It seemed impossible to hold things together anymore. The rift between his friends grew deeper every day, and there was Prompto, balanced in the middle, too scared to tip one way or the other.
Gladiolus refused to speak to Noctis and instead spent nearly all of his time in Ignis’s quarters, trying to assist their now disabled friend. Ignis, unsurprisingly, took this sudden tragedy with poise and grace that Prompto would never understand.
With the relief effort in Altissia underway, there was never a moment that Prompto wasn’t busy. Thankfully, due to the quick thinking and shrewd agreement between Noctis and the councilwoman, there were minimal civilian casualties. The beautiful city on the water might be in utter ruins, but as its citizens returned, they worked together to slowly but surely begin to rebuild. Maybe their lives were in shambles, but at least they were still alive to begin with. It gave Prompto a pang of sorrow for Insomnia’s fate.
Prompto lent a hand when he could, hammering away at beams or clearing rubble away from the channels. Gladiolus, when he wasn’t at their friend’s side, also spent all of his time volunteering with the relief.
Noctis’s presence on the other hand, was completely absent. He wouldn’t visit Ignis, wouldn’t assist the Altissians. In fact, he barely left his room at all.
Without Ignis’s steady, nearly maternal guidance, Prompto was unsure if Noctis could manage to take care of himself in this state. Had he even eaten? Prompto couldn’t be sure. It had been nearly three days since he had seen their king outside the confines of his quarters.
As a peace offering, Prompto asked Weskham to whip up one of Noctis’s favourites— a mother and child rice bowl, which was now perched in the crook of his arm, along with a teapot filled with fragrant, honey-sweetened ginger tea.
“Noct?” Prompto called out, attempting to knock on the door with his knee, since his arms were full.
“Noctis? Hey, come on, it’s me. Can you please open the door before I embarrass myself and spill hot tea all over my legs” Prompto tried again, hoping the lightness of his tone would sway his friend out of bed.
It was a long few minutes before he heard any movement behind the heavy wooden door. Slow, sluggish footsteps that stopped right on the other side of the door.
It was another few seconds before he heard the handle of the door click, and the hinges creak open. Through the gap, he could barely make out Noctis’s face.
“I brought you food and something to drink. Can I come in?” Prompto was trying his hardest to keep things light and casual. He knew— he knew that Gladio had stopped by yesterday and all but berated Noctis for acting pathetic and unbecoming of his status. It wasn’t fair. Noctis was suffering too and it was obvious Gladio was taking out his frustrations on Noctis. Just because he didn’t know how to deal with his own emotions, didn’t mean it was okay for him to use Noctis as a whipping post.
“Hungry?” Prompto tried on a smile, but it felt brittle and forced. Noctis looked at the bowl held in his hand and immediately looked away. He retreated into the room, but left the door ajar. Prompto took that as he was meant to follow and so he did.
Noctis had his back to Prompto, staring out the window with a hand bracing himself on the ledge. All he saw was the tense, long, elegant line of Noctis’s spine through his ratty tshirt. His shoulders were drawn tight and Prompto had a mind to throw everything down and gently rub the tension from his friend’s form, but he stopped himself. He didn’t even know if Noctis wanted to be touched at this time. He didn’t want to inadvertently make things worse.
First, he set the bowl of food and pot of tea down on a nearby table and then stood next to Noctis by the window. He didn’t look at his friend, not at first. Instead, he peered out of the window, which overlooked what used to be a beautiful arched bridge, but was now was reduced to nothing more than cracked stone and debris.
Prompto knew from experience that what Noctis needed most was time. Time, patience and a steadying presence. Something he wasn’t great at, but for the sake of his best friend, he sure as hell was going to try. He didn’t need to be coddled; he wasn’t a spoiled child like Gladio harped, but he was just a man and a man could only take so much.
It was subtle: the small twitch of Noctis’ fingers, a thick swallow and the slight dip of his chin. Prompto knew what it meant and all he could do was reach his hand out, dragging his fingertips against Noctis’s forearm, around the curve of his wrist until their palms pressed together and he felt fingers closing between his own, squeezing. Noctis bowed his head lower, his shoulders shaking.
