MFB33: A Candid Conversation

The rest of the day sped by in a haze for Edmund, for he was distracted by what he had learned from Per and could only answer half-heartedly whenever one of the guests or his own subjects addressed him.

I suppose he meant that the whole thing could fit in… Golly! That would take some doing, especially for a grown man. Peter’s not full grown, I shouldn’t think, and already he’s huge! No wonder Lord Bar’s knight hurt Per. I wonder who it was, and if King Lune has already punished him for it… He probably has if he knew about it. Poor Per, getting stuck with a rotten ass like that! I’m surprised at Darian, though… he seems like a nice enough chap, but he really ought to leave Per alone if he knows how rough he’s had it. I wonder if he even knows? Maybe Per hasn’t told him, and that’s why he’s kept after him. He was practically eating him with that kiss, if you could call it a kiss! Oh, well — at least he’ll be leaving Anvard, so Per won’t have to worry about getting pestered by him again.

Even the scrumptious dinner was almost lost on the youngest king as he tried hard not to imagine (and squirm) how much it would hurt to have Peter’s manhood pressed inside of his body. Having seen and handled it at its largest, he could hardly believe that such a feat was even possible; however, he could not discount Per’s testimony, so he was left figuratively shaking his head even while he smiled and nodded as necessary to those around him.

To his relief, the conversation at the table was focused primarily on the food: the lemon celery soup, the fennel and celery salad, and the tender mutton chops drowning in a creamy mushroom sauce with fresh herbs and served with a hearty potato cheese bake. King Lune raved over every dish and insisted on meeting the cook, so finally Felicity was brought out wearing her little apron, her paws white with flour from the pastries she was preparing for their late-night snack. She blushed from all the accolades bestowed upon her (though you could hardly see it through her fur) and tried to escape to the kitchens as quickly as possible, but not before King Peter had bent down on one knee to regally kiss both of her whiskered cheeks in thanks for her hard work. A cheer went up among the Narnians at that, while the Archenlandians clapped with equal enthusiasm.

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Since their guests had just traveled through the countryside, hot baths were a necessity to complete their hospitality; the royal children had decided to use the laundry room while their guests used the marble bath upstairs. After the girls had taken their turn, Peter joined the younger boys to save the Fauns the trouble of making hot water again just for him, especially since the laundry basin was large enough to accommodate all three of them at once. The High King studiously averted his eyes from his brother (and Per), but Edmund could not help stealing looks at Peter’s sizeable equipment. At one point the younger king caught his squire’s eye, glanced meaningfully at Peter, and raised one eyebrow in mute query. Per blushed but nodded in the affirmative, leaving Edmund amazed at the flexibility of the human anatomy.

They were about to get out when Peter saw some soapsuds still in Per’s hair.

“Hold up! You’ve not washed out all the soap,” he called.

“Oh, he’s right — you’ve got some right there,” Edmund pointed out, so Per turned back to the basin. The High King himself scooped up some water to rinse his hair for him.

“There, that’s better,” Peter declared.

“Thank you, your Majesty,” Per replied, and was startled when Peter ruffled his wet hair affectionately.

“We must have you looking your best for King Lune, to set his mind at ease that you’re being properly cared for here,” Peter smiled, then stepped out to dry off with a towel. Edmund felt a sudden yank on his navel at his brother’s casual gesture, and needed to take a deep breath to calm down and give himself a mental shake.

Per needs to know that there are men like Peter — men he can trust, Edmund reminded himself. I really must stop acting like a child! After all, Peter would do the same for me if I’d missed a spot!

They changed into the loose-fitting tunics and baggy trousers set out for them, since Felicity was serving their bedtime tea in the den so that the royal family of Archenland (and a select few of their retinue) could join them. Edmund had his suspicions confirmed when they walked into the den and saw Susan and Lucy chatting with not only Queen Primela but also Lady Verinia and Lady Avenel.

“We hope you are refreshed from your journey here,” Peter said rather formally, addressing all three ladies.

“Very much, thank you,” Queen Primela smiled. Prince Corin was yawning but sitting contentedly on Lucy’s lap, and for a brief moment Edmund wondered if that was how he looked himself when he settled on Peter’s lap every night. The thought was quickly pushed aside as Lady Verinia complimented King Peter on the appointments of the castle, to which the High King replied with courtesy and offered any modification that might promote their comfort. Edmund scowled without realising it, so it was a good thing that King Lune soon joined them — in good spirits from his own bath — filling the room with his jovial humour before anybody noticed Edmund’s expression.

Mrs. Hoppinger and Felicity also entered soon after, pushing a cart laden with tea things and a platter of fresh peach turnovers which smelled good enough to rouse Corin from his stupor. The Beasts assured King Lune that Mrs. Griswold was offering the same fare to the other guests in their own rooms, and were pleased when the young ladies of Archenland split one turnover between them because they were still full from dinner. Even without the chamomile tea, everybody was having trouble keeping their eyes open when they retired to their several rooms.

