Leonas sat in the window seat and stared outside as he watched the rain made streaks across the window. He had been outside, in the garden, only moments ago. He’d moved inside as soon as the rain had started but had still managed to get soaked by the sudden shower. Sniffling lightly, he thought about another day, similar to this one. The only difference was that he hadn’t been at his own home when that shower had soaked him. He hadn’t had clothes to change into, like the plush robe he now wore.

Dieter had ordered him to collect a basket of plums. It seemed like a simple enough chore; until he realized that there was no ladder to help him reach into the high tree branches. He had to climb up into the tree to reach the ripe fruits. The next trick had been figuring out how to climb the tree and gather the fruits at the same time. In the end, he’d rigged a shoulder strap of sorts onto the basket.

Now, perched precariously on a branch, Leonas carefully picked plum after plum, slipping them into the basket he’d looped over one shoulder. He heard a soft rumble in the distance and sighed. Thunder could only mean one thing. The thought crossed his mind at the moment that the rain started. It didn’t begin as a light shower either, it started as a downpour.

With a disgusted shout, Leonas clambered out of the tree. It was already beginning to sway dangerously in the ever-strengthening wind. Lightning flashed as his feet reached the damp earth. Slipping a little on the rain-soaked tiles of the garden path, he ran inside.

“You’re soaked,” Dieter said softly as Leonas entered the manor. He looked at the basket and shook his head as he noted, “It’s only half full.”

“I – I’m s-sorry, Sir Dieter,” Leonas said. He could feel a chill already setting in, but his shivering wasn’t solely a result of the weather. “The wind and the lightning… it wasn’t safe out there. I’ll finish when the storm p-passes, I swear it.”

“Indeed,” Dieter said. He took the basket and set it beside the door and then guided Leonas up the back staircase to the living area of the manor. Leonas studiously kept his gaze on the floor even as Dieter drew him into the master suite.

He gave no protest as Dieter stripped his wet clothes off and hung them in an adjoining bathroom. Dressed only in a light undertunic and drawers, Leonas’s shiveres increased as Dieter drew him over to the bed. “Sir Dieter?” Leonas asked, finally forcing his gaze up and onto the taller man’s gray eyes.

“The master bedroom is warmer than the servant’s quarters, Lettowen. I wouldn’t wish for you to catch a chill, after all.” To Leonas’s surprise, the Seskan knight merely bundled him into the bed and then left the room. Heaving a deep sigh, Leonas laid back on the soft sheets and, intending to await Dieter’s return, tucked the heavy quilt around himself. Without meaning to, he was asleep within minutes.

Nothing had ever come of the strange event. The only thing it seemed to imply was that Dieter wasn’t quite as evil as he often seemed. Leonas sighed and slipped out of the window seat, sniffling again. He may not have caught a cold that day but he had no doubt that he had this time.

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