“Noct, I can—” Prompto started, but Noctis cut him off before he could say more.
"Don’t— just, don’t. I don’t want— I can’t.” Noctis couldn’t speak, the message caught in his throat, his voice hoarse and syllables broken.
“Prom— Prompto I can’t ,” he gritted out, like the words caused him physical pain to get out. “I can’t do this. I feel like I’m drowning.”
“Shh,” Prompto shushed him, letting go of his hand in favour of pulling his friend straight into his arms. “I know, Noctis. Fuck, I know. Just breathe buddy, I’ve got you.”
Everything had changed, so suddenly and so completely, everything was different. It was like they had still been learning to play one game and then suddenly the all rules and pieces on the board had switched, morphed into something dark and vile.
“I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t ask for any of this,” Noctis choked, breath catching on a sob. He kept trying to quiet himself, to shutter it all in, but it was impossible. The more he tried, the worse he shook.
Prompto could taste blood on his tongue.
He pulled Noctis closer, like Prompto was the only thing holding him together, like if he eased up even the tiniest bit, Noctis would completely unravel in his arms. It broke his heart to see Noctis so fragile. His best friend had weathered so much trauma in his life, by just grinning and baring it, but it seemed this was the breaking point.
“Luna is dead because of me. She’s gone because of me . It’s my fault— Ignis is— he’s broken, because of me, because I can’t even protect myself. I did this, to both of them. It’s my fault. ” Noctis’s voice was bordering on hysterical, too loud and shrill for the quiet of the room, talking himself in circles.
“Hey, shh, stop it,” Prompto tried to comfort him, with Noctis’s face buried against his neck, stopping the flow of words. Prompto was no stranger to panic attacks, though that didn’t make it any easier to witness his friend dissolving into one.
“Just keep breathe. You can do this, okay? I’m here. I’m right here.” He tried his best to reassure Noctis. He wouldn’t leave, not now, and not ever. It was something he had vowed to himself, back when he was a teenager. Even if he was unsure why the others kept him around. Really, what did he bring to the Crownsguard? It never stopped feeling like he got a free pass simply for being Noctis’s friend. But Prompto knew, that if it were his loyalty that was in question, regardless of his station, he would follow this man to the ends of Eos, if need be. Their prince— now king, was so much more to Prompto than just his birthright.
Prompto was seventeen when he realized he was inappropriately in love with his best friend. It was an awful idea at best, and possible treason at worst, but that didn’t and couldn’t stop the feelings from developing.
It wasn’t a sudden realization, but a slow and creeping feeling in his gut that he tried his best to ignore until he simply couldn’t anymore. Noctis, his dumb best friend, who whined when Prompto beat him at a fighting game, who fell asleep on top of their homework, who fastidiously picked the vegetables out of all of his meals, who was the prince of their nation — and yet, Prompto was helpless to all of his charms. By the time they were in their last year of high school, he had to come to admit to himself what he was so vehemently trying to ignore: That he was in love with Noctis.
It didn’t mean anything, not really. It didn’t change their situation, couldn’t change their fate. All it did was leave Prompto with the sweet ache of pining that came with too-long glances, and too-close touches. It also didn’t help that Noctis loved to fall asleep on his shoulder, breath even and face relaxed, looking just like any other handsome young man would. It was moments like those that Prompto couldn’t help but think that if things were different, if Noctis wasn’t their prince, if Prompto were normal … maybe something could have come of these emotions. But fate was cruel, and these small moments were all he was allowed to have.
Over the years, it had gotten easier to ignore his feelings and compartmentalize so that he could just be the easy companion that Noctis craved. He would do it, despite himself, because it was what Noctis needed from him. He told himself no matter how much it hurt, that it didn’t matter, as long as he could be there for Noct.
Times like this were trying, though; Noctis in his arms, clinging to Prompto like he was his only lifeline. This wasn’t the first time and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. If this was all the intimacy he would be afforded, he would revel in it.
