Sola/Nox fusion - Buckler snippet
@secret-engima because the recent one-shot motivated me to type this up. First meeting between Axis and Sola!
Tredd knew getting Axis in to see Nox - who Axis hadn’t just adopted, but adopted as his Chief, what in the name of Ifrit’s Pyre - would be tricky, even with Nyx knowing all the back hallways and timing everything so that both the King and his Shield would be busy in meetings with one of the Councilors. They’d probably manage an hour, before they had to sneak Axis back out or risk discovery. At best.
But right after getting Axis to Nox, right after seeing the far too skinny kid cling to Axis like he was the only anchor the kid had outside the freaking Chancellor of Niflheim, magic had suddenly flared, hot and bright and furiously protective, making everyone freeze for the brief moment it took for the angry magic to fade.
Axis had looked bewildered and wary, even as Nox relaxed and Luche sighed. Tredd buried his face in his hands. “Ramuh, dammit. Who pissed off the Shortstack now?”
The Chancellor snorted.
Nox had answered Axis’ silent question with a shrug and a helpless smile. “Sola has a temper.”
Axis glanced at Tredd, gaze far too knowing. “Did you pick a fight?”
“Yes.” Luche said. Tredd squawked in protest. Shortstack had been looking for a fight! He did not start that one! “And the Crown Princess gives as good as she gets. We’ll leave you to catch up, Axis, Highness.”
Tredd did not want to leave Axis alone with the Chancellor of Niflheim, but Luche had all but dragged him out of the room, throwing him a look when he opened his mouth to protest.
Leading to four hours later, and still no sign of either King or Shield or even the Marshal.
Not until the off-key humming that precedes the arrival of the Crown Princess. Who is grinning far too cheerfully for someone who blew her top mere hours ago.
She doesn’t give either of them the chance to come up with an excuse for their presence - and how the hell did she get past Nyx and Libertus because Tredd refuses to think they wouldn’t try to deflect her - just fixes them with a raised brow. “Just here to warn Little Brother that he’s got about thirty minutes if he wants to keep Papa in the dark about his guest.”
Wait, what- “You knew?” Tredd sputters. How?! No one saw them-
Luche regards her thoughtfully. “You distracted the King.”
The Princess grins that smug grin again. “Upsetting Lord Egestas makes for a convenient distraction.”
The Councilor meeting with the King today. Tredd puts two and two together and gapes. “You helped us?”
Shortstack gives him a look, like she can’t tell if he’s seriously asking that question. “The man you snuck in is important to my brother.” She says slowly.
Well, yeah, seeing Nox latch onto Axis killed any of Tredd’s remaining doubts about the kid returning Axis’ loyalty.
The door opens behind them, and Tredd turns to see Axis in the doorway. Words die in his throat however, as Axis and the Crown Princess eye each other with equally sharp, measured stares, and suddenly Tredd feels like he’s been caught between two predators on the brink of violence.
Then Shorstack smiles, and just like that, she softens, like a wave washing over her. She sticks a hand out. “Sola Lucis Caelum.”
Axis cautiously takes it. “Axis Arra, Your Highness.” Shortstack’s smile turns sad and knowing, but for what Tredd cannot fathom. But the tension in Axis’s shoulders finally fades.
“Just Sola.” Shortstack insists, still mind-bogglingly soft - Tredd has never seen Shortstack this gentle, ever, it’s always fiery temper and furious snarls - but a firm note enters her voice. “You are Nox’s brother.”
Tredd wonders when the world stopped making sense. The Crown Princess helping refugee soldiers sneak around behind the King’s back? Treating a refugee civilian stranger not only as an equal, but as family? Sure, in Galahd it wouldn’t be so strange, Axis and Nox are beaded brothers and every Galahdian understood that. But Shortstack is Lucian. She doesn’t know that, so why is she calling Axis Nox’s brother?
Axis must know, because Axis smiles, a small quirk of the lips but it’s a genuine smile all the same, and Tredd is so grilling him for answers later. “Sola then. Thanks for looking after him the past few days.”
“I should be thanking you.” Sola counters, expression twisting with something Tredd cannot name. “For being there. For staying.”
And before them, she bows, so deep she’s parallel to the floor. “Thank you, Axis Arra.”
Tredd has to pick his jaw off the floor. Luche’s not much better.
Shortstack straightens. “You’ve got about twenty minutes, if you want to avoid Papa and Uncle Clarus. If you ever need another distraction, let me know.”