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Random Fantasy XV

Chapter Text

It was just another day, in between classes when he was trying to take pictures of the flowers in the garden at school.

 

He was on the ground, trying to set his camera in just the right position, tapping the screen gently to get it focused on the single red bloom in the field of purple.

He was just about done, just about to push the shutter, when he heard another person walk up and watch, probably wondering what the weird chubby kid was doing on the floor.

But no questions came, just the silent presence of another kid watching him.

Prompto didn’t care as long as whoever it was didn’t ruin his pictures.

He took a few dozen of the flowers, loving how they were moved by the wind but were also kept standing tall.

It was minutes of silent companionship, silent communication of Prompto taking pictures before anything was said.

“You must really like taking pictures.”

The voice was slightly familiar, pitched high but definitely a boy’s and Prompto turned with a smile.

“Yeah, it is my fa-”

He stopped short, a gasp replacing the smile.

It was the Prince.

The Prince of the country.

Giving Prompto a tiny smile.

Just finished watching him squirm around on the floor, taking pictures of plants.

The Prince looked at him, his head tilting to the side, a confused smile there.

“Fa?”

Prompto felt himself blushing, not knowing if there was a law against not answering royalty, thinking there probably was.

“It’s my favorite thing to do.”

It was small and he probably didn’t even hear it and Prompto couldn't even look at the Prince as he fumbled with the camera as he waited for a response.

He was expecting a laugh, most of kids he had shown pictures too not getting how it could be fun or interesting

But none came, just that small smile as the Prince looked at him..

“Hmm. Then maybe… you can show them… to me?”

It was a tiny little offer, a tiny little question, made with just a hint of uncertainty.

Prompto threw his face up, stared at the Prince.

And then it actually hit him.

“Ah! Ah t-then!”

Then, the bell rang and the Prince looked up, nodding at Prompto.

“Maybe some other time?”

And he was gone, running to get back to class.

Prompto just sat there, still shocked.

 

-

 

Noct was seven when he got the first one.

 

It stuck out from all the gifts he had gotten, sitting by itself on the counter as Ignis prepared his special birthday dinner.

It was a small box without any decoration, pale blue all around.

He took it in his hands, Ignis glancing at him.

“Ah, it had no name on it. I wonder who it is from?”

Noct turned the box in his hand.

“Can I open it?”

“I don't see why not. But only that one. We will do more after dinner.”

He nodded, opening the box.

Inside were only two things:

A tiny pressed flower.

And a picture of a red bloom standing out from a field of purple.

Noct put the box on the counter, slowly and carefully taking out the  flower and showing it to Ignis.

“Oh, a pressed flower? Maybe a girl then?”

He put it down on the counter and took out the picture, realizing there were more underneath the first.

“They’re pictures.”

 

Laid out, there were eight in total, all of them of different things.

One held the flowers.

One was of some dogs, playing in the field next to the school.

One had a sunset, all gold and orange.

One showed baked bread.

One had a picture of birds flying in the sky.

One had kids going to school.

One was of rain.

The last one was of Noct, leaning against a pole and looking out, probably of when he waited for Ignis on any given day.

Ignis looked over Noct's shoulder, setting down his food and smiling at the pictures.

“Oh, aren't these good ones? I wonder who gave them to you.”

Noct stared at the picture of flowers.

Blonde hair, freckles and the small stutter of words came to him.

A chubby kid sliding around on the floor, getting dirty, a smile too bright on his face.

Noct smiled, stacked the photos and put them back into the box, along with the flower.

He turned and thanked Ignis, both of them eating in silence for a bit.

“Hey, Ignis?”

“Yes, your Highness?”

“Do you think we could grab a photo album tonight?”

Ignis stopped eating, Noct watching as he looked up.

“For what, may I ask?”

It was a tease, Ignis’ lips quirking at the edges.

Noct felt his face heat up, stabbed a piece of broccoli and moved it away.

“For secrets of course.”

“Hmm.”



They got it, the photo album.

It was blue, like the box, had curvy writing forming the word, Memories , on it and was spiralled and allowed him to add more sheets.

Noct placed a single sheet inside of it, the double-sided, eight-slit sheet holding all of his photos.

He put it under his pillow, tucking it in there even as Ignis warned against it.

 

He kept it there, going through the days watching blonde hair and freckles poke out from weird places every once in awhile.

He still has his camera, clicking off pictures like a maniac, t he smile that Noct had seen that first time still plastered on his face.

It made Noct smile, turning away whenever someone asked him where he was looking.

 

I wonder if he got any good pictures... 

Chapter Text

Ignis walked in to Prompto screaming, his voice taking on a pained pitch.

“No, please! You can't claw there! You have to let- ow! Noct!”

“Sorry.”

He sighed, took off his shoes and walked all the way in, seeing the predicament in front of him.

Noct held a tiny kitten in the air by its collar, the little thing swiping at Prompto from its perch, letting out a small “meow” as Prompto rubbed his shoulder.

“Nugget, you have to stop that! I'm not a cat post!”

“Probably mistook you for a Chocobo butt.”

“Shut up Noct!”

Ignis cleared his throat, getting the attention of all three, the cat’s tail swishing in the air.

Prompto at least looked guilty.

Noct just blinked and dropped the kitten to the floor.

“Hey Specs.”

“What is that?”

“What does it look like?”

The thing came up, purring and trying to rub itself on Ignis’ legs. Prompto gushed at it.

“Aw, Nugget likes you!”

“Nugget?”

Noct pointed at Prompto with his thumb.

“He named him before I got home-”

“It's a good name!”

“-And unfortunately it stuck.”

Ignis looked down at the cat, looked back up at both of them.

“Where did you even find this creature?”

“On the street.”

“Did you get it checked out?”

They both looked at each other, Noct shrugging and bending down to grab the cat. It meowed but snuggled against him as he cradled it.

Prompto rubbed the back of his head, laughing nervously.

“No?”

Ignis sighed.

“What if it scratches you and gets you sick?”

Prompto smiled, holding out his hands to show off the array of rainbow Band-Aids. Noct held out one hand to reveal a similar sight.

“I think we are fine.”

Ignis pinched his nose.

“Is it fixed?”

Noct gave him a dirty look in response, petting the car as it purred against him.

“What about shots? Have you thought about those?”

“No Mom, we just got it last week.”

“Plenty of time to act like an adult Noct.”

“She’s not dangerous Specs.”

“And what if something happens Noct?”

“Specs, we got it.”

“I hate to tell you but neither of you are capable of keeping yourselves alive, much less another creature.”

Noct pouted at him.

“It’s fine, we can do it.”

Prompto nodded enthusiastically, standing up and looking at Ignis.

“Iggy, come on! She is adorable! You can’t make us get rid of her!”

Ignis shook his head, pointing at the creature.

“I don’t mean to break up your little crush but this little creature needs to go. It is just going to be worse when you two fail miserably and hurt the thing.”

Noct just sighed, walking over and holding it up for Ignis to see.

It was all tan, the cat taking on a whitewash cream with giant green eyes.

It meowed at Ignis, its tail swishing and it paws reaching out to touch him.

“Not “it” but she. And come on Specs! She is already attached to us!”

“And we already named her! She is basically our family already! Isn’t that right Nugget!?”

The cat turned to Prompto, gave him a little meow in response that had Prompto squealing in joy.

Noct was still looking at Ignis, giving him the slight pout/beg he used on Gladio when he didn’t want to eat something.

Prompto joined in with his puppy eyes.

Even “Nugget” seemed to realize their antic because the tiny thing turned back to him and cocked its head, its paw going out once more.

It meowed softly, its face seeming to fall at the thought of leaving.

Ignis looked at all of them, knew it was a bad idea.

He sighed, fixing his glasses.

“You have to take her to a vet.”

Prompto beamed, that smile like the sun directed straight at Ignis.

“And keep the poor thing fed and bathed.”

Noct was smiling too now, the small curve of his lips all Ignis needed.

“And make sure she doesn’t tear up the apartment or pee everywhere.”

Nugget meowed happily, her purrs loud and clear from Noct’s arms.

“You have to take care of her.”

“Geez Specs, we will.”

Prompto cheered, grabbing Nugget and cuddling against her happily.

Ignis sighed but smiled nonetheless.

The more, the merrier.

Chapter Text

 

Prompto stood in front of the mirror, staring at his reflection as the Advisor danced around him, making adjustments to the outfit and writing down notes in a journal.

And what an outfit it was.

It consisted of a plain white undershirt covered by a sleeveless, collared plain red top.  A sleeveless white button-down vest with the insignia of Lucis planted over his heart and a cape that billowed out to the floor from behind went on top of that. White slacks, donned with the red emblem of the Empire, covered his legs, simple red dress shoes completing the look. White gloves, flowing up his arms to red bracelets that held tight on his biceps, added to the get-up, as well as the red crown of feathers that adorned his head, a single black gem sitting on his forehead.

Apparently, his fiance held a similar crown, only black with a red gem, showing the connecting of the kingdoms. He also, apparently, had the emblem of the Empire planted over his heart, showing their love for one another.

A love that was as overly-decorated as Prompto at the moment.

He glanced behind him, looking at the TV that droned on about the hype of the upcoming wedding, reporters from all over debating whether or not it would be the biggest event in the history of Eos.

Nevermind that there had been millions of lives lost.

Nevermind that the only reason he was here was to fix his ancestors’ mistakes.

Nevermind that he had only seen the Prince of Lucis a total of three times, all of which were political meetings in which chained them to this farce of a wedding.

Nevermind that the former Emperor decided to throw in the towel and dump his worthless negotiations onto Prompto.

“Your Majesty?”

He blinked, looked through the mirror at the Advisor, noting how the man was looking at him expectantly.

He blushed.

“A-ah. Yes?”

“Is there anything bothering you with the outfit? Should I change anything with the design?”

Prompto blinked, looked from the outfit to the man.

“Um… what?”

The man blinked and then smiled, closing the journal.

“Do you like it? The outfit?”

Prompto understood, and focused on his clothes, seeing how everything looked a lot better than he had imagined it.

He turned in the mirror, seeing his cape drag on the ground.

It’s like a train on a wedding dress.

He sighed and patted his shirt, his gloved fingers lingers on the insignia.

For the salvation of Eos, Prompto.

His hands went down to the emblem of the Empire, blood-red against the white.

You must fix the horrors that our ancestors have left.

He touched the gem on his crown, the small piece shining against the light.

Wed the Prince Noctis and bring the Crystal’s light to Niflheim.

“It looks great?”

His voice cracked, just at the end, Prompto giving himself a slap on the back of the head. He wasn’t suppose to be this nervous; definitely wasn’t suppose to feel this nervous.

An eyebrow raised, the man’s neutral face starting to crack as he quirked up his mouth.

“Then I will leave you for now. Would you like me to allow your guards in?”

Aranea.

“If you would. Uh… how many more hours till the wedding?”

The man bowed, gathered up his things, and walked to the door, Prompto watching his movements through the mirror.

“Three hours left. I will come to escort you in two. Please be ready by then.”

And with that, he slipped through the door, replaced a minute later by Nyx and Aranea.

Prompto turned, the smile he didn’t think would come out breaking loose and Nyx whistled, giving him a rundown while Aranea smiled.

“Looks good sunshine. They even managed to fix that wild chocobo butt of yours. Guess Ignis Scientia is as impressive as they say.”

Prompto pouted, touching his hair self-consciously before pinning Nyx with a look. He had started teasing Prompto since the moment they had found the creatures, all of them a little awed by the wonderful beasts.

“It doesn’t look like a chocobo’s butt. And geez, here I thought you were suppose to be the comfort in this relationship?”

Nyx chuckled, playing with his cape.

“No, I am the one making sure your little chocobo head doesn’t fall off. The talking is left to Aranea and her snake’s mouth.”

Aranea smacked the back of his head, giving Nyx a dirty look before fixing Prompto’s cape and adjusting his clothes.

“How are you feeling?”

Prompto felt his smile leave, Nyx raising an eyebrow at the frown that replaced it. Prompto tried, tried to say something that would put everything into perspective without completely ruining himself.

“I-it’s g-great!”

His voice cracked hard, the sharp squeal making both Aranea and Nyx flinch, the latter giving him one of his small pity smiles.

“Geez kid, calm down.”

Prompto sighed, letting all the tension out as he groaned.

“What if that happens during the ceremony!?”

“Blame it on a mouse?”

“Nyx, you’re not helping. How about you go into the corner and shove a stick up your butt?”

Nyx took the hint, raising his hands in surrender and walking out, Aranea’s glare following him the entire way.

Once the man was out, Aranea turned back to Prompto, giving his shoulders a squeeze.

“I know that we told you to stay strong, but give me something to work with here Prompto. What’s got you so riled up?”

Prompto frowned.

“It’s just… What if… he ends up hating this? What if he doesn’t even like me and...”

Aranea nodded.

“Well, it’s not like you guys got to go on a few dates or anything. I can see how you might worry about that. Especially since you fell so hard for him.”

Prompto blushed, looking around like someone would hear them.

“Aranea, come on! You promised not to tease!”

“It was kinda cute, really. How you fell so hard right from the get-go. You’re lucky we have that dumb tradition where the groom can’t see the bride until wedding day.”

Prompto blushed harder, looking away.

“Ah, why do I even bother with you?”

Aranea dropped a hand on Prompto’s head, making him look up at a sad smile.

“Prompto, all joking aside, I know you’re probably scared and freaked out and nervous but, if you don’t want to do this, we can always ditch. My offer to kidnap you is still valid. I mean,” She smiled brighter, her eyes glinting with a terrible idea. “Stealing the Lucian bride sounds like a pretty nasty crime. Would be totally worth it.”

Prompto felt himself smiling despite everything.

“I guess if I wanted to make an impression?”

“It might just make him fall in love with you.”

Prompto sighed and smacked his arm, his face heating up.

“Geez Aranea. Give me a break.”

“Not my job to.”

Prompto gave her pout, Aranea returning it with a knowing smile. After a second, they both laughed, Aranea stepping back and giving him a smirk.

“See? There it is. That sunshine smile that everyone loves. Complete with freckles and the dumb idiot who wears it better than anyone else.”

Prompto rolled his eyes.

“Aranea, remind me again how I got stuck with you two?”

Nyx poked his head through, a smile breaking across his face.

“Aranea, they are doing a mini battle tournament for the strongest fighters! Let’s go beat their asses!”

Aranea stopped, glancing back at Prompto for a second. He waved them off.

“Go ahead. I will be here, dying in misery alone.”

Nyx gave him a wink.

“Tell us if Prince Charming tries to sneak a peak!”

They both left, leaving Prompto alone with his thoughts.

 

-

 

Noct groaned, dropping to his haunches and rubbing his face in his hands.

Gladio sighed.

“Princess, at least wait until you’re ready?”

Noct stood back up, letting Gladio finish.

The outfit he was wearing was stained black, the suit a complete and utter void of darkness save for the emblem of the Empire burning into his chest and the insignia of Insomnia a white beacon on his pants. The suit was normal, all the shirts and vests and different random little tassels added on, throwing a bit more depth the darkness. A tie choked his neck, Gladio always tying the thing tighter than needed, and a crown of black sat on his hair, the only real thing identifying it being the red gem that jingled on his forehead.

He hadn’t been given gloves, something about wedding dynamics spewing out of Ignis’ mouth as an explanation.

But he did have a cape, the thing modeled after his dad’s the heavy pins set on his shoulders and allowing the cape to trail behind him, a sea of black.

Noctis looked in the mirror, his face sliding into his normal frown as Gladio looked him over.

“Well, I did the best I could. Iggy should be coming soon to check things over so we will let him fix anything.”

“How are we on time?”

Ignis walked in, looking down at his phone.

“Surprisingly early. It didn’t take as long as I thought to do the final touch ups with the Emperor. I guess I should be grateful he wasn’t picky about his outfit. Unlike a certain prince who can’t even leave his tie alone.”

Noct stopped fidgeting with his tie, his hands going up as Ignis sighed and walked forward, adjusting it to perfection.

Noct turned back to the mirror, giving himself another look before sighing.

“Well, I guess I am ready.”

Gladio snorted.

“Sorry princess, I think most people smile on their wedding day. Not give that frown that wonders why the Astrals ever made such a tradition.”

You two will be wed, the Astrals have given their blessings. 

Noct glowered at Gladio through the mirror as Ignis sighed.

“So, what is on your mind Noct? It isn’t the best way to get married but you seem more than just a little nervous.”

Gladio answered before he could speak.

“Princess here is still thinking about what Little Red Riding Hood said the other night.”

Ignis raised an eyebrow.

“Well it was a bit odd.”

“You’re telling me.”

 

He hadn’t meant to, the conversation at first being the best - albeit the only - one he had managed to have with the other prince. Even with the hood covering his face, Noct got a good feel for the man’s body language, that speaking more words than his voice.

“So why do you wear that?”

“It’s tradition in Niflheim. The groom doesn’t see the bride beforehand.”

“Heh. But they obviously do before right? Like, because they got together and decided to get married?”

He could feel slight confusion radiating off, the boy fidgeting slightly in the chair.

“Marriage is chosen based on the best match for genes. You go in for evaluation and they pair you up with the best mate. No one decides their own partner.”

Noct felt like he threw a bone and the guy just kicked it into the other lawn.

“Wait, what?”

The fidgeting continued, the hood moving slightly to the side, where his guards were posted.

“Do you Lucians not have the same process?”

Noct shook his head, knowing the switch and taking it.

“No. We just… let people decide? You get together and be with one another until you either decide to get married or move on?”

“Doesn’t that make everything harder?”

 

Gladio shrugged.

“It’s not like it wasn’t relevant. Little Red there probably had no idea what he was getting into, not with all that talk of “no ideas for anyone” he was going on about. He probably didn’t even think about it.”

Noct sighed.

“Yeah but…” He gestured with his hands, trying to get his words understood. “How do you… why would anyone just… be with someone for genes? Isn’t there anyone who like… complains? Or finds someone before?”

Ignis sighed, adjusting his glasses.

“If so, I imagine they are quieted before rebellion breaks out. But that is not up for discussion right now. We can think about that later, when this wedding is over.”

Noct grumbled.

“But I am thinking about it now! What if he just agreed to this because of my genes?”

“Well obviously princess. You got the whole “Lucis Kings, Crystal power” on your side. Pretty sure your genes are top-notch.”

“And the Prince, now Emperor, should have “good genes” as well. I don’t think there is anything to worry about on that end. But it is a political wedding either way. It’s not as if you two had a lot of time to yourselves. I don’t think there will be any love between you two at first.”

Gladio snorted.

“Except for maybe your weird crush.”

Noct hissed at him.

“Gladio shut up!”

Gladio smirked, continuing.

“Haven’t even seen his face and you’re already in love. Gotta hand it to those Lucian "genes" right?”

Noct blushed, glaring at Gladio.

Ignis raised a brow at Noct.

“What?”

“It’s nothing! So what if I kinda like the way he talks and his hands are pretty damn smooth and his laugh is kinda super amazing to hear. I am a grown adult. I can control myself.”

Gladio laughed, pulling Ignis to a hug.

“I guess hands and voices are pretty ideal with relationships, huh?”

Noct rolled his eyes.

“You guys are disgusting. If you’re gonna be gross, go do it in a closet or something before the wedding.”

Ignis pushed Gladio away, pinning him with a look, his cheeks slightly pink.

“No one is doing anything. Let’s just get through the wedding and Noctis can handle his body from there.”

“Specs, come on!”

 

-

 

The biggest wedding throughout all of Eos, the Astrals seemingly to have given their blessings, both peoples joining together in the hype of the moment, Lucians and Nifs alike rejoicing in the ending of wars, in the bond that will bring peace.

The nervousness got to both men, decidedly more good than bad.

It wasn’t love but with the spark of something true, something deep and something completely unexpected, the Astrals took a bet.

Chapter Text

It took only a moment.

 

Everything was pretty good, considering the fact that it was the one time Prompto wanted them to stop to a take pictures, Noct had decided it was a good idea, Ignis and Gladio actually enjoyed not being in the car.

Noct had walked with Prompto to the edge, grabbing onto his friend’s shirt because the idiot liked to hang off the edge of the universe to take “the perfect shot” while Gladio and Ignis stayed close to the Regalia, stretching and keeping guard.

Noct thought it was dumb; they had been driving for days without a single obstacle of any kind.

Wind picked up, more chilly than Noct liked, his body catching goosebumps as he looked up.

Clouds, giant things that covered the sky, threw everything into that grey mesh of rain, stared down at him.

“Prom, I think we should go. Smells like rain.”

“One second.”

Noct looked down, sighed when he saw his friend.

Prompto was leaning over the edge again, his body flat on the ground, his whole head and shoulders hanging over and his camera aimed for the bottom beneath. He was looking through the viewfinder, a smile appearing as he glanced at Noct.

“Hey, I think there’s water down there!”

Noct walked forward, his eyes mostly on Prompto.

“Yeah?”

“Yeah, it’s like a small lake. Looks deep enough to swim in.”

“Hmm.”

Prompto’s camera started taking photos, his body shifting just slightly. Noct looked back up, felt the small ache in his back. He kicked Prompto’s foot, causing him to flinch slightly, his camera almost dropping.

“Noct!”

“Let’s go cameraman.”

“Alright alre-”

“NOCT! PROMPTO!”

Noct swung towards Ignis, the alarms screaming through his head, Prompto scrambling to get up behind him.

Five MT’s dropped from the sky, landing just between them and the Regalia, Ignis and Gladio already running, the blue shimmer telltale of their weapons.

The ground cracked, Noct seeing the indents run along the whole ledge.

Five firearms trained on them, Prompto instantly stepping in front of Noct, his face pale.

“Noct, warp!”

He could hear each of them aiming, knew he only had a second before they started firing.

“Noct now! Warp!”

He could warp, could hit one of the MT’s.

But Prompto wouldn't last; wouldn’t get out of the way without any cover.

“NOCT!”

There’s water down there.

Noct grabbed Prompto, throwing them both over the ledge as the rain of bullets flew past them, into the air away, hitting nothing.

It was slow motion, Noct hearing three different people screaming his name.

He ran his sword through the ledge, trying to find a purchase in the dirt.

But then loose dirt broke free, the sound of breaking ground filling his ears as he saw the ledge follow them down.

“NOCT?!”

They fell.

 

-

 

They were falling, their clothes ripping through the air.

 

Prompto scrambled, trying to grab Noct, find some kind of hold as they plummeted as they tried to right themselves .

Noct was grappling too, both their hands trying to find a grip that would ensure they stayed together.

The water was racing up, Prompto’s head screaming at him to fix his body, screaming to figure out how not to slam into the lake without completely crushing both or them.

Everything was cut short when Noct pushed him away.

His back rammed into the cliff, his spine blowing up as the rocks scratched him.

He screamed, blinking through the pain as his descent was stopped for a second, his hands cutting on the rocks as they tried to find purchase.

He slipped off, flying through the air once more, diving face-first towards the water.

Noct was underneath him, facing him, blood dripping off his head.

He was limp, his eyes closed.

“NOCT!”

His body kicked into overdrive, his hand reaching out, trying to grab hold of Noct, slipping away as pain blossomed, blood staining his friend.

It was a fight that lasted too long, Prompto seeing the water getting closer and closer as they fell.

He stretched further, grabbing onto Noct’s arm and yanking him up, using the momentum to throw their bodies up, his feet swinging underneath him.

He arched his back, put his feet straight out and apart, the diving instructer’s words going through his brain in a loop.

Feet just a bit apart, arms stretched out, back arched. Don’t let your body fall too far down, you’ll drown.

Never dive with someone else.

He couldn’t throw out his hands, not with Noct limp against him but he also was going down with Noct so maybe the arms thing didn’t apply.

He really hoped they didn't.

He squeezed Noct tight against him as they finally met the lake.

The water hit them, Prompto feeling everything crash around him, feeling Noct get swallowed. Water rushed up, enclosing him in a sea of bubbles as he closed his eyes.

He barely managed to hold a breath before the world fell away, everything becoming silent as they slowly sunk lower.

The lake was something bigger, Prompto looking down to see darker water with no bottom, looking around to find no walls. He looked up, kicking his feet, pulling Noct along.

Rocks dropped around them, Prompto avoiding them the best he could, trying not to let anything pull him further down as he kicked up.

He wasn't going fast enough, his legs not pushing up fast enough. 

His lungs burned as he climbed, his legs getting heavy. 

Noct slipped slightly.

If you can't breathe, neither can Noct.

He pushed harder, the thought propelling him up and to the surface. 

He almost went down again, his body scrambling to both breathe and keep Noct out of the water.

The land was a bit ways off, Prompto barely seeing the shoreline from where he was.

Noct was silent next to him, his mouth slightly opened.

Noct still isn't breathing.

He took a breath, shifted Noct best he could, and swam for the land.

 

-

 

Ignis and Gladio watched Noct and Prompto fall, saw the moment the whole cliff decided to join, watched as three MT’s fell along with them, the other two lucky enough to be standing on solid ground.

I can't let Prompto die Specs. He came out here for me. 

Gladio instantly took them out, Ignis running up and looking over.

A good chunk was missing the cliff, now a slide that dropped off to gods knew where.

“We need to find them Iggy.”

“I know that Gladio.”

He grabbed his phone, instantly pulled out the app that tracked them, watched as the GPS scrambled for a bit before locking on, Prompto’s phone popping up a second before Noct’s.

They were together, coupled a few feet away from the cliff, next to the shore of a lake that apparently ran the length of the bottom.

Ignis felt relief wash over, felt the utter joy in learning that the water was there.

It meant that, even if they hadn’t managed to grab the cliff, the water would break their fall.

As long as it was deep enough.

“Let’s go. I have their location.”

He threw the phone at Gladio and walked to the Regalia, finally thanking the Astrals that they had left it running.

 

-

 

The wind blew harder down here, Prompto shaking as he dragged Noct into the cave. Noct shuddered too, sucking in breath.

“S’ ‘old.”

“I know buddy. Give me a second.”

 

He had managed to get to land, pulling Noct out of the water and immediately checking his breath and pulse.

He had gone through the procedure, remembered the stupid wilderness training Gladio had forced him through, finally thankful that he knew what to do if the Prince had water in his lungs.

“Put him flat on his back, tilting his head to the side so he coughs the water out, not up and back in. You are going CPR at this point and make sure to do mouth-to-mouth’. After he starts coughing, you need to roll him on his side and let him puke the water out. After that, it is just making sure he can breathe and nothing else is wrong.

Noct had woken up just enough to cough up the water, look at Prompto with giant orbs that were definitely not right and knock back out.

Prompto had scrambled to wake him up again, Cor’s words ringing out.

“Concussions are silent, not very noticeable and deadly.  Dilated pupils, slurred speech, headaches, sleepiness, vomiting and unbalance. You can’t let yourself rest, you will die. Keep yourself awake at all times. I don’t care if you have to stab yourself, just don’t fall asleep.”

He had made Noctis wake up, shook him until those giant orbs stared at him for a moment before he scrunched up his nose.

“Hea’ ‘urts. Why?”

“You hit your head.”

“Oh.”

He had sat up, blinking around before looking up at the sky.

“War hap’end?”.

“We fell. But I need you to listen. I need you stay awake.”

Noct blinked at him.

“Noct?”

“Blah’.”

“What?”

He touched Prompto’s head, his hand sliding down and causing a trail of liquid that was stickier than water to run down Prompto’s cheek, pulling away to show him red.

“ Yo’ ‘urt?”

Noct was looking at him with slight concern, something familiar barely peaking through the dazed orbs of the concussion.

But then the rain started, thunder crashing around them, echoing through the forest and making Prompto’s hair stand on end.

“Lightning is dangerous and every unpredictable. The only warning you have will be that fact that your hair will stand up, like you have electricity running through you. Stay away from water, get underneath something, don’t wander around too much.”

Prompto groaned, instantly pulling Noct up and scrambling to move. His hands stabbed with pain, his back was on fire as the rain pelleted down and Noct was already fighting to keep his eyes open.

Prompto looked around, found a cave that looked big enough and bare enough for them to go and pulled them into it just as lightning flashed.

 

Now, in the cave, he realized he was in luck.

It was a used campsite, a circle of rocks holding ashes inside it and a giant tarp wrapped over a small stack of wood with matches and a bucket.

“There are three major necessities when out in the wilderness: fire, shelter and water. Never focus your attention on food;  you need water way before you need food. Also, food attracts predators and trust me, you won’t be able to enjoy your meal if you have daemons coming at you.”

He instantly went to work, setting Noct down and throwing the wood into the circle. He struggled with the matches, having to go through four duds before a fire broke out. He put the bucket out in the rain, digging a small indent for it.

His back throbbed, his hands stinging as he moved everything around.

He checked his pockets, finding nothing in them.

No potions.

Just his luck. 

He sighed and turned, finding Noct near the fire, his back resting against the wall of the cave, his eyes closed.

Prompto went to him, gently slapped his cheeks until he groaned, twisting slightly.

“Noct, wake up.”

It took a minute but midnight eyes opened up, his pupils still big. Prompto ran a hand through his hair, Noct flinching away as his fingers touched the bump that was hidden.

“Sto’pit.’urts”

Prompto stopped, let his hand drop away.

It was a big bump.

Too big.

“Sorry, just had to check. Do you have any potions left?”

Noct let his grip go and blinked at him, confusion filtering through his face, a small frown coupling with knitting eyebrows.

He didn’t answer, just stared at Prompto.

Prompto tried again, feeling the fear prick at his voice.

“Noct?”

Noct just stared at him, his head tilting to the side as he looked on.

Prompto swallowed, pushing down the fear as it climbed up.

Tried to remember the symptoms of concussions. 

“Noct. Can you hear me? Potion. Do you understand? Noct?”

Noct blinked and then opened his mouth, understanding barely breaking through as he formed an ‘O’ with his mouth, his hand coming up between them.

Blue light shimmered, Noct holding out something to Prompto.

He blinked, looked down to see a potion in his hands.

He almost cried with joy. 

He took the small bottle, instantly raised it to Noct’s head.

Noct whined, pulling his hand away and pushing it back towards him.

“You.”

Prompto blinked for a second, shook his head and moved his hands away.

“Noct, you need this more than me.”

Noct tried to shake his head too, groaned when it probably shot pain through it, still pushed the potion to Prompto, his face determined.

“You.”

“Noct, I need you to take this potion.”

He wasn't slurring anymore but he was getting irritated, Prompto knowing the stubborn pout from all the times he and Noct fought.

“No. You. Blood.”

He pointed to Prompto’s face, probably where the blood was dripping down from his hairline, and pushed the vial away again.

Prompto gave him a smirk, held the potion out again. 

"It's fine, Noct. I am good. You need this."

Noct fought, his legs instantly kicking out and his head moving away from Prompto.

“No!”

Prompto struggled for a minute, trying hard not to drop the potion as he wrestled Noct.

“Noct, stop! Just let me help you!”

“No! No, no, no, no.”

They fought for a minute, Prompto pocketing the potion so he could wrap Noct and stop him from struggling.

Noct’s face twisted in pain, his hands clutching at his head as he groaned, Prompto knowing the concussion probably gave him a headache too. He moved towards him, reaching for the potion. Noct instantly slashed out with his foot and kicked Prompto hard, throwing him off balance and onto the ground.

His back instantly shot through with pain, Prompto not able to hold back a yelp as he scrambled onto his side, gasping for breath.

"Try not to get your cuts dirty. It doesn't help anyone."

He groaned, knowing Gladio would be angry with him. 

He was tired, his body shutting down and his eyes slowly closing. 

Noct. 

Prompto sighed, tried to sit up only to fall, the pain in his back driving him down again.

Noct shifted next to him, a hand coming up to run fingers through his hair.

“Prom?”

Prompto looked up, saw the dilation had gone down a bit, saw the slight recognition in Noct. His face was equal parts pain and worry, a hand holding his head as he looked down at his friend.

“Are you okay? What happened? Where are we?”

Noct.

"Took you long enough."

Prompto sat up, giving Noct a small punch in the shoulder.

“Here.”

He held out the potion, happy that it hadn't accidentally broke while he was fighting. 

Noct took it, his face searching Prompto’s.

“My head hurts. You’re back is ripped to shreds. I think you need this more than me.”

“I hate to include this in training but the Prince takes priority. I don’t care if you have to lie to him, do not allow him to stay injured.”

Prompto stuck his hand back into his pocket, like he was getting something out.

“I got it. Just… Just take that one.”

Noct gave him a look but nodded, lifting the potion up to his head and breaking it, sighing in relief as he sat back a bit. He looked down at Prompto, holding out his hand.

