A/N: A Narnia fic for you guys, as a Christmas present. Though this isn't really a Christmas fic. Oh well. Forgive me if there aren't much Briticisms here. English is my second language, and it's the American English at that. I thought that if I looked up Briticisms, I might just fail at writing them. Anyway, Merry Christmas to you all!
"Why sir?" said Lucy. "I think – I don't know – but I think I could be brave enough."
"That is not the point," he said. "But battles are ugly when women fight. And now" – here he suddenly looked less grave – "here is something for the moment for you all!" and he brought out (I suppose from the big bag at his back, but nobody quite saw him do it) a large tray containing five cups and saucers, a bowl of lump sugar, a jug of cream, and a great big teapot all sizzling and piping hot. Then he cried out "Merry Christmas! Long live the true King!" and cracked his whip, and he and the reindeer and the sledge and all were out of sight before anyone realized that they had started.
Chapter Ten: The spell begins to break, in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The Complete Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.
[At the Stone Table, before Edmund's Rescue]
Lucy had wanted to ask Father Christmas that day.
Perhaps she was much too in awe that day (and it had only been a few days ago, really), that she forgot about asking him. Perhaps she was too caught up in the moment, as anyone would have been in his presence. There was a feeling of joy and gladness when he arrived, but it was a solemn kind of joy that one would have to take in everything and be still. It was the same feeling she got whenever she felt Aslan's presence. Only, her feelings were much stronger when it came to Aslan.
She felt sort of guilty that she didn't ask. She felt sort of guilty that no one asked, and that no one spoke of it either. The moment Peter received Rhindon (though the sword was nameless then), he immediately took it out to show it to Mr. Beaver. Mrs. Beaver had been busy with the tea, and Susan had been holding onto her gifts with great care and helping Mrs. Beaver with the sugar and cream. She was probably thinking of the upcoming war, and if she ever needed to go into battle, and if Peter really was going into battle, and what if help never arrived when she blew her horn? Lucy could only guess, though. She didn't know what Susan really thought that day.
Lucy herself had been busy taking in what happened, and getting excited with her gifts. She remembered holding the dagger in her hands. It had just the right weight, and the hilt was decorated with ornate designs, and it was cold to the touch. But it had given her warmth when she held it. The cordial too, filled with the juice of the fire-flowers, had been cold due to the recent winter. But when she held it, she also felt warm. As if it was a reassurance that everything would be fine, and that they were being looked after. It was a relieving idea, to have something tangible for them to hold onto, reminding them that they are being protected, and that Aslan is on the move, and that there was still hope. It was comforting. Yet when Lucy thought this over days later (which would bring us to today), she also found this idea to be quite concerning.
What did her brother have to hold onto?
What did Edmund have that would protect him from the White Witch? What would he hold onto, to assure himself that he would live, and that someone was looking out for him, and that he would see his siblings again?
When Lucy received her gifts, and when she met Aslan, she felt as if they were the signs telling them that they were, indeed, the prophesied saviors of Narnia. They told her that winter will soon break, and the White Witch would be defeated, and her siblings would be safe amidst everything. Yet Edmund received no gifts, and he has never met Aslan before. Lucy felt that Father Christmas should have left Edmund a gift too, if only to assure him that he will be fine, and that he is very much a part of the prophecy.
Perhaps, Lucy wanted this to happen to assure herself of Edmund's safety.
"Stop pacing around Lu." Peter said. "It's giving me a headache. Susan's worrying enough for all of us."
"Aren't you worried about Edmund?" Lucy asked, a little hurt with Peter's words, but she knew the answer to her question deep down. No one worried more for Edmund than Peter. He had been the closest to him out of the three of them, until Peter had to go to boarding school and their dad got sent to war. But that was another story.
"Of course he is." Susan answered for him. "But he's still shaken up from the wolf incident to think straight right now."
Peter gave his sister a look, before turning to Lucy. "They're out to rescue Ed right now, so we can relax a little bit." He said. He tried to give her a smile, but his weary eyes and troubled look made it seem sadder than he intended it to be.
Lucy gripped her cordial tighter. "I know Ed will be fine. I believe in Aslan." She said. "But what does he believe in? He hasn't met Aslan. He could be suffering under the White Witch, and he's been put down by all of us. He's got nothing to protect himself with. When he goes back home, all that's waiting for him is a war that might have destroyed our home." She sighed heavily, and sat down next to Peter. She hugged him tightly. "Do you think he can hold out until rescue comes?"
Lucy could feel Peter wrap his arms back at her, letting her head rest on his chest. She didn't see Peter's reaction to what she said, or Susan's for that matter. There was silence.
"Oh, I do wish I asked Father Christmas if he got Edmund any gift!" she cried.
Next, Peter took down his gift - the shield with the great red lion on it, and the royal sword. He blew, and rapped them on the floor, to get off the dust. He fitted the shield on his arm and slung the sword by his side. He was afraid at first that it might be rusty and stick to the sheath. But it was not so. With one swift motion he drew it and held it up, shining in the torchlight.
"It is my sword Rhindon," he said; "with it I killed the Wolf." There was a new tone in his voice, and the others all felt that he was really Peter the High King again. Then, after a little pause, everyone remembered that they must save the battery.
They climbed the stair again and made up a good fire and lay down close together for warmth. The ground was very hard and uncomfortable, but they fell asleep in the end.
Chapter Two: The Ancient Treasure House, in Prince Caspian. The Complete Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.
[At the Ruins of Cair Paravel, the night before Trumpkin's Rescue]
There was something unappealing about sleeping on the ground, even though they have done it so many times in their past reign. For one thing, the ground was hard to sleep in. And they knew that, when morning comes, the ground would be damp and moist, just as the grass would be when dew forms around it. Lucy thought to herself that they could try sleeping in the sandy beach instead, but decided not to voice out this thought. Sleeping in the ruins was far more practical, even if uncomfortable.
It was very late at night, or maybe very early in the morning, when Lucy woke up. She couldn't say that she didn't sleep well, because despite her very uncomfortable makeshift bed, she had rested very well. She couldn't remember having any dreams, nor could she remember why she felt so tired a few hours ago. But it didn't matter much, now that she was awake.
She saw Edmund standing near the cliffs.
"Edmund?" she asked, approaching her brother. She stopped when she noticed the solemn look on Edmund's face. It wasn't uncommon to see Edmund with a grave face. But Lucy was Edmund's brother, and she knew when there was some kind of meaning on her brother's expression. It was the little things that told her that. The way Edmund would stay very still, or how he would always look up at the sky, or how his hand gripped his sword in a slightly different way. Sometimes, though, it was just a feeling. Lucy knew Edmund could hide his emotions very well. He had practiced that with Peter many times, so that the High King would not worry unnecessarily.
Edmund turned to face Lucy. His eyes widened slightly. "Lucy? Why are you up? You should be asleep."
"I could say the same for you." Lucy said. Edmund gave a soft laugh. "What are you doing here?" She asked.
He shrugged in response. "Looking at the stars, I guess." He took one more look at the sