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Hold Me Tight

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            Luche isn’t sure when his apartment became the gathering place for everyone. He knew it was before the Glaive, back when it was just Nyx, Libertus, and Crowe invading his home. Nyx left the matching kukris to what he normally uses hanging on the coat rack and half his wardrobe is in Luche’s closet. Crowe has an extra set of bake ware in the cupboard to the right of his oven. Libertus has all but taken over the guest room and Pelna has completely filled his bookcases and then some. There’s an easel tucked into the corner of his bedroom because Tredd claims that’s where the best light is. Axis’s video games and console are stacked on the floor next to his tv stand. Sonitus keeps leaving skeins of yarn on all of his endtables Even Titus has been known to leave reports on his dining room table. Luche loves that they all do it, even if he says otherwise when asked.
            He did once ask why they all flock to him and they all responded, in sync which freaked him out a bit, “I know you can, but that doesn’t mean I want you to.” That’s when he realized that he had become the Mom Friend. He made a point to go have keys made for his squad, all eight of them. Nine because the captain kept calling on him and he got annoyed to the point where it was easier to just let the man have complete access to his apartment than to continually let him in. Nyx is the only one that doesn’t use the front door, preferring to warp in when he’s close enough.
            “Hello, person who doesn’t live here.” He’s not even surprised when Nyx drops his coat and shirt onto the floor before he flops onto the couch.
            “Hello, person who puts up with it anyway.” Not for the first time, he thinks that they should just live together again. He’s starting to be certain the majority of the time they spend apart is just traveling between each other’s homes. Nyx pulls his phone out as he lays his head on Luche’s thigh, “I’m ordering food. What do you want?”
            “Noodles.” Sometimes he needs to get revenge on Nyx for his antics.
            “They have like, 10 noodle dishes. Which one?”
            “The one with chicken.”
            “They all can come with chicken, that’s not helpful.”
            “And veggies.” He flips from the cooking show he was watching to the cartoon Nyx loves.
            “Now I know you’re doing this on purpose, Lu. Which one do you want?” Luche revels in the look he gets from Nyx.
            “Specifically carrots and broccoli.”
            “You are the worst person ever and I hate you.” He couldn’t stop the fond smile or how his hand dragged through Nyx’s hair, automatically checking to see if he had done Luche’s braid correctly.
            “I love you too, Nyx.” He hadn’t, so Luche set about diligently fixing his hair. “Did you know the others think ‘I know you can, but that doesn’t mean I want you to’ is my catchphrase?”
            “Well I’m not trying hard enough if it isn’t ‘damn it, Nyx.’” He laughs at the sharp tug to his hair. “They aren’t wrong. You are our mom friend. I can probably guess when they each started thinking that.” Luche is now sure he’s forgotten all about ordering food.
            “Oh really?” He finishes the braid and moves to just running his hand through Nyx’s hair.
            Nyx hums, “yeah. I was way back when we were kids. Back when dad died, I tried to make you leave because I didn’t want anyone else around me to die.” Luche’s heart ached at the memory. “Libertus was when he got divorced. You got right up into his face and yelled that at him for thinking he had go through that alone. Crowe was when she had to go back to her village. She wouldn’t let any of us go with her. You just showed up when she was about to leave with your things and said it before the two of you took off. Drautos was when you realized he was losing sleep over the paperwork and trying to strategize. It’s what sparked the ‘respectfully, sir’ joke. I’ve lost count how many times you’ve said that to Pelna. I think the first time was during a battle.” He had no idea that Nyx paid this much attention to him still. “Tredd and Axis happened at the same time. It was right after their home was raided. You dragged them back here, made some rice dish, told them that and just took care of them. Sonitus that I have no context for. You just handed him his blade during training and said it.”
            “He just received his mother’s tags from the hunters. He had pulled back from even training the recruits.” There was a soft ‘mew’ from the window as their cat came in which made them both smile. “If I’m mom, does that make you dad or is that Drautos?” Nyx pushed his head back against his hands when he stopped playing with his hair.
            “Both, but Drautos is an entirely different kind of daddy than me.” Luche lost it. His laugh was loud and full bodied as Nyx grinned. That’s how Axis found them, Luche on the verge of tears from how hard he was laughing, Nyx looking like the cat that caught the canary, and Selena sitting on his xbox.

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            He felt like death. Death and vomit. He had somehow managed to call both the school and Nyx to tell them just that. Now here he was lying on his bathroom floor, listening to the rain hit the window.
            “I knew I should’ve used a condom. Ma is going to be so disappointed.” He no longer remembers why he called Nyx. There is no way his boyfriend could actually help this situation.
            “This isn’t a joke, babe. I’m literally puking every 30 minutes. My life is nothing but bile, nausea, and misery.” He felt the other lie down next to him, making sure not to block Luche’s access to the toilet.
            “No, it’s just classic morning sickness. We are going to have a baby.” Nyx places a hand on his abdomen. “You must really feel like shit if you’re calling me babe.” Luche would’ve responded but he was too busy hunching over the toilet. He feels a wet washcloth on the back of his neck and a hand stroking his back. “Shit, our sweet love child ok?”
            “You do know I’m a man and can’t get pregnant right?” Nyx handed him a glass of water and went right back into rubbing his back.
            “Yeah, I mean we had to have sex to create this fake child.” Luche’s laugh turned into a groan as his stomach churned again. “I was hoping we would wait until we both were out of our parents’ houses and in our own place before it happened, maybe get a cat first to make sure we could care for another living thing.” He guided Luche down onto the floor and onto his chest. “What do you think we should name it?”
            “You answered that way too fast.” Luche huffed and snuggled into Nyx.
            “Always wanted a family of my own. Get a shot to do what your family has done.” He wasn’t prepared for Nyx to tighten his hold on him or the kiss on his forehead.
            “Lanakila and Nakita. One day you and I will have them. The six know there’s enough orphans that no one will stop us from taking a couple.” Luche closes his eyes and snuggles into Nyx, drifting while Nyx describes their future family.

