Disclaimer: Chronicles of Narnia belongs to C.S. Lewis, Disney, and Walden Media, not me.
My fingers trembled as I lifted his head onto my knee. He was gasping for breath. His skin felt cold and clammy, his freckles dark against his white skin. I fumbled to unlatch the straps of his helmet. The helmet fell away, clinking to the ground. I smoothed his dark hair gently. Little troublemaker, I thought, my little troublemaker.
His breaths were more desperate now, more shallow. Edmund's scrawny chest heaved, pulsing more blood from his wound. "Hush," I murmured, pressing my hand against his cheek. His dark eyes stared upwards, the sky filtered through his long thick eyelashes. "Hush now, it'll be all right."
Peter and Lucy hovered over Edmund. Lucy pulled out the bottle of cordial, the brilliant red contents glittering in the sun. I tipped Edmund's mouth open. His breaths were reduced to frightened intermittent gasps. Lucy held the bottle over his mouth, letting two beautiful drops fall onto his tongue. Edmund's lips closed. His eyes shut. His breathing silenced.
I thought he was gone.
We all did. He was so pale and still.
I couldn't lose him. I couldn't let him go. Mum told me to take care of him, and I promised her I would.
And then his eyes opened.
Edmund looked up at us, smiling slightly. Lucy gave a little yelp and hugged him. He tried to sit up; I placed my hands on his back, bracing him. Peter grinned at Edmund, his blue eyes wet about the corners.
"Why can't you do as you're told?" he said, smiling.
He grabbed Edmund into a tight embrace. I hugged him too, feeling the slightness of his frame. The four of us sat there, tumbled together in a heap.
Lucy was the first to let go. She held up the crystalline bottle, smiling, and got up. "There are others that need this too," she said.
Peter raked his fingers through Edmund's tangled hair. "We'd better take care of you," he said.
"I'm fine," Edmund said weakly. He tried to stand up, but his knees wobbled. I caught him around the waist, his chain mail clinking. My little brother, in chain mail.
"I should go with Lucy, tend to my troops," Peter said. "Susan, take care of him."
"I will," I promised. Peter squeezed my shoulder and clanked away.
"Come on," I said to Edmund. "Lean on me." He obeyed, his head resting against my shoulder as I supported him. He limped awkwardly, his armor shifting uncomfortably.
It was a long way back to the tent. The cries of the wounded echoed around us, and the foul stench of the Witch's troops was almost more than I could bear. Edmund's breathing started to become heavy with exertion. Lucy's cordial may have staved off the worst of his injuries, but he was exhausted. His footsteps became slower as we made our way up the hill, but we made it at long last.
Edmund collapsed on his bed. "Poor thing," I murmured.
"I've never been this tired," he mumbled.
I lifted his legs up to rest on the bed. "Let's get your armor off, hm?" I said. The metal was slick with sweat and blood. I tried to be gentle as I pried his clothes and mail away, but he whimpered in pain. The wound in his side had healed most of the way, thanks to Lucy's cordial, but there was still a small gash trickling blood.
"That hurts," Edmund whimpered.
"I need to bandage that," I said. "Stay here."
"Not like I can anywhere," he said through his teeth. I patted his cheek, then got up to leave the tent.
"Excuse me," I called, catching the attention of a pretty centaur girl. She paused, a forehoof poised in the air.
"What is it, Queen Susan?" she asked.
"My brother is hurt," I explained. "I need water and some bandages, please."
She bowed. "Right away, your majesty," she said.
I went back into the tent. Edmund was lying in bed quietly. His armor made a huge shining heap next to him. "I sent someone for some bandages," I said. "I'll get you cleaned up."
He caught my wrist. "Stay with me," he pleaded. "Please?"
I sat down on the edge of his bed, his hand still in mine. "You seem thinner," I commented.
"I haven't eaten much," he confessed. "Not since the Witch-" He bit his lip.
"Oh, oh, don't do that," I scolded gently. His split lip cracked, dripping blood on his chin. Edmund winced as I dabbed at it lightly. "Did the Witch do that to you?" He nodded slightly.
"I brought the water and bandages you asked for, Queen Susan." I took the basin and cloths from the centauress and thanked her. She bowed slightly to me before cantering away.
"This will most likely sting," I warned him as I set the basin on the table next to the bed.
"I'm ready," he said.
I dipped a cloth in water and touched against the edge of the wound. He hissed through his teeth, gripping the cushion. "I told you," I said softly. "It'll be all right, dear. It's all right." I continued to talk quietly as I cleaned up the blood from his gash. When it was as clean as I could get it, I wrapped the bandages around his torso. Edmund was very thin, it didn't take much of the bandage to cover of him. "Is that better?"
