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Little Closer, Close Enough

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Driving is different in the summer.

The doors thrown open, one leg in as you turn the key and start up the AC, not so-willing to be blasted by hot air, but too stupid to start the car early on.

Prompto makes a squawking sound as he slides in the back seat, and his bare legs touch the black leather. Noctis watches him scooch downwards, attempting to tug down his shorts and spare his legs a second-degree burn.

Gladio climbs on in, jeans and all, and when the AC is finally blowing cold air, Ignis slips behind the wheel cool and indifferent.

Noctis is last. He can see the coattails of his father – he’s given his last wave goodbye, and is already being corralled back into the citadel by Clarus. Guards follow and they take something metaphysical with them. The gates, the swords, the constant eye on Noctis’s life.

Noctis folds into the passenger’s side, clicks his seatbelt and with the final slam of the door comes a loud click and a lock.

The Regalia is idling, but it’s dead silent. Breath held, staring wide-eyed and too afraid to speak because really? Is this really happening?

Noctis turns to look at the backseat. Prompto appears just as amazed. The luggage is in the trunk, the tank is full of gas, the seatbelt is burning a hole into his arm and it’s really, really happening.

Ignis settles his hands on the wheel.

“So,” Prompto grins, willing to break the ice. “Summer vacation, huh? I’ve never had one of those.”

“Me neither,” Noctis says.

“Ha-ha, very funny Prince Noctis.”

“It’s true,” Ignis says, and he would know. He throws the car in reverse, looks over his shoulder, and Noctis wants nothing more than to reach over and take his hand, but he won’t. He can’t. Not until Insomnia is far behind them.

 


 

 It sorta began in high school.

 

Well, if we’re being honest, it probably started way, way before that.

 

(7. Hey, your hair is kinda’ funny, can I touch it?)

(4. I like your glasses.)

(11. Heh, I bet you can’t carry Prompto AND me—wanna bet?--)

 

But high school. That’s when shit gets real.

 

 

The three of them have been friends for years. Gladio and Ignis have always operated on this higher, cooler-than-you senior level, but Prompto remained faithfully by his side, through shooting spitwads in math class and sneaking Noctis out of the citadel for late night arcade escapades (arcadescapades?).

The world’s eye has always made life a little harder. It’s hard to dip out and be a teenager when every ma and pa has seen your face since uh, the day you were born. Noctis has never shied away from his birthright, but life already fucking sucks when you’re sixteen, and having the entire country watch you while you fuck up along the way? Not so fun.

Noctis wants to make his father proud. But he also wants to rip off this second skin and run, run and run and run until he reaches a place where his feet bleed, and nobody will be around to see.

He’s been destined to marry a princess since he learned how to walk. And Noctis really likes Luna. He sends her letters and sees her on holidays, and when he’s ten years old and learning how to pop wheelies in his wheelchair he asks,

“What if I’m gay?”

Luna is older and better at everything, so he takes it to heart when she smiles at him and says,

“We’ll figure it out.”

 

 

So what if?

 

If Prompto sneaks him cigarettes, and they crouch behind the school AC units and smoke, and Noctis can’t stop staring at his mouth?  

 

If Ignis cooks him dinner and helps him with homework and teaches him how to drive and cuts his hair with a tenderness just too soft to be nothing?

 

If Noctis burns and kicks and bleeds, and learns to teleport through true grit and tears, only succeeding to make not Cor, not even his father – but Gladio proud?

 

The world is watching him. Tabloid headlines and guards at every corner and cameras at the gate of his school. They know his bloodtype, they know his betrothed, they know everything –

 

Gladio moves into an apartment six months before Noctis graduates highschool.

And Noctis knows his country is watching, except, maybe here.

They’re used to sleepovers. Crashing in Noct’s room for study sessions, eating dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Argentum, Clarus inviting them back to their royally-sanctioned apartment for pizza and movies.

 

But Gladio’s apartment is new. It’s quiet. His neighbor is a disabled lady too old to operate a phone, let alone a camera.  And the word sleepover suddenly means something entirely different. For the first time in ever, the door shuts, and Noctis feels this crushing swell of… freedom.

 

It’s a secret.

 

Ignis thinks it’s a terrible idea.

 

He’s usually right about these things.  

 

Icarus flew too close to the sun – but nobody ever talks about how good it felt along the way.

 

It’s tense. Knee to knee, pizza and stolen beer cans and late-night shit TV, the room too swollen with something nobody wants to say.

 

Prompto, in all his sweet, genuine beauty, has pizza sauce down the side of his mouth. With Gladio and Ignis’s full attention, Noctis leans over and cleans the corner of Prompto’s lip with his own.

It’s like popping a balloon. Acknowledging the thing they were all supposed to ignore. Prompto freezes rigid, Gladio bites into his lip, and Ignis closes his eyes like he’s realized the inevitable.

Noctis knows. They all know, okay?

The way Gladio and Ignis treat Prompto with a softness not seen anywhere else. The scar down Gladio’s eye, a mark carved out of loyalty, out of – it can’t just be --  is he crazy? Is this normal? For royal guards to beat the shit out of anyone that looks at you funny? For your retainer to fix your hair and kiss your forehead when he thinks you’re sleeping? Do childhood friends cuddle at sleepovers? Do they steal your shirts and wear them to school?

You can take it how you want. People would call it a lot of things.

Noctis grabs Ignis by the shirt collar. Pulls him forehead to forehead so he knows he’s serious.

“Don’t-“ Ignis begs, like it takes everything he has not to say it. Like it’s all he’s ever wanted.

“Do it,”  Gladio says, so Noctis kisses him too. He’s not always brave, but he’s willing to be brave, here.

Noctis has never been in love because he didn’t think he could be. Because law etched a name on a piece of paper and gave him a soulmate he didn’t ask for.

Gladio grips Prompto by the back of his hair and kisses him like he’s waited a thousand years for it. And if Noctis is supposed to feel jealousy disgust or fear then he doesn’t, he really fucking doesn’t.

 


 

 Ignis taught him how to lie.

 

Pencil pusher, straight tie and all, Ignis is indeed a very good liar. (Gladio claims to be the best, but that in-and-of itself is a bluff, Gladio can’t lie for shit. Ask his sister.)

Ignis on the other hand. It’s a pure, honed and heartbreakingly familiar talent of being raised gay in a no- gays-allowed household. Ignis hasn’t been on speaking terms with his birth parents for years, but the damage is still there. 

So when Noctis approaches the throne, Ignis is at his side. And he stands board straight as if he isn’t just as nervous as Noctis knows he is. He’s a beacon of confidence. A lie, just like they’re about to.

“Prince Noctis,” Regis starts, relaxing at the sight of him. “This is a surprise.”

“Yeah, well,” Noctis shrugs a shoulder. Ignis gives him a side-eye for the informality, so Noctis clears his throat a little and bows. “Um, your Majesty. Thank you for attending the ceremony yesterday.”

It’s not common that the King of Lucis shows up to your graduation. Ignis told him he should be proud, but diploma in hand, Noctis didn’t feel like he did very much. Between combat training, royal understudies and prince formalities, he didn’t have time for straight A’s.

“Hey, you did better than me,” Prompto grinned, smacking him with his graduation cap – and it’s a real shame he couldn’t kiss him on camera. Just a real damn shame.

Regis looks at Noctis with a brow raised, the same look as when Clarus would drag him by the collar and snitch about the Prince sliding down banisters again.

The king then smiles, settling his head in one hand, “Alright, what is it you want?”

Noctis fights his own smile, and shifts his hands behind his back. “What? I can’t just come visit my King?”

Regis’s brows now disappear into his hairline, and Iggy’s shoulders stiffen in a way that only Noctis knows as a strong urge to suppress a laugh. Well, there’s no use torturing himself any further.

“I want to go on a vacation.”

Regis blinks.

“Oh. You wish to travel?”

