Disclaimer: I do not own Neo Angelique, nor its characters. If I did, certain events would not have taken place.

I decided to write a fic based on the younger days of Mathias and Rene. Somehow, I can see this happening. I know I make the Elders of the Religious Organisation seem like bad guys, but I can't bring myself to change my opinion of them after what they told Mathias to do in the series! Anyway, forget about that, this fic is just a cute friendship/brotherly fic about those raised in Celestizam.

I hope you enjoy, and please do leave a review. Thank you.

It had been a VERY dull day for poor Rene. Mathias had been very busy with his duty as Religious Leader, so his studies of all of the books he was to memorise were overseen by one of the Elders. Rene did not like that one bit! While Mathias was more understanding about how difficult it was for a five-year-old to read such books, the Elder kept pressing and pressing for him to continue.

So, when Mathias finally did arrive in the library later that evening, and Rene was meant to be getting ready for bed, the small child couldn't help but want to play with Mathias.

"Come on, Rene, it is time for you to go to bed now," the teenager called gently as he entered the library, half expecting the child to be fast asleep over one of the books again. Instead, he didn't see Rene there at all! "Come on, this isn't funny!"

Mathias had said that, but it didn't stop chuckling coming from under the table. Up popped Rene, his large eyes filled with joy upon seeing his friend, and a hint of mischief. "Mathias, let's play Hide and Seek!"

"No, Rene, it's time for you to go to bed now. You still have much studying to do tomorrow."

"I don't care, I want to stay up and play with you!" The child ran over to his friend and hugged him around the waist. "I didn't get to see you all day, I don't want to go to bed without playing at least one game with you..."

Mathias sighed. "Alright, Rene, but just one game. Go and hide and I'll try to find you."

"Okay! No peeking!" Rene waited until Mathias had covered his eyes and started counting before he let go of his waist and ran out of the room.

Mathias searched everywhere in the library, but couldn't find a trace of his friend. He made his way out to the hallway and looked behind pillars and statues.

Rene stayed low in his hiding place, but couldn't help but laugh to himself when he heard footsteps going past. Mathias will never find me in here!

Mathias did though, he heard the laughing coming from a large vase standing under a portrait of one of the previous Religious Leaders. "Found you!" He called as he peered into the vase. "What have I told you about hiding in those?" He reached in and helped the child out.

"Um, not to?"

"Why not?"

"Because I can get in, but can't get out without help and can get stuck?"

"And...?"

"Um...oh, because I could break it and the Elders would be really angry with me!"

"Right!"

Rene didn't like the tone Mathias was using. "Are you mad at me...?" he asked as his bottom lip started to wobble.

"No, I'm not mad at you. I just don't want you to get into trouble. Okay, it's bedtime now."

"Not yet! You still haven't gone to hide!"

"Alright, but once I have hid and you find me, then it's bedtime."

Rene nodded. He covered his eyes and started to count. Due to the lessons he'd been given ever since he was three or four, he didn't care to remember how long ago, he was very good at counting. He finished, uncovered his eyes and looked around.

Mathias had made the search easy, he wanted Rene to go to bed as soon as possible. It was hard to study and remember everything you learn when tired, and if Rene were to slack off in his studies, it wouldn't go over so well with the Elders.

Rene did not want to go to bed, he wanted to stay up longer, after all, he was a big boy and big boys get to stay up late! So, he pretended not to find Mathias, even when the older boy had made his hiding place clear to see by poking his head out. In the end, Rene decided that maybe he should just find Mathias, the game was getting boring. He jumped behind the pillar the teen was hiding behind. "Found you, Mathias!"

Mathias smiled and patted the child on the head. "So you have! Well done, Rene! Okay, it's bedtime now."

"But, I'm not sleepy..."

"Now, Rene, we talked about this a long time ago." Mathias tried not to remember how long ago it was that the boy before him had been taken from his family. "If you're up too late, you'll be tired tomorrow. And, if you make mistakes in your studies, then the Elders will be angry with you."

"I know, but I'm a big boy now, and big boys don't go to bed early! You're a bigger boy, you don't have to go to bed early!"

"Well, not as early as you, but earlier than most boys my age. I can't be tired when performing my duties."

Rene nodded. "Okay, I'll go to bed."

"Good. Come on then, I'll help you get ready."

Rene was in his pyjamas and had brushed his teeth. He'd been tucked into bed. "Hey, Mathias, can you tell me a bedtime story?"

Mathias couldn't say no. Just because Rene was training for the day he was to take over as Religious Leader didn't mean he wasn't allowed to live at least some parts of a normal childhood, in his opinion anyway. "Alright. Which one?"

Rene reached under his pillow. "I brought this book with me when they brought me here. Mama read it to me when I was a baby."

"It's a special treasure, be sure to keep that book safe, alright?"

"Okay."

Mathias opened the book and scanned the contents page. He found the perfect story to read and turned to the page. "Once upon a time, in a kingdom not too far away..."

Rene had hung on every word as Mathias read the story, he wished his studies could be so interesting.

"The end. Alright, Rene, it's time to go to sleep now."

"Before I do, can I please have a glass of water?"

"Alright." Mathias handed him the book and went to get him a glass of water to drink. He didn't fill it too high, not wanting Rene to need a toilet trip in the middle of the night. He handed the glass to him and waited until he finished drinking it all. "Ready to go to sleep now?"

Rene nodded and yawned. "Okay. Good night, Mathias." He lay down and snuggled against his pillow.

Mathias smiled tenderly, the same smile a big brother would wear. He bent down and gently kissed the child on his temple. "Sweet dreams, Rene." He waited until the boy was fast asleep before he blew out the candle, left the room and closed the door.

Mathias was asleep when he heard someone calling to him. He rolled over in his bed and saw Rene's outline in the darkness. "What's wrong?"

"I had a nightmare..." Rene replied with a broken voice. He had been crying.

Mathias nodded in acknowledgement and helped the boy onto his bed. "You can sleep in here tonight. What was the nightmare about?"

"I had to say goodbye to you forever."

"Did I go somewhere?"

"You wouldn't wake up, no matter how much I called to you." Rene hiccuped and wiped at his eyes.

"It's alright, that won't happen." Best not to let him know what the Elders will do when he's ready to take the throne... "I'll always be here with you, Rene."

"Okay. Good night, Mathias."

"Sweet dreams, Rene."

The room was filled with quiet breathing coming from two occupants instead of just the one.