The unmistakable sound of a warp-strike accompanied a blue flash outside the window. A pause, then a soft tap at the glass, and Ignis answered absently.
“It’s open, Noct.” He called out without looking up from the sheaf of papers he’d brought home with him.
No sound came in response, but Ignis wasn’t concerned. Noctis often perched on the small ledge outside Ignis’ eighth-story window for a while before entering. Sometimes he’d collect his thoughts or just enjoy the city view out there, or just didn’t feel like talking yet. Ignis finished making notes on the document he was reviewing and closed the papers inside the folder before standing up.
He walked to the window and pushed it up, peeking out with a slight smile. He stiffened, and the smile faded, when he saw who it was.
“Nyx,” Ignis said, more formally than he’d intended.
Nyx looked down at his knees, then turned his head back over his shoulder to look at Ignis. There was an intensity to his eyes that Ignis hadn’t expected.
“Well, this is one hell of a way to answer a text message.” Or three, Ignis thought. Again, the words came out more primly than he wanted them to, but the recent slight had made him retreat into safety.
“Come in, then.” Ignis pulled his head back in and moved away from the window. Nyx planted a hand on the sill and swung his legs over. He placed a hand on the window to close it, but Ignis stopped him.
“Leave it open - it’s nice out.”
Ignis took a few steps toward the door, then turned to face Nyx. He waited, but Nyx still hadn’t spoken.
“Front door not to your taste? Or the telephone?”
Nyx looked out the window, then back at Ignis. “Wasn’t sure you’d answer, honestly.” He stepped further into the room, sat down in Ignis’ desk chair, and clasped his hands, resting his elbows on his knees. Blue shards shot through Ignis’ chest when Nyx looked up. “I’m sorry, Ignis.”
Ignis shrugged his shoulders awkwardly. He drew his feet even and stood straight, folding his own hands in front of him and staring at Nyx’s forehead instead of meeting his eyes - an old trick from his first terrified days in the Citadel. When he finally spoke, his voice was quiet and measured.
“I understand if you’re not able to accept - what I do. I also understand if you’re not able to forgive my considerable mistakes. Errors.” He winced internally - neither of those words adequately addressed the gravity of his shortcomings. But Ignis kept his veneer calm and collected. He’d had several days to figure out where he stood. “I do appreciate your coming to tell me in person.” He wanted to say more - to step closer, but he absolutely did not trust himself to do so. His ability to mask, while considerable, was stretched thin and very near to snapping.
Nyx looked at the distance between his feet and Ignis’. He looked at Ignis’ knuckles, clenched white, and then up at the corner of Ignis’ jaw, tight with emotion. By the time their eyes met again, Ignis wondered why he’d bothered with this entire performance. He felt completely exposed.
“Is that why you think I’m here?” Nyx’s gaze was searching.
“It - it was, yes,” Ignis said, quickly adapting to what Nyx had just said despite his scattered thoughts. He still hadn’t moved, though he looked to the side to avoid those seeking, probing eyes.
Nyx stood up, and Ignis flinched. “You don’t need my forgiveness, Ignis. Hell, you don’t need me fucking up - complicating your life. And yet here I am, on your goddamn windowsill.” He spread his hands. “If you want me.”
“That depends.” Nyx blinked. “Can you live with this?” Ignis gestured toward the closed folder of documents on his desk. “With me? Who I am?” He stepped closer, finally, anger flicking to the surface like the first flame-licks of a fire.
“Or do you plan on running again, or going dark when that thought becomes too distasteful? Because this is the way I serve.”
Their eyes met again for a long moment.
“Wow, okay.” Nyx smiled ruefully. “Guess I deserved some of that. And no. No, I mean I’d like to stay. If you’ll have me.”
Ignis frowned. “I don’t know. I’m - I’ll let you know.” Head bent slightly, he walked toward his apartment door to unlatch the chain, flip the deadbolt, and allow Nyx to leave using a more traditional exit.
