Lest We Forget
Title: Lest We Forget
Summary: This world may not be meant for them, but they are meant for each other.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters, and they have no bearing anyone at all. C.S. Lewis owns them! I just love them!
Warnings: Slash / Incest
A/N: This is probably one of my more sort of serious and very heartfelt pieces, I think. I wrote it on ANZAC day 2006, which should be a clue for the inspiration, if anyone knows what ANZAC day is for. Hence the title. I sincerely hope you enjoy it, as it means a lot to me personally. Feedback and thoughts are greatly appreciated. If anyone reads this and can think of a song to suit it, tell us what it is.
LEST WE FORGET
The air in Finchley is cold, as is the rain that blankets Edmund. He stands with a smile on his face as he looks down at the mound of dirt before him. He is filled with thoughts of love. Thoughts of a lifetime filled with fauns and centaurs. Thoughts of a castle beside the sea. Thoughts of warm nights and breathless kisses, declarations of love and passion that knew no bounds.
"Lest we forget, Peter." Edmund smiled to himself as his mind was filled with memories, "Lest we forget."
Edmund can remember the first time he and Peter made love. Well, technically, it wasn't the first time, but it was the last time. It was however, the first time in this land of England. The first time outside of Narnia. Three times Edmund had ventured to that land. The first two times with Peter, the last time without. The first time was a lifetime. A lifetime in which he and Peter became much more than just brothers. They had fought and bled for one another. They were kings. They were brothers. And after three years in Narnia, they were also lovers.
However, on their return to England, they were no longer men. They were men trapped in the bodies of boys. And unlike in Narnia, their love could not know fruition. They were forced to file it somewhere between shame and disgust.
The second time they returned to Narnia was also the last time for Peter. Edmund desperately loved returning to Narnia. For in Narnia he was a king, a hero, a legend. He could have adventures and challenge evil. Most of all, he and Peter found they could love one another again for in Narnia, no one ever thought any less of you for that.
Yet on their return to England that time, though they were a year older, they quickly filed their love right back in between shame and disgust. Peter drew away from Edmund then, with boarding school separating them. When they did see one another, they could barely look one another in the eye.
"It's wrong here, Ed." Peter would say, "I can't give you what you want."
Their eyes would briefly meet in that moment and Edmund could see how conflicted Peter was. Though Edmund wanted desperately to tell Peter that what they felt for each was not wrong, he did not. He knew for Peter there was so much more to it. He was his older brother, trying to protect him from a world that would not accept them.
Peter would dare to brush his hand to Edmund's cheek, and in that moment Edmund thought he would simply die. Such was the feeling of being so close to something he wanted more than anything, and being unable to reach out and claim it.
The third time Edmund returned to Narnia, was also his last. It was a fantastic voyage, an adventure of course, but Narnia no longer held the same love for him. It was rather melancholy to go back without Peter and Susan. It was also strange to be in a land where you are merely a legend. Where the life you once lived there was over a thousand years in the past. No Mr. Tumnus, no Oreius, no Beavers. They had all long been dead. In that last trip to Narnia, he understood why Peter did not resent being unable to return. For when he and Lucy reached the end of their time in Narnia, they were both somewhat relieved. Their golden age was long over. It was time for them to say goodbye to Narnia and commit themselves to their own world.
And commit themselves is certainly what they did. Edmund buried himself in his studies, as did Lucy. Memories of Narnia grew fainter and fainter with time. At least until Edmund joined Peter at his boarding school. They did not seek to be viewed as enemies, but it was difficult for Edmund to be anywhere near Peter. When he saw Peter, he was reminded of Narnia. When he saw Peter, he was reminded of a love they shared that was far more potent than their years would imply. Their life at boarding school would be no different to home life. They were barely acquaintances now, let alone brothers or anything else. For Edmund, and he believed for Peter as well, this was the only way to survive.
"So, Ed. Here we are." Peter said with a tight lipped smile, the first time Edmund bumped into him, "Aren't you happy mother transferred us into the same school?"
