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An Eosian Yule

 
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Averia Caelum
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:23 pm    Post subject: An Eosian Yule Reply with quote

December 18th, 2033

The last thing the Rhydin side of the portal showed was a frown framed by pink hair, the look that of a mother once more sending her children off to somewhere she couldn’t follow. Surely by now she would have been used to it but every time Claire couldn’t help but fret over the twins (and now Nick as well) before they left. With a flickering pop of energy a few moments later, the portal produced the trio on the other side. First Averia and then the boys before the portal blinked out of existence behind them. The connection was always a short lived thing, meant more for Lucian security than for the other side. Their arrival was expected and they were met by a cadre of advisors and assistants and…

“Uncle Iggy!” Averia squealed, running down the short set of steps from the portal platform to fling herself at a tall, well dressed middle aged man. He just barely managed to open his arms to catch her before she could bowl him over. The hug lifted her feet from the floor briefly, just long enough for her to press a red lipped kiss to his cheek before he set her down.

“Highness, I trust the trip went smoothly?” There was no lacking amount of affection in the smile he gave the young princess as he looked down at her with shaded eyes. Beneath the tinted glasses, a thin scar marred the left side of his face, pulled taut by the growing grin.

“It always does. I didn’t think you’d be here yet.” Breathless, Averia put a lid on her excitement and recomposed herself, her smile muting itself into something more befitting her so called station. “Did you bring Gigi and Ea with you?”

“They’ll be along within the coming days. I just had a few things to attend to and when your father said you two,” his attention flickered briefly toward Nick since he made three, “were coming in early I figured I would come meet you. Let’s get your bags taken care of.”

“Oh.” Averia looked the slightest bit disappointed as she handed the heavy bag over to a sharp dressed assistant who spirited away without a word. Similar offerings were made to Alexander and Nikolai both. “Yeah, um, figured if Da was going to make us come way out to Duscae to see him that we’d take the scenic route, take our time, you know?”

“Ah, but of course. And you’ve brought along…” Ignis paused briefly, an upturned hand gesturing toward the twins’ companion. Avy blushed and doubled back to loop her arm with Nick’s.

“You remember Niko, right? Well, Nick. Um, er, Nikolai Allen.” The little royal actually laughed at herself, sneaking a glance up at the boy at her side. “He’s spending Yule and New Year’s with us.”

“I see. Very well then. It’s good to see you three then.” A correction from earlier as he extended a hand to Nick. “Ignis Scientia, pleased to meet you.”

“Oh!” Avy suddenly caught herself, her cheeks flushing. “Yes, um, Nick! This is Iggy, er, Ignis like he said. Advisor to my dad and long time family friend, dunno if you remember him. It’s been awhile. Uncle Iggy, Nick Allen. He’s, ummmmm, yeah. Surely you remember Nick, uh huh. And I’m rambling soooo shake hands so we can run away before I make myself look even sillier.”

Another portal, another trip, but not alone this time. That was particularly high on Nick’s list of good things. Nervous as he might be about stepping through something that he barely understood, he could see that he was less out of sorts than the pink haired woman. He did his best to reassure her, with his everything’s going to be alright because look at me grin. He wasn’t sure it helped any, but he wouldn’t be left to ponder it for long. Before he could twitch his way out of that smile they were already gone and returned to a place that was far further away than anyplace else he’d been.

Names didn’t really click so much to faces, Ignis was a name he’d heard on occasion, it was also a face he’d seen, but not for quite some time. Clearly he remembered the man more than Iggy remembered him. Then again considering the amount of trouble he and Alex used to get into, maybe that was a good thing. There were of course strange things that his father had instilled in him. The different words for his ability was one of them, or at least as many as he could. Ignis, the man before him, wore one of those words, at least in a language that wasn’t Rhydinian. It might not be any Lucian term either. He stayed back with Alex as Avy the unshakable stumbled her way through the introductions and ended up blushing as a result. Unless that blush was for something else? Nick tried not to think on what that might be, if only not to join her in the coloring of his cheeks.

“Why is she acting so funny.” That was said aloud, though only so much that the person next to him could hear. He shot a quick look to Alex, looking for an answer, but there wasn’t time. The tripping tongue found its way to the actual introduction and Nick did as he was bid to, extending a hand. “I remember…” vaguely, “...still it’s good to see you’re doing well. Niko, or Nikolai is how you knew me, you can call me Nick, though others who’ve known me refuse to.” He didn’t count Averia among those, mostly because he was more interested in hearing her say it as often as possible. Form, that was just semantics.” He tried to give her a reassuring squeeze, but it didn’t work as well with it just being his arm, and not his hand. He just had to believe that Averia knew what he meant. If she were curious, it would come right out of his head without too much issue. She wouldn’t do that though, and things could get awkward because of that.

“How long do we have before we have to leave? I was hoping to get a shop or two in.” He’d asked Ignis, but the question really went out to whomever would have the answer. “I wouldn’t have them waiting on me though.” You just didn’t make princes and princesses wait if you could at all help it.

Though Alex didn’t get long enough to answer Nick’s question, that didn’t keep him from bursting into a fit of snickers as he handed his bags off. He knew exactly why Averia was stumbling and it had everything to do with the boy on her arm. It didn’t take her much to pick up on her brother’s laughter and evidently whatever she said to him mentally was quick to shut him up. Alex shot her a glowering look and skulked off, leaving Nick and Averia to Ignis and the others.

“We’ve got time.” Averia reassured him though belatedly she looked to Ignis for confirmation. His smile was thin but there as he nodded his agreement.

“It was my assumption that the King only expected your visit a few days closer to the Christmas holiday, so yes, I’d say you’ve got some time. Should we expect you three at dinner?” Ignis asked. Averia, so used to having her time in Insomnia planned for her down to the hour, had to pause thoughtfully.

“Tonight, yes. We should have a better idea by then as to what our plans are going forward.” She said smartly, nodding twice. It sounded like a good response, right? Evidently by Ignis’ nod of agreement it was. Averia relaxed slightly and gave Nick’s arm a tug. “In that case, I am going to show Nick where he’ll be staying tonight and we will see whomever for dinner this evening!”

With their farewells on the books, Avy was quick to drag Nick away from the throng of overly observant eyes, her swift steps forging a path through the Citadel that took them through twists and turns and seemingly circles as well before an empty narrow corridor was claimed for a brief reprieve. Then and only then did she slow down to catch his hand instead of his arm. “Okay. So… we made it. You good so far?”

Nick could be led, if the right person were doing the tugging on his arm. If he were at all taken back by any eyes on them, it wouldn’t be evident. His quick grin at Ignis as they departed probably said more than he intended it to, but it was his usual reaction to being pushed into the limelight. He’d had more recent experience with it, and whether it was simply some Allenism, or maybe the influence of Addie, he projected a certain amount of confidence, if not calmness. He didn’t know how to pretend to be that. Everything was an adventure, every room they moved through was seen through eyes that looked at the landscape as something to be overcome. Walls could stop his forward movements, but they’d never really been able to keep him from moving. Alex would have understood, he was sure that Avy did too, though this was Lucis and there were even greater expectations of a princess and heir here.

“You okay, Ave? You seem a bit… off I guess.” Shaken would have been a better word, but he refused to see her as anything but the composed Averia Caelum. At least in public. Privately he’d seen her be many things that he was growing to like. What would these people do if they saw her as he had, dishevelled and practically insatiable at times. Part of him wanted them to see it, if only so they saw her as he did. It was a small part, and put well in hand by the rest of him that refused to share.

“So, if I’m to be here for the ball, I’ll need something to wear. Do you think there’s time between now and then to get something?” Being dressed up that far, it was something that definitely made him nervous. This wasn’t going to be like the release party. Yes, that had been relatively formal, but where he’d worn a suit, this was something much more. The difference between the two was more like that which separated leather armor from a full suit of steel plating. He wanted to look his best, but not for himself. Nick, Nikolai… he’d be just as at home among them wearing a punk rock t-shirt and loose fitting pants. Being with Avy, it made him want to be better than that.

“It’s kind of customary to match isn’t it? Do you know what you’ll be wearing?” He probably should have done something about this situation earlier. He might have if there hadn’t been so many distractions. That brought about the thoughts that he hadn’t wanted to revisit yet. “This all kind of new to me.” His mother would have known what to do, she always seemed to know what would be expected of him if he were put in this situation. If he thought in his wildest dreams that this day would come, he might have paid more attention, instead of nodding his way through lessons, while he waited for the chance to do the fun stuff with Alex and the girls. Another series of thoughts that had him wondering exactly what his mother thought was going to happen.

He walked with her, giving over to her unvoiced direction giving. A bare tug or push would send him to the right or left. All the while, Nick was just happy to be with her, and might regret later how his inner thoughts had distracted him from the beauty of the places she took him. He was as often plagued with the thoughts of her as they walked, or at least what it would be like to press her to the wall and kiss her until neither of them could breathe.

“Yeah, it’s just…” She shrugged one shoulder as she trailed off. The further she got from prying eyes, the easier it became to relax, falling back into comfortable patterns with the man beside her as they disappeared further into the Citadel. “You’re going to laugh at me. But I wanted to introduce you as my boyfriend but every time I tried to get the words out, they got all jumbled up and I couldn’t get them out. Just felt stupid, that’s all.”

Averia Caelum never felt stupid. It may have been one for the books.

