A/N: I said one day I would never write a modern day AU. And that I wouldn't start a multichapter fic again. So, of course, here I am posting the first chapter to a modern AU thingy.
Remember the Iceland volcano that erupted in 2010 and blocked all air traffic over Europe for about an entire week? Well, I was on a business trip at that time, and the volcano happened on the day I was supposed to go home. Cue a lot of misunderstandings, one failed attempt at going back via another country, and one week going from hotel to hotel never really knowing what would happen (some people were talking about it lasting for months, and let's just say I was far enough not to be able to go back easily)
Anyway. A few weeks ago I was super sleep deprived and thought - hey, wouldn't it be a cool setting for Prompto and Noctis to meet, go on dates and have sexy times in fancy hotels? I told a few friends about this, and they all encouraged me to write it so... here we are!
Many thanks to voxiferous, my amazing beta!
My heart is a mess
"Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. I am sorry to announce that the airport in Galdin Quay has closed as well. This plane will now be turning back to Tenebrae; we should be arriving in less than two hours."
Prompto woke up with a start. He sat up on his makeshift bed and stared blankly at the screen that displayed their course, watching the tiny animated airplane turn around with disbelief. How the hell could this be happening?
It should have all been easy - fun, even. Sure, he didn't have much interest in his job, but it paid well enough and they had told him from the start that he would get to travel. So he had sucked it up and signed up for that boring IT job with that insurance company - at least at 23 he could say that his parents were finally sort of proud of him. Plus, he still had his evenings and weekends free to take photos and work on them. And, when after barely 6 months his boss had told him he was going to go on his first business trip - to Tenebrae, no less - Prompto had truly been excited.
Tenebrae was amazingly beautiful. He had seen photos, but he would never have imagined being able to go there - not so soon at least, and certainly not with all expenses paid by his company. Prompto, who had only flown a handful of times in his life, had found himself sitting in business class, eyes sparkling at how much leg room there was and at how the seat could actually become some kind of bed. He had barely even cared that he seemed completely out of place, looking much younger than everyone else and wearing sweatpants - because, really, there was no way he was going to spend a 10-hour flight in a goddamned suit. He had been determined to enjoy this, even in spite of the work and his asshole colleague Dino, who thought being 3 years older than Prompto gave him the right to boss him around.
And, truly, everything had gone fine. The ten days had gone smoothly; the employees of the Tenebraen branch were super nice and had taken them to a lot of amazing restaurants; and he had used the free weekend to fill up an entire memory card with photos. It had been a great trip, and it had helped him forget a little about how shitty this whole year had been for him so far.
Except life apparently wasn't about to give Prompto a break. They should have flown back to Insomnia more than 24 hours ago, but then everything had gone to hell. Apparently, during their last day in Tenebrae, the Rock of Ravatogh had decided to have a little fun of its own and released a shitton of ashes into the air, forcing airports to gradually close everywhere around Lucis. Prompto and Dino had spent the first night at the airport in Tenebrae, waiting to see if the situation would clear up by morning. When it didn't, Dino had decided to take one of the hotel rooms provided by the airline and left.
But Prompto was stubborn. It wasn't as if anyone in particular was waiting for him back in Insomnia - his parents would probably be worried, but he wasn't living with them anyway… And his life there wasn't exactly thrilling, either. But he really hated when things spiraled out of his control like this, and that he had had no information whatsoever about when the situation would improve. Galdin Quay's airport hadn't been closed yet, so he had managed to get a seat on the night flight there - and gotten an earful from Dino on the phone because "blah blah blah the company should handle it, why do you need to make things so complicated, you should be more grateful, blah blah." Whatever. Prompto would fly out to Galdin Quay, get on a bus to Insomnia, and then he wouldn't have to worry about that damn volcano anymore.
If Dino could remain stuck in Tenebrae alone for a few weeks too, Prompto wouldn't miss him too much.
