Always Ch. 2: Nightmare | FFXV Fanfic

Read Chapter 1 | Word count: 1170 (2 to 10 minutes) | Rating: G | Final Fantasy XV Spoilers| Characters: Ignis Scientia and Noctis Lucis Caelum


When making camp at a haven, Ignis was frequently the last to bed and first to rise. On occasion, Noctis may have stayed up later or Gladio rose earlier for a run at dawn. More frequently than that, to Ignis’ concern, Noctis would awaken in the middle of the evening. Not pleasantly so either.

His nightmares were understated on the surface: a white-knuckle grip, an oddly quiet interruption of his usual restful breathing, and then a sharp hiss as if caught off guard. After a moment’s pause, an impatient sigh would indicate if the nightmare woke Noct. He had been much the same in his warning signs since he was a child. Following his recovery and return from the disaster in Tenebrae, the instances of his sleeplessness had increased. Yet he rarely spoke of it or sought support.

Simply put, Ignis had years of experience in waking when Noct was troubled. That first startled inhale cut through his dreams perfectly in time to catch the sigh as the young prince maneuvered his way out of his sleeping bag in pursuit of fresh air. If he paced the restricted grounds of haven, Ignis knew to leave him be. But when the sound of a camping chair unfolding reached him, he likewise exited the tent to see Noctis seated by the low embers.

“Noct?”

He gave only a cursory glance and nod over his shoulder in greeting. Something in seeing him cast in silhouette, even without his spectacles, emphasized the burden placed upon him by his station and the Six. There was no one on Eos who deserved nightmares less.

“Hey, Ignis.”

Pulling a chair out himself, Ignis pressed it out to be a comfortable distance from Noct. He was not particularly tactile in his affections on a good day—Prompto being the exception, by and large. Intruding upon his space would do neither of them any favors.

“Was it a nightmare?”

His exhale was quiet and plainly displeased. The prince had yet to learn the lesson that the majority of healing procedures were less than soothing. He punctuated his distaste for Ignis’ observation with a half-shrug as stilted as it was tense.

“Yeah. Don’t worry about it.”

“Hm.” The answer wasn’t to his liking, but in fairness, the line of questioning wasn’t to Noct’s. The least Ignis could muster was being in his company for a while longer. The prince shouldn’t be forced to wait alone in the dark with the remnants of his fearful dream. Somehow, the nighttime chill made for a surprisingly crisp and refreshing atmosphere. His vision was not in need of so much correction that Ignis couldn’t see beyond the dim firepit to the moonlight cast over their forested surroundings. But it was the sky above that captured his attention above all else. In the hopes that a diversion would draw Noct back to slumber sooner, he made note of it aloud. “I find the views afforded to us in nature have an uplifting aspect to them.”

Noct looked to Ignis for direction, which never failed to instill a sort of pride in Ignis. To have his trust was a gift he could never bring himself to squander no matter how small the circumstance. He pointed to the stars in this case, and Noctis tilted his head up to see for himself.

“I guess.” He crossed his arms as his hair stood on end, but still held his attention on the stars. The chill didn’t agree with him, clearly, and he should return to the tent. Ignis similarly knew better what a pensive pause from Noct sounded like. “Where do you think she is right now?”

“Lady Lunafreya?” There were not many other women he might have referred to, yet assumptions were not known for paying off.

“Yeah.” He breathed the word more than speaking it. A testament to how near this conversation was to his heart.

“She is a highly intelligent woman with unwavering resolve.” Ignis himself had never met Lady Lunafreya in person before. In his role for the prince, he knew of her far more than their mutual unawareness would indicate. He knew his words to be true. Noct needed little else in the way of reassurance. “Wherever she is, I’m certain she’s safe.”

His response did appear to dissolve some of the tension from his shoulders. Ignis could not place the precise reason that he sensed there was more Noct had to share. All he could do once more was wait for him to be ready. That, too, was an honor Ignis gladly rose to accept.

“It’s not right.” He looked back down to the firepit, uncrossing his arms to rest his hands on his knees. “Nothing’s been right since we left. I get that my father sent me off to save me, but—” A frustrated sigh stole away the rest of his sentence while Noct rest back in his seat. “Forget it.”

“Noct,” Ignis implored him, speaking to the struggles had already been expressed indirectly. All part of his royal duty per His Majesty, and yes, a sort of hobby for him as well, as the prince preferred to refer to his stewardship. “Your father had every confidence in you when he sent you away for your own safety. He loved you.”

Turning away abruptly was a poor mask of Noct’s shaky inhale at those three words. Ignis pretended not to notice out of respect for his privacy. Sentiment was not a welcome aspect for him. He rather enjoyed having his emotions separate from his interactions with others as much as humanly possible. Where his father was concerned especially. Despite that, the truth that his father loved him dearly was a statement he should have heard more often in the years before King Regis passed so tragically. The Wall and the war occupied much of his father’s attention while Noct simultaneously came to realize what precious little time remained for them to share.

“He knew as I do that you will be ready for the road ahead. And whatever it may bring, you will not walk it alone.”

The three of them all supported Noct on his journey to kinghood. Prompto brought out a certain brightness in the prince that he’d only seen before his severe injury in his youth. Gladio inspired him to aspire, even as they warred over several subjects where their opinions differed. And Ignis himself took no small amount of pride in his steadfast service to Noct. Wherever their path lead, he would never suffer a time without their companionship.

“Thanks.” He’d reached his limit for emotional discussions. So soon. Ignis supposed he should be grateful he made it that far. Noct pushed himself out of the seat, circling around it in the direction of the tent. “I’m gonna—”

“Of course. Rest well.”

He received no answer aside from the zip of the tent doors opening. Ignis took the time to return the two chairs to their rightful place and wasn’t far behind.


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Always | FFXV Fanfiction

Word count: 1100 (2 to 9 minutes) | Rating: G | Final Fantasy XV Fanfiction | Characters: Ignis Scientia and Noctis Lucis Caelum


Visiting Noctis’ separate residence on occasion after Ignis had tended to his duties was simply habit. The crown prince expressly stated he wished to live alone for greater independence, but regular visits had revealed that very little self-reliance was taking place. Dishes accrued over Ignis’ absence and on more productive weeks, the clean laundry still sat wrinkling in the basket.

Inside, the lights were off today despite the hour—merely 6 o’clock, a more appropriate time for dinner than resting as Noctis no doubt was. His shoes were present by the entrance, after all. Ignis paused to straighten those after removing his own, walking deeper into the apartment by the light of his cellphone.

Noctis was not quite ready yet perhaps, but Ignis was there to support him. When he was prepared, Ignis was confident that the prince would step into his role as the heir to the Lucian throne. Until then, Ignis himself had duties to uphold and a dear friend to look after. With his spare key, he let himself into the apartment monitored at a respectful distance by the Crownsguard.

