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Just Skin and Bones

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Ignis’ frantic heartbeat matches his footsteps as he runs through the hospital, shoving past nurses and patients with hasty apologies and excuses. Noctis’ voice continues to echo in his ears, from his frantic phone call just an hour earlier.

“Specs, listen, it’s—it’s Gladio. There was an accident a-and… just come to the Citadel hospital, okay? He’s not in a good shape and—and you should be here.”

He’d gone from feeling ire to panic as his useless mind conjured up the worst case scenarios. What sort of accident? A gunshot, a stabbing? Poison? A broken bone or two? What if it was something like Noct’s case, an injury so terrible that Gladio would be changed forever? Ignis, on the other end, had to keep himself from screaming back at Noct to tell him what floor and room Gladio was in. Noct didn’t waste time over the call and his voice was shaking more than Ignis would have liked to hear. Come quickly, Noct said.

And quick, he was. He’d surely broken the speed limit while driving to the hospital and when he catches a glance of himself in a window on the way to Gladio’s room, he realizes he looks a complete mess. His hair falls over his forehead in uneven waves and his clothes are wrinkled and drenched in sweat. He looks feral, unhinged and he doesn’t care about what it will do to his reputation.

Ignis bursts into the hospital room without knocking. He immediately spots Noct, who jumps up from his position on a chair, his fingers itching to summon a weapon. Upon recognizing Ignis, however, he relaxes (though his body still remains tense).

Specs,” Noct says. “You made it.”

Prompto is on the other side of the bed and his gaze is full of pity as he watches Ignis. He pays the boy no heed, walking straight to Gladio’s bedside and oh, Gladio..

The right side of his face is covered in bandages and blood that hasn’t quite dried completely. It’s dripped onto his neck and matted his hair (his dark, silky locks that Ignis has grown to love so dearly). His hands, too, are wrapped in bandages and his shirt is torn in far too many places to count.

Gladio,” Ignis breaths. He reaches out to take Gladio’s hand and stops—he can’t risk paining Gladio. His desire to feel Gladio is suffocating him and it takes all of his willpower to keep his hands to himself, sitting down on the edge of the bed. He turns to Noct. “What happened to him?”

It takes a while to decipher Prompto and Noct—they attempt to explain the story together and end up stumbling over the other’s words. An arcade, an alley, an ambush, and a hidden knife that nearly got Noct. Would have, if it weren’t for Gladio.

Noct and Prompto came out unscathed, that which Ignis grateful for, and yet he can’t bring himself to feel relief, not when Gladio is still laying unconscious.

His eyebrows are furrowed—he’s pained and oh, Ignis wishes he could give him a kiss and soothe his pain, his aches, his worries.

“The doctors said he needed a lot of stitches,” Prompto says. “But his eye should be fine.”

“I couldn’t make a potion for him,” Noct says. “And by the time the Crownsguard came, they used one on him but ‘cause of how much time had passed, his wound didn’t heal properly. He’s probably gonna have a huge scar.”

As if such a thing would ruin his beauty.

Ignis sighs. “Nevertheless, he is alive and will heal. For that, I am thankful.”

Thankful, he says, and yet his heart still sinks at the sight of Gladio. There is a weight that sits on his chest, though eventually, he gives in to his impulses and takes Gladio’s hand.

That eases the weight, even if it’s only just a little.