Lenne: Oh hey, something that isn't my OTP.
Welp, getting into Star Ocean 2 (really fun) and I just can't help but admire Leon Gehste. Pairing him up with Claude makes it even better for me. What frustrated me was the lack of Claude/Leon in this place.
So have some partial happy romance stuff with side hurt/comfort of ClaudeXLeon. This is also my first SO2 fiction ever, so my apologies if I get some things wrong, although I tried to base personalities (mostly everyone but Claude) from interactions in Private Actions. Anyways, enjoy.
Warning: Contains slight spoilers of the game, though nothing too major, I believe. Any new players of SO2 are advised to not read until you finish Eluria Tower.
Party: Claude, Rena, Celine, Opera, Welch, Precis, Leon, Chisato.
Also, flamers shall be stabbed with bullets.
Claude wanders off into the inn of Centropolis, separating ways with everyone as they rest before heading to Minae Cave. Upon entering the Inn & Bar Brandywine, he sees Opera enjoying a drink at the bar. He approaches her for small talk.
"Hello, Opera," Claude calls.
Opera turns her head to see her friend. "Oh, hello, Claude."
"Are you enjoying your break?" Claude asks.
Opera takes another sip of her drink before turning in her seat. "Yes, I am. Are you all right? I heard your name being shouted outside.
Claude remembered the little moment earlier where Precis and Welch appeared from the dark and jumped at him. Afterwards, he had a little argument with both of them before they fled the scene full of laughter.
"Ah, well…don't worry about it," he answered.
"Okay, then," Opera responded. "So what are you doing?" she asked.
"Well, I was just about to go to bed," Claude answered. "It's almost late, isn't it?"
"Oh, is it?" Opera asked. "Seems like a good time for some strong drinks."
"I don't think that's a good idea," Claude stated.
Opera giggled. "Oh, Claude. Hopefully you'll understand the joy of drinking when you're older."
"Uh…" Claude didn't have any words.
"So, you were going to bed, you say?" Opera confirmed.
"Then, could you check up on Leon for me?" Opera asked. "We were just talking with each other earlier, and then he left looking unhappy."
"What happened?" Claude asked.
Opera sighed. "He believes he won't ever see his parents on Expel again because he thinks we can't beat the Ten Wise Men. I was trying to cheer him up, but it didn't seem like I did much."
Claude frowned. He was having second thoughts about bringing Leon along with everyone because he was still just a child. He doubted that Leon had found the resolve to fight and move on, and thought leaving him in someone else's care would have been better, but at the same time he didn't want to leave Leon behind. Without his parents, Leon was helpless. Claude wanted to protect him, that was all.
"Maybe I can cheer him up," Claude told. "Where is he?"
"He went upstairs, and I haven't seen him leave. I'm sure he went to bed early," answered Opera.
"All right, thanks." Claude left the bar and went upstairs to the bedroom floors. As Opera told, he climbed to the third story and headed towards his and Leon's room—the farther room on the floor. He knew the other rooms were occupied by his female companions, and Leon had no reason to go in one of them because he had to share a room with Claude, being the only two male members of the group.
Claude twisted the doorknob and opened the door slowly, seeing Leon lying on his bed with peaceful, closed eyes. He watched the small boy breathing lightly in only his clothes without his lab coat on.
"Maybe I shouldn't bother him," Claude thought. Claude was then given the choice to: 1. Leave him alone, or 2. Check up on him. He went with option 2 and quietly entered the room, closing the door behind him. He sat on the edge of Leon's bed and observed the sleeping Fellpool boy. Claude thought about poking at his friend, or perhaps a hard but playful bonk on the head with his fist. Instead, he chose to continue watching Leon, unconsciously admiring his beauty.
However, after a moment, Leon whimpered a low, painful grunt. Claude noticed this and attempted to reach out for him until Leon turned his body over, groaning.
"Mom…Dad..." Claude then knew Leon was having a nightmare.
"Leon?!" He shook the boy out of his dream and woke him up. Leon widened his eyes, took a second to realize where he was, and sat up.
"Are you okay, Leon?" Claude asked.
"Claude…" Leon mumbled. He shook his head and brought himself to the edge of the bed, sitting next to his friend. "Sorry dude…I had a bad dream."
"Was it about your mom and dad?" Claude questioned.
Leon nodded. "I dreamt that they…" He paused for a moment. "…they were killed in front of me by the Ten Wise Men. And then…they destroyed Expel…and then they chased after me. I was almost caught by them…"
"You woke me up."
"No, it's okay. I wanted to wake up, but I couldn't. So…thanks, dude."
Claude grinned. "Are you feeling better?" he asked.
Leon wasn't sure about himself. "I guess."
"Then, do you want to rest some more? I can leave you alone if you want—"
Leon quickly reached for Claude's sleeve, "No!"
