Edmund sighed, throwing the wad of wrapping paper halfway across the room. Peter glanced up surprised as his younger brother heaved a heavy sigh and rested his hands on his folded arms. They were the only two in the house, the girls having left to go to town to purchase the last few gifts. After they were gone, Peter and Edmund were left to their own devices among the paper and ribbon.
"What's wrong with you?" Peter glanced up from his haphazardly wrapped gift.
Edmund grunted a inaudible response. Peter rolled his eyes and threw a ball of ribbon at his brother's head. It successfully bounced off, unraveling several yards as it landed a few feet away. Edmund's head shot up and he scowled at Peter.
"What's wrong with you?" Peter repeated, resisting the urge to roll his eyes again.
"It isn't right," Edmund waved around the room.
"What isn't?" Peter asked, trying to fix his package. It was for Lucy and he wanted it to look nice despite his inability to wrap. Susan was much better at this, perhaps he would ask her to do it.
"Christmas," Edmund kicked the ribbon, successfully unraveling it more. "It isn't right here."
"Oh," Peter said softly. In truth they had all been feeling the same way, but Edmund had been the first to voice the thought. They sat there in silence in their room at the Professor's house. The war still raged on outside their haven in English countryside, though all four of them had taken a new interest in it since they had returned. The war seemed more real to them, more real then when they huddled in the bomb shelter or prayed their father would return home alive. Christmas time had come and the Professor, who had taken a great interest in them since they had returned, had decided to give them a little something to help liven up their spirit.
"Well, Ed," Peter said after a moment's thought. "It isn't Narnia, but it is home."
Even the word 'home' felt slightly wrong, yet right all at the same time. Perhaps when the whole family was together again the word 'home' would become normal again. Peter sighed, Ed was right. Christmas didn't feel right.
"See?" Edmund said dully.
Everything had changed since they had returned. Now they were facing their first Christmas back in their world. Things couldn't be the same.
"Maybe," Peter struggled to find the words to say. "Things don't have to be the same…"
"What do you mean?" Edmund asked, curiously.
"I mean," Peter twisted his face in concentration. "We've spent years in Narnia celebrating Christmas, and years before celebrating Christmas here with our parents."
"Yes?" Edmund urged his brother to continue. Peter had a bad habit of starting an idea or suggestion but taking several promptings to finish.
"This Christmas it's just the four of us and the Professor...and Mrs Macready," Peter's nose wrinkled as he spoke the last name. "It's different. Why shouldn't Christmas be different? Just because a thing is different doesn't make it bad."
"I guess not," Edmund sighed. He didn't like change very much. But change was inevitable no matter how much he didn't like it.
"Look," Peter leaned forward slightly. "It can't be a Narnia Christmas, but it can be ours."
Edmund glanced at Peter, "How so?"
"We make some new traditions, remember some of the old but let go," Peter said after a moment's thought. "
"I guess you're right," Edmund rolled his eyes, not about to let on he'd been convinced.
"Guess?" Peter looked suspicious.
"Alright," Edmund heaved a sigh. "You're right."
"Thought so," Peter grinned triumphantly.
"Don't be so happy about it," Edmund through a wad of paper at his older brother. It skimmed over Peter's head before bouncing to the ground. Peter bent quickly and snatched it up, tossing it back towards Edmund.
"Come on," Peter stood. "Let's finish the wrapping. We have a new Christmas to celebrate."