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“Can I be excused?”

His father glances up, along the too-long table, and for a moment, Noctis thinks he’s going to be lectured on not saying ‘please.’ He can see his father’s heavy frown and is sure he’s going to be denied. Sure enough, his father sighs, “You’ve hardly said a word, Noctis.”

“I’ve been eating.”

“Dinner is a chance for us to eat and spend some time together. Why don’t you tell me how your day was? Have you made any friends at school yet?”

Noctis wrinkles his nose and debates his answer. He hasn’t made any friends at school, but technically, he has made a friend. It’s definitely helped. He doesn’t feel so horribly lonely anymore.

Because his father looks so hopeful, Noctis slowly admits, “Yeah. I kinda have.”

“That’s excellent, Noctis.” His father smiles so broadly, enough that it almost makes Noctis smile too. Except he’s still not really invested in the conversation—he really wants to just go up to his room and play. “What are they like?”

“Um... small? Really small.” His father nods. Noctis is tempted to demonstrate just how small with his hands, but he shouldn’t do that. Adults can be kind of dumb sometimes. There has to be a reason they don’t get to see what Noctis does, and he plans on respecting that magic. He tries instead, “He’s blond and... I dunno, really fun. He’s funny and stuff. Can I be excused now?”

His father’s smile softens. He looks genuinely happy for Noctis, which makes Noctis’ heart constrict, because they rarely have moments together like this anymore. He knows dinner is actually important—it’s one of the few times he ever sees his father. But he just got Justice Monsters IV, and it’s not going to play itself. His father finally agrees, “You may.”

Noctis pushes back from the table. He practically jogs out of the dining room. When he’s turned down two separate corridors, putting considerable distance between him and anyone else, the flap on his breast pocket pushes open. Prompto’s freckled face sticks out of it, his gold wings poking past the edge. He chirps up at Noctis, “Aw, thanks, buddy, that was so nice! I think you’re fun too!”

Noctis grins. “Thanks. Hey, you wanna try the new game I just got?”

Prompto groans. “Not if it’s another versus one. You just have to use your fingers, but I gotta use my whole arm for every button prompt! There should be a fairy handicap setting.”

Noctis laughs. “S’okay, we’ll play co-op. No worries if you’re slow at it.”

Prompto smiles wide and joyful. “That sounds awesome, then! Let’s do it!”