Shaicarus ([personal profile] shaicarus) wrote2017-05-22 05:35 pm

FFXV fanfic: If The Ring Fits (oneshot)

Fandom: Final Fantasy XV
Characters: Prompto Argentum. Noctis Lucis Caelum. Ignis Scientia. Gladiolus Amicitia. Lunafreya Nox Fleuret. Ardyn Izunia. Brief appearances by Nyx, Cor, Regis, Ravus and some astrals.
Pairings: Prompto/Noctis. Ignis/Prompto. Gladio/Prompto. Prompto/Noctis/Ignis/Gladio. Implied Ardyn/Prompto.
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Some blood. Some death. It’s all really vague and impermanent, though. There’s a lot of dimension hopping.
Word count: 10,194. I got a little carried away.
Notes: So I wrote this for the kink meme ages ago, and then I posted it to AO3 just so it would be all in one place instead of in eleven different posts. The reception was startling good. So now I'm crossposting this to basically everywhere, and I figure I made this account for fanfic reasons, so I may as well post fanfic here.
Of course my first attempt at writing these characters is 27 pages long and involves like a dozen AUs. Because I make sense.
The prompt in question:
“Prompto is some how stuck falling asleep and wakeing up in multiple AU.+ Prompto is super happy with the day he spends as a free chocobo running around with his chocobro’s
++Prompto wakes up as an MT and proceeds to freak out and all other MT’s think he’s malfunctioning
+++Prompto wakes up to haveing every one of his friends be his boyfriend at some point (he’s not sure if he’s OK with that)
++++Prompto wakes up next to Ardyn to discover that he was created in a lab to be Ardyn’s eternal companion ( can be sexually, can be friendly, or can be fatherly)”
Obligatory Disclaimer: I don’t own FFXV, since I’m not Square-Enix and I don’t even know anyone from Square-Enix. I don’t own the characters. I’m just playing with them. That said, I came up with the really weird AUs on my own, so I would appreciate if people didn’t borrow them without ask.

It was a decent deal. Dino gave them free jewelry, they just had to report to him whatever it actually did because he was mostly just throwing darts in the dark.

On one such occasion, it was a ring. Silver, unassuming, with a small crystal clear cabochon set in it. Prompto, drawing the short straw, was volunteered to see what it did. Also because he had the smallest hands and even then it only fit his pinky finger.

At first, it was hard to notice any oddities. That wasn't all that unusual, though. Most of the experimental jewelry didn't do anything overt until they were neck deep in MTs or gigantoads or something like that. So Prompto thought little of it and went to sleep that night without a care in the world, save for the rock digging into his back from under the floor of the tent.

It started small.

He woke up the next morning and nothing seemed out of place until Noct stumbled out of the tent when the smell of breakfast finally roused him.

"Were your eyes always green?" Prompto asked, staring at the prince in bewilderment.

Noct's brows furrowed in sleepy confusion. "Yeah…?" he answered slowly, like it was some sort of trick question. "Did you get enough sleep last night?"

"Could'a sworn they were blue…?"

"You're getting me mixed up with Ignis," Noct sighed. "Do you need to lay down or something?"

Prompto stared at him, but no one shouted 'just kidding!' so he plastered a grin into place and rubbed the back of his head with one hand. "Nah, I'm good! Just…a bit of a brain fart. You know me!"

Noct cuffed him fondly over the back of the head before toppling into a camp chair to doze off until Ignis thrust a plate under his nose.

The rest of the day was business as usual, except that they actually got to fall asleep in a motel. He fell asleep with Gladio's bulk nearly shoving him out of the bed, to the soothing strains of Ignis and Noct arguing over whether or not making cereal counted as a life skill.

Despite that, Prompto woke up in the rain, slumped over the door of the Regalia. The windshield was in pieces and the front bumper was firmly embedded in the guardrail. When he sat up, he nearly flew out of his skin at the sight of Ignis slumped over the steering wheel, arms limp and eyes wide and unseeing.

Slowly, as if he couldn't quite control himself, Prompto turned to look into the backseat.

Gladio was sprawled across the seat, neck bent at an odd angle. Noct was nowhere to be found, at least not until Prompto stumbled out of the car and broadened his search.

There, a few yards away, Noct was splayed out in the road at the end of a bloody skid, his coat in tatters.

Prompto clapped his hands over his mouth to hold back last night's dinner, and he turned slowly when a mechanical voice intoned, "Life signs detected."

A bullet lodged itself into the front of his skull, and he woke up in a bright, airy room, throwing himself upright with a gasp.

He got a face full of blanket, and it took him a moment to realize he was on a rug that had no business being as comfortable as it was, inside a blanket fort.

Beside him, Lunafreya stirred, one eye opening to blink up at him. "Prompto?" she asked groggily. "Is everything alright?" She looked like she had fallen asleep just as unexpectedly as he had, a book open beneath her shoulder, its spine protesting at the abuse.

"Ah--" His mouth worked noiselessly for a moment, and he looked out the window into the forests of Tenebrae.


"Was it another nightmare?" she asked gently, sitting up on her knees. She closed the book and moved it aside as an afterthought.

Prompto's mouth closed with an audible click, and Luna's eyes gentled. Reaching over, she knitted her fingers with his, lifting his hands and squeezing. "They won't find you," she assured him, with all the weight of the Oracle. "They will never find you. I promise you that."

It took him a moment to realize he didn't have any gloves or wristbands, his barcode on full display. He goggled at it for a few seconds.

Evidently taking his bewilderment as further distress, Luna stood, tugging insistently on his hands until he stood up with her. "Come with me," she urged, an impish smile stealing onto her face for just a flicker. She set off at a brisk walk, still holding one of his hand's hostage so he had no choice but to stumble after her until he finally found his footing.

He stared in awe at the ceilings of the corridor and at he view out the windows, and he couldn't help but think of the first few times he had been in the Citadel, gaping like a fish as Noct showed him around and tried not to laugh.

Their trek ended in the kitchen, and Luna pressed a finger to her lips, as if there was any possibility of Prompto breathing a word of any of it to anyone.

Finally, she released his hand, pulling open both doors of the fridge and reaching inside. With her back to him, he couldn't see what she was grabbing, and when he tried to peer over her shoulder, she hip-checked him.

Letting one fridge door swing closed, she nudged the other one shut with her shoulder and finally turned, two pastries held in each hand. They were small and flaky and looked like nothing Prompto ever would have been able to afford to eat on his own, and she pressed two of them into his hands like it was no big deal.

