Runaway Prince AU
So, @seeing-it-my-way sent me this prompt, and with their permission, I’m posting it for everyone’s reading enjoyment! I did take some liberties with the prompt, but they’re all well and good.
Happy 100 Writings! (which is to say, this is the 100th thing I’ll be adding to my masterlist, which is cause for celebration)
After not succeeding in being able to control the crystal magic for some reason, Noctis’ people and his father get frustrated. They say things behind his back, and he hears and it hurts him a lot. They say things like “maybe he’s not the king’s real son” and such. After it gets too much, he runs from the palace in the dead of night. (Maybe he believes what being said after hearing it so much) No one can find him. Not Ignis or any of the chocobros.
A few years later (or how ever long you think works) One of the chocobros is in the slums of the city and find Noctis. He’s not doing good at all.
Just the reactions from all of that. Maybe what job he’s doing to stay alive. After all, it’s clear that when he’s in the palace he can’t cook or be really that independent.
I remember in the game there was missable dialogue in the World of Ruin while the bros were making their way to the Citadel, and that was that Noctis had a part-time job at some small restaurant, so I’m thinking along those lines for what job he has. It just barely meets minimum wage (which isn’t a livable wage, in any case) so Noctis barely has any money.
He’s probably living in one room with someone else very charitable or he has a super ratty studio apartment where he’s barely getting the bills paid. (I’m leaning towards that studio tho). His diet has been atrocious because he can’t afford anything good, so he’s been surviving on pretty much sub par food since he ran out of money post-running away.
One smaller reason that no one’s been able to find him is because his state of living has prevented him from keeping up the cleanliness he had back at the Citadel and because he’s always so tired (maybe he works more than one job, which would make more sense. Maybe he works three.) he looks much older than he should look already. He’s somewhat unrecognizable. Besides, the slums part of town is the very last place anyone would look to find royalty, so those, along with other factors, are what kept him undercover for so long.
I’m assuming he ran away before he finished high school (which complicates the job situation a bit, but hear me out) so he wouldn’t have met Prompto traditionally. Perhaps Prompto also has a job at one of the places that Noctis does, or maybe Prom frequents one of said places, and he always comes whenever Noct is on shift, so they know each other. Note, Prompto doesn’t know who Noctis is.
I’m assuming the way that Noctis gets found out is that someone more strapped for cash than he is, or someone rather selfish, or someone extremely patriotic and hopeful (or any combination of the three) tipped him off to some Citadel staff and he was collected from his place post-haste. I did say he was only somewhat unrecognizable, not totally.
So, the bros’ reactions.
Ignis is relieved at first that they’ve finally found the missing prince. This relief is followed shortly by a deep sense of failure (it’s always been there since Noct’s disappearance, just less extreme) because they couldn’t find the prince when he was right under their noses. He couldn’t find the one he was born to stand beside. This feeling never really goes away, Ignis just bottles it up to dispel later (which he never gets around to doing) so he can focus on his new set of duties, which has transitioned from finding the Prince to getting him settled and arranging all the press meetings and all that stuff.
Gladiolus is, like Ignis, at first relieved. Then he’s angry as hell. He’s been angry since the disappearance but hasn’t had anywhere to vent that anger. Once he sees Noct, it all comes pouring out. Why the hell did he abandon his duty, his people, like that? Like they’re all just disposable? Does he know how much shit he stirred up in the Citadel? Does he know that his father’s health is so terrible because he’s spent so long worrying about his son with no answers and no reprieve? He can’t just chicken out when things get tough! He can’t just abandon everything he was born for! …that all being said, after his little outburst, he calms way down and makes Noct swear he won’t pull some shit like that ever again.
(Both Ignis and Gladio are generally much more supportive of the Prince after he returns and much more attentive to his state of mind, as they don’t want to risk another event like that and because well, damn, they genuinely care for him even though he’s caused them so much hell. They always did and always will.)
Prompto. Poor Prompto. He’s so shocked when he sees on the news that the Prince was found, and lo and behold, it’s his Noct! He’s not really sure what to do with himself. Whenever Noct calls he stares at the phone with this emotion he can’t describe. Anyways. So Prompto feels a little betrayed, though he empathizes with why Noct never told him anything… he kinda felt like they were close enough that he could have, you know? So Prom struggles with that for a while, on whether or not he should request forgiveness or if he’s overreacting. Eventually, he’s forced to face it when Noct practically breaks into his home (of course, trailed by some folks from the Citadel to ensure he doesn’t slip off again). They have a talk about it and eventually, they’re back on good terms again. Noct may be royalty, but to Prompto he’s still just Noct.
How does Noctis feel about all of this? He’s… he’s a mixture, we’ll say that. He’s a bit off-put by all the luxury the Citadel has to offer and the amount of things that are just done for him. He’s been in this “living paycheck to paycheck” and “out on his own” kinda style and he’s really, really not used to things like, say, the luxury of the foods placed in front of him or the availability of the hour-long hot shower. He’s almost uncomfortable, after living so long on his own. It’s a serious transition for him. Then there’s all the press that’s constantly up his ass (Ignis and others are doing their best to keep that down) and the anxiety of trying to see if he can reconnect (or, connect) with the Crystal. He fears disappointing everyone more than anything, especially after all that they went through to find him. It’d all be in vain if he couldn’t use the magic that was his birthright, and that’s the thought that keeps him up at night. He’s trying his hardest to feel the magic (and sometimes, he does, in brief flashes) but it never feels like it’s enough. Then there’s the addition of the suffocating security efforts taken to ensure he wouldn’t run off again. Guards everywhere, constant monitoring of his position and actions, just someone is constantly there. He feels like he’s in a gilded cage, but he has no thoughts of running away again because he doesn’t want to cause any more trouble than he already has. In short, Noctis feels very stressed and anxious in this familiar, but still new environment, but does not consider leaving again.