Chapter 1: Secret's Always Come Out.
“Dad, where’s mum?”
Those were the three words that Clarus Amicitia, the Shield to the 113th King of Lucis, had heard far too often in the last 12 years. Every time his son or daughter would speak them, he managed to avoid answering the question.
It was a lot easier when Gladiolus and Iris were children because they had shorter attention spans, meaning that he could quickly change the subject without them noticing. However, when Gladio became 13, the boy wouldn’t let it drop. In the end Clarus told him she left. That she couldn’t cope with the stress after having his sister and that she just packed up one night, leaving all three of them behind. The pair agreed to not tell Iris that until she was old enough to understand. For they didn’t want the youngest Amicitia blaming herself for her mum’s disappearance. She shouldn’t of either. Because it wasn’t her fault. It was Clarus’s. However, both his children were none the wiser to that and he hoped that it would remain that way.
When Iris turned 12, she too wanted to know the reason why her mum left. Like every time before Clarus would try and change the subject. But she wasn’t young and naïve anymore and she was determined to get answers. Failing to get a solid answer from her dad she waited until he was out of the house and asked her brother instead.
The pair sat in the dining room of their manor eating pancakes, that Jared had cooked them for breakfast. It was a shame their butler had to rush off early this morning otherwise he could have eaten with them. But his absence gave Iris a perfect opportunity to finally ask Gladio about their mother.
“Gladdy, I know this is a sensitive subject but… do you know what happened to mum?”
“She left Iris.” Gladio said before shoving more pancake into his mouth.
“I know, but don’t you think it is odd that Dad doesn’t talk about it, or want to talk about it with us?”
“Squirt, I want to know too, but you know what our old man is like. He won’t say a word unless he has too.”
Damn, Iris thought to herself. She was convinced that Gladio knew. He’s 20 years old and their dad still hadn’t fully disclosed that information to him. Something wasn’t right here and she was going to find out the truth.
“It’s not fair, Gladdy. His job keeps him away from us and when we do see him, all he does is keep secrets from us.”
“I get it Iris I do. But there is just some things that we aren’t meant to know.” Gladio huffed not looking at his little sister. But that didn’t stop Iris from continuing the conversation.
“She was our mum. We have more right to know then dad does. It’s not like it is a secret of the crown or anything.”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
Gladio pushed his plate forward and left the room. He hated lying to his sister. But it didn’t feel like the right time to tell her yet. Iris had always been strong. At her age, he was nowhere near as mentally strong as her. However,… knowing that their mum left because she couldn’t cope with the pressure of raising two children… that wasn’t something Gladio would ever wish upon his sister.
He needed to train to clear his head.
A week had passed and Iris kept asking Gladio every day. Kept asking him to talk to their dad to see if they could get more information out of him. And every time she asked, Gladio started to doubt his dad’s words.
Nivenia Amicitia, his mum, left when he was 8. He was young but not young enough to forget her personality. She was smart, a little stuck up, kind and always seemed to be throwing insults at Cor. And above all else, Gladio knew how much she loved and cared for him. She was always there for him and when Cor asked, she would look after his son, Prompto. Therefore, it didn’t really make much sense that she would just up and leave because she couldn’t cope with raising two children. Did his dad lie to him?
Gladio thought back to when he was Iris’s age. He asked Clarus the same question and his dad clamed up. If Iris’s birth was the reason why she left, why didn’t his dad tell him that then? Why did he wait another year to tell him? It didn’t make sense.
There was another time.
Before Clarus had told him he asked him in front of Cor, and upon hearing his words, Cor’s expression dropped. And when Clarus refused to answer, Cor didn’t take his eyes off of him. Cor knew. The Marshal of the Crownsguard knew this entire time and not once did he think to tell him.
He knew there was more to this and he was going to figure it out. For Iris’s sake he had too.
So after training with Prompto both of them went to see the Marshal. Gladio thought if he had Prom by his side, Cor was less likely to snap. When they got to the Marshal’s office, Prompto didn’t knock he just walked in and smiled at his dad.
Cor looked up from his laptop and smiled at his son and his honorary nephew. “Hey Kid. Gladio. Are you both alright?”
Before Prompto could respond Gladio answered. He had already told Prom why he had wanted to come here, but he didn’t want to beat around the bush any longer. He had been denied an answer on the whereabouts of his mother for 12 years now. It wasn’t fair. Prompto knew he didn’t have a mum because he was adopted, and Noctis knew his mum had died. But Gladio’s and Iris’s mum just left. There was no goodbye, there was no solid reason and it was beginning to frustrate him.
He needed to know and he had a feeling that Cor knew why.
“Yeah thanks. Cor, Iris has been getting upset and she keeps asking me about our mum. I was wondering if you could talk to her.”
Cor hesitated before he spoke. When he did speak, his voice was plain, and he shook his head. “No sorry, I can’t do that.”
“What, why?” Gladio gritted his teeth in annoyance.
He was only asking for the truth and he needed Cor to help him find it. And even Prompto was a little taken back by his dad’s reaction.
“Dad, come on please? Iris just wants to know what happened to Auntie Nivenia.”
“Gladio, you need to ask your father to do that, not me.” Cor sighed not looking Gladio in the eye.
Now, Gladio was angry. He banged his fist on Cor’s desk and he couldn’t help but growl at his honorary uncle and mentor. “YOU KNOW DON’T YOU!”
Cor didn’t even flinch when Gladio shouted at him. He wore a cold expression and glanced over to his son who looked like he had shat himself. The Marshal felt sorry for Gladio. Because he did know. He knew exactly what had happened and he knew who was to blame for Nivenia leaving. But he made a promise to his best friends to keep it a secret. And he hated it. He didn’t want to do it. But he was bound by loyalty and after all it was a secret of the Crown. If he told anyone, even Clarus’s son, it would be treason.
Cor shook his head and let go a heavy sigh. “Gladio. I can’t tell you.”
“WHY NOT?!” Gladio roared allowing himself to get even angrier.
“Woah, big guy come on, calm down.” Prompto panicked pulling his friend away from his dad.
It was more for Gladio’s safety then Cor’s. Gladio was not physically strong enough to take on Cor, single handily in a fight. A very few amount of people were. He really didn’t want them to fight. He hated fighting.
Gladio pulled his arm out of Prompto’s grasp and place both of his hands on the desk and continued to shout at Cor. “Tell me! This isn’t fair! I have a right to know!”
“Yes, you do. But it is not my place to say. The only person who can tell you is your dad.” Cor stated calmly before rising from his chair.
He was torn between what was morally right and his loyalty to the crown. But he knew loyalty had to win. It always had ever since he was 13, loyalty would win today as well. The only time he ever broke away from loyalty was when Prompto was in the picture. His son was the most important thing to him but this didn’t directly effect Prom. And if it did, he would have broken his promise to Clarus years ago.
The Marshal walked around his desk with the full intention of leaving the room but Gladio got in his way.
“Gladio. I know you are upset but Prom and I have to go to the doctors. Don’t take your anger out on me.”
Gladio clenched his hands into fists as he felt himself begin to shake. This wasn’t fair. None of it was. He trusted Cor. He trusted his dad and now the pair of them had lied to him. He was 20 years old for fuck sake, he deserved to know. However, he knew he wouldn’t beat Cor in a fight and if he wanted to get to the bottom of this he had to calm down. The Prince’s Shield breathed through his anger and walked out of that room before either of the Leonis’ could say a word to stop him.
For years he had been lied too and he had, had enough of it. He just wanted to know what had happened to his mum, was that so much to ask?
He thought about storming over to the council chambers and interrupting the meeting that was taking place. His dad was there and so was the King. But he knew he couldn’t. He wasn’t thinking straight. And he needed to get those answer’s, not only for his benefit but for his sister’s. He would do anything for Iris, even if it meant biding his time and waiting for the right moment to get this information out of his dad.
Gladio found himself retreating to the training rooms to get rid of his anger. It had been 3 days since he spoke to Cor and he still didn’t have any answers for himself or his sister.
Because he had kept this anger in and had been avoiding his dad, he took it all out on Noctis. Instead of training him and explaining to the Prince what he needed to improve on, he beat him into the ground. At first Noctis screamed at him and told him to leave him alone. But when Gladio turned around and started attacking the wall with his weapon, Noctis knew something wasn’t right and he had a feeling what it was.
When his shield had finally calmed down a little and sat on the floor breathing heavily with exhaustion Noctis approached him and sat down by his side.
“So… Iris has been asking me about my mum today.” Noctis sighed, side eyeing Gladio to make sure he didn’t lash out in blind rage again.
Gladio shook his head in defeat. His dad keeping this secret from him was starting to become too much. He would never confide in Noctis for help. But for once he was in need of support and guidance. “Sorry Noct, that’s my fault. She wants to know what happened to our mum.”
“I thought your dad said she just left. Sorry.”
“It’s fine. I spoke to Cor earlier and now I know there is more to it.”
“Why not ask your dad?”
“Let’s ask Lord Clarus Amicitia. Great suggestion.” Gladio huffed with frustration. Sometimes Noctis was dense, that was what he had been doing for years with no result.
“Chill man! You’re the one who is meant to advise and protect me not the other way around!” Noctis snapped back. Sometimes Gladio was hard to read. Noctis knew what a stubborn little shit he could be. But when it came to emotions and shit like that Gladio took it to a whole another level. He didn’t want to see Gladio upset, and he definitely didn’t want to see Iris hurting either. He wish he knew of a way to help them both-
That’s when an idea sprung into the Prince’s head.
“Gladio, I have an idea.”
Regis and Clarus turned to see Cor standing a few feet away from them, but not once did he look directly at their faces. The King and Shield didn’t even hear the Marshal come in. They weren’t surprised they didn’t hear him either, he was always good at sneaking up on them.
But they didn’t have a clue what Cor was on about.
“Cor, I am sorry?” Regis asked softly trying to understand the meaning behind Cor’s words.
“I mean it. If you two lie to them, I will tell them the truth.”
“Cor, we have no idea what you are on about.” Clarus said with confusion.
When Friday came around, it was time for Noct’s plan to be put into action.
Friday was the day where he and his dad, King Regis, would have dinner together. Just the two of them. Noctis always looked forward to this day of the week because it was the one time where they could spend it together. As Regis was the King, it was difficult for the pair to have a moment as father and son. However, this Friday was going to be different. That was because Noctis had asked Regis if they could invite Gladio and Clarus to join them for a change. He would have involved Iris but Noctis thought that for the time being it was the best decision to leave her out of it.
Regis was more then happy for both the Shield’s to join them, even if it made him a little sad that his and Noctis’s time together was cut short. But his son’s happiness always came above his own desires so he agreed.
The dinner started out smoothly.
Both of the Royal’s sat at either end of the table with their Shield sitting to their right. And because the Shield’s where present it meant that both the King and Prince had to eat their vegetables. Regis and Noctis saw the greenery as poison and begged the Amicitia’s not to force them to eat it. But they ignored their pleads, and made them eat it anyway. The King and Prince gave each other a look to say that ‘they were never inviting the pair to join again.’ The Shields were pure evil and acting like traitors of the crown for making them eat their greatest foe of all…
An hour went by and when the desserts were placed out in front of them Gladio decided it was finally time to bring up the subject. Clarus loved dessert and he might be willing to finally tell him what had happened to his mum. And Noctis said that if he chose not to say anything, that his dad would make Clarus spill the beans. For the King never liked seeing anyone upset if he could help it.
Gladio bit the bullet and looked up at his dad. “So… Dad. Iris asked me about mum again and I was wondering if you would tell me more.”
After his words the table fell silent.
Clarus and Regis quickly glanced at each other and held their breath. Why did Gladio have to ask it here? In front of the pair of them. The King and Shield knew that they couldn’t keep it a secret forever but… this conversation had to be done in private. For it wasn’t just Clarus who was guilty of his wife’s disappearance, it was also Regis’s fault. This information was only known by five people and that was how they wanted it to remain. But the look of determination on Gladio’s face told Clarus that was no longer going to be the case after tonight.
The older Shield shook his head at his son and calmly said. “Not here.”
“Clarus, Iris is really upset about it.” Noctis said taking Gladio’s side. After all Nivenia was his auntie and he wanted to know what had happened.
“Noctis. Do not get involved.” Regis order staring at him dead in the eye.
“Why? You know, don’t you?”
“Noctis. What did I just say?”
That’s when Gladio allowed his frustration to get the better of him, yet again. He stared daggers at his own father and tried his hardest not to scream in his face as he gritted his teeth at Clarus. “Why the fuck does he know, and I don’t! She’s my mum!”
“Gladiolus. You will not address the King like that! Apologise at once!” Clarus snapped back. The guilt was slowly starting to consume him. But Gladio couldn’t find out what had happened like this. Not with both Regis and Noctis present.
“I don’t care! You have kept this from me for 12 years! All I want to know is why my mum fucked off and left me and Iris!”
Noctis jumped into the argument before Clarus could respond to his son. “Cor knows, so why can’t Gladio and Iris?”
“Leonis.” Clarus rolled his eyes and rubbed his head trying to remain calm. He was usually good at containing himself but today he was failing miserably. “It is a personal matter. The Marshal should not have said a word about it.”
“He didn’t! I have a right to know! Iris has a right to know! You can’t keep it from u-”
Regis shouted silencing everyone. The old King sighed turning to his Shield with sorrow in his eyes. He had enough of lying and it wasn’t fair on the boys or Iris to keep this from them any longer. “They’re right. We need to tell them.”
“Tell us what?” Noctis asked with concern looking directly at his dad, who in turn refused to look at him.
“If we don’t Cor will.”
“You’re right.” Clarus nodded in agreement before turning back to Gladio. It was time he finally admitted the truth. “It’s my fault. I am the reason your mother left.”
“It’s… our fault.” Regis added looking away from the three other people who were sitting at the table.
Gladio and Noctis looked at each other with confusion. They knew there was something more to Nivenia leaving, but both their dads were involved? How was it their fault? It didn’t make any sense to them and now they had discovered that it was their dads fault.
However, neither Regis or Clarus continued talking so Gladio stared at his dad and spoke as calmly as he could. But he was far from being calm.
“What are you talking about?”
“Before we tell you, you have to understand something. We never meant for it to escalate as far as it did.” Clarus replied softly. He didn’t want Gladio to find out like this.
“And we feel unbelievably guilty for what happened.” Regis said in the same tone as Clarus.
“We never meant for anyone to get hurt…”
“What happened?” Gladio grumbled. Not caring that it was the King and Shield he was addressing. He just wanted to know what had happened.
But silence took hold of the room again and both Clarus and Regis looked like they wanted the world to just consume them. They weren’t making eye contact with their children and they were trying desperately to not look at each other. The guilt began eating them up 12 years ago. Now, it had finally devoured them and there was no way out.
“Dad?” Noctis said breaking the silence.
It wasn’t Regis who responded. Clarus finally looked up and looked at Gladio. However he was unable to finish his sentence. “Your mum left because she found something out. She found out that Regis and I…”
“Have been in a relationship for a while.” Regis finished it for him and gulped when he saw the look of betrayal on Noctis’s face. And his voice was plastered with hurt.
Clarus locked his eyes with his sons and finally told him. “We have been in a relationship for a long time, before I met your mother.”
“Before?” Gladio questioned with rage bubbling in his gut and all the rage was directed at his dad.
“And during. And now.”
“Boys we are really sorry. We never meant for anyone to get hurt.” Regis said close to tears and when he looked at Noctis he felt his heart break. The Prince looked shocked and Regis knew he had really fucked up this time. “Noctis….”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I didn’t know how. I am sorry.”
But Noctis didn’t respond. He stared down at his food thinking about all the times that Regis had cancelled their meetings. He always told him it was because he was busy but now he was starting to realise it was because he was spending his free time with his shield instead of him.
“Gladio?” Clarus questioned in a comforting manner trying his hardest to calm his son down.
It didn’t work and when Gladio spoke rage was the only thing that was present in his voice. “You cheated on my mum!”
“I know and I am sor-”
Clarus stopped in mid-sentence as Gladio had punched him square in the face as hard as he could. He didn’t stop there. He jumped over the table and continued to beat the shit out of him. He was angry that Clarus had nearly made Gladio resent his mum because he lied. When really it was Clarus’s fault all along. It was his fault that he didn’t have his mum anymore.
Clarus refused to defend himself. He deserved it. He knew he did. Even when he heard his nose crunch he did nothing to stop his son from pounding his fist into his face. He didn’t want too either. He was finally getting what he deserved for tearing his family apart and breaking Nivenia’s and Aulea’s hearts.
“Gladio STOP!” Noctis scream raising from his chair as he watch the fight unfold.
“Gladiolus stop this at once!” Regis pitched in not wanting to see Clarus hurt.
Neither of the royals could physically get involved. Noctis wasn’t strong enough to take on his Shield yet and Regis was too weak from holding up the Crystal to prevent it. They had to sit on the side lines and helplessly watch as a son beat up his own father.
It was awful.
Gladio didn’t listen to the King. He grabbed on to Clarus’s shirt and continued to punch him in the face. He didn’t even stop when he saw the blood gush from his father’s nose. He didn’t stop when he saw the bruises begin to form around his eyes. He was so angry and hurt that nothing would make him stop.
That was until he felt a strong hand pull him away and threw him across the room. It was neither Noctis or Regis who had done it, it was Cor. The Marshal helped Clarus to his feet and then stood between the two Shields.
Gladio got to his feet and began to scream at the three older men in the room. “You knew about this! All of you knew! You two drove my mum away this is all your fault!”
“I am sorry.” Clarus said unable to prevent himself from spitting out his own blood as it had fallen into his mouth.
Things didn’t calm down there. Cor looked directly at Gladio to ensure he didn’t try to hurt Clarus again, but he wasn’t speaking to his nephew. He was speaking to the King and Shield. “Tell them about Aulea.”
That got Noctis’s attention. He looked at his dad and said in a cutting tone. “What about mum?”
“Regis.” Cor warned.
That’s when both Clarus and Regis realised what Cor had meant. They knew he was going to tell Noctis and Gladio if he didn’t. Regis gulped and found the courage to finally tell his son the truth about his own mother’s death.
“Your mum found out about Clarus and I before she passed away. And because she knew that I could hurt her like that, it killed her.” Regis began to cry when he saw the look of disgust on Noctis’s face. He saw tears begin to swell in his son’s eyes and it only made Regis weep harder. But instead of screaming like Gladio had, Noctis ran. He left that room as fast as he could, and he didn’t stop when Regis called out for him “Noctis! Noct please wait!”
“Gladio please calm down and let me explain.” Clarus pleaded trying to get passed Cor but the Marshal refused to let him.
Cor was glad he had because Gladio wouldn’t stop screaming and if looks could kill Clarus would be dead.
“Explain! Explain that you were fucking your liege behind my mums back and she left because you couldn’t keep it in your pants! I don’t want to know!”
The younger shield stormed out burning with rage leaving the King, the Shield and the Marshal in the room to deal with the consequences of their actions.
