Disclaimer: I do not own. Nor do I profit.
Special thanks to beta Notes from the Classroom.
The Lion's Smile
"You want to leave Paradise?" Aslan said. His voice was almost a low roar. Gone was the air of friendly familiarity that he always seemed to have when he was at Home.
"Yes," said Lucy, head high.
Aslan looked at Tumnus. Coughing, Tumnus shuffled his hooves closer to Lucy. "I wish to go with her."
"All are free to leave at anytime," Aslan said. "But know this - if you leave, before you return, you will face real life...suffering, pain, fear, and sadness. And at the end you will face True Death."
"True Death?" asked Lucy, her face showing no fear, only curiosity. Tumnus wasn't certain he looked as brave.
"You have not guessed?" said Aslan. "Lucy, unlike most of the denizens here, you, Peter, Edmund and Tumnus never died -"
Tumnus blinked. "That is why I still look old!" He blinked again. Did he just interrupt Aslan? Swallowing, he said, "Excuse me Your-"
"You are correct, faun," said Aslan.
Tumnus' ears twitched. He interrupted Aslan. Aslan interrupted him...was the mighty lion teasing him?
Aslan winked at Tumnus. "That was the nature of the shortcut."
Perhaps he wasn't mad at them after all.
Aslan swished his long tail and gave hard looks at them both. "Because you still keep the forms of your former lives, you can move onto your next life and keep all your memories of this one. Most have to go through the process of being reborn."
Well, that sounded promising.
Lucy's head dropped. "But then Lady Astrid cannot leave with Edmund -"
Tumnus' ears drooped with the realization. He'd been thinking only of himself.
Aslan sat down. His voice was soft. "Lady Astrid chose to stay with her children and her husband to fulfill her duty to them, despite the trials she would face in the physical world. She will be rewarded for her bravery. But, it is true, when they choose to return to the land of the living, she will not be able to keep her current form or her memories.
"However, we are talking about your destinies, not Edmund's and Astrid's. In your case, staying together involves another difficulty. Narnia is gone. There are many other worlds. Worlds of men and worlds of fauns...but very few of both."
Tumnus licked his lips. "I would gladly become a human man...if that is what would allow us to stay together."
"And I would gladly become a faun," said Lucy.
Aslan looked between the two of them. "If I change either of you from one creature to the other, you won't be you anymore...No, you must go to a world where men and fauns both dwell...there is such a place, and it is a place where you are sorely needed, but it is a very dangerous path."
"We stay together," said Lucy pressing her hand into Tumnus'.
Tumnus wasn't thrilled by the words 'dangerous path'. He'd never known the great lion to exaggerate - but Lucy wanted to stay together...
"Yes," he said squeezing her hand. He was rather impressed that his voice didn't come out a squeak.
His face grave, Aslan's eyes flickered between the two of him. And then his lips turned up in what was unmistakably a feline smile. "Well chosen, Lucy Daughter of Eve and Tumnus Good Faun."
Rising to his feet the great lion said, "Come, I will tell you all you need to know."
x x x
Well, Aslan said it would be dangerous. Tumnus looked about at the new world. It was early morning in an area that looked a great deal like the Lantern Wastes. The ground was hilly and rocky. In the distance he could see great outcroppings of rock. The forest appeared rather young - although Tumnus could not be quite certain. Some of the tree species were unfamiliar.
It was snowing - already enough to cover Tumnus' hooves.
"Wow," said Lucy, a happy smile on her face. "I'm cold."
Tumnus didn't find the cold so endearing. He looked down at her. They'd only been allowed to bring with them what they'd left their worlds in. For Tumnus that was his scarf, judge robe, and his spectacles...where their metal frames touched his nose he felt the cold bite him.
Lucy wore only the skirt and stockings that were the style of Spare Oom, a white top and thin sweater Tumnus didn't think was even wool. She had a small pack upon her back. Her teeth were chattering.
Tumnus took off his spectacles, put them in the protective case in the pocket of his robe, and then he unbuttoned the dark wool garment.
"What are you doing?" said Lucy.
"Giving you my robe," said Tumnus. "It really isn't very flattering the way it puffs out around my tail."
Wrapping the garment around her shoulders he said, "Lucy, I survived one hundred years of winter with only a scarf. I'll be fine."
