‘ we begin in the dark and birth is the death of us.'
- anne carson, antigonick
Prompto had always been an odd child. Unusually shy for his age, he stuck to the corner seats in class and did his best to not attract attention.
That wasn’t the unusual part, not really, what was unusual was how the boy was rarely seen studying yet passed all his tests with flying colours. How he wears a wristband on his right wrist and never seems to take it off. What’s more unusual is his eyes, they are piercing things, ocean blue and when they look at you it’s almost as though an old soul is staring at you from within them.
Prompto himself doesn’t seem to notice how he unnerves most adults. How his lack of expression makes him odd. He doesn’t seem to be bothered by the other children bullying him and doesn’t make an effort to be friends with others. He is a serious child, with too wide eyes that look as though they’ve seen too much and people look at him and wonder if he’s alright.
His parents have long since given up on their too serious and all around an odd child. They begin spending less time at the house they share with Prompto, taking more hours at work and even leaving Insomnia for weeks at a time. Prompto himself doesn’t seem to mind if anything he adapts to their absence so well that nobody realizes that he’s raising himself.
Prompto never mentions his parents, and his teachers never think to ask.
If Prompto is honest with himself, he’s rather glad that his parents don’t seem to care about him. It makes things easier on him, he doesn’t have to act like an actual child around them.
Not that he had before, but slipping up and having the couple who thought they’d be getting a normal child realize that something is definitely not right with the Imperial orphan they adopted out of the goodness of their hearts is not something that Prompto wants to deal with; now or ever.
Besides, it’s not as though Prompto can exactly tell them that he becomes fully aware at three-months-old and can remember everything up till his current point in life. Prompto knows that wouldn’t go over well, just as he knows telling them that seeing Cor fucking Leonis pick him up out of a crib and the flood of memories from a past life is what made him become fully aware in the first place.
Prompto isn’t supposed to know that he was rescued from a Magitek facility, he isn’t supposed to know what the barcode on his wrist means that he was supposed to be an MT and he sure as hell isn’t supposed to remember Cor Leonis making silly faces at him to calm him down from the panic attack that ensued when Prompto remembered his own death.
Prompto’s life is a shitshow, okay, he knows this. He knows this very well. So well in fact, that in an effort to get it to not be as big of a shitshow he came up with a rule that he intends to follow no matter what.
The rule? Don’t get involved in the plot.
Of course; he breaks the rule.
Prompto should have taken his love of dogs into consideration.
He really should have taken his love of dogs into consideration because if he did he wouldn’t have received a letter from Lunafreya Nox Fleurent asking him to be Noctis’ friend.
Prompto rips the letter in half, sets it on fire and flushes the ashes down the toilet.
He ignores the way his stomach clenches in guilt.
Prompto gets another letter that he burns without reading, then another, then another until finally, he looks at the dog that delivered it and sighs loudly.
“Your mistress doesn’t know when to give up,” Prompto tells Pryna, “She knows about my situation doesn’t she?” Pryna tilts her head and her tail begins wagging, “I’ll take that as a yes.”
Prompto gets up from his spot on the lawn of his house, he’s thirteen now and has lost quite a bit of weight since the first letter appeared. Whether he lost the weight because he felt guilty for denying the plot its right to him or because he felt that shit could start at any moment is anyone's guess; Prompto himself doesn’t know. Still, Prompto is now faster and stronger than he’s ever been in this life.
In his past life he had been a free runner, and in this life, if there is one thing that remains true to canon it’s that Prompto loves technology and the arts so Prompto is determined to take up free running again so he can get some awe-inspiring shots.
Putting the thoughts of photos from places others can’t reach without the use of flight or warping, Prompto turns back into his house, gets a marker from his drawer of scissors and stuff he’ll probably need later, writes ‘LEAVE ME ALONE’ on the back of the envelope the letter is in and heads back outside to where Pryna is waiting as if she knows there will be a response this time.
