Noct felt like everything was spinning out of control. He'd been told not to leave the palace but he had no plans on actually obeying. All he could think of was getting to Prompto's apartment as fast as possible. It was a long run but he knew it by heart and was soon pounding on Prompto's door, calling his name.
No answer came at first, but of course Noct knew that Prompto had to be home at this hour. After knocking a couple more times the door unlocked and opened to reveal Prompto standing there, his eyes already red and cheeks looking puffy.
"Prom..." Noct hated to see his boyfriend upset but this was the worst. He wanted to say more but his throat felt too tight with him being on the edge of tears himself.
"I... I saw the news N-Noct... it's... tell me it isn't true," Prompto tried to speak more but he only ended up sobbing.
Noct wished more than anything that he could. "I tried, Prom. I said no. I don't... I don't have a choice."
Prompto started to wipe away the tears that were rapidly forming in his eyes. "We... we don't have a choice."
Noct felt a flare of anger. "They can't DO this! It's not fair! I don't care what they say. I'm not losing you."
Prompto tried to smile through his tears, but he was still struggling. Still he reached out and placed a hand on Noct's shoulder. "You'll never lose me Noct, I'll a-always be here for you."
Noct rushed forward and hugged Prompto tightly. "I know." He buried his face in Prompto's neck, hiding from the world in the only way he could.
Prompto wrapped his arms around Noct in return. "But... you gotta do this right...? Cause it's for the treaty..."
Noct sighed heavily. "Yeah. I have to. That's why I couldn't say no. If I didn't agree..." He sighed again and hugged Prompto tighter. "It was marriage or war."
"Yeah..." Prompt sighed as he buried his head into Noct's shirt. "It still sucks... but not like anyone knew about us... no one will understand..."
Noct reached up to pet softly at Prompto's hair. "I don't care if they understand or not," he said. "I'm not giving this up. If I have to marry, so be it. But I love you."
Prompto gasped. "Y-You mean..?! But what if someone would find out?"
"We've kept it secret this long. We just keep going like we have been. You're part of my guard. No one's gonna think twice if I want to have you around me all the time."
"But you'd be married. It's different isn't it? I just... I'm worried." Prompto shuttered slightly as he spoke.
Noct hugged Prompto close again. "I'm worried too," he admitted. "Luna will understand... I hope."
"Y-Yeah... I hope so too. It still hurt though... but hey..." Prompto looked at Noct with a bittersweet smile. "Does this mean I get to be the best man?"
Noct smiled even though he still felt pretty terrible about the whole situation. "Who else? Now are you ever gonna let me inside?" He was trying to lighten the mood and hoped to make Prompto smile.
"O-oh right!" Prompto replied as he stepped back to let Noct in.
Noct took Prompto's hand as he entered. "Come on. I need you." He led Prompto further into his living room and sank down on the couch, pulling his boyfriend down with him.
Prompto laughed before he rested his head against Noct's chest. He let out a sigh of relief once he focused on the steady heart beat. "I need you too."
Noct hugged Prompto close, leaning down to press a soft kiss to the top of Prompto's head. Prompto hummed happily as he gently ran his fingers over Noct's chest in a light circular motion.
"Hey, you." When Prompto looked up, Noct closed the distance between them in a soft, slow kiss. Prompto moved his hands slowly from Noct's face to around his neck, embracing every second of their bliss. Noct slipped his hands down around Prompto's waist, holding him close. If he could have it his way, he'd stay like this forever.
It could have gone a lot further if there had not been a loud and distracting clearing of one's throat. Both boys lifted their heads up to see that Ignis was standing in the doorway, arms crossed and looking incredibly annoying. Behind him was Gladio who looked equally as annoyed but not as fierce as Ignis.
Noct felt himself pale at the sight of Ignis and Gladio. His first instinct was to snatch away from Prompto but he didn't. If they were caught, there was no point in hiding anymore. Instead, he held Prompto a little tighter. "So you found me," he said to them, frowning deeply.
"So we have," Ignis replied dryly, his expression unwavering. He stared longer, his gaze shifting slowly between Prompto and Noct. "I expect more of an answer than that, Your Highness."
Noct narrowed his eyes. "I don't have anything to answer for," he countered. "I told you. I don't want to marry. I'm already in love with someone else."
Gladio pushed past Ignis, having kept quiet long enough. He grabbed Prompto by the arm and hauled him up easily. "Have some respect," he snarled. "You're a member of the Crownsguard for The Six's sake."
Prompto's entire body froze up when Gladio pulled him away from Noct. He could barely keep his body from trembling. They had been caught. Their secret was out and Noct was clearly just admitting the truth rather than finding a way to keep it hidden.
