Noctis finds himself staring into his fridge, perplexed. He’d just slouched into the kitchen for a soda, and had gotten so far as popping the tab over the sink before pausing and doubling back.
There’s salad in his fridge. Not the work of Ignis, either. This is pre-made, packaged salad, with a printed expiry date. Ignis would probably set fire to it if he saw it. But that’s not all. The crisper is full of apples, there’s a suspiciously healthy-looking take out container, and there’s something called Hydra-Sport nestled in between the milk and sauce bottles in the door. There’s even a half-empty bottle of extra hot sauce in there that Noctis wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole.
There is also, much less distressingly, a clear plastic caddy filled with colourful wrappers. Curious, he pulls it out toward him a little, and he finds a large selection of candy bars, all his favourites, that he categorically did not purchase himself. Ignis is out of the question as a suspect, he carries on about Noctis’s diet enough as it is.
No, this is Prompto’s doing.
He closes the fridge carefully, and looks down at his soda. He doesn’t remember buying the soda either. It’s the kind that he secretly likes, even though Gladio insists it’s for children.
Maybe Prompto went grocery shopping. He does usually spend most of his free time in the apartment these days. His own apartment is perpetually empty and lonely anyway, what with his eternally absent parents, and Noctis doesn’t like the thought of him pottering around in the quiet, wondering if anyone will turn up for dinner. Certainly not when he can be here with Noctis, systematically beating all his video game high scores and forcing B-grade movies about chocobo farms upon them both.
Noctis shuffles into the living area and glares at the most recent offender, the cover still left hanging haphazardly off the edge of the coffee table where he had thrown it. The plastic case is pink and glittery, which did not in any way prepare either of them for the traumatic and prolonged chocobo chick illness plotline that well and truly ruined their night. He shudders. If it wasn’t a rental, he’d have thrown the damn thing out with the trash.
The living area is also worthy of a closer look, he finds. One of Prompto’s work shirts is hanging up on a clothes hanger by the balcony, air drying before his shift tomorrow night. There’s a cute little succulent pot on the table, complete with a plastic cactuar figure stuck into the topsoil. A camera charger is coiled up neatly by the power point. Prom’s soft, fuzzy sweater is folded over the top of the couch, waiting to be pulled on when it gets cold late at night. That’s the intention, at least. It honestly doesn’t get used very often. Noctis has blankets stashed right by the couch, and he likes to cocoon them both with them while they use the TV.
He stands by the couch for a long moment, staring at the sweater. They have a routine.
He’s startled when the front door opens, turning around to find Ignis letting himself in, weighed down by grocery bags. He sets his soda down and goes to help, glancing one more time at the couch set up. Prompto’s favourite scarf is lying under one of the pillows.
“Hey, Ignis,” he greets, reaching out to take two of the bags. “Anything good?”
“Good evening, Noct,” Ignis says, slipping out of his shoes and lining them up neatly by the pile of mismatched sneakers. “Just the essentials, I’m afraid. You’ll have to make do with dinner.”
“That’s okay, Prompto bought a bunch of candy bars and stashed them in the fridge,” Noctis tells him, setting the bags on the kitchen counter.
“Did he now?” asks Ignis mildly. “Might I request that you restrain yourself until after we’ve eaten?”
Ignis sets his own bags down, rifles through them, and pulls out his notebook. Noctis dutifully starts packing things away while Ignis ponders over the meal possibilities. He finds that Ignis has brought a new bottle of milk that they didn’t need, and a different brand of butter to the one already in the fridge. He shuffles some things around to make room. Maybe they need to start coordinating.
“Where is Prompto?” Ignis asks suddenly, looking around expectantly as though he’s waiting for Prompto to materialize out of thin air.
Noctis straightens, narrows his eyes at his friend. “He said he had to do some cleaning at his apartment. Why?”
Ignis hums thoughtfully. “Just deciding what to make for dinner. Will he be back in time to eat? I had considered making that curry he likes. I believe I have everything I need.”
Noctis stares. Will he be back in time to eat? He doesn’t know. He’d assumed he might be. Prompto’s always in the apartment for dinner unless he’s working a late shift. They curl up on the couch together, or sit properly at the table if Ignis is over, or they lean against the counter in the kitchen, shoveling food into their mouths direct from the pan so they don’t have to clean up bowls.
