A/N: Stuck in isolation, this was floating around in my head, thought I'd put it down. I hope you all like it.
A Bonus Chapter!
Through his eyes
The first time I met her, she was but a little girl of five. I had been wandering the halls of the research facility, searching for Besithia- the man had wanted me for something, I hardly remember know, and it wasn't important now anyway. I had wandered into the first floor lunchroom- I can't remember why I thought that that would be the place where I would meet Besithia, but it was there that I first met her.
The little girl with sad green eyes.
I had been shocked when I first met her, what had a child been doing at the facility? At first I had thought that perhaps this was some sick creation of my dear friend Verstael, but that seemed unlikely. My suspicions were confirmed when she spoke of father. Was this an appropriate place for a child? I had thought, feeling a strange pang of sympathy for the child, which was strange in itself as pity was just not something that I felt for anything- not anymore.
I offered her aid with her plight against the vending machine- no one ever used the thing anymore, it was notorious for breaking down, even I, who did not eat much, knew of it's issues. Upon breaking open the machine, I was rewarded with an innocent and bright smile- something that only a child could give. Afterwards we sat together and consumed her bounty of sweets. Milk and cookies- a treat that I had no had in the longest time. The taste of milk had changed in the centuries.
Chatting with the girl had been refreshing. I had spent the longest time talking with adults, the daemons in my mind and Besithia that I had forgotten how wonderfully wonderful the brain of a child was. They were so refreshing, so innocent, so pure.
Alas, all good things must come to an end. As the hours passed I realised that I still had to find my dear Verstael. I escorted the girl back to her father's room, and said my goodbyes to the girl, only to freeze as the child wrapped her arms around my leg. She had hugged me? I had felt every fibre of my body freeze at her touch. I was being hugged. Hugged. I was a thousand daemons, a monster, the host of the starscourge... and a little girl was hugging me.
"I'll miss you!" she had said.
I had felt something in me twitch, who would miss me? I reached down and touched her head. "My Dear..." I had said before she had bounded off. I had remained frozen after she had left, staring at the spot where she had stood.
What a sweet girl.
As I turned to leave, my leg remained warm, a warmth that I had not felt in the longest time.
The next time I met her, she was older, seven I believe. I had been walking down the halls when I had heard a very aggressive sound of someone hitting something- most probably the vending machine. My lips twitched with the amusement I felt, people always had trouble with the thing. I opened the door to the room and my eyes rose at the sight of the girl aggressively hitting the vending machine.
"Having some trouble are we?" the expression of shock on her face had amused me, I doubted that she had ever thought that she would see me again- I didn't blame her, the feeling was mutual. I honestly had never thought I'd meet her again- people I met, I rarely ever met them again, so this was a novelty. She hadn't aged much, merely looked taller. I was honestly struck by how little amount of time had passed, had it only been two years? I felt time differently for me and at times, what felt like a year was actually ten.
"Ardyn?" I watched as she relaxed at the sight of me. Another thing that was a novelty for me, no one was ever happy to behold me. But here she was, this girl, and she was smiling at me. She was genuinely happy to see me. That on it's own was reason enough for me to help her in her plight against the vending machine- I still believe that Besithia did something to it, to frustrate the workers, angrier subjects make for better daemons and all that.
It was from this meeting, this meeting on this day, that the girl became something of a fixture in my life, or I became a fixture in hers. I am at a loss as to how it happened, but we ended up seeing each other at least once a month. Talking with the girl was a breath of fresh air. I barely felt the years as they went by, but I did notice that time passed a little longer between out interludes.
Then they suddenly stopped, she stopped coming, she stopped appearing. I noticed her absence more than I thought that I would have, enough that I had actually put the effort into investigating her absence.
Her father had died, an unfortunate 'accident' in one of the labs and she had taken up residence in her Uncle's home.
She had been a nice enough distraction for the few years it lasted.
The problem with being immortal and biding ones time until you could finish the task that had been bestowed upon you by the gods was all of the tedious things that you had to do in preparation. In this case, I had been suffering one of those parties that the Imperial Emperor loved having.
That was not to say that there was nothing to enjoy at this party. I had found myself talking with – irritating more like it- the Nox Fleuret. This was a favoured pastime of mine as the boy always took such displeasure to being near me. I had been chatting away about something inane- which irritated the boy even more- when the boy had frowned suddenly. His expression had changed from irritation to brief confusion before settling back to a mixture of annoyance and rage. This surprised me, I had thought that I was the only one who could bring that out in him.
"What do you want?" he snapped and wanted to see just who had brought out this side of him- that being said the boy was quite unhappy all of the time, perhaps that was it?
"Now now,"I chastised, enjoying the way that his body stiffened. "where are your manners?" The boy was just so wonderful. Besithia wanted to turn the boy into a daemon, but I wanted to keep him around, just to irritate him further.
