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Wise Words

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“Noct! Noct! NOCT!” his name rang through his ears loudly, an accent he knew far too well. Ignis. A small sound of annoyance escaped his lips, and he rubbed at his eyes with his hands. His head ached almost as bad as when Titan got in his head.

Then, without warning, memories tumbled on him like a ton of bricks, causing him to sit up abruptly, a sharp breath following at the pain the sudden movement caused. “Shit.” Following a voice, getting transported to a different world, the Hiso aliens, Sarah, the Eroder… It all felt like a bad dream, but something told him that it was very real. The pounding in his head was likely an indicator like that.

“Buddy? You okay?” It was Prompto, he didn’t need to open his eyes to know the voice of his best friend. He felt a warm hand on his shoulder that he knew belonged to the blond as well.

He buried his head in his hands, trying to dull the aching. “Ow,” he mumbled out. “How long was I gone for?” he asked, not bothering to try and open his eyes yet. He was tempted to lay back down but thought if he laid down, he wouldn’t get up for a bit. He wanted to go curl up in a bed and sleep it off. Noct didn’t drink, but this was what he imagined a hangover would feel like.

There was a tutting sound, that he knew was Ignis and his disapproval or displeasure. “A few hours. We were starting to wonder if we were going to have to set up camp nearby,” he answered.

Noctis groaned more fully at that. “No. No camping tonight. My head’s killing me, and I need a proper bed,” he said, rubbing his eyes again and brushed his hair from his face. “We can get a motel room nearby, we have plenty of Gil,” he added the extra bit mostly because he knew the other male wouldn’t like them spending their money when they could camp.

“Are you going to tell us what happened?” the question came from a rough voice in front of him, definitely belonging to Gladio. Without even looking at him, the prince knew he was trying to assess any potential threats that would be coming.

He slowly opened his eyes, fluttering them a bit and letting his vision adjust again. Ignis and Gladio stood nearby, hand on a hip or arms crossed, respectively. Prompto was crouched next to him, a concerned look on his face. “I’ll explain on the way to the motel,” he said, offering Prompto a hand to help him up. The boy caught on quickly and pulled him up as they both stood. He gave him an appreciative smile, taking in their surroundings to remember where they were, and where they parked.

They headed back toward the Regalia, and Noctis tried to gather his thoughts, and figure out how to explain. “I was hearing voices. Well, a voice,” he began, knowing how insane that sounded. But was it really, after all they’d been through? It almost felt normal at this point. “I followed it, thinking someone may be in trouble. Next thing I know, I’m waking up somewhere different with a girl looming over me,” he continued, lips pursing as he put together what he remembered.

“A girl? Not Lady Luna or Gentiana, correct?” Ignis asked, looking over at him.

Noctis shook his head. “No, definitely not. Her name was Sarah. At first, I thought she was the one who brought me there, but she said she’d been pulled away like me. We found a little being… called the Hiso Alien. That mean anything to any of you guys?” He glanced around at his friends, wondering if maybe he’d missed something. Sarah hadn’t seemed to know about them but could at least understand them. He grew to understand them a bit more, in time.

There was a lot of head shaking and sounds of denial.

“Great…” Noct muttered. “Anyway, it explained that their Elder brought us there to help them defeat something called the Eroder: that it was destroying their world, and they couldn’t fight it. They could only keep up a barrier to keep it out, but that wasn’t working so well anymore…” he went on. He paused once they got to the Regalia, happy to get into his usual spot, lean back, and close his eyes. He didn’t have as much room as he’d like in the back seat, but Ignis and Gladio seemed to prefer the setup the way it was when Ignis drove. He guessed it made them feel like they could keep him safe easier or something. “Their Great Tree told them to bring us, said that we were the Saviors… We had to talk to the Elder, and then go fight it. I don’t know what it was, honestly, I’ve never seen anything like it. It could copy the powers around it, and it copied Sarah. Wasn’t anything we couldn’t handle though,” he gave a little shrug. “The Hisos thanked us after, and I was sent back here,” he finished.

“That’s it?” Gladio raised a brow, looking at him. “Bring you to a different world, pair you up with a random chick, have you kill a creature and send you back? Kinda weird, don’t you think?”

Noct shrugged it off. “We do errands for people all the time. Plus, the whole prince/king thing, and possibly the chosen one, guess it doesn’t seem that strange to me,” he said. Or maybe it was the fact he was tired, and his head hurt, and he didn’t want to think about it.

“I am a bit more curious about this Sarah girl,” Prompto declared, turning around in his seat to face him. “Was she cute? Was she a badass? I bet she was if they called her to assist you,” he grinned.

He rolled his eyes playfully. He couldn’t be surprised that it was what Prompto wanted to know about. “I wasn’t really paying attention to her looks, but I guess she was?” it was more of a question than a statement. He guessed he just preferred blonds. “She was a good fighter. Took us a bit to get in sync though. I’m used to having you guys,” he said.

“Man, I wish we could have gone with you. Or that she could come back with you,” the blond huffed, turning around in his seat, with a bit of a pout. It made the whole car chuckle.

Thankfully it didn’t take long for them to get to the motel, and get them checked in. They took turns taking a hot shower, letting Noct go first after his long day. By the time he was done with that, he was feeling physically better, and a little more restless. It was too late for a walk, knowing there’d be more daemons out at night, so he decided to warp up to the roof.

He was trying to process everything that happened that day, it all swirling around in his head. Warping to a high place was usually where he went to recoup during a battle, so why not with clearing his head?

“You ought to be more honest about the way you feel, Noct. If you don’t do it now, you may never get the chance.”

Sarah’s words replayed over and over again in his head, trying to figure out what exactly they meant from her, and to him. His thoughts were interrupted though when Prompto decided to join him. He figured the hyperactive member figured out a way to climb up since he couldn’t warp himself. He came over to sit next to him on the edge.

**Dialog right now taken directly from the game.**

“So, whatcha doin’?” he asked curiously, crossing one leg over the other.

“Nothin’ much, just… chillin’,” Noct responded casually. He was wondering if the boy was going to ask him more about the Hisos or Sarah.

Prompto gave a little nod, his fair hair bouncing a bit. “Hm, cool,” he said, before sighing.

Noctis considered sending him away, asking him to have time to think, but there was just something about his demeanour that said he needed to be here as much as the prince. So, he made a bit of small talk. “That was one hell of a day, huh?”

“Yeah, but it was fun. Every day’s fun. Even when we almost get ourselves killed,” he responded, always seeing the bright side of things. “I never imagined it’d work out like this. That’d I’d get to go on an adventure with you guys,” he confessed, leaning back a bit.

Noct smiled softly at that. “Who would have thought, huh?” It was true that it was a bit unexpected. Iggy was the person to groom him to be a prince and then a king, and Gladio was the person who trained him and guarded him. It made sense for them to be there. Prompto was just his best friend, his closest friend, but he was a good addition to the team and Noctis was glad to have him.

Prompto chuckled softly. “So, how long we been friends now? Let’s see… beginning of high school… so that’s… five years?” he did quick thinking in his head, which wasn’t always the best decision for him. He was right though, at least. He sounded surprised they knew each other that long too.

“Yeah, but we’ve known each other way longer than that. Ever since elementary school, right?” They hadn’t been friends back then, but they still knew each other and knew of each other.

“Huh?” Prompto let out a surprised sound. “You still remember that?”

“Could hardly forget being gawked at,” he commented, mostly teasing. He remembered the times where he’d turn around, and see a young Prompto there, staring at him. They’d tried to talk one time, but Prompto tripped on a block, and by the time he was up, the bell had rung. They didn’t talk until high school then.

He chuckled softly. “Well, y’know, it isn’t exactly easy being in the presence of royalty,” he teased back, looking over at him.

“And when we did meet in high school, you pretended like it was the first time,” Noct called him out on it. He wasn’t sure what sent his closest friend down memory lane, but he didn’t mind.

“Yeah! The first time I worked up the nerve to say something!” he confessed. “Feels just like yesterday.”

“You should have said something sooner,” he said, without realizing it. It struck a nerve, bringing him back to what Sarah said. He tried to push it off to focus on the current conversation at hand.

Prompto’s breath caught in his throat before he let out an uncomfortable chuckle. “Oh, Noct… you just wouldn’t understand.” Breath came from his lips as he sighed. “Back then, I was…” he trailed off, before changing his mind. “Actually, nevermind.”

Noctis’ brows furrowed slightly. “Hey, you can’t just stop halfway,” he said, trying to keep his tone at least a little light. He wasn’t trying to argue with him, just encourage him to talk.

Another uncomfortable laugh. “Yeah, I know,” he acknowledged. “I used to be super shy. Couldn’t talk to people. No surprises, but I had no friends – at least not real ones. I was always alone. And there were times when I felt, well, worthless.” He refused to look at him while speaking, only glancing at him toward the end, prompting him to reply.

Part of Noct considered teasing him, but this was a serious matter, and he was trying to open up to him. “That’s what’s been bugging you?” he asked, hoping it’d encourage him to go on.

“I mean, when you look at me, you wouldn’t think I’m anything but a fun-loving, happy-go-lucky joker. But that isn’t the real me. Behind all the quips and laughs, I’m a mess of hang-ups.” He was back to not looking at Noctis. Maybe it was easier not to look at him while he poured his heart out. "I’ve always felt inferior to you guys. I’m not royalty, and I’m not strong. I’m nothing, really.” Noct considered pointing out how funny, kind, and creative he was. After all, his photos were great. But he remained silent and let him go on. “Unlike Gladio, I’m not good with people. The way he connects with them, he’s operating on a different level. Unlike Ignis, I’m not smart and I can’t cook to save myself.” He looked at him briefly. “But when we hang out, it’s so much fun, I forget what I’m not.” He turned away again. “Then reality hits me like a splash of cold water, and I remember that I don’t belong. But I want to. Every moment, I’m desperate to earn my place. To prove that I’m good enough.”

Noctis was glad he’d been taught not to keep a straight face through everything, which kept his lips from pulling down. He loved Ignis and Gladio, he’d been with them for years and they were like family to him, but so was Prompto… he was the first guy to ever not treat him differently because he was royalty, and someone he could be himself with. “Think what you will, but I think you’re good enough for me.”

“So you really think I’m doing okay?” he glanced at him.

“Yeah, I do. Anything else?” Since they were getting everything off the table, he wondered if there was anything left unsaid by the boy that he wanted to get off his chest.

“Uh, no. Nothing at all. I’m sorry I got so real all of a sudden,” he apologized. It had taken a dark turn, but it was why Noct didn’t send him away in the first place, feeling that Prom wanted to talk about something more than just the day.

He smiled softly. “You should know better by now. You think I’d just make time for any old loser?” he teased to lighten the mood.

Prompto gave him a more genuine laugh. “Huh? Why you mad, bro?” he teased back. “Seriously, though. Thanks for making time for this loser,” his tone had turned more genuine. “Feels good to get that off of my chest.”

“Happy to hear,” Noct replied simply.

“Alright! I’m gonna keep on keepin’ on, the only way I know how,” he said, pushing himself to get up, and head toward however he got up there in the first place.

“Yeah, you do that,” Noctis said. He nearly let him go, but the entire time, Sarah’s words kept creeping up further in his brain, almost to the point he couldn’t focus on Prompto. If the conversation hadn’t been so serious, he would have probably checked out entirely. “Prom?” he asked, glancing back to make sure he wasn’t trying to head down yet.

**end of game dialogue**

Prompto’s head perked up and looked over. “Yeah, buddy?” he gave him a smile.

It was that smile and relaxed attitude that made him reconsider again. And then Sarah’s words came back. Again. “Since we’re apparently in the mood for real talks… can I talk to you about something?”

The blond bounced over, sitting back with him. “After I spilt out my guts, it’s the least I could do. What’s up?” he asked.

It was Noctis’ turn to sigh, trying to figure out how to start. He’d been up here to think about it in the first place and hadn’t gotten enough time to think about how to say it. “You ever think how things might be different if I wasn’t engaged to Luna?” he spit out. It wasn’t helpful, but a start.

Prompto looked at him, surprised. He’d never heard him talk about anything like this before. “What do you mean? About our journey, or…?” he trailed off, unsure what Noctis was talking about.

“No. I mean, well yeah, things may be different about that too, but I mean more personally. I mean, we went to school, and then not long after it, I got into an arranged marriage. Didn’t get time to explore much,” he said, still feeling like he wasn’t making any sense. Most of the kids in school were still too starstruck about the fact he was the future king of Lucis to actually get much interest from him. The arranged marriage hadn’t been something too long, but long enough. He loved Luna, but it just felt like another thing that was taken away from him.

The other male’s head cocked, almost like Pryna or Umbra would do. “What’s this about? Is it Sarah? Did you have a crush on her?” he asked, jumping to conclusions. In the boy’s head, surely that was what this was about, given the timing.

Noct shook his head. “No! No. I was a little sad when we had to part, but there was nothing with her. It was something she said though… she said I should be more honest about how I feel, because otherwise, I may never get the chance,” he said. He coulda probably quoted it word for word but opted not to. That got the point across enough as it was.

“Okay…?” Prompto was clearly completely lost and confused, and Noctis couldn’t blame him. He was lost himself.

A breath of annoyance, not at his companion, but himself. “You comment about girls a lot… Cindy, Sarah, I’m sure there are others I’m not thinking of right now… you ever…” he paused to clear his throat. “You ever think that way about guys we come across too?” he said so quickly he wasn't sure if Prompto would be able to understand.

He blinked a few times to process what he was asked, before swallowing back a lump that had appeared in his throat. “Uh, maybe a few times… why? You got a crush on another guy? I hope you know we’d all support you, no matter what.” He added the last bit in a rush, not wanting Noct to think that they’d have an issue with it. He felt like he could speak for himself, Ignis, and Gladio on that.

Noct understood why Prompto hadn’t looked at him while confessing his issues. He was finding himself doing the same thing, even though he knew Ignis would yell at him for it if he were there. ‘Eye contact is important’ he’d tell him. Well, this wasn’t official royal business. This was personal, and he was feeling shy. “Yeah, actually, I do. Someone I’ve known for a while. But the idea of him actually having feelings back is just really out there… but I feel like if I don’t tell them soon, I won’t get the chance,” he said.

Prompto frowned a little. “Who wouldn’t like you, Noct?” he said easily. “Is it Gladio or Ignis? Or someone you left back in the Crown City?” he asked, completely missing who it really was.

He let out a laugh with little humor. He glanced over at the boy, helpless. “It’s you, Prom,” he murmured, quiet enough that he wondered if he’d hear him.

Based on the reaction of his eyes nearly bulging out of his head, Noct would say that he did hear him. “M-me?” he asked for clarification, completely shocked. Prompto would have thought that Noct had feelings for Arydn or Ravus before himself.

He bit his lip a bit, nodding. “Yeah, you.”

“Bu-but, wh-why me?” he stammered out, adrenaline still coursing through him with the surprise. This didn’t even happen in his wildest dreams. He considered pinching himself to make sure he didn’t accidentally pass out in the room and this was all a dream. He refrained, though.

Noct’s brow’s furrowed as he looked at him. “Why not you? Because of the stuff you said? Prompto… you’re not worthless, and you’re not nothing. You’re one of the nicest guys—nicest people I’ve ever met, you have a lot of self-discipline and go after what you want, you know how to make people laugh, and you’re creative. Your pictures are amazing, and you’re brave enough to risk your life to get some of them. You’re my best friend, and the person I can talk to about anything. You’ve never treated me any different because I’m royalty. Why wouldn’t I have feelings for you?” he came out with it all, spilling his own guts, and saying everything he’d wanted to say for years, as well as the past few minutes with having to hear him talk badly about himself. “I never wanted to say anything because I didn’t want to mess up our friendship, and you’re always only fawning over girls, and I know you have a big crush on Cindy, but after what Sarah said, I couldn’t help the idea I had to tell you.” He looked out to the forest just outside the little outpost they were at, preparing himself for the fact he’d likely get rejected; he just hoped he wouldn’t lose his best friend from it too.

Fingers came under his chin though as Prompto tilted his head to look at him. “Yeah, Cindy’s hot, and I think her passion and talent is cool, but she doesn’t hold a flame to you, Noct,” he told him.

Noct only blinked in response, unsure what to say. What to do. He didn’t know what Prompto was trying to say, and he couldn’t get his mouth to work to ask.

Prompto shifted closer to his friend, keeping his chin in his hands. Rather than trying to clarify with words, he started to lean over. He took it slow, giving Noct time to decide if he wanted to pull away. Noctis’ eyes widened a bit, and his breath caught in his throat, but he didn’t pull away. He stayed perfectly still. Their lips finally met, and they both reacted out of instinct. Both of them felt like their bodies were set on fire, and that there was some sort of invisible thread starting to sew them together. It lasted for what felt like both forever, and not long enough. Prom only pulled away because he needed to breathe, and the feeling was intense. “That clear things up for you, pal?” he asked with a playful smile.

Noct smiled, in spite of himself. “Shut up,” he said, reaching up to rest a hand on his cheek, pulling him over to kiss him again. He’d waited to do it for so long, and he wanted to do it a bit more. They’d have to join the real world again soon, but he’d have a few more personal minutes.

Once they broke away, they stayed close. Prompto rested his head on Noct’s shoulder and reached down to interlace their fingers. “What does this mean? What about Lady Lunafreya? What do we tell Ignis and Gladio?” he asked, spewing the questions out.

Noct remained calm, squeezing his hands. “Shh. We’ll figure all that out in time,” he said. “We should head to bed, soon. It’s late,” he commented. He was really tired after going to a different world, and all this emotional stuff.

Prompto nodded, shifting to get up and pulled him up. “C’mon, let’s go get some rest,” he said, starting to head back to whatever secret way he figured out how to get up there.

A small, devious smile came over Noctis’ lips as he had an idea. He tugged him back over, before letting go of his hand and slipped an arm around him. “Take a deep breath,” he said.

He raised a brow. “What are you talking about, what are you – “ he was cut off by them being whipped through the air, before landing on the ground. Prompto would have fallen if Noct hadn’t been holding him so tight. “ – doing?” he finished, just for the sake of finishing. He looked around and realized they were on the ground. He’d warped with him. “That was so cool!” Prompto shouted. It made him a little dizzy, but it was a lot of fun.

Noctis laughed softly, letting him go and went toward the room. “Maybe we can do it again sometime,” he said.

 

The group retired to bed not long after. In efforts to save money, they only got one room, which only had two beds. It wasn’t uncommon for Prompto and Noctis to share a bed, and they weren’t going to fight it now. After they were sure Gladio and Ignis were passed out cold, they cuddled up to each other. “Goodnight, Noct,” Prompto whispered, sleepily.

“Night, Prom,” he murmured in response, practically falling asleep as he said it. They both drifted off to dreamland, cuddled up closely.

Chapter Text

Morning came far too soon. The boys had pretty much given up on the idea of waking Noct unless they had something time-sensitive; while they needed to get to Altissia soon, they had a few extra days. They usually had to drag him up, and being in an actual bed only made it harder. He started to wake up, but curled further under the covers, not ready to get up yet. The room was silent, so he wasn’t sure if the others went out already or just quiet. It wasn’t until he thought of the others that he thought of Prompto. Did last night actually happen, or was it part of his dreams? He blindly felt around the other side of the bed, finding it empty. Slowly lifting his head from the pillow, he cracked his eyes open. As expected, the room was empty. He looked over to the clock on the bedside table, seeing he’d slept for nine hours. Despite that, he wanted to drop his head back on the pillow and go back to sleep. There was work to be done, though, and conversations to be had.

Stretching out his arms, and rotating around to wake up his body, a yawn escaped his lips, enticing him once more to go back to sleep. He sat in the warm, plush bed in contemplation, before the door to the room opened. The man he’d been hoping for strolled through the doors, chipper as ever, and carrying a bag from the Crow’s Nest. “Sleeping Beauty’s awake!” he called out with a smile.

“Ugh,” Noct responded, letting himself fall back on the bed, pulling a pillow over his head.

The bed dipped as Prompto came over to sit next to him, placing the bag on the bedside table. “You’ve got to be the laziest prince in history!” he teased, reaching over to pinch his side.

He groaned and reached over to smack at his hand. Gods, he hated mornings. “I slept nine hours, why am I still so tired?” he asked, mostly rhetorically. He could sleep for twenty hours, and somehow manage to still be tired.

“It’s only a talent you have, buddy,” Prompto said as if it was a good thing. It was true, he could sleep through a lot, sometimes almost a dangerous amount. An earthquake could hit, and Noct would probably continue to sleep right on through it. It wasn’t like the Crown City or the Citadel had been overly loud, he just was a heavy sleeper.

He pulled his pillow off his head, putting it behind him instead, and shifted to prop himself up. He watched the blond through half-closed eyes, trying to decide what the best way was to figure out if last night was a dream or not. Prom wasn’t acting different, and he’d been out of bed before he woke, so he couldn’t guess it by them possibly being cuddled up together. “What’s the last thing you remember last night?” he asked, vaguely. It wouldn’t be hard to explain that he was trying to figure out what was real and what wasn’t. He had the trip to the foreign planet as a scapegoat too, in case their talk had been a dream, and he needed to come up with what he was asking about.

“Huh?” he asked in surprise, looking over. “Oh. Honestly, I haven’t been completely sure of it myself. But the last thing I remember before making the conscious decision to sleep was us talking on the roof. Assuming that wasn’t a dream as well,” he explained. So, his friend wasn’t sure if it was real either. That was why he didn’t act differently.

“We’re usually pretty in sync, but I don’t think it’s to the point of having the same dream,” he commented, hoping that would be confirmation enough. The way his shoulder’s relaxed told him that it was. “Where are the others?” he asked, not wanting to get interrupted.

“Iggy is restocking our supplies, and Gladio is at the Crow’s Nest having breakfast. Speaking of, I brought food back for you,” Prompto explained, motioning over to it. The downside to just stopping at Longwythe was its lack of stuff to do. It was usually just a pitstop, but when he was hoping the others would be gone from the room for a bit, it wasn’t exactly the place to go.

“Thanks,” he commented but made no move to get it yet. His stomach wasn’t awake. “We should probably talk about last night.” Prompto had already opened a bit of the floodgate with the questions, but Noct had been too exhausted to answer them.

He nodded. “Would probably be a good idea. Look, Noct, I may not exactly be smart, but I’m also not stupid. I know you’re engaged… I mean the whole point of this mission is to take you to your wedding! This isn’t just something you can bow out of, either. The whole world kinda depends on it, and I’m definitely not worth that,” he said, letting his insecurities show through again.

Pushing himself to sit up again, Noctis stared at his best friend. He wanted nothing more than to grab him and kiss him and show him that he thought he was worth the world to him (though Noct wouldn’t be selfish enough to put his own happiness above the lives of other people.) Talking was a little safer though since they could just stop if they heard the door. Kissing, it may be a bit harder to be aware of anything else going on in the world though. “Maybe I can talk to Luna. It’s not a wedding of feelings, it’s a political wedding, one we really didn’t have a choice in. I’m not saying call it off, but maybe she’d be accepting of the fact that even if she’s my wife, my heart will be with someone else,” he said. If Luna was like she was last time they saw each other, she’d be understanding. He loved Luna, and had he not had feelings for Prompto, he could have probably married her with no issue and been happy with her. He just loved Prompto more.

