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Hungry

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Little tuft of blonde hair poking out, it was like that sun had graced the little baby with one of its flares. The baby was staring at him, the only one that was awake, it stared at him in confusion, ignoring the tubes in him, the barcode that was placed on his wrist.

Like he was a fucking product . He stood, watching the child, the baby was tilting his head, trying to figure out who he was. I’m your savior He decided in that moment and smashed the control panel, the tube lifting and allowing him to pick up the infant, holding him close.

Alarms blared and He bolted from the lab, rushing past MT units that aimed their guns toward him, strafing and holding the child close to his chest. It was a blurr, getting out of the facility, everything was a blurr save for the cries of the baby that clutched to him. When he finally made it out, he remembered the screams and tried to rock the baby, to sooth the shrieking cries. He rocked the baby and held him close as he began his long walk back to camp, promising the child he would do whatever necessary to protect him .

 

Cor gasped awaked in his dark room, body covered in sweat and heart pounding like he just fought a Behemoth.

I haven’t thought about him in ages , he gulped, hands pulling at his hair. Why now?

He figured Prompto reminded him of the little child he rescued from the Lab all those years ago, the similar hair and eyes making his brain link the two. But he knew he wasn’t that Baby, that baby was adopted by a carefully vetted family, that Baby was safe.

The kid just happened to be a refugee that wasn’t so lucky.

His alarmed sounded beside him, making his day officially starting. He was quick to shut it off and stand, heading to his shower to burn off the sweat that clung to his skin.

He continued his morning routine as normal: showering, shaving, eating, brushing, clothes, go over reports and messages he missed during the night.

Though when he opened his phone, he was greeted with a message from His Majesty himself.

 

Regis : Please go check in on Prompto, stay with him until he wakes up and take him to the doctors, I would rather not have anyone new around him quite yet. Drautos is covering your training today.

 

He made a soft gruff noise, of course, he’d stick me on babysitting duty. Just because all the kids loved him when they were little and made controlling them easy did not mean he could do the same with a fourteen-year-old, homeless child.

Still, he wasn’t one to deny orders from his King, even if said orders make him roll his eyes.