“Here, let me do it.”

Prompto felt the guilt rush him, swallowed the lump in his throat as he took out his hand and showed Noct his bloody palm, empty.

He laughed nervously, feeling his hand burn from the scratches on it.

“Last one.”

Noct’s face went from confusion to anger in seconds.

“You gave me the only one!?”

“You had a concussion Noct. You were dying.”

“Your back is shredded and bleeding! You were dying a lot faster than I was!”

“You’re the Prince.”

“You’re my friend!”

Prompto hung his head, his back starting to pound, his hands rising from a sting to a stab.

His head was hurting too.

He could feel his body slowly heating up, thought it probably wasn’t from the fire.

Noct was still glaring at him, but his eyes were back to normal, his head looking like it wasn’t hurting him anymore.

“It’s fine. I put a bucket out. We can rinse it off and figure it out until Iggy finds us.”

Noct opened his mouth to argue, his face pinching in anger when they both stopped, Prompto hair standing on end.

A growl, coming from the edge of a cave, rose above the rain, Noct spinning around and Prompto looking past him to see the worst houseguest ever.

A coeurl was out in the rain, its body down to the floor, its whiskers charging with electricity.

 

-

 

Gladio didn’t say anything, not as Ignis threw up the hood when the rain began, not when the GPS told them to pull over and hike down the cliffside, not when the lightning and thunder and wind picked up.

Noct had thrown them over, probably trying to get them out the line of fire.

He didn’t warp, didn’t heed the very clear warning Iggy had given him when Prompto joined the team.

“You are the Prince. I know you care for Prompto, but you are not allowed to throw yourself into harm’s way for him. He can barely protect himself, it would be irresponsible to think he could protect you.”

They had been harsh words, ones that Noct had instantly argued with, but also ones that Gladio silently agreed with.

Prompto wasn’t built to be anyone’s guard and, while both he and Cor taught him basic survival and self-defense, no one was expecting the kid to save a life.

Now that he and Noct were down and out together, Gladio just hoped the kid stayed alive enough for someone to come save them.

The GPS bleeped, Gladio looking down to see Noct’s and Prompto’s signal moving slightly, going further away from the water and seeming to run around in circles.

He bit his lip, gently tapped Ignis who was in front of him and gave the man a frown as he turned towards him.

“We need to move.”

 

-

 

Noct didn’t have time to think.

 

Something hit his back, throwing him into the ground just as the coeurl attacked the bolt of lightning zooming over and hitting the fire, making it explode into a thousand embers.

Prompto screamed from behind him, probably getting hit with the hot rocks on his back.

Noct moved grabbing onto Prompto and warping out of the cave, slipping on the ground as rain hit them full-force.

He instantly set his best friend down, blue shimmers throwing themselves out as his sword appeared.

The coeurl had friends, three more turning towards him and growling, the one that attacked spinning around.

Prompto pulled out his pistols, his face twisted in pain as he stood up and pointed his guns at the beasts.

“I’ll cover.”

Noct glanced at him, saw his pistols shaking, saw the shuddering breath and wobbly legs, knew he wasn’t going to be much help with a bad back and blood hands.

“Don't’ die.”

He warped, meeting the first beast head on, swinging down with his sword as it growled.

Shots fired, Prompto’s voice cracking.

“NOCT!”

He had just enough time to move his sword, another coeurl knocking him down on his side, trapping him underneath his sword.

It roared, its mouth opening to reveal teeth as Noct scrambled to get away.

Three bullets sank into its skull, the coeurl dropping dead on top of Noct, its mouth still opened to bite.

Noct took a breath for a second, his mind flashing back to the attack, before gunshots brought him back, made him start scrambling to out from underneath the beast.

It was heavy, the rain making it heavier, Noct releasing his blade and gasping as the dead cat dropped onto him, pinning him in the mud.

Everything was wet, allowing no purchase of any way to pull himself from underneath the thing.

Noct growled, hearing Prompto fight.

 

-

 

Prompto saw the coeurl go down, knew his bullets hit true and was thankful that Noct was at least out of danger for the moment.

The other three beasts instantly targeted him, their anger personified as two began to charge themselves up for an attack, the third jumping forward with claws extended.

Prompto jumped away, feeling his back burst with new pain as he lost his guns, scrambling up and running as the coeurls chased.

Lightning was thrown everywhere, Prompto trying hard not to get hit.

It was hard, the rain making everything hazy and he tried not to get near Noct, who was still struggling with the dead coeurl, his grunts attracting the attention of his chaser.

Prompto instantly focused, his guns coming to him in that shimmer of blue and shot the beast, bringing its attention back.

Pain instantly hit his body, lightning zapping through his nerves and making him scream.

He fell to the ground, his guns bursting in the blue shimmer, water being thrown up as his body hit the mud, his eyes blurring out or focus for a second before he saw the coeurls, two of them, coming up slowly, triumphant.

Behind them, he could just make out one of them heading towards its dead ally, the body moving as Noct finally managed to get out from underneath it.

But his friend didn’t see it, didn’t see the coeurl as it crept up, his eyes focused on pulling his feet from under the dead thing.

Noct is our top priority. Remember that.

Prompto was brought back with growls, the coeurls after him coming closer.

He instantly flipped onto his back, his guns coming out and his fingers instantly pulling the triggers, the two coeurls going down under his bullet storm.

They dropped dead, Prompto looking and seeing the coeurl almost on top of Noct.

He is the only hope for all this shit that has happened. He can't die kid. We can't allow that.

Noct realized it was there, his face slight horror as he brought his sword back.

But he wasn’t moving, the dead beast still shifting.

His legs were stuck.

Prompto felt everything fall away as he watched.

Noct is the Prince, you are his Crowns guard.

He wouldn’t be able to swing the sword, wouldn’t be able to deliver a good blow, not like that.

You live give your life for your King.

Prompto’s gun wouldn’t be able to reach either, not good enough to stop the beast.

He needed something else.

“The spear is very hard to handle but can come in handy when firearms aren’t the best option.”

He took a breath, remembering what Iggy had told him.

“It is my weapon of choice but I do believe you should learn to at least weild it a little .

He slowly stood, concentrating hard and bringing the weapon out, gripping it hard with both hands.

“Well, you have to be built to wield the spear, especially if you are going to do what I want.”

It was heavy, the tip falling and sliding into the mud, Prompto struggling to bring it up, his back screaming at the thought.

“You are not even close to proficient, I would recommend not using this unless absolutely necessary. It will be a one-hit strike. You either hit or miss. Don’t make you me tell you which is your only option.”

Prompto gripped the sword, screamed as he lifted it, aimed it and took one final breath before he threw it.

 

-

 

Ignis ran into the clearing first, the GPS telling them they have found the phones.

He saw it, his heart stopping.

No.

Noct was facing a coeurl, on the ground, his legs trapped under something, his sword out and awkwardly in front of him.

NO.

The coeurl jumped, claws extended and mouth wide open to kill and Ignis felt everything stop.

NOCT!

Noct’s face broke a little, the fear showing through as the beast attacked.

NO!

He heard Gladio scream behind him, felt his daggers come to him, saw the future: the coeurl’s fangs in his King’s throat, claws tearing Noct’s flesh.

“NOCT!!!!”

Everything came to a screeching halt as a spear appeared, stabbing into the coeurl and effectively pinning it into the mud.

A perfect shot. 

One last roar escaped the beast before it slumped into the mud.

Ignis and Gladio stopped, seeing Noct slump in relief and turning to where the spear came from.

Just in time to see Prompto crumble to the ground, water splashing up from where he fell.  

 

-

 

Prompto had a shredded back, cut up hands, a gash in his head, burns from the coeurl’s lightning attacks and a fever that nearly killed him.

Three times.

Noct had a single scratch on his leg, from when the coeurl had thrown him into the ground.

One.

Ignis watched the boy sleep, his fever finally breaking an hour before, his face slowly starting to get more color in it.

Noct had said he wasn't even all there, a rock hitting him on the way down.

Which meant Prompto had made sure they didn't die from the fall.

Prompto had swam for both of them, had gotten both of them to shore.

Prompto had given Noct the only potion they had, healed his concussion and still fought.

Prompto had saved Noct, not once, but two times, gunning down one coeurl and spearing the other.

He also took out two that were after him, even after getting electrocuted.

Prompto had done this.

Not Gladio, not Ignis.

Prompto.

Gladio had carried the boy the whole way, his arms wrapping protectively around Prompto until they had made damn sure he was in the clear.

Ignis felt guilt seep in as he watched Prompto sleep.

“I owe you an apology.”

Prompto didn't answer, his breathing still even as he slept.

“It seems I have mistaken your worth.”

“I saw kindness, saw gentleness, and mistook them for weakness.”

He gently took hold of Prompto's hand, feeling the warmth that had finally seeped into them.

“I pray the Astrals will forgive my ignorance. I pray you will forgive my stupidity.”

As if in answer, Prompto sighed, stirring slightly in the bed, his eyes fluttering open.

Ignis sighed in relief, squeezing the hand of the one person he owed his King owed his life too.

Thank you.

Chapter Text

He stood in front of the mirror, his eyes not seeing anything that he wanted to see.

Black, the color he had loved, the color he had been proud of, the color that wrapped his memory with thoughts of honor and duty, now covered his body from head to toe, the crown weaving through his hair to rest wings on his forehead, making everything look like he was attending a funeral.

He should have been.

His eyes were still red, still wavering, still holding back the tears that he had been unable to shed.

His hair was slicked down, nothing out of place.

His tie wasn't made, his fingers unable to weave the knots.

He had never managed to do it, Ignis always having to come in and fix it for him.

He bit his lip, already puffed from the constant worrying he did on it.

They had stood in front of the Crystal together, him looping their hands together for a moment, something cold and small sitting between their palms.

He felt himself break, slowly, in front of that mirror, felt the pieces of the world fall apart to reveal this Hell that he was a part of now.

They had sworn to come back together, had vowed not to leave one another.

And he broke it.

Everything was back, the world had light, the daemons were banished, the Starscourge was no more, the Empire had been completely defeated and the Astrals had chosen their new king.

He had the ring, that damn smile that never faltered telling him to take care of it.

That he was leaving things to him.

He felt them rumble within, heard their whispers, could see their faces if he closed his eyes.

Without the Crystal, he was the only one who could handle it, the only being with the power and blood to witness their company.

The Crystal was broken, the prophecy torn, the darkness faltering and everything slowly going to hell.

And they had chosen him, so who was he to deny the gods their vessel?

But now, as he thought back, as he stared at a reflection he never wanted to, they grew silent, everything slowly coming to a stop.

Like the moment before he plunged, the instant their eyes met and he whispered good-bye.

“Hey there princess.”

Gladio smiled sadly at him from the mirror, his eyes narrowed as he walked forward.

Ignis was behind him, his face in a small frown.

“Everything is handled now. With the ceremony over, we can relax, if only for a moment.”

He came up, gently moved so he could grab his shoulders, giving him a soft smile.

“You did well my King.”

No, he didn't.

He had completely failed everyone.

He shouldn't be the one to stand here.

He had jumped as he had reached, the idiot giving himself as the sacrifice for the Astrals.  

Gladio wiped away a tear that had gotten away, his face falling completely as he blinked at his own.

“Ah, come on princess. We still have the peace talks and relief conferences to handle.”

He wasn't “princess”, wasn't the one who should be getting all this care.

He had killed him , basically sentenced him to death.

He had told him, their own secret, that he would never let him die.

He didn't deserve this.

"The Astrals were wrong."

He shook, his hands clenching as more tears fell.

"I could never let you die."

Ignis wrapped him in a hug, gently petting his head.

"So I came up with a plan because screw them."

Gladio simply put a warm hand on his back, the support obvious.

He would have hugged him from behind, letting him dissolve into the cuddle.

But his back was cold, the one person he needed not there, the one person he wanted not there, the one person who had every right to be there not and no, he couldn't because he wasn't there, it wasn't fair.

"You stay here. I have to go. No following."

Ignis broke through, his voice filled with too much emotion.

"I'm proud of you buddy."

“He would be proud.”

"Thanks for not dying for me."

He clung to Ignis, buried his face in the man's suit, knowing very well he was ruining it but not having any control left.

“I’ll leave the details to you.”

He sucked in a shuddering breath and just cried, screaming into Ignis’ shoulder, feeling his throat go raw.

“Ignis really is a great Advisor.”

He could feel the shake in Ignis, knew the man couldn't be strong in this situation, hated himself because he had promised goddamnit , but it just wasn't enough.

Gladio held both of them, pulling him from Ignis and letting them have one shoulder each.

“Gladio is the King's Shield. He will take care of you.”

And they stayed there, in their silence, and cried.

“So be the King f know you are capable of being.”

Because it would never be the same.

“I am counting on you.”

Not with him.

"Stand tall."

 

Not without Noct.

Chapter Text

It was a bad idea.

 

It didn’t even come to him at first, nothing out of the ordinary as Prompto dragged him out early in the morning for one of his “opportunities of a lifetime”.

But the slight wave of confusion did come when they stopped by one of the trees that stood proudly before Noct’s apartments.

The warning bells went off when Prompto told him to keep watch.

He was wide awake as Prompto started climbing the damn thing like he was some kind of insect.

In hindsight, Noct probably should have stopped him there, should have grabbed him and actually been any level of responsible, not allowing Prompto to do what Ignis would have deemed as “utter stupidity”.

But he didn’t, watching Prompto shimmy up the tree with a grace that only Prompto possessed.

It was kinda impressive.

Even more so when he let himself hang from the branches and took pictures of a nest that laid hugging the tree.

Small little chirps came as Prompto hung over them, Noct realizing his friend was taking pictures of baby birds.

How Prompto had managed to spot them in the tree before this moment was a mystery to Noct.

But he was getting tired again by the tenth shot, a yawn escaping as he realized it was too early to be awake, much less outside and doing things.

He was just about to mention it to Prompto when he heard it.

The tree snapped.

It happened before Noct could even think.

Prompto was instantly on the ground, in a heap, one hand holding his camera away from the wreckage and the other holding onto the branch that had betrayed him.

Noct walked up, hugging himself to stay warm.

He probably should have seen that coming.

“Did you die?”

Prompto groaned, put his hands down and just laid there.

Noct kicked his foot, effectively diagnosing his friend as alright when he got a grunt and a kick in return.

“That was a pretty dumb idea.”

“Then why didn’t you stop me!”

He was whining but there was no pain in his voice, Noct simply yawning again as he started to poke him with his slipper.

“You told me to keep watch. I was taking my job seriously.”

Which he wasn’t because someone cleared their throat behind them, Noct slowly turning around to find his Advisor glaring at both of them.

“What are you two doing?”

He heard Prompto groan louder, getting a kick to his butt from his friend.

“You were not!”

Chapter Text

Prompto was clinging, like the full-on nails digging into Noct’s shoulders, his body pressed up as close as he could get, cat stuck in a tree clinging.

Maybe it was because he was on the top.

But Cor was looking at him, a small frown forming on his face.

“Prompto you have to relax, your shaking is causing everyone to get unbalanced!”

“Why are we even doing this anyways!?”

“Trust-building exercise.”

They had gotten to the practice grounds to find Cor waiting for them, his face barely breaking when he told them he had an activity for all of them.

Which was holding one another bridal style while being held bridal style.

Prompto was the lightest, so Noct had scooped him up, had let Ignis scoop him up and then Gladio had held all three of them.

It was like a weird Jenga tower and they had to try it a few times before they managed to hold their position without crumbling.

Gladio shifted underneath them, adjusting his grip on Ignis and causing them all to sway, just a bit.

Prompto clung harder to Noct, pressing their bodies together and back enough that Ignis grunted, moving his hand further up Noct’s back to support them and Gladio walking a few steps to the left to keep them from toppling.

“Prompto, you have to relax.”

“Shut up Iggy! You only say that because you are not on top!”

“Kid, you need to stop moving. I will end up dropping all of you.”

“I’m afraid of heights! You all know this!”

“You are not even that high up!”

“My feet are above your head!”

“Gladio, you are not helping!”

“Prom, please!”

Prompto twisted unwillingly and Noct knew it was over.

His grip slipped slightly, almost dropping Prompto and causing his friend to shriek high and loud enough that it would put a banshee to shame. His nails dug into shoulders, Noct flinching backwards and Ignis losing his grip on them both, their tower instantly listing to one side, making Gladio sidestep dangerously.

Then they were all falling, Prompto jumping out of Noct's arms with a scream of terror while Noct got dragged down by Ignis and Gladio.

They crumbled to the floor, Noct picking himself out of the tangle of limbs.

“Cor, did we ma-”

Noct started.

Prompto had switch his clinging target to Cor, like a cat who finally decided to jump from its perch and stick itself to its rescuer.

Noct threw a hand to his mouth and looked away, tried not to let the laughter escape.

Prompto looked equal parts embarrassed and mortified but he didn't move from his perch, digging his face into Cor's shoulder as he clung to the man.

He groaned, his words only slightly muffled as Ignis and Gladio stood.

“I can't stand.”

Cor sighed, adjusted his grip on Prompto as he gave them a bored look.

“You guys failed. Just letting you know. We will try the exercise again another time. In the meanwhile,”

He instantly shifted his hold on Prompto, bringing the blonde to sit on his shoulder, Prompto screeching as he clung to his head.

“COR, PUT ME DOWN! NOCT, SAVE ME!”

“We will help Prompto with his fear.”


The rest of the time was a game of get-back, Cor sidestepping Noct, Ignis and Gladio as he ran through the Citadel, Prompto perched on his shoulder, screaming bloody murder the whole time.

Chapter Text

The wedding went off without a hitch, everything coming together under the meticulous supervision of Ignis Scientia.

Millions of people, Lucians and Nifs alike, crowded in the streets, around TVs, blocked roads and celebrated as their Princes came together in holy matrimony.  

The chapel, a giant old temple reserved for this very purpose, was filled with officials from both sides, everyone relieved and happy that the years of war and violence were about to end, the days of peace starting with this new Dawn.

 

Noct waited at the altar, his part of the ceremony done and over with as he vowed to keep the two countries together, vowed to take Niflheim under Lucis’ wings as he bonded with their Prince.  

Ignis stood beside him, Gladio also there, the Glaive standing in attention and the priest finishing up that step in the ceremony.

“Would the bride, the Prince of Niflheim, Prompto Argentum Aldercapt, please step forward!”

The doors to the chapel opened wide, the King walking forward, arm-in-arm with the familiar hooded figure.

His cape was blood red, hiding everything as it flowed from hood to trail.

Noct felt his heart skip a beat, felt himself stand up straighter as they walked to the edge of the pews.

His dad smiled at him, nodded at the priest to continue.

The priest opened his books, making sure his voice carried.

“Would the representative of Niflheim step to the edge of the altar?”

Noct saw as a woman - Aranea, he remembered meeting her - step out, standing at the bottom of the steps.

She bowed.

“I stand as the representative of Niflheim.”

The priest nodded and turned to the back, Noct following his gaze.

“Would the escort of the two nations step to the bride?”

Noct saw the slight shift in the hood, his dad smiling a bit bigger.

Prompto was seen as the bride, Niflheim being the nation that was being cradled by Lucis.

He was probably embarrassed.

A man - it was Nyx right? - stepped to them, lowering himself down on a knee as protocol.

“I bow, as the escort of the two nations.”

Prompto stepped forward, Noct seeing his dad let him go with a small nod, and Nyx took his arm, turning and waiting for the call.

The priest nodded and rose a hand towards them.

“If no one will stand between the joining of these two nations, then let the bride and escort come forth!”

Nyx and Prompto started walking forward, music slowly climbing up from the piano in the corner.

Their movements were slow and sure, each step representing the overcoming of an obstacle in the binding of the two nations.

In theory, if anyone had a problem with the marriage and union, they would step in front of them and not let them pass.

It was it's own obstacle, walking down the aisles filled with potential threats to both parties.  

Noct watched, as did everyone else, the advancement, feeling his heartbeat pick up.

It was nerve-wracking and Noct had to suppress a sigh of relief when they made it to the bottom of the steps without problems.

The priest spoke again, the whole room quiet.

“The escort may step back and the representative may step forward and face the bride!”

Nyx stepped back as Aranea stepped forward, facing Prompto and giving a smile, probably able to see the face that hid underneath the hood.

“If the representative has any words for the bride, please speak now.”

Aranea nodded.

“This is it. What we waited for. Seize it.”

She turned and nodded to the priest and he nodded back.

“If the representative approves of the union between the two nations, please let them now remove the ceremonial hood and present the bride to the groom; present Niflheim to Lucis.”

Noct held his breath.

This was it.

He met Aranea’s eye, saw her give him a smirk, and then she was turning back to Prompto, taking the clasp and swinging the cape around and off.

It was like everything stopped.

Noct saw the outfit first, the white that basically shined from top to bottom, holding onto curves that would put normal brides to shame.

Then he noticed the accessories, the gloves that curled around the arms, the crown that had wavy pale blonde hair holding onto it.

The single black gem that tinkled on the forehead.

The sweep of freckles from the sun kissing cheeks and the dust of them on bare shoulders.

The soft lips that were curving into a smile.

Violet eyes, shining up at him through long lashes.

Prompto, finally presented to Noct.

He felt his breath catch, felt his heart stop, felt everything slow until all there was Prompto, giving him a nervous look, worrying his bottom lip. Their eyes met and Noct couldn't stop the blush that attacked his face.

Everything came back, Noct realizing that the ceremony was continuing, Prompto was walking up the steps of the altar, Aranea giving him a full-on smirk that coupled with Nyx’s amused look.

He glanced further back, caught his dad at the back, silently watching.

He was beaming at him, Noct seeing the pride that shined in his eyes; the joy that radiated off his being.

He turned back, heard the priest continue.

“As we stand here, Nif and Lucian before us, we come to celebrate the wonder that is the binding of two nations, the star of a new Dawn. And with it, the marriage between these two people.”

“May the ring and bracelet be brought forth.”

Ignis stepped forward, holding out a pillow that held a red ring and black bracelet.

The priest turned to Noct first.

“If Lucis has peace with this union, let the groom pick up the bracelet.”

Noct did, let the cool metal sit in his palm.

He turned to Prompto, smiled as he held his gaze, violet eyes tinged blue now.

“Lucis has peace.”

The priest turned to Prompto.

“If Niflheim has peace with this union, let the bride pick up the ring.”

Prompto did, slender fingers holding the small accessory with care.

“Niflheim has peace.”

Ignis stepped away, the priest looking at both of them.

“We come together to celebrate this bond between these two people, these two nations.”

“Prince Noctis, repeat after me.”

“I, Prince Noctis Lucis Caelum,”

“I, Noctis Lucis Caelum,”

“Take you, Prompto Argentum Aldercapt,”

“Take you, Prompto Argentum Aldercapt,”

“To be my wife,”

“To be my wife,”

“To have and to hold from this day forward,”

“To have and to hold from this day forward,”

“For better or for worse,”

“For better or for worse,”

“For richer, for poorer,”

“For richer, for poorer,”

“In sickness and in health,”

“In sickness and in health,”

“To love and to cherish;”

“To love and to cherish;”

“From this day forward until death do us part.”

“From this day forward, until death do us part.”

Noct gently took Prompto's left hand, slid the bracelet into his hand, held it for a minute before letting go.

Prompto was looking down at the bracelet, a light blush dusting his cheeks.

The priest went through the vows with Prompto, the blonde saying everything just above a whisper, his eyes focused on his bracelet until he gently took Noct's left hand, slipping the ring on his third finger.

It was warm, Prompto lingering just a second.

The priest smiled.

“Please connect your hands for the last part of the ceremony.”

Noct held out his left hand, palm out, and Prompto met him halfway, their fingers splayed out and their palms flat against one another.

It was warm, Prompto slightly shaking.

It was a warmth of another human.

The warmth of another country, their hopes put onto the shoulders of this boy.

But more than that it was Prompto, sun-kissed and touched by the Astrals, his eyes a swirl of blue and violet, his lip still being worried.

Noct felt adoration -or was it love? - spread out from his heart and seep out to his cheeks and fingers.

Prompto must have felt it, because he looked up and met his eyes.

“Prince Noctis Lucis Caelum, do you take Prompto Argentum Aldercapt to be your lawfully wedded wife?”

Noct smiled at Prompto, pressed slightly against his hand.

“I do.”

“Prompto Argentum Aldercapt, do you take Noctis Lucis Caelum to be your lawfully wedded husband?”

Prompto blushed, ducked his head slightly.

“I do.”

The whole temple was filled with such Joy, everyone beaming as the priest clapped his hands happily.

“Then I pronounce you husband and wife! You may now kiss your bride!”

Noct didn't need to be told twice.

He curled his fingers around Prompto's left hand, brought his right hand to cup Prompto's cheek and pulled the man to him, gently locking lips with him.

Applause ruptured throughout the temple, the city and the world.

The dawn of a new day rose, the chorus of praise reaching the Astrals.

Chapter Text

Regis had been sleeping.

Noctis, for all of his endearment and love, had been a crying mess the past few weeks, making everything ten times more difficult.

Regis hadn’t been able to sleep well in so long, he had almost given the child to Clarus, the man more than willing to let Regis sleep.

He had went through the baby years once anyways; one more time wasn’t going to hurt.

But Regis hadn’t and Noctis had cried but now, his child was sleeping, the cradle right next to the bed, Regis’ hand gently draped over for his comfort more than the baby’s.

He was almost completely out and away from the world when the soft chimes of his phone could be heard, threatening to get louder if he didn’t grab it that second.

Regis almost groaned, remembered fast that Noctis thought even breathing was a banshee there to kill him, and grabbed his phone, swiping the green button and laying the device on the side of his face.

He was expecting Cor, expecting the man to tell him of some other disaster that he was responsible for as the King.

“Your Majesty.”

Well, it was Cor, though he sounded like he had just gone through a round with an Astral, his voice layered thick with tiredness and slight annoyance.

Regis opened his eyes, stifled the yawn that tried to break free.

“Please tell me this isn’t an emergency Cor.”

He was whispering, his hand reaching further into the cradle to ensure Noctis hadn’t woken up.

So far, so good.

“Well… it isn’t an emergency.”

The “but” was there, waiting for Regis to either ask about it or push it back until he could actually think about what was going on.

Regis had half a mind to let it drop, to push it back so he could hang up and rest.

The other half gave way to slight concern for his friend.

He thought for a moment, the line between them silent until a single screech echoed through the phone, making Regis flinch from the volume.

It was like a banshee’s child, one without any control over volume or pitch.

Regis sighed, imagined the man’s silence coupled with what apparently was a child.

“Cor.”

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

“I was just wondering. Just wondering, mind you, and tell me if I am wrong.”

“Of course.”

“I was just wondering why I heard such a thing on the other end of the line. Is that a baby Cor? Did you steal  a baby Cor!?”

Cor sighed on the other line, the crying slowly dying down to a slight hiccup and whimper from whatever was making it.

“Well Regis, I imagined you would question the baby; didn’t really think you would suggest I stole the child.”

“Cor.”

“It is fine; I didn’t steal him.”

Regis waited a beat, growled when his friend didn’t elaborate.

“Okay, and why would you call me with such sensational news?”

“Well there, you see, lies the problem. The little thing won’t fall asleep for me; I can’t get him to even close his eyes. I was wondering if you could share some Kingly knowledge.”

Regis snorted, shifted the phone around as he slowly rose, completely awake.

“Why ask me when Clarus is better at this weird babysitting thing than both of us?”

“Because Clarus is a prick and I don’t want to deal with his crap right now.”

Regis sighed, checked Noct one last time and then moved out of the room, running a hand through his hair.

“I know it is a bit to ask for Regis but I need help.”

Clarus would demand to know the origins of such a child, would either make Cor take the child back to whatever street corner he found it in or run the poor thing to an orphanage.

Regis sighed dramatically into the phone, pinched his nose as he spoke.

Clarus would tell him in no subtlety, to vehemently deny the man anything until he knew exactly what Cor was dealing with.

He could hear the man now, could imagine that angry frown that he never grew out of.

Cor is the Advisor but I am your Shield. He gives you the bad ideas and I make sure you don't die from them.

He wondered if a child was included in those bad ideas.

“Bring the poor thing to the Citadel. We will figure it out from there.”

 

Figuring it out meant Regis got exactly thirty minutes of sleep before Cor showed up, wrapped in clothes for stealth missions, completely black and decked out to hide so many weapons, it was probably illegal for everyone but him.

But his eyes were tired, the bags under them suggesting he probably had as much as sleep as Regis.

Cor, at the mere age of twenty-five, looked too old to be anything but forty.

He had scars that showed, his hair forever cut back and trimmed nicely, his eyes and face sculpted for frowns that could tell the difference between life and death in any situation, his brain always working out different scenarios, with the single goal of Lucis’ benefit.

He was a man Regis would never be anything but proud of to have around, not when he first joined at the mere age of fifteen and  not now, only ten years later.

But now, with the small frown that told Regis Cor was having trouble, his calloused hands holding tightly to a small red bundle, his feet shifting quietly in an unsure manner, Cor looked twenty-five.

Twenty-five and completely lost.

Regis was five years older than him and he was still lost.

But Regis stood, gave Cor a light smile and gestured at the bundle.

“That is the screeching banshee that you were talking about right?”

Cor nodded, let Regis gently maneuver the bundle so white hair peeked out.

“You’re not going to believe this; he passed out on the way here. Maybe he just likes the sound of motorcycles?”

Regis gave Cor a disgusted look.

“You brought the child in that monster bike of yours? Seriously?”

Cor shrugged, let more of the blanket fall to reveal pale skin, arms small and vulnerable, one wrapped up.

Regis looked at the child, whose cheeks were still red and stained with tear trails, the face pinched only slightly as it rested.

“Well, I guess you didn’t need me for the first part after all.”

Cor nodded, gently wrapped the child back up as Regis watch him.

Then the silence came, Regis trying hard to push his friend.

“Cor.”

The man nodded, stared at the child with a sad frown.

“I was on the mission to the First Magitek Production Facility, the one where we got word about the experiments going on. And we were right. They were doing experiments.”

Regis frowned, focused on the child again as Cor’s face twisted in disgust.

“They were experimenting on babies Regis. Like this child, they were gathering them or something and just…” He sighed, took a breath. “This child was the current… project they were doing. The logs in the Facility proved that there were more at one time, other children who either were “decommissioned” or moved to different areas.”

Regis thought for a moment.

“Where would they get children to do such things? How many of them did they already get to?”

Cor shook his head, shifted slightly and adjusted the weight in his arms.

“I am not totally sure but I got all the information from the place, grabbed this kid and ditched. It was freaky how easily I got in and out of the place. But the department’s got the information now; they will go through it and see what is in it.”

Regis nodded, thought for a moment before giving Cor a small smile.

“And did they tell you what to do with your new hang-on?”

Cor sighed, gave his King a wry smile.

“They suggested foster care. I was just a little worried. But whatever the choice, even in Insomnia, not many are willing to take any child before one year.”

Regis nodded, looked down at the sleeping form once more.

“Well he looks to be Noct’s age; he is turning one in a few months. Shouldn’t be too hard to keep a child for that long.”

Cor raised an eyebrow, looked at the sleeping child too.

“How can you tell? All babies look the same.”

Regis scoffed.

“Because I am a single dad.”

“Fair enough.”

Regis took the bandaged hand, gave Cor a look.

“Did something happen?”

Cor frowned, nodded his head.

“Go ahead and look.”

Regis narrowed his eyes, gently unwrapped the bandage and saw the problem.

Black ink, red puffy skin underneath, stained the smooth arm at the wrist, the barcode screaming attention.

Regis couldn’t stop the horror that pinched his face, didn’t stop the look he gave Cor. He saw disgust there, Cor slowly looking away.

“He had it when I found him. Apparently the Niffs brand their young. Or something like that.”

Regis didn’t say a word, just gently wrapped the small arm back up, finishing just in time to see giant eyes open, the baby blinking as it zeroed in on him.

Grey irises, slowly swirling into a purple, were staring at him, eyes big as the child seemed to realize they weren’t alone.

Then the tears came.

Cor instantly started rocking, gently holding the child closer as he ducked his head down, getting the poor thing’s attention as fat tears flowed freely and their mouth frowned in preparation for those screeches that Regis had heard over the phone.

But Cor soothed the babe, the child instantly relaxing once they saw him, eyes squinting and mouth quirking in a smile.

They giggled and damn, Regis though Noct was cute.

Noct would warm your heart with his small smiles and tiny laughs.

