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like a cat who ate a canary

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By now, Prompto should really be aware of the consequences of the stupid shit he and Noct do. But when Iggy makes some soup with new mushrooms and Noct offers to spice it up with some good ol’ Lucian magic, like what he does to make potions, what is Prompto going to do? Say no? 

And when Noct says, “Don’t tell Specs or Gladio. I wanna see their faces when they try it,” then is Prompto supposed to say no, that’s not a good idea? Probably, but hindsight is 20/20. In all honesty, Prompto didn’t expect anything to happen. When Ignis and Gladio took their first sips, they didn’t react and Noct, with a confused expression, tried some, too.

He shoots Prompto a helpless shrug and mouths, “It tastes normal?” to Prompto. And that should have been that. 

But then there’s a giant poof of smoke, right where all three of them are sitting and Prompto’s temporarily blinded as he coughs and waves the smoke away from his face.

When it clears, they’re all gone. 

No, that’s not quite right.

Prompto squints, looks a little closer as the smoke clears and sure enough, he sees three cats, one sitting where each of the guys were once sat. He rubs his eyes and tries again and the cats are still there.

Oh, fuck.

There’s no question to what’s happened. The smoke is the same kind that appears when somebody gets toaded and the cats look too similar to the guys to be anything else. There’s a small black one where Noct was sitting, with fur that falls over its eyes and bright blue eyes. Where Ignis was, a tortoiseshell cat sits. It has a big tuft of fur on its forehead that stands up like Iggy’s hairstyle and its got markings around its eyes that look like Iggy’s glasses. Then Gladio must be that really fluffy cat curled up on his chair. Like, it’s really fluffy. He’s black and brown, with dark markings that look a little like his tattoo and a scar over his eye.

For a moment, everybody—human and cat—stays still, with identical “what the fuck” expressions on their faces. Prompto, in a voice higher pitched than his usual, asks, “Are you guys… cats?”

Cat-Noct opens his mouth, like he’s yawning, then snaps it shut, looking particularly disgruntled. Then he does it again, but he manages a little meow this time and if Prompto’s heart melts, he doesn’t say it. Noct stands up on shaky legs and attempts to jump off the chair. He succeeds in completely face-planting on the ground.

Immediately, Ignis (Catnis?) hops off his chair, landing gracefully, and runs over to Noct like he’s always known how to walk as a four-legged cat. Gladio (Catio? What does Prompto even call them?) follows close behind, right on Ignis’ tail. Prompto’s still too stunned to move, so he just stands still as he watches Iggy bite Noct on the back of his neck and haul him upright. Noct’s looking pissed and he tries to bat Iggy away, but Gladio baps him on the head.

While they’re still distracted, Prompto pulls out his phone and discreetly snaps a few shots of them. His brain’s not working but his fingers sure are and there is no way he’s gonna let a photo op like this pass. Once he’s satisfied, Prompto approaches the cats and crouches down.

“So uh, you guys are cats now,” he states. “Can you even understand what I’m saying?”

Ignis meows.

“Dude, I don’t speak cat. Was that a yes?”

Ignis meows again.

“Okay, I’m taking that as a yes.”

Then it’s Noct’s turn to meow and he saunters up to Prompto, rubbing against his leg with a purr. Prompto reaches down automatically to pet Noct, but he seems to like it, pushing into Prompto’s hand and lifting his chin so Prompto can get some good scratches in. This is… really fucking weird but it’s also just about the cutest thing Prompto’s ever seen and done.

“You’re really likin’ this, huh, buddy?” Prompto says to Noct and he meows again. Then Prompto reaches out to Gladio. His ears flatten against his head at first but when Prompto starts stroking him, Gladio absolutely melts into his touch. “You like it too?”

Gladio doesn’t purr but he bites at Prompto’s hand when he stops moving so he definitely loves it as much as Noct does. But Iggy’s still sitting in front of him and when he makes eye contact with him, Iggy immediately stands up, huffs, and turns his head to the side.

“C’mon, Iggy,” Prompto says. “Look at how much they enjoy the pets. Can I give you some too? Please?”

He stops stroking Gladio to reach out to Iggy, and Noct begins to meow and push at Iggy when he doesn’t move. Eventually though, Ignis relents and walks towards Prompto, letting Prompto give him a few good scratches behind the ears.

Prompto can’t help but laugh at how dignified Iggy tries to look while being pat, but he breaks away at that and scrunches his nose up. 

“Okay! Sorry. I shouldn’t have laughed. Cuddle time’s over. I guess it’s time to give you guys a remedy, then?” Prompto asks. The three cats nod and Prompto almost laments the fact that he’s gonna lose this. He’s seen a lot of cute cats in his lifetime, but these guys have gotta be the cutest. 

Still, it’s no good to have the prince and his retainers as cats, so Prompto grabs a remedy from the armiger and pours it into a bowl. Noct licks some first, then Iggy, then Gladio.

And nothing happens.