So, that was how he had found himself on this plane, thinking that this time life wouldn't win, and barely caring that he had gone 36 hours without sleeping. Still, he was so exhausted that he felt right about to collapse. So, as soon as the seatbelt sign had gone off, he had put the seat into bed mode and had fallen asleep almost immediately.
Until he was awakened less than two hours later by this damned announcement.
"What… No, no, no, it can't…" he muttered, barely realizing that he was starting to shake.
Prompto was too tired, he was too stressed out. This year had been hell - his "friends" from college had started ghosting him; his emotionally unavailable ex-boyfriend hadn't even managed to have the balls to actually break up with him; he had taken a soulless corporate job just so his family wouldn't treat him as a failure - everything sort of sucked. And, sure, maybe staying in Tenebrae longer could be nice, maybe he didn't really need to go back to Insomnia, but for once he simply wanted to feel like life wasn't giving him a giant finger.
He really had had enough of everything. He just wanted a break. And some sleep.
Instead, he was about to have a fucking breakdown in the middle of a crowded plane. In business class. Surrounded by composed guys in fancy suits. Gods dammit, he just didn't belong here.
He backed up into the shell of his seat as much as possible, hid his face in his arms as he hugged his knees and tried to get his breathing under control. His whole body felt numb, and he wasn't sure whether or not he was about to throw up or burst into tears, and he was very much aware that he was most likely making a fool out of himself. At least Dino wasn't here to tell him to stop being so weak, that he wasn't the only person affected and that he should be ashamed. Or something equally nice.
"Fuck…" he breathed out as a sob escaped him. He really had to make the shaking stop. It wasn't as if him breaking down would make the ash miraculously disappear and the plane turn back around. Fleetingly, Prompto wished he had had the presence of mind to lock himself in a bathroom so he could cry all he wanted.
"Hey… are you okay?"
Prompto flinched at the question, his heart somehow racing even more than before as he tried to bury his face deeper into his folded arms. He wasn't sure exactly who had spoken; probably the guy sitting next to him… He hadn't even looked at him when he had sat down, tired as he was. Plus, an attendant would most likely have added "Sir," which would have honestly made this whole situation even more embarrassing.
He tried to say yes, that he was fine, but all that came out of Prompto's throat was a garbled sound; and he just hugged his knees tighter, wishing he could disappear into the seat.
Prompto felt the edge of the "bed" shift and then the voice spoke again. "Can you hear me? I know the plane is loud."
Not trusting his voice, Prompto simply nodded, his face still hidden in his arms.
"Good. I'm going to put my hand on your arm now, okay?"
Prompto nodded again, and while he almost jumped out of his skin at the contact, the warm hand was somehow grounding him a little.
"Now, I need you to take a deep breath, can you do that?"
Prompto managed to breathe. He didn't really understand why anyone would want to bother with some idiot loser who let a stupid situation like this get to him, but the other guy's voice was warm and comforting; so Prompto listened as this stranger helped him get his breathing under control.
It took a few minutes, but eventually Prompto felt his body stop shaking. His head hurt and his brain was a mess because he was still so fucking tired and this whole thing hadn't helped at all… but at least he felt somewhat able to speak properly.
"Thank you," Prompto said quietly, still not raising his head, though.
"Don't mention it," the stranger said, and his hand squeezed Prompto's forearm gently. "Will you be alright?"
Prompto took another deep breath. Well, he supposed he'd get a hotel room with the airline, then check with his company. Things should be okay. He was a ridiculous mess, but everything would probably work out fine. There was no need to bother this guy even longer - he had already been nice enough to help him through his breakdown. Prompto thought he should probably thank him properly, so he finally raised his head to look at the other guy.
The man was positively gorgeous. He was wearing a dark grey shirt with the top button open and black suit pants. He seemed young, maybe about Prompto's age, which might explain why his dark hair was styled in spikes instead of sporting a more professional look. And his eyes - dammit, even in the dim light from the plane's overhead lighting, Prompto could see how deeply blue they were as they stared back at him with fond concern.
