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Why Should The Fire Die? (1/?)
bring it witch
myriddin_lyr
Title: Why Should The Fire Die? (1/?)
Author: myriddin_lyr
Fandom: Chronicles of Narnia
Pairing: Peter Pevensie/Susan Pevensie, Edmund Pevensie/Lucy Pevensie (implied), OCxOC (next-gen)
Rating: T
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: The king of Narnia comes of age, and the repercussions rock both worlds
Author's Notes: Sibling incest warning. Includes next-generation original characters.

Chapter One: His Father's Shadow

Peter and Susan's son prepares for his coronation, but self-doubt and his parents' absence haunt him.



Winter had come to Cair Paravel, obscuring the world outside the castle walls beneath an iridescent, ghostly white. Through the crystal panes of the windows letting teasing beams of amber sunlight fall into his bedchamber, he could see the lands beneath him, watch the glass cloud from the cold and trace his fingers along the cold surface, idly drawing random patterns typical of his boyhood.

The cold metallic of the coronation crown lay heavy upon his head, the polished gold glinting in the sunlight; the fur-lined velvet of his cloak was constricting, fastened as if a burdensome weight across his chest and shoulder…the brilliant royal blue of the fabric was daunting as the golden lion emblazoned upon in his chest, stitched so delicately into the sapphire hues of his tunic. The reflection he sought clouded over by the gathered condensation, his eyes closed to half-mast shapes as his body moved slowly, fluidly, turning around to face the body-length looking glass attached to the opposite wall.

His eyes widened to take in full view, the figure reflected in the mirror giving him the impression of a boy playing at being a man…a royal brat playing a fantasy part, a pretender king. He saw an aristocratic face, strongly featured and handsome enough to catch the eyes of the female sex. He could see the mirror image the Narnian people whispered of, the visage he wished could mirror anyone but him.

Upon his crown of richly dark hair, he could still feel the ghostly feather-weight of the silver coronet denoting a princely status, upon his body the presence of crimson tunics and finely hemmed breeches, simple in style and stitched in golden patterns of maple leaves and thorn-lined vines, his personal insignia. Upon his skin, he could still feel the ghost of who he used to be.

Long fingers, calloused from years of sword-use, brushed against the definitions of his cheekbones, tracing down the lines of his jaw that bore the glossy, fine hairs of his thinly trimmed beard, grown in some strange, inexplicable desire to fit more into the role left behind by the man he called his father.

Him, the king they still spoke of in grand, mind-sweeping tales, not the gossip they whispered of in hushed, simpering tones but awe-struck, loving voices that spoke of the magnificence and benevolence of Narnia's first and last High King.

Peter the Magnificent…

The grand, golden figure in his dreams, remembered by strong hands and rich, deep laughter, the ethereal sire that laid in his mind a strange cross between reality and imagination, dimly remembered, equally adored and resented. A father he knew had loved him, a king who left a legacy far too large for his son to fulfill.

Susan the Gentle…

His beautiful, graceful mother, as strong and stubborn as she was gentle and loving…that much he remembered, alongside soft embraces and cooed lullabies. Slender fingers, male and female, entwining as their wedding bands glowed in the sunlight, affectionate kisses exchanged on warm summer days as the small family picnicked in a sweet-smelling meadow.

His mother beneath the shade of a willow as she cradled his toddler sister, the straining muscles and warm, coarse equine body beneath his buttocks as his father held him securely on the back of his powerful war steed, galloping around in strutting circles as he yelled with delight, clinging excitedly to the strong arms around his waist. He sighed, so softly he barely exhaled, eyes hooding to gaze blankly at the mirror, irises darkened to a sapphire blue with the heavy emotion running rampant through his mind.

William the Gallant…how could he ever live up to that kind of title?

A quiet knock reverberated against the oaken surface of the door, and William gave the ascent to enter his chambers. Through the reflective glass of the mirror, he spotted the silhouette of a slender man five years his junior, exotically-featured with swarthy, nut-brown skin, almond-shaped dark eyes and sable hair with a tendency to curl around his ears and the nape of his neck. A silver coronet donned his head, his sinewy figure outfitted in crimson colors that befitted his rank. William found himself wistfully longing once more for the simpler status his cousin bore.

Phillip the Artful the people called him in admiring, conspiring whispers, though such official titles were normally saved for the monarchs. A clever and witty young man, Phillip exuded a natural sort of disarming charm and charisma that often had people forgetting his age, position or even his colorful heritage.

Born of a tryst between Edmund and a dancing girl come with an entertaining band from Calormen, Phillip bore the same exotic qualities and striking features inherited from his mother that had once held the infatuation of the Just King. Affection between the two unlikely lovers had been genuine, and Edmund had planned to defy all decorum and expectations by taking the girl, Tristana, as his wife, but before his proposal could be made, her life was lost in childbirth.

As fate would have it, Phillip had never known either parent.

With a light of mischief in his smile and a look of speculation in his eyes, Phillip circled his cousin once, twice, seemingly appraising the elder royal. He quirked a fine dark brow in a manner that spoke of his own strange brand of humor. "Well, you certainly look the part. You might as well have stepped out of one of those paintings hanging in the Great Hall."

William stiffened, composure shaken by the outspoken reminder of everything disconcerting racing through his mind, and silently fuming, he fixed Phillip with an unwavering, disapproving look. "Why would you even say something like that?" he said softly, grating out every word, punctuated with resentment.

Phillip felt the bite of his cousin's tone, and through the mirror, their eyes met as the younger man held up his hands in a gesture meant to display innocence. "My apologies, majesty. I forget how you despise the subject of your own family."

Gritting his teeth, William chose a long moment of contemplation rather than an outraged retort. "It's not that the subject matter is as despicable as it is…discomforting."

Phillip sighed, walking forward to lightly rest his hands against William's shoulders. William being the elder and several inches taller, it was an uncomfortable action, but a solid reassurance nonetheless to the young king. "You've been the crown prince since birth, Will. You knew this day was coming. Can you never allow yourself to step outside your own father's shadow?"

"Step outside it, Phillip? I am his shadow." Raising tired eyes to the mirror once more, William took in the sight of the tall, broadly built man, raven-haired and bearded. Dark as shadow. Peter's son. Peter's shadowed mirror image.

"Why…why can't they see me, Phillip? Why do they just see him?"

"Will…"

For a long moment, William said nothing, his eyes closed and his face creased with an exhaustion of a man decades his senior. Finally, in defeated resignation, eyes fluttered open once more, sapphire blue meeting onyx black as he met his cousin's gaze, and then he sighed.

"William the Gallant…King of Narnia…" he whispered, as they heard a loud rapping at the door, Phillip's hands tightening reassuringly at his shoulders.

It was time.

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