Prompto checks the label of the bottle but the word REMEDY stares right back at him. The cats cock their head, and Prompto only shrugs helplessly. They try drinking a little more and still, nothing happens.

Iggy tries putting his paw in the remedy and rubbing it onto his head, but it does nothing. There’s no poof of smoke, no human-Ignis, no nothing. 

“You think I need to pour some on you?” Prompto says. Ignis nods, then points at Noct with his paw. Noct doesn’t look happy about being chosen, but Prompto takes the bowl anyways and pours it over Noct.

And nothing changes, unless he counts the fact that Noct’s now soaking wet in remedy and hissing up a storm. Okay then.

Prompto tries another remedy, thinking that the previous one was expired or something, though this time he doesn’t pour it over Iggy or Gladio. When it doesn’t work, he tries a maiden’s kiss. Then an antidote. And he’s about to use an elixir when Iggy stops him with a paw on his hand just as he’s about to pour it into a bowl.

Right. He’s just wasting their resources at this point.

“I don’t get it,” Prompto says. “What the hell’s going on? Why isn’t any of this working? Why the hell aren’t you guys turning back into humans?”

His heart thrums in his chest. Yeah, okay, never mind all that shit about him not wanting the guys to turn back into humans. He wants them back. Like, right now. But wishing isn’t gonna do much if even Noct’s strongest remedies are failing.

Gladio nuzzles at Prompto’s leg and he absentmindedly pats him as he tries to come up with a plan. But then he realizes that Gladio’s not asking for pets, he’s trying to tell Prompto to look at his phone.

“You’re right!” Prompto grabs his phone and swipes it open. “I can just...” He thumbs over to Cor’s name and is about to hit dial, when he notices that there’s no signal. “ Fuck.” 

He doesn’t get any signal, not anywhere near the haven and Prompto doesn’t expect to get any this far out in the wilderness. The closest outpost is Taelpar’s Rest Area, but with the sunlight rapidly fading and three cats to take care of, the odds of him making a call tonight are low.

“Sorry guys. Looks like you’re gonna have to be cats ‘til tomorrow.”

The three don’t seem too bothered by it, despite Prompto’s frantic heartbeat and growling stomach. But there’s nothing much he can do, so he takes Iggy’s soup (the one that Noct totally fucked up) and dumps it over the edge of the haven. If a couple of daemons want to have some and turn into fluffy kittens, let them.

Or maybe not, ‘cause Prompto’s not sure if he’s emotionally ready to fight a bunch of kittens.

He does end up saving a bit of the soup, though, boxed in a little container with a note that says DON’T TOUCH just in case Cor needs to like, investigate it or whatever. Then Prompto makes himself some cup noodles, sneakily taking more pics of the cat-boys as the water boils. Noct’s batting at his phone up on his chair but to no avail, while Gladio’s headbutting Iggy like he did to Prompto when he wanted more pets. Iggy’s having none of it though. He’s focused on the skies—probably looking out for MTs.

And then, as Prompto is enjoying his cup noodles, he has to ask himself about whether or not he could feed a cat some cup noodles, ‘cause Gladio’s eyeing him really hard right now. He walks right up to Prompto’s feet and stares at him as he eats.

“Uh, big guy—or, cat I guess—can you like, stop looking at me? It’s kinda creepy.”

But Gladio only stands on his hind legs and paws at Prompto’s knee. Apparently that’s Prompto’s limit, as he gives in a grabs a bowl and fills it with some of his cup noodles. Gladio digs right in and, after watching Noct eye it from afar, Prompto gets a separate bowl for him and Iggy. (Iggy shudders every time he licks the soup and it takes all of Prompto’s strength not dissolve into giggles like a kid. He’s so picky).

It’s not long before Prompto finishes his cup noodles and he silently thanks the Astrals for letting Gladio set up the tent before he got turned into a cat. Prompto did not need to fail at pitching a tent while three cats judged him. Nope. No thanks.

He cleans up their dinner (tossing the vegetables Noct didn’t eat off the haven) and ushers the cats into the tent, zipping it up behind him. Then, Prompto flops onto his sleeping bag with a sigh. Noct curls up on his and immediately falls asleep, making Prompto chuckle. Noct as a human is basically already a cat, so dealing with cat-Noct isn’t hard at all.

Iggy and Gladio lay down together, but they don’t sleep. In fact, Iggy starts… licking Gladio’s wind-tousled fur? Gladio actually starts purring, too, leaning into Iggy’s body. Prompto’s jaw drops open but he manages to catch himself and hide his face behind his phone, pretending to play King’s Knight.

Wow, even as cats, they’re the most romantic people he’s ever met.

He takes a decent video and he’s ready to take a few more pics when Iggy and Gladio flop over to fall asleep next to Noct. They’re usually the ones who fall asleep last, so that’s a pretty decent surprise. Not that Prompto’s complaining, though. Far from it.

Picking up the lantern, Prompto blows it out, plunging the tent into darkness and he rolls over in his sleeping bag, falling asleep.