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            ‘I’m getting too old for this’ was all Luche could think as Nyx led him through the halls of the citadel. They were ducking into rooms to hide from guards and had on their combat uniforms so the hoods can hide their faces. Though he’s not sure how Nyx’s purple ribbons were going to help them not be seen. He knew it was a gamble whether Nyx actually needed help with something or if they were going to exactly what they were doing now when he got asked to suit up.
            “Why am I getting that the two of you are in the north east tower of the citadel?” Pelna’s voice came in through their coms. Nyx promptly took his out and shoved it into his pocket with eyes pleading Luche to not respond.
            “Nyx asked me to watch his back. Don’t tell the captain.” Luche responded while Nyx yanked him into what appeared to be a storage room and shut the door behind them.
            “Whatever it is you two are up to, guards stop patrolling past this floor. I won’t say anything unless he asks.” He’s a little glad that Pelna had found his way into their group.
            “Thank you.” He had to swat Nyx’s had away from his earpiece. “One of us should know if we need to actually deploy.”
            Nyx rolled his eyes, “stop being a buzzkill.” They both fall silent as footsteps walk past the room they were in. Nyx nodded and they both continued their way up the tower. They were quick to figure out that the reason behind no guards on the upper levels was because there was nothing to guard on these floors.
            “Now will you tell me what we’re doing here?” He huffed when Nyx tugged down both of their hoods with a grin.
            “Remember the pool back home?”
            The man was completely unbelievable. “You had me suit up, break into the citadel, sneak through the palace, just because you wanted to jump off the tower? They have cliffs by the harbor if you wanted to go diving.” Nyx shook his head as they climbed what Luche hoped to be the last flight of stairs.
            “They’re so much smaller than what we’re used to. Then I remembered that we can warp and could probably get up here to do it.” Nyx holds the door to the observatory open for him.
            He gives the other a look, “you’ve been watching Axis play that assassin game again.”
            “That may also have something to do with it.” Nyx conceded. Luche just sighs and goes to the one window that could be opened. He could already hear Drautos yelling at them for doing this as he opens it for them to climb out.
            It took a second for it to hit to him. The sight of all the city lights, the harbor, the wall surrounding the city, even the ocean beyond. It took another second for him to realize Nyx was more focused on looking out over the edge of the building to judge the fall. He guides the other’s head up, forcing him to look at the city before them. They both are silent as the look out and Nyx wraps an arm around his shoulders. “You ever see anything as incredible back home?”
            “Yeah, I got to see you.” Him ruining the moment in 3,2,1.
            “Aw, Luche-smuche, you getting sweet on me?” Nyx pressed a kiss to Luche’s cheek with a grin.
            He glares a Nyx but still leans into him, “I swear, babe, call me that again and I will push you off.”
            “Shit, you’re serious. You broke out ‘babe’. You think I’m comparable to all that.” Nyx sounded awed that Luche thought this. Sometimes he forgets Nyx is human with occasionally low self-esteem.
            Luche points towards the edge, “I’m serious about pushing you off this tower.” That got a laugh from his partner. “I’m also serious about you being as beautiful as this.”
            “I love you too, Lu.” He wasn’t expecting the tender kiss he received, but he wasn’t about to complain about it. “Sonitus is right. We are sickeningly in love.”
            Luche reached over to grab a hold of Nyx’s coat. “We have been for years now, but thanks for noticing.” With that he dragged them both over the edge into a fall. Nyx was right about this being better than what they had available. He could almost hear their laughs over the sound of the air rushing past them then the inevitable pull of a warp and the push back to reality as they landed on the ground. Both breathless and laughing.
            He feels like he’s seventeen again and they got caught sneaking back into his room when Drautos looms over them. “It’s 2 in the morning. What the hell do you think you two are doing?” Luche blames the adrenaline high he’s still working his way through for what comes out of his mouth next.
            “Respectfully sir, in case you’ve forgotten, we’re doing each other.” This sets Nyx off on another round of laughter. Drautos hauls them up off the ground with a glare.
            “Go home. I will deal with the two of you tomorrow.” With a shove towards the street he follows them until they make it to the entrance of the subway to ensure they don’t go back to do it again.
            On the ride home, ignoring the stares from the other passengers, “did you really ‘respectfully sir’ the captain?” The smirk on Nyx’s face had him shaking his head.
            “My mother is right. You are a terrible influence on me.” That got him a laugh and Nyx leaning more of his weight against him.

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            Luche wakes up to the entire Glaive in his home and Nyx not in his bed like he should be. He’s fairly certain Axis hasn’t moved since last night, Libertus looked barely awake next to him with Sonitus knitting what looked like gloves in the arm chair. Pelna was pouring coffee into various mugs with Tredd trying to memorize which cup belongs to who. Even Drautos was at the dining table reading through the newspaper with elephant stoneware mug already in hand. “They’ll be cool enough to not burn your mouth in just a minute, Nyx, calm down.” And there would be his boyfriend crowding around Crowe as she puts something on the cooling rack.
            “Scones.” That answers the question of what she was doing. Luche leans against the wall and just sleepily observes them all, absentmindedly shoving his hands into the pockets of his sweatpants.
            “Yes, scones.” She’s indulgent like they all are when Nyx gets like this. It’s near impossible to get him to cooperate if he gets one of these cravings.
            Nyx actually wiggled in excitement, “Crowe scones.”
            “Nyx, stop bothering the woman.” Sonitus called over his shoulder without missing even a stitch.
            “Soni, Crowe scones.” Another excited wiggle that makes him smile.
            It was now that Luche decides to let them know he was up. “It’s 6am on our day off, why are you all here?” Nyx spins around with one of the happiest looks on his face.
            “Luche, Crowe scones!”
            Tredd just sighs from his seat on the counter, “Axis hasn’t stopped playing whatever he it is that he’s playing.”
            “Witcher 3.” Axis called out from the couch.
            “That since last night. Nyx sent out a mass texts with just the word ‘scones?’ and now we are all here.” Tredd looks back at the mugs in front of Pelna. “So elephants go to Titus, obviously the one with ‘to the moon and back’ goes to Nyx, and the pixel heart is Axis’s.”
            Luche envies Sonitus’s ability to knit and talk this early in the morning. “Why does he keep telling Crowe there’s scones?”
            “He’s not. Anything she bakes he adds her name in front of it. There’s Crowe bread, Crowe cake, Crowe rolls. It’s more to announce someone good at baking made them.” Libertus grumbled, his eyes barely open and looking a lot more asleep than Luche feels.
            “You’re dating a manchild.” He finally manages to move past the hallway and sit down next to Drautos. He mumbles out a “I’m aware, sir.” As he rests his head in a hand and watches Pelna disperse coffee.
            Crowe finally gets fed up with Nyx’s constant hovering. “Ok fine, Tredd, get the cream. Here, Nyx, here is your scone.”
            “Scone!” Luche can’t help but smile at that, eyes drawn to where Nyx was putting two scones onto a plate.
            Pelna hands him his ‘you’re a good mom’ mug, “thanks, Pelna. Nyx, calm down with the scones.” He keeps an eye to where Tredd hands Nyx the strawberry jam.
            “If you were a berry, I would turn you into jam and enjoy you all winter.” He’s tired enough to actually chuckle at this before scowling at Drautos’s raised eyebrow.
            “I’m the only one you can give those lines to, Nyx.”
            Nyx turns around to blow him a kiss before grabbing the two plates. “Thanks for creaming on my scone, Tredd.”
            “No problem.” A wave of the hand has Nyx setting off towards the table.
            He places the scone with just jam on is in front of Luche before sitting down next to him. “Scone for me. Scone for you.”
            He places a hand around the back of Nyx’s neck and draws him into a kiss. “Good morning. I love you.” Nyx beams at him and presses their foreheads together. “You weren’t in bed this morning.” He hadn’t mean for it to come out as an accusation, but in his defense he really just wanted a day in bed with his boyfriend.
            “Crowe Scones.” Was all he got in response which made him laugh and kiss Nyx again.
            Axis whined out, “They’re doing it again.”
            It goes quiet for at least a moment with most people getting food or eating or in Luche’s case resting his head on Nyx’s shoulder while cradling his mug. “What’s wrong?” Pelna’s voice sounded from across the table.
            Nyx sounded almost sad, “There’s something wrong with the cream.”
            “It tastes fine to me.” Luche opened his eyes and looked down at Nyx’s breakfast, identifying the problem immediately.
            “Did you put clotted cream on his scone?” Luche asked, looking towards where the ginger was back sitting on the counter.
            “It’s cream, they’re all the same.” There was a shrug and he just sighed, knowing Nyx was most likely going to do his drama queen routine.
            “No they aren’t, you fuck nugget. Clotted is all chunky and thick and tastes like despair. Despair and disappointment and tears.” Luche meets the captain’s eyes and nods to the silent plea to make Nyx stop. “It can make something as sweet as strawberry jam taste like depression and agony.” Luche gets up and grabs his own scone. He moves to the fridge for the whipped cream and spraying some onto it before spraying some into his mouth.
            “That’s disgusting. We all use that.” Axis always complains when he does this. The amount that Luche cares is none.
            He just shrugs, “then get another can for you guys. This is my home.” He goes back to the table and switches the plate in front of Nyx for the one in his hand.
            “And another thing,” Nyx just looks down and trails off as he looks over to where he watches Luche set down the pastry with the clotted cream and takes a bite of it. “You hate clotted cream too.”
            “I don’t hate it, I just don’t normally use it unless I’m cooking.” Luche takes a sip of his coffee in between each bite. Mostly to get the taste out of his mouth if he is being honest with himself.
            “Oh.” A kiss to his cheek. “Thanks, Lu.”
            “No problem, babe.” He goes through two and a half cups trying to get the taste of clotted cream out of his mouth.

