A/N: Okay, I spotted some mistakes in the last chapter, and I promise that I'm going to replace it with a fixed one asap. Thanks for the reviews! I did not expect such a good response! Oh, and yes, I'm sorry I forgot to put a disclaimer in the last chapter but hey, it's in the summary. I'm not necessarily proud of this chappie, so, sorry if it disappoints you. And sorry it took me quite a long time to update, the holiday got better of me. Happy New Year! How did you guys celebrate it? Would love to know your stories =))
Disclaimer: do not own Narnia
Lucy remembered the first time Edmund was really angry. The term 'angry' itself was a common thing to them, since they always bickered endlessly and sometimes they crossed the lines, but added by the word 'really' in front of it, it was nothing usual. At all.
When she was still five years old, and Edmund was seven, there was this boy in their neighborhood who lived just a few houses away from theirs. His name was Charles Burke. He was the same age as Edmund, and went to the same school with them.
Edmund was a bright student; it was something that no one could deny. Even in his early age, he had excelled beyond his classmates, and was occasionally praised for his brilliance.
And then, she guessed that Charles got jealous of Edmund.
They were sitting - Lucy and him - on their front porch, enjoying the cool breeze of autumn. He was patiently teaching her how to play chess, she remembered. Yes, Lucy, it's called a bishop. Their parents were out, taking Susan to shop for her school supplies (she complained that her notebooks were too plain whereas her friends' were colorful) while Peter was busy studying for his Math test that he had the next day.
And then he approached them and started teasing them for playing a sissy game.
At first, Edmund ignored him perfectly well, launching to a full explanation about how to move the queen and king for her, but she was distracted by what their neighbor was saying, and she barely paid any attention to him at all for the annoying boy was still mocking Edmund about being a teacher's pet.
Then suddenly Edmund had stopped talking, following her distracted gaze. He had sighed, and turned towards the intruder. "Sod off, Burke."
But he had refused, instead finding Edmund's response as something satisfying and he considered himself successful for being able to pull such a reaction from him.
She did not remember much, because the details were fuzzy but the next thing she remembered was her crying because Charles had insulted her. Insulted her what, she had forgotten, but one thing was perfectly carved in her mind. Edmund's expression when Charles threw the insult at her.
His dark eyes were narrowed angrily, teeth gritted and hands clenched tightly. He was glaring at the new comer, and had looks kill, their neighbor would have had dropped dead to the ground. Just like that. It was menacing, the look in his eyes.
She remembered rubbing her eyes with the sleeve of her cloth - (oh, how pathetic she was back then, to cry over something silly) but she had snapped her head up when Edmund made a sudden movement. He had launched himself at the laughing boy, who let out a startled yelp as they fell into a heap on the ground.
Edmund had raised his fist, and punched him.
Again. And again. And again.
It did not end just like that. But she was five, and Charles was covered in blood. What could she say? It was enough to make her screamed Peter's name. And as the older boy ran outside to separate them, she was sobbing hysterically.
But that was beside the point.
She had thought that it was impossible for Edmund to be anything scarier than that, but as she saw her brother standing there, in the middle of Professor Kirke's kitchen, she had to admit that she was wrong.
The young man's face was void of any emotion, and truth to be told, Lucy thought that anger was better than no emotion at all. His body was rigid, and his face was as white as a sheet of paper.
It was as if time itself had frozen.
No one moved a muscle, and Lucy doubted any of them was breathing since she herself could barely register what was happening.
Breathe, Lucy, breathe. She told herself, and after some struggling, she luckily managed to do so.
What kind of nonsense was this? Edmund...adopted? That's absurd!
Susan must have lied. Yes, yes, Susan must have lied to them. She immediately looked at her sister. But she was not moving her right index finger. That's the thing with Susan. Whenever she was lying, she would move her finger, although it was a brief movement, it was a habit that Lucy had caught her do since they were little.
But she was not moving her finger.
Her eyes searched her siblings'. But she found nothing in Edmund's, and worry in Susan's.
And then...Edmund laughed.
Lucy's eyes widened and she saw Susan's eyes flashing with shock. Edmund's laughter was nothing close to pleasant. It was cold, mirthless laugh. He never laughs like that. Not in front of them, at least. She had heard gossips around school that her brother could be quite intimidating sometimes. But she had never taken them seriously.
He moved his head in an amused gesture. "That's a good joke, Su. Now, are you planning on telling me if something's wrong?" He said, lifting his head to level his eyes with his sister's. But his eyes were hard, and there were doubts in them. Lucy knew that he must have realized that Susan was telling the truth. Edmund have always been more observant that she was, and because she had realized it, she knew that her brother must have already realized it too. She figured that it was denial. No surprise there, she herself did not believe the news.
