A/n: I'm not on as often as I like anymore, and for that, I apologize for the slow updates to those of you who are reading Clockwork Circus. I'm stll typing that out. See, my laptop died on me right after I updated, so I haven't had the opportunity to type. But now that my senior duties are coming to a lull, I'm seizing this chance!

This was for Seymour-Ridmonton on dA for placing in the Valentine's Day contest IvoryKeys - ElliotxLeo was hosting :D. (I placed first on the fanfic section of the contest, I'm so happy 8''D Even now, I cry tears of joy). He is very nice and polite, so I was quite happy to have written this and see that he liked it. It's my hope you do, too :D


Snow was a very peculiar thing and no matter how many winters he witnessed, Elliot found himself staring in wonder at the white flakes that would fall from the sky. He wasn't inclined towards any particular season, but winter held a sort of whimsy over him, and he'd have the urge to just sit and the snow just be. Did that make sense? He asked Leo as much as they walked back toward their dorms of Latowidge Academy.

His valet, however, seemed to hold none of the interest he had in the seasonal weather. As a matter of fact, the raven didn't seem to like it at all.

"It's cold, freezes my face, and then wind comes to make it even more cold," Leo griped. To say the least, it was amusing to Elliot, who very rarely witnessed his best friend complain about anything. Leo was just that kind of laid-back person who let whatever come, come to him.

So it went without saying that Elliot dragged him outside often that winter. They had just spent the last hour after classes in the music room, playing their four-handed duets. Every so often, Elliot would see in the corner of his eye the snow falling out the window, casting its tiny shadows on the mirror-surface of the ivory piano keys. In the middle of playing a song, he seized Leo's wrist.

The song came to abrupt stop as Leo looked at Elliot in question. "What's wrong?"

Elliot smiled, and almost childishly proposed, "Let's go outside."

His servant stated at him for several heartbeats and then said tersely, "No."

Elliot's ice-blue eyes blinked in surprise, but that was quickly erased by his irritation. "What? Why not?" he demanded.

"It's snowing."

"That it? You idiot, that's the purpose of it all!" insisted the blond. He got up and tugged at his valet's sleeve, urging him to move forward. Yes, he knew this would only irritate Leo, which would then irritate him until they were both yelling protests at each other, but Elliot also knew this: once they had exhausted each other from all the fighting, Leo would then relent and follow the blond out the door.

This knowledge had only come when he realized Leo had been doing the same thing to him for months.

Elliot took a satisfying breath as they walked out of the building, his breath leaving in white smoke. The Latowidge uniform stayed the same in the cold and heat, but this was something Elliot never really minded. But looking back, he saw Leo scowl, rubbing his arms up and down, Elliot's bag strapped over one of his shoulders.

"Okay, Elliot, we've been outside. Now let's go back inside."

Quickly, the blond moved and grabbed the raven's wrist again. There was no way he was going to let Leo get away that easily. "I think we might as well go back to the dorm, since we're out here."

"You're kidding me," said Leo flatly, shooting Elliot a glare underneath his unruly bangs. "We're not doing that." He tried to get his wrist out of Elliot's grip, but for once his strength was rivaled. "You're serious."

With a satisfied grin, he took a flake that had fallen on Leo's shoulder and rubbed it in the tangled mess of dark hair, earning him a shove. "Come on, if you don't want to be out here for long, then we should get walking now," he pointed out, turning away.

Leo merely stated, "Just make sure you keep a good hold on the music folder. The wind might blow the pages away."

The thick folder was indeed in his arms, but Elliot scowled at Leo's distrust and stomped ahead. "Like I'd ever do something stupid like that." Only something within the nature of stupidity actually didhappen five seconds after he said that. It started with the fact that he stepped on a thinner sheet of snow and slipped, and before he knew it, he was covered in frost and the music folder was out of his hands.

He heard a sigh and the crunch of the snow as Leo came trudging over to where the blond was laying on the ground. "Didn't I just say that something like this would happen?" snapped the raven, pulling Elliot up.

Elliot slapped his hands away. "Just shut up," he growled, beginning to retrieve the sheets of music that had already begun blowing away. Luckily, Leo cared more about the music than teaching his incorrigible master a lesson and helped in rounding up the pages. A last sheet blew by, heading toward the edge of the thin wood to the side of the academy. Sighing, he bounded after it.