"Is that any way to speak to someone?" I turned to see the new addition to our conversation. I froze as I caught sight of her green eyes. Was that Ellie? The little girl who had spent so much time sitting with me at that cold table eating sweets. I could not hold the visible shock from taking my face, this never happened, even if she was staying in the home of an Imperial General. I never met people more than once, at least, not random girls who kept popping up out of nowhere.
"Especially someone as gentle as Elise?" Before I even had the chance to say more, she had gasped my name and embraced me.
She had hugged me once before, when she was younger, and I felt almost the same now as I had back then. I felt warm, tense and relaxed all at the same time. The human side of me- a side that hardly reacted to anything these days- felt a panic at her touch, worry for how the daemons inside me would react. The Daemons felt... oddly calm. That gave me pause, they hardly felt this way, and by hardly I meant never. Perhaps it was the fact that I had not been touched so gently in years, years to long for memory, or perhaps it was simply the shock of being touched that caused this reaction? Or perhaps it was simply madness? I petted her on the head while I contemplated my bodies reaction to being touched, curiously I noticed that she clutched me tighter in response.
When Ignacious came and told the girl off, I noticed the feeling as she jumped away. I felt a cold as her body left mine. Curious. I usually did not feel anything, cold, hot, hungry, anything. Curious. I rescued Ellie from her Uncle and linked out arms. I noticed her warmth again. Curious.
Taking her down to the kitchens had been a wonderful decision and was certainly more enjoyable than the party upstairs. Imperial parties were so drawl and it seemed that Ellie had not changed in her love of sweets, or her refreshing mind. Usually I found teenagers to be irritating and whiny, but from what I could see that was not the case with Ellie- the girl had not even cared when she had spilled milk on her dress, how wonderful!
She also looked quite fetching in my hat- I am still not quite sure how she procured it from me.
Had her Uncle not interrupted us, I dare say we would have continued our conversations for some hours. Even though I was saddened- again how odd! - at her leaving, I must say it was wonderful to have had a distraction from the party for once. Hopefully, she will be at another party, some fresh air would be welcome before I end the world.
I would rather not discuss what I discussed with her Uncle when she left the room...
I'm not quite sure quite what possessed me into hiring the girl into my household. I hadn't even seen her since the night of the party- which admittedly was a little shame, but alas these things happen. Anyway, I'm not entirely sure why I hired her, or even how I came across the idea. I had been watching Rupert and Mabel and had noticed that they were getting on in years- my goodness they had been working for me for years. AS It was then that I noticed that it was probably time to hire their replacement. As I pondered their replacement Ellie flashed in my mind and moments later, I was writing a letter, one for her and Uncle and one for the young girl in question.
I must admit I had felt a flash of excitement when she had accepted her position. A youthful mind and face around the house would be a welcome change. Especially if it meant more cookies and milk sessions, I had grown rather fond of such happenings. Unfortunately, I had been unable to welcome her for her first day, a rudeness on my part but as someone working in my home she would just have to get used to my absence.
I must say, I had felt a tinge of annoyance- not much though- when Rupert had complained about Dear Ellie. I could remember Rupert's first day; he had been less than satisfactory as well. I could still remember the amount of times he had stumbled around, crashing into things- I had been quite fond of the vase that he had broken. Rupert had been a bright, wide eyed poor boy whom I had plucked from the claws of poverty and had taken him into my home- he had broken many a thing until he had learned.
Mabel had been a wonderful influence on young Rupert, and I had been oddly pleased when the pair wed. Hopefully, the pair would have the same influence on our young Ellie, without the marriage, of course.
"I see, such a shame." I said with a wistful smile. I knew that Ellie had been standing there, listening to our discussion. I wondered what she would do, knowing that the other staff had already complained about her on her second day. It would be interesting to see, for as long as my interest in it lasted.
I must admit, I had been rather surprised when I had pulled myself out of bed the next morning. The house was alive, so to speak. It was warm, as though the heater had been turned on and when I walked out of my room and down the hallway, I could see lights coming up from the downstairs. My brow quirked, that was new- at least, it was new for this early.
As I did not require sleep, or food really, the help in my house only got up when they got up- I didn't need anything until they were ready to make it. So, I had been quite confused until I, while I walked down the stairs and the front door opened. Ellie had walked in with a newspaper and had frozen at the sight of me. I suddenly understood- Mabel and Rupert had lied about the wake-up time, initiation of a sort.
I felt her eyes scan me and I grinned, I must have been quite the sight in my velvet gown and slippers- it was ugly, I knew that they were hideous, but at my age I cared not. They were fabulously comfortable, and in my situation, I would take comfort when I could- my inner daemons seemed to agree with the sentiment.
"G-Good morning Sir!" she said, smiling up at me. Her green eyes showing nothing but pleasure at seeing me- so few people looked at me with that expression, in fact, the only ones who looked at me like that were under this roof... or long dead.
Her smile reminded me, briefly, of Aera. I felt the daemons, and another piece of me, pulse at the thought of her. An emotion, filled with more than rage ever could do, filled in my chest. I could feel the darkness push, ram, claw itself from the back of my subconscious. Memories, unbidden, flashed before my eyes.