"No." Edmund said with a scowl that was more like a ten year old, than a fifteen year old, "I told her not to. She thinks you'll be here to watch out for me. Since when have I needed you to watch out for me? This isn't Narnia, you know. I don't even know you here. Why do I need your protection? I can take care of myself. Just carry on with your own life, Brother. We need not pretend we are friends or anything of any importance to one another."
If Edmund intended to hurt Peter, he achieved his objective. Peter's eyes were sullen and defying, yet hurt with despair. Edmund did not linger to continue this pointless discussion. He left Peter to his own devices and continued the drudgery of boarding school life. He found himself having to rebuild a circle of friends and interests that he'd already well established at his old school. He absolutely hated it. The day he found out Peter was the one who asked mother to transfer him was the day he'd broken his self imposed 'no contact' law with Peter.
"Ed, this school is far better than your last one. I mean, it's not exactly Whetstone, but it's not bad. You'll have a much better chance of getting into a good university here than at your old school. It would do you good to be here."
"You had no right, Peter." Edmund fumed with anger, "No right at all. Just stay out of my life!"
"Ed, I …"
"Oh sod off, Peter. Go and spend your time with someone who actually cares about what you have to say."
Edmund left those biting words dangling in the air as he walked away. The days seemed to pass by ever so quickly as Edmund focused on his studies and tried not to become the target of some wayward older boy. Though Peter was still taller than him, Edmund had grown in stature and was not the gangly young boy of old. He truly could take care of himself if needed. As he soon found, it was needed.
Edmund had refused to acknowledge any kind of relationship with Peter, sibling, friendship, or otherwise. He soon realized that meant he fell foul of older boys who expected him to take advantage of Peter's protection. Peter was incredibly popular in the school and his circle of influence was far greater than Edmund's.
When Edmund emerged from one of the changing rooms with a shiner of a black eye, Peter was first to notice. He rushed to Edmund's side and for a moment his hands lingered on Edmund's face with tenderness that did not belong to this world. Edmund let himself absorb the moment before Peter quickly realized what he was doing and straightened himself. Edmund glared at Peter's hesitation and soon the air was once again ice between them.
"Tell me who did this to you, Ed."
Edmund said nothing with his voice, but his glare said enough. He did not tell Peter who had attacked him. The next few days he heard from other boys that Peter had sent a warning that if anyone touched him, they'd be introduced to a sound beating behind the sheds. Knowing Peter was watching out for him gave Edmund little comfort. All he wanted to do was pretend Peter did not exist.
"Edmund, I was thinking … you've been here for half a year now and we haven't had one meal or spent any time together. Surely you don't think it's time we were mature about this and leave our differences in the past?" asked Peter in his typically proper voice, "After all, we are brothers."
"Don't you get it, Peter? We are nothing. We are not brothers. We are not friends. We are nothing. I no longer care for you. I do not need your protection. You chose to forget something that I did not wish to forget. So I have chosen to forget you. Do not speak to me again. There is enough room here for us to exist without having to cross each other's paths."
"I forget nothing …" Peter said with a slight anger building in his voice, "But unlike you, I cannot throw around blame like some sword. Instead, I make the choices that you cannot. How long has it been, Ed? Years, it's been years, and you still refuse to accept that this world will not let us … will not let us be what we wish to be."
"What we wish to be?"
"Yes, Ed. What we wish to be."
"I never did care much for this world, Peter. Or for what it thought of me." Edmund said with tight lips, "But since you so obviously do, I will leave you with it. I just want you to know that … though you are trying to protect me by keeping us apart, you are doing the opposite. Even if you did manage to come to your senses and let me have my Peter back, I imagine you'd be too late. I do not know you here. You do not know me. Too much time has passed and we have both changed. I am bitter and you are … and you are something else. Please, Peter, if you are truly trying to do what is best in your mind for me, then at least do me the favor of pretending I don't exist. Anything else would be cruel."
Once again Edmund left a downcast Peter in his wake. For some time however, Peter granted Edmund his wish. They did not glance at one another in the halls. They did not speak or feign hello. When it came time to return home, Edmund wrote to his mother informing her that he would be staying on at school. This was all so he would not have to be in any close proximity to Peter. After all, they would be sharing a room and that was not something Edmund wanted any part of. He did not inform Peter of his decision, because they obviously were not speaking to one another.
