You were young when you first met Caspian. So young that you don't remember the long carriage ride north or the somber faces on those at the royal funeral. You could barely crawl across the floor let alone remember that day. But your parents remembered well.

They saw how quickly you warmed up to the little prince. He was just as young and oblivious as you were. You latched onto him the moment he cried out. Your mother said you began wailing with him and searched high and low for the distraught baby. The moment his mother and yours brought you two together, you both silenced. Your mothers were at a loss.

You cried the whole way home after the funeral. You were told when you were older his mother wrote to your family to say Caspian didn't sleep through the night as he had before meeting you, that he missed you as much as you missed him. Your mothers started planning weekends in one another's kingdoms for your sakes. Those visits only furthered the dependency you two had on each other. You were inseparable.

Just after you turned two, your garbled words became short phrases, one of which you spoke several times in a day.

The first time you said it, your mother was feeding you lunch while your father was speaking with his advisors. There was nothing to trigger it, nothing that correlated to your prince friend. You shook your head to refuse your last few bites and whined when your mother tried to put the spoon in your mouth.

"See Casp'n!"

Your father and the other men paused their conversation to watch you whine and cry for your friend, shoving the spoon away. Your mother smiled gently, gazing at her husband momentarily before promising a visit if you finished your food.

"Pomiss?"

She kissed your nose. "I promise, little one."

You gobbled up the rest of your food without question. The following morning, you and your mother set off to see Caspian.

Nearing age six, your bond with Caspian shifted enough to make your mothers ponder the future when they chatted.

Caspian made it his duty to keep watch over you when your mother couldn't. He saved you from the invisible pirates that you'd think up and be frightened of. He stood up for you when Telmarine girls teased you for your light-colored hair and your bright blue eyes. And of course, they silenced when Caspian asked them to because their parents planted in their young minds a future with the young prince.

Caspian was your hero and you thanked him with baked foods you learned how to make while helping the kitchen staff. Your father would shake his head to see you getting flour in your hair, but you loved having a way to do something nice for someone. The women of the kitchen loved teaching you and always said what you made for Caspian was better than anything they could make because you baked it with love.

"Do you love Caspian, Princess?"

You nodded your head vigorously. "He's my best friend."

The women looked at each other with knowing smiles.

Occasionally, Caspian would lead you through the Telmarine castle when there was little happening, his hand wrapped tightly around yours. He would tell you the stories of Narnia his tutor shared with him. Pure awe shined in your eyes at the mention of talking animals and trees that danced. You wanted nothing more than to see the Narnia his tutor knew.

Sometimes you and Caspian would wind up lying in the grass in the courtyard talking about Narnia and its creatures. There were too many times where your mothers would find you both sleeping soundly next to each other, the stories exhausting your minds. Those were your favorite visits.

Not even a year passed when the news traveled to Anvard about Caspian's mother. As soon as word of her passing reached your parents' ears, the three of you made the journey to the Telmarine castle. The moment you stepped out of the carriage, Caspian sought you for comfort. He wept on your shoulder in front of his aunt and uncle, your parents, and anyone who happened to see. You cried with him.

That was the first time you snuck out of your room while your parents slept and into the prince's. He was surprised but welcomed you to sit next to him while he held one of his mother's pendants. It was the head of a lion, his mane in the shape of the sun. The gold color made the lion appear fearsome yet kind.

"Mother said this was my father's. She told me that this is Aslan and that He always protects us... protects me."

You nodded. "He does. I read about a place called Aslan's Country. It's at the end of the world and you can't come back if you step into it. I asked Mama about it and she said it's where people go when they leave us. She says it's the most beautiful place in existence. I think your mother is there."

Fresh tears fell from Caspian's eyes. He clenched his fist around the pendant and gazed at you. "Do you really think so?"

"I do. Your father will be there, too. And my grandmama and the maid who took care of me when my family couldn't take me with them... And a bunch of people we love."

"Will we go there someday?"

You hug Caspian close. "I hope so."

Your mother didn't have the heart to scold you the next morning when she found you cradling Caspian close while sleeping on his bedroom floor. She ended up leaving you two to sleep a little while longer.

Just as you and Caspian entered your early teenage years, life changed.

