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Don’t Leave Me

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MALMALAM THICKET

 

NO HUNTERS ALLOWED


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“I knew we should’ve just listened to the sign,” Prompto sighed worriedly to himself as Noctis lay in front of him, in and out of fever dreams.




 

 

Everything started out fine. They were finding treasure, having fun, when suddenly Ignis cried out, “ NOCT !!”

Prompto whirled around to see an imp reach out for Noctis in what felt like slow motion. Without a moment’s hesitation he drew his weapon and fired. The gunshot rang through the clearing as Prom ran over to make sure his best friend was okay. There was a tear in his shirt sleeve and an angry looking scratch beginning to bleed on his shoulder. Noctis saw Prompto‘s look of concern and brushed it off, reassuring him, “No biggie, it’s just a scr-“ But he froze mid sentence as his body seized, stiff as a board, before falling into the others arms as he scrambled to keep them upright. “IGGY! GLADIO! HELP!!!” He cried frantically, attempting to keep his wits about him. This was bad, this was not normal. Why couldn’t he figure out what was happening?! What if he was going to lose the only person he cared about because he couldn’t make the shot fast enough?? Gladio rushed over and pulled Noct’s unconscious body into his arms like a child. It was so unnerving to see him like that, lifeless, helpless; not the fierce magical badass that he always fought alongside. Ignis studied the wound and the carcass on the ground next to them. “Looks like he was poisoned. An imp,” he gestured to the dead creature, “their claws are venomous. It’s a mild neurotoxin that humans usually find no more painful than a light sting. However the previous damage to Noctis’s spine and nervous system in childhood probably incited this reaction. There won’t be any long term consequences, but until we fetch him a potion he will probably remain paralyzed and keep a temperature. No guarantee he’ll regain consciousness.”

Prompto’s eyes were wide and brimming with tears. All of that sounded ghastly, and Ignis was just delivering the news like everything was going to be fine. “We ran out of potions this morning! What are we going to do now!? I can run all the way into town if I have to, anything it takes! Let’s just get him better!!” He was near hysterics at this point. The guilt, the feelings of inadequacy, they were crushing his throat as he gasped for air. This is my fault. How could I have let this happen to him!? The imp was right there why didn’t I see it?! 

“Chill out Blondie,” Gladios booming voice snapped him back to reality, “yer not any help at all standing around with smoke pouring out your ears. Let’s get Sleeping Beauty back to the car so we can find a hotel and some potions.” “Right,” he numbly agreed, and they made their way back to the Regalia as quickly as they could with one unconscious party member. Prompto sat in the back with Noctis’s head in his lap the entire ride to the hotel. Gods, he had never noticed just how beautiful Noct’s hair is before. Black, but dusted with little bright spots like diamonds in the sun.  And so soft. Had he ever even touched it? Definitely need to do that more. Surely he wouldn’t mind. 

Ignis stopped the car and he noticed they had arrived at their destination. Gladio lifted Noctis again (even less gently this time, Prom winced) and they obtained the keys from the attendant.

As they walked, Iggy was already giving instructions, “Once we get him settled upstairs Gladio and I will run out and collect the supplies. Prompto, I trust you’ll be able to look after Noct for the short time we are gone? Or should we ask for assistance?” “I’m fine, I’m fine!” he insisted with a shaky voice, “Believe it or not I’m a Crownsguard member too, I can handle myself even if I am worried.” Ignis gave him a genuine smile and nodded, “Yes I am well aware. The Prince is in good hands with you.” 

 

Once they were inside Gladio unceremoniously flopped the still unconscious Noctis down on one of the beds, ignoring Prompto’s pleading cry of “Gentle!” Prompto proceeded to remove Noct’s boots, jacket, shirt, and glove to make him more comfortable when he finally did wake up. Prom tried not to blush when his hands slid over the toned muscle of his stomach, lithe and strong from required training. 

“Now we will return within the hour,” Ignis assured him, “should his status change, or you need any other items, ring Gladio’s phone.” “Hrmph. Don’t freak out on us, got that? We’ll be right back,” Gladio added. It was his way of showing he cared, gruff as it may have sounded. 

