Noct stood in his room, his arm around Prompto's waist as the two of them waited for Ignis and Gladio to arrive. Apparently there was something the two of them wanted to say. But Noct got bored easily and after a minute or so, leaned over and nibbled playfully at his boyfriend's neck, giggling softly when Prompto reacted. "Sorry," he said, though in truth he was not sorry at all.
Prompto giggled but he didn't pull away. "You're going to embarrass us."
Noct stayed close, nuzzling at Prompto's ear with his nose. "I'm okay with that."
"Then I get to embarrass you next," Prompto said before leaning in to bury his face against Noct's neck.
Noct laughed and shoved playfully at Prompto's shoulder. "No fair." Despite his casual demeanor, he jumped a little when Ignis and Gladio entered the room. Noct went silent.
The two boys straightened up on sight, but Ignis only sighed. He raised a hand and shook his head as he approached. "No need to act tense. This conversation is meant to relieve that tension."
Noct raised a brow. He took a tiny step forward and to the side, putting his shoulder in front of Prompto in a protective gesture. He still didn't speak.
Gladio sighed. "I'll go first." He turned his attention to Prompto. "Look, I'm sorry I was rough with you. I may have let my temper get away with me. I'll make sure it doesn't happen again. Friends?" He held out a hand towards Prompto.
Prompto breathed slowly, eyeing Gladio carefully. After a few beats he finally reached out and took Gladio's hand. He nodded before he let a small smile across his face. "Yeah, friends."
Noct moved aside so they could shake hands. He was appreciative of Gladio's apology but still felt a little protective of Prompto.
"Now that we've taken care of that..." Ignis turned to face Noct. "I also must offer an apology. My words and actions were far from being in line. For a rare moment I didn't think and I let my own feelings get the best of me. Noct... can you forgive me?"
Noct blinked a few times in surprise. To hear such things from Ignis, of all people, just seemed unreal. "Of course, Iggy," he said after a few moments. "Honestly, it's good to know you're not always perfect."
"Indeed. We are all far from perfect..." Ignis replied. "Besides... there is another matter that I am ashamed I've kept from you."
Noct gave Ignis a worried look. "What," he asked cautiously.
Ignis slowly turned to glance at Gladio. "The subject of the matter is one you might say is similar to your own... between you and Prompto."
Noct glanced between them, completely clueless.
Gladio sighed. He reached over and tossed his arm around Ignis' shoulders. "We're together too."
Noct actually took a step back in his shock. "You... And... What? How long? How did I not know?"
Prompto also stared, his eyes wide in shock. "Seriously? You guys were keeping that from us too?"
"As I said I am ashamed that we did that. I suppose we were both afraid to admit the truth to you guys." Ignis added.
Noct felt angry at first and his hand balled into a fist as he remembered the things Ignis had said to him yesterday. The anger faded quickly though as he realized that deep down, he was happy for them. It wasn't unusual for the Crownsguard to be alone since their entire lives were so focused on the royal family. His hand relaxed and after a few long moments he grinned. "I guess that'll teach us all to keep secrets from each other then," he said, his roundabout way of saying he accepted their relationship.
"Indeed," Ignis nodded.
"So... we're all good now?" Prompto asked.
"One more thing. You two are really okay with us being together, right? You're not just saying so because of my dad?"
"I only wish for your happiness Noct," Ignis said, "I was only saddened that I didn't know sooner the source of it,"
Noct nodded. "Good. I didn't want to think you were just tolerating us. We're all friends... I like it better that way."
"Thank you for understanding, Noct," Ignis said as he placed a hand on his shoulder.
Noct smiled. "Indeed," he joked, doing his best to copy Ignis' voice and tone.
King Regis took Noct up on his suggestion of talking with Lunafreya and arranged a meeting in Altissia. Wanting his son to experience the world in a more normal way, he opted to send them on a long road trip. Ignis had directions to stop by specific areas and for them to take their time exploring and getting to know the world outside Insomnia.
Noct was waiting outside with Ignis and Gladio by the Regalia. He was excited. He couldn't remember the last time he'd felt this way. He kept glancing around for Prompto eagerly.
"Please do try to contain yourself Noct," Ignis noted softly. "While I do appreciate your enthusiasm, you don't want to wear yourself out too soon."