The blond took in a sharp breath, caught off guard by the idea. “Us being involved while you were married to her? Wouldn’t that make me your mistress… or… mister?” he wasn’t sure what the name for it would be. His experience in this area was extremely limited.

“Well, when you say it like that, it makes it sound bad. I don’t know what your title would be, but would it be that weird with the wedding only being for a peace treaty? And it wouldn’t be one-sided. If she found someone she cared for and wanted to be with them, I’d be fine with it. It used to be a bigger deal, with lack of DNA testing and not knowing the legitimacy of an heir, but we have that now,” he pointed out. Technically he wasn’t sure what he’d do about having an heir. He wasn’t trying to propose being in a romantic relationship with both Luna and Prompto, but a business arrangement with her, and a relationship with him. They’d be expected to produce an heir eventually. There was technology for that as well, but he didn’t know what would all go into it. How would his possible boyfriend feel if they had to sleep together a few times, to try and conceive an heir?

Prompto didn’t seem convinced though. “Lady Luna seems pretty cool and chill from my letters with her, and what you’ve told us… but do you think any girl would be okay with their husband going off and being with someone else on the side? I mean, I’d accept having to share you with her, if it was that or only being your friend, but I still don’t know if she’d bite,” he said, uncertainly.

Noctis sighed. Why were things so messy? “It’s not long until we see Luna. We can wait and talk to her, see what she thinks. If she’s not okay with it, we can figure it out from there.” He was just holding out hope that she would be okay with it, and they wouldn’t have to try and put their feelings aside. It was good to know that Prompto was willing to “share” him, even if it wasn’t what he wanted. If it was what it took, he’d pay that price too, but he’d prefer his relationship with Luna to just be friends and business.

“And until then? I know it should only be another day or two, but what do we do until we talk to her?” he asked, not sure if they should go on pretending they were just friends or take advantage of that time together. Why couldn’t he have just fallen for someone interested and available?

Noct frowned, trying to decide what was best. “I’d like to be able to take advantage of the time we have, but if things don’t go the way we hope, it could make just being friends easier,” he said. It hurt to even think of that idea, knowing now that they both returned each other’s feelings. He’d want nothing more than for Prompto to be happy, but the idea of seeing him with someone else was a lot. Could he complain, though? He was basically asking him to do that for him anyway.

Prompto nodded a little, mood somber. “Right, makes sense.” It wasn’t hard to hear from his tone that it wasn’t the choice he would have made, but he’d accept it. “Can I ask for one thing, though? Just in case?” he glanced over at him, not sure if he had any right to ask favors.

“Of course,” Noctis said without doubt. He was putting his friend between a rock and a hard place here. By confessing his feelings, he opened Prompto up to two very hard options – having to see him with Luna while being with him, or not being able to be with him at all but knowing he returned his feelings.

He bit his lip softly. “Kiss me? Once more, in case it’s the last? Maybe things will be easier, and it’ll provide closure if things don’t go our way.”

The prince was wary about that, both because Gladio and Ignis could walk in, and because it could only add more fuel to their feelings, but his explanation was sound enough. When he kissed him last night, he didn’t think it’d be both the first and last times. He shifted over to him, glancing at the door, before deciding he didn’t care. He wanted to eventually be able to call Prompto his lover, so Gladio and Iggy would have to find out at some point. He cupped his face in his hands, leaning over to kiss him softly. He decided then and there that there was no way this could have ever been a dream. Kissing Prompto felt to right, too real, and too amazing for anything his mind could come up with, even if he still felt like he was in a dream. Prompto’s hands rested against his arms, leaning into it, and happily returned it.

It lingered and lasted for a bit longer than it probably should have. Especially since it wasn’t lack of breath that had them pulling away. It was the sound of someone clearing their throat.

The boys jolted away from each other, as if they’d been shocked, and turned to see where the sound had been coming from. It wasn’t one, but both of their friends. Ignis’ arms were crossed, and face full of disapproval, whereas Gladio was just grinning. They both looked away, flushed brightly.

“Morning,” Gladio said as if they hadn’t just walked in on them making out.

Ignis, however, was having none of this. “Need I remind you that you’re engaged, your Highness?” he asked, and Noctis didn’t even have to turn to feel the glare.

“No, you don’t. I’m very well aware of that fact,” he muttered, feeling like a child who got caught out after dark, or something.

“I know they’re both blond, but last time we checked, your eyesight was perfect, so I know you know for a fact that he is not your fiancée,” Ignis continued.

Had this been a less serious issue, Noctis probably would have made some snarky remark, pretending to be surprised that the boy sitting with him on the bed wasn’t the woman he was betrothed to. “Saying you wouldn’t make a point to be disappointed, even if it was Luna?” Okay, he couldn’t help it, some snark still came out. He did truly doubt that Ignis would be fine with him kissing her alone in a bed before the wedding anyway.

“Involvement before marriage wouldn’t be as frowned upon as this. What would Lady Lunafreya say if she found out? This could jeopardize everything.” Ignis was very old-school, but he assumed it had to do with formalities of being royal as well.

“I know,” Noct snapped, looking over to his caretaker. “This wasn’t the start of something or even the middle. It’s a possible end. I know I’m engaged to Luna, I know it’s not like a common wedding that can be called off, and that the fate of the world is depending on it. I don’t need to be reminded.”

Ignis raised a brow. “The possible end?” he questioned, wanting clarification.

Noct sighed, running his fingers through his hair. “I want to talk to Luna. Explain that we may have to do this for the treaty and peace, but my heart is somewhere else. It may be a long shot, but maybe she’ll be okay with us being involved. Wouldn’t be the first time in history for a king to have another lover besides his wife,” he pointed out. As much as he hated school and history, he knew that much about it. “If she’s not okay with it, then it can end before it truly starts. This was just in preparation for that.” He hated that it sounded like they were preparing to make a cake, not talking about his love life.

The crownsguard turned his eyes to Prompto, who’d kept his gaze away from everyone, and remained uncharacteristically silent. “And your feelings on this? Either option?”

Prompto shrugged. “I’d rather have him in my life, than not at all, for both options. If I can have a part of him how I like to, even if it means her getting another part of it, I can handle it. But I can’t expect her to like the idea of sharing her husband. At the end of the day, he’s my best friend, and I’m not going anywhere. It’s not a great situation, but tell that to my stupid heart,” he said, resting his hand briefly on his chest, over his heart.

“I can’t say I approve. It has nothing to do with you both being men or having to travel with you both. I just don’t want anything to get in the way of what we worked hard for. I advise waiting until after the wedding to talk to Lady Lunafreya about this. She may call off the wedding before it can happen if she knows you have feelings for another and wish to be with him.” It wasn’t ideal by any means, and he usually wasn’t a fan of manipulation, but this was an arranged married neither of them had any say in. Lady Lunafreya wasn’t going into this with the idea of it being about love and compassion.

Noctis pursed his lips but nodded. “Okay.”

“I think you’re just this upset about it because it means you lost the bet,” Gladio chimed in, smacking Iggy on the arm with a smile. “A deal’s a deal, pay up,” he said, holding out a hand.

Ignis frowned at the shield, due to both the timing, the situation, and yes, genuinely being annoyed by the fact he’d lost. He pulled twenty gil from his pocket, and placed it in the man’s waiting hand, begrudgingly. “At least it’s different than you’d thought.”

Prompto and Noctis exchanged a look of horror and surprise, before looking at them. “You put a bet on us?” Prompto asked.

Gladio grinned more. “You bet we did. Your feelings for each other have been clear since before we even left the city. So, I bet him that one of you would cave and confess your feelings before the wedding. Iggy here thought that neither of you would be willing to put the agreement at risk, so he accepted it. Knew you guys couldn’t resist,” he chuckled, pleased with himself. All was handled, they had their plan, and knew they couldn’t be together like a normal couple, so he could have his fun.

Noct shook his head. “Unbelievable…” he muttered.

“Now, it’d be best if we got going. We got what we needed for the ship, and it will take a bit to get back to Caem,” Ignis declared. Noctis pulled himself up, and prepared for the day, deciding to eat on the road. Once they were set to go, they made their way off to Caem, and not long after, they’d be in Altissia.

  

--Bonus Scene: The Bet --

 

It was nearly time for them to head out on their mission to Altissia, just having finished packing the car. They'd have to go inside and speak with King Regis before they left, which would happen soon. Noctis and Prompto were nearby, laughing and pushing each other around. Ignis still didn't entirely approve of bringing the prince's friend along for the journey, but he'd proved over the past few weeks that he would be able to hold his own. He was good with a gun, as it turned out. 

"You think they realize?" Gladio asked, coming to stand by his fellow royal official. He gave no indication as to what he was talking about, other than the fact it had to do with the two young boys off in their own world. 

Ignis didn't need it though. He knew what he meant, and it was another reason he didn't approve of Prompto coming along. "I don't believe so, and if we're being frank, I hope they never do. Arranged marriages are difficult enough without having feelings for another involved. No party would get out unscathed." 

Gladio glanced over with a smirk. "They may be dense at times, but I think they'll figure it out. Especially with so much alone time, away from the city," he said. He knew it was a risky thing, but he couldn't help the fact he wanted to see Noct get at least a little bit of happiness. 

"Well if they do, I don't imagine either will admit it. Noct may not want to be a prince or a king, but I believe when push comes to shove, he'll show that he cares more for his country than his own feelings. And Prompto doesn't need to accept Noctis as a future king to treat him like royalty. It's not... traditional behavior, no Your Highness, or anything, but he certainly worships the ground the prince walks on. He wouldn't do anything to jeopardize any official business, no matter how flippant or dense he is," Ignis explained his thoughts. He didn't know Prompto terribly well on a personal level, but it wasn't hard to see he put Noct above everyone else. 

"I bet you that you're wrong. Actually, I'm so sure of it, I'm willing to put some money down on it. Twenty gil says they won't make it to the wedding without realizing their feelings and confessing them," he stated, offering a hand to make it official. 

Ignis started at him, trying to decide how to feel about this. "What's a friendly little bet, yes?" he decided, letting himself have his own fun. He'd groomed Noctis enough to have faith in him, and he was only aided by the fact both boys were incredibly blind to the other's feelings, or even their own. "Twenty gil," he confirmed, placing his hand in the other male's. Shortly after, they were called to meet with King Regis and set out on their journey. 

Chapter Text

The ride to Cape Caem was a long one, and a weight set over the group. Things would change not long after they got to Altissia, and everyone knew it. The weight was heavier over Noct and Prompto, given the possibility of their feelings were on the line. Noctis wanted to believe that he knew Luna well enough and that she’d want him to be happy over all things, but he knew it was also asking a lot of her. She was already having to put so much aside to become his bride, and now he was only adding one more thing to the list. If it had just been him, he may not have said anything, but Prompto deserved to at least know if it was a possibility.

Their send-off from Caem was even heavier than the ride there. They were saying goodbye to everyone for a while, and these were all people they cared about. All of them would have loved to enjoy the scenic view of leaving Lucis and heading into Altissia, but they couldn’t focus on that for the moment. Maybe things would go well, and they could appreciate it another time. It could be romantic, and it made Noct look over to Prompto longingly. He wished so badly that they could take this time for themselves, but the last thing he wanted was to make things harder on his friend. A few more days, and then hopefully they could be together like they wanted.

 

But it didn’t work that way, because shortly after getting to Accordo, all hell broke loose.

 

They had to meet with the First Secretary to even allow Luna to rouse the Hydraean, making promises to keep the people of Altissia safe, so long as she kept Luna safe. Before raising Leviathan, Luna gave a speech about the importance of raising her, and that they’d banish the Starscourage. Noctis was required to undertake Leviathan’s trial, assisted by the past kings, and later by Titan. But during it, Arydn showed his true colors, and stabbed Luna, wounding her fatally.
Weakened from the battle, Noctis couldn’t do anything to save her, and she used her last bit of energy to heal him. They spoke in a dream-like world, and he received the Ring of Lucii from her. Before she left him, she asked him to try and be happy, as much as he could with everything going on.

He was out for days, body and mind both trying to recover. He’d fought Leviathan and won her blessing, but also lost his bride-to-be, and someone he considered a friend. When he finally did wake, he found Ignis injured badly, and his Advisor suggested they reconsider their journey. He refused, urging them to push on.

So, they spent a few weeks traveling by train across the continent towards Gralea to reclaim the Crystal. The team, however, is a bit broken. There aren’t any light quips or playing King’s Knight to pass the time. Noctis has the weight of Luna’s death, Ignis’ injury, and being expected to use the Ring of Lucii, despite the fact it repels him like a magnet. Ignis is somber, Prompto doesn’t know how to help his friends feel better this time, and Gladio is short and snappy with Noct.

Part of Noctis wants to reach out and talk to Prompto about their ability to be together, and the fact Luna’s final wish was for him to be happy, but he can’t stomach it right now. He still needs time to heal. There’s a stop off in Cartanica to another royal tomb, and after spending the entire time getting the next sword and power of the past king, Ignis decides to speak up and put a cease to all the arguing, particularly between Noctis and Gladio. It doesn’t fix everything, but it helps get them back on the path.

They decide to make a stop in Tanebrae, in hopes to help give Noctis some closure. On the way there, however, things only continue to get worse. The train is attacked by imperial forces, and due to supernatural abilities, Ardyn tricks Noctis into pushing Prompto off the train. He wants to stop immediately and go get him. They couldn’t risk the lives of the other passengers though by stopping and have to push on to Tenebrae. Noctis makes a silent promise to his friend and lover that he won’t leave him there. As soon as they can, they’ll go back and get him. He has to summon Leviathan to even keep the train safe, so they can get to Tenebrae.

In Tenebrae, they meet with Aranea, learning she’s left the Empire and arranging through her some people to drive them to Gralea. Noct reconnects with a retainer of the House Fleuret, and from her, he learns that Ravus has been on Luna’s side the entire time, despite working for the Empire. He’s reminded of the fact Ravus has the Sword of the Father, unsure how to give it to Noctis, and Noctis assures her he’ll get it somehow.

They make for Gralea, only to be stopped by more daemons. Once they reboard, Noctis sees Ardyn again, and chases after him, demanding to know where Prompto is. Gentiana interrupted them, silencing Ardyn by freezing him and revealing herself to be the goddess Shiva, the Glacean. She tells him the history of the Astrals and asks him to set her love, Ifrit free. He receives the Trident of the Oracle from her, as well as her blessing, and learns of Ardyn being immortal, so attacks on him are futile.

Their attempt to make for Gralea is once again hindered by more Imperials, and they’re forced to leave the train and take the Regalia into the city, destroying the car, and also separating Noct from Gladio and Ignis. Not only does he find himself alone, but he has no access to his powers, sealed by Arydn. Forced for the need to defend himself, he finally puts on the ring, and makes his way through the compound, searching for Prompto, his other friends, and a way to restore his abilities.

 

*End of filler bullshit* 

 

He reconnects with Ignis and Gladio at the nick of time and makes haste to find Prompto. They find him, injured but not gravely. They’re able to find the source that is blocking Noct from his power, and when they believe it’s locked, Prompto steps up, using a barcode on the back of his wrist to unlock it. He confesses to them that he was born in Niflheim, created with the intention of being an MT, but taken by Lucians and raised there. His concerns of things changing were immediately dismissed, the three telling Prompto that it doesn’t matter where he was born. That he’s a Lucian and their friend.

They take refuge in a dormitory, trying to preserve their strength. Deciding to give them a moment, Gladio and Ignis decide to search close by for more resources.

Noctis takes a moment, before sitting on the other side of the bed Prompto is sitting on. “Hey. I’m—I’m sorry,” he sputters out.

“For what?” Prompto asks as if he doesn’t have anything at all to apologize for.

It’s another game of not being able to look at him. He feels awful. He wants to apologize for not being there for him after the fall of Altissia, for spending so much time moping around about Luna instead of being with him and being the king they needed. Instead, he decides to focus on the more recent. “For falling right into his trap. And for hurting you like that…”

“I know, right? How could you possibly do such a horrible thing? After everything we’ve been through!” It’s clear from his tone he’s trying to give Noctis what he thinks he wants to hear but is failing horribly, basically coming off full of sarcasm. “Nah. It’s okay. You’re not the only one who fell for it…” he murmured.

Noct turns to look over at him. “And the past few weeks? I know you wouldn’t expect me to be happy about losing Luna, but I should have tried to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Spent that time with you, not moping. Sometimes I think Gladio’s right, and I am a kid,” he sighed.

Prompto frowned at him. “Noct, you knew her since you were kids. Even if the engagement was only political and not very long, you knew as the next King, and her being the Oracle that you’d spend a lot of time together. You didn’t have to be in love with her to mourn losing her,” he told him. “We’ll get the Crystal back, defeat Arydn, and then we’ll be together.” He reached over to take his hand gently, making Noct’s heart skip a beat.

He gave a bit of a nod, squeezing his hand. “A little bit further, and then it’ll all be over,” he agreed.

The blond hesitated for a moment, biting his lip. “Noct?” Noctis looked at him more fully, giving him his undivided attention. “Just in case this doesn’t go in our favor, I wanted to tell you… I love you. Maybe that’s a lot, even we haven’t even officially been together-together, but I know deep inside of me that I do. That I have for years,” he confessed, glancing down at their hands.

Noctis shifted over closer to him, lifting his chin, and kissed him softly. He heard Prompto take in a breath of surprise before returning it. “I love you, too,” he murmured against his lips.

Prompto pulled away slightly, looking at him in surprise. “You do?”

The prince laughed softly. “’Course I do. How could I not?” he asked, gazing at him. The room fell silent, the two keeping their hands together, giving themselves a happy moment. “Once this is all over, I say we break down the borders. Come together as one nation. I mean… what does it matter where you’re from, anyway?” he said, looking over at him pointedly.

“You know, I never thought I’d say this, but you sounded like a real king there for a second,” Prompto said, his voice littered with a teasing tone, but also let him know he meant it

“Better late than never…” Noct murmured. “I’m going to make this world a better place. You with me?” he turned to him, knowing the answer, but wanting to hear it out loud

“Uh-huh. Ever at your side,” he answered, before resting his head on Noct’s shoulder.

Chapter Text

Ignis and Gladio returned shortly after, having found more potions and other means of healing. While their bodies were desperate for sleep, they couldn’t do that just yet. Especially not in the middle of enemy territory. The resting helped, and they healed up, before heading out to get back down to the hangar.

When they arrived, there were more daemons than they could count, and they were starting to wear thin. They didn’t know if it would ever stop, or how they’d reach the Crystal if this kept going on. Then unexpected help arrived.

“Need assistance?” a familiar voice asked, plowing through a few daemons at a time.

Noct looked over in surprise, stabbing his sword through one nearby. “Ravus?”

The white-haired man threw him a rueful smile. “You need to get to the Crystal, and soon. The elevator should be here any moment. Go, I’ll take care of this,” he told them. Noct knew from Maria that Ravus was on their side, or at least on Luna’s side, but he didn’t expect him to assist.

The sound of the elevator arriving came shortly after, and he didn’t have time to formulate a response. “Noct! Come, we have to go,” Ignis called, the other three already starting to head for it, fighting off any daemons along the way.

He started to head over himself, mind still reeling at their unexpected ally. The daemons were mostly low-level, their numbers what made it more impossible. “Noctis!” He heard his name come from behind him just as he reached the elevator. He turned around to see Ravus join him, and conjure the Sword of the Father, offering it to him. “I believe this is rightfully yours.”

Noct took the sword and gave him a nod. “Thank you, Ravus.”

Returning to his own sword, he swept the area by the elevator clean and managed to find a few seconds to give a formal bow to the true king of Lucis. “Go get the crystal,” he said, before turning his attention back to the enemies, protecting those on the elevator.

Noct got on, letting the sword disappear for when he needed it. He hoped Ravus would manage alright on his own and wanted to see him again after it was all over.

               

The elevator came to a stop, and they all made a sprint for the doors to the hall that would hopefully lead them to the crystal. The corridor felt like it was going to go on forever. But it was there. The crystal.

“Go, Noct,” Gladio said, placing a heavy hand on his shoulder, before pushing him toward it.

"Now, now, let’s not be hasty, Noct.” A teasing voice came behind them, and they all knew it was Ardyn. They whipped around, all conjuring their weapons to be at the ready. “Just because I let you get this far doesn’t mean I’ll let you take it, children. It’s not that easy,” he told them.

A fight broke loose, one of the hardest of their lives. It didn’t help that they were already worn down from everything else that had been going on inside, and before even getting to Gralea.
Noct took one too many hits and was too far from the others for them to come heal him. He got past the point of being able to conjure one for himself, and everything went black.

 

He didn’t know how long had passed when he finally started to come to. He didn’t feel like it had been obscenely long, and he was aware of the fact he was waking up from injury, not sleep. The adrenaline of the situation got him up, and he took in the scene around him. Gladio and Prompto were laying nearby, unconscious as well, but their chests rose and fell, indicating they were alive at least. Where was Ignis? He looked up to see him fighting Ardyn. He also noticed a power around him that he recognized, and his eyes fell to Ignis’ hand, then his own. The advisor was wearing the Ring of Lucii, and it wasn’t taking too kindly to being worn by someone else.

Noctis summoned a potion for himself, before carefully and quietly inching his way over to the other two, breaking a potion on them as well. They both woke as quickly as Noct had, and he put a finger to his lips. “Ignis has the Ring of Lucii. We need to help him defeat Ardyn as quickly as possible,” he whispered. If he knew anything from combat, it was that the act of surprise was an important benefit, if one could get it.

The three got up, and joined the fight, wearing him down. They knew they couldn’t kill him, but at least they could weaken him, and he was getting to that point.

“” The best-laid plans”, eh?” Ardyn murmured, clear in his voice he wasn’t going to take much more, that he couldn’t, even if he was immortal. “It may have eluded me for now, but rest assured: I shall have my revenge,” he told them, before vanishing.

Ignis collapsed, and the three ran to him. “What were you thinking!?” Gladio yelled at him. They all knew the ring couldn’t be worn by someone who wasn’t in the Lucis Caelem bloodline.

“How could we let this happen?” Prompto asked.

Noct dropped to his knees by his friend, by his brother. “How could I let this happen? This is all my fault,”

Ignis’ breathing was shallow, and they knew this wasn’t something a potion could cure. They were magic, but not miracle workers. “Noct…” he tried to say.

“If I’m really some kind of savior, then why can’t I save the ones I love?” he asked, leaning over Ignis, trying to figure out something to do. He couldn’t let him die for him. So many other people lost his life for him, he wouldn’t let the next one be Ignis. “I’m sorry. You guys have stayed with me this whole time… and all it’s done is caused you pain.” He reached over, gently removing the ring from Ignis’ injured hand, placing it back on his own finger. He reached down to carefully move Ignis to sit up. “Not anymore. All that ends now.” He turned to the crystal, holding his hand out in hopes to absorb some of its power. “Please, lend me your strength! Help me protect my friends!”