She then offered me some breakfast, snapping me from my thoughts, and soon enough I was sitting with her as she put the plate of breakfast in front of me. The breakfast was... surprisingly good, it had been a long time since I had a wonderful breakfast at the table, I didn't need to eat, so Mable simply cooked the same things for me- I had a feeling that I would be having Ellie prepare my meals from now on.
The girl's smile had nothing to do with my decision.
The next two years had been quite pleasant, Ellie had improved her skills over the time and had become something of an asset. She had improved her cooking skills over time, and she had also taken over from Rupert and was now my main assistant. My 'hand' as other imperials had begun to refer to her as.
She was younger and had an enthusiasm for her job that I just had not seen in my assistants before- the girl just seemed to live for pleasing me. I found it quite odd, to have someone so dedicated to pleasing me. She always sorted my mail- always knew which one's I didn't care about.
Speaking of the mail, I wonder what would happen if I left some of the mail out for Ellie to see. Besithia had been nagging me to give him the girl, apparently she had piqued his interest and he wanted to see what kind of daemon she would mutate into. It would certainly be interesting to find out, both what daemon she would be and her reaction to the mail, but at the moment, I had no desire to give her to him.
When I got sick of her I would consider daemonising her, but for now, she was my assistant... I liked how she made hot chocolate...
I must admit, I had been somewhat excited about the party that I had been invited to. At least, I had been excited when I had decided to take Ellie as my 'date'. Sweet girl had been surprised when I told her that she would need a dress, she was so used to simply being there as an assistant. I would enjoy watching her squirm at her change in role.
Before that though, I had planned to nap away my days before our shopping trip. Being who I was, I could stay away for days on end, but I could also sleep for as long as I willed- at least, for as long as my demonic dreams allowed me to. So I had been genuinely surprised when I had woken to the sound of Ellie singing. The last girl that I had heard a female singing had been Aera- before her treachery, before she ripped my soul from it's fleshy prison. The daemons inside me trembled at the thoughts of that woman, their dark whispers chasing the tails of my mind. I shook my head, in due time, I would have my revenge, instead I focused my attention on the creature before me. She held an innocence about her as she sang, a peace about her as she went about cleaning my study.
I must admit, I always enjoyed watching her clean the study, she was always careful with my books, and she had taken the time to learn where everything went and how I wanted the room set up- such a gem. When she had noticed my presence, I had to admit that I had honestly enjoyed drinking with her. When she had fallen asleep on my shoulder, I could not express my shock, none had touched me in such a manner in years I hardly knew what to do with myself. I felt my body tremble at her touch, Aera had been the last to touch me- my mind darkened at the thoughts of her- though they snapped away from her as Ellie snuggled her face into my neck, such an innocent girl. I felt a strange feeling as she mumbled into my shoulder. She had been embarrassed when she woke and it had been wonderful to watch her squirm.
When I had taken her out for shopping, I enjoyed watching her chase after me. I liked testing her patience with me, I enjoyed watching her become flustered as she chased after me- but as annoyed with me as I'm sure she got, she had yet to express it with me, instead she would glare at others who would gift me with their dark looks- such a wonderfully loyal girl.
Loyalty was but a farce, all ones 'loyal' companions would destroy you. I would remove this girl before, she too, showed her true colours...
...filthy faithless humans, and I was the cursed one.
Apparently the entirety of the Empire thought that we were sleeping together... I cared not for this fact, but it apparently bothered Ellie, I could understand why, the thought of sleeping with one such as myself must have been abhorrent for a young girl such as she.
Of course she wouldn't... not that it mattered, or I cared...
She would not be with me much longer anyway.
Going to the research facility had been interesting. It had taken her a surprisingly long time to remember that this had been the same facility where we had met. She had been young at the time, so I could forgive her- not that it was something that I thought about much about. My visit to the facility had been for entirely different reasons.
Besithia had wanted to turn Ellie into a daemon.
I understood why, her father had made a wonderful daemon after all. So I was not bothered by the development, it would be a pain to find and train a new assistant however. Oh well I would have to deal with it- the man had been nagging, begging, for so long that it was more out of exasperation than anything else that I gave in. the man could be utterly insufferable when he wanted to and my life was miserable enough without having to listen to him complaining about wanting my assistant.
I would miss her though, like one misses the spring flowers, until the next bloom comes. There would be others, until I bring ruin to the world, that is.
Besithia had been in a bright mood when we had arrived at the facility, and he had seem delighted at Ellie's discomfort at the sight of the daemons- I knew why, he took a pleasure from the irony that she would be frightened of the very thing she was to become.
The daemons inside me rumbled and pushed at the edge of my mind as I watched the daemon that had taken an interest in Ellie. Besithia had always said that the daemons took an extra interest in those who would make wonderful additions to their ranks. Even with the daemons inside me, I had no idea if his words held any weight. I simply assumed the creatures wanted a meal out of her.
