The first time Cor changed his underwear in front of Ardyn after his husband discovered what had happened to him Cor cried.
He couldn’t help it. It wasn’t Ardyn’s fault… Cor just had a panic attack and Ardyn did his best to understand and calm him down. Ardyn would have been lying if he said Cor’s reaction didn’t hurt him. Because he could never hurt Cor or put him through what Drautos had. Ardyn would never willingly hurt Cor at all. At that moment, to him anyway, Ardyn’s feelings did not matter only Cor’s did. Ardyn calmed Cor down and the pair talked through the matter before going to bed. Cerbie was invited to sleep in their bed that night as well, just so Cor felt safer. But because Ardyn felt hurt he went to their councilor the next morning and explained to her what had transpired and how it had made him feel. Stella assured Ardyn that Cor’s reaction had nothing to do with him. Cor was probably feeling ashamed that the last person he had any explicit sexual contact with was his attacker. Cor’s panic attack was a way to subconsciously protect himself, Ardyn was not to blame. Stella also assured Ardyn that he had to right to be upset, but he had to understand that Cor didn’t do it to upset him. Once it was explained to him, Ardyn felt like an idiot. For he had seen Cor struggling with this for months. Cor had told him on many occasions that he felt ashamed and dirty that he couldn’t bring himself to want to have sex with him. That he felt guilty for allowing Drautos to continue to ruin their lives and relationship even after he was dead. Ardyn, of course, reassured Cor that that was simply not the case. That Ardyn was willing to wait and take as ever as long as Cor needed before they became intimate again. Even if Cor felt that he could never have sex again, Ardyn wasn’t going anywhere.
To help Cor, Ardyn suggested that if Cor felt like he wanted to be intimate in any way, they build up to it. Work at whatever pace Cor felt comfortable with and go from there.
Cor did try.
From the get-go, Cor outright said he didn’t want Ardyn to touch him first. Cor wanted to give Ardyn a handjob to see if he could cope and the first time they tried it Cor had a breakdown. Cor may have performed oral sex on Ardyn after he was raped but Ardyn didn’t know what had happened then. Somehow, Ardyn knowing made him more self-conscious. More self-aware that sex and the act of it scared him. Because now if Cor backed out, Ardyn may pity him for it. Of course, Ardyn didn’t and would never but the feeling was there. It still lingered in the back of his mind, just like the ghost touches of the dead Captain on Cor’s skin. Because he felt awful about it Cor had to speak to someone. He spoke to Stella privately and with Ardyn and she helped him understand that all of this was normal. And that Cor had nothing to be ashamed of and Ardyn happily agreed with Stella. But Cor wanted to talk to someone else.
So he went to Regis and Clarus.
“It’s just hard.”
“My dear, it will be for a while.” Regis gave him a weak smile.
“It’s not fair on Ardyn though is it?”
“What you went through wasn’t fair. Ardyn understands.”
“He shouldn’t have to though. He shouldn’t have to be lumped in a sexless relationship because I can’t fucking bring myself to even touch him.”
Cor was getting very emotional, and that was when Clarus stepped in. “Cor, I told you before Ardyn worships the ground you walk on. He loves you and sex doesn’t make a relationship.”
“I can’t touch my own husband without having a panic attack. We haven’t even tried him touching me yet. I don’t think I can ever do that.”
“Cor, my dear, Ardyn is happy as long as you are. You know that. Does he know you feel this way?” Regis asked carefully not wanting to make Cor cry.
Cor nodded. “Yeah. He does. We have talked about it.”
“Than it is okay. I won’t pretend to have knowledge or understanding of how you are feeling but maybe it is worth talking to people who do?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean that perhaps going to a support group might be useful. With people who have been through a similar experience to you.”
“It’s worth a try Cor.” Clarus nodded in agreement with Regis.
“And who knows, it may help you understand how you are feeling better. But don’t do it because you feel you have to. Do it because you want to.”
“Why?” Cor asked in a soft tone. “Why are all of you like this? Why are you all trying to help me?”
