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Tales from the Citadel - New Year's Tales

Chapter Text

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.”

Chapter Text

January 3rd, 757

 

Cor jerked suddenly in his seat, leading to a questioning look from Monica, who was sitting across the table from him. He shook his head and returned to reading his paperwork again, only for the same odd sensation to jolt across his senses again. Once more, and he was finally forced to abandon his work when the next one caused the beginnings of a sensation that he been well introduced to just a few days prior, which confused the hell out of him.

“Cor, are you alright?” Monica asked, and he blinked at her before scrubbing his hand through his hair and nodding.

“Just- I don’t know. Just an odd feeling. Ignore me,” he muttered, and Monica narrowed her eyes, but sighed and returned to her own paperwork without comment. He got a few minutes reprieve, and he managed to get several more employee evaluations reviewed before the same overpowering sensation slammed into him again, his own groin tingling for some damn reason, and he groaned, letting his head fall into his hands.

“Cor, really, you look a little flushed, do you need to lay down?” Monica had gotten to her feet, and Cor made himself meet her eyes, even as the back of his brain was buzzing with a completely out of nowhere case of-

Wait. Cor froze as he looked past Monica to the silly picture of Prompto and the boys he had gained on top of his bookcase in the last few months, and suddenly felt like he had been sucker punched.

The bond. With he and Prompto both in good condition, Cor really hadn’t had a reason to reach out towards it very often, and had only ever really noticed it in the case of strong emotion, but- no. No, no, no. This is the kind of strong emotion he absolutely didn’t want, if it was what he thought it was-

“Cor!” He jumped again at Monica’s voice, and met her eyes again with a grimace.

“Sorry, everything’s fine, I just realized what the problem is,” he said as he rose to his feet as well, nodding to his friend as he stepped out of his office, landing in the hallway outside the prince’s quarters. He raised his hand to knock on the door, only to gasp and thump his head against the wall next to the door when the wave of what he now admitted was pure arousal slammed into him, making his knees weak. Fuck. He loved the kid, but the last thing he ever wanted to know was when he was having...was getting intimate. Prompto was an adult, and he certainly didn’t have the right to interfere, but-

Cor barely refrained from punching the wall, then managed to gather his wits enough to step to the Kingsglaive offices, walking in without a word then heading straight to Nyx’s office.

“He’s not there, he’s supervising some new recruits at the training halls,” Altius stated, walking in front of him, a frown on her face. “You alright, marshal? You look a bit-”

“I’m fine, thank you,” he got out, and before she could speak again, he stepped to the training hall, this time seeing Nyx standing across the room watching the newbies go through standard training forms, and after closing his eyes for a moment against the newest wave of sensation, he strode over to the other man.

“Captain, can I speak with you for a moment?” Cor said quietly, and Nyx took one look at him and his eyes narrowed. Shit.

“Keep working, I’ll be back in a minute,” Nyx told his recruits, and then turned back to him, tilting his head in a clear indication to follow. They entered one of the small side rooms, and Nyx firmly closed and locked the door behind them. “Alright, what’s going on?” Cor opened his mouth to speak, then yet another wave barrelled into him, nearly sending him to the floor. “Whoa, hey, why don’t you sit down-” He let Nyx coax him to sitting against the wall, and he tried to focus his damn mind, to concentrate on anything else; it took a moment, but he was finally able to breathe normally. “Cor, what the hell was that?” Nyx was kneeling in front of him, concern plain on his face, and he groaned.

“Do you still have that book around?” Nyx’s brow furrowed, then realization hit.

“The Book of the Dawn? Of course, it’s a family heirloom, did you need it?” he asked, and Cor could barely keep himself from kissing the man when the next wave passed through him, but he refused to acknowledge what he was unfortunately emotionally eavesdropping on- “Cor, explain. You look kinda like you did a few days ago, but fully clothed this time.” Cor was beginning to think that unconsciousness was a good plan, but he sucked it up and answered.

“I think- I think it’s the bond. I can’t turn it off, and I’m getting a direct line to whatever Prompto is up to right now-” Nyx sucked in a breath, then Cor felt warm arms wrap around his shoulders as he was pulled to his favorite Glaive’s chest.

“O-Okay, that’s probably both insanely embarrassing and overwhelming, especially because of your...history. Deep breaths, Cor. Try to focus on me for now, don’t think about anything else.” Cor pressed his nose against the curve of Nyx’s shoulder and neck, and just breathed. “I’m guessing you were hoping the book might have some ideas? I don’t remember, but I do know there’s not a lot about your connection in it, which was probably for your safety. Most things I know about the concept were things the elders told me over the years, and a few things recently,” Nyx said, and Cor just continued to breath as he focused on the warmth and scent of the man, discernable even through his coat. A few minutes passed as they remained wrapped up on the floor, and while he could still sense something, it had firmly retreated to the very edge of his mind. “Doing better?” Cor raised his head, leaning forward and letting his forehead press against Nyx’s.

“Cid had a point, I have no clue why you put up with me,” he grumbled, and Nyx snorted.

“You’re cute and have a great ass,” Nyx said bluntly, and Cor couldn’t help the chuckle that bubbled up from his throat. “But more importantly, you’re an astoundingly amazing person that has somehow managed to hide the fact that you are a complete dork for over thirty years. That took serious talent, let me tell you. I’m forever impressed,” Nyx drawled, then he tilted his head and gave Cor a quick kiss on the lips, then let go of him and sat back on his haunches. “I hate to say this, but you need to talk to Prompto. This is probably going both ways, and considering what we got up to the other day-”

Cor ended up needing a few minutes to re -recover from Nyx’s statement.

