[personal profile] gmtaslash


Part One

Dragon Island

'I must say,' says Edmund as they work away at the pine-trunk that is to become the mast, 'though he probably doesn't think so, Eustace's becoming a dragon's been a spot of luck for the poor old Dawn Treader. It'd have taken us days to find a decent tree for a mast, and haul it all the way here.'

'Agreed,' says Caspian, putting down his plane for a moment in order to wipe a hand across his brow. 'We still need more timber, though. I believe your esteemed cousin is taking a foraging party up to the highlands this afternoon. Perhaps you and I might go around the bay and seek suitable trees to make decking from, and look for materials for caulking?'

'In the opposite direction to Eustace and Lucy and Drinian, you mean?' asks Edmund offhandedly, just the hint of a wicked smile lighting his eyes. Even though, despite their intimacies, the laughing boy of the start of the voyage has still largely been supplanted by the King Edmund of old, sometimes when they are alone, Caspian finds he can coax him back.

'Your majesty divines my purpose entirely,' murmurs Caspian, scraping at the pine trunk steadily and carefully, keeping a tight lid on the blush that threatens to rise to his cheeks.

They have marked two suitable trees, both mahogany or something close enough, so far as Edmund's botany can make out, and are both carrying bundles of a coarse-leaved, long-stemmed plant that looks like it might make decent caulking, before Caspian decides he's had Edmund walking tantalisingly in front of him for far too long, and that he'll make him regret that hip-wiggling, teasing gait he's affected all afternoon. Caspian dumps his bundle and catches the back of Edmund's tunic, yanking him around for a kiss. Edmund manages to make a sound probably best recorded as 'mmph!' before he is thrown up against the bole of a tree and Caspian starts removing his clothing with more enthusiasm than dexterity.

'What are you doing?' asks Edmund, when he gets his breath back, with more amusement than Caspian would like. Arousal, he'd be quite happy with, breathlessness, general excitement. Not the tone of voice he last heard Edmund using when teasing his sister.

'What does it look like I'm doing, your Majesty?' he asks, dragging his teeth lightly down Edmund's neck and wondering at his own boldness, for he's still not entirely sure that the flirtation hasn't all been in his overheated mind. Then he checks himself. He keeps making excuses for Edmund's actions and reactions, for Aslan's sake! He keeps backing away. This is not the first time they've touched, kissed, held each other. Unless Drinian has been drugging his water, Edmund has proven amply that he enjoys the feel of Caspian's hands on his body.

Caspian manages to keep the lead for a time; enough time to remove shirts and have breeches around knees, at least, before Edmund, with a grunt of effort, turns the tables and hauls Caspian into a sitting position against the tree, trying to push off his own breeches and yet still keep at least one hand on the olive-toned flesh of Caspian's body. When Caspian tries to help, he is fended off.

'Do you have any idea, any idea at all,' asks Edmund almost breathlessly, as he tries to remove every stitch of clothing that either of them is wearing, 'how long I've wanted to do this? All these islands, and disasters, and really, did Aslan have to invite every single member of my family that's younger than me on this little jaunt? If it weren't for that insufferable lump of misery in the bunk we'd've done this weeks ago -'

Caspian laughs at this little monologue, and catches Edmund as the English boy falters, having succeeded in removing their clothing. 'Would we?' he asks, warmly. 'I thought you hated me, after Felimath,' he confesses. 'When you came here, you were so friendly, and then you went back to being ... King Edmund,' he finishes lamely, wrapping his arms about Edmund and pressing a helpless kiss into his shoulder.

'What do you mean, I went back to being King Edmund? That's who I am.'

'You were acting like you did last time. All solemn, and ... I thought I'd done something wrong.'

'Oh,' says Edmund. His gaze drops away. 'I just ... remembered that it's never playtime,' he says. 'Narnia's always in need. I had ... I don't know. I swore an oath, you know. Duty to the realm. I had things to do. It was never you, you idiot.'

Caspian cannot help but kiss him for that revelation. 'Always a King of Narnia,' he says playfully, and ducks Edmund's half-hearted smack. 'But now,' he continues, 'there is time, for both of us, and no-one will follow us for several hours at least.' He slides a hand down Edmund's side, marvelling at the feel of the pale, freckle-dusted skin, and suddenly, once again, unsure. It must show on his face.

'Nervous?' asks Edmund, biting his own lip. He looks rather nervous himself.

