Life in prison was hard to adjust to, of course it was, especially for someone who always lived a rich and luxurious life. Hiss missed the warm halls of the castel and his nice clothes, the first winter since they had been incarcerated was coming and he knew it was going to be a nightmare. He was a snake! Cold blooded! The prison cells were already cold enough for him and it was barely the beginning of October, he needed to find a way to stay warmer at night. He had something in mind but he didn't want to ask for it. The prince was warm, being a lion and essentially having a thick blanket as skin instead of scales like Hiss did, John could be Hiss savior for the season! All he needed was to stay as close to him as possible, wrap around his chest and enjoy the warmth and the beat of his heart as the night passed.
But the prince was having even a harder time trying to adjust to this new life. He didn't stop being noisy and whiny just because he couldn't afford it anymore, he would do his work while being a pain in the ass for Hiss and the now ex-sheriff! He would cry and yell and hit them with whatever he could! He would explode like this, like he was still the fake king of England and then...just stop.
As if he had forgotten where he was for a while, his dusty clothes were his royal mantle again, his crown was again on his head and the pickaxe in his hands was gone, replaced with golden coins to count.
Then reality would hit him.
Like a hurricane, taking away all he thought he had again. And he would get quiet and do his job, or just stay put and stare at some details in the bricks of a nearby wall.
Hiss didn't like when his prince got quiet like that.
He couldn't talk with him or stay near him when he was like that. It was like staying near a complete stranger, while all he wanted was his annoying prince back.
Sometime it lasted some minutes, sometime the whole day or night.
It was awful.
The only one that seemed content with this new life was the ex-sheriff. Jack was always good when it came to adapt to new situations. The asshole looked like he was made to live in prison.
A few months in and he already knew how to get some things he wanted like extra food or to skip work for a day.
Hiss could have asked to stay close to him in the cold nights as well, he was almost as warm as the prince in the end.
Too bad Hiss felt dirty only thinking about asking a favour to that nasty wolf. He could have asked for anything in return and Hiss didn't want any dept with him.
Hiss didn't ask for help until the cold started getting so bad that he felt like dying, it was almost mid October now, the night was cold and the cell humid because of the rain that fell during the day. Jack was sleeping on the opposite corner of the room while John was leaning against a wall near the cell's window, it was one of his quiet moments, he was lightly pulling his right ear while staring at something in his other paw, probably the paw itself. Hiss didn't want to talk to him right now, but he had to.
-Sssir..?- No response.
-Ssir...it's very cold tonight..- Again, no response. Hiss started to wrap around the paw the prince was staring at.
The prince lifted his arm, taking Hiss closer to his face.
-It is. What about it? - His voice was not angry or annoyed, it sounded almost like he was under hypnosis, even tho that wasn't the case. It was very calm or maybe tired.
-I..I’m cold, ssso I was wondering if i cou--
-You want to stay close?-
The prince’s late response made him wonder if maybe he could try hypnotise him to get to stay warm.
He was at eyes level right now.
He wasn't at eye level with the prince since a few months before the imprisonment, his golden eyes looked very...watery. and red.
John let his arm fall back onto his stomach with Hiss.
-You can stay around my neck, but only because it's been hurting lately, you can act as a pillow. -
This sounded a bit more like his prince. A little mean and a bit selfish but still willing to do something small for Hiss.
I wouldn't be so nice like staying on his chest but surely it would be enough to stay warm during the night.
Hiss slowly made its way up his shoulders and delicately wrapped himself around the neck of the prince. It occurred to him that John was putting a lot of trust in him. Paranoid like he was letting him stay like this was a big deal. Nothing could stop Hiss from just choking the prince. Not that he wanted, but he could.
He closed his eyes, enjoying the warmth of the prince, it didn't take long for him to fall asleep like this.
It was the best sleep in months.
He dreamed of the better times, when he and john would sit close to the fire and just count money and kinda enjoy the company. John would lose count and Hiss would make fun of him for it. John would get angry, throw a tantrum and hit Hiss with whatever he found.
It hurt but it was ok.
It was nice, it was fun.
Then Hiss felt water fall on his face and the dream was over.
Was it raining again? They needed to get away from the window was the first thought Hiss had.
Then he noticed the absence of the familiar sound of the rain falling.
He felt another drop of water hit his skin.
When he looker up the faint light of the moon showed him where the water was coming from.
The closed eyes of his prince.
John was good at not making people notice when he was crying, when he wanted. When he didn't want the attention. He probably did it very often during these months.
Hiss didn't know what to do, pretend he didn't see anything? Say something? He didn't want to make him mad just now. He wanted to keep sleeping around his neck!
He waited for a while to see if he would just stop crying.
Didn't seem like it.
Hiss wrapped himself a little tighter around the prince’s neck and pressed his face against his cheek. He started to hum a little, he knew all the lullabies his mother sang when he was little, all the tunes that calmed him and helped him relax.
The prince’s sobbing stayed quiet but the humming seemed to help a little.
-Everything is so messed up now..- He murmured with trembling voice, wiping away some of the tears left on his face.
-I know ssir. I know.- Hiss looked at his prince, now his face was calmer and it wasn't hiding any more tears. His golden eyes were still watery and a bit red but it was okay. For now it was okay.
-I'm glad I have you Hiss.-
For now they were okay.