Title: Just and Magnificent
Volume - The Border Wars
Chapter 12 – The End for Now
Rating: Whatever the highest rating is. Contains graphic sexual content at times
Summary: Edmund leads Narnia in the final charge against Ettinsmoor. Peter waits alone.
Disclaimer: C.S. Lewis owns the characters. I just love them!
Warnings: SEX, Incest, slash. Violence. Romance. Movieverse. AU. angst, fluff.
Just and Magnificent - The Border Wars
Chapter 12 – The End for Now
THE UNBEARABLE ANXIETY OF WAITING
Three weeks had passed since Peter had awoken in Cair Paravel. It had been a surreal time for the High King. Oreius's body had been returned to Cair Paravel and a funeral with full honours was held. In many ways, Peter had already said his goodbyes to his friend but the act of the funeral had left him embittered and distant.
Besides leaving his chambers for Oreius's funeral proceedings, Peter had been confined to his bed. Given his sombre mood, it was perhaps for the best. The only one who seemed capable of drawing his attention was Susan, and it was noted by many during this period that the two siblings saw a small thaw in their relationship. His other sister was proving to be quite a headache for him as she had begun campaigning to be allowed to go north to Ettinsmoor.
"No!" Peter snapped at Lucy, quite harshly as he sat at his bureau reading the latest news from the north.
She had just asked him yet again if she could be granted leave to venture north. Peter was growing tired at her insistence. Being mostly confined to his chambers, still mourning Oreius's death, and worrying for his brother in the north, made Peter an irritable fellow.
Though Lucy was no longer the little girl who found Mr. Tumnus through a wardrobe, she could still pout like one. She stomped her foot and gave Peter a hurt glare before she turned and rushed out of the room. Peter sighed, about to call out to her when another visitor appeared at his doorway.
"Hello, Brother." Susan said, casting a glance at Lucy's retreating figure before she stepped into Peter's chambers.
Peter sat up in surprise, smiling at her presence. She had often been a calming influence on him and he still missed the tight bond they once shared. If he was the father of Narnia, he truly felt that she should be serving as mother.
"Might I sit?" Susan asked before Peter beckoned her to sit in a chair beside his bed.
Peter tried to get out of his bed but she quickly stayed him with a hand on his chest. He smiled gratefully before she sat down beside him. For a time there was a silence, and not an awkward one at that. It was a peaceful silence. A peaceful silence that Peter truly appreciated.
When it finally came time to speak, it was of matters that were of little import. There was no talk of duty. No talk of the affairs of state. It was a simple, light conversation. At least it was simple until the topic of Lucy came to light.
"Peter, she is a woman. She is no longer a child." Susan pointed out, "Her mind is sound, and her heart is pure. She wishes to heal, to serve, to aid our loyal Narnian. Would you deny her what is her sovereign duty?"
"I would wish to protect my baby sister." Peter conceded, a weak smile on his face.
Susan smiled at this and nodded in understanding, "It is a hard thing when we might be faced with a conflict of heart and duty."
"A very hard thing, Su." Peter sighed, before he nodded, "I shall consider her request. I am certain it will not be the last time she asks me."
"And that should be a testament to her determination and spirit." Susan smiled, covering Peter's hand with her own.
"Thank you, Su." Peter said gratefully, squeezing her hand as he smiled at her, "Thank you. Your presence here has been truly comforting."
"Which ... brings me to a matter I must discuss with you." Susan said, "It will soon be time for me to return to the Lone Islands to oversee the trade negotiations in Narrowhaven."
"Ever since you liberated the Lone Islands for us they have plagued your time." Peter sighed, "I would wish for you to stay, Su, but I understand the duty that must be met."
"I will miss you, Peter."
"And I you, Su." Peter said, raising her hand to his lips and kissing it, "I do hope you will hurry home. It has been such a wonderful joy to have you here during this period. I do not believe I could have endured without your presence."
"I know you miss Edmund." Susan said sympathetically.
"I miss you when you are gone too, Su." Peter emphasized, "I do wish you would remain at least until this war is over."
"Well, perhaps if Lucy does leave for the north, I shall remain here and send a representative in my place to the Lone Islands to request the trade negotiations be put on hold until I can attend to officiate myself." Susan pondered, "Would this be agreeable?"
"Would it?" Peter gasped, his eyes lighting up at the suggestion, "You would remain here to look after your dreadful bedridden sod of a brother?"
"You are many things, Peter, but a sod is not one of them." Susan chuckled, "At least not today."
"Su!" Peter laughed, sitting up to pull her into a hug, "Thank you."
After this particular meeting Peter was in a far more agreeable mood. Because of this change in his demeanour, Lucy once more pressed her campaign to be allowed to venture north to Edmund's army. Again, on instinct, Peter refused her, but Lucy sensed he was close to concession.
