Disclaimer: The Chronicles of Narnia, all characters, places, and related terms belong to C.S. Lewis, and Walden Media and Walt Disney Pictures.

A King is Born

Edmund's slippers made a quiet pitter-patter sound on the tiled floor as he softly walked down the hallway. The candle he carried lighted the dark hall. He was relieved his and his siblings' rooms were all along the same hallway; this was their first night at Cair Paravel, and Edmund knew it would take him a while to become familiar will the castle's winding passageways and many staircases.

The celebration following the coronation had not ended until well after midnight. And though he had eaten way too much and danced until his legs ached, he had not been able to fall asleep. After about two hours of tossing and turning, he had gotten up.

Now he stopped before the door to Lucy's room and opened it; he winced as the door groaned in protest. The moonlight spilling into the room provided enough light for him to see his sister in her bed. He held his breath as he heard Lucy stir, and he watched her roll onto her side, her back to the door. He did not move for a long minute. Silently letting out a long sigh, he cautiously crept into the room. He did not attempt to close the door, afraid that if it made any noise, it would waken Lucy.

He moved across the room to her bed and gently set the candle and holder on the bedside table. Slowly he sat down on the bed's edge. He smiled as his sister's soft snoring reached his ears.

"Lu," he sighed. For a long time he watched her peaceful sleep, brushing her short hair with a feather-light touch of his fingers. As he gazed on his sister, a lump slowly formed in his throat, and he rapidly blinked back the tears that settled in his eyes. Clumsily he brushed them away with the back of his hand.

"Lucy," he whispered almost soundlessly into the night silence. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry for being such a beast of a brother, for laughing at your tears, for rejoicing at your misfortunes. I'm sorry for all the times I tore you down to impress Peter and Susan." He chuckled humorlessly, "And they always rebuked me and demanded I apologize to you."

He glanced out the window for a moment and then resumed brushing his sister's hair. "I'm sorry for…for turning on you when you told the others we had both been to Narnia. I'm sorry for betraying you for some Turkish Delight and a promise of becoming king of Narnia…"

The tears which had been reforming now poured forth like a grand dam, and Edmund's body began to shake with suppressed cries.

"I'm so sorry. I'm nothing but a terrible idiot. And you, Lucy… When I was with Aslan that morning and heard you call my name with such happiness and excitement, I felt wretched and joyful. You, who had the most right to be angry with me, reached me first. I did not deserve any of it, yet I must also say thank you." Unable to speak any more between his sobbing, Edmund put his face in his hands, weeping hard.

He was oblivious to the shifting in the bed. Nor did he notice the small arms that enfolded him in a tight hug or hear a gentle voice softly saying, "Hey" in his ear. It was many minutes before his crying died away. He slowly became aware of his surroundings as a handkerchief was pressed into his hands. Breathing a little heavily, he wiped the tears away. When he looked up, he was greeted by Lucy's sad, worried face, tears shining in her eyes. Embarrassed, he attempted to return her hanky.

"You need it more than I do," she said with a shake of her head. "Oh, Edmund!" She hugged him again.

"Lu," he rasped, hugging her tightly. "I didn't mean to wake you."

"I'm glad I did. Of course I forgive you. But you know Aslan said the past has been forgotten," she reminded her brother.

"I know, but at the coronation I sensed some of…our subjects watching me with mistrust and suspicion. It brought back my guilt, and I realized I don't deserve to be king. And I never properly apologized to you or Susan or Peter," Edmund said in a rush.

"You will gain our subjects' trust in time. Aslan has faith in you; remember what he called you: King Edmund the Just," Lucy tried to assure him.

"I don't deserve any of it," he protested softly, pulling away from her arms.

Lucy was quiet for a moment. "When I woke at Aslan's camp that morning, I felt refreshed and, for some reason I could not understand, joyful. The feeling increased when Susan and I left our tent and saw Peter. Then we saw Aslan and you." She squeezed Ed's hands. "I thought my heart would burst. I was so happy to see you were all right and back; I had been so scared for you. I always was thinking about you, even though Peter and Susan and I were in danger running from the wolves."

She fell silent, swinging their clasped hands back and forth. "When I finally hugged you when you and Aslan came to us, I felt like I was home. Know this: I forgive you for everything, Ed; you've already had my forgiveness. And I will likely forgive you many times in the future." She smiled gently. "You are my brother."

He chuckled thickly, "Yes." He drew a deep breath. "Thank you." He wiped his eyes with her handkerchief again before handing it to her.

"I love you, Ed," Lucy said.

He looked stunned; then a new light shone in his eyes and he smiled softly. "I love you, too, Lucy," he confessed.

"Would you like to stay the rest of the night?" she invited, starting to get back under the coverlet and held it up in invitation. "This bed is huge."

Edmund silently joined her under the covers. She snuggled close to him, and he wrapped an arm around her and rested his cheek against the top of her head. All the guilt and restlessness and shame he had felt the whole day lifted like a large boulder from his shoulders. He was filled now with quiet contentment, joy, and peace.

"Goodnight, Edmund," Lucy murmured sleepily.

"Sweet dreams, Lu."

No more was said that night.