“Gladio, what are you and I going to do at a fair?” Gladio shrugged before he realized he’d done it, and that Ignis was waiting for an answer. It was hot. Gladio was bored. Antsy, summoned outdoors by the sultry night air and the sounds of city life. He didn’t want to sit around inside, and he wanted Ignis to come with him. The midsummer festival - a newly revived Insomnian tradition - was on it’s last day at Regency Park. Gladio had a lot of good memories of the midsummer festival, roaming the midway with high school friends and crownsguard buddies, carrying Iris on his shoulders. One memorable year he’d watched Prompto almost clear out the target shooting booth, and the very next day he had brought him to the range at the Citadel and put a pistol in his hands. It was enticing, the idea of recapturing, even for just an hour or so, the feeling of being young and carefree.
“I dunno? Walk the midway, eat the food?” Ignis made a face. “You don’t want to eat midway food, do you.”
“What have they decided to deep fry this year? A chocolate bar? Butter?”
“Cheese curds,” Gladio answered. Ignis looked like he was going to vomit in his mouth.
“What if we went and did that game where you shoot at the cans and we mess with the carny, right? Like i tell you where to aim and the guy thinks ha, he’ll never hit anyway, and instead you win a giant stuffed chocobo. Or a tonberry.” Ignis, to his surprise, responded by wrapping his arms around Gladio’s waist.
“I have all the teddy bear I need right here.”
“Yeah yeah,” grumbled Gladio, slinging his arms around Ignis in return.
“Is something on your mind?” asked Ignis.
“It just - I realized that even though I used to go the fair every year, we’ve never been together.”
“Not everything we do has to be a big romantic date."
Ignis, Ignis. Always the humble one. Now that they had the time and the worry lifted from their shoulders, Gladio wanted to treat his love to the finer things in life that he deserved. Meanwhile Ignis had decided it was the small things, the littlest things were the finest life had to offer. Gladio sighed.
“Do you wanna just, go grab a drink and watch the fireworks?” Ignis smiled and squeezed Gladio just a little tighter.
“That sounds lovely, darling.”
Gladio did end up sampling the food from the midway, even if it was just a slightly bland funnel cake. They drank beer from plastic cups and sat on a blanket, Ignis tucked into Gladio's chest as midsummer's fireworks lit up the sky. There wasn't much to speak of, not much that could be heard over the boom and the crackle, but, Gladio liked to think, the ease and comfort of their touch said more than words could ever manage. Ignis, to his surprise, looked up at the fireworks, his visor perched in his hair. Gladio watched Ignis, the colours painting his fine features. He liked to watch Ignis, but there were not a lot of times he could do so without Ignis knowing he was watched.
Ignis picked at the funnel cake as the show ended, tearing off bites between thumb and forefinger.
"Mm, not too sweet," he said, content.
"You know, I never even asked if you could see the fireworks," said Gladio.
"Not … well," Ignis replied. "I see a flash and the rest is as if it were an after image. The sound is still rather thrilling, though."
Gladio hummed thoughtfully.
"Can you see the kids with the sparklers?"
"I can see the sparklers, but not the children. Its the same after image, why?" Gladio disentangled himself from their embrace, kissing Ignis on the temple.
"Wait here a second."
Ignis waited, leaning on his forearm, picking at the funnel cake, and listening to the sounds of children laughing and people chatting as they walked by.
"Back," Gladio declared. "Did you ever seen those time lapse videos where people make pictures with flashlights and stuff?" Ignis could hear the clicking of a lighter; where Gladio got it from he had no idea.
"Once upon a time." He replied. Ignis was curious to see what Gladio had up his sleeve.
"Kay, watch." The sparkler lit, Gladio began to guide it through the air, weaving words only Ignis' eyes could see. Ignis laughed when he realized what Gladio was up to, heat rising to his cheeks and tugging at the corners of his mouth. He reached out across the table, tracing his fingers over the bow of Gladio's smile.
“Thank you, Gladiolus,” he murmured. “I love you, too.”