Noct frowned over his shoulder at Ignis. He hadn't realized he was being quite so obvious and he made a point to contain his emotions a little more. "I'm not a kid any more, Iggy," he countered.
"I know, but until we are on the open road, away from the public eye, it's best to restrain yourself. We don't want to risk anyone passing by at the wrong moment."
Noct sighed heavily but he knew Ignis was right. "Fine."
Eventually in the distance a car was coming closer to where the three stood. The car slowed down and pulled up just behind the Regalia and parked. In the driver seat the bros could see that it was Cor, and sitting in the passenger seat was none other than Prompto.
Noct couldn't stop the smile that showed on his face but he did at least manage to not run over to the other car in his excitement. He wanted to. He wanted to yank Prompto out of the car and kiss him. But he had to contain himself, like Ignis said.
Prompto slowly stepped out of the car and started to make his way over to the group. He was grinning at Noct as he got closer. "Hey, you guys ready?"
Noct held up a hand for a high five. "You bet."
Prompto quickly met his hand and his smile was even brighter than before. "Then let's get this trip on the roll!"
From behind suddenly there was a hand on his head. Looking up he saw that it was Cor, who had just packed Prompto's bags into the Regalia. "Now you boys be safe okay? Especially you two." He carefully eyed both Noct and Prompto.
Noct rolled his eyes. "Why does everyone keep saying that," he grumbled. Despite his annoyance, he nodded to Cor and said aloud, "We will."
Cor still seemed unconvinced, or maybe that was just his default Cor face. "All right. Take care then. Be safe."
"We will! Thanks Cor!" Prompto replied.
Noct climbed in the back and motioned for Prompto to follow. Before he could make a move, Gladio shook his head. "Sorry, boys. I don't fit in the front very well. It's you and me, Noct."
"Sure you can't squeeze up front?" Prompto asked quietly. I bet I'm small enough to fit even if the front chair is pulled all the way back."
Gladio seemed to think for a moment. "Maybe later. Once we get out and away from the city. You two gotta prove you can keep your paws off each other first." Gladio grinned widely as he added that last bit.
"Ugh, Gladio," Noct complained from the backseat.
"No debate. Now slide over."
Grumbling to himself, Noct moved over to make room.
Prompto slid into the passenger seat and right away turned around to face Noct. "Hey at least we aren't super far apart."
"Prompto please sit down as I start the car," Ignis said as he sat down in the driver's seat.
Soon enough the car was started and the four were on their way. They drove by buildings and parks, it was all gone before they knew it though and they had reached the gate that would lead to the bridge out of Insomnia.
Noct felt a bit odd leaving his home but he was more excited to see the world outside to really focus on the negatives. They arrived at Hammerhead first where he was introduced to Cid and Cindy. Much to Ignis' chagrin, Noct seemed bored by the meeting and was much more interested in getting some food from the nearby restaurant.
But of course they needed gil to buy the interesting looking meals. Something new and unexpected came about for the boys, going on hunts to earn money.
Noct's first hunt was exhilarating. Finally putting all that training to use to actually earning something from it. Gladio was quite proud of Noct's reaction, even if he did think the two boys needed a lot of practice. Sweaty, sore, but happy, they all climbed back in the Regalia. Gladio actually gave up the backseat to Prompto as they headed to Galdin Quay.
By the time that they arrived, Ingis pulled into the parking spot. The sun was just starting to set, but that still left plenty of daylight. Now with the car turned off Ignis turned around to look at Noct and Prompto. Both had fallen asleep and were slumped against each other.
Ignis nearly cracked a smile. "What are we going to do with them?"
Noct hadn't been this content in a while. Snuggled against Prompto, fresh air, and battle-weary. Somewhere in his subconscious he was aware the car had stopped but he refused to open his eyes just yet, instead nuzzling deeper into Prompto's hair.
Even Gladio had to smile at sight of them. "Pitiful," he said, not meaning it in the slightest.
"Perhaps we should let them rest a little while longer while one of us checks into the hotel," Ignis suggested once he saw that the two boys were not going to wake any time soon.
Gladio smirked over at Ignis. "You going soft on me, Iggy? You go check us in. I'll handle these two."
Ignis nodded before turning to head to the hotel area on the pier.
