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On the Winding Road

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Prompto didn't blame his parents. He didn't have any medical records when he was adopted, so they couldn't have known whether he'd had any shots or not. Up until he came down with chocobo pox, this hadn't been an issue.

He made the decision to hunker down in his room and weather out the spots, but Noct was pushy and Prompto was weak because his throat hurt too much to eat. Noct sent a car to collect him and take him to the doctor, and when Prompto was delivered home with a sackful of medicine and ointment, he found the kitchen stocked. Days worth of homemade soup and yogurt and pudding cups, a bowl of fresh fruit, and a bunch of herbal teas with names like Serenity and Morning Dew.

He spent the rest of the week in a nest on the sofa, muzzy from fever and drugs, and coated in a layer of stuff that was supposed to stop the itching. Gladio had forbidden Noct from coming over, so Noct ordered him to check up on Prompto instead. Prompto had been low-key scared of Gladio since high school, but he turned out to be great. He ran Prompto baths and did the laundry, and every other day he brought Ignis, too, to deliver groceries and make more food. Ignis always asked what Prompto needed, and if he hadn't been so sick Prompto might have exploded from the effort not to say just you.

(It worked in TV dramas, but in real life he knew that'd be a one-way ticket to ultimate humiliation.)

By Tuesday, most of the spots had scabbed over and the fever had broken. Prompto's appetite finally made a reappearance, and Noct said he finally sounded like himself again.

"You were really croaking there for a while," Noct said. "Had me worried."

"That's why it's called chocobo pox," Prompto pointed out. "You get all these spots in your mouth and down your throat, and all you can do is kweh, kweh, kweh."

Noct snorted. "You've got the hair for it."

"Don't remind me." Prompto flopped down sideways on the sofa and stretched his legs out. "I've had the two most gorgeous men in Insomnia in my house, and my hair has been flat and plastered down with ointment."

"Hey," Noct protested.

"You're not gorgeous," Prompto said. "Truth hurts, man. The best guys like us can hope for is cute."

Noct decided those were fighting words, and made Prompto log in to MoogleKart so he could have his ass royally kicked.

The next day Prompto felt good enough to take another trip to the doctor, who gave him a signed note saying he could go back to school because he wasn't contagious any more. That was when Prompto remembered, reality dropping down on him like a ton of bricks. His monthly project for his Fundamentals of Landscape Photography class was due Monday, and he had nothing. Zip.

As soon as he got home he messaged Noct RIP me and got an instantaneous flurry of panicked emoji. Not medically dead, he clarified. Didn't finish my schoolwork dead.

Noct sent him twenty eyerolls in a row. So... just do it now?

He despaired just thinking about all the stuff he'd have to arrange to do that – scouting locations, borrowing equipment, actually taking the pictures – especially when he'd gotten tired simply walking down to the train station that morning.

Or I could drop the class. He remembered so clearly all his good intentions when the project was assigned. He'd been sure he had all the time in the world to get it done. And now he had, what, four days?

Send me the assignment, Noct said. Prompto just wanted to take a nap and not think about his dreams crashing and burning, so he linked Noct to the page and then turned his phone off. He rolled up in a blanket and pulled his pillow over his head.

He was disoriented when he woke up. His room was dark, his head hurt, and he was starving. He went downstairs to heat up the last of the soup and didn't let himself look at his phone until he was sitting at the table with it steaming in front of him.

Noct had sent him a document that was way too well-formatted and precise to be anything besides Ignis' handiwork. Which sucked, because Prompto still didn't know how he was going to thank Ignis and Gladio for all they'd done when he was sick, and now here he was, making trouble again.

He was supposed to shoot landscape scenes at different times of day, and then compare enhancements with HDR and exposure blending – not a problem, provided he had pictures to work with. He was great at editing, a real whiz at AdamanLight. Ignis had prepared an itinerary for a trip to the coast, which made no sense unless he was also volunteering to drive Prompto around himself, or something. Which again, made no sense. Thinking about it made Prompto's head ache, so he asked Noct.