“Here,” he says to the dog, sliding the envelope back into Pryna’s collar, “Please tell her to leave me alone in case the message doesn’t get through.”
Pryna barks and takes off down an alley.
Prompto hopes that’s the end of that.
It is, to Prompto’s annoyance, not the end of that. Another letter comes, attached to Pryna’s collar. It’s not in an envelope this time, Prompto notes, just a piece of lined paper tucked underneath Pryna’s collar.
Prompto takes it from underneath her collar and something, curiosity maybe, compels to read it.
He smiles in spite of himself.
You’re kind of rude, aren’t you? - L.N.F
You’re the one that kept sending letters. - P.A.
Maybe I just wanted a friend. - L.N.F.
You have the Prince. - P.A
Unlike you I am actually a child, I need more than one friend. - L.N.F.
You know how to pull at someone's heartstrings, don’t you? - P.A.
Friends? - L.N.F.
Friends. I hope you realize this means I get to spam you with the art shit I make. - P.A.
The letters between Prompto and Luna continue and Prompto finds himself looking forward to them. He enjoys reading the letters from Luna, her snark is wonderful and Prompto finds himself encouraging it. Luna also serves as the recipient of various things Prompto creates, nothing that will raise suspicion of course, but he sends her photographs of flowers, of the paintings he creates that he can’t show her in person.
They’re friends; and for the first time since he became aware of the world around him, Prompto finds he doesn’t mind the thought of having a friend.
During the time between his fourteenth and fifteenth birthday, Prompto deems himself ready to pick up an old hobby.
He teaches himself freerunning again, it’s dangerous and exciting and Prompto finds himself wishing that he could share the photos he’s taken of Insomnia from up high with Luna.
One day, Prompto promises himself, he will.
Prompto gets a job when he’s fourteen. He doesn’t tell his parents.
It’s not as though they would care anyway. Still, the extra money he brings in helps pay for the repairs the roof needs and gives him some breathing room with bills and groceries.
His parents only give him enough to survive on, after all, no room for many extras.
It’s then he buys his first phone and his first, professional camera. If he splurges on some decent paints and other art supplies, he thinks he deserves it.
Prompto is fifteen when he meets Noctis, it’s an accident really, Prompto is relaxing up in a tree at lunch when he hears a commotion nearby. Moving through the branches, thankful that this tree is sturdy enough to hold him with the amount of weight he’s lost, Prompto squints as he comes across a shocking sight.
Prince Noctis, the future king of Lucis, is being bullied.
The shock almost makes Prompto fall off his tree. Instead, he meets the prince’s gaze, places a finger to his lips in the universal ‘stay quiet’ gesture and hurriedly climbs down the tree to help Noctis.
The bullies don't notice him
The thought of leaving doesn’t even cross Prompto’s mind.
“Hey guys,” Prompto says far too cheerfully to the older boys, seniors Prompto thinks, that are bullying Noctis, “Did you know that picking on kids younger than you is a sign that you’re huge dumbasses who are threatened by anyone you even think might be more important than you?” Prompto takes great joy in watching how the bullies faces turn bright red as they move to face Prompto.
Then, because being an asshole is fun sometimes and he needs to make sure they take the bait, Prompto adds. “Then again, I’m sure ants serve our society more than you do. Hell, dog shit probably does too.” One of the bullies lunge at Prompto and Prompto dodges to the right.
“If you want me,” Prompto says turning on his heels and taking off, “Come and get me.”
The bullies give chase.
Prompto doesn’t see Noctis outside of class for the rest of the day.
He tells himself he isn’t avoiding the prince. It’s a lie of course, but he doesn’t want to think about the fact that he just likely landed head first in a steaming pile of plot.
At the end of the day, Prompto is the first out of his desk as the bell rings and rushes to shove his stuff in his locker before leaving the school grounds as quickly as possible.
When he gets home, he does his homework, eats leftover pasta from the night before, and throws himself into bed early.
That night, Prompto dreams.