Author's Note: I'm back again. This fic takes place one year after the Pevensies' coronation. Started by a plot-bunny so I hope it's not too abstract. It may be a bit odd. I was listening to Passion by Kutless at the time and the words inspired me. ;)
This will be a twoshot, as it turned out to be quite longer than I'd originally expected.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Within my mind's eye
Flickering from the past
Come images that terrify and calm
A paradox in me
Nail pierced hands they run with blood
A splitting brow forced by the thorns
His face is writhing with the pain yet it's comforting to me
"Ed, are you sure you're alright?" Susan asked quickly as Edmund abruptly pushed his chair away from the dinner table and got up.
She shot an anxious glance at Lucy and Peter. Edmund had just, by accident, found out about Aslan's sacrifice for him. Lucy looked blatantly ill, her large sea-green eyes shone brightly in unvoiced concern for her brother.
"I'm fine, Susan, don't worry about me." Edmund was already halfway out of the main hall as he threw the reply over his shoulder.
"Edmund!" Peter called sharply, getting up from the table as well.
Edmund halted in the archway, a hand on the white marble. He heard Peter's quick footsteps approach him but he kept his back to him, eyes focused on a nonexistent spot on the wall.
"Edmund don't do this, please," Peter's voice was thick with concern. "I know what you're doing."
Edmund shook his head, "I don't think you do."
"I know you," Peter insisted. "I know exactly how you're reacting right now. Stay here."
Edmund hesitated and then turned to face his brother. It was all too much to bear at the moment. Over the course of the year, with much wisdom from Lucy, he had finally been able to release the guilt of his betrayal. But to find out the consequences of his actions had caused someone to die only made it come back a tenfold worse.
Peter was looking down at him imploringly, fear and worry expelling from his familiar blue eyes.
"I can't stay here, Peter." Edmund looked away from him. "I know it seems selfish. And it is. I've always been a selfish person, and you know it. But it won't help me to stay here. I don't think you, Susan, or Lucy should be around me right now." he turned pleading eyes on his brother, "Let me go, Peter. Please understand."
Peter gazed at him sympathetically and nodded. "Alright."
Tears sprang involuntarily to Edmund's eyes at Peter's quick acceptance. He turned away from him, furious with himself for showing such emotion. He felt a heavy weight land on his shoulder. It gave him a warm squeeze and then it was gone. As was Peter.
With an effort, Edmund blinked back the tears and strode quickly from the hall. He didn't know where he was going, so he let his legs take him where they willed. After much aimless ambling and dead ends, he ended up on the lower level. The soft moonlight drew him towards the outdoors and he headed for one of the exits. He stepped out onto a large, porch-like slab of marble and gratefully hurried down the long flight of steps that lead down to the beach. He glanced over his shoulder quickly. He knew his siblings would be watching him go. They would come after him if they thought he seemed too uptight, so he forced his pace to be normal and relaxed his shoulders.
The sand beneath his feet was cool and fine and the sea gave him a soothing white noise to focus on. As moments passed, Edmund glanced over his shoulder once again. The castle was still very close, glimmering in it's majesty. The sight made him turn back to the beach abruptly. It reminded him why he was out here.
Abandoning the concern about being followed, Edmund broke into a run. It was hard to run in the sand and it took all of Edmund's energy to move through it. He pushed himself to continue on, trying to keep himself from thinking. But running only made it worse. Images flashed into his mind, horrible and terrifying. Edmund shook his head desperately, tears blinding him and rapidly progressing to tumble in little rivers down his face.
Then he stumbled. He felt like he was in slow motion as the ground rushed up at him, he was so confused and blank at the moment that he didn't throw out his hands to catch himself. Then his body hit the sand. He made no move to get up. His knee was bleeding from a gash where it had hit a rock as he fell, but he couldn't feel it. His tears had gone from silent cries to heavy sobs in the space of a second, and they shook his body harshly as he lay there.