I thought nothing of it until the creature began to crack the glass and Besithia slipped out, locking the door behind him. Just what was he doing? Had he come up with some new way to turn humans into daemons? The daemon's teeth had something dripping from them, perhaps a venom? I smirked. Besithia. What an asshole, as if turning humans into daemons wasn't enough, he had to turn their last thoughts into nightmares.
Ellie jumped in front of me holding a steel rod. I frowned. What was she doing? Why was she defending me, when she should be looking out for herself? I watched at the daemon broke the glass and I felt myself being shoved to the side. What was she doing? I could hardly believe it when she attacked the creature in defence of me. It hadn't worked, naturally, but she had still tried.
As I watched her be smacked by the beast, I felt something stir within my chest. This person had defended me, she had protected me at the cost of her own life. The daemons within me seemed to agree with the sentiment. They wanted me to protect her.
I almost laughed.
...actually, I think that I may have chuckled. Briefly.
I saw the creature release a venom from is oozing jaws. The dark fluid falling directly into the unconscious Ellie's mouth. So that was how Besithia meant to turn her. Trauma and infection from a daemon- she would most likely be a wonderful daemon from such a combination. Something flared within me.
I would not let that happen.
It was remarkable easy to dispose of the daemon. It almost was not even worth the effort of calling my sword. As the daemon disbursed into black spores and dissolved, I turned my attention to Ellie. She was deathly still, but she had not died, I could hear her heartbeat. I lifted her to my lap and scanned over her form. She was infected. Besithia had succeeded. I frowned and brushed her hair out of her face. It was in that moment, looking down at her dull face, that I felt the urge to do something that I had not done in years. I placed my hand to her chest and felt the pull. My hand burned as I used it in a way that I was simply not built for anymore.
I pulled at her, and her spirit answered. I felt the daemonic energy that she was afflicted with. I clutched at it and summoned it to me. It was a mild affliction and I removed it easily. Once it was within me and not her, I felt a strange sense of poignancy. It had been a long time since I had taken a daemon from someone, I didn't think that I would be able to do it, but apparently I could.
I looked at the creature resting in my lap. She looked peaceful. I brushed her hair from her face and took note of the bruising on her cheek- not as bad as one would assume, especially after being bludgeoned by a daemon. Though wounds did tend to get worse as time progressed, I would be surprised if her eyes did not bruise from the encounter.
She moaned and I brushed her cheek again, causing her to flinch in her sleep. I waited with her for some time, and did not move, even as staff filed in to clean up the mess. It was not that I couldn't move her, no, I just did not feel the need to move. Some fifth teen minutes later, her body twitched and she groaned as she awoke. I watched as her pupils expanded and dilated- concussion- and her face spasmed as she attempted to open her eyes and see her surroundings.
"A-Ardyn..." she jumped as though the monster was still there. "The monster! S-Sir, ugh…." she fell back, exhaustion etched on her face- had she intended to fight the beast if it were still there?
I explained to her that the creature was gone, that I had killed it and she had relaxed in my lap. She was in pain, if I had not been there, she would have died. Why had she jumped in front of the creature in my defence? I was her employer, but humans were fickle things and ones own self was more important than that of another to them, so why? Why had she tried to save me?
Aera had not done the same...
….Somnus had tried to kill me...
...one could argue that he succeeded...
"You did not need to put yourself in danger to save me." I said to her, I'm not sure why. I almost jumped when her hand reached up to touch my cheek- what was she doing?
"Sir, I will always endeavour to protect you. I will always stand with you..." before I knew what was happening, she had surged forward and pressed her lips against mine. I had frozen, I could not believe that she had kissed me. Why was she kissing me? How could she feel this way for me? The last time that someone had touched me in this way had been Aera.
I had not had the urge to be with someone in the longest time, for the most part, the daemons stilled any urges that I had... but right now, something... something pulsed within me, her words touched a piece that I did not know existed anymore. Her lips burned wonderfully against mine. I felt her freeze, as though she was to pull away, and I felt something within me growl at the thought and I surged forward, grasping her head and pulling her close to me- the action caused us to rub deliciously against each other.
The daemons within practically purred at the sensation and I felt myself struck by the feeling of peace holding her brought me.
This was something that I wanted to explore further.
Besithia had not been... happy... with my saving of Ellie, but I could not care any less about his feelings.
Ellie and I had something much for fun to explore.
Besithia could continue his experiments all he wanted, but he would not touch what was mine.
...mine, what a thought, nothing had been mine in the longest time. It made the daemon's inside practically hum, I joined them.
My Ellie was a pervert, it seemed. I should have known, I had lived with the girl for long enough that I should have known. I had failed to pay her adequate attention, a failure on my part. If what was described in the book was anything to go by. Elise was simply filthy. My eyes roamed over the novel that she hid under her pillow, the girl in question was having a shower.
My brow's rose as I continued to read through the book. I could hardly believe that someone who presented herself as, innocent, read such things. I giggled and flipped the page. Ellie was clearly fond of the work, the pages were worn, as though read many times. My brows rose as I read a part where the protagonist was tied with holiday lights and bells, Ellie enjoyed this sort of thing- how fun.