"Peter!" Lucy gasped with wide eyes as he lay in his bed, "I am a Queen, not a vase! I am not just here for decoration. If we are at war, my place is there. You almost died returning here, Peter. How many of our loyal Narnian must do the same?"
"You will remain behind the frontlines of battle." Peter frowned, still upset that he could not return himself, "You will not involve yourself in any direct engagements."
"Peter …" Lucy said, sitting beside his bed and taking his hand, "It is no different to when we must farewell you to war."
"Luce." Peter sighed, squeezing her hand, "It is different. I could not bear anything happening to you."
"Edmund will protect me." Lucy said confidently, "I am not afraid, Peter. I must go. I must help."
Peter sighed and finally relented. He gave Lucy a weak smile and kissed her hand. Healing was in her blood. She could not sit still when her Narnian needed her. It seemed odd that someone so focused on healing others would have to use those abilities so close to a battle that did the opposite.
Unfortunately for Peter, despite Susan's attempt to remain, a crisis in Glasswater promptly removed her from Cair Paravel so she could tend to it. Thus, the sombre King Peter remained alone. Alone with his morbid depression and grief. Without anyone to stem his despair, Peter became a silent, solitary figure. His recovery was slow. He was aloof to those around him. He would spend his days beside Oreius's grave and the small joy he seemed to have was when he commissioned a statue to be made in Oreius's honour. Besides that, he continued to recover and monitor the intelligence he received from the northern front of the war. Days seemed to pass by far too slowly for him. Days that became weeks. Weeks that drove Peter further into his despair.
BEHOLD THE RECKONING
"Sire, they wish to discuss terms of surrender." General Capies said to Edmund as they stood in Edmund's command tent discussing strategies for the coming battle.
For four months Edmund had pressed further north into Ettinsmoor. Four months of skirmishes and advances. The Narnian Army was an arrow moving swiftly through the Ettinsmoor landscape right to Harfang. Four months after the attempted assassination of High King Peter and the attack which killed General Oreius, Edmund's army had reached the southern outskirts of Harfang, Ettinsmoor's capital.
Edmund's resolve had been sorely tested. The advances made were made with the blood of his Narnian. While Ettinsmoor had suffered heavy losses before the second stage of the Border Wars, the nature of their army made them formidable even in smaller numbers. Giants and Ettin, accompanied by all manner of foul beasts. Yet still Edmund's army had smashed the enemy at every engagement.
The Border Wars had morphed into something far more absolute. No longer was Narnia simply content to defend her borders against an aggressive enemy and potential invader. This time Narnia was fighting to end the war by crushing the enemy right at their heart.
"We offered them surrender once before." Edmund said plainly, his face weary from months of marching and battle, "They used it to strike our High King and take General Oreius from us. I dare not offer them another chance. You and I would clearly be next on any further attempt. We are not here to offer them surrender. They have tested our resolve and ignored the peace we offered before. Now we are here to finish them with a battle that will make them forever think twice about raising arms against us. And when we are done, it shall be a very long while before they can ever do so again."
General Capies nodded, before he turned and left the tent to relay Edmund's orders to the army. The battle was going ahead. Edmund had grown tired of this war. He'd grown tired of a King who constantly remained behind the battle lines. No, Edmund would not stop until this coward King finally saw the battle lines himself. If necessary, he would destroy Harfang to bring him out.
The next morning the Narnian army, looking a little less glorious from the long and gruelling war, marched toward the site of the final battle. Edmund's army would face the enemy and fight them until they were destroyed and their King brought forward to face judgment. If the King then continued to hide within his castle, Edmund's war machine would obliterate it.
Edmund rode to the head of the army, feeling almost an ounce of sympathy for the rather dim witted enemy that stood on the other side of the battlefield. Behind the enemy was Harfang, the giant city. It was not a very spectacular site as giants were crude creatures and not of the greatest intellect. It was perhaps not much more than a giant village in Edmund's eyes. But he was under no illusions that it would become a fort the moment Edmund's army began to storm it.
Before Edmund could give the signal to begin the first charge, a white flag was waved by a very dumb looking giant. Edmund shook his head and frowned as the large giant, sent by a smaller and far more intelligent and devious ettin, bumbled across the battlefield.
This giant didn't particularly look like much of a fighter. Edmund's army had destroyed the best of Ettinsmoor's giants several battles ago. What remained was rather motley in makeup.
Showing little fear, Edmund allowed the giant to come within speaking distance. He raised his hand to show his Narnian the giant would not be harmed. There would be enough time for battle very soon.
"I am King Edmund the Just, Duke of Lantern Waste, Count of the Western March, Knight of the Noble Order of the Table, and Master of the High Order of Justice." Edmund said, introducing himself, "Speak!"
"King … King Halshom … Hul…ummm…" The giant said, scratching his head, "Umm … Femi dunno. Big boss."