“We don’t have to match if you don’t want to but I think last I’d heard, they were putting me in red.” Red to go with her blushing cheeks assuredly, or so Avy told herself. For the Trinity Ball, Averia never picked her own outfit despite the fact it was always held on her birthday. Some birthday present, that, right? Designers fought over the right to dress the future Queen and the Council let them, as if she were some fashion accessory rather than an autonomous person capable of making her own decisions. “And you can go with Alex when he gets fitted if you want. I’m sure they can suit you up if it’s what you want to wear. I think he’s going… either day before or two days before the ball and if they can clean him up without issues, you’ll be super easy for them.”

She was still a little upset with her brother for abandoning them in the portal room like he had. Likely later she’d have to threaten to beat him up, a laughable thought assuredly, but it would at least reiterate that he couldn’t pull that stuff. Not if he wanted all three of them to make it through the trip without issues. Finally Averia pulled him around a corner and stopped at an ornate doorway. “Also don’t feel obligated to go on my part. I usually just show up long enough to be seen and then leave. It’s totally lame. We can do the same if you come with… it’s up to you. Um, here’s your room.”

Nick listened as they walked, and stopped near the door. It looked more like the entrance to something official than his bedroom. “It’s not stupid.” He turned to face her, and dared to touch her face. He had found that touching her was one of many things he couldn’t get enough of. “You’re the smartest person I know, and I guess it’s just going to take a little more getting used to. You did it back there though, it’ll come here too.”

The room was his? Nick wondered how long it had taken just to make the door to the place. “And if you think I’m going because I am obliged, you aren’t anywhere close. I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to get in a dance with you, even if it means putting on something that looks to be the least comfortable outfit a man can wear… in public.” He gave her a sly wink that may have said he’d wear worse privately. “If I’m going, I’m going to do my best to match you. To them you might be the heir apparent, but to me… you’re the person I want to wake up with, wearing nothing that would be appropriate for a ball.”

“I’d give you the grand tour, but…” He looked at the door like he could see through it. “I think you probably already know it better than I do. I’m considering serving tea, care to join me for a cup… if I promise to make it hot, and steamy?” He was working on which analogies were considered acceptable. That one had no chance of working though, Nick’s delivery was as off as tangle tongued Avy had been with Ignis.

If Nick thought that door was fancy, he should have seen the ones in the Royal Quarter. Tucked into the alcove afforded by the room’s entryway, she nearly melted beneath his touch. There were no eyes that could cast judgment her way and none that were treated to the fond smile she gave him as she leaned into his fingers. “You’re right. It’ll just take getting used to. I’ve never had to introduce a boy that wasn’t just a friend… and Mom already knew you. This side… they can seem pretty oblivious.”

They weren’t actually oblivious by any stretch of the word. Likely they were quite familiar with Nick if only for his extensive association with both of the twins for such a long time. But politics, what can you do. At his vehement declaration and the subsequent slew of innuendos, her blush was renewed and she quickly pushed the door open to admit their entrance. Within, an expansive guest room welcomed their arrival. The style was less classic and more modernist, streamlined and full of angles and sharp lines. Size wise it may have surpassed the twins’ rooms back in Rhydin, less a bedroom and more a suite. A floor to ceiling window offered a breathtaking view of the city in all of its hustling and bustling glory. Averia didn’t so much as look out the window before crossing the room to pass her hand over a flat panel beside it. The window darkened, shading the room with its tint. Then and only then did she turn back to Nick. “So… what were you saying about tea?”
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

“I think I understand. Most of the people I would tell already know, except for…” He wasn’t going to say the name out loud, though he did wonder how Addie was doing in that moment. Nick followed her into the room, it may have been the size of his entire place back in Rhydin, (excluding the shop downstairs). He was still wearing a smile at her blush, talking dirty was a new aspect to their relationship. Something that was brought home to him when she darkened the windows and turned his comment around on him. “I… am not even sure they’ve stocked the place with tea. I might just have to find something else to warm you up inside.”

The door lock was turned, just in case this was one of those places where people were okay with just walking in. It also gave him a chance to recover from the color that threatened to fill his own face. How long did it take until he could rattle those things off like her brother and not have it touch him? Did he even want that? With the door locked, the windows set against anyone looking in, he closed the distance between them and pulled Averia against him. “You might just have to settle for whatever is close at hand.” Leaning over, he kissed her and lifted her from the floor, locking his hands beneath her and making himself the closest thing at hand. This was something he would never get enough of.

They had days, but he was sure that it would seem like much less. He was just as sure that the reason would be that word of their arrival would spread and people would be looking to occupy the twins time. For now, they were hidden perhaps well enough to give them time for whatever came to mind. Nick set Averia on the back of a couch, and let his hands slip beneath her skirt to pull at the panties beneath. “How long before they hunt you down?”

“You’re pretty creative in your methods, I’m sure you’ll think of something.” She answered coyly, refusing to touch the subject of just who didn’t know about them yet. There were several important names on the list and Averia didn’t wish to think about it lest it ruin the trip. His hands on her and his body so close as he lifted her made it hard to think, hard to banter, and really hard to answer. The last thing she wanted to do was think about how little time she likely had. She groaned softly against his mouth and reluctantly drew back to look up at him. Even on the couch back, she still lacked the height needed to see eye to eye with him.

“We might have a little time before they want to pull us away for dinner and what not.” She mumbled, her hands grazing down his chest until they reached his belt. The fumbling was minimal, coming easier with practice, and she didn’t even have to look down to do it. Her mouth was still intent on his, grazing the corner of her lips and along his jaw. Nimble ministrations undid his belt and then his jeans. Her fingers pinched at his zipper, tugging it slowly downwards as she grinned against his skin.

Bang, bang, bang! A heavy pounding on the door put the kibosh on that. Averia nearly fell back off the couch but caught herself with a leg around Nick and whipped a look toward the door, her eyes wide. A moment later a muffled voice called through the door. “Ayo Nick! You up here yet?”

Dammit Alex.

A little time was all they’d need, right? Nick’s fingers had already begun to bunch the fabric of the back of her shirt. He turned toward her mouth, looking to claim the sweetness of her kisses, and return them with his own. Her mouth had gone, though he was content with the direction they’d traveled. He inhaled the lavender scent of her hair, making room for her on his neck and letting a sly smile slip across his mouth as the tug on his zipper began. It was short lived ecstasy, the banging on the door had been expected, just not quite this soon. He managed to aid Avy in staying on the couch, his hand on her back as quickly as her leg surrounded him.

“Uh… Yeah! I’m up here…” Nick called out to Alex, shoving something lacey into the pocket of his jeans and reluctantly closing them back up.

“I guess I’ll have to see if there actually is some tea in here somewhere.” He kissed Avy’s neck before setting her on the floor again. His hand went to his groin and adjusted himself to a position that was a bit more comfortable. “You get the door, I need a minute to… settle down I guess.” He gave her backside a groping swat before heading for the kitchen area of the sweet, and rummaging through doors until he found something. His eyes looked at her over his shoulder, a half grin on his face at almost being caught again. He did like to live dangerously sometimes.

“Course Alex will probably want something stronger.” He’d see if there was anything that would be considered that. He did his best to flatten the front of his pants, that included the bunched up underthings he’d stolen from her. “We’ll pick up there later.” It wasn’t a question, he’d simply said it as though it would be fact.

“Should be some stocked in the bottom cabinet.” She murmured with a soft sigh. Murder was strongly considered for a few moments and she wondered how long it would take them to miss Alex if she did. As he set her back down, she adjusted her skirt and tried not to blush too deeply at the additional airiness thanks to her lacking undergarments. Smoothing out her hair, she gave him one last lingering look and headed for the front door. Averia did her best to smooth her exasperation as she flipped the lock and tugged open the door. Tempted as she was to only crack it, she flung it wide as if they had nothing to hide.

“Hey Al. I was just showing Nick his room.” It wasn’t as though Alex had asked but still she felt the need to supply an answer. Her brother quirked a brow and looked past her before striding into the room with a hesitant grin for his friend.

“Pretty sweet digs right? What’re you looking for in there?” He asked. Behind him Avy glared daggers at her brother’s back, likely only enough that Nick could tell. Alex didn’t wait long enough to give Nick a chance to respond before adding on his true reason for coming up to begin with. “They just started construction on this new high rise a few blocks away. The site’s closed for now but dude, can you imagine the climb? We could probably make it up and back before dinner if you wanna go. Oh, and Avy, they’re looking for you downstairs. Something about blah blah blah, I didn’t listen.”

“Mmm, sweet.” Nick was about to answer about what he was looking for when his hand fell on a bottle and just produced it. It was set atop the counter, as he listened to Alex’s proposal. “How tall we talking? Like, get a picture that makes people sick from just looking?” He rose, turned to face them both, hiding the bottle from view. “Though, if we’re going climbing, we might not want to have any of this?” He already knew the answer before he’d asked the question. It did give him a reason for the look on his face though.

“That’d be pretty epic, especially if they’ve got one of those cranes attached to the top.” He pulled down three glasses and put a couple fingers worth of the dark liquid in each. “One drink, then we’ll all go do what needs doing.” He thought that Averia might just need one as well before dealing with whatever they wanted her for. Nick was pretty sure that no one outside of that room would approve of what he and Alex were planning to do. Avy, she might approve but be upset that she couldn’t go along too. “Can we get something to eat on the way? I’m suddenly starving.” The glasses were handed over, he lifted his own to theirs and slammed it quickly.

“I didn’t count or anything but probably thirty or forty stories so far. It’ll be a hotel eventually.” Alex shrugged a shoulder and reached for the filled glass. It wasn’t as though he needed it before such a trek but never was the wild child one to turn down a stiff drink. He tipped it back in quick order, swallowing down its contents before slamming the upended glass down on the counter. “Wooo, how ‘bout one more before we go scale that baby? And get you food or whatever.”

