If Ignis were himself, he would no doubt have counseled them against the trip, or at least proposed some kind of clever work around. Gladio would have loomed and grumbled, and then would have been the first to bow at Luna’s bedside with some courtly, if gruff, remark. But of course, Ignis wasn’t himself, and really, neither was Gladio. And Noctis knew it was all his fault.
But Prompto was insistent, and he was trying so hard to be himself and keep things light. He'd taken over Iggy’s duties of cooking and planning their trip, and still found time and energy to help Ignis activate the handicap settings on his phone while keeping up a steady stream of light-hearted chatter. Not to mention visiting Luna and helping out with the rescue and relief efforts. It was like watching someone do a ballet in a field full of giant boulders – three of which were named Ignis, Noctis, and Gladiolus – he just kept moving, kept dancing, and you almost couldn’t see the toll it was taking on him.
So Prompto brought up visiting Luna’s hospital room again, as-if casually, mentioning that he’d had word from Weskham as to where she was currently hidden, and that he was sure he could get them in without being noticed by Imperial spies. And besides, Pryna had licked his hand when he’d visited last, which probably meant that Luna was going to wake up soon, any day now, and wouldn’t it be something if she woke up while Noct was there? A kiss from Prince Charming, eh?
Gladio had snorted, an ugly, mocking sound, and Prompto had stuttered to a halt, with an expression like his heart was breaking. Ignis had averted his face, just slightly. Shutting the whole world out. And Noctis had dredged up a voice (his own? someone else’s?) from the vise clamping his chest and said sure, Prom, let’s go.
And so they did.
Traveling the streets of devastated Altissia in Lucian royal black was probably unwise, but Prompto seemed to exude a notice-me-not aura that, in conjunction with the chaos still gripping the city, was enough to let them travel unmolested. They kept to the areas packed with refugees where possible, where everyone had their eyes glued to the screens announcing ferries and how long the current wait lists were (some were hours, most were days) instead of at each other. It did nothing for his nerves, which were a constant jangle, but at least no one stopped them. Or worse, shouted, hey, Prince Noctis!
The hospital was mostly intact, at least from the outside. Upon entering, it became clear that it had suffered a beating, either from Leviathan or the Imperial forces. The first level was still flooded, the polished marble turned treacherous by a thin layer of mud. The smell of mold competed with the smell of hospital bleach, and Noctis almost gagged.
There was a crowd here, too, too many people to fit in the emergency room reserved for the most critical cases. Noctis stood aside as Prompto shuffled about, standing on his toes, trying to find the best way forward without attracting too much attention.
A little kid with a bloody rag tied to his forehead stared at them. Noctis met his eyes and then regretted it, trying to look away and act casual. When he glanced up, the kid had wandered from his sleeping mother to stand beside them, still staring silently.
Prompto almost collided with the kid, and then did a double-take. “Hey!” he exclaimed quietly, and he sounded happy. “Stanford, my man!” He crouched, careful to keep the edges of his jacket out of the water. “How you doin’? Still waiting for a doctor, huh?”
Stanford – he must have been a few years younger than Talcott, too young to be so injured and haunted-looking – nodded, popping his filthy thumb into his mouth.
“Can I take a look, dude?” Prompto asked, gentle, touching the bandage on the child’s head. He nodded again.
It made Noctis’ eyes water, seeing how gentle Prompto was with the kid. He unwound the bandage and checked the wound beneath – the sight made Noctis wince – and produced some wrapped bandages and antiseptic wipes seemingly from his pocket (Noct felt the tug that meant they’d really come from the Armiger). He talked the whole time – man, those are cool shoes, I love chocobos, and how old are you again, dude? like, sixteen, right? or seventeen, you’re in high school, right – trying to coax some words out of him. Stanford was clearly listening, half-smiling at Prompto’s jokes, but was otherwise unresponsive.
He submitted to the cleaning with only a little tearyness. When he finally spoke, it wasn’t about anything Prompto had said.
“Do you have more magic potions?” he asked hopefully.
Prompto winced, shooting a quick glance at Noct. They’d agreed early on not to share their potions with people – it was too easy to trace them back to Noct, and Ignis was always concerned they would run out at the worst possible moment (which, to be fair, they had done so more than once).