"Much," he said, trying to smile at me.
I picked up a clean tunic. "Let's get this on you," I said. "Lift up your arms." I managed to pull the tunic over him without causing him too much pain. He sank back into the cushions of his bed.
"I'm tired," he murmured.
"You ought to be," I said, stroking his hair. He felt warm, and his cheeks were flushed. I dipped another cloth in the water and laid it over his forehead. "Go to sleep, Edmund."
"Don't go," he pleaded again.
"All right, I'm not going anywhere," I told him. "You really do need to go to sleep."
"I don't want the nightmares," he said. He stared up at me from under his thick dark eyelashes.
"You have nightmares?" I asked.
He nodded. "They get all confused. I see Dad, and the White Witch, and that awful dwarf."
I leaned over and kissed his forehead. "Don't worry," I whispered. "I'll stay right here the whole time."
His dark eyes seemed childlike. "Promise?"
"I promise," I said. "Do as you're told and go to sleep, pet."
Edmund drooped into sleep almost immediately. And I did as I promised. I stayed with him.
He has always been our family troublemaker. Out of the four of us, Mum had the most difficulty with his birth. And he always instigated things- searching for Christmas presents in the closets, snitching cookies, hiding Lucy's toys. But he was never a bad child, just mischievous.
It wasn't until Dad left for the war that he became the way he is. Edmund was especially close to him. He took it the hardest when Dad went away. He ran to the bedroom that he and Peter shared and refused to come out. When Peter finally went into the room to go to bed, he found that Edmund had cried himself to sleep in the closet.
Mum told us to be gentle with Edmund, that he just missed Dad, but he could be so mean, especially to Lucy. It was hard to be kind to Edmund. It was easier just to let him be.
I think we might have been wrong about that.
Edmund turned restlessly in his sleep. The damp cloth on his forehead slipped off onto the pillow. I touched it to his face again; he felt hot. He whimpered when I touched him.
The tent flap billowed back. "How is he?" Peter asked.
"Sleeping, but he doesn't feel well," I said.
Peter clinked over to the bed. "He doesn't look well," he said.
I looked up. "Where's Lucy?"
"With Mr. Tumnus," he said. "They're tending to the wounded with her cordial." Peter took off his gauntlets and sat down on the edge of the bed, watching Edmund's face. I studied the two of them. They look nothing alike- fair-headed Peter with his golden hair and blue eyes, and Edmund's dark hair and dark eyes. But as I watched the gentleness in Peter's eyes, it reminds me that there is more to our family than what we look like.
"Dad, look out, it's the Witch," Edmund mumbled, tossing his arm.
Peter looked at me quizzically. "Nightmares," I explained.
"She'll turn your plane to stone," our sleeping brother continued, screwing his face up like a baby's.
Peter put his hand on Edmund's shoulder and shook him lightly. "Wake up, Ed," he said. "Come on, wake up."
Dark lashes opened drowsily. "The White Witch was flying," Edmund murmured. "She chased Dad's plane down and turned it into stone."
"It was just a dream, Ed," Peter said.
Edmund's hands were shaking. "The plane broke," he said. "It broke into a million pieces."
"It was just a dream, you don't have to be so frightened," Peter smiled.
"My side hurts," Edmund said. His lower lip trembled. "My side hurts, and my head hurts, and I want Mum."
I looked anxiously at Peter. He raised an eyebrow at me, nodding towards our little brother. "I know I'm not Mum, but…" I lifted Edmund into my lap, letting his dark head rest against my shoulder. He let out a small sob; his thin fingers wrapped around the fabric of my sleeve.
"It'll be all right, Edmund," Peter said. He patted Edmund's back. "You're just worn out. Aslan's setting everything to rights. You'll see." He kissed the top of Edmund's head, squeezed my shoulder, and left.
I stayed with Edmund. He clung to me, limp and drowsy. "You know," I whispered. "You may be a little troublemaker, but-"
"What?" he murmured sleepily.
I kissed his cheek. "You're our troublemaker."
Somewhat of a companion piece to "Troublemaker."
It's interesting writing from Susan's point of view. She's such an interesting character when you remember how the series ends. Speaking of which…I have a story about that coming up. Anyone interested?
And thanks to the reviewer (I forgot your name, I am so sorry!) who pointed out that I had misspelled "our" as "out" in the last sentence. You totally saved me.