Magic started to swirl from the Crystal, enveloping them, and starting to heal Ignis’ injuries. Noct looked back to Gladio, who understood and came to take his place on holding him up. Noct got up, looking to his friends, knowing he needed to fulfill the prophecy and take the power of the Crystal. He moved over to Prompto, giving him a brief but loving kiss. “I love you,” he said, before conjuring one of his swords, using it to warp to the Crystal. He didn’t know what would happen after this. He gave them a nod, turning to it. As he stepped closer, he was consumed by it, taken inside.

 

Noctis heard the voice of his father inside. He also received the blessing from all Six. And then he was left to do Reflection, so he could absorb its power.

He had no idea how long had passed when he was finally able to leave. He wasn’t in Gralea anymore, and it was complete darkness. He heard barking that led him out, finding Umbra waiting for him with a note.

                “We’ll be waiting in Hammerhead.

Chapter Text

Noctis and Umbra set off, back toward Hammerhead. He was on an island, but there were glaive members waiting for him, ready with the boat to take him back.  It was dark, and when he got back to Galdin Quay, there was no one around. Well, no one but daemons. He made his way as quickly as he could, either fighting off or trying to avoid them. If it kept up, it was going to be a long walk back to Hammerhead. Thankfully, Talcott happened to be driving past and picked him up. Noctis didn’t recognize him at first. He was an adult now. He found out he had been out for ten years, and that darkness completely consumed the land. Most people took refuge in Lestallum for the light there, and Hammerhead was a pitstop for hunters. The other boys were alive, so was Cid, Cindy, and Ravus. The boys weren’t together much, taking on their own things. He learned that Iris had become a daemon slayer as well.

They arrived in Hammerhead, pulling up near the diner. He got out, thanking Talcott, before making his way inside, finding his three best friends sitting on the couch. They stood as soon as they saw him, rushing over. He took them all in. The years hadn’t changed them much… “Hey,” he said, casually.

“Hey? That’s all you have to say for yourself – after all this time?” Gladio teased him, shoving him lightly. Just like that, it was as if he’d barely ever left. He knew they’d pick up right where they left off.

“Noct! It’s you! It’s really you!” Prompto said, showing his excited, hyperactive nature hadn’t calmed down much in the past few years. Noct’s heart squeezed, having so many questions for everyone, but for the blond in particular. He hadn’t had the nerve to ask Talcott if Prompto was seeing anyone. He wanted him to be happy, but the idea of seeing him with someone else stung.

“Is it? I hadn’t realized,” he commented playfully.

“Well, well. You kept us waiting,” Ignis commented.

Noct focused on Ignis, relieved to see the healing from the Crystal worked. He still had scars, but he could see. He was so glad about it. “Not like I wanted to. We’ve got catching up to do,” he told them.

“Let’s sit somewhere that we can talk more privately,” Ignis told them.

 

They went toward the other side of the diner, where there were a few booths still intact. Moving a few weapons and papers, they took a seat. The four talked about what they’d been up to, or well, rather they talked to Noct. He wasn’t told much they didn’t already know and explained that he a lot of that time wasn’t spent doing anything special.

They talked about helping in any way they could, taking on hunts, keeping people safe. Noct didn’t feel like asking Prompto in front of the other two if he’d moved on, and the photographer didn’t offer up that information. As if reading his mind, once they reached a point where Noctis knew the gist of what had happened, Ignis and Gladio excused themselves, saying they’d start working on preparations to head back to the Crown City.

Silence fell between the two boys, Noct trying to figure out how to ask what he wanted to know. He decided to bite the bullet. “Talcott said you hang around here Hammerhead a lot? Does that mean Cindy finally gave you a chance?” he asked.

Prompto looked up at the question, surprised by it. He shook his head a bit after. “No, no. She’s married to her work,” he laughed softly. “Can’t say I tried too hard, though. Gladio and Iggy told me I should try to move on, that we didn’t know when you’d be back, if you came back. Said you’d want me to be happy. But I couldn’t.”

Noct had mixed feelings about that. “They were right, you know? All I’ve ever wanted was for you to be happy,” he told him. “But if roles were reversed, I don’t think I could have either.”

“We kept saying we’d beat this thing, and then after, we’d be together. Took a little longer than we expected, but…” he trailed off, the both of them laughing. “You better be worth all this waiting for,” he teased.

The brunette chuckled softly. “I hope I am,” he mused. “If this does go well, you know that kind of makes you royalty, right?” he pointed out. Obviously, he wasn’t ready to propose or anything, but Prompto would be in a relationship with a king.

“Does that mean I get to boss Iggy and Gladio around?” he joked.

He smiled softly. “You can try. Don’t know how well they’ll listen.” As his advisor and shield, the two were usually the ones giving orders, rather than taking them, but that was when he was a prince. He was a king now: The King of Kings. That title was overwhelming, and he tried not to think of it. King of Lucis was bad enough. Even being the King of Kings, he knew once this was all over, if he did what he said and broke down the borders, he’d need assistance. He’d figure out all that later, though. One step at a time.

“Yeah… you’ll probably have a hard enough time getting them to listen to you, let alone me,” he laughed. Prompto shifted over to sit next to him, reaching up to brush some wayward hair from the king’s face. With little warning, he kissed him gently, but Noct was quick to respond. Feelings flooded through them both again, and it was like their bodies were finally getting what they so desperately needed. He pulled away slowly, gazing at him. “I love you, too,” he said, making Noct raise a brow. “You didn’t give me the chance to reply last time we saw each other. So I’ve been holding onto that for a decade,” he explained with a grin.

Noctis laughed softly, leaning over to kiss him softly. “You’re an idiot, but you’re my idiot,” he said, pressing their heads together.

“Happy to be your anything,” Prompto murmured, closing his eyes, cherishing the moment. He wanted to believe everything would go okay, but the years proved how differently things could go; when they first confessed their feelings to each other, they thought they’d talk to Lady Luna, hopefully, get her blessing, and be done with it. Now they had to face an immortal being and survive.

“Well, you’re my everything,” he assured him, glad to have this time before everything got worse, but hopefully it’d be followed with things starting to get better. He refused to lose any of his friends, the only person who would die in the battle would be Ardyn.

Prompto took in a breath, before giving him a loving smile. “May want to re-evaluate your priorities, buddy. You’ve got a lot more people to look after now, not just this loser,” he teased.

Noct chuckled softly, giving a little shrug. “Fair enough. You’re up there though.”

“Glad to hear it,” he answered, making no effort to move away for the moment.

 

“As much as we hate to ruin the moment, we need to prepare to go into the city,” Ignis told them as they made their way back over.

“Hopefully once this is over, you can have all the moments you want,” Gladio chimed in.

“Perhaps not all the moments, but more than now,” Ignis corrected. Defeating Ardyn was only one part. There was a lot of damage done everywhere, and they’d have to work on rebuilding, but they’d have more time.

The two slowly pulled away, Prompto sighing softly. “I really hope this isn’t like the other times we thought it’d be over soon…” he muttered, making them all chuckle.

“At this point, I don’t know what could come up, but I didn’t exactly expect to be stuck in a crystal for ten years…” Noct commented. In theory, everything was ready. He had the power he needed, he had his friends, and they knew where to find Arydn. It was time to take care of the prophecy and take back their land. “Guess we better get moving.”

Chapter Text

Insomnia wasn’t as bad off as he expected. Most of the buildings still stood, it seemed like there was power, and many things were still intact. The city was crawling with daemons, but they would all be gone within the night.

The four fought their way through the city, including fighting Ifrit. When the time came to battle Ardyn, Noctis was required to go at it alone. It wasn’t an easy battle, and at times, he wondered if he was going to lose. He pulled through and was able to reunite with the others. They weren’t done just yet, making their way together into the throne room, Noctis taking his rightful place. He was consumed with the power of the previous kings, and the power of the ring, taken beyond the physical realm to truly defeat the darkness.

They were weak, exhausted, and injured, but alive and together. The group made their way outside, seeing the sun starting to peek over the horizon. The first sunrise in ten years.

“It’s finally over…” Noct murmured, staring out at the city. The daemons were gone, the darkness was gone, and his mission was complete.

A strong hand landed on his shoulder, and he glanced over to Gladio. “You did good, kid. Not a helpless prince any longer, but a proper king.”

“I couldn’t have done it without you guys. Any of you,” he said, looking between them.

“You’ll never have to discover that for yourself, in any matter. The darkness may be gone, but there is still much to be done. We will be by your side through it all, both as your friends, and politically,” Ignis informed him.

Prompto nodded, throwing an arm around his shoulder, grinning. “Ever at your side,” he promised, just like he had back in Gralea.

“We should head to Lestallum soon. It’ll be the best place to talk to everyone and work on getting things back to normal. Or the new normal,” Noct decided. He didn’t want to wait for people to make the travel to Insomnia or do a broadcast. He wanted to be there for his people.

"You should rest, Your Highness,” Ignis insisted. They all needed it.

Noctis shook his head. “Not yet. Let me talk to everyone first, and then I’ll rest,” he said.

“We can call Talcott, he’ll pick us up. We can probably borrow a car from Cindy to take us the rest of the way to Lestallum,” Prompto suggested. So that was what they did. Talcott insisted on driving them the entire way, just switching out his truck for the larger car. It gave them time to rest, Noctis happily falling asleep on Prompto’s shoulder on their way there.

 

Noct was roused more gently, slightly less difficult to get up now. At least this time. He had a feeling once he got to a bed, he’d pass out for another ten years. They’d called ahead, and Iris arranged an audience with everyone in the city, as well as connecting them to the radio so anyone not in the city could hear, but that wasn’t many people.

His friends stood by as he took the stand to talk to the people. He gave them a small smile, before turning his attention to the nation. “The Darkness is officially destroyed, and things should start becoming safer. Things aren’t perfect, and there’s a lot of work that needs to be done, but we’re at a start. Soon, I plan to meet with Ravus Nox Fleuret and Camelia Claustra to discuss what needs to be done to get back on the right track. Once we are up and operational, I plan to begin talks to take down the borders between our kingdoms. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, it only matters who you are as a person. We need to come together, no more than ever, as one nation.

“Within the next few days, opportunities to help clean up the cities will be made available. Those of you taking refuge from Insomnia or Accordo, we’ll try to get you home as soon as possible. I’ll give an update on what the next steps are when I can,” he spoke. It was nowhere near as eloquent as when Luna spoke to the people of Altissia, but he was exhausted.

Ignis could see Noct was practically going to fall asleep on his feet and stepped in. “For now, our king needs rest,” he said, guiding him away.

 

Despite being overrun with refugees, they made room for the four in a hotel room. He managed enough energy to shower and eat, upon Ignis insisting, but was barely there elsewise. Despite the fact Noct insisted he needed sleep as well, Ignis decided to go to a meeting to start the process of getting people home and figuring out the best way to go about working on the cities. It would be a big cleanup process more than anything. Some things would need to be rebuilt, but it could have been much worse.

Gladio took no part in work though, saying it could wait a few hours, and he was out as soon as his head hit the pillow. He left room for Ignis to join if the advisor ever decided to rest, and neither Prompto nor Noctis complained about sharing a bed.

They shifted to lay together, Noct’s arms going protectively around Prompto in a spooning position. His eyes closed, drifting in and out of consciousness.

“It’s really over,” Prompto murmured quietly, fingers stroking along Noct’s hands and arms.

“Mmhmm…” the king mumbled, not having much energy for more of a response.

Prom shifted enough so he could look back at him. “Means I finally get to have you. After waiting for ten years,” he commented.

“Hope I don’t disappoint after all that waiting,” he joked half-heartedly, fighting the need to pass out and sleep. He knew Prompto wouldn’t keep him up much longer.

“Not possible,” the blond assured him, pressing a soft kiss to his lips. “I love you, Noct.”

A small smile came over his lips, but he couldn’t will his eyes to open. “I love you too, Prom,” he said, voice rough and heavy with the fact he was slipping further and further out of the waking world.

Satisfied with hearing that, Prompto shifted back into place, pressing his back against Noctis’ front, arms resting over his. “Get some rest. You deserve it,” he said. Not needing to be told twice, he finally allowed his body to sleep, Prompto following to the dreamworld not long after.

Chapter Text

Noctis was allowed to sleep in, and he took full advantage of it. He never felt overly rested in the Crystal, he’d exerted so much of his energy fighting Ifrit and Ardyn, and he had a new power coursing through him.  Things weren’t at a standstill while he rested, the others doing what they could to jumpstart the recovery of Eos. The team didn’t want to do too much without Noctis’ voice, but being an advisor, Ignis felt he could make some of the decisions until their king felt up to joining them. They didn’t blame him for needing rest, and if they could handle themselves in darkness for a decade, they could do it in the light for another day.

He slept for the entirety of the first day, in such a deep sleep that they made a point to check on him and see that he was breathing. Even with coming in and out of the room, he didn’t stir. He shifted every now and then, but that was it.

The second dawn was only just beginning when he finally roused, yawning and stretching out his sore muscles. He pushed himself to sit up, brushing the wayward hair from his face and looked around. Prompto was next to him, fast asleep, as was Gladio in the other bed. Ignis, however, was seated on the couch, going through some paperwork. He moved carefully from the bed, in hopes not to disturb Prompto, going to sit by Ignis, who looked up.

“Good morning,” he murmured, keeping his voice down.

“How long was I out?” Noct asked, rubbing his eyes, trying to force himself to be fully conscious. He was fairly certain that if he laid back down and made an attempt, he could have slept a few more hours. Noctis was already someone who enjoyed sleep and did it a lot; it was only worse when he had a proper reason to be exhausted.

Ignis set his work aside, giving the king his full attention. “A full day. We thought you deserved the rest,” he answered, sipping his coffee.

Noct rose a brow at that. Sure, there’d been times where he’d stay in bed a whole day, sleeping on and off, but he had no memory of waking up once he passed out in bed. “You guys should have woken me. We have a lot that we need to do,” he said.

Without instruction, the advisor got up, refilling his cup and got one for Noctis as well, knowing he’d need it. “It wasn’t a wasted day, I assure you,” he paused to offer him the cup and returned to sit. “We’ve sent hunters to Altissia, as well as across the Lucis to be sure all the daemons are gone, and to clear out any wildlife that may have possibly moved in before we send people home. We’ve also started to get people who are willing to help clean up and repair, once it’s deemed safe. Camelia is already in the city, but we’ve requested Ravus to join us here, so you can begin talks with them once he arrives,” he filled him in.

Noct listening closely, sipping his coffee, letting it help wake him. “I knew I could count on you,” he murmured with a small smile.

“Happy to assist, Your Majesty,” he nodded. “Until we get clearance that it’s safe to send people back, we’re at a bit of a stand-still. I imagine we’ll hear back from the hunters shortly enough, though.”

“Get clearance, send the first round of people to work on cleanup, and then figure out a way to get them home. I imagine it will take a bit to get everything properly up and running again, but it doesn’t have to happen overnight,” he pointed out, finishing his coffee. Eventually, people would go back to work, and the cities and towns would be fully operational, but they had to take it one step at a time. He’d feel better once Ravus arrived, so the political discussions could begin. Noctis never thought he’d be looking forward to a political meeting, but they needed to establish how to work together, and he could talk to them about taking down the borders. Each would still run as individuals, but they could it alongside each other, and with peace.

“You need to eat, Your Majesty. I don’t know what being in the Crystal did to you, but you’ve also slept an entire day. You’ll need your strength,” he suggested.

It wasn’t until the mention of food that Noct began to even have an appetite. He’d eaten once since returning, and that was over twenty-four hours ago before he’d been truly allowed to rest. “Food would be good,” he acknowledged.

Ignis stood up, taking both of their cups. “I’ll borrow the hotel’s kitchen for a bit and make something.”

“Do you want me to wake the others or let them be?” he asked, glancing over to Gladio and Prompto. While Ignis said moving forward was currently at a pause while they waited to hear back, he wasn’t sure what needed to be done to keep the city functional.

“Leave them be. I’ll bring them food as well, I don’t imagine they’ll sleep much longer. Once we’re all awake and fed, we can discuss in more detail we want to take,” he said, before heading out.

Noctis made his way into the bathroom, washing off his face, and fixing his hair that poked out every-which-way. His fingers ran along his jawline, taking in the stubble that had grown there. Given how long he was gone, he didn’t look like too much of a mess. He looked the age he was supposed to be, but his hair and facial hair weren’t as long as they should be for not having done anything to them for the past ten years. He hadn’t decided yet if he wanted to keep it or not. He was just still processing the fact that the man looking back at him in the mirror was truly him.

Shaking it off, he tore away from the mirror, going back out into the room. He went over to the window, crossing his arms as he looked out over the city. People moved around quickly, even in the early hours. This was the place that was most functioning, despite how overly populated it was for the moment. Lestallum was usually a busy enough city, now having people from Insomnia and Altissia, it was bursting at the seams. Somehow, they made it work though. These were his people, at least partially, and he was proud of them.

He was so lost in thought, he hadn’t noticed any movement about in the room, and jumped when two arms came around his waist, and a chin resting on his shoulder. He glanced over to see a blond bedhead and relaxed.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you,” Prompto murmured. “How do you feel?”

He put his hands over the other male’s, enjoying the touch. “It’s okay. And… I haven’t figured that out yet,” he stated, resting his head against his.

“Still pretty overwhelmed, huh?”

Noct nodded. “There’s a lot to process. The ten years, this new sense of power, having to figure out how to get everything back on track. Pretty much thrust into being a proper king now,” he murmured. He’d technically been the rightful king since his father died, but this was the first time he was really having to make these decisions, and truly acting as king.

“Well, you don’t have to do it alone. You’ve got us, and in time, you’ll get your own royal council together to assist you as well,” Prompto assured him, turning his head to kiss his cheek.

Noct groaned softly at the idea of putting together a whole new council, and Crownsguard, and likely a glaive as well. Even if things were peaceful between Niflheim, Accordo, and Lucis, there was no guarantee there’d be peace with everyone. They didn’t know how many people there were who still believed in the Empire or were against Lucis. He’d discuss the matter of protection for all people with Camelia and Ravus once the time came. Taking the mantel of the king was hard enough, without having the weight of rebuilding on him. He supposed being the King of Kings, he should get used to it being more difficult than the ones who sat on the throne before him. “If I sleep for another ten years, can I wake up and have everything fixed?” he asked.

Prompto grinned at him. “Don’t think it works that way, buddy.” Before he had the chance to respond, the sound of the door opening came, and they both turned to see Ignis returning with food. “Ooh, we’re getting treated with Ignis’ gourmet cooking. Haven’t had that in a while,” he commented, happily.

Noct was glad to see that Prompto hadn’t changed much over the years and that he was still the happy-go-lucky guy he’d always been. He was curious as to if the insecurities were still buried inside of him, and he imagined they were, but at least he could manage to be happy. “I guess it’s been a while for me too,” he pointed out. Six, it really didn’t feel like ten years had passed…

 

Gladio woke up shortly after, and a good majority of the rest of the day was spent in and out of meetings, both formal and informal. Hunters reports came in from around Lucis, giving an all-clear, as well as hearing that at least Altissia was safe to return to. Exploring Accordo in full would take more than a day, but it was a start. They hadn’t received word from when Ravus would be arriving, or how things had been fairing in Tenebrae, but they expected it to take a bit longer. Accordo was only a short boat ride away, whereas Tenebrae was further.
They arranged transportation to send the first batch of people to different regions of Lucis, as well as to Altissia to work on cleaning things up, and trying to get the areas running enough to send citizens. Noct also put out a request for Aranea to stop by Lestallum so he could see her and speak with her. Talcott had told her she’s basically put together her own little army, so organizing future plans with her was needed.

 

There wasn’t much time for anything but business in the days that followed. Once Ravus arrived, the three leaders basically locked themselves in a room for a few hours, figuring out as many details as they could. They all needed to come to an agreement, a new treaty that benefited all three nations, and would hopefully stick for centuries to come; Noctis, Camelia, and Ravus all had their people’s best interest in mind but had to consider what other parties needed as well. It took more than one day, and it was absolutely draining, but they were able to compromise on a lot of things. It would all be put in writing once the proper time came, and things were running more smoothly. The biggest thing they all agreed on was waiting – focusing on rebuilding Eos and putting that greater need ahead of everything else. Still, with having an agreement discussed verbally, it made it much easier to work together.

 

It’d take weeks for the regions to be completely cleaned up, but within the week, civilians were headed back to their respective area. It was more the people’s choice than an order from those in charge. They were all ready to go home, and help work on things, even if it wasn’t perfect. Transport of resources was starting to happen again, alongside getting access to basic necessities. Holly and her team were in the process of restoring all the power to Lucis, others in the field taking on their appropriate areas.

Niflheim wasn’t as bad as Noctis had been fearful of. Despite being the home of the Empire, they weren’t spared from the daemons, meaning the majority of those who believed in creating them, or seeing Lucis as the enemy were dead. Niflheim had a lot of casualties, their number of citizens taking a hit, but Ravus assured him that they’d be just fine, in due time. Noct made a mental note to visit Tenebrae again, once things calmed down. He wanted to travel all over Eos when he could, see the progress that was made, make himself available to the people, and truly experience the world. He’d seen a lot of it while on their journey, but this was a different world now.

 

“Are you ready, Your Majesty?” Ignis asked, standing behind the king, who was back looking out over Lestallum from his window. He would have liked to find a roof to sit on like he had so many years back at the motel, but the King of Lucis sitting on a rooftop would be an odd sight. So, the window became the closest he could get to it.

Noct turned to face him, giving a small nod. “I’ll be down in a minute,” he said. They were going to head back to Insomnia now that everyone was leaving the town. It was time for them to go home, and truly be home. Rather than being at his apartment, though, he’d be at the Citadel once more. He’d extended the invitation to Ignis, Gladio, and Prompto to stay there as well – the latter being invited to stay with him since they’d made a habit of sleeping in the same bed. The couple didn’t get as much time as they’d like together, but they still made time to join the other in bed, and rest. Noct had promised him that he’d give him more of his time, once things calmed down, and Prompto was more than understanding. “So long as I get you a little bit, even if it’s just at night, I’ll take it.” He’d said.
They weren’t overly public, not that they were trying hard, but the situations just didn’t present themselves yet. Noctis also wanted to speak with the blond about it, before dragging him out. Being involved with the king was a big deal, and he wanted to make sure his best friend was up to it.

He shook it off, grabbing his bag of small personal items he had, going down to meet Ignis at the car. Gladio and Prompto were waiting with him, the four going on another small road trip together. It felt almost like old times, except for Gladio giving up his seat in the back to give the couple time together.

 

“I spoke with Ravus while he was here,” Ignis began as he drove. “He informed me that he located something that belonged to us in Gralea and thought we may want it back. It appears the Regalia has survived… as much as she could, given her state the last time we saw her. He offered to return it to us, once the trains are running more frequently. Cindy said she’d look over it, see if she could fix it up.”

The other three were surprised by this news. While Prompto hadn’t seen the damage the Regalia had taken as they drove into the Nifs capitol, he’d heard enough. “You really think she can fix it up again?” Noct asked. There were so many memories with that car, he’d love to have it back. He just wasn’t as hopeful since it was so badly messed up. There was no telling what being in Gralea, and just sitting for ten years would do to it, as well.

“If anyone can fix it, it’s Cindy,” Gladio chimed in.

