They might’ve had silly things (like boundaries and personal space), once upon a time. You sleep in that corner, and I’ll try to lay precariously on the edge of the bed so our legs don’t touch – kind of a thing.
But it’s not really like that anymore.
Gladio is a camping enthusiast, and Noctis is anything but, so it’s a flip-flop; back and forth between safe havens, and forking over the cash for a decent bed. Either way, it’s the same to Prompto.
He’ll wake up with an arm over his chest or knees kicked against his; they chuck off clothes and lounge without care because, well. They’re all guys.
That’s the excuse, isn’t it?
Prompto is really good at pretending. He’s been playing this game for a long time. He’s a friggin’ expert.
It doesn’t bother him so much anymore. Yeah, Prompto spends every hour of every day with some of the most attractive people on this side of the hemisphere, but que sera, sera.
They have it down to clockwork. They used to argue over who shared a bed with who – stop shoving your elbow in my face – well maybe if you kept your bony KNEES out of my ass we wouldn’t have this problem – but Gladio is the biggest and Prompto is the smallest, so apparently it makes sense for them to bunk together.
(He’s also the warmest, so Prompto stopped complaining. It beats sharing with Noctis, who definitely kicks in his sleep. God bless Ignis and his everlasting patience).
They’re in a room tonight, which means — beds! Real beds!
Prompto flops face forward on the mattress and moans. Ignis sets his phone at the bedside table, and Noctis mirrors Prompto in the other bed.
“Oh my god,” Noctis groans. “Sheets. Mattress. My sweet forbidden lovers.”
“Drama queen,” Gladio chides, and sits by Prompto’s feet. “Solid ground is-“
“-good for my back, which I’m willing to argue against at a future time,” Noctis muffles. It’s cute, and Prompto snorts a laugh.
“Is it best we pull lots for the shower?” Ignis asks.
“I’ll go last.” Noctis presses into the sheets even more.
“You’ll go now.” Gladio kicks off his shoes. “Or you’ll go never.”
“I’m fine with that.”
“Not fine,” Ignis picks at the back collar of his jacket and pulls. “You will sully the sheets. All in favor of his Highness having first shower?”
Prompto really wanted that hot water, but Noctis looks about ready to crash where he sits. Plus, Noctis’s arms are all smudged with mud from that run-in with the goblins, so —
Noctis makes a groaning noise, and with a little more prodding from Ignis, he sways to his feet. Ignis has this magical power of being the only person alive capable of telling Noctis what to do. It’s kind of amazing.
But, then again. There isn’t much Prompto wouldn’t do for Iggy, either.
Noctis shuffles into the bathroom, and wiggles the doorhandle shut.
“Night’s still young,” Gladio checks the clock. “Anyone down for a game?”
Prompto rolls to his back. Gladio has already lost the vest, and leans his weight on one arm. If Prompto has a really nice view of his back, then it’s morally not his fault.
“Did you bring the cards?”
“I’ll wager in a round of poker,” Ignis says, cleaning off his glasses with a spare cloth.
“What’re the stakes?”
“No more chores, please,” Prompto whines.
“You only sayin’ that ‘cause you owe the Regalia five more waxes,” Gladio laughs.
“That’s exactly what I’m saying.”
“Six more,” Ignis corrects. Prompto groans.
“What about the old-fashioned way?” Gladio rubs his fingers together. “Gil.”
“I’m dead broke, bro. All I can offer is my body.”
“Which isn’t saying much,” Gladio says, and then laughs when Prompto kicks out at his thigh.
Ignis pulls out the deck of cards, and starts to run his thumb down the side in a shuffle. “I say, have we played Rummy before?”
“No, then,” Ignis bridges the cards, and taps them on the side table. “I am pleased to say it does not require gambling.”
Gladio frowns, “Mm.”
“It’s quite fun, I assure you.”
“I’m down,” Prompto sits up.
Ignis gives them a simplified explanation of the rules, to which Gladio grunts easy ‘nuff, and sits criss cross next to Prompto on the bed. Their knees bump, and Ignis deals them a hand.
Prompto has set down the first meld of the game when the bathroom door swings open. Steam bellows through, and Noctis sways in smelling like the bar of soap they’ve been sharing for the last week.
“Hey, you’re playing without me?” He patters over to his bag and rummages for clean clothes, effectively and completely distracting Prompto from any real train of thought. The towel is hitched at his waist, and gods is it small.
“Apologies. You looked rather tired,” Ignis says.
“Well I’m awake now.” Noctis drops the towel and wiggles into clean boxers, and Prompto stares laser-focused at his cards. “Deal me in, Specs.”
“Here, take my hand,” Gladio waves his cards. “I’ll jump in the shower real quick.”
Prompto huffs, “Hey – is that allowed?”
“It is now,” Noctis says, and bounces onto the bed next to Prompto; who squawks, jumping to keep his card piles from falling on the floor.
Ignis pushes up his glasses with a resigned sigh, “We are hardly playing correctly as is. Do you know the game, Noct?”
“Whassit, Rummy?” Noctis looks to his new cards, and scoffs. “God Gladio! Your hand fuckin’ sucks!”
Gladio laughs, and shuts the door to the bathroom.
They get through three more rounds, and Prompto keeps his gaze strictly on his cards. Noctis radiates heat next to him, and he still hasn’t thrown on a shirt yet, and his wet hair does something to Prompto’s insides.
Two more rounds, and Prompto realizes that Noctis is cheating.
“Stop looking at my cards!” Prompto pushes him. Noctis cackles.
“You hold your cards like a fan!” He mimics. “Iggy can see ‘em too.”
“Yes, but that does not mean I am actively looking,” Ignis says, and lays a card face down.
“That’s how you knew to match my discards!”
“Then don’t show your hand to the entire world.”
“Cheater! Cheater!” Prompto shouts.
“Off with his head!” Prompto and Ignis repeat together – and Gladio, faintly from behind the bathroom door. Prompto leans back and smirks.
“It’s unanimous, buddy.”
“I was dealt a shit hand!”
Prompto looks to Ignis for authority. Ignis, ever so distinguished with one leg crossed over the other, simply waves a hand and smiles.
“My apologies, your Highness. But rules are rules, and such.”
Noctis heaves himself from the bed with great pain. Prompto’s face hurts from smiling, because he knows what’s coming.
“I hate you guys.”
Noctis tucks one hand under his armpit, and with the most deadpan, wooden, utterly lifeless voice, he sings as he flaps his arm,
“Baby chocobo, do — do do do do.”
The bathroom door slams open, and more steam pours out; Gladio jerks through the doorway, but this time towel-less, nothing but his clothes bunched up and held at his waist.
“Fuck, I’m missing it.”
“Mama chocobo, do — do do do do,” Noctis sings, and holds up two middle fingers as he flaps his arms. He looks absolutely ridiculous, and yet so cute Prompto would eat him whole if he could.
Noctis is now on one leg, hopping, “Daddy chocobo—“
“Hey, who’s next?” Gladio drops his clothes and damn, Prompto, chill. He’s wound up tonight, Six above.
“Prompto?” Ignis looks to him. “I assume you would enjoy some semblance of hot water tonight.”
“You can go,” Prompto gestures. He’ll need the cold shower anyways.
“Are you certain?”
“Yeah,” Prompto grins. “I’ll call dibs on first next time.”
Ignis smiles at him — eyes going all warm around the sides — and it lights Prompto up from the inside out. It’s not a look so easily caught, and it’s gone in a blink, but Prompto treasures it anyways.
Ignis stands fluidly, and is the only one with the common sense to take his clothes with him in the bathroom. Prompto ignores the shred of disappointment.
“Grandma chocobo, do — do do do do.”
The Lestallum market is lively as always. Children, families, live music and the smell of food-stalls.
The sun is hot, but the flimsy umbrellas give them an impression of shade. Gladio is leaning back in the plastic chairs, skewer in hand, animated as he speaks with the proprietor. The manager is a nice man, and its great food, but Prompto doesn’t have much of an appetite today.
He likes to watch Gladio talk to people. Gladio is just a people guy. He knows the right thing to say, and bleeds confidence in a way that Prompto will always be jealous of, probably. Prompto likes people, but sometimes he swallows his foot more than he’d like.
At least he’s not as bad as Noctis.
Prompto looks to him. Noctis is just as quiet today (which isn’t a surprise), but there’s a serious notch to his brows, and he’s looking at his food the same way Prompto feels.
It wasn’t a good day today.
The mood is good, the sun is high, but Prompto still feels embarrassment in his bones.
He doesn’t like being chewed out. But he hates the quiet resentment even more. The unhappy look on Ignis’s face. The frown set in Gladio’s features. He’d rather they yell.
But they have every right to be mad; Prompto tries to keep up, man does he really – but how on Eos was he supposed to see the Daggerquil swoop out of the sky like a friggin' missile. It knocked Prompto clean off his feet, and sent him head first over the cliff, and he’s never felt such a hard-jerk of adrenaline before.
Free falling, nothing to grab on to, lungs so tight he couldn’t even shout.
Noctis caught him, barely. All Prompto could see where holograms of blue; light and magic lingering as fingers gripped his arm. Noctis hauled him back over the ledge, with little to no thought of himself.
Gladio caught Noctis.
Gladio was not happy.
Noctis had all but scurried to Prompto’s side, hands on his face, panting “Are you okay?”
The genuine concern, the panic in his throat, the fingers on his cheeks – the look in Noctis’s eyes chilled Prompto down to the very bone.
It brought back feelings that he really shouldn’t think about.
Prompto pokes at his food.
Ignis may not be a social butterfly, but he’s excellent at reading a room; he looks between their long faces and hums, speaking a little louder to join the conversation.
“Saberclaws you say? Why, their hunting grounds are a short ride by chocobo.” Ignis smiles, and Prompto perks up.
“Brother, if you round up those bastards before the end of the night, I’ll feed ya’ for free,” the proprietor says.
“Can’t say no to that,” Gladio says. Noctis looks up from his plate, his interest piqued.
“Sure. My sis owns the motel down the lot. I could put in a good name for you, too.”
“Hm. You must really want those things gone,” Noctis says.
“They derail my shipments! I’ve been waiting on carrots for two months. A man can only use beetroot substitutes for so long, brother.”
“What say you, Prince?” Ignis gestures.
“For a motel stay? I’m in.”
Gladio rolls his eyes, but they’ve spent the last two nights camping outside Lestallum to save on cash, so Prompto knows he won’t put up a fight.
“Woohoo!” Prompto pumps his arm and beams. “It’s Chocobo time!”
Even if he wanted to, Prompto wouldn’t go back.
Despite the sweltering heat, the rampant daemons, the sore feet and the grime and the dirt; you can’t get views like this back in the city. You just can’t.
Desert nights give you a bravery you didn’t think you had. Something about flickery old motel lights, and stretches of blue-ish nothing. It makes you feel like you’re the only thing out here. Words like tomorrow are nonexistent.
Time doesn’t feel real anymore. Days of taking on bounties for a dinner’s pay; camping out in the woods and driving down mountainsides. Raiding tombs by day. Sharing a tent by night.
There’s a squeeze in Prompto’s heart, and it winds tighter by the hour. He waits for the shoe to drop; for the pain in his chest to finally snap – and maybe it’ll all blow over one day. But it simply continues to squeeze.
Prompto doesn’t know what he wants anymore.
Actually, that’s a lie.
Prompto says dumb shit at night. It must be some kind of curse, because Noctis comes to find him.
Ah, and in his time of weakness.
Prompto summons a grin, “Hey!”
“Mm.” Noctis slides next to him, feet kicking over the edge of the rooftop. “Whatcha’ doin’?”
“Clearing out pictures.” Prompto gestures with his camera. “Sick of the room already?”
“It really does smell like the inside of a boot,” Noctis says. “It’s so specific, but once you pointed it out I couldn’t stop thinking about it.”
Damn, Noctis is beautiful. Prompto shouldn’t stare, but the neon-red of the motel sign glows down the side of his neck. His sleeves are pushed to his elbows, and his hair is dusted with dirt, and his profile is so stunning, Prompto could just die.
He looks back to his camera. Noctis elbows him.
“Hey. What’s wrong?”
Noctis isn’t a tender sort. He’s not one to go out of his way for silly stuff like this. It only feeds the snake constricting around his chest.
“Jeez, these days…isn’t that a loaded question?” Prompto smiles. He tries to be light, but Noctis only turns more serious.
“You’ve been quiet today.” Noctis pauses. “This whole week. You dying?”
Prompto doesn’t trust himself anymore. Not since last Tuesday, when Noctis hauled him up and over a cliffside, and Prompto nearly kissed him on the spot.
It’s like poison in his mouth. If he keeps his lips shut, then maybe it won’t spill over.
Prompto shrugs, “Nah. Sorry man. Didn’t mean to freak you out.”
“Then what’s up?”
“Just one of those weeks, you know?” Prompto rolls his arm. “I wasn’t thrilled about being chucked over that cliff.”
Noctis’s eyes turn dark. He looks away. His voice is flat and mellow.
“That scared the shit out of me.”
“You and me both, bro.”
A breeze rustles through. It blows tumbleweeds across the empty highway. Prompto plays with the lens cap on his camera. He hates feeling so uncomfortable in his own skin. He hates feeling useless.
“Can I tell you something?”
Prompto tries not to swallow too loudly. He keeps his voice as steady as he can manage.
Noctis shifts a little, but his face is otherwise unreadable. He doesn’t look nervous. He looks tired. Prompto waits, because it’s no use trying to force anything out of Noctis. He eventually picks at the lace of his boot, and says,
“I didn’t want to get married.”
Prompto breathes in, lips slightly parted. He tries to mask his surprise.
“I love Luna,” Noctis says. “But never like that.”
Right. But who was Noctis to deny a request from his father – the king – in a promise of peace? A prince simply doing his duty. It makes Prompto hurt from the inside out.
“But you were going to anyways.”
Noct’s eyes turn dark, and his lips press tight.
“Yeah. But it was all for shit.” Noctis laughs, hallow, “Peace. What a load of crap.”
Prompto’s mouth falls beyond his control.
“Why don’t you love her?” He pauses, and then says, “Um. Like that.”
Noctis turns to look at him, and it’s like staring dead into the eye of a tornado. A storm sure to come, powerful and slow coming.
His words are steady, and enunciated low.
“You know why.”
Prompto feels struck numb. There’s something breathtaking in the vulnerability of it all.
They’ve known each other for a long, long time. Prompto never asked, and Noctis never said. But.
“Say it anyways,” Prompto whispers.
Noctis doesn’t miss a beat.
The whirlwind of a slow desert night, of neon lights and the smell of cigars; it’s a feeling free of consequence. Prompto’s heart is beating so fast, that his fear drowns in misplaced confidence.
“Can I tell you something?” Prompto asks.
Noctis blinks a softness into his eyes.
“I’ve had a crush on you since elementary school,” he says, in one breath. “And um. I’m sorry.”
Noctis looks floored. Prompto has his full attention, and its addicting.
“Yeah man.” Prompto sets his camera aside, in fear that he might drop it from his shaking hands. “Since…before I even knew who you were.” He laughs unevenly, “It’s kinda’ funny, isn’t it? You can laugh.”
Please laugh. Please, do something.
It’s all out there. Prompto wishes he could grab it and shove the words back in his mouth. Noctis continues to stare.
“Sorry,” Prompto says again. “It’s just. I could die tomorrow.” Any day, now. Yesterday. A week from tomorrow. “And I wanted you to know.”
A hand falls to his thigh. Prompto’s gaze is drawn to it, like a magnet. His skin tingles through the fabric.
