Disclaimer: not mine

Chapter 18

"I'm infected," Gladio whispered, sounding shocked and horrified.

He nodded and then nuzzled at Gladio's throat, feeling him shiver and swallow hard, but he didn't try to push Noctis away and in return Noctis was very careful to make sure his fangs stayed retracted. Gladio was so warm now, warmer than he had been, like Pelna.

"Noct?"

"Yeah?" he pulled back and looked up at Gladio, realising he was fighting the urge to drop his gaze. He was a werewolf now after all, safe from their powers, not that Noctis really had any idea how to do any of that. Prompto had warned him that the mental thing with eye contact was instinct though which was why he had to avoid it.

"Why can't I remember?" Gladio asked in confusion.

He wanted to hold him, kiss him, promise him he'd be okay…but if Gladio didn't remember anything since Noct's turning then he wouldn't remember how close they'd been since then. He leant back in, nuzzling again, purring for him, trying to offer what comfort he could. He felt Gladio tense slightly before tightening his hold on him.

"What's wrong with me?" Gladio whispered.

"Nothing," Noctis murmured, carefully rubbing his back. "Do you remember going clubbing?" he asked and Gladio nodded slowly. "That's where we met Prompto, he's my Sire." He carefully began explaining what had happened that night, stressing that Prompto'd had no choice, under orders he couldn't disobey. Gladio stayed quiet, listening as Noctis filled him in on what had happened since that night.

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Gladio listened to Noctis' explanation of everything he'd forgotten. The idea that he was missing months of memories scared him but if Noctis' recounting was accurate, then most of what he had done, he would have done in order to keep Noctis and Ignis safe. If it came down to it…maybe he even would have let Noctis feed from him. Feeding his Sire…well that was another story. Though it seemed like everything the vampire had done had been to keep Noctis safe.

Holding Noctis basically in his lap as they hugged, it felt…familiar? Maybe the memories weren't totally gone? "Have we…this feels familiar," he admitted.

Noctis looked up at him and smiled shyly, something he hadn't seen since he was a tiny kid. "We uh…we've done a lot more than hug," he answered and Gladio stared at him, seeing the way he ducked his head. If Noct still had a pulse he was pretty sure he'd be blushing. He glanced up and then slowly reached out to cup Gladio's cheek.

More than…oh. They'd…that wasn't allowed. He was Noctis' Shield, sleeping with him went against every Oath he'd taken. He was to Guard Noctis, he could be a friend and brother but more? "You and me?" he asked to be sure and Noctis nodded.

"You and me, you and Prompto. Me and Iggy, Iggy and Prompto," he shrugged. "The bond makes being fed from feel really good and, well…"

"Not you and Prompto?" Gladio asked warily and Noctis shook his head.

"He won't, not while I'm bound to him. I…I really like him, and I know it's not him influencing me, I can tell if he does that. In a few decades, he'll be able to sever the bond, it's too dangerous to me to do it any earlier. It could…hurt me, mentally, maybe even physically."

He honestly didn't know what to think of this Prompto. He'd kidnapped them, bound him and Iggy…turned Noctis! And yet it was obvious from the way Noctis spoke of him that he cared a lot about his Sire. And he had kept them safe as best he could, had refused to abandon Noctis or take them to the Empire. He'd fought his own people for them.

"Your Dad's here, I called him after Pelna came to help. Pelna said that not everyone survives the first week, that some peoples bodies can't adapt to the virus. You're okay, you're past that now. But you were really sick." Noctis must have been really worried with the way he was almost babbling.

His Dad had come? So the King had to know what was going on. He just didn't know what to think except to hope that what he was seeing was real, that Noctis really was still the Noctis he knew and that it wasn't a trick.

Noctis looked at him and then out of the tent before smiling and leaving. Before Gladio could do anything a familiar figure was moving into the tent and he swallowed.

"Gladio," the relief in his Dad's voice was clear and then Clarus was holding out his hand and Gladio was moving to his Dad, shakily wrapping himself around the older man. "It's alright son, I'm here."

"I'm sorry Dad, I failed."

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Clarus tightened his hold as he heard his son's words. Some would agree but Clarus couldn't bring himself to. Yes, maybe they shouldn't have been at that club, but Noctis was headstrong and stubborn, he would have slipped out alone if they had disagreed. "No Gladio, you have done your best to protect your charge, your brother. Even bound to another, you threw yourself between Noctis and death. What happened at the club could not have been foreseen and Noctis was already ensnared before you. As soon as that happened, there was no way you could have stopped his turning," he assured him.