Randomly, he thought of how he wouldn't hear the end of this from Leo. Somehow when he was with the raven, every possible thing that could go wrong usually did. Was their friendship cursed or something? Or was something out to make him look silly in front of his best friend? The only thing that hadn'thappened in all this bad luck was him getting kidnapped.

"Ha!" Elliot laughed in light victory when he saw the page settle at the base of a tree. He picked it up and tucked it back in to the folder where all the other mismatched sheets were. But at least this little venture was finally over. It was a bit cold out, and he thought about maybe he'd tryto apologize to Leo over some nice, hot tea...

The rough bark of the tree rubbed against his face as he was suddenly shoved against it, knocking the breath from him. "Wh-what the-?" His eyes widened as a voice unfamiliar to him murmured, "Don't say a word, little Nightray."

Shit. Looked like kidnapping would have to be crossed off the list. Elliot struggled, but then another pair of hands helped the first in roughly binding his wrists together, and the music folder plopped into the snow. "Get off me!" Elliot thrashed around, at least trying to turn away from the tree but he was shoved into it again, scraping his face.

"Now, now, we knew we'd have to be rough with you," said another voice, "but keep struggling like that, we might need to knock you unconscious."

The threat provoked a near irresistible urge to retort and to accept the challenge, but anything Elliot could've said was lost when the first kidnapper exclaimed, "Look! There's his little servant!"

For a moment, Elliot's heart stopped as he remembered Leo had also been with him. This time he managed to turn around, only to see four men closing in on Leo, who was standing a few meters away from the blond. Elliot tried without success to get out from the rope's binding, but instead got his flesh bitten by the roughness of it – if anything, it seemed to feel tighter.

All the men were armed with guns. There was no way for Leo to even give him his sword with his hands like this. They were both defenseless. This fact seemed lost to Leo though as he gave the kidnappers an assessing look.

"Idiot, don't just stand there! Get away from here!" Elliot ordered. His outburst was rewarded with one burly man hitting him with the projectile of his gun.

"Shut up! He's not going anywhere!" the man said with a smirk.

Elliot's temple exploded in pain as he fell to the ground, his world tilting. He tried to get rid of the dizzy feeling as quickly as he could, but his gaze was still unfocused as he searched for the raven. Any other servant would've run, probably would've gone to find help.

Unfortunately, Leo wasn't that kind of servant. The frustrating thing was that Elliot knew it, too. But what Elliot felt as one of the men lunged for the raven wasn't anger – it was genuine fear. He knew Leo wasn't good in a fight, at least not one like this, and most certainly not outnumbered. He couldn't get to his feet, though, and his head was still smarting from the gun's slap.

The men took the blond's bag away from Leo's shoulder and kicked it to the side, pinning the raven's hands in much the same manner they had with Elliot. "Leo!" he called, heart beating fast. That earned him another slap and this time the huge man hovered on top of him. Elliot coughed, biting back his grunts of pain. Pushing back the feeling of spiraling down into darkness, he blinked the snow from his lashes and managed to get a better look at the situation.

Leo was as calm as could be, even as one man with his mouth covered held him. Two others went to examine the contents of the bag. Even in his daze, Elliot recognized the familiar form of his sword being pulled out.

"What you planning to do with this, eh?"

There was a flush in the blond's cheeks that must have been anger. "Get your damn hands off of it!" he growled, but he had enough sense to remain still. On his stomach and his hands bound, it was hard to keep his face up for long before falling back into the cold snow. It soaked through his uniform and froze his nerves all over his body.

A laugh left the kidnapper's mouth, his breath visible in the winter air. "Well, seeing as your own hands are tied up and your servant is pinned," he held the sword possessively, an interested glint in his eyes, "I doubt either of you will have a use for it."

Elliot gritted his teeth. How dare a nobody bastard just handle his sword like that? But at the position he was in, there wasn't much that he could do about it. He had never been kidnapped before, or attacked like this. There had been that time with the Baskervilles and that damn Vessalius, but he'd had the chance for preemptive strike then. Now here he was pinned down and bound with Leo in no better shape.

Just as long as Leo doesn't get hurt...

