Categories > Books > Chronicles of Narnia

i'm not your princess (this ain't our fairytale)

by peitho_x 0 reviews

Caspian is crowned king of Narnia and Peter knows they'll be leaving soon. It's not like it would have worked out between them anyway.

Category: Chronicles of Narnia - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst,Drama,Romance - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2021-12-02 - 2394 words - Complete

Peter watched Caspian and Susan floating around the dance floor, refusing to admit the thing he knew everyone saw: that they looked good together. Because he knew that if he admitted it, he would have to acknowledge that the feeling gnawing away in his stomach was jealousy. And if he acknowledged that, well... that would be the end of it, wouldn't it? The denial, the pretending, even to himself.

He sipped his wine and tried to concentrate his gaze elsewhere. To Lucy trying to teach Trumpkin to waltz. To Reepicheep challenging someone to a duel to defend the honour of a woman who had a drink spilt on her. To Edmund, who was walking over, probably to tell him to at least look like he was enjoying himself.

"So, Doctor Cornelius," he said, quickly turning to the old man. "What are your plans now that your pupil has been coronated?"

"Just because he is king, does not mean he has nothing left to learn," Doctor Cornelius said goodnaturedly.

"That's certainly true," said Edmund, sidling up beside Peter. "Can you imagine if we had not had anyone to teach us after we were coronated?"

Peter chuckled in such a way that he knew Edmund could tell was forced. "It might not have been called the Golden Age if that was the case." He looked at Doctor Cornelius. "Caspian is very lucky to have you at his side."

Doctor Cornelius nodded in thanks, then turned to speak to someone else.

"So," Edmund said, and Peter braced himself for the inevitable telling off he was going to get from Edmund, ever the ambassador, making sure they put their best foot forward at events like this. "You're not going to march onto the dancefloor and tell Caspian – the newly-crowned king – to stay away from our sister, are you?"

Peter turned to him in surprise.

"Because that would be a bad idea. Caspian might listen to you, but Su might actually beat you up."

He rolled his eyes and looked at Susan and Caspian, who were now getting drinks and she was laughing at something he said.

"Well, something's bothering you."

"It's fine, I just..." He clenched his jaw. "I have a feeling we won't be staying very much longer." He felt Edmund's eye on him. "I mean, we've done what we came here to do. Caspian doesn't need us anymore. Narnia doesn't need us anymore." He looked at Edmund and shrugged. "Why would He have us stay?"

Edmund looked at him for a long moment, then at Susan and Caspian. "Well, if that's the case, we should do what the girls are doing – have fun!" He clapped Peter on the back and walked off.

Peter downed the rest of his glass and went to refill it. Susan and Caspian had moved to the dessert table, where they were speaking with Trumpkin – who had escaped Lucy, apparently – and a few others. He retreated to a spot partially obscured by a plant so no one else would take notice of his cloudy mood.

And he tried not to watch them. They paraded around the room, a king and a queen speaking with their friends and allies. Peter began naming the kings and queens of England and then Narnia in his head, over and over again. Caspian's hand was at the small of Susan's back as he guided her through the crowd. Peter tried to count the tiles on the floor. Susan put her hand on Caspian's arm and leaned in to say something to him and he laughed. Peter was starting to think about leaving when they finally split up.

Lucy pulled Susan into a spinning, gleeful, giggling dance as Caspian stayed to speak with Doctor Cornelius. Peter felt himself lighten considerably, so when Lucy found him easily a few minutes later, he allowed himself to also be dragged onto the dance floor.

"I do remember the dances we were taught before," she confided in him, breathless. "But they were boring, and this is so much more fun!"

He had to agree.

Peter was so distracted that he didn't notice that Susan had left the dancefloor until Lucy's steps began to falter from tiredness. He caught Lucy as she stumbled and immediately picked her up.

"I think you should be heading to bed."

"No," she complained, flopping about in his arms. "It's not even that late."

"Lu, it's nearly two o'clock in the morning," he said, setting her down on a plush couch, resisting the urge to look around and see if Susan had rejoined Caspian's company.

Lucy frowned up at him, even as she curled up amongst the pillows. "I'll just take a short rest," she told him.

"Mhm," he said sceptically.

Her eyelids began to droop shut, and even though she fought to stay awake, she was soon fast asleep. Peter smiled softly and carefully picked her up again. Outside the ballroom, he found a servant who directed him to a bedroom down the hall. He tucked Lucy into the giant bed that made her look even smaller than she was and quietly closed the door behind him.

The ballroom was significantly emptier when he returned, and many guests offered their goodbyes as he made his way inside. Edmund was speaking quietly with a few people in one corner. The music was slow and sweet, and Peter's eyes finally found who he was looking for in a far corner.

Susan and Caspian were on one of the many couches, half-hidden in shadow. She looked happier than he had seen her in a very long time, which nearly made him look over the fact that she was practically sitting on Caspian's lap.


"Susan," he called out as he crossed the dance floor. "It's quite late, I think we should be heading to bed."

She looked up in surprise. "What?"

"Bed," he said. "Ed, you too."

Edmund protested as well from across the room, but Peter paid him no mind.

He stood in front of the couch now and Caspian distanced himself a little from Susan. At least he had some decency.

"It is rather late," Caspian said, gently. "And we'll probably have a lot to arrange in the next few days."

Susan sighed. "Very well." She hugged Caspian and kissed his cheek. "See you tomorrow."

Peter kept his face pointedly blank.

Caspian smiled at her. "Goodnight."

As she stood and passed by Peter, she stage-whispered, "I see you can handle your wine as well as you always could."

He elected to not respond to that and listened to her retreating footsteps.

"I suppose I should turn in too," Caspian said, and he stood up.

"I hope you know that nothing can happen between you two," Peter said.