The main room was slightly cleaner and more orderly than usual, a sure sign that Prompto had visited recently. Noctis’ newest friend had made both Gladio and Ignis wary until they met the nervous blond in person and taken time to know him, whereupon they had no choice but to acknowledge that he was a good influence on Noct. Up until his friendship, Noctis had no peers that he considered even acquaintances. He went to school, to his part-time job if he had a shift, and traveled directly home only to repeat the process the next day.

Once Prompto reached out to him, Ignis was fortunate enough to see more of the young boy he first served start to return. On several visits, he would arrive to Prompto and Noctis laughing in an apartment not entirely covered in piled up garbage bags and empty bottles, takeout containers, haphazardly stacked books, and scattered clothes or papers. Noctis was recovering, and Ignis could only be grateful.

“Noct?” He whispered into the shadows, grocery bags in each hand. He knew better than to expect any usable ingredients to be in the prince’s fridge. At the silence, Ignis set the bags down on the counter and approached a familiar silhouette on the sofa. His eyes adjusted to distinguish the sight of Noctis asleep beside a history book he likely knew inside and out. At the very least, he grades suggested as much.

Despite the knowledge that Noctis was unlikely to wake easily, Ignis was careful to approach the linen closet quietly to retrieve a blanket. The addition of a pillow would awake even the prince, but surely the simple comfort of a blanket would be welcome when his nap was done with. The dishes would be cleaned, and any trash would be cleared away. His laundry would be complete and put away. All evidence of Ignis’ care and attention for Noctis, a young man he valued as his own family and as his king.

Unfolding the blanket and draping it over the teenager that would one day lead the nation, Ignis smiled to himself in the dark.

Gladio would have lectured him on coddling Noct, though he was just as aware as Ignis that the prince they both served could be resolutely obstinate when he wished to be. In a manner, Ignis supposed there was merit to his claims. But Gladio had not known Noct as long as Ignis had, did not play an integral role in raising him from his toddler years like Ignis—who was a boy himself at the time and yet that bond made all the difference.

Prepping the ingredients for meals designed to conceal vegetables, Ignis began to cook. He would later divide out lunches for easy portioning, but for now, Ignis permitted his mind to wander. Meal preparation came to him instinctively enough by that point that it hardly called for his undivided attention, and there was something of a comfort in reminiscing while still seeing to Noctis’ wellbeing.

Ignis would admit that Noctis was prone to despair and resignation at the most inopportune times, but it was no obligation to serve him in his darkest hours while he sought out the strength Ignis knew he had. When the weight of the crown and the impending passing of his father bore down on Noctis, there was always Ignis at his side. Noct did not need to say a word to communicate to Ignis, and rarely felt inclined to, but it was a given that he could at any time. As it had always been.

If Noctis was not yet ready to face the calling ahead of him, he had Ignis’ support. When he needed someone to listen, he had Ignis’ willing ear. When he required company and silence all at once, he had Ignis’ quiet presence. Whatever the burden or obstacle, Ignis was a safe haven and loyal aide to Noctis.

Perhaps he did enable his less-than-regal behavior from time to time, as Gladio accused him of doing, but there were so few people that a prince could entrust his truest self to. And to Ignis, he would always be the young child who, with a smile, silently took his hand in friendship from the moment he became the prince’s retainer.

Gladio was his Shield and inspired him to push to greater heights. Prompto was his friend and encouraged him to enjoy all the fond memories that a standard high school experience could offer, just as King Regis had hoped for his son.

Each of them was essential to the prince’s contentment, but one fact would never change: Noct could rely on Ignis in all matters. He would indulge his desire to nap while Ignis drove or delegate more tedious tasks to him so Noct might write to Lady Lunafreya or make plans with Prompto. Was that not the sort of unsung sacrifice Ignis was meant to make both as his retainer and his oldest friend?

Ignis did also take the time to remind Noct he would one day have to see to these tasks unaided, which was an equally valuable part of his service. Yet that time would come one day in the future, only when Prince Noctis was prepared to accept his responsibilities as royal heir. The privilege of witnessing Noct rise to all he could be was well worth the possibly lenient service to him now.


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A Note to Treasure: Promnis FFXV Fanfiction

Word count: 2900 (7 to 22 minutes) | Rating: G | Note: Prompto x Ignis (Promnis) | Characters: Prompto, ignis, Noctis, and Gladio


The haven campsite had to be tidied before they could finish packing to leave, and naturally, the task fell to Ignis with Prompto as his aid. Gladio and Noctis were off to bring the car a bit closer from the shoulder where it was originally parked, which was just as likely to be an excuse for them to spend time on the rowdier activities they found enjoyable. Gladio would keep him in check and safe, if nothing else.

Ignis did not have to worry, but part of him always would.

To Prompto’s credit, the jumpy blonde was eager to help and followed directions well, provided they were not too complex to remember. He managed organizing the outdoor supplies easily on his own. It was no small feat, either—Ignis wouldn’t entrust his camping kitchen tools to just anyone.

The task of cleaning up after Noctis inside the tent was another matter entirely. Yesterday’s clothes sat unfolded in a heap, and Ignis spotted a tear in the sleeve of his jacket as he gathered them up. He sighed, shaking his head to the benefit of no one but himself. Gladio would lecture him for coddling, but Noct would surely forget to mend the sleeve for months if left to his own devices. Ignis would take care of it with the laundry.

As he stood to put the clothing with the rest of the dirty laundry, a poorly folded sheet of paper fell out, writing on display. Even as it fell, Ignis knew the handwriting was not Noctis’, but Prompto’s. Closer examination while he picked it up revealed that the message was incomplete—but the typical saccharine prose made its purpose all too apparent. Just as Ignis expected of a love letter from Prompto.

Parts were scratched out, even unreadable in some cases, but the ones he could read brought a fond smile to Ignis’ face. He did have a way of making any action endearing. Such as having Noctis, of all people, review a love note for any areas of improvement. Ignis’ devotion to Noctis had no limits, but he could be honest about the prince—he was not the kind of individual you would turn to for advice in matters of the heart.

And to think that Ignis suspected Prompto’s motives when he first entered Noctis’ life as the habitually nervous friend from school. Now, Ignis would trust him with that very life.

“Prompto,” he called to his friend, who paused in folding up the camping chairs to wipe some sweat from his forehead onto his wristband.

“Sup?” If he realized he held the note as well as the clothes yet, he was incredibly calm about the matter.

Ignis strode over to him and held the note out. “You ought to be more careful with your correspondence.”

“Huh?”

His gaze fell on the note, and he flushed a soft pink. “O-oh, right. That’s, I was just—uh—sorry.” Prompto leaned over to get the paper, one foot firmly planted as he did, and crumpled the paper slightly in his rush to get it into his pocket.

“Do be cautious,” Ignis advised, almost saddened to see such affectionate words handled so indelicately. As if Prompto were ashamed. He had always struggled with self-confidence, but it was precisely that uncertainty that was his undoing in many cases. Not that he had much room to talk. Ignis was well aware that his feelings on Prompto were becoming deeper than mere friendship, but he had told not a soul. “The sentiment was rather sweet, and I’m sure the intended recipient would like to treasure the note.”

