It wasn’t fair.
He spent 10 years in the crystal and had finally come to terms with dying.
He was ready.
But he saw them again and didn’t want to leave- couldn’t leave. Not again. He just came back and he was ready and please I can’t leave them again they mean too much to me please please I love them please-
He doesn’t want to be alone. Not again.
They had a saying. They all hated goodbyes so they came up with something better, something happier.
‘See you tomorrow.’
It didn’t matter if they would see each other the next day, right from the get-go of their journey it’s always been ‘see you tomorrow’.
He wishes this was the case this time.
But it isn’t.
It never really was.
He should’ve said more before he left.
He didn’t say enough, should’ve said more, didn’t couldn’t didn’t couldn’t-
Fuck, this is tiring.
Noctis is tired.
He’s always tired.
He wanted to ask if Prompto was going to take more photos. He hoped Ignis would be in more of them. Gladio’s always liked having his picture taken. But Ignis, he’d indulge Prompto sometimes, sure, but never actively went out of his way to ask for more pictures of himself. It seems kind of late for worrying about it, doesn’t it? he asks himself.
Noctis liked the pictures. He always had. He never got to tell Prompto that. He wanted to see more group pictures, more in-the-midst-of-battle pictures, more blurry pictures where you could barely make out anyone’s face but you know they’re smiling and laughing, more more more. He would’ve taken all of Prompto’s if he could. He always thought it was strange how Prompto took so many pictures. Always thought it was his way of getting out of battles. (It was part of his charm, his brain supplies. It was part of the reason I loved him so much.)
Who is he kidding, he did love Prompto. He still does. He loves all of them.
He wants to see them again.
Noctis never told Ignis the truth about the pastries.
He never told Ignis that he’d gotten them right years ago. Before they left on the trip, Ignis had gotten them right, but Noctis had made some kind of excuse (“They tasted sweeter. A lot sweeter.”) He didn’t want to say anything because it made Ignis so happy to cook for him. Ignis’s genuine smiles were rare and he’d give anything to see that smile again. Just one last time, he says to the void. One last time. One last pastry, one last anything.
Noctis wanted to apologize to Gladio for being so weak.
He never took their training very seriously as he got older. He knew that they were in his best interest and he should’ve done them more.
Should’ve done more, should’ve done more, should’ve done more.
The early morning runs, as few as they were, secretly made him happy. He’d never tell Gladio that, or anyone for that matter. He’d never hear the end of it. He’ll settle for whispering it into the void.
Noctis really thinks he should've said something sooner. He should've told them how he felt. Told them that he's been in love with them for years but could never say anything out of what? Fear? Guilt? He doesn't know. At least, he thinks, at least won't have to worry about that now.
Maybe they always knew he loved them.
Maybe they even loved him too.
What would happen if I got a do-over? Noctis asks the empty space around him. If I could go back, what would I have changed?
I would’ve told them I love you, for one. I would tell them that I love them. I always have. I don’t know if I had the courage before, but I do now. I love you all. So much.
Noctis thinks now’s a good time to start screaming into space. Ignis always said he should show his emotions more, so why not start now?
"Hey, is anyone listening?"
"Can you hear me?"
“I want to go home.”
“I want my dad.”
“Please don’t leave me here.”
“I don’t want to be here.”
“Please don’t leave me alone here.”
“I want to be with Prompto! And- and Ignis! And Gladio!”
“I want to say I’m sorry! I want to apologize for dragging them along with me without even considering their feelings! I know it’s their job to stay by my side but is that what they really wanted? To deal with my constant moping and whining about how it isn’t fair, how I’m not ready to be a king? How I never wanted this fate in the first place? That I wish I was a normal kid that didn’t have to save the fucking world from something the Gods were too lazy to fix right from the fucking start?!”
He doesn’t know, can’t remember, when he started screaming, but he knows he won’t be able to stop for a while. ( "It's alright, a voice in the back of his head that sounds a lot like Ignis says. You can cry, scream, whatever makes you feel better. We'll be here." ) He finally, finally, let's out a sob.
I'm sorry. He says to no one in particular.
I'm so sorry.
I miss you all so much.
I wish I could’ve said more.
I hope you can forgive me.
See you tomorrow.
Noctis wakes up. He doesn’t remember falling asleep.
Can he even fall asleep in the afterlife? Does it even count as sleeping if you’re dead? Why hasn’t he questioned this before? Why is he thinking about this now?! What the fuck?!
“Your body cannot currently process this plane. Your body believes you can sleep, so you do.” Noctis startles at the sound of a voice. He recognizes it.
“Gentia- uh, Shiv- what do I refer to you as?”
“ Whatever is easiest for you.”
“Oh, okay. So, Gentiana?” He feels Gentiana cock her head. “Where am I? Is this actually the afterlife?”
“ Do you believe this is the afterlife?”
“I mean, yeah. I guess so.”
“Then that is what it is.” He nods.
“How are you talking to me? Are all the gods in here too?” Gentiana laughs, a soft sound.
“Not entirely. We can tune into this plane if we so choose. And yes, we have heard your cries of wanting to return to your friends.”
“So, you all heard my breakdown? That’s, um, kind of awkward.”
“Fret not, O chosen king. We did not hear much other than what you were told."
"Only about me wanting to go back? That's reassuring...?"
"Now, we have a question to ask of you."
"What is it?"
"Do you truly wish to go back? Is this what you desire?" Noctis doesn't hesitate with his answer.
"More than anything! Can I really go back? Will any time have passed? How long has it been?" Gentiana laughs.
"Slow down little one."
"Sorry. One question at a time. How long have I been dead for?"
"It has only been a week."
"Only a week? That's not as long as I thought. My other question: can you really bring me back?"
"Yes. You saved the Star of its Scourge, this is the least we can do." He laughs, near tears. Again, he isn't sure when he stopped but that doesn't matter because he's crying again anyways.
"Thank you, Gentiana. Really."
Gentiana suddenly appears in front of him. She moves her arm and pats his head. She smiles.
"Are you ready to go back? When you return, you will be in the Citadel. Hurry and find them." Noctis nods, determined.
Wait for me, everyone.