Edmund closed his eyes and shook his head. Giants were dumb creatures and generally feared, but he knew very well from having many giants loyal to Narnia that if handled correctly the giants could be truly warm and docile creatures. Edmund had learned that the ettin were far more dangerous than the giants. Their increased intellect allowed them to manipulate the giants to do their bidding. Still, this did not make all giants unwitting enemies. Many of the giants truly did earn their reputation as being fearsome. Some would try to torment the Narnian Army by eating them alive on the battlefield to try and scare others away. However, Edmund had the distinct impression that fearsome wasn't quite in this halfwit's repertoire.
"What does … King … Big Boss wish to say to King Edmund the Just?" Edmund asked with a very commanding tone.
Even on his steed, Edmund was still towered by the giant. Despite this, the giant seemed to be quite intimidated by him. Edmund certainly didn't appear to be intimidated by the giant.
"Big … King Boss … umm Halsfom say … umm …" The giant scratched his head and turned back toward the ettin across the battlefield who had sent him, "Go uway."
"Uway?" Edmund asked, pulling his helmet off to look up at the giant, "King Halsfom the Gregarious coward wants me to go … 'uway'?"
"Umm … yup." The giant nodded, "Him say … go uway … please."
"Well … that makes all the difference, doesn't it?"
"Femi dunno." The giant shrugged, "Femi just say. Yup."
Edmund smiled and shook his head, "Femi, is it? Femi, I'd like you to turn around, go back to that deviant little ettin who sent you out here and tell him to send King Hulsfom out here himself to tell me to go … 'uway'. And this time, tell him to come out himself and not send some imposter in his place to fool me."
"Ok. Femi say." Femi nodded, turning and bumbling back across the battlefield.
Edmund smiled and turned to General Capies, "I would like him spared. He is no warrior. Look at their army. We've killed, captured, or otherwise rendered useless most of their fiercest live flesh eaters. It is those pesky ettin pulling the strings, General."
"Then those deviant ettin shall be the recipients of our harshest fury, Sire." Capies replied obediently.
Edmund waited patiently for a reply. He received it quite swiftly. The white flag was lowered and the enemy prepared to make their charge. Edmund cursed silently, hoping that this cowardly King Hulsfom would see reason and give this war a chance to be ended before more had to die.
"He has chosen war. Let us choose to end it today." Edmund said to Capies, "Full press formations, General."
"Oh, Edmund, this is absolutely horrid." Lucy said from her horse as she cantered to Edmund's side.
"Lucy!" Edmund said in wide eyed surprise, "Go back to field infirmary! What are you thinking!? We are about to go to battle!"
"I wanted to wish you luck, Ed." Lucy said sadly, leaning over to kiss his cheek, "And I was hoping that somehow they would see reason and surrender."
"This cowardly king does not see reason, Lucy." Edmund sighed, removing his gauntlets so he could take Lucy's hand in his own, "While I am grateful for Peter allowing you to come, I will have to throttle him for doing so. Still, your presence is truly warming. I hope I am able to speed a victory for you, my lady."
"A swift one without so much death, if you can?" Lucy asked.
"And I shall ask them to swing their swords and clubs lightly so as not to hurt me, shall I?" Edmund asked with a slight chuckle, "Go on, Luce. I shall do my very best to ensure a victory, and a swift one."
"Alright, Ed." Lucy smiled, before she turned and cantered back through the ranks of the Narnian Army.
Edmund turned back to the battle as the enemy began their charge across the battlefield. He raised his sword and gave the forward motion to loose the arrows. The sky turned dark as Narnian arrows filled it on their upward arc, before they descended down upon the enemy. The moment the arrows hit, Edmund launched the next stage of attack. The gryphon cried out as they soared through the air with their cargo of Narnian satyrs.
Behind the first line of charging giants, many of whom were hit by the arrows, the gryphon deposited their soldiers. The satyr turned and charged at the giants from behind as Edmund led the charge forward. The giants were swamped from front and behind. By the time the next line of Ettinsmoor soldiers joined the battle, the first line was defeated.
"Capies!" Edmund cried out, his horse raising up on his back legs, "Close off their flanks! Let them choose surrender or death. This war ends today!"
After the Narnian Army had completely annihilated the first advance of the Ettinsmoor army, Edmund turned his forces toward the rest. In a frightening show of strength and power, the Narnian lines reformed completely into a unified stomp and repeated the same strategy. The archers fired, the gryphon flew over, but this time dropping firebombs that scattered the Ettinsmoor forces below. Again, Edmund's forces charged forward. The machine like efficiency of the Narnian Army gave little opening for the Ettinsmoorean to launch any cohesive attack strategies of their own.
Demoralized, scattered, and comprehensively overpowered, the regular giants broke away from the ettin and began to retreat from the battlefield. Edmund breathed hard, his bloody sword held up to shield himself from the sun as he watched the enemy begin to lose resolve.