Both of them were surprised at the sudden cry. Leon quickly let go. "I-I mean…"
Claude saw Leon's trembling. He knew Leon wanted him to stay, but the boy couldn't say the words. "I'll stay then."
Leon looked up at Claude. "Really?"
"Well, I was planning to go to sleep soon anyways. It's almost late."
Claude went over to the dresser and removed his headband, jacket and gloves, laying them next to Leon's attempted fold of his lab coat. The sleeves were poking out, and it wasn't even in a rectangular shape. He noticed this and chuckled.
"What?" Leon questioned.
"You folded your coat badly," Claude answered.
"Dude, shut up." Leon turned his head away. Claude chuckled again before reaching for Leon's coat. Leon watched as his friend neatly folds his coat and put in the drawer.
"Thanks," Leon whispered.
"Huh?" Claude didn't clearly hear the boy's gratitude.
"Nothing," Leon reacted.
"Uh... okay." Claude went over to his bed and lied down, placing his hands behind his head and stared at the ceiling. He closed his eyes, imagining an empty space full of relaxation to help him fall asleep.
Leon, however, was still sitting at his bed, watching Claude. After a moment of observation, he began to think about Claude, the first and only friend he truly made. He was also the first person he placed his hope in, as a result of Claude consoling him when he was terrified of the worst case scenario. He thought about how nice he was, and how caring he was towards him up since they were washed ashore in Eluria up until today. Leon still believed it would have been better for Claude to leave him back in Eluria, because he had nothing else to fight for. His parents were gone, and after the humiliating defeat in Phynal, he was beginning to believe there was no hope of bringing them back. In fact, he didn't want anymore hope. It only pained him even more to think there would be a chance of winning when there wasn't any likelihood at all.
Then, Leon took another look at Claude. He recognized him as the only person he had depended on since then, and still even now. Claude still carried the hope he had placed in him. Leon felt a strong connection with Claude. Maybe it was because he was the only other male with him, or maybe because it was hard for him to approach Rena, Celine, Opera, Welch, Precis, or Chisato and get comfortable with any of them.
Leon felt conflicted. He liked Claude, a lot. And after their time together so far, he considered his feelings as love for him. He wanted to tell Claude this, in hopes of Claude feeling the same way. But with all of the girls around, he thought he had no chance with Claude. Leon believed that if Claude didn't accept him, then there would be no one in the universe would care for him now that his parents were gone. However, it was already agonizing thinking about whether Claude felt the same or not, let alone doubting that he would choose one young boy over six similar-age girls. He wished he could just die, believing it was the best solution for him, but imagining that dying alone only saddened him further. Tears began to form in the Fellpool's eyes. He didn't want to cry, but it was inevitable now. A series of quick, loud sniffs that Leon tried to hold back caused Claude to open his eyes and discover what happened.
"Leon?" Claude got out of bed and walked over to the other bed, sitting down next to the younger boy. "What's wrong?"
Now knowing Claude had noticed, he couldn't hide his fears anymore. All of the sadness welled up and caused Leon to cry even louder. In an attempt to hide his sorrow, he tackled Claude and buried his face in his chest.
"Leon…" Claude tried rubbing the boy's back, but the crying continued. "Hey, tell me what's wrong."
"I wanna die!" he exclaimed.
"W-What?!" Claude, astonished, pulled Leon back slightly to look at his eyes. He saw unimaginable terror placed in the boy. "What do you mean, 'you wanna die'?"
Leon cried out all of his feelings. "My parents are gone! We'll never get Expel back! There's no way we can beat the Ten Wise Men! We're just gonna die trying—!"
Claude remembered this behavior. It was a replay of Leon's panic from long ago. "Leon, stop it! Get a hold of yourself—!"
"It's hopeless, why bother?! There's nothing for me to fight for!" Leon pushed himself away and directed his frustration at Claude's face. "No one cares about me!"
Claude slapped Leon. "I care about you!"
There was a long pause. Leon reminisced about the first time Claude had hit him, and remembered everything he had said to him at that moment that led him to exist even now. Claude realized what he had just done. He guiltfully looked at the hand he used to strike Leon, twice.
"Leon…I-I'm sorry—I didn't mean to…"
Leon ignored everything and held onto Claude's shirt, resting his head close. "Claude…you care about me?"
Claude was slightly confused. "Huh?"
Leon looked up; his face pink partially from blushing and mostly from the hit earlier. "You said you cared about me."
Claude remembered what he had said after slapping Leon. "Oh, uh…I guess I did."
Leon embraced Claude tighter. "…How much?"
"How much…do you care about me?"
"Why are you asking this?" Claude responded.
Leon pulled away and looked down. "Because, I…I…ah…I—"
Leon was getting impatient. He let it all out. "I love you, okay dude?! I just wanna know!"
Leon had just realized how embarrassing he acted and sounded. He looked down, frowning, thinking he failed at any chance with Claude now. But instead, Claude laughed.