“I’m tired of playing pretend,” Noctis says.
“Pretending – what?”
“That I don’t want the things I want,” Noctis draws his gaze – and Prompto feels struck by it.
“I liked you in Elementary school, too,” Noctis says. His hand rises to Prompto’s cheek. “I love you, now.”
“You’re not supposed to,” Prompto wavers.
Noctis meets his gaze head on. “No. But it’s like you said. We could die tomorrow.”
“Can I kiss you?” Prompto shakes, because he feels like he might die otherwise.
Noctis laughs a little, and draws him forwards, his other hand coming to cup the back of his head. Noctis kisses him so sure, so confident, it’s the complete starking opposite of how Prompto feels. Prompto closes his eyes and sighs, and when they kiss again it’s real, it’s really real.
Noctis tastes like salt, but kisses him sugar-sweet and tender. His fingers trace Prompto’s ears, callouses catching on earrings. Prompto’s arms raise with goosebumps, and Noctis shivers in response.
Noctis pulls back and smiles, of all things.
“Shut up,” Prompto giggles, and Noctis kisses him again.
It’s one of many.
It’s the one that starts everything.
It’s hard to want something for so long, and then to suddenly have it.
Prompto has adored Noctis as long as he can remember, and he has no idea what to do now; he’s dated girls, sure, but this is Noctis, and —
That’s just it. It’s just Noctis. Not much changes, except everything.
“Dude, gross!” Prompto takes some of the guts off his vest and flicks it his way. Noctis vaporizes, and then appears six feet away, doubled over and laughing.
Ignis pulls a handkerchief out of seemingly nowhere, and sighs as he dips it along Prompto’s neck. “Noct, really. Have some tact.”
“You just had to pop it next to me. Every force of nature was working against you. The only choice-“
“It was pretty funny,” Gladio says, and Noctis highfives him without looking.
“At least it is dead,” Ignis peers over at the carcass. “I suppose the Chocobos will sleep soundly tonight.”
Prompto takes the bandana and uses it to wipe the rest off his arms. He huffs, mostly to himself, “Gross, gross, gross.”
Noctis appears next to him, a hand at his lower back, “Sorry babe. But your face was priceless.” He pulls his hand away and cringes at the goo.
Prompto shoves a finger in his chest and laughs, “Ha!”
“Doesn’t bother me,” Noctis says, and sticks his hand back around his waist. He presses a kiss to the side of his mouth and grins, “You still taste the same.”
“Oh now that’s gross,” Prompto says, and Noctis laughs against his ear.
Ignis and Gladio are already looking at the map, trying to track where the next pack of Voretooths went.
Surprisingly, they’ve been unbothered by Noctis and Prompto. They didn’t make any grand announcement; Noctis kissed Prompto good morning over breakfast, and neither Ignis nor Gladio made any comment. The rest is history.
Prompto isn’t sure if he should be offended by that, or not.
Noctis pulls on his hand, “Come on. There’s a river down at the bottom of the valley. We can at least dunk ya’.”
“Oh yeah, that’s all I need. To be covered in guts and also wet.”
“Actually,” Ignis pushes up his glasses, “Voretooth stomach acid should erode with just water, if you scrub it out fast enough.”
“Hey, princess is right.” Gladio points at the map, “There’s a river at the bottom.”
“No fuckin’ faith,” Noctis says.
“He only knows because of the fish,” Prompto laughs, and Noctis elbows him in the side.
“Let’s go! I’m getting old here.”
Prompto lets himself be led to the bottom of the hill. His boots squish in the worst kind of way, but Noctis has warm hands, soft with newly healed scabs, so Prompto goes along. Their fingers fit well together, he thinks. Noctis must think so too, because he takes his hand always.
The sun starts to catch behind them. The glow of a haven smokes up in the sky, and Ignis stops them with a soft hm.
“We might want to set up camp,” Ignis points upwards. “The Voretooth pack will be in its den within the hour.”
“Mmm. Might be a good idea.”
“Ugh, the car is so far awaaay,” Prompto sighs.
“Then go wash off and quit bitching,” Gladio says. “I’ll grab the gear.”
“I ought to start dinner,” Ignis hums.
“Sounds good to me,” Noctis says, and starts to pull Prompto towards the river – but Ignis stops them with a short,
“Noct, would you help me gather firewood?”
He groans, “Come on, Specs.”
Ignis arches an eyebrow, knowingly. Prompto snickers into his hand.
“I’ll be right back,” Prompto squeezes his hand, and lets go. Noctis makes a face like a guy who most certainly had plans. “Sorry Noct, you won’t be catchin’ an eyeful tonight.”
“Rather unfortunate for you,” Ignis drawls.
“You’re a cockblock,” Noctis points, but rolls up his sleeves and joins Ignis at the haven.
“Apologies, but our dinner is more important than your sex life.”
Prompto laughs, and starts heading down the trail. He hears Noctis complaining all the way to the river. Prompto is grateful for Ignis; Noctis can be crude, and Ignis handles it with a familiar indifference as if discussing the weather. It makes it feel…normal.
Because Six, they’re anything but.
The light of the haven fades, and Prompto quickly sheds his fatigues. He all but jumps into the water, and it’s not as cold as he was expecting. It comes up to his shoulders, and Prompto scrubs his hair under the water.
Damn, he would’ve loved to have Noctis naked in this river. It’s not often they get to fool around; sometimes they share a shower, or screw around in the beds while Ignis and Gladio do the shopping – but that’s rare, too.
And yet, Prompto is kinda’ glad for the privacy tonight. He’s crusty and gross with dirt and grime and uh, stomach acid. Yuck.
Sure enough, it comes out easy in the water. Prompto grabs his clothes at the riverside and dunks them under. The sun sets completely, and the stars start to shine a little brighter. He can hear frogs out on the bank. It’s nice, but Prompto isn’t too ecstatic about being so far from camp.
The sun is down, but it’s not cold; Prompto puts on his wet boxers and shoves on his boots, and waddles down to camp. He finds his bag piled at the bottom of the haven, amongst all their other crap. His clothes are sitting on top; thanks Gladio. Prompto jumps into a pair of sweatpants, and hangs his wet clothes on a tree branch.
He can hear Noctis and Ignis speaking at the top of the haven. Prompto opens his mouth, ready to hop over the edge and say hey, the river wasn’t so bad – but he stops short.
The cooking gear is up. It looks like Gladio went back for a second trip, because the tent isn’t here yet.
Noctis is at Ignis’s elbow, cutting fruit. Ignis stirs a pot of something that already smells amazing. They’re smiling; the kind of smiles they don’t show anyone else. Ignis says something low, and Noctis laughs gorgeously. Warm firelight catches at all their sharp angles, and they look stunning together.
“This should set nicely,” Ignis says, wiping his hands on a spare towel.
“Is this good enough?”
“Yes. Thank you, Noct.”
They settle into a silence. Prompto really should just join them, but he feels like he’s seeing something special. Ignis looks so relaxed.
Noctis leans up against the portable table, and looks off somewhere. Prompto knows that look.
Noctis says, nonchalant, “So, you’ve been uncharacteristically quiet.”
“I figured you’d have something to say about me and Prom.” Noctis picks at his ear, “You know. Yada yada, duty and propriety.”
“I think we are beyond propriety,” Ignis says.
Prompto shrinks a little behind the rock edge of the haven.
Noctis rolls his eyes, “There it is.”
“Do not twist my words,” Ignis says. “I shall only say it once.” Noctis stares, and Ignis turns down the stove so he can fully turn to face him. “It is true. As your royal advisor, it goes against all common sense to date Prompto. He is not royal blood, and despite the war, you are still royally decreed to marry.”
Noctis picks up the tone in Ignis’s voice.
“But,” Ignis continues. “As your friend, I wished you happiness. I battled between duty and heart, and came to the realization that we should celebrate life in it’s small victories. I am not against your courtship with Prompto.”
“I love him,” Noctis says. Prompto brings his hand to his mouth and smiles against his wrist.
“Can I tell you something?”
Prompto’s stomach tightens. He’s hit with a sudden wave of Deja-Vu, and it’s bittersweet.
“Of course, your Highness.”
“Please don’t call me that right now,” Noctis scrubs at his face. “Please.”
That draws Ignis’s full attention.
“Are you quite alright?”
“No,” Noctis hugs himself, and for the first time, his confidence wavers. “Prompto said something that – I dunno’. It lit something in me. I can’t stop thinking about it.”
“What was it?”
“He told me he liked me. And then – he said, sorry, I could die tomorrow.” Noctis swallows, “And I realized how fucking tired I am, and –“
“I love you too,” Noctis says, pressing a fist to his eyes, and effectively stealing the air right out of Prompto’s lungs.
Ignis seems just as winded.
“I just – can’t stop,” Noctis shoves that fist against his own chest, “It hurts and it – I –“ he looks Ignis in the eye. “I need you to reject me, so I can move on. So I can be there for Prompto.”
Ignis goes silent. Prompto can see the calculations in his eyes; his mask drawn cold, but eyes wide and strategizing.
Prompto is struck numb. But not surprised. Not…
“Please,” Noctis begs. “Crush my feelings. Tell me it’s illogical. Chew me out or –“
“I’m afraid I cannot do that,” Ignis says. His gaze falls to his hand, where he sets down the spoon he was holding. “Noctis, I have cared for you as long as I have lived.”
“You are the singularity in my life. The one constant that I can rely on.” Ignis meets his eye again, and the air is pulled tight. “Noctis, I have been made aware of the impracticalities, the decorum, and the downright selfishness of it all. But it is as you say. We could die tomorrow.” Ignis pushes up his glasses. “Those are my feelings.”
“Because I’m King,” Noctis says, like he can’t quite believe it.
“No. Because you are you.”
Noctis crumbles. Like it’s the best and the worst thing he’s ever heard. He crushes his fists into his eyes, and Ignis looks at him with a soft, accepted sadness.
“I want to kiss you so bad,” Noctis croaks.
“I love you dearly, but you cannot break Prompto’s heart,” Ignis says. “I won’t allow it.”
Prompto jerks at the sound of his name. His palms are clammy, and he’s shivering as his hair dries – but he’s, he’s not –
Noctis grips the table with his free hand, like it’s all he can do to stand. Ignis looks as if he’s summoning all the will in the world not to hold him.
A fire lights under Prompto’s skin.
Both heads snap his way.
Prompto climbs up on the ledge of the haven, and wipes off his sweatpants. He’s never seen Ignis look so terrified.
“How much did you hear?”
“Um, all of it? But-“
Noctis jerks, “Prompto please, I’m so-“
“We were only –“
“Wait, wait,” Prompto waves his hands, and swallows. “It’s – it’s fine.”
“It’s not fine,” Noctis hisses. “Prompto I’m sorry.”
“No!” Prompto laughs, and presses a hand to his chest. It doesn’t hurt or squeeze or shake at all. “Noctis, it’s really okay.”
He blinks. Ignis has gone rigid.
“In highschool, Pirya had two boyfriends,” Prompto says. He rubs at his arm. “Do you remember?”
“Everyone called her a whore,” Noctis says.
“We didn’t understand,” Prompto replies quick. “We really, really didn’t.”
Prompto doesn’t say it outright, but realization falls on Noctis’s face.
“Wait…are you serious?”
“When we started dating, I never thought that I would replace who Ignis is to you.” Prompto shrugs, “Sometimes he would come first, and that’s okay.” He smiles, “I’m actually kind of glad. You two have been dancing around each other for – heck, forever?”
Ignis looks at him dead-center, full focused and serious.
“Do you mean this?”
Prompto raises his hands, “Listen, um. I’m okay with it if you are.”
Truthfully, Prompto never imagined a life with Noctis that didn’t include Ignis and Gladio.
Arms swing around his neck, and Prompto yelps, swaying to support Noctis’s weight. His face shoves into Prompto’s neck, and he’s showing insecurities that Prompto hasn’t seen before, so he knows it’s real.
Ignis smiles, pushing up his glasses to rub briefly at his eyes.
“Of course. Oh Prompto, we do not deserve you.”
“Cm’on now,” Prompto laughs, squeezing Noctis tight, and then letting go. “Kiss him! We’ve only been waiting since the beginning of time.”
Noctis pulls away, and Prompto gets a good look at his face – and there he is, the determined, unabashed, firehot resolute in his eyes. Noctis turns on his heel and demands, “Ignis.”
He moves like clockwork; like a practiced soldier under the command of his king. Ignis strides up to him, bites off his glove, and lets it fall. His bare hand pulls Noctis by the back of his skull, and he kisses him like royalty. Like Ignis is the prince, and the clock just struck midnight.
Prompto feels windswept, and he’s not even the one being kissed.
Noctis bends into him, submitting in a way Prompto didn’t know possible. Noctis claws into his hips and kisses back; Ignis makes a sound, and Prompto knows exactly how that feels. The drag of his tongue and the feel of his hair. Ignis kisses like Noctis is his whole world.
That world tells Prompto that he should be jealous; but Prompto is so giddy he could laugh.
Prompto catches only a flash of Ignis’s tongue, but Noctis’s legs go weak and Ignis nearly has to catch him.
“Oh, god,” Noctis breathes.
Ignis smiles at him, and everything feels right, in that moment.
There’s a thump.
“Hey guys.” Gladio hikes up the rock of the haven. He takes one look at the campsite, and dumps the bags. “Uh, what’d I miss?”
Prompto tips his head back and laughs.
He still sleeps next to Gladio.
It doesn’t feel right to upset the balance of the universe. Prompto doesn’t mind that Ignis and Noctis share a bed; he wakes up with less bruises in the morning, anyways.
Gladio seems uninterested in the whole ordeal. If he’s weirded out, he doesn’t show it, because weeks pass and Prompto still wakes up with a heavy arm across his chest.
Even in the tent, Noctis still sleeps at their feet like a big ol’ cat. Prompto always takes his place between Gladio and Ignis, because you’d be a fool not to.
Sometimes, if he’s lucky, he’ll wake up with Noctis already in his arms.
The alarm is going off, somewhere. Ignis is already awake, but he hasn’t moved yet. Prompto yawns, and then smiles when hands tangle in the back of his shirt.
“Where’d you come from?”
“Cold,” Noctis says.
Prompto does an internal check. Feet, arms, legs, torso.
“Hey, no bruises!”
“You have to hold him tight,” Ignis says, quieting the alarm. “It prevents his squirming.”
There’s something nice about Ignis’s voice. Its low and still sleep-rough, and it makes Prompto go a little warm. Sometimes, in the hotel-room nights, Prompto hears that voice whispered in the sheets. But only if he’s so lucky to stay awake and listen.
Noctis shushes them, and squishes more in Prompto’s arms. Ignis is braced at Noctis’s back, and his arm is wrapped around his waist, hand trapped against Prompto’s stomach.
It’s kind of intimate. They’ve managed an easy routine; lines in the sand, where Noctis hops between them when he so pleases. But they’re so close, Prompto can feel Ingis’s fingers through his t-shirt. Prompto’s heartrate nearly doubles, but Ignis doesn’t seem to mind.
Noctis is already asleep again. He doesn’t move.
“Hey, you were right,” Prompto whispers.
“Right about what?” Gladio mumbles. Prompto waits and – ah, there it is. A heavy arm falls over his side.
His fingers must brush against Ignis’s, because he moves his hand slightly, and grunts.
“Damn, you’re warm,” Prompto mumbles. And he smells good too, double damn.
“Time for breakfast,” Ignis says. He presses a kiss to the back of Noctis’s neck, and sits up gracefully. “Rise and shine, Noct.”
“I’ll leave him to you.”
