Part 1 - Gladio
Gladio watched as Prompto walked with no hesitation on the treadmill in the physical therapy office with relief. When the blond had told him that the therapist thought he had improved enough to scale back to once a week appointments, he had insisted on coming along for the last regular one to see how Prompto was really doing. He trusted the therapist’s judgement, and Prompto’s slow but steady improvement had been plain enough, but...still. He wanted to be sure. A few minutes later, Gladio grinned as Prompto finished up his course with the therapist and trotted over to his side, bumping his hip against Gladio’s leg.
“You’ve been doing well, Prompto. Remember your exercises, don’t overdo it, and you’ll be back to normal in no time. I know this has been tedious for you, but you’ve done well,” the therapist said as he walked up to the two of them, and Prompto bobbed his head in agreement. “I’ve already run over everything with Prompto, Mr. Amicitia, did you have any questions yourself? I know you’ve been helping him out.” Gladio shook his head, and the therapist nodded. “Good, then I’ll see you two around.”
“Do you want to go get some lunch?” Prompto asked as they exited the office, and Gladio didn’t need any time to think about it.
“Sounds like a plan to me,” he replied, and together, the two got on the elevator, Prompto’s fingers hovering over the buttons.
“Usual place?” Prompto asked, and Gladio paused. The king had calmed down the edict strongly suggesting that Prom and Cor stay close to the Citadel after his introduction to the public, as it were, only asking that they not go out alone. But besides a short trip by Cor, Prom, and Nyx to Little Galahd which he had not been invited on, the younger man really hadn’t gone much of anywhere. But the cane and walker had been returned to the therapist, and as long as they didn’t go for a several mile excursion, Gladio knew that Prompto would do just fine.
“I have a better idea,” he stated, pushing away Prom’s hand and hitting the button to the lobby. Prompto’s eyes went wide, and Gladio reached over and ruffled his hair, leading to Prom squirming away with a laugh. “Let’s get out of here.”
Once outside the Citadel gates, Gladio wrapped an arm around Prom’s shoulders and pulled him gently to his side, smiling as he watched the younger man’s cheeks flush charmingly. Their dynamic had been changing for months, ever since Iggy had all but forced Prom to stay at Noct’s apartment during his then-unknown fainting spells, and ever since then, Gladio had been increasingly enjoying every blush, shudder, and soft look he could get out of the blond, but had not pushed for more. Prompto’s life had been turned upside down in a very short period of time, and he hadn’t wanted to push when the poor guy was still figuring out everything.
Gladio sighed silently as he and Prom walked down the main drag away from the Citadel, keeping an eye on the crowd as they passed by. He had already seen several people give them a double-take, realizing just who they were, and he wanted to make sure that no one got any ideas. He was gratified to see that Prompto was also keeping a smiling but observant eye on his surroundings, nodding to those who recognized him with the poise of a king without really meeting anyone’s eyes. Prom wasn’t inviting conversation, and so far, so one had pressed the matter. Good. Gladio would be even more impressed, but he knew that the king had personally given Prom some basic lessons in etiquette and public relations for exactly this reason while he was still recovering, and while Prompto could be a goofball, he was good about getting serious when necessary.
Gladio met Prom’s eyes for a moment and squeezed his shoulder, leading to a faint blush that made him grin at the smaller man. Prompto really had become the catalyst for something more between all four of them, even if they hadn’t really spoken much about it. He, Iggy, and Noct had been in each other’s orbit for a large portion of their lives, and there had been times where he thought that one or all of them might end up going that extra step with each other, but it had never happened. At least in regards to him, at any rate. He wouldn’t be shocked to find out that Iggy and Noct had been having a little something, although he suspected that if they were, it was only on occasion. But lately, all four of them had been exchanging looks that Gladio knew in his gut were more meaningful than they once had been; even their ridiculous sleepovers had increased, which had only served to make the tension even thicker. But none of them had made the leap. Not yet.
“Where did you want to eat?” Prompto’s voice cut into Gladio’s musing, and he looked down at him and tilted his head.
