Disclaimer: I do not own the Pevensies, Narnia, or any Narnian characters. They are property of C.S. Lewis.
Edmund sat on his bed with a stack of blank papers and a pen in hand. He knew what he wanted to do, but he wasn't sure he could bring himself to do it. He picked up one of the papers and turned it over and over in his hand, considering it. That one piece of paper had so much potential. He could put anything he wanted on it. He could write his life's story.
This, as a matter of fact, was what he wanted to do.
The past few days had been difficult. Ever since his parents and Lucy had come home and discovered him and Peter on the floor of the bathroom, with the mirror broken, they had wanted an explanation. Peter told them that Edmund had simply slipped and fallen into the mirror. Luckily they never saw the knife, hidden beneath them on the floor. Otherwise he wouldn't have been able to explain it away.
Lucy, however, knew something else had gone on, and Peter explained it to her much later, after Edmund was asleep. It was the first time he had slept peacefully in months, and this comforted both Lucy and Peter. However, both were still shaken by how close the Witch had come to succeeding, how close they had been to losing Edmund. It was fortunate that Peter had the sense to check on him.
Now Edmund was feeling much better, but relations between him and Peter had been awkward at best. Lucy was happy as ever that the curse was over and done with and things had been mostly back to normal with her. Peter, however, did not know how to deal with things, and perhaps did not know how to deal with Edmund after the fact that he had almost committed suicide. Edmund himself found it hard to believe, looking back.
It was for this reason that Edmund was alone. Peter seemed to be avoiding him—avoiding everyone, in fact. Edmund and Lucy had talked about it and it seemed he was just in shock from it all. She said he would come around. It was Christmas Eve, and Edmund wasn't sure he could wait until Peter came around.
Still, the paper in his hands was demanding most of his attention, and he wanted to take advantage of the loneliness to write. He put the pen to paper and began writing. He wrote for hours, working through many pages, ignoring the ache of his hand. He kept writing, concentrating solely on the pen and getting his story across. Lucy had always been the best story teller, but Edmund was pretty good at it when it came to writing the stories down. It was past midnight when he finished, and when he did he looked up in a daze.
Peter still hadn't come into the room. Perhaps he had dropped by, seen that Edmund was awake, and left. The door was, after all, open. It had been the whole time.
Edmund shook himself and pushed the pages into an envelope addressed to Christopher. He smiled, a bit nervous, but sure that Christopher would approach the letter with open-mindedness. He had more than earned his right to learn of Narnia, and that was what was in those pages: Edmund's account of his and his siblings' adventures in Narnia. He would hand Christopher the letter in person.
Feeling satisfied, Edmund leaned back in bed and closed his eyes. He relished the silence around him, knowing that the White Witch wouldn't be talking to him this night. He took in the warmth and smiled. Before he drifted off, however, he heard a voice speak to him. This voice was welcome and made his smile grow wider. It was Aslan.
You have done well, Edmund. Happy Christmas.
"Happy Christmas," Edmund murmured.
That night his sleep was filled with the most pleasant of dreams.
The crisp, clear winter sunlight that filtered through the windows the next morning woke Edmund up. He felt excited in a way a smaller child might—it was Christmas. He slowly blinked as his eyes adjusted to the sunlight. Then he sat up and looked around, his eyes sweeping the room. They landed on Peter's bed. Peter was there.
Slowly, Edmund got out of bed and walked towards Peter. If there was a talk to be had, he wanted to have it now. Peter's breathing was even and it was clear he was still asleep. Well, not for long, Edmund thought with a slight smirk. And he abruptly pulled the covers off of his brother.
This did not go as well as planned, as Peter was lying on top of half the covers, something which Edmund had not expected, and so he fell. Peter sat up, rubbed his eyes, and looked around to find his brother lying entangled in the blankets on the floor.
"Edmund?" he said, blinking a few times.
Edmund took a few moments to disentangle himself. He then sat on the edge of Peter's bed. Peter, now fully awake, looked away and cleared his throat.
"Peter," Edmund said, looking pointedly at his brother. He had never seen Peter not look someone in the eyes, but he was doing so now, and it annoyed Edmund greatly. "Why won't you look at me?"
"You're the only one who can make me feel that way, you know," Peter said quietly, looking anywhere but Edmund. "Make me feel nervous enough so that I can't look you in the eye, I mean."
"Only now," Edmund pointed out. "Never before, Peter. Before, even when we were fighting, you could always look me in the eye. Why not now?" Peter bit his lip and remained silent. Edmund decided to continue, "These past few days you've avoided me, and I know I've done a lot of avoiding as well these past few months, but I haven't defeated the curse to have you start to do what I did."
"You defeated it," Peter said, frowning.
"Yes, we've established that," Edmund said. He didn't mean to sound sarcastic, but his patience was wearing thin. Patience had never been a strong point of his.
Peter took a moment to think and then sighed, running a hand through his already messed up hair. "I just…I don't know how to…I don't know what to do, Ed," he said quietly.
"Lucy and I figured as much," Edmund told him. "We've been talking, you know. That's one thing I've learned from you two. Talking is good. That's why I want to talk to you now, Peter. I know what I nearly did shocked you, and it shocked me too. Now I wonder how I could have done it, but the Witch's magic can do things like that to a person. Although," he looked suddenly regretful, "it wasn't completely her magic."
"That's the problem, Ed," Peter said, looking tired. "I was afraid that you actually wanted it. I didn't want to think that way of you, but I couldn't help it."
