I apologies to everyone for getting this out so horribly late. First I had computer problems, then the computer died and was resuscitated . . . twice. A new computer was purchased but real life decided it wasn't through with me and decided to put a pipe bomb in my evalovin existence. Oh yeah, it was pretty bad. After all that, I've rewritten this chapter twice with Electrum's patience. You see, the chapter was already completed by the time I posted chapter one of this story. *snicker*
I would like to thank Electrum for her unfailing beta love. She's been there through all my whining giving only words of encouragement. Thank you E. You're a silver lining on a cloudy, cloudy, cloudy day.
Look for Electrum's article found on the web site (Narnia Fan Fiction Revolution) titled "How to
Get Readers to View Your Story"
This is set between LWW and PC
Peter had been moody and somewhat quiet all summer. He took long walks alone - I should know because I followed him - to sort his feeling out I suppose. Adjusting to our new environment hasn't been easy for Peter. He became impatient with the world around him as he tried to force himself into a square hole. His countenance is a complete contrast with the rhythm of England. I saw the deep concern in Mum's eyes when she looked his way, and noticed how she tried everything to draw him out of himself. He seemed to only retreat further. Like always, I watched his back. So when I saw the hurt his actions inadvertently caused her, I would gently step in and steer her thoughts in another direction.
Sometimes it backfired.
Once I told Mum I didn't feel well, that my throat felt scratchy, to immediately distract her from my older brother's self-inflicted woes. Regrettably Peter overheard. Before I knew it, I had an electric torch shining down my throat, Peter's hand on my forehead and was instantly tucked securely in bed choking on some devilish elixir he shoved in my mouth.
Well, there was nothing wrong with that insurmountable, overprotective nature of his. Poor Mum . . . poor me!
Tonight's dinner was complete with Peter's favorite: spaghetti. Real spaghetti, not that flabby, canned, ration stuff we've had to eat because of the war, but hot, steamy, firm noodles served with tomato sauce and herbs from Mum's garden. Hot buttered rolls and a salad brought the whole meal together as we all sat at the table watching true gratification spread from Peter's eyes to his lips. I just smiled and shook my head. No matter what mood Peter was in, he always appreciated a good meal. None of it compared to the food at Home, but today's meal saw some possibility, especially if it brought my Peter back to his old self.
I couldn't find my brother anywhere in the house after we four put the kitchen to rights for Mum. Earlier I saw Lucy, our ray of sunshine, make an attempt to boost his spirits, but not even she could pull him completely out of the doldrums. Although we never came out and said it, it unsettled the three of us to see him in this condition. He's faced so much in life, and by Aslan . . .
Maybe his despair, like a poisonous vine, has wound its way into my own thoughts because I have come to realize something: it could be many years before Aslan calls us Home. The severity of that thought was like a stinging slap across my face. Overcome, I leaned against the kitchen wall, unsure my legs would support me. A year has passed already, how much longer does He want us to wait? Merciful Aslan, what is the lesson to be learned from this isolation?
Finding the strength that eluded me moments before, I slowly moved out the back door. My chest hurt, as if a painful grip clutched my very soul. After drawing in a lungful of cool night air I became a bit more balanced and decided to take a walk near Mum's garden to clear my head. I continued to take deep breaths as I looked around. It wasn't sweet Narnian air, but it had to do.
My path was lit by the light of the full moon which prevented me from tripping over Lucy's shoes. I couldn't help but smile tenderly as I picked them up. Her running outside barefoot is a habit she'll never break; the grass was too inviting. Her ladies-in-waiting and Susan tried to no avail to convince her to keep them on her feet. Even into her twenties she would ditch the shoes when she thought no one was looking. Sometimes she would freeze in the middle of escaping them when she would find Peter frowning at her. But that was only if we were entertaining foreign guest and she forgot out of habit.
