So yeah, here we are. This is an angsty one-shot I got inspired to write after playing Episode Prompto and re-reading ‘The Hunger Games’. That scene with Katniss and Peeta before the epilogue jumped out at me, and…yeah.
Angst, feels and a bit of fluff are to be had.
This is set eight years into the ten years of darkness. There are no spoilers on Episode Prompto here as well, save for the dialogue in the trailer.
E/C means “Eye Color”.
You can interpret this as M! or F!S/O…whichever way you like.
EDIT: Wasn’t tagging properly, so I had to do it again.
Real or Not Real?
It was another quiet night in Lestallum. You and Prompto had just come back from another series of daemon hunts, and you both almost immediately crashed onto your shared bed in the Leville, the once grand hotel now serving as a shelter for both refugees and Hunters alike.
You stirred from your slumber to hear your boyfriend’s quiet whimpers beside you. You let out a soft yawn before turning around to face him, ready to shake him awake from one of his now-frequent nightmares.
Ever since you and the others rescued him from Zegnautus Keep and returned to Lucis, he just hadn’t been the same. Sure, he still smiled a lot. Yes, he still cracked a lot of jokes and made plenty of pop-culture references almost every time he opened his mouth. It was almost as if his best friend hadn’t been sucked into the Crystal at all. Yet despite the smiles and laughs you offered him during these times, you knew that it was all just a facade.
Then came a phase of white-hot anger. This scared you more than you would care to admit, but Gladio and Ignis reassured you time and again that this was perfectly normal. That this was necessary. The two of you fought a lot in those days, usually over the smallest things like raising your eyebrows at him in the then-rare moments he would sing like he used to. This was remedied through taking up various daemon hunts, their appearance rate during that period lower than it had ever been (or will be).
What were heated gazes at you or his foes turned into blank stares. When the two of you weren’t out fighting daemons or doing your usual couple stuff, he would just look off into the distance, clear sky blue eyes becoming clouded over with mixtures of grief, guilt, and a few other emotions you couldn’t name for the life of you. A hug or kiss from you would usually remedy this, but they stopped working after a while. Especially when they were coupled with mutterings of ‘If only I were stronger’ or ‘Why not me…Why did Noct have to be taken away’.
Now, his grief was translating itself into nightmares.
“Prom…” You whispered tenderly, giving him a light shake. “Wake up, you’re dreaming.”
“No…I’m not…” He mumbled as he began to tremble under your hold. You immediately sat up and shook him a little harder, knowing full well which nightmare he was experiencing this time.
“Prompto, please wake up,” you said a little louder as you heard your voice crack ever so slightly with fear. “You’re dreaming, he can’t hurt you anymore.”
‘Damn it! Why is he so hard to wake up now of all times?!’
“I am not…One of your experiments!” He yelled, now a mess of thrashing limbs as he tried to squirm out of your grip. You immediately tried to pin him under you, concentrating your weight on his arms and legs as you remembered the last time it got this bad.
He woke up to see you crying in the corner, begging him to put down the gun aimed at your head.
“Prompto! For the love of the damn Astrals, please wake up!” You were sobbing now, your chest tight as you saw his pained expression. It had been eight years now, the both of you grown into much stronger individuals and yet…
He was still so broken.
As your tears dropped onto his face, his eyes immediately snapped open, sky blue meeting E/C.
“Y/N?” He croaked out, voice somewhat hoarse from yelling. “What happened? Why are you crying?”
You felt yourself go weak as you collapsed on top of your lover, sobbing uncontrollably as he held you close.
“You idiot…you scared me,” you managed to choke out. “I thought you’d never wake up!”
“I’m sorry, baby,” he murmured into your hair, stroking it gently. “I’m really sorry.”
The two of you remained like this for what felt like a lifetime before you adjusted yourself so you were lying down beside him once more. He followed suit, turning on his side to face you. You stared at each other in the darkness, neither one speaking for a long time before you decided to break the silence.
“Real or not real,” you said. “Go.”
You had read this in one of Iris’ novels when you had gotten back from a hunt a few weeks ago. She lent the series to you immediately after you poured out your heart to her about being at a loss as to helping Prompto with his nightly terrors. Since then, whenever he would wake from a nightmare, you two would play this little game.
“Okay,” he replied softly. “My name is Prompto Argentum. Real or not real?”
“Real,” you nodded before asking a question of your own. “We’re currently at the Leville in Lestallum. Real or not real?”
“Real,” he said after taking a quick glance around the darkened room. He sucked in a breath before giving you his next question. “My best friend got sucked into the Crystal eight years ago…Real or not real?”
“Real, though I wish it wasn’t,” you sighed, remembering the moment when Ardyn had told the four of you what had become of Noctis. “You are a Lucian, a true Crown citizen through and through. Real or definitely real?” Your words came out a bit more forcefully than intended, causing you to wince.
“N-not…” Prompto began before you shut him up with a kiss. He didn’t reciprocate at first due to the shock, but soon, he was kissing you back with equal force. When you two had pulled away for air, you asked him the question again.
“I said, real or definitely real,” you whispered. “There wasn’t anything with ‘not’ in there.”