Prompto could have whisked Noctis away easily and the Prince would have gone willingly. While he wished that had happened, for his son and Ignis' sake… but they would have spent the last months terrified, angry, and worried for Noctis. As soon as contact was established they would have come after him which meant Gladio likely still would have ended up infected.

Looking at his son, he could tell the difference in him immediately now that he was no longer bound to Prompto. He had still been his son, but he was glad and relieved for Gladio's sake that he was now free. He just hated that his freedom had come at the cost of turning into a werewolf once a month. How much would the wolf influence him the rest of the time? Especially without a pack? Unless King Nyx was willing to add him to his wolves?

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Prompto held Noctis in his arms, both of them trying not to listen to the father and son discussion in the tent. He could feel Noctis' relief that Gladio seemed willing to believe he was still the same person he had been when human. Prompto doubted he would get any consideration from the new wolf, even with the way Noctis had made sure to stress that he'd had no choice in turning him.

Noctis cuddled close, nuzzling at him, seeking reassurance, and Prompto didn't hesitate to give it. They both needed the comfort and when Ignis moved closer they were quickly wrapped around him as well.

Prompto looked up when Pelna returned from making a call, the wolf flopping down by the unlit campfire. The wolf grinned at him and took his share of the meal Iggy had cooked. "Got it cleared to use one of our safe places next full moon."

"Thanks," Prompto told him, not sure if Gladio would still be with them then.

"Is it as bad as the books say?" Noctis asked quietly, glancing over at Pelna who looked up at him.

"The first time is the worst but it's never painless. The process is violent, bones and organs are reshaped and moved around… neither of you should probably be too close because there will be blood and there's no way to guess how Gladio will react to you in wolf form at first."

The three of them turned to the tent, hearing Gladio's request and then Clarus emerged, helping Gladio out of the tent.

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Gladio looked around, seeing Noctis curled up in a strangers arms… the man who'd been there when he'd woken up, and…Ignis. "Iggy," he called in relief and a little shock as he took in his clothing, hair, and lack of glasses.

Ignis looked utterly relieved to see him, getting quickly to his feet. "Gladio," he whispered, relief obvious. He took a step and then hesitated, so unlike him, but he was looking Gladio over and he realised he was worried about either making his injuries worse or…that Gladio would hurt him?

Gladio took a shaky step away from his Dad and held a hand out to Ignis. Ignis moved closer, taking his hand and then he was hugging him and Gladio hugged him back. Ignis felt a little cooler than normal to him but that was him, wasn't it? Wolves ran hotter, even in human form. "You're shaking," he whispered.

Ignis pressed his forehead to his shoulder, breathing shakily. "You…we almost lost you," he forced out, barely keeping his voice even. "Nothing we tried was working, if Pelna hadn't come…"

"Hey, it's okay," he promised. He hadn't seen so visibly emotional since after the attack on Noctis as a kid and then getting word of the attack on Tenebrae while Noctis and the King were there. "I'm okay." He wasn't ready to think about how he'd been changed yet but other than that he was fine. A little shaky but he'd been out for a week so that was normal.

Ignis was clinging to him and Gladio held him, was it because he'd nearly died? Or was it a sign of how Ignis was bound? Had it changed him so much? How had he been when bound? He wasn't sure if he wanted to remember or not. He glanced over at Noct again, finding him watching, absently chewing at his bottom lip, worried. He offered a small smile and Gladio nodded before looking to his…sire. He looked like he might be even younger than Noctis! Not that physical appearance meant anything when it came to a vampires age.

The blond looked at him and then whispered to Noctis who looked between them, concerned, but then he shifted away. The older vampire stood and Ignis pulled away, moving to Noctis who wrapped an arm around him. He walked towards Gladio but stopped just out of reach and Gladio looked him over. He looked utterly harmless.

"Hi," the blond…Prompto gave him a small smile, shifting slightly in place.

Gladio stared at him, unsure how he felt about him, how to respond. "Hi," he finally answered.

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Ignis pressed close to Noctis, terrified that Gladio would leave them, that he would hate Master. He knew Noct was scared too but there was nothing they could do. It was up to Gladio, it was his choice whether to go or stay, to accept Master.

TBC…

Short but the guys aren't cooperating. More Gladio and Prompto than the others.