Prompto wakes and he notices three things:

  1. It’s well past dawn, the tent bright in the morning sun.
  2. There’s a heavy weight on his chest and it’s hard to breathe.
  3. There’s a heavy, fuzzy lump over his neck and mouth and he can’t fuckin’ breathe?!

It takes all of three seconds for Prompto to yelp and begin flailing about. He sits something soft with his arms but he’s too focused on pushing off whatever the hell’s on his chest. He scrambles backwards, panting heavily. He takes in the view of three disgruntled cats glaring at him and Prompto thinks “What the actual fuck is going on” before the events of yesterday hit him like a frieght train.

Soup. Magic. Cats.

Right.

“Uh, g’morning,” Prompto tries. It doesn’t appease them. He assumes that Gladio and Noct were laying on him and Iggy was by his arm, having been knocked to the other end of the tent in Prompto’s rude awakening. “Sorry for the… y’know.”

Gladio does a weird roll of his shoulders that kinda looks like a shrug? Either way, he doesn’t look that pissed as he walks out of the tent. 

Or, tries to at least.

The zipper is high, too high for him to reach and he doesn’t risk digging his claws into the walls of the tent to climb and reach it. After a pathetic attempt at reaching for the zipper, Gladio sits down and meows expectantly. 

Prompto sighs. It’s like he’s babysitting children. He opens the tent and Gladio zooms out, Ignis close behind. Noct is sleeping again so Prompto quickly changes before he wakes, then comes out of the tent to find Gladio running around the haven while Iggy is up on the table, nosing at a can of Ebony.

Once again, kinda cute in the way that they’re still trying to keep to their morning habits even while cats. They really don’t let anything stop them, huh? Even Noct’s taken to being a cat surprisingly well, but then again, he’s probably been waiting for this day.

Prompto strides over to Iggy and snatches the can of Ebony out of his reach. “I dunno how your digestive system works, but I don’t think drinking coffee as a cat is a good idea,” he says. Iggy glares at him in an adorably angry way. “You guys can drink milk, right? Wait, no you can’t.” Memories of Noct lecturing him come to the forefront of his mind. ‘Cats can’t drink milk you idiot it’s bad for them don’t feed cats milk TV is a lie don’t listen to anyone except for me.’ That was like, the most animated Prompto has ever seen Noct before. 

He pours a bowl of water for the cats and sets it aside for Iggy, who dips his paw in the water and uses it to wash his fur. If that isn’t a “fuck you” in cat-language, then Prompto doesn’t know what is.

“You can last without Ebony for one day, Iggy,” Prompto grabs a pan, butter, eggs and toast and turns the stove on. Eggs and toast. Simple enough to make, right? Apparently not. Iggy noses some spices towards him, but they’re not labelled. “What’s this for?”

Iggy opens his mouth, presumably to meow again, but they’re interrupted by a yowl coming from the direction of the tent. Prompto whirls around to see Gladio dragging Noct out of the tent, teeth clamped around his paw while Noct feebly bats at him with his other one.

“Uh.” Prompto blinks. “Should we like… stop them?” he says to Iggy, who only looks away like the sadist he is. He starts trying to open the container of spices with his paws but not having opposable thumbs suck and he only succeeds in batting it around. Well, if Iggy trusts Gladio and Noct to not kill each other, then Prompto may as well follow him.

It’s still hard to concentrate on what Iggy’s trying to tell him, though, with the sounds of a fight behind him. The eggs look ready to be flipped, but when Prompto picks up the spatula, Iggy swats at his hand and points to the spice instead. Prompto opens the container, and pinches a decent amount between his fingers. Iggy swats him again and Gladio and Noct only yowl louder.

“Can you guys stop trying to kill each other for three seconds? Please?” Prompto asks, his voice growing higher and that much frantic. Cooking breakfast has never been this stressful before. “I’m trying to understand Iggy here!”

He pinches a smaller amount this time, and Iggy gives him an approving nod. Prompto has no idea what this spice is, but he’ll trust a cat (especially an Iggy-cat) over himself when it comes to cooking, so he adds it to the pan. Once the eggs and toast are finished, he separates three tiny pieces from his meal for the cats and adds it to separate plates, placing them on the ground.

“Okay guys, breakfast is ready,” Prompto says. Noct and Gladio continue to tussel—their fur is covered in dirt and all messy. “Hello? You guys hungry?”

Iggy leaps down from the table and to the food, letting out a sharp hiss in the direction of the two others. They immediately stop fighting and wow, Prompto’s kinda impressed and also scared of the control Iggy has over any given situation. At the very least, it means that he can enjoy his breakfast in peace, unlike his dinner last night.

As it turns out, the peace is short-lived as Prompto then has to clean up the entire camp and pack everything up while the cats give him judgemental looks. Gladio tries nipping him at one point, when he tries to break down the tent in a rough way, but he’s no longer well over six feet tall and beefy as shit so Prompto easily nudges him out of the way.