“What? You… you really think so?”

“I do indeed.” Ignis had said too much, perhaps. To pass that misstep off as a joke, he added in some light teasing so common among the four of them. ”If you can muster the strength to send it, of course.”

Based on the surprised, almost touched, wide-eyed expression from Prompto, Ignis nearly turned over his shoulder to see what might’ve caught his photographer’s interest. The sheepish smile that followed stopped him at the realization that something he himself had said led to Prompto’s response.

“Aw, shucks, Iggy. Just hearing that gives me courage.” Never one to be still for long, Prompto scuffed at the dirt with his boot and nodded to Ignis.

That appeared to have lifted the blonde’s spirits over his recent embarrassment. Perhaps he truly would send the note off and perhaps this time, he hadn’t set his sights on someone unattainable—such as Cindy, who focused on her work above all other matters. Ignis swore his taste in crushes was deliberately constructed at times. For Prompto’s sake, he hoped that was not the case with his most recent crush. It would be pleasant if he were to enter into a contented relationship, or so Ignis told himself as a vice gradually closed in on his heart.

He smiled, turning his attention to adding the clothes his hands to the dirty laundry already packed away for cleaning during their next hotel stay. “And who is the lucky lady?”

“Oh, uh. It’s not anyone like that, I mean,” he trailed into an awkward laugh, busying himself similarly with gathering the remaining camping supplies, “I dunno if I’d say lucky, dude.”

That lack of confidence returned swiftly, Ignis noted. Ah, it was likely that the object of his affections was out of his reach, then. Still, it could not hurt to encourage him to put himself out there more often. He could not succeed if he did not make the attempt, after all. And they would all be there to support him in their own ways should she turn him down. “I believe that would be up to her discretion. You ought to give her the chance to decide, Prompto.”

The hypocrisy of the statement was not lost on him. While Noctis was often too immersed in his own conflicted emotions to perceive the feelings of others, he had been giving hints to Ignis regarding Prompto over the past few weeks (though his sentiments on Prompto became more romantic in nature several months prior). It was only the occasional idle comment or hypothetical question on the gunman’s attractiveness or charming qualities, but the message was clear to Ignis, if no one else. And yet he had decided it was best not to act on his feelings for Prompto given their shared service to Noctis.

And in a way, Ignis had still gotten the note first. His petty side was appeased with that notion.

“Yeah?” There was a choked, wavering quality to his normally chipper voice that suggested he had not taken this reassurance to heart. “Guess you’re right. You always are!”

Prompto was consistent, at least: always ready to avoid a subject he did not wish to discuss by offering praise and a ready smile, however uncertain.


Noctis was off for an early morning run with Gladio in an uncharacteristic moment of initiative—before 11:00 am and something for his health, no less. Ignis had no pressing tasks to address in the next hour or so, since they had decided to have breakfast at the Crow’s Nest. A bit of a personal slight to Ignis’ cooking that he had the courtesy to keep to himself, since he knew that was not their intention (or it had best not be). Instead, he had settled down with a book of poetry he’d meant to catch up on for some time now to keep his mind preoccupied.

“Oh, uh, hey, Ignis.” Prompto trotted over and slipped one hand into his pocket, the other giving a restless wave. A lopsided smile suggested this was not a simple greeting but leading up to another matter. Ignis closed his poetry book and stood from his chair in anticipation of what required his assistance.

“Good morning, Prompto. Did you sleep well?”

“Nothing much.” Prompto answered with a shrug, the realization sinking in and drawing a nervous laugh from him. “I mean good. Wait, no, I meant yes.”

Ignis only chuckled, adjusting his glasses out of habit. “Glad to hear.”

“Um. Here.” From his pocket came a note in a cream-colored envelope, neatly labelled in Prompto’s handwriting and a small smile drawn in the corner where it ought to be stamped. His thumb lightly creased it at the center where he held it a bit too tightly. “For you.”

“From?” The question left his mouth without as much thought as he would have normally given it, especially considering he knew the answer already. On the outside, he imagined he looked fairly level-headed, but that was not so in his mind. The very notion that Prompto had gone to the lengths of drafting a love note for him had interfered with his every mental faculty. Now his request that Noctis reviewed it made far more sense, since his taciturn nature made it easy work to conceal the matter from Ignis until Prompto was prepared. Beyond that connection, Ignis’ typically keen attentiveness felt incredibly dulled in the realization that this was indeed a note from Prompto for himself.

If not for the new blush spread across Prompto’s freckled face, Ignis may have rationalized it was just a fond note between friends. But there it was—the fresh rush of warmth to a familiar face, a blossoming red simply begging to be chased a tender touch (or a kiss, if he felt emboldened by such a truly adorable response).

“Ah. I see.” He took the envelope, turning it over to see a small, somewhat misshapen heart at the center where one was meant to open it.

A message in itself: I’m letting you into my heart with this note.

“Hey, I’m just gonna,” he trailed off, thumbing over his shoulder to nowhere in particular.

“I would rather you remain here.”

“Huh?” Crystalline blue eyes locked on his, wide and surprised. Yet trustful, ever so trustful. Ignis’ heart swelled with it. As much as his anxiousness drove him to bounce his foot in place since he could not retreat, likely to disappear for as long as he could get away with, Prompto remained. Because Ignis wanted him to. “Oh. Um. Okay.” His hands found their home back in the pockets, and he stared out over the woods beyond their haven as Ignis began to read.

Ignis,

I don’t know how to say it the way I want it to be, so here it is: I really, really like you. A lot. You’re a solid 11 and I’m more of a rounded-up 4, but what you said got me thinking you deserve to choose for yourself if I get to call you boyfriend.

I just love spending time with you, you know? You always give it everything you’ve got, and you never get tired of all that giving. So, I wanna try hard and be there for you too. I may not be much, but you’ll get my all every day. I promise.

The only approximation of a signature was a cartoon-ish drawing of a blushing chocobo at the bottom. In the end, the second draft of the note had very select elements in common with the first (but markedly fewer apologies). Ignis returned the note to its envelope carefully, tucking the message into his chest pocket and felt a brightness in his heart beneath. He did not believe in lucky charms, but if ever there was one, he was certain it belonged to him now.

“Prompto,” he said levelly. It would do no good to answer his nervousness with more of the same, after all.

“That’s me,” he answered weakly and faced Ignis once more.

And yet there was nothing weak about him. Prompto rarely spoke about his life or experiences, but it was clear in how he carried himself that every accomplishment he achieved was a battle hard won—and yet scarcely rewarded. To Prompto, he was never quite enough, and insecurity tinged under every interaction. Yet he persevered. Never once did his worries, so clear and tangible in his mind, ever stop him from rising to the occasion time and again. It weighed heavily on Ignis to see him shortchanged by his own hand so often when all praise, no matter how nonchalant, moved him so completely. The result was an endless temptation to offer praise too often to go unremarked.