He looked up at the raven just as he saw Leo's hand slowly move toward his back pocket, where Elliot knew he kept his gun. Elliot's heart seemed to hammer painfully. Okay, there was no way Leo was that daring, right? The kidnappers would have him once they heard the click of the safety switch being flipped. Elliot shook his head slowly, trying to get his friend to meet his urgent gaze, but he was ignored.

"Bet you will fetch a pretty price once your parents try to get you back," the first man said, bending down and lifting up Elliot's face.

What a lowlife. Thoroughly disgusted, he avoided looking past the man to where his friend was still standing. The two locked eyes just as Leo quickly pulled out the gun and a fire shot off, the sound echoing terribly.

"SONOFA-!" bellowed the man who had been holding Leo. He released him, crumpling to the ground and clutching his leg that was leaking red liquid into the snow.

"Bleedin' idiot! You never checked if the brat was armed!" yelled one of the kidnappers, though he seemed as surprised as his now wounded comrade.

Wordlessly and swiftly, Leo backed up but cocked his gun at each remaining kidnapper in turn. When one tried to lunge from behind, Elliot inhaled sharply, but his worry was for naught when the raven turned around. Another loud blast burst in the air, along with another painful cry. More red dotted the snow. Elliot felt his expression twist in disgust at the sight of it, and it wasn't until he felt how tense his shoulder muscles were did he realize he was wincing at each fire that went off from Leo's gun.

At the near end of one round, five of the total six kidnappers were down cradling bleeding injuries. Elliot knew Leo to be a poor shooter, but the close proximity must have helped, even with the jump of the projectile.

An unintended gasp of pain and surprise left him when a fistful of his hair was tugged sharply upward by the man above him. His head lifted from the snow, and the force left the muscles of his biceps straining and the rope becoming tighter around his wrists. Elliot literally bit his tongue trying to keep down a wail, tasting blood.

Leo heard his outcry and turned to look at him, just in time for both of them to realize that a knife was being pressed against Elliot's throat. The expression of pure outrage was unmistakable on Leo's face, but he kept his calm, completely freezing all movement. He hardly seemed to breathe.

Satisfied with this reaction, the burly man on top of Elliot chuckled. "Now try to get out another bullet. Let's see if you can fire one off without me slitting your pretty master's throat." As if to prove he was serious, he pressed the edge of the blade closer. Elliot tensed as the sharpness kissed his Adam's apple – if he just gulped, it would surely cut him. His heartbeat pounded furiously against it.

A Nightray didn't think about dying. A Nightray did not seek death for himself. All this Elliot knew, but dammit if he just didn't think for the briefest moment that he shouldn't have dragged Leo outside...

The grip on his hair seemed to tighten and he cried out. "Now put down the gun and kick it over here, you hear?" demanded the man on top of Elliot.

Leo looked at the blond, as if it were up to him what his decision was. Elliot couldn't nod or even much move, but he managed to rasp out, "J-just...do it..."

Even from that distance, Elliot could see his valet raise a brow. Then his knees slowly buckled down, extending his arm to put his weapon down. As he did so, the blond began to wonder what to do. Would they take both him and Leo? Would they torture the raven for taking down the other men? A thousand scenarios ran through Elliot's mind, and they all frustrated him with the weight of how helpless he was.

Then he saw the curl of Leo's lip. The gun was indeed being lowered...but the projectile was still pointed at himself and the man on top of him.

"That's right, and when I get the gun, you just run back into that school and-"

The rest of the sentence was interrupted by one last sound of gunfire – the last bullet in the round.

Elliot never appreciated the warmth of his room as much as he did today. That bath had worked wonders, but he still felt somehow chilled. He dismissed the thought, thinking maybe he had just been in the snow for too long.

But he knew the real reason.

"Here you go," Leo said softly, and Elliot only realized how soft because of the complete silence in their room.

He stepped out of the doorframe of the bathroom, a thin robe covering him. Even though he was washed up and had time to try to get rid of the memories of what happened, Leo had just finished telling the headmaster what happened.

In the middle of the room was a small tea table with one of the seats pulled out. The raven had set a bowl of hot water on the table and led Elliot over to sit down. His expression was neutral, his words untainted anger or indifference. "Put your wrists in it for a bit. I had the maid put medicine in it to help with the cleaning and swelling," he said.