“If this is what it feels like whenever you push me away,” Prompto says as he nudges Gladio away from the tent with his foot. “I can see why you always do it. This is kinda fun. It sucks being the smaller guy all the time, huh small guy?”

Gladio attacks his boot for that, but Prompto figures he deserves it.

Once everything looks decent, Prompto makes the short trek to the Regalia with the cats in tow. Gladio sticks his nose in every bush like a dog would, while Iggy and Noct make a beeline for the car. Iggy sits on the front seat while Noct goes straight to the backseat.

“Yeah, I don’t think so, Igster.” Prompto gently pushes Iggy out of the driver’s seat. “You’re the best driver out of all of us but that’s only when you’re not a cat. Move over.”

Iggy doesn’t move over. He only shuffles aside, somewhat, leaving just enough room for Prompto to sit down and pull the door closed. When he does, Iggy climbs onto his lap and sits down, facing the front.

Noct is already ready to go to sleep in the back, while Gladio looks ready to bat at Noct’s tail. Prompto groans, and summons Gladio’s weird beef-jerky-thing that he likes to eat and throws a piece on the backseat. 

“Leave Noct alone, man,” Prompto says, eyeing Gladio in the rearview mirror. “Just eat that instead or something, I dunno.”

Gladio hisses him and does not take the jerky. Apparently, he’s not that much like a dog, though he does lay down on the seats and shut his eyes so that’s a plus. The steady rumble the Regalia makes upon starting up is comforting and Prompto flicks the radio on to his favourite station. Noct yowls in protest, but Prompto only grins.

“Sucks for you. You’re gonna have to deal with me listening to my music now since you never let me play it in the Regalia when you’re human.”

There’s a grumble in the back that only makes Prompto’s grin that much wider, and he turns up the volume.

Chapter Text

Prompto wishes he could say the drive is uneventful, but it’s really not. It’s quiet on the roads and it’s a really nice day around, but whenever he so much as glances at Noct in the backseat, Iggy nips at his arm. It’d be a little more annoying, if the way that Iggy sways isn’t so concerning. The lack of Ebony must be getting to him, even in cat form, but when Prompto suggests Ignis take a break, he only shakes his head.

Eventually, Gladio meows from the backseat. Prompto didn’t even know he was awake. At first, Iggy ignores him, but Gladio persists and carefully, Iggy crawls over Prompto’s arm and jumps into the backseat. Gladio purrs happily and he tackles Iggy to the seat, curling around him in a way that leaves no room to escape. Iggy rests his chin on Gladio’s neck and finally closes his eyes.

Prompto shuts off the radio, giving them some peace and quiet. All three of them sleep for the rest of the ride, even when Prompto pulls into Taelpar. He parks, just at the edge of the outpost and checks his phone. Yup, there’s his signal.

He dials Cor, who picks up on the third ring.

“Argentum,” Cor says.

“Hey, Marshal. Uh, I got a bit of a problem over here. Noct’s alright! We’re all okay,” Prompto adds hurriedly, “but one of Noct’s spells went wrong?”

“Care to explain further?” 

“So Iggy was using some new mushrooms in a meal last night, and Noct added a bit of his magic to it, like how he does with potions and stuff. He, Iggy and Gladio all had the soup and they all… turned into cats?”

“Cats.” The deadpan tone on the other end has Prompto cringing and he feels like apologizing for letting this happen, even if this was almost completely entirely Noct’s fault. Cor sounds one-hundred percent done with Prompto’s shit.

“Yeah.” The said cats in question have all woken up by now, blinking sleepily from the backseat. Prompto puts the phone on speaker. “We tried a maiden’s kiss already, and an antidote and a remedy, but nothing worked. It’s been hours since they had the soup, too. They can’t talk, but they understand me just fine and oh! I have a picture of them, lemme send it to you.”

“I see,” Cor says as Prompto quickly shoots him the picture and tries not to think too hard about how he’s texting Cor the Immortal cat photos. “Can you send me a picture of the mushrooms as well, if you have them?”

“Can do.” Thank god Prompto decided to snap a pic of them before Iggy cut them up. “I’ve also got some of the leftover soup, too.”

“That won’t be necessary. I recognize those mushrooms. Have you heard of daushrooms?”

“No? Sir?”

“They’re a type of mushroom with transformative properties. They’re often the main ingredient in making homemade remedies and maiden’s kisses. It seems that adding Lucian magic has an unfortunate side-effect.”

“Tell me about it,” Prompto groans. “Noct gets into way more shenanigans as a cat.”

“Are the… cats able to use any magic?”

Prompto looks expectantly at them. Iggy raises his paw, then shakes his head. “Iggy’s saying no. Wait—” Noct’s eyes are scrunched up in concenration and there’s a blue spark. One of Iggy’s daggers materializes in the air in front of him and falls into the seat, sending all three cats twenty feet into the air, hissing and spitting.

“I presume the noise I just heard were the cats?”

“Yep. It looks like Noct uh, can use his magic. He just summoned a dagger.”