After the first bite, he had to bite his tongue to keep himself from making a noise that probably qualified as obscene as some sort of jam spilled over his tongue. Luna grinned at him knowingly before biting into one of her own pastries.

Afterwards, when the pastries were gone, Luna asked softly, "Feeling any better?"

"I…yeah," he settled on, because he still had no idea what was going on, but whatever he just ate had probably saved his soul from six kinds of damnation. "It was just a, uh…a weird night."

She leaned into his shoulder, her warmth comforting despite how foreign it was.

He slid her a sideways glance. "You got, uh…" He tapped the tip of his own nose.

Reaching up to touch her own nose, Luna drew in a breath and breathed it out as a huff of startled laughter as she brushed the powdered sugar from her nose.

"Come on." She looped one of her arms around one of his and once again began to tow him along. "Ravus will be most displeased if you're late."

At the name 'Ravus,' Prompto was pretty sure he only actually kept walking because his legs were moving on autopilot. "Oh. I guess we wouldn't want that."

She deposited him at a different room than the one they originally left from. His, presumably. After a brief investigation through the wardrobe--he had a wardrobe--and the desk and the photos and his phone, he found what he was about sixty percent sure was supposed to be his uniform. The short sleeved white shirt and the white vest and the white trousers and the white boots were all well and good, but he could have cried out of relief when he saw that it came with a pair of fingerless gloves that went clear up to his elbows (also white, naturally). The only part of the ensemble that wasn't white was the belt with the holsters for his guns, which was all instead a meltingly soft beige leather.

He had gotten too accustomed to Noct sharing the armiger. The weight of his guns at his hips took a bit of getting used to.

His day was spent trailing after Ravus, who was significantly less terrifying when he was frazzled and looked like he was ready to punt an ass-kissing diplomat out a window and off the mountain.

Prompto fetched papers. Fetched coffee. Fetched 'please don't murder anyone' snacks. Ferried papers here and there and everywhere. He was a gofer, he belatedly realized as he ate lunch, listening to Luna and Ravus argue good-naturedly about which of them got to take the next vacation.

No one ever said anything about his clothes, so Prompto assumed he had gotten it right.

"Shouldn't the Oracle get the final say?" he wondered eventually, pushing a green bean around his plate with a fork, because it would probably seem weird if he just never said anything.

Ravus rolled his eyes emphatically. "One of these days, you'll take my side."

"Only on the clock, sir," Prompto fired back before he could help himself. He only just kept the urge to clap his hands over his mouth in check.

Luna, on the other hand, burst into a fit of laughter behind her fingers as Ravus threw his hands up in resignation and left.

Prompto brought him a pastry halfway through the afternoon, and Ravus seemed to understand it as the ceasefire it was meant to be. Prompto had a guess at how he got there—the ring was still around his finger—but not how long he would be there, so there was no reason to make his stay more difficult for himself.

Dinner was in the garden, Prompto's presence largely forgotten as Luna and Ravus discussed what to do about the Nifleheim airships patrolling closer and closer to the borders each week.

He had his own chocobo, he learned that evening. He probably could've died happy just knowing that. Her name was Paisley, apparently, and she was such a pale yellow she was nearly white. Luna's own bird, with her beak shoved into Prompto's pocket to scrounge for treats, actually was white. And named Nova.

On a whim, Prompto challenged Luna to a race around the grounds. He didn't even mind when he lost.

That night, when the chocobos were asleep in their stalls, Luna was tucked away in her room, and Ravus was presumably dreaming about throwing paperwork off the mountain like confetti, Prompto laid down on a bed that had to have been stuffed with the dreams of the Astrals. He pulled a blanket that he was pretty sure was made of unicorn fur over himself, and he was asleep almost before he could close his eyes.

He woke up on a couch to the sound of his phone shrieking at him. Groaning, Prompto flailed an arm towards it and dragged it towards his face. "Yeah?"

"Considering you were supposed to meet us an hour ago, you are welcome to make an appearance any time now," Ignis informed him, managing the pleasant 'why do you disappoint me so?' tone that Prompto had only ever heard Ignis manage.

Prompto threw himself upright, squawking, "Shit!" right before he fell off the couch.

"Are you alright?" Ignis asked, caught somewhere between mild concern and quiet amusement.

"Yeah, yeah, I'm great!" Prompto hastily spit out. "I totally crashed out on the couch and I guess I lost track of time? Shit, I am so sorry--"

"No one is asking you to self-flagellate, Prompto. Just meet us there."

"Right! Got it! I'll see you there!"

The line went dead.

Prompto wasn't actually sure where 'there' was, but when he looked around the room, he found himself in his den, and when he looked out the window, he saw the streets of Insomnia, rather than Tenebraen trees. (So what had been the dream? Tenebrae? The attack? This? He looked down at his hand, and the ring gleamed at him.) He checked his phone and saw that it was Tuesday afternoon.

So…the arcade, probably? It seemed like a safe bet. Prompto stepped into his boots and fled out the front door.

When he made it to the arcade, Noct was already fully absorbed in a racing game, perched on the fake, stationary motorcycle while Gladio periodically tried to pull him off the bike and dodged the resulting kick towards his kneecaps. Ignis, apparently past the point of trying to be above it all, was aiming a plastic rifle at a screen a few games over.

Prompto crept up to the back of the bike, threw his arms around Noct's middle, and with a glorious war cry, he hauled the crown prince off the fake bike. Noct shrieked like a six year old child, arms and legs flailing, and on the screen his character crashed with a fabulous explosion. At the commotion, Ignis fumbled the plastic rifle, catching it again just in time for the screen to proclaim 'TIME IS UP!' while Gladio collapsed against a game cabinet in a fit of laughter.

Finally, Noct went limp in Prompto's hold, like a resigned kitten.

"Sorry, did I do that?" Prompto wondered, looking at the racing game as it returned to the start screen.

"I hate you," Noct deadpanned.

Prompto let him go, instead bringing a hand to his chest as he gasped, "Me? I'm hurt, man!" He wilted theatrically against Gladio's shoulder. "I'll never recover."

"Pay for my next game," Noct bargained, "and I'll take it back."

"I don't have any change, so I guess I'll just live with the pain." Prompto waved it off. "On that note, can I have some change?"

Noct handed a handful over, and with a whoop, Prompto launched himself onto the bike. He crashed it off a cliff and into a waterfall about a minute and a half in, but once he picked up the plastic rifle, he did at least manage to blow Ignis's score out of existence.