It had been wonderful teasing her. She had flushed and blanched so adorably when I had gotten her to tell me just what happened in her novel. Then we had kissed again, her actions had screamed of her innocence. I drank it in, drank her in. I must admit, I was a like a drowning man, taking in everything that she had to offer. My daemons wanted it. I wanted it. It had been a long time since I had lain with anyone- since I had had the interest in doing so.
Elise's presence in my life changed from that moment. Where she had first been my assistant, a mere presence in my home, she was now a warmth that I had not known that I wanted.
She was mine.
I was keeping her.
Some things happened from then, we fell into a nice daily routine filled with random bouts of sex in varying areas- my favourite being the study. There was just something about laying with Ellie while Somnus' book lay atop the table. A strange sense of satisfaction, you could say.
How those living with us had not noticed the shift in our relationship was, to be frank, incredible. Mabel cleaned my sheets for goodness sake! I must admit, I got an almost sick sense of satisfaction from managing incredible feats of athleticism in the house, and to not be caught. It was exhilarating.
All good things must come to an end, as they say. Those good things especially needed to come to an end when we were stuck having to go to Insomnia. I was excited, things were moving- things would soon enough be coming to that sweet song that is the end. A release awaited me that I had longed for since time immemorial- only I could remember how long. I felt it each time I moved, each time I spoke and with each non needed breath I took.
Enough of the dramatics. We arrived in Gauldin Quay, and had spent some time there, which had been a refreshing time. I quite enjoyed the ocean; the breeze, the exquisite fish, the fishing… I was also quite fond of the suite that we stayed in. Such lovely beds. The time spent in the Quay would be a memory that I looked upon fondly.
I will admit, I had been quite shocked to see the young Prince Noctis during my visit to the Quay. It had almost caught me off guard, but that had not lasted long, and I had then been given the opportunity to tease the boy. Elise, dear girl, had looked exasperated at the sight of me- I could not fault her, it was not the first time that I had frightened random street walkers.
When we finally settled into the car to head to Lucis. I almost wished that we could head back and fish- I liked fishing and I knew that I would enjoy the act more than what awaited us at the city. When we arrived there, I recognised Ellie's behaviour- she was frightened. As she would be, she had been expecting peace, but instead was to suffer this… I allowed her to trail behind me in the city. I had been a healer once, admittedly a long time ago, but I understood what the stress she was enduring would cause her.
So I allowed her to stay in her room for most of our visit to allow her the time that she needed to process everything.
I would deal with Besithia.
Besithia. The man with the ambition. The man who believes that he set all of this in motion. What an idiot to believe that he could outsmart the gods. They were the ones pulling the strings. They were the ones who decided who lived and died. They were the reason that I was trapped to this torment. They had powers that our dear Verstael could only dream of.
Besithia had kept me busy for some days, he had kept prattling on about all of his plans, his ambitions. He would not, for lack of a better term, shut up. He had prattled on, and on about everything that he had wanted to achieve, and… by the of it all, I had had enough.
He was an overzealous prat.
It had been wonderful when we had finally had the opportunity to leave. I had taken it, and the two of us had fled to Lestallum- after a quick fishing trip of course. In Lestallum, I had taken some time to relax. I had received a report from Aranea that Noctis and is entourage would be arrive within days, so it was simply a matter of waiting.
Aranea, now it had been amusing to watch Ellie walk into the room and sight the woman. Her eyes had flashed, and I had watched the gears turn in her head- I could almost swear that there was the briefest flash of jealousy in her eyes. She had been polite at first, then once introductions were made she had begun her change into herself. She had been jealous. I should not have felt the pride that I did at the revelation, but I did feel it- What a wonderful girl!
Meeting with the Prince and his entourage had occurred just as I had planned. What I had not foreseen was the attraction between the Prince's chef and my assistant. I had spied the two chatting in the shop, and I had been completely unprepared for the feelings of jealousy that it had erupted within. I will admit that it shocked me, the pain in my chest at the sight of them.
It made me think of Somnus.
Then I had seen the two in the caravan. Standing so close together that they almost touched. An inch of movement, and they would have been. Everything had gone quiet for the briefest and longest of moments. What was she doing so close to him? What would have happened had I not walked in on them? I will admit that I had been, a little, cruel to Ellie that day. However, she had no business getting to know that boy. The pair of them cooking together had not helped her case.
I was not sure why I was so jealous- I am perfectly aware now why I felt that way, but at the time, I had not the notion. Elise giving her attention to another had irked me, and I had delighted in her flinches as I used her real name. She must have realised what she had done, she had to have realised. I do not like to share.
She was mine.
Later that evening, when the boys had slumbered- I too, should have been resting, I did not need sleep, but I enjoyed it. Alas, there was no sleep for me, if Gladio's snoring was anything to go from- how the prince had not murdered the man in his sleep was something of a testament to his will.
