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The Night at the Leville

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“You know they’re going to stay up all night, right?” Gladio asks, shutting the hotel room door.

 

In a rare act of indulgence, Ignis had suggested that they book two rooms at the Leville instead of the typical single they’d grown accustomed to. They’d been making decent gil lately what with the abundance of monster hunts but then the Leville wasn't like any of the dives they’d stayed in when Noct and Prompto were tired of camping.

 

A decorated landmark in Lestallum with a sumptuous view overlooking the city and beyond with a price to match, the Leville was far and above the nicest place they’d stayed. Yet, Ignis hadn't so much as flinched at doubling the cost.

 

“Yes, I suppose they will,” Ignis replies, already clearing the dinner dishes. Gladio faintly hears Iris and Prompto’s laughter in the hallway as they make their way to the adjacent room, prince in tow. It went without saying who would room with who, the proximity of the rooms eliminating the need for a more protective assignments. Ignis continues, “It’ll do Noct good to distract himself for the moment .”

 

“Yeah,” Gladio agrees blandly. Gathering the remaining glasses, he helps clear the rest of the dishes and follows Ignis over to the kitchenette.

 

Personally, he doesn't think Noct needs any more distractions, but the relief of seeing Iris safe silence his objections to the idea. Ever since Noct found her lost in the rain that day so many years ago, Iris had become enamoured with him. Noct needs to learn how to steel himself for things to come, that much he knows, but he won’t deprive his kid sister of the rare happiness the prince’s company brings her.

 

Ignis slides off his suit jacket and hangs it on the back of a chair, his driving gloves already peeking neatly out of the pockets. He rolls up his sleeve nearly to reveal strong forearms. Leaning his back against the counter, Gladio watches as he fills the sink with hot, sudsy water and submerges the glasses one by one.

 

They stand in companionable silence, the thick heat of Lestallum almost intoxicating even with all the windows open to catch the occasional breeze. Not for the first time, Gladio greedily takes advantage of Ignis’s distraction, his eyes travelling from the cut of his jaw, down along the line of his neck, to the rest at ghd necklace peaking out just slightly at the collar.

 

Focused, Ignis doesn’t notice his wandering gaze. They’re close enough to touch, but then proximity has never been the issue. For years they’ve been tied together, bound to the service of their friend, schedules lacing and interweaving with necessity. The drawback to their professional cooperation was severe. Duty, more bluntly, Noct, always came first, forcing whatever existed between them to be ignored, smothered under the pressures of their responsibilities. 

 

The only sounds in the hotel room are the faint music drifting up from the street below, dishwater sloshing and gentle plink of dishes being placed in the drying rack.

 

“I don’t believe we’ve spoken of what you lost in Insomnia,” Ignis says finally, catching his gaze in his own. The personal catches him off guard. In a way that has become almost infuriating in its naturalness, he’s become accustomed to seeing the world as it relates to Noct alone. It’s a condition Ignis no doubt shares as a fellow servant to the Crown. That he’d even ask feels like a welcome betrayal of their arrangement.

 

“It was his duty.” Gladio reminds him, “His passing...Can’t say it was a surprise. To die in the name of the King has been the Amicitia legacy for decades.”

 

He’s being blasé and he knows it.

 

The realization of his father’s death hadn't struck like a blow, rather it flowed like poison, a pinprick of discomfort growing steadily lethal with every hour. A single drop, “Insomnia Falls” in blurry black newsprint, told a tale of his father’s demise more succinctly and absolutely than anything else could. The death of Clarus Amicitia was a given, an unwritten casualty of a more vital target. His father would have been at King Regis’s side, sword drawn. His father…

 

“And is Iris taking it as well as you are?” Ignis presses coolly, amending, “or rather, as well as you appear to be?”

 

Gladio smirks, arms crossing, “What you don't trust me?” 