As he said it, an icy wind cut through the air and it fell on his naked skin like nails. His haunches, alas, where covered only by his summer coat - even his legs felt the bite. "However," he said, putting an arm around her shoulders, "We need shelter. I suggest we head towards that rock formation. It looks like limestone; there is bound to be a cave somewhere."
They found no true cave at the large rock formation, although it was limestone. The best they could find was an overhang, but it at least blocked the wind on two sides and kept out the snow.
His hands were shaking with cold and his stomach was clenching with hunger - but Lucy looked far worse. There was something to be said for having half one's body covered by fur, even if it was just one's summer coat.
Tumnus began arranging some sparse twigs and branches they found to prepare a fire. "My father taught me long ago to make fire by drilling one stick into another...takes a great deal of time -"
"I have matches in my bag!" Lucy blinked. "Bread, cheese and a few rather sad apples - I forgot we'd just gone to the market when we left..."
Hurriedly she sat down next to Tumnus. Soon they had a cheerful little fire and were eating cheese sandwiches as the apples unfroze next to the blaze. The bread was rough, the cheese poor quality...and the sandwiches tasted wonderful.
Laughing at how obscenely good such poor food tasted they sat next to the fire licking the crumbs off their fingers, shoulder to shoulder, Tumnus' robe behind them both - the fire warmed their faces. And then Tumnus began to feel quite a different type of warmth that took him quite by surprise.
With a finger still in his mouth he turned his eyes directly to Lucy. Her nose was wrinkling in laughter in that charming way it did and she was eying a slight sheen of oil left by the cheese with greedy relish. Perhaps it was the time spent in Aslan's country and abstinence, but Tumnus couldn't help thinking it was the most arousing thing he'd ever seen. He huffed out a hard breath and Lucy's eyes met his. Her fingers hung in the air. He wanted to drop his forehead to hers, wanted to kiss her, speak the vows and complete what they had begun so long ago. And yet - the look in her eyes was not the same look of determination he'd seen in his cave when she straddled him, or when she pinned him to her bed. She looked uncertain, shy and a bit frightened.
He took a deep breath. It had been a long time, and the time in Aslan's country had been different...she could look beyond his graying hair and worry lines there. She loved him, he didn't doubt that, but maybe here in the real world, his touch did not elicit the same response from her it once had.
Bowing his head he looked towards the fire. The flames crackled and several sparks loudly popped into the air...the fuel would soon be extinguished.
Hopping to his hooves, he said, "We need more wood."
"I should come too," said Lucy moving to her feet.
Tumnus knew he couldn't say no. That would just invite disagreement from the Valiant Queen, even if cold did bite at her more severely. He looked down at his hooves. "Lucy, one of us should stay here and keep the fire going -"
"We only have a limited supply of matches, we should conserve them," Tumnus said, backing towards the opening.
"And perhaps I'll only be able to find larger branches and we'll need the momentum of this smaller fire to get them going -" said Tumnus, hopping outside into the snow.
"That second line of reasoning is rather poor, Mister Tumnus!" said Lucy knowing he was far more likely to find small kindling than large. "You're out of practice, master diplomat!"
And suddenly, things felt back to normal between them. Winking at her he said, "Ta-ta," and in a few quick hops he was on top of the rock face. Without sprouting faun legs she'd never catch him.
On higher ground, as he expected, he found that the small trees had had their branches buffeted and torn by the wind. He went about gathering them as quickly as he could, trying not to think of Lucy's strange look. "Focus on survival, Tumnus, focus on survival," he said to himself.
His arms were full and he was heading back to their little camp when he happened to look closely at a little patch of earth revealed by the wind beneath the snow. A memory stirred from long ago. Tapping the patch with a hoof he gave a happy shout. It was volcanic ash. Why, if he heated some limestone and then mixed the result with this ash, water, sand and small stones he'd have a rather wonderful cement...if he couldn't find a proper cave he'd build one -
He shook himself. It was too cold to be building walls of cement. He'd obviously been around humans too long...being led astray by curiosity when he should be concerned about freezing to death.
"Focus on survival, Tumnus, focus on survival," he said, straightening to head back down his chosen path.
As he took the first steps he heard the voices...very faintly, his ears strained to hear them over the soft notes of the wind.
"What is it?"
The words weren't spoken in the language of Narnia or Spare Oom, but Tumnus understood them-a gift Aslan had bestowed on Lucy and Tumnus before they left.
Tumnus dropped all but two heavy pieces of kindling and was bounding to Lucy a second later.
The voices continued. "But...I think it is female."
