Dedication: To my beautiful sister LadyLapisLazuli - I was going to make this fluffy for you, but you know what I'm like. I just can't help myself.

Notes: This one's for prompt #11 - 'What if we fell in love?' at 100foraslan. It's 400 words exactly. I'm probably embarrassing myself, since I wrote it just this morning and it's more or less unedited, but I can't be bothered with my usual perfectionism today.


Caspian is not an easy person to care about.

There are times when Edmund wonders whether it's worth all the trouble. Whether Caspian mightn't have been right after all when he'd said he wasn't ready to be king. There are many ways, he thinks, in which the Telmarine monarch is still a child. He's stubborn and temperamental. Sometimes he loses his temper for no reason at all. Sometimes he's self-pitying and impossible to deal with.

At royal functions, Edmund sits quietly and rolls his eyes as Caspian flirts shamelessly with the ladies of the court. He doesn't mean anything by it, but none of the ladies realise that. They're all completely under his spell.

Edmund doesn't blame them. Sometimes he wonders whether he isn't a bit enchanted himself.

Today, he's been dragged into the study with Caspian to look at some supposedly troublesome loophole in Narnia's trade agreements with Archenland. Caspian is leaning over a piece of parchment, russet hair falling forward over his face, and it strikes Edmund how easy it would be to make Caspian fall for him. Because at the heart of all Caspian's flirtatiousness, his quick temper and his inexplicable bouts of sullenness, is a desperate craving for approval and affection. It's an unforgivable flaw in a king, who cannot afford to need to be liked by all his subjects. But Edmund knows that he'll never exploit this vulnerability – and for all he knows, he's the only one that even sees it. For all he knows, Caspian has everyone else fooled.

Wordlessly, Caspian reaches out to hand over the paper he's been working on. Their fingers brush, and Edmund feels a jolt of warmth run down his arm and into his stomach. Their eyes meet, and Caspian smiles – a nervous, uncertain smile. He's noticed as well, then.

Edmund smiles back, and turns his gaze to the parchment as casually as he can. It would be so easy to just lean over the desk, to press his lips to Caspian's and kiss him until all trade agreements and politics and matters of state fade to utter insignificance. But he won't. Falling in love with Caspian would be a disaster – a blissful, cathartic, delicious disaster, but a disaster nonetheless. Because regardless of his charm, Caspian isn't ready to fall in love. He's too difficult, too uncertain of himself.

And it's altogether too easy to love him for it.