Chapter 2: The Fall Out
Regis tapped on Noctis’s bedroom door three times and, not surprisingly, he got no reply.
He knocked a further three times and, again, there was no reply. The King took in a deep breath and pulled on the door handle. It wasn’t locked so he let himself in. When he opened the door, he was met with Noctis sitting on his bed glaring at him. The Prince had one of his old blankets in his arms. It was dark blue colour, and had white stars and moons sewed on to it. It was the one that Aulea made him.
Regis’s heart sunk, for Noctis only ever held on to this particular blanket when he was severely upset. Regis couldn’t believe he had caused him this much heartache. He was riddled with guilt and seeing his son like this… he couldn’t handle it.
He closed the door behind him, but he didn’t approach the Prince. He spoke carefully and kept his eyes focused on his son. “Noctis?”
“Get out.” Noctis replied bitterly, still glaring at his dad.
“Noct, please let me explain.” Regis said taking a few steps towards Noctis. However, he was forced to stop as Noctis violently shook his head at him. He sighed to himself. “Please son. Just allow me to explain what happened.”
“Did mum let you explain?”
Noctis nodded and crossed his arms over his chest. “You can tell me exactly what you told her. I don’t want to hear anything else.”
“That’s not what you said to mum was it.” Noctis cut him off.
He didn’t care that he was his dad or even the King. He was furious at Regis and rightfully so. Noctis was told that the Queen was sick, and the illness took her away from him. Took her away from both him and his dad. That she was too weak, and in the end, there was nothing that anyone could have done to save her. But that was a lie. She might have lived, she might had fought harder if the King hadn’t shattered her heart.
Noctis remembered Regis being absolutely distraught when his mum died. The King didn’t move from his room for a few days after it had happened. But that probably wasn’t grief. Noctis now knew that was guilt and he no longer felt any sympathy for him.
Just thinking about it now, he wanted to throw something at Regis and scream at him to get out. He would have if Regis wasn’t in any physical pain.
Regis nodded and told Noctis what had happened as calmly as he could. But as he continued to speak, tears started to form in his eyes. “I told her that I was sorry. That I never wanted to hurt her, you or Nivenia at all. None of this was her fault it was all mine but I couldn’t help who I fell in love with. And I love Clarus, I always have. Noct… I am so, so sorry. Please, forgive me.”
“Well you have hurt me! And you hurt my mum! Now, get out!” Noctis shouted, pointing towards the door with one hand and with the other, he tightened his grip on the blanket.
The King had no choice but to leave.
Gladiolus refused to pick up his calls and Clarus was getting worried.
After, Cor had given both him and Regis a scolding for hurting both their sons, Clarus ran after Gladio. However, Gladio was a lot younger, more agile and a lot faster than he was and he lost him. The Shield didn’t care that his nose was still bleeding, and his face looked completely battered, he hurried throughout the Citadel and look frantically for his son. He looked in both the Guard and Glaive training barracks, he wasn’t there. He looked in Ignis Scientia’s office, again he wasn’t there. Clarus even went down to the Citadel’s kitchens, and he was met with the same results. The last place that Clarus looked before deciding to ring him was the parking lot.
When he got there, Gladio’s car wasn’t there.
Knowing that Gladio was no longer in the Citadel, he hopped into his own car and rang his son. He called him all the way to his son’s apartment and when the Shield arrived, Gladio’s car wasn’t there. Clarus’s worries increased and he chose to drive back to his manor to see if Gladio would have gone there. He highly doubted it, but he needed to make sure that his son was okay. All of this was his fault and he never thought he could hurt his own child like this.
When he got to the manor, he jumped out of his car and let one of the servants park the car for him.
He rushed into his house and called out for his son. Gladiolus didn’t reply. Instead, one of the servants informed him that Gladio had not returned home. Clarus really started to panic then. He thought that his son would have come back to tell Iris what had happened. In his overwhelmed state, the Shield had no idea where his son would have gone. Then he realised that Iris had no idea what had taken place and he knew that he could no longer keep this secret from her.
The servant told him that she was in the dining room finishing off her homework. Clarus wasted no time making his way there even if he couldn’t get rid of the dread that was building in his stomach. Iris was sweet and kind just like her mother, but she was also his daughter. Meaning that she had the ability to snap. She had always been so head strong, and she always told everyone exactly what she thought. And if Gladio’s reaction was anything to go by… Clarus had a feeling this was not going to end well.
It was going to end with both of his children and Noctis despising him. Despising him and Regis.
But he had to do this. It was better that Iris heard it from him then anyone else. Clarus walked into the room and smiled at his daughter, who was happily sitting at the table, doing her homework and listening to some pop song.
Iris dropped her pen and quickly turned around and smiled happily at her father. That was until she noticed his face. Because Clarus had been so focused on finding Gladio he hadn’t washed his face and it was still covered with blood. His left cheek was cut as well, and both of his eyes and the bridge of his nose was badly bruised. The dark shade of purple made his blue eyes stand out and Iris started to panic. “Hey Daddy… Dad? What happened to your face!?”
Before Iris had a chance to rise from her chair, Clarus walked over to her and sat down in the seat next to hers.
“Don’t worry about it, sweetheart.”
“Of course, I’m worried. It looks like a daemon has attacked you! Let me get the medical kit.”
“No Iris.” Clarus said sternly preventing her from running off and helping him. He didn’t want her to help him. He knew he didn’t deserve it. She looked beyond concerned and it just made him feel more guilty. He gulped. “I need to tell you something.”
Iris shook her head and she couldn’t hide the worry in her voice as she spoke. “It can wait dad. It looks like someone has broken your nose. What happened?”
“I told your brother, what I am about to tell you, and he got angry at me.”
“WHAT!” Iris shrieked.
“Iris don’t be mad at him. This isn’t his fault. It’s mine.”
“How can you say that- He hurt you!”
Clarus hated this so much. He loved both of his children more then anything else on Eos and because of that he didn’t want either of them to hate him. Well, Gladio already did. But Iris didn’t. She was going too. Because he knew he had to tell her and prevent his children from falling out. He would much rather both Gladio and Iris hating him, then hating each other.
The Shield let out a sigh and prepared himself for the worst. “That doesn’t matter. I need to tell you what I told him. And… it concerns your mum”
Clarus sent a text to Cor to inform him that Gladio had disappeared and that he couldn’t leave his house to find him because his daughter was in floods of tears and was currently screaming at him and blaming him for everything. This made the Marshal sigh, as he knew exactly where Gladio was.
Cor didn’t mind, and he was glad that Gladio was safe. But he didn’t want to get involved. He didn’t want to get involved when Nivenia found out and he didn’t want to get involved now. However, he was no longer free to back out, because Prompto would insist that he step in to help his friends and honorary nephews and niece. His son was too sweet for his own good and would do anything to help Noctis, Gladio, Ignis and Iris. He would help anyone. Cor remembered all too well, coming home one day to find a stray dog in his living room because Prompto wanted to nurse it back to health. That boy always made him smile.
After talking to Regis and explaining to him he had to work his arse off to get Noctis’s trust back, he went home to find Prompto sitting at the top of the stairs texting someone. More then likely Noctis.
“Prom. Where is he?” Cor questioned shutting the door.
“In the spare room.” Prompto replied looking away from his phone. “Clarus is gunna know he is here.”
“If he doesn’t then he’s stupid.” Cor grumbled walking up the stairs and carefully walking over Prom. The Marshal marched over to the spare room and banged on the door a couple of times. Being the annoying little shit that the young Shield was he didn’t respond. Because Cor was already aggravated he snapped. “Gladio open the door.”
“No! You are just as bad as them.” Gladio shouted back through the door.
Cor rolled his eyes and briefly glanced to look at Prompto’s reaction. The blonde teenager only wore worry on his face, but he nodded at Cor to tell him he knew exactly what was going on. Cor nodded back and turned to face the locked door.
“For the record, Gladio. I told your dad to tell your mum, multiple times.”
“You did a great job, didn’t you?”
“Gladio! If you are going to stay here, you are going to open the door now.” Cor gritted his teeth.
He had honestly had enough with dealing and cleaning up all the crap that the Amicitia family had left behind. He was fed up with Clarus breaking his promises and acting like he was still in his mid 20s. He was fed up with keeping secrets from Gladio and dealing with his temper tantrums. This was ending tonight.
The door opened, and Cor was met with a pair of, extremely pissed off, amber eyes. At least he was fucking listening now.
“Right. I understand you are upset. You are welcome to stay here but you are not to blame me for any of this. I am going to tell your dad you are here because he is worried. If you have a problem with any of that, you know where the door is.”
Gladio’s hands began to shake and he slowly breathed through another wave of anger. He couldn’t prevent himself from talking down at Cor. “You knew exactly what was going on. This entire time you knew, and not once did you tell me nor my sister.”
“I am sorry. However, that was a secret involving the King. If I had said anything to you, or anyone else it would have been seen as treason. I could have lost my job.”
“You know for a fact they wouldn’t have sacked you! You do stupid illegal shit all the time and your still Marshal of the Crownsguard. Stop finding fucking excuses!”
“Shut up and grow up Gladio!” Cor growled. He was not dealing with this anymore tonight. “I will discuss this with you in the morning.”
The Prince’s Shield slammed the door in his face. All Cor did was let go a deep sigh of frustration and go to the bathroom to have a shower. He knew for a fact this was going to be a long weekend.
Taking that as his que to finally leave Gladio alone, Prom got off of the floor and when to his room so he could ring Noctis in private.
Just as Cor had predicted it was a fucking long weekend.
Iris came around looking for Gladio at 10 o’clock in the morning and now he had both of his best friend’s children staying with him. Prompto told him that he was going to stay with Noct at his apartment so that the Prince wasn’t lonely and he had someone to talk to. And he had both Clarus and Regis ringing him, asking him what they should do and how they should handle this situation. Cor didn’t know how to deal with it. He was so glad that Prompto never had a mum. Not only that, the pair of them asked him to check on their children as all of them, were no longer replying to their dads calls or texts. The Marshal didn’t blame them either he was fucking pissed off with the pair of them as well.
However, by the time it had got to Sunday, Cor knew this couldn’t go on anymore and he attempted to explain to Gladio and Iris what had happened. That Clarus’s and Regis’s affair had been going on as long as he had known them, and them knowing wasn’t going to change that factor. Gladio didn’t want to hear that and he ended up leaving Cor’s house and going back to his own apartment. Whereas Iris was a little more understanding. She was still angry at her father’s behaviour, but she tried to see it from Clarus’s point of view. After Cor explained a little more to her, she agreed to go back home and talk to her dad about it.
Like Gladio, Noctis was not having any of it.
For Prompto had spend the entire weekend trying to convince Noctis to answer his dads calls. To allow him a chance to properly explain what had happened. But the Prince was having none of it. He didn’t think Regis deserved to be forgiven. Not only did he drive his auntie away, but he fundamentally had a hand in his own mother’s death. That was not something that he was willing to forgive. Yes, Regis was his only parent and Noctis loved him but he didn’t understand. He couldn’t understand that on his mum’s deathbed, Regis still carried on with his affair. It didn’t make sense, it was never going to make any sense to the Prince.
When Monday came along, Noctis, Prompto and Iris went to school as normal. Clarus, Cor and Gladio went into work as normal. But nothing was.
Gladio purposely avoided Clarus and when he tried to speak to him he blanked him. When Regis attempted to apologise, the younger shield simply bowed and asked to be excused. The only person he would talk to was Cor, and he only spoke to him to get him to tell Clarus and Regis to leave him alone. It was such a tense environment to work in that the guard, the glaive, the council members and the servants were starting to notice that something was off. Only Monica and Drautos were brave enough to ask the Marshal what was going on. Like all the times before, he had to lie. Cor told them that there wasn't anything to worry about and it was being resolved.
As much as he was glad that Gladio, Noctis and Iris knew, it was for the best that no one else did.
Regis and Clarus had been in a relationship for a while but if the media got hold of that information… the headlines were not going to be pretty. It wouldn’t have been fair on the King and Shield’s children if they were dragged into that shit storm. Noctis was already in the spot light, being the heir apparent to the Lucian throne, and he really didn’t need anymore pressure placed on him.
When it got to the end of the day, Regis called Cor to his office, along with Clarus, to discuss the situation. When the King spoke, he sounded like an absolute wreck.
“Cor, has any of them said anything to you? Please, just tell me. I am so worried about them.”
“Look Reg… I don’t want to be involved in this.” Cor responded lightly. He did feel sorry for all those involved. But it wasn’t like the pair hadn’t brought this upon themselves.
Clarus was no better when he spoke. However, he hid behind aggression for he never liked to appear weak in front of anyone. “Iris is just beginning to talk to me again. But she hasn’t said how she is feeling. And Gladio… I don’t know what to do about him. This feels like torture Cor, how would you feel if Prompto started ignoring you?”
“He’s not going to, is he? I haven’t done anything to upset him.” Cor said that a little too quickly. He regretted saying that when Regis began to cry. He wished that he didn’t care so much for Regis and Clarus at the moment. Cor shook his head in disappointment and finally gave the pair some hard truths. “Look, Cid, Wesk and I told the pair of you to grow up and get over yourselves. We all told you, that this couldn’t continue and if it did you had to tell your wives. You should have listened to us. This is your fault no one else’s and I understand why Noctis, Gladio and Iris are blanking you. If I was in their place I would be too.”
“We fucked up. We get it.” Clarus snapped placing a hand on Regis’s back as he continued to weep.
“No shit Clarus. And I am not cleaning up your shit anymore. You’re adults and parents. Get a grip of yourselves and make up with your children.”
“He won’t talk to me, Cor.” Regis sobbed. He didn’t want to lose Noct. He was everything to him, and he was already going to lose him to a fucked up prophecy. He didn’t want to lose him now. “I just don’t know what to do.”
“I’ll tell you what to do. You need to beg for their forgiveness and prove to them you really mean what you say. You can do that by telling them the truth. Not the half truth, the full truth. And you can start by listening to how they feel and answering all their questions truthfully. Because if you don’t, you will lose them.”
Over the week that was what both Regis and Clarus tried to do. However, Iris was the only one who was willing to ask questions and listen to what her dad had to say. Neither Gladio or Noctis were ready to do that yet. Even though Iris was trying her best to understand she was still frustrated at what had happened. One day after school she let herself into her brother’s apartment and waited for him to return from work. When he did, they talked about their dad and whether they should forgive him or not. Sooner rather than later Iris started to relay to her brother how she truly felt and what had been racing through her mind over the past week.
“This isn’t fair Gladdy! She shouldn’t have been the one to leave.”
“Kid, I am cross to. But as the Marshal said, we can’t change what has happened.” Gladio admitted, finally letting go a bit of his anger he had towards his dad. Because yesterday Cor caught him after training and explained Clarus’s side.
To begin with Gladio didn’t want to listen, but as the Marshal reminded him of what Clarus had done for him over the years and that he had been there for him since day one, Gladio started to realise he should have stopped and looked at his dad side of the story. Yes, his mum was hurt by the betrayal and had every right to leave, but she didn’t have to leave the country. Cor even told Gladio, which he probably shouldn’t have, that Clarus did try to get in contact with Nivenia so she could see her children, but she refused to respond. She refused to come back. And because of that, she was as much in the wrong as Clarus was. At least he was there for them.
And she wasn’t.
And because of his conversation with Cor, Gladio didn’t like what Iris said next.
“No, but we can bring her back.”
“Iris that’s not a good idea.” Gladio warned.
However, Gladio soon had to change tactics as his little sister began to cry. He gave her a hug and told her that everything was going to be okay. But Iris was too upset to listen. She cried into her brother’s arms and finally expressed what she really felt about the situation. “I just want to know who my mum is. I just want to understand her. I want to understand why dad did that to her. I just want to know who she is. I can’t do that if she isn’t here.”
Gladio nodded. He understood where she was coming from. And if she had told him this a couple of days ago he would have been more onboard with the idea. But the Marshal’s words stuck with him and Iris needed to understand that this was no longer a black and white situation.
He hugged her tighter and gently spoke to her. “As much as I hate what dad did, she was the one who left. I understand why she left, but she also left us. What type of mum would do that?”
“Would you stay if you were in her position?” Iris asked, releasing herself from her brother’s arms.
“No. But she has left the country Iris. She didn’t have to be with dad anymore, but she could have stayed in Insomnia. She still could have been a part of our lives and she wasn’t. She hasn’t even tried to keep in contact with us.”
“Who’s fault do you think that is?” Iris huffed stepping away from her brother.
“Dads. But come on, I don’t know if she is worth it.” Gladio was in no place to argue with her. But something about this didn’t feel right.
“Well, you don’t have to help me. But I am finding our mum, and I am bringing her back.”
Chapter 3: It's Only Bad If You Get Caught
Gladio walked up the stairs to find that the ladder to the attic was down. He was going to walk passed it thinking that Clarus was probably up there. As much as he had accepted the fact that his mother was no longer the effort, he was still not willing to fully forgive his father for what had happened. He had only come around to collect a book that he had borrowed from Ignis. But as he was standing under the hatch, he heard someone talking, and it wasn’t his dad.
“It would be all the way back here, wouldn’t it!”
It was Iris.
Deciding that he could no longer just get the book and leave he placed a foot on the ladder and called up to his little sister.
“Squirt, what are you doing in the attic?!”
There was silence for a moment. He heard something hit the floor with a thud, followed by a series of light footsteps coming towards the opened hatch. Gladio waited patiently until Iris’s head appeared. She gave her brother a quick smile and laughed nervously at him, as she knew she wasn’t supposed to be up there.
“Hey, Gladdy. I am only looking for something.”
“Did you ask dad if you could go through his things?” Gladio sighed, already knowing the answer.
Iris shook her head and walked out of view while speaking to him. “I am not going through his things.”
“For fuck sake.” Gladio muttered under his breath deciding that he had no choice but to go up there.
He hadn’t been up there in years and they weren’t really allowed to go up there either, as the attic was a literal death trap. Clarus wasn’t the tidiest person in the world and he tended to just throw things up there to get them out of sight. Anyway, most of the stuff in the attic didn’t even belong to Clarus, most of it was their ancestors’ junk, that no one could be bothered to throw out. And because of that, it was not safe up there at all and it made Gladio unbelievably uncomfortable that Iris was up there on her own.
The young shield had a right to be concerned. When he got up there all he could see were many piles of bags and boxes, and he could hardly see the floor. The place was covered in multiple layers of dust and the room was hardly lit up well. The light was dim and it kept flickering. It was beginning to give him a headache. He scanned the room with his eyes, looking for his sister.
She was in the far corner, rummaging through the endless crap.
“Iris, it’s not safe up here. You need to come downstairs.”
“I’ll come down once I find mum’s things.” Iris stated not looking at her brother as she was still focused on the task at hand.
“Not this again. I thought we talked about this.”
“Yeah we did. And I told you if you’re not going to help me I was going to do it myself.”
