I found this really amazing picture of Tumnus and Lucy on deviantART the other day. It's titled "The Secret Life of Daydreams", and it's done by RustyGrass33. It's incredible; I fell instantly in love with it, and it totally got the wheels in my head turning. I figure it has been some time since I last posted a proper T/L romance, anyway.

So, here it is, and just in time for Valentine's Day! I dedicate this to my very good friend Elfwarriorgirl, or PhotographerGirl, as she is known on DA. Much love to you, sweetie!

Characters © C.S. Lewis and Disney/Walden Media

Story © unicorn-skydancer08

All rights reserved.

"You look beautiful, Lucy," Tumnus remarked as they walked through a pleasant grove together, not too far from Castle Cair Paravel. Spring had come early that year, and everything around them was green and fresh. The sun shone brightly through the lattice of branches and leaves, and the air was sweet with the fragrance of cherry blossoms and windflowers.

"Thank you, Tumnus," said Lucy appreciatively. "You look quite wonderful yourself."

She particularly admired the blue scarf that Tumnus wore about his shoulders that day; it contrasted vividly with his honey-brown hair, and brought out the blue in his eyes.

Tumnus thought Lucy was a vision in her new green dress that matched the green of the wood. But then, needless to say, the faun had always found the girl beautiful, from the moment he first beheld her as a child to this very day, when she was a fine young woman. Over the years, Lucy had not lost her charm or wit; if anything, she was as lively and magnetic as she had ever been, and Tumnus could swear her smile was even bigger and brighter than it was before. She was a very spontaneous sort of girl, and people were drawn to her like bees to a flower.

But out of everybody in Narnia, or in all the world, Tumnus was the fondest of her, and the most devoted to her.

She meant more to him than anything; she was the most valuable of all his treasures, and he would gladly do anything for her sake—even surrender his life.

Knowing that he had Lucy all to himself today, even if it was only for a couple of hours, was nothing short of heaven. Tumnus was determined to make the most of every precious second.

"Goodness, this thing is heavy," said the faun, meaning the large wicker basket he was carrying that held their lunch. "Whatever did you pack in here?"

Poking him playfully in the shoulder, Lucy answered with a grin, "That's for me to know, and for you to find out, mister—later on, that is!"

He chuckled heartily. "All right, I'll go along with that. I won't spoil your surprise, dear heart."

In response to this, Lucy took hold of his arm and gave it an affectionate squeeze, before she rested her head against his shoulder, her long, red-gold hair tickling his bare skin pleasantly.

This caused Tumnus's heart to beat wildly with anticipation, and it sent a small shiver down his backbone. But he forced himself to smile, and he kissed her casually on the crown of her head—not a romantic kiss, just a very-good-friends kiss. They continued to walk, until they soon reached a small hill. They slowly, unhurriedly made their way up together. When they reached the crest, they had a splendid view of the sea; and there was but a single tree, a magnificent redbud ripe with bright, rosy blossoms. The grass was thick and soft, rippling in the light spring breeze like green velvet. There was never a more perfect spot for a picnic.

There, Lucy spread out the cloth she'd brought along for the occasion—Susan would have her blood if she found out her sister had used her best cutwork cloth—and Tumnus set down the basket. Then Lucy made Tumnus close his eyes, and Tumnus did just so, placing a hand over his face for good measure, while she parceled out the food.

He could hear the rustle of paper and the faint chink of china, and he could hear something being poured, but he resisted the temptation to peek.

When Lucy finally told him it was all right to look now, he was amazed at what he saw.

Lucy had really outdone herself: there were a good number of sandwiches, including chicken curry, goat cheese, and watercress; there were also smoked sausages, scones with lemon curd, freshly picked strawberries, and, to Tumnus's delight, there were even a few fried sardines included in the menu. As for drinks, there was a choice of lemonade, or tea with honey and lemon. Finally, for dessert, there was an assortment of pies, cakes, and puddings. All this made Tumnus realize how ravenously hungry he was, yet it seemed almost a crime to eat such lovely things.

"Shall we begin our little banquet?" Lucy asked grandly, as she passed a napkin in his direction.

Tumnus heartily agreed, though he held himself back until after Lucy had her first pick of the food. Then he dove right in.

