Author's Note: This is my first Narnia story. I didn't intend to write it, actually, but the idea was in my head, and it prevented me from writing anything else until I got it down. I realize that the content may not be your cup of tea, and if you don't like stories that contain spanking (in a strictly non-sexual way), then please stop now. I don't want to offend anyone here, so just don't read it if it's going to bother you. I'd rather get no reviews than a lot of them criticizing me for the content, which the reviewer knew was in this story before reading it.
That being said, if you're still here, I hope you enjoy the story, and I look forward to hearing what you thought about it.
A few days after the battle was over and everyone was healed and rested, Peter took it upon himself to find Edmund. There was something on his mind that needed to be addressed, and quickly. Edmund wasn't in the tent that the two of them were sharing, but it was nearly dark, and Peter knew he would be by shortly. Settling himself onto his younger brother's bed, he waited.
"Peter?" came Edmund's half-amused, half-worried voice. Peter shot up, having dozed off in the twenty minutes Edmund had been gone.
"Ed," Peter greeted, yawning. "How are you feeling?"
"Fine. Lucy's cordial is definitely magic. Where'd she get it anyway?"
"Very funny," Edmund said, pulling off his dirty shirt and exchanging it for a new one.
"No, really," Peter insisted.
Edmund glanced up at his older brother to see if he was serious. "Hmm," he muttered, accepting it. "You're on my bed, in case you hadn't noticed."
Peter patted the spot on the small cot next to him. "Yes, I noticed. Come sit with me."
Edmund shook off the wary feeling he still got whenever Peter was kind to him. Lingering feelings of bitterness and resentment for his older brother still haunted him, though he knew that Narnia had changed Peter as much as it had changed Edmund himself. Consciously locking the past away in his mind, Edmund put on a light smile and sat down next to the person who was fast becoming his best friend again. "Is something wrong?" he asked.
"No…I'm just…concerned, about something."
Peter turned on the bed with his back against the tent wall so that he could face his brother. "Ed, please don't misunderstand me when I tell you this—I'm not angry with you."
"During the battle, you did exactly the opposite of what I told you to do," Peter said, being careful to keep his voice clear of any traces of anger or accusations. He watched his younger brother closely, trying to detect what Edmund was feeling, but, unlike Lucy, Edmund hid his emotions very well when he wanted to.
"She was going to kill you," Edmund protested softly. "I had to."
"I know. I appreciate it. But…I have to know that you will never do that again."
"No, not necessarily. I need to know that you'll follow my orders when we're in battle. This was not the last fight we'll have to have, and I must be able to concentrate on the task at hand, not whether or not my brother has decided to be heroic and is risking his own life. Can you understand that?"
Edmund was staring at the blanket on the bed, and avoided the question. "Peter…" he began, "I won't ever be able to watch someone attack you and not try to stop them."
"If it comes to you leaving your post and thus endangering Narnians just to come to my rescue, Edmund, then I could never forgive myself if you chose me."
"Don't be a hypocrite, Peter," Edmund said. "Would you not do the same for me?"
Peter sighed. "That's not the point."
"Then what is?"
"That…that you have to learn to trust me to know how to strategize well enough that everyone will be placed in a position that will pose the least amount of danger to all Narnians involved—including myself. If I can't know that you respect my battle plan enough to trust me, then I may as well have not made one at all for all the worrying I'll be doing that you'll break ranks whenever someone comes at me." Peter's voice had grown stern without him realizing, and he now made an effort to soften it. "Every battle won't be Beruna, Ed. We'll train, probably every day, with the best warriors in Narnia, and we'll learn how to fight better, how to strategize, and how to detect that someone is behind us during a battle. How to trust each other. Alright?"
Edmund glanced up and nodded. "Okay."
Before long, both boys were indeed engaged in battle training for a portion of every day. They learned everything Peter had expected them too along with things they could never have imagined. Oreius was usually the one to teach them, but, occasionally, when he was called out to tend to something more important, someone else would take over the boys' lessons, and one of these substitutes was a general named Thyme. Thyme was a fair man, but was disliked by the young kings. The general didn't think them fit to rule, and never hesitated to let them know this. Despite his prejudice against their age, Thyme made sure that they were well prepared for war, and made clear to Edmund that Peter was completely right when he expected his younger brother to obey his orders during a battle, and that there would be consequences if he didn't. Edmund wasn't entirely sure what General Thyme meant by 'consequences', but he didn't want to find out.