"Sire, do you wish us to pursue the retreating giants?" Capies asked as he galloped to Edmund's side.
"Let them go. The retreating are villagers, solitary giants, workers." Edmund said, shaking his head, "But we are not done. When we have their King, and when their army is crushed and they barely have enough to invade the next village let alone the next nation, then we will stop."
And so the battle continued, but not for much longer. The giants who had retreated were soon running back toward the battlefield. At first Edmund cursed the giants, believing them to incredibly stupid for returning to the battle when it would most likely result in their deaths. Yet he soon realized they weren't just running into the battle, they were bringing something onto the battlefield.
"Fast Cavalry with me!" Edmund yelled, turning his horse to intercept the giants before they could rejoin the rest of their army.
As Edmund rode closer, he realized the giants were carrying something. Unceremoniously, the giants tossed a small figure along the grass toward Edmund. When a crown rolled off the figure, Edmund could barely hide his grin. The giants were not so stupid at all. In fact, they were far more clever than Edmund gave them credit for. Since the cowardly King Hulsfom would not come to battle, the giants carried him out.
All but one of the giants suddenly turned around and ran away. The giant who remained was Femi, the giant Edmund spoke to before the battle. When the other Ettinsmoorean realized their King was on the battlefield being promptly approached by King Edmund, they began to rush toward him. Femi waved his arms to stop them as Edmund finally reached the cowardly king.
What Edmund found when he reached King Hulsfom was rather a shock. It was not a giant as he expected. It was not even an ettin. King Hulsfom was a man, a Son of Adam.
"By the Lion." Edmund gasped, staring down at the thin, spindly little man.
Edmund got off his horse and tossed his helmet aside. He was absolutely furious. Ettinsmoor had never been a friendly place, but until the arrival of the hitherto elusive King Hulsfom, they had never been a threat to Narnia. The cowardly man held up his hands and tried to beg for mercy.
"I beg you, Master, mercy!" Hulsfom gasped.
Edmund tossed Hulsfom a sword from one of his dead Narnian soldiers. Hulsfom stared at the sword in horror and crawled away from it. Edmund threw his dagger at the ground in front of Hulsfom, growling.
"Pick it up, Coward!" Edmund growled, "Pick it up!"
Hulsfom shakily picked up the sword and stood to his feet. He was taller than Edmund, but far slighter. A sharp, weak, schemer of a man. His hair was frail and grey, and his eyes were dark as if he'd deluded himself with thoughts of power for far too long.
"Finally the giants are sick of you pushing their nation to the brink of annihilation. You mobilized them into an army and provoked a war. The cowardice in your heart is matched only by your scheming ability to somehow forge Ettinsmoor to your will. You are the opposite of us in Narnia." Edmund growled, truly enraged that a war between Narnia and Ettinsmoor had been orchestrated by someone who wasn't even of Ettinsmoor, "I do not know where you came from, but I do know it is not from these lands."
"I yield!" Hulsfom said, tossing his sword away, "I am unarmed! You cannot kill me. It is not ... righteous! It is not proper form."
"And you would know about proper form, would you?" Edmund scowled, "You had a chance to accept surrender months ago, but instead you tried to kill my High King. You know nothing of proper form."
"Just like your proper form when you poisoned all those innocents that led to the start of this war?" Hulsfom asked contemptuously, "Where was your proper form then?"
"It was supposed to deter. There weren't supposed to be any villagers." Edmund cursed, "Even then you made the first attacks. You were already pressing our borders."
"Femi sad." Femi frowned, nodding his head, "When Big Boss say go to well, people not know it make sick. Then they die when Big Boss say keep drinking, even after sick. Me think maybe that not smart thing to do now? Femi dunno."
"What?" Edmund asked, turning his head up to Femi in surprise, "What did you say?"
"Shut up, you giant idiot!" Hulsfom yelled up at Femi, who covered his ears and started humming to himself.
"Femi like shiny butterfly, Femi like shiny ... oooh ..." He said, opening his eyes and catching a sparkle on the ground from a sword reflecting light, "Shiny!"
Femi stomped off toward the shiny object, leaving Edmund and Hulsfom alone on the battlefield. Edmund's eyes were locked on the once again cowering Hulsfom.
"You put them there! You made them drink enough of it to die so that the rest of the Ettin and Giants would galvanize against Narnia! You knew I was trying to deter your army and you put innocents in harm's way!" Edmund screamed with rage, realizing this entire time that Hulsfom's devious cowardice was behind the defining moment at the start of the Border Wars.
"I surrender!" Hulsfom said suddenly, falling to his knees and clasping his hands as if in prayer, "I am unarmed! I surrender!"
"You are a coward, Hulsfom, and you will pay for your crimes." Edmund said, barely keeping his calm, "You will instruct your men to stop fighting and then relinquish your crown. You will then be taken to Narnia where you will stand trial."
