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Ignis Scientia is parked outside an animal shelter with a prince in the passenger’s seat, and he has no idea why.

He stares at the formidable sign reading Insomnia Animal Services, and sighs dramatically.

“Is there any way I can convince you this is a waste of time?” Ignis asks Noctis and Gladio, who are both grinning and laughing at him.

“Nope,” Noctis says plainly. “You said you would.”

“I said I would look,” Ignis corrects.

Gladio punches Ignis’s shoulder affectionately. “So, that’s what we’re doin’ -- looking. You don’t have to get a dog you don’t vibe with.”

“I don’t have to get a dog at all,” Ignis reminds them both.

“C’mon, man, you need one,” Noctis says. “You’d be great with one.”

“I’m not certain if--”

“We’ve had this convo like 500 times already,” Gladio says, rolling his eyes. “Let’s just look. You said you would, so we’re gonna. Noct’s right -- you need to get your ass out of work once in a while and get some fresh air with a dog. If we find one here, cool.

Ignis sighs, cutting the ignition. “Very well. We’ll look.”

Ignis wonders why he even agreed to indulge Noctis and Gladio on their ‘ Get Ignis a Dog’ quest. If he’s honest, he’s much more of a cat person -- cats, like Ignis, are selective in affection and need their space from time to time. Of course, dogs are lovely too, and he would be lying if he said he wasn’t lonely from time to time.

The problem is that it seems rather indulgent. Ignis has done his research, and knows what sort of work and care goes into dogs, but to adopt one out of loneliness seems selfish.

Then again, Ignis doesn’t know much about what it’s like to actually own a dog. He hasn’t had one personally -- merely visited his uncle who had one from time to time.

Ignis can’t think of a good reason not to partake in this venture, so he supposes he’ll humor Noctis and Gladio for the time being.

As soon as they step into the shelter, he can hear the sounds of barks in the distance. He knows barking is inevitable, but he wonders if he’ll be able to find something that isn’t keen on barking every five seconds. He does have neighbors close by in his apartment complex, and he doesn’t want to be rude.

“Can hear the little guys already,” Gladio says, on a similar wavelength. 

“C’mon, it says they’re back this way,” Noctis says, heading down a hallway with a sign above it that says DOGS THIS WAY.

Ignis doesn’t know what to expect. On one hand, if he doesn’t connect with any of the dogs here, he won’t have to worry about adopting one. On the other hand, adopting one means he’ll have company when he comes home from the office, and something to look forward to and take care of -- apparently, Ignis is rather fond of having his hands full.

“Man, this one’s great,” Gladio comments as he kneels in front of a kennel with a peppy dalmatian.

He is rather cute, of course, responding to Gladio very well, tail wagging, barking happily. He seems a bit too hyper, however, and Ignis isn’t certain if he has the availability for a dog that constantly needs activity.

“What about her?” Noctis asks, pointing to a dark brown schnauzer of some sort.

Ignis is charmed by this one. She’s not nearly as hyper, and her tiny tail is far too endearing. She stares up at Noctis with the sweetest eyes, and he finds himself laughing.

“She is darling,” Ignis allows, putting his finger through the bars of the kennel.

A high-pitched laugh distracts Ignis for a moment, turning his head toward the source of the sound. He sees a blond young man with a smile that puts the sunshine to shame, and he’s playing with a fairly overweight corgi, white and orange, wagging its tail happily as he licks the young man’s face.

Ignis is fairly certain he’s never seen a dog -- or a man -- so adorable in his life. Fortunately enough, he seems to work -- or at the very least volunteer -- at the shelter judging by the nametag on his shirt.

Ignis’s heart fills with butterflies. He’s uncertain if the corgi belongs to the shelter or is this man’s personal dog, but it’s clear they’ve bonded very well.

“Are you lookin’ at that fat dog?” Noctis asks with a laugh. “Looks like he’s taken already.”

“Wouldn’t hurt to say hello,” Ignis notes, trying to seem unbiased as possible as he walks over to the play area where the young man and the corgi are.

Upon a closer look, the young man has very noticeable freckles smeared across his face and neck, with the hint of a tattoo under a fair amount of bracelets on his wrist. He has some black, square-framed glasses sliding forward on his nose as he pets the corgi within an inch of its life.

The corgi, upon further inspection, is even cuter -- and fatter -- up close.

Ignis loves it, so very much.

“Hey, is that your dog?” Noctis asks for Ignis, as he’s so busy staring, he forgot to open his mouth.

The blond young man looks up, slightly surprised, and it’s then when the corgi moves just enough to reveal the man’s nametag.

Prompto.

Ignis finds himself involuntarily smiling even wider.

Prompto starts grinning as he pats the corgi on the back. “Who, Sir Chongus, here? No way, I just love him.” He stands up then, brushing his pants off before sliding his glasses back up his nose. “Can I help you guys with somethin’?”

Sir Chongus. What an absurd name; Ignis absolutely adores it.

It’s almost difficult to focus on two incredibly adorable things at once. Ignis’s penchant for glasses and freckles combine with his strong desire to get to know this corgi better.

“My friend here is thinking about adopting,” Noctis answers for him.

Prompto’s eyes lock with Ignis’s, searching them for a moment before raking his eyes up and down the entire length of Ignis’s body.

Ignis might need a cold shower after this.

“Well, you’ve come to the right place,” Prompto says with a wink. “We have a lot of great friends here.”

Sir Chongus wags his tail as if on cue, jumping up at Prompto’s legs. 