When he turned, Nyx was gone. Ignis strode to the window and sighed, half in exasperation and half in regret. He set his hands on the windowsill and looked out, hoping to catch sight of that elusive blue flash or the spray of sparks that would follow.
The occasional light shone out from a quiet city, but none was the one he was looking for.
Ignis closed the window gently and returned to the reports on his desk. He picked them up and tapped the edges, squaring them neatly, before continuing.
Nyx walked, hands in pockets. He didn’t want to go home yet, and Ignis had made it pretty clear that Nyx wasn’t currently welcome in his apartment. So that left walking the city streets, probably for the better part of an hour if he had to guess.
He kicked idly at small pieces of litter strewn across the sidewalk, and realized his feet had taken him in an unexpected direction - his old apartment. He hadn’t been here in years.
Nyx let out a small laugh and came to a halt outside the small, grubby building. If possible, it was more bare-bones than where he lived now.
He sat down on the stoop and fidgeted with the keys in his pocket. He felt the urge to light up a cigarette - odd, given how many years had passed since he’d given up that particular habit.
Nyx sat back and propped his elbows behind him on the concrete steps, staring up at the night sky. Seemingly at random, his gaze fell on the bottom of one of the old wooden posts framing the doorway.
Small, but still there. He brushed a fingertip across two sets of initials he’d carved into the darkened wood, one of them his. Someone, once, had given him a chance. He looked back up at the stars and hoped someone would again.
“Iggy? Ignis. Hey!” Gladio waved his hand in front of Ignis’ face, and he startled.
“Goodness, sorry. Won’t happen again.” Ignis straightened his spine. “You were saying?”
Gladio peered at him, too closely. “You sleeping alright? You uh, you kind of look like shit.”
Ignis shrugged. “You’re not wrong. There’s been a lot to do, that’s all.” He waved a hand. “I’ll catch up later.”
Gladio frowned. “Running yourself ragged doesn’t help anybody. You need a day off or something.”
Ignis had been studying Gladio’s shoes, and his head jerked up at that. “Niflheim doesn’t take days off, Gladio. Their machines are ready to kill our soldiers, even if it does happen to be a bank holiday.” He let out a bitter laugh.
Gladio’s eyes narrowed thoughtfully, and Ignis blushed under his scrutiny. Gladio knew him too well, and before he could try to steer the conversation in a safer direction, he got to it.
“Is this about -”
“ - Don’t.” Ignis raised one hand. He knew Gladio knew, and he threw up a final defensive wall against talking about it the same way a Glaive might hurl a defensive shell in the path of a rampaging enemy. “Please.”
Gladio sighed. “Okay. Just take better care of yourself, okay? I mean it - you’re no good to us half-awake.”
Ignis tried to smile.
Ignis stopped at the Marshal’s door and raised his hand to knock, as per protocol, even though the door was open. Too late, Ignis realized Cor wasn’t alone, and Ignis stopped, ducked his head, and stepped back out of the doorway, out of sight, to give them privacy.
He’d caught sight before he’d stepped away politely, though, and the image he’d seen was striking. Monica Elshett was wrapped firmly in Cor’s arms, and their foreheads were pressed together. Ignis knew that Monica was due to depart in the morning for a series of weeks, on a mission he had the clearance to know about, but only partially. He knew it was dangerous, but he hadn’t known Cor Leonis would have such a personal interest in her safety.
Ignis couldn’t go all the way back to his office; he needed to deliver this message to the Marshal, and couldn’t risk any delay. He paced cautiously and tried not to listen, but their voices drifted toward him anyway.
“Did you run all of the -”
“You know I did.”
The jingle of dog tags, a long sigh from Cor, and Ignis thought maybe he was clear. He stepped back into the doorway, but it was too soon.
Large fingers were tangled in the tags hanging around Monica’s neck, and she placed her hand over his. Cor looked down at her for a long moment, and Ignis was absolutely floored by the intensity in his eyes. He’d never imagined the Immortal really - having a personal life, honestly.
But if he had, he supposed he would have imagined it pretty much like this: the way his gaze burned into hers; so much spoken silently.