“I'm good wherever you wanna go, Prom,” he stated, and watched as Prompto thought it over for a moment, his brow furrowed and mouth pursed. It was, like many things the man did, irritatingly endearing.
“Well, there's an Altissian place not too far from here that I was curious about,” Prom mused, and Gladio waved his free hand.
“Lead the way.”
While Altissian places generally had a reputation of being pretty fancy, Gladio was pleased to see that the one that he and Prom walked into was more relaxed, and even the server who seated them, while clearly recognizing them, didn’t say a word beyond the usual. Prom ordered a carbonara dish, while he got pasta fagioli, and then they settled in to wait. He thought about speaking a few times, but Prom seemed to be just enjoying being out of the Citadel, and Gladio sat back and watched as the younger man happily snapped away with his camera at everything that moved, and at just as many things that didn’t..
It was nice to see. Gladio had felt more and more guilty every time it was reiterated that Prompto should remain in the Citadel, and while Prom kept up a good front generally, it had been really beginning to grate on the man, and he knew it. Noct had already planned all sorts of ridiculous things they could do, even Ignis had brought up the idea of a little roadtrip to him, something to get them away from the city. It was what they had been planning on doing to begin with had the empire not been planning a giant murderous takeover, so it was definitely something to consider. There was supposed to be a well-known chocobo farm out in the Duscae region-
“Ack, I’m sorry, I’m just taking pictures and ignoring you,” Prompto cut in on Gladio’s thoughts, and he blinked at the younger man before shrugging.
“I know you are just happy being out of the Citadel, Prom, I figured you deserve a little time to soak it up a bit,” he replied, joyfully answering Prom’s grin. The food came only seconds later, and there was no talking after that, only systematic demolition of some seriously excellent dishes. They were almost done when a young man slowly approached their table, looking rather hesitant; Gladio shifted slightly to keep an eye on the intruder, but didn’t otherwise react. After a long awkward minute of the person shifting and alternating between staring at the floor and Prompto, he raised his head to say something, only for Prom to smile and nod to the man.
“Can I...help you?” Prompto asked, and the man flushed and picked at his fingernails, clearly nervous, after another awkward pause, Gladio frowned, which finally seemed to knock the man out of his stupor.
“Oh, I’m sorry! I wanted to ask, are you that chosen of the Dawn Mother that everyone’s been talking about since the fight at the Citadel?” the man finally got out, and Prom flushed a bit, but otherwise held his composure.
“Ah, yeah, that’s er, well, I’m one of them. Is there something I can help you with?” Prompto may have gotten a few lessons from the king, but people generally didn’t have the ability to just approach the king while he was eating, which honestly, as far as Gladio was concerned, was kinda rude.
“I, uh, I wanted to ask if you are able to call ghosts to you all the time? A friend of mine got to see their grandfather when you sang to the city, and I would like to see my dad again, if...if it’s possible.” Prompto paled, and Gladio ground his teeth together, trying not to speak up before Prom had a chance to do so, fortunately, Prom set his shoulders and gave the young man a regretful smile.
“I’m sorry, it- it doesn’t work like that. I sing, and if the spirits want, they come to me...I can’t summon specific ones. I’m really sorry,” Prompto explained, and Gladio could tell that the whole restaurant was listening in, but the petitioner took the answer with good grace, and nodded.
“I had a feeling, I told her that you couldn’t have possibly known all of those ghosts that appeared, but she thought I should try,” the man said, and Gladio felt himself relax a small amount. “Thank you for your time, sir.” Gladio reached under the table and patted Prom’s knee as their guest departed, and watched as Prompto allowed himself one small sigh before straightening and nodding to Gladio.
“Cor warned me that things would be different, but I think that it just hit home even more than the whole singing to the city thing. Wow,” Prompto said quietly, and Gladio gave the other man’s knee a squeeze before sitting back in his chair.