Ignis expects him to be here. Ignis, who once tried to forbid a sleepover while they were in high school because it was “inappropriate”, is planning on making Prompto’s favourite meal for their dinner together.
Noctis is starting to think that he’s not as bright as his tutors told him he was.
“Ignis,” he starts, slowly. “I think Prompto is… living with me?”
Ignis turns to look at him with an expression so blank it’s honestly a little insulting. “You think.”
He shuffles his feet but then squares them, stubborn. “Yes.”
Ignis stares at him a moment, and then he sets down his notebook. Great, now he’s in for it. “You think Prompto is living with you,” Ignis echoes, in a voice so dry it could crack. “What led you to this conclusion, if I might ask?”
Noctis knows he’s being baited, but he still nods towards the kitchen. “The fridge,” he says mulishly.
“There’s, like, salad and electrolyte drink,” he explains, gesturing emphatically. “Prompto food.”
“I see,” Ignis says. “So, not the fact that Prompto sleeps here every night, or that he gets camera supplies delivered to this address, or that he’s now taken over laundry duty for you both.”
Noctis presses his lips together to avoid expressing surprise about that last one. He thought Ignis was still the poor soul that tended to his clothes before he could summon the interest to do it himself.
“Honestly, Noctis,” Ignis mutters. “You make a fuss anytime he so much as mentions his apartment.”
He feels himself flush a little, but Ignis isn’t wrong. He can recall with perfect clarity dozens upon dozens of instances of Prompto sitting up, making noises about going home, only for Noctis to drag him back down onto the couch, or into the bed, pressing obnoxious kisses into his scrunched-up face and telling him to, “Stay, stay here with me.”
Ignis sighs deeply at the look on his face. “I assume this means you have not discussed any of this with him.”
Noctis pauses. Shit. “No,” he admits. “I need to do that, like, now, huh?”
“That would be advisable,” Ignis agrees. “Why don’t you call him now? I’ll get started on dinner shortly. He should have enough time to get back here before it’s done.”
“Thanks, Specs,” Noctis says, smiling weakly. “Yeah, I’ll… call him. Hey, wait.”
Ignis dutifully pauses in the entrance to the kitchen, arches his brow. “What is it?”
“Prom, uh. He’ll want to, right? I’m not gonna… scare him off?”
Ignis seems to need a moment to digest that. He takes a deep, regulating breath. He reaches up to adjust his glasses. “Noctis. Dear Noctis. Have you actually met Prompto? Yea high, blonde hair, clearly thinks the sun shines out of your arse?”
“Hey,” he protests, scowling. “You know I’m not great at this stuff.”
“Yes, well, thank goodness you have me, I suppose,” Ignis sighs, turning his back on the conversation and retreating into the kitchen.
Noctis stares after him a long moment, pouting. “So, that’s a yes, right?”
“Call him, Noct.”
Prompto picks up almost immediately, which is both good and bad for his nerves. “Hey,” he chirps. “Miss me already?”
He doesn’t flush at that. He doesn’t. “No way. I just wanted to check you hadn’t tripped over the vacuum cord again, but if this is how you’re gonna be--”
“That was one time,” Prompto splutters.
Noctis smiles. “Yeah, well, if we add that time to both times you fell down the stairs, as well as the roof incident--”
“I get it, I get it,” Prompto sighs. “One day you’ll trip over something and you will never hear the end of it, buddy.”
“I probably won’t break any bones though,” he snickers.
“Why are you laughing at my pain, jerk? What do you even want?” But he’s laughing as he talks, and it makes the knot in Noct’s chest ease incrementally.
“Maybe you’ll forgive me when I tell you what’s for dinner.”
“More like I’ll forgive Ignis,” Prompto says, snorting. “Anyway, I dunno, Noct, I haven’t made much headway here. There’s, like, so much dust. I’ll feel like the dust has won.”
Noctis rolls his eyes fondly. “Well, is vanquishing the dust more important than the curry you’ve been bugging Iggy about for months?”
He can hear him suck in a breath through his teeth. “It… probably should be, but I guess I have been pretty intimidating in here today with my big scary duster. The dust looks pretty beat down, you know? I don’t wanna be, like, tyrannical about it.”