He already took tomorrow off, Noct said. He hasn't had a vacation in years, I think he's excited.

oh. Prompto thought about capitalization, but decided it was too much effort.

Noct sent him some themed emoji, a car and some mountains and a camera.

Which reminded Prompto that he needed to call Mara, the owner of the camera shop where he worked, and beg to borrow some equipment. Again. He wasn't sure how he was ever going to pay her back, not that she ever asked for anything in return for all the assistance she gave him with school. He'd been working for her since he was in junior high, though back then he'd only been allowed to sweep and dust. He suspected she'd hired him out of pity, since he always had his nose pressed to the glass of her display cases, and here he was years later, still making trouble.

But she said he could stop by and pack up a bag with whatever he needed, and Prompto sent an awkward message to Ignis saying he was very much appreciative and thankful and looked forward to tomorrow. Then he took a nice hot bath, rubbed ointment on the remaining spots and scabs so they didn't itch or scar, and dropped into bed. He didn't care that it was barely eight, he was done with this roller-coaster of a day.


Ignis picked him up, as scheduled, at nine. Prompto had woken up with a jolt when it was still dark outside, flopped around in bed worrying about school and the trip, fell back asleep until his alarm went off, and then had rushed about trying to shower, dress, and pack, all in half an hour. Ignis, of course, looked like a fashion model as he waited politely on the front step. His hair was perfectly in place, swept up off his flawless face, and he was wearing an open black shirt over a green t-shirt that brought out his eyes and looked like it'd be soft to the touch, not that Prompto would be touching it.

"You look nice," he blurted out, getting into the passenger seat and buckling up. "I don't think I've seen you out of business clothes. Except when you're in uniform. I'll probably take a picture to commemorate Ignis off-hours." He made himself shut up, and his knee started jiggling from the effort.

Ignis looked amused, and put his insanely expensive car in gear. The motor actually purred as they left the neighborhood. Unreal.

"You're looking well yourself," Ignis offered, perhaps trying to ease away from the awkwardness. "It's good to see you on the way to recovery."

Not itchy and cranky wasn't quite on the same level as sports car supermodel, but Prompto would take what he could get. He thanked Ignis for all his help when he was sick, and effused about the delicious food. He hadn't expected to be treated like, well, royalty.

Ignis said it was quite all right, and checked with Prompto that he was heading in the right direction for Mara's shop.

Of course he was. Prompto really didn't believe that Ignis was capable of going wrong.

When they arrived, Prompto hopped out to go grab the stuff and Ignis ducked into the shop next door (the one Prompto always effused about) to buy them both muffins and hot coffee. He helped Prompto load the camera bag in the trunk, and then they were off, heading toward the bridge.

Prompto felt a lot calmer once he'd devoured half the muffin. Huh. Weird. He picked up crumbs surreptitiously and flicked them out the window. Maybe some birds would enjoy them.

"When I had chocobo pox as a child," Ignis said, driving with one hand on the wheel and one holding his coffee, "I remember not feeling hungry for quite a while after, whether or not I was."

"Poor kid you." Prompto took another bite of the muffin. Maybe he was hungry; he didn't feel full, at any rate. "How old were you? Did you have more spots than me?"

"I had enough," Ignis said darkly. "I got so frustrated by the itching that I cut off half of my hair. I remember being furious afterward because the pieces of hair were just as irritating and they were all over my bed. I was probably around seven at the time."

Prompto nodded sagely. "Before you developed your whole fashion aesthetic."

Ignis coughed, as if hiding his amusement, and Prompto sipped his coffee, pleased at how the day was going so far. He didn't really hang out with Ignis, so he'd been worried there'd be awkward silences and his attempts at conversation would fall flat, or worse, cause offense.