After Nyx told him where the book was stashed and imparted some information he had gotten from some of the elders he knew, Cor took his leave, stepping over to Nyx’s increasingly dusty quarters to retrieve it, then returning to his own to flip through for anything that might help. After an hour, he had some ideas, and after taking a deep breath to steel himself, he stepped back to the royal corridor again, book in hand. He knocked on the door, and was not surprised when he received no response.

Once more unto the breach, or whatever the hell that quote was, and Cor entered the apartment, making sure to make a little extra noise as he did so; he was rather disappointed when he heard no movement from the bedroom, but walked over to the coffee table by the sofa and set the book down, then headed to the bedroom. He knocked again, finally hearing some shuffling from inside, and sighed.

“If I was an assassin, you’d all be dead already,” he spoke louder so they could hear him, then listened with more amusement than he expected to have as all hell broke loose inside the room. He gave it another moment, then slowly opened the door, giving them a moment to dive under the covers if need be. The sight that met him was the one he expected, although it was quite clear that Noctis was trying his damndest to hide behind Gladiolus, whose set jaw and blank expression made him look like he was about to be sent to the holding cells. Ignis just looked like he wished he was a hundred miles away, and Prompto? Prompto was the only one who didn’t look too traumatized, and was sitting up in bed looking sheepish instead. It also made it abundantly clear that he wasn’t wearing a stitch of clothing, and Cor sighed and looked at the ceiling. “Prompto, I wouldn’t have interrupted if it wasn’t important, but we need to talk for a few minutes. I’ll wait in the other room.” He closed the door again, his lips quirking when he heard the four men all start freaking out again, then went over and sat in one of the armchairs and waited. A few minutes later saw Prompto disgorged from the bedroom, wearing a t-shirt that was several sizes too large and sweatpants as he shuffled over and plopped down on the sofa.

“You brought the book,” Prompto frowned, and Cor nodded.

“I did. We have a problem to solve.” A flash of something went across the blond’s face, but he didn’t say anything. “I just had a very awkward few hours as I tried my best to ignore what was being broadcast at the back of my brain-” Prompto went pale, and he smacked his palms against his face. An assortment of groans and sighs also met him from the direction of the bedroom, and he steeled himself. “Look, there are things that we don’t need to know about each other, and this is probably numbers one through ten. While focusing on something else seemed to work to a point, we need to find a better solution.”

“I thought I was imagining it,” Prompto moaned, and Cor frowned.

“Imagined what?” he asked even as realization hit, and he felt his own face go warm.

“Have a good New Year’s Eve?” Noctis cut in, as he walked out and fell onto the sofa next to Prompto, letting his head fall to the blond’s shoulder. Cor managed to keep his composure, but only just, and he was certainly not aided by the evil smile on the prince’s face. “I think I still ache from ours, but-”

“Noct.” Prompto, Ignis, and Gladiolus all said in unison, and Noctis snorted and waved a hand.

“Okay, okay. Considering how distracting it is, it’s actually a real problem even beyond privacy concerns. Did you have any ideas?” Noctis asked, and Cor actually decided to forgive him for now for his moment of insight.

Prompto finally managed to meet his eyes again, and they both shared a look of shared mortification before Cor finally just reached out and grabbed the book, flipping through to the page he had marked.

“Well, this looked promising…”

An hour of meditation, reading, visualization, and Prompto singing scales under his breath while Cor summoned up his own power as they tried to fine-tune a mental bond that had existed in some form for most of Prompto’s life later, they hoped they had finally figured it out; that spot at the back of Cor’s mind felt more concrete, like there was a tiny house at the back of his brain that housed the bond between them, one that he could close the door on if circumstances called for it, but he would still be able to feel if there was an emergency. Prompto finally let go of his hand and stretched, and even Cor could hear the young man’s spine crack.

“Well, I hope this works. Cor, can I ask you a favor?” Prompto asked, and Cor nodded.

“Of course,” he replied, and Prompto gave a nervous chuckle and rubbed the back of his head.

“If this works, I vote for us pretending the last hour and such never happened. What do you think?” Prompto asked, and Cor looked at all of the young men surrounding his favorite blond and snorted, but it was in good humor.

“Gladly,” he said, and all four men heaved a rather impressive sigh of relief. Cor got to his feet, picked up the book and headed for the door, stopping before he grabbed the doorknob. “Tomorrow the book comes out, you may want to stay close to home,” he reminded them, then something else came to mind. “You also need to throw the inner lock if you all are going to be...occupied. What if I had been Clarus? Or the king?” The hiss of breath from his audience was answer enough, and Cor opened the door. “Have a good evening.”

Nyx was waiting at his quarters when he returned, and Cor managed an exhausted greeting as he kicked his shoes off and settled down onto his couch, letting his head rest against Nyx’s shoulder. “What’s the verdict?” Nyx asked, and Cor shrugged.

“Well, we tried a lot of things, and I think we got somewhere. We won’t know until things happen, I guess. We’ve both mutually agreed that if it worked, we are never to speak of this afternoon again,” he said, and Nyx laughed.

