whynot: SPN: all hail (king me)
Lassiter ([personal profile] whynot) wrote2009-05-06 01:42 am

Narnia/Stardust: From Another Country

This was commentfic written with Fahye an age ago, but I'm reposting it as actual post. Sure it's kind of crack, but Ben Barnes/Ben Barnes is a difficult ship to resist.


From Another Country
Narnia/Stardust. Caspian/Dunstan. PG13.
Co-written with Fahye. "The years have left their marks on both of them, inside and out."


And it's not quite that this stranger walks wreathed in magic the way Tristran's mother did, but he moves with the easy grace of those well-acquainted with the other world; his voice is familiar even though his accent is not, and when Dunstan kisses him it's rather like remembering something he never realized he's forgotten.

+

Caspian says "Stay", and the young Englishman says "No", but then he confounds all of Caspian's resignation by adding, "But I'll come back tomorrow." He smiles and Caspian realises what it is that they are recognising in one another: the subtle gap left by someone loved briefly and then lost beyond hope of reunion.

+

Caspian has within him a wealth of stories: treacherous uncles, kings of legend, talking animals, and the sea. Dunstan tells him, "I've never been to the sea."

Caspian says, "It fills your whole heart."

He tells Dunstan about the very end of the world and how sweet the waters were, how thick the smell of lilies. "I have stood at the border between two worlds," says the king, "and I could not follow."

"Yes," replies Dunstan, his own thoughts far away. "It's hard."

+

There are many things that Dunstan has never done, never seen. Perhaps the one that shines forth most brightly, in the way he laughs and in the impetuous nature of his ideas, is the fact that he has never been king of anything.

"Rather you," Dunstan says cheerfully, "than me."

Caspian lifts himself onto one elbow and watches the deadly play of firelight off his own sword, balanced with respect and curiosity within Dunstan's hands. Those strong clever hands which have never killed anyone.

"Be careful," he says. "It's heavy."

Dunstan sheaths it with care but no grace, and in the sudden absence of metal the firelight drapes itself across his bare shoulders instead.

+

Caspian has never been in love with anyone from his own world and he's long given up wondering whether it is a blessing or a curse. There is no profit from such contemplation. Focus, instead, on keeping your feet on the ground and your eyes steady. Line the chambers of your heart with your memories so you don't have to keep them in your head. Make new memories.

For example: the curve of Dunstan's clavicle. The small of his back and the words he whispers when he doesn't know what he's saying. The touch tracing the curve of his spine.
But just as there is a finite number of kinds of stories, perhaps there is a finite number of kinds of memories. Caspian thinks he recognizes each one.

The rain discovering what it is like to be the sea in a storm.

+

Caspian shows Dunstan all the things he can think of: the throne room and the way the sun sets between towers and the ruins of Cair Paravel and maps so wide that they curl off the edges of tables.

Dunstan admires them all but no matter how carefully Caspian watches his eyes he never once shows that telltale longing, that sign of blending into Narnia and its promises. He never once looks anything like Peter. Caspian wonders what he is trying to prove to himself.

He remembers Lucy telling him a story about the twin princes of Archenland and the boy Corin who gave up his throne with the willingness of those not cursed with intrinsic responsibility. Some days Caspian understands completely, and he traces with his fingertips the corners of Dunstan's eyes and mouth, which are free of the tiny lines that he sees already beside his own.

+

The years have left their marks on both of them, inside and out. When Caspian talks about the kings and queens of legend, the things left unsaid are palpable and Dunstan doesn't pry, howsoever much he is curious. Dunstan keeps his own heart close to him. He is not cut out for magic and perhaps knows that it is only meant to find him when he least expects it, and never in the same way twice. So he marvels at the horizon and is sick over the side of the dawn trader with equal zeal, and when Caspian gives him tea infused with strange-smelling herbs and tells him he'll get used to it, Dunstan smiles weakly and says he reckons he won't mind overmuch if he doesn't. "After all," he adds, "is it not how it is with adventures, to not know what the next day will bring?"

"Ah," Caspian shrugs. "you get used to that too."