Main summary: Noctis wanted a divorce. Prompto had an even more important request.
Pairing: Prompto Argentum/Noctis Lucis Caelum, Noctis Lucis Caelum/Lunafreya Nox Fleuret
Genre: Romance, drama, infidelity, implied!character death? (you've been warned).
Disclaimer: I don't own FFXV. Some parts of these stories are inspired by others.
Warning: This story will tend to be lengthy and full of emotional turmoil. If you're ready for this love rollercoaster ride, then read on ahead!
Their time of courtship lasted six months. Ignis thought it could have gone better if Noctis had asked for help, but it didn't matter. Noctis simply wanted to find someone who made him feel normal and not as a prince. When he found that someone, their happiness was measured in the amount of laughter they shared—from playing videogames or battling each other in King's Knight, cheap dates at Crow's Nest or expensive dinners from surprise dates, endless nights spent with sleepovers, watching movies, and waking up tangled in each other's arms, and the love they had for one another. They shared brief kisses on college campus, sufficed in areas in which reporters couldn't find them. Even if Prompto was confused at first, he didn't mind and Noctis was satisfied with everything.
It took Noctis two days to come down from his cool and teasing demeanor towards Prompto and muster up the courage to approach the lively sunshine after a trip with his dad in Altissia, but it only took Prompto a few seconds to say yes to whatever the crown prince of Lucis, was asking him. They were twenty and such children.
"At first I didn't want to believe you were the prince," Prompto had admitted then frowned. "But then, kissing behind buildings and rushing home after our dates; you have your own penthouse and Ignis comes over to cook dinner and give you 'homework'. It all makes sense now, including your name!"
Noctis smiled nervously and rubbed the back of his neck. "I hope that doesn't change anything…"
Smiling, Prompto grabbed his books and placed it in his locker. "'Course not, Noct. You're still a sleepyhead and a mess, well royal mess. Like, dude… You sure you're the prince? Cause your apartment says something else."
After a couple of months, they learned more about each other. Prompto was majoring in Photography and journalism, though he said he didn't have any plans on working for something big like Insomnia's Magazine. He preferred taking photos of scenery and writing stories in his individual time. He was an independent student; his parents were always out on business trips. Noctis was in politics and business. Everyone who saw them thought they were a strange pair, and many had known Noctis during his childhood years where he visited Tenebrae and befriended the lovely Princess Lunafreya, who he immediately forgot after growing up. Many were against their relationship and pointed out their differences—Prompto was more open about his thoughts and he was constantly smiling; Noctis always had this look on his face with a quiet demeanor, his royal upbringing reflected in his language and poise made him unapproachable. But their differences went deeper than their majors and personality. Prompto loved to wake up every morning to run and wrote stories of impossible situation and fantasies (like a prince having to sacrifice his life to save the world). He loved drinking his coffee sweetened and with ice. Noctis, on the other hand, liked his coffee hot with milk and lots of sugar, and could fall asleep almost anywhere and preferred practicality and realism. After witnessing the hardships his father went through, it only made sense why Noctis was realistic with everything.
People believed Prompto's fun and bright personality would never match Noctis' collected and rational self, but they were wrong. Because within six months of absolute and loving perfection, Noctis went on his knees, took Prompto's hand and proposed to him. How could Prompto Argentum possibly refuse?
King Regis was very supportive of them and grew fond of Prompto immediately upon meeting over dinner. Prompto loved him very much and Regis reciprocated this by hugging his future son-in-law. Gender was never a problem with Regis. He just wanted his son to be happy. That's all that ever mattered.
"Dad, you're smothering him…" Noctis said, trying to pull Prompto away from his father's grip. Prompto chuckled nervously, mouthing that it was okay.
"My apologies, Prompto." Regis pulled away and Prompto shook his head.
"It's alright, your Majesty."
"Please, call me dad. You're going to marry my lazy son after all."
"I'm not lazy!"
They had to wait a few months before promising to love each other until death would tear them apart. There were a lot of things to be done, a lot of things to avoid, and Noctis thought Prompto was about to give in. A prince had a lot of responsibilities and Prompto was reminded of the commoner that he was and began to doubt himself along the way. How could he ever stay beside the man who would rule Lucis?
But Noctis didn't need someone of royal descent beside him. All that Noctis wanted was Prompto to stand by his side because Prompto loved him as Noctis, not as the prince. If the time ever comes and he stops becoming the prince or the king he's supposed to be, Prompto would still be there for him, because they weren't just lovers. They were best friends.
After their graduation, they had their wedding. King Regis wanted Noctis to move back to the Citadel and bring Prompto with him, but Noctis didn't want Prompto to feel uncomfortable. Prompto moved out of his parents' home and moved into Noctis' apartment. It was to Ignis' relief that Noctis manned up and cleaned his home before the blonde arrived.
"If I knew that Prompto was going to be this much of an impact to you, I would have had him move in a long time ago," Ignis stated, completely astounded. "Would you consider eating vegetables as well?"
Noctis rolled his eyes and stuck out his tongue. "Prompto eats some of my vegetables. So, no, Specs."
His advisor sighed.
When Prompto moved in, his touches made Noctis' apartment into a home. A home that Noctis enjoyed returning from meetings or work. Ignis' visit came lesser than it used to be. His role cooking dinner was eventually, not purposely, taken over by Prompto. There was no complaint and was rather glad because Prompto finds ways to hide the taste of vegetables and Noctis wouldn't detect any of it. Every night, he'd hold Prompto from behind as Prompto cooked his dinner and whispered promises of getting a house far from the city, one where he could see the mountains and the sea and take countless photos of the sunrise. And every night, Prompto would smile into Noctis' bare chest and thank him, even though he was satisfied with what he had.