They loped along the street afterward, Noct and Prompto wrestling halfheartedly over the last few coins, until they got distracted staring in the window of a high end store. Dressed in regular, non-Crownsguard, non-royal battle raiment as they were, the clerk in the store took one look at them before locking the door.

"'Oh, I'm sorry,'" Gladio mocked as they continued along the street, one hand to his chest and his pinky extended, "'but you're only permitted to come in if you shit three gold bars and a heliodor necklace each morning.'"

Prompto spluttered out a startled laugh and even Ignis had to hide a twitch of a smile behind one hand.

All thoughts of pricey stores were forgotten, though, when they passed a cotton candy vendor. Prompto and Noct initiated the Tag Team Puppy Pout Devastation Attack, and it took about half a second before Ignis caved and bought some for them. He kept stealing bits from them afterwards, but Prompto supposed they owed him that much.

They meandered through the city as if nothing had ever changed, and Prompto tried hard to ignore the ring around his pinky finger that stubbornly reminded him that things had, indeed, changed.

Soon enough, he wound up in Noct's room as they both played King's Knight, at least until Prompto was yawning and he was starting to go cross-eyed at the screen.

He sprawled out on Noct's bed, his hands under his head. Noct sat down beside him eventually, cross-legged on the mattress as he scrolled through his phone. His idle commentary on his messages and updates, like so many nights before, gradually lulled Prompto off to sleep no matter how he tried to keep his eyes open.

He woke up on a cot. To its credit, it was more comfortable than some of the motel beds he had passed out on. He could hear an engine, but it was too loud to be a car and it rattled the entire cot, and for that matter he didn't know of any cars big enough to fit a cot. Especially not a cot big enough for two people.

He was pretty sure he was starting to grasp how the ring worked.

He cracked an eye open and found himself in…an airship?

"Good morning."

Prompto felt ice down his spine at the (admittedly unexpectedly casual) greeting, and he turned his head slowly to see the chancellor sitting on a bench bolted to the opposite wall and scrolling through a tablet.

"Tea?" Ardyn offered, gesturing loosely to a thermos sitting on the bench.


Finally, Ardyn glanced up, offering Prompto a sardonic look over the top of the tablet. "I wasn't aware that was a difficult question."

Sitting up so he was kneeling on the cot, Prompto shook his head stiffly. "No thanks."

"Hm. Well, we'll be in Gralea soon."

And just like that, the conversation was over. It sounded a bit like a dismissal, so Prompto was going to assume he was supposed to get dressed and ready for the day. After surprisingly little fumbling and dilly-dallying, he managed to find and put on…some sort of guard uniform? Whatever it was, it involved armor. He almost felt sort of badass, but he was also pretty sure he would scare people if they ran into him at night. He wasn't sure how to feel about that.

He looked…a bit like an MT, if he thought about it, so he decided not to think about it. Instead, as he sat on the edge of the cot, he reached for one of his guns without even thinking, because dismantling them, cleaning them, and putting them back together had become a strangely soothing ritual since leaving Insomnia.

Stranger still, he actually reached a gun. He shot a glance up at Ardyn, wondering how he had access to the armiger if Noct wasn't there, before he stared down at the shotgun across his lap because frankly, that thought was more terrifying than he really wanted to deal with just then. It wasn't one of his handguns, but if he could figure out how to maintenance a soundblaster, he could figure out how to take care of a shotgun.

Halfway through, the floor of the airship juddered and he looked up. "We, uh--we landing?"

"Hm." Ardyn glanced up over the edge of the tablet again, his gaze probing. "You seem distracted, pet."

Prompto jumped when Ardyn was abruptly right there, crouching in front of him, his hands on Prompto's knees.

"It...was a weird night." He had the strangest feeling that he was going to be saying that a lot.

"Ah, more dreams?" Ardyn sounded strangely amused. "Shall I get the programmer to take another look in your head again?" He grabbed Prompto's chin between two fingers, tipping his face up.

Prompto felt like a fist had closed around his chest, and he had the sudden urge to start scraping his skin off to see what was under it. "Wha--no." He jerked his head back "No, it's fine, it's not a big deal."

"If you insist." Ardyn stood up again, venturing towards the gangplank as the airship readied to land. Prompto ducked his head, shoulders rounding, and hurried to finish with the shotgun.

Prompto was not accustomed to 'see, but don't be seen.' And yet, that seemed to be his role. Be one with the crowd. Be one with the landscape. Be one with the furnishings. Brandish the shotgun as needed. He supposed it was good that school had prepared him for that pretty well. The invisibility part, at least. Less so the 'threaten with bodily harm' part.

"How quaint." Ardyn seized his hand somewhere around mid-evening, inspecting the ring with a knowing, unnerving glint in his eye. "I don't recognize it."

"Found it." The words tumbled out of Prompto's mouth. "I liked it. It, uh--it made me think of you." He was guessing, but he was pretty sure that was appropriate for this world's Prompto to say. Ardyn looked sort of charmed by the admission, at least. "Can I keep it?"

Ardyn pet one hand through Prompto's hair. "If you're so fond of it. Now, if you'll excuse me," he turned towards the double doors before them, "there are a few people I need to feed a piece of my mind to. I shan't be long." He strolled away, the doors closing with a thunderous bang.

Prompto waited just long enough to be sure Ardyn wasn't going to pop right back out before he slid down the wall to sit on the floor, gathering his knees close to his chest. He folded his arms on top of them and tucked his face against his arms, despite how uncomfortable the armor made it.

He needed a nap. He needed to be somewhere--anywhere!--else.

He was already on his feet when he woke up, with a helmet on his head and wearing far too much armor. He could still feel the ring, digging into his knuckle beneath a gauntlet that may as well have been bonded to his skin for how tight it was.

He looked around and found himself lined up with dozens of others, all wearing the exact same armor. Considering how many of them he had filled full of bullets and riddled with holes, he could recognize magitek soldiers in an instant.

And he was lined up with them, like cattle. This wasn’t quite what he meant by ‘anywhere else.’

He heard a digital, mechanized shrieking noise and didn't realize he had started screaming until every other MT around him was staring at him impassively.

He started pulling at the armor, gauntlets scrabbling over metal until it was leaking some black, viscous ooze.

As if with one voice, the MTs surrounding him intoned, "Unit malfunction."

He backed up, only to back into the MT behind him. Hands landed on his shoulders, holding him in place as the unit in front of him turned and advanced the short distance.

At first he thought he was going to be hauled off to a lab for some sort of reprogramming, but then he remembered that MTs were a dime a dozen, disposable, and replaceable. Right before his helmet was wrenched from above his shoulders.