Averia was positively dour as she took up her glass. Unlike the boys, she didn’t shoot it. It wasn’t as though she couldn’t, it just wasn’t particularly dignified to guzzle it like they had. Already she was trying to step back into a demeanor more befitting a princess, her posture stiff even as she lifted the glass to her lip. A purse of her mouth came before she tipped it back slowly, drinking it down and cringing only slightly at the burn. When it was empty, she set it down and sighed. “Have fun guys… I’ll see you later or whatever.”

Parting ways made the walk back down to the Citadel’s public meeting area a lonely one. A single set of steps echoing in the high arching halls as she approached a set of double doors that surely spelled doom. Averia paused outside of them, one hand set to the left door. There were at least a dozen people beyond. It made her head such a loud place and in the moment, all she wanted was to find the boys and go climb dangerous buildings. Not as though she could have considering she was in a skirt and her boyfriend had stolen her underthings.

That was exactly what she didn’t need to be thinking about as she pressed the door open, but red cheeks and all, she pushed it open and stepped inside. Within three steps she was flanked on either side by men that towered over the little princess.

“Vel. Titus. How’re you both?” She asked softly, her stride refusing to falter despite their positioning beside her. The hall was great and in the middle of the room sat a long stretched table. It would likely be moved as soon as their meeting was concluded so that they could decorate for the Trinity Ball. Averia was no stranger to these briefings but that didn’t make them any less exhausting. On either side of the table sat an even row of Lucian Councilmembers. Almost all of them were significantly older than she was and it was impossible not to feel their eyes upon her as the two men led her to the head of the table. Often it was where her father sat but he wasn’t here and the meeting wasn’t for him anyways.

“Well enough and yourself?” The shorter of the two men asked, offering her over a thin transparent tablet that included most, if not all, of the information she needed. If they could streamline everything into that, Averia didn’t understand why they still felt the need to assert their influence in person. She took it into her grasp and watched it light up under her fingers.

“Hoping this goes quickly. I’ve much to do.” Though she said it with authority, Avy could only hope that they didn’t read the meaning behind her words.

“Of course. We’ve laid out a streamlined itinerary for your visit that should help with that.” Vel said, leaning over to flip a screen on the tablet. Meanwhile Titus pulled out the high backed chair at the head of the table. The flush of red touched her cheeks against as she conscientiously swept a hand down the back of her skirt as she sat, neatly crossing one leg over the other as the chair was scooted in beneath her. Looking down at the schedule in front of her, she tried not to frown. All she wanted to do was hang out with Nick and Alex and see her father. Instead…

“The Altissian delegates are getting in early…” She remarked quietly, pinning the inside of her cheek with her teeth. Vel and Titus took seats to either side of her, prompting Averia to look up. Twelve pairs of eyes were upon her, waiting for her to speak. “Gentlemen, I hope the evening finds you well. I’m sure you’re all most intent upon returning to your families as Yule approaches so in the interest of accomplishing that, shall we begin?”

What followed was a give and take, but mostly give, of various reports on the upcoming events. Why they thought she was at all interested in the ball she didn’t know. It had began twenty years ago as a symbol of an alliance forged between the three pieces of the Trinity that it was named after. Lucis, Valhalla, Nosgoth. Valhalla’s influence was muted by her mother’s express direction that their interference be minimal at best. In the meantime, Nosgoth had crumbled and Lucis had stood by, unable to help. Yet the parties to celebrate continued on. Most in Lucis, Averia guessed, hadn’t the slightest idea of what it meant and just what had happened to Nosgoth. It made her angry and her patience short. By the end of the briefing, Averia was exhausted. She was the first to rise as always and both Vel and Titus accompanied her out through the hall’s rear exit.

“I’ll be fine, I assure you. You know the trip from Rhydin is always tiring. I’ll likely head to dinner and then retire for the evening. Thank you gentlemen.” Averia waited in the back hall until the advisors had gone and then and only then did she allow herself to relax. Turning the opposite way they had gone, she was quick to get away from the King’s Hall. Muscle memory hurried her down the labyrinthine corridors until she could finally breathe again without fear of Council judgment. The Citadel was a hub of activity the further she got from the Hall and for once the introvert savored the hustle and bustle. It was easy to get lost in and so she did, weaving through the crowd with little notice until she could reach the grand entry’s towering windows. Unlike the ones up in the Citadel’s private quarters, these ones were not tinted and instead streamed the day’s dying light across the black marble under her feet. She slipped a hand into her pocket to retrieve her phone, pouting only a little bit at the slew of selfies the boys had sent her while she was tied up. They had made it to the top and the angle they caught was dizzying. Averia could almost feel the lurch in her stomach and the subsequent rush of adrenaline that came from such feats. But she wasn’t there, she was here with her feet on the ground. They were on their way back at the very least or so said a message a handful of minutes prior.

Beautiful, there she is. She heard it before she felt it, the strong arms slipping her waist from behind. It made her jump slightly before a small smile worked its way across her mouth, her cheeks flushing. Surely Nick knew better than to so publicly wrap her up. As the thought registered, her smile faltered and she twisted around in the firm and only slightly familiar loop of masculine arms. She didn’t have to look up nearly as far as she would have to meet Nick’s gaze but that was only because it wasn’t Nikolai with his arms around her.

Marcus?! Let me go!” She hissed, wriggling her arms up in between them in preparation to get away from him. He crushed her slight frame against him though, unwilling to give up so easily. In her squirming she felt his mouth press to her forehead which was exactly when she got her left arm free. No sooner had he kissed her did her fingers flex into a tight fist aimed at his mouth as she pulled back. The connection was solid and he let her go, his hands coming up to his mouth. Her knuckles stung but the trickle of red between his fingers said he assuredly hurt worse. “What in the goddess’ name is your problem?!”

“I should be asking you that very question.” His muffled words came from behind his hand as he pressed at his mouth. The Prince of Altissia’s gaze was hard, furious as he looked down at her. Averia was undaunted by such a thing. After all, she was the daughter of Claire Caelum. Very little could intimidate her.

“You’ve no right to ask me a damn thing. I told you this summer that it wasn’t going to work. That doesn’t mean you get to touch me.” Keeping her voice low as if it would avoid a scene, it did little to hold off the stares in the wake of her neat jab to the man’s face. Dainty princess she was not, even if she sucked back the desire to cry as she turned on her heel and ran.
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Averia Caelum
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It could have been seen as being mean, though that was the last thing in Nick’s mind as he sent images to Averia. He liked to get under her skin, though not as an irritant so much as a need that had to be sated. His front pocket was a constant reminder of how close they’d come to meeting such a need. If Alex had noticed his preoccupation with dipping the tips of his fingers into the right hand pocket of his pants, he’d said nothing about it. That was probably for the best considering that he’d only just forgiven his friend for breaking his promise concerning his sister.

There was a part of Nick that wished Avy had worn pants, something with a pocket so that every silenced message would send the vibrations from the phone into her thigh. It had become a distraction, and one he probably should have left far behind him as they climbed well above the city. He liked being distracted by thoughts of her though, even if it made him forget parts of the climb to the top of the unfinished tower. He easily donned his look at me smile for the pictures. Just one more thing he always wanted from her, to look at him with awe or even fury. About the only thing he didn’t believe he would be able to take was disappointment. No, fear was another thing he never wanted to see in her face.

Alex was as sure footed as anyone he knew, the pair of them may have been the best team for any adventure like this. They were beyond the need to call out directions, instinctively moving in ways that best complimented each other. That had developed over years of simply acting by impulse, no matter how crazy the situation. They’d always been together, at least until the day he’d admitted he was seeing Avy. Alex had been mad at him before, stupid little things that didn’t amount to a candle as compared to the hurt he’d seen in his friend’s eyes. Part of Nick wondered if he’d ever be forgiven by his friend, and if so would they ever be the same? Somewhere in the last couple of weeks, Alex had become less hostile. Nick was relieved, the two of them had shared so much over the years that he felt the loss almost physically. Someone else was behind the change, whether that was Averia or her mother Nick didn’t know. He hadn’t asked either. Things were almost normal now, they still worked together like a right and left hand tying shoestrings in the dark. It just happened.

There was a certain amount of truth in their need to do this thing alone. As good as the reconciliation felt, it didn’t become whole until they’d gotten to the more precarious points of the climb. Up there they only had themselves, and each other to look to for help. Needs were second nature to them, seeing a problem and knowing that together they could overcome, it was enough to reforge a bond between them. Alex wasn’t losing Nick, or his sister. Nick wasn’t losing his best friend, they were simply evolving into something more and hopefully something even closer. Talk was less important, they’d done it as they climbed sure. It was the same things they’d always talked about, the real reminder of their bond came from the first obstacle that required both of them to cross it. The true depth of it was shown in how easily it had transpired as one moved across a gap, with support that was given to the other as he moved to follow. Words meant less than action, at least they did to Nick.

There were plenty of good pictures, there would even be video though those were not sent to Averia. It was something best seen together. Maybe they’d even find a way to all be in the same place for long enough for that to happen. Alex was less confident on those questions. Up they’d gone, as far as they could and only after they’d taken in everything did they decide it might be time to head back to the real world and the weight of duties that fell upon one of the missing two from their quartet. Nick loved his time with Averia, but even she had to see that a huge part of him missed doing this with her brother. Maybe she had acted, Nick didn’t know for sure. He could see her doing that on his behalf, knowing that where Alex would have refused Nick, he wouldn’t say no to talking to her.

