A/N: My very first story. I'm not sure how to work very well, so the format might be dodgy or something…some helpful hints would be nice I'm a bit of a technophobe. Any strange spelling is probably due to my stubborn resolve to remain staunchly British… no offense meant.
Summary: It only takes a few minutes, even seconds, to change the course of the future forever. What would have happened if Susan and Lucy had left the stone table before Aslan came back to life? How would have affected the rest of the story, if Aslan was not there to save Peter and Edmund from the witch?
Disclaimer: Narnia belongs solely to CS Lewis, and I sincerely hope he will not mind me borrowing his characters for a slight variation (cough cough) on his story. Don't sue, you'll only get a half empty jar of old fashioned jelly babies.
Warnings: Nothing really. A little bloodshed. Not slash, not a Mary sue (shudders) no badly developed female characters, no incest, just sibling love.
Rating: PG13 American, 12 English.
This story is told from a great many different points of view, and this can get a bit confusing. Anything in italic is a dream, or vision, seen by one of the characters.
And now, the feature presentation:
Henry Pevensie studied the tattered, worn remains of his gloves and frowned, pulling slightly at the frayed, jagged edges. They were sodden, and lay like some sort of creature over his hands, limp and cold. He shuddered. It was always cold here. If it was actually a place…to most, it seemed as though they had entered a dream when they arrived. Just a dream. No, a nightmare. But if this was then nightmare, what of the visions he saw in his sleep? Of his children, his babies, dressed in armour and filled with despair. Which was the dream? Which did he wish more was the dream?
He laid a worn hand over the small bulge in his upper breast pocket, and felt his lips twitch in the shadow of a smile. At least, in some way, he could keep a small part of them near. A little package of their thoughts, their feelings. It kept him rooted; sane. Reminded him that this would end, and that he would eventually get back to them, no matter the cost. Besides, the visions in his sleep were just that: visions. After all, how could they be real? Even as a nightmare, it seemed utterly ridiculous, implausible. Wardrobes? Turkish delight? Father Christmas? No. The mere notion was simply impossible.
And his children were safe; he gave thanks every morning to God for that small mercy. This did all have a purpose, then. He was fighting for something. In the country, Helen had said. A large, luxurious house in the country. Far away from the fighting and the fear, the betrayal and the lies. What could possibly harm them in such a place? As Helen had said, they were just children. His children. And they were where they had to be, safe. And, he hoped, happy. But most of all, he was relieved that they were, at the very least, together.
And that counted for something in itself.
Find the others, then go, leaving him behind? After everything he had done, they had done?
He couldn't. He wouldn't. He had already abandoned them once. He was not going to abandon them again. Not even on Peter's orders; since when had he ever listened to his brother, anyway? He wasn't Father, after all.
Although sometimes he looked very much like him. Edmund had often pondered on the fact. Susan and himself both possessed the dark, somber qualities of their mother; dark brown hair and darker brown eyes, in Edmund's case. Susan's were a deep blue which resembled their grandmother's, old and wise. Lucy, on the other hand, came as a perfect cross between their parents; a strawberry mix of blonde and brunette, with blue eyes verging on the edge of green. Then there was Peter, quite a contrast to all of them, with the sandy blonde of his father and china blue eyes to match.
Edmund had always resented that Peter, with or without his consent, at least carried some of their father with him always. It had often been commented on at home. Not here, though. But that was neither a blessing nor a curse. In some selfish way, Edmund was fervently glad not to have to listen to the coos of how wonderfully Susan composed herself, how perfectly sweet Lucy acted, or how strangely mature his brother seemed. He was not exactly the middle child, but received the disadvantages that came with such a position.
Now more than ever, though, he wished he had just let it go. It was those negative thoughts that had led him to the witch; to betraying his family. And he never wanted to stray down that path again. For Aslan, at the least, he would strive to grow stronger now. He would grow strong enough to protect Lucy, Susan, and even Peter if he ever needed it. Not that that was particularly likely right now, however. But for once, Edmund felt no stab of jealousy as he watched his brother ride at the head of the army, to a war far away from the one they had been sent away from. Only pride, and perhaps a little fear. For all of them.
All was quiet as he watched from the crest of the hill at the oncoming army, waiting. He drew a deep breath and fixed his eyes on the horizon, then back to the front lines. Peter turned to look up at him, and Edmund nodded in consent, feeling only the slightest twinge of gladness of the respect which now had grown between them. Edmund's eyes narrowed as he watched the bear-drawn chariot approach.
