in her seat to face the path to the terrace. She put on a charming face and extended a hand forward as he came up to the table. "Good afternoon, General Commandant Mauvais. Please, take a seat."
Algernon bowed low before kissing her hand with a smile. "It's an honor, Your Highness," he replied, waiting a second before rising and making his way around to the seat left empty for him. The Queen smiled back at him as a servant began pouring the tea. "Do you take sugar in your tea, General?"
"No, thank you," he replied sweetly. "My I comment on Your Majesty's immaculate taste in jewelry and dress?"
Cecile smiled and nodded. "You may, my dear General." She was already beginning to like this man, he was pretty and nice, and complementary.
Lucette waited until both the General and the Queen were seated before sitting herself, and kept her eyes low until she was acknowledged. The Commandant seemed pleasant enough, and with the thought of tea, some of her anxiety was diminishing. Lucette was naturally not a very trusting person, but based solely on her first impression, he seemed like nice man, and not at all what she’d expected. He could recognize how much trouble Cecile had went to in dressing for his visit at least, and he seemed honest, too, not like some of the other men that slathered Cecile with complements simply because she was the queen. Still, as with everyone, it would take a long time before Lucette was completely trusting of this man. Cecile at least seemed to like him, and so she smiled softly, content to follow her lead.
Algernon sipped his tea, keeping an eye on the Queen as she did the same. He had everything carefully planned out, everything to win the queen over to his favour. When she had finished her cup, and the servant was just coming up to refill it when he caught her eye. "Ah, your highness? May I present you with a gift?"
Cecile blinked. "I'd be flattered, General," she said after a second with a smile.
Algernon smiled back. "Why thank you, Your Majesty." He retrieved a parcel from his jacket pocket and placed it in the Queen's hand. "Please open it."
A servant moved to take the package, but Cecile shooed her away, peeling back the paper herself. She opened the box and peered inside to find herself gasping. Gingerly, she lifted a beautiful white-gold necklace set with the largest blue diamond Cecile had ever seen. "My goodness!" she breathed, looking at it, dazzled, "It's beautiful! Thank you, General!"
A smile slid across Algernon's face. "The pleasure is all mine, Highness."
Lucette tried to discreetly crane her neck around and peer over the box to get a glimpse of the gift, but found it quite difficult without making it obvious what she was doing. Giving up any pretenses, she scooted her chair back slightly so that she could get a good look. She couldn’t suppress the gasp of surprise when she caught sight of the necklace, and found her self even more dazzled as Cecile lifted it out of the box and the magnificent blue diamond glittered in the light. She shook her head disbelievingly; glancing from the necklace and back to the General, her mind quickly jumping to conclusions as she wondered what sort of motive the man might have for buying such a lavish gift.
Cecile, still feeling somewhat bedazzled by the beautiful piece of jewelry, handed it to Lucette. "Put it on for me?" She turned away from Lucette so that her lady in waiting could remove the necklace she currently wore and replace it with the new necklace. Once it was on, Cecile smiled and admired it on her chest. It didn't match her outfit, but she didn't care; the giant blue gem shone brightly in the sunlight, and it was beautiful.
Once she got past the beauty of her new gift, she smiled up at the General. "Is there anything you needed to speak to me about, General?"
Algernon smiled. "Nothing of importance, Your Majesty. I only came to show my undying appreciation for you, and for all your policies. It's so refreshing to have such a wonderfully liberal monarch." He kissed her hand again. "I do hope you will call on me if you ever need anything."
Cecile blushed slightly, surprisingly taken aback. "W-why thank you, General. I'm- I'm flattered."
Pessimistically, Lucette couldn’t help but think that the General Commandant had some sort of ulterior motive for such extravagant flattery. Still, it didn’t seem to be for any malicious reasons, so she wasn’t concerned. Everyone tried to flatter the queen; he just seemed to be particularly good at it. Anyway, Lucette was quite sure Cecile wouldn’t mind the gift, and if he meant to keep her good graces, he would have to hold by what he’d said earlier and support her politics. Overall, it seemed to Lucette that things were going quite well and she was glad for the opportunity to meet the Commandant.
The time passed quickly; Cecile enjoyed the Commandant's company, since he was very complementary to her and all that she did, and all too soon, he was taking his leave. She bid him goodbye and wished him to return soon, and he kissed her hand and promised that he would, and then was gone in a black automobile.
Cecile watched him drive away before sighing and turning to head back to her room. Smiling at Lucette, she hastened towards it. Though she was sad that the Commandant was gone, she was glad to get out of this dress. It would be nice to breathe again.