I don't own Narnia, I know, I'm just as sad as the rest of you. No slash, not really AU, possibly will be continued into a multi chapter story if you all like this.

As of 12/13/17 this story has been revised. I went back to catch grammatical errors, fix plot inconsistencies and add better characterisation. The storyline does remain the same, for the most part. However, I have altered a few things to make the six parts fit together as more of aunified story and less a series of one shots.

June, 1943

"He must have a reason."

Edmund held back a sigh with difficulty; he was growing extremely tired of Lucy's endless optimism. He knew that she must be just as upset about Aslan's decree that they would never return to Narnia as he was, but she was Lucy-she would remain happily optimistic until she at last dissolved into tears. Edmund, who possessed neither her optimism nor her ability to have a good cry and move on, fell to brooding.

"It can't be that we're too old," he insisted. They were sitting on Lucy's bed in the little back bedroom at Aunt Alberta's, staring at the painting of the Dawn Treader. "Peter and Susan went back last year, and they were older than we are now."

Lucy sighed and frowned at the picture. "Does it really matter why, Edmund?"

It didn't, but he wasn't about to admit that. "It isn't fair." He knew he sounded like a child, not like a king of Narnia, but after all he was a child now-whether he wanted to be or not.

"Edmund, please, what's the use of complaining? It won't get us back to Narnia; nothing will." Her chin trembled, threatening tears, and he immediately felt guilty for causing her such distress.

Had he not been so cross with the entire situation, Edmund would have put a comforting arm around her shoulders. As it was, he glared at the floor and struggled to form an apology. "I'm sorry Lucy, it's just such rotten luck."

She nodded shakily, eyes bright with the effort of holding back her tears.

"LUCY!" Alberta's shrill call cut through the silence like an air raid siren, and both siblings groaned. In the month since they returned from Narnia, Eustace had improved immeasurably and his parents, as if in response to this, had become steadily more unbearable. "LUCY!"

Lucy sighed and shrugged. "Do try not to stay here sulking all day, Ed. At least try to cheer up." She gave him a brave smile and hurried out before Alberta could shriek again.

Left alone Edmund sighed and stared at the painting with all his might, as if through wishing he could somehow fall back into the world which would always be more his home than England.

"What does Aslan expect of me? I'm not a king here, or a warrior, or a diplomat." The painting, for its part, remained stubbornly silent. With difficulty Edmund resisted the impulse to tear it from the wall and smash it. I can't do this. I can't bear never going home.

"You have to." It was the one of the last voices he expected to hear in the Scrubbs' home in Cambridge, but it was also the most welcome. Peter stood in the doorway, leaning complacently against the frame and looking altogether too pleased with himself. If his opening remark was any indication, he knew precisely what his younger brother had been thinking.

If Edmund, who usually scoffed at such displays of affection, tackled his older brother with a hug I am certain he can be forgiven. Peter laughed and ruffled his hair affectionately. "Alright old chap? Lucy told me you've had rather a rotten time of it since you came back."

Edmund buried his head in Peter's shoulder and fervently hoped Peter wouldn't notice that his sweater was suddenly damp with tears. Kings didn't cry like fools, and neither did English schoolboys. "Lucy told you to come here?" he asked, his voice slightly muffled.

Peter smiled indulgently, of course he did notice his brother's tears, but was far too kind to comment. "Actually, Lucy didn't know I was coming until five minutes ago. Eustace wrote to me, and a rather strange letter it was too."

Edmund, suddenly aware that he was being rather undignified sniffed and stepped away to sit on Lucy's bed again. "I thought you had to stay with the Professor to study all summer." When he sniffed again Peter diplomatically offered him a handkerchief.

"One weekend won't make all that much of a difference with exams, and I have a feeling my being here can make a world of difference." When Edmund said nothing, Peter sighed and resigned himself to waiting in silence. It was no use pushing his brother to talk before he was ready.

"How did you manage so well?" Edmund asked at last, staring at the painting again. "Last time, I mean, after we all came back."

"Honestly, I'm not sure. I know I couldn't have done it without you there to talk sense into me when I started forgetting who I really am. It isn't easy; I still have days when I feel like bashing someone's head in, but it's bearable if only just."