The war had begun.
Lucy lifted her head, feeling groggy, and looked up at her sister through eyes misted with unshed tears. Susan clenched her fist around the bow which now rested in her palm, drawing comfort from its stark reality. She reached with the other for her sister's hand.
"Come away. There is nothing more we can do now. We must go and help the others."
Lucy nodded slightly, feeling herself rising without her heart really wishing it. She never wanted to leave this place. Somehow, it would seem the ultimate betrayal to leave Aslan now, helpless and alone, even though any help was beyond him anyway.
"Susan, do you think…" Lucy swallowed "can we…"
Susan smile shakily down at her, turning them both away from the stone table and down the trodden path towards the woods.
"Yes, Lucy. We will come back when…when the battle is over."
Lucy frowned "Won." She corrected "When the battle is won."
Susan raised her eyes to the hills ahead.
"Yes." She consented "But by whom?"
The battle was beginning to swing in the witch's favour. Having sent out the armed attack from the air, all Edmund could do was watch and wait for Peter's signal. His fingers clenched around the hilt of the short sword he had received from one of the centaur smiths shortly before the battle, and he watched carefully as some of the warriors on the field swung blades akin to his with lethal precision. He felt a sudden stab of helplessness. He hadn't a clue how to use it. The only practice he had was from brief lessons with Peter and the General and a few minutes of sparring before the battle.
He thought of Susan and Lucy, and drew comfort from the knowledge that they, at least, were safe and hopefully well. Despite Susan being two years older than him, he still felt that sense which all men felt; a duty to protect the fairer sex. Although Edmund knew full well Susan could care for herself, he felt he needed to prove something, to repay Aslan by helping, in some way, in this battle. How, he did not know. But he would be there waiting when it came. He would be ready.
He squinted down the valley through the masses of heaving, lumbering bodies and flashes of metal to try to find the familiar red tunic which signified Peter. He could see nothing. A spark of blue light filled the air, and Edmund's vision snapped to the imposing figure poised, arm outstretched, splint end of her wand still pulsating with the receding magic. Edmund felt a jolt of anger in his stomach at the sight. Many moved to stop the witch, but they fell one after the other to her twin blades.
Quite suddenly, she paused, and seemed to stare at a certain point for a second. Without removing her gaze, she decapitated a nearby fawn and then began advancing slowly up the valley. Edmund frowned, and stepped forward to the very top of the hill and followed her line of vision. At first, he saw nothing particularly out of the ordinary which could have caught the queen's attention. He was just turning his gaze back to the rest of the battle, when a familiar flash of red caught his eye, and his head turned sharply.
Horrified, he frantically turned back to find the witch. She was definitely heading for Peter, who was engaged in a fierce battle with a minotaur, and seemed to be losing badly. He had his back to her. She would only need a couple of seconds to reach him once she cleared the edge of a large stone boulder lodged in the edge of the hill.
Without even pausing to think, Edmund began to run blindly, weaving between small stones and large patches of grass, stumbling but not falling, stopping only briefly to regain his balance. The entire world blurred, save for the clear figure of the chain mail clad queen and the unprotected blood red back of his older brother.
Reaching the edge of the boulder which the queen was now nearly clear of, Edmund held his sword with both hands and leapt to the ground beside her, landing with a bone jolting impact and bringing the blade down with all the strength left in his body to descend on her wand. It splintered then shattered with a blinding light, and Edmund fell back as he heard a shriek of rage from somewhere within the light. Then, as the world spun in and out of focus, a blade came searing out of the light speared his stomach.
It was at that moment that Peter turned, and Edmund raised his eyes to see the china blue eyes of his father widen in shock, then saw his brother's face contort with anguish, calling something. But he could hear nothing. He smiled lopsidedly, wondering what game they were playing now, and then felt a wave of agony seep to his bones, surging through him in petrifying convulsions of pain. The blade was withdrawn, and Edmund saw flashes of crystalline blue and deep bloody crimson swirl on the edges of his vision.
Struggling to breath, he stared up at the serene, yet fire strewn blue sky and thought of the swirling blackness which engulfed the heavens in what seemed like a land so very, very far away from this one. And as he saw a phoenix soar in fiery passion, and the sun blaze defiantly overhead he thought only one thing:
'If I were ever to die for any land, I would die for this one.'
A/N: (Cowers) So, good? Bad? Please review and let me know! Any flames will be used to power my outdated steam locomotive computer…(kicks computer)