 

“I think given your history with the man, it would be very surprising for you to be handling it this well,” Ignis replies seriously, undeterred by the deflection. He sets the final dish in the drying rack, wiping his hands dry with a cloth thoughtfully before continuing, “Your father, from what I observed during our brief meetings, was a pragmatic and noble man. It stands to reason that you would’ve been close given your similarities.”

 

His smirk falls, replaced with an unsure expression he can’t quite hide, “I didn't know you’d met with him.”

 

Ignis holding his father’s character in high regard, holding any opinion on be man at all, makes his stomach clench. The idea of him even existing beyond his position felt like a bad joke at times. As he grew older his own memories with his father gradually dwindled over the years, afternoons training with him reduced to professional encounters between the King’s guard. It was a given eventuality. He understands it now, but when he was younger he was bitter, resentful.

 

“There were a few instances of security where it was inappropriate to delegate the briefings to anyone else.” Ignis says, tipping up his glasses. He says it like a grave confession, and Gladio wonders how often Ignis reads people and simply chooses to leave them be. It’s certainly been the case with Noct from time to time, but then he doesn’t consider himself nearly as barefaced as the king-to-be.

 

Gladio shifts against the counter, away from Ignis. He sighs, scratching at his neck.

 

“Iris didn’t know him all that well. Sure, he was around when she was really young, but by the time she turned eight or so the threats against King Regis had escalated in a serious way. Like most powerful rulers, he did what smart men did in times of strife. He circled the wagons and pulled close his nearest and dearest. For obvious reasons, my dad was one of them.”

 

“Yes, I recall,” Ignis nodded thoughtfully, having more than a passing knowledge of the time period referenced. The most recent attack on Insomnia wasn’t a historic anomaly to the studied eye. Forces had been in motion long before the city was sacked, still waters rife with sharks circling years earlier. Men like Clarus Amicitia kept the city calm all the while knowing the threats that lay before them.

 

“His position never really afforded him much free time to begin with, but after that…” Gladio trails off because he doesn’t know what to say. He doesn’t feel sorry for himself or even for Iris. It was in many ways a destiny that preceded his father in the same way it precedes him. An Amicitia, in name and deed, protects. It’s not the same for Iris, neither a son nor firstborn, and he’s privately glad of it. She’s free in a way that he would never be.

 

Gladio pushes off the counter, discussing his father makes him feel off balance, unguarded.

 

He shrugs, unwilling to part with more, “She had me.”

 

“She was very fortunate,” Ignis says. The room swims with warmth, not a breeze to be felt, “Iris has grown up to be quite the capable young woman.”

 

He says it with such sincerity that Gladio can’t help a half-smile in response. Ignis has a way of taking saccharine phrases and imbuing them with genuine sentiment. Not something he believed at first. Before he knew Ignis, he was the first to chalk it up to professional skill. That was before he encountered the wry humour that lay beneath the surface,  There was a sharpness in the sincerity, an integrity borne of good sense and strong resolve.

 

Ignis would tell the truth because it would be impolite not to.

 

“Yeah well, that was mostly her,” Gladio deflects. A peal of laughter filters in through the window, this time Noct’s, and he shakes his head. Maybe it was a good idea to give them some breathing room. He can’t remember the last time those three had been in the same place together. “There’s going to be a lot of that tonight.”

 

Ignis looks unruffled, smiling slightly as he walks past him back to the bedroom, “Let them have their fun.”

 

It couldn’t hurt.

 

The sun sets in Lestallum. Ignis excuses himself to take a shower while Gladio takes inventory of their stock. Emptying his bag, he evaluates the trinkets he’d recovered over the past few battles. A few garnet bracelets, a green choker. Nothing exceptional, but they may be able to get a few gil from them at the market. It’s something to consider. They’re doing well right now, with the abundance of monster hunts, but he’d rather not be caught without extra gil should they need.

 

He sighs, sitting down on the bed, running a hand over his face. He feels tired all of a sudden, like the weight of the day’s just decided to fall on his shoulders. Everything’s in order, but he feels cagey and drained.

