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“Seriously, Dad? When were you planning on telling me this? …Yes, I know you’re telling me now. All right. All RIGHT! I will be there. Yeah. Bye…love you too. Bye.”

Gladiolus dropped the phone from his ear as he ended his call. Of course his father would wait until 11pm the night prior to tell him that he had a formal meeting with him at six o’clock the next morning. That must be the price to pay as the Shield to the future king, right?

No. He’s pretty certain he never signed up for this.

Gladiolus rubbed his hand over his face as he returned to his bedroom where his partner, Ignis, had been waiting for him, reading a council report from the comfort of their bed. Despite their shared duties to Prince Noctis and their exhausting days spent apart, they always found respite in each other’s company.  Tonight was the first night in the last week that they had been able to spend together, and yet that too was being cut short by his father’s phone call. He caught the advisor’s turquoise eyes as the other man looked up from his work.

“Gladio, is everything all right with your father? You seem rather distraught,” he asked, his features contorted into one of concern.

Gladiolus sighed as he proceeded towards his side of the bed, sitting on the edge in mild frustration. “It would be better if I didn’t just find out I’m meeting with him, the King, Drautos, and Cor tomorrow. Apparently they are working out some sort of new training plan for both the Crownsguard and the Kingsglaive and I’m required to attend. And since it’s an audience with the King, Dad said that only business attire will do. Of course, I wouldn’t mind if it wasn’t at the ass crack of dawn!” Gladio hid his face in his hands with a groan as he stretched backwards, his head resting in his lover’s lap.

Ignis wasted no time in extending his hand down to caress Gladiolus’ head, his fingertips tenderly massaging at his partner’s scalp. If one were to ask Gladiolus what he loved about Ignis, this would be near the top of his list. Ignis was nurturing and reassuring; he always knew what Gladio needed. He was the refreshing breeze during Gladio’s hurricanes. He was a voice of reason during Gladio’s rage-filled moments. He was Gladio’s best friend and soulmate, his presence a healing elixir for Gladio’s emotional wounds. All that Gladio could do was meet his partner’s soothing gaze with a lopsided smile, holding back a sleep-deprived yawn that threatened to rise to the surface.

“Well, darling, why don’t you pack a duffel for the day with your training clothes so you won’t be rushed in the morning? That way, we can also maximize the time we have together as well.” There it was, Ignis being rational again. He always could see the positive when Gladio could only focus on the negative. “I have an early Council meeting tomorrow as well…although, it’s not quite as early as yours, so I might just sleep in a little while longer,” he said with a wink.

Gladio nodded as he sat up, already regretting having to separate from his lover’s touch. “Leave it to you to tell me exactly what I need. All right, wanna pick me an outfit for the morning while I pack my gym bag?”

Ignis chuckled as he leaned forward, planting a chaste kiss on his partner’s lips. “Of course, darling. I will pick the most dashing outfit in your closet. Though, I fear I won’t be searching very long,” he teased as he rose out of bed, swaying his hips as he padded across the hardwood floor to Gladio’s closet. Gladio fixed his gaze on the advisor’s backside for a moment as he watched him walk away. Clearly, the Astrals must favor him somehow for blessing him with such a wonderful lover.

He collected a tank top, sweatpants, extra socks, and sneakers, and deposited them into his duffel bag, dropping it next to Ignis’ duffel at the front door. When he returned to the room, he saw his outfit for the next morning spread out on the bed and awaiting his approval. Ignis had chosen a royal blue button-up with a pair of pressed midnight black slacks, with matching black shoes and formal socks. He didn’t even remember owning those clothes, yet there they were, clean and wrinkle free for his meeting tomorrow. Yep, he’s DEFINITELY a keeper, Gladio mused.

“There you are, my love. I believe you will make quite the impression on everyone tomorrow…of course, if my selection is to your liking,” Ignis beamed at the Shield, a toothy grin upon his lips.

