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[livejournal.com profile] priscipixie said: Lucy Pevensie in the early days at Cair Paravel, "midnight", surely a queen of Narnia doesn't need a bedtime. (1,225 words)

Note: I just meant to write a tiny fluff!fic. I don't know what happened. O_o

Anyway, this is set a couple weeks after Liminality and incorporates an idea from Out of Sight, Out of Mind (slightly tweaked to account for Lucy's storytelling in HHB), which is still my headcanon for the utter weirdness of the Pevensies' reaction (or rather, lack of reaction) to being stuck in Narnia with no way back to their parents and their entire world, which is in the middle of a catastrophic war. In summary, Aslan is good and loving and also kind of a dick, and mind control/brainwashing with the best of intentions is still creepy and wrong. :(

[ETA: The slightly revised final version is now up on AO3!]

Queen of the Night

The first weeks after their coronation passed in such a whirl of banquets and dances, meetings and lessons, cleaning and exploration that Lucy dropped straight off to sleep within an hour of sunset. But after Aslan left, the army dwindled toward a peacetime garrison, and Cair Paravel began to settle into a tentative rhythm under Susan and Peter's awkward guidance, Lucy found herself with energy left over at the end of each day. And it occurred to her one afternoon that as a queen, she could set her own bedtime.

Susan found her that evening in the library, reading a slightly charred but gorgeously illustrated history of Narnia's founding, which Edmund and Mr. Tumnus had unearthed the previous day. An oil lamp burned low and steady on the corner of the reading table, its base fixed to the wood in an attempt to limit the risk of spills and accidental fires.

"It's nearly ten o'clock," Susan said, setting her candle down beside the lamp. "Do you know the panic I had when I checked your room and you weren't in your bed?"

"I'll leave a note next time," Lucy promised.

Susan huffed and tugged over another high-backed chair. "That's not the point. The point is that it's late and we both should be asleep, not burning oil and wax we don't yet have a way to replace. Mark your place and come back in the morning."

Lucy acknowledged to herself that Susan was right about the lamp oil (and felt ashamed for not realizing that herself beforehand), but rather that admit that aloud she said, "Then I shall go walk in the gardens and say hello to the Owls and the stars. They aren't asleep, so I don't see why I should go to bed either."

"Lucy--" Susan began.

"You're not Mother and you can't make me!"

Lucy's words shivered the air for a drawn, breathless moment as the realization that they were alone, cut off from their family and their very world, pierced through the glamour that seemed to wrap ever more firmly around their days and fix their attention on what they had gained rather than what they had lost when they stumbled through the wardrobe into Narnia.

Then Susan sighed, and the terrible clarity faded once again.

"I can't make you," she agreed. "But being a queen brings responsibility as well as freedom. If you fail to carry out your duties because you stayed up all night and got no sleep, if you let the people of Narnia down, the consequences will be on your own head."

"I don't care," Lucy said, "because everything will be fine. Excuse me. I have a garden to visit."

She blew out the reading lamp and stomped her way out of the library, toward the dark corridors washed gray by the faint, silvery light of the stars and the waxing crescent moon.

She half expected Susan to follow and make another attempt to persuade her, but no footsteps or hand on her shoulder ever came. Instead, she spent a pleasant pair of hours getting to know the Owls who lived in a tower at the north end of the castle, and who promised to introduce her to various other nocturnal Narnians if she returned the following night.

She stayed resolutely outside all through the night, looking upward toward the sparkling sky and wondering how she might send a greeting high enough to reach the stars. Eventually she couldn't hold back her yawns and curled up on a stone bench for what she told herself would be only a moment's rest... and woke, face damp with dew and limbs stiff and sullen, as the sun finally rose past the towers and walls of Cair Paravel.

Someone had covered her with a light, linen sheet while she slept.

Lucy shook it out and began to fold the cloth while she took stock of her situation.

It was ten o'clock and she had missed breakfast. If she didn't hurry, she would miss the open court that Edmund had insisted they must establish, for all Narnians to bring concerns to lay before their new kings and queens. Even if she did hurry, her head ached and she would scarcely be able to pay attention through her hunger and lack of sleep, not to mention the bad impression she was likely to make, all bedraggled and cross.

"Drat," Lucy said to the flowers bobbing in their neat geometric beds. (She should learn their names. It felt important in a way that such things hadn't, back before the wardrobe and the fading mysteries on its other side.) "It's wrong to miss court, but I shan't be any use if I do go. I'll be even less use tomorrow if I don't get some proper sleep, but I can't go to sleep at sunset since I promised to go with the Owls to meet the Bats and the Hedgehogs tonight. What am I to do?"

"That is a problem," someone said behind her, and Lucy whirled with an undignified squeak to see Peter sitting on the rim of the fountain at the courtyard garden's heart. "Good morning, Lu," he said, smiling, and held up his hands to show they were empty. The gesture was a little spoiled by the sword hanging from his belt (which looked less odd every day), but Lucy accepted it in the spirit in which it was meant, and smiled somewhat awkwardly back.

"I'm sorry if you had to come looking for me," she said.

Peter shook his head. "Susan told me and Ed that you were most likely spending the night in the gardens, and Ed brought the sheet out around three. It was no trouble to wait in peace and quiet for you to wake."

Lucy bit her lip. "Not for you. But Edmund--"

"--prefers feeling useful to walking the halls with no purpose," Peter said firmly, and changed the subject. "I was going to suggest that you skip court today and get enough sleep tonight to be back on schedule tomorrow, but you're quite right that shouldn't break your promise. I still think you should skip court, but perhaps we should all stay up a bit late tonight to meet our subjects who dislike daylight. Thank you for bringing them to our attention."

"Oh. Really?"

"Of course. What kind of rulers would we be if we didn't try to meet people halfway?" Peter said. He stood and walked toward Lucy's bench, one hand outstretched to help her up if she wanted.

Lucy lunged to her feet and wrapped her arms around her brother's chest in a hug. He caught her as if he had been born to hold and steady her, and dropped a kiss onto the messy knots of her hair.

"Perhaps we'll set up a night court to match the one during the day, and take turns who sits to hear petitions and redress wrongs," Peter said. "But for now, let's find you something to eat and someone to set up your bath before I have to run off to the great hall."

Lucy squeezed his ribs one final time before she stepped back to let him straighten his tunic and catch his breath, so at least one of them looked a proper monarch.

They set forth in search of breakfast, hand in hand.


End of Ficlet


I should work more on "Intervention" before I write the next prompt fic. But I am really not in the mood for editing... Oh, blargh.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-07-29 02:51 am (UTC)
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai
This is positively delightful.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-07-30 12:11 am (UTC)
autumnia: The apple orchard in Cair Paravel (Pevensies (at the Cair))
From: [personal profile] autumnia
This was delightful!

There are definitely reasons why one should stay up later at night, and why one should get to bed early. :-) And none of the Pevensies really thought about their nocturnal subjects until Peter brings it up just now to Lucy.

I am a little sad about their loss of England and their parents but of course those memories eventually fade, though it's probably far too awkward to acknowledge so soon into their reign.


edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
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