Noctis grins, and only hesitates for maybe half a second. “Good. You should come home.”
There’s a pause. Then a soft laugh. “Aww, you do miss me.”
“I do,” he admits freely. “Jerk. Whenever you go back there, I wish you’d stayed here. At home.” He chews at his lower lip nervously. “Your home. If, if you want, that is.” There’s another brief, terrifying pause, and Noctis barges on, desperate to fill the silence. “I mean, I just, I’ve been asking you to stay here without actually following through. And, gods, you’re still paying rent there, and I didn’t even think to, like, make it official or anything, or ask if you want that. So I’m just… asking. Because it already is your home, if you want it to be, and I really want it to be, and you must think--”
“Noct,” Prompto interrupts, voice thick with what might be a laugh. “You, you’re rambling. That’s my thing.”
“Right, sorry.” He smiles. “So, uh. Do you wanna live with me? Officially. As in we change your address and you never go back to that empty apartment and Ignis doesn’t have to tell me to stop whining?”
“Yeah,” Prompto breathes, and his little choked-up laugh might be the best thing Noctis has ever heard. “Yeah, I, I want that.”
“Thank the gods,” Noctis wheezes. “Can you come home now?”
Prompto laughs properly this time, and agrees.
Ignis is insufferable about the whole thing, but that’s not really unexpected.
When he finally hears the door unlock, Noctis lifts his head, suddenly strangely anxious. Prompto appears in the living area, looking exhausted and also unusually pink in the face. He greets Ignis and then makes a beeline for the couch, where he collapses and buries his face in Noctis’s shoulder, headbutting him gently.
“Hi,” Noctis says fondly, relief rushing through him. He didn’t mess anything up.
“Can’t believe you did that over the phone,” Prompto mumbles, not lifting his face. “I swear I was red the whole train ride here.”
Noctis grins. He folds himself down over Prompto a little, kissing the top of his head. “Sorry. I just… realized I’d somehow forgotten to say it before now.” He slumps down a little, letting Prompto lie on top of him, and wraps his arms around his boyfriend’s back. “Welcome home.”
Prompto squirms, and what Noct can see of him is bright red, but he manages to free his arms and squeeze Noctis back firmly. “Good to be home.”
“Don’t get too comfortable,” Ignis calls out. “Dinner’s almost ready.”
Prompto moves his face to the side just enough so that his mouth isn’t muffled against Noctis’s shirt. “It smells amazing! Thanks, Iggy!”
“I suppose you can think of it as a house warming gift,” Ignis chuckles.
Noctis sits upright quickly, inadvertently dislodging Prompto who squawks in protest. “No way, Specs, we’re having a proper house warming.”
“Noct, you’ve lived here for years,” Prompto laughs, trying to right himself on the couch. “And I mean, I barely have anything left at my apartment to move in here.”
“It’s the principal,” he replies, sticking out his chin. “I had a house warming when I moved here, and so will you.” He reaches out to thread his fingers through Prompto’s, tugging his hand close. “It can just be the four of us, or five if Iris is around, and we can watch something with dinner. Nice and simple.”
“That sounds good,” Prompto admits, smiling softly at him.
“I assume I’ll be catering this event,” Ignis says mildly.
“And,” Noctis goes on, blithely ignoring Ignis for now. He thinks maybe it would be nice if he tried to cook something with Prompto for the night, but he’s wary of poisoning their guests. “You get to pick the movie and no one’s allowed to object.” Half a second passes before he feels real, urgent regret. “No, wait. One stipulation.”
“No chocobo movies,” Prompto sighs, resigned. “Don’t worry, I think I learnt my lesson.” He holds a hand up to his heart, and it would be solemn if not for the poorly masked smirk on his face. “I, Prompto Argentum, hereby swear as the ruling member of this household that I will rent chocobo movies no more.”
Noctis would take issue if he felt as though he could. At no point in their relationship has he ever denied Prompto anything. His fridge is a testament to that. Their fridge, in their home.
Instead, he drags his boyfriend into a hug and mumbles, “Thank the Astrals,” into his neck, and if he maybe sounds a little too sincere to be joking about terrible movies, the others politely ignore it.