“Hell yeah it is, babe!” Gladio returned his partner’s smile with equal fervor. “I can always count on you. Now, shall we head to bed?” He wrapped his arms around Ignis’ torso and pulled the younger man towards his chest as he walked them towards the bed. Circumstances be damned, tonight will be a great night and tomorrow will be a good day.

“Gladio, shouldn’t we put the clothes away, first?”

“Oh yeah. Right.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Gladio stirred from his restful sleep with a shiver. He lifted his head from the pillow with a yawn to find his bare form exposed to the cool early-spring air, only to turn over to find that Ignis had stolen the entire blanket and cocooned himself in it in his sleep.

He’s lucky he’s adorable, Gladio thought to himself as he gazed upon his lover with a fond smile. I gotta capture this moment.

Gladio reached onto his night stand to grab his phone. As he lit the screen to start the camera, he noticed the time on his clock. 5:32 am… SHIT! Of all the preparation for today, he forgot the most important thing: to set his alarm. He leapt from the bed and grabbed his outfit for the morning from where it had rested on his desk and quickly threw it on his body. After giving Ignis a quick kiss goodbye, he grabbed his duffel bag from where it sat next to his front door and hurried to the Citadel.

Thank the Astrals, he had made it into the Council chamber with three minutes to spare before the meeting to the approving nod of his father, Clarus. He took his seat next to him and they commenced their discussion. That’s right, Gladio mused with a slight smile on his face, today will be a good day.

After three hours of argument on all things from magic implementation, to potion budgets, to how many squats were considered acceptable per session of physical training, Gladio’s mind was exhausted. Fortunately for him, coffee and breakfast had been served so he could prepare for the next part of his day: running new Crownsguard recruits on training drills. He had 30 minutes to bolt to the training hall and change before his session began. Sadly, there would be no time to return home for any reprieve from his activities. He opened his phone to a message from Ignis as he hurriedly walked to the training rooms, his duffel in tow.

Iggy <3 (7:26 am): Good morning, love. I am certain that today will be a wonderful day. My apologies for not reminding you to set your alarm. I am afraid I will be with the Council until well into the afternoon and unable to use my phone. I love you and shall see you this evening for our training session.

Gladio sighed happily and responded with a reciprocated “I love you too <3” as he entered the locker room to change. Two years with Ignis and he still got butterflies whenever Ignis so much as acknowledged him. He tucked his phone away and stripped his shirt and slacks from his body, then reached into his duffel bag to pull out a white t-shirt.

Well that’s odd, I thought I packed a black tank-top. I must be over-tired, he mused as he attempted to pull the shirt over his head. He had to tug especially hard just to fit his head through the neck of the shirt, the fabric feeling far too uncomfortably tight on his throat. He then attempted to fit his muscular arms through the sleeves, listening to the seams tear as he did so. Shit, do I suck at laundry that bad that I shrunk my shirt that much? He felt his face heat with embarrassment as he felt suffocated, the shirt constricting his lungs with how tightly it clung to his pectorals. And he could forget about covering his midriff! His lower abs and navel were on display for all to see. So much for appearing professional today.

He reached back into the bag to retrieve the pants he thought he had packed. When he pulled his hand out, he found navy traditional draw-string heavy cotton pants so narrow he could barely even fit his legs in past the knees, let alone pull them over his bottom. I don’t understand how I screwed this up so bad… his face contorted into a pained expression in his shame. The trainees would be there within five minutes and he couldn’t possibly run drills with them in a dress shirt and slacks. It would beat being naked, but still… He reached back in the bag to at least find some sneakers he could wear, and the ones he pulled out where two sizes too small. Suddenly, the realization hit him: these were Ignis’ clothes! Gladio rubbed his hand over his face, unable to believe his bad stream of luck. And of course Ignis was unable to answer any of his texts as he was in a Council meeting. Thankfully, Gladio kept a spare pair of sneakers in his locker, but he had to do something to cover up his bottom half. Please, Iggy, please tell me you’ve packed something with an elastic waistband…

Gladio pulled his hand out to find a pair of bright blue jogging shorts. He stretched the waistband widely under his thumbs. This will fit perfectly! If he needed to deviate from his usual style for a day, he’d be able to deal. Gladio pulled the shorts up around his hips… to find that they only barely covered both ass cheeks. Guess I’m not bending down today, Gladio thought to himself as he scratched the back of his head.