As I laid there, on the tiny bed, listening to the chain saw that was the hulking man; I found myself thinking on Ellie. She must have been truly worried about herself as she tried to sleep in the car- she need not stress, the daemons would not harm her, not tonight at least.
I frowned as the minutes ticked by. There would be no rest for me tonight. Not when I was so close to the boy, the prince. Being so close to the being that would ultimately cause my end, was an odd feeling. The boy was not yet ready to ascend to his destiny, but here I was, helping him to reach his goals- so that he could die, so that I could die.
I had been quite pensive that evening.
In an attempt to alleviate my grievances I had snuck from the caravan, I had wanted a walk, some time to attempt to sort through my thoughts, but I had ended up going straight to Elise. She had this way, a gift, if you will. She always seemed to be able draw my attention.
It had been amusing to watch her jump and scamper for her gun. At least she was cautious enough to reach for her weapon before addressing whoever it was knocking at her window at any hour of the night. I had loaned her my coat that evening, something that I had never done before but I will admit, I liked the sight of her draped in my coat.
She looked like she belonged to me.
She had known what she had done to make me upset. She had been upset, had ran at me when I had assured her that all was alright. Before everything, before the star scourge I would have been horrified at the power that I held over her- in a small way, I could feel something inside me that was guilty… but it was a small voice, and I squashed it away and turned my attention to more fun things.
I had known that the two boys were watching us.
It spurred me on, and Ellie certainly had not complained.
The next morning, I had listened to Ellie be sick- we would need a holiday soon, I had felt that the stress had been getting to her.
The photo's that she received from Prompto probably did not aid her in her stress, but I had been able to keep them.
I had kept those photo's with me, until the end.
She had been getting more and more unwell as time went on, I noticed. She had stopped eating and I noticed that she would be sick in the mornings more than the evenings. I had been a healer, and while that had been a long time ago- longer than a long time ago- I knew what these symptoms usually meant.
The issue was that I just did not believe my suspicions to be true.
A voice in the back of my mind whispered that it could be true, that she could be pregnant. The problem was, that I could not father a child. To the best of my knowledge, at least. This lead to darker thoughts, thoughts about her relationship with a member of the prince's entourage.
I left her with her cousin for a few days, I had tasks to do. Tasks that, I would not need Ellie to be there for. It also gave me space away from her. Space to maim and hurt and do all of those fun little things that one could not do with their assistant trailing them. It had given me time to get my preparations ready, I would be heading to Altissia soon enough, and from there things would change. I needed to be ready.
During my preparations, I was also able to bear witness to the prince summoning Ramuh. It had been quite a sight, seeing the skies light up strike down at those in his way.
It had been a taste of the power that the prince would wield. I hoped that he would use it wisely, I doubted it, but I could hope. Hope was all that I had, I needed it- I needed for him to be ready, the world would suffer were he not able to accomplish his destiny. The Prince, as it were, still needed my assistance with his growth, so I helped them with Ravus and the issue with their car.
Afterwards, I had been met with the sight of Ellie charging at me. Apparently she had seen Ramuh's affect on the world and had thought the worst for my safety. I must say, it is flattering to have her worry for me so.
It had also been amusing, to see the damage that she had inflicted on her cousin in her worry.
Ellie always cared for my safety, I always, always, appreciated that in her.
Her sickness seemed to be getting worse, I had noticed, as we camped. She still cooked and did her best to set things up, but I could tell. She was simply not herself, she was not pale, but there was a shakiness to the way she moved. An expression to her features as she smelled different things. I tried to chalk it down to her being stressed, but I could not stop the thoughts that were clawing at the back of my mind.
I knew instinctively what was wrong with her, but I refused to acknowledge it. For to acknowledge it would mean facing the truth. The truth of my mind. Of my jealousy.
So I enjoyed the time that I had with her, even though I had to leave her with Highwind for a few days. And, if I found a photo that added fuel to my suspicions after picking her up, I chose to ignore it. I would be leaving her after Altissia, so I wanted to enjoy the little time that I had left with her.
After collecting her, she expressed her concerns, her fears that Besithia had done something to her. I applauded her for catching on that something was wrong, even if her thoughts were off the mark.
I tried to alleviate her stress, by telling her that her issue was most likely caused by the stress of everything. Even though I did not believe it- I knew, knew what was wrong with her. I instead drew her attention to our upcoming trip to Altissia, I hoped that she would enjoy it.
It certainly had been a trip.
In Altissia I had taken the time to take her out, to dance with her. I would not see her again after this trip- it would be too dangerous, to violent for her to continue in her duties as my assistant, so I planned to send her back home.
As we danced in the restaurant, I felt poignant. Things were coming to an end, soon enough the prince would be joining with the crystal and I would be effectively ending the world. So I was sentimental with her. I held her close as we danced, I inhaled her scent. I took the time to memorise as much of her as I could- this girl, no woman, who did so much for me- who meant more than any woman had in a long time.
Even more than Aera.