“Sure,” Prompto breathes. He tries not to hold his breath; but Gladio makes no comment. He’s a real cool guy, to carry on like nothing is off. Like two of his friends aren’t dating his other friend.
Gladio makes some kind of groan by his ear, before he flops on his back, and then rises.
“Alright princess, up and at ‘em.”
“Hey buddy,” Prompto coos, and kisses at his cheek. “Let’s help Iggy with breakfast.”
“He doesn’ want our help.”
“On the contrary,” Ignis calls, already making noise outside the tent. Gladio rises silently, and sunshine pours in as he steps out.
“Come on!” Prompto kisses Noct’s ear, his nose, his forehead, and tickles his side knowing he isn’t ticklish at all. “We’re going to the farm today!”
“Ugh, more vegetables.”
“But babe, the great outdoors!” Prompto laughs and shakes him awake. Noctis sighs heavy, and opens his eyes. He presses a long, lazy kiss to the side of Prompto’s neck, and allows himself to be pulled into a sitting position.
“I hate that you’re cute in the morning,” Noctis says. He resigns, “I hate you in the morning.”
Prompto grins, and manages to get him on his feet and out the tent.
Gladio is brushing his teeth with bottled water out in the woods, and Ignis already has pancakes going.
“Ooh, yum,” Prompto bounces over.
“Grab the silverware, would you? This one is near ready.”
“Sure! Oh man, I hope I can get some good pics of the cows today.”
“Should have time to,” Gladio says. “We’re headin’ back to Hammerhead anyways.”
Prompto looks up, “Wait, we are?”
“Yes. We still have that bounty for Takka.”
“Oh shit, you’re right.”
“You still owe me a date, Ignis,” Noctis says, slathering toothpaste on a brush and squirting water in his mouth.
Ignis raises an eyebrow, “And you wish to have it in Hammerhead?”
“Hey, now what’s wrong with that?” Gladio grins.
“Well. Surely it’s not the most romantic.”
“Sorry, but we don’t exactly have the cash for the Gladian Quay.”
“Unfortunately,” Ignis frowns.
“Noct took me to Crows Nest for our last date,” Prompto shrugs. “I had fun.”
Ignis makes a face. Gladio starts to laugh.
Noctis spits, and shoves his toothbrush back in a ziplock bag, “We should go back for our next date, Prom.”
“Why? So I can whoop your ass in pinball again?”
“Excuse you, I set the new high score.”
“And I’m going to crush it,” Prompto says, “In my tiny evil hands.”
“Come on,” Gladio pushes Noctis by the lower back. “Eat up so we can head out. We’re burning daylight.”
Ignis serves up the pancakes, and Noctis pulls Prompto into his lap. The armchair groans under their weight, but it’s well worth the risk.
Prompto catches a long stare from Gladio. He looks thoughtful; too much, for this early in the morning. Gladio doesn’t look away, but blinks slow, and Prompto realizes that he’s looking at Noctis.
He feels Noctis nod, hair brushing against Prompto’s ear, and Gladio turns away.
“When I’m on the 405!” Prompto sings, “All I do is smoke and drive!”
“Keep your day job, buddy,” Gladio pats him from the back seat.
“Turn it up louder!”
Prompto reaches past Ignis’s attempt at a blockade, and cranks up the music.
“All the things, I’m finna’ do to you~”
Gladio starts to laugh, and woops when Prompto kneels up in the seat, hands bracing up on the top of the front windshield.
Desert whips past them. His film is full of trees and grass and cows and a wild chocobo he saw out in the mountains. The scenery turns brown and the rocks get bigger, and he knows Hammerhead isn’t far.
Prompto is well aware that he can’t sing, but even Ignis is cracking a smile, so Prompto waves his hand in the air and screeches at the passing cars.
“All our dreams are coming true!”
Noctis hops up on the back of the seat, and Gladio joins him for the rap, and the world is falling apart, but sometimes they allow themselves to forget.
Prompto isn’t sure how he got roped into this.
While Noctis and Ignis enjoy a nice(ish) dinner at Takka’s restaurant, Prompto is stuck with Gladio, hunting daemons in the area. The sun hasn’t gone down yet, but it’s just about there.
Ugh, it’s more birds. Prompto is really over the birds.
One swoops from above, and Prompto fires at the hip. He clips the wing, and Gladio hacks it in half.
“Nice shot,” Gladio calls.
“Thanks. Was that the last one?”
“There’s goblins by the mine.” Gladio checks his phone, “They should be out in a few.”
“Ummm…should we be out this late? Iggy and Noctis-“
“What?” Gladio elbows him, “Don’t trust me?”
“No! I- I mean, yes, but—”
“It’s fine. We can see the gas station from here.”
Prompto secedes. If Gladio says it’s fine, then it’s fine.
The sun is taking some of the heat with it, but they’re still sweating with effort. Gladio wipes his forehead with his arm, and the sunset makes the end of his hair glow pink, and people like Gladio just shouldn’t be real.
“Do you want to go back?” Gladio asks.
“Huh? Uh, no. I mean, we need the money, don’t we?”
As much as he wants to be back at the camper, it’s rare that he gets to spend time with Gladio. Even if its…hunting monsters.
“Alright then, watch your step. The cave is down this way.”
Prompto follows him carefully. He can hear the chitter from here, and it sets his hair on end.
“I hate goblins,” he mumbles.
“Easy money,” Gladio materializes his sword, and swings it over his shoulder. “Lights on.”
Prompto clicks on the light hooked to his vest, and nods. There – by the entrance.
Gladio makes a first swing, knocking three goblins off their feet, and Prompto fires a distraction shot to keep them from dogpiling on Gladio. He has to keep skittering back, and he trips once or twice, but he manages to get a headshot in the dark.
“Good shot!” Gladio calls, and hurls his sword in a sideswipe. Fuck, that thing is bigger than Prompto. He sees a goblin come barreling from the cave, so Prompto calls,
“On your left!”
Gladio is quick on his feet. He kicks it, and catches it with the end of his greatsword. Prompto fires a round into the entrance of the cave, and reloads. The light is dimming, and Prompto can only see the view of his flashlight now.
Feet skitter on the rocks, and Prompto shouts in surprise. He twists his leg trying to dodge, but manages a solid shot to it’s chest.
“Good!” He shouts back. He gets to his feet and tries to get some distance, but more keep pouring out. “They won’t stop!”
Something slams into his back; and it’s Gladio, protecting him from an onslaught.
“Cover me,” he says, and then runs in head first.
“Gladio, really!!” Prompto yells, adrenaline spiking down to his knees; but Gladio goes straight in, and Prompto is left to follow. He nails three goblins in a row; headshot, headshot – he blows off a limb with a bigger caliber, and barely keeps a daemon from biting into Gladio’s thigh.
Gladio hurls his sword into a giant arc, and Prompto realizes the plan all at once; he’s rounding them up for slaughter. Prompto fires into the ground, and drives the goblins like cattle.
One last swing, and it’s dead silent.
“Hey,” Gladio calls. “Not so bad.”
Something echoes from the cave. Prompto runs without thinking.
“Look out!” He tackles Gladio to the ground, and his greatsword dematerializes. Gladio makes a low oof sound, and Prompto ducks his head, gun pointed deeper in the cave.
A rabbit scurries out.
“Oh,” Prompto says.
Gladio stares at the rabbit; then Prompto, then the rabbit again. He breaks into a roaring laughter.
“Oh shut up,” Prompto huffs. How was he supposed to know? He sits up off Gladio’s chest, but Gladio is shaking under him, rocks likely digging in his spine.
“My hero,” Gladio cackles, hand coming up to his heart. “Oh god, I can’t breathe.”
Prompto starts smiling, even though he really doesn’t want to.
“Dude. Aren’t you going to thank me for saving your life?”
Gladio breaks out into a harder laugh, rolling beneath Prompto’s thighs to cackle into his arm. Prompto becomes chillingly aware of their position, and scurries to his feet. Gladio slowly rises, but only after wiping his eyes.
“Come on,” Prompto grabs his elbow. “Let’s get to town before any more killer-rabbits show up.”
Gladio giggles – and holy shit, okay. That’s pretty cute.
They stumble towards the highway, the lights of the gas station growing closer as they hike over rocks and cactus. Cars rush by, and they jump the street laughing.
“Wow,” Gladio says, leaning up against the gas pump with a sag. “I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.”
“Glad I could amuse you.”
“Hey now,” Gladio sniffs, regaining composure. “I’d fight with you any day. Glad to know you have my back.”
From Gladio? That means more than you know.
“Of course,” Prompto bristles. “Noct would never forgive me if you died.”
Gladio snorts, but he looks amused. Prompto is aware that Gladio isn’t the one who needs protecting. But sometimes… he wants to try anyways.
Prompto’s eyes naturally flicker towards the restaurant. He can’t see them, but he knows they’re in there.
Gladio follows his gaze. Prompto leans up against the parked Regalia, and lets out a breath. Cars drive by on the highway, and he can hear music playing from Cid’s garage. It’s all a bit timeless, and yet that feeling is back, squeezing at his chest. Prompto looks back to Gladio, and the feeling doubles.
He’s in casual clothes, a black tank and tight jeans, and Prompto always thinks about that arm slung over his waist in the mornings. About the shield that doesn’t just protect Noctis, but stands above them all.
He turns, “Hm?”
“Tell me if I’m reading this wrong.”
“Whata’ya mean –”
But Gladio takes one step forwards, and braces a hand on the roof behind Prompto’s back, encasing him against the car – and Prompto doesn’t lean away, but into – and Prompto curses himself for it. Somehow, he knows Gladio would never hurt him. And he doesn’t, because he leans in to kiss him.
Prompto’s lips fall into a silent oh shape– and Gladio uses that to make the kiss deeper, longer.
Fire jerryrigs down to the soles of his feet, and Prompto feels lightheaded and hyperfocused all at once. His hands jerk to brace against his arms, and fuck he looks so small against him, and –
Gladio kisses him so gently. He’s naturally strong, naturally heavy, but he overpowers in a way that’s comforting. Prompto could drown in it. His lips are chapped from the dry-heat, but his tongue is wet and he smells so fucking good.
A hand slides to his waist. It encompasses him.
Gladio leans back, lips sticking apart, and Prompto inhales so hard he chokes.
“Noctis said this was okay,” Gladio rubs his thumb along his hip, like Prompto might spook. “Is this okay?”
Prompto’s brain takes a hard reset.
“What just happened?”
“I like you.”
“Holy fuck, what?”
“Yeah,” Gladio chuckles. “I’m obsessed with you.”
Prompto blinks, slow. Does not compute.
“Oh, sorry. There must be another twink named Prompto runnin’ around in fatigues.”
He laughs, “Sorry, sorry.” Gladio moves to step back, but Prompto doesn’t want that either. He tightens his grip, and Gladio stays. His other hand comes to rest at his lower back.
Prompto swallows, “You like me?”
“You like me.”
“Oh my god, Prompto.”
“Why?” Prompto sputters. Gladio raises an eyebrow, and Prompto rambles, “I mean it’s obvious why I would dig you, but like-“
“You’re hot,” Gladio says. “Stupid hot. And you’re a wizard with that gun, Prom. Fuck, you’re a catch.”
Prompto licks over his lips, and can still taste Gladio. His skin could boil he’s so warm.
“Sorry,” he blinks. “I just. I didn’t think I was your type at all.”
Large hands sweep up his back, and they’re so big – Prompto curves into it, like a cat.
Noct said this was okay?
“You’re exactly my type,” Gladio purrs. He doesn’t move to kiss him, but does press his lips politely to the side of his cheek, while Prompto’s brain catches up. “I’ll admit. I was a bit crushed when you and Noct became a thing. But then Iggy joined in, and I figured maybe I had a chance.”
“It doesn’t bother you?”
“I’ve had multiple partners before,” Gladio says, easy. Prompto feels like his head might pop off his shoulders. He digs his fingers into Gladio’s arms, and gazes slack jawed. “So uh…” Gladio stares.
Prompto slings his arms up and around Gladio’s shoulders, and kisses him straight on. Gladio heaves him up by the thighs, and Prompto laughs as he’s set on the roof of the car.
“Cool,” Gladio replies, and sucks his soul out through his tongue.
There’s not many people out and about. The grocery store is closed, and the garage is shut tight, and only the restaurant lights flicker on. They’re technically in public, but fuck is it hot. Gladio is sex on legs, and Prompto wouldn’t pass this opportunity up for a thousand Chocobo rides.
There’s a short whoop from across the street, and Prompto turns his head just in time to see Noctis with his fingers between his teeth, wolf whistling, his free hand tangled with Ignis.
It's pretty weird, isn't it? Like hey. This is my boyfriend Gladiolus, and my other boyfriend, Prince Noctis, and that's his boyfriend, Ignis. But whatever. They’re hunting down gods and tracking ancient weapons buried in three-thousand year old tombs. There are more prominent matters at hand.
Also like, not to change the subject or anything, but Prompto had no idea what he was missing out on.
Accidental cuddling in a crusty tent is totally different than purposeful snuggling in a motel room. Six, Prompto hasn't been living life until now. He tells Gladio as such.
There's a vibration against his ear, and Prompto registers it as a laugh. He can feel Gladio's beard scratch against his forehead, and the hands at his spine are so big; his brain hyperfixates on the thought that Gladio could crush him like a soda pop can.
The blinds don't do much to hide the morning sun. The group is slow-moving this morning, but they've earned it; they infiltrated an imperial base and spent the last three days trying to outrun the consequences.
Prompto gently drags his fingers up the line of Gladio's back; it's all solid muscle and tattooed skin, indented with scars and forgotten marks. Prompto takes a deep breath in, and sighs.
"You smell like a Men's Health magazine."
That one actually gets a snort out of Ignis, who's scuffing out his shoes from across the room. Noctis downright laughs.
Gladio huffs, smiling, "What does that even mean?"
"I dunno'. You're like. The physical embodiment of a camping superstore."
Prompto feels the sheets lift behind him, and a body slides at his back. Gladio shifts to make room, and Prompto feels a nose in his hair.
"It's a compliment, big guy," Noctis says.
"You," Gladio says, ignoring Noctis, "smell like honeybutter." Prompto hums.
"It's the shampoo."
Fingers shift beneath his shirt. They're slender and soft, and Prompto knows they belong to Noctis. He drags lazily, tugging until Prompto’s shirt is above his chest. Lips press at his ear, and Prompto shivers. He looks up to Gladio; but he's not looking back. He's staring dead straight at Noctis.
"What?" Noctis grins, "You thought I was gonna' let you hog him all to yourself?" Noctis presses his palm flat to Prompto's stomach, and licks behind his ear. Prompto downright groans in a knee-jerk reaction, and then elbows Noctis right in the spleen.
"Dude, fuck you."
Gladio grins, "Hey, I'll share." He dips his hand down the side of Prompto's sweatpants, fingers gripping down the flank of his hip, and Prompto squirms. Fuck, his hands are so big, it's way too much of a turn on.
But Ignis is still in the room, and Prompto would hate to make him uncomfortable —they still haven't breached that line yet. As far as Prompto is aware, Ignis is devoted to Noctis alone; he might tolerate sharing, but there must be a limit to his patience.
"Guys— come on."
"You ought'a learn a thing or two," Noctis hums, still staring at Gladio, and he's using that voice. The - I'm royalty and I can get away with it - tone. "You don't know all his secrets like I do." Noctis feels around Gladio's fingers, and presses into the bare skin of Prompto's inner hip. Prompto jerks like a trigger, grinding right into Gladio's thigh.
"Alright, fine, continue acting like I’m not here.”
