So, after two months we've finally reached the end of this little diddy. I can't believe how fast that went.
I won't linger, instead I'll save all the mushy stuff for down the bottom.
Okay, well... let's go :)
Disclaimer: I don't own Narnia, but I do own someone who lives there. Zing!
A sense of celebration embraced Cair Paraval as father guided the four Pevensie children toward the thrones that had been awaiting them from the moment Narnia came to exist. I followed behind, walking alongside Mr. Tumnus, my bare feet pressing into the cool marble. Our Kings and Queens were dressed in the finest velvet, true coronation attire while I wore a cream silk dress chosen by none other than Peter. Lucy had asked for Tumnus to crown her, Susan and Edmund while I was to crown Peter. It was an honour I could not even begin to describe.
The Centaurs lined the path to the four thrones, their swords creating an arch that parted as we passed under it. I had never seen such a phenomenal setting in my sixteen years on this earth; I felt so privileged to be a part of it. This tale would forever be told, no matter what the era.
Reaching the steps that led to our destination, we paused, Tumnus and I waiting behind father and those who were ready to accept their titles. The Beavers waited with us, the crowns sitting on two navy blue velvet pillows. Pride shot from Peter to me and I smiled bright, more proud of him now than ever.
Father turned back to the crowd as the Pevensies continued on, standing before their thrones, all smiles and wide eyes. I waited at the bottom of the steps, watching as the historic scene played out before me.
"To the glistening Eastern Sea, I give you Queen Lucy, the Valiant."
Lucy smiled even wider than before as Tumnus moved to stand before her. With careful fingers he picked her small, delicate silver crown from the pillow and placed it on her head.
"To the great Western wood, King Edmund, the Just."
I bit down on my bottom lip to hold in my laughter as Edmund stood tall, crown on his head, shooting his brother a disbelieving, wide eyed grin.
"To the radiant Southern sun, Queen Susan, the Gentle."
Susan smiled, her eyes soft as Tumnus placed the crown upon her head.
Father fell silent as I ascended the steps, taking the elegant golden crown as it was handed to me. Peter lowered his head, bending down slightly when I reached him. I smiled and placed the crown on his head, curling a knuckle under his chin, urging him to look up at me. When he did I bent down and pressed my lips to his forehead in a soft kiss before stepping away.
When our moment was over father announced the final crowning.
"And to the clear Northern sky, I give you King Peter, the Magnificent."
Before Aslan and all those who came to watch, the two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve sat upon their thrones, taking their rightful places as Narnian rulers.
"Once a King or Queen of Narnia, always a King or Queen," father told them, pride and affection coating his words. "May your wisdom grace us until the stars rain down from the heavens."
"Long live King Peter! Long live Queen Susan! Long live King Edmund! Long live Queen Lucy!"
I shouted and cheered along with everyone else who bore witness to this moment, laughing when Peter met my eyes.
A traditional Narnian celebration was quick to follow; music began to play and all those who wished to began to dance. Food was placed on elegantly decorated tables and conversation sparked among absolutely everyone. Father took a moment to properly congratulate our new rulers as I watched the joyful dancing from my place on the steps.
"Do you care to tell me why the most beautiful girl in all of Narnia isn't dancing?" an all too familiar voice asked, two strong arms wrapping around my stomach and pulling me back against a warm chest.
"She's not dancing because she's waiting for her King," I replied, leaning my head back against his shoulder. "Congratulations, Peter. I have no words to explain how proud I am of you."
"Words aren't needed," he told me. "I know how you feel."
I couldn't help but laugh as his teasing shot through our connection, giving away the punch line of his joke.
Turning in his arms I wound mine around him, burying my face in his chest. He sighed happily and kissed my hair before running his lips along the crystal in my tiara that I was given that day in the snow. A day that felt like a lifetime ago. While the crystal had been designed to match his eyes it didn't hold a candle to the real thing.
"Now… about that dance," he urged, taking my hand and leading me down the stairs, laughing when I ruffled Edmund's hair as we passed him. Lucy was already down on the dance floor, shaking and bopping with Beaver. I couldn't see Susan but I knew she would be around somewhere.
Leading me into the centre of the dance floor Peter stepped back and bowed gracefully before me. "Miss Arabella, would you honour me with a dance?"
"King Peter, feel free to have them all," I replied through a giggle as he pulled me close and began to twirl me about.