"Of course!" Hulsfom nodded, "Just get me away from these stupid creatures!"
Edmund growled and shook his head before he turned and started walking away. The moment he did, Hulsfom smirked and slowly rose to his feet. His eyes narrowed with intent as he pulled a dagger from his robe.
"Actually, I don't care much to go to Narnia." Hulsfom whispered to himself before he threw the dagger with precision at the back of Edmund's head.
In a flash Edmund turned and caught the blade before he threw it back just as quickly as he'd caught it. The dagger pierced Hulsfom's temple as he fell to his knees, eyes wide. Edmund marched up to him, his face grit with condemnation. Without hesitation he drew his sword, raised it high, and slammed it through Hulsfom's neck, slicing his head clean off.
"Actually, I don't care much to take you to Narnia." Edmund gasped, kicking Hulsfom's headless torso over.
Edmund turned and marched toward the middle of the battlefield where both sides were observing the encounter with little idea of how to react to it. Sheathing his sword, he spoke in a voice loud enough to be heard by both sides. His voice was raw with fatigue, but fierce with intent and a commanding aura.
"The Border Wars are over!" Edmund yelled, saying little else as he summoned his steed and mounted it.
The Ettinsmoorean all looked at each other, a little lost for what to do now. Femi had stopped looking for his shiny as he'd found Hulsfom's crown instead. When he saw King Hulsfom's body he frowned. He looked at Edmund and stomped over quickly, looking hesitant as he leaned down and handed Edmund Hulsfom's crown.
"What Femi do now?" Femi asked sheepishly, frowning down at Hulsfom's body, "No more big boss. You kill Femi now?"
"No kill Femi now." Edmund said, tossing Hulsfom's crown back to the giant, "King Femi now. I suggest you take this defeat well and use this time of rebuilding to create a nation of your own design. We had no war before this man, and I will see no war after him either. Am I understood, Femi?"
"Femi no fight. Femi clean up mess and make pie." Femi nodded, "Mmm, pie good."
Edmund smiled in approval and nodded, "Alright, make pie, King Femi."
"Oooh, King Femi." Femi grinned before he turned to his friends and waved his crown, "Femi say clean up! No fight no more!"
One of the ettin grumbled and Femi responded by knocking the ettin over and repeating his mandate. Edmund chuckled and turned to canter away. He was so sick of this war now, he just wanted to go home. He surveyed the battlefield and could not help but think what a waste this war had been. One greedy man had united the not so clever creatures of Ettinsmoor and manipulated them to war. Because of him, so many had died.
"It is over, Sire." Capies said, joining Edmund as they began to filter off the battlefield, "Our casualties were low, Sire. We have been fortunate this day. You have led us to victory. The war is over."
"A stupid victory for a stupid war, General." Edmund sighed tiredly, "I wish King Peter could have been here to see this. To see that man face his reckoning. Now we go home and bury our dead. And then we pray that war does not visit us for a very long time. After the Great Dark War, I truly thought I'd seen my fill."
"In comparison, this one was rather small, Sire."
"Tell that to the Narnian who died fighting in it, General." Edmund turned to Capies, "Let's go home. We've done all we needed to do here. Ettinsmoor is defeated and the true enemy destroyed. Let's go home."
ALONE WITH YOUR THOUGHTS
"His majesty spends so much time there." A servant said to Mr. Tumnus as the pair made their way toward the Royal Graveyard of Cair Paravel.
"His majesty can spend as much time where he pleases." Mr. Tumnus replied, "He has much to ponder in his mind and heart."
"The burden of great souls." The servant nodded in understanding.
Peter knew he had company, but he did not move from his position beside Oreius's grave. He did not stand to regard Mr. Tumnus or the servant. He was not particularly in the mood to speak to anyone. Ever since Lucy had left, and then Susan, Peter had felt a numbing despair weighing upon his heart. His two sisters had been gone for months now. Edmund had been gone even longer.
Here, in the quiet peace of the graveyard, Peter could let his thoughts mull over. He could imagine that the voices of those buried here were guiding him, speaking into his soul. Here, ironically, he did not feel so alone.
Mr. Tumnus dutifully placed the latest intelligence from Ettinsmoor down beside Peter. Peter looked up from the grass and thanked Mr. Tumnus with a nod. Tumnus bowed and took his leave, before Peter picked up the intelligence report and began to study it curiously.
The report included correspondence from Edmund indicating his intent to strike at Harfang. A final strike to end the war. Peter knew that given the delay in messages reaching Narnia, this final strike would have already taken place. He could only pray that the strike was successful. He wanted this war over.
"What do you think, Oreius?" Peter sighed, glancing over at his friend's grave, "Is this war finally over?"