That hint of lavender in Mum's herb garden brings back wonderful memories of taking walks with Susan in our garden at Home. Looking around I see that our garden at Cair Paravel is extravagant compared to Mum's minute one. But I smile as I remember placing a few sprigs of the fragrant plant in my sister's tremendously long hair. Her eyes always lit up when I did so. It was the effect I always looked for before helping her sort out the problems that burdened her heart. I miss those walks . . . and her long hair.
"Will you forgive me, Ed?"
Startled, I peered through the branches of a weeping willow and saw Peter sitting on the ground leaning against it. I studied him, bathed in the ethereal moonlight as shadows from the leaves danced across his hurt features. Relieved, I walked towards the tree, parted the hanging branches and claimed my usual seat to the right of him. A hint of a smile crossed Peter's lips as he took Lucy's small shoes out of my hands, turning them over and seeing them with eyes of yesterday. With a sigh he leaned closer and rested his head against mine.
"For what?" I asked as we both stared out from our little hideaway.
"For being such an emotional idiot this past year."
"You mean that sunny disposition you've so graciously displayed at school? Hmm, I haven't noticed," I said deadpan. He tossed one of Lucy's shoes at me, both of us grinning. Slowly, my smile sobered as I looked past his amusement and into the depth of his tortured soul. "My lord, other than Aslan, you are my sun and my moon, my constant guiding light. How can I not forgive you? I love you."
Ever so tenderly I kissed him on his forehead, and prayed that all I could not express would sufficiently be confirmed through my actions.
Well, Peter being Peter, teary eyed pulled me into his arms and held me close, nuzzling his nose in my hair. I snuggled in, basking in pure contentment as I always have, in this very loving spot.
"I don't deserve you, Edmund," he whispered.
There was a rustle in the tree above. Neither of us said a word as we looked up in companionable silence and listened to a nightingale deliver his song. It was an impressive presentation with whistles and trills. Since our return we've grown to appreciate the animals that live amongst us, especially Lucy. On more than one occasion Peter has found a cat hidden in her room. Not that they were injured or anything, she just wanted to rescue them from some terrible fate, or from a dog who wouldn't see to reason.
"You know," said Peter just above a whisper, not to disturb the bird, "It never occurred to me that we would return to the land of 'Spare Oom', having quite forgotten about it actually. I've always assumed we'd die in Narnia during our reign, either on campaign protecting Narnia, or old age. Why is it, Ed, that there seems to be no end to troubles, but quick endings to good times?"
I couldn't help but to put my arm around my brother's waist and hold him as I silently agreed.
"Isn't it time to return Home? I feel as if I'm losing my mind, Ed. I know this is where we were born, where we are from, but I can't convince myself, no matter how hard I try, that we belong here. After we came back, I use to think about how much Narnia needed me, needed us, but really it's quite the opposite.
"I miss Him you know. I miss His sweet breath, His kisses," his voice hitched. "His loving paws as He pulls me into a hug. I miss His guiding wisdom as He lead me from battles to entertaining ambassadors. I miss losing myself in His golden mane . . . doesn't he know I need Him?" he choked.
By the time that was said, I couldn't recall who was holding whom. We were both desperately longing to surrender to the magic that would guide us back Home. The very essence of that sweet and dear land ran through our veins, the land we've saturated with our very blood over the years. Oh Aslan.
"Have you noticed the nervous twitches we've all developed?"asked Peter after he was able to compose himself.
It is quiet rare for anything to escape my knowledge, especially if it pertains to my siblings, but this time I must admit I haven't noticed thanks to Peter. He had been on my mind, filling every crevice with worry. But I'm not surprised he has noticed anything different about us. He's Peter, there is no other explanation.
"Your dreams of her have increased, and you can't say it's because of my attitude lately." He said that last part quickly as he knowingly intercepted my protest. Peter gently placed his hand over mine and whispered, "And you've taken to rubbing your fingers over this scar she's responsible for," catching me in the very act.
