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Before the Dawn

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He and Prompto had never been awkward before.

They’d been through everything together, seen the worst of the worst and somehow still managed to joke about it afterwards.

But then again, he’d never pushed Prompto off a moving train before or landed him into the hands of a fucking lunatic either.

He was just sitting there.

His blonde head down, and bruised shoulders slumped; like all the energy he normally radiated had leaked from him.

Leaked from him and straight into Noctis.

Noctis couldn’t stop moving. Fidgeting. Pacing. Rolling his shoulders uncomfortably. Putting a nervous hand through his hair until it was a mess as he explored the room without really looking for anything.

Ignis and Gladio had left, thinking themselves subtle as they purposely gave them some time together to sort things out, to reunite, to talk. Even though they knew perfectly well how fucking difficult it was for Noctis to actually talk.

Ignis would have known what to say.

He swallowed his frustration, scrubbing a hand across his face as he glanced over at his friend again.

The silence was eating him alive and the words kept getting stuck every time he gathered the courage and turned to find that slumped back. Apologies and worry clogged in his throat.

And still, Prompto just … sat there. Silent. Except for the little hushed sighs that Noctis only caught because he couldn’t keep his gaze away from his best friend for more than 30 seconds at a time; afraid that he’d disappear into smoke like one of Ardyn’s illusions.

Fuck. Was Prompto even really there? Was that really him, all silent and withdrawn? He quickly looked up at the blonde, but he didn’t trust his eyes all that much anymore.

Determined, he closed the drawer he’d been searching, with a thud and stepped up to the bed – opposite his friend – only to notice the shoulders draw up and tense. He hesitated, standing awkwardly facing him.

Was Prompto nervous? Angry? Uncomfortable?

He swallowed, clenching the hand he had partly reached out into a fist – the ring there still uncomfortably heavy before forcing himself to sit down, pressing his side to the metal frame of the bed to steady himself.

Prompto didn’t even turn his head.

"Hey … I’m – I’m sorry."

Real fucking smooth Noctis.

"For what?" was the quick reply – too quick - and Noctis leaned more heavily on his elbows, finding himself unable to turn around.

He couldn’t even look at Prompto while apologising to him. Astrals, why is he so bad at this?

"For falling right into his trap … " he said, taking a breath, " … and for hurting you like that."

There was a tense pause.

"I know, right?" Prompto replied, and Noctis felt his stomach drop – his chest tight – "How could you possibly do such a horrible thing? After everything we’ve been through!"

The playful tone fell flat. The joke ringing between them - too much truth in it to be funny.

He wanted to apologise. Again and again and again. Until his throat hurt from saying it. Until Prompto smiled. Until the bruises and cuts Noctis had caused healed from his skin.

But the words got stuck, physically tight in his throat.

"Nah. It’s okay. You’re not the only one who fell for it," Prompto said, and Noctis felt his chest loosen, sucking in a quiet grateful breath at the softness that had entered his friends voice.

Not the only one who fell for it.

Prompto might never reveal the full details of what Ardyn had done to him but Noctis didn't need to hear it for the hatred to bubble sticky and hot under his ribs. That goddamn fucking bastard.

"Once this is all over, I say we break down the borders. Come together as one nation." Noctis replied, angry at Ardyn for putting this divide between them. Angry that the pointless separation of the Kingdom was making Prompto feel less about himself; as if he could be anything but irreplaceable.

Prompto didn’t answer but Noctis heard him turn. Felt the surprised gaze on the back of his neck and he glanced over at him – catching wide eyes for a second before he shrugged self-consciously and sat back, as though it would remove the physical press of that gaze. His arms folded across his chest defensively.

"I mean, what does it matter where you’re from anyway?"

Fuck – why do his words always come out like that? Why can’t he just tell Prompto that nothing could change how he feels about him, least of all where he was fucking born.

"You know, I never thought I’d say this … but you sounded like a real King for a second."

The bed creaked as Prompto stood.

Finally, finally facing him now. And he had a small smile on his bruised face when Noctis glanced up. The unbearable knot in his stomach loosened.

He uncrossed his arms, looking down at the ring on his hand – his own relieved smile ghosting across his mouth. He’d been King for a while now … just hadn’t accepted it; had been caught up in his own grief, bitter about the responsibility of it all. Childish.

