Even though it had been several months since he emerged from the Crystal, Noctis was still not used to getting up at six in the morning. Being the king of a country that was ravaged by daemons for the past ten years wasn't the easiest job. He was thankful that Luna convinced the past kings that having him actually restore his kingdom was a more fitting price to pay to destroy the usurper than his life but that didn't mean he like having to do all this work.
Noctis stepped out of the shower with a contented sigh. Even though he wasn't used to the early morning wake ups, the beard was a different story. When he was younger he swore to himself to keep a clean face because Gladio kept banging on about how manly beards are. But when he returned to the outside world his facial hair was deemed "a good look" by Vyv and bunch of other journalists. To be honest, he didn't give a fuck what most people thought he looked like but he kept the beard because his girlfriend thought it looked good on him.
"Ya know, I could never get used to seeing you up this early." speak of the devil
"Good morning to you too, Iris. where were you last night?"
"I was helping with the Tenebrae restoration project. When I got home, you were fast asleep so I didn't wake you up."
"Your king accepts your reasoning" Noctis quipped with a faux-regal accent.
"Well I know how much you need your beauty sleep."
"To be fair, I think hibernating in the crystal for ten years made me restless enough to not be narcoleptic anymore"
As Noctis bent over the sink to apply his daily skin care routine he missed his opportunity to see Iris disrobe and step in the shower. He grumbled in annoyance when he heard her feet hit the freshly used shower. The king informed Iris of today's plans, speaking loud enough to get Iris to hear him over the sound of the spraying water. "I gotta deliver a speech to the remaining Niflheim refugees about making sure they're taken care of too."
"I'm sure you'll do great, Noct. You nailed every speech you made so far."
"Only because you helped write them with me. You always could get me out of my shell."
"It's because I actually knew you unlike every girl who only saw you as a prince. Even as a kid I knew how much of a goofball you really are."
Noctis turned to face her in an attempt to refute her (absolutely sound) logic but any thoughts he had left him when he saw her.
Iris' body was silhouetted against the translucent shower door with her hands applying shampoo to her hair. His girlfriend had one knee bent a little to maintain her balance but that pose unintentionally highlighted her perfect body. The tempting curves of her breasts and backside were in Noctis' sights and he knew that he couldn't resist the urge to step in the shower and join her.
Noctis took off his own towel that was wrapped around his waist to step into the shower again. Chuckling inwardly at the thought of that this shower would make him the opposite of clean.
To Iris' credit, she was hardly surprised when she felt her boyfriend's hands softly cup her breasts. "You really couldn't wait until tonight to do this?"
"Mmm, nope. I haven't seen you naked in like a week. Can you really blame a guy? Besides, I had a feeling you would like me doing this" Noctis delivered open mouthed kisses to her throat while playing with her rapidly stiffening nipples.
Iris fought back the rising urge to moan while trying to act nonchalant "I guess it isn't too bad. But still, Gladdy is gonna be pissed if I'm late."
"Just tell him you were helping me work on some last minute additions to my speech. He'll understand…"
"I think my brother will be perceptive enough to what I really was doing with you."
"Bah, you're a grown woman. He doesn't have the right to know where you are at all times."
"Yeah, but he's kinda my boss too…"
"I'm the king, I could make you my shield if want you to. You'd outrank him."
"I'm pretty sure there's some law against fucking your shield."
"I can overturn it" Noctis capture her lips in a passionate kiss. Partly to get her to stop worrying but mostly because he really wanted to kiss Iris. While the kiss was going on, he ran his hand over her gorgeous body. Ten years had done wonders to her. She grew out her hair which was now usually kept in a long Dolphin tail hairstyle as to not get in the way of her fighting. Her chest was pretty damn impressive too, Noct was speechless when he realized he could barely cover them when grabbed her minutes earlier. All of that paled in comparison to her amazing ass. He sorta guessed that it was a result of hard training by the way she used her legs in combat. Being able to rip a rogue MT's head off with her thighs pretty much guaranteed that she would have an glorious gluteus maximus.