Prompto laughs again, and Ignis makes a note to commit the sound to memory -- it’s positively adorable.

“Hello there,” Ignis says to the corgi with a soft smile. “You’re adorable.”

“Thanks, I get that a lot,” Prompto teases. “Nah, I’m kiddin’. You like Sir Chongus?”

Ignis feels his heart thud affectionately. If only it were appropriate to tell someone they’re adorable at their place of work.

Sir Chongus notices Ignis then, sniffing his shoes before hopping up on Ignis’s legs as well. Ignis chuckles, reaching down to pet his soft fur. He licks Ignis’s hand, and Ignis knows without a doubt this is the dog he’d choose if he can.

“He’s perfect,” Ignis insists. “Has he been adopted?”

Prompto shakes his head. “Nah, unfortunately, people look at his weight and think he’s gonna die, but he’s not really that old. Still, people like puppies instead of grown dogs...” He shrugs.

“Damn, that is a chunky ass dog,” Gladio says from behind Noctis and Ignis, laughing. “How’s his health?”

“It’s actually pretty good! He gets a lot of exercise every day, and we’ve got him on a controlled diet. He gets his health checked pretty regularly, ‘cause he’s a little bit above average in weight. The fur doesn’t help, makes him look even chubbier, poor dude,” Prompto says. He lowers his voice, leaning into Ignis’s direction. “Between you and me, though, I think it makes him even cuter.”

Ignis continues to pet Sir Chongus, who appears to have at least taken a little bit of a liking to him, happily nuzzling his hand. 

“I would have to agree,” Ignis murmurs. “How much exercise does he need?”

“Just a walk every day is good enough, honestly,” Prompto says. “He likes to sleep during the day, I try to take him out for exercise toward the evening when it’s less hot out.” He starts petting Sir Chongus again, using an overexaggerated baby voice. “Isn’t that right, li’l muffin top?”

Ignis almost needs to excuse himself to avoid a public meltdown over how utterly charming Prompto is. He manages to keep it together, if only to keep seeing Sir Chongus’s happy little face.

“That’d be perfect, actually, I do have a fairly demanding day job,” Ignis admits. 

“Yeah, yeah, he can get his nap time in so you guys can hang out when ya get home!” Prompto says, laughing a little. “He’s honestly great. No problems with this li’l guy. He can get a li’l rowdy when the others get worked up, but that’s pretty normal for dogs, especially here.”

Ignis nods. “And his shots?”

“They’re all up to date, and he’s got his rabies shot. Neutered, all that jazz. Good with cats and other dogs, obviously. You got any other animals?” Prompto wonders.

“No, I haven’t taken on the responsibility yet,” Ignis says. “I was worried my schedule wouldn’t allow for time with a pet.”

“Eh, Sir Chongus is pretty low maintenance, but yeah, it’s a big decision. Can I ask why you’re wanting one now?”

Gladio snickers. “‘Cause he’s lonely and won’t go on dates.”

Gladio,” Ignis snaps, feeling his face warm a bit. “Apologies, my friend lives in a fantasy world.”

Prompto laughs, carefree, thinking nothing of it. “I get it. I mean, yeah, I know that feeling. Nothin’ wrong with wanting a friend.” He pets Sir Chongus behind the ears. “Especially if it’s this guy, huh?”

“Truthfully, the thought of having company is rather nice, and I’ve been meaning to take care of something that isn’t this one over here,” Ignis says, pointing to Noctis.

“Hey, leave me out of it, I didn’t say anything shitty,” Noctis says with a frown.

“Oh. Are you guys, like, related? Or, um. Wait. Sorry. Dating?” Prompto asks, biting his lip. “Wait, that was super inappropriate. Dude, I’m so sorry. I’m way better with animals than with humans sometimes.”

Noctis laughs. “Neither. Specs is too anal to date.”

Ignis pinches the bridge of his nose. “Try to adopt a dog, and get insults thrown at me every step of the way.”

“Well, for what it’s worth, you seem awesome,” Prompto says, trying to hold back laughter.

So much for leaving his phone number with Prompto after this is all over. 

“My thanks,” Ignis says dryly. 

“What d’you say, you wanna spend some alone time with him?” Prompto asks. “Never hurts to make sure you’re the right fit. I’m kinda protective over this one.”

“I can see why, he’s very charming,” Ignis says with a smile as Sir Chongus runs around the four of them happily. “I certainly don’t want to disappoint, I’d be happy to spend some time with him.”

“Serious? You want the fat dog?” Noctis asks, kneeling down to get a better look at him. Sir Chongus immediately starts licking Noctis’s face. Noctis starts laughing. “Okay, yeah, he is pretty cute.”

“Yeah. Would’ve never pegged you for this kinda dog,” Gladio says. “Corgi, right?”

“Yep!” Prompto says proudly. “Love these funky little dudes.” He reaches into his pocket to pull out a leash. “We can take him to a more private area if you want, otherwise these guys are gonna bark your ear off.” He snorts.

“Certainly,” Ignis says. “I’m all yours.” 

Prompto’s eyebrows raise before he can contain it. “Well,” he says softly, cheeks flushing a little, “don’t mind if I do. Right this way, mmkay? Wanna hold his leash?” He hands the leash over to Ignis.

Ignis’s heart thuds when their fingers brush as he grabs the leash. “I’d love to.”

