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Chapter 17

Ardyn held his son close, feeling the boy tremble, hearing him breath deeply, taking in his scent? He raised a hand to run over black hair, careful not to tangle in braids. Why was Harry pretending to be from Galahd? He felt the warmth of Harry's magic shifting between them and then sinking into him, feeling warm for the first time in forever. But Harry had never been able to heal the Scourge, there was nothing he could do for him…except apparently take away aches and pains built up over centuries that he barely noticed anymore.

"Dad," Harry whispered.

His son…he had his son back. Something he had never dared to dream of. He could feel the daemons' rage pushing at his mind but he refused to let them harm his son. He heard a low grumbling growl and Harry lifted his head, pupils becoming slits. Had he learnt to transform at will in his time away? To his shock, the daemons backed down at the noise.

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Regis watched the two embrace. He was happy for Harry's sake that he was reunited with his adoptive father… who just happened to be Adagium and the Imperial Chancellor…this was going to be a nightmare to sort out. It gave him another reason to try and find a way out of the Prophecy though – to spare his son and to spare Harry's father.

A side door opened and Cor entered, hand ready to summon his blade but Regis signalled for him to stand down. "Your Majesty?" he asked formally and then he saw the two on the lower level. "What?"

"Meet Ardyn Lucis Caelum…brother of the Founder King and adoptive father to Harry James Lucis Caelum, currently known as Harry Peverell," Regis told him quietly.

"Regis…"

"Confirmed by the Lucii, Cor. The young man I have been calling cousin is actually my many times great-uncle, related through the Gryffindor line by blood." Only Regis' many years of knowing Cor allowed him to read the shock in his expression.

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"I missed you Dad, I…I thought you were dead after so long," Harry admitted as he shifted back enough to see him. "How are you still alive? Why didn't Gil or Uncle Somnus tell me? Why are you working for the Empire?" he asked in a rush, worried by the flicker of madness in golden eyes when he mentioned working for the Empire. Two thousand years…how could anyone remain sane after so long? But for the family to not know of him? For his Dad to have turned on them, why?

"So they didn't tell you?" Ardyn growled, and Harry shook his head.

"I only had two minutes max with Uncle Somnus when I found his tomb. I was with Gil for three months though, he should have told me you were alive. I would have looked for you," he promised, and he would have. Was…was that why they hadn't said anything? How bad was the Scourge's influence over him now, the madness? He didn't like what he'd seen so far but he wasn't sure if he could do anything to help except be there.

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Harry hadn't known he was still alive, his son had thought he was all alone but for ghosts, no wonder he had come to Somnus' heirs. He obviously didn't know what had happened after he vanished, what they'd accused him of. He knew Somnus had come to love Harry as his nephew, his supposed death had grieved everyone and they'd taken that pain out on him, accusing him of killing the boy he had raised. Harry was still holding onto him, refusing to let go…proving it wasn't a dream. He'd had many hallucinations over the centuries where his son returned to him, all caused by the daemons in his mind, taunting him with hope.

He forced himself to ignore their whispers, to ignore the presence of the others in the room and focus only on his son, taking in how he'd changed. He was older, finally looking like an adult, if a young one. The braids…actually suited him. He looked healthy, though he could spot a handful of faded scars he didn't recognise. He felt conflicting surges of rage and satisfaction at seeing them, forcing both back even as he accepted the anger was his own and the satisfaction wasn't.

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Cor watched the two carefully, he'd grown close to Harry due to the cover story and he liked the kid. But the Chancellor was his father? That was potentially very dangerous, though why would a Lucis Caelum be working with the Empire? He wasn't sure what to think about the claim the man was the Founder's brother, but Regis would not lie to him. How old was Harry then if he was the man's son, adopted or not?

Did Prompto know any of it? They were engaged to be married and he was sure Harry loved Prompto, but if there were this many secrets between them…

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Prompto checked his phone, hoping for a message from Harry. He knew his fiancé was on Throne Room duty and that he'd let them know what was going on if he got the chance…but there was nothing. He was worried, he couldn't help it, especially with them being ordered to stay away. Keep the heir safe from whatever was going on and he hated that they had to think that way when there was trouble. So few people knew of Harry's royal connections, he wouldn't get any protection, he'd be expected to be the one providing it and Prom knew he would.

"They'll be okay," Noctis murmured, and of course he was worried since his Dad was right in the firing line of whatever was going on and Harry was his cousin.