Back on the ground, they walked together, the pair of them so similar despite their opposing appearances. They joked, and laughed through the city streets, doing tricks just to get a reaction from any pretty girl that might have struck Alex’s eye. Not that any of them could pin him down. He liked to hear them gasp, to see them look at him with want. Nick knew that it would take more than that to ever pin down his wild friend. Truth was he didn’t know if anyone really had it in them. As a challenge they cajoled one another to make the ascent to the doors of the Citadel without touching any stairs. Neither of them wanted to go first, not because they didn’t think it was possible, rather they didn’t want to show the way and make it easier. Left and right hands as they were, they did it together, each foraging their own path, and one that always seemed to work with the other. They entered the place together, with every intention of finding Averia, assuming she’d managed to break free of whatever official duties she’d been forced into.

Nick was working on a text to send to her telling her they’d returned, and where they were. Not that he was overly familiar with the place, but he did recognize the spot they’d exited the portal in. He even took a picture to give her a visual of the place they were now passing. “I’m telling you, she’ll either flip out because of those pictures or be pissed that we went without her.” For what must have been the thousandth time, Nick brushed his fingers across the lace that was in his pocket. He hit send, but they’d likely be long gone by the time that the message reached her phone.

The further they got into the Citadel the more likely they were to find themselves amidst a knot of chaos in the grand entry. Confusion painted many faces as gossip spread like wildfire. The Princess’s name was on their tongue but what had happened? Many eyes were turned toward the way she had gone and few even realized the Prince of Lucis had shown up since they were too busy watching a different prince follow after the future Queen. Tall, dark, and conventionally handsome, Marcus d’Altissia was the picture of royalty. Or he would have been if it weren’t for the red trailing down his chin from a swelling lip.

“Uhhhhhhhhh…” Alex trailed off, ever eloquent in his confusion. He scrubbed a hand through his hair, messing it up in just such a way that always drove the girls crazy. It was unintentional now but still garnered him a few looks as he pushed through the crowd, pausing only to ask someone what had happened.

“The Princess punched the Altissian Prince.” They explained in low tones to the prince, starry eyed that a member of the royal family had spoke to them. “Then she ran off that way.”

“Hnnnn, thanks.” Alexander huffed and continued on his way, glancing back only briefly for Nikolai. “Mr. Perfect’s back at it again.”

Nikolai was a lot of things, impetuous and over eager at times, sure. He had many virtues and faults. Deaf was not ranked among the faults. He’d stayed out of the way, letting Alex take the lead in discovery, but discovery it seemed led to an intense kind of feeling deep in his stomach. He heard the girls as they fawned over Alex. Let them, Nick didn’t care if they even looked his way. What he did care about had run in the direction they’d pointed. This was important, not that they’d indicated the direction, it was the verb used. Averia hadn’t hurried, walked quickly or done anything else. Nick heard run, there was no sign of Marcus.

Nick didn’t need to ask, a look around told enough of the whereabouts of Mr. Perfect. He didn’t learn, Avy’d mentioned what happened while he’d been gone. There were few things that sent him over the edge. He knew that Avy was his, she’d said as much too. He knew that she was beautiful, that other men would flirt with her. He wasn’t okay with that happening, except that he knew that Averia had no interest in them. Marcus… Mr.****ing Perfect… he was entitled, and thought that meant to whatever woman he desired. Nick understood the type, the harder Avy declined, the more he’d end up wanting her.

“I heard, Alex.” A dark expression had swallowed Nick’s normal grin. He wasn’t waiting for Alex so much. The girl had pointed the way and Nick was already moving that direction at a quickened pace. In his head, he did his best to call out to her. That wasn’t his talent, call as he might, unless she was specifically looking for him she’d never hear him amidst all the people present between them. He needed Alex, if anyone could break through it’d be the one bonded to her through the womb. Nick didn’t trust many people, especially where something like this was concerned. There might only be two or three that he would, Alex just happened to be one of those few. As much as he wanted to run ahead, there were too many turns between him and Averia to leave to fate, or chance.

“You’d think he’d have learned…” The internal mutterings were now making themselves quite well known, at least to Alex. Nick… Nikolai, the child and the adult both had cultivated disdain for the Prince of Altissia. Avy’s father might have liked the notion of him, but he had no clue what the prince was really like. Would he still like the notion if he knew? Nick could only hope not, that politics and ties were not more important than Averia’s happiness. Dammit Alex, Nick wanted to run, to sprint full out until his body gave way.

“You’d think.” Alex said quietly as he pushed through the crowd. It would have been easy to run, to cut through the gathering like a hot knife through butter. But that would have drawn even more attention to the situation and he was certain that such a thing was the last thing any of them needed. Less than gently he shoved until he broke free for the wide mouth of a long hall. Further down he just barely caught Marcus as he turned a corner. Alex’s jaw tightened and his steps quickened in hot pursuit. Far from the curious eyes of the crowd he turned the same corner in time to see the prince catch his sister by the wrist, spinning her until he could urge her back against the nearest wall.

“Averia, why won’t you talk to me?” Marcus implored, caging her in with a hand to either side of her shoulders. She went to duck his arm only for him to catch her and keep her in place.

“We’ve been over this, Marc. It just wasn’t going to work between us.” It was something she had told him numerous times since their last awkward meeting in which she had told him she didn’t want to see him any longer unless it was in an official capacity. This was hardly official. “Besides, I’ve got a boyfriend now.”

“Who?” He asked as if he didn’t believe her. The lift of the young woman’s jaw read defiance even from afar and though he was a foot taller than her, she still managed to look down her nose at him.

“Nikolai. Not as though it’s any of your business.” At her sides her hands had balled into fists, her body a tense and coiled spring ready to pop. If she had to punch him again she would, consequences be damned.

“After all the time we’ve spent together, really? Him? So you’re just going to whore yourself around to any common trash now, is that it?” The vitriolic disdain dripped from every word and his accusation so caught her off guard that she could only stare at him aghast.

Later Nick would be proud of her in her defiance. Later he’d have time to process the entire situation. When Alex finally broke the semi-hurried pace for something more true to what Nick was feeling, he was glad to have the space to cut loose. He’d caught sight of the prince as well, and the sight only made him move faster. He came around a corner to find the prince daring to put his hands on Averia. His brain heard every word of the exchange, the problem in the moment was, Nikolai only heard one word. Whore? He should have been shocked, he might have been in June. This was December, and Nick had preferred death to living with someone else. He wouldn’t begrudge Marcus for calling him trash, part of him knew that was true to many who knew his origins. The other word, that drove the final nail home in Nick’s psyche.

Nick was moving on instinct. Part of him thought he heard Alex say something to him. Something that perhaps was meant to make him stop and think. He’d be grateful for that later too, but thought was not part of action at this point. Nick pulled back into his most recent confrontations from within the rings. He sprung forward, hands planting, body flying. He wished he could fly sometimes, from the heights that he and Alex had so recently conquered. His feet, locked into one another as his legs wrapped around the Prince of Altissia. A twist of torso, and plenty of momentum had them both airborne. Marcus caught unaware, and Nick looking down with fury at the man who dared call Avy anything less than princess.

Straddling the torso of Marcus, Nick began to rain down blows at him. He didn’t care if Marcus raised a defensive arm to cover his face. He’d simply punch harder and drive the man’s arms into the face he couldn’t reach until another opening showed itself and his fist could find the man’s face. Everything moved slowly, time had a way of perverting itself around such events. It would stretch and leave a person believing that more time had passed than actually did. Nick felt like he’d been on top of Marcus for hours, where only a score of seconds might have passed before he felt hands on him pulling him from the person he wanted to keep pummeling until he fused with the floor. Futilely he fought against the hands on him, not knowing who had him or what they’d hoped to gain. Marcus was still moving, still breathing, something about that made Nick furious again. Strangely enough, it never occurred to him to tap into his abilities. Maybe he just figured that Mr. Perfect wasn’t worth a quick and easy end.

Alex had tried to stop him at first but when Nick went after Marcus, it gave him time to sidestep the toppled pair so he could get to his sister. An arm slipped her shoulders and he ushered her away from them even as she tried to resist. The last thing Averia wanted was for Nick to get into trouble and this was most assuredly trouble.

“Ave. I’ve got this. Trust me. Go.” Alex whispered into his twin’s ear before pushing her further down the hall. With her reluctantly on her way he turned back to the brawling boys. It was less a brawl and more a beatdown and some part of him was reluctant to step in. But as the fight lessened in the smarmy prince’s limbs, Alex knew he had to do something. Nick wasn’t going to stop. Amidst flying fists, he got his arms around his friend’s midsection and yanked him back. Freakishly strong despite his smaller stature, he ducked his head to avoid any resistant elbows that Nick may have thrown. The ruckus had roused renewed attention though thankfully (or perhaps not) it was of a more official nature than the gawking public.

“Okay, you proved your point. Settle, man.” He wasn’t going to let go until he was certain that Nick wasn’t going to go back after Marcus. By then, a combination of Council and Crownsguard had filled the hall to find out what the commotion was. Two got Marcus back to his feet and three turned to face Nick and Alex. The latter imposed himself before the former, his hands raised. “Look, it’s not what it looks like.”

“Not what it looks like?!” Marcus, beaten and bloodied, managed to yell once he was back on his feet. “He assaulted me, unprovoked at that! I want him arrested immediately.”

“Unprovoked? Really?” Alex turned to stare at the man, incredulous. He had to look past two guards and a Councilman to do so but for a moment it looked like Alex might go after the man himself.

“Alexander. What is going on?” From behind them came Ignis’s voice, cutting through the din to silence almost everyone. Marcus began to speak up only to be silenced by the lift of a gloved hand by the older advisor. When he lowered it, he looked back to the blonde Prince, the proverbial golden child of Lucis. “Explain, please.”