“But Y/N…” he spoke before you put up a finger to his lips to silence him.
“No buts,” you said. “Now, please answer my question.”
“Definitely real then,” he chuckled lowly.
“Good answer,” you replied, a smile playing on your lips. “Now, your turn.”
The two of you spent a long time asking each other things, verifying what was reality and what was illusion. At the end of it, it was Prompto’s turn once again.
“You and I said that we will love each other until the day we both die,” he said, his voice full of tenderness. “Real or absolutely real?”
You got misty-eyed for the second time that night as he asked the question, remembering the day the two of you became lovers.
“Real,” you whispered. “Absolutely real…Now and forever.”
It is the sharp tossing and turning, the covers shifting back and forth roughly, that wakes him more than anything. Some of her cries are piercing, but he might have slept through them. The sounds of her fear and despair are, after all, ever present in his own nightmares. He could be forgiven for thinking, at first, that her sobbing is the product of his sleep. But when the cold night air hits his bare thigh, sending a shiver up and down his spine, he knows this is no dream.
She is flailing now, fighting her demons viciously in her sleep. She might have hit him too, but he takes her wrists gently in his. She stills, but not from feeling comforted; rather, her body freezes and her limbs stiffen, as if from the effects of falling into a trap. He has seen this happen to his wife before; her demons are his closest friends. Especially at night.
“Arya.” He breathes, rolling over and releasing her arms only to cradle her between his own. She is trembling violently, as if she were out in the middle of the storm instead of here in their cozy chambers, between the warmth of Winterfell’s naturally hot walls, between the warmth of his embrace.
Gendry whispers her name again, then kisses her forehead softly, softly. He doesn’t want her to mistake him for one of her night terrors. He couldn’t bear for her to look at him that way.
Slowly, slowly, she comes back into herself. Her eyes flutter open, confusion palatable in her gaze. The dread is still there too. Her body is still tense. A cold sweat has broken out over her brow. She blinks several times before she focuses on his face. Still, her eyes search him as if he is a stranger, or worse, as if she once but no longer knows him.
“You’re alright.” He promises her, as he has so many times before. And she is; he takes so much comfort in that truth.
“You’re safe.” He vows. He kisses over both her eyelids, her lashes fluttering delicately against his rough, unshaven jaw.
Beneath him, Arya’s frame relaxes. Her tensed arms and legs go lax. She melts into him, letting out a long, shuddering breath.
“You left me.” Her voice is small when she says it, but it cracks him in two. These are her nightmares he hates the most. The ones he has caused, no matter how unintentionally or indirectly.
“Real or not real?” The worst part is the hope, just there, in her voice that she might be wrong, that it never happened the way she’d just dreamed it.
But he couldn’t lie to her.
“Real.” His voice was hoarse, both from disuse and from the ugly truth.
She is trembling again. It could not be said of his wife that she was unsure of herself, that she was uncertain or even frightened. During the day, she was the warrior princess Arya Stark of Winterfell, the Night Wolf, daughter of Eddard Stark and Catelyn Tully, slayer of lions and leader of wolves. Only Gendry saw this side of her, during the darkest hours of the night. This was when her demons loved to taunt her.
“I came back.” Gendry asserted suppliantly. “Real or not real?”
She stares up at him, willing the truth to present itself. As if he might be some sort of delusion or hallucination. She lifts her hand and presses her palm into his face, her fingers trailing his forehead, his cheekbone. Then, clutching his jaw between her thumb and index finger, she brings his face down to meet hers.
The kiss is rough and desperate, an interrogation, a demand. She releases him finally, both their breaths ragged. He rests his forehead on hers, and he feels her hand clutching the back of his neck, as if he might disappear if she lets him go.
“Real.” She confirms. Her sigh of relief is everything he needed to hear.
They lay there looking into one another’s eyes, looking away, breathing into and out of each other. He knows she needs to know more. She has seen so much this night, all with her eyes closed.
Finally, she speaks.
“I killed.” Arya pauses. Then- “Many.” Her eyes are haunted. “Real or not real?”
He doesn’t hesitate. “You defended. You avenged. You protected. You served justice.” Then- “Real.”
She blinks up at him. It is his turn, he knows.
“You saved Winterfell. You saved your family. You saved me.” For this, he brushes her lips with his. Another promise. “Real or not real?”
She searches his face again desperately. The pads of her fingers now run soft lines across his face, tracing his eyes brows, the curve of his nose, his top lip.
“Real.” She finally settles on.
So he kisses her again, a real kiss, deep and unquenchable. She breaks it off. She has another question that can’t wait.
“My mother. She came back. Dead. Angry. Miserable.” Her breathing has gone uneven again, and not from the kiss.
Gendry soothes her hair back and traces her face now with his own fingers. He lays over her, hoping to smother her with his love so there is no room left for the demons. He knows it is a painstaking task, drawing them out of her one by one, but he knows it is worth it. She is worth this.
“Real.” He breathes. Then- “You got them back. Your pack. Jon Snow. Sansa. Bran. Rickon. Me.” He kisses the smooth skin of her neck now, feeling her veins pulsing beneath his lips. The proof that she is alive, that she is there, no matter how much the demons try to take her from him. “Real or not real?”
