Chapter 1: An (Un)fortunate Email
Ignis is dreading his History of Lucis 101 class. Being "Insomnia University's Hottest Professor" has its challenges.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Ignis Scientia shuts his laptop and drums his fingers across his desk as he glances at the clock on the wall. It’s nearing eight am, and he knows he should head to his classroom, but instead he finds himself stalling, an all-consuming dread keeping him anchored in his chair. He wishes he were financially stable enough to drop his two History of Lucis 101 sections, but the money for teaching the courses was too good to pass up.
Surveying the flickering light overhead—Didn’t I put in that maintenance request days ago?—Ignis thinks back to his meeting with the department director several months prior when he had been asked if he would teach the entry level class again and had initially declined.
“But you got such rave reviews in your class evaluations! Why would you want to drop the sections?”
He remembers cringing at the department head’s question, crossing one leg over the other as the older gentleman frowned at him in confusion.
Ignis, not one prone to fidgeting, had found himself running a thumb over the back of his folded hands as he tried to compose his answer. “Ah, well, you see, sir…I’m not sure how to say this, but I believe it has little to do with my teaching ability and more to do with my…”
“…Charming good looks?” The man had finished with a chuckle, then gotten up to pat him on the shoulder sympathetically.
“Don’t worry, son. Students will always talk. It is just up to us to ignore them and do our jobs.”
And that had been that.
Ignis had decided not to tell his superior that he had stumbled upon a website called “Rate my Professor” where he had received rave reviews of an entirely different nature.
5 Stars – I would let him bend me over his desk any day
5 Stars – Best ass at Insomnia University
5 Stars – I’d suck his dick even if it meant I wouldn’t get an A
5 Stars – Holy hellfire this professor is HOT
And so on, and so forth. He’d stopped reading after the first page, more for his sanity’s sake than his lack of curiosity.
He had thought that maybe dressing more conservatively would help make him appear more professional and aloof, perhaps discourage some of the gawking he got from the freshmen in his classes—but judging from his last semester’s students (one of whom had actually had the nerve to ask him on a proper date) the change in wardrobe had made things worse, not better.
Now, Ignis was at a loss at what to do, mentally steeling himself for another awful semester of girls giggling behind their hands whenever he turned away and boys eyeing him up and down unashamedly, whether he was looking at them or not.
Sighing heavily, the professor finished off the last bit of coffee in his Ebony can before rising to his feet and gathering his lesson plans. It is a short walk from the small office to the lecture hall, and he enters without hesitation, noting how the room falls quiet as he makes his appearance. Heads are turning to watch him approach the podium in the center of the room, but he avoids the stares, plastering a practiced smile on his face.
It is up to us to ignore them and do our jobs, he reminds himself of the department head’s words of wisdom.
Organizing his papers, the silence grows heavy as Ignis reviews his notes, and he takes the extra time to compose himself, breathing in slow.
Then, he picks his head up, scanning the room idly. “Good morning class. My name is Ignis Scientia, and I will be your instructor this term.” Everyone in the first row avoids his gaze, eyes shooting down to blank pieces of paper or fidgeting with pens and pencils. The middle of the room has mixed reactions—some smile, others glance away nervously—but nothing too out of the ordinary. The back of the room is completely oblivious (as he expected) with the exception of one student sitting closest to the door.
Ignis blinks slow when the boy meets his stare head-on, blue eyes wide and as brilliant as a cloudless summer sky. The student has a soft—innocent—face, freckled and pale, which only complements his mussed golden hair, and a slightly dazed expression that may just be the result of too little sleep (it is an eight am class, after all). Ignis has the strange sensation that he has seen him somewhere before and makes a mental note to review his roster a little more carefully after class for any names that might seem familiar.
“Shall we begin?” Ignis finally asks, and the student he is watching ducks his head to scoop a pen off the floor. There is a soft murmur as others begin to open their notebooks, and Ignis gently clears his throat, momentarily forgetting what he was about to say.
Where was I? Ah, yes.
“I hope you all had time to look over the syllabus,” he starts to say. (Of course, most probably didn’t.) “In case you did not, there will be a quiz at the start of next class. Please give careful consideration to the portion regarding proper communication and academic integrity…”
As Ignis drones on, already losing interest from some, he can’t help but look up at the blond in the back. His head is down so he misses Ignis’s curious gaze. Probably for the best. Although the professor cannot explain it, he is unable to shake the feeling that this semester will be an interesting one indeed.
He finds out that his name is Prompto Argentum—Mr. I come to class one minute before the bell and sit in the back despite the fact I consistently turn in solid B work. Ignis can’t quite wrap his head around it. Sometimes the disheveled blond has a tumbler full of coffee, but typically he only carries a notebook and pen. It is shocking to Ignis that, with a wardrobe that primarily consists of a hoodie and sweatpants, Prompto, unlike the rest of his back-row peers, furiously writes notes for the duration of the lecture. And unlike his front-row peers, he hardly ever looks directly at Ignis, which makes it all the more memorable when he does.
The first time Ignis catches Prompto staring, he can just barely make out the student’s blush from his position at the front of the the classroom, and the professor figures the bodily reaction must be quite severe for him to have noticed it at all. Ignis ends up stopping mid-sentence when the blond slumps down in his chair and puts his hood up in apparent embarrassment. Prompto doesn’t look up from his writing for the remainder of the period, and Ignis is left to wonder if he said something offensive.
He scours his lecture notes in his office afterwards, trying to piece together what could have elicited such a strong response. Yes, the Founder King wasn’t the nicest of individuals, and some found his dealings with the line of Oracles to be suspect, but it was hardly something to blush about. It nags at him into the evening as he is preparing dinner—the look of mortified horror on Prompto’s face. Those rounded eyes, the slightly open mouth—the smattering of freckles, like a constellation of stars…
Ignis somehow ends up burning his dinner and reluctantly orders take out, and he has to forcibly stop himself from thinking about Mr. Back Row over a glass of bourbon and a viewing of Our Eos.
From then on, he conducts his own private experiment—what happens when I hold eye contact with students?
The girls in the front row bat their eyelashes, lips curving up at the edges, and pink tinges their cheeks in a way that might be attractive if Ignis didn’t have zero interest in them. The middle rows are a mixed bag, with some female students glancing away shyly, or tucking loose strands of hair behind their ears, and even some stuttering over their words. Male students might frown or fold their arms—while still others grin and tilt their heads at him invitingly. Ignis makes mental notes to avoid those individuals. The back row is usually the most predictable: blank, uninterested, dead-eyed expressions. But then, there’s Prompto, who can only be described as an absolute disaster.
At first, Ignis thinks it is merely a coincidence. But after the third time of catching Prompto’s gaze and seeing that flash of crimson across the blond’s face, he knows in his heart that it isn’t. It turns into a game from then on. The professor will subtly glance up from his notes, trying to time it just right so that they sync up, but after the fourth or fifth time of locking eyes with Ignis, Prompto is the picture of a studious college kid. He arrives just before the bell, keeps his head down, and leaves as soon as class is dismissed.
All the while, Ignis argues with the voice in the back of his head that says he has seen Prompto somewhere before. But where? The boy hasn’t taken any of his other classes, and he thinks he would remember a face like that if they had been properly introduced in the past.
It’s pure happenstance—or maybe fate—that provides him with the answer, approximately halfway through the semester, and it occurs over a cup of coffee.
He’s sitting in Common Grounds, a café not far from campus that he spends more money at than he cares to admit, working on grading papers. True, the due date for the assignment isn’t until tomorrow, but a handful of students have already turned their work in early, so he is attempting to get a jump on them.
Thus Ignis has his head propped in one hand, a red pen hanging from his mouth and a half full mug of coffee sitting in front of him (already his third of the morning). The professor may not fidget, but he does find himself chewing on pens when he’s deep in thought, and he blames his intense concentration on why he does not immediately notice the person looming in his peripheral vision.
“Hey Sexy Specs,” a deep bass greets. A body slides into the booth next to him, and Ignis immediately stiffens, green eyes cutting over from to the intruder from behind his glasses.
The pen has disappeared from Ignis’s mouth by the time Gladiolus Amicitia’s grin comes into full view, and he has to stop and recalibrate, even as Gladio chuckles and asks: “Is that a knife in my side, or are you just happy to see me?”
Slowly, Ignis forces his muscles to relax, and he places the writing utensil that he had been wielding like a weapon on the table in front of him. “Gladiolus,” he greets thinly, not sure if he would have been apologetic after stabbing the student or not.
“What’s got you so wound up, Iggy?” Gladio wonders, peering over the stack of essays while simultaneously invading Ignis’s space. The professor coughs, indicative of the social faux pas, but Gladio ignores the cue entirely.
Putting a firm hand on the larger boy’s shoulder, Ignis pushes Gladio subtly away, scooting back in the booth to create space between them. “To what do I owe this surprise visit?”
Gladio’s smile is like sunshine on a cloudy day, but Ignis’s face suggests that they are in the midst of a blizzard. Get on with it or leave me the fuck alone, it says. Again, Gladio doesn’t take the hint.
“Oh, nothing, just saw you in here as I was passing by and realized I hadn’t seen you in…” Gladio tilts his head back, obviously thinking, but Ignis isn’t patient enough to allow his brain to connect the dots.
“Since your freshman year when you took my class and got everyone to call me that Astrals forsaken nickname. Yes, I remember.” Ignis’s smile isn’t meant to be kind, but like usual, Gladio is unfazed.
“Right! Anyway, just thought I’d pop in, see how Insomnia U’s hottest professor is doing.” The senior is leaning back, arms folding to suggest he isn’t about to leave anytime soon, and it makes Ignis sigh in defeat.
“Fine, thank you. Now, if I could get back to my work—”
“Are you seeing anyone? Because you know what the say, all work and no play—” Gladio is laughing, and Ignis can feel the irritation bubbling beneath his skin, quickly reaching a boiling point.
“Are you seeing anyone?” Ignis cuts in, lips pressing into a line and then quickly becoming a smirk when Gladio stops abruptly. “Or are you continuing your pathetic charade, cycling through woman after woman and hosting your wild parties to conceal the fact that you are hopelessly, helplessly—”
Ignis’s sticking point is muffled by the large hand that is thrown across his mouth as Gladio closes the short distance between them to shove the professor into the corner. The frat boy is hissing in warning, eyes wild with panic, and although Ignis’s brows furrow in annoyance at being forcibly silenced, he knows that he has struck a chord.
