Disclaimer: I don't own Narnia or Eustace, unfortunately.

I wrote all three chapters of this last night while we were watching Prince Caspian, and it was late, so parts of it might be kind of choppy. Also for chapters 2 & 3 I didn't have The Silver Chair or The Last Battle with me so I apologize if any details are off. I guess chapter 3 has spoilers for LB.

Hope you like it! Reviews are always welcome. :)

Catch Me Again

Before, there was nothing else: just him. He didn't care a crumb for anyone else, least of all his prissy cousins. He knew exactly what they thought of him, but he was just misunderstood. It never crossed his mind that since everyone "misunderstood" him, he might actually be kind of unreasonable. It wasn't even a thought. He was just himself, and maybe people should get used to it.

Then they came for the summer. It was stupid, he thought. He couldn't stand them. "It's only for a little while," Alberta told him apologetically. "You'll live." So he decided to make the best of it and torture them as much as possible while they were there. At least it would give him something to do.

Lucy was put up in the spare room with That Awful Picture, the one that gave him shivers whenever he caught a glimpse of it. She and Edmund would just sit there and stare at it, like it was going to do something. They talked about the strangest things, too, things that he could not understand but that gave him similar chills to the ones he got from the picture. "What's Narnia?" he asked them once. A mistake. Lucy's big eyes lit up bright, and she started rambling on and on, moving her arms around a lot. "It's the most wonderful place, Eustace! You would love it. It's perfectly marvelous there, and there are fauns and centaurs and Peter was High King…"

Right. He didn't even know what a centaur was. He looked it up in the dictionary and was nearly sick. He had known his cousins weren't quite normal from the beginning, but he hadn't known they were insane. Who but some naïve three- or four-year-old would make up games about a place with mythical animals and crud like that, and actually believe it?

He informed his mother: "They're completely crazy! They can't stay here!" But stay there they did.

He hated water. Hated ships. Hated blasted Narnian kings and lost lords and uninhabited islands. He could think of no words to describe the first half of his voyage on the Dawn Treader better than utterly miserable. Of course, he realized later, everyone else on the ship thought he was pretty miserable too.

He still couldn't quite believe that he was actually in another world when they reached Dragon Island. He was convinced he would wake up any minute and find it had all been a horribly vivid nightmare.

However, that didn't explain why he was so tired. You didn't get tired in dreams, did you? Why was every single day of their stupid voyage work, work, work? He was sick of being helpful (or his equivalent of helpful). He deserved a day off. So he went for a walk and a climb, got lost, and ended up finding a dragon's cave.

At the time he didn't know it was a dragon's cave. He didn't really care what it was, but it had Useful Treasure inside it, so he crawled up onto the treasure pile, put one of the bracelets on his arm, and fell fast asleep.

Being a dragon was the worst experience he ever had in his life. He lost all his pride, having to watch the rest of the crew bother over what on earth was to be done about him, and realizing that his cousins really did care about him after all.

He resigned himself to being a dragon forever. By this time he had given up his fantasy that all this could be a dream, and he wondered if he would have to live out the rest of his days alone on the island. It was a scary fate, and made him cry, which he never would have done before, especially not in front of anyone else.

He was on his own, he felt, to face the end, until, one dark night, there was a lion. The lion, who was frightening in a way he could not explain. He felt for the first time in his life that, even now, as a dragon, he was very small and helpless. The lion, who spoke straight into his mind: "Follow me." And how could he not? The lion who took away the layers of the boy who was a dragon, and made him the boy who was Aslan's Eustace. As opposed to Harold and Alberta's.

Aslan's Eustace was a better one, everyone thought, and he himself agreed. He finally understood that he had been lost, wandering, and now he was found. He was found.

You number my wanderings; put my tears in Your bottle; are they not in Your book?
Psalm 56:8

And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son." But the father said to his servants, "Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found."
Luke 15: 20-24