Epilogue: Mundus Novus
A caravan of three, sleek, black cars speed through the city tunnel and make their way upon the main highway of Nihilsomno. The appearance of protection was still a necessary precaution in a world where everything seemed new and yet still the same.
"According to the state minister, the 13th peace conference with monarchs and Nihilsomno ended safely. Moreover, in the conference, talk about the peaceful use of our nation's crystal has resumed. The people hope for a period of peace lasting hundreds of years. Additionally, the time of Prince Noctis' coronation draws near..."
Alone, he sits inside the backseat of one of the cars, his cheek resting lightly against his gloved hand. Red eyes look pensive as he listens to the radio broadcast. The voice of the newscaster becomes lost to his hears as he lets his apprehension take over. His destination is in sight and he feels nervous. But he needs to do this. He needs to do this to move on. He has been dreading this moment since the beginning of the peace talks.
He had gotten into the habit of twirling the ring upon his finger when he became anxious. The only reason he has not resorted to it now is because of his leather gloves. The ring. Another gift from Etro that he had not realized he had been given when he had seen her. He had been plenty preoccupied at the time to notice such a thing. She had not physically put it on his hand, he was sure of that. He had not been that distracted. He only noticed it later, when he had been changing.
The ring itself suited his tastes. It was more the giver that had him trying to take the wretched thing off his finger than the way it looked. Only, he could not take it off. He had, had an irrational moment where he would have cut off his own finger to get it off but was quickly rebuffed from his friends. They had said it looked cool. He had said it looked like she had branded him as hers and he hated to be seen as a possession of hers. Even now, he could never trust her intentions. He would never understand why she had done what she had done. But he supposes he will find out eventually.
"We are here, your Majesty," says the driver and he feels his anxiety increase as he steps out of the car and onto the carpeted walkway.
He takes a moment to stare up at the building and does not hold back a sigh.
"Wait a sec," he hears and he allows himself a grin before he turns towards the voice.
"I was beginning to worry," he says, looking at his friends.
"We wouldn't let you down, Noct," says Des with a grin.
"The conference ran longer than I had expected," he says with a shrug.
"Here," says Vires as he hands him a garment bag.
"It was not necessary for all three of you to come," says Noctis with a raised eyebrow.
"We weren't going to miss this," says Sapien.
"Bunch of nannies still."
"Yeah, but you love us anyway," says Des.
"Go on," says Sapien, tilting his head to the men's room.
"We'll be waiting at the elevator," says Vires as the three of them watch him make his way.
It does not take him long to dress out of his usual outfit of leather and into the black suit his friends have brought for him. As he adjusts the collar of his dress shirt and jacket, he looks at himself in the mirror. It was easier now. Easier to look at himself in the mirror, now that he had done something about his guilt. Now that he had something to look forward to. He had begun to feel more free and more hopeful. The blackness no longer seemed to have such a strangle hold on him. Now, he could actually breathe.
"You can do this," he says to his reflection.
He returns to the lobby to meet with his friends.
A smirk crosses his lips as he looks at what they are wearing and he feels the deja vu all over again. Then the anxiousness settles in with it as the elevator doors close. The view of the city around him as he ascends is not enough to distract him from his thoughts and the ride is over before he realizes.
"You can do this, Noct," he hears Sapien's voice, muffled within the helmet he is wearing.
"Yeah, you can do this," agrees Des, his voice also muffled.
"Courage," he hears Vires say.
He nods as the elevator doors open and the floor is open to his gaze.
The entire floor looks empty. The tables have no settings and there is no background music on. There is the light hum of energy and the soft swishing noises within the ceiling high aquarium. Red eyes scan the room as the elevator doors close behind him and he waits until the cab is on its way down before he walks into the middle of the room.
Taking a deep breath, he gives himself a moment, as he reaches the bottom of the metal staircase leading to the upper observation desk. His eyes look up and his steps echo in the otherwise empty floor. Slowly, he makes his way to the top and that is when he can see her. Sees her now as he had seen her then. Her back to him as she observed the portrait of Etro. She's wearing white again and there is no other color that would suit her better.
He does not stop his slow steps as his eyes remain fixed upon her form. She is as mesmerizing to him now as she had been when he had first seen her standing there. Before, before when they had everything to lose and nothing to gain. Now, what would they have?
Breath completely leaves him as she slowly turns to stare back at him. The smile that spreads across her features and lights up her eyes makes his heart stop. He knows, in this moment, that she would forever render him completely speechless. She would rob him completely of any other thoughts but her. He feels his heart begin to beat again.
And this time, this time it is a hopeful heart that beats again.
The long Author's Note: So, there is it. It is the end. It has been a long, arduous and often times tedious journey for me. Noctum was originally supposed to just a one shot. A retelling of the Cloud trailer. Then it just turned into this monster story that demanded more chapters. It was always intended to end though. I never start fics that I feel I am not able to complete.
I have tried to write in every scene from the trailers into Noctum. I was halfway through the fic when I realized I never wrote about the scene where he's riding in the car and listening to the radio broadcast. My excuse being that Noctum was supposed to be a one shot and that scene was played before the fight in the Cloud trailer. I was ready to just ignore the scene all together but decided to be a little creative and put it at the end of the fic instead.
I would like to send my heartfelt thanks to all those who reviewed and gave this fic a chance. All of you know who you are. Without your support, I don't think I would have had as much fun writing this fic.
I know I left things open. Open to a sequel but I have not made any plans to write one. I do plan on continuing the story by way of one shots based in this verse that I have created. If anyone has any requests for said one shots, please let me know. I will take all requests into consideration.
The one shot series that will follow the Noctum verse will be called, "The Eclipse Series". Please keep on the look out for it and an eye on my Profile. I update it whenever I can and you will be better able to keep up with updates that way.
Lots of love and I hope you enjoyed the end.