Inquiring Minds…
by San Antonio Rose

Between the vigor of the last dance and the sheer volume of wine he had consumed, Prince Corin of Archenland felt quite tipsy as he made his way back to the dais. He plonked himself into the empty chair beside King Peter of Narnia and heaved a heavy sigh, ignoring the amused smile Peter turned his way.

"Silly ol' Cor, wed at last," Corin said for the fifth time that evening. "Poor lad."

"Oh, come, Corin," Peter retorted gently. "The Tarkheena Aravis is a lovely lady and a good match for Cor."

Corin snorted. "Y'know what he told me? He said they're so used to fightin' an' makin' up that they're getting married so as to do it more conveniently."

Peter laughed.

Corin looked back out at the dancers, waved to his brother and sister-in-law, and suddenly spotted Lucy dancing with Tumnus. She really was beautiful, he realized, and his thoughts spilled into speech. "We know what Queen Susan's thoughts on marriage are, but what about Lucy?"

Peter sipped his wine as he watched his sister and her best friend laughing at some private joke. He chuckled and shook his head. "Nay, Lucy is not yet ready to give her heart away. The cares of state are enough for her; she is happy to have no romantic entanglements."

Corin nodded approvingly. "Good for her. Marriage is for grown-ups, anyway."

Peter raised an eyebrow. "But Corin, Lucy is a woman grown, and thou art thyself an adult."

"Faugh," said Corin. "I shan't grow up. Ever. Princes don't have to."

Peter laughed again. The name Peter Pan flitted through his mind, though he couldn't quite place its significance.

Corin shot him a sidelong glance. "And what about you, eh? Surely High King Peter the Magnificent must have as many female admirers as our beloved Queen Susan has suitors."

Peter chuckled. "It gets rather embarrassing at times—thou shouldst have seen them swooning in the Lone Islands last time we were there!"

Corin laughed.

Peter's smile grew more wistful as he took another sip of wine. "But no," he said at last, "I shall not wed. At least not here," he added in a lower voice.

"Won't any of you?" Corin frowned.

Peter shook his head. "We had a long talk about it, Susan and I, some time after the Rabadash incident. I was hesitant to forbid her from marrying, but something told me that Rabadash was not the only prince who would change his demeanor in his own land. And so it proved."

"We're not all bad, you know," Corin argued.

Peter smiled. "I know, Corin, and not all were as foolish as Rabadash. But some sought her only as a prize, and some sought to disrupt our rule and conquer Narnia by capturing Susan in marriage. So finally we had to put an end to it. And then Edmund very wisely pointed out that even a good match would alter our relationships as co-rulers as well as siblings. A king who rules alone may wed as he pleases, and then he may choose to rule jointly with his queen; the four of us have no such luxury."

Corin nodded, digesting Edmund's insight. But when he looked at Peter again, something in his friend's face prompted him to ask, "There's more to it, though, isn't there?"

Peter sighed. "Aye."

"'Not here,' you said. What did you mean?"

It took Peter a moment to answer. "This may be hard to believe, Corin, but our memories of life before the war against the White Witch are fading. I am not sure I could find my way back to the wardrobe now if I tried. And yet somehow… somehow deep down, I know we have to go back, that we have things yet to do there. But I know not what we will find when we go back."

"You couldn't take a spouse with you, I suppose?"

Peter shook his head. "It would be too much of a shock. And if time passes differently between there and here…."

He didn't finish the sentence. He didn't have to. Corin nodded his comprehension.

"And I assume the same thing goes for a woman who happened to fall through from your world?"

Peter nodded. "It simply would not work."

"But…" Corin's eyes twinkled mischievously. "Is there a girl you left behind you?"

Peter looked at him oddly. "Do you think I should remember if there were? I cannot now call to mind even my mother's face."

"Sorry," Corin mumbled and went bright red.

Peter lay a hand on Corin's arm and squeezed it, smiling his forgiveness. "There may be someone there for me. But I doubt it. According to the Chronicles, the Lord Digory and the Lady Polly seem to have been the only other people from our world to have been to Narnia and returned, but we know not if they even live in our day. And I could not very well marry someone who could not understand about Narnia."

"What if there were another girl…."

Peter interrupted before Corin's train of thought could get very far from the station. "How likely is that, really? I believe it is only by Aslan's will that people come and go between our worlds. And she would have to be a child, it seems, and that would mean we would have to wait until we were both grown—if we even met."

"She might meet you here."

"But she would not know me as someone her own age; she would know me only as the High King, grown to full manhood." He shook his head. "No, Corin. I think it highly unlikely."

Just then Lucy returned to her seat. "Ah, why so solemn, my dear brother? Not pining that thou hast renounced marriage, surely?"

"'Tis Corin's fault," Peter replied, a twinkle returning to his eye and a smile playing about the corners of his mouth. "He asked."

"Corin! Fie for shame!"

Corin pretended to hang his head, but both of Narnia's sovereigns were laughing, and he could not keep the cheeky grin from creeping onto his face.

"For myself," Lucy continued, "I take more pleasure in seeing the joy of my friends. If Aslan wills it, I shall wed, but only when and to whom he intends. And if he wills that I wed not, so be it."

"Huzzah!" cried Corin.

"Oh, thou'rt as drunk as an owl," Peter grumbled good-naturedly, ruffling the prince's hair.

"I propose a toast," Corin said, drawing himself up and raising his goblet. "To the single life."

Peter and Lucy grinned at each other and raised their own goblets. "To the single life!"

A/N: "Oh, you're as drunk as an owl" is a quote from G. K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday. I couldn't resist applying it to Corin, since it sounds like such a Narnian thing to say.

For movie-only fans, you'll find the events mentioned here in The Horse and His Boy and The Magician's Nephew, and you should probably also read The Last Battle.

The books don't say for sure whether Corin ever married, but he doesn't seem like the type to have much interest in romance. As for the Pevensies, again, the books never say, but it's clear that they don't marry in Narnia; Lucy is too young in our world according to the ages set forth in Paul Ford's Companion to Narnia, and it's implied that Peter and Edmund don't marry here. Neither, for that matter, do Digory and Polly (and of course Jill and Eustace are too young). Susan may have married, but probably only after she ceased to be a friend of Narnia and started concentrating on lipsticks and nylons; as I have Peter point out, it would be awfully hard to marry someone who can't understand that you spent several decades as king or queen of a country full of talking beasts and mythical creatures in a world connected to our own only through exceedingly rare portals—unless, of course, you've managed to convince yourself that you didn't.

Yes, I know the pirates who invaded Telmar are an exception to the children-only rule. That's probably because they still believed in magic. And you'll note that the only adult to ever return to our world from Narnia was Uncle Andrew, and we all know what happened to him.