A/N: Not much to say. Inspired by the last page of 'The Horse and His Boy', where it mentions that Cor and Aravis married each other 'to argue more conveniently' with one another.
There was a big difference between obnoxious and exasperating. Corin would know. He'd spent a lifetime building up a reputation as Archenland's most obnoxious prince, and had been doing rather smashingly at it – that is, until, Cor showed up. His twin had managed to outdo Corin's twenty-three years of hard work in half the time, quickly becoming the most exasperating, annoying, irritating prince in all of Archenland before he'd even hit the age of twenty. It wasn't to say that Corin wasn't absolutely obnoxious- it was simply that his brother was doubly exasperating. And Corin resented him for it.
Perhaps the most infuriating thing about it was that Cor wasn't even trying. In truth, Corin suspected that his brother specifically didn't want to be exasperating – or obnoxious, for that matter – but regardless of his dear brother's intentions, Cor had soundly trumped his younger twin in their unspoken battle of annoying-osity. And what was his secret weapon in this familial battle of nerve?
Well, speak of the devil, there she was.
"Corin!" Aravis shrieked as she rounded a corner. The young prince took a breath, braced himself for the worst, and turned to face her. Unsurprisingly, she looked somewhat like a homicidal lioness who wanted nothing more than to tear out his throat and scratch out his eyes, but after years in her company, Corin had learned to not take this behavior personally; she would acted the same way towards anyone who crossed her path while she was in one of her Cor-inflicted 'moods'.
"Yes, my lady Aravis?" Corin mustered a cheeky smile despite himself. She glowered at him.
"Don't call me that, lackwit. Where is your blockheaded brother?"
"I'm sure I don't know. Have you checked the library? It seems a reasonably dull place for a reasonably dull prince."
"A reasonably dead prince, when I get my hands on him." Aravis growled.
Corin didn't bother asking her what Cor had done to incur her wrath this time around - She would end up telling him anyway, so he simply raised his eyebrows and waited for her to explain.
"That idiot had the gall to beat me in a sword duel," she said.
"Did he?" Corin asked calmly. Aravis cast a dark glare at him.
"With a scimitar," She continued.
Oh, beaten by her own weapon of choice. Harsh, Corin thought.
"In front of the whole court,"
"And then," Aravis' glare grew darker, if possible.
Oh no…Cor unconsciously took a step backwards.
"He laughed at me!"
Before Corin could answer, Aravis left in a huff, a twirl, and a wave of messy black hair. The prince let out his breath and shook himself, making a mental note to avoid Aravis and Cor for the remainder of the day.
In all honesty, Cor wouldn't be nearly so exasperating if it wasn't for Aravis. And Aravis wouldn't make Cor so exasperating if they weren't arguing constantly. And their arguing would be nearly so unbearable if it wasn't so blatantly and ridiculously obvious that underneath it all, Cor and Aravis were hopelessly in love with each another.
It was something straight from a sappy love story, Corin thought in disgust, albeit with more screaming and insulting and fighting and perhaps just a teensy bit more blood-shedding thrown in. The whole scenario was unbearable. Not because of the screaming, insulting, fighting, or blood-shedding - in all honesty, those were the most entertaining bits of them all – the crux of the whole problem rested in the fact that the only two idiots who were unaware of the love story unfolding before their eyes were Cor and Aravis themselves.
It was maddening.
Conniving and mischievous he may have been, but where love was concerned Corin was a fairly straightforward chap, and he had half a mind to take the unsuspecting couple by surprise and smash their thick skulls together, if only to get them to wake up and realize the fact that the rest of Anvard had known for years: they were perfect for each other.
Until this realization dawned, the whole court was doomed to watch those love-struck morons flirt with each other endlessly. The pattern was simple: Cor would do something stupid, Aravis would give him a verbal flogging for his trouble, they would bicker like an old married couple for a spell, and eventually one or the other would come shuffling up to their counterpart and beg for forgiveness. Of course, the other would relent and the happy couple would be back to business as usual – until, that is, Cor decided to do something stupid again, and the process would begin again.
Corin would have been more than happy to dismiss the whole thing as meaningless banter, but because neither of the two could properly admit that they were made for each other, there was a certain tension to their arguments that left everything unresolved, even after they'd made up, and it was growing worse and worse as the years wore on.
