Nobody really knew how much pressure he was under.
They just took one look from the outside and figured that it was easy. Figured that it was a piece of cake, being royalty. A prince. Revered, even as his kingdom was crumbling.
To add to it though, there was you. Noctis always felt like he was at boiling point trying to pull everything together, because all he truly desired was to make you his queen, and rebuild everything from stage 1. He didn't care how much he had to abandon. He simply wanted to sit on the Insomnian throne with you right there by his side.
It wasn't exactly a normal infatuation he had. He realized that much. It was hard to ignore his own actions, the way his nails were digging into his knees and his teeth were gritting and grinding behind his lips as you sat up-front in the car and chatted so happily with Ignis.
He should have seen this coming. He shouldn't have let you take the front seat, he should have simply made you sit sandwiched in between him and Gladio. Prompto could chat away like his life depended on it. If he had done that, if he had simply done that, then he wouldn't be on the verge of reaching forward and strangling Ignis while he drove, without a care for where that would send the car careening when he let go of the wheel. Dying in a flaming wreck almost seemed preferable to enduring this.
Watching and listening bitterly while the two of you chatted, that was all he could do. It was innocent stuff, but Noctis saw right through the glasses wearing fellow, who pretended he was so suave and gentlemanly and yet seemed to be so clearly trying to steal you away from him.
Well...he could try. But in the end...in the end...Noctis would get what he desired.
As the sun set below the horizon, Ignis pulled over at one of the Cleigne pit-stops and encouraged you to get out with a gentle hand upon yours. As you took his glove against your palm, you were blissfully unaware of the furious staring that Noctis was directing towards the two of you. He did always have a slightly disgruntled look to him though, so maybe it wasn't so obvious. Either way, he was pissed.
His eyes scanned creepily, in contrast with his stiffened posture, as he watched you going towards the cafe with the others in tow. They were all following you like dogs, all trying to act cool and chatty. Noctis was fifth wheeling and it hurt like hell.
He ended up going into the bathroom and as soon as he was facing a mirror he couldn't help himself. One glimpse of shaggy midnight hair and his fist shot out, slamming against the slightly dirty reflection and immediately smashing it in a spider's pattern. His lowered head only breathed out calmly, eyes glaring right ahead at the bloodied crack he'd formed.
Noctis didn't feel a thing. He'd noticed that recently too. In battles, be it with damn roadside Daemons, or the damn Magitek soldiers, he didn't seem to notice any pain that was inflicted upon him. Perhaps that was something to be grateful for, but it was frightening. The world outside of you felt numb. You were the only thing he truly felt for...
That was why the others couldn't compare in the slightest. What did they envision for you, hm?
Prompto, probably figured you'd both go off and run some backwards Chocobo ranch in the middle of literally nowhere.
Ignis, he'd be as boring as ever, only cook and hold more doors open for you.
Gladio? He was such a brute that it was hard to imagine him being romantic, even if he fancied himself as hot stuff with that open leather he wore.
No...what Noctis was offering was unbeatable. He knew that to be true, as he emerged from the bathroom, clutching his bloodied knuckle with his other hand. He knew it still as he approached the four of you at the counter, ominously so.
What were you all talking about? What did it matter?
Hah...yes it really didn't count for anything. None of it did. Prompto's stupid jokes and irritating little jingles. Ignis and his relentless insistence on being a smartass who could 'teach you anything'. Gladio and his ceaseless flexing.
None of it would be of any consequence to Noctis in the long run. He ate his chips and forced a smile, blaming a fluke for his fresh injury and drowning himself in ketchup and health potions. All the while he was planning it out inside his head, and admiring your figure as you sat there in the stool.
Soon enough, you'd have no need to sit on such a tatty, dirty thing. Instead, you'd be living lavishly. A throne, not a stool. Only one man beside you.
His fingers pinched and crushed the last chip he was holding before he'd even had the chance to eat it. None of you saw it, so busy with your meaningless conversation, but he was smiling. Widely, insanely, his teeth showed and his eyes glimmered like he were a living cartoon.
He'd destroy them all, kill them in brutally fitting ways, his revenge for all this suffering they had so obliviously inflicted upon him. He'd make sure they paid a dear price for screwing him around, and he'd also ensure that you never so much as spoke of them ever again...
Then, when all was said and done, you'd return to Insomnia together.
Just the two of you...
Strange...it was such a distant memory...
Had it really happened? You weren't sure.
You could recall faint glimpses of a past that seemed to have happened. Fried foods at heartwarming pit-stops, the chatter and laughter of friends around you. Flashes of blonde and freckles, the glint of perfectly positioned glasses and the touch of a warm, large hand on your shoulder. Long drives through the rain, arches of stone stretching overhead...
Was any of that for real, or not? Again, there was no answer that could be given to you. All you had were these vague jigsaw pieces that didn't seem to fit anywhere in the puzzle that Noctis had constructed for you. All you were truly aware of was the abandoned, forever darkened cityscape around you, and him of course.
Your prince...no...your king.
He circled around behind your throne, his pale hand deftly snaking down from ornate carvings to your shoulder blade, and finally up to your jaw. He tilted your head up, and once again you were greeted with the sight he showed you every day. Noctis made sure to remind you of this, so you never attempted to ruin what he had worked so hard to build for the two of you.
Bodies. Dangling, hanging like marionettes. They were limp and their clothes were torn, but Noctis had ensured their faces were not ruined. He wanted to make it clear to that part of you, that part that was still so desperately clinging to a past you could never live in again, that these people were gone.
“...And they're never coming back, [Y/N]...” he breathed out in a low and sultry tone, lips meeting your ear before a chaste kiss was placed upon your cheek. Noctis stepped around again, letting go of you just so he could grip the arms of his own chair and slide down into it. Right there next to you, in the confines of this grand hall that may as well have been a gilded cage.
He was your king, and you were his queen.
Just how it was always meant to be...