“Yeah! She doesn’t need magic from the Six or a crystal, she has her own magic with cars,” Prompto agreed. Noct felt a bit of jealousy at it but brushed it off quickly. He knew Prom loved him and wanted to be with him. As if to make that point clear, the blond squeezed his hand.

“That’s true. I hope she can. Would be nice to have it back, and to have one less casualty of the war,” Noctis murmured.

“Indeed,” Ignis said. The car fell silent as they passed Hammerhead, and neared Insomnia. It wasn’t long until they were traveling through the entrance to the city. “We’re home,” he announced.

Insomnia still didn’t look great and had work needed to be done, but it was standing, and they drove past people working on cleaning it up. It was nice to see the city in the light and radiating with hope. Yeah, they were definitely home.

Chapter Text

Walking into the Citadel once more was a surreal feeling. Last time he was here was just over a week ago, where he was meeting to fight Arydn. It looked better than he could have imagined, and he could almost picture it as he saw it so many years of his life; people moving about, murmuring of voices, and it made him practically feel like his dad would come around the corner. It wasn't perfect, even just due to being unoccupied four a decade, and there was work to be done.

“I supposed this would be a good place as any to begin tidying up,” Ignis acknowledged with pursed lips. On their way in, they’d seen the cleanup crew already working on various spots of the city. Clean, and then repair, that was the current mission they were on.

“I just think you enjoy having something to do at all times, Specs,” Noctis said. He wanted to make the place presentable at some point, it just wasn’t the highest priority in his mind. Maybe it was due to how much of a mess his apartment had once been that the mess didn’t bother him.

Ignis frowned at his king. “There is much to be done, Your Majesty. The quicker we get it done, the quicker we can return to a normal life; or rather, the new normal.” It wouldn’t be the same it was before Lucis fell, at least they hoped not, but they all understood Ignis meant having a properly functioning society.

“Just don’t push yourself too hard,” Noct told him. He’d known the man his entire life and knew Ignis would put the kingdom before himself. He figured his love of Ebony came after sleepless nights of having to do one thing or another, for either the king or the prince. They didn’t need to rush, especially at the risk of one’s health.

“Are those official orders, or a request, as my friend?” Fingers came to push up his glasses, and his eyes lingered to the mess around them. The broken glass and knocked over furniture could be cleaned up fairly quickly, but it would take some time to replace it.

Noct smirked. “Both,” he informed him. He looked over at Gladio, who had let the two have their conversation without chiming in. “Gladio, you’re on Ignis duty. Make sure he sleeps at night, and doesn’t overexert himself,” he commanded.

Ignis looked taken aback at this order, but Gladio just grinned and placed his hand on his new mission’s shoulder. “Got it, Your Majesty. You don’t need to worry about him, I’ll keep him in check,” he assured him. Noct had a feeling Gladio would enjoy this job, mostly because it meant bossing Iggy around if he got out of hand.

“Thank you. You have free reign to pick your quarters,” he saw a look in the shield’s eye, deciding to clarify, “apart from the King’s chambers. There is only one other person allowed to take refuge in there, and he is of much fairer hair than either of you,” he stated, glancing over to where Prompto had lingered off to look around the room. The boy hadn’t spent much time there since Noct had his own place by the time they were friends.

Prompto became aware of six eyes on him, and turned around, raising a brow. “Huh?” he asked, unintelligible, and making the three laugh.

“Don’t worry about it,” Noct told him with an endearing smile. He looked over to Iggy and Gladio. “You’re both dismissed,” he said, turning his attention back to his lover. “You, however, are not. Come, let me show you your new living quarters.” He offered him a hand, and Prompto happily took it. The two made their way throughout the Citadel, toward the King’s quarters. Even he’d only seen them a few times in his life, he knew his way around the palace like it was the size of his old apartment. Prompto was still looking around in awe, seeing things he’d never seen before. This area was almost entirely untouched, looking as it did ten years ago. He imagined if they swung by his old room, it’d be exactly as he left it. He was almost tempted to go check it out but decided against it for the moment. Later, he promised himself.

“I can’t believe I get to live here,” Prompto murmured, staring wide-eyed. There had only been a few times where Prom got reminded that he was best friends with royalty, so despite always knowing Noct was a prince (and now a king), he couldn’t help but be surprised when he saw some of the luxuries.

Noct smiled over at him. “You haven’t even seen the bedroom yet,” he commented, knowing full well that the boy would flip once they got there. He was aware of the fact Prompto’s parents worked a lot, and even then, they lived in a small apartment where he spent most of his time alone. He wanted to give him what he deserved, and Prompto hadn’t protested at all when he asked him to stay with him.

He’d let Ignis and Gladio off to do what was needed, after having extended the offer to them to stay at the Citadel once they got home. It left Prompto and Noctis alone in their room, giving him the chance to properly as him to stay. He’d included the blond in his invite to stay but hadn’t specified where in the Citadel.

They sat on the bed together, fingers interlocked, and cuddled up together. It was one of their rare moments alone together. “What do you think of the idea of staying at the Citadel?” he asked curiously, playing with his fingers. They were rougher than they used to be, a true hunter’s hand, and less of an artist. He’d told him that he still did photography every now and then, but it’d taken a back seat, and that the lighting was terrible during the decade. It had made Noct laugh at the time.

“It sounds amazing! That place is huge and gorgeous. And it means being closer to you,” Prompto told him, bumping their shoulders together. A flush was present on his cheeks.

Noct gave him a knowing smile. “What if you could be closer to me, than just being in the same building?” he asked. He received a confused look at that. “The king’s quarters are plenty big for the both of us… if you’d be interested in staying with me,” he suggested.

Prompto’s brows rose, further surprised by the offer. “You mean it? You want me to stay with you?” Noct nodded. To a lot of couples, it was a big deal to move in together, but would it be for them? They’d lived together on the road for weeks and spent the past few nights in the same room and same bed. It felt like it’d be weirder not to stay together. “I’d love to,” he decided, kissing his cheek, and put his head back down on his shoulder.

They ascended the stairs and reached the large double doors. Noctis looked at his boyfriend with a smirk and then opened the doors. The room was massive, and Prompto’s childhood apartment could probably fit in it and have room to spare. The bed was bigger than one he’d ever seen, and there was a sitting area to one side and a working area to the other. Tall bookshelves lined the walls that didn’t have windows looking out onto Insomnia. The only thing that was missing was a kitchen, but there’d be plenty of room for one if someone wanted to put one in. “Wow…”

Noct felt a pang run through him as he realized just how untouched the room was. Apart from the dust that had gathered on the surface space, it was as if they were still in his father’s room, expecting him to come through the door any moment. That wouldn’t happen though. Noctis made peace with the passing of his father while in the Crystal, getting to talk to him one more time, and getting his blessing. That didn’t mean it didn’t still hurt at times. Pulling himself out of it, he tugged on Prompto’s hand. “Still not done yet,” he said, pulling him to another door. There was a closet the size of a bedroom, and Prompto didn’t think he’d ever have enough clothes to even fill half of it.

“I could be content staying in here,” he commented, completely awestruck and amazed.

Noct laughed. “I mean, you can if you want. I’d just prefer you in bed with me.” He winked, tugging him to a different door, showing him the bathroom. It was the definition of luxury. Spacious, a large his/hers sinks that had some surely expensive stone top, a jacuzzi tub, and a huge glass shower. Even the toilet looked fancy.

“I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but wow. This is… all amazing. I can’t believe it’s yours now,” he said, looking over to him. The whole royalty thing never fazed him, but he was starting to get a glimpse into what it was really like being him and being with him.

Noct squeezed his hand. “Ours,” he corrected. He motioned to the space around them. “This is yours now too. I never want you to feel like you’re a guest here, I want you to be comfortable,” he stated. He hadn’t made the offer, to any of them, as a temporary lodging while the city got rebuilt. He truly wanted them to stay and call the Citadel their home.

Prompto flushed red and leaned over to rest his head on Noct’s shoulder. “This is all amazing. But I’m most excited about finally getting to be with you,” he murmured.

“Speaking of which, I wanted to talk to you about something,” he said, tugging them over to sit on the couch. The blond looked at him curiously but didn’t speak, letting him talk. “We haven’t discussed the public eye yet. I don’t want to push you into anything you’re not comfortable with, so if you’d rather keep this being us, I’d understand.” Of course, those who worked at the Citadel would know, but if Prompto didn’t want to officially be the King’s partner, he’d keep them a secret. No matter what, people knew they were at least friends, but things were different between being his best friend and being his romantic partner.

Prompto hadn’t even really thought about that. They didn’t walk around Lestallum holding hands or kissing in public. All of their affection had been saved for the privacy of their room. It had mostly just been because the stuff they were doing wasn’t the time or place for any sort of PDA. “What do you think about it? I don’t want to make your life any harder than it already is,” he commented. His insecurities still lingered, even if he thought he was doing better than before. He could hold his own in a fight now, but he still didn’t think he was anything special.

Noct squeezed his hand, seeing the insecurities peaking through again. He was a good actor most of the time, but he could see through a lot of it. “I love you, Prom. And I’d love to have you at my side through it all, but I’m not going to push if you’re not comfortable with it,” he said.

He bit his lip as he considered it. “You don’t think people would think that it’s weird?” he asked, glancing over at him.

“Because you’re a guy, or because you’re not royal?” Noct asked, not sure which he was feeling self-conscious about. He wanted to help him feel better but needed to know what was bothering him first.

Prompto shrugged. “Both?” He was sure both would be weird for some people. He knew this was all new to Noct, and he wouldn’t want to do anything more difficult.

“Isn’t much royalty left, and I’m not going to marry Ravus,” he laughed softly. That would be a strange turn of events if he ended up marrying his dead fiancée’s brother. “As for being a guy… I think people have had plenty of time to put into perspective what’s important. I’m not saying everyone will be okay with it, but I want to be with who I love,” he assured him, bringing his hand up to kiss over it.

The younger boy nodded a little, still shy about it. “If you’re sure,” he murmured, leaning against him. “Speaking of Ravus, did you notice anything weird about him and Ignis when he was visiting Lestallum?” he asked.

Noct rose a brow at that. He thought back to when Ravus and Ignis were around each other, trying to see if he remembered anything weird between him. “Not really. They seemed friendly, but I just figured it was due to being involved politically for the past ten years.” He couldn’t say he’d been looking, though.

“It just seems like Ravus is at his nicest when Ignis is around, and Ignis seemed to get flustered,” Prompto explained. He wasn’t sure if he was looking too far into it, but he hadn’t seen either of them act like that. He didn’t know Ravus well, but he knew Ignis well enough.

Noctis took that into consideration. Ignis was usually pretty well put together, but around Ravus, he was quiet and stuttered with his words. Ravus was nicer than he used to be, significantly, but he could still be abrasive at times… but around Iggy, it was like they were old friends. “You don’t think… there’s anything going on there, do you?” he looked over at his boyfriend. It wasn’t that he wouldn’t support it – they were all on the same side – he just couldn’t imagine the two together.

He shrugged. “Hard to say. With Ravus being the King of Tenebrae, that may get in the way of things, though,” Prompto pointed out. “Iggy’s your right hand-hand man so not like he can just up and head to Tenebrae for a few weeks at a time.”

“Do you think we should talk to him about it?” Noct asked. He wasn’t suggesting an official king-to-advisor conversation, but friend-to-friend. He also wanted to be able to assist in any way he could, both as a friend and king.

“Maybe. Maybe they’re as clueless as we were and need a push,” Prompto grinned at the king, leaning up to kiss his cheek.

Noct smiled down at him, leaning into his kiss. “We can talk to him soon, assuming you want to be there.”

Prom nodded, almost excitedly. “I do want to be there,” he said.

He laughed softly, kissing his head. “Soon, for now, we need rest,” he told him, yawning. “Want to try out the new bed?” he asked, smiling playfully. Obviously, he meant to sleep, they barely even made out, let along being remotely ready for anything further.

Prompto’s eyes lingered to the large bed, staring at it dreamily. “Definitely,” he answered, getting up and pulled Noct to his feet, dragging him toward the bed. Noct happily followed, getting in bed with him. It was weird, being in the bed that belonged to his father, but he’d have to get used to it.
Both boys let out a sigh of happiness at the plush, comfortable bed. They curled up together, saying their goodnights, before passing out.

Chapter Text

Noctis slept for a few hours of restful sleep, much needed after everything that had gone on the past week. He woke before Prompto, and carefully eased out of the bed. He went over to make a cup of tea, going to glance out the window. He could see a few cleaning operations going on, even in the early hours of the morning. From high up, he could see more of the damage, but it still wasn’t irreparable. Some things took more damaged than others, and there’d be proper rebuilds that would have to be done. At some point, he planned to go around the city and make a list of everything that needed attention and see how to get it fixed as soon as possible. He was finding a lot of the stuff as king was currently coming naturally to him, though it may have something to do with being groomed to become one his entire life. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t impossible. It was definitely overwhelming though.

He was pulled from his thoughts as he noticed movement from the bed from the corner of his eye. At first, he thought his boyfriend was just waking, until he noticed the unrest on his face, and it wasn’t just a look of not wanting to wake up. He was shifting about, and it wasn’t hard to figure out that he was having a nightmare. Noct went over and sat on his side of the bed, brushing the blond hair from his pale face. “Prompto, wake up,” he said, trying to go at it gently first. It didn’t work, so he shook him lightly. “Prom, you’re dreaming,” he said in hopes that maybe if his dream-self heard him, he’d be able to wake himself up, but that didn’t work either. He shook him a bit more, his own brows furrowing.

Finally, Prompto woke with a start, nearly colliding their heads as he sat up so fast, but luckily Noctis had fast enough reflexes. He took in a deep breath, followed by panting. He had a cold sweat, and his eyes were wide. Noctis wasn’t sure if he realized there was another person in the room, so he was careful about placing his hand on his shoulder. As he expected, the boy jerked in surprise, before seeing who he was; when his brain processed it, arms came to wrap around him in a death grip, holding him tightly. Noct had never seen Prompto like this, ever, and it made him worried.

“Shh, I’m here,” he murmured, rubbing his back. He wanted to know what had been so bad to shake his boyfriend this badly but wanted to calm him first. He moved onto the bed a bit more so he could hold him better, hand still stroking up and down his back, the other holding him close.

Prompto took in deep breathes, trying to keep from hyperventilating or having a panic attack. He was struggling to breathe and felt like a Behemoth was sitting on his chest. As much as he wanted to keep as close as humanly possible to Noct, he had to pull back a little, so he’d stop feeling suffocated. It wasn’t Noct’s doing, he was the one who threw himself into the man’s arms and squeezed the life out of him, but he was only just realizing that he needed room to calm himself.  

Noct loosened his grip when he started to pull away, but kept an arm around him, trying to provide him with supportive touches. “Work on grounding yourself. Find five things you can see,” he guided him. He wasn’t unfamiliar to panic attacks, especially when princely lessons started to get hard. Ignis taught him how to come down from them, and it was burned into his brain.

Prompto let his eyes flutter back open, after having screwed them shut for so long. “I see you, the couch, the door, the window, and your teacup,” he struggled to get out around his ragged breathing.

"Good. Now tell me four things you can physically feel,” he instructed. It had to be a physical feeling because it was about bringing the person to the here and now.

He took in another breath, focusing on that. “I feel my hair sticking to my skin, the soft plush blanket, the cool air, and your hands on me.”

Noctis continued stroking along his back since it seemed to be helping. He pressed a gentle kiss to his head, giving him a moment to breathe before going on, “Now three things you can hear.”

Prompto’s head tilted a bit. The room was really quiet, but there were still some things. “Your breathing, the sound of the wind against the windows, and people working outside.”

He could see that it was working, and he was starting to relax, but he’d continue to the end of the exercise, to make sure he didn’t slide back into panic mode. He also hoped by giving him this information, he’d be able to retain it for any possible future issues – though Noct didn’t want to think about this happening in the future. “Two things you smell,” he continued.

“Freshly brewed tea, and toothpaste from the bathroom,” he acknowledged. Noct had brushed his teeth shortly after getting out of bed and imagined that was where it was coming from.

“Lastly, one thing you can taste,” he finished, moving his fingers to comb his hair away from his face once more. The sweat was starting to dry, and he was calmer now.

In an unexpected move, Prompto leaned up to press a soft kiss to his lips. “My sweet boyfriend,” he answered with a faint smile. It wasn’t fully genuine, but it was a start. He wasn’t panting or struggling to breathe anymore, but he felt absolutely terrible. “I hope I didn’t disturb you,” he said. Between the tea, and smell and taste of toothpaste (and the fact Noct was the hardest person in the world to wake), he knew he hadn’t woken him, but still worried about disturbing him if he was working.

Noct shook his head. “You didn’t. Figured I’d give myself a little bit before seeing to my duties,” he assured him. “Do you want to talk about it?” he offered, willing to listen, but wouldn’t push if he wasn’t ready to.

“You’ve got enough problems of your own, and the rest of Lucis, without having to hear about my silly nightmares,” Prompto said, laughing but it was a sound without humor. He pulled away, heading toward the bathroom to wash off his face. He needed to shower, feeling gross and sticky, but that would have to wait a bit.

The king frowned, standing up and following him to lean on the doorframe. “Prom… I’ll always make time for you. If you don’t want to talk about it, it’s fine. But don’t hold back on my account,” he requested. He knew it wouldn’t be easy for Prompto to adjust to dating a king, but he wanted to make it clear that he would be there for him.

Prompto turned to him, looking completely helpless, and trying to decide if he wanted to give into talking to him. He really didn’t want to put more pressure on Noct, especially with how much he was already going through. “You sure? I’ll be fine, really,” he said, and he wasn’t sure which of them he was trying to convince with his words.

“I’m sure,” Noctis replied, offering him a hand, wanting to go sit and talk. The other male decided to accept it, and they moved to sit down on the couch. “What was it about?”

Prompto sighed, looking down at their interlocked hands. “Nightmares happen sometimes. They vary from dream to dream, but they tend to do with you being gone for ten years, and the whole being from Niflheim thing,” he pursed his lips. “And then there’s stuff Gladio says sounds like post-traumatic stress, with all the daemons, and ten years of darkness, and all.”

Noctis frowned as he listened. He hated the idea of being any sort of part in bringing Prompto unhappiness. He knew the ten years couldn’t be easy on him, it hadn’t even felt like a proper ten years to Noct and it was hard for him as well, and Prompto had to go through much more. “What was it about this time?” he asked, stroking along the back of his hand.

Prompto smiled sadly, a look of embarrassment. He continued, however, giving Noct the information he requested. “You came back, looking amazing and badass. I was excited to see you, obviously, but you didn’t share the sentiment. You attacked me, saying you needed to get rid of all the Nifs left, so Lucis could be peaceful. After what happened on the train, I wanted to make sure you weren’t under some kind of spell again, but you used my name and talked about how I’d been created to become an MT. You said you couldn’t trust me, and that you didn’t know what they could have possibly done to me, so you had to get rid of me to be sure,” he explained, biting his lip, pushing off the panic that was trying to creep it’s way back into him.

“Prompto…” he began, but what could he say? When he was awake, he knew Prompto had to know that wasn’t even a remote possibility. He didn’t know what to say or do to help him feel better. “I know you know this, or at least I hope you do, but I’d never hurt you, and learning about where you were born never made my trust for you waver for even a second,” he said, squeezing his hands. “I’m here now, and not going anywhere. You have nothing to worry about.”

“Most of the time, I know. But every now and then, the insecurities come through and I wonder if there were some doubts. It’s nice to hear there weren't any doubt,” he said, leaning against him. He’d slept quite a bit, but it wasn’t good quality for him to feel rested. He truly didn’t want to be a burden to Noct, but he was glad to have a supportive boyfriend who he could talk to, about anything.

“I’ll tell you as many times as I have to until all of you believes it. You’re the same Prompto you’ve always been; my first proper best friend, the first person to not treat me differently because I was a prince, the first person I felt I could trust with more than just my life, but anything I was going through too. Where you were born, and what they intended to do with you doesn’t change any of that, at all. I still trust you with my life and heart,” he let go of his hands to wrap his arms around him, pulling him close. “If you have more nightmares, you can talk to me about them. I don’t care if you think they’re silly or not. I know I have to put being a king first, but I want to make sure you know that you’re still a big priority of mine,” he added, pressing another kiss to his head.

Prompto’s heart was melting at Noctis’ words, and he had to try and discreetly wipe his eyes, so he didn’t alert his better half that he was getting emotional. “I’ll try to keep that in mind,” he said.

Noct tilted his head up, wiping under his eyes, able to see through his attempt to hide it. He kissed him softly, giving him a reassuring smile. “I love you.”

His cheeks turned red under the freckles, and he gave a genuine smile. “I love you too. Thank you for being so amazing.”

He shrugged a little. “Just trying to be a supportive boyfriend is all,” he said. It was all stuff he was used to, but it wasn’t like it was much different than being best friends. They were just a little more physical affection.

“You do a good job at it,” Prompto told him, yawning softly. “How’d you know that grounding technique-thinggy? That something the Astrals taught you too?” he asked.

Noct laughed softly, shaking his head. “No. I used to have bad moments, especially after being attacked by the Marilith that I would get panic attacks, and into my teen years when princely duties stressed me out too much. Ignis taught it to me, and I guess I never forgot,” he said.

He looked at him in surprise. “I never knew that. I knew you had a hard time after the Marilith attacked you, and you kinda had a breakdown after we killed it, but I didn’t know it got that bad,” he commented.

“Yeah, it pretty royally fucked me up,” he murmured, playing with the blond’s hair. “Obviously I got better with time, and killing it helped.”

“I’m glad we were able to help you kill it,” Prompto said, curling up with him. He knew they’d have to join the land of the living sooner or later, but for the moment, he’d take advantage of their time alone together.

Pressing a kiss to his cheek, Noct stood up carefully, taking his hands. “There’s work to be done, but that can wait. Come, let’s rest a bit more,” he said, guiding him to their bed like the night before. There wasn’t much more he could do for the moment anyway, the cleaning groups already having their assignments, and the repair teams wouldn’t start working until a lot had been cleaned up. He’d put Gladio on the job of making sure Ignis didn’t overwork himself, so that was taken care of. A few more hours of rest, and then he’d return to the royal duties.

Prompto followed, returning back to his nuzzled state once they were settled in bed. Noct had been able to keep the nightmares away a lot, and he hoped that would continue to be the case. “We still need to talk to Iggy too,” he said, sleepily.

Noct couldn’t help but smile at how cute he was. “Yes, that too. For now, get some more sleep. I’ll be right here when you wake up,” he said. He hoped to get a bit more sleep himself. No matter much he slept, he couldn’t get enough lately. He supposed it was due to being emotionally exhausted.

“Mmkay. Love you,” Prompto mumbled, already falling asleep.

He smiled more. “I love you too,” he answered, closing his own eyes, and drifted off into a nap.

Chapter Text

Their waking the second time was more peaceful, thankfully. After cleaning up, they headed down to find Ignis, for both personal and official matters. It was easier said than done, given there wasn’t a person yet to bring word on where to find them. Thankfully, that was the joy of cell phones, and with a quick text, Ignis told them where to meet him and Gladio. They decided to meet in one of the boardrooms, and there was breakfast waiting for them, clearly prepared by Iggy.

“Good morning,” he greeted when the two walked in. “I hope you rested well.”