“You good? You wanna finish your lunch?” Gladio responded, and Prompto nodded, much to his relief. Ten minutes later saw him paying the check, and the two of them headed out of the restaurant side by side. Gladio tried not to look like an enforcer, but he knew that he probably wasn’t doing the best job of it. Several people stopped and turned towards Prompto as they silently headed back towards the Citadel, only to see whatever expression Gladio had on his face and immediately change their mind. After the third person fled, he felt a poke in his side, and looked down to Prom’s bemused face.
“While I appreciate the thought, Gladio, scaring everyone off probably isn’t the best idea. Both the king and Cor pointed out that keeping the public liking me, as weird as that concept still is to me, is my best bet for the future,” Prom said, and Gladio coughed in response, rubbing at the back of his head.
“Sorry, it’s habit, especially after what just happened.” Prompto shook his head and gave him yet another dazzling smile, accentuating his freckles, and Gladio’s mouth went dry. Shit.
“Well, I appreciate the thought, anyway.” That grin was still firmly in place as Prom patted him on the arm and continued walking, and Gladio was firmly up shit creek. He didn’t know how much longer he could keep his mouth shut, not the way things were going. As they reentered the Citadel, Gladio could barely keep his hands off of his friend, but thankfully, Prom didn’t seem to notice his strange behavior. “Got any plans for the rest of the day? With my PT appointments largely wrapping up, I’ve got nothing going on.” Gladio’s first impulse was to just sling Prompto over his shoulder and go make out with him somewhere, but he forced his brain back under control and actually thought about it for a moment.
“Well, I usually go get some training in, would you like to come with?” he asked, and Prompto nodded enthusiastically. Training it was. Maybe it would help get his mind off of... this.
As they walked into the training halls, more than a few people stopped and looked at the two of them, but instead of the double-takes of the general public, the mix of Crownsguard and Kingsglaives in the room were looking Prompto over in thinly veiled concern; he would feel a bit put out, but he knew they were just making sure that Prom was alright. The whole damn Citadel, for the most part, had been cheering on his recovery, something that Prom seemed to be unable to fully comprehend. Gladio knew he could blame those excuses that the younger man still called his parents for that one, but there was no use beating a dead chocobo. What was done was done.
“Do you think I could get some time at the shooting range? Cor came with me a few weeks ago, but that’s the only time I’ve been here since everything happened,” Prompto asked, and Gladio shrugged.
“I don’t see why that would be an issue. You wanna warm up with me in here first?” he responded, and Prompto nodded, stripping out of his vest and throwing it on a nearby bench. Although he had seen Prom do that at least a hundred times in the last six months, he nearly choked on his own spit. Again. Down boy. He shrugged out of his own jacket, throwing it over by Prompto’s, then started in on a basic regimen of stretches, smiling at Prom when the younger man started copying his movements as well. “You’ll want to keep it basic for now, at least until you’ve gotten more time under your belt here. The last thing you want to do is strain something right when you are firmly on the mend,” he said to Prompto, who grunted his agreement as he stretched out his legs.
“Yeah, no, definitely not something I wanna do. I just don’t want to cramp up while shooting, so I’ll stick with the usual warm up for now,” Prompto said, and Gladio noticed more than a few of the others in the room nod their agreement with the voice’s words, which made him snort. Prom looked up from his splits in confusion, and he shook his head.
“Nothing, just noticed something. Did you want me to come with you for your shoot?” Gladio asked, and Prompto froze in a rather ridiculous angle, clearly thinking.
“You know...nah. I think I want to see how I do first before I embarrass myself in front of you,” Prompto mumbled, and Gladio rolled his eyes.
“I’m sure you’ll be fine, but whatever you want, Prom.” The blond pushed himself up to his feet relatively smoothly, which was always reassuring, and started stretching his arms and back, tilting from side to side as he moved. It took Pelna, who was standing clear across the room, raising an eyebrow to make Gladio realize that he was just standing there and staring at Prompto like a creep, and he forced himself to turn around and continue on with his own warm up. A few minutes later, he twitched when a hand slapped him on the back, and looked up to see Prom with his vest back on, clearly about to depart.
