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Just Skin and Bones

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The Regalia roars through the night, the countryside a blur as it races across the roads towards Lestallum. For all the times Noct has teased Ignis over driving like an elderly man, he really does know how to drive quickly when he means it.

All it takes is Gladio bleeding out in the backseat, apparently.

There’s hardly enough room to lay Gladio down as-is, so he ends up with his torso resting on the seats and his legs bent at an awkward angle braced against the windows. Noct sits on the ground, a hand over Gladio’s abdomen, trying to ignore the way blood seeps into the carseats.

The road is bumpy and Ignis isn’t careful with his turns—at this point, they can’t afford to waste anymore time, even if it means jostling Gladio. It’s all up to Noct to keep him steady. He’s folded his sweater and placed it under Gladio’s head, but his features are still contorted in pain and he lets out the occasional groan.

Noct’s not even sure if he’s conscious and he doesn’t know if that’s a good thing or not.

“Left turn, Noct!” Ignis calls out sharply and Noct has all of two seconds to respond before the Regalia curves. Gladio’s heavy and Noct’s arms are aching from their hunt earlier, but he manages to keep Gladio mostly-still. “Are you still keeping pressure on his wound?”

I am. How much longer?”

“Only a little bit more. How’s he doing?”

“Same as always. The bleeding hasn’t stopped, though.”

“Keep applying pressure.”

“I told you, I am!”

In the rearview mirror, Noct sees Ignis purse his lips. He didn’t mean to come out so snappy, but fuck , he can hardly think straight. His thoughts are a mess and if it weren’t for Ignis barking out orders, he’d be lost. Even Prompto’s doing better, on the phone with Iris, trying to get together a team of medics to greet the Regalia once they make it into Lestallum.

“Hold on, Gladio,” Noct whispers. He can’t see his hands in the dark, though he knows they’re sticky with blood. He can’t hear Gladio’s breaths over the Regalia’s engine. “... Please.”