“This fight…” Icy, hazel eyes meet frozen blue ones. The latter stares unabashedly at the markings that circle the intruder’s neck, arms, and wrists; you see the familiar tattoo scratched on his back. Wol’s tone echoes his eyes, but the hint of his threat remains a lingering whisper, “is over.”
Your so-called savior doesn’t wait for the shock of your opponent to wear off. Instead, he turns his back to the other man and grabs your arm as soon as his words dissipate. You hiss at how tightly he clenches the area where your upper and lower arm meets, acutely aware that this will leave a mark in a matter of minutes. But as much as you want to say something – anything – you allow the male to hoist you up from the verdant floor and away from the scene.
Away from a place you’d, in fact, much rather stay.
“No, wait!” The familiar bark of a rushed protest that could belong to none other than the charmless, night-haired prince makes you forget your resolve. Despite his attire, you can clearly outline his visage in the dark just as you’re sure he can make out yours, hence this chase. Noctis’ hands shoot out in an attempt to stop you from leaving a second time, but the point of a blade keeps his fingers at bay.
“Wol,” you hiss at the same time Noctis curses. Unlike Noctis, the male in question isn’t as quick to rush into battle. He’s more adept at analysis and an aggressive defense: something you gradually picked up on after being in his company for some time. He’s not as heavily clad as the other either, sparing glimpses of pale skin that contrast the color of his outfit, but it’s his hair that most clashes with the color of night – with the color of Noctis. What looks to be a vulnerable target is anything but, and just as it was in the outcome for you, that’s what determines Wol as the winner in their first clash.
Noctis isn’t one to throw in the towel so soon, however, and he draws back in time to manifest his own weapon – the Engine Blade – but Wol lowers his sword in favor of fixing a hard look on you. The instinctual recoil is a feeling that has yet to fade, but you will yourself to challenge his smoldering gaze.
“Don’t forget why you’re here,” he snarls.
“Don’t forget your promise,” you volley.
The ice in Wol’s eyes is reminiscent to the color of his hair. He’s daring you to challenge him, and the part of you that’s provoked presses you to indulge him. But you remind yourself of what he’s given up to be here – why you’re still standing by him, of your own promise to him: of where you need to go and what you still need to find. He might have given you the last word, but you both know he gets the last say.
You take a breath and soften your gaze.
“Just a little longer,” you plead, eyes never leaving his.
For a moment, he simply looks at you. His golden eyes are focused but distant, and nothing in them gives away what he might be thinking or feeling. The first thing you feel is a sense of discomfort. You’re unused to long periods of eye contact, and breaking gaze only seems like the natural thing to do when standing in the presence of someone like Wol. At the same time, you find yourself unable to look away. You see an otherwise nonexistent dilation in his pupils from this proximity: the slightest shift in his hazel irises. There’s a comfort in knowing his eyes are on you. You’re still unsure of what he’s searching for or what his answer will be, and you’re about to voice that, but he must see something in your eyes for he sighs and loosens his hold until he drops your arm completely, shifting to the right in reluctant consent.
Your hand brushes his in thanks as you pass him to come face-to-face with Noctis, who’s visibly struggling to pull the pieces together – trying to figure out whose side you’re on and what exactly your relationship to this stranger is – but to no avail. He rakes a hand through his already-mussed hair, clearly frustrated. The pinch of his eyebrows isn’t something you’ve seen in a while, but it’s endearing all the same.
For this is someone whom you’d spent months with.
This is someone whom you’d explored the vast land of Eos with in his packed Regalia, fought against daemons side-by-side with – whom you’d set up camp with, ate with, laughed with, cried with, argued with, celebrated with, watched the first touch of dawn to the last breath of sunlight with – been on what was supposed to be an endless road with.
You’re standing where yesterday’s you would have never seen herself, but despite the bittersweet nature of it all, you’re smiling. As stolen as your time with Noctis now feels, this is someone you still care for and most likely won’t ever stop caring for. He’s unknowingly cemented himself into that part of your life, and you can no longer imagine a road where your paths didn’t cross.
So if your intuition is correct in telling you this is where it’s supposed to end, there’s at least one comfort that comes from this unexpected reunion.
You see the question form in Noctis’ eyes as it happens when he sees you smile at him; you spot the bashfulness he must be feeling for getting caught in his confusion when he brings a hand up to his neck and averts his gaze. But Wol doesn’t allow Noctis the opportunity to ask nor does he provide an opportunity for you to elaborate. He reminds you that time’s up and that he’s here, in front of you; you’re now looking at a man who has his sights set forward. He’s not the type who looks back or waits for anybody, yet you’re privy to that ‘something more.’ Wol turns you away from the stunned prince and guides you in front, keeping an open palm on the small of your back and making sure you feel the glass shard that connects the both of you. Behind you, you hear Noctis shouting something, and naturally, you start to incline your head towards the sound of his footfalls.
You pause in your turn but smile. This time, you don’t let him see your eyes.
When your eyelids fall, you see a gloved hand reaching for you.
When they reopen, you’re staring at a blank wall.