“I’m going to the range now, Gladio, I’ll see you afterwards?” Gladio nodded dumbly, and Prompto waved and left the room before he could even think to say anything.
“That was pathetic. Seriously, Gladdy?” His heart dropped to the approximate level of his spleen, and he turned slowly to see none other than his darling little sister standing with Pelna, who was doing a pisspoor job of disguising his laughter. Bastard.
“What in the- why are you even here, Iris?” Gladio groaned, and Iris rolled her eyes and smacked his arm.
“We were going to meet up for training later, or were you too busy mooning at Prompto to remember?” Gladio froze and stared at the weight rack across the room like it held the secrets of the universe. He had completely forgotten. Pelna wasn’t even trying to hide his laughter anymore, and Gladio wanted to go kill something.
“How long have you been standing there, anyway?” he growled, and Iris spun on her heel and grinned.
“Long enough to say hi to Prompto and talk with Pel for a little while, Gladdy, you were seriously zoning out,” his sister replied, and he finally gave up with a sigh.
“Yeah, I completely forgot. Sorry, Iris,” he said, and Iris pouted, but relented, hooking her arm in his and dragging him off to a different part of the room, waving to the thankfully departing Pelna as she did so.
“Okay, training is important, but far more important is the fact that you need to just suck it up and say something, Gladdy! You look at Prompto like you want to eat him for lunch half the time-” Gladio choked, giving his sister a scandalized look.
“Where in the world are you hearing things like-” Iris gave him a flat look.
“Gladdy, I’m fifteen, not four. You can’t tell me you never heard this crap in school,” Iris said, and Gladio scowled. She wasn’t wrong, but really? Damn. He grabbed his sister’s hands, and looked at her pleadingly.
“Why don’t we do some training for now, and we can talk later in a place with less ears around? Please?” Iris gave him one seriously gimlet eyed look, but relented once more, taking up a standard fighting stance and waited for him to get his ass in gear. This was something he could always lose himself in, and he followed his sister’s lead. The next thirty minutes rushed by as the Amicitia siblings went through their paces, finally coming to an end when Iris managed to hook her legs around Gladio’s neck from behind and knock them both to the floor, Iris rolling away before he could crush her under his weight.
“How was that?” Iris crowed, hopping up and down as she swiped her hair back into place; Gladio couldn’t help but give his sister a grin, leaning over and pulling on a lock of her hair as she batted his hands away.
“Excellent, sis, you get better every day,” he agreed, and Iris cheered then promptly grabbed his arm.
“You owe me a talk.” He should have known that she wouldn’t forget. Gladio sighed and untangled his arm so he could go grab his jacket, then looked up at the clock. Prom usually took at least an hour at the range, so he could probably spare at least ten minutes to talk with his nosey sister. Signalling to her with a hand, the two left the training hall and headed to a small reference library a few floors up which was always quiet, tucking themselves into one of the reading rooms. Iris barely waited for the door to close before setting in. “Okay, so...you and Prompto. Everyone and Prompto. I think I’ve seen Noctis give him the heart eyes a few times too. Iggy’s harder to read, but I wouldn’t be surprised there, too. Please don’t tell me you guys are going to get all caveman over this, I couldn’t take it,” Iris groaned, and Gladio sucked in a breath. She had them all pegged, somehow, and if she did, who knew about their father or worse, the king. His head thumped against the table, and Iris sighed. “Is it so bad? I think you two would look cute together.”
“It’s- it’s more complicated than that, Iris. What you just said-” Iris’s eyes went as wide as he had seen them in years, followed by a gleeful smile that made ice run down Gladio’s spine. Aw hell.