"Lestallum has the best food and a view," Noctis commented. "But Cape Caem should have a good fishing spot down the west."
"Fishing again… But Cape Caem's far, don't you think?" Prompto chuckled. "And dude, where do you keep all your fishing gears anyway?"
"Stored in my magical closet," Noctis winked, poking Prompto's nose. "Stop calling me dude, blondie. I'm your husband now."
"My bad, my prince charming." Prompto sang then playfully tugged on Noctis' necktie to tease, "So, Noctis, do you happen to have an extra condom in your magical closet? Cause we're out."
"Mmm…" Noctis thought about it then surprised Prompto by picking him up in his arms and taking him into their bedroom. "Maybe we don't need one tonight."
"But how about our dinner? You must be hungry from work, Noct." Prompto's concern was genuine.
Shrugging and nuzzling against Prompto's neck as he walked down the hall, Noctis shook his head. "Let me have my dessert first."
"Astrals, don't say embarrassing shit like—ah! Noct!"
"M-My hand slipped!"
Noctis' work ethic and royal duties enabled him to earn money without his dad's help. As his income rose, so did their bank account. Noctis was doing well with his prince responsibilities, Regis thought it was time for him to pass the crown to his son. They talked about it, talked it through, and Noctis felt like it was time for his dad to step down and relax. It was going to get busy, but he was going to do it for his dad and for Prompto. One night, Noctis gently took Prompto's camera away from him and set it down on top of the headboard.
"So, uh…" he started slowly, shifting on their bed as he was getting nervous with Prompto's bright smile. "Remember how I said I'd get us a house far from Insomnia? W-Well I… Uh, want to buy you that house. I know you said you're satisfied with what we have now, but… you know… I want to keep my promise."
Prompto was speechless, but he managed to nod before he wraps his arms around Noctis' neck and thanked him. They talked amongst other things and shared a few laughs together until Noctis yearned for his husband's touch. He asked Prompto to undo his royal raiment and Prompto obliged, still trying to calm himself from the previous conversation they laughed over.
Noctis watched his husband's chest heave up then down, tracing his chest up to his pale hands that had removed his coat and now undoing the buttons of his sleeves. When Prompto finished removing his clothes, Noctis gently removed Prompto's top (which was actually his shirt) and pajamas. He had always been aware that Prompto was self-conscious, but Noctis was breathless. From his blue eyes to his freckled cheeks, his slightly pink lips down to his slightly freckled shoulders, his broad chest and slightly wide hips… Noctis' eyes were traveling down lower with a heavy breath.
"Stop staring, Noct." Prompto whined with quivering lips as he pulled the sheets to cover his body and face. "If your eyes could eat, I'm halfway eaten already."
Noctis apologized, reached for the sheets and lowered it down to reveal Prompto's skin and flushed face. "I love you, Prompto." Noctis kissed Prompto's forehead. "You're just so beautiful to look at."
Prompto tried to look away from Noctis' gaze and pouted. "Dude… I'm not a woman."
"How many times- stop calling me dude!" He held Prompto's chin up and stole a quick peck of Prompto's lips. "Alright, fine. Picky little—" Noctis took a breath in before continued to talk in frustration. "You're handsome. Good looking, stunning, and sexy. Astrals, sexy! Prompto, I'd do you all night—geez. You're perfect, so perfect. For me. Stop making it hard for me than it already is. Literally."
Prompto's laughter echoed once more that night. As they entangled themselves in each other, savoring the touches and making love, slow and deep, Prompto's laughter turned into noises of pleasure and he continued to say Noctis' name within each thrust. They made love over and over again that night, and the moon had never shunned brighter than it did then.
The house that Noctis bought was indeed in Cape Caem. Thanks to Ignis, Gladio, and Monica, he was able to renovate the place faster than anticipated. It was small, but it was a perfectly quiet estate near the ocean. Perfect for him. There was a lighthouse and Regis was able to call old man Cid, Cindy's grandpa, who's Prompto's close friend, to get the elevator and the lights to work again. When Noctis found the house, he thought it was perfect for Prompto. Even though everything was far, the scenery was beautiful and there was a fishing spot not too far from their location.
When Noctis took Prompto to their new home, he asked, "So what do you think?" The look on Prompto's face had already given the answer.
"I don't know what to say…" Prompto walked up towards the lighthouse then looked at their house. "I love it, Noct…"
Knowing that his mission was accomplished, Noctis took Prompto's hand in his. "Cool. Then it's settled, we're getting this house."
Prompto looked up, a bit worried. "Uh, this is hours away from Insomnia. You're going to be King."
Noctis shrugged and crossed his arms. "Doesn't matter. If you love it then I don't mind the commute. Dad's giving me the Regalia and I can have it upgraded so it can fly. Do you think flying is faster? I think it takes longer to start… Anyway, it's not an impossible thing. I can commute back and forth."
Minutes passed and after a moment, Prompto asked him again if it was really alright. Noctis kissed him and nodded, and soon after, the papers were signed and the two moved out of the apartment.
The agreement was for Noctis to travel back and forth from work and Prompto traveled the outskirts of Lucis to complete photo-op assignments for Vyv who he kept in touch with through the internet and continue his career, but as time went on, Noctis' work began to pile up and had to start working overtime. The endless cycle continued, Noctis found it hard to commute on a daily basis, even with Ignis' offer to pick him up and take him home. Noctis never thought his dad worked this much in his lifetime; he often found himself tired. One time, he drove home blurry eyed. Because of this, he asked Ignis for his Ebony and drank caffeine before driving, which could cause him to crash during meetings or make him unable to sleep once he arrived back home.
