A/N: Surprise! A secret alternate ending for those of you that wanted a little bit more! Think of it like the secret ending you'd get after the credits for completing all the requirements ;)
This is purely for those that wanted to read a little more for Noctis and Niveus! It's sort of...a glimpse at what a "happy" ending might have been like. If you wish to only have the previous ending in your mind, then you do NOT have to read! This alternate ending will NOT be at all connected to the sequel that will be following (100% confirmed; thank you to those that showed interest in it!).
I just want to give some info on that for those that may be wondering what a sequel to my story could possibly contain: Politics, conspiracies, betrayal will dominate the start largely, but Noctis and his friends will be thrown into another adventure against their wishes. His friends will be given a much bigger role! LC was largely Noctis and Niveus, so I want to give them more "screen time". Niveus will reappear in it, as will some other original characters that I introduced in LC. Stella will also be in it (keep in mind, LC takes place before she and Noctis have met!), and her home of Tenebrae will have its large role to play too. The mythology of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series will also play a larger part (keep in mind, LC was started before that info was released, but I do wish to now interweave what is known into the story more). As for everything else, well, you'll just have to wait and see!
That's all on that for now, please enjoy the little alternate ending! (And to those of you that have read the little one-shot I posted before LC started, yes this is meant to mirror that.)
Despite all the people present, Noctis felt quite alone. The party attendees, for it was King Regis' birthday celebration, all mingled among themselves. Politicians and those from noble families, who called Lucis and elsewhere their home, were the guests. Noctis groaned inwardly. They were always his least favourite of people to deal with, and yet it was always who he had to primarily meet. Having been born into this life was not as great as others always made it out to be. It was often boring, tedious, and so...lonely.
For those reason, it was largely why he always enjoyed being a Protector, being a l'Cie. His duties to the Crystal gave him something else to do, something else to look forward to during his long days. Their ancient guardian provided him with an escape to his otherwise imprisoned life.
"Yo, Noct!" called out a cheery voice, rising easily above the light din of chatter the other guests created. Raising his head, the Prince scanned the crowd for the source of the chipper voice, soon spotting his friend Prompto coming towards him. The other guests glanced momentarily to the blond, seeming annoyed by his not-so-inside voice that he had used...and used rather often. Though not royalty or nobility at all, Prompto was frequently invited to such events by Noctis. The Prince could somewhat stand being at the gatherings as long as his friends were there.
Bringing a hand up, Noctis waved at Prompto and Gladiolus who was trailing beside the blond. Prompto's cheeks were redder than usual, and the Prince knew that his friend had finished several more drinks since their last conversation. That may have also attributed to the loudness of his greeting.
"What're you doin' all alone over here again?" asked Prompto, poking Noctis in his chest. The Prince grunted lightly, for the action had been more painful than he expected, and he rubbed the sore area. "Why do you even bother coming to these things if you don't do anything?"
"I do stuff!" Noctis huffed back in defence.
Prompto threw up his hands, spilling a little of his drink in the process. "All right, all right. Why don't you do something else other than stand around here being all anti-social?"
The Prince only thinned his lips at his friend's comment. Prompto was right, only he did not want to admit it. Instead, he cut his losses and switched his attention to Gladiolus, who had been remaining silently amused. "Enjoying yourself so far?"
Their scarred friend nodded. "Yeah, but I gotta head out now. My shift guarding starts soon."
"Running away, are ya? I didn't think you were scared of people too!" Prompto then hiccuped. Noctis could only blink at his blond friend before sniggering. Seemed like Prompto had been having a few more drinks than he first assumed. "You're all chicken!"
That caused Gladiolus to bark a laugh, quickly clamping a hand over his mouth so it would not disturb the other guests. "This coming from the guy that get all tongue-tied over a girl that tickles his fancies?"
Cheeks already red, they grew even redder as Prompto shoved Gladiolus. "Shut up!" he hissed. "Y-you don't know what you're talking about!"
"Oh, so you mean you weren't fawning over that brunette? Making goo-goo eyes and failing completely at working up the courage to talk to her? Great first impression you made on her, spilling a drink and stepping on her foot. Cheek still sore from that slap?"
Noctis threw his head back and laughed. It saddened him that he missed witnessing that event himself. Hearing about it could only do so much.
"At least she won't forget me..." mumbled Prompto.
