Bedtime Stories - Aquaman

Bedtime Stories - Aquaman

by Chicago

Disclaimers etc posted previously.



The soothing currents of his sleeping chamber - weren't. Orin twisted again within them, not able to relax into their gentle grip, his body refusing to settle into the streams that would both anchor and cushion him in slumber. With morning would come a meeting with the would-be secessionist faction, seeming ready now to compromise and declare anew their fealty to the King of Atlantis. The negotiations were still fraught, however, even if civil war no longer seemed imminent. He needed to be sharp and rested.

He sighed and turned again, staring into the deep ocean dark that filled his quarters.

He knew one of the issues that was going to emerge.

His heir.

He closed his eyes. Garth had fulfilled his duties well if not enthusiastically, minding the throne in Orin's absence. And he had been instrumental in the return of Poseidonis. But during his brief rule, Garth had retained his position as ambassador to the surface, had deputized regional leaders with more responsibilities than they had enjoyed under Orin's reign. In the strange sort of contradiction that any coalition of leaders tended to develop, the protests to the return of Orin's firmer governing hand were undercut by a protest against him leaving the throne to a potential absentee monarch.

It had been an evident weakness that Orin had planned to exploit to factionalize the coalition had they initiated their threatened insurrection. Now?

Now he had had to sit through two days of negotiations listening to the murmurings - this wouldn't have been an issue if Arthur Jr. had lived.

In his mind's eye, he could see the baby fist curling around his green-gloved fingers...

He shook off the thought angrily, kicking himself upright and beginning to swim ever shifting circuits of his chamber. It was a moot point. His son was dead, and Garth was his heir. Period. Garth, and then Cerdian after him.

But...

There were other murmurings as well. Murmurings against an Atlantean child - the second in line to the throne, no less - being raised so much on the surface. How could such a child know his people when the time came for him to rule?

It would not be politic to remind his people of how they had treated Garth - how they had treated Orin himself - before accepting him.

They would demand Cerdian spend more time in Atlantis. Even if they allowed that Garth was serving a needful function on the surface, they would insist that Dolphin and Cerdian come home. Orin was certain it would be a deal breaker - certain enough that he had spoken to Garth.

Garth had agreed that the political health of Atlantis was the greater good.

Tonight, though, Orin could only see a father forced to spend too many precious moments away from his son. Neither he nor Garth had voiced it, but that's what it would amount to. Life was too short, too uncertain. To insist...

But their hands were tied. If they would not concede this point, the greater will of the people might turn suspicious.

Orin ceased his restless swimming and tried again to rest into the currents. They caressed him, teasing through his beard and hair. *Sleep,* the waters seemed to say, and exhaustion was beginning to assert itself.

Yes, he needed to sleep. Perhaps a better answer would occur to his mind when he was rested. But still, as he rested on the currents, he murmured a quiet prayer for fathers and sons.



End

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