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Regis kept quiet, something telling him that things could turn dangerous very quickly. He'd noticed the shifts in Ardyn's mood and…if this truly was the man who had all but killed him before Noctis was born then if a fight broke out who could defeat him? According to Prophecy, Noctis, and Harry had held his own during their brief scuffle. Regis still beat his cousin but with the revelations heard today, he had the feeling the younger male still held back in their spars.

If Harry could get through to the man he called Dad then maybe, just maybe, they had a chance to get around the Prophecy and his son would live. There was obviously something wrong with him but if they could help him then they had to, he was family after all. What were the Astrals doing pitting their family against itself? He needed to contact Lunafreya somehow, perhaps as Oracle she would have answers or be able to find out.

He wasn't listening to their conversation, the two deserved privacy, and he trusted his cousin. Harry would not turn on them for possible crimes committed centuries ago.

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Harry stared at his Dad, seeing the internal war. What had happened to him? Was it all due to the Scourge or something else? He could tell the healing he had done had helped him physically with the toll of living so long, but he'd never been able to heal the Scourge. Could the current Oracle heal him or was it too much?

"Dad please, try and control it, think," he murmured. "I want my Dad back; I've missed you so much."

Ardyn shuddered slightly, a hand gripping Harry's sleeve tightly. "Harry…what they've done…"

"What has Regis personally done to you? What has Noctis?" he pushed. "And did they know you were family?"

"Of course they did!" he snapped angrily, moving away.

"Noctis? I've been here for three years and you've never come, so how could he be guilty unless you were here when he was a child and you can't hold a child guilty." He met his Dad's eyes calmly. He knew Noctis, he knew he would never hurt someone unless they attacked first.

"Will you say that when he tries to kill me?"

"What?" Harry blinked, confused. "Noctis isn't a killer, Dad."

"The Prophecy will make him one, of course there's no guarantee he'll win,' he sneered.

Prophecy? Concerning his Dad and Noct? Yeah…he really didn't like the sound of that one bit. He might need to head back to the Disc or ask Regis if he minded him borrowing the Ring for an hour or two to demand answers from Uncle Somnus, he'd have to send a letter to Gil as well, maybe pop in for a talk about keeping secrets.

"Dad, there is no way Noct will agree to kill you. We'll find a way to fix this."

"Really?" and then he shook his head, fighting, and Harry snarled, magic signing under his skin, vision sharpening as his eyes shifted. Ardyn blinked at him, looking calmer. "How… it seems your other form can shake even daemons," he managed a small chuckle.

"Calm enough to speak with Regis?" Harry asked cautiously.

"So long as you remain, I believe so. Though he may not wish to considering I nearly killed him a few years before Noctis was born."

"What's the occasional murder attempt between family?" Harry teased; not like he hadn't been related even if only distantly to a lot of the Death Eaters. He stepped back and held his hand out, his Dad slowly taking it, and then Harry started up the stairs. He looked to Regis for permission before taking the last three stairs to where the three men stood warily.

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Part of him was surprised Harry looked to him for permission to finish approaching considering the new information proved the two of them were the senior royals in the room.

"Uncle Regis," Harry began, smiling slightly at him, and Regis was happy that he still wanted that kind of connection, "may I present my Father, Ardyn Lucis Caelum."

"Your Majesty," was the clipped greeting, the Chancellor squeezing Harry's hand.

"Your Highness," Regis greeted him with his birth title rather than the Imperial one since it was a meeting of family and not foreign powers, seeing his eyes widen slightly in surprise.

"if this is going to remain peaceful, someone might want to call the boys. Noctis sensed something and Prompto's messaged me several times frantic about Harry," Cor spoke up.

"Oh?" Ardyn glanced at his son who smiled shyly.

"He's my fiancé."

"All the balls and parades of eligible nobles and you had to wait two thousand years to choose? There is such a thing as being too picky," the man's lips quirked into a small grin, and Harry laughed. "He treats you well?"

"Very well," Harry promised.

The thought of this man targeting young Prompto over any kind of slight, imagined or real, in defence of Harry was not one Regis wasn't to contemplate.

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Harry knew they needed to speak privately about Prompto, because now he had the sick feeling he knew where Niflheim had gotten information on Magitek, or at least the sort that had caused the jump in proficiency a bit over two decades ago. He was very happy that Prompto had been born, knew he likely wouldn't exist without that knowledge having been shared but then again, knowing even a little of what he'd gone through in that place, what who knew how many other suffered…it had to stop.

TBC…

This chapter was started last year but it's been giving me so much trouble. Still not happy with it and I've decided to post what there is, maybe I'll find inspiration for the next bit in the reviews. I know where it needs to be in a chapter or two but it's the stuff in between I'm stuck on.