Ignis averted his eyes again, embarrassed that he’d been privy to such an intimate emotion not meant for him. He saluted Monica as she moved past him out the door, and she gave him a smile and quick nod in return that told him she didn’t think it was necessary but had appreciated it anyway.
Ignis stepped into Cor’s office with a certain amount of reservation and handed him the message he’d been sent to deliver.
Cor flicked it open, scanned it, and looked up at Ignis. “Thank you. You read this, I assume?”
Ignis nodded. “We’re already making adjustments.”
Ignis lingered, shifting momentarily from foot to foot. Cor had already looked back down at the papers on his desk, but looked up again when he realized Ignis hadn’t left.
“Is there something else?”
Ignis looked at the polished toes of his shoes. “There’s - I -” He balled his fists and screwed up his mouth, frustrated in his uncharacteristic inability to pair words to the emotions he felt.
Cor set his papers back down on the desk and gave Ignis his full attention. “Trouble, Ignis?”
“Nothing serious - nothing strategic. More - personal, if I may?”
The faintest hint of a smile, and Cor leaned back. “That depends, but go ahead.”
“You, and Lieutenant Elshett. How do you -” Ignis trailed off again. This time, he knew what he wanted to say, but was reticent to get so deep with someone with whom he usually discussed troop movements and weapons technology, not matters of the heart.
“How do we what?”
“How do you say goodbye when one of you might not come back?” The words came out in a tight gust of air. Ignis was uncomfortable; he really didn’t have this familiar of a relationship with Cor, but he needed to know.
Cor looked down at his desk for a long moment. Ignis was worried he’d offended, gotten too personal, and stepped forward, hand flying up to apologize, but Cor leveled a gaze at him again.
Cor’s jaw flexed tightly before he continued. “We just do.”
He took a moment, looked at his hands, and then continued. “Not a lot of choices at that hard corner of love and duty. Assuming you’re finding yourself there as well?”
Ignis swallowed. Love? Is that what this is? “I don’t know but - yes, maybe. How does one know that?”
“That’s not really the question, is it?”
Ignis tipped his head. “Isn’t it?”
“No, it’s not some kind of mystery to be uncovered. Love is a choice. Either choose it, and choose hard. Things worth having usually are.”
“Or…?” He trailed off.
“Or choose not to. Let it go, and come back stronger.”
Ignis nodded, and let a long moment pass. “Thank you.”
Cor nodded in response. “If that’s all. Close the door behind you, please.”
Thoroughly dismissed, Ignis narrowly avoided scampering out of the Marshal’s office and eased the door shut behind him.
Done with meetings for the day - for the night, Ignis supposed wryly glancing at his watch, Gladio really did have a point - Ignis stopped by his office to grab a large folder of work and walk back to his apartment. The air was refreshing, and he made a note to try to get in an additional walk during the day. He realized he’d felt stale and stuffy, and breathed deeply.
He’d intended on fully ruminating over this during his walk home. Ignis turned his thoughts to the last conversation he’d had with Nyx, after his unexpected arrival via window the other night. He set up a mental structure to review the things they’d said to one another, tally pros and cons, and fully weigh the entire situation.
And he couldn’t.
He kept seeing careful fingers trace over his skin, thin dark inked lines tracing down some of them for reasons Ignis still wanted to find out. That look Nyx had shot him in the training room when he thought Ignis wasn’t looking. The light through the window of Nyx’s apartment softly outlining his relaxed features. The spark that had snapped in those blue eyes the first time Ignis had brandished a flame at him.
There was no analysis to this. When Ignis thought of the concerns and reservations that had troubled him earlier, he just heard Nyx’s voice saying “We’ll work it out” as though he’d actually said it, accompanied by that insufferably cocky grin.
Back at his apartment, Ignis typed, deleted, and retyped a text three times. Finally, he just shut his eyes and poked the send button, letting it fly.
He waited - a minute, two minutes. Five. He glanced at the clock. Two a.m. Well, it was the middle of the night. Ignis told himself that the lack of response really didn’t mean anything one way or another.