However, there was one battle where young Edmund couldn't help but throw himself in harm's way for Peter's sake. It was during one of the many skirmishes they fought against the remaining creatures who were still loyal to the White Witch and in hiding. Mostly goblins and dwarves, the troops were unorganized and not difficult to defeat. Nevertheless, there were a few who were very skilled with a bow and arrow, and, having seen one particular dwarf climbing to a point that would give him a clear shot of Peter, Edmund abandoned the group of soldiers he was in command of and recklessly took off after the archer himself. The two brothers had been through enough already that Peter, who had all but forgotten his warnings to Edmund and trusted his brother to do as he was told, was busy with his own command and didn't notice Edmund until it was too late. Edmund had taken care of the dwarf, but had not expected anyone to follow him, and was surprised by a trio of goblins who were eager to take down the young king. Edmund held them off as best he could, but had it not been for Peter glancing up and catching sight of his brother in trouble and sending a few of his soldiers to aid him, Edmund would have gotten off with much worse than the lone cut he sustained.
The battle was soon over with a Narnian victory, leaving Edmund to face a very disappointed brother. A few short months ago, Edmund would have hid from Peter, putting off dealing with his transgression until the last possible moment, but Narnia had indeed changed the boy, prodding him to sheepishly enter his brother's quarters uninvited as soon as everyone was back at Cair Paravel.
"Come in," Peter called when Edmund knocked on his door. Peter knew that only one of his siblings would come to his room, so it didn't matter that he was sprawled in a rather un-kingly fashion across his bed.
Edmund slipped in, then closed the door behind him. Peter sat up a little to see who it was, then straightened when he saw his brother. "Edmund," he said flatly. "I'm not sure I'm quite ready to deal with you yet."
Edmund's face fell. "I can come back later," he said, and turned toward the door.
"Ed—" Peter said, stopping him. "I wasn't dismissing you. You don't have to leave."
"I'm confused," Edmund said, and Peter sighed.
"Me too. I don't know what I'm doing," Peter said, rubbing a hand over his face.
Edmund stood there awkwardly, rocking back on his heels. "I just wanted you to know that I'm sorry," he offered after a few moments.
Peter opened his mouth to reply, but was interrupted when Lucy came in. She glanced between her brothers quickly. "Is something going on?" she asked, slightly breathless. "I should have knocked, probably, but they delivered this to your room, Edmund, and you weren't there, but they said it was important, so I said you might be here, and then I ran over to bring it to you, and here it is," she blurted at a speed that was difficult for Peter and Edmund to comprehend.
Edmund smiled and took the sealed note from his sister. "That's the general's seal," Edmund muttered, frowning at the envelope and glancing at Peter. He opened the letter and scanned its contents before handing it to Peter. "Thanks Lu," Edmund said. "I have to go do something for General Thyme, but I'll come see you later so you can tell me everything that happened while we were gone."
"Okay!" she said cheerfully, and went back to the game she had been playing with Susan's ladies-in-waiting.
" 'King Edmund'," Peter read aloud, "'you are to report to me at the unused room on the south end of the servants' quarters immediately.' That's rather vague," Peter commented. "Do you know what this is about?"
"Well, Thyme said that there would be…consequences if I disobeyed an order. Maybe this has something to do with that."
Peter frowned. He hadn't completely decided yet what he was going to do with Edmund after all this, but he felt that this was his decision to make, not Thyme's. "I'm coming with you," he announced, putting the letter down.
Together, the two kings made their way to the wing of Cair Paravel that was reserved for their staff. There was one room that was always empty, though no one seemed to know why, and it was in front of that door that the brothers found themselves.
Edmund's nerves had been growing steadily as they'd walked, and he now turned to Peter. "Peter?" he whispered. "What do you think they do for punishment in Narnia?"
"I'm not sure," he answered. "But they won't do anything without my approval, alright?"
Edmund took a deep breath. "Okay," he said, and they entered the room.
Thyme was there waiting for them, along with a severe-looking centaur and a small boy who looked to be a little younger than Edmund.
"What is this?" Peter asked as soon as he took in the room.
"Edmund deserves to be punished," Thyme said in his thundering voice. "However, the law states that no hand shall be laid on royalty, no matter their age, and thus, a whipping boy has been produced."
"A whipping boy?" Peter asked, his voice rising in anger.
Edmund stared wide-eyed at the small boy who was sitting on a stool, visibly trying not to tremble. "No…" he breathed, appalled.
"Yes," Thyme answered Peter. "But we must have Edmund sign this piece of paper, signifying that he understand that this is the punishment for his transgression." A page held out a sheet of parchment for Peter to inspect.