To run a hand gently through his soft, styled blonde hair—rather rare in the Crown City and always a welcome sight because of who it had to be—as unspoken congratulations on a job well done. To take it one step further and kiss him whenever the opportunity arose, because few deserved love like Prompto Argentum and yet, he would never ask for it. One some level, perhaps he did not believe he should or could. Like any grievous misconception, Ignis wanted nothing more than to correct it.

“Kinda killing me here, dude.”

“Ah, I apologize. I was taking a moment to appreciate how far you have come.” He stepped closer to Prompto, hoping against reason that Gladio and Noctis had taken a long route. “Your feelings are returned, of course. I only hope you realize what this means for you.”

“Huh? Me?” A smile overtook Prompto’s expression regardless, nervousness dissolving into a palpable level of excitement that simply radiated off him. The anxiety would return, as it was wont to, but this time, Ignis would be there to chase it away again. It only took the thought to brighten Ignis’ smile in return.

“Indeed. I am not known for doing anything halfway, and my courtship of you will be no different.”

“C-courtship?” His voice broke, a darling squeak to it that Ignis fancied as a hopeful one.

“Of course. And with this love note finally delivered, I must catch up to your romantic gesture, in fact.” He reached for Prompto’s hand at his side, the bare skin of his thumb brushing over the open expanse of skin on the back of his hand. Fingers loosely intertwined as Ignis leaned in to press a kiss to his lips.

Soft, warm, and lightly scarred in some places where he may have bitten it anxiously in his younger days—every inch entirely his own, perfectly Prompto’s. By extension, the sensation of them was special, something to be treasured. Ignis dared not close his eyes and miss the opportunity to thoroughly examine his reaction to their first kiss. While Ignis was inarguably a practical individual, he was just as devoted as a romantic. And this memory was one he would want to endure for an eternity.

Prompto held still, the pink still high on his cheeks but the signature freckles of his face visible all the same. His eyes nearly fluttered shut, fine lashes over a deeper blue in his eyes cast by Ignis’ shadow. “Best be prepared.”

Noctis whistled, making Prompto jump at the interruption. Ignis was graced with his grin alongside Gladio’s when he did turn his attention to them.

“About damn time,” Gladio commented, sharing a knowing look with Noctis.

“I dunno. I might miss them dancing around each other.”

“Noct!” Prompto whined, finding his voice at what amounted to harmless teasing. Unfortunately for Noctis, he was not the only one with a quip at the ready. Ignis smirked before delivering his response as an added effect.

“Hm. On the subject of romance, Noct, how fares Lady Lunafreya? You seemed to be in particularly good spirits after her most recent message.”

“…Not fair, Specs.” It was his turn to blush, however faintly, and Noctis avoided the subject by pulling a water bottle from their stores and having a drink.

“Ha! Good one.” Prompto chimed in, patting Ignis on the back and flashing a bright grin. Interesting, how these little gestures took on new meaning on account of a single sheet of paper in his pocket.

“He got you there.” Gladio joined in the teasing of Noctis now with a gentle shove that nearly spilled water from the bottle down the front of his shirt.

“Whatever. Let’s pack up the car before we miss breakfast at the Crow’s Nest.” His previous plan having failed, Noctis set his sights on diverting them with the promise of food. Predictably, that was a successful strategy.

Before that was set into motion, Prompto rushed to get another kiss in, this one to Ignis’ cheek. Though the kiss was light as a breeze and over almost as soon as Ignis had noticed it was happening, it lingered as if an electric spell had recently dissipated in the shape of his lips on his skin. He would have to thank Noctis for being so careless with the first note when he reminded him once again to place his dirty laundry in the correct basket of his own accord.


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Burning Light of Infatuation: Gladnis FFXV Fanfic

Word count: 1700 (4 to 14 minutes) | Rating: T | Note: Brotherhood Spoilers, Gladnis | Characters: Gladiolus Amicitia, Ignis Scientia, and mentions of Noctis Lucis Caelum


Physical training came later in Ignis’ employ with the crown, considering the priority for his position was placed on political knowledge, administrative support, and general caregiving for the future king. The reverse was true of his colleague, Gladiolus, and Ignis was immensely grateful for it.

Initially, it was from a practical standpoint. Gladio would act as his counterbalance in Noctis’ life while their duties would be firmly aligned. Ignis focused on his daily needs and the larger picture with exacting attention while Gladio ensured his physical safety and readiness to protect himself if needed. Either one could be entrusted with the duties of the other to an extent, but their specialization improved their combined performance.

And then Ignis reached puberty.

Gladio had always been handsome, of course, but Ignis had never realized quite how handsome until he spotted the Shield training with Glaives in the summer sun. Late afternoon would have been the practical time to train, but they sought to build their resistance to unbearable circumstances and went out in the hottest point of the day with full sunlight.

Ignis simply happened to be passing by at the time. Gladio’s tank top highlighted defined muscles working through a rigorous routine that he met with a self-assured smile. He hadn’t grown in his stubble quite yet, as this was in their early teenage years, but he was still rather easy to look at. As sweat soaked through the front of his shirt and clung to his form, Ignis did indeed look. Stared, you could say. Then he cleared his throat as he freed himself from the hypnotic display. He had duties to attend to and did his best to put those thoughts from his mind for that purpose.

An ongoing task that Gladio made all the more difficult as their work brought them together more and more often over the years, bringing to light a shared understanding of the honor and burden of their duties. Whether they needed to take pride in their responsibilities with a likeminded peer or have an outlet for frustration at Noctis’ sporadic and immovable stubbornness, they needed only to find each other. This evolved into having odd-hours meals together, the pleasant discovery that they read much of the same literature, and then a professional respect became friendship. A driven man in all regards, Gladio seemed determined to be attractive to Ignis on several levels.

His appeal had only grown over time, and those thoughts followed Ignis to yet another routine sparring match against his partner in service to Noctis. In their late teenage years, Gladio’s trimmed stubble emphasized his strong jawline that became especially evident as he matured. His brown eyes had taken on a warmer quality and although he was not as openly expressive as he had been in his youth, those expressions were refined tools of his innate charm. Now, he turned a honed version of that very same self-certain look to Ignis with training greatsword in hand.

Ignis held rounded twin daggers meant only for sparring, finding them his preferred weapons against Gladio for their maneuverability. He circled in the opposite direction of his training partner’s strides to maintain distance while planning his strategy.

“This isn’t chess, Iggy,” Gladio began to lecture him, a habit which Ignis had noted Noctis never mentioned occurring during his own training. After, of course, but not once during. “In a fight, you’ve got to keep what motivates you in mind so when it gets ugly, you don’t dare back down.”

With a speed belied by his musculature, Gladio swiped towards Ignis, who kicked himself back in turn with experienced grace. Too much of that in conjunction with the circling, though, and his reflexes would suffer for it.

