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In Another Time

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The low hum of the small car was lulling as the view of the countryside sped passed the windows. Familiar, yet aged images of a past long forgotten whizzed past violet-blue eyes that stared absentmindedly out the car window. It was with a long sigh and a furrow of his brow that Prompto noted how dramatically things had changed since he’d last seen the run down road leading away from Hammerhead and to Insomnia.

Even having seen the old outpost was enough to send a flutter of anticipation spiking through Prompto’s entire being, and his finger tips drummed nervously against his lips from where he had his hand propping his chin on the car door.

It was still so surreal…

How long had it been since he’d seen the city…? And even then, when he had, it was nothing but a blackened, ruined mess of a place that was infested with daemons.

30 years since the restoration of the Dawn. 30 years after they had all perished in the final battle.

It was still hard to comprehend that he was back.

Prompto didn’t know a whole lot about reincarnation, but one thing was for sure, he never would have believed in it, if he wasn’t living it himself at the very moment.

The blond sighed as he gazed out the window, noting his vague reflection in the glass.

He...didn’t look like his old self.

This new body was different, though there were some minor similarities; his eyes were the exact same color and shape, and while he was blond - and sporting his preferred hairstyle from his first life - his hair was definitely darker, more dirty than yellow. Outside of that, his face was sharper and lacking any signs of the childish softness of before, including the freckles that had been so part of his identity. He stood at 6 foot, with a solid build that made his former body seem waifish in comparison.

But if Prompto thought his new appearance was startling, then the current driver of the car took the cake. No pun intended.

Prompto turned to watch the young man that was now Ignis - the same steady green eyes firmly locked on the road - and he once again marveled at the difference.

Not only was Ignis 4 years younger than Prompto’s own 24 years, but he looked that young. Pale hair fell over his forehead and framed his much softer face, while his smaller stature and slimmer build made Ignis appear even younger than Prompto had at his age in the past. His eyes, disguised by a pair of dark visors due to severe light sensitivity, were - as if in contrast to his youthful appearance - over-saturated with years of experience and knowledge that were well beyond his physical age.

Prompto couldn’t decide who was more fortunate when it came to the restoration of their memories; him or Ignis.

Ignis had always remembered. Since he was born, the memories of his past had been with him, and it was hard for Prompto to imagine how difficult that must have been - a young child growing up with the knowledge and experience of someone several decades older from a much harsher, crueler world.

Prompto had only recently regained his memories in the last few years - just before he’d graduated college in fact. It had shaken him to the core - rendering Prompto paranoid and distressed in every sense of the word. Had Ignis - reborn as Clades Pulchra of Altissia - not shown up at Prompto’s - born as Lumen Alacritas - doorstep when he had, Prompto wasn’t sure whether or not he would have made it another year.

But that was behind them now.

They had a new mission.

“We’re almost there.” Ignis voiced, drawing Prompto’s attention back to him. “According to what Cor told us, the New Citadel is in the far center of the city.”

“And that’s where Gladio will be?” Prompto asked, watching as Ignis nodding his head.

That was their mission.

“Indeed.” Ignis replied, a gloved hand coming up to adjust the lanyard around his neck.

Ignis, being Ignis, had kept a thorough eye on all their past friends and family - secretly - that were still alive after the Dawn had risen. Cor had been one of those people. After Ignis had reunited with Prompto, the two of them had decided that they were going to find their old friends. Ignis had then contacted Cor - who apparently had a lead on a possible candidate for Gladio after they explained the situation.

Meeting with Cor though, had been…

Prompto shook his head, unable to properly think about the encounter without becoming an emotional mess. Again.

His adopted father was still alive after all those years…

He truly was Cor the Immortal.

Prompto gazed down at his own badge that hung from his neck by a lanyard, rubbing the plastic with his thumb as he thought.

He couldn’t believe that his life was like this. So simple. He’d gone through college, obtained a degree in photography, and just as he was about to move on to the next part of his life - his memories had returned, completely uprooting the normalcy he had established for himself as Lumen Alacritas for the last few decades. He was still pleased to be working for Vyv’s company - METEOR - that was now very popular, but it seemed like a small anecdote in the story that was Prompto’s life now.