No longer were the two of you allowed to be alone together, which didn't make sense to either of you at first. Your mother had to explain it when she asked you for a walk.

"Caspian is just a friend, Mama," you frowned. "We can't talk with someone else listening in. It's so uncomfortable."

"Darling..." your mother cupped your face and smiled gently. "You are the princess of Anvard, and he is the prince of Telmar and Narnia. The people will expect a marriage between you if we let you continue on your adventures alone. Caspian's future is in the hands of his uncle until he's of age to take the throne. We must be careful. You must be careful. If his uncle decides Caspian is to find a wife and Anvard isn't considered, then there will be many princesses visiting the castle."

"Why? Why can't he be king without a queen? Why do we have to suffer because of some old-fashioned idea?"

She sighed. "Y/N, please. Do this for Caspian if not for Anvard."

Tears pooled in your eyes. "I don't want to lose my best friend, Mama."

"Oh, darling, you'll never lose him. You and Caspian have a friendship blessed by Aslan Himself. Nothing can stand between you two."

You nodded, but your heart still hurt.

After speaking with your mother, you found Caspian listening to Cornelius tell another amazing story of Narnia: the Kings and Queens of Old. His dark eyes were wide in wonder and his mouth hung open the longer his tutor spoke. The older man paused his storytelling once he noticed you watching.

"Would you like to join us, Princess Y/N?" Cornelius asked with a smile.

"Um... Can I talk to Caspian?"

Caspian looked at you curiously, the wonderment pushed away momentarily.

"Of course, dear." The old man stood. "I'll be over at my desk if you need me."

As soon as he was out of earshot, you sat next to Caspian feeling the sorrow build up again.

"What's wrong, Y/N?" Caspian whispered.

"I talked to Mama about all those people following us around." You saw his face fall a little. "We have to be watched because we aren't getting married or something."

"We would have to be watched if we were though." Caspian frowned. "Why now and not when we were younger?"

You blush. "I guess because we're at an age where some royals get married and have babies."

Caspian's eyes widened and he looked at his hands. His dark hair hid the faint red painting his cheeks. "Oh."

You sighed and leaned back against the wall. "It's not fair, Caspian. We're friends and should be able to act like it without being watched." Your eyes shifted toward Cornelius who was conveniently busying himself with his books. You knew he was trying not to listen in on your conversation. "It's like we can't breathe normally around each other."

"We'll figure it out, Y/N. There are plenty of secret passageways we can find."

"Let's look after dinner, yes?"

"Of course."

While people were dismissing after dinner, Caspian reached for your hand and tugged you out of the dining room. It went completely unnoticed.

The two of you found a passage that led you down into the forest. It was a few hours before sunset and it was gorgeous. It felt good to be there, to have that peace around you both. Your friendship felt right again.

You picked up a stick and pointed it at Caspian. "Teach me to fight."

He grinned. "I don't think your parents will like that."

"I don't care. High Queen Susan and Queen Lucy learned. I ought to, too. For protection, of course."

Caspian pushed your hand down, his gaze was soft. "Why learn when I can protect you?"

"But you can't be with me in Anvard all the time." You jutted out your bottom lip. "Teach me so I can defend myself when you're not there. I want to learn."

"I'll teach you if you promise to teach me how to make those tiny peach pies you gave me last summer."

"But then I won't get to make them for you anymore."

"I won't make them while we're together."

You chew on your bottom lip and study Caspian. "All right. I'll teach you if you teach me."

"Deal." And then he knocked the stick out of your hand, catching it in the air.

"Hey! You didn't say we were starting!"

"You need to be prepared all the time, Y/N. Hurry and find your weapon. Enemies won't be kind enough to wait."

You scrambled for another stick and attempted to poke Caspian with it. He calmly dodged it and poked you with his.

"You cheated, Caspian."

He laughed and stepped away from you. "I would never. This is how I was trained. You want to learn, right?"

"Well, yes. I just expected this to be a bit fairer."

"Your enemies won't fight fair," Caspian said as he kicked your feet into the proper stance. "Do you wish to stop?"

"No... I want to learn."

"Good. I'll do my best to teach you as we fight."

