Charters/Pairing: Heavily hinted Vexen-x-Jadis Time Period: Pre-Wardrobe/Pre-CoM Ratings/Warnings: K+/PG - None.
I wrote this when I realised that Narnia was now Disney-canon, so this has both book and films in mind. I think this is one of those crossover pairings that could really work. I would love to write these two again.
The power of this place is delicious. It is a sharp, bitter-cold taste on the tip of the tongue, freezing saliva to the roof of your mouth. The frost has travelled far and wide across this newly-discovered world, with its iced black trees, and its solidified lakes frozen to the unsinkable depths. Even the sky itself has been infected, now frosty and opaque like decorative glass. The sun is nowhere to be found up there. Then again it is quite late now. It's getting darker and colder.
When Xemnas discovered this little nugget of life in one the darker, more negated corners of the universe, he sent Vexen to explore it without sanitation. Now VI understands why.
Vexen reaches up and snaps off a icicle from a bough of one of the trees, holding it in a mild grasp, studying its clarity, its shape and, more importantly, its chill. It's a perfect specimen. Sharp enough to piece flesh; in the right hands, of course. It takes patience and skill to control an element, and no lesser man can harness its power willy-nilly. Then again Vexen is not a lesser man. Far from it - he's above most men.
The icicle is freezing onto the leather of the scientist's glove, clinging onto it with a cold stickiness, wanting to rip it up and ruin the leather. Vexen tightens his hold on the dragger of ice and it starts to brake and snap. He closes his fingers into a fist, the middle of the piece crushed into sparkling dust in his palm. The end reminds fall onto the ground. He opens his hand again and brushes the splinters off his glove. He continues on his walk.
He doesn't know how long he has been wandering: a few hours, maybe the whole afternoon. When Vexen arrived here, it was in the late, still-crisp morning. He's been here for a very long time at any rate. He should be getting back to Never Was… but he will give it a few more hours, to see if he has missed anything important. That, and the world's power is almost intoxicating to Vexen. If he wasn't so proud and dignified, he may just lie down on the ground in the powder, sprawl out and comfortable across the snow like a young child enveloped in the cosiness of a soft bed. To feel the world's powerful essence rise from the centre, so he may absorb, become drunk from its mouth-watering winteriness.
Wait. He can hear something. Some noise faint and distant, getting louder with every second. Curious, Vexen makes his careful way through the trees, towards a clean path through the woods. He can hear it more clearly now, and he knows what it is: bells. Jingle bells, to be accurate, making a light, airy sound through the wind. The sound is soon joined by the noise of kicking hooves in the snow and the crack of a flogging whip. Someone is approaching; someone who may or may not be a threat.
Vexen breaths in a large gulp of cold air deeply, and summons his shield to his side. He holds it steady in his left hand, to his chest as he stays hidden behind a truck of a tree. Soon the noise will come roaring by, and he will be ready, in just a few more seconds, a few more moments.
The source of the noise comes into sight and Vexen suddenly forgets himself of a moment, walking out of his hiding spot into the open, watching the impressive, blue sleigh glide on by.
The sleigh stops a few yards away from the ice sage, and he can see it properly. The sleigh is gilded with silver and white, decorative but sturdy. Up in front, a few pure white reindeer, as big as horses, are reined up, trotting a little and shaking their heads in frustration. In the driver's seat, there is short, bearded creature, like an old man. It is a dwarf. Vexen has seen them before. However, he doesn't really care about all of that. Not now that he has seen the passenger riding in the back.
She stands up. She is a very tall woman, surprisingly a couple of inches taller than Vexen himself. She is slender and broad-shouldered, strong in her own way, dressed in a pelt of a large animal, a polar bear possibly, very likely had killed it herself, and now she was wearing it as a trophy. Her skin is whiter than the snow itself, her colour clean and pure like light. Her long, blonde hair is twisted back, fancy yet practically in case she has to fight a battle. Her handsome, beautiful face bares experience, knowledge, sternness and great pride. She is definitely a lady of high authority.
She stands bold and straight, staring coldly at Vexen, not approaching him, a long wand in her strong hand. The man takes a short intake of breath through his mouth, making a low hissing sound. He makes his weapon disappear into the Nothingness again, and takes a few steps forward then stops again when he is out from between the trees. Keeping himself unwavering, he bows like a gentleman, pushing his hair out of his face when he stands again.
"Forgive me, dear lady. I did not mean to get in the way of your travels."
The woman tilts her head slightly, like she is trying to work out how he functions, a white tiger watching prey. She gives him a look up and down, taking in his long angled face, his straight ash-blond hair, his slim body and his eyes, chips of green frost shining out. After a long, quiet moment, she speaks, always with a ruling tone.
"And what, pray, are you supposed to be?"
"Me? I am a Nobody, my noble woman" Vexen says truthfully. Was that reckless? To tell her straight out what he is? Does it really matter, now he has told her already?
The woman arches a brow slowly. "A Nobody? Where do you come from? Calormen? From beyond the Eastern Ocean?"
"No, no. I am from a different world entirely." He is speaking more truth and he cannot seem to stop himself. Nevertheless, Vexen's words spark something in the woman's eyes. They widen a touch, like she is surprised by the statement. Then she relaxes and smiles. A very small smile, as if she is pleased with something. The dwarf driver looks quite bewildered by all of this.
