Disclaimer: Don't own Final Fantasy.
"Have you had any more dreams?" Noct asked that night, an ice pack draped over his eyes to combat the low-grade throbbing that had persisted after the main headache the earlier tremor triggered has eased.
"Yeah. Haven't gone through my notes yet though." Prompto pulled up the notes from his latest dream. "'trained for sex not just Favorite because of appearance' 'Favorite' is capitalized."
"Back when harems were the norm, the concubines would be trained in sex and seduction. The hostages too, if they were young enough. The Favorite was the one who caught the eye of the King and was preferred above all the others. If the Favorite started as a concubine, they'd usually be elevated to Consort." Noct explained.
"Okay next bit," Prompto said after typing out the major points of what Noct said. "'he had never been with a man' I think it was you with me, so I guess I was your first male lover in the dream."
"Sounds like it." Noct commented. "What's the next bit?"
"'No one after freya'. It feels like 'freya' is a nickname of some kind. Maybe you were married?" Prompto proposed.
"'Stella and Ventus young enough to adjust'. Your kids maybe?"
"I know the first Ventus came after the first Noctis, so he was probably his son. I don't remember anything about a sister though." Noct commented.
"'First time domming' is pretty obvious." Prompto said. "I guess concubines or consorts wouldn't top if they were guys?"
"I guess. Since the point of the harem was to spread the King's influence among his nobles, I don't think it would be allowed. I don't know much about the harem specifics." Noct answered, shifting the ice pack to rest on his forehead.
""refuse to hurt because of ignorance'. I guess I was topping because you didn't want to hurt me, since you'd never been with a guy before." Prompto commented, flopping over to pillow his head on Noct's belly.
"Makes sense; hurting you is the last thing I want to do." Noct started playing with his hair as he took the phone to read the next part.
"'never sire here only Noct'. This may fit in with the part from my dream, about making a choice for the first time." Noct suggested.
"Makes sense to me. I guess I had been a Favorite, but not with you, so the relationship with you would have been different." Prompto answered.
"'given challenge'. I think this is related to having never been with a man before. Maybe I dared you to blow my mind?" Noct suggested.
"I can totally believe that. But not tonight dear; you have a headache." Prompto snickered at the flabbergasted look Noct gave him with that comment. "So did you have another dream that stuck?"
"Yeah." Noct shifted to get his phone out of his pocket. "Okay…'new concubine considered unlucky at birthplace'. I can't think of any reason why someone would be considered unlucky."
"Me neither. But I'm thinking of the number four for some reason." Prompto said.
Noct shrugged and continued. "'brother smitten'. So my brother was taken with this new concubine I guess? It's followed by 'different from previous times'."
"Maybe this was the real deal?" Prompto suggested.
"'Prompto lights up the room with his smile'." Noct read. "Well that's a statement of fact if there ever was one."
"If you say so." Prompto didn't know why Noct thought his smile lit up the room. It was Noct's smile that did that, in his opinion. "So I guess this new concubine was me?"
"It would fit, with the context from the other dreams." Noct conceded. "'safer ignoring him'. Probably didn't want to get myself or you in trouble."
"Especially since I was evidently with someone other than you." Prompto commented. "Anything else?"
"'can't see brother's face'. It was like there was a shadow over his face and shoulders." Noct finished reading his notes.
"Not sure how I feel being with someone who's not you." Prompto admitted. "Based on the other dreams, I eventually fell in love with whomever I was a concubine to, but…"
"I think I get it. I can think of you with Luna and that doesn't bother me, but with anyone else? That really bugs me." Noct said. "But as a concubine there really wouldn't be a choice of partner, so it may have been like an arranged marriage situation."
"Is it weird that we're treating these dreams like they're real? And not just some bizarre thing our brains came up with?" Prompto asked.
"I can't really say. I don't know about you, but when I'm in the dream, everything feels so real. Aside from our dream with Carbuncle, I can't remember any other dream feeling like that."
"True…" Prompto agreed. "Hopefully we can get some clues about your headaches tomorrow."
Taking both phones, he tossed them on the night stand. "I know I said I wouldn't blow your mind tonight because of your headache, but I heard that orgasms can help with migraines…"
"You sure you're not insatiable?" Noct asked with a grin, pulling Prompto up for a kiss.
"Stop being so sexy and we'll see."
The final straw came two weeks after revealing himself to the conspiracy. He sat on a bench in Master Lali Ho's workshop. "I think there's actually a piece of flesh missing." The master said as he dabbed the bite just below his right collarbone as gently as he could with a wet rag.
"I know there is. I'm almost positive I saw him swallow it." Prompto affirmed, biting his lip as tears gathered in the corners of his eyes.
"Master, do you have any-" His words were cut off when he saw them. "What happened?!" Noctis demanded, rushing over.
