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Tales from the Citadel - A Day in the Life

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Puppy Eyes

 

“No.” Prompto blinked up at Cor in confusion as he held the corgi puppy in his arms, her little head resting on his collarbone. His dad frowned down at the two of them, opening his mouth for a moment before closing it. “Never mind. Where's the dog from?”

Prompto smiled, nuzzling his nose into the fur on the top of the dog’s head. “Found her in the gardens at the bottom of a hole. Looks like it was dug to plant a tree, but this poor little gal fell in, and her legs were too short to get her out. She’s pretty clean and chubby, so I doubt she was there long. No collar, though.” Cor nodded absently, reaching out and giving the puppy a scratch behind the ears, a thoughtful look on his face.

“It’s good you found her then,” Cor said, and Prompto watched as his dad stepped away, clearly not saying something as the older man’s mouth twisted. “I've got work to do, I'll see you later.” The older man was gone before Prompto could even open his mouth, and he met the puppy’s eyes with a shrug.

“Yeah, I don't know either. Let's get you some water and see if anyone is looking for you,” he told his passenger, getting a lick to the chin as he headed to the elevators. “Maybe your parents live here…”

After settling the pup down with a bowl of water in the bathroom back in their quarters, he started calling every department he could think of; Monica asked around the Crownsguard offices for him, but no dice. Same with Libertus and the Kingsglaive. He spent the next half hour calling everyone he was brave enough to all the way down to the janitorial offices in the basement, but no one owned up to be the owners of the small dog currently whining at the bathroom door. Drat, he’d have to put up a found dog notice online-

“Prompto? What in the world is that noise?” Prompto jerked at the sound of Ignis’s familiar voice only feet from him, and he chuckled nervously as he saw the man’s eyes take in the sight in front of him. “You look like you’ve been on a mission,” Iggy said, and Prompto nodded.

“Well, you see…” He got to his feet and headed to the bathroom, opening the door and picking up the puppy before he could make a run for it. “I found her in the gardens, stuck in a planting hole of some sort. Isn’t she adorable?” Prompto gently waved the puppy’s paw at Iggy, who walked up to him with an expression that didn’t bode well for the dog’s continued presence.

“Prompto, are you sure you want a dog? You’ve been so busy with your new positions that it might not be the best time-” Oh. Prompto clutched the puppy tighter to him out of impulse, and Iggy sighed. “If you are determined on this course of action, we’ll need to procure supplies and figure out how we might achieve this.” Iggy spun on his heel and headed for the door before Prompto could say a word. “I’ll retrieve some food for the dog for now.” When the door clicked shut behind Iggy, Prompto met the puppy’s eyes once again with a sigh.

“Why is everyone being weird today? I’ve still gotta see if we can find your owner,”  Prompto said, carrying the dog into the living room and plopping her on the table. “Stay there, I need to get a picture for the posting.” The puppy whined, but behaved as he grabbed his phone and snapped a quick photo before picking her up and setting her down. “Where are you going to go pee at?”

Prompto posted the Found listing online after piling up a bunch of newspapers they hadn’t gotten rid of yet in the bathroom and showing the puppy, getting a response almost right away. Then another. Then another. After a solid twelve people all informed him that it was their dog, he realized that he was going to have to get a little more careful on screening. He asked for pictures, he asked for information, and the ones who bothered to get back him all gave him info that clearly took them off the list, save one. After some deliberation, they arranged to meet at a cafe near the Citadel, and he bundled the puppy up in a blanket and headed out. He wasn’t even paying attention when the elevator door opened, and he bumped right into a suspiciously familiar chest as he and the puppy started in.

“Oh, sorry-”

“Prompto? Where are you headed to?” Ignis asked, and Prompto looked down to see a bag at his side and blinked. That’s right, he had said something about food.

“I’m meeting someone at a cafe outside, wanna come with?” Ignis looked ambivalent, but he scooted back onto the elevator, Prompto and the puppy joining him as they headed to the ground floor, only to run into Cor the instant they stepped outside the doors.

“Hi dad! Where are you off to?” Cor looked at him, his eyebrows furrowed in the same expression he had earlier, and Prompto sighed. “You both are being weird today. Wanna come with me and Iggy? I’m meeting someone at a cafe, and we could get a snack while we’re there,” he said, and after a long pause, Cor nodded slowly. “Great! Let’s go, supposed to meet them in fifteen minutes.”

Neither of his companions spoke as they all headed to the cafe, but he could see them occasionally exchanging looks behind him, and he let himself scowl for a moment. He had no idea what their problem was, but-

The puppy started licking at his chin, and he giggled, scratching her ears as the cafe came into view (Iggy and Cor looked each other again as this was happening behind him, but he ignored them as he was busy with more important things.) He didn’t even make it to the entrance to the outside seating before he heard a gasp, and saw a woman getting to her feet with a shocked look on her face. Oh boy. He rustled up a smile as he approached her, his overly tall companions at his back, but the woman looked like she was seconds from running.