It had to stop. Of course, Corin had been saying this for years, so two days later, when he'd reached the top of the stairs only two hear his two favorite idiots arguing with each other, (again) he held no particular hopes. He simply plowed on towards his destination, paying no particular attention to the argument taking place down the hall. However, before he could round the corner to his quarters, something Aravis said caught his ear.
"Who I marry is entirely up to me!"
"Oh?" Cor answered back, "You told me once that you would never marry at all,"
Corin peeked his head around the corner, eyes large and brows low.
"I can easily take my word back, you fishmonger."
"Fishmonger, is it? Well then, Tarkeena, whom would you marry?"
Corin cautiously tip-toed closer to the brawl and half-hid himself behind a pillar some yards away from where the couple stood yelling. Luckily, the two were so consumed in their fight that they didn't notice Corin's presence.
"Any man I like," Aravis replied firmly.
"Any man? Any man who can stand your constant screaming and fighting, you mean,"
"Don't be ridiculous – the only reason I 'scream' and 'fight' is because you are such an infuriating excuse for a prince! I don't fight with any other men,"
"Liar – you fight with Corin all the time."
"Yes, well, I wouldn't ever dream of marrying him anyway."
"And who would you dream of marrying, Aravis?"
The lady sputtered furiously for a few moments. "Well I don't know! A man who loves me, I suppose,"
"Well, naturally," Cor rolled his eyes, "But what kind of man? A Tarkaan?"
"No," Aravis stuck her nose in the air, "A man far less infuriating than you northern stock, who doesn't challenge my every word and doesn't bother me with such hideous gaffe."
"A perfect weakling, you mean. Please, Aravis, you can do better than that. Surely you've not gone so soft as to need a weakling bound to you for the rest of your life."
"Don't be daft, Cor, I can put up with any man I like," she replied.
"Is that a challenge?"
"Perhaps it is."
"Well then," Cor paused only a moment, "Marry me then, why don't you?"
There was a brief pause, in which Corin's eyes grew to the size of dinner plates and Aravis seethed, glaring furiously into the eyes of the crown prince. In the time they had been arguing, Cor and Aravis had come nearly nose-to-nose, so the Calormene had to tilt her head considerably to look up at him. Then, to Corin's unending astonishment, she squared her shoulders and gave a nod.
"Fine. I think I will."
Corin, mouth hanging open and grey eyes wide, could only stare in astonishment. Unless he was sorely mistaken, his brother had just given a marriage proposal to Aravis. And she had said yes. Alright, it was a rather unconventional proposal. But she had accepted it… Hadn't she?
"'Tis a strange thing, love," the voice of Corin's father appeared next to his shoulder, and the young prince whipped his head around to look at him. "It always seems to crop up in the most unexpected places." From the look on Lune's face, he had been watching as long as Corin had, but was infinitely more at ease with the rather unorthodox love confession that had just taken place.
Corin, still looking at his father, began sputtering out some question or other, but before he could finish, the king spoke again.
"Thou must admit, they have a most efficient method of quarreling." He said calmly. Corin frowned.
"How do you figure that?"
Lune shrugged with a smile, looking past Corin at his elder son and the young Calormene. "They always make it up to each other in astounding time."
Not understanding, Corin continued to frown as he looked back over to where Cor and Aravis stood. Once he laid eyes on them, his eyes grew wide once again, and he all but choked on his own throat from shock.
Having abandoned their bickering, (indeed, they had abandoned talking altogether) Cor and Aravis were inexplicably kissing each other, paying absolutely no mind to Lune or Corin's presence, indeed very little attention to the rest of the world at large.
While his younger son continued to choke on shock, Lune smiled knowingly and put a hand on Corin's shoulder.
"Methinks, my son, that we should leave thine brother and his lady alone just now."
Unconsciously, Corin nodded, but continued to peer at the couple before him, trying to decipher the strange series of events that would have led this impossible pair to finally admit their feelings for one another. Of course, there was the fact that they had known each other since their early teens, the fact that they'd survived a war and a desert and life-changing journey together, the fact that they'd been the best of friends (and of enemies) for the past decade, the fact that their entire relationship had held an undertone of romance for years, and of course, as the crowning jewel, the fact that Cor had just offhandedly suggested that they should marry each other. As he thought over it, Corin decided that it all made complete sense – at least, so complete a sense as Cor and Aravis could ever make when in each others' presence. So, instead of sputtering and gaping any more, as Lune dragged Corin away, the young prince found just enough time to shout back at the now happy couple,
"It's about bloody time!"
A/N: Read and Review, please! Constructive criticism is love.