AN: This fic is a oneshot. Caspian/Drinian with implied Caspian/Drinian/Ramandu's daughter. Reviews are appreciated.
At seven, Rilian is an active child. Drinian watches as he whacks Caspian lightly with his wooden sword. Caspian groans in mock pain and doubles over. Rilian giggles and Drinian cannot help smiling himself. Sometimes, the king is like a child.
Of course, there are wheedling courtiers about as there always are. One of them speaks. "He is as much like your Majesty in bravery as he is in looks," he says.
Drinian flinches. He has looked, hopeful, into Rilian's face a thousand times for signs of Caspian. He has never been able to find any. Caspian ruffles Rilian's hair and then comes over to stand beside Drinian. He takes in Drinian's troubled expression, then places a hand on Drinian's shoulder.
"It isn't true, you know," he says. "They say that to flatter me, but Rilian looks like his mother."
Drinian gives a half smile, intensely aware of Caspian's fingers upon the bare skin at the base of his neck. His mind goes back to that night and he shivers.
At the ball that night, Drinian thought that Caspian and his queen were more glorious than he had ever seen them. More beautiful than when they were first married, more wise than they would be years later when slowness and senility would overcome them. They were in the very prime of life, two perfect things seen at the perfect time.
Although it was not Caspian's habit, that night he drank just a bit too much than was strictly good for him. Drinian stayed until the end of the event and took the king's arm, helping him to his room, without appearing to hold him up.
The king sat unsteadily upon his bed and when Drinian turned to go, Caspian grabbed him by the arm and pulled him onto the bed. "There are things that I wish to discuss with you, my friend," he said. His head was turned and his lips curled, as if there were something distasteful set in front of him.
"Is aught amiss?" Drinian asked, alarmed at the king's tone.
Caspian took several deep gulps, as if unable to catch his breath. "The queen and I will never be able to have an heir."
Drinian was not surprised. Caspian just turned forty and the queen would be forty within a year. They had yet to produce a single child. "If the queen is unable to have children --"
"It isn't her," Caspian said. "It's me."
Drinian drew in his breath. "You are sure?"
"Of course not. But I suspect."
Drinian sighed. "Your Majesty, I am truly sorry. But the kingdom is secure. If you are unable to produce an heir, I still think that we can be optimistic about a peaceful transfer of the kingship when you die."
"No!" Caspian snapped, so loud than Drinian nearly jumped off the bed. "There will be no peace. I have failed. Failed in my most important duty."
"Hardly the most important," Drinian said, trying to be light. Caspian ignored him.
"She cries," he said. "I hear her crying every month when the time comes and still we have not conceived a child. It has been so for years."
Drinian shifted, unsure of how to respond to such a personal confession. Caspian looked at Drinian with eyes that seemed to say more than his lips. "Am I so arrogant a man that I would put my own pride or honor before the welfare of my kingdom? Before my wife's happiness?"
"Your Majesty is not making any sense."
Caspian gave a wry smile. "I expect I am not." He reached over and brushed a tendril of hair out of Drinian's face – an oddly personal gesture. "If a woman cannot have a baby, that is one thing. But if another man were to give my wife a baby, then no one would ever know. And everyone would be a good deal happier."
Drinian froze as Caspian touched his cheek, the king's own face thoughtful.
She was glorious on that night. Beautiful, not as most women are beautiful, but like a statue or a painting – perfect. But it was Caspian that Drinian remembered the best. Caspian's hand in his hair, pulling his head back to give him a kiss. Caspian's lips on his neck, his breath smelling of honeyed cakes and wine. Caspian's voice in his ear, thanking him, telling him that he was amazing in every way.
He only wishes that he could feel Caspian in that way again.
The king's eyes continue to watch Drinian watching Rilian. Rilian who had come to the king and queen so late in life and was deemed a miracle by all. "It is a good thing," Caspian says, quietly, "that the prince has someone like you in his life."
Drinian says nothing, his eyes focused on the boy, his mind straying between the boy and the king.
Caspian sighs, almost regretful. "It is a good thing that I have someone like you in my life as well." And he walks away.