“Because you are our brother.” Clarus laughed.
“And it is important you talk Cor. It doesn’t matter who too, but please talk when you feel comfortable too.”
Cor’s leg started to shake. That was a thing that had developed after everything had blown up. When he felt like he was getting too emotional or trapped his leg would start to shake. Cor tried to suppress the uncontrollable twitch into a simple tap of the foot. But he couldn’t today. He just couldn’t.
In a sad whisper Cor said:
“I am trying.”
“We know my dear. It’s okay.”
“I’ve got to go back to work.” Cor said rising from his chair, he had to leave. He had to get out of there.
All Regis and Clarus did was let him go. Regis would call Ardyn later on Cor’s behavior and offer to help any way he could. But right now, it was clear Cor needed space. Whether if that be to cry, to punch something, to swear, to scream. The King and Shield knew that the Marshal was trying to grieve in private for the time being. If that was what he wanted and felt he needed, who were they to stop him?
“I am really worried about him.” Ardyn confessed to his brother, as Cerbie jumped up on the sofa next to him.
Ardyn gave his dog a side-eye, but choose not to say a word because he had been such a good boy as of late. No pissing on the sofa’s, chewing things up, and he was comforting Cor to death. Ardyn felt that he could afford to let his dog break the rules. Ardyn ran his fingers along his happy dogs back as he waited on Somnus’s reply.
“I would be mad at you if you weren’t.” Somnus blinked, staring at the dog who still for no reason at all hated his guts. (More like, who wanted to eat his guts)
Ardyn shook his head. “No, Somnus. He is obsessing over us not having sex.”
“Than talk to Stella about it.”
“Do you think we haven’t done that already. He gets so upset about it. Cerbie isn’t helping either. He has been sleeping on our bed.”
“That’s a killjoy.” Somnus let out a small laugh but stopped when all six eyes on that daemon dog locked eyes with him. Somnus shuffled in his chair and desperately tried to make up for his poor choice of words. “Cor is struggling. Maybe you need to find a way to make him feel loved without having sex. That part will come in time.”
“I don’t want to have sex with him until he is comfortable,” Ardyn admitted, stroking Cerbie’s front leg to get him to back down from attacking Somnus.
That wasn’t a lie.
Ardyn had said it many a time and it always rung true. What his husband had been through was nothing via short of traumatic. That was what they had to live with and Ardyn was very understanding of that. He did want to have sex with Cor, but he knew Cor wasn’t ready. It was only the other night, Cor managed to give him a handjob without tearing up and it was Cor who asked to do it, not Ardyn. Ardyn was very grateful and proud of his husband for doing that. It was still very foreign and heartbreaking to come to terms with that Cor felt he had to do this. He didn’t and Ardyn had tried to tell him that. But Cor simply would not listen.
“How have you been dealing with your own needs?”
Somnus’s blunt question didn’t take him off guard. The brothers didn’t tend to talk openly about their sex lives with each other but when they did it was never awkward. “Been using my old quarters.”
“Maybe that’s the problem. You don’t feel comfortable enough to masturbate in your own house, so how do you think Cor is going to feel about sex?”
Ardyn nodded at that. Maybe Somnus was right. “We have talked about that too, my needs. He says he doesn’t care where I do it.”
“He does. You know he does.”
Ardyn ponded on that for a moment as he moved his hand to stroke Cerbie’s other front leg. Afterall, Ardyn had said that he wasn’t doing that in the house in case Cor didn’t feel comfortable. That may have upset his Marshal… Ardyn thought that Cor would have taken that as a sweet caring gesture but… that was the thing. His husband was not the same person he was a few months ago. He had become depressed, panicky, more self-conscious, more agitated, distracted, distant and less confident in whatever he was doing.
Maybe they needed to have another discussion about this again.
A week passed and Cor was getting restless. He knew what he wanted to do, it was just the act of doing it or not. He had managed to have oral sex with Ardyn and it was a lot less daunting than he thought it was going to be. Ardyn was gentle. He didn’t pull at his hair, he didn’t coax him to go faster. He let him do what he wanted.
