Eleven Years Later
“Your Highness! Wait—wait, come back!” Nyx Ulric plods through the Citadel halls, heavy boots crashing against the sleek marble. He has to remind himself how to breathe, and that he’s not twenty-five, thirty, anymore—and nine-year-olds are fast. “Princess Astra! Wait! Your father--!”
The raven-haired princess turns and starts to run backwards, never missing a beat, as she sticks her tongue out at the glaive. “If my father wants me, he can catch me himself!” And Astra turns around and darts around a corner.
When Nyx skids to a halt in the new hallway, the princess is nowhere to be found—but the unmistakable metallic scent of magic wafts in the aftermath. He sighs as he runs his hands through his hair. He leans his head down and clicks the radio on his jacket. “Lost sight of her here in the east wing,” he mutters. “She warped.”
Static, then Prompto’s voice cuts into the receiver. “Whoa, already? That’s so impressive. Even I’m still having trouble with it. I can’t believe she lost you!”
“Argentum, cut the flattery,” Nyx spits back. “You know the king was looking for her. I’m just trying to deliver. It’s important.”
“What’s important, Uncle Nyx?” a small, timid voice from behind him interrupts his annoyance.
Nyx turns, eyes softening once he sees the chubby-cheeked Aqua, arms full of books and glasses askew on her nose. She’s got Ignis’ eyes, but ___________’s hair and facial features—she’s arguably one of the cutest kids that Nyx has ever seen. He bends down and places a heavy gloved hand on her shoulder. “Don’t worry your pretty little head,” Nyx coos. “That’s quite a stack of books you’ve got there.”
Aqua nods. “I’m making my way through the library. Father says it’s important.”
Nyx rolls his eyes affectionately. Of course Scientia’s kid would be a second-generation nerd—after all, Aqua is in training to be Princess Astra’s future adviser and chamberlain. “It is important, kiddo. You have to know a lot to help advise a future queen. Speaking of, you don’t know where the princess has run off to?” He wiggles his eyebrows hopefully.
Aqua giggles. “No, she ran off after I’d gotten through reading only half of the Cosmogony aloud, and I didn’t see any point in chasing her.”
Nyx sighs and rises, patting her head. “Smart girl. Run along now, and tell her that her father is looking for her if you do see her.”
“Yes, Uncle Nyx!” Aqua continues down the hallway, shifting the large stack of books in her hands.
Nyx makes his way towards the Citadel gardens after several more minutes of radio silence from the other glaives on patrol. He hears high-pitched grunts that can only belong to one person—he rounds a large hedge wall and finds Lavender Amicitia attacking a straw-stuffed training dummy with a child-size broadsword. Her thick dark hair is tied up in a bun, and she’s dressed in a tank top and athletic leggings. She’s got the same rugged features as her father, but her eyes are blue, like her mother’s--and already, Nyx can see the protective fire within them. But, then again, he wouldn’t expect anything less from the future shield of Princess Astra Lucis Caelum.
Nyx coughs as Lavender steps away from her latest jab at the dummy. “Widen your stance a little, you won’t get so off-balance.”
Lavender turns, heavy sword outstretched and pointed directly at him. “You shouldn’t sneak up on people, Uncle Nyx.”
“You should hear me coming. It won’t do to be unaware of your surroundings.”
Lavender huffs and whirls back around, decapitating the training dummy in one clean streak. “I’m getting better,” she whispers.
Nyx laughs. “Calm down, I’m only teasing. What are you now, like...ten? You’ve got plenty of time to learn. Don’t be in such a rush to grow up.”
“I’m not,” huffs Lavender as she dismisses her sword back into Noct’s Armiger. She folds her arms and thrusts her hip out, scowling at Nyx. “What do you want, anyway?”
The glaive would be offended if her sassiness and determination weren’t so cute. “Have you seen the little princess anywhere? I’ve lost sight of her.”
Lavender snorts. “Some glaive you are.”
“Hey!” Nyx laughs. “Boy, I know who your father is.”
“Yeah yeah,” Lavender turns with a wave of her hand and steps back fifty paces, then materializes a crossbow from a flash of blue. “Haven’t seen her. Been out here all mornin’.”
“All right, thanks.” Nyx waves his hand and turns on booted heel. “Be careful, don’t shoot your eye out.”
“It’s not my eyes you need to worry about,” the little girl calls as Nyx loses himself further into the gardens.