He pocketed his phone and headed towards the guest rooms where the blonde was staying.

~~~

When Prompto first woke up, he thought he had died and gone to heaven. He felt warm, so warm and comfy like he was laying on a cloud surrounded by blankets. His stomach didn’t have the aching pain of starvation, and it was all quiet... no rushing cars and hurrying people.

Then he remembered what he did last night and he wanted nothing more than to escape this all-to-comfortable bed and the Citadel all together.

As fast as his weak body would let him, he flew open his eyes and sat up on the bed, assessing his surroundings quickly and landing on the figure in the chair reading papers.

“Good to see you awake,” the figure spoke, the same one that guided him to this room last night.

The one who gave him soft clothes. The one his not-starved brain can recognize as Cor Leonis.

Prompto said nothing, staring intensely at the Immortal, aware of every move, every breath the man made.

Cor was still, he knew how a person on edge was, how they were on the line that kicked in their fight-or-flight response.

Prompto, he noted, was a person who always seemed on edge, ready to bolt in a second.

He telegraphed his movements slowly: closing the folder and setting it on the table in front of him, hands landing on his lap and body in a relaxed position.

“You don’t need to be afraid,” Cor tried his best to sooth the jumpy blonde. “I’m not going to hurt you.” He received no response, not even a twitch in the eyes, it was honestly unsettling how still the kid was being.

Slowly he stood, eyes never leaving the teen who instantly tensed and gripped the covers tight, ready to flee. Cor only lifted his hands and tried again for a response. “I know you don’t trust me and I don’t blame you. Anyone who’s been through only an inch of what you’ve survived would feel the same. But I need you to know that no one in this Citadel will harm you in any way. We are here to help you.” He saw the pale, thin hands slowly relax on the black comforter, Cor let a hint of a smile escape. “How about I go get you some soup, would that be alright?”

He got a single, jerky nod in response, but he would take it.

Cor left to gather the soup, leaving Prompto alone in the bedroom, allowing him to actually take in the large room.

It was big, at least in Prompto’s mind, he was sure the Prince’s bathroom was bigger than this. A large window was partially covered in black curtains, allowing morning sunlight to peer through the cracks and spread beams of light across the room.

He turned to the nightstand, a beautiful wooden nightstand that had an electronic clock that read ‘8:34 am’. He marveled at the time, at how long he managed to stay asleep.

When was the last time I’ve slept for an entire night?

That was when Cor re-entered the room, holding a long cylindrical cup. Prompto believes they’re called ‘thermoose’ or something like that, he’s seen adverts for them.

Cor extended the cup out to him, “Drink slow, like before, okay?” Prompto was, yet again, shocked beyond words when he realized the thermoose was meant for him !

He knew they were really nice, that they keep things really warm, and all that soup was meant for him to drink. He couldn’t possibly take this, they’ve already done too much, what if this was some kind of trap?

The sideways look he gave the Immortal, studying him, was enough for Cor to get the question.

Cor shrugged, brows furrowing. “I already ate, kid. C’mon, it’s good I promise.” He brought the cup closer, Prompto could feel the heat coming out from the top, could smell the rich flavors inside.

He grabbed it with two, shaky hands, carefully brining the cup to his lips and drinking. He couldn’t fight back the moan quick enough, the pure bliss of the soup was too much.

He remembered to go slow this time, taking small sips and waiting, allowing them to settle before drinking more.

Cor sat in the armchair again, reading his papers, but occasionally throwing a glance towards the blond who looked too small in that bed, too frail.

His phone buzzed with a text, no doubt Clarus responding to his earlier message that Prompto was awake.

 

Clarus: I’ll inform Doctor Rilee, she wants to see him as soon as possible considering what poor health he’s likely in. See if you can bring him by today for a checkup.

 

Cor typed out a quick reply before placing his phone in his pocket again, waiting until Prompto had finished with his soup before he would even bring up the topic.

Prompto marveled at how the cup remained so cool while the soup was still very warm. Maybe they’ll let me take it with me . It was a foolish thought, but one could dream.

When he felt the heaviness of his stomach again, signaling that he was full, he carefully put the thermoose on the nightstand.

There was silence for a few minutes before Cor spoke up. “So kid... do you mind if I call you ‘kid’?” The teen gave him a strange look with knitted eyebrows, guess not .

“Anyway... I was hoping I could ask you some more questions. If you don’t want to speak that’s fine, just some ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions?”

Probably wanting to see how much food I stole from them , Prompto thought grimly, but nodded all the same, he didn’t think his decline would mean much anyway.

The Immortal straightened a little, hands still resting on his lap. “Good, if you want me to stop you just hold up your hand, okay?”

“Let’s see... do you know who I am?”

A jerky nod.

“Did you know who the man next to you was last night?”

A short pause, eyes narrowing in concentration, before a slow shake of his head.

“That’s okay, his name is Ignis Scientia. He’s Prince Noctis’ advisor, meaning that he handles things that the Prince sometimes can’t do and helps him make decisions on a multitude of things. He’s also the one who made that soup for you.” At this Prompto blinked and shot a quick look to the thermoose still resting at the nightstand, Cor could see the blue eyes express total amazement as clear as day.

He couldn’t help that little laugh, “Yeah he’s a pretty damn good cook. I have a feeling you’ll be eating much more of his cooking later on, once you can eat solids again.” Prompto’s shoulders hunched, hand absently picking at the band around his wrist.

“Speaking of which,” almost violet eyes stared at him. “Prompto, would you be alright if we took you to see one of the doctors here? She’s a very nice lady and has helped Prince Noctis multiple times with his injuries and sickness. We want to make sure you’re not in any serious danger health-wise so that you have the best chance to fully recover.”

Prompto didn’t respond, he didn’t think he was capable of, only staring at The Immortal with wide, disbelieving eyes.

Doctor? They want to take me to a doctor? So I can recover? He understood each word separately, but together it was almost like a foreign language to him. Recovering would mean staying for a long period of time, seeing the doctor more than once, meaning he would be living in the Citadel for who-knows-how-long!

He tried to find some sort of trap involved, maybe they would lock him in the prisons while he was “recovering-”

But that wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen .

After what Cor thought was hours of silence, Prompto gave one curt nod.

Cor allowed himself a small smile, to calm the kid of course, “That’s great, Prompto. Do you think you’ll be able to walk there? If not we have a wheelchair ready for you.” The blonde blinked, looking down at his legs currently covered by the heavy duvet, only his drawn brown revealing his deep thought.

Prompto was quick, in Cor’s mind, to swing his legs over the bed and stand. But his legs giving out and sending him to the ground was quicker.

He managed to brace his hands on the bed, clinging to the sheets as he struggled to gain control of his dead legs.

Cor wasted no time bringing over the wheelchair and putting his hands under the boys arms, easily maneuvering him to the chair.

However, Prompto did not relax once seated, he seemed to gain more frantic. He gripped the arms of the chair, staring at Cor with such fear and uncertainty, Cor’s never even seen his enemies have a look of such fear before.

“Hey kid, it’s okay.” Cor knelt before him, but careful to keep his distance, “This is just so that we get to the medical wing nice and easy, okay? You’re legs aren’t exactly in the best shape to be walking that long so the wheelchair will just do the walking for you, okay?” Only when the fear finally subsided and he saw the bony shoulders collapse from tension, did Cor begin wheeling Prompto towards the medical wing; the homeless boy drifting to and from consciousness.