Prompto nodded in agreement and they were on their way. Then, there was silence. He tried whistling a bit, but it just didn’t feel right without anyone there to be annoyed by it. He slipped off his own boots and curled up onto the bed, snuggled in close to Noct. His face was flushed, clammy, and Prom knew he must be feverish now. He couldn’t help but admire the beauty in the pink tint of his cheeks, painted over his pale skin. The truth that he never wanted to admit to anyone, most of all himself, was that he loved Noctis. And the day’s events only made it more evident. Witnessing the person he cared for most in the world rendered powerless right in front of his eyes- it only filled him with more determination to protect Noct at all costs. In sickness and in health, Prom would never leave his side. 

 

“Ugghhh uhh…” Noctis groaned and turned his head. Prompto immediately sat up, quietly calling to him, “Noct?” There was another long groan and his eyelids fluttered slowly, blinking to focus like he had been in a cave for a hundred years. His voice was thick from sleep but he managed to reply, “Prom… s’at you? What.. what happened??” Hearing Noctis finally speak was the most beautiful sound in the world to Prompto at that moment. “You- you got hurt buddy. I tried to protect you but I just wasn’t quick enough. You got poisoned by an Imp in the meadow and Iggy said it messed with your nervous system. But you’re gonna be fine, he and Gladio are out getting some potions now,” he placed his hand on the side of Noct’s face and held it there, studying his violet eyes to make sure he was coherent. “Poisoned?” was the weak reply. Okay maybe not as coherent as he’d hoped. “Yeah, but don’t worry, I’m here and you’re safe, kay?” He tried to be as soothing as possible, despite the returning worry in the back of his mind, “You need anything? Are you warm? Cold? Need some water?” 

“Mmmm, water,” Noct slurred and tried to nod, unsuccessfully. Prompto picked up the glass on the nightstand and put it into his hands, placing his own over top of them to guide the glass to his lips. For a few seconds they just sat there, Prompto holding Noctis’s hands, watching his chest rise and fall with shallow breathing, wishing he could throw his arms around Noct and hold him until everything was better and back to normal. “Okie dokie I think that’s enough for now,” Prom said, returning the glass to the table. “Anything else, highness?” attempting to lighten the mood as always, “How bout a cold compress for your head? Can’t be feeling too swell right now judging by the look of you. Here.” He tenderly swept the hair off of Noctis’s forehead to place the cool fabric against his skin. It was all he could do to resist the urge to also press his lips there, sweaty or not, and feel his soft hair and smooth skin against his face. Noct lifted his eyes and reached out a hand, placing it against Prompto’s face, and Prompto was compelled to wrap his own hand around Noct’s wrist to hold it there. Tears started building in the corner of his eyes again, seeing Noctis so vulnerable and frail. And without another thought Prom pressed a kiss into his palm. Two, three, he kissed Noct’s hand over and over, tightly clinging to his wrist to bring it back again and again. “Sorry,” he hiccuped, attempting to pull away and cover his tears, but Noctis pulled his face in closer and whispered, “Please, don’t leave me.” A fresh sob caught in Prompto’s throat as he lay down next to him, wrapping his arms tightly around Noct’s shivering body, kissing his burning cheek repeatedly between promises of “Never. I’ll never leave your side. You’ll always have me here.” 

 

Prompto didn’t care if this was an effect of the poison or if Noctis’s guard was finally down enough to express how he really felt. None of that mattered. All that was important was that right now, Noctis was safe in his arms and he was never going to leave him. Everything was going to be just fine. 

Ignis and Gladio finally returned with potions, food, and some hunts to start on as soon as their party was ready to go. Prompto insisted that Ignis let him heal Noct the second he walked in the door. He cradled the Prince’s head gently in his hands, lifting the glowing glass vial for him to sip. A moment later there was a flash of light and the sparkle of magic, and their beloved grumpy royal had returned. Prom cheered and leapt into his arms, causing Noctis to fall sideways off of the bed, both crash landing on the floor. Giggling like children, Prompto had never been happier to hear Noct’s ridiculous chuckle. “All right you idiots, now if the circus is over I’m ready to hit the road,” Gladio huffed and picked them both up off the ground, one in each arm. “Hey hey, I command you, put us down!” Noctis shouted, kicking his feet. “As you wish, highness,” he smirked and threw them both on to the bed, running and jumping right behind. The three of them wrestled as Iggy looked on in disapproval, but of course the Shield defeated both of the smaller boys with ease.

Sprawled out on the bed against Noctis, trying to catch their breath from laughing and defending their honour from the likes of Gladio, Prompto had never felt more joy than in that moment. All of Eos was right again. And he was going to make sure things stayed that way.