Noctis shrugs, looking to his shoes. “Yeah, I dunno’. Just – a graduation thing. Only a week. I’ve never been to the beach.”

There’s no way in hell this is going to work. A whole week of no supervision? It’s a PR nightmare waiting to happen.

“Ahh, I see. Your retainers are going with you?”

Noctis looks up, “I – I mean, yeah. Prompto would come too.”

Ignis remains dutifully silent, but nods once.

Noctis can feel his heart lodged up in his throat, beating through his ears. He just wants one week. One short time where they can be them without shutting all the blinds and locking the door twice. Without checking over their shoulders and being too scared to hold hands. Just a week out of time, before Luna arrives in Insomnia and Noctis is bound to –

“Okay,” Regis says.

Wait.

“What?”

His father nearly laughs, crossing one leg over the other.

“You have my permission. I think you’ve well earned a vacation.”

“Are you serious?” Noctis blanches. “You’re going to let me outside the wall?”

“Your friends are going with you, are they not? The lot of you are more than capable, I presume. Why, should I be worried?”

Noctis thinks of all the school trips he wasn’t allowed on. About the one time he left the city without his father, and almost never walked again.

It’s different now.

“Nope,” Noctis says, too excited to bite down his grin. He elbows Ignis and spins on his heel, waving, “Thanks Dad!”

Regis snorts and turns his head, fighting a laugh. Noctis takes the stairs two at a time because holy shit holy shit holy shit holy shit –

“Noctis.”

He stops mid bounce, and turns to look over his shoulder.

Regis’s eyes are soft, and his tone shifts into that I’m speaking to you as a father voice.

“To my own dismay, I couldn’t take you many places as a child. So please, embrace this time, and do what makes you happy.”

Noctis bites his lip and nods, turning back down the stairs before he can do something stupid, like get emotional.

Ignis sighs, a bit resigned, and bows fully to Regis.

“Thank you for your time, your Majesty.”

“Loosen up a little, Ignis. It’ll be good for you.”

“I will keep it in mind. Thank you, your liege.”

Regis waves him off, and Noctis is already at the bottom step bouncing on his heels, throwing open the door and shouting to Prompto,

“We’re going to the beach!”

 

 


 

 

Later, when the formalities are long lost at the dinner table, Noctis does something he hasn’t in years, and hugs his dad before bed.

“Is there anything you want to tell me?” Regis asks.

Noctis says,

“No.”

 


 

 

They’re free.

 

Past the wall, nothing but stretches of desert and cactus and prickly tumbleweeds and yet, Noctis is utterly and completely terrified to reach across the console and hold Iggy’s hand.

He’s done it before. Quietly, when it’s an ungodly hour of the morning, Ignis loyally cooking breakfast at the stove, apron at the waist and hair soft from a shower – fuck he’s pretty, he’s so, so pretty.

Noctis has been watching Ignis instead of the road. His side profile is nice, beauty marks scattered down his neck, glasses high on his nose. He loves when Iggy rolls up his shirt sleeves. His arms are surprisingly strong; sturdy and soft with callous-worn hands born from throwing and kitchen knives alike.

Ignis glances at him, and Noctis turns his head away.

Prompto’s shutter snaps in the backseat, and Noctis squirms around to look over the headrest.

“See anything cool?”

“Everything!” Prompto gasps. “I mean. It’s nothing but dirt but holy shit – I’ve never seen so much dirt!”

“City boy take me home,” Gladio teases.

“Eat shit, so are you!”

“At least I know how to pitch a tent.”

Prompto snorts, “Oh you know how to pitch a tent alright-“ and Gladio shoves him. Prompto is thrown into the side door from the sheer force of it; he throws a punch back, not doing much in retaliation but it makes Gladio laugh anyways.

They’re sitting too far apart. Noctis has seen them wired together at two a.m., limbs so twisted, giggling nose to nose about stupid shit, like whatever romance movie they’ve decided to torture the room with.

There’s a sizeable gap between them.

They must be a little nervous too.

Noctis rights himself in the seat and looks back out the window. The roof is up to hide them from the summer sun, and the glass vibrates with the bass of Noctis’s R&B playlist. He sets his head against it, feeling the vibrations up behind his cheeks.

“How far are we?” Prompto asks, folding his legs under himself. Ignis turns the music down.

“About five hours, if the map is right.”

“It’s a shame we can’t go to the Galdin Quay. I hear that place is like, uber fancy.”

“Too much press,” Gladio says. “Paps eat there for breakfast.”

“I know, I’m just saying. I bet I could get some great photos.”

“The southside beach is a bit less known,” Ignis says. “Much closer too. The Galdin Quay is a good week’s drive.”

“Ugh, I don’t know if I could sit in a car for that long,” Prompto stretches his arms above his head. Noctis watches him in the rearview mirror, and wants so desperately to shove his hand along the patch of skin riding between his shorts and his tank top. Fuck he’s gay. “Dude, my legs are already killing me.”

“Oh, your legs are killing you?”

“Shut up mammothyou’re abnormally large. They don’t make cars in your size.”

Ignis gives a surprised laugh, and Noctis wishes he’d do that more. Laugh, and stuff.

Heat reflects off the pavement, shimmery mirages lighting up the road. The air feels tight in here, still something unsaid, still tense with a line they’re a bit too nervous to cross.

There’s a lot to lose.

Braving the distance, Noctis sets his hand on the middle console. Not reaching, but…putting himself out there. It could be nothing, it could be something.

Ignis drops a gloved hand from the steering wheel and takes his fingers in his own. Noctis jerks his head up, and Ignis doesn’t look away from the road, but he squeezes his fingers in response.

Noctis’s entire body relaxes. He sinks back in the seat, curling up and holding Iggy’s hand in his own. The leather is rough against his palm, but Noctis pets along the exposed skin of Ignis’s thumb and feels the rope around his chest loosen somewhat.

Prompto rolls down the window and sticks his arm outside. Gladio’s hair ruffles from the wind, and Noctis feels a twist of excitement for a sudden unknown, for all the possibilities laid before him. All the things that they could be, if only it was a different world. 

If only Noctis were someone else.

 


 

 They find a Crow’s Nest out in the middle of nowhere. It’s no mans land, nothing but a gas station, a Coernix and a pebbly, unpaved road.

The air is hot and dry. A breeze comes through, but it’s full of gritty dirt – not really refreshing in the slightest.

“There’s a beach out here?” Prompto wonders, wiping his eyes.

“A couple hundred miles that way,” Ignis points.

Gladio holds the door open for them, and the inside feels like a step out of time. Old-fashioned booths, pinball machines and cheesy 90’s decorations up the wall.

“Wel’welcome,” the man behind the counter waves. “Whatcanny’ do ya’ for?”

“Four please.”

“Help ya’ self.”

The joint is only half full. It's nice not to worry about cameras. Noctis chooses a booth by the window, and Prompto immediately slides in at his hip.

“I like their accents out here,” Prompto says.

“I’ve only been to the beach once, but the accent gets a bit more west coast the closer you get to the ocean,” Gladio says. He mocks, “Dude.”

“Dude shut up!” Prompto huffs. “My parents were marine biologists at the north shore.”

Noctis picks up the menu and fans himself with it, “The north shore? Why the hell’d they move to Insomnia anyways?”

“Well…”

“The Nifs, I presume,” Ignis interjects. Prompto nods, and Ignis looks to Noctis in explanation. “The coastline was once Niflheim territory -- for a few years in the late nineties.”

“Ahh. Bastards.”

Prompto shrugs, “I think it’s better that I was raised in the city. I would’ve burned to death out here.”

“We need to keep sunscreen on you,” Gladio jabs. “Or we’re gonna’ hear the complaints all week.”

Noctis snickers, and Prompto crosses his arms in an I know but I’m not happy about it way.

