This ficlet is not a new chapter to Passacaglia - instead, it's the first in a series of oneshots entitled Passacaglia:Origins, in which moments from the Golden age that are mentioned in the full length story are expanded upon, and explained. When I sit down and write a new chapter for Passacaglia, there's often a lot I leave out to keep the flow steady - most of these taken out bits are flashbacks. However, I still like them, and wanted to post them.
Oneshots set during the Golden Age will be listed as Passacaglia:Origins, and oneshots set during the missing four years of the Passacaglia universe will be listed as Passacaglia: The Missing Years.
Lastly, if you liked this, please feel free to check out my main story Passacaglia, upon which this is based. I hope you all enjoy this small interlude in the lives of our favourite monarchs.
EDIT: Thank you so much to everyone who favourited this! It really made my day!
Edmund could remember his first week in Cair Paravel.
He could remember how out of place he'd felt, even with his brother and sisters there. Or maybe, because of his brother and sisters. He could remember looking at them and clearly seeing how Lucy was valiant, how Susan was gentle, and how Peter, especially, was magnificent. But when he looked at himself in the mirror, the only word staring back at him was traitor, and it wouldn't wipe away, no matter how many times he swiped at the glass surface.
He could remember how beautiful the castle had been; more beautiful than anything he had ever seen. Everything was made of shining marble and glass, and everything you could ever want was at your disposal. But he couldn't help thinking how much the white marble glistened like ice, and how much trouble he had caused the last time he had reached for something beyond his grasp.
He could remember how much he had struggled, trying to understand how people could come up to him and put all their faith in him the moment they saw him, how they trusted him automatically with their troubles, and problems and fears. He could remember looking for malice and distrust behind every smiling face and finding none, and not knowing what it meant.
He didn't know how a person could be that way. How they could just forget – how anyone could just forget. How everything he'd done could simply be put out of mind, when he walked around with so much guilt he swore it was all around him like a black cloud, for everyone to see.
But most of all, he remembered not knowing why Peter had been coming into his room the past six nights. He just sat there quietly, not moving, not doing anything, just watching him sleep. He, of course, had woken up every time Peter had come in, but stayed still, hoping he might garner some answers.
Was he angry? He didn't seem angry at him during the day. Was he disappointed? Yes, that sounded more plausible. He was probably coming in to take a good look at the brother who had betrayed him. But even that didn't seem quite right, when he had thought about it some more. So one night, he had stayed up, waiting. After all, it wasn't good for anyone to have him not sleeping.
Sure enough, the door opened and Peter walked in as he had done the past nights. This time though, he made it only two steps before realizing he'd been caught.
He had rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly, scuffing the ground with his slipper. "I suppose you've been awake the whole time, haven't you?" he'd asked.
"You're not exactly the most subtle of people, Peter," he had answered sarcastically, but his voice had been soft.
Peter came over and sat in the chair next to the bed. "I just ...I wake up and get scared that you won't be there," he said softly. Edmund could remember how tired he had looked...how sorry and apologetic he had seemed, and how he couldn't think of a reason as to why.
"Well...where d'you think I'd be?" he'd asked, defensively. Peter just stared down at his hands.
"I have nightmares about it you know – about how they found you," he'd said quietly, throwing him for a loop. "They told me you were pretty much dead out there. And then you came back to camp and you had those horrible bruises everywhere and you looked like you hadn't eaten in days...and about how you looked when she stabbed you, too, your face. You were so pale, and there was blood everywhere..." he'd trailed off then, looking out the window as if in a trance, a glazed look on his face. "And then I wake up and I can't fall back to sleep again until I know for sure that you're here, that you're safe."
And Edmund could remember how he had just looked at Peter, wide eyed, his brow furrowed and his mouth open. They hadn't talked about it at all, not really, and he hadn't even thought...he hadn't even remembered about how he'd gone up to Peter at the camp and the only thing he had seen in his eyes and felt in his embrace had been relief, and comfort, and understanding.
He could remember such an incredible rush of feeling at that moment that he had actually started to cry. And Peter hadn't said anything, he had just come over and held him while he cried; huge wracking sobs that left him breathless, utterly incapable of moving a muscle. "I-I'm s-so, so, so-s-sorry," he had stuttered out between gasps for air, and when he looked up he saw Peter was crying too.
"Don't," he had said. "Don't apologize Ed. It wasn't your fault. You're just a boy. You're just a kid. Nobody blames you. Aslan doesn't, and I never have and never will. It's my fault, you know."
He had been so confused then, hearing Peter say that. It's my fault, you know. "If I-I'm just a b-boy, then what are y-you?" he asked him, and Peter gave him a look that just about pierced his soul, that went all the way through him and left him raw.
"I'm the one who's supposed to take care of you," he had said, and it had made him start to cry all over again. He hadn't even thought about what it must've been like for Peter, not knowing whether he had been alive, or dead. All his feelings had seemed to bubble up inside of him – all the guilt for doubting him and hating him and being so horrible, for not trusting him, for not believing in him. He didn't know how in Aslan's name he had ended up with a brother as good as Peter, who for one, wasn't angry or blameful, but to top it off, actually felt guilty for what had happened; felt that it had been him who had done wrong. And he could remember asking Peter the question that had plagued him for a week.
"It's not – It's not, you didn't d-do anything Peter, it w-was me! I can't, I can't,-" he had sputtered out, the words awkward around his sharp intakes of breath. "I just, I- how can you just for-forget what I-I did, I don't-don't, understand-"
"It's not...it's not about forgetting, Ed," he had said, very quietly. "It's about forgiving. I always forgave you; I always will forgive you- just as I hope you've forgiven me for not being the big brother I was supposed to be. You're my brother, and I love you. That's just...that's just how it works."
He had wanted to tell him that that he loved him too, and that he was absurd for thinking any of this was his fault but that he forgave him, of course he forgave him, of course, but he couldn't seem to get the words out around the crying he was doing. Peter had understood though, and the two boys just hugged each other tighter, Peter hushing them both back to sleep, exhausted physically and emotionally.
He could remember waking up the next morning with Peter still beside him, feeling lighter than he had in a week, because he knew now that forgetting and forgiving were not the same thing, and were in fact, as different as two things could be. And as he looked into the mirror he smiled, because the invisible word on the glass had changed.
Just, it said.
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