Prompto was doing his best to cope with things after the light returned. The light was back and that meant that Noctis was gone. He vanished for 10 whole years only to come back for a single night before going away again. The mere thought of it still shook Prompto to the very bone.
The prophecy had always been this and it honestly left him feeling sick that Noctis's entire life was just leading him to his own sacrificial death. His very best friend that he had only really gotten to know in five years.
Five years that were now just one small but cherished part of his life. He hated it sometimes though. He hated the fact that he only got to spend such a short time with Noctis. He had spent more of his life alone and on his own now than actually with his best friend that made everything better.
Maybe it was selfish to think it but he wished that he had more time with him. If only he had been braver as a child and made friends with Noctis when they were young. Or maybe if the stupid prophecy didn't exist then he could have spent a lot more time with him.
He couldn't think that way, even if he really wanted to. The prophecy had been created by the gods, and even if he thought it was stupid there was nothing he could do about it. In the end he knew he owed it to Noctis for saving the entire world. He owed it to him to try his best and find the strength he managed to find during those 10 long years. If he could find that courage he found braving 10 years of darkness then maybe things would be okay.
But he still slipped up time to time, finding it hard to just move on again. No matter what he was sure that the pain in his heart would never go away. The loss was all too great and if he was to wallow in his own misery then he wasn't going to stop himself.
Ignis was very much in a similar position as Prompto was. As Noctis's oldest friend and his advisor, he held on to the most memories. The memories that were once sweet and wonderful to think on now plague his mind now with feelings that bittersweet.
He had been there nearly since the beginning with Noctis. Always by his side and raising him for when the king couldn't. Maybe some saw him like a mother and he could understand that, but his bond and feelings went deeper than that. Well they had been at least… with Noctis gone there was no reason to keep hold of those memories and once hopeful ideas and dreams.
He knew that Noctis was gone and this time there wouldn't be any hope for him to return. The dawn had returned and dispute not truly being able to see it, the little movements of light in his least damaged eye and the heat on his face told him enough. The light was back and that meant Noctis had fulfilled his horrid prophecy.
In all honesty on the first day the dawn had come back, Ignis was glad he was blind. He only had memories of a young and carefree Noctis in his mind. Despite how mature and solemn Noctis sounded that night at the campfire he could only imagine the younger version laughing and joking around.
That same night he had almost found the confidence to ask Noctis something that honestly embarrassed him. It was just something simple… yet too hard for him to do. He wanted to ask if he could feel Noctis's face, to feel the contours that he had familiarized himself with… to run his hand through that soft and messy hair once more.
But he never did ask. Not only due to the embarrassment he felt, but also because he was afraid. He had gone 10 years without Noctis and he had come backed, aged like the rest of them. He had heard Gladio and Prompto joke about how Noctis looked, from his longer hair to the beard he had sported.
Such a sudden change was too much for him to comprehend. He still only could imagine a 20-year-old Noctis and the thought of what he looked like at 30 was too much. So he had never asked and he just held on to the memories even if they were stabbing him in the heart.
He felt as if he must carry this burden still all on his own… the burden that he knew since Altissia what Noctis's fate was. But he had been too cowderly to actually defy it.
Walking down the hall he tried breathing in deeply. He was letting the thoughts plague him too much and it was distracting him from his nightly walk. He wanted a nice and peaceful evening through the courtyards of the repaired Citadel, not a night to wallow in grief.
What he didn't expect was to hear faint sobbing coming from somewhere further ahead. Picking up his pace he followed the sound carefully until he could distinguish the sore and scratchy voice that was blended into the sound of the cries.
The sniffles and sobs trickled away and then he was met with a brief silence. He waited though until he heard the voice of the blond speaking up.
"Yes," Ignis answered. "Is something the matter?"
"What? O-Oh… no. Nothing's the matter. I'm fine."
Humming, Ignis stepped closer. "I may be blind Prompto, but I can tell by the tone of your voice that you are not fine. Please… it may help you to talk."
There was a loud sniffle heard before Prompto talked again. "I… I don't know how to explain it. The weather was nice and the moon was out… uh oh it's full by the way. Really nice and I wanted to get some pictures out in the garden here."
"Ah, I see," Ignis said as he nodded. As far as he knew Prompto had not taken a single picture during the 10 long years. He never asked why but he had a feeling it was due to the fact that Noctis wasn't there and the mood just wasn't right for it.