As they exited from the ring road, he watched the wall rise up before them and felt giddy excitement. He'd never been outside, at least as far as he could remember. He leaned forward to take in all the details of Ignis presenting his ID and paying the toll for the bridge, and then they passed through the tunnel and were swooping down onto the bridge.

Prompto had a hard time staying in his seat; the ocean views from the bridge were spectacular, as was the rocky shoreline on the other side. Ignis obliged him by pulling over at the breakdown spot halfway across and Prompto got out his Lokton and started snapping.

He'd been working at Mara's for ages, and he knew that when Mara said he had a good eye she meant it: she didn't believe in sugarcoating her words or white lies. She'd helped him get into his photography program, even wrote him a letter of recommendation for his scholarship.

But out here, in the sun, so close to the ocean he swore he could taste salt spray from the waves, he finally felt like a real photographer. He could see so clearly all the potential pictures around him, infinite possibilities and challenges. He loved the lighting, so different on the grassy slopes and the jagged rocks of the shore, and the glittering ocean below the bridge. He'd always been told the sea was blue, but it was a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of blues and greens, black and white.

Ignis suggested that the views might be better (and the wind less strong) on the mainland, and Prompto got back in the car, completely hyped up for all coming attractions. Just off the bridge they turned off the main highway onto a roughly paved road which twisted along a ridge high above the shore. At the first scenic lookout, which had a rickety wooden pagoda and a weatherworn map of hiking trails, Prompto discovered seabirds. Gray and white gulls swooped up and down the rocky beach below, apparently just for the thrill of swooping, and smaller roly-poly birds with spindly legs poked around in the sand for tasty snacks. They reminded Prompto of the chocobo chicks he'd seen on nature documentaries.

"Don't you think?" he asked Ignis, trying to get some shots from where they were. Even with the terrifyingly expensive lens Mara had entrusted him with, the birds didn't look as impressive in pictures taken from so high up. He wondered if he could scramble down without scaring them off. If he lay still and stealthy on the sand, maybe they'd think he was a rock and hop on him.

Ignis agreed, and then said something that a moment later Prompto realized needed a reply. If only he had any idea what the question was.

He lowered his camera and looked over at Ignis, who'd settled on a rock to wait out Prompto's love affair with birds. Prompto tried to look contrite.

"Sorry. I completely missed that."

Ignis didn't look shocked by that confession at all. "I asked if you're wearing sunscreen." He reached into his jacket and produced a small blue and gold bottle, which he held out for Prompto to take.

"You know," Prompto said, looking from the bottle in Ignis' hand and back to Ignis, "when Noct said, hey, you should meet my buddies in the Royal Military Academy I never once imagined you being... you."

Ignis frowned, and Prompto took the sunscreen, worried he'd given insult. He tried to explain. "All I knew about Crownsguard or Kingsglaive came from television and video games – lots of fighting and daring rescues. I didn't figure you'd be funny, or thoughtful, or an amazing cook." He shook the bottle, and then started trying to apply it in an even layer over his face.

Ignis watched for a moment before sighing and begging Prompto's pardon as he moved into his personal space and touched up his work. Prompto froze, torn between feeling babied and wanting Ignis to keep on touching him, all over. This close, he could see the faint scars on Ignis' face that he'd assumed came from teenage acne, but maybe they were from scratching off chocobo pox scabs as a kid. Prompto wanted to touch them so badly he got flashes of hot and cold trying to restrain himself.

He was lucky that Ignis only took a few seconds to correct the coverage over his nose and cheeks and forehead; otherwise, he might have collapsed in a fever of hopeless yearning. But Ignis stepped back as swiftly as he'd descended, all business-like, suggesting that Prompto do his neck and arms as well.

Prompto did just that, telling himself he was lucky to be getting treated like royalty. He couldn't remember his parents ever fussing over him this much; they'd mostly assumed he could take care of himself, and he'd been happy to prove them right by being independent and doing everything on his own. (He assumed this was something he and Ignis had in common, except Ignis had been in charge of taking care of Noct instead of a detached house in the suburbs.)

