[personal profile] gmtaslash
Title: Honour
Author: [personal profile] gmtaslash
Fandom: Narnia
Rating: PG for teeny bits of slash.
Notes: Written because Trojie got home from seeing Prince Caspian, struggling under the weight of plotbunnies. Movieverse because of this, also.


***

Edmund watched his brother duel with the tyrant, Miraz, with increasing concern. Peter was younger, nimbler, and more practiced, yes; but Miraz was crafty and not above cheating. Edmund had seen him whisper to his general, who held a crossbow, and that was no coincidence.

Edmund was not stupid. Maybe not as chivalrous and trusting as Peter, but then in situations like this, that was all to the good. He wished Peter had not lost his helmet, for every time Miraz went for an overhead slice Edmund had to steel himself from wincing and then from sighing in relief when Pete blocked. Inadvertently, Edmund looked over at Caspian. The Telmarine boy was watching the duel with as much concern as Edmund himself, every line of his body taut with anticipation, ready to leap in, Edmund suspected; the newfound knowledge that Miraz had killed Caspian's father had already led the prince to almost jeopardise their plans by unwise alliances.

Edmund rather thought that if Peter were down, Caspian would leap to his aid and damn the single combat agreement in a bid to be revenged. Out of the corner of his eye, most of his attention still on the battle at hand, Edmund studied Caspian yet another time. The older lad was still somewhat of a puzzle to him. Brave enough to flee his would-be murderers and the castle he was raised in, to enter a forest that by all accounts, he'd been raised to fear, and to win over, befriend and indeed incite Narnians hostile to his race to battle on his behalf, yet Caspian backed down in the face of Peter's plans and confidence.

This was Caspian's war, Edmund was forced to admit, loyalty to his brother the High King aside, and yet he was letting a boy no older than he turn his plans into the mud and install his own. Edmund knew how hard Peter was to refuse, what a leader he could be, and yet ... Caspian had had the right of it so far. As if feeling Edmund's eyes upon him, Caspian turned and their eyes met. For whatever reason, Edmund couldn't look away. Caspian's expression was troubled. Edmund knew how he felt.

'A respite, a respite!' pleaded Miraz, his shoulders heaving under the heavy brassed mailcoat. Edmund turned his full attention back to the fight; Peter was breathing hard, eyes alight with battle-fire, face sweat-smudged but resolute. Miraz's back was to Edmund, but the boy had no doubt that whatever pleading, beaten expression was on his face, it did not reach his eyes. That one would always be plotting, have an ace up his sleeve and an escape route planned.

Peter allowed it. Edmund would not have, or at least, here on the sidelines he thought he would not have allowed it; Miraz was dangerous. And whatever his shortcomings as a duelist, he was an old hand at judging an opponent. Edmund wondered if he'd gambled on Peter's honour to save him at the last. Maybe, but not enough to let his general leave the crossbow behind.

In the end, Miraz was dangerous, but his escape route was foiled by his own nobles; stabbed with an arrow of Susan's so that even his death was another piece in the Telmarines' treacherous game. Edmund joined Peter, facing the oncoming Telmarine army, while Caspian galloped back down through the Howe to alert the Narnian troops. There aren't really any opportunities for conversation in a battle, but every so often, Edmund would catch the prince's eyes again and be thrown by what he saw there. Caspian was so much like Peter, Edmund could see the resemblance far too clearly to be at all surprised, any more, about why they clashed; it was that damnable honour every time, their conviction that they had to make their best effort to win through - and their best efforts were at odds.

In the days that followed that last decisive battle at the ford, Aslan talked often with Peter and Susan, and with Lucy. Edmund did not go out of his way to seek out the lion; he felt that if Aslan had things to say to him, then he would find Edmund rather than the other way round. He was right.

'Son of Adam, you have not sought to question me, and yet you have questions,' Aslan said one morning when he found Edmund in a practice court with his crossbow. 'Your heart is troubled. Tell me what worries you.'

'I ... I don't know why we're here,' said Edmund a little sheepishly. 'I mean, I know we're here because Caspian blew the horn and summoned us, but he didn't exactly know what it would do until after he blew it, and ...'

'And you think that perhaps, things would have been different had you not come.'

'Yes.' Edmund hung his head, just a little. 'I know, we can't know what would have happened, but it seems reasonable to think that if Caspian had led the Narnians by himself, then, we wouldn't have stormed the castle and all those people would have lived-'

'And who can say that they would not have died at the Howe?' asked Aslan. 'And what if Caspian had not voiced his plan to hold back and withstand siege at the Howe? What if Nikabrik's hopeless scheme had gone through, and the White Witch had returned? No, Son of Adam, this kind of reasoning you understand. You know it is folly to ask of what might have been.'

'I know, Aslan, I do know. But ... it seems like I can't avoid it. It goes around and around in my head.'

'You doubt your brother's actions in the battle? Or do you doubt Caspian's decision to listen to him?'

'I ... don't know.'

'Then perhaps you should find out.'

That night, Edmund climbed to the highest tower of the castle, in part to study the constellations that were so familiar from his time in Narnia centuries before, and in part because his thoughts were preventing him from sleeping. To his surprise, when he reached the open area at the top of the tower, it was occupied.

'Sorry,' he said shortly, turning around to leave.

'No, stay,' said Caspian, motioning Edmund to the balcony beside him. 'A nice night, don't you think?'

'It is, rather,' said Edmund.