Ignis follows Prompto down the hallway. Sir Chongus isn’t too unmanageable to walk, though he does get rather excitable walking past the other dogs. The barks roar in Ignis’s ears, but otherwise, he’s completely content.

Ignis feels more than comfortable with this dog so far.

Prompto leads them to a huge indoor room, full of toys and a cabinet full of treats. He looks at Noctis and Gladio.

“You guys can come in if you really want to, but I always suggest the main caretaker getting some time with him first,” Prompto says. “I can’t leave animals alone ‘til they’re adopted, so I gotta stay…”

“You two can wait outside a moment,” Ignis is quick to say. 

Gladio smirks, locking eyes with Ignis. “You got it.”

Ignis really hopes that smirk means nothing; there’s no way Ignis is that transparent about his fleeting infatuation for Prompto.

“Fine. Let’s go look at cats,” Noctis suggests, pulling Gladio to the opposite side of the shelter.

“I think we’re alone now,” Prompto says in a sing-song voice, before closing the door.

Ignis decides not to comment, in fear of what he might say in return. Instead, he smiles, focusing on Sir Chongus instead of Prompto’s beautiful eyes. 

“Alright,” Prompto continues, bending down to unhook Sir Chongus’s leash. “He likes the rope kinda toys over here, and he loves squeaky toys, but I totally get if that’d get too annoying.” He laughs.

“Not at all,” Ignis says, picking up the toy. He hikes his dress pants up and sits on the ground in front of the dog, much to his delight.

Sir Chongus immediately starts licking his face, and he runs around in a circle happily once he sees Ignis holding the toy. Ignis teases him a little with it before letting him have it, playing a bit of tug-of-war with him.

Ignis laughs, and Prompto snickers along with him. He kneels next to Ignis, close enough for Ignis to smell the notes of Prompto’s cologne, and he can’t help but smile to himself. 

“Here, wanna see somethin’ cute?” Prompto asks, holding his hand out for the rope toy.

As if I’m not already looking at that already, Ignis thinks to himself. Still, he hands the rope toy to Prompto, trying to ignore the warmth of Prompto’s fingers when they brush against his own.

Prompto holds the rope a little bit above Sir Chongus’s head, just out of reach. He jumps up on his back legs to try to bite it, showing off his stomach, making a ridiculous face all the while.

Ignis can’t stop laughing, reaching out to touch the dog’s stomach.

“That’s marvelous. I love it,” Ignis finally says, as soon as he’s recovered.

Ignis feels eyes on him, and looks over at Prompto, who is currently staring at him with a tiny smirk on his face. 

“Yeah. It’s great,” Prompto answers after a minute. “He’s pretty cool ‘cause he gets excited but he doesn’t try to bite your hand off.”

“Yes, that’s certainly a bonus,” Ignis says. “You’re wonderful with him. I’d hate to take him away from you.”

“As much as I wanna have him, I can’t,” Prompto says with a sigh. “You shouldn’t worry ‘bout that, though! I’m not goin’ anywhere, I’d be happy to see him any time you visit. If you wanna visit, that is.”

“I certainly wouldn’t mind,” Ignis says softly. “May I ask why you can’t adopt him yourself? Allergies, or…?”

“Oh, Gods, no, thankfully,” Prompto scoffs. “My landlord doesn’t allow dogs.”

“That’s such a pity. You truly love working with the animals, hmm?” Ignis asks. “That’s admirable.”

Prompto shrugs. “It’s great. I wanna do everything I can for these guys, since they don’t have the most luxurious life.”

Ignis looks at Sir Chongus’s bouncy form pointedly. “You’d never be able to tell.”

Prompto throws his head back and laughs, and it tugs on Ignis’s heartstrings. “He’s just a bundle of joy no matter what.”

“He’s absolutely perfect,” Ignis says, falling more and more in love with the thought of adopting him with every passing moment. “I must admit, I was reluctant to select a dog, but now that I’ve seen him…”

“It’s always like that, right?” Prompto smiles. “Why, though? You seem really good with him.”

“I was afraid I wouldn’t have the time to care for a dog,” Ignis murmurs. “I do work a lot, and… you know. Of course, I knew if I’d adopt anything today, I’d have to rearrange my schedule thoroughly to allow for proper time and care for a dog. I wasn’t certain if I was willing to commit to that, and now I haven’t a doubt in my mind.”

Prompto certainly doesn’t help on that front, though Sir Chongus is a charmer all by himself. 

“I can tell you guys are meant for each other!” Prompto says. “I get it, though. It’s a huge thing. You ever have a dog before?”

“Not personally, no,” Ignis says. “I must admit I’m a bit intimidated, but I’ve done plenty of research, I assure you. I wouldn’t want to jump headfirst into something like this.”

“Yeah, you definitely seem like a, uh, research kinda guy,” Prompto teases, pushing his glasses up his nose. “Most of it you kinda learn as you go, but it definitely helps to be prepared.” He laughs, though it’s a bitter sound.

“Is something the matter?” Ignis wonders, far too nosy for his own good.

Prompto searches his eyes, and sighs. “I couldn’t have picked anyone better for him to go home to,” he says, scratching behind Sir Chongus’s ears, “but I’m so heartbroken I won’t get to see him anymore. Little -- er, big -- guy was seriously the highlight of my days. Gonna miss him.”

Ignis feels badly that he’s taking the dog away from Prompto, despite adoption being what’s best for him. He pets Sir Chongus alongside Prompto.

