1st Note: By popular demand: this is the sequel to 'My Big Fat Aquios Wedding.' If you haven't read it, have a look in my author profile and check it out. The children are the same and the little one Nel is pregnant with at the end is Fayt, the youngest member of the Nox family.
2nd Note: OOC one-shot ahead. Of course, Albel is really mellow in this. Kids will do that to you. Don't believe me? Let me introduce you to my father...
Disclaimer: Star Ocean 3 belongs to Tri-Ace/Ubisoft/Square-Enix.
Nel leaned over Albel. He slept like a baby on the sofa in the den. The actual baby in the equation being their youngest son, Fayt, slept on his father's chest. She sighed. Albel only took a midday nap when he was going to make 'The Attempt.' In other words, he was going to try to out smart the kids into an early bed time so he could pounce her. The myriad of attempts he made to get her alone with five kids in the house were well thought out and exceedingly clever. It was a grand joke among their friends that the kids were just as clever at keeping their parents busy with something else.
"Don't sleep all day, Albel."
He waved her off with a lazy hand.
"I only see one of our children, Albel. Where are the rest?"
"They're at a compounding lesson with Milenya."
"Are you sure?"
He opened one blood red eye. "What are you insinuating?"
Nel held up both hands. 'Nothing. Nothing." She fought a smile, but it came out anyway.
Albel smirked and looked down at his son. Lifting him gently, they quickly put him in his crib before escaping to their room. Albel shut the door and trapped her against it. A breathless kiss later and Nel was busy working his clothing off. There was a knock at the door.
"Sir Albel? Lady Nel? The children are on their way back from their lesson."
Albel sighed and put his forehead to Nel's. "Thank you, Mayu."
"Sorry, Sir." She had the decency to actually sound apologetic.
Albel took a deep breath and stood up straight. He looked down at Nel who rolled her eyes. "Figures. Raincheck?"
"Sure. But it's your eighth one." Nel leaned back against the door. "How about we trick the king and Elena into looking after them for a day? They foist little Gregory on us all the time."
Albel nodded. "That's an idea."
"DAD! NEVELLE WON'T STOP POKING ME!"
"That's our cue," Nel said.
Dinner in Nox Manor usually involves food slinging...
Nel looked down at Claire and Nevelle. "If you two can't behave, you won't get dessert for the next two weeks."
"Ahhh! That's not fair!" Claire stomped her foot. "I was just defending myself from Nevelle!"
"Nuh-uh! You threw corn at me first!"
Nel took a deep breath. "That's enough! You're both confined to your rooms for the rest of the night."
"But..." both children started.
"I don't want to hear it! Up the stairs! And I better not hear a peep out of either of you."
Both children sulked off. Nel rolled her eyes, realized she'd been doing that a lot lately, and decided that she needed a vacation. Hyda IV was a nice trip. Maybe she could get a hold of Cliff and black mail him into taking her and Albel off Elicoor for a while. She thought about that while she wandered back to the study. She opened the door and found her husband behind the desk, finishing up a report for the restoration of the training facility. Mirage Nox held the arms of one year old Gregory Bohnleid while she taught him to walk.
"Come on, Bonehead! It's not that hard!"
Albel looked up from his desk. "Do not call your future king a bonehead, Mirage."
"But he's being a bonehead!"
"He's only a year old. He won't have his feet under him for another few months."
"He's still a bonehead." Mirage said dejectedly. She lifted her young liege by the arms onto her feet and hobbled around the room with him. She noticed her mother at the door. "Hi mommy."
Albel winked at Nel from the desk, but continued working. Mirage hobbled over to Nel before picking Gregory up. "Am I named after Aunt Mirage?"
"Yes you are."
"Because you were so tiny when you were born that if Aunt Mirage wasn't there, you would have died."
"Oh." She poked Gregory in the nose. "What's dying like?"
Nel blanched, but recovered with the sweetest smile she could manage. "Go ask your father."
Albel's head shot up, mouth hanging open. Nel waved before she shut the door and ran for it. A little while later, the house turned in and Nel was still giggling when Albel crawled into bed.
"You'll pay for that, woman." He settled next to her.
She swallowed a new round of laughter. "Well? I'm waiting."
"To pay for that."
"Tomorrow. I'm too tired to make you pay for it now." He groaned. "I took a nap and I'm still wiped out."
"It just means you're getting old, dear."
"I'm not old! I'm..." He paused a moment, counting up the years in his head. "I'm only thirty-six."
"You're thirty-six with five children."
"The little maggots. I knew they'd suck the life out of me." He rolled on his side and put an arm around her. "I'll get you in the morning."
There was a knock at the door. "Mommy?" Mirage whined. "I don't feel good. Can I sleep with you tonight?"
Albel got up to open the door. "Scratch that. We'll try for next week," he said as Mirage trudged through the door, teddy bear in arm.
A visit to Arias
Claire, of the Lasbard variety, put a cup of tea in front of Nel. "How's it going?"
"We haven't had sex in weeks."
Claire opened her mouth and shut it. After repeating this action several times, she finally managed to say something. "Uh... is something wrong with Albel?"