They had a marvelous time eating, and talk was sparse as they helped themselves to all the wonderful delicacies. Tumnus was particularly fond of the chicken and the watercress, he made Lucy swear to share with him her secret recipe for her spiced ginger cake, and he thought he had never tasted a better strawberry in his life.

When at last the last delicious crumb had been eaten, and the last savory drop had been gulped down, both Tumnus and Lucy were full to bursting, but feeling perfectly content, at total peace with the world around them. The heavy meal and the warm sun made Lucy feel sleepy, so she lay down next to Tumnus in the soft grass and put her head in his lap for a nap.

She knew Tumnus wouldn't mind, and of course, he didn't.

In no time, the girl was lost in a deep, peaceful slumber. While she slept, Tumnus remained very quietly on his knees, brushing his fingers ever so tenderly over her fair brow, through her silken locks. A number of rose-tinted petals had fallen from the tree overhead, and some of them landed on Lucy's dress and in her hair. Tumnus could feel a few landing on his own head, as well as his own shoulders, but he paid it no mind. He could never take his eyes off Lucy, who was like an angel, with that sweet, serene face. He had never felt this way before, about anyone.

Oh, Lucy, his heart whispered, my precious Lucy, how I love you so. I love you more than anything, in this whole world…more than my very life. How I pray to someday become your mate.

His smile faded at that last thought, and he sighed deeply. Amid his feelings of tenderness, there were also feelings of sadness and regret.

As much as he yearned to have Lucy for his wife, he knew such a thing could never happen. As queen over Narnia, her duty belonged to her kingdom, and her people. Even if she were to marry, she deserved far much better than some poor, humble faun like him. She deserved a handsome prince, who could give her everything her heart desired, make all her dreams come true. Her happiness was Tumnus's happiness; he wanted her to have what she wanted…even if it didn't include him. Still, that didn't stop him from longing for her, wanting her purely for his own.

He knew he couldn't give her much, not in the way of money or of material things, but he would take care of her and give her all his heart, and keep her from harm.

The faun continued to stroke and fondle the sleeping girl in his lap, wishing he could find the courage to tell her of his true feelings for her. As he regarded her perfectly shaped lips, he found the overwhelming desire to kiss them. Just the thought of it made his heart quicken, and sent gooseflesh racing up and down his body.

Maybe, he thought tentatively, maybe just this once.

Lucy was asleep, after all, and no one else was around to see. No one would know the difference.

If Tumnus couldn't have Lucy, he could at least have the satisfaction of a single kiss. So, without searching his conscience any further, the faun shifted his position just a little, taking care to move very slowly lest he wake Lucy, then he leaned down and pressed his lips against hers, like a prince kissing his sleeping princess in a fairy tale.

He meant for it to be quick and easy, but somehow he allowed the kiss to linger longer. Something held him in place, and he couldn't resist it. Without even thinking about it, he kissed Lucy again, then a third time, and then a fourth. He couldn't help himself; it was as if a dam had burst, giving access to the flow of emotions that had been kept back for so long. He began kissing Lucy more fervently. Soon, he was kissing not only her lips, but also her cheeks, her forehead, her hair, even her eyelids.

Then, quite suddenly, what he was doing hit him, like a rock hurled into his face, and he pulled away with a gasp.

What am I doing? he asked himself in dismay, his eyes twice their usual size, his leaf-shaped ears quivering. He couldn't believe he'd actually had the nerve to do something like that!

He felt his face flush red-hot with embarrassment, while at the same time his insides burned with guilt. Oh, if Lucy had known what he had just done, he could never bear the shame. How could he have taken advantage of the girl like that? What kind of friend was he? Lucy trusted him; how could he have betrayed such a trust? Tumnus could just strangle himself.

All he could do now was hope and pray that Lucy wouldn't know anything of this when she woke up.

It was at this very moment, however, that Lucy began to stir. Now Tumnus's heart was pounding a mile a second, his breath caught in his chest, and though he wanted to run away, he felt rooted to the spot. With a moan, Lucy stretched out her arms and uncurled her stiff legs, before she finally opened her eyes. She put a hand over them briefly, kneading her lids, then peered up at Tumnus, looking somewhat surprised to find him still there. He stayed where he was and continued to cradle her head, though the expression he wore was quite different from before.