“Are you Antonia? Sorry I got here late-” The woman squeaked, looking from him to Cor, and Prompto sighed. “He doesn’t bite. I promise. Really, I’m just here because you said you had lost your puppy, is this her?” He lifted his little passenger out of the blanket, and he watched the woman’s mouth pinch, a torn expression overtaking her features before she slumped and shook her head.

“Sir- er, your grace, I-” Antonia sucked in air between her teeth as Prompto watched her eyes flit between the three of them, clearly trying to gather up her courage to say something, and after an awkward minute (Prompto could see people gathering around watching and snapping photos, which was not was he was trying to do) Iggy stepped forward and raised an eyebrow at Antonia.

“You aren’t missing a puppy at all, are you?” Ignis asked, and the woman gave Prompto one more fraught look before shaking her head.

“I’m sorry, but I’ve always wanted a corgi, and they are so expensive usually that I got the idea when I saw your post…” Antonia scratched nervously at her neck, and Prompto looked up at both Iggy and his dad before stepping forward, his own thoughts uncertain.

“I should probably keep the listing up a few more days, but if no one comes forward-” he managed to voice out an offer even as the puppy was snuffling happily in his arms, and he looked down and nuzzled the top of her head without even thinking about it, leading to odd noises coming from all around him.

“No, I- couldn’t do that. I’m sorry for wasting your time, sirs, I’ll just-” the pale-faced Antonia turned and fled without even finishing her sentence, and Prompto blinked at her swiftly disappearing back before shrugging and turning to Cor and Iggy, who were both standing there looking rather severe, Cor with his arms crossed and Iggy with his hands on his hips.

“Really? Were you trying to give her a heart attack?” Prompto grumbled, taking the abandoned table and sitting down, setting the puppy in his lap whilst the other two joined him. Iggy reached under the table and squeezed his thigh in what he was pretty sure was an apology as his dad looked completely unapologetic.

“She was lying, I could see that right away,” Cor stated, and Prompto glowered at him for a moment before being distracted by a little snout setting itself on the table.

“Yeah, well, the others were even more obvious, she was the only candidate. I called like half the Citadel, but no one knows about any lost puppies,” he said as he ran his finger up and down the puppy’s nose, and Cor sighed.

“Were you thinking about keeping her?” Cor asked, a little smile in his eyes, and Prompto...really wanted to say yes. He really wanted to, but Iggy was right, he was super busy a lot of the time and it probably wouldn’t be fair to her-

“I...don’t know. I should probably give it a few days and see if anyone else turns up,” he said quietly, and Ignis huffed.

“Well, I have procured food for our small guest, Prompto, so we aren’t in a rush. Perhaps I should find some...what do they call them? Doggy pads?” Iggy said, and Prompto grinned.

“Puppy pads. Yeah, she used a pile of newspaper instead, but that’s not exactly ideal-”

“You gave her my newpapers?”

The poor waiter who finally approached their table took another ten minutes to reappear after Ignis’s outburst. Oops.

Several days went by with not a single further response (Prompto knew their meeting had been reported on, which was just weird) and when the morning of the fourth day rolled around, Prompto found himself standing on the balcony, Missy (temporary name, he was tired of calling her puppy) in his arms as Iggy came out to join him.

“Have you decided, Prompto?” Prompto leaned back against him as Iggy wound his arms around his waist, and he hitched Missy up higher in his arms so Iggy could see her.

“What do you think? I mean, I know what I want to do, but I am all over the place these days, like you said, and I really don’t know if that’s fair to her…” He could feel Iggy’s breath against his ear as the man leaned in to look closer at Missy, and he found himself holding his own breath as the moment stretched on. A bird flew by a second later, and Missy barked, causing both of them to laugh before Iggy pulled back with a firm kiss to the side of his head.

“She’s darling, and I know how much you love animals. She also has the advantage of being a working breed, so she’ll be a good companion. If you wish to keep her, Prompto, go right ahead, I won’t argue, and we all know Noct and Gladio liked her immediately. I only have one request,” Ignis said, and Prompto turned in his arms, smiling up at him as Missy gave Iggy a wet kiss to his cheek.

“What’s that?”

“Obedience classes. I hear that corgis make excellent watchdogs…”

If anyone had ever told Prompto that he’d be sitting with Cor and Ignis watching his short-legged puppy learn how to roll on command someday, he would have thought them crazy.

If someone had told him that Cor would be spotted on multiple occasions going for a jog with Aurora (Iris’s idea, and Prompto really liked the name) prancing gleefully at his side (no leash, but who was going to call him out on it? The king?) he would have called them batshit.

If the king himself had told him that Iggy would be lectured by Crownsguard Livia for carrying Aurora around in a doggy sling (and what the heck did the word marding mean anyway?) he would have thought them a stark raving lunatic.

Not that he was complaining.