“Listen, if I want to throw a party on a random Thursday night, that’s my business. And if I want to get absolutely wasted and have a little fun with some attractive ladies—what’s it to you?” Gladio carefully removes his palm from where it is pressed to Ignis’s lips, and the few onlookers who had been watching curiously now return to their work.
Straightening, Ignis smooths his shirt, making a noise of disdain. “Yes, your ‘Final Hurrah’ is a thing of legend around—aha!” The professor snaps as the realization dawns on him, causing Gladio to jump in surprise.
“What—what is it?” the student asks, nervous now that the professor has him on the defensive.
“Prompto Argentum! He was in one of your pictures from last semester. I remember because His Highness was in it,” Ignis recalls.
“Wait—you saw those? How do you know Prompto? And since when are we friends on Insomniagram?” Gladio demands, even more panicked now. Ignis shoots him a condescending look. “Oh. Right. High school,” he recalls weakly. Luckily, Ignis leaves that alone—for now.
“Who is he to you?” the professor asks bluntly. Gladio’s look of confusion is priceless, and he scans Ignis just to make sure he is serious.
“Blondie? He’s a childhood friend of Noct’s. Why?” Unknowingly, Ignis slips his pen back into the corner of his mouth, chewing the edge thoughtfully. Hm. “What, you interested?” Still lost in the ruminations of his own mind, Ignis doesn’t pick up on the suggestive undertone to Gladio’s words. “He’d be a good match for you I think—one disaster to another.”
“Hm?” Ignis catches the end of the sentence and blinks. …One disaster to another?
Sliding out of the booth to get to his feet, Gladio rolls his eyes dramatically. “You know Specs, you’re the smartest guy I know, but you can be really oblivious sometimes.” The student gives a mini salute as Ignis reaches for his cup of coffee, which has now gone cold. He drinks it anyway, avoiding Gladio’s appraising look. “See ya around, Iggy.”
Ignis waits until Gladio has left the café to take out his phone and open his Insomniagram app.
It’s rather late when Ignis gets crawls into bed that night, and he checks to see who hasn’t submitted their assignments while nestled comfortably between his sheets, scrolling through his class roster. That girl in the back row who hasn’t shown up for the last week hasn’t, and probably won’t—but he figured that was coming—along with a handful of others who spend most of their time on their phones when they think Ignis isn’t looking. (He is, he just doesn’t care.) But, to his surprise, he notices that Prompto’s submission is also missing.
Thinking he might have overlooked it somehow, Ignis scours his inbox, but to no avail. A pity, because it is a rather large part of their final grade, and Prompto was doing so well. Ignis spends a few more minutes reading through his messages before setting his phone on his nightstand and shutting off the light, his mind winding down as he eventually drifts off to sleep.
Six am comes quicker than expected, but it always does on a Friday morning. Ignis makes his way blearily into the kitchen, turning on lights as he goes, and comes to stand in front of his coffee maker, the light already on to indicate it is working. Yawning, Ignis reaches for the mug he had already set aside as the carafe fills, opening his laptop that he left on the counter to scan his most recent notifications.
A news site he follows is the first thing to pop up when he opens his browser—some headline about Niflheim being on the move again, but what else is new? As he navigates to his university mailbox, he notices there is a string of new emails from students (of course), which he can only assume are begging for extensions on their papers.
“If you had read the syllabus, Jessica, you would know that I don’t accept late work,” Ignis grumbles as he leans forward, perusing the first email with disinterest. My grandmother died and I’ve been sick all week—blah, blah, blah, lie, lie, lie. Do they think I am a complete idiot, or are they really this daft?
Ignis is dressed only in his underwear as he doesn’t like to risk spilling anything on his work clothes, and he opens the second email as he grabs the freshly brewed coffee from off the warmer, the steam that curls up from it making him shiver unexpectedly.
There’s no subject in the header, which he finds strange, but the address he recognizes—email@example.com. Ah, so even Prompto is not below begging for an…
Ignis squints, thinking he must have misread. He’s not wearing his glasses and its early after all—plus, he hasn’t had his coffee—but no matter which way he looks at it, the name of the document appears the same: I wish my HIST prof would succ my cock.docx. He’s so shocked that his hand, stuck mid pour, doesn’t register at first that his coffee mug is overflowing. That is, until the hot liquid splashes onto the floor and he literally jumps, cursing as it burns him, then quickly overcorrects to keep from dropping the rest of the carafe.
It takes him twice as long to find out where he put his newly purchased paper towels, and even longer to assemble his scattered thoughts. Like puzzle pieces tossed haphazordously on the floor, he is only able to grasp a little bit at a time, with the larger picture escaping him. He’s on hands and knees, in the midst of wiping up the last of the coffee when it hits him—his student, Prompto Argentum, is attracted to him, Ignis Scientia. Then again, it could just be a joke. A dare, maybe—could Gladiolus have put him up to this?
Either way, he shouldn’t be all that surprised considering his on-record and off-record student-teacher evaluations, but it’s less the blatant, obviously drunkenly written train wreck of a document title that has him shocked and more his own feelings, or more accurately, lack therefore. Where there should be disappointment or anger is a sort of giddy amusement, bordering on pleased. Ignis presses the back of one hand to his forehead, thinking he must be coming down with something, but his skin isn’t any hotter or sweatier than usual.
Ignis sits back on his heels and lets his mind slowly get back to work. This needs to be addressed immediately. He glances at the clock, knowing he is going to be late now that his routine has been disrupted, but he is already i the process of rising to his feet to grab his computer and heads to his living room to sink into the couch.
Once settled, he tentatively clicks on the document that is attached to Prompto’s submission, half-expecting it to be empty or some jumbled, incomprehensible jargon, but once again he is proven wrong.
There are many who might say that the kings of the past have had the most impact on Lucis, for better or for worse, and while they aren’t necessarily wrong, they are missing what’s right in front of them. King Regis Lucis Caelum is the best thing that has happened to Lucis in the last century, starting with his bold stance on peace, and the hope that he instills in others…
Ignis’s eyebrows raise as he becomes engrossed in the narrative, and although it falls below the minimum page count and has a few key grammatical errors, it’s well thought out for a—he checks the time stamp on the email—paper hastily written at five in the morning. Not to mention, it correctly cites Noctis Lucis Caelum as a primary source, impressive on all accounts, even if Prompto is the prince’s friend, as Gladio claims.
“Hmm.” Ignis taps a finger to his lip as he begins to type out a reply.
Dear Prompto Argentum
He stops, thinking to himself: too personal, and deletes the line to start again.
Dear Mr. Argentum
Better, but not quite…
Mr. Argentum, he begins to type, settling on the simplest and most formal of greetings. He pauses once more, fingers hovering over the keyboard as he considers how to be stern, and at the same time understanding. He did turn the paper in on time, after all. A couple drafts later, he has a straightforward email that he feels comfortable sending.
Please refer to our syllabus for proper assignment formatting. This pertains to all aspects of the submission, including appropriate document title.
Then, against his better judgement, he adds a postscript, smiling to himself as he writes it.
If you resubmit by noon, you will receive full credit.
Fanart by @CarrieVogel5 (Twitter), @MysteriousBean5 (Tumblr)
Chapter 2: Getting Out of Hand
Ignis has to overcome his sudden, inexplicable attraction to one of his students, and fails.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Ignis can’t say that he is too surprised to find Prompto absent from his class when he finally walks in to the lecture hall ten minutes late, and he is too flustered from running behind for the first time in his career to give it much thought—until he checks his email afterwards to find a message from Karen Buchanan in the Insomnia University Registrar’s office.
Dear Professor Scientia,
I had a student by the name of Prompto Argentum attempt to drop your History of Lucis 101 class this morning. I informed him that it is past the drop-add date. Just wanted to make you aware.
Head Advisor – Insomnia University Registrar
Lips twitching down in mild irritation, the professor packs up his briefcase and starts heading towards his office, chewing on the corner of his lip as his frown grows steadily more pronounced. He ignores the people who greet him in the hall, feeling his annoyance building with every step.
Why in the world would he want to drop my class after I graciously gave him an extension? Or write the paper, for that matter? Perhaps the document title was a joke after all, albeit in poor taste.
As soon as the door shuts behind him, Ignis locks it and tosses his things down in his chair, pacing as he pulls up the message he sent to Prompto earlier that morning.
Was my tone too harsh? he wonders. Perhaps I intimidated him. Ignis debates sending a follow up email, or maybe requesting a meeting with the student, but thinks better of it. At least give him the opportunity to resubmit his work, he chides himself. You mustn’t appear too accommodating—or eager.
With his mind made up, he prepares himself to get some work done before his next class, but no matter how much Ignis tries to focus on grading the remaining abysmally written essays, his thoughts keep drifting back to his blond, freckle-faced student.
Prompto does resubmit his paper by noon that day, under the title of HST 101-01 PARGENT 07, and Ignis stops in the middle of grading another student’s work to finish reading it. Aside from the one unfortunate blunder, it really is an excellent piece of work, and Ignis, still feeling unusually generous, puts it in his gradebook as a B+, smiling the entire time.
You never give pluses or minuses, a voice protests. He makes the exception anyway, then closes his laptop, leaving the rest of his work unfinished.
It’s an uneventful Saturday evening at Ignis’s apartment. The History Channel is on for background noise, and he is curled up on his sofa in sweatpants and a t-shirt, computer perched in his lap and a glass of wine in hand. He’s almost finished grading the papers for his History of Lucis 101 courses, and although the clock on the wall is telling him it’s ten past midnight already, he’s determined to knock out the last bit of grading to have a blissfully free Sunday to enjoy when he wakes up.
However, he made the mistake of saving his worst student’s paper for last, and he keeps navigating away from the document out of disinterest to check on other things, scrolling absently through apps as the level of liquid in his wineglass grows lower and lower.
He rereads the same line for the third time when his cellphone gently buzzes, and his gaze darts down to the notification from Insomniagram, @gladicitia posted a new photo. Curious, he clicks on it, and he is met with a candid of the frat boy on a couch of questionable color (whether from stains or poor lighting, he cannot be sure). Laughing beside him is none other than Prince Noctis Lucis Caelum, with a head of blond hair positioned in his lap, the profile of which he recognizes as Prompto Argentum’s.
Ignis studies the photo longer than intended, eyes hovering over his student’s lanky frame lying horizontal on the couch, knees hooked over the edge of it and bare feet left to dangle. An arm is thrown behind the blond’s head, and in spite of the dimness of the picture, Prompto’s freckles and blue eyes stand out—along with the way his t-shirt has slid up to reveal part of his abdomen and the top of his boxer briefs.