That gave Cor a burst of confidence.
A confidence he hadn’t felt in a long time. With this newfound confidence, Cor plucked up the courage as he lay on his husband’s stomach. Cor sat up and rubbed the back of his neck as he got Ardyn’s attention.
“Yes, my lovely?” Ardyn gave him a warm smile as he sat up a little sleepy.
“I want to have sex with you.”
“Umm… Okay.” Ardyn nodded, not really sure what else to say.
If Ardyn hadn’t been properly awake a moment ago he was now. He certainly was when Cor bashed their lips together and rubbed his hands over his chest. Ardyn had been waiting for a very long time to hear those words. But he was taken back by Cor’s roughness and aggressiveness. Because Ardyn knew this was impulsive, he gently placed his hands on Cor’s shoulders and pushed him away ever so slightly. Ardyn was not having sex with Cor unless they were both 100% sure this was what they both wanted and needed right now.
When Cor looked at him with sad eyes, Ardyn held onto Cor’s hands and explained his reasoning for pushing him away. “Darling, I am more than happy to hear you say that. However, I don’t want to do anything unless you feel 100% comfortable.”
“Ardyn, we haven’t had sex in over 6 months.” Cor argued, taking his hands out of Ardyn’s and placing them around his husband’s neck.
“Yes. I know we haven’t.” Ardyn said, putting his hands on Cor’s forearms in case he tried to kiss him again.
Ardyn did not want Cor to have a flashback. He did not want him to regret this decision when he wasn’t ready for it. Cor’s mental health was already severely damaged and Ardyn was refusing to be one that added any more to that. They needed to discuss this properly before anything else took place.
Ardyn was right to hold on to Cor’s forearms as Cor tried to kiss him again, and Ardyn again blocked the advancement.
“Don’t you want to have sex with me?” Cor asked, in an upset voice as he pulled away from Ardyn.
“Of course I do. I am not being hesitant for any other reason than for you.” Ardyn assured him, fearing what was going through his husband’s head.
“I can do this. I want to do this.”
“Alright. Alright. Cor, please listen to me. I only want to have sex with you, when you feel ready.”
“I am ready. Ardyn, I want to have sex with you. I want to be intimate with you again.” Cor pleaded, touching Ardyn’s face.
As much as he wanted to do this, Ardyn knew they had to be sensible. He brought Cor’s free hand to his lips and kissed it sweetly. “You do know, that us hugging, holding hands, kissing is enough for me. Don’t do this to try and satisfy me, okay? You being in this room is enough for me.”
“I am not. Honestly, I want to do this with you”
Cor looked certain that was what he wanted and his voice had the same story. Ardyn let go a deep sigh and nodded. Ardyn was just hoping to everything he held dear that he was doing the right thing in agreeing to this.
“Okay. Okay, we can have sex.”
Cor kissed Ardyn on the lips again for a few seconds before pulling away. “… can I top? I don’t think I could do it any other way.”
“I wouldn’t have it any other way, My Marshal. However, you have to promise me, if you feel like you need to stop. Tell me and we will.”
“Okay. I promise.”
The transition of being fully clothed to naked was very uncomfortable for the Marshal. However, he refused to show it. Cor got it into his head if he just had sex with Ardyn that would be it. It would feel the same way it had done when he gave him a blow job. Less, daunting, not scary and than he could move on. That’s all Cor wanted was to get out of this depressive rut he had found himself in and be normal again. To Cor, normal meant having sex with his husband and making Ardyn feel loved and respected, like what Ardyn was doing for him now.
Once they were naked, Cor quickly sat on Ardyn’s stomach but there was a problem. He was finding it hard to be aroused. He controlled his breathing, not wanting to back out of this and looked down at Ardyn to make him feel that way. Not even the sight of his naked husband was doing it for him. Cor tried kissing Ardyn and letting Ardyn place his hands over him, but it wasn’t working. There was no sexual pleasure.