"Cute," Gladio says, "that you think you can beat me at my own game." He tips his head, and kisses beneath Prompto's jaw. His beard tingles, and Prompto nearly bites through his cheek. Noctis is still so close — and even with Gladio now in his space, he still doesn't move. Prompto feels like the meat dead center in a pot-skewer, and he thinks he just might melt.
Ignis comes to his rescue, saying,
"I suppose I'm eating breakfast alone then. Perhaps I'll spend your share on a nice quiche — oh, but Gladio's portion could buy me new shoes alone. I ought to go shopping."
That has 'em up and out of bed. Ignis seems satisfied, but Prompto tries to stay out of Ignis's way for the rest of the day. Just to be safe.
One lazy morning in a motel bed didn't raise any red flags, but when it keeps happening, Prompto notices a pattern.
Gladio and Noctis are a tad competitive by nature (if the morning jogs and the hotdog-eating contests are anything to go by), which is entertaining as hell — when it's not about Prompto.
He's perched on a flat boulder, shielding his viewfinder from the sun while he clicks through his photos. He is the picture of innocence, (even if he's shifting past a few guilty shots of Ignis's backside), when fingers slide up and into the back of his hair, and lips skim the side of his neck.
"Whatcha' doin, baby?"
Prompto's initial reaction is to either moan like whore in church, or smack the shit out of Noctis, so he chooses both.
"Stop it!" Prompto slaps his free hand over his neck. "You know I'm weak!" His skin burns where his lips were, and Prompto would have zero qualms about shoving Noctis up against that tree over there, but Ignis is at the bottom of the hill, collecting sweet peppers.
Gladio grins, and dematerializes his greatsword.
Prompto feels his face go hot.
"Only specific ones," Noctis reaches for his hand and squeezes it in a silent apology — and then turns to Gladio and grins like a snake in the grass. "I'm not telling you which."
Gladio hums thoughtfully, and turns to join Ignis at the bottom of the hill. A carrier of Imperial soldiers drop from above, and Prompto is easily distracted trying to keep his own ass alive.
But it keeps happening.
The next morning they’re jumping a fence that very obviously says no loitering — but okay, there's monsters in there. Or there was, until Gladio picked him up and threw him over his shoulder like a knapsack. Holy shit.
"Let me down!" Prompto kicks, "I'll get hard!"
Gladio laughs, and Noctis makes a huffy face, hands halfway gripped in the chain link fence.
"I can totally do that."
"Oh, can you?" Gladio hops the fence one handed, Prompto still slung over his shoulder and — yeah, okay, he's hard.
"Alright big guy, put him down and I'll fuckin' show you."
"Hmm," Gladio grips hard into his thigh, and jostles Prompto on his shoulder just to show how not bothered he is. "Don't think so."
Prompto groans, squirming — and then remembers himself, eyes snapping up to Ignis with a cold jerk of adrenaline. He isn't far behind; Ignis jumps the fence effortlessly, long legs carrying him over the barbed wire. He stands to his full height and dusts off his jeans — and it's way too sexy to be human. But Ignis looks up, and that mask is on stone-cold, and Prompto really doesn't want to rock the boat.
As hot as it is, Prompto has to sigh,
"Put me down."
“Spare him, Gladio,” Ignis says airily. “There’s plenty of time for horseplay after dinner.”
Gladio gives him a firm pat on the butt, and sets him on his feet. Prompto's eyes snap to Ignis almost immediately, and his lips are a firm pressed line.
"Come on." Noctis takes his hand. "I can hear the Anaks from here."
Prompto looks back to Ignis, but doesn’t have enough time to read his face before he’s jerked back by Noctis’s grip.
The camper is always a bit tricky. There are two beds that fold out in the narrow space of the trailer, but boy it is squished. There’s a twin on one end, and a double on the other, and typically someone took turns sleeping on the floor, but not as of late for – obvious reasons.
Gladio and Prompto pulled the long straw, so they got to share the double tonight. Still, Prompto is squished up against the edge of the bed, steadily held by the one constant in his life: Gladio's beefy arms.
Prompto isn’t a light sleeper, because out here you can’t afford to be one. Sleep is precious. And yet, Prompto is awake.
Gladio’s breathing is heavy against his ear. If you listen close enough, you can hear daemons out in the grass. Sometimes a car drives by on the freeway, and the motor echoes off the trees. All that’s good and fine.
The problem lies in the noises coming from the twin across the camper.
Prompto’s face is on fire. He should feel guilty for listening – but god, how could he not? Noctis is being so loud.
“Shush,” Ignis whispers, and there’s a slick, wet sound, and Noctis groans behind his teeth.
Fuck. What Prompto wouldn’t give for night vision.
When he opens his eyes, all he can see is speckled shadows. He can barely make out the end of the camper, and if he squints, he can see the sheets rustle.
The twin creaks. There’s another long, wet noise, and the sound of Noctis moaning against his hand.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, and Prompto is so hard he could cut diamonds.
Fuck, okay. They probably think he’s asleep. Prompto can handle this.
The sheets rustle; Noctis hisses through his teeth, and there’s a slippery pop. Prompto has to hold his breath to hear;
“You are bloody incapable of keeping quiet.”
“Make me,” Noctis says, and then chokes on a muffled moan.
If Ignis shoved his fingers in his mouth, then Prompto has no other choice than to lie down and die. The mental picture alone is enough spank bank material for the next year.
Ignis’s voice is rough and barely recognizable. It’s so quiet, Prompto almost thinks he’s heard wrong.
“I--” he starts, “—am going to devour you whole.”
Prompto turns his face into the pillow and bites his tongue until it hurts. Half-gasps and deep breathing echoes from the opposite side of the camper, and Prompto can barely hear above the blood rushing by his ears.
Hell, holy hell. What do they look like? Are Noct’s legs thrown over his shoulders? Are Ignis’s teeth as sharp as they look? Is he pressing bruises at his hips, or tracing circles into Noct’s thighs?
Fingers slide down the front of his sweats, and Prompto nearly jumps.
“You’re tense,” Gladio says, barely above a whisper. He sounds half-asleep, and right now, it’s the best he’s ever sounded. Noctis doesn’t seem to give a shit about staying quiet anymore, because he downright moans. “Oh,” Gladio mumbles.
“I just woke up,” Prompto lies, still whispering.
Gladio dips a hand down beneath the elastic of his underwear, and breathes out across the back of Prompto’s neck. He wraps around the head of his dick and squeezes, and Prompto inhales sharply.
“Six, you’re wet.”
“Shhh-” Prompto hisses.
There’s a different sound – a lower moan, and fuck a duck, that’s Ignis. That’s Ignis.
His cock jerks in Gladio’s hand, and Gladio laughs silently.
He strokes once, a little dry, but not anymore. Shit, Prompto grinds into his hand, and stuffs his own fingers in his mouth.
“They know you can hear,” Gladio hums. His beard scratches against Prompto’s neck – and Prompto is so sensitive, his toes curl. Gladio builds a rhythm, slow and loose and infuriatingly good. “I bet it was Noct’s idea.”
It’s a very Noctis thing to do. The Six really did fail Prompto by not giving him bat vision.
Prompto swallows another sound, squirming in Gladio’s arms. Gladio quickens the pace, and Prompto’s eyes cross a little.
“You should let ‘em hear you,” Gladio mumbles. “You’ll finish Noct right now. Betcha’ all my Gil.”
Prompto grits his teeth. He squeezes his eyes shut, and focuses all his energy on not doing that, but it’s so hard. The noises that twin bed is making are downright lewd. Noctis sighs, the bed creaks, and Prompto jerks back against Gladio, tangling their legs and nearly conking his head on Gladio’s chin. Noctis rasps another sound in his throat, and this time, Prompto feels Gladio go a little warm — which is oh, just fascinating.
Prompto grinds his butt right into his crotch, and the hand on his cock squeezes. Prompto arches like a cat, bites his cheek and feels hot hot hot-
“That’s it baby,” Gladio hums. He grinds slightly against him. “Fuck – yes.”
Prompto moans. There’s a loud, broken inhale from across the room – and a muffled sound from Ignis.
“Six,” he cries into his hand, and Gladio is right there, working him through it. Prompto braces a hand around Gladio’s wrist and squeezes, breathing through hiccupy whines.
The camper goes dead silent. Nobody breathes.
Ignis whispers, “Prompto?”
“Oh, whatever,” Prompto huffs, “fuck you guys.”
Noctis starts to laugh, and Prompto rolls in Gladio’s arms, pushing him to his back.
“Your turn,” Prompto says. Gladio rumbles happily, and kisses him once.
Noctis muffles from across the camper, “Oh fuck – Ig, turn on the lights.”
“I don’t think so,” Prompto throws a leg over Gladio’s waist and straddles him. “You started this. You have to suffer.”
“Well someone has to be the genius around here.”
In all honesty, Prompto likes seeing Iggy and Noctis together.
It's weird, but not that weird. It's a good weird. It's good.
Ignis is gentle when he wants to be, and tough as nails when he has to be. But with Noctis, he's just — Ignis.
They're perched by the car, Noctis up against the drivers side, a finger in Ignis's belt loop. He has such a slender little waist, Prompto doesn’t blame Noct for grabbing it all the time.
Ignis is holding a map in one hand, and has a palm at Noctis's neck with the other, and it's not intentionally romantic, but it still is. Prompto can tell that they're talking about something serious - but it's still so cute. The way they sway their weight into the other. How Noctis will roll his eyes and smack his forehead into Ignis's shoulder, and long fingers will thread up in his hair.
Nothing spicy has happened since that night in the camper. Prompto wasn’t quite able to look Ignis in the eye the next day – but Ignis went about seemingly unbothered, so Prompto figured it was water under the bridge. What would he even say?
Hey, sorry I got off to the sound of you blowing my boyfriend.
That’s understandable, right?
Prompto still thinks about that night, like, a lot. It felt like...new territory. Like jumping off a cliff and soaking in the spontaneity of it all.
Also, to quote Noctis; it was hot.
Prompto should be helping, probably. They've been searching for the tomb entrance for days. Instead he opts to chew on his thumbnail, and watch Ignis soothe the stress right out from Noctis's skin.
Maybe they should take a break after this. It's been a solid week since anyone's had a real shower, and they're running a little bare on supplies.
"They look good together, don't they?"
"Huh?" Prompto looks up. Gladio sets his chin perfectly on the top of Prompto's head, and it makes him giggle.
"Iggy and the princess."
"Oh — yeah," Prompto hums. "I can never tell what Ignis is thinking, but I know he loves Noct more than anything."
"I've known Iggy my whole life," Gladio says. "It's something we always had in common."
Prompto blinks, and turns his head to look over his shoulder, but a shout comes from up the road.
"Hey losers!" Noctis reaches up and honks the horn from the back seat. "Get in or walk."
"Did you find the cave?"
"We're near certain," Ignis calls, "that it's near Lestallum."
"Yeah!!" Prompto shouts, and starts to hoof it up the hill. "You know what that means!"
"Hotel room tonight!" Noctis shouts, and Prompto jumps to highfive him.
"Thank goodness," Ignis says. "Apologies Gladio, but one can only camp so much."
"I'm with you," Gladio says, approaching the back of the Regalia. "We don't exactly smell like daises."
"Hell yeah, lets get this over with."
"Should be a piece of cake."
Alas, it was not a piece of cake.
More like, a piece of three-month old moldy bread that got left in the back of the fridge. And it’s wheat bread. And it has raisins in it.
The cave is tight and winding, opening up into different shafts and columns that are easy to get lost in. They found the tomb rather quickly; Noctis approached the resting king, and added the weapon to his arsenal within the hour.
It's getting out that serves a problem.
Every bitch in this cave must've spread the word, because Prompto has never seen so many spider daemons in one place. They're crawling out of the rocks — materializing out of the ceiling and the walls.
"I hate bugs, I hate bugs, I hate bugs," Prompto repeats, and shoots one after the other.
"Ignis!" Noctis calls, "Instruction!"
Ignis flips his throwing knifes and jumps backwards. Prompto moves out of the way, and watches as Ignis nails one after the other. His aim is always precise, and it serves to fit the arsenal of things that make Ignis sexy.
Noctis teleports between the spiders, slicing them into gooey bits.
"Oh no," Prompto whispers, "Noct look out!"
The mother of all spiders comes bubbling out of the floor. Gladio runs in head first, as goddamn usual. Noctis teleports after him — and Prompto doesn't catch it all. It happens so quickly; Gladio swinging his sword, Noctis flipping mid-air to cut out the eyes. But something goes wrong, and Noctis teleports into Gladio — and they go down, hard. Like, head smacking the rocks, knocking elbows and knees kind of hard.
"Get off!" Gladio pushes him, and Noctis rolls just enough to avoid getting crushed.
"Prompto," Ignis calls, and Prompto is already there, at his side. Ignis marks the weak points with his knifes, and Prompto fires — they take out a leg, and Ignis stabs the spider through the head. It squeals and hisses and dies. Prompto holds his breath, but no more spiders come.
"Good work," Ignis says. Prompto smiles back at him, and briefly pats him on the shoulder.
"What the hell man?"
"What'ya mean? That was all you, big guy."
Prompto turns, and sighs. Gladio and Noctis are on their feet again, but they're nose to nose — fists clenched, teeth bared.
"You have to get that fuckin’ shit under control —"
"Me? You seriously think this is a me problem?" Noctis laughs harshly. It makes Gladio angrier.
"You're gonna' get chopped, and it ain't gonna' be my fault."
"Hey, did anyone see Ignis and I kill that thing?" Prompto jerks his thumb, trying to lighten the mood. "It was totally cool and full of sunshine and friendship."
"It wasn't me!" Noctis shouts, "You're always in the way!"
"I'm trying to protect you — "
"Gentlemen, that’s enough," Ignis sighs, but is ignored.
"I don't need a babysitter," Noctis huffs. "I can fight a fuckin' spider without you elbowing me out of the way."
"Sorry, Princess," Gladio stands over him, voice gruff, "But I'm the royal babysitter. So stand aside or shut up."
Prompto should've seen it coming.
Actually, he had a bit of an inkling, but it's better not to be too hopeful, nowadays.
Noctis shouts, and pushes Gladio dead to the floor. Prompto jerks to break up the fight - but he stops in his tracks, arm outstretched, mid shout.
Ignis hasn't even tensed. His arms are crossed, and his lips are drawn in a half smile, and he looks...amused. Prompto looks back over and, hm. Okay. Got it.
Noctis has Gladio by the front of his vest, and he’s kissing the everliving daylights out of him. Gladio gets a rough grip on his hair, fingers white knuckled in black strands, and he tugs so hard that Noctis moans.
“Ahh.” Prompto blinks.
“And the plot thickens,” Ignis smiles.
Their kisses are wet and hot and they look kinda’ sticky. Kinda’ awesome though.
“You don’t look very surprised.”
“I saw it coming,” Ignis says, pushing up the edge of his glasses.
Prompto snorts, “Don’t mind sharing with one more?”
And then Ignis says something that’s never been so true.
“With you two, it’s not sharing.”
Prompto blinks. He turns back to the duo on the floor, who look more like they’re wrestling than kissing – but Noctis starts to laugh, and Gladio follows after, and soon they’re knocking teeth as they kiss.
“I suppose we ought to talk about this,” Ignis says.
“I believe we’ve passed the illusion of normalcy quite a long time ago.”
“Whatever,” Gladio grunts, and kisses into Noctis’s throat.
“Hey, this is cute, but I really don’t want to fight any more spiders today,” Prompto says. “I’m totally down to watch you guys make out like, outside.”