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            They were finally having a quiet moment. Nyx relaxing in the tub with his arm hanging over the side, Luche drawing random patterns on Nyx’s arm with his fingertips while singing love songs quietly. It’s been a long time since they’ve had enough energy to stay awake after duty or no one else in the apartment to do this.
            “Hold me close and hold me fast, the magic spell you cast, this is la vie en rose” Luche trails his fingers up Nyx’s arm to his shoulder and down to the lightening scar on his chest as he sings. “When you kiss me heaven sighs, and though I close my eyes, I see la vie en rose.” He feels more than hears the sigh from Nyx when Luche finally drags his hand out of the almost too hot water and back down Nyx’s arm, leaving droplets as he continues his serenade. “When you press me close to your heart, I’m in a world apart, a world where roses bloom,” he almost misses the smile and half closed eyes from Nyx as he traces the line on his forearm. “And when you speak, angels sing from above, everyday words seem to turn into love songs,” fingers close around his when he goes to trace the tattoo on Nyx’s finger. “Give your heart and soul to me, and life will always be la vie en rose.” The rest of the song and subsequent kiss judging by how Nyx was pulling him closer got interrupted by Luche’s phone going off.
            “Don’t answer that.” It was a quiet plea from Nyx, one that almost hurt him to have to deny.
            “You know that’s not an option.” He pulls away and picks up his phone, needing stifle a groan at who was calling. “Hello mother.”
            “Am I interrupting something?” At this moment Nyx decides to let out a loud moan that has Luche pressing a hand to his mouth to get him to be quiet.
            “No, no. I’m just relaxing with Nyx. I take it since you’re calling that you made it back from Havaugh safe and sound.” His attempt was in vain as Nyx just tried to be louder in effort to get him off the phone.
            ”Yes, I did. What was that noise?” Luche was going to kill this man once he got off the phone. His hand trailed down Nyx’s face, pressing briefly against the base of his neck before going down further.
            “Nothing, just Nyx being himself.” He scratched his nails down Nyx’s abs, smirking when he sees that Nyx’s dick is already starting to harden. “How was the trip? Everyone still doing ok?”
            “They are. Lani is thinking of starting another shop on the northern end of the island.” Luche wraps his hand gently around Nyx and stroking slowly, shaking his head when Nyx lets out a genuine moan. The other nods to show he understands to be quiet or Luche stops. “Valence is thinking of starting his own construction company and keeping his handyman business on the side.
            “I’m glad Libertus’s family is doing well. How’s ma doing?” He keeps his voice even and tries not to smirk at Nyx who is busy pushing his hips up into Luche’s hand and has his own in his mouth to try to keep quiet.
            ”Mrs. Ulric is doing fine. She joined Lani and I for tea and seemed to be well.” In all honesty, he stopped listening after knowing Nyx’s mom was ok. He much rather pay attention to Nyx trying to get him to hold him tighter than his mother. “What is that splashing?
            “We’re doing the dishes.” He watches Nyx silently gasp when he complies and starts to stroke faster and harder. “I’m glad you made it back to the city and had a good trip. Drautos is calling and I need to make sure we aren’t getting deployed. I’ll call you when I can.”
            “Stay safe. I love you.” A part of him feels like he should feel bad, but then Nyx arches his back and starts mouthing the words Luche knows he’s desperate to let loose.
            “Love you too.” He hangs up the phone and places it by his side. Nyx gives him a desperate look and he just nods, knowing what is coming next.
            “Oh, fuck, Lu. So good. You’re hands feel…fuck, Luche.” The litany of praises and moans that followed had Luche smirking as he moves up onto his knees next to the tub. He waits for the tell-tale sign of Nyx’s words failing him before taking a breath, leaning over the side, and taking the head of Nyx’s dick into his mouth. Nyx came with a low groan and Luche swallowing every drop. “You could’ve just let me come in the water.”
            Luche strips off his now soaked shirt as he settles back onto the bathroom rug. “You haven’t been in there nearly long enough for me to justify that.” Nyx just laughs at that with his eyes closed and head leant back, hand outstretched towards him.
            “You’re too far away.” He chuckles but moves closer to the tub, leaning it up against it to let Nyx map out his chest. He’s not actually surprised when Nyx starts with the scars decorating his torso. “Why is it every time we get into a major fight, you wind up getting injured?” Luche guesses his confusion was written across his face because Nyx just sighs and traces the bite on his right shoulder. “We were arguing about whether you should stay in school or drop out with me to help me hunt. We hadn’t spoken in two days when that sawtooth got a hold of you.” That argument had escaped his memory all together, it having been almost eight years ago.
            He rests an arm up on the side of the tub and lets his hand drop into the water. “The argument had nothing to do with that. I was focused on shooting the one coming up behind you I didn’t notice it.” The hand traveled down to the claw marks stretching from just under his pec down almost to his belly button then did the same to its matching set on the other side. The newest additions to his growing collection.
            “The couerl that got you. We were fighting about how much you work since you joined the Glaive.” He reaches out to spread the hand in the water on Nyx’s chest.
            “It was me or the kid we found. You of all people should know there was no other choice. That had also had nothing to do with our fight.” What was the saying, once is a happenstance twice is a coincidence?
            Nyx trailed his hand down to the line just below his belly button, “tonberry. You wanted me to move in with you and instead of saying I wasn’t ready I lashed out.” Three times a pattern. Luche can agree that Nyx might have a point about this.
            “Ok, that time I was reckless and didn’t think the little devils could reach any thing important.” He dreads the next scar Nyx has yet to talk about. The one on his chest where a Nif’s bullet hit a little too close for comfort to his heart.
            Sure enough that’s where he feels those deft fingers trace next. “You jumped between me and a sniper. It was your first successful warp and you did it just to take a hit for me. We had broken up because of this fight and you still didn’t even hesitate. My last words to you were almost me telling you to go fuck yourself.” He doesn’t actually remember anything between seeing the red dot on Nyx’s chest and waking up to him sobbing next to the hospital bed. “It took me being forced to leave you bleeding out on the field to deal with the immediate threat and eight hours of surgery to remove my head from my ass.”
            Luche moved his hand from Nyx’s chest to cup his face. “Nyx, it’s in the past. We forgave each other. We are both right here in my bathroom. Together.” He does pause long enough to lean over and kiss him. “For someone who just had an orgasm, you sure are all doom and gloom. I thought that was my role in the relationship.” This had a small smile back on Nyx’s face.
            “It’s not that often I see you shirtless in the light.” The reminder that he hates his scars was not one he wanted when trying to cheer up Nyx. “Which is a damn shame because you are gorgeous.” He feels a kiss to his palm and a fierce need to change the subject.
            “Want to go back to me singing and you relaxing?” Nyx gives him a knowing look but nods anyways. Luche forces a smile as he starts back up the playlist of songs for these kinds of moment they’ve cultivated over the years and goes back to softly singing his love for Nyx.