This child threw sunshine in the air when it giggled, the small noise making Regis’ heart practically melt.

Cor sighed in relief, glad the child wasn’t screeching.

Regis nodded at the pair.

“So, girl or boy?”

“Boy.”

Regis smiled, let the mischief play into his voice.

“Have you thought of a name yet?”

“Oh, not yet. I was hoping the King would be so generous as to name him for me.”

Regis snorted.

“Oh I see. Did you have a preference?”

Cor smiled back, rocking the child as he followed the adult’s banter.

“Oh not really. Just, if it could have sixteen letters, two syllables, start with a P, have sixteen wonderful meanings and be also the child that will rule over Insomnia one day, then that would be okay.”

They looked at each other for a moment, understanding the outrageous demands some new mothers had all while insisting on getting a name from the King.

They laughed softly at the thought.

The child joined, his laughter bubbling from his tiny chest as he squirmed happily in Cor’s hands, reaching out to Regis, who happily took the tiny hand that wrapped around his finger.

“Oh, so that would be your preference too then?”

The child laughed again, the sound filled with nothing but enjoyment.

“Oh geez, I have quite the demand on my hands then, don’t I?”

Just then, Noct called him, Regis hearing the dimmed crying coming from his room.

He sighed, giving the child a look.

“Oh, now look at what you’ve done! My son woke up!”

The child just laughed and smiled happily.

 

Regis had tried to put Noct back down, tried to get his son to sleep again, but the small boy refused, clinging onto him and not letting go for anything, so Regis sighed, wrapped him up and brought the small frowning child to Cor.

Noct met the other child with distaste, his face frowning as both babies caught realization they weren’t the only ones there to demand attention.

Cor sighed, seeing the two children.

“So what am I going to do? I hardly know how to care for a child.”

Regis laughed softly, gently rocking Noct and giving Cor a small pat.

“Welcome to parenthood my friend. We are all the same.”

“He isn’t mine Regis.”

“Might as well be. You have a few months Cor. And that child likes you already. I think you looked him in the eye; always deadly since they wear down their preys with those big eyes and deceitful laughter.”

Cor gave him a nervous look.

“What if I kill him Regis?”

Regis laughed.

“I assure you, if anyone was going to die, it would be you my friend. These babies are trained to take out dads like us. Lack of sleep is deadly.”

Cor groaned, rocked the child as Regis rocked Noct, the two dads together.

Chapter Text

Noct walked out of his office, staring hard at the page.

A single page.

Two hours, several sites of reference, three books to understand exactly what he was writing and he had one page.

He sighed, walking to the kitchen, where he could smell food, noting the lack of chaos in his apartment.

“Hey Specs, did you finish al-”

He stopped.

Ignis wasn't there.

Instead, a guy about Noct's age - twenty, maybe twenty-two - was there, blonde spikes bouncing as he cooked, lean body curling around an apron.

He turned, violet eyes glancing back.

“Ah, are you hungry? Lunch is almost done. Oh, and we haven't really met right? I am Prompto. Ignis had to leave for an impromptu appointment so he left me to cook. Are burgers good?”

Noct blinked, remembered Specs had told him he had dragged an intern to help.

“Ah sure. I can go for some food.”

“Prompto” nodded, serving  a burger and putting it on the island where Noct sat, handing him the condiments.

“Iggy said you don't do veggies so I didn't cut any. Are you good with mustard and ketchup?”

“Yeah, thanks.”

He smiled, too bright and sincere for Noct and served himself, sitting down next to him and plopping pickles into his burger before taking a bite.

He sighed out in pleasure, Noct watching him for a minute before eating as well.

It was good.

They are in silence for a bit, Noct's page grabbing his attention as it tried to slip off the island.

He grabbed it, regretting it instantly as he got juice on it.

Prompto nodded as he ate, giving Noct a look.

“Is that what you are working on? Iggy said you were an author. Do you write articles?”

Noct sighed, looking at the pathetic piece of words.

“I write books. Novels. I just… haven't had  good inspiration in a while.”

“Hmm…”

He left it at that, finishing his food and starting to clean up, Noct staring at his words.

It should be fine.

He probably didn't even know who he was.

“Actually?”

Prompto looked back at him, washing dishes.

“Yeah?”

“I kinda was hoping… if maybe you could read this? Tell me what you think?”

He stopped, turning back at him and giving Noct a long look. He turned off the water and wiped his hands on a towel, walking over.

“You sure?”

Noct nodded, holding it out.

“Normally Specs does it but… maybe a different pair of eyes would be good.”

Prompto nodded, taking the page and looking down.

“Just this page?”

Noct nodded, looking away as Prompto began to read.

It was a good ten minutes of silent reading before Noct even dared to look up.

He glanced, letting his fringe hide his eyes so he could get a peak.

Only to throw up his head at what he saw.

The guy was crying , soft and silent tears streaming down his cheeks, his eyes a wide and bright blue as he still trailed the words.

Noct knew the moment he finished; saw the slight horror at the end, the confusion that spread as he flipped the page and found nothing else.

He had left it on a cliffhanger.

Then those eyes, now blue and sparkling with tears, looked up, met Noct’s.

“Why would you leave it like this!?”

Noct blinked, looked at those eyes that demanded answers.

Maybe it wasn’t a good idea.

“That’s all I got. I don’t know how to continue.”

Prompto stared at him, incredulous.

“How about fix this mess you weaved!? What the hell man, you just kill off some random dude - and you describe it without even saying you killed him - and you don’t know how to continue!?”

Noct felt the blush in his cheeks, waved his hands to try to get his point across.

“I mean, I got that scene in my head but like, there’s nothing else! I don’t know how they got there or how they will continue! It’s just-” he waved frantically, looked at PRompto to see if he understood, “-that.”

Prompto looked back down, read something on the page, looked back up at Noct.

“Hold up, you’re telling me this isn’t even anything!? You write this, have the audacity to make me read it and now you’re telling me that this isn’t even anything!?”

“You said you would read it!”

“You should have warned me!”

Ignis chose that moment to walk in, sighing and holding a few files.

Noct saw Prompto look at him, saw how he held up the page for Ignis to see.

“Iggy, how do you read this guy’s stuff!? Why didn’t you warn me!?”

Ignis looked up, saw the paper Prompto was waving around, slid his gaze to Noct, who felt his cheeks grow hotter.

“Ah. Another death scene then Noct? You do like those.”

Prompto looked at the both of them, his face just pure horror.

“Do you always kill off random people for inspiration!?”

Noct moved, went to grab the paper from Prompto in a swift motion.

“It’s a good plot point!”

Prompto scoffed.

“More like, “Looks like I have no more use for you, let’s just kill you so I don’t have to keep track!” How could you!? He was my favorite!”

“It was only a page!”

“And you let him steal my heart!”

Ignis chuckled, looked at the two bickering men before holding out his hand to Noct.

“That bad then?”

Noct frowned, held the paper out to him.

“It isn’t that bad. He’s overreacting.”

“I am not.”

Ignis read the page, Prompto going back to the dishes, muttering something about authors and killing off all the good characters. Noct rolled his eyes, watched as Ignis hummed as he read.

“Well, it is a good scene though, is there any background to it?”

Noct sighed, waved his hand dismissively.

“Not really. Just a random idea I had.”

Ignis nodded, looked back down at the page.

“Prompto, what do you think?”

Prompto glanced back at them before shrugging.

“Seems like one of those opening scenes that people do to get you interested. Either as the background for the story or one of those, “here’s a scene, now read to figure out how they got there” things. You could probably start off with that, just work the world building around it and make it a simple prologue or something.”

Noct blinked.

“What?”

Ignis smiled at him.

“Prompto is good with ideas. He is a very proficient editor.”

Prompto waved a hand, gave Ignis an embarrassed look.

“I just had experience with my parents. You get used to it when you have two authors asking for opinions.”

Noct hummed.

Prompto looked back at him, gave him a suspicious look.

“What?”

“Actually…”

 

They spent the next four hours talking through ideas, Prompto scowling through all of the different death scenes Noct managed to actually write, Noct surprised at how well Prompto found connections in the tiny bits and pieces he had written.

Ignis made desserts and coffee, leaving the two to discuss, only putting in his two cents when asked.

He watched them both, saw how Noct was scribbling random things down on the page he had just written, Prompto with his notebook out, his own sets of notes more organized and set-up.

They went back and forth, Noct throwing out different things for Prompto to either let fly by or bat back to him, both of them getting into the world that they wove together.

They made a good team, Ignis slightly noting the time flying by as he went through some of the other clients he had.

By ten o’clock, Noct had an actual outline for a book, Prompto was already promising to come back and giving his contact information away and Ignis had managed to set up their schedules together, talking with the agency about Prompto’s new position.

It was a good day.

Chapter Text

The first time it happened, it was a complete and utter surprise.

Prompto had been ready to die, Noct a little less ready to let him go.

 

Prompto, for all his happiness and never ending cheerfulness, knew when to give up, knew how things were going to turn out.

Noct, for all his calm grace and understanding, never understood how someone could simply not try, just because they saw a future that wasn’t even set in stone.

They made a pretty good team, Prompto keeping Noct in check and Noct making sure Prompto didn’t unnecessarily kill himself just because he could see it.

It was hard.

But they had this weird round-about dance going on, both unwilling to yield while also bending to compliment the other.

But in that moment, when Prompto flashed him a smile, gave him that stupid, “this is fine” face, sat there and waited to be offed, Noct couldn’t find their balance, didn’t see the logic, knew nothing else but to jump and grab and make that idiot live just for the sake of it.

But then it happened, Noct feeling something shift, something completely change as he and Prompto came together, did something, were something else entirely .

He was... standing?

No…

No?

Prompto (they)

(We?)

I am standing.

We are together?

(Prompto) (Noct) (they?)

Here I am.

Noct’s (Prompto’s)

(Ours!?)

My body.

They had broke apart, both of them on the ground, heaving.

Noct felt tears prick his eyes, could see similar ones fall from Prompto’s face.

He could breathe, feel his arms, his legs, his body, his head.

Could see Prompto right there in front of him.

Could feel the difference between what he was then and what he was now.

The first time it happened, they were both just overwhelmed.

 

-

 

The second time it happened, both of them were trying.

 

It had been a few days after, both Ignis and Gladio explaining the theory of fusions to both Prompto and Noct, telling them the different aspects of how the whole thing worked and the supposed process behind it.

Both men were experienced, having a fusion between them though they rarely formed it.

Noct didn’t really follow, didn’t really see the similarities between what they had felt to what was being said.

Except for one thing.

“More than the sum of your parts.”

Noct understood that.

He could see it, in hindsight.

It was neither him nor Prompto.

But also not just them together.

It was a different person, a being they both could probably be but also could never achieve alone.

He could tell Prompto got that too, from the subtle look he gave, from the slight shift in his body.

They both understood that.

But after Ignis explained it, after Gladio tried to outline it, they had decided to just go out and see if they could do it again.

So Noct brought Prompto to his favorite forest, to the place where Noct wasn’t a prince and Prompto didn’t have to be a guard.

They had sat, both of them silent, before the draw was there, a simple need to be together.

The fusion had been scary, overwhelming, completely and utterly different and kind of terrifying.

But it was also the most amazing thing.

So they had just sat, until sitting became standing and standing turned into walking together and walking got closer when Prompto gently took his hand, the hand without his gem, the hand that was completely bare and simply squeezed it, giving him a small smile.

“Wanna dance?”

They had danced a lot when they were younger, Noct teaching Prompto for all the balls Lucis seemed to have.

Noct was normally the one to ask, normally the one to drag Prompto onto the dance floor and begin to simple movements of walking in a square, Prompto simply following.

Sometimes it was perfect balance and rhythm.

Other times it was messy and just a throwing of limbs in different directions.

This time, with Prompto gently placing his gem on his shoulder, letting Noct rest his on his hip, bare hands clasped together, it was more of a mixture of both, simple movements with bold twists.

Soon, they were smiling as they danced, letting their bodies throw and be thrown around, twisting and turning and moving until it was one motion.

Until they were fused once more.

It felt right.

Like you wake up and realize that you were a real person.

Like you waited for someone to open the door and reveal the world to you.

It’s hard to walk, you realize, probably because you never had to before.

It’s hard to tell you from your parts, from the people Noct and Prompto.

It’s hard to know that your arm is yours, not Noct’s; that your legs are your own, not Prompto’s.

It’s hard to see with your eyes, with your body, your mind.

Not “theirs”.

Not “ours”.

Not “his”.

Yours.

It is also a bit exhilarating, when you figure it out.

When your legs go from wobbly to walking to jumping to leaping.

When you figure out how to pump your arms so your balance isn’t completely off.

When you notice that your voice does come out, when you shout out and realize the world is there.

You run until your lungs almost give out, scream until your voice is just about gone, let your hands explore everything and let your feet walk freely.

You flop onto the grassy ground, move your hands through hair that is yours, down a face that is yours, feel the legs that are yours and the body that is yours.

Not the blue of a calming sapphire.

Not the red of wild ruby.

But something completely similar and yet totally different.

Like the completed contentment of a brand new garnet.

You smile wide, feel a strong sense of peace overwhelm you, simply lay and feel the world slowly complete itself.

The second time it happened, no one wanted to go back.

 

-

 

Prompto loved being with Noct.

 

From the moment they had met, Prompto’s sapphire sought out to soothe the fiery aura of Noct’s ruby, Prompto had loved being with the stubborn prince.

Loved the way Noct fought his destiny, knew nothing of the future, plowed through the world with the simple desire to live.

Prompto couldn’t be like that, didn’t have the understanding of how someone could just live , not with his vision giving him the knowledge that he had.

But Noct slowly brought him out, didn’t allow for him to sit idly by as the world just went through its motions, wouldn’t allow him to watch something happen.

And when they fused?

Prompto had no words to describe it.

It was like the world was complete, like Prompto Argentum was just the vessel holding a new person that had waited for Noctis Lucis Caelum to come before revealing themselves to the two boys.

The person they became, that person that they both were and are , it was someone else and Prompto couldn’t help but feel like that was the single person he wanted to stay.

With Noct.

Forever.

Regis had laughed when he had told him, in privacy and without Noct.

“Yes, fusions are sometimes like that. Beautiful and so fulfilling that the people who form them rarely split. I knew of someone, like that, once. They were described as a “Permafusion” due to them rarely ever separating.”

Prompto couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like, to fuse with Noct, to never leave that wonderful state of something more.

It was something that made his heart beat with excitement.

It was something that crossed his mind whenever they were together, whenever they chose to fuse or whenever they chose to split apart.

Being with Noct and being with Noct both held something special in Prompto’s heart.

Being able to be the person that completed them both and being able to be the people that completed each other were wonderful ideas in Prompto’s mind.

Being two people or one and the same, Prompto knew he would be fine as long as it was with Noct.

Because Prompto loved Noct.

Loved him in a way that made his heart seek him out, made him jittery when his future found Noct, over and again, without fail.

Made their hearts one, made Prompto know exactly when Noct was there, made Noct see Prompto wherever they were.

Prompto loved Noct, loved being with him, loved being in that space of togetherness that both of them knew.

Prompto loved being with Noct and Noct loved being with him too.

And for Prompto, that was all that there needed to be.

 

-

 

It wasn’t rare to see sapphire and ruby together, doing small things with one another, to see the two find one another throughout the Citadel after being apart for missions or meetings.

The two would simply seek the other out, simply find complete joy in the presence of the other.

Ignis wouldn’t be surprised if Prompto got antsy all of the sudden, look to the doors of the training room and smile brightly.

Noct would be coming, Gladio right at his heels, the former smiling brightly the moment he saw Prompto, the latter laughing happily at the fact that they had managed to find each other.

Ignis wouldn’t be surprised if the two simply spent their days off in the ballroom or in the forest, dancing with one another, either as two people or the single being they had made for themselves.

Ignis and Gladio would watch sometimes, feeling the love between the two, feeling the calm assurance the fusion brought them both.

Noctis Lucis Caelum and Prompto Argentum had found one another.

Had found the parts that made their whole.

And it seemed, for the time, they would continue to.

Foever.

Chapter Text

When the light comes, Prompto can’t help but stare.

Stare at the darkness, as it retreats and black turns to blue that turns to purple that gets highlighted in red, orange and yellow.

It’s the sun.

Prompto stares, almost too long, at the rising ball of nostalgia, feels the light warmth that begins to spread on his arms and face.

From the steps of the Citadel, it is like the world opens up, like it waited for this very moment before gifting Prompto with this scene.

Picture perfect and camera worthy.

Prompto glances down long enough to see the daemons disappear, finds nothing but empty courtyard in front of him.

He did it.

But then everything crashes down.

It hits like a punch to the gut.

Prompto gasps, turns and sees Ignis and Gladio have the same face set into their features.

They all run, full-tilt into the Citadel.

 

Ignis gets there first.

Prompto didn’t know how he managed, couldn’t even figure out how he managed to get to the throne room, the short trip just a blur of running and doors and stairs and then he was pushing past Gladio and stopping right behind Ignis.

Noct’s sitting on the throne, like he was tired after saving the world and fell asleep while waiting for them to come pick him up.

Nevermind that there is a deathly silence hanging in the room.

Nevermind that Prompto can’t dismiss his guns, the damn things clattering to the floor.

Nevermind that there is a giant sword pinning him to the seat.

Nevermind that Prompto’s mind is replaying the same sentence on an endless loop, Noct’s voice harsh and completely too serious for Prompto.

“My sacrifice will save the world.”

Prompto moves, his mind not working but his body going.

But Ignis is also moving, is stepping in front of him and holding out his hands so they are flat against Prompto’s chest.

“Prompto. Please .”

Prompto shakes, grabs the hands that had always grounded him.

But not this time.

Ignis can’t see; he doesn’t know.

Prompto has a phoenix feather, has saved it for a moment just like this, knows exactly what he is going to do as soon as he can assure Iggy that everything is fine, can get him to move and let Prompto just  get to  Noct.

But no words come out, his body shaking so hard that he can’t even move Ignis out of the way.

Blind eyes are staring him, Ignis being close enough to Prompto for a long enough time to be able to find it now without help.

Prompto shakes his head, opens his mouth, forces out tiny whimpers as the tears come.

Gladio slides up, places one hand gently on his shoulder, squeezing it tightly but not tight enough.

“Kid. Come on.”

Ignis gently starts to push, the motion slowly beginning to turn Prompto away, Gladio guiding him towards the doors.

Noct sits, silently, just there and not.

Prompto feels the utter panic in his heart, can’t stop it as it tears through his body to climb out of his throat with the single thought.

Not without Noct.

Prompto pushes against Ignis, tries to yank his shoulder from Gladio, reaches out as his eyes burns and his vision blurs, his mouth opening to scream because, obviously, no one is caring that they are leaving without Noct.

“NOCT!”

Gladio almost loses his grip on him, Prompto pressing forward, but Ignis seemed to have been waiting because Prompto can’t get past him, can’t move an inch with those sturdy hands pressing back against his chest.

The monster that is Prompto’s sorrow screeches, deafens Prompto’s ears and fills his vision with Noct.

He is sleeping.

Waiting for Prompto to wake him up.

The sun is out.

They need to take pictures.

He ca-

No.

Not.

Without

Noct!

“No. Ignis, just stop! Noct is right there! I can see him! We can get to him! He is right there ! Ignis!?”

Ignis is shaking his head, his blind eyes narrowing in barely controlled sorrow.

“Prompto, please. It’s over.”

“Ignis no! You don’t understand! Noct is- He is right there! Noct! Please, you have to wake up! Ignis and Gladio need you to! They don’t know! Noct!? Noct!”

Gladio’s hand is shaking, Ignis’ whole body shivering against Prompto.

Gladio’s voice is there, trying for soft but coming out rough.

“Kid, don’t do this. Let’s just go okay?”

Ignis nods, whispers through a broken voice.

“Prom-to, let’s... go home? O-okay? Please.

“Ignis, Gladio, we can’t! Noct is still there, we can’t leave without him!”

The men aren’t listening, are still pushing against him, Ignis biting his lip and forcing Prompto back, Gladio wrapping strong arms around his waist and pulling Prompto backwards, away from his King.

“GUYS, LET ME HELP! JUS- I HAVE A PHOENIX FEATHER! ARE YOU LISTENING!? IGNIS! GLADIO!? NOCT!

And then the real fight begins.

Prompto tries, tries to push past them, tries to pry the arms that are around him, tries to kick at the feet stopping him, tries to jerk around so one of the men loses their balance.

“ARE BOTH OF YOU INSANE!? NOCT IS RIGHT THERE! WE CAN HELP! JUST LET M- LET GO! LET GO!

Prompto kicks, lashes out at Ignis, grabs his arms and throws him off, kicks his legs so he goes down.

And then he does it, breaks free from Gladio who is caught off guard for a moment and instantly tries to run to Noct, the phoenix feather in his hand, the other reaching out.

He can do it.

He can reach-

M-make -

He ca-

Help, do som-

Noct is rig-

Noc-

NOCT.

The monster runs with him, eggs him on, pushes him to just reach, goddamnit.

But then Gladio is front of him, scooping him up and throwing him over his shoulder and walking away and out the door.

They stop once, right at the door, Gladio stopping and grabbing Iggy’s hand to help him out, Prompto getting one last glimpse as they turn the corner and walk away for good.

Noct doesn’t come, doesn’t appear from around the corner and try to catch up to them because they are leaving and Noct is not.

Prompto screams , lets his voice crack and his throat break, lets his body literally beat the crap out of Gladio who doesn’t honestly feel a thing, not with the small grunt and slight shift being the only things he was getting out of the bigger man.

He screams until they get out and the only reason he stops is because nothing comes out of his mouth, his throat being stuffed with the fact that he is leaving and guys, Noct is still in there, we can’t leave him!

Gladio puts him into the back of the car, helps Ignis in there too, slides the door closed and instantly locks it and puts the child lock so Prompto can’t get out.

He tries anyways, uselessly pulls on the handle, stares at the Citadel as the clicking noise fills the space.

Ignis slides, moves just that tiny bit closer and his hands are coming up shaking, are slowly finding Prompto, are wrapping around his neck and pulling him to rest on that shoulder that has always been there.

Ten years, been there.

Ten years, always been open to Prompto.

Ten years.

And now?

-Eternity-

Prompto digs his face into the shoulder, knows exactly how to position himself so he can hold onto Ignis and bring him as close as physically possible, knows exactly where to place his arms so he can hold on and not let go, even when he gets to the point where he couldn’t do it anymore.

Prompto was already crying, but with Ignis gently laying his head in that perfect spot and his hands moving in those damn soft circles , with Gladio driving in that way that makes the world just fly by , Prompto feels the tears build up again.

His throat is still gone, his eyes are still screwed shut, his breath is still gone and his body is already shutting down.

But his heart, that ten year-old heart, is slowly breaking now, is slowly falling apart to reveal that tiny heart that died those ten years ago.

That heart that held Noct.

That heart that was swallowed by the monster. 

That heart.

For Noct.

No longer usable.

Not anymore.

 

Prompto cries.

Chapter Text

Cor grunted, marked off another name and sighed.

 

Regis leaned over, scoffed at the small pad filled with Cor’s writing, and sipped his beer.

“Just pick a random name! It’s not like the little baby is your kid.”

Cor mumbled, going through the list once more.

“How did you ever decide on the Prince’s name?”

“I didn’t.”

Clarus leaned over and looked at the list.

“Why don’t you just name him something simple like… Bob?”

Cor gave him a look, scratched that name until it was undecipherable.

“I am not naming the poor kid Bob. How did you name Gladiolus?”

Clarus shrugged, moving away and downing his drink.

“I didn’t.”

Cor grumbled, going down the list of names.

“That seems to be the answer to everything.”

“It really is the best one. Since it is true.”

Cor sighed, looked down the list that most of the staff around the Citadel had given him.

The baby that Cor had brought back had become a part of the family, everyone loving the fact that the small child spent more time laughing and enjoying himself than actually crying.

The Prince even got used to him and they slept together now, both of them going down much easier with the other accounted for in their now-shared crib.

But the tiny baby still didn’t have a name and while Cor had every intention to give the baby up for adoption when he turned one, he didn’t want the poor kid to leave without one.

But so far nothing stuck, everyone pitching their own idea for a name without Cor getting anywhere closer to actually choosing one.

Cor mumbled through the names, most of them simple and not too boisterous.

“What about… John?”

Regis made a face into his beer, shaking his head once.

“Lucas?”

“Ew, no.”

“Jeremiah?”

“No.”

“Agusto?”

Clarus gave him a look and a sharp shake.

“Aniello?”

“The kid’s not an Oracle.”

“Argento?”

“Maybe not. More of a last name.”

“Biaggio?”

“No, you’re gonna embarrass the poor kid!”

Cor went through the list, listing out names for Regis and Clarus to just swat away until there were none left.

“Guys, the whole point was to pick one out of the list.”

Clarus just shrugged, getting to his point of no return, Cor noting the way he looked into his bottle like he was missing the alcohol that was hiding in there.

“Cor, did you pick out any of those names?”

Cor raised an eyebrow, shook his head.

“I suck at naming things.”

Regis nodded, put down his cup and stretched.

“While I know you are right, you should probably choose one that stuck out to you. I mean, you are the one who saved the kid, at least give him a name to remember you by.”

Cor scowled, watching as Regis began to help Clarus up.

“The kid won’t remember Regis. He isn’t even one yet.”

Regis just shrugged, helped Clarus out the door and pointed at Cor as he left.

“Choose a name yourself!”

Cor looked down at the list, going until he found the names he was definitely not going to name the poor child.

One of them stood out, Silver.

“I could name him after a color. Then I bet everyone would never let me do it again.”

He looked at the word longer, until he marked it off and groaned.

 

They decided on the name Prompto.

The small child was quick, something Cor learned early on as he watched what the nurses called, “tummy time”.

Cor didn’t think the kid would go anywhere, had the wonderful experience of looking away and turning back to find the child across the room, crawling into one of the boxes that had been deemed “dangerous” by the nursemaids and promptly freaking out.

He also had silver hair, something that Cor wondered about but never brought up.

So Regis had pulled the name out of his butt, naming the kid after one of the guns the Crownsguard used.

No one had allowed them to call the kid Quicksilver.

So they settled for Prompto.

The kid seemed to like it, responding to his new name with a happy giggled and clap of his hands.

Cor had the privilege of getting him used to his name, having to sit down and basically coo at the kid until he answered to his new name.

“Prompto? Oi! Prompto. Prompto? Prompto.”

The child was crawling away, not even giving Cor any sign that he was listening to him.

Cor sighed, clapped his hands together and put on what Regis had deemed his “Dad voice”.

“Pro~mpto~!”

The fluff of silver hair spun around, those bright blue swirls for eyes locking on Cor as the Prompto twisted around and crawled over to him.

Cor sat there, let the kid climb into his lap and sigh happily as he seated himself, looking down as Prompto began sticking pieces of his uniform into his mouth.

Cor stiffened as he heard a snicker, turned to see Regis there, Noctis in his arms, his face mischievous even as the kid pulled at his black hair.

“Heh, so he only answers to your “dad voice”. How great.”

Cor felt the burn of his cheeks, turned around to save his zipper from getting baby slobber on it.

“Shut up Regis.”

Chapter Text

“NOCT!”

He turned around just in time for Prompto to jump him.

Noct saw the claws go down, saw the blood splay, heard Prompto scream and felt his whole world collapse as he hit the ground hard, his head banging into the dirt as Prompto’s deadweight pinned him.

The coeurl roared, Ignis and Gladio screaming and coming to their aid.

Noct blinked, stared up at a sky that was dark and held no stars.

Prompto was silent on top of him.

Bleeding.

Seeping that scarlet into black clothing.

Silent on top of him.

Not breathing.

Not moving.

Silent, even as his scream still echoed in Noct’s ears.

Deadweight on top of him.

Unmoving.

Face paling.

Eyes closed.

Lungs not working.

Nothing.

Not moving.

He’s not mov-.

N- mo-ing.

Not breathing.

He’s no-

Oh my go-

Prompto.

Prompto!?

PROMPTO!?

Noct felt himself lose it, felt everything crash and then crumble, felt the wave of deja vu, could see the flames, hear the scream, feel the pool of blood, taste that metallic tang, smell that sickly sweet scent.

Only this wasn’t his nursemaid.

Prompto saved you.

Only he wasn’t eight.

You didn’t pay attention.

Only this wasn’t a surprise, an ambush.

You weren’t on guard.

Only this wasn’t just any person bleeding out for him.

You brought him, begged him to come.

Only this wasn't a nightmare; a memory of the past.

He is right here on top of you.

Noct felt the sensation, that telltale sign of his swimming brain.

You did this.

You were the one.

You made it happen.

This is your fault.

Yours.

Prompto is dying.

Dead.

All your fault.

All your fault

ALL YOUR FAULT.

Noct didn’t notice the weight being lifted, couldn’t hear Ignis and Gladio screaming at him, didn’t see anything but that sea of black, that starless sky, that black nothingness.

ALL YOUR FAULT.

 

Prompto, gone.

 

AnD iT’s AlL mY fAuLt.

Chapter Text

The first time it happened, Prompto was both surprised and slightly worried.

It had been lunch, Noct handing him a box and chopsticks, both green and filled to the brim with healthy options that Noct would never be caught eating.

Prompto had blinked, looked up at Noct and tilted his head in question, watching as Noct shrugged, playing it off with a wave.

“Iggy said that, since I won’t be eating them anyways, he would make veggie stuff for you. I think he is trying to get me to eat them via your recommendations but, don't’ worry. I’ll prove him wrong.”

Prompto had looked down, knew that Iggy prepared it special, could tell because it was Prompto’s favorite kind of stir-fry with all his favorite vegetables inside it.

It was probably just a one-time thing.

Something Prompto shouldn’t have even thought too much about.

Something that probably really wasn’t a big deal.

Ignis had mentioned making a few recipes for Prompto to try, since Noct refused to even sit in the same room as the vegetables.

But something didn’t sit right.

Prompto bit his lip, caught Noct’s gaze.

His friend cocked his head, waiting for Prompto to take a bite.

“If you don’t like it, just say so. I can tell Specs you have also realized how disgusting vegetables are.”

Prompto laughed nervously, stared down at the food again.

“R-right.”

There was a beat of silence, Noct giving him a small frown.

“Prom, seriously. If you don’t want it, you don’t have to eat it.”

Prompto bit his lip, his nose catching the smell of the food.

“It’s just… How do I repay him for this? I mean, making an extra meal must be hard right? I’d hate to add onto his already busy schedule…”

Noct took a bite, swallowed it thoughtfully as he thought before he shrugged at Prompto.

“Specs normally likes it if you tell him the truth about his cooking. He’s got this weird obsession with it. So, you can probably help him out if you eat it and like, critique the food or whatever.”

It made sense.

Ignis had mentioned cooking was his hobby of sorts.

And Noct didn’t seem too worried about the meal.

Prompto worked his bottom lip, stared at the food.

It would be a waste to not eat it at this point anyways, since Ignis already made it and sent it with Noct.

And it wasn’t like Noct was going to eat it anyways.

Prompto sighed, took up the chopsticks and took a bite.

It was delicious, just like everything else Iggy made.

“It’s good. The best as always.”

He nodded as he ate more, slowly working his way through the meal.

“Iggy always makes everything taste good.”

Noct ate next to him, a small smile on his lips.

 

-

 

Prompto was confused.

“Why am I getting this again?”

Noct glanced up from the phone, giving Prompto a look as they sat on his bed and went through the set-up.

“I told you already Prom. I thought it would be a good idea for you to be able to communicate with us, in case of emergencies. Ignis agreed.”

“Yeah, okay. But did you really need to get me such a nice one?”

“Nice ones are waterproof and don’t break easily so yeah.”

“And how am I supposed to pay for this very nice phone?”

Noct rolled his eyes, typed something into the small rectangle as he sighed.

“I guess I will just keep it under an “IOU” for now. I will think of something.”

Prompto nodded, looked back down at the box that the phone had come in.

It was white and sleek, the picture of the phone surrounded by all the features it had.

It must have cost a fortune though whoever had bought it blotted the tag out.

“Hey Noct?”

“Yeah?”

“Just for like, reference. How much is this baby?”

“Free.”

“Noct.”

His friend shrugged, tossed the phone to him.

It had a case on it already, a baby chocobo “kueh”ing at him.

It was cute.

“And what about the case?”

“A gift. From Iris. She said she had an extra and wanted to give it to you.”

Prompto hummed, turned the phone around a bit before turning it on.