“Alright baby,” Gladio and Noctis say together. They then stop, and laugh all over again, and Prompto sighs. He’s going to die in this stupid cave.
“They will catch up,” Ignis says. He sets a polite hand at Prompto’s upper back, and steers him further into the cave. “I believe the entrance is this way.”
“You said that half an hour ago.”
“And I am still correct.”
“Hey! Wait up!”
It's nightime when they (finally) exit the cave, and that means one more night in the tent. Yippee.
It's toadsteak drumsticks tonight, which — granted, don't sound delicious by name, but gods do they taste good. Prompto tells Ignis as such.
Ignis replies, eyes softened, voice low in a purr,
"Thank you darling."
Prompto nearly trips over his own foot. He feels his neck go red, so he chooses to bite his tongue and save his pride.
He takes a second helping of drumsticks, and reaches down with his free hand to scrub his fingers through Noct's hair on his way back to the campfire. Noctis shies away a little, and Prompto frowns.
"What's wrong?" Prompto falls back in his chair, "I thought you had a pretty good day, as far as days go." Considering.
Noctis picks at the garnish on his plate, and doesn't look up. "I kissed someone without asking you. Again."
Gladio looks up. It goes a little quiet, except for the crackle of the fire.
"Eh, it's just Gladio," Prompto shrugs. "You can have him."
Gladio makes a headlock gesture from the other side of the campfire, and Prompto laughs,
"I know," Noctis says, still a little serious, but lighter than before. "I'm still sorry."
"I hope you don't mind my asking," Ignis says, "but what are we doing?"
Prompto instinctively laughs, and Gladio cracks a smile.
"In right now, or in general?"
"Both, I suppose." Ignis makes a gesture, "But I was referring to this mighty web we've woven here."
"I dunno'." Noctis finally takes a bite, and talks as he chews, "But I got the full set. I'm good."
Prompto thought that would be the end of the — whatever that was going on between Gladio and Noctis. They kissed, they made up, it's a happily ever after.
Well, hindsight is 20-20.
Prompto is white knuckled against the sink. It's a small bathroom, but Noctis has him halfway up and over the counter. One of his legs is hiked up by the thigh, and he has to press a hand against the mirror to keep himself from face-planting into the granite.
Noctis sighs behind him, pacing a steady rhythm, but he rolls his hips deep, and fucks him so good that Prom curls his toes and whines.
"I've got you," Noctis says, voice tight. "Fuck, you're perfect."
Prompto is afraid to touch himself — he's been hanging on the edge for what feels like years — and his hand slips on the mirror, clammy with sweat. He tries to hold his breath, for the chance that he'll hear the sounds Noctis is making — but it's so hard to keep quiet. He bites his lip, pushes back and groans.
It retrospect, this is probably Prompto's fault. But really, he's not supposed to follow Noct into the shower and drop to his knees? Impossible. Unrealistic.
A door distantly opens and shuts, and Prompto freezes with the realization that Ignis and Gladio are back way sooner than they thought.
"They're all outta' Hi-potions," Gladio calls. "We'll have to deal with the low grade for now."
Something clatters, and Ignis says, "There is a food truck at the gas station if you are still hungry."
"Sounds good," Noctis says, and chooses that exact moment to press his hand flat against Prompto's navel, and completely ream him from behind.
"Oh my gooooood-" Prompto moans, biting his lip halfway through and squeezing his eyes shut. He can feel Noctis's grin against his neck.
Gladio's voice muffles through the door, "Dude, for real?"
"Prom started it," Noctis says, then slows down the pace because he's an asshole.
"Noctis —" he grits, grinding backwards, "I swear to - oh - fuck-"
Noctis breathes a low noise between his naked shoulderblades. Prompto doesn't need to see Gladio's face to know what kind of look he's making.
"Well at least open the door." Then a mumbled, "Fuckin' tease."
"No!-" Prompto starts, just as Noctis says, "Well okay then-" and pops the handle with his elbow. It all happens quite quickly; the door swings wide open, Noctis hikes up his thigh, and Prompto makes perfect eye contact with Ignis.
He's sitting on the closest bed, weight braced on one hand, lips slightly parted. His top button is undone, and his hair is a little messy from the rain, and Prompto nearly drools.
"Six," Gladio curses, almost tripping, and Ignis replies a little numbly.
Prompto's knuckles slap against the mirror and his leg slips in Noctis's grip, and he catches the full flick of Iggy's eyes, head to toe, and Prompto comes like a tidal wave. His eyes squeeze shut and his toes curl and he whines into his forearm, face hot and burning while Noctis mumbles words into his spine.
He's a little breathless, but Noctis turns to Gladio with a grin.
Gladio adjusts himself, and points with his free hand, "Yeah. You're an ass."
"Agreed," Prompto whines.
"Sure," Noctis says, and swats Prompto on the butt before he pulls out.
Ignis crosses one leg over the other, face back in it's usual mask, and Prompto is a hundred percent sure he can never look him in the eye ever again. Ever.
"Eat that!" Prompto shouts, arms above his heads. "Highscore, bitch."
"Dude, read it and weep."
Noctis leans over the arcade game and huffs, hip-checking Prompto out of the way.
"Move over, it's my turn."
"All outta' change, bro."
"Says you," Noctis says, and pulls out another quarter.
"Secret stash," Noctis says, and boots up the game.
Crows Nest is essentially empty today, so Prompto figures it's okay to slip his arms around and hug Noctis from behind. He doesn’t care if a few locals see.
"No interference," Noctis jokes.
It's nice to see him smile. Sometimes it's hard to do a lot of that. You know, after fighting gods and stealing your own car back from an imperial base and — well, you know.
Noctis is concentrating, tongue bit between his teeth, and Prompto sets his chin on his shoulder and sighs. They’re clean again (yay), so Prompto sticks his nose in Noct’s hair, and tries to memorize how he smells.
He tips his head, and looks over to the booth where Ignis and Gladio sit. They're on opposite sides, arms over the back of the cushion, empty coffee cups and clean plates in front of them.
"Are you gonna' go on a date with Gladio?"
"I don't know." Noctis gets a combo, and Prompto mumbles, nice. Noctis grins, and then continues, "Probably won't."
"Dude, I don't even know what we'd do."
"The Lestallum carnival is next week," Prompto says. "You guys should go play games."
Noctis’s character dies, so he uses the opportunity to turn around. He digs his fingers in Prompto's beltloops and frowns.
"But I want you to be there too."
"Whatever you want, man," Prompto shrugs. "I'm only trying to help."
Noctis lifts a brow, amused, "Baby, you're not a thirdwheel."
Prompto flushes, "That's not what I'm saying!"
Noctis glances over to the booth, near the window. Ignis laughs about something, and Gladio waves his hand in an animated fashion. Noctis turns devious.
"Hmmmm, I see how it is. You want some time with Iggy, don't cha'."
"What?" Prompto jerks back, but is held back by the fingers in his jeans. "That's like — the opposite of what I want."
Noctis stares, surprised. "Huh?"
"Dude, I did not appreciate that little stunt you pulled the other day."
Noctis snuffs. "It's not like he cared."
"He doesn't like me," Prompto blurts. "I mean. He tolerates me, I think. We're friends? But like. Agh." Prompto scrubs at his face, and drops his voice. "People like Ignis don’t get along with people like me."
Ignis is classy and tall and wears polished shoes. He's studied every aspect of life since a child; he walked with books on his head and knows what all the forks are for at a fancy dinner. Noctis is royalty and even he doesn't know that.
Holy shit, that guy watched Prompto get plowed over a bathroom sink. Titan, Ramuh, Shiva above, please end his suffering.
Gladio he can relate to. Gladio stands on Chocobos and blows bubbles in his soda. Ignis is a different species entirely.
Noctis blinks really, really slowly. He draws out in inhale, as if summoning all his patience, and says,
"Prom, I love you so much, but you're fuckin' dumb."
"Are you two finished?" Ignis calls, head turned their way. "We ought to head out before it gets too warm."
"Sure," Noctis says, patting Prompto on the butt, and falling in step with Iggy. Gladio holds open the door for all three, before he follows. Noctis hums, "Good day for fishing."
"Later," Ignis checks his watch. "We have quite the trek ahead of us if we're to make all three bounties by sundown."
"Nothin' like a little walking," Gladio says, stretching his arms above his head. Prompto can't resist the opportunity to jab his fingers in Gladio's armpit, and then turn in a dead run. Gladio chokes on a super manly squeal, and takes off after Prompto.
"Run!" Noctis laughs, and Prompto nearly skids into the Regalia. He vaults over the side door, and lands in the passenger seat.
"Aaand, safe," Ignis calls, like an umpire.
"That's fine," Gladio says. "You have to get out sometime."
Prompto pales a little, and Gladio grins, leaning over to scrub through his hair. Noctis climbs into the backseat, and Ignis slides into the driver’s side.
Prompto tries not to watch Ignis drive for too long. It's more attractive than it should be; but then again, Gladio and Noct in the backseat are no less so.
"Okay. Not to be that guy, but I heard you can get high off Chocobo greens."
"Damn, is that true?"
"Most definitely not," Ignis says, behind the wheel.
"But my friend Darry told me you could, and he's like, a chemist now," Prompto says.
"I would be hesitant to trust any of your high school associates."
Noctis sits up, hand bracing on the back of the headrest, "So, does that mean Chocobos are high off their tits all the time?"
Gladio is far from involved in this conversation, but he snorts from behind his book.
The road rushes by, and it's raining slightly, so it's quieter in the car now that the roof is up. They've been driving for hours, and the boredom is eating at Prompto’s legs. Noctis has spent the majority of the day sleeping on Gladio's shoulder, but he's fully awake now.
Prompto turns around in his seat and gasps, "So that's why they go kweh! They’re blazed out of their chicken brains.”
"You are so positively wrong, that I don't even know where to begin," Ignis says. "Firstly, smokeable herbs, such as hemp, do not initiate hallucinations from solid consumption alone. Secondly, Chocobos cannot be high off their tits, because they are not mammals."
Noctis looks super proud that he got a Ignis to say the word tit.
"Oh my god," Prompto blinks. "So that means you can get high off Chocobo greens."
"That is absolutely not what I just said."
"We have some left, don't we?" Noctis shifts around in his seat, and looks towards the back trunk. "We have got to try that at the next outpost."
"We are most certainly not," Ignis says.
"It's not worth it," Gladio gruffs. "You'll cough for days and the high is shabby at best."
The conversation pauses, and Noctis turns to arch an eyebrow.
"What? Ask Iggy.”
“Gladio, I must ask that you stop speaking immediately.”
“Why? You were there.”
“Gladio, shut up.”
“Holy balls — no, now I have to know. When where why, I need the deets.”
“Shit, I think we were in highschool?” Gladio scratches his beard. “It was definitely not my idea.”
“Well it certainly wasn’t mine!” Ignis defends, and then snaps his mouth shut with an audible click.
Noctis looks like he’s hit the jackpot.
“Gladio, I’ve never even seen him drunk. You have to tell me what he’s like.”
Gladio grins, and Ignis looks about ready to reach back and strangle him alive.
“Talkative. And super ho– “
Ignis slams on the brakes, and because half of them aren’t wearing seatbelts, Gladio’s face smacks into the back seat. Noctis nearly goes up and over the center console.
“Oh look, we’re here,” Ignis chirps. Prompto laughs so hard, he has to get out of the car and dry heave.
Prompto wakes up alone. He shivers a little, and turns to curl the comforter up to his nose. It actually smells clean.
Oh, right. They coughed up three-hundred smackeroonies for this room. The walls are a clean beige-tone, and the white curtains are drawn open. The more he wakes, the more he realizes that music is playing dully from outside.
“Finally awake, I see.”
Prompto looks to the other bed; Ignis is sat up, dressed already, but his hair isn’t done yet. He has a book in hand, and he’s propped up against the headboard, and Prompto has to blink a few times to process it all.
“Where’s Gladio and Noct?”
“Downstairs, at the carnival,” Ignis says. “We thought to wake you, but you were so tired – you slept through all the noise.”
“Jeez, what time is it?”
“Quarter past noon, I believe.”
“Shit! You let me sleep that long?”
“You needed it,” Ignis says, looking back to his book. “It was a long day yesterday.”
Pff, that’s an understatement. Forty-eight hours straight, one shitstorm after the next. Prompto is surprised that Noctis didn’t sleep in.
Ignis seems to read his mind without even looking up, “Noctis didn’t want to miss the festival. Eager as he was, he did try and wait for you.”
Prompto grins, and scrubs a hand through his hair, fluffing it back up. “Nah, it’s fine. I told him he should go spend time with Gladio.”
“They urged us to meet with them later.”
“Okay!” Prompto sits up a little to look out the window. He can barely see the tips of some of the carnival rides. He turns back, “Why didn’t you go?”
“I did not want you to wake up alone,” Ignis says. His lip twitches to a smile, “And the quiet was nice.”
Oh, oops. Prompto throws his legs over the side of the bed and stands, stretching.
“Well, I’m in no rush. Did you already shower?”
“Kay,” Prompto yawns, and digs for his clothes out of his bag. Ignis turns the page, and Prompto shuts the bathroom door.
The shower is heavenly. He doesn’t feel guilty about standing under the spray. Their shampoo has already been migrated to the shelf, so Prompto washes his hair, and scrubs himself clean.
He’s toweled dry and in-pants when he spots the complimentary blowdryer. Fancy! He fluffs out his hair until it’s half dry, and then scoops up his clothes and pops open the door.
Ignis hasn’t moved. He looks so peaceful, Prompto tries not to make too much noise unzipping his bag. He finds his camera at the bottom, and plops back on his bed. He hasn’t had the time to clear out all the blurry shots, so he rolls onto his stomach, and starts to click through the viewfinder.
He can hear the carnival music again. He’s a little anxious to go out and try all the awesome street food, but he doesn’t wanna’ cut their date too short. Noctis wouldn’t care, but Prompto does.
It’s quiet in the room. Prompto keeps sneaking looks at Ignis, glancing down and up quickly in an attempt to be discrete. He’s just so – ugh.
Ignis looks his way, when the shutter snaps.
“Sorry,” Prompto lowers his camera, and grins. “You looked so relaxed.”
“Hm,” Ignis considers. “I’m not fond of having my picture taken.”
“I know. It’s a tragedy that you’re so photographic,” Prompto says, clicking back to look at the photo.
“The skill of the photographer, I assure you,” Ignis says lightly. Prompto bites his lip in a smile, and continues cleaning out his film.
When he’s finished, he rolls back over. Ignis is so good at sitting still and focusing and not talking and doing all three at once. Another long silence stretches, before Prompto feels pressured to break it.
Whatever he was going to say explodes out the back of his head. Prompto stutters to come up with something on the spot.
“Is - is that Gladio’s book?”
“Tales of the Certain Kind,” Ignis says. “He finished it and encouraged me to give it a try.”
“Is it any good?”
“Gladio is more of a romantic than I,” Ignis says. “But it’s not terribly unrealistic.”
Which translates to: it could be worse.
Prompto sits up and criss-crosses his legs on the bed. He tries, and fails, not to stare. Ignis’s legs are outstretched, lap totally appetizing, and his free hand rests on his thigh and –
Ignis glances over, and Prompto looks away. Ignis sighs, and pats the spot next to him.
“Prompto, come here.”
He jerks back to attention.
“Either time alone with me is torturous, or Noctis is actually telling the truth.”
Prompto swallows, “What do you mean?”
“Just do as I say for once,” Ignis demands. Prompto guiltily slips off his bed, and climbs onto the other. He stays a respectable distance away, but he can already feel the solid heat of Iggy’s eyes.