“Well, I can’t guarantee seeing him in person every day, but I can give you my phone number, and I can send you pictures of him whenever you’d like,” Ignis suggests. “I’ll bring him by as often as I can.”

“What?” Prompto asks, wide-eyed.

Ignis freezes. “Oh, apologies. I didn’t intend to be too forward--”

“No, no, no, dude, that’s-- seriously the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard!” Prompto gushes. “I didn’t mean to sound weirded out.” He laughs, putting a hand on Ignis’s knee. “I can’t believe you’d do that for someone you just met.”

“Well, I like you,” Ignis blurts. “You’ve been so good to Sir Chongus, after all.”

Prompto snickers before erupting into a fit of giggles. “Uh huh,” he says, slightly breathless, trying to hide his grin behind his fist.

Ignis raises an eyebrow. “Did I miss something funny?”

“No, dude, I’m just--” Prompto bursts into laughter. He buries his face in his hands, and Ignis is quite certain he’s fallen in love at this point. He recovers a few moments later. “I’m so sorry. You saying Sir Chongus in that posh-ass accent has got me in stitches.”

Ignis laughs with him, despite the flush he feels on his cheeks. “I’m happy to entertain.”

“Seriously, though,” Prompto says. “You have such a pretty voice.” He clears his throat. “I mean, y’know, in the least creepiest way possible.”

“I don’t find that creepy. Thank you. I’m happy to say Sir Chongus as much as possible,” Ignis promises.

Prompto erupts into a few more bouts of laughter. “Thanks, man.” He takes a deep breath. “He really seems to like you.” 

At this point, Sir Chongus has worn himself out enough to lie in front of Ignis, resting his head on Ignis’s thigh. Ignis continues to pet him to his heart’s content, the dog almost looking like he’s smiling as his eyes close.

“Yes, we’re making quite a bit of progress,” Ignis agrees. “I’m already coveting him.”

“Oh, I know, it’s suuuper contagious.” Prompto smiles. “D’you think you’re gonna go through with the adoption? Or is that too much pressure?” He raises his hands in surrender.

“Absolutely,” Ignis says. “I want him very much.”

“Aww, buddy, we’re getting you a home!” Prompto sings to Sir Chongus, ruffling the fur on his head. “I’m so glad. Sad, but glad, y’know.”

“I understand,” Ignis says. “This isn’t a goodbye, though, simply a move.”

“Very true. Lemme just get the adoption papers, and then… yeah. I’ll give you a free sample of the food he’s eating, we have him on a pretty strict diet for his weight, I’ll give you some printouts of that too,” Prompto says. “He might be a little shy about eating in a new place with a new person, but he should be okay after a while. If he refuses to eat, just gimme a call, we’ll take care of it.”

Ignis nods. “I can’t thank you enough.”

Prompto shrugs. “Just my job, dude.” 

Prompto opens the door to the room, and Noctis and Gladio poke their heads in. Noctis smiles as soon as he sees Sir Chongus resting his head on Ignis’s leg. 

“Aww, he’s so cozy,” Noctis says with a laugh. “He looks hilarious.”

“That is somethin’,” Gladio says. He lowers his voice. “So, did ya get his number yet?”

“Hush, Gladio, that’s entirely inappropriate,” Ignis says, effectively dodging the question entirely.

Gladio snorts. “Coward.” He shoves his hands in his pockets. “Noct wants to get a cat.”

“There’s a really sweet kitten in there,” Noctis says with a dreamy sigh.

“Once you can take care of yourself properly, you have my permission to get him,” Ignis teases.

“Dude, I’m 20, I don’t need your permission,” Noctis points out, frowning.

Gladio looks at Noctis pointedly. “You kinda do.”

Ignis laughs, and immediately perks up when Prompto enters the room again with a clipboard and papers. He kneels down next to Ignis, giving him a knowing smile.

“Okay, really just need your name and address and stuff, you can ignore all this BS,” Prompto says. “And there’s usually a little fee for adoption and shots and stuff, but I’ll waive it for you.”

“Oh, isn’t that sweet of ya?” Gladio teases, winking at Ignis over Prompto’s shoulder.

“I certainly don’t mind paying anything,” Ignis says, money never an issue with him.

Prompto waves it off. “It’s nothin’, don’t worry ‘bout it. Just wanna make sure Sir Chongus gets the best care.” His smile turns sentimental as he pets the dog. “Oh, and, um, here’s… the card… in case you have any questions, my number’s on there…” He bites his lip, keeping the words vague now that Gladio and Noctis are here.

Ignis’s eyes fall on the card, and sees that Prompto scribbled his name and number, along with a smiley face and a little heart. Ignis tries not to overthink the heart doodle, but can’t help it. It’s a little flirtatious -- at least to Ignis. Could it be possible he’s not simply imagining their chemistry?

“I cannot thank you enough,” Ignis tells him. “I will absolutely take the utmost care of him.”

“Yeah, Specs will definitely kill anyone who even looks at him wrong,” Noctis says. “He’s already bonded for life.”

Gladio snickers. “Yep, he’s a real penguin.”

Prompto laughs. “Glad to hear it. I love penguins.”

Gladio makes an obscene gesture behind Prompto’s back, and Ignis absolutely does his best to tune it out and keep his eyes focused on Prompto and the dog. 

“Good to know,” Ignis says, trying to remain neutral.

“I’ll go fetch some food and stuff while you fill those out,” Prompto says, skipping off.

As soon as Prompto is out of earshot, Ignis shoots Gladio a death glare. “I will kill you in front of Sir Chongus,” Ignis threatens.