It gave Prompto room for concern, as he began to feel guilty for enjoying his life while Noctis suffered his Kingly duties and worked hard to give him that type of lifestyle, including making his dad proud. After contemplating about different possibilities, Prompto came to one plausible solution to the problem.
"Uh, Noct? Maybe you should ask Ignis to open your apartment in the city again," Prompto gently suggested at their dinner table one night. When he looked up to his husband, he saw tired blue eyes looking back at him.
"You want me to go back to the penthouse?" Noctis asked, sounding like he was in disbelief
Prompto gave him a concerned look. "I don't like seeing you like this, Noct. You wake up every day to go to work, but you look like you're half dead. When you come home, you end up looking worse and sometimes you don't even sleep. You just stay up in the study and work on reports—you spend hours going back and forth but," Prompto breathes. "That could be time to use to get more sleep…"
Already in a bad mood, Noctis rubbed the corner of his eyes. "Prom, I'm fine."
"No, you're not!" Argued Prompto. "Listen, Ignis would agree with me, your apartment could mean—"
"I said I'm fine, Prompto," Noctis repeated sharply. "Quit worrying, damnit."
Prompto grew irritated at Noctis' indifference. Maybe Noctis was tired, but he didn't have the right to overlook his growing worry. Setting down his utensil, Prompto stood up from the table. "Why? Is it wrong to worried about you!?' he cried in strained voice. It wasn't like him to sound so pained. It wasn't the bright, sunshine, he once saw.
Unlike Prompto, Noctis kept himself in his seat, moving the vegetables on the side of his plate. "Prompto, sit down."
With clenched fists, Prompto glowered. "No. Noctis, you're not listening to me. I just want to help you."
"Help me?" Noctis raised his brow and snapped. "No, Prom. To me, getting on my case and the idea of me getting a separate place to live makes it sound like you want me gone." The lack of sleep and the fact that he was overworking himself did no good other than make him more irritable. He didn't have Ebony that night. His body was searching for sleep.
Taken aback, Prompto looked shocked and took a step back. "That is not what I want! I said nothing like that!"
"Keep your voice down, Prompto." Noctis growled. "You're being too loud. Monica and Talcott just left the house."
Frustrated, Prompto stepped out of the table and harshly pushed his chair in. "Shit, Noct. I don't want you gone! Damnit, I love you so much, it hurts watching you add wasted hours of stress onto your day just traveling back and forth to me." Prompto bit his lips that began to quiver. "It hurts bad, Noct. You don't even see it because the moment you step into this house, you fall asleep. You don't even look at me anymore because you're that tired."
For minutes, Prompto waited for a response, but Noctis remained uninterested.
Then putting his utensils down, Noctis looked up to him, "Prom, you're being overdramatic," he muttered.
Prompto felt like Ramuh had just truck him with lightning. It seemed that there was no reaching Noctis. Even though they were husbands, Noctis refused to listen to him and even had the audacity to say he was being "overdramatic" when he was just expressing his concerns. Shaking with his clenched fists, Prompto turned and left the table before Noctis could see the bitter tears that formed in his eyes.
Noctis felt like his body weighed a ton and began to worry. When his mind was finally in full clarity, he considered Prompto's proposal a few nights ago. He admitted his fault in not allowing Prompto the chance to present his situation, but ultimately blamed the lack of sleep for causing his sour and disagreeable mood that night. Finally, willing to hear out his husband, Noctis knocked on Prompto's closed and locked office door.
Noctis took a deep breath. "Prom, I know you're in there. Open the door please." As a minute passed by, Noctis knocked again.
"Prompto, open the door. We need to talk and making me just stand out here is wasting time."
It didn't take long until Noctis heard Prompto unlock the door. Noctis let himself in and watched as Prompto turned his back to him and sit back down on his desk to focus on a batch of photos he had taken from today's photo-op were scattered all over the place. Noctis wasn't pleased at Prompto's decision to give him the cold shoulder, but he rationalized that he probably deserved it. Neither of them spoke for what seemed the longest until Noctis set his hands on the back of Prompto's chair, leaning over him.
"Prompto…" he said softly. "I don't like it when you ignore me…"
Turning his head around, Prompto gave his King a sad but angry look. "But when I actually care, I'm being overdramatic, right?"
At that moment, Noctis regretted not biting his tongue the night they talked in the kitchen. He knew they were different. Prompto liked to voice himself out whether that meant moving his hands or straining his voice, whereas he liked to keep things settled. But sometimes he'd forget that Prompto's habits made Prompto the way he is—insult those intricate details, and ultimately hurting his spouse.
With a solemn look on his face, Noctis turned Prompto's chair around and pulled him up. Prompto resisted and Noctis tugged his arms a little bit stronger until Prompto reluctantly stood up, trying to avoid his eyes. Noctis engulfed him in his arms, wrapping them around Prompto's waist and nestled his head against the crook Prompto's neck.
"I didn't mean that." Slightly rocking their bodies side to side for comfort, Noctis continued. "I'm sorry, Prompto."
It seemed like forever before Prompto finally moved his arms, his fingers brushing through Noctis' black locks, slowly tracing the back of Noctis' neck with his index finger. Noctis shivered and Prompto finally wraps his arms around Noctis' neck. "You've been really moody lately, Noct."