When most of the boys were celebrating being able to leave school, Edmund was celebrating staying behind. As one of the boys who would not be returning home, Edmund was instead helping chaperone some of the younger boys to the train station. They would be catching the same train that he and Peter would've taken back to Finchley. As Edmund guided some of the younger boys onto the train, he saw Peter getting ready to board with his suitcases. Peter broke their silent rule of not making eye contact. Edmund returned the stare for a moment as Peter took a seat and seemed to wait silently for Edmund to sit down next to him. Edmund held his hands up as if to indicate that he had no suitcases. Without a word, he stepped backwards and out of the train compartment, leaving a bewildered Peter watching on.
"Ed!" Peter yelled, running out of the train and grabbing Edmund's shoulder, "Where are your bloody suitcases? You're going to miss the train."
"You're breaking our rule, Peter." Edmund said as shrugged himself free and continued walking away.
"Oh sod the rule. We're going to be back in our old room soon so we're going to have to talk to each other. Now get a move on, Ed."
"Peter, your train is leaving." Edmund said as he motioned to the train, "You better hurry. Mother is expecting you and there isn't another train until Monday."
"My train?" Peter asked in surprise, "Ed, come on. Everyone's waiting for us at home. We dare not miss this train."
"Everyone is expecting you, Peter. They're not expecting me."
"What? Ed, you're making no sense. We'll talk about it on the train. Now where are your bloody suitcases?"
"Peter, I'm not coming back for the holidays. I'm staying here."
"Don't be ridiculous, Ed. Nobody stays behind. Mother is expecting us."
"Peter!" Edmund yelled in frustration, "I'm not coming! Now get away from me. I don't want anything to do with you! You're a coward, Peter! A coward! If I have it my way, I'll never return home again just so I will not have to run the risk of seeing you there! Why do you think I'm not coming in the first place?"
"But … mother is expecting us."
"I have already written to mother to inform her I would be staying back. She isn't expecting me. I have also asked her to transfer me back to my old school so this unfortunate business between us will be over. Just go home and enjoy your holiday and leave me alone for pity's sake. How many times must I ask you?"
Edmund proceeded to help more of the younger boys with their suitcases while Peter stood looking dumbfounded. Eventually, Peter made his way back to his seat. His eyes continued to follow Edmund as he moved in and out of the train compartment with suitcases that were not his own.
When finally everyone was on board, it was time for Edmund to get off the train. As much as he wanted to leave without saying another word, he could see the disappointed look on Peter's face. He did not wish for Peter's holiday to be sour because of him.
"I suppose it's for the best, Peter." Edmund said with a small smile, "Have a good holiday, will you? Say hello to the girls for me. And well … if I don't see you again, have … have a nice … well, look after yourself. Goodbye, Peter."
Edmund stepped off the train and waved to some of the friends and the younger boys he helped. As the train pulled away, he could see Peter staring at him with hollow eyes. Edmund wondered whether he would ever see Peter again. If he had it his way, he wouldn't.
He would transfer to a new school and move on without Peter. He would find ways to get out of returning home during the holidays and hope that he would be left to live in peace until he could leave school and begin making his own way in the world.
Though his dorm was practically empty, as only two other boys had stayed behind in his dorm, he found himself happier than he had been in months. There was no risk in running into Peter. He could enjoy his time alone. The days were long and empty, but he made himself useful by helping with tasks around the school grounds. He would take part in activities that the remaining students were expected to.
While others would find ways to amuse themselves at night with smuggled liquor and cigarettes, Edmund chose instead to read, to write, to study, or to exercise. The dorm watchmen were fairly lax with the usual rules, seeing as this was supposed to be a holiday time. So on one particular evening, almost a month into the summer holidays, Edmund decided that perhaps he would indulge himself.
He dressed in his very best, and made his way down to the party that was being held in one of empty changing rooms at the back of the school. The party was no secret, but as long as the boys didn't make any trouble, no one would disturb their fun. Edmund was already two hours late, as he had been tossing up whether to attend or not.