He tossed, fitfully, for an hour, lying to himself that he was absolutely on the verge of falling asleep, when his phone buzzed from the nightstand. Ignis whacked his elbow on the headboard in his rush to sit up and grab it. He flexed the offending joint absently as he swiped at the screen with the thumb of his other hand.
I’m so sorry i just woke up to take a piss and saw this
Glad to hear it. Missed you.
Ignis let a long breath out.
Bad news though - headed outside the Wall again tomorrow.
Sorry i didn’t tell you. I didn’t want to pressure
Can i call you?
Ignis felt a soft smile curve his lips as he typed. Of course.
The phone didn’t even finish a full ring before Ignis picked it up.
The sound of Nyx’s voice made Ignis close his eyes and wonder how he’d ever thought he could make a different choice.
They spoke briefly, but once Ignis heard what time Nyx had to wake up in the morning, Ignis hustled him off the phone for his own good, as much as he wanted to talk all night.
Ignis hung up and laid his phone on his chest. He stared at the ceiling, sleepless this time because of the rush of relief making his heart pound. It was a very good reason to be a little extra weary the next morning.
“We’ll work it out.” As it happened, Nyx had uttered that exact phrase during their short conversation, almost as though he’d been eavesdropping on Ignis’ thoughts earlier that night. It hadn’t been brash and cocky, though, it had been soft and thoughtful, and Ignis drifted off to sleep thinking of it.
The next morning, there was the usual brief send-off gathering outside the Citadel. Ignis didn’t usually attend such things, as they had started happening weekly now, sometimes multiple times a week. This time, though, he assembled with the Citadel staff and some civilians lining the checkpoint that led out of the city. The sharp, squared-off form of the Marshal was another unusual presence in the crowd today.
Ignis realized it was unlikely that he would spot Nyx, but as the thought crossed his mind, the sweep of a purple ribbon flicked in the corner of his vision, and he turned toward the sight.
Gods, he was a magnificent man; standing, chest proud, awaiting his duty. Ignis’ throat swelled, and he resolved to deserve him. Impossibly, he thought perhaps Nyx saw him, but it was too difficult to catch his eyes under the cowl the Glaive wore. Ignis straightened up nonetheless, lifting his chin, and watched them leave.
The Council meeting droned on, and Ignis blinked behind his glasses, resisting the impulse to rub at eyes dry with lack of sleep. He sipped a now-cold coffee and attempted to refocus.
Lord Amicitia finished speaking, and requested Ignis’ input. Ignis had spent almost all of last night reviewing briefings and reports, doing additional research, puzzling through and gaming out every potentiality he could imagine. He started to give his recommendation in what he felt was a succinct fashion, especially given the complexity of the issue.
Before he could even finish his sentence, Captain Drautos cut him off.
“That won't work.”
Ignis stopped, mouth half open, and stuttered a bit before continuing. “If I could just finish -”
Drautos’ eyes were hard. “I think that would be a waste of everyone's time.” He dismissed Ignis silently by continuing to talk to everyone else, and poked a thick finger at the center of the long table.
“An attack from the west simply doesn't make sense. We need to split our forces, approach on multiple fronts.” He droned on, distracting everyone from the weakness Ignis had partially pointed out in the enemy's western flank - the Empire tended to rely almost completely on machine forces at that end. The speed and agility of the Glaives, and the magic attacks of their mages, would make for a perfect exploit of that weakness. If he would just let Ignis finish.
The Captain gave Ignis a condescending look. “When you're outnumbered, you can't just throw resources from one direction.” His tone made clear that he did not respect the strategy Ignis had put forth. He continued to pontificate, drawing the Council to a conclusion that favored his plans, and Ignis gritted his teeth in irritation.
He waited until the meeting had concluded, and walked stiffly down the hall to Clarus Amicitia's office. As he lifted his knuckles, before he could even knock, Clarus called out, “Come on in, Ignis,” without looking up.
