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May I?

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You were in the passenger seat, idly playing on your phone, when Prompto spoke up from the back. "So, big guy, you notice that guy checking you out back in Lestallum?"

Gladio laughed heartily. "You noticed too? He was cute, but didn't really look like my type." You wondered what exactly his type was, but didn't bother to ask.

"Wish someone would check me out," said Noctis.

"Oh, shut up," you laughed, turning in your seat and getting on your knees to see him. "Your pretty face draws an awful lot of attention already."

"They're right," added Prompto. "You're too busy being lost in your own thoughts to notice." In lieu of replying, Noctis turned to stare out at the passing fields. No doubt he had a certain someone on his mind.

"Now, I, on the other hand, have never drawn an affectionate glance from someone in my entire life," you spoke, chuckling a bit.

"There's no way that's true," said Gladio, frowning.

"But it is! I never catch anyone checking me out, and I certainty have never been asked out."

"But who could resist that face?" spoke Prompto. He whipped out his camera, aimed it at you, and snapped a photo. The gesture made you giggle.

"Listen, people don't fall for me," you stated matter-of-factly. "They just don't. And that's fine; I'm content to pine away my life." You laughed to keep the mood light, then stole a glance at Ignis. Thankfully, his eyes remained on the road. He would remain the object of your occasional daydreams, then the feelings would fade out with time. That was fine.

Prompto crossed his arms and smirked. "What if I told you I knew someone who was interested in you?"

"Aww, Prompto, I had no idea you felt that way!" you joked, throwing him a wink.

"You know it!" he said, chuckling. Following a few seconds of silence, he continued, "I'm being serious though. Someone's got their eye on you."

You laughed. "Well, tell them to hurry up! I don't have forever to wait!" With that, you spun back around and slid into your seat. You weren't really sure what to think of his assertion. You let his words tumble through your head as the car sped along the open road. He wouldn't lie to you, you were pretty sure. Maybe he was mistaken? Even if it was true, who could it be? The number of mutual acquaintances the two of you shared was small. You were willing to give almost any of them a shot. You sighed, running a hand through your hair.

These ponderings followed you the rest of the day. You thought about just asking Prompto for a name, but you were fairly certain he wouldn't tell you. As day gave way to evening, you started to reason out who it might be. Noctis was a solid no, and you felt confident that it wasn't Prompto either. Gladio was a possibility, you supposed. Then there was Ignis. Your breath hitched just imagining the possibility, but you dared not hope. The next name that popped in your head was Cindy's, and you nearly laughed aloud thinking of stealing her before Prompto could even try.

Before you knew it, it was time to make camp for the night. Once the car was parked, everyone jumped out and began grabbing supplies from the trunk. You had barely put feet to dirt when Gladio volunteered you to help set up the tent. The two of you were able to make quick work of the job, but your thoughts were wandering down a different path. What if there wasn't someone interested in you? Despite Prompto's reassurance, it just didn't feel true.

You cast your gaze toward the campfire, where everyone else had gathered. They were talking amongst themselves, all smiles and cheer. It suddenly felt like too much to bear; it would be best to be alone tonight. The tent flap hadn't been zipped up, so you began to climb in.

"Well lads," you called out, "if you need anything, I'll be in the tent." You didn't bother to wait for a reaction before disappearing from sight. Once the entrance was safely sealed, you sunk down and sighed. Their company was much appreciated, but sometimes you felt so lonely. When it was too much to deal with in front of them, you hid away. A few tears came as you sat, but you quickly wiped them away. You wanted for a distraction, so you pulled out your phone and began to read the book you had been chipping away at.

You don't know how long you sat reading, but at some point you became aware of the sound of the tent being unzipped. Ignis appeared before you, carrying a steaming bowl of stew. He handed it to you before taking a seat next to you. "I couldn't very well let you skip dinner," he said.

You smiled as you raised the spoon to your lips. A gentle warmth enveloped you as you ate. "Ignis, your food is always so wonderful. Thank you for bringing me this," you spoke.

"Think nothing of it," he replied.

You ate quickly as he sat beside you; you didn't realize how hungry you were. Once finished, you sat the dishes to your other side and gathered your knees to your chest. You were trying to think of a conversation topic when he broke the silence. "May I ask you something?" he inquired.

"Of course," you replied.

"Did you speak true earlier when you said you felt that no one was interested in you?"

Oh no. You bit your lip, trying to fight back the tears, but they came anyway. Your buried your head between your knees and squeezed your eyes shut as you cried. Despite your embarrassment, it was hard to stop. How many times had you frowned at yourself in the mirror, wishing you could change so many things about your appearance? How many times had you let yourself fall for someone, only to be shot down at best, mocked at worst? You tried really hard not to let things get to you, but sometimes they did, and it just hurt.

Thankfully the moment passed quickly enough. You dried your eyes, stretched your legs out, and sighed. "Sorry about that. I usually laugh to keep from crying," you chuckled, cracking a smile. Ignis' expression was hard to read, but the prevailing emotion seemed to be concern. His arm tightened around you, and you blushed. You weren't previously aware that he had draped his arm across your shoulders, but it made you feel so safe, so you weren't about to object.

You figured you owed him an explanation, so you gazed out in front of you and began, "I have thought of myself as undesirable for as long as I've known what it meant to desire someone. I'm not particularly attractive, and my personality seems to be off-putting to some, so..." You trailed off, not really sure of what else to say.

Ignis finally spoke up. "Would that you could see yourself how I see you."


"Yes, you're charming and intelligent, and you always know how to make someone laugh. And," he added, locking his gaze with yours, "you are very beautiful."

"Ignis," you teased, "are you trying to tell me something?"

"I am, actually," he said, wearing a serious expression.

You couldn't believe what he was implying. There was no way, right? As much as you wanted it to be...but maybe it was true? Was he the one Prompto had been referring to? The words came tumbling out of your mouth before you could organize your thoughts. "No, come on, now you're just teasing me."

"I swear to you I am not." The way he was gazing at you sent a warmth spreading through your chest. "Surely you've noticed?"

There were things you'd noticed, actually. He was always so quick to offer whatever you needed, often before you could voice it--his jacket around your shoulders when you were cold, your favorite meals when you were feeling down, a shoulder to lean on during late nights when Noctis drove. He had even brought you a meal tonight, after all. "I...just figured you were like that to everyone," you admitted.

He chuckled, "I assure you, I am not." He paused a moment before continuing, "I apologize for bringing this up so suddenly, but I felt it needed to be said."

"Ignis, I..." Words were failing you. Here was Ignis, someone you felt such a strong attraction to, confessing he felt the same. He looked so handsome in the low light inside the tent. All you could do is gaze into his eyes, hoping he would sense how you felt.

His face came a little closer to yours. "May I?" he asked.

You nodded.

He closed the distance between you as your eyes fluttered shut. You felt his lips meet yours and you sighed. His lips were so soft, and he was so warm. It was as though the blood in your veins had been replaced with coursing electricity. A newfound joy bubbled inside your chest.

He pulled away to look at you. "Are you alright?" he asked, lifting a finger to your cheek to catch a tear. You hadn't realized you were crying.

"I'm happy," you managed. You wrapped your arms around his torso, his arm still across your shoulders. "This is the first time anything like this has ever happened to me."

The two of you held each other for a minute before Ignis spoke again. "I should like to call you mine, if you would have me."

"Ignis, nothing would make me happier."

Your embrace loosened, and the two of you smiled at each other. You could hardly believe everything that happened. But the feeling of joy that was still swelling inside you...this was a feeling you looked forward to keeping around.