“But it’s not safe up here and dad will have a fit once he finds out what you are doing.”
“Why, it’s our mum’s things? And he clearly doesn’t care, if it is all the way back here. Bingo!!!”
Iris shouted, finally finding what she was looking for. She sat on the dusty floor and opened the singular box that was labelled ‘Nivenia’ and started to search through its contents. Iris soon became frustrated as there was hardly anything in the box. The only things she found were: a pair of wedding rings, an engagement ring, a very expensive watch, some necklaces and bracelets, a book of bank records, photos of her mothers and fathers wedding day and some of her mum when she was younger.
It was worthless for what Iris wanted. She closed the box and hit it before crossing her arms across her chest. “None of that is helpful.” She shouted, but she was far from giving up.
“What are you looking for anyway?” Gladio said as he sat down by her.
“Something that will help me find mum.” Iris admitted staring at the box. She let out a sigh and turned to face her brother. “I just want to understand why she left and who she was.”
“She left because of dad and she clearly doesn’t want to be found. Do you really think she would have left anything behind, so he could find her? Iris, you need to stop. You’re not going to find anything up here that will help you.”
“Then you help me! You have access to the Citadel’s main computer. You could track her down.”
Gladio shook his head. He wanted to see Iris happy and no matter what she thought, finding their mum was not going to make her happy. It was probably going to cause her more pain because their dad was only going to get offended that she didn’t go to him, and then they would fall out even more then they already had. Gladio needed to get this idea out of her head and he needed to do it quick.
“Sorry squirt, I’m not a Shield to a King yet. The only people who have complete access to that is: Regis, dad, Cor and Drautos.”
“Then get Cor or Drautos to help. Please Gladdy. I just want to know where she is.” Iris pleaded giving him the puppy dog eyes. But he was not budging.
“No squirt, that’s not going to work. Now come on, grab what you want to take downstairs and lets get out of here before dad comes home.”
Iris let out a sigh and picked up the entire box and started to walk over to the open hatch. Gladio immediately took the box off of her, so she didn’t fall over and hurt herself, and followed her down the ladder.
Yet, what her brother said did nothing to faze her. She would just ask either Cor or Drautos to help her. One way or another she was going to find her mum.
Noctis hardly ever ventured to the roof of the Citadel. He should have because his mother’s private memorial fountain was up there, but it always made him sad. However, with everything that was currently going on the Prince wanted to feel more connected to his late mother. He knew if he went to her grave he would have to bring a member of the guard with him. He didn’t want that. He wanted to think about her in peace, and that was the reason why the fountain was placed here. So, both he and his dad could mourn her privately.
The fountain was beautiful. Simple but beautiful. Because Aulea came from a modest background, she wouldn’t have wanted anything too extravagant. The fountain wasn’t tall and the stone was light grey and had various types of wild flowers planted around it. Aulea liked flowers. Regis told him that flowers always seemed to make her happy.
Noctis sat down next to the monument and read the golden plaque that was in front of it:
In loving memory of a beloved mother and wife.
Queen Aulea Lucis Caelum.
Noctis smiled and thought about his mum. He could hardly remember her, as she died when he was nearly three years old. But he could remember her smile. He could remember her soft blue eyes. He could remember that she always kissed his forehead to say goodnight to him. But other then that… nothing. Noctis wouldn’t really ask Regis about her, in case he upset him. However, Noctis no longer cared if he upset Regis but he still wasn’t going to ask a word about her. The Prince was still angry and he wished that he hadn’t found out about his dad and Clarus. He was happy not knowing.
Noctis sat there for a few hours. He was about to leave when he heard the familiar sound of a cane hitting the floor. Great… the prince thought to himself. Noctis didn’t turn around when he spoke to his dad. The tone he used was anything but kind.
“Why are you here?”
“She was my wife Noct. I did love her.” Regis sighed looking down at his son. He had stopped a few meters away from him so that he didn’t cause him anymore upset. He thought he had done enough damage as it was.
“You didn’t love her enough to care about her feelings or call it off when you wanted to be with someone else.”
“Noctis you don’t understand. I had to fight to be with her. I wouldn’t have done that, if I didn’t love her.”
None of that was a lie. Regis did love Aulea. He really did. And when King Mors was alive, his own father, he had many arguments with him about Aulea. Regis wanted to be with her, but because of her background, Mors didn’t want them to be anywhere near each other let alone together. He thought it was ridiculous having a commoner as Queen and that it would bring shame to the Royal Family. So, when Mors finally died, Regis couldn’t have been happier because he could finally be with and marry Aulea.
However, Regis couldn’t stop loving his Shield and he didn’t want to be without either of them. It was wrong and he hurt his wife, he knew all of this. But she wasn’t here anymore. Noctis was and he was the most important thing to the King now. He just wanted Noctis to understand that.
Noctis shook his head and continued to stare at his mother’s memorial fountain. “If you cared you wouldn’t have done that to her. If I were to do that to my future wife you would be so disappointed in me. How do you think that was acceptable?”
“My behaviour was not acceptable. I never said it was.”
“Then why do it?”
“As King I hav-”
Regis stopped in mid-sentence as Noctis suddenly spun around and glared evilly at him.
No. Noctis was not listening to that. He couldn’t stop himself from snapping and he ended up aggressively shouting at his dad.
“Stop piling that Royal crap on me! You should have at least told her from the get go that you had feelings for Clarus! And don’t say that Grandad had anything to do with your mistake either because he was dead and buried before you married mum. From what Cor told me, Grandad hated the idea of you and mum being together, but you married her anyway. This is all on you. You got my mum’s hopes up, you made her fall in love with you, and then you broke her heart.”
“I made a mistake, Noct.” Regis bowed his head in shame
“Yeah. A big one.”
Regis felt himself begin to tear up. He couldn’t have Noctis hate him. He couldn’t be without him. He bit his lip to hold back the tears forming in his eyes. He knew he had to get a grip of himself. He walked a little closer towards his son and desperately tried to find some understanding in this awful situation. “Noctis, I love you. No matter what you think of me, or my actions, that factor has never changed. And I did love your mother. I honestly did, I loved her so much… I just love Clarus more. I am sorry.”
“You love him more then me.” Noctis stated with a straight face.
That took Regis off guard and he violently shook his head at his son. “No! No, I don’t! I don’t love or care about anyone else more than you! You are the most precious thing in this entire world to me. Nothing else compares. I would do anything for you.”
Noctis let go a hollow laugh and stood up.
“What about all the times you cancelled on me because you were ‘sick!’ How about all the other times you had to reschedule because something ‘came up!’ Just admit it, you would rather spend more time with him then with your own son!”
“That’s not true.” Regis said sternly. How could Noctis possibly think that?
“But it is.” Noctis shouted that time. He felt betrayed by his dad. He was so sick of all of this and he just wanted to cry. No he wasn’t going to cry. He scratched his head in frustration. He had finally had enough. He walked passed his dad and spoke openly, pretending that the King wasn’t there. “Fuck this I am staying at my apartment permanently now.”
“Noct! Noctis!” Regis called after him.
The Prince didn’t stop and he left the King standing next to the Queens memorial all alone.
It was a lot easier to break into the Marshal’s office then it should have been.
Iris thought he would have at least locked the door when he went too his weekly meeting with her dad and the King. But no. All she did was try the handle and the door opened. She closed the door behind her and hurried over to the computer that was placed on top of the Marshal’s desk. She sat down and breathed out. She knew no one would come in for at least another hour. That should be plenty of time for her to break into the system and find out exactly where her mum was.
She turned the computer on and was met with the login page. She knew her dad’s login code. Everyone knew that: C.Amicitia.S:113.1. That part was easy.
Now the password was going to be a bit more difficult to figure out. Her father maybe a lot of things, but he was not stupid. His password would nearly be impossible to guess, and she knew for a fact it would have nothing to do with either her or Gladio. That would be far to obvious. Lucky for her though, she had already broken into her father’s study at the manor and found the password hidden in the back of some tatty old book. She quickly typed in the password and clicked enter.
Iris held her breath and prayed that the screen didn’t go red. Because if it did, about a hundred of the guard would soon come running into the Marshal’s office and she would have to explain to both her dad and Cor what she was doing.
Luck appear to be on her side today as the screen said welcome.
The twelve-year-old smiled and began to search through the files. This was super illegal and if she got caught, she could say bye-bye to all her rights and even her Lucian citizenship. Doing this could actually get her executed on the grounds of treason and arrested for fraud. She would probably get Clarus into a whole heep of trouble too. She really hoped no one came in.
She search deeper into the computer and realised that she wasn’t going to get anywhere unless she narrowed her search. Iris went to the main computer drive and typed in the search bar: Nivenia Amicitia. Iris clicked enter and her chest began to tighten. This was it. She was finally going to discover where her mum was.
To her surprise, there was a whole file on her mother.
She shouldn’t be too surprised really. The wife of the third most powerful person in the country was going to have a background check. Iris quickly clicked on the file and scrolled through it until she came to a list of addresses. However, she didn’t read them off the computer. She knew she had to leave and get off her dad’s login before he got back to his office and tried to login himself.
Iris quickly printed out the page, she was so glad that Cor had a printer in his office, and immediately logged off. When she was satisfied everything was how it was when she came in, she hopped off the chair, got the newly printed paper from the printer and made her way to the exit.
However, she was forced to stop when the door opened, and she froze.
The Marshal was standing right in front of her and she gulped a little when he looked at her. He was probably very confused as to why she was in there, but his face didn’t give it away. He didn’t really express any emotion.
Cor was very confused. He thought he had locked the door.
He cleared his throat and narrowed his eyes at her. “Iris. What are you doing in here?”
“Oh hey Cor. Sorry, I was coming to find you. I was going to ask you if you could tell me more about mum but when I got here you were gone. So, I sat down for a while and waited for you to return. I got bored so I decided to leave.” Iris smiled, hoping that Cor would believe her.
“Yeah. Honest. I don’t lie.”
“Then what have you got in your hand?”
Shit, Iris thought to herself. She should have put that in her pocket. But she was in such a rush to get out and she was not expecting the Marshal to be back so soon. Iris looked down at the papers and thought of another lie.
“Oh this? It’s nothing. Just some documents that Gladio told me to bring by.”
“Pass it here then.”
Iris wanted to kick herself. Why did she say that?! She was so stupid! She gulped again and held onto the papers tightly. She couldn’t give up now. She was so close to finding out where her mum was. She had to know. Iris shook her head and refused to pass it over.
Cor knew she was definitely lying. “Do you want to tell me why you are really in here? Or am I going to have to talk to your dad.”
“NO! Cor please don’t do that!” She pleaded, still holding onto the papers like her life depended on it.
“Then tell me what is going on.”
“Fine.” She huffed. She wasn’t going to hand over the documents. But Cor was probably the only person who wouldn’t tell her off for stealing her dad’s password and breaking into the Citadel’s main computer. He had probably done that to Clarus before he became Marshal. “I broke into dad’s office and stole his password and used your computer, so I could track down my mum. And this is a list of all the addresses she has lived at over the passed 12 years. Please don’t tell dad, Cor. He will go ape at me.”
Cor had to prevent himself from laughing. He was quite impressed by that actually. He shouldn’t have been. He had done that before, multiple times. But he knew he shouldn’t encourage that behaviour at all.
“Right. Hand it over. That is personal information and I can’t let you keep it. And if you give it to me now, I won’t say a word to either your dad or your brother.”
Iris rolled her eyes in defeat and very reluctantly handed the work over to Cor. She didn’t really have a choice in the matter. But she didn’t think Cor had to do what he did next. He walked passed her and put it through a paper shredder. The Marshal then sat at his desk and gave her a look of sympathy.
“I do understand how frustrating this is. I lost my mum when I was 13 and I still don’t fully understand what happened.” Cor admitted. He wouldn’t normally talk about his parents, but he felt that Iris needed some comforting words. Even if it meant he had to think about his own mother’s suicide.
“Then why won’t you help me?” Iris said getting upset. This entire situation wasn’t fair.
“Because sometimes it is better that you don’t understand.”
“How can you say that? I don’t have a clue what she is doing or where she is. For all I know she could be dead!”
Cor paused for a moment and chose his words very carefully. “She’s not dead Iris.”
“You don’t know that! The crown may be keeping tabs on her, but you do that, like what, once a week. Anything could happen in that time!”
“Iris I know she’s not dead. I spoke to her this morning.”
Iris felt her heart stop. She opened her mouth, so she could ask more questions. But all that came out of her mouth was a simple:
“Are you alright Regis?”
Clarus walked over to the King, who was slumped into his chair, with a very sadden look on his face. He had been like this for a few days now. Ever since he and Noctis had their argument on the roof. Since then the Prince had not come back to the Citadel and the King had become increasingly worried. Noctis had refused to pick up his calls and texts, and he only knew he was alive because Ignis, Cor, the guards and the glaive that lived in the same apartment block as Noct, said so.
Regis looked up at his Shield and sniffed. “No. Noct hates me. And there is nothing I can do about it.”
Clarus stood beside his King and rested a comforting hand on his shoulder. He knew exactly how he was feeling. “Gladio and Iris hate me too.”
“We really fucked up Clare.” Regis admitted burying his hands into his face and sobbed.
Clarus knelt down at that point and took the King’s face into his hands. “Regis. Look at me.”
The King took his hands away from his face and sniffed again. He turned to face Clarus and gave him a weak smile, as he looked into his lover’s eyes.
The Shield returned the smile and rested his forehead against Regis’s. “We can still sort this. I promise. Everything is going to work out.”
“How? I just don’t… tell me how.” Regis wept harder. He didn’t move his head away. He just allowed Clarus to hold him.
Clarus pulled Regis closer to him and gave him a soft kiss to comfort him. They both hated this. This had all happened because they refused to listen to Cor, Cid and Wesk. They just should have. They really should have. Regis gladly kissed him back, but their kiss didn’t last long.
Regis soon pulled away and let out a heavy sigh. He still had his forehead rested against his lovers and he whimpered. “Clare… I don’t know if we can still do this.”
Clarus immediately recoiled his head away and stared at the King, he still hadn’t let go of the King’s face. He was hurt by that. They had been together for nearly 30 years and he suddenly wanted to stop. “What? Regis… don’t do this to me.”
Regis placed a hand on one of Clarus’s, and sniffed again. “What other choice have we got? Our children hate us. And it isn’t fair on them. I just want to sort this out.”
“Us splitting up will not solve the situation.”
“No but it may lessen the damage that we have already inflicted on our children.”
“No Regis you’re not thinking straight. Don’t do this.” Clarus kissed him again and he felt himself begin to tense up. He didn’t want to let him go. He couldn’t let him go. “Please… we can’t fix the damage that has already been done. This won’t help anyone.”
The King took both of Clarus’s hands off of his face and held on to them tightly. “I love you. You know I do. But Noct, Gladio and Iris have to take priority. Even if that means for the time being… we stop.”
Clarus took his hands out of Regis’s, he stood up and turned away from him. Regis was right. Of course, he was right. A wave of emotion hit him, and he didn’t know how to feel. He wanted to scream at Regis, he wanted to cry, he wanted to…. He didn’t know what he wanted anymore.
“Clarus… I don’t want this to happen. But it has too.”
The Shield lightly nodded to himself before turning back around to face his King. He let go a very heavy sigh and refused to let himself cry as he accepted what had to happen. “We should have told them. We should have told both Aulea and Nivenia. All of this could have been avoided if we had.”
“Yes, it would have.”
Regis and Clarus gave each other a weird look. Because the King hadn’t spoken. That was a voice belong to someone that neither of them seen for 12 years. They turned to the door and saw a woman standing in the door way. They knew exactly who that was and all she did was smirk at the pair.
Nivenia Amicitia walked into the room and continued to talk.
“Hello Clarus, Regis. Long time no see.”
Chapter 4: How Could You?! (Flashback chapter)
This is a flashback chapter, that takes place 12 years before this story, and shows how Nivenia found about the affair and when she left.
Hope you enjoy :)
The Marshal looked up from his desk to see Nivenia crying her eyes out as she rushed over to him. She was shaking uncontrollably, and her long chestnut hair was covering her face. Nivenia was always so particular in her appearance and because she was Lady Amicitia, the wife to the Shield of the King, she would never allow herself to be seen in such a state. Her hair had come out of its braid, it looked like she had torn it out. From what he could see of her eyes, they were bright red, making her amber iris’s look almost black in colour. Cor had never seen her this upset before. And for that reason, he immediately stopped what he was doing and went to meet her in the centre of his office.
“Nivenia? What’s happened?” Cor asked controlling his voice. When she reached him, she clung onto his arms and took in a series of heavy deep breaths, she bowed her head and continued to cry. Cor was beyond concerned now. What on Eos had happened? “Nivenia listen to me, you need to calm down.”
She raised her head and stumbled over her words in a teary and heartbroken voice. “I-I-I- just saw Clarus-! He-he…”
“Right calm down. Sit.” Cor said guiding her towards one of the chairs in his office.
He realised that he wasn’t going to get a clear answer until she had calmed down. Once he was satisfied that she would remain seated, he got her a glass of water and pulled up a chair to sit next to her. He saw her shake when she sipped at the drink but he didn’t say or do anything until she had begun to breathe normally. Once she had done that he got her attention and spoke to her in a clear voice. “Now, tell me. What has he done?”
She breathed in slowly and turned to face Cor. It was hard to get the words out. “I saw him with Regis…. I just walked into his office to see how he was…. and I walked into my husband… and Regis… they were… doing it over his desk!”
Nivenia immediately hid her face in her hands and began to cry again. She couldn’t get the image out of her head. She had come to surprise Clarus, she had even brought him lunch. All she wanted to do was spend an hour with her husband while her sister was looking after the children and she walked into that! She was in shock. Her and Clarus had just had a baby and instead of being with her, like he was meant to be, he was pleasuring his King… Nivenia didn’t even think that the pair had noticed her. She left that room as fast as she could and went to be sick in the nearest available restroom. She was angry, upset, frustrated, betrayed, heartbroken. All of these emotions were coming out at once and she felt that, she no longer had control over her body. She would never allow anyone to see her like this but she had to tell someone and the only person she knew she could turn to was the Marshal. They were friends, but they tended to have more spats then civil conversations. Nivenia continued to cry and began to blame herself for all of this:
“Why would he do something like this?! Is it me?! Did I do something wrong?! You’re their best friend Cor, please tell me, what have I done?!”
“You haven’t done anything.”
She brought her face up to look him dead in the eye and began to raise her voice. “I must have! It must be me! I lost three of his children he must truly hate me for that!”
“No, Nivenia. Don’t say that. He doesn’t blame you at all for that. No one does.” Cor reassured her placing a hand on her shoulder.
“What else could it be Cor! I have always loved and respected him! I even became friends with you just to make him happy! I know I can be a stuck up bitch, but I have never caused him any upset on purpose. This is all my fault! I am that incapable of having his chil-”
“How can it be your fault? You’re not the one who has cheated.” Cor cut her off before she could get herself into even more of a mess.