They stood in silence for almost an hour, before Caspian turned to Edmund and said 'Are you staying? Here, I mean?'

'I'm not sure,' said Edmund frankly. 'I don't think so. We're not going to try to take over if we do stay, if that's what you're worried about. I mean, you're the King...'

'And Peter is the High King,' said Caspian quietly.

'Pete ... he can be a bit of an idiot about being in charge, and things,' Edmund admitted. 'But you're the one with the crown. You got the Narnians moving, you're Telmarine, but you love the country, and that will be important for peace in the future. You won this throne, fair and square. Last time, when we were here before ... we fought and we changed things and we were kings and queens our way, and it was our time. This is your time. Pete wouldn't try to take that from you.'

'But ... in the war ...' Caspian shrugged. 'I thought he would take the throne. Maybe that it would be better that way.'

'Caspian, you can rule this country better than we could,' said Edmund, stepping closer. It was hard to believe that this Telmarine, so sure of himself in battle, could be this worried about Peter, who only a few days ago had been brawling in his school uniform on the platform of the Underground, and not quite holding his own, at that. 'We can be ... be symbols, or something. Something the people can remember from days gone by that means that everything's alright again, but we can't rule. Maybe we can't even stay.'

'That would be a pity,' said Caspian, clasping Edmund's shoulder. His dark eyes shone in the faint starlight. Then he looked downcast again. 'What if I cannot rule as they want me to rule?' he said quietly, almost to himself. 'What if they expect the Golden Age again, with Peter on the throne?'

'You'll be a fine king,' said Edmund firmly. 'You're very like Peter, you know,' he added suddenly. He cursed himself as Caspian looked puzzled.

'How so?'

'You both take chivalry too seriously, for a start. You always want to lead, but you don't want to force, or to push. People will follow you. People love you.'

'You must admire your brother very much,' said Caspian with a hint of humour in his voice. 'But what of yourself? You too are a King of Narnia. What qualities do you bring to your throne?'

Edmund, though he hated to admit it, was blushing. 'I was being serious,' he said.

'And so was I, King Edmund,' said Caspian. They were facing out over the balcony again now, staring over the landscape of Narnia rather than at each other. Their shoulders were touching. 'If Peter is all for chivalry and leadership, what else does one need to be King of Narnia?'

'I ...'

'I think I am not the only one who worries about being in his shadow,' Caspian interrupted. 'You have bolstered my failing pride so much, let me return the favour.' He did not give Edmund time to reply, but ploughed on. 'Peter will forge ahead and be the leader; but you will tell him when it is sensible to charge, and when to retreat, who to watch, to befriend or keep away from. Strategy is important in the running of a kingdom, perhaps more so now than when you four sat on your thrones in Cair Paravel; I recall no tales of you facing treacherous lords of your own court. I will need more of the aspect of King Edmund than of King Peter if I am to make a success of my reign, I think.'

The sky was greying; dawn was almost upon them.

'Aslan has asked me to gather all my people in the courtyard today,' said Caspian. 'I fear that if indeed you must leave, it will be today.'

'I should think so,' admitted Edmund. 'I keep feeling as if I'm in the wrong place, like Lu used to complain of in England, before we came back.'

Caspian regarded Edmund solemnly for a moment, before reaching up and clapping his shoulder once more. He held his hand there, as if unsure about whether to move it or not, and then, abruptly, leant in and kissed Edmund.

Breaking away, he said raggedly, 'I'm glad this was the right place, at least for a little while.'

Date: 2008-06-29 01:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] agenttrojie.livejournal.com
you like? Yay.

My problem writing this, as always, is I want to throw them into a passionate embrace and get held up with thoughts like 'but, er, that wouldn't happen.'

Date: 2008-06-29 02:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] holyschist.livejournal.com
Baha. I have the opposite problem of being alllll about the UST. Anyway, I like your Edmund a lot.

Date: 2008-06-29 02:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] agenttrojie.livejournal.com
I'm plotting a sequel as we speak, set during Voyage of the Dawn Treader...

Date: 2008-06-29 04:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] holyschist.livejournal.com
Mind if I add you with my fannish journal, too? It is sort of weird discussing these things with this journal (although I'm sure in the long run my academic complaining is more potentially dangerous to my career, ha).

Date: 2008-06-29 05:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] agenttrojie.livejournal.com
go ahead!

Date: 2008-10-22 12:21 am (UTC)
ext_42328: Language is my playground (Default)
From: [identity profile] ineptshieldmaid.livejournal.com
hehe. Silly kniggits. *pats them both fondly*

Date: 2008-10-22 12:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] agenttrojie.livejournal.com
'Ah'm Telmarine, of course! Whay else do you theenk I have zis outrageous accent, you silly Engleesh King!'

Date: 2009-02-17 02:50 am (UTC)
ext_85481: (Default)
From: [identity profile] hsavinien.livejournal.com
Hmm... Yeah. Needs King Edmund's aspect. I can see that; his challenges in ruling certainly would be different than those the four faced.

Date: 2009-02-17 02:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] agenttrojie.livejournal.com
the Pevensies didn't really have to deal with a resentful snakepit of a court left over from the previous regime, or with having half your 'supporters' not actually stoked to need a king at all .... he needs some sneaky bastard-ness to get through it.

Date: 2009-02-17 02:53 am (UTC)
ext_85481: (Default)
From: [identity profile] hsavinien.livejournal.com
Mmhm. As do most politicians...

Date: 2009-02-17 02:53 am (UTC)

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