Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. Please do not sue me. I only use them to satisfy my aching and hungry imagination.
Author: Kathryn Merlin
Summary: After the Pevensies' coronation, Peter knows that they are all still children, and since he is the oldest child, it is his reponsibility to see the rest of them off to bed. A sibling bonding story.
Lucy, Peter saw, was the first to go.
She had been a bundle of energy from the moment the crown was placed on her head to her endless dances with the numerous Narnian friends she had made so quickly, as only she could do. After the feast ended, she was the first one out on the ballroom floor, dragging Mr. Tumnus out for what would be the first of many dances together.
Queen Lucy the Valiant valiantly tried to stay awake to the very end of the party, but by midnight her head was drooping as the age of her body heroically defeated the rebels in her mind who promised that she would make it through.
Peter kept a careful watch on her in the corner of his eye – out of all the responsibility he felt for every one his siblings, Lucy would always remain the baby who needed to protected from everything – and so he was there the moment the eight-year-old child closed her eyes with a soft murmur of denial and clung to her older sister standing next to her.
Peter and Susan shared a small smile. Being the older of the Pevensie brood, they both had much experience with the younger siblings staying up past their bed times and having to be calmly but firmly put into bed.
Slowly but determinately, Peter made his way across the room to where Susan was supporting her little sister with one hand and stroking her hair with the other. As Peter drew closer, he could see Lucy irritably moving slightly about and muttering, "Uh uh, I'm still awake, I want to stay here, I'm awake, Su, I promise…"
Peter smiled. It seemed as though no matter how different the lives of the Pevensie children were going to become, one thing would always remain the same: Lucy refusing to give in to her sleepiness if there was something exciting going on. Finally reaching the pair, he held out his arms and whispered, "Lucy, time for bed."
Lucy opened her eyes blearily to look at him. Seeing his open arms, she staggered to him and he caught her quickly, hooking one arm behind her back and the other behind her knees. Sweeping her up like he used to when she was a baby, Peter gently rocked her back and forth a few times, gratified to see that her eyelids drooped once more before her head lolled comfortably into the space between his shoulder and neck.
As Peter began to make his way out of the banquet hall, Susan made to follow them, but Peter stopped her with a shake of his head.
"Look after Edmund," he said softly.
They both turn to find their younger brother, whom they found to be still wide awake and making lively conversation with two centaurs and a Deer. Susan raised her eyebrows in question, and Peter said, "Wait. Watch. You'll see, he'll be down soon too."
"If you insist…" Susan said doubtfully.
"Trust me," replied the High King.
"I do." Leaning down to give Lucy a small kiss on the forehead, which the younger girl gave no reaction to, Susan looked Peter in the eye. "Go on, take her to bed."
Peter smiled and left, watching how Susan began to slyly drift over to where Edmund was standing, waiting to catch a glimpse of anything that gave a hint of exhaustion. Led by an attendant of the palace, a Leopard, he carried Lucy up a flight of stairs and down a long hall until the Animal stopped and stated, "This is Queen Lucy's quarters, your Majesty. And yours are these," pointing to a set of doors further down the hall.
It was hard to see inside the room. Lit by moonlight as it was, Peter could only make out a large four-poster bed with the covers already turned down as well as some shapeless furniture. Lucy was carefully deposited in the bed, shoes and crown were gently removed, and the plush covers were pulled up and tucked around her chin. She murmured grumpily and tossed a little as she unconsciously discovered her new sleeping arrangement. Peter chuckled softly at the sight before him.
"Goodnight, Lucy," he whispered, before placing a kiss on her brow, letting his lips linger there for a moment, breathing in her presence and being comforted by it. "I love you."
Heading back downstairs, Peter could still hear the remains of the party still going on and wondered how Edmund was fairing. When he reached the doorway, it was to his not-quite-surprise to find Susan and Edmund sitting on some steps together, out of the way of the food and the dancing. Edmund's head was lying in Susan's lap, and although sleep was not yet upon him, it was clear that he was fighting a losing battle.
Susan looked up as he approached. "You were right, as usual," she explained softly. "I got him to sit down with me for just a moment and this happened."
They shared another secret smile, but then Edmund, roused by the motion above him, opened his eyes. Upon seeing Peter, Edmund jumped to his feet and exclaimed, "Peter! Come on, let's get back to the party, I'm not tired at all, not at all, not at…at…" His argument was rather deflated by a huge yawn that accompanied his words, and Peter laughed, not unkindly.