“Now, we don’t all tan so beautifully as you two,” Ignis teases. Noctis tenses a little, glancing across the room before looking back. They’re far from the border, but his neck tingles anyways. 

“I just finished my tattoo this year, so I might be a regretful member of the sunscreen club,” Gladio sighs.

“Hey, welcome!” Prompto beams. “Iggy checkups are free every fifteen minutes. Failure to comply will earn you a day of nagging.”

“Ha.” Ignis deadpans.

Prompto reaches across the table and grabs at Gladio’s arm, turning his wrist over. Gladio is technically wearing a shirt, but he hasn’t bothered to button it, and Noctis has seen Gladio shirtless… hm, three million times? But he’s still eye candy in the rawest form, and Noctis can’t really look away as Prompto skims his fingers up the inside of Gladio’s tattoo. It feels like worship. 

“It doesn’t hurt anymore, does it?”

“Nah. But I’m not excited to have it fade on the first year.”

“Keep a proper shirt on and you won’t have that problem.”

“Now Iggy, you know that’s against my religion,” Gladio jokes.

“Fortunately for us,” Prompto grins, and Gladio snatches his fingers and squeezes them.

The server approaches the table, and Prompto and Gladio rip back their arms as if they’ve been burned. Noctis bites his lip, fighting the sink in his stomach.

The man smiles friendly, “Have ya’ll decided?”

“Sure have,” Gladio covers, and orders for the whole table. Noctis keeps his hands carefully in his lap, but rests his boot against Iggy’s beneath the table. Ignis shoots him a concerned look, and Noctis pointedly ignores it.

Prompto looks a bit discouraged. When the server walks away, Noctis quickly grabs his knee and squeezes, and Prompto squeaks, elbowing him back in the side.

He likes how ticklish Prompto is — how red his freckles get. Noctis is very strong, and resists the urge to kiss him. He looks back out the window instead.

The fast food joint is playing pop music from ten years ago – the kinda’ stuff he used to hear at elementary school dances. Its scorching hot outside, but there’s something nice about the emptiness of a desert.

“Oh shit, I wonder if we get signal here.” Prompto pulls out his phone, “I’m like, one raid away from leveling up.”

“Awh, one more level and you’ll only be six behind me,” Gladio grins, digging for his own phone.

“Fuck off! I got in late, okay?”

“I have gear I can trade you,” Ignis says. “Free experience.”

“Stop helping him, he doesn’t need it,” Noctis snaps.

Prompto jabs his thumb in Noctis’s direction, “He’s mad because I whooped his ass the other day and made him spend like fifteen bucks I-R-L.”

“Fucking microtransactions. I have to wait a whole day to be revived? Fuck that.”

“Uh, have you considered getting good?”

“Gladio, I swear to god I will find a way to choke you out.”

“Aww, promise?”   

 


 

 Ignis and Gladio decide to run into the gas station before hitting the road again. It’s too hot to sit in the Regalia, so Noctis leans up against the car door and crosses his arms.

Prompto is kicking a pebble with his shoe, catching it with his insole and knocking it up like a soccer ball. He catches it again, and shoots it towards Noctis — and it slides clean between his boots.

“Goal!” Prompto grins.

Noctis hums, half-heartedly kicking at the pebble and knocking it back over. Prompto frowns, choosing to stare rather than stop it. The pebble bops into the gas pump.

“Hey man. Everything alright?”

“Huh? Yeah.”

Prompto looks once around the empty lot. There are a few parked cars over by the Crows Nest, but not a soul on this side. Prompto approaches quietly, and slides his hip up against Noctis’s, planting a hand on the car.

“Um. Are you comfortable with all this? Iggy’ll turn back if you want –“

“Why would I want that?” Noctis snaps.

“Well!-“ Prompto gestures. “You’re being—” He makes a snappy gesture with his hands. Noctis’s stomach sinks, and he immediately looks to his feet.

“Ah. Shit, sorry.”

He doesn’t mean to. It just feels like his heart is eating itself from the inside out.

Prompto reaches for him, but stops partway. Noctis looks back up and Prompto sighs, chewing on his bottom lip. His eyelashes are all red and dusty from the wind.

“It’s fine dude. But you know you can like,” Prompto gestures, “talk to me?”

Noctis sighs and flops his forehead against Prompto’s shoulder. He wobbles a little in surprise, but catches Noctis by the hip. Noctis swallows before speaking.

“I’m nervous.”

“Ooh. That’s kinda cute.”

“Prom!”

“Sorry! Is it the drive?”

“No – it’s just. Like.” Noctis turns his nose towards Prompto’s neck, not even caring if his skin is too warm. “Remember when we used to talk about this? Running away?”

Prompto’s hand slides up a little on his hip, fingers curling up in the hem of his shirt. It’s probably a little sweaty but Prompto doesn’t seem to mind.

“Heh. Yeah. But we’re not really running away, are we?” Prompto pauses, and his voice drops a little, hesitant even in the middle of nowhere. “I remember. You said you’d take us up where the water’s blue. And I said I wanted to motel hop and slow dance until our feet hurt.”

“I’m afraid of not remembering every detail of this,” Noctis says. I’m afraid I won’t want to go back.

“Hey now, that’s my job,” Prompto grins. He sticks his arm in the open car window and pats around for his camera. “Allow me to take the first selfie of the week?”

Prompto has every reason to be cold and indifferent to the world, but he’s so warm and soft and yellow in his heart that Noctis’s mouth hurts from smiling.

“Yup.”

Prompto turns the camera around and Noctis makes a peace sign in front of Prom’s nose, and the shutter goes off right as Gladio comes out carrying a bag of beef jerky, Ignis at his heel.

“Hey!” Gladio shouts. “Taking pictures without us?”

“Dudes, get in here.”

Ignis isn’t keen on having his picture taken, but he always indulges Prompto, and Noctis thinks it’s really sweet. Gladio and Ignis have to crouch down a little to fit in the frame, but the photograph catches some of the Regalia, and the red desert out behind them.

“Shit, I closed my eyes,” Gladio frowns.

“Shotgun!” Prompto shouts.

“Dammit!”

 


 

 Prompto is fun to watch in the front seat.

 Camera in hand, hanging half out the window, crossing his legs, turning around in his seat, pulling out his phone and squirming to fix his hair in the rear-view mirror. Ignis has a lot of patience, but thirty minutes in -- he gently reaches over and sets a hand on Prom’s thigh, and Prompto goes rigid still for the rest of the hour. It’s pretty hilarious.

Gladio spends most of his time reading. Noctis watches the scenery go from red desert, to a brownish hue, to less cactus and more wildgrass, to the eventual tree, wow.

Gladio doesn’t wear cologne, but he smells really good by nature, even when he’s gross and nasty from working out. Gladio is his best friend, his shield and mentor, but Noctis still hasn’t figured out how to tell him please cuddle me, so Noctis bumps his shoe against Gladio’s and settles for that.

He looks up over the page of his book. Noctis fiddles with the pop-socket on his phone.

“Slugbug!” Prompto points. He turns towards Ignis with a fist curled, but all Ignis does is glare, and Prompto slinks back in his seat.

Noctis laughs once, and reaches over the headrest to bop Prompto on the head.

“Nice try. Slugbug.”

“Ow! Seriously no fair.”

“Ignis has the power to kill all of us,” Gladio warns. “Without the addition of a four-thousand pound steel strap.”

“Fine. Fair-ish.

Ignis doesn’t comment, but his face softens. Noctis has spent too many years watching him be cold and collected. Watching him slide on a mask and shield Noctis from cameras, protect him in legal meetings, wake up at five-am so he can drive Noct to school. Things Noctis never asked for, but Ignis always did willingly.

Now the top buttons on his shirt are undone, and he’s tapping the wheel to Prom’s shitty music, and Noctis keeps his boot against Gladio, just to remind himself that it’s real.

 


 

 It’s not like, a mansion or anything.

