by Val Evenstar
A/N: It's been a loooong time since I've written... so here's an attempt or two to warm up the old fingers and do a couple of sketches.
"I'll knock you down!" Corin hollered, taking the stairs two at a time in pursuit of his brother. His twin was, Corin noted, very likely to run himself into a corner soon, because this was the old part of the castle and here there were still nooks and crannies that Corin didn't know about, much less his newly-arrived brother. This gave him a bit of devilish satisfaction, an emotion that, had he stopped to think about it, would have caused him some shame. But Cor was far better at thinking about that sort of thing, and Corin much preferred the thrill of the chase, so to each his own.
"I didn't... mean it," Cor managed to throw back over his shoulder as he reached the ground floor and skidded around the base of the staircase, only to frantically sprint off down the closest hallway. Corin merely responded with a wild whoop, jumping over the last four steps in an attempt to close the distance that separated the two.
The chase ended soon enough, as did the hallway; Cor desperately burst through the last door on the right, then slid to a halt; it was a dead end. Turning, he let slip a few of the more unpleasant words he had learned from Arsheesh, as he saw Corin leap triumphantly into the room. He had barely a second before he realized that Corin's words were not just an empty threat this time, and had just managed to raise his hands defensively when his twin's fists struck out and Cor found himself on the dusty floor of an unused storeroom.
Corin stepped back, still moving lightly on the balls of his feet as he had been taught. He was momentarily puzzled at his brother's lack of resistance, but to tell the truth he was really more concerned with congratulating himself that his double strike (which his instructor had told him emphatically could never work) had in fact succeeded. After a sufficient period of celebration, which mostly consisted of reenacting the aforementioned move several times on the air in front of him, Corin noticed something odd. He stopped his attempts to knock down the atmosphere and stood still. "Well?" he demanded of his brother.
"Well what?" answered Cor, and we can forgive him if he sounded more than a little bit peevish; he had, after all, a newly formed bruise on his temple.
"Well, what are you going to do now?" Corin said, looking down at him.
Cor stared up at him crossly, one arm still raised over his head in self defence. "I'm going to wait until you come to your senses and stop trying to box me all the way to Narnia." The best way to deal with people's fits of temper, Cor had learned, was to just grin and bear it, and not do anything to provoke them. Then hopefully they would get bored and leave one to one's own business. This had usually worked whenever Arsheesh got particularly upset with him; the old man simply didn't have the strength to go on yelling or throwing things or smacking him for long.
To Cor's great surprise, a look of vast confusion was forming on his brother's face.
"No," Corin said, in a manner that can only be described as distressed. "I knocked you down!" He looked at Cor expectantly, as if that should clear everything up.
It did not. Corin's previous expression now took up residence on Cor's features. "Yes, you did," the older boy agreed, not sure why they were simply reaffirming the obvious.
"Well so don't just sit there!"
It occurred to Cor that maybe it would be satisfying to knock Corin down, although he wasn't sure what the good King Lune would think of that, even were he able to carry out this fantasy. But - "I think I'll stay down here, if you don't mind," he said.
"No, no," Corin cried, obviously perplexed, though for what reason Cor couldn't imagine. "I knocked you down. Don't you see, I haven't the right to do that, nor has anyone! So you can't just take that!"
Cor blinked. Could he really be expected to hit the king's son, in his own house, without any consequences? He shook his head, and reminded himself again that if Corin was his brother, King Lune was also his father. And this was his house as well. But in Calormen he had known how unwise it was to show cheek to his betters, even though they, same as anyone, had no right to knock him down...
"Get up, silly!" Corin said earnestly, extending his hand. "When someone knocks you down, you've got to get back up!"
It was, Cor wondered, the only thing Corin knew to do, and the one thing he found most foreign to his thinking. Feeling oddly humbled, but very much an Archenlander, Cor took his brother's hand and got up.
"There, you see?" Corin exclaimed. "Now I can knock you down again!"