January 2nd, 757
“Did you see the marshal? He can barely stand upright! What in the world did he do to his back?” Clarus paused before rounding the corner, the woman’s words freezing him in place.
“It’s probably just a training strain, Alivia, we all forget, but he’s not exactly a kid anymore.” Clarus rolled his eyes, but the second woman had a point. Cor usually came off as younger than he was...provided he didn’t talk too much. Or had Prompto around, because his dad-mode instantly engaged.
There was a scoff, and a shuffle. “I have it on good authority that not only has the marshal not been seen in the training halls since the thirty-first, both he and Captain Ulric were no-shows at work yesterday,” Alivia stated with suspicion in her voice, and Clarus choked on his own spit.
Ah hell . Clarus backed away carefully and strode down the hall, heading to the Crownsguard’s offices. While Cor was certainly entitled to take a day off here and there, he wasn’t letting this pass without seeing him in person. Clarus opened the door, receiving several nods and bows in return as he headed back towards Cor’s office. He passed by two young men he barely recognized, and their conversation caught his attention as he paused near Cor’s door.
“The book comes out in less than two days! I’ve been hearing rumors that it’s actually quite shocking, but no details have leaked so far. I tried asking the marshal, but-” the taller one said, his voice petulant.
“He practically breathed fire in your direction, right? I think half the Citadel has asked him about it, he’s pretty sick of it,” the shorter one said with a shrug, and the taller one pouted.
“He could give us something , I mean, it can’t be that bad.” Clarus sighed and knocked on his old friend’s office door, finally hearing a somewhat lethargic ‘enter.’
“Alright, Cor, let me see you,” he stated as he walked in and closed the door behind him, surprised to see a rather fresh-faced marshal behind the desk. Cor’s nose wrinkled, but he slowly got to his feet, shifting gradually until he stood upright; Clarus noticed the rather large pillow in his chair and had to bite his tongue hard to stop from laughing.
“Took the day off yesterday, did you?” he asked, and the look his old friend shot him could have peeled the skin off a lesser man. “This is new, Cor. Please tell me this isn’t an omen of future misdemeanors, you’ll screw up the whole building.” That netted him an eyeroll, and he sighed, looking the man over. “Actually, minus the whole moving like an old man thing, you look great. What’s your secret?” Cor went so red that Clarus expected steam to come out of his ears, and the last clue clicked. “I’ve known you for thirty-two years, Cor, and I’ve never seen you like this. Do I need to requisition some...personal supplies for you?” Cor couldn’t even get a reply out, his jaw working uselessly, and a thread of concern wormed its way into Clarus’s chest. “Cor, not that I think he’s capable of doing this, but please tell me he didn’t pressure you into anything. We both know you’ve been, shall we say, off the market for a long time-” Cor shook his head instantly.
“Clarus, I never was really on the market, if you get what I mean. It never...worked. There was some attempts, but-” Cor looked at the floor like it held the mysteries of life, and Clarus was struck dumb. He knew his friend wasn’t all that interested, but-
“Astrals- I’m so sorry, Cor, I didn’t know,” he got out in a gasp, but Cor seemed rather resigned to it, giving a shrug of his shoulders.
“It was hardly your fault, Clarus, I dealt with it and moved on. Besides, due to...ah, reasons that will be all over the fucking planet in two days, it was probably best that it took until now for me to figure it out. Who knows what would have happened if I had accepted Drautos’s advances six-seven years ago-” Cor actually shuddered, and Clarus grimaced. He had almost forgotten about that, and he found he really wanted to forget about it all over again.
“Ulric...he treated you well, right? I haven’t seen him yet, but I’m not hearing the office claptrap talk about him beyond that he played hooky yesterday,” he said quietly, and the tiny answering smile from Cor was possibly the gooshiest thing he had seen in his life, making him look even younger, and any worry for his younger friend melted away. “Oh hell, kid, I feel like I’m in the presence of a teenager who just had his first time, please tell me you’ve not been doing this in front of the Guard, I don’t want Doc Domitia coming after me when half of them have heart attacks from the shock,” he pleaded, and Cor coughed and scrubbed at his face with his hands.
“Sorry, and no, I haven’t, I’m not trying to feed the gossip machine more than it’s already been fed,” Cor said, his voice muffled behind his palms, and Clarus finally couldn’t take it anymore; laughing until he was forced to collapse onto Cor’s sofa, gasping for breath. Cor groaned and carefully sat back down on his giant pillow, causing Clarus to start laughing all over again. A few minutes later, he had managed to compose himself, and something came to mind.
“I hate to ask, but you know I’m a nosey ass; why are you so sore? This seems like more than you being an old man, you might want to tell your boyfriend to calm it down a bit-” Cor’s mottled blush came back in full force, but Clarus was surprised when he got a sigh and a firm headshake in response.
“It’s a Dawnsworn thing. I’ll let you figure it out, I know you are going to read that damn book anyway. It won’t be repeated.”
“Got it.” Clarus slapped his thighs and got to his feet, walking over to Cor and clasping his shoulder. “For what it’s worth, I’m truly happy that it’s working out for you. I think you two are good for each other.” Cor’s hand came up and clasped his for a moment before releasing, and Clarus left without another word.
Cor was well aware that anything he knew the king knew, and Regis was just as shocked when he recounted their younger friend’s words from earlier in the day over two tumblers of whiskey.
“-but he’s doing well, right? I can’t believe we didn’t know, but he can be so closed-lipped-” Clarus remembered the soft smile on Cor’s face and shook his head.
“He’s doing just fine.” Regis sighed, but it was fond; Clarus understood the sentiment.
“Ulric better behave himself, or he’s going to answer to me,” Regis grumbled, and Clarus agreed, nodding at the king’s words.
“I doubt there will be any issues, but I’m quite certain Ulric is well aware of that,” he replied, and Regis snorted, taking a sip of his drink.
“Look at us, talking about Cor like he’s a kid in his first relationship-” Regis paused, and Clarus laughed as he watched the realization dawn. “Oh my...I suppose he might as well be, considering the non-entities those other people were,” he breathed, and Clarus tilted his head, then picked his glass.
“To Cor and Nyx, may they be happy together,” he stated, and Regis raised his glass as well, clinking it against his.
“-for a very long time.”