That’s when Nivenia stopped crying. She shook her head and pulled away from him. She sniffed and questioned him in a plain tone. “Why aren’t you taking his side?”
“Why would I? He’s hurt you, not the other way around.”
“You don’t seem shocked by this.”
Cor was calm. Far too calm. She had known him for 15 years now, he was only 15 when they met, and during that time she had seen him change from a reckless hot headed teenager to the stone face Marshal. But no matter how much he had changed, or how much their own friendship had strengthened, Cor never faulted from Clarus’s side. When anything happened involving Clarus and Nivenia, or Clarus and Regis, or Clarus and anybody, Cor would always take the Shield’s side. But he wasn’t. Why wasn’t h-
She raised her hand to her mouth and gasped. “Oh, my Gods! You knew! You already know! Don’t you? Don’t you!!!”
Cor simply nodded and gave her a sympathetic look.
Nivenia rose from her chair and latched her hands in her hair. She took a few steps away from Cor and shouted at him. “Oh, my Gods! How long has this been going on for?!”
“Nivenia sit down-”
“I don’t want to sit down!!” Nivenia screamed letting go of her hair and forcing her arms to her side. No, no, no, no… this wasn’t happening. How could this be happening? She continued to scream at Cor who had now stood up. “TELL ME! How long has my husband been shagging the King for, Leonis?!”
“Before you and Clarus met. They have been together since I was 13. I don’t know, maybe longer.”
“What?! He has been using me this entire time!! What am I to him!? His cover up, so he can get away with fucking the King!”
“No. They stopped when you two first got together.” Cor tried to explain defending ther-
No. He was no longer going to defend them. He already told them if they broke their promise, he would break his. Nivenia had to know. He was going to tell her the full truth. He knew what he said next would break her heart even more, but he wasn’t going to lie anymore. He moved closer to her and tried his best to explain what had happened. “But they started again after you had your first miscarriage.”
“So, this is my fault...” Nivenia said shaking her head. She wanted all of this to be a dream. She couldn’t believe that this was happening to her.
“No, it’s not your fault. It’s Clarus’s and Regis’s. Nivenia, they promised me they’d stopped. They swore to me that it was over. I thought you having Iris would finally make them see reason.”
Reason! Was he being serious?! She snapped and shoved him away from her. “Why didn’t you tell me!”
“I was going to. But they promised me they wouldn’t do this anymore, so I promised them I wouldn’t say a word.”
Nivenia started to pace up and down. She didn’t know if she should laugh, cry, scream or go and find Clarus and beat him to death. It all seemed like some cruel sick joke and she was right at the centre of it. “They have been playing me for a fool for years! What about Aulea? Did she know about this?”
“I don’t know… I don’t want to know either.” Cor admitted letting out a breath of sorrow. He felt so sorry for the pair of them. Even if Aulea wasn’t here any longer, it did make him wonder if she knew.
“Get Clarus down here! Do it now!” Nivenia ordered having enough of this shit.
Clarus was very frustrated that Cor had just called him down to his office without an explanation. He stormed into the Marshal’s office, without knocking, and glared at Cor when he entered. He didn’t even notice that his wife was in the room.
“Cor what do you want? I am busy.”
“Yes, busy having sex with the King!” Nivenia shouted before the door could close behind him. Clarus went wide-eyed and turned to face her. She wore a face of fury and only words of aggression came out of her mouth. “Hello, MY darling husband.”
“What?! I wasn’t supposed to know that, was I?! Next time keep your office door locked you fucking bastard!” Nivenia screamed not taking her eyes off Clarus. She was no longer crying with tears of hurt, it was all rage.
Clarus didn’t respond. He just stood still and stared at her in disbelief. He had completely forgot that Cor was in the room and was at a loss for words. He knew he couldn’t defend himself if she had seen it. And because he said nothing it only made Nivenia angrier.
“Have you really got nothing to say, you cheating sleazebag?!”
Nivenia laughed. “Sorry! Did you hear that Cor! He’s sorry! If you were really sorry you wouldn’t have done this in the first place! Or at least had the brain cells to not get yourself caught in the act!”
“I don’t want to get involved in this.” Cor muttered keeping out of the Shield’s and Lady’s view.
Nivenia finally broke eye contact with her husband and glared at Cor. She then proceeded to take her anger out on him. “You are involved! You kept this from me as much as he did!”
Clarus finally got himself out of his trance and walked over to his enraged wife. Guilt started to grow in his chest and he felt unbelievably sorry for her. No one should have to witness that level of betrayal he had forced on her. He placed a hand on her arm and tried his best to comfort her. “Sweetheart-”
Clarus didn’t even have a chance to start a sentence, as Nivenia backhanded him across the face. It stung like hell, but he didn’t blame her for that reaction. He deserved that. He more than deserved that. He took the hint and stepped away from her.
“No! You do not get to call me that! Why Clarus, why would you do that to me!? Why would you do this to Gladiolus and Iris! I would never do that to you! Never!”
“I know.” Clarus said in a low voice, not looking her in the eye.
Before Nivenia could go back to ripping into her husband, Cor walked in between the pair and hurried over to the exit. He was not being apart of this. This was Clarus’s and Regis’s mess and they were going to be the ones to deal with it, not him.
He opened the door and spoke before either of them could ask him where he was going. “Clarus. She’s your wife and you’ve got to fix this. I am going to talk to Regis. You lot are sorting this shit out.”
The following day: Regis, Clarus and Nivenia left their children in Cor’s care as the three of them tried their best to calmly talk this out. That didn’t work. Instead, the entire day was spent with Nivenia screaming at both men, Clarus occasionally losing his temper and shouting back at her, and Regis remained slumped in the corner repeating the word sorry over and over again. They weren’t getting anywhere, nothing was getting resolved and Cor ended up looking after the children overnight because of it.
In the morning, Clarus and Nivenia took Gladiolus and Iris home. The pair avoided each other for most of the day and waited until the servants had either; gone home, or gone to bed before they touched upon the issue. Also, they ensured that Gladio and Iris were fast asleep before they even considered talking about Clarus’s affair. No matter how bad the situation got, they would never argue in front of their children and they weren’t about to start now.
Nivenia was already in their bedroom, whereas Clarus was just making his way up the stairs. There was so much dread in his stomach and he didn’t know if he would be able to confront his wife. She deserved better. She deserved a better explanation then he was willing to give. He really wished he had just listened to Cor now.
He slowly opened the bedroom door and saw Nivenia sitting on the bed peering in his direction. The Shield gulped and shut the door behind him before talking. “Niv… we need to talk.”
“I have had enough of talking.” Nivenia said, gritting her teeth at him.
“I am really sorry for what has happened.”
“I think we have already said what we needed to yesterday. And I thanked Cor for looking after the children. As I assume you didn’t.”
“Of course, I did.” Clarus snapped.
He shouldn’t be the one snapping. He should be kneeling on the floor begging for her forgiveness. She hadn’t done anything to him. Nivenia had always respected him and supported him through everything. It made him feel sick that he could hurt her like this. But his pride prevented him from doing so. Instead, he sat down beside her and looked down at the floor. “Nivenia. I never wanted to hurt you.”
The woman laughed to herself. “Do you think saying that will rewrite 15 years of betrayal? It won’t Clarus. Nothing you do, or say, could possibly make this any better.”
“Won’t you at least let me try?”
Nivenia stood up and continued to laugh into the room. She couldn’t believe he had the audacity to ask such a thing. Did he really think that she was that stupid? Maybe? He had conned her into a marriage just so he could continue his affair with the King. He wasn’t worth it and she wasn’t going to allow him the satisfaction of making her the fool anymore.
And just to humour him she nodded. “Definitely. Why not? We can pretend that nothing has happened and be this perfect little image of a loving husband and wife. Only for you to crawl back into your liege’s bed when you think I have finally forgiven you. You couldn’t keep that promise to your best friend, so I highly doubt you will keep it with me.”
“I can and I will.” Clarus pleaded as he walked over to her and gently held onto her arms. “Please, Niv. Let me, I know I can.”
“Clarus, get off of me!” She immediately pushed him away and took more steps away from him. She didn’t want him touching her. She didn’t want the Shield anywhere near her.
“I love you. I wouldn’t have married you if I didn’t.”
“No. No, you don’t love me.” Nivenia shook her head.
“Yes, I do.”
“If you loved me, you wouldn’t be fucking your King behind my back!” Anger started to resurface again. She was fed up with the lying. She was fed up with everything always taking priority over her and the children. Couldn’t he see the level of damage he had caused? Couldn’t he tell how much he had hurt her. Nivenia no longer cared if she woke anyone up. Clarus needed to listen to her. So she screamed at him: “You can’t have us both Clarus! You can’t have me and the children, as well as Regis!”
“What are you saying?”
“I am saying you either quit your job or you lose me.”
What? He couldn’t do that. He rubbed both of his hands along his face and exhaled very loudly. There was no way he could do what she was asking. “I can’t.”
“Yes, you can.”
“I swore an oath. An oath that has never been broken. There has not been a single Shield in 2000 years that has ever broken that oath!”
“It’s never too late for a tradition to break.”
He was getting cross now. Clarus understood that she was upset but that was a step too far. He couldn’t betray his country like that. He couldn’t abandon his King like that! He was born and raised to be the Shield for the 113th King of Lucis. There was no way he could quit now. What about their son! Clarus thought she was being selfish. Because he was starting to lose his temper he lost the ability to speak to Nivenia in a civilised manner.
“What about Gladiolus! It is his birthright to take over the estate, to take up the mantel and become Noctis’s Shield. You can’t take that away from him!”
“Not this again! I am fed up with it! For a normal family, a job would never come first! But no all you Shield’s are the fucking same! A man who has the power gifted to him by the Gods doesn’t need your protection Clarus!”
“You don’t understand-”
“No and I don’t think any other normal person would.”
“I told you all of this before we got married and you said you were willing to accept it!”
“Well I didn’t know you had been in a two-year relationship with him did I!” Nivenia started to cry again. She didn’t want to remember what she saw. Every time Regis came into conversation, that was all she could see. All she could feel was betrayal and heartache. Now instead of coming over to her and trying to comfort her, Clarus just stood there and watched her cry. That was when she knew Clarus was no longer hers. But she wanted to hear it from the Shield’s lips. “What is it Clarus? You needed someone to cover up your dirty affair because it would have affected Regis’s image if it came out that you two were together? You make me sick.”
“It wasn’t like that.” Clarus said sitting down on the bed. He was also beginning to tear up. How could he have been so stupid?
Nivenia felt no pity for him. Tears were still running from her eyes as she stood right in front of him. She needed to know. She needed him to say it. “No? Well, I am sorry for feeling used! Because that was what you have done! You have made me feel used and I felt sorry for you when I lost our children! I don’t any more! Because you love him don’t you. You love him more then you have ever loved me!”
Clarus chose to remain silent. That was a mistake on his part.
With one last surge of resentment and rage, Nivenia pushed Clarus so he would fall back onto the bed. She then jumped on him and started thumping him in the chest as hard as she could. All the while she continued to scream and cry directly in his face.
“ADMIT IT! GODS DAMN IT CLARUS! JUST ADMIT IT!! ADMIT IT!!”
“FINE!” Clarus grabbed Nivenia’s arms and flipped her over to prevent her from hitting him. She was still crying and continued to struggle under his hold. After a couple of seconds, she finally calmed down and stared up into his eyes. When her amber eyes met his blue ones, he finally said what she already knew. “Yes, I love Regis! I love Regis more than I have ever loved you! Is that what you wanted to hear? Because you're right! I love him and that is never going to change! Are you happy now?!”
Nivenia shook her head, spat in his face and kneed him in the balls. She then pushed him off her and he rolled on the floor in pain.
She was done. Completely done.
“You can sleep in the spare room tonight. I don’t want you anywhere near me.”
It took Nivenia a whole week before she decided to leave.
She didn’t know what made her pick that day. It could have been because Clarus came home and ignored her. It could have been because they had pork for dinner. Or it could have been because she simply couldn’t sleep that night, and she had nothing better to do. No matter the reason she decided there and then she was leaving.
Clarus had been sleeping in the spare room, and he slept like a log, there was no way he was going to catch her packing a few bags and leaving before dawn. Even if he did, would he really prevent her from leaving? After how they had been treating each other, Nivenia wasn’t so sure. She took both her wedding and engagement ring off and placed it on the side, by a photo of their wedding day. She even left her phone behind so Clarus couldn’t track her down. She no longer wanted to be Lady Amicitia. She just wanted to be free from her husband’s betrayal, and her getting a divorce and moving out wouldn’t be enough. She felt like she had to leave the country to escape the crown and everything that had happened.
Before leaving she made her way to Iris’s room. She walked over to her daughter’s cot and gave her a kiss on the forehead. She didn’t want to leave her daughter behind. But she knew she wasn’t in the right state of mind to look after a baby. However, Iris was lucky. She was only a few months old and she wouldn’t remember a single thing that had happened.
What was definitely the hardest thing of all was walking into Gladio’s room and saying goodbye to him. Nivenia was certain her son would be heartbroken over this. He was 8 years old and this would certainly impact him as he grew up. No matter how much she wanted to take him with her, she couldn’t. Regis and Clarus would put the entirety of Lucis on red alert if the Prince’s future Shield went missing. Nivenia didn’t want that life for her son, but it wasn’t her choice to make. It was never her choice to make. Nivenia loved both her children and she knew she would deeply regret leaving but her mind was made up and she was going.
She wept as she walked out of the manor and hurried towards a cab that she had called an hour ago. She continued to weep as she got into the vehicle and told the driver to move on. This was the hardest thing she had ever done and it was too late to change her mind.
The driver cleared his throat as they began to move and didn’t express any concern. “Where to, My Lady?”
“I am not a Lady anymore.” Nivenia corrected him as she stared out the window. She sighed to herself and answered his question. “Galdin Quay, please.”
“That’s a long drive. Do you have a particular ferry you need to get on?”
“No. I’ll decide where I want to go when I get there.”
Nifleheim, Accordo or Tenebrae.
She really didn't care as long as she was out of Lucis.
Chapter 5: Reunion
The chapter is a little longer than I originally intended but I hope you enjoy all the same.
And thank you to everyone who has been reading, commented and left kudos so far. I have really enjoyed writing this.
Let's carry on with the story.....
“Hello Clarus. Regis. Long time, no see.”
The King and Shield were gobsmacked. They both had to blink a few times to make sure that they weren’t seeing and hearing things. They weren’t it was her. Her hair was a little shorter and, despite a few grey hairs at the roots, it was near enough the same chestnut colour. She’d aged well. A few wrinkles here and there but no more than Clarus had. She was dressed as if she was still Lady Amicitia and wore a little smirk on her face. What definitely gave away it was her was her eyes. The same amber eyes that she had passed down to her son and daughter.
They just couldn’t believe it was really her. 12 years and not once had either of them spoken to her. There was a lot of unresolved conflict between them and neither the Shield nor King knew how to react to her sudden reappearance. They just continued to stare at her in utter disbelief.
“What? Have you both suddenly lost the capability to speak?” Nivenia laughed still speaking as she stopped a few meters away from Regis’s desk.
Clarus was the first to respond. He did not sound at all impressed by her presents. “Nivenia… What? How did you get in here?”
“Lovely to see you too. And through the door. It appears age has made you stupid.”
“You know that’s not what I meant.” Clarus snapped.
He hadn’t seen her or heard from her in 12 years and she was trying to make light of the situation. His temper started to simmer. He didn’t want her here, mainly because he felt that she didn’t deserve to be here.
Nivenia raised her hands in an attempt to show her innocence. She understood why he was angry. He had every right to be. She continued to smile as she spoke in a calming voice. “I know. Sorry, I haven’t been able to tease you in 12 years. Forgive me for wanting to get back into that old habit. Your Majesty, I hope you’re well. I heard what happened in Tenebrae. I was so relieved to hear that you and Noctis made it out safely.”
“Thank you.” Regis shifted in his chair, feeling incredibly awkward. He was at a loss for words. He didn’t know what to say to her. Should he apologise for making her leave? Should he beg for her forgiveness? He just didn’t know. Instead he smiled and made equally awkward conversation. “I am fine. How have you been?”
“Enough small talk! Why are you back in Insomnia!?” Clarus raised his voice at his ex-wife.
Nivenia nodded and let out a sigh. He definitely hadn’t changed one bit. “You’re not going to like the answer I am afraid. Cor invited me here. Don’t be mad at him. He only invited me here to help the pair of you. At first, I told him to bugger off. After some convincing though, I decided it is finally time that the three of us bury the hatchet and do what is best for our children. Also, it helps that I still have my pass key.”
“Best for our children? You haven’t been here for 12 years! You don’t know them, you certainly don’t know what is best for them. And the Prince hasn’t got anything to do with you. Your presence is not going to help Regis at all.”
“You think I don’t regret leaving them? Of course, I do. That is why I am here. To explain to our children and Noctis that they shouldn’t be mad at either of you. Honestly, I am here to help. I’ve got no hidden agenda. I’ll even give you my phone if you don’t believe me.” Nivenia continued to use a calm tone as she got her phone out of her bag and attempted to hand it to the Shield, in case he wanted to track what she had recently been doing. From being the wife to the third most powerful person in Lucis she was used to her privacy being invaded by the media. She really had nothing to hide.
He didn’t take it. He just continued to glare at her. He knew he was about to explode. He may have hurt her, but she left him to explain to their 8-year-old son that his mum had left and that she wasn’t coming back. He had never seen Gladio so upset in his entire life and it took him hours to calm the boy down. He could never forgive her for putting Gladio through that mess. And he wasn’t about to start now.
Clarus’s voice just got louder and more aggressive as he spoke. “I don’t believe you! What type of mother ups and leaves their children in the middle of the night!”
“I did!” Nivenia finally raised her voice. It took Clarus by surprise that she admitted it. She carried on talking. “And I am sorry. I want to fix my mistake as much as the pair of you want to fix this.”
“Clarus. Calm down.” Regis ordered. He shuffled in his chair again and cleared his throat. “Nivenia. I do hope you are telling the truth. And as for Cor… he should have spoken to us before contacting you.”
“He said you’d say that.”
“Then why didn’t you contact Clarus?”
“Don’t lie.” Clarus snapped.
Neither of them were inclined to trust her. They felt guilty for what had happened but they both knew how hard Clarus had tried to contact her. How hard he tried to get her to come home so she could see her children, so she could be a part of their lives. But she did nothing in return.
And for that reason alone Clarus wanted her gone. Whereas Regis was in two mind sets. He wanted her gone so she couldn’t hurt Clarus or his children. Equally, he was inclined to, out of guilt, to give her a chance. That was why he was willing to let her stay and explain herself.
Nivenia shook her head. “I am not going to. The truth is, I honestly didn’t think you would accept my help. At least with me here, I can say I tried. Do you two want your children to respect you again? Or do you want me to walk out the door and for you to deal with it on your own? Because those are your two options.”