“As Shield, my duty is to protect the king. That’s what drives me to fight no matter the odds.” That fact was hardly news to Ignis, who communicated as much with a slight narrowing of his stare. The smirk he received in return suggested Gladio knew he was wasting this information on him—and yet he continued. Their wordless understanding had been cultivated over the course of their work for Prince Noctis, but it was clearly not above being entirely disregarded in favor of Gladio’s own motives. “You just gotta do the same, Iggy.”

Ignis sighed and nearly considered calling the match if this was to go on. Only he knew well how that ended: Gladio would take advantage of the break in his guard, pin him down, and restart the match at best 3 of 5 rather than 2 of 3. With the direction his thoughts were currently headed, Ignis dared not risk that. “I’ll thank you to give practical advice.”

“Alright, how’s this? Training with you isn’t about protecting Noctis. You’re the one learning from me right now,” Gladio taunted, an effortless confidence layering the rumbling bass of his voice. Ignis insisted internally that he was not irritated at catching himself distracted, but at the fact that his colleague was correct. While his progress was remarkable since they began training, if Ignis did say so himself, he was a far cry from the Shield himself in terms of skill. “That means I need a new reason to stay motivated.”

“Is that right? Duly noted.” Gladio was familiar with the crisp, terse enunciation that Ignis used when offended, and he utilized that familiarity well here. He didn’t have the sheer strength to compete with Gladio, but Ignis was not one so easily dismissed. Their circling continued all the while, though the distance between them was closing. That could be to Ignis’ advantage if he planned his attacks carefully. At a closer range, that greatsword could not adapt like daggers could. All it would take for the strategy to work was letting Gladio talk a moment longer and perhaps even relax just so.

“Don’t be like that,” he teased, nodding companionably at Ignis despite his guard never dropping for a second. “Tell you what, I’ll think of something to get you fired up too. Like…”

Gladio had the same strategy, it seemed. He attacked with a downward slash and Ignis deflected the blow to redirect that momentum into his own evasion. Smoothly, he used that window of opportunity to throw a dagger at Gladio and narrowly missed. Close enough would not suffice in battle, however. “If I win this round, I take you out on a date.”

The stutter in his mind evidenced itself in a slight waver of his remaining dagger before he regained his composure. Very clever, Gladio—if a bit underhanded. There was no possibility Gladio that was aware of Ignis’ attraction to him, given the efforts he’d taken to conceal it. Ignis reviewed their recent interactions in his mind and could think of nothing that would betray what could be called a crush if he bothered to give those feelings a name. Balancing that analysis with his combat strategy was soon proven to be too much and Ignis pushed it aside for the time being.

“Very well.” It was too late to take it back once he’d said it. Ignis felt a flicker of anxiety, but it was dwarfed completely by his ambition. If there was even an ounce of seriousness to Gladio’s proposal, then Ignis fully intended to make him earn the right to his scarce free time. He didn’t often smile during training, but Ignis made an exception in this case. “Your terms are fair.”


The training greatsword dropped to the ground with a dull thud, Ignis standing breathless and proud over a fallen Gladio. He held the innocuous dagger point in the face of his defeated partner purely for the theatrics of it and pushed his glasses up with his other hand. This was his chance. Though the tables had turned on the original deal, Ignis had already committed to what was possibly his first spontaneous decision in years.

“I will still,” he paused to catch a spare breath, “Take you up on that date, I believe.”

“Those weren’t the rules, Iggy.” Gladio’s smile was patient, perhaps a touch self-conscious. What a rarity that was indeed. He offered a hand instead of the dagger and helped Gladio to his feet—another gesture made mainly for the principle of it. “I’ve got to earn it.”

The sudden wave of courage continued on its own momentum, as instinctive as the combat tactics Ignis had ingrained in his mind. He kept Gladio’s hand in his after he stood and held eye contact as well.

“Then consider it my reward instead.”

“Your reward, huh?” The smug aura radiating off Gladio was unmistakable in the easy grin and examining once-over he gave, but Ignis would not easily relent in this new arena of combat either.

“Now, Gladio,” he chastised and closed in, kissing Gladio in the way he had shamelessly imagined at the end of many especially trying days. Ignis lost himself in the coarseness of beard hair under his touch, the tension dissolving from them both as the kiss deepened and Gladio’s hand found its way to the small of Ignis’ back. There was too much inexperience to live up to the fantasy, but the intimate honesty of reality outstripped the daydream. With some reluctance, Ignis broke the kiss and met Gladio’s gaze. “The loser is not allowed to gloat.”

“Tastes like coffee.” Absent-minded and unfocused—two traits Gladio never displayed before this moment to the best of his knowledge. That was a new discovery shared between them, another area where their lives intersected. In Ignis’ case, that commonality was where his feelings for Gladio had taken root to begin with.

A distant part of his mind shouted for him to consider his actions: what would happen if the date went poorly, if a romantic relationship grew between them but did not last, if Noctis did not approve, plus the great number of other hypothetical scenarios that held Ignis back before the adrenaline rush of victory apparently seized control.

Yet with the warmth of Gladio’s softened smile and loving gaze lingering on him while the hand on his back pulled Ignis in as surely as gravity… He could tune it out. If only for the one idyllic moment.

“I suggest you acquire a taste for it.”


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The Distraction: Ignis’ Birthday FFXV Fanfiction

Prompto’s in on a surprise party for Ignis, and he’s been tasked with being the distraction. It’s harder than he thought, but he won’t let the guys down!
(Forgive the Promnis vibes, I’m trash for them.)

Words: 3073 words (10-25 minutes) | Chocobros

cplCF7B


This was it, the big day for their surprise party for Specs… Prompto was in charge of being a distraction, probably the hardest job of the whole thing. He tried telling the others that, but they swore up and down that he could do it, no problem. Riding in the passenger seat next to Iggy like usual, Prompto figured out that was probably because they didn’t wanna do it. Not ‘cause hanging with Iggy was bad or anything, but keeping him distracted when he was designed for laser-like focus was gonna be the hardest thing he’s ever done in his life.

He convinced Ignis to take him along to the Crown City mall half by saying he wanted to check out some places and half by saying he should learn what Ignis does for Noct, so he could be a backup if he needs it. And that only worked by stocking up Iggy points with little favors to make his job easier. Y’know, to prove he could be a good backup!

Which was kinda part of his day-to-day anyway. Iggy worked so hard doing stuff for them all the time, and Gladio and Noct didn’t really do that whole ‘helping with dinner’ thing. But hey, that’s what made it such a good cover story!

“We’ve arrived,” Ignis announced and the doors automatically locked once he put the car in park. The morning sun gave a little extra warmth to the winter air, but he couldn’t complain about the cold when it meant Ignis broke out his sharp, double-breasted wool peacoat. All his friends were supermodels, but he had to give it to Ig, he looked extra good dressed for cold weather. Like the Six knew it when they set his birthday in stone.