Ignis, surprisingly, had been a free-lance reporter and investigator before catching the attention of the famous magazine - which had, in fact, played a part in Ignis finding Prompto in the first place.

It had taken a lot of persuasion, but eventually the two were able to convince their bosses to let them come to Insomnia to cover the biggest celebration of the year together: The Dawn Parade.

After they’d spoken with Cor, they had learned that Iris, both to their surprise and not, was captain of the Crownsguard, and after explaining what they were after, Cor had given them a good idea that Gladio - his reincarnation at least - was likely serving under her.

It was both heartbreaking and elating.

However, there was barely any word on where Noct was. Prompto knew the chances of finding him were slim...but he’d hoped that after they found Gladio that Ignis would be willing to join him on the small investigation as to where their lost king was.

Finding out where Gladio was, was sheer luck - and Prompto could only hope that that luck would stay with them as they continued to search for Noct as well.

A long sigh escaped Prompto’s lips as he watched Insomnia come into view, and he felt his heart thud in a mixture of anticipation and dread as the view of the gates drew ever near.

~

“I never expected to see this again.”

Prompto’s voice was distant as he spoke, large eyes wandering around the bustling streets of Insomnia.

He watched from the side as Ignis adjusted the visors on his face, the young man’s look of subtle awe apparent as he took in the sight of the an alive Insomnia.

“Certainly...livelier.” He voiced quietly as they continued to make their way through the streets, passing old and new buildings alike. The city was still under reconstruction, but in the thirty years that had passed, it had come a long way.

From the intel that they had gathered, the streets should not have been this full, and it was likely due to the coming celebration that there were so many people about. Stands full of various foods, flowers, and items lined along the streets. People chatting loudly with each other in booming voices. Though the Parade wasn’t for a few days, it was as if the celebration were to begin that night given the excited aura that filled the air.

“It’s like they erased the damage.” Prompto muttered to himself, looking around in growing nostalgia at the familiar buildings - some repaired and others brand new.

“Quite. It is remarkable the progress they’ve made.” Ignis said from his side, and Prompto mentally noted that once again, he accidently looked too far above Ignis’ head when he turned to regard the other.

Seemed some habits took longer than others to shake off, even after death. Prompto didn’t think he’d ever get over the fact that he was the taller one now.

“Kinda wish I could have seen it happen...ya know? Like...when I remembered?” The blond mused quietly, lifting his camera to snap a few shots of the buildings.

Ignis hummed in agreement from beside him, and Prompto sighed as they rounded a corner, and his spirits lifted slightly at the sight of the small market that came into view. It was filled with various stands containing hot food, fresh fruits and veggies from all over Lucis and beyond. Signs proudly displayed the origins of the food - Duscaen oranges, Dark Allural Sea Bass from Cape Caem, and some that Prompto had never seen from Galahd - and more filled the small area. It smelled amazing, and Prompto felt his stomach growl as he looked around at the selections.

“Insomnia’s become something of a melting pot, hasn’t it?” Ignis voiced from beside him, clearly impressed by the wide variety of foods in the area.

“Yeah, it has. I guess without the Wall and the War, anyone from anywhere can come and go as they please.”

“A touch chaotic though.” Ignis responded with a small huff, jotting down a few things on his digital notetaker as he observed the commotion.

“Hah! Yeah, can you imagine what it must be like to -”

Prompto’s steps abruptly halted as a sudden wave of dizziness overcame him as his eyes locked in the far distance.

... Six...

“Lumen…?” Ignis’ voice was like a distant buzz in his ears as he stared straight ahead, jaw gaping as he watched, heart frozen in absolute shock, as he observed a man casually flick dark strands out of his eyes…

Vibrant, dark...blue...eyes.

Noct.

“Lu - Prompto - ” the older man jolted back to awareness at his name - his previous name. “Are you alright?” Ignis asked, looking around the area as he attempted to observe what was rendering Prompto a frozen statue.

