Prompto isn't so good with magic.
It's not that he can't throw straight. He understands which flask is which and how to time a spell to hit the dead centre of a group of flans. He knows what to use when it's raining, when it's dark, when you just need to blow shit up. He knows all these things.
But somehow, when he's right there in the middle of battle it all flies out of his head. It's not instinctive, like tech. It's difficult. He's watched Noct and Ignis switch effortlessly between daggers, polearms and spells as if all they have to do is think it and it happens. He can't do that.
"I'm sorry," he tells Noct, after he managed to freeze half of his own arm solid when a ball of ice backfired on him.
"What for?" Noct smooths his palm over the back of Prompto's hand, the warm hum of fire magic cancelling out the cold. Feeling shocks back into Prompto's fingers, so painful he yelps.
"For being useless." Prompto puts his fingers into his mouth, tries to suck away the last bit of cold.
"Got very busy back there," says Noct. He makes a fist, releases it, and the last bit of fire magic with it. There's a puff of smoke. "Here." He passes Prompt a potion. "Drink this. You'll be all fixed."
Prompto smiles at him, heartfelt but tinged with guilt. They had enough trouble with other creatures trying to kill them. Didn't need to worry about self-inflicted injuries. God, he's an idiot.
"Come and get some food," Noct says. "And stop whining."
Prompto follows Noct to the fire, where Ignis is barbecuing something delicious. "You'd whine if you had frostbite," Prompto says.
"Noct would whine if there was a slight draught," says Gladio. "You okay?"
"Yeah, fine," says Prompt. Noctis gives Gladio a withering glare, but Gladio takes no notice.
It's late, so they go to bed pretty soon after dinner. Prompto lies at Noct's side as usual, listening to him breathe.
If magic came in bullet form, he thinks, as he drifts to sleep, life would be so much easier.
They stay at camp for a few hours the next day. Ignis has his head in the recipe book they got at the market in Old Lestallum, and Gladio insists Prompto train with him for a while. Not that he minds training. Only way to get better, after all.
By the time Gladio's finished with him he's covered in sweat and gasping for breath. At that rate he should be better than Noct in, oh, say, a decade? Two? Ha.
He grabs a towel from the tent and wipes himself down, then goes to find Noct. Noct, it turns out, is at the edge of the camp, drawing magic from the earth.
Prompt finds a rock to sit on, slings the towel around his neck, and watches.
Noct reaches to the clump of elemental shards in front of him, stands perfectly still and pulls at the ice. It's fascinating. It's like he's a magic-magnet. The power flows to him like water flows into a lake. It's a peaceful, gentle thing. It looks so right.
When he's done, Noctis closes his eyes and gives this contented little smile. Prompto knows that smile.
"What're you smirking at?" Noct asks him, shaking his hands loose. Prompto half-expects magic to fall off his fingertips like stars.
"Nothin'," says Prompto. Noct jumps down from the lightning nest, and Promp scrambles after him. "Actually, I was wondering what it feels like."
"What what feels like?"
"When you do that magic… thing." Prompto points at the nest behind them and waggles his fingers.
"Oh, that? I dunno, it's like… it's kinda like milkshake."
Prompto blinks at him.
"Yeah, milkshake," says Noct.
"Okay, that makes no sense, dude."
"You know when you're drinking thick milkshake through a straw, and you have to suck real hard, but then it suddenly works and bam, you're hit with a mouthful of strawberry cream? It's like that. Kinda."
Prompto tries to process that, but it's not easy, because his imagination is suddenly assaulted by the memory of that blow job in the Regalia back when Gladio and Ignis were checking out the forest the other day.
"C'mere," says Noct. "I'll show you."
Prompto shakes off the cloud of lust in his brain and jogs over to the fire nest, where Noct is waiting for him.
"Once I'm this close, I can feel it," Noct says, reaching his hand out, fingers spread wide. "Kind of a tingle. Feels good. Feels like it's mine to take, like it's just waiting for me. Then I just… pull it out of the rock." He closes his eyes for a second in a slow, appreciative blink.
"Do it," says Prompto, breathlessly.
The nest glows, sparked to life by Noct's touch. Flames lick towards Noctis' hand, dance around his arm. It fades, and Noct closes his fist; his eyes shine red for a second. He seems taller. Stronger.
"You're… That's beautiful," says Prompt. Like an idiot.
"Feels pretty sweet." Noct opens his right fist to reveal a fireball; in his left is a tiny blizzard. He moves quickly, a complicated gesture with each hand in turn, and then there's just one ball, a swirling mist of flame in a cracked ice shell. He hands it to Prompto. "There you go." Noct winks at him. "Make sure you don't throw it at one of us, okay?"
Prompto saves that spell for weeks. It's only when he finds himself backed into a corner by a bunch of nasty-looking Imperials that he considers using it. They've got him trapped between a couple of rocks while the others have their hands full fighting some very nasty coeurls about thirty feet away. No way could they get to him in time. Besides, he hates to be the one who needs to be rescued. So he reaches for the magic Noct made and closes his fingers around the delicate sphere, feels its hum. The ice numbs his fingertips a little but he takes care not to lose his grip. His heart thuds. It's this or he gets killed, or captured or… worse.
He picks one target in the mass of soldiers in front of him, and flings the spell at it as hard as he can. Then he throws himself down, arms over his head, because it was too close, he knows it was. He hears the explosion, the crunch of metal and fizz of magitek circuits frying. And then, silence.
He dares to peek over his elbow. There's a pile of burning bodies in front of him, and above them a mist forms, a blueish cloud, swirling. It looks like Noct does when he's warp-phasing. The mist falls on Prompto, kissing his skin, and he can taste Noct's magic on his tongue, scent it, light and fresh as summer rain. Then a roll of power, like the sweet press of kind fingers at the end of a hard day, and the cut on the back of Prompto's arm closes up. He breathes. He's safe. He heals.
Suddenly Noct is there, warping from the distance; he squeezes Prompto's shoulder, looks him over for any sign of damage. Reaches out a hand to help him up. "You okay?"
"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine." Prompto hops to his feet. "Thanks to you. That was some spell you concocted, buddy."
Noct takes in the blackened landscape around them, the melted steel. "Not bad! And see, you did it. They're all dead and none of us are so much as singed."
"Hey, yeah! Yeah, will ya look at that?"
Noct looks so proud, so happy for him that Prompto can't help himself. He launches himself at Noct and kisses him. Full on the mouth, not caring what Ignis or Gladio may or may not see.
"Um," Noct says when they come up for air. He is holding Prompto close, his hand pressing into the small of Prompto's back. "What brought that on?"
"Oh, you know. Near death experiences and all," says Prompto. "Besides….."
Noctis raises an eyebrow.
"You're magic," says Prompto, and kisses him again before Noct can complain he's too corny for words.