“Mister Perfect over there decided to get handsy with my sister and when Avy turned him down, he called her a whore. That’s what happened. He’s lucky Nick got to him first or else I’d have killed him myself.” The curl of his lip was as unforgiving as his words even if he knew that Nick very likely would have kept going until he hit that point himself. But that wasn’t the point. The goal was to take the focus off Nick and put it back onto parties that were far more easily forgiven.

“I see. And her Highness, where is she?” Ignis’ questioning continued. Alex nodded down the hall.

“I sent her away. She’s pretty upset. Can Nick go check on her?” The man was the closest thing to a blood uncle that he had in Lucis so it was no surprise that Ignis nodded after a few moments.

“He may if you’ll stay to answer any other questions we may have.” It was a compromise, or something close, one that Alex took without hesitation, letting Nick go fully to push him the way he had sent Averia. Though he said nothing out loud to his friend, his expression said everything. Go.
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Nick Allen
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nick didn’t look ashamed of his actions. To the contrary, he looked both defiant, and ready to continue to take Marcus apart regardless of the guards that were keeping them separated. His entire body was tense, if Alex let up one bit Nick would have been free and likely in chains right now. He had a lot to be thankful to his friend for, though it wouldn’t come from him until he managed to settle down. There were too many words going back and forth between Alex and everyone else. Alex didn’t give him words, expression was enough to let him know that it was time for him to go. He fixed Marcus with a last look, a strange little smile that he couldn’t recall ever wearing before though it felt familiar to him.

He headed away from the pair of princes and their full house of guards. Alex had the advantage here as his hand was Ignis high, especially with the bloody knuckled assailant leaving the area. Averia, where had she gone? Nick moved down the corridor, affecting that official hurry pace that he and Alex had through the lower levels of the Citadel. He was in a hurry, the why shouldn’t matter to anyone, though Nick’s dishevelled look would be a focal point for some. “Avy?” Had he done the wrong thing? He wasn’t sure anymore, all he knew was that she’d gone, and he was, much as he had begun, still searching for her. He wasn’t sorry, not about the damage to Marcus at least. Even now he knew he’d have done nothing different on that note. He understood that Avy was capable of having done it too. That would have changed things, but she hadn’t moved, or was it that he hadn’t given her time?

Avy, he was still calling for her. If she couldn’t hear his voice, maybe something more intimate? He didn’t know what wasn’t possible, so he looked at it as though anything could be. This wasn’t Rhydin, maybe those rules didn’t apply here? That wouldn’t stop him from trying. “Avy… slow down and wait for me.”

Averia knew better than to try and traverse the main entry, instead slipping down a side corridor in a roundabout way to try and get back to her room. Much like baseball, there was no crying in the public eye so she quickly found a half shaded wall to hold up as she tried to compose herself. Sinking as her back slid down the cool wall, she set her head against her knees, one hand held to the hemline of her skirt since it was most certainly not the most dignified of poses. It was quieter there and she could finally hear herself think. She could also hear her name on Nick’s lips, calling for her though for a moment she wasn’t sure if her mind was playing tricks on her or if she heard him in stereo both mentally and auditorily.

“Nick?” She answered softly. In the silent hall if he came close enough her voice may carry. Avy lifted her head to look down the dim corridor to the way she had come from. Beyond, far beyond, it was still a mess of voices and thoughts and she tried not to push her conscious too far lest she give herself a headache sifting through them to find him. What had he been thinking? This wasn’t Rhydin, he couldn’t just beat down whoever he wanted. There were rules and laws and… the politics. Ugh, the fallout. Just the thought alone made her groan and set her forehead back down on her knees.

Averia’s form against the wall was spotted easily as Nick finally closed the distance between them. For a moment he had to go back in his memory to see if he recalled anything happening to her. He didn’t remember making contact when he put what Charlie called an aerial tea bag on Marcus. Was there something else he’d missed? Quietly he knelt down next to her, his eyes on her alone. “Avy, are you okay? He didn’t… we didn’t hurt you did we?” He needed to include himself in there. Everything was a blur at the moment, he barely remembered hearing the voice of Alex sending her away.

Reaching for her was easy, and there could have been an ironic though in his head at how it had taken this long to realize it. Nick’s knuckles showed the evidence of his crime in blood and abrasions. He lifted her chin with his fingers to make her see him. “I **** up, didn’t I?” The reactions of everyone told him that was true. He couldn’t say he wouldn’t do it again given the choice. He honestly never made a choice, he just acted becoming a tool of impulse and chaos in doing so. “I’m sorry I upset you, them, everyone… well almost. I told you once though, no one will disrespect you where I can hear it.” Not without feeling it the next day, or maybe two in this case? Mr. Perfect was up, and communicating, it couldn’t be all that bad. Not like it would have been if Alex hadn’t intervened.

“I’m fine. I’m fine.” She mumbled, lifting her chin as he knelt beside her. Sniffing, she dragged the back of her hand across her eyes. It smeared her mascara and left her to follow up with a swipe of her fingers to clean it up. The touch of his bloodied hands didn’t make her cringe away but it did send a ripple of tension through her jaw. What had been meant as a fun, relaxing trip was fast turning into a disaster. The urge to run had never been worse. She could have quite easily done so, losing Nick in the halls as her muscle memory spirited her away through the maze of halls and rooms in the Citadel.

“I punched him first. He came up behind me… I thought… I thought it was you.” For some reason that limned her words with the shame she had felt. Averia should have known the difference without turning around. For all of the fire that the little royal had, it seemed to sputter out with a quiver of her bottom lip. It was a sad testament to the expectations that had been set upon her shoulders. Sit down, be quiet, do what you’re told, never bat a lash, don’t speak up, and most definitely never lash out. She was supposed to be the picture of perfect composure and today she had been anything but. “I just want to go… anywhere but here. Come with me?”

Go with her, Nick agreed without knowing or caring where that would be. He kissed her temple before rising, doing his best to understand how it must have felt for her to be tricked by her own want for it to have been him. “Of course, why would you think anything different?” His hand went out to her, a solid connection to him that she could use to pull herself upright. “I doubt anyone else would have dared to…” He didn’t blame her for punching Marcus. She certainly hadn’t asked for him to get so bold. He looked over his shoulder feeling a twinge of guilt at the voices he could barely hear in Alex’s direction.

“You lead. I’ll just end up getting lost, then you’ll have to send search parties out for the villain that knocked the prince on his ass.” Nick tried to lighten the mood, though he was probably doing a poor job of it. He reverted back to the thing that he knew best, fixing her with the ‘I’m adorable’ grin hoping that she hadn’t figured out yet that it meant he didn’t know what else to do or say. He didn’t follow her, he took up a place next to her and simply let her determine their direction and speed. “They gonna make me go home, or…” Nick’s shoulder went up in a shrug as he tried to pass off something worse as not really an option. “...lock me in the dungeon?” Did the Citadel have a dungeon? He could only think it did. Places like this had dungeons, or towers or some other dark hole they stuck people in and forgot about them, right?

“You knocked Alex on his ass? Because that… that… other twat doesn’t deserve his title.” Her frown was dismayed but still she slipped her hand into his for leverage as she got back to her feet awkwardly. If there was anyone that could handle the onslaught of questioning smooth everything over, it would be Alex. Averia understood why some thought he was preferable to her when it came to succeeding their father. He was charming and diplomatic and handsome and she… she was just Avy. She brushed her free hand over her skirt to smooth it before leading him down the dim hallway. It was a seldom used corridor and it was Averia’s hope that they would see exactly zero people on the way back to the access stairwell hidden away in one of those clever spots that allowed the staff to move efficiently through the massive building.

“Dungeon? The Crownsguard has a substation just outside of the Citadel… but if they wanted to be assholes, they’d just take you out of the city before nightfall and see how you fare with the daemons.” She shrugged gently. Surely she was kidding, right? Her expression said she wasn’t, her brow furrowed and her mouth pale from how tight her lips pressed one another. “Alex’ll handle it… it’ll be fine. Walk me back to my room in the meantime?”

It would still be worth it so far as Nick was concerned. He snorted at her comment about Alex and Marcus. Would he ever get used to the titles? He’d do his best. “I’m sorry that I wasn’t here when you needed me to be. He’d have had to find a way to take my spot if I had been.” Not that Nick would have been quite that informal with her. Not yet anyway, their relationship was still relatively unknown on the Rhydin side. Here it might be barely a rumor, now.

No matter how hard he tried to memorize their progress, Nick missed things. A turn here or there lost because he couldn’t help but have his attention drawn to the girl at his side. He might need to know sometime, now there didn’t seem to be a huge press for him to. “So, that thing that they needed you for… was it important?” He had noticed a lack of people on their route, something he hadn’t thought possible, but his idea of what it was like living here was just what his imagination fed him. “They won’t, say, be looking for you again in ten minutes will they?” He was used to her time being limited, but this felt more extreme than what he knew.

“It’s not your fault. You can’t be with me constantly, definitely not while we’re here…” It was the deliverance of an unfortunate fact. Things in Lucis were simply different than they were in Rhydin. Her teeth chewed at the inside of her cheek as she pondered that thought. If he was in it for the long haul, he would have to get used to such things. Maybe it would make him change his mind… she didn’t know. No, she couldn’t think like that. Nick had come back to her after going almost two decades into the past at her behest, going so far as to arrange his own death in an effort to make it back to Averia. The strangeness of Lucis was nothing in comparison.

