Disclaimer: I own nothing here. Wish I did, but I don't, and it's probably better that way anyway.
Author's Note: This takes place the day after the coronation of the Pevensies. It's compatible with both movieverse and bookverse canon. Please enjoy, and please review. All feedback is welcomed and appreciated, no matter what you say.
I feel the sunlight of the warm morning upon my face, but I don't get up. The bed is so warm and comfortable and soft that I just don't want to move.
It's been so long since I've had a bed as warm as this. The last time was back home - is it even home anymore? - in England. Since then, I've had cold and hard dungeon floors, cold and hard hammock strings, and the cold hard ground.
And now it's come full circle. I don't want to leave it.
I guess I'm a little afraid to get out of bed - or even to open my eyes. I know that it's a little silly - all right, fine, quite silly - but I'm scared. I'm scared that if I open my eyes I'll be back in England and this was really all a dream. I don't know if I can take that. I'd rather just make-believe that I'm still in Narnia.
That I'm still a king.
No, this is wrong. I don't have to make-believe - this is my life now. I'm a king of Narnia and nothing can ever change that. Aslan wouldn't do that to me.
I open my eyes and I smile: the purple and red blanket I wrapped myself up in last night is still tangled about me. The swooping bedposts of the four-poster are still as ornate as ever, with carved leaves inset into the headboard where my eyes have rested themselves. I'm still here.
I'm still a king.
I slowly untangle myself from the soft blanket and sit up properly. The room is warm - it's hard to get used to that. It's hard to get used to summer when all this place has ever given me is winter. Sure, there's been spring, but spring isn't always warm. It's close, but not quite. Even back in England, it was always cold in my room when I woke up, even in the summer. I never wanted to get out of bed.
But now that I've got the covers - cover - off of me, I don't feel the chill I expected. I guess Aslan's gotten rid of even that.
The sunlight is spilling in through the open balcony. I thought, when I first saw the room last night, that it would make it terribly cold in here. A wide open balcony built into the room? Of course the night air -when it got later and colder - would seep into the room. The walls of my room merge perfectly into the balcony - this kind of circular outcropping, I guess, would be the best way to describe it - with nothing to hold the cold back. Nothing to keep it out.
But the cold never came after all, and the sight of the Narnian sun - is it the same sun? - is so stirring that I'm stirring. I ease myself out of the bed gingerly. Lucy's cordial saved me from death, but not from the bruises, the memories, or the pain. I'm grateful - of course I'm grateful to be alive - but I just wish I didn't hurt so much.
It's not so bad, I tell myself as I slowly cross the room to get to the balcony. My balance is a little off and I have to grasp wildly at a table along the way, but I get my bearings quickly enough. As I stand on the balcony, the wind greets me with a beautiful scent - jasmine? - as I look out over Narnia.
We rule separate portions of it, but it all has fallen to our care. And it's all so breathtaking, so green, so alive. Creatures are moving about down below, tending to early morning work, and some part of me wants to be down there with them. I want to learn what the baker does in the morning, and what's part of the blacksmith's routine. How am I to rule over them if I don't understand their lives?
There's someone knocking at the door.
"Ed? You awake, Ed?" a voice carries through. It's Peter's, through the door that leads into his room. Ours are back-to-back; the girls' are across the hall. I'm surprised Peter just didn't barge in - he never did have much patience. Of course, neither did I. But when all you've got as a prisoner is time? Well, you start to get plenty comfortable with waiting for something better to come along.
"I'm not decent," I call back. I'm wearing only my socks and boxers, after all. I never did feel comfortable in those robes at the Professor's.
"Oh, please, Ed," Peter answers, "There's nothing you haven't got that I haven't."
Did he really just say that?
Did my brother, High King Peter the Stuffy and Stodgy and Completely Prudish actually say that?
This has got to be some sort of dream.
I quickly cross to the door and open it, revealing a grinning Peter with his arms crossed over his bare chest. He's in just his boxers and socks, too.
"So, you gonna keep me out in the cold, or what?" he asks as the grin turns into a smirk.
"Don't be silly. It's not cold outside," I reply, give a grin of my own, and walk back over to the balcony.