He handed the bottle back with a Thanks that came out somewhat high-pitched and manic. Ignis – thankfully not weirded out – gave him a warm smile and said No problem at all, and Prompto could not deal with all the bees buzzing around in his stomach so he returned to the seabirds and their adorable drama.

When he'd calmed down enough to possibly not embarrass himself further, he got up from his crouch and said he was ready to move on. Very nonchalant and cool.

Back in the car, Ignis handed him a sandwich from the bakery bag and poured him a glass of ginger tea from a flask. Prompto hadn't had any plan for lunch; he'd assumed that if he got hungry he'd buy something at a shop along the way, not realizing that the great outdoors wasn't exactly full of Crow's Nests and convenience stores.

"I appreciate this," he said, indicating the food, and the scenery passing by outside his window again. "So much. You planned everything. Let me know if you want me to vacuum your car or anything when we get back. I'm filling it up with dirt and crumbs."

"Think nothing of it," Ignis said. "I'm enjoying the day."

"Best day," Prompto agreed. And then because he could never leave well enough alone, he added, "Noct told me you used to sneak him out a lot as a kid. Is this like the leveled-up version of that? Do you sometimes just need to be gone?"

Ignis hummed. "I wouldn't express the feeling quite so drastically, but... Noct, and to a lesser extent Gladio and myself, are bound by our loyalty to the nation. Sometimes that duty lies especially heavy."

While Prompto understood – and had mad respect for Ignis – he wanted to be privy to more glimpses of who Ignis was underneath his duty, not just under his gorgeous clothes. "Where would you go if you could go anywhere? Like – I want to see wild animals. Garulas, coeurls, spiracorns, chocobos of course." He swallowed down his tea so he could gesture without dousing himself. "It always seemed kind of crazy, because I'm no one special. I spent my whole childhood taking pictures of cats and dogs. Mostly dogs. I used to lurk in the park where they all went on walks." He shrugged. "And here I am now. Who knows where I'll be in a decade. So you know. You could go places, too."

Ignis made that neutral noise again, and Prompto wondered, with sudden queasiness, if part of his training had been to never say no to anyone. (But that couldn't be true, he decided a moment later, because Ignis said no to Noct all the time – just not bluntly. He was polite, that was all.)

"I suppose someday I'd enjoy seeing Titan holding up the meteor," Ignis said. "As a child I was quite enamored of cosmogony and astronomy. I could very well argue that my occasional late-night excursions with Noct were for his edification."

"But would that be honest." Prompto shook his head in mock dismay, but didn't hide his grin. "Okay, we'll put the Disc of Cauthess on the Ignis itinerary. Where next?"

After a brief internal debate, Ignis decided that he'd have to put Altissia ahead of Tenebrae. While he did want to learn how to make Noct's favorite dessert, he said he'd consider it cheating if he just asked instead of bashing his brain against the recipe for years on end. Real Altissian cuisine – not what was adapted to the blander palates of Insomnians – was supposed to be exquisite. Not to mention the architecture, and the fashion, and the art.

Prompto asked if he'd been to see the exhibit the year before at the Queen Iria Gallery, and Ignis confessed that he had, so the conversation veered away from a spotlight on Ignis to reposing nudes and triptychs of the Astrals with symbolic fruit bowls. Prompto had strong opinions about art, and he was concentrating so hard on not unleashing them all at once that he missed Ignis pulling off the main road onto a lane that meandered gently down to a sun-dappled beach below.

When he did notice, he nearly levitated out of his seat belt in excitement.

"Can we go down there? Near the water? Is that allowed?"

Ignis stopped the car on a grassy patch. "Who's here to stop us?" He got out of the car and stretched, lacing his fingers together as he raised his palms to the sky. Prompto wanted to take a picture, especially since he was sure he saw a flash of stomach as Ignis' shirt rode up, but he didn't want to look like a creep. He got out of the car and left his camera and all the expensive lenses while he headed down to explore.