“Just the Council reminding me that they run my life when I’m here. I was… supposed to meet the Altissian delegation before dinner but evidently that happened a little earlier than expected. I’ve got six things to do tomorrow and then we can leave for Duscae sometime in the afternoon if all goes well. They want me back a few days before the Ball… I figure Alex’ll get fitted then, you can too.” Soon it dawned on her that he wasn’t exactly asking about the overall but rather the short term and she was again reminded of the missing lace he had tucked into his pocket. “You and Alex ate while you were out, right? So… if we skipped dinner so I could tend to your hands and you can… um… comfort me… they would forgive our absence…” Sure they’d likely still get called to dinner but it was a nice thought.

“It would be nice if I could be there all the time, I’m not sure it would help anything much if you were trying to get things done.” He didn’t say how, but some part of him figured she would already know. “I suppose that means you’ll have to deal with not so charming Marcus at some point too? Maybe he figured out what no means?” Nick could hope, but some part of him knew that this would possibly make matters worse. There was a reason he’d preferred to duel in armed combat, and hadn’t made any attempt in unarmed. He relied on his hands too much for other things. His knuckles hurt, not that he’d never banged them up this way before. He and Alex seemed to attract this kind of thing from others. There seemed to be two types of people where they were concerned. Those who loved them, and those who did not. A great deal of where they fell depended upon how interested the girls they were with became in Alex.

Another, and perhaps newer reason had to do with Averia. That thought sent a slight flush to his face, or at least the thought of what he needed his hands for did. “Comforting you might take a while. You’re quite distraught after all.” He smiled at her and bumped his side against her shoulder. He had eaten, that of course didn’t mean he wouldn’t eat again, but for the opportunity to spend more time with her, Nick would gladly forgo another meal. They did eventually exit the maze of corridors, stopping at a door that made his look plain by comparison. “So… what happens when you get older? Will you still be running back and forth between Rhydin, or spending most of your time here?” He had no hope that she’d manage to spend more time with her mother. Alex might be able to pull that off, but not her.

“I can’t even think straight when you’re around so I think I’d never get anything of import done.” It sounded like a bad thing but it still had her mouth curling in a private sort of smile that put a glimmer of mischief in her eyes as she snuck a glance aside at him. Her hand kept a loose hold on his, careful not to grip too tightly and further exacerbate his damaged knuckles. She supposed he likely would have played tough if she had and as cute as that was, it wasn’t quite worth the pain. If there was anything she didn’t want to do to Nick, it was hurt him in any way. She didn’t pause long at the grandiose double doors the served as the entrance to her bedroom, pushing both open to allow their entry. The winged skull motif set into the doors split right down the middle, permitting the little princess and her guest access to what could have only been described as a palatial bedroom within. Averia shut the doors behind them, a press of her palm to a panel beside them locking them with a series of clicks.

“I…” She began then bit at her own tongue. The answer wasn’t one she wanted to say aloud, something that she had dwelled on for many an hour especially now that she and Nick were properly dating. Stepping further into the room, she kicked out of her shoes and ran both hands back through her hair. Less a room and more a full functioning apartment within the Citadel, her quarters were separated into a thick L-shape. A sitting area offered plush furniture and a wide blank panel on the wall that was easily assumed to be a television or something close judging by the inset speakers that flanked it on either side. Beyond that, a partially partitioned section gave a glimpse of her sleeping area, at the center of which sat a four poster bed with a canopy of navy and gold that seemed to mimic the sky beyond the city’s horizon. Around the L’s corner, two doors led to only gods’ knew where, both shut for the time being. “Come here first.”

Avy led him through it all, turning to catch the lefthand door to open it. The trek gave her time to consider how to answer as they stepped into an equally ridiculous bathroom drenched in rose gold shades and soft lighting. At a pedestal sink, she set the water running and sifted through a cabinet for the miscellaneous things she might need for his fists. “When my grandfather died, Da moved to Insomnia full time… he had been splitting his time between Lucis and Rhydin about seventy-five, twenty-five. By then he and mom were only just technically together, you know, for reasons or whatever… but mom couldn’t come with full time. That’s when Alex and I started splitting our time between the two evenly. Until he was coronated, he had some leeway… I would too… but if something happens to him and it’s my turn… I’d have to come back to the Citadel full time.”

Whatever Nick was expecting, and after seeing his space it was a lot, this was even grander than he’d imagined. “And I thought your room at the manor was huge. You could cut this out of the building, and set it down anywhere.” He wasn’t diverting the conversation, he’d asked the question he wanted the answer to. Following her into the bathroom, he made for the sink to clean the semi-dried blood from his hands and better assess the damage done.

“So, things would stay the same for a while at least. It’s not like your dad is old or anything.” His knuckles were split in places, but nothing that wouldn’t heal over time. Bruising was already settling in around them. He let the warm water flow over them, the initial sting giving way after a minute or two. Once he was satisfied that no new bleeding was happening Nick offered his hands to Averia. “That’s a good thing, part of me was afraid that you’d turn nineteen and be expected to live here full time.” He looked up to indicate the building itself. “I’m not sure I could take being away from you like that.” He was sure that he couldn’t, even if he wasn’t so sure what he’d do about it. “Think they’d let me come here to visit you?” Strange plots pushed themselves to the front of his mind. “I mean if I promise not to start another international incident?” He wanted to smile at the words, but only managed to look at her with that half awed, half hungry expression.

“Should I ever need more rooms, they’ve offered to expand this area into the adjoining quarters. Hypothetically speaking, I could have the whole floor to myself if I wanted… but I’ve never really had a reason for that so… this is it. Alex is a few floors up. He wanted a better view.” She tipped her gaze toward the ceiling wondering if her brother had made it back to his room yet or if he was still being interrogated about what had happened downstairs. To ward off the frown, she nodded at his understanding of the state of things. “So long as the peace holds. Peacetime Kings last far longer since they don’t have to do as much to protect… things.”

Turning his hands over in hers, she pursed her lips at the sight of the sorry state they were in. Unscrewing the cap of an opaque jar, she dipped a finger in to scoop out a goopy salve that she applied to the splits in his skin. It would sting but it would also cut the healing time in half if not more while also preventing infections. Smoothing it over his broken flesh, she grazed her thumb over the back of his hand and sighed. “Thankfully that day shouldn’t come for awhile. Until then, I can come and go as I please… and um, bring whomever I wish. So… you can come see me here if you want. I don’t care what anyone says.”

Nick bit at his lip, acting tough while she applied the ointment to his hands. “You could have an entire family up here and still never see them.” The place was huge after all, though he was sure that wasn’t what she’d meant by telling him that. He might have been a bit upset with himself now for having injured himself, if only because this was the most time they’d had alone together since they’d arrived and she was spending it fixing him instead of doing other things. He watched her wrap his hands, the anticipation had been driving him near madness.

He moved quickly once she was done, putting his hands on her waist and lifting her to his lips. She would have to get used to that from him, though at least he did wait until they were alone once more. “Bedroom?” It was not really a question, more of a demand for her to tell him where because that is where he was taking her.

“Could… that’s sort of the point though. The floors can act independently as standalone residences for whomever they allow to live in the Citadel. Me, Alex, Mom at one point. You too eventually maybe?” She looked up at him, her gaze unreadable for a brief flicker. With his hands wrapped, she capped the salve in time for him to lift her for a kiss. It was a balm all of its own, soothing her worries with the mere touch of his lips. Averia gave him a soft nod in response. They had passed her bedroom area on the way to the bathroom so it was only a matter of doubling back until they could get themselves tangled up beneath the canopy of artificial stars.

(To the player behind Averia, thank you so much for your time and effort on this! <3)
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Averia Caelum
Young Wyrm
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Far beyond the high walls of Insomnia lay a sprawling landscape blanketed with the white of winter. Leide had come and gone, a blur in the rearview of the lead car in a string of three. It was no small feat that Alex had talked the Crownsguard into letting the trio have a car of their own, sans driver, but sure enough, the blonde was all grins behind the wheel of the powerful vehicle. Their escorts remained close though, never giving them more than a few car lengths distance until at last they reached the looming country manor set in the hills of Duscae. The driveway was a long, winding thing, plowed clear of snow to lay out a stretch of blacktop to guide them to its end. No sooner was the car in park before the ever attentive manor staff had opened both doors of the coupe. Bags were passed off, the two car escort was soon on their way, and the three were left to what lay beyond the arched doorway.

“Think Aunt Luna’s here?” Alex asked as they made their way up the front walk. For all intents and purposes, to the Lucian people, the King was still married to the twins’ mother. In actuality, they had split long ago, quietly and with little fanfare as they maintained their separate lives in different realms. Since her ascension, Claire’s time in Lucis was always limited, leading to long stretches in which the couple seldom spoke let alone saw each other. It had only been inevitable that their paths would diverge but no one spoke of the fact that their parents kept other company. Averia led the way, leaving the boys to trail behind her as she climbed the steps and paused just outside the door.

“Silly question.” She answered, glancing back at her brother before taking a breath and opening the door. Aunt Luna, after which Averia took her middle name, would assuredly be inside with their father. The Oracle was seldom away from his company unless her duties required her travel, so it was no surprise when the woman’s merry laughter met their ears as she stepped into the manor’s foyer. Of average height, she was a thin woman with long, blonde hair and crystalline blue eyes. The ease of her smile read genuine warmth that made it all the way into the smile lines at the corners of her eyes as she bestowed it upon the twins and their companion. Averia couldn’t help but smile. “Aunt Lunafreya, we didn’t know you’d be here!”

Alex snorted but eased past his sister to wrap the blonde woman in a hug. Luna beamed and squeezed the boy tight before letting him go, her hands to either side of his shoulders as she looked him over. “I swear you’ve grown since I last saw you. How’s that possible?”