“You two were pretty much the worst possible version of walking in on your son or he walking in on his dad while you were-” Cor pinched Nyx’s thigh, and the man cut himself off with a laugh. “Alright, I’ll not mention it again. I’ve got one last question, though,” Nyx asked, and Cor tilted his head up. “Was it all four of them?” Cor sighed and let his head slam a bit harder than necessary back onto the Glaive’s shoulder as Nyx laughed like an idiot, after the younger man finally caught his breath, Cor felt an arm wrap around his shoulders. “How long until the king finds out? Do we wanna bet on it?” Cor stiffened, and sat back up in horror.

“No. I have no intention of being in the city when that happens, because Regis and Clarus will know damn good and well that I knew what was going on. Tenebrae is sounding appealing-”

“Cor the Immortal and Herald of the Dawn, fleeing the capital to avoid shit from his king. Absolutely scandalous. I’ll go with you if you give me at least a few hours to prepare, I’ve gotta at least let Libertus and Crowe know before I skip town,” Nyx grinned, and Cor sighed happily as he was pulled into a kiss.

“I think I love you sometimes,” he mumbled between kisses, and the Glaive laughed into his mouth.

“Complete dork.”

Chapter Text

January 4th, 757

 

The morning of January 4th brought a light snow shower, cold temperatures, and an overwhelming sense of impending doom. Prompto didn’t even have the chance to wake up properly until every phone in the bedroom went completely nuts, ringing almost simultaneously and causing Gladio to nearly fall out of bed as he jolted awake next to him. Noct groaned and shoved his head under his pillow, and Ignis grunted, but dutifully sat up to inspect his own phone. His fine features twisted into a grimace, and Prompto frowned.

“What is it?” he asked, and when Ignis met his eyes with more than a bit of sympathy, Prompto felt like he had been dunked in a tub of ice water. The book.

“Fuck. Is it- What are they-” he stuttered, and Ignis took pity on him and handed him his own phone. It was bad. Well, it was mostly bad. The more reputable media outlets were pointing out the fascinating history of the worship of the Dawn Mother and role of her chosen representatives as shown in the newly released Book of the Dawn, but the rags? They were happily rattling on about what they saw as the more salient points, which was, of course, the sex stuff. Never mind the voice and the magic singing, or the herald and his super fighting powers (okay, Cor’s gig was a lot more subtle at first,) they wanted to know about the sex. Prom had honestly meant to borrow Nyx’s copy of the book again so the guys could read it, but it had slipped his mind after they had gotten back from their trip. Ugh.

“It might be prudent that we acquire our own copy of the book, both for reference, and so we can address any media concerns accurately as needed,” Ignis stated as he slid out of bed, Prompto unabashedly admiring his ass as he walked over to one of the dressers and pulled out a change of clothes.

“Prom, I think you should stay in the Citadel today, let the fervor work its way out for awhile. One of us will go out and buy a copy of the book, or convince someone else to go get one for us,” Gladio said as he too got out of bed, the only one of the four of them who had stripped back down completely after Cor’s officially non-existent visit, and Prompto happily let himself get distracted by the view as Gladio threw on some clothes. Shame.

“Down, boy. We’ve gotta do some research, see how people are taking the contents of the book. I do kinda wish we could have read it first, but-” Noct interrupted, and Prompto let himself pout for a moment before he followed the others out of bed, heading straight for the shower. Twenty minutes later saw Gladio and Iggy out to try and buy the book, and he and Noct firing up Noct’s computer up on the TV so they could keep track of what was going on.

What was going on was the talk of the town, if not Lucis in general, if the sheer number of headlines were to be believed.

Book of the Dawn: Ancient Claptrap, or Accurate Account of the Dawnsworn?

Prompto couldn’t completely answer that, even Nyx had warned him that some details may have been skewed over the millennia between translations and superstition, but they had learned that some of the points were accurate, even the more...personal details.

Dawnsworn Blessed with Amazing Abilities According to New Book

That was a very generic headline, they were probably hoping to hook people in out of curiosity alone.

Dawnsworn: Ancient Symbols of Peace and Fertility?

Yeah, well. Prompto sighed as they looked at the next one.

Real History of the Dawn Mother’s Chosen - Magic, Singing, Fighting, Adjudicating, and Ritual Sex

Oh shit. Prompto barely resisted facepalming at that one. There was no lie, it was just super simplified for easy consumption. Noct wrapped an arm around his waist and pulled him to his side, and Prompto happily snuggled into his shoulder. Noct sighed, and clicked through to the next one.

Ancient Dawnsworn Practiced Sexual Sorcery for Health, Virility, and Fertility: How about the Modern Pair?

Yikes. Noct’s eyes had actually widened a bit at that one, and Prompto smashed his face firmly against the other man’s deltoid.

“Sexual sorcery, huh? Sounds wild. After New Years Eve, though, I think I might actually believe it,” Noct commented, and Prompto wailed quietly into Noct’s arm. “I know I felt amazing the next morning, minus some aches and pains.”

“Shut up please,” he pleaded, and the prince sighed and patted his side. The next headline was from a tenth-rate tabloid, and Prompto tried to brace himself.

Are the Dawnsworn controlling the royal family with sex? Argentum never seen without Prince Noctis or one of his court, Leonis has ‘served’ royal house since the reign of King Mors

Prompto almost stroked out on the spot. He thought he had been generally prepared, but…

“I can’t, goddess, that’s just-” Prompto wheezed into Noctis’s arm before finally daring to meet his eyes; Noct just looked disgusted. “Noct?” The prince sighed and groaned.

