The stairs wobbled in front of him. Caspian shut his eyes, leaned against the stone wall of the passage for a moment, and then continued to his chamber. The world refused to hold still, like he was caught in a dragging current, pulled along against his will. He stumbled, reaching for the iron handle to his chambers, and almost fell inside.
Liliandil didn't look up.
The moonlight stuttered in through the window, only a little brighter than her, and Caspian hesitated before he shut the door, knowing she'd noticed the pause.
It wasn't that he didn't have any experience with this sort of situation - the favour of a new king is desired by all, and favour is easily won between the legs of a pretty daughter - it was just that this was now. After the Dawn Treader. There was no way to express it, but they both knew that something was wrong. Caspian hated to imagine the looks some of the hand-maidens must have given his new Queen - condescending, jealous, all of them wondering why the king looked so emotionless on such a day of joy. Damn the whole idea of marriage, he thought, sourly, and regretted it a second later as he stared as his new wife. She didn’t deserve it; like a cloud over the sun, she was simply a consequence, a herald of rain, blocking out the light, but not at fault.
“Will you not come to bed?” Liliandil asked, still not looking at him, and Caspian unbuckled his sword-belt slowly. His hands moved without his permission, and he noticed that he was not quite as drunk as the stairs had made him feel. Dropping the belt to the floor, he moved to the low table in their chamber, pouring himself another goblet of wine.
Liliandil sniffed, and then watched him as he leaned against the table facing her. She slipped the sleeves of her night-gown off her shoulders, her skin glistening in the darkness. The dress pooled around her hips as she rested her hands on the bedcovers.
“You’re beautiful,” he said, almost as if he was contemplating her. And she truly was.
“But not what you want,” she shrugged, the movement causing her breasts to rise and fall slightly, and Caspian wished he could lie to her, tell her he wanted her, take her to bed. She was stunning, a fitting queen, and he did not feel like a fitting king beside her.
He raised the goblet and drained it.
“You remember - ” she began, and shut her eyes, like she was steeling herself for something she knew she had to do, something that perhaps she wanted but wasn’t sure if she was allowed. “You remember when we met?”
Caspian couldn’t look at her. Everything about the Dawn Treader’s voyage made him tired - the memories, the sense of failure despite their success, and Edmund, Edmund - and he didn’t want to think about it. He put the goblet down and pulled his shirt out of his belt, risking a glance up at her to see if she’d realised his reluctance to talk about it.
Liliandil was gone.
In her place, Edmund sat on the bed, Liliandil’s dress crumpled around his waist and thighs like a fine sheet, looking at Caspian with a gaze that could only have been termed as ‘coy’. Whatever effect the wine had had on him vanished abruptly, and his vision cleared.
“Do you remember when we met?” Edmund asked, quietly, and Caspian felt like someone had punched him, winded him, left him broken on the floor. His hands found the solid wood of the table behind him, clutching to it like it was sanity itself.
“Of course,” he whispered, and Edmund smiled slightly.
“You had more troubles then, but you looked happier,” he remarked, eyes moving over Caspian until the king felt as if he stood naked to Edmund. “Come here,” he said, holding out a hand, and Caspian went before he could think otherwise.
“What - how?” he asked, feeling foolish, and Edmund shrugged. His skin glowed slightly, like he was alive with light, and he spread his legs to allow Caspian to stand between them at the foot of the bed.
“Does it matter?” Edmund frowned, and Caspian didn’t have a reply, because it didn’t, nothing did, nothing except the fact that Edmund was pulling him down, kissing him. Edmund’s lips were faintly dry, as if he’d been sailing just hours before, and there was a salt tang to his skin. He opened his mouth against Caspian’s, licking along the join of Caspian’s lips, his hands on his chest, thumbs rubbing circles on his bare skin. Caspian pushed him backwards onto the bed, Liliandil’s dress getting caught between them.