Meanwhile Prompto mumbled softly as he began to stir. His hand moved slowly, running it up and down Noct's arm.
Glancing behind himself to make sure Ignis wasn't watching, Gladio took out his phone and got a quick picture of the two of them. It'd give him and Iggy something to laugh about later in their room.
Taking a deep breath, Gladio reached over and ruffled Noct's hair a bit roughly. "Time to wake up, Sleeping Beauty. Come on.". Getting no response besides a grunt, he turned his attention to Prompto instead. "Hey, Prompto." He shook Prompto's arm a bit more gently than he had done with Noct. "Wake up, we're here."
"Do we have to...?" Prompto whispered quietly. His eyes opened only half way to stare at Noct before him. "I just wanna,,," he yawned, "wanna stay here."
"Yeah, you have to," Gladio said, amusement obvious in his voice. "Get your sleeping Prince up and let's go. Ignis is waiting." Trusting Prompto much more than he would have trusted Noct, Gladio turned his back and walked away a bit, giving them some privacy.
Prompto nodded sleepily before focusing back on Noct. "Noct hey... wake up?"
Noct groaned softly. The last thing he wanted to do was wake up. Then again, it was Prompto. Noct peeked one eye open. "Don't say it."
"Already did," Prompto chuckled as he nuzzled his nose up against Noct's face. "It's not super comfortable sleeping in a car all day."
Noct sighed softly and lifted his face just enough to press a quick kiss to Prompto's lips. "I guess you're right." With a big yawn, he pulled away enough to stretch his arms over his head, groaning in an exaggerated way. "Let's go, then."
Prompto nodded before he stretched as well. With his muscles waking up and loosened he got out of the car, "Whoa, this place sure has a beautiful view."
Noct was the last out of the Regalia and he walked up behind Prompto, giving him a quick pat on his bottom. "Sure does," he agreed with a smirk.
"Hey! I don't mean me!" Prompto replied, blushing heavily.
Noct chuckled softly. "It is beautiful here," he said, taking a moment to glance around.
Gladio glanced back over his shoulder and seeing the two of them awake, motioned for them to follow as he led the way towards Ignis.
"Hey, maybe I can fish here," Noct said, eyeing the beach pier hopefully.
"Of course, we get near water and the fish thing you think of is fishing," Prompto said as he rolled his eyes.
Noct shrugged a little. "One track mind," he replied.
Ahead of them, Gladio sighed. "That's... Not what that means."
"Well am I on that track of yours?" Prompto nudge Noct slightly as they walked.
Noct smiled over to Prompto. "Even more than the fish."
"Good," Prompto replied as he brushed up against Noct, neither of them truly paying attention to anyone else around them.
Gladio rolled his eyes but didn't object. As far as he was aware, there was no reason to chastise them. If he was honest, he was looking forward to being a little more open as far as his relationship with Ignis. Some time outside the oppressive eye of Insomnia would do them all some good.
As they approached Ignis, Noct slid his hand into Prompto's. It was such a simple gesture but it made his heart race. He would never be able to hold Prompto's hand like this outside his own room. It almost felt taboo.
At the same time Prompto was thinking similar thoughts. He was doing his best to try to suppress his giggle, but it slipped out anyways. He wanted to try and keep calm like they had before, but for some reason he felt so different right now. He gave Noct's hand a slight squeeze in return. "You think we'll have time to go swimming?"
Noct grinned widely over at Prompto. "I hope so. I haven't been in a long time, though. I'm probably not very good," he admitted with a shrug.
Prompto leaned closer. "Well I guess I gotta teach you."
"Yeah? You wanna get up close and personal with me while we're wet," Noct replied, lifting his eyebrow in a flirty way.
Prompto covered his mouth quickly as he snorted. "Nooooct," he whispered. "Were in public! There's children in the area!"
"I was quiet," Noct defended himself.
"Not nearly as quiet as you think," Gladio interrupted, giving Noct a stern look.
"Oh."Noct finally looked a little embarrassed.
Eventually the three made it over to the motel area after the long walk on the pier. Ignis was already waiting by the entrance. "I've gotten a room for us. For now I say we enjoy the evening for what we can do. I am most curious about the entrees that they have here I must say,"
"That's a good idea. I'm starving," Noct said, rubbing a hand across his stomach. "Let's stop there first."
