lady_songsmith: (golden)
[personal profile] lady_songsmith
So I was trying to work on Shadow and out comes Edmund and Bacchus instead. IDK, gang. There isn't any real story here, just purging an insistent muse.

Takes place during Water and Wine.

The revel was well under way, his siblings had vanished, the satyrs he’d been talking to had wandered off with some nymphs, and Bacchus had just dropped down beside him bonelessly. “King Edmund! Alone at a romp? And your cup has run dry, for shame!” He flicked a finger on the rim and immediately the cup was filled again with deep ruby liquid smelling of summer.

“I think I’ve had enough,” Edmund said, making no move to pick it up from its resting place by his ankle.

“Nonsense!” Bacchus cried.

“No, really—”

“This is a celebration!” The god took up the cup himself, holding it out, ignoring Edmund’s head shake. “What have you had — one, two? Come now, my king, all your people are in revelry; join them!” He thrust the cup nearly into Edmund’s face.

“I said I’ve had enough!” Edmund snapped, shoving the cup aside as he leapt to his feet.

Everything stopped. The pipers broke off with an unmusical squawk, the dancers narrowly avoided collision, and every head turned to see what had inspired their king’s burst of temper.

Still seated, Bacchus inclined his head. “As you please.”

Edmund, breathing hard, felt the weight of the stares and pulled his shoulders straight, turning away from Bacchus. “Your pardon,” he said to the gathering, then gestured as if at court. “Carry on.” Then he turned on a heel, disappearing into the trees. Behind him, he could hear Bacchus: “Indeed, carry on, friends all! Euan-oi!” and the music strike up again.

Edmund walked quickly, not wanting anyone to follow him, but after a moment he noticed someone at his shoulder all the same. He turned. Bacchus. Of course.

The godling held out a cup. “Water only,” he said earnestly, when Edmund would have scowled.

He hesitated, then took the cup. “Thank you,” he said reluctantly.

“It was ill done to press you,” Bacchus admitted. “I ask your pardon.”

“Granted,” Edmund said automatically, with the courtesy that seemed to come more naturally every day. An uncomfortable silence fell between them; he drank to cover his fidgets.

“Do you not care for wine, then?” There was an odd note in the the god’s voice, almost wistful. Edmund puzzled over that for a bit; why should it matter whether or not he liked wine? He was just one — oh. No, it wouldn’t do for a king of Narnia to reject a god’s domain, would it? “I like it well, Lord Bacchus,” he said, which was true at least of the drink at the revels — most of the rest he’d tried was thin and sour with Winter. “Just in small portions. It is good of you t’bless this harvest…” He heard his won voice slurring, and shook his head. It cleared just a little, but the floating sensation was insistent.

Sudden suspicion flared. “What’s in this?” he demanded, eying the half-full cup. “Only water, you say?” He made to cast the cup from him, but Bacchus caught his arm.

“Wait!” The godling gazed searchingly at him. “It is not the wine? It is the fog that troubles you?”

“Fog,” Edmund repeated. “Yes, that would be a good word for it. I don’t care for it, my lord — whatever the source.” Pointedly he turned his wrist, upending the goblet and letting the water spill to the ground.

Bacchus’s hand closed over his. “It is not the drink,” he said, gently righting the cup. “It is the revel. All who are my guests here feel it.” He tilted his head, considering. “It troubles you greatly.”

“I’ve had a bellyfull of it,” Edmund answered sharply. “Never again.”

The godling’s eyes went wide. “The Witch’s food.”

Edmund flushed. He’d had a bellyfull of pity, too. In some ways he preferred those who were still suspicious of him; it was easier to bear. He turned away, tugging his wrist free of Bacchus’s grasp.

“Wait,” the god said again, suddenly in his personal space once more. He laid a hand on Edmund’s forehead for a moment, then drew back. “Is that better?”

Edmund blinked like a swimmer coming out of water, shook his head once, then stood considering. The haze which had slowed his thoughts to syrup was gone, his head clearer. “Much,” he said. Then, because he was a king, he gathered his manners enough to bow slightly. “My thanks.”

Bacchus grinned wryly. “Ah, my young king, you catch me betwixt and between! Never have I withdrawn my magic for any soul, but it’s a poor host I’d be to make you suffer something you hate so much.”

He shifted, flushing again. “Thank you,” he repeated more sincerely. “I do appreciate it.”

“Then you must promise to enjoy the revel,” Bacchus replied. “That is the purpose of the magic: to free the cares which hinder you mortals.” He tipped his head to one side. “And you can use it more than most — do you never stop, O king?”

“I think you’ve answered your own question, Lord Bacchus.” Bacchus laughed heartily, and Edmund found a grin himself. What a fool he’d been to ever want the job. If he’d known six months ago what he knew now, he’d have thrust Peter forward for the job and run.

“And yet your brother and sister accept my gift most graciously,” the god chided, still grinning. “You should be more pleased by my kind hospitality!” A sweeping gesture of his arm took in the woods, the vines running riot, the revelers, and all.

"I have not heard that hospitality was in your domain," Edmund said carefully.

"You've been studying me!" Bacchus exclaimed, sounding pleased.

"Nor had I heard you were kind."

Bacchus laughed. "You've been talking to the dwarfs," he scolded, wagging a finger at Edmund. "Talk to the satyrs; they like me better." Edmund smiled as well; the god's enthusiasm was infectious. But Bacchus went on more soberly, "I am not kind, young king. Those whom I set against, I hound into madness without remorse. Frenzy and bloodlust are mine, and if you ever thought I was safe, I should have to disabuse you of the notion most violently." He grinned again, but this time Edmund could understand why so many Narnians thought showing teeth was rude and aggressive. Perhaps it was only his imagination that made the godling's teeth look pointed. He was definitely not imagining the way Bacchus leaned closer, well into his personal space, or the hand on his arm.

"But today you are my guest," Bacchus continued, and the faint menace diminished as he spoke. "And I am as bound to the customs of hospitality as any spirit."

"Which is to say, as much as you wish?" Edmund asked dryly.

"So cynical!" The god chuckled. "I thought that was a trait of mortal age."

“Mortal care, rather.”

“Tut! Care has no place here.”

Edmund shook his head. “I shall try to do better, my lord. My word on it.”

“Oh, no, never that!” Bacchus exclaimed. “Make reveling into a duty? For shame!” And then he bounced in once more, so close Edmund nearly went cross-eyed looking at him. “Someday, Edmund Pevensie, you will partake of all my revels have to offer and welcome it.”
If I were actually writing it, I'd edit some parts (speech patterns are inconsistent, and Bacchus in the opening bit is supposed to be more oblivious, less creepy) but I'm not writing it. La la la la la. We now return you to your regularly scheduled race riots (species riots?).

(no subject)

Date: 2013-04-26 03:36 pm (UTC)
autumnia: The apple orchard in Cair Paravel (Pevensies (at the Cair))
From: [personal profile] autumnia
I really liked this!

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