Okay, this was unfair. Nobody should be allowed to look that good on a 10-hour flight.
If anything, it made Prompto even more painfully aware of the fact that he stood out like a sore thumb with his dumb t-shirt and sweatpants, his hair not styled at all (who styles their hair before sleeping anyway?) and his face most likely all red and splotchy. At least he had been able to shower at the airport… but still.
Suddenly realizing that he was staring, Prompto straightened up a little, clearing his throat. "I, uh… yeah," he sputtered, scratching his neck nervously. "I'll be fine."
Prompto tried not to think about how much he liked the sound of the other man chuckling, and how even more attractive he looked when he smiled. This was absolutely not the time, and besides, Prompto was not the kind of person to flirt with random people. He was barely able to flirt at all, to be honest.
"I'm glad," the man said, smiling. His hand left Prompto's forearm, but he didn't move from his spot on Prompto's "bed."
"Noctis," the other man interrupted.
"Thanks, Noctis," Prompto said a little more calmly. "I, um… That really helped."
"I told you, don't mention it. Besides," he sighed, crossing his arms and leaning against the back of the seat in front if Prompto's, "this whole thing sucks."
"That… yeah," Prompto said. "Were you going to Galdin Quay?"
"Insomnia, but I figured this would be close enough."
"Hmm, same," Prompto said, leaning back in his seat.
"So, what were you doing in Tenebrae?" Noctis asked.
Prompto smiled slightly at the question. He had honestly expected Noctis to just go back to his seat once he knew that Prompto felt better, but the small talk was very welcome. He really needed to focus on anything other than the fact that they were really going back to Tenebrae, and that he had no idea how or when he would be able to go home.
Also, should he mention again that the guy was really very handsome?
"Business trip… Nothing fascinating," Prompto sighed. "You?"
"Dude, who wears suits on vacation?" Prompto asked, laughing.
"Says the guy who wears sweatpants on a business trip," Noctis retorted with a smirk.
"Okay, seriously, why would anyone want to sleep in a suit?"
Noctis laughed softly, and Gods Prompto was way too tired because a simple laugh shouldn't give him stomach butterflies.
"I guess I've gotten used to it," Noctis trailed off, looking away a little. "Besides, I can sleep anywhere. But… yeah, I might have used my last day here for some business stuff."
They kept talking like this for a while. For all of Prompto's social awkwardness, Noctis was actually pretty easy to talk to. Maybe the lack of sleep helped, but Prompto felt comfortable, like they'd known each other for years instead of a few minutes. Prompto mentioned how he had thought studying computer stuff could at least get him a cool job in a video game company instead of this soulless insurance thing - Noctis laughed and asked which games he liked, and they were right in the middle of debating which Assassin's Creed game was the best one when they heard the announcement that the plane would be beginning its descent soon.
Noctis stood up between their seats and straightened out his arms. "Need a hand changing this back into a seat?" he asked, gesturing at Prompto's still-unfolded bed.
Prompto raised an eyebrow at him. "You know how to do it? I had to ask the attendant last time," he admitted, a bit embarrassed. In his defense, it wasn't just a case of pushing a button; there was some weird manipulation to be done with the cushions, and Prompto hadn't wanted to risk looking like a complete idiot.
"It's not that difficult, look," Noctis said with a slight smirk, before extending his hand towards Prompto.
Prompto's mind blanked for a second as he watched himself grab Noctis' hand and get pulled to his feet. There wasn't that much room; so when they were both standing in the small space between their seats, Noctis shifting around to switch places with him, Prompto felt his heart rate pick up a little. His brain might still have been fuzzy with sleep, yet he noticed many little details. Like how they were both almost exactly the same height, how Noctis' hand released his own to touch his arm slightly as they moved around, how Noctis' skin seemed absolutely flawless - which, again, not fair - and… okay, maybe his tired brain was imagining things, but Prompto could swear that he saw Noctis' eyes quickly dart towards his lips.