“It -...” The photographer’s voice choked as he attempted to speak, and the most he was able to do was shakily lift a finger towards the man that was setting up a small market stand on the far end of the street.

Prompto could see Ignis furrow his eyes in confusion as he looked towards where he was pointing, and for reasons that he couldn’t quite understand, it took Ignis a moment to realize what he was referring to as he pointed in Noct’s direction.

“By the Six…” Ignis breathed from beside him, taking a small step forward as he looked carefully towards the dark haired man. “Is...that Noct?” He whispered hoarsely as he looked back towards Prompto.

Huh!?

“What are you talking about!? Of course it is!” Prompto nearly bellowed, the sudden control of his voice fleeing from him as he suddenly dashed forward.

Gods - of course it was Noct! How could Ignis not see- !? -

“It’s - EEYACK -! “ Prompto’s choked cry as he was abruptly yanked backwards by his shirt collar kept him from resuming his rapid movement forward.

Prompto!” Ignis hissed as he forcefully pulled the other to the side, eyes flashing in the direction of Noct in blatant worry as the younger man pulled Prompto behind a stand and out of view of their long lost companion.

“What the hell was -!?” Prompto snarled before a gloved hand clamped over his mouth quickly, cutting the rest of his sentence off more from the shock at his friend’s action than the action itself.

“Lumen - Prompto - listen to me. We cannot approach him at this moment.” Ignis hissed as his eyes flicked around them, noting the curious expressions they were receiving.

Prompto’s eyes narrowed as he pulled Ignis’ hand from his mouth. “Wh - why not!?”  The blond hissed back, throwing his hands out to the side.

It was Noct!

It was a complete freak chance to find him here - Prompto wasn’t going to let him get away! -

“For the same reasons we must wait before approaching Gladio’s reincarnation - we know nothing about Noct’s life - who he is now . It would be wise for us to wait and observe - remember?” Ignis questioned patiently, casting a wry glance over his shoulder to ensure that they all onlookers had moved on.

Prompto’s heart beat wildly in his chest - completely caught up in the urge to dash around the corner and jump the man he’d missed so badly - versus listening to Ignis’s words…

Which were, as always, logical in every sense of the word…

Taking in a shaky breath, Prompto tentatively peeked around the stand they were hiding behind, and felt his heart ache as he watched the lost prince casually straighten his stand’s signs…

He was... so close.

A tap on his shoulder pulled Prompto’s attention back to Ignis, and he reluctantly sighed and bowed his head.

A sympathetic smile pulled at Ignis’s lips as he reached out a hand to grip Prompto’s shoulder. “We won’t let him out of our sights, Prompto. But approaching him now would be most unwise. Do you understand?”

Did he understand? The most Prompto could understand right now was that the man that he had been missing for what felt his whole life was only feet away from him - and yet he was being kept from him.

But in a much more real sense...Prompto knew Ignis was right. The emotional state he was in at the moment likely would have lead to him saying or doing something that could ruin their chances of approaching Noct without totally scaring the man off, so all in all, it would have been a very stupid mistake.

Of course Ignis was right. He always was.

Prompto nodded, pressing his lips together in an attempt to suppress his impatience.

“Yeah...we’ll wait.”

Even though he was technically “older” than Ignis, he felt little more than the 20 year-old-boy he had been in his past life as Ignis patiently and kindly calmed him down. It would be okay. They knew where Noct was now. That was what mattered. All that there was left to do was to find Gladio - which would be easy enough considering the information that Cor had given them.

It would only be a matter of time before he finally got to confront them both.

~

Finding Gladio hadn’t been difficult. After they had received directions from a few of the locals in the area about the location of what was called the “New Citadel”, they managed to track down the training unit where Gladio should have been situated.

Was situated.

It had only been for a brief moment, but that’s all it had taken. Prompto had seen the way Ignis’ eyes narrowed at first as the younger man shifted to gain a better view, and though it was almost difficult to tell with Gladio’s new appearance, they were certain that the young man exiting from the front of the New Citadel grounds was in fact, Gladio .