When Edmund saw who called out to him, he didn't know whether to bite his lip or curse out loud. Sitting with the rest of the boys was Peter. By the look of his rosy face, he was already well into the liquor. As far as Edmund was concerned, Peter had come to ruin his fun.
"Come on, Edmund! You're late!" yelled Marty Fleming, one of the senior boys who had stayed behind, "Aren't you going to say hello to your brother?"
"No, no, no. He's angry, you see." Peter said with bleary eyes as he swayed with drunken abandon, "He doesn't want to speak to me."
"Get this in you, Pevensie." Marty said as he handed Edmund a tin cup filled with something that smelled vaguely like whiskey, "It'll make a man out of you."
For some reason that comment caused Peter to giggle most unflatteringly. Edmund found himself cursing silently as he sat down and took a swig of the bitter drink. What the heck was Peter doing here? Edmund didn't bother asking. He didn't care. At least, he tried not to. Instead, he sipped on his drink and listened as the other boys and Peter made drunken fools of themselves.
"You're awfully quiet there, young Pevensie. Don't be shy. Your brother's come all this way to spend time with you. Least you can do is toast him." said Marty as he raised his glass up, "Come on, Edmund. Show some proper respect."
"Very well then." Edmund said as he raised his cup, "To Peter the bloody magnificent for gracing us with his mighty presence. We are fortunate, we few and faithful, to have such a pillar of virtue in our humble presence."
Edmund did as he was told and toasted Peter. His bitter sarcasm was not lost on his older brother, even in his drunken state. Edmund noted that Peter's eyes seemed sad, and he wasn't sure if it was just because of their broken relationship or something else. As much as Edmund tried to ignore his brother's presence, he found it impossible not to.
"Edmund is already a man, Marty." Peter said out of the blue, "He's brave, you know. Much braver than I. But I am brave too. I can still protect you, Ed. I can still fight for you."
"Cogglewhats, Pevensie. You're drunk." laughed Marty, "He's almost a man, I'll give you that. And he's got fire in him, I'll give you that too."
"Oh he's fought dragons and knights and all manner of things."
Edmund's ears suddenly perked up and he raised his eyebrow at Peter as if he were mad. Was he actually talking about Narnia now of all times? In front of all these people?
"I wish I were as brave as you, Ed." said Peter as his eyes met Edmund's.
Edmund knew exactly what Peter was speaking of. Peter believed Edmund was brave because he cared more about their love than what this world would think of it. Edmund did not fancy himself brave, just honest. Edmund could see Peter's eyes were sunken and he was probably so drunk he would pass out soon.
"Young Pevensie, take your brother to bed and then come back and join us if you like. Go on now, be a good brother." insisted Marty.
"But his dorm's locked down. Where's he going to sleep?"
"In your bloody bed then, you silly little toss."
Edmund snarled but did as he was told and helped Peter to his feet. He draped Peter's arm around his shoulder and they began the seemingly endless trip back to his dorm.
"I am brave, Ed. Just … not the way you think I am. But I can still make you proud. I can still fight for you. I can still protect you. You'll see." Peter said with a hollow tone in his voice, "I'm sorry, Ed. I'm sorry that I'm not brave like you."
"You are brave, Peter. I know you are." insisted Edmund.
Though Edmund was angry at Peter, for some reason his heart softened at seeing his brother so upset. Still Edmund could not help thinking that there was more to Peter's despair than he was letting on. Peter was indeed drunk and unsteady on his feet, yet he spoke as though he still knew exactly what he was saying and thinking.
"Mother does not know I am here, Ed."
"What are you doing here, Peter?" Edmund said as they approached the unlit dorm.
"Do you still think me a coward, Ed? I will prove to you I am not. You'll see."
"You're not a coward. Now what are you talking about, Peter? Why are you here?"
"I never forgot, Ed." Peter said as tears welled up in his eyes, "I never forgot a moment of us."
"I know, Peter. It's ok. Let's just get you to bed."
"No, no, no." Peter insisted, "You think I am drunk, but I am clear of mind, Edmund. I have come to tell you that you are much braver than I could ever be. I cannot give you what you want, even though it is what I want too."
