Sometimes, he really missed her company.
Slowly; (everything had to be done slowly now), Tumnus got to his hooves and he gently stirred the fire back to life. He winced at the pain in his joints and he sat back down into his rocking chair. The scarf that became as red as Aslan's blood was adjusted around his neck a bit, and then Tumnus closed his eyes.
He was old now; old in how Faun's measure age and far older than how human's measure age. It pained him to walk and use his hands too much, and the fur on his legs and the hair on his head was gray mixed with streaks of white. His friends the Beavers were long dead, but sometimes their great-great-grandchild came over to visit or help him with the cooking and cleaning.
When he was alone, Tumnus had tea and plain crackers. It was the only thing he could make that didn't give him too much pain in his hands.
The fire died once more and Tumnus found that he did not have the strength to get up and bring it back to life. Closing his eyes, he leaned his head back and once again wondered where Lucy had gone off to for so long.
Ever since her disappearance, Tumnus had tried to find her again. Everyday he had gone out to find this passage to her world, and everyday he returned with nothing. He did this for years, until age caught up with him. Now he simply stayed at home, with a stag coming over every week to deliver groceries. Sometimes the stag would stay for awhile, and Tumnus would do nothing but talk about Lucy the Valiant.
Tumnus heard someone enter his home, and he smiled faintly, his eyes still closed.
"I have been waiting for you to come back for years, Lucy." He said. "I'm afraid I cannot start the fire again, but I am sure you could manage it."
"I can, but I am not Lucy."
Tumnus opened his eyes, and he smiled at the sight of Aslan sitting down beside him, leaning forward toward the fire and breathing on it, causing the fire to spring up to life easily.
"How did you manage that?" he asked.
"Lions are known for their stealth." Aslan pointed out.
"No, I meant how did you manage to fit into my cave?"
"I turned sideways." Aslan answered with a smile. Tumnus laughed softly at this, and he then grew serious for a moment.
"Where is my head? I fear age has made me forget my manners, Aslan." Slowly, Tumnus forced himself to stand, his hands and legs screaming in protest as they trembled. His back soon joined in as Tumnus made as deep a bow as he could.
"Sit, Son of Forest. There is no need for such things today." Aslan said gently. Tumnus eased back into his chair, and he smiled faintly.
"Did I ever tell you about the day I met Lucy the Valiant?" he asked.
"I do not believe so." Aslan lied.
For the twenty-sixth time, Tumnus told Aslan how he had met Lucy at the Lamppost. The story was changed in some parts; he did not drop his parcels in surprise, nor did he weep before he led Lucy back to the Lamppost. These were trifle things however, and Aslan did not mind them because they were not made in vanity. Tumnus had simply forgotten them.
When he was finished, Tumnus sighed softly as he shook his head. "Do you know whatever happened to her?" he asked.
"I do not tell other's stories." Aslan said simply.
"Why do I remember you saying that before?"
"You have asked me about Lucy many times, child."
"Really? Did you ever answer it?" Tumnus asked.
"I am afraid not."
"I don't suppose you could write it down? You wouldn't be telling it to me after all." Tumnus pointed out.
Aslan gave him a look.
"No, I suppose not." Tumnus sighed. "I wouldn't be able to read it anyway. I lost my glasses years ago." He looked over into the fire for a minute and he then looked back at Aslan, tilting his head to one side slightly. "You never come to someone for idle talk, Aslan." He said softly. "What is it you need from me?"
"I believe you know." Aslan said simply.
"Lucy the Valiant is never coming back is she?" Tumnus asked.
"Not in your lifetime, Son of Forest." Aslan said gently.
"And now it is time for me to leave?" Tumnus asked.
Tumnus sighed softly, and he looked over at the fire for a moment.
"Where are we going?" he asked.
"To my father's country." Aslan answered. Tumnus nodded a bit, and he adjusted his scarf once more before he forced himself to stand up. He stood for a moment, but he then fell back down into the chair, his legs refusing to move.
"I cannot walk." He said, tears falling down his cheeks now. "I cannot come."
"If you cannot walk, then I shall carry you." Aslan said. Tumnus shook his head a bit.
"It is not becoming for one such as you to carry one such as me." He pointed out. Aslan rested a paw on Tumnus' knee, and when Tumnus looked up at him, he remembered what it was like touching his wounded paw, and that same warmth began to spread inside of him.
"I have always carried you when you could not walk, Tumnus." Aslan pointed out calmly. "This is nothing to me."
Tumnus laughed softly, looking down for a moment, and he then looked back up at him, his tears gone.
"Very well then." He said softly. "I am ready; come what may."
"Further up and further in." Aslan nodded.
Tumnus was found a few days later by the stag that delivered his groceries. He was sitting in his chair by a still roaring fire, his head leaning back and his eyes open, a faint smile on his lips.