 

The bedsheets are plush beneath his fingers, silky soft and forgiving, unlike the sleeping bags and mats he’d become accustomed to after the last few weeks of camping. He doesn’t mind rough living. It’s no secret to the group he enjoys camping and the natural world a good deal more than most people. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t appreciate nice lodgings when they get them. He should be content.

 

But the conversation with Ignis lingers in his mind.

 

He runs his fingers along the sheets idly, the tactile sensation somewhat soothing his nerves. The bathroom door creaks open and Ignis emerges, wearing loose pajama pants and a light tank top, his hair still damp from the shower. It’s rare sight. Although weeks on the road have exposed them to each other time and time again, Ignis’s private nature kept him more or less composed in front of the rest of them.

 

Something sticks in his throat at the sight of seeing Ignis so vulnerable, his prim and manicured appearance eschewed for the rare abandon of comfort. He slips on his glasses and notices Gladio’s stare.

 

“I’m sorry, was I in there for too long?” Ignis inquires, frowning slightly.

 

“No, nothing like that,” He replies, rising to stand. He weighs the words in his head a moment before continuing, “What was all that stuff with my dad earlier?”

 

Ignis raises an eyebrow in surprise.

 

The words come out gruffer than intended. He realizes he’s angry a moment too late. Deep down there’s a smoldering irritation at having been persuaded to discuss that which would best be left alone. Of being tricked into dropping his guard. He hadn’t asked for Ignis’s concerns or his wellbred empathy. Before their arrival in Lestallum, he had been doing a perfectly good job dealing with his father’s death on his own.

 

“I wanted to see if you were okay,” Ignis says slowly, warily approaching the bed. The room feels smaller with a current of tension running through it, the lavishness of the suite reduced to the five feet that separate him and Ignis. Disagreements between them were rare and usually regarded the approach not the goal. He always respected the man’s opinions even if sometimes he didn’t share them. But then Gladio had never felt like he was being handled by the younger man. It sets fire to him.

 

“What makes you think I’m not?” He pushes, primed to defend himself.

 

“Aside from avoiding all questions to do with the matter?” Ignis parries, they seldom fight but there’s a quickness to his response that belies great thought on the matter, “You haven’t seemed to have a reaction at all. I thought you may want to talk about it.” There’s the ghost of heat along his words, disapproval steamed into them.  It’s a tone typically reserved for Noct at his most petulant and Gladio would recognize it anywhere.

 

“Yeah, well I don’t.” He isn’t interested in the emotional services offered by a servant of the Crown. Deep down, he knows that Ignis cares about Noct deeply, that his service comes as much from duty as it does a great affection for the young prince. That doesn’t change the fact that taking care of him is his responsibility, one that doesn’t and shouldn’t extend to Gladio. Lines have been drawn.

 

He won’t be another one of Ignis’s responsibilities.

 

Silence hangs in the air, every passing second a condemnation of Ignis’s good intentions. Painfully, Gladio lets it drag on until the other man can’t stand it.

 

“Fine,” Ignis replies curtly, disappointment written across his face, “far be it for me to care about your wellbeing.” He turns away from him, but Gladio intervenes, catching his arm in his hand.

 

“Hey,” he says firmly, unwilling to let the issue drop.

 

Gladio doesn’t know what he wants to say despite having more than a few thoughts on the matter and it becomes becomes startlingly clear when he realizes how close he is to Ignis, his grip firm against the man’s bicep. Ignis looks back at him, high color in his cheeks. Disapproval doesn’t give way to surprise, rather Gladio finds himself pinned by sharp green eyes. He’s as upset as he’s ever seen him, in the demurely controlled way only Ignis can be, and it flickers something in Gladio’s chest.

 

Guilt and arousal twist inside him at having elicited such emotion from the man.

 

“What?” Ignis snaps.

 

On brutal impulse, Gladio kisses him.

 

The second he goes in he can almost taste the regret on his tongue, but he can’t stop himself. One fight and he’s willing to torch years of cooperation, respect, and camraderie in the name of making a rather incriminating point. The man is asking too much to have him dance around this thing between them as long as they have. Pretending like decorum could act as a cheap substitute for affection. He’ll take what he can get, even if it is only a kiss stolen in the heat of the moment.