"Tumnus…" she whispered, somewhat dazedly.

Forcing his mouth into a faint smile, Tumnus answered softly, "Hello, Sleeping Beauty."

Slowly, Lucy sat upright. She seemed rather disoriented. "My goodness," she said, her hand on her forehead, "what a strange dream I had!"

Oh, no, Tumnus thought, feeling the color drain from his face, feeling his heart plummet like a stone.

"I dreamed that I was with you," Lucy said, looking away abstractedly. "I was dancing around in a long white dress, in the middle of a vast field, covered with red flowers. For a time, I thought I was alone, but then you appeared right beside me, as if out of thin air. You never said a word; you just took me in your arms and held me tightly, like you would never let me go, and you…you kissed me. Not just once, but you did it again and again. You didn't just kiss my mouth, either, but all over my face."

Now Tumnus felt his anxiety and alarm melt into pure, utter heartache. His shoulders drooped, and his ears lowered. Oh, no, his heart lamented again. Oh, dear heaven, what have I done?

Lucy had felt his kisses in her sleep. That was no dream, no illusion.

A flood of tears inundated Tumnus's bright blue eyes, blurring his surroundings. The faun bowed his head in grief, knowing everything was completely ruined, now. His life was over.

When Lucy saw him, she looked startled at first, but her surprise was only temporary, and a look of gentle concern filled her face.

"Tumnus?" she said solicitously. "Dear Tumnus, what is it? Are…are you all right?"

Unable to answer, Tumnus turned away from her and put his face in one hand as he let loose. Great, heaving sobs poured out of him, without restraint. Keeping his hand pressed over his eyes, he shook his head mournfully from one side to another. The sight and the sound of his anguish went to Lucy's heart like a knife, and she never hesitated to move closer to his side. "Tumnus—Tumnus!" she said anxiously. She reached out for him and pulled him against her, wrapping her arms securely about his neck. "Oh, my dearest Tumnus, don't—don't do that—"

Tumnus made no attempt to pull away, only brought up his remaining hand to hide his face, and went on sobbing and wailing inconsolably.

Lucy couldn't understand why he was so upset.

"Tumnus, please," she besought him, "tell me what's wrong."

"Oh, Lucy," Tumnus groaned, when he could speak, his voice hardly distinguishable, "I'm sorry—I am so sorry! I'm such a horrible friend, the absolute worst friend in the world!"

Now Lucy was truly baffled. "What are you talking about?" she questioned. "You're my best friend, Tumnus, the most wonderful friend anybody ever had. How can you say such a thing?"

"Because I have betrayed your trust in me," Tumnus wept. "Because I took advantage of you, for my own personal gain."


Knowing it was no use to lie, no sense in keeping up the charade any longer, Tumnus slowly lifted his dripping face to Lucy's, and his expression was the epitome of sorrow.

"You didn't just dream about me kissing you," he said forlornly. "It was the real thing."

Realizing what Tumnus was saying, Lucy gasped, "You don't mean…"

"I couldn't help it," Tumnus agonized.

Then, all at once, it spilled out of him: "I love you, Lucy Pevensie! I love you so much, it kills me. Not a day goes by when I don't think of you. I can hardly bear the idea of living my life without you. I know I'm not worthy of you, that you deserve someone better than me. Please don't think any evil of me, for kissing you the way I have. I truly didn't mean any harm by it; I only wanted to do something like this one time. I felt I couldn't go on if I didn't share at least one kiss with you. I never meant to get carried away. Oh, Lucy, forgive me—please, forgive me!"

With that, Tumnus plunged his head into his hands once more and bawled.

He expected Lucy to be angry with him, to chastise him, or, at the very least, to get up and leave him there and then. But Lucy did none of those things.

She remained completely still for a time, listening to the sound of Tumnus's tears. Then, at length, she said, her voice exceptionally soft, "Say that again?"

"I'm sorry," Tumnus bemoaned.

"No, no, the other thing. The part where you mentioned loving me."

Hearing this, Tumnus looked up once again, and there was a slight hint of perplexity in his eyes amid the turbulent waves of grief and remorse.