"I know what you mean," Edmund said, suddenly looking more serious than he had been. "I did want it, but that was because I hadn't actually listened to anything anyone was saying. Not you, not Lucy, not even Aslan. I just heard what the Witch said. There was a point where I really wanted to kill myself. Then, everything started to sink in, and it was just before you came in that I realized that I didn't want that, because it would only mean that the Witch had won, again. It's complicated, I know, Peter."
"I just can't get my head around the fact," Peter said, shaking his head. "You'd been so distant these past few months and so miserable and I couldn't believe it had reached a point where you would actually want to do…that. And the worst thing was that I couldn't even prevent it. What if you had gone through with it? I couldn't have stopped you."
"Well, you couldn't have," Edmund agreed, looking thoughtful. "Aslan said he had faith in me, and I suppose that's where we should find our comfort. That is where I should have found it before that point, had I only thought of it."
"What do you mean?" Peter asked, eyes wide.
"I mean," Edmund explained, "that we've always tried to have faith in Aslan in Narnia and in this world. Lucy's been the best at it. She always trusts in Him. I think Susan has lost her faith. And you and I…we try our hardest, I suppose, but as these few months have proved we sometimes don't try hard enough. I should have known that if Aslan had faith in me I should have trusted in His faith, because He wouldn't have faith for no reason. And that is what you need to realize as well." He paused, took a deep breath, and continued, "We're never going to know what could have happened, and Aslan Himself has told us that. And you'll drive yourself mad thinking about what I could have done. I would have by now if I kept thinking about it. You just need to trust that Aslan's faith was given with good reason."
Peter thought for a few moments and seemed to be struggling with something. Then he smiled weakly. "I suppose you're right, and I guess this has taught us that we all need to trust in Aslan a bit more."
"And there's no better time to have this realization than Christmas," Edmund added with a wry smile.
Peter suddenly moved forward and enveloped Edmund in a tight hug. Although he didn't usually like such things, Edmund hugged his brother just as tightly. "I needed to trust you as well, I suppose," Peter whispered. "I missed you."
Edmund smiled. "I missed you, too, Peter." They pulled apart and each smiled. Edmund stood up. "It's about time we woke up Lucy."
Peter followed him out of the room, muttering, "I'll be surprised if she's not already downstairs with the presents."
It was the first time he'd seen Susan in awhile. Edmund immediately hugged her when she entered the house, and she looked just as surprised as anyone else. Peter, however, had a knowing look on his face.
The family was settled in the living room with the Pevensie children sitting on the floor. It had been such a long time since the four had talked together. Susan looked so prim and proper sitting there and the other three were careful not to mention Narnia. Still, there was other good news to mention, and they were given the opportunity when Susan asked, "So, have things gotten better?"
Edmund gave Peter a confused look. "She knows?"
Peter shook his head. "She knows we were having a problem getting something out of you, and that you were unwell."
"She is sitting right here," Susan interrupted, looking amused, "and she still doesn't know if everything has turned out for the better. Has it?"
Edmund smiled. "It has," he said. "It was a tough process, but Peter and Lucy helped me through it. And…" he hesitated, not sure whether to mention it in front of Susan, but he couldn't deny it. He finally settled on saying, in a low voice, "Aslan did as well." Peter and Lucy nodded fervently.
Susan, for once, did not say it was a game, and she did not get angry. Even she seemed to realize that something significant had passed between her siblings and now was not the time to contradict anything. Perhaps it was also the Christmas spirit. She said, "I'm glad everything's turned out all right. I've missed you all terribly."
"You weren't the only one doing the missing," Peter said, grinning slightly. "Lucy, Ed, and I have done our fair share."
"We're really glad you're here now," Lucy added.
"Well, it's not as if I'm ever far away," Susan said, frowning slightly.
Edmund put a hand on her shoulder. "Then let's keep it that way." He looked around. "All of us. Let's stay together, no matter what befalls us."
"I say, that is a splendid idea," Peter seconded. "Let us put our hands in. We'll always be there for each other."
"And if one of us should get lost, the others will help them," Edmund added.
Lucy amended, "And let there be hugs all around." Susan laughed at this, her old laugh, and it made her other siblings smile.
Edmund put his hand on top of Peter's, and Lucy's on his, and Susan's on hers. Edmund whispered, "In Aslan's name, let it be done." A certain feeling of calmness passed over all of them. Edmund suddenly felt more joyful than he had in ages.
Lucy initiated the hug, and soon they were all enveloped in each other's arms, and they did not seem like separate people but like one, single person. Edmund knew, with sudden clarity, that even if the times should prove tough everything would be all right in the end. He trusted himself, he trusted his siblings, and he trusted Aslan.
Edmund never wanted to let go, and it seemed his siblings felt the same way. In that moment they all felt warm and happy and better than they had all felt in a long while. It wasn't Narnia, but it was very close to it. Edmund closed his eyes and drank it all in.
Yes, he thought, in the end everything will turn out as it should: perfectly.
Author's Note: So that is the end. Thanks to everyone who has reviewed! I hope you all have enjoyed the story...
On that note, I'm posting another story, which will be a series of one-shots based on part of this last chapter, with the first taking place a few months after this. It is called 'Finding the Lost' and could also be considered a prequel to 'Welcome'. If you choose to read them, I hope you enjoy them as well.
Thank you again! :)