“Gotcha,” Prompto answered, springing out of the car with his camera around his neck. Just in case! Never know when you’ll see a shot you just got to take, and it was a great reason to draw out their trip if he had to. Ignis always stopped to wait when Prompto wanted to take pictures, and he was pretty patient about it too.

And really, Prompto was banking on that. They still had to decorate, put the gifts together, make a cake… And they hadn’t even started wrapping yet. Leaving all that to Noct and the big guy felt like a recipe for disaster, but all he could do now was his part. Going at a light jog to keep up with Iggy’s longer, purposeful stride, Prompto followed him into the Crown City mall.

“So! What’s our first stop?” There wasn’t much of a crowd, since it was mid-week. No luck there. Just made Prompto think about how he wished there was more color in their uniform.

“We’ll be visiting just the one shop: a specialty dining store,” Ignis answered and led the way. “There are certain cooking instruments designed for the road that will prove essential on our journey.”

“Hey, Iggy!” Prompto raced ahead of him, eager to get started ‘cause this was gonna eat up hours. …Okay, maybe one hour. For his first distraction, Prompto picked up a cup-like thing with a little curve for pouring, some weird plunger thing, and measuring lines on the side. Turning around with a bounce in his step, he showed the tool to Ignis. “What’s this gadget do?”

“Hm?” Ignis strode over to the table Prompto picked out. Even here, he did the driving and pushed the cart along too. There was a lotta stuff here he didn’t recognize, so Prompto had plenty of ammo to keep his attention. “Ah, that is a milk frother, primarily used for lattes and other such beverages where foam is a key part of the experience.”

“Right, right. Y’know, I’ve never had a latte.” He put the frother down by the others, twisting it so it’d match its family of frothers before he took off after Ignis. “Think you could use it in hot chocolate?”

“You certainly can. I’ll show you sometime.” Ignis had a hint of a smile as he wound artfully through the rows and rows of cooking stuff that was either high-end normal stuff or specialty stuff.

“That’d be real sweet of you,” Prompto shot back a pun, giggling while he followed after Ignis.

Maybe if he wasn’t so caught up looking at grills, Iggy might’ve given as good as he got. Probably better, he did a lot more reading than Prom and that gave him more material to work with. Comparing little portable grills to each other with wordless hums and silent notetaking on his phone, Prompto was pretty sure he could do a dance and get nothing from the royal advisor. Or just a quick glance, anyway.

“Hey, uh, Igster,” Prompto ventured an interruption when he looked just about done. “Isn’t this thing just a slab of salt?” He held up a swirled dark and light pink rectangle about two or three inches thick labelled with just ‘mineral salt block’ on the side.

“It is far more than that.” Ignis finished up a note on his phone, picking up a boxed version of the grill he settled on and putting it in the cart. “That is for grilling or stovetop cooking for the right stove, and it imparts a lightly salty flavor with the various health benefits of its mineral composition to—” Ignis sighed, picking up on the overwhelmed look on Prompto’s face. Probably. “It’s good for the food and for those who eat it.”

“Ah, gotcha. So Noct’d hate it, huh? Too healthy.” He put the block down, smiling at Ignis’ laugh.

“It doesn’t feature the same textural concerns Noct has with beans, but… I suspect you may be correct.”

Of course Prom got a text right then, and he hoped it was Gladio or Noct saying everything was fine and ready to go. Pulling his phone out of his pocket with only a little extra flair, he brought up the message from Noctis.

Need more time.

Only one way to answer that. Tossing in an exasperated emoji, he sent back just what he thought of that.

y tho

And the picture he got from Noct was so depressing, it was truly a loss for mankind. What was once gold cake was a bit more brown-and-black-ish, and big chunks of it were still stuck on the pan while the rest was somewhere off-frame. Uh, he hoped.

Noooooct

Thank Gladio.

smh how much time u need

A few seconds turned to a minute and Prompto kept checking his screen every few minutes before Ignis finally spoke up.

“Prompto, do pay attention,” he advised.

“Right, gotcha.” He pocketed his phone for the last time. Maybe. Still, left on read by Noct! If it wasn’t for Iggy’s birthday, he’d be in for a parade of emojis until Prompto got an answer. Or maybe not, but it sounded kinda fun to do. Trotting to catch up to Ignis again, he started up conversation. “So, you do all this by yourself?”

“Typically, yes,” he answered, though he sounded pleased rather than put out. Even looked the part smirking like that when he pushed up his glasses. “Gladio has little patience for it and Noctis has other responsibilities. It’s only natural this should be entrusted to me.”

“Yeah, but on your birthday?” Oops. He was so not supposed to say that, and Prompto’s stilted laugh when he figured out his slip-up didn’t do anything to throw Ignis off his scent. He even stopped to look at Prompto, examining him for answers. Or maybe it just felt like that and Prompto was worrying too much! He just to chill like Noct said to. Yeah, just… chill.

“I didn’t realize you knew.”

“Yeah, well, y’know.” Crap, he was very un-chill right now. Prompto shrugged, eyeing the shelves next to him for a way out of this conversation. “Noct brought it up, and I guess it stuck.” Gotta find a distraction and quick. It’d just buy time, Iggy’d never forget a slip-up like that, but time was all he needed. Prompto snatched up a waffle iron at the end of a really long stick from a display by the camping stuff. “Oh em gee, check this out! Waffles at camp, can you imagine?”

“If you’re willing to make them one at a time,” he teased with that slight smile, turning back to push the cart ahead. That’s right, Iggy, focus on the to-do list and forget that little blunder from Prompto.

“Aw, I’d never keep up with the big guy,” he mourned, dejectedly returning the specialty cookware to its box and catching up to the birthday guy again.

“Indeed not.”

After gathering the rest of their supplies in preparation for the coming trip in the warmer weather, Ignis checked off the final item in his phone.

“And that concludes our shopping for the time being.” The cart was expertly packed just so everything fit in and was even sorted for putting on the belt in an orderly fashion at checkout. Seriously, Ignis’ brain should be melting from all the stuff he thought ahead on. But Prompto was keeping up with him for now, anyway—maybe he really could be halfway-decent at this back-up thing.

“Really? You do a ton, but you really make it look easy. And that’s not just flattery to distract you, I mean it!” Dammit, he was getting bad at this. Thankfully, Ignis pretended not to notice it. Probably. He doubted he really didn’t realize. Ignis, miss something? Next, it’d rain ice cream!

“I should thank you.” With the last item rung through checkout (Prompto didn’t even dare to look at the total), it was as good a time as any, but so weird. Yeah, Prompto got it, he’d do the same if he were Iggy, but… He laughed, shrugging it off. Like always, Ignis kept going undaunted. “As much as I don’t anticipate I’ll need a substitute for my duty to Noctis, it never hurts to be prepared.”

“Hey, uh. No problem! Least I can do, really.” Prompto was spared being even more awkward somehow when Ignis gave his attention to checkout. Plus, it got him a second to text Noct without spectacles maybe seeing what he was up to if he didn’t figure it out yet.

omw home

Not yet.

