Author's Note: Hey, all. It's been a while, eh? I gave up on the whole Narnia fanfiction idea, I really did...but then I went back and started reading my stories again and decided I couldn't leave them unfinished. I can't promise I will finish them, because I'm a girl. I'm fickle, and tomorrow is vastly different than today. However, today I do happen to have another chapter for you. ;) I know...Yay! Lol. I was excited to start writing again.
Hope it's not too messed up...::snerk:: Have fun...
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em. Nope. I'm not that smart.
A Battle Without Weapons: Chapter...4?
"Don't be a bloody idiot, Susan, let me have that!" Edmund's arm shot out determinedly for the letter Susan held in her hand. She moved it away. Shorter than her younger brother though she was, she knew his temper and how to work with it.
Edmund dropped his arms and scowled at her, annoyed. "Don't, Susan," he said irritably. "You've got no right to keep my letters from me."
Susan raised her eyebrows. "Your letters? This isn't yours. It's not addressed to you."
"Bollox," Edmund accused flatly. "I saw the return address."
"Of course you did. But you didn't see the other one. It's addressed to 'Mrs. Helen Pevensie', for your information," Susan told him shortly.
"Why would Peter write to mum?" Edmund exclaimed hotly, flapping his arms and attempting to snatch the letter again.
Susan merely moved away in the direction of their father's study, where their mother spent time with paperwork and letters. "You're not the only one Peter cares about," she said coolly. "Stop being so over dramatic."
Edmund had to snort at that. "Over dramatic? Me? Compared to you? Good one, Su. I didn't think you had it in you."
Susan paused, her back to him. Then she turned to him with a stony face. "Just because you're not getting your way for once doesn't mean you have to be cruel, Edmund," she admonished sharply.
The younger of the two pushed a hand roughly through his hair. "Fine. I'm sorry. Now can I have it?"
Susan just shook her head primly and reached for the handle to the study.
She slipped through and closed the door behind her.
Edmund threw his head back and fisted his hands hard, restraining a cry of annoyance. He stood like that for a moment, silently arguing with himself on whether he should go after her and take the letter or leave it be.
It would be better he let it be, he decided. In the end he'd just end up in trouble if he went after her. That, however, didn't change his attitude. He stomped flatly from the house, taking time to make as much noise as possible. He knew he was acting ridiculous. He knew that. But it didn't give him the slightest inclination to stop.
Outside, the autumn breeze playfully rolled over him, tugging at his clothing and hair, making his temper worsen. Edmund grumpily pulled his light jacket closer, strode for the old tree in the backyard and slumped against it.
He closed his eyes and took a slow breath in. Held it. Then gradually let it out. He wasn't one to hold his temper in check, but given time, he would eventually calm himself down as best he could. Edmund looked up at the dreary sky and slowly, after another moment, allowed his thoughts and speculations to introduce themselves in his mind.
One thing he knew was for sure. That was not a letter from Peter. Susan may have taken his lead, but Edmund hadn't believed it for a second. He fancied he knew Peter's handwriting and knew that whatever graced the front of the letter didn't belong to him. Edmund had a not so uncertain theory it had come from the college head.
But why would the college be writing to their mother? He wondered, the critical side of his mind now in full observation mode, temper quite forgotten. Was Peter okay? Had somebody hurt him? Edmund snorted and dismissed it instantly. Nobody hurt Peter. He was High King of Narnia, for Aslan's sake and could darned well defend himself.
Edmund rifled thoughtfully through other options, mulling them over until he was sure the idea was possible or not. Peter had gotten a bad grade? Nah, that was dumb. Or maybe he'd gotten sick? Was he sick? That could be it. Edmund frowned at that thought and pushed a too-long, boyish fringe from his eyes. But if Peter was sick, then wouldn't he have written to say so? Perhaps his letter hadn't come just yet to inform him of this.
With a sigh, Edmund leaned his head back to look up at the cloudy, dismal sky again. It was oddly comforting...the dreary weather. It matched his mood anyway. Rather cool and slightly depressing.
There was a light snap that Edmund recognized as the door to the kitchen. He waited and a second later, Lucy came around the corner, dressed neatly and shoeless.
He raised his eyebrows when she got nearer. "Aren't your feet cold?" he asked, even though he knew the answer.
"No," Lucy replied simply.
Edmund leaned back against the tree again. "Has mum said anything to you?"
She considered him for a moment, her green eyes flickering over him. Assessing. Edmund could see her mind working overtime in ambivalence.
"The letter was about Peter," she said finally.
Edmund shifted his brown gaze from the clouds to her face.
"Oh really? I had no idea."
Lucy wasn't fazed by his sarcasm. She simply sat down on the swing and dragged the toe of her shoe in the grass, never taking her eyes from her older brother.
"Edmund, he punched another boy at school," she said softly.
Edmund blinked. "Wait...huh?"
The swing stopped it's motions and two penetrating green eyes settled on him. "Peter punched a boy at school," she repeated.
It took a full five seconds to register.
"He WHAT?!?" Edmund exclaimed forcefully, leaping to his feet with disbelief burning in his eyes.
"It's in the letter. Go read it for yourself."
Edmund stared at her as if she were mad. Then spun and marched across the lawn towards the house.
"On the kitchen table," Lucy added, calling after him.
o O o O o O o O o O o
Later that night, Edmund glowered darkly at the moonlit ceiling from beneath heavy covers. The news today was too strange. Too unlikely.
"Punched a boy at school," he snorted, rolling his eyes. "Bollox."
Then again, Peter had been known for the occasional irrational (in the school boards' eyes) lashout...Edmund never needed to ask why.