"When the dawn came back… I thought maybe I could finally try again. You know, taking pictures and stuff," Prompto started to say. His voice still was weak and cracking slightly as he spoke, but he kept going on as Ignis listened.
"I thought it would be nice to do… but when I got out here and tried to take a few pictures…"
Prompto seemed to be on the brink of sobbing again, so Ignis carefully took a seat next to him. Slowly he reached out a hand and placed it on Prompto's shoulder, hoping it could give him some reassurance.
"I wanted to take a picture, but then I had these thoughts. Thoughts of what Noct would think when I showed him. Th-That's when…" the tone in his voice cracked again, becoming more and more wormed out. "I realized I couldn't do it."
Ignis didn't even realize it, but he was hugging Prompto just as the sobbing really started back up. He clutched Prompto against his chest, letting him cry out all the pain that he had built up. Respecting Prompto he let him continue to cry all while he patted Prompto's back to let him know it was okay. He didn't speak though as he felt it wasn't the right time to do so. He wasn't even sure what he would say.
Prompto's pain over the loss of Noctis crystal clear. Even if Ignis wasn't able to see it, he could practically feel the pain that radiated off from Prompto.
"Geez I must look like an idiot," Prompto muttered.
"You are nothing of the sort," Ignis replied quickly.
"Yeah I am!" Prompto retorted. "I'm too much of a coward to take a single damn photo!"
Another series of sobs crawled out from Promtpo's throat, and Ignis could only imagine how bad off he must have looked. Like with Noctis his memory was intact with happier times and kinder images. Sure there were times with Prompto pouting over a hard battle or some small wound, but nothing ever this severe. Something was twitching or perhaps aching in Ignis's heart when he heard Prompto shout. The pain that was woven into his words reached out to him and he could feel it as clear as day.
"Prompto. No one will be upset at you or call you an idiot because you can't take a picture. Everyone is still mourning and we all have our struggles."
"But I want to… I want to do it. For Noctis. I just want to show him I can be strong w-without him."
"And you are," Ignis whispered in the most comforting voice he could give. "Over those ten years we waited, you grew and became much stronger than anyone expected."
"Still doesn't mean it didn't hurt!" Prompto snapped. "I was so alone those ten years. You know that you, me, and Gladio were hardly ever together after Noctis was taken by the crystal. I had to fend for myself but honestly I felt so lonely…"
Ignis never knew any of this. Sure he knew that Prompto usually liked to hide his emotions underneath his smile, hiding what hurt him most. But during the ten years all of that seemed to take a back seat as each of them were dealing with their own issues while waiting for Noctis to return. During that time Ignis was the only one who barred the truth of what Noctis's future was and he chose to keep it that way until that fateful night when he finally did come back.
Prompto had cried only slightly that night when the truth of the matter came out, he seemed so strong then Ignis didn't even question it. Perhaps if he had thought about it more carefully he would have seen the signs of Prompto's heart braking. He knew Noctis meant a lot to Prompto, being his first real friend besides the cats and dogs that roamed the streets.
"Prompto, you don't have to keep this to yourself anymore. I'm here if you wish to talk about this. The loss we suffered affects all of us, so we need to stand by each other like the brothers we are."
"It's not the same though…" Prompto muttered softly as he continued to let his head rest on Ignis's chest. "It's never going to be the same compared to you or Gladio."
"And why would that be?" Ignis asked before stroking Prompto's back. Even if the crying had stopped, Prompto's voice was still sore and horace. Ignis was ready though to do whatever he could to help and calm Prompto down.
"I… It's just…" Prompto breathed in deeply, shifting slightly in Ignis's hold. The words sounded like they were stuck up in his throat. "I loved him…"
"Oh Prompto…" Ignis moved his hand to cradle the back of Prompto's head. If now was the time for honesty, then it was time for Ignis to dig up something he had thought he buried years ago. He never thought he would think of it again, but for some reason it felt right. If he could help connect to Prompto on the same level, maybe he could help him more than just holding him.
"I did too," he finally added.
"No…" Prompto croaked weakly. I'm sure I actually was in love with him. It's stupid and weird I know, but I miss him and I never even told him…"
Breathing in, Ignis did the best he could to push Prompto into a seated position. He placed his hands on Prompto's shoulders and could only hope he was looking in the right direction. Since it was nighttime the small senses of light he would normally get were far less compared to the day. But he still had a general idea of where Prompto was facing.
"Prompto, I loved him too. Just the same kind of love that you felt albeit from different circumstances, but the love is all the same."