Peter's words were broken by sobs that ran rampant through Edmund's soul. He found his anger at Peter was virtually non existent, for he could see just how hurt Peter was at this very moment. Though their lifetime in Narnia was years ago now, it was still as fresh in their minds as the taste of alcohol on their lips.
"I have tried to do the right thing by you, Ed. They would hurt us if they knew. They would label us as deviants of unsound minds and bodies. They would hurt you if we were together." said Peter as he ran his hand across Edmund's cheek, "I remember everything about us, Ed. I remember everything."
Edmund found himself welling up with tears and all he wanted to do was hold his brother. He realized just how much Peter had been hurting all this time. Peter had tried to do the right thing by Edmund, and all Edmund had given him was grief.
"Peter, I lied when I said too much time had passed. I still love you." cried Edmund as he stared hopefully into Peter's eyes, "I don't care what they do. We may not be meant for this world, but we are meant for each other."
It was then that Edmund finally received what he'd ached for since he and Peter had last returned together from Narnia. Peter smashed his lips to Edmund's and embraced him so fiercely that Edmund whimpered. A kiss broken by tear filled sobs and declarations of love as Peter carried Edmund into his dorm.
"I have ached for you, Ed. I have ached so long for you." Peter cried as they fell together onto Edmund's bed.
Edmund had enough sense to close off his divider curtain, even though he knew his two dorm mates would probably drink themselves to sleep in the changing room. Edmund realized as he and Peter kissed atop his bedsheets, that they had never actually kissed like this outside of Narnia. It was an altogether new experience.
"Peter, do you still love me?" asked a tear ravaged Edmund, "Do you?"
"I have only ever loved you, Ed. I will only ever love you."
Edmund responded by ripping his shirt off and fumbling with Peter's. Peter complied with Edmund's deft fingers and soon both were in nothing but their lower undergarments. Edmund ravaged Peter with kisses in places that he had not tasted since Narnia. All of this was new, and yet the most familiar and natural experience he ever felt.
"Ed, I didn't come here for this. We don't have to."
"That's where you're wrong, Peter." Edmund said as he stripped the last vestige of Peter's clothing away, "We have to. It's not like we haven't done it before. You've kept me waiting this long. I'm not waiting another night."
And so they made love. Anxious lips tasted aching flesh, pale freckles and golden skin. It was clumsy and painful and not at all like Edmund remembered. Yet the feeling of completeness as he lowered himself onto a gasping Peter, was something he most definitely remembered. Peter called his name like a mantra, as if just speaking it would fill him with the elixir of life. In another world, he and Peter had been bound together in a marriage that did not even exist here. Yet as he brought Peter to a screaming climax that could've woken the dead, he could almost feel that ring on his finger.
They made love long into the night, making up for years that were denied by age and a world that would not understand their love. Only when they were both so physically drained they could make love no more, did they finally relent to the comfort of each others arms.
"You could take me away from here, Peter. We could run away together." Edmund said as he smothered Peter's face with kisses, "I love you, Peter. I will do anything for you. Tonight you have made me the happiest I have ever been in this world. Thank you. Thank you, Peter."
"I did not actually come here for this." Peter said as he drew the sheets over them both, "I only came here to apologize for being so weak. I could no longer bear you looking at me with so much anger and shame. I wanted to see you. I wanted … to say goodbye."
"Goodbye? You're not leaving now. Not after tonight. I'm sorry, Peter. I'm so sorry. I've been horrid to you for so long. I will make it up to you. I will make you happy, Peter. We'll find a way."
"Ed … I'm not brave like you. You were right before. This world is not meant for us. Tonight has been wonderful, but …" sighed Peter, before he enveloped Edmund in a deep kiss, "I still cannot give you what you want. I should not have even given you this. It will only make it worse. I should not have come. I just … I had to see you, Ed. I had to. I am brave, Ed, but not brave like you. I hope one day you'll be proud of me again."