“He’s obviously been eating his vegetables.” Averia deadpanned, glancing past the pair for any sign of her father. Nothing so far, she looked back to them then over her shoulder to Nick, her smile encouraging as she tipped her gaze back to Luna. “I suppose then I could introduce you to Nikolai. Aunt Luna, this is Nikolai Allen. Nick, this is my Aunt Lunafreya Nox Fleuret.”

“Alexander’s friend.” Luna supplied, looking to the twins for confirmation. Focusing less on Averia’s pink cheeks and more on Alex’s nod, she offered a hand out to Nick. “I’ve heard a lot about you over the years. It’s nice to finally meet you.”

Alex drove much like he did everything, to the fullest. He may have exceeded Nick in this, and there were plenty of reasons. That wasn’t why Nick hadn’t asked to drive at all. Alex knew the way, and there would have been an adventure if Nick had been at the wheel. One that had them hopelessly lost on some byway backwater road in the middle of Duscae… if they were lucky. It was better this way, besides it gave him plenty of time to look at Avy as the drove. He’d chastised himself a time or two for not paying attention to where they were going, or at least the how they’d gotten there. There were two escort cars though, what was there to worry about?

Nick self-consciously allowed his things to be taken. He wasn’t used to having others do the things he could just as easily do himself. It was odd to see the twins take to it so easily, even though he understood the how and why of it. He shoved his hands into his pockets, the only thing that kept him from either grabbing hold of Avy’s or picking up some of the things coming out of the trunk of the car. He soothed his thoughts with the knowledge that was what they were paid to do. The door approached them too quickly, Nick was only just picking up on the conversation between the twins. Mostly because the name they’d used he’d heard before, but never really seen. With that association, he could have pictured Aunt Luna as old Pete the whino in the alley behind the forge.

Once inside, Nick did what he’d always done when meeting new people. He pulled out the huge grin and made sure to nod and pay attention whenever he heard his name mentioned. It was always difficult for him to know what was expected in a handshake, especially with women or girls. There were those like Averia, and Aunt Claire that gave as good as they got. There were some that he’d squeezed a little harder than they’d expected, unless that was some kind of flirting. Great now he was blushing, it was directly connected to Avy’s though. Alex’s friend wasn’t wrong, he was just much more than that now. He took Luna’s hand in his, erring on the Aunt Claire side of things where handshakes counted. “I’ve heard of you too, Avy… I mean Averia’s quite proud to have your name as her middle name.” See, now he had a face to go with the name, and he managed to remember something. Averia might just be proud of him? “I hope my tagging along this time isn’t an inconvenience.” He wasn’t shy, that would be evidenced by that Allen I’m adorable face.

“Of course not.” Luna said cheerfully, handling the handshake with practiced ease despite the elegant length and narrow width of her hand and fingers. As sweet as the moment was, Averia’s attention was instead pulled by footsteps in the hall. At the edge of the entryway, Noctis came to a stop. Dressed far more informally than business in the city would have dictated, he looked almost casual in the lean he took, his arms folded over his chest as he eyed the gathering.

“Are we hanging out in here instead? There’s a perfectly good fire going in the den.” He said, announcing his presence to the others. Beside Averia, she felt Alex go tense. The back of her hand brushed his wrist, reassuring him with a smile as she looked to their father. Luna was the first to speak though.

“Haven’t you heard, Noct? It’s all the rage these days.” There was no lacking affection in the way they looked at one another and Averia almost averted her gaze on that fact alone. For a moment, she wondered if she and Nick looked at one another that way and didn’t realize it. It seemed she would have a blush to match his when she finally looked back to her father.

“Sorry, Da, I was just introducing Luna to Nick. You didn’t tell me she’d be here.” There was no accusation in her tone and it prompted a slight shrug from the man. After all, he answered to no one, not even his children.

“Surprise!” Luna said with a flourish of her fingers before setting into motion, pressing past Noct with a lingering drag of her fingers along his arm. “You’re right though, it’s chilly in here. Let’s go back to the den.”

“No problems on the drive out?” He finally asked, turning aside with a gesture of his hand for the three young adults to follow after Luna. Avy was the first to pass, pausing to hug her father. He returned the affection with a tight squeeze before she continued on her way. Alex nodded to Nick, a silent urging for him to go too before he looked back to Noctis.

“None, Sir.” There was a subtle tension in the way the young man held himself, an unusual deviation to his typical carefree nature.

“Who drove the three of you out?” Noct inquired.

“I did. The Guard followed but we figured it best to not have to wait on a driver when we finally head back to the city for the ball.” It was a reason that he had practiced the entire trip and how he had ultimately convinced them to let him drive to begin with, but he still expected to be met with a rebuke. His father arched a brow, an expression bordering on incredulous.

“I see. Just let me know when the time comes and we’ll call one out anyways.” In other words, Alex’s reasoning be damned, Noctis disagreed. The boy’s chin dropped in a half hearted nod as he too pushed past his father in favor of the warmth of the den beyond. The manor as a whole gave off an air of an English country home, tastefully decorated in warm, rich colors and tones. The seating was plush and comfortable and by the time Alex made it to the den, Averia was already curled up in a seat near the hearth, legs wrapped in cable knit leggings tucked underneath her. For a moment the twins traded an indecipherable look, masquing the subtle intonations of a conversation only they could partake in.

“So, Nikolai. Or do you prefer Nick?” Luna cleared the tension in the air with a soft smile and the weight of her observant attention. “How’re you enjoying your visit thus far? Insomnia over Yule is something to behold.”

Alex’s nod was signal enough for Nick to move without speaking. It had occurred to Nick at least a hundred times on the drive that Noctis knew full well what had happened to the prince of Altissia and who was involved. Add to that the fact that he didn’t really connect with the King of Lucis, even before he’d been that. Nick didn’t even really know what he was supposed to call him. Uncle Noctis wasn’t right, and Mr. Caelum might work for someone not of royal blood. Did he call him by his name, or simply say highness? He said nothing, slipping past the king and queen and following Averia into the den, and letting himself be distracted by the way she walked.

A wall of seasonal colors existed in the presents beneath the Yule tree. Nick did smile a little as he noted that the gifts he’d brought for the twins had made it under there as well. Nick managed a half grin and wink for Averia as he took a seat near her, and hopefully Alex would follow suit. “It’s certainly different than what I’m used to, though the city is quite a sight when the sun goes down and the lights all come on.” He could have been talking about the view from the Citadel, though he was actually referring to the climb that he and Alex had taken. He turned back to Luna, since he was answering her question. “Nick is fine, Nikolai is just a mouthful.” His hands went to his lap and folded together, a small cough coming from him as he hadn’t been thinking of how that might sound. He utterly refused to blush, that sensation was just windburn or something. “Is it like this in your city as well?” He knew the name, had heard it from the twins on more than one occasion. If his brain hadn’t been busy keeping his cheeks from going too red he’d have been able to pull the name Tenebrae out of his memory without any difficulty.

“Nick then.” Luna said affably as Alex sat on Nick’s other side. “The Insomnian skyline is unrivaled at night, most assuredly. Tenebrae is a little more… natural though. Less high rises, more trees.” It didn’t sound like a bad thing coming from Lunafreya and the twins could have attested to Tenebrae’s beauty. One or the other may have at some point over the years after any of their many Lucis weeks. “Duscae makes for a nice median between the two. The city can be a little overwhelming sometimes.”

“When’s dinner?” Alex interjected as soon as he the opportunity. Averia’s chin dropped toward her chest as if it might mask the quiet giggle as her teeth caught her bottom lip.

“In an hour.” Noct was first to answer, his gaze on his son as Alex rose. The blonde boy clapped his hands together and started for the hallway.

“Good, then there’s time for me to grab a drink.” His departure was abrupt but it didn’t surprise Averia. On the Rhydin side, he was the golden boy, at least in their mother’s eyes. In Lucis it seemed much the same save for one important aspect. Noctis had always been harder on him than Averia despite the fact that Avy would be the one to follow in the man’s footsteps eventually. Claire had always chalked it up to Alex being the first born son, a holdover of the outdated patriarchal views that had rules Lucis for centuries. Where ever he had gone, he didn’t return until just before the table was set for dinner. The staff had pulled out all the stops for the multi-course meal, seldom getting the opportunity to do so for more than just Noct and Luna on a regular basis. The conversation was light, superficial and full of general inquiries of the children’s time in Rhydin as well as whatever Nikolai may have wanted to offer about himself. When the dishes were finally cleared, a promise of gifts and a plentiful breakfast come morning chased them to their respective rooms.

The manor had ample room for separation but still Averia, Alexander, and Nikolai found their rooms clustered together, Alex’s beside Nick’s and Averia’s across the hall. His surly mood had sent Alex there ahead of his sister and friend, leaving them to mosey along at their own pace. It wasn’t until they were well away from the observant eyes of her father or Luna that she finally slipped her hand into his midway up the stairs.

“I know they said presents in the morning but, um, I was hoping to give you yours tonight… if that’s okay.” She said softly, leading him up the stairs and down the dimly lit hallway.
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Nick Allen
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Concern laced its way through Nick’s face as he watched Alex’s departure. He’d find time later for just the two of them, after the novelty of a new face in the place had worn off. That hadn’t taken too long. Luna’s inquiries were light hearted and not overly probing. They’d allowed him to glance over his recent loss with the usual condolences, as well as the strange similarity in his relationship with his siblings to that of Alex and Averia. He spoke very little all told, sending looks at Alex to try and read his friend while accidentally brushing his leg against Avy’s often enough for it to be more than chance. He was more than ready for the affair to come to a close when it finally did.