Gladio starts laughing. “Alright, alright, keepin’ my mouth shut. Not my fault you two are practically exchanging vows.”

Noctis elbows Gladio. “Leave him alone, maybe he’ll get a date out of it and get off my back.”

Ignis rolls his eyes as he fills out his information on the form. “I’m absolutely not bringing either of you on any of my errands from now on.”

This earns laughter from both Gladio and Noctis. 

Prompto enters the room after a bit, holding food and some other things. Ignis rises, sad to disturb Sir Chongus, to hand Prompto the filled out forms.

“Alright, thanks, uh,” Prompto peers at the form, “ Ignis. Cool name.”

“My thanks.”

Prompto kneels in front of Sir Chongus, petting him with sentimental tears in his eyes. “I’ll see you so soon, okay, buddy? Can’t wait to see how well you guys do.” With a sigh, Prompto gets up. “Sorry. I’ll let you guys go, then, huh?”

“Don’t be,” Ignis insists. “We’ll be in touch, won’t we, Sir Chongus?” He enunciates his name as much as possible to get a laugh out of the blond.

Prompto snickers. “Perfect. Thanks for coming in, Ignis.”

“My pleasure.”

Ignis brings Sir Chongus out of the shelter on a leash, and suddenly his backseat is filled with Gladio and a dog, sticking his tongue out and panting happily.

Once they’re all buckled in, Gladio stares at Sir Chongus. “Dude, did you seriously adopt a dog because you were hot for that blond dude?”

“He definitely did,” Noctis answers for him.

Ignis looks at Sir Chongus in the rearview mirror with a smirk. “That’s ridiculous.”

It wasn’t entirely Prompto, after all. Sir Chongus is positively adorable.

-----

The first few days with Sir Chongus proves challenging. He learns there are several things in his apartment that he needs to put away due to chewing. Sir Chongus absolutely loves begging for fresh ingredients in the kitchen (which is incredibly hard to ignore, much to Ignis’s regret). Sometimes, Sir Chongus can’t hold his bathroom habits in the middle of the night, leading Ignis to take him outside in downtown Insomnia at 3 A.M. Ignis even had to adjust his spot on the bed, as Sir Chongus immediately claimed it and decided no other spot on the bed would do.

Ignis wouldn’t change him for the world.

He brings Sir Chongus to work the first few days of adopting him. He gets quite a few compliments, and fawning women who Ignis is too nice to inform they’re barking up the wrong tree. His mood significantly improves, however, throughout the day when he has a view of Sir Chongus sleeping soundly in his office.

Ignis twiddles Prompto’s card with his phone number between his fingers for a few days before actually working up the nerve to text him. He figures straightforward is the best approach.

Ignis takes a photo of Sir Chongus sleeping in his office next to a tiny stuffed carrot, and sends it to Prompto’s number with the caption: Busy office days.

The reply is nearly immediate, flooded with dozens of emojis.

Prompto (12:02 P.M.): omg omg omg. The little carrot dude i’m dying. He’s so damn cute thank u so much!!! How is he holding up???

Ignis smiles. He can almost hear Prompto’s enthusiasm in his voice. 

Ignis (12:04 P.M.): He’s doing splendidly so far. A bit of an adjustment, but otherwise smooth sailing. It’s incredibly difficult to deny him food when he begs in the kitchen, however. Perhaps I’ll have to cook at someone else’s house instead.

Prompto (12:05 P.M.): oh man i feel u. Between u and me i slip him some food sometimes. Not enough to hurt him, but… that cute lil face!! How can u resist??? Also hi, u cook? That’s awesome man

Ignis finds himself happy to continue this conversation, if only to drag out saying goodbye to Prompto for that much longer.

Ignis (12:06 P.M.): I dabble. It’s mostly for others, however. I’d be happy to cook for you sometime, if you’d like to see Sir Chongus in our natural habitat.

Ignis bites his lip, worrying that he’s being a bit too forward again.

Ignis (12:07 P.M.): Apologies if that was strange. Merely an offer, nothing else.

Prompto (12:08 P.M.): not weird at all, that’s super fuckin flattering. Im actually craving some chongus time, so id totally be down to see him anytime!!

Ignis checks his calendar, trying desperately not to suggest tonight. It has only been a few days since Ignis saw him at the shelter -- he doesn’t want to come across as creepy or far too clingy. 

Ignis (12:10 P.M.): How about this Thursday? I get off early that day.

Prompto (12:11 P.M.): weird coincidence, thurs is my day off!!! Count me there, man 

Ignis (12:12 P.M.): Wonderful. Here’s the address. 

Sir Chongus yawns and stretches, a sight that is far too adorable for words. Ignis starts taking pictures when he stands up, wandering over to Ignis’s desk with his tail wagging. He decides to send them to Prompto.

Prompto (12:13 P.M.) :0 he has risennn

Ignis finds himself chuckling to himself. He feels like a schoolboy with a crush.

Ignis (12:14 P.M.): He must sense your contagious cheeriness in the room.

Prompto (12:15 P.M.): d’aww i wish. He’s prob charmed by your fancy persona ;)

Ignis smiles, flattered by anything even remotely resembling a compliment that Prompto decides to send his way. 

He might be in too deep, after all.