Suddenly, the door opened widely as the first new recruit of the day walked in. He was small and unassuming in stature, with big gray eyes and a bit of a nervous tick. Although he trembled when confronted, he had a kind demeanor, a relentless drive, and a fierce respect for his superiors. He was truly a fine young man in every respect, or so Gladio thought.  

“Lord Amicitia, good—uhh—good morning,” the recruit said as he tried and failed to withhold his laughter. “You’re not actually going to train us like that, are you?”

“So what if I am?!” Gladio growled. “Now you shut up with your laughing or the whole class will have you to thank for all the suicides they’ll have to run today.”

Gladio could only watch dumbfounded as the young man dropped his bag with a gulp and ran out of the locker room. He sat down onto the nearest bench, keeping his legs pressed together for sake of preserving some modesty. All right, I can’t do this all day… guess it’s time to call dad. He dialed Clarus’ number, unsure of whether the Shield was even available to take his call. He listened to the steady ring of the phone as he waited for an answer. His father finally picked up the phone after five rings.

“Gladiolus,” Clarus said with a sigh, “is something the matter?”

“Actually, yeah, ummm… dad, do you have an extra set of workout clothes I can borrow?”

“And why would you ask me for that?”

“You see, I accidentally took Ignis’ duffel bag this morning and of course he’s in a council meeting until later and I don’t exactly have any fitting clothes and I need to train the new recruits…” He nervously rambled into the receiver.

He could only listen as his father roared with laughter.

“HA! Honestly, Gladiolus, you’re so dense I wonder how Ignis has put up with you these past two years! And to answer your question, no, I don’t. So I guess you’ll have to suffer!” Clarus let out another sputtering laugh and promptly hung up the phone. Gladio was just going to have to live with the humiliation today…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ignis heaved a sigh as he finally left the Council chambers two hours after he was originally scheduled to, hurrying towards the training hall with his duffel in tow. So much for my plans before training, he thought. But then again, that extended time in the council meant that he could now go straight to see Gladio, so it couldn’t be such a bad turn of circumstances after all. Now he could release that pent-up frustration through a good workout as well as spend precious time with his boyfriend. Two birds with one stone, as they say, he mused as he entered the training hall.

“Gladio? I’m sorry I didn’t call you before. I was—Gladio? Are you here?” Ignis wandered the training room as he called out for his lover. Well, that’s strange. I’d have expected him to be here… He couldn’t dwell on his partner’s whereabouts, however, when he desperately needed to vent some aggression, so he hurried towards the locker room. Sitting on a bench, he untied his dress shoes and removed his shirt as he reached into his bag. When his hand emerged, however, he did not have the white shirt he expected, but rather an extra-long black tank top. Odd, I surely don’t believe I packed this. Oh well, it’s not my dress shirt so I suppose it will do.

Ignis pulled the tank top over his head to reveal it was much baggier than he originally anticipated. His chest was hardly covered. In fact, if he stretched too far to one side, the strap would fall from his shoulder and the neckline would slip underneath his nipple on the adjacent side. The bottom of the tank top was also far too long, extending well past his bottom and to halfway down his thighs. Did Gladio slip a shirt in here when I wasn’t looking? He pondered.

Ignis removed his khaki slacks as he reached down into the bag to pull out a pair of light gray cotton pants that were far too long and baggy to be practical. That was when he suddenly realized… this was Gladio’s bag! Alas, without the other present he would just have to make do with what he had. He slipped on the pants and attempted to pull them as high as he could so he would not trip over the hem of the pant legs. Pulling the drawstring as tightly as he could, he pondered slipping his dress shoes back on, since Gladio’s two-sizes-too-big sneakers would certainly cause him to trip at least once.

