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A Year Like This (Sorrow and Bliss)

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Prompto stared down at those damning two pink lines and all she wanted to do was scream. And cry. And maybe laugh a bit hysterically because she'd always known that her life was one big cosmic joke but this? This proved that more than anything.

They'd always been careful, her and Noctis. Before the treaty they'd barely even started a relationship, just a few shy kisses here and there. And then the treaty had come and Noctis had been given away like some kind of victory prize and all of those small intimate touches had stopped immediately. Prompto knew, deep down, that if she'd asked Noctis would have fought it, would have fought for her, but she couldn't make him make that choice. She couldn't be the reason Lucis lost the war. And, anyway, she'd been his best friend long before she'd been his girlfriend, right? It wouldn't be that hard to switch back mentally.

And then Insomnia had fallen and the Empire had taken Lucis anyway.

And still they'd been so careful, even once they became more... physical. Ignis would've killed them both if they were anything but. The four of them were on the road, in the wild more often than not, taking bounties just to get by from day to day. They were being hunted by the Empire, constantly, and they had a duty to those that had died to get their city, and their country, back. If Prompto didn't want to get left behind - and she had no doubts that they would leave her behind - then she had to make sure they were careful. And she did, always.

Then Altissia happened and they all fell apart in their own ways. And then Noctis had pushed Prompto from the train and she'd found out her origins and killed her father - twice - and then Ardyn had captured and tortured her and strung her up like a twisted decoration for Noct to find.

She'd just needed to feel Noctis, to know that it was really him, that he'd really come for her, that he really did love her despite everything. And he'd needed to feel her, to know that she was real and there and alive.

She didn't think about the fact that she hadn't taken her birth control in days. She didn't think about the fact that they were so rushed that Noctis never put on a condom. When she was cleaning herself out later, she spared half a thought to trying to track down a Morning-After pill once they reached civilization again.

But then Noctis was gone and daemons were swarming and people were dying. And, in the chaos of it all, she'd honestly forgotten all about it.

Stupid, she thought to herself now, so fucking stupid.

She'd been so careful.

But here was the proof of that one solitary night of thoughtlessness, staring her right in the face. It wasn't the first test she'd taken, far from it, and she'd even tried a few different brands just in case because she'd heard that the results couldn't always be trusted. But every single one of them had come back positive. Every single one.

Prompto let out a shuddering breath, one step away from sobbing, and placed her hand against her still-flat abdomen. She'd been feeling sluggish and nauseous lately, barely had any kind of appetite, and her boobs had started to feel tender. She hadn't thought overly much about it, had put it down as stress because Six knew she had more than enough reasons to feel stressed, but then her period had never come and...

She knew it could only take one time, she did, she'd paid attention to Sex-Ed in school and even more attention when Ignis had given a lecture when she began dating Noct, no matter how much she wished she could scrub that entire afternoon from her memory, so she knew just one instance of unprotected sex was enough to result in pregnancy. She knew.

And yet, here she was. Completely unprepared for this kind of consequence. Because they'd been so careful and it had only been once and, Gods...

What was she going to do?



"Hey, Iggy, it's me... again. I know you're super busy in Lestallum, especially with all the new refugees pouring in. And I wouldn't bother you if it wasn't important. I just... I really need your help here, Iggs. Something happened and... I can't tell you over voicemail. So, just... call me back, yeah?"



"Heya, big guy. I've been trying to get a hold of Iggy for awhile now. I know you're both busy but... I really need one of you to get back to me. Please? It's really important."



"Ignis, man, c'mon... Are you even getting these voicemails? Am I talking into the void here? I know we all... went our separate ways but I thought... I thought you'd both at least still act like I existed. Am I being ghosted right now? Seriously."



"I know you have your phone on you, Gladio. No way would you go out hunting without leaving Iris a way to contact you. So, are you just ignoring me here? Because let me tell ya, that is beyond a dick move. I'm not kidding when I say this is important, okay? Just call me back."



"Iggy... Iggy, I'm really scared, okay, and I don't know what to do and you always know what to do. And I need help, please, I don't know if I can do this on my own... Please just call me back, please, please, please..."