They’ve rented out a small beach house on the residential side of the coast. The lanes are narrow, but there’s nothing but locals out here. It’s a slowgoing beach city, and they roll down the windows as they approach the lot, breathing in the seaside air.

The temperature has dropped with the altitude. It’s nice and cool, and Noctis breathes deep when they step out of the car.

“Ohhh baby, you smell that?” Prompto inhales. Gladio lifts his arms above his head and grunts, popping his back. Even Ignis stretches, crossing an arm over the other and yawning.

“The landlord said the key was in a potted plant. See anything?”

“Got it,” Noctis says, peeking into the planter. Gladio pops the trunk, and Prompto steals the key from Noct’s hand, taking the stairs two at a time up towards the front door.

“Oh oh oh, house tour!”

“Hey!”

Prompto wedges the door open, and Noctis jogs the stairs to keep up.

“Woah, this is way nicer than you said it was gonna’ be,” Prompto says.

Noctis peeks his head in. The layout is narrow, but deep. There’s a kitchen with a breakfast bar and an adjoined livingroom, cushy couch and T.V. included.

“Oh no don’t mind me,” Gladio grunts, hauling two suitcases at a time. “Pack mule over here.”

“That’s why we keep you around,” Noctis snorts.

“The décor is nice,” Ignis notes. It’s all beach themed, seashells, blue and teal. It’s fresh but cluttered enough to feel homey.

They trudge upstairs to check out the bedrooms. There’s two masters, two bathrooms, two beds. Prompto and Noctis decide to dump their shit in the same room, figuring room assignments are obvious, but will likely go to shit anyways.

“Looks like it’s you n’ I,” Gladio says, hauling another set of suitcases up the stairs.

“Good,” Ignis says. “Let them stay up all night giggling.”

“Sorry you don’t wanna’ join us on planet fun.” Prompto makes a double peace sign, and Noctis mimes him.

“Here, catch.”

Gladio tosses a bag; Noctis jumps out to catch it before Prom busts his nose on it.

“Fucking Christmas,” Noctis curses, adjusting the weight of the bag in his arms. “What did you pack?”

“Uhh…the essentials?”

“And what’s that? A cement block?”

“I’m near certain Gladio packed a weeks worth of clothing in a wallet,” Ignis says. He shows off Gladio’s tiny bag. “Which is, mildly concerning.”

“Prom and I have very different meanings of the word essentials.

Prompto bounces over to the banister and looks over the edge.

“Hey, I bet I can make it to the couch – “

“Here,” Ignis interjects, shoving a second bag in Prompto’s arms. “Go unpack – no  you will not be living out of your suitcase for the week.”

“Bet. One hour and they’ll trash the room,” Gladio calls, disappearing into his own bedroom.

“Yeah, give it three days and lets compare bathrooms,” Noctis snaps back. Ignis makes a huffy noise, and Prompto’s laugh cackles from their room.

Ignis is a very organized person. Clean bedroom, clean kitchen – but Noctis has seen him get ready in the morning. Hair product, toothbrushes, aftershave, razors – paraphernalia as far as the eye can see. It’s kind of endearing as all hell. Don’t tell anyone he said that.

Gladio’s head pops out of the bedroom. “Won’t bother me,” he teases. Ignis hums as he passes him, lightly petting across Gladio’s jaw and making his way back down the stairs.

Noctis is kinda’ sorta in love with the way Gladio looks at Ignis. He just looks... absolutely whipped, completely done for. Which is definitely valid.

Ignis starts, “I’m going to make a run to the grocery store before we get too settled. Would anyone like to come?”

There isn’t an immediate answer. Noctis feels a little guilty, but he’s kind of at his maximum for the day.

“I’ll go,” Prompto offers.  

“Thank you dear. Unpack and I’ll wait for you.”

Prompto’s idea of unpacking is opening a drawer, unzipping his bag, and dumping it all in one go. Shockingly effective.

There’s talking downstairs, and Noctis is left to put together the rest of their room.

The bed is nice. Prompto has taken the first two drawers in the dresser, so Noctis fumbles with his bag and slowly begins to put his shit away. The room is a little stuffy, so he pops open a window, and the bedroom fills with sea air and street traffic.

The walls are white, and there’s beach photographs hung above the bed. It feels so different here – rather than the modern architecture and fast pace of Insomnia.

Noctis sits on the bed and smooths his hand across the pillows. He can hear the front door shut and lock, and the engine of the Regalia bounces off the house walls.

With a roof over his head and a setting sun, Noctis briefly closes his eyes and feels at peace.

 


 

 Noctis must’ve fallen asleep, because he wakes up in the dark. The hallway light is on, but someone has shut his door and closed the open window. It’s a little chillier now, and it’s the cold that draws Noctis from the bed.

He rubs the sleep out of his eyes, and fishes for a sweatshirt out of Prompto’s open drawer.  

There’s a gap in the hallway between bedrooms. Cabinets with towels, a few locked ones for the landlord, the usual. He can hear the T.V. on downstairs, and soft talking as it sounds like Prompto and Ignis are unloading bags.

The other bedroom light is still on; Noctis creaks open the door and peaks inside. Their room has a similar layout, but there’s a connecting bathroom and a mini-fridge shoved in the corner.

Oh wow, these two lucked out. They have a balcony on the other side of the room with two white French doors. Noctis throws the lock and tugs one of the doors open, wrapping his arms around himself and stepping up to the railing.

It doesn’t quite face the ocean, but you can see a corner of black among the housetops. There’s streetlamps and low-powerlines swooping between the alleys. He can hear laughter as a group of friends walk down the sidewalk in flip-flops and sweatpants.

Noctis’s chest rises and falls with a deep breath. It’s chilly, but indescribably refreshing.

There’s the sound of a door opening and shutting behind him, and Noctis looks over his shoulder to catch Gladio stepping out of the bathroom, dressed and rubbing his hair with a towel.

“Hey, you’re awake.”

“Sorry,” Noctis says. “I don’t even remember falling asleep.”

“Your body must’ve needed it.”

Noctis hums. He looks back over the rooftops and curls his fingers into his armpits.

“You guys got lucky. Pretty view up here.”

There’s some brief shuffling in the room. Noctis jumps when a large hand slides along his waist.

“Oh, sorry,” Gladio blinks. “This okay?”

“No – no, it’s –“ Noctis’s tongue feels too big in his mouth, so he just flops back into Gladio, and encourages his hand to rest above his bellybutton. “It’s fine.”

Gladio gets with the program quickly. He sets his chin on top of Noctis’s head and clasps his hands together on the flat of his stomach.

Noctis’s heart is beating stupid fast; the window is open, there’s people on the street, someone could see.

But Gladio is warm, and they’re far from home, so Noctis looks up and forces himself to relax.

“More stars here,” Noctis notes, to break the silence.

“You really should let me take you camping,” Gladio says. “You can see millions. It’s fuckin’ dope.”

Gladio’s voice is rumbly and deep against his ear, and Noctis closes his eyes to immediately to soak it in.

“Mm. Not a camper.”

“You don’t know that.” Gladio’s hands slide to either side of his hips and squeeze. “You’ve never been with me.

Noctis shivers a little, and his face goes hot knowing Gladio could feel it.

It’s a weird place to be. For years, Gladio was the one that pushed him harder. Made him stronger. Gave him bruises and tossed him around and gave Noctis a serious complex, because he liked it. And he knew he shouldn’t.

But Gladio is soft, too. It’s beautiful, and Noctis isn’t sure if he’ll ever have the words to tell him. Let alone the time.

Feeling brave, Noctis grabs for his right hand and brings it to his mouth. Gladio hums happily above him, and he drops his head to rub his cheek against Noct’s ear. Gladio’s beard tickles and it makes Noctis laugh from his nose.

“Gladio, I found charcoal for the barbecue,” Ignis starts, pushing open the bedroom door. “Do you think we should – oh! He’s awake.”