The professor scrolls slowly down to the caption: Just chillin’ with His Highness himself. #brosbeingbros #ABOHouse #workhardplayharder
Ignis rolls his eyes forcefully and downs the rest of his wine. “And you call me oblivious,” he mutters. Then he slides back up to the picture, hitting the bookmark tab in the corner of the photo.
Saving it for future reference, are we? that pesky conscience of his questions accusingly.
Choosing not to follow the train of thought that will only serve to make him feel guiltier, Ignis sets the phone aside and puts his fingers back on the keyboard, intent on getting back to work, but less than a minute later the device is in his hand again and pulling up Gladio’s photo gallery.
He quickly locates the one photo from a previous ‘Final Hurrah’ at the ABO House where Gladio has an arm hooked around the prince’s neck and the other around Prompto’s. They’re all grinning, faces redder than usual and in questionable states of undress, but Ignis only has eyes for Prompto. The blond’s jeans are unbuttoned and he’s shirtless, a tie loosely hanging around his neck, and whoever took the picture caught him in mid-laugh.
Ignis isn’t aware he is smiling at first, but then he feels a strange stirring in-between his legs and his eyebrows furrow in confusion, brain not immediately conscious of what is happening in his body. When it is brought to his attention—pointedly—he tosses his phone to the other side of the couch as if it just burned his skin, gaping in horror as he forcibly shuts his laptop.
Sweet Six, what are you, a pre-pubescent boy?
Hopping lithely to his feet, Ignis rushes to the bathroom to turn on the sink and pulls off his glasses, all but shoving his head under the stream of cold water. A few seconds later Ignis straightens, finding a towel to smother his face in. Even with the shock of the sudden dousing, the heat in his groin remains, and he groans loudly into the soft fabric in dismay.
“Obviously, it is time for bed,” Ignis decides aloud. Despite the declaration, he stands in front of the mirror for a minute longer, water droplets clinging to his hair as he glares into his own eyes. “You best stop acting like a fool,” he grumbles.
Then, reluctantly returning to the living room, Ignis scoops up the discarded phone and performs a walk of shame quietly back to his bedroom, shutting the door firmly behind him.
The knock is unexpected, and at first Ignis thinks he must have imagined it, but then he hears it again, louder and more insistent.
It’s Sunday—I’m not expecting anyone…
Groggy and bleary eyed, Ignis searches for his glasses, and not finding them on the nightstand, grabs the t-shirt and sweats from off the back of his desk chair as he slips out of bed and heads towards the sound. He just finishes pulling on his clothes when he unlocks and answers the front door, and despite the blurry background, Prompto Argentum fills his view with perfect clarity, and it takes all Ignis’s composure not to gasp.
The student is wearing his signature hoodie and jeans, and he smiles apologetically, long golden eyelashes fluttering demurely as he glances down. “Uh, hello Mr. Scientia, sorry to bother you on a weekend, but…can I talk to you for a minute?” Prompto’s voice, just like his facial features, is full of sunshine, and to keep from gawking, Ignis waves the boy inside without a word, unsure what could have possibly inspired a surprise visit.
How does he know my address? This must be Gladio’s doing, that bastard.
Ignis turns, saying: “Mr. Argentum, it may be better for us to meet—” But he stops, voice strangled by the sight of Prompto shrugging out of his hoodie so that he stands bare-chested in Ignis’s entryway. “What are you…?” Ignis doesn’t complete the question, as it becomes obvious when Prompto unzips his own pants, pink coloring his cheeks.
“I wanted to make up for the other day,” the blond mutters, still not looking at Ignis directly, and the professor finds it so endearing that he stands frozen with one hand pressed against the wall to prevent himself from tilting sideways, knees going weak.
“You…? Don’t be silly, that’s…” Ignis has never had so much trouble stringing words together, but as Prompto sinks to his knees in front of him, he forces his eyes shut in an attempt to focus is mind.
Ignis, you must put a stop to this immediately, the sensible voice inside him hisses, but then Prompto frees his erection and the voice mysteriously quiets, replaced by a hunger too consuming to deny. Ignis takes one step back so that his body presses against the wall, and he hears the front door close softly as a warm mouth envelops his straining hard-on.
“Fuck,” Ignis whispers roughly.
He slaps one hand over his mouth when Prompto applies pressure with his lips, head tilting back when the student begins to move in a steady rhythm.
“Prompto—” Ignis starts to protest, but his desire is climbing at an alarming rate, and he knows it’s impossible to stop. He’s going to—
BEEP—! BEEP—! BEEP—!
Ignis bolts upright in bed while the scene ends abruptly, chest rising and falling rapidly as his head whips left and right in search of his phone. He finds it on the floor, most likely knocked off his nightstand in his sleep, and silences the alarm, the whispers of his dream still fresh in his thoughts and in his body, as is reflected by the unpleasant hardness of his cock.
Not bothering to put his glasses on, Ignis runs a hand over his face and flops back into his pillows with a frustrated noise as he acknowledges the sad truth: he, Ignis Scientia, is having illicit sexual fantasies about one of his students.
Head throbbing from too much wine and lack of quality sleep, Ignis opens his mouth and murmurs: “Fuck.”
Monday morning inevitably comes (although Ignis doesn’t for the duration of the weekend, and is miserable for it), and the professor spends a good minute standing outside the door of his own classroom, attempting to compose himself as he debates canceling the lecture. He knows that his first instinct when he walks through the door will be to check the top row, something he must not do this morning under any circumstances, lest he suffer in silence to conceal a boner for an unbearable fifty minutes.
Don’t be such a child, that familiar voice in his head scolds. Surely, you can act like the professional you are. Simply do your job. Easier said than done.
It’s eight o’ clock exactly when Ignis finally decides to push the door to the room open, a little more aggressively than intended, and he keeps his eyes trained strictly on the podium as he walks in, side conversations dying as he does.
“Good morning, class,” he greets, fighting to maintain an even cadence to his words. “Your grades have been updated in your online portal. Feel free to email me directly with any concerns or inquiries regarding the rubric. As a reminder, I do not accept late work. For any other questions, please consult your syllabus before contacting me.” Realizing his words are running together, Ignis takes a moment to shuffle through his notes, giving himself time to breathe.
Unfortunately, the desire is too strong for him to fight—he has to look—and Ignis’s eyes flit up to Prompto’s seat, pulse skipping when he sees the blond’s head tilted downwards to stare at the sheet of paper in front of him. Ignis then glances back to his lecture outline, clearing his throat.
“Today we will be discussing the key female monarchs of Lucis, most notably, Queen Crepera Lucis Caelum. If you brought your books, you can turn to chapter seven…” He begins to set up his presentation so that it will project onto the screen behind him, his heart eventually slowing as he listens to the rustle of paper and gentle murmur of voices as he does so. The professor tells himself that if he just focuses on the task at hand, he should be able to put his silly feelings aside.
It’s nothing but lust, nothing you cannot overcome in time.
To his credit, he is able to avoid looking at the student for most of the class and is nearing the end of the lecture when a silence lulls. While waiting for pens and pencils to stop scratching furiously, he makes the mistake of allowing his gaze to slide up the rows once more to land squarely on Prompto. This time, the blond happens to be looking at him, and Ignis feels his breath forcibly leave his lungs, making him thankful for the fact that Prompto is too far away to hear the audible noise it creates.
Ignis is held prisoner by twin pools of icy blue, and he mentally counts the seconds as he refuses to blink, unsure of what action to take next. He keeps his face carefully neutral when Prompto doesn’t look away, and images from the professor’s unwelcome dreams flash suddenly through his mind. He knows he shouldn’t encourage it, this terrible attraction, but his mouth is already moving on its own, and to his horror, settles into a natural smile.
Astrals above, what is wrong with me?
He turns away in an attempt to hide it, but he knows the damage is done. Hitting a button to progress the presentation, he grasps in vain for the information he had planned to relay to the class, eventually settling for reading directly off his slides. Abhorrent.
“Referred to merely as ‘the Rogue,’ not much is known about Crepera Lucis Caelum…” Ignis’s heart is beating like he just sprinted (or drank two full carafes of coffee), and it doesn’t slow even when the final bell rings.
Ignis grasps the edges of the podium like a life line, knowing full well that he cannot continue teaching under these conditions, and seeing that Prompto is bent forward, zipping up his backpack, finds that his legs are suddenly moving as if they have a mind of their own, causing him to ascend the set of stairs towards the back of the room.
This is a terrible idea, he thinks, and yet, Ignis makes it all the way to Prompto’s side, waiting patiently, albeit anxiously, for the student to notice him. When he finally does, the blond jerks back and his head collides with the edge of the desk with a loud thud.
“Fuck—!” Prompto hisses in pain.
Ignis instantly feels guilty, hand reaching out for Prompto on instinct as the student curls momentarily at the professor’s feet, gripping his skull.
“Are you all right?” the professor’s arm hesitates before it keeps going, but it never quite reaches Prompto.
“Y-yeah, fine.” Scooting away, the student gets slowly to his feet, and Ignis is suddenly very aware of how close they are, but at this point stepping back would only draw attention to it, so Ignis tries to appear nonchalant, adopting body language that might suggest he isn’t perturbed in the slightest. (A complete and utter lie. He is beyond bothered by the strange power the student has over him.)
You are a fool, Scientia, and you will live to regret this.
“My apologies, I didn’t mean to startle you. Mr. Argentum, may I speak to you for a moment?” Ignis notices his accent thickening, something that only happens when he is nervous, but he plays it off with another smile, hoping that it makes him appear more approachable and less guilty.
What are you doing, for gods’ sakes? Quit while you’re ahead! Another alarm bell is ringing in his mind, but he reassures himself that he has done nothing wrong—yet, anyway.
Prompto, after an awkward moment of silence, gives an apprehensive nod, and it makes the tuft of hair sticking up on his head bob like a moogle’s antenna. “Sure.”
Adorable—the word pops into Ignis’s mind and his smile grows as tight as the knot in his stomach. The professor then turns on his heel, leading the way towards his office, and he refuses to give in to the pressing need to look over his shoulder to confirm that Prompto is following him.
Prompto does follow him, however, and they end up in Ignis’s tiny office without incident, but as soon as the door shuts, all the professor can think about is Prompto on his knees in front of him with his mouth around his—
“Please, have a seat,” Ignis says neutrally as he takes his own. Prompto obeys without speaking, eyes pointed in the professor’s direction, but they are focused more on the man’s desk than on his face. Even so, now that Ignis has Prompto in front of him, he cannot for the life of him figure out what his plan is.