“Thank the Six, you’re finally here, Iggy!”

Ignis spun towards the familiar, albeit timid, baritone voice echoing from one of the restroom stalls. “Gladio? Is that you?” He called out as he assumed a wide walking stance so as not to trip over his oversized trousers.

The toilet stall slowly opened to reveal the Shield trapped in an excessively short and tight t-shirt tugging at his pecs and deltoids, with a pair of shorter jogging shorts revealing the curve of his ass for the world to see. Ignis could feel the hot blush creeping up into his face, as well as some heat traveling further south, watching his boyfriend wearing—and potentially destroying—his clothes. It was both hilarious and arousing all at once. Perhaps they should switch bags more often.

Snorting his approval was all he found he could do in the moment. “Oh, Gladio,” he chuckled, “you look absolutely ridiculous.”

“As do you, Mr. Well-Put-Together,” the Shield’s voice dropped a couple of notes lower as he beheld his lover. “I must admit it, though, you look insanely hot in my clothes.” Gladio inched closer to Ignis and wrapped his arms around the smaller man’s waist while burying his face into the curve of his neck, making Ignis tremble. The man always knew just where to touch, how to be soothing and maddeningly hot at the same time. Sometimes, Ignis questioned the fairness of it all. How did he deserve such an admiring and attentive lover?

“So, umm, Gladio,” Ignis cleared his throat to mask the husky tone his voice had just taken. “Shall we change back into our own clothes and get to training?”

“Hell no!” Gladio pulled away with a roar of laughter. “I already wore your clothes all day. What’s one more session? Besides, the only way you’re gonna get this shirt off me is if you cut it off, so…”

“You’re lucky that was a mere undershirt and not one of value,” Ignis deadpanned. “But alas, if you so desire, I will train in this… obstructive attire, if only for your benefit.”

He let out a hearty sigh as Gladio grabbed his hand and pulled him into the training hall, handing him a pair of wooden daggers as he reached for a wooden broadsword.

They started their session with a few jabs and blocks, warming their muscles and preparing their cardiovascular systems for the more intense portion of their battle training. Ignis found himself adjusting his fighting stance just a little bit wider to accommodate the extra room his legs needed. He faced off just outside of the reach of Gladio’s sword, hands balled in fists around the handles of his daggers, forearms up and slightly forward to protect his face and torso from impending attacks, with his left foot and hand facing forward. He stepped outward with his left foot, widening his stance before pulling his right foot back behind his left as he circled his lover looking for an opening to re-enter the fray.

Gladiolus, it appeared, had a strategy of his own. He accentuated every step with a sway of his hips, clearly attempting to distract the strategist… and it was working. Ignis could feel his mouth begin to dry as his peripheral vision caught sight of the obvious bulge in Gladio’s too-tight shorts. He continually redirected his sight back upwards when he saw the swell of Gladio’s ass peeking out from the leg of those damn shorts out of the corners of his vision. No way, he was not about to be bested by such cheap tactics!

Gladio finally opened his stance just enough for Ignis to finally strike. He lunged forward with his left foot, dragging his right foot behind it and unleashing a flurry of close-range strikes that the Shield would not be able to counter with such a long-reaching weapon. After finally landing a strike to the older man’s torso, Ignis stretched his back leg behind him to retreat before his opponent could counter. His momentum, however, did not stop with one step. He suddenly watched as the sight of the ceiling filling his vision, having caught his retreating foot on the bottom of those blasted pant legs! He dropped his dagger as his palm slapped the floor right before impact to break his fall. Despite the smarting pain in his hand, Ignis was able to turn his legs over to his right side and pick himself back up onto his feet as Gladio followed up with a swing of his broadsword. The weapon slashed through the air, the momentum slicing the air with a whoosh and a…

Rip?