Noctis was still trembling, but he appeared steady enough for his legs to hold his own weight, so Prompto allowed his arms to loosen. One was still around the other man’s waist, but he let the other slide up his spine, over his shoulders and neck so he could cradle the back of his head, touching his soft dark hair. Noctis leaned back enough that he could look at Prompto’s face and it took every single shred of Prompto’s willpower not to lean in and kiss him. As satisfying as it would be, Prompto knew it wouldn’t solve a damn thing.
It was heartbreaking seeing Noctis so drawn. He had dark purple bruises under his eyes, the telltale sign of sleepless nights. There was stubble on his chin, and his hair was unkempt and disheveled. Yet still, he was the most unfairly attractive man Prompto had ever seen.
“Hey there,” he tried casually, trying to goad a smile out of Noctis. He was graced with a small one, as he raised his eyes to meet Prompto’s gaze. He could feel his stomach twist and his arm around Noctis’s waist tightened involuntarily.
“You need to have an actual meal.” Prompto slowly guided them to the bed, where he pressed Noctis into a seated position and placed the bowl on his lap.
“Eat or I will spoon feed you like a toddler.” Prompto tried to be stern, but Noctis instead looked up at him, pulling a disgruntled face and grumbling to himself. Thankfully, he did as he was told with little resistance, eating mechanically.
Before he could stop himself or think better of it, Prompto was reaching out, brushing Noctis’s bangs away from his eyes. His friend, Bless the Six, didn’t say a thing about the intimacy of his actions. Prompto decided to press his luck, gently stroking his soft hair on the crown of his head, like he would a cat.
“I had him make it with extra eggs in there for you and less spring onion.” Prompto had a hard time keeping his mouth shut at the best of times. This was one of those moments he really should have revelled in the silence of being close to Noctis, but instead he couldn’t stop his nervous babbling.
“There’s ginger tea, too. I put honey and milk in it, just how you like.” Prompto couldn’t explain why he was blushing. His face felt hot, suddenly self conscious of his actions and he drew his hand away. Noctis thwarted his action, darting his own hand up to circle around Prompto’s wrist. He looked down at his friend, blinking. There was a pleading look, almost desperate. Prompto somehow knew exactly what he wanted though and, with a sigh, he shoved his embarrassment aside so that he could he resume petting Noctis’s hair.
After the bowl was empty, Noctis swapped it out for a mug, which Prompto filled with the still hot tea. He drank quietly and Prompto had to bite his lip to keep himself from uselessly babbling more to fill the silence.
“Thank you,” Noctis mumbled, once the tea was gone.
“Don’t mention it,” he said flippantly, withdrawing his hands and letting them fall to his sides. “What kind of friend would I be if I let you starve to death? Besides, I know you would do the same for me if I were in your situation.”
Noctis looked up at him again, giving him a rueful smile. Prompto wished he could take away the pain, wished he could be cornered to the edge of breaking instead of Noctis.
“Prompto?” Noctis ventured, voice surer than it had been before.
“Yeah, bud?” Prompto kept his line of sight on his best friend’s shoulder. It was less dangerous than looking at his face, lest he say or do something stupid.
“Can I be selfish just for a little while longer and ask something of you?” He inquired, trying to catch Prompto’s eye.
“Of course,” he replied. He would literally give Noctis anything he wanted. Prompto didn’t for a minute think that Noctis was being selfish for needing comfort, but that was another conversation altogether.
“Stay with me? Just for a little while. I don’t want to be alone,” he pleaded, and Prompto, in his surprise, turned his head to meet Noctis’s eyes, taken aback by the warmth and desperation he found there. Like he could ever deny a request like that.
“Move over.” He pushed at Noctis’s shoulder, giving him a moment to slide over on the bed and make space for him. Prompto removed his shoes and took his vest off, draping it on the back of the closest chair before he crawled in bed next to Noctis.
It didn’t feel weird, sitting like this. They had shared beds at inns before, slept in sleeping bags pressed nearly up against one another. This was no different. That was, until Noctis decided to curl onto his side and rest his head onto Prompto’s sternum. There was a moment where Prompto’s eyes went wide and he took in a sharp breath, unsure of what to do with himself.