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            Nyx loves the days when he wakes up before Luche and they don’t have work or their home isn’t being invaded by the rest of the Glaive. He loves it because waking Luche up before noon is a process that Nyx has perfected by now. He loves it because he gets to see Luche with all of his walls down, without feeling the need to take care of everyone and everything.
            It starts with him pressing a kiss behind Luche’s ear before whispering into it, calling for Luche to wake up. He laughs at the grumble and at Luche grabbing a hold of the blankets and rolling. He never gets out of bed until Luche has finished cocooning himself in the sheets and never before he gets the soft, sleepy kiss. Sometimes he stops in the doorway of their bedroom to just watch the other sleep, other times he sits down in the living room with Selena on his lap while he watches the news.
            He makes pancakes for breakfast. The pancakes he spent way too long learning and perfecting how to make when he learned that they were Luche’s favorite. Nyx makes sure to never make the same kind twice in a row though. He has a mental list of all the fruit or chocolate chips that’s added into the batter, though he’s fairly certain he could always give Luche plain pancakes and the man would still love them. One thing he makes sure to do is to put the syrup in a bowl instead of on top of the pancakes. He doesn’t understand the appeal, but knows Luche likes to tear them into chunks and dip them like he’s a little kid.
            By the time pancakes are on the plate and coffee is ready, Luche has at least managed to unwind himself from the sheets though still mostly asleep. Nyx can’t stop the smile on his face when he sets the plate and mug on the nightstand before laying down on top of Luche. It takes a few minutes of him pressing kisses to Luche’s cheeks and lips to get the other to at least open his eyes.
            “I made you breakfast.” The same confused, tired look that always happens turns towards the nightstand before a small smile happens. Nyx grins as he rolls off Luche to sit next to him, back against the headboard. “Went with strawberries today.” He watches the slow movement of Luche sitting up next to him and grabbing the plate. Nyx watches the look of delight spread across Luche’s face as they sit shoulder to shoulder while he eats. He lives for moments like this. Moments when he can see the man he loves being expressive and open and their world is narrowed down to the peace that resides inside their apartment.

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            The day starts off as normal. Luche wakes up before the sun rises, mostly just to frown at Nyx’s absence in the spot next to him before getting up to shower. He gets to HQ before everyone else and sets up shop in the break room with his reports. Everything seems as it should until the captain comes in. He actually holds his hands up slightly in a mock surrender when the man drops a new gun holster in front of him.
            “You needed a new one.” Was all the explanation he got before Drautos left the room. He agrees that the holster for the gun he keeps at his back for emergencies was a little worn, but it didn’t warrant replacing just yet. Though he wasn’t going to complain about not having to pay for a good quality holster.
            The next gift happens when he’s forcing Nyx to stand still while he redoes the braid just behind his ear. He knows Nyx doesn’t do this one as well as the others on purpose just so Luche has to do it, but he isn’t about to call him on it. It’s Crowe who drops a plate of muffins next to him with only a ‘for you, Luche’ before waltzing off to terrorize some of the newbies. He winds up letting most of the Glaive help him eat them, but they are just as delicious as everything else she bakes.
            It’s when Libertus comes to him with new gloves that he gets a little suspicious. The gloves themselves were much better than the pair he has for his uniform. The leather being softer and more supple. He checks the date on his phone to make sure he hasn’t accidentally forgotten his birthday or some other gift giving holiday. It wasn’t until he gets a text from Petra with a ‘Happy mother’s day ;P’ that he realized what’s happening.
            Luche will forever deny that Tredd’s gift makes him tear up. The water color painting of the canyon had him missing where he grew more than the calls he got from his mother. Nyx actually wound up holding onto him for a solid ten minutes before Luche felt he could handle the rest of the Glaive again.
            Sonitus and Pelna went in together to get him a new knife set for his kitchen. The Damascus steel sharp and beautiful with a nice balance in his hands. He was already planning on the next meal for when the Glaive next invades his home.
            Axis got him the most ridiculous garden statue he’s ever seen. It was this jabberwock looking creature terrorizing tiny gnomes. Luche fell in love with it the moment to he saw it and planned to put on his deck as soon as he got home. Nyx had it named Gnomezilla the second he saw it
            Luche was home and cooking dinner for himself when Nyx warps in. The grin he gets was all the warning he needs to turn off the stove before the other is slipping in between him and the counter. “Hello, person who doesn’t live here.”
            Nyx is already pulling him into a kiss. “Hi, person who loves that I’m here anyways.” He’s fairly certain Nyx wasn’t prepared for the way Luche pressed against him. “Lu.”
            “You helped them planned this today didn’t you?” Another kiss, Nyx’s hand grabbing on to his hair as he rolls his hips against Nyx’s.
            “Not this time. This was all them.” He jumps up slightly so Luche can hold him up, resting him on the edge of the counter as they go back to kissing. Nyx moans softly before pulling away from him. “Wait, Lu. I got something for you.” He pulls back just enough to let Nyx talk without brushing against his lips.
            “Can this wait?” He really just wants to spread Nyx across the dining table and show him just how much he loves this man.
            “No.” The annoyed sigh that comes from him is unavoidable as Nyx wiggles to get something from his back pocket. “Here. Since you’re the mom to everyone and deserve something pretty.”
            His voice is husky even to his own ears, “I have you to be pretty for me.” Nyx laughs as he shoves a box between them. “What’s this?” He almost stops supporting Nyx’s weight when he sees the line of jewels on a solid chain. The line displaying the birthstones of all eight of his squad.
            “Something to remember all of us by. A reminder that you matter to all of us.” Luche doesn’t resist the loving kiss Nyx gives him. “But especially me. I’m most important.”
            He can’t help but laugh at that. “Don’t go getting a big head, Ulric.” He puts the necklace on the counter and presses his face against Nyx’s neck. “Though how about we take this back to bed and I can show you just how special you are and how grateful I am.”