“Okay, it sounds just generally scandalous if you just read the first part, but they basically imply with the second part that Cor has slept with both my grandfather and my father, and I’m five hundred percent certain that wasn’t the case. I think I’m scarred for life,” Noct grumbled, then shook his head. “I’d say poor me, but this is definitely a poor Cor. His reputation is going to go from near-hermit to magical sex fiend if people buy even a quarter of this shit. He was barely eighteen when granddad died, they were almost fifty years apart in age, which means-” Noct shuddered again, and Prompto actually felt a little sick. Fucking tabloids. He was tempted to call Cor, but he held off. He needed more time to process.

The Dawn Mother and her Dawnsworn: Benevolent and Powerful, Worthy of Respect and Dignity

That headline got him to sit back up, his eyes scanning the words once more.

“What website is that?” A quick bit of scrolling lead to one New Galahdian Journal, and the headline suddenly made a lot more sense.

“A bit heavy on the fawning tone, but I think they were worried about the kind of crap we’ve been seeing,” Noct said, and Prompto agreed. What a mess. The front door opened and closed, and Prompto could hear familiar voices muttering to each other as the sound of falling shoes reached his ears.

“Welcome back, the media has gone mad,” Prompto said, and Ignis, holding a paper-wrapped book as he walked into the room with Gladio at his heels, shook his head.

“Everyone has gone mad, Prompto, there’s lines at every store selling it to get a copy. We only managed to get back so quickly because there was a Crownsguard in line at the bookstore outside the east gate, and he purchased two copies and gave us one before more than a few other people noticed who we were,” Iggy stated, methodically unwrapping the paper from around the book, then setting it on the coffee table as he took a seat in his usual armchair, Gladio following suit in the other.

“Well, according to the headlines we just went through, Cor and I are probably doing all sorts of sex rituals, but specifically with the royal family because we are controlling everyone with sex magic; Cor’s allegedly been doing this since he was like, fourteen or something. I almost lost my lunch at that point,” Prompto cringed, and Gladio looked wide-eyed at him before looking up at the TV, taking in the last few headlines.

“Okay, that’s vile. The problem with making a point of stating that something is a lie is that it almost always leads to follow up claims of what are they really trying to hide? It’s best to ignore them, the media bureau will address ones that go for straight up slander. That one is pretty close, but they’ll probably wait and see what happens,” Gladio scowled, then shook his head. “Let’s actually read some of this thing and see what you’ve allegedly got going on.”

Prompto moved from the sofa so the other three could huddle together and read; after a few hours of waiting patiently, watching TV, playing on his phone, and barely hearing a peep, he wandered over to the kitchen and whipped up some sandwiches for lunch, barely managing to choke down his when the others were so consumed by the book they barely responded to him putting their lunch down in front of them. After another hour of no interaction and ever-growing ice trickling through his veins, Prompto decided to go seek out Cor. At least he could go be with someone who understood. He told them he would be back later, and the rote grunt from Noct and Gladio told him that they hadn’t really heard him. No matter.

Prompto managed to make it to the floor where the Crownsguard offices were without seeing another person, but his luck ran out as soon as he walked in the door. The whispers started immediately, and he forced himself to hold his head high and walk to the back of the room.

“Hey, Argentum, have you actually read this thing?” Prompto turned to face a man he barely recognized who was not much older than him, waving the book in the air. He managed to nod stiffly, then turned away again to head to Cor’s office, only to be stopped by a hand on his shoulder. “Hey, don’t be like that, I just wanted to ask if any of this stuff was true-” Prompto shrugged off his hand as politely as he could manage, stepping away and sighing.

“Look, I’m only going to say this once. Some of it I know to be true, and the rest I’m not too sure about. Its ancient, and it's been translated multiple times over the eons, so who knows about some of this stuff. And I mean that in general, not just the parts you really want to know about. Enjoy your book.” Prompto turned away one more time and continued walking, only to get to Cor’s office to find a locked door. He knocked, but no one answered. Monica wasn’t in her office either, and he sighed and headed for the exit, only to be stopped yet again, this time by a whole group of older Guards, closer in age to Cor than him.

“Why are you in such a rush, kid? Why don’t you chat with us for awhile; you’re on the rolls, but you never grace us with your presence here. I’m sure we could keep you entertained until the marshal comes back-” Prompto didn’t know if the offer was innocent or lascivious, but he wasn’t going to risk it. He tried to round someone’s desk to get around the group, only to be intercepted once again.

“I know you can talk, Argentum, speak up,” the sole woman of the little group said, and he forced down his nerves and frowned.

“Look, I’m looking for the marshal, I don’t have time to chat. Please leave me alone,” he said, and was disappointed when only one of the six walked off, the others standing firm. He was debating his options when another person walked up to him from behind, moving around him and up to the group.

“Get out of the way, Eryx. Mr. Argentum said he’s in a hurry,” Crownsguard Ackers said, and luckily, the group dispersed without further complaint. “Come along, Argentum, I know where the marshal is.” The two of them walked out of the offices, heading back to the elevator. “Forgive my delay in informing you, I was indisposed. I will be speaking with them when I return, their behavior was inappropriate.”

The elevator reached a floor that Prompto wasn’t certain he had been to before, and they both stepped out. A short walk down the hall later, and Ackers knocked on the door, then opened it.