Ignis wondered, again, how Clarus did that, and moved to stand just inside the door. “Sir.”
Clarus looked at him, expectantly but not unkindly. “Can I help you?”
“It's about the meeting. I didn't get a chance to explain, and it's important.” Ignis tightened his grip on the papers he carried.
“Have a seat.” Clarus gestured with a meaty hand, and Ignis took a deep breath and sat, reminding himself that he'd known Clarus for years, that he was the father of one of his best friends.
He explained his battle strategy quickly but completely, aiming to be concise yet as persuasive as possible. Aside from the occasional raise of eyebrows, Clarus blessedly sat quietly and listened, letting Ignis speak.
“I appreciate that you've put a good amount of thinking into this, Ignis. And research, it sounds like.” Ignis nodded.
Clarus sat back in his chair, templing his fingers. He was silent again, considering.
“Thank you for coming to me with this.” Ignis took a breath, but Clarus held up a hand. “I'm not persuaded, though. I think Titus has the right of this, and the rest of the Council thought so too. That doesn't mean you shouldn't keep coming up with these kinds of ideas, though.”
Ignis nodded, looking down and swallowing hard. He stood up to leave, but Clarus stopped him again.
“Hold on. You need to think about what happened in that room today.”
“Sir?” Ignis tipped his head. If by “think about it,” Clarus meant “be furious with Captain Drautos and his boorish demeanor,” that would be no problem.
“You're an advisor.”
“Someday, chief advisor and strategist for the king.”
Ignis swallowed again. “Yes.”
“I know most of the folks in that room are twice your age or more, but there are some hard lessons you need to learn fast.”
This shouldn't be the first time I'm hearing this strategy. Your job - one of them - is to not get steamrolled like that. I know Titus is a force, but you've got to learn to deal with that and worse. Do better next time.”
“Yes, sir.” Cheeks burning, Ignis waited to be dismissed.
Clarus did so, with a brisk nod.
Ignis slumped slightly upon leaving, feeling lower than he had in a long time. To make matters worse, Captain Drautos approached from the opposite direction, squinting crossly at him.
“Working the back channels, kid?” The Captain stopped directly in front of him, forcing Ignis to stop as well.
Still seething below the surface, Ignis thought it prudent not to answer. He simply stood his ground and looked back.
“You got a problem, bring it up with me. Don’t sneak around.” Drautos pushed past and strode away, leaving Ignis feeling like a thorough and complete failure.
The next week passed interminably slowly. Ignis tried and failed to sleep more, chasing rest only to wake up every few hours with his stomach in knots. Half the time he simply got up and worked, realizing the rest of his night would just be fitful anyway.
A flurry of hurried steps too early one morning made Ignis step outside his office and grab the arm of the first messenger to dart by him.
The messenger paused, stared at Ignis as though processing who he was, and then responded.
“Southern flank engagement, heavy casualties. No contact yet; comms down.”
Ignis' heart was in his throat, but he forced himself to ask. “Regiment?”
“Sir?” The messenger twitched nervously in front of him, and Ignis stared back blankly before nodding and letting go of his arm.
He rushed off down the hall, and Ignis took two steps backward and leaned his head against the wall.
He wanted it not to be true almost as much as he wanted his phone to ring. Ignis walked back into his office on feet that felt impossibly heavy.
He proceeded through the day in a numb haze of coffee and worry clenched in his gut. It was late afternoon before any new reports came in, and Ignis found himself standing in front of Captain Drautos’ desk, of all places, awaiting direction.
“Do - we have a casualty report, sir?” His hands balled into fists.
Drautos looked at him with annoyance. “Eager to prove me wrong, are you? Seems like you already know it’s not gone well. Get out of my office. I don’t need you rubbing it in.”
Ignis lingered, despite the direct order, almost physically straining to know the information sitting on the desk inches away from him.
“You’ll find out if we need you. Unless there’s another reason you have some kind of special interest here?” The Captain’s gaze was callous and assessing, and Ignis’ mouth went dry. Did he know? But Drautos spared him no more words, turning back to his work, and Ignis left on unsteady legs.