"The water is likely cold," Ignis called after him. He took something from the back of the car, and followed gamely along.

Prompto pulled of his shoes and socks at the edge of the dune grass. The sand was coarse and golden, and littered with bands of shells and polished pebbles that glittered like jewels. He picked up his favorites as he went along, and by the time he reached the water's edge his hand was full and he hand to start discarding some of his treasures to acquire more. The tide was heading out, he guessed, based on how much of the beach was revealed, and the waves broke far enough back that by the time the water reached him it just bubbled around his toes.

He poured his shells into a pocket and rolled his jeans up to his knees, wading in.

"It's freezing!" he called to Ignis in warning, but Ignis followed him nevertheless. "I've never been in the ocean before."

Ignis crossed his arms, looking out over the water toward the towering wall surrounding Insomnia. "We had to swim ten kilometers during Crownsguard training. I'm still salty about it."

Prompto bounced on his toes, pleased to have unlocked the terrible puns stage of friendship. He didn't know how to express his happiness, so he kicked water at Ignis (not a lot! a friendly amount!) and then backed away as Ignis rounded on him.

"I've been sick," Prompto reminded him. "I'm delicate. You wouldn't drown someone covered in scabs, would you?"

"There's a first time for everything," Ignis said, chillingly philosophical. He grabbed for Prompto, who just barely managed to elude his grasp by dancing backwards, and then turning, and then running.

Or at least, attempting to run. It was hard when he was laughing so hard, which probably explained why Ignis caught him so easily, plucking him right off his feet and tossing him over his shoulder while Prompto kicked his feet uselessly in the air.

"I do apologize," Ignis said, sloshing out of the water and up to the grass, where he swung Prompto down. "I had forgotten that you were convalescing. Here." He ducked down and plucked up a towel which had been placed next to his shoes, and handed over. "It wouldn't do for you to catch cold."

"I'm not cold," Prompto argued, but his teeth were kind of chattering. He sat down to put on his shoes again. "Isn't ocean water supposed to be like a big bathtub? Why is it broken?"

Ignis' explanation involved ocean currents and an ancient legend about Leviathan unleashing her wrath on a king who'd refused to offer tribute to her. He sat next to Prompto as he spoke, and pulled his long-sleeved shirt off, settling it around Prompto's shoulders. Prompto muttered a protest, but he could feel himself enveloped by Ignis' warmth, which made him lightheaded and distracted.

"I don't feel the cold," Ignis said, matter-of-fact, as if this was normal. "Shall I bring over your camera bag? Or do you have enough pictures for the day?"

"No such thing as enough pictures," Prompto admitted. He let Ignis give him a hand up and fetch his equipment, and forced him to pose for a selfie with the ocean in the background. Prompto felt a bit bad for hanging on to Ignis' shirt, but when they were standing side by side he noticed Ignis didn't even have goosebumps, which – Prompto had to point out – was weird and unnatural.

"More pictures, less chatter," Ignis said; and then a moment later, with increasing amusement, "And fewer pictures of me."

"It's for science," Prompto said. Which was true, in a sense. He intended to study those pictures very hard. Ignis usually dressed to hide how muscular his physique was, perhaps so any potential enemies mistook him as a bespectacled bookworm. But with Prompto in possession of his black shirt, all those muscles were stretching the t-shirt in a rather mind-boggling way.

Ignis pointed out toward the ocean, like a parent trying to get their kid to concentrate on their schoolwork. (Or at least, how Prompto imagined a parent would. His parents had never really cared about things like that.)

Prompto obediently photographed the ocean, and the beach, and Insomnia rising from the waters, and even some of the clouds overhead. Mara had forced him to bring tons of memory cards, and he was grateful for that now.

When he was done, he followed Ignis back to the car, feeling slow, like honey that had thickened in the refrigerator. Ignis put the windows up and the heat on, and they hadn't even gone a kilometer before Prompto fell sound asleep, all the fresh air and sunshine going to his head.