Chapter Text

            It started off as a bet. Tredd didn’t believe that Nyx could make Luche giggle. That sound was not one he believed that Luche was capable of making. Laughing, yes. Chuckling, yes. A real giggle, no. There were rules to this bet. It had to happen in front of the Glaive, and Luche can’t know what he was trying to do. If Nyx was being honest with himself, he can’t remember a time when he’s heard Luche giggle either. Though he’s not about to pass up extra money for making his boyfriend happy, so he takes it.
            He tries cheesier than normal pick-up lines to only get a snort of amusement. He tries dirty jokes only to get a raised eyebrow and an unimpressed face. He tries dad jokes and gets a laugh while shaking his head. He even tries being sweet and romantic to the point where Luche might give a nervous giggle at it. Nyx can’t actually complain about the reaction to this since it was the most gentle, loving sex they’ve ever had and it was awesome. No, it happens when they are all in the briefing room and Tredd had annoyed Nyx to the point he actually interrupted the captain to yell at him.
            “Listen, you fucking spaghetti goblin, I can and will force you to do warp laps until you’re puking blood.” He would’ve continued to berate the ginger except there was a noise he’s never heard before. A high pitched tittering coming from the man next to him. He stares at Luche until he realizes that he’s done it. He’s made him giggle. Nyx turns excitedly to Tredd who looks like he isn’t sure if he should be enjoying this or mad that he lost the bet. When he looks back at Luche when he finally stops, it’s only for him to dissolve back into giggling when they meet eyes. This cycle continues for a few minutes with Nyx becoming more and more proud over what he’s done to Luche.
            “I think you’ve broken him.” Axis pipes up when it’s been long enough that even Drautos is starting to look concerned about Luche’s reaction to it. The captain winds up needing to separate them for Luche to calm down. It’s not until they are back at Luche’s apartment that it gets mentioned again. Nyx is laying between Luche’s legs, back against his chest while they flip between the evening news and some new sitcom when it happens. He can feel more than hear Luche starting to lose it again. It’s with a whisper of ‘spaghetti goblin’ that has him joining in with Luche’s giggling.

Chapter Text

            The first time they get caught was a day of firsts for Luche. It was the first time he burned his breakfast since he started cooking for himself, the first time he ditched school, the first time Nyx and him kissed, and the first time Selena walked in on them. She walks in when Nyx has one of Luche’s legs wrapped around his waist and moaning softly as they grind together.

            “What are you guys doing?” If it were anyone other than Nyx’s eleven year old sister, Luche would’ve died laughing at the noise Nyx made.

            “Selena! Get out!” He isn’t sure why Nyx shifted to cover more of him. They had barely made it past kicking off their shoes.

            There was her trademark pout out in full force. “Your truck is out front. I just wanted to see you.” “Get! Out!” Nyx doesn’t shift off of him until the door is slammed shut behind the girl, and even then it’s only enough to look at his face. “There’s no hope of us continuing is there?” Luche does pull him down into a kiss, though this one was lacking the heat of the previous one.

            “None. Later, ok?”

            “Yeah, ok.” He kisses Nyx’s cheek at the disappointed sigh before pushing him off the bed. Selena winds up being the one who catches them at it the most before they leave for Insomnia. Her response to evolved from “what’s happening?” to “why is it always me?” to “oh dear six, I don’t want to see that much of my brothers ever.” The last one always had one of them laughing too hard to keep going. When they all lived in an apartment together, Libertus would cheer them on with a “that’s right! Get some!” before turning around and leaving. Depending on how Nyx was feeling, either they’d laugh enough that they had to stop or Nyx would be a little rougher and possessive. They both have small scars from when Crowe walked in on them and threw her keys at them.

            They do manage to make it a couple years before getting interrupted after they move to Insomnia. It’s when Nyx has him spread out on his own dining table and mapping out every inch of skin, dragging his fingers everywhere but where Luche wants him the most. It’s when the sound of his door opening is lost to Nyx’s constant stream of praise (“Fuck, Lu. You’re so beautiful. All spread out just for me. Such a good boy letting me do this.”) and Luche’s gasps and quiet moans.

            What isn’t lost is Axis’s outraged voice. “We eat on that table!”

            Nor is Tredd’s “I have no idea if I want to look away or keep watching.” Luche bats away Nyx’s hands that seemed decide to make a beeline for his softening cock.

            “We were having such a good streak too.” Nyx huffs at him as he helps Luche sit up, making sure to stand so he blocks most of Luche from Tredd and Axis’s view.

            “Have we been eating on a cum and lube covered table this entire time?” Poor Axis sounds horrified. Luche almost feels bad for him. Almost. Nyx looks offended by that.

            “Hey, I clean it afterwards.”

            “I always pegged Nyx for being the bottom.” Tredd muses, still eyeing them while Axis opted to turn away.

            “Tredd!” Both Nyx and Luche snap at the ginger.

            “Well it’s true. Anyways, one of you call Drautos. He sent us to see why you two weren’t answering your phones.”

            The most memorable time he can remember though was the time they got caught by the crown prince. They weren’t even in the citadel when it happened, but in an alley behind a bar after a couple of drinks. Luche was on his knees in front of Nyx, dragging his nose along the line of Nyx’s dick while he blindly works at undoing his belt when they hear a voice.

            “Looks like even the mighty hero breaks rules, Prom. We’ll be fine.” They both turn to glare at the voice, Luche moving to press his hand against Nyx’s stomach to stop him from saying anything once he realizes who it was.

            “Your highness.” He turns his glare up to Nyx when he feels a twitch against his cheek. “We really need to discuss this growing exhibitionism kink you have.” He tries to sound annoyed as he stands up.

            “I’m not getting off on this.” Luche raises an eyebrow at this which for once actually got Nyx to start blushing. “Shouldn’t Gladio be with you, your highness? There’s a lot of refugees that aren’t fond of the royal family in this part of town.”

            “He’s around.” The hesitance in Noctis’s voice has them sighing. This was the third time this month that the prince has ditched his shield.

            “C’mon, Lu. At least we don’t have to run all over the city to find him this time.” Luche still grumbles even as Nyx wraps an arm around his shoulders, pulling him close as they walk the two teens back towards the street. He stops when he feels Nyx whisper in his ear, “my place is closer. We return the wayward princeling then go pick up where we left off?” His nod might be more than a little enthusiastic.