"Yeah, and trust me, that won't be working in your favour." Gladiolus tossed his head towards the exit. "C'mon, you're done here tonight."
"Really?" Prompto pouted rather than argue.
"Yeah. Best for you to cut your losses." With a sigh, Gladiolus clapped a firm hand on Prompto's back. The gesture nearly caused the blond to tumble forward in his current state, making Noctis only snigger some more. He never admitted it too much, in fact, never, but he really did enjoy having them as his friends. "What about you, Noct? You have enough of this place yet?"
Sighing, for he truly did want to go, Noctis shook his head to decline. "No. It's best for me to stay for a while longer for my father's sake. Take care on your shift."
"All right. Don't go partying yourself out!" Noctis only laughed sarcastically at Gladiolus' remark before waving farewell. As he and the blond took their leave, Prompto was trying rather hard to get Gladiolus to have something to drink. Their scarred friend had to continually decline until they were close enough to the door that he could headlock the blond without ruining the peace of the party.
Chuckling under his breath, Noctis only shook his head. Sometimes he could hardly believe he was friends with them. Speaking of friends, Noctis went off in search of his bespectacled one. He made no attempt to pause his search in order to talk to the guests. Some moved as though to intercept him and strike up a conversation, but he was quick to detour himself around various groups until he spotted Ignis. A soft sigh escaped the Prince. Of course Ignis would be the one of them who was capable of casually talking to a group of guests.
"What is this? You're interacting with people?" asked Noctis softly and sarcastically once he forced a smile to the group of people and took Ignis away once a break in their conversation came up. Though he did not want to join in any of the chatter, he was not going to act unnecessarily rude. That would not bode well for him, his family, or his home.
"Well, someone has to do your job if you're not going to," retorted Ignis coolly, pushing his glasses back up the bridge of his nose.
"Ah, so you want to be Prince? Sounds good to me. Let's switch." As much as Noctis joked about it with his friend, he was just as serious whenever he brought up the idea. He would be all too happy to drop his responsibilities as royalty. Leaving behind his care for the people of Lucis was impossible, but there were other ways for him to still be of help other than that just being an heir to the throne.
Ignis only gave a light snort of a laugh. "Always much easier said than done, My Prince." The bespectacled friend arched an eyebrow to Noctis. "Have you even spoken to anyone else while here?"
"I did my rounds," huffed Noctis, tugging at the sleeves of his suit. Though he did not like it, he still made sure to do his duties. Minimally, but he still did them.
"And by doing your rounds, do you mean just greet everyone before moving on so you can stand quietly by yourself as soon as possible?
"Dammit..." Noctis huffed lightly. His friends really could predict his actions too easily sometimes...rather most of the times.
A chuckle came from Ignis. "Talk to people, Noct. This is a good time to get to know our neighbours better."
"I already know about them." The Prince waved his hand to dismiss the matter.
"You know data and statistics. This would be a good time to get to know the people."
Noctis could not help but scoff. He eyed the other guests almost disdainfully. While he did not always enjoy being around people, he rarely loathed it, but this was one of those times that he did. "These aren't the real people of the other kingdoms. These are dressed-up, overly glamoured, selectively up-brought individuals that work like an entity of their own. I wouldn't get to know our true neighbours through these people that have been trained to all act alike." Noctis ended with a frustrated sigh. Pursing his lips together, he glanced to Ignis, and grew confused. "What?" he asked warily, his brow knotting together.
"You..." Ignis shook his head lightly. "You just don't put such a fine point on things. That sounded so...right, but odd to hear from you."
Noctis tried to hold back a smirk. "Well, gotta find some ways to surprise you."
"Either way, you should talk to the guests. Now that the cold war is over, we should start to make friends with the other kingdoms, their true people or not. Who knows, you might actually have a good time."
With a sigh, the Prince grudgingly nodded. He was glad that the cold war had ended. Ever since he could remember, that was what he wanted. Now that it was achieved, he was not so sure what to strive for. Perhaps forming better relationships with their neighbours was a good enough place to start. Ignis patted Noctis on the shoulder before taking his leave. Unlike the Prince, he never shied away from his duties.
Biting on the inside of his cheek, Noctis eyed the guests. He did not really want to talk to them, but if he had to...he would. Delaying the inevitable for as long as he could, he searched the groups and tried to decide which would be best to join for mingling. Maybe he should get a drink first instead. If he was going to talk, some liquid would be a good idea...plus it would keep him from talking to anyone else for just a few moments more. When he started towards the bar that had been set up, something on the other side of the room caught his attention.