"Better late than never."

But he knew now … he had the power to make this world better; for Iggy and Gladio. For Luna and his Father and the countless others who’d lost their lives for him, because of him.

For Prompto.

His responsibility to them could be nothing but a privilege. An honour.

And Ardyn wasn’t going to stop him.

"I’m gonna make this world a better place – you with me?"

And even if Prompto said no, even if he shook his head with that sad smile on his face and told him it was too much – Noctis wouldn’t care. He’d take that on his shoulders too and carry it for as long as he had to until Prompto understood how important he was.

But Prompto nodded. His muscles flexing as he gathered himself – meeting Noctis’s gaze.

"Uh huh. Ever at your side."

They smiled at each other. Noctis knew he was doing that thing he hated when he smiled, where his mouth stretched too big on his face, but for once, he didn’t care, and then Prompto looked away.

But it wasn’t awkward like it was before.

Prompto didn’t tense this time when he swung his feet over the bed, shifting relatively smoothly until he was sitting on Prompto’s side instead, too lazy, too impatient to walk around the bed frame.

The blonde dropped his arms from the top bunk with a frown, stepping back to give Noctis the room to push himself up and stand facing him.


He pulled the boy into a hug, arms tight around his neck as he leaned into him, giving the comfort of his entire body to Prompto. And taking some selfishly in return.

"I’m so sorry, Prom. "

"Hey, it’s okay dude," Prompto replied, his arms warm around Noctis’s middle, holding him closer. Noctis closed his eyes, probably prolonging the hug much longer than was necessary … or appropriate really. "I’m right here."

"I should have known though – I should have been quicker – "

"You’re here now. That’s all I care about."

He pulled away rather reluctantly, resting his hands on Prompto’s shoulders and squeezing. The solid bone and muscle under his palms brought him greater relief than any potion – he really had him back. Prompto’s hands bunched the fabric of the black t-shirt around his sides tightly, preventing him stepping back as the boy peered into his face – looking rather worried, despite the careless smile that spread across his mouth.

"You crying on me?"

"No!" Noctis defended, reaching up in alarm to quickly wipe his traitorous eyes. "Something in my eye is all."

He rarely cried. But he’d had a rather trying week; what with losing Luna, and Iggy’s sight and nearly killing his best friend – having Prompto right in front of him, under his hands and breathing warm into his face was all rather overwhelming.

If he’d lost Prompto –

"Jeez Noct, did you miss me that much?" Prompto said and pulled him back into the hug, this time one arm leaving his waist to pull his head down into Prompto’s neck – the fingers at the nape of his own firm and calloused. Noctis gratefully sank back into the embrace.

He didn’t quite trust his voice to reply.

"Maybe you should have thought about how much you’d miss me before throwing me off a train," Prompto tutted and Noctis’s shoulders shook with the watery laugh the absurdity in that statement caused. Prompto joined in – both of them idiots – laughing and hugging.

But together, like they were always meant to be.

The words were out before Noctis could think about them.

"Will you sleep with me?"

The arms around him went rigid and his brain caught up with what he’d said.

"… d-dude?!" Prompro replied, his voice having gone up an octave, and Noctis felt his cheeks burn as he pushed himself out of the hug – putting a hand up between himself and Prompto’s mortified and equally blushing face.

"Not like that you idiot!"

"What the hell was I supposed to think?!"

"Beside me. Will you sleep beside me - just f-forget it – I didn’t mean it like, ugh," Noctis managed, his hands gesturing dramatically in their embarrassment as he turned his back on Prompto and pulled himself up onto the top-bunk and out of sight.

"I’m going to bed," he announced.

He laid on his back and put his palms against his burning cheeks, hoping to cool them – but had to whip them away as Prompto’s head appeared, followed swiftly by the rest of him as he threw himself up on the top bunk too.

"Hey what are you – watch it – Prompto! I said forget it – ouch - !" Noctis blurted, embarrassed beyond words as elbows poked into various sensitive body parts while Prompto climbed up beside him, apologising the whole journey – the scent of sweat and gunpowder was overpowering when Prompto reached him, making Noctis unbearably hot when their eyes met.

Prompto dropped to his side. The air cleared and Noctis huffed, wiggling about to try and get them both comfortable on the small mattress.