Chapter Text

            Nyx Ulric was a lot of things. Most of the Glaive would argue that it’s the fact that he knows that he’s attractive, smart, funny (everyone makes an argument for annoying instead), loyal, and selfless that makes him the most insufferable person to be around. The one thing he has a hard time accepting that everyone has no problem associating to him is that he’s a hero. In his eyes, everything that he’s done is something any of the other Glaives would’ve done. He was just in the right place at the right time to do it. At first he straight denies that he is one, but their group and the press don’t let up on it. So he starts passing it off as a joke or ignoring it. It isn’t until he has to take care of a very sick, very stubborn Luche Lazarus that he starts to believe that he might be one.
            “Alright, Lu. You’ve had your soup and meds. You agreed you’d go to bed after that.” He almost laughs at the muffled ‘no’ that comes from the lump of blankets that was curled up against his side. “You promised that you would, remember?” There was a pause as the lump shifted enough for Luche to poke his head out to tell him ‘no’ before snuggling into his chest. He does laugh at that as he runs a hand through Luche’s messy hair. “You breaking a promise you made me?” There’s no heat behind his words, he’s mostly just trying to avoid needing to carry Luche back to their room.
            “Yes.” Luche’s glare is ruined by his flushed face, runny nose, and the round of coughs that follow. Nyx kisses the top of his head before standing up.
            “Hard way it is then.” He grunts as he picks up his sick boyfriend, cradling him to his chest as he moves towards their room.
            This might be the first time he’s ever heard Luche whine without it be related to sex. “No, want to be on the couch with you.”
            “You need your rest.” He sets him down on the bed, laughing when a hand comes out of the cocoon to grab his arm.
            “With. You.” Nyx lets him pull him down onto the bed and his free hand starts brushing back hair from Luche’s forehead.
            “You need to sleep off this fever.”
            He strokes Luche’s cheek when hazy eyes look up at him. “With you. Always. Stopping behemoths from eating the kids or standing between civilians and the daemons. Always with you.” Nyx is honestly not sure how to handle this information beyond the normal brushing it off.
            “Maybe I should try whatever they’ve got you on if you’re this high from it.” He leans down and kisses Luche’s forehead, frowning at still had bad the fever is. “Always with you too, Lu.” He stays until Luche’s breathing is even before getting up to clean up the used tissues and dishes that littered their coffee table. He pauses at the doorway to look back at the bed as his mind starts pulling all the times he’s thrown himself in harm’s way to defend someone else. It’s not until he’s at the sink washing the numerous glasses that he realizes that in every memory that the Glaives were always more focused on pushing forward instead of protecting. It also takes a body wrapping itself around his that he realizes he had be standing still for who knows how long.
            “Could hear you thinking from the bed.” He huffs as he places the glass back into the sink and hugs the arms around him.
            “I thought I told you to go to sleep. Do I need to read you a bed time story to get you to stay in bed for once?”
            Luche sniffs and grumbles against his back. “What were you thinking about?”
            “Am I a hero, Lu?” He isn’t expecting the other to chuckle, though Luche rubbing his cheek against his shoulder is completely expected.
            “Of course you are. You seriously think any of us would do half the dumb shit you do without you leading us to it?” He gets another nuzzle and arms squeezing him gently. “Snuggles.” This does pull another laugh from him.
            “Fine, but you need to actually sleep and not pretend you are while we watch that bullshit soap opera.” Luche is far more moveable this time as Nyx leads him back to the couch and down on top of him. It’s with a smile and a kiss to the top of Luche’s head that Nyx starts to believe that he’s actually doing something good in this world.

Chapter Text

            Nyx hated when they had to go through mandatory counseling. The annual psych evaluations he understood. They couldn’t do their jobs if they were going crazy, but the two months of weekly or bi-weekly counseling he never could get why. They never happened on a schedule, just one day the Glaive would come in to find the liquor cabinet in the break room fully stocked and an extremely annoyed captain glaring at his phone. Then they’d all get assigned to some fresh out of university, thinks they are better than you shrink who always ends up prescribing some sort of medication that none of them ever end up taking. At the end of the day, he knows that they are all more than a little messed up and should be taking the pills, but they all have the same coping mechanism of leaning on each other and it works for them.

            “So, Nyx, I’d like to talk about safe places this session.” He focuses back on the scrawny man sitting in the arm chair across from him. Something about the man reminds him strongly of Axis, but he can’t put his finger on what it is. “All but you and one other has given the same answer. I’m curious to see if you are the same as the rest.” The slight tilt of the head gives Nyx his answer. The man looks like a puppy that’s been kicked. A familiar sight if Axis isn’t distracted by something.

            “Let me guess, it’s the house Luche and I share for most of them.” Nyx leans forward to rest his elbows on his knees with a raised eyebrow at the shock on the shrink’s face. “With Luche being the one that said something different.”

            He watches the man shift uneasily as he writes something down. “While correct, we aren’t talking about them.”

            “No, we’re stuck talking about me.” He sighs as he remembers Luche’s advice of just talking instead of making jokes. “It’s Luche.”

            “You mean the home you share?”

            “No, I mean Luche the person.” Nyx really doesn’t want to be here trying to explain what’s going on in his head. The look from the psychiatrist said he didn’t have a choice. “A few months back I got captured while looking for intel in a Nif base. Someone there knows how to work a damn good illusion spell and used a fake Luche to torture me. What got me through it was the last memory I had of the real Luche.”

            There was a brief pause as the kid wrote something else down in his notes. “What memory was that?”

            Nyx hesitates, thinking about the picture Pelna had sent him of that day before opting to describe it instead. “His smile was bright enough that we’d never have to worry about daemons if we could find a way harness it, hair was wild, he was covered in flour from a fight I in no way started.” He did start it. Luche should know better than to ask him for help when in the kitchen. “He got me back by putting white hand prints all over my uniform that I didn’t notice until Drautos asked if Luche was busy making Crowe’s birthday cake.”

            “Focusing on a good memory isn’t an uncommon way to get through those kinds of situations. Where do you breathe easiest?” It takes him a moment to understand what he was being asked.

            “I find that being down at sea level on a sunny day with a light breeze makes it easiest for someone to breathe.” The look he gets was unamused at best. He rolls his eyes in response. “In bed.”

            More note taking. One of these times he’s going to sneak in afterhours just to see what is so noteworthy. “While pleasurable, sex shouldn’t be a go to when dealing with trauma.”

            “Not like that. It’s when he finds a way to, I don’t know, cacoon himself in the covers I guess. He’s this blanket burrito and I have to find a way to get him to let me inside it. Never takes long, but once I’m in there with him.” Nyx stops. His need for privacy in how they are when they’re alone warring with the need for these sessions to be done with. “Once I’ve got him pressed up against my back to the point where I can feel every scar pressed against me on every inhale and there’s one arm I’m using as a pillow and the other is hugging me. We’re both sweating in a matter of minutes, but it doesn’t matter.”

            “What does matter during that time?” He’s mildly surprised the other is capable of taking notes and talking. With all the pauses to write, he figured that they just couldn’t multitask.

            “Us. Just me, Lu, and a cock block of a cat.” The kid continues to poke and prod at him. Nyx barely makes it through the rest of the session, his answers becoming shorter and more terse with each question. He’s fairly certain that by the time he does storm out of the office that the psychiatrist had written ‘extremely volatile’ down.

            “Guilt complex and writing a letter to the deceased?” He shoots Luche an unamused look as the other falls in step with him. He should’ve know that Luche would be waiting for him to get done despite being told to go home.

            “Significant dependence and move back into my own space.” Nyx squeezes the almost hesitant hand that slips into his. “Deal’s a deal. I get our new house if we break up. You’re the one that’s going to have to move and we both know that won’t happen.” He does tug Luche closer when they make it to the elevator to press a noisy kiss to his cheek. “Got another case of paranoia and a pamphlet on coping?” Luche sighs out of exasperation.

            “No, that was last week. This week its daddy issues and I should try to find him to get closure.” Nyx leans back against the wall of the elevator and pulls Luche close so he can wrap his arm around his shoulders.

            “To be fair, you do have daddy issues and we all have been trying to get you to find him for years now.”

            “Between you, Drautos, and Petra I think I have any situation that might require someone being called daddy covered.” It takes him a second to realize what was said before he was laughing and trying to pull Luche closer. “We aren’t kids anymore, Nyx. No more making out in secluded place we find.”

