13: Opposing Sides Divide

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Dex was just settling in to his position in front of Prince Fitz's office when he heard giggling inside

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Dex was just settling in to his position in front of Prince Fitz's office when he heard giggling inside. A woman's giggling. Sophie's giggling. He frowned and glanced at the door. Noticing a thin stream of light breaking through the shadows of the hallway, Dex quietly leaned over and peered inside, curiously watching as Sophie and Prince Fitz laughed quietly, levitating their teacups into the air, seeing who could get theirs higher it seemed (it was clearly Sophie, but who's counting?)

Dex stiffened instantly and his eyes narrowed into fine daggers at the scene. What was the prince doing talking to Sophie without anyone else? Where were the triplets, where was Biana or Keefe? And why were they using telekinesis together. No one was supposed to know but a few select people, so why... Dex scowled and straightened up, knocking the door open with a fist casually. Sophie and Prince Fitz looked at him in surprise, their teacups falling into their hands.

"Dex, what are you doing here?" Sophie asked carefully, her face pale.

"This is my afternoon post," explained Dex coldly, "and what's going on here?"

"We were... just... um..." Sophie didn't meet his eyes as he waited for an answer.

"Practicing telekinesis," the poor, teal-eyed fool answered bravely, "why, is there something wrong?"

"Yes, there is," Dex replied coldly, "only a handful of people are supposed to know about Sophie's abilities, and you're not one of them."

"It was an accident-" Sophie started, but the prince innocently asked,

"Why is this such a big deal?"

Dex's gaze went through Prince Fitz like twin lasers, "This is between me and Sophie."

"And me," insisted Fitz, "I'm caught in the middle of this now. What's going on?"

The knight decided to ignore the prince, "Why did you tell him?"

"I didn't, he caught me using it to clean Biana's room," said Sophie exasperatedly.

"Why were you using it in the first place?" Dex demanded.

Sophie reasoned, "To make things faster so I could take care of the triplets. This was when you were gone-"

"The nurses are perfectly capable of watching over the triplets! You shouldn't have risked it!" he started to raise his voice.

"So many good things came out of it," she argued, "and I didn't want the triplets to feel like I was abandoning them! They already missed you, they didn't need to miss me too!"

"Are you implying-" Dex started, but Prince Fitz interrupted,

"I don't think she's implying anything."

Dex started to see red and his fists began to ball so tightly that the metal of his gauntlet scratched and squeaked against itself. His jaw was clenched so hard that he had to unhinge it to low, unsettling growl, "You don't know the half of what you're talking about, your majesty."

Prince Fitz squared his shoulders and stood his ground, "I may not be aware of the whole of the situation, but I do know that Sophie is pure of heart and would not try to insinuate anything to hurt your feelings."

Dex suddenly noticed how far Sophie was from him and instead how close she was to the prince, whose shoulder overlapped hers in Dex's view, a quiet sign of protection. A protection against Dex... A sheet of ice hit him in the chest; cold and knocking the air out of his lungs. Sophie was afraid of him and his anger. The prince knew this. The prince was protecting Sophie from Dex. The man he wanted to protect Sophie from was the man protecting Sophie from Dex. Oh the irony. Oh the heartbreak. Oh the pure, boiling rage.

Dex's surprise washed away and hatred clouded his mind, "This is a family matter. It is not your business."

"It becomes my business when it involves my friends," the prince spoke levelly, "and I suggest that you leave before you do something you'll regret." Prince Fitz nodded towards Dex's side and the knight looked down to see his own hand on the hilt of his guardsman claymore. Dex's eyes widened a little, unsure when he began to reach for his sword.

Sparks flew out of the prince's mouth as he spoke and landed on the capillaries of Dex's fingers. Dex's hand quickly fell away from his sword, and he looked up to see the disappointment and fear in Sophie's eyes. A weight attached itself to Dex's stomach and he quickly turned away, unable to bear to see his cousin on the other side of the quiet war, the prince who would eventually break her heart's arm in front of her protectively. Dex walked to the door frame, about to leave in order to cool down and think rationally, but stopped for a moment and told Sophie, "We'll continue this later when we can talk alone," before walking out and down the hall, leaving behind a friend and a foe both unanimous in their shock.

 Dex walked to the door frame, about to leave in order to cool down and think rationally, but stopped for a moment and told Sophie, "We'll continue this later when we can talk alone," before walking out and down the hall, leaving behind a friend a...

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It was the evening now, and the long day had finally come to an end. Dex and Sophie were silently getting the triplets ready for bed, lingering tension from earlier weighing between them. They hadn't spoken about it once, but they'd silently agreed to work together to take care of the triplets. As Sophie tucked the last triplet in, Dex sat on the edge of the bed he and Sophie shared, waiting for her to join him. He smiled tiredly as she kissed the triplet's head softly and wished them goodnight, anticipating her moves towards their bed. He imagined her tip toeing over in the glowing light of the moon from the window, crawling under the covers next to him. They'd stay quiet until they believed the triplets were asleep, then talk about what happened and inevitably make up, leaving the whole ordeal as water under the bridge. After all, they were close, and finally, they were alone, so Dex could keep a cool head without the sight of the prince and Sophie making his blood boil with scathing guilt and aching anger. They could grow past things like this.

Even after the war, they had an unbreakable bond. They were a team, through thick and through thin. They could face hailstorms and move mountains. They could wield lightning and dance through fire. They were stronger than a string of words whittled into arrows meant to pierce the heart. They were the best of friends, and nothing could stand in their way.

Sophie glanced up at Dex for a fleeting moment, who didn't take his eyes off her even as she leaned down to whisper something to the triplet. Dex frowned a little, half wondering what she could be saying at this time of night, but when he watched Sophie crawl into bed next to the triplet, Dex's heart sank. The war had set them apart, yes, but he never imagined it would be to the degree where they couldn't grow past an argument, something they'd always been able to do.

Dex waited a few moments, trying to believe it was true, before leaning back onto the bed, pulling the covers over himself, and staring up at the ceiling, suddenly aware of how cold his night was going to be without Sophie sleeping next to him. Cold, and lonely. Apparently this, even after everything, could stand in their way. The unbeatable team was defeated... at least for this round. Tomorrow would be a new day, and a new battleground awaited them. One argument opened a front that lead to a war, and in the haunting thoughts in the back of Dex's mind, he wasn't sure who would win or who would fall as casualty.

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