“Howdy,” Noctis says.

Gladio separates from him, “Do you need me to grill for you?”

“No no, don’t mind me,” Ignis turns back to the door. “Talking to myself.”

Gladio laughs, and swats Noctis on the butt before following Ignis down the stairs.

“Let me do it. I’m sure you have a whole production in the kitchen.”

“Not a whole – well, perhaps. I wanted a fruit salad and I thought…”

Noctis smiles to himself, and peeks over the banister. He can see Prompto sitting at the kitchen bar, peeling oranges and eating half of them.

“I’ll help too,” Noctis decides.

“Oh?” Ignis stops at the bottom stair and presses a hand over his heart. “Am I dying?”

“Soooo funny,” Noctis deadpans, but laughs because Prom starts to, and he’s kind of infectious that way.

“Hey, is that mine?”

“Nope,” Noctis lies. Prompto squints at him in disbelief, and Noctis slides next to him on the barstool. “Let me do it. You’re eating all the oranges.”

“Prompto,” Ignis chides.

“Wow, first you steal my sweatshirt and then you snitch on me?”

“He likes you,” Gladio jokes, and they all laugh that time. Noctis starts peeling oranges, but he slips a slice to Prompto every once in a while, because it’s fun to see him get so excited, hiding the slices in his cheeks so Iggy won’t see.

So yeah, he does like him.

He likes all of them, Noctis thinks.

 

Icarus.

 

 


 

 

They find dishes in the kitchen cabinets. Gladio barbecues chicken out on the porch, and they have fruit salad and rolls and cooked veggies that Noctis won’t go near.

 

They’re tired from the drive, but it’s still a little tense. Nobody will make a move tonight, but there’s that feeling they’re used to – door closed, only twenty-four hours to be together before it’s rise and shine, go to school, work at the citadel and a mountain of paperwork to return to.

 They’ve been playing this game for a while. Weeks, (even months) between ‘sleepovers’, schedules that won’t match up, such little time to build whatever it is they’re trying to be.

There’s a lot of lines the four of them haven’t crossed. A lot of things they haven’t done because they know — whatever this is — it won’t last. It’s not supposed to.

That part hurts.

 

The shower is nice though. Noctis stands in the hot spray for a long time. Prompto is still awake when he crawls in the other side of the bed. His phone light glows against his face, and Noctis settles against him, pulling out his own phone.

“Nice shower?” Prompto whispers. There’s no reason to, but it’s late, and it feels like they should.

“Yeah.”

Prompto squishes a little closer. Noctis decides to scroll through his feed one handed, flopping the other arm over Prompto’s waist. He’s in a big T-shirt and shorts, and Noctis likes that he can feel his legs.

“Beach day tomorrow,” Prompto yawns.

Noctis nods silently, and drags his hand up the side of Prom’s shirt. Prompto clicks his phone off and smiles at him, leaning up on his elbow to kiss the corner of his mouth.

Ugh, Noctis hates how much he feels. How something so stupid and small jerks under his skin and lights him on fire. Soft skin on skin, Prompto’s held breathing and pointy little nose pressing on his own. Noctis doesn’t kiss back in fear of taking it too far.

“G’night.”

Prompto takes a while to settle. Arms and legs wiggling, grabbing the sheets and twisting until his back is towards Noctis. It’s easier to pin him in and force him still, and it works.

They fall asleep to the sound of distant street traffic.

 


 

There’s only one good time to wake up, and that’s when you have nowhere to be.

Noctis stirs as Prompto climbs out of bed, tip-toeing into the bathroom and closing the door extra softly. He squints long enough to see the sun peeking through the blinds, before rolling over and going back to sleep.

 

He wakes later to the smell of pancakes.

This time the sun is jutting right through the blinds, bright and high and obviously past ten. Noctis stretches, squirming around in the sheets and rolling to sit up. He can hear Prompto’s laugh from downstairs, and that’s what has him slinking out of bed.

Gargling mouthwash and spitting in the sink, he scratches his hair as he descends down the stairs.

“Good morning princess,” Gladio teases.

“Did you sleep well?”

“So fucking good,” Noctis yawns. “Coffee?”

“Here,” Ignis rises from the barstool and approaches the coffee pot. “Hungry?”

“A little.”

“I made the eggs!” Prompto raises an arm. “Sort of.”

“Really?”

“I asked Iggy to show me how he does the sunnysides so perfect.”

“I think that’s a Specs exclusive skill,” Noctis says, accepting the coffee with a thank you. “Like his double donuts.”

“I’m glad to know my work repertoire befalls eggs and driving,” Ignis says.

Noctis tries to give him a smile over his coffee, and Ignis’s eyes sparkle back. It’s rare to see him with his hair down, let alone in sweatpants and a cotton t-shirt, Ifrit alive his mouth is watering.

“Well, at least I tried,” Prompto says. He stirs his fork around in his plate, “Next I need to learn how to make the apple bunnies.”

“Those, actually, are quite easy,” Ignis says.

“You said that about the eggs,” Gladio laughs. Noctis turns his head to see him kicked up on the couch, no shirt and a book in hand. Very on brand, but the little bun on his head screams Iggy’s handiwork, and gods it is cute.

Noctis grabs a plate and serves himself pancakes, and some of Prompto’s eggs. He doesn’t finish the pancakes, but makes a show of eating all the eggs just to make Prom happy.

“So what’s the plan today?” Prompto asks, swiveling the chair.

They all look to Ignis. Iggy sips his coffee and continues to scroll through his phone, taking a moment too long to realize the room is looking at him.

“Oh – whot?”

“Plan?”

“I don’t believe we have one,” Ignis says.

“So…?”

“You know we’re going to argue if you leave it up to us,” Noctis says.

“Ah,” Ignis smiles, and smothers it quickly. “Then how about we clean breakfast and see if they have any beach umbrellas stashed in the garage?”

“Solid plan,” Gladio answers.

Noctis feels torn between gathering them all on the couch and squishing every inch of skin against them for the next seven days, or actually going out to see a real life beach in person.

“Mkay,” Noctis chews.

 


 

 “Alright, alright settle down,” Prompto claps. “Everyone, welcome to the sunscreen club. We have a new member this month, very big, very sexy. Everyone say hello.”

“Oh my god, shut up.”

“This is a club of helping others,” Prompto continues. “You do me I do you. Then you do you, and I do me and –“

Ignis takes the spray sunscreen and hits the back of his neck with it. Prompto immediately squeals, curling away – “COLD!!!”

Noctis has one earbud in already, half-tuning out the screaming going on behind him. The garage door is open, and a few people ride by on bikes. Noctis is trying to stuff as many towels as humanly possible in this bag, and he’s maxed out at about three and a half.

Gladio rubs some sunscreen along his tattoo and nods to the wall where complimentary beach stuff hangs.

 “Anyone want a chair?”

“I’ll take one,” Ignis says. “But I can carry it.”

“Nah, I got it.”

Ignis sprays sunscreen on his hand and slathers it up Prompto’s back, catching him by the waist before he can squirm away, “Well – thank you. I’ll take the cooler then.”

“Anything good in there?”

“No alcohol is permitted on the sand.”

“Damn, that’s a no.”

“Come on,” Noctis whines. “Let’s just go.” 

Ignis is in a big floppy hat and a tank top, and he’s pale but – pretty when he steps out under the sun. Gladio looks like he was born for this; backwards cap and sunglasses and a black drawstring swimsuit. Prom is in shorts two-sizes too big, and it’s a real crime he doesn’t have any understanding of how hot he is.

“Alright then,” Ignis says. “Shut the garage.”

“I’m pickin’ up good vibrations~” Prompto sings.

It’s only two blocks to the sand. There’s some locals already out on the beach, but they’re sparse and laid out on towels.

When they spot the ocean, Noctis faulters, pausing to breathe it in. It’s…kind of astounding. The blue doesn’t end, stretching on and on until it disappears into nothing.

