Disclaimer: I don't own Narnia or any characters you may recognize from the books or the movies, I wish I did but I don't...
Summary: Even the High King can have an absolutely wretched day.
A/N: This story was requested by WillowDryad and is part of my A Light in the Darkness universe. This story is based on the suggestion for Peter to have an absolutely wretched day and to summarily act like a wretch (i.e., all non-typical behavior is her fault, I just wrote the story). Enjoy!
Peter's Absolutely Wretched Day
I had not thought the day could get any worse. It was already wretched, starting with my being late to training this morn. I stormed down to the training yard, glowering fierce enough that even my Tigers hung back. Oreius' stern look should have been enough to quell my temper or at least force it into being expended through training but it only served to add more kindling to the fire. I unsheathed Rhindon without waiting for Oreius' signal. Edmund cast me a wary glance as he unsheathed his twin swords at a nod from the General.
We went at it hammer and tongs. I fumed silently as I swiped low at Edmund's feet, forcing him to jump. His eyes weighed on me then, as we grappled for a moment, he whispered, "What's the matter with you?"
"Nothing." I shoved him away then tripped him, causing him to fall in a loud clatter of armor. I scowled as I rested Rhindon against his chest.
Edmund frowned as he yielded the match then he caught my arm. "No, something's wrong. What is it?"
Breathing hard, I tried to calm myself but failed miserably. "You." I jerked my arm out of his grasp then poked him in the chest. "You couldn't keep the talks with Calormen from falling apart yesterday so now I have to clean up your mess."
"I tried, Peter, but-"
"No. If you were even half as competent at diplomacy as you're vaunted to be then you should have wrapped the negotiations up yesterday. Not broken them into little pieces." I glared at him and added half under my breath, "If I had someone I could actually count on, I wouldn't have to be dealing with this right now."
Edmund clenched his fists and his face darkened with fury. But, there was a tiny bit of hurt in those dark eyes. At first, I thought he might hit me but instead he drew himself up. "Fine. I'll find someone competent to help you, Your Majesty. Good day."
Somewhere deep inside, I cringed. It hadn't been the least bit fair of me to attack him. I knew it but Edmund stormed out of the training yard before I could even consider apologizing and my ire grew. Fuming, I pointed at one of the new recruits practicing nearby. "You!"
The Faun nearly dropped his sword as he spun on cloven hooves to face me. "M-majesty?"
"It is Sir Wolfsbane in the training yard. What's your name?"
"F-Filius, Sire. I mean, Sir."
I almost shook my head at the nervousness he displayed. Admittedly, Fauns tended to be fretful by nature but the soldiers were usually made of slightly sterner stuff (they usually just worried about maneuvers and disasters and such things that can be channeled into something useful to the army as a whole). "Well, come and spar with me."
He shot a nervous glance at Oreius but I took the decision out of the General's hands. With a shout, I charged the Faun. He winced at every blow, including the feints, and my disgust grew with each wince. I pressed him further, pushing and pushing. I ignored the growing fear in his eyes. No. No, I enjoyed it. I scared him and I didn't care. At least someone realized I was not to be dismissed out of hand. When I finally knocked his sword away so it slid across the training yard, I stopped abruptly as the look of panic affixed itself to Filius' face. He stammered, "Y-y-yield." Then the Faun scrambled away.
I could feel Oreius' gaze boring into my back. I faced him and pressed my lips into a thin line as I registered the disappointment in his solemn gaze. I said nothing. Instead, I offered a curt bow then stormed back to the Cair.
Not bothering to join my siblings for breakfast, I changed then went straight to my study. I had to somehow fix that bloody treaty that the Calormene delegation had suddenly taken offense to yesterday before the negotiations reconvened tomorrow. Hours crawled by as I worked. My work swiftly settled into a pattern of writing something down and then immediately striking it out over and over again. This did nothing to help my mood.
The study door opened and Susan swept in but it was not a tender smile that graced her pink lips this time. No, I recognized the determined look that too often preceded a scolding. Scowling, I snapped, "What is it now?"
"Where have you been, Peter?" Susan shook her head, black hair swaying. "You missed the tea I hosted and you and Edmund could have used the opportunity to help smooth Tarkaan Harram's feathers before you go back to the negotiating table. Instead, neither of you came so Lucy and I had to deal with them alone. It shouldn't have been a problem but the Calormene all immediately assumed that the two of you were purposefully slighting them by not coming. It took everything to convince them this wasn't the case at all."
"Since when does everything become my responsibility? You're supposed to be charming and all that. Surely you can handle a simple tea. As for Edmund, I don't know where he's gone sulking."
"I didn't ask you where Edmund was, Peter. You're the High King and a grown man. Why don't you act like it? And don't you dare come near our guests until you're calm enough to be civil to everyone." Susan sniffed then left, muttering under her breath about brothers being in a snit.
I flung myself back into my chair with a half-muttered oath. I stabbed and slashed at the papers with my quill but it only seemed to turn into more of a knot as I couldn't make head or tails of one particular clause. Blast it all! The door eased open and I looked up, fuming. "What?"
Lucy gave me a sweet smile as though I hadn't just snapped at her. "Peter? Are you ready for dinner?"
"No. I am very busy, Lucy. Go away."
"Oh." She didn't leave. Instead, my baby sister offered another bright smile as she reached across the desk to rest her hand atop my clenched fist. "Well, we don't have to go to dinner. Oh, I know! Maybe we should go for a ride. I'm sure Frost would enjoy being able to stretch her legs and it will be good for clearing our heads."