Intertwining our fingers, he continued. "Lucy worries her bottom lip more so and Susan fingers her missing signet ring. Me . . . my jaw hurts because I clench my teeth. I didn't realize it until recently, when the pain started. And all of us, even little Lu has withdrawn some, not from each other, but from society as a whole. Even from Mum. I dare say . . . she feel the strain too." By the Mane, he's right.
The raw emotion held in my brother's voice finally gave way. It's been a year. It was overdue. My arms tightened around him as he has held me for many years, allowing him time to emotionally cleanse deep within himself. I can't solve his woes, but I can hold my brother, my king.
My Dearest Henry,
I hope this letter finds you well my darling. I miss you. I miss waking up to your smile, the spicy scent of your aftershave, and watching you play with the children after you've come home from work or dinner. I miss watching your eyes roll back in bliss following that first bite of your favorite dessert, which I'd spend half the day preparing. I haven't made it since. I'm so lonely without you Henry, so cold every night, even in summer. Your scent is fading away from your robe which I wrap myself in, and I'm scared. Do be careful, my love, come back to me. My heart and my arms ache to hold and shower you with all that is within me.
My love, I'm frightened. I'm frightened for our children. I wrote before how the they have changed since their return from the country, but I didn't tell you how much because I wasn't sure myself. I can't quiet put my finger on it, but their demeanor has changed, all of them. Since their return they have been the embodiments of perfection. I know that of itself isn't something to be concerned about, but considering their state of mind when they left . . . I don't know, maybe that Professor taught them certain characteristics during their stay with him. But that's not what frightens me.
There is a lack of need to be looked after. They are no longer close to me or anyone for that matter, other than themselves. When I look at them, they seem . . . old. Not just older, but undeniable wisdom that is only gained with long life, even our darling Lucy. I sent them away frightened and unsure, but they've returned confident and somehow wise beyond their years. All four are dedicated and devoted to each other beyond the norm, even Edmund. It is in him that I've noticed . . . the biggest change. I ask myself, what happened in the country that transformed them? Did I make a mistake by sending them away? They haven't done anything wrong per se, but . . . I know I'm not making much sense. You'll have to see them for yourself when you return.
I catch bits and pieces of their conversations and the one subject I hear most often is their desire to go home. It is a deep desire. I can see it in their faces. But they have only one home and that's here. Perhaps they mean the country! Surely they haven't grown attached to that place in such a short time. What am I to think, Henry, when I hear them express such longing? And each of them have developed a hint of an accent that is quite odd along with sayings such as, "by the Lion or Lion's mane."
They mention the name Aslan quite often. I'm assuming he's the professor's son, an older boy that made an impression that has brought out these little oddities. Once you're home I would like to have a chance to meet the professor and this Aslan the children speak so highly of.
Once I heard Lucy refer to Susan's crown and how she once accompanied Edmund to settle some dispute between people I've never heard of. Before leaving for the country she had such a vivid imagination, so I didn't give her stories a second thought. She mentioned one other time of her disappointment at Peter's refusal to commission her, her very own sword when she was nine. But what caught my attention was Peter's nonchalant answer that she wasn't yet trained for one. He didn't sound as if he was participating in a game to placate her. The whole thing is very odd.
You would be so proud of Peter, Henry. He watches and cares for his siblings just as you asked. It's evident that he has taken this task to heart. I've never seen a brother so tender and loving. Then again I find it a bit strange to see . . . how serious he's taken . . . on this responsibility. He not only loves the children, but have shown himself as a grand authority in their lives and they obediently concur, if that makes any sense.
Lately he seems withdrawn. It could be his age, but because he is our first there isn't much I can make reference to. Perhaps it is something teenage boys go through? But even in this uncharacteristic mind set, he's there offering the children something before they realize they need it. Is that not the strangest thing? But what an example of his love. I laugh with the memory of Edmund not being able to sit because he received a spanking from Peter. It was evident he had enough of little Eddy's shenanigans, but finding him in tears as he comforted his chastised brother showed just how big his heart is.
Henry, I fear this letter is longer than I intended, and I hope I haven't burdened you with my anxieties, or shall I say overprotective ways. I believe Peter has inherited that gift from me concerning all three of the children, much to their dismay.