Prompto let out a groan, slumping in defeat. The shopping trip was over, Noct! What now?

“Stocking the cart might go more smoothly if your hands were free.” Uh oh, that was the informative warning tone. Ignis was audio-coded to hint at what he was thinking and Prompto was getting a code yellow.

“Uh, right.” Putting his phone away, he helped moved the grill and cooking stuff he didn’t exactly recognize into the cart. They were almost done and Prompto blurted out his only idea before he had a chance to think about it enough to stop. “Actually, wanna go someplace cool after this?”

“Pardon?”

“Y’know, ‘cause it’s your birthday! There’s guys who can take this stuff back to the castle, yeah?” He really hoped Ignis would buy this. He couldn’t be the one who screwed up and ruined the surprise, the guys were counting on him! “Isn’t there a place you’ve always wanted to check out, but never got to?”

“Not especially,” Ignis answered after a brief pause. That mildly wide-eyed look was way too caught off guard… Could it be Iggy never thought about stuff he wanted to do before? Seriously? Prompto wanted to not believe it, but with all the stuff he’s always doing for everyone else under the sun, it’s, y’know… Possible. If not super likely.

“Then I’ll show you around. C’mon, it’s just one day, not even. Two hours.” Ignis pulled the cart to the side and out of the way, which wasn’t a yes but it wasn’t a no yet either. He could still get away with this! Prompto flashed the smile that usually worked on Noct, tossing in an eager bounce to cover his bases. “Birthday trip? Birthday trip!”

“There’s snow outside, Prompto.” This answer was just a little bit weaker, not reinforced with the typical Ignis brand crisp certainty that came with every sentence. And what kinda sharpshooter would he be if he didn’t take this opening?

“So? We’ve got boots.” Prompto bent his knee and held one foot up like he needed to demonstrate. Paired with the grin, he could tell—he was winning this round.

“I have to return to the castle for dinner preparation.” Ignis’ gaze darted to the shop windows and the city guard posted outside. The ones that could take all this back to the castle for them and buy the guys some time before Iggy came back.

“How’s this—you go on the birthday trip you so deserve, let me take a couple cool shoots to remember it by, and I’ll help make dinner.” He offered his hand to Ignis, leaning into his field of vision to get his attention. “Deal?”

With a sigh and a signal the guards outside, Ignis gave in. “Very well.”

“Woohoo! You’re not gonna regret it.”


After their side trip, they had to get someone to give them a ride and man, was it weird to have Ignis riding in the back seat of a car next to Prompto in calm quiet. Not a bad, awkward quiet—he was so used to those—but chill. He was usually in front too so Gladio could get the extra leg room, so at least being next to Iggy was just like always. Prompto dug out his phone again, sending one last warning text. They’d gotten another hour or hour and a half outta this, he hoped they figured it out.

omw 4 real

“When you said cool pictures, I hadn’t thought you meant literally on the ice.” Ignis only just glanced his way, his face still slightly red from spending time in the cold February air.

“Hey, that pond is a prime photo op!” He slipped his phone into his pocket, swapping it out for his camera. “Check it out,” he offered, bringing up a photo of Ignis in the light, warm glow of the late afternoon winter sun glittering off the ice, a faint plume of his breath in front of him and a delicate blush to his cheeks. Say what you want about the royal advisor, but it’d better be a compliment—he was gorgeous. “My best one yet.”

“Oh, so you collect them?”

“Ah, well, y’see, I—” Shoot. The car was slowing down and he caught a peek of the castle entrance. Thank the Six! “I take pictures of all you guys, yeah? Hey, look, we’re here!” Shuffling out his side, half-stumbling out, Prompto fled to safety. Almost over, this was the home stretch!


“They keep falling!”

“And whose fault is that?” Familiar voices reached Ignis and Prompto as they worked their way back to one of the smaller, casual family dining rooms in the castle.

“The tape.” Ah, classic Noct. Ignis turned to Prompto with a questioning brow and he just smiled back, nodding him to go first. Nothing left to hide now! Ignis pulled the door open and stepped into the room, which… kinda looked like elementary schoolers decorated it, but hey. Not everyone was a perfect party coordinator like Iggy.

“Gladio? Noctis.” Was that disbelief or patient warnings at the sight of lopsided streamers hanging all the way over to Noctis, who stood on a chair taping the last corner up. For the millionth time, from the sounds of it. Mostly decently wrapped presents sat on one end of the elegant dining table and at the other were three whole separate two-layer cakes and enough fancy takeout for a family of six. “What is…?”

“Happy birthday, Specs,” Noctis said, smiling as he stepped down from the chair and came over with Gladio.

“Didn’t think we forgot, did you?” Gladio clapped his hand on Ignis’ shoulder, his too-perfect smile coming as naturally as ever. Maybe a little more, even.

“I… Suppose this was what the escapades were all about,” he remarked, glancing back at Prompto.

“Whoa, three cakes?!” Gotta change that subject, Ignis, they didn’t know about any escapades! It was just supposed to be errands. But it was their fault he had to draw it out, wasn’t it? Chill, Prompto—chill. “All this food… I’m just gonna have to run more tomorrow.”

“After running around all day today too,” Gladio joked, thankfully getting the hint. Probably.

“What’s this about escapades?” Noct was not so merciful, and that is why Gladio got all the ladies, Prompto thought to himself. Okay, yeah, it was always great to see him smile, just—not at Prompto’s expense!

“Hey, you guys told me to keep him busy!”

“And you did very well. I haven’t been ice skating since Noctis was a boy and that pond was rather scenic.” Ignis to the rescue even on his birthday, what a saint. He did fall into a thoughtful silence, looking like he was trying to find life’s answers in the present pile. “Though I had figured you out by then, of course. I am curious why you kept me preoccupied for so much longer than necessary.”

“Gladio wrecked the cake.”

“Okay, Princess,” he dismissed. “Told you to set the timer.”

“And I told you I was busy.”

“Never heard you.”

“Getting old already,” Noctis said like he was in mourning, giving as good as he got and ducking out of a headlock from Gladio by just a hair. He’d better be faster than Gladio after all that childhood of training with him.

“Regardless of the kitchen mishaps I’ll contend with later,” Ignis got their attention back. “Thank you. I admit, I am at a loss for what else I might say.”

“No big deal,” Noctis answered, obviously proud of himself. “You could start by having dinner. I’m dying to try these skewers,” he suggested, leading the way to the meal.

“Speaking of that, I do believe Prompto owes me a standing offer to help with dinner.” Ignis picked up his own plate and shot Prompto a smile. “An awfully easy suggestion when you know there’s takeout on the table, hm?”

“You don’t have to resort to birthday blackmail, dude. I got your back,” Prompto promised. And snagged a plate of his own, he had to get to this food before the big guy got it all. “Still, though. Uh, happy birthday, Ignis.”