It wasn’t nearly as shocking as it had been to see Noct - but that was only because running into Noct had been pure luck.

The small time that they had spent observing the Crownsguard member was enough for them to confirm Cor’s theory on the young man being Gladio’s reincarnation. It seemed as though the Crownsguard continued to function and perform in the same manner as they had in the past; early morning to late afternoon shifts, they had watched as the young man - one Arastoss Terodna , according to Cor - exited the buildings with a few of his friends. Gladio didn’t go far with them, however, as he made his way out of the Citadel and towards the street where he parked his car - and it was a curious thing to wonder why Gladio had chosen not to park in the garage. Either way, Prompto was grateful, as it would provide a good opportunity to approach the young man alone without the trouble of dealing with his friends.

Once Prompto and Ignis had gathered all the information they could about their newly found friends from observation alone, it was time to make their way back towards their hotel.

Even as Prompto prepared himself for the next day and the surprises that it would bring, he couldn't help but feel how hard his heart beat in his chest as he anticipated his first meeting with Noct in this life.

It was sure to be an interesting day.

~

Prompto had been expecting it to be difficult - impossible maybe.

Even though he looked slightly different, there was no mistaking that the man he was currently watching from a distance was Noct.

Prompto had tried to mentally prepare himself the night before - but it was just - impossible.

It...was him .

Noct was just...there. It was so much more surreal and anticlimactic than Prompto had ever imagined. In his mind, Prompto had pictured a bright light behind Noct; kingly raiments, a dark crown atop his head and a beautiful smile dawning his handsome face as he walked towards him.

But what Prompto saw could not have been farther from reality.

A man, likely a year or two older than him, with long black hair and soft eyes, was absentmindedly hauling crates of various foods into a plain white truck that was humming and ready to go. His attention seemed to be only half focused on his task, and Prompto felt a small ache in his chest when he reached up a lithe hand to brush away the dark strands that fell in front of his face.

“Remember what we discussed, Lumen.” The photographer looked down at his chest where Ignis had placed his hand to keep him from moving forward. His eyes flashed back up to where Noct was currently laughing, likely at a comment that his co-worker had just muttered.

How long had he waited to hear that sound again…

“He likely doesn’t remember.” Prompto could hear an odd reticence in Ignis’s tone, and when he turned to look at his profile, he was taken aback at the distant expression that masked the young man’s face.

Prompto couldn’t blame him.

The last time they had spoken to Noct - had been on the steps of the Citadel...where he had bravely stood his ground...prepared to give everything to bring back the light, to once and for all end the curse that had shadowed the world in endless night.

Godspeed….and take care...majesty.”

He could see Ignis bow first, Gladio following suit. It was only right that he did the same. He bowed...feeling the hand on his chest, the ache in his heart as he shut his eyes against the fear and pain that threatened to leak through.

“The time has come.”

Noct’s steps on the wet stairs were the only thing Prompto heard even as he turned to face the army of daemons…

Their inevitable demise.

Prompto took in a shaky breath, clenching his teeth as the onslaught of the memories frayed at his composure.

No...no that was the past...

But what was this now? This was Noct but…

“Are you ready?” Ignis turned to face him, his eyes patient and kind as he spoke. “We don’t have to do this now.”

Ignis’ voice drew Prompto from his frazzled thoughts, but he looked straight ahead, trembling lips pressing together as he stared at his long lost king - now sitting lazily upon a bench, in jeans and a t-shirt - relaxed, free...the opposite of how he’d last seen him.

Was he ready? Would he ever be ready?

Prompto nodded, sucking in another breath.

He had to do this. He had waited...but now that the moment was here…

“Yeah. Let’s do this.” He voiced, again, habitually looking too far above Ignis’ head when he turned to address him.

Dammit.

Prompto really wasn’t used to being the tall one.

“Just remember; this isn’t the Noct we knew.” Ignis reminded again, casting a wry glance in Prompto’s direction as the blond started forward.

“Yeah...I know.” Prompto voiced solemnly, feeling the pull of dread claw at his chest as his footsteps numbly trod the ground.