Caspian looked at him, confused. "What–"

"We have our own world to return to. I would hate for you to get her hopes up for something impossible."

"I have done no such thing," Caspian said slowly. "And she has no such expectations. If it looked like I was... taking advantage of her in any way, you are mistaken."

"Right, good," Peter said. "I'm glad to have cleared that up." He turned and began to walk away. This was good. Now, his glowering demeanour all evening had a logical explanation. No one would question him being protective of his sister. And now no one would suspect anything otherwise.

Out in the hallway, Caspian caught up with him. "Peter," he said. "Is that the only reason you have been keeping me at an arm's length for days?"

"No," he said quickly. "Yes. I mean, I have nothing against you Caspian."

"You have nothing against me."

"No. I quite like you actually."

They were at the door of Peter's room now.

"Alright," Caspian said. "Then why–"

Perhaps Susan was right about the wine. Or perhaps there was another reason why Peter suddenly stopped caring long enough to pull Caspian into the room, close the door, and kiss him.

The sudden recklessness ended quickly, and Peter pulled back, horrified. What did he just do? "I'm sorry, I–" He forced himself to put several paces between himself and Caspian. He didn't dare to look at his face, the way Caspian must be looking at him right now.

"No, it's–" Caspian's voice was soft, slightly strangled, but not disgusted. "I– That makes sense." Then he surged forward, his hands gripped Peter's collar and he kissed him.

It took several moments for Peter's mind to catch up with everything. But when he was there, he was there. Caspian tasted of wine and waiting and somehow also the ocean – which made no sense at all but also seemed to suit him. He kissed him unapologetically, which was all well and good, Peter thought, since he had had to make the first move.

Peter's hand crept under Caspian's jacket and pulled him closer at the waist while his other hand curled its fingers into his hair. Caspian began to tug at the ties of his shirt and Peter pulled back suddenly.

"Wait, wait," he said, panting, undermined slightly by his one hand still gripping a handful of Caspian's shirt.

"What?" Caspian let go of his collar.

"I just– Before we– I want to be clear on what we– what this... is..." He gestured vaguely between them.

"This?" Caspian said. "You kissed me first, remember?"

"Yes, well, that was a bit of a spur of the moment thing."

"You pulled me into your bedroom," Caspian said, slowly, like he was explaining something complex to a child. "And kissed me."

"Don't patronize me."

"And you seem to be under the impression that you will be leaving soon."


"So..." He looked at Peter pointedly. "That is what this is."

Peter decided that maybe for once he didn't need a plan. Plans usually had to be thrown out and improvised when put into practice anyway.

"Fair enough," he said and pulled Caspian back in.

And it wasn't exactly graceful, but they managed to fumble through. Neither had been with another lad before – or anyone, really – and it wasn't like it was included in either one of their educations.

It was far from perfect. They explored and sighed and touched and laughed their way through it, clumsily and sincerely. Somewhere along the way, the competition and jealousy had fallen away to reveal how much they understood each other. They were two teenage boys who had seen more blood and borne more responsibility on their still-broadening shoulders than most men did in a lifetime. It wasn't perfect, but it was good and nice and made them feel a little less alone.

And when they laid side by side, a little breathless, covered in a sheen of sweat, Peter found himself searching for a way to describe this feeling. Then he looked over at Caspian and knew he didn't have to say anything; he understood.

He was just thinking how nice it would be to drift off like this, maybe curling into each other, when Caspian shifted, sitting up and swinging his legs over the side of the bed.

"I should go to my room," he said quietly, addressing the plush rug beneath his feet. "Before anyone wonders where I am."

"Right," Peter said, tamping down the writhing mix of emotion that threatened to rise up and choke him. "Of course." He watched Caspian dress and couldn't help but think that if Caspian had gone to bed with a girl, as scandalous as it would have been, he probably would have at least stayed until morning.

But that wasn't his fault, so he tried not to look cross when Caspian finished pulling on his boots and looked at him.

Caspian stood up awkwardly. "Well, I'll– I'll see you in the morning then."

"Yes," Peter said. And it wasn't fair. It wasn't fair that in all their years in Narnia before, he had never had feelings for anyone, and now, in a trip that was bound to end sooner rather than later, now was when he found it.

He surged out of bed, nearly crashing to the floor headfirst when his foot tangled in the sheets but managing to stay upright. He grabbed Caspian's face and kissed him because if this was going to be the last – only – time they got to do this, well, then he'd at least like a goodnight kiss. He tried to put everything into it, everything he felt and could have felt if they had more time.

When Caspian finally slipped out the door as the sky turned grey, there were tears in both their eyes. Peter slumped down on the bed, head in his hands.

Tonight, he was allowed to feel it all, but tomorrow, with his siblings he had to have it under control. He had to be strong for them like he always was because that was his job.

So when Aslan took him and Susan aside the next day and told them this was their last time in Narnia, he held Susan close as she wept, his own face dry.

So when the time felt right, he volunteered them to go through the doorway and return to their own world. He gave the goodbyes befitting his position: handshakes and nods and solemn words to those who had advised him and fought by his side.

And when he said goodbye to Caspian, they did so in such a way that nobody could have guessed what there was between them. He was his fellow king, his friend, his brother-in-arms.

He did not look back as they walked through the doorway, because he was the one who had suggested they leave in the first place. There was no hesitation in his steps as he led his siblings away from their almost-home, and his almost, not-quite, could've-been love.

Doctor Cornelius never got a straight answer out of Caspian about why he continued to want to know more about the Pevensies and their rule. He had met them now, so what more could books and oral histories tell him?

It must be some sort of aspirational admiration, he decided. A hope to return Narnia to its Golden Age. What other reason would there be for the young king to keep an early miniature portrait of the kings and queens of old in a locket he wore at all times near to his heart?
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