Time to improvise.
“I noticed you weren’t in class on Friday. Were you ill?” The question is rooted in genuine concern, but its purpose is to set the tone for the conversation, giving Prompto the chance to open up about the unfortunate submission mishap.
Ignis watches as Prompto’s eyes dart up, then down again, and the professor clasps both hands together on top of his desk when he feels his dick twinge, subtly crossing one leg over the other.
Now, of all times? He is appalled and embarrassed but knows he cannot give any indication of his distress, so he stays the course—whatever that may be.
“Yeah, I was sick,” Prompto admits, not offering any further details. It’s a safe answer, which is to be expected, but Ignis still finds it unsatisfying.
“Ah, well, I hope you are feeling better.” The professor pauses to lean back, pulling his hands beneath the desk to fold them in his lap in the unlikely event Prompto can somehow see where there is now an obvious bulge in his slacks. “In the future, take care to remember that you will need a doctor’s note on an official letterhead in order to count illness as an excused absence.” Prompto inclines his head slightly, already half-rising from his chair to leave, and although Ignis knows he should let the conversation end there, he cannot resist the urge to keep the student longer.
“Actually, I wanted to ask you about your essay,” Ignis says casually, and noticing how Prompto stiffens slightly, already regrets his choice of words.
“Oh?” Prompto barely whispers, sitting back down.
Is it just me, or is he paler than before? Is he…nervous?
It is in that moment that Ignis has the crazy idea that he might have been right after all—that Prompto does find him attractive. And would it not be a terrible irony if they were both experiencing this animalistic attraction to each other without any way to relieve it due to the simple fact that Ignis is Prompto’s teacher? It’s such a ridiculous notion that Ignis feels himself smiling again, cursing the gods’ cruel sense of humor, but it also gives him enough confidence to regain control over his mind, and he directs the conversation with more ease than before.
“You cited Prince Noctis Lucis Caelum as one of your sources,” he reminds Prompto, thinking of Gladio’s Insomniagram pictures of the three boys together.
Prompto blinks in surprise before replying. “Oh. Yeah, he’s my roommate.” Ignis’s raises his eyebrows in feigned surprise and leans forward, returning his hands to the top of his desk before allowing his eyes to narrow slightly. A thrill of pleasure runs through him when he sees Prompto squirm, and although it may be unkind, he hopes that it might pressure the student to reveal more.
“I see. So you’re the childhood friend of Prince Noctis’s that Gladiolus mentioned.”
Come now, Prompto, there’s no need to be so humble.
Ignis barely contains a laugh when Prompto looks behind him in confusion, glaring up into the corners of the room as if searching for a hidden camera. The professor settles for a chuckle when Prompto turns back around, regaining the blond’s attention.
“You seem confused. Allow me to enlighten you. Mr. Amicitia’s father is a close family friend of my parents. They work in the Citadel serving His Majesty. If things had been different, I would have been one of Prince Noctis’s retainers, however, I chose to pursue a career in academia, much to their chagrin. I merely wanted to confirm that your source was legitimate and not a thinly-veiled Moogle search.”
He secretly prays that Prompto might come clean—admit that he knows Gladio, that maybe he was the one who put him up to this—or even better, that he finds Ignis just as attractive as the professor finds him, but it doesn’t happen.
“Great. Well, glad we could clear that up,” Prompto exclaims instead, voice a little higher and thinner than before. Ignis rises as Prompto gets to his feet, and the blond finds his way to the door while the professor watches helplessly. Ignis knows he’s losing his grip on the situation, so he makes a last-ditch effort to drop a hint for Prompto.
“Oh, and Mr. Argentum?” Prompto looks back, hand resting on the doorknob as his head cocks into a metaphorical question mark. “I highly recommend reviewing your syllabus and the student ethics handbook for information pertaining to dropping this class after the add-drop date. For instance, three unexcused absences will result in termination from the course.” In the event you’re concerned about the teacher-student relationship part of things. He presents a smile-smirk combo, maybe more flirtatious than is appropriate, but at this point Ignis knows he is the crossing the point of no return.
Prompto is heading out the door as he responds, and Ignis isn’t prepared for the strength of reaction the words evoke in him, a pressure between his thighs making him sink back into his chair with a subdued moan.
Ignis decides to cancel his remaining classes for the day so that he can try to get a handle on the miserable state he has found himself in, but he has a feeling that it won’t be so easily overcome—and he is one hundred percent correct.
A+, Mr. Scientia.
It gets bad enough that a week’s worth of sleepless nights later (after weighing the pros and cons many, many times), Ignis calls Gladio. He justifies it to himself by saying that Gladio knows both him and Prompto and can give the most objective opinion of the situation, but he feels his stomach drop as he listens to the ringing, nearly hanging up before anyone can answer.
There is a click as the call connects. “Iggy?” he hears Gladio’s voice question skeptically. Ignis tells himself he can still hang up, maybe play it off as an honest mistake, but the professor reminds himself of how he has tossed and turned for the last several nights and swallows his pride.
“Gladiolus. I need to speak with you about a serious matter.”
“Uh…sure.” There is the sound of shifting. Ignis presses his free hand to rub at one temple, feeling a headache forming. “What’s up?” Gladio wonders, still sounding somewhat defensive.
“It’s concerning Prompto Argentum.” There is a silence so pronounced that Ignis thinks for a second that the call dropped, but it is swiftly filled by Gladio’s booming laugh.
“You’ve gotta be shitting me—is this a prank? There’s no way this is for real.” The chuckling continues as Ignis huffs, now seriously doubting his own judgement. “Wait, wait, wait—I know you, don’t hang up,” Gladio begs amidst his chortling. “Tell me what’s wrong, I’m listening, promise.”
Taking a long breath in to the count of five, Ignis decides there’s no use in beating around the bush. “I need you to find out if…Prompto shares my particular tastes, and if he does, whether he has any interest—”
“Oh, he’s definitely into you, man,” Gladio interrupts. “He came to me last week asking about you.”
Ignis’s mouth goes dry, and he’s thankful that he’s sitting on his bed so that he can conveniently fall backwards without any fear of injuring himself.
“Was he?” Ignis tries not to sound too pleased, but he can practically hear Gladio’s grin through the phone.
“Yeah—all concerned about the fact that you’re his teacher. I told him not to worry about it—”
“Gladiolus!” Ignis interjects, mortified.
“—because you won’t be in like, five weeks. Come on, Specs, when was the last time you really took interest in anyone?” Even though he chooses not to answer the question out loud, Ignis considers Gladio’s words. It truly has been some time… “There’s, uh, just one problem. I kinda set him up with a date at Loveless tonight, but if you’re serious about it, I think you have a better shot. He’s had the hots for you since day one, according to Noct.”
“According to Noct?” the professor echoes with amusement. “Very well, I’ll consider it.” He pauses, then amends his statement to keep Gladio from getting too invested in the idea. “Waiting until the end of the semester would be advisable, however.”
“Sure, sure, that’s smart,” Gladio agrees, tone implying he might be holding back another laugh. “If you’re having trouble keeping your cool around him, you could always do what I do in sticky situations—works like a charm—”
“Sleep with women I have no attraction to?” Ignis retorts dryly.
Gladio keeps going, steamrolling through the blatant dig. “—think of my mom. Kills a boner instantly.”
Spewing curses under his breath, Ignis hangs up to the sound of Gladio’s snickers.
My wife laughed the entire time she read this chapter, so I consider it a win.
Chapter 3: The Correct Answer
Ignis isn't sure if he's going to be able to resist his attraction to Prompto for the remainder of the semester, but he's determined to find out.
How am I going to survive five more weeks of this torture? Ignis asks himself while standing in the history department’s administrative room. He decided to stay at the university to get work done as opposed to going home. Staying busy has been the only way to keep his thoughts from wandering into inappropriate territory, all of which involve Prompto Argentum in some fashion. Thank the gods he doesn’t sit in the front row or I would be absolutely done for.
Now, the professor waits by the copier, watching as it spits out pages of the study guide he is creating for an upcoming History of Lucis 101 exam, a throbbing sensation behind his eyes and fourth coffee of the day in hand.
“Hey Ignis, you good?” a voice prods gently. Startled, Ignis turns to find his co-worker peering back at him, chocolate brown eyes warm with concern behind large rounded glasses.
“Ah, Andrew,” Ignis says, then stops. He’s too tired to smile politely, but he manages a nod, mentally cataloguing his most recent interaction with the fellow professor. We slept together last semester and haven’t gone out together since, but he’s still quite friendly when we see one another in the halls. “Yes, just a rough week,” he finishes.
“I feel you, man. My World History 202 class is kicking my ass this semester,” Andrew commiserates, sitting on the edge of a nearby table.
Ignis’s eyes fall across the man with a little more thought than before—he’s dressed smartly, in dark slacks and a white button down with the sleeves rolled up, and his brunette hair is just messy enough to make one guess whether it is intentional or not. The sex they had before was decent, but Ignis hadn’t wanted a relationship at the time, and Andrew had respected that. And now that Ignis is thinking back on it, he starts to wonder if maybe all he needs to do in order to get over his infatuation with Prompto is simply to get laid. He can already hear Gladio laughing at him.
Come on, Specs, when was the last time you really took interest in anyone? The frat boy’s question repeats in his mind.
Ignis’s copies finish as his eyes meet Andrew’s. “What are you doing this evening?” the professor asks directly. Before the other teacher has a chance to respond, Ignis provides more detail. “I was thinking of doing trivia at Loveless and could use a partner.”
Andrew’s smile is instantaneous, and Ignis buries a pang of guilt. “Oh yeah? I’d love to go. I haven’t been in forever—and if you want to come over after, I’m down for that too. No pressure though.” The unspoken understanding of what will transpire if Ignis does accept Andrew’s offer is enough for the professor to agree.
“It’s a date then,” Ignis confirms. “My flat is a short walk away, so I’ll meet you there. Say—eight o’ clock?”
“Great,” Andrew replies enthusiastically, pushing himself to his feet. “Looking forward to it.”
Ignis waits until he can no longer hear Andrew’s footsteps before plucking his papers off the machine and retreating to his office, already mentally preparing himself for the evening ahead.
The club music pulses in the air, buzzing across Ignis’s forearms as strongly as the alcohol circulating in his bloodstream. He’s chosen the seat at the end of Loveless’s long bar, positioned so he can see across the entire room, and most importantly, to watch who is walking in and out of the front door at any given moment.