Though Edmund did not understand Peter's words, he had no chance to seek their meaning. For as soon as he opened his mouth to speak, Peter smothered his lips with a breathtaking kiss. They made love once more with Edmund on his back with his legs wrapped around Peter's waist. It was long and slow and not as painful as the first time. Edmund held onto every vision and sensation of that moment. From seeing Peter's eyes gazing into his own as he moved inside him. To the feeling of sweat that dripped off of Peter and onto Edmund. The feel of Peter's thighs beneath his feet as his sense were rocked by Peter's steady movements. When they came together in climax, it was with Edmund screaming Peter's name and Peter clenching his teeth as his body tensed like never before.
They fell asleep with Edmund spooning inside Peter's warm embrace. That night he dreamed of Narnia. He dreamed of he and Peter sharing a life together, sharing a love together. It was the greatest sleep he had ever experienced in this world. The perfect sleep to follow the perfect night of love.
The next morning however, was perhaps the second darkest moment in Edmund's life. When he awoke, Peter was gone. At first Edmund did not particularly worry, because he believed that somehow he and Peter were going to find a way to be together. It wasn't until he read Peter's goodbye note that his heart sank and he realized just why Peter had come to him.
'I cannot be brave the way you want me to be, Ed. But I can be brave the way I used to be. I can protect you. I can fight for you. I will make you proud.'
Edmund could barely read the rest of the note. His face was already a mess of angry tears and sobs. He understood now that Peter had come to say goodbye. He'd run away from home so he could go and join the same war that their father had. He'd gone to make Edmund proud, because he did not know any other way to do so. Not in this world.
Edmund did not transfer schools. Instead he waited dutifully for months for Peter to return from war. Their mother had sent a strongly worded letter to the recruitment office stating that Peter did not have her permission to join the war and she demanded he be returned home. Her request was denied as Peter was of age. Yet when she made a tearful plea stating that her husband had already fought in the war and Peter was needed in his stead, the recruitment officer made arrangements for Peter's transfer.
Edmund listened anxiously to reports of the war, desperately hoping it would be over soon so Peter would come home. So that many other fathers and sons would return home to families who ached for their return. He hoped beyond hope that Peter was safe and would somehow survive a war that had claimed millions. Each day he would read the paper or listen to the radio for more reports. Each day he would wait for word from someone to let him know that Peter was safe.
Edmund was not the only one who waited. So too did many of his friends. Many would receive news that their fathers or brothers would not be returning from the war, and his heart went out to them. Yet he hoped that he would not be the next to receive similar news of Peter.
Three months later, Edmund received word that made his heart breathe a sigh of relief. A telegram from his mother had given him the news he waited for since Peter's departure.
'Your brother's come home. Return immediately.'
Edmund was given leave to return that day to Finchley. The entire trip was a mixture of blissful relief and happy tears, to remorseful sorrow and promises of forgiveness. He would make sure that Peter never left him again. He would do anything Peter asked. He would make Peter happy. Nothing would ever keep them apart again.
When he finally arrived in Finchley, Edmund stopped to pick up a box of Peter's favorite toffees and some chocolates for his mother and sisters. He gave the shopkeeper a cheery hello and received a sympathetic nod in return. He was about to leave when he noticed a board on the shopkeeper's door. A list of those from Finchley and nearby who fought in the war, and had not been as fortunate as Peter and returned. Edmund glanced over the list briefly and recognized the name of a boyhood friend's father. His eyes fell with sadness for his friend and he turned to leave.
Yet as Edmund turned to leave, the last name on the list caught his eyes. His head started to shake with bitter tears as he convinced himself he had not seen what his eyes told him. He turned back slowly to face the board and in one life shattering moment, realized why the shopkeeper had looked at him so forlornly.
'Peter Pevensie - 1927 – 1944'
Edmund's head shook as he stared at the board in disbelief. He read the name over and over and would not believe it. Tears of disbelief pooled in his eyes as he let out a gasping cry. He turned to the shopkeeper who nodded as if to confirm what the board said.
What Edmund did not realize, was that Peter had indeed come home as his mother had stated. However, it was not in the fashion he expected or wanted. For much to his heart's irreparable despair, his brother had come home in a coffin. Peter Pevensie, who had fought and won battles as a king, had fought and died in one as a soldier.
