PLEASE READ BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE: Although Peter kisses Edmund on the lips in this story, it is not incest or slash (although you may translate it that way if you wish). In Greece, where part of my family comes from, it is not at all uncommon for men of the same family to kiss on the lips. That is what I used when writing this story. Please understand, I mean no offense to anyone by including it—it was simply the best way for me to convey what they were feeling at that moment.
WARNING: This may or may not be necessary, but just in case—make sure you have some tissues handy.
Disclaimer: I own nothing in this marvelous universe; it all belongs to C.S. Lewis and Walden Media. Nor do I own the Easter hymn (Hymn 180) that is sung later on.
Author's Note: I have no idea where this fic came from, but I do know that I like it :grins:. This story turned out totally different from how I first intended it to. I had originally thought to have Peter receive a letter from a university, thus escaping a possible military draft, but well…you'll see what happened. Please enjoy!
Rating: T/M (for intense moments)
Summary: When Peter receives a military notice asking him to report for duty, Edmund's entire world is turned upside down…(Moviebased, possibly Bookbased, too)
By Sentimental Star
green is the color of change
The last year of the War brings many changes for the Pevensie family.
In mid-March, Peter receives a military notice asking him to report for duty come May, provided his schooling is finished.
Edmund isn't sure how much he likes that idea. He knows his brother's skills as a leader and a warrior are legendary in Narnia…but he also knows that England isn't Narnia. Warfare in this world is brutal and heartless—at least in Narnia you could look your enemy in the eye and acknowledge his humanity (or something so like it that there was no real difference).
He doesn't want his brother facing this type of warfare, cold and sterile and so utterly foreign to the one he does know.
As the days lengthen, the land greens and the weeks pass, March turns into April and the tension in the Pevensie household reaches unbearable levels.
The three younger siblings have taken to following on their big brother's heels wherever he goes. If Peter is annoyed by this he doesn't show it, and tolerates his worried siblings with unfailing good humor.
He isn't aware that Edmund sits up through the night, as well, fearful and sleepless, holding vigil over his only brother.
green is also the color of life
blue is the color of sorrow and fear
When it hits mid-April, and Peter begins preparations for what seems inevitable, Edmund runs.
There is a small chapel only a few blocks from his family's home. Edmund runs there, desperate for sanctuary.
Peter finds him hours later, huddled on the floor beneath the stained glass window of the Lion and the Lamb with tear streaks on his cheeks.
Edmund won't look at his older brother when Peter kneels in front of him, too embarrassed and too ashamed of his loss of control. He doesn't want his brother to think he doubts him, or holds his skills as anything less than masterful, for when all is said and done, Peter is still the High King and he is still Edmund's king.
But Peter has spent over twenty years learning his little brother's every fear and every nuance. He knows this fear, and, truthfully, is quite flattered by it, even as he hates making him worry.
When Peter's hand reaches out to gently brush back his bangs, Edmund flinches away.
"Ed, come on, talk to me."
When Peter's voice cracks, soft and pleading, Edmund says nothing and clenches his eyes shut all the tighter.
"Edmund, please…don't do this to me."
When Peter's breath falls on his cheek, it is Edmund who finally breaks.
His older brother makes a muted sound of surprise as Edmund abruptly uncurls and fists his hands in the seventeen-year-old's shirt, pushing his own body forward, into Peter's chest.
"I don't want you to leave," Edmund's voice, though small, is filled with pain. "I don't want to lose you."
Peter's face nuzzles into his neck. "Who said anything about losing me?" it is but a whisper.
Edmund's breathing hitches. "What do you mean? Peter?"
Peter presses a soft kiss to the back of his neck and pulls away. Gently gripping his younger brother's chin, he forces Edmund to meet his blue eyes. "What makes you think I am going anywhere?"
Edmund stares at his brother in disbelief. "What makes me think…Sweet Aslan, Peter! You are going to war, you could die!"
"Exactly, Ed—could. But I won't." It is stated confidently and with absolute conviction.
Edmund tries to shove himself away from Peter's chest, glaring with all the anguish of his dying soul, but his older brother will not let him. "What makes you so sodding sure, Peter?" he demands.
Before Edmund understands what is happening, Peter has him pinned to the brick wall of the chapel and their lips are crushed together.
When his older brother breaks off with a gasp seconds later his intense blue eyes drill into Edmund's. "Because I have you to come back to."
It goes unspoken that Aslan will see to it.
blue is also the color of faith
red is the color of love and blood
The last two weeks are only a little less tense, painful and wonderful as they are.
When May arrives, Peter's provisions and military gear have all been purchased, received, and packed. Now all that is left to do is say good-bye.
Edmund helps their mother with an early dinner the evening before Peter's train is due to leave, allowing his sisters their time with Peter. It will be hard enough going to bed in their shared room tonight—he doesn't want to add to it any sooner than he must.
Earlier that day, the three siblings had given their older brother gifts to take with him when he left for the battlegrounds across the English Channel. Edmund's had been a journal, on its first page a simple quote:
"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also—Matthew 6:21"
It had had Peter in tears, hugging Edmund for all he was worth. He'd not let his brother hug him for long, though, knowing that the girls were anxious to give their gifts to Peter, too.