Prompto and Noct exchanged a look but decided not to get into the issue of the morning. “I did.  My personal chambers are going to make it even harder to get up in the morning,” he admitted freely. These were still his friends, and he didn’t want that to change. When business needed to be discussed, they would, but there was no point in being tense and official, especially while it was just them around.

The comment earned sounds of annoyance from both of them. “I don’t even know if that’s possible. I swear, there were a few times where Titan himself could have come try to shake you awake, and you’d roll over and go back to sleep,” Gladio said.

Noct just smiled innocently. “I know I have a duty and will try to get into the habit of a proper sleep schedule, so I’m not as much of a nightmare to wake,” he promised. Some people believed the king could do as he pleased all day, but that wasn’t the case – especially not right now. He had a lot of downtime, yes, but that didn’t mean he could sleep until the afternoon. He turned his gaze to Ignis. “Did you rest?” he asked, eyes flickering up to Gladio since he’d left the workaholic in his hands.

“I nearly had to lock him in a room after a bit. Fell into the habit of “well, this will just take a minute,” “oh, while we’re here, we may as well try to tend to this” “I just have this one last task, and then I’ll retire for the evening.” I was ready to strangle him…” Gladio explained, and the three had a laugh at his atrocious attempt at imitating the advisor’s voice.

“I do not like to leave a job unfinished. It leads to being forgotten, and then never done. The people have the city and regions, but currently, the Citadel is in my care, thus my responsibility to figure out what it needs,” Ignis defended himself.

Noctis knew the man had an addiction to work, and while he admired his ambition and work ethic, he wanted to put Ignis’ personal health first. “Then make a list of what needs to be done and check it off as you go. Then you have something to keep you accountable,” he suggested. “Speaking of which, it’s what I want to do with the city in the near future. It’ll help keep things organized and make it easier to assign the jobs to people when it comes that time,” he said. He also generally wanted to get out of the Citadel; he was quickly being reminded of how suffocating it could be, and he’d only been back a day. He was happy to be home but didn’t want to be bound to just that area. It was why he moved out to have his own apartment in the first place.

“That can be arranged,” he said, making note of it. “Any other matters to discuss?” he asked, trading his pen in for his coffee mug, taking a sip.

“If you need extra hands to assist you in the cleanup around the Citadel, Prompto and I can help. Better than sitting around, waiting for other things to be able to happen,” he offered. He knew it wouldn’t be traditional of a king to clean, but he wouldn’t be a traditional king. He wanted to be as independent as possible, and not get lost in his title. “Beyond that, there are just more personal matters I’d like to discuss. Primarily just a question.”

Ignis looked impressed. “The boy becomes a man… I remember coming to your chaos apartment for many days and deciding to clean it myself, and here you are, offering to assist me,” he praised, before raising a brow. “Personal matters?”

Noct shrugged. “I’m not sixteen anymore, and it’ll take forever if it’s just you and Gladio working on it,” he said. He glanced at Prompto when the subject shifted from business to personal affairs. The blond grinned at him, clearly excited. “We noticed you and Ravus seemed… friendly during his visit to Lestallum,” he explained.

Unexpecting what it was going to be, he picked the wrong moment to take a bite of his breakfast and ended up choking, cheeks turning red. “We-uh, we’re familiar with each other. I’ve been the main one to converse with him over the past few years on any political matters,” he stammered out. Noct had literally never seen Ignis like this. Ever.

There was another exchange of glances between the couple, and when his eyes turned to Gladio, he could tell he was also realizing what they were hinting at. “He seems to really like your company,” Prompto chimed in, not able to hide the grin on his face.

“He was certainly more willing to take any time to discuss anything political when you were around, as opposed to when we were alone. Maybe we should have had you in there during the treaty discussion,” Noct agreed.

Ignis coughed, before clearing his throat. “I don’t believe that would have been professional, it was meant to be a conversation just of the leaders, and whether I’m your advisor or not, it wasn’t my place to me,” he said, trying to shift the conversation.

“Camelia probably would have been the only one to complain, if she even did,” Gladio decided to jump in as well, trying a little harder than Prompto to hide his smile.

Pushing up his glasses, Iggy refused to meet any of their gazes, but it was clear his face was still beet red. “I believe you have me at a loss of how this is relevant to anything,” he stated, his voice not as clear and steady as it usually was.

Noct decided to come out and stop torturing him (mostly.) “Specs, do you have an interest in Ravus in a way other than political?”

Ignis took in a sharp breath. “That’s absurd,” he said, but it was clear by his tone even he didn’t believe that. “Even if there was, he’s a king of an entirely different continent and nation, with many more things to worry about than an advisor a few hundred miles away,” he added, voice softer and quieter. Noctis was able to recognize it as being similar to how Prompto was when he was feeling insecure.

Apparently thinking the same thing, Prompto tossed an arm around his boyfriend’s shoulder. “Yeah, well at least you’re kind of important. I’m just some commoner, and Noct loves me. To us, it doesn’t seem to be very one-sided,” he pointed out.

Noct was tempted to tell Prompto that he wasn’t just some commoner and that he was important to him, but decided to spare the other two in the room from their gross relationship stuff.  “You two have been friends since childhood, and feelings aside, there is still the matter of his busy schedule and the distance. I find it best for both of us not to pursue anything,” Ignis continued.

“At least he admits there are feelings now,” Gladio muttered.

The advisor shot him a look of disapproval, frowning at him. “If we’re done meddling with my personal affairs, I’d like to turn the attention back to more important things. Your Majesty, if you’d like to do your mission of going around the city, that can likely be arranged today. Otherwise, we can focus on our own cleaning project,” he changed the subject again.

Gladio and Prompto looked to Noctis to see if he’d accept the subject change this time. Reluctantly, he did, giving a nod. “I’d like to go out today. It’d be good to have that list ready when it’s needed.” He didn’t know when they’d start to work on repairs, but he hoped it wouldn’t be long.

“We have the car on loan until we can get the Regalia back. We can go whenever you please, but I advise changing before we do. Citizens are trickling in, and you have an appearance to uphold,” Ignis instructed, back in work mode and acting as though the previous conversation didn’t happen at all.

Noctis nodded and stood up. “it’ll probably be best if we all go. There isn’t security in the city yet, so I doubt you’d approve of me going without Gladio, and I don’t want to leave Prom here alone,” he said, smiling down at his boyfriend, before offering a hand.

“I agree. We’ll get ready and reconvene at the entrance in half an hour.”

 

 They went their separate ways, Noct and Prompto heading up to their shared room. “Are you really going to leave it at that? They clearly both feel something, and Ignis doesn’t seem to want to give Ravus a chance to make it work,” Prompto asked him once they reached their room, going to find something to wear in the closet.

Noct smirked over at him. “Definitely not done,” he said, cryptically. He looked through the clothes, them bringing up a lot of memories about his dad, but the clothes he had were either too dressy or too casual. Eventually, he’d get his own things, but that would take a functioning city first.

Prompto was completely distracted from their current mission, resting his chin on Noct’s shoulder. “I know that evil look. You’re brewing a plan, or you already have one. What is it?”

The king abandoned the search for clothes for the moment, figuring it wouldn’t take them long to get ready once they picked something out anyway. “I was thinking of paying a visit to Tenebrae. Official matters, seeing what damage it took there, offering any aid I can, maybe make a speech to their people if it’s alright with Ravus. I could also pick up the Regalia while being there. Obviously, I’d need to bring my advisor… so maybe getting them back in the same room would help move things along, or we could nudge them together,” he explained, voice as innocent as if he was planning what to have for lunch.

“You’re a genius,” he said, kissing his cheeks.

“it may take a bit before we can head over, needing to get things running a little more, but it’s a plan,” he said, pulling out a change of something that looked nice enough. The clothes would be a bit big on him, but it was good enough.

“Hopefully it works. Iggy deserves to be happy, even if it won’t be easy, I’m sure it’ll be worth it,” he said, looking around in the closet, hopelessly lost. “Think if I wear my Crownsguard outfit, that’d be okay? It got cleaned while we were in Lestallum,” he asked.

“Don’t see why not,” Noct shrugged, getting changed. Living on the road together, they’d seen plenty of each other and wasn’t shy.

“Hey, Noct?” Prompto asked as they changed, fighting with the row of buttons on his shirt. He looked over, raising a brow, and silently prompted him to continue on. “I know officially, Gladio will remain your Shield and Captain of the Crownsguard, and Iggy is still your advisor… What would I be?”

“Technically I think Ignis’ more formal title will be Chancellor, but don’t quote me on that. Even growing up with this stuff, there’s still a lot I just didn’t pay attention to…” he confessed. When he was a teenager, he wanted nothing to do with being a prince, so all these fancy titles thrown around meant little to him. “Now that Luna isn’t a part of the situation, you’d be my consort. As for if you want other stuff to do, besides that, I’m not sure just yet.” There really wasn’t anything he was properly bred for, and while most of the royal parties and families that had been in the crown died in the fall of Lucis, he wasn’t sure if that gave him the right to just appoint him any title. If Prompto wanted an actual job to do, he’d want to find one that he’d enjoy and would work with his skills, but he’d have to make sure whatever he did didn’t conflict with his position as Consort; it wasn’t that Noct wanted to be selfish with his boyfriend’s time, but it wouldn’t be safe to send him off to some obscure region or something like that. He needed to be protected. If ever anyone wanted to try to hurt Lucis again, Prompto would be on the top of the list, simply because he was important to Noct.

“As much as the idea of just being your boyfriend, or Consort, or whatever… sounds nice, but I think I’d get bored really quick,” he laughed nervously. It was another reminder that some people would think he didn’t belong there, since he didn’t really have a proper place, apart from their relationship.

Noctis could see his insecurities coming out and reached over to squeeze his hand. “I’ll talk to Ignis and find the perfect place for you,” he said, giving him a reassuring smile and kissed his cheek.

Prompto smiled a little more genuinely. “Thanks, Noct. Or should I say… Your Majesty?” he teased, giving a grandiose bow.

He had to resist a cringe and shook his head. “Please don’t. It’d be far too weird for me,” he said. The only time Prom ever called him by official terms was when he was teasing him, and he’d rather keep it that way. As his consort, he didn’t think he’d ever be expected to refer to him as His Highness or His Majesty, unlike Gladio or Iggy. “We should head downstairs,” he added. They were both as ready as they were going to be. The blond nodded, taking his hand, and they made their way downstairs.

Chapter Text

The list was made, and it was longer than he was hoping for, but at least now they had a bit of an itinerary. They sent the information over to Lestallum, so parts could work on being made as well. The days that followed were primarily spent cleaning up the Citadel. More and more people trickled into the city, both civilians and workers. There was next to no one left that originally worked for the Royals, whether it be because of the attack or the ten years it took to get things running again. They’d start opening up simpler positions to take to the public soon, and Gladio was looking into recruiting people for the Crownsguard and Glaive. Both would take training, even if they picked people who had been hunters during the blackout. There was a way both were supposed to work and would have to learn formalities.

They were still at a loss for the moment about what to do with some of the spots, since they were usually inherited positions, not picked. Noct had a feeling they probably wouldn’t have a proper, full government for a while, and they’d have to work with the bare minimum. On the plus side, they wouldn’t have a whole lot of traditional issues to sort through, and they had the skeleton of the former system to work with. He knew there’d be some things to be done away with, or altered, but that was further down the line. Their current objective was to just get people to where they needed to be, safely, and get the society being functional.

 

“It may be wise to schedule the treaty signing soon,” Ignis commented at breakfast, a little over a week after the day they went around the city.
It was weird to think of the fact it’d been half a month since he’d been back, and they defeated Ardyn. There’d still been some nights of Prompto waking up from a nightmare, and Noct would have to calm him down, but he was more than willing to help. He still didn’t think he’d fully processed everything himself enough to let his own trauma settle in. He was antsier than he used to be, constantly moving about, and trying to keep himself busy. Sometimes it was official business or cleaning, and he’d gotten back to sparring with Gladio. He liked the time he could spend with his boyfriend too, even if they were limited in what they could do.

“That’s fine. I want to schedule a trip to Tenebrae at some point, as well. It’d be good to see the city, extend the offer to help them, and we could pick up the Regalia in person,” he said. He was strategic about the fact he tried to wait a bit before suggesting it, so Ignis didn’t put together it was partially to do with hopefully setting him up.

He noticed the advisor’s cheeks turn pink but otherwise tried not to react. “I can arrange that, assuming Ravus is fine with the visit,” he stated.

Noct tried not to smile, eyes glancing between Prompto and Gladio, who were more concerned with their food to take part in the conversation. “Do you want to call him, or do you want me to do it personally? While we’re there, we can figure out a time that works for him to do the treaty sign as well.”

Ignis cleared his throat, cheeks brightening a bit more. “I can make the call and make the arrangements. It’ll be the four of us, yes?”

He saw Prompto hide his snickering behind his coffee mug, and Noct struggled to keep a straight face. “Yes, the four of us. I’ll let you two decide when is best,” he said.

“I’ll make the call shortly and inform you as soon as I know the details,” he responded, trying to keep his business face on and remain professional and clinical about the whole thing. “Once we know when our return date is, I’ll make arrangements with Cindy to pick her up from the train station. As much as I hope it doesn’t take long, I’m certain it will not be an easy job for Cindy.”

“It’ll be nice to have her back, eventually. Maybe once we get her back, you can teach Prompto to drive,” he grinned, knowing the reaction wouldn’t exactly be positive.

Gladio and Ignis both groaned at that. “I thought our job was to protect the people, not put them in further danger,” Ignis said.

“Hey!” Prompto cried out in protest. “I didn’t actually do anything to make that Regalia break down last time. Could have happened to anyone! Besides, Noct was the one who wrecked her.”

“I think being chased by daemons and being shot at by the Empire excuses my poor driving,” Noct defended himself. He was fairly limited to his driving experience prior to that as well, letting Iggy drive most of the time. He knew how to get around a lot better.

“Excuses,” Prompto teased, grinning widely, and Noct couldn’t help but laugh.

“You two continue your flirting, I have calls to make,” Ignis commented lightly, getting up. “I’ll let you know what our plans are shortly.”

“We’ll be in the garden,” Noct said, figuring it’d be easier to tell him. Having only four people in a huge palace was difficult. They needed Walkie Talkies or something, but their cell phones worked well enough. Prompto seemed surprised by this news but got up to follow him out. The gardens truly needed to be cared for soon, they just hadn’t gotten around to it yet. It was still beautiful, and a place that brought him peace. “Have you thought about going back to photography?” he asked at random while they walked along the foliage, hand-in-hand.

Prompto glanced over at him, raising a brow. “Sometimes. I still have my camera, there have just been more important things lately,” he said. He hated having to put it aside, but when he was hunting alone, he couldn’t snap pictures like he did when they were all together. He also preferred photographing people or animals, which there was little of during the darkness. The past two or so weeks, he had just fallen out of the habit.

“I thought it might be nice to document the process of everything getting rebuilt and coming together. And I’m sure there will be plenty in Tenebrae to photograph when we’re there. You didn’t really get to go last time,” he was careful about mentioning the last bit, glancing over at him nervously. He was careful about talking about things that may be sensitive, but he didn’t want to treat him like glass either, knowing he was stronger than that.

He wasn’t fazed by the mention of it, focusing on the photography. “Really? You think I should go back to it?” He’d gotten the idea that it was annoying to the others while they were on their trip.

Noct nodded. “I think so. You’re good at it, and it could give you something to do for a bit.” He still hadn’t figured out what exactly to do with him and imagined it’d take a bit. He wanted Prompto to do what he loved, though.

He nodded, smiling softly. “I’ll dig it out of my bag later.”

 

They arranged the meeting, leaving for it in the middle of the week. It felt weird to be leaving Lucis, but they called both Iris and Aranea to help keep an eye on things while they were gone. Noct would be glad when they had a more put together group of officials, so they could leave when needed easier; he doubted it would ever be easy to leave, given his role, but easier.

The train ride was long, but it made them feel nostalgic for their old trips. They would be staying with Ravus, but someplace else than Fenestala Manor, since it had been destroyed years ago, and they hadn’t been at a place to try and rebuild. Staying with him would make their planning easier, anyway. It was still surreal to have a good relationship with the older Nox Fleuret, but a welcome change.

Niflheim wasn’t much better put together, but he had established some of his own government officials and assistants, sending a woman to pick them up. It was physically better than Lucis, but more internal issues that needed to be cared for; Noct knew if anyone could do it, it’d be Ravus.

His new estate wasn’t as large as Fenestala Manor, but it was still large and would hold the four comfortably by the looks of it. Ravus himself was outside waiting when they pulled up. The group piled out, leaving their driver to go park the car and went over to greet the King of Tenebrae.

“Welcome back to Tenebrae,” he said with a smile, his eyes going between the four, but lingering on Ignis, who was already pink-cheeked. This would be an interesting trip.

Chapter Text

“Ki– Ravus.  A pleasure to see you. We thank you for taking us in during our trip here,” Ignis said. Ravus had scolded him more than one time about being so formal, after how well they knew each other. He had none of the fact they were also involved in a professional matter, insisting on dropping the formalities unless they were truly necessary.

“Happy to have you all here, and that it’s on better terms than it was last time,” he answered.

“Tenebrae seems doing well, all things considered,” Noct said, glancing around. Last time he’d seen it, a lot of things had been on fire, and he wasn’t sure if there’d be a Tenebrae to come to. They were always resilient, though, and he was sure they’d be just fine with time and a proper leader.

Ravus nodded, pursing his lips a bit. “It certainly took it’s damage, mostly Arydyn’s way of punishing me for my betrayal,” he said. “But we’re finally out of Empire control, so we can work on rebuilding the damage from the past two decades.”

“If there’s any way we can assist, we’d be more than happy to. I can loan you my advisor if needed… he does a good job at getting things back on track,” Noct smirked over at Ignis, who gave him a hard look, knowing what he was getting at, and he wasn’t pleased.

Ravus smiled though, glancing fondly at the subject of their conversation. “As much as I’ve grown to enjoy his company, I wouldn’t want to take him away from home long,” he said. “Come, let’s talk inside,” he invited them in, going inside with the group. Noct and Prompto exchanged a look, both trying to bite back the laughter of their plan.

“I deal with him plenty, I’m sure we’d do okay without him for a bit,” Noct commented, his tone playful and light, enjoying teasing Ignis, especially since he knew about his feelings.

They took a seat in an informal setting, currently just speaking on a personal setting, so there was no need for a formal meeting room or anything of the sort. “Then perhaps I’ll take you up on the offer,” he commented, eyes lingering on Ignis a moment longer than expected. Ignis flushed when he met his eyes, before finding something else to focus on. “How is Lucis fairing? Hopefully in the progress of recovery?”

Noctis nodded. “We’re in the process of it. It’ll take its time, but we’re on the proper track. I haven’t seen how the other regions are fairing outside of Insomnia, but from what I hear, things are going fine. Insomnia took the worst of it. I haven’t checked in with Camelia lately to see how Altissia is doing,” he said. It was moments like these that he felt like a proper adult and king. He was still adjusting to the fact that people were turning to him for what to do with the entire land of Lucis.

“Last I heard, they’re on the right track as well. Many of their people have finally returned, and I don’t believe it took as much damage as one would expect after Leviathan was there, but I have yet to take a personal trip,” he explained. 

“Perhaps that’s where we should do the treaty signing then if they find themselves up for company. It’s a middle ground for the both of us,” Noct suggested. He enjoyed Altissia, always finding it pretty, and it’d be better than to make both Ravus and Camelia come out to Insomnia. It used to be more important for political events to happen in Lucis, given the power they had, but Noct wanted the three to run as equals. He knew some people would have difficulties with the change, but hoped they’d accept it well enough since it meant getting some semblance of normalcy. He’d have the Crownsguard, just in case, though. “Which I do want to schedule while we’re here. We can do a conference call with Camelia at some point and decide when and where is best for us all,” he said. They’d figured out their terms a few weeks ago, they just needed to put it in writing, and then have a public signing. A lot of it was making sure there was plenty of aid for all three nations, various security agreements, the understanding for allowance to each have their own military force for safety precautions, and a long list of other things they needed to fix from how things used to be.

Ravus nodded. “I’ll have my assistant schedule a call with her soon. And personally? How’ve you been holding up with being back?” he glanced between Noctis and Prompto, not entirely immune to the fact there seemed to be something there. They’d tried to keep things professional for the moment while out in public, but they were sitting close together on the couch, even though they had plenty of room.

 Noct let out a long breath. “It’s a process. Between adjusting to being back, the power the Crystal gave, and just having to take my place as king, into a broken society, it’s a lot. But I have a good team behind me,” he gave a small smile to the three with him. Ignis even softened from the earlier teasing, giving him a small nod.

“Yes, they seemed like they did well at trying to pick up the pieces over the past decade,” he complimented. “Ignis even took it upon himself to check in on Tenebrae, which was appreciated,” he glanced at him with another fond smile.

“He’s much better at all this than I am. I’m glad they were able to pick up in my absence. And I don’t think I ever properly thanked you for helping us in Gralea. I don’t know what we would have done if you hadn’t shown up.” They’d been so focused during the last visit on doing whatever was needed to repair both continents, there hadn’t been much time for personal conversations.

 “I was just doing what needed to be done to defeat Ardyn and save Eos. The daemons were more of a nuisance than a proper threat. Nothing I couldn’t handle,” he brushed it off. “I’m happy I could assist.”

               

The five spent a bit of time with the more personal conversations, Noct, Prompto, and Gladio nudging more toward Ignis, further embarrassing him, despite him trying to cover it up. If they hadn’t thought that Ravus returned his affection before the trip, they did after the first conversation. The two took part in something that could only be called professional flirting – Noct didn’t know how exactly they pulled it off, but they managed to make their interest clear enough, without breaching anything leading to discomfort of the others; of course, they would have been fine if Ravus had outright flirted with him too.

“Your Majesty, may I speak with you for a moment in private?” Ignis asked around the same time Ravus excused himself to go speak with his assistant briefly.

Noct knew exactly what it was about, and why there were such formalities in his tone. He nodded, and got up, going with him to a separate room. It wasn’t so much that Ignis didn’t want Prompto and Gladio to hear – they probably needed to hear what he had to say as well – but more that he didn’t want Ravus overhearing. “Yes?” he asked with an innocent smile.

Ignis gave him a hard look. “What exactly do you think you’re doing? Do you think I can’t see through your attempts to put his focus on me?”

Noct shrugged. “He doesn’t seem to need too much of my help,” he said flippantly. “I know you need glasses, but you can’t be so blind to not see that he returns the feelings, Iggy. I know it wouldn’t be easy, but when have you ever shied away from something difficult?” he asked. He’d looked after Noctis for many years, after all.

“He has his own things to worry about, not trying to handle a long-distance romance,” he crossed his arms, a bemused look on his face.

“Shouldn’t that be up to him?” Noct pointed out. It seemed like he was stuck in being an advisor and needed a reminder that Ravus should be free to make his own decisions.

Ignis frowned but couldn’t disagree. “I suppose…” he mused. He wasn’t used to all these feelings, preferring to put business before pleasure, and it usually worked out fine that way. He wanted to push off any feelings and focus on his job, especially with the fact they had a lot to do. It seemed as though romantic feelings didn’t care, and he was stuck with them. They’d lingered for a while, longer than he’d ever admitted, and they hadn’t lessened any.

