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Futility

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It was such a rush, being on top of the world like that. He had so much power, with no limits, and he could do anything Noct could do, and then some. It just flowed out of him, and through him, like he was the power, and the power was him, and not like he was just merely using it. He'd never felt so absolutely high before.

Now that it was over, he'd never felt so fucking low.

He had been so stupid. So very, very stupid.

Lady Lunafreya was still dead. Ardyn still got away scot-free.

But he saved Noct, right? That had to count for something, didn't it?

But the longer he thought about it, in the dark, the more it seemed like Ardyn had just been toying with him.

He'd done so much damage to him. He hadn't been able to see it, of course, but it was more like he could feel it, like the ring was feeding the information right into his head. He unleashed so much power on Ardyn that it should've killed him several times over. There shouldn't have been anything left. He should've been reduced to nothing more than ashes, especially with the price he paid. And yet...

"Now, now, that's enough for today, don't you think?"

He'd sounded so unfazed when he said that. Like what Prompto did was pointless. Useless. A complete and utter failure.

Just like himself. Especially now.

The sheets on the nearby bed rustled. Prompto lifted his head slightly, turning his ear in the direction the sound came from. The rustling stopped then, and Noct's steady breathing replaced it. He'd grown used to that sound by now, being stuck in this hotel room, alone for the most part. Except for Noct, but he was asleep, so that didn't count. Except for Gladio, but he never stuck around long enough, didn't talk to him enough.

And Iggy...

Even if he couldn't see his face, he knew Iggy was disappointed in him. Angry with him, even. And why wouldn't he be? He'd had to fight his way out of being a burden before, and now he'd completely made a burden out of himself, by his own hand, by his own stupid-ass decision. He had no other viable combat skills, absolutely nothing else. How the hell was he supposed to shoot anything if he couldn't fucking see?!

He pulled in a sharp breath through his nose and sat up completely, the back of his head bouncing off the back of the chair when he moved far too quickly. He winced and leaned back against it more gingerly this time, pulling in fast, deep breaths through his nose.

It would be okay. It was just temporary. His vision would come back. It had only been a few hours. Or a few days. It was so hard to tell, being in the dark. And it wasn't like he could ask Gladio or Iggy; they'd just feel sorry for him, and pity him more, and he couldn't have that. Then they'd fuss over him, try to help him with simple tasks. Like eating--when was the last time he ate?--and bathing--yeah, nope, not doing that, nope nope.

His left hand found his right wrist and wrapped around it, over the wristband that was still in place. The wristband that still smelled damp with rain, and salty with seawater. He never gave it the chance to fully dry. He couldn't take that risk.

He just needed to hang on. Wait for this to pass. Let himself heal. Then they wouldn't have to know, and have even more of a reason to send him off, to abandon him. Injuries always healed, though usually with potions and elixirs, and those hadn't helped...

But this injury wasn't normal. So, maybe it just took more time. Temporary blindness was a thing, right? He could wait that out. A few more days, maybe a few weeks? He could wait that out, get by, show them that he was okay, that he could stay with them, that they didn't need to leave him behind, that he'd get better.

He had to get better. Nothing else was allowed.

His hand slid from his wrist and into his lap, and the other hand followed. He tried to focus his eyes on them, but he had no idea where to look. Was he looking down? He felt like he was. Down was darker than up most of the time. That gave him hope, that his vision would come back; it had gone from total darkness to only somewhat-darkness, with blurred light all around him whenever he opened his eyes.

The rest would follow. It had to. The sharp sting around his eyes was a dull ache now. He still hadn't gathered enough courage to actually touch his own face, to feel the areas that had been so raw just after he'd done the unthinkable.

"My face hurts," he'd told Ravus after he'd collapsed, after he'd noticed the intense sting of pain around his eyes.

"I would expect nothing less, as it was ablaze," Ravus had replied.

"It is bad?" he'd asked, though, if he had been honest with himself, he didn't want to know.

"What will you do if I say yes?" Ravus had asked back.

He didn't reply after that. He had no answer for it. He still didn't. He didn't want to know. He'd see the scars later, after his vision came back. Maybe there wouldn't be any. Maybe they'd be flattering, a reminder that he protected Noct, despite his feelings that it was pointless to do so, that he was never in any real danger. He'd done a good thing, right?

He'd done it. He brought his mind back around, to where he could bear with his own thoughts again. He would get better. Noct would wake up. They could continue onward, wherever that was, and they'd all be together. Nothing else had to change.

Noct's breathing stopped being steady. Rustling again, but longer, sounding wider, somehow. And a choked kind of noise. Not sure what that was.

"Prom?" Noct's voice croaked out from behind him.

With a deep breath, he turned his head slightly, toward Noct's voice. He forced his best smile and tried to make eye contact, but he couldn't tell where exactly to look. He just aimed for Noct's breathing and hoped for the best, hoping that Noct couldn't tell just how forced his smile was.

"Hey, buddy."