 

Ignis doesn’t react. Rather, he meets slack lips. More than anything, he wills them to move. Give me something. Initial surprise is one thing, but after a few seconds he pulls back. His heartbeat is galloping in his chest. The room feels painfully still, the air between them taut.    

 

“Gladio,” Ignis says carefully, as if afraid to break the silence with his name.

 

“Sorry,” Gladio mumbles, releasing Ignis’s arm. As though the perfect combination of an insincere apology and avoidance can erase the last thirty seconds from history. Self loathing floods his being. He’s exposed himself for Ignis to see and for what? To jeopardize their relationship, to compromise their goal? Noct needs them at their best, Lucis does too.

 

He needs to leave, to get out of the room for awhile.

 

While Gladio loses his composure, Ignis seems to regain his. He doesn’t allow Gladio an easy escape rather he grabs at Gladio’s shirt front, regaining his attention with a small tug. Gladio looks back up at him.

 

“No, you’re not,” Ignis tuts, correcting him primly even as he pulls him closer. Gladio doesn’t need much convincing to move with him even as his self doubts fights to hold on. Just standing in front of him feels vaguely dizzying, “Besides, I suppose it’s my fault as well.” Ignis continues, looking a shade guilty even as a smile twitches at his mouth. He smoothes the front of Gladio’s shirt down, none too carefully, as his fingers skim down along his chest as well. He sighs, “It’s been some time, hasn’t it?”

 

Before Gladio has a chance to respond, Ignis meets him with a kiss and it’s like someone’s taken the floor out from beneath him. Ignis kisses him like it’s restitution, like it’s a promise he’d always meant to make. Gladio meets him fiercely, nipping at his bottom lip. Ignis laughs a low breathy chuckle.

 

It seems he wasn’t alone in his frustrations after all.

 

All of the anger inside him dissipates, overcome by a wave of relief and the steadily growing hunger for more. The heady pleasure of kissing gives way too more lecherous intentions. Slipping a hand under Ignis’s shirt, he skims the firm planes of muscle.

 

Gladio nods over to the bed, eyebrow raised, “You want to take this to the bed?”

 

Caught in his arms, Ignis half groans, “Is that even a question?”

 

Reluctantly they break apart to undress, Gladio sloughing open shirt off his shoulders easily while Ignis makes short work of his tank top. Gladio hungrily appraises him. He looks even better shirtless. All sharp angles and trim waist. The tank top puddles at the side of the bed, and Gladio can’t bite back a little jab, as he crowds him, “What, you’re not gonna fold it?”

 

“Should I?” Ignis practically purrs, catching Gladio’s belt buckle with nimble fingers. Gladio meets him for a kiss while Ignis tugs loose the leather belt, the leather snapping free from the belt loops with a hiss. He pops open the button and unzips Gladio’s fly coyly without so much as a glance, slender fingers lingering near his cock for a second before pushing down the offending clothing entirely. Gladio’s pants hit the floor with a soft thud.

 

“I wouldn’t worry about it.”

 

Smirking, Gladio leads Ignis back towards the bed until the back of his knees touch the edge.

 

“You know I’m not made of glass, Gladio,” Ignis remarks wryly, glancing behind him at the mattress. There’s a mischeivous expression on his face Gladio wants to chase with his tongue, full lips turned up with amusement. With a firm hand at his shoulder, Ignis easily switches their positions and pushes Gladio backward onto the bed. He lands on his shoulders, registering the soft grain of the fabric for only about a second when it’s interrupted by the warm and heavy weight of Ignis astride his lap. The surprise drives him crazy. 

 

Not one to be outdone, Gladio rolls with the change easily. Leaning up to meet him, he pulls Ignis tightly into his lap, his hands firm against around his ass.