Moving over to the diner area, the four took their seats at the table and waited for someone to come and serve them. While waiting, Prompto leaned closer to Noct and held up his camera. "Hey wanna get a quick pic?"
"Yeah, sure." Noct turned to face the camera and leaned in close to Prompto.
Prompto grinned and snapped the shot of the two of them."Great! That's one to keep for sure!"
Noct peeked over Prompto's shoulder to see it. "Send me a copy, yeah?"
"Course," Prompto whispered as he sent over the photo. "Oh also hey! We should get a picture of all four of us at the end of the pier."
Gladio nodded as he waved the server down. "That's a good idea. Document our trip for later."
"Already ahead of you big guy!" Prompto said as he held up his camera. "Been snapping pics since we got to Hammerhead."
Gladio laughed a little. "And how many of those are of Noct?"
"Uh um... idk I haven't really counted yet."
Noct waved his hand dismissively. "Gladio's just riding your case. Don't let him get to you."
"Yeah, yeah you're right," Prompto right.
"Either way," Ignis added. "Hopefully you are keeping your eyes focused when we fight rather than taking pictures."
"Aw, come on, Iggy," Noct said. "Prompto kicked butt out there and you know it." He reached over and patted Prompto's shoulder.
"Thanks for the vote of confidence," Prompto smiled.
"Regardless, I only wish for all of you to be safe out there," Ignis replied.
"We will be," Noct assured him. "I'm not gonna let anything happen to Prompto."
Gladio shook his head a little, looking down at his menu to hide his smile. "Let's order already before I starve sitting here."
"Right," Ignis said as he held up his hand to flag down a waiter.
They ordered and their food arrived quickly. The four of them were quite hungry and they talked very little as they ate. When everyone was finished, it was Noct who got up first. "Let's go get that picture." They day had gone so well and he wanted a memento of all of them to remember it by.
The four of them made their way down to the end of the pier. The sun had already set, but the moon was shining brightly illuminating the ocean. Gentle waves rippled around the dock creating a pleasing sight.
Right away Prompto pulled his camera back out. "Okay let's get the shot right here!"
Noct was briefly distracted by the water, looking out over the ocean with amazement. He came back to attention at Prompto's voice, however, and quickly got into a pose with the other two.
"Alright! Say chocobos!" Prompto shouted happily. He waited a moment be for the guys replied and he snapped the picture. He then clicked a button to look at it. "Ah man, love the lighting!"
Noct ran over to look and smiled, giving Prompto a quick but soft slap on the back. "Good one."
"Well ain't this a interesting surprise," a new voice cut in. "I mean I expected to see the Crown Prince of Lucis eventually, but not like this."
Noct turned around and sized up the stranger that had spoken. He frowned a little. "What do you mean, like this," he asked.
"The Crown Prince of Lucis, bounty hunting in his fancy car of course. And rewards himself and his entourage with a stay at the fancy Galdin Quay. Most would let that go unnoticed, but not this reporter," the man said as he pointed to himself. "Name's Dino, by the way."
Noct's frown deepened. He knew well enough to avoid reporters and didn't have a very positive view of them. "Nice to meet you," he said, more out of habit than actual feelings. "If you don't mind, we were just leaving."
"Aw but you can't leave now, it was just getting interesting," Dino replied.
"Well we are not interested," Prompto said, cutting in quickly.
Noct nodded in agreement and motioned for the others to follow as he walked off.
"I really think you may wanna stay," Dino persisted, a sly grin crossing his face.
"And whatever reason would that be?" Ignis asked,
"Oh I don't know, maybe you can help me out. Otherwise I may have no choice but to release some rather intriguing photos to the paper," Dino replied.
Noct turned back around to face him. "What photos," he asked slowly.
"Oh you know, some really interesting ones," Dino said as he shrugged as he looked over at Prompto."Photos of the Prince being rather... shall we say cozy with someone who is clearly not his fiancée."
Noct glanced back at Ignis with a worried expression on his face. His mind raced for a way to excuse their behavior but he was drawing a blank.
"And just what publishing company do you work for might I ask?" Ignis asked as he stepped in front of the boys.
"Meteor Publishing of course. You heard of me?"