“Noct?” He questioned unsurely and he was graced with a grunt in return. “You should really rest.” He would have preferred Noctis to sleep under the covers in his bed, as Prompto was effectively trapped like this, but Noctis asked him to stay, so he would stay.
“Can’t, cause you won’t stop talking,” Noctis quipped, curling his fingers into the fabric of his friend’s shirt while giving a feeble laugh.
“I can keep going, if you want,” Prompto teased, pinching at Noctis’s side in retaliation. “I can talk straight through till morning and then you’ll never get any sleep.”
“Mmm, no thanks, please shut up,” he said, not unkindly, which had them both chuckling softly. Noctis tilted his head up, giving Prompto a small, genuine smile before he settled back down.
Prompto stayed quiet, feeling Noctis relax against him, his breathing evened out and the grip on his shirt slackened. Telltale signs that Noctis had fallen asleep. Prompto sighed quietly, tilting his chin downward so he could press a barely there kiss to the crown of Noctis’s head.
“You’re making this really difficult,” he all but whispered against the top of his head, letting his own eyes close. Being in love with Noctis was hard enough, but having him this close was damn near torture.
“What am I making difficult for you?” Noctis asked and Prompto froze. He didn’t think for a second that Noctis was awake.
“Ahh, it’s nothing,” Prompto lied. He was a gods awful liar and, unfortunately for him, Noctis was well aware of that fact.
“It’s not. Tell me.” Noctis shifted, half lying on Prompto’s body as he rolled onto his stomach, crossing his arms across his chest, and resting his cheek on his forearm. He regarded Prompto through his bangs. Prompto still couldn’t look him in the eye, his face bright red by now.
“Aren’t you supposed to be asleep?” He complained, deflecting.
“Couldn’t sleep, all I could hear was your voice.”
Shit . Of course— of course Noctis would pick the worst possible time to suddenly become a light sleeper. He could pass out in the car and sleep through the scorching heat with the music blasting, being jostled by a bumpy road— but Prompto so much as whispering would wake him up.
“Tell me,” Noctis pressed and Prompto couldn’t help the whine that slipped out.
“Really, it’s nothing, go back to sleep,” he urged, begging any God out there to take mercy on him. This was not the time nor the place to be having this particular conversation with Noctis. He had just lost so much and it was unfair for Prompto to unload any more potential trauma on him.
With a grumble in complaint, Noctis laid his head back down against Prompto’s chest, toying with the fabric of his T-shirt between his fingers.
“Don’t think I’m going to forget this. I’m just too tired to grill you right now.” Noctis spoke quietly, poking at Prompto’s stomach. Prompto, in his surprise, jerked awkwardly at the touch. After all this time, he was still self conscious about people touching his midsection. His friend looked up at him with a knowing frown, going back to touching his shirt again instead.
“I’m sorry, Prom,” he whispered.
Prompto wiggled his arm out from underneath Noctis so that he could run his fingers through his hair again. “Nothing to be sorry about. Sleep,” he urged.
There was a long silence, in which Prompto really thought that Noctis had fallen asleep this time, but instead he turned his face back up to Prompto, still wearing that same concerned frown.
“You know you’re gorgeous, right?” He asked. Prompto went completely still, staring incredulously down at Noctis’s face, honest and open about the compliment he just gave. Where the hell did that come from?
“Uh, yeah, okay. Thanks dude.” He replied awkwardly, unsure of what else to say. What else do you say when your best friend suddenly confesses that he thinks you’re hot?
Noctis shrugged, settling back down again. “I’m just stating the obvious, because I think you need to hear it.”
“Can you— can you just sleep already,” Prompto whined, finally getting his wish as Noctis kept his face upturned toward him, but closed his eyes. His features evened out, brow unstitching itself and his grip on Prompto’s shirt loosening.
Prompto knew, realistically, Noctis was more than likely just trying to comfort him, but fuck if his heart wasn’t racing from his words.
Prompto was unsure how this unspoken agreement between them came to pass, but every night he would bring Noctis dinner and slip into bed with him. It was the sweetest kind of torture Prompto could imagine.