"Come, my little brother," Peter murmured, taking advantage of Edmund's tired state to pull him into a strong embrace. He gently and slowly rocked him back and forth, and soon the comforting warmth of Peter's body and the gentle motions quieted the younger boy's loud protests. "Come, little brother…"
With a much greater struggle than he had with Lucy, Peter hefted Edmund into his arms, ignoring the squack of surprise that accompanied it. Despite several more loud protests to put him down, Peter carried Edmund up to his chambers, with Susan following behind them. By the time they reached the top of the stairs, Peter was slightly out of breath but Edmund was silent, having cupped his arms around Peter's neck and snuggling onto his shoulder, much like Lucy had done.
"I'm going to check on Lucy," whispered Susan.
Peter nodded, and pointed to which set of rooms their sleeping sister was in. "I'll go in with you," he whispered back.
Susan gave a jokingly exasperated sigh and said, "Peter, I don't need to be tucked in…"
"I'll just walk you in. That's all, I promise."
Susan mouth turned up in a small smile. "Alright. Although God only knows you are fulfilling your fussing compulsion enough tonight."
Peter sputtered indignantly and Susan chucked quietly at the sight.
"Come, brother mine," she laughed, before gently grabbing Peter's elbow, careful not to disturb the almost-sleeping Edmund, and leading him into Lucy's room.
Lucy's dark form did not seem to have moved much since Peter had first set her down. Susan went over to look more closely, and said with a smile, "She's sleeping like a baby…"
"Are you going to sleep here tonight?" Peter asked, watching as Susan pulled the bedcovers back as though in preparation to slide in.
"Yes, I don't mind. It's going to be strange not sharing a room with her anymore," she replied.
Peter looked down at the sleeping form in his arms. "I know what you mean," he said solemnly.
"Goodnight, Peter," Susan said pointedly, dragging Peter from his thoughts. She walked over and kissed him gently on the cheek, and then leaned over and did the same to Edmund.
Peter leaned over (as well as he could with a body in between them) and pressed his lips to her forehead. "I love you," he said seriously.
Susan planted another kiss on his cheek, and with a slight catch of breath, put her arms around his neck and squeezed tightly. "I love you," she murmured.
A small whine made the siblings break apart and look down to see Edmund slowly coming out of his dream state.
"I'll let you two get off to bed," Susan said with a smile, opening the door for them. "Sleep tight."
Peter continued on down the hallway with Edmund, although now his brother was stirring once more, making it harder to carry him.
"Where are you taking me?" Edmund muttered, half-asleep.
"To my rooms," Peter replied, rearranging his brother to try and get a better grip. "I don't know exactly which ones are yours, and if Lucy's bedroom is anything to go by, my bed will be big enough for both of us to share. And to be completely honest, I'm not sure that I can carry you for as long as it would take to ask."
"I'm not a baby!" Edmund said irritably, his voice getting stronger as he struggled to stay awake.
"I know you're not," Peter replied soothingly. I know that all too well. If you were a baby I could protect you with my arms, and not have to watch as you take stupid risks and stunts that could kill you, and almost did, and I couldn't live if you were dead, oh my dear brother. It is my duty to take care of you, all of you, and I won't fail you again. I promise.
"Ow You're squeezing me!" Edmund said, wiggling crossly.
Peter, who did not realize how tight he was holding his brother when he thought about losing him, loosed his grip instantly. "Sorry, Ed," he said, rocking the body in his arms back and forth in apology. Swayed gently, Edmund's voice lowered itself first to a mutter and finally to sleepy silence.
They entered Peter's quarters, and, like Lucy's, it was difficult to make out anything but the huge bed in the center. Peter walked carefully over there, and placed Edmund down before tugging off both their boots and placing crowns carefully on the nightstand. Edmund didn't move except to snuggle deeper into the covers when his brother crawled in next to him. Peter hesitated for a moment, and then leaned over and gently kissed Edmund's forehead. His brother didn't move, which Peter took to be a good sign.
"I love you," he murmured.
There was a moment of silence, and Peter began to think that Edmund had fallen asleep.
Then, "I love you too. Now let me sleep."
Peter smiled, and snuggled in next to his brother.