His favorite picture, one he had gotten of Insomnia’s sunset, was his background.

Noct leaned over, gave him a small smile.

“And now that you have a phone, let me introduce you to King’s Knight.”

 

-

 

Ignis was not budging and Prompto knew it.

He had that face, the one that even Noct surrendered to, the one that said “If  you don’t let me do this, I will stab someone and it will be you”, the one that Prompto hated, because it was one that came from genuine concern and the desire to help.

He ignore him, focused on the cause of this problem.

“Noct, my clothes are fine.”

“Prompto, your shirts have more holes than the practice dummies.”

“No they don’t!”

Gladio glanced up from his book, gave Prompto a pitying look.

“Kid, just let him take you shopping.”

“I don’t need more clothes. The ones I have are-”

“Dingy, fraying and falling apart.”

“Thanks Iggy.”

“You are welcome Prompto.”

Noct sighed, folding his hands and giving Prompto a look.

“Prom, at least let me get you a suit. You don’t have one of those right?”

“What do I need a suit for?”

“Dinner parties?”

“Celebrative events?”

“Noct dragging you to his princely nights?”

Prompto frowned slightly.

“I can just wear my uniform for that.”

Ignis gave him a look, one that was borderline pure irritation.

“You would be going as the Prince of Lucis’ plus one and you want to wear a mere school uniform?”

Prompto knew that tone of voice, it was the one Ignis used when he was on the cliff of 100% DONE.

Prompto sighed, glared at Noct.

“Just a suit.”

Noct held his hands up in mock surrender, giving Prompto a total bullshit look.

“Probably.”

It wasn’t just a suit, it was more like five whole outfits, two of which were definitely not things you would wear to fancy nights but Noct basically ignored him and Prompto couldn’t say anything as Ignis and Gladio carried the bags to the car.

Somehow though, when Prompto went home and took out the more worn and loved items in his closet to replace them with the things Noct had gotten him, it had made him happy.

The new fabric laid in his closet, like small gifts that promised more in the future.

 

-

 

It was weird, how everything transitioned.

Prompto stopped minding Noct getting him small gifts and surprises.

Like the new bands Noct had started giving him as collection pieces.

Like the postcards Noct would ask the Glaive and Crownsguard for, only to give them to Prompto, different pictures that now littered Prompto’s walls.

Like the small dinners Noct would take him out too, always paying before they got there so Prompto never thought about it.

Bigger things, like a new set of guns or the new apartment he was sharing rent-free, were harder to get used to though Noct constantly assured Prompto that it was completely fine.

The guns were gifts, something for Prompto to work towards.

The apartment was being used by Noct anyways, no worries having someone else in there as well.

Prompto knew by now, knew the reasons were both there but not even close to the main one.

But he just let happen, got used to letting Noct care for him.

It was weird, nice and completely foreign.

But Noct would move his mouth into that tiny, completely sincere, totally picturesque smile of his and Prompto knew he wasn’t bothered.

It wasn’t an obligation for him.

There was no duty involved.

No secret oath that made him act like this.

It was just Noct.

So he let it happen, tried to enjoy it, let himself slowly drown in the kindness of friends.

 

He couldn’t say that he was bothered.

Chapter Text

Ignis should have known.

 

Prompto and Noct were only in high school, neither boy having any experience and only just getting together with the new year.

So obviously, in every piece of common sense that Ignis had the pleasure of having, he should have seen this coming.

Not that one would expect the idiots to be this stupid but after the incident with Noct’s birthday present last year, Ignis was beginning to see a pattern that shouldn’t have formed.

He hadn’t expected to come to Noct’s house, hadn’t thought he would be needed, had actually went so far as to ask if Noct would require anything special.

Noct had said no.

Noct  had said that Prompto was coming over.

Noct, the idiot, did not say that they were going to destroy the apartment .

 

Ignis stood in the hallway, Gladio behind him trying not to laugh, and sighed.

“Tell me again.”

Noct rubbed a hand through brown hair, winced as he pulled it away and brown stained his hands.

“Well… we were trying to do something for Valentine’s Day.”

Prompto was still trying to unstick himself from the island, his blonde hair plastered brown to his forehead.

“And it kinda went bad.”

Ignis pinched the bridge of his nose, tried not to let the anger overtake his voice.

“What were you even doing?”

Prompto stumbled from the side of the island, Noct grabbing him before he face planted into one of the piles of brown sauce that was littered on the floor, and ducked his head in embarrassment.

“Ah well… one of the girls in my class said that people make chocolate for Valentine’s Day.”

Noct sighed, looked away from everyone.

“So we thought we would make some chocolate. Together.”

Gladio was snorting now, losing his small amount of control as he held a hand over his mouth and another over his stomach.

Ignis gestured to the whole apartment.

“And how did you manage this?”

Prompto worried his lip, glanced at Noct.

“Well… the chocolate on the stove exploded.”

“And then the chocolate mousse we put into the oven exploded. Twice.”

“And then, because we needed some chocolate melted… we put some in the microwave and-”

“-Yes, it exploded too.”

Ignis took a deep breath.

“And nowhere did it occur to you that maybe, just maybe, you should have stopped with the first explosion?”

“Well, you see-”

“What had happened was-”

“It was like, rapid succession!”

“Like, the mousse and then the stove and then the microwave and then the mousse again-”

“And then we were fighting it because it was sticky and hardening-”

“And then the chocolate was burning-”

“And then the sprinklers came on-”

“And then the chocolate just got runny again-”

“We were drenched and also covered in it-”

“And you stopped listening didn’t you?”

Ignis didn’t bother answering, Gladio already laughing out loud and almost on the floor, both boys’ cheeks flaring from embarrassment.

Ignis took a long look around the apartment, sighed before gesturing to the boys.

“Well, no use being here. I will see if this place can be cleaned. Meanwhile, might as well have you two go to Prompto’s and clean up.”

Both boys nodded, started walking towards them before Ignis held up a hand to them.

“And what did we learn through this?”

“Valentine’s Day sucks?”

“Mousse is surprisingly explosive?”

“Noct and Prompto are idiots?”

“Gladio is just an old fart.”

“I am not the one who literally coated my apartment in chocolate.”

“You’re just jealous we have an awesome memory for the future.”

Ignis just sighed.

Chapter Text

The worst part was doing it.

 

Cor let the tiny one-year-old hold him, didn’t force the tiny hands from off his neck, didn’t make the tiny legs let go of their vice grip  around his waist.

It was going to be the last time anyways.

Noct was sniffling, the tiny child only understanding that one, Prompto was leaving, two, Cor was the one taking him away and three, Noct was not allowed to go with them.

Cor just hated doing this right in the middle of their abandonment issue stage.

Cor let Prompto give Noct a hug, the other holding on tightly, before he gently pried them from one another, taking Prompto into his arms and patting the Prince on the head.

Regis was there, let Noct sit in his own arms, gave Cor a look that the man wasn’t going to handle.

“Are you sure Cor?”

Cor nodded, felt Prompto hold on tighter.

“I can’t take care of him Regis. He needs someone who isn’t going to die on him and also, I don’t want the responsibility.”

Regis sighed, gently put a hand on his shoulder.

“Come back and tell me how it goes.”

“Sure”

 

-

 

The worst part was getting Prompto to let go.

 

Everything went well until that moment.

Prompto enjoyed riding in cars, the tiny child never having trouble.

He liked that they had gone somewhere they had never been, especially since the orphanage was brimming with children.

He wasn’t so keen on the parents, was soon enough happy to at least play with them.

He did make sure Cor was in his line of sight the whole time, those swirling blue eyes watching him.

He knew what he had to do, the nursemaids had told him.

He sighed, gave the one-year-old a smile.

“Prompto.”

The boy instantly threw his head up, got up and stumbled to Cor, giving him that sunshine smile filled with nothing but joy as he tackled him with a hug.

“Cor!”

It had been the first thing out of his mouth, like he thought it was the answer to his name.

Cor smiled, gave him a small pat.

But Prompto was pouting, holding his arms out and up, the way he would do when he wanted to be picked up.

“Please?”

A worker slowly made her way over, gave him a small nod as she walked up

Cor nodded back, stood up and gave Prompto another pat.

“Not today. I have to go now and you have to stay.”

Prompto knew what that meant, had heard Cor say it a few times already.

Cor knew what that meant, had been the object of Prompto’s sorrow.

The tiny child instantly wrapped himself around Cor’s leg, his head burying into the pants.

“No.”

It was the routine that happened every time, Cor sighing.

“Yeah Prompto. Time to let go.”

Prompto slightly loosened his grip, looked up at Cor with eyes already filled with tears.

At this point, Cor would assure him he would come back.

At this point, Prompto would give a shaky nod and go play.

At this point, the nursemaids or even Noct would come and distract the child until Cor came back.

But this time, there was no second part to their routine.

The nursemaids had warned him, Cor knowing exactly what was going to happen next.

He took a breath and then gently pried Prompto off his leg, set him down next to the worker and began walking away.

He was screaming before Cor was even two feet away.

“Cor!? Cor! Cor! COR. COR! COR!”

He kept walking, everyone turning to see the small scene as Prompto probably tried to force himself away from the worker, already crying and throwing a tantrum.

“NO. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no! COR!”

Cor kept walking, heard the woman start trying to console the small kid, felt those giant eyes on him.

“PLEASE!?”

He kept walking, biting his lips, clenching his hands, and left.

 

-

 

The hardest part was not going back.

 

Regis looked up, saw Cor come in and gently close his door.

The man nodded, stood a little bit away.

“I have returned Your Majesty. We got to the orphanage safely.”

Regis nodded, gave him a small smile.

“Is it too horrible to ask if you reconsidered and brought Prompto back?”

He could see the response in the man’s face.

“Not at all. Though it was fine, he didn’t hate the place.”

Regis sighed.

“At least not until you left.”

Cor twitched, probably the only reaction he was going to get out of the man at this point.

Regis nodded, went back to writing out the report.

He was almost done anyways.

“Cor?”

“Yes, Your Majesty?”

Regis rolled his eyes, glanced up at the man.

“Cor.”

Cor sighed, walked up and sat down in one of the chairs.

“Yes, Regis?”

“You did the right thing.”

“I know that.”

“Like you said, you can’t take care of him.”

“Yup.”

“He is probably better off with more children anyways.”

“He did like seeing them.”

“And he is cute, so he is bound to be adopted.”

“If the Astrals bless him.”

“And I am sure he will become a good man.”

“Not with that crybaby attitude.”

They both laughed softly for a minute, Regis looking up and seeing the way the man was sitting. That frown was there, the one Cor used after certain operations that could have been better, after training that revealed fatal flaws.

After days that left him doubting his decisions.

You should have just kept him you idiot.

Regis looked back down, started writing again.

“It’s not your fault.”

Cor was nodding, Regis just knew it.

He was also probably looking at him.

Also ready to disagree or let out something he was going to regret.

Regis nodded to his own statement, didn’t look back up.

“Cor.”

“Yes?”

“It’s not your fault.”

There was a beat of silence, Regis feeling the emotion radiating off him.

And then Cor sighed.

He sat up, like he was going to leave..

He leaned forward, let his arms rest on his knees, bowed his head softly.

Regis knew what it meant, had learned to spot it after his dad died.

“Cor.”

“What?”

Regis smiled, wrote out the rest of the report, heard that tiny rasp in the other man’s voice.

“I hope the Astrals grant us the small favor of allowing us to meet him again.”

There was no response, the small shake of Cor’s body all Regis needed.

The tears didn’t come.

But, in a way, they did.

So Regis just kept writing, waited until Cor sighed.

“Yeah.”

Chapter Text

It wasn’t meant to be a thing.

 

Cor had brought it up in training, had made a point that Prompto might want to be able to disarm someone if they got up close and personal.

So he taught him a technique, a simple flip/kick thing that would ensure he got their weapon as long as they weren’t expecting it.

Prompto had simply stashed it under “things to know” and went on with his training.

 

-

 

Gladio had been the first one to witness it.

He and Prompto were training, Gladio wondering just how good of a shot Prompto was.

They had been going at for hours, Prompto coloring Gladio with a paint gun and the man hailing down on him with his giant sword.

Prompto was doing good but he wasn’t getting perfect shots and Gladio, for all his temper issues, was a patient fighter. He just ran around, throwing Prompto into corners and getting him utterly exhausted.

Prompto was hitting his limit, Gladio could tell from the gasping breath and slight miss hits Prompto was firing out now, along with the slight lag in his movements as he ran. Gladio nodded, knew the kid probably wasn’t going to be able to dodge, and went for it, running the kid.

Gladio wasn’t sure how the kid managed.

Prompto blinked, let the man come, tucked his gun in and then, Gladio was recoiling as Prompto’s leg came up, moving past him and kicking his sword up and out of his hands.

Gladio couldn’t even react, the momentum carrying him forward and then Prompto was grabbing his shirt and throwing him over his shoulder, the tiny body flipping him onto his back and winding him.

Gladio gasped, the air leaving him as Prompto pointed his gun at his face, that damn smile completely exhausted and a little happy.

“I think I won that one.”

Gladio blinked and then snorted, sighing as he relaxed and waved at the blonde.

“Okay yeah. You got that one.”

 

-

 

Ignis witnessed once, in a battle.

They were fighting, Noct and Prompto surrounded and separated from him and Gladio.

Ignis was worried, seeing how they were back-to-back and Noct was swinging like crazy as Prompto was pushed to nail shot after shot.

Ignis was almost proud as they seemed to be doing well, but then the MT’s were running at Noct, guns ready to rain down on them.

He turned, opened his mouth to warn them, stopped dead as he witnessed it.

Prompto had cleared out his side, glanced back to Noct and instantly spun, grabbing Noct and pulling him back as he met the gunmen head on, dismissing his pistols and going on the ground, kicking one of the MT’s guns out of their hands and flipping around to grab it and hail fire on them instead.

All the MT’s went down, Prompto hitting them with deadly accuracy and complete focus as he let the gun empty the clip, throwing it out and taking his pistols to give head shots to the rest.

Gladio just laughed, getting rid of the rest of them and patting Ignis on the back.

“Kid’s got hidden talents.”

Ignis had just sighed, watched as Prompto helped Noct up and smiled victoriously at his friend. Noct seemed a bit surprised too but he just gave Prompto a smile and they bumped fists.

“Indeed.”

 

-

 

Noct had seen it firsthand.

He had gotten hit, Prompto instantly throwing him behind cover and taking out a sniper rifle from his little adventure by himself and taking out the enemies before they even got close.

But soon the rifle was out and Prompto made a small noise of inconvenience as he clicked empty.

Noct had looked at him and smiled, letting his sword appear as Prompto brought out his pistols.

“Well, fun times once again.”

Prompto just rolled his eyes, pointing at Noct.

“You stay here. I got this.”

Noct glanced out at the enemies, gave his friend a small smile.

“Prom, we are in the same boat. I can help.”

“Noct, I can do this. Just trust me.”

Noct had frowned, saw that small smile that Prompto gave him when he kinda knew what he was doing.

The enemies were closing in.

Noct sighed, settled down as a few shots hit their cover.

“Fine but I swear, I will come in there if you are going down.”

Prompto flashed him a smile.

“Deal.”

Noct watched as his friend instantly flipped over the cover, dodging the bullets as he ran to the side, letting out his own bullets and taking down a few with headshots.

Noct watched, ready to step in when he saw it.

Prompto was shooting, running up as he circled around the MTs, hitting them with shots until they were stunned.

Then he ran up, spun around and kicked the guns out of their hands, grabbing them and instantly raining fire down on the others.

He continued his system, diligently shooting down all the enemies as Noct just watched in surprise.

After it was all over, Prompto sighed, threw the gun down and smiled at Noct, running over and helping him up.

“I said I had it.”

“Yeah…. I guess you did.”

 

-

 

Prompto was an expert by the end of it.

He had mixed it into his technique, the feel of hand-to-hand mingling into his shooting style.

He was used to either knocking off the daemon's head or pumping them full of bullets.

 

He spun, kicking one in the head as he swung around and shot another full-on in the face before circling back to their companion and tossing them into the others.

There were no more of those comments Gladio normally gave him, nothing but the wild roars as the daemons.

Two rushed him, Prompto easily twisting around both to lodge bullets into the back of their heads.

Ignis wasn’t there to give that small smile, wasn’t there to give him those two words of praise.

One daemon managed to grab on, throw Prompto into the air and he let it, twisting and turning to land on one of their heads, shooting the others before crunching down on his perch, easily curb stomping them into the ground.

He stood, barely letting out a breath, standing in the middle of his corpses, the night silencing as he waited.

Nothing came but his own breathing and Prompto relaxed, putting his gun away.

Noct just shook his head, that smile slowly leaking out more, since Altissa.

“I still don’t know how you do that.”

Prompto smiled, lifted up his fist.

“I will have to show you some time then.”

Noct nodded, held up his fist.

“It’s a date then?”

“I’ll be waiting.”

Prompto lowered his fist and sighed as the memory faded.

“I am still waiting.”

“Idiot.”

Chapter Text

Noct walked in, Ignis coming in beside him and Gladio flanking them for security.

The party was some kind of fashion show, Iris holding a giant event for those who were less known in the world as a chance for some to get their break and make it big.

Most in attendance were big name fashion designers and modeling agencies and the guest of honor would be the Prince himself.

It was more or less a giant publicity stunt to get everyone to see that Noct cared about all business within Insomnia, both big and small.

Noct didn’t mind it too much though.

It was a favor for Iris and more than that, the event was more of a show than a party, meaning he could come, let them take their pictures, talk to a few of the idols featured and be whisked away before he had to deal with anyone real annoying.

Noct looked around, everyone here more mature than to gawk at him openly and more sly than to draw too much attention before they managed to actually speak to him.

Ignis sighed, looked down at his phone as Gladio met up with them.

Music was already going and people were already filing into their seats, everyone whispering excitedly and more dolled up than was probably necessary for such an event.

Even Noct had to deal with Ignis’ more detailed suits.

“Noctis!”

He turned, smiled as Iris ran up to them and gave them a wink, dressed up in a hi-low shirt and hip jeans, detailed flowers running down the legs.

She whistled, gave Noct a one over.

“Even the Prince is hyped for the event huh?”

Noct smiled, let Iris come in for a hug and gave her a kiss on the forehead.

Pictures were taken but he ignored them.

“Anything for the lil’ sis.”

Iris laughed and gave him a pat.

“Well good! I will show you to your seats! Don’t worry, you’ll be with Cindy and another friend of mine. They are totally cool, you’ll be just fine!”

Noct nodded and followed her into the fray, moving past celebrities and business people alike, only giving out a few “people smiles” as he passed.

As they made it their seats, Noct noted Cindy looking around happily, two seats between her and another woman, silver hair flowing down around a sleek dress with a slit that was probably not fair.

Noct smiled at Cindy, her hair down and in curls, a half-shirt hovering over jean shorts and her makeup done to perfection.

“Noctis! Well I be damned, the princess joined the party!”

“Nice to see you to Cindy.”

They hugged, Cindy laughing and waving for them to sit.

Noct and Ignis both sat, Gladio moving to help his sister and Noct turned to their other companion, the woman giving him a small smile from across Ignis.

“Sorry, nice to meet you.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Your Highness. I guess Iris did give me quite the deal on seats.”

Noct gave her a small smile, nodded.

“Sorry she is like that. I assume she was making a few deals with this event.”

Aranea shrugged.

“It is fine, she got my idol into the event. I owe her a lot for setting us up so well.”

Ignis hummed, looking at the runway.

“So you are here as a manager then?”

“Of sorts.”

The lights dimmed, everyone turning to the runway as Iris stepped onto the stage, giving everyone a smile and a wave.

“Thank you one and all for joining our event tonight! Without further ado, let’s get this party started shall we!?”

Applause erupted as the first model came onto the runway, Iris explaining all the dynamics of fashion as well as introducing the model and the company.

It wasn’t that bad, Noct almost enjoying the different models and styles that ended up on the stage, Ignis whispering a few suggestions to go meet afterwards to show his support for them.

The woman looked on, Cindy also waiting as model after model made their walk and went back in.

Noct leaned towards Cindy, watching as a model walked on.

“Are you looking for someone specific?”

Cindy smiled, gave him a wink.

“You bet Princey! I’ve got my eyes on my friend, I am here to support them!”

“Heh.”

“Trust me, once you see them, you won’t be able to look away!”

They were brought back to the runway, Iris sending off another model and stepping back onto the stage.

“And now for that moment we have all been waiting for! Give these girls your utter attention as we give you a sneak peak into the newest fashions from our very own Aranea Highwind!”

Noct heard the crowd erupt as model after model entered the stage, all of them stopping on a spot as they made their way down the runway.

They all stood on the runway, each model giving the audience their utter devotion as they unleashed pose after pose. Girl and guys mingled together, the styles matching up and also blending into a giant family of fashion.

The styles were more for showing off skin, most of the models dressed in a way that was both flattering and probably meant for the beach.

Noct noticed when one walked onto the stage, donned in a beautiful white cloaked cape that trailed behind them, a soft hood just enough to keep their face hidden.

They made their way down the runway, the models all turning to focus on them as Iris’ voice spoke.

“We would like to thank everyone for coming out and joining us for this wonderful event!”

“As a special treat, let us give a never-before-seen idol among idols! The cherry on the top! The strawberry on the cake!”

“Because what is fashion without the irreplaceable love of makeup and jewelry!?

“Are you all ready!? Then let me introduce our very own secret guest, coming from our own side of the interwebs to show off his skill to you, the lovable, beautiful, absolute prince in the realm of makeup style!”

“Give it up for Quicksilver!”

The hood was thrown off, everyone staring in shock as the face was revealed.

Noct felt the place vibrate with the volume of the screams that erupted from everyone, Cindy screaming next to his ear as she cheered for the model.

As the cloak fell to the floor, Noct saw the full view of the person, gasping as he looked on.

Shocks of silver hair were thrown back, a flower crown circling it and keeping the face completely free to see.

“Starring in our wonderful show, Quicksilver is showing off the latest in Aranea Highwind’’s unisex fashions of makeup and body jewelry!”

Makeup painted their face beautiful, a crescent moon sitting on their forehead and a shower of stars coating their nose and spreading across their cheeks.

Their lips were painted silver as well, their eyes a bright swirl of violet-blue circled in white and tipped off with swirls that curled around.

They were dressed in a sleeveless top, the lace just covering their body but showing off neck and shoulders decorated in jewelry, the silver chains twisting down their arms.

They wore jean shorts, ones that Cindy wore, their thighs and legs and feet decorated in similar body jewelry that shined as they moved, the silver flowing over the slim but beautiful body.

Noct stared as the model spun and posed, could barely hear anything over the excitement of the crowd.

Then they turned, Noct seeing the beautiful makeup directed at him, saw the eyes that were moving towards a bright lavender as their gaze fell to them.

Their eyes met for a second and Noct instantly felt everything was way too hot.

He instantly looked away, didn’t see the small blush as the model faced front as well, didn’t see the small look that Aranea shared with Ignis as he tried to calm his heart.

Cindy gave him a pat, her smile beaming towards him.

“Didn’t I say so? There he is, our beautiful idol!”

Noct blinked.

“That’s your friend!?”

Cindy nodded vigorously, giving Noct a smile.

“Totally! I met him a while back, before he really got famous! He has an Instagram, been doing all kind of makeup tutorials and showing off his skills with it for years. I think he only really got super famous when Aranea started involving him in some of her events and the like. Nothing too big, just something to get him some exposure. I think this is the biggest event he has done.”

Noct knew it was, knew he would have noticed him if he had been at any event big enough to draw attention.

But everyone was standing now, the whispered excitement running throughout the event as everyone talked about the fashions. Some left and others stayed, waiting for the chance to meet some of the idols.

Ignis tapped Noct’s shoulder, made him turn and nodded at the woman.

“Miss Highwind is willing to get us behind the stage, to see some of the models if we wish to skip the hubbub of the fans. Did you want to see anyone in particular?”

Noct couldn’t help the blush as he thought back.

He couldn’t even remember anymore if he wanted to see anyone else.

He ducked his head, hoped to the Astrals that his face wasn’t that visible in the low light.

“Yeah, a few.”

Ignis simply hummed, the woman Aranea Highwind laughing easily.

“Then I will show you. Cindy, you can come along too, I am sure he is just about dying right now.”

Cindy laughed, following Noct.

“Yeah, he probably is.”

Chapter Text

This isn't real.

 

Prompto fired straight for the head, already turning and pulling the Lady Oracle up and running away.

It didn't matter if it hit, didn't matter if he got a dead-on headshot.

He ran, pulling the Oracle behind him, running until the faint shimmers of blue flooded his peripherals, the telltale buzz in his right ear giving direction.

There was a cliff, some kind of drop and Prompto raced for it, aiming Quicksilver towards the shimmers and unloading his whole round at the afterimages.

 

This can't be happening.

 

Prompto pulled the Lady forward, pushed her over the edge and watched as she gazed at him in horror.

She would probably forgive him.

He spun around, letting a flare fall from his hands as he tipped himself over as well, got a glimpse of blue taking form, the daemon screaming it's pain after him.

He fell, dropped onto the makeshift trampoline and rolled off, looking up as Gladio met him and pounded him on the back.

“Good work out there. Iggy is waiting for us. Let's go.”

He didn't nod, just stared up as he waved Gladio away, the shimmer coming down to meet them.

“Go.”

Gladio jumped away right as the body slammed into the ground, Prompto steadying himself as the daemon locked eyes with him.

Gold.

Unnatural.

Prompto gave him a sneer.

“Been a while.

“Monster.”

 

No, it's not true.

 

Prompto frowned, got out his pistols as the daemon called forward the sword.

A shimmer and he was right there, in front, bearing down on him mid-swing.

But it had been a while since Prompto had been caught off guard with that move.

Prompto shot, dead in the face, and grabbed the daemon, feeling the burn of the scourge, flinging the beast over his shoulder and slamming it into the ground.

It screamed, hands clawing at Prompto as he unloaded another round on the chest.

 

No please. You have to stop.

 

And then the shimmer left Prompto shooting into the ground, the blue leaving as Prompto spun around.

The daemon fell back, warping further and further as Prompto chased it, his guns unloading as he pushed it further.

The gleam of daggers passed Prompto's head, hitting close enough for the body to duck away.

Gladio came down, his sword barely missing as the thing dodged and warped away.

Even the Oracle was helping, slamming down a hammer and pushing it back to the middle, where Prompto tackled it.  

They rolled around, Prompto feeling the burn of the scrouge, smelt the decay, saw the blackness covering everything but the glow of golden eyes.

 

You're going to- you can't do it!

 

Prompto was thrown down, the golden glare staring down at him, the mouth opening and screeching at him.

“IGNIS, NOW!”

Multiple hits pounded the body into him and Prompto grunted, the monster on top of him instantly flailing around.

Prompto grabbed it, hugged it close to him and held on as he became the target.

Teeth tried to sink in, Prompto blocking the daemon as they wrestled, twisting its face away only for it to come back.

 

No, this can't be him.

 

It wasn't, not anymore.

It hadn't been him for a while now.

 

How… why is this happening!?

 

“PROMPTO!?”

His friends’ screaming pulled him back. Prompto struggled to keep the daemon at bay, could only hope the Oracle actually knew what she was doing as he heard her magic fill the air, electricity running through his body.  

 

No, not this.

 

Black patches dropped down from the body, the scourge showing off its work as Prompto tried to find purchase in the decaying body.

Decay that had been limbs.

A person.

If not for the darkness.

 

ANYTHING BUT THIS!

 

“GLADIO!?”

“ON IT!”

Prompto saw the glint right before, braced himself as Gladio pushed the sword down into the back and planted it into Prompto as well.

 

NO.

 

Their screams came out as one, both mingling together as the body stopped.

 

PLEASE.

 

Prompto gasped for breath, couldn't hold on as the body slowly pushed up and off him.

“W-wa… why?”

Through the haze, he saw it.

Saw those gold eyes focus for a second, saw the darkness receding just a tiny bit.

“P…Pro-om?”

 

Prompto froze, horror filtering through everything else as he stared up at the man.

Noct looked down at him, drops of black falling on Prompto's face, gold eyes filling with tears as they stared at one another.

“Prom.”

“Ever at my side.”

“Remember?”

 

Prompto woke up screaming.

Chapter Text

“Prompto, we have to go!”

Cor tapped a finger, waited by the door as Prompto crashed something in his room and wailed out loud.

“NO!”

Cor watched as Prompto threw himself out of his room, his suit haphazardly thrown on and his hair in the middle of being styled like a wild mess.

Cor gave the young man a look.

“What?”

“I can’t find my contacts!”

“So what?”

“Cor, I need them to see!”

Cor sighed, checked his watch.

“Don’t you have a pair of glasses?”

Prompto pouted, looking away.

“I mean, yeah but… they suck.”

“They can’t be that bad.”

Prompto sighed, showed Cor a pair of glasses, wide and big.

“They are. I would rather not wear them.”

Cor rolled his eyes, pushing Prompto back into the room.

“Sucks for you. You need to wear them, fix the rest of your hair and who taught you how to put on a suit?”

 

-

 

Ignis sighed, seeing the reply from Cor that they were running late.

It would be fine, Prompto wasn’t a true attraction for anyone other than Noctis and he might stay longer if they made him wait for his friend.

Gladio and Noct were talking, Noct trying very hard to not seem like he was worth talking to and Gladio ruining every last attempt as woman after woman asked for a dance.

The ball was something that His Majesty, the King, had planned up, something about getting Noctis more exposure for the realm of marriage and social interaction, seeing that he was fast approaching twenty.

Ignis knew, had known for a long time, that the only kind of marriage Noct would participate in involved a certain blonde.

He also knew a certain blonde that also had a very unnecessary secret.

The King had known as well, must have known from all the texts Cor had shown him.

He watched as Noct finished his dance with another partner, saw as the Prince did all the appropriate smiling before beelining it away from the woman as fast as he possibly could.

Ignis sighed.

 

-

 

Prompto played with his glasses, adjusting them and cleaning them off every other second as Cor drove to the event, the man sighing at him again.

“Prompto, you need to leave your glasses alone.”

“Cor, please.”

“Prompto.”

“BUT COR!”

Cor sighed, glanced down at the suit that Prompto was wearing.

When put on right, it was a great piece, everything perfectly complimenting the other and fitting together nicely.

“Where did you even get a nice suit like that?”

Prompto blinked, his hands moving from his glasses to his suit coat.

“Ah, Ignis bought it for me. Said I would need it for things like this.”

Cor hummed, pulled the car into one of the parking spots and gave Prompto another look-over.

“Prompto, when I said fix your hair, I didn’t mean just run your hands through it so it looks like a chocobo licked you.”

“How rude! It’s my style!”

“Your style sucks.”

“COR.”

Cor sighed, grabbed some gel that he saved for Regis when the man was being stubborn and played with Prompto’s hair, parting it carefully and settling it down on his head.

Prompto made a face, didn’t move away as Cor worked.

“Cor, I hate it when my hair is slicked back.”

“Well if you actually combed it, it wouldn’t be like this. And stop messing with the damn glasses!”

Prompto dropped his hands, wringing them out instead as he looked away.

“But they are the worst!”

Cor grabbed them, looked at Prompto sternly.

“You can either go in there and leave them on your face or you can go in there blind. Do you want to go in there blind?”

Prompto frowned, gave Cor a slight glare.

“No… I guess I don’t.”

Cor nodded, handed the glasses back to him and looked out as Prompto put them back on.

“Alright, time to get out and go.”

Prompto blinked, his face paling slightly.

“Do I have to go in there?”

“Your prince did ask me to bring you.”

Prompto felt the small blush hit his cheeks, muttered as he adjusted his glasses again.

“He isn’t mine.

“Yeah yeah, go be cute in there. Go on, get out.”

“Wait… you’re not coming with me?”

“No, I hate these things.”

Prompto scowled at Cor.

“Wait, so you get to ditch but I don’t?”

“Look kid, don’t stress so much. You look fine and your prince is waiting. So go.”

“This is so unfair.”

“Prompto, get out of my car.”

 

-

 

Noct sighed, grabbed another drink, began to tentatively sip it so no one would ask him to another dance.

Gladio gently slapped his back.

“Hey yo princess. Are you dying yet?”

Noct rolled his eyes, looked away as another girl tried to catch his eye.

“This sucks. Why am I here again?”

“Because you have no choice?”

“Ugh Gladio, I swear t-”

A few raised voices had them both turning, Gladio whistling as Noct stared.