He woke up in the grass, to a warm, pleasant breeze ruffling his feathers.

…Wait a minute.

With a squawk--a very literal squawk--Prompto hopped to his feet, talons snagging in the grass and sending him right back down to the ground in a heap of too-gangly legs.

Much more carefully, he disentangled himself from…himself and stood up, and stared down at as much of himself as he could see. He saw feathers. Bright yellow feathers. And talons, the ring still clasped around one of them. He took off at a sprint for the nearest puddle and stared down at his reflection.

He was a chocobo. A slightly shrimpy chocobo, but a chocobo nonetheless. There were three other chocobos watching his antics with long-suffering fondness.

An equally shrimpy black chocobo with familiar blue eyes. A larger white chocobo with green eyes, busily preening the black one. And another black chocobo the size of a garula, prowling defensively through the valley.

With a delighted 'kweh!' Prompto danced in place before taking off towards Noct. Ignis threw himself out of the way at the last instant, just in time for Prompto crash into Noct. They went down in a puff of feathers and a tangle of legs, only for Prompto to immediately pry himself free of the tangle and go fleeing across the valley with Noct hot on his heels.

They raced in circles around Gladio until they wound up crashing right into him. The giant of a chocobo didn't even budge, at least not until he ducked his head under Noct and tossed him out of the way, and then tossed Prompto aside in much the same way. He fluffed all of his feathers out and stalked away from their shenanigans as Prompto tried to kick his way back to his feet from where he had landed on his back.

Prompto had never heard or seen a chocobo sigh in all-encompassing exasperation, but Noct managed it admirably before he ducked his head and effectively bulldozed him back to his feet.

Prompto spent a few minutes preening Noct's crest in thanks.

They chased sabertusks after that, herding them around the valley until they fled back through the hills, and then Prompto and Noct charged into the pond and paddled in circles, legs kicking and wings fluttering, splashing water everywhere until Gladio and Ignis gave up on pretending they could stay dry and waded in after them.

Prompto chased fireflies through the marsh grass as the sun went down, catching them in his beak only to immediately let them go. He tossed himself back into the pond as the moon was high in the sky, keeping himself awake even as Ignis and Gladio bedded down in the clover. He didn't want to go to sleep just yet.

Noct stood at the edge of the pond, chirping at him encouragingly until at last Prompto gave in. He paddled back to the grass and shook himself, water flying in all directions and feathers puffing out until he looked more like a dandelion with legs than a chocobo.

He followed Noct back to where Ignis and Gladio were already curled together. They painstakingly wedged their way into the knot of birds and laid down, Prompto's neck curved so his head rested on his wing and Noct's head on Prompto's neck.

The air smelled like oncoming rain, but the breeze was gentle and for the moment it was warm, and Prompto was surrounded by feathers, both his own and his friends'. He nestled his beak under the edge of his wing and slowly fell asleep.

He woke up in a bed, someone's arm thrown over his middle, presumably attached to the person spooned against his back with their face tucked against the back of his neck. Cracking one eye open, he recognized the familiar wallpaper of the Leville, even in the early morning darkness. Slowly, he hazarded a glance down at the hand splayed across his abdomen. He recognized the long, slender fingers, though it took a few seconds for realization to actually dawn on him, and he threw himself sideways with a strangled yelp. He fell right over the side of the bed, landing on the thin carpet with a thump.

A moment later, a bedside lamp turned on and Ignis peered down at him blearily, squinting slightly without his glasses and shirtless and holy shit Ignis was ripped.

"Dare I ask?"

'Oh, nothing much, I've just apparently landed in the universe where you're a snuggler,' Prompto did not say, instead just blinking dumbly at Ignis. He gave his head a quick shake and sat up, legs splayed artlessly in front of him and his hands on the carpet.

"Uh--weird dream," he settled on, lifting a hand to drag it through his hair. He hauled himself back up onto the bed, flopping face down onto the pillow.

Ignis stroked one hand through Prompto's hair in sympathy, before leaning down to kiss the back of his head. Prompto was very glad he was already face down on the bed, or else he probably would have fallen over.

The bed shifted as Ignis sat up. "Well, if you don't plan on going back to sleep, you're welcome to help me get breakfast started." The dip in the mattress vanished as he stood up, and Prompto heard some rustling that was probably Ignis putting a shirt on, and his footsteps heading towards the kitchenette.

Prompto spent a few more moments face down on the pillow, quietly wondering what he had done in this world to convince Ignis that he was a worthwhile endeavor.

Slowly, he dragged himself upright and to his feet and made his way to the kitchenette. As he passed the other bed, he spared it a glance. Noct was still an unmoving lump under the covers, nothing but a tuft of black hair sticking out from beneath the blanket. Beside him, Gladio was still face down on the bed, one arm hanging off the side of the mattress.

In the kitchenette, Prompto was glad to find that he hadn't also stumbled into a world where he could apparently cook, as 'help Ignis make breakfast' still translated to 'keep Ignis company while he makes breakfast.' Prompto leaned on the kitchenette divider, muffling a yawn behind one hand.

"It must have been quite the unusual dream," Ignis remarked, sorting through the small fridge.

"Gladio was a centaur," Prompto informed him blandly, because he couldn't just say 'I keep waking up in different worlds.' That would be weird. He grinned to himself when he saw Ignis cock his head to one side in bemusement. Plowing onwards, Prompto added, "He was chasing me across the slough, but he had a giant butter knife instead of a greatsword. And then you and Noct swooped in on a giant albatross to save me, except we all got eaten by a catoblepas."

There was a snort of laughter, neatly masked as Ignis cleared his throat behind one hand.

"That all seems rather unlikely," Ignis assured him wryly, standing at the stove and adding bacon to a pan. "Unless I'm misremembering, catoblepases are herbivores."

"You aren't arguing that Gladio wouldn't try to kill me," Prompto accused, eyes narrowing.

"You did spill orange juice all over his novel," Ignis reminded him.

"One time!" Prompto threw his hands up. "It happened one time!"

Despite that, once Gladio was woken up by the smell of bacon, he did not try to kill Prompto with a greatsword or a butter knife. Soon enough, all four of them were piled in the Regalia again without any incidents of attempted homicide.

The first half hour of driving was pretty standard business as usual, though Prompto kept sliding Ignis thoughtful glances.

Was there any harm in playing along? Probably not. Besides, he didn't want to wind up hurting this world's Ignis's feelings and ruining things for this world's Prompto. And it was all going to be gone once he went to sleep anyway. For him, at least.