She tremors beneath his kiss, but it is no longer from fear. “Real.”
She hesitates. And he knows before she speaks her next word that he cannot protect her from everything, no matter how hard he tries to.
“Robb.” The word is hollow in her mouth. She tries to swallow, but her throat seems dry. “Real or not real?”
“Real.” He can’t save her from what she has already suffered, happenings he was powerless to protect her from back then. All he can do is ensure she never has to suffer another such loss.
“Robb.” It is a question. His hand goes to her slightly rounded belly. After all, they already had a little Ned. “Real or not real?
Tears spring to her eyes, but finally, they are the product of joy, not sorrow, not anger, not fear. “Real.” This time she’s the one who promises.
“You were always just trying to protect me.” He knows she is referring to so many things. One was his decision to stay with the Brotherhood, out of the need to do what was best for her no matter how much he wanted with her. Coming back was another. Finding her. Bringing her back to herself. Bringing her back to her family, her pack. Reminding her that no one isn’t no one after all. “Real or not real?” She asks.
He has one of her hands clasped in one of his. He runs his thumb over her skin. “Real.”
She doesn’t give him his turn. Instead, “You’re still trying to protect me. Real or not real?”
“Real.” He pauses, a sly smile forming with his lips. “But m’lady doesn’t need protecting. Real or not real?” He teases, nuzzling her nose with his.
She laughs despite herself. How many times has she said so? I don’t need anyone to protect me. “Not real.” She kisses the edge of his jaw, savoring the feel of his stubble. He is so rough and so soft, all at the same time.
“You’re mine.” It is much more of a command than anything, but Arya asks anyway. “Real or not real?”
Gendry gives her a blazing kiss. His lips linger near hers when he tells her, “Real.” So she steals his lips back easily. He lets her. For a moment. Then- “And you’re mine.” His is a plea more so than a demand. He places a kiss on each cheek, then her nose with each following word. “Real or not real?”
Here’s something you don’t see every day: A bobcat catches a shark at Sebastian Inlet State Park in Florida. John Bailey captured this amazing scene last night during a stroll on Vero Beach. He realized the cat was transfixed on a shark feeding on smaller fish. Suddenly, the bobcat leaped into the water atop the shark and dragged it ashore! John snapped this photo just before the bobcat dropped its catch and ran into the forest. Photo courtesy of John Bailey via the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
— Alleato. — Peeta pronuncia il termine lentamente, assaporandolo. — Amica. Innamorata. Vincitrice. Nemica. Fidanzata. Obiettivo. Ibrido. Vicina di casa. Cacciatrice. Tributo. Alleata. Aggiungerò anche questa all’elenco delle parole che uso per cercare di capirti. — Fa passare la corda avanti e indietro tra le dita. — Il problema è che non riesco più a riconoscere cosa sia vero e cosa sia inventato.
So I saw something on tumblr the other day that kinda bothered me. Now I have nothing against the person who wrote this, but I just wanted to comment on an opinion they had regarding Peeta. I can’t find their original text post, but it went something like this:
“if there’s anything Peeta Mellark ever taught me, it’s that bad shit happens to people who are too nice.”
However that’s not at all what he taught me:
Peeta Mellark taught me to be strong and stay true to myself. He gave me hope. Yeah, bad shit happened to him even though he was caring and kind, and chose to see the goodness in people. He was abused as a kid and sent into the arena twice. Then he was brainwashed to kill the girl he loved. But he prevailed in the end. He overcame the hijacking and and learned to live with the trauma. He could have given up, and stayed a mutt version of himself forever. It probably would have been easier, but he fought through it instead. He tried to grasp on to every bit of his old self that he could. He taught me that even when all hope seems lost, there is a bright side to the situation. That things can get better. And I think that’s one of the things that Katniss loves most about him. That he doesn’t change who he is, no matter how bad things get. He remains that dandelion in the spring, that beacon of hope. Peeta was able to show Katniss that there were still good people left in the world at one of the weakest points in her life: “To this day, I can never shake the connection between this boy, Peeta Mellark, and the bread that gave me hope, and the dandelion that reminded me that I was not doomed.” (Katniss, THG).
And at the end of the last book in the trilogy, Peeta still represented the same thing to Katniss: “What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again. And only Peeta can give me that.” (Katniss, MJ). Peeta did nothing to deserve what he went through, but bad things happened anyway. Being nice is hard, and shit happens that can make you question whether it’s worth it to be kind. In the beginning of Catching Fire, Peeta still looks out for Katniss, even when it’s hard. He knows it wouldn’t be right to abandon her. “As badly as I’ve hurt him, he won’t expose me in front of the cameras. Won’t condemn me with a halfhearted kiss. He’s still looking out for me. Just as he did in the arena. Somehow the thought makes me want to cry.” (Katniss, CF).
Peeta taught me that you can either let the world knock you down once and change who you are, or you can keep picking yourself up, and forever stay the person you want to be. “Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” (Kurt Vonnegut).