The lack of sleep and overtime at the Citadel did its damage. It was clear to him, as Noctis pursed his lips, that the damage was not only done to himself and his body, but it was clearly affecting the relationship he had with his husband as well. "I know, I'm so sorry."
To Noctis, he knew there was nothing more he could do other than the apologies that slipped from his mouth. He couldn't make promises or take the time off from Insomnia to get away from his duties. He couldn't promise to get home earlier or to cut work, or to get more sleep. He couldn't even promise taking naps, the naps that he used to love taking back during their college days. Promises like those were impractical. He didn't know if he could even uphold them, so Noctis had decided that it was better to give no promises at all rather than to give a hallow one and hurt Prompto again. If he hadn't been listening or if the room hadn't been quiet, Noctis wouldn't have heard Prompto's sniffle. When he tried to look at the blonde's face, Prompto only hugged him tighter, pressing his face harder against his shoulders to keep him from seeing. Noctis stood for a while, feeling the side of his coat soak the hot, tears, and only moved to kiss Prompto's neck.
"I shouldn't have put you down," Noctis admitted apologetically as Prompto's grip lightened. He took the opportunity to place a soft kiss on top of Prompto's head and wipe the tears off his lover's freckled cheeks. "You were just trying to help."
Prompto was silent for a moment before he lifted his head up. "I'm worried about you, Noct. You know that right?" Noctis nodded with guilt. "Sometimes I think that getting a house all the way here in Cape Caem was a mistake. I feel so guilty at night, Noct," Prompto cried with a breaking voice. "I know you did all of this for me and now you're like this. I can't—"
Noctis cut him off by cupping his face and giving a sharp look in his eyes. "Stop it, Prom. You don't have the right to feel guilty about anything. I did this for you because I love you. Why I'm like this has nothing to do with you. It's because of work, so don't blame yourself for my struggles."
"But if we picked some place in the city, then—"
"It'd still be the same," Noctis argued. "The amount of work load I'd have at the Citadel and the same amount of unreasonable travels I have to go through on a day to day basis. Plus, you wouldn't be able to travel out here and take wonderful photos like these" He pointed out to the photos scattered on the table, "—or concentrate writing sappy stories. Look, I know how important your photo assignments are. You're going to have your own show and submit these photos in big portfolios and you don't need any distractions. That's why we're here. That's why I picked this place. Even if I had the chance to change anything back to when we were looking for a house, I wouldn't change my decision, because I promised you something like this and I got it. It's our haven from the city, Prom."
Prompto glanced down, dropped his hold around Noctis' neck, and held Noctis' hands. "The commute is too long. You drive in the early morning and late at night. You don't even want to accept Ignis' offer to drive you home. I can't help but worry. I don't want you to get into an accident because you're too dead tired to keep your eyes open," he said. With a shaky breath, Prompto exhaled and looked back up. "Noctis, please. Consider going back to your apartment, even though it's a temporary place for you. Just somewhere to go if you find that you don't have it in you to come home. It can even be the Citadel or—"
Noctis opened his mouth to argue, but Prompto gave him a look. "I don't want you gone and I don't like the idea of us being separated. Like I said the other night, I don't want you gone. Gods, if I could have you stop being King and have you right beside me, I would. But I know our life isn't like that. So, if it's easier on you and your body then…"
"Prom, at least at the end of the day there's still you," Noctis interrupted. "I don't want to stay in the Citadel, and I don't like the idea of staying in an apartment without you either. I might be tired as hell, I might even look like hell, but at least I get to come home to you."
"If you fall asleep driving or if a daemon out in the prowl attacks you, then no, Noctis." Prompto said in a stern, broken voice. "You won't get to come home to me. You'd be dead and the next place I'd be seeing you is in a morgue, identifying your body and trying to explain to your father what happened and how I could've done something to prevent it from happening. I can't handle the thought of it!"
Noctis dropped the hold Prompto had on him and put his hands on Prompto's shoulders. "Prompto—"
"I had a lot of time to myself, Noct. I did the math, okay?" Prompto said, trying to change the subject from something less morbid. "It's easier and more convenient for you rather than checking into a motel near Lucis or a hotel in the city over and over again."
"Prompto…" Noctis groaned. "I don't care. If anything, you're the only one that's been keeping me grounded, keeping me sane. Sleeping at some apartment in the city might mean I get an hour or two more of sleep, but that'd be fucking isolating me from you and I'm telling you I don't want that, damn it!"
"Th-then let's sell the house and I'll move back into the city with you!" Prompto said desperately.
Noctis looked at him like he had seen a ghost. "What?"
Prompto furrowed his eyebrows, trying to think hard. "Let's sell this house and I'll move back—no—we'll move back to the city. It'll be—"
"No!" Noctis said adamantly. "We're not selling this house. I got this house especially for you because it's perfect for you and it's what you need."
"I said no, Prompto." Noctis was definite, giving Prompto an apologetic look. "I don't want you to have to give this up. I don't want to take you to a place where it's always about the fast life—the loud hustling and bustling of the city and I'm not there. No."
Prompto asked softly. "…then what do you want to do?"
Moments passed and looking down at him, Noctis sighed and rubbed the back of his neck before cupping one side of Prompto's cheek, brushing his thumb against his soft skin in circles.
"Fine, I'll…" He clicked his tongue and let out a deep breath. "I'll go back to my old apartment, but we're going to sit down and plan everything out together." Noctis decided sharply "Like, if I'm scheduled to have a busy week, you have to come and visit me at least during the weekends or—weekday to cook me something or so that we can spend time together, because I need you too, Prompto. It's not just sleep that I need. I need you in bed, with me, whether it's just to go to bed together or to do something more."