He woke slowly, warm like he was floating up toward the sun. He tried to sit up and open his eyes at the same time; the first he could do, but he was pinned down by his seat belt which meant... yup... he was still in the car, with Ignis, on the best day of his life, and he'd literally wasted time napping.

"Sorry," he said, fumbling under the seat for any kind of lever that might bring it up from reclining. (He didn't remember putting it back: had Ignis? That'd be awkward.)

"On the front right," Ignis said. He sounded fond and not annoyed, but Prompto didn't see how it wouldn't be annoying to go to all this effort to help someone and they dozed off. "We arrived at the viewpoint a mere ten minutes ago and I was debating waking you up."

Prompto stretched as best he could, trying not to stab Ignis with an elbow, and yawned so wide his jaw cracked. "I feel bad for conking out. Did you have something to do besides balancing pencils on my face or whatever?"

Ignis held up his phone. "I caught up on my mail, and started reading a book Gladio recommended. You are still recuperating, and this has been a long day. You deserved the rest."

"Yeah, well." Prompto didn't really know what to say to that. "Let's go view the view, and I'll try to be better company."

As they got out, he noticed that because they were higher up and the sun was going down, a brisk chilly wind had picked up. Ignis' hair had been struggling to stay up before, and now he just shoved it back and looked like he was hoping for the best. Prompto was charmed by the disarray, and vowed to get a picture. He offered to return Ignis' shirt, even though he'd wrapped himself up in its warmth, and Ignis simply chided him not to be ridiculous.

Well. Okay then. Prompto took a look around, getting his bearings. They were up at the top of the hill – another reason it was so windy – in a curved gravel parking area facing a boardwalk that ran along a fence. The view was definitely worth pointing at, especially now that the sun was going down over the hills, turning them a misty dark blue and painting the sky with red and gold. His fingers itched for his camera, and he popped the tripod up, not wanting to miss the perfect moment.

He couldn't help noticing, though, that there were a handful of other cars in the lot, each as far from the others as possible. The people who got out to look at the spectacular scenery all seemed wrapped up in their own little romantic bubbles, holding hands or standing with their arms around each other. He tried to focus on what he was doing, but eventually the awkward humor of their situation got to him.

"Hey," he said, bumping Ignis with his elbow. "I think we're at a popular date spot."

Ignis gave him a kind of sideways squint, as if surprised that it'd taken Prompto so long to figure that out. "I believe the beauty of the spot is the attraction."

And also the isolation, probably. Prompto leaned forward to adjust the tripod, and set up another series of shots. "You come here a lot?"

"This is my first time." Ignis crossed his arms. Almost like he was cautioning Prompto against persisting with his intrusive questions, but Prompto was distracted and his mouth was on autopilot.

"Sucks you didn't come here with someone special," he said, and got an amazing series of pictures, shooting the sun and the skyline at different apertures so he could work magic on them once he was in the computer lab. Ignis said Prompto, like he was about to lecture, and okay, he should have been more careful with his words. "Not that I'm not special, but you know what I mean. Someone you liked like that – " he tipped his head toward a couple down at the far end of the fence who were snuggling and full-on kissing – "who loved you. That kind of thing."

Ignis didn't reply, and Prompto could feel, on an instinctual level, the mood going bad. He didn't know how he'd managed to shove his second foot in his mouth along with his first. He'd gone too far, obviously, pried into something Ignis didn't want to share, and now Ignis was angry.

Prompto might suck, but he didn't run. He turned toward Ignis so he could look him in the eyes and apologize for being nosy or whatever, but instead of anger all he saw was Ignis trying very hard not to look miserable.

Too bad for him that he was here with Prompto, who identified with that feeling on a bone-deep level, could spot it from 100 meters away, and knew exactly how it felt. Too bad Prompto was the one who'd made him feel like that because, maybe, Ignis was here with someone he liked? Prompto wouldn't put it past himself to be oblivious, because on what planet would Ignis... up at his house and make him food when he was an itchy, spotty grouch?