Prompto’s doing patrols of the back perimeter of the Citadel, watching the hustle and bustle of downtown Insomnia, when a small, intricate dagger appears in front of him, surrounded by the familiar stinging in his nostrils, the sleek metallic burning of the king’s magic. Prompto smirks and catches the dagger before it can disappear again, and seconds later, Astra is squirming in his arms, laughing as Prompto tickles her face with the stubble on his chin.
“Uncle Prompto, nooooooo!” the princess giggles as Prompto places big sloppy smooches on her delicate little face. “I’m on the lamb, let me go!”
Prompto snorts at her precocious vocabulary. “Who are you, Al Capone? On the lamb, good grief. You’ve been watching too many gangster movies with Gladio.”
Astra tries to throw her dagger and warp, but Prompto deftly plucks the weapon from her fingers and pockets it, pinning her wrists together so that she can’t summon anything else. “I have not,” she pouts. “Besides, there’s no such thing as too many gangster movies.”
Prompto just laughs as he pushes a button on the radio on his hip—if he moves his other hand, she’ll get away, so the only thing he can do is send out a ring on the devices that all the glaives are wearing.
Not thirty seconds later, Noctis lands in a thud in front of them, nearly cracking the concrete.
Prompto’s breath hitches a bit, like it always does when he looks at his king. Noctis has gotten even more handsome over the years, and he still can’t believe that he gets to share his bed. It’s a good thing that Astra knows that Prompto’s not her real uncle, because if she were to ever discover their relationship, uh...it’d be really, really awkward.
“Nice job, Argentum,” purrs Noctis as he bends to full height and approaches him and the squirming girl in his arms.
“Ha! Only the best for you, buddy. Betcha didn’t know I was a professional princess wrangler, huh?” He winks at him.
A faint blush rises to Noct’s cheeks as his daughter finally gives in and allows herself to fall limp in her father’s arms. She yawns and hugs his neck, wrapping her legs around his waist as he supports her bottom. “Seems like Nyx could use some lessons from you. She evaded him way too easily.”
“Ah, he probably let her go. You know he’s got a soft spot for all these babies runnin’ around here,” Prompto laughs as he reaches out to pat Astra’s back.
“M’ notta baby,” Astra mumbles into her father’s cloak.
“Sure you aren’t,” says Noct affectionately, and Prompto’s heart swells. Noctis is such a good dad, it’s crazy.
“What’d you want her for, anyway?” Prompto asks as he finishes his walk, Noctis tagging along, the princess rapidly falling asleep in his arms.
“Oh, Astra? She was the red herring. I just wanted to keep you guys on your toes. Congrats, Prom, you won.” Noctis smirks.
Prompto laughs and shakes his head. “You are something else, dude. So you told her to run as fast as she could through the Citadel?”
Noct shrugs. “I just told her not to get caught. Now she just doesn’t get any ice cream after lunch. That was the deal. Outrun the glaives, get ice cream.”
“Pretty high stakes,” Prompto laughs. “But you know she’s gonna give you those big, cute, puppy-dog eyes and you’ll give in anyway.”
Noctis grins. “If I can sneak a bowl of it past Luna, who’s gonna know?”
Later that evening, all three children are in one of the Citadel’s grand playrooms that takes up half a floor. It’s a little kid’s dream—there’s every game console ever made in Lucis hooked up to its own tv, candy machines, freezer full of ice cream, cabinets full of candy and junk food, a closet the size of a studio apartment full of designer clothes and grand costumes, a king-size bed, dollhouses, arcade machines, a small ball pit, a rock-climbing wall, and several virtual reality headsets, for starters. Noctis and Prompto often find themselves tucked away inside of the rosy pink walls, battling it out on Justice Monsters V instead of meeting with boring heads of state.
Luna disapproves of the unlimited junk food in the room, but Noctis insists on spoiling the hell out of the future queen and her retinue. Lavender is free-climbing the rock wall for the tenth time, not even hooked up to a harness and rope. Astra is working her way through story mode on Mortal Kombat—something that her mom also disapproves of—and echoing the deep voice that announces “Fatality!” every time she kills an opponent. Aqua is tucked against her side, book of magic open on her lap, small candle next to her on the large sectional sofa. She’s been trying fire for the past three hours.