“If I’m guessing what I think you are really trying not to say, I can’t see that going over real well with the council. The king, I’m less sure about, he’s usually all about what makes Noctis happy, but to have all four of you-” Gladio lifted his head just enough to thump it against the table again. “-and since I have pretty much guessed that I have no chance in hell with Noctis, not that I ever did in the first place, I’m totally all for this. Now one of you just needs to actually talk to each other,” Iris sighed, and Gladio felt her small fingers running through his hair. “I hope at least the prince has a good size bed, because I have no idea how you all will fit otherwise-” Gladio sat bolt upright in horror, and his evil sister burst out laughing. “Your face! I win!” His hands shot up and grabbed her face, mushing her cheeks together.
“Not a word outside of here, Iris. Seriously. Don’t bring it up to anyone. I have no idea what’s going to happen, and if the wrong people get weird ideas-” he pleaded, and Iris extracted her face from his palms without complaint, taking his hands in hers.
“I’m not an idiot, Gladdy. I’m just going to wish you good luck, and don’t screw it up, okay? I like Prompto, and for some reason, I like the rest of you morons. Now that the world is hopefully not ending, you’ve got time to figure it out.”
“Yeah, we do.”
A few days passed, and he still wasn’t any closer to bringing it up to the tow-headed dipshit, even as he sat in the main room in Noct’s quarters and listened to said dipshit sing in the shower; if there were any spirits hanging around, he didn’t notice, and he enjoyed hearing Prom’s beautiful voice without having to worry that Prom would notice his presence and stop. Noct had been dragged off to a meeting by Iggy at least an hour prior, so it was just the two of them in the apartment. He had been keeping himself busy and scarce the last few days, trying to get his thoughts in order, but here they were again. Just the two of them. He knew Prompto at least was attracted to him, there had been far too many clues for him to think otherwise, but there was a difference between just finding someone good looking and wanting to actually be in a relationship with them, and well-
“What’s going on, big guy? You seem distracted.” Gladio barely restrained a jump at Prompto’s voice, and he looked up to see a damp, utterly delectable Prom standing in front of him in one of his endless tank tops and a pair of sweats, his shirt sticking to him as he finger-combed his hair. Gladio couldn’t even summon the brain cells to form a response. “You alright, Gladio?” Prompto leaned forward and put a hand on his shoulder, giving him a light shake, and he finally couldn’t take it anymore. “Gladio, what-”
Gladio reached up and grabbed the back of Prompto’s head and pulled him down to his level, kissing him firmly on the lips; the smaller man stiffened for a moment, and Gladio was certain that he was going to pull away, but then Prompto sighed into his mouth and wrapped his arms around his neck as the kiss deepened. Gladio let his hands run down Prom’s side, then pulled him carefully into his lap, letting the younger man get comfortable at his own pace. It was a stray drop of water from Prompto’s still-wet hair that finally broke the spell as it dripped on their noses, and Gladio chuckled as he lifted his head away from the temptation sitting on his thighs.
“Was that okay?” he asked, and watched with amusement as Prom stared at him like he was seeing him for the first time, the flushing blond licking his lips and swallowing heavily as he sat dazed in his lap. It was a good look on him.
“Was that- Gladio, are you joking? I thought I was doomed to be forever surrounded by a cadre of hot people that occasionally and platonically slept in the same bed as me, of course I’m okay!” Prompto squawked, and Gladio couldn’t help but laugh, only to get a fist pressing against his nose in response. “Not cool, seriously man, you guys are all perfect and shit, and there’s little old freckled me. There’s a ranking of hotness in the Citadel, and while I’ve come to the hilarious realization that Cor has been firmly entrenched at the top of that for decades, you three come soon after, and I’m somewhere around the basement, behind the cranky lady who handles uniforms in the Crownsguard and Crowe’s half-dead potted plant. I’m no one’s idea of hot, I’m just kinda dorky cute? I think?” Prompto finished, and Gladio wanted to smack the man upside the head. Seriously? A third of the Citadel wanted to either wrap him up in blankets and tuck him into bed, another third wanted to do what he had just done, and the final third at least thought he was cute. No, he wasn’t the strapping heartthrob type, true, but certainly didn’t mean that he wasn’t a looker.