            “Funny, Lu. I distinctly remember saying the same thing to you last week when you pulled me into that empty office.” Luche comes much easier this time, trying not to laugh into their kiss.

Chapter Text

            “You know I love you, right?” Luche looks up in mock annoyance instead of the overwhelming concern he’s feeling in that moment. Nyx being the big, dumb idiot he is shielded him from the worst of the explosions of Niflheim deciding to bomb an already destroyed city. For the stupid hero’s trouble, Luche had the pleasure of losing track of how many shards of glass and rubble he’s had to remove from Nyx’s body.
            “You aren’t dying. You want to distract us then talk about why they hit this place again.” Luche goes back to trying to figure out the best way to get Nyx off the rebar that his leg is impaled on. “All that’s left here are corpses and broken walls.”
            “Sorry, not all of us can make it to Drautos’s edgelord classes like you. Some of us prefer living off of hope.” He ignores Nyx’s rambling to triple check to make sure what’s left of their med kit is in the best place for what’s coming. “Come on, Lu. I’ve seen you hack a Nif base into self-destructing in less time than this.” There’s no good way to get Nyx’s leg off of the steel bar. Leaving it in meant he was in less pain but higher risk of infection. The pained yell Nyx gives when he yanks the leg up and off the bar almost has his hands shaking as he stitches and bandages the wound as best he can.
            After a moment to breathe, Luche settles against a slab of concrete and pulls Nyx to lie against him. Nyx’s shaking has him grabbing the coat he discarded when he first started stitching the hero back together and wrapping it around him. “Babe, we’re going to be fine. We’ll rest for a bit then move until we find a place to send a SOS.”
            “It feels like I’m dying.” It comes out as a groan and has him pressing a kiss to Nyx’s temple.
            “That’s just the shock. Try to get some rest.” Luche scans the area around them, not happy about how close they’ll be cutting it to the darkness and demons.
            “You’ll be here when I wake up?” Nyx’s voice is quiet and vulnerable and draws his attention away from the impending danger. If their situation wasn’t as fucked as it was he would’ve teased his partner. As things stood in that moment, he was all too happy to oblige Nyx.
            “Always.” The smile he gets is more than worth it as he settles in for a night of heavy magic and dragging a mostly unconscious body alongside him.
            He’s embarrassed by how long it takes him to realize why none of his messages are getting responses. Four days. It takes him four days to figure out the empire set up a jammer while he was too focused on trying to make sure Nyx doesn’t die.
            “What if they tried to blow us to kingdom come because they saw it was us and decided to try to take out the top two members of the only opposition they’ve faced in decades?” Luche really shouldn’t have been worried. If the man has enough energy to run his mouth, he’s got enough to stay alive.
            “If you seriously think we mean more than cannon fodder to anyone aside from those we consider hearth and home, you’re worse than I thought.” He’s running his hands along Nyx’s body, pushing bloodstain clothes out of the way to make sure he hadn’t bled through the bandages.
            Nyx sounds almost offended, “hey, you were the one who wanted me to distract us with theories.”
            “And I’ve come to regret it every time you open your mouth, babe.” There’s no real heat behind his words. Nyx’s voice as he spouts out have baked ideas and conspiracy theories is about the only thing keeping them sane at the moment.
            “Babe, huh? Guess we aren’t out of the woods yet.” There’s a wince as he shifts so Luche can look at his leg with a frown.
            “Something is jamming the comm signal.” Nyx lets him know he understands the unspoken ‘you’re too hurt for me to leave for more than a few minutes’ with an annoyed snort.
            “Save yourself, Lu. I can see the most beautiful of lights. I think I can even hear Selena’s voice calling for me. Dad’s voice is chiming in as well. Go, be the hero I always tried to be.” Luche rolls his eyes as he gets Nyx settled back down.
            “Well now I’m going to leave you here just so I don’t have to hear you talk.”
            “Lu.” It was a plea and a command all rolled into one syllable. Nyx is right in trying to shoo him off to find the source of the block
            “I know, Nyx. I’ll be back soon.” Its well after dark when Luche slides back into the hole they’ve taken refuge in, covered in more dirt and lines of magic slowly fading from his skin. Nyx greets his panting with an unimpressed look before rolling over to fall back asleep.
            It takes another three days for them to be found. Three days of Luche scavenging as close to the hole in the ground they found themselves in as he can. Three days of watching Nyx’s injuries showing signs of infection that he finds himself in the back of a truck staring at Nyx who’s laid out on a stretcher. A part of him is still trying to figure out where exactly their mission to find survivors went to shit.
            He nearly jumps out of his skin when a large hand lands on his shoulder. “Sir?”
            “Not now. Stop worrying about him.” He nearly sags into the captain as it finally hits home that they weren’t in the demon infested ruin of a town and on their way to safety.
            “We both know I’m never going to do that.”
            “He’s going to get the best care the city has to offer.” There was a pause, and Luche gets the briefest flash of Titus Drautos the person instead of Captain Drautos of the Kingsglaive. “Plus all of the doctors and nurses working for the crown.” Luche gives a small laugh at that before focusing back on Nyx. “Are you sure he’s asleep?”
            “Yeah, there’s a reason I always try to be the big spoon when we sleep.” He does try to reach up and gently close Nyx’s eyelids all the way. “Close your eyes, you freak. You’re scaring the captain.” There’s a small twist of lips from Nyx that has Luche second-guessing whether or not he’s actually asleep.