"I... I'm sorry." He lowered his head quickly, too afraid of the gazes Gladio and Ignis would give him.
Noct jumped to his feet, reaching out for Prompto. "Let him go," he demanded, shooting Gladio an angry look. "We're not doing anything wrong!"
Ignis hummed as he stepped further into the apartment. "While you may not see it as wrong, you should have at least seen the consequences. Did you not think of what this could do to your reputation?"
Noct sneered. "I don't care. This isn't just some quick fling, Iggy. I love him. I wouldn't risk so much for just anything!"
Prompto would have been blushing and in awe over such a declaration from Noct. Under any other circumstance he probably would. But right now he was still too tense with fear to properly react to anything.
Meanwhile Ignis narrowed his eyes slightly. "If it is more than a fling, then I am to assume that this has gone on much longer?"
"Y-yes. Since my last birthday," Noct admitted.
Now Ignis's eyes widened. "Nearly a year?! Noct! Were you even thinking any of this through?!"
Noct stood up straighter, turning to face Iggy with determination. "I was thinking about what mattered most to me. And that was Prompto. We kept it secret to avoid scandal. At the time, there was nothing else stopping us."
"Still, to go this long trying to keep it under the radar. Any other person could have easily walked by that door you carelessly left open. I'm very disappointed in you Noct, for all of this."
For the first time, Noct felt a little ashamed. They had been careless. "That was a mistake. It won't happen again."
"Damn right it won't," Gladio grumbled. He sounded angry but he finally let Prompto go.
Prompto was free now and he wanted to move closer to Noct, but he could still feel the burning gaze from the other two. "W-We were just upset... didn't think about it."
Noct, less phased by the glares, reached over and boldly took Prompto's hand, giving him a gentle tug closer. "He's right. The news of... Of the arrangement."
Ignis nearly scoffed. "The arrangement is meant to end the war. Are you telling me that you want to throw it away and risk peace all for this?"
Noct shook his head and gave Prompto's hand a reassuring squeeze. "No. I will go through with the marriage, if Luna can accept that I won't leave Prompto. It won't be the first sham marriage. As long as it unites our countries, that's all that matters."
"N-Noct..." was all Prompto could muster. He did feel some reassurance though from the hand squeezing and words.
Ignis still seemed far from impressed on the other hand. "It still is highly undignified. I suppose then you haven't cared to inform His Majesty?"
"No. This was still a secret. I was more concerned about getting to Prompto to explain." Noct looked over at Prompto and gave him a small smile. "I didn't want him to panic. To be honest, I was a little panicked myself."
"I still do not approve of this behavior. When we get back to the Citadel you will inform your father exactly why you snuck out without word."
Noct raised his chin in the air a little. "Fine. But this..." He raised the hand holding onto Prompto's. "This is going to continue. And the two of you can either accept it and continue to help me achieve my goals or you can step down from your duties." He spoke with a resolve and determination he usually didn't have.
Ignis gasped, showing a rare bit of emotion other than serious or frustrated. For a moment he looked completely flabbergasted, unable to say anything. But soon enough he regained his usual composure. "This is not the time to be selfish, Noct. If you can't take hold of your responsibilities then we will have to do what we can to end this here and now."
"This is exactly the time to be selfish. I will attend to my duties as Prince and future King but I will also keep what is dear to me." Noct no longer spoke like a child throwing a fit. For once he spoke with grace and determination, in a way his father would be proud to hear, like an actual prince.
Crossing his arms, Ignis let out a soft hum. "While I appreciate you trying to sound like a king, this matter is not for it. Being selfish in times of war is not the answer!"
"What more do you expect from me, Ignis? I'm going to marry her. Why would have me give up the one thing that makes me happy?"
Pinching the bridge of his nose, Ignis sighed. "Perhaps this conversation would be better when you are able to think clearly. It isn't always easy to have it both ways."
"I know it won't be easy, Iggy. I know. I'm willing to do whatever it takes."
Ignis sighed once more. He knew he could continue to fight Noct as he was, but the boy was stubborn. If he continued being as stubborn as he was, then there was no way to get through to him.
"Fine. But we will head back to the Citadel now."
"Prompto comes too," Noct added, tugging the blonde a little closer to himself. "I want him there when I tell my father."
"Noct?" Prompt asked softly. "Are you really sure? I don't have to come... I-if I'm not wanted I can stay here."
Noct turned to face Prompto. "Of course you're wanted, Prom. And it's important to me that you're there when I talk to dad."
"R-Right," Prompto replied meekly.