Prompto eventually nodded slowly, slightly happy to Noctis' compliance. "We won't let distance be a problem. We'll video call—No, I'll call. I'll call during your lunch breaks and everything. I'll even send you photos of places I went to. And you have to call me if you decide you want to come home for the night, but as for the weekends, you have to try to come back for at least those two days. Saturday and Sunday, because…" he smiled slightly. "Because I need you too."
Catching and interlocking their hands together, Noctis finally relaxed his shoulders. "When do you want to plan everything out? Sleeping is catching up to me and I want you there beside me."
"Doesn't everything depend around your schedule?" Prompto kindly reminded with a small teasing tone and an attempted smile.
That remark was true though. Everything they did together had to fit around Noctis' schedule. It wasn't like that before. Back to when they were newlywed, Noctis wasn't as busy as he used to be and had more room to change his activities at work. Now that he took the full responsibility as a king, everything was structured. Things like meetings and doing rounds around different cities were things he couldn't move, and it was very rare for anything else to be rescheduled just because he wanted a day off to be with his spouse. The citizens of Lucis were afraid of the threats that Niflheim was throwing towards their country and Noctis needed to act on that quick. Even though things had changed, they had learned how to cope with these strained changes, especially Prompto. Noctis was slow at noticing, even though Prompto was just as slow, but it was only because he was part of it all. Prompto only noticed more because he was the one that paid attention, sitting idly, and watching his husband do his work and leaving him at the beginning.
"Let's go when you have a day off."
"I don't have any days off, Prom."
Prompto let out a small laugh and punched him lightly on the side. "I know," he sighed in exaggeration and shrugged. "I'll write my conditions and you do the same when you find time. If you don't have the time to tell Ignis about your apartment, I'll do it for you."
After studying Prompto's face for a moment, Noctis softly asked, "are you sure about this?"
The bright, smile had returned on Prompto's face as he nodded his head. "Yeah. It'll be like, uh, owning two houses, I guess. It'll be fine." He said, hugging Noctis again. Prompto buried his face in Noctis chest this time and he wrapped his arms around Prompto.
"We'll be fine…" Prompto repeated.
If there was a word that perfectly described their situation, it was definitely "fine", but fine only lasted a while. At first, their arrangement turned out okay. Noctis returned to his old apartment and when he didn't feel like he could safely go home, they put their plan into effect. On nights when Noctis decided to stay in the city, Prompto—if he could—would quickly prepare some food, take a fairly long ride from Cape Caem to Insomnia, and then the subway just to give Noctis his dinner. Prompto always made sure that the food tasted just right and that it was something Noctis was craving. It was something he developed after spending his time with Noctis for so many years, for five years. And after being married for 2 years, it's only reasonable that Ignis no longer comes over to cook the man food. He had Prompto.
Noctis tried to go home on the weekends just like the planned, but he found that exhaustion would just take over him by the end of the week that he couldn't allow himself the well-being to do so. After many attempts and only few successful tries, Prompto smiled at him and told him that it was alright to stay in the city and that he didn't need to push himself just to go home. Noctis was hesitant in accepting Prompto's kind gesture at first, but in the end, he began staying in the city during the weekends. And even though the apartment was supposed to be used for those difficult moments when he couldn't get himself home, Noctis began to use it frequently each week until months had passed since he last stepped foot on the property he had gotten for the two of them in Cape Caem. In a way, their haven was now blurred in his memory, replaced by the practical function that his old bedroom apartment in the city had to offer: convenience.
Because of his maintained absence, Noctis sent Nyx to Cape Caem to guard Prompto in case anything happens. As much as he would have loved taking Nyx's place instead so he could be with his beloved, he didn't have the physical strength to do anything besides his magical powers. It was absurd, to him it was, how duties of a King could drain one's life away if not physically, but mentally.
"If you need a break son, you just let me know and I'll take over for you." Regis told him one day, noticing that his son was absorbed in the financial report of the city rather than packing to go home to see Prompto.
"It's alright dad," Noctis waved him off gently. "I just need to make sure this gets by, then I'll head back to my apartment."
"Apartment?" Regis frowned. "Not back home? In Cape Caem?"
Noctis cursed mentally. It was Ignis, Gladiolus, and Prompto who only knew of this situation. "Uh, yeah, Prompto and I decided that if the workload becomes too much and I'm too tired to go back, I can just stay here in the city."
Regis was caught by surprise. "He's alright with it? Don't you want to go back home?"
The word "home" lingered in his mouth. His heart once told him that home was where Prompto was, but now, he wasn't sure.
"Yeah…" He muttered softly. "But I'm honestly too tired to travel back." Back home, but he only managed to go that far.
When he got back to his apartment, Noctis threw his bag on the kitchen countertop. His apartment was a mess, cans of coffee on the living room table and beer bottles on the ground beneath the kitchen sink. Noctis reminded himself to clean up once he gained the strength to do it the next day. After he showered and relaxed on the couch, he thought of the times when college Prompto would arrive with snacks on his hands, ready for another round of video games. Those were fun times. He found himself slightly smiling at the memory, but the smile quickly diminished the moment he realized he could barely remember what happened during their days.
The memories he had with Prompto during their college years, in this very apartment, began to fade away. Noctis at first, wasn't sure if it was due to the amount of work that was piling up, but the thought was gone the next second, because his new world began to pull him back in.