Chapter Text

            When Luche gets woken up by the numerous texts telling him that he needs to go to Crowe’s and bring the cookies she left at his place, he was fairly certain that something earthshattering had happened. Like Pelna and her broke up or she’s just having a hell time of month. He was not expecting to enter her apartment to see her, Nyx, Pelna, and a small child all wearing plastic tiaras of different colors sitting around the coffee table. It actually takes him a minute to process the scene before him. Luckily Nyx is the one who jumps up to announce his presence.
            “Ah, here he is. My dear princess, may I present my knight in shining armor Sir Luche.” It still takes him a moment to realize that the reason that he was up before one on his day off was for a tea party with what looks like a five year old. In that time Nyx has moved to wrap him up in a hug, lips pressed to his ear. “Sorry for waking you up. She made us all princesses before deciding she wanted knights as well. You were the only one I could think of that was off duty.” Luche pulls back and fixes the plastic crown on Nyx’s head.
            “Try not to get anything on my shirt. That’s the nicest one I own.” He straightens the collar of the baby blue silk button up that Nyx is wearing, raising an eyebrow at the stolen shirt. Nyx just grins before pushing Luche towards the others. “Your highness, I have brought delicious sweets as an offering of my thanks.” He places the container of chocolate chip cookies on the table and gives a bow to the girl, ignoring the snickers from his fellow Glaives.
            “You don’t look like a knight.” He has to agree with her when he’s wearing jeans that are wearing thin at the knees and pockets along with a well-worn blue and red plaid shirt with his sleeves rolled up to just below his elbows.
            “That’s because my armor is off getting fixed after a fearsome battle with a red giant.” He could tell from the way the girl’s eyes lit up that he had her hooked just as easily as he had Selena addicted to his stories years ago. “Would you like to hear the story, lady?” He purposefully trailed off, raising his eyebrows as he waited for the girl to give her name.
            “Cora. What happened with the red giant?” Luche grins as he settles down to sip iced tea from a mug and starts in on a heavily censored version of that battle. He almost fails to notice how Nyx presses up against him shoulder to shoulder half way through the story when Luche talks about getting thrown into a cliff face by the giant or the small gasp from Cora when he talks about the effort it took to stand back up.
            Its hours later when their time comes to an end. Hours that have Luche making chicken nuggets from scratch and sautéing broccoli while he continues telling child friendly versions of the battles they have all been in. Hours that had the others staring at him with a look of awe and mild confusion as they draw with crayons or play pretend and Luche handling each new activity like he’s done this a thousand times before. Its hours when they all look over their shoulders when the door opens. Luche, in all honesty, was not prepared for who walked through it. He had assumed Crowe meant she was babysitting a neighbor’s kid when he asked, but with the squeal of ‘daddy’ Cora ran over to Drautos who sweeped her up into a hug. Any other situation he might have laughed at Nyx and him giving each other the same ‘what the fuck’ face.
            Crowe and Pelna seem unfazed by the sudden softness that their captain was displaying. “Did you have fun?”
            “Yeah, Sir Luche is my favorite.” He wants to disappear when Drautos looks at him. He’ll forever deny stepping to the side so Nyx was slightly in front of him like a human shield. “He told me about the time he and Crowe had to break out of an evil wizard’s fortress and he made us chicken nuggets and he even made broccoli taste good.”
            “That sounds like a good day to me. Go get your things and we’ll go home.” Drautos sets her down to start collecting the toys and her backpack before turning his attention back to them. “How’d you get good enough with kids to get her to eat a vegetable?”
            “That would be my family’s fault, sir. He was our go to nanny for my little sister.” He can feel Crowe’s pitying look from where he’s standing and it makes him want to punch her on Nyx’s behalf. Today he settles for wrapping an arm around Nyx’s waist and trying to block him from as much of Crowe’s view as he can.
            “Or I understand the concept that boiled or steamed vegetables taste terrible without some kind of seasoning.” It comes out completely sarcastic and in no way aimed towards his captain or Nyx.
            “You two understand why I don’t want this being common knowledge.” Their ‘Yes, sir’ comes out in unsion and only Luche’s arm wrapped around Nyx stopped them from dropping into parade rest out of habit.
            It’s when Drautos is picking Cora back up that Luche gets an idea. “I have a godson about her age. I’m sure his parents won’t mind if I steal him for a few hours in the afternoon on my off days for a playdate.” Drautos scrutinizes Luche like he doubts that’s the truth, but it’s with a tiny ‘please’ from Cora that he sighs.
            “I’ll coordinate your duties with her babysitter, and set up a time.” The grin and enthusiastic wave from Cora as the pair left Crowe’s apartment had them all grinning.
            It was maybe five seconds after the door closed that had Crowe pushing up into his space. “So, who’s your godson?”
            “Remember when I asked you to be my date for a wedding at the last minute?” He waits for Crowe to remember Petra’s wedding and Luche’s frantic call the day before it. “I might be known as Uncle Laz to his kid.”
            “Why aren’t I Uncle Nyx to him?” Nyx sounded flabbergasted and a little hurt which had Luche pulling him closer and kissing his cheek.
            “You are, but only in stories. Since he’s been born, whenever we both have had time to go see Isaac it’s always been after his bedtime or we had other plans. You’ll meet him one day.”

Chapter Text

            They all have scars from the magic they wield. Some are barely noticeable like the thin, white line on Tredd’s face while others have vivid pink scar tissue like the ones that’s follow the line of Crowe’s spine. None of them will deny that the worst out of all of them are the ones on Luche’s palms. They aren’t the healthy, pretty pink designs that look more like a tattoo than a scar or the deep white that adds character. These are angry red hills and valleys that speak of the wound ripping open repeatedly and infection settling in despite never having an open wound to begin with. There’s a running joke in the Glaive that the tree of life is on Crowe’s back while Ifrit’s punishment is in Luche’s hands.

            No one comments or maybe even notices that his scars have gotten gradually worse over the years. Well, no one except for Nyx though he never says anything about it. Just kisses the raised skin whenever he notices that it was worse than before. The one time they talk about it Nyx attributed the thickening of the scars to their location. A part of Luche hates himself for being grateful about that. He should’ve known that he was lucky to have ridden that lie for as long as he has.

            The day he gets caught happens years after he joined, years of him getting increasingly complacent even with the Glaive, his makeshift family, constantly waltzing in unannounced. He’s hunched over on the couch, elbows resting on his knees and his hands less than a foot apart as lightening dances between his palms. He relishes the pain radiating almost to his elbows right up until someone casts a shield between his hands. Luche glances up long enough to see who stole his relief away before looking down at the plasma gathered on the floor in shame.

            “I’m not going to lie, I have no idea what to say about this.” He feels calloused hands against the back of his own, fingers curling over his thumbs and gently pressing against his raw skin. “I guess a part of me knew this was why yours were worse, but six, I tried to deny it with everything I had.” Luche flicks his eyes up to see Nyx kneel down in front of him before look back down. “You should’ve told us you needed help handling everything.”

            “I can handle everything just fine.” He snaps even as he watches Nyx’s thumbs caress his index fingers.

            “Clearly you aren’t. You created plasma, Lu. You of all people know how much energy you need to use to do that.” He huffs as he looks towards the cushion next to him, towards the white ball of fur that is their cat. “This isn’t healthy.”

            “Because your drinking or Tredd’s smoking is?”

            There’s a pause as Nyx brings his hands up to kiss his fingers before resting his chin on them. “Ok, fine. You have a point. Let’s make a deal then. I stop drinking, you stop hurting yourself. We’ll find better ways of managing this together.” Luche finally meets Nyx’s eyes for longer than a split second, but only to give him a skeptical look. “Yeah, ok. You have another point. Impulse control is not my strong point.” Nyx licks his lips. “I was going to say that the family needs you, but that’s the problem, isn’t it? We’ve all leaned on you so much that we’ve left you feeling like you didn’t have anyone to turn to. We rely on you more than we do Drautos to be there for us that we didn’t even think that you needed more from us than we were giving.” Moments like these are when he hates Nyx’s ability to read people like a book, his ability to only need one look to understand what makes them tick. Luche can feel the words he knows will make Nyx feel better clawing their way up this throat and does his best to swallow them back down in an attempt to let the truth come out.

            He relents, more just to be done with this conversation than anything. “I’ll find a better way when you prove you’re done drinking.” He should’ve expected the tired, knowing look he gets from Nyx. “Don’t” Nyx cuts him off.

            “Tell the others. I know. We can’t have them thinking that the hero and the true captain are anything less than invulnerable.” His laugh was rueful at best. “We really should’ve thought better before we assumed those roles.” Luche attempts a smile, but falls short judging by the look on Nyx’s face. “Come on. We need to clean this up before the others decide to show up.” Luche hums, and they do just that. What they don’t do is keep the promise to stop their destructive habits, merely just give each other disappointed looks when they catch the other doing it.