“Well done,” Ignis hums. He sets his book aside as he says, “Prompto, I have attempted subtlety, but now I will be frank. Do you know the true reason of Noct and Gladio’s little rivalry over you?”
“Uhhh,” Prompto stares. “I thought they just liked messing with each other.”
Ignis makes a face, “Somewhat true.” He brings a hand up between them, and gently presses it to the side of Prompto’s neck. “But Noctis had full intentions of tormenting me as well.”
Prompto draws a blank. He opens his mouth a little and blinks quickly.
“You’ve lost me.”
“Prompto, you are a tart, and I would enjoy nothing more than to gobble you whole,” Ignis says. “But I did not wish to overstep your boundaries.”
“Hold on – are you serious?!” Prompto shuffles closer, now sitting back on his heels, “This whole time I didn’t wanna’ make you uncomfortable.”
Ignis snorts, “Not an easy feat, my dear. Noctis is a teasing git, dangling you in front of me like one of his lures.”
“I think my head is gonna’ explode.” Prompto covers the hand on his neck with his own. “You’re not messing with me, are you? Iggy I – I can’t –“
His hand curls into the back of Prompto’s hair. He pulls, and forces his eye. Prompto is a little disgusted at how limp he goes in Ignis’s grip, like a puppy grabbed at the scruff of the neck. Iggy’s voice is steady.
“Look at me.”
Prompto does. Ignis’s glasses sit in front of his eyes, but Prompto can still see jade green and speckled beauty.
“Ah, hell,” Prompto whispers. “You’re serious.”
“I quite adore you, unfortunately,” Ignis says. “I don’t like caring so deeply for other people, as you are more liable to feel pain, and I wished to do away with it all.” He doesn’t push or pull, but merely plays with the short hair at the base of Prompto’s neck. “But alas, you’re too sweet not to have.”
It all clicks in place, and Prompto chews on his lip.
“Can I touch you?”
A single nod.
Prompto immediately reaches up to trace his jaw. Six, Prompto has wanted to do this since ever – and the gods are throwing him a bone today, so Prompto won’t complain. His hands are a little unsteady, but Ignis is staring with his full attention, and the air feels more charged than before.
He swipes his thumb into the corner of Ignis’s lips, and Ignis willingly parts them. Prompto traces over the crest of his top lip, and then the swell of the bottom, and he’s so soft, yet so positively dangerous.
Ignis catches his wrist. Prompto tenses briefly in his grasp, but relaxes his fingers as Ignis presses them straight, and then brings them to his lips.
“Iggy…” he starts. “I didn’t want to be selfish, but oh my god, I’ve been thinking about this since we left Insomnia.”
“As have I,” Ignis simply says.
“Then kiss me,” Prompto teases, and Ignis does. Hair in his eyes, glasses twisting crooked, Ignis hooks him by the waist and pulls. Prompto braces a hand on his shoulder, closes his eyes and lets everything fall in place.
Ignis kisses in a way he didn’t expect. Power hungry and confident, not accepting any other option than to lead. Prompto parts his lips and goes pliant, eyes rolling back when Ignis licks into his mouth. He tastes like coffee.
Somehow, Ignis is skilled enough to keep the kiss from getting messy. Prompto has no idea how he does it, but it’s amazing.
Prompto can’t stop touching him. Ears and cheeks and shoulders, he presses into the beauty marks on his neck, like it’ll pop open a CD compartment.
Ignis cups the back of his head, tongues at his bottom lip and sucks on it; Prompto now fully understands why Noctis makes the sounds he does. It’s like drowning — burned for air and swallowed deep. Iggy’s lips are so velvet soft, but his teeth are sharp, and Prompto moans.
Ignis grabs him by the wrist again, and presses Prompto’s hand flat against his own chest. There’s a heartbeat under there, rapid and human, and Prompto could cry.
“Prompto,” he says, voice slightly rasped. “We can take his slow.”
“Pff,” Prompto snorts. “Been there done that. I have so many pictures of your ass I could build a butt mosaic.” He stops. “I shouldn’t have said that.”
Ignis laughs. Like, actually laughs. He closes his eyes a little, and opens them, sweeping his thumbs over Prompto’s eyebrows. “Lie down.”
Prompto flops down on his back. Ignis unbuttons his shirt sleeves and rolls them to his forearms, and Prompto moans.
Ignis pauses, sleeve halfway up, “Oh?”
“Don’t make fun of me, this is like a wet dream come true,” Prompto shifts a little, chucking off his socks. “Hey, we should do more of that kissing thing.”
Ignis smiles. He moves like a cat — not quite like Noctis, but like a predator, shoulderblades shifting panther-like as he crawls over and kisses Prompto from above. The nerves in Prompto’s gut start to unwind a little bit.
“So um,” he breathes, when they part. “What’s the plan Stan?”
“Well,” Ignis starts, sitting back on his heels, and removing his glasses. “As you know, I am a connoisseur of the finer things.” He pulls Prompto forward by the back of his knees, now between his thighs. Ignis skims his hands up the insides of his legs, ankle to hip, all through the fabric of his jeans. It still tingles. “Allow me to indulge myself?”
“Please,” Prompto gasps.
Ignis pushes up his shirt with one hand. His fingers are long, and they splay across his chest as he reaches down to kiss above his navel. Prompto squirms, face going hot, but Ignis turns to his side and bites down lightly.
“Yes, you’ll be quite fun,” Ignis traces over the bitemark, apparently pleased that it’s reddened already. “Do as I say.”
Prompto holds his breath. Ignis kisses over his ribs, and waits for him to exhale before digging his nose beneath his armpit. Prompto giggles, and Ignis gazes at him with amusement, green eyes fully exposed without glasses. He sits back up and pats his hip gently.
Prompto fumbles with his zipper, grabbing his underwear and his jeans and shoving them down in one go. Cold fingers slide along his, and Prompto lifts his hips so Ignis can slide them off completely. Never one to do something halfway – he’s slow going, fingers slipping down and wrapping around his ankles, before pushing his jeans off completely.
Prompto feels a little exposed; shirt by his chin and otherwise naked, but Ignis sits back and stares.
“Hey,” Prompto tries.
“Hello,” Ignis responds cooly, and lifts one leg to kiss his inner ankle. “Dream realized?”
“It will be.”
Ignis snorts, and feels up the outside of his hips. Prompto is kinda’ embarrassingly hard already, but Ignis doesn’t look put off.
“Any more fantasies I should know of?”
“Besides the one where you and Gladio spitroast me to death?” Prompto blinks, “Oh my god I cannot shut up today.”
“Interesting,” Ignis mumbles, and then dips down to bite hard into his inner thigh. Prompto yelps — it burns, but his teeth are sharp and his lips are soft and the sight of Ignis between his legs is enough alone to get him off.
Ignis digs his thumb into the bite. Prompto whines. Ignis lets out a shaky breath, like he’s the one affected.
“Very beautiful,” Ignis mutters to himself. He pushes Prompto’s leg upwards, to see how high it’ll go, and Prompto flushes at how it exposes him.
“I thought you were a flexible one,” Ignis mulls. “I saw only of that day in the Saulhend Pass motel, of course.” He licks into the v-line of his hip, and smiles, “And of what Noctis tells me.”
“N-Noctis talks about me?”
“Of course,” Ignis sucks hard and pulls, knowing it’ll leave a mark. “I ask him to.”
Prompto moans. He reaches out, and Ignis slides up him, arms bracing in the bed, tongue meeting his.
There’s the sound of a key in the door. Ignis smirks.
“Nobody’s answering their goddamn phones —” Gladio starts, nearly kicking down the door. Ignis sits back on his heels, and Gladio stops short. “Ahh.”
“What??” Noctis huffs, peeks around Gladio, and then slams the door shut uber fast.
Prompto tries to squeeze his legs shut, but Ignis grips him beneath each knee and holds him. Ignis tries for a flat tone, but his voice is still grainier than usual.
“Is everything alright?”
“Yeah, we were just gonna’ meet up for luuuunch buuut....” Noctis kicks off his boots. He looks way too pleased.
Gladio adds, “This works too.”
“Very well,” Ignis says, and braces his forearms beneath Prompto’s thighs so he can dip his tongue down between his legs. Prompto prays for thick walls.
That should’ve been it. The End, happily ever after, all is right with the world, go home, go to bed.
But sometimes, Prompto’s heart will still hurt, and he thinks he knows why.
There’s a good day’s travel ahead of them. Ignis and Noct have switched places twice already, and as night approaches, Prompto reaches over and slides his hand into Iggy’s lap.
“Hey, do you want me to drive? We’re like, almost there.”
“Thank you love, but I’m quite alright.”
Noctis rolls his eyes from the back seat. His arm is up and around Gladio, feet kicked up on the console, and Ignis arches an eyebrow at him through the rear view mirror.
“What is it?”
“You’re so soft on him.”
“Oh, and you are not?”
“Newsflash,” Gladio yawns, “Iggy’s been soft for Prompto since day one.”
“Personality flaw,” Ignis says. Prompto rolls his eyes.
He turns around and points, “Hey, is there room for me back there?”
“We can make room,” Gladio says.
“Get comfortable,” Ignis flips on his blinker and checks his blind spot before changing lanes. “We’re still eighty minutes out.”
Prompto carefully crawls over the console, and Gladio grabs him the rest of the way. It’s squished, but Prompto fits pretty good between them, so he tucks his feet up next to Noct’s, and slides down Gladio’s side.
“Hey, it’s my other wet dream.”
“Don’t start shit you can’t finish,” Gladio teases. He’s using the flashlight clipped on his vest to read in the dark, and it’s endearing.
Noctis is playing a game on his phone, so Prompto pulls out his and joins in. Ignis continues to drive, and Gladio continues to read, and Prompto starts to think.
They’re not really hiding anything anymore, are they? Noctis and Gladio fuck like rabbits, and Prompto can’t stop dropping to his knees whenever Ignis bites off his gloves, and it’s been all bets off since the carnival anyways, so.
Why isn’t it perfect, yet?
"Damn it," Noctis curses. "You make it look so easy."
They're parked out in the Nebulawood, hunting a bounty that only comes out at night. It's still only five, so they set up camp at a haven, and are throwing knives to pass the time.
"You fight with daggers," Gladio deadpans. "You should know how to throw one."
"Listen, there's a reason I leave the throwing to Iggy," Noctis says. He flips the blade in his hand and throws it, and it misses the tree entirely.
"Noct," Ignis approaches. He takes hold of Noctis's wrist, and curls his fingers over his. He does a fake throwing motion, "For a quicker slide of hand, don't allow the tip of the blade to rotate."
"Yes daddy," Noctis jokes, and Prompto laughs. Rule 37: don’t ever let your friends know you hate something.
"Oh quit it," Ignis sighs. He lets go, swats Noctis's hip, and Noctis mimics what Ignis showed him.
"Hey!" Prompto claps, "You hit the tree this time."
"You'd have skimmed his shins, but I suppose it's a start," Ignis says.
"You should try." Noctis pulls the dagger out of the tree, and hands it to Prompto. "You're the sharpshooter, you might be a natural."
"Hmm, I hadn't thought of that," Ignis says. Noctis slides an arm around his waist.
"Sure," Prompto shrugs. He grips the knife higher on the handle, and aims for the center circle marked on the tree. He fakes a throw, and then tosses it, and —
"I am conflicted between pride, and embarrassment," Ignis says. "This is my life's craft."
"Hey, then you might be good with a gun," Prompto says, bending over to pick up the knife.
"Perhaps, but they're much too loud for my taste."
"Silencers man. They're sexy." Prompto turns, and extends the knife hilt-out. "Gladio?"
"Oh no," Gladio crosses his arms. "I'm no good at that stuff."
"Bullcrap. With your arm, this thing oughta' cut right through," Noctis says.
"I'm a shit aim."
"Well you can surely try?"
Gladio looks to Ignis, and smirks.
"What, you gonna' teach me then?"
Noctis lets go of his waist, and Ignis steps forward in a challenge. Prompto hands Gladio the knife, and he moves to stand at Ignis's hip.
"The number of rotations depends on distance and size." Ignis plucks the knife from his hand, and balances it on his finger, "These blades are perfectly weighted. You should be able to achieve a single spin from this distance."
Gladio grunts, "And the aiming part?"
"-Comes with a good eye," Ignis says. He sets the knife in Gladio's hand once more. "Give her a go."
Gladio lines up the blade with his eye, and tosses it. He skims some bark off the tree, and it makes a loud wham as it hits the tree slightly behind it. Noctis snorts, and Prompto gives a thumbs up, "Hey, you hit one!"
Gladio rolls his eyes, "See?"
"Try it one more time." Ignis pulls out a second knife from his hip. He hands it to Gladio, and Prompto's jaw slackens slightly, as he sees Ignis hesitate. It's only for a moment, but his fingers hover above Gladio's, before he finally clutches Gladio's wrist, and curls his fingers around the knife. Ignis clears his throat. "Hold it like this. It will counterbalance the weight."
Gladio nods. His face is a tad too serious for the lightheartedness of it all. Ignis lets go, and Gladio raises the knife once more.
"I'm breathing," Gladio huffs.
"Was he always like this in training?" Prompto asks.
"Yes," Ignis says, as Gladio throws the knife. He hits slightly above the target.
"Hey!" Noct reaches out and high fives him, "Nice one, big guy."
"What do I win?" He jokes.
Noctis grips him by the collar and tugs so he can kiss Gladio briefly. He lands back on the soles of his feet and laughs, "You win your pride back."
"Ha-ha," Gladio deadpans.
Ignis pulls the knife out of the tree, with some effort. He looks at the deep indent, and raises his eyebrows.
"Well done. Perhaps brute force is a benefit after all."
Gladio grins at him, and Prompto feels a lightbulb pop in the back of his head.
Metaphorical lines. Prompto thinks about them a lot. Boundaries and personal space and all the things they lost when they left Insomnia.
The sun is up. The pier is an old one, likely put together by whoever used to live in the shack. Some of the planks are rotten, but Noctis sits and fishes at the end, so Prompto is at his side, head on his shoulder.
He doesn’t know how to say it.
“What do you think about Ignis and Gladio?”
“Sexy,” Noctis replies.
“Not what I--” Prompto laughs. “I meant like. Together.”
“Oh. Super sexy.”
“Do you think they like each other?”
“Well, they have to,” Noctis says. He messes with the lure, slowly trying to attract a fish, but no bite. “I mean. Ignis was there when you and Gladio totally wrecked my a-“
“Noct,” Prompto whines.
“What?" Noctis wedges the handle of his fishingrod between the cracks in the pier, and reaches over to ruffle Prompto's hair. "Babe, you're worrying for nothing. I'm already way ahead of you."
"It's better with all of us, right?" Noctis looks out to the water, and rests his head on top of Prompto's. "I think that's how it was meant to be." A pause. "And the sex would be a little less awkward."
"The sex isn't awkward," Prompto laughs.
"Have you noticed? They don't go near each other."
Prompto pauses to think — and it's true, isn't it? Careful lines drawn in the sand, taking turns or opting just to watch from the sidelines. Prompto thinks they could all share a bed, if they really tried.
He doesn't know what to say, so he keeps quiet. The reel starts to spin on the fishing rod, so Noctis jerks to grab it, but Prompto keeps his head on his shoulder. The sun is all glittery on the water, and Noctis doesn't get mad when he hums, so it gives him time to think.
That night, when they sleep in the tent, Prompto is careful of where he crawls. He opts for the edge this time, Noct settling at their feet as usual. Ignis lays down his sleeping pad, and pauses, waiting.