Andrew arrives right on time, and they share a few drinks and small talk before buying in to the next round of trivia. Glasses Gang is their team name—Andrew’s choice, not Ignis’s, but he goes along with it, smiling at appropriate intervals and hoping that the forced levity in his conversation will quell the nervousness he feels every time a new face appears in his peripheral vision.
He’s on a date with a relatively attractive, intelligent man, and easily a ‘sure thing’ as far as sex is concerned, and yet Ignis can’t keep his eyes from tracking away from Andrew in search of something—or more specifically, someone.
Ignis Scientia, you are better than this, he thinks, but his actions suggest the contrary.
It takes a few wrong answers in trivia before Andrew notices Ignis’s lack of focus. “Everything all right?” he asks.
“Yes…” Ignis trails off when he sees a distinct outline enter the club, its bulk recognizable even in the dim lighting as Gladio Amicitia. The person next to him is neither Noctis, nor Prompto, but is good-looking nonetheless, and as the two men approach the bar Ignis’s lips purse, assuming this must be the ‘date’ Gladio referenced earlier.
He shouldn’t be jealous—after all, there is nothing to be jealous of, and yet… Andrew follows Ignis’s line of sight. “Friends of yours?” The question is polite, but there is an undertone of irritation that can only be expected given the circumstances.
“Forgive me, I am being rather rude,” Ignis acknowledges, now determined to give Andrew his full attention. “The next round is on me,” he promises. Ruffled feelings seemingly smoothed by the consolation, Andrew sips his beer and nods.
Ignis is able to maintain his focus for the next hour by sticking to a routine—drink, answer trivia, laugh at some inane joke, repeat—but as he grows predictably more inebriated, it becomes difficult to pretend that Andrew is holding his interest. Luckily, another trivia team starts to close in on their lead, giving Ignis an excuse to forgo conversation to focus on the game.
He’s grateful for the distraction up until he hears a laugh that stops his heart from beating in his chest, and he squints through the crowd for its source, already knowing who it belongs to. “Dang, BDE is tied with us,” Andrew groans, but Ignis ignores the complaint, too busy staring at Prompto Argentum where he stands leaning over the bar with Mr. Good-Looking’s arm thrown casually across his shoulders. “Oh, is it your friend’s team?” Ignis’s date correctly surmises, and after hastily downing the rest of the beverage in front of him, the professor lets loose a laugh, louder and less controlled than usual—he blames it on the alcohol.
When Prompto’s head turns, Ignis pretends not to notice, reading the question on the flat screen overhead. Which Lucian ruler was known as The Rogue?
He can hear Prompto clearly. “Oh—oh! We learned about this in class! It’s—”
“C. Crepera Lucis Caelum,” Ignis completes the sentence, pushing the button to respond. He angles himself towards Andrew, seeing in his periphery how Prompto stops and looks in his direction. When the timer runs out, Glasses Gang is declared the winner by a measly one point, but although Andrew seems thrilled, clapping Ignis on the back in congratulations, the professor can’t bring himself to match his date’s enthusiasm.
“Hey, we won! Wanna get out of here?” Andrew says suggestively. Ignis stills when the man’s hand slides across his hip, suddenly repulsed by the very idea that brought him to Loveless in the first place.
Ignis balks, wishing he wasn’t so fickle with his affections. “A few more drinks, perhaps. I’m not quite ready to leave.” Although obviously disappointed, Andrew withdraws his hand, and Ignis's tension melts away.
‘A few more drinks’ becomes several, but no matter how much alcohol Ignis consumes, he can’t drown the thoughts that float to the surface of his self-induced haze, especially when Prompto takes to the dance floor with his mystery date. All he can see are some stranger’s hands on the student’s hips, clinging possessively, and Ignis knows that the burning sensation he feels inside him has nothing to do with being drunk.
Andrew is yawning when Ignis reluctantly agrees to closing the tab. “Well?” Ignis’s co-worker looks so hopeful that the professor hesitates. The moment of truth has come.
You should give him a chance.
“Let me use the restroom first,” Ignis answers evasively, trying to give himself more time to avoid making a choice.
“I’ll go get the car,” Andrew offers as Ignis is already stepping away, trying not to move too quickly in case it gives the impression that he is fleeing.
Blessedly, the bathroom is empty, and Ignis selects the first urinal, unzipping his fly while he mulls his options over.
Tell him now that you are not interested. It would be irresponsible to hurt his feelings. Come up with an excuse—you have class in the morning and you’re tired.
Or, sleep with him, and settle the question of whether you are smitten or just infatuated with Prompto Argentum once and for all. Besides, there is no pressure to date Andrew, you’ve already slept together once before. You deserve some release.
Ignis can hear the door creak on its hinges, so he quickly finishes his business and zips his pants, pivoting to approach the sink. It is the comedic expression from the newcomer that stops him mid-stride, jaw going slack in disbelief at his terrible luck. Prompto Argentum’s mouth makes a perfect ‘o’ of surprise, matching how Ignis feels inside.
“Mr. Argentum?” he asks weakly.
You have done nothing wrong, his brain stresses, but he might as well have gotten caught with his pants at his ankles.
Everything happens fast from that point on, and Ignis can barely process what is happening when Prompto slams a hand against a wall and bends violently forward, a wave of pale-yellow liquid shooting out of his mouth and onto the tile. The blond’s eyes shoot up in alarm after the fact, wider than Ignis has ever seen them, and when Prompto’s feet move suddenly, there is a screech of rubber as his shoes slide through the puddle of vomit. Ignis isn’t able to move quickly enough to catch him, Prompto’s arms windmilling desperately for something to grab and finding nothing. As a result, he falls—hard—banging his head on the floor and going limp.
“Shit, shit, shit!” Ignis bolts forward, crouching down as his hands move of their own accord. “Don’t be dead,” he mutters, checking to make sure Prompto is one, breathing, and two, didn’t crack his head open on the way down. When he is sure of both, he cradles Prompto in his arms, pulling him carefully into an upright position against the wall.
Unconscious, Prompto’s head lolls to one side, forcing Ignis to take hold of his face—which is when the professor sees just how many freckles he has, and notices how soft his skin is, even warmer thanks to the many libations the college student has consumed over the course of the evening. Ignis’s breath catches as he stares, and now with no baby blue eyes to avoid, runs his fingers through the boy’s golden hair before he can stop himself.
This is highly inappropriate, Ignis.
“Shut up,” he growls, then shakes his head, realizing he is talking to himself—out loud, like an absolute maniac.
He needs help, Ignis realizes, but the professor doesn’t have his car with him, and the only person who they are mutually acquainted with is Gladio.
“Wonderful,” Ignis groans even as he fishes his cellphone out of his pocket and makes the call. The frat boy picks up on the last ring, and the professor steels himself for further embarrassment.
“Yo, Specs, if this is a booty call, you’re out of luck—”
“Come to the bathroom, and be quick about it,” he orders, too impatient (and stressed) for pleasantries.
“The bathroom. In Loveless. Now, if you please.” Ignis disconnects the call and shoves his phone away so he can hold Prompto’s head up again, grimacing when the door finally opens and Gladio walks in. The boy whistles, eyebrows raising as he takes in the scene.
“Oh, so that explains where Prompto went. You know, you don’t need to knock him out to have—”
Ignis silences Gladio with a single look, the frat boy taking a weary step back, chuckling nervously. “He fell and hit his head. We need to get him out of here,” Ignis explains. “Can you help me or not?”
Gladio groans. “Iggy, you’re kinda cockblocking me right now. Don’t you live five minutes from here? Just do me a solid and take him home with you. I can pick him up in the morning.”
Ignis snorts, voice climbing in anger. “Absolutely not! Are you trying to get me fired? Besides, I’m on a date as well, and I walked.” Gladio crosses his arms over his chest, one eyebrow arching skeptically. Feeling a blush coming on, Ignis ducks his head, concentrating on Prompto instead (which doesn't help him much).
“You mean to tell me you got over Prompto that quickly? I’m not buying it. You’re not one to ask for advice unless you’re desperate. Besides, you owe me one.”
The glare Ignis shoots at Gladio next is more deadly than the first, but this time, its recipient meets it head-on. “That time I covered for you in high school—when I was visiting you in Tenebrae, remember? I lied to your parents for you and everything. This ringing any bells?”
“That was ages ago! It hardly counts for anything now.” But Ignis is chewing his lip, calculating. You don’t want to go home with Andrew anyway. Might as well help the poor boy.
“Help me carry him and I’ll call you a lift to wherever you want to go afterwards. And you’ll need to make up an excuse to his date that doesn’t involve me—I mean it, Gladio.” He fixes Gladio with his most threatening expression, and the frat boy throws his hands in the air in a show of surrender.
“Fine, fine. I’ll just say he got alcohol poisoning—close enough. Just lemme go fill Noct in so he doesn’t freak out, okay?”
Ignis exhales loudly. “Alright.” With Gladio’s promise to return, Ignis sits next to Prompto, taking the opportunity to text Andrew his excuse. Once the deed is done, Ignis passes the time by studying Prompto, taking in the sight of the boy’s dark jeans that perfectly hug his bony hips and the leather jacket with two behemoth heads on the front. Mostly, he attempts to memorize the student’s facial features and how soft his lips look, gently parted and practically begging to be kissed.
Needless to say, Ignis is relieved when Gladio finally reappears, and he permits the larger boy to hoist Prompto onto his back with a grunt, trailing behind them as they make their way out of the bathroom and eventually the club entirely. Once on the sidewalk, Ignis leads the way, hoping they didn’t happen to attract any unwanted attention. They walk in silence, and after the club is safely out of sight, Ignis relaxes somewhat, glancing over at Gladio while sliding his hands into his pockets.
“What did you tell the prince?” Ignis wonders, thinking that conversation might distract him from the hole he is digging himself into.
“Told him I was dumping Prompto at your place for the night. Don’t worry, he won’t say anything,” he vows after seeing Ignis’s worried expression.
“What’d you say to your date?” Gladio shoots back. Ignis laugh is without mirth.
“Merely that I had class early in the morning and thought it would be better if I went to bed. He still hasn’t responded.”
The bigger boy winces in sympathy. “Ouch.”
“It’s not a big loss on my part. I wasn’t very invested in going home with him anyway.” Ignis, seeing Gladio shake his head, bumps shoulders with him good-naturedly. “What is it?”
“You’ve changed a lot since high school, Iggy. From what I heard—and saw—you had quite the reputation.” He’s grinning, shifting a little to readjust Prompto on his back, and Ignis crosses his arms in a defensive gesture.