Noct gave him a reassuring smile. “Talk to him, Iggy. It’s better to know, trust me,” he told him, hoping that it would be encouraging. He wasn’t really sure why he was giving love advice when he had only one actual relationship in his life, and that was less than a month old, but maybe it was some of that Crystal and previous king wisdom.

Ignis stared at him, trying to decide if he did indeed trust him – he trusted Noct for a lot of stuff, he was devoted to him as a prince and now as the king, but this he was a bit warier on. After a moment, he nodded. “If an opportunity presents itself, and I can figure out what to say, I’ll talk to him,” he answered.

Noct had to resist a smirk. The wheels were turning once more, churning ideas as to how to get them alone while on the trip. He couldn’t help Ignis with what to say, but he was sure that when push came to shove, Iggy would figure out what to say, and just how to say it. He was always good with his words. “We should go back to the other room, don’t want to keep them waiting.” With a nod, the two walked back into the sitting room, Ravus conversing with Gladio and Prompt about things he recommended to see in Tenebrae. Prompto was going on about how he already loved how pretty it was and felt inspired to take photos of a variety of things, including that he’d probably have to use multiple memory cards during the trip. Noct smiled softly, happy to see the passion back on his face about photography; he clearly loved it, and it lit up his face.

They glanced up as Noct and Ignis returned and Prompto finished his spiel. “Everything alright?” Ravus asked them, glancing between the king and his advisor.

Noct nodded. “Yes, everything’s fine. I was considering taking these two to do some sightseeing, and perhaps taking that time to lend you my advisor for the time being,” he suggested, wasting no time to put the next step of the plan into action.

Ignis gave him a look of disbelief, but suppressed a sigh, not exactly being able to count himself surprised. He’d opened himself up for this. Noct was on a mission, and he was trying to see it through. The king was ambitious, he had to give him that. When he set his mind to something, he followed through. He just had to be the one to set his mind to it, not anyone else.

Ravus quirked a brow. “I’d welcome his company if he’s alright with staying behind. I’m sure we could take another time if he’d like to join you though.” He addressed Noct, but his eyes were on Ignis, who was squirming under his gaze. Okay, it wasn’t a visible squirming, but for people who knew him well, they knew he was squirming.

“I imagine there will be plenty of sightseeing opportunities while we’re here, I’m fine staying here if I wouldn’t be in the way,” he answered.

“Oh, Ignis, you’re never in the way,” Ravus assured him with a friendly smile.

Noct was pleased with himself. He had no idea if Ravus knew what they were up to, but if he did, he didn’t seem to mind. He turned to the other two, “shall we then?” Gladio and Prompto got up, fighting back the same smile Noct was and came over to join him.

“Call if you need anything?” Ignis said, still wanting to make sure they were safe and weren’t going to get themselves into trouble.

Noct nodded. “We will. He’s all yours, Ravus.”

Chapter Text

As soon as they were out of the door, high-fives went around at their mission well done. The rest would be up to Ignis and Ravus, they’d done their part.

“Look at you, a proper king for less than a month, and already abusing your power,” Gladio teased, patting him on the back.

Noct grinned in response. “I’m abusing it for the greater good. Iggy deserves to be happy,” he answered. For a few minutes, it felt like old times – just being on the road with his friends, early 20s, causing trouble. It was a good feeling, and one he missed. Sure, the trip was also filled with a lot of hardships, trials, and arguments, but it was also an amazing time he wouldn’t trade for anything.

“Maybe he’ll loosen up a bit too,” Gladio pointed out. For them both being royal officials the entire time Noct knew them, Gladio was the more laid back one by a long shot. He was good at tough love when it was needed (though sometimes he pushed it a little too far), but otherwise could be relaxed and enjoying the ride.

“One can hope,” Noct muttered.

“Where to first? Camera battery is charged, new memory card, I’m ready to fire!” Prompto said, practically bouncing like a small puppy.

Noct considered the question for a minute, trying to decide where to bring him. He’d been injured when he was here as a child, so his exploring was limited. One place in particular came to mind, but he wasn’t sure how it would have done over these past few years. Well, it wouldn’t hurt to look… “C’mon. I’ll lead the way,” he said, doing his best to remember his way around the city. While only in ruins, he was able to use Fenestala manor as a guiding point, figuring his way across the bridges, pausing every now and then so Prompto could take a photo of something else that caught his eye.

It wasn’t a long distance, and Noctis assumed it had to do with Ravus not wanting to be far from his former home. He was curious if he ever planned to rebuild it or leave it as a reminder and landmark. He made a mental note to ask later. They walked over to what remained of the manor, Prompto snapping a few photos of the ruins from different angles and distances.

“This is really tragic, but also makes for some great shots,” Prompto commented as he took another, before looking to his companions.

Noct nodded somberly, before heading around the back where the garden was. Much to his surprise, it wasn’t as dead as he expected. Little bits of blue flowers poked through the grass, trying their best to bloom, as if against all odds. It used to be a garden filled with sylleblossoms, the entire area covered in nearly nothing but blue. It was a miracle any survived though, between the destruction of the manor, and being in ten years of darkness. It seemed like they’d only started to revive themselves recently, taking in the vitamins from the freshly returned sun, and trying to flourish. He smiled, if not a little sadly.

“Aren’t these sylleblossoms?” Prompto asked as he knelt down to take some photos of the garden. He reached down to touch one, gentle as one could possibly be as if it would crumble under the smallest bit of weight.

 “They are. This used to be a garden completely full of them. I’m surprised there are any left,” he commented. Despite the differences, it was still a place that calmed him. He was glad that Prompto seemed to find some inspiration there as well for his work.

“They’re the national flower of Tenebrae, right? Maybe that’s why they’re as resilient as their citizens,” Prompto decided, very philosophically, making Noct smile more.

“I like that,” he murmured, leaning against the remains of a tree, letting his boyfriend enjoy himself. They could see a lot of the city from up here, so it gave Prompto a good vantage point and plenty to shoot. The blond turned to him, snapping a shot of him as well. Noct wrinkled his nose but chuckled softly. “Been a while since that’s happened,” he commented.

“And you still look as handsome as ever,” commented the photographer, taking another just to make a point. “Just a little hairier than last time,” he winked.

Noct had decided to keep the facial hair for the moment. He kept it trimmed, short and clean, but he didn’t hate the look. It made him feel older and more regal, perhaps due to the fact his father had a full beard for as long as he could remember. Besides, it wasn’t a lifetime commitment or anything. If he wanted to get rid of it for a bit, he could. “You’re one to talk,” he teased, pointing out the bit of hair Prompto managed to grow on his chin. There wasn’t much, and he didn’t seem to have the ability to grow any more, if he could, it wouldn’t be a lot. It added a little bit of manliness to his otherwise still boyish looks.

“You mad, bro?” he bounced over, bumping shoulders with the king, bringing back the familiar saying. Noct laughed and shook his head at his boyfriend, who took that moment to raise the camera to the two of them, taking a couple selfie. Pressing a brief kiss to his cheek, he went back to exploring the area through the lens.

“You’re a goofball, but you’re my goofball,” he muttered, brushing his hair back.

 

After a bit more shots, they moved on, working their way throughout the city. They couldn’t tell if there was less lasting damage than Lucis, or if it had just been cleaned up quicker, but it seemed to be doing okay. People lingered, paying Noct and his companion's respect when they got noticed and recognized. He didn’t recognize most of the people, but he was only a child when he spent most of his time here and hadn’t been here long last time. Some faces he recognized from everyone being in Lestallum, but that was it. He assumed he’d have to get used to all of this, so it’d be good training.

They took their time, letting Prompto shoot until his heart was content. Noct liked seeing him so lit up, and so genuinely happy, especially after everything the kid had been through. The only thing that would have made it better would have been being able to walk through the streets holding hands and taking stolen kisses, but there was a time and a place for them to become public, and this wasn’t it.
Taking their time also meant it gave Ravus and Ignis time alone, to deal with both business, and hopefully pleasure. If they left them alone together for hours and Ignis still didn’t confess, Noct thought he may have to smack his friend.

 

They headed back after they felt enough time had passed, and the sun was beginning to set. While daemons weren’t much of a concern anymore, they did want to get back before dark, just for general safety. Ignis and Ravus both seemed more at ease, but Noct couldn’t tell what had transpired, and if Ignis had followed through on his promise. Ignis offered to make food, and Ravus was more than happy to lend him the kitchen.

“I’ll give you a hand,” Noct commented, going to follow him toward the kitchen.

Ignis didn’t need to question why the king, who had very little talent in cooking at all, was offering to assist him. He knew Noct wanted answers, and still had the impatience of a twenty-year-old. He accepted his offer for help, surveying the options they had to work with. “I know you want to ask,” he murmured, getting out a few different things, locating where the equipment was he needed.

“And I’m sure you know what want to ask too,” Noct pointed out, leaning against the nearby wall, watching him do his work. He’d only be in the way. At some point, he’d like to learn how to actually cook, but they hadn’t gotten around to it.

Ignis let out a sigh, glancing at him, but decided to offer up the information so they could get it over with. “I told him how I feel. And as much as it pains me to say you were right, you were right. He reciprocates the feelings. We’ve made the agreement to attempt to act on them, despite the distance, but it’s going to be fairly casual for a while, and non-exclusive,” he explained, prepping the food to cook. “Did I miss anything?”

Noct couldn’t help his grin, both at hearing he was right, and being happy for his friend. “Casual and non-exclusive seems like a good start,” he said, before shaking his head. “I think you covered the basics. Did you enjoy your time together?”

A flush came to Ignis’ cheeks, and he focused on his cooking, not daring to look at the boy. “I did, yes. We had pleasant conversations, and I was able to assist like I said I was going to,” he answered, pushing his glasses up. “Now, since you were so kind as to offer your services, come assist me. Perhaps I can finally teach you something,” he said, wanting to change the subject before Noctis asked more questions. He was sure they’d come in due time, but for now, he wanted to push them aside.

“I don’t think nearly burning down his kitchen would be good for the treaty, but if you insist,” Noct commented, pushing off the wall and came over to receive his instructions.

 

With Ignis’ watchful eye, he managed not to burn anything down, unlike the last time he tried to cook, and the food came out well. Of course, Ignis did the majority of the work, but Noct was showing improvements, and maybe he wouldn’t be completely helpless in the kitchen.

Chapter Text

They were all gathered around the dining room table, and it was probably one of the most normal things Noct had participated in… in a long time. He never expected to be sitting around the table with Ravus, having a friendly conversation.  

“My assistant spoke with Camelia’s people, Noctis. We have a call with her tomorrow morning,” Ravus commented, once it came to mind that he’d been told while he was alone with Ignis.

Noct tried not to groan at that. “Define morning,” he said. Some people defined morning by just being before noon, and then there were people like Gladio and Ignis who defined it as being when the sun rose. Even as a king, he hated getting up early.

“Nine. Ignis informed me of your… aversion to mornings, so I tried to push it off as late into the morning as I could,” he said.

Noct through his advisor an appreciative look. “Don’t get used to it. You’ll have to learn to get up early at some point, but I thought with the travel, it would be acceptable this once to try to hold matters a few hours later,” Ignis told him.

“I can handle nine. Especially since I’m tired from traveling and will have no issues sleeping,” he said, punctuating his sentence with a yawn, placing a hand over his mouth to mind his manners.

“I think we can all speak from experience in knowing that even if you sleep early, you’re still going to be a nightmare to wake up in the morning, princess,” Gladio chimed.

Noct gave him a bemused look but couldn’t exactly disagree. There were times when he’d happily sleep for well over eight hours, and then still not want to get up when woken. “I didn’t say it’d be easy. I said I could handle it. You guys woke me plenty of times in our journey at the crack of dawn, and I survived,” he pointed out. Whether it be to help Prompto with a photography idea, Ignis with cooking, or training with Gladio, he was woken multiple times as the sun was just beginning to rise.

“Not without a bit of complaining, but yes, you did survive,” Ignis teased, giving him a charming smile that tried to convey innocence, failing by how well Noct knew him.

"Speaking of older times, you enjoy fishing, right, Noctis?” Ravus asked. He still couldn’t get in the habit of calling him “Noct”, and it was probably best he didn’t since they still had official business together. Ignis called him Noct, but he also made a habit of calling him Your Highness or Your Majesty. They were friendly but keeping a level of professionalism to call him Noctis felt wise.

Noct was a little surprised to hear he knew, but Luna had known, so it probably managed to come up in conversation with her brother. Or Ignis said something. His life wasn’t as private as he’d like it to be sometimes, but he’d have to learn to live with it. He gave a nod. “Yeah. It’s been a while… A long while now that I think about it, but it used to be one of my favorite things. Why?”

“I know we have some work to tend to, but there’s also some places the could be used as fishing spots nearby, on your downtime. Figured it may be a good way to unwind after all this political stuff,” he commented, taking a sip of his drink.

The Lucian King perked at that, looking over to the others. It made him feel like a kid, having to ask his parents for permission, but he knew they’d have to go along with him. Or well, at least Gladio would. Prompto didn’t have a (public) official position with him, and if work was done, there’d be no need for Ignis to come with him. He’d actually prefer Ignis stay behind and spend time with Ravus.

Gladio held up his hands as the blue eyes trained on him more specifically. “I’m an official shield now. I go where you go. I’m not meant to have an opinion on the matter,” he pointed out.

Noct knew that was the case, and it had been that way when they’d been on the road together, but it was still weird to hear it being so official now. “For supposing to be a powerful king, sometimes this makes me feel like a kid…” he muttered. “If time presents itself, I may try to go. I miss it.” It was something he could do with his dad, and even when he couldn’t do it with his dad, it was still something that helped relax him and clear his mind.

“Well, you know I won’t be far if you decide to go,” Gladio told him. He obviously couldn’t go wandering off on his own and had to stay close.

 

After dinner, they were given rooms, having plenty for them to each have their own. They said their goodnights and went to try to get some rest.

Noct and Prompto were in separate rooms, never having the time where it felt right to discuss their relationship with Ravus. Maybe Noct was having a hard time with the idea because it meant telling Ravus he’d moved on from his sister. He’d made a promise to tell him before they went back to Lucis though. It was important for the royal officials to have little to no secrets between each other.

It was the first time in about a month that he’d tried to sleep without Prompto though, and usually at least had him in the same room (or tent) even before that. It was a weird feeling, and despite being tired, he was restless and unable to fall asleep.

Glancing at the clock, he saw that an hour had passed since he laid down. He sighed and pushed himself to sit up, running his fingers through his wayward hair. It would probably be Ignis to come to wake him, so would there be any harm in him going to sleep with his boyfriend? He penned a quick note so that Ignis didn’t worry that he’d been kidnapped or something and left it on the bedside table. He slipped silently out of his room, over to the next room, and gave a soft knock.

A few moments went by before the door was pulled open, a sleepy Prompto on the other side. His hair stuck up in ways that it was reminiscent of his younger days, as he usually wore it tamer now. He rubbed his eyes, looking confused. “Noct? What is it?”

Noct felt a little bad for waking him, but they’d be able to go back to sleep shortly. He’d let him go back to bed once he was woken for work as well, so he pushed off his guilt. “I can’t sleep,” he confessed, voice hushed as to not alert the others.

A blond brow rose in surprise. “You? Can’t sleep? Who are you, and what did you do with Noct?” he asked, though clearly, he was joking. Ardyn was defeated, so there'd be no more mind games on figuring out who was really who.

Noct gave a half-hearted shrug. “I’m not used to sleeping alone.”

Prompto glanced around them as if they were at risk of getting caught at any moment. Technically, they were, but they were being quiet enough that it shouldn’t be much of a concern. “What about Ravus? He still doesn’t know about us,” he pointed out.

“With knowing how hard I am to wake up, it’ll be Gladio or Iggy who try to wake me, so as far as he knows, we’re sleeping in different beds,” Noct pointed out.

Prom gave him a look that said he was pushing his luck but stepped aside to let the king in his room. “I haven’t been sleeping the greatest either, but I didn’t want to risk anything by coming over to you,” he confessed, closing the door once Noct came in.

“Well, this way, we can both get some sleep,” he said, going over to get in bed with Prompto, curling up with him, feeling his body relax immediately. He pressed a soft kiss to his lips, before yawning softly. “I love you,” he mumbled, feeling all the tiredness building, now that he was in the place where he was comfortable to sleep.

“I love you too. Get some sleep,” Prompto said, pressing a kiss to his head. It didn’t take long for Noct to fall asleep, and Prompto to fall back to sleep.

 

Your Majesty,” The formal title dragged Noctis to the land of the conscious, his eyes slowly fluttering open. With a displeased sound, he slowly sat up, trying to get his body and mind to wake up. As he focused on his surroundings, he noticed Ignis and Ravus standing by the door. Ravus looked amused… Ignis, however, didn’t.

At first, he thought he’d overslept. Then when he glanced over to look at the clock, he noticed that he was in bed with Prompto. Oops. To his defense, he assumed that Ignis would come alone, not with company. “Morning,” he murmured, feigning innocence.

“Morning. Gave us a bit of a fright, going to attempt to wake you, and finding you gone. At least you had enough sense to leave a note.” Ignis’ arms were crossed over his chest in displeasure. “Though I don’t think this was the ideal way to make some people aware of your relationship.”

Noct held up his hands. “I figured you’d come alone. I couldn’t sleep and thought this call would be kind of important to be awake for,” he pointed out.

Prompto stirred next to him, not as heavy of a sleeper as Noct was. He slowly woke up, stretching out, before flushing as he realized they had company. Even though he was plenty clothed, he pulled the blanket up as a need for security.

“Morning,” Noct commented, casually. It wasn’t exactly the most ideal situation for Ravus to learn, but he didn’t seem upset, and it was better that it was finally out. Hiding his relationship anytime he was around anyone else was exhausting, so the less he had to hide it, the better.

“I apologize, we intended to inform you of the current… developments on this trip, but this wasn’t the way I had imagined,” Ignis said, turning his attention to Ravus.

Ravus smiled softly, resting his hand on Ignis’ shoulder. “I think we can speak from experience in understanding what it’s like to deal with the idea of a public relationship,” he pointed out. “Though I hope they’re better at hiding it at home than they are here,” he added, glancing at the boys. He wasn’t even mildly surprised, given how close they’d been and the way they looked at each other.

Ignis gave him an appreciative smile, before turning back to Noct. “I advise you to have a proper breakfast before your meeting, Your Majesty. I’ve made breakfast,” he told him.

“If you’re not careful, I may try to steal him from you, Noctis,” Ravus teased. “I don’t imagine I’ll find a cook as good as him in all of Niflheim.”

Noctis stretched out, before getting out of bed so he wouldn’t be tempted to go back to sleep. “Aranea tried that a few years ago. I’ve got him on a royal retainer, you can only have him on loan every now and then,” he answered.

“I’ll take what I can get,” Ravus replied.

 

They went down to have breakfast, helping to wake Noct up before the meeting. Once they were done, he sat with Ravus in his office, going on the conference call with Camelia. It was a simple call, and she was more than happy to have the signing in Altissia. They made arrangements for when, before ending the call.  

Chapter Text

Business was done for the moment, which meant he had some free time. More than anything, the trip was a chance to strengthen the relationship between himself and Tenebrae’s newest king (as well as conspiring to get said king involved with Ignis…) His mind lingered back to what Ravus had said at dinner, about places to fish. He hadn’t been fishing since before Luna raised Leviathan and… all the events that happened after that. He really did miss it and could use some time to unwind. Even if he wasn’t fully active in rebuilding Lucis (though he’d like to, Ignis deemed it unsafe), he was still making a lot of choices, adjusting to being king, and adjusting to his new power. He felt exhausted.

Instead of going to find Gladio, he went to find Prompto. The alone time with his boyfriend would be welcomed, and maybe if he brought the sharp-shooter with him, then Gladio wouldn’t have to tag along. He loved Gladio, but it wasn’t the company he was looking for.

He found him in one of the sitting rooms, going through his photos from the previous day. Making his way over, he pressed a kiss to his head, drawing his attention. “Hey, buddy. How’d it go?” he asked, smile bright and genuine as always.

“It went well. We’ll be headed to Altissia in a few weeks for the signing,” he answered, leaning against the armrest. “How would you feel about keeping me company while I fish?” he asked. He knew none of his companions ever liked the times they decided to pause so he could fish, Sarah had even told him as much, but he hoped he’d be willing to go to spend the time alone.

“Thought Gladio would go with you? Unless you mean all three of us, so Ravus and Ignis get some alone time,” Prom wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.

Noct supposed it wouldn’t be so bad if Gladio came along if it meant giving the new couple alone time. But he’d still much rather it be a date-like environment. Just the two of them. “I was actually hoping if I get you to come if they’d agree to stay behind. I’ve got plenty of strength, and you can be my backup if needed.”

Prompto considered it. Despite his distaste for fishing, he’d like to spend time along with Noct. Maybe if it was far enough away from people, they could act like a regular couple. Sure, they had time alone together at the Citadel, but they were pretty much confined to that area until Insomnia was further up and running. He gave a smile and a little nod. “Okay, sure.”

The king relaxed as he didn’t fight him and seemed genuinely interested in the idea. He imagined it was the alone time, not the actual activity that interested him, but he didn’t mind. They went to find the others, letting them know the idea. In theory, Noctis could do whatever he pleased – he was King. If he wanted to go alone, he could order Ignis and Gladio to stay behind, but he knew they only had his best interest in mind, so he wanted their approval. It took some debating, but they finally had the blessing of the shield and the advisor, as well as information of how to get to the fishing spot from Ravus.

 

The two made their way towards the lake, finding the dock that would be a perfect spot for Noct to fish for a bit. He conjured his fishing pole, adding a lure, before casting it out. They sat down in portable chairs they brought, making themselves comfortable. They were a distance away from what little civilization was left in Tenebrae, so they sat close, legs brushing. If both their hands hadn’t been busy, they probably would be intertwined; Noct’s held his pole and reeled in slowly, while Prompto continued to go back to his photos from the previous day, showing his boyfriend ones he particularly liked every now and then.

“I can’t believe that thing has survived all these years. It was a graduation present for you,” Noct commented, taking in the equipment. If not for just Prompto’s own recklessness, he assumed their journey through Lucis, Altissia, and Niflheim would have damaged it beyond repair, and even after making it after that, then certainly something during the blackout. But it looked almost as good as new. The casing had scratches, the buttons showed sign of ware, but the photos looked just as clean as ever.

“I did have to replace the display screen once, while you were away, but other than that, it’s held up fairly well,” Prompto agreed, glancing up to meet Noct’s eyes, before examining the camera. He preferred to refer to Noct’s time in the Crystal as “his time away.” It was easier that way and hurt a little less. It was like he’d just been on a business trip in another nation. For a long, long time. With no communication. Or idea when he’d be back. If he came back…

“And to think, you were reluctant to letting me get it for you,” Noct teased with a smile.

 

The boys were graduating. Exams were done, school was out, and they were able to do their walk. Noct had talked about skipping the actual ceremony, knowing people would make a bigger deal about it than usual because the Prince of Lucis was graduating, but Prompto had talked him out of it. “They’d pause the whole ceremony and figure out a way to find you,” he teased. There’d be no way Iggy would let him skip it either.