Elliot held out his wrists to inspect them. His arms still hurt a little from being strained so, but it was nothing he couldn't handle. Both of his wrists were swollen red though and small cuts lined around them were the rope bit viciously in him. This was better to deal with than the sting over his back, anyway.

When he made no movement, Leo leaned over him and put them in the water. Elliot jumped. "It's hot!"

"Well, what did you expect when it was steaming?" Leo returned simply, keeping the blond's wrists under. When finally Elliot stopped fussing he let go and went to the other items on the table: some gauze, tape, and a small tube of medicine.

Elliot simply stared as Leo put some of the ointment on his fingers and lightly dabbed at his cheek, where his scrapes from the tree's bark were. The medicine felt cool, and Leo's touch surprisingly delicate. "So...how did it go?" he finally asked, swishing his wrists around. The water stung but also oddly numbed him, too.

"The headmaster and the three teachers he brought with him found all of those men still wounded. I suppose it was lucky that someone heard the gunfire," Leo said.

"It's more of a miracle they were still there."

A small chuckle left Leo's lips. "The blood in the snow would've left tracks, don't you think?" he pointed out casually. Elliot didn't appreciate the lilting tone. "Your father will have a grand time dealing with them when he comes tomorrow."

"What did they think when trying to kidnap the son of one of the great ducal families?" the blond snapped. He was scowling, but his tone indicated how proud he was of his title.

"Well, you're not reaping revenge on anyone soon," Leo said critically, shaking his head. He moved over and gently pulled the white fabric of the robe down Elliot's broad shoulders. "I'm going to take a look at your back now, alright?"

Elliot's blue eyes traversed down to the water of the bowl, murky from the medicine and still steaming. He shrugged the robe loose feeling the air against his exposed skin. In between his shoulder blades was the mark left behind from the graze of Leo's bullet, the last one he shot off and went into the burly man's thigh. It wasn't deep, but it wasn't painless and not bloody, either.

Reflexively, he winced when he felt the coolness of the ointment on his wound. It stung and left a weird tingling sensation. He didn't expect an apology for that, so he was surprised when he heard Leo say, "Oh...I'm sorry for that."

"It's just medicine, I can take it."

"As good as that is to hear, I'm not talking about the medicine," Leo said, spreading it over the length of the wound. When he was done, he reached out for the gauze and cut off a sizable strip.

"Then what are you talking about?" asked Elliot, although he was certain he knew the answer to that. He was just thinking there would be more time until they talked about it.

"I'm talking about me shooting you like that." Before the blond could argue, Leo continued, "I'm not good at aiming, so I kind of knew I'd hit you. I just hoped it wouldn't happen." He patted the gauze down with the medical tape, but left Elliot's skin exposed. "You can take your wrists out now."

The water splashed quietly as Elliot resurfaced his hands from the bowl and put them on the small towel Leo offered. It sort of creeped him out to have his friend take care of him like this, but he'd be lying if he said he also didn't find it endearing.

Back to the matter at hand, Elliot murmured, "You're such a dumbass. When I tell you to run, you run. You don't stay behind and..." He grimaced, not able to say the words.

Fortunately, Leo didn't seem to catch his hesitation. "Your words aren't my law," he said tersely. "I do what I think is right for you, especially if I think you're being an idiot. It's what I'm here for. Don't pull away, I need to bandage these!" He narrowed his dark eyes and set Elliot's hands back on the towel.

The red swelling had gone down a little and the burns were already healing up nicely. Elliot ignored this and snapped, "I wasn't the idiot! Who was shooting off his gun when he can't aim?"

"I apologized for that, did I not?" retorted Leo, beginning to wrap the injured wrists. "But there was no helping it. If I let you go and get kidnapped, do you think your family will think me a good valet for you? Unlike you, Elliot, I don't assess a situation. I'm not good at that. I just do what it takes to keep you safe."

It wasn't hard to hear the clipped and taut tone in Leo's voice, but Elliot found himself unable to back down. "But I had to see you in that position again when you had to force blood out of someone. Do you know how disturbing that is for me? It's not how I prefer to see you, you know!"

"What a coincidence!" exclaimed Leo with a smile of false innocence. He finished bandaging Elliot's wrists and got up. "I was just about to say I don't prefer to see you dead~!" With that, he took the towel and threw it onto Elliot, where it landed on his face with a wet slap. The raven didn't even stop to see Elliot's reaction, just walking to the bathroom and slamming the door shut.