'I've ... never done this before,' says Caspian slowly, frustrated at knowing so deeply what he wants and yet not knowing how to go about it. 'Have you ..?'

Edmund's face twists. 'No - not like this,' he says eventually, and pauses. Caspian suspects there is a long story behind that pause, one that he would badly like to know the details of, but it is obvious that it isn't a pleasant recollection for Edmund, so he brings his hand up and cups the English boy's cheek, stroking his thumb over the cheekbone, trying to soothe away the bad thoughts.

'I'm sure we will work something out,' he says, hoping that the turmoil he feels inside will not communicate itself to Edmund.

It doesn't appear to. Tentatively at first, but growing bolder, they explore. They map. Caspian feels like the object of this whole journey of discovery was neither more nor less than to teach him this, to capture him this treasure, however fleeting it might prove to be.

The ground is warm underneath them, underneath Caspian as Edmund pushes him down onto it, and the beauty of the dappled light on the other king's skin, of the feel of rope- and sword-calloused fingers on his skin, and of soft, windburnt lips on his face and neck, drives Caspian to distraction far faster than he would have thought possible, or been happy to admit to. It seems that Edmund has taken to heart the old swordmaster's adage that the best defence is to attack, because from gentleness and restraint he is now aggressive, nipping and pulling and stroking rough and hard and while it is exquisite, Caspian decides that he wants more, and that he wants control.

A little concentration is all that is needed and he has turned the tables once more, pinning Edmund's hands above his head with one of his own, kneeling in between Edmund's thighs (the white skin there so flushed and damp, so tempting, so frighteningly new and desirable), leaning over to kiss him and caress the shell of an ear with lips and tongue. 'It's not a race,' he whispers. 'Calm down.'

Edmund shivers, gasping, trembling even, at Caspian's hold on him. Caspian slows the pace to a crawl, partially to try and soothe Edmund's shakes, and partly to stall for time, still unsure of what to do, exactly. He strokes, gentle and sure, down Edmund's sides, still nestled between his knees, and lets go of his wrists.

Edmund's fingers are scrabbling in the soil as Caspian's get closer and closer down to his thighs, looking for purchase, for leverage that isn't there, and he hisses between his teeth as Caspian finally, slowly takes him in hand. Caspian feels a jolt go through him at that, feels his control slowly ratchet away from him notch by notch as Edmund writhes and gasps and tries to thrust himself against Caspian, seeking friction and heat and speed greater than what he's being given. In the end he yanks Caspian down by the hair, and Caspian loses himself in the wild wetness of Edmund's mouth and the feel of being trapped between his thighs, Edmund's legs wrapped around his hips, bringing them close, together, sliding heat and wetness and sweat, silky, velvety, steely, closer, hotter, harder, tighter, Edmund's hands curling over his shoulders now, fingers biting into the flesh, as Caspian cradles Edmund's face in his hands and tries not to push too hard, tries not to let go and thrust as he wants to, tries so hard to keep control of himself, and yet ...

The forest goes dark in front of his eyes when he comes, when he feels Edmund come just afterwards, and the warmth of Edmund's body against his naked skin is suddenly not warmth, but heat, searing heat. He's conscious of every place they touch as his vision clears, and the sound of Edmund's pulse hammering at that spot just under his ear is deafening. Hands and mouths and half-removed nightshirts are all very well, he thinks, realising what a sticky mess they are, moulded together and with leafmould in Edmund's hair and soil under his fingernails, but this, this is beautiful, as he gets to his knees and then to his feet, trying to find something clean them off with and incidentally discover what happened to his drawers at the same time.

Dusk is falling by the time they make it back to the shadowy hulk of the ship. The distress on Lucy's face, the way Drinian's lips are pressed together to keep in a lecture that he cannot give to one king, let alone two. Caspian fights the urge to look down and shuffle his feet. Instead, he looks Drinian in the eye, trying to convey an apology somehow. Edmund reaches out to Lucy, and is met with a raised eyebrow and a shake of the head before she walks back to the campfire and sits down defiantly next to Reepicheep. Drinian, after thanking Caspian and Edmund a touch perfunctorily for the caulking and taking directions to the mahogany trees, hesitates.

'Your Majesties ought not to wander,' he says finally. 'For who knows what dangers may lurk in these forests? We were all concerned when you could not be found -'

'By Aslan, Drinian,' Caspian starts, irritated at feeling so ashamed and chafed by Drinian's manner. 'We have swords, do we not?' Edmund catches his arm, glares at him. He glances at Drinian, and the man excuses himself and joins their other companions around the fire, leaving Caspian and Edmund alone.

