I was falling asleep trying to read, realizing that I ought to actually get changed for bed when I had a moment of...what is it? Oh, yes. A moment of insperation.

Professor Digory Kirke paused at the den's doorway. It was an unusually cool summer evening, and a fire had been lit hours earlier within that room's fire place to keep warm the earlier occupant's of the room. But, as a quick glance to the grandfather clock in the hallway told him, it was well past midnight, and the children should have gone to bed hours ago. So, why was this fire still burning brightly?

He inched the door quietly open and took a peek inside. There, on the end of the couch, was Edmund, the second youngest. The boy was staring unseeingly into the flames, poker nearby. Slightly concerned, the elderly Digory searched what he could see of the boy's face in order to ascertain the reason for his being up so late. Edmund's face was quite serious, more so than the professor had ever seen on a boy's face. Though, he almost felt that if Polly was there, she would be quick to say that she had seen a very similar look on a young boys face many years ago.

Taking a step in, Professor Kirke cleared his throat, causing the poor boy to jump. He chuckles softly, kindly smiling down at Edmund. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you."

Edmund smiled back. "I have a feeling that maybe you did have that intention."

Taken slightly aback by the way he was pointedly looked at, Digory quickly remembered that he was talking to a boy who was once a man. "Alright. Maybe." Edmund turned his smiling face triumphantly back at toward the fire. "May I sit?"

Edmund nodded.

For a little while they both sat in comfortable silence. But, a question that needed answering was looming over Digory's head, and he wasn't about to let it go unspoken. "Why are still awake?"

Edmund shifted in his seat. "I wouldn't quite say 'still'...."

"Hm. Then, what woke you?"

Edmund stayed silent.

The professor took a side-long glance at him. His mind quickly ran through all of the events that had taken place in Narnia that they had told him about. There was one face that kept pushing it's way to the front of his mind, and it wasn't the face of one of the Pevensies. "Was it Jadis?"

Edmund looked sharply at the old man.

Digory sighed. "She haunted my dreams for the longest time. It took me years to accept the peace Aslan had to offer to me."

"I thought he wasn't called Aslan here," Edmund said, looking curiously at him.

Digory smiled. "No. But, I called him that for so long, I only call him by his other name when people that do not know that name are around."

The boy nodded. Then he asked, "Why did you have nightmares about the White Witch?"

This time, it was Digory's turn to be quiet. With a deep sigh he asked, "Did you all ever find out how Jadis first came to Narnia?"

Edmund looked up, his eyes widening. "You were the boy!"

With a soft chuckle, and a sad, small smile, Digory nodded. "Yes. In a way, your treachery was my fault. Even before this happened to you, I felt the shame that you do."

"What makes you think I feel shame."

Professor Kirke ceased making eye contact, and stared into the fire while their conversation continued. "It was obvious. The way you all spoke of that event quickly, only lightly touching it, really. And they you reacted when I guessed just now." He sighed deeply, once more. "It's a hard thing to let go, this shame. To think that evilness had a hold on you for just long enough to make such a big difference in history, creates such a heavy burden to bear."

Edmund turned his eyes toward the fire as well. "Yes," he said softly. "I feel ungrateful to Aslan for feeling like this, though."

"As do I. When that occurrence in my life continually came up for those first few years, the tears in his eyes when I looked into them for the first time also come to mind. It's as if those tears were not only for my mother, but for my shame as well. As if he knew what other emotions I was going through, besides grief."

Another silence paused their conversing.

Then Edmund spoke up. "I've tried so hard to forget about what happened. Well," he was quick to correct himself, "not completely forget, I obviously need to remember in order to not repeat. But, to forget the shame that comes with it. Because I've been forgiven. But the fact that she almost won, it keeps bothering me.

"And not just that. But, now other things that I've done wrong. Even little things. I keep finding myself replaying actions and words that just happened, making sure I didn't do anything drastically wrong or embarrassing. I just don't know what to do."

Another brief silence.

And then a reply. "Forgiving your own shame is a much longer process than accepting forgiveness from others. It's a process that requires one to completely let go of one's self, and their pride, and to wholly entrust their life in him. It's not always easy, but it's so incredibly worth every pain you could have felt while doing it."

The boy looked up, and the man met his gaze. "Are you saying that my shame will take a while to go away?"

"To go away completely, yes, I'm afraid so."

Edmund settled down to look back at the fire, which began to die. He breathed in deeply, releasing the breath in a yawn. "Alright. Thanks, Professor. I don't feel like we got anything accomplished, but it was good to talk with you."

Digory smiled. "My feelings are mutual. Good night, Edmund."

Shuffling sleepily out of the room, Edmund waved a hand up, "Good night."

A few minutes later, the room was empty, the fire being left to die out on it's own.

I would love you forever if you reviewed in some way. -Jimmy Candlestick