It was a stupid idea, he already knew this. It didn't stop him walking about and looking at the houses and flats around the Citadel, and it didn't stop him from pausing to look at offers outside an estate agent. But he half-thought half dreamt and hoped-
Maybe. Maybe he could-
He bought a large photography book, filled with pictures of Eos and Lucis. He gave it to the kid and sat with him for the entirety of his lunch break, answering questions and watching the kid be happy. The red eyes on him weren't so creepy when they came with a smile and childish thrill.
They'd put him at six - six years in a lab, six years with things being done to him that their scientists haven't worked out how to fix yet. He was about the same age as Prince Noctis - but 'behind in his milestones' as one of the doctors pointed out. Even Cor had noticed the kid didn't talk like other kids would have at his age.
It took time and a chocobo plush for the kid to truly start to warm up to him.
Cor remembered how, after sometime with the plush, the kid gave it to him and told him to "keep her safe" as he darted off to bring Cor one of his photography books for another round of questions. The plush stayed with Cor the entire time.
"Kid," he'd said then, "are you still thinking about a name?"
The kid nodded at him. "I have got the list."
"I've got another one for it- Prompto."
Solemnly the kid nodded and brought out the list from its place on the table. "How do you spell it, sir?"
Cor told him, and the kid nodded again.
He shifted, peeking up at Cor, and Cor waited for the inevitable question.
"What does it mean?"
Cor allowed himself to smile then, "it means 'quick',"
"Yeah, like you."
When the kid chose Prompto for his name, Cor brought him sweets and couldn't help but smile back at Prompto when he greeted him.
It was soon after that he spotted it - three bedrooms, an office, an extra room, everything else a home needed - near the Citadel, good security which could be improved if he wanted to. And now all he had to do was to ask Regis before he put an offer down for it.
It didn't go as well as he thought it would.
"He's not ready to go out anywhere into the city, Cor. I can't release him on good conscience."
Cor's expression didn't change. "But can you mark me down as a custody holder - when he gets out."
"A possible custody holder," Regis sighed, "I could. We will inform you if the child will get out Cor, but that will take time."
Cor accepted that. All the same, he put an offer down on the house, unwilling to let it slip him by. And - maybe it would be completely ready by the time Prompto could be released.
Prompto could only play video games under the watchful eye of a supervisor. Cor liked to make sure there was at least an hour and a half set aside before bringing the console and TV - which were bolted onto a tray - inside.
Prompto's favourite game was one full of light, colour and nature - as well as puzzles. It was when he was playing this game, leaning slightly against Cor; he told him his favourite colour was blue because of the sky. It was new to him, and even though he didn’t get to go out often, he loved it.
By that time Cor had the house, and he painted the walls of one of the bedrooms blue. On a similar note, the kitchen was being refurbished, now that Cor didn't need to move in straight away. And he picked a muted navy shade for it. Because he could.
A week before the kitchen was finished; he accidentally overheard Regis and Clarus.
"I don't like this." Clarus muttered, just loud enough to hear.
"You don't think we could risk it."
"No. I really don't."
"He's attached now, Clarus. It's going to be a struggle."
"You agree with me."
Regis sighed. "I do."
"The only problem is fixing it."
"I've got a plan for that, Clarus. It helps that Cor has kept this under wraps, but that isn't needed."
Their voices trailed off, but Cor felt it deep down in his stomach - something was very, very wrong.
Three days later Prompto started talking about a Mrs Argentum - she wanted him to call her Ella. A Mr Argentum occasionally appeared in Prompto’s conversations too. Cor searched their names and both seemed to be involved with children's mental health somehow. Ella Argentum being a child psychologist.
There was no reason to be as suspicious of those people as he was. He thought he was being paranoid, and brought Prompto another chocobo plush. This one sat on his- on the empty blue bedroom's bed. But he did give the kid a small cactuar plush to play with.
He wasn't informed when Prompto had progressed enough to start working up enough to leave. He found out, purely on accident.
And Clarus and Regis refused to explain.
He left that meeting furious and confused, but still went to his usual time with Prompto. The kid was still talking about Mr and Mrs Argentum and Cor - Cor had an idea on what was happening.
For two weeks, Regis and Clarus refused to enter another meeting with him. They didn't look at him, they avoided him.
And then one day - the day they finally agreed to a meeting with him - he entered Prompto's room and he was gone. Left, a doctor said - the Argentums had permission to adopt him.
He didn't wait until the meeting time to go to Regis' office. They expected him to do that, so it was empty already. They'd guessed on how he'd react to Prompto leaving.
"What the fuck did you do?" He demanded, and Regis had the gall to frown at him.
"Sit down, Marshal Leonis." The King told him.
And he did, even as he seethed.
"Cor," Clarus said then, standing by his King, "it had to be done."
"I couldn't allow it," Regis said, "you've never been around children - you didn't know how to care for him properly. And they knew how children should react, so they can call for us if he's a sleeper agent, or if something else was wrong."
"He is - or was an MT, Cor," Clarus continued. "The Marshal couldn't be around a possible leak every day, and if he is dangerous you wouldn't be able to lift a hand to him."
It wasn't the end of their reasons, and Cor listened to them for a while longer before he bared his teeth and shook his head. "That's bullshit." He told them, eyes flickering between the two men.
"It's been decided." Regis firmly stated. "It's too late now."
"Everything has been done." Clarus told him.
Regis sighed, and reached over the desk, as if to give him comfort, "I'm sorry, Cor. They will look after him well."
Cor snarled at them. He stood, and turned his back, and didn't answer their calls.
He left work early, unable to stay, and drove to his new house. Put his keys on the side. Took his jacket and shoes off.
And crumpled on the floor of the living room.
"Shit." He said, into his hands. "Fuck." He covered his eyes and breathed, and didn't move until hunger commanded him to, many hours later.
Two days later - neither of which he went to work for - he left for a several months long mission in Lucis, where he could be contacted if needed. He could come back to Insomnia quickly, if needed. And this mission wasn't that important anyway.
It didn't make anything better. And it changed nothing.
(Prompto was gone. Cor wished the kid was happy, even though he wished-)
Ten years later Cor Leonis got a report that the Prince made a friend called Prompto Argentum, and that it was very likely he was being neglected by his parents.
He threw a copy of this report onto Regis' desk and stared at him. Before turning away and leaving King Regis alone.
He never saw the look on Regis' face when he left.