“Tell His Highness not to use any more of his magic,” Cor sighs. Noct jumps on Prompto’s lap and meows into the phone. “I know you’re listening, Highness. It’s unsafe for you to do so. Now, Argentum, tell me where you are. I can procure a remedy from the hunters and infuse it with enough magic to turn the boys back into humans. All that’s left is to deliver it.”

“We’re in Taelpar,” Prompto answers.

“Good. Head to Caem and stay with Monica. It’s safest there. I’ll text them to notify of your arrival and I’ll bring the remedy as soon as I can. Understood?”

“Yes sir! I’ll make sure nothing happens to them.”

“Keep in touch.” Cor hangs up without a goodbye. It’d sound impersonal, but Prompto’s gotten to know Cor ( the Immortal himself!) well enough by now to understand that’s how he operates. No nonsense, no bullshit and no more words than necessary. 

“Alright, you heard the Marshal. No magic.” Prompto points at Noct. He bites at his finger. “No biting, either. I’m gonna go get some lunch from the Crow’s Nest before we leave. I’ll get you guys some fries, I guess? Stay in the car.”

He doesn’t trust the guys in public, it’s dangerous to bring them out in public, and there’s no way Prompto is going to get caught talking to three cats in public. 

When Prompto gets back, he spots all three cats inside the car, though Noct’s laying on the trunk.

“Got your food.” Prompto sets some fish n’ chips next to Noct and sits down on the trunk, unwrapping his sandwich. Iggy and Gladio jump up to dig in and soon, the air’s filled with the sounds of them eating. It’s… really quiet. And odd. Prompto’s been so used to hearing the guys talk that a single meal without their banter has Prompto biting his lip. They’re all right next to him, but Prompto still misses them. 

Even stealing a couple of their fries after he finishes his own food doesn’t cheer him up. Prompto sighs, and that’s when he hears a bark. His head shoots upwards and immediately locks onto a big, big dog, hurtling towards them at top speed.

Gladio hops off the trunk onto the pavement, and hisses, louder than Prompto’s ever heard him before. He puffs up and he kinda looks cute like that, a giant fuzzy fluffball, but then Noct spits and jumps twenty feet in the air. Prompto leaps down from the trunk but Noct decides to claw his way up Prompto’s arm like he’s scampering up a tree.

Prompto yelps and tries to pry Noct off to no avail. He continues climbing Prompto, digging his nails into his skin, until he reaches the top of Prompto’s head, where he hisses down at the approaching dog.

There’s tiny pinpricks of blood on Prompto’s arms and scratches on his cheeks, but there’s no time to think about that as he grabs Iggy with one arm and bends down to scoop Gladio up with the other. Just in time, too. The dog reaches Prompto and starts nosing at his pants, standing up on its hind legs. Gladio tries to wriggle free, but Prompto holds tight as he attempts to fend off the dog with his foot.

This has got to be possibly one of the worst and most confusing moments of his life. Cor is gonna kill him. Nothing—not his Crownsguard training or shitty childhood—could have prepared him for this moment.

Prompto spots a hunter frantically running after the dog, waving his arms and calling out its name, but the dog doesn’t stop trying to kill the cats until the hunter drags him away by the collar.

“Sorry, sorry!” the hunter frantically says. “ Down, Repede. Down. Good boy.”

Prompto feels safe enough to let Iggy and Gladio back down onto the car trunk. Gladio’s still poofed up and angry and Iggy’s still got his claws out, but neither of them look like they’re going to attack, thank god. Noct’s still on top of Prompto’s head and something tells him that he’s not going to move so he just leaves him there.

“That your dog?” Prompto asks.

“Yep, sorry,” the hunter says again. “I’ve been training him, y’know, as a companion, but small animals make him go crazy. Your cats okay?”

“Don’t worry, they’re fine.” After all, Prompto is the one who got scratched up here, courtesy of Noct.

The hunter nods. “Cool. Sorry again. Be seeing you around.” He waves and starts dragging the dog away. It resists the hunter at first, but it follows after the hunter gives a sharp whistle. Prompto doesn’t realize he’s leaning against the back of the Regalia until they’re out of sight and his legs nearly crumple beneath him.

“Holy fuck,” Prompto breathes. “Apparently keeping you guys alive is gonna be harder than I thought. Wanna get out of here?”

None of the cats voice their dissent, so Prompto plunks Noct in the backseat, turns the Regalia on, and pulls out of the outpost. They should be able to make it to Caem by late afternoon, but that’s still hours of driving he has to do. He doesn’t know how Iggy does it. Maybe it’s because car rides without the other three to bother or talk to is boring as hell. Meowing doesn’t make for good conversation.

He pulls into Caem by late afternoon, the sun hanging low in the sky. The clouds are painted orange and red—it’s a picturesque scene and Prompto can’t resist taking a few pics of the lighthouse with the clouds against the background.

“Okay, c’mon guys,” Prompto says once he’s got enough photos. Noct stares blankly at him. “Hello? We’re here. It’s time to go.”

