|Call Back Yesterday
Author: freeze1 PM
Even as King, Edmund is slightly withdrawn from the rest of them. Lucy tugs him back in. EdmundLucy, with slight PeterSusan and TumnusLucy.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance - Words: 2,090 - Reviews: 20 - Favs: 30 - Follows: 6 - Published: 01-15-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2754566
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: This started out as something so very different from the finished project. The original idea was Peter/Edmund, which morphed into Edmund/Lucy/Tumnus. Of course, the Tumnus bit did appear at the end, which was the aspect I was going for, but the piece in its entirely is Edmund, or Edmund/Lucy. I'm…I don't know, I think I'm proud of it. It's very different from what I normally write, but I think I rather enjoyed writing it. I love Edmund dearly, although this is a bit more angsty Edmund than I normally go for. Well, I hope you all like it!
Characters/Pairings: Edmund, Edmund/Lucy, slight Peter/Susan, Tumnus/Lucy
Word Count: 1,900
Disclaimer: The Chronicles of Narnia are property of C.S. Lewis, not myself.
Warning: Incestuous themes. Don't like it, please don't read it.
Call Back Yesterday
The coronation ceremony is quick, and they are Kings and Queens and Responsible Adults in less than the time it would have taken to play one round of hide and seek. Edmund remembers the day in bursts of color, in the flash of sun striking gold. He cannot define the moment in memory except by the curve of Peter's lips, the sound of Susan's tender laugh, the sparkle in Lucy's eyes.
The party that follows lasts for days, or what seems like days, for in Narnia time is superfluous, a phenomenon associated only with those who are too hurried to enjoy themselves properly. Edmund does not dance, and ignores Susan's pleas until she dismisses him with a good-natured huff and weaves away through countless merry subjects to where Peter waits, bathed in moonlight. Edmund watches them from the corner, dark firelight flickering across his face, and wonders whether the crown resting atop his head, suddenly feeling rather enormous, will clatter to the ground if he dares move.
When he turns to leave halfway before the night is over, the mellifluous sound of Narnian music trails him up the stairs to the throne-room, and he walks faster in hopes that he might outrun it. As he sits, shrouded in murky twilight, he is comforted by a deep, resounding silence, and lets his mind slip to crystal-white castles and harsh, black eyes. The throne feels like ice beneath his skin, and he imagines it will always be this way.
Edmund does not leave the castle with his siblings. No one asks him to. He pretends to ignore Susan's anxious glances whenever Peter prepares the horses, and looks away so as not to meet Peter's eyes, afraid of what he might see lurking there. He chooses, instead, to wait atop the highest balcony of Cair Paravel and watch two galloping creatures – for Lucy always shares a horse with one of the elder two – disappear into a fire-red sun.
Yet one day Lucy, breathing heavily and smiling brilliantly, skips into his corner of the castle, spouting on about something Edmund can barely decipher between giggles and gasps. She tugs on his fingers, and he allows her to drag him through countless winding halls and, to his surprise, out into the crisp air of morning. She leads him to the beach, and upon their arrival points happily at a family of crabs nestled between grains of golden sand.
Edmund cannot for the life of him discern the importance of these creatures, but to Lucy they are perfect. She crouches close to them, wide-eyed and beaming, and Edmund is caught between telling her to be careful – crab pinches can be ghastly – and grinning at her dimpled cheeks and eager smile. He inhales deeply, and the unfamiliar fresh air burns at his lungs.
Winter comes in time, and glowing snow blankets Narnia. Edmund wakes in horror the morning of the first snowfall, thoughts of Father Christmas and snow angels pushed from his mind and replaced by a hollow lump in his throat, a dull ringing in his ears.
Peter goes on about land and the food supply in a very kingly manner, and Edmund wishes he could pay attention, wishes Peter's words were not obscured by the howl of the wind and an angry dance of snowflakes across his memory. Through the great glass window beside his throne, the trees twist and writhe to form the vague outline of a woman, tall and ghostly. Edmund blinks, and she is gone.
He wants more than anything to stay inside, but Lucy, who has become accustomed to their afternoon walks down by the beach, stares at him with round eyes and quivering lips until he is forced to accompany her. He follows her through a maze of trees, concentrating on his boots shuffling through the snow. He does not bring a coat; he feels no need to.
A snowball hits him square in the nose, and in a horridly undignified moment, he falls to the ground with a splat. Lucy giggles, shaking snow-crusted hair and bends down to prepare another. Before she can throw it, she is hit in the leg, and flies to the ground in fits of laughter. Edmund has always been the faster of the two.
They share Lucy's coat on the way home, bumping against each other amidst layers of fur not intended to hold two bodies. And, even though Edmund claims he is not cold, he wakes the next morning with a slight fever and spends a few days with Susan fussing over him, a smirking Lucy at her side.
Peter and Edmund rarely fight. Much to the dismay of their sisters, they tread around each other cautiously, treating the other as though he was so delicate, he would surely break under any intrusion. Guarded looks and hidden meanings are their relationship, and Edmund longs for but dares not ask for more.