"Wha? You? B-But I didn't think… I mean don't take this the wrong way, but I didn't think that-"
"Prompto, I made sure to keep whatever feelings I had a secret, but it never washed away them. When we were in Altissia… searching for Noctis, I was willing to do whatever it took to find and protect him. Some may call it just a motherly instinct since I had practically raised Noct, but the fondness I felt towards him was more than that."
"Oh…" Prompto whispered.
Seeing as Prompto didn't say anything else, Ignis decided to continue. He wanted to stay true to his own words and talk about what had weighed on his chest after all these years. He wasn't sure how well Prompto would understand, but he knew he would listen either way.
"When we were in Atlissa… I never told you and Gladio the full extent of what I did. What it was you would say is reckless… I put on the Ring of Lucii while trying to stop Ardyn."
"What?" Prompto gasped. "But didn't you know that it was dangerous?"
"I knew what the costs were, but I had to protect Noct, I wasn't just doing it to stop Ardyn. I would have given up everything if it meant Noct could have lived… But even with my attempt I could not defy fate…."
"Oh Iggy… I had no idea. I'm sorry."
"No reason to be sorry. It was my own choice and I paid the price in the end," Ignis replied as he lowered his head. He could feel the tears building up in his eyes. Even if they weren't functional in sight anymore, he was still able to produce tears. Whether or not that was something he should feel grateful for he wasn't sure, but he couldn't stop them from streaking down his cheeks.
He felt a warm hand a second later trying to wipe away the tears. He could already hear faint sniffles coming from Prompto again. "Come on Iggy, don't cry. You're not supposed to be the one in the group to cry, that's my role."
Ignis shook his head. "It's okay if we both express the emotion. As I said before we've suffered a loss that has affected us both quite severely. No need to hide behind crumbling walls."
Reaching forward he pulled Prompto into his arms. He didn't even give it any thought as to why he was doing it. Was it for Prompto who sounded like he was on the brink of crying again? Or was it really for himself? Did he really need the comfort so badly that he was going to hug Prompto without any rime or reason?
Prompto was clinging to him though, his arms slowly moving around him. Their hug was now complete both ways and honestly Ignis was starting to feel better. The warmth that radiated off of Prompto's body seeped across onto him, casting away the cold that had been plaguing him.
"Thank you Prompto," Ignis replied after a few moments. "I think we both needed that."
Prompto nodded, his head rubbing lightly against Ignis's shoulder. "Yeah. Feels good."
As much as Ignis wanted to stay like that, warm and comforted by someone who shared the same pain as him, he knew it couldn't last. He cleared his throat as he started letting go of Prompto. "It's late, correct? We should be getting some amount of sleep."
"Oh… r-right…" Prompto muttered before he moved to stand up. "Uh do you want me to walk you back to your room or walk to mine? Or something?"
Ignis chuckled lightly as he pushed himself to his feet. "Either is fine by me, Prompto. Lead the way." He smiled kindly as he held out his elbow.
Prompto linked his elbow with Ignis and the two of them walking. "Right, let's go."
The walk was quiet enough between the two of them, but it didn't feel awkward at all. Ignis let Prompto lead him around the hallways. Eventually they came to a stop in front of Ignis's room and Prompto let go of Ignis.
"Ah I guess… I'll head back now."
There was a wavering tone in Prompto's voice that made Ignis concerned. "Will you be all right, Prompto?"
"Maybe. I think I just need some rest…"
"If it helps, you can come in for a bit and we can continue our talk inside."
"I'm sure. After tonight I think having a little more company is never a bad thing."
"Okay, yeah. Sorry I just feel a little tired right now."
The two of them headed inside before Ignis finally continued. "I understand. With the emotional turmoil you went through, it makes sense if it wore you out."
Walking over to his bed he sat down, and a moment later he felt Prompto sit down next to him. "Yeah you're right." He yawned loudly after. "I'll probably sleep all morning now, but it's not like we got anything super important right?"
"I don't think there was anything in my schedule, a day off does sound pleasant at least."
"Maybe uh you wanna talk again tomorrow or something? Maybe just hangout again like we used to? Maybe we can even get Gladio to join us."
"I think that will be a good plan."
"Great. I'll… I'll look-" a loud yawn interrupted Prompto again. "Wow I'm sleepier than I thought."
Ignis hummed in agreement. "Perhaps if you want, you could stay here the night rather than trekking back to your room alone. You know how it is after all, you feel tired now but once you get up and get to your own bed you'll be wide awake."
