Disclaimer: all property of C.S. Lewis.
A/N: This is my first ever Narnia fan fic, so I beg of you to please go easy on me. (smiles) I'm extremely nervous, doing this, but I wanted to give it a shot and see how it goes. I love Narnia and have read all the books, many times over. Of course, I've seen the movie as well and loved it.
Now this is my turn to share with you some of my thoughts, and a slightly different perspective of the events prior to the Lion, the Witch,and the Wardrobe. This story is planned to continue through the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardobe, on through the Golden Age when they were adults.
Character wise, I shall always have a place in my heart for Edmund, hence why this chapter is in his POV. As the story progresses, I may or may not shift POVs, not sure yet. As for their ages, I know that there are various different opinions on how old the kids are and if anyone knows the exact ages, please let me know and I can easily fix:) For my story, Peter is fifteen, Susan fourteen, Edmund eleven, and Lucy nine.
A note about the toy soldier, I want to credit OhcEEcho for sticking that image in my mind, because honestly, it fits so perfectly :) Your opinions are welcome and suggestions are always helpful.
I would appreciate your reviews, comments, suggestions, thoughts , etc. If this is something worth continuing, let me know :)
Chapter One: The Boy and his Toy Soldier
The clock ticked away steadily but ever so slowly. Why couldn't it just move faster? Noon seemed ever so long away and his stomach was already rumbling. He pressed his forehead into the palm of his hand, looking tiredly at the desk. Idly, he began to draw a picture of a soldier, drowning out the drone of the teacher's voice. He was interrupted by a kick in the shin, which caused him to grimace and then glare at the culprit: his best mate, Fred.
"What?" he whispered angrily, his shin still throbbing. He reached down to try and rub the pain away.
"She asked you a question," retorted Fred in a whisper.
He looked up at the older woman who was their mathematics teacher. For that matter, she was the teacher for all of their subjects since the war had begun. He was so sick of that stupid classroom and its unadorned, wooden, paneled walls. Why did he have to go to school anyhow? It was boring except when the bombs began to drop. Then it was exciting, rushing to the air-raid shelters, gas masks in hand. He loved to watch the bombs go off, the flames ripping through buildings, creating quite the scene at night. His mum, of course, always spoiled the fun, taking them down into their own shelter for the night.
"Edmund Pevensie, are you listening to a word I'm saying?" asked the teacher, a deep frown on her lips.
Edmund just looked at her, not saying anything.
"This is the second time today in one class that you've gone off in your daydreams. When will you learn to –"
"Do as I'm told," he muttered, saying the words along with the teacher, annoying her further. "I know, I know." That's all anyone ever seemed to ask him, his older brother Peter included. One day I'll be old enough to do whatever I want and I won't have to listen to anyone, thought Edmund, scowling as soon as the teacher turned back to the board.
He rested his chin in the palm of his hand, his eyes on the clock, watching as the second hand clicked. It seemed even the second hand was mocking him, moving slower than usual. This was going to be a long day.
"Oh don't touch that, Ed! It's positively disgusting!"
Edmund glanced at his older, fourteen year-old going on grown-up sister, Susan, whose hands were on her hips. Her face, framed by long, wavy dark hair, was twisted in a look of disgust as Edmund held up the tiny worm. "It won't hurt you, Sue. What are you afraid of?" Susan let out a cry of exasperation and turned to talk to one of her friends.
He spotted his younger, nine year-old sister, Lucy, standing only a few paces away, her back turned to him. He watched as she tucked a strand of her chin-length, straight, golden hair behind her ear. She was absorbed in one of her favorite books, a habit of hers while they waited for the bus. He grinned and slipped up to her, ready to drop the worm on her neck when a hand gripped his wrist firmly, preventing his fun.
"I'd rethink that if I were you, Ed," said his older, fifteen year-old brother, Peter.