The woman raises her free arm and outstretches her hand towards the man. Vexen smiles in return and steps over, taking hold of her hand. They are colder that his. Even through the leather, he can feel the chill radiating off her bare skin. If the world's powers in ice cause freeze the core of a soul, hers can burn, applying a slower, more painful death to her victims. She was a deadly woman indeed.
"So you are a foreigner here?" she says smoothly as he helps her step down of the sleigh, so they are now about eye level. "Then that must mean that you do not know who you are addressing."
"I'm afraid not, milady" Vexen sighs, sounding like he is regretting not know her identity. "Please, tell me, whose presences I have the privilege to stand before." The woman lets go of his hand and holds a part of her fur coat in her grasp, raising her head a little higher.
"You are standing before Her Imperial Majesty, Jadis, Queen of Narnia, Chatelaine of Cair Paravel and Empress of the Lone Islands."
"Ah. I should have known." Vexen bows again, a little lower this time. "A woman as powerful and as beautiful as you must be of royal blood. It cannot be any other way." Jadis' smile grows a touch, making her look amused. Vexen is just playing along, and all-in-all, her power is a drug, a toxin that he likes the aroma of. He can even taste it. Jadis allows Vexen to take her hand again.
"So what title do you live by?" she asks.
"Vexen" answers the Nobody. "The Chilly Academic."
"Academic? You are a scholar of the highest order then? What is your study?"
"A grand matter of things I find interesting… but in my current situation, I have been focusing on the functions of the heart… and the workings of the worlds found in this universe…"
He meets Jadis' eyes again, and gets a good look of them for the first time. They are blue. A midnight blue, filled with icy hellfire. They are showing him just how dangerous and powerful she is. Vexen chuckles on the inside. She may be a queen of ice, but he is an embodiment of ice. The closest to ice a living creature can be. He tromps her tenfold. He just doesn't wish to show-off, and be flashy. But she is very strong, yes, and powerful, very powerful. She just doesn't know what she has at her disposal. She does not listen to the element like he does; does not become allies with it in combat. She just takes from it selfishly.
"Please, Vexen" Jadis says, all charm, "do ride with me for a while. It will be nice to have company while looking over my land."
"I would be a delight and privilege, Her Highness." Daringly, he kisses her hand, planting his lips against her skin briefly, never lingering. He leaves behind a cold patch and he smiles wickedly. "A complete and utter delight."
Jadis looks at her hand, feeling the cold patch that was more sub-zero then she was. She almost feels… surprised again, and almost shivers because of it but she shakes it off, not allowing her chills become evident in her body. When the bitter frosty skin returns to its normal temperature, she climbs up on the sleigh, gently pulling Vexen by the hand behind her. He lets Jadis take a seat first before following her lead. She places her staff-like wand by her side. The sleigh is surprisingly roomy. The seat is covered in white fur as well. The lady seems to like to show off her rank.
"Before anything else, I do believe I must offer you a drink" Jadis says softly, almost kindly but to call it that would be laughable. "It would be rude for me not to do so."
"If you don't mind going to the trouble, Your Highness," Vexen says with a nod of his head, "I would enjoy joining you in a drink." He looks around, but doesn't see anything resembling drinking tumblers or jugs or bottles. Where will she conjure the drinks from?
From somewhere in her skins and wrapping, Jadis pulls out a little veil made from crystal glass and copper, with a gold liquid sloshing about inside. Holding out her arm, the queen lets three small drops fall onto the snow. Vexen sees them shine in mid-air for a second, but as soon as they hit the snow, the individual droplets formed with the snow into bejewelled, silver objects. Two of the droplets make tall goblets of silver and frosted ice, containing a steaming reddish-brown liquid that smells like the finest spiced rum. The remaining droplet takes form into an attractive box, tided up with a pretty shamrock-green ribbon.
The dwarf slips down off his seat in front and hands them the luxury items, passing Vexen both goblets to hold and gives Jadis the box. The Nobody can't help seeing the dirty, untrusting look the little creature gives him, but he mumbles a "thank you" all the same before it returns to the driver's seat to take the reins his hands, ready to go.
Jadis calls out. "Go on!"
A crack from the whip and they are on their way. The reindeers trot on at a casual pace, the bells jiggling once more. The wind dances through their hair, caressing their faces. Jadis unties the box on her lap and lifts up the lid, relieving lots of fancy chocolate nibbles: the type with swirls and full of sweet fillings - hazelnut, nougat, toffee, caramel, Turkish delight. The woman takes her goblet and tugs at her fur mantle to wrap it around Vexen too, so they are closer.
The man smiles, raising his goblet in the air. "A toast?"
"What should we toast to?" Jadis asks with a laugh.
"…How about everything?" Vexen suggests.
Jadis chuckles, the sound low in her throat. "To everything then… Especially us."
They make their glasses meet, making a soft bell-like tingle between them before having their first drink together. Jadis pick up one of the nibbles and holds it up to Vexen's mouth. It's slightly playful in a way, flirtatious maybe. It's something that a teenage girl would do, but her eyes are too smouldering, too deadly for it to be like that. Vexen stops himself from shaking his head at her and parts his lips, allowing her to pop the sweet in. He bites down and his mouth fills with Turkish delight.
"So then, my dear scholar," with a smile, Jadis rests her hand over his, squeezing softly. "Do enlighten me. What are these other worlds in the universe like?"
"They are nothing like this one" Vexen reassures her. "They are nothing in comparison to your domain."
"Tell me anyway" the woman requests. She leans up against his side and challenges him. "Live up to your name, scholar."