He leaned over, nudging Ignis's arm with his elbow. Once he had Ignis's attention, Prompto brandished his hand expectantly. Ignis quirked one eyebrow but, unperturbed, Prompto just grinned and wiggled his fingers until Ignis let go of the wheel with one hand to thread their fingers together on the center console.

Behind them, Noct doubled over the side of the Regalia as he made overwrought gagging noises. At least until Ignis tapped the brakes, knocking all the air from Noct's lungs as he collided with the rear door.

"Oh, goodness," Ignis sighed. "Were you not wearing your seatbelt?" he wondered innocently. "I keep trying to tell you how dangerous that is."

Noct's sulk was almost audible and lasted until the Regalia was parked and all four of them were setting up camp.

Prompto waited until they were done eating, when Ignis was obstructed by nothing but his metal coffee cup, before he sat down on the ground in front of Ignis's chair, between the older man's knees.

He couldn't quite hold back a laugh when Ignis's response was to rest his coffee cup on top of Prompto's head.

"Uuuuuugh," Noct groaned, throwing a forearm across his eyes. "You guys are always so gross."

Prompto squirmed backwards, nestling his head against Ignis's thigh in retaliation, and Noct threw his hands up and retreated to his tent.

Maybe Prompto should've thought it was strange (he probably should've thought it was strange), but he also couldn't imagine a world where any of them would be interested in him for…him. Because really, what did he know about this world's Prompto and how he had apparently duped Ignis into thinking he was worth the time of day?

"What are you thinking about that has you looking so serious?" Ignis wondered, looking down at him with some concern.

"Kiss me?" Prompto requested, rather than actually answering. He’d never really been kissed before. Go big or go home, right?

"You'll have to sit up first," Ignis pointed out. "Even I'm not that flexible."

Prompto turned around and sat up on his knees, hands settling on Ignis's thighs as Ignis leaned down to meet him.

The kiss was…sweet.

Afterwards, Prompto settled back on the ground, folding his arms over one of Ignis's knees and resting his chin on them. Ignis's fingers carded through his hair as if it was habit.

Prompto didn't realize he had fallen asleep there until he was waking up somewhere else.

He couldn't even say where he woke up. It was just…light. One moment he was asleep, the next he was on his feet, yawning and stretching his arms over his head.

Electricity buzzed through his veins, and in the back of his mind he could hear a pressing murmur.

In front of him, Noct and Luna were whispering between each other, their foreheads pressed together. There was a trident strapped to Noct's back. Looking down, Prompto found his handguns holstered on his belt.

They were at the Disc of Cauthess. Ignis and Gentiana were standing within a handbreadth of him on either side, Ignis's knives strapped to his legs and his lance on his back. Gladio was nowhere to be found.

Circling them like prowling wolves, Ravus, Aranea, and a man in a 'Glaive uniform were all curiously unarmed.

"Shall we begin, then?" Ignis asked, sounding slightly unimpressed with the entire set up.

Finally, Noct and Luna looked at them, and Noct dragged a hand through his hair, the motion carrying through so he could pull the trident from his back. "May as well. Titan's a bit…"

"…of an asshole?" the 'Glaive supplied.

"A bit of an asshole, yeah," Noct agreed. "So everyone be ready."

In a familiar crackle of light, Luna, Ravus, Aranea, and the 'Glaive all pulled their weapons from thin air, and Prompto found himself furiously wondering what sort of world he had fallen into.

To his left, Gentiana looked as placid as ever. To his right, Ignis's hands curled around the hilts of his knives. Following his example, Prompto thumbed the latches of his holsters.

With a deep breath, Noct stepped up to the ledge before them, where the ground abruptly terminated and fell away.

A voice rumbled through the earth, like tectonic plates sliding together. Prompto, to his increasingly growing confusion, could understand it perfectly.

'Who is it who disturbs my vigil?'

Noct took a breath and his grip on the trident tightened. "Noctis, blood of the Oracle, here to bargain on behalf of the Chosen Queen of Queens. Will you hear what I need to say and enter into this Covenant, or am I shouting into the void?"

'A mortal, here to make demands of a god?' The ground rattled with unpleasant laughter.

"Trust me, it wouldn't be the first time," Noct drawled. "The Glacian, the Hydraean, and the Fulgurian have already granted me their Messengers and given their blessings to the Queen of Queens. Are you saying they're all smarter than you?" Prompto didn't need to see Noct's face to know he was grinning. "Or are you risking their wrath by saying the opposite?"

Ignis spoke then, but his voice was the voice of riptides and crashing waves and it was not his own. 'Choose your next words carefully, Archaean, for I am listening closely.'

"So?" Noct asked, in that same grinning tone. "What do you say?"

'Arrogant flesh hides bones that will break all too easily, and yet you dare speak so irreverently?'

Prompto's mouth opened not of his own accord. 'Titan!' he scolded, in a voice that was thunder over windswept plains. 'You have chosen many battles, Archaean, but this is a battle that you will not win.'

The rattling of the ground ceased for a moment, and then the earth settled as if in a sigh.

'So be it. To the blood of the Oracle, I grant my Messenger, and to the Chosen Queen of Queens I grant my blessing.'

The ground gave a lurch beneath them before finally stilling, and it gave the rather emphatic impression of an irritable dismissal.

Moments later, a hole opened up in the middle of the group. Prompto nearly leapt out of his skin. Even as an apparent demi-deity, that was evidently nothing worth commenting on.

Slowly, the familiar form of Gladio climbed out of the hole, his sword and his shield on his back.

In the span of a heartbeat, Ignis was brandishing his lance and the 'Glaive had his knives at the ready.

Gladio's eyebrows rose. "Really?" he asked, so unimpressed that Prompto was pretty sure the world went grayscale for a fraction of a second.

"Ignis," Noct scolded, at the same moment that Luna sighed, "Nyx."

With a great deal of reluctance and a not inconsiderable amount of grumbling, they backed down, and Gladio dropped to a knee in front of Noct, one arm across his chest in a salute.

"Gladiolus," he offered, "Messenger of the Archaean."

"Ah, yeah, I got that," Noct assured him. "Welcome to the caravan."

"You did just have a stand off with Titan," Gladio pointed out, his tone reasonable. "Figure I should cover all my bases and assume you might be slow."

"I will use this," Noct threatened, hefting the trident.

"Mmhm. That's nice." Gladio ruffled his hair like a puppy, and Prompto clamped his hands over his mouth before he could burst out laughing.

Jerking his head back and scowling, Noct protested, “I was respectful with Shiva and Ramuh.”