“It’s nothing in comparison to your reputation,” Ignis quips. “But yes, we all have our ‘rebellious phases,’ don’t we?” They both laugh, and a warmth settles between them despite the evening chill. As they are rounding the corner, Ignis’s apartment building comes into view, stars twinkling over it like a million tiny beacons.
There’s a muffled noise that doesn’t belong to Ignis’s companion, and he sneaks a peek at Prompto who is in the process of sleepily nuzzling into the nape of Gladio’s neck. “Adorable, isn’t he?” Gladio murmurs knowingly.
“Mm,” Ignis answers, neither a yes nor a no. His friend’s laugh tells him that Gladio isn’t the least bit fooled by the professor’s false bravado though, and they climb the staircase to Ignis’s unit in companionable silence, Ignis unlocking the door once they reach it.
He leads Gladio to the master bedroom, each step feeling more and more like a funeral march.
You have sealed your fate with this decision, Scientia. There is no coming back from this you know.
Ignis watches as Gladio sets Prompto on his bed, gentle enough that the blond barely makes a sound as he sinks into the mattress, and they work in tandem to strip Prompto of his clothes and tuck him under the sheets. Surprisingly enough, there is no snarky comment from Gladio regarding the matter, and they complete the task in a businesslike fashion, Ignis feeling calmer than he anticipated.
“Take good care of him,” Gladio bids as he makes a step towards the hallway.
Seized by an unexplainable panic, Ignis swallows hard, following Gladio back to the front door so that he doesn’t have to be alone with Prompto. “I will,” he promises, then continues: “You will retrieve him in the morning then?” He hopes he doesn’t look or sound as anxious as he feels, but if he does, Gladio shows no sign of noticing.
“Yeah, I don’t have class so just shoot me a text. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” Gladio presents Ignis with his signature grin.
Ah, there it is.
“I would never take advantage of someone in his condition,” Ignis declares, body going rigid. He blinks when Gladio snorts.
The frat boy holds eye contact, suddenly serious. “I know that, Iggy. You’re not that kind of guy. Anyway, good luck with blondie, and don’t worry about getting me a ride, I’m just gonna go back and walk Noct home.”
“If you’re sure. No thanks to you, I will probably make a mess of things,” Ignis sighs. Once more, Gladio’s grin returns, more predatory than before.
“Nah. You’ll thank me later, you’ll see.” And without further ado, Gladio salutes, backing away with a saunter of someone who has just won a bet—or killed a man. Perhaps both.
“Doubtful,” the professor mutters when Gladio is out of sight. Gripping the door frame tightly, Ignis stands in his entryway and listens to Gladio descending the stairs, reluctantly retreating into his apartment after a minute of deliberation.
Turning aimlessly in a circle, Ignis runs a hand through his hair, considering the predicament he is now in, and having no godly idea how he will get himself out of it.
Ignis sleeps on the couch, (although it may be more accurate to say he passes time worrying on the couch while in a horizontal position) texting Gladio late into the evening until he finally succumbs to exhaustion. To add insult to injury, the professor wakes up absurdly early, no alarm clock needed, fictitious or otherwise.
A hangover headache pulsing in-between his temples, Ignis first goes to the guest bathroom to down some curatives before busying himself in the kitchen. He isn’t quite sure what Prompto might like to eat, but nothing says I’m sorry for the breach of professionalism like pancakes and coffee, so he sets himself to making the best damn breakfast possible.
Once he has a steaming mug of coffee and a perfectly positioned stack of pancakes on a metal tray (complete with butter, syrup, and a sliced strawberry garnish), he carries it to down the hall and presses his ear to the bedroom door. Hearing a shifting, Ignis shifts the items into one hand, knocks once, and opens the door, not giving himself a chance to overthink things.
“Thank the gods, Jazz, I need—” Prompto stops and stares at Ignis who is standing in the doorway, and Ignis stares back, entranced by the light that is hitting Prompto’s face, causing his hair to shine like a halo, impossibly blue eyes sucking him in so that he loses all concept of time and space.
The professor is holding the tray of coffee and pancakes like an alien invader with a peace offering, pinning the same practiced smile he uses on his classes to his lips with such force that his cheeks hurt. Ignis knows he must look like a complete mess, what with his hair down and without his glasses on and wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt instead of the usual getup Prompto is used to, but frankly the professor’s nerves are fried and he is too exhausted to care altogether much.
What more dignity do I have left to lose?
“Good morning. How are you feeling?” he asks before walking into the room. Prompto’s image becomes clearer as he draws close, and he sets the tray on the bedside table before turning to address the dazed looking blond again. “You took a tumble in the restroom last night. I wasn’t sure who was best to call, so I contacted Gladiolus. My flat was only a short walk away and we didn’t want to jostle you too terribly, seeing the state you were in. I apologize for putting you in a precarious situation, but the circumstances being what they were...” He shrugs then, mostly because he hasn’t gotten any definitive reaction from the student to indicate whether he has made a mistake, giving him no direction to go in. Ignis waits, praying for a sign—or a miracle.
“Gladio…told you to bring me here?” Prompto inquires with apparent bewilderment. Ignis nods once, pulling up his desk chair to the bedside to sit in.
“Yes, he ‘called in a favor’ that I owed him,” his smile thins, and Prompto looks down and away. Unsure if the lack of reaction is good or bad, Ignis changes the subject. “I suggest you see a physician. You hit your head rather hard.” Prompto reaches back into his hair, fingers running idly through the golden strands to locate the spot where it collided with the bathroom floor. “I will forward you the notes from today’s lecture. Please take care of yourself in the meantime.”
You’re talking too much, he thinks, biting his tongue. Better wrap this up before it becomes even more awkward.
“It might be better if you do not mention you stayed here,” he says calmly, leaning back when Prompto eyes him with violent surprise.
“I’d never say anything,” the blond blurts before inhaling sharply. His body is tilting towards Ignis, hands spreading in front of him as he talks. “Really, I’d never want to get you in trouble, Mr. Scientia, sir. I mean, I was a complete idiot and the last thing I want is to embarrass you, or get you in trouble, or make your boyfriend mad at you for taking home some complete stranger when you could have been out with him, and I really enjoy your class, and I’m sorry that you felt like you had to help me. You should probably just fail me now—”
Unsure of how else to stop him from running off the rails, Ignis lays a hand on Prompto’s shoulder and squeezes. It has the desired effect, causing Prompto to swallow the remainder of his words and stiffen, gaze becoming downcast. Ignis knows he needs to be careful now, for he feels that same unwelcome heat from when they met in his office curling in his stomach, threatening to destroy his sensibilities. He takes a deep breath.
“Firstly, it is no trouble at all. I merely do not want anyone to think anything untoward about you. If you are a friend of Gladiolus’s, I trust you to be discreet.” Prompto blinks up at him, but doesn’t interrupt, which Ignis finds encouraging. “Second—that man I was with was not my boyfriend, but a co-worker.” He feels the need to clarify, but goes for the most reserved of explanations, even though what he really wants to say is: I would much rather fuck you than Andrew. “Third, you are not an idiot.” This time, Prompto laughs, and Ignis takes the opportunity to let his hand fall away.
“Dude—I mean…” Prompto sinks back into the pillows, the contrast of color between the sheets and his pale, freckled chest suddenly reminding Ignis of the fact that his guest is only in his underwear, in his bed. The professor crosses one leg over the other—thank the Astrals for sweatpants. “I’m sorry, but you’re wrong about that,” the blond declares, and Ignis forgets what they were talking about as Prompto looks him full in the face, his arousal flaring white hot and uncomfortable in his groin.
Hurry Ignis, or you might not make it out of here in one piece—and neither will Prompto.
Now is not the time for carefully laid plans; it is the time for honesty. Bracing himself for whatever may come, Ignis puts his pride aside and straightens up to speak, letting his heart lead the way.
“You wrote about the importance of humanizing monarchs and how the success of their reign directly correlates with their love for their people, and I assume you did it while absolutely sloshed. Not only that, but you cited your sources correctly, using Prince Noctis as one of them while remaining surprisingly unbiased. And, you resubmitted your work when you very easily could have refused to show your face to me ever again.” Considering you horribly embarrassed yourself is left off of the end of the statement. Prompto’s jaw is moving, but Ignis doesn’t give him the opportunity to compose a rebuttal. “Then, you nearly bested me at trivia,” he adds with a laugh.
“I had help,” Prompto insists in a whisper.
“So did I.” Ignis stands then, extending a hand, and Prompto stares at it like it’s a bomb that might detonate at any moment. “You can schedule a meeting during my office hours to discuss any…concerns. We can meet in a public setting—a coffee shop, perhaps—if that would make you more comfortable.”
It’s a calculated risk, but one Ignis is willing to take. He has the answer to his question now: I cannot wait until the end of the semester.
“Uh.” Ignis doesn’t move his hand from in front of Prompto, secretly hoping that he will take it. When he eventually does, Ignis marvels at the rough, yet soothing quality of the student’s skin. “Sure,” Prompto agrees, obviously unsure.
Ignis can barely contain his pleasure from the simple confirmation. “Excellent.” He withdraws his hand with measured control, ashamed to admit that he is reluctant to let it go. “Do not feel the need to rush out, but if you could lock the door before you leave…” Ignis has just caught sight of the clock, and although he is going to be late (again), he knows he cannot stay with Prompto any longer or risk sacrificing even more of his teacher’s integrity.
“Sure,” Prompto agrees more readily this time.
Not believing his luck (or misfortune), Ignis begins to retreat, steps slow and deliberate so that he appears to have control of the situation. In reality, he feels like he just stepped off a tilt-a-whirl, dizzy and disoriented. Pulling his shoulders back in a show of confidence, Ignis tries to throw together some semblance of a plan for the day.
“Mr. Scientia…?” Prompto says hesitantly while Ignis is opening the door. His erection becomes more insistent in answer and Ignis only partially turns, one leg bent slightly in an attempt to mask what is happening beneath the thin fabric of his pants.
“Please—call me Ignis outside of class. After all, I am only two years your senior,” the man urges. Plus, you referring to me as ‘mister’ and ‘sir’ drives me absolutely mad.
Oh dear gods, it’s even worse, Ignis realizes, smile now uncontrollable despite his best efforts, I’m a bloody idiot. Prompto pulls a pillow into his lap, and Ignis wishes he could do the same, but settles for slipping partially into the hallway.
“You’re—pretty great, too. I’d like that.” Prompto’s confession causes Ignis’s eyebrows to shoot up, disappearing into his mop of sandy hair, and he notes the crimson hue of Prompto’s face, freckles darkening from the sudden blood rush. “To have coffee with you,” he elaborates.