“Prompto?” Cor looked up from the table he was sitting at with Monica, and Prompto instantly felt a hundred times better. Before he entered, he turned to Ackers one more time, giving the dark-haired man a smile.

“Thank you, sir. I appreciate your help.”

“Call me Dustin.” Prompto smiled wider, and nodded.

“Thank you, Dustin.” Dustin nodded to both Cor and Monica and departed; Prompto headed into the room and closed the door behind him, then looked at Cor with abject relief.

“You have no idea-” Prompto shook his head, then walked around the table up to Cor’s side. “How are you doing?” Cor pinched the bridge of his nose, then pushed back his chair and got to his feet.

“I’ve been better, but more importantly, how are you doing?” Prompto opened his mouth to reply, but before he knew it, his eyes were stinging and his nose snuffling, and Cor sighed and leaned in, wrapping his arms around Prompto in a comforting grip and drawing him into a firm hug. Prompto buried his face in Cor’s clavicle and tried not to start crying in earnest as Monica quietly got up and exited the room, leaving the two alone. “What happened?” Prompto shook his head awkwardly against the older man's chest, then sighed again and pushed back enough to be able to talk to him without mumbling into his shirt. “I’m guessing you went to my office?” Cor asked, and he nodded, looking down at his feet. “Well?”

“Just...it’s the whole thing. Some of the headlines are crazy, I mean, really crazy; I know logically that some of these are tabloids, but still-” Cor groaned quietly, cutting Prompto off, then sat back down in his chair.

“Prompto, sit down. Deep breaths.” Prompto followed his orders, flopping gracelessly into the chair next to Cor and trying to force himself to calm down. “Read the tabloid that claimed I had been sleeping down the royal line for decades, did you?” Cor said drily, and Prompto’s head shot up to meet the other man’s eyes.

“Yes! I think both Noct and I felt a little sick after seeing that one, that’s just-”

“It’s bullshit. We all know that. Worse, it’s disgusting bullshit. But all we can do is keep our heads up and show that we aren’t what we are accused of being. Sinking to their level never works,” Cor stated, and Prompto nodded slowly.

“Yeah, I know. Gladio said much the same thing this morning,” he mumbled, and Cor’s eyes narrowed, leaning over to meet his eyes.

“Someone bothered you this morning, didn’t they? One of the Guards? Why else would Dustin have escorted you down personally-” Prompto cut Cor off with a sharp shake of his head, and Cor pinched the bridge of his nose again. “Seriously, Prompto, it needs to be addressed if something happened.”

“A few of them just got a little pushy, not literally, just vocally. Dustin said he’d talk to them,” Prompto said quietly, then a thought came to mind. “Why are you down here, anyway?” Cor frowned at the change of subject, but finally sighed and looked down at his paperwork.

“Peace and quiet without the stares, mainly. Unlike with you, the office was like a tomb when I walked in; I could tell someone wanted to say something, but-” Cor smirked, and Prompto barked out a laugh.

“Everyone was too scared to! That’s awesome, I wish I could pull that off,” he said dreamily, and Cor patted his shoulder in commiseration.

“I don’t condone violence if unnecessary, but feel free to pop a few in the nose if they get too pushy, ” Cor drawled, and Prompto suddenly had the feeling that Cor had done just that a few times in the past. No, he was totally certain, who was he kidding? “Where is the rest of your group?” He groaned and flopped back in his chair.

“Utterly engrossed in the book, which honestly, I should have shown them earlier, but it kept slipping my mind. Probably on purpose, but well. Yeah. So, I’m letting them finish, then I’m guessing the awkward conversation will happen after that,” he muttered, and Cor silently patted his shoulder one more time. “At least your boyfriend came with this info pre-installed, you get to skip the conversation.” Cor squinted at him oddly, and Prompto ran the last bit over in his head. Okay, that sounded weird.

“Hm. Well, you’d be surprised, not that I’m going to explain,” Cor stated, and Prompto chuckled weakly before sighing once more.

“So how screwed are we? Right now I feel like I’ll be jumped or worse if I go outside, but it may not be so bad? I don’t know, but I really don’t wanna find out.” Cor flipped through his paperwork absently, letting the sheets fall to the table.

“I’d recommend staying in the Citadel for now, and try to have someone trustworthy with you while walking around outside of your quarters. I’m not going to order you one way or the other, but use your best judgement,” Cor said, and Prompto nodded.

“Probably a good idea-” Prompto was cut off by his phone ringing, and he lifted it to his ear. “Hi?”

“Where in the hell did you go? We finished this thing, and you had vanished-” Noct grumbled, and Prompto frowned.

“You know, I told you I was leaving, but none of you said anything. I’ll be back in a few minutes.” He hung up before Noct could reply, and crossed his arms with a huff. Cor just raised an eyebrow, and he shook his head. “It’s nothing. I better go.” He got back to his feet, and before he could change his mind, he leaned over and gave Cor a hug. “Thank you.” Cor’s hand patted the back of his head, and he let himself sag in the older man’s grip for a moment before withdrawing.

“Let me know if you have any further issues with anyone here in the Citadel. While I can’t do anything about the outside, I’m not going to let inappropriate behavior stand in here,” Cor said firmly, and Prompto smiled.

“Yessir.” Prompto fled laughing from the room, Cor scowling half-heartedly in his wake. Luckily, the only person he ran into as he headed back to the royal floor gave him a polite nod and left him alone.