He didn’t know if he was ready for this, after all. Was he prepared to see Noct? To see him up close? Talk to him? Stand close to him? Look into Noct’s eyes and know so much about him even though this would be the first time they met in this life?

Prompto’s steps wouldn’t slow even as doubt pulled at him, and before he knew it, they were only a few small feet away from Noct.

And then…- then - gods - their eyes locked.

Prompto felt the entirety of his composure melt away the moment those blue eyes locked on them, watched in growing curiosity at the approaching strangers.

“Morning.” Ignis’ voice was impossibly loud in Prompto’s ears, and he momentarily forgot to breathe when Noct’s attention fully locked on them, eyes bright with polite indifference, yet edged with subtle suspicion.

Prompto could only stare as Ignis continued to speak.

Now that he was here...seeing Noct so close, Prompto could not comprehend how it was possible that this was the man that had died 30 years prior. The more Prompto looked...the more he could see how... different Noct looked. He’d seen him the other day, but only from afar. Now that he could truly take in his appearance, Prompto was taken aback by the difference. Noct’s skin...was not the pale tone that he had once known, but was darkly tanned and rough. His build was much more muscular and lean, and judging by what Prompto had seen before, Noct was likely taller than himself by a good few inches. His hair fell similarly to how it had the last time he’d seen Noct, but profile of his face was different. His jaw was sharper, and his handsome face had a more rugged look than his ‘Princely elegance’ of before.

But his eyes.

His dark blue eyes...were the exact same...

“Pardon the interruption, my friend and I are reporters for METEOR, and currently we are looking to cover the events from the Dawn Parade. May we have a moment of your time?”

Prompto was grateful he managed to keep himself from jumping when Ignis suddenly spoke again.

He had no idea how Ignis managed to keep himself so composed. Currently, Prompto’s mind was barely allowing him to hang onto the fact that this man was Noct. He was sitting there, a small furrow between his brows as he listened to Ignis explain who they were, a calloused hand holding the small device of his phone while the other was propped up on the edge of the bench.

“Uh…” Prompto watched in acute fascination as Noct’s blue eyes flicked unsurely around the area, but eventually he shrugged and nodded. “Yeah. Sure, why not?”

“Excellent.” Ignis made a deliberate motion to pull out his small device with a stylus, adjusting his dark glasses as he shot Prompto a deliberate look from the side.

Oh, right. Reporters.

Prompto swallowed down his nervousness and scrambled to ready his camera, feeling the burn of Noct’s eyes on him as he did so.

“I believe introductions are in order. My name is Clades Pulchra.” Ignis said pleasantly, reaching out a hand, which Prompto noticed in both shock and alarm was trembling just slightly enough that if one hadn’t been paying attention, it wouldn’t have been noticeable.

Oh, gods. If Ignis was nervous…

“Scythas Gar. Nice to meet you.”

Prompto’s world tilted on its axis as the name rang loudly in his head, and it took all of his self control to keep himself from either crying or laughing - he had no idea which he would have done, maybe both - had he not barely managed to hold onto his composure, let alone keep a straight face.

Scythas Gar...

A long pause of silence filled the area, and had Ignis not cleared his throat in that moment, Prompto likely would have simply continued to stare at the man in front of him.

Shit. He had to talk.

“Oh - uh - sorry. Lumen Alacritas. Th-thanks for takin’ the time…” His words were a stammered mess, but it only served to slightly amuse Noct as he shook his outstretched hand.

His hand was warm and strong and so familiar.

“Not a problem.” Noct - Scythas - screw it - he was calling him Noct - replied politely - albeit apathetically as he pulled his hand back, and Prompto noted with a small tilt of his head of the light accent that laced his voice.

Prompto knew that Noct likely wasn’t going to remember...but...he had hoped…

“First; a few questions about yourself, if you don’t mind.” Ignis continued. “Are you a local here?” He said while he prepared his stylus and digital notepad.

Noct shook his head. “Nah, not a local. I’m just here for the Dawn Parade. I’m from Cape Caem, but I work for Galdin Quay at the marina.”