It angered the Marshal. He felt like a failure because he couldn’t do this simple bodily function that he had been able to do since he was about 13.
Cor felt Ardyn pulled away, and he placed a tended hand to his face. “You okay?”
“Yeah.” Cor nodded, trying not to get upset over his lack of erection.
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah… Ardyn, can you… ummm… top?”
Cor prayed that Ardyn wouldn’t stop what he wanted to happen. But he just wanted to get this done with. Cor gripped the sheets under them as Ardyn looked into his eyes. Cor ignored the tiny amount of pity he saw and waited for an answer.
“Cor… we don’t have to carry on.”
“No, Ardyn I want to. But I would prefer if it if you topped. Please?” Cor could feel himself beginning to get agitated, but he hid it well and his voice was controlled when he said that to Ardyn.
Ardyn nods and they slowly swap positions.
Cor gulped as he lay flat on his back and watched as Ardyn made lube appear out of thin air. Cor tells himself he can do this, he wants to do this as Ardyn coats his fingers with the liquid. Instead of going straight to work, Ardyn kisses Cor softly and eases Cor with the stroke of his hair.
“I love you my darling.” Ardyn smiles, looking down, to see if Cor will give him permission to continue.
“I love you too.” Cor whispered back. “Carry on.”
Cor looked up at the ceiling as he held his breath and parted his legs to give Ardyn better access. He could do this. Everything was going to be fine. Ardyn wouldn’t hurt him. He was safe. But when Cor felt Ardyn’s fingers gently touch his entrance, everything came rushing back.
Druatos holding him down, Drauots’s vile breath plastering his neck, Drautos’s disgusting breathing as attacked him and Druatos’s fingers forcing him opened so he could get what he wanted.
Cor started to shake and tears came rushing out of his eyes he could do nothing but tremble, feeling trapped underneath Ardyn. Images, sounds, smells and fear consumed him and he felt his heart race and he didn’t know what to do. He couldn’t think straight all his brain was doing was taking him back there. Taking him back to that night. To the day Drautos kissed him again, to the day Drautos forced Cor to touch him. It all became too much and Cor cried and took in deep and heavy breaths in a bid to calm himself down.
“Hey, hey, hey.”
Ardyn saw and felt the change and immediately stopped and got himself off of Cor. Ardyn got two blankets out and slowly sat his terrified distress husband up so he could put the blanket over Cor. He put the other over his lap as he rubbed Cor’s back as Cor raised his hands to touch his head.
“Sweetheart, it’s okay. It’s okay.”
“I’m sorry.” Cor covered his eyes as he burst into tears.
He hated this! He hated himself for not doing this! He hated it! He hated it! He hated it!
“Don’t be.” Ardyn’s voice did very little to calm him down.
Cor took in deep breaths as more tears fell as he trembled under Ardyn rubbing his back. “I just… It came back.”
“I am so sorry that I can’t do this.” Cor continued to weep, legs shaking like mad and he felt that there was nothing he could do to calm himself down.
“My Marshal, it doesn’t matter to me if you can’t.”
“It does to me.”
“I know it does. But it is okay.”
“I just want you to be happy.” Cor whimpered, eyes going red with tears as he tried to get those images out of his head.
“I am darling. I promise.” Ardyn’s voice was soft, as he just continued to rub his inconsolable husband’s back.
Cor got angry again. The grip on his head got tighter and he screamed through his tears. “Why can’t I do this?! Why can’t I do this with you?! You didn’t do anything to me!”
Ardyn wrapped an arm around Cor and he fell into his chest, crying and screaming in distress. Wanting all of this to stop. Wishing he had stopped what had happened. Wishing he could stop feeling like this! Ardyn put a hand through Cor’s hair and gently stroked him as he comforted Cor.
“You are still dealing with this. That is nothing to be ashamed of. I understand I really do. I love you no matter what.”
Ardyn knew he shouldn’t have agreed to this.