As if Elliot Nightray would let Leo off the hook that easily. He shot up and stomped over to the bathroom as well, not even caring his robe was still making him nearly half-naked as he yanked the door open. "What, you won't even lock the door?" he asked in light amusement to Leo's surprised expression.

Instead of irritation, the blond was answered with weariness. "Get out," Leo sighed resignedly, turning his back.

For some odd reason, the gesture really drove Elliot insane. He reached out for Leo's shoulder and forced him to turn around. His friend didn't resist in the slightest, not even as Elliot pressed him to the wall and kissed him fully on the mouth. Under his hands, he felt Leo tense, even freezing right there as Elliot tried to get a reaction out of him. One of his hands wandered up to tangle into the unkempt dark hair, parting his lips to flick out his tongue. Leo let out a breath, pressing against Elliot, but not unpleasantly, not in protest.

"Turn your back on me again," the Nightray dared in a firm voice, hot against Leo's ear. "Don't listen to me again and see what happens. Pull out a gun and become someone you're not and wait to see what I do to you." He shifted to get a better look at his valet, holding the raven's biceps to keep him in place. "Because I can't promise I will be kind."

"I wonder if you can pull off unkind," joked Leo with a smile.

Elliot scoffed, trying not to be affected by the innocent play. "Well, pull off more stunts like today, and I'll have plenty of practice on it," he murmured. He thought about shoving Leo away, but then ultimately decided to give him another hard kiss. When he pulled back, their noses brushed against one another's and Elliot looked into the dark-purple orbs of his opposite's eyes. "Your hands weren't meant to handle something like malice." As if to prove his point, he took both of Leo's hands and gripped them tightly. He felt over the smooth skin, the long, bony fingers, the knuckles and veins.

Leo hummed. It wasn't an argument or an agreement. But neither was he pulling away from Elliot's hold.

That makes all the difference in the world, thought Elliot with a smile. His friend wasn't the kind of person who should hold a gun, who should be able to talk about harming others like it was nothing. It just wasn't the Leo Elliot knew or loved. He did, however, know and love that Leo was the type of person who was irritatingly calm, who always thought about the well-being of those he cared about. And, Elliot supposed, he knew that what happened today put both those qualities he hated and loved at conflict.

"You're a dumbass…but thanks for choosing me," he said. He didn't even realize it had come out of his mouth until Leo was smiling at him.

The raven lightly brushed his fingers against Elliot's scraped cheek. "It wasn't a hard decision," Leo confessed, smoothing his hands over Elliot's bare shoulders. Elliot leaned into the contact and warmth gratefully. It was inconceivable of him to think of a life without Leo, of a time where he was without him.

"If you just went for help, I still would've been alive. So...why did you do it?"

"You're talking about other than the fact you very well faced death today? Other than the fact that you were pinned with a blade at your throat?" Leo thought for a second, then said, "It was the pitiful look on your face. The Elliot Nightray I know doesn't make such faces. I had to take care of that." He grinned slyly.

Outside the bathroom window, it had begun to snow again. Maybe, if he asked nicely, Leo would at least let them open their room's window and watch the opal flakes twirl to the ground together.

"Oh, right. I wanted to say I was sorry for dragging you outside," Elliot said, the memory suddenly coming back to him. He blushed slightly. "And, ah, for letting the music sheets get blown away."

Leo shrugged. "The music's fine now, and so are we. I don't see anything worth apologizing for."

"So..." Elliot wondered if he could push his luck here. "Does that mean you don't like winter still?"

A laugh shook Leo's body. "Haha, you idiot. As if I'm going to let you outside after what just happened!" he chuckled, prodding Elliot on the nose. "I wouldn't be surprised if you were confined for days because of this~"

Elliot's eyes widened. "W-wait... WHAT!"

Leo just silenced him with more laughs and kisses.

Ending A/N: Ack, what a crap ending T_T I need to work on endings. What is this even! *table flips* But the rest I do rather like. I wonder if Elliot would really stay calm like that if he were about to get kidnapped... Would he really be pinned so easily? Well, I do hope it was a believable scenario xD

So before I type moar updates, care to drop a comment or two? Critique?