Nitria let Ivan carry his daughter as they walked back to the front room where her family had obviously been having a discussion, and obviously about her. When Nitria's older brother, Hayden, saw them, everyone fell silent and turned towards the three.
"This is crazy," Hayden said after a short silence. "We're your family, Nitria. Think about Abigail. It'll be better for her to grow up here. With her family."
"I am her family, and so is Ivan," Nitria said firmly. "And I think the life of a princess is better than growing up poor on a farm."
"You must stay here," her father said. "I've already found a suitable husband for you. Someone better than a murderer."
"Ivan's a good man!" Nitria was angry and glaring at the old man. "If I ever marry anyone, it'll be Ivan! I'd never marry anyone else, especially not someone you picked out."
"Please listen," said Nitria's younger brother. "He's the farm owner's son. He'll take good care of you. And Abigail. He's willing to raise her as if she were his own."
"Don't you understand?" Nitria was becoming annoyed. No matter how many times she told her family how she felt, they never seemed to listen. "I love Ivan. And I'm going to live with him. I care about you, but it's time for me to say goodbye." Nitria started to walk out the door, but Hayden grabbed her arm. She turned and glared at her brother; she was tempted to hit him.
Ivan stopped, ready to fight, but he was holding Abigail. "I'll be back soon," he whispered so only Nitria could hear and left with Abigail. He went outside and found the two knights standing and talking to each other. Ivan started to walk over to them, and when they noticed that their prince was headed towards them, they quickly closed the remaining distance.
"Take her," Ivan said to the taller of the two, handing Abigail to him. He looked at the other knight. "Come with me. There could be trouble." Ivan glanced at the swords the knights carried and thought about taking the blade from the knight with Abigail. Since Verni died, Ivan had hardly touched a sword and was not carrying one with him. But he decided against it. He would not kill any of Nitria's family. None of them were even armed from what he saw.
Ivan turned and walked back into the house with the knight following. As soon as Ivan walked in, Nitria's younger brother tried to attack Ivan with a punch, but the young man was obviously untrained and Ivan caught his arm. Seeing that his brother was in trouble, Hayden came to his aid. The knight didn't let Hayden get close to Ivan, though. He intercepted his attack and punched him in the stomach.
"Try not to hurt anyone," Ivan said, still holding Nitria's brother. The younger brother kicked Ivan, hitting him in the knee. It hurt, but it was not enough to make Ivan cry out. Instead of hitting him like he would have done in the past, Ivan knocked him to the ground, then looked at Nitria standing with Anna and Gunther.
"Go outside," he told Nitria. She left immediately, not wanting to delay their departure and not voicing her concerns about what might happen to her family. Ivan saw that Gunther was about to stop Nitria, but the man stopped himself.
Once Nitria was outside, her brother got up from the ground, ready to attack Ivan again. But Gunther stepped forward and placed a hand on the young man's shoulder, stopping him from any further action against Ivan. He did not look too happy about it, but he turned and left the room without doing or saying anything else. The knight had been holding Hayden down, and with a glance from Ivan, he knew the fight was over and let him up.
"Take care of her," Gunther said as Ivan started to head for the door. "If I ever find out you've hurt her, you'll have all of us hunting you down."
Ivan almost smiled, but he didn't mention that he'd had worse people trying to kill him before. He turned to look at Gunther. "Don't worry," he said. "Nitria is safer than she's ever been."
When Ivan was out of the house, he ran to Nitria and hugged her, both of them knowing that they would finally be together. When they finally released each other, Nitria looked down at Ivan's waist. Ever since he had returned, she knew something seemed different about him and she realized what it was.
"You're not carrying a sword," she said.
"I don't use swords anymore," Ivan said sadly. "There's no need for me to carry one."
"You've changed so much," Nitria said, smiling. "Remember when you would barely even talk to me?"
"Many things have changed. But I've always felt the same about you." Ivan's horse was nearby and Ivan whistled him over. He helped Nitria up and then handed Abigail to her before climbing on behind her. "Ready to go home?"
"I've been waiting for a year, Ivan." She turned her upper body so she could give him a quick kiss before the horse started walking towards Dem Feten and the ship that would finally take them back home.
And then Ivan decided that his life was not worth living and he killed himself.
My story comes with an alternate ending! I think if I did have Ivan kill himself, I might have some people tracking me down and killing me. Hope everyone likes the ending because I'm not changing it. If you want to bug me about this story, email me. I'll bug you back. Kittens!
Miss Yukishiro – I almost blew my hand off with fireworks! You're pretty much right about why Ivan didn't seem to care about Verni's kid. But since this is the end, you just have to guess what kind of father Ivan is. Viruses are awesome!
clair-a-net – Thanks!
Smosthedog – Yes, Hayden and the other dude I decided not to name are her brothers. Sorry it was confusing.
Yoroy – I made the alternate ending just for you.
Lavender-Drop – Glad you like it so much. But there won't be a sequel. Sorry.
Skyeanide – Thanks. I really don't think I'm as good as you make me sound.
Gekijou – Thanks, glad you liked the story.
Monsteroflockness77 – I thought it might be a bit obvious about the child, but I've been planning that for a while so meh.
RulerofStreaking – She can get a bit annoying. I've noticed that when I've reread, but of course, I'm too lazy to make changes. Glad you liked it!