Title: Christmas Whisperings
Disclaimer: I do not own the Chronicles of Narnia.
Note: I guess it's my turn to post my Narnia Christmas story. I tried to make it sort of a companion piece to "Easter Whisperings", which was from Mrs. Pevensie's point of view. This one is Mr. Pevensie's. It actually started out as a one-shot, but then I wrote an introduction that turned into another one-shot. So, it's a two-shot. =D I also had to deal with the fact that in "Easter Whisperings", Susan is already disbelieving in Narnia before the war ended, so I had to figure out how to fit her in here. Hope it worked.
Jonathon Pevensie, newly arrived home from the war, felt something of a disconnect with his return. After five years of war, of death and blood and fire, he now found himself back in his home, with his wife and four children, about to celebrate Christmas with loved ones once again.
Only, so much was different now. He expected the landscape of England to have changed; how could it not after years of bombing? He expected his wife to be greyer, his children to be older. Still, he had not expected his children to be so much older. Peter was now tall and broad-shouldered, and would soon be heading to university; but he was not a young man, finding his way in the world, as would be expected; he was an adult, confident in his actions and holding himself with a stateliness few of even older generations possessed. Edmund, loud, boisterous Edmund, was now quiet and held a dignified air that seemed out of place in the fourteen-year old. Mr. Pevensie could barely bring himself to look in his son's dark, old eyes that held too much wisdom. And little Lucy, once so fragile and small, now burst with such joy that, at first, Mr. Pevensie would find himself staring in awe at his little girl who was no longer a child.
Of his children, only Susan seemed her age. She giggled with her friends, and went to parties, and experimented with what makeup she could afford. Only, in brief moments of clarity, Mr. Pevensie could not help but think that this was a mask, that Susan was hiding the same otherness of her siblings. His wife, Helen, agreed, telling him how all four children had returned from the evacuation with the noble air that three now held. Susan had drifted from her siblings, had lost the nobility, but Mr. Pevensie rather thought that it was only biding its time before it emerged again.
All in all, his children left Mr. Pevensie at a loss as to how to act in his own home. Peter, Edmund, and Lucy seemed to need only each other. Susan wanted so badly to be grown-up that she removed herself from the others as much as she could. Only now, on Christmas Eve, did she deign to join her family. Almost idly, Mr. Pevensie wished that Susan would join them with more than just her physical presence, that she might let the mask drop at least for one night. He did not think it likely.
Still, as they sat in the candle-lit church, listening to the choir sing, Mr. Pevensie felt much of his distress and confusion melt away. He listened to the music, felt it flow over him like a gentle river, freeing his heart as it had not been for many years. Beside him sat Peter and, as Mr. Pevensie looked at his son, he saw that Peter's face was one of enrapture as the young man closed his eyes and hummed along with the choir.
On Peter's other side, Edmund leaned close to his brother's side, one hand clutching the wooden cross he always wore around his neck. Mrs. Pevensie could only tell her husband that, after one Easter holiday, Peter had carved the cross for his little brother, with "For Us a Son is Given" engraved in tiny letters along the sides. As far as Mr. Pevensie could tell, Edmund never took it off.
Susan sat next to Edmund, her hands held primly in her lap. Mr. Pevensie could not help but sigh, seeing that she clearly did not want to be in the church. Her eyes were shadowed as she stared at the floor, and Mr. Pevensie felt his heart ache at the hopeless look on her face. Lord, please, help her see Your light this Christmas.
Helen Pevensie sat next to her eldest daughter, bookending the family. Mr. Pevensie still thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world, despite the grey beginning to pepper her hair, and the lines that now graced her face that had not been there five years before. If there was one thing that had kept Mr. Pevensie alive and sane through the agony of war, it was the hope that he would be able to spend at least one more Christmas with his wife.
Lucy did not sit with her family. Instead, she stood, dressed in a snow-white robe, with the choir in the front of the church. Mr. Pevensie watched with a proud smile as she stood to sing one of the last carols of the evening. What child is this, who lay to rest, on Mary's lap is sleeping… The voices of the choir rose to the heavens through the first verse, waning as Lucy stepped forward to sing the second part on her own:
Why lies He in such mean estate, where ox and lamb are feeding?
Good Christian, fear, for sinners here, the silent world is pleading.
Mr. Pevensie listened with awe as his daughter's sweet voice floated through the church. He felt his other children straighten beside him, saw even Susan's eyes lock onto their sister. Lucy smiled back as she sang, as if singing for them and them alone. Her voice rose and Mr. Pevensie nearly gasped as he heard such heart-breaking feeling flow in her words
Nails, spear shall pierce him through, the cross He bore for me for you,
Hail, Hail, the Word made flesh, the babe the son of Mary.
Lucy stepped back as the choir continued with the third verse, but Mr. Pevensie no longer listened. Instead he looked at his children, wondering at the effect this song had on them. Peter smiled, proud of the flawless singing of his sister. Edmund's face was more clouded, sad eyes drifting over to Susan.
It was in Susan that Mr. Pevensie saw the greatest reaction. A tear slid down her cheek, and her hand almost absently stroked the fur coat that lay across her lap. He watched as Edmund, fingers shaking in hesitancy, gently clasped Susan's other hand in his own. Mr. Pevensie looked on in delight as Susan squeezed her brother's hand and gave him a shaky smile. Peter noticed and laid his arm around Edmund's shoulders, and his siblings moved their clasped hands so that Peter's hand could cover theirs. All three turned their faces to the choir, where Lucy beamed back at them. For a moment, Mr. Pevensie felt the connection between all four of his children, as tangible as the hands that three held together.
And, though the moment ended as Susan released her brothers' hands and the choir concluded the service with Silent Night, Mr. Pevensie thought that the beauty of that sight would stay with him forever.
"What Child is This" is my favorite Christmas song. The verse I have Lucy sing always gives me chills.