-----

Ignis and Prompto continue to exchange texts the next few days leading up to Thursday. Ignis, as promised, sends him at least one picture of Sir Chongus a day. It’s always met with a dozen emojis, and Prompto’s eternal gratitude. Prompto has even started thanking Ignis by sending him a few pictures of the shelter dogs as well, which Ignis greatly appreciates -- especially when Prompto’s selfie accompanies the dog in question.

The longer Ignis spends time with Sir Chongus, the more bonded he feels to the silly, chubby animal. There isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for him, and Ignis is so happy he’s made this decision. He’s a bit less lonely, as well, though he knows Prompto is partially to blame for that.

By the time Thursday rolls around, Ignis is a bit nervous to see Prompto again. When he hears his doorbell ring, he’s practically beside himself.

Sir Chongus barks, wagging his tail as he follows Ignis to the door.

Prompto beams as soon as the door opens and he sees Sir Chongus barreling toward him. 

“Hey, buddy!” Prompto squeaks as he kneels down to be met with about a dozen licks.

“Ah, looks as if someone missed you,” Ignis says fondly, watching them two endearingly.

Prompto laughs, squinting as Sir Chongus licks his cheek. “I missed you so much! How’s Iggy treatin’ you?”

Sir Chongus barks, as if answering, and they both laugh.

Ignis notices Prompto looks a little different than he did at the shelter. He’s wearing a dark red tank top that’s quite form-fitting, and tight jeans. His eyes look a bit heavier -- a dash of eyeliner, perhaps? -- and his hair is coiffed perfectly. It’s almost as if Prompto cleaned himself up. Then again, Ignis has no idea how Prompto styles himself outside of work.

Ignis, admittedly, dressed for the occasion as well, wearing a stylish leopard-print button up and suspenders.

Prompto rises to his feet, letting himself in as he looks at Ignis, apparently thinking similarly.

“Wow, you look really handsome,” Prompto tells him. “Smells awesome in here, dude. What is cookin’?”

“Since you didn’t have any allergies or intolerances, I assumed a safe bet was homemade pizza,” Ignis says. “I do hope that’s alright.”

“Oh, man,” Prompto moans. “That’s seriously so sexy.”

Ignis raises an eyebrow. “Pardon?”

Prompto laughs, thinking nothing of it. “The pizza, dude. Pizza’s sexy.”

Ignis is equal parts relieved and disappointed. “I see. I suppose it is, though I’m not certain if that’s the word I’d use.”

“Yeah, you’d probably use, ‘ marvelous, darling’,” Prompto says, mocking his accent. “And I love it.”

Ignis chuckles. “Happy to entertain.”

Prompto follows Ignis into his apartment, sitting himself on one of the barstools in front of his kitchen. 

“Damn, nice place,” Prompto says. “You scored, didn’t ya, Sir Chongus?” He pets him on the head.

“He’s been quite curious about everything in here,” Ignis notes. “He’s very fond of chewing couch pillows.”

Prompto snickers. “Yeeeeah, I’m not really surprised. Hope you saved your couch pillows, man.”

“They’ve been thoroughly rescued,” Ignis assures him. “How are things at the shelter?”

“Pretty good! Had another adoption yesterday, though it was kind of a bastard dog, so I’m not super sentimental. Loved the dude, but damn. Don’t try to rile up every dog in here, maybe? I get migraines.” Prompto sighs, shaking his head fondly.

Ignis opens the oven door, checking on the pizza. “That does seem as if it warrants some frustration.”

“One-hundred percent, dude! But, a nice family took him, so it’s a win-win.” Prompto inhales deeply. “ Man, that smells amazing. I’m ‘bout to start beggin’ like Chongus.”

Ignis smirks, locking eyes with Prompto. “I certainly wouldn’t deny you.

“Oooh, I’m honored. Don’t let him hear that, though,” Prompto whispers.

Sir Chongus stares back at them with a vacant, adorable expression, wagging his tail. Ignis smiles fondly, itching to photograph him. He feels like a bloody annoying parent. He supposes, for all intents and purposes, he is one.

“My lips are sealed.” Ignis brings a finger to his mouth.

“So, uh, what do you do? For a living?” Prompto asks.

“I’m an aid and retainer to the crown prince,” Ignis says plainly, having said it so many times, it seems normal.

Ignis places the pizza on the stovetop to cool, and by the time he turns around, Prompto is staring at him with his mouth agape.

“You what? You’re kiddin’, right?” Prompto asks.

“Is something the matter?”

“Like, prince, as in… royalty?” Prompto checks.

Ignis pretends to give it some thought. “Is there another definition of the word that I’m not familiar with?” he teases. “Did you not see me with Noctis when I adopted Chongus?”

“Noctis?” Prompto asks, head tilting in confusion. “Noctis… Noctis…” He keeps repeating the word, as if it would jog his memory.

“As in, Prince Noctis Lucis Caelum?” Ignis says, leaning against the kitchen counter. “The tiny, black-haired pain in my arse I was with who loved the cats?” 

Prompto’s eyes widen. “Wait, what? That was… the prince of Lucis?”

“Indeed.” Ignis smiles, watching every change of Prompto’s expression with keen interest. “You didn’t know?”

“No! Holy fuck,” Prompto says. “I should’ve bowed or something.”

“Mmm, he hates that, I’m certain he’s grateful you didn’t,” Ignis teases, searching for his pizza cutter.

“I knew it was too good to be true, there’s no way someone fancy like you just exists,” Prompto mutters.

“I’m uncertain what that means. I am here, and I do, in fact, exist,” Ignis points out, slicing the pizza.