“Get these off,” Edmund whispered, tugging on the heavy fabric of Caspian’s breeches, but Caspian was slightly distracted by the fact that Edmund was naked, long legs and pale skin all laid out under his hands. He knelt over Edmund’s knees, just touching him, revelling in the sight and feel of him. He bent his head, kissing the flesh over Edmund’s heart, running his hands down to pull Liliandil’s tangled nightgown away. “I mean it, Caspian,” Edmund gasped, as Caspian flicked his tongue over Edmund’s nipple, and Caspian smiled. That tone sounded familiar, he thought, kissing up Edmund’s neck to suck on the skin over his pulse, making it flush with blood. Edmund moaned, his hips jerking up to thrust against nothing, and Caspian reconsidered undressing for a moment before a much more attractive idea presented itself.
“I want to -” he murmured, moving down Edmund’s body, and Edmund made a noise of protest as Caspian slipped away from his hands, which was quickly replaced by a noise of surprise as Caspian licked at the head of his cock, desperate suddenly for the taste of him in his mouth. He’d forgotten how much he wanted it, he thought, as he licked down the length of him, how much the thought of this had consumed him as he lay awake in his hammock below the deck of the Dawn Treader. But the reality put the fantasy to shame, he decided, breathing in the warm, familiar scent of Edmund’s skin, the musk of his sweat. Beneath his hands, Edmund’s thighs twitched, like he was itching to move but was holding himself in check for Caspian. Caspian pulled off, a thin string of saliva still connecting his lower lip to Edmund’s cock, and swallowed heavily.
“You don’t have to hold back,” he murmured, and Edmund leaned back on his elbows, the muscles of his stomach contracting and relaxing. He was panting slightly, Caspian noted, and felt oddly pleased. He’d caused that.
“Glad to hear it,” Edmund grinned, after a moment. “Now, won’t you return to the task at hand, so to speak?” Caspian rolled his eyes, running his hand up Edmund’s thigh. He’d missed this - this easy talk between them. It wasn’t just the fact that they were both kings that made it possible for them to talk like this, it was the recognition of kindred spirits.
“Since you requested so politely,” he replied, and as he leaned down again Edmund sat up slightly, and tucked a stray lock of hair behind Caspian’s ear. The gesture was so unexpected that Caspian almost froze, and then looked up at Edmund, who bit his lip gently, almost as if he wanted to shrug. There was a tightness in Caspian’s chest as he looked away, and he had to pause for a moment.
Edmund’s hands tightened on the sheets again as Caspian sucked on the head of his cock, swirling his tongue around the rounded head, and his head tipped back slightly as Caspian swallowed him down, fighting his gag reflex as he heard Edmund moan. He bobbed his head experimentally, testing to see what Edmund liked best, and managed to set up a slightly stilted rhythm, his fingernails digging into Edmund’s thighs.
“Caspian - you --” Edmund grabbed at Caspian’s shoulder, almost kneeing him in the chest, and Caspian pulled off, his throat burning, breathing hard. He was about to ask, but Edmund kicked Liliandil’s nightgown away and spread his legs deliberately, and Caspian had to shut his eyes and breathe slowly before he came in his breeches.
“Ed, god, you can’t just do that,” he hissed, pressing the heel of his hand over his erection. Edmund shuffled closer, undoing his breeches with frantic fingers, his mouth hot against Caspian’s neck.
“Hurry up, then,” he whispered, and Caspian kissed him, feeling desperate and strung-out, like everything he’d ever wanted was coming to a head, culminating in this moment, in this bed. Between them, they managed to get rid of his breeches, and Caspian pushed Edmund up the bed, rearranging him on the sheets and reaching over to the low table beside the bed, where Liliandil kept the unscented oil she preferred to use for her skin. The memory of her was distant, though, like a nightmare in the bright morning, and Caspian spread Edmund’s legs around him, dripping oil all over the sheets and Edmund’s thighs in his impatience. Edmund laughed, his hand on Caspian’s jaw, cheeks flushed and eyes bright, and Caspian had to kiss him again, to reassure himself that he wouldn’t vanish like a vision. But no, Edmund was there, beneath his hands, and Caspian was pressing a finger inside him, past the tight pucker of his hole. Edmund sighed gently, like this was something he’d waited for, and Caspian pressed their foreheads together as he crooked his finger gently.