Peter gave the grave a pensive glance before he slowly rose to his feet. He came here almost every day now. It didn't seem unusual to him at all. In life he would have spent some time each day with Oreius. The only difference now for Peter was where they met and the rather obvious one sided nature of their conversations.
"I think you're right, Oreius." Peter smiled, "I think it's over too."
Peter found the graveyard a rather inspiring place. He was lonely, there was no denying that. He had bouts of rather potent depression without any of his siblings around. He was almost impossible to deal with as far as Mr. Tumnus was concerned. The graveyard was often the only place Peter was not on edge or anxious or pacing. Here he was peaceful. Here he did not feel so alone.
He could only hope that his Doubt-bucket had won his battle and would be home within the season's end. He could only hope that Lucy would return unharmed, the light of her eyes still bright. He could only hope that Susan would return and they could continue to rebuild their long weakened relationship.
Peter stopped beside a familiar gravesite. A gravesite that was far more weathered than Oreius's. This gravesite had been here since the Great Dark War. This gravesite, this memorial, belonged to someone Peter had once called brother.
"Hello, Orrin." Peter smiled, brushing his hand slowly over the headstone, "I don't suppose you know how to win back our Su, do you?"
Peter sat down, placing his reports out on the grass beside Orrin's headstone. He tapped his chin as he studied the reports in greater detail, randomly smiling as he did so. He frowned a little, biting his lip, before he finally spoke.
"You're right, Brother." Peter nodded, "I don't know why I didn't think of that myself. But if Edmund does manage to neutralize Harfang, and perhaps even kill their King, that would just leave a power vacuum in his place. Surely Edmund would select someone suitable who would lead without the seed of revenge in his heart. Still, I suppose you're right. You know, you never talked this much when you were alive."
"He was probably busy being dutiful." Susan laughed, surprising Peter with her presence.
"Su!" Peter gasped in surprise, jumping to his feet and rushing to her.
"Peter!" Susan said brightly as he whisked her off her feet and hugged her tightly, "Peter, put me down!"
Peter laughed along with Susan, jumping and kissing her happily. She let out a squeal, trying not to laugh so much as he jumped with her in his arms. Finally he let her down and both caught their breath, smiling breathlessly at each other.
"Peter? Have you gone mad?" Susan gasped, chuckling and leaning against his shoulder.
"I just did not expect to see you, Su! No one told me you were coming back." Peter said, feeling so positively enthused by her surprise return.
"But I sent word ahead, Peter. You did not get my letter?" Susan asked, a little surprised.
"Oh ..." Peter said, biting his lip and smiling impishly, "Sorry, Su. I ... haven't been very diligent with my paperwork and correspondence."
"That figures." Susan droned, before she smiled and took Peter's hand, "I see you've been speaking to my husband."
Peter smiled and let out a small chuckle as they walked over to Orrin's memorial, "He was just helping me with a few things. Did you come here to find me or were you coming to see him?"
"Both, I suppose." Susan said, smiling affectionately at the headstone, "I think he wants me to be here, Peter."
"I think he would as well, Su." Peter nodded, squeezing her hand, "I have never forced you in all these years. I've always let you do as you needed to do, but I have always hoped you would eventually come home to us. Home to stay."
"It is strange." Susan said, her eyes watering up a little as she smiled, "I stayed away for so long because ... of him. Now, for the first time in so long I feel like I need to return home for him. I don't know, Peter. I just think it's time to come home. Time to be home more."
"Do you ... have you ... ever thought about letting someone court you?"
"My heart is already taken, Peter. There is nothing left to court." Susan said resolutely.
"Well, Su, for what it is worth." Peter said as his own eyes watered and he smiled warmly, "You will always have a piece of my heart."
"I know, Peter." Susan smiled gratefully, kissing his cheek, "Besides, I heard you've been making life miserable for everyone since I left. We cannot continue such unseemly behaviour, can we?"
"Oh no, of course not, Su." Peter grinned, squeezing her hand.
Susan placed her free hand upon her husband's gravestone. She closed her eyes and let the breeze caress her ear as if it were a whisper. She smiled and let a small sigh, knowing it was time for her to finally return home. The time for running away, be it to the Lone Islands or to foreign lands in the guise of diplomacy, was over. It was time to come home. It was time to be with her family.
Susan mouthed a silent thank you and leaned down to kiss her husband's gravestone. She knew that her husband was watching over her still. She smiled and kissed his gravestone once more before she stood up and moved back to Peter's side, ready to leave.
"Let's see if we can't get that smile up a little more now, alright?" Susan smiled, brushing a small tear from Peter's cheek, "We can't have our army coming home to a miserable High King, can we? Nor our siblings."
Peter kissed her cheek and hugged her tightly, closing his eyes and sighing in gratitude. Somehow he'd been granted a hope. Finally he felt the tide of grief receding and a hope that a long difficult period of his life would soon be over. Susan's presence was stabilizing, reassuring. She was gentle and courageous, firm and wise. She was the one he needed to pull him back from his despair and guide him back to his rightful path.