'You must understand his concern,' says Edmund quietly. Caspian's temper is not improving. 'Should he return to Narnia without either of us ... it would be untenable, Caspian. We have to realise that.'

'Am I never to be allowed to please myself, even for an afternoon? Can I never just be Caspian, rather than the King?' He knows he sounds petulant.

Edmund raises an eyebrow, as if he cannot believe that there is even a question there to be asked.

The Sea Serpent

There is a small dark space in the shadow of one of the ribs of the ship, beside the rowlocks for the big oars, that two young men can just fit into, if they're staying close to one another. Caspian is grateful for this feature of the design of his ship, because it means that he doesn't have to yank Edmund all the way down to their space in the hold before tugging him into his arms. He can feel his blood hammering in his veins, and feel Edmund's mirroring it. They could have died. They could be drowning in the cold sea right this instant, or eaten by that dreadful worm.

Edmund's leg is between his thighs. This is making it difficult to concentrate on the previous imminence of death.

Edmund's mouth is on his, now, and his blood is still pounding. Being kissed so thoroughly is not helping either.

He doesn't care. He doesn't care that the ship now creaks under tensions she never felt before, that they are going to have to land again to fix her, if there is any land to find. He doesn't care about anything, as long as he can have Edmund with him when it happens, whether it's sailing or fighting sea monsters or amazingly good ravishment up against clinker-built wooden ship interiors, apparently, because really, this is -

Footsteps sound in the causeway leading into the holds, and Edmund shoves Caspian away hastily and wipes his now reddened and swollen mouth. Caspian hurriedly pretends to examine casks of stores, while Edmund checks the caulking with a careful eye and shaking hands. Lucy enters the hold.

She looks at Edmund, and raises an eyebrow. He looks away. She looks at Caspian, and raises it further. He doesn't know where to look, and can feel a blush rise on his cheeks. Lucy glares at him for what feels like a further ten minutes, although it is probably only a few seconds, before laughing quietly to herself, and saying, 'I only wanted to check that you two weren't hurt.' She waves her flask of cordial. 'But I see you're both ... fine.'

After Deathwater Island

They had an argument. Why is a blur, but they had an argument. Caspian is still, internally, angry about it. Some part of it was about pecking order, he knows that much.

I'm the King, He thinks to himself, kicking one of the rowing benches. King of Narnia, now, by leave of his brother. He was king. Surely I'm now his successor? But does that mean that I have the authority over him, or that he still has authority over me? No, by Aslan! This is my kingdom, my voyage, my ship!

'Caspian?' He turns around. Lucy is standing there awkwardly, one hand bracing herself against the bulkhead and the other on her hip. 'I wanted to talk to you,' she says, rather unnecessarily, he thinks. 'Are you all right?'

'I'm fine,' he says irritably. 'Thank you,' he adds, seeing her frown a little.

'I just thought you'd like to know that Ed is standing in my cabin doing exactly the same thing,' she says. 'Muttering and kicking the furnishings, I mean.'

'And why do I need to know that?' he asks with a little scorn in his tone.

She lifts an eyebrow at him. 'Well. If you don't care for him enough to care when he's upset...' There is something steely in her stare.

'Pardon?'

'Caspian, do me the courtesy of assuming I'm not a blind idiot,' she says, and moves closer to him, hopping across from bench to bench, until she's close enough that she can whisper. 'I keep telling myself that I don't know why he's wasting himself on this, when he knows he can't stay,' she says, 'but it's a lie. I know why. Or,' and she squints at him again as he stands there, arms folded and eyes cold, 'I thought I did.'

'This?' He knows what she's referring to, but cannot admit to it.

She shakes her head, and moves away again, towards the bunkroom and the groaning Eustace. It is odd that words and actions so adult and knowing can come from someone who still has to jump to get across the rowing benches. 'Caspian,' she says, when she is almost through the door, 'if I were you, I'd talk to him. Whatever 'this' is.'

Lucy is curiously absent for the rest of the day. It is strange, because the ship is not large, but wherever Caspian goes he finds himself both alone, and in view of Edmund, who looks as sulky as Caspian himself feels. In the end, it is Edmund who approaches him.

'I'm sorry,' he says abruptly.

'Likewise,' says Caspian, after wrestling with himself for a moment. Then: 'I think Lucy knows...' He has no need to say what she knows. Edmund smiles a little, and shakes his head.

