A/N: Don't ask me where this came from. I had a sudden image of the Pevensies climbing Arthur's Seat (in Edinburgh, Scotland), and decided that they had gone on holiday with their parents and climbed up to the top. As I was rereading my journal from my own holiday in Scotland during which I climbed up to the top, I realised that... well, let's just say it fit perfectly into Narnia, and the Pevensies suddenly had a purpose for being in Scotland. I hope it makes sense and isn't too far-fetched.
Disclaimer: I do not own Narnia or the Pevensies. I just give them surprises.
Dedicated to animagus_pawz, my dear sister-cat, who climbed up with me and was, for just a moment, king of the world.
"Hurry up, Edmund!" Lucy called from the top of the hill that was more of a small mountain. She looked down, back the way she had come, and laughed, watching her brother puffing up the steep, rocky path.
"Maybe… you should… slow down!" His call was faint and breathless. She laughed again. "You're like… some kind of… mountain goat, hopping up this slope!"
"If I'm a mountain goat, Peter's an antelope!" she called back. "He'd been up here for ages before I got up!"
"I've just got stamina," Peter said, stepping up beside her and looking down at Edmund. "You're almost here, Ed. Wait till you see the view!"
"It is worth it," Lucy said as she raised her eyes from her laboring brother to the sweeping panorama that surrounded them. "Susan would have loved this."
"Yeah, only if she didn't have to climb 823 feet to see it," Peter teased. Susan had opted to remain safely on the flat, low ground while the others took the dizzying climb to the top of the ridged, sloping hill. While Edmund and Lucy had taken what the locals called the "easy" route up the grassy east side, Peter had run up the north side—faster, but far steeper and much more difficult. He and Lucy now stood at the rocky summit point, marked by a smooth column pointing towards the sky, staring out at the view of the sprawling city splayed out below them.
"Do you know," Edmund panted, coming up to stand just below his siblings, his hands on his knees, "from certain angles, this stupid volcanic rock looks a bit like a lion?"
"What?" Peter asked at the same time Lucy said, "Are you serious?"
Edmund nodded, gasping. He sat on a conveniently jutting bit of rock and caught his breath. Peter tapped his foot impatiently and Lucy turned her face so the wind blew her hair out behind her, both waiting for an explanation.
"Some tourist," Edmund said finally. "American. I heard them a while back. Had a great big guidebook, was walking backwards up the hill, reading out to his girlfriend. From certain angles, Arthur's Seat looks like a lion crouching." He paused. "How do you climb this thing backwards?"
"Puts the strain on different muscles for a bit. Really healthful," Peter said with false innocence.
"But how're you supposed to see where you're going?" Edmund muttered before standing to get his first real look at the view. It was spectacular.
"A lion?" Lucy asked finally, breaking the silence, "Or a Lion?"
"You mean…?" Peter stopped, looking at her sharply, his breath catching in his throat.
"I don't know," she said thoughtfully.
"Do you really think that maybe…?" Edmund stopped too, eyes shining with longing.
"I don't know," Lucy repeated, sighing. There was a short silence.
"One way to find out," Peter said quietly, a smile spreading across his face.
"Oh no," Edmund groaned. "Don't say it."
"Climb down and have a look!" Peter and Lucy said together, laughing at the stricken look on Edmund's face.
"Why did we climb up this blasted pile of rock if we were just going to go right back down?" He couldn't find it in himself to laugh with the other two, though he did smile at the absurdity of the situation. "Let me catch my breath a moment," he said. "You know, explore around up here. I've never been at the summit of a mountain before. This might be my only chance to pretend I'm king of the world."
Peter and Lucy laughed, but sat on his jutting bit of rock while he prowled the point, climbing over and around tourists, inspecting every crack he could to draw out the time before he had to go careening down what he had spent the last several hours climbing up. He stood at the highest point, next to the column marker and spread his arms wide, throwing his head back and closing his eyes, letting the wind wash over him. Lucy smiled and climbed up on the opposite side of the square marker and stood in the same position. Peter admitted defeat and joined them, clasping one of each of their out-flung hands.
By some unspoken agreement, without even a countdown, they took a deep breath of the clear, cold air, and yelled out at the top of their lungs, "I'm king of the world!" Other tourists looked up at them, startled, and when the siblings collapsed in a laughing heap, the deer-in-the-headlights looks faded to smiles and laughter.
"Bizarre urges all satisfied, Ed?" Peter asked, smiling and ruffling his little brother's hair.
"Oh, come on, you so wanted to do it, too!" Edmund lightly punched Peter's arm.
"Come on!" Lucy called from the head of the path leading down. "Let's go find the Lion!" Her brothers joined her and they carefully picked their way down the treacherous rock and the slippery grass, gradually gaining speed as they reached steep bits where gravity took hold of them and brought them running, breathless out onto the flat, green, lawn that stretched below the shadow of Arthur's Seat. They paused, catching their breath, and then turned as one to stare up at the outline of the mountain against the bright blue sky.
"The head…" Peter said suddenly, pointing.
"The haunches," Edmund added, pointing also. Lucy squinted.
"Yes," she murmured. The boys nodded. They looked at each other with shining eyes, grins spreading across their faces. "The Lion!"
As they watched, the sun moved across the two rises of the hill, throwing the yellow gorse into high relief, causing Arthur's Seat to glow golden. The late summer afternoon took on a magical sort of quality, and for a moment, just a moment, Peter, Edmund and Lucy thought they saw the Lion's rocky shoulders shrug and the yellow mane shake as the head rose slightly to turn to them. But a cloud moved across the sun, and the glow faded, the rocks remained solidly part of the ground, and the Pevensies were left with the quiet warmth they always associated with Aslan, in all His glory.
"It was Him!" Lucy said fiercely, turning to the others. "Don't try to tell me it was my imagination!"
"You'd have a hard time convincing me it was imagination, Lu," Peter said earnestly. "It was real Magic. He was here. It was Him. I believe you."
"Brilliant," Edmund said, glowing. "Imagine! Aslan in Scotland, of all places!"
"Nothing wrong with Edinburgh," Peter said diplomatically. "It's just a bit… I don't know. I mean, when has Aslan failed to surprise us? But, Scotland? That's just…"
Lucy smiled. "Unexpected," she finished for Peter. "It's unexpected."
"You know what else is unexpected?" Peter said, a grin creeping across his face.
"What could be more unexpected than finding Aslan in Scotland in the form of a pile of volcanic rock?" Edmund asked scornfully.
"You reaching the top of it," Peter laughed. Edmund spluttered incoherently before throwing his hands up in defeat and surrendering to laughter as well. They fell to the grass, propping themselves up on their elbows so they could look again at the Lion in awe of the magnificence that clung to it, no matter how unexpected it was.
A/N: So I hope that wasn't too implausible... I'm working on a Lucy one, with a wishing well... hopefully that'll be up soon... :)