At first it was easy to ignore his feelings, instead convincing himself that Noctis needed this— needed him like this, and that was enough, but with every passing night, it got more difficult. He just had to keep reminding himself that this was all he could have and that it would have to be enough.
One night after Noctis was out against his chest, Prompto took a picture of his face, calm in his sleep. It was a memory that he never wanted to let go of, as knew this closeness surely had an expiration date.
Gladio didn’t question him, but would give him disapproving looks every morning when they would check on Ignis together.
“You’re spoiling his highness,” Gladio commented one day.
“I’m just keeping him company. Doesn’t he deserve that, at least?” Prompto snapped, astonished at the harshness of his own voice. Gladio shook his head, walking away from Prompto without so much as another word.
That was when they got their intel on the next royal tomb and a boat ride later they found themselves in Tenebrae. Noctis most spent the journey asleep on the first row of seating, while Prompto, Gladiolus and Ignis sat around the edges of the boat, basking in the ocean breeze.
Noctis’s mood didn’t improve, once they were on the train. He had some kind of nervous, dazed energy about continuing on in their search and he spent most of the ride longingly staring out of the window.
Prompto once again found himself stuck in the middle of everything. Ignis was cordial, if a little out of it, but Gladio’s negative attitude toward Noctis hadn’t let up. There were times he was downright hostile and he flat out refused to sit or sleep in the same compartment with Noctis. Though Prompto firmly believed that Gladiolus was being pig headed and childish, he kept his thoughts to himself.
Noctis was asleep and Gladio had gone for a walk through the train cars in search of food, leaving Prompto across from Ignis in their seats.
“How is he?” Ignis suddenly asked and Prompto knew he was referring to Noctis, a forbidden topic when Gladio was around. Prompto shrugged in response and then immediately felt a wash of guilt come over him with the realization that Ignis couldn’t see his action.
“He’s doing the best he can given this situation, I guess,” Prompto answered honestly.
“Thank you for taking care of him in my stead.” The sincerity in Ignis’s voice had Prompto blushing, looking down at his hands folded in his lap.
“It’s not a big deal. He’s my friend too, yanno? I hate seeing him upset,” he said with a sigh. “I just wish Gladio would cut him some Gods damn slack. He’s really not helping anyone by acting like a complete asshole.” Prompto quickly slapped a hand over his mouth, embarrassed at the sudden criticism that slipped from his own lips. Usually he was better at keeping his unwarranted opinions to himself when it came to his friends, but when he looked up, he could see Ignis was smiling just a bit.
“Gladio will get over it, just give him time. He’s just on edge.”
“We’re all on edge. That doesn’t give him an excuse to speak to Noctis like that. I hate it and I hate us being divided like this. What good could it possibly do?” Prompto huffed, crossing his arms over his chest as he watched the scenery slide by outside the train window.
“You’re not wrong.” Ignis sighed, with an incline of his head. Usually Ignis was the one who kept them all in line and away from each other’s throats, but given the current state of things, he wasn’t quite up for that task right now. Prompto was decidedly not good at playing peacekeeper.
“And you, how are you holding up?” Ignis inquired gently.
“Wha— what? I’m fine. It’s not like anything particularly awful happened to me recently. I’m just busy doing emotional collateral damage control right now.” In the grand scheme of things, Prompto’s problems were nothing compared to what his friends were going through. Noctis had lost so much in such a short span of time, he had no idea how his friends were coping with it at all. First Noctis lost his father and his city— now Luna too. Ignis was struggling with coming to terms with his blindness. Gladio was worried sick about his sister and trying to keep Ignis upright half the time.
“So, Noctis still hasn’t noticed then, has he?” Ignis asked suddenly, leaning his elbow onto the seat rest beside him, completely casual. The question caught Prompto off guard.
“Noticed what?” He asked, gaze sliding over from the view out of the window to his friend’s face. Ignis’s expression was impossible to read at the best of times, but now, with his eyes… the way they were (Prompto hated to think about it,) it was even harder to decipher what he was thinking.