~~~

Prompto jerked awake when he heard people, lots of people talking all around him. He scrubbed his eyes awake and swallowed thickly when he saw he was sitting in a very clean, white room.

How could I fall asleep ! Gods I’m such an idiot ! His chastising of himself did not last long, for soon he heard his name being said by Cor the Immortal who was talking to a woman in white.

Prompto saw the people in pristine white coats, staring at him with questioning eyes as he sat practically tied to the chair.

Too many strangers, too close, they’re all looking at me, can’t trust anyone . His thoughts were running rampant as his body sat still and stiffed, his only solace being Cor the Immortal to his right: arms crossed and staring at the white-coats just as much as they stared at him.

Cor was quick to notice how tensed Prompto had gotten once they got to the waiting area, how his bulging eyes darted from person to person, as if waiting for one to suddenly attack.

“Don’t like doctors, huh?” Cor questioned, hoping to get an explanation as to the fear.

Prompto shrugged, but gave nothing more.

Shortly after Doctor Rilee appeared in her bobbed cut, brown hair and round face.

“Marshal, right this way.” She motioned towards the two and began leading them down the lengthy hallway, her smile never fading even when not facing the two.

They entered one of the larger rooms, one typically used if those close to the Royal Family needed attention, it was large and secured, Cor released a small breathe.

“So you’re Prompto, right?” Rilee questioned, kneeling before the blonde who seemed to try and move away from her with just his head. He gave a shallow nod, Rilee still smiled and continued despite his blatant fear. “Don’t you worry sweetie, nothing bad is going to happen here. I’m just going to do a few tests to see where you are at health wise, then we’ll be able to get a plan going on how you can be healthy again. Okay?” Another shallow nod, but Cor had a feeling Prompto was not actually fully on board with the idea.

A male nurse entered with a tray of equipment, and he too, bore a wide smile.

“Hi there,” He began. “I’m nurse Jone, I’m going to help out Doctor Rilee, is that alright?” Another fake nod.

So the appointment began, Cor having to help Prompto stand for his height, weight, and spinal check (Nurse Jone had tried, but Prompto quickly began to panic at the stranger who touched him).

After they got all the tests they needed with him standing, Cor was quick to help him into the hospital bed, noting how his eyes already drooped with exhaustion.

After the blood pressure and heart rate tests did he get a message about reports needing to be looked at.

He was very tempted to ignore it, he’s done it plenty times before, but he knew these were not the type of reports he could really push off.

Besides the kid is doing fine, he’ll probably pass out right when they’re done .

