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a graceful blessing

Chapter Text

"I have no idea how Luna's doing it," Prompto mumbles, looking at the picture of Astra--she's sitting up unsupported for the first time, according to the rest of the text. "She's got to be exhausted."

"She probably has a nursemaid helping her," Noct replies. "And I heard that by about six months, babies sleep better at night."

"That'd be nice," Prompto says. "Wish you'd sleep better, little monster." He gently rubs Sona's head. The babies' hair had all fallen out, which is supposed to be common in newborns, so she's bald. But that doesn't make her any less cute because she and her brother have figured out--there it is.

They've figured out smiling.

When Prompto's paternity leave runs out, it's going to be pretty hard to go back to work. Wiz was really generous to give him three months. A lot of places don't give any leave at all. He doesn't know how either of them would survive without it. It's rewarding every day, but it's rough work.

And now that they're two months old and Prompto's getting a little more rest, there's something that he wants to figure out.

The babies' eyes always glow when Prompto Sings to them. Sometimes they glow when he just normally sings to them. A few times, they've glowed just because he's walked into the room. And they each have diasee on the bottom of one foot.

He wonders how literally he's supposed to take that.

---

"Thanks for coming out with me," Prompto says. He's jittery--he hasn't been away from the twins for longer than a quick grocery run since bringing them home, and here he is about to go down in a dungeon with Ignis. "I really don't know what we're going to find."

Ignis rests his hands on the daggers at his hips. "That's what these are for," he says primly. "Now, what exactly are we looking for?"

"I don't know," Prompto admits, slowly loading his gun. He might be rusty. He hasn't even been keeping the gun at the house. "This might just be me being paranoid. But if there's anything, it'll be down in the Ark."

"Understood," Ignis says. He probably expected as much. "At least we won't have to contend with daemons."

And so the pair step out of the car and walk toward Costlemark Tower.

There's a lot more small wildlife around than Prompto remembers, but that makes sense. Daemons had always seemed to prefer humans, but they would eat other things if they couldn't get people: wild chocobos, stray cats, even chipmunks and songbirds. Now that the threat is gone, things daemons ate are on the rebound. The scientists are all very interested in how it would turn out. Prompto's just hoping they don't run into hundlegs looking for an easy snack.

It's quiet, though, and as they wait for night to fall, they lapse into conversation. "Did you tell Noct what we're here for?" Ignis asks.

"Kinda. I mean, I don't really know what I'm here for," Prompto admits. "I just... wonder."

"Wonder what?" Ignis pushes, as the runes shift their glow and stone rumbles.

"Well," Prompto says. "I guess..." He leads the way forward. Even now, this place draws him in. "I think maybe the thing with the glowing eyes, with the twins... I think maybe it's not them, exactly."

"You believe it's you," Ignis says.

"Well," Prompto says. "The Wills--I mean, they granted me all that power, right? But I don't... I used a lot of it, then, obviously. But..."

Ignis shoves what looks like a dead mouse to the side with his foot and looks up and down the corridor. "Have you been getting stronger?"

"Not exactly," Prompto says. "Nothing's happened by accident, or gone off harder than I meant it to." He takes a moment, thinks about how to phrase it. "But... all those crystals I used to need to, well, not die," he starts.

"Yes?" Ignis asks.

"They don't- my body won't take them anymore," Prompto says. "It's just like if you press them against normal skin. It's been years. And I'm- I'm obviously not dead."

"Quite," Ignis says. "Does Noct know about that?"

"He's the one that first- ran into difficulty. He thought he had the angle wrong or it was the wrong position or something."

Ignis chuckles softly.

Prompto feels his cheeks go hot. "Hey," he grumbles. "Anyway. Noct knows. We just sort of took it as a side effect, though, and hadn't thought much about what it meant."

"And now you think it means something," Ignis concludes.

"I don't know what I'm going to do even if I'm right," Prompto says. "So this really is a dumb trip." He sees movement and pauses, but his flashlight reveals it's only a bug, and a normal-sized one at that.

"There is no shame in the pursuit of knowledge," Ignis tells him.

---

It's an uneventful trip down. Some part of Prompto is disappointed, but the rest of him is glad he's not wasting time. The sooner he gets home, the better.

Finally, they reach the bottom, and walk up to the door to the Ark. It's closed. He's going to feel real dumb if they came all the way down here and he can't get the door-

There's a hum of electricity, and the sound of a pre-recorded voice through a speaker. "Welcome, Hymmnosphere." The door slides open.

Prompto glances at Ignis, as if he would know why that happened. He glances behind them. Nobody else. Nothing interesting in the entire room, except them. So he takes a deep breath and squares his shoulders and steps forward.

It's just as he remembers it, and he can't decide if that's how he wants it to be. He only knew the Wills a little, but it doesn't feel right to stroll right through their home when they aren't there.

Still.

If there was anything left for him here, where would it be?

The computers. This place still has power. Maybe they left him a note.

So Prompto walks down the hall and turns toward the room filled with monitors. They're blank, but they wink into life all at once as he crosses the threshold.

"Welcome, Hymmnosphere," the voice repeats. "New user prompts are currently enabled."

Prompto looks at the center of the room. There's a scorch mark on the floor. He remembers feeling like he was going to burn alive, here.

He turns his attention to the monitors. They show a wide range of locations: places that Prompto recognizes. There's Fenestala Manor, from the outside and- that's inside Luna's bedroom, Prompto thinks, and he can just make out Astra's tiny form in a bassinet. There's the Citadel, from outside, and the throne room, and the living room of the Royal Quarters. There's at least six views of Zegnautus Keep, and ten views of Costlemark and even more of the Ark itself.

There's... there's Prompto's house. The outside. The living room. The bedroom, and the nursery.

"Why is my house on a monitor?" Prompto asks, a little nervousness creeping into his tone.

"This room's displays are currently set to display locations calculated to be of importance," the voice informs him.

"What things are of importance?" Prompto asks.

"Song Towers," the voice states. "Stages of political discussion. This facility. The residence of any living Wills of Eos."

Prompto swallows. "Who do you think I am?" he asks.

"Current user is Hymmnosphere, Will of Eos," the computer states, like it's nothing. "Would you like to change the way you are addressed by the system?"

"Call me Prompto," he says, feeling a little like he might pass out.

"User designation changed to Prompto," the computer says.

"Does he have any new messages?" Ignis asks, and Prompto has a flicker of hope. Maybe they left something, something to explain all this.

"User not recognized."

"Do I have any new messages?" Prompto asks, praying.

"Prompto has no new messages," the computer reports.

"Shit," Prompto mutters, and sits down on the bare floor.