Kissing was new, but it was easy. It was always soft, always different. It was a quiz Noct didn't have to study for, he already knew Ignis like the back of his hand, even if he didn't know this yet. It was the flavor of Ebony on Ignis's tongue, or an embrace at the end of the night - two lips of gold to ferry him to sleep. Sometimes it was an addendum, just a tag along added to the established order of: wallet, jacket, keys. It didn't take long for Noctis to become enamored with it.
Ignis always kissed him like he was afraid to be burned. He hesitated, lips ever slowly to part, even slower to lick into his mouth. He would trace the line of Noct's canines and hold his face still. Then, all at once, Ignis's entire body would melt into Noctis's, kissing him deep and hot and wet. If Ignis was afraid of being burned, Noctis was afraid of drowning in him.
Ignis would get on his knees when the day was gone and the door was closed; where duty to the crown was a million miles away and the stars behind Noct's eyes were the same constellations he first kissed Ignis under. It was possessive and ugly, but when Ignis kneeled before the courts, Noctis hoped he only thought of him. He hoped every time Ignis bowed to his father he forgot the oath to Lucis and only remembered the vows he'd cried to Noctis the night before.
He would never tell a soul - let alone Ignis himself - that he'd prayed before, and in moments of weakness, often. Noct prayed for Shiva to freeze these moments in time, for ice to crawl across the apartment and never let the world break through. He prayed to Ramuh for judgement, for the power to defend this, the power to strike Titan himself down if he could not protect this sacred temple.
Because Ignis said Highness the way Noct remembered his mother telling Regis I love you.
When that space in between time sat with them, Noctis would catch Ignis somber. The steep of his shoulders heavy like that blanket of routine, of a lived in body, was more oppressive around his shoulders than Noct's. Noctis felt in the here, in the now , but sometimes he thought Ignis only did the same because there was no other choice. Ignis always moved forward, always said to never look back, but Noct wondered what it was like for Ignis when the train slowed. When the grind plateaued, what was left? He wondered if he only rested because he needed it - not for the act itself, not like sipping wine, not like dancing with Noct in the kitchen, but because it was unavoidable. Noctis prayed.
Ignis pushed Noctis to take on more responsibility and Noct wanted nothing more in his annoyance but snap back why won't you take on less ? Ignis, eyes sad like he knew something Noctis didn't, hand cupping his face. Why do you do this for me?
Ignis, fingers slow to brush Noctis's hair from his face, trace his cheek like something that was made to be loved. What keeps you here?
Noctis lets Ignis brush his overgrown bangs behind his ear, trace the shell of his ear, the bridge of his nose - lets him do whatever he wants. In these moments of reverie, Noct thinks he's defenseless as Ignis is.
To put up a mask for his embarrassment when Iggy's was crumbling like paper mache made something... twist. It's wrong - it's cruel - Noct thinks, to pretend Ignis wasn't a balm soothing the rawest parts of Noct. Noctis hoped the same for Ignis, that the patterns rubbed into his back fixed a restless piece of him.
Ignis knew a lot of things Noctis didn’t, but he didn’t pretend to know the weight of the crown. Noct thought that was what had him moving, what made him look alone when there wasn’t something to fix. Noct locked himself away for days at a time after dinners with his father. With his health failing and knee buckling under foot, all Noctis could see was himself in another ten years, another twenty. Noctis prayed for him, too, and wondered which of the Caelums the God’s would save.
In the life of a Prince, Noctis could have everything he asked for except his humanity. The Wall, the war, his father's slow dying, were things Noct could never escape. Even his heart wasn’t his - it was property of the state, currency to be bartered away.
Noctis still had this though - had the curve of that smile against a forehead heated from fever, had the beauty of Ignis humming when he shaved. He had this, and he hoarded it greedily. He knew how Ignis' brow furrowed, how his lips quirked, how his palm felt against his before their fingers laced. His stomach sank and his lungs abandoned air, like oxygen was an unwanted house guest in the walls of his body. And it was the only way to feel when Ignis Scientia looked at you like that: like he'd give you the world wrapped in a bow.
He smiled like he knew he couldn't. He smiled like if only he had more time, if only he had an extra set of hands, if only his grip was strong enough to lift the world without it falling onto Noctis's shoulders.
Noct sank to his knees this time, and prayed some more.
In the beginning, Ignis was more restrained when Noctis did this. He held his breath and didn’t dare to speak unless it was to argue with Noctis. It wasn’t that he didn’t like it, the opposite was true. He was ashamed of liking it too much. Noctis knew, he’d been tugged up by his hair, he’d quietly bickered with Ignis for ages, snipped at his thighs to make angry bruises as revenge.
He called it unseemly for a prince to do such a thing, and Noctis had said, rather cheeky, “Who else would you have your King bow to?”
Noctis trembled; shivered with the knowledge that if Ignis couldn't give Noctis the world, he was the man who would burn it to the ground. The same lips that'd been licking sermons into Noct's neck like he was the seventh of the Divine, that same clever tongue - it would swallow the world whole if only Ignis was given the word.
Every word felt molten in Noct’s mouth, coiling around his tongue and flowing, dripping like fire. He was afraid if he opened his mouth the same gold his throne was melted from would pour from his body, pour from his chin like nectar and pool in the dip between Ignis's thighs. Noctis feared the power of Kings, but Ignis had him drunk on the idea.
"I'm not going to let you forget this," he said, and it was deafening in the silence. Noctis treasured the twitch of Ignis's fingers, the clench of Ignis's jaw, the strain of his body resisting touch.
He ran his hands up his thighs, kissed the head of Ignis’ dick gently and swirled his tongue like this was wine at mass.
"That's what I'm afraid of," Ignis whispered desperately.
Maybe Ignis feared burning. Maybe Noct's magic was made to scorch skin and bubble blood, burst from vein; but Noct's heart was a breathing ember in the house of his chest, and it begged to whisper the icy hot of the crystal to sleep.
Ignis had choked and came the second Noct swallowed him down, never mentioning propriety in bed again.
Then, for a long time, Noct felt something like anger with that possession. It felt like anger. It felt like laying on scorched sidewalk, like fire and brimstone inside him. If he coughed it’d be ash. He needed Ignis’s cooling touch, the way his hand combed back his bangs, the way it melted Noctis’s urge.
He wanted Ignis to know - know Noct would do the same for him, would let the sea boil if Ignis told him it was what was needed. He’d never lead him wrong before, he’d always had his trust. Noct didn’t know how to let it out, didn’t know how to tell him without doing it.
So he had church between Ignis’ thighs when he’d let him, sang hymn into his mouth and moaned nonsense into his skin. “I’d do it too, Iggy,” when he was fucking Ignis against the counter. "I've got you," when Ignis, flailing a hand behind him, knotted a fist in Noct’s hair and pulled. In their rush for connection harsh and clumsy, noses smashing into each other, Noct felt wild with it. Felt consumed with the question of: did Ignis know? Ignis would never ask anything like that of Noctis. But did he know he could?
Noct's vision blurred with a sob into Ignis's shoulder. But Ignis was there, he was always there, and Ignis told him this time: “Come for me.”