Prompto leads them out to the top of the sand, as close as they can get to the water without the danger of getting caught in a wave.

The sand isn’t hot yet, so Noctis kicks off his sandals and helps Gladio screw in the umbrella.

Ignis settles straight in the shade, but Noctis lays his towel under the sun. Noctis is fortunate enough to know that he doesn’t burn. One time he got volunteered to do some cleanup project out on the other side of town, and it wasn’t bad, but he baked for about thirteen hours and came out looking like a soufflé. His guards on the other hand, were not so lucky.

Prompto lays down next to him, keeping his towel half in the shade like that’s going to do anything to save his legs later.

Gladio forgoes a towel all together, crashing right in the sand and rolling to his stomach, pulling that same book out of thin air.

“Is it that good?” Noctis asks.

Gladio thumbs to his last dogear and blinks, “Hm?”

“Your book. You haven’t put it down since yesterday.”

“Dramatic,” Gladio says. “But it’s good. Periodical romance. War and stuff.”

“Oh.”

Ignis snorts, and plugs a set of earbuds into his phone. “And what novel would entertain your standards, highness?”

Noctis doesn’t like being called that when they’re like this. When they’re not Prince Noctis and his retainers. He frowns, and shifts on his towel, flicking down his sunglasses.

“None,” Prompto laughs.

“Whatever, read what you want.”

“I will,” Gladio grins. “Want me to read to you? ‘Sweet Victoria, your eyes are like-“

Noctis rolls over and puts in his other earbud. He can hear the others laughing; Noctis chooses to tune out their chatter. The sun is hot, but the breeze rolling off the ocean is cool. It’s blue and sparkly out there, a few kids splashing in the rolling waves, a couple seagulls floating by the buoys.

Prompto has already dug out a soda from the cooler and is burying his feet completely under the sand. Noctis dozes in and out watching him build little sand piles, fiddling with the shell-bits he finds along the way.

He’s talking to Ignis about something, occasionally leaning over to point at his phone – and the way Ignis looks at him…it’s soft. Sweet.

Music blasting in his ears, Noctis can’t hear what they’re talking about, but Prompto gestures with his hands and giggles, and when Prompto turns away, Noctis is fortunate to see the look on Iggy’s face shift from adorably fond, to narrowed and –

Prompto arches his back and plants a hand in the sand. His shoulders are all freckled, little dots leading down his back and under the waistband of his swimsuit. Noctis fights a smile as the ravenous look on Iggy’s face poofs away the very second Prompto turns back to him.

Gladio turns a page in his book. The sun feels like a hot blanket, so Noctis dozes off for real this time.

 


 

 He couldn’t have slept for very long, but light is stabbing right in his eyes, goddammit. Noctis sits up and rubs at them.

“How’s it going?” Prompto nudges him. “Feeling relaxed?”

“Hot,” Noctis answers.

“Wanna’ go jump in the water? These losers won’t go with me.”

Gladio and Ignis don’t grace him with a response. Noctis snorts.

“Okay, sure.”

Prompto pulls him to his feet, and he shakes some of the sand out of his shorts before following down to the water. It laps to their ankles, and yeah, it’s fucking cold –  hello, awake now - but you kinda’ get used to it the further you go.

Prompto is jumping up and down, wiggling his arms around as he bounces, and Noctis laughs.

“What are you doing?”

“It helps, dude. Try it.”

Noctis starts to jump with him, knowing they look fucking stupid but not really caring anyways. There’s nobody within thirty feet of their umbrella, so Noctis edges him on, splashing Prompto when his back is turned.

“Fuck!” Prompto laughs. “That is so cold, dude.”

“Go under on three?”

“No way, you’re gonna’ fake me out.”

“I promise I won’t.” Noctis reaches out a hand. “Here.”

Prompto has a pretty smile. He takes his hand.

“I’m putting a lot of trust in you.”

“Gee, I’m honored.”

“One, two-“

“Three!” Noctis calls, and they dip under when a larger wave crashes. Ramuh its cold, but his skin feels so much better now.

They whip up together, jerking their heads to flip their hair out of their eyes.

“Woah!” Prompto laughs. Bright blue eyes, blonde hair curling under his ears.

Nobody’s looking. They’re waist deep in the ocean. This is the last week he has.

Noctis grips his hand painfully hard, and hooks an arm around Prompto’s neck. He sways, surprised with the weight, and Noctis pulls him until they’re kissing.

Prompto’s lips are cold and taste like sea-salt, but they part in a surprised little gasp, and kiss back without any hesitation, and Noctis’s stomach flips from it. Noctis bends his knees and Prompto goes with him, floating down in the water and letting them bob with a wave.

It warms his mouth, burns in his lungs and flutters his stomach.

They pull apart when a wave nearly knocks them off their feet. They dig their hands into each other, careful not to let the other float away.

“What was that?” Prompto laughs.

“I dunno,” Noctis says. He turns his head sideways again, pressing back in to taste salt and sunscreen and soda pop. Prompto’s tongue darts out to wet his own lip, but Noctis catches it with his teeth and –

“Ew!” Prompto jerks, “Ew ew ew what was that –”

Noctis looks around, startled. A fish? This close to the shore?

“Seaweed,” Noctis laughs, holding it up.

“Gross nasty disgusting get that away from me.”

“What?” Noctis giggles. He holds up the seaweed and reaches for him, “It won’t hurt you. Go on, touch it.”

Prompto nearly elbows him in the face trying to get away.

“Stop! Noctis I’m serious!”

The joke isn’t worth a broken nose, so Noctis tosses it back towards the shore.

“Fine, fine, see? Here, take my hand again.”

“No way, you have slimey seaweed fingers.”

Noctis washes them off in the water and flicks it his way. Prompto sputters into a laugh, wiping his eyes.

“Hey,” Noctis frowns. “You’re looking a little pink.”

“Shit! Already?”

“Yeah. Come on, let’s get you covered.”

“Ugh, I need new skin,” Prompto sighs, reluctantly taking Noctis’s hand. “Maybe someone will be willing to buy mine. You think I’ll be a hit on craigslist?”

“I’m not answering that.”

They trudge back up the hill and towards the umbrella. Ignis looks up, along with Gladio.

“Heard a lot of screaming down there,” Gladio grins.

“We had a run in with some pretty dangerous seaweed.”

“Oh shut it. Where’s the sunblock?”

“Here.” Ignis hands him the bottle. Prompto squirts some in his palm, and Noctis takes some too, just so he can help Prompto catch the spots that are turning red.

“Thanks. Man, I’m going to be one giant freckle after this.”

“Yeah, but it’s cute,” Gladio says.

Noctis rubs behind his neck, and Prompto squirms when it tickles.

“Agreed,” Ignis says. Noctis nods, and Prompto turns his eyes down, a bit embarrassed.

“Your hair is gonna’ bleach out too,” Noctis adds, ruffling his hair with his non-oily hand.

Gladio turns over, pressing a hand to his own shoulder and frowning.

“Dang. I didn’t think I was sitting that long. Hey, can you pass the bottle?”

Prompto tosses it, and Gladio catches the sunscreen in one hand. He turns to Ignis.

“Do you mind?”

Noctis always thought Gladio and Ignis were great dancers. Because damn, all they do is fuckin’ dance around each other. Middle school, high school, post-grad and even now, Ignis is a man of many masks, but even Noctis catches the short, brief panic that flickers across his face. He clamps it down with his jaw, and nods.

“Of course.”

Gladio turns in the sand, facing his back towards Ignis, and Ignis full on bites into his lower lip. Prompto looks to Noctis, brow raised, and he nods back in a yeah, I know.

Ignis pours sunscreen in his palm, caps the bottle, and stares at Gladio’s back like it’s some kind of mural. He reaches out, fingers pausing to hover right between his shoulder blades.

