Author's Note: Umm...let's just say that I got a request from a certain wonderful reviewer by the name of KatieMalfoy19, requesting an epilogue. Hey, I thought, what the heck? *winks and grins*.
Anyway, a final thank you to the 21 reviewers – you all know who you are! – who have stuck with the story and I sincerely hope you all enjoyed it!
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
By Fan of the Just King
Epilogue: Forgiven and Forgotten
(Boy's train, England, after returning from Narnia)
Edmund sighed and tugged agitatedly at his scarf, glancing out the window at the rapidly darkening countryside. Night was fast approaching, and, if the blackened clouds in the sky were any indication, it was going to storm.
Greatly contrasting the environment they'd just left behind in Narnia.
Just thinking about what had happened and the events that passed during their second visit made the hairs on the back of Edmund's neck stand up.
Shaking his head, his gaze returned to the window, and found it darker than before.
He was so immersed in watching the dreary landscape; he almost didn't hear the soft creak of the compartment door.
His eyes didn't even have to leave the window for him to know who it was.
"Yes, Peter?" Edmund's voice was tired and bored.
Peter smiled slightly, and just sat down opposite him.
Both boys were silent for many minutes, but Peter was the first to speak.
"I get the feeling you're hiding something from me Ed", it was said softly, but it sent a lead weight labelled "guilt" down into Edmund's stomach.
He hated hiding things from his siblings, and he knew well enough that they hated it too. But after his relationship with his brother had been so severely severed, and was just beginning to mend, he couldn't bring himself to burden his brother further.
A tender hand squeezed his shoulder comfortingly, and Edmund's eyes flew open to see Peter gazing at him imploringly.
"You're right Peter; I didn't tell you everything the other night. I wasn't sure what you would think if I did tell you what happened. But, well, it's almost as if I didn't – or couldn't – trust you."
Looking slightly offended, Peter moved to sit down next to him.
"Do you trust me now?" Peter asked quietly.
"I don't know Peter, what you did to me, what you had done to me, this past year in England and in Narnia; it really hurt me, especially when-" Edmund found himself unable to finish that sentence, as his throat tightened and a tear leaked out of his eye.
Luckily, both brothers understood what he meant.
Peter's own eyes were fogging up, as he opened his arms to an embrace, which Edmund gladly accepted.
They sat like that for a long time, silent, even as the students up and down the corridor chatted excitedly, even as the stormy wind and rain pelted against the train windows, making it impossible to see anything outside.
(1 hour later, Peter and Edmund's dorm, boy's school)
Both boys retired to their shared dorm earlier than usual that night, after separating from their mates, pleading exhaustion.
Edmund stayed up, reading, while Peter sorted himself out in the bathroom.
When Peter returned, it was to find his brother still reading, with his Legal Studies textbook open on his lap.
"Ed, you do know that you don't need that for another few days yet?" he teased, raising an eyebrow.
Edmund simply stayed silent.
Peter sighed and put his clothes down on his bed, before sitting beside his brother, unknowingly using the same imploring look as he had on the train.
"Are you ready to trust me yet?" he asked tentatively.
Edmund bit his lip, and then smiled up at Peter.
"Are you ready to let me trust you?" he returned, the cheeky gleam back in his eyes.
Peter rolled his own.
"Would you stop answering my questions with questions, and give me a straight answer?" he shot back, grinning fondly.
It took a moment for Edmund to respond. He placed his textbook on the bedside table, and looked down.
"Like I told you on the train, I didn't tell you everything that night. But I'll tell you now" his voice was small and tight.
Peter nodded wordlessly.
"Well, you asked me what was behind my reaction in the field. The truth is; I saw Her. The grass at my feet morphed into her face."
Peter immediately felt ashamed, and, blushing, he tore his gaze away from Edmund's face.
That one statement did more to hurt him than all his wounds from England and Narnia combined, it hurt so much, it was almost killing his soul to think about what his anger and selfish pride had done to his brother.
He had broken a promise he'd made to Edmund so long ago after their very first battle in Narnia.
Edmund, I promise you won't ever have to see her face again, not if I have anything to say about it.
His own voice echoed tauntingly in his mind, making his eyes swim with tears of shame, regret and guilt.
That small, gentle voice raised Peter from the depths of his despair. Through the glistening, yet blurry haze, he could just make out Edmund's concerned face.
"I broke my promise" he mumbled sadly.
Shock and slight exasperation were the clearest expressions visible on Edmund's face now. After a moment, his dark eyes softened, and he pulled his brother into a hug.
For a few minutes, the only sounds in the room were Peter's muffled sobs. Edmund said nothing, simply letting his brother free himself of all emotion.
When his sobs had quietened, Peter raised his head and found Edmund fondly glaring at him.
"Oh Peter, you great git, don't even try to think that what I saw was your fault. If it's anyone's fault, it's mine, not yours. Hear me?" Fond exasperation wove itself into his brother's voice.
Smiling, Peter nodded against his chest.
His smile slipped however, when he felt Edmund shift uncomfortably.
"You know, I really did forgive you for what happened last time Ed" Peter whispered reassuringly.
"I know, but after I saw her face, I wondered, whether it was all a lie. Whether you'd forgiven me because you had no choice, or because you were afraid of what the Narnians would think if you didn't – or maybe what Aslan would think. Or if you'd lied to me from the start" at that point, Edmund found his throat constricted and his shoulders trembling.
Peter, ignoring his own streaming eyes, simply held him, returning the comfort from only a few minutes before.
They fell asleep together that night, holding each other in warm embraces. Nightmares were chased away by the strong brotherly love between the two. Neither mind was filled with lies, or of an unforgotten betrayal.