"Unfortunately," Noct grumbled. The publication had been an annoyance to the royal family on more than one occasion.
"Good, then that makes this a whole lot easier. Tell ya what," Dino stepped closer. "You help me with a small little task and I won't publish the photos. How's that sound? Everyone can be happy that way."
Noct clenched his jaw. "You're lying. Let's see these supposed photos first."
"You're a smart one Prince Noct. But I assure you I am a man of my honor and I would keep these from the public eye," Dino carefully held up a small stack of photos. The top one being of Prompto and Noct holding hands while on the pier walkway.
Noct flipped through them, feeling confident until he hit the last photo. A picture of his and Prompto's quick kiss in the car. It was a bit late but it was obvious they'd just kissed. There was no denying it. "You people are a pox," Noct growled, slamming the small stack of pictures against Dino's chest. "What do you want? Money?"
"Nah, I get that from my job. What I need is a little job that's beyond my journalist capabilities. You see the thing is, while I love journalism I have a side job. With the right material I enjoy the art of jewelry crafting."
"You need our help for jewelry crafting?" Prompto asked.
"No, I need your help to get me the gems that I need. A bit hard when monsters usually roam the areas."
Noct stared. "You want me to run your errands," he said disbelievingly.
"No, don't think of it like that. Think of it as... a mini business task. Not only will I not publish the photos but I will also add in a little something extra to make it worth your while."
Gladio groaned. Noct glanced back at Prompto before he answered Dino. "It's blackmail and you know it. I swear if I see even a hint of this in the media, I will make you regret it."
Dino held up his hands, smiling slightly. "I can assure you that I will stick to the agreement. Just help me get what I need and I'll be out of your hair."
Noct sighed. "Fine. Fine. Just tell us what you want and we'll get it when we can. I've got a schedule to keep so I don't promise we can be quick about it."
Dino nodded. "Ah I knew you'd come around. Hand me your map and I'll mark the location."
Noct did as requested, though he clearly wasn't happy about it. Now, more than ever, he was ready to get back to the privacy of their hotel room. With the map now marked the group headed back towards the hotel, deciding that it was best to go out and search in the morning. Besides they already had made the hotel reservation for that night, they didn't want it to go to waste. As soon as they got into their room, Prompto ran over and flopped down onto one of the beds. He let out a long sigh before rolling onto his back.
"I call this bed."
Noct sighed heavily and sat on the end of the bed Promto had flopped onto. "Ugh, what a mess," he complained, running his hand through his hair. "I really didn't think we'd have to worry about that sort of thing outside Insomnia. I should have been more careful."
"Yeah..." Prompto sighed. "I guess it's going to be harder than we thought."
"You shouldn't blame yourselves for what happened," Ignis said as he entered the room. "None of us expected it to happen and we let our guard down because of it."
"I guess you're right, Iggy. I'll be glad when we can work all this out."
"Well, that'll be some time yet," Gladio said, frowning a little at Noct.
After a few moments, Noct took notice of his frown. "What?"
"I'm not too sure about letting the two of you share a bed," Gladio admitted. "Maybe you should bunk with me or Iggy."
"What?" Prompto said as he sat up. "You really don't trust us yet?"
"Yeah, come on. And we're totally not going to do anything with you guys right there. That'd be too weird."
Gladio studied the two of them for a few moments before giving in. "Fine."
"Besides," Prompto chuckled. "We should be keeping an eye on you two."
"Yeah," Noct agreed, kicking Gladio gently. "Look how many times the two of you bunked in a separate room! If anything, you owe us."
Ignis rolled his eyes. "Just behave yourself so we won't have to separate you two. That is all I ask."
Noct waved a hand dismissively. "We'll be good." He glanced back at Prompto, grinning. "Well. Good enough."
Ignis frowned as he crossed his arms. Though he didn't say a word, his eyes said it all, but eventually he had to sigh and move over to the other bed. Prompto on the other hand rolled over to Noct and wrapped his arms around his waist. Noct smiled down at Prompto, completely ignoring Ignis' sigh. He ran a hand tenderly through Prompto's hair at the back of his neck, curling the ends around his fingers.
Prompto smiled in return as he looked up at Noct. "Maybe this won't be so bad."
"Nah. We're all together. That's what's important."