 

It’s all or nothing. Noctis knows whatever the four of them have going on here, it goes beyond attraction. But Gladio and Ignis – they hop around each other, as if they’re afraid of what’ll happen if they dive a bit deeper. If they cuddle too close in bed. If maybe, they kissed for real, instead of just watching.

Noctis knows they care about each other. He knows it’s deep too, because you just don’t dance around stuff like this. Not if it’s just a fling.

Ignis touches Gladio like he’s afraid he’ll scare him away. Noctis knows how much Gladio means to him, but he never really stopped to consider how Ignis would feel, if Gladio really did fulfill his duty.

You know. Die for his prince.

(The scar makes Noctis sick to think about).

Maybe Gladio is Iggy’s everything. It’s actually, the one thing Noctis understands intimately.

 

Ignis spreads his fingers from the tattoo beneath his neck, to the tailfeathers at his lower back. Long, slow strokes, enough to lull Prompto and Noctis utterly silent.

 

“Where’s Gladio!!!?”

“He — hic! — the hospital he, this drunk guy he, he came out of nowhere-“

“Take me to him.”

 

Ignis digs his thumb into his shoulder, as if he’s trying to rub the sunscreen beyond his skin. Gladio shivers a little, gaze dead set in front of him.

 

 

“G-Gladio?”

“Yeah?”

“Iggy’s really sick. I don’t know what to do.”

“Don’t move. I’m on my way.”

 

 

Ignis sits back, and clears his throat.

“Right then.”

“Thanks,” Gladio says, and his voice is a little rough.

Prompto and Noctis share one more look, before breaking the ice that’s settled.

“Alright, I’m hungry,” Prompto stretches. “Got any grub in that Poppins bag?”

“It just so happens…” Ignis starts, righting his glasses and popping the cooler. “I have sandwiches and crackers.”

Prompto moans, “Oh Iggy, you’re the best.”

Ignis smiles, and his eyes flicker down and up in a rare moment of bashfulness.

“Turkey or ham?”

 


 

 When the sun gets lower on the ocean, they start to feel a little washed out. They pack up their stuff and hunt down flip flops, trudging back across the sand and up the block.

There’s something about a day in the sun that leaves you tired, but full of energy anyways.  Something about the reddish hue of the sky, mixed with locals on bikes and the taste of soda still in your mouth.

“Are there any requests for dinner?” Ignis asks.

“Yeah,” Noctis says. He bumps Iggy with his shoulder, “For you to take a break.”

 “I really don’t mind.”

“I know a vacation is a foreign concept Iggy, but you’ve been busy since we got here.”

“Hey, let’s do a pizza. I saw a local place around the corner?”

Ignis perks up at the word local.

“Ah. Alright then. The usual?”

Prompto fingerguns, “You know us!”

It’s hard not to watch Prompto’s little bubble butt while he walks. He’s still trying to shake all the sand out of his hair, so Noctis reaches up to help, and it falls like snow. Prompto laughs, turning around to scruff Noct’s hair in retaliation.

“We need showers before we even think about eating,” Gladio says. He unceremoniously dumps his armful of shit in the corner of the garage.

“No sand in the kitchen,” Ignis snaps. “I will know.”

Prompto calls first dibs on the shower. Noctis trudges up after him, not really excited to sit around covered in sand for thirty minutes, but whatever. He tries to shake off as much as he can, but it’s still everywhere. Nobody warned him about this.

He steps in the bedroom, and Prompto already has the shower running. His shirt is in his arms, and he’s staring at the wall like he’s waiting for something.

Noctis cocks his head, “Prom?”

Prompto jerks, yanking his shirt to his chest.

“Oh, um.”

“You’re wasting water,” Noctis jokes. “I’ll steal that shower from you.”

“I um.” Prompto looks down, and up. Noctis is immediately drawn to his mouth, where his tongue wets his bottom lip. “I was wondering if uh. You wanted to share?”

Oh.

 “Really?”

“You don’t have to –“

“Okay,” Noctis blurts.

Prompto stares a moment longer, and it’s…it’s nice to know that Noctis isn’t the only one who gets nervous about this stuff.

“Okay,” Prompto repeats.

Prompto silently drops his shirt to the bathroom floor, and Noctis follows. They take off their swim trunks and dump them in the sink to be washed out later.

Noctis laughs when he sees sand up Prompto’s lower back, and beneath his butt.

“Sandy ass,” he jokes, tapping his rear.

“You’ve got it in your ears!” Prompto laughs. “Get in, asshole.”

Noctis tests the temperature and steps in first. It’s a not a huge shower, but there’s enough from for both of them to stand comfortably.

“Damn,” Prompto sighs, shoving his head under the spray. “That feels good.”

“You’re a little pink, babe,” Noctis mumbles. He pokes his shoulder, and Prompto winces.

“Shit. Is it bad?”

“No. It’ll probably fade by tomorrow.

He’s pink down his back, and there’s a white tan line at his hip.

Noctis rests his hand against Prompto’s side, and feels his mouth go a little dry. His gaze dropping back to his ass, and up to the nape of his neck. Ugh, pretty. Like a thousand little stars in his skin.

Prompto turns, gently stepping back to pull Noctis into the spray.

“Your turn.”

The water washes sand down the drain. Prompto is staring at him with those big puppy eyes. Noctis isn’t that self-conscious, but it’s hard not to be when someone looks at you like that.

 They find soap somewhere, scrubbing down sun-sensitive skin and trying to wash away as much sand as possible. Prompto takes the loofa out of his hand, and takes over for him.

“You tanned,” Prompto states. His voice is tight.

“Is that bad?”

“No.” Prompto rubs up his side, feeling beneath his armpit and behind his shoulder. He looks up, “You know you’re like, really hot, right?”

Noctis laughs.

“Thanks?”

Prompto sighs out of his nose, and drops his mouth to Noctis’s shoulder. His hands skim around to his lower back, the loofa dropping to the floor.

“I really like hanging out with you guys. But gods it is bad for my libido.”

Noctis laughs again, almost startled at how loud it is against the tile. He rests his hands on Prompto’s hips, lightly skimming up his waist and over his shoulderblades, soaking in all the warm skin he can.

“Kettle, pot.”

“No, really?”

“Blueball city dude. It’s totally killing me.” Noctis braces a hand against Prompto’s jaw, feeling water hit the backs of his shoulders. “You’re killing me.”

Prompto’s chest raises sharp, and it feels tight, suddenly. Secluded and safe and okay.

Prompto’s gaze drops to his mouth. Noctis rubs his thumb along his cheek, and just looks.

“Can I kiss you?” Prompto asks.

“Yes,” Noctis answers, and Prompto tips his head and parts his lips and doesn’t even bother with anything chaste. It’s messy, steamy with the humidity rising up the glass. Noctis grips him hard by the back of the neck and fucking kisses back. Nothing but tingles, yellow sparks behind his closed eyes.

He slides his tongue into Prom’s mouth, feels Prompto curl his tongue back and it’s like a stone in his stomach. A heavy drop and a flip that makes a sound grind in his throat.

Prompto kisses with force – for what he lacks in finesse, he makes up in enthusiasm and that’s okay, Noctis isn’t an Olympian kisser either (Ignis). He likes the spit that rolls down his chin, he likes the nails digging in his back, he likes it.

Quick, Prompto moves from his mouth, to his jaw, down into his neck which is so not fair, because everyone knows that’s his weak spot. Noctis moans, breath short from the steam, heat going nowhere but south.

“I…” Prompto starts. Noctis drops his hands to his ass and pulls him forwards, rocking Prom’s semi against his hip, “Ah – fuck!”

Prompto’s hands burn against his back. Every where he touches, up his shoulders and around his neck. He drops a hand between them and flattens his palm against Noctis’s stomach.

They kiss again. Again, again. More. And more.

