The hunt wasn’t supposed to be as difficult as it turned out to be. The brief was simple: kill the anaks that were constantly blocking traffic, turn the bounty in and sleep so much he’d develop bed sores. At least, according to Prompto, that was meant to be the schedule for the day. However, things can never not be eventful. The entire battle was utter chaos; the noise caused more confusion than an actual Confusion spell. Herding the anaks away from the road was one thing; actually taking them down was a whole other story.
Prompto knew that charging in with the others was a terrible idea, especially since Ignis pointedly asked him to not stick around them. He knew it wasn’t Ignis being rude; he knew that as a ranged fighter, his place on the battlefield was to not simply kill, but to incapacitate anything attacking his friends and if he were to shoot to kill, he would specifically have to kill the ones on the flanks. The strategy had a good success rate. That was until a rogue anak decided to head-butt Prompto’s abdomen. There was no time for him to register what was about to happen. The anak attacked with such force that Prompto lost his ability to put up his defenses.
He didn’t know exactly how long he’d been lying in the dirt, but judging by the tinge of panic in Gladio’s voice, it was entirely too long. With a few false starts, Prompto managed to lift himself off the ground and trudged towards the rest of the group. Gladio exhaled in relief when Prompto appeared in front of them. However, he didn’t miss the way Prompto’s face contorted and smoothed to the point Prompto adopted a stony demeanour. They’d gathered around Noctis and Ignis, who had hoisted Noct up to pour a potion on a gash that had blossomed on his head. Noctis woke up a few moments later, helped up by Ignis to steady himself.
“You alright Blondie?” Gladio murmured, trying his best not to push Prompto.
Prompto glanced up at Gladio with the best version of natural cheer he could muster. “Yeah, fine, big guy.” He hoped that was a good enough veil to quell Gladio’s concern. He didn’t want to draw attention to himself, nor the fact that his stomach felt like it had dissolved. Maybe he could sneak a potion…
Ignis held his hand out, as if to summon an item from the armiger. For some reason, Prompto didn’t see anything appear from the ether.
Ignis let out a sigh, “looks like we’re out of potions. I suggest we head back to the haven now and drive out in the morning.” With a nod of agreement from everyone, Ignis led the group back to the haven. No potions…no potions…never gonna be able to get rid of the pain…gonna drop dead and rot in this fucking field and the others are gonna carry on…
Prompto felt a slap to his back, which drew him back to reality. The haven was right in front of him; sweet respite was mere metres away. He sped up and headed straight inside the tent, slipping into his sleeping bag. The pain in his abdomen only grew tighter, every nerve in his body firing off with increasing strength. All Prompto could do was curl in on himself, adopting the fetal position.
Ignis entered the tent when he realised how quiet the campsite was without their blond friend. Upon entering, his gaze fell on a too small figure making themselves tinier. Ignis wanted to beckon Prompto out to eat with the rest of the group, or at least get him to sleep in a more comfortable position. Alas, Ignis was in no position to disturb Prompto; after all, they’d had been too focused huddling together to direct their attention to Prompto. He could only hope this cloud of sadness would lift from the man he considered to be sunshine personified.
Unfortunately, the situation did not alleviate itself. Ignis had decided to sleep next to Noctis in order to ensure there were no ill effects of the concussion he suffered earlier in the day. However, there was nothing happening to Noct, rather, he heard shuffling and moaning from behind him, where Prompto lay. As soon as he turned around though, Prompto stilled, his face holding the same pained expression from before. This was not normal behaviour for Prompto, but forcing a response out of him would perhaps harm more than it would help. Ignis could wait until Prompto was ready.
Noctis struggled to lift his upper body up in a sitting position, eyes still clouded with sleep. The only reason he was awake was because it was so noisy outside, much like every other time they were at a haven. However, he noticed that there was a distinct lack of Prompto’s commentary. Instead he turned to his left, noticing a tuft of blond hair peeking out of the sleeping bag.
“P-Prom…dude, I woke up earlier than you…” Noctis drawled. He let out a rough chuckle and proceeded to shake Prompto awake. “Prom-pom, it’s not like you to sleep this long,” he sing-sung as he pulled Prompto’s shoulder to get him to lay him on his back. The image that appeared before Noctis was worse than anything he could ever imagine. Blood was dribbling out of Prompto’s mouth. Prompto was bleeding to death and all Noctis could do was stare dumbfounded by the scene unfolding in front of him. He didn’t know what else to do.
“Iggy!” In his haste to get help, Noctis forgot that he was still in his sleeping bag. This caused him to fall over and violently kick it off. He ran towards Ignis and Gladio, who were staring back at him in confusion, as they were not used to Noct being so energetic this early in the morning.