Lucy's voice piped up; he could hear it even above the pounding of his own heart. "Why, yes, I am female, a daughter of Eve -"
"Daughter of who?"
"There are no female humans. That is the rubbish of legends. That is why the raiders always rape females when they catch them..."
"But the legends say he will come with a human -"
Tumnus hopped over the rock face and landed squarely between Lucy and a group of fifteen or so faun males. They did not look like Narnian fauns. They wore clothes on their upper halves -rough coats of sheepskin. They all were brandishing crude bows and wore knives at their waists. They were also all rather short. They reminded him more of the peasants in Pruressia than fauns...although they were a great deal cleaner.
"Ahem," said Tumnus, handing one of the branches back to Lucy, and brandishing his own like a sword...not that it would do much good. "There will be none of that." What had Aslan said? All good hearts would find their way Home upon death; he had a feeling he'd be back in paradise rather soon.
To his surprise, the fauns fell back.
"He's so tall!" one little faun whispered.
"And look at his horns!" said another, "Just like the prophecy."
"Do you really think he lost them battling the Snow Witch?" said someone else.
"Could it really be the Arrkeetect?" asked another.
One scowling faun stepped forward. "What is your relation...to this human?" he asked.
"Well..." said Tumnus."We are betrothed," said Lucy, her fingers going to mesh with the fur along Tumnus' spine.
"Bee-troothet? What sort of slippery word is this?" said the angry faun.
"It means we intend to marry," said Tumnus.
The angry faun turned to his companions and they began murmuring to themselves
Tumnus used the opportunity to lean back to Lucy and explain. "Fauns really don't do long engagements - or any engagements at all." Then on impulse he kissed her cheek. His eyes met hers and she smiled, completely without fear. The cold air, her warm cheek, her smile, her hands in his fur – he tried to memorize the moment not sure if it was close to his last.
"Well, why don't you get on with it?" asked the angry faun, giving Tumnus a start.
Straightening, Tumnus looked about for an explanation. "It is rather cold..."
Another faun came forward, "How do we know she isn't one of the human raiders?"
"Human raiders?" asked Lucy.
Snorts went up among the fauns. Someone whispered, "Well, we've never seen a female raider..."
A young faun stepped forward, eying Lucy and Tumnus warily. "Every fall for the last three years they've come inland on their boats and raided our lands - stolen our food, killed our livestock, cut down the dryads for their boats, raped and pillaged - if it weren't for the stores we hide deep within our caverns we'd never live past the winter. As it is, we do so just barely."
Tumnus shuddered. No, Aslan had not exaggerated. With the fine cement they had, and the plentiful stones for bricks... "They must have highly sophisticated technology to get past the walls of your..." he blinked. The word he was looking for didn't exist in their language. "Fortress." He said the last word in Narnian.
"For-tu-ress?" said a faun.
"Walls?" said another.
Tumnus cleared his throat. "Why, yes, you have the makings for a most lovely..." He searched frantically for the word cement and couldn't find it. "...bonding agent for stones right here. You could build quite sturdy fortifications that would be very defensible -"
One of the young fauns jumped. "The Arrkeetect has come - Five Springs is saved!"
All the fauns started talking at once.
Tumnus twitched his ears nervously. "Well...I don't know -"
A firm blow to his back cut him off. From behind him Lucy whispered, "Believe me, I've done the whole prophecy business before. Just go with it."
x x x
"They have so little," said Lucy, her brow furrowed with concern. "And they gave us so much."
Around them in the small abode, their hosts had bestowed upon them bread, cheese, wine and even some dried fruit.
Kneeling down, Tumnus inspected a wheel of cheese that had been given to him by a young female faun who couldn't have been more than sixty. Tumnus had tried to decline the gift but stopped when it appeared his refusal might make her cry.
He sighed. "Yes."
There was an elevated area on the far side of the room that was draped in furs and fleece. A fire blazed in a hearth. The only other light came from the windows. They weren't glazed; instead, they had animal skin stretched over wooden frames that let in a dim glow.
Five Springs was a small town, with dwellings tucked in the living walls of a cliff - some chambers seemed natural, some painstakingly chipped away by hand. Lucy said the town reminded her of the cliff dwellings built by native Americans - only without sufficient elevation for easy defense.
The town got its name from the five springs that emerged steaming from the cliff face itself - around one there was a public bath, which explained the inhabitants' surprising cleanliness despite the season and their level of technology.