“Okay kid, I’m going to have to leave you for a little bit. Don’t worry, the doctors will look after you.” Prompto said nothing, he didn’t expect him to; but pleading look in those violet eyes hesitate the Marshal.

Prompto watched Cor the Immortal leave, his heart plummeting with him and left him with nothing but dread. He shouldn’t feel this way, he knows better than to place trust in someone so quickly, but he can’t help but match those blue eyes with safety. To know that if he’s in the room, he won’t get hurt.

Now he was alone with people in white coats and cold hands. The woman is walking towards him, he’s forgotten her name, only focusing on the odd, metal tool in her hand. Now she’s on his side, he can’t see her, and the man wants him to face forward, to not look at her as she begins to tug on his ear. He feels something enter, something that’s not supposed to be there!

Cor the Immortal isn’t here to protect him, so he has to protect himself.

~~~

Cor, meanwhile, was trying to focus on the recruit reports in his hand, reminding himself that Prompto would be fine, he was just nervous to be left with strangers in an odd place.

Should I have stayed ?

He’s only able to get through two files before his phone rings, the Caller I.D. showing the citadel medical wing.

“Cor Leonis speaking,” he answers, phone pressed between his shoulder and ear.

“Marshal,” it’s Doctor Rilee, Cor hears the worry in her voice. “We might need you with young Prompto-”

He’s already out of his office, “What happened?”

“I...I don’t know. I tried to examine his ears when he began screaming and struggling, he almost broke Nurse Jone’s nose. We had to sedate him before he could injure himself or others.”

“I’ll be there in ten.” Cor answers before ending the call and mashing the elevator button.

He entered the lobby seven minutes later, Doctor Rilee was already waiting for him. She began leading him towards the room, speaking along the way.

“There was nothing wrong with his ears, so I can only guess his fight-or-flight response kicked in when you left. We did some other exames when he was under the sedative.”

“And?”

“Well, it’s nothing really exciting considering his background. Malnourished, underweight, cavities, whole nine yards.”

“Will he recover?”

“With proper care and a steady nutrition plan, Lord Scientia has already prepared a plan for him I believe.”

“Heh, wouldn’t be surprised.”

They reached the room, door closed and blind drawn. “He’s going to be a bit out of it, I’ll let you calm him for a little bit before I come in for some blood work.” Cor nodded and opened the door.

The kid was out of it, he could almost laugh at the bleary eyes and lilting head that bobbed too and fro if it wasn’t for the situation.

“Hey kid,” Cor called out softly, the eyes snapping towards him, the rest of his body neary following. Cor sat in the chair next to the bed, taking Prompto’s left, bony hand in his own, shivering at how deathly cold his skin was. Still, he put on a small smirk, “Heard you have a little panic when I left.” Prompto seemed to be understanding to, or at least trying to, eyes locked onto his own while his head seemed to move on its own.

Then the eyes looked down and caught the needle in his arm, filling him with fluids and much needed nutrition, but the free limb still tried to reach it, to pull it away from him.

Cor easily stopped the lethargic hand, holding both now while the kid squirmed and whined, tears lining his eyes, shit this is sad . “Woah kid, it’s okay. There’s not need to be upset, this needle is giving you nutrition see,” He guided he heavy head towards the half filled bag. “This stuff is going to help your body heal up and feel normal again, so we need to keep that there okay?” A heavy nod, then the eyes were back on him, studying him with toddler-like intensity.

He heard the door quietly opening and hurrying steps of Doctor Rilee and Nurse Jone, he spared them a glance to see them with the proper equipment, awaiting his good-to-go order.

He gave a single nod and turned back to Prompto, who finally seemed to realize something was going on. “Okay Prompto, Doctor Rilee here is going to need your right arm for a second, okay?” The blond head shook violently as he practically threw himself to Cor. The Marshal easily righted him again and brought his right arm to the Nurse, who held it steady and firm.

More whimpers sounded, garbled words that Cor couldn’t make out and frankly did not want to. “Hey kid, look at me.” That got the kids attention again, violet eyes locking with his baby blues, staring at him desperately, hopefully. Cor only sighed, stroking the kids hand; what could I even say ? He knows he’s never been one for comfort, one who has an available shoulder to cry on. He used to soldiers, barking orders, and yes he has dealt with those soldiers with PTSD and has gotten them out of episodes, but that’s vastly different from this kid’s situation.

Right ?

He didn’t notice Doctor Rilee and Nurse Jone finishing up taking the blood, leaving as quickly as they entered to only leave him and a very tired Prompto who still stared intently at him.

“Ah,” he cleared his throat, pating the hand. “You did good kid, get your rest now.” The kid was out in a minute.