When Edmund catches Lucy practicing with her dagger in one of the various rooms in the castle, plump fingers lying perilously close to the steel blade, he loses control of his carefully restrained emotions. Peter comes running at the sound of raised voices, and after storming breathlessly into the room, immediately sides with a thoroughly frustrated Lucy.
Edmund shouts that Lucy is too young to learn to fight, Peter responds equally loudly that she needs to be able to protect herself, and that if taught to use the knife properly she will not be hurt. Harsh words erupt between them, spilling form their mouths like venom and Edmund's heart wails at the knowledge that this is the most he has talked to Peter in weeks.
As soon as they are started they are finished, and they stand solid, silent, worlds apart. Lucy lets the silence linger for a moment before grasping their hands between hers.
"Will you teach me then, please?"
She is speaking to the both of them, her little voice full of strength, and Edmund swallows and searches for Peter's eyes. He feels warmth on his other hand as Peter connects the three in a circle, and the High King's nervous glance towards him indicates some attempt at an appology. Edmund wishes he could speak, but settles for a blink of watery eyes and curt nod in response.
It is Lucy's birthday again, and no matter how hard Edmund concentrates, he cannot remember if it is her third or fourth since their arrival. Susan cannot seem to recall her sister's age either, which makes her especially infuriated since her first act as Queen was to set up a Narnian Calendar so as to keep things orderly. She eventually rips the useless paper from her wall with a scowl, and Peter laughs at her for a full week.
Edmund's present to the now not-so-little Queen is, in his eyes, rather pathetic, but the light in Lucy's face when she sees the snow-white rabbit suggests otherwise. The two – or, including the newly named "Mr. McFoot", three – sit on the familiar rocks of the Narnian beach, veiled in the warm light of a setting sun.
"I expect I'm over a hundred now!" Lucy comments with a laugh, stroking her pet lazily between the ears.
"You think you'd be taller, then," Edmund responds vaguely, and as Lucy snorts and leans her head against his shoulder, he tries to imagine them and Peter and Susan at a hundred years old, but stops quickly as it hurts his head something awful.
Edmund races Peter back to Cair Paravel, covered head to toe in mud and laughing too hard to care when Peter's horse stomps through the gates seconds before his own. He is almost sorry to be back from the week long hunting trip, and Peter's broad smile and shrug indicates he feels the same way. Their first trip over, a series more to come.
Susan, skirts gathered in clenched fists, races through the open doors of the palace to greet them and nearly knocks Peter over as he attempts to dismount. This results in a very emotional Susan and a rather unbalanced Peter, and before Edmund can blink they have landed in the mud. Edmund laughs, Peter looks utterly perplexed, and Susan throws her arms around Peter's neck and begins a long rant, half berating him for getting her dress dirty and half welcoming him home.
From the doorway to the palace, Edmund sees Lucy watching, laughing, eyes sparkling as they catch his.
Edmund isn't particularly fond of his formal attire, but valiantly stifles his complaints. Narnia, it seems, does not throw parties for any real purpose, but merely because it enjoys a celebration. The brothers stand beside each other in the throne room, waiting for the girls to appear in order to announce the official start of the festivities. Edmund believes this party celebrates the anniversary of their original coronation, but is not sure. He asks Peter, and laughs openly when the High King can't seem to remember, either.
When the girls finally do appear – Edmund can't begin to imagine what took them so long – he is caught by surprise. Susan has always been beautiful, with full lips and soft, pale cheeks. Yet to see Lucy, still laughably short despite a five inch growth, standing proudly before him, all red dress and golden crown and mischievous smile…is startling.
Lucy has always been cute. Pretty, even. But never beautiful. He's not sure what to think about that.
The party lasts a long while, and for the first time in years Edmund strays into the shadows. Lucy finds him there after a bit, face flushed and smiling brightly.
"Come, we must talk with everyone! There are so many visitors!" She laughs, and though innocent, her voice no longer seems childish to his ears.
"Can't Peter do that?" Edmund asks, eyes focused on the nearby fire and away from her wide smile.
"He's off with Susan," Lucy explains. "They were dancing, and he kept stepping on her toes, so I expect she took him somewhere to teach him properly."
Edmund waits in silence. When Lucy inevitably invites him to dance, he cannot find the words to warn her that really, he is a far worse dancer than his brother. When they step out amongst the other guests, Edmund finds that he can no longer grab her wrists and twirl her about. Her hands rest gracefully on his shoulders, warm and feathery, and he cautiously places his on her waist, and time passes too quickly.
Lucy comes to Edmund's room when the moon is high and presses tear-stained cheeks against his, coaxing him from sleep. She wails incoherently about ghostly trains and forgotten dreams, and Edmund can do nothing but clutch her to him and bury his face in her hair.
The faun visits Cair Paravel for the first time in months, and Lucy has never been happier. After being attacked by the thrilled and sobbing Queen, Peter greets Tumnus like a brother, Susan embraces him fondly, and Edmund cannot look him in the eye.
Edmund does not leave the castle for the remainder of Tumnus' stay. He sits in the highest of towers, watching Lucy and her faun on the frozen beach below. She holds his hand and kisses his cheek, and Edmund feels that whatever part of his heart she had healed is breaking.