Prompto walked in, fully dressed in a complete suit, his hair combed back and out of his face, a pair of wide glasses framed perfectly on his nose.

Noct blinked as he saw his friend walk in, watched as he looked around until Ignis met up with him.

Standing side-by-side, they looked more like brothers, Ignis showing off the grace and professionalism that Prompto hadn’t managed to perfect yet.

But he was there, a small smile creeping onto his face, his freckles in plain view as they talked, his glasses making his eyes seem bigger and brighter as Prompto constantly messed with them.

Gladio nudged him, his face a smirk.

“Noct, keep your mouth open and a bug might fly in.”

Noct snapped his mouth closed, blushed hard as he turned away from Gladio’s laugh.

He glanced sideways, saw his dad go and greet Prompto too, Prompto instantly going stiff as he tried to greet the King properly.

Noct just watched him until Gladio pushed him forward.

“Alright, I think that is enough staring. Your princess is here. Go sweep him off his feet or something.”

Noct scowled but walked over, watched as his dad said something that made Prompto blush, his freckles slowly giving way to red cheeks as he ducked his head and adjusted his glasses.

“Prom.”

Ignis and his dad both turned, Prompto looking up and giving Noct a smile that lit up his whole face.

“Noct!”

Damn.

Noct felt his cheeks heat up as Prompto stepped forward, worrying his bottom lip, the slight blush still there.

His glasses made his eyes look big, that swirl going towards a bright blue as Noct looked.

“Sorry I am late, I couldn’t find my contacts and Cor ditched me.”

Noct thanked all the Astrals for Prompto’s missing contacts, didn’t realize how amazing he looked with glasses on.

Prompto was saying something else, something about his hair and he was patting it down but Noct just looked, saw the way Prompto pouted as he gently ran a hand through it.

He looked good when his hair behaved too.

Damn.

“Noct?”

Noct was staring, Prompto giving his friend a confused look as he tilted his head to the side a little, his glasses only adding to the look.

Noct felt the blush hit, instantly turned his head as he brought a hand up to cover his reddening face.

“Ah- n- uh.. Glad you could make it.”

“Oh? Yeah, I am just glad Ignis bought this suit. Everyone seems so dressed up, I think I would’ve died of embarrassment if I had worn anything else. Though,” Noct watched as Prompto played with the cuffs, his nervous habit showing fullforce as he gave Noct a shy smile.

“I don’t know how well I pull off the whole Iggy look.”

Noct was going to die, he just knew it. If Prompto was going to do this all night, he definitely would not last.

“Y-you.. Look good. It suits you.”

Prompto chuckled, his eyes sparkling as he gave Noct a smirk.

“Isn’t it a little early for the puns?”

Noct just looked away, fighting down the damn blush as his dad saved him, patting Prompto’s shoulder and distracting him for a minute.

Ignis slid over, gave Noct a knowing look.

“Please don’t die just yet Noct. You have two more hours to go.”

Noct didn’t get to answer, Regis pulling them both into the conversation as he gave his son a smile.

“Prompto wants to dance.”

Prompto paled a little, waved his hands at Noct as he looked at the people already picking up with the music.

“Ah no. Really. I suck and I didn’t even practice that much.”

Ignis waved the concern way.

“Prompto, you will do just fine. Just let Noct lead. Besides, it would be weird if you came all this way to just stand aside and not do anything.”

He glanced at Noct as he said it, gave him that look that Noct knew too well.

Noct fought down his blush, gave Prompto a smile.

“It’s fine Prom. Let’s dance a bit. Can’t hurt anyone.”

 

He was wrong.

So wrong.

Noct danced with Prompto, watched as his friend muttered the steps to himself, his head bowed between their feet as they moved around, Prompto’s hand on his shoulder, his other holding on for dear life to Noct’s hand.

He was kind glad.

Prompto was so close, their bodies only inches away. Their feet danced together, Prompto surprisingly good at not stepping on Noct’s toes.

Prompto misstepped, Noct easily recovering and maneuvering them forward again, his friend giving him a wobbly smile.

“Sorry.”

His glasses fell forward on his nose, his eyes peeking over the lenses as he quickly pushed them up.

Noct was positive if he wasn’t blushing before, he was definitely now.

His hand also burned where it rested on Prompto’s hip, his whole body cursing the fact that Ignis had made him lead.

Prompto glanced up, his face falling into slight frown. He picked his head up, let Noct lead as he looked Noct over.

“I hate to ask but Noct, are you sick or something?”

Yes, yes he was.

Noct shook his head, looked away as Prompto stared him down.

“N-no, it’s just… hot is all.”

“Hmm.”

They danced for a little bit longer, Noct listening to the music, wondering when his torturing was going to end.

The Astrals must have hated him because Prompto misstepped again, this time tripping so he fell into Noct, both of them stumbling slightly as Prompto groaned and gave Noct a frown.

“Ah, I suck at this. Sorry.”

Noct just shook his head, the fact that Prompto was practically in his arms not doing any part of him any favors.

“A-ah. No. It’s fine.”

They started up again, Noct taking it slower, Prompto glancing up at him before looking back down again.

“Sorry, is my dancing that bad? Should we stop?”

Noct glanced at Prompto, found him smiling apologetically, his glasses lower on his nose again and his eyes peeking out from the top of the lenses.

The blush was back, making his eyes swirl back towards purple.

Noct opened his mouth, felt his heart stutter, his brain lag as he took in his friend.

His face felt like it was on fire and from the look Prompto was starting to give him, it probably was.

“Ah- n-no? Nope. N-not at a-all. Ju-just, nope! It’s- we- I-”

 

-

 

Gladio laughed, watched as Noct literally embarrassed himself with zero help.

He watched, saw Prompto just start laughing, Noct steaming as the dance ended and they both began to talk.

Prompto was obviously teasing Noct, the prince looking away from him in embarrassment.

It was kinda cute.

Gladio turned to Ignis, pointed at the two dorks.

“Should we go rescue him now or just wait for him to faint?”

Ignis glanced at them, sighed as he fixed his glasses.

“While it is amusing to see Noct fail at conversation, he does have the rest of the night to get through.”

“I would leave them.”

Both men turned to see the King, Gladio giving him a small nod as Ignis bowed slightly.

“Your Majesty, you really wanna leave them?”

They saw the King nod, all three watching as Noct began walking away, Prompto laughing and following the man, both walking off the dance floor as another song began.

Noct was still blushing but he was giving Prompto a pout now, Prompto just waving it off with a smile as they talked.

All three men saw it, the look Noct was giving Prompto, that smile that was barely there as Prompto talked about something, Noct’s eyes soft and his body completely relaxed as he stared at him.

The King nodded, gave Ignis and Gladio a smile.

“I think they are fine.”

 

-

 

They had left dancing, Prompto deeming Noct officially ready to faint and Noct leading them to a corner where no one really bothered the couple.

A few people were starting to whisper, Noct ignoring them while Prompto told him about some dogs he and Cor had happened upon when they were out.

“They were super cute Noct! I will have to send you the photos some time! And also, one had a spot right on his forehead! It was major points  for cuteness and he jumped right into Cor’s lap, it was too much!”

Noct nodded, watched as Prompto began glancing over and playing with his glasses again.

“And then, I went to the park and found some super cute little birdies! Of course I took some pictures! Ah, they were learning how to fly, it was great!”

He pushed up his glasses, gently tapping on them as he looked around.

“And then I got home and Cindy wasn’t there so I tried to cook.”

Noct snorted, gave his friend a look as Prompto fixed his glasses and smiled.

“Whatever, I have gotten better! No more barbeque rice! It came out normal!”

“I bet.”

Prompto grumbled, pushing on his glasses as he blushed faintly.

“Whatever, at least mine came out edible. I think your monster of a dish wasn’t even eaten by the raccoons.”

“Hey, if they were really hungry, they would have eaten it.”

“Not if they wanted to live another day.”

They both laughed, Noct watching as Prompto played with his glasses some more.

“Prom, stop messing with them, you’re fine.”

Prompto stopped, dropped his hands as he laughed nervously, glancing at Noct.

“I am just not used to wearing them. They aren’t the best, if you know what I mean. I kinda don’t like them.”

“I do.”

Noct saw the blush slowly leak onto Prompto’s face, his hands going up and messing with his glasses again.

“Yeah yeah, thanks for the vote of confidence but they really are bad right? You don’t have to flatter me.”

Noct sighed, gently took Prompto’s hands and brought them down away from his face.

“You look fine Prom.”

Prompto blinked, instantly seem to melt as he gave Noct a nervous look, his mouth working through his bottom lip again.

“R-really? Are you sure? They don’t look… weird?”

Noct saw the trap, couldn’t help himself as Prompto begged him with his eyes.

It wasn’t fair, not really.

Prompto wasn’t allowed to be this cute.

Damn it.

“N-n-no, of course n-not…”

He ducked his head, felt his face heat up once more as Prompto held onto his hands.

“T-they… look good… honestly.”

“Eh? R-really?”

“R-really.”

“Are you sure?”

Noct nodded, glanced up to gauge Prompto’s reaction.

Prompto blinked and then sighed in relief, his face opening up and filling with complete joy.

And then there it was, that smile that could make the darkness vanish, that pure sunshine beaming straight at Noct as Prompto squeezed his hands gently.

“Thanks Noct.”

Noct couldn’t speak, didn’t trust himself to say anything at all, so he just nodded vigorously.

Damn it.

 

The ball ended with Noct neither getting a nosebleed nor dying, the event ending without a hitch.

He was glad Ignis had finally pulled them apart, glad he was forced to interact with other people and Prompto was safely with Gladio.

He knew his blush lasted until the end of it, knew that most of the women didn’t even bother going after him, all of them simply commenting on how close he was to his friend.

It was a whole other round of blushing, one that Noct could neither fight or hide away from.

But the ball ended and as everyone began leaving, Ignis announced he would take Prompto home.

Prompto smiled, gave Noct a wink.

“Thanks for inviting me, I had fun actually. See ya at school.”

Noct nodded, waved as Prompto left with Ignis, managed to keep his cool for two seconds before he dropped, burying his head in hands and groaning.

Gladio laughed from beside him.

“That went well.”

Noct just sighed, covered his mouth with a hand and blew into it.

His dad walked over and gave him a small smile.

“Aren’t you glad he came?”

Noct blushed more, looked away as he muttered into his mouth.

“Thanks.”

His dad simply laughed.

“You’re welcome.”

 

-

 

Ignis drove, Prompto smiling and texting as they made their way to his apartment.

Ignis glanced over.

“Did you have fun tonight Prompto?”

Prompto glanced up, nodded and gave Ignis a smile.

“Mmm.”

“Well that is good to here.”

Prompto nodded again.

They sat in silence for a little bit, Prompto putting down his phone and taking off his glasses, rubbing his eyes for a minute.

“Hey Iggy?”

Ignis glanced at him.

“Yes Prompto?”

“What do you think about my glasses?”

Ignis hummed, thought for a second.

“You wear them well though I am surprised at the style.”

“Yeah, I haven’t worn them for awhile. They were from when I was little.”’

“Then I suggest getting some updated ones. Maybe Cor will take you to get some.”

Prompto hummed, looked at his glasses.

“Maybe.”

Ignis stopped at a red light, looked over at Prompto.

He was a little fidgety, pouting at the lenses like they were the source of all his problems.

Hmm.

“What did Noct say about them?”

Prompto froze, dropped the lenses as he whipped to look at Ignis, his face instantly going red.

“Eh!?”

“Did His Highness say something about them?”

The blush was getting worse, Prompto burying his head in his hands as the light turned green.

Ignis drove, left Prompto to the silence.

After a few minutes, Prompto muttered through his hands, barely loud enough for Ignis to hear.

“He said I looked good in them.”

Ignis smiled.

“Well isn’t that great?”

Prompto just groaned, burying his face deeper into his palms.

 

“So great.”

 

Chapter Text

They were sleeping together, Prompto having come over to spend the night because his parents were gone and Iggy had told him to come over to try a new recipe he had concocted from who knew where.

So Prompto had spent the night.

But it was morning, his phone was going off and he had five minutes to get up and start his run before he was officially running late.

So he sighed, slowly maneuvering himself away from Noct and starting to move towards the edge of the bed when his friend’s arms wrapped around him, pulling him back to be the little spoon.

Noct sighed into Prompto’s hair, groaned as Prompto tried to move away again.

“Noct? Buddy. You gotta let go.”

“Mmm.”

“Dude, I am gonna go running.”

“Skip it.”

“Noct.”

Noct just groaned, squeezing Prompto and settling again, his breathing starting to even out as Prompto tried to pry his arms off.

“Noct, seriously. You’re making me late.”

“Hmm.”

“Noct!”

They struggled for a few more minutes, Prompto unsuccessfully escaping and Noct slowly falling back to sleep.

Prompto checked his phone, the bright numbers telling him he was already ten minutes behind now.

He sighed, turned himself over so he was facing his friend, and gently pinched Noct’s cheek, getting a grunt out of him and one eye barely opening to kinda glare his general way.

 

-

 

They had been studying.

But, being cooped up for more than six hours, with only Iggy and books for company, did not do anything for either teenager so they had ditched the instant Iggy left the apartment to make a call, somehow making it out of the room before the man noticed.

They had walked around Insomnia, doing nothing but seeing things and taking pictures, Noct showing Prompto random places he noticed from all his time out and about.

And then, when they finally made it back to Noct’s apartment, (Iggy was furious but somehow the whole Crownsguard hadn’t come looking for them) both of them just collapsed onto the bed, Prompto turning off all the alarms except the one that would give him just enough time to change for school and make it to their exams.

But when the alarm came off, Noct not only refused to get out of bed, he refused to let Prompto out of bed.

Prompto just sighed, gently tapped the hands wrapped around him.

“Dude. I don’t care if you go but the exam is today. I need those extra points.”

“Just take the make-up.”

“Dude.”

“Prom.”

They sat in silence for a bit, Prompto watching the sky through Noct’s window.

“Dude, what if Iggy comes looking for us?”

“We’re screwed.”

“Then let’s go to school.”

“We are still screwed.”

“Yeah but I am ten times more afraid of Iggy than any of the teachers.”

“We are already late.”

They ended up making it, Prompto dragging Noct the whole way.

 

-

 

“Prompto, Noct, it is time to wake up.”

Iggy watched as blonde hair poked through the blankets, blue eyes squinting at him before groaning and retreating back under the covers.

Gladio walked out of the shower, looking over as the giant linen ball began to move.

“Finally waking up there princess?”

A muffled “No” came in reply, Prompto whining as the blankets shifted.

The two men left the bundle alone, heard the whispered conversation coming from underneath it until finally, someone sighed and the blankets were thrown off, Prompto glaring at Noct as he tried to scramble away.

“Noct, you always do this!”

Noct just groaned, pulled Prompto back to him and tried to hide from the light.

Gladio smiled, stood and walked over to the duo.

“Well, if you won’t get up nicely, I guess we will have to do it the hard way.”

Prompto blinked, his face falling in horror as he held up a hand to Gladio.

“No, don’t. We’re getting up.”

Gladio didn’t listen and Ignis sighed into his Ebony as he witnessed the bigger man jump onto the bed, rocketing both Noct and Prompto into the air, Prompto shrieking as Noct just groaned, both men falling out of bed as Gladio roared with laughter.

 

-

 

They had made it to a haven, Prompto and Noct too awake to sit quietly in the tent and instead laying on one of the rocks and stargazing.

Prompto showed off his knowledge, pointing out different constellations he knew and Noct surprisingly also knowing a few Prompto had missed.

Prompto didn’t know when they had fallen asleep but he did know when he woke up, the sun not even peeking over the horizon yet, just enough light to note that not even Ignis was up.

Figured.

He sighed, shifted slightly under the blanket they were sharing and realized that Noct was holding onto him again.

He blinked, looked at his friend and whispered.

“No~ct? You awake?”

“Prom. Go back to sleep.”

“But I am awake.”

Noct sighed, eyelids slowly opening to reveal that deep blue glaring at him.

“How!?”

Prompto blinked, shrugged.

“I don’t know but I am.”

“Prom, the sun isn’t even up yet.”

“I know.”

“Just relax. I have a few more hours to go before Iggy realizes we are not in the tent and then another fifteen minutes before he finds us.”

Prompto sighed, relaxed into Noct’s grip and let his friend sleep for a few more minutes before he started squirming again.

“Prom.”

“Sorry.”

 

-

 

Noct woke up, a sigh leaving his body as he slowly came out of his dreams.

Dreams of the Astrals, the prophecy.

His destiny.

He sighed, slowly stretched his arms as he moved to the side, noting that someone was holding him.

It was weird, the feeling of another human touching him, so different than the eternal and ever consuming presence of Bahamut.

It was weird, the solid presence of someone touching and holding on, so different than the fickle and empty touch of an Astral with ulterior motives.

Noct sighed, watched Prompto’s steady rise and fall that told him the man was still with him, still here even after ten years.

It made him strangely and guiltily happy, how his friends had managed to live through the darkness that consumed the world.

He sighed, ran a hand through the blonde spikes that had thinned out, had been cut short, the style faintly similar to a Marshall who was apparently still running around.

Noct sat like that for some time, dully realizing that no one was probably going to wake him up.

He could probably just sleep until Prompto was actually awake, probably just continue in the quietness that had become everyone’s reality.

But the Astrals stirred, the darkness wavered and Noct had a job to do.

His last one.

He sighed again, his hand moving to gently grip Prompto’s shoulder, shaking the man slightly.

It was all it took, Prompto instantly coming too and blinking bleary eyes at Noct.

“Did you manage to sleep?”

Noct smiled at his friend, gave him a small nod as they both shifted around, Prompto still holding onto as they face each other.

“So, how do you tell the time nowadays?”

“We don’t. Not really. Just sleep whenever and wake up whenever. I think Igs keeps a clock, somewhere.”

Noct nodded, waited for a count.

“We probably should get up at some point.”

Prompto shook his head, pulled Noct closer and buried his head into Noct’s stomach.

“Let’s just sleep for a little longer.”

Noct felt it, swallowed hard as he gave a shaky laugh, running a hand through Prompto’s hair.

“Prom, we have to do it sooner or later.”

Noct felt the shudder go through his friend, felt it rake all the way up as Prompto took a breath.

“Then later.”

Noct could feel the hurt in his heart, the burn in his eyes.

“Prompto.”

“I can’t.”

Noct closed his eyes, heard the desperation in the tiny voice as his shirt started to get damp.

Prompto shuddered another breath, silenced himself as he let it out.

“I don’t think I am qualified to do this. I might do something we'll both regret.”

Noct adjusted their bodies, brought Prompto up so he could rest his chin on the blonde hair and hugged his friend tightly.

The tears were there, from both of them, even though they had promised but now, in the darkness, with the Astrals growing quiet, with the Starscourge settling for the minute, with everything slowing until it was just them, Noct let the tears fall.

They stayed like that for a minute.

“Hey Prom?”

Silence.

“You are good enough for me.”

“... That's not fair.”

“I know.”

They sat in silence again, Noct listening to Prompto's breathing.

“Prom.”

There was silence for a moment, before a shuddering breath and an attempt at a steady voice came up.

“Yeah?”

“Imma make this world a better place.”

The arms tightened around him, Prompto shaking slightly.

It really wasn't fair.

He knew that.

But Prompto just shook his head, the plea so loud in the silence.

Noct nodded, let his hand cup Prompto's and bring it so he was looking right into those purple eyes.

“Are you with me?”

Prompto frowned, the tears falling freely.

“You idiot.”

 

“Ever at your side.”

Chapter Text

“Oh my, are we awake now?”

Prompto gasped for breath, stared at the ground, his nightmare trapping him still.

He heard the slow steps come forward, felt the yank as his hair was pulled upward, stared as he met eyes of darkness.

Ardyn.

The man smiled, a sick curl of his mouth as he took in the blonde.

“Have a nightmare, did we?”

Prompto swallowed, tried not to give the man the pleasure but he was still gasping, his body still shuddering from the nightmare.

Flashes of gold and darkness raced around his head, the pull of the trigger ringing in his ears still.

Ardyn laughed, let go of Prompto’s hair.

“Well. I guess I will leave you to your demons then.”

Prompto threw his face up, yanked against the restraints.

“WAIT.”

Ardyn stopped, glanced over his shoulder.

“Yes?”

“You know what they are!?”

Ardyn half-turned, gave Prompto a small smile.

“Don’t worry.”

“The darkness isn’t always the worst things that go bump at night.”

And then the man was gone, Prompto’s world plunged into pitch black nothingness.

 

-

 

“It's not that bad.”

 

Prompto shivered, shook his head, screwed his eyes shut even though it didn’t make a difference at this point.

The darkness stretched out before him, closing in at all sides, making Prompto’s skin crawl.

He could feel it, the pitch black nothingness sliding down his arms and legs, encasing his stomach, flowing through his hair and gently moving over his face.

Prompto flinched, cursed himself for fighting against the restraints, noted the slow progression as blood fell from his wrist.

 

“I mean, I am impressed really. You survived for quite a while.”

Blood was on the hands, the Starscourge forming a human now, bright yellow eyes glowing against the fires in the background.

It could talk now, the mouth moving and the voice that Prompto had known for more than ten years speaking like he hadn’t just murdered three people.

“Not even Ignis or Gladio lasted as long as you did.”

 

Prompto groaned, shook his head hard again, unknowingly throwing it into something metal and cursing as waves of pain rolled through his head, his mouth tasting blood.

 

The face smiled, lowered itself to its haunches, gently reached out a diseased hand towards his face, the smile curling into a smirk.

The hand dripped darkness, blood, rotting decay.

“I always knew you were special Prompto.”

“Shut up.”

“I mean, we were best friends.”

“Shut up!”

“I could tell from the moment we met.”

 

“SHUT UP!”

Prompto gasped into the darkness, his eyes still closed, the echo of his scream ringing through the silence.

He whined, shifted his body.

The darkness was there, trapping him in here.

It was like a tar, invisible but present and Prompto couldn’t help but fidget.

There wasn’t enough space.

He couldn’t take in air.

He couldn’t breathe!?

No, not now.

Something was there, holding out the oxygen.

Pinning him down.

Pressing him against metal.

Right in front of him.

Holding him.

Trapping-

No.

He couldn-

Oh gods.

The astrals.

No.

No.

Plea- no.

Iggy.

Gladio

Someone

Plea-

-se

Oh

Gods

No

Not

Now

Nononononononononono

Prompto cried, screamed as he fought against the restraints, pulled at his arms and legs as his mouth opened and filled with that black dark tar, his eyes straining to see anything, anything other than this horrible black an-

 

-NOCT!?-

 

It’s fine Prompto. There’s nothing there.

 

Prompto stopped, blinked as slowly, the darkness receded.

He blinked more, found his could just make out the bar of the cell.

Further along, was the walkway.

He could see it.

 

You just gotta relax.

 

Prompto took a shuddering breath, found he could actually breathe, went limp against the restraints as he sucked in air, let the tears fall as he cried with joy.

 

See?

I knew you could do it.

Don’t worry.

I’ll get you out of there.

 

Prompto blinked, lifted his head slightly as someone released his restraints.

He fell, someone catching him and letting him down gently to the floor, the person standing back a bit.

Prompto touched the floor, felt the cold metal in his fingertips.

 

He had to snap out of it.

It was a lie, a trick.

The darkness worked with the Starscourge, made everything warped and unreal.

He had to snap out of it.

 

Prompto saw his blood wrists, saw the tears in his pants where he had rubbed holes from the bindings.

The blood slowly dripped, moving from his wrists to his fingers.

It was warm, wet.

 

He had to get away.

Close his eyes and trust nothing.

He couldn’t fall for the same tricks.

He had a job to do.

 

Prompto laughed brokenly, slowly looked up to see his savior.

The person was facing away from him, the only thing Prompto able to make out in the darkness is a silhouette.

It was familiar, one Prompto had learned to recognize.

He felt his throat tighten with relief.

“You came for me?”

 

Ignis and Gladio were gone.

He had to leave.

Had to wake up.

Had to get away.

Wake up.

WAKE UP.

 

A small laugh sounded from the silhouette, the person turning and dropping to one knee, Prompto smiling as he heard the familiar voice.

“Of course I did dummy.”

Prompto stopped, his eyes widening as he saw the face turn towards him.

 

The Scarscourge had run its course, the daemon formed from the once-man.

The decay was gone, replaced with black skin and pulsating veins.

The darkness fell away to reveal a steady stream of black ooze, falling from lips.

Glowing yellow eyes bared down at him, the mouth opening wider than possible and smiling at him.

 

Prompto felt the world crumble around him as the daemon wrapped a clawed hand around his throat.

 

“I was worried about you.”

 

-

 

Noct ran through Zegnautus Keep, not stopping as he checked the different cells for his friend.

Gladio was behind him with Ignis, probably making sure the man didn’t run into anything.

Noct didn’t care, couldn’t at this point.

He had already run into three different decoys, MT’s given a likeness too close for comfort.

But he could feel it.

He was getting closer.

He ran, not listening as Ardyn’s voice came on and off the speakers, until he got to a door, a giant thing standing off in a corner.

Ardyn’s voice laughed at him, Noct watching as the door’s lock went from red to green.

“Ah, there is nothing like darkness. Though I do believe your friend is not a fan.”

The doors opened, Noct staring as he was faced with pitch blackness, the light he had on not penetrating the dark.

“I have found that humans are not good with such a darkness. I honestly can’t share the sentiment. But for you, my dear Chosen, I shall give you a light.”

Noct blinked, watched as a tiny spotlight lit up a small portion of the room.

The portion that held a person chained to something.

A person with blonde hair.

Noct ran, didn’t even think twice as he bolted through the room, his sword disappearing into a shimmer of blue, his voice cracking as he screamed down the way.

“PROMPTO!”

The body didn't react but Noct kept going, running until he almost slammed himself into the person, instantly grabbed the face that was hanging forward.

Prompto’s eyes, completely dilated, blinked owlishly at him.

Noct looked at them, tried to find his friend in the swirl of indigo.

“Give me second buddy, I will get you out of here.”

Noct instantly checked the sides of the holding metal, found a switch and instantly turned it.

The bindings detached with a hiss, Prompto staying suspended for another second before slowly going down to meet the floor.

Noct cried, jumped to catch his friend as they both slid to the floor.

Prompto was bleeding, wheezing and barely catching breath and he was cold, too cold to be normal.

But he was alive.

Noct gently let go of his friend, let him get situated as he watched Prompto feel the ground, his fingers gently rubbing the metal floor.

He was probably shocked.

Traumatized.

Noct turned, looked towards the door as Ardyn’s voice crackled over the loudspeaker.

“I do hope you get through this trial. It wouldn’t be any fun if you died now.”

Noct raised an eyebrow, looked around the darkened room.

“Trial?”

Gladio’s voice was echoing through the halls, Noct hearing the faint call to his name.

He cupped his hands to his mouth, took a breath to call the two men.

Prompto whispered from behind him, stopped his voice in his throat.

“Were… you… worried… about me?”

Noct blinked, turned and saw that Prompto was still facing the ground. He sighed, dropping to one knee and trying for a smile.

“Of course I was, you dummy.”

“May the trial not kill you.”

Noct looked up, confusion forming on his face.

But then he was being pushed to the ground, his head banging into the metal surface as the wind was knocked out of him.

He felt the pull, Prompto’s guns leaving the Armigiar and blinked as a shimmer of blue filled his vision.

Prompto was straddling him, gun pointed right at his face.

Noct blinked, looked past the gun to the face of his friend.

“Pro-”

He stopped when he locked eyes,

They were dead, the shine of his friend gone and replaced with a hollow glow of indigo.

From behind them, Noct could hear Gladio run in.

“NOCT! PROMPTO!?”

Prompto stared at him, his face completely blank as he loaded the bullet.

Noct felt everything slow, could fill his whole world falling apart.

“Prom, please.”

“Noct?”

Noct watched as a small smile formed on lips.

But it wasn’t his friend’s.

It wasn’t Prompto’s.

“Who-”

Noct’s vision filled with the barrel of the gun, his ears filling as it clicked.

 

“Ever at your side.”

Chapter Text

It was a screech.

One that sounded like they were being stabbed.

One that sounded like Prompto was on the verge of a mental breakdown.

One that sounded like either Prompto or Noct had died because they sounded very similar when they were together and screaming bloody murder.

It sounded like there was someone literally in the middle of killing them .

Ignis ran, threw open the door, ready to sink his daggers into some god of an assassin only to be blindsided as Prompto threw himself onto the man, making them both stumble as he clung to Ignis, his mouth open as he screamed.

“IGNIS IT’S GOING TO KILL ME, SAVE ME, OH MY ASTRALS, I AM GOING TO DIE TODAY!"

Ignis sighed, let his daggers disappear into a shimmer of blue, looked around the room until he spotted it, a tarantula on the windowsill, it long legs slowly stepping forward as it tried to get outside via the open window.

“Prompto, it is just a tarantula, let me go.”

“JUST A- No Ignis, that is a monster and it just, zoomed from god-knows-where and- AAAAHHH WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?”

Ignis sighed, looked at the crying man still clinging to him.

“I will go and let it out, so let go.”

“No Iggy, you can’t! It will kill you! Spit acid or whatever those giant spiders do!”

“Prompto, I think you are a bit mistaken here. Tarantulas do not spit acid nor are they even that venomous.”

“Iggy, you are a liar and I- NOOOO, DON’T GO TOWARDS IT!?”

Ignis stopped again.

“Prompto it is gone. I am just closing the window.”

Prompto blinked, slowly turned towards the window.

The spider was gone, Prompto slowly climbing off Ignis to step away from the window as Ignis went and closed it, looking around the room nervously.

“Are you sure it's gone!?”

Ignis sighed, blinking and looking around too as he took in the empty room.

“Where is Noct?”

Both men turned as the bathroom door opened slowly, black hair poking out as Noct scanned the room.

“Is it gone?”

Chapter Text

Ignis had been enjoying an afternoon without work.

 

He had been sitting down, a book Gladio brought over in his hands, his Ebony opened and already half-consumed, and his body finally starting to relax from the hell that had gone on the week before.

His apartment was quiet, Gladio silently going through a book and drinking a bit of coffee as well.

And then the phone rang.

Gladio glanced up as Ignis answered, Ignis waving him off as he put the phone to his ear.

“Good Afternoon Prompto.”

There was shuffling on the other line, a “Good Luck” thrown in and then Ignis could hear a sigh as Prompto probably put the phone to his ear.

“Ah, Iggy? Hi.”

“What is it Prompto?”

“What is- I just wanted to say hi Iggy, gosh. I can’t check up on my friends?”

Ignis sighed, heard Noct’s voice in the background and Prompto shuffling around.

“Prompto, we have known one another long enough to both understand that you don’t call just to check up. Was there something you needed?”

There was a grumble on the other line, a small mutter before Prompto sighed.

“Alright, you got me. I was actually wondering something. Uh, totally fine if you don’t know, Noct just told me to ask.”

“What is it Prompto?”

“Uh, well… do you know how to cut cat nails?”

Ignis blinked, sighed as he heard the cat meowing in the background.

“I can’t say that I do. I thought you said you took her to the vet?”

“We did, don’t freak out Iggy. We just, also might have told them we would figure it out.”

Noct’s voice rose for a moment, Ignis hearing the cat’s meows in the background as Prompto continued.

“And it is not like she needs, needs it. We just… kinda thought it would be nice if she wasn’t-”

Ignis heard Noct, a shout of a curse word that definitely was not taught by him leaving the Prince’s lips as the cat began to yowl.

“If she wasn’t trying to murder us via her claws.”

“Well, I am not that well versed in pet care so I do believe you should just go back to the vet and see if they can assist you in-”

“GOD DAMN-IT NUGGET, STOP THAT!”

“... Prompto?”

“Yes Iggy?”

“Where is Noct?”

“Huh? Oh… he is giving Nugget a bath. Apparently she is older than we thought. The vet said we should be giving her full baths instead of that dry shampoo thing we have been doing.”

“And from the sounds of it, I do believe Noct is losing?”

“Haha, yeah. I already lost so Noct is on the revenge round at the moment. Nugget is surprisingly stubborn when it comes to baths."

Ignis listen through the phone, could picture the scene very well as Noct tried to bathe an eight pound cat and failed at it. 

"Nugget, would you jus-"

"MROOOWW,"

"You are already wet! There's nothing else to thi-"

"MEOW."

"No, just let me-"

And then Ignis heard it, a hiss and then Noct cursed in pain, the phone picking up the very detailed noises of someone falling to floor as the cat yowled triumphantly.