"I got in touch with the Marshal. He's on his way out to Hammerhead. So, you and Ignis don't have to worry about it anymore, yeah? Because I'm not your problem now. Sorry for being annoying. I won't bother either of you again."



"And you're certain?"

Prompto sighed, exhausted, but she couldn't really blame the Marshal. It wasn't like he didn't believe her, he wouldn't have come all the way out here if he didn't, but this was a lot to take in. She knew that better than anyone. It'd been over a week since she'd taken all those at-home tests and she still didn't entirely believe it herself, even now.

"Yeah... I got in touch with a doctor that comes through every now and then. There's not really much to work with around here, but she took some samples back with her to Lestallum to check. Got back to me last night. It's... definitely positive."

"Shiva's tits, kid," Cor sighed, running a hand down his haggard and unshaven face, and if it was any other time she'd be giggling at his language. As it was, she agreed wholeheartedly with his sentiment. "And it's his? You're sure it's Noctis'?"

Indignation welled up within her and he could clearly see it as he'd raised his hands in surrender before she could even open her mouth to shout.

"I'm not... trying to imply anything. I just need to be sure. DNA tests are required of heirs always, no matter what. If we were in the city the council would already be pushing for one even knowing they'd have to wait a few months."

"Yeah, I know," Prompto sighed, the anger leaving her as quickly as it had come and seemingly taking all of her remaining energy with it. "Ignis explained what would happen if there were any... accidents."

Cor was silent for a moment, watching her, and she wondered what he saw. Did she look as run down as she felt? Not like that'd make her special, everyone was run down these days. People were running for their lives, or running to save lives, and here she was safe in the lights of Hammerhead with probably the greatest protector she could ever ask for in the world and she was feeling sorry for herself.

Gods, but she was so fucking pathetic.

"Are you going to keep it?"

The question jolted her out of her spiral of self-recrimination and she snapped her eyes up to meet his in disbelief.

"What? Of course I'm going to, this is Noct's, I can't just - aren't there, like, laws and stuff? I can't just get rid of it!" Ah, there was the hysteria that'd been missing this whole conversation. "That wouldn't even be allowed, why would you ask that?! I can't -"

"You can, if you want," Cor shrugged, like what he was saying was perfectly reasonable. Like Prompto wasn't on the verge of breaking just from hearing it. "In the world we're in now, no one would judge you. The only one that can make this choice is you."

"I... I can't..."

"Prompto," and here his voice had gone soft, more gentle than she'd ever heard it, and she couldn't stop the sob that left her even if she tried, "what do you want?"

And that was the million crown question, wasn't it? Because she wanted so many things. She wanted to not be pregnant. She wanted to have Noct's baby. She wanted the sun to rise. She wanted Gladio and Ignis to answer their godsdamned phones and just listen to her, for once. She wanted people to not be dying while daemons took over the entire world. She wanted Noct to have never come for her, to have never gotten anywhere near that stupid fucking crystal. She wanted to go back to before Altissia, when they were all together and whole and happy.

She wanted to curl around her stomach protectively and never let anyone near it. She wanted the thought of having a baby to not feel like a death sentence to her and her child. She wanted to bring them into a world that wasn't covered in darkness and death and fear.

She wanted Noctis to be there with her, to not be alone.

"I don't know," she finally sobbed, the tears she'd been fighting for so long breaking free. Her nose was already stuffed and she could feel her cheeks flaming and hated it. She'd always been an ugly crier. "I don't know what I want. I don't know, I don't know!"

"Shit, kid." And suddenly arms were around her, rocking her gently as hands rubbed up and down her back. She didn't hesitate to hug back, only distantly aware that she was probably getting snot all over Cor the Immortal. She'd feel mortified about that later. "It's alright to not know. You've got a bit of time to decide. You're not alone in this."

Not alone, he said, and yet all her other calls had gone unanswered. Her friends, the ones she'd looked to as family, were completely ignoring her. And Noctis, her best friend, the love of her life, the father of her child, was stuck inside a crystal far away and Six knew when he'd be back, if he'd be back.

Prompto had honestly never felt more alone in her entire life.