"No cement..." Lucy said. "No writing, no numbers, even their bows and arrows look crude. At least they have soap and believe in bathing. Aslan was right...we are sorely needed." She put a hand on Tumnus' shoulders. "Do you really think you'll be able to build the wall by next fall?"
Placing the wheel of cheese down, Tumnus rose to his hooves and put his hands on her hips. "Yes. The work is more than half done for me by the local geography. Come." He led her to the door of the dwelling. They passed through the skins and Tumnus put his arm around Lucy's shoulder. "Do you see the rocks that jut from the ground just there, there, and there? They form a natural wall. I will just be filling in the gaps. From what I hear, their raiders aren't particularly sophisticated - just more motivated..." Tumnus squinted. "I really don't understand why they haven't tried to build more defenses themselves..."
"After the Vikings started their raids in Spare Oom, it took years before the people of England thought to start putting walls around their monasteries, towns and villages. It isn't so hard to believe. And they can't use logs here because most of the trees are dryads."
She shivered and Tumnus pulled her back inside.
"Next year it should be easy enough to dissuade any would-be marauders..." Tumnus said. He took a deep breath. "I worry about the second year...they'll know of the walls, they may bring more boats, more men-"
"I thought of that, too," said Lucy, leaning into him. "They bring their boats up the river that is about a mile from here. Would it be possible to dam it and let the water go when the boats approached?"
Tumnus smiled at her. She was perfect. "It would be ambitious...but yes, I think it might work."
He slipped his arm off her shoulder and put his hands on her hips once more. Her eyes didn't leave his. He almost leaned in for a kiss and then stopped. The look of concern was there again.
What was he getting her into? She was human...fertile every twenty eight days - a land that would be at war in a few seasons...
"You don't have to go through with this." They both spoke the words at once and then stared at each other wide-eyed.
Taking a quick breath, Lucy said, "There are so many female fauns here. They're so lovely. I -the prophecy didn't say you'd marry me. Just that you'd come with me."
Tumnus shook his head and pulled her close. "Lucy, no, no, I don't care about that. I just...your safety. To be with child in this place, at this time...There are things we might do that could delay pregnancy, but eventually..." Eventually, they'd get careless, as he had Midsummer Night's Eve. Even as these thoughts passed through his mind, he could feel his body begin to respond to her.
Her hands knotted in the fur along his spine and his breath caught. He kissed the side of her neck.
"Tumnus," she whispered. "This is home now...and I have a feeling that here it will always be a dangerous time."
"And..." Tumnus said abashedly, "I'm not the young faun you remember."
Lucy pulled her head back and rolled her eyes. "Tumnus, you don't look that old! I don't know, maybe just early forties with an extra sprinkling of gray." She licked her lips. "It's actually a relief, really. I'll have a little longer to go before I look older than you."
Tumnus felt suddenly happy, and impish. "I'll have you know," he said, dragging his fingers up Lucy's front over her breasts and earning a satisfying intake of breath from her. "In my early forties I would barely have come to here..." He stopped at just below her chin.
"Don't tease me, faun." Her look was fierce.
"Then...Shall we start where we left off?" Tumnus asked taking her hands and then kissing her lips.
"Yes," said Lucy between kisses.
"Lucy Pevensie, I, Tumnus, in the name of Aslan, take you to be my wife." He nuzzled her neck. "Now you say the same...but...opposite..."
Fortunately, Lucy was a quick study. "Tumnus, I, Lucy Pevensie, in the name of Aslan, take you to be my husband."
Tumnus heart leapt. He caught her up in a deep kiss as soon as the words were out of her mouth. In Aslan's country almost every moment had been joy…but this moment was ecstasy.
As he pulled away Lucy beamed. "Is that it, are we married?"
Tumnus blinked and looked over at the raised sleeping platform. "Well...there is the final part of the ceremony..."
~ Fin ~
This is my most read fanfiction...and my least reviewed! (That makes me so, so, sad).
If you enjoyed this, please consider checking out my original fiction. Publishing original stories is how I keep my husband off my back for writing so much fanfiction! For some little mischievous mythological type action, you might like my "I Bring the Fire" series. The first part of the series is only 99 cents, and stars Myth!Loki. There is a free excerpt in "My Stories", links to it and the sequel "Monsters" are in my profile.
For sci-fi goodness check out my short story "Murphy's Star". It is also only 99 cents. Links are in my profile.
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