“And then he had enough firepower to risk being impatient,” Nyx supplied, cleaning his nails with one of his knives. Noct kicked a rock at him.

"Should we perhaps make our way back to the road?" Ravus suggested, with the long-suffering air of a man who had been forced to prevent many incidents since getting absorbed into the group.

It felt like an old habit, letting himself fracture at the edges like so much static cling. Prompto didn't even know it could be considered falling asleep, until he found himself waking up in the passenger seat of the Regalia.

He sat up with a jolt, the words, "We there yet?" falling out of his mouth, muffled as he yawned.

Ignis slid him the patented 'I have been driving for eight hours on six hours' worth of coffee' look and intoned, "If we were, you would not still be in the car, now would you?"

Prompto shrugged cheerfully. "Stranger things have happened."

There was a sigh from behind them before Gladio said, "Prom, stop tormenting Iggy."

"Who, me?" he asked, turning in his seat to bat his eyelashes at Gladio, innocent as a wee, newly hatched chocobo. Gladio's exasperated eye roll was tinged with more fondness than Prompto ever expected to get from Gladio.

Huh. Food for thought right there.

"Yes, you, the resident menace."

Prompto beamed and propped his chin up in his hands, elbows balanced on the back of the seat. "Aw, come on," he wheedled. "You know you love me."

"Unfortunately," came Gladio's deadpan response.

Prompto blinked at him. That probably answered the question of what sort of world he had landed in, at least.

He wasn't sure what his face was doing in that moment, but whatever it was, it had Gladio backpedaling.

"Prompto, I don't actually mean it's unfortunate--"

"Wha--? No, no, I know! Just…you know, nice to hear." That sounded reasonable, right? Yeah, probably.

Gladio sulked and slid down in the seat the minimal distance he could before his knees hit the back of the passenger seat. "I say it more often than that."

Noct snorted out a laugh, nearly giving all of them a series of heart attacks when it turned out that he wasn't asleep across three quarters of the backseat. Gladio walloped him over the head with a paperback.

"Respectfully, your highness, you don't get to be part of this conversation."

"I feel so disrespected," Noct sighed, rolling onto his back and flinging a forearm across his eyes.

"Probably just teen angst," Prompto assured him, grinning when Noct stuck his tongue out without bothering to uncover his eyes.

They didn't get a chance to form a proper argument about whether or not the prince was truly being disrespected or merely suffering a delayed onset of teen angst, as Ignis pulled the Regalia to a halt and cut the engine.

"Ah, finally," he sighed. "I can be rid of the lot of you." Prompto would never understand how Ignis managed to make that sound fond. Magic, maybe. Was that how elemancy worked?

Noct had already given himself away, so trying to pretend he was asleep to get carried to the house from the car was a mission doomed to failure, as Gladio all but kicked the prince out of the car.

Ignis and Noct made their way to the house, but Prompto had other plans. He made a beeline for the nearest shore, making it to one of the rocky ledges jutting over the water before he realized Gladio had followed him.

"Everything alright?" he asked, slinging an arm around Prompto's shoulders.

"Yeah, s'great," Prompto replied, distracted, as he lined up a shot of the moon turning the ocean into mercury. "Gotta stretch my legs after that long in the car, though. Besides, I'm not tired," he added as an afterthought. He turned, still peering through the camera, and on a whim he took a picture of Gladio, his profile outlined in moonlight.

He probably wouldn't get to keep them. He knew that. Still, he couldn't help himself. Whatever he had done in this world--however he had managed to worm his way into the stubborn Shield's heart--he wanted to enjoy it while it lasted.

Gladio looked at him enough to arch one eyebrow, his expression straddling a line somewhere between indulgent and exasperated. "That's what happens when you sleep for three quarters of the drive."

"I dunno, it never seems to do much to Noct," Prompto observed skeptically.

With a snort, Gladio pointed out, "Sleeping Beauty is an outlier and shouldn't be counted." He ruffled the back of Prompto's hair, grinning at the indignant squawk he got. "Now come on, before something crawls out of the ground to eat us."

"Oh, no," Prompto sighed, as he began wilting down Gladio's side, "my legs are suddenly broken. I can't go anywhere."

"I can fix that." Just like that, Prompto found himself being flung over Gladio's shoulder like a sack of potatoes. For the second time in as many minutes, Prompto found himself yelping in surprise, and his hands fisted in the back of Gladio's shirt.

"This is so not romantic!" he protested, his legs kicking as he squirmed back and forth.

"Right, sorry." Prompto had never actually heard an eye roll before, but he was pretty sure that was what one sounded like, shortly before he was flailing at the air as Gladio shifted him to a bridal carry. "Now maybe try shouting a little louder. You probably haven't woken Iris or Talcott up yet."

Prompto's tongue poked out as he blew a raspberry up at Gladio. He just managed to hold back a startled squeak when Gladio's response was to lean down and kiss him before setting him back on his feet.

"I'm serious, though," Gladio said, nudging Prompto forward with his elbow. "Tired or not, we should head in out of the dark."

With a sigh that was about four levels of melodramatic more than the situation called for, Prompto waved him forward with a flourish. "Fiiine, fine. Lead the way."

And lead the way Gladio did, for about three and a half seconds before Prompto ground to a halt again, staring at a rock.

"Hey. Hey, Gladdy, you see that?" he asked, pointing at it vaguely. "Under the rock."

"See what?" Gladio crouch down to peer under it.

With a valiant whoop, Prompto launched himself onto Gladio's back, arms wrapping around his neck and legs hitching around his middle. Gladio cocked his head to one side, as if to silently wonder 'why didn't I see that coming?' before he reached back to grab Prompto's thighs as he stood up--and holy shit Gladio was tall.

"How do you not get altitude sickness?" Prompto sulked, letting his chin plonk down on top of Gladio's head.

"Special Shield training," Gladio deadpanned as he resumed walking back to the house, where he set Prompto back on his feet on the front porch.

They were in the kitchen for a while, raiding the cupboards to put together a midnight snack as they debated about what food they would need to purchase, what they could probably hunt, and what they might be able to forage up at the Cape and at their next destination. Normal shop talk, really.

They migrated to the bedroom eventually, dropping themselves down on the couch. It was Gladio, without the benefit of an hours long car nap, who started yawning first.

"Seriously, go to bed." Prompto prodded Gladio's knee with his foot.

Instead, Gladio feigned an incredibly fake snore, slung and arm around Prompto, and dragged him down onto the couch cushions. Prompto squirmed for about fifteen seconds before realizing it was not a battle he was going to win.

