Tumnus sighed as he re-read the letter for the umpteenth time.
"My dear Mr. Tumnus:
I am so very excited to see you again. We really must get together for tea more often. The life of a Queen is much busier than I expected it to be, but a Queen should be able to make time for her friends if she wants to! I am glad to hear that you have been able to settle yourself back into your little home. I was very sorry when I saw what those wretched wolves of hers had done to it, and am looking forward to seeing the inviting little place I know and love. It will be just like it used to be, when I first met you! Which reminds me: will you please play your flute for me when we meet? I do so enjoy the Narnian music, and can think of no better person to hear it from than my first Narnian friend. Oh, I do hope you will!
I shall be along in a few days. Until then, I remain
As happy as he was to see Lucy again, his heart was still a bit heavy from her request. It seemed so simple: all she had asked of him was to play his little flute. But it was so much more complicated than that. The last time he had played for Lucy, he was in the service of… of her. The White Witch. He had lulled Lucy to sleep, and very nearly handed her over. It seemed odd to him that she would ask him to play again. In a way, it felt very much like a test of some sort. As if Lucy was seeing whether he could restrain himself this time. He knew Lucy was not the sort to do something like that, but he still couldn't help feeling that way. His last memory of Lucy and his flute was not the best.
In fact, it seemed there weren't all that many wonderful memories that involved his flute. He walked over to the mantel, where it was resting. Picking it up, he reflected back on his younger days. His flute had been with him for nearly as long as he could remember. He was a faun, after all, and music and dancing was in his blood. But it had always been for his parents' sake. They wanted him to love music as they did, to learn the flute and play it well, to be a good faun and sing and dance and play. And he had, to an extent. But it was to please them. It had never been about him. He had never felt quite the same joy for music as they had.
Nor as Lucy did, it now seemed.
Tumnus was so lost in thought that he nearly didn't notice the knock at the door. Pulling himself back to the real world, he put the flute back on the mantel and went to greet the Queen Lucy.
Lucy gave her friend a winning smile. "Oh, Mr. Tumnus, that was lovely! Just as wonderful as it was when we first became friends!"
He returned the smile. "Well, I do try to do my best."
She clapped her hands as she said, "Now will you play for me? I've been looking forward to it ever so much! Oh, please do, Mr. Tumnus!"
Tumnus's smile faded at the question. How could he refuse? She was his Queen, and more importantly, his friend. He slowly took his flute, put it to his lips, and played.
Lucy seemed completely focused on the slow, somber melody he was now playing. With every note, though, his mind went back to that night. Her expression was very nearly the same as it had been when he played not for Lucy's sake, but for the Witch's. His vision of her blurred as the tears came to his eyes at the thought. Slowly, he pulled his instrument away and sat back down, once again reduced to sobs in front of such a good friend. "I'm sorry. I can't. I just can't."
Almost immediately he felt a hand on his shoulder, and turned to find a handkerchief being offered him. He looked at Lucy's face, which wore an expression of genuine compassion. "Why Mr. Tumnus! Whatever is the matter? That was lovely!"
Tumnus shook his head. "I can't, I can't, I can't. There are too many bad memories. The last time I played for you…" He couldn't finish the sentence.
He saw Lucy's mouth form a silent "Oh" as he trailed off. She was silent for a few moments, letting Tumnus collect himself somewhat as she kept a reassuring hand on his shoulder. When she spoke, though, Tumnus was caught somewhat by surprise.
"Mr. Tumnus, why do you play?"
Through his tears, Tumnus couldn't help but look a little confused. "Why? I suppose I never really thought about that much… I started because my parents wanted me to. And… and it was what I could… what I could offer… offer her…"
Lucy nodded, letting Tumnus talk. As his voice trailed off, she said simply, "So you've played for the sake of other people, whether it was your parents, or hers, or perhaps mine, right?"
Tumnus only nodded.
"Then perhaps you should try playing for someone a bit more important than all of us. Play for Aslan. Play for the only one really worth playing for."
If Tumnus was confused before, he was completely bewildered now. "Play for Aslan? I could never do that. Not after everything I've done…"
Lucy shook her head as she took his hand. "Tumnus, music can sometimes say so much more than words can. It's why I like it so much. I know that you're sorry for what you've done. So tell him. Take that flute of yours, and play, and while you play, tell him you're sorry. Tell him you ask to be forgiven." She took the flute resting on the table, and placed it into his hand.
For a while Tumnus could only stare at the little instrument in his hand. Then he turned back to Lucy. She offered him a gentle smile, then nodded towards the hand holding the flute. He sighed as he slowly lifted his flute to his lips.
At first, it was just as single, prolonged note. He closed his eyes, attempting to drive all thoughts out of his mind except for the Lion as he played. Slowly, but surely, the tune began to pick up. With each note, Tumnus felt himself sinking further and further into his music. As he focused on the reason for his playing, his instrument seemed to take on a mind of its own. His song become faster, more complicated, and Tumnus felt something within him he had never felt before when playing.
When he played for his parents, he had felt a desire to please them, a hope that it would satisfy them. When it was for the Witch, it was almost fear that he felt. But this…this was completely different. As he played, letting his music go where it wanted, letting it say everything on his heart and mind, he felt something…something beyond himself. Almost like a presence. And through his playing, he somehow felt like a weight he had carried for so long was evaporating away.
His playing continued for several minutes, though Tumnus lost all sense of time as he played. As his final note melted away, he opened his eyes to a beaming Lucy. He smiled, and opened his mouth to speak, but Lucy help up her hand.
"There is no need for words, Mr. Tumnus. Your music has said it all."
A/N: Well, chalk this up under "Why didn't I think of this sooner." Music is a very large part of my life, and nothing gives me a thrill like playing for Him. I though Tumnus could do with feeling that same thrill, and I hope I did it justice. It's a feeling that's hard to put into words, so I hope that I pulled it off. I also have to admit that I think there were two pieces that inspired this. Elecktrum's latest chapter of Thole gave me Lucy's love for music, and it was Edmund's musical tribute in Almyra's Song of the Phoenix that reminded me of the powerful message music can bring. So thanks, both of you!