"Move over a bit Noct, I’ve like no room."

"I’ll fall out if I move!"

"S’not my fault you’re so big."

"Did you just call me fat?"

"You have more than half the bed!"

"I do not! Your legs are too long."

"My legs …? We’re the same height, idiot!"

"Don’t push me!"

"Noct," Prompto laughed.


Noctis quickly gripped whatever he could for balance, one hand finding it's place tight on the muscle of Prompto's bicep, and the other, curled into the material at front of Prompto’s jacket – because if he was falling, he sure as hell was going to bring the blonde with him. They both stilled, and Noctis glared at the sheepish but cheeky look on his best friend’s face, trying not to think of the hand at his hip that had whipped out to catch him as well.

Or the solid line of Prompto’s body against his own on the small bed.

"What’s with that look? You asked me to sleep with you!"

He whacked Prompto’s arm, his cheeks burning.

"Ouch hey!"

"I’ve changed my mind about the borders," Noctis replied and Prompto threw his head back and laughed, loud and brilliant and Noctis felt his chest tug with affection. Astrals he was so fucked.

"Okay, okay. We can work this out," Prompto said, laughter still in his voice and then they were moving, shifting together like pieces in a puzzle to slot together; Prompto’s back to Noctis’s chest, hip to hip, legs only slightly tangled at the ankle.

Noctis felt it was only natural to let his arm rest over Prompto’s waist and press his forehead between sharp shoulder blades. He didn’t expect Prompto’s bare arm to settle over his own, their skin still damp from fighting their way here – pulling it more securely against his abdomen.

They were properly spooning now. Different to their usual ‘falling together’ as they slept.

His heart was fast in his chest and he swallowed, feeling tears in his eyes again as he clung to the body beside him. As Prompto let him, encouraged him.

"Hey Noct?"


"Is this weird?"

"Um … " Noctis stuttered, feeling Prompto's arm tighten on his own as if to stop him pulling away. Fat fucking chance. Now that they were tucked together, he didn’t think he’d be physically or mentally able to untangle himself. " … maybe a little? But good weird. Definitely good weird."

Prompto laughed. And then shifted so that their fingers interlocked – sweaty and warm – pulling Noctis’s hand up to his mouth and just pressing skin against lips. Noctis swallowed dryly, eyes trained on the grains in Prompto’s jacket as he felt it.

It was only a kiss, easily mistaken for some much needed comfort but … it didn’t feel like that. It felt exploratory, intimate.

"What about this? Is this good weird?" And Noctis felt those lips move against his hand as he said it.

Noctis laughed a little nervously and blurted. "Are you flirting with me?"

"I’m trying," Prompto replied, his voice shaky with nerves and Noctis, despite the sharp heat that shot through his stomach at the confession, pressed a shy kiss to the nape of Prompto’s neck. Prompto laughed uncertainly again, his hand sweaty in Noctis’s.

"Needs work."

"Says Mr. Will You Sleep With Me."

Noctis groaned into the skin, the collar of Prompto’s jacket rough on his chin as he hid his face there, blonde hair tickling his forehead.

"You’re never gonna let that go, are you?" He grouched, but the words where a little weak as Prompto kept his hand against his mouth.

"Nope!" Prompto said, popping the ‘p’ playfully and Noctis groaned again, more for dramatic effect rather than actual annoyance going by the smile on his face.

"Sooo … " Prompto began after a moment of comfortable, soft silence and Noctis sighed fondly. " … mutual flirting then?"

"Yeah. Mutual flirting. That’s … that’s okay?"

"Yeah! It’s good. It’s better than good."

"Okay good then."

"Yeah, good."

Noctis laughed quietly and relaxed against him, breathing him in deeply - chest full and happy for the time being.

Prompto yawned, snuggling into their shared pillow. "Night, Noct."

"Night, Prompto."

At some point, Noctis was aware of Gladio and Ignis returning. The sound of Ignis’s light snores filling the air somewhere behind them, but they didn’t comment on the new sleeping arrangements. And Prompto was lax and loose against him, his deep even breathing lulling Noctis and mending the wound Ardyn had ripped between them with each slow inhale.

It was like old times; before everything went to shit – the four of them without a care in the word, camping out together. Only now he had Prompto in his arms and to be honest, that made it even better.

It was probably the first time he’d properly slept in a long couple of weeks.