Prompto’s heart froze at the same time Ignis spoke.

The marina!?

“You’re a fisherman?” Ignis said with a quirk of his eyebrow, and Prompto couldn’t help but notice the small tilt of his lips as he jotted down notes on the device, “You wouldn’t happen to be related to Noct Gar , the legendary fisherman who caught the Devil of the Cygillan perhaps?”

Noct nodded in surprise, “Not in so many ways, but yeah, my grandpa apparently met the guy and saw him drag that thing up from the Quay. My dad took on the name after grandpa died, cause the old man apparently would always talk about him. I’m surprised you recognized it.”

Prompto had to physically restrain himself from turning on his heels so that he could laugh or - again - cry? He wasn’t sure what he was feeling at the moment. And by the Six, he couldn’t believe Ignis actually brought that up .

Ignis smiled enigmatically, “Comes with the job I’m afraid, I’m paid to know these things. But, my apologies, we’ve gotten a little side-tracked. So, you work for Galdin Quay as a fisherman?”

“Yup. But I’m working delivery to the stores here for now. They need the extra hands up here for all the chaos that goes on around here during the celebration.” Prompto furrowed his brows as Noct all too obviously rolled his eyes at the mention of the word ‘celebration’. “Kind of a hassle if you ask me.”

Prompto twitched in surprise and Ignis paused for just the briefest of seconds that it probably wasn’t even noticeable to anyone other than Prompto.

“Your tone suggests you don’t seem too fond of the day.” Ignis remarked, tilting his head in an obvious sign for the fisherman to continue.

“It’s really nothing that special.” Noct replied with a shrug of his shoulders. “But everyone thinks it is.”

Prompto felt the oddest swell of irritation fill his chest. The aloof expression on Noct’s face somehow seemed impossibly foreign..and Prompto suddenly wondered who he was looking at…

“Interesting. Would you mind tell telling us more about that? If you don’t mind, of course.”

Prompto was astounded at Ignis’s perfectly calm voice - how he managed to keep it that way was beyond him. His heart was beating wildly as he waited for Noct’s answer.

Noct shrugged again. “Like I said, it’s just a big hassle. It causes all this traffic in the city, and the place gets overcrowded with tourists. Media - ” He gestured towards them, “ - come around and do their thing, and, no offense, but it kinda gets in the way. I mean, yeah it’s nice for the city’s businesses and stuff, but it’s really annoying for the locals here.”

“But it’s really important.” Prompto surprised himself and likely the other two as he stepped forward, almost aggressively, as he spoke. “It’s the day we celebrate the end of the Long Night and honor the King that brought back the Light. It was his sacrifice that saved the world -” Prompto cut off his words before the lump in his throat choked him, and he swallowed down the sting of hurt that pierced his heart as he looked at Noct’s apathetic eyes.

And it hurt even more when Noct waved a hand dismissively, snorting before he cast his eyes back to Ignis. “Eh, it’s practically ancient history to me.”

Prompto’s jaw unhinged.

How...how could he…?

“I see. Thank you for your time, Mr. Gar. We should be on our way, though.” Ignis said, likely realizing that Prompto was quickly losing his ability to stay calm in the given situation.

Noct nodded at the two of them, offering them a polite smile. “Sure thing. Enjoy the festivities.” His voice was as monotonous as his expression, and Prompto gritted his teeth against the urge to shake his shoulders and get it through his head -

With a deftness that spoke of practise, Ignis produced a business card from somewhere and offered it to Noct. “If you have anything to add, or questions or concerns about what we release, do not hesitate to give METEOR a call.” He recited politely before moving to leave, “Come along, Lumen.”

“Uh, one sec.” Prompto voiced, surprised he kept the shakiness out of his tone. He took a breath to compose himself, then steadily locked his eyes with those dark blue orbs. “Um...picture for the magazine?” He asked tentatively, readying his camera, eyes staring questioningly at the man.

Noct flicked his eyes to the side for a moment, clearly unsure, but eventually he shrugged and nodded.

Prompto curled his lower lip and rose the camera to his eye level.