'I suppose I was foolish to hope that she wouldn't find out. She's always been irritatingly perceptive. Don't worry about it. She won't shame either of us by letting it out.'

'If you're sure,' says Caspian, a little doubtfully. He steps forward, meaning only to shake hands and make up like men, but Edmund steps away.

'I've been thinking,' he says, raggedly. 'This... Caspian, this isn't... If your men see you, with me, they might think...'

'Think what?'

'Think that you aren't... I don't know. Manly enough, I suppose.'

'What are you talking about?' Caspian asks, exasperated and a little frightened. We've only just begun to - he thinks, realising that Edmund is trying to break off whatever it is they have. He cannot just -

'Caspian, you're going to need a wife. Going to need a child. Preferably more than one child. Your men know that, your entire realm knows that, and they're no doubt eagerly awaiting the happy event. It'll mean stability for them. The establishing of a dynasty. No more civil wars, if you want me to be blunt. If rumours spread that your eye roves not over the womenfolk, as it were...' Edmund shrugs. 'We can't risk exciting talk.'

'But -'

'I'm not saying I don't want to,' says Edmund, a little helplessly. 'I'm not saying never, either. We might yet, you know, find an opportunity. But we have to be careful.'

The Duffers' Island

It looks to Caspian like Edmund is drunk. They nudged Lucy and Eustace and the others to bed ages ago. Drinian gave him a sharp look, and Eustace a grumpy one. Edmund offers to help Caspian to bed, but when they reach the bedchamber Edmund decides that Caspian looks unsteady on his feet, and takes it upon himself to guide him inside. Obviously, this is completely unnecessary, but Caspian feels that it would be prudent to indulge the drunkard. Stumbling together and giggling guiltily, they make it as far as the four-poster bed and collapse. Caspian vaguely considers walking Edmund to his own room, because clearly they cannot be seen to have shared a bedroom, but this thought swirls and disappears after a few seconds, to be replaced with serious cogitation about the strange digestive noises emanating from his stomach. He is horrified by the sounds and tries to hold his stomach still. This is more difficult than it should be.

'There are stars on your curtains,' observes Edmund dreamily.

'Yes,' rejoins Caspian gravely, forgetting his belly and observing how Edmund's shirt has come untucked and reveals a sliver of skin, how Edmund's dark hair is tousled against the creamy bedclothes. He wonders why he doesn't reach across and touch this boy, this man, who after all has become his lover, for they haven't touched in days. He just knows that they ought not to. Because one thing will lead to another. And that's ... bad? 'Edmund,' he begins. 'We shouldn't -' People will see, or hear, or find out, he thinks.

'Shhh. You think too much,' says Edmund. That is rich, thinks Caspian, coming from 'the Just', the politician, the negotiator and advisor and - and Edmund is rolling over and looking at him with his eyes, dilated by mead and as soft, as warm, as meltingly sweet, as the honey in the wine. 'Shhh,' he says again, getting to his knees on the mattress and crawling over to Caspian, placing an unsteady finger on his lips.

'We cannot,' says Caspian, though the sight before him is more than tempting. 'I... I cannot remember why, but Edmund, Edmund, we mustn't. We mustn't.'

Edmund's lips, when they touch Caspian's throat, are warm and sticky. They trail up to Caspian's ear, his jawline, and Edmund's hands are in his hair, and his eyes are so compelling, and Caspian curses mead more than he has ever cursed anything before, because he knows he wants it but he also knows he cannot have it, although he cannot think why, but somehow he is too drunk to avoid it, and when the kiss comes it is sloppy and lazy and warm and sweet, it is good, so good, and Edmund is pliable beneath his hands. He cannot do this, and he tries to push himself away, and falls off the bed with a great thump. It seems like almost immediately there is a knock at the door, and Drinian's concerned voice asking if he is all right.

'I'm fine, Drinian,' he calls back, and is touched by the concern of his companion, so much so that not long after the man's footsteps fade down the passageway Caspian finds himself crying.

Edmund rolls off the bed too and wraps his arms around Caspian. 'Trust you to be a melancholy old sot,' he says with a sigh. 'Come on, come to bed. I swear I won't ravish you.'

Caspian wakes up before dawn, head hammering, and realises that Edmund is still draped heavy and warm across him. He inches his way out of the bed and into Edmund's room, reasoning that having been drunk enough to mix up rooms is better than having been drunk and shared a room. Now that he is wary of a scandal he sees it everywhere.