The next thing he knew, Gladio was shaking his shoulder – so ridiculously tall that he could easily reach up to shake him on the top-bunk.

He barely managed to open his eyes, tiredness sticking them together and hearing fuzzy as he came to, tired beyond belief. The vague sound of talking was comforting and safe, and Prompto was laughing, the vibration of it under Noctis’s ear pleasant. So, he stretched, muscles stinging wonderfully before melting back into his position – already half-way back to sleep.

"Come on Prompto, wake Princess up before he starts snoring again."

I don’t snore, Noctis thought vaguely and would have ignored Gladio, and let sleep take him, had his bed not started moving.

"Huh, wha - ?" he grumbled, pushing up onto his elbow and blinking rapidly down at Prompto. The blonde boy was on his back below him, smiling widely but the bruises and cuts on his face looked worse than they had yesterday.


Why was he sleeping on – oh!

He moved without thinking, pushing up and away from the crook of Prompto’s neck, immediately introducing the top of his head to the fucking ceiling. "Fuck!" he shouted, having to duck back down again, his face inches away from Prompto’s, head throbbing.

"Don’t you dare laugh," he said.

Prompto laughed, and Gladio joined him joyfully, making the heat in Noctis cheeks sky-rocket until he was sure he was bright red.

"Language, your majesty," Ignis said, and Noctis looked awkwardly down the length of his body, over at him, clutching his head and scowling at the smirk on his face. Gladio had a matching expression, only a little closer to the realm of 'shit-eating' compared to Ignis's.

His shield’s entire attention was on them, his eyes gleeful as Noctis had to move his leg from where it somehow had hiked up on Prompto’s hip and shimmy his way down Prompto’s body to finally get down from the bunk.

The blonde must have slid side-ways onto his back while they were asleep, but apparently that hadn’t deterred Noctis from keeping his limbs around his friend’s body like some kind of octopus.

He probably had sleep-lines from Prompto’s jacket on his cheek.

"Something you want to tell us boys?" Ignis asked, his tone calm and soothing but the smirk was still on his face as he continued to stir the heat through four pots of noodles.

"No!" Noctis replied instantly, his head still throbbing as Gladio stood and clapped him on the shoulder with a laugh.

"About goddamn time."

"What’s that mean? I said no!"

Gladio made a series of sarcastic agreeing noises, and Noctis pushed him in annoyance only for Gladio to return the gesture, until they were half-fighting playfully.

At least until he heard Prompto move behind them, and his struggle against the arm on his neck gained actual force as he fought to look at what Prompto was doing.

Gladio let him go with a huff. "Whipped," he taunted and Noctis gave him one last red-cheeked glare before jumping as Prompto hopped down from the bunk next to him; all loose and energetic again.

Thank the Astrals.

A wide smile greeted him, and before he could feel guilty or apologise for denying that anything had changed between them when it had; right there, right in front of Gladio and Ignis - Prompto leaned forward and touched a kiss to his mouth.

Noctis’s heart near burst from his chest as it kick-started into overdrive.

"Dude!" Noctis said, pushing away Prompto’s face with his gloved hand and taking a step back but Prompto only laughed, his arms quickly curling around Noctis’s waist to keep him close.

He was kissed again.

And Noctis forgot about Ignis and Gladio until they spoke up.

"They’re kissing Iggy. It’s adorable."

Prompto pulled away, face pink as he looked to Gladio and then gave Noctis a cheeky wink before skipping over to take his cup of noodles from Ignis with a thank you.

"I must say, I didn’t expect your reunion to be quite as revealing," Ignis said as Noctis took his as well and sat down, stealing glances at Prompto who preened every time he caught him looking. Noctis's lips tingled.

"I don’t know. Noct was pretty forward about it all, weren’t you?" Prompto said, voice bright and Noctis swallowed the hot noodles too quickly, burning his mouth as he threateningly pointed chopsticks at the blonde.

"I mean straight up asking me to – " Prompto started but broke off as Noctis launched himself at the boy, noodles forgotten as he got his hand over Prompto’s mouth.

Prompto’s laugh was muffled as he fought Noctis off.

A quiet moment of happiness.

If Noctis had known what was going to happen he would have kissed Prompto until his mouth was sore – Ignis and Gladio be damned.