"Su?" His voice had lost its forced sense of humor, and he was now advancing dangerously to Susan who was nervously biting her bottom lip.
Susan shook her head.
"Ed...I-" She tried to explain, but he beat her to it.
"No." His voice was stern, and he clenched his eyes shut. His face scrunched up, as if he was trying desperately to block everything out. "Shut up." The later came out as a whisper, spoken softly yet with a strong strength behind it.
"Edmund...," Susan tried again, taking a step towards him.
But Edmund jerked away from her, and when he snapped his eyes open, they were wide and flaring with anger. "Just shut up!" He shouted at her, flailing his arms wildly.
There was a heavy suffocating horrible silence after that.
Lucy would really like to do something, really, instead of merely watching her brother (Brother? Does that term still apply now? Hell, she did not even know what's real and what's not anymore.) trying desperately to calm his fury - which, if she may add, he seemed to be having such a difficulty to do so.
"I—"he choked, releasing a strangled breath. He seemed to want to say something but instead, he turned around and after throwing one last glance over his shoulder, he stormed out of the room, his shoulder brushing against Susan's on his way out.
"Edmund!" Lucy cried after him, and she realized that she was not paralyzed anymore. She immediately ran after Edmund, but Susan's hands were suddenly clenched firmly on her arm. She struggled against them, "Susan! Let me go!"
"No," Susan shook her head. "It's better to leave him alone."
What was she saying? Leave Edmund by himself? When he was in such state? Wasn't it Susan who had always told them not to keep anything by themselves? To pursue others when they're in trouble? To cheer others when they're sad? To calm others when they're in the brink of losing themselves?
Was it all a lie?
"What do you mean by that?" She snapped at her older sister, disappointed, angry, hurt, betrayed - you name it. Susan had even wanted to keep her away from what she was going to tell Edmund. What happened to all those promises?
"He's confused; he would want some time to think-"Susan replied, although her grip faltered as she answered her little sister.
Lucy saw it as an opportunity to break free from the almost painful grip, so she did so, yanking her right arm away. She twisted away from her sister, and was already half way out of the room when she heard Susan's quiet voice.
"Don't you want to know the truth?"
Lucy stopped abruptly. The truth?
Susan seemed to know what she was thinking. "Yes, the truth."
She was torn between two decisions. The truth sounded really tempting for her, because she would at least want some explanations, want some . . . things cleared. But Edmund? Edmund needed her. He was not at all good at keeping himself away from trouble whenever he's in a mood. And she was sure as hell he's in one.
Somehow, she was saved from making the difficult decision by herself. She heard the front door slammed open, and then closed. Edmund's going out, she thought idly. And she reminded herself that Edmund was more familiar to the village's area than her and had fast practiced steps which once again she regretfully remember, nowhere near her slower speed. It would be hopeless to go after him now.
"Fine then." She turned to her sister and sighed inwardly although she stared at Susan with determined eyes that had painted clearly she was not going to back down until the whole pieces of the story had been laid out in front of her. "Give me the truth."
Cling. Cling. Cling.
"Lucy, would you stop that already?" Susan scolded her, looking up from the thick book on her lap to glare at the girl who has been tapping a spoon to one of the plate lying on the dinner table.
It had been an hour since Susan promised her the truth. But unfortunately, Susan also added that if she wanted to know, they would have to wait for Peter to come home (he was visiting some of his friends in the neighbor village). She had wanted to argue then, but Susan's pursed lips told her that she would not get what she wanted if she was to disagree with the matter.
So she had sighed and let herself fell into the nearest chair as a sign of reluctant agreement. Lucy was a patient person - really, but sometimes, under certain circumstances, she tends to be . . . well, you know . . . impatient.
"How much longer do I have to wait?" She asked impatiently, for the ninth time that hour. She put the spoon that she was holding back to the hard surface of the table, now focusing on her sister.
Susan sighed, "I told you, when Peter's home."
"And when is that?"
"When he finished whatever he was busy with." Susan replied to her, returning to her book.
Lucy groaned, burying her face in her hands. That was not even a proper answer.
After what had seemed a decade later (to her, anyways), the front door creaked open and they heard Peter's voice calling out, "I'm home."
She saw Susan inhaling a deep breath.
Lucy's ears were ringing, Peter's heavy footsteps echoing in her mind. Is this it?
Her brother appeared from the door, smiling widely. "Susan. Lucy," he greeted, as he looked around. "Where's Edmund? Not off to annoy Professor again, I hope." Edmund had seemed to pay an unhealthy interest to the Professor's research lately – though Peter believed that its only purpose was to disturb him.
Then, his eyes caught Susan's.
"Peter, they know."