The high king scanned it, and handed it over wordlessly to Edmund. Edmund read it before looking wildly at Peter. "This is legal?" he asked in bewilderment.
"But it's…wrong! This boy made no transgression, I did. Me! Not him. He is going to be whipped for doing nothing wrong?"
Peter regarded his brother coolly, trying to control himself. "Edmund, it seems that this is what happens in Narnia when you disobey. I don't like it any more than you do, but it is what the law states. Perhaps we should have considered the possibility of something like this, but it honestly never crossed my mind."
"Peter! This is barbaric. I deserve to be punished—this boy does not! I don't care what any of the bloody laws state." Edmund took in an angry breath and drew himself up so that he was standing completely straight. "You," he addressed the page, "write this down." With an air that demanded respect, he announced, "I, King Edmund, hereby abolish this law, and thus free this boy of any obligation to remain in this room." To punctuate his words, Edmund ripped the parchment in two and let it drop to the floor. He glared at General Thyme. "From this day onward, all Narnians, including those with crowns, will pay for their own mistakes, and no one else's." Edmund met his brother's eyes now. "Beginning with me."
Peter understood the meaning of his brother's words, and he nodded. "And I," he added in the same tone of voice that Edmund had used, "High King Peter, support my good brother's abolition of this law and will also sign my name to it." Falling in step with one another, the two kings brushed past General Thyme to sign the document that the page had transcribed.
Peter addressed the centaur who he assumed was in the room to administer Edmund's punishment to the whipping boy, "What is your name?"
"Areos, my lord," the centaur answered.
"You are relieved from this duty, Areos. I will personally see to it that you are hired to a new position within the week. You are dismissed, along with General Thyme."
"Very well, my king," Areos said, bowing deeply and leaving the room. The general, however, wasn't so quick to retreat.
"Peter," he began, but was stopped by the severe look Peter shot at him. "Forgive me, your highness," Thyme said quickly. "King Peter, I respect your decision regarding the whipping boy, but I feel obligated to point out that something must be done to address King Edmund's offense."
"You are quite right, General," Peter answered, "and I feel obligated that I must point out that it is my duty as not only King Edmund's commanding officer, but also as the High King, and, most importantly, his older brother to whom he must answer to in the absence of any other person of familial authority, to decide and carry out the consequences for this particular transgression, and all others concerning me."
"Yes, your highness," Thyme conceded, having begun to feel a bit of respect for the two young rulers. "And—Peter," Thyme added quietly, "may I just advise you that leniency isn't always best. You do this right, Edmund will remember, and you may never have to do it again." With a humble dip of his head, Thyme also left the room.
Peter ran a hand over his face before turning to the page. "Please go and ready the law for a public release," he said.
While Peter was dismissing everyone, Edmund had made his way over to the boy who seemed glued to his stool. "Are you alright?" Edmund asked softly, kneeling so that he could hear the answer.
The boy lifted his head and nodded. "Thank you," he murmured.
"What's your name?"
"Jamie," the boy said, not daring to raise his voice above a whisper.
"I'm Edmund. Can you tell me something, Jamie?"
"Anything," Jamie breathed.
"I want the truth, okay? Have you ever been called to this room before for something that one of us has done?"
Jamie shook his head. "No. This was the first time."
"So you haven't been harmed?"
Jamie shook his head again and Edmund breathed a sigh of relief.
"Well thank Aslan for that," he muttered, then glanced up at Peter, who had just finished with the page. "Do you have family, Jamie?" Edmund asked.
"Yeah," he whispered, "but they sent me here to find a job so I could bring them some money. This was the only thing I could do, though."
"Does your family know that this is your job?"
Jamie shook his head again. "I haven't seen them since I left."
Edmund nodded. "Well, we're going to fix this, alright? You have my word that everything will be alright. And Jamie, I want to apologize to you for the anxiety I've caused you. I am deeply sorry that you have had to suffer like this because of me."
"It's okay," Jamie said.
Edmund sighed. "It's not, but thank you." Slipping a ring off of his finger, Edmund handed it to Jamie. "Take this to the guard in front of the kings' quarters, and he'll let you in. My room is the first door, and you can stay there until we get everything sorted."
Jamie brightened and took the ring. "Okay," he said. "But aren't you coming too?"
"I'll be along soon enough," Edmund said. "But I'm still in a bit of trouble, you see."
Jamie's eyes widened. "Oh. Is the High King very angry with you?"