Gladio glanced up at Ignis, his eyebrow raised as he listen too. He gave him a small smile.

“They are probably going to die. Death by murder cat. Not that bad.”

Ignis waved him off, listened as the phone shuffled. He could hear Prompto laughing, Noct muttering something and the cat crying in the background.

He waited until Prompto was laughing into his ear.

“Hey Iggy?”

“Yes Prompto?”

“Imma go now. Noct died, the bathroom has water on the floor and Nugget escaped. So I will talk to you later okay?”

Ignis waited, glanced at Gladio who was giving him a knowing look and just sighed.

“Prompto?”

“Ah, yes Iggy?”

“I am coming over right now. Don’t die okay?”

“OH MY GOD IGGY, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH.”

Ignis hung up, Gladio standing up and stretching while the man finished his Ebony and bookmarked his page.

“You go too easy on them Iggy.”

“I would rather not explain to the King that his son died because he tried to bathe a cat he shouldn’t even have.”

“Exactly. You should just let the kids die once in awhile. Toughens them up.”

"Oh please."

Chapter Text

“Prompto, wake up.”

 

Noct watched as Prompto stirred, layered kisses down his face, following a path of freckles as his ‘wife’ slowly woke up.

Prompto sighed, sleepy eyes opening to take Noct in before he blinked and looked around.

“Noct? What time is it?”

Noct sighed, laid another kiss on Prompto’s cheek.

“Around 11:50 I think?”

Prompto blinked, ran a hand through his hair as Noct layered more kisses on him.

“And why are we awake at midnight?”

“Not midnight. Not yet.”

“That still doesn’t answer my question.”

Noct kissed him on the lips, Prompto sighing gently into it.

After a minute, Noct moved away and gave Prompto a small smile.

“I have something to show you.”

Prompto blinked, groaned as Noct began to get out of bed.

“Does it have to be now? Can’t it wait till morning?”

Noct chuckled, gently tugged on Prompto’s arm.

“No. Come on.”

Prompto sighed, let Noct get out of bed first before he followed suit, Noct handing him clothes to put on as he tugged on his own pants.

Prompto looked at the clothes, his mind slowly waking up.

“Are we going outside?”

“Yes.”

Prompto groaned again but put on the offending material, Noct tugging him along as he finished.

“Come on Prompto, we have to hurry.”

Prompto grumbled but let Noct lead him out, let him drag him until they were going down the Citadel’s steps, Prompto finally awake as Noct tugged him to some chairs where Ignis and Gladio waited, both men standing as giving them a smile.

“Oh so you got up princess? Thought Iggy would have to go in there for both of you.”

“Yeah whatever. I can do things when I want to. Has it started yet?”

“Not yet Noct. It seems you two have made it just in time.”

Prompto blinked at all the men, gave them looks of confusion.

“Just in time for what?”

Noct gave him a smirk.

“It’s a surprise.”

Prompto hummed, taking one of the seats as Ignis gave him a hot drink, sighed as he down the coffee.

Noct sat next to him, stretching and sighing happily as Ignis handed him a cup too.

All four men sat down, Prompto looking around as Noct whispered something to Ignis.

The City was beautiful, in all hours of the day and night, the lively citizens making the place something Prompto never got used to. With the safety of the Crystal, the people were free to roam throughout their haven, Prompto having his own share of late night adventures with Noct since they had been married.

But now, right before midnight, the City was quiet, everything closed and lights practically all going off as people settled for the next day.

Different stalls and supplies were littering the streets, the City preparing for the celebration that was to be Prompto’s birthday, both countries hyping up for something Prompto hadn’t considered a big deal in twenty-one years.

Noct had planned out a whole day of basically parties, ordering all kinds of different festivities to celebrate his ‘wife’s’ birthday, something Prompto was both nervous about and excited for.

Prompto thought about his birthday, realized they were probably only a few minutes from it, wondered if he would be able to get through the day.

But then a blanket was thrown over him, Prompto glancing at Noct as he gave him a small smile.

“Cold?”

It was that dumb smile, the one that Prompto couldn't hold a grudge against. 

He sighed, set down his coffee to wrap the blanket around himself. 

“Just a little. Why are we here again?”

Noct hummed, looked up at the sky.

“I thought you might want to see the stars?”

Prompto blinked, followed his gaze.

The sky was clear and open, the moon a bare sliver in the sky as it filled with stars.

Prompto did enjoy the stars, had from the moment he realized Insomnia had skies filled with them, instead of clouds that hid them.

But this night was like every other beautiful night in Insomnia, one Prompto had slowly gotten used to.

He blinked, almost glanced down to ask Noct what the big deal was when he saw it.

A streak, a single fading line, raced across the sky, there and then gone, before Prompto even understood what it had been.

“Wha-”

He cut himself off as more came, the sky filling with more and more of the streaks, Prompto opening his eyes wide as he took it in.

"Oh, it's starting!"

"Beautiful."

Prompto had to agree.

It was beautiful, the stars falling, the world getting even more beautiful as the sky streaked with white. 

Noct leaned towards him, whispered in his ear.

"It's called a meteor shower. Apparently, if you make a wish before the streak disappears, it will be granted."

Prompto stared at the stars, at the meteor shower, wondered where such a rumor came from. 

"Make a wish..."

Prompto didn't need one, not anymore, not since Noct had vowed on their wedding day. 

Not since he had come on this journey all those months back.

His wish had been granted already. 

He looked at Noct, saw the man staring up at the skies, saw the tiny streaks reflected in those eyes that matched the night.

His wish, personified into a single being, given to him by the very Astrals. 

Those eyes glanced at him, gave him a smile as he focused on Prompto. 

"Prom, you're supposed to be watching the sky."

"Yeah."

Noct sighed, leaned forward and caught Prompto's lips as he met him halfway, kissing under the falling stars. 

Noct smiled into the kiss, looked Prompto in the eyes.

 

“Happy Birthday Prom.”

Chapter Text

Noct wasn’t expecting much.

 

After the ceremony, their honeymoon consisted of touring the whole of Niflheim and Lucis, showing the world that they were unified and that, through them, the countries were as well.

It had been a good plan, one that was peppered with different hotel visits and small vacations throughout the way to ensure Noct and Prompto “got rid of their awkward crush” (Ignis’ words) and developed “an actual fucking relationship” (Aranea’s words).

Noct wasn’t complaining, was actually thankful that at least their own guards were happy to set them up.

They had been on the road for a few days, meeting with different people in the cities and visiting the few outlander ways in the country before stopping by a hotel, Noct and Prompto getting one of the more gracious suites available.

It was nice, a giant room with a giant bed, one that Noct would have been happy to sleep in if not for its current occupant.

Prompto sunk into the bed, let his legs dangle over the side and stretched, letting out all the tension of the past few days as he dropped his arms over his head.

“I didn’t know how exhausting it would be to meet with so many people.”

Noct hummed, let his suit drop onto the table that sat in the corner of the room.

“Yeah, my dad always makes it seem so easy.”

Prompto hummed, Noct turning to see him with his eyes closed.

Noct walked over, leaned over and kissed Prompto’s forehead, watching as blue eyes focused on him.

A slight blush was making its way under freckled cheeks, Prompto giving him a soft smile.

“Yes?”

Noct hummed, laid another kiss on his forehead before hovering over his lips.

“Are you tired?”

Prompto responded with his own kiss, just a small peck that Noct deepened, Prompto tangling his fingers into black spikes as Noct cupped his cheek.

Noct broke the kiss, gently tugged on the shirt as he looked at Prompto.

“Is this okay?”

Prompto blinked, the blush deepening, but nodded, helping Noct get his shirt off as they moved further onto the bed.

Prompto had stretch marks, ones that moved from his waist and reached across his stomach, ones that he had been completely embarrassed in showing Noct the first night, when they had simply been changing to sleep.

Noct focused on them now, let his hand run up one.

Only for Prompto to grab his hand, pull it away as he let out a shaky breath.

“P-please?”

Noct looked up, realized that Prompto was smiling wide, one hand covering his mouth as he gave Noct a look.

“Don’t.”

Noct blinked, smiled as he figured it out.

“Prompto?”

“Yes Noctis?”

Noct leaned forward, grabbed onto Prompto’s hand that was holding his, moved his other moving up Prompto’s side.

“Are you… maybe…?”

He didn’t have to finish, his question being answered as Prompto jerked, his face breaking out into a giant smile, his eyes wide with slight fear as he tried to get away from Noct.

“N-no?”

“Hmm.”

Noct tickled him, watching as Prompto squirmed, breaking out into helpless laughter, his arms trying to scramble further onto the bed to get away from him.

“N-noct-is! St-stop! W-w-w-wait!”

He laughed, his breath catching as he fought to free himself, Noct straddling him so he couldn’t get away.

“No-no-noct-IS!?”

He was dying, his breath coming out in small gasps as he fought, his eyes streaming as his face going red from the effort.

Noctis stopped, watched as Prompto collapsed and gulped in air, giving him a complete glare.

“That… was definitely… not fair.”

“I never knew you were so ticklish.”

“You should try his thighs.”

Prompto blinked, watched as Noctis blinked before giving him another smile and lifted his hands again. He frowned, tried to buck and throw Noctis off him as he scrambled away..

“No wait, N-nyx y-ou, y-ou TRAITOR.”

But then he was gone, laughing so hard as Noct found his thighs, screaming mercy as his husband tried to kill him.

Chapter Text

Noct couldn’t complain.

He couldn’t complain that they had been on the road for two weeks and Gladio’s idea of relaxing was camping.

He couldn’t complain that apparently both Nyx and Aranea were both wilderness children too.

Couldn’t complain that even Ignis seemed to like the idea of camping.

Couldn’t complain, even as he back was stiff and his sleep count low.

Couldn’t complain that he was literally up before the sun, swatting down in the cold, wet dirt and slowly getting goosebumps from the morning chill.

He couldn’t complain.

Not when Prompto was literally two inches away of him, his eyes glued not five feet away, those swirling blue orbs stuck on the balls of fluff that were slowly waking up.

Like the Astrals themselves had granted him a wish and it took the form of baby chocobos. 

He grabbed Noct’s arm, gently shook it as he whispered in his ear.

“Oh my Astrals, they are waking up!”

Wiz laughed from further in the pen, his face breaking out into a smile as he went through the morning ritual.

“Ah, the little ones are always early risers. Thought you might appreciate their morning routines.”

The fluffballs chirped, all of them squirming from the dogpile they formed while sleeping and slowly coming to the world, stretching and ruffling their feathers as they walked towards Wiz.

They were about eight in total, a mixture of golds and blacks, all of them stealing Prompto’s heart.

Noct could tell, could see it on Prompto’s face, the way his eyes were light with pure adoration, his mouth slightly open in disbelief, his hands squeezing Noct’s arms a little tighter.

“They are so cute.”

He was whispering still, like they were a treasure he was afraid of scaring away.

Noct laughed, gently kissed Prompto on the cheek.

“I thought you guys saw the chocobos before the ceremony?”

Prompto didn’t look away from the tiny babies, only gently shook his head.

“We saw a few wild ones, big black things because Nyx heard a rumor. We didn’t get real close and we kept it brief but this?” he waved at the babies, watched as they scrambled to Wiz for food, “These are something different altogether.”

Wiz snorted, nodded at Noct.

“Do you want to feed them then Highness?”

Noct felt Prompto gripped him tighter, returned the smile Wiz had on his face.

“Sure.”

Wiz nodded, maneuvered past the babies and plopped a handful of greens into Noct’s hands, backing off as the chocobos realized where their food had gone.

Noct gently dumped the greens onto Prompto’s lap, watched as his ‘wife’ froze as the babies ambushed him, all of them chirping and ‘kweh’ing as they ate.

Noct backed away a little, his spot instantly being taken by the few stragglers who hadn’t managed to join in before.

Prompto had both hands over his mouth, staying still as the chocobo babies climbed over and around his crossed legs to eat their fill.

He was looking at Noct in disbelief, his eyes showing his utter happiness at the situation.

The birds finished their breakfast, some of them moving back to Wiz as he handed out food to the older birds.

Three stayed, all of them plopping onto Prompto’s lap and squirming until they were settled, letting at small “kweh”s in Prompto’s direction.

Prompto looked from them to Noct, slowly lowered his hands, found Wiz with his eyes.

The man just laughed.

“They seem to like you Majesty. Feel free to pet them. And when you are done, you can just dump them onto the ground, they don’t mind it one bit.”

Prompto looked at Noct in shock.

“I can touch them!?”

Noct nodded, watched as his ‘wife’ slowly lowered his hand on the first baby, a gold one that sat close to his stomach.

It “kweh”ed happily, leaned in as Prompto began petting it, the other two demanding the same attention their brother was getting.

The other babies soon trotted over, all of them demanding attention from Prompto, who gladly gave them all the love they wanted.

Noct watched for a bit, looked back at the camper as Ignis came out of it.

“Morning.”

Ignis blinked, caught sight of Prompto and sighed, exasperated.

“Please don’t get too attached. We have to leave them here.”

Prompto gasped, held one up to Iggy.

“They are too adorable, how can you say no to this tiny ball of fluff and dreams!?”

The bird “kweh”ed at them, puffing out its feathers happily.

Prompto melted, brought it back his face and cooed at it.

Noct glanced at Ignis, who sighed and went to work on breakfast.

Wiz came up, smiled at the tiny birds flocking to Prompto.

“You could always buy one. Wouldn’t mind sending them home with someone who obviously loves them so much. And they do seem to like you just fine.”

Noct blinked, saw Prompto instantly turn to him with puppy eyes, big and wide and irresistible.

“Noctis!?”

Ignis was there before he could cave, pinning them both with a look.

“No.”

Chapter Text

Noct slowly sat up, yawned and looked around.

The hotel was quiet, the room drenched in darkness.

He blinked, looked over and found Ignis and Gladio sleeping, one facing Noct with deep and silent breathing, the other on his back, snoring down the building.

But Noct was used to Gladio’s snores, the man’s noise simply dimming into the background now.

Noct shifted slightly, his brain humming with unease.

Something’s wrong.

Noct could feel it, feel it in his bones, his nerves wired and tense and ready to strike.

Noct slowly took stock of the room, let his body breathe as he tried to find the source of the discomfort.

He gently patted the space next to him, his mind reaching out to ensure that his friend was still there.

Only, empty space greeted him, Noct’s hand freezing at the cold imprint the bed had of a missing body.

He almost screamed, almost freaked, almost scrambled out of bed, turned on the lights and demanded that everyone wake up because Prompto is gone.

Instantly, his brain slowed down his body, his eyes swinging to the bathroom door, Noct taking in the light that filtered underneath it.

A sigh escaped, one that made his body sag with relief at it.

Bathroom.

Of course.

Easy.

Something's wrong.

His body was still wired, his brain still humming, another wave of unease and discomfort rolling through him.

He sat for a minute, waited to see if Prompto would come out.

But the bathroom light glowed, the room oddly silent for a quick bladder break.

Noct sighed, tried to calm himself as he slipped out of bed and moved to the door.

There wasn’t anything to worry about, nothing that could possibly be going on in a bathroom, in the middle of the night.

Something's wrong.

His body disagreed, his hands already moving to the knob to throw the door open and reveal whatever was bothering Noct to the core.

He tried to think of an explanation to barging in, couldn’t find one, and just knocked gently, leaning in so he could whisper without waking Gladio or Ignis.

“Prom?”

There was a slight shift from the other side, like Prompto was turning to face the door.

“... Noct ?”

It was more like a hiss, instead of a whisper, coupled with a gasp and layered with both sleepiness and mild disbelief.

Noct waited, continued when there was silence.

“You okay?”

There was a slight pause, one that was too long for Noct. He almost asked again, almost knocked on the door, was stopped when Prompto let out a sigh.

“Uh… y-yeah. I’m fi-”

Prompto was cut off, Noct hearing the sounds of someone rushing to something and then dropping down before it was drowned out by the sounds of puking.

It was all the permission he needed, Noct throwing the door open to help his friend.

 

-

 

Gladio opened the door, still half asleep but carrying a few small bags, Noct noting the slight annoyance painted all over his face.

“Got the meds, Iggy. Lucky there was a place open.”

Ignis gave the man a tired smile as he took the bags.

“Thank you Gladio. Noct, can you wake him up?”

Noct poked the ball of misery next to him, shifted away to get a look at Prompto’s face.

“Prom. Wake up. Gladio brought the drugs.”

Prompto groaned, tried to stuff his face deeper into Noct’s stomach.

“I just want to sleep.”

Noct glanced up, watched as Ignis poured out the medicine.

“Just give it a second Prom. Take the medicine and then you can go back to sleep.”

Prompto grumbled, slowly turned himself around so he was facing Ignis and held out his hand.

“Imma puke.”

Ignis gave him a look, tried to gauge how serious the blonde was.

“Are you-”

Prompto sat up instantly, Noct already positioning the trashcan-now-bucket underneath him as he threw up whatever had been left sitting in his stomach.

Ignis closed his eyes, took a breath away from Prompto, Gladio sighing as Noct scrunched up his nose and handed the bin to him, Prompto groaning.

“I hate my life.”

Ignis sighed, long and measured, before giving the medicine to Prompto, who looked at it with contempt.

“I don’t want it.”

“It will help.”

“Imma puke.”

“No you won’t.”

“That’s what you said about the water.”

It had been true, Ignis’ first attempts at helping backfiring as Prompto threw up the water all over Noct and the first bed they had settled him in.

It was still airing out, the staff having taken the dirty sheets and Gladio deeming him sick enough to make the trip for actual medicine, Noct changing into new clothes as Ignis had helped Prompto into the next bed.

But now, Ignis had a stern look on his face, slightly pale and nauseated but stern nonetheless.

“Prompto, take the medicine.”

Gladio dumped the bucket down next to Noct, gave Prompto a pitying look.

“Kid, just take the medicine. If you throw up, there’s always more.”

Prompto looked disgusted, turned to Noct with bleary eyes that were probably meant for begging.

Noct shrugged, held up the bucket for him to see.

“Just get it over with Prom.”

Prompto sighed, took the tiny cup and gave them all what was probably the evilest glare he could muster.

“I hate you all.”

 

It took five tries before the medicine sat in his stomach, three tries before the water also managed not to be thrown out and a very lucky first try on getting him to stomach the broth Iggy made for him.

But, after a few hours of the constant war of getting Prompto to keep things in his stomach, everyone let out a sigh of relief when the man was finally sleeping peacefully again, Noct looking down at the pale face, slowing running a hand through sweaty hair.

“He's probably gonna need a shower when he wakes up. He's all sweaty.”

Ignis walked over, laid a hand on his forehead.

“It is fine, as long as he doesn’t get a fever. I would hate to send Gladio out again.”

Gladio waved a hand from his spot at the table, his legs propped up as he leaned back in his chair.

“It's fine Igs. Rather have that than the kid getting everyone sick. And Noct, you better hope he doesn’t spread his germs to you.”

Noct scrunched his nose, looked back down at his friend.

“I never thought about that.”

“You never do.”

Ignis sat down at the table too, sighed as he stretched.

“I highly doubt he will get sick. Noct has a rather strong immune system.”

“Specs should be the one to worry. You get sick easily.”

“I will take that into consideration.”

“Hmm.”

They lapsed into silence, all of them closing their eyes and resting until an alarm went off somewhere, Gladio groaning as he turned off his phone.

“Good Morning Everyone. It’s officially six.”

Ignis stood.

“Well I am making coffee then. Gladio, are you going for your run this morning?”

Gladio groaned, sat up in his chair before running a hand through his hair.

“Might as well. Astrals know we ain’t getting any rest with the puker here.”

Prompto sighed at that, Noct already reaching for the bucket as he waited.

But Prompto stilled, his hands curling around Noct’s stomach, who sighed and put the bucket down.

“I can’t sleep like this.”

Gladio chuckled, stood and stretched, Noct hearing his back pop.

“The struggles of the prince huh?”

“Noct, if you are not going to sleep, would you like a cup of coffee?”

Noct looked back down at Prompto, shifted slightly only for the blonde to hold onto him tighter.

He sighed.

“Sure.”

Chapter Text

Noct sighed, sank into the park bench as he groaned.

He totally bombed the test, the mathematics swimming around his head the entire time, his brain unable to focus on anything with the thought of the visitors gracing the halls of the Citadel.

Sylvia Nox Fleuret was supposed to visit.

Noct knew the woman personally, honestly enjoyed spending time with her even with their age gap of ten years. She was kind but also filled with an attitude that reminded him of his dad, one with the intention to offer anything but serious discussions.

But Sylvia was bringing along her children, Noct a little less enjoying the tiny persons of Luna and Ravus.

They were cute, brother and sister not even a year apart but they were also a handful, Ravus rarely listening to anyone but his mother and Luna so wild, not even Ravus wanted to deal with her.

It was exhausting, trying to keep them from either killing themselves or trying to burn down the Citadel (which they almost managed, thanks to a certain blonde wanting fireworks) and Noct was in no hurry to partake in their antics.

But the sun was going down and if he didn’t start moving then a certain Advisor would and then he would have a whole other problem on his hands.

He slowly stood, stretched as he walked towards home, stopped as he found familiar blonde hair sticking out from behind one of the park’s many bushes.

Someone was crying, the sounds coming from where the blonde hair was, a familiar voice trying to calm whatever was there.

“Ah, please don’t cry! It will be fine, I promise!”

He sighed, walked over and nudged Cindy with his foot, watching as the girl spun around angrily.

“Watch where you- Oh. It’s just you Noct.”

Noct gave his friend a look.

“Cindy, what are you doing?”

Cindy moved to the right, letting Noct see what she was hiding..

A boy, maybe five, was sitting a few feet in front of her, the remnants of what might have been a doll lying tattered in front of him.

His face was a mess, a mixture of big fat tears and saliva on his face as his hands worked vigorously through the stream.

Blonde hair was sticking up in random places, leaves and sticks stuck in it and his plain white shirt and jeans were stained green, either from falling or running through the bushes.

Noct sighed, dropping down so he was crouching next to Cindy and gave his friend a look, letting his voice drop down to a whisper.

“You know kidnapping is a crime right?”

Cindy smiled, nudged him in the ribs and sent him tilting to one side.

“Thanks for letting me know Princess. I feel so regretful of my actions now. Maybe I will even turn over a new leaf.”

Noct rubbed his side, looked over at the boy who had stopped now, was giving Noct a stare.

He wasn’t crying at least.

“So, what happened?”

The boy blinked and then more tears came out, Noct instantly regretting asking anything as Cindy sighed.

“I-i… Pry-na is… Luna is going to kill me!”

The boy broke out crying again, his eyes screwed shut as the tears fell, his mouth wide open as he cried.

Cindy hit Noct again, tried to calm the boy.

“No, it’s fine, you’re not going to get killed! It is okay!”

“N-no! She t-told me t-t-to take c-care of i-t!”

“I am sure she will forgive you!”

“She said she wouldn’t!”

The boy broke out into another fit of tears.

Noct sighed, looked at his friend.

“You made it worse.”

“And you’re not helping!”

Noct watched as Cindy tried to calm the screaming boy, the kid doing nothing to help but cry his face off.

Noct stood up and walked over, scooping up the kid in his arms, the boy not even taking a break as he was hoisted in the air.

Noct had seen Gladio hold Iris when they were younger, instantly went to the slight bouncing rock he did when she was too far gone to talk to.

The boy instantly wrapped his arms around Noct, laying his head on Noct’s shoulder and cried, Noct bouncing him as Cindy stood up and gathered the remnants of the doll.

Cindy showed him the toy, the doll being ripped up, probably got stuck in the bushes and none-too-gently pulled from the looks of it.

It looked familiar though, even with the torn limbs and leaked stuffing.

“I don’t think he is going to be able to fix this Noct.”

Noct sighed, knowing for a fact his uniform was going to probably get ruined after all of this as the boy started another wave of tears..

“Don’t cry so much kid. We’ll get another doll and go apologize to your friend. But you gotta stop crying first okay?”

The boy did try, Noct had to give him that.

He tried to stop, his breathing over exaggerated as he fought his tears, the hiccups hard to pass as he tried to form coherent sentences. Noct could feel every shudder and shake as the boy slowly calmed down, lifting his head and turning to Noct as he wiped at his face.

“B-b-but!”

“She’s your friend right? You have to apologize, even if it was an accident but I am sure she will forgive you.”

The boy sniffled, his hands getting dirty from all the snot and tears he was trying to mix up and Noct sighed, getting out his handkerchief and mopping the kid’s face.

“You’re a real horrible crier.”

“S-so-rry.”

“Ah no, don’t apologize kid. It’s fine.”

Noct wiped the kid’s face, found an actual person underneath all the tears.

The kid had freckles, ones that were probably from being in the sun too long, his cheeks high and red from crying, his mouth a tiny pout.

He eyes were big, round where Noct was used to almond, one shining closer to blue while the other was edging towards purple.

Noct hummed, gave the boy a tiny smile.

“Are you done?”

The boy blinked, waited for a minute like he was debating another storm before nodding slowly, a yawn escaping now.

“Is she really going to forgive me?”

Cindy was drilling a hole into him, Noct could feel it, and he shifted the boy as he nodded.

“Of course she will. Now, who is this friend we need to track down?”

The boy took a breath and nodded towards the Citadel.

“Lunafreya Nox Fleuret. She is visiting someone at the Citadel and Auntie Sylvia let me come too.”

Cindy blinked.

“Sylvia… like, as in, the Oracle Sylvia?”

The boy nodded, another yawn escaping as he clung to Noct.

Noct shared a look with his friend, sighing as he realized just how angry Luna was going to be when she found her doll torn to pieces.

“And? What’s your name?”

The boy blinked, like he had to think about it, before telling them.

“Prompto. Prompto Argentum.”

Chapter Text

“NOOO!”

Noct sighed, turned and bent down as Prompto came running up to him, his tiny legs almost tripping but managing to make it to Noct as he clung to him, Noct instantly rising as Ravus ran into the room, holding up what was most likely a cockroach.

“Prompto! Get back here and meet my brethren!”

“NO! RAVUS! GET AWAY! I HATE BUGS AND YOU KNOW IT! WHY DID YOU EVEN DRESS UP AS ONE IN THE FIRST PLACE!?”

“BECAUSE THE A-”

“Ravus!”

Noct pointed at Ravus, gave him a glare that warned him not to get any closer with the monster and the six-year-old stopped, pouting as he held the bug.

“You are such a sore spot Prom-prom!”

“Ravus, why do you torture your cousin?”

“Because it's fun?”

Luna walked in, opening the door wide to let all of her tentacles in, Noct seeing one of them was in her hands already.

She wasn’t crying, her jaw set as she stared him down, her hands clenched hard enough to be white.

“It broke.”

The six-year-old had more self-restraint than Noct had seen in most adults and he smiled, waved her over and bent down as Prompto shifted his position to climb onto his back.

“It didn’t break. Uncle Nyx told you; they’re velcro. You can take them off.”

He turned her around and put the tentacle back on, checking the other ones to make sure they weren’t on the verge of being released.

Luna had wanted to be an octopus and they had made her tentacles detachable after her and Ravus got into a fight and ripped the first attempt at a costume.

Noct sighed as he felt the velcro of an empty space, giving Luna a look as he adjusted Prompto from strangling him.

“Luna, you lost a tentacle already. Where did you put it?”

Luna instantly checked herself, her hands moving all along her costumer as Cindy came in, waving her broom.

“Did you manage to get everyone ready y-”

She stopped, looked down at Ravus.

“Ravus?”

“Yes ma’am?”

“What are you dressed up as?”

"A pers-"

"Ravus."

Ravus pouted, glanced at Noct and held up the bug for her to see.

“A cockroach.”

Cindy blinked.

“Why?”

“Becaus-”

“Ravus.”

Noct gave the boy a warning look from over Luna’s head.

Ravus stuck his tongue out, Cindy giving Noct a look.

“Wha-”

Nyx walked in, his octopus costume the adult version of Luna’s only with added blood and fake gore.

“I think someone is missing a tentacle? Found it abandoned in the hallway. Would be a lot creepier if I didn’t know about the velcro.”

Luna gasped, running up and hugging Nyx.

He laughed, picked her up and attached the tentacle back on, giving her a wide smile.

“All ready for trick-or-treating there my Lady?”

Luna nodded, holding onto Nyx happily as Noct stood.

“Nyx you pervert, pedophiles go to jail.”

“Says the Prince. You got your own little attachment. And he isn’t even dressed yet.”

Noct sighed, grabbed Prompto and set him down. The child instantly clung to his leg, his eyes staring down Ravus fearfully.

“Prom, you have to go get ready.”

“No! Ravus is just going to chase me again!”

Ravus pouted.

“It’s just a bug. Dumb Prom-prom.”

Prompto shook his head, burying his face in Noct’s pants.

Cindy smiled, gently taking Ravus’ hand.

“Let’s go take it outside alright? I bet it will fly!”

Ravus gasped and instantly ran outside, Cindy giving Noct a thumbs-up as she followed after him, Nyx watching them go.

“Was Ravus dressed up as a cockroach?”

Noct nodded.

“Wh-”

“Don’t ask.”

 

After an hour of getting everyone actually ready to go, Prompto in his chocobo outfit, Luna holding onto Nyx and Ravus once again being forced to throw another bug away, Noct stood on the steps of the Citadel, handing out the buckets to everyone and attaching the glowsticks to tiny hands.

He stood up, adjusted his Assassin’s hood and looked the kids over.

“Okay, everyone knows the rules right?”

A chorus of “yes”s answered him, Cindy and Nyx joining in as well.

“Good. Prompto is with me, Nyx has Luna and Ravus- put the bug back!”

Ravus pouted, threw the grasshopper away and held onto Cindy’s hand.

Noct sighed as he heard laughing, looked up and found his dad and Sylvia smiling at them, their own costumes a reaper and a devil.

“You look ready to get to go!”

Sylvia held up a camera, gave them all a smile.

“Let’s take a picture, shall we?”

They all got ready, Sylvia pointing the children to the camera.

“Get ready! Say, “Trick-or-treat!”

“Trick-or-treat!”

Chapter Text

Prompto almost tripped, heard Noct laugh as he was blindly led to somewhere.

He sighed, held onto what he assumed was Noct's hands looked forward and frowned.

“Can I take this off yet?”

“Not yet. Give me a minute Prom.”

Prompto blushed at the nickname, muttered nothings under his breath, jerked in surprise as someone touched his foot.

He heard Nyx laugh, felt his friend's back as he balanced on him, Nyx stealing a shoe.

“Nyx, what are you doing?”

“Taking off your shoes Chocobo butt, give me a second.”

Prompto smacked wildly, luckily hit Nyx's head, let the man slip the other off..

Next, someone was picking him up, Prompto squeaking as he clung to a muscled body.

“G-gladio?”

“Yeah kid. Imma make sure your precious feet don't get burned, give us a second.”

Prompto rested in the older man's arms, squirmed slightly.

Gladio huffed, gently pinched Prompto.

“What kid?”

“Aren't I heavy?”

He heard Gladio laugh, felt his cheeks heat as the man sighed happily against him.

“Not on your life kid. Lighter than Noct.”

“I heard that!”

Noct's voice was a little further away and Prompto reached out his hand, blindly reached until a hand met his.

“Right here Prom.”

Prompto blushed but held on, gave a shaky smile.

“Right. Where are we going?”

“You will see.”

Prompto sighed, stopped and took another breath.

He smelled the air, found it salty and with a slight stench but overwhelmingly different than anything he ever knew.

“What is that smell?”

He heard Nyx next to him, could sense the smile as he spoke.

“You'll see.”

 

It took them a few more minutes before Gladio set him down, Prompto feeling something hot and slightly wet squishing against his toes.

He almost freaked, almost jumped back onto Gladio, but Noct was there, pulling him forward with a laugh.

“Come on Prom, you are fine!”

Prompto groaned stumbled a few feet, decided that he shouldn't be trusting Noct while he was still blind.

“Noct, what is th-”

He stopped as water splashed his feet, stopped dead and let Noct go as the liquid washed over and passed him.

Prompto gasped at the chill, blinked and instantly grabbed his blindfold, getting it off and blinking as the sun greeted him.

He stared, let the cloth fall into the water as he took in the scene.

It was like liquid glass.

Water, as far as he could see, as if someone had filled half the world with water.

But they had, he had heard about this.

Water, an overwhelming amount, going down into depths no human could go.

Filled with another world no one had known yet.

A conversation about this phenomena, Noct incredulous at Prompto's lack of exploration.