"Well if that's the way it has to be, then so be it," Ignis said as he turned around. "We'll sort the rest of this out later."
"It's going to be okay," Noct reassured and leaned forward boldly to press a quick, soft kiss to Prompto's lips.
"Alright, enough," Gladio spoke up, giving Noct a less than gentle nudge forward. "Let's get back to the palace. And don't make me separate you two."
Prompto couldn't help but smile at Noct. "Thanks."
Noct had requested a private meeting with his dad and Prompto once they got back to the Citadel. Ignis tried to persuade him to be there, but Noct flat out refused, saying it was just for the three of them.
Now it was just the three of them alone in a private room. Regis was sitting at the table with his arms resting on top. "So my son, what is it that you wish to talk about?"
Noct shifted his weight. He hadn't been nervous up until now, when it was time to actually say it. He swallowed anxiously before answering. "Well... Dad. Um." He took a deep breath and strengthened his resolve. "I have a confession. The real reason I didn't want to agree to the marriage arrangement is because... I'm already in love. With Prompto." Noct reached out and caught Prompto's hand.
Prompto gulped as he held Noct's hand in return. He tried his best to continue to breathe normally but he could feel his heart racing.
King Regis straightened up his posture, humming thoughtfully. "Hmm is that so?"
Noct's hand tightened a little around Prompto's. "Yes, sir. For almost a year."
Regis much to both boy's surprise, started to smile. "Looks like Clarus and Cor owe me 750 Yen each."
Noct stood with his mouth agape. "Wh- You... you bet on this? Dad!"
Regis chuckled lightly. "It was hard not to with the smitten looks you two kept giving each other, we only assumed it was a matter of time before it was out in the open. I at least had faith in my son."
Noct groaned softly and covered his face with his hand, feeling embarrassed. "And you're okay with it? I thought maybe... because of Lady Lunafreya..." He dropped his hand and looked his father in the eyes. "Are you going to make us breakup? Because I won't do it. Not even when I marry."
"I love my son for who he is. I have no reason to judge you for it. Besides," Regis looked over at Prompto. "I've seen how much happier you are when you are with Prompto. So thank you Prompto for making my son shine brighter than he had in years."
"U-Uh no problem! Sir! I mean Your Majesty!" Prompto said quickly.
Regis smiled before his look became much more serious. "But... the situation is tricky, beyond my control of course. I don't wish to tear you from your happiness. Do you think you can make it work?"
Noct nodded his head. "Yes, sir. I really do. Luna, uh, Lady Lunafreya is a close friend. I think she will understand. I will speak with her when we can finally meet in person. That is all I can promise at the moment."
"Good. I can only wish that you two are able to find solace during these times."
Noct let out a big exhale, relief flooding him. "Thanks, Dad. And can you tell Iggy to lay off, then? He's overreacting like crazy. Isn't he, Prom?"
Prompto nodded quickly. "Y-Yeah, he was a bit harsh earlier."
"Is he now?" Regis asked as he raised an eyebrow. Slowly he started to grin. "Well I shall see what I can do about that then."
Gladio humphed softly, a small grin tugging at his lips. "That was a pretty epic battle the two of you waged."
"But it really was not necessary. It didn't help improve the matter at all, in fact it nearly did the opposite."
"His Royal Highness will get over it, I'm sure," Gladio said. "Don't beat yourself up. You only got angry because you care."
"I care yes, that is correct. But I suppose what affected me most was knowing he kept this from us for nearly a year. I've known Noct the longest and yet he didn't think he could trust me."
"Iggy..." Gladio moved over and rested a familiar hand on Ignis' waist. "We're keeping our own secrets too, in case you forgot. Maybe it's time we all come clean. Get everything out in the open."
Ignis sighed before he placed his hand on top of Gladio's arm. "You are right. I can't very well go blaming him for keeping his relationship a secret when we have done just the same."
Gladio leaned down to place a kiss on Ignis' cheek, pausing to nuzzle him. "We both agreed it was a good idea at the time. Don't go taking all the blame for yourself."
Ignis nodded, smiling at the affection he was receiving. "I won't blame it all on myself, but I do know I need to apologize to Noct and Prompto. Though this entire matter... One might say it's amusing... that we've kept the same basic secret from one another."
Gladio chuckled softly. "It is pretty funny. When you stop to think about it. We both need to apologize. I thought Prompto was going to shake himself apart in my hands."
"I know the boy has his fears. Hopefully we can put it all to rest come tomorrow. I'd like to get this weight off my chest as soon as humanly possible."
Gladio leaned down and kissed Ignis again. "Don't worry, Iggy. We'll set it all right."