Author's Notes: There was a scene in the first Chronicles of Narnia movie that always stuck with me, when the Witch froze Sir Giles Fox, slapped Edmund, and then turned the butterfly behind her to stone. Something about it always seemed very symbolic to me, and resulted in the beginning of writing this.
This is a semi-sequel to Understanding and Home, but can be read alone. It takes place in my movie/bookverse blend, leaning more towards movie, and begins two days after the Battle of Beruna, the next morning after Understanding and Home. I can't remember if Sir Giles Fox was always Sir Giles, but for the purposes of this story, he wasn't.
Much love and respect to KatePevensie for creating her Song of Narnia video: www. youtube watch?v=UsD3cvQcWuQ It was wonderfully inspirational, and it absolutely fantastic to watch. Go check it out!
Chapter 1: Journey
Edmund looked up, startled. His heart pounded in a brief moment of fear at that surprise, and he tried to take several breaths to calm down. "Y-yes?" he managed finally.
"Please Sire, allow me," the faun begged, taking the tunic from his hands.
Edmund blinked. By accident, Peter had given him a bloody nose during their training session this morning, and rather than toss away a perfectly good piece of clothing, he'd been trying to scrub it clean in the stream while he waited for everyone to finish packing up camp. "It's quite all right," he tried. "I'm sure the stain isn't that bad. I can handle it."
"Nay, Sire. I'm sure there are far better things for you to do. Allow me to perform this simple task," the faun assured him.
Edmund frowned, slowly moving to stand. "If you really must," he sighed.
The faun smiled brilliantly at him, and bowed. "Thank you for your kindness, Sire. I shall have it returned to you shortly."
"Thank you," Edmund said awkwardly, forcing a smile before he walked away.
They kept doing that, and he really wasn't sure why. He'd find something to do, and within minutes someone would take the task away from him. And they kept calling him 'Sire' for some reason. No one had taken the time to explain why, and he was afraid of looking stupid if he asked.
He found his siblings at the small table between their tents, absently eating snacks and looking as bored as he was. He plopped next to Lucy with a great sigh, and Peter gave him a weary smile. "They get you too, Ed?" he asked.
Edmund sighed, reaching for a piece of toast. "I'm perfectly capable of washing my own clothes," he grumbled.
Susan laughed softly, looking amused. "I tried to clean up after breakfast."
Lucy pouted. "I just wanted to help pack things up."
"Tried to help take down the tents," Peter informed them with a faint smile. "Oreius nearly stopped my heart when he told me 'such menial tasks were not necessary for my supervision'."
"What else are we supposed to do?" Edmund demanded hotly. "Just sit around and wait for everyone else when there's things to be done?"
"That would be correct, Son of Adam," came an amused voice behind him.
He jumped, blushing brightly as he spun around. "Aslan!"
"Would you take away their joy in being able to care for you all?" the great lion continued as his eyes seemed to smile.
Susan looked guilty. "It's not that, Aslan. We're just not used to ... to -"
"Being waited on," Peter finished.
Aslan chuckled softly. "Peace, my children. Preparations are nearly finished. Soon we will make our way to Cair Paravel, for the coronation."
"Coronation?" Lucy echoed uncertainly.
"For the prophecy to be completed, the thrones of Cair Paravel must be filled," Aslan told her, his eyes sparkling.
Edmund frowned, looking at the ground. He wasn't quite sure how he felt about Cair Paravel. Peter deserved to be crowned king of course, after the way he'd lead them to victory in battle (which was still quite hard for him to admit). But what would become of Susan, Lucy, and himself? Susan was the second eldest, so did that mean she would become sort of queen as well? But what about Lucy? They never would have made it to Narnia without her. Did she deserve a higher position than Susan?
He wondered distantly if Peter would allow him to remain in his court. (For at this point, Edmund was quite sure that no one had any plans of making him any sort of royalty, after all he'd done.) He didn't think Peter would make him a servant, but it was hard to be sure. While they'd patched things up the night before when the events of the battle were fresh in their minds, things were still awkward between them. He kept finding himself assuming Peter meant something to sound as if he thought less of him, or was trying to tell him what to do, but then would suddenly realize that wasn't it at all. Peter meanwhile, seemed to hesitate when speaking to him. One moment he'd be standing back, commenting quietly, and the next he'd be right beside him trying to hold his shoulders. Then he would freeze, and step back again. It was all quite frustrating, and Edmund truly wasn't sure what to do to make it better. While he found he quite liked the idea of being close to his older brother again, he couldn't seem to figure out how to do just that.
His frown deepened as another thought occurred to him.
He looked up, swallowing down another surge of fear. He really hoped he'd get over this bout of nerves soon - it was becoming irritating. "Yes?"
Peter frowned at him, then something seemed to soften in his eyes after a moment. "What are you thinking of?"
Edmund bit his lip, fidgeting. "It's just ... what about the others?" he blurted out.
"Others?" Susan frowned.
Edmund nodded, staring down at the ground in misery. "The ones we - the Witch and I, that is - passed on our way here. She turned them all to stone. The fox, and that butterfly."