I leaned back in my chair. She thought I needed to clear my head? "Absolutely not!" She drew back but I didn't really notice as I jabbed my finger at her. "I am in the middle of trying to sort out this mess that Edmund left me with and I do not have time to go for a ride. Especially not on a horse whose name is Frost when she is a black mare. What possessed you to be so childish when I asked you what I should call her? What possessed me to ask you?" I shook my head then leveled a stern glare in her direction. "You are almost seventeen and what's more you are a Queen. It's high time you ceased acting as though you were still eight years old."
She didn't say anything as I turned my attention back to the blasted papers. Then I heard it. A quiet little sniff. I looked up just in time to see tears running down Lucy's cheeks before she whirled away and hurried out of my study.
I uttered an oath that would have had Susan up in arms and even made Edmund look askance at me. What a positively wretched and downright beastly day. Bast and Babur had made themselves scarce hours ago. I scowled at the thought that even my Tigers, veteran soldiers, mind, were avoiding me. Well, that was just fine with me. I didn't want or need to see anyone until I finished sorting out this diplomatic snarl.
The hours crawled by and I ignored everything as I struggled with the paperwork. A cool breeze filled the room, rustling the papers. I slapped my hand over the ones I had been staring at then started as something brushed against my cheek. I looked over my shoulder just in time to see Beech leaves whirl and then come together, melding into my wife. Thalia's wild nature was fully revealed as she stood before me in a glossy green diaphanous dress that matched the beech leaves mixed in her nut-brown hair. For a moment, I sat in awe of her then I remembered all that had happened and a flush brought heat to my neck and cheeks. I turned away. I couldn't even look at Thalia.
"Peter?" Her voice was soft and far too tender to deal with such a wretch as me. "Are you all right, my lord?"
"It is nothing to concern yourself with, I assure you."
"Bast told me that you've not-"
"I was handling the mess with Calormen. That does not turn me into an Ogre."
I looked up sharply and Thalia met my gaze without hesitation even though a blush colored her cheeks. "No." I rose and stormed out of my study. I was aware of how Thalia followed behind me, but she didn't speak. She thought me an…an Ogre?
My mind leapt at the chance to offer up the memories of how I had treated Edmund, Susan, Lucy, and even that recruit, the Faun Filius. I pushed them away in anger even as shame threatened to choke me. Too ashamed and angry with myself for how I had acted this day…like an Ogre, I didn't talk to Thalia. I barely permitted myself to look at her before I cleaned up and changed for bed. Thalia, now leaf-free in her more subdued corporeal form, was brushing out her hair when I flopped on the bed.
I placed an arm over my eyes. "I don't want to talk about it."
"Am I not your wife? You should be able to trust me, Peter. Have I done anything to forfeit that trust, my lord husband?"
I sat up abruptly and met Thalia's tender gaze. "You have never done anything to forfeit anything, much less my trust. I only… I wanted to spare you this particular unpleasantness."
She came over and knelt on the bed next to me. Her touch light and far more comforting than I deserved as she rested a hand on my shoulder. "But it weighs so heavily on you. Would you do me the disservice of refusing to allow me to fulfill my marriage vows? Am I not to be your confidante?"
Sighing, I hung my head then clasped her hand gently. The ugly tale spilled forth. When I finished my recitation, I shook my head ruefully. "I have been an absolute wretch. I know it wasn't Ed's fault that the Tarkaan is being so difficult with these negotiations. He's also the best person to handle the delegation along with Susan. And then Lucy and Filius…" I groaned as a fresh wave of shame flooded my very being. "They are all disgusted with me and rightly so. I love my family. I love my people. What must they think of me now? What must Aslan think of me? He is probably even more ashamed of me than Oreius was today. How can I call myself His and act in such a way?"
Thalia pressed a light kiss against my shoulder. "I think you are ashamed enough for everyone." Before I could protest, she cupped my cheek and gently pressed until I turned my head to meet her light green eyes. "You are mortal, my lord. You are fallible. And you are permitted to have an absolutely wretched day." Her lips curved into a smile as she chided, "You shall certainly extend your most eloquent and sincere apologies to those you wronged today. However, I believe you shall find that you are your harshest judge in this matter."
"Thalia." I shook my head again, but this time I managed to smile at her. She was right. I did need her for my dearest confidante. Otherwise, I would have still been irritable at my failing and taking it out on others in addition to myself. I pulled her closer and kissed her. "Thank you."
She placed her finger against my lips, a particular gleam in her eyes that I recognized quite well after eight months of marriage. "Now that you have successfully slain the Ogre, perhaps, Husband, you might take note of the fact that your lady wife has returned after a week's absence?"
I laughed aloud then kissed her again. "I must beg your forgiveness, Flower, for neglecting to give you a more appropriate greeting." I nuzzled her cheek then trailed kisses down her neck, slipping the silk shoulder of her nightgown down her arm in order to plant more kisses. "I missed you beyond words. Does your father still not care for me?"
"You know my father finds you quite tolerable, Peter Pevensie. And-" Whatever else she was going to say was lost as I kissed her.
Later, as Thalia slept in my arms, I thanked Aslan once again that she was mine and I was hers. I needed her so much and something as simple as calming me and providing a trustworthy listener for the burdens I could not always take to Edmund and the girls more than hammered home that point. She had also made the absolutely wretched day turn into a far more pleasant night. And she was correct that everyone had already forgiven me my boorish behavior the day before…other than Oreius sentencing me to visit the points of the compass twice for training and Edmund making faces when he saw my poor attempt at unsnarling the Calormene issue.
A/N: Please Read and Review!