Perhaps that is why it stung- nay, hurt- so much when she stood before me, her arms held out protectively while she defended Ignis. There had been a fire in her eyes as she had glare up at me. She loved him, a fact that I had been more than aware of for the longest time, but I had never thought- no, never wanted to think that she would betray me in this way. As I looked down into the fire burning in her eyes, memories of another betrayal had flashed behind my eyes. I could feel my face twist in anger.
"No, right now I'm looking at a monster." Her words had hurt, hurt more than I could have ever imagined them to. I had been called a monster before, it was something that I had heard enough to be used to. But for Ellie to.. rage had taken me. First she sleeps with him and now she stands before me, defending him, betraying me.
Reflectively, I had been cruel in my treatment of her, but my anger and her actions had made it easier to be rid of her. I had felt nothing as I had her left in the woods- no, that is a lie, as I watched her through the window of the airship, I had felt something within me ache. I would miss her. Looking back, I wish that I had taken her with me, I wished that I could have held her one last time. I knew that I would never see her again, my only regret was that I had not said goodbye- a fact that my inner daemons had found disgusting.
It would be years before we met again
Years of waiting and he had finally been spat out form the crystal. I felt it the moment that Noctis had been released. As I felt his presence return to the world, I had felt a sense of relief. It would be over soon enough. I would be able to feel the release of the end. A feeling that I had been longing for, for the longest of times. All that was left was to wait, I released the Infernian and awaited the Prince's arrival.
I had felt it, the moment that the Prince and his entourage had stepped into Insomnia. I had felt it. I had felt him, but I had also felt her. What was she doing in the city?
My curiosity piqued, I had allowed her passage. I allowed her to walk through the city unharmed, the Infernian had teased her, but I had stopped it. I was curious. Curious as to why she was there. Why she had joined the prince in his journey, only to separate herself from the flock.
She had been nervous as she had talked to me, uncomfortable even. Then I had asked her just why she was standing there before me. She had, almost blanched at me before asking me a insipid question on what I had been doing for the last few years, she had been angered at my jovial answer, but what did she expect?
Then she had said something that affected me more than I had let on. "You abandoned me." I abandoned her? While I could see how she could have come to that conclusion, she was the one who had made her decision. She had chosen Ignis, and while yes, I had planned to leave her, I had not planned for it to happen the way that it had… my anger had, regretfully, gotten the better of me.
We had talked, harshly, to each other, she had spoken of her pregnancy and I had expressed my feelings about the condition that she had been in at the time.
Then she had done something that had completely caught me off guard. She had started to laugh. Just what was funny about any of this? I had prompted her to tell me just what she thought was so amusing. Then her eyes had brimmed red with anger- or unshed tears, or both. Then she was striking me. Anger and frustration behind each blow. I could barely feel it, so I allowed her to continue with her abuse of my person.
Then as she clutched my leg, she said something that would forever haunt me. Something that hurt more than the years of imprisonment ever had.
"The child is yours, there never was anyone else..."
The Child. A Child. I had a child in the world hand I had never met them. Never seen them, never played with them, had never held them… I had fallen to my knees before her, my body unable to support me. I trembled as I watched her fumble in her coat.. she had then passed me a photo. A little girl, my child.
She was beautiful.
She looked so much like Ellie, her smile, her cheeks, she even had the little dimples in her cheeks that Ellie sometimes had when she smiled. I could not stop the emotions that welled up within me. I clutched the photo to my chest. It was almost funny, I am to die and I discover a child, the gods had a sick sense of humour.
As my tears escaped my eyes, I heard Ellie let out a sound before embracing me. There was a warmth in her touch, a warmth that I had not felt in the longest of time.
I had missed her touch.
I buried my face in her hair. I could smell her, the faint hint of lavender that always accompanied her- all these years and she still used the same soap. I clutched at her, drinking her in as though I were a man dying of dehydration and she was the fountain. As I held her, as I felt her warmth seep into me, I found myself doing something that I could not even remember the last time I had done it.
I prayed to the gods.
I prayed for more time. As much as they could give me, ten minutes even. I just wanted as much time as possible with the creature before me. I do not know if they heard me, I doubted it, but what I do know is that even if they had not heard me, I would spend as much time as I could with her.
If someone had heard me, they had given me an hour. A hour that I would take with me, that I would hold 'til my final breath. I only wish that Somnus could have seen us upon his throne. Though the sight of her, on the throne, is also something that I had no desire to share. I was a selfish man… and she was, everything that I could have asked for and more.
I did not deserve her.
Saying goodbye this time was harder than anything I could have imagined. Even though she would have stayed, wanted to stay. I would not allow her to. I gave her a hat and a coat- making sure to slip the photos she had long though lost, inside. Then I gave her the car. She was crying, sad. I wished to hold her again, so did she. She embraced me one last time, a bittersweet emotion swelled in my chest. Her kiss was filled with so much, so much that she wanted to say. She was saying goodbye.
"I love you." She then whispered against my lips, and I felt myself tremble. I wanted to say… something to her, but found myself unable.
