Disclaimer: not mine

Chapter 13

Gilgamesh looked out the window, unable to fully comprehend what he was seeing. The world had changed so much since his Awakening. How could he ever belong to it? He knew there was another Harpy in the Citadel, he could sense the boy though he doubted he could sense him in return. According to Ardyn he had only just Awakened in the last few months, he would know very little of what he could do yet. The boy would need help, to fully learn what he could do, to learn to fully control himself, not that Gilgamesh thought even he had full and total control all of the time.

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Regis watched the boys playing in the pools, Prompto moving easily through the water, as if he had been a mer for years and not weeks. Cor had reported the incident with Ulric immediately and Regis was glad the man had taken it so well, even helping with teaching Prompto to adjust to his newest form.

As he watched, Ulric and his closest friends moved out of the changing room to join them, the three Glaives slipping into the water. Regis smiled as he saw the three immediately joining in the games.

He slipped away before anyone noticed him, heading for his Uncle's wing to meet the legendary First Shield, Gilgamesh himself. He had never imagined having the chance to meet the man, had thought him long dead. Meeting a harpy so old…how powerful would he be? But he had spent all that time locked away to avoid hurting anyone, that told him a lot about his character. And having an older harpy around to help Prompto would be good as well.

He came to the doors and knocked, one of the few parts of the Citadel where he always knocked and waited to be let in. The wing had been Ardyn's since the Citadel was built after all. It took barely a minute for Ardyn to open the door to him, looking genuinely happier than he'd seen him in years. They spoke quietly as they walked to one of the suites in the wing where Ardyn gently rapped on the door.

"Gil? I have Regis with me," he announced.

They waited quietly for a few minutes before the door opened and Regis found himself looking up and up. He'd known the man was tall but not that tall! He hesitated, staring at them, before cautiously stepping back to allow them inside.

"Welcome to Insomnia Gilgamesh," Regis offered, and the man nodded, keeping his distance.

"Thank you. Is the boy…well?"

"Prompto? He's doing well as far as we can all tell. There was one incident where he was startled and nearly started shifting, but he got it under control. He says he feels a lot more settled since he fell in the water and achieved his mer form for the first time," he explained, and Gilgamesh nodded. Ardyn had thankfully explained that mess to him once Regis had told his Uncle that the young man had turned when he'd fallen in.

"I will help him."

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Ignis ran his fingers through feathery hair, smiling as Prompto cooed, pressing into his touch. He was heavier in this form, all the extra musculature for his wings, but Ignis was stronger than he looked thanks to being a mer, he could handle the extra weight in his lap. They all knew that Prompto was still dealing with some negative feelings towards his own harpy nature and he wanted to help lessen that even further. Prompto had flown his laps for the day but before he could change back, Ignis had begun stroking his hair and back. They'd ended up on the floor with Prompto in his lap.

He gently tipped Prompto's head up and pressed his lips to his even as he kneaded the muscles between his wings with his other hand. Prompto made a confused sounding noise even as his body relaxed fully into Ignis', eyes fluttering shut as he kissed back. He kissed his way down Prompto's throat before nuzzling at him and he felt Prompto's hands move to hold onto his shoulders, feeling the sharp claws even through his shirt. He coaxed Prompto's lips apart slightly, wanting to deepen the kiss, but he pulled away, a clawed hand moving to cover his mouth…and razor sharp teeth.

"Trust me," he murmured, hand moving from Prompto's hair to rest on the back of his neck.

Prompto stared at him, black eyes nearly impossible to read. Finally, he leant back in, kissing Ignis softly. This time, he didn't pull away when Ignis deepened it, it was hardly the first time he had kissed someone with sharp teeth after all, they did exchange kissing when one of them was in the water and the other out. He tugged Prompto even closer to him, so that he was basically straddling Ignis, their bodies aligned, hearing the surprised noise from Prom even as they continued kissing. He would help Prompto see that they loved him, no matter the form.

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Prompto walked beside Noctis, holding his hand, the King pushing his chair. Apparently Ardyn had someone he wanted them to meet…and that didn't sound ominous at all. No…the man had helped him with his classwork, had killed Besithia in order to help free him, had tried to revive him…he just still creeped him out. He felt Noct squeeze his hand and tried to relax. Something just felt…strange, weird, but he didn't know what.

They came to an area of the Citadel decorated differently, it felt older somehow which he guessed made sense given Ardyn's age. The King knocked and the door soon opened. Prompto followed them into the wing of the Citadel, wishing Iggy and Gladio were with them but they were busy.

"And how are you doing young Prompto?" Ardyn asked him, making him focus.

"Um, okay? I'm getting better at swimming and I can fly ten laps now before getting too tired," he answered.

"And your classes?"

"They're good."

"That is good to hear," the man smiled at him, and Prompto ducked his head slightly, feeling Noct squeeze his hand again.

They approached a suite and that strange feeling was getting stronger the closer they got. He found his breathing speeding up, hands trembling slightly.