...take a day off work just like that, without Prompto even asking for help?

...listen to Prompto enthusing nonstop all day and be totally chill? (even Noct sometimes fell asleep when Prompto talked photography.) everything in his power to make this day magical and unforgettable?

"Or maybe," Prompto said, a bit lightheaded with audacity, "there's a cute guy you like, but he's too dense to catch on and you're too shy to mention it?" All this eye contact was killing him, and he had just enough bravery left for one grand gesture. He took a step and a half forward – had they really been standing so close all along? – and put his arms around Ignis, hugging him tight and burying his face in his shoulder.

After the first shocked moment, Ignis responded, holding Prompto close and lowering his head so his cheek rested on Prompto's hair. Prompto could feel the pressure of his fingertips against his back, almost like Ignis was clinging to him, and then Ignis let out a shaky breath and opened his hands, pressing them flat for maximum contact.

Despite nervousness making his stomach flip-flop, Prompto nevertheless felt a thrill of triumph go through him. How many other people knew how good Ignis smelled? Or how solid he was, all lean muscle under his pretty clothes, his arms and back strong. Like a coeurl, Prompto thought giddily. Beautiful and dangerous, adorably shy right now but likely to dismember anyone who pointed that out.

Prompto liked him. A lot. Like liked him. Didn't want to stop holding him. He imagined that he could hear Ignis' heartbeat, even though it was probably the surf below. But he needed to say something. He'd never forgive himself if Ignis misconstrued this as a pity-hug or a bro-hug.

He pulled back and said Hey; but Ignis spoke at the same time, over him, a quick, "Prompto – "

Prompto grinned and looked up, only to find Ignis looking down at him, wary and confused but doing his best not to show it. Before he could double-think himself, Prompto popped up on his toes and kissed Ignis on the mouth, a surgical strike, the briefest possible contact that still counted as a kiss in his book.

"You first," Prompto said, magnanimous once his heels were back on the ground again. "What's up?"

"The sun's about to go down." Ignis sounded unsure, but Prompto figured that was because he wasn't used to being kissed, either. He could tell by the light exactly how much time he had left to get the shots he wanted, and made a face. He'd have to work fast.

"Stay close?" Prompto tugged on Ignis' wrist, so when he hurried back to the tripod he towed Ignis along.

He was glad he'd tossed his pocket camera in his bag as well. He got amazing views of the sun setting over the hills, and Insomnia's modern skyscrapers glowing, hundreds of windows reflecting the sun and the ocean like jewel-studded velvet below. But he also snapped candids of Ignis bathed in that perfect golden light, hair mussed by the wind, telling Prompto not to be ridiculous and to pay attention.

"I am one hundred percent paying attention," Prompto assured him. "Believe me, I don't want to forget even one second of today. Best day of my life." He got another picture of Ignis, giving him a disbelieving look.

But then Ignis seemed to shake off whatever doubts he had and said, "If that is the case, surely we should have some pictures together."

That was a brilliant idea, and Prompto was mad he hadn't thought of it first. "Yes." He crossed to the guardrail and gestured to indicate Ignis needed to stand next to him, then rearranged both of them so they didn't have the shadow of the camera across their faces. He took dozens of shots, until he noticed Ignis was surreptitiously rubbing his palms against his bare forearms.

"You do too feel the cold," he said, and put his arm around Ignis so he could try to warm his shoulders. "You were just trying to look cool."

Ignis leaned against his side, like a cat on the verge of being tamed. "Perhaps you could warm me up."

"I definitely could," Prompto assured him, his heart full to bursting with happiness. "It's good luck if you kiss me when the sun's setting."

Ignis looked like he suspected that Prompto had just made that up – which he had – but he also tipped Prompto's chin up, and they shared a picture-perfect first kiss, as the sun set and the stars overhead began to appear.