Leto saw himself in Loki and Loki saw himself in Leto.
Neither saw that as an agreeable prospect so they bait and lace, petty embroidery of words and webs, of pitfalls and footsteps in the stumbling dark. But Leto saw him stumble and found it distasteful. Loki saw him forge blindly and found it distasteful. Often, there was no middle ground, simply the island, a palm tree between the two as they stared out in the ocean.
It is comforting, Leto imagined, not being alone. A blighted, shameful thought that Loki wished to exist, a need to reach out while Leto pulled back. Comforter and comforting, neither can fully fulfill the roles they wish to, but the need is simple. And the desire was understood.
The tree swayed in the wind. Gods don't sway easily.
Sometimes, Leto fears the godhood in Naha. Nothing good comes from gods. They leave misery and destruction in their wake, even if they do not mean to. A God's existence is both painful and awe-inspiring, detriment and passionate. For only a god can raise a hand for the people to follow. No logic, no reason, the simple power in their eyes, beyond wisdom and power. Leto remembers the tyrants and diplomats, of mortal legends and peace-bringers. He remembers Agamemnon in his burnished gold, remembers the legacy he left behind in his blood. Blood was the constant in his memories. Such was his lineage.
He does not fear Naha. Fear is the mind-killer, but he hones his caution. It is the least Naha deserves from him.
For Crow, he patiently plies him with pancakes and sweets, nods encouragingly when Crow boasts and speaks, smiles when Crow waits for him to be impressed. It was a marvel, being a child. How could anyone do without it?
His hands itch to straighten Crow's uniform (as Ghani would, brushing his hair with her fingertips, as if he was some vagabond from the city) and at least he understands her better.
Big hearts make weak leaders, someone told him, long ago, when gaslight and starlight intermingled in the sky, when shadows were not busy and the moon was a friend. It was a constable, who twirled his baton and looked at his city, knowing, guessing, seeing. Leto does not remember his response. His response was not important to his memory.
They were not wrong, Leto thought, but not right. He pulled Sirius' covers higher as he speaks of myths and magic, of Jason and his fleece, Atlas' burden and the heaviest of orchards. He told of stories woven within tapestries and of frozen hearts cast into the river. Often, Sirius sleeps, lulled by the sound of his voice. Often he asks why, as though Leto has the answers.
Leto lies to the best of his ability. It was the least he could do.
It is unfair that Kanda is blessed with regeneration.
He feels it is his solemn duty to provide Kanda with some wrinkles if only to signal his time in Ruby. But Loki has that area covered, so Leto simply makes Kanda his tea and smiles.
Leto isn't sure whether Tavros would appreciate the existence of a Sand Worm. While he finds them beautiful, he can (logically) understand why others would not find a gigantic worm with billions of sharp teeth a lovely thing. Still, if anyone would grasp its beauty, it would be Tavros and such knowledge comforts him.
He resists telling him though. Leto rather not provide the nightmare fuel for him.
When he finally receives the Voice, he delights in imitating everyone's accents and speech intonations, continually amused by the glowers and frowns thrown in his direction. Others laugh it off, but the unease remains. Honestly, who gets so hung up over imitation? Isn't it the sincerest form of flattery? People, really.
But it was John's accent Leto loves the most, the way it rolls off the tongue, into something brittle and concrete, with fragility and temperance. He could see the smoke in John's voice, the way it curled around him, under shady London lamplight, in the chipped fingers that scratch chins and metal.
John tends to glower too, but he never tells him to stop.
Radu was important. But Leto didn't know how to make Radu feel helpful.
So Leto allows the touch. It isn't pity.
But it isn't enough and Leto weeps for him.