Okay but I just imagine the Pevensies going to their respective schools after Prince Caspian, and it doesn’t take the other kids long to notice something is…off about them.
There’s something rough in the edges of Peter that the worst of the other boys keep getting cut on. Something powerful and confident. He was always likable, the shining golden child that the school trots out as a perfect example to incoming students, but now he is strong, he has emerged from the countryside a leader. He stands up to bullies, he always has, but he’s more eager to get into a fight these days than to talk them down. He’s a strong hand and quick word, but there’s power to back it up this time.
There’s something in the way Susan tilts her head that makes her seem like a woman. The way she carries herself high and tall, the proud line of her shoulders as she walks down the hall that makes some lable her to high and mighty for her own good. The world doesn’t know what to do with queens, and that’s what Susan seems to be these days.
There’s something dark lurking in Edmund that makes the other boys uneasy. Something wild and untamed in the now quiet boy. He no longer gets into fights, no longer bullies or mocks the others. In fact, he’s taken to stopping fights, to pushing back against his former friends when they try to take things to far. His roomate claims he wakes screaming from nightmares sometimes, and the stillness of his presence belies the intensity of his eyes.
There’s something burning in Lucy that wasn’t before. All the teachers comment on it. There’s something loud and cheerful in the girl who used to be quiet, and she makes friends even faster than before, pulled in by her captivating orbit. She spins fantastic tales, and is scolded for having her head in the clouds. She tells her tales of magical kingdoms as if she were really there, and gets sad sometimes, as if she misses the people who were never there.
Everyone agrees that something happened to the Pevensie children in the country, but they never talk about it. The adults eventually just chalk it up to the war, and almost forget about the strange children that populatetd their classrooms, until they read about the tragedy in the paper. Then they remember. And they never forget.
It sounded like the beginning of a joke. Two Bittles walk into a den.
Eric stood awkwardly in front of his dad’s gigantic trophy case, his body slouched and his fingers intertwined in front of him. His adrenaline was still soaring from the conversation he’d just had with his mother and he could still catch a faint hint of smoke clinging to his button-down.
The elder Bittle was sitting in his favorite navy blue recliner, the hideous and torn one that had been banned from the living room after one (or ten) too many years of service. He held his ipad aloft in front of him as he scrolled through a sports news feed with a scowl. His body language was open, but intimidating, just like always. Richard had a habit of completely filling up every room he was in without meaning to.
The easy commanding presence was great for coaching, not so much for parenting. He knew that his son found it intimidating. The boy was far too soft-hearted for his own good, never wanting to bother or upset anyone. Afraid to speak up for himself for fear of being considered a burden.
Polite to a fault that kid. Just like his mama.
It wasn’t that Eric was afraid of his father. Of course not. He was afraid of disappointing him. Of not living up to his expectations and legacy.
It was the worst kind of fear. Self-imposed and corrosive. Everpresent. A lens that had colored every interaction between the two of them for more than half of Eric’s life, starting with the disaster that was his very first football game.