While he had rights to every dance I had to offer he still handed me to Edmund when he asked for one. I danced until my feet began to ache, opting then to sit on the stairs and watch as my bonded partner danced with his youngest sister. Seeing Lucy stand on her brothers feet while they danced would forever be the cutest thing I ever had the chance to bear witness to.
I looked over my shoulder to see my father standing behind me. "Yes?"
"Would you like to walk along the beach with me?" he asked, tilting his head toward the open air.
"Of course," I replied, rising to my feet and twisting my fingers in his mane as he led me outside.
We spoke about trivial things as we wandered down the hillside, bringing up old memories and the new ones we had begun to make. I couldn't shake the feeling that he had something to tell me, and I think he knew I was aware of it.
By the time we reached the beachfront I had figured it out.
"You're leaving again, aren't you?" I said. It was more of a statement than a question.
"I'm afraid so," he told me. "My assistance is no longer needed; at least for the moment."
"And I'm to stay here," I whispered.
He chuckled, nuzzling against my side. "You have Peter now, and he's going to need your help to rule this land. I will be back in time, of course. I can only stay away from my daughter for so long." And with a twinkle in his eye, he added, "of course, I get the feeling I'll have a wedding to attend soon."
I laughed, unable to be sad to see him leave. This was what he did; after all, he wasn't a tame Lion. "So, this is farewell?" I teased.
He smiled at me. "Until fate reunites us again."
I embraced him, burying my face in his mane as he pressed a paw against my back. "Take care of yourself out there," I told him. "Don't make me have to come and rescue you."
He laughed as he leaned away, pressing his wet nose to my cheek. "My beautiful girl," he murmured. "Remember, just because you're bonded to our High King doesn't mean you can be slack and not watch out for the others. You're their guardian after all."
Giggling, I leaned down and kissed his furry cheek, listening to the contented purr that escaped him. "Go on," I urged. "Go have fun."
He smiled at me. "It looks like someone is waiting to escort you back inside," he told me before turning away. "I'll see you again soon."
"Bye," I called, waving at my father, the Great Cat as he wandered aimlessly down the beach. Remembering his words I turned around to see none other than Peter leaning against an apple tree. "Were you following me?"
"Maybe, maybe not," he said innocently.
"I'm pretty sure you were," I said, smirking. "And I'm glad you did. I didn't want to have to wait until I got back up there to see you again."
His eyes softened and he reached for me. "Come on, sweetheart, we have a party to get back to."
With a smile, I took his hand.
Fifteen years later…
Extending my stride I pushed myself faster through the forest, my heavy paws thudding against the matted earth. Peter's steed galloped along beside me as we trailed a white Stag that seemed to remain just out of reach.
Hearing a low chuckle from beside me I veered to the left, squealing with laughter when his horse leaped out of the way.
"Now that's not fair," he grumbled although his handsome face was smiling.
"All's fair in love and war," I shot back, slowing to a trot. My ears twitched as I listened for the others, instead hearing nothing. "Did they stop?" I asked, looking back over my shoulder.
"They must have," he replied, turning his horse around. "We'd best go and see what happened."
I huffed a breath through my nose, loping back to the rest of our hunting party. Susan and Lucy were in the middle of tormenting their brother when we reached them.
"What did he say again, Susan?" Lucy asked of her older sister.
"You girls wait here at the castle and I'll get the Stag myself," Susan droned, imitating her brother.
I shifted mid-stride, walking toward Peter on two bare feet. "I'd catch it for you, but you don't like it when I win."
"That's because you cheat!" Lucy cried, glaring playfully down at me.
The others began to laugh, Edmund even cracking a smile.
I couldn't help but think back on the last fifteen years as the Pevensie siblings continued to tease each other. Peter and I had married the year after the coronation. Father was there just as he said he would be. The reception gave that very first celebration at Cair Paraval a run for its money; and recently the two of us had been talking about perhaps starting a family. Each of the Pevensie children had aged beautifully. Lucy grew taller than I had expected her to, her hair a long, rich mahogany. Susan, so I had been told, looked more like her mother every day. Edmund was a handsome young man with strong features and to my joy, his sharp wit had not left him.
And then there was my Peter. To me, there was none more breathtaking than him. He had let his hair grow long, the beautiful blonde locks flicking at his shoulders. He stood tall and strong with a bit of stubble along his jaw that I loved and he constantly made me admit to it. But to this day his eyes still made my heart skip. I fell in love with him a little bit more every day.
Glancing down at my left hand I examined my wedding ring for the umpteenth time. It was simple but so very Narnian: a deep silver band with two vines curving around the front of my finger, their leaves touching. Peter wore an exact replica.