It was warm, Prompto decided ten minutes later, more genuine snores humming against the back of his neck. Pretty comfortable, actually. He wouldn't have pegged Gladio as a snuggler, but he supposed he wouldn't have pegged Ignis as a snuggler, either.

It was pretty nice.

He snorted himself awake in a car, smooshed between two considerably larger people in the backseat, his butt numb from sitting on the hump. He could tell just from the sound of the engine that it wasn't the Regalia.

"Has our urchin woken up?" a godsawfully familiar voice wondered mildly, and Prompto opened his eyes to see Ardyn watching him from the rearview mirror. The car was red. Cor, looking rather displeased with his lot in life, was sitting to Prompto's left. Nyx, looking bored with the passing forestry, was sitting to his right.

It took a few long moments for Prompto to realize that the man dozing in the front passenger seat was King Regis, looking far older than Prompto had ever seen him, even just from the reflection in the windshield. Prompto didn't even realize he was staring until Nyx informed him tersely, "He's fine," one hand fisting against the car door. Prompto was willing to bet the Kingsglaive's words were not only meant to convince him.

While Prompto had no intentions to actually discuss the health of the king, it became a moot point when they lost any opportunity to begin with. King Regis woke up as if he had never been asleep, ordering stiffly, "Stop the car."

Cor slammed a hand over Prompto's chest to keep him on the seat as the car screamed to a halt, just in time to avoid crashing into the building-sized katana that speared into the road. The statue that wielded it followed half an instant later, cratering the road when it appeared and releasing a crackling shockwave that buffeted the car and made all the hair along Prompto's arms stand on end.

"Oh dear," Ardyn observed blandly. "He's awoken the Old Wall. A bit drastic, wouldn't you say?"


Prompto didn't have time to finish the question, but he got an answer regardless when Noct's sword landed in the grass and then Noct himself followed it. His eyes were red and the Ring of the Lucii glowed around his finger.

King Regis was gone in an instant, his sword clashing with his son's. With a scoff, Ardyn disappeared just as quickly, only to be intercepted when Gladio surged out of the tree line, plowing into Ardyn shield first before his shield vanished, his sword taking its place.

Nyx at least had the good manners to need to manually grab his knives, but then he threw one of them and vanished, slamming into Gladio like a wrecking ball. Looking at Cor, Prompto asked, "Are we the only two who can't do that?"

"Unfortunately." With that said, Cor pushed Prompto down behind the passenger seat and commanded sharply, "Stay here," before he vaulted out of the car.

Prompto seriously missed his guns, as he poked his head up to watch through the windshield. Then again, he wasn’t sure he would actually be able to bring himself to shoot any of them. He was a softy that way.

Lunafreya charged out of the trees, her trident deflecting Cor's katana before it could get anywhere near Noct. Her eyes glowed like coals and her hair was lit with fire.

Ardyn and Nyx were still tag-teaming Gladio. Noct and the king were still locked together. But someone was missing.

"Ignis! Instructions?"

Never before had that phrase filled Prompto's chest with more dread.

A blade was hurled out of the woods, sinking into Cor's back between his shoulders, sending him toppling to the ground. It was followed in rapid succession by three more knives. One slammed into Nyx's shoulder with enough force to knock him to the grass. One sliced into Ardyn's ribs. One narrowly missed Noct's neck to instead sink into the king's chest.

"On your mark, Noct."

Like a moth after a lantern, Noct followed the trail. By the time his boots were back on the pavement, it looked less like a road and more like a slaughterhouse.

It was amazing, in a horrific sort of way, how much could happen in about forty-five seconds.

Noct shook his head, tossing his hair out of his face, and looked up at the statue, still kneeling. "Keep going," he commanded, lifting his sword to point into the distance with it. "I'll meet you there."

The statue dragged the katana from the impromptu sheath of pavement and stood, before it hurled the blade into the distance and vanished.

Somehow, after everything else, Ardyn staggered back to his feet, laughing. Finally, Ignis emerged from the trees, throwing his lance like a javelin and spearing it straight through Ardyn's chest. Gladio wrapped his hands around the lance's shaft and heaved his weight forward, sinking the lance through the broken pavement.

Ardyn seemed remarkably alright with being pinned like a butterfly. For a certain definition of 'alright,' at any rate. His eyes had turned into amber lights in sunken black pits and he was grinning, black sludge bleeding past pointed teeth.

"You know I'll be back," he crooned. "We've been over this, your majesty. Is it really worth this?"

Noct tapped his lip, feigning thoughtfulness before he decided, "You'll stop talking for a while, so yeah, I think it is."

With that, Luna set Ardyn ablaze with little more than a snap of her fingers.

"Guys, we missed one," Gladio observed, just to make things worse, his gaze locked on the car. Prompto tried to make the Gladio in front of him mesh with the Gladio who had given him a piggyback ride, and he couldn’t do it.

"Silly me," Luna purred, before she launched a firaga spell at the car.

The car tumbled away, and Prompto brought his arms up to cover his head as best he could. It didn't help very much when he flew clear of the car and hit the ground.

He woke up in a tent, tangled together with Noct, and Prompto furiously stomped down the thought of Noct with red eyes, soaked in his own father's blood.

It all seemed pretty standard, and once Prompto disentangled himself from the sleeping prince and crawled out of the tent, he was handed a bowl just like any other morning, by a Gladio who was thankfully not keen on imminent murder.

Prompto thought, for a few seconds, that he had landed in the world where Ignis instead didn't wear glasses, but then it just turned out that he was cleaning them with a napkin before he perched them above his nose once again.

Half the camp had already been packed back into the car, so Prompto sat on the ground as he ate, and when Noct emerged from the tent, he melted against Prompto's shoulder, which was also not really unusual.

It did seem a bit odd when Noct smacked his butt to get his attention as they trekked through the tall grass later, since that was typically Prompto's job, but it wasn't so odd.

Of course, it very rapidly turned into 'this is definitely something' when Noct slipped one hand into Prompto's back pocket and tugged him closer, until their hips bumped together. He kept his hand right where it was and offered, "It's getting cold," as an excuse.

"Not really," Prompto replied, but he slipped one arm around Noct's waist anyway, since it seemed like the thing to do because what even was his life anymore. When he inevitably pulled his camera out to get a picture, Noct turned his head to butt it affectionately against Prompto's neck.

Looking at the screen afterwards, he couldn't help but think it was a cute picture. He was sort of sad he wouldn't be able to keep it.

"What's wrong?" Noct had lifted his head and was watching Prompto's face intently.

"Huh?" Prompto let his camera drop to dangle by its strap.