Gladio, Noctis and Iris…
That was who the King and Shield had to think about here. All of this was Regis’s and Clarus’s fault and they didn’t know how their children would react if they found out that they had refused to let Nivenia see her children and her proclaimed nephew again. Or how they would react if they allowed her to walk back into their lives.
If they allowed her to help, Iris would be over the moon and would be inclined to fully forgive her dad. Gladio was already starting to come around to respecting his dad and the King again and no matter what they chose it was probably going to hinder his progress. With Noctis… Nivenia wasn’t Aulea. He probably wanted to hear how his own mother felt about their affair. Unfortunately, that was something neither of them could provide for the Prince.
They made up their minds and Clarus took Nivenia back to the manor so she could see her children again. However, he was still very cautious of her and her reasoning for being there. He had tried so hard to get her back with no results. But the moment Cor asked, she was there in a flash. It didn’t add up. The Shield was going to keep an eye on her for the remainder of her visitation. Because there was one thing he was absolutely certain on. He was not allowing anyone else to hurt his children. He would protect them, even from their own mother if he had to.
On the drive there, he had contacted Jared to make sure both his children were home. When he got the answer he was looking for, he put the phone down and remained silent with his ex-wife sitting next to him.
They didn’t talk for about five minutes. The atmosphere was tense. There was so many things the pair wanted to say to each other. A lot of it was going to be insulting words, and some words of apology of how they both behaved in the past. But Clarus was too proud to start that conversation off and continued to drive his car silently. It was up to Nivenia to take the first leap towards some form of understanding that the pair had lost 12 years ago.
“Clarus. I understand how you feel about me. I know this can’t be easy for you, but I want to thank you for letting me see them.”
He gave her a sideways glance and then locked his eyes back onto the road before muttering. “If I don’t let you, they will hate me even more.”
“All the same, you don’t have to do this. So, thank you very much.”
They remained silent until Clarus parked outside the manor. Before Nivenia even had a chance to comment on how strange it felt being back, Clarus got her attention by letting out a very heavy sigh.
“I love our children. No matter what you say or think, they will always be more important then my duty as Shield. Therefore, if you cause them any hurt you are never seeing them again. Understood.”
Clarus told Nivenia to wait in the hallway as he entered the main living room.
Just like Jared said, both Gladio and Iris were sitting on the sofa, patiently waiting for him to return. Usually, Clarus would make a big thing in greeting them. His job prevented him from spending a reasonable amount of time with them, and considering what had been going on, that time had been limited further. However, he knew he couldn’t beat around the bush. He had to get straight too it.
“Gladiolus. Iris. I need to have a word with you both.”
“What? Have you got another life long secret that we should know about, but you have decided to keep from us.” Gladio nearly laughed. He was starting to forgive his dad and he was planning on talking to him tonight about it. But he still felt bitter about the situation and those words just came flying out. He was going to apologise for that later as well.
“No.” Clarus shook his head and took a slight pause. “I want to know, if you two would like to see your mother?”
“Cor got her here! She is actually here!” Iris’s little face lit up as rose from her chair with glee.
Gladio just blinked. Why was he always the one kept in the fucking dark? He frowned at his sister. “What are you on about squirt?”
Iris continued to smile happily. “I broke into Cor’s office and… Hehehe… to cut a long story short he told me he spoke to her, but he wouldn’t say any more than that. Did he get her to come here! Did he really dad?”
Clarus felt something in his heart twinge. The smile on his daughter’s face had always been the purest thing to him… but seeing it now, it hurt him. Iris hadn’t even met the woman and just by mentioning her name, it had brought Iris more joy then he had the last couple of weeks. That was his fault. He then glanced over to his son and his face was as plain as paper. That worried Clarus even more. He didn’t know how Gladio was going to react to this. He just hoped that he could control his anger.
He didn’t have any other option then to go through with it now.
“Yes, he did.”
“Can we see her then?” Iris asked hopefully.
“Only if you both want too.”
“Sure.” Gladio said after a brief pause. Clarus concluded that he was only agreeing because of Iris.
The Shield walked back over to the door and finally allowed Nivenia to enter. Just like it was in Regis’s office, the room went silent. Both the younger Amicitia’s stared at the woman like they were staring at some mythical creature. Iris had been so set on finding her mother and now she was there standing in front of her. She was speechless. Gladio, he didn’t know what he was feeling. He felt nervous, angry, hurt, and slightly happy. He was just like Iris, he didn’t know what to say.
But the most nervous of them all was Nivenia. She had anticipated this moment since she left. Now it was finally happening. It was quite overwhelming and all she said was a simple: “Hello.”
Clarus stepped in there. He could tell that both of his children’s minds were in turmoil and he introduce them all to each other to break the ice. It was a very nervous and fragile situation that none of them knew how to deal with. Clarus just prayed he had made the right decision in allowing Nivenia into their lives. But by both Gladio’s and Iris’s reaction, he no longer thought that was the case.
That was until Iris spoke and move closer towards the former Lady of the house. “Are you really my mum?”
“Yes. Yes, I definitely am. And I am so sorry, for not being here. And I can never make up for that. “Sorry, I don’t mean to get emotional. I’m really sorry.” Nivenia sniffed getting teary. This was all she had dreamt for in the last 12 years and it was finally coming true.
Iris’s smile just got wider. “Yep, you are defo my mum. Dad always said that Gladio and I have your eyes. I can see that now.”
Nivenia smiled with pure joy. She hadn’t seen her little girl since she was a couple of months old. Now she was standing before her, with her own personality, her own mind and she concluded that she wasn’t a person she would like to mess with. Nivenia took a quick glance at Clarus who had semi relaxed. Well that just confirmed it. She was completely over the moon.
Then she looked at her son. Leaving him was the hardest thing in the world, and the next hardest thing was standing a few feet away from him and not being able to embrace him. When their eyes met, Nivenia’s heart melted. She couldn’t believe how tall he had gotten. How hansom he had become. That was her little boy and she had missed him growing up. She had missed both of them growing up.
Gladio’s voice was flat when he spoke. “Mum…”
“Gladio… oh my word look at you! You’ve gotten so tall. I can’t believe it, you look amazing. I knew you would definitely take after your father in terms of height. I can’t believe it’s really you. Can I hug you?” Nivenia asked with hope in her voice. That was all she wanted. She didn’t deserve it and Gladio told her exactly that.
“No. No you can’t.”
He shook his head in disgrace and walked directly past both of his parents and out of the door.
“Gladdy!” Iris called out after her brother, knowing that when he walked away from something it meant he was angry. She didn’t want him to be angry this was supposed to be a happy moment. Why couldn’t he be happy.
“I’ve got it Iris.” Clarus reassured her following his son. He regretted the next words that he said, and they were directed at his ex-wife. “Nivenia, stay with her.”
“I will don’t worry.”
The two women were left in the room and Nivenia did her best to comfort her daughter, without smothering her like she had just done to her son. But Iris was more willing to accept it and the pair started a conversation and it didn’t look like they were going to get out of it any time soon. They were both calm and were very eager to get to know one another.
Whereas Clarus’s and Gladio’s conversation was a little more intense.
Gladio furiously ordered his father to explain everything to him. He even explained to his dad that he was willing to forgive him for what had happened, but he couldn’t understand why bringing his mother back into the picture seemed like a good idea. To Gladio it wasn’t. He didn’t want to see Iris hurt at all. Considering the woman upped and left once, there was nothing to say she wouldn’t do it again. Clarus told him everything and completely agreed with his son. He was not going to trust that woman with his daughter’s heart and the pair agreed that they would keep Nivenia at arm’s length.
No matter what else would come of today, there was one thing that was certain. Nivenia had done what she had promised and Clarus’s and Gladio’s relationship had started to mend.
For the time being anyway.
“Why did you go in my office?” Cor asked Prompto who was sitting on the sofa, going through the pictures on his camera.
“I left my homework in there. How did you know it was me?”
“You never lock my door after you go rummaging through my things.”
“Sorry.” Prompto laughed nervously. Then he gave his dad an odd look. “Ummm… shouldn’t you be in work.”
“Got suspended again.” Cor shrugged his shoulders, sitting down next to his son.
“Dad! Really? What did you do this time?”
“Tried to help Regis and Clarus. They got a little pissy at me.”
“When are you allowed back?”
“Whenever they have calmed down. Or when Clarus can’t be bothered to do his own paperwork.” Cor let out a sigh. This always happened. It was nothing new. But Regis hadn’t seen it that way. He was furious at what Cor had done and ordered him to explain himself. And if the Marshal could have refined himself from making witty comments, he wouldn’t have got suspended this time. Oh well.
Then he remembered he had to set up the spare room. He stood up and told Prompto what was going on. “Before I forget, someone is going to be staying with us for a week or so.”
“Okay. Anyone in particular?”
“Yeah. Auntie Nivenia.”
“I heard your mums back.” Noctis asked from afar as he watched Gladio punch the crap out of a training dummy.
Nivenia had been back for a couple of days now, and Gladio hadn’t liked it. He felt awkward whenever he saw her. Because of Iris, he didn’t want to start an argument. But he had so many questions: What made you really leave? Why did you leave me? Why are you back now? What do you want?
Gladio knew if he attempted to ask her, he would just get angry and lash out. Iris didn’t need to see that. She was so happy that she had her mum back in her life, and there was no way either Clarus or he could destroy that happiness. Nivenia and Iris were getting on like a house on fire. It was a good thing she had decided to come back at the beginning of the holidays. The pair had been on shopping trips together, gone out for lunches and dinner’s, Nivenia was even invited to have dinner at the manor with them on Friday. Gladio had no idea how Iris managed to convince their dad to agree to that. All he knew, he was being forced to go by his little sister, and the training dummy was taking the brunt of it.
“Don’t remind me.” Gladio huffed, punching the dummy with great force.
“I thought you wanted to find her.”
“Then why are you complaining?” Noctis snipped back.
He was jealous. He was jealous that Nivenia was back and he was beginning to get mildly annoyed at his Shield for not even trying to reconnect with his mum. Noctis tried his hardest to help Gladio find out what had happened to her, only for it to blow up in his face and make his relationship with his own dad crumble. He thought Gladio was being bratty and selfish. At least he had a mum.
“Because… I don’t want Iris to get hurt.” Gladio punched the dummy again, harder than before. He stopped from a moment and turned to face the Prince. “I don’t like it Noct. Something doesn’t feel right.”
“Stop being ungrateful. At least you’ve got a mum.”
“Ungrateful? She left, and she didn’t bother to get in contact with us. Only now when shit hits the fan she decides to turn up. I am being cautious.” Gladio shouted back. He was hurt by Noctis’s words.
“She’s alive and willing to see you, isn’t she? My mum isn’t. Stop complaining and loosen up a bit.”
“You don’t understand.” Gladio chose to drop the subject and went back to hitting things before he lost it with Noct.
“Neither do you.” Noctis shook his head and left the training room.
He was going to call Ignis to come pick him up and then call Prom to see if he wanted to spend the night at his and play video games.
Friday came around and both Clarus and Gladiolus were dreading it.
Clarus had spoken to Regis a couple of days prior and got the evening off. By that point Cor was allowed back into the Citadel and would look after the King for that night. But neither Clarus or Gladio wanted to be there. Because they knew Iris was going to get use to the idea of them being a ‘happy family’ and insist that they do this again. It was awkward enough having to see Nivenia every day, and that was only in passing. Now, he had to sit through a dinner with her. At least it was making Iris happy.
And Gladio, he was in the same boat as his dad. Neither of them trusted her and Gladio just felt utterly betrayed whenever he saw Nivenia because she was the one that left him. Yes, she had said sorry but Gladio felt he deserved another one. He felt he deserved a thousand heartfelt apology’s until he was ready to even think about accepting it. Because of that, he felt he couldn’t talk to her. So whenever she came to the manor, he would leave. Now, he was stuck sitting next to his dad and feeling pretty crap that he couldn’t express how he was feeling.
Iris didn’t seem to notice her brother’s and father’s discomfort as she was too busy explaining what a great day her and her mum had had.
“We had such a great afternoon! Gladdy you should have come with us. You would have really enjoyed it! The new outlet has an entire shop that only sells Cup Noodle. There were flavours that even I didn’t know existed until now!”
“Maybe next time squirt.” Gladio gave her a quick smile and continued to poke the food that was on his plate.
Iris was so excited that she missed her brother’s reaction and spun around to talk to her father. “Oh dad? Can I go ice skating with mum tomorrow please?”
“Iris, I was meant to ask him.” Nivenia sighed and rolled her eyes before going back to eating.
“I know, sorry. But I am so excited! Please daddy, can I go?”
Clarus laid his cutlery down and glanced down at his food. He was happy that Iris was so happy, but he was beginning to grow jealous. He knew Iris loved him, but at the moment, it was ‘mum this, mum that’ and he was feeling a little put out. Because of that he wanted to be bitter and tell her no. However, he was an adult and Nivenia had kept to her word. Both his children were showing him respect again. He wished he could say the same thing for Regis. Noctis still wanted nothing to do with his father.
Clarus didn’t want that to happen to him and either of his children again. So he forced down the jealousy and nodded in agreement. “I don’t see why not.”
“Thank you daddy! Love you loads!”
Clarus looked up from his food and saw Nivenia smiling at him. It forced him to say something to her. “I am glad that you two are getting along.”
“Thank you Clarus.” Nivenia nodded back.
“Gladdy, do you want to come with us?” Iris gave her brother a toothy grin, hoping that he would say yes.
“Training Noctis tomorrow.” Gladio grumbled, putting his cutlery down and pushing his food away. He suddenly had lost his appetite.
“You’re not doing that all day.” Iris whined.
“Gladio, I am certain I can get you off morning duty, if you would like to go.” Clarus suggested, trying his hardest to encourage his 20 year old son to at least try. He didn’t know why he was bothering though. He was wasting his breath, Gladio was an adult. He could do what the hell he wanted.
“Please brother. It will be awesome.”
“Iris. I said no.”
“Don’t get snappy with me.”
Clarus hit the table with his hand to silence the pair. He learnt over the years that the pair’s voices combined completely over powered his own. So, banging on the table was the only way to get their attention when they started to argue. Hearing the bang, the pair turned to him looking like they were about to be scolded.
And he scolded them. “You two knock it off. I am certain your mum doesn’t want to hear the pair of you arguing like cat and dog.”
“Clarus, it’s fine.” Nivenia reassured him in a light voice. “I am just sorry I missed them bickering at all.”
That’s when Gladio’s patience snapped.
“Yeah you should be.”
“Gladiolus don’t be rude.” Clarus warned.
“No. You can’t just come swanning into our lives as soon as it becomes convenient for you to do so. You have done nothing at all. I know for a fact dad tried to get in contact with you. So stop pretending you can fix everything cause you can’t.”
Nivenia looked down in defeat hearing her son say that. He was right. She had been an unless and horrible mother. Now it was finally time for her to accept her mistakes.
“Gladio…. I’ll admit it. I was selfish. I shouldn’t have done what I did and left the pair of you. I overreacted. I know you must be hurting, and I will never be able to heal that. But please… can you let me try? There hasn’t been a single day where I haven’t thought about either of you. I love you both and I am truly sorry.” Nivenia stopped and turned her attention to her ex-husband. “Clarus… I am sorry for not trying hard enough. That was my mistake not yours. Please, can you all forgive me?”
“I can.” Iris smiled at her mum.
“Thank you, sweetie.”
“Dad?” Iris said hoping that he would be willing to forgive.
Clarus wasn’t. He was so far away from forgiving her. But he knew he had to at least try. Because if Nivenia did cock up, which he strongly thought she would, he would look like the better person for trying.
“I think we all need to move on. I am sorry too.” Clarus nodded.
“Thank you Clarus.” Nivenia smiled back at him.
Gladio wasn’t going to pretend. He wasn’t going to lie and he certainly was not going to forgive her so easily. He stood up and stared down at the person who birthed him.
“I can forgive my dad. But I am not forgiving you.”
With that he left and no one stopped him.
“How was it?” Cor questioned, looking over at his guest who had just come back.
“Could have gone better. Gladio is still a little upset.” Nivenia admitted taking her shoes off and then went over to a chair to sit down.
“He’s like that.”
“On the bright side, Clarus, Regis and I are being civil.”
“Good. They’re talking to me again as well.” Cor laughed. He loved Clarus and Regis but they could be bloody stubborn and annoying sometimes. Cor was very similar to them in that respect. That was probably why the three of them got on so well.
“I am sorry I caused that.”
“And thank you for bringing me back and letting me stay here. The prices have risen since I have been away.”
“Not an issue.”
They stayed up talking for a while longer before Nivenia decided that she was going to bed. Before, she retired for the night she asked Cor if she could borrow his landline so that she could contact her housekeeper in Tenebrae.
After being directed to the landing she said goodnight and took the call in the spare room that she was sleeping in. However, she wasn’t calling her housekeeper. And to ensure that neither Cor or Prompto heard what she was saying, she spoke quietly and kept her mouth as close to the speaker as she could.
The phone at the other end rung a couple of times before someone on the other line picked up.
“Hello. Yes, it’s me Nivenia. I would like to book transport to Tenebrae. For how many? Two, please. One adult and one child. Don’t be so surprised James, my daughter is coming back with me.”
Chapter 6: Calm Before The Storm...
“Brilliant. Let me just repeat it back to you. Passage booked for two to Tenebrae, leaving next Saturday… Thank you so much for your help James…. Don’t worry Iris is lovely I am sure you two will get on just fine…. I know I can’t wait to see you either…. I love you too. Bye now, bye.”
Nivenia smirked to herself as she put down the phone and returned to putting her belongings into a bag. This was all too easy. She was well aware that Clarus and Regis were wary of her, but they had no reason to suspect that anything was going on. And because Iris was so quick to trust her it meant that Clarus had to be civil with her and he gave into all of their daughter’s requests. Love was blinding. Nivenia could say what she liked about Clarus, but she could not fault him on how much he loved Gladiolus and Iris, and that love just helped Nivenia more. When karma came knocking at the Shield’s door, Nivenia was going to enjoy every last second of it. The only downside to this was that she wouldn’t get to witness the look of utter despair on his face when he realised he was never going to see his daughter again.
She let out a little laugh as she zipped up her bag, she was happy knowing that Clarus was finally going to realise what it felt like having his heart ripped out of his chest, and thrown out like it was yesterday’s rubbish. The only obstacle she had left was getting both her and Iris out of Insomnia without anyone finding out. Because the moment she got over the wall, the Shield would not be able to follow her. Nivenia knew Clarus would never leave Regis. It was too risky; the country was in the middle of a war and if Clarus decided to follow them his precious King would be left opened for an attack.
Everything was falling into place and now all she needed to do was get Iris and leave.
After packing everything up, Nivenia went downstairs to find Cor reading a book. She smiled brightly at him and got his attention.
“Cor? Can I have a word?”