“You haven't seen the ocean yet!?”

He looked down, saw the water slowly fall away from his feet, wiggled his toes in the soft ground as another wave of water came over him, crystal clear and completely wet.

Prompto laughed, found Noct watching him, a smile playing at his lips as he came back from the water.

Prompto held out his hands, took Noct's and shook them excitedly.

“Is this-!?”

“You did say you never saw the ocean.”

“Noct!”

Prompto jumped onto his husband, throwing them both into the water as they laughed.

Chapter Text

“Noct, can I ask you a question?”

Noct glanced up from his tie, gave his boyfriend a look.

“Go for it.”

Prompto fidgeted, watched his boyfriend wrestle with the cloth before he sighed and walked forward, expertly tying it off and patting it down.

“Um, uh… well. I was just…”

Prompto frowned, smoothed out Noct’s suit.

Noct watched Prompto, grabbed his hands and gave him a smile.

“What Prom?”

Prompto sighed, looked away.

“Do you ever… wonder? About, uh… if you weren’t… dating me?”

Noct raised a brow and chuckled nervously, brought Prompto to face him as he searched his face.

“Why would I think about that Prom?”

Prompto blinked, felt his cheeks flush.

“Ah, well… not that you would or anything! Just… what if you did? Like, uh… do you ever wonder! How it would be… if maybe, you uh… had a girlfriend?”

Noct blinked, frowned as he saw Prompto’s face.

“Why-”

“Because! Like, uh… she could wear dresses! And, uh… have children… and…”

“Prompto.”

“And i know! I know it isn’t fair for me but, uh… isn’t that something that everyone wants!?”

“Prompto.”

“Noct, I-”

A knock on the door interrupted them, Prompto instantly jumping and pushing Noct away, running to the door.

“Ah, Ignis! Noct is ready! I, uh… I think I ruined the tie, you should probably go fix it!”

Ignis walked in, looking behind him and giving Noct a confused look.

“Is something wrong with Prompto?”

Noct frowned, turned back to the mirror.

 

-

 

Prompto hated himself.

No one had told him the dinner party was a ball.

No one warned him he was going to have to dance.

He wouldn’t have come if that had been the case, he would have ditched before Noct managed to trap him in the building by instantly saying hello to his dad.

Would have left before anyone could figure out who the Prince’s plus one was.

He sighed, watched as Noct expertly danced with one of the Ladies from Far Away, looked at how they both masterly followed through the flow of the music, her dress swishing gracefully around as Noct spun her.

They looked good together, like a scene out of the many Disney movies Noct loved to watch.

The end, when the Prince and his Chosen dance together happily, their dream finally come true.

The music stopped, both looking to the musicians before they bowed to one another, Noct gently placing a kiss on the girl’s hand before she was whisked off to another partner.

Noct seemed to deflate, the Prince of dreams slowly leaving to be replaced by the teenager from off the streets.

Prompto walked up, gave his friend a light pat.

“Nice going Princey, She’s a keeper.”

Noct gave him a frown, his face set.

Prompto blinked, looked away quickly.

“I mean, she looks so pretty in that dress! I guess foreigners from Insomnia are real fashionable.”

It didn’t seem to work, Noct’s face still moving towards that frown he reserved for the steamed vegetables Ignis dared to put on his plate.

“Noct, dude, what’s wrong?”

Noct sighed, turned away to fix his cuffs as Prompto flustered next to him.

Noct was angry, the real anger Prompto had the privilege of only digging up once before.

“Noct, ta-”

The music director clicked, the sounds for the next song rising up.

Prompto looked at the music, began to turn away to get off the dance floor.

He was pulled, his arms getting tugged back and his body spinning until he was facing Noct, his boyfriend smoothly placing his hands on his hip and holding one up by their heads.

Prompto blinked, flushed as he realized what Noct was doing.

“Wait, you know I can’t dance.”

Noct gave him a look, one that bordered complete indifference.

Prompto stopped, let himself be gently dragged as the music picked up, realized it was a relatively slow song, the spins and twirls probably not present in the music as it gently flowed out of the instruments.

Prompto looked down, watched the footwork he was definitely messing up, stared at Noct’s feet, the slow steady steps giving him a clue.

“Prom.”

Prompto threw his face up, found Noct giving him a small smile, frowned as he felt his face heat up.

“This is your revenge!?”

Noct laughed, the soft chuckle he saved for the nights they couldn’t afford to wake up Gladio and Ignis.

“Maybe.”

Noct leaned forward, place his forehead against Prompto’s, their feet gently moving and their body’s close.

Prompto blinked, glanced away, found a few people were also dancing close, the music sliding up and down in the gentle waves of some obscene song.

“I suck at dancing.”

Noct closed his eyes, humming gently, his lips close enough to ghost over Prompto’s.

“I think you do just fine.”

“Yeah, you weren’t saying that when I was stepping on your feet.”

Noct laughed, opened his eyes and smiled brightly at Prompto.

“Hey Prom.”

“Yeah?”

“Do you really think I would want a girlfriend?”

Prompto stopped, searched Noct’s face as he leaned away. They spun gently, Prompto being led, and he frowned, looked down at his feet.

“I just… Noct. When you were dancing with that girl-”

“It was simple formality.”

“-And you both looked just right. I think I got a few shots on my phone.”

They spun around again, Noct pulling them away from some of the other dancers.

“I was thinking… I might not be the one.”

Noct blinked, almost stopped as Prompto shook against him.

“I just, sometimes? It feels like maybe… maybe I shouldn’t be your boyfriend. I mean, I can’t do a lot by myself and I have nothing to offer,”

Noct sighed, gave Prompto a look.

“Hey, Prom.”

Prompto sighed, looked up and caught Noct’s lips, his boyfriend giving him a small kiss and smiling into it.

Prompto blushed, gave Noct a glare.

“That’s not fair.”

“Hmm.”

Noct leaned down, brushed his lips again.

He took a breath, starting humming until the words floated out, quiet and only for Prompto.

“Oh, your eyes, your eyes, make the stars look like they're not shining;”

“Your hair, your hair, falls perfectly without you trying.”

“You’re so beautiful.”

“And I tell you every day.”

Prompto blinked, brought his voice down to whisper as he gave him an incredulous look.

“Are you… singing!?”

Noct just smiled, continued as they danced.

“Yeah, I know, I know, when I compliment you, you won't believe me.”

“And it's so, it's so sad to think that you don’t see what I see."

“But every time you ask me, do I look okay?”

“I say,”

Noct pulled him closer, squeezed Prompto’s hand.

Prompto groaned, fought down the blush attacking his face.

“Noct!”

“When I see your face,”

“There's not a thing that I would change.”

“‘Cause you're amazing,”

“Just the way you are.”

Prompto sighed, trying to bury his stupid grin in Noct’s shoulder, the idiot leaning back and giving him a look.

“And when you smile,”

“The whole world stops and stares for a while.”

“'Cause you're amazing,”

“Just the way you are.”

Prompto shook his head, gave Noct a look.

“Please don’t tell you are singing the whole song.”

Noct laughed, sighed as he gave him a smirk.

“You’re lucky. I can only remember the first verse.”

Prompto blinked, laughed loud and broke their dance, shaking his head and grabbing Noct's arm, moving away from the dance floor.

“You are such a dorkface.”

Chapter Text

Ignis is cleaning his daggers, all of them set gently out, waiting for him to go through and see how much damage he has put them through.

It’s morning, the sun barely starting to creep up, Ignis sipping on his Ebony as he polishes his second one.

The tent shifts, the corner being moved around, before blonde hair and freckles stumble out, Prompto’s eyes still closed and his mouth a thin line of protest.

“What time is it?”

The words are perfectly placed, like Prompto woke up awhile before and just now resigned himself to actually facing the morning.

Ignis looks up from his work, gives the boy a small smile.

“I believe only around 5:30.”

Prompto takes a minute to process this, sighs long and hard, his body sagging, and walks the rest of the way to the table, curling up on one of the chairs and sighing again.

His eyes are still closed.

“Why am I awake?”

Ignis snorts softly, puts down the dagger and starts on the next one.

Prompto stays like that for a few minutes, his eyes slowly opening as he yawns, his hair a giant pile of untamed blonde strands.

“What’re you doing Iggy?”

“Maintenance.”

Prompto hums, watches as Ignis cleans the dagger he has out, looks down to the others.

He is looking at them, the way a child does when they are considering just how they would use an object.

Ignis glances up, sees Prompto is finally awake now, his blue eyes burning into the daggers as he tries to memorize their shape.

His phone comes out, Prompto holding it with both hands and snapping photos as he looks at them, probably so he can zoom in and see them.

Ignis sighs, finishes up one and places it in front of Prompto.

“You can look at them, if you really are curious.”

Prompto blinks, glances up at Ignis like he isn’t sure if it is permission or a dare.

Ignis leaves him to it and grabs another one, starts polishing it.

It has a chip, barely a dent but still noticeable, Ignis getting out his sharpener to grind it away.

Prompto is holding the dagger now, running his fingers all over the polished hilt and blade, his phone abandoned for the real thing.

They sit like that for a few more minutes, Ignis tending to his knives.

“Ah.”

Ignis looks up, catches the moment Prompto sticks his finger into his mouth, giving the dagger a dirty look as he sucks on his thumb.

“It got me.”

Ignis sighs, gives Prompto a look.

“What were you doing?”

Prompto looks up, his face no longer brave enough for a glare as a slight shade of pink hides underneath his freckles.

“Nothing.”

“Hmm.”

Prompto brings his thumb out, deems the damage healed and sets his hands once again on the blade, Ignis going back to his maintenance.

“Hey Iggy?”

“Yes Prompto?”

“How do you throw daggers?”

Ignis glances up, sees Prompto holding the dagger and flicking his wrist gently, imitating what must have been a throw.

Ignis thinks for a second, looks to the board he uses for practice, still out from the night before.

It’s morning, the sun slowly starting to actually shine, Prompto’s hair starting to glow from the rays.

Ignis puts his knife down, stretches a little.

“I could show you?”

Prompto is blinking, slight confusion before it is melting into the excitement he was probably holding out on this whole time.

“Really?”

Ignis nods, gathers three and is already walking to the board, glancing back at the blonde.

“If you really are curious?”

Prompto nods, his hair flying out as he stands and stretches too.

“Yes please.”

Chapter Text

“Nyx, are you a knight?”

Nyx looked up from the book, saw Luna with her shining eyes and hopeful smile drilling into him.

He smiled and sighed.

“I guess I sort of am.”

Luna gasped happily.

“Can I be your Lady!?”

Nyx chuckled, gave Luna a pat.

“I think you might already be. I do protect you and everything.”

Luna nodded, looked down at her book and flipped through the pages till she found the one with a knight in armor and a girl in a dress.

“Like this?”

Nys looked down at the page.

“Oh yeah, there it is.”

Luna squealed in delight, Noct glancing up at them as Nyx laughed.

Noct sighed that the two, looked down as Prompto flipped through his book gently.

“Noct, you’re a prince right?”

“Yup.”

Noct watched as Prompto found the page.

“And one day you’ll be King?”

Noct nodded.

“That’s the plan.”

Prompto hummed.

Noct leaned forward, looked at the picture of the King and his Queen.

Prompto flipped the page, looked at the pictures of the knights.

“Maybe I will be a knight then.”

Luna turned, giving her cousin a glare.

“You can’t be a knight because Nyx is a knight!”

Nyx laughed.

“It’s fine Lady Luna. Prompto can be a knight too.”

Luna shook her head hard, her hair swishing around her face.

“No! Prompto can’t be a knight because he is crybaby!”

Prompto pouted, his cheeks puffing out angrily.

“Am not.”

“Are too!”

“Am not!”

“Are too!”

“Am! Not!”

“ARE TOO AND RAVUS WILL AGREE WITH ME!”

“SHUT UP LUNA!”

“DON’T TELL A LADY TO SHUT UP STUPID PROM-PROM!”

“DON’T CALL ME STUPID! IMMA TELL!”

Noct broke them apart, gave both children a stern look.

“Guys, no screaming at each other! Luna, you know stupid isn’t allowed. Prom, you know you are not supposed to tell people to shut up.”

Both kids sat down, turned away from one another, their heads spun away and their arms crossed on their chest.

“Not my fault. Prom-prom is just dumb.”

“Luna.”

Prompto stuck his tongue out as her, Luna turning around angrily and grabbing Nyx to pull him away.

Noct sighed, dropped down next to Prompto.

“Prom, it’s fine. You can be whatever you want.”

Prompto pouted, looked angrily at his book.

“No I can’t. Nyx is a knight.”

Noct sighed, pulled Prompto into his lap and rested his chin on his head.

Prompto sat in his lap, flipped back to the page with the King and Queen.

Noct looked down at the book, sighed as the thought came to him.

“Then just be my Queen.”

Prompto turned, Noct looking down at bright blue eyes as Prompto gave him a look.

“Can I?”

Noct blinked, gave him a nod.

“I mean, sure.”

Prompto climbed around in his lap, turned and grabbed Noct’s face.

“Can I really be your Queen!?”

Noct smiled at him, knocked their foreheads together gently before giving him a kiss between his bangs.

“Yeah Prom, you can be my Queen.”

“Heh.”

Noct turned and found Nyx giving him a smirk. Luna in his lap.

“Pervert.”

“Pedophile.”

Prompto threw his pinky out, grabbed Noct’s hand to pull out his.

“Pinky promise!”

Nyx was watching him, making Noct embarrassed as he hooked Prompto’s pinky with his.

“Pinky promise.”

Luna appeared out of nowhere, grabbing Prompto’s pinky angrily.

“I wanna be Queen!”

Nyx snorted.

“I thought you were my Lady!”

Prompto gave her a glare.

“No Luna, Noct promised me already!”

“But you’re a boy Prom-prom!”

Prompto puffed out his cheeks angrily, clung to Noct as he continued to glare at Luna.

“So?”

Luna stopped, looked around like something would give her an idea.

“B-but, I wanna be queen!”

Ravus slammed the door opened, pointing straight at Luna.

“You can’t be Queen, you’re the Oracle!”

Prompto nodded, his hair bouncing wildly as he pointed at Luna.

“Yeah! You’re already an Oracle, you can’t be Queen!”

Luna frowned, looked hopelessly around.

“Ravus, you can Oracle then!”

“Wha- no!”

Noct laughed at them, tried to calm down the group of children as Nyx watched him.

Prompto hung on to the Prince, Noct giving Prompto another kiss on the forehead as the boy giggled happily.

Nyx blinked, sighed as he rubbed the back of his head.

“This might come back to bite us in the butt.”

Chapter Text

Prompto opens his eyes, expects to see Gladio, instead is surprised with Ignis.

It is dark in the room, curtains drawn and the only light comes from the open doorway that is behind Ignis' body.

Even in the darkness, Prompto can make out the man, slim and agile compared to buff and muscles. 

He is frowning just so, his closed eyes not hidden behind the sunglasses he never seems to take off.

A rare sight, especially nowadays.

“It has been three weeks Prompto.”

Prompto doesn’t answer, just looks up at Ignis, lets his eyes trace the scar that runs across his eye.

It is a nice scar, one that Prompto thought of as beautiful.

Noct did too, at one point.

The mention of the memory hits Prompto harder than it should, harder than it would if he had been asleep.

He sucks in air, focuses again on Ignis.

“So?”

His voice is raspy, enough that deeper wrinkles form to define the displeasure Ignis has.

“Don’t you think it is about time?”

Prompto doesn’t, not with the leak in his eyes, the lead in his limbs, the constant fatigue in his bones.

Not with the gaping hole in his heart.

But Ignis was never evil, never rude or angry in the way most were, just small touches and over whelming concern.

He touches Prompto’s forehead now, lets a bare hand run up into his hairline.

Prompto allows it for a moment, waits as Ignis maps an image in his head.

“One would think you were growing a nest for a full chocobo, not just his butt.”

Small humor, placed for a reaction.

Prompto remembers when they all used to joke about it, the laughter of Noct as Gladio messed up the little style Prompto put into his blonde spikes.

It was nice, when that would happen, when hands would run through his hair with the suggestion of an actual trim.

Now, it is just empty.

Empty feelings for an empty heart.

“Maybe I am.”

Ignis’ smile is replaced with a sad look, one that gives Prompto a little more to feel guilty about.

“Perhaps. But what of this nonsense on your chin?”

Ignis’ hands smooth down to touch the fuzz there, tiny whiskers for all the negligence over the last few weeks.

Prompto feels the gentle tug, gives Ignis a look he won’t see.

“It is for the chicks.”

Ignis sighs out a laugh, gives the tiny beard another tug.

“I don’t mind but I think Gladio is getting threatened by it.”

“Then Gladio can shave it off himself.”

“I just might.”

Prompto looks past Ignis, realizes that Gladio is standing there, just in the doorway, leaning against the frame, a small frown on his face.

“Do it.”

“I will if it gets you off that bed.”

Prompto shifts, digs himself deeper into the caving mattress.

It isn’t comfortable, haven’t been for weeks, and from the looks he is getting from both the men, they know it too.

Gladio shrugs his shoulders to the open door.

“Get out of bed kid.”

Prompto doesn’t want to, doesn’t feel like going out and realizing that it is as dark out there as it is in here.

Ignis puts a hand on his head.

“Come on then.”

Prompto sighs, one that he can feel in his stomach and muscles, before he relents, slowly moving from under the covers.

Ignis gets up, Prompto putting a hand on his hip to gently move him as he gets up, lets out a sigh and a groan at his lazy limbs.

“It hurts.”

Ignis grabs for his shoulder, gives it a small squeeze as Gladio gives him a small sad smile.

“It always does, at first.”

 

Prompto runs a hand over his chin, feels the skin for any other remnants of his lost facial hair.

Gladio is looking at him through the mirror, giving him a smirk from his perch on the frame.

“There’s the sunshine child. Smooth and spotless.”

Prompto gives him a dirty look, runs a hand through his wet hair.

It falls over his eyes, the fringe grown long since he last checked it.

Ignis comes in, sets a pair of scissors on the bathroom sink and finds Prompto’s hair, pulling gently at the ends.

“You could probably benefit from a trim.”

“Thanks Igs.”

“No problem Prompto.”

Prompto grabs the scissors, straightens out his hair and pulls some apart to start cutting.

The last time they did this, it was before the train, before everything went to hell and even more went to crap.

Only Prompto wasn’t the one holding the scissors, Ignis wasn’t the one next to him.

 

Noct gives him a snort, runs a hand through his freshly washed hair.

He looks through the mirror at Prompto.

“You want a haircut from me?”

“Yeah, dude. Just a trim. Nothing too much or anything like that.”

“Wouldn’t Gladio be more suited for this?”

“With his ‘wilderness child cuts hair with the sharp end of a knife’ crap? No thank you.”

Noct gives him a small smile, plants himself behind Prompto and lets his hands runs through the wet strands.

“Scissors?”

Prompto hands them over, holds onto the ends as he gives his friend a stare.

“Please do not make me ugly Noct. I will hate you for eternity.”

“Got it.”

 

“Kid?”

Prompto blinks, looks back in the mirror at Gladio.

“Yeah?”

“You gonna cut that or just admire it?”

Prompto looks back in the mirror, remembers the soft hands and gentle clipping of the scissors.

Prompto sighs, puts the scissors down and styles his hair, letting it hang low over his ears, brushing his new bangs to the side.

“Admire it.”

Chapter Text

Prompto throws the ring up, lets it catch the flashlight and glint brightly against the darkness, gets the attention of the coeurls and has them turning to face him.

Two headshots later and they fall to the ground, one last roar coming out as their souls leave for higher grounds.

Prompto catches the ring, plays with the small piece of jewelry as Gladio checks them, gives Prompto a thumbs-up.

Prompto sighs, his body slowly sagging.

“Are you okay there Prompto?”

Ignis comes and lays a gentle hand on his shoulder, his head tilted towards Prompto.

“Fine Igs.”

“You seem tired.”

He is always tired, nowadays, doesn't have the energy to do much more than the few hunts he has been dragged on.

He nods, gives his shoulder a roll to communicate to Ignis.

“You caught me.”

Ignis hums, runs his hand down Prompto's arm to hold his hand, brushes the jewelry in it.

“A ring?”

 

“What's this for?”

Noct is giving him a lazy smile, running a hand through his hair, humming instead of giving him a real answer.

Prompto shifts on the bed, pushes himself so they are face to face, catches the small spark in Noct's eyes, stars at midnight.

Noct blows air into his face.

“Guess.”

Prompto frowns, turns the small box over in his hands, takes in the small ribbon holding it closed.

“It's a gift, right?” He looks up, gives Noct a smile, “For Lady Lunafreya?”

Noct scoffs, more amusement than scorn, gives Prompto a shake.

Prompto looks down, takes in the tiny writing on the card attached to it.

“Ever at your side?”

Noct nods, shifts so his back is on the bed, spreads his hands up in front of him.

Prompto frowns, tries to think of other things it could be.

“”It's a gift… for…”

He remembers the ring Ignis wears on his finger, the one Gladio had given him for his birthday.

“For Ignis? His birthday just passed?”

Noct glances at him, gives him a look before he sits up, gestures for Prompto to follow him.

Prompto does and they shift, setting themselves in front of one another, theirs legs tangled on top of each other.

“Let me see?”

Prompto hands the box over, watches as Noct opens it and pulls something out.

“Close your eyes.”

 

Prompto bites down on the memory, realizes that Ignis is waiting a response.

“Yeah, it's a ring. Go ahead.”

Ignis waits another second before he takes it, his fingers running along the ring, a hum rising from his throat, considerate.

Concerned.

“I thought you never took this off?”

 

“Imma change the world. Are you with me?”

Prompto stared at Noct, his friend, his King.

His promised one.

“Uh-huh. Ever at your side.”

Noct blinks, turns and then that smile is back, small but there and all for Prompto.

His ring is cool against his finger, the constant reminder.

“Wouldn't have it any other way.”

 

“Prompto?”

Prompto swallows, gently takes the ring from Ignis.

“Yeah.”

He slips the ring back on, settles it right over the small tanline that hasn't faded yet.

Left hand, the finger right next to the pinky.

 

Prompto closes his eyes, bites down as he feels Noct taking his left hand, grabbing a finger.

Then the cool touch of metal is on his skin, Prompto opening his eyes to find a ring there, twisting around a single small gem.

 

He takes Ignis' hand, leads him back to Gladio.

 

“It's a promise, Prom.”

 

“Wait for me.”

Chapter Text

He finds them in the kitchen, Ignis whisking something in a bowl as he instructs the three kids on the making of cutouts.

Noct comes in, watches from a distance.

Ravus is actually good at it, his cutouts coming out almost perfectly, his face set in determination as he works through the dough.

Luna is less fortunate, her impatience melting with her roughness, her cutouts looking more like someone is ripping the little gingerbread men limb from limb.

Prompto is going good, save the fact the child keeps sticking dough into his mouth every time Ignis looks away.

Noct smiles, walks over to Prompto and gives him a look.

“Prom, I think you are suppose to be making the cookies, not eat-”

Prompto throws his hand over Noct's mouth, his eyes bright with excitement and slight fear.

“Shhh!”

Noct blinks, licks Prompto's hand, the boy flinching away in disgust as Noct gets a taste of dough.

Prompto wipes his hands on his apron, gives Noct a dirty look.

“Don't tell!”

Noct is almost positive that Ignis already knows, can almost see the tiny smile the man is wearing as he helps Luna put her gingerbread men back together.

“Well, what will you do to keep me quiet?”

Prompto's face falls, the child instantly trying to think of something before he gasps and dips his finger into the dough again, holding it out to Noct to eat.

Noct blinks, looks from Prompto to the dough and back.

“I'll give you some!”

Noct glances up at Ignis before opening his mouth and taking the dough, licking Prompto's fingers in the process.

Prompto laughs, pulls his finger back and gives Noct a triumphant smile, his eyes sparkling blue.

“Now you're my accomplice!”

Noct snorts, covers his mouth as he chews.

“Your what now?”

“Really you two.”

Both of them flinch, Noct looking up to see Ignis giving him a small frown.

“If I wanted you to eat the dough, I would have said so.”

Noct swallows, gives Ignis a smile and points at Prompto.

“He bribed me.”

“What!?”

Prompto stares at Noct before flushing, his hands moving to wring out an excuse.

“I was... taste testing!”

Noct snorts, turns away laughing and Ignis can't help the smile that breaks out, Prompto blushing from embarrassment and going after Noct.

“Don't laugh! You're my accomplice!”

Chapter Text

Wiz sets the box down and Noct already knows its a bad idea.

 

The box is simple enough, just some kind of package that had been wrapped and topped with a lid, the bright wrapping paper popping out.

Wiz gestures at it with a flourish, puts on a smile that seems just a tad angled for the man.

“I got this especially for His Majesty.”

Noct knows Wiz, has spent good, long years helping keep the Post safe from daemons.

The man rarely gave physical gifts, was more than happy with simply giving them discounts on rents and races.

Noct frowns slightly, watches as Prompto moves to the box excitedly.

“For me?”

Noct watches as Wiz nods, sees the mischief in his eyes.

“Wiz.”

Both of them turn to him, Prompto's confusion unaware of Wiz’s spark of excitement.

“Is there something wrong?”

Wiz gives Noct a look, one that used to make him take on hunts, no matter how out of the way they were.

“Come now Your Highness, it’s Christmas.”

And he lost already, Prompto instantly tacking on his puppy eyes as he echoes.

“Noct, its Christmas.”

Noct bites down the smile, gives Wiz a look that is returned with a smirk.

“I am not a part of this.”

“A part of what?”

Nyx walks over, Aranea and Ignis following behind, talking about something as they bring out cups for the hot cocoa.

Wiz gestures to the box, Prompto taking the bait and opening it up before anyone else can stop him.

As soon as the lid comes off, a giant ball of fluff and feathers bursts out, the chocobo chick letting out a delighted “kweh” as Prompto drops the lid and stares.

Nyx stares too, a smile that is more disbelief tacking onto his face.

“Is that-”

“Yup. I remembered you fell in love so I have been keeping this beauty for you.”

Prompto is still in shock, looking from Wiz to the chick before looking at Noct.

“For me!?”

It’s a whisper, the same one from when they first saw them, one that makes Noct’s heart melt, but he turns away, feigns ignorance as Wiz laughs.

“Your Majesty, it is a gift. From me to you.”

Prompto needs no other encouragement, pulls the chocobo out of the box and cuddles it, laughing happily and showing it off to Nyx.

Noct keeps his eyes off the two, turns and watches Aranea and Ignis approach.

They are talking, don't realize what is going on until Aranea turns and catches sight of the situation.

Noct sees the exact moment Ignis realizes what Prompto has in his hand, the man’s poker face slapping off with the shock of what is in the Emperor’s hands.

Prompto turns to the man, has the audacity to smile and lift the chick for the adults to see, Noct stifling down his laugh as Nyx holds a hand over his mouth.

“I got a chocobo for Christmas!”

Chapter Text

The child is tied to a tree.

 

Cor notices him by hearing the rattling, thinks Noctis decided to mess with the traps again and got caught.

The pup is notorious for playing his luck with the bear traps the hunters lay for the pack, more notorious for getting caught in them and causing the other pups to rescue him.

He meanders over, gives a low howl to warn Noctis not to snap as soon as he is in view.

The pup is not the one to greet him.

It is a child of man.

Cor stops, takes in the child.

He is a small thing, thin and showing off bones, shocks of blonde hair wild and filled with leaves, hands and legs bound to one another.

A chain, large and heavy, hangs from his neck and slides up a tree, the iron attached to a branch.

A red hood, more for a man than the shadow of a child, spreads out from the thing, like a pool of blood.

A color that attracts the more nasty creatures of the forest.

Cor walks forward, grabs the attention of the child as a head swivels to face him.

Giant purple orbs stare at Cor, looking without seeing.

Dead, without a single spark of life.

Cor stops a foot away, takes in the hollow shell that might have once been a bright child.

He should kill it, snap the neck and grant it death.

He looks at the chain, blinks when he sees the trunk of the tree.

It is shredded, clawed at until the bark peeled and sap leaked out to save the tree.

Cor doesn’t even need to bet, knows that if he saw the child’s hands, they would be bloodied and broken.

All the more reason to kill them and put them out of their misery.

Cor lets out a sigh, gives himself a shake before stepping up to the child.

The tiny thing doesn’t even move as Cor bares his teeth to him, doesn’t react to Cor’s hot breath against his neck.

Cor snaps the collar, the iron falling uselessly off the child’s neck.

The child doesn’t even blink, the orbs just staring at Cor.

Lifeless.

Cor does the same with the chains around the arms and legs, breaks the child free as they stare on.

Once done, Cor steps back, gives the child a bark.

The child doesn’t move from his spot, doesn’t test out his freedom, just stares at Cor with those purple eyes.

Cor huffs, walks forward and nudges the child a little, showing them that their bonds are no longer holding them.

The child doesn’t respond, just allows the nudge without complaint.

Cor stops, looks up to search the face, and realizes.

The child isn’t going to move, not by themselves.

Cor  let out another huff in annoyance, stops and gives the child a look.

From in the woods, distant but still present, a howl rings out.

Regis, calling the pack back.

Cor answers, lifts his head and howls, gives the child one last look before turning away.

The child will leave, once the realization they are free kicks in.

Cor did what he could, gave the child a chance.

He makes it to the treeline, glances back.

They make no sign of moving, not even to huddle in on themselves.

Regis calls again, the howl more insistent.

Cor gives the child one last look before shaking himself.

He only makes it a few more feet before it nags at him and he turns around, letting out a frustrated growl.

He snaps at the child, nudges and bullies the child until they are securely on his back.

Regis calls once more, a warning for Cor.

Cor answers, lets the irritation he feels leak into the howl as he begins his journey back.

He slips into a run, throws the fact that the child weighs close to nothing into the back of his mind.

When Cor makes it to the pack, he is greeted by Regis, waiting for him.

Cor stops, sees the whole pack turn their attention to him.

Regis steps forward, gives him a sniff before snorting.

Cor moves just enough to reveal the child on his back.

Clarus growls low, and Cor snaps at the wolf in response.

Regis stares him down and Cor has half a mind to return the child.

Man has done nothing but pain, the fact obvious since Aulea’s death.

But then the child shifts from on top  of him and  Cor feels the grip of tiny hands in his fur, the nudge as the child buries his head in it as well.

Cor gives Regis a pleading look, whimpers softly on the child’s behalf.

Regis takes one more look at the child before letting out a huff, shaking his head slightly as he turns and leads the pack back home.

The others follow begrudgingly, Clarus giving Cor one last growl before turning away.

Cor sighs, lets the tension wash away as he follows.

It takes only a few minutes.

Noctis runs out from the pack, aims straight for Cor’s legs and lunges, snapping playfully at his feet.

Cor snaps at Noctis, gets his back and makes the pup jump and yelp, earning a ram from Gladio, who shoots from the others to protect his pack leader.

Cor gives him a growl and nudges him into Ignis, who is wary of the whole plan.

Noctis comes back, jumps his tail and holds on, Cor tossing his head back to see that the pup has found the child.

Noctis clambers onto Cor’s back, Cor giving him a growl even though they both know he can easily carry the two burdens.

The child is complacent as Noctis gives him a once-over, is content to huddle in Cor's fur as Noctis sniffs and licks at him. 

Gladio and Ignis fall into step with Cor, take turns glancing to their friend in case he needs them.

In five minutes, Cor glances at his back to see that Noctis has wrapped himself around the child, both of them cuddled close as they sleep to stay on Cor’s back.

Cor lets out a sigh, walks more carefully as he goes home.

Chapter Text

Sometimes, you have to be the one who makes the hard choice.

 

Noct stares at the bowed head and wringing hands.

He was twirling the ring on his finger, a nervous habit he had picked up since getting it. 

“What?”

Prompto sighs, one that is long and tired, one that makes his whole body deflate, one that pours out the happiness, leaves only the tired frown.

“I don't love you anymore.”

Noct takes a step forward, reaches out.

“Prom-”

But he steps back, holds out a hand and a small shake.

“Noct, please. Not anymore.”

Noct stops, slowly lowers his hand as he stares at his love.

He opens his mouth, closes it before trying again.

“I don't understand.”

Prompto sighs.

“Noct, I am tired. Tired of hiding and pretending. You are engaged to Lady Lunafreya and I… I don't want to be left. Not like that.”

“Prom, we talked about this! I can talk to Lu-”

“Really?”

Noct stops, stares at the blank eyes.

Ones that held so much love before.