 

“Oh yeah?” Gladio replies in low voice, burying his face in Ignis’s throat, kissing greedily, his breath hot against his neck, “You look pretty delicate to me, Iggy.” Squeezing his ass, he pulls him in closer to grind against him, his cock already thick against his stomach. Ignis groans above him, one his hands tangling in Gladio’s hair while the other struggles to find purchase on the tattooed feathers decorating Gladio’s back. The friction between them isn’t nearly enough to satisfy, but Gladio isn’t in a rush.

 

Kissing along the column of Ignis’s neck he savors the Ignis’s clean smell, the taste of salt and faint chemical aftertaste his soap leaves on his tongue. Blood warm and inviting, it takes everything in him to be mindful and leave only gentle kisses. He doubts Ignis would be amused if he left any marks even if he wouldn’t mind seeing them. Dusty rose marks blooming out from the top of his collar, the mental image is enough to get Gladio hard all on it’s own.

 

Rolling them over, Gladio takes advantage of the higher ground, groping Ignis through his pajama pants until he hisses. The thin fabric does little to muffle his advances, even less to conceal the man’s arousal. Gladio palms Ignis shamelessly as he nudges the man’s legs a little further open with his knees. Ignis kisses him needily, dragging his nails along Gladio’s back.

 

Then there’s a whump.

 

They both freeze. Ignis pulls back. There’s no doubt that the noise came from the adjacent room. Gladio looks into his alert green eyes as they listen for something to react to. Laughter erupts from the other room. Gladio relaxes, his muscles untense. More than likely one of the kids just fell of the bed or something stupid like that. Ignis doesn’t relax as easily, his exhale a little less relieved.

 

“False alarm,” Gladio murmurs, playing the tension off as nothing. If he’d entertained the idea that there was any threat of danger he’d have been there in an instant, but with the three of them together after such a long time Gladio suspected they weren’t in for a quiet night. Hell, Iris was the one of the most well behaved girls he knew until she had friends over for sleepovers.

 

Obviously, Ignis didn’t have his insight into the behavior patterns of teenage girls. Undeterred, Gladio brushes Ignis’s hair from his face, his hair still cool to the touch, freshly dried. 

 

“Yes well, I suppose it’s to be expected,” Ignis murmurs, a little chagrined. Mindful of his glasses, he sets them on the nightstand. Ignis is an attractive man, but without the distraction of the glasses he’s really quite striking. Gladio takes advantage of the rare opportunity to admire him without the pretense of professionalism. There were parts of him he couldn’t sneak looks at even at his most vigilant, parts carefully concealed beneath a smooth veneer of self control.

 

Ignis sighs in the heavy way he does when they’ve been driving for too long and the sun’s kissing the horizon and his focus turns returns to Gladio. His hand slides from Gladio’s back to his neck, slipping along the broad width of his shoulder. He looks almost lustfully pensive, his eyes lingering along the sharply lined rows of feathers tattooed onto curving and responsive muscle. There’s something in his eyes he can’t read so Gladio doesn’t try. Instead, he dips in to kiss his neck.

 

“Like what you see?”

 

“Very much so,” Ignis murmurs.

 

They kiss until the distraction falls to the wayside. Ignis dips a hand underneath the waistband of Gladio’s black boxer brief, palming him lewdly. It as much teasing as Gladio can take. Leaning back on his heels, Gladio pushes Ignis’s further up on the bed easily and strips the last of his clothing. Ignis watches him as he digs into his bag for lubricant and a couple condoms stashed in a secret compartment because as much as he’s reluctant to admit it to someone as composed and together as Ignis, casual hookups are a far larger part of his repertoire than the rest of boys would think and he’s prepared for these kind of interludes.

 

“Give it here,” Ignis beckons with a hand, positioning himself a little more comfortably against the plush hotel room pillows. Gladio figured he’d handle it, but he tosses over the bottle regardless. Ignis can make all the plays he wants as long as he’s under him at some point in the evening. His pants, however, remain Gladio’s priority, hooking his fingers on the waistband he tugs them loose, revealing Ignis’s achingly pink cock. He grabs his own length which has been far too neglected for his liking at this point, thumbing the head, already slick with precum.