"He's getting worse. He was never been shy about biting, but as he took more and more Scourge in, he started drawing blood. This is the first time he actually took flesh." The gathered tears started falling as Prompto sipped the potion the master handed him. "Without the potions I'd be bleeding and courting permanent damage. Even with them, I'm still raw and I'm bruised all over."
There was no need to explain who 'he' was. "We need to act soon." Noctis said. "Is it just you, or are there others?"
"You missed the word on the harem purge. I only survived because I denied the pendant came off, and as Favorite I was believed over the rest." He avoided the eyes of the other two. "I suppose I should be guilty, letting them be killed, but life was never easy there. It only got easier when I rose high enough to have a bed chamber near the King's suite and could leave the harem quarters. But I can't take much more. I'm not in any position to refuse."
The bite seemed to resist the potion, healing slower than was normal. It finally worked, but left behind a scar. Prompto could only just tilt his head to see it, and a hand came up to caress the new scar as he took in what he could of it. "This is the final proof. The King is dead. All that's left is a daemon." The tears fell faster. "All we can do now is grant him peace if possible. He-It's not the person I fell in love with."
"I'll inform the others. We'll act in three days, on the night of the full moon. Can you survive until then?" Noctis asked.
"It's not a matter of can or can't. I have to." Wincing as he rose to his feet, Prompto bowed to Noctis and Master Lali Ho before he departed.
Prompto started awake, Noct practically draped over his back. Wiggling to grab his phone, he started typing.
Can't take much more eaten bit by bit raw and bruised even with potions survived purge because I'm the Favorite can't really feel guilty life not easy there no position to refuse surviving until the appointed time not a matter of can or can't have to.
Setting the phone aside, Prompto snuggled back in, reveling in the sense of security he felt. His dream self never really felt security.
"If I had realized speaking up would lead to this, I'd have kept my mouth shut." Prompto grumbled as they followed Ardyn's car, Noct at the wheel due to Ardyn's bizarre insistence.
"I doubt your eagerness for him to continue what he was saying has much to do with the present situation." Ignis said from Noct's usual spot.
He claimed it was easier to handle Noct driving if he couldn't see the gauges.
"Even if it wasn't a good idea to show how eager we were for whatever he knew." Gladio commented. "Too late now."
"If he can get us close to the Meteor that just confirms that he's high up in the imperial government." Noct said.
"But if he's a Nif, why would he help us? Letting you get your family's inheritance and commune with the Astrals wouldn't be in their best interests, right?" Prompto questioned.
"There may be a greater force leading events." Ignis said, pulling up something on his phone. "There have more sightings of the Dawn Mother lately. Mostly in Insomnia, but elsewhere as well. And only a few have been match blessings like ours was."
"Maybe…" Prompto conceded.
He knew Miss Aerith was pulling out Crownsguard people and their families from Insomnia, so it made sense She had been spotted more often, even with the confuse effect She added to Her aura for such encounters.
She claimed it was so She wasn't besieged, but he knew She got a major kick of watching people realize what just happened.
"Either way, as much as we don't want to hear it, we're in a bad position right now. I'm not above accepting help 'freely' offered, but we better be prepared for a trap regardless." Gladio said as they approached the rest stop, Ardyn pulling in as the sun sank low in the sky.
Prompto grimaced at the downpour from just inside the store. Outside the Wall guns were legal, and he had gotten caught up in a gun magazine in the convenience store after dinner. The radio was saying it would last all night, so there was no choice about going out in it.
It was like standing a waterfall, the rain was fierce enough to completely negate the styling of his bangs. Giving up on the futility of keeping them out of his eyes, Prompto was about to set off for the caravan when a flash of…something caught his eye as it went behind the building.
Inwardly cursing his curious nature, Prompto edged behind the building, only to be blindsided.
His head banged against the concrete of the building, and his vision was filled with red hair. "Let's see just how strong a hold you've got on him, you little bitch." Ardyn's breath stunk of something that reminded him of decay as he went to kiss him.
Despite the pouring rain, the sound of a gun cocking was impossibly loud. "I may not know what the hell you are, but a point blank shot to your dick and balls should still hurt." Prompto's gun was pressed against Ardyn's groin. "STAY. THE. FUCK. AWAY. FROM. ME." Prompto ground out the last sentence, glaring at Ardyn through his rain-soaked bangs.
Ardyn pulled back in shock, his illusion flickering to reveal his true face.
The sight gave Prompto an intense sense of déjà vu, but it was easily ignored as Noct came running around the corner of the building. Sneering, Ardyn swirled his coat around him in a flashy gesture as he stalked away. "You alright?" Noct asked.
Prompto had scarcely started to nod when he doubled over, overcome by the stench of decay. Noct held back his bangs as he threw up what felt like a week's worth of food. Panting, he sagged into Noct's arms. "It's kinda crazy…but I don't feel afraid of him anymore." He said, tilting his face into the rain, mouth open, to rinse some of the taste out of his mouth.