On Prompto's part, his visits to Noctis' apartment became less and less due to the deadline of his first portfolio. Vyv was all over his ass about it, but he would take the time and try to reach Noctis by the phone or video call when he could, but like everything else, those moments declined in numbers also. When Noctis had a meeting to attend or had a bunch of reports to manage, Noctis was sleeping after collecting and planning his sets of photos until the break of dawn when he would finally collapse on his bed alone.
In the rarity of those moments, Prompto would have luck on his side when calling his husband, but their conversations were always brief and typical. Overtime, it had gotten bland with the casual and usual questions of "How have you been?" and "Have you eaten yet?" The calls were always kept brief because of the simple fact they both knew how one or the other either needed to go to sleep or go back to work.
One night, Prompto lied alone in their bed with nothing to look at, but the full moon glowing past outside the window and the soft swaying of the thin curtains as the leaves outside danced along with the wind. His camera was untouched for today and he thought about their decision. He pondered about what was happening. There was a rift. The distance was becoming greater. Distance was not a kind factor, but it was something that he thought they would overcome. The fact that they barely saw each other in person wasn't a very big factor. To Prompto, it was more. Distance didn't matter because even if they lived under the same roof, the situation would still be the same. Both of them would still be too busy for each other. It's the same situation, just with different circumstances.
Back in college, Prompto also had an interest in machinery and different languages. One of the things that sparked his interests, were his parents' ability to communicate with patients in their desired language and he had always wanted to learn, so that there would be a connection with them that will never fade.
One of the things he'd do to Noctis was leave him messages in foreign languages that he knew his political-business minded boyfriend would have no idea how to read. To him, it was one of the fun parts; watching Noctis do work in deciphering his message.
The messages had always been simple, but they were full of meaning. Sometimes, they were as simple as "I love you" notes. Noctis, despite looking and acting like a handsome, cold-shouldered prince, would write back the words in English, a language they both shared.
With machinery perks, one of the things that Prompto picked up on his many days of being with Noctis around the library, was an interest in binary codes. As Noctis would sit and look through stacks of reference books for an upcoming test or quiz in one of his classes, Prompto would look over the shoulders of other students, observing them as he usually did since he was more of an observer than a doer. He was a visual person. It wasn't until he looked over one student's book that his interest was caught by the amount of ones and zeros on the page.
The student was writing in a language Prompto recognized, but their eyes were glued to the book. It took him a while to realize that they were translating the numbers. No matter how much he stared, Prompto couldn't figure out how the hell they were getting letters from what looked like a random arrangement of the first two positive numbers—even though one could argue that zero is a neutral number.
Prompto stepped back and returned to where Noctis sat. He then quickly asked Noctis what he just saw, described it, and Noctis simply answered with his usual teasing face, "It's binary code, Prom."
The numbers were simple, but the sequences would make the ignorant frustrated. It was secretive, to a point where only a few of the general public could understand. It was a language that Ignis tried to get Noctis into learning, to put political decisions into safety, but the prince back then already had responsibilities and he didn't want any more. To Prompto, it had a cool factor that drew him in.
He cracked a large grin and thanked Prompto, quickly kissing his studious boyfriend on the lips while a few of the girls that were watching them blushed at the sudden action. Noctis quickly hid and buried his face against his book, blushing furiously as Prompto wandered around the library in search of something that would teach him the art of Binary.
In their early days as a married couple, back in Noctis' apartment, the two of them had dedicated their Saturdays to movies. Some days, they would watch rom-coms and other days, they would watch dramatic movies that would leave one of them—most of the time, Prompto—in tears.
During those times, Noctis would pet Prompto's head and tell him not to cry. It was just a movie, and just as it was a movie, crying over it wouldn't change anything about what just happened. To that, Prompto would huff and argue, asking Noctis whether or not it was wrong to wish for a different outcome. Noctis would always answer, telling him that there was no point in wanting a different ending because the movie was done and there was nothing changing it. Just as how people were appointed to do certain things; when given the position, there's no changing it. Prompto would then proceed to call him an insensitive prince, to which Noctis would ignore the remark, lean over, and kiss Prompto's movie-induced tears away.
"How about we play video games for the rest of the night, hm?" Noctis suggested with a smile and a peck of his lips. "I'll order pizza."
Prompto stared at him lovingly and laughed. "Okay. Half supreme, half meat-lover?"
Noctis smirked as he took his phone out. "You know it, blondie."
Late into the night, Prompto would wake and find Noctis sleeping peacefully next to him in his boxers. He would caress his husband's sleeping face, press his nose and laugh silently as Noctis would open his pepperoni-smelling mouth to breathe then stir up with furrowed eyebrows before waving Prompto's hands away from his nose. Prompto loved Saturday nights because he gets to spend the whole Sunday with him. Their schedule always had time for each other. But that was back then.
Noctis would wake up the next day with texts from Prompto while he went out for his run.