Caspian taught you until the sun was nearly gone and the castle lights were bright behind you. You were exhausted but determined to be as good with a sword as Caspian.

"This blasted dress keeps getting in my way," you groaned, tugging on your skirts. It was a summer dress – light and loose – but it continued to trip you up in the easier fighting moves.

"Maybe next time you should find pants. You might be a challenge then." Caspian grinned wide at his jab.

You felt the frustration seep out of your body to be used, but you suppressed it long enough to get close to Caspian.

"I will be as good as you one day, Caspian. Maybe even better. You won't know what happened to this version of me when we fight again."

"I look forward to it, Y/N."

You stared at him just a moment longer before kicking his feet out from under him. You pointed your stick at his throat while he stared at you in a daze.

"Impressive."

You smiled a little. "I learned from the best."

Caspian chuckled before knocking you onto the ground and trapping you underneath him. Both sticks crisscrossed over your throat. "You still have a lot to learn."

"And you'll teach me?"

"Whenever I can. Once you teach me how to bake like you."

"Caspian! Y/N!"

With clumsy hurried actions, you and Caspian got to your feet to find your parents and his aunt and uncle stomping toward you. Your father and his uncle looked livid.

"This is where you two have been?" Miraz shouted. "The whole castle has been searching for you and you've been out here making fools of us?"

"Uncle–" Caspian started, but Miraz held his hand up to stop him.

"Do you realize what would happen if people saw you two alone here? In the state we found you?"

"Caspian was teaching me how to fight, that's all," you interrupted.

"Silence, Y/N," your father said. A deep-set frown was on his face. It hurt to see him so upset. "You knew better than this and yet you disobeyed."

"We didn't mean to upset anyone..."

"What you two did was foolish and could cause problems for both our kingdoms," Miraz continued. "I don't even know where to begin with your punishment, Caspian."

You looked at your friend as he lowered his head. It hurt worse than their disappointment.

"It wasn't his fault," you said, a hard stare on your face when you looked at the adults. "Leave Caspian out of it and punish me, Papa."

Your mother shook her head. "Don't take his blame, Y/N. Both of you share equal responsibility for this."

Miraz turned to your father. "I think we should stop these visits for a while. It will let any rumors settle and teach them the consequences of their actions."

"Please don't do that, Papa," you begged, taking his hand and squeezing it. "Please." Fat tears started falling down your cheeks.

Your father watched you break down in front of him and he watched Caspian struggle to remain where he was as you swallowed down a sob.

He looked at Miraz. "We'll leave for Anvard in the morning."

You cried, falling to your knees and dropping your father's hand. You couldn't hear what Miraz said or feel your mother help you stand. Being forced away from your best friend as punishment wasn't fair. They couldn't do that.

You twisted violently out of your mother's grasp and ran straight to Caspian, burying your face in his chest. You clasped your hands tightly around him to keep yourself from being pulled away.

Caspian hugged you back. His face pressed into your hair as he glanced at the adults watching. Every one of them looked angry. Their stares were sharp. It chilled him to his core. You two messed up horribly.

"It'll be okay," he whispered as he looked away from the disappointed eyes. "We'll write to each other."

"It's not enough, Caspian." You sniffled and tensed your arms. "It's not fair."

"They can't keep us apart forever, Y/N. I don't think it's what Aslan wants."

"Then why is He letting this happen?"

Caspian considered pressing his lips to your forehead but thought better of it. "If Cornelius has taught me anything about Aslan, it is He has a reason for everything."

"Y/N."

You clenched your eyes shut at your father's voice.

Caspian let go of you first and gently nudged you toward your family. "Go. Write when you make it home."

You nodded and let yourself look away from your friend. It hurt while your father scolded you as you walked past Miraz and his wife. It hurt more seeing the smirk on Miraz's face like he wanted you and Caspian separated. It hurt hearing Caspian get reprimanded, his uncle being unkind with his words. You hurt so much.

You didn't sleep that night and you didn't speak the next morning. Caspian wasn't there to bid you farewell and it shattered your heart. You silently cried the entire ride back to Anvard. All you wanted to do was get your quill and parchment to start writing to Caspian. If it was all you had for an undetermined time, you were going to abuse it. Life without Caspian in it wasn't a life you wanted.