“That you’re in love with him.”
Prompto had no idea what kind of noise exited his mouth at Ignis’s words, but it was something halfway between a laugh and a scream, some ridiculous, hysterical sort of sound. If he weren’t so terrified, he might have been embarrassed by it.
“Ex-excuse me?” He stuttered, unsure of what else to say.
“You’re not very subtle, you know. Now, moreso than ever.”
Prompto’s thoughts were reeling. What was he supposed to do or say to this? Ignis didn’t sound upset or disgusted, just curious. Still, Prompto was so mortified by the thought of someone knowing about his feelings for Noctis. The thought that someone else knew, gave him half a mind to throw himself out of the window of the moving train.
“He’s an idiot,” Ignis relaid sadly, as if he weren’t talking about their nation’s king. “I’m afraid you’ll have to spell it out for him, if you want him to know.”
“I don’t want him to know!” Prompto screeched in reply, his face flushing hot at the dirty looks the other passengers were giving him for being so unnecessarily loud.
“Don’t want who to know what?” Gladio’s deep voice filtered in through the haze of Prompto’s embarrassment. He whipped around to see their tall friend standing just behind him.
“Nothing! It’s nothing.” Prompto didn’t know what he did to deserve being in this situation. Somehow he found himself on his feet. He swallowed hard, wondering if he could just bolt, his body sure wanted him to.
“Prompto didn’t want you to know that he ate the last cup noodle,” Ignis lied smoothly and Prompto couldn’t help the wash of relief that poured over him.
“Ah, it’s okay. Didn’t even know we had any left.” Gladio clapped him on the back hard enough that he stumbled a little bit. “You’re still so scrawny, you need it more than I do, anyway.”
Normally, Prompto would huff and puff at the teasing, but his thoughts were elsewhere. He didn’t take in another word that Gladio said, as he addressed Ignis instead.
“I’m— I’m gonna go check on Noctis,” Prompto declared suddenly. Gladio had taken his seat, across from Ignis, while Prompto realized he had been just standing there spacing out like a weirdo.
“You should tell him, Prompto, about the cup noodle.” Gladio gave Ignis an odd look at his suggestion, but shrugged it off.
“Oh, yeah. Okay. I won’t, because it totally doesn’t matter, but okay,” Prompto rambled, walking away in the direction of the sleeper cars before his friends could give him another word.
Surprisingly, Noctis was not asleep, but was instead playing a game on his phone when he entered the sleeper train car. He looked up at Prompto’s entrance and gave him a “hey,” in greeting.
Prompto laid himself down on the bottom bed opposite of Noctis and immediately rolled onto his side, so that he was facing the wall.
“Do you wanna play King’s Knight? I could really use help on this level,” Noctis asked, completely oblivious to the mood of the room. Ignis was right, Noctis was dense. Not like he didn’t know. It was times like this that it was glaringly obvious.
“Tired,” Prompto mumbled, hoping that would be enough to get Noctis off his case. He thought he had won out, but suddenly there was a dip in the bed, and a hand pressed onto his bare arm, fingers curling around his small bicep.
“Everything okay?” Noctis inquired sincerely and Prompto inexplicably felt like crying. He had pushed everything aside, all of his fears and doubts, so that he could take care of Noctis in his trying time and now Noctis was trying to take care of him instead.
“I’m sorry if I’ve been so needy, but I want you to know it really helped, having you so close to me,” Noctis admitted, sliding his hand up Prompto’s arm to his shoulder. Prompto shivered at the touch, goosebumps breaking out over his skin.
“Are you cold?” Noctis was so fucking obtuse, but he was so earnest in his delivery, that Prompto couldn’t fault him.
“Here,” he said, shifting so he could remove his jacket and lay it across Prompto’s arms and shoulders. He could tell by the sleeves It was the one with the behemoth embroidered across the back. It was one of Prompto’s favorites, because Noct looked extra cool in it.
“Better? Did you see that it started snowing outside? You should probably put something warmer on. Where’s that dumb beanie of yours?”
