Prompto couldn't sleep.
It wasn't unusual. Sometimes it was a restless, anxious energy that he couldn't shake, nerves alight and waiting for-he wasn't sure what, but it was like something hard-wired into him, to be ready to react at a moment's notice.
Other times, it was nightmares, the ones that made him claustrophobic and panicky, and caused him to start awake. He didn't remember much of those, except that they made his stomach clench, and in their aftermath he always clasped his left hand over his right wrist, inexplicably terrified that someone would notice the mark there, that he would be snatched away, to never escape a hell he only had vague impressions of.
Sometimes, if he was alone, and certain he was alone, he would be filled with a morbid fascination with the lines etched into his wrist, even and precise, a tiny series of numbers just below the bar code, spending the small hours of the morning studying them, unable to return to sleep. The tattoo had something to do with the restlessness and the nightmares. He was sure of it, somehow. Instinct, maybe, or a forgotten memory.
It was the nightmares, tonight, the shock of thunder from outside pulling him from his fitful sleep, and, once awake, the flashes of lightening, dark interspersed with light, almost sending him into a panic until he'd turned to the window to see rain pelting at the glass. Just a storm.
It was just a storm.
Prompto sighed, and, giving up sleep as a lost cause, moved to the window that made up one wall of the room. He was at Noct's; crashing on his couch was becoming a common occurrence—ostensibly because he kept missing the last train home when they got too caught up in a video game or a movie, losing track of time, but truthfully, Prompto found himself dreading the return to his own apartment. There would be no one there when he got back, the empty quiet deafening and unbearable now that he'd become accustomed to a different kind of silence—that of quiet companionship.
Prompto worried the band over his wrist, making sure it was covered, as he looked out over the city spread before him. It was little more than indistinct lights twinkling in the rain beyond the glass, but it was beautiful nonetheless. It only took a couple steps to retrieve his camera and bring it to the window, fiddle with the settings until he'd captured a few passable shots. It wasn't something a camera could quite do justice, but he'd be satisfied in capturing the feeling of it.
Returning the camera, Prompto snagged his blanket and pulled it around his shoulders. Noctis was asleep in the other room, and that was a comfort, knowing he wasn't the only soul in the apartment. Even so, he tiptoed to Noct's room to confirm it, nudging the door open just enough to catch sight of a sleeping form and a tuft of black hair. It made him smile, a little; Noct looked so peaceful. Prompto envied him his ability to sleep seemingly anywhere and any time, but he was glad for it, glad that Noct wasn't disturbed by his own restlessness. Prompto watched over him for a few minutes, finding the gentle rise-and-fall from Noct's breathing calming, and it was probably a little weird, to watch his best friend sleep, so Prompto turned and moved back to the window in the lounge, instead.
It was a little easier to shake the malaise from the nightmares when he wasn't alone, even if Noct was asleep, and Prompto didn't think he'd ever stop being grateful for Noct's friendship. Because a part of him knew that Noct knew he'd rather be here than home, and that Prompto wasn't the only one who conveniently lost track of time.
Or maybe Noct was lonely, too. Prompto might've found that difficult to imagine—after all, Noct had Iggy and Gladio and a father—but he'd seen that look in his friend's eyes, the one that was familiar because it was one he'd seen so often in the mirror, and if Prompto's company helped, who was he to refuse? Prompto couldn't bear to see Noct anything but happy, even if it meant plastering on a smile when he was courting a panic attack.
A sound behind him made him tense so hard it hurt, the fear from his nightmare returning with its sharpened nerves.
But it was just Noct. That was all it could be, the soft shuffle of bare feet against the floor, and Prompto took a breath, forcing himself to relax, and then Noct came to a stop next to him, leaning his head on Prompto's shoulder, banishing the tension with the simple action.
"Hey." Noct's voice was gruff with sleep, and Prompto was surprised he was awake enough to walk and talk—the same Noctis who took ages to climb out of bed in the morning, and he wondered if Noct had actually been asleep, after all. It was sometimes hard to tell, with him.
"Hey." Prompto tried not to dwell on the possibility that he'd been caught watching Noct sleep.
"The storm woke me up." It wasn't a lie, not entirely. He didn't want Noct to worry, or worse, to inquire after his nightmares—not that he could give any kind of accurate account of them, anyway, but he'd rather just put it behind him.
Noct hummed a response, his hair tickling Prompto's cheek.