~~~

Clarus entered the room several minutes later, Cor still in his chair, trying to look at reports from his phone.

“Here,” Clarus extended his hand, revealing Cor’s tablet and lunch.

Cor snorted and took it, leave it to him to still mother me . “Thanks, how’d you know I was here?”

The Shield sat in the chair on the other side of the bed, leaned back and resting one foot over his leg. “Doc told me about the little panic attack he had and how she first sent for you to calm him down, which seemed to work quite well.” He glanced to the sleeping forum, mouth quirking a smile at the complete passed outlook he wore.

“Yeah well, I don’t think it really had anything to do with me, probably just wanted someone other than odd people with needles and lights.”

“I wouldn’t be too sure about that,” Clarus gave him a pointed look. “It is very likely he has... imprinted on you in a way.”

Cor thought he couldn’t roll his eyes any more obnoxiously. “He’s not a chocobo, Clar. Stop trying to think I’m just ‘naturally good’ with kids, because I’m not.”

“Yet he would only be calm with you around, allowed you to touch him and move him places-” Cor tried to speak again but Clarus held up a firm hand. “I’ve done my research, asked some therapists about the situation, it’s quite common for a kid like him, who’s been living in the streets for Gods knows how long, to have major trust issues. You saw how he was last night, didn’t let anyone near him, practically jumped out of his skin when Ignis even touched him. I’m not saying he’s immediately trusted you, he probably doesn’t, but he has associated you and probably everyone in the room that night, to safety. We were the ones who did not harm him, who gave him food and water and even a place to sleep and bathe. His subconscious has immediately latched onto you, and possibly us, as people who can take care of him. He might not want it, might not trust us in the slightest, but his underdeveloped brain that was never able to fully grow up to independence is searching for those parental figures.”

It made sense, complete logical sense about the whole situation, Cor hated that it did. He stared at the kid for a while, still staring when he sighed. “Guess that means he’s stuck with me, huh?”

He could hear Clarus trying to hide his laughter, “Don’t worry. Reggie and I can babysit on weekends.”

“Have we searched in the system for him,” he snapped up to Clarus, a thought forming. “If we can find him in the system, foster or adoptive, then maybe we can find his parents; see if they’re even still alive.”

“I’ve already looked.” Clarus brought his tablet over to Cor, showing the documents. “No Prompto in any missing person report, dating back fourteen years. There’s a Prompto in foster care but he’s six, ran his facial recognition to see if there were criminal records or anything Cor, but nothing. It’s like... like he’s a ghost or something.”

“Even ghosts have death certificates,” Cor mumbled.

Clarus ran a hand down his face, the exhaustion showing. “Have you gotten the last name from him?”

“He won’t even speak,” Cor handed the tablet back. “Refuses to, only able to get ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions from him.”

That took Clarus back, “but he spoke last night?”

“Yeah, but that might have been the desperation and starvation talking, not necessarily the kid. Either way, he’s not speaking now.”

The two fell into silence, listening to the heart monitor beep and the distant voices and calls within the medical wing. Finally, Clarus rose and made his way to the door, stopping to place a comforting hand on his friend’s shoulder.

“We’ll find a home for him Cor, don’t worry.” The Marshal bit back a sigh, “Eat your lunch, don’t make me come back here and force it into you.” That received another eye roll but he relented and opened the paper sack of no doubt a BLT with mustard and a side of buttered corn, his favorite.