Disclaimer: Edmund and Peter Pevensie and all the characters and situations in the Chronicles of Narnia belong to C. S. Lewis and not to me.

LOVE'S CAPTIVE

Part One

Peter stood before the framed mirror that stood in the corner of his room. It was a good ten feet tall and five feet wide. If Oreius, his Centaur General, had been the sort to stand and admire himself, he could have had an uninterrupted view from the pointed tips of his ears to the end of his shining black tail and with room to spare.

The reflection Peter saw there now was nowhere near as impressive. Hardly magnificent, no matter his royal title. Of course he was dressed in as grand a style as a dozen Mouse tailors, five nimble-fingered Raccoons, an ancient Dwarf bootmaker, three overly nervous Faun valets and two very finicky sisters could arrange. Blue for his Northern Sky, gold for his royalty, white for his fealty to Aslan and His Great Father, the Emperor-beyond-the-Sea. His crown gleamed as golden as his hair. His eyes were as blue as the clear Christmas Day sky. Everyone who came to Cair Paravel today, from the smallest Mouseling to the gentle Buffin Giants, would no doubt think him a fine sight, but all he saw was Peter Pevensie, a boy from Finchley. What would Linnet see?

"What do you wish her to see, My Son?"

Peter caught his breath, for the first time noticing the majestic Lion standing just behind him, golden eyes penetrating. Peter turned to face Him and then made a deep bow.

"Forgive me, Aslan, I didn't see You there."

"You didn't see Me because you were too busy looking at yourself."

Peter's face turned fiery hot, and he ducked his head. "You're right. I'm sorry."

The Lion gave him a gentle nudge, and Peter looked up again. There was only love and warmth in His eyes.

"It is good that you consider well what you are about to do. Marriage, especially of My chosen ones, is not to be entered into lightly. It is love and joy and comfort and delight. It is also sacrifice and submission and death of self. Death, My Son, is pain and sorrow, but it is only when a seed dies that it can grow into what it is made to be."

Peter nodded gravely. He knew all this. It was precisely why that boy from Finchley who peered at him from out of the mirror looked so much like a boiled goose.

"Are you prepared to take such a step, Peter Pevensie?"

"What–" Peter swallowed hard and forced his voice down into a more normal octave. "What do You want me to do, Aslan?"

"I sent the lady to you, My Son. She has a gentle heart, pure and faithful and true, and she loves you. At least, I should say, she loves you as much as she is able."

"But–"

"Just as you love her, Peter. As much as that little bit of knowing and living and caring you have yet shared will allow. You think now that it is more than your heart can hold, but it is nothing compared to what it will become when you have lived together, when you have learned and grown and strived and grieved and rejoiced together. When you make your pledge before Me and before my Father, the two of you will indeed become one, and yet for all your lives you will be becoming one. If you continue to lay down your self for her and she for you, if you both seek Me anew every morning, if you make a vow to never let the sun go down upon your anger even if it means talking and listening until the sun rises once more, this tiny seed of love you now bear will grow into a rare and lovely tree, fruitful and sustaining for all your lives. Knowing all this, are you prepared, My Son, to begin this journey? Will you accept this gift I have brought to you in her?"

"What if–" Peter swallowed again. "What if I can't do it? What if I do everything wrong and make her sorry she married me?"

"You will," Aslan said, and there was a touch of humor in His golden eyes. "And she will, but only from time to time. You cannot be perfect, Beloved. Nor can she. But you can each of you cherish the other and give grace and forgiveness as often as it may be needed, and when you feel you have none to give, seek Me and I will supply you with My own. Are you prepared to do this, Peter? In humility and submission and thankfulness, will you take this gift I have brought to you? And give in yourself the gift I have brought to her?"

Peter couldn't speak for the tightness in his throat. He merely lowered his head in assent. Then he felt the touch of the Lion's kiss on his forehead.

"Be blessed, My High King, and know that I see the love and faithfulness you carry in your heart, for me and for your soon-to-be Queen. Be blessed and do not fear, for in whatever comes, I am with you both."

Tears stinging his eyes, Peter dropped to his knees before the Great Lion and clasped his arms around His neck, burying his face in the fragrant mane. "Help me, Aslan. Help me to love her the way You love her. Help me."

"Peter," Aslan purred, "do you remember when you first came to Narnia? When I showed you Cair Paravel yet far off and told you you would be High King? Did it seem like a hard thing? Like a thing that could not truly be?"

"Impossible," Peter admitted.

"And has it been easy for you, the keeping of My land and My people?"

"No, Aslan." Peter ducked his head again, hoping he did not sound ungrateful, because there was noplace he loved more than sweet Narnia. "Not always. And I've made so many mistakes."

"And yet you have done what I have asked of you. You have given yourself for your kingdom, even when you were at the end of your strength and had no more to give. You have loved her and served her and stood her champion all this while. Do this same for your Queen, My Son, and she will in turn uphold you in reigning over my Narnia. Do this, and you will find blessing all the days of your life."

Peter nodded, unable to speak his thanks. Surely the Lion knew.

"It is time, Peter," Aslan said, the words a low rumble in His chest. "Your brother is at the door, and it is time you claimed your bride."

Peter stood, and there was a sudden rapid knocking.

"Peter, you great lummox!" Edmund called, pretending as if he were greatly put out. "Are you coming down or not? Or should I cancel the wedding and send Linnet back to Archenland?"

"No, wait!" Peter said, hurrying to the door. "I'm coming! Aslan–"

When he turned back, the Great Lion was gone. Still, Aslan had been beside him when he had learned to be King. He would be there now, with him and Linnet, as they learned to truly love each other as husband and wife.

"Come on," Edmund called, knocking again. "Or do you want me to tell Linnet you've decided to go fishing instead?"

"You wouldn't dare!"

Peter flung open the door and found his brother lounging against the wall, impeccable in a doublet of dark blue velvet with silver trim that perfectly complemented his silver crown.

"I would dare," he said with a sardonic grin, "but she's just as twitterpated as you are, and likely wouldn't believe me. Now, are you ready or aren't you?"

Peter drew a deep breath, set his crown more firmly atop his head and then nodded. "It's time."

Author's Note: At long last, here is the story of Peter's wedding. If you're reading Traitor's Game, this is sort of a companion piece, since the wedding takes place in the middle of that story. But that's Edmund's story, and this is Peter's, so I figured it should be separate. Brownie points for anyone who knows where I got the title. More to come!

WD