You should say no, but you won’t, will you? Even his inner voice sounds resigned.
Ignis is quiet as he thinks, words slow to leave his mouth. “Very well. Does tomorrow at nine am work for you? There is a shop called Common Grounds that I frequent. We could meet there if that’s agreeable.” It’s hard to keep the excitement from his tone, and he love-hates how one person can reduce him to a lovesick fool.
“Sounds great.” Then, just like that, the exchange is complete, and Ignis is inclining his head, leaving the room to Prompto so that he can find something to wear to work that isn’t in the confines of his bedroom.
Luckily, he has enough clean clothes hanging in his small laundry room to put together a suitable outfit, believing that his students will be none the wiser. His hair will just have to remain down instead of gelled, but it’s a trivial matter. He’s out the door within five minutes, controlling the noise he makes so it doesn’t seem like he’s frantic, but as soon as he’s free of his apartment he walks so fast that his breathing quickens and he texts Gladio before he even reaches campus.
Gladio replies less than a minute later.
Chapter 4: Spilling It
Ignis comes close to spilling his feelings for Prompto--among other things.
It’s Thursday morning, and Ignis is lying in bed, looking up at the ceiling. The stark white paint is satisfyingly smooth—unlike the constant undulation of thoughts running through the professor’s head like a rollercoaster.
Did I really ask my student on a date? This is getting out of hand.
He thinks he should come up with some excuse to cancel, for he knows based on his near constant dreams and his body’s reaction to them that he can hardly contain himself around Prompto, and it will only spell disaster for them both. But then he thinks about getting another chance to see Prompto’s face up close, the blond’s smile highlighted by freckles, and the crinkling of skin around his eyes when he laughs, and Ignis’s stomach dives directly from off the highest of cliffs, straight into a pool of desire. The pool runs deep, down to his very core.
So, it is against his conscience’s instruction that Ignis rises out of bed to prepare for his not-date, selecting a casual outfit that he hasn’t worn in a while, but fancies nonetheless: a purple shirt he received as a gift in high school paired with a black overcoat and jeans. At the last minute he adds one of his few pieces of jewelry, a tiny skull-bead necklace that nestles in the notch where his collar bones meet. It is actually a birthday present from Gladio, back from when the frat boy had visited him in Tenebrae years ago, and Ignis knows he will probably be teased if his friend ever finds out that he kept it, but it is too nice to simply throw away. Glancing at himself in the mirror, Ignis has the passing thought that it actually suits him, and perhaps he should wear it more often.
Ignis arrives at Common Grounds half an hour early, even with walking, and decides to take a stroll around the block to calm his nerves. It’s a brilliantly sunny morning, and people are out and about and apparently happy about it. Ignis observes a couple holding hands on the street corner, smiling at each other as they lean in for an impromptu kiss, and it sends his mind wandering.
I wonder what it would be like to kiss Prompto Argentum. Those plush pink lips would no doubt be soft and warm, and his eyelashes might flutter, tickling Ignis’s cheek…
Turning the corner, Ignis returns to the coffee shop, no less flustered from before after his daydream, and he catches sight of Prompto standing across the street, looking lost. Thankfully, he’s not looking in Ignis’s direction, and it gives the professor the opportunity to study the him, a pastime that is quickly climbing to the top of his list of favorite things to do.
Sunshine seems to follow Prompto wherever he goes, and this morning is no different, a halo of it setting fire to the student's messy hair. Ignis likes seeing Prompto’s face relaxed, some redness around the boy’s eyes only serving to draw more attention to the blue of the irises, with specks of violet now visible in the glaring daylight. As Ignis creeps closer, he can see that Prompto has upgraded from his typical hoodie to wearing a faded chocobo t-shirt beneath a black leather vest and a pair of snug fitting jeans, and it brings the professor to the conclusion that Prompto looks good in anything—and probably nothing, as well.
“Prompto?” The name slips past Ignis’s lips without much thought, and when Prompto yelps and whirls around, he realizes his mistake. Mr. Argentum would have been more formal, but he did encourage the student to call him Ignis outside of class. It would only be fair to return the favor.
“I seem to have the bad habit of sneaking up on you,” Ignis notes with amusement, and Prompto absently runs a hand through his hair, making it fluff on one side. It could be because of the t-shirt the blond is wearing, but it reminds him of the back end of a chocobo. Precious, to say the least.
“No—I’m just easy,” Prompto blurts, and before he can reign in his reaction, Ignis full-on laughs, much to his own chagrin. It’s not like him to be unable to keep a straight face, regardless of the circumstances.
Prompto Argentum, you are anything but easy to me. But he goes along with it anyway, smiling in light of his companion’s blush.
“Noted. Shall we?” He makes a vague motion towards the coffee shop, suddenly eager to no longer be alone with Prompto on the sidewalk lest he embarrass himself further, and soon they are walking side-by-side across the street. He only comes up to my shoulder, Ignis muses, the perfect height. The professor imagines pulling Prompto against his chest to press a kiss to the student’s forehead, then leaning down to plant one on his lips.
This is a mistake.
But like a wild animal, there’s nothing Ignis can do except follow wherever his instincts lead—and currently they are taking him into Common Grounds on a not-date with an incredibly attractive, sweet individual who he would very much like to kiss. Steeling himself for the worst and hoping for the best, he leads the way, the scent of freshly brewed coffee warming him as they step indoors.
They manage to order without incident, and Ignis chooses a spot for them in the back corner, which provides a full view of the rest of the café. Ignis allows Prompto to take his pick of the seats as he thinks of how best to start the conversation. Prompto ordered a mocha, which he makes note of for future reference.
Already planning on a second date, are we? Ignis ignores the internal inquiry in favor of an external one.
“How are you feeling? Were you able to make it the doctor yesterday?” He has ordered a large coffee—black, and he brings the mug to his lips, steam curling up and fogging his glasses as he tests the temperature.
“Oh—no, but I’m okay,” Prompto assures him. Ignis’s lips purse in mild disapproval, and Prompto smiles sheepishly. “Really, I’m fine. I hit my head all the time.”
Ignis’s eyebrows raise. “That’s…troubling.” Sounds like you need someone to take care of you, poor thing—or tie you down. His imagination runs away with him then, a vision of Prompto chained to his bed causing him to swallow too much coffee, burning his throat on the way down.
Control yourself, Ignis. He hopes that the warmth that rushes into his cheeks doesn’t result in a noticeable blush. “You’re probably right.” Prompto’s words bring Ignis abruptly back down to Eos, but the heat inside him only intensifies. “Thanks for the notes you sent. I, uh, haven’t looked at them yet, but I will. And I promise I won’t have any more unexcused absences.”
Ignis sets his mug down with a gentle clink. The last thing he wants to talk about is work—it only serves to remind him that teacher-student relationships are generally frowned upon, even if those involved are a mere two years apart in age. “We needn’t discuss class matters—unless I misinterpreted the purpose of this meeting…?”
Rather bold of you. He can’t tell if the voice is impressed or dismayed, and he takes another sip of coffee as he considers whether he would rather drown himself in misery or be stabbed through the heart. This is a date, no matter which way you look at it—but does Prompto know that? Ignis glances up, trying to glean the answer by studying the boy across from him.
“Nope, uh, that’s cool. No more school, promise.” Prompto nods emphatically, eyes shifting left to right. Ignis’s lips curve at the corners, as content as a snake sunning itself.
Perhaps he does know after all. Well, in that case…
“How do you know Gladiolus?” he asks, leaning back in his chair and getting more comfortable.
“Oh.” Prompto’s eyes pan up towards the ceiling, and Ignis can’t help but notice how cute his thinking face is, nose and eyebrows scrunching together. “Noctis introduced us.”
“Ah, of course.” Ignis nods, accepting it without question. Everyone knows who the Prince of Lucis is, and he doesn’t want to change the topic off of Prompto, his real interest.
“What about you?” Prompto wonders.
Me? If Ignis is being honest, he wasn’t expecting Prompto to ask anything about him—although he should have seen it coming—it is only polite, after all, and the blond seems socially savvy enough to navigate through the getting to know you segment of a first date, even if that first date happens to be with your teacher.
Ignis quiets, looking down into his coffee contemplatively. “We were trained together as children—back when my parents were certain I would follow in their footsteps and become Prince Noctis’s Sword.” Noticing the confusion on Prompto’s face, Ignis elaborates. “Gladiolus is of the Amicitia line, the ‘Shields of the King,’ a sort of elite group of bodyguards, destined to be military leaders. He will continue to study under his father after graduation to one day fill that role. I, being from the Scientia line, am of the ‘Swords,’ the head advisors to the Crown.”
Seemingly interested, Prompto scoots forward, setting his beverage aside. There is a spark in his eyes, and it warms Ignis more than any coffee ever has.
“So, you could have been Noct’s advisor? But…you chose to be a professor instead? Why?”
Ignis can feel his smile tighten, painful memories emerging from the shadows of his mind. They’re treading into tragic backstory territory, which he hardly considers appropriate for a lighthearted coffee meet-up. Perhaps another time—if there is another time. When he finally answers, his tone sounds bitter, even to him, and he is surprised by the ferocity of his own question.
“Are you pursuing a career or degree at your parents’ request?”
Prompto sits back, adopting the same ‘thinking face’ from before, except now he is chewing on his bottom lip. “Well, I’m undeclared right now. I’d really like to study photography, but my folks say I’ll never making a living off of it, so I’m making my way through all the pre-reqs before I decide. I’m thinking maybe I’ll join the Crownsguard if I can’t figure out what I want to do.” The blond shrugs.
Ah, an artist, how delightful. Ignis feels a sudden, strong desire to cultivate Prompto’s interests, his own experience with his parents leaving a sour taste in his mouth. There is still time for him.
More memories coming forward unbidden, Ignis places his chin in one hand, surveying Prompto with silent determination. “May I offer some advice?”
Prompto nods slowly, tentative while still looking intrigued.
“Follow your dreams, regardless of your parents’ wishes.” Ignis finishes what coffee he has left, staring down into the empty cup as something pulls tight in his chest. “Life is too short, and too fragile, to hold oneself back.”
Let nothing destroy that gentle spirit of yours, as my parents did mine.
When he lifts his gaze to see Prompto’s classic, wide-eyed stare, he curses inwardly. If you wanted to scare him away, congratulations, Scientia, you may have succeeded. Ignis wishes that he had more coffee to drink so that he has something to do with his hands, but he settles for slipping them under the table and into his lap.
