Disclaimer: The Chronicles of Narnia, all characters, places, and related terms belong to C.S. Lewis.
Author's Note: This is a gift for TimeMage0955 who requested this.
His Brother's Arms
A long rumble of thunder, slowly building in volume before dying away, partially rouses Peter from his sleep. Vaguely he becomes aware of the rain and hail beating against his window. A flash of lightning and a louder roll of thunder waken him more. Sleepily, instinctively, his right hand reaches out to draw Edmund to him. He encounters only cold, empty bed sheets. Frowning, puzzled, Peter opens his eyes. A lightning flash makes it clear that he is alone in bed. The eight-year-old struggles to sit up.
For as long as Peter can remember, whenever there was a thunderstorm, he would wake up to discover Edmund in his bed, trembling and frightened. Ed has always been very scared of storms. He would awake when it had barely started, the thunder hardly being heard and the lightning bolts far off. The younger boy would quiver in bed, his fear mounting as slowly but surely the approaching storm's thunder grew louder and the lightning brighter. When he could bear it no longer, he would scamper into his older brother's room and pass the rest of the night there, safe and secure in Peter's comforting arms.
But tonight there is no Edmund.
Concerned, Peter looks about blankly. His room is empty. The boy's frown deepens. By the time the storm is this bad, Edmund would be pressed next to him, shaking terribly. Perhaps he is not afraid anymore. Peter shakes his head at the unlikely thought and tosses back his covers. Then what is it? Unease comes over the boy.
A lightning bolt splits the sky, followed by a great boom of thunder.
Peter yelps in surprise and nearly falls out of bed. As the thunder quiets, he hears a faint cry. Lucy? Edmund? Peter rolls out of bed and hurries across his room. He stubs his toe against his bedroom door in his hurry to open it and bites his tongue. He yanks the door open and darts into the hallway.
Thunder shakes the house. Peter hears Lucy wail in terror. He is half-tempted to go to her; but Mum will get her, and Edmund… He hears a frightened shriek as a lightning bolt flashes outside.
"Edmund!" His shout is drowned out by the crashing thunder as he races the few feet to his little brother's room, throws the door open, and enters. The wind is knocked out of him when he unexpectedly collides into a slightly smaller body. Both taking a step back, Peter and Edmund blink at each other, surprised.
"Ed?" Peter rasps, trying to get his breath back, shutting the door behind him.
His little brother throws himself at Peter when the room fills with light, nearly causing Peter to topple over. Peter hoists Edmund up into his arms and winces at Edmund's frightened scream as thunder crashes outside the house once more. The younger boy's arms wrap around his middle. Carefully Peter walks to Edmund's bed and manages to climb onto it, Edmund clinging to him tightly making it difficult.
"It's all right, Ed," Peter says, shifting so they are settled more comfortably. He wraps his arms around his trembling brother and rests his forehead on the boy's head. "It's all right," he repeats. "I have you." He feels Edmund nod slightly in his chest and tighten his hold.
Peter feels the younger boy tense at a flash of lightning. The thunder that follows is not as loud and only causes Edmund to whimper. The older boy rocks himself and Edmund gently. He feels Edmund slowly relax as the storm, moving on, dies down.
"Ed, we should open your window," Peter says, realizing how warm and stuffy it feels in his brother's room.
Edmund tenses and tightens his arms around Peter, silently shaking his head back and forth.
"The storm is over; there's only the rain," Peter says. Both boys listen to the raindrops hitting the windowpane. "It will only take a moment, Edmund."
The younger boy's grip tightens for a beat and then relaxes. The older boy quickly slides off the bed and crosses to the window. Edmund hugs himself tightly and squints in the dark in order to see his brother open his window several inches. Moments later, he is hugged once more by Peter.
"I-I-I was so-o-o scared, Peter," he whimpers into his brother's chest.
"I know, Ed." Peter smiles softly as Edmund's arms creep up and wrap around his neck. The younger boy sniffs. Peter begins, "Edmund…"
"George and his friends said that once you turn six, you won't be afraid of anything anymore," Edmund bursts out, raising his head to look at Peter. "I turned six last week and thought I wasn't scared of storms anymore, but I still am!" he says unhappily.
Peter rubs his back. "Who told you that? George Sanderson?" At his brother's affirming nod, he sighs, "Oh, Ed…"
"He lied, didn't he?"
"Well, everyone is scared of something sometimes, even George. You know Susan is scared of Mr. Morris's dog, Dusty. And she's seven," Peter says.
"And Mum was scared that time Lucy fell down the stairs. Even adults can be scared," Edmund says with wonder.
"Even me." Sensing his brother's quizzical raised eyebrows, Peter goes on, "I was scared when I woke up tonight alone."
Edmund stares at him in surprise and then gives him a little smile before yawning. His brother chuckles softly and hugs him.
"Tired?" he asks.
Rubbing his eyes, the younger boy nods.
"Come on, then." Peter moves off the bed and pulls up the blankets tossed carelessly away at the end of the bed. Edmund lies down, resting his head on his pillow and sighs. He smiles as his brother sits next to him and drapes the covers over the two of them.
Edmund cuddles up to Peter. "I won't scare you again," he promises sleepily.
"Good," Peter grins. "Night, Eddy."
"Don't call me Eddy!"
The older boy grunts as he's punched lightly in the shoulder. "Ed," he amends.
Mr. Pevensie closes his older son's bedroom door with a knowing shake of his head and proceeds down the hall to Edmund's room. Slowly he turns the knob and pushes the door open slightly.
Morning sunlight bathes the room in a golden hue. And snuggled in bed, together, are Peter and Edmund. The younger boy's head is tucked into his brother's shoulder. The older boy's arm is wrapped around the other's shoulders. Both snore lightly.
Sighing, Mr. Pevensie watches his sons for a moment and then closes the door. "I told Peter he and Edmund are too old to share each other's beds," he says to himself with a chuckle. May as well let them sleep just a few more minutes. He smiles affectionately and moves on to check on his daughters.