"Why did you do it, Peter?" he asked the ceiling. "What did he say that made you mad?"
"I'll wager my healing juice from Father Christmas it was something about you, Ed."
Edmund glared at the darkness within his open doorway.
"I thought I told you not to do that," he accused.
There was a light snort of dry amusement. "And you thought I would listen? You forget that I have you as an older brother," Lucy reminded him, coming over and crawling onto the base of the bed. "And I don't think you realize just how stubborn you are."
Edmund sighed and sat up, leaning against his headboard. "Well, Lu, what are we going to do?"
She looked at him curiously. "What do you mean? What are we supposed to do?"
"Uh, hello, Peter isn't happy at school," Edmund said.
Lucy smiled slightly, looking at him with an amused gaze. "We don't know that, Ed," she said. "All we know is that he was provoked and punched the boy who did it."
"I think that classifies as 'unhappy'," said Edmund, raising a dark eyebrow.
Lucy stared at him for a moment. "Edmund, out of all four of us, you are the worst mother hen," she laughed gently.
"What?!" Edmund scowled at her. "Not compared to old Blondie-Blue-Eyes, I'm not."
She merely smiled at him. "Sure, you're not."
Edmund opened his mouth but Lucy shot off another question. "Has he seemed unhappy in his letters?"
"Well, you know..." Edmund shrugged. "It's not like he's loving it."
"Right," Lucy nodded. "Which means that he's simply at school. Learning."
"I think he's not happy," Edmund argued flatly.
"Of course you don't, Ed," Lucy explained patiently. "He's your older brother, your favorite sibling, and your best friend. You haven't been away from him for more than a week at a time, you're basically twins." She shook her head. "And now that he's gone, you'll take any excuse to say he needs to come back."
"That's not true," Edmund said defensively, folding his arms. "I will not."
"Peter does it too, Ed," Lucy said, tugging absently at a long lock of hair. "You just can't see it because you don't observe the both of you from an outsider's point of view."
"I..." Edmund searched for the words. "I...well...no..." he sighed and finished lamely. "You're making things up."
"Believe what you want," the youngest queen shrugged lightly. "I'm just telling you what it's like from the outside over here."
"You're not 'on the outside', Lucy," Edmund countered with a derisive snort.
"Maybe I'm not," she agreed. "I'm just speculating."
"Lucy." Edmund gazed at her with intense brown eyes. "Peter just doesn't up and punch people. You know that."
"I know he up and punches people if they happen to insult you," Lucy contradicted grimly. "And if it's bad enough, he'll do it for me and Susan also. But everybody who's seen you and Peter together knows the spot to hit when they want."
"Who would be at his school who knows us?" Edmund asked promptly.
Lucy shrugged, and, looking down at the coverlet, began to trace invisible patterns with her finger. "It could be anyone, for all we know. Why don't you send him a letter and ask him about it?"
Edmund looked at her incredulously. "And what? Oh, hey Peter, it's Edmund. I think the kid who you beat up is someone we know. Could you confirm that for me? That's a nice letter, Luce, nice indeed."
"Well, obviously you wouldn't put it like that," Lucy said, frowning. "For heaven's sake, I know you're more eloquent than that."
The older rolled his eyes and looked away, glaring out the window. There was a shift at the end of the bed where Lucy sat up and crossed her legs, folding her hands neatly in her lap.
"Do you really think Peter isn't up to reading something like that?" She asked quietly, gazing at him with her damnable imploring green eyes.
Edmund's brown ones snapped on to her, and he instantly realized his mistake as he met her eyes. The whole family knew all too well not to look at the youngest if she wanted something. It was basically over if you met her face.
He sighed. "It's not that I don't think he's up to it," he replied at last. "I just don't want to give him any more reason than he already has to come back."
"And why shouldn't he come back?"
"Because," Edmund said, waving an arm. "...well...I don't know. I can't say he's what I think he is, which is unhappy, because you seem to have the idea he's fine where he is."
Lucy raised an eyebrow. "And that's all you know."
"I still say he needs to come back," Edmund informed her curtly.
"That's not a reason, Ed," she said. "If he's not happy, then why ever can he not come back? It's his choice."
"You said yourself 'he's just at school. Learning.' You said he wasn't unhappy."
"I did," Lucy acknowledged with a thoughtful frown. "But can't you see? If he's not happy to be there and he's not unhappy, then what is he? You may be just giving him the desired excuse to leave." She smiled crookedly. "Not that it's much of a reason to anybody else."
"Lucy." Edmund stared her down with a glare. "He always wanted to go to college. Always. I won't be responsible for taking that dream away from him. Not when he already has it."
"But what if that isn't?"
"Isn't what?" Edmund snapped.
"You know what I'm talking about," Lucy sighed. "That dream of going to college was before he went to Narnia. And that dream was before you became his best friend. To sound like Susan, look at it logically for once."
"Don't give me a Susan lecture," Edmund accused grumpily, sinking further into his pillows.
"I'm not Susan," Lucy reminded him gently, slipping off the bed and onto the floor. "And I won't give you a lecture."
She silently moved to the door where she paused.
"What?" he grunted.
"Peter never mentioned wanting to go to college after we got back."
And she left him there to glower in the darkness, slightly more hopeful than he had been mere hours ago. Perhaps Peter was waiting for an excuse (though it seemed highly against his character). Possibly...was Lucy right?
Author's Note: So, yeah. I know, I know...dialogue city. But that's what came to me last night in the deep, saneless caverns of my twisted mind. Lol. Tell me what you think. ::jaunty wink::