He put his book down and gestured for her to take a seat. She gladly accepted the offer and continued to smile. “I just want to say thank you for having me. I know we didn’t really get on in the past but I am glad we could put that behind us.”
“Me too. It’s been nice having you back and you have sorted out that whole mess with Clarus, which I cannot tell you how grateful I am. Cause it would have been me having dealing with it.” Cor sighed with relief. He hated cleaning up the mess that both Clarus and Regis left behind.
“All the same. I think for the remainder of my visit I am going to stay in a hotel. You could probably do without someone loitering around your house.”
“You don’t have to.” Cor said rolling his eyes. He knew he was wasting his breath. Nivenia always did what she wanted.
“I know I don’t, but I want to see more of Insomnia before I leave. I have missed this place.”
“Why don’t you move back here then? You would be closer to Gladio and Iris. You and Clarus are being civil so there shouldn’t be any issues. I can’t imagine it is nice living under a Niff regime.”
Nivenia shook her head. Cor was right, it wasn’t, especially in the urban areas of the country. But she didn’t want to be in Insomnia or Lucis. And she knew it would hurt Clarus a lot more if Iris was in some foreign country that he had no right to be in. Then something dawned on her. Cor was just another obstacle in the way of getting what she wanted. So instead she decided to humour him.
She nodded. “You know what, that’s not a bad idea. I will think about it.”
Saying that would definitely throw him off of her trail.
“Thank you Clarus. Thank you so much for allowing me back into their lives. Even if Gladio is rather hesitant to trust me.” Nivenia said, sitting opposite Clarus.
They hadn’t had a chance to sit down and talk things through before now. At the beginning of Nivenia’s visit, they didn’t want to be in the same room as each other. But as time progressed they agreed to get on for Iris and when they finally decided to try and resolve their differences, their daughter would suddenly appeared out of nowhere. However, Gladio had taken her out for the afternoon, as he was feeling put out that she was spending too much time with Nivenia. Clarus didn’t mind as it allowed him to invite Nivenia round and try to put everything behind them. Not once during their conversation did he snap. And not once did Nivenia make a snide remark about the past.
In one word it was civil and that was probably the best it was ever going to get between them.
“I am afraid he is like that.” Clarus said knowing exactly how she felt. His son definitely had some trust issues.
“He never used to be. I take it he has been like that since I left.”
“Yes. There isn’t anything I can do to change that.”
“Well, I am happy that you, Gladio and Iris could make a mends. If anything good has come out of my visit, I am glad you have fixed that.”
“It’s not the only good thing. Iris is happy to have you here. That’s another positive.” Clarus finally admitted. He was slowly coming around to the idea that Iris was going to have her mother in her life from now on. He still didn’t trust Nivenia, but he could not deny his daughter of any happiness. Even if it meant Nivenia was going to remain a part of they’re lives.
“What of Regis and Noctis? I know exactly what you are going to say: The crown isn’t something I can just talk about. You don’t have to tell me.” Nivenia fought the temptation to sigh. He always used to use that line on her. That was something she definitely had not missed.
To her surprise, for once he ignored protocol. “It’s a work in progress.”
“At least that’s better than nothing. And again, you don’t have to say anything. But are you happy? I mean are you happy with Regis? I know it is none of my business, but I don’t wish either of you any heartache.”
“For the time being… Nothing is going on.” Clarus said trying his hardest to cover up his sorrow. Regis and he hadn’t talked about their relationship since she had come back. Instead of allowing himself to linger on that subject he changed it. “I never asked, how has life been treating you?”
“Good. It would have been better if I had stayed in contact though. I have a lovely house; good friends and I probably should have mentioned this before now, I am engaged.”
“Congratulations.” Clarus said only expressing encouragement.
There was no love between the two of them. He was, or wanted to be, with Regis, therefore there was no reason why she shouldn’t move on either.
“Because of that I need to ask something of you. Would you sign the divorce papers? I’ve got them here and if we really want to move on, I think it is finally time we make it official.” Nivenia said whilst retrieving the documents from her bag.
“Certainly. Hand them over.” Clarus took the papers off of her and happily signed them. He quickly placed his signature where it was required and gave them back. “There you go.”
“Don’t know if I should thank you for getting a divorce or not.” Nivenia laughed.
“Same here. Just out of interest, do you know how much longer you will be staying in Insomnia for? I am not trying to hurry you along I just want to know.” Clarus said awkwardly. He wasn’t really trying to get rid of her as such, he just needed a break.
“Actually, I am really glad you asked that. I have already booked my ticket and I will be leaving soon. And yesterday I decided to get out from under Cor’s feet and I am now staying in a hotel on the outer sector of the city. And I was wondering if Iris would like to spend a few days with me. Of course, it is completely up to you and I won’t do anything without your permission. I just think it would be nice to spend a few days with her.”
“I can’t see any harm in that. She’ll be delighted.”
“Thank you Clarus. I really mean that.”
Noctis was sat in the center of his room, within the Citadel, with two boxes in front of him. The boxes contained various letters that he had been given over the years by his dad. And all the letters were written by his late mother.
Aulea had instructed Regis to give Noctis a letter on his birthday, and her own birthday, to make the Prince aware that she was thinking of him and missed him more then he realised. It was always strange reading letters from his dead mother, but it was something he had always looked forward too. Each letter contained a funny story of his parent’s time together and each letter would end with Aulea telling Noct how much she loved and missed him. He may not have his mum with him but at least he had some of her final words written down.
However, looking at the letters now it angered him. He knew that his mum would have written all of these when she was ill and all of them said how much she loved both him and his dad. But he hurt her… Noctis couldn’t understand how she could continue to write all of this knowing exactly what he had been doing behind her back. He just wished he knew how she felt about everything. Maybe then… he could finally understand how he was feeling.
Noctis looked towards the door when he heard a knock and allowed the person entry.
“Hey Noct.” Prompto smiled as he shut the door and sat down beside his friend on the floor.
“Hi.” Noctis mumbled going back to look at the letters.
Prompto felt sorry for him. He knew Noct was hurting and the blonde had tried everything to cheer the Prince up. Nothing had worked and Noctis and his dad still weren’t talking to each other.
He patted Noctis on the back and gave him a weak smile. “Dude, you look down in the dumps. I wish there was a way I could liven your spirits up a bit.”
“Well there’s not.” Noctis replied still not looking at Prom.
“Oh really? My dad told me to give you this. He said he has been trying to give it to you since Nivenia came back.” Prompto said as he got out a letter that was concealed in an old envelope and handed it over to Noctis.
“I haven’t got a clue man. Open it up.”
Noctis did as he was told. He carefully opened the envelope and opened up the neatly folded letter in side. He glanced down at the handwriting and he instantly knew who it was from. His eyes softened, and he felt his heart begin to warm. The Prince went silent as he began to read the start of the letter. However, he was denied to read any further then the first two sentences as Prompto started to talk to him again.
“Who’s it from?”
To my dearest Noctis,
Hello my darling boy. It seems like I am endlessly writing both you and your dad letters to say goodbye. I have written up to your 20th birthday now… I can’t even imagine what you will look like then. All I know is that you will be just as hansom as your dad was at that age. The doctor’s have told me I should relax for the rest of the day, but I need to write this last one.
This is a hard letter to write but it has to be done and I hope you are at least 16 when you read this. If Cor is true to his word, he should give this to you when the time is right. He doesn’t have a clue what I have written but he will know when it is time to give it to you.
Because this letter concerns your dad and Clarus.
I want you to know, I know what’s been going on. I think, deep down, I have always known that something was going on and I am okay with it. I promise. Your dad tries his hardest to love me but unfortunately, Noct, I am not the one for him and I never was. Your dad feels so guilty about it, he doesn’t want to tell me because he doesn’t want to see me hurting. And above all else he doesn’t want to hurt you. You are everything to him my darling. There is no doubt about that. He loves you and he would do anything for you.
Please don’t be mad at him. We can’t help who we fall in love with Noct. We are only human, not even the royal family are immune to the plague of love. If I am honest, I am happy for him. I am happy that Clarus makes him happy. I am happy knowing that when I am gone he will have someone to comfort him and help him look after you. Even if he has betrayed me I don’t care. I was worried that when I left there wouldn’t be anyone to look after my boys. But now, I am no longer worried. I know for certain Clarus will look after you both. I love you both so much. So, so much.
And just like your dad, you are everything to me. I wish I had more time on our star to watch you grow up. I wish I could be there with you now and give you the biggest hug in the world and tell you, with my own voice, that everything is okay and that I love you.
And Noct, you have to remember that your dad is the only parent you have left. He has raised you all on his own, despite being King, and I trust that he has done a brilliant job. If you think about it can you really hate him for falling in love? I don’t hate him. Because I know he would brake his back to ensure your safety and that’s the important thing. Both of you being there for each other, because at the end of the day you and your dad are the only things that truly matter to me. I don’t want you fighting. I want you to love and care for one another. Just like I love and care for the pair of you.
I love you my little Night Light. Don’t ever forget that.
Lots of love. Your Mummy.
Noctis’s faced dropped when he finished reading the letter.
His mum didn’t hate his dad… She still loved him and only wanted him to be happy…
The Prince immediately re-read the letter and as he did so, guilt started to build in his chest. He had said so many cruel and unforgiven things to his dad. He said it all because he thought he was defending his mother’s name. But he was wrong. So very wrong. Here he was giving his dad the cold shoulder when his mum didn’t want that. A small tear fell down his cheek.
“Dude, are you okay?” Prompto asked with worry.
“I have been such a dick.” Noctis admitted standing up, with the letter still firmly placed in his hand. “I need to see dad.”
Noctis dashed out of his rooms and straight into the hallway. He continued to run and warped passed many of the glaive and guard who tried to stop him to see what the matter was. He paid them no attention and just managed to get into the lift before it closed. He frantically pressed the button to the floor that contained the King’s private quarters and cursed at how slow the lift was.
He felt awful. How could he say all those things to his dad? Despite what he did, his mum still loved him and forgave him. He even told Gladio to grow up and talk to his mum, so why didn’t he take his own advice on board and do that with his dad? Because like the letter said, Regis was the only parent he had left and he shouldn’t be treating him like dirt. Noctis should have been grateful for everything he had done for him. Like putting him in a public school so he could make friends, ensuring he had every Friday evening off so they could spend time together, giving him his own apartment to give Noctis a taste of normal life before taking on the throne. How did Noctis repay him… by acting bitter towards him, when he didn’t even know the full story.
As soon as the lift pinged open he darted out of it and continued to make the mad sprint to his father’s quarters. He was, of course, stopped by the guards manning the door. After a brief interaction, the guards let him pass and when he entered into the first section of rooms he called out for his dad:
Upon hearing a chair move from the right, Noctis pushed his way into the room and saw his dad who was attempting to get out of his chair without the use of his cane. Their eyes locked and a wave of concern hit the pair of them. Noctis was concerned because Regis was putting weight on his bad leg and Regis was concerned because of how quickly Noctis had rushed into his room.
“Noctis, are you alright son?” Regis questioned trying to walk towards him. But was denied the chance to meet him in the middle of the room, as Noct had warped over to him and ensured he had sat back down before he hurt himself.
When Noctis was happy that Regis was back in his seat, the Prince began to frantically apologise. “Dad, I am sorry. I am so sorry for being a brat. Can you forgive me?”
“Noct… You have got nothing to be sorry for.” Regis said in a sadden tone.
The King knew that he was to blame for this mess. He understood why Noctis was angry and hurt, he had every right to be. But before he could explain that to his son Noctis interrupted him.
“No, I hurt you. I hurt you on purpose because I thought you hurt mum. But you didn’t. Here.”
Noctis handed the letter to Regis and waited patiently as the King scanned his eyes over it. When he saw Regis’s facial expression change, Noctis began to apologise again.
“It’s a letter from mum explaining how she felt about you and Clarus being together… and it made me realise what a prick I’ve been. You should be happy and if Clarus makes you happy then I am fine with it. I just want you to be happy. Please forgive me.”
“Of course, I do. The real question is, do you forgive me? For lying to you and keeping all of this a secret.”
Noctis nodded and wrapped his arms around his dad and gave him the biggest hug he had ever given him in his adolescent life. “Yeah. I love you dad.”
“I love you too.” Regis smiled with tears of joy forming in his eyes. He embraced his son and continued to smile finally having his son’s forgiveness.
“That’s wonderful news.”
“I am so grateful to her. I can’t believe how kind Aulea was. Even after she found out… It amazes me.” Regis smiled at his Shield from his chair. Things were finally sorting themselves out.
“At least you and Noctis are talking to each other.”
“To be honest I don’t think I would have lasted another day like that.” Regis admitted, fiddling with the Ring of the Lucii. Sometimes, like today, he thought the same about the bloody ring that he was forced to wear.
A brief silence fell between them. They both wanted to talk about their relationship, and they hadn’t found a spare moment since Nivenia came back. Clarus was too occupied making sure Gladio and Iris were adjusting to their mother’s sudden reappearance, and Regis was too worried about getting Noctis’s trust back. But all of that was out of the way now. This was probably the only time they could talk about it before they had to sit through another boring council meeting.
Clarus rubbed the back of his neck. “Regis… Gladio and Iris spoke to me about us.”
“They told me that they’re alright with it. As you said Noctis is. I was wondering if you wanted to get back together.”
Regis gave him an unimpressed look and crossed his arms over his chest, acting annoyed. “That has got to be the worst way to ask someone out in history. Cor has never had a stable relationship in his life and I still bet he could have done a better job than that.”
“Caelum, I think being King has finally gone to your head.”
“I won’t give you my answer until you ask me properly.”
Clarus laughed and knelt down in front of his King. He took his hands in his and smiled up at him. Regis always did love to wind him up. “Regis Lucis Caelum, would you do me the honour of becoming my partner again?”
“That’s better. Of course, I will my love.” Regis gave him a toothy grin before bringing one of Clarus’s hands to his lips, kissing it gently.
Nivenia laughed to herself as she looked at her ex-husbands signature.
On the desk in front of her was multiple pieces of paper with his signature inscribed all over it. She had been up for hours copying the inscription and matching it to the one he had written on the divorce papers.
During those 12 years she had picked up a thing or two. The ability to replicate someone’s signature had now become second nature to her. She continued to laugh to herself when she was satisfied that she could no longer tell the difference between their written hands. She smirked at her work and let out a sigh of victory.
“Thank you Lord Clarus Amicitia. Thank you so much.”
“Bye Dad see you in a few days.” Iris smiled as she wrapped her arms around her father’s middle.
She was so excited. Not only had she finally met her mum, but her dad was allowing her to spend a few days with her. Iris thought it was going to be great. She understood that Nivenia would soon have to go back to Tenebrae and she was going to treasure the few days they had left together.
Clarus smiled and hugged his daughter back. “Make sure you get to school tomorrow though.”
“Come on Clarus, I won’t deprive our girl of an education.” Nivenia chuckled as she stood by the cab, waiting patiently for this to be over and done with.
She didn’t want Clarus to get a proper good bye. He wasn’t going to get one either. For he had no idea what she was doing, and neither did Iris. No one but her, the cab driver and her fiancé knew what was about to take place.
Clarus let go of Iris and let out a sigh. “Just be good.”
“I am always good. Bye Gladdy, are you sure you don’t want to come?” Iris smiled hopefully at her brother. She just wanted him to be happy. She wanted all of them to be at least a civil family again.
“I might pop around and see you tomorrow.” Gladio said, playfully punching her in the arm.
Iris went to hit him back but stopped herself when she saw a look of disapproval coming from her dad. Instead she gave him a quick hug, before waving at the pair of them. “Okay. Love you both see you on Sunday, if not before.”
“Bye sweetheart.” Clarus waved back.
When Iris jumped into the cab, Nivenia walked over to the Shield and held her hand out for him to take. Clarus nodded shaking her hand to show her that he trusted her with their daughter. “Thank you Clarus. This means so much to me.”
They let go, allowing Nivenia to turn her attention to her son. She wanted to take him with her as well. She wanted both her children with her, but she had failed to reconnect with her son. Now, this would probably be the last time she would ever see him again. She gave him a weak smile, instead of hugging him. “Gladio… I hope we can talk things through soon.”
“You can keep hoping if you want.” Gladio muttered rolling his eyes.
Nivenia nodded realising that there was indeed no chance of that ever happening. She stepped away from the two and lied. “See you both soon.”
Nivenia got in the cab and the car soon pulled away from the Shield’s.
Iris waved at her brother and father out from of the back window and when they were no longer in sight she turned to her mum and squealed in excitement. “This is gunna be so cool!!!”
The pair continued to chat for a bit about what they were going to do over the weekend. Iris wanted to take her mum to the shops on the outer part of the city and take her around the parks. Iris did love that part of Insomnia. In some ways she found it more impressive then the centre and the Citadel. She loved seeing the wall up close, it amazed her how Regis could hold it up. They continued talking until Iris saw the sign for the hotel, but instead of making a right turn the driver drove straight ahead.
Towards the exit of the city.
“Mum? That was the turning for the hotel, we just drove straight passed it.” Iris said laughing. She thought that the cab driver must have been new.
“It’s alright Iris. I have something for you.” Nivenia said ignoring her daughter’s statement and handing her a sealed envelope. “Open it.”
Iris narrowed her eyes at her mum’s reaction and stared at the letter. Something wasn’t right. It could have been because of the ominous white envelope, or the way her mum ignored her, but she suddenly felt dread set itself in her stomach. She took in a small breath before opening the envelope. She was surprised by what she saw. She turned to her mum in confusion.
“Yes, to Tenebrae. You’re coming home with me.”
Chapter 7: The Chase
“I said you’re coming home with me.”
“Are you nuts! I can’t go to Tenebrae!” Iris exclaimed shuffling away from her mother.
What on Eos was happening? This was supposed to be a relaxing weekend with her mum. Like fuck was she going to Tenebrae. She continued to stare at her mum who looked offended by her outburst. Why was she offended? Iris should be the one who was allowed to be offended, what the hell was Nivenia playing at?
“Sweetheart, it’s all been arranged.” Nivenia said softly placing a hand on Iris’s shoulder.
Iris instantly recoiled away from her and retreated to the other side of the cab. “I don’t care! Turn the car around now! Take me back home!”
“You are going home.”
Iris gulped. Her mum’s face had turned serious. It was like stone, she didn’t move a single muscle and her voice sounded cold. Iris began to panic and immediately went for the door. It was locked. Iris looked to the driver for his reaction, and he did nothing but continued to drive towards the exit of Insomnia. She gripped the seat and turned back to her mum purposely looking as scared as she could. Nivenia did nothing but continue to stare at her daughter.
Iris’s mind started to race. Nivenia couldn’t take her out of the country there was so many flaws in her plan and if Iris could make her see that, then she might be able to go home. But in her panicked state, it all came out as a shriek.
“How do you think you are supposed to get me out of the country! I don’t even have a passport!”
“Yes, you do.”
Iris shook her head. Was this lady insane! “No, I don’t. Anyway, I need written consent from my legal guardian to leave the country. And I am 100% sure dad has not given you it!”