“It shouldn’t be this hard,” Aqua’s light accent cuts through Raiden’s monologue. It’s not as deep as her father’s but Ignis’s reading aloud to her has kind of caught on.
“Dude, you’ll get it,” says Astra. “I know you will.” She’s biting her lip in concentration, knuckles white around the controller, fingers mashing buttons in quick combos and special moves.
“It’s just so complicated,” Aqua sighs as she grabs the candle and places it on the open book. She cups her small, chubby hands around the wick and bends low, furrowing her brow. Her hands are shaking in effort, sweat starting to bead on her forehead. Her ash-blond hair is curled into loose, billowing waves, falling around her face and shoulders as she hovers over the candle, willing the elemental magic to manifest.
Then, three things happen at once: Astra loses the match, screaming in rage as her character’s spine and skull is promptly ripped from their body; Lavender loses her grip and falls from the top of the rock-wall, making a last-ditch effort to point warp onto the firm mattress of the king bed, howling as she saves herself at the last second; and Aqua nearly catches her hair on fire as she triumphantly leaps from the couch, spilling the thick tome onto the floor as she holds the flickering candle high in the air and shouting, “I did it!”
The door bursts open seconds later, ____________ and Prompto poking their heads inside at all of the noise.
“What on Eos--!” _____________ starts, looking at the three girls, finally noticing her own daughter, lit candle in hand.
“Mother, I did it!” She runs to _____________, bright green eyes glimmering in the weak firelight.
Astra pauses her game on the game over screen and goes over to her best friend. “Sorry, Aunt ____________. Were we too loud?”
She smiles at the princess. “No, we were just startled, that’s all.”
“I yelled—I lost my game,” Astra sighs heavily. She looks at Prompto, who’s no longer in his Kingsglaive garb, but in simple a white t-shirt, sweatpants, and chocobo socks. She wanders up to him and wraps her tiny body around his. “Uncle Prom, will you help me?”
Prompto melts as he strokes the princess’ hair. “Of course.” He bows dramatically.
Astra giggles and flops back on the couch.
Lavender point-warps over to the rest of the company and sheepishly rubs the back of her neck. “Sorry, I—I lost my handle on the rock wall and warped to the bed.” She stares at Aqua and the lit candle. “Wait, Aqua, did you...?”
Aqua nods happily. “I finally did it Lav, look!”
The tall, tan girl gives Aqua a firm squeeze around her shoulders. “I’m so proud of you. I knew you’d get it.”
Aqua turns from Lavender back to her mother. “Can I go show Father?”
____________ nods, smiling. “He’s with Uncle Noct, in his study upstairs. Walk, don’t run, baby.”
Aqua nods and slips out of the open door.
She grips the flickering candle in one hand. Crowe Altius is standing guard outside of Noct’s study, even though it’s after eight o’clock at night. She smiles down at Ignis’ daughter. “Whatcha got there, little one?” She bends down to inspect the candle.
“Hi Aunt Crowe! A candle,” Aqua replies reverently. “I lit it myself.”
“Oh--” The wheels in Crowe’s brain turn for a moment. “You mean...”
Aqua nods happily. “I came to show Father. Can I go in?”
Crowe smiles as she rises and turns to the door and knocks.
Noct’s voice is tired and distant as he answers, “Come in.”
Crowe turns the handle and enters, Aqua sticks close behind her legs. “Pardon the intrusion, Your Majesty, Lord Scientia. You have a visitor.”
Noct’s face lights up as the unmistakable body behind Crowe’s legs shifts nervously from foot to foot. “Hey Iggy, it’s yours.”
“Oh?” Ignis turns in his chair, full lips parting into a wide grin. “Aqua, darling. What is it? Come here, what are you holding?”
Aqua steps out from around the glaive’s legs, and Crowe half-bows and plants herself back out in the hallway, closing the door behind her.
She walks up to her father, smiling as Ignis lifts her into his lap.
“Mmmmm, bergamot, one of my favorite scents,” says Ignis. “Is this what you wanted to show me?”
Aqua shakes her head. “No, Father. I lit it myself.”
Ignis stares at the candle for a moment and then looks to his daughter’s bright, shining face, and then finally to Noctis, whose grin is spanning his entire face. “My heart,” he breathes. “You’ve finally harnessed elemental magic?”
Aqua nods. “Wanna see me do it again?”