Lucy and Susan had, in their own ways, told the older boy how much they loved him. It was very similar to how they responded to their brothers' campaigns in Narnia. Susan made them each a linen handkerchief with some little note of love and memory stitched along its borders, while Lucy made them each a small box of their favorite sweets and slipped in her own gift (often a letter or a song) to be found later.
This, however…this is different. This time it is only Peter who is leaving, and Edmund, too young in this world to fight at his brother's side, is forced to remain at home.
He hates it.
When the time comes to see Peter off at the station, Edmund refuses to say goodbye. He is angry and hurting and, most of all, he's scared. In Narnia he knew that he could take an arrow or a spear or a sword aimed for Peter—here, there is no way he can take a bullet if his brother is halfway across the world from him.
Peter understands, and does not ask him to participate in the messy farewell that their sisters and mother bestow upon him.
Edmund does, however, consent to the kiss Peter presses to his forehead when the older teenager comes to him after saying goodbye to Mum. He can't promise anything else because he knows that if he does, he will start crying.
Before he steps onto the train, Peter presses something thin and cool and smooth in his hands. The last words he leaves Edmund with are heartbreaking: "Remember me," he whispers, dropping one last kiss on the younger boy's cheek.
As he watches the train pull out of the station, Edmund bites his lips until the red blood comes. Only when the train is out of sight does he look down and slowly open his hands.
Sitting there, nestled in his palms, is the necklace with his brother's rose-gold cross on it. Next to the cross hangs a relatively small charm, on its smoothest side an engraved message:
"Love is strong as death—Song of Solomon 8:6"
That is when the tears come.
red is also the color of courage
yellow is the color of hope
It is Easter Sunday, a little less than a year later, when Peter returns.
No one in the church at first notices the young soldier who slips in through the back doors, dressed head to foot in his khaki service dress. It is only when he removes his peaked cap, revealing blond hair cropped in military style, and nods to the Usher with a quiet smile that anyone notices him at all.
The church is a small parish, and the Usher is an older woman who is familiar with the Pevensie family. She starts as she recognizes the eldest of that brood—half a foot taller, slightly broader in the shoulders, but still with the same clear eyes and kind smile that she remembers—and covers a gasp with her hand.
When he turns to her with a slightly larger smile, she blinks back tears and nods silently towards a pew about midway between altar and back door with a smile of her own.
A full grin blossoms across the young man's face as he follows her gaze. After dropping a kiss on her cheek in thanks, he swiftly makes his way towards the pew—and its occupants.
The congregation stands and starts singing as he walks along the edge of the church near the stained glass windows, and as he slips into that particular pew next to a darker, tousle-headed youth who is nearly the same height as he, the young man joins in:
"…He is risen, he is risen! Tell it out with joyful voice:
He has burst his three days' prison; let the whole wide earth rejoice:
Death is conquered, we are free, Christ has won the victory…"
Edmund is not expecting the rich tenor that comes from his left—clear and bright and warm. His own voice falters as he registers the familiar timbre and he struggles to keep it steady through the next verse, determinedly keeping his gaze focused front, lest his eyes betray his heart:
"…Come, ye sad and fearful-hearted, with glad smile and radiant brow!
Death's long shadows have departed; Jesus' woes are over now,
And the passion that he bore—sin and pain can vex no more…"
Vaguely, he is aware that somewhere midway through that verse, Lucy and Susan have stopped singing. There is a strangled laugh from his little sister on his right and a startled—though not unhappy—gasp from their older sister beyond her. Edmund keeps singing, even as he senses his companion turning a brilliant smile to the girls:
"…Come, with high and holy hymning, hail our Lord's triumphant day;
Not one darksome cloud is dimming yonder glorious morning ray,
Breaking o'er the purple east, symbol of our Easter feast…"
It is only when Mum starts happily sobbing—even as she continues singing—that his own heart gives a sudden leap, sending hope flooding through his veins. It takes every ounce of his willpower to keep singing now, and when an unspeakably warm, slightly callused hand curls around his and gives it a tight squeeze, it is all he can do to shut his eyes and stop the tears from falling:
"…He is risen, he is risen! He hath opened heaven's gate:
We are free from sin's dark prison, risen to a holier state;
And a brighter Easter beam on our longing eyes shall stream."
When they finish singing, Edmund fiercely grips Peter's hand in return, grateful beyond telling to have his brother back.
yellow is also the color of joy
They are a swirl of khaki, yellow, red, and blue outside in the church's garden, filled with the first of spring's flowers. His younger siblings barely let Peter enter before they tackle him from three sides, tumbling their older brother—laughing—backwards into the green grass.
Amidst happy tears and exclamations of relief and love from their sisters, Edmund untangles himself from the pile they have made and slips off to a more private area of the garden.
When Peter follows him a few minutes later, Edmund doesn't object; when Peter slips his arm around Edmund's waist and kisses Edmund's shoulder, his younger brother begins to cry.
"I'm home," Peter murmurs.