 

“Whatever you say, boss,” Gladio says, watching him hungrily at his feet, stroking idly.

 

Dribbling the lube over two fingers, Ignis raises his knees to a better angle, sighing slightly as he circles his hole a moment before dipping a slender finger inside. Gladio watches raptly, the cant of his hips as he penetrates himself lewdly as if completely alone As if stretching himself is a frequent, if indulgent, habit of he entertains in his spaire time. Gladio almost groans at the idea, his strokes picking up in pace. Somehow he doubts he’s far off in his suspicions.

 

Ignis groans softly as he adds another finger then another, stretching himself further with deliberate care. All the while watching Gladio through hooded eyes, teasing him. Look, don’t touch. Gladio positions himself Ignis’s knees, relishing how his breathing speeds up the closer he is. He picks up the bottle of lubricant, drizzling a little on his finger while Ignis watches. He dips his fingers to meet with Ignis’s, tight pressure yielding against their ministrations.

 

Ignis’s squeeze shut with pleasure and he makes a low noise in his throat. Some rules needed to be broken. There’s a wryness in his smile when they let Noct run loose, far and carefree into battle, that agrees with that statement.

 

“Couldn’t help myself,” Gladio offers by way of non apology, thrusting his fingers into Ignis even as his have withdrawn. He scissors his fingers and Ignis twitches against him, a twinge of pleasure running through him. Gladio surveys him hungrily, honey colored eyes at the line of his throat, his parted lips, “What do you think? You ready for me, Iggy?”

 

“Yes.” 

 

Tearing the foil packet, Gladio slides a condom on and positions himself between Ignis’s legs, catching the backs of his knees under his arms and bending him almost in half. Flexibility isn’t an issue as Ignis yields to him easily. He teases at penetration, cherishing the sharp intake of breath Ignis takes in anticipation, his arousal tight against his belly, leaking precum messily.

 

When he sinks in, it’s one inch at a time, as slow as he can bear. He listens to Ignis’s breathing, the soft sounds that he makes as he swallows him one second at a time. He’s so tight around him that it takes everything in Gladio to stay the course, to wait for Ignis to accomodate to his presence before thrusting him at the insistent tempo his body is screaming for.

 

Instead, he grips the bedsheets in his hand, listening to the heavy thud of his heartbeat and Ignis’s evening breathing near his head. There’s a light film of sweat on both of them, the flush of arousal darkening Ignis’s face into an almost feverish beauty. Seeing the pristine composure falter beneath him feels simultaneously stolen and gifted, not something that he’d felt he earned, but that he’d received nonetheless. His polished composure long gone, Ignis looks at him with wanton hunger.

 

He starts thrusting slowly and Ignis wraps his arms around his neck, his fingers raining down on his back muscles for purchase. It hurts in a way that makes his skin tingle and sets his back ablaze. It’s almost punishing.

 

“Gladio,” Ignis sighs, voice soft and needy.

 

“Hmm.”

 

“Fuck me.”

 

Vulgar words in a fancy accent, as if Gladio needed anymore weaknesses when it came to the man. For all his decorum, there’s a playful wickness in Ignis that goes straight to his groin. He leans down and kisses him sloppily. He doesn’t intend to keep Ignis waiting.   

 

He bucks into him, picking up the rhythm, thrusting him into harder and faster. If Ignis says he isn’t made of glass, Gladio’s won’t hold back. Ignis feels so hot and tight around him, a thick embrace that he could bury himself in. Ignis moans into his neck as Gladio hits the right spot over and over again. He’s only half successful in muffling the noise, but then Gladio hasn’t been all that quiet himself.

 

It’s not as if Iris hadn’t heard that kind of thing coming from his room before, all his precautions be damned.

 

Ignis is close to finishing, and if he’s not far behind. Dropping a hand between them, Gladio takes Ignis in hand. Slicking his hand with precum, he grips it just shy of painful, pumping it in time with his thrusts. Ignis gasps around him as his nails dig deep into his back. Gladio can almost see the raised pink lines in the mirror tomorrow morning.