Between the sand and his own hands it was hard to breath, but he didn't turn over. He didn't want to see the sky. It would only show him the Leopard and make it harder to bear. Harder to bear the consequences of his betrayal.
Aslan had died because of him. The Great Lion had endured pain, torture, malice, and scorn all in his place.
Edmund choked and squeezed his eyes shut. How could his siblings have kept this from his for an entire year? He clenched his hands tightly, the sand in them scraping his palms raw. It had been stupid of him to assume the Witch would just let him go with no payment. The payment had been Aslan's blood instead of his own.
He had always wondered about it. He'd known Aslan had died the night it happened. He'd always wondered why the Lion had allowed himself to be killed. But to know that he'd died for him, Edmund, made it an entirely different matter.
The stone table flashed into his mind's eye. Aslan lying prone on it's grey surface, stained with crimson. A cruel black knife glittered in his side.
Edmund shook his head violently, as if to banish the image with the motion. But it remained. Clear and vivid. And though he knew Aslan was very much alive now, Edmund couldn't get it past the fact that his prideful, spiteful wishes and actions had ushered the Lion to his temporary deathbed. Yet at the same time a sense of peace and comfort came to him along with the guilt.
At that thought, he felt like a disgusting creature. Lower than a worm. How was it that he could be comforted with the knowledge of the death of another?
The image changed. Aslan's gentle, sad eyes gazed at him in pride and love. Edmund opened his eyes desperately with a gasp in an effort to evade them, but it was no use. Though he couldn't see them, he could feel them. It was a feeling not unlike the one he got whenever Peter looked at him. He could sense the pride and love, as well as the fierce protectiveness they felt towards him. He squeezed his eyes shut again.
"No!" he screamed, punching the sand. "No, no, no, no! I don't deserve it! Stop it!"
Edmund sobbed, his body instinctively curling into a ball. His lungs felt fit to explode as he gasped in rough air between harsh sobs. Sand pressed into his face, leaving deep indents. But he could have cared less.
He felt utterly wretched now, and bereft of any purpose. Narnia really didn't need him when Peter, Susan, and Lucy were there. Edmund pressed sandy fists against his eyes. Narnians didn't need a traitor and a liar. And they most certainly didn't need a person who had the potential to kill Aslan again, did he ever do something as foolish as he had before.
Edmund gradually became aware of what he was doing. He hadn't cried in ages, why now? It seemed incredibly childish all of a sudden. Promptly, the tears halted, but the irregular breaths did not. Edmund focused and breathed slowly and shallowly. He flipped onto his back and stared at the sky. He couldn't see the stars now, though he knew they were there. He could only see the darkness beyond. A vast black expanse of nothingness. A single thought swirled through the misty veil of his mind.
I am a foolish wretch.
And with that conviction, he lay there. He lay there for what seemed like eternity, or perhaps it was only the space of several minutes.
Before long he heard his name being called in the distance. Recognition struck him immediately. Peter. Edmund tried to reply and yet he found that he could not. He was rooted to the brink of a chasm, deep and dark. And he could not utter a sound. It was as if he were lost in a dream from which he could not wake.
He wanted to turn from the edge of the black abyss. He wanted to run to the warm voice that called, so filled with worry. He wanted to be gathered into the embrace he had so often pushed away. Hear the comforting words the gentle voice of his brother often murmured to encourage him.
But he could not turn. His shallow breaths made him faint, but he did not try to draw in more oxygen. The black sky swallowed him up and the sound of his name faded away.
The darkness seemed so enticing now. He felt lighter than air, and he couldn't move. But he wasn't afraid. Calling in reply to Peter would only return him to the world he had to fight with to gain happiness. If he remained here he could forget about it. About everything.
Edmund felt he was soaring over an endless sea of nothingness. His conscious mind grew hazy and began to fade, but it didn't hurt. Instead he felt deliciously warm and happy.
Edmund's thoughts fluttered away from him, aloft on silver feathered wings. And he succumbed to the surrounding darkness.
Note: Well that's part one. Let me know what you think so I'll know whether or not to post the next half!