"01001000 01100101 01111001 00100000 01110011 01101100 01100101 01100101 01110000 01111001 01101000 01100101 01100001 01100100 00101110 00100000 01001001 00100000 01101101 01101001 01110011 01110011 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00101110 00100000 01001001 00100000 01101011 01101110 01101111 01110111 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100111 01110010 01100101 00100000 01110011 01101100 01100101 01100101 01110000 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01110010 01101001 01100111 01101000 01110100 00100000 01101110 01100101 01111000 01110100 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01101101 01100101 00100000 01100010 01110101 01110100 00100000 01001001 00100000 01101010 01110101 01110011 01110100 00100000 01110111 01100001 01101110 01110100 01100101 01100100 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01110010 01100101 01101101 01101001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100001 01110100 00100000 01001001 00100000 01101100 01101111 01110110 01100101 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00101110 00100000 01001001 00100000 01110100 01110010 01101001 01100101 01100100 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01110100 01100101 01101100 01101100 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01101001 01101110 00100000 01110000 01100101 01110010 01110011 01101111 01101110 00100000 01100010 01110101 01110100 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01110010 01100101 01110000 01101100 01101001 01100101 01100100 00100000 01110111 01101001 01110100 01101000 00100000 01110111 01100101 01101001 01110010 01100100 00100000 01110011 01101100 01100101 01100101 01110000 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101101 01101111 01100001 01101110 01110011 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 01110010 00100000 01100010 01110010 01100101 01100001 01110100 01101000 00100000 01110011 01110100 01101001 01101110 01101011 01110011 00101100 00100000 01110011 01101111 00100000 01001001 00100111 01101101 00100000 01101010 01110101 01110011 01110100 00100000 01100111 01101111 01101110 01101110 01100001 00100000 01110100 01100101 01101100 01101100 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01101000 01100101 01110010 01100101 00100000 01100010 01100101 01100011 01100001 01110101 01110011 01100101 00100000 01001001 00100000 01100100 01101111 01101110 00100111 01110100 00100000 01110111 01100001 01101110 01110100 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01100110 01101111 01110010 01100111 01100101 01110100 00101110" Followed three sets of photos taken by Prompto.
The first one was with Prompto kissing his forehead.
The second one had Prompto's face scrunched up and nosed pinched, next to his half-open mouth.
The very last one was his favorite. He was asleep, with his arms wrapped around Prompto's waist and curled up with his head against Prompto's bare chest, comfortable and filled with warmth.
Noctis knew that Prompto's messages written in Binary were always meaningful and sweet. It was one of the things that got him going all giddy like a five-year-old boy that got a kiss from his crush. He would get up quickly, open an app that he had just to decipher all the messages that Prompto had for him.
He'd let out a hearty laugh, cursing his favorite person for taking advantage of him that way even though he wasn't mad at all. The ounce of negativity were beyond zero. They were filled with happiness. Prompto was happy. Noctis was happy.
Hey sleepyhead. I miss you. I know you're sleeping right next to me but I just wanted to remind you that I love you. I tried to tell you in person but you replied with weird sleeping moans and your breath stinks, so I'm just gonna tell you here because I don't want you to forget.
"I'm home!" Noctis would hear Prompto's footsteps coming closer while rinsed his mouth.
Prompto would always be welcomed home with warm hugs. "Welcome home, Prompto," Noctis would greet his lover with a kiss. "Iced coffee?"
Nodding, Prompto would follow him out of the room to help him make breakfast. As he made their coffee, Prompto made their meal. Prompto always made sure that Noctis would eat some vegetables, if not all. It was a request Ignis asked of him before Prompto became the cook. So he made sure Noctis gets enough. He'd put carrots and apples with bunny ears so Noctis would eat it. "No beans."
"No beans! Yesss..." Noctis breathed happily and kissed his husband. "I love you."
"You only love me because I eat your beans."
Once Prompto finalized his album and had it published, he finally felt free. At that moment, he felt that he could finally visit Noctis and see him, but with the success that came with its publication, a full schedule followed. The one night Prompto went to see Noctis, it was spent with general talk. Prompto still cooked him dinner, he still said "I love you" and Noctis did the same, but he noticed it didn't have the same warmth and feeling from the words that came out of his mouth way back then.
When they made love that night, there was certainly a need, but after a while, it felt forced. Both of them felt it. After strained pants and feeling cold against the sheets, they felt the rift between them. There was a fear and certain emptiness between them that they wanted to fill up by making love like they used to, but there was no helping it. It was different. Everything was different. Noctis was tired. Prompto was tired. But they still put up the effort to feel something despite craving sleep and rest over a lustful night next to each other.
King's Knight was something that they used to enjoy on Friday nights. When Noctis would come home around seven, Prompto would already have dinner prepared and they would charge their phones so they could play later. After eating, brushing their teeth and supposedly getting ready for bed, and a little bit of heated play, they would take out their phone and begin. There were times when they played Justice Monsters Five or battled each other in King's Knight. Every time Noctis would win, Prompto had to take something off. He played tactfully and would have Prompto naked within the first thirty minutes of the game. Which he, of course, planned from the very beginning.
The game nights would never last long. Their screams of victory would always be replaced by the creaking of Noctis' big bed and that would always last longer than their games. Whenever they were finished, Noctis would whisper triumphantly, "I win." But Prompto would smirk, pulling him closer and shake his head.
"Nope. I won," he'd say, kissing Noctis deeply and Noctis happily returned it. "You're mine. Till the end of time."
Noctis would hum in agreement. "And you're mine. Forever."
Prompto would nod and fall asleep with Noctis' strong arms wrapped around him. "Yeah. Forever."
"I have a signing event this weekend, Noct." Prompto said, smiling into the webcam.
Noctis replied with a tired smile. "That's great, Prom. Your photos are amazing."
Prompto chuckled. "Thanks, it's pretty high up on the charts for new photographers. I'm really stoked about it."
"Thanks!" He said again. There was a silence that followed them for a second. "So… For the signing… Will you come? Please?"
Noctis hesitated, opening his mouth. He most likely wouldn't be able to go as he's getting prepared to go to Tenebrae. He knew that much, but he said, "Sure."
Beyond Noctis' expectations, Prompto's eyes lit up. "Buy a poster, Noct! I'll sign it for you!" He cheered then glanced down at the time. "Ah… I have to go now," Prompto said, yawning.