Prompto couldn’t help but chuckle, his view was still that of the train car’s wall, but he could imagine the pleased look on Noctis’s face that he had at least gotten Prompto to laugh a bit.
“It’s not dumb, it’s practical,” he complained, shifting to pull the jacket further against his body. It smelled like Noctis and the thought that he felt comfort in that made him feel incredibly guilty, like he was being a creep.
“Yeah? Well then don’t make me get started on those stupid leggings you try to pass off as pants,” Noctis quipped, prodding Prompto in the back through his jacket-turned blanket.
“First of all, they’re not leggings, they’re thermal insulated pants. They're tight because it helps trap in your body heat. Besides, they’re a lot warmer than your stupid jeans,” he huffed, rolling onto his back so he could finally look at Noctis, whose eyes were on him. He gave Prompto a gentle smile, despite his teasing.
“You just like wearing them because you know your ass looks fantastic in them.” Noctis gave him his best shit eating grin, his words belaying the playfulness of his tone.
“Why are you looking at my ass?” Prompto inquired, feeling his face flame, just like the other night, when Noctis had told him that he thought he was attractive. It was still just as confusing, having Noctis sending him mixed signals. After all, there was no way his best friend meant these things in anything other than a playful, friendly way.
“Hard not to when you’re wearing pants like that,” Noctis sighed, like he was truly put upon by this. His eyes wandered down Prompto’s body, from shoulder to thigh, and he was glad there was a jacket covering most of his body.
“Oh,” Prompto stated dumbly, staring in awe at Noctis’s face. “I’m not.. wearing them right now. Why are you checking me out?” He blurted out, feeling all kinds of awkward.
“Because I want you to realize that you’re attractive— that I think you’re attractive. I mean, it’s not just me, other people check you out all the time, I just don’t think you notice,” Noctis suddenly declared, avoiding Prompto’s eyes.
“I’m sorry, you— you what?” Prompto was fairly sure his brain stopped functioning properly at this point. Noctis had just admitted that he found Prompto attractive and he had no idea what to say to that. His stomach swooped like he had missed the bottom step. All this time, he was chasing after Noctis’s affections and it seemed that his best friend might have been doing the same with him. Prompto didn’t want to jump to any conclusions, not yet anyway. He needed solid confirmation that he wasn’t misconstruing Noctis’s intentions.
“Come on Prompto, please don’t make me say it again, it’s embarrassing,” Noctis whined, picking at a stray thread on the sheets next to his thigh.
“But Luna?” His brain supplied unhelpfully. Prompto wished he hadn’t said it, because it must have still been a sore spot for Noctis to talk about. The emotional wounds were still too fresh.
“Luna was my friend and I loved her, the same way that I love Ignis and Gladio. We both knew this, but we were going to get married anyway and figure out the rest later.” Noctis shrugged, still worrying on that same loose thread. “That was the plan, anyway. Doesn’t really matter now.”
Prompto’s brain took a moment to process this information. Curiously, Noctis had not lumped his name in with their other two friends and he wasn’t sure how he was supposed to take that.
“What about me? You don’t love me?” Prompto had no idea where he managed to dig the gall to come right out and ask something like that (spending too much time around Gladio, no doubt,) but Noctis looked up at him with his eyes clear and expression even.
“You know I do, it’s just different with you,” Noctis cautioned, his voice full of uncertainty. “You’re always going on about ladies, so I didn’t know if you would even be interested in someone like me. But since everything in the world is apparently hell bent on going to shit, I figured that I would at least try to tell you how I felt. So, you’re welcome to tell me to fuck off now. I’m prepared for it.” Noctis looked like a man bracing himself for a physical blow.
Someone like him .
Noctis must have meant men.
Prompto shot upright in bed, the jacket falling away and pooling in his lap. This couldn’t possibly be happening. He must have drifted off and his imagination was supplying him with this hyper realistic fantasy dream because there was no way, no way at all, that Noctis had practically confessed that he was in love with Prompto. There was just no logical way.
He chose to do nothing but stare and his best friend stared back. The silence stretched on, even with their eyes locked. It was Noctis who turned away first, looking out the window with a deep seated frown.
