Stand By Me

Saturday, December 31st, 2016 07:56 pm
endless_scrolls: (Promises)
[personal profile] endless_scrolls
Title: Stand By Me
Type: Fanfic
Fandom: AU!Final Fantasy XV
Word count: 1308
Character(s): Tifa Lockhart, Regis Lucius Caelum CXII, brief mentions of Noctis Lucius Caelum, Ignis Scientia
Pairing(s): Implied Noctis/Tifa
Warning(s): None.
Disclaimer: I own nothing but these words.
Note: Just a little something that simply would not leave my headspace until I wrote it out. Also, the most cliche of titles for this fandom.
Dedicated to: Janice. Because they are adorkable together. ♥

With the same level of care and delicacy that she used in every aspect of her own life, the young girl searched through the heavy fabric and reached between the part in the curtains, brushing it minutely aside to look into the room beyond. Almost instantly, Tifa was greeted by soft music and the quiet hum of murmuring voices that had become a familiar backdrop after spending nearly a decade of her life as one of the Prince's personal guards. After all this time, she should have been accustomed to the glitter and glamourous world of the social elite. But Tifa had never been anything more than herself; a simple girl living a not so simple life. And stepping out into the fray only meant marching straight into the center of it all with spotlight focus.

Her stomach lurched and her heart rolled at the mere idea of it.

“What was I thinking?” she mumbled, one of many whispered doubts that had plagued her thoughts since Luna had arrived earlier that week, a finished gown made to glowing perfection cradled protectively in her arms. (Why did she ever think it would be a good idea to stay still long enough for the Queen of Tenebrae to get her measurements?) “I... I don't belong here.”

Pulling away, she let the curtain fall back into place, muffling out the tinkle of the piano and warble of violins that echoed through the hall, normally a source of comfort for her. Now, though, it was only a reminder for what she would face on the other side and all the eyes that would fall on her once she made her entrance.

Tifa nearly fled from the weight of it.

“Careful. It's dangerous to go out there, alone.” The deep rumble came unexpectedly, a comforting familiarity washing over her almost instantly from those few words. It was a voice she had heard every day of her tenure at the palace and one that commanded respect just as much as it had inspired years of unbroken loyalty from those who followed it. “I hear they can be quite the vicious vultures. I should know.”

Today, it was spoken with an air of teasing mischief that belied his aged appearance, weaving a web of untold stories from his more rambunctious youth, instead.

The same handsome and regal face that welcomed her at the steps of his modern palace the first day greeted Tifa now, deep green meeting wide wine-red eyes when they snapped up in alarm. “Your Highness...”

“Now, now. There'll be none of that.” He waved off the title with a few twitches of his rough fingers and stopped her mid-bow. “You and I are past such formalities, my dear.”

And even with those small gestures, there was an ease in his demeanour that seemed to settle her nerves as well - even heal her soul of its weariness, the anxiety falling away one bit at a time in the King's presence. “With all due respect, it might be a while before I can adjust to calling you anything else.”

“I feared as much,” the old monarch sighed, reaching to give her arm a light pat. And it was in doing so that the distinguished leader of the kingdom finally took in her appearance, piqued with interest and looking on with intent, no shortage of pride in sight.

“Though, I suppose an old man like me can take assurance in knowing that I'm still capable of charming and capturing a beautiful woman's attention.” Gliding his palm down to take up the young woman's hand, the Lord Caelum took a measured step back for a better view of the girl he had watched grow – blossom – into the captivating spirit that stood before him now. “My, and what a vision you make.”

Never one to accept or receive compliments without protest, Tifa could only humbly bow her head, cheeks ablaze under the light layer of makeup painted on her face, embarrassment reaching to touch every inch of her skin. “King Regis, please...”

“No, no, my dear. In this, I must insist that my son did well in choosing his company. That he always did.” Her fingers still in his grasp, Regis was quick to tuck them into the crook of his arm, giving them a final pat and a comforting squeeze to lock her position in place by his side. “And don't you ever forget that, no matter what anyone says.”

Like a proud father would, the King hooked a finger under her chin and gently directed Tifa's gaze up to his honest eyes, a wordless command and unspoken sentiment hidden in their depths that could only inspire her to stand just a little taller; to hold her head up high in a manner befitting a companion to the Crown Prince of Lucius. And even as the Lord of the Kingdom waved over a serving maid hidden away in the shadows of the corridor, the young woman found herself holding on to that strength almost as tightly as she held on to his arm.

Even as she felt the weight of the circlet settle over the crown of her head, chest clenching at the responsibilities and expectations that would no doubt come with it, the former Royal Guard to the Prince felt her back straightened with newfound determination. And despite how Tifa's heart seemed to skip in its patterned beats and how she shuddered with every breath, there was a calmness and confidence in her that had not been there before. Nerves and doubts were one matter, to be sure. But the love she had for Noctis, at least, was something she had no hesitations about.

“Now, then. Shall we?” Everyone was waiting for them, after all. Must not keep them waiting. “I'm sure Noctis is eager to see you.”

And with more assurance than she had felt for the last week, the young woman born into the life and traditions of Altissia's working class gave a firm nod of agreement. Could only exhale a heavy breath as King Regis signaled for the attendants to pull open the heavy draperies to face the throngs if people, wealthy and commoner alike. In that moment, a quiet settled over the crowd as if to take a collective breath before the mood shifted and the music began anew.

Across the room, she spotted a familiar outline of a man, deep blue hues greeting her dark red depths in a look of awe - of utter devotion - that seemed to touch her very soul. And the way they lit up at the initial sight of her in all her glory was well worth the suffering she had endured for the past few months of agonizing planning. The wedding of the Century, the news media had called it. And Ignis had worked diligently with the coordinators to ensure that it would be so. But for all her simpleness shyness and modesty, Tifa would have been perfectly happy having a quiet ceremony among family and friends.

At the end of the day, though, the only thing that mattered was the man standing at the other end of the aisle. What mattered was the overflowing love she felt for him. And so, with one last deep and full breath - with one final squeeze at the King's arm for that little extra boost of courage in facing the Lion's Den that laid ahead - Tifa stepped in on beat with the wedding march that began to play. And she prepared herself; for the life that she would begin with Noctis from this day forward. For the life that would no longer be her own when she became the future Queen of Lucius at his side.

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