AN: My second Narnia fic. I had fun writing it and I hope you enjoy reading it. I'm not quite sure, however, if I should have put this under humour. Ah, well, it's done now.
Reviewers shall be lauded and showered with electronic muffins.
Edit note: My thanks go to Lady Jill Pole (my first reviewer) for spotting my mistake and reviewing. Calormen is certainly not Carlomen as I thought. It has been rectified. :)
Disclaimer: Not mine. Wish it was. It all belongs to C.S. Lewis.
Shrill and sweet, Lucy's voice echoed around the shadowed halls.
Edmund heard it, locked in his study, and privately vowed not to emerge until his older sister (or brother) was found. When Lucy was elected to greet visiting dignitaries (a job she hated), she almost always got out of it by her special talent of older sibling persuasion. Innocently widened eyes, softly pouting lips and a sorrowful expression always worked on someone. Usually Peter.
Was it any wonder then, that on a beautiful sunny day, the younger king sat, moping, behind a large atlas. A sorry fate, indeed, but infinitely preferable (in his mind) to the torture of listening to countless flatteries and endless tributes on a stifling day. It was a sentence worse than death to an active young lad like Edmund.
Well, he was usually active. Today, warm and rather drowsy, it was not long before his head dropped with a thump upon the table and the heavy atlas fell from senseless hands. The only sound which disturbed the quiet was his soft breathing and the faint cries of: " Edmuuuuund!" which now resounded around the castle.
Let us leave him there for the moment and cross to Peter, High King, Magnificent One, who is looking slightly flustered and not at all pleased as he surveys his youngest sister's pleading face.
" Come on, Peter! Pleeease?" Peter scowled.
" No, Lu. I'm busy. Er, um, Orieus said I needed extra training in defence. I really am sorry. Why don't you ask Susan to help you?" Peter was obviously now very desperate. Dropping his own sister into the path of trouble was not something he would normally do with a good conscience. Desperate times, however, call for desperate measures. He would worry about Susan later.
" Susan's busy hanging drapes and sorting the pretty linen from the hideous. And don't be stupid, Peter," she continued, smiling wisely, " you know full well that Orieus left not two hours ago to strengthen the western borders."
Peter sighed, admitting defeat.
" Very well, then," he groaned. " Who are the dignitaries?"
" You don't know?" Amusement flickered into Lucy's blue eyes.
" No, I don't," Peter snapped, brushing an anxious hand through his blonde hair. " Who is it?"
" They're from Calormen," Lucy admitted, voice low.
All Peter's calm went out the window. " Ca-lor-men!" He shrieked, and as he shrieked his hand went flying, knocking a bust of himself off its pedestal. The crash combined with his yell was deafening. Edmund, in his study, jerked awake and toppled off his chair. Alarmed, and still slightly dazed with sleep, he grabbed his sword and ventured from safety.
Meanwhile, Peter, the Magnificent One, stared dolefully at what remained of the bust. He shot Lucy a this-is-all-your-fault look, which she successfully parried with her classic don't-blame-me-you-moron glare. They could have continued this battle of stares for a full ten minutes more if his royal Highness, King Edmund the Dazed, had not made his appearance. Sword-waving and bleary-eyed he darted into the room with the fierce battle cry of:
" For Narnia and Aslan!"
Lucy blinked rather rapidly, while Peter's mouth formed a perfect O.
" Ed?" The latter ventured.
Edmund, suddenly realising where he was and what he was doing, dropped his sword and smiled sheepishly.
" Hullo Peter, Lucy. Fine weather we're having." Lucy was not to be put off so easily.
" Where have you been?" she asked, eyes narrowing suspiciously. " I was looking for you."
Edmund raised himself to his full height and tried to look impressive.
" I was studying," he said, loftily. Lucy raised an eyebrow.
" On a Saturday?" she asked, with a smirk. " Admit it, Ed, you didn't want to see the dignitaries."
" And why should I?" he asked, pointedly. " It is your turn, you goose."
Lucy's eyes brimmed with tears. " Because I- I - I thought I had brothers who cared about me. Who didn't want to see their little sister cooped up in a stuffy room on a glorious day. Who - who -"
Peter dashed forward, assuming protective elder brother mode instantly. Edmund, slightly mortified for making Lucy cry, edged closer.
" There, there," Peter said, kneeling down to Lucy's level and wiping her tears with the edge of his sleeve. " I'll see to the Calormene dignitaries. And so will Ed."
Edmund, who had been nodding sympathetically, instantly frowned and looked affronted.
" He-will-not," he said, through gritted teeth. " He'd rather die."
" Ed." Peter's tone was final.
Several hours and two headaches later, Peter and Edmund sat in the younger king's study with the door locked.
" You know," remarked Peter, " it wasn't all that bad."
" Not all that bad," huffed Edmund, rubbing his temple dolefully, " Oh-my-brother and Oh-the-delight-of-my-eyes you must be joking. If I ever have to sit through another ream of Calormene poetry I'll do something drastic. Honestly Peter, so many words coming out of their mouths! I'm only surprised that it didn't spout from their ears, too."
Peter, on the verge of laughing, was stopped by the same sound coming from the other end of the room. Both kings turned.
" Suuuuuusan!" They cried, unconsciously mimicking the sounds of the morning.
" Hello," Susan laughed, with a slight bow of her head. " How are you faring, brothers?"
" How long have you been here?" Edmund demanded.
" Ever since you left. The door was wide open, you know. And, as you're the only person with a key, I decided it was the safest place to hide, being the only lock that Lucy hasn't yet learnt to pick."
" But she wasn't looking for you," Peter said bluntly.
" True, but I wasn't sure if she would be able to convince you two to take her place."
" Peter's fault," Edmund said, his tone flat.
" Next time Lucy asks, I'll be deaf and dumb," Peter said suddenly. Edmund nodded.
" Agreed, brother. I fully agree."
Susan only smiled. She knew her siblings too well to doubt that the next time Lucy called, both boys would come running. Lucy was well versed in older brother persuasion.
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