Edmund glanced at his brother again, who was watching him from across the room. "I think I'm about to find out. Don't worry about me, though. Everything will be fine, and I'll be up to see how you're doing before long."
"Okay…" Jamie said, standing. With one last glance at Edmund, he too left the room.
Edmund stood and walked to where Peter was standing. Peter didn't say anything for a while, processing everything that had happened since the battle. Finally, he turned to Edmund. "Do you understand now that your actions affect not only you and me, but also innocent Narnians?"
Edmund hung his head and didn't bother to fight back the tears of shame that were rising up in him. "Yes."
"And you understand that I must do something to ensure that this doesn't happen again?"
Edmund was nervous, and would have liked to leave the room like everyone else had, but he gathered his courage and said, "Yes."
Peter nodded, once, twice. "Okay then. Come here." Peter sat down on the page's bench and gestured for Edmund to position himself over Peter's lap. Edmund sent one last desperate look to his brother, but Peter had steeled himself for this, and took no pity on his brother.
"Edmund," he said, "you are old enough to know that orders given during a battle are given for a reason, and are not to be broken. Abandoning your troops is not only a sign of irresponsibility, but also of weakness. You weren't prepared to go after that archer alone—you should have sent some of your men to take him, or at least brought back up for yourself. These aren't just my rules—they are the standards for which Narnian soldiers have used and followed for centuries, and they're there for a reason."
Edmund nodded. "I'm sorry," he said, then forced himself to lie across his brother's knee.
Edmund was wearing the thin cotton pants that they both wore to bed, and Peter knew that they would offer little protection for what was to come, so he made no move to humiliate his brother by removing them.
Peter did not leave him in suspense for long. As soon as Edmund was in position, Peter landed a hard swat on his upturned bottom. Edmund gasped at the contact, but didn't struggle. After a moment to let the first swat sink in, Peter spanked him again, using just as much force as he had the first time. This spanking was going to leave an impression in Edmund's mind, Peter had decided, and he hoped that they would never be in this position again.
Edmund, meanwhile, couldn't believe that his brother was capable of such painful swats. He would have expected this from someone like Oreius, whose arms were pure muscle, but he'd had no idea that Peter was this strong. He couldn't think about anything but the enormous sting in his backside, and Peter had only administered six swats at this point. He couldn't help the tears that were spilling down his cheeks, partly from the acute pain, partly because it was Peter who was spanking him, and mostly because he felt awful about Peter's soldiers who had been injured by the goblins when they'd come to assist him and about how close little Jamie had come to suffering a much worse walloping than he was receiving right now. Edmund cried quietly, only betraying his tears when his voice hitched when he gasped as Peter spanked him.
Peter paused when he realized how it was affecting Edmund, and he hesitated to swat his brother again. It had been nine swats, now, and the punishment had only been going on for less than a minute, but he still didn't want to be too harsh. However, he knew and Edmund knew that he deserved a few more. "Hang on, Ed," he said in a soft tone, briefly resting his hand on the small of Edmund's back. Sighing, Peter resumed the punishment, delivering six more swats at the same pace and of the same caliber. Edmund continued crying, and Peter knew that this release would do more good for his brother than anything else. Edmund had never been one to make a big fuss over his feelings, and Peter knew that that resulted in a lot of bottled up issues that were never dealt with.
Peter wanted an even twenty swats to round out the spanking, but he didn't have the heart to administer four more heavy ones. Instead, he brought his hand down with less force, but much more speed, not giving Edmund time to catch his breath until the twentieth swat had landed.
"It's over," Peter murmured, rubbing Edmund's back.
Edmund let himself take some comfort in the gesture before composing himself and getting up off of Peter's lap. Gingerly, he sat down on the bench next to Peter, who immediately wrapped an arm around him and pulled him close. Edmund was too tired to resist the contact, so he just hugged Peter back. "I won't do it again, Peter," Edmund promised, letting his head sag against Peter's chest.
"I know," Peter said, stroking Edmund's hair.
"He was going to hurt you, though," Edmund whispered. "I mean, I understand that I put everybody in danger, and that it was the wrong thing to do, but…what about what was going to happen to you?"
Peter sighed. "Edmund, I know that you are always going to watch out for me, and I'm always going to do the same for you. But, you were in the middle of fighting a dwarf when you saw the archer, and you abandoned that fight, leaving your soldiers to deal with it in addition to what they were already caught up in. What would you have done if your lieutenant had stopped fighting one man to go after another?"