Prompto looks down, slides the small ring he had held onto for so long off his finger.

A small tanline glares, like a brand without the physical pain.

He looks at the ring, gives a small laugh, hollow, before holding it out.

“Goodbye Noctis.”

Noct takes the ring, swallows as the tears fall.

“Prom, please.”

Prompto bows, holds it for a second.

“Do not worry Your Highness, I will fulfill my duties as I have before. Excuse me.”

Prompto turns, doesn't look back as the door closes behind him.

 

And he only makes it around the corner before he crumbles, barely away from Noct's room before his legs give out and he falls, a small noise pulled out as he goes down.

Prompto sits up, stares at the floor blurred with tears.

 

Sometimes, we have to do things that break us.

 

Prompto draws a breath, one that makes his whole body shake with the effort.

 

Noctis is a good boy and, one day, he will become a good King. We must help him to take the best route to that end.

 

He tries to breathe out, tries to calm himself before someone catches him in the ground, losing himself, but his breath hitches, a small scream escaping as he clasps both hands over his mouth.

He can't cry, not now, not so close to the one person he wanted to go to.

 

I know I ask something quite impossible,

“I don't love you anymore.”

But understand, I do this out of love for my King.

 

Please Prompto.

 

“Prompto?”

Prompto gasps, stills as he hears feet running towards him, hands taking his shoulders as Nyx bends down to look at him.  “Hey kid? Prompto? What happened? Do you need No-”

“No!”

Prompto grabs Nyx's arms, keeps his head bowed as he shakes his head.

“Please. Not Noct. Anyone but him."

"Please Nyx .”

He keeps his head down, shakes as he waits for Nyx's response.

A sigh comes from the man but he doesn't move away, just shifts a little, taking Prompto in his lap and holding him close.

Prompto clings to him, buries his face into Nyx's chest.

Nyx holds on as the sobbing comes, resting a hand on blonde spikes.

“Oh kid, what did you do?”

Chapter Text

“Iggy!”

Ignis turns, takes his hand from his uncle as they both bow to the Prince.

“Your Highness.”

“Your Highness.”

Noctis nods to Ignis' uncle but pins him with a frown, his hands behind his back.

“I told you to call me Noct, Iggy!”

Ignis side steps, glances at his uncle before nodding.

“Sorry… Noctis.”

Noct sighs, grumbles a little but doesn't correct him, instead standing up straight.

“Fine! Close your eyes!”

Ignis instantly obeys. He waits as he hears Noct shuffle.

“Okay, open them!”

He opens them to a big chocolate heart wrapped in pink foil and Noct's full smile.

“Happy Valentine's Day Iggy!”

Ignis blinks, gently takes the chocolate heart and gives Noct a small smile.

“Thank you Yo- Noctis. I have one for you as well!”

His uncle hands Ignis the small box and Ignis holds it out, watches as Noct gasps as he takes it and opens it.

“Wow Iggy, there's more than one!”

Ignis blushes, ducks his head as his uncle pats his hair.

“I didn't know which you liked so Uncle suggested I get you a variety.”

Noct beams at him, makes Ignis’ heart flip with warmth.

“Iggy, I love them, thank you!”

Ignis opens his mouth, is interrupted as a servant comes up and bows.

“Your Highness! I have been looking for you everywhere!”

The servant produces an Iris, Ignis watching as she hands it off to Noct.

“Here is the flower you requested.”

“Oh, thank you!”

Noct takes the flower, shows it off to Ignis.

“Isn't it pretty?”

Ignis’ uncle laughs, causes both boys to look at him, and gives Noct a knowing smile.

“Let me guess, you are giving it to the youngest Amiticia?”

Ignis blinks in surprise, turns to look at the prince.

Noct blushes, twirls the flower as he nods.

“Dad said that babies like flowers. So I thought I would show her an Iris. Cause she is also Iris…”

He gives Ignis a shy look.

“Do you think she will like it?”

Ignis stares for a second before nodding excitedly and giving Noct a smile.

“I am sure she will, Noctis!”

Noct sighs in relief, perks up as he smiles at Ignis.

“Did you get Gladio something? You two are always hanging out in the library together.”

Ignis’ face falls, goes from slight confusion to pure horror as he grabs at his uncle.

“GLADIO!”

 

-

 

Gladio watches as Noct plays with Iris, closely watched by their dad, sees the bright flower that bobs over her, getting her newly discovered laugh to come out full-tilt, Noct smiling brightly at her.

“Look Iris, it's your flower!”

Iris laughs, coos at the Prince and tries to grab at the flower.

“Gladio!”

Gladio blinks, turns and sees Ignis running up to him, a hand behind his back as he stops and takes a breath.

“Iggy, did you want to see Iris too?”

Ignis blinks, blushes and shakes his head, shifts from one foot to another as he looks away.

“No, I am not here for Iris. But uh,”

He takes a deep breath, stands up straight and pins Gladio with a look.

“I have something for you!”

Gladio watches as Ignis pulls a single Gladiolus from behind his back and holds it out for him to see.

Ignis blushes slightly, looks down as he presents it.

“Happy Valentine's Day Gladio.”

Gladio blinks, takes the flower and stares at it for a moment before giving Ignis a smile.

“Thanks Iggy.”

He turns, shows the flower to his dad who simply shakes his head.

“And did you get Ignis anything Gladio?”

Gladio gasps as Ignis shakes his head gently, puts his hands up.

“It is fine, I just-”

Gladio looks around wildly until he spots a small yellow flower growing near the sidewalk of the garden.

He picks it and holds it up, wincing once he sees the difference between them.

“Uh, you too. Happy Valentine's Day!”

His dad makes a noise and Noct stifles a snort, Gladio ignoring both as he holds it out.

Ignis blinks, takes the small flower from Gladio.

Gladio runs the back of his head, ducks his head in shame.

“I am sorry Iggy, I-”

“I love it.”

Gladio throws his head up, watches as Ignis brings the tiny flower to smell.

And then he gives him a bright smile, one Gladio had only seen given to Noct.

“Thank you Gladio.”

Gladio blushes, hard, feels his face heat up fast as he ducks his head and looks away.

Noct looks at him, smiles and instantly picks up on something.

“Ooooh! Gladio is blushing! Are you embarrassed!?”

“Shut up Noct!”

“Gladio!”

Ignis laughs, watches as Gladio gets scolded and Noct laughs, holds on to his treasure, making a mental note to press it later.

 

-

 

“No way.”

Noct nods as Prompto listens, Gladio trying to ignore both boys as the story is told.

Prompto smiles wide, tries to hide it behind his hand.

“That is adorable.”

Noct laughs, gives him a look.

“That isn't even the best part. The flower Gladio ended up giving Ignis was a dandelion.”

Prompto snorts as Ignis comes out of the kitchen, bearing a tray of food.

He gives Noct a look, Gladio blushing behind him.

“Noct, you're embarrassing Gladio.”

Prompto waves it off, gives Gladio a smirk.

“I think he did that all by himself.”

Gladio throws him a dirty look, one Prompto returns.

Noct smiles at Ignis, the Advisor knowing exactly what he was thinking.

“Don't you dare Noct.”

Prompto perks up, looks between the men.

“What?”

Noct's smile widens, his eyes bright with mischief.

“What makes it worse? Ignis had his uncle drive to five different flower shops to find Gladio's flower.”

Prompto snorts, covers his mouth and gives Ignis a look.

“That is too cute.”

Ignis coughs, his cheeks slightly pink as he sets the tray down.

“At least I didn't think that if I didn't pick the flower myself, they wouldn't accept it.”

Noct blushes, Prompto looking at him with a wide smile.

“What!?”

Gladio laughs, sits down as Ignis sets the table, pins Noct with a smirk.

“Princess here thought Iris would know if he didn't pick the flower himself. He had the maids searching everywhere for a flower in the ground. Luckily they found one.”

Prompto shakes his head, his smile still there.

“And how old was Iris?”

“Not even a year.”

Prompto laughs, Noct blushing hard as he looks away.

“It's not that funny!”

Prompto wipes at his eyes, pats him on the shoulder.

“No, that is just great. How sweet, Noct, I am sure she loved it.”

Noct groans, shoves him gently.

“She did, Prom, so shut it.”

“Alright, dinner is ready so enough with the horseplay, if you didn't mind.”

Everyone relaxes, Prompto gushing over the dinner and everyone eating.

With the food gone and the dishes done, everyone relaxing in living room, Prompto nudges Noct, gives Ignis and Gladio a look.

“I forgot to ask but why were you guys so worried about Valentine's Day?”

All three look at each other, smiling at one another.

Prompto sits up, looks at them.

“What?”

Gladio rolls his eyes, giving Ignis a look.

“I think it was something like,”

“Giving a gift to your favorite person.”

Ignis finishes, returning the look.

Noct shakes his head, smiles at a confused Prompto.

“My dad used to say that Valentine's Day was for your favorite person. That you should give them a gift because they were special.”

Prompto blinks, hums as he settles next to Noct.

“Noct?”

“Yeah?”

“You're my favorite person.”

Noct snorts, gives Prompto a kiss.

“You too Prom.”

Gladio groans, gives them a dirty look.

“Go home before you start that crap.”

 

-

 

“You still have that thing?”

Ignis finishes pressing the bouquet Gladio had gotten him, turns and throws Gladio a smirk over his shoulder.

“I do. It was the first gift you gave me.”

Gladio sighs as he looks at the pressed dandelion, the weed he had picked all those years ago.

“I can't believe you still have it though, it was so long ago!”

Ignis hums, runs a hand over the pressed flower with a small smile.

“Indeed it was. It has been a long since I got such surprising gifts.”

Gladio laughs, pulls Ignis to him with a small smirk.

“Should I go out and randomly pick up souvenirs for you?”

Ignis rolls his eyes, pats Gladio.

“I would think not. Wish your luck, you'd be picking up something with a disease.”

Gladio snorts,

“Oh come on, it was one time!”

“One time is quite enough Gladio.”

Gladio rolls his eyes but still holds onto Ignis, leaning down to give him a kiss.

They break, both smiling into the kiss.

 

“Happy Valentine's Day.”

Chapter Text

Fridays had a tendency to drag on. Especially during the last lesson of school when you knew that, as soon as the bell rang, you were in for an epic weekend of sleepovers, junk food, gaming, movies and little to no sleep with your best friend at your side. At least, that’s how Noctis felt. He had begged and begged and begged… then begged some more, to get an entire weekend of no royal duties, and in the end Ignis had finally agreed, and Noctis couldn’t wait.

Prompto tried to pay attention to what the teacher was saying.  He was really trying, but he too was excited about the weekend. I mean, c’mon, who wouldn’t be? He looked up from his notes for the 5 th time in 2 minutes and sighed. 5 more minutes and they were out. He needed to pass the time somehow. If he could just-

“And that was actually the last of it. We won’t be able to start our new topic until next week so have a good weekend, everyone.”

Wait….

What?

Did the teacher really just say that?

Prompto looked up to see that everyone was gathering their things and getting ready to leave. He then looked at Noctis, who was watching him with a shit-eating grin.

Let the epic weekend begin!

 

Noctis sighed as he hung up the phone then gave Prompto an apologetic smile. The blonde groaned in return and picked up his bag. Ignis couldn’t pick them up. If he had to fill in for Noct this weekend, they’d have to handle themselves until tomorrow morning, when he was coming to make brunch.

They started walking in silence until Prompto poked Noct in the side and ran off laughing. Noctis chuckled and proceeded to chase his friend. Nothing was going to ruin their weekend.

Their grocery shopping took longer than expected, not because they didn’t know what they want but because, after filling the shopping cart with everything they wanted, Prompto suggested to maybe be a little, just a little, responsible and to maybe put some items back on the shelves. Ignis would have their heads if the bought that much junk. And if they only ate chips and candy, wouldn’t they be too full to eat pizza? Noctis laughed softly at that logic but ended up agreeing. Who wanted to carry all of that all the way to Noct’s apartment, anyway? No one.

After paying for everything, they left the store, laughing and just enjoying each other’s company as they set forth to Noct’s apartment. It wasn’t a too long walk and for the most part, they passed time by making fun of the Glaives they spotted all around because of course the prince of freaking Lucis couldn’t be left unprotected.

“Prom, look. There’s another.” Noctis said, pointing to the 5 th guard he had spotted as they crossed the street. Prompto laughed and waved at the Glaive then looked back towards his best friend, tensing up. A car was speeding towards Noctis and before Prompto had time to think, his body moved on his own.

“Noct!” he yelled, running over, shoved his best friend of the way before everything went black.

 

Noctis sat on the ground, eyes wide and full of fear and never leaving the figure lying on the ground, unmoving only a few meters away. Bags of chips, bottles of soda and other snacks were scattered around the ground, but Noctis could only focus on the still figure, covered in blood.

“Prompto…” he mumbled softly, slowly standing up. What just happened? One moment they were goofing around, ready for their epic weekend of awesomeness and the next… Prompto had… Prompto was…

“PROMPTO!!!” Noctis screamed as he ran to his friend, falling to his knees as soon as he had reached him. “Prompto?! Prompto, wake up! Please!” he cried, tears falling from his eyes before even realized he was crying. “WAKE UP, PROM!!!!”

“Prince Noctis!” a voice sounded from behind him and it took all his strength to tear his eyes away from his injured best friend.

“Nyx…” he whispered, looking at the older man. Nyx Ulric, part of the Kingsglaive, knelt beside him, looked at Prompto for only a second before calling an ambulance. Luckily, the ambulance arrived within minutes. After securing Prompto, who had yet to move or show any signs of actually being alive aside from the slight movements of his chest when he gasped softly for air, the medics rushed him to the hospital. Noctis took a few steps forward, having every intent to follow them when a hand landed on his shoulder and held him back.

“I’ll take you.” Nyx said leading him to his motorcycle. “But you have to call Ignis beforehand. He has to know what’s going on.” Noctis nodded mutely and pulled out his phone, only then noticing that he was shaking. When had he started shaking? He took a moment to just breathe and hopefully calm himself before he called his advisor.

Yes, Noct? ” came the slightly annoyed reply after only two rings.

“I-Ignis…” Noct managed to choke out, and the tears were back. Before he had anytime to even try to collect himself, he was full on sobbing.

Noct? What’s wrong? What happened? Are you alright? Noct?! ” Ignis felt himself grow more and more frantic with each unanswered question and each sob from his charge. It had been forever since he had experienced the prince openly crying. Whatever had happened, it was bad.

“I-it’s… It’s Prompto…” Noctis cried. “H-he was… Oh Gods, Ignis…” Nyx watched sadly as his prince, his usually strong and collected prince, fell to pieces. He held out a hand for Noctis, who in turn handed over the phone wordlessly and started at the blood on his pants that he only just realized was there. Prompto’s blood.

“Ignis, it’s Nyx. Prompto was… hit by a car. We’re heading to the hospital. You and Gladio should meet us there.” Without waiting for a reply, the Glaive hung up the phone. He gently pulled Noct to his feet and guided the prince to the motorcycle. He gave his helmet to Noct, who seemed to be working on autopilot, and made sure it was safely fastened before they drove off.

 

Prompto, of course, was in surgery by the time they arrived. It shouldn’t have come as that much of a shock to the Prince of Lucis, but the word surgery hit him harder than he thought. Or maybe it was the combination of surgery and life-threatening condition that made him feel like he had just been stabbed. Or maybe, it was simply the guilt. Because Noctis knew. He knew that it should’ve been him who got hit by that car, knew that it should’ve been him who was rushed to the hospital. He should’ve been the one to fight for his life. Not Prompto. Never Prompto. Prompto didn’t deserve to be in this situation because of his own carelessness.

 

Waiting. That was all they were doing. Waiting for Prompto to get out of surgery had taken at least half a day. His injuries were very severe and Noctis thought he was going to either throw up or faint, possibly even both, when the doctor went over the list of injuries. Internal injuries, multiple fractures, and then the doctor had said what he feared the most. Prompto was in a coma and while there was a 50% chance that he’d wake up again, there was also a 50% chance that he’d never wake again. A life without Prompto? It was something Noctis had thought wouldn’t even be a possibility since the two became friends.

What would he even do without Prompto? His sunshine boy, his best friend, the only person who befriended him by choice. Prompto was the one to make him smile and laugh and make him forget the burden of the throne. Noct needed that. He needed his best friend.

With both hands holding onto one of the blond’s limp ones, he whispered softly:

“Oh Prompto… Please wake up…”

Chapter Text

It's not fair.

 

Prompto sighs, lets the thought entertain itself as he watches Noct sleep.

They had been playing video games until late, late enough that Noct had dropped his controller and accidentally stopped their round of shooting random aliens.

So they had crashed, both of them too tired to even contemplate the implications of the shared bed.

But now, with Prompto awake, he couldn't stop the slight blush heating up his cheeks.

They were a tangle of limbs, Noct's legs wrapped between Prompto's as one arm hung around his waist, the other cupping his own cheek.

Noct's breath came out in small puffs, his eyes closed and his hair down and mushed from the peaceful sleep.

He looks beautiful, even with his hand squishing the side of his face and Prompto can't help but think it unfair that Noct's ethereal nature still clings to him, even in sleep.

He blinks, watches the steady rise and fall of Noct's chest for another minute before he shifts slowly, bringing his arms to freedom and his body to the side.

Prompto takes a small breath, squints and watches his friend.

“Noct?”

He is answered with steady breathing and no movement and Prompto thanks the Astrals that Noct is such a heavy sleeper.

He shifts some more, watches Noct as he digs around his pocket.

He finds it and pulls it out, holding the object between them.

It's a ring, silver metal cut up with rich black engravings, the words “Always by your side” resting in the surface.  

It had been the reason Prompto had come over, the reason he had woken up as it dug into his thigh.

It's what makes Prompto nervous, as he holds it between them.

He goes through his next move in his head, tries out a million different proposals as he watches Noct through the ring, lets out a quiet, frustrated sigh as he plays around with scenarios.

But then Noct shifts, Prompto going rigid as he friends moves, relaxes when Noct just moves his hand away from his face and settles into the bed without waking.

It's his left hand that just moved, slack and only slightly curled, his fingers just waiting.

Prompto has to entertain the thought for a second, goes over the obvious risks of it before he glances at Noct.

Still asleep.

He gently shifts, slips the ring onto Noct's ring finger.

A single flash of horror hits him when he realizes the ring might not fit but Prompto has another Astral to thank, the ring sliding down perfectly to rest on Noct's finger.

Prompto blinks, stares at the ring for a second.

There is something about it, a swell of both pride and adoration making Prompto's heart ache in the most god-awful and amazing way.

He sighs happily.

The thought filters through, that he should take it off before Noct actually does wake up but Prompto gives himself another second before he decides to take it off, glancing at Noct to make sure he is still asleep.

Instead, Prompto finds himself staring down midnight.

“Prom…”

His words are breathed more than spoken, like he can't decide whether or not he is still asleep.

Prompto tenses, instantly stills his movement, tries to keep himself from glancing at the ring and giving himself away.

But Noct smiles, barely there and still soft from sleep, his eyes only just open and considering Prompto curiously.

He shifts, moves so he is facing Prompto, his legs detangling themselves and his hands moving to balance his head.

Prompto wants to scream, keeps it in as he watches the ring go too.

“What are yo-"

Noct blinks, the sleepiness slowly draining from his eyes as he moves his hand in front of them.

Prompto watches as the slight shock turns to slightly more confusion, Noct waking up more every minute.

A thousand different excuses come to mind and Prompto doesn't even pick one before he is opening his mouth, ready to defend whatever lame nonsense comes from his mouth.

“It's for you.”

Noct is still blinking, eyes switching from the ring to Prompt0, all sleep leaking out and being replaced with incredulous shock. He twists the ring, his eyes falling in the inscription, his fingers gently touching it.

It takes a full minute before Noct speaks and it is with a quiet voice and a raised eyebrow.

“Are you… proposing?”

Prompto flushes, opens his mouth, stops before an excuse can throw itself out.

He could make up an excuse.

But there is something about being in bed with Noct, bodies close together. There is something about the way the ring sits on Noct's finger, not yet removed. There is something about the words on it, the tens years it took to get to this point.

Prompto takes a breath, boldly answers.

“Yes.”

Noct stops twisting the ring, slowly meets Prompto's gaze.

Prompto stares back, tries to not let himself deflate and deflect now that he has come this far.

He almost ruins it, a raw twist of horror gaining attention in his stomach, but then Noct's face falls into something soft and genuine and filled with love.

And then he smiles, a small and pure and happy one, saved for even rare occasions for Prompto.

Instead of answering or commenting, Noct hums, gently moves to take Prompto's hand.

Prompto lets him, doesn't move as Noct fidgets with it.  

“Where's your ring?”

Prompto blinks, realizes that Noct is staring at his own ring finger, bare and naked.

“Oh, uh… I- I don't have one.”

Noct hums again, leaves it at that and fiddles with Prompto's finger for another moment before dropping his hand and tugging him close.

Prompto moves, shifts closer to Noct and allows him wrap arms around his waist and re-tangle their legs.

Noct settles his chin on Prompto's head, Prompto nestled against his chest, and sighs happily.

Prompto sighs too, relief flooding through as he relaxes into the hold, already feeling Noct's body melt for another round of sleep.

He lets himself doze too, closes his eyes but doesn't get to sleep, Noct's voice drifting down to him.

“We'll have to get you one when I wake up.”

Prompto stops.

“What?”

But Noct is already asleep, soft breath coming out in steady rhythm, leaving Prompto to be attacked by another wash of embarrassment, the blush reaching his ears, the words echoing as he buries his face into Noct's chest.

“Okay.”

Chapter Text

“Okay. Tell me again why I am at some stranger’s house?”

“We have been through this, Noctis. You are to check up on Mr. Argentum, give him all the missing assignments that have built up and see if you can get the boy to sign an agreement to attend classes for the remainder of the school year.”

“Okay. Now tell me again.”

“Noctis.”

“I jus- Specs. Even I know of this kid. He hasn’t been to a single class since first year.  How am I supposed to get him to come?”

“Maybe you could use that charm of yours. I hear being the Prince of Lucis has its perks.”

“Sarcasm, awesome. I don’t need this Specs. I am alone. Out by myself. I could easily pretend to go to this kid’s house and just, ditch altogether and say the kid didn’t answer.”

“Noctis, the little faith I have left is in your desire to neither attend another year of high school nor fail your King’s training.”

“You don’t know. Maybe I like being stuck in a hellhole for most of my day. Maybe I enjoy being stuffed with useless formalities that even my dad doesn’t use.”

“Then I am assured that you will meet with the boy. Have you gotten to the address yet?”

Noct sighed, looked up the address again and looked around, the map telling him to head down three more houses before his destination was before him.

“I am almost there. But seriously, why is the school so deadset on getting this kid to come?”

“It seems the school owed someone a big enough favor to take Mr. Argentum under their wing. He is registered as one of the Headmaster’s charges. I assume the man wouldn’t like one of his own to miss out on the learning opportunity.”

“Heh. So someone threatened him and now he is cleaning up loose ends?”

“I am glad you catch on quickly, Highness.”

Noct nodded, the map dinging and letting him know his destination was on the right.

He glanced up and instantly stopped, checking the address again.

“Hey Specs?”

“Did you find the address?”

“Yeah I did but… Are you sure the kid lives here?”

“That is the place the Headmaster gave, is there something wrong?”

Noct took a picture, sent it that way and looked on.

The house looked… wrong.

It was a normal, middle-sized, two-story house, big windows facing forward and a small front area hosting small plant holders and a pale blue door. There was grass on either end of a small path that led to the patio and a gate kept onlookers at bay, the mailbox announcing ARGENTUM in gold letters.

But the mailbox was filled to the brim with letters, ads, newspapers and the like, pieces crumbled, stained and ripped from being left to the elements, the letters covered in a dust and grime that took more than a storm to achieve.

The path was almost completely covered, the grass jungle creeping up and over the small road, green mixing with brown.

The patio itself was covered with dirt, leaves and spiderwebs, Noct noting that none of the plants in the holders were alive, just brown skeletons of what maybe had been real flowers.

The windows were caked with dirt, rain stains adding to the look.

The garage was empty, nests in the corners and bugs making their homes.

“Hmm. It seems Mr. Argentum isn't in the business of keeping his neighbors impressed.”

“That's your concern!? Come on Specs, this house is definitely deserted! The kid probably ditched a while ago and went off somewhere.”

“Be that as it may, you still have sheets to deliver and a contract to be signed. Good luck Highness. Try not to get killed.”

Noct grumbled but opened the gate, hearing the very loud squeal of rusty hinges as he sighed and made his way through the grass.

It took a few minutes, his pants definitely carrying stowaways but he made it, noting that a box sat right over a dirty and dinged mat, the WELCOME faded into the brown carpet.

The box was white, a simple ARGENTUM sprawled on top.

“There's a package here. Seems like it has been here for a bit.”

"It might be the care package the Headmaster sent a week ago. He did note that Mr. Argentum didn’t accept it.”

“Hmm.”

Noct moved the box over with his foot, disgustedly noting a web going with it.

“Specs, this house has spiderwebs. Spiderwebs! What if I die from spider bites!?”

“I assure you that you will not. Insomnia is not home to any poisonous breeds of arachnids. Now please just do your job.”

Noct grumbled, looked for a spot on the door where the paint wasn't chipping off and knocked.

It was a resounding sound of silence, the house seeming to shudder under the layers of dust at the intrusion.

Noct waited for a beat, looked at one of the windows, only found curtains, and knocked again.

Silence.

“So what happens if he actually doesn't answer?”

“You could always try tomorrow.”

“Are you serious?”

“Yes Noctis, I am. If you don't wish to, then I suggest trying the handle.”

Noct blinked, looked down and gently took a hold of the doorknob, turning and pulling it open.

The door came out with a small squeak, Noct letting go of it instantly.

“Why isn't his door locked!?”

“Apparently the boy doesn't have a sense of security.”

“And why am I just going in like an idiot!? What if someone is in there!?”

“Oh, I do hope so. Or this assignment is going to be fruitless.”

“Specs, I am being serious here!”

“As am I. Now go find the boy and assure me that the poor thing didn’t die.”

Noct sighed, slowly poking his head into the house.

It was like any other house, the living room hosting a table, sofas, a TV and shelves, random assortments of random things strewn across the tops.

He could see a kitchen area as well, everything quiet.

A table sat in the dining area, four chairs tucked neatly in and waiting to sat on.

A small hallway showed two doors, probably a closet and a bathroom and the start of some stairs, the railing peeking out from the corner.

It was like a magazine for interior design, the place set up and ready to be lived in.

But the house was quiet, nothing making the slightest noise.

The lights were off, the only thing illuminating the rooms being the sunspots peeking behind curtains.

Dust floated everywhere, Noct seeing thin layers coating every surface.

Noct snapped another picture, looking around again, his hair standing on end.

“Specs, something is wrong here. This place looks like it hasn’t been lived in, in years. Like… when was the last time they had contact with the kid?”

“It would have been until the care package. Apparently the Headmaster was making visits to the child’s home, to ensure he was still there, but with these pictures, we might have been led on here.”

“No kidding. This place is giving me the creeps.”

“Then I suggest locating Mr. Argentum quickly.”

Noct looked down, found small imprints in the dirt on the floor, footprints leading from the doorway to the stairs.

“Specs, this is like a ghost movie. What if I get spirited away or something?!”

“Your Highness. I promise, on the off-chance you do get spirited away, I will throw out this assignment. You won’t have to do it.”

Noct mutteerd under his breath but followed the footprints, his steps stirring up dirt as he walked through the house, careful not to touch anything.

The footprints went all the way up the steps, whoever left them going one step at a time.

Noct jumped up the steps, looked around until he found the footprints leading to the only room with an open door.

“Yeah, no. Specs, the door is open, the dirt is everywhere up here too and I think I see sunlight. I am almost positive the kid is dead.”

“Noctis, please get over yourself and just walk to the room. I am sure it is not that bad.”

“You say that but you are not the one who has to do the walking.”

“Noctis”

“I am going.”

Noct went to the door, found it opened only a little, looked down to see the footprints leading into the room.

He braced himself, gently took hold of the doorknob and knocked on the door.

“Excuse me? Prompto Argentum?”

Silence followed, Noct sighing and pulling the door open, poking his head into the room.

It was bare, abandoned pieces of random clothing on the floor, a desk that looked like it hadn’t been touched in years covered in dust, books and papers thrown throughout.

A window, giant in size and taking almost all of the wall, sat furthest away from Noct, the blinds off and sun flooding into the room, dust dancing in the rays.

Noct followed the spots, found a bed sitting in front of the window.

On the bed was a blanket, almost sliding off but being held in place by something.

Noct walked in, took in the scene before him.

A kid was sleeping, waves of blonde hair sliding out from the head.

A face showed closed eyes and a closed mouth, both completely still.

Noct got closer, took in a shirt that seemed to just drape over the kid, the rest of his body covered by the blankets.

Freckles dusted over white skin, and something was ghosting up under the shirt that was barely riling up the kid;s stomach.

But Noct stopped a few feet from the bed, the realization hitting him hard as he stared at the kid.

He wasn’t breathing.

Noct felt his stomach drop, felt his heart begin to race as he took in the scene.

He jerked his gaze from the bed, let his eyes focus on the photos that covered a side wall. He hissed into his bluetooth, his voice dropping to a whisper.

“SPECS, I THINK THE KID DIED!?”

“Noctis, please. Don’t assume such things.”

Noct glanced back at the bed, slowly moving closer, hunched in on himself so he could sneak up without disturbing anything.

The kid was pale, more so than even Noct, the skin looking more like paper than anything else.

As he got closer, he noted that the shirt was definitely big on the kid, the blanket hiding sweats that also seemed giant in size.

But more than that, Noct couldn’t smell anything other than house and a sickly sweet stench, one that seemed to permeate from the bed.

Nothing shifted under the shirt, no signs that either the mouth or the nose were drawing in air.

Noct breathed, whispered softly to the other man, turned away from the bed once more..

“Yeah Iggy, the kid’s definitely dead.”

“Noctis please, this is serious.”

“I AM serious!”

Noct blinked, stopped as he listened again.

Rustling, the sound of blanket moving.

Noct froze, slowly turned his head back towards the bed.

The blankets had been moved, the linen now covering the entire body as it was sitting up, the form taking on a kid that was probably Noct’s age.

Noct gasped, jumped back as the kid adjusted himself on his bed, the blanket thrown over his shoulders and drowning him in from the head down.

The kid was looking at him, eyes giant and round and completely unfocused, giant pupils filled with black and lined with a color Noct couldn’t recognize.

They stared at each other for a moment, Noct’s brain running a million miles an hour as he took in the human before him.

It reminded him of some of the video games he played, the small cutscenes before the zombie attacked and tried to bite off his face.

He could hear Ignis in his ear, the man trying to get Noct to answer him but he held the gaze, his eyes unable to move from the giant pupils.

But the kid just blinked a few times, Noct seeing the moment his mind connected to his eyes.

“What the hell?”

Chapter Text

Noct hates this day more than most.

 

It’s cold.

For May, for spring, for Lucis being one of the best places, weather-wise, it’s cold.

And not just from the goosebumps rising on his arms or the way his teeth are starting to chatter.

His heart has a cold spot, a hollow hole that is spreading with every minute he stands here.

He glances up, sees Prompto leaning against Cor’s motorbike - a small shared possession between them, like the Regalia - and blowing small puffs of light breath into the air.

He sighs, watches the steam rise from his mouth as he lets out all the air in his lungs.

They burn, with more than just the cool of the sky.

Snow, rare and out-of-place for the season, is slowly falling, already starting to collet in his hair, on his shoulders.

Collecting on top of Prompto.

On top of the stone.

Noct takes a deep breath, can’t help the way it shudders in more than normal, tries to ignore the way it catches in his throat, too much to actually swallow.

He drops down, moves a gloved hand over the words in the ground.

He stops over the name, traces every letter with his fingers.

A.

The snow is starting to pick up, the stone already getting buried again.

U.

Prompto is looking his way, probably scared he just dropped onto the ground.

L.

White chrysanthemums - the only flowers not dead in the weather - are standing proud, freshly placed.

E.

Noct’s body is starting to cramp, his back starting to ache.

A.

His eyes aren’t seeing anymore, his tears streaking down fast for the weather being so cold.

His body is starting to shake and he has to drop his head down so Prompto won't see what he is doing.

Noct hears the small noise of sorrow gently pry from his own mouth, has to take another breath as he swipes the snow away from the gravestone again.

 

“Happy Mother’s Day.”