Edmund collapsed in the store, overcome with grief. When he awoke, he was back home with Susan sitting beside his bed. He sat up, hoping it had all been some dreadful nightmare. When Susan greeted him with a small smile, he hoped for the best, yet the tears in her eyes said otherwise.
"The funeral is tomorrow." Susan said with bloodshot eyes, "Mother wants you to give the eulogy."
No one could settle Edmund's angry cries of grief and despair that lasted through the night. He wanted to die himself. He could not believe that there was a world that existed without his Peter in it. How could it be? If anyone died first, it should've been him, not Peter. Not his magnificent Peter.
Low, lonely sobs overwhelmed Edmund as he tried to imagine what Peter's last moments were like. He hoped Peter did not die alone, or feeling as though he was unloved. Edmund blamed himself for Peter's death. He had given Peter nothing but grief since they returned from Narnia, when all Peter was doing was trying to protect him. He had driven Peter to war by calling him a coward. No one would convince him otherwise.
It wasn't until the next morning that he emerged from his room. He did not speak to anyone, but overheard that Peter had died ironically on home soil while returning home, when his unit was hit by a rogue bombing raid. Edmund didn't care for the details, for the painful fact remained that Peter was dead. And now he needed to bury him. He dressed in his very best, for Peter deserved nothing less. Before Peter's body was taken to the cemetery, Edmund requested, or rather, politely demanded a moment alone.
He sat beside Peter's lifeless body and fought bitterly to stop his tears from flowing. They would not. Pain filled sobs cried out of Edmund as he pressed his head to Peter's chest. He squeezed the cold clammy hand of his brother and so much more, as he stained Peter's jacket with his tears. He could not remember how long he cried, but it was not long enough. Yet when he heard a gentle knock to remind him that he needed to hurry, Edmund quickly calmed himself.
"Peter, I'm so sorry." sobbed Edmund as he ran his fingers along Peter's cold skin, "I just want you to know that I will never love another. I will only ever love you. This world was not meant for someone as magnificent as you. I can only hope that somehow … your magnificence will not end here. I can only hope that someday, if even in my dreams, I will see you again. I am so sorry for the way I treated you, Peter. You are brave, so very brave. I am so proud of you, my king, my love. Goodnight, Peter. May lions watch over you and angels keep you."
Edmund closed his eyes as he leaned over and gave Peter one last kiss on the temple, from a subject to his king, from a brother to a brother. He then placed one achingly painful kiss on Peter's lips, from one lover to another, from one soul mate to the other.
At Peter's funeral, Edmund gave a eulogy that was fit for a king. Yet he left out details of great battles against witches and boggles, giants and dwarfs. He left out a lifetime of love, a golden age, and the saving of an empire for a prince named Caspian. He spoke of Peter as he would a brother, but dared himself to hint at more.
"And so today we say farewell to someone who was far beyond his years. Someone who was brave and loyal, compassionate and faithful. Someone who was always magnificent. Peter Pevensie was not only my brother, he was …" Edmund began to say before he found himself choking up, "He was … my equal and my opposite, my better half. He was my guiding light and without him, I fear I will be forever lost in the dark. We are all proud of you. You were wrong when you said I was braver than you, for no one is braver than you. We will never forget you. We will always love you. I will always love you, my magnificent Peter. Goodbye."
And so Peter's coffin was lowered into the ground and his life consigned to memory. Edmund, Susan, and Lucy were the last to leave Peter's service. They grieved for a king on their own, before Susan led Lucy home when the cold rain showered down on them. Edmund cared nothing for the rain. They were the tears of his soul. Tears for his Peter.
All he had now were memories. As he stood looking down at the mound of dirt that was Peter's grave, he smiled. This world had not been kind to them, yet still Peter had fought and died for it. He was grateful at least, that for one night, Peter was his in this world, as he had been in Narnia. For though Peter would never be with him again, he would always have the memory of love to keep him warm in the cold years ahead without his love. He would never forget the sacrifices that Peter had made, not only in this life, but in the last. Peter was brave, just as so many others were. Peter was not a coward. Peter was, and always would be, nothing less than magnificent. Edmund would never forget that.
"Lest we forget, Peter." said a pained Edmund, "Lest we forget."