“Dude. I mean, yeah. But you’re entirely, like, untouchable. You’re like a celebrity,” Prompto says. “Sir Chongus, you struck gold! You little swindler.”

Ignis laughs hard at this. “If you consider doing the prince’s laundry of celebrity status, then perhaps. I appreciate the flattery, however.”

Ignis is quite certain if it wasn’t so inappropriate, he’d leap across the kitchen bar and kiss Prompto senseless. He’s far too adorable for words.

Ignis focuses his romantic frustration on the pizza, instead, plating up a few slices for the both of them. He slides a plate over to Prompto.

“Nah, don’t sell yourself short. At first, I thought maybe you were a fashion model, then maybe some sort of… accountant? Then I’m like, nah, you’re not lame enough, so I guess hand to the prince makes total sense.” Prompto shrugs. 

“Sir Chongus has yet to ask for any money, but he has attended several confidential royal proceedings. Perhaps he should be wire-tapped,” Ignis suggests.

Prompto laughs hard at that. “Maybe! Tell me your secrets, Chongus, so I can sell the prince’s favorite shampoo for a pretty penny.”

Ignis smirks. “I wish you all the luck.”

Prompto happily takes a bite of pizza, and makes several obscene noises before swallowing. “Oh, my Gods. This is like sex in my mouth.”

Ignis is ashamed to admit that the words stroke his ego -- and perhaps other things -- a little too hard. “My, that’s certainly a first-- I’m honored.”

“Seriously, how much do I gotta pay you to invite me over all the time? Free puppy hugs and a delicious meal? I’m in the Heavens,” Prompto gushes. “No way you’re real, man. Did they make you in a machine?”

Ignis, ironically enough, was wondering the same thing about Prompto. “If they did, I would probably be the last to know.”

“Eh, people made in machines probably don’t adopt adorable, fat corgis,” Prompto says with his mouth full. 

“One can never tell,” Ignis says. “On that note, I’d be happy to invite you over any time. Do you have any favorite foods? I’d be happy to attempt to prepare it for you.”

Prompto’s eyes widen. “I like spicy food? This pizza’s to die for. And I like chocolate cake.” He bites his lip. “I wouldn’t let you do that without some sort of repayment, though.”

Ignis knows the invitation is wide-open. All he has to do is suggest some sort of date, or perhaps a reward of a kiss or two. Still, Ignis misses his shot, flushing and taking a bite instead.

“Your company is payment enough,” Ignis assures him.

“Whoa, charmer,” Prompto teases. “No wonder you love him so much.” He looks at Sir Chongus, who is eyeing their pizza pitifully.

“He certainly likes my food,” Ignis says fondly, to which they both laugh.

Ignis is heartbroken when he discovers that Prompto is even more delightful to spend time with outside of work. He’s more charming, if possible, and the glasses that constantly slip down his nose nearly sends Ignis to the hospital with heart palpitations.

Prompto makes a whining noise when he pulls out his phone to take a picture of Sir Chongus, which effectively distracts Ignis from his thoughts.

“What is it?” Ignis wonders.

“My phone’s dead. I wanted to take some cute selfies with this big baby before I have to leave,” Prompto says with a sigh. “Oh well. Next time, maybe.”

Ignis finds his body moving before he even gives it permission to, sliding his phone over to Prompto. “You’re welcome to use mine, if you’d like.”

Prompto’s cheeks are a bit pink. “Oh, yeah? That’s so sweet, man.”

Ignis waves him off dismissively. “I send you photos regardless. It’s the least I can do.”

Prompto takes no less than ten photos with Sir Chongus, all at varying angles. If the photos are even half as adorable as the real-time pose, Ignis is in for a heart attack when he sends them to Prompto later.

Prompto laughs before handing Ignis’s phone back to him. “I owe you a million, dude. Thanks.”

“My pleasure,” Ignis says, perhaps far too sincerely.

“You’re so fuckin’ sweet, I’m gonna get cavities,” Prompto informs him. “It is gettin’ late, though, don’t wanna miss my train. Wish I could stay with this adorable baby all night long.” He scratches behind Sir Chongus’s ears, much to his delight.

Ignis’s heart twists with longing, wishing he could somehow invite Prompto to stay longer without being weird about it. 

“Oh, do you need a lift home?” Ignis asks. “It’s no trouble at all.”

Prompto shakes his head. “No, gotta stop and pick up some groceries on the way, stuff like that. But maybe next time?” He reaches out, holding his hand out for Ignis to shake.

It’s a bit too formal for Ignis’s taste, but he’ll take what he can get. He goes to grab Prompto’s hand for a handshake, but Prompto has other plans. He grabs Ignis’s wrist, pulling him in for a hug. Ignis dwells in Prompto’s arms, closing his eyes wistfully. His embrace is soft and warm, and Ignis won’t forget it.

“Thanks for the good time. I’ll bring some wine next time, yeah?” Prompto suggests. “You look like a wine guy, anyway. I’m more of a bury-the-taste-cocktail type of fella, but, y’know.”

Ignis’s heart leaps at the prospect of seeing Prompto again. “That sounds wonderful.”

Prompto smiles, laugh lines around his eyes prominently displaying. “Great.” He gives Sir Chongus a few more pats. “Bye, cutie! I can’t wait to see you again! Listen to your dad.”

Prompto stands up again, throwing finger guns at Ignis, backing out of his apartment. “It was great to see you, Ignis. Fancy, royal Ignis.”

Ignis laughs. “ Works for royalty is a more proper term,” he reminds him. “I had a marvelous time tonight.”