I'm absolutely baffled - but pleasantly baffled. I'm starting to wonder if Peter's been dipping into the wine or something; he's not been sounding this fun in a long, long time. He hasn't had time to play around in ages. It's so good to see him so comfortable - although I could do without having to see my brother in his skivvies.
"Does that mean I can come in?" he asks, still teasing. I roll my eyes, but I don't think he can see that from the doorway.
"Yes, Peter," I reply in a tired sing-song. I hear the soft padding of his stocking feet against the marble floor as he comes to stand next to me.
He says nothing. It seems like he's just content to stand there and watch our kingdom - our beautiful kingdom - with me. It's so weird to see this side of Peter. Someone who doesn't have a reason for doing something, who's happy to just relax and joke around. For so long Peter's been preoccupied with something - maybe trying to be strong.
Maybe trying to be Dad.
Whatever it's been, it's been holding this side of him hostage. It's good to see this Peter. He's free.
"It's so beautiful," I remark.
"Yeah, it is," Peter replies, smiling out at the morning.
"It's hard to believe all this is ours," I go on.
"Yeah, it is," Peter repeats, but this time he turns his smile on me.
"You mean...you're..." I start, haltingly.
"Scared?" Peter finishes for me. I nod.
"Yeah, I'm scared. But we've got lots of friends here that are going to help us out. And we've got each other. I think we'll be all right," Peter asserts. I smile and nod as we turn as one to look out at the morning again.
We're silent for a little longer before I decide I need to say something else.
"I was thinking, earlier, that maybe I'd spend some time every day with the people. Y'know, figure out what their lives are like everyday. Of course, they'd have to be comfortable enough to do it with me around, and I guess that'll be a little hard at first. Especially given what's happened. But I think it could work," I finish. My eyes hesitantly slide to Peter, searching for approval.
"Sounds like a good idea to me," Peter says. I beam.
"You really think so?" I ask. I've got to make sure.
"Yeah. I think it's really clever of you. I never thought about anything like that," Peter admits. I smile and nod again as we turn back to the morning. Except this time, Peter's fidgeting a little and he doesn't seem as comfortable as he was before. I'm starting to get worried - I like this new Peter. I don't want to lose him.
Then Peter breaks the silence.
"Y'know, Ed, I'm really proud of you. I don't think I've ever told you that, have I?" he asks, but I think it's a rhetorical question, so I don't say anything in return. That, and I'm just a little stunned at the moment.
"You've always been really...passionate about stuff. No matter what it was, you threw yourself behind it a hundred and ten percent. Even if it was for something you shouldn't have been doing at the time. And you're really clever. Really. Sometimes I find myself wishing I could come up with some of those hare-brained schemes you think up all the time. And..." Peter trails off, his eyes tearing themselves from the world below to me.
Or, more specifically, the one long scar on my stomach.
"I'm really proud of how brave you were out there. You were smart, and strong, and brave. And I don't think I was ever more proud of you - and more scared - in my entire life," Peter admits, looking back up into my eyes again. "I really can't believe it. My little man's growing up."
I smile a little, then stop thinking and do what I feel is right: I take one small step and pull my brother into a fierce hug. He doesn't move for a second - I think he's surprised - but then he's squeezing me just as tightly. It hurts - I'm still sore - but it's a good hurt. I don't know what else to call it; it's just good.
After I think he's had enough, I break the embrace.
"Come on, enough of this mushy stuff, all right? We've got a kingdom to run," I joke. Peter laughs - actually laughs!
"I wonder if they've got breakfast ready," he says.
"Mmm. I think I could eat a whole plate of kippers right now," I reply.
"Race ya to 'em?" he suggests.
"You're on, Pete," I fire back, donning my own smirk.
We both move into running stances.
"On the count of three," I say, "One. Two -"
"Three!" Peter interrupts, taking off.
"Get back here, you rotten cheater!" I scream, grinning madly as I chase my brother out the door and into the hallway.
I'm sure we got a lot of funny looks. I mean, two practically naked kings chasing each other around a castle? Yeah, I'd think they were off their rockers, too.
But to be honest?
I don't think I've ever had more fun with my brother in my entire life. It's like he's being a kid again. Like he's got my back no matter what. Like he really thinks I'm someone important. Like he's being my brother, not my father.
And I'm loving every minute of it.
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