From: (Anonymous)
-slams fists on table- DID SOMEONE CALL FOR DADFIC?

---


It's a warm, sunny afternoon in the northernmost borough of Insomnia, Ignis is twenty-three minutes late to Little Stars Nursery School, and Prompto has decided to have an existential crisis.

"He's a puppy today," says Noctis, the young, dark-haired nursery teacher. He's dragging his foot as Ignis' three-year-old son gnaws a damp spot on his jeans, while Gladio, with all the superior dignity of his four years of age, holds onto the corner of the young man's jacket and glares at his brother.

Prompto snarls.

"I'm so sorry," Ignis says. He's not sure what he's apologizing for anymore. The words slip too freely from his tongue these days: At grocery stores when Gladio rips open bags of peanut candies to hear them rattle on the tile. At work, when he runs in ten minutes late with bits of cereal crunching under his shoes. In the quiet confines of the laundry room at eleven at night, when the boys are finally in bed and Ignis lets the exhaustion and worry and overwhelming panic wash over him at last. I don't know what I'm doing, he tells himself, as he loses track of where he set down the fabric softener for the fifth time. I'm so sorry.

Noctis doesn't even register the apology. He's too busy extricating Prompto from his leg, careful not to pull too hard at the boy's hands. He lifts him up in the air, and Prompto shrieks. Gladio scowls and covers his ears with both hands.

"Magic spell," Noctis says. Prompto nods. "One. Two."

"ABRCSHRBRDA!" Prompto shouts, or something like it. Noctis spins him in a circle and hands the boy out to Ignis with a solemn expression.

"Congratulations," he says. "Your son is a human again."

"What a relief," says Ignis, with the faintest smile. He bundles Prompto in his arms, and Noctis smiles back, a sideways quirk of the lips. He looks down and gestures at Gladio, who stumbles over to his father with the aggrieved sigh of all older siblings.

"Gladio," Noctis says. "Don't forget to show your dad the pretty flowers you drew for Prompto today."

Gladio mumbles and holds tight to Ignis' pant leg. Ignis shoots one last, grateful look at Noctis for not commenting on how horribly late he is (again) and drags his sons out the door and towards their waiting car.


---


Ignis is guiltily reviewing paperwork from the office at two in the morning when he hears a scream coming from the boys' bedroom. At this point in his life, he's learned that there are about seven thousand different types of screams that a young child can employ, all of them with their own particular meaning. He knows this one well. He runs to the foyer, picks up a shoe, and opens the door to the bedroom. When he flicks on the light, he sees a spider the size of a thumbnail skittering up the wall by Prompto's chocobo racecar bed.

Gladio has climbed into bed with Prompto and is clumsily trying to calm him down. "It's just a bug, Prom," he says.

The spider darts forward, and Prompto screams again. Ignis flattens the poor thing with his shoe and kneels at Prompto's bedside.

"Doing ok, little guy?" he asks. Prompto shakes his head.

"He's such a scaredy-cat," Gladio grumbles, and Ignis gives him a sharp look. "Sorry, Prom."

"It's okay to be scared," Ignis says, petting Prompto's hair. "But remember, they're smaller than we are. We're a lot scarier to them than they are to us."

"That's what Mr. Noct says," Prompto whispers. "He's scared of bugs, too."

Ignis smiles. "And you wouldn't call Mr. Noctis a scaredy-cat, would you, Gladio?"

Gladio looks down and mumbles something.

"Would you?"

"....no."

"Good. You two alright?" Prompto and Gladio nod, and Ignis helps tuck them back in to their respective beds. He stays there for a while, just to be sure, and then lurches into the kitchen for a can of Ebony. He'll need the energy if he's to finish this paperwork, get a few hours of sleep, and have the boys dressed and at the nursery by seven.

One day, he promises himself, This will get easier.

Thank the gods for Little Stars Nursery, at least. Without their income-based payment plans and flexible hours, Ignis would need to shave time off work--and then they'd have to move back in with Ignis' uncle until he found an apartment he can afford. Little Stars--and that new instructor, Mr. Noctis--have arrived just when Ignis needs them most. He sends a prayer to whatever Astrals have afforded him this small blessing, downs his energy drink, and gets back to work.
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