“Uh huh. Keep sellin’ yourself short!” Prompto calls out as he opens Ignis’s front door. “Catch ya later. Bye, puppy!”

As soon as Prompto shuts the door, whistling down the hallway, Ignis leans against the wall, staring at Sir Chongus forlornly. 

“Well, Sir Chongus,” Ignis declares, “I’m afraid I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”

Sir Chongus simply wags his tail and licks Ignis’s hand, so Ignis decides to take it as encouragement.

“Do you think I should ask him out?” Ignis asks his dog.

Sir Chongus merely stares at him before sniffing his leg.

Ignis smiles. “I think so, too.”

There has to be some way to get Prompto’s attention in that way.

-----

Ignis is grateful for his next day off on the following Sunday. He hasn’t seen Prompto in person since their pizza night, but he’s texted him every day since.

(Ignis saw the selfies with Sir Chongus, and nearly died over them -- twice.)

They haven’t planned a day to see each other again, but Ignis hopes it’s soon. For now, Ignis is taking Sir Chongus for a walk to the local dog park downtown, hoping to get Sir Chongus his daily exercise and some enrichment from seeing other dogs.

Ignis earns several coos and aww’s for Sir Chongus, and he proudly walks him with a smile.

“You’re quite the ladies’ man, aren’t you?” Ignis says to Sir Chongus, who merely ignores him to sniff a stick on the ground.

Ignis would defy the Astrals themselves for his silly little fat corgi.

As soon as they reach the dog park, Sir Chongus starts tugging on the leash. It’s not more than Ignis can handle, but he decides to let Sir Chongus run, not wanting to deny him any desire to get exercise.

Ignis starts to laugh when Sir Chongus is clearly trying to chase something. He tries to spy the dog -- or perhaps squirrel -- in question, but fails to see anything Sir Chongus could possibly be interested in.

“Where are we going, hmm?” Ignis wonders, laughing harder when Sir Chongus barks, pulling harder and harder on the leash. For such a small dog, he has a lot of power when he wants to.

Sir Chongus guides them around a tree, finally deciding to jump on a random stranger walking a dog of their own. He never behaves that way, and Ignis is thoroughly embarrassed when he realizes just who the stranger is that Sir Chongus jumped on.

Ignis could recognize that blond hair and those freckles anywhere. He’s a bit sheepish when Prompto turns around with surprise, not wanting Prompto to think he followed him to this particular dog park.

“Oh, hello-- oh, shit! Chunky!” Prompto gushes, crouching down to be eye-level with Sir Chongus.

Sir Chongus goes absolutely wild, tail wagging wildly and attacking Prompto with licks. Prompto laughs hard through it all, so completely happy to see Sir Chongus.

It warms Ignis’s heart so much, he finds himself speechless for a moment as he watches both of them. If Prompto were to come over more often, Sir Chongus would be even happier than he already is. Ignis would, too.

Prompto looks up at Ignis, a grin on his face. “Dude, I was just thinking about you.”

Butterflies swarm Ignis’s stomach. “Were you?”

“Yeah! I was thinking about askin’ to see this li’l fella soon,” Prompto says. Sir Chongus gives his cheek another lick. 

Ignis smiles. “I suppose he found you instead.”

“He sure did!” Prompto says, standing up straight again. “What an awesome surprise.”

“Apologies,” Ignis murmurs sheepishly. “I didn’t know where he was leading me. I thought I’d indulge him…”

“Dude, why are you apologizing? That’s perfect,” Prompto says. “You made my day.”

Ignis’s cheeks warm. “It’s… far too endearing watching you both. I’m happy to run into you. I am sorry he’s a bit overexcited, however.”

“Well, that makes two of us,” Prompto points out, turning to face him fully. “Hi, Ignis.”

“Good afternoon,” Ignis murmurs, still a bit embarrassed. “Admittedly, I was wondering what you were doing today, as well.”

“Looks like he brought you right to me,” Prompto says. “Why didn’t you ask?”

Ignis’s heart thuds. “I don’t wish to be too much, is all.”

“What if I’d like you bein’ too much?” Prompto whispers.

Sir Chongus barks happily, and it almost seems like he’s looking between the two of them happily, tail wagging.

Ignis’s eyebrows raise. “Pardon?”

“Hey, if your dog loves me, I figure it’s worth it to shoot my shot. You can’t deny him ,” Prompto points out.

Ignis is about to ask what Prompto means, when he rushes forward, hands darting out to grab both sides of Ignis’s face. He kisses Ignis, soft and slow, a smile forming on his lips against Ignis’s.

Ignis is completely taken aback, flush thoroughly warming him, but kisses him back, gripping the leash tightly in his hand. He wraps his free hand around Prompto’s waist, yanking him forward. Prompto yelps in happy surprise.

Their lips part, both of them grinning at each other. 

“Well, that’s one way to say hello,” Ignis teases.

Prompto shrugs. “You’re hot, and super adorable with dogs, what can I say?”

Ignis laughs. “Funnily enough, I was about to say the very same to you.”

“Oh yeah?” Prompto asks. “Why don’t you take me out, then?”

“It’s as if you read my mind.”

Ignis leans in to kiss Prompto once more, and Prompto laughs in his arms. Sir Chongus jumps up on both of their legs, barking softly, and they both laugh harder.

Ignis certainly didn’t expect a dog adoption to come with a boyfriend, but he certainly isn’t going to complain.