It's dark, so dark that you don't know whether your eyes are open or closed. How long has it been since you last saw light? You swear that hours, days, weeks, months have gone by since you entered this never ending tunnel. You feel an urge to look behind you, just to gauge how much you've traveled, to tell yourself that you're gaining progress, that your waning hope did not go to waste. But you know it's useless – all you'll see is the surrounding darkness. There is nothing waiting for you from where you came from. You stagger your way through the tunnel, feet blistered, nauseated from scent of rotten earth. Will there be anything left of you at the end of this journey, you wonder. And if it's a dead end, what would be the purpose of escaping?
And you're still running, for what seems like ages, the muffled taps becoming a rhythm you can no longer remember. The only thing that keeps you believing, that keeps you running, is the warmth of his hand.
But even that, you think, will one day fade away.
"Are you faring alright there?" he asks, yanking you so that you're running beside him rather than lagging behind. He's not even panting, you notice.
"I guess so," you answer back between gasps of air. "If this tunnel doesn't end soon, I don't know if I'll be able to make it out of here. When that happens, go on ahead. I'll catch up, later."
"You know I'll never leave you behind, ya?" he replies, his tone optimistic. But you hear the slight tremble in his voice and you can imagine the wince he gives you. It's universally accepted knowledge that he's the more able-bodied of the two of you, but after how long you've been together, after going through all that shit and being branded as traitors together, is it inconsiderate of you to let him move on on his own?
Maybe, you think. Just maybe.
You try to smile, although you know he'll never see it. "Well, you could always leave me and go get help? I mean it'll both be easier and faster for the both of us–"
"Never." And from the tone of his voice, you know you've just said something stupid. "Just keep on running. When you feel as if you can't walk anymore, I'll piggyback ya," he chuckles, "No problem!"
"Don't." You would've laughed, but how could you at a time like this? "Dude, I think that'll end up hurting you more than it would ever hurt me. I think I've put on some weight since the last time you offered me a piggyback. Don't do it."
"Well, do you need a break?" He stops running before you realize what he's saying. Soon both your hands are on your knees, your body doubling over from the lack of oxygen in your lungs. But he yanks your right hand off your knee.
"Don't you dare let go," he hisses, and you're not sure what you feel first: the near bone crushing grip he's giving you or the soothing warmth radiating from his hand. "I think it'll hurt more than just a piggyback if I suddenly lose you in the middle of this maze."
"Even if we're separated, we'll find a way out. Don't you worry about that. We've been running together through this crazy shit since forever, even Etro wouldn't have the heart to separate us in the end, hm, Prompto?" You're waiting for a snarky response, but it doesn't come. Suddenly, he pulls you to the ground, covering your mouth with one of his hands, the other gripping your forearm.
"Shh," he whispers. You realize how close he is when you feel his breath on the side of your nose. "There's someone here, quiet. Don't move." The fear you've been suppressing quickly spreads over your body and you stiffen at the growing rumble coming from what seems to be the direction you were traveling in. His thumb starts rubbing small circles on your forearm, as if telling you to relax, that there is absolutely nothing to be afraid about.
His hug becomes tighter as the noise gets louder, his hand gently pressing the back of your head so that your face fits snugly against his shoulder. He's trying to keep you from seeing something, trying to protect you like he always does, even when you find it totally unnecessary. When the noise comes to a stop, he lets you go, slowly standing up in front of you. You open your eyes, scrambling to shield them from the light flooding into your vision.
Someone gets out of the car and Prompto takes a step back, bumping into you. "Don't move," he hisses. You clutch the back of his shirt, trying to peer over his shoulder to see who it is.
"What do you want from us?" he barks at the youth leaning casually on the open passenger door.
"I should be the one asking that," the man sneers. "What are two civilians doing hiding in a military-access only tunnel? It's commendable that you've made it this far without getting shot."
"And what are you doing here?" your friend bites back. "You don't look as if you're part of the military yourself. Just run along and leave us alone."
"Leave you alone?" The intruder smirks. "Does it even look as if you'll get out of here alive? Look, there's about 25KM of road left for you to travel, if that's what you're looking for. If you're looking to cross over from Tenebrae, turn around and get a visa. Then again, with looks as suspicious as yours, I'm not sure if they'd let you cross over. You might be Tenebrae spies for all we know."
Prompto growls, reaching back to clutch your hand. You hold back a yelp when he digs his nails into your palm. "We are no friends of Tenebrae." The man sends him a look of amusement.
"You might as well let them in, Noct." You hear a muffled voice from inside the car. "In any case, they don't look harmful. Stop being a jerk; we both know you're just trying to put up a facade."
"Shut up, Ignis," he sighs before motioning to the open car door. "Come on, get in. You're never getting out of here on foot anyway."
Prompto takes a reluctant step towards the car, pulling you along. He helps you inside before shutting the door behind him.
"You could've left us there if you wanted to," he mumbles. "It's not as if we need your pity or something."
"It has nothing to do with that." The man leans back and crosses his legs in a lazy manner. "Enemies of Tenebrae might as well be our friends."