It’s a beautiful, bright sunny day, but even in that radiant daylight, Prompto shines—there’s a flicker of blond hair that catches in Ignis’ peripherals, and he glances over in time to see a familiar face wandering down the street. A part of Ignis immediately wants to pull over; he’s had a particularly stressful week of lengthy meetings and mountainous paperwork, and while Prompto’s primarily Noctis’ friend, he has a way of cheering Ignis up too. Ignis could use a little time to unwind with a chipper friend. Except he has work to do and friendship is just a luxury. He keeps driving, right past Prompto, then sees a ball of black fluff in the rearview mirror and nearly crashes the car in his rush to pull over.
The wheels screech to a halt right next to the sidewalk. There is no space for parking, but the other cars will just have to go around him. Someone behind him honks angrily but makes the swerve and keeps going. Ignis hurriedly rolls the passenger side window down, and when Prompto strolls into view, Ignis calls, “Prompto!”
Prompto nearly jumps out of his skin. He turns wide blue eyes to Ignis, the black cat clutched firmly to his chest. Its ears flick at Prompto startling, tail swishing harmlessly behind it, but it doesn’t try to escape his hold. Ignis has half a mind to honk the horn as loud as he can and scare the cat right off.
Prompto wanders over, leaning down to peer through the window. As soon as he spots Ignis, he’s smiling, and he greets cheerily, “Hey, Iggy.”
“What’re you doing?”
Prompto blinks. “Huh? Uh... going to see Noct.”
“His apartment is that way.” Ignis jabs a finger in the correct direction, even though Prompto knows exactly where Noctis lives and Ignis knows exactly why he’s headed elsewhere. Prompto’s blond brows draw together, maybe confused by Ignis’ attitude, but when it comes to cats, Ignis can’t take any chances. He has to put his foot down. He deadpans, “You’re going to the Citadel, aren’t you.”
“Y... yeah? Noct said to meet him there... uh... is that okay?”
Prompto’s perfectly welcome at the Citadel. The cat is not. “That’s fine. I can even offer you a ride. But I’m afraid I must insist you leave the cat.”
“Huh? But... I didn’t steal it or anything—it’s just a stray that comes around my building a lot. I was telling Noctis about it, and he said if I brought it to the Citadel, he could find it a good home, so...”
Ignis should’ve known. He finds himself pinching the bridge of his nose, rubbing beneath his glasses. Of course Noctis would deviously disguise his animal instincts behind a charitable charade. At least Prompto doesn’t seem to understand what’s really going on, so he’s not an active participant in the problem. Ignis slowly explains, “You can’t bring the cat to the Citadel, Prompto. You can let Noctis have it.”
“Why?” A split-second after the word’s left his lips, Prompto’s expression goes from dazed to horrified. “Wait, he’s not gonna eat it, right? Like, I know the royal family has dragon blood, but... but he wouldn’t do that, right?”
“He’s not going to eat it.”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
Prompto shifts uncomfortably. It looks like he wants to obey but can’t. “Well... I mean, I can’t just drop it here... what if it can’t find its way back, and the people around here don’t feed it...”
Ignis sighs. He doesn’t have any desire to strand a poor cat in the middle of suburban nowhere either. But he also doesn’t have the time to drive it to a shelter. He tells himself he’ll do it tomorrow.
For the moment, he does have just enough time to make sure it’s the last cat Prompto brings over. He leans across the seat and pushes the door open, insisting, “Get inside.”
Prompto does, but he takes the cat with him. It hisses in his lap once he’s got his seatbelt on, but then he’s indulgently scratching behind its ears, and it switches to purring happily. Ignis pulls back out, and Prompto doesn’t say anything, but Ignis can tell he’s still lost. As they turn onto the highway, Ignis asks, “Just how much do you know about the royal dragons?” He doesn’t know how much Noctis will have passed on. It all needs to be kept out of the tabloids for obvious reasons, but they all trust Prompto. Still, Ignis isn’t sure how the scales on Noctis’ butt would ever come up in a normal conversation.
Prompto shrugs. “Not much. I kinda think Noct could breath fire or something if he wanted, because how else does he survive training with Gladio? But whenever I ask, he just smirks and teases me. At least, I think he’s teasing. He’s not really two thousand years old, right?”
Ignis snorts. “Of course not.” Maturity wise, Noctis is barely even twenty.
Prompto seems to be waiting for Ignis to say just what crazy traits he does have, but that’s not Ignis’ secret to tell. By the time they reach the Citadel, Prompto’s still in the dark. He cradles the cat against his chest as they get out of the car.
They wander up the stairs, and both of the Crownsguard officers on duty give Prompto that look, though Prompto must not have any idea why. Ignis knows that if he just says it, Prompto will laugh it off. Some things simply need to be seen.
They cross the hall, crowd into the elevator, and Ignis hits the button for the fourth floor. Prompto starts, “That’s... not where Noctis’ quarters are...”
“We’re not going to Noctis’ quarters. I keep those quite tidy, thank you.”
Prompto tilts his head. The elevator rises, opens, they step out, and suddenly two ragdolls and a chartreux are all over his legs. Ignis sighs and wades forward.
Prompto’s gaping. The new cat hisses loudly from his arms as a maine coon tries to scale his jeans and reach the newcomer. Ignis makes it to the entrance of the main hall and explains, “This floor is for the royal hoards. His Majesty’s personal treasure hoard is three doors down. Unfortunately, His Highness’ cat hoard tends to wander.”
Wide eyed, Prompto mouths: cat hoard?
He reaches Ignis’ side. The cat squirms out of his arms, and Prompto makes no move to catch it. He’s busy gaping. Noctis is sitting in the middle of the furry sea, but he looks up as soon as he sees the black one skittering out of Prompto’s hold. Grinning like the Cheshire variety, he rushes over. He’s scooping up the fuzzy black ball in a heartbeat, calling to Prompto, “Hey, thanks, dude!”
“You have no idea,” Ignis sighs. Cat food is everywhere. Treats are everywhere. Litter box sand is everywhere. Cat hair is everywhere. The elaborate gold curtains are shredded, even though Ignis replaces them once a week. The meowing is cacophonous. “Please promise me you’ll never bring Noctis another cat.”
“I’ll never bring Noctis another cat.”
He probably will if Noctis gives him the puppy dog eyes and asks him sweetly. But eventually he’ll lose enough shoe laces to the feline terrors and learn his lesson. Ignis can only hope that happens sooner rather than later.
He leaves Prompto to stew in cats with his out-of-control prince, back to the elevator to go work a relatively more normal job.