"Oh, that's it?" Claude reacted. He sighed with relief. "Thank goodness…"
Leon looked up quickly. "Hey, what's that supposed to mean?" he questioned with some anger.
Claude grinned. "Sorry, Leon, I didn't mean it like that."
"Huh?" Leon grew a little frustrated. "Anyways, you didn't answer me!"
"Oh, right." Claude wrapped his arms around Leon and pulled him close. "I care a lot about you."
"A lot?" Leon repeated.
"Yeah..." Claude gulped. "I guess you could say that...I love you."
Leon's face flushed with a hot red. "You…love me?" he questioned.
"I do," Claude reassured. "I love you, Leon," he repeated.
As more tears fell from his cheeks, Leon felt a warm, cozy feeling inside him. It made him very happy to know there were mutual feelings between him and Claude. He rubbed his face against his older friend's body, his Fellpool ears twitching in the process.
"Thanks," Leon said.
"For what?" Claude asked.
"For caring about me."
Claude caressed his friend's hair. "You don't need to thank me for that."
"But…I don't know what I'd do without you, Claude. If you hadn't let me go with you, I might have done something bad to myself..."
"Leon..." Claude mumbled.
Leon continued, "My mom and dad are gone. I only have you…"
Claude pulled Leon away and looked at him directly. "Leon, I promise you that we're going to beat the Ten Wise Men, and that we're going to get Expel back too. And after this is all over, I'm not going to stop until we find your mom and dad."
Leon let a few more tears rush out of his eyes. "Really?
Claude grinned. "I swear it."
Leon wiped the tears away with his arm, "Okay." He felt cheerful with a smile.
Both of them stared at each other with great affection and happiness. Leon, overly happy with Claude recovering his faith, thought it was a perfect moment to copy what two people that loved each other as he had believed in his mind. With one hand, he clutched Claude's shirt on the left shoulder, while the other hand reached around Claude's head and grabbed the back of it. He closed his eyes and attempted to lean towards Claude's face.
Claude was unaware that Leon knew how to do such a thing, or even knew what it was, no less from a young child. But, having great affection (points) for each other, he accepted, no, wanted the gesture. Claude let his arms reach around Leon and leaned forward, slowly, until both of their lips made safe contact.
"Claude, is everything okay?" The door opened, with Rena entering and Celine and Chisato peeking behind, "We heard yelling—"
Leon immediately pushed Claude away, but it was too late. The three girls just stood there, watching the two embarrassed boys staring back at them.
Rena reacted first, her face blushing fully red. "Um…never mind!" She ran out of the room without a word.
Claude jumped off the bed, "Rena, wait—!"
Celine stuck her palm out at Claude, stopping him. "I'll handle it, don't worry." She winked at the two boys.
"Ooh, I gotta get an exclusive on this!" Chisato exclaimed, pulling out a video recorder. "Hero of Light and Child Prodigy Scandal...yeah! That sounds nice—OW!"
Celine hit Chisato on the head. "You're not getting an exclusive on anything." She pulled Chisato on the back of her shirt and dragged her away.
"Ow, ow! Hey, Celine—come on—!" Chisato was forcefully dragged across the floor and headed down the stairs with Celine.
Claude closed the door and sighed, and turned back to Leon.
"I'm sorry…" Leon said. Claude went back to the bed and patted Leon's head.
"You don't need to be, it wasn't your fault."
Leon looked back at the door, remembering how Rena looked when she ran out. "But, what about…?"
"Rena was just surprised, that's all. She didn't expect to see us kissing. Celine is going to take care of her, so we're fine."
"Oh…okay." Leon covered his mouth to hide his yawn.
Claude quietly chuckled at the other boy's fatigue. ""What do you say we head to bed now?" He got off of Leon's bed and began to walk back to his, but was stopped when the young Fellpool grabbed his hand.
"Wait," called Leon.
"What is it?" Claude responded.
Leon paused for a moment. "Is it okay if…I sleep with you?"
Claude's face glowed pink, thinking about the idea. "Sure…I guess."
Leon crawled back into his bed and lied down on one half of his bed, leaving room for Claude to gently climb in. He lied down on his back and settled under the blanket that he gently laid over himself and Leon. The Fellpool boy scooted closer and rested under Claude's arm.
"Comfy?" Claude asked.
"Yeah…" Leon responded.
Both of them laid silent for a while. Claude was having a glimpse about the future now—mainly about what he had to do for the fate of the universe and for Leon. He also imagined what he should do with his life after everything was all over.
"Claude?" Leon whispered.
Claude whispered back, "Yeah?"
"Even if we find my mom and dad…could I stay with you, no matter where you go?"
Claude now had a clear idea about his future. He had to fight until the end, and after that…
"Of course," Claude answered.
"…Thanks, Claude." Leon fell asleep with a smile. He made the right choice placing his hope in Claude, and decided to continue on.