Nel looked at Claire for a moment, before it dawned on her what her friend was asking. "Oh, no! It's the kids. We can't get a moment alone."
Claire suddenly looked relieved. "Get a baby sitter."
"No way. I thought Glou was bad, but Mirage is as slippery as a wet eel. I swear she's just a tiny version of your husband."
"She certainly looks more like him than me."
Claire put her tea down. "Looks more like him? She's a spitting image!"
Nel chuckled. "Any ideas on who we can foist the little monsters off on?"
"Monsters? Albel's really rubbing off on you."
"He calls them maggots."
"Classic. How about Elena?"
"Tried that. She rather artfully dodged us."
Claire pursed her lips. "How about Woltar?"
"I tried to take revenge for my father that way the last time we needed a sitter. Now he's wise to me."
"Politely declined. She said they only behave long enough to sit through their compounding lesson. Apparently, they're like their father in that respect."
"She spoils them too much."
"She's busy with her own little one. I'm surprised she still wants to cook for us."
Claire nodded. "You can't accuse her of not being loyal to her captain." She eyed the door she knew Tynave and Farleen were listening behind. "Unlike some people." She sighed. "There's always my dad."
Nel sat back and crossed her arms. "No offense, but I'm not quite sure that's a good idea."
"It's better than asking Cliff."
A vision of a drunken Cliff teaching the Nox children bar shanties made her shiver. "Point taken. Where is your father?"
Claire shrugged. "You could try calling him on your inventor's guild communicator. He always leaves his on."
Nel pulled out her communicator and had a momentary lament that she hadn't invented a thing since Glou was born. Punching in the number for Adray, she hoped against hope that he wouldn't pick up.
"Well if it isn't Nel!"
"Hello Adray. Where are you right now?" Not near by... Not near by... Not near by...
"I'm heading to Kirlsa at the moment. I have to talk to Woltar about the dragon population in the Barr Mountains."
"Um, would you happen to have time to watch the kids tonight?"
Crap. "I'll see you at Nox Manor at dinner time." She hung up and wished she could hang herself.
"Adray's going to watch the kids for us tonight," she said as she opened the door to the den. She stopped at the site that greeted her. The cushions had been tossed from various chairs to the floor and her children were curled up in blankets over them. Albel sat in the rocking chair, gently rocking Claire. Everyone, with the exception of her husband, looked miserable with the flu.
"The kids caught something from Mirage. Mirage caught something from Gregory. Gregory got it from who knows where in Airyglyph."
Gregory, at the mention of his name, stuck his head out from under a blanket and sniffed. Nel picked him up and cradled him against her chest. "You poor thing." She looked at Albel. "This day just has not been going well."
He smiled. "Hey. It can always be worse. So far, they only have the sniffles. I'll take that over vomiting any day." He stood and lay his oldest daughter down on the couch. She rolled on her side and sucked her thumb. He stepped around the kids and up to his wife. "At least we won't have to worry about the kids being to rambunctious while Adray watches them."
Nel managed a smile and got a kiss for it. She fixed him with a look. "What aren't you telling me, Albel?"
"It seems our children have some talent for runology."
"Well, of course they do. I've studied it all my life and you picked up the common runes really fast and wait..." She looked at her children. "What happened?"
"They were digging through your father's trunk. They only got as far as the support symbols before I snagged the book."
"Great. I guess we'll be taking them to Aquios for the tests." She looked down at Gregory whose little fist was tugging on her shirt. "Bonehead."
Albel sighed and shook his head.
Even sickness couldn't keep them from swarming 'Grandpa' Adray, who hefted all of them from his hanging arms. He walked out to the stables with the kids swinging while Albel and Nel made good their escape. They made it to their bedroom door before the onslaught of the flu hit them both and they had to run for the bathroom instead.
Sometime next week...
"That's it! I've had it." Albel pulled out his inventor's communicator and dialed Fayt.
"Albel! How's it going?"
"Get here now, idiot, and bring the rest of the fools."
"Uh... Is everything all right?"
"It will be when you get here."
Fayt, Sophia, Maria, Peppita, Cliff, and Mirage arrived on Elicoor the next day, ready for anything. Well, ready for anything but being mobbed by their 'nieces' and 'nephews.' Albel handed him a list of the children's allergies and schedules.
"We'll see you all in a week. Nel and I will be in Sanmite. Have a nice time with the kids!"
"Oh, and they're learning runology, so you might want to watch for any stray practicing."
"Wait a minute!"
"Thanks again for coming!" He quickly gave Sophia a kiss on the cheek before he and Nel ran for it.
Fayt turned to the rest of the group. "How did I get us into this?"
Mirage (the elder) laughed. "They had fair warning on how tough it is to raise so many children and still keep themselves together. Of course, with those two, I'm surprised this didn't happen sooner.
Maria shrugged and picked up Nevelle. "It's not a terrible predicament. I mean, really, how bad can it be?" Maria looked around. "Why are you looking at me as if I'm crazy?" She smiled. "Don't worry. We'll have our revenge." She looked at the children. "Who wants to ride in the space ship?"
"Me, me, me, me, me!"