When Noctis brushed his hand over her arm, he felt the trace of long faded scar run across it. The king violently pulled back, to the confusion of the other one in the shower stall. To Noct, the scar that ran across her arm was a reminder. A reminder of all the hardship that the people he was supposed to protect and guide went through while he stuck in the crystal. He had failed to protect his people, he had failed to protect her.
"Noct, what's wrong?"
"That scar you have…"
"Yeah, what about it? I got it fighting a red giant a couple years back."
"I wasn't there for you...I wasn't there for anyone...While the world was fighting for their lives, I was stuck in the crystal…"
"Oh Noct" Iris cupped her boyfriend's cheeks and forced him to look right in her eyes "You can't blame yourself for what happened to the world. The important thing is that you're here now. You beat Ardyn and ended the daemon threat and you're doing a great job at being a King."
"You really think so?"
"Would I ever lie to you to spare your feelings?"
"Yeah, you're right. Never did hesitate to speak your mind."
"And that's why you love me"
"But as long as we're being honest here, I think I need to get this off my chest…"
"What is it, Iris?"
"This is probably stupid but sometimes...I kinda feel like a second choice for you…"
Noctis' brow furrowed in confusion "Huh, what's that supposed to mean?"
"I mean that if Lady Lunafreya never died, you would be with her...have that "perfect fairytale wedding" that everyone was hyping up my entire life. That no matter what I do, I could never live up to the Oracle."
"Do you really think that, Iris?"
"Yeah...I kinda do…"
Noctis chuckled, typical Amicitia- hiding their sorrow to make sure everyone else was happy. "When I was stuck in crystal, I...I had a lot of time to think...about everything. Everyone I loved was forced to fight for their lives while I was gathering my strength. But the thought that kept eating away at me was the memory of you wishing me a happy wedding with Luna. I was too stupid to realize it at the time but...you were gonna confess to me weren't you?"
Iris didn't speak, but her face said it all, the sheer anguish she felt all those years ago was surfacing once again.
"I realized that you were the one person I had who wasn't ordered to protect or serve me. You were there to listen to my problems and thoughts. You gave your opinion without sugar coating anything for everything except Luna. whenever I talked about Luna, whether it be expressing doubts that we would end up together; you always told me how awesome of a future wife she would be. You spared your feelings for me because you wanted me to be happy with Luna. I never noticed it back then because I was a fucking idiot...God damn, I'm sorry Iris…"
"You...always seemed fine with marrying Lady Lunafreya though, Noct."
"It's because I felt obligated to. She saved my life when I was younger. Turns out, she felt the same way. We were supposed to get married for peace between our nations. Before she died she fell in love with, and you won't believe this, Nyx! Can you believe that? The same guy who used to sneak us into bars when we were teens captured Luna's heart. Right after I beat Ardyn, Luna told that no matter the circumstances surrounding everything between, I should move on and be a good king to my people. She also told me that I shouldn't feel guilty for finding someone else because she found Nyx."
"...Well that eases some of fears"
"That's good to hear. But I want to tell you something else…"
"What is it?"
"That after all this is over, you know restoring the land of Lucis and all that stuff, I want you to become Iris Lucis Caelum…"
"Uh, was I too forward?"
"No! Becoming your queen was a dream of mine ever since I met you but...I just realized we're still naked and the shower is still running!"
Gladio was pissed off that Iris was so late for work. Ignis and Prompto attempted to give out excuses for her but Gladiolus maintained that Iris was almost always so punctual.
"I bet it's Noctis fault!"
"Chill out dude, shouldn't you be happy that those two are together?"
"Didn't your sister have an infatuation with his majesty when she was young?"
"So? He still doesn't have the right to make her late!"
The door to the former Hunter HQ opened and it was Iris...thirty minutes late
"Where the hell were you?!"
"I was Noctis, Gladdy. We had some things to talk about…"
"Gladio raised an eyebrow at his sister's flustered face as she gave her excuse "uh huh, and what the hell did you two talk about?"
"Well he told me that he wanted me to become his queen…"
All three of the men in the room jaws drop. After a few minutes of catatonia the three of them reacted differently. Prompto pumped his fist in the air while screaming "TEAM NOCTIRIS FOREVER!" Ignis gave a genuinely clap and congratulated Iris. tears welled in Gladio eyes and he gave his little sister a big hug.