Edmund shrugged but didn't answer. Not being able to help the tears that streamed down his face of their own accord, he squeezed Peter tighter and closed his eyes.
Peter squeezed back, but he wasn't finished yet. "I just want you to understand, Edmund, that it's not bad to try to protect me. It is bad to put others and yourself in danger by doing so," he said gently, not wanting to upset Edmund any further.
Edmund nodded into Peter's shirt, and Peter rubbed a hand up and down his back, content to be there for Edmund for as long as he needed it.
The tears finally did stop, but the boys continued sitting there, drawing comfort from one another. "I love you, Ed," Peter said after a few minutes. "That's why this was important—I can't let you put yourself in danger like that."
Edmund sniffed and wiped a sleeve across his face. Stiffly, he moved away from Peter to sit up straight. "I know," he sighed. "I'm sorry."
"It's okay," Peter said. Glancing down at his shirt, Peter let out a chuckle.
"What?" Edmund asked, eager to know what was funny in this situation, then he saw Peter's shirt. There was a large, wet splotch covering the majority of Peter's chest from Edmund's tears. "Oh," he said, smiling faintly. "Sorry."
Peter shook his head. "Enough apologies for today. It'll dry. Besides…" he said, "I do believe I've done a bit more lasting of damage to you."
Edmund winced and made a face. "I suppose I'll live."
"Good," Peter said, leaning back on the bench. "You know," he said thoughtfully, "despite everything, I was very proud of how you handled things here."
"With Jamie, you mean?"
"Is that his name?" Edmund nodded. "Well, then, yes. But mostly how you changed into a king so quickly to deal with the situation. I was still marveling at how such a ridiculous law could be in effect in Narnia while you stepped up and took control of the situation. You had already abolished the law by the time I'd wrapped my mind around it, Ed."
"Well, you had your mind on…other things," Edmund said, shifting uncomfortably.
Peter gave his brother a sympathetic look. "Yes…well, nonetheless, it was quite evident to everyone there that you deserved the title given you: King Edmund…the Just."
Edmund yawned. "King Edmund the Exhausted is more fitting."
Peter smiled and ran a hand over Edmund's hair. "Come on," he said. "Let's get you to bed."
Edmund stood, and, after having been so careful not to move, his bottom was reignited with pain. "Owwww," he moaned, rubbing the afflicted spot. "Aslan's mane, Peter, could you have walloped me any harder?"
Peter was relieved at the near-joke. It meant Edmund didn't hold this again him. Still though, he said, "Hopefully, you'll never have to find out."
Edmund glared at his older brother, but then quickly sobered as a thought struck him. "Peter…do you mean that this might happen again?"
Peter sighed. He was tired too, and had been hoping that they wouldn't have to have this conversation until morning. "Probably not," he said, standing also. "It's definitely not my favorite method of discipline—on either end of it. But, today, with the severity of the potential consequences having been so high, and with Thyme here, having been ready to take you in hand himself, and Jamie, and the new law…well, it was the only option. Can you understand that?"
"I didn't like it either, but…" He nodded in understanding.
Peter took a deep breath, knowing that he had to make his voice stern again, and hating how he sounded when he did. "However, Edmund," he said, and was rewarded with Edmund's full attention, "just because I don't like it doesn't mean that it wasn't effective, or that I will never use it again. For sure, if you insult yourself and what you learned here by disobeying me in battle again—"
"I won't, Peter," Edmund insisted.
Peter nodded, "I believe you. Just keep this in mind the next time you have the urge to risk your life without having a plan first, alright?"
"I don't think I'll have a choice about thinking of this," Edmund said, wincing as his bum throbbed.
A faint smile ghosted over Peter's face. "Good," he said, and threw an arm around Edmund's shoulders. "Let's go to bed."
Edmund opened the door and together, they walked out of the room.
When the two Pevensies opened the door to Edmund's quarters, they found Jamie asleep on Edmund's bed under the watchful eyes of the fairies who made sure the kings' rooms were tidy.
"Let's not wake him," Peter whispered, and softly shut the door. "You can stay with me tonight if you like."
Edmund smiled and followed his brother to his room. He lied down on his stomach on Peter's bed, and was already dozing off by the time Peter had changed and crawled in next to him.
"Peter?" Edmund asked sleepily.
"You're not still sore with me, are you?"
Peter frowned. "Of course not, Ed. Why would you say that?"
Edmund shrugged. "I just wanted to make sure."
Peter smiled in the dark, knowing what Edmund needed to hear. "All is forgiven, little brother."