"You look a bit down," Noct clarified, before reiterating, "What's wrong?"

"You are way prettier than me," Prompto spat out, because he had never been any good at lying to Noct and that wasn't a lie. But then Noct ground to a halt and pulled his hand out of Prompto's pocket, and he could've kicked himself.

All thoughts of kicking himself vanished when Noct grabbed him by the face and pulled him into a kiss that led to Prompto getting far more acquainted with his best friend's tongue than he ever expected.

Afterwards, staring into Prompto's incredibly dazed eyes, Noct stated fiercely, "You," only to pause and peck him on the lips once again, "are perfectly pretty. Stop that."

Prompto nodded slowly, strangling the urge to grin like a dopey idiot with some difficulty.

Satisfied with that pep talk, Noct caught the gunner's hand and broke into a jog before Ignis and Gladio got too far ahead.

Most of the afternoon after that was spent hunting a herd of spiracorns for a bounty, because they needed money to eat and put gas in the car. It wasn't an especially romantic evening, but Prompto did wind up with his arms around Noct to help him line up the perfect headshot at one point. They both knew Noct didn’t actually need the help.

Afterwards, with money in hand as they left the Crow's Nest, Noct apparently had plans on how he wanted the drive that night to go.

"Gladio can live with a little less leg room for a few hours," he decided as he urged Prompto into the backseat of the Regalia with him.

"If I catch any canoodling going on back there, I will throw you both out onto the side of the road for the daemons," Ignis cautioned from the driver's seat as he adjusted the mirrors.

"No one here's a voyeur, Specs," Noct assured him, before he toppled over sideways, his head landing on Prompto's lap. "Wake me up when we get there." With that, he closed his eyes.

"I'm a pillow," Prompto observed intelligently, blinking down at Noct.

"You should be used to it by now," Gladio replied, as he got comfortable in the front seat.

It took a few minutes for Prompto to work up the nerve to start petting Noct's hair. Confirming every single one of his suspicions, Noct's hair turned out to be almost obnoxiously soft.

Eventually, as clouds began to gather ahead of them, Ignis put the Regalia's top back up, and Prompto leaned against the window. He could feel himself reluctantly nodding off, until a groggy, "Hey, Prom?" jerked him back to wakefulness.

He looked down at his lap to see Noct looking up at him with one bleary eye.

"Tell me you love me."

It was a simple request, as if it was made near nightly.

…Go big or go home, right? And Prompto already knew he'd be going home soon, sort of.

"Of course I love you."

Also not a lie, though he was generally pretty sure he meant it differently. Pretty sure, at least.

Noct smiled sleepily and closed his eye again, and Prompto slumped against the window.

It wasn't fair. It was not fair, and he wanted to go home. He pouted fitfully until he finally dozed off against the window.

He woke up in the tent, a rock under his back. Ignis was out of the tent already and Noct had splayed out to take over his advisor's abandoned space.

As Prompto blinked up at the canvas of the tent, Gladio began to stir. "Morning," he grumbled, dragging a hand through his hair and cringing when it snagged.

"G'morning," Prompto sighed.

"Any signs of life from Sleeping Beauty?"

"What do you think?"

Gladio snorted. "Yeah, I figured." He kicked the sleeping bag open and crawled out of the tent.

After staring at the ceiling of the tent for a few more minutes, Prompto followed him.

Everything seemed…pretty normal. Eventually Noct fell out of the tent, and everything still seemed pretty normal. Everyone had the right colored eyes. Ignis was wearing glasses. No one seemed to be some sort of deity. There was no sign of Ardyn, the king, Lunafreya, or extraneous members of the Crownsguard or Kingsglaive. No one was murdering anyone, with or without gigantic statues. The only chocobos were their rentals, grazing below the haven.

And then Noct tumbled into a chair, caught Prompto around the middle as he paced absentmindedly, and tugged him down to sit on the prince's lap.

"Blanket's back in the tent," he offered as an excuse, before he turned his head to muffle a yawn against his shoulder.

Ignis and Gladio didn't seem to find it worth commenting on. Like it was normal for Noct to casually use Prompto as a teddy bear.

…Had Prompto managed to wake up in the same world twice in a row?

"You seem kinda tense," Noct observed eventually.

"Weird night," Prompto answered automatically. Still, technically, not a lie. Though at that point he was pretty sure he could just say 'weird week' and it would be the truth.

Gladio groaned. "Great. Now they're both having nightmares."

"It wasn't a nightmare!" Prompto protested. "It was just weird. There were so many chocobos, and Gladio was being romantic, and Noct was in the car for more than five minutes without falling asleep."

Noct head butted the back of Prompto's head in protest, just as Gladio scoffed, "I'm plenty romantic."

Ignis coughed delicately against one fist to mask an incredulous laugh.

Eyes narrowing sharply, Gladio threatened, "I'm throwing out all your coffee."

"Then I'm sleeping with Noct and Prompto tonight," Ignis returned without missing a beat before he lifted his mug to take a sip.

Prompto was confused.

He remained confused as he helped clean up the campsite, and as they rode the chocobos back to Wiz's place to collect the bounty for whatever they had apparently hunted the night before. (Why were there mindflayers in the woods? How did that make any sense? Did chocobos have particularly flayable minds?)

They ordered lunch, and they all cooed over the black chocobo chick for a bit while they waited for their food. He snuck a picture of Ignis petting her when he thought no one was looking, and managed to much-less-sneakily take a picture of Noct snuggling her. (She sort of disappeared against his coat, but the picture was a keeper anyway.)

Noct deposited himself on Gladio's lap when their food showed up, and the pieces started to fit together a bit more after that.

They ran a few errands for Wiz afterwards, and Ignis tossed his jacket over Prompto's shoulders as night rolled in on the ride back, the heat of the day ebbing and making it apparent that Prompto did not actually have sleeves.

When they took over the caravan for the night, Noct managed to wrangle himself, Prompto, and Ignis onto one bunk despite the bunks being too small for two people (and despite Gladio not actually throwing out any coffee). At least until Prompto fell off the bunk.

He wound up sharing a bunk with Gladio, his head pillowed on one unfairly large bicep. He was comfortable. Where he was at that specific moment, and with all four of them being a thing.

"Hey, guys?" he tried eventually, because he could still hear Noct playing on his phone. He slipped the ring off of his finger and held it up to look at it through the dim light coming through the window. "We should probably tell Dino to maybe not put this one into production."

"Is it a dud?" Gladio wondered sleepily.

"Uh--yeah," Prompto answered. "Yeah, we'll go with that."