“Not at the moment, little dude,” Prompto was jittering, hurrying to finish wrapping the bandage, “but uh, maybe later, I can, uh–”
Noctis reached into his back pocket and summoned a potion from the Armiger, the same trick Prompto had just pulled. It was weak – he just hadn’t been able to summon the magic for a proper Elixir once it was clear they wouldn’t help Ignis’ eyes – but it would help ward off infection and help with pain management. For a little while.
Stanford’s eyes lit up, and he started to snatch the glowing bottle from Noct’s hand. But then he hesitated. “For – for me?” he asked, staring up at Noct with the hugest eyes he’d ever seen.
“Yeah.” Noct tried to smile for him, extending the potion a bit further. “Of course.”
Stanford accepted the bottle, hugging it to his chest as if were a precious treasure. Now his eyes glowed with happiness, watching Noct, and he stood obediently still as Prompto finished retying the headband that kept his bandage in place. “Can I share it with my mom?” he eventually asked.
Noctis glanced at the sleeping woman, and wondered what was wrong with her. Was she injured, too, or just exhausted? “Yeah,” he said again. “Just don’t tell anyone else, okay?”
Would the woman even accept it, if her son told her he had a magic potion from a strange man? Well, maybe she would assume it came from a doctor, or that it was still the harmless bottle of (Noctis checked) apple juice it had started out as. Albeit glowing apple juice. Well, marketing, right? Maybe it wouldn’t seem too weird.
It was Stanford’s to do with as he chose. If he wanted to give it to his mom, or a total stranger, or pour it down the drain, Noctis wouldn’t stop him. He just didn’t have the energy.
Stanford’s eyes went even wider, but he nodded. “Yes, sir,” he said.
Brave little man. Noctis tried to smile for him again, moved his lips in the familiar gesture, and the kid tried to smile in return. If his own forced smile made him look as sad as Stanford’s did, Noctis mused, then it was no wonder people kept flinching away at the sight.
They found an un-monitored stairwell, the door blocked off with yellow tape. It quickly became clear as to why it was locked down – some tree branches and half a gondola were poking through the battered walls, tossed through marble and concrete by Leviathan’s rage. Worse, there were puddles of slimy water everywhere.
Prompto kept ahold on Noct’s arm – Noct realized he’d been doing that since they left their borrowed refuge in the Secretary’s home, as if Noct would drift away without the anchor – as they made their way up the stairs. “I don’t think he’s gonna keep it a secret, man.”
Noct had to blink himself back to the present. “Huh?”
“Stanford. With the potion.”
Noct shrugged. “Didn’t get the impression he was talking much.”
“It’s not a big deal. We’ll be out of here soon.”
Prompto seemed deflated, guiding him up the stairs. “Yeah.”
Noct let himself be led. What did Prompto expect him to say? Maybe he wanted Noct to go back down the stairs and offer to help everyone else in the room. Give out their store of potions, grab some bottles of water and start enchanting those, too. Act like a king for once, instead of piece of luggage that had to be carted to and fro by people smarter and more capable.
“I just feel bad, you know?” Prompto said, his voice echoing a bit in the humid, smelly space. “I’ve never done anything to deserve you guys – traveling with you guys, using your magic, seeing the gods, I – I don’t deserve any of this – this magic, this specialness, I’m just –” He swallowed. “And then there’s kids like Stanford, and man, I just don’t know. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know anything.”
Noctis let his arm slide through Prompto’s grip until he could squeeze his hand. They paused, side-by-side as they sidled around a piece of crushed stairwell, and Prompto squeezed back. Hard.
Noct started feeling floaty once they left the stairwell. Parts of this floor were still in use, despite the damage and the flickering lights. But Prompto knew the way, avoiding the lighted areas, and led him to a dark hallway behind more yellow tape.
Noct felt his steps slowing. He and Prompto’s arms, connected by their held hands, stretched like a rope between two ships tugged in opposite directions. They reached a door, Prompto produced a key, and Noct thought he might faint. He pulled free of Prompto’s grip to lean against the wall, heart laboring, spots filling his vision.
Luna. Luna was on the other side. Once he saw her, it would all be real.