Noctis bit the urge to yawn also. "Alright, bye."
"Bye," Prompto waved and nodded. "Oh, wait, are you coming home this weekend?"
Hiding behind a smile, Prompto waved him off again with a chuckle. "It's okay! I already knew the answer, so you don't need to explain yourself. I just thought I'd ask. But I understand… You should come back some time, though. I planted some nice flowers out in the yard. Iris said these Lunar Tears are beautiful. It said it has the ability to cure any illness." Seeing Noctis' face, Prompto knew that his lover didn't know how to respond to that. Feeling like he was making his husband feel bad, Prompto picked up his mood even if it pushed a strain on his face. "I'll take photos for you, okay?"
"Goodnight, Noctis. I love you."
Noctis took a moment. "Goodnight, Prom."
Prompto waited for the "I love you" part that would usually follow, but after two seconds, he received nothing so he nodded and signed out. He reasoned that maybe Noctis was just too tired to remember, there were a lot of papers on his desk; that… maybe he was just too tired to remember those three simple words.
After learning the language of Binary, Prompto had a habit of carving on trees and take pictures of them for keepsakes. Back when Noctis had the weekends off, they would leave their apartment and go out to the park. That was where Prompto would use the pocketknife his mom gave him once, to carve their initials into the wood.
Noctis would always keep on the lookout, worried that some sort of authority figure or citizen would recognize him, report to his father and arrest his outrageous husband for damaging a tree, even if he was doing it for love.
At the event, a crowd of people showed up, but no matter how much Prompto scanned and craned his head, he couldn't spot his prince charming anywhere. He figured, perhaps because he was a King now, a lot of people would recognize him and cause a commotion; or maybe he was running a bit late. So Prompto went on with his day, signing happily for his fans and curious onlookers who were fascinated with his photography and getting it signed by him. He had hoped and held Noctis' promise to heart, but as the crowd died down, Noctis was still nowhere to be found. Prompto's heart felt a little empty.
He knew he shouldn't have taken it to heart. Noctis was busy, he knew that. But he also knew that Noctis wouldn't make promises that he knew he couldn't keep, yet he still told him that he'd be there.
Minutes have passed and Prompto's publicist told him it was time to go. Prompto wanted to wait a little longer but he didn't want to make his disappointment even bigger. Just as he was about to leave, a familiar voice came up from behind him.
"Can this old man have your autograph, Prompto?" An old, wise voice called out to him.
Prompto turned and gasped. "Your Majesty!" Regis raised his hand and motioned Prompto to sit down. Prompto stiffened, at the guards behind the former King but sat down as he bit his lip and forced a smile. He took out his marker and prepared himself mentally at the photograph that Regis handed to him to sign.
"I told you to call me dad," Regis said softly with a kind smile. "How are you, Prompto?"
Prompto was shaking and his hand refused to press the tip of the marker against the glossy picture. He knew then that Regis wasn't there for his event, he was there to check up on him. To know how he and Noctis were doing. Hot tears were forming on the edge of his eyes and they widened at how they began to sting. Regis must've caught on because he held unto Prompto's shaking, writing hand with one hand and another to wipe the tears before they fell, before others saw.
"I-I'm okay, dad…" Prompto lied with a smile. "I was just… I was… Uh, I didn't expect a lot of people today, that's all."
The old man in front of him was silent for a while, then he asked, "You didn't expect Noctis not to come, did you?" Regis expression softened. When he saw Prompto flinch at the question, he knew then. He didn't need an answer. He looked up to Prompto's publicist and asked, "Is Mr. Argentum available this afternoon?"
His publicist, aware of the former King of Lucis glanced at Prompto and smiled. "I can cancel his appointments this afternoon, your excellency."
"Thank you." Regis motioned for Prompto to follow him. "Let's talk at the Citadel, hm?"
"I-Isn't Noct there?"
The old man was silent once again but he motioned for Prompto to get up and follow him. As the two walked side by side. Prompto supported him, and Regis held on to Prompto's hand, the hand that held the photo of their younger selves, full of life and happiness. He shook his head, "Noctis left early this morning to head to Niflheim."
Prompto seemed to have been uninformed of this. Because all he could say was, "Oh."
"Please understand my son, Prompto. He's doing this for the both of us."
"I know that dad." Prompto knew it was always for the same reason, the same reason why everything felt like it was falling apart. "Believe me, I know..."
The next time they talked on webcam, Prompto didn't try to appear like he was happy, because clearly, he wasn't. But he didn't lash out or get angry because he knew Noctis was busy. He understood what he was doing. He had an excuse not to go to his signing event. Regis talked him out of it. But his signing event wasn't just like any other signing event. It was his first one, and he wanted Noctis to be there, but he wasn't, and that was that.
Noctis was too tired to see what was wrong. He was still in Tenebrae then. He apologized, but Prompto's mood didn't seem to get any better even though he said it was okay. In turn, it irritated Noctis, making him cut their call short and call it a night. He was supposed to talk to Queen Sylvia and have a day out with Lady Lunafreya. He didn't have time for this.
Author's Note: This story isn't beta'd. And I'm in the middle of writing the rest of the story. This is inspired by two stories I read years ago, including the binary idea, which I clearly remember because back in my high school years, I was depressed for weeks reading the story. So I'm writing this vaguely by inspiration and fantasy. Ah, and I just finished watching A Walk to Remember. I'm currently listening to the OST as I write this, and I'm crying. At one point, we just get tired of everything.