“Prom, you are as clueless as your honorary dad; Cor has spent my entire life plus some not thinking of himself as anything but a decent looking boring soldier guy, while half the fucking Citadel has been panting after him-” Prompto’s nose wrinkled, and Gladio snorted. “Sorry. Then we have you. You have spent the entirety of our acquaintance babbling about how you are nothing in comparison to the rest of us, and I’m not referring to just looks. Knock it off,” he grumbled, then leaned forward and gave Prom another kiss. “No, your muscles are never going to bring the boys to the yard, but that’s not you. We all like you. Freckles and all.” Prompto’s flush was working its way down his neck, and Gladio grinned. “So I’m gonna ask you again. Was that okay?” Prom groaned, but nodded and smashed his face into Gladio’s neck; Gladio wrapped his arms around him and waited for the younger man to get his thoughts together as he let his hands rub up and down his back.
“You keep saying we, ” Prompto mumbled into his shoulder, and Gladio tensed a bit.
“Well, I can’t speak for the others, but I...I wouldn’t be surprised if they feel the same way I do,” he replied, and Prompto looked up at him with wide eyes and a dropped jaw.
“Say again? Gladio, that’s nuts-”
“Actually, I rather say he has the right of it.” Both Gladio and Prompto froze as both Ignis and Noctis sidled into view, and Gladio had the sneaking suspicion that they had been there for some time. He realized with serious internal amusement that he wasn’t embarrassed in the slightest, and grinned at his friends as the two of them walked up to where they were sitting, Ignis with a sly smile, and Noct with a saucy smirk. It felt completely appropriate. Prompto was chewing with some intensity on his bottom lip as he looked between the three of them, and Gladio felt compelled to reach up and pull lightly on his chin to get him to stop. It garnered him a pout, but Prom stopped and returned to looking just a bit overwhelmed instead.
“Hey, Prom, don’t worry about it, we aren’t going to do anything you don’t want. Feel free to go back to making out with Gladio, it’s fine,” Noct oh so helpfully exclaimed, and Gladio could have hit him; Prompto just continued looking shellshocked at everyone until Noct finally got his act together and pulled on a lock of Prompto’s still-wet hair. “Seriously, Gladio was pretty much right, but we know this is all kinda new and weird, I’m still getting my head around it too. Take your time.” Noct leaned in and gave Prompto a kiss on the cheek, then backed up and waved. “I’m gonna go visit dad, I’ll be back later.” Noct was gone in seconds, and only the three of them remained.
“While Noct’s phrasing was perhaps a bit to be desired, his sentiment was accurate. We are all quite fond of you, Prompto, and I don’t believe any of us would turn down a chance to…” Ignis trailed off, his face thoughtful; Gladio just continued holding the lightly shaking blond in his lap. “-we would all appreciate a chance to explore our options, perhaps.” Ignis also leaned over, kissing Prompto on the forehead, then withdrawing. “I have some paperwork I should attend to, I’ll return soon.” Ignis was also out the door in moments, and it was just the two of them again. Prompto shifted in his arms, but didn’t try to get up, instead letting his head fall back to his shoulder.
“This- this isn’t some giant joke, right? Not that I think you guys would do something like that-”
“No, as I said before, I can’t speak for them, but as for me, I’m definitely serious about this. If you aren’t comfortable with any of this, Prompto, we’ll back off. I know you’ve been through a crazy amount of shit lately, and I don’t want to add to it if you aren’t certain,” Gladio stated, and Prompto lifted his head from his shoulder and met his gaze easily. “What do you think?”
Prom leaned in and kissed him without hesitation, and Gladio felt his back slump in relief. He hadn’t even noticed that he had tensed up. “I think I definitely need a little time to wrap my head around it, but I’m not saying no. To any of it. It almost feels…” Prompto paused, and Gladio felt a smile creep onto his face as he watched the younger man in his arms. “...it feels like a natural progression of things.” Yeah, that was pretty much exactly how it felt to Gladio as well, as insane as it would seem from the outside.
“Yeah, it does to me, too.”