The only upside was the fact he knew his dad would be there. Of course, he’d be on stage, shaking hands with everyone who graduated, rather than in the audience like a normal parent, but he’d take what he could get. He tried to do it every year, but sometimes other business came up. King Regis made it a priority to make it that year, though.
Between having both the king and prince there, media was wild. Some of the students ate it up, while others seemed sour that their graduation day was being outshined by royalty – Noct didn’t blame the latter. After the ceremony was done, things went back to normal. Regis had already set aside a lot of his day to attend the graduation, wasting more of it with doing a post-graduation dinner was out of the question. His dad promised to try to schedule one for later in the week to make up for it. Noct knew his dad was trying his best, and he appreciated him for it, but it didn’t make it sting any less.

Prompto’s parents had a similar case, taking a few hours from work just long enough to see the ceremony, but couldn’t stay after. So Noctis invited his friend over for their own celebration. All the main restaurants would be packed, and while (with his name) Noct could get them in anywhere, Ignis was a really good cook, and it meant the privacy of his apartment.

Ignis lingered, if just to offer some semblance of other family there besides Prompto. He didn’t bother the boys as they ate and switched between King’s Knight and Assassins Creed. He kept the kitchen clean, busying himself with chores around the house. Noct had been doing better about keeping his apartment clean, at least.

The two decided to take a break from King’s Knight to put away their dishes. “Oh, I got you a graduation present,” Noct commented, Ignis taking their dishes to have something to do.

Prompto looked over at him in surprise. “Huh? I didn’t know we were doing graduation presents,” he said, caught off guard. He felt bad for not bringing Noct something, but they hadn’t discussed it at all. Noct was a hard enough person to buy for when his birthday or Christmas came around, being the prince and all.

"Because I knew if you knew I was planning to get you something, you’d protest,” Noct retorted. Even on appropriate holidays, Prom always got a little weird on him when it came to giving gifts, even the ones that weren’t overly lavish. He seemed like he didn’t like the prince spending money on him. “Wait here,” he commanded, using his fake Prince Voice, before disappearing into his room. The box had been perfectly wrapped by the adopted mom who was still lingering in the kitchen, despite being free to go whenever he pleased. It was the colors of their school and looked like a piece of art. He came back to the living room, offering it to Prompto.

Prompto’s nerves were clear on his face, never wanting Noct to think he was in the friendship for any sort of benefits other than his company. He appreciated the gifts, but never wanted to give off the wrong impression. Still, he gave a small smile and accepted the box. “Thank you for the wrapping, Mama Ignis,” he called to their company, knowing plenty well that it wasn’t Noct to wrap it.

Ignis sighed but chose not to comment on the nickname again. Prompto had joked about it once, and it became a habit that stuck. Thankfully, the prince used it less than his friend, but every now and then, it’d slip from Noctis as well. “You’re welcome. I know it will only be unwrapped, but I’ve seen Noct’s wrapping and decided to spare you from that tragedy,” he commented. Ignis had dry humor about him, usually making snarky remarks without much of a sarcastic tone, and it only made it that much funnier.

Prompto gave a laugh, whereas Noctis let out a small “hey!” in protest but didn’t argue against it. He’d asked Ignis to wrap it for a reason. “Open it,” he encouraged him, wanting to see his reaction.

With a hard look that said he didn’t approve, he plopped on the couch and took care with opening it, trying to preserve what Ignis did. Blue eyes widened as he realized what was hidden behind the black and gold paper. He took it out, examining the box. “Noct…” he breathed in disbelief.

"It’s the one you wanted, right? The numbers and letters and everything just started to blend together after a while, but I think that’s the one you mentioned,” he said. Prompto had a camera, but it was pretty basic and cheap. It got the job done, and he did well with what he had, but he’d been eying a new camera for a while now, and just couldn’t afford it.

Prompto stared at the box in awe, stuck between wanting to tear it open and begin playing with it immediately, and wanting to leave it in the box and never take it out. It was a Lokton X100, with multiple filters and more features than his simple point-and-shoot camera was. “Yeah, it is,” he murmured out, still trying to process this amazing gift. “Noct, I can’t—” he began.

"I don’t want to hear you say you can’t accept it. You’ve been insistent throughout our friendship that I don’t spend a lot of money on you, let me do it one time for something practical. You’re talented, and could make your own money off it,” Noct told him. It was his way of showing he believed in him and give him a way to make his dreams come true.

The blond gave him the most genuine smile he’d ever seen. Setting it aside gingerly, he practically jumped on Noct with a big hug. “Thanks, buddy,” he relented, knowing Noct wouldn’t take so for an answer. “I feel even worse that I didn’t get you anything, though.”

Noct chuckled softly, patting his back, accepting the rare affection. They had their own variation on physical affection, which consisted of shoulder bumps, fist bumps, slapping, and high fives, but rarely hugs. He didn’t mind them, though. (Looking back at it now, he knew why). “Don’t worry about it. You’ve been there for me through a lot, and you’ve always been someone I can count on.” It was cheesy as hell, but he meant it. Ignis was required to be with him as his advisor, and while he could talk to Gladio sometimes, Prompto was still the only true friend he had.

“You’re stuck with me, man. For better or for worse!” Prompto declared with a grin. He dropped back onto the couch and went to open the box. He was gingerly taking things out, looking over all the different things. He pouted as he realized the battery needed to charge, but leaned over to the closest outlet to plug it in.

"So we’re married now?” Noct teased, grinning at him.

Prom nodded, full of energy from his excitement. “Yup! Instead of an engagement ring, I require a camera. It’s like a secret mission of an RPG,” he joked. “Speaking of, back to King’s Knight?”

They went back to the video games until his new camera was charged, and then spent time testing it out, and figuring out how everything worked.

 

“I knew there were probably people who just tried to befriend you for the princely benefits, and never wanted you to think that was the case with me,” Prompto said, giving him a smile.

He paused his reeling to reach over and take his hand, giving it a squeeze. “It never felt like a concern with you. I’m glad I could get you something that you’d use for years to come. And now we have great photos of our adventures together from it,” he answered. They were deep enough into the wilderness that they were at very low risk for anyone coming across them. Most people were still too afraid of anything that may be lingering. He leaned over to kiss him softly, enjoying their alone time together.

“That we do, and it’s still working perfectly, so there’ll be more to come,” Prompto commented, kissing back. He took the opportunity to turn the camera on them and capture the moment.

Noct laughed softly against his lips as he heard the familiar click. “I love you,” he murmured, leaning against him.

“I love you too, buddy.”

 

The day was spent fishing until the sun began to set, and they headed back toward the mansion. They’d promised to be back before sunset, even though the daemons should be gone, they wanted to be careful. He was sad to have their day gone, but he felt a lot better than he had in a while.

Chapter Text

The next few days spent in Tenebrae were uneventful at best. They assisted where they could, tried to make plans for the future, and they even had a small assembly where both Ravus and Noctis could speak, and assure the people of the change coming. Accordo had remained a third party, mostly removed from the war, but it was Niflheim and Lucis that needed to heal. Apart from Tenebrae, Niflheim was nearly deserted. The magitek were defeated, the daemons gone, and any of the Empire that remained had gone into hiding. The two kings spoke of what would happen if they did try to rise up, which was part of the reason for rebuilding the Kingsglaive, and Ravus assembling his own military force. They weren’t there to fight each other, but to fight with each other. They’d be ready if anything were to happen, but with Iedolas and Ardyn dead, and Aranea and Ravus on their side, the empire didn’t stand a chance. It felt like a successful trip, but Noct was glad to return home. They gathered the Regalia, which definitely needed work but they had faith in Cindy, and brought it back with them to Lucis, having it picked up by Cindy and brought back to Hammerhead to have it fully restored.

 

Lucis was improving more and more by the day. It wouldn’t be back to normal for months, if not years, but the streets were clean of most of the debris and rubble, and repairs were underway. Like a beacon of hope, the Citadel looked regal and strong. Arydn had planned to take over on the throne, so he’d kept that part mostly unharmed. The Nifs had done part of their job for them as well since they used Insomnia as a base for a few weeks. It was starting to feel even more like home.
Businesses were beginning to start running, at least part-time, and the number of people waking the streets was growing. There had been a massive population decline throughout all the nations, primarily due to the ten years of darkness, but it was becoming a functioning city once again.

 

They made the news of their planned trip to Altissia public, and everyone was looking forward to it. Noct wasn’t naïve enough to think everyone would agree with every piece of it, and perhaps there were still people alive who didn’t want there to be a friendly relationship between Niflheim and Lucis, but the overwhelming response was positive. After losing the Crown City for as long as they did, and the overdrawn war, most people were just ready for peace and a normal life.

He’d been given a decent amount of paperwork to look over, back to business after a trip that was mostly for pleasure. It outweighed the work, anyway. There were potential candidates to look over for new people to work at the Citadel, different drafts of the treaty, and messages were trickling in on where aid was needed most, and reports from others. He was grateful at the fact he had a decent amount of Glaive members already at the ready, thanks to Cor. The Glaive had been one thing he’d had to worry the least about in rebuilding, and they were always happy to help. They felt fairly useless, with the daemons gone. He’d given Gladio the task of putting together the Crownsguard, giving him free rein as Head of the Crownsguard.
He let out a sigh, remembering how much he hated having to go through the training of all the paperwork that would come as a teenager. Even in his later years, he still felt like it was the worst part of the job. He was much more organized this time, putting each in different stacks of things he needed to tackle. He was sifting through those he liked and didn’t like for positions in the Citadel, also having created a pile for those who he deemed may be good for better jobs.

The door to his office opened, and he glanced up, face softening when he saw Prompto peaking in. “You can come in, Prom,” he assured him as if the boy truly needed his permission.

Prompto slipped the rest of him in, carrying a tray of treats. “Figured you could use something to keep your energy up. Don’t worry, Iggy cooked it,” he said with a soft laugh. Like Noct, Prompto had no idea how to cook either.

“I appreciate it. This is… a lot,” he said, motioning to the fact the large desk was almost completely covered. It was primarily all papers, the main personal item being the same photo his dad had on the desk when it was his; Aulea and Regis stood closely, the former holding a small child in her arms. It was the only family portrait he had, and he was happy it survived. He planned to add a few more photos as well, but that would mean the desk needed to be less cluttered.

He nodded, trying to find a pace to set the tray. “I can tell…  Anyway, there’s hot cocoa, and tea and Ignis made a few different small sweets,” he said.

Noct took in the sight, picking up a cup of cocoa, and set it on an empty spot near him. There were a few types of fruit tarts (though none of the pastries from Tenebrae. He’d made that plenty while they were there), Mousse, and of course, Ignis made his own favorite, a chiffon cake. It all looked wonderful, especially after he’d been working for… he paused to look at his watch, it had been four hours already. Ugh. “It looks great. Thanks,” he commented, smiling more.

“There’s more downstairs, but I didn’t think you needed too much,” Prompto explained.

“This is plenty, thank you,” he said again, leaning over to kiss his cheek. “Want to sit? I could use a few minutes break.” Obviously, he still had a lot of work to be done, but he could take a little bit of a break and give his brain a chance to rest.

“I’ll never say no to time with my best buddy, and boyfriend,” he said, pulling a chair over and plopped down. “How’s it all been going?” he asked.

Noct let out a sigh, brushing his hair out of his face, and sipped his cocoa. “It’s a ridiculous amount of work. Take the homework we had in high school, and like… triple it. Then double that. And know that if you don’t get it done, or do something wrong, people’s lives are on the line.”  The stress he was under was insane, and he felt like there was a weight sitting on him. Even without the energy the crystal sucked out of him, Noct officially couldn’t blame his father for going grey early.

Prom frowned at that, reaching over to squeeze his hand. “Wish I could do something to help. Is there anything?” he asked. Every now and then, his old insecurities about not feeling like he belonged would come back.

He interlaced their fingers, stroking his thumb along the back of his hand. “I think I finally found a job for you to do, beyond consort,” he answered. “You always talk about how you’re not royalty or anything like it’s a bad thing… but what if it’s a good thing? My dad always used to say, “how can you know what’s in their heart, if you haven’t heard their voices?” You’re used to being a “normal person”, I think it’d be good to have you be the one to hear what the people want or need,” he said. He hated the term normal person because it sounded like it was an insult to someone – be it Noct, or Prompto, but he didn’t know how else to describe it. He was sure there was an official title for what he was suggesting, but his head was spinning too much, drowning under all his work to think of it.

“Huh?” Prompto asked, surprised by such an important job. He never thought he’d be worthy of something like that, yet here Noct was, giving it as a suggestion. “You’d really want me to do that? Read through letters, talk to people, and relay that information back to you?” He doubted the position came with the power to make changes all by himself, he imagined at least Noct would have to clear it, and then possibly go through other channels. It’d be a lot of work but rewarding.

“If it’s something you’d be interested in, anyway. I don’t want to give you something you don’t want, or may grow to hate,” he answered. He’d desperately tried to come up with a job that put Prom’s creative talent to work, but he was completely at a loss. He doubted he’d want to work in the media, and there was just a limited need for creative things in the court. He did, however, have a job planned for him when it was a bit safer to travel…

“No! I want to. I was just surprised is all,” he assured him with a wide smile. “Thanks, Noct. I know I didn’t grow up doing all this stuff. I appreciate you putting the thought into me.”

Noct reached over to pick up one of the pastries, taking a bite. “There’s gonna be a lot of people who didn’t grow up doing it. You won’t be alone in that. But you’re good at listening to people, and you’ve got a big heart. Plus, by that point, the public should know just how close we are, so they know it’ll get back to me, rather than some random person.” They hadn’t figured out a proper time or place to introduce the public to his relationship with. Other stuff just taking presidency and they didn’t have time. Things may be getting better, but he was still working on getting things fully onto the new normal.

“I’m glad you trust me,” he said, leaning over to kiss his cheek.

He smiled softly, before picking up one of the piles. It was significantly smaller than the others but still lengthy. “Then here’s your first task.”

 “So that’s your real reason for giving me the job, less work on you,” he teased but took the stack. It was a lot to read, but he didn’t want to let Noct down.

“That’s only a bonus,” he teased back, nudging him. “You can stay in here and do the work if you want,” he offered. It’d be easier than sending him off to a different room and make him come back just to give him the report.

               

They went to work, side by side. Prompto took notes of things, and relayed what information he could to Noct as he went, while the king continued to go through the potential new workers.  He organized the piles, figuring he’d call Ignis up soon, and got to looking over the different drafts of the treaty. He made lines through things he didn’t like, making notes from other versions he did like, and was able to write up a new (though slightly messier) draft on his own for Ignis to go over, and then to be sent to Ravus and Camelia for any alterations they wanted to make, things to add, and get approval. It’d be a lot of passing back and forth for a few days until they were all happy with it.

 Prompto finished around the same time Noct was writing the last bit of the new draft. He relayed the rest of the information, leaving his notes for Noctis to look over that had more details. His job was done for the moment, so he kissed his boyfriend and headed out. As he went out, Ignis was coming in, in response to the page Noctis had sent him.

“Yes, Your Majesty?” he asked, standing before him. With the stance he held, it was almost hard to believe they were friends. Closer than friends, more like family. But when there was work to be done, Ignis went into full Royal Advisor mode.

He picked up the few pages of the treaty first. “My notes, and the current one I drafted for you to look over and send to Ravus and Camelia when you deem fit,” he said. “And these are ordered in those I like, ones I like but think would be fitted elsewhere, and those I’m not sure are right for the part,” he made an easy organization of the list of candidates. It’d put a lot less work on Ignis once he got a few assistants and people staff, but that was the point for the larger stack.

Ignis gave a nod, taking them all. He didn’t mind the workload since it kept him busy. He was a workaholic, but it also gave him less time to miss the company he’d come used to keeping over the past few days. “I will contact those in the yes and redirect the others, and set up meetings for you,” he answered. He started to head to do just that, before pausing and turned back. “Your Majesty?”

Noct looked up, meeting the green eyes. “Yes, Ignis?”

He hesitated, before coming back over. “I try not to make a habit of involving myself in your personal life unless asked, but I do believe this concerns political matters as well,” he began. If he didn’t have Noct’s undivided attention before, he did now. “I know you and Prompto have only just begun officially being together, but I think it may be best if you two were properly engaged before you spoke to the people about him. It would be seen as more serious, and they’d have an easier time accepting it that way,” he explained, hoping he wasn’t stepping out of turn.

Another political engagement? Okay, well, at least this one with someone he was truly with, it was just speeding up the process to make it easier on the public. He and Prompto had been friends for years and had known about the mutual feelings for months – technically years, but the majority of that time, Noct was in a crystal and they couldn’t act on it.

“The wedding wouldn’t have to be rushed, as it was with Lady Lunafreya, you could take your time. Especially given the state of the world at this current moment,” Ignis continued when Noct had yet to speak, and his face was feeling awfully difficult to read…

“I guess I need to add getting an engagement ring onto my To-Do list,” he murmured. He wouldn’t half-ass a proposal, even if it was mostly for appearance sake. He’d let Prompto know of the reason, so he didn’t feel like Noct was just trying to rush things, but he also wanted it to be a proper proposal. He doubted he’d be able to do it a second time when they were ready. He was already going over ideas in his head on where and how. Astral, they were likely going to get engaged before they even slept together… not that he and Luna had slept together before their engagement, but that was different.

“If I may, I have a suggestion,” he spectacled man offered up. Noct motioned for him to continue, so he did. Out of his jacket, he produced a ring. “This managed to survive after all this time,” he said, offering it out. “I have a few sources I could contact, have it made into a more masculine ring and the proper size if you’d like.”

The advisor didn’t need to explain what it was as Noct took it. His eyes trailed from the ring to the photo that remained on his desk, the ring on his mother’s finger. It had been her engagement ring. There was a matching piece someone, her wedding ring, but that wouldn’t be needed for a while. It was a black ring (royal colors) with some embellishments and a few stones. He could see that it could be in a ring fitting for Prompto. “I like the idea,” he said with a small smile. “If any of your sources think they can do it, then have it done. I don’t think I need to tell you that it needs to be done discreetly.” The photo of Aulea was a public one, and he was sure people would be able to figure out the fact King Noctis was planning to propose to someone, and then it may get back to Prompto.

“Of course, Your Majesty.” He gave the traditional bow, fist over his chest. “Is there anything else you require of me before I take my leave?” he asked.

Noct shook his head, giving him back the ring, and got up himself. “No, I’m pretty much done for the day. Oh, and I assigned Prompto to be someone to talk to people and oversee the issues they may have. I thought it was a fitting task for him,” he added.

Ignis gave a smile. “I believe so, too. If you’d like to continue your cooking lessons, I will begin preparing dinner in about an hour. You’re welcome to join me in the kitchen,” he said.

“Noted. I’ll see how I feel after an hour of relaxing,” he answered, giving a yawn. Despite the fact he was a king and handling it better than he ever thought he would, he was still the same old Noctis at heart and loved his naps.

“Yes, please do care for yourself. We don’t need to attempt to find another king already,” Ignis said lightly with a smile, before heading out of the room.

Chapter Text

Hey guys, just wanted to drop a little note to let you guys know I'm still alive and haven't abandoned either of these stories (posting this on both Wise Words and The Advisor.)
As you guys know from other chapter notes, I was having issues with my attention span, and now I'm trying to get over a cold. I'd planned on at least updating The Advisor for Ignis' birthday but couldn't work it with this cold.
I have plenty of ideas and I'm itching to write, I just need to not be dying... Thank you all for your patience, I just wanted to give you guys an update.
Hopefully, we'll get back to the beautiful stories soon.

 

xoxoxo

Chapter Text

Noctis took a breath, running his fingers through his hair. Engaged, again. Okay, he technically hadn’t asked, but it was the outcome he was hoping for. As much as he’d rather his personal life be kept out of political matters, he understood where Ignis was coming from; he wasn’t a prince anymore, he was a king leading the new world, and he didn’t need his people to think he was a flippant and casual relationship. He knew it wasn’t flippant and casual, but that didn’t mean everyone did. He was grateful for the fact Ignis had pointed out that the wedding didn’t need to be rushed, other things coming first.

He brought a hand up to cover his mouth out of habit as he yawned. He was already someone who enjoyed naps, and all this work was only making him more tired. He opted for a nap, setting an alarm on his phone to see If he’d actually want to join Ignis or go back to sleep until dinner.

Managing to drag himself up when his alarm went out, he decided that he would go attempt to cook with his advisor. He didn’t hate it as much as he used to, and it made him feel more like an adult to be able to make his own food. Plus, the further he could get away from being a traditional king, the better. Noct was thirty now, had faced the Astrals, saved Eos from the scourge, and was the king… he thought it was time to learn how to make himself a proper dinner.

“How are you feeling, Noct?” Ignis asked as the king came in, already working on preparing food to cook.

He shrugged a little, going to wash off his hands, “sleepy, but that’s not uncommon.” He wondered if he’d adjust but given he didn’t have to be stressed out to be tired, he was doubtful.

Ignis chuckled softly. “Perhaps dinner will help you feel a bit better. I imagine it will be a bit of an early night for you though, yes?” The way he wielded a kitchen knife showed how long he’d been doing this for, having no issues with preparing the food.

“Most likely. It’s been a long day of paperwork, which may be more exhausting than a day of fighting daemons.” Leave it to Noct to prefer fighting to paperwork. It was what he was used to, however. He joined Ignis by the counter, letting him dictate where he was needed.

“I must apologize, all the daemons have been dealt with, so I believe you’re stuck with the paperwork and such for the time being.” He had a smile, clearly teasing him. Ignis had a dry, strange sense of humor, but it made him funny that way.

Noctis sighed dramatically. “If I must…” the playful whining made him sound like he was sixteen again, and it was still weird to think he was thirty. He was sure it was weird enough for those who experienced the ten years, let alone with him not experiencing much inside the crystal. “Hey, Iggy, can I ask you something?” His curiosity was getting the better of him.

Ignis’ brow rose, glancing over at him with a look of interest. “Certainly.”

He considered how to pose the question as he cut up the vegetables (he decided not to complain about them for the moment) Ignis had assigned to him. “Did it feel like ten years passed for you guys? I mean, without there being a change of day to night, night to day, all that stuff.” He could hypothesize about how it was for them, or he could ask; he clearly decided on the latter.

There was quiet between the two of them for a few moments while Ignis figured out exactly how he could answer that. “I don’t know that I can speak for everyone, as they may have had different experiences with how they spent the decade, or just generally how they viewed it… but it varied. Sometimes it felt like it was beyond ten years, and the fact we didn’t have a date to look forward to only made it all the longer. Every day was a question, and when I didn’t keep myself busy, the “day”, for lack of a better term, would be spent wondering if I’d receive the call that you’d returned. However, there were also spans of time when I was busier, and without the usual indicator of passing time, a few days seem to happen in the blink of an eye.” If talking about that time hurt him, Ignis didn’t show it. He always had a good poker face, so Noct wasn’t sure. “Does that answer your question?”

Noct gave a nod. “It makes sense. Even with the day and night, sometimes our journey together felt that way as well – short sometimes, long others.”

