AN: Just a little something on Caspian's relationship with his aunt. This fic is sort of inspired by my other fic, Son of Miraz, though you don't have to read that one to get this one.

The Boy

The boy had golden curls as perfect as a cherub's.

Prunaprismia did not believe in cherubs anymore than she believed in fauns or wood nymphs or beasts who could speak in the tongues of men or any of the other ridiculous nonsense that the peasants sometimes told tales of to one another. Prunaprismia was a no nonsense sort of person. Still, she had seen some old pictures of cherubs, and the young Prince Caspian looked very much like one.

Some women had to guard themselves against the temptations of a handsome lover. Some women had to guard themselves against the love of fine things – jewelry, clothing, horses. Pruna's curse was a four year boy. When she had first come to the castle as a bride two years ago, Pruna's first inclination had been to pick Caspian up and coo over him and cuddle him as nearly any woman would be wont to do with such an adorable baby. She had stopped herself.

Prunaprismia's family was an ambitious one. Any legitimate king of Narnia would have chosen a foreign princess as wife, but Miraz had only been regent and he had needed the support of Pruna's father who was a powerful lord the western part of the country. Now, her husband was styling himself king of Narnia and Pruna knew in her bones that neither she nor her family would ever be safe as long as Caspian lived.

"The true king" some lords whispered of the small boy who was now tottering about the room. Miraz quickly took care of those types of lords, but the whispers never stopped entirely. They called her husband the "Usurper". The worst of it was that Caspian really was the true king. Miraz had good enough reason to style himself "Lord Regent" – Caspian was still merely a baby – but he had no legitimate reason to call himself king while his nephew still lived.

Sometimes, Pruna would fume to herself. Why would her husband not simply kill the boy? As long as he lived, both of their lives were in danger. More, the lives of the children not yet born to them were in danger. Pruna knew that the right word to her father could cause the boy's death, but she could never bring herself to say it.

Perhaps next year, she thought absently, watching the boy smile at his uncle. It will be easier when he is less adorable and I have a child of my own in my belly to think of. Or perhaps in a few years when he becomes a sulky, dissatisfied youth. Yes, it will be easier then.

The boy, who was now running about the room, fell flat on his face. Pruna cried out and almost ran to him, but she restrained herself. Miraz looked around, uncomfortably, as if unsure what to do. Caspian began crying, but no one ran to comfort him, no one held him and soothed him and told him everything would be all right. Pruna felt her own face harden. Everything wouldn't be all right. Caspian would likely be dead before he reached adulthood. If he were not – the consequences were too much to think of. The kingdom plunged into civil war. Her own sons pitted against Caspian, killed in battle or worse, murdered far sooner, in the cradle, by Caspian's supporters. Herself killed or, at best, banished. Her father and mother disgraced. Pruna closed her eyes.

Caspian's nurse had to be called for and it was she who lifted him to his feet and dusted him off. It was found that nothing was wrong with him other than a small bump on his elbow. "Aunt, look," Caspian said, running up to her and showing her his injury. He had stopped crying now.

It was painful for Pruna to have to turn her face from him. "Take the boy away," she said, "the king and I do not have time for a wailing child." She told herself that he was just a boy – not her boy – and that there was no reason that she should be concerned for him. It was a mantra that she repeated to herself often. "Just a boy," she whispered, softly.

"What?" her husband asked.

"Nothing," she replied, scowling at him.