Lucius ran outside, down the steps and across the manicured lawns, past the lake and into the orchard. It was getting dark, and he leaned against the tree that held the swing, panting. He turned and pressed his cheek into the bark, running his fingers over an old carving in the trunk delicately, and sighed. What he didn't understand, more than anything, was why his houseguest didn't want to spend all his time in Lucius' company. Or, if he did, he didn't enjoy his leisure time to quite the same extent.
No, Severus had to learn, and getting lost in the stacks of the Manor's vast library was his favourite activity. It was also notoriously difficult to drag him away, and of course, Lucius had tried. He's assumed he would come quietly, used to things going his way. Then he'd pouted. Then he'd stormed out, and tried not to cry.
He walked to the swing and sat heavily down, gripping the rope and kicking off. Prat, he thought. It's my house, why doesn't he want me? Most of those stupid books aren't that good anyway...
It soon turned colder, and Lu rose, wandering back up to his rooms. Severus was already in bed with a book in the guest suite, and Lucius changed, then lay back on his bed, staring blankly at the ceiling. He hadn't spoken to anyone in hours, and it was getting to him. He grinned suddenly, and sat up. He would forgive Severus, and make him do something more fun tomorrow.
In the doorway, Lucius looked young for his 12 years, and coy - even sweet.
"Can't sleep... what're you reading?"
"You really want to know?"
Lu nodded, biting his lip. This had to work. He sat on the edge of the bed, and looked from the book to the boy next to him.
"Can I read it too?"
"I imagine you're able to..."
"Funny. I meant this, and you know it."
He pointed to the book. Severus sighed and shifted over, patting the bedding beside him.
"Come on then."
Lucius flashed him a brilliant smile, and quickly got under the covers.
"You should read to me."
"To prove you can." Lu grinned. "And because it'd be nice."
"Aren't we too old for bedtime stories?"
"You are never," Lu sat up straight, and regarded him seriously, "too old for stories." He burst out laughing and lay down, snuggling under the blankets. "Read to me?"
Sev rolled his eyes and put the book on the bedside table. Lu tried to disguise his delight.
"You don't want stories, Lucius. You want sleep."
"Go to your own bed then."
"Is so my bed. Anyway, you love it."
Sev blinked, and blew out the last candle.
"I love reading, and sleep. Will you allow me either?"
"I take the sleep option, please."
Severus lay back, close to an already curled-up Lucius. They were silent for a minute. Then...
"My feet are cold."
Sev stuck his toe out, and touched Lu's.
"No they aren't."
"Alright, but yours are. And I'm not warm."
"I hate you, you know that?"
"Shut it, you love me."
Lu threw his arm over Sev's tummy and closed his eyes, settling himself into his familiar sleeping position. His breathing slowed and he fell asleep, contented for now.
Severus stayed awake, just to watch him, chastising himself for allowing it to happen again. Tomorrow, he thought. I'll tell him. We're too old for this now, aren't we?