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No Greater Love

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You’ve been King of Narnia for three years now. Before they crowned you, you had the High King for a time to help you learn what it meant to be King (and your uncle as a recent, painful, example of what not to be.) You had Ed to teach you what it meant to fall in love; when Aslan took him from you, it almost broke your heart. And since then you’ve struggled to move on from where it left you. You’ve been alone, and in pain. With no-one to help you shoulder the burden of kingship, you’ve done your best to deliver justice with mercy and to keep the spirit of Old Narnia alive. Or that is how you were when you thought you and Ed were parted for ever. But now Ed has returned to you and is rapidly becoming more important than almost anything else. What manner of King will you become as a result?

Ed’s unique; no-one else you’ve ever known has been as big a magnet for trouble. That’s one reason you don’t want to let him out of your sight. Another is how he came back to you. Sheer chance put him in the Dawn Treader’s path, but can you count his return as ‘trouble’ when it was Aslan’s doing? Yes, you had to fish Ed and the others out of the ocean. But you refuse to doubt the Lion; you’re certain he wouldn’t have let anyone come to harm. You don’t remember how soon afterwards you arrived at the Lone Islands. By then, most of your focus was already on Ed. Friendship could never be enough for either of you now, not after the changes in the dynamic of your relationship, and the two of you were trying to pick up where you’d left off. How long was it before you made landfall? A day or so, at most? And almost at once, after disembarking at Narrowhaven, there was Pug. Thinking of Pug still makes you angry. Along with the emotional damage Ed still carries, it’s a constant reminder of how you couldn’t protect the man you love. It's not as if you could have known what would happen, but the knowledge doesn’t ease the guilt. And when all you can do, King or no, is help Ed deal with the baggage and leave it in the past where it belongs you feel powerless. It is not a pleasant feeling.

You need time to concentrate on Ed, time alone together without distractions. You don’t get it. Too many issues and people need your presence or your time while you are still on the Lone Islands. And what little time you have left isn’t conducive to being able to focus on any one person. Even at night, when you most want to have Ed to yourself, there are Lucy and Eustace to consider. So, trapped by your inability to spare him the time you know he needs, you watch Ed turn in on himself. And you worry. On top of everything else, the Dawn Treader runs into a storm, unlike any you’ve seen before, almost as soon as she leaves port. Again, the time between slipping out of Narrowhaven harbour and where you are now is only a few days. But the storm already feels as if it’s lasted for ever; you’ve seen Ed get almost washed overboard at least twice now. You doubt it’s intentional, but his mental state worries you so much now you can’t be sure; is the stress becoming too much? You want to pull rank on Ed and confine him below deck for his own good (and your sanity). But without solid reasoning behind it, that he’ll believe, you can’t.

That’s the sticking point. And it’s not the only one; this would be easier if you weren’t also trying to hide what you are to each other. But your relationship is still fragile and delicate. And it is important enough that you don’t want to do, or say, anything that could out you both to everyone aboard ship until Ed is ready for the consequences. It frustrates you, for obvious reasons. And everyone suffers for it, including Ed; you’re aware of the irony. But ever since you first acted on your feelings for him, you have been unable to be in the slightest way objective about his continued well-being. And that has manifested itself in you as an increasing possessiveness, which shows most clearly when you’re trying to protect him – including from himself.

You don’t think it’s healthy for your relationship for you to be so possessive, and you are aware you should try to let go a little. But you don’t know how. Nothing in your life so far has prepared you for this; you have never let anyone become as important to you as Ed has now become. And you’re scared you’ll make mistakes you won’t be able to fix. On top of that, there is an added threat of losing Ed to Aslan’s Country even before the Lion can steal him away from you again and send him back to his own world. To cope with it, you’ve turned it into your main motivation for keeping Ed safe; you can and will deny it to everyone, including Ed. It’s clear to you that Pug and Co. were a test, perhaps even from Aslan himself. Your reaction to the implicit threat Pug posed to Ed asked questions of you; you’re not sure you care for the answers. But you must either live with them or learn to change them. And it’s now clear there’s little you won’t do to keep Ed with you, which frightens you when you let yourself consider the consequences. What could you let pass if it stood between you and the life of the man you love?

You thought he had gone, for ever, but by an Aslan-given miracle you have him with you again. And the way he left you last time means you know better than to hope you can keep him with you, but that knowledge doesn’t stop you trying. You’re not sure you can survive losing him a second time. Above all, you can’t bear the thought that you could lose him through your own actions. You now have a taste of what that’s like, and of what you might become because of it. This is your second chance with the man you love almost to the point of madness and, in the end, it’s up to you: will you, for the love of Ed, let there be times when there isn’t even a first chance for something to take him away from you, let alone a second?