“Will you please say something? You’re kind of freaking me out.”
“I’m bi?” Prompto added, though his intonation lilted the statement as more of a question than an admission. It wasn’t exactly something he went around advertising. Besides, talking to his friends about pretty ladies was surely a safer conversation than talking about how hot he thought their king was.
“Well, you... you never told us that before,” Noctis stuttered, turning his gaze back toward Prompto, suddenly aware of just how close they were and that they were sitting on the same bed together. Noctis moved to get up, but Prompto grabbed his wrist, motioning for him to stay.
“No one ever asked me.” It wasn’t exactly something that easily came up in conversation and it wasn’t information he was readily volunteering. Honestly, he didn’t really think his friends would judge, it was just something that really never needed to be addressed before.
“Am I your type?” Noctis questioned all of a sudden, somehow looking so small and so young. Prompto felt like this was a conversation far too long in the making. He didn’t know, how could he have known? He was bi, Noctis (he thought) was straight and that was the end of that. Except, now it seemed that it wasn’t. So much lost time, because both of them had been too afraid to be open with one another. Prompto could kick himself.
“Yeah— are you kidding? I’ve had the biggest crush on you since high school.” He wasn’t scared anymore, at least not about this. There were plenty of crippling insecurities lurking deep down, but his feelings for Noctis were no longer one of them.
Noctis sat stock still, his wrist still caught circled by Promto’s fingers. He saw his friend visibly swallow, his gaze dropping down from Prompto’s to his lips. It felt like his heart was caught in his throat, because like always, he knew exactly what Noctis wanted, but he wasn’t sure if he was brave enough to go ahead and do it.
Painstakingly slowly, Prompto reached out the short distance between them, sliding his free hand against Noctis’s sharp jawline, settling around the back of his head, so that his thumb was resting on his neck. He felt Noctis’s pulse quickened under his touch and he nearly gasped when Prompto leaned in closer.
“This okay?” He whispered, their lips almost touching, and it was Noctis’s turn to shudder at the sensation. Impatience won out in the end and it was Noctis who closed the final millimetres of distance, sealing the kiss.
Closing his eyes, Prompto willed himself to stop over thinking and to just enjoy the awareness that Noctis had really just kissed him. It didn’t last long and as they pulled apart Prompto only waited a few quiet seconds before he leaned back in again to initiate a second one. He could feel the strain of the taut muscle of Noctis’s neck as he tilted his head, trying to find the perfect angle. Their kisses were clumsy at best, but Prompto didn’t care in the slightest. To him, it was perfect. Noctis was perfect.
As they broke apart, Noctis pitched forward, pressing his forehead against Prompto’s shoulder to hide his face. He wondered if his friend’s face was just as red as his was, because he was sure he was blushing hard. The hand that had previously been holding onto his wrist now found their fingers slotted together, pressed against the mattress.
Prompto kept his eyes closed, basking in the simplicity of this moment. Nothing outside this train car mattered, it was only this very moment, where everything felt complete and right in the world. Being with Noctis like this gave him a sense of belonging he had never felt before. Being with him felt like home.
“Prompto,” Noctis’s voice was decidedly watery and Prompto immediately leaned back to cup his cheek. There were the telltale signs: Noctis’s face was splotchy, his eyes wet and reddened, yet he was grinning, just a small little smile that made Prompto’s heart skipping a beat. It was the kind of smile that people wrote gross love songs about. He was in love, so the corniness was forgivable, he reasoned with himself.
“I love you, Prompto,” he avowed, so earnestly that Prompto suddenly felt his own tears blurring the corners of his vision.
“Sorry I waited so long to tell you,” Noctis amended, pressing a light kiss to the corner of Prompto’s mouth.
“Better late than never, huh?” Prompto teased, earning him a playful punch on the arm from his best friend. “I love you too, by the way.”
They settled back down, together this time and relaxed in each other’s arms. Prompto wished that time would stop, and that he could live in this moment forever. He never wanted to forget this feeling of Noctis in his arms and in his heart.