A/N: A story request for Shiranai Atsune.
- Fem!Noctis x Prompto
"Lies are a little fortress; inside them you can feel safe and powerful. Through your little fortress of lies you try to run your life and manipulate others. But the fortress needs walls, so you build some. These are the justifications for your lies. You know, like you are doing this to protect someone you love, to keep them from feeling pain. Whatever works, just so you feel okay about the lies."
-WM. PAUL YOUNG, The Shack
Hidden behind lies
It had been a year and a half since Prompto worked the nerve to engage in a conversation with the cute girl who was always fiddling with some gadget. It had been a year since he stood beside a fountain and waited for the cute girl who never arrived. Eleven months since he spilled his drink all over an unknown girl's lap when he tried to ask for her number. Nine months since he had a girl dump, her coffee over his head after he gave her one of his compliments, which he thought was not that bad. Eight months since another typical poke from both Gladioulus and Ignis, and a quick admonishment from Noctis at needing to make better pickup lines; or even better to stop using them. His eyes lit up as the corners of his mouth turned from some of the fondest memories with Gladioulus, Ignis, and especially with Noctis. Prompto remembered:
"You said that in a place where there are sharp objects around?" Noctis said as she shook her head. "I am amazed you are still alive."
"It was at a small café." Prompto snorted in response." After all, the girl wouldn't be that crazy?"
"People will act in bizarre and unpredictable ways."
"Hey, well at least I try to put myself out there," he said, crossing his arms with a wry smile on his face. "Or else I'll be a shrieking hermit shut in like you."
"Yes, yes, coming from someone who never makes it to the second date," she said as she rolled her eyes. "Been on anymore dates lately?"
"I've been too busy."
She turned to the side and stuck her tongue out at him. "Or is it because you are such a hideous toad and they ran away screaming?"
Laughing loudly, Prompto came quick with a response, "Touché, little girl, touché."
"Anyways, that was a moronic thing to say," she says, patting his shoulder with those tiny fingers. "The next time you say those things, I think you better be ready with some flowers, or something shiny and a humble apology."
As he looked back to the day, she touched his shoulder, or whenever she did touch him, he felt a tiny shock while it started a small flutter in his heart. As she spoke, Prompto couldn't help but stare into her eyes. It was strange that he never tried anything silly with who was in front of him. At least he tried not to do what he always did with others.
She accepted him as he was for the most part; anything he said, she replied in kind. It was then he had wanted to tell her what was on his mind, to tell someone more about who he was. Unfortunately, he stopped himself. If he had said anything real, all would be ruined, so he kept it to himself. Knowing he had to lie and live that lie was the only way he could live as who he wanted to be. Anyways, he took her advice to heart, even though he pursued others less and less, and his reasons for it were not far from having an ulterior motive. He always wanted to do something for her before she knew. Otherwise, his plans would crash, and he would be partially responsible.
He always knew he was not truly a citizen from the kingdom of Lucis. The people who raised him were not his real parents. He would sift through the hidden paperwork in boxes when no one was around. They were offered a huge sum of money and took him in as a baby. He found nothing about his mother, but they stayed in contact with his father over the early years. They've also mailed some photos to his father during the exchanges. He was not sure if the address was still there, but he decided to try. He did not expect anything from it until one day a letter came addressed to him.
It was a strange thing at first. Here is a person who would be of the same flesh and blood; a person who has greatly impacted his life; a person that he wanted to know more about and meet, and here they are. He wrote back and hid this course of action from the parents who raised him. He had done so for the last few years. It was something he looked forward to, reading about the place he originally came from, the legends, and things about his father. However, as time went on, the letters seemed less cheerful and carefree. It became more somber and grave. Prompto never paid much attention to politics, but his father always made mention of it. There were things he was not sure he'd agree with. The letters gave Prompto the impression that his father's subtle requests asked him to do something for him. To choose. It could be the most ridiculous and bogus things and he would believe it, but Prompto dismissed that thought. As much as he wanted to please him or make him proud, he did not believe that he could. No matter how much he wanted to deny it, Prompto yearned for his approval.
He decided to devote his time on a new project. He was pretty good with his hands, but what he had planned was different from the usual. He had to save up and convince others that he was serious about it. It was a good distraction from the words that cut deeply into his flesh; words that reminded him of his true identity. Of all the things he wanted to run away from, there were so many missed chances. He could only think of another opening that he did not take.
Five months ago, he sat in the gardens of the Lucis estate, stared at the crystal orb that had tiny gems intertwined with silver. It looked like a vine wrapped itself around the crystal in an endless coil hanging from a silver chain. A pair of feet could be heard from around the corner. Noctis took a simple side glance at the carpet of flowers as she walked pass. "Hey," she said.
Prompto smiled at her. "Remember, when you said I should resort to bribery every time I said some boneheaded things?" he asked. "Got something for you."
She raised her eyebrow at him. "Oh? That? I meant you should resort to bribery for your dates, not me," she replied. With a hearty laugh, she added, "I assume you were not a flowers kind of guy, anyways."
Prompto stood up to face her. His eyes locked onto hers. He reached towards her, putting his arms around her. His arms went around her neck, gently locking at the nape. Noctis looked at Prompto confused. They were close in height. He never noticed how blue her eyes were until now. Then he drew back, no longer touching Noctis. Prompto clasped on a necklace around her neck.