Edmund scowled up at his brother, wrenching his arm from Peter's grip. If only I were taller, thought Edmund. "I was just having fun."
"Not at Lu's expense."
Lucy turned at that moment and Edmund dropped the worm, moving his hands behind his back. "Ed?"
"What? Go back to your stupid book." Edmund turned, not seeing the look on Lucy's face, and walked over to the bench, scuffing the toes of his brogues on the worn flagstones. Stupid brother. Stupid sisters. They're all annoying. I can't ever do anything fun. He looked at the gas mask in his hand and then out into the street. As he turned to go back to find another worm, he caught his reflection in a pool of water.
Edmund Pevensie, age eleven, with one too many freckles. That would be how he would describe himself. Oh, and far too short. Everyone in his year at school was much taller. Mum always says I'll grow taller than Peter. She's probably lying. I haven't grown at all in the past year. He scowled and kicked the pool of water, distorting his features.
At the sound of an engine, he turned to see that the bus had arrived. He shifted the bag on his shoulder and moved into the queue of other kids. Peter took care of the bus fare and they walked to the back of the bus, taking seats along the rear window. Edmund took the seat closest to the side window, not wanting to become squished between his siblings. Especially Lucy. All she ever wanted to do was talk to him about that book of hers and tell him about her day with her imaginary friend, Joyce. He rested his forehead against the cool glass, watching the scenery fly by as the bus drove off.
Later that evening, Edmund sat in his bedroom, playing with his toy soldiers. They, at least, were interesting and he loved to set them up in battle lines. His father was out there, fighting in the war. Mum always told him that he would be back soon, when the war was over. He missed his father. Malcolm Pevensie was the only person that understood him. He took the special soldier that his father had bought him, just before he had left for the war. It looked just like his father, uniform and everything. This was the one soldier that never lost in his battles, always the hero. Edmund wished he could be just like his father and be the best in everything, but then Peter always jumped in to save the day. I wish I were the oldest. Then Peter wouldn't be the best. I would be. And he couldn't tell me what to do.
"Susan! Want to play dress-up with me?" Lucy's voice floated down the hall, entering through Edmund's open door.
"Lucy, I don't have time, really," came Susan's reply. "Besides, you're far better at it than me. Why don't you ask Edmund? He'll play with you."
"I'm not about to play some batty game with her," muttered Edmund, leaping to his feet, his soldier still clutched in his hand. He slammed his door shut just as Lucy came bounding down the hall, about to enter his room. She shrieked and he heard her start to cry on the other side of the door. He turned the lock and walked back over to his soldiers.
"Lucy! What's wrong?" Edmund heard Peter's voice, followed by running footsteps that stopped just outside Edmund's door. "Lu! Your fingers! What happened?"
Lucy could be heard sniffling and then Susan's voice penetrated the wood of the door. "Looks like you've shut them in something."
"Edmund!" came Peter's angry voice. A loud knocking at the door made Edmund jump slightly, clutching his soldier tightly.
"What!" shouted Edmund.
"Open the door."
Edmund crossed his arms over his chest, glaring at the door, imagining his brother standing on the other side.
"Don't make me get Mum."
"Do it! I don't care!" retorted Edmund angrily. Like he cared that his sister had been daft enough to stick her fingers where they didn't belong. That wasn't his problem.
"Ed, do be reasonable," said Susan, her tone slightly softer than Peter's. "It's just an apology."
"It's not my fault she stuck her fingers there!" protested Edmund.
"You know what Mum said. No slamming the doors," said Peter.
There was silence on the other side of the door and for a moment, Edmund thought that they had listened to him. Then, the last person's voice he wanted to hear floated through the crack beneath the door.
"Edmund Malcolm Pevensie, you come out here right this instant or there will be no supper for you!" Mother.
Edmund weighed his options and then his stomach growled. He muttered something unintelligible and stalked to the door, unlocking it and flinging it open. His mother stood there, her hands on her hips, dark-hair in disarray, with disappointment on her face. Her white apron had smudges from cooking dinner and Edmund looked to the ground, not wanting to meet her gaze.