At breakfast, Caspian looks up bleary-eyed from his toast, and sees Eustace giving him a measuring sort of look before setting his plate down next to Edmund's. The boy murmurs quietly to his cousin, Caspian cannot hear what, but it makes Edmund stiffen for just a moment, before giving an easy smile and a reply. Eustace shrugs, and before turning to Lucy, gives Caspian one more look. They make eye contact just for a moment, and Eustace raises an eyebrow. That look is more knowing than Caspian is comfortable with.

When they come to embark again, Caspian accidentally brushes up against Edmund while on the gangplank. He smiles involuntarily as he does so, and then looks up. Lucy, Drinian, and Reepicheep are already aboard, having a conversation by the mast. Eustace is aboard as well, leaning against the railing. No-one is looking, but Caspian feels self-conscious all the same, with his fingers treacherously trailing over Edmund's hips. He snatches them back. They have to be more subtle.

Caspian hates being subtle. Really, really hates it.

The Island Where Dreams Come True

The dark swirls around Caspian, and he is asleep. He knows he is dreaming, but he cannot wake up. It is dark all around now, and there has been a battle, he can make out the corpses all around. None are clear except Edmund; through the shadows he sees Edmund's face, pale and beautiful in death even though marred with blood and grime, his lips frozen in forming his last few words. Though Caspian hears nothing but distant battle horns, there is a message in this nightmare, winding over the scraping sounds of pirates climbing the mast, of enemy archers' arrows whistling overhead. They have some infernal monster with them; as if it is happening in some other dream he hears himself cry that it is about to settle on the mast.

If he stays, you will be his monarch, he will be your general. For so he will insist, and you will give in. And you will sit on your throne, alone, as the setting sun warms your face and a messenger, still breathless from his run, tells you of how Edmund fell, and how he died bravely, with your name on his lips and a sword in his fist. For Narnia, and for you.

If he stays, you and he will love passionately and die quickly, like a flame in the dark. And once the light, the lineage you never established, is extinguished, it will plunge Narnia once more into a thousand or more years of darkness.

You know this to be true.


After Ramandu's Island.

Caspian is watching Edmund, as they head away from the Island of the Star, and his thoughts are torn in two.

Edmund's quiet. Staring forward at the glassy aquamarine depths before them, not a word passes his lips. Hasn't for hours. He's barely blinked, but Caspian can't take his eyes off him. Edmund stands, close to the prow, and his eyes are for the future, gazing ever ahead at what the dawn may bring.

This cannot bode well, Caspian thinks.

Something is wrong between them, has been wrong since they set sail from Ramandu's island. They have barely touched, barely spoken, and the lack of Edmund creeps across Caspian's skin, reminding him always of what is, will always be, has always been out of reach. But not now. Now, they are together, the two of them, sailing forth into unknown horizons under the benign gaze of Aslan, and yet Edmund will not turn, will not look at him. Will not be with him.

It hurts.

Caspian is surprised by it, every time his gaze falls upon Edmund, surprised and confused by how much it hurts. It shouldn't, nothing should, not here, not under the watchful eye of Aslan himself, within sight of his country. All about them the sea is calm, the sailors are calm, Edmund appears calm, and yet it is not right.

They should be standing together at the prow. Hands clasped, ready to take on whatever the day will bring, wherever it may lead them, together.

A small sigh escapes him, and Caspian turns, striding with an air of purpose below deck. Coming to their space in the hold, he throws himself onto the hammock with an ease born of practice, his face set in a petulant frown.

Whatever lies ahead is Edmund's adventure - the other king's expression, so hungry, plainly claims it. Behind them, Narnia, is Caspian's responsibility. And behind them also is Ramandu's Island, Ramandu's daughter. A charming lady, fair in every way. Everything he looked for in every woman who came to court, and everything he never found. Caspian would dearly love to take her to his people, to show her to them as their new queen, if only she could be queen as Lucy and Susan were to Peter and Edmund. Equals, co-rulers. The people would love her.

Caspian cannot. Not like that. Not like he loves Edmund. Edmund is the sea to him, unknowable, full of adventure, blowing warm and cold and treacherous and constant, but ultimately traversible, if he's prepared to spend his life at it. And he is. But Ramandu's daughter is a star, in every way - just as unknowable, but distant. She is unreachable. Above him. He can run his hand through the waves, feel the sea's silky caress on his skin even as it slips away from him. He can never touch a star.

