The world had been enshrouded in darkness for quite some time. Humanity was on its last legs, their numbers dwindling by the day. The last uninfected remnants of man despaired, with no savior to rely upon.

Ardyn occasionally observed the futile attempts of the last of men to survive in the now eternal night. They were resilient, he could admit that. But they were doomed like every other creature on Eos. It was just a matter of time before they too fell to the Daemons or Starscourge. Or even their fellow men as they turned on one another in this hopeless world.

The Accursed found he didn't quite care enough to even wipe them out himself, though he could have. Ardyn was rather content as he was now. The rage that had controlled him for so long was now usually subdued. The immortal man had all he needed here at the Citadel, with his Daemons prowling outside. Keeping outsiders away.

And keeping those he wished nearby.

It was quiet as the Accursed sat upon a rather comfortable couch in the royal wing on the Citadel, eyes closed as he contemplated what must be done. He was not alone, though the people around him were not currently awake. It was because of them that Ardyn was so lost in thought. And because of them that his ire had been ignited for a time.

The person to Ardyn's right stirred, the head of mostly gray hair moving sharply. The man frowned and mumbled something in his sleep but Ardyn could not make what it was. The man kept moving, whatever nightmare he was having causing such a reaction. Finally after a few minutes, the man relaxed once more, his head resting on the arm of the seat.

The Accursed had paused raking his fingers through the hair of his the boy at his feet at the movements of the man beside him. Ardyn began again once he was sure the boy's father would not wake. The Prince of Lucis sat on the floor, leaning against Ardyn's legs, with his head resting in his lap. He too was asleep.

"Brother…" A voice rasped from his left. Ardyn felt a surge of mild annoyance. He should not have been awake. But that man had always been stubborn, never doing what was expected of him. Their parents did always have trouble keeping the youngest in line. A born troublemaker, that one.

"Somnus. I'm surprised. You normally sleep like the dead, just as this one does." The Accursed gently pat the head on his lap. Noctis did not stir, deep in his induced sleep.

"Let… Them… Go." Somnus shifted to sit himself up and had trouble speaking. The Scourge running through his body tried to force him into slumber, like the Father and Chosen, but Somnus refused to succumb to it.

"Why must you demand this every time?" Ardyn sighed. "Just forget the Crystal and the Gods. Let us be a family once again."

"No…" Somnus tried to refuse. "Not… Like this."

"Yes, like this. You tried to leave me. You all did." Ardyn snapped, anger rising. It had been a joint plan. All three of these men trying to leave him once they fought off the effects of the Starscourge. That had hurt. After all he had done for them? "I won't have that."

"Ardyn… Ardyn, you can still stop-" Somnus cried out in pain as the Starscourge surged within his body at the behest of its master.

"You are my brother, Somnus. I once wished you ill, but no longer. Everything can be like it once was, damn the Gods and the rest of this cursed world. They want us all dead for their survival but I refuse to follow that path. For all of our sakes."

"It must be… That way." Somnus tried to speak, despite the pain.

"No, brother. It does not. The only ones that matter in this world are in this room. We are family, despite everything that has happened between us and to us." Ardyn responded. "We can be like that again. With both of your descendants as well. Those of your blood are mine as well."

"Ardyn… You are still… My brother. I… Regret what… Had to be done… But please just…" Somnus fell silent with a small groan. He head fell forwards, resting against Ardyn's shoulder. "... Stop this. Let him… Save this world."

"I will not." Ardyn refused and then laughed softly. "But it will be alright, Somnus. When you awaken next time, things will be well once more."

Somnus tried to speak but he barely had enough strength left to utter even a single word.

"You are my brother." Ardyn said, calling upon the Scourge within his sibling. The Founder fought against it but to no avail. It began to invade his mind, creeping into his thoughts and his memories.

"I am your brother." Somnus whispered dazedly, his mind succumbing. Ardyn was his brother. What was this odd sense of dread Somnus felt thinking about him? That was wrong. His brother could do no wrong.

"You love me."

"I love you." And of course Somnus did. Ardyn and he were so close their entire lives. They had done everything together. How could he not love his sibling?

"Nothing is wrong."

"Nothing is wrong." The world was not in ruins. No one was dying. The Crystal was not buried in the deepest pit Ardyn could find to toss it in. The Kingdom of Lucis was thriving. Their people loved them. Everything was fine. Absolutely nothing was wrong.

"You won't leave me."

"I won't leave you." And why would Somnus leave? They were all family. Him, Ardyn, Noctis and Regis. They would stay together like one.

Afterwards, Somnus lapsed into silence, falling into the same deep sleep as both of his descendants.

Ardyn sighed in relief. This would last for some time, allowing all of them to be the family Ardyn wished them to be. They would see what he wanted, hear what he wanted and believe what he wanted.

The Accursed knew the three Caelums would break out of this once more, as they had done previously. Sometimes they even escaped him for some time. But not for long. The hunt for them was sometimes fairly enjoyable. But other times, it was just frustrating. Ardyn wished for them to see things as he did. Until then, he would have to continue to manipulate them. For as long as was needed.

Because they were his.

And they could all be happy, if only they accepted what Ardyn wanted for them. There was a chance they would one day. He just had to be patient…. And Ardyn was very good at that.

Let the world around the four of them fall into ruin. The Accursed had made sure to destroy everything the Gods wanted to protect and would allow his family to suffer over. Let the Daemons rule over what was left of the world.

As long as Ardyn was no longer alone, he would stay content. He would do what the best for all of them. He would not allow his brother, and with him the two youngest members of his family, to leave him behind again.

Just a little piece I won't be fleshing out or continuing any further. Was just thinking about a scenario with Ardyn just obsessing over family. Just had this scene in mind. I wasn't too sure where it would go or what might lead up to this.