“Uh-oh…”

Ignis straightened his stance and adjusted his glasses, throwing Gladio a curious glance at his sudden statement. That was when he saw it: his training shirt tore right down the center of the Shield’s chest, having finally forfeited at holding itself together against the behemoth trapped inside of it. Now it appeared to be more of a cheaply made vest that adorned the male strippers in the red-light district of downtown Insomnia. It was quite comical, really. The advisor found that he could no longer withhold his laughter. It rumbled through his chest, constricting his abdominal and pectoral muscles, pricking tears at his eyes. He clutched his stomach as he bent forward with laughter.

“So, uh, I guess we should stop now, huh?” Gladio scratched the back of his head as he sheepishly peered at his boyfriend, his cheeks and ears flushed red with embarrassment.

“I don’t-ha!- think so, Gladio. We still have at least 20 minutes left of our session, and I will be damned if we end it just as it finally starts picking up.” Ignis’ eyes lit with mischievous fire. Facing off against Gladio in the ring, regardless of their choice of wardrobe, was always an exhilarating experience. There was no way he would shorten this session just because a shirt was ruined in the process. Decidedly, Ignis assumed another fighting stance, resuming their push-and-pull of attacking, dodging, and defending with a swift flurry of attacks inside of Gladio’s guard. The Shield blocked and parried the advisor’s attacks, however, and raised his sword to counter-attack. Without enough time to sufficiently block, Ignis leapt back out of the fray in his signature back-handspring, flinging his legs into the air as he pushed off his hands.

Slap!

…Did the air conditioning kick in? Why was his lower half suddenly feeling so chilly?

Ignis returned to his upright position facing his opponent to see a most unusual sight: Gladiolus’ face was covered by a pair of gray cotton pants that looked oddly similar to the ones he had been wearing.

Wait.

Ignis lowered his gaze to his own legs, now bare save for his boxer briefs. Those were the pants that he was wearing! Thank the Astrals nobody else used the training hall at this hour or he would have been forced to go into hiding out of sheer humiliation. He buried his face in his hands as he was about to mutter a litany of apologies… when Gladio roared with laughter.

“Holy crap, Iggy! This is gold! You should see yourself right now. You look so fucking cute I can’t stand it!” Gladio sputtered in between laughs as he clutched his sides.

“I suppose I do look rather endearing, huh, Gla—oof!” Ignis coughed out the breath that had been knocked out of his lungs as his boyfriend bear-hugged him, lifting his feet off the ground and twirling him in the air. The strategist writhed and wiggled in Gladio’s grasp as he looked down to see what could only be described as insurmountable joy in the Shield’s smile. Soon he, too, laughed happily as that welcome warm feeling entered his chest, unwilling to let him go. Was it even humanly possible to be so loved by another?

Gladio then dropped to his knees as he lowered his lover down to the training hall mat with him, maintaining his hold as he bent over him and assaulted his cheek and neck with kisses. After enough time, however, the Shield rolled off from his lover as the two gazed at each other from their positions on the floor, both still breathless from all the excitement and laughter.

“I guess we should call it quits now?” Gladio finally suggested after he caught his breath, small chuckles still bubbling up from his chest.

Ignis still continued to laugh and sigh as he drank in the sight of his love, half wishing that moments like this would never cease. “All right, fine. We can conclude our session early I suppose,” he flatly stated with a failed deadpan and over-exaggerated eyeroll while he rose to a sitting position.

His concession did not go unrewarded as Gladio cupped his cheek and drew him in for a languid kiss, parting his lips as the Shield’s tongue requested entry into his mouth. They drew ever closer as their fingers intertwined, only finally parting when they were both gasping for air.

“You were right, you know,” Gladio panted out when he pressed his forehead to the advisor’s.

“Was I?” Ignis questioned. “In what way?”

“You said that it would be a wonderful day, and you were absolutely right.” Gladio planted a smooch to Ignis’ forehead before standing up and extending his hand to his lover. “Now, I think it’s time we both make for the showers. We can share the big stall.”

Ignis smirked up at his partner and nodded as he took his outstretched hand. “Indeed.” Today truly was a wonderful day.