Ka-chink.

“Perfect…” He said distantly, offering Noct a last smile and a nod. “Maybe we’ll see you around.” Prompto finished, deciding both mentally and vocally that he would see Noct again.

He was not letting it end like that. No way. Ignis wouldn’t be able to stop him. This was Noct...but...it wasn’t. But he had to know more...

“Sure.” Noct raised a hand in a casual goodbye, and Prompto could feel his blue eyes drilling into his back as he turned to walk away. “I’ll be keeping an eye out for your article.”

Prompto’s eyes continued to stare firmly at the ground before him, his fists clenched tightly at his sides. He could feel his nails digging harshly into the skin, and he swore if he had not consciously loosened his jaw, he would have cracked his teeth from how hard he clenched them together.

He and Ignis briskly walked to the car, and it was only once they were safely situated in the vehicle and away from prying ears that Prompto allowed his self-control to flee from the strings that had barely kept him together.

HOW could he SAY that!?” Prompto bellowed loudly, listening as the door to the side slammed shut as he pulled it closed. “He - he doesn’t care at ALL! After NOCT gave his life - and sacrificed himself - after we sacrificed our lives -!”

Prompto .”

Ignis’ sharp voice cut off Prompto’s in an instant, though the blond continued to internally seethe in his rage and hurt.

He could feel Ignis turn to look at him as he spoke, but Prompto continued to press his lips together harshly as he stared out the car window. “We discussed this. This isn’t...the Noct we knew. This is a different person with a different life. Those born after the Long Night...born after the War…” Ignis took a breath, straightening his the visors on his face before he continued. “What we went through simply won’t have as much impact as those who lived through it. You understand that, don’t you?”

Prompto refused to meet Ignis’s eyes and he shook his head as he stared down at his hands in his lap. “That doesn’t mean he shouldn’t care. Even if he thinks he didn’t live through it…”

Noct had given his life so that the sun could shine again...given life back to all the people of Eos. Even if he didn’t know that himself, being so blatantly uncaring about it was just...

Ignis audibly sighed and Prompto felt a hand squeeze his shoulder in a comforting touch. “We can’t expect him to understand. It’s merely human fault. Try not to think of him as...Noctis Lucis Caelum. For that’s not who he is now. The man we just spoke with did not journey with us to Altissia, he did not witness the fall of Insomnia, the death of his people, and he didn’t give his life for the Dawn. Scythas Gar is a fisherman for Gladin Quay. Leading a normal life in Cape Caem.”

Every word out of Ignis’s mouth sent a sharp pain jolting through Prompto’s chest, and he opened and closed his hands as he attempted to process the words.

He...was right. Whatever life that Noct was leading...that was what he knew. That was all he knew. Prompto could attest to it. He had lead a normal life up until he had graduated college...he wouldn’t have thought for two seconds what it meant - the emotion - the decisions that went behind saving the Dawn. Though the context had always been something important to him, even before his memories had been restored, but Prompto would never have understood what it meant had he not remembered.

“Yeah…” Prompto finally muttered with a long sigh, dropping his head.

He was right…

But...but that didn’t matter. No. It didn’t. He wasn’t going to let it end like that. He’d see him again. He’d make Noct remember - he had to. It wasn’t fair that Noct didn’t know what he’d done - what he’d sacrificed to let the world return to normal. Noct had to know. Prompto would see him - he’d tell him - he would -

He would do something. Anything - except let it end like that.

The man he had once known - the one he’d once loved was still in there...somewhere.

And he’d find him again.

“Alright. Let’s go get the last member of our party.” Prompto said confidently, straightening himself in his seat as his determination returned.

Prompto watched Ignis noticeably falter as he reached a hand towards the ignition to start the car. But he took a breath and straightened himself in his seat.

“...Indeed.” The man voiced, hands fiddling with the steering wheel in obvious unease.

Prompto sucked in a deep breath and nodded, reaching for the seatbelt as he did so.

Right...it was time to see their long lost Shield...finally meet him. Talk to him...

“Let’s see what the big guy’s been up to…”

It had been far too long.