“Noct,” Prompto sighs. Noctis kisses into his hairline. Prompto decidedly wraps a hand around his cock and squeezes, and Noctis hisses through his teeth, cock throbbing in Prompto’s palm. Alright okay, even he wasn’t pent up, his dick in Prompto’s hand will always be spank bank material.

 Prompto stares him down, mind made. “I want to make you feel good.”

“Fuck,” Noctis curses. “Fuck.”  They’re not prepared, nor do they have the patience to pull any tricks. Noctis thinks quickly. “Something fast?”

“Yeah,” Prompto sighs. “I really wont…”

“Me too. Turn around.”

Prompto obediently looks to the shower wall, and Noctis adjusts him where he’d like. He grabs each of Prompto’s wrists and presses his palms to the cold tile. Heart in his stomach, Noctis nudges Prompto’s thighs together, sliding up to his back and holding him by the waist.

Just the innuendo of the position makes him fucking crosseyed, bloody Ifrit.

“Okay?”

“Yeah? What are you…“ Prompto begins, but jerks up straight. “Oh! Oh. Oh hell yeah, fuck my thighs. Fuck, fuck yeah.” Noctis breathes out a laugh through his nose and with the slick of the shower, he slips his cock between his plush little thighs. Prompto whines, dropping his forehead against the shower wall. The friction is mad good. Prompto babbles, “Oh god, this is like, such a wet dream dude. I used to jack off thinking about – about this.”

Noctis grits his teeth, trying not to blow it as soon as he rocks back and forwards. He slips a hand around to find Prompto’s dick, grabbing him sloppily by the base. He’s a solid weight in his hand, twitching at the contact.

“Shit. Really?”

“Ah ah – yeah, yeah. Fuck, bite me.”

Noctis does, right under his ear. Prompto moans loud, rocking back against his hips and then up into his palm. They don’t make much of a rhythm, but they get a pace down with time. Noctis leans back to stare at where his dick disappears between his thighs, and it’s almost too much.

Blood is rushing through is ears, hot in his stomach and down to his toes. Prompto moans again and Noctis jerks, as if he’s been shocked. Everything about Prompto turns him on – everything, everything. His fingers clenched against the wall, sand still in his hair, water dripping down freckles and moles and stretch marks.

“Oh god Noct,” Prompto whines. “I can feel – oh,” Prompto drops a hand down between his thighs, where the head of Noctis’s cock bumps against his balls. “Shit.”

Heat in his gut, Noctis feels his stomach twist tight. He pumps his hand faster, knowing it’s a little too rough, but Prompto likes it that way. He thrusts a little too hard, shoving Prompto up against the tile, and Prompto cries out pretty.

“Louder,” Noctis mumbles. “Make ‘em hear you.”

Prompto gasps, hips shoving back, and it’s Noctis’s turn to groan. He doesn’t make it. His balls draw up and his stomach clenches and it’s over; he jerks back to paint Prompto’s thighs, slicking up the cleft of his ass as he jerks his hips a few shaky times.

Prompto is making hiccupy noises against the wall, some slur of holy shit that’s so hot, Noct, Noctis please –

So Noctis unevenly squeezes the head of his cock, and Prompto comes, dramatic and boneless and soo loud, enough to reverberate off the tile.

“I got you,” Noctis mumbles, kissing his ear. Prompto trembles, legs shaking as he works through it. They’ve fooled around before, but every time feels like the first. Noctis isn’t sure if it’s inexperience, or just that he’s really whipped for the partners he’s chosen.

Prompto turns and leans his back against the wall, still shaky. His pupils are blown, hair slick and his side red from where the water has been pelting him. He’s chewed his lip a little too much.

“Um,” Prompto breathes. “Fuck.”

 Noctis presses his cheeks in his hands and kisses him. Prompto smiles into the kiss and kind of ruins it, but that’s okay.

 


 

 They’re giggling when they finally make it down the stairs. They tripped twice trying to pull on sweatpants, and Prompto nearly broke a foot over his own shoe, and it reminded Noctis of the time they hopped the school fence and Prompto got his leg stuck in the wiring, and Noctis is now laughing too hard to make it down the stairs alone.

Prompto supports him with an arm, snickering in his ear, and they jump when arms wrap around them from behind, and squeeze them at the waist.

“Oh, now that’s no fair,” Gladio grins.

Prompto turns in his grip and juts up his chin, smiling.

“What isn’t?”

“You two were up to something fun,” Gladio hums. He presses his mouth to the hickey on Noctis’s neck, and then smacks a kiss against Prompto’s jaw. “And you didn’t invite me? Rude.”

“Sorry, no room,” Noctis teases.

“There’s only space for two twinks,” Prompto raises a peace sign.

“Damn, where do I apply?”

“You’d have to go under quite the makeover to meet the requirements,” Ignis teases. He’s curled up on the sofa, a blanket over his lap, and Noctis has never seen something so appetizing, holy hell. He dips out of Gladio’s hold and nearly teleports across the room.

Ignis is already lifting the blanket when Noctis crawls in next to him. Ignis presses him close, and it finally feels like they’re starting to fall into a rhythm. The blinds are up and the sun is still setting, but Noctis isn’t worried. He noodles his arms around Ignis and flops his head on his shoulder.

Ignis breathes in, smoothing along his outer arm, “Ahh, all clean I see.”

“You smell good,” Noctis mumbles.

“Thank you. Did you enjoy your day?”

“The ocean is prettier than the pictures,” Noctis says. “But I’m tired.”

“He fucked my thighs,” Prompto tells, rising on his toes to be a tease.  

It works, because Ignis’s breath catches, and Gladio grits his teeth, grabbing Prompto by the waist and hauling him up in one arm.

“Christ, you can’t just say that shit. Now I’m actually jealous.”

Noctis feels his face go hot. He looks to the T.V., where Ignis is watching some home renovation show. Prompto says he hates being manhandled, and Prompto is also a liar.

Gladio supports his weight and keeps a hand free, and Prompto giggles when he’s set on the counter.

“Tease-“ Gladio starts.

Ding dong.

“Yay, pizza!”

“That was quick.”

 Gladio says, “I’ll get it.”

Prompto kicks his feet and laughs, watching Gladio move to answer the door shirtless. Thick arms, tattoos and wet hair -

“Innocent delivery boy is about to get a sexual awakening.”

“This could be the start to a really good porno,” Noctis adds.

“Did somebody order a large sausage?”  Prompto drops his voice, and it’s really fucking funny because they did actually order a large sausage. Noctis cackles.

Gladio flips them off, turning around the corner and opening the door. Noctis only catches half of the conversation, but he hears a mix of stuttering and Gladio’s low no, thank you. Have a nice day –

“Number alert!” Prompto calls, hopping off the counter and taking the receipt from Gladio. He turns it over and looks at the digits scrawled on the back. “Called it.”

“Innocent delivery boy not so innocent.”

“Was he cute?” Ignis asks.

“A little young,” Gladio sighs, setting the pizza on the counter. “Order up.”

Noctis stretches out a hand and makes an ah ah sound, because there’s no way he’s getting up from the Worlds Most Comfortable couch crease.

Gladio raises an eyebrow.

“Oh, first you get laid and now you want me to hand feed you?”

“We live to serve,” Ignis hums. Noctis clicks his tongue and makes a fingergun, and Gladio rolls his eyes.

They eat dinner on the couch and flip between the limited T.V. channels. Prompto sits cross legged and barrels on about the cameras used on the Discovery channel, and Noctis has no idea how he has any energy left, but he’s nice to listen to. Some people find Prompto’s chattiness annoying, but Noctis isn’t one of them.

Ignis is warm. Noctis really wants to kiss him. But Ignis is involved in whatever he’s watching, and it’s nice to see him relaxed for once, so he keeps still.

Gladio kicks his feet up on their laps, and Noctis likes the combined weight of it. It’s grounding in a way that’s hard to explain.