It seemed to take forever, the gradual give and take as Edmund’s breath hitched, then smoothed out as Caspian waited. His hands shook slightly as he added a second, and then a third finger, and Edmund bit his lip until the flesh went white. “Yeah, ok,” he whispered, the words more like exhalations against Caspian’s mouth, and Caspian pressed deeper, against the heat of his prostate, and Edmund’s body jerked like he’d been shocked by lightning. Suddenly, it was if he couldn’t stop talking, couldn’t stop begging Caspian for more, again, and again, moaning like giving pleasure was his calling. Caspian squeezed the base of his cock, staving off climax, his whole body taught with anticipation. He was pound-nails hard, leaking precome onto his fingers, and even the air against his cock felt painful.
Edmund’s eyes were almost black when he opened them. Caspian could feel his face flushing, the heat of it travelling down his chest, and Edmund licked his lips, shifting his hips a little to rock against Caspian’s fingers. Oh, god, Edmund was fucking himself on his fingers, Caspian thought, and abruptly pulled his hand away. Edmund made a low noise of protest, digging his fingernails into Caspian’s shoulders, and then Caspian was pushing into him, slow and almost painful. He wasn’t going to last, he knew, but judging by the state of Edmund, neither of them were.
“Ed? You ok?” Caspian asked, when he trusted his voice not to break. It still came out wrecked and hoarse, and Edmund smiled, his eyes shut.
“I’m not sure,” he said, idly, and his eyelashes fluttered a little. “Why don’t you move, and we’ll find out?”
Caspian wanted to kiss him again, but he wasn’t sure if he could. It felt like there was a line between them, despite their closeness, and he rubbed careful circles on Edmund’s hips, pulling out of the heat of him slowly. Edmund’s toes curled against the bedsheets, and his eyes flew open as Caspian thrust back in, his mouth falling open in a surprised moan of pleasure. “Oh,” he murmured, and then grinned lazily, “I see why people do this for pleasure.” Caspian managed to grin, trying to keep some sort of rhythm and not come instantly like some stable-boy having a tumble with a kitchen-maid for the first time. Edmund’s nails raked down his chest and Caspian’s breath hitched, the sting of it sending his nerves spiralling.
Edmund reached down to palm his cock, his breath coming out in stuttering gasps, and Caspian could only watch as Edmund ran his fingers slowly down his length, the shine of spit and precome on his fingertips. Caspian rocked back slowly, pulling Edmund with him, until Edmund was spread in his lap, his cock pressed up against Caspian’s stomach. “Fuck,” Edmund whispered, pressing his mouth against Caspian’s shoulder. The angle was awkward, but it left one of Caspian’s hands free, and he had to - had to touch, right then --
“Caspian, c’mon, please,” Edmund whispered, desperate and writhing against Caspian like he’d die if they held out any longer, and Caspian couldn’t deny him anything, would’ve burnt his kingdom for him in that split-second.
Edmund came as soon as Caspian wrapped a hand around his cock, his head tipped back, eyes shut, and Caspian couldn’t keep a hold on his self-control. His vision blacked out, and he felt himself tipping forward, pushing Edmund back onto the sheets. He had a moment of sensation, of Edmund’s lips against his, tasting like sweat and salt, and then it was gone.
“Ed?” he asked, reaching out, and fingers twined with his.
The bed was empty when he woke. Caspian found Liliandil’s nightgown at the foot of the bed, torn and crumpled, and he suddenly realised she’d disappeared the night before.
“Oh, no,” he whispered, and then Liliandil was walking out of the antichamber, and oh - god, no, there were bite marks on her neck, the slightest of bruises on her hips, and --
“I trust you slept well?” she asked, evenly, and Caspian had to swallow the broken feeling in his throat, as if he had tried to eat glass. He bit his tongue hard enough to draw blood, clutching her nightgown in his hand, and nodded. As she turned away, he brought the fabric to his face.
It smelt of the sea.
“You are most beautiful,” Caspian said, reverently.
“If it is a distraction for you, I can change form,” Liliandil replied, quickly.
“No - ” Caspian began, and heard Edmund echo him. Something fragile broke, somewhere between them, and Caspian looked away.