"Prom?" Noctis called his name in concern even as Prompto froze, staring at the doors. "Hey, come on Prompto, look at me," Noctis urged, wheeling himself in front of him, back to the doors.

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Noctis knew something was wrong, putting himself between Prompto and the doors. He pushed himself unsteadily to his feet, cupping Prompto's face, seeing how wide his eyes were, how fast he was breathing. There was no black in his eyes but Noctis knew if he didn't calm down then there soon would be.

"It's okay, just calm down. We're in the Citadel, there's nothing here to hurt you," he whispered, pressing their foreheads together, before rubbing his cheek against Prompto's.

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Ardyn saw the boy's reaction and realised that perhaps not telling him anything had been wrong. He was definitely sensing something, even if he didn't understand what. Still, he was managing to focus on Noctis, to listen to him, his control was improving a lot. He moved to knock but the door opened, if Prompto could sense Gil then Gil could definitely sense their group.

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He felt the group approaching, Regis' presence weaker than Ardyn's but familiar from his previous visit. With them were two others, one immediately identifiable as the young Prince Noctis. Interestingly enough, the latent power there was beyond anything Regis wielded, although not near Ardyn's level. If the boy lived for long enough though, that may happen.

The one to catch his attention, was the bright, hot, presence with them, although slightly muted…due to bearing both forms? The group stopped outside of his rooms and then he felt the boy's presence flair. Ah…he moved to the doors. If the child had never met another of his own kind then he would not know what he was sensing and could be growing distressed.

Gilgamesh opened the door to his rooms, finding Ardyn about to knock, Regis just behind him, hovering over two younger males. The Prince was easy to determine due to his hair and the wheeled chair behind him, the shakiness in the way he stood. Standing in front of the Prince was the boy, Prompto. His hair was bright blond, his skin relatively pale, and his eyes were a bright blue…for now.

The boy was standing frozen, chest heaving from the speed of his breathing, even as he stared at the Prince who spoke quietly to him, trying to calm him, and…amazingly it was working. Then the boy looked beyond his Prince and saw him, eyes going wide, flickering black, and then he shocked Gil by shoving the Prince behind him, protecting him, hissing at Gilgamesh even while obviously terrified.

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Regis watched Prompto's reaction to Gilgamesh in surprise but also happiness and pride in the way he put himself between Noctis and the potential threat, even though he didn't summon his guns. Thankfully, Gilgamesh did not react negatively to the display, instead his stance shifted slightly, nothing confrontational that he could detect. He made a strange sound and Prompto stared at him, head tilting to the side, seeming confused.

"Easy young one," Gilgamesh spoke. "I will not harm you or your Prince."

"W…who are you?" Prompto stammered, pressing back against Noctis, who was struggling to remain standing.

Regis moved in slowly, supporting Noctis who nodded at him, relieved to have his physical support.

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Noctis kept quiet when Prompto pushed him behind himself, it was taking everything he had to remain standing. Hearing Prom hiss didn't scare him, he knew Prompto was just protecting him. From…his eyes widened, a Harpy?! Who was he? There was something niggling at the back of his mind, like he should recognise the massive stranger, but he couldn't work it out. Hearing Prom speak was good, he didn't think he was transforming but he couldn't be positive at his back.

And then his Dad was there, helping support him. His Dad knew why Ardyn had called for them which meant somehow this Harpy wasn't a threat either because his uncle would not put them in danger.

"I am Gilgamesh."

Noctis froze, blinking, wondering if he'd heard correctly. Gilgamesh? Oh, he knew that name and now he knew why he looked familiar, he'd seen his image, though usually in armour, in history books and in paintings. He was the first Shield…one of the first Harpies…but he'd always been told the man had died centuries ago. He glanced at his Uncle and realised, this was why he'd seemed happier lately, because he'd found him.

"It's okay Prom," Noctis whispered, reaching out to rub his arm. "He won't hurt us, Gilgamesh was the first Shield."

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Prompto stared at the massive man in the doorway, first Shield? He tried to calm down because Noct wanted him to, but it was hard. Instinct screamed to defend his clan, even though he was severely outclassed, he knew now what he'd been sensing, another Harpy, one who was really old and powerful. He was no match for him at all and would be trying to flee if not for Noctis. Noct who was stuck on land, barely able to stand at all, vulnerable.

"Calm down," the other Harpy told him, voice firm but also…gentle? He made a noise in the back of his throat Prompto hadn't heard before but he shivered in reaction, feeling suddenly calmer, kind of…dazed. And then a large hand was on the back of his head, guiding him forward, and he slumped against the much larger form, inhaling scents he hadn't even realised he'd been searching for all the time.

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Gilgamesh carefully held the much smaller Harpy against his own body, feeling him go boneless, chirping softly, hesitantly, so Gil responded just as softly. He'd never really dealt with younger harpies before, was relying on instinct…and the ragged bond in the boy. It was amazing that somehow, the bond had latched on to the Prince and his group, but not fully, they couldn't be what he needed, not fully. Gilgamesh could…if he wanted and was willing to take on that responsibility.