Gritty wind scattered ash across a bare stone outcropping. Distant shouts followed him, then faded out as he wisped out of existence, then slammed in hard against a giant, rolling flank. Dodging under a massive foot, Nyx grabbed his comrade around the waist and warped, but not before slashing a hard sidearm blow against the beast trying to gouge him with a tusk the size of a car.
Coughing, assembled in a messy spray of sparks, torn ragged with exhaustion, Nyx turned next to him. “Stay here!” The words were lost in the next warp.
Breaths were tingling fire all the way down; Nyx’s will fought his body to keep moving, keep moving, keep moving . They were losing this brawl, badly. The most he could do was try to get all of their regiment out. Well, all that were left anyway. Nyx ground his teeth and bit back that emotion for another time. He scanned the field, chest heaving, and tapped his comm a millionth time in frustration. Only the possibility that it might crackle back to life kept him from flinging it out and to the ground.
Damn it. Before Nyx could focus on evacuation, he was engaged again. Fucking empty-suit robot Niffs. He fell hard against another jagged rock, but barely felt the scrapes as he came up, kukris flying, crunching metal away, ripping at bare circuits.
Nyx let out a growl of pain as electricity sizzled up one of his kukris into his arm. Dazed, he yanked the blade free and panted. He threw himself behind a large boulder to catch his breath, and a tiny green sprig sprouting its way out from a fissure in the stone caught his eye. It was a shade of green he knew well, and Nyx laughed and shook his head before a roar drew his attention.
There. Another mage, caught head to head against something too big for her to handle. Fuck, why are we so outnumbered out here? It was chaos - sweaty, ear-ringing, muscle-burning chaos, and the smoke made him sick.
Nyx circled around carefully behind the daemon behemoth threatening the mage, and readied his kukris for a quick strike. Too focused on the two fighting in front of him, he failed to check his six, and paid for it with a sharp slash to the hamstring that took him down.
Dirt in his eyes, Nyx rolled, mentally assessing the fresh limit to his mobility as muscle and tendon screamed at him in pain. He pulled himself up on his good knee and hollered at the mage.
The mage flicked her bloodshot gaze down to him. “Not fucking likely, Hero.” A twist of flame curled out from her fingertips, blasting the behemoth and the Nif soldier behind it. She retreated behind him, keeping her eyes on both enemies, and then Nyx felt a tingle jerk through his leg. He hissed and cursed, but looked at Crowe in gratitude. It would hold, enough for now.
“Dumbass. I should have known.” She grinned down at him, eyes flicking back to the burning enemies in front of them repeatedly.
“Oh, I’m the dumbass.” He barked out a short laugh at the size of the behemoth, and the idea that she’d taken it on alone.
“You got enough left in the tank to get us the fuck out of here the fast way?”
A firm nod and one last flash of blue were his answer, pulling her in his wake.
The return convoy was nearly silent, rows of Glaives in the backs of trucks, mostly wounded. Sullen and guilty and confused, they knew without discussing it that the mission had failed miserably, but they’d be damned if they could figure out why. Things had certainly not seemed this imbalanced when they’d set out.
Nyx’s shoulders slumped, and he winced as the truck bounced over the rocky dirt, digging the metal he sat on into his injured leg. The tents he hated were almost welcome as an alternative, and he let the medics deal with him without his usual hand-waving and protest, just grabbing his phone before they set to work. Nyx sent a quick message before passing out.
In some shit out here but we're hanging in there. See you soon.
Blessedly, Ignis was alone in his office when the message came through. His phone buzzed from the stand next to his lamp and when he saw who it was from, he dropped directly into his chair. He read the message over and over and stared at it for a long time before curling the phone to his chest and just sitting with it for a moment, staring off into space.
He texted one word back - Good - before letting out a painful exhale and pulling up his chair to get back to work.
