Elysia found her King in the garden, fast asleep beside his sworn Shield. The title was only recently given to the man that had guarded his liege for so much of his life. Somnus lay on his back upon the grass, half in the shade of one of the tallest trees in the gardens. He slept with one arm beneath his head and the other across his chest. The King's skin, the parts exposed to the sunlight, seemed rather pale. He'd been unwell as of late.
Gilgamesh sat nearby, leaning against the trunk of the tree his King napped under. He was awake, his eyes meeting hers as she walked towards them.
"Your Majesty," Gilgamesh greeted softly with a slight incline of his masked head. It was rare for him to be without it and Elysia only occasionally saw his entire face rather than just his eyes.
"I see my husband has decided to take an afternoon nap. I am glad for it," the Queen couldn't help her smile as she walked closer toward the two men. Somnus could sleep anywhere it seemed. "He needs it."
"Yes," Gilgamesh agreed, "stubborn one that he is, he has been overworking himself. I've taken the liberty of postponing his meetings for the day. They can wait a few hours for their matters. Nothing they wish to speak of requires urgency in my mind."
"Thank you," Elysia smiled, meaning it, "Somnus is lucky to have you by his side."
There was once a time that the Queen had been intimidated and even jealous of her husband's Shield. But that had been early into her marriage to Somnus. It had been a political union, with no love on either side. Even so, Elysia wanted to be there for her husband and began to grow jealous of the man that was always by his side and seemed to know Somnus far better than she ever would.
It was understandable, as Somnus knew Gilgamesh almost his entire life. The Queen knew they had gone through much together. And they still did, traveling together to rid the Kingdom of any Daemon that appeared. And only the Shield seemed to know the full story of what happened between Somnus and his brother. This was still something Somnus had not revealed in full to his wife. Any mention of Ardyn seemed to cause him physical pain. The King had nightmares many nights.
It took some time, and even a conversation with Gilgamesh himself to allow Elysia to let go of the jealousy she once felt. And with time too, Somnus began to open up to her. He may never reveal everything, and they may never love one another like couples from the fairy tales she's loved as a child, but the Queen found herself happy.
"Thank you as well, your Majesty," Gilgamesh responded.
The Queen approached the two men, sitting down carefully as she held a precious bundle in her arms. Her son was against her breast, having just fallen asleep a short time ago. He too, had been unwell and had been rather troublesome since the previous night. The Queen found herself with little time to sleep while caring for him.
Elysia had meant to take the opportunity to get some rest herself. She'd been on her way back to her bedchambers, taking the scenic route through the gardens when she spotted her husband and his Shield. And now, while sitting out here in the grass with the sun shining down on her and the gentle breeze swaying the branches, a feeling of peace and relaxation began to overtake her. She immediately began to grow drowsy.
"If you don't mind, Gilgamesh, I might have to join my husband for a time," the Queen asked, trying to stifle a yawn, "Aiden was rather irritable this past day."
"Not at all," the man chuckled.
"Thank you," the Queen said as she shifted closer to her sleeping husband. Her dress might suffer some grass stains but that was alright. The woman tried to get into a more comfortable position while keeping her son in her arms.
"May I take him?" The Shield asked.
"Of course," the Queen easily relented, trusting the man that had guarded her husband for far longer than she had known him. She carefully moved her son away from her chest and held him out to Gilgamesh. The man came forward to take Aiden with equal care, rocking him slightly when he made a sound at being disturbed from his former position.
"Do you wish for any of your own?" The Queen asked as she finally found a spot that suited her right beside her husband. She lay down as he did, half in the shade and on the grass.
The Queen could detect the smile in the Shield's voice as he answered, "I do... And there may perhaps be one on the way."
"Truly?" Elysia almost shouted in her excitement but realized she may wake Somnus. Even though he was a rather deep sleeper, it would be hard to stay that way when someone shrieked right in his ear. In a softer voice, she added, "that is fantastic news... Ah, I am going to enjoy introducing the children to one another."
"So am I," the Shield agreed, now a hint of pride evident.
Aiden burbled, opening his eyes but then quickly shutting them again. He moved a little but settled down again quickly. Gilgamesh smiled down at him, seeing traces of Somnus in the boy. The eyes were exactly like his fathers, a striking blue. And his hair was a rich black just like his as well.
Knowing Aiden was in good hands, the Queen closed her eyes. The grass felt heavenly beneath and the sunlight warmed her skin where it touched. Elysia took a few moments to stretch, feeling some of her joints pop. The woman finally felt she understood now how her King could fall asleep so easily in such places.
"I will watch over you. Do not fear," Gilgamesh's voice seemed fainter and the words comforted the Queen and she finally allowed herself to give into the desire to sleep.
For the next few hours, Gilgamesh stayed awake to watch over the Royal Family as they rested. He was content himself, finding peace in this. Even if they may not be related, this family was his too. Somnus, his wife and his son. He'd sworn to protect this bloodline and Gilgamesh would make sure they never came to harm. Not on his watch.
Short little addition that would fall between the end of my story The Accursed and before Dream.