"Oh yeah I hate that! It sucks so much. I remember," Prompto paused for a moment before sighing. "I remember sleeping over with Noct and we would be playing video games or watching movies. We'd get so sleepy, we nearly dozed off on the floor or couch. But once I flopped to the guest bed suddenly I couldn't just fall asleep so easily."
"It happens at the worst times doesn't it," Ignis chuckled in agreement.
"But… you sure? With me staying here?"
"Prompto, it may have been some years but we did camp together for quite a while. And that was when the four of us slept in one tent or would have two beds to share at a hotel. This is no different."
"Oh well if you say so. Honestly I could just crash right now."
"Then by all means, just get some rest as best as you can."
"Sounds great! Thanks Iggy!"
Ignis wasn't entirely sure when Prompto fell asleep. But he did feel the weight of him laying still on the bed. Eventually once Ignis got himself ready he laid down as carefully as he could as he didn't want to disturb Prompto.
It wasn't too much longer before Ignis fell asleep, feeling a small sense of comfort knowing that there was someone else next to him that night. It was almost strange to be thinking such a thing, after those ten years of pretty much being on his own he was now back with two of his friends thought of close comfort and sleeping besides someone hadn't occurred to him in so long, but he found that he did miss it dearly.
When the morning came the first thing that Ignis noticed was that there was a weight on his chest. He was trying to understand why at first but then the memories of yesterday rushed back to him. Prompto must have moved in his sleep and now had his head resting on top of Ignis's chest.
If Ignis stayed still enough he could hear the calm and steady breathing from Prompto, no doubt still fast asleep. Humming quietly to himself he reached up one hand and placed it lightly on top of Prompto's head, hoping it would not stir him.
He felt the softness of hair behind his fingertips and he found himself to be running his fingers through it. He wasn't even sure why he was doing it, perhaps it was all some half awake thought since he was still just starting to wake. But just like when he was falling asleep, he had the same thought as before, having someone this close to him again was a nice sense of comfort.
Prompto did start to groan slightly, shifting his body but keeping his head on Ignis's chest. "Hm… who? Noct…?"
Ignis felt a pang in his chest at the name, the lost still bitter in his heart. But he knew he could not lie to Prompto under these circumstances, even if he felt like maybe in the land of dreams it would help him. "No, it's Ignis."
"Oh…" Prompto mumbled sleepily, making Ignis wonder if Prompto had actually even opened his eyes yet. "Iggy's good too."
"Good? Whatever do you mean by that?"
"Being here… you said something before," Prompto yawned in between his words. "You were there for me, we understand…"
Ignis waited for a moment, but it seemed that Prompto was starting to drift back off. "Understand what, Prompto?"
"Oh… Understand each other. Made me feel not alone."
"Oh Prompto," Ignis sighed, brushing his hand through the hair even more now. "You are never alone, don't you forget that. You have me and Gladio and everyone else we've met along the way."
"But you and I understand… we're like the same. We miss him cause we love… loved him."
Even if the name was not spoken, Ignis knew who Prompto was referring too. With his other hand he placed it on Prompto's back and gave a light hug. "Oh Prompto I know. I'll still be here for you if you ever wish to talk about it."
"Thanks Iggy. You've always been nice…" Finally Prompto shifted again, this time lifting his head off of Ignis's chest. Quickly Ignis dropped his arms, not wanting to startle Prompto too much. "Huh? O-Oh! I'm sorry Iggy I didn't know that I-"
"It's quite all right, Prompto. There was no harm done by being close like this."
"Really? Well okay… if you say so."
Ignis thought that Prompto would move and get off the bed, but for some reason he stayed there. He could hear his long and steady breathing going in and out again, neither of them saying a word to one another. The silence was practically dripping from the walls at this point and Ignis was baffled he still could not find what to say.
"Um hey Iggy?"
Ignis sighed, thankful that Prompto finally spoke. "Yes Prompto?"
"I know we talked a lot yesterday and what you said really did help me. And like I know how you feel, and I know what I'm about to say may be stupid but I just want to try. Maybe I'm not awake enough to think it through but I'll just ask what I'm thinking. Do you think maybe we could um… be together more? Like I mean spend more time together? Ah no that doesn't sound right… What I mean is…"
Prompto took in a deep breath and exhaled sharply. "I know we both loved Noct and that we both miss him a lot. But I know Noct and I know he wouldn't want me to spend the rest of my life mourning over him and crying over the fact I can't be with him. H-He… he would want me to be happy. You don't have to agree or anything, I totally get if you don't feel the same. But I was thinking maybe you and I could… I dunno… spend more time together?"