"Oh, and poor Mr. Badger and all his friends!" Lucy cried in horror as she understood.
"I was just thinking ... Isn't there anything that could be done for them?" Edmund finished hesitantly.
The others stared at him, and he looked down once again. "It was ... just a thought," he mumbled.
To his surprise, he felt Aslan's whiskers tickle his cheek. "And a noble one to be sure, Son of Adam," Aslan assured him, sounding pleased. "If you would be willing to show me where these poor creatures have been left, we will rescue them at once."
"If you don't mind, I'd like to come along," Peter offered. "I can show you where Mr. Badger and the others are."
Lucy made as if to say something, but Susan caught her arm. "And we can continue supervising the move to Cair Paravel," she declared.
Edmund eyed her warily. Somehow, he was sure she was up to something. But then Aslan agreed, and Peter said "Come on then, Ed," so cheerfully he couldn't help but go along with them.
The ride wasn't ... awkward, exactly. It wasn't even quiet. The small band of soldiers Oreius had insisted they bring along seemed to enjoy chatting amongst themselves in the relaxed atmosphere. Edmund and Peter rode just behind the scouts, Aslan walking along behind them. Neither boy spoke to the other, though they both secretly longed to. Neither was sure how to start the conversation.
Edmund wondered if Peter truly did forgive him. They'd agreed to forgive and be done with it the night before, but had Peter done it because he felt he had to? Did he still think of what Edmund had done, and wonder if he'd do it again?
He shook his head, frowning at himself. No. He and Peter had made Pax, and that was that. Peter wasn't the type to say something he didn't mean.
He winced slightly. No, that was him.
He yelped as something slapped against his arm, and turned to glare at Peter. His brother had moved his horse right beside him without his notice, hitting his arm before he realized he was there. "What was that for?" Edmund demanded irritably.
"You're making that face again," Peter informed him. "Stop it."
He blinked. "That face?"
Peter nodded solemnly, and proceeded to make a very angry pout as he pretended to scowl at the ground.
Edmund, recognizing the taunt for what it was, leaned over to strike his older brother's arm in turn. "You're a right riot, Peter," he grumbled.
Peter smirked. "I think so."
Edmund glanced over at him, and felt something in his chest loosen slightly. "Well, if you think so, that explains everything, then," he drawled.
Peter's smirk turned into a look of outrage, and Edmund quickly leaned forward over Phillip's neck. "Fancy a run?" he breathed, nudging the Horse gently with his heels.
Phillip snorted and took off quickly, leaving Edmund to call back over his shoulder. "Race you!"
"Why, you little - !"
And soon they were all running, racing ahead of one another. Aslan laughed, a deep booming sound, and Edmund found himself laughing along. Almost instinctively, he glanced back at his brother, and found Peter grinning back. The smile on his face grew, and that tight feeling in his chest uncurled just a bit more.
Awhile later they stopped for a drink and a rest, as everyone had worn themselves out in their sudden race. Edmund sat at the river's edge, dangling his bare feet in the water and wriggling his toes simply for the feel of it. It seemed like ages since he had done something like this, and the last trip he'd had through Narnia hadn't been nearly so pleasant.
He felt, rather than saw, his brother plop down beside him and offer a snack. "Enjoying yourself?" Peter teased.
Edmund paused to consider. "I am, actually," he admitted, looking down at his lap.
To his surprise, an arm came around his shoulders and his brother leaned against him. "Me, too," he sighed.
Still looking down, Edmund allowed himself a slight, very small smile.
"I've missed this," Peter confessed quietly. "You and me, I mean. I don't like it when we can't get along."
Edmund looked up at him, swallowing back the rude comment he was about to make out of habit. Instead, he forced himself to offer a tentative smile. "I'll try not to be such a prat," he offered.
The smile Peter gave him made the hesitant gesture worth it. "And I'll try not to pretend I know everything," he agreed, giving Edmund a slight squeeze. Their foreheads rested together for a moment, and Edmund closed his eyes to appreciate the feeling. He'd always enjoyed being coddled, but as he grew older he'd realized it wasn't a very manly thing to like, and fought against it instead. But right now, it didn't seem so terrible to allow it.
"We should get going, then," Peter said at last, pulling away with obvious reluctance. He flashed his younger brother another smile and held out a hand to help him up. "Shall we away, Lancelot?"
Edmund froze, staring up at him, and Peter's smile faltered uncertainly.
When they were younger and still considered themselves to be each other's best friend, they often played that they were knights off on some courageous adventure. Their father had been amused by their game, and subtly encouraged them by telling stories of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Both brothers had been fascinated, and from then on Peter had been dubbed King Arthur, as he was much more of the leader type than Edmund, while Edmund become Lancelot, Arthur's best friend and most trusted companion. The nicknames had been lost over the years as they'd begun to grow apart, and like their promise, Edmund had become sure Peter had quite forgotten about it.
Fighting down a sudden surge of emotion, Edmund accepted the hand and allowed himself to be pulled to his feet. "Wherever you lead, Arthur," he said solemnly.
The delight that came over his brother's face made it instantly worth it.