The smile returned to Ignis face, eyes shining with fond memories. “Yes, it was certainly chaotic. What about you? Did you feel like you were inside the crystal for ten years?"

Noctis let out a small breath, adding the vegetables to a hot pan and stirred them around. “It’s complicated. It was kind of like taking a really long nap but being aware I was asleep. I didn’t have to take care of anything you do in the normal day-to-day life so that sometimes made it feel like I’d been there for an eternity. The whole point in being there, though, was to be in a mostly meditative state, so when I managed to actually do that… it passed fairly quickly. I was still surprised when I learned it had been ten years because I just figured it was one of those “a watched pot never boils” situations. So it was confusing.”

“Speaking of, please make sure those don’t burn,” he nodded to the pan where Noct was absently stirring without much attention to it.

“Don’t worry, Specs, I’m keeping an eye on it. Not trying to burn down the Citadel.” Some things never changed, and he hoped it never would.

Ignis taught him how to make risotto, and the dish looked fairly edible. It didn’t stop Gladio from teasing the king, expressing concern for dying of food poisoning after surviving ten years of darkness. Noct was still proud of what he created, even if he knew he wouldn’t have been able to do it on his own. Baby steps.

They’d taken up to having most main meals together, a way to keep connected and have a bit of a break. Ignis excused himself toward the end to take a phone call from Ravus, and Noctis noticed something he hadn’t in all the years he knew the two… “Gladio… are you jealous?”

Chapter Text

Gladio look surprised by the question. “What?”

Noctis was eying him, trying to figure him out. He’d noticed the way his guard’s mood shifted when Ignis excused himself on account of Ravus calling. Noct knew Gladio and Ravus had their troubles in the past, but so did he and Ravus. Gladio seemed fine with they were in Tenebrae, so the only thing that made sense to him was jealousy. “You got weird when Iggy left to take a call from Ravus. Seemed like jealousy?”

“Why would I be jealous?” he had one of the best poker faces when he wanted to, but given how long Noct had known him, he could see past it.

Glancing at Prompto, it was clear the blond was as confused as he felt. He just also had a “where are you going with this?” look as well.  

Noct shrugged, “maybe I’m mistaken, but I can’t think of another reason for your mood to dip. You did kind of help us get them together though, wouldn’t make sense if you had feelings for him…” There was a note in his tone that told them that he didn’t exactly believe it was nothing.

“Hey, I just want him to be happy, that’s all.” Gladio shrugged. The response was more telling than he thought it was.

Noct didn’t get a chance to reply since Ignis returned shortly after. He gave Gladio a look that said they weren’t done.

“Did I miss something?” Ignis asked, looking around at the strange faces on his friends.

“Just Gladio teasing me about my cooking is all,” Noct assured him with a smile. There’d be no point in bringing it up to his advisor until he had all the facts. Yes, the part of him that was still young at heart only wanted to blurt it out, but he resisted.

Ignis smiled, patting Gladio’s shoulder, “you needn’t worry, he’s under my supervision.” Noct and Prompto exchanged a glance at the way the two smiled at each other. Apparently, they weren’t entirely done meddling in their friends love lives.

 

Gladio managed to avoid Noct after dinner, and he was honestly too tired to try and chase him down. He’d deal with him in the morning after he’d had sleep and didn’t feel exhausted. He and Prompto went up to their room, getting ready for sleep, and settling into bed.

“Do you really think Gladio has a thing for Iggy?” Prompto asked, curled up against Noct’s side.

He pressed a gentle kiss to his head. “It seems like it. Weird we’ve never noticed after all these years… but maybe he didn’t know until now.”

Prompto shrugged, “maybe. We were always kinda busy anyway, even in those ten years. It wasn’t exactly breeding grounds for romance.”

"They’re usually pretty focused on their job, too. Gladio likes to flirt, but only if it doesn’t take much time.” He wasn’t sure how exactly he felt about it, but he was also happy for them. He would obviously need to get Gladio to admit things first, but baby steps. He wanted the people in his life to be happy; they definitely deserved it after everything.

“You know, if this whole king thing doesn’t work out, you could be a match-maker,” the blond teased with a wide grin, pressing a kiss to his cheek.

Noct laughed softly. “If you had told me that as a teenager, I would have asked if it was an option.” Being a prince or a king was the last thing he wanted when he was a teenager. The king part had to do with the fact it meant his dad dying… but he also wasn’t keen on the responsibility.

Prompto’s face softened a bit, his smile brighter. “You seem to be handling the whole king thing better. It’s not just little moments, like in Gralea. You hold yourself like a king,” he complimented. “Your dad would be proud.”

His heart squeezed a bit at the mention of his dad. He wanted to do right by the people of Lucis, and of all of Eos, but he also wanted to do right by his dad. “I actually got to talk to him a little bit while I was in the crystal…” he confessed.

His companion glanced up at him in surprise. “You did? You never mentioned that.”

Noct gave a small nod. “Yeah. It was kind of weird, knowing he was a spirit and all… but I’m glad I got to.” Even with the closure of talking to him one final time, he still had a hard time with losing his dad. Even if he’d retired, it would have been nice to have him there. Still, he remembered what Cor said when they talked. If they’re not forgotten, they’re never really gone.

It was clear Prompto wanted to ask what they’d talked about, but he refrained. Some things were private, even from best friends. “I’m glad you got to talk to him. I know how sudden it was that you lost him and that it was a big concern of yours in high school.”

Noct gave a small chuckle that had no humor to it, only traces of pain. In high school, he’d been worried about the crystal taking his dad’s life, when in reality, it was so much worse. He took a minute to compose himself, not wanting Prompto to feel bad for bringing it up. “You ever find out what happened to your parents after Insomnia fell?” They rarely talked about his parents, mostly out of habit. The Argentums were always working, so it was rare Prom had any news about them.

“Yeah, they made it out alright. Dad passed during the ten years of darkness though. Mom helps out in Lestallum, but we don’t really talk much. Got into a bit of a fight after Dad passed… She wanted me to stay in the city, where it was safe, and I couldn’t do that.” He sounded more tired than upset by it, and Noct assumed it had been a few years. He knew Prompto had never been close with his parents.

“Is that why you preferred Hammerhead to Lestallum?” He’d wondered if it had to do with Cindy, but once they talked, it seemed like he had some other reasons.

Prom shrugged. “It was a few things. Wanting to be away from all that, wanting to help out Hunters when I could, and was hopin’ maybe one day you’d walk back in,” he smiled a little playfully. “Took you a while, but you finally did.”

“As much as I like my long naps, I had some pretty great people to come back to.” His fingers ran through his hair, his own smile a mix between genuine and playful. He truly did love them all, Cid was right, they weren’t just his bodyguards; Ignis and Gladio were his brothers, and Prompto was his partner and best friend.

“Yeah, Iggy and Gladio aren’t too bad, I guess,” Prompto teased, leaning into him more. He tried to stifle a yawn, but Noct could see through it.

He smiled softly, kissing his head. “I still think you’re good enough for me,” he murmured, lips still pressed against his temple. “Let’s get some sleep.”

“Thanks, Noct. Love you,” Prompto mumbled, clear he was already drifting off.

“Love you too. Night, Prom.” He didn’t get a response back, and he didn’t mind, glad to be able to give himself over to his need for sleep.

 

Noctis tried to keep himself in the habit of at least waking up in the morning. It may not be considered early to some people, but it was a start. There wasn’t much he needed to take care of in the morning unless he had some phone calls, but it was better to start the routine now while he could afford to make mistakes. Waking up to breakfast made by Ignis was an incentive as well. They talked about hiring some kitchen staff, yet still leaving Ignis in charge of personal food; Noct preferred Ignis’ cooking above anyone, and Ignis enjoyed it.

“I’ve begun contacting those whose resumes interested you, starting interviews next week. Some may not be needed quite yet, but better to have them on standby,” Ignis told him, sipping his coffee. “Would you like me to conduct the interviews on my own, or would you like to handle them?”

Noct shrugged, “I don’t mind being there. Gives me something to do. Speaking of, Gladio, can I talk to you after breakfast?” There, witnesses. He couldn’t go dip out early or offer to help someone with something.

Gladio seemed to realize this and be displeased but couldn’t be openly upset. At least, not without making Ignis suspicious. “Sure.” It took everything in Noct not to smirk.

 

Ignis excused himself to return back to making the meetings, and Prompto asked for a guard so he could go take photos around the city. To show how bored Noct was feeling, he actually offered to take care of the dishes from breakfast, with also volunteered Gladio, so they could have a conversation. If it gave him something to do, he didn’t mind. He knew once more was getting running, and he was needed more, he’d miss these times, but he didn’t feel like sitting around and playing video games or something. After a ten-year-long meditation/nap, he just wanted to keep moving.

“Alright, out with it,” Gladio said as they stepped into the kitchen.

Noctis couldn’t help his smile this time, amused by how ready his shield was to get this over with. He worked on sorting out the dishes, “how long have you known?” At this point, it didn’t seem like Gladio had been fully denying it.

“I never confirmed anything, you just made assumptions,” he was avoiding the question. He was also avoiding the work, leaning against the counter and letting Noct take over.

He gave him a look of bemusement. “The sooner you admit it, the quicker we can get on with the rest of the conversation.” He rinsed off the easier stuff that didn’t need as much elbow grease, holding out a plate and towel to Gladio. It was his silent way of giving him a duty.

Gladio sighed, almost to a theatrical level. “I’d ask if anyone has ever told you that you’re stubborn, but I know at least I have at least ten times in one month alone.” He at least accepted his temporary job, drying dishes at Noct handed them to him, putting them away.

Noct rolled his eyes, “You’re avoiding the question. I’m not the only one who can be stubborn, apparently.” Of course, Gladio was likely why he was stubborn, to some extent.

“Because there’s no point in it. He’s involved with someone and I’m not going to get in the middle of it.”

“See, there are things you say that make it so you don’t actually have to say you have feelings for him, it just makes it obvious,” Despite his frustration, Noct was smiling. “He’s in an open relationship, being encouraged to allow himself to feel for people closer to home. There wouldn’t be getting in the middle of anything. Iggy never got to do much of the usual experimenting and all in his teen years… he dated some, but never seriously. He’s finally getting to do that now.”

He shook his head, putting away the pan Noct had handed him. “Kinda only adds to the reason not to do anything. If he and Ravus decide it doesn’t work out, it’s not a big deal. They live on different continents, and I doubt would have to see each other much, even with Niflheim and Lucis on better terms. If I become an experiment and it doesn’t go well, we have to see each other every day. It’d get real awkward, real fast.”

It seemed like he was accepting that Noct knew how he felt, even if he wouldn’t outright say it. “Sometimes you have to decide if the risk outweighs the reward. I was putting my friendship with Prompto on the line… and also kinda my engagement to Luna. But not knowing was worse. It may sound really selfish to say in that case, the reward outweighed the risk, but I had to try.”

“I’m sure part of you knew that you knew Lady Luna well enough to trust that she wouldn’t call off that important of an engagement, because of your feelings for a different blond,” Gladio hypothesized. It was a look from Noct that told him he could see through the stalling and changing of the subject. He let out a sound of defeat. “It’s complicated. He’s one of my closest friends, we work together, and I know if either he doesn’t return the sentiment, or things don’t go well, all of that implodes.”

Noct gave a small chuckle, but he wasn’t laughing at Gladio. Just something about the whole thing tickled him in a way that amused him. “I’ve known you since I was like ten…. I’ve never known you to be afraid of much. And you’re good with people, I’m sure you can figure out a way to test the waters to see if he feels anything without outright confessing. After that… well, it’s the risk everyone takes with dating a friend or coworker. But that brings back the risk and reward.” He dried off his hands once everything was clean, turning to face the man who still towered over him. “I’m not going to push you into anything. Just… consider the options, before you count yourself out of a game you haven’t even started in.” This conversation was making him feel old, and very adult-like, which he didn’t know how to feel about. He just hoped it would help Gladio.

“With that kind of talk, I half expect you to start sprouting greys anytime now,” Gladio teased, reaching over to mess up his hair.

Swatting his hand away, he looked at him. “At least think about it? Orders from your king,” he winked. They clearly weren’t, but he had to try to make use of it somehow.

“I’ll think about it. Ain’t promising anything will come of it,” Gladio gave in, not overly happy about admitting some form of defeat.

“It’s all I ask.”

Chapter Text

Noct let Gladio be, once the kitchen was clean. The behemoth of a man was good with people, and if anyone could figure out how to figure out if someone returned feelings subtly, it was him. For the moment, he had a different man on his mind that he wanted to concern himself with. It took a text to find the blond, not wanting to roam all around the Citadel looking for him. Prompto was sitting in one of the less formal rooms, laptop on his lap, focused heavily on whatever was on his screen. Noct made his way over, pressing a gentle kiss to his cheek, seeing him editing some of the photos from his outing.

Prompto jumped a bit at the sudden touch, even though he knew Noct was coming. He was so focused on editing, he didn’t notice the door open, or see his boyfriend approach. His startled heart calmed rather quickly, and he smiled. “Hey.”

“Hey, am I interrupting?” Their current time wasn’t as limited together, and he wanted to make sure Prompto had time to himself as well if he wanted it.

However, Prompto shook his head. “Nope, just killing some time.” He nodded to the seat next to him, “take a seat. What’s up? How’d your convo with Gladio go?”

Noct obeyed, sitting down with him. “As well as it could have. He’s willing to look for signs if Ignis returns the feelings and see where to go from there. Getting him to admit any feelings was incredibly difficult,” he rolled his eyes at his stubborn shield. Gladio was certainly where he got it from.

Prompto let out a small laugh, setting his computer on the table in front of him, giving the king his undivided attention. “What would the people of Lucis say if they knew their King of Kings enjoyed playing match-maker?” he teased, poking at his ribs gently, making Noctis laugh.

“It’d probably confuse them, given the only public relationship I’ve ever had was a political one.” He never dated in high school; no one could get past him being a prince to see the real Noct, and he was too blind to see his feelings for the person next to him.

Prompto kissed his cheek gently, “I think you do well, for limited experience.”

Noct smiled, leaning into him gently. “Hey, how would you feel about an art project?” He’d been thinking about it for a few weeks and doing it before the engagement would be better.

His head tilted in curiosity. “Art project?” They were limited in what they could do, so he wasn’t exactly sure what Noctis had in mind, but he did trust him.

“You’ve already been taking pictures of Insomnia and Tenebrae starting to get rebuilt… I was thinking about having you do it with the rest of Lucis. I could ask Aranea or Iris to keep you company, make sure you’re safe, and you could spend a few days going to different areas. I’d like to travel more myself, not be so confined to Insomnia, but Ignis and Gladio may protest that until we have a more stable system going. Especially guards.” They had the Kingsglaive, but they were trying to put them to work elsewhere for the moment. Going without the king also meant they’d get more genuine photos, rather than ones of the people expecting Noctis’ visit. One day, he’d go out… he was able to take part in more than just Insomnia, unlike his dad, and he wanted to make sure he did that. He genuinely enjoyed the places they visited on their trip as well. Maybe once the Regalia was fixed; it’d be just like old times.

Prompto lit up at the idea, looking like a lightbulb had just gone off inside him. Noct could practically see the wheels turning in his head behind the blue-violet eyes. “Really? You’d want me to do that?”

“Of course I would. You’re crazy talented, you haven’t gotten a whole lot of photo opportunities lately, and it’d be good to document it all. Maybe your photos could be in some history books,” he winked, bumping their shoulders together. It was the dawn of a new age, everything was changing, and having photos to see the steps would be great.

Forever a ball of energy, the photographer threw himself on his boyfriend, squeezing him, and kissing every place he could, making the both of them laugh. “What did I do to get so lucky? Someone who not only believes in me but encourages it and gives me important assignments. You’re amazing.”

Noct squeezed him close, stroking along his arms and back. “You loved me for me, you’ve been by my side through everything. And I do believe in you. Any opportunity I have to give you some creative job, I’ll happily do, as long as it’s safe. I’ve been wanting to give you this opportunity for a bit, and now seems right.” He just didn’t mention that they’d hopefully be engaged in the upcoming weeks. It was very public that they were best friends, one usually seen nearby the other, and that put him at enough of a risk if the world wasn’t as peaceful as it seemed to be. It would only increase once they became officially and publicly a couple.

“It’ll be a little hard to be away from you for a few days, but if I handled ten years, I think I can handle a few days. It’ll go by in a flash, then I can come home and throw myself into your arms.” He’d pulled back enough to talk, but followed it by demonstrating what he meant.

Noctis had to admit that he was a little worried for both of them; they’d had difficulty sleeping when they tried to sleep in different beds while in Tenebrae, and they were both at higher risks for nightmares when the other wasn’t in bed. He was sure they’d survive for a few days, though. His arms came around him, kissing his head gently. “If you get too stir crazy, you can also text me. And I’ll actually reply.” He hadn’t noticed it until everything had settled, but he’d had a few text messages and voice mails on his phone from his retainers; most of the voicemails were from Prompto, saying he just wanted to hear his voice, how much he missed him and would babble on about his day. The texts were from all three of them, messages of missing him or thinking about him, hoping he’d reply one day. They all made his heart squeeze, especially hearing just how much pain was in Prompto’s voice.

“You better,” Prompto elbowed him gently but buried into him further. The pain of what it felt like to be without Noct was still a very fresh memory. The trip wouldn’t be an easy one, but he did want to do it, and he needed to get used to being away from him. The first few days in Lestallum were good practice, but he wasn’t far. “Where do you want me to go? And for how long?”

It took him a moment to consider that, thinking about the different areas they traveled to. “Probably places like Hammerhead, Galdin Quey, Caem, and up to Lestallum. Can also get some shots of the different outposts as you go through them. Kinda up to you how long you wanna go. My guess would be three, maybe four days max, but could be less if there’s not much that inspires you at each place. I imagine a lot of it will be travel time, and just socializing if you want to. You can go to other places as well, those are just the main ones I’d prefer you prioritize.” Prompto was a shutterbug and could snap a bunch of photos in a short amount of time. But he was also chatty when he got over his shyness, and liked people. The job alone would take maybe two days, but he gave him some buffer time as well.

Prompto nodded. “Got it. Probably won’t be out really long. Not ready to be away from you for long periods of time,” he confessed. Before he was pushed off the train, they hadn’t had a day away from each other for weeks. He was so used to having him around when he wasn’t taking the world’s longest nap in the crystal. It would be weird for him.

“Can’t say I am either.” In due time, they’d likely get used to it better, but if things went well, there would be few occasions where they’d have to be away from each other overnight. Unless he had his own work, Prompto would be accepted to accompany him most places as his hopefully-soon-fiancé. “Is Iris as an escort okay with you?” He hadn’t gotten to spend much time talking with either Iris or Aranea but based on what he knew, the latter was keeping busy.

Prompto nodded. “Yep!” He popped the P, sounding just as much like a teenager as always. Noct knew deep down his boyfriend still had his daemons, but he liked the lightness that he usually tried to put out into the world.

“I’ll call her later and make some arrangements.” Iris was helping out a lot in Lestallum, as well as making sure everyone was getting home okay. He’d have to see when she thought it would be a good time to be gone for a few days. “In the meantime… I was thinking of something earlier.”

The blond tilted his head. “That’s never a good sign,” he teased. “What’s up?”

Noct gave him a look but didn’t justify it with a response. “We’ve been all over this Citadel a lot lately, but we haven’t been back to my old room. We packed everything up from my apartment, and it was brought back here, but I just kinda forgot about it.” A lot of the Citadel had remained untouched, so he imagined that room would be just as it were when he left; mostly untouched from when he left at sixteen, except for the items he brought on the trip, and boxes from his apartment.  

“Oh yeah! We went to all that trouble packing the day before we left, and it’s just been kinda sitting.”

“Gladio said I’d never open them again. I’ll have to prove him wrong,” he chuckled. He hadn’t had much opportunity, and his mind had been elsewhere for the past few weeks. “Wanna come with me to look at it, or should I leave you to editing?”

He considered it for a minute. “I’ll come with you. Maybe this time you’ll let me bring some of the comics with me.” He’d tried when they packed, but Noct had said no. The situation was a bit different this time.

Another thought of marriage came uninvited into his mind -- it would be a long few weeks if his mind kept this up. But it was true that once they were married, what was Noct’s would also be Prompto’s. Still, he kept the mood light for the moment. “Maybe.” He rose, offering the other man a hand.

“Noooooccctttt,” Prompto whined comically. Still, he took his hand and got up as well, following him throughout the Citadel to the residential area where all the rooms were.

It was surreal to be back in this area after so long, and apart from being incredibly quiet, Noct almost felt like a teenager again. He really had spent more time trying to sneak out of the room than he had spent in it, but it was still weird to be going back. It was a big part of his childhood. It was Prompto’s first time seeing the old room since there had never been much reason for him to see it. He’d been fully settled in his own apartment by the time the two had become friends. “Welcome to the room I was constantly trying to break out of,” he said as he opened the door. It was just as he expected, but a lot more boxes than he remembered.

“Part-time prince, part-time escape artist?” Prompto grinned, nudging him as they went in. He looked around, and it didn’t have much feeling that a teenager had lived there. There were no posters or photos on the walls, not a whole lot of personal items in general. He wasn’t sure how much was because Noct moved out, and how much was just how it was. “Was it this impersonal when you were staying here?”

“Pretty much. A bit messier, comic books on the desk, clothes on the floor, maybe a few photos laying around… but not much else. This room never really felt like home.” It was a weird feeling, given that after he left Insomnia, all he wanted to do was come back. He’d grown up a lot though and was prepared to accept his place and position.

“You were a pretty emo teenager,” he tried to keep the mood light, not wanting to bring back all the bad memories for Noctis. He knew there were plenty of them, and that he was more than just a moody teenager.

He smiled gently, looking at over the box labels, seeing what all was there. It was mostly a lot of comic books, video games and systems, clothes he didn’t think he’d need to bring on the trip… There was a box or two of miscellaneous knickknacks, photos, posters, things of that sort. “At some point, we should probably rearrange our room some. Make it more of our own,” he glanced over at his boyfriend who was lingering around. “Have you been back to your old place?” Most of the time they were together, but there were sometimes where he’d go off with a guard alone.

He shook his head. “Not yet. Didn’t really think about it, honestly. But you’re right, we should make the room more of ours. We haven’t touched a whole lot of it since moving in. We don’t have to completely gut the room, but we can at least make it seem like our room.” It was a semblance of Noct having some sort of connection still to his dad, and he knew that. It at least seemed like he was handling being without his dad better.

“We should go some time. Even if it’s just to get anything there you might want.” He sat down on the bed, looking through one of the boxes.

It would be weird for Prompto to go back, but he thought it would be good for him to go back. “Sure, we can figure out a time to.”

The two spent some time reminiscing and going through the boxes, sorting through what Noct wanted to bring upstairs, versus what he wanted to keep in the room that would act as storage. There were plenty of comic books to re-read, and early photos of them and others; he made a point to keep those so he could get frames and put them on his desk. His physique hadn’t changed too much, so a lot of the clothes would still fit, and it gave him more to wear. Some was a bit too young for him now being thirty, but enough of it would work. It also gave them a start to redoing their room, relocating up there after a while and began to reorganize. It felt like a more productive day than a while.