And for the second time that day, Noct climbs Prompto. This time, he digs his nails into the back of Prompto’s shirt so there’s no blood, and he perches on Prompto’s shoulder. Prompto sighs and locks the Regalia. Thankfully, Ignis and Gladio decide to walk along the ground.

Prompto spots Iris and Talcott first. They’re outside of the house, by the edge of the cliff, arms on the fence and peering over the railing. Gladio meows, loudly, and Iris turns around in time to see a giant, fluffy cat hurtling towards her. She shrieks (from joy?) and catches Gladio, pulling him into her chest.

Talcott’s eyes go as wide as saucers as he watches Gladio, and waves to Prompto. “Hello!” he says, skipping over to Prompto and pointing at Noct. “Is that Prince Noctis?”

“Yep,” Prompto says. He pulls Noct off his head and brings him to Talcott’s eye level. “The one on the ground is Iggy.”

“Hi, Prince Noctis.” Talcott bows to the cat like the adorable kid he is, then he crouches down to say hi to Iggy, holding out a hand for him to sniff. “Hi, mister Ignis.” Iggy purrs and pushes his head into Talcott’s hand. The kid lets out a delighted squeal as Iggy licks at his palm. 

“That is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen,” Iris says, walking up to them with Gladio still purring happily in her arms.

“I guess Cor called you guys up and told you the situation?” Prompto says.

Iris bends down to let Gladio on the ground and strokes Iggy along his back. “He did. He told us that these guys had turned into cats and we were to keep them safe until he comes here with a remedy. How long have they been like this for?”

“Almost a day? We tried a remedy and everything, but nothing worked. I hope Cor’s will. They’ve been driving me insane.”

“But they’re so cute,” Talcott gasps. As if to prove his point, Noct hops down from Prompto’s arms and into Talcott’s lap, purring as loudly as Gladio.

“That sounds like Gladdy. He’s always annoying,” Iris says. Gladio stops purring and he begins headbutting Iris’ leg—and not in the nice way. Iris only laughs at his failure to bully her and scoops him up. “You’re shorter than me now, so it’s my turn to annoy you.” She gives him a noogie for good measure and wow, Prompto would be dead if he so much as thought about doing that to Gladio. Noct looks particularly smug and Iggy continues being a sadist and refuses to save his boyfriend from Iris’ wrath.

“Alright, we should probably head inside the house before it gets too dark,” Prompto says to stop Iris. No, he is definitely not trying to get on Gladio’s sweet side as an attempt to atone for eating his cup noodles. Definitely not. 

Iris is holding Gladio, Noct jumps into Talcott’s arms and Prompto hesitantly holds out his own. Iggy stares at him for a moment, then jumps into his arms and settles in. With a triumphant grin, Prompto leads the other two back to the house. 

Once inside, Iggy and Gladio jump to the ground, while Noct’s content to be carried around. Monica’s at the kitchen, and once the door closes, she turns around, expression morphing into one of shock as she sees the boys.

Astrals,” Monica says. She makes her way over to Gladio and bends down to pet him from head to tail, cooing all the while. “They’re even cuter in person. I can’t believe it’s really them. Oh, they’re so cute!”

“What do you mean they’re even cuter in person?” Prompto asks.

Monica abruptly stops petting Gladio, like she just realized she isn’t alone and the cat that she’s petting isn’t exactly a cat. She stands up straight and coughs into her elbow. “What I meant to say was, Cor already informed me of the situation and he, er, sent me the photo you gave him.”

The Marshal was sending my cat (but not really) photos to other people. That thought doesn’t come as big of a shock to Prompto as he thought it would. It seems that having your three best friends turn into cats makes you a little desensitized to the weirdness in life. 

“Makes sense,” Prompto replies. “So we can skip the explanations, then.”

Noct meows his agreement. Seems like he’s as tired of Prompto explaining their story, too. Talcott hefts him higher in his arms and asks, “What’s wrong, Prince Noctis? Are you hungry?”

He’s answered by two other meows—seems like lunch wasn’t enough for Noct and Gladio. Monica looks to Prompto. “Have you given them any food?” she says.

“Of course I have!” Prompto splutters. “They ate breakfast with me and I got them some food from a diner for lunch.”

“You haven’t been giving them cat food?” Monica says and Prompto swears she looks downed by that. Wow, Noct wasn’t kidding when he said she was a cat person.

“No? We don’t have any and I don’t think they’d eat it. Besides, we’ll be turning them back into humans soon, so even if they ate something cats aren’t supposed to, they should be fine, right?”

“Hopefully, but I’m reluctant to take any chances. I’ll just cook some dinner with ingredients that aren’t fatal to cats for tonight.”

Iris giggles. “Too bad Noct can fish for us—but at least we’ve got some in the fridge. Hey Monica, did you need any help?”

“That would be appreciated. You can begin by cutting up some vegetables?” Monica makes her way over to the kitchen, Iris in tow. Both of them ignore Noct’s meow of protest, which is to be expected. If he hates vegetables as much as he does as a human, he’d probably barf just looking at one as a cat.