"You told them?" Peter's voice was harsh, and Lucy flinched as she heard it. Never before had she heard Peter talked like that. Not to them. To their enemies at Narnia, yes. But not to them. Never them.
But Susan was poised, unaffected by his act as if it was nothing new, staring at Peter with something that could be described as a calm demenour. "They deserve to know it." She replied, closing her book.
Peter's eyes flashed, and he walked to Susan, slamming his hands on the hard surface of the table between them. "You promised."
Susan crossed her arms. "Well you already broke a bloody promise, why can't I do the same?"
Peter laughed dryly. "So that's what this is all about. You're still mad because I kept this secret from all of you."
Now Susan was fuming, her eyes glaring at Peter as she stood up to match her brother. "Yes, but I told them because they deserve to know the truth, especially Edmund."
"He had what- a completely happy 18 years without that knowledge," Peter snapped. "And now you're telling him that everything that he had considered normal was a lie? Congratulations Su, well done for ruining his life."
"Well, if it was me, I would bloody want to know who my parents are." Susan retorted.
"It's different with Ed, Su! Dammit!" Peter shook his head angrily. "Ed is not like you, he's not one to accept with an open mind, to think rationally-bloody hell Su! I thought you knew better!"
She heard them. Lucy was listening alright, but it seemed that they were talking in some ancient language she did not understand. She tried to focus, to understand—but she couldn't. Everything just didn't make sense.
"Peter. Susan." Their names slipped from her lips, and her siblings went silent, as if they had just remembered her presence in the room. Susan threw an annoyed glance at Peter, it was clear that she blamed Peter for making her argue in front of her little sister. Peter was unaffected by his slightly younger sister's glare. His eyes were glued to the youngest of them all, the anger in them slowly being replaced by worry.
"Lucy…," he started, but she stopped him before he was able to say anything else.
"Please Peter…," a forced puppy dog eyes. She was not in the mood to do it, but Peter had always had a soft spot for those eyes. It was something that had always managed to get her out of every trouble with him. Honestly. "Tell me, tell me what's going on. Tell me…," she raised her arms and gestured to all of them. "Tell me what this is all about."
Peter closed his eyes and groaned. He was trying hard to resist, she knew that. But she was not finished. If anything could break Peter's wall of resolve, it was his role as a big brother. She did not know whether her siblings realized this, but to her, it was really obvious. Okay, maybe Edmund knew. But he couldn't do what she could. Or he wouldn't want to, anyways. Maybe he would rather have a tip of a sword against his neck. But of course, she forgot that it would be no problem for him since he had the natural ability to defend himself and would most likely able to disarm his enemies easily. Still…being the youngest has it advantages. Although she hated it sometimes.
She took a few steps nearer until she was standing right in front of him. He shook his head. "Lucy, this has nothing to do with you."
She pursed her lips disapprovingly. Although she wanted nothing than to just shove it in front of his and Susan's faces, the fact that she was no longer that little girl and that she was also a part of the family. She wanted to scream, to yell, and to stomp out of the room with sheer desperation from their oblivious ness to who she was now. Yes, she knew that she was the youngest of them all. But honestly, she's sixteen years old. Don't her opinion matters now? She had seen a lot of things. She had even ruled a country with them and yet she still hadn't earned their respect?
Edmund respected her. She knew that, at least. That was what had kept her at bay from blowing up completely at Peter and Susan. Whereas her two oldest siblings had always discussed things with Edmund—he had always turned to her and asked her what her opinion was, as if he actually needed it. He never needed it. He's Edmund the Just. Clearing misunderstandings and discussing wars were his specialty. His decisions were accepted and respected by everyone. And yet he had always asked her. He would nod and smile approvingly at anything she said, and sometimes he even actually used her battle strategies (which she knew were lame) while it was obvious that he could reconstruct everything better than her.
Susan and Peter would argue, of course. Saying that her strategies were too weak, not having enough damage result. But Edmund would insist on using her strategies (Trust me on this, Pete. Lucy's strategy will work wonderfully and that island will once again rightfully belong to Narnia.) and because he had spoken it with such confidence, no one could say no.
But he was Edmund, and of course, her plan would work at the end, no matter how lame it was. It was him who done it, after all.
Edmund had always been her favorite sibling. If Edmund was really her sibling to begin with.
"Peter?" She took another step so that she was pressed against her brother and wrapped her slender arms around him. "You know that I love you. You're my big brother, and you will always be the boy who had protected me from the pack of wolves attacking us from our first visit to Narnia."
Let's see if the bait worked.
A sigh. "Fine then. What do you want to know?"