"What's this?" Peter questioned, the sound of his voice pulling me from my thoughts. I looked up, watching as he dismounted his horse and took my hand, his thumb rubbing soft circles into my skin. My stomach fluttered at his touch.
I followed his gaze and found myself looking at a lamppost covered in vines and although it was daytime the light burned bright. My lips parted and I pulled in a shocked breath. It was not too far from here that Peter and I first saw each other all those years ago.
"This seems familiar," Peter murmured, a twinge of recognition dancing between us. He was aware of the fact that he knew this place. Perhaps his glance had been too fleeting to create any long term recognition. I remembered passing this lamppost time and time again during patrols; it was always my point of light when the clouds hid the moon from me.
"As if from a dream," Susan added.
"Or a dream of a dream," Lucy continued and it was only then that I noticed the others had joined us on the forest floor. Silence consumed us for a few moments before Lucy spoke again, curiosity and disbelief in her tone, "Spare Oom," was all she said before turning on her heel and dashing into the forest.
"Lucy," Peter called, unsure of where she was going.
"Not again," Susan hissed, following her sister into the trees.
I grinned and tugged on Peter's hand. I'd lost count of how many times we'd had to chase after the youngest Pevensie when she decided to wander off somewhere. This time was no different.
"Lu?" Peter questioned as she led us through a maze of trees.
"Come on!" she urged, sounding as excited as ever.
What on earth was she hoping to find?
The texture of the leaves began to change the further we walked. They scratched, then they pinched and then suddenly they were as soft as fur… because it was fur.
"These aren't branches," Peter said, sounding adorably confused.
"They're coats…" Susan whispered from behind us.
"I don't understand," I huffed as Lucy moved faster through these strange coat-bearing trees. "What business would coats have hanging in the middle of the forest?"
No one answered for a second later we found ourselves packed in extremely tight.
"Susan, you're on my foot!" Edmund complained.
"Peter, move off!"
"Will you stop squirming?"
"I'm not on your toe!"
And then we all fell forward.
I landed on my side, my cheek pressed against a hard wood floor. We were no longer surrounded by trees and the sound of the forest; instead, it was completely silent. Confused, I looked up, only to find that we were in some kind of room. I parted my lips and turned to ask Peter about this curious situation only to be cut off by my own gasp. I wasn't looking at Peter the adult; I was looking at Peter the sixteen year old boy. A quick glance around told me that he wasn't the only one that had been restored to his younger self and when I looked down at myself I saw that I was back to being sixteen as well.
What was going on?
When the door at the front of the room opened Peter pulled me tight to his side as I gazed at our hands in shock. There, on our left ring fingers, were our wedding rings. But… if we weren't in Narnia anymore – which is certainly what it seemed like – then why would we still have our rings? And why would my tiara still be nestled in my hair?
"Oh, there you are."
The old man who had entered the room watched us with furrowed brows before his eyes landed on me. As we sat there on the floor his eyes flicked from Peter to me to my tiara and then our rings as a knowing smile twitched its way onto his lips.
"What are you all doing in the wardrobe?"
Peeking over my shoulder I saw that we had, in fact, emerged from a wardrobe full of… fur coats. I looked to the others, meeting the eyes of Susan, Edmund and Lucy in turn. They all seemed surprised to see me in this strange new world, one that I was certainly not familiar with. I gave them a confused shrug and a gentle smile.
"You wouldn't believe us if we told you, sir," Peter replied and my eyes widened at the sound of his voice. He sounded so young, but… I suppose that was what we were.
We were young.
The old man straightened up and tossed something at Peter which he deftly caught. In his hand was a maroon ball… for what?
A flicker of amusement raced between us and I looked to Peter with confused eyes but all he did was smile back at me. With a soft sigh I leaned my head on his shoulder, twining the fingers of our left hands together and gazing up at the old man just as he replied with…
So there you go :) Arabella stumbled from her world into ours.
I wonder how she'll cope..
Before you ask, there will be a sequel or two. The next one will be called "Running Up That Hill" and won't be up for a while. I have a few others stories that need to be written first.
You guys... I have no words. You get me excited to write, eager to update and just all around giddy. For everyone that joined me on this crazy little adventure, and even if you've only just read this story, thank you for the support. I wouldn't be the writer I am today if I didn't have you. I've said it once and I'll say it again, you make all this worth it.
Oh! Before I forget, Arabella's wedding ring can be found in the For What It's Worth photo gallery on my blog.
Well, you know the drill :)
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