"Noct, I believe it's time for your lesson." Ignis' voice gently called out, meriting a displeased sigh from the young prince.
"Specs, can it wait? I'm in the middle of something."
Ignis' eyes narrowed slightly as he crossed the apartment living room, a scold at the tip of his tongue for how Noctis lounged carelessly on the sofa, in a darkened room, neck craned downward and face all too close to the phone screen.
At this rate, he was going to acquire the posture and eyesight unfitting for a future king. Ignis knew, however, that any critique would fall on deaf ears, and instead, turned on the light in an attempt to at least prevent one of the two scenarios from happening. He took some petty satisfaction in the way Noctis' eyes squinted when the room brightened. That'll teach him.
"Noct. . ."
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Ignis felt a twitch form in his left eye as he watched Noctis continue playing on his phone in complete disregard to his advisor. He sighed, adjusting his glasses as he continued his way over to the prince until he stood over him, arms folded behind his back.
"I must ask that you put away your phone, your highness. It's time for your lesson." He tried, hoping this time he would garner Noctis' attention.
A heavy groan followed his words, and Noctis looked up from his screen for the first time since Ignis had arrived, only to shoot the older man a quizzical look.
"What lessons? Ignis it's. . ." He glanced back down at his phone and Ignis was finding the damned thing a nuisance as he battled the urge to snatch it out of his hands. "9 o'clock in the evening. What gives?"
A deep breath, and Ignis offered a smile in hope that his pateince would hold.
"Have you forgotten already? The ball in honor of your 19th birthday is fast approaching and it would be a shame for you to look like a fool when you inevitably ask Luna to dance with you."
Noctis' eyes widened as he stared at the advisor, dread filling his heart at the thought of becoming a spectacle for the attendees of the celebration. He had managed to keep a low profile at every other event, but doubt crept into his mind that he could do the same at a celebration specifically for him. A small pout tugged at his features and he fell back against the pillows scattered about the sofa.
"I'm not dancing."
"You most certainly are. You're the guest of honor at this occassion."
"Ignis. . ."
"There will be no further discussion about it, Noct." Ignis quickly added with a hint of a tease. "Don't you wish to impress Lady Lunafreya?"
Noctis grimaced. Of course he did, she was a dear friend and he had always sought her approval ever since they were children. He just didn't imagine it would be in this manner. Movement brought him out of his thoughts and he found Ignis' hand extended to him.
"Then shall we dance, your highness?" Amusement lined his tone, reflected in his eyes, and Noctis tried to ignore the way his heartbeat quickened when he saw the gentle smile that graced Ignis' face.
"Do I have a choice?" Noctis found his voice after a few seconds.
"Not at all."
Another sigh, and Noctis took Ignis' hand, allowing him to guide him to his feet and away from the sofa; phone long forgotten. His hands were surprisngly soft, Noctis noted, as Ignis' fingers curled around his own, ushering him to the center of the room.
"We'll start with a waltz. That should be simple enough."
Noctis had only registered half of what he was told, his attention on the way Ignis' hand fit in his own - perfectly, really - but nodded out of habit when he half tuned-out the advisor.
"Now, come here." Ignis began, placing Noctis' hand at his waist. "You'll lead."
"I-what?" Noctis blinked, allowing his other hand to rest securely within Ignis'.
"I said, you'll lead." Ignis repeated, his tone firm but concern soon lined around his eyes as he took in Noctis' face. "Are you quite alright?"
"I-yeah, I'm fine."
"Very well, then let us begin."
"There's no music. . ." Noctis pointed out, finding the way Ignis drew their bodies closer a little distracting. Breathing became a little harder.
"We're starting with the basics, music isn't necessary in this step." Ignis replied easily, "Your role is to guide your partner across the dance floor with grace and agility befitting of a prince."
"Qualities I have in abundance." Noctis dryly added and glanced up to meet his friend's eyes to see him smiling fondly back down at him.
"You will with my tutelage."
Ignis took that as a cue to begin, guiding Noctis along to the sound of his voice sing-songing a '1, 2, 3". The repetition and soft timber of Ignis' voice lulled Noctis into a relaxed trance, eyes never leaving the kind eyes staring back at him, and soon, he felt as though it were second nature to dance with him. As if he had been dancing with Ignis his whole life.
"I must admit, you have improved from the last time." Ignis cut in after a few minutes.
"What can I say? I'm just that good." All false bravado, Noctis gave a lop-sided grin and delighted in the sound of Ignis' soft laughter in response.
It wasn't long before they found an effortless rhythm as they danced around the furniture in the living room, a graceful side step around the coffee table, a swift twirl around a stray magazine discarded on the floor, and Noctis couldn't remember the last time he had seen Ignis so at ease. His grip on the advisor's waist tightened as his confidence strengthened and he pulled him closer as they danced in comfortable silence.
He wondered if it would be the same with Luna. If he could look her in the eyes and waltz with her across the ballroom floor with the comfort he displayed with Ignis now.