“Noct, what’s going on?” Ignis placed down the pots and turned towards him with an expression of mid exasperation. “If this is about another spider…” Ignis pushed his glasses back up.
Tears were threatening to spill down Noctis’ face as he struggled to explain what he’d seen inside the tent. The only two words he managed to spit out: ‘Prom’ and ‘blood’. That was all it took for Ignis to bolt past him, for Gladio to all but abandon the firewood he’d gathered earlier that morning.
Ignis attempted to brace himself for what he would possibly see. Yet, his resolve broke when he actually saw the state Prompto was in. Fortunately, he was still conscious. Unfortunately, with all the blood spilling out of his mouth, Prompto was running the risk of choking on his own blood. With great urgency, Ignis lifted Prompto up to wash out the blood inside his mouth. He motioned for Gladio to lift Prompto out of the sleeping bag. This action revealed an enormous bruise that had spread across his lower abdomen.
“We need to get him to a hospital now!” Ignis barked, picking Prompto up into a bridal carry. “Noct! Grab the car keys from my right jacket pocket. Lestallum is our safest bet for proper medical facilities. Gladio, break down the camp!” Gladio nodded in confirmation; setting to work whatever necessities they needed to pack up.
Ignis and Noctis set off in a sprint to get Prompto inside the car. However in their desire to be swift, Prompto whimpered into Ignis’ neck. Ignis had no choice but to slow down to a pace that wouldn’t jostle Prompto. He could only hope they could reach a doctor in time.
Prompto awoke to the sound of beeping. There was something funny in his nose, making it increasingly difficult to breathe. However, he couldn’t will his hand to move up to his face. Abandoning that task, he focused on clearing his vision to try to make sense about where in Ifrit’s pit he was. It resembled a room…a hospital room. Why was he in a hospital room?
“Oh, good. How are you feeling Mr. Argentum?” Prompto shifted his head in the direction of the disembodied voice.
“…The fuck is in my nose? Who you?” He mumbled as he attempted once again to remove the thing that was blocking his nose. Prompto’s panic was growing, as he still couldn’t figure out what was going on.
The nurse reached out to the hand Prompto was lifting up and gently lay it back down. “Mr. Argentum, I’d advise against removing the respirator. Seeing that you’re cognizant, I’ll go get the doctor.”
Prompto felt himself sink into the bed. What in the Six was going on? He tried to go back to sleep, but that wish was never granted as three familiar voices floated into the room and Prompto fought whatever sedatives the hospital gave him to see who was there. He looked up to see Noctis and Gladio sitting in the chairs to his right; Ignis however, opted to stand at the foot of his head. The atmosphere was thick with tension. Despite being the mood maker of the group, he had no solution to fix the somber state that had fallen upon the boys.
It was Ignis who broke the silence. “Prompto, you should’ve spoken up. You had internal bleeding. You went to sleep bleeding from the inside!” Ignis’ voice intensified to the point he was practically yelling at Prompto.
“Iggy, calm down!” Gladio had to grab onto Ignis before he destroyed anything.
“It was a bruise…” He didn’t understand why everyone was fussing over him getting a bruise. “It’s fine.”
Gladio let go of Ignis’ arm and turned towards Prompto with a look that was a mix of confusion and exasperation. “Prom, a bruise is internal bleeding. You should’ve learnt this during your first-aid training.”
“Okay, now I know. Even so, there was nothing any of you could’ve done,” Prompto retorted.
“I’m sure there could be a way-”
“You used the last potion on Noctis! Were you just going to pull a secret bottle out of your ass?” Prompto’s voice was broken halfway through his mini tirade. Ignis backed down. Gladio fixated his gaze to the floor. Noctis was shaking. There was no room for argument in this case. Prompto had sworn to protect Noctis when he was initiated as a Crownsguard, even if it was at the cost of his own welfare. Therefore, letting Noctis take the potion – even if his injuries are worse – was just part of the job.
When the tension present in the room was still palpable, Prompto knew that he had to diffuse it somehow. “Can we just move on? I didn’t die, Noct is fine, Gladio’s fine, and you’re fine Iggy. No need to make this any more depressing.”
Again, Prompto left no room for argument. With that comment, Ignis moved closer to Prompto. He took a chair and sat on Prompto’s left side, petting his hair.
“Rest well Prompto. You’ve earned it.” Ignis swept a few stray strands from Prompto’s forehead and placed a kiss. Prompto took this as his cue to finally get some proper rest.