Bingo. Edmund would never be able to do that. Correction. He could, but he would never want to do that. Hugging his brother in public..like she said, would be his second choice if the option was a group of robbers and having to hug Peter to survive. If there was anything that she loved for being the youngest, it was that kind of advantage that she had over her siblings. Not that she would admit it to anyone.
She lifted her head to stare at her brother's clear eyes. "Everything."
Hearing that again was like a slap on the face. The first one was a shock, but hearing it the second time was horrible, because it was a confirmation—a proof that it was accurately true.
She couldn't look at anyone, so she stared at her own folded hands which were resting on the hard surface of the table.
"Since when did you know about this?" She asked, glancing briefly at her siblings.
"Since the family gathering that we had shortly after your last visit to Narnia," answered Susan stiffly. "I overheard Mom and Dad talking to Peter about it."
Lucy directed her gaze to Peter.
He didn't meet her gaze. "Since the beginning."
A sharp intake of breath. She couldn't believe what she just heard.
"You knew…? Since the very beginning?"
"The Porter family was very dear to our parents," Peter began hesitantly, as if he didn't know how to tell it properly. "His father—"here she realized that Peter meant Edmund's father. "His biological father, was a soldier, just like our father."
He paused, to see if the information had sunk in yet. Susan was staring outside the window, as if she was willing to be outside in the cold weather than in the warm kitchen having to hear the story again.
"They met, and instantly they became best friends, having to survive under the pressure of war and everything else, they had a lot in common. I remember the first time I met them. Mr. Porter was a handsome man—he had this natural ability to know which was best and which wasn't. The true instinct of a soldier. While…Mrs. Porter. . . she was the nicest woman I had ever met. Long black hair, and shiny blue eyes, she looked like Edmund, although his dark eyes were definitely from .
They had always wanted a child. Unfortunately, Mrs. Porter's immune system was damaged because of an accident she had the few years earlier, and the doctor told them that child bearing might kill her. So they treated me like their son, teaching me how to ride a bicycle and other stuffs because Mom and Dad were very busy.
And then Susan was born, a beautiful baby girl—to quote Mr. Porter. And Mrs. Porter had never wanted a child more than she did when she saw Susan. After much begging, Mr. Porter finally surrendered and let her have her wish.
—Mrs. Porter was pregnant with Edmund—eight months, I remember, when Mr. Porter got a call of duty for the war. So he went…and…," Peter swallowed hard, and Lucy knew that it was a hard story to tell. "And he never came back."
Lucy's eyes widened. "He died?" She asked in a whisper. Oh poor Edmund!
Peter nodded gloomily. "It was a huge shock for Mrs. Porter, and it really depressed her. What's worse was…she didn't survive the child bearing. The shock of her husband's death was too overwhelming—the doctor said, and her immune system could not take it. Luckily, her son survived. But the Porters did not have any other siblings, so…Mom and Dad adopted him."
He paused for a second. "Susan was too young to remember a thing—and I…Mom and Dad made me promise to treat him as my brother, and not to tell anyone about him being adopted. They named him Edmund, just like what Mrs. Porter wanted. And this thing might will never bother him at all if Susan did not have the habit to stick her nose in other people's business."
Peter glared at Susan and the girl raised her chin daringly. "He will find out. Even if we did not tell him, he will definitely find out about it by himself. He's a cunning and smart kid, smarter than you—in case you forgot, and can you imagine his reaction if he found out about this by himself? He will never trust us again, Peter. Would you prefer that?"
Susan's argument made a lot of sense. Lucy was aware of that, and she knew that Peter would not be able to compose a reply to it. The older boy buried his face in his hands.
"Mom and Dad will be disappointed," he murmured.
Susan's eyes softened and she scooted over to Peter, rubbing his back soothingly. "We did the right thing, Pete."
"No," he shook his head. "You did the right thing. I refused to tell him, remember? I should have told him—and you guys too, but I…"
"It's fine, Pete. It's fine," Susan repeated.
"No. It's not goddamn fine."
His voice was eerie quiet, yet it echoed in the silent kitchen. Three pairs of eyes stared at the lone figure standing in the hallway. Edmund.
His coat was draped carelessly over his shoulders, his cheeks were flushed-either it was from anger, or from the cold. His dismal eyes glared at them angrily as if things were never going to be the same again, silently demanding for an explanation.
It was Lucy who broke the silence. "Edmund..."
But he did not spare her a glance, looking straight at Peter.
Peter sighed, curling his fingers. "Where do I begin?"
"Oh, I don't know," Edmund snapped. "From the bloody beginning, perhaps?"
"Fine then, let's start from the beginning."
.to be continued.
AN: Review? Pretty Please? *Lucy's puppy dog eyes* Who can resist her pretty eyes? I can't. Can you? Next update, when the reviews hit 25. Thankyou!