 

“Come on, Iggy. Come for me,” Gladio groans, low and demanding, jerking him off mercilessly.

 

Ignis comes with a groan, come spilling across his stomach and chest. Gladio doesn’t last much longer, his orgasm crashing down on him like wave only a few thrusts later. Leaning over him, he catches his breath a moment before pulling out and rolling to the side. He disposes of the condom in the nearby wastebin. Ignis’s legs drop in his absence and he lies there, his long fingers trace along a stripe of come on his stomach as he catches his breath.

 

Gladio notices the mess. He snags a lump of black fabric from the ground, his boxer briefs he realizes as he grabs them, and offers them to Ignis.

 

“Here.”

 

Ignis looks at him for a moment and then barks with laughter, “Gladio, we’re in a hotel I think I can forgo using your boxers as a washcloth.” Gladio finds himself grinning at his own idiocy as Ignis laughs harder at the absurdity suggestion. Pulling himself together, Ignis excuses himself to the bathroom, returning to the bed slightly less mussed.

 

They don’t say anything when he returns, but the silence is comfortable. Ignis tugs down the top sheet and Gladio gets off the bed to slip under the sheets with him. They’d slept in the same bed countless times since their trip had begun, though usually it was Noct was curled up by his side in a deep catlike sleep, not Ignis. The drawerside lamp flickers off and the room submerges into darkness. Gladio exhales.

 

“Good night, Gladio,” Ignis mumurs, kissing his cheek before turning over to fall asleep.

 

“ ‘Night Ignis.”

 

He wakes up before Ignis does when the sun is just beginning to peek over the horizon. Shifting slightly, he finds Ignis in his arms, long legs interwined with his own and he sighs into his hair. It’s a welcome surprise. Gladio falls back asleep.

 

When he awakes a second time, Ignis is gone. He regards the empty puddle of sheets in front of him before leaning up to sit. The room’s now fully lit with the risen run. Ignis is already fully dressed across the room, speaking with someone at the door. Probably Jared, Gladio surmises. Talcott’s bubbly laughter emanates from the hall and he knows he isn’t wrong. Ignis nods and excuses himself, noticing Gladio’s awoken presence as he presses the door shut.

 

“Good morning,” Ignis greets him warmly, adjusting his driving glove even as his eyes roam Gladio’s very much exposed upper body.

 

“Hey,” Gladio climbs out of bed without care for his state of undress. He walks over to Ignis. Ignis to his credit manages to keep his eyes above the neck. Gladio rests a heavy palm on Ignis’s hip, his warmth bleeding through the leopard print button down effortlessly.

 

“Jared was just saying he’d like to take us on a tour of Lestallum, shows us the sights,” Ignis informs him, a smile twitching at his mouth. Distracting Ignis from business is surprisingly easy. Gladio is pleased.

 

“Is that so?”

 

“Mmhm.”

 

“I’d rather stay here,” Gladio replies, knowing full well that they would be going on a tour with an excitable ten year old at what he guessed was around eight in the morning. Not the most appealing early morning activity, there were several others he’d prefer that he could list off the top of his head, but then it was an offer from family. Ignis wouldn’t allow them to behave as poor houseguests, hotel dwelling technicalities aside.

 

“I would as well, but there’s nothing to say we can’t come back,” The thin calfskin leather tickles across his chest.

 

“Ignis,”

 

“Yes?”

 

Gladio kisses him and Ignis relaxes into him, kissing him back tenderly, a soft gloved hand cupping his jaw. Gladio still doesn’t have the words for what he wants to say to him, but he has the actions, the soothing reminders to Ignis that he’s here. They break apart reluctantly, a slight flush dusting Ignis’s cheeks. They need to get ready for the day, Gladio needs to shower and get dressed. But they can come back to this, carve rare moments for themselves out of the journey ahead.

 

At least, Gladio hopes so.