Aqua wiggles happily in Ignis’ lap and blows out the candle, smoke curling up and encircling her tiny face like a wreath. She bends down low over the candle, cupping her hands around it, body pulled tight in concentration and effort.
After another long minute, flame bursts forth on the charred wick, lighting the candle once more. Ignis looks at Noctis and sniffs back tears.
“See, Father?” Aqua beams.
“It’s bloody wonderful,” Ignis manages to choke out. “I’m so proud of you, my heart.” He kisses the top of her head.
Aqua blows out the candle once more and leans forward to place it on Noct’s desk, then curls back up against Ignis, placing her head on his chest. Ignis draws her close and places his arms around her, sighing in contentment.
“You look as happy as a chocobo eating Ghysal greens,” Noctis chuckles as he cracks his neck and leans back in his chair, placing one leg over the other.
“You could say that,” Ignis murmurs into his daughter’s hair.
“Who would’ve ever thought we’d end up here, huh Iggy? Family men and all.” He laughs.
“We are quite the family, aren’t we, Noct? With the children running around calling everyone aunt and uncle, I dare say that they’ll never be lonely.”
Noctis nods. “I’m just trying to give them what we didn’t have.”
“I had you,” says Ignis quietly. “That was more than sufficient.”
Noctis blushes. “And you still have me, Specs. That’s not going to change.” He puts his hands on the chair’s armrests and rises. “I’m beat. I think it’s time for bed. And it’s time to wrangle up the zoo. No telling what they’re getting into downstairs.”
____________ and Ignis are reading in bed. It’s nearly eleven pm, but tomorrow’s Saturday, and the first thing Noct had done as king when his father abdicated the throne was to ban all matters of state from being discussed on the weekends, with the exception of war or natural disasters. So their weekends are completely free, now, and the ten of them are almost always together, doing things as one big royal family.
Aqua started the evening alone in her own bed, but somewhere in the evening she’d gotten up and walked into her parent’s bedroom, asking for Astra, and so Ignis had carted her off down the hall to the princess’ room—Astra had woken up happily and cuddled up to Aqua immediately, the two of them falling asleep as though they were made for each other. And in reality, they sort of were.
Ignis flips a page in his true crime novel and pauses, turning his head to look at his wife. How beautiful she’d gotten over the years, he thinks—and suddenly he’s overcome with the desire to simply hold her. He leans and grabs his bookmark, marking his page and placing the book at the top of the pile of books on the nightstand. He turns and sidles up close to his wife, who’s engrossed in a reread of her favorite manga series.
___________ hums happily as she feels Ignis get close. “Mmmm, hi.”
“Hello, love,” Ignis whispers, kissing her bare shoulder. He can’t help but lick and nibble on her bare shoulder, clothed only in the thin spaghetti strap of her short, thin nightgown. He himself is shirtless, clad only in a pair of fitted boxer briefs. He feels himself flush and his cock twitches with arousal. It’s still amazing to him, all these years later, how fast she can get him going.
_____________ shivers and closes her eyes, gasping softly as Ignis continues his light ministrations on her skin. She manages to pull the bookmark from the back of the manga and mark her place, closing it and letting it fall to lap as Ignis slides the tiny strap from her shoulders and grazes delicately over her skin. “Ignis,” she moans, nearly breathless.
“What is it, love?” he purrs, smirking to himself.
“Are you trying to tell me something?” she laughs quietly.
“I’m trying to tell you how beautiful you are. Is it working?”
_____________ laughs and leans over, placing her book on her nightstand, then moves to quickly straddle Ignis.
He swallows hard and places his hands on her bare thighs, mouth watering at the thin, silky material that’s covering her heavy breasts and plush torso.
“Yeah,” she breathes. “It’s working.” She rocks back, feeling Ignis’ erection with the cleft of her fat, round ass, making his breath hitch. She leans forward a little to drag her nails lightly down his toned chest and abs.
“Mother of my child,” Ignis gasps as ____________ leans down to tease his pert, sensitive nipples. “Please, darling...”
“Mmmmmmm, Ignis,” she moans. “Please what?”
“Please make love to me,” he gasps as she grazes one of his nipples with her teeth. “My darling wife, my love...”
_____________ smirks and throws off the thin babydoll nightgown, moving beside Ignis to help free him of his underwear. His cock springs out, half-hard and slicked with precum on the tip.
“With pleasure,” she says as she prepares to blow him out of his mind.