My Love, take care of yourself. May the Lord protect you during this war and bring you back to us safe and sound.
I love you,
Moonlight shadows danced about on my ceiling, reminding me of warm midnight gatherings with the Fauns and Dryads in the beautiful lush forest near the palace. Susan, hiking up her skirts trying her best to keep up with Lucy and the complicated dance around the fire, while Peter and I were doubled over with tears streaming down our faces with laughter in our hearts and cool refreshing wine in our goblets. My smile slipped as the fond memories were interrupted by the sounds of faint crying from another room. It was Lucy! I looked at Peter's empty bed as I was used to doing. He must have . . . fallen asleep reading downstairs again. Quickly and quietly I rolled out of bed, but when I reached for the knob I could hear Peter tell Mum, "Don't worry about it, Mum. I'll take care of it." As I peeked around my door frame I could see Peter walking into Lucy's room with concern clearly written across his face. Poor Mum, things have not been easy for her since our return from Narnia. If she and Peter stepped into the room at the same time, Lucy would run to Peter without hesitation. And I feel Mum knows this. I could see she was reluctant and hurt as she turned to go back into her own room. Once entered she quietly closed her door, but not before I saw a single tear fall. My suspicions were correct, she knew. What are we to do? She's our mother.
On tip toe, I quietly made my way down the hall and peeked into Lucy's room. A soft scent greeted me through the open crack of the door. What is it about girls, they just naturally possess a lovely scent without much effort. It was a fleeting thought as I heard the springs of Lucy's bed protest under Peter's weight. Especially after he easily pulled her onto his lap. The tender act -which we haven't seen in months- caused her to cry all the harder as she curled into him. I saw him swallow down the panic I could see in his eyes as he lovingly stroked her hair, placing a devoted kiss on top of her head. As long as I can remember, Peter always comforted us with the intimacy of a kiss. It's his own touch of magic I suppose. Just watching that loving display calmed my own panicked heart.
Not quite looking at him and crying out her concerns, Lucy questioned if she in any way was the cause of his foul mood. That's Lu, so tender-hearted. Of course she would burden herself with such a thought. Although Peter has been an idiot lately, I was happy to hear that she never once questioned his love for her. That was always a given and almost, if not nearly, a sin to give it any consideration.
Having firsthand knowledge of bringing any kind of pain to Lucy was grievous for my brother. The hurt on his face made my soul ache. He held her protectively as he reassured her that she had nothing to do with his ill temper and squeezed her closer while resting his head on top of hers.
A minute smile crossed my lips, relieved to see my brother and my High King this summer. I've missed him.
Since our conversation underneath the willow tree, I've seen less and less of the distressed High King and more of my mentor, my best friend, my hero.
It would have been foolish however to become completely oblivious to the possibility of a returning storm. I knew the immense weight of his absent crown would begin gnawing at him again, reminding him of our kingdom without its royals. I braced myself.
We all have missed our subjects, our cousins, and have missed living in harmony amongst them. That's something we'll never see here in England no matter how hard we try. One day we'll go back and I'm going to hug everyone I see, even Oreius if he lets me. I'll keep trying until he does. I wonder if we'll return as adults or our accursed forms as children. I'd rather not grow up again, but to be the man I once was. I was tall, strong, not as strong as Peter of course, but strong from years of wielding my swords and using them to bring peace in battle.
There is a factor we would have to consider and that's time. I hope we haven't been away too long -- Narnian time that is.
I watched as Lucy allowed Peter to rock and console her. Despite her childlike appearance, she really istwenty-four years old, and she too relishes the warmth of our brother's protective embrace just as I do. It expressed his heartfelt devotion and meant security and comfort.
I sat on the floor and leaned against the wall, listening to his soothing voice as he softly sang a most beloved song from Home. The next thing I saw was sunlight dancing on the ceiling above my bed. I sighed as I breathed in Peter's lingering scent, realizing I had been caught. As I turned to gather my pillow, I found I'd gathered an armful of Peter instead. He raised his head and smiled sleepily as he pulled me in closer.