He had probably imagined it. They had only just met, after all, and he looked like a total mess. And even if he didn't, there was no way a guy like that could ever be interested in someone like Prompto.
On the other hand, Prompto was tired and lonely, and would most likely never see Noctis again once they stepped out of the plane. So, he definitely spared a quick glance at Noctis' lips - dammit, nothing about this guy was fair - which was probably not at all subtle. Whatever. When he ended up alone in whatever hotel room the airline would provide for him, it would be nice to think back to this moment and imagine that maybe there had been more between them.
Lost in thought, Prompto barely registered the faint blush appearing on Noctis' cheeks as their eyes met for a second - and he definitely did not pay attention to how Noctis was folding his seat back up, because staring at the back of his head seemed much more interesting. In Prompto's defense, Noctis' hair looked really soft in spite of the gel styling it, and that was really intriguing, okay?
"See, easy!" Noctis said, and Prompto jumped as he fully realized Noctis was facing him again.
"Um…" Prompto uttered eloquently, his eyes wide.
Noctis laughed softly, and there was a fondness in his eyes that Prompto was most likely imagining - because Noctis certainly thought he was a complete idiot. "You look exhausted, man," Noctis said, stepping aside to let Prompto sit down, gently patting his back as he did, and Prompto was definitely reading too much into things now.
"Yeah…" Prompto said, letting himself fall back in his seat. "Haven't slept for... I don't know, it must have been almost 48 hours now? Minus the little sleep I got on the plane."
Noctis winced exaggeratedly as he sat down in the seat next to Prompto's. "48 hours? How are you not dead?"
Prompto let out a heartfelt laugh at Noctis' utterly offended expression. "I don't know? I might be," he started, then quickly reeled back in horror as he almost added some horrifying line about maybe being in heaven, given the good company.
Maybe pulling almost two all-nighters in a row wasn't making Prompto the smoothest talker - but there was a line that should not be crossed. Ever.
Noctis only smiled and leaned a little bit towards Prompto. "Shit, I've been talking to a ghost this whole time, then?"
Prompto grinned and raised one eyebrow at Noctis. "Maybe you're one too? Maybe the plane never turned back and the volcano got to us?"
"You're a dork," Noctis chuckled, playfully swatting Prompto's arm.
"Sorry- I'm very tired," Prompto said, cringing.
"I didn't say it was a bad thing," Noctis said softly, the unreadable expression on his face making Prompto's stomach do a series of backflips for a moment. "Hey, by the way, I never got your name?" Noctis asked then.
"Oh, sorry- I'm Prompto."
Noctis' lips curled into a gentle smile, his eyes shining with amused fondness - and Prompto knew he was definitely done for when he heard Noctis speak again, his voice warm and sincere.
"Nice to meet you, Prompto."
A/N: So, if you were wondering, yep, some companies have seats that completely unfold into beds in business class. I've only done this once, but I was lucky enough to be on one of them, and much like Prompto, I felt super out of place but it was also super awesome. Well, the volcano thing was not super fun - especially since I had an asshole colleague myself, and no Noctis to make up for it. (But I did meet my now husband on the day I got back to work at home, so, hey, not too bad!)
Thank you for reading! I hope you liked this first chapter! I have written everything up to chapter 3 so far, I'm not entirely certain how long this will be, I guess it will depend on these two dorks because I can't always control them^^. There probably won't be any angst or drama... I just wanted a fun, happy fic about these two falling in love in that particular setting. And I hope to be able to update regularly, something like once a week or every two weeks, unless my kid suddenly decides not to nap anymore.
Don't hesitate to bother me on Tumblr yuneyn and Twitter Yuneyn_ - I scream about Promptis a lot!