Edmund frowned. "I don't know who I'm supposed to be here. At least last time I knew I'd be going back; now that the door really is closed I don't know who I am."

Peter nodded, his throat suddenly seeming to constrict. I don't know who I'm supposed to be either, Ed. Aloud he said, "Give it time, after all, you're only fourteen here. I don't know many boys who have their whole lives sorted out at your age."

Edmund managed a laugh, though it sounded rather choked. "Last time I was this age I was already a king, a judge, and a warrior."

Peter glanced over at him sharply, not particularly pleased by the last item on Edmund's list. "You've been trying to sign up at the recruiting offices again, haven't you? Lucy told me what happened right before you got back into Narnia. Edmund, war is different here; it isn't at all like the wars back home. You can't just go charging into battle like you used to." Not that I haven't tried the same thing.

"I don't care!" Edmund shouted, suddenly leaping to his feet. "Anything is better than sitting here with bloody stupid relatives pretending to be polite and respectful, and acting like a kid even though I'm not! They're so condescending and patronizing, and I'm sick of being treated like I'm stupid. And, I feel so bloody useless with everything that's happening out there, and I could be out there making a difference, and being useful, and instead I'm stuck here-eating vegetable soup and pretending to care about the shortage of sugar!"

Peter winced, hoping the relatives in question were far enough away that they could not hear Edmund's outburst.

"It isn't fair!" Edmund finished defiantly, fists clenched at his sides to keep from hitting something.

"Feel better?" Peter asked quietly a moment later when Edmund sat down again, looking rather sheepish.

"A bit," he admitted and sniffed again. "I really am glad you're here. Lucy's a brick, but," he shrugged. "She trusts Aslan so much, maybe I should trust Him that much, but somehow I can't, and I'm so horribly angry at Him. She can't understand that."

"And I can." Peter smiled grimly, even as he felt his own anger return. I was a king, he thought bitterly, staring up at the painting. Now what-who-am I? "I don't think I'll ever understand why He did this to us," he said slowly, forcing the bitter thoughts away. Edmund did not need to know just how difficult it still was for him. "Why He would bring us to a world we grew to love more than our own, and then tear us away from it never to return. It doesn't make me love Him less, but I can't help but be angry." Do I love Him quite as much as I used to? It was a troubling thought, and he stubbornly returned to ignoring it.

Edmund nodded. "That's how I feel too, and I feel so horribly guilty for being angry, especially after everything He did for me."

"Just don't let that anger and guilt turn you away from Him." Who are you really saying that for, Peter wondered, feeling vaguely hypocritical. "Even if you can't have faith like Lucy does, trust Him as much as you can." Peter hated how trite the words sounded, but Edmund nodded, silently acknowledging that he understood what Peter meant. "I wish I had a better solution." For both of us.

Edmund smiled suddenly, and it was the kind of smile that always preceded a plan of some type. Peter waited for him to speak with a hint of trepidation. Edmund's plans could, at times, involve rather more danger than Peter currently felt equal to facing. "Do you think six of us could meet up occasionally? Just to talk about Narnia, to remember everything that happened there, to keep it alive in our minds at least. Do you think it would help?"

"Six of us?" Peter frowned slightly, though he was relieved that, so far, his brother's plan seemed relatively safe. Unless it ends with us all being institutionalised.

"Us four, plus Eustace and the professor." Edmund grinned. "What do you think Peter?"

"I think," he said slowly, weighing the idea in his mind. "I think that's a brilliant idea Ed! It might do all of us a bit of good to talk without people thinking we're all touched in the head." It just might work too.

Edmund's smile widened, and it seemed to Peter as though some of the weight he had been carrying lifted from his shoulders.

They both knew that things would never be the same, but, exiled though they were, they were not alone.

Let me know what you think and that will decide if I make this a longer story about the Pevensies in England. Also, this is movie verse, slightly reluctantly, which means Edmund is about fourteen (almost old enough to be mistaken for eighteen and join the army, but obviously not quite) as hinted in the movie VODT.

Cheers,

A