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Peter had some doubts again as to whether Edmund would show up, not only because of the lethargy brought on by so much good food but also because it had been a rather tiring day; however, as soon as he was dressed in his nightgown and sitting in his favourite chair, his brother’s shadow preceded him through the open balcony door.

“Hullo… Are you as tired as I am?” Edmund asked.

“Probably,” Peter yawned, though making room for him on his lap. Edmund crawled up into it, taking care to not crush Peter’s legs or other appendages, and threw his own legs over the armrest as before. Snuggling against his older brother’s neck, he felt completely secure and comfortable as Peter’s warm hands rested on his waist and knee.

“It’s been a long day,” he remarked, mirroring Peter’s yawn, “but I think our guests are pretty happy.”

“Yes, thanks to Felicity and everybody else’s hard work. Mr. Tumnus’ choir was a superb!”

Edmund nodded, worming one arm behind Peter’s back. “And obviously the young ladies were pleased to see you again.”

“Me?” Peter retorted with a self-deprecating scoff. “They could as easily have been pleased to see you, you know! If you weren’t so stand-offish to them, anyway…”

Edmund played with the drawstring of Peter’s nightshirt with one hand, trying to make the bow tie more even but pulling it loose instead.

“I just don’t care for them. Something about them… rubs me the wrong way.”

“Oh, Ed,” Peter sighed. “You haven’t even given them a chance! They seem like perfectly nice girls to me.”

This time Edmund knew that he was scowling, and didn’t care if his brother saw it.

“Of course they’re perfectly nice — if you care for flighty, giggly girls with no sense at all, or who’ll chase a chap into the next kingdom and beyond,” he grumbled.

“Edmund! That’s hardly fair,” Peter protested in shock.

“Oh, I know,” the younger king admitted. “I just don’t like them because I don’t like the thought of you getting married to either of them. But if that’s what you want—”

“I’ll do nothing of the sort! I’ve told you already, I… I’ve no interest in them. Not now, and most likely not for a very long time…”

Peter swallowed hard as his hold on Edmund instinctively tightened.

The one I want is you, he thought desperately. The one person in the whole world that I can never have, but I love you so much…

Edmund was relieved, though, to hear Peter reaffirm his intentions (or lack thereof), and was already thinking of the other topic that had weighed heavily on his mind all day. He wondered if Per would be embarrassed if he told Peter everything that the boy had confided to him, and he was not sure how to approach the subject delicately, in case Peter had no knowledge of the fact that a man could take carnal pleasure in a boy. After mulling this over for some time, he decided to broach the subject from a tangent.

“I say, Peter,” he began, surprised at how hard and fast his heart had started to beat. “Have you ever… kissed a girl?”

Peter’s heart also skipped a beat or two before it thudded at a faster pace. He was recalling — with guilt as well as intense longing — the few times when he had stolen Edmund’s lips while the younger boy lay sleeping and unaware. The moment it cost him to come up with an answer betrayed it to his brother.

“You have, haven’t you?” Edmund demanded, sitting bolt upright to face him. “A real kiss, not just a peck on the cheek?”

“Well, I… yes,” Peter confessed as his own cheeks turned crimson in the darkness. If he were to be entirely truthful, he would have to explain that it was not a girl, but he could hardly be expected to own up to that.

“What was it like?”

“It was… wonderful.”

“Was it… Was it her?” Edmund asked, his insides being stung mercilessly by the hornets at that thought.

Peter felt faint from the answer required of him, knowing full well of whom Edmund spoke, and could only nod in reply. Unable to bear his brother’s piercing gaze, he stared out at the ocean where the whitecaps were lit by pale moonlight and starlight.

“Oh,” was all Edmund said as he digested this bit of information.

So he’s actually kissed her… I wonder what she thought of that? But wait, didn’t he say that she didn’t know he loved her? How is that possible?

“Peter… I thought you hadn’t told her, erm… how you felt?”

“Oh, Ed! Please don’t ask me about it. I’ve told you that I can’t go into any detail…”

“But I mean, how could she not realise that… that you’re in love with her, if you kissed her?”

Peter sighed and closed his eyes, letting his heavy head fall back against the chair.

“She was asleep, all right? She didn’t know that I did,” Peter forced out, his conscience pained from the falsehood of changing the gender.

“Oh! Oh, all right. I understand now,” Edmund said, unsure whether that made him feel more satisfied or less. It was difficult for him to think clearly with the hornets stinging him. “And it was still… ‘wonderful’?”