"Why are you giving this to me?"
"Just because," Prompto began with a rueful smile, "You don't like it? Was it the design?"
Her fingers touched it gently. As she looked at him, she said. "No, it's really nice. Very unique," she said finally. "Thank you."
Prompto attempted a serious look. "I'm glad you like it," he said, before he let out a laugh. "I've spent a load of time trying to put it together."
"Always a catch?" she asked.
Prompto looked at her and thought about how he wanted to make the next step with her. A date, just spending the day together, but maybe Noctis would not be interested anyway. They have been friends for years and he appreciated what they have now. It could be waiting for the inevitable rejection; after all, they were from different classes. He shouldn't get too attached. He also felt worried that he might be too childish for her, but that was only on the surface. There were other things that worried him. He came from a nation who has been wanting the destruction of the Kingdom of Lucis. Where does his loyalty lie? Where did he belong? If these issues surfaced, they would serve as a reminder of what mountains of lies were built. She wouldn't understand if he was truthful about it, because it's his desperate attempt to rationalize it. In this ongoing battle, he may never be a victor. Prompto had many questions he could not ask because the answers frightened him. Was it all worth the risk?
Another fond, yet bitter memory he had of Noctis, was the way she looked at him. There were no mistakes. She was more… relaxed, inviting... It had been days since he last saw Noctis smile. It was the day of the peace signing between the Kingdom of Lucis and Niflheim. He wanted to see her, talk to her before she went off to Insomnia. He remembered how he stopped mid stride as he blinked his eyes in disbelief.
Is that Noctis? Noctis in a dress? The material hugged her figure slightly, following a bit of her curves, the black was… lovely against her fair skin. The sleeve reached her elbows while the rest of the dress flowed slightly below the knee. The dress revealed her toned legs, with her feet in comfortable black shoes that matched. Her choppy layers of black hair framed her face with a single jeweled hair ornament clipped on one side. As his eyes trailed her form, it stopped back near her neck; she wore the necklace that he gave her some time ago.
Not that she never looked good, even in her daily wear she looked fine. But now she simply looked… great.
Prompto quickened his pace, his lips curled into a wry grin. "Well, look at you all filled out," he said as he caught up only a few feet away.
"Even coming from you that sounds so crass." Noctis' retort dripped with so much sarcasm that Prompto realized he'd better be prepared.
"Part of my charm," he said and gave what he thought was his most charming smile, though it could be the cheesiest. Noctis merely shrugged, it surprised Prompto who expected her to tell him off. "I guess this look really doesn't suit me at all," she sighed. "But the peace signing is today, so I have to dress for the occasion."
"Oh come on you'll even look great in a burlap sack," he said before he could stop himself. Prompto threw a hand over his mouth. Smooth one, Prompto...
At the same time Noctis raised her hand to hers imitating his gesture mockingly.
"Are those one of your many pickup lines?" her voice started off muffled, behind her fingers. "You need new ones."
As he turned his head away slightly and crossed his arms, he turned back to face Noctis. "Yeah… I never got around using them anymore," he said sheepishly.
"Well, I need to get going," she turned away. Prompto bit his lip, before calling out to Noctis.
As she turned around, he quickly stepped closer to her. His eyes locked onto hers. He wanted to tell her everything, the truth of his lineage, what he was, and the suspicions that he felt about the peace signing. But then what? How would she react? Would she think that he hid behind so much deceit? Or that he was being sincere?
"So?" Noctis said to shatter the brief silence.
He did not know where to begin. He waited a few more seconds before letting out a quiet response. "I'm sorry," he said "What I want to say is… you look great," he said, saying each word carefully to keep the guilt he felt from spilling out.
Another awkward silence followed, but his eyes only revealed his pain. In a place where it had bought him much joy, he was alone. Noctis gave him some time before he felt fingers brush his cheek. He tried to speak but words would not come out. He could see that she tried to be considerate.
"Are you upset with what you just said earlier?" she asked, tilting her head. "We've known each other for years; you think that is going to bother me?"
Noctis dropped her hand to her side, turned the other way, walked down the corridor, and waved at him. "Don't worry about it," she said with a smirk. "Just be yourself."
What am I? Who do I want to be?
The heavy air was thick with soot of the burning city; Prompto surveyed the tattered remnants of his previous life. Breathing in the air filled with smoke, sweat, and death, the chaos enveloped around him as the kingdom engulfed in the fires of war. The peace treaty was nothing but a trap.
Once Niflheim takes the crystal, they still won't be satisfied until the Kingdom of Lucis and the Lucis bloodline are destroyed. Prompto turned to look at her; he could see it, the look of determination on her face. She was clearly not afraid to take back what was stolen, to take on the duties that were expected of her, and to take vengeance. She would go with or without anyone; she would carry the weight of the kingdom on her shoulders alone. That look on her face prompted him to follow her. He took one last look at what was left of his previous life. Although fragments faded away, he had hoped the feelings he had would not. As long as he kept everything hidden, everything would continue as it were.
Was it all worth it? Yes, Noctis was worth it. Maybe one day she will see that he was too.
A/N: Thanks for reading!
- Many thanks to StarLove18 for proofreading/editing!