"I love you, Su." Peter whispered, still squeezing her tightly, "You're home now. You're home. Thank you."
THE END FOR NOW
Two months after Edmund ended the Border Wars, crowned a giant named Femi as King of Ettinsmoor, and killed the coward known as Hulsfom, he led his victorious army into sight of Cair Paravel. They were finally home.
"Oh, Edmund! We're home!" Lucy said excitedly.
Edmund smiled, grateful for Lucy's presence. She'd spent most of the journey on the back of Edmund's horse, holding onto him from behind. She didn't want to be cooped up in a carriage or fly ahead on a gryphon. She wanted to ride with her brother and witness the journey with her own eyes. She wanted to see the lands, the creatures, the sights and sounds between Ettinsmoor and Narnia.
When the army first crossed the border from Ettinsmoor to Narnia, Lucy could almost feel the change in her heart. The magical sensation of being home, in a world that seemed warmer, brighter, more vivid than ever before. At that moment, she knew without having to be told, that she was home. She was home in Narnia.
Now, long after their arduous journey had begun, the two monarchs were leading their victorious army to Cair Paravel. The majestic sight of Cair Paravel sent a warm peace through both Edmund and Lucy. It was truly a sight sorely missed.
"Indeed, Lucy, we are home." Edmund replied finally.
The morale of the army was high. Very soon they would be able to take leave to see those most beloved to them. Before they reached the outskirts of Cair Paravel, the trumpets and sounds of victory could be heard. High King Peter had spared no expense in welcoming home his brave and faithful Narnian.
Many Narnian had come from far across the land to give thanks to those brave soldiers who had survived the Border Wars to see their family. In tribute to those who had fallen in battle, including the great General Oreius, a single dove carrying a petal was let loose into the sky. Those petals were then dropped over the returning army as they entered Cair Paravel.
Edmund had to pause to take a breath as he found the emotion of the small act to be wholly overwhelming. Each death he felt, for each death was a friend, a face, a name he knew. The petals landing upon them were many, but it felt in some way fitting in the sense that those lost were still entering Cair Paravel with their fellow Narnian.
Either side of the returning army, Narnian creatures welcomed them home. Yet it was the sight of High King Peter the Magnificent standing in wait for them that made Edmund truly feel he was home. Edmund was a little surprised and rather elated to see Susan was standing beside Peter. He was even more surprised when she seemed almost pleased to see him.
Edmund stopped his horse and dismounted before he helped Lucy to do the same. He stepped forward, smiling softly at the sight of Peter and Susan. He cast a glance to the Narnian who had come to greet him before he and Lucy both gave a small bow in deference to their older siblings. Edmund fell to one knee, his head bowed and his sword placed on the ground before him.
"My King, we return home having successfully defeated our enemies in the name of Narnia, the Magnificent, and of the Lion. We honour you with our victory, my Lord. We ask to be received." Edmund spoke, his eyes still lowered, "We ask our dead to be honoured. We ask to be granted the peace that our victory has secured."
"King Edmund the Just, you have led our Narnian to victory against our enemies. Rise, and be welcomed home with the thanks and gratitude of your fellow Narnian." Peter said formally before Edmund rose to his feet, sheathing his sword.
Peter raised his hand to the air and turned either side to his Narnian before they all let out a unified cheer of celebration. Once the formalities were put aside, Edmund smiled broadly and ran to Peter, jumping up into his arms and kissing him soundly. It was not very proper at all, but after their long separation, Edmund could only tolerate so much protocol.
"Doubt-bucket, you're home!" Peter laughed, gasping against the kiss as he spun his beloved around him.
"Lucy, you've done so well." Susan smiled, greeting her sister with a warm hug, "Welcome home."
"Oh, Su, you should have seen it!" Lucy said, eyes wide with excitement, "It was so exciting and horrid at once. I'm so glad to be home. I'm so glad you're here!"
Peter reluctantly let Edmund go so he could give Lucy a well deserved kiss and hug, "Lucy, thank you. Thank you. You've both come home. I could not be more grateful than I am now."
"Well, it's about time you and Su let us do the work for once. You can't be the big hero all the time, Peter." Lucy chuckled, kissing his cheek and hugging him again tightly.
Edmund moved to Susan as Peter and Lucy hugged. He gave her a small, hesitant smile, which she returned in kind. For a time the two stood regarding each other without contact before Edmund dared to step forward at almost exactly the same time as Susan did. The two embraced in a sincere, but still somewhat awkward embrace.
"It is good to have you home, Edmund. Thank you for your bravery." Susan said as she rubbed his back.
"It has been far too long, Su. I am grateful you are here." Edmund sighed, relieved their reunion was not more awkward.