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FFXV Meta: Too Much is Never Enough

I’ve recently beaten Final Fantasy XV and have been sating my need for more content by consuming all the DLC, scripts, and anime (which I’m sure you understand if you’ve also played). The other way I’m coping with the fact that I’m done FFXV is by analyzing one of my favorite songs from the OST, Too Much is Never Enough by Florence + the Machine.

Mind you, these lyrics are subjective and you may find other metas that have a different take. Enjoy them all! The fun is in gathering all the different ideas to discuss. And since you’re here, this is my perspective on what the lyrics mean in Too Much is Never Enough.

BEWARE: FFXV Spoilers Abound

Proceed with Caution

About 1500 words | 5- to 10-minute read

ffxv ff15 chocobros too much is never enough


 

A year like this passes so strangely

Somewhere between sorrow and bliss

He never really grieved his father fully, not on screen at least, and I think these lyrics really speak to that. He’s on the road with three people he loves like family*, but in the meantime, he’s lost his father without really getting to say goodbye. And they had such an emotionally charged but unexpressed (or under-expressed) father-son relationship that he’s never quite fully recovered from or processed his loss.

* not negating any ships here, just acknowledging his bond with all of the Chocobros

– – –

Oh, who decides from where up high?

I couldn’t say I need more time

Oh, grant that I can stay the night

Or one more day inside this life

I love this direct contradiction because that’s just so Noctis: to conceal what you really need emotionally even as you know that’s what you need.

To say you don’t need more time, but praying for the one night or maybe just one more day there, with his family—that’s all he needs before he lays down his life for them.

Because Noctis naturally doesn’t say what he feels, sometimes even saying the opposite, or says just the tip of the iceberg of his real feelings. That cloaked duality comes across here in a really meaningful, subtle (and yeah, hurtful) way.

But it also shows this desperate (not sure if this is the best word, but it’s that quality of needing someone), vulnerable side to Noctis that just wants a single night more even as he also says he couldn’t say he needs more (not that he’s singing, just going on the Noctis angle).

As much as Noctis is kind of spoiled and definitely takes his friends for granted, that doesn’t change the depth of his love for them.

And though this is the official lyrics line break, I do think it’s interesting that it can be heard either as shown above or:

Oh, who decides from where up high? I couldn’t say

I need more time

As an alternate interpretation of “who says it has to be this way, I don’t know” and then the plea for a little more time here with the ones he holds so dear to his heart. This ability to hear it differently really reinforces the duality/contradiction of these lines.

FINAL_FANTASY_XV chocobros selfie

– – –

And the crown it weighs heavy

‘Till it’s banging on my eyelids

Retreating in covers and closing the curtains

I once told my friends that Noctis was like a cat that hides beneath the bed and the Chocobros all have different tactics for getting him out—this section of lyrics reminds me of that, but way prettier and more poetic.

Retreating in covers and closing the curtains, shutting out the world, because he’s avoiding feelings, the pressures of royalty, etc. The specific things being avoided in these lines are royal obligations and the cost of being the True King, of course.

And it does remind me of the pointedly kingly moments of Noctis—like when Jared was killed, he focused on Talcott, speaking to him like his king rather than as his friend. He showed empathy, understanding that this situation wasn’t fair and it wasn’t right, but he promised to make it right.

FFX Noctis Talcott

That’s not something he’d say like that to his boys or Luna—similar, maybe, but not the same. If you know him as Prince Noctis, you aren’t getting past the curtains. He won’t let you in because you need him to be an icon, and he won’t disappoint you that way. But if you know Noct? You stand a better chance, at least.

Another moment is kiddo Noctis declaring to Gladio in Brotherhood that he won’t lose their sparring match—he has lost every one at that point, he has no reason to believe he’ll succeed. But that’s what is expected of him, that’s what he needs to do as prince.

And as much as that pressure is a lot—that crown weighs heavy—he embraces it, he wants to meet that expectation and make them proud. But the cost is both his closed nature and in a way, being blind to the costs of the crown. He knows there’s a cost, he’s said to Prompto that being a normal person is kind of nice. But he doesn’t acknowledge a limit to how much cost is too much (an interesting twist on the title, now that I think of it).

There’s a bit of idle dialogue in-game where Ignis comments on Noctis looking worn down, and Gladio says he needs to take better care of himself—and Noctis tells them that’s their job. I’m using this as an example of him not seeing self-care as worth it, seeing this cost as not being too much to pay, blind to its toll—and his friends have to take on that toll for him so he can keep on going.

But honestly, even the fact that Prompto says nothing is part of the cost. You know this boy probably wanted to speak up, but he 1) might’ve felt it wasn’t his place, thanks Noctis and 2) is the least pushy of his friends.

He lets Noctis come to him when he wants or needs something, so he puts his own feelings aside for Noctis’ benefit. Prompto is someone he can avoid the crown/feelings with who won’t bring it up before he’s ready, which is important, but it’s Prompto who shoulders that burden in the meantime.

Though I also want to say I think the really beautiful thing with Luna is that she gets the special privilege of seeing Noctis as himself and the True King simultaneously— they are one and the same to her, and I think that’s a big part of his feelings for her too.

Again, not negating any ships here! I’m a multishipper, so this game is a grand ol’ buffet of cute ships to me. :sparkling_heart:

– – –

And who cares about the thing I did that night?

So what, maybe Luna had it right

And who cares if I’m coming back alive?

So what, least I have the strength to fight

Okay, so if you look at these four lines separately, you get more options, but I’m choosing to look at them all together because angst.

When Luna dies and sees Noctis one last time, she says they can’t see each other again “because my prayers have been answered, my calling fulfilled”.

That’s what I’m thinking of with “maybe Luna had it right”, but this introduces an interesting thought that Noctis thought she was wrong before. Suggesting that perhaps he was angry with her for praying to die for them even if that is the cost of the Oracle’s covenant. Basically his thought path would be along the lines of “wtf Luna, haven’t I lost enough?”

ffxv luna noctis field scene.jpg

One of the five stages of grief is anger, so that’s especially intriguing to me because I have a feeling Noctis would also feel guilty about being angry, and of course he’s all caught up in his own feelings for the indefinite future as he works this whole mess out.

The first and third lines of this section apply well to the endgame. He’s referring to his own death for the safety of all without actually using the word itself. Avoidant even now, because sometimes it is just too much to take, whether you’ve made your peace or not (and of course he had, he says as much).

But it’s also an extension of not having any idea of what cost is too much—he’ll pay any cost for them and the world. Let’s be real, it’s mostly for the ones he loves, but he lives up to his duty with pride.

But he’s still being dismissive of their feelings. He doesn’t care if he comes back alive, but they do. One last cost he leaves them to pay, but that is part of their duty in this. They filled the time he had with love and a good deal of patience, so they must be among those not exactly celebrating at the return of natural order.

In a way, that last line is for all of them—having the strength to be there, to fight, to live up to the honorable, painful duty set before them—they can be proud of that despite the steep cost.

Thanks for reading!

If you’ve got thoughts to share, I’m happy to see them.