The familiar twine of her fingers into his was welcomed after having been forced apart for so long. “I’d like that, especially if it’s something that would be hard to explain tomorrow.” There were, in Nick’s mind, any number of things that she could give him that would have him at a loss for how to talk about without revealing things she wasn’t ready for. There were for him to give her as well, but that wasn’t going to be the case. “Is he okay?” There was still that concern for Alex who wasn’t acting at all like he should have been.

Slowly as they’d been moving, it didn’t stop them from reaching the top of the stairwell, or the place where they’d inevitably need to depart one another. Nick paused in the corridor between their rooms, looking to Averia with unspoken wishes and a real curiosity for whatever she planned to give him tonight. “You’ll still have to wait until tomorrow for yours though.” A teasing grin for her despite the way it felt to know she’d be just across the hall and still as out of reach as if he were back in Rhydin and she were here.

“It… it wouldn’t be hard to explain to them, but rather I’d like a chance to explain it to you instead.” She said softly, almost unsure in her tone as she led him to her room. It seemed just the opposite of what he might expect, keeping him out of the loop while everyone else that could have looked on knew what was going on. As they passed by Alex’s room, she tipped an ear toward his door but hearing nothing continued on until they reached her door. It wasn’t nearly as far as Nick’s, if only by a few feet. Her hand curled around the handle to twist it carefully, leaning against the door to keep it from announcing their arrival as she bumped into the room, gesturing for him to follow. Once they were both inside, she shut it behind them, slow and gentle to avoid the telltale click of it closing.

“He’ll be fine by the morning. He and Da sorta got into it last time we were here… they haven’t really been speaking much since.” As if to signal the casualness of his visit to her room, she didn’t lock the door, instead turning to face him with a smile. “I guess I can wait until tomorrow. So long as it isn’t anything embarrassing. Because Alex has done that before and I don’t think I’ve ever forgiven him for it.” She was just teasing though and so she crossed the room, an expanse that while still elegant, was a fraction of the size of her suite in the Citadel. It was more comparable to her room in Rhydin, a fact that had always put Averia at ease in Duscae. In the depths of a blue and gold bag, she found what she was looking for, a small parcel wrapped in snowflake patterned paper and topped with a tiny bow. “Unless you’d rather wait til tomorrow too?”

Nick could move quietly, that wasn’t the same as skulking to avoid notice. He moved into Averia’s room with her, watching her close the door and not lock it. “Tonight’s as good as tomorrow, and probably better really. It’ll let me thank you in ways that I won’t be able to then.” He put out his hand for the gift, unwrapping it carefully when he received it. Small was probably a good thing, it meant concealable and that could become carryable on him at all times. He could use the reminder, much like he’d had the day they arrived except that had been taken by him.

He took the paper from the little jewelry box, thinking for a moment that it might be something which would have been very hard to explain. He was actually a bit nervous as he opened it, the hinges resisting his pull, and then popping open once it reached the halfway point. He hadn’t looked at it yet, keeping his eyes on Avy. Nick licked his lips, and gave her a quick smile before peeling his eyes from her and looking down to see what the box contained. Whatever he’d expected, it wasn’t the gem residing within. It was unmounted, a high clarity crystal with a vaguely purplish hue to it. He looked at it for several moments before pulling it free. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this. What is it?” He held it up to the light and peered into its depths curious to see how the light would be refracted in its facets.

“That was kind of my thought too…” She tried not to blush at the thought of just how many ways Nick could thank her that weren’t appropriate for others’ viewing. After a moment she cleared her throat and watched him unwrap the present. Its shape was misleading, easily mistaken for a ring box. In truth they were identical in size but rather than contain a ring, the loose gem was nestled safely inside. Her gaze was intent as he plucked it free. No bigger than his thumbnail, it still contained a number of contours that seemed to darken the color of the gem until at its very depths it seemed almost black. One could easily be mistaken to think that the center was shifting with the motion of the gem for how the color changed. “It’s, um, it’s a Chaos gem. It’s got a little sliver of what makes Valhalla a part of the Unseen realm. Kinda like Alex and I.”

There was more though she hesitated to spit it out, chewing the words over for a few moments as she watched him before finally adding on. “And it can keep me out of your head… because you deserve that sort of privacy, you know?”

Nick looked at Averia as she named the fractal marvel he held. He watched her through the entire description of what it was and what it would do for him. He’d learned something about chaos, though it wasn’t exactly helpful here since what he’d learned was that her mother and his father both used the term differently. That somehow it still fit both descriptions was probably a testament to the word itself. The effect of the gem was something else entirely. He thought he knew where the need came from. It was endearing, the way she sought to protect him from herself. He wouldn’t say no to that protection, even though they both knew something else. “I don’t know how best to thank you.” He did know perhaps, and that was by taking advantage of the tools he’d been given. He closed the space between them and kissed her fiercely.

“I think I have an idea what to do with it, but you do realize there are times I want you in my head, and times I need it as well. Will this stop that? Will you have to remember to take it off of me the next time I am struggling with myself?” He meant with the fire of course. Knowing how to use it or stop using it might be important later. Nick hoped her assistance wouldn’t be needed again, but he also knew he couldn’t count on it being the case. He pushed the chaos gem back into its place inside the box and closed the lid down, sliding that into his pocket. His fingers brushed her cheek, had it really been hours since he’d been allowed to do that, or days? It always felt like longer.

“If I really, really had to, I could get through it. But it’ll also make it easier to pick you out in a crowd too.” She brought up the upside instead of thinking about the implications of being unable to tap into her talents to reach him at his worst. His kiss stole her breath, leaving Averia to lean her cheek into his touch, her eyes closing with the contact. It really had felt like it had been too long. If she could have, she’d have his hands on her constantly but such a thing wasn’t conducive to this sort of trip. She would have to settle for the stolen moments in the privacy of bedrooms and dark corners of the Citadel. Their return to Rhydin couldn’t come soon enough.

“You’ll read like static unless I try really hard to get around it. It makes it really easy to pick out when everything else is so… loud. Peace, quiet in the middle of it all.” She said softly, her cheeks pinking as her gaze lowered. “And then I’ll never let myself be caught off guard by someone else coming up behind me and thinking it might be you. Is that dumb?”

“It’s not dumb, it’s smart and it’s sweet. You make it harder to get to me, but easier to find me.” An understanding filed its way through him. He followed along that path aware that it was the same logic that Avy had always given. He was only beginning to see what it must have been like for her, strong as she was and relying on her own abilities, to be caught of guard so easily. It made him wish he’d hit Mr. Perfect a few more times.

“Who else knows about this? Alex, anyone?” It probably wouldn’t hurt if Alex knew, but the fewer who did the better in his opinion. What she’d given him, for the briefest of moments, had been processed by thoughts similar to another Allen. This tool is most useful if kept in the darkness. Had Avy already thought about that? Nick would only ever think she had, because of who she was. Averia, much like her mother, always seemed to be two steps ahead.

“Mom, she’s the one who helped me get it. It’s a really volatile material and it’s not very easy to put it into a stable crystal form like that.” She explained quietly, one hand catching on the edge of his pocket to anchor herself to him. He simultaneously put her head in the clouds, threatening to make her float away with each little flutter he induced, but at the same time he managed to keep her grounded. Now was such a time so Avy smiled sheepishly, shrugging one shoulder. “A few people have something similar… Mom, Da, Alex. It isn’t particularly advertised, with good reason, you know?”

“They’ll recognize it when they see it. That’s okay, but I agree that it shouldn’t be advertised. People would try to turn it around, or maybe find a way around the defense. For now, let’s just keep it to you and me and your mom. The rest will know when they do see it. I doubt I’ll say anything, unless I’m asked directly, and really when would that come up in a conversation. So… Nikolai, do you have some kind of protection from…” Nick altered his voice and accent to be something akin to Ignis. Not because he was making fun, rather he wanted to demonstrate the absurdity of the question simply happening. Why would he be questioned, he was just Nick and not so important to anything.

“Now, I want to thank you far more properly… How much time do you think we have?” Nick slowly backed her up to the bed, the look in his eyes probably gave away almost as much as if she’d actually decided now was a good time to read his mind.

“Something like that, yeah. But it doesn’t have to be visible for it to be effective.” She said with a quiet giggle at his impression. He hadn’t meant to make fun but it sounded funny coming from him and so her mouth curved upwards into the private sort of smile she reserved just for him. As Nick backed her up, she nipped at her bottom lip with a hesitant look toward the door. She hadn’t locked it, mostly because she knew they likely wouldn’t get away with anything. When her calves bumped the footboard, she stopped them, lifting her chin to press a soft kiss to the corner of his mouth.

“Not much, I’m afraid… I haven’t yet told my father about us, I don’t know how he’d react to find us, um… yeah.” She flushed and slipped her arms around him to hug him instead. “I’m gonna tell him though, don’t worry. Tomorrow, maybe, if the timing is right. And, um, I should probably send you back to your room before someone notices. But… if you keep the crystal in the box… we can talk, if you want…”

He had known the answer, even before he’d asked the question. Sometimes it made him feel good to know that her heart was beating a little faster, and her mind was at odds with itself. “Yeah, kind of thought that might be the case. There’s no hurry to tell your dad. Maybe after the ball would be better.” He knew he had to leave her, but he certainly wasn’t moving. Nick had her trapped between him and the bed. “I still want you to know exactly how much I appreciate it.” He leaned in and kissed her demandingly. “Just give me about half an hour. I need to see if Alex is up. There’s something I need to talk to him about.”

The tips of his fingers brushed at her thigh just below the hem of her skirt. He gave Averia a look almost as hot as the fire within him, accessorised by a very wicked grin. He lingered for just a moment and then stepped away. “Talk to you soon, Av’.”

(Written with the incomparable player behind Averia. <3!!!)
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