Leonas realized early on in their relationship that there were aspects that were uneven. Henryk was a warrior – a knight of Lenkiya – and he was a scholar. He looked to Henryk for protection and reassurance. When times were hard, he had Henryk to fall back on.

However, Leonas was less able, though no less willing, to reciprocate for Henryk. As a simple scholar, he could not protect the knight. He could rarely find words of reassurance for the rare moments that Henryk was upset or scared. Heaving a sigh, he looked out the window at the barren winter garden.

“Copper for your thoughts,” Henryk breathed into his ear. He set his hands on Leonas’s hips and turned the other to face him. “So quiet, kocha. What are you thinking?”

“You protect me and always know just what to say…. And I… I… what do I do for you? I just wish I could be there for you like you are for me,” Leonas said.

“You are though, Leo. Even when you can’t think of what to say to ease my pain or fear, you’re there to hold me and kiss my tears away. With you, I don’t need to always be the strong one. I can let my guard down and be myself.” He tilted his head and gazed into Leonas’s eyes. “You see?”

“I… guess,” Leonas said softly. He looked down and Henryk tipped his head up and smiled at him. “You… you’re my hero and I…”

“You’re my hero too,” Henryk said softly.