“I do have written consent and you do have a passport. See.” Nivenia smiled handing Iris a passport that had her name on it and a letter from her dad.
Iris read the letter and Nivenia was right. It was signed and dated by Clarus, it even had his signature at the bottom. No. No, he wouldn’t do that. He didn’t even want Nivenia here in the first place. This couldn’t be her dad’s work, she knew how much he loved both her and Gladio. He would never give her up without a fight but…
“That’s dad’s signature…” Iris whispered sounding a little heartbroken.
“I told you. He’s signed it. He is happy for you to come with me.”
Iris glanced at her mum and the pure certainty in her mum’s voice didn’t set right with her. It was too confident, and it nearly sounded joyful. She had to be lying. She didn’t know her mum very well, but she knew her dad and he would never do this. Somehow, Nivenia must have gotten a hold of his signature and replicated it. Iris didn’t know how, but she knew exactly what she had to do. She had to get in contact with Clarus or Gladio before it was too late. Clarus was a smart man, and being Shield to the King of Lucis, meant he and his children were at risk to terrorist and radicalised attacks just like the King and Prince. To ensure that both his children were safe, he taught both of them what to do if they were ever kidnapped. That was what this was.
If she was ever going to get in contact with either her brother or her father, she had to keep Nivenia sweet. That way she could find an opportunity to phone someone and tell them what was going on. In order for that to happen Iris needed to get Nivenia to trust her.
She put on the waterworks, it always worked on her dad and Gladio, and put on the best performance she could. Tears and all. “……He just signed me away to you.”
“He did.” Nivenia pulled her in for a hug again and her tone of voice was a sad one.
Iris reluctantly hugged her back and continued to sniff, like she was crying. “Why?”
“I don’t know sweetheart.”
It was getting darker.
Iris knew that they should stop soon. If they didn’t they may become bait for the daemons. Wait that was it. Nivenia wasn’t that stupid to risk both their lives. And if they stopped it would give her dad and Gladio some extra hours to figure out what was happening.
Iris tugged on her mum’s sleeve and asked in a sleepy and concerned voice. “Shouldn’t we stop and rest?”
“No. We will get to Galdin Quay faster if we drive through the night.” Nivenia smiled placing a hand on Iris’s head. She began to stroke her hair in an attempt to ease her daughter’s worries.
“But it’s not safe to travel at night. What about the daemons?”
“We have UV headlights. We’ll be fine.”
This woman was bat shit crazy! Iris had never been out of Insomnia before but even she knew the dangers that lurked behind the safety of Insomnia’s wall. She had trained, unofficially, with her dad, Gladio, and Cor over the years and if she was lucky she might be able to hold her own. But that didn’t mean she had to. Nivenia was going to get all three of them killed if they didn’t stop.
That’s when an idea popped into her head. She was so glad that she had been apart of a drama club in school. Iris held on to her stomach, took in some deep breaths and made her eyes go watery again. In a weak voice, she looked up to Nivenia.
“Mum… I don’t feel so good.”
“I think I am going to be sick.” Iris forced herself to burp and covered her mouth with her hand.
“Darling can you hold on for just a little longer.” Nivenia pleaded rubbing her back.
Iris knew then she had her. She lent over and began to force herself to retch. She still had her stomach gripped and her mouth covered. She had to make this as realistic as possible. Iris shook her head and made a series of heaving noises as she continued to talk.
“No, you need to stop the cab now.”
“Right stop!” Nivenia ordered. The driver found the closest, lightened, resting point and stopped the car.
The doors were suddenly unlocked, and Iris ran out of the car. If it was daylight she would have ran. But she was stuck in the dark, between two real dangers. The daemons and her own mother. Instead, she followed through with her sick plan and ran into a 24/7 diner and rushed into the toilets. Before her mum could catch up to her she locked the stall door and shoved her fingers down her throat.
Vomit soon came up and Iris was so relieved when she heard the lady’s door opening. Nivenia had definitely heard it.
“Sweetheart are you alright?” Nivenia’s voice was littered with concern, but Iris knew not to be fooled by it. She knew now anyway.
“No.” She called out in response.
“Darling we need to get back in the car.”
“I can’t. It’s coming up again.” Iris forced herself to be sick again. If Nivenia really cared for her she wouldn’t make her move. Iris just prayed that all of this was worth it. Because if Gladio or Clarus didn't realise something wasn’t right all of this would be in vain. No, she had to be optimistic. They would come and get her. “I need to rest mum, I can’t travel.”
There was a brief pause and then a long sigh. “Okay. Okay, we’ll stop at a caravan.”
Thank the Six above.
It was breaking into the early hours of the morning and now there was no point for either Clarus or Cor to go home. Instead, they sat down with Regis and just relax and talked about their trip to Accordo and made fun of all of their children’s mishaps from when they were babies right up until now. For the first time in weeks, there wasn’t anything for them to worry about. Well, maybe the lack of sleep and the fact that they had a meeting on the Insomnia’s budget tomorrow. That was probably important but they didn’t care. As today was the first time in weeks that there had been no hostility between them all and they could finally just relax and enjoy each other’s company.
“This time you two are going to tell your children everything. Because I am not dealing with this again.” Cor stated looking at his two best friends to see what their reaction would be. And instead of getting scolded, the pair just sighed and nodded.
“Don’t worry. We have learnt from our mistakes.”
“How can I not worry, when you two dummies are involved?” Cor replied in the most serious tone he could. It was funny to see Clarus get annoyed at him though.
The Shield narrowed his eyes at his honorary little brother. “Says the reckless one.”
“Reckless but not stupid.”
“We’ll give you that one.” Regis laughed into a yawn. He was getting tired now, maybe he could squeeze in a nap before that awful meeting. Or he could sleep through it and leave it with Clarus and Cor to deal with. That sounded like a good idea.
Before the three could get back to their conversation the door opened with a crash. All three men turned to see what the hell had caused that, and on instinct, Clarus and Cor immediately got out their weapons in case they needed to protect Regis.
They relaxed a little when they saw it was only Gladio rushing into the room, but concern soon caught up with them again, when they saw how scared he looked. And when he shouted into the room, it sounded more like a shriek.
“Gladio. What’s the matter?” Clarus said calmly stepping towards his son, putting his weapon away at the same time.
“Nivenia has taken Iris out of Insomnia.”
Hearing those words, Clarus felt the wind being knocked out of him. His face had turned as concerned as his son’s and all he could say was:
“I told you we shouldn’t have trusted her.” Gladio shoved his phone into his dad’s hands and pointed for him to look at the screen. “I stole your password to get into the computer and look; her phone’s GPS is no longer in Insomnia.”
Clarus glared at the phone, hoping that Gladio was lying to him. When he saw the signal flickering on and off far beyond the city of Insomnia, Clarus’s heart stopped. It felt like everything had just stopped. She had taken her… Nivenia had taken her? Then he felt himself get very angry. He trusted her. He trusted his ex-wife with their daughter and she used that trust against him. How dare she! How fucking dare she! And it all came out in an explosion.
“FUCK! THAT FUCKING BITCH!”
“Clarus calm down!” Regis said holding on to Clarus’s arm.
“THAT BITCH HAS TAKEN MY DAUGHTER I AM NOT ABOUT TO CALM DOWN REGIS!! I TRUSTED HER!!!!” Clarus pulled away from Regis and handed Gladio back his phone before he launched it across the room.
He knew he was right to be wary! How could he allow this to happen! This was all his fault all of it. Clarus was just about to erupt again, but his son’s voice cut him off.
“I am going after them.”
Clarus stood there and watched as Gladio began to walk away. He wanted to go with him, he wanted to be the one to go out there and find his daughter. But he couldn’t. Again, he was stuck between family and duty. He knew which one he had to choose even if he didn’t like it.
He called out after Gladio, forcing the younger Amicitia to stop. “Gladio… take someone with you.”
“No Gladio.” Cor finally spoke forcing everyone to look at him. Knowing the Marshal, he had probably already come up with a plan. No one in that room was going to argue with him no matter how reckless it was. “Clarus you’re going with him.”
“I’ll look after Regis and Noctis. Look, she is your daughter if anyone is going to get her back it is you. We will be fine. Trust me.”
Clarus turned to Regis who nodded in agreement. The King quickly got a pair of keys out of his armiger and threw it at the Shield, who caught it with ease. “Clarus get a move on. Take the Regalia.”
Clarus smiled at them and hurried out of the door with his son by his side. The pair rushed down to the car park and opened the restricted section that had the King’s car in it. They quickly got into the car and Clarus was already driving off before Gladio even had a chance to close the door. For once, the Shield was taking a leaf out of the Marshal’s book. He was not caring for the speed limits or any traffic lights that were on red. He was well aware he was running out of time. They needed to hurry up if they were going to stop Nivenia and have Iris safely back with them.
Just before they breached the gates, Clarus turned on the UV headlights. The glaives at the exit gladly let him through and he continued to speed the car out of Insomnia.
“They wouldn’t travel at night.” Gladio commented with a hint of doubt in his voice. If Nivenia could steal his sister, he had no idea what she was capable of.
“Nivenia is smart, and if she values her life she would dare not travel at night. Which gives us a chance to catch up. For once these fucking daemons are going to work in our favour.”
The sunrise was beginning to creep it’s way into the east and the younger Amicitia started to panic. The first boats left at dawn. He didn’t know if they were going to make it. The roads were clear enough, but Nivenia had a good start on them. Even if she did stop for the night he knew the first boat would be the one she would leave on.
“Can’t this thing go any faster.” Gladio shouted at his dad whilst hitting the board in front of him.
“I am going as fast as the car will allow me.” Clarus breathed calmly. He wasn’t calm but he knew he had to have a clear head if they were going to get Iris back. Gladio wasn’t helping.
“Why did you trust her! I knew she was no good, but you let your guilt get the better of you!”
“What was I meant to do Gladio! You’re right I allowed my guilt to cloud my judgement and I am sorry. I understand this is all my fault but how was I supposed to know she was going to take Iris?”
Gladio smack the dash board again and Clarus chose to ignore him. There was a tense silence for a second before Gladio swore in a rage. “Fuck! I am going to kill her.”
“No, you’re not. We need to think rationally about this.” Clarus completely believed his son when he said that, and he needed to get him to think rationally. But Clarus didn’t just say those words to calm Gladio down, he said it as a warning to himself as well. Because he felt exactly the same.
Buzz, buzz, buzz.
“Gladio answer it, it might be Cor.” Clarus ordered keeping his eyes locked onto the road. Any information was better than none and he just hoped Cor wasn’t calling to inform him of an attempted assassination on Regis’s and Noctis’s life.
Gladio quickly picked up the phone and when he saw the name his eyes went wide. He wasted no time in answering it. He put the phone on speaker so Clarus could hear and spoke with nothing but relief.
“Iris! Iris are you alright?!”
That caught Clarus’s attention and he had to stop himself from looking at the phone before he caused an accident.
“Gladdy! I am so happy to hear your voice. Is dad there?” Iris sniff down the phone. It sounded like she had been crying.
Both the Amicitia’s had to take in a deep breath. Clarus tightened his grip on the wheel, whereas Gladio held on to the phone tighter. If Nivenia had harmed one hair on her head…
“Yeah, squirt we’re coming to get you. Do you know where you are?” Gladio reassured her.
“On the way to Galdin Quay. Shhh, mum’s coming.” Iris warned. There was rustling the other end of the phone. Both men only assumed she was hiding it so Nivenia didn’t catch her. In return, they remained silent. That way they could get the information they needed.
“Sweetheart, are you feeling any better?”
“Not really.” Iris’s voice had dramatically changed. It now sounded weak. Clarus and Gladio looked at each other with pride. That girl was clever.
“Darling I am afraid we have to get a move on. It’s nearly dawn, and we have to be at the docks soon. You need to get up.”
“We can’t go out there, it’s not safe. There are daemons and all sorts.”
“Iris we need to leave now!” Nivenia sounded like she was becoming angry. Gladio wanted to shout something to protect his sister. But Clarus shook his head, whilst trying his hardest to drive, he listened and managed to contain himself, so that his emotions didn’t get the better of him.
“You are going to risk our lives! No! I am not going!”
“Yes, you are.”
There was a rustling again. Followed by footsteps, and something neither Shield could ignore. They heard Iris scream and then it turned into a series of muffled noises and then finally nothing. “MUM- ummm-”
No longer caring about getting information Clarus slammed his foot even harder on the gas and roared down the phone. “NIVENIA! YOU LET MY DAUGHTER GO AT ONCE!”
They heard someone picking the phone up from the other end, and then a gasp. “Try and stop me.”
She didn’t respond after that. Gladio looked down at the phone and confirmed what had happened. “She hung up. Dad step on it!”
Clarus did not need to be told more than once.
When Iris came around, the newly broken dawn hit her face. She rubbed her eyes and slowly began to shuffle in her chair. Her mum had just drugged her! No! Iris looked out the window and notice that they were no longer at the caravan, they were near the sea.
Iris didn’t have time to panic, as Nivenia lightly shook her and spoke in a soft voice. “Sweetie wake up, we’re here.”
“Get away from me.” Iris screamed backing away from her. But she had her seatbelt on and was stuck because of it.
She stared at Nivenia with fear and regret. Iris started to blame herself for all of this. If she hadn’t been so interested in where her mum was, none of this would have happened. All she wanted was to go home and be with her dad and her brother. She didn’t want to leave. Why couldn’t Nivenia see that?
“Iris we are late we have to go now.” Nivenia ordered, undoing Iris’s seatbelt and opening the car door.
“No! You can’t make me!” Iris shouted backing herself into a corner. Surely someone would have heard that.
“For the love of the SIX! Get out the car!”
Nivenia grabbed hold of Iris’s arm and yanked her harshly out of the car. She hurt her arm and Iris began to cry again. It hurt and she thought if someone saw her crying then maybe they would help her. Iris looked around and saw no one. She shook her head, they must already be on the boat. Without warning Nivenia pulled her towards the docks and the entire time Iris pulled and pleaded for Nivenia to let go. But no one was around. And Nivenia refused to loosen her grip as they made their way towards the docks.
Still pulling and crying with all her might Iris screamed. “Mum you're hurting me! Stop! Please!”
She was ignored, and the pair didn’t stop walking or being dragged until they reached the docks and when they got there the ferry was gone. Nivenia still hadn’t loosened her grip and pulled Iris along to the edge of the wooden walkway and stared out into the open waters. Whilst Iris was fighting to be released from her mum’s grip. Yes, she knew how to defend herself, but for a 12-year-old girl to put it into practice was another thing. She was tired, upset and frightened, and she was unable to do anything but plead with her mum to let her go.
“No! No!” Nivenia shouted out towards the sea. Despite the realisation that she had probably failed in her revenge plan, she didn’t let go of Iris.
“Mum we missed it. Please just stop.” Iris said continuing to struggle.
“We’ll find another way.” Nivenia said gritting her teeth together.
“Mum I don’t want to go with you. I want to stay with dad and Gladio.”
“No! He was the one that took you away from me! He’s not having you anymore!” Nivenia screamed in Iris’s face.
“Stop it you’re scaring me!” Iris screamed back turning away from her.
She tried to yank her arm out of her mother’s hand again, but it didn’t work. She bowed her head in defeat and looked towards the entrance of the docks hoping for anyone to be there. No one was there before, she didn’t expect anyone to be there now. But to her surprise she saw the two people that she never wanted to let out of her sight again.
Without thinking, Iris screamed for them: “DAD! GLADDY!”
That broke Nivenia’s concentration from the sea. She turned around to see Clarus and Gladio running towards the pair. No, she wasn’t about to let this happen. Not when she was so close. Nivenia wrapped her free arm around Iris’s chest and the other around her middle. She pulled her daughter backward until they were standing on the edge of the docks. She felt Iris struggle more, which forced Nivenia to bring her arm to Iris’s throat. She wasn’t allowing Clarus to take her away. Not when he deserved this.
Just before they could get within 20 feet of Iris, Nivenia shouted at the pair, as a warning. “Don’t either of you come any closer.”
Clarus immediately stopped fearing what she was going to do, and he had to pull Gladio back before he stepped an inch closer. That didn’t prevent the younger Shield from shouting aggressively at the person who birthed him.
“Let go of my sister!”
“Nivenia stop. Let go of Iris now.” Clarus demanded.
“No! You’re not having her anymore! She is coming with me.” Nivenia stared directly into his eyes and held Iris closer to her.
Clarus wasn’t looking at Nivenia, he was more concerned with the petrified look on Iris’s face. And when she called out for him, it hurt his heart. He had to take a different approach. He was hyper aware that his ex-wife and his daughter were standing dangerously close to the water’s edge. He had to remain calm.
“It’s alright Iris. Nivenia look at her. She is terrified, let our daughter go.”
“Not a chance! You took both my children away from me! I am simply repaying the favour!”
“You were the one who left us you, psycho bitch! Are you messed up in the head? She doesn’t want to go with you.” Gladio’s outburst caused Nivenia to back up a little more and Clarus’s eyes nearly popped out of his head with worry.
He turned to Gladio and shook his head. “Gladio stop.” Clarus slowly turned back to the pair and continued to speak in a calm manner, this time he was only looking at his ex-wife. “Nivenia, he’s right. You are clearly not very well. That is probably my fault for hurting you. But don’t take your anger out on our children. If you are going to hurt anyone hurt me.”
Nivenia laughed, causing Iris to flinch. “You, stupid man! This is hurting you! You should be thinking of this as a blessing. If Iris stays with me, it will give you more chance to fuck the King.”
“I don’t care about Regis right now! He doesn’t matter. What matters is, that you are scaring our children. Just let her go. And I promise you can go back to Tenebrae, I won’t press charges. You can finally get married again and have a free life. Just hand my daughter back and I swear all of this will be forgotten.”
Clarus saw Nivenia’s face drop and he took that as a sign to take a step forward. He didn’t take anymore and prayed to every one of the Six he had managed to talk some sense into her. He diverted his eyes to Iris who now looked a bit more comfortable. He let go a sigh and took another step and then stopped.
Nivenia didn’t do anything but stare at him. But over his shoulder, she could see people in the distance. She didn’t know who they were, but in light of what Clarus just said, she thought he was lying. Trying to con her into a sense of security, just like she had done to him. She wasn’t about to let that happen.
“NO! YOU’RE NOT HAVING HER!!!!”
Nivenia screamed before jumping into the sea and pulling Iris down with her. Iris screamed, and a gigantic splash followed.
Gladio didn’t have time to react, as Clarus had already sprinted the last few feet and dived in straight after them. The young Shield only reacted after he heard the second splash and he tried to do the same as his dad had just done.
However, he was held back by a few people and he struggled against their hold. He didn’t care if they were trying to help. He needed to help his dad get Iris out. However, he could do nothing but helplessly look into the sea where is dad and sister had disappeared under.
“NO DAD! DAD! IRIS!”
Chapter 8: We're Better Off....