"Sorry, I'm a bit hot tonight," Prompto says. Ignis frowns, and immediately reaches over to press the back of his hand to his forehead. "I don't have a fever!" Prompto cries.
"It was all the walkin'," Gladio says, rolling onto his pad. "Told you to wear sunscreen."
"You'll only get more freckles," Ignis says, gripping his chin, and turning his head. "Not a bad thing, I suppose. They are rather cute."
"The shoulder ones are the best," Gladio mumbles.
Prompto sticks out his tongue, and Ignis squeezes his cheeks before kissing his mouth and letting go. Ignis resigns to lay his pad in the middle, but Prompto knows it leans more his way, than Gladio's. Noctis is already conked out at the end, lightly snoring.
Prompto really wants to cuddle with Ignis, but to keep up appearances, he keeps his distance. Ignis pulls a blanket over them, but sleepily reaches out a hand, and Prompto takes it.
It's rare when they have the money to splurge on stuff like wine, but it seems like a day worth celebrating. Any downed Imperial base is another base off the grid, so Cor will be happy to hear about it.
Prompto isn't drunk, but he's a little warm, and it only fuels the fire under his skin.
Prompto feels a burn in his thighs, but it's worth it. Hands laced with Gladio's, head dipped and hair sticking to his forehead, he bounces in his lap and whines.
"Fuck Gladio. Your thighs. Are killing me."
Prompto rocks up and grinds down, a hand slipping from Gladio's so he can grip into his hair. Gladio pants, supposedly a laugh.
"Want me to take over?"
Gladio gets a hand under his thigh and lifts, carrying on the rhythm Prompto had built, and Prompto moans through his teeth. It lessens the strain in his muscles, and it leaves a tingly feeling in his body.
Noctis lays in the other bed over, head propped in his hand, lazy and satisfied with Ignis at his side. Noctis sighs, "I wish I could record this."
"It would be rather unfortunate for our reputation if someone were to find it."
"I know I know, but I still wanna'."
Prompto flicks his hair out of his eyes and heaves in air in an effort just to stay afloat. Gladio is just — big. The pleasure is boarderline painful, and when Gladio slams up his hips Prompto starts to slip under.
"Gladio..." he pants. "Gladio-"
He's burning from the inside out. Stretched and slick, thighs covered in lube, red-handprints gripped into his hips. His eyes roll, and he ragdolls a little. Gladio sees the look in his eyes, and presses his lips to his temple.
"Hey, baby — look at me. What do you need?"
Prompto hiccups a little. He grips harder into Gladio's hair, and tries to focus back in, but every nerve is on end. He's already come once, but his dick is swollen red and trapped between them - and yet - he feels exposed, too open and rubbed raw. A panicky feeling starts to build in his chest, almost like he can't breathe. Everything is too much and not enough, buzzed out and needing more.
"Iggy," he whines. Ignis snaps to attention.
Gladio slows the pace a little, and Prompto grunts, trying to speed it back up again because that's not — he needs —
"Are you alright, darling?"
"Go hold him," Noctis says. Ignis gets up, slipping off one bed and onto another. Gladio manhandles Prompto up a little bit, and Ignis slowly comes to kneel behind him.
"That's it," Gladio purrs. "You're doing so good. Look who's here."
Ignis carefully sets his hands higher on Prompto's waist, away from where Gladio's fingers rest. Gladio pulls him up, Prompto rises higher on his knees, and Ignis catches him before his thighs slap too hard against Gladio's.
Ignis is a sturdy presence at his back, and Prompto relaxes almost immediately.
"There we are," Ignis purrs. "Lovely, yes. You're making Gladio feel wonderful, love."
"Six yes," Gladio sighs.
Prompto moans, a fullbody shiver catching him on fire. Gladio is breathing heavy, beard scratching against his cheek, and Prompto instinctually knows he's close. Fingers tight, more pleasure-plain sparking down his spine. Ignis kisses the back of Prompto’s neck once; he's so close, he could kiss Gladio and hardly strain a muscle.
His cock drags against Gladio's stomach and Ignis sweeps his fingers up the front of his chest and Prompto feels so safe —
Noctis hums from the other bed, head still propped in one hand, eyes never turning away.
"It's okay. You can let go."
Prompto goes fully under. It hits him so hard, he doesn't come to until there's a washcloth between his thighs, and fingers in his hair.
"Aw, fuck," Prompto mumbles.
"Welcome back," Noctis purrs, and twirls a strand of blonde hair around his finger.
Prompto squints against the lights and groans, fingers coming up to rub at his eyes.
"Still with us?" Gladio says, now in pants again. Dang, he blacked out.
Prompto feels a fullbody ache, but it's so good he just wants to lay here and wallow in it.
"I didn't mean to do that," Prompto mutters.
"Quite alright," Ignis says, bending over to peck him once. Prompto leans up to kiss him back, before collapsing back on the bed. "Need us to stay?"
"I've got him," Noctis says.
Gladio peeks over, "You guys sharing tonight?"
"Yeah.” Noctis grabs him like an octopus, and Prompto didn't realize he needed human contact so much. He clutches back, hiding his face from the light, and Noctis gestures something to Ignis with his free hand.
"S'rry," Prompto mumbles.
"Stop talking," Noctis tells him.
"Looks like we're bunk mates," Ignis says, approaching the other bed.
"I can take the floor if you want."
"Don't be daft. We'll surely fit."
Gladio grins, "It'll be a tight squeeze."
"Just like old times, huh?" Noctis says.
Prompto mumbles, "Mmm times?"
"Ah, yes." Ignis shivers, as if repressing a memory, "Basic training."
"You and I remember basic very differently."
The talking continues, and Prompto wishes he was lucid enough to watch Ignis crawl in alongside Gladio, but Noctis is counting the knobs in spine, and Prompto passes out.
It's not often that Ignis looks surprised. It's almost worth taking a picture of — if Prompto wasn't busy snappin' away already.
"Do I even want to know?" Ignis asks.
"It's arm day," Gladio answers.
Noctis waves, "Hey Iggy. Breakfast ready?"
"Um....yes." Ignis says. He has a cup of coffee in hand, and he's standing still, unblinking and — what the hell, Prompto snaps a picture of that too.
Gladio is on his back, and he's been bench-pressing Noctis for the last fifteen minutes. Noctis looks like his entire life has led up to this moment.
"I'm next," Prompto says.
"You're not much of a challenge, Prom," Gladio says, only slightly out of breath. Noctis sticks out his tongue, and Prompto huffs.
"Then you should bench Iggy."
"No thank you," Ignis says too quickly. "And your workout is over, the food is getting cold."
Gladio does one more set of reps, and then sets Noctis back on his feet. Ignis has the same look in his eye that Prompto had the first time he watched Gladio deadlift the Regalia out of a ditch. Ignis is very talented with that mask of his; but Prompto is learning to read the small things.
He wants to make a joke, but it seems like Gladio and Ignis have something fragile here. A friendship not built on an adoration to Noctis, or a similar sense of duty — but something born and nurtured alone. There's so much Prompto still doesn't know, even though he really wants to.
Prompto takes his free hand, "What's for breakfast?"
Ignis squeezes back, eyes shifting his way, "Eggs and toast, though I cooked yours scrambled rather than sunnyside."
"You're the best."
It's bad enough when a hunt goes wrong, but when Imperials drop from above, it goes from bad to worse.
Coeurls are too clever for their own good. With large claws and feline like-agility, each cat is a one-man army. Imperials run in from the north bank, and the only good part about it is the Coeurls don't give a shit who they're attacking.
It's a bloodbath. Prompto can't get enough distance to do any damage, and he keeps getting clipped by stray bullets.
Gladio is taking on the worst of it; two Coeurls and half the imperial troops. Ignis is surrounded over by the trees — he's doing well on his own, but his throwing arm doesn't look good. Prompto headshots a soldier, and turns to see if he can give Gladio any cover — but he spots a Coeurl crouched in the brushes, and Prompto shouts.
Gladio is faster. He shoves Ignis out of the way, and takes the brunt of the bite. He shouts, and Prompto's heart falls into his stomach. Gladio goes down.
"Gladio!" Prompto rapid fires, cutting through to aim for the Coeurl. Ignis cuts his knife into the flank and twists — it hisses, but it's jaws still clutch down on Gladio's shoulder. Prompto slides to a knee, spots an opening and fires. His bullet goes through the eye, and it's enough to get the cat to let go.
"Gladio — oh, Gladio—" Ignis hovers, and uses his knife to block the swing of a sword.
Noctis cries out, somewhere, and Prompto goes cold.
Gladio gives a push, but he's covered in blood. "Iggy, go-"
"You're going to bleed out," Ignis says, voice on the edge of panic.
"Fucking go!" Gladio grits. "Don't forget your duty!"
Prompto ducks and weaves — he can't see Noct. Gladio is in a pool of red, and Prompto is so torn he can't make a move. Ignis, however, rises to his feet, summons his daggers, and takes off in a run. A hologram sparks in the distance, and Prompto finally spots Noctis, glowing blue and barely holding his ground.
Ignis slides to his back, daggers crossed to stop the onslaught of an axe, and Noctis is alive. Thank the gods.
The Coeurl goes back for Gladio. Prompto steadies his hand and fires.
It takes all three of them to load Gladio up in the camper. He's gone a little delusional with blood loss, limbs limp and his head rolling on his shoulders. He has Noct's shirt shoved in the gouged out chunks in his arm.
"It's okay, it's okay," Prompto repeats, helping to set him on the bed. "Ignis is gonna' get a potion and everything's gonna' feel better, okay?"
Gladio mumbles, "Nn, fine."
"Don't fall asleep," Noctis pats his cheek. He looks exhausted, eyes red rimmed with worry. “I’ll kick your ass.”
"Mmm." Gladio tries to lay down, but Prompto scurries to his back, sitting so Gladio has someone to lean his weight on. Ignis is tearing through bags with fury, throwing clothes and soap bottles and spoons out of his way.
Gladio's entire torso is crusted with blood. He sags more, and Prompto grunts to hold up his weight.
"Got it!" Ignis jerks back to his feet and pops open the bottle. "Noct, remove the bandages."
Noctis slowly peels back the shirt pieces, but it's started to dry into his skin. Gladio hisses through his teeth, and Ignis nearly jerks his hand to cup Gladio's cheek.
"Shh," he says. "Clench your teeth. This will hurt."
"Had worse," he mumbles.
"I know dear. Noct, hold his arm down." Ignis holds the bottle above one of the wounds, and pours it over. Gladio immediately thrashes, and Ignis grips a hand to his thigh to keep him from kicking. Prompto cant bear to look. Gladio is trying not to scream; Prompto can hear it in the half-cries that die in his throat.
"That's it, that's it," Ignis says. He pours it into the second bite-mark, and Gladio groans. The skin slowly knits itself back together, replacing what was lost.
"Iggy, his heartrate is really high," Noctis swallows.
"His body is working overtime," Ignis says. He presses a hand to Gladio's forehead. "He'll run a temperature. These wounds are far grander than a standard potion can heal. His body will have to do the rest."
"It was that bad?"
"He lost a lot of blood," Ignis whispers.
There’s a solemn silence. Gladio’s skin gets hotter, and Prompto bites his lip in suspense. He knows it won’t take long, but Gladio’s breathing is jagged and pained, and it breaks Prompto’s heart.
"God," Gladio groans, finally coming to. "That better not have fucked up my tattoo."
Prompto sighs, twisting a little to lay his temple against the back of Gladio's head. Noctis curses, and Ignis pushes his glasses up to scrub tiredly at his eyes.
"I am," Ignis says, "going to kill you."
Gladio snorts, and turns his head to brush his nose against Prompto's cheek.
"Did I scare ya'."
"What the bloody hell were you thinking?"
"Uh, that you were about to become a kitty snack."
"Your job is to protect Noctis."
"Yeah, it is," Gladio rolls his arm a little, and Prompto sneaks a peek at the wound. It's already starting to scar over. Gladio grits his teeth, "But if you think I'm just gonna' turn a blind eye on you, then you've got another thing coming."
"You are an idiot," Ignis says. "Preaching duty to me in the battlefield while you lay dead in the grass."
"Not dead yet, so you can quit your bitching," Gladio grunts, digging at his ear.
"Do you two mind if we have a moment?" Ignis hisses.
Prompto can tell that Noctis wants to say his own piece, but he's staying quiet. Instead he holds open a hand, and helps Prompto off the bed and outside the camper. Prompto swallows. The door shuts.
They stand still, side by side. The town has already gone to sleep, and even the gas station lights are out.
Muffled shouting comes from the camper.
Prompto lets go of Noct’s hand so he can numbly take a seat on one of the plastic chairs. Noctis follows. Prompto’s eyes burn a little.
"I hate when duty gets brought into all this," Noctis grits, breaking the silence. "Sometimes I wish I was just..."
"I know where Gladio is coming from," Prompto says, before Noctis can continue that thought. "I'd take a hit for any of you."
"Ignis hates that."
They fall into another silence. Prompto still feels a little sick; if he closes his eyes he can see Gladio's wounds perfectly, and it makes him queasy.
Neither of them pull out their phones. They don’t fidget or squirm or speak at all.
It's quiet enough to hear the crickets, and Prompto realizes that the shouting has stopped. Noctis stands.
"Hey, follow me."
Noctis grabs him by the wrist, and pulls him around to the back of the camper. There's a step, and a back window with the curtain half-drawn. Noctis steps up on the tire, and beckons Prompto to follow.
"But they wanted to be alone..."
"Yeah, but we got dragged into this." Noctis reaches down and pulls him up by the shirt sleeve, so Prompto hops up next to him. The lights are still on in the camper, and cheek to cheek with Noctis, Prompto can now see the bed.
Gladio is still sitting where they left him, but Ignis is kneeling between his legs, head resting on Gladio's thigh, face hidden in his own arms. Gladio's hand rests in his hair, and he's carefully picking out the gel.
Ignis looks so vulnerable. Prompto’s heart jerks. With the window slightly open, Prompto can hear inside.
“I can no longer bare the thought of us not returning home as four,” Ignis says. “I was prepared to sacrifice anything to see Noct to safety, but now I fear I am compromised.”
“If it came down to it, you’d make the right choice.” Gladio nudges Ignis, so that his face rises off his lap. “You always do.”
“I have to know that you will protect them over me.” Ignis meets his eye. His glasses are gone. “Gladio, please.”
“I’ve made an oath to protect the King, and I’ll see that through to my death,” Gladio says. “But you don’t mean any less to me than Prom or Noctis.”
Ignis closes his eyes, like that’s not the answer he wanted. It’s so tense, Prompto is afraid to breathe. Noctis is holding his breath too.
“You’re the first guy I ever liked,” Gladio says softly.
Ignis looks up.
“This will only serve to hurt us more.”
“I don’t care.”
Both of them look afraid to make a move — as if there's no turning back. Ignis rises higher on his knees, hands planted on Gladio's thighs — and Gladio cups the back of his neck with his hand.
Prompto slips off the tire and smacks his head against the camper.
"Fuck!" Noctis jumps down, hand covering his mouth. He drops to a whisper, "Prom, are you okay?"
Prompto hisses, cradling the bump on his head. Noct’s hands cover his, and — ah shit, that friggin' hurts. The camper goes silent, and Prompto squeezes his eyes shut.
"Alright you two. Get back in here."
"Twice in one day, honestly I'm going to go grey.” Ignis feels around through his hair, and Prompto winces.
"Ow, ow ow-"
Ignis sighs, "You shouldn't need a curative, but I'd suggest a pain reliever."