Heading East

The next day, Edmund rises early, padding softly out of the hold. Caspian follows him, hoping for a chance to speak with him, to try once more to clear the fog that has risen between them. He could not sleep the night before, instead spending the long dark watches contemplating what he needs, and what he wants, and the discrepancies between the two. It has made him angry, and spending a morning trying to catch an elusive king has made him angrier.

Angry enough to damn everything, damn subtlety and the sensible decision they made, and go directly to Edmund, busy below decks, spin him around and thrust him against a bulkhead, kissing and biting frantically. Not caring if sailors hear thuds and thumping. They're sailors. This is a matter between kings, and no business of theirs, even if they do hear it. Things shouldn't be this hard, Aslan curse it.

Edmund pushes him away after a second. He knows what this is about already, before Caspian murmurs throatily, 'Stay with me. Don't go to Aslan's Country.'

'You're being stupid,' says Edmund in a tight voice, folding his arms and leaning against the wall. 'You know this won't work.'

'I can't go back to Narnia without you,' says Caspian desperately, wanting so badly for Edmund to understand. Perhaps that's unfair. Edmund does understand. But he is implacable. 'Aslan -' Caspian starts hopefully.

'Don't. Be. Stupid,' growls the other king. Caspian has never heard him so angry. 'What if I stayed? What then? I rather doubt that your conservative court would accept me as a consort. And I can hardly take your place as King and install you as my consort. Two kings as equals won't work, Caspian. How would Lucy explain to Peter and Susan that I got to stay, when it has all been taken from them? How could I let Lucy go to the End of the World alone? There's more to this than our happiness, don't you see? I have people I cannot let down, and you have an entire kingdom to consider.' Edmund turns away and thumps the ship's timbers. 'Don't make this harder than it has to be,' he whispers, shaking his hand out.

'But I love you,' Caspian says in the quietest voice he has ever used. He doesn't quite know why he says it. Maybe it's to make Edmund turn around - he can't bear the silence. But when Edmund does turn, the look of anguish on his face makes Caspian wish he'd never said it. The look of anger that replaces it makes him wish even harder. Edmund turns on Caspian now, pushes him, shoves him, pummels him mercilessly. When Edmund speaks again, it is in a hoarse whisper; he would be shouting were this conversation about a subject less private.

'Too bad! Too bloody bad, Caspian, because you can't have me! You have a duty,' and Edmund snarls the word. It is a barb, a weapon, the way he uses it. 'You have a duty to your people, you have a duty to your crown. Susan and Lucy and Peter and I, we made that mistake, don't you see? We never had heirs. We were selfish, and Narnia suffered under Telmarine rule. And then we came back and we helped you to the throne, and you cannot throw it away like that. I am King Edmund, sworn to High King Peter, and I'm no subject of yours, Caspian, and I swear by the mane of Aslan that if you will not go back to Narnia without me I will -' Edmund stops, his face twisting with anger and sadness, unable to think of a threat.

Caspian reaches out for Edmund then, pulls him close, unable to watch his lover's face and not attempt to comfort him. Edmund fights him at first, beating his fists against Caspian's sides and trying to push away, but Caspian feels wetness on his shoulder and knows that Edmund is weeping. He hangs on until Edmund has calmed down.

'I saw you talking to Ramandu's daughter,' Caspian ventures when he thinks it safe. Edmund looks up at him, but not that far up; once again it hits him that he and Edmund are almost of an age, this time.

'I did,' Edmund says.

'You talked about me,' says Caspian, with a sudden premonition of the future. It involves all the things Edmund is pushing him to, and none of Edmund himself. He hates it.

'I did.' The King of Old is defiant. He pushes away from Caspian and stands, feet braced, arms loose by his side. He looks like he is waiting for a fight. Maybe that's what this is.

'Edmund -'

'I know what I'm doing. I've brokered marriages in the past, you know. Just talk to her, Caspian. Please. If you won't do it for Narnia, do it for me.'

'For you?' Caspian knows he sounds bitter and doesn't care. How can Edmund not feel this pain?

'Yes, Caspian, for me. You think it would make it better for me, going back and knowing you're here alone? Knowing that because of me you won't do your duty by Narnia?'

'And how do you think I will feel, being with another for the sake of an heir, when all I can think of is you in my arms? Duty be damned! I demand - I beg of you, Edmund, do not leave me!'

'You're a King of Narnia,' says Edmund, this time turning away for good. 'Duty is all you have. Duty is all you get. It ought to be enough.'
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