For @cupnoodle-queen, who is bae and the best kind of trouble.
It was dark. You stood outside the tent on the campgrounds, a loose sweater framing your figure. Even though it was summer, the nights were cool––morning dew had started to form on the grass below while the stars beaded the night sky.
You looked out at the horizon, jagged with mountains and trees. Your body felt sluggish, but your mind raced. You couldn’t help but wonder what would happen once you finally got to Altissia, couldn’t quell that feeling deep in your gut that something wasn’t quite right.
You were startled out of your thoughts when you heard rustling from behind you. Gladio emerged from the tent in his sleeping attire, which was just a pair of boxers, rubbing the slumber from his eyes.
“Hey,” he mumbled, shuffling towards you with a yawn.
You smiled at him, reaching a hand out to take his. “Hi.”
Gladio came over and kissed the side of your head before sliding his arms around you protectively. “What’re you doing still up? I woke up and you weren’t there.”
You sighed. “Sorry, love. Couldn’t sleep.”
Gladio frowned. He led you over to the chairs by the charred embers of the long-dead fire. He sat down and pulled you into his lap, cradling you against his chest. He radiated heat and you felt it seeping through the sleeves of your sweater.
“Wanna tell me what’s on your mind?”
You nuzzled into the crook of his neck, pausing momentarily. “Everything.”
“You know,” he said after a beat of silence, slipping his hand under the hem of your sweater to rub circles against your hip. “You can talk to me. About anything.”
You looked up at him, tracing the new scar that horizontally marred his forehead. “Like how you talked to me when you left without a word?”
Gladio went quiet, and his hand stilled.
“I’m sorry,” you apologized, pressing a kiss to his collarbone. “I shouldn’t have said that. You had your reasons.”
You moved to get up, but Gladio’s strong arms tugged you back into his grip. “Don’t apologize for that,” he sighed, his gaze cast downward. “I should have told you the reason. But to be honest, I was scared. Scared and embarrassed that I couldn’t protect Noct, couldn’t protect you. And what am I if I can’t do that?”
You shifted so that you could face him, stroking your thumbs along the stubble lining his jaw. “You’re Gladiolus Amicitia,” you stated firmly. “You’ve saved me more times than I can even count. And not just from physical dangers, but from my own mind. And I love you for it.”
Gladio’s hand slid behind your neck and pulled you in for a slow, languid kiss. It was sleepy and perfect, neither one of you wanting to pull away first. When you finally did, you kept your lips just barely touching his, and you felt his mouth grazing yours with every spoken word.
“I love you too. Even if you are a pain in the ass.”
You laughed and swatted at him, and he only pulled you in closer.
“Let’s be more honest with each other, yeah?” he asked, playing with the hem of your sweater. “Let me share your burden. That’s why I’m here.”
You nodded. “Okay.”
The two of you ended up talking for a while longer, curled up against one another in the lawn chair by the unlit campfire. The two of you eventually fell asleep like that, and you couldn’t even remember closing your eyes. Just the steady heartbeat that lulled you into a dreamless slumber.
The next morning, Ignis surfaced from the tent, rolling his shoulders and stretching out, ready to start breakfast. He caught a glimpse of the two of you, still sleeping in the lawn chair as the sun started to rise higher in the sky. He smiled to himself at the sight, and ducked back into the tent momentarily.
He re-emerged with a blanket, and went over to drape it over you both. He watched for a second longer as you burrowed a little closer to Gladio’s chest, while his hands tightened around your waist.
Ignis smiled to himself, and left to give you a little more privacy. He poured himself a cup of Ebony and tried to keep the noise down to a minimum as he began preparing breakfast, figuring he could give you two a little more time before starting the day.