It wasn't just the boys though, there was a very weak parental bond linking to someone within the Citadel, so to another mer as the bond wasn't completely one sided as it would be if it were with a human. He did not wish to disrupt that bond since the bo…Prompto would have had to want it to form outside of his own kind. He needed someone who could teach and help him, protect him, and that he Gil could do.

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Noctis' eyes went wide in shock even as he sank back into his chair, watching Prom go limp against Gilgamesh, hearing them exchange soft noises. It was better than Prompto hissing at him he guessed. And no fighting was definitely good cause against Gilgamesh? He'd be pretty useless and he knew it. Still, he couldn't help the flash of jealousy, which was crazy, and then Prompto turned his head towards him, obviously having sensed it.

Gilgamesh released him slowly, making sure Prompto was steady and then Prom was kneeling in front of him, leaning in to wrap his arms around him, rubbing his cheek against his shirt.

Noctis lifted his hand to run through Prompto's hair, glad he didn't bother styling it around the Citadel since he was still not going out around crowds or anything. He tugged him up higher and kissed him softly, not caring that the others could see, not like they didn't know….well maybe Gilgamesh didn't.

He heard his Uncle chuckle and broke the kiss, pulling Prompto up into his lap, an arm wrapped around his waist even as he felt Prom's face heat up where it was pressed to his shoulder, he was blushing.

"Well then, now that we're all acquainted, shall we?" His Uncle gestured at the open door and Noct nodded but didn't let go of Prom, so his Dad moved in to push him again.

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Ignis stared at Noctis in shock, Gilgamesh? He glanced at Gladio seeing he was just as shocked by the news, no one had believed the man was still alive after so long, to learn he'd been in self-imposed exile in a cave for all those centuries….how was he still sane? Knowing that part of why he had returned with Lord Ardyn was for Prompto's sake though was incredible.

"What is it?" he asked as he began thinking passed the surprise, feeling…something from Noct he couldn't quite pin down. His Prince, bond mate, and lover blushed slightly, looking away. "Oh Noct," he whispered, standing and moving to sit beside him, drawing him into his arms. "Prompto loves you, loves us all, being around another harpy will not change that. And I very much doubt the man would be interested in him like that," he assured him.

"Being stupid," Noct muttered, leaning against him, and Gladio chuckled.

"Well yeah, but that's why we have Iggy," he teased. "Where is Prom anyway?"

"With Cor," Noctis answered, nuzzling into Ignis.

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Cor relaxed back on his couch, Prompto curled into his side, trembling slightly. He had his arm around the boy, just letting him know he was there. He was glad he'd had years of watching Regis and Clarus with their kids to have some idea how to care for Prompto. There were difference sure, because of how alone Prompto had been growing up with his 'parents' and his new instincts, although they had settled some with the gaining of his mer form. While he was wary over Gilgamesh's presence, if the ancient harpy could help Prompto then he would welcome him.

The poor kid was overwhelmed by their first meeting and had come to him seeking comfort, he wouldn't dream of turning him away. If Prompto saw him as someone safe, despite how badly he had failed him over the years, then he would do his best to be there for him, even if he was too old now to need a parent. Wasn't he?

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Monica walked into the pool area with Cor, she'd heard a lot about young Prompto, had seen him several times over the years although they had not officially met. Her eyes moved to the water where the four boys were splashing around, hearing Gladio Amicitia's deep laugh and higher pitched shrieks. It took a second to work out what was happening, the Prince was wriggling wildly in Gladio's hold as tentacles moved over his body, tickling him, and a young blond was watching, hands over his mouth to smother his laughs. The blond looked up and saw her, immediately moving closer to Ignis who stopped his assault on the Prince, a tentacle reaching out to wrap around his waist, drawing him into the Adviser's side.

"Good afternoon your Highness," she greeted as she removed her shoes.

"Monica," he panted even as his Shield released him. He swam up to the other two and reached out to stroke blond hair. "It's okay Prom, this is Monica, she works for Cor." He indicated the silent man and Prompto saw him, immediately relaxing at the sight of him. Did Cor realise he'd fully adopted the young man?

She approached the pool slowly and knelt down. "Hello Prompto," she offered, and he slowly moved out from behind Scientia, studying her.

"I've seen you before," he finally spoke, and she nodded.

"Cor had me check up on you sometimes when he couldn't," she admitted. "May I join you?" that was why she was there after all, but she would not push the boy. Watching him in the water, it was hard to believe he was also a harpy.

He hesitated but then nodded, smiling shyly. She stood up and dove in, surfacing a safe distance from the group to let Prompto get a good look at her in the water.

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Cor sat on the edge of the pools, watching to make sure everything went smoothly. Prompto was fine with Nyx and his friends, but he had known and trained with them before. It was a relief when Prompto did not react badly and soon she was working with them, every time in the pool tended to turn into a lesson for Prompto, well every time others were present. What they got up to alone he didn't know and didn't want or need to.

TBC…