“Well, my dream when I was little was to own a chocobo farm—probably because I watched too much of Our Eos, specifically the part on chocobos, so. It’s probably why I’m good at trivia, too.” Ignis’s spirits and shoulders lift at the random tidbit of information, stunned by the irony. Once again, he is unable to control his face, a giant grin stretching across it with glee.
“I love Our Eos. The second documentary is set to release this December. Perhaps a viewing party is in order.”
And by love, I mean that I have memorized the narration from start to finish. I hope that isn’t strange. Luckily, Prompto appears just as thrilled by the revelation of a common interest. Ignis didn’t think the boy could embody sunshine anymore than he already does, but the strength of the blond’s smile is such that the professor is nearly blinded by it, and he is left dazed as Prompto gesticulates wildly in his excitement.
“Oh, dude, that would be amazing!” Prompto gushes, then stops, looking past Ignis like he just saw a ghost.
Ignis’s head tilts curiously. “Prompto?” The blond jumps, and Ignis finds himself smirking, utterly lost in the boy’s profoundly guilty expression.
Desperate to confirm Prompto’s suspicions about him, Ignis takes another small step closer to admitting his feelings directly, watching as Prompto lifts the rim of his mug back to his mouth. “Gladiolus was right. You are adorable.”
What occurs next appears to happen in slow motion for Ignis, but he cannot say the same for Prompto. The blond’s shock coincides with the student choking loudly on his mocha, gasping for air, and as he sets the mug down to pound at his chest, attempting to dispel the liquid caught in his throat, Ignis half-rises from his seat in alarm.
Prompto slides away, waving Ignis off, which is when an already embarrassing situation turns mortifying. The blond’s hand somehow manages to catch the handle of his cup, and it tips sideways, splashing the remainder of his still hot coffee across the table and into his unsuspecting lap.
There’s a strangled yelp as Prompto doubles over in pain, scrambling out of his chair as if to flee the burning in his legs and crotch, the rest of the café going noticeably quiet as onlookers turn to see what all the commotion is about.
“Prompto, are you all right—”
Ignis is reaching for Prompto as if to offer some assistance, but the blond doesn’t wait, running to the nearest bathroom while still coughing. Not waiting for permission, Ignis follows a few steps behind.
Impeccable timing, he groans inwardly.
He pushes the door open a crack, looking to where his date is currently bent over the sink, splashing water on his face. “Prompto?” When he doesn’t answer immediately, Ignis steps inside and lets the door shut behind him, speaking more firmly. “Prompto.” Then, ignoring the voice in his head telling him not to, he puts a hang gently in-between Prompto’s shoulder blades, guiding him to turn until they are face-to-face.
They’re dangerously close again, as close as they were when Prompto was unconscious in their first unfortunate bathroom fiasco. Ignis wouldn’t even need to fully extend his elbow to curl his fingers into Prompto’s hair, cupping the back of his head to bring their lips to brush. As if reading the professor’s thoughts, Prompto tilts his chin upwards to find Ignis’s eyes roaming him from head to toe.
Kiss him, a voice that is not his conscience whispers. Suddenly nervous, the professor reaches around Prompto for the paper towels, ripping some from the roll to press to the front of Prompto’s coffee-saturated jeans. In retrospect, it’s more forward than a kiss given his hand placement, but he lies to himself by believing it is more subtle—although the firmness he senses beneath the fabric is anything but.
Dear gods above—
Ignis knows he is getting hard, and he has approximately two seconds to decide what exactly they are doing in this bathroom before he faints from the sudden blood rush to his lower half.
“You should check yourself for burns,” Ignis murmurs lamely. He might as well have said: Take your trousers off and I’ll check for you.
Both of the voices in his mind are laughing at him brazenly. You fucking idiot, this is a disaster, one of them chortles.
Their eyes lock, and Ignis is immediately frozen in place, feeling the tension surge between them like someone has turned up the thermostat as high as it will go. Is it hot in here? Or is it just you? Ignis swears he can hear his heart beating in his ears, like the bass of an unintelligible rap song at a frat party. It’s the moment of truth.
When Ignis feels his lips parting, head dipping down of its own accord, it is as if his spirit leaves his body and he is watching the event play out from afar, powerless to stop it. His mouth has nearly met with Prompto’s when the student clears his throat—and Ignis’s soul slams forcefully back into him when Prompto slips past, bolting for the door.
“I should probably go to my room and change,” the student exclaims. “I’ve got another class at noon.”
Ignis is left reeling from the exchange, skin vibrating as if from the aftershock of a bomb. All the professor can do is tuck his hands into his jacket pockets and hum in reluctant acceptance. “Of course, I wouldn’t want you to be late,” he manages to say.
“Yep—can’t afford any more unexcused absences, right?” Prompto quips shrilly, one hand missing the doorknob as he reaches for it, then finding it on the second try.
“Right.” Ignis’s smile is brief and polite, crushing disappointment killing his erection instantly. “See you tomorrow, then?”
“Eight o’ clock sharp,” Prompto vows, voice cracking as it climbs.
Prompto looks over his shoulder at Ignis standing alone in the bathroom, the professor shell-shocked by the rejection. Once the door safely closes on his failure, he throws his head back and groans, the sound reverberating off the tile floor.
It is not his finest moment, but it’s certainly not his worst, either. At least, this is what Ignis tells himself that night when he is lying naked on top of his bed, a towel positioned beneath his hips and one hand curled around his erect cock.
He tries to keep his fantasies in check as he strokes his shaft, desperately pushing out images of Prompto and replacing them with the faces of previous partners, but the heart wants what it wants, and apparently Ignis’s wants Prompto Argentum bent over his office desk with his hands tied behind his back, begging for more.
The professor doesn’t rush his alone time like he usually does, instead fondling from balls to tip, varying his pumps while thrusting his hips forward, and with each measured caress of his erection, he thinks about what it would be like to have Prompto’s mouth on him—to hear the blond moaning his name—Mr. Scientia, sir.
He has to slow down to keep from coming too fast—it really has been ages—and Ignis thinks maybe he should have tried to sleep with Andrew, but immediately reprimands himself for the thought. You want Prompto. To use Andrew for your selfish needs would be cruel, and unfair to everyone involved. Thus he fancies his hand will suffice, at least for the time being.
Once given free reign, his brain cycles through a variety of scenarios, all involving the blushing blond. But whether it be burying himself into the student from behind, or hoisting him up onto his counter top to kiss him until they’re both dizzy, one thing is made painfully clear from Ignis’s daydreams—
I cannot continue working under these conditions.
When he comes, sticky liquid coating his knuckles and sliding between his fingertips, he spends a few extra minutes to let his breaths resume a normal cadence before sitting up and cleaning himself off, tossing the now sullied towel in the wash as he leaves the bedroom.
Then, he begrudgingly dials the only person who will listen to his woes with any measure of understanding or sympathy.
Gladio answers with a laugh, which immediately puts Ignis on edge.
“Specs, your timing is perfect.”
“And why might that be?” he asks, words sharp and low. There is silence on the end of the line, and Ignis pushes his glasses up the bridge of his nose, now lounging on the couch in only his underwear.
“Ah…is there something wrong? You sound, uh—upset.”
There is no reason to take this out on Gladiolus, he has done nothing wrong, Ignis’s conscience points out, but his voice is rising despite his efforts to calm himself, tone severe. “Yes, there is something wrong in fact. I just masturbated while thinking about one of my students, no better than a bloody coeurl in heat, and I wish I could just fuck these feelings away, but unfortunately for me, I have standards and morals that get in the way of that. You are completely wrong about me in one regard Gladiolus Amicitia; I have changed since high school, and that means I am doomed to live with blue balls for the foreseeable future as I pine over a blond-haired, blue-eyed twink like a pre-teen with a crush although he may have zero interest in me whatsoever—”
“Whoa, Iggy, slow down!” Gladio exhales as Ignis removes his glasses to cover his face with one arm. “Damn, I haven’t seen you this bad since…well, a long time. Listen man, you’re human. And Prompto is into you, alright? He’s just…well, he’s just him, and yeah, there’s still the whole teacher-student thing, but if you really think you can’t wait, why don’t you just drop him from your class?”
Ignis makes an irritated sound deep in his throat as he sits up, wishing he had something to throw. “Because I can’t, it’s past the add-drop period. Besides, that would make me seem…” he trails off, searching for the correct word. Pathetic is all that comes to mind.
“Okay, fine. And you’re sure you can’t just hook up with some rando in the meantime? Or not rando? Ya know, like a friend?” Gladio sounds a little more nervous about this suggestion, words stretching long with an implication that Ignis isn’t sure he likes.
“Absolutely not,” he says, shooting the notion down entirely. “The only answer is to face my feelings like a man.”
There is the sound of Gladio blowing air noisily into the receiver on the other end of the line. “Alright…” he begins doubtfully. “…take him to dinner and tell him everything. See what happens. Best case scenario, you hide your relationship for a few weeks until the semester ends, and worst case, you two go your separate ways. At least you’ll be put out of your misery, right?”
Ignis ruminates on Gladio’s advice, deciding that it is sound. “Indeed. Thank you, Gladiolus. I apologize for burdening you with this. I know you two are friends.”
“Nah, it’s no problem,” Gladio insists. “Just surprised that Prompto is the one who finally got you. Guess I never really had a shot.”
That makes Ignis laugh, and he feels his anger and frustration ebbing, slipping his glasses back on as he gets off the couch. “If I had stayed on the path set for me, maybe it would have worked, but alas. My apologies.”
“Hmph.” There’s a chuckle from Gladio. “If you were still the prince’s Sword, you mean. That’s okay, joke’s on you Iggy, I’ve found someone even better.”
“Oh? And have you worked up the courage to tell him so?” Ignis teases, finding himself pouring a glass of wine in the kitchen before he can convince himself not to.
“Fuck you, Ignis,” Gladio says good-naturedly. “And you’re one to talk.”
“Fair enough. If I confess my feelings to Prompto, you must agree to tell your love interest as well,” he challenges, sipping from his glass with a smile. There’s a pause as Gladio considers it.
“We’ll see,” the Shield reluctantly concedes.
Leaning against the counter, Ignis’s smile becomes a sly smirk, and even though Gladio cannot see his face, Ignis’s tone reflects it, dripping with sarcasm. “It’s a deal then. Good night, Gladiolus.”
The professor can picture his childhood friend shaking his head as he replies. “Night, Iggy. Sweet dreams.”