Meant to update this on Friday. I am so unorganized.
Anyway, this fic has reached its end. I am so grateful to everyone who has shown support to this story and it gets a happy ending. I like happy endings.
Here you are housemate, I told you I would fix it!
Let's finish the story then.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Ten seconds had passed, and no one had come up yet.
Not once had Gladio taken his eyes off of the water.
Everything had now gone so slow. Gladio was no longer struggling to get out of the three people’s hold, for he knew there was nothing that he could do without putting himself in danger. He just knelt down on the wooden docks, helplessly watching as the waves crashed against one another. He heard people shouting to others to get help. He heard the sound of a phone ringing. He heard footsteps from behind him, running frantically back and forth. But none of that mattered to him. What mattered was that neither his little sister or dad had come up to the surface yet. They needed to breathe. At some point they had to come up. But there was nothing Gladio could do.
It wasn’t until another 5 seconds had passed and everyone’s attention was turned to the water. There was a mighty splash and the sound of coughing.
Gladio’s eyes sparked, he found the strength to finally break free and rush to the end of the walkway. He lent down over the water and held out his hand. And when he saw Iris swimming towards him his heart was filled with relief.
“IRIS! TAKE MY HAND!”
Iris did what she was told, however she couldn’t reach. she was a mere inch away from grabbing on to him. She started to cry and pleaded for his help. “Gladdy!”
Gladio lent further down and grabbed on to her hand. She nearly pulled him in but he felt hands grab his ankles and held him steady as he reached for her. In no time at all Iris was pulled to safety. The Amicitia children were moved 20 feet away from the water’s edge and someone came by with a towel and wrapped it around Iris. The pair sat down and Gladio wrapped his arms around Iris to keep her safe and warm.
“It’s okay Iris. Your safe now. I’ve got you.” Gladio said with relief, not loosening his grip on his little sister.
Iris was shaking due to the shock and the cold. It was dawn, the air was crisp and the water, that she had just been pulled out off, was freezing. But she was so worried that she didn’t remain still in her brother’s embrace. She looked towards the sea and started to panic. “Where’s Dad and Mum?! They haven’t come up yet.”
Gladio followed his sister’s gaze and shouted into the air. “DAD!!”
No one responded.
The people who had rushed to help seemed to be at a loss of what to do. The lifeguards had finally turned up and were getting ready to dive in after Clarus and Nivenia, who still had not come up to the surface. Iris started to cry harder and grabbed on to her brother’s arm in worry. She blamed herself for all of this. She turned and buried her face into her brother’s chest and she couldn’t control how fast she was speaking.
“Gladdy… Dad pushed me up, I thought he was right behind me…”
“Don’t worry squirt. The lifeguards are here. They’ll get them out.” Gladio reassured her holding her closer to him.
He was acting calm, but he was far from it. He was so worried about his dad. Something must be going on down there, for Clarus not to have come back up yet to ensure that Iris had gotten to safety. Seconds went by and nothing. The lifeguards had now gone under the water, but no one had come back up yet. Iris refused to look at the scene whereas Gladio continued to stare. His dad was going to come up unscathed. He had to.
Gladio whispered sharply, trying to fight back tears that were threatening to stream down his face. “Come on dad.”
“Gladdy.” Iris whimpered, unable to stop the tears from falling.
Before Gladio could comfort her further, more lifeguards started to crowd the water’s edge. Gladio and Iris forced themselves to look at what was going on. They saw two more lifeguards jump into the water another four kneeling down and reaching to the water below. Gladio and Iris inched closer towards the scene and their hearts began to beat faster. They must be getting Clarus and Nivenia out. They must be.
They didn’t have to wait long to see who they had brought up first.
“DAD!” Iris shouted.
Clarus was placed on the wooden surface coughing and gasping for air as two of the lifeguards that had pulled him up covered him in some towels. Gladio and Iris both sprung to their feet and tried to rush over to him. But like before they were stopped from getting any closer to their dad as someone held them back.
The lifeguard that was attending to their dad notice them and ordered them to stay put. She then turned to Clarus. “Sir, can you hear me? I need to check if you are alright? Sir?”
Clarus continued to cough and breathe but ignored her question. He tirelessly sat up and pointed to his left. “Her- Check her!”
Gladio and Iris looked to where Clarus was pointing and they saw their mother laying on the wooden decking and she wasn’t moving. Another lifeguard was giving her CPR and the scene made Iris’s heart stop. She tried to rush over to Nivenia, but Gladio pulled her back. No matter what state Nivenia was in, Gladio was not allowing his sister anywhere near her again. Plus, it was too dangerous. He was not putting Iris in anymore danger.
Clarus refused to allow anyone to take him further up the walkway and he continued to stare at Nivenia who was being tended to. All Gladio and Iris wanted, was for him to come and hold them but Clarus refused to budge. That was until a lifeguard turned to him and clearly said.
His children saw relief cover Clarus face and that’s when he finally allowed someone to help him to his feet and move him away from the edge. He got to where his children were standing and opened his arms wide. “Gladio! Iris!”
The pair immediately fell into their dad’s arms and all three of them fell to the ground, holding each other close. Gladio gripped on to his dad and his sister as tight as he could. Both of them were shaking and breathing rapidly. He thanked every single one of the Six he had both of them back in his arms. He even let go a tear when he heard Iris squeak with relief.
“Dad, we were so worried.”
“It’s alright. Everything is going to be fine.” Clarus said hugging his children tighter. He would never allow something like this to ever happen to them again. Never again.
They stayed like this for a few moments trying to calm and reassure each other that everything was going to be okay. That was until a lifeguard came up to them, the same one that had tried to check Clarus before.
She spoke calmly and carefully. “We need to get both of you inside where it is warm and have you both checked over.”
Clarus and Iris were given the all clear by the paramedics and were able to go home. However, Nivenia was not. She was breathing, and an ambulance had come to take her to the nearest hospital. And instead of going back to Insomnia with Gladio and Iris, Clarus called Dustin and ordered him to come and pick his children up and went with Nivenia to the hospital. Gladio and Iris begged him to go with them, telling him that Nivenia wasn’t worth the trouble. She wasn’t. But Clarus knew the moment Nivenia was awake and able to leave the police were going to come and collect her. He needed to talk to her in private before that happened. Leaving them at Galdin Quay, Clarus took the Regalia and followed the ambulance to the hospital.
When he got there, Clarus phoned Regis to give him an account of what had happened and asked if Gladio and Iris could stay in the Citadel until he got back. The King was more then willing to have them stay there for longer than that if needed and told Clarus that he was to make it back home safely. They stayed on the phone for an hour discussing what to do with Nivenia. In the end, Regis said it was Clarus’s decision and he would contact the local authorities and inform them of what was going on.
After their call had ended Clarus sat in Nivenia’s room and remained there until she woke up.
And after 5 hours she did wake up. And she wasn’t happy to see her ex-husband sitting by her bed.
“Get out.” Nivenia coughed in a weak voice, trying to sit up.
“No.” Clarus replied bluntly.
“I don’t want you anywhere near me.”
“That’s good because I don’t want to be here. However, we need to talk.”
“What about? That you are never going to allow me to see my children again.”
“Do you really think that is what this is about?” Clarus sighed rubbing his eyes.
He couldn’t believe her. Nivenia had literally just tried to murder him and she was finding ways to place all the blame on him instead. What planet was she living on?
As soon as Clarus had dived in after the pair he got Iris away from Nivenia as fast as he could. He pushed his daughter up to the surface and he was going to follow her. However, Nivenia wrapped both of her arms around his neck and pulled him down further into the water with the full intention of killing him. Clarus didn’t think that Nivenia had the intention of returning to the surface alive either. Lucky for him, his thought process and fighting skill was a lot more advanced then his ex-wife’s and he quickly overpowered her and remained down there until she passed out. He wasn’t going to let her die though. As soon as she stopped fighting him, the lifeguards came in and got them both to safety.
Clarus hadn’t told anyone what had happened down there. He hadn’t told: the police, the lifeguards, his children or Regis what Nivenia had tried to do. And because Regis had given him the power to decide what happened with Nivenia, he remained calm and tried to get her to understand what she had done was wrong.
“Nivenia… you tried to kill me. I don’t even want to think about what you would have done to Iris if I didn’t go in after you.”
“I would never hurt her. She’s my daughter!” Nivenia exclaimed getting defensive. The reaction made Clarus shake his head with pity and disgust.
“But you did. You scared the life out of her. And by taking her away, you hurt our son. You have hurt them both. You’re not well Nivenia. You’re really not. You do understand that you are going to be prosecuted for everything you have done.”
Nivenia glared at him. She hated him. She hated everything about him. In her mind, Iris and Gladio would be better off without him. They would be safer away from him. They would no longer have the pressure that came along with the Crown and the Amicitia family name. They would be free. And he didn’t see that. Because she thought he was being blind, she got angry. She didn’t care that she had tried to murder him, because to Nivenia, that was what Clarus was going to do their children. Raising them to be nothing but a pair of meat Shields to a family that were blessed by the fucking Astrals.
“Prosecuted! On what grounds! For saving my daughter from the likes of you.”
“No. For fraud. For kidnap. And for attempted murder. This is serious. You have no idea how much trouble you are in.” Clarus said sternly. He was not going to pussyfoot around her. He was going to get her to understand the severity of the situation.
“And if I get locked up, you win. My children will never see me again and they will see you as the hero. When really you are nothing but a cheating pathetic bastard who doesn’t give a fuck about who gets hurt.”
Clarus snapped at how delusional she had become. “I am trying to help you! This is not a game! Yes, I hurt you. Yes, you have every right to hate me and want to see me in pain. I wouldn’t have cared so much if you went directly for me, but you chose to involve our children. You sick twisted bitch. Iris is going to be scarred for life now and that’s all your fault. Gladiolus, he is never going to forgive you. And none of that is my doing, it’s all on you. I have raised our children to the best of my ability and not once have I ever dragged your name in the mud. I have made mistakes, but I have never intentionally hurt them. You have. Why can’t you see that? Why can’t you see what you have done to them?”
Clarus remained silent to let his words sink into her brain. It took a lot longer then it should have and when it did Nivenia started to cry. She wasn’t well and Clarus knew that. And as much as he would love for her to get a taste of her own medicine for harming Gladio and Iris… he couldn’t bring himself to cause her anymore pain. He felt sorry for her and he could understand why she had turned into this. They had lost three children and when she was pregnant with Iris, Nivenia was not well at all. He understood her pain and he knew he was the fault of all this destructive behaviour. As all of this had started because of him. If he had told Nivenia from the word go that he loved Regis she wouldn’t have turned into this. Also, she was the mother of his children. No matter what she had done, he had to show her some respect.
He let out a sigh of sympathy and continued to talk. “You’re not well. That’s my fault. And because of that, Regis said I am allowed to decide what happens now. You are going to be assessed here, you’re not mentally stable and that is going to go in you’re favour. From there, you are to be shipped back to Tenebrae and be placed in a hospital where you can receive professional help and I’ll cover the costs of it all. When you are better you can live out the remainder of your life in Tenebrae with your fiancé. However, you are not allowed to return to Insomnia. Because if you do, you will be arrested without trial, and you will never set foot out of prison again.”
“What about Gladiolus and Iris! You are preventing me from seeing them!” Nivenia cried harder. She finally realised that she should have never of hurt Clarus. Her children hated her, and there was nothing she could do about it.
“No, Niv. I would never do that. I said you can’t entre Insomnia, Lucis is no longer under Regis’s control, and because of that we can’t stop you from coming into Lucis. And I am not going to stop Gladio from seeing you he can leave Insomnia and visit you whenever he wishes. However, Iris is a child and I need to protect her. Until she is 16 you’re not seeing her because you are not well, and from what has happened this morning, it is clear to me you are a danger to her. When she is 16, she can do what she likes and if she wishes to see you, I will not stop her. Niv, you need to understand I am not doing this to hurt you, I am doing this to protect her and help you get better.”
Clarus rose from his chair and walked out of the room. He heard Nivenia’s cries get louder and he felt so guilty. He never wanted to deprive either of his children from a relationship with their mother. But for the safety of Iris, he had to.
Before he left the hospital, he ensured that she was going to be assessed and contacted the Tenebrain embassy to get her professional help when she arrived back in the country. Clarus didn’t lie, she was going home and if Nivenia cooperated she could have a good life. Clarus just hoped she took this opportunity.
When Clarus got back to Insomnia he was bombarded by Regis and Cor. They both felt responsible for everything and tried to apologise. Regis was sorry because their lies and secrets had led to Iris and Clarus nearly drowning. Cor couldn’t shake off the guilt because he was the one to bring Nivenia back. Clarus reassured them that there was no ill feelings and that no one could have predicted what Nivenia was planning. All the Shield wanted to do was to see his children.
When the three saw each other again, they hugged out their emotions. Afterwards, Clarus explained to Gladio and Iris what was happening to their mother. But he refused to tell them what happened after Iris was pulled to safety. No matter how much he hated Nivenia, he was not going to tell them what she nearly did to him. They were their own person, and he was not about to add any more fuel to the fire. It was over. What happened under the water didn’t need to be said.
He felt terrible for everything that had happened over the past couple of weeks and started begging for both Gladio’s and Iris’s forgiveness: “I am so sorry this happened to you both. I don’t deserve it but can both of you forgive me?”
“It’s not your fault dad.” Gladio gave him a weak smile.
In return, Clarus shook his head. “No son, it is. I should have done a lot of things differently. If I had, none of this would have happened. But you’re both safe and that is all that matters right now.”
Clarus wasn’t the only one who couldn’t shake off their guilt. Iris started to cry again and latched on to her dad as she cried on him: “Dad… I am sorry for wanting to bring her back. I am so sorry.”
“No Iris don’t say that. This isn’t your fault either.” Gladio said rubbing her back to comfort her.
“Sweetheart, none of this can possibly be your fault.” Clarus said wrapping his arms around her.
Iris continued to cry and began to hiccup as she spoke. “But if I didn’t keep banging on about her, and if I didn’t talk to Cor then he wouldn’t have brought her back.”
“Iris listen to me. Your mother isn’t well. You weren’t to know, Cor wasn’t to know, no one was to know that she wasn’t in the right frame of mind. But she is getting help and no one blames you for this.” Clarus said hiding his hurt. No child should ever blame themselves for the sins of their parent. Seeing Iris doing exactly that was one of the most heart-breaking things Clarus had ever witnessed.
“Can we go home?” Iris asked not letting her dad go.
“Of course, we can.”
A few weeks had passed since the incident and things were finally starting to get back on track.
Iris had returned to school, after having two weeks off to be able to process all the trauma she had been put through. Gladiolus went back to training Noctis. He had stopped to look after Iris when Clarus had to go into work. Clarus had returned to his position of being Regis’s Shield. The King had told him he was having time off to recover, and that Cor was more then happy to look after him until Clarus felt comfortable enough to leave Iris on her own. However, Clarus still went into work to deal with important matters like trade and boring politics. Cor was probably more capable of being Regis’s Shield then he was, but when it came to dealing with the council, the Marshal had no filter and would probably get himself into a lot of trouble with them all.
But now things were slowly, but surely, starting to get back on track. Like so many times before Clarus sat in front of Regis as the pair talked.
“Things are back to normal.” Clarus smiled, allowing himself to relax.
“I wouldn’t say that. Noctis is extremely worried about Gladio and Iris.” Regis sighed. He loved Noctis so much. He was so kind and thoughtful. And because the Prince cared about people he loved so much he tended to over think things and over worry. He was so much like Aulea in that sense.
“They’re as fine as they can be.”
“I told him that. How are you? You haven’t told me what happened yet.”
“Some things are better left unsaid Reggie.” Clarus said diverting his eyes from Regis. He knew exactly what he was going to say…
“Look where secrets got us? Cor tells Prompto everything he can, and out of the three of us, Cor has the closest bond with his child. It’s best we no longer keep secrets unless it is absolutely necessary.”
“Regis, if I tell you, you will be sending Cor to Tenebrae to have her assassinated.”
“I’m not my father.” Regis stated sternly shaking his head.
Clarus rolled his eyes. “Fine you will be telling me to stop funding for her treatment and have her placed in a prison for the rest of her life. To be honest, I want to forget it all.”
“Very well.” Regis gave up. He wasn’t going to force Clarus to do anything. He was just so grateful he made it back here safely. He didn’t know what he would do if he ever lost him. Regis took Clarus’s hand in his own and kissed it before smiling at him. “I love you Clarus.”
“I love you too.”
Gladiolus opened the door to find Noctis and Prompto standing there. Prompto was smiling brightly wearing what he usually wore, whereas the Prince had a cap on, a bodywarmer, a long sleeve top, joggers and some old trainers on. He looked ridiculous. Gladio let out a snort and allowed the pair to enter the manor.
“That’s a rubbish disguise Noct.” Gladio laughed after the front door was closed.
“I told him that.” Prompto laughed shoving the Prince.
Noctis rolled his eyes and stood on Prom’s foot causing the blonde to yelp. He smirked when he saw Prom’s face turn into a scowl. He didn’t laugh instead he turned his attention to Gladio. “Shut up. We were wondering if you and Iris want to come and get some pancakes at that new dessert place. Prom says they taste amazing. But I bet Iggy’s pancakes taste better.”
“Where is specs anyway?” Gladio questioned. Ignis had not left Noctis’s side after Gladio left Insomnia to get Iris. It was quite strange seeing Noct without his advisor.
“Covering for me. If he didn’t I would have had to take a member of the guard with me. So are you two coming or not?”
Iris ran into the hall, already with her coat and shoes on, as she had listened into their conversation.
When she reached them she shouted with glee. “Yes, we would love too. Thanks, Noct.”
“Awesome let’s go.” Prompto smiled.
They should have got a cab or Gladio could have driven them there, but it was a sunny day and Iris had only gone outside to go to school or go to the Citadel. She needed fresh air and the walk wasn’t too far away from the manor. Prompto and Iris lead the way, as Prom was the only one who knew where the place was and Iris was over excited to get there. Which left the Prince and his Shield to walk behind at a sluggish pace. Noctis was walking slow on purpose so he could speak to Gladio without being over heard by anyone. When he was certain neither Prom or Iris would interrupt them he started to speak.
“Hey, I know we clash a lot but if you need to talk to me, I am here.”
“Thanks. You know what, we are going to be alright. Being King and Shield I mean.” Gladio let go a small smile. He was quite touched that Noctis had actually gone out of his way to say that to him.
“Yeah. We both just need to learn from our dad’s mistakes and actually express how we are feeling.”
“The only thing you are good at expressing is misery.”
“Hey!” Noctis frowned and punched Gladio in the arm.
Gladio laughed at the Prince’s reaction. “Being honest. Just taking on board your advice and learning from our dad’s mistakes.”
“Yeah, well the only thing you are good at is being a git.”
“Is that the best insult you could come up with?”
Finally done. Again sorry about the late update.
I hope everyone enjoyed :)