“I’m back.” Prompto closed the door behind him, kicked off his shoes, then took a deep breath. He had given them a bit of warning, then well, New Years Eve led to a lot of half-confused explanations when none of them were really up to comprehending it. It worked out, okay, it really really worked out, but-

“My apologies, Prompto, we got rather absorbed in the book and we lost track of time.” Prompto looked up from the floor to see Ignis standing in front of him, and he sighed.

“It’s alright, it was just a bit annoying.” Prompto leaned forward and kissed Ignis, then smiled and walked past him. “So what’s the verdict? Everyone weirded out yet?”

“A little late for that, but-” Gladio trailed off, a grin on his face; Prompto pouted then flopped onto his lap. “Sorry that we didn't hear you earlier, Prom.” He got comfortable as Gladio wrapped his arms around his waist, Ignis rejoining them in the other armchair. Noct was lying on the sofa, book resting on his stomach, and Prompto sighed.

“So.”

“Yeah,” Noct replied, and Prompto facepalmed.

“Just say something, please,” he pleaded, and again, nothing, until Ignis rolled his eyes and sat up straight in his chair, transitioning to what Prompto would call his lecturing pose.

“The first half, which focused on the history of the Dawn Mother and her chosen, was quite interesting and lends itself to further research. The section on the general abilities of both the herald and voice was also quite enlightening, it sounds like you might be able to fine-tune your singing to achieve all sorts of magical effects eventually, possibly even affect the weather,” Ignis paused, meeting Prompto’s eyes; his responding grin was dubious at best. The idea of singing to change the weather just sounded wild to him, and he wasn’t sure he could pull it off. “The marshal seems to have a pretty solid understanding of his abilities, although he appears to have a whole skillset based on being a divine judge that he isn’t using. According to the book, people can officially invoke him as the eyes and ears of the Dawn Mother and ask him to stand in judgement on anything for minor disputes to succession claims of kingdoms...which the book claims happened on several occasions back in Solheim. Such decisions are backed with holy magic, supposedly, and cannot be argued against, making his help somewhat of a risky option if one’s position isn’t the strongest. As far as I know, however, he’s not been asked to perform in this capacity,” Ignis stated, and Prompto shrugged. He didn’t know either, Cor had never brought it up. A few minutes passed as Ignis looked down at his fingernails, and did not speak again.

“Okay, I’ll say something,” Gladio’s voice rumbled against Prompto’s back, and he tensed. “I’ll admit, there’s some pretty wild stuff there, but the sheer amount of uses for...what did the book call it?” Gladio asked the room, and Noct actually giggled, which brought an involuntary smile to Prompto’s face.

“Sacred dew,” Noctis drawled slowly, and Prompto let his face fall into his hands. He could do this, he could do this-

“Yeah, that’s right. Sounds like a euphemism from an old-fashioned romance novel, but hey, whatever works. But anyway, supposedly it can be used for anything from elixir-type concoctions, to making plants grow and fallow fields return to life, even blessings of all types-” Gladio trailed off, and Prompto didn’t dare lift his head. “-but supposedly it was common for women, especially barren and or high-born women to seek the Dawnsworn out, because you have like a one hundred percent success rate in impregnating? And the kids are supposedly always healthy? It’s probably a good thing you didn’t play the field in high school, Prom, because you’d probably be a dad like a dozen times over by this point.”

“Oh fuck, don’t remind me. Talk about a scary proposition,” Prompto shuddered, and Gladio squeezed him a little tighter and laughed.

“Well, to be fair, supposedly if it is a formal request from a petitioner for a child, ancient law and practice stated that you would have no responsibility over the result unless you so wished, and the kids were always considered legitimate? Crazy stuff, but I can see the appeal if the health thing is accurate,” Gladio finished, and Prompto sighed and looked back up. Noct had shifted to meet his eyes, laughter still in the curve of his smile, and Ignis was looking more than a bit amused himself.

“The rituals are largely wacky ornate things that were clearly done in a very different society, I thought it was pretty obvious that most wouldn’t even be really feasible in the modern day. I mean, we don’t even have a temple to the Dawn Mother or anything on hand, and at least half of those things called for one in the procedures,” Noct said as he set the book back down on the coffee table and sat up, his expression growing serious. “Hell, there’s a few things in the book that straddle the lines of even being legal, although I did notice the book pointed out that those sorts of things had been usually confined to certain regions and largely stopped even before the end of Solheim and the last Dawnsworn. Things like the so-called blessing of the hunt-” Noctis’s nose crinkled in clear disdain, and Prompto actually had to remember what that was before grimacing.

“Yeah, that. I think I blanked that one out. I’d take endless amounts of the have sex with disciple behind a curtain or not thing, well, as long as it’s one of you guys anyway-” That got chuckles from all three of his...fuck it, boyfriends, and he considered it a win. “Did anyone notice that seems to be the start of like half the rituals, with a bunch of people listening in, I mean, waiting to be blessed? Kinky. I’d take those every time over that one you mentioned, though. Ugh. They were obviously way more chill about public sex back in Solheim, that’s for sure, and that hunt one...” Prompto shivered, but calmed at the feeling of Gladio’s lips on the side of his head.

“That one was straight up rape, and the first person who brings that up in anything but an academic setting is getting their teeth caved in,” Gladio said coldly, and while his tone was harsh, Prompto suddenly felt extraordinarily relieved about the whole debacle.