On second thought, Prompto’s pretty sure he’s seen Noct nearly barf after eating a vegetable as a human so maybe Noct is even more cat-like than he originally thought.

Prompto’s also noticed just how grimy and sweaty and dirty he is, so he turns to Talcott and says, “Hey, buddy. I got a favour to ask you.”

Talcott eagerly stands straight and brings his arms to the side like a little soldier. “Yes?”

“I’m gonna go take a shower. You think you can take care of the cats until I can get back? Make sure they don’t get into any trouble and keep them occupied?”

“Uh-huh! I can do that!” Talcott nods. “You can trust me, Prom.”

“Thanks. Knew I could rely on ya,” Prompto says. He takes one last look at the cats, all of whom are quite interested in whatever’s going on in the kitchen, and retreats to the guest bedroom. He heads straight to the shower, turning the dial to scalding hot and jumps in without a second thought.

Man. Being the responsible one is exhausting. Is this what Iggy feels like all the time? Is this what it’s like to take care of three people who seemingly don’t have any braincells and love to get into trouble?

Granted, Prompto’s ninety percent sure Iggy still has more braincells than him, even as a cat, but trying to break into their supplies to drink a can of Ebony counts as causing trouble so sorry, Iggy, you’re gonna have to be lumped in with the other two dumbasses.

By the time Prompto comes out of the shower, his skin is pink all over and he’s feeling refreshed. He makes his way downstairs, where dinner is mostly finished. Tacott’s sitting at the table using one of his cactuars to play with Noct while Iggy watches from afar. Once he spots Prompto, he jumps up from his chair and gives a little bow.

“Prom! I watched over them, like you said I should!”

“Nice.” Prompto ruffles Talcott’s hair and pats the top of Noct’s head. “What happened while I was gone?”

“Mister Ignis tried to help the others in the kitchen, but they banned him from it because he was getting cat fur on the counters. Gladio went to take a nap on the porch and Prince Noctis played with me!” Talcott lists off. “Gladio followed Iris to the gardens. She said she just wanted to check them while waiting for you.”

“Huh?”

“So we could eat dinner together,” Monica says.

Oh. Right. That’s what people and families do. Even after being on this roadtrip for who knows how long and eating dinner together every night around the campfire, Prompto’s still not used to having company as he eats. 

He’s not sure if he’ll ever get used to it but on the plus side, he’s pleasantly surprised every time.

That’s when Iris takes her cue to enter through the front door with Gladio strutting in behind her. “Hey, Prompto! About time you came out, I’m starving.”

“Sorry to keep you waiting,” Prompto says. “Here, I’ll serve you guys to make up for it?”

“You’d better,” Iris grumbles.

As it turns out, Iris is only half-joking and she wrestles Prompto into letting her help serve everyone. Everybody gets a plate, including the cats, and Dustin’s gone off to Lestallum, apparently, to communicate better with the hunters and give them orders since Cor would be travelling. 

The table’s still crowded, though, even if there are three cats instead of people and when Prompto finishes, Iris and Talcott bully him into bed.

“You’ve been dealing with the boys for a day entirely on your own,” Iris says. “You deserve some rest. Go to sleep or I’ll knock you out myself.”

That, combined with Talcott’s puppy eyes, has Prompto nearly running to his bedroom. Noct follows him and lays down on the pillow, already asleep. He actually ended up eating a fair amount of his dinner, even if he plucked out all the vegetables from the meal with his claws.

Prompto checks his phone one last time for an update from Cor, but there’s none, so he pushes Noct off his pillow and curls up under the covers. The second he closes his eyes, he’s asleep.


This time, Prompto is not suffocating when he wakes up. Noct’s still sleeping on the bed, but he’s beside Prompto. Apparently he’s learned his lesson. Iggy and Gladio are nowhere in sight, but Prompto guesses they’re probably sleeping with Talcott and Iris, respectively. 

He crawls out of bed, taking care not to wake Noct (as if that would wake him, in all honesty) and shuts the bedroom door behind him. Prompto’s all set to stumble into the kitchen for some half-assed breakfast, bedhead and messy clothes and all, but he’s greeted by none other than Cor the freakin’ Immortal sitting at the table with Monica.

“Good morning,” Cor says.

“Marshal! When did you arrive here?”

“Late last night. I have the remedy, but we decided on letting you four rest until the morning. I assume the cats are still asleep?”

“Um, yeah. Want me to go uh, wake them up?” Prompto asks, his hunger pushed to the back of his mind.

“If you will.”

Cor dismisses him with a wave of his hand and Prompto flees up the stairs. He runs into his bedroom and gently shakes Noct.

“Hey. Hey. Wake up.” Prompto pokes at his cheeks and tugs at his ear but Noct only bats his hand away—with his claws! “Okay, that’s it.” He picks Noct up ‘round the belly and nestles him in his arms. Noct stops fighting him but something tells Prompto he’s never gonna hear the end of it once Noct’s a human again.