Susan was standing off to one side, consoling a sniffling Lucy, who still clutched her hurt fingers. Peter had rested a hand on his little sister's shoulder, frowning at Edmund.
"Why did you slam the door on your sister's fingers?" asked his mother. When Edmund didn't respond, she reached down and lifted his chin, forcing his eyes to meet hers. "Answer me, Edmund." Her voice was firm and left no room for argument.
"I didn't mean to," said Edmund, trying to free his face from his mother's grip but to no avail.
"Say you're sorry," said Peter.
"Enough, Peter," said his mother, glancing at him before looking back at Edmund. "You know the rule about slamming doors, Edmund."
"I'm sorry," mumbled Edmund, looking away.
His mother sighed, releasing her hold on his chin. "Wash your hands for supper. Then collect what you want to bring with you to the shelter."
"Why do we always have to go there?" asked Edmund, looking at the soldier in his hands. "It smells funny."
"You know why, Edmund," responded his mother. "It's for everyone's safety. Until these raids stop." She turned, walking down the hall. Edmund glanced at his siblings and then walked back into his room, shutting the door.
Edmund lay awake for most of the night, staring at the bottom of the bunk above him. Peter's bunk. The sounds of his brother's breathing drifted downwards and Edmund sighed, turning onto his side, facing the inner part of the shelter. Across from his bunk were Lucy and Susan's, and then between them, on the far wall, was their mother's. Shelves filled with non-perishable food lined the walls above his mother's bed, and boxes filled the spaces beneath their bunks. Every night they slept in their air-raid shelter. Every night Edmund could hear the bombs going off in the distance, the distant sound of guns and sirens echoing in his ears.
He had watched the soldiers come and go, always looking for his father to return. But he still hadn't. Edmund wondered if he ever would and sighed, fingering the gray, woolen blanket that covered him. School was a joke. They never seemed to get anything done, always being sent to the air-raid shelters. It seemed as though they spent more time in the shelters having class then in the actual classrooms. He still felt irritable and couldn't help but argue with everyone. It was what got him through the day and kept his mind off what was happening out there, somewhere, some place where his father was.
Classes only lasted half a day. This week they attended the morning classes. Next week would be their afternoon classes. All in the same, boring, dark-paneled room. Always with the same, boring teacher. Edmund wished school would last the entire day. At least it gave him something to do and he missed having his afternoon break, where he got to go out with his mates and discover interesting things in the playground. Perhaps even play a few jokes, those were always fun, especially when the girls made funny noises. He never understood girls. What was so grand about them anyhow? The older ones always looked at his brother, whispering and giggling. They liked his brother, he could tell. Of course, everyone loved Peter. Peter was the best, the top in marks, with his sandy-brown hair and bright blue eyes. Edmund was always second rate to him, with his dark hair and scowling eyes. But at least Edmund looked like his father and that was something that Peter did not have.
Edmund rolled to his other side, looking at the picture frame lying on the pillow next to his head. He ran his fingers over the smooth glass, looking into his father's gaze. It was taken just before he had left, when he was dressed in his uniform. Edmund thought he looked fantastic. The picture always came with him at night.
He shifted so that he lay on his back, closing his eyes. One day I'll be more special than all of them. I'll show them that I'm important and better than them. His features were peaceful, a soft smile on his lips, as he drifted off to sleep.
Thank you for reading my first chapter. I'd love to hear your thoughts!
I also want to note that all the information regarding the schools, air-raid shelters, transportation and everything is as accurate as I can do (without having really experienced it myself) to what really happened before and during the Blitz. I spoke with my English godparents, both who were kids at the time this happened. My godfather talked a lot about the fact that they had to stay the night in the air-raid shelters, just in case, since that's when the majority of the bombing took place.