"Do you really mean that?" Lucy asked him. Rather than sounding appalled or disgusted, she sounded…hopeful. "Do you honestly, truly love me?"

There was no other answer Tumnus could give her.

"Yes," said the faun thickly, as a fresh tear trailed down his cheek, shining like a diamond in the sun. "I love you so very much, Lucy Marie Pevensie…I love you, heart and soul."

Then Lucy, rather than up and leave him, drew even closer to him, and tightened her hold on him.

She laid her head in the warm crook of his neck, and Tumnus hesitated only a second before daring to embrace her in return.

"Well, that's a relief," he heard the girl murmur into his neck, as they remained like that.

"A relief?" Tumnus's ears pricked up at the word. He pushed himself back, far enough so that he and Lucy were facing each other properly, and he questioned, "What—what do you mean by that?"

She smiled, and reached up with one hand to touch his stubbly jaw. "Because I've been wanting to tell you the same thing, for the longest time," she said.

Tumnus's heart nearly stopped on the spot. Did his ears deceive him? Surely, Lucy didn't mean…surely, she had to be joking…

"You mean to say—"

"Yes," said Lucy, before he could ask the question. "I love you, too, Tumnus."

Tumnus couldn't believe it. Lucy loved him? All this time, and she never told him?

"You…you do?" he practically spluttered.

"I do." She lightly traced his jawline with her fingertips, causing him to shiver involuntarily. "I would do anything for you, Tumnus. No other man in the world would have my heart."

Tumnus was at a loss of what to say, or what to think. It was as though he had been struck dumb.

Lucy couldn't help smiling at the disbelieving look on his face. She made no further comment, but instead decided to show Tumnus just how she felt about him. After all, like they said, actions spoke louder than words. Slowly, the girl wound her arms about the faun's neck, and this time, it was she who put her lips against his, and kissed him.

The kiss started off lightly at first, softer than a butterfly's touch, but started to deepen progressively.

At first, Tumnus remained as still and unmoved as a block of ice; then, in a very short time, he melted into a puddle. With tears streaming down his face afresh, he closed his eyes, pressed Lucy to his heart, and fervently kissed her back. Together, they kissed until both of them could scarcely breathe, until Lucy found her own cheeks wet with Tumnus's tears. But she didn't care, and only went on kissing him. Just as Tumnus had done, she was soon kissing him all over his face, rather than just his mouth alone.

She kissed his moist cheeks, his feverish brow, and when Tumnus buried his face in her neck, she kissed the top of his head and toyed with his unruly curls.

They remained in that position for a long time, in silence, clinging to one another as if they would never let go. Eventually, Tumnus felt himself calming down; his tears ceased to flow, and his ragged breathing eased, until he was breathing deeply and evenly into Lucy's shoulder. By the time they pulled away at last, Tumnus rubbed his hand self-consciously about his face, certain he must look a real sight. Fortunately, Lucy just so happened to have her handkerchief handy in her pocket, so she promptly fished it out.

"It's a good thing I carry this around with me, in case of emergencies," she gently teased.

Tumnus made a half-laugh at that. He started to take the handkerchief from her, but she said, "No, no, allow me."

So saying, she took the soft, sweet-scented cloth and proceeded to dry his tears herself.

Tumnus closed his eyes at her exceedingly gentle touch. Lucy didn't hurry, and when she was finally finished, she said with a smile, "There…that's better." Tumnus smiled back, and Lucy was glad to see it was genuine, untainted by sadness, shame, or self-hate; his eyes radiating nothing but joy, relief, and a love as vast as the sea.

"Thank you," was all Tumnus said, still speaking with a hint of emotion.

Ultimately, Lucy rose to her feet, and held out her hand to Tumnus to help him. "Shall we return to the castle now?"

Tumnus agreed. "May we walk there, slowly?" he requested.

"I'm in no hurry." As they gathered up their things, Lucy added on wryly, "Besides, I'm not all that eager to face Susan. She'll kill me for stealing her best cloth and using it for a picnic spread."

In spite of himself, Tumnus couldn't help laughing.

But he was serious when he took Lucy by the hand, twining his large, strong fingers with her small, slender ones. He gave a firm, loving squeeze, and she readily squeezed back.

Together, they walked leisurely back to the Cair, holding hands all the way.