Once Noct’s a human again. It’s only been like, two days but it still feels like forever since Prompto’s heard Noct’s voice. He’ll never admit it, but he’s kinda missing it, even if it means he’ll have to hear Noct complain about getting up at ass o’clock in the morning.

Prompto knocks on Iris bedroom door and surprisingly, she answers with, “Come in!” and Prompto opens the door to see Iris laying on her back in bed, typing away on her phone. Gladio’s nestled beside her, snoozing away and Iggy is grooming himself over on the other side of the room with Talcott, who’s still asleep.

“Mornin’, Prompto. What’s up?” Iris says, looking up from her phone.

“Morning. Did you know that Cor’s here? He came overnight.”

“Yeah.” Iris sits up, giving Gladio a pat. “I said hi to him already. He was all ready to give the boys the remedy, but I said we should let you and the others sleep in a little bit. You all were exhausted.”

Prompto huffs indignantly. “I wasn’t that tired. Okay fine, taking care of cats is hard work but c’mon, give me some credit here. I can handle that much.”

“I know you can,” Iris says in a way that Prompto can’t tell if she’s joking around or not. “Welp, now that you’re awake, I guess we gotta give them the remedy, huh? Alright, Gladdy, time to get up.” She pats Gladio a little more insistently this time and Gladio bats at her hand, letting out a big yawn.

Iggy’s already jumped off the bed and Gladio stretches before he hops off, too. With Noct in hand, Prompto and Iris head back to the kitchen. Cor’s already got a bowl of what Prompto assumes to be the remedy waiting and Monica looks really depressed like she doesn’t want them to turn back into humans.

Prompto drops Noct on the table, who’s looking a little more alive than he was before, and Iggy and Gladio jump up to greet him.

“It’s nice to see you, Highness, Ignis, Gladio,” Cor says like this is just another day and he’s not talking to a bunch of cats. “You all have quite the resemblance to your human selves as cats.”

Noct meows while Ignis and Gladio bow their heads to Cor in a way that makes Prompto really wish he had his camera in hand. 

“They weren’t showing any signs of discomfort or injury as cats, were they?” 

It takes a second for Prompto to remember that the Marshal’s addressing him. “Oh, uh, no. None at all. They looked normal.”

Cor nods. “Good. The remedy should work without any difficulty, then.”

“I think I’m gonna miss Gladdy as a cat,” Iris sighs and strokes Gladio again. “He’s much cuter as a cat and I like him better when he can’t talk. Now I’ll have to listen to him whine about dumb romance tropes in books again.”

“It’s for the better,” Prompto says. Gladio snorts and paws at Iris again, asking for some more pats one last time. Noct and Iggy don’t ask for pats but Prompto strokes them anyways. It should be illegal for something to be that soft.

“Highness, you first,” Cor says. Noct meows and stares at the bowl for a second. He exhales, then leans down to lap at the remedy. Iggy and Gladio do the same, then they all sit back and wait. Prompto leans forward in his chair, holding his breath. The air grows still, and—

Poof! 

There’s large cloud of smoke that sends Prompto reeling, coughing and choking. He hears Iris cry out to the side and Cor grumbles. But, once the smoke clears, Prompto’s greeted by the sight of Noct, Iggy and Gladio all sitting upright on the ground.

They look a bit dazed, disheveled and disoriented, but they’re all very much human. No cat ears, tails, fur, anything. Completely human.

“Did it work?” Prompto says. Noct groans and falls flat on his back. Alarmed, Monica takes a step foward but Noct waves her off. “Are you okay?”

“M’fine,” Noct mumbles. “Not used to feeling so… heavy.”

Cor points at Iggy and Gladio. “What about you two? Are you feeling alright?”

Iggy, being Iggy, tries to stand up and his legs nearly buckle under his weight. Using Gladio for balance, he tries again and faces Cor. “We’re alright. Just simply… dizzy.”

“Bein’ a cat for two days will do that to you.” Gladio stands up next to Iggy and stretches, then he looks down at his hands like he’s seeing them for the first time. “Nice to have this body back. I missed having opposable thumbs.”

“You’re really back!” Iris says and for all her jabs about wanting to keep Gladio a cat, she sure moves quickly to hug him, nearly topping the big guy over in the process. “I missed your stupid face.”

“Easy there, Moogle. You’re actin’ like I came back from the dead. I was with you the entire time, remember?”

“Wait,” Prompto begins. “So does that mean you guys remember everything?”

“From the moment we were turned into cats, yes,” Ignis says.

“Including the food and the dog and the pats and the, y’know.” Prompto gestures pathetically. “ Everything?”

“Everything,” Noct confirms. “I’m gonna kick your ass for pushing me off the pillow, by the way.” He flips Prompto off for good measure, but he’s not all that threatening, considering he’s laying on the ground so Prompto only laughs.

“Man, I missed you guys, too,” he says with a smile. “Never thought I’d ever be glad to get rid of some cats. Noct, remind me to punch you the next time you suggest doing something stupid.”

Noct groans. “Noted.”