“Yes.” Peter’s voice was faint but his response was firm. “It would have been even more wonderful if… if she’d wanted to kiss me back, but… even as it was — and I’m not proud of stealing the kiss — it was still wonderful.”


Peter sighed, hoping that the worst was over, and asked, “Why the sudden interest? Is there some girl that you’d like to kiss?”

“No!” the younger boy shot back, appalled at the thought. “I just… well… I saw someone kissing today, in the garden.”


“I don’t rightly know if I should tell who it was, but… it was… two boys.”

Peter started at that, his eyes opening wide in an attempt to see his brother’s expression.

“Are you sure about that?”

Edmund nodded. “Quite sure. I couldn’t believe it at first, but… I talked to one of them about it, and… well, he said it’s quite common in Archenland.”

Peter swallowed hard, feeling a chill come over him despite the warm breeze wafting in from the ocean.

“Ah… I see…”

Edmund leaned against his brother’s shoulder again, hoping that if he couldn’t see Peter’s face (and vice versa) it would be easier to talk about.

“I asked him why on earth would anybody want to kiss another boy, and he told me… well, that… that it’s possible for a man to… er… ‘take pleasure’ from a boy, almost as easily as a girl…”

His voice trailed off as he realised that Peter — who had nearly jumped at the mention of two boys kissing — was taking in this more amazing (to Edmund) information without so much as a twitch.

“Did you know about this? That such a thing was even possible?” Edmund pressed, hardly daring to believe what he already suspected was the answer.

“Yes. I knew.” Peter’s hands had wrapped themselves around his brother’s body, and they now clasped together as though in supplication. “Back when we were still in England, at school… I happened to walk in on a couple of chaps — quite by accident, of course. I’d hoped… since we’d come to Narnia… that you would be spared from knowing about such things…”

“Why? Why did you want to keep me in the dark?” Edmund demanded. “I had to ask someone else today to find out — I feel like such a fool now!”

“Oh, Ed,” Peter sighed, hugging him closer. “There are some things that it is no shame for you to be ignorant of. Trust me, I’d much rather not have seen what I did!”

“Well, but… Why? I mean, all right, I can understand that you don’t care to remember seeing… what you saw,” Edmund conceded, reddening even more, “but you could’ve at least told me that it was possible — that those things do happen.”

“I suppose. But you were so young when you came here… and I wanted you to stay innocent. I thought… since you weren’t in school anymore, that you could be… blissfully unaware of such things, forever.”

“Do you mean to say,” the younger boy said, suddenly sitting up again as he comprehended what his brother had just implied, “that if I’d stayed in school, I would have found out about it, too? Maybe even walked in on… that?

“Oh, Edmund!” Peter laughed ruefully. “You really were young, weren’t you? What did you think the Tarts were?”

“The Tarts?” he echoed. “Weren’t they special servants or valets to the Bloods…”

His voice died out for a second time and his mouth hung open for a long moment.

“Do you mean to say…?”

“Yes. They were servants, of course, in a way; but if all the Bloods wanted was someone to shine their shoes, they could get any Fag to do it. The Tarts’ main purpose was to… well…”

Peter struggled with the wording, and seeing him blush even in the faint moonlight, Edmund supplied, “…to give the Bloods pleasure?”

“Right. Exactly.”

There was a long minute of silence.

“Peter, have you ever…?”


“Oh. Well, I didn’t think you had…”

After another awkward pause, Peter sighed in resignation.

“Now that you know, Ed, I might as well spell it out for you. I told you that we couldn’t ‘help’ each other… that way, because I knew that some boys, er… engaged in such activities. And I didn’t want us to… to go down that path. This… This need that we have, as you’ve already figured out, is very strong for us boys and… I didn’t want us to get too caught up in satisfying it like that… especially with each other. We’re brothers, after all.”

Edmund nodded slowly, acknowledging Peter’s reasons for caution, at least.

“But I still don’t understand why… Well, if it’s all right for fellows who’re not related to do such things, why would it be any different for us, just because we’re brothers? It’s not like we could make babies, after all… right?”

Peter groaned and pressed a palm to his forehead in despair.

“It’s not all right for any two fellows to do this! That’s why it’s even worse if you’re related. And anyhow, you’re much too young to be thinking about this sort of thing,” he asserted, though wearily. “And right now, I’m much too tired to argue about this with you…”

“Oh! I’m sorry, Peter,” Edmund said, disentangling himself to stand on the floor. “I’d forgotten how late it was getting. But can we talk about this some other time? When you’re not so tired?”

“Of course,” Peter answered, feeling older than his years as he stood up as well.

“Goodnight, Peter,” the younger boy murmured, hugging his brother with no reservation in spite of the conversation that they had just had.

“Goodnight, Ed,” the older boy replied, returning the hug with a pang of sorrow mingled with joy at the spontaneous gesture.

A/N: This menu is also available on

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