The hug lingered for a long while, with little words said. While there was still a certain distance between them, Edmund felt a definite thaw in how Susan reacted to his presence. He was truly grateful for this small act of being able to embrace her as he would Lucy or Peter.
"You must be famished, Edmund." Susan said finally, breaking the hug, "We have prepared a mighty celebration for all of you."
"Might we be permitted to be bathed and changed into clean attire first?"
"Of course, of course." Susan smiled, "We will begin the festivities in one hour."
Edmund gave Peter a smile and turned to head into the castle alongside him. In moments their hands were clasped and fingers intertwined. Edmund could not help but feel a great sense of silent euphoria as he and his husband walked with increasing speed toward their chambers.
Once inside their chambers, any attempt at restraint was quickly tossed aside. Peter let out a scream of delight and picked Edmund up in his arms, spinning him around as they kissed madly. Edmund returned the excited kiss as he fumbled with his light armour.
"I missed you, Ed, oh did I miss you!" Peter gasped between kisses.
"I spend six months as a war leader and the moment I come home you make me feel as though a girl." Edmund giggled, letting Peter remove the last obstacle to Edmund's bare chest.
"After all these years, we are still to have this argument, Doubt-bucket?" Peter chuckled, his lips traversing the exposed chest of his husband.
"I'm supposed to be getting changed."
"I'm helping!" Peter laughed, still hurriedly removing every last item from his beloved's body.
"Peter, I just got home!" Edmund laughed after being tossed naked onto the bed, "Should we not be having some warm, romantic walk through the fields while holding hands and reading poetry to each other?"
"I thought you didn't want to be a girl." Peter said in a deadpan voice, stopping himself in the middle of removing his tunic.
Edmund laughed and jumped to his feet, kicking Peter playfully in the chest with his bare foot, "I'll show you a girl!"
"Not now, Doubt-bucket, I've no time to see anyone but you." Peter grinned, leaping at Edmund and tackling him back down to the bed.
Edmund laughed and squealed, his legs flailing on either side of Peter's hips. Peter tickled his husband relentlessly while his lips feasted upon the soft flesh of his pale neck. Edmund smiled when Peter began to finally relent and traced kisses up his chin before reaching his lips.
"No more wars, Doubt-bucket." Peter smiled, smoothing his fingers through Edmund's raven hair, "After this, it's just us. No more wars."
"Just us." Edmund smiled softly, his eyes locked with Peter's, "From now until the end."
"A bind that never breaks." Peter whispered, unable to help the soft, gentle smile across his face.
Edmund returned the sentiment, his face at peace, infused with love and adoration, commitment and endearing, "A bind that cannot break."
Peter closed his eyes and let his forehead rest upon that of his husband. He let himself be enveloped by the soft sound of breath escaping his beloved's lips. He let himself be overwhelmed by the heat emanating from his lover.
Peter could not believe that his time of solitude was finally over. The Border Wars had come and gone, and with them he hoped the greatest trial of his marriage would go as well. He kept his eyes closed and let his fingers trace over the supple skin of his one and only love.
For all the trials they'd endured, they'd found each other once more. Through times of torment and miscommunication, times of grief and death, they had endured. Peter would never again allow himself to be separated from his beloved again. He would never leave him. He would never let him go. He would never go where his Edmund could not follow.
In his own heart he swore these words with all the testament his heart could make. Perhaps in many ways Peter kept his word. There were no more wars. No more wars until the end. One day however, Peter did indeed venture where Edmund could not follow. That, however, is another story. This is the end of their story... for now.
Author's Notes: Well that's the end of my series, The Border Wars. Set during Just and Magnificent. If you haven't read Just and Magnificent, ermm why did you read this series? lol. If you want to know chronologically what happens after this chapter, then read the last chapter of Just and Magnificent 'Goodbye'. I would urge you to read that chapter even if you've read it before. It'll give you a refresher of the whole JamVerse and tell you the end of Peter and Edmund's story. At least as it is for now.
Most of you would've read Just and Magnificent if you read this, so you know already that Edmund dies after the events of this chapter and side-series, The Border Wars. This may be my last Narnia fanfic in the LWW timeline, or the JaM-Verse. There were two more stories that I intended to write two years ago. One was Just Peter Pevensie, a small one shot which follows Peter after he stepped through the wardrobe, without Edmund. That one I wrote way back when and have just been waiting for The Border Wars to wrap so I could post it. The other fic, my take on Prince Caspian and the sequel proper to Just and Magnificent; Beyond Magnificent. I don't honestly know if I'm going to write that since it would be as big as Just and Magnificent in scope. I always intended to, but it took this long to finish this lot! Still, with Prince Caspian about to release, the timing actually seems pretty good. So who knows. Either way, I hope you enjoyed The Border Wars, and the other fics that made up the Just and Magnificent universe. Thank you for reading!