Ignis, who never tore his gaze from Noctis' face, who showed him a never-ending amount of patience and guidance. Who only ever lived to serve him. A slight frown tugged at Noctis' brows at the final thought.
"Something the matter?"
"Ignis. . .are you happy here? With me, I mean."
A moment of silence and Noctis held his breath when their dancing haulted and an unreadable expression etched it's way onto Ignis' face. Did that mean that he wasn't?
"Let me be clear." Ignis began, tone much too serious for Noctis' liking, but he stayed silent. "You are a handful, you never listen to me and test my patience, and it always astounds me how you can generate so much clutter and mess in a single day, but," A soft smile returned to the advisor's eyes and he brought one of Noctis' hands to his chest, his fingers curling around it to secure it's place over his heart. "I am honored to serve you."
Noctis stared up at him, mouth slightly agape as he searched for a response. Anything, really.
A tightness formed in his chest and he found himself unable to express his thoughts clearly. He wanted. . .what did he want at this moment? Words didn't seem appropriate and he knew he would only trip over them. He was hardly eloquent when he was put on the spot. It didn't take long for Noctis to decide. Actions spoke louder than words. He leaned in, untangling their hands so his could rest at the nape of Ignis' neck to pull him down into a kiss. It was sloppy and rushed, and looking back, Noctis would die inside a little when he realized he had almost completely missed Ignis' mouth. When he pulled back, he found Ignis staing back at him, face frozen in shocked confusion.
"Noct. . ."
"Don't-just. . .don't. I know. I shouldn't have-" Noctis quickly spat out, looking down at the floor as the gravity of his actions weighed upon him.
"Noct, look at me." He spoke softly, lifting Noctis' chin so that he could meet his gaze. "The only thing you should apologize for is your technique." A smirk threatened to curve around his lips when he saw a blush tint the prince's cheeks and spread to the tips of his ears.
"I guess I'll need lessons on that, too."
Ignis leaned down again, hand cupping Noctis' face to brush a thumb over his cheekbone; their lips mere inches apart. Noctis leaned into the touch, eyes finally glancing up to meet a look of reverence and, once again, he tried to ignore the way his heart raced.
"I'm more than happy to offer my services." Ignis teased, breath fanning across Noctis' lips, which only flustered him further.
"Then what's stopping you?"
Ignis wasted no time and closed the distance, lips ghosting over Noctis' in a soft caress at first; hesitant and teasing before he buried his hand in the back of the prince's hair to bring him closer and deepen the kiss. The room suddenly felt warmer and Noctis gripped the front of Ignis' shirt to ground him to reality. His chest tightened again, and he realized why this time.
He was helplessly in love with his best friend.
When Ignis pulled back, Noctis found himself wanting to follow after; it was over all too soon.
Ignis rested his forehead against Noctis', a smile tugging at his lips and Noctis knew that he would do anything just to see it again.
"Can we do that again?" Noctis asked, hands reaching up to cup Ignis' face, gentle and afraid that if he were too careless, everything would come crashing away to reveal this had only been a dream.
"Patience, dearest, we have all the time in the world." Ignis chided, bumping their noses together.
"I guess we do." Noctis mumbled out, eyes falling to look at Ignis' chin as he finally released his hold on Ignis' shirt and attempted to smooth out the creases. "Hey, Iggy?"
"Hmm?" He hummed, a finger running along Noctis' jawline.
"Does that mean you'll stay by my side?"
Ignis paused when he saw the vulnerability in Noctis' eyes. As if it weren't obvious already that he would always stand by him. He would gladly give his life for Noctis without a second thought, but that seemed too intense, too forward in this moment. He instead found the hand at his chest with his own, and entwined their fingers before he brought it up to his lips to place a kiss on his knuckles.
Noctis tried to hold back the tears pricking at his eyes and caught Ignis off guard by pulling him into a kiss again; pouring all the love he held for him into it.
"Good, because I'm kind of in love with you."
Ignis' brows rose at the confession.
"You. . .oh, this is quite-well."
For the first time in his life, Ignis stumbled over his words and Noctis wondered if it was a mistake to admit such a thing. His doubts were washed away when Ignis smiled at him then, adoration displayed plainly in his eyes.
"It would appear that I am quite thoroughly in love with you, myself." Ignis admitted, somewhat embarrassed but cleared his throat and quickly regained his composure. "Now, shall we continue the dance lesson?"
"Only if you dance with me at the party."
"I'm not entirely sure that's appropriate."
Noctis sighed and rolled his eyes, "I'm the prince. No one questions the prince."
Ignis arched a brow. "You clearly haven't participated in the royal meetings, but I suppose one dance couldn't hurt."
"Good, with you as my partner, there's no way I'll mess up."
"Then let us continue so I can be sure you wont step on my feet again at your party."
"Hey ! That was. . .only a few times."
The laugh that followed was music to Noctis' ears and he wanted nothing more to hear it for the rest of his life.