A glimpse of white.
While white itself was not an uncommon sight at the party, several woman were dressed in it, but this one had looked so...pure. Abandoning the idea of getting a drink, and even talking to other people, Noctis weaved his way through the guests to where he spotted the flash of white. When he got to where he had seen it, there was no sign of the person he thought he saw. Sighing in annoyance, he looked around, when he saw the white again, this time closer to the exit.
Nearly running, he headed towards to the exit, seeking to catch up with the person and hope that it was not just a figment of his imagination. The glimpse of white exited the designated room for the party, and he automatically followed.
He weaved his way through the halls, following the ghost of glimpses he saw of the white. Eventually, he slowed, the hope that it was actually her slipping away. It had been a couple years now since he had been in the Underworld and the last time Niveus spoke to him. Granted, he had seen her in his dreams, but those had just been dreams, nothing more. Never had he heard her gain. Never had he even seen her again. The Crystal's presence was still with him...but that was not the Niveus he knew.
Sighing, Noctis rested his head against the last door that separated him from his pale ghost, his hand grazing over the handle. What were even the chances of it being her that he saw? He had to live in reality, not the dream world where he could believe that he would see her again. If she were able to show herself, surely she would have done so already.
With a shake of his head, Noctis tore himself away from the door. He should return to the party, that was where he was required to be, after all. And yet...
His hand slipped up to his chest where the necklace still hanged. It remained under his black dress shirt, hidden from all the other eyes, yet as close to him as it could be. It would not hurt to check... He had already come this far, after all. Gripping the necklace for reassurance, Noctis turned around on his heel and swung open the door much more forcefully than he normally would have.
Cool night air swept over him. A strong gust of wind whipped around him, tossing his clothes and hair up on the evening breeze, catching him by surprise for he had forgotten the door had led out to a balcony. Squinting his eyes against it, Noctis closed the door behind him before smoothing out his clothes and hair. Huffing lightly when he finished, Noctis finally looked up and felt his heart rate quicken.
From the back, at least, he could allow himself to think it was her. That white hair, those white clothes, that pale skin. As much as he wanted to believe, Noctis shook his head to erase such thoughts. Raising his hopes only to have them shot down in a second would serve him no purpose.
"E-excuse me," he started with a slight stutter, still trying to calm his emotions. Walking forward, he still kept a tentative distance from the woman. "I don't mean to bother you... But... But are you..."
He could not finish.
The conflicting emotions and feelings he had been trying to hold back rushed through him unchecked.
His heart raced. He had to take in a deep breath of night air to help keep his body cool from the sudden blood rushing through his veins.
All due to those pale eyes that no longer scared him.
No mistake about it, she was here.
A smile touched the the pale woman's lips. Noctis could only stare at her, flabbergasted and shocked at the sight of her. Despite wanting to rush to her, to pull her into his arms and welcome her properly, Noctis remained where he stood. For now, he just wanted to wait to see that she really would remain, and not fade away into the night like some dream.
"Good evening," she greeted, curtsying lightly. "Noct..." When she looked back up, there was laughter behind her eyes. Just hearing her actually say his name again caused his chest to swell with joy. At last, his shocked expression melted into a smile. She gestured to the empty air above them. "Have you come to watch the night sky?"
Noctis said nothing. How could he when his voice had left him. Instead, all he did was manage to make his legs move again. Reaching her side, he rested his arms on the cool railing before gazing up. A few lights twinkled through the night sky, along with that large glow of the moon that was beginning to wane. It was not that sight that made him happy, but rather who he now shared it with.
Glancing to Niveus, he watched her as she studied the night sky as they had on the mountain top all those many nights ago. Finally, she noticed his lingering gaze and switched her attention back to Noctis. Though still smiling, she raised her eyebrows in question and opened her mouth to ask a question...but no sound could come out.
Noctis had leaned in and erased the remaining distance between them, wanting to keep her as close to him as he could and never lose her again.
A/N: And I leave it up to draw your own conclusions on whether or not she is back, how she's back, etc. If you wish to know my actual reason behind everything in here and Niveus' appearance, let me know and I'll explain through a pm!
So now, this is truly the end of LC. Thank you all for reading! And I hope you liked it enough that you feel like continuing to read the story in its sequel, Aeternus Somnus.