"I've probably said this before," and yeah, he was about to babble, but that was okay; Noct never seemed to mind, "but you've got a great view up here." Prompto gestured down at the lights sprawled below them, twinkling. "I got a couple shots, you know, the rain and the lights and everything, it looks really cool through the window." Abruptly, he realized Noct would ask to see them—he usually did—and he'd be happy to, later, but just now, he didn't want to give up this comforting closeness, so he changed tack. "Hey, but what about you? Can't you like, sleep through an earthquake or something? How come you're awake?"
Noct shrugged. "Dunno." He shifted, wrapping an arm around Prompto and effectively snuggling into him; it took a conscious effort not to glance down at his wristband to make sure it was still in place, and instead just let himself relax more into the embrace, but it was a worthwhile effort.
Prompto tilted his head until it bumped Noct's. This kind of affectionate contact was still new between them—in fact, Prompto couldn't remember ever being this close to someone else—but it was nice, welcome. It made him full and warm and happy, and he wanted it to last forever, so he fished his phone out of his pocket—it wasn't worth disturbing them to retrieve his camera—and snapped a selfie. The lighting wasn't great, but there was enough ambient light from outside to capture the shapes of their faces, hair both light and dark mingling together.
Noct made a sound of amusement when Prompto angled the screen toward him. "Your hair is a mess, Prom, you sure you wanna keep that one?"
"Nooooct!" Prompto jabbed him with his elbow half-heartedly, and slipped the phone back in his pocket. He gave an exaggerated sniff. "I don't expect you to understand the true art of photography."
"Yeah, okay." A yawn cut off Noct's low chuckle.
"You should go back to bed," Prompto murmured. "Iggy'll have a fit if you doze off tomorrow." He reluctantly started disengaging himself from Noct's hold, but Noct only tightened his grip, a small, disappointed sound in his throat. "Uhm, Noct?"
And when he shifted enough to see his friend's face, Prompto pursed his lips. Noct's expression was carefully guarded, but Prompto was experienced in reading that look, the one that said don't leave me alone—as if Prompto could!—and the hand clutching Prompto's arm that underlined the sentiment. So he just smiled and leaned into Noct.
"Alright, but if you fall asleep on me, I'm not carrying you back to bed! You know I'm not strong like Gladio."
Noct rolled his eyes, something like mischief quirking his lips. "That's not a problem if we're already in bed." And when Prompto said he wasn't strong like Gladio, he meant he wasn't really strong at all, not even as strong as Noct, who was tugging him back towards his room with maybe a little more force than necessary, considering Prompto wasn't inclined to resist.
"Alright, alright, I'm coming!" Prompto wasn't exactly sure what this situation would entail, but he would probably follow Noctis to the end of the world if he had to, so following him in the safety of Noct's apartment was a small matter. When Noct practically tackled him onto the bed, and they collapsed in a pile of laughter, he changed his mind—this was no small matter.
It was everything.
It took a few minutes, to figure out how to arrange their limbs so they were both comfortable, but once they did, it was perfect. Warm and soft, and Prompto was pretty sure it was as close to heaven as someone could get, and that he'd never been happier, his nightmares and restless energy forgotten as he melted into the bed with Noct.
"Bed's more comfy than the couch," Noct mumbled, voice already thick with sleep.
"Yeah." Prompto smiled. It never took Noct long to fall back asleep. "Very comfy."
Noct nuzzled closer—Prompto hadn't thought it possible, but he was being proved wrong—and Prompto thought his heart would burst at Noct's next words: "I'm here, Prom. I'm here for you."
It never failed to surprise him, when Noctis had these little moments: moments of perfect perception (or maybe Noct was saying what he wanted to hear from Prompto, but the two of them were alike, in many ways, in tune with each other as only the closest friends could be) that set the world to rights even as Prompto was trying to hide that anything was wrong at all. Prompto felt his eyes stinging with unshed tears as he pressed his face into Noct's hair.
"Me too, Noct," and even though he was whispering, his voice felt too loud in the quiet of the room. "I'm here for you, too." Noct's arms tightened around him in a hug.
Noct's breathing evened out after only a few more minutes, and Prompto pressed an affectionate kiss into his dark hair.
No photos would ever be able to capture this, but that was okay, because Prompto would hold onto it in his heart for as long as he lived, held onto it even as he drifted off to sleep, finally; peaceful, safe.