“That might be the nicest thing you’ve ever said, Gladio. Just saying.” Prompto tilted his head up and gave the larger man a somewhat lopsided kiss on the side of his mouth before snuggling back down into his arms. “Cor told me if anyone got pushy to punch them in the nose. Well, he kinda did. It was really funny.” Noct got to his feet and stretched, his shirt lifting enough to reveal a nice strip of pale skin, which Prompto’s eyes immediately locked onto. Down boy.

“From what I’ve heard from dad and Clarus, for the first, oh, five to ten years of Cor’s career, that’s pretty much how he handled most pushy people. Clarus said he was getting written up on a near-monthly basis for a while; it’s amazing he’s chilled so much in his old age if what they say is true,” Noct laughed, then somehow managed to shove his butt onto Gladio’s lap next to Prompto, who shifted to allow him in, stealing a quick kiss during the shuffle. Iggy looked unimpressed.

“If you expect me to be able to fit, you all have another thing coming,” Ignis groused, and Gladio moved his arm and patted the armrest, which Ignis sat almost daintily down on; Gladio managed to coax him down for a few kisses with everyone, but a few minutes later saw Iggy huff and get to his feet. “There is a bed. Custom-ordered, ridiculously large- we do not need to be contorting ourselves painfully trying to fit in an armchair. If any of you wish to join me, I’ll be in there.” Prompto, Noct, and Gladio watched him walk towards the bedroom silently, then they looked at each other.

“Iggy’s got a point,” Prompto stated, and when the others just stared at him, he rolled his eyes and got off Gladio’s lap. “See you in there.”

A few minutes later saw them all lounging in bed, Prompto cuddled up to Iggy with his head on his chest, Noct spooning behind him and Gladio behind him, and he was really happy Noct had a giant bed, because this would have never worked in ninety-nine percent of other beds in Insomnia-

“You know, Prompto, there was one other thing in the book that really caught my eye, although the book itself claims that it was probably a translation error from millennia ago-” Ignis started, mischief in his voice, and Prompto’s head shot up off the man’s chest.

“No.” Behind him, Noct and Gladio burst out laughing, and he did some half-hearted flailing trying to escape these horrible people, but failed miserably when Noct’s arms locked him in place.

“You mean the whole symbols of virility and fertility? Well, after the other day, I suppose we are testing that part out right now,” Noct said, and he could hear the smirk in his voice.

“I hate every one of you. I’m going to impersonate Cor and be a total hermit for the next twenty-five years,” Prompto growled, only to be derailed from his righteous snit when Ignis ran a hand through his hair, rubbing gently at his scalp. He tried to say something again, but Iggy just kept massaging and he melted back onto the older man’s chest with a moan.

“Wow, that worked perfectly, Iggy, I’m impressed. Anyway, Prom, from your reaction the other day, and that goofy blush on his face yesterday-” Gladio was cut off by Noctis, who laughed.

“I heard he was sitting on a pillow yesterday at his office-” Gladio clapped a hand over Noct’s mouth, but not before Prompto choked on a laugh in reply.

“Anyway, Cor probably got laid enough to make up for those twenty-five years, so he’s probably not the best example anymore,” Gladio said, then paused. “Wait, if that one part about the fertility is true…” Prompto sucked in a breath.

“Which it’s not.” Gladio chuckled, and Prompto felt another hand in his hair for a moment.

“Nope, my mind can’t handle the idea of pregnant Cor, although-” Aw hell, he went there.

“No. No no no. It’s a mistranslation, and that’s all there is to it,” Prompto hissed, and Ignis coughed.

“While it would possibly solve the main...issue of Noctis and a successor, I think it would be safer to assume that it is just a mistranslation. The thought is intriguing, though,” Ignis mused, and Prompto sighed.

“The last thing I need is more stretch marks, Iggy, and seriously, I’d be a horrible parent! No, bad idea.” His last statement brought complete silence on the group, then it was Noct who broke the ice.

“Prom, I bet you’d be the best fucking dad ever, and I don’t want to hear another word about it,” Noctis said bluntly, and Prom blushed and crushed his face into Iggy’s chest, unable to really articulate what he was feeling about the whole thing. He honestly figured he would never have kids, not with his crush and now relationship with a group of men, but- he sighed. It was Gladio who took pity on him and changed the subject.

“So how do we handle the media for now? Prom can’t just go back to staying in the Citadel all the time, that’s not an option. Give it a few days, then go back to normal like that damn book never came out?” Gladio asked, and Noct hummed.

“I think that’ll work fine. Media will take care of anything major, and anyone who tries anything is going to be inviting trouble. What do you think, Prom?” Prompto unpeeled his face from Iggy’s chest and rolled onto his back, thinking for a moment then shrugging.

“You guys have way more experience than I do about this, so I’ll follow your lead,” he said, and Noct leaned in and gave him a kiss.

“We’ve got you, Prom. Even if you decide you want to have semi-public sex behind a curtain in a temple somewhere…”

“Noct!”

 

Epilogue:

 

Cor had returned to the office just long enough to drop off the day’s paperwork before bidding the near-silent room a good day and stepping to his quarters, shoving down the spike of disappointment that Nyx wasn’t there. The man was plenty busy with his own job, he certainly didn’t need to be hanging around an old fool like him all the time. Cor walked by his coffee table, stopping when he realized what was sitting on top of it.