"Maybe it's because you've proved to yourself that you can stand up to him?" Noct suggested.
"Maybe…" Grabbing Noct's hand, Prompto started back to the caravan.
Mid step he stopped. "It feels like someone is watching us." He said, looking back.
"No. At least, not this one."
Noct blinked. "'This one'? What do you mean?" He asked.
Prompto frowned. "I have no clue why I said that. It kinda feels like Ardyn but…brighter?"
"That's makes no sense at all." Noct complained.
Prompto just shrugged as they continued on. He smiled to himself. It felt nice, not to be at the mercy of the choices of others.
In the pouring rain, no one, not even Prompto himself, noticed his tears.
Unseen, Aerith approached the specter. "I had hoped that this was not your fate. My apologies for not noticing sooner." She bowed deeply, as much in apology as out of respect.
Ardyn Lucis Caelum just shook his head. "My fate has been out of Your purvey until very recently. Most of my existence in this state has been in the nether between, where the souls of those who become daemons reside. I should be apologizing to You, for the trespass against one of Your Blessed by my double."
"You need not apologize for its actions, Your Majesty." She said, straightening.
"Much the same can be said of you, My Lady. And I am 'Your Majesty' to no one." He told Her.
They stood side by side, watching as Prompto hurriedly brushed his teeth before snuggling up with Noct on the tiny caravan sofa to play some sort of martial arts type game, Ignis scolding them for getting water everywhere and Gladio ignoring them in favor of his latest trashy romance novel.
He had a wistful smile on his face as he watched them. "I suppose I was lucky, to have been permitted to keep his light at my side for a short while."
"…does it bother you?" She couldn't help asking.
"Mostly I'm relieved that Prompto wasn't deceived by my double, regardless of the proof furnished by the pendant. I am forced to concede that his love for my brother is greater than for me. His love of me was adapting to the situation he was in. My brother was the one he chose for himself. I've had a long time to accept the outcome." He admitted.
She couldn't help but eye him sadly, this first victim of the Astrals' follies.
"Please do not pity me, Lady. My weakness led to this." He implored Her, turning away. "I pray Etro will see my time in the nether as punishment enough."
"None of this was because of your weakness. There were factors outside of anyone's control, and you lasted longer than anyone else chosen by the Astrals would have." She told him, begging him to believe Her.
He said nothing, just fading away.
"…fools. All of them…" Aerith whispered.
She wasn't sure if She included Herself in that admonishment.
Prompto wasn't overly surprised to find himself in the Church that night. Miss Aerith sprawled half on, half off a pew. She looked exhausted. "Rough time of it?" He asked as he sat next to Her.
She just hummed in agreement, pulling him down to have his head in Her lap. "I needed a moment of peace. If it's not too much?" She asked.
"After all You've given me, it's never too much." He answered as Her fingers started massaging his head. "And it's a nice break from those weird dreams."
"The Fall triggered them. Can't say much more." She said, almost half asleep.
"Altissia?" He questioned.
She jolted at that statement. "How-?" She wasn't sure how to continue the statement.
"Dunno. Just feels like everything will happen all at once in Altissia. Like whatever happens there will decide everything." He said, purring under the actions of Her fingers.
"You're not wrong. Faris was grumpy even before her ascension." She commented.
"'Faris'?" He questioned with a blink.
"The Hydraean. Faris is her human name. She had been Pirate King." Miss Aerith elaborated. "All the Astrals were humans who impressed the Creators and were gifted ascension to act in Their stead after they left this world. The Lifestream is the only Creator left. Not that their actions demonstrate they had once been human."
"It would be kinda hard to remember if you're a huge ass sea serpent." Prompto pointed out.
"True…" The conversation lapsed with that.
It was hard to say how much time lapsed, but finally She said, "Be careful tomorrow. Titan has been dormant so long I doubt he'll be in an agreeable mood, having been disturbed."
"I'm more worried about the Imperials ambushing us while we're busy with Titan." Prompto admitted. "Titan can only kill me. The Imperials can do far worse things to me than death."
"I can't say when I'll be able to visit next. Even with five fragments in addition to me, there's still a lot of people to try and save."
"Then I'll just have to wait for our real world meeting." He declared, standing up with a stretch. "Take care Yourself, okay?"
"I will." She promised as he faded away to his dream world.
Leaning Her head back, She contemplated the rafters and the Lifestream visible through the hole in the roof. Despite Her worries, She couldn't help smiling. Visiting Prompto had lifted Her spirits, giving Her strength. Light always attracts darkness, so it was little wonder that the Corrupted was obsessing over him, beyond being the reincarnation of Ardyn's Favorite.
Standing up, She felt Zack hug Her from behind. "Best get back to work." She said, leaving the Lifestream for the real world.
Yeah real life happened. Plus my best friend had a baby, so I've been working on cross-stitches for the baby. I get to be auntie.