Nivannedy Snippet: "One Hell of a Toast"

Nivannedy Snippet: "One Hell of a Toast"

Jan 24, 2022

The rest will be posted on AO3 later this week. In the meantime, enjoy some Nivannedy. :D




“You shouldn’t be drinking on the job.”

Piers Nivans’s voice was so damned disapproving that Leon Kennedy couldn’t help but smile. Exhausted and small but still a smile. He had heard the man coming from a mile away -- quieter than his captain but still BSAA, still so damned noisy -- but hadn’t thought twice about pulling out his flask for a drink. Their mission ended with no casualties, it was a beautiful -- if freezing -- night in Canada, and pulling out the flask as he looked at the stars had been thoughtless, automatic. A quiet toast to the dead before he sipped.

Maybe he should have done this in his hotel room instead of on the roof, though. It was fucking cold out here.

“The job is done,” Leon returned, not looking back at Piers. He didn’t need to. He could already imagine the flush inching above Piers’s scarf, up that lovely neck and reddening the other man’s face. Chris scolded him sometimes for it, but it was so damned easy. “Nothing left but the paperwork.” Deliberately, Leon lifted his flask toward the stars, so many dead behind him that each star could easily represent at least one name, probably far more, and sipped his flask again. The whiskey burned going down.

On nights like these, he liked to wonder how Sasha was doing. He stopped believing in Heaven years ago, but it was still nice to think of JD when he sipped from this flask, looking down on them and cheering them on. Another mission done, another drink down, and time for another donation to Sasha’s school. Not perfect. JD would be with Sasha in his school if it was perfect. Still, it was better than other options.

And tonight, Piers was sputtering behind him and there were no more dead added to Leon’s mental tally and the stars were beautiful. It was a good night. Just a damned cold one. He tensed to keep from shivering. Maybe this wasn’t his best plan, but the night sky called to him and his hotel room seemed too quiet after the raucous fight and the noisy BSAA soldiers.

“We’re still on the clock,” Piers finally said. He sounded disgruntled. It was adorable. Leon didn’t drink from the flask this time, just used it to hide his smile. His back was to Piers, but he heard the man’s steps approaching. “We’re not done yet.”

Ah, Piers. Those words echoing through his skull, Leon took his final sip from his flask before slipping it into its usual pocket. That was the issue. They would never be done. There weren’t enough stars in the sky for the names of the current dead, nonetheless the dead tomorrow and the next day and the next year would bring. There was never going to be an end.

Still, Piers’s optimism cheered him, and Leon turned to smile at the younger man. Piers’s hair was damp, indicating a recent shower, and he stood only in his boots, work pants, and a tight undershirt. Leon allowed himself one moment to eye it before letting his gaze travel up. He had been wrong. Apparently Piers had left his scarf back in his room. He seemed warm enough, though, even with the damp hair.

And still so determined, even after years of fighting. Leon envied him a little for that. “Done for the night at least,” Leon returned. He nodded at Piers’s bare arms. Leon still wore his jacket, and he was freezing. How the hell did Piers seem to calm? “It’s cold out here. Head back inside. Knowing Chris, he’s going to want an early start in the morning.”

Piers walked to stand beside him. He looked lovely in the starlight. Leon allowed himself to study the other man through his eyelashes. As a treat. They did well today. 

No casualties. For once, no casualties. No more names for his flask tonight.

“And what about you?” From anyone else, the question might have sounded polite. From Piers, it was a clear demand. It was adorable. “Don’t you have any early morning?”

One more peek. Despite their years of working together, Leon rarely saw Piers in a t-shirt. The man’s arms weren’t as big as Chris’s but still damned nice. And not shivering at all. He had to be a walking furnace.

Which led to other thoughts Leon didn’t allow himself to entertain. “Nope. My flight back isn’t until tomorrow evening. Orders are to work on my report until then.”

And to finish his investigation, but there was no need for Piers to know that. Hell, there were many things Piers never needed to know.

Piers scoffed softly, and Leon wasn’t sure if he was meant to hear it. Working with the BSAA was definitely different from working with the US government. Sometimes, a noise was just a noise. Disrespect could be humorous instead of a threat. “Yeah, well, like you said: it’s cold. I can see you shivering, you know.”

Little bastard. Leon huffed a breath and pretended like he couldn’t see it frost the air in front of him. “Yeah, well…” Leon swallowed, tasted nothing but whiskey. The words slipped out. “Don’t really want to go back to my room.”

Piers didn’t answer immediately. Great. Now things were just awkward. Leon stared at the stars and thought about how at least there was a mini bar in his hotel room. Something to keep him warm on this --

“You can always come back to mine.” Piers tried to sound casual. He absolutely failed. Leon swallowed for a completely different reason and side-eyed him. Even in the dark, Piers’s flush all but glowed.

“Yeah?” Leon asked. He thought he at least sounded casual.

There was no side-eying from Piers. Piers just turned and looked at him. He still flushed but his gaze was direct. “Yeah.”

Leon could be an idiot, but he wasn’t completely stupid. He let his lips curve into a smile. “Well. I am a little… chilly.”

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