One of the Council members pontificated interminably. Ignis tipped his head thoughtfully to the side, purportedly listening but slowly and purposefully exposing the long column of his neck. He waited a beat, fiddling with a pen, then looked down at his papers. When he looked up, clear blue eyes were staring into his from the corner of the room. Ignis looked back down with a small smile, and heard boots shifting from the corner.
It was either a blessing or a curse that Nyx had pulled guard duty for this particular meeting. Crowe had seen the way they'd looked at each other and taken position outside the door with a small nod and smirk.
It was a good two hours before they were able to escape for the day. Ignis’ apartment was closer, which was all that mattered at that particular moment. The wind whipped around them as Nyx guided his motorcycle through winding streets, taking an odd patchwork path proven to be faster after years of dealing with Insomnia's traffic.
Ignis turned his head to nestle his cheek against the smooth leather of Nyx's jacket. The warmth of his body seeped through, and Ignis closed his eyes. He wound his arms around Nyx's waist and pressed his palms in, enjoying the feel of the muscles shifting underneath as they leaned into the turns. For once, the moment was all that mattered, and Ignis looked neither forward nor back.
Nyx managed to break and scatter Ignis’ contemplative mood at his door, catching and holding his eyes when Ignis turned from unlocking it. Nyx grabbed his shoulders and walked him inside in two quick strides, diving into his neck with hot breaths and searching lips. For his part, Ignis gave as good as he got with roving hands moving and loosening any clothing he could reach.
“Damn, did I tell you that was a long two weeks? Because it fucking was.”
“Agreed.” Ignis was studious, eyebrows drawn together, fingers flicking open the buttons of his uniform jacket with deliberate speed.
“It's godsdamned good to be home.” Those jade-green eyes burned into his, and Nyx wondered when he had started referring to Insomnia as “home.” Funny. Normally he would have just said “back,” still holding Galahd in that mental space that “home” occupied, even after this many years.
Nyx shrugged out of the jacket that Ignis was rapidly removing and slid an arm around Ignis’ waist, enjoying the feel of the lithe muscles underneath the fabric of his shirt. He pulled shirt out of pants as he let his lips be captured easily by relentless, increasingly fervent kisses.
“Hm? Tell me.” Ignis bit hard at Nyx's lip, and Nyx let out a breathy pant that bordered on a whine even in his own ears.
“That's - fuck.” He closed his eyes for a moment. “Ah, shit just let me show you, Ignis.” He ran his hands up under the stiffly starched button down, now fully untucked.
“No, I want to hear all about the filthy things you imagined me doing to you while we were apart. Tough to find privacy out there with all those Glaives, hmm?” Ignis’ tongue found the curve of Nyx's earlobe, and Nyx shuddered, flexing his hands against bare skin. He felt Ignis’ chest move faster with his breaths, and Nyx walked him back slowly, taking moments to drink deep from those perfect lips, before nudging him against the wall.
“You want me to beg for it, beautiful? Because I will. You're that fucking gorgeous.” He pressed the line of his body fully against Ignis, and watched the flush creep up the graceful lines of his neck and dust the high bones of his cheeks. He grabbed and held Ignis’ gaze for another long moment before nudging his head to the side and kissing and nipping at his jaw. He smelled of coffee, the clean linen at his collar, and a faint waft of cologne, a rare touch, almost like Ignis had been planning this little encounter. Well, so had he. Nyx felt himself throb at the low, throaty growl his attentions elicited.
“What do you want me to say? I'll say it. You want me on my knees, I'm there. I need you to do terrible things to me and I'm not real concerned with how we get there.” His words were punctuated by exhales of air and the press of lips, moving down that beautiful pale neck.
Ignis slid a hand into his hair. “Tell me how you want it - what you want me to do.”
Nyx rolled his head into Ignis’ touch. “Aw, that's easy - I'm a descriptive motherfucker.” Nyx moved Ignis to the bed and pulled him on top of him.