That damn book. Prompto had looked completely overwrought when he had first come to him, but there was little he could do besides give the kid a little advice. There was just too much there to not talk about, unfortunately, and the media were going to run with it as long as they could. All he could do is keep an eye on things for now.

Cor sighed and walked into his bedroom, throwing his jacket over his chair. He pulled off his shirt next, sending it sailing to the corner where it bounced off the hamper, followed immediately by his pants, which almost made it in. Nyx may have had a point about his laundry. Cor wiggled under the covers, turning his face into the pillow. A few moments later, he had the oddest sense that someone was talking about him, and talking about something very strange to boot, and he couldn’t control a sudden full-body shiver.

Why was he suddenly thinking about babies?

Chapter Text

Bonus Chapter - Crowe (January 2nd, 757)

 

“Captain.” No answer. “Ulric.” Nope. “Nyx.” Crowe smirked as Nyx’s head shot up from his desk, the sleep fading from his eyes as he blinked stupidly at her. “I’ve heard a lovely rumor that the marshal has pretty much sealed himself in his office and is sitting on a giant pillow, feel like elaborating?” Crowe sidled around his desk, checking his chair before returning to the front of the desk with a grin. “I see you seem to be fine, or are you trying to tough it out-”

“Crowe, don’t you have something better to do than gossip about our sex lives?” Nyx grumbled at her, but the fact he yawned while saying it killed any heat in the statement, and Crowe snorted.

“Sure, but this is you, not just anyone. So how was it? You two rock each other’s worlds? He’s such a stoic guy, so I honestly couldn’t picture how he’d be in the sack-”

“Crowe,” Nyx growled, and her eyebrows shot up.

“Oh, I appear to have touched a nerve. You know I don’t mean anything by it, Nyx,” Crowe said, a bit surprised, and Nyx sighed.

“Yeah, I know. It’s just...fuck. It’s different. He’s different. I don’t know if I can-” Nyx looked lost for words, and Crowe grabbed his extra chair and plunked it in front of his desk, straddling it.

“Does this have to do with the whole herald thing? Honestly, if he didn’t poof all over the place, it doesn’t really stand out like Argentum’s singing-” Nyx shook his head, and Crowe scowled and propped her crossed arms on the back of the chair. “Are you willing to tell me?”

“All I’ll say is that for a guy who half the Citadel is either terrified of or aroused by, he’s not used to relationships. At all. He’s actually really sweet in a boyish sort of way, which you would think would be a bit odd from a forty-six year old man, but it’s-” Nyx trailed off, and Crowe’s eyebrows started knitting together. “-fuck, it’s adorable. He’s five-hundred percent a keeper, and he would be divine powers or no.” Crowe squinted at him in suspicion, and Nyx grimaced. “What?”

“Why do you sound like you are describing your virginal teenage boyfriend?” Nyx blinked comically slowly, color high in his cheeks, and Crowe felt her jaw drop. “ No.”

“I refuse to confirm a damn thing,” Nyx muttered, but the look on his face gave away everything. By the fucking Astrals, seriously? A guy that looks like that, sounds like that, still- really?

“Please tell me you rocked his world, because it sounds like he really fucking deserves it,” she said bluntly, and Nyx finally shook off the funny expression and replied with a really sweet smile that made her teeth hurt. Fuck, this was going to be a thing, she just knew it.

“I think it worked out, and I’m not telling you anything else.” Crowe huffed, but reached over and yanked lightly on one of Nyx’s braids.

“Look at you, all grown up and dating the Immortal. I’m so proud of you,” she grinned, jumping backwards out of her chair as he tried to smack her hand away.

“Get the fuck out of my office, Altius,” Nyx growled, and Crowe laughed as she headed to the door. “Crowe?” She turned back towards her captain, who was looking down at his desktop with a soft expression, and she sighed.

“Yes, Nyx?”

“Thanks. Also, don’t say anything to anyone but Libertus or Pelna, we want to keep this under wraps for now, too much going on with the book coming out and the ramifications of a relationship and our positions,” Nyx said quietly, and Crowe chuckled.

“Yeah, yeah, I know. None of us have said anything, although I have a feeling some people are catching on. Don’t expect it to be a surprise for long, especially if the whole hubbub over the book is what we expect it’ll be.” Nyx let his forehead smack onto his desk with a groan.

“Ugh, that’s in two days. Little Galahd is convinced this is going to go poorly, from everyone I’ve spoken with, and they are probably right. Throwing something like that at a large group of people with limited context and very little historical framework is going to lead to some really unfortunate conclusions. Maybe I should grab both Cor and the kid and go on a vacation to Galahd…” Crowe shook her head.

“That would probably be worse. There would be less sex jokes and harassment, but a lot more expectation for them to be what they are supposed to be. Cor would handle it, I think, if not happily, but I think Argentum would eventually just go hide in your suitcase until it was time to leave. Spare the kid for now, let him catch his breath first,” Crowe stated, and Nyx sighed and nodded.

“Why are you so perceptive sometimes?” Nyx asked, and Crowe tossed her hair back and gave him a look.

“Because someone has to keep everything from exploding around here,” she laughed, allowing Nyx to shoo her out the door with a flappy hand.

Several hours later, she saw Argentum walking by with a somewhat awkward gait near the training halls, and it took all she had to not stop and stare. He could have tweaked something exercising, but- no. She was certain.

Looks like Cor and Nyx weren’t the only ones who had a very happy new year.