"It's fine," Prompto pulls away.
"Is he concussed?"
"No, thank goodness."
"Sorry..." Prompto looks up.
Ignis bends down and kisses his temple.
Noctis is sitting on the bed, knees to his chest, but he reaches a hand out for Gladio.
"How's the arm?"
"Stiff. But no scars, see?" Gladio sits next to him, and lets Noctis tenderly feel across his shoulder. He traces down Gladio’s inner arm, and in a moment of rare tenderness, he presses a kiss to Gladio’s shoulder.
"You're awfully lucky. Any deeper, and the tissue damage might have been irreversible," Ignis says. Gladio looks away.
Prompto glances between them. He chews on his lip and absently feels over the bump in his hair.
"So um...is everything okay now?"
"We don't like it when mom and dad fight," Noctis jokes. Gladio pushes him, and Noctis flops over.
"It's not your worry, princess."
"We're fine," Ignis says.
"Cool, that's a relief."
"Hey, you guys were totally about to kiss," Noctis says, from where he's folded over on his side.
"What? No we weren't."
"Uh, yeah you were."
"It was pretty obvious," Prompto adds.
"We ought to find dinner," Ignis says, changing the subject.
"I'm not moving until you kiss," Noctis says.
"Yeah! This is a sit in!"
Ignis rolls his eyes.
"But Ignis, the audience demands it," Gladio flirts. He’s always so brave in everything he does, it’s nice to see him be brave here too.
Ignis softens a little. His lip curls upwards, and he saunters towards Gladio.
"Hmmm...perhaps I can be convinced."
Ignis bends at the waist, Gladio reaches for his face, and it's finally right.
They're so beautiful. The kiss is surprisingly tender — a tad vanilla, just a simple press, eyed closed and it’s sweet. That is, until Gladio chokes an arm around his waist, and Ignis does that thing with his tongue. Gladio fights him for control, and it leaves them with a back and forth, neither prepared to surrender.
"Ahh," Noctis rolls to his back. "Finally."
Ignis pulls away, swiping a thumb across Gladio's bottom lip.
“I wanted to kiss you the first day we met,” Gladio says.
“We were children,” Ignis laughs.
"And the web weaves tighter," Prompto grins.
"Well..." Ignis smiles. "What's one more string?"
Tomorrow they'll go back to war, but tonight, time stops just for them.
"What are you doing to my hair?"
"Braiding it," Prompto half-lies.
Gladio hums, not quite believing him, but doesn't bother putting up a fight. He's nose first in a book, so Prompto waits until Gladio is thoroughly invested before slipping another flower in his hair. They're not big flowers, just — yellow, quarter sized ones that he found near the road.
Sometimes the breeze blows by and threatens to undo his work, but Prompto only pulls the braids tighter, just to make sure the flowers won't move. Gladio has great hair; it's super thick, and Prompto loves rubbing the little shaved parts by his ears.
"Well, that's the last of the cargo." Noctis sets the box in the trunk, and slams it shut. "Real nice of you guys to help."
"We did help," Prompto sings. "By killing all the killerbees that you refused to go near."
"Whatever," Noctis huffs. He gets a look at Prompto's work, and snorts. "That actually looks good."
Gladio wearily lifts a hand to feel for it, but Prompto slaps it away.
"I'm not done yet!"
Ignis approaches from the other side of the Regalia, and squints a little to read the time on his phone. "There's a few hours of daylight left. I don't think we will make Hammerhead by sundown."
"It's campin' time boys," Gladio shuts his book. Noctis and Prompto groan.
"Don't complain yet." Ignis taps into his phone, and turns it around to show Noct. "Supposedly, there's a hot spring around here."
"No friggin' way!"
"I didn't see that on the paper map!"
"It was a tip from Cindy," Ignis says. "They don't map it for tourists because the locals wish to preserve the ecosystem. I assured her we would not litter."
"Okay, nevermind, I'm super excited." Prompto ties off the last braid with a rubberband and stands. “Let’s go.”
Gladio feels back in his hair, and blinks.
"What the hell did you do?"
"Oh," Ignis smiles. "You look quite handsome."
"Is that sarcasm?"
"Not this time."
Gladio pulls out his phone and flips the camera around, and Prompto digs for his own camera before Gladio can take the flowers out.
Prompto half expects a fit, but Gladio just turns his head and grins, "Hey. These are pretty fancy. Where'd you learn to braid?"
"Six minutes on google, dude."
Gladio doesn't take out the flowers, or the braids. Some of them loosen while they build the tent and set up dinner, but Prompto is flattered that Gladio is willing to humor him. But then again, he does have a younger sister.
Noctis builds the fire, and Ignis rolls up his sleeves to chop leeks, and Prompto is almost out of film but — he wants to remember this. He takes a picture anyways.
It's hard not having a real home to come back to anymore. But it's made easy with them, here. He doesn't want to think about Insomnia, or the people they've lost, or the hardship that Noctis has to bear. He just wants to be with them.
"You look rather thoughtful," Ignis says.
"Not really," Prompto shrugs. He leans over the pop-up counter from the opposite side, and looks at what Ignis is sauteing.
"Smells good babe," Gladio calls. Ignis rolls his eyes, but he let Gladio get away with the nickname once, and so naturally it hasn't stopped since.
The sun starts to go down, and they scarf down dinner around the fire. Prompto and Noctis try to sneak off — we'll meet you at the hotspring — but Ignis refuses to tell them where it is until they've cleaned all the dishes.
Armed with flashlights and towels, Ignis leads the way up the mountain. It's not steep, but there's no trail that Prompto can see, so he really hopes Ignis knows where he's going.
Gladio grabs his waist from behind, and Prompto nearly busts his nose with his elbow.
"That's not funny!"
"You're slow," Gladio says, grabbing him with one arm. Prompto squeaks, and hangs around his neck to steady himself — not that Gladio would drop him, even with only one arm.
"That's not fair," Noctis laughs.
"Dude, you can teleport through walls."
"Here we are," Ignis says, and Gladio sets Prompto down so he can climb the last bit of the hill. It's lit up blue by glimmering rocks on the hills, similar to the haven plateaus. The hot spring is a small pool-size, and steam rolls off the water and over the rocks.
"Fuck yes." Noctis grabs the back of his shirt and hauls it off with a hellish speed. "Race you!"
Prompto nearly trips over his boots. He jumps out of his pants, tossing his underwear somewhere so he can jump straight in.
"Wait, I'm not sure how deep-" Ignis starts, but Noctis and Prompto cannonball in, and he bites it off. Prompto’s feet can skim the bottom, but it's not deathly shallow. It feels like hot bathwater, and Prompto and Noctis moan alike when they surface.
"That good?" Gladio grins, and follows after kicking off his jeans. He jogs in to his waist and sinks in, groaning, "Oh. It is that good."
Ignis is last. He folds his shirt and his pants, and even carefully tucks his socks inside his towel. Noctis rolls his eyes and splashes water his way.
"Come on Specs!"
Ignis ignores him, wading into the water at his own pace. Prompto sinks down to his nose and watches; it's not often he gets to see Ignis fully naked, and he's redonkulously pretty. His brain is taking so many mental pictures right now.
Noctis speaks his mind, as usual.
"Iggy, your legs are like six miles long."
"Fortunately for me," Ignis says. "My agility relies on it."
Noctis floats up on his back, and his hair floats out in the water. Gladio dunks himself under the water again, and then rises with a distressed sound.
"Shit, my flowers."
They float off in the water, and Prompto giggles into his hand.
"I'll pick you more."
"Please," Gladio purrs, leaning down to peck his mouth. Prompto wraps his limbs around him, locking his ankles behind his thighs, and hooks his arms around his neck.
"Oh no," Gladio deadpans, and stands up. Prompto is pulled completely above the water, still clinging onto his shoulders. "Whatever will I do."
Prompto laughs and lets go, splashing back into the spring. Ignis sputters from the kickback, and lifts his glasses; they've fogged over, so he tries to wipe them with his fingers. Noctis wolf-whistles.
"Yeah baby! Take it off!"
Ignis places his glasses carefully on the rocks, turns straight faced, and shoves Noctis under the water by his shoulders.
"Hey! We should have a chicken fight," Prompto says.
"Naked?" Ignis asks, still drowning Noctis.
Noctis teleports a foot over and sputters, wiping his wet bangs out of his face.
"I'm down," Gladio says.
"Down for what?" Noctis coughs.
"A chicken fight!" Prompto pats his own shoulder, "Hop on, buddy."
"Oh no no no," Noctis points. "We are not letting those two team up."
Ignis lifts a brow, and looks to Gladio.
"You're like, eight feet combined!"
"Alright then, you and me Noct," Gladio gestures between them. Noctis throws up an arm and Gladio claps his hand.
"Wow, traitor. I'm not beefy enough for you?" Prompto sticks up his nose.
"Sorry Prom. I play to win."
"Then we will be Team Better Winners," Ignis says, and Prompto turns around and laughs.
"Team Way Sexier and Also Better Winners."
"I like it."
"Dude, you ripped off our team name."
“Your name has no patent, so therefore your logic does not apply,” Ignis says.
“Oh whatever.” Noctis rolls his eyes.
Gladio sinks down in the water, and Noctis hops up on his shoulders. He makes a karate gesture, "Come at us, losers."
Prompto turns to Ignis. "Alright, top or bottom."
Gladio and Noctis simultaneously snort.
"I think we stand a better chance if you sit on my shoulders," Ignis says.
Ignis helps him up, and grips his thighs to keep him steady. Prompto wobbles a little when Ignis stands, but gets his balance quickly. He shivers from the temperature difference.
"Congratulations Prom," Noctis laughs. "You get to top for once."
"Ohh — it is on. Let me at ‘em!" Prompto tugs at Ignis's hair, like that'll drive him forwards. He can practically hear Ignis's eyeroll, but it works, so ha.
"No hard feelings babe," Noctis holds up his arms. "You're going down."
"Full hard feelings babe, I'm gonna' crush you."
"Keep trash talking, it's kinda' hot."
"Shut up Gladio," they say together.
They lock hands, and the power struggle begins. Noctis is a good half-foot higher, but Prompto twists his wrists to throw Noctis off.
"Ah — shit," Noctis grits, and shoves forwards. Gladio holds him steady, so Noctis leans over his head to try and push Prompto off balance. Ignis has to take a step back, and Prompto nearly flops over.
Iggy's fingers dig into his thighs, and Prompto waves his arms to flop back up.
Prompto goes to push his chest, but Noctis catches his hands. Dang, sometimes he forgets that Noctis can swing Gladio's sword around; he shoves hard, and Prompto's arms start to shake.
"Hey, you're hardly breaking a sweat," Gladio says, to Ignis.
"It's not like he's a challenge," Ignis hums.
"You do arms?"
"Not necessarily," Ignis says. "I can't gain too much muscle mass, or I lose speed in battle."
"Yeah, but you're super lean. I'm curious to know how much you can deadlift."
"I'm not quite sure. The last I tried, it was around 175."
"Oh, that's hot."
"Can you guys quit flirting?!" Noctis hisses, throwing his weight forward.
"Iggy, strategy please!" Prompto cries. His arms are burning.
Ignis looks up through his wet bangs, takes one look at Noctis, and says, "He favors his left side. Stop using your wrists and throw your weight at him."
Prompto immediately swings his weight to the left; Ignis steps closer so Prompto can have a leg up, and Noctis goes flying off Gladio's shoulders.
"Hell yeah!" Prompto shouts, and sticks a hand down to highfive Ignis.
"Dude!!" Noctis wipes the water out of his eyes. "That's cheating."
"Fair and square, bro," Prompto says. He leans back, and Ignis lets him fall back in the water.
Noctis punches Gladio's arm, "What were you doing?"
"Checking out Iggy's pecs," Gladio answers. Noctis combs the hair out of his face and rolls his eyes. Gladio laughs, scooping him back up, "Hey, not my fault I have my priorities straight."
Noctis sighs, squishing Gladio’s face.
"Damn, I didn't take Iggy's seduction tactics into consideration."
Ignis rolls his eyes and sinks down into the water. Gladio sets Noct free.
Ignis chooses to soak away from the steam, and Gladio keeps with him, and their voices drop a little as they talk. Prompto takes the opportunity to paddle around the perimeter. The moon is half-full tonight, but it's dead on top of them, and Prompto keeps looking back up at it. The hot water is doing serious miracles to his muscles, and they longer they stay, the more relaxed they become.
Noctis has found a shelf in the rocking, and he leans his head back against the rock, water up to his shoulders. His face is a little pink, and his hair is down in his face, and it's too hard to resist swimming into his lap.
Noct's eyes open, "Hmm?"
"Boo," Prompto teases, hands locking behind his neck. His skin is damp, and softer than it's been in a while. "What's up?"
"My brain is melting out of my ears," Noctis says. "It's awesome."
"I know right? I'm gonna' look like a giant wrinkle but I don't even care." Prompto's knees scrape the rock shelf, trying to settle right in Noctis's lap. His thigh brushes against something hard, and he blinks, "Oh, hello."
"Don't," Noctis mumbles. "Not my fault."
"I know, it's my dashing good looks," Prompto jokes, and pretends to flip his hair.
"Yeah. And —" he points over to the other side of the hot spring, where Gladio has Ignis lifted out of the water, back pressed against the rocks, long legs hooked in his forearms. Gladio's face is dipped in Iggy's neck, and it must be great, from the way Ignis's nails rake into his shoulders.
"He's such a showoff," Prompto sighs.
Deft fingers skim down his lower back, and squeeze at his butt. Prompto lifts an eyebrow, and Noctis smiles at him sleepily.
"Could be worse."
Everything's different now, but it's been that way for a while.
Arms and elbows and knees — squished in a tent, waking up with hands in your hair, and legs across your lap. There are few constants left in Prompto's life; but Prompto won't let this one go.
On the really bad days, they'll rearrange the furniture and push the motel beds next to each other. When it's worse — when there's nightmares and bloodshed and tears — they'll sit on the floor and play games until the sun comes back up.
Nothing about this is conventional; but at least, through it all, they'll have each other. Through barcodes and rings and searing pain, they'll see this to the end.
"I love you guys," Noctis says.
"We know," they say.
Prompto hates the sound these boots make. The belts clang when you walk, and it's almost impossible to move without making noise. Ignis says they’re standard issue. Prompto says bullshit.
He didn't have time to change today, so he’ll just have to deal.
Prompto spots a personal guard walking down the hall, so Prompto naturally walks straighter and nods. When they're out of earshot, Prompto sags, and sneaks down the left corridor. He checks his jacket pocket, and automatically tenses when he passes the throne room.
The halls are so squeaky clean, you can see your own reflection as you walk. He tries not to run, even though he really really wants to. It's been months since he left, but Prompto still remembers every detail of this place.
Nerves settle in his stomach. His pace quickens anyways.
Prompto counts the pillars, and stops at the only door with security guarding out front.
"Clearance?" They ask. Prompto wants to roll his eyes - calm down, Jona. He lifts down his faceguard, and Jona clicks his arm in a salute. "Apologies. Go on ahead."
Prompto pushes open the door, and waits for it to click behind him.
Gladio and Ignis immediately turn from where they sit on the bed. They're out of uniform, shower-clean with cards in their hands. Gladio's hair is in a bun, and Ignis is wearing a sweater, and Prompto's heart nearly bursts.
“Darling, is that you?”
Noctis leans around Ignis, and smiles; Prompto fights the urge to bow.
Noctis reaches out a hand to Prompto and says,
"You made it."
Prompto grins, and takes it.