“I want you to open me up with these,” Nyx peeled Ignis’ gloves back, kissing the pads of his fingers, “and then I want you to fuck me until I can't see straight.” He paused for another quick kiss. "Pretty please?” The last words were no more than a gust of air against Ignis’ chest as Nyx unbuttoned his shirt and purposely scraped a scruffy cheek against his skin.
Ignis closed his eyes, and Nyx watched a pleasant shiver roll through his body. He leaned forward, teasing Nyx with the promise of a kiss. “Do you want it slow? Or fast?”
“Fuckin’ surprise me, okay?” Nyx's breath stuttered out against Ignis’ lips.
A few moments of ripping arms and legs from clothes, and it wasn’t long before they were naked, exchanging more heated kisses.
They hadn’t bothered to turn the light on, and Nyx felt Ignis reach over his shoulder to fumble at the bedside table. He lifted a hand to stroke the smooth, cool arm above him and it evoked a hazy memory.
“I dreamed about you.” Nyx said it as he realized it - he had forgotten the dream until just then, a quick flash in a short snatch of sleep a few days ago.
Another devious chuckle from Ignis. “Any particular details you’d like to share?”
Nyx shook his head, a little breathless as they moved against each other. “No. It was just - your skin.” He smoothed his cheek and touched his lips against the parts of Ignis’ bicep he could reach, and ran a hand over his back. After a brief silent moment, Ignis crashed into his lips with an urgent, heartfelt passion.
Nyx shut his eyes, and a tremor rippled through him. He laid his head down and let Ignis cover him. It felt right, and safe, and he exhaled. He could feel Ignis’ hands, still insistent, coursing over his thighs, and his cock twitched again in anticipation.
Ignis stopped and pulled back as he felt the large scar crossing Nyx’s hamstring. “Titan’s - what is this?”
Nyx gave him a crooked grin. “I believe the technical term is ‘clusterfuck,’ but you don’t need to worry about it. They fixed me up fine; just told me it’d be one hell of a scar.”
“I want to give you what you want, but I don’t want to hurt you.” Ignis’ brow furrowed, and he smoothed a hand across Nyx’s temple.
Well, if that ain’t this whole thing in a nutshell, Nyx thought as he grinned up at him. “I’m fine, beautiful.” As he said it, he could feel a tingle under his skin, radiating out from the fingers Ignis had spread over the scar. A look of stern concentration pulled graceful brows together.
“It’s already - Six, you’re so fucking sweet.” A broken laugh escaped him. He grasped Ignis’ fingers. “It’s okay.”
Ignis nodded, paused, and kissed him again.
His fingers were gentle but insistent, and he gave Nyx what he'd asked for, and more, with mouth and hands and sweat and gasps, falling hair and rocking hips. When he finally deemed Nyx ready (he'd taken the slow route, which Nyx almost regretted but not quite), Ignis slowly pushed his way inside.
Nyx wiggled up onto elbows to kiss him just as Ignis bent down to do the same. A laugh became a gasp as he started to move, and Nyx felt awake and lucky and alive.
It was the raw noise that escaped Ignis, as much as the sloppy thrusts and the deft fingers stroking him, that made Nyx's body clench and his eyes squeeze shut. He shouted Ignis’ name, not really caring who heard them.
Ignis had been holding back his own pleasure, but at that he let out his own long gasp, speeding up before slamming to a halt.
“Fuck.” Nyx said the word appreciatively more than once, as he opened and closed his eyes and waited for some coherence to return.
The only response was a low chuckle and a head against his neck. No words, just soft caresses. Ignis got up for a quick moment; they cleaned up; and then both stayed awake as long as they could, silently memorizing one another with fingertips.
When Ignis’ eyes blinked closed against his will for the third time, he smiled, gave up, and nestled into Nyx’s shoulder. Nyx stared up at the ceiling, expecting to have the usual trouble with falling asleep that always plagued him after a tour.
He didn’t, and the haziness rolled over him like a blanket. He turned his head, breathed in the scent of Ignis’ hair, and let himself slip into darkness.
They were still tangled in one another the next morning, when the soft patter of rain stirred them slowly from a long, undisturbed sleep.