He needed more time. Time to get ready, time to be better, time to be the King she believed he was. All he could picture was her face – somewhere between the child he’d known and the woman he’d seen in official broadcasts – crumpling in disappointment, and the fact that it hadn’t happened (yet) did nothing to lessen the pain. Gods. Gods. He couldn’t do this. More time—
Prompto’s face appeared, looking worried and frantic, and then Noct was being hauled into the unlocked room despite his sluggish limbs. He heard the door shut behind them, closing them in safely. And when he opened his eyes, he was in Luna’s hospital room.
“Dude,” Prompto was whispering. “Breathe.”
“Breathe. Breathe.” Prompto pressed a quick, awkward kiss to his forehead. “Breathe. Just breathe.”
Noct breathed, or tried to breathe. When he opened his eyes, he could see Luna in her hospital bed, traced in appallingly bright sunshine, and he swayed again. Prompto caught him, held him up, held him in place. Just held him, really.
For a minute, he had the inane thought that Clarus and Gladio were on the other side of the door, and if they came in they would see Noct snuggling with Prompto and the game would be up. And then he remembered that Clarus was dead, that Gladio wanted nothing to do with him, and that this wasn’t his father’s hospital room, after the stroke that nearly claimed his life a year ago. Something about the smell, the beeping, the seafoam green of the curtains and blankets, must have taken him back. And his dad was dead, anyway, dead like Clarus, dead like Ignis almost was, dead like Luna almost is….
“I can’t do this,” Noct whispered, when Prompto backed off to give him a little space.
Ignis would have said, yes you can, Highness. Majesty. Gladio would have said, don’t give me that crap, you’re gonna do your duty if it kills us both. Luna would have said, none of us know what we can do until we do it, or fail trying. But I do believe in you, Noctis.
Prompto just whispered, “I know, man.” Noctis met his eyes, briefly, and the love and sorrow there stole his breath. “That’s why I’m here to help.”
Noctis glanced back, thinking of escape, about making excuses and stepping out, running away, back to the Secretary’s house and the room where Ignis and Gladio tip-toed around each other and the smothering silence. And then he swallowed, and squeezed Prompto’s hand, and nodded, meeting his eyes one more time.
“Let’s go,” he whispered, and Prompto led him forward, into the light.
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Hey Trish! I hope it's not too late for request! May I ask for romantic, tropes #16. Secret dating, #14. Hand holding and #21. Sharing clothes with Nyx Ulric from Final Fantasy XV Kingsglaive? Thank you in advance!
Character: Nyx Ulric
Fandom: Final Fantasy XV
Prompts: Hand holding, secret dating, sharing clothes
REQUESTS FOR DRABBLE PROMPTS ARE NOW CLOSED
You hadn’t realized you had arrived until you saw your Glaive friends standing there. Immediately, you stepped away from Nyx, knowing you were walking very close to each other.
“It’s okay” Nyx whispered to you, remaining calm.
“Hey, Y/N” One of your friends said. “Isn’t that Nyx’s jacket?”
You tugged at the fabric, only then remembering you were wearing it. When you glanced up, you found with Nyx peering at you, and you two exchanged a look of rapport.
Dating another Glaive wasn't really forbidden, but you still wanted to keep your relationship secret. Firstly, because you didn’t know how your superiors would feel when they found out. Secondly, because your friends would never stop teasing you two about being a couple. They already did it enough without knowing you were dating.
“I gave Y/N my jacket” Nyx calmly replied, shrugging his shoulders in a casual gesture. “So?”
“I was cold” You told them, getting a little defensive. “Is that a crime?”
Everyone laughed a little, but Nyx stepped in to control the situation. Sneakily planting a hand against your back to reassure you, he looked at everyone.
“Come on, get back to work!” He urged them, and they reluctantly obeyed.
You sighed in relief, begging your heart to stop racing, as you too went to focus on work. Knowing you were supposed to keep guard, you got into position.
"Breathe” Nyx playfully told you as he kept guard by your side, and you did.
“That was close...”
“Not really, they’re too stupid to figure it out”
You laughed at his little joke, already more relaxed. To further comfort you, and taking advantage of your positions standing with your hands behind your backs, Nyx moved a little closer and secretly held your hand in his.
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