A/N: And it's been another five months since I last updated *hangs head in shame*. I finally finally watched Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which kind of inspired me to write this chapter (although it's completely unrelated). Hopefully the inspiration stays and I can actually get a few more chapters written! If you have any suggestions, I'd be glad to hear them. So yes, for those of you who reviewed the last chapter; Lady Eleanor Boleyn, havefaithhavechocolate, metaphoricheart and MarchHare95, thank you very much, I really appreciate it. And if anyone actually does read this chapter, well, I hope you enjoy :)
Chapter 13- Peter and Edmund
Peter was in the midst of a conversation with several Archenland nobles when he noticed that one of his siblings was missing. He could clearly see Susan standing on the other side of the hall from him, surrounded by a swarm of admirers hanging onto her every word. Or at least appearing to be hanging onto her every word; Peter could see even from a distance that they appeared more taken by her beauty that her brains, although Susan seemed oblivious to this fact. He needed to have a talk with her later.
Lucy was only a few metres away from him, entertaining several fauns with a lively tale, judging from the way her hands were waving around excitedly. Peter couldn't help but grin; despite her fifteen years of age, Lucy had still somehow managed to retain her childhood innocence and happiness, something she was well loved for in Narnia, and something Peter was extremely grateful for.
But where was Edmund? Peter craned his neck, searching for the familiar mop of dark hair amidst the crowd, but was unsuccessful in locating his brother. Frowning, he excused himself from the Archenland crowd and crossed the hall, exiting through a side door. He was barely aware that both Susan and Lucy were following him with worried eyes, completely focused on finding his youngest brother.
The first place Peter checked was the kitchens. Edmund, with his large, slightly unpredictable appetite, could often be found in the kitchens, filling himself up on a variety of foods and generally disturbing the staff there. However the kitchens, a bustle of activity at the moment in preparation for dessert, held no Edmund, and it was with a furrowed brow that Peter left, growing worried at the absence of his brother.
He next wandered outside, thinking that perhaps Edmund had just needed fresh air. Peter himself took in an appreciative breath after being in the crowded hall for so long; however there was no Edmund in sight. Peter was just about to head back indoors when he saw a slight movement from a window upstairs. A window that belonged to Edmund's room, Peter realised, and he rushed back inside, his feet automatically directing him to Edmund's quarters. Reaching the ajar door, Peter held out a hand and slowly pushed it inwards.
"Ed?" Peter asked, peering into the large room.
"Peter? What are you doing here?" Edmund asked as he rose from his bed where he had been seated. Peter raised an eyebrow.
"I could ask you the same question," he said in a slightly reprimanding tone. "Why aren't you out there entertaining our guests?"
"I was err…" Edmund looked away, shifting his weight between his feet.
"You were…" Peter prompted.
"Nothing. I'll come back down," Edmund muttered, making to move past Peter, but Peter raised a hand to stop him.
"No, Ed, tell me what's wrong."
"You'll laugh," Edmund muttered, his head bowed, voice low, but Peter still heard him.
"I won't laugh Ed," Peter promised, despite having no clue what Edmund was going to tell him. Edmund looked up at him, face slightly flushed although his expression was defiant.
"I was… well if you must know, I was hiding," Edmund finally admitted, ducking his head again. Peter felt rather confused.
"Hiding?" He repeated, brows furrowed.
"Hiding from what?"
"From… hiding from the- the women, Pete."
Peter was silent for a moment, staring at his younger brother. And then he burst out laughing.
"It's not funny!" Edmund protested, folding his arms across his chest defensively and glaring at Peter, who had a hand pressed over his mouth in a vain attempt to quieten his laughter. "Peter!"
Peter swallowed, trying desperately to gain his breath back before Edmund slugged him or did something equally violent. It took him several moments, but he somehow managed to force down his chuckles, although his mouth was still stretched into a wide smile that refused to go away.
"Ed. Oh Ed, what am I going to do with you?" He asked, voice full of adoration. He slung one arm around Edmund's shoulder, directing his brother towards the bed in the centre of the room. The two sat down, Edmund still glaring at his older brother.
"Well firstly, you must tell me Edmund, exactly what have these women been doing?" Peter asked, biting his lip to stop it from twitching. Edmund glanced at him suspiciously; well aware that Peter's amusement was far from over, before replying.
"They keep talking to me." He replied with a frown. Noticing Peter's raised eyebrow, he hurried on. "And then they make these high pitched giggles and they flip their hair to and fro, it's extremely off-putting!"
Peter let out a muffled laugh, hastily disguised by a cough.
"It's not funny Peter. I've been feeling extremely uncomfortable," Edmund said with a frown, and Peter immediately stopped laughing, his face adopting its 'serious' look.
"And worst of all, I don't know why they're doing it," Edmund finished miserably, and Peter's heart went out to his little brother. Sighing, he took a deep breath. It was time.
"Edmund," Peter began, and Edmund's head shot up, thinking Peter had some advice for him. "What you're experiencing… is a by product of the affection of these women."
"The… affection?" Edmund echoed, looking confused. "What do you mean, affection?"
"I mean that they like you, Ed. The giggling, the hair flicking; it's their way of showing they're interested in you. They fancy you."
"They- they fan-they like- what?" Edmund was flabbergasted, his dark eyes wide, face growing increasingly pale.
"Don't sound so shocked Edmund."
"But they… they fancy me Peter! Why would they fancy me?" Edmund sounded absolutely appalled at the idea, and Peter found himself once again struggling not to laugh.
"Well Ed, you are seventeen. Practically a man now," Peter commented, ruffling Edmund's hair. "And I don't think your good looks are very helpful." Edmund blushed and batted Peter's hand away.
"You can hardly talk Peter," he mumbled, flattening his hair self consciously.
Peter snorted. He'd been fighting off noble ladies from a variety of lands for the past few years now, and it never ceased to surprise him how forward some of them were. It was unfortunate that Edmund had reached the age where he too had become a target.
"I don't want to be in a relationship," Edmund blurted out worriedly, looking at Peter helplessly.
"You don't have to Ed," Peter reassured soothingly. "But you can't hide in your room every time a female visitor arrives."
"But what do I do? I don't know how to act around them," Edmund said nervously, wringing his hands.
"Just pretend they're Susan and Lucy," Peter suggested. Edmund raised his eyebrow at the suggestion.
"Peter, Susan and Lucy do not act like that," he replied in a slightly condescending tone.
"Well then, just be polite. Don't insult them; we don't want to start a war."
"And what if they were to… to make an advance on me?" Edmund stuttered, looking horrified at the idea.
"Then, dear Edmund, you simply call for me and I will be at your side in an instant," Peter promised, and from his tone of voice Edmund knew it wasn't a joke. There was a pause before Peter rose to his feet, looking back at Edmund.
"Do you feel ready to brave the crowd?" He asked, offering his hand. Edmund bit his lip before accepting the helping hand, rising to his feet beside Peter.
"I don't suppose I have a choice, do I," he said sadly. Peter grinned.
"Alas, my dear brother, you are finally privy to the downside of being a royal monarch," he intoned.
"Oh right, because everything else about being a monarch is so brilliant," Edmund replied with a smirk, laughing as he dodged Peter's elbow. The two kings raced down the corridor in a decidedly un-kingly manner, forgetting their duties as monarchs for a moment, instead focusing on their duties as brothers.
Thanks for reading, and if you can spare a moment, a review would be much appreciated :)