"Go back to sleep, Eddy. It's not time to get up yet."
I snuggled closer in his warmth, not about to argue. Thank you, Aslan.
Why does the end of summer vacation never feel like the end of summer? School should start when it felt like the beginning of fall not the lingering leisure of summer.
These thoughts rushed through my mind as I tried to hurry to meet the train. After our talk under the willow tree, Peter has returned to us somewhat. But that only means one thing: If I'm late, he's going to kill me. "But, Pete, I heard two soldiers talking about tactical maneuvers and I lost track of time." No, that won't work. "My watch stopped." That may work.
Although Peter has shown great improvement in his attitude, he still managed to get himself into three fights this summer. The first one he was provoked by some idiot, I saw it with my own eyes. The last two involved a couple of hounds whose tongues were hanging out of their mouths slobbering after Su. I conveniently looked away while he was as discrete as possible.
I've come to the conclusion that Peter hasn't lost faith in Aslan; he's just angry with Him. Exile is the consensus of our sudden appearance here in England, and after all, Aslan never said good-bye. I've tried to share with Peter my belief that we will return home, even for that very reason. Surely Aslan wouldn't send us away permanently without a blessing and a good-bye kiss. We are his children. I've tried to tell Peter repeatedly, we all have, and I think he understands. I guess it's harder for a parent to listen to a child sometimes than for a child to listen to a parent.
"I had to find a loo quickly because I'm still not used to this small bladder." I don't know, he might see through that one. Maybe I should mention something foolish about a large woman sitting on my electric torch . . .
Hey, who's that bugger talking to Susan? He looks familiar . . . I believe I've threatened him this summer. Hmm, I'm sounding more and more like Peter. Obviously Susan is trying to avoid him, probably to protect the sodding idiot. How foolish of him to try to have another go at her. This summer has been the worst. They were coming out in droves to get acquainted with My Susan! There's Lu. Oh, good she and Susan are leaving. Why are they running? Is it really that late?
I couldn't help but smile as they ran across the road, filled with noisy automobiles and uncaring pedestrians. Even amongst all that chaos, Susan managed to look the part that has been ingrained in her for many years. One fellow even tipped his hat as she ran past.
My smile disappeared when I returned my attention to the impudent nitwit. I won't have time to confront that boy, but I believe a silent warning is in order and I'm sure it will be quite effective. Ahh, yes, he sees me. Oh yeah, he remembers me. Good! It's unfortunate I cannot wear a sword in public strapped to my belt or wield the steel blade of my knife. Aslan help us when it's Lucy's turn . . . again. I don't think I can bare it.
I guess I better get going and face Peter. I should not have lingered at that new ice-cream shop. His mood is probably foul now due to my tardiness. That stern look of his -mixed with overwhelming relief- will greet me the moment he lays eyes on me. My poor brother, he'll never let go. After living many years in Narnia I've come to understand that it's not that he won't, but he can't. Although Peter's overprotective ways can be quite annoying, I love him for it. I can speak for the girls when I say; there is comfort in it as well.
Hey, what's that noise? It seems to be coming from the platform.
Maybe I should use the classic, "Pete, it wasn't my fault!" Why am I thinking up excuses? I'm a grown man . . . well, I was grown. Adult or not, I would still have to come up with an excuse for Peter Pevensie, brother extraordinaire. What is that noise?!
It's amazing how many children are returning to school on this trip! An endless sea of young faces, a constant mockery of what was, and now is. They're everywhere and causing such a commotion from the sound of it. Oh no! I think I forgot my train ticket! Wait, that's right, Peter took it. Ha! He said I would forget it, I just remembered to check. Hmm it seems that the entire uproar is coming from…Hey, that's Pete! Three against one!
As I come to my brother's defense, I have only one thought . . . Aslan, please bring us home soon.