Ignis was completely caught off guard by Prompto's suggestion. He had not expected at all that was what he was trying to say. But he wasn't appalled by it, not at all. He was more or less just confused and surprised by the words spoken.
Besides Noctis he had never thought about love anywhere else. Not love in the romantic terms at least. He loved his family and friends as far as that type of love went, but when it came to romantic feelings he only pushed those towards Noctis. But just as Prompto said, Ignis knew that he couldn't spend the rest of his life living in his broken heart. He agreed with Prompto that Noctis would want them all to be as happy as they could be in a world without him, but he just needed to take that next step.
He had never really given much thought to it before though, but he always had thought there was an adorableness to Prompto. A bright and cheerful sunshine that managed to do what Ignis tried for years, which was make Noctis laugh and smile more naturally. Prompto had his charm that just seemed to work that way and Ignis couldn't have been more thankful the day he became Noctis's friend. Seeing Noctis's mood change for the better all because of Prompto was something he was always happy for but he realized he never properly gave his thanks to him.
"Prompto, are you sure? Don't feel like you need to pressure yourself into this right away."
"It doesn't have to be right away. If we wanted to, we'd just take things slow and see where it goes. If not then that's okay cause I know we can still always be friends who have each other's back."
Ignis started to chuckle. "You know, I think I would like to try that."
"What? Seriously you would wanna, like you know…"
Ignis wrapped his arms around Prompto and held him close once more. "You are a wonderful person, Prompto. I wouldn't mind taking the time to get to know you better."
"Oh, oh wow. Thanks Iggy. You're amazing too. Like seriously wow, thanks for giving this a chance."
"No problem Prompto."
For a moment it sounded like Prompto was going to stay something else, but he seemed to have stopped himself. Instead he lowered his head back down on to Ignis's chest. "Mind if we stay like this for a bit? It's just really nice."
"Of course, it's fine by me."
The two rested there that morning for a little longer than they expected, but they were well relaxed. After that for the rest of the day Prompto stuck by Ignis's side, their arms linked with one another. It did get a couple of confused questions from Gladio, and a few snarky jokes but other than that the day was wonderfully peaceful.
Over the next few days they continued to stay close, talking more to one another and properly catching up after nearly 10 years apart. It was actually easier than they both expected.
Prompto could cheerfully talk on just about anything that excited him, and Ignis was finding himself more and more intrigued. He hadn't noticed it before but Prompto really had a knack for storytelling. Even if most of the stories were about the baby chocobos at Wiz's farm, it was always fun to listen to.
There were even nights where Prompto helped cook along side Ignis. He had always been ready to help back in the day so this was something fairly nostalgic for the both of them. Plus Prompto wasn't one to complain if Ignis were to add carrots to the menu.
It was simple things that they did, but it was what they were used to. It worked either way and everything seemed to move along faster than they realized.
A couple of nights later they headed back to Ignis's room after a long day of work around the Citadel. They still stuck right by each other's side, their closeness still a warm comfort to one another.
"So um should I spend the night again?" Prompto asked as they came to a stop at the door.
"If you want to then by all means, darling," Ignis replied softly.
Prompto sputtered slightly. "Ah I uh didn't expect you to give me a nickname already."
"Would you prefer me not to? I'm sorry if it makes you uncomfortable."
"No no! It isn't that. I just thought I could come up with a nickname first. I mean you already have your usual Specs and stuff, but I wanted to make one more personal. Just for us. I guess I still have a ways to go."
Ignis laughed. "No matter what you want to call me, I know it'll be perfect."
"Aw thanks Iggy! That means a lot."
Even if Ignis couldn't see, he knew Prompto was beaming a wonderful smile. Even if he couldn't see the strong adult Prompto had become he knew that smile would always be the same and he had plenty of memories for that.
"Of course, darling," Ignis replied. "Let's turn in for the night, all right?"
Soon they were fast asleep, wrapped in each other's arms. It had almost been surprising how they were developing in their relationship, but that was to an outsider who didn't know. Prompto and Ignis had a bond that brought them together that was like no other. While yes nothing could ever replace what they felt for Noctis, they had found new feelings once they finally opened their hearts to each other.
Together they were stronger and together they would heal.