As she drove the car, I stood and watched her, waving as cheerfully as I could muster. I had been acting for a long time, I was used to keeping a smile on my face, even when on the inside I was dying. Once the car was out of sight and I felt her presence leave the city, I allowed myself to frown. She was gone and the Prince was on his way. Soon enough I would feel the final release of it all, the final curtain if you will.
I was but an actor, and I had to fulfil my part in this play.
Dying was, an interesting experience. Being dead was even more interesting. I was both empty and filled, empty of the daemons, but filled with emotions, senses and feelings that I had not felt in an age. There was more as well, I… I was able to see the people whom I had known in life, Somnus, Gilgamesh, that girl Lunafreya and even his Highness, Noctis, when he arrived. It was an experience, walking around in this cloudy afterlife. Quite literally, this place was not quite how I had pictured the afterlife. When I had broached the topic with Noctis, he had seemed utterly confused with me, and Lunafreya had taken him away- leading me to believe that there was something that I was missing. That had been a long time ago, and I had not seen the Prince or anyone else for that matter, since.
As I walked through my cloudy purgatory, I noticed that I could see images within the clouds. I could see the humans, view them, so to speak. I spent most of my time trying to locate Ellie, to watch her, see her as her life progressed. Eventually I found her. She was older, and standing at a wedding, her- no, our daughters wedding.
She still looked as beautiful as she had when we had said goodbye, I took the time to simply stare at her, to drink her in. I sat and simply watched, our daughter, Raine, was simply beautiful and that red hair of hers had not tamed at all- apparently something of mine had remained. I continued to stay there, watching as her life went by, as she got older, as our child had a child of her own.
"You miss her, do you not?" I jumped as a voice spoke beside me.
I turned and felt my ethereal heart stop. Aera. Aera was kneeling beside me. A tender smile on her face. Once the sight of her would have made my heart leap and fill with love. But now, looking at her, all I felt was a sense of dread. The last time we had spoken, I had been tasked with my duty of ending the world. I felt my body tense as I awaited something… anything.
"I don't blame you for not wanting to see me." Her smile became sad.
"Why are you here?" I asked cautiously as I quickly scanned for the sight of anyone or anything that might have accompanied her.
"I wanted to see you." She replied. "I know that you might not want to see me though." She looked at the viewing cloud that I had been watching. "She… she did a great deal for you, didn't she?"
I looked back to the clouds, my eyes widened. Years had passed whereas only a blink of the eye had passed me. Ellie was much older, cuddling a little girl with red hair, her grandchild. I had missed it… her life, and I had missed it. I had missed it… something must had shown on my face as I felt a hand touch my shoulder. I did my best not to flinch.
"I am sorry." She said, taking her hand away. "I have… I have caused you such pain." I did not look at her, I did not want to take my eyes away from Ellie. "I want you to know that… that I am sorry, for everything… and that… it will all be right, soon enough." I felt the hand return to my shoulder and squeeze, I chanced a glance at her, but she was gone.
Then so was I.
The clouds around me went dark, encasing me in overwhelming shadows. I called out and the shadows flashed with colour, before returning to darkness. Then I heard a voice, it called out 'hello', and in the distance I saw a flash of colour. I knew that voice. My feet moved of their own accord, urging me forward as I chased after the colours. I could feel my 'heart' pounding as I surged forwards.
There was a blinding light.
As the light dimmed I felt a warmth cover me, the clouds dispersed, revealing a field of wildflowers. I could see a world in the distance, was this was what Noctis could see but I had been unable to? Why now could I see it? A sound caught my attention and as I glanced around the flower field, I caught sight of her. Standing in the centre of the flowers, was Ellie. I stepped forwards, getting her attention.
"It's been a long time, Dear Ellie..." I said before moving to bow to her. "It's good to see you my-" I was barely able to finish my sentence before she had flung herself into my arms. "...Dear..." I smiled and wrapped my arms around her, holding her close- I could smell her, my chest ached.
"I've missed you so..." she mumbled into my chest, I could feel her tears- could we cry? Apparently we could. "Is this a dream?" she looked at me with wide eyes and I could see the panic rising within her, I squeezed her gently. I hoped that this was not a dream, the gods would be cruel to make this a dream. Then I remembered Aera's words. All will be right. This was no dream.
I shook my head and smiled softly. "No, this is real..." I pushed her hair behind her ear and my smile widened as she leaned into the touch. "You've lived a long life."
I felt her smile before pulling back. "I have so much to tell you."
I had seen a good portion of her life, but there were parts I had missed and it did not matter, I wanted to hear it all, wanted to experience it through her eyes. "I want to hear everything."
She smiled a beautiful smile. "I love you."
"Dear Ellie..." Trembling, I pulled her in for a kiss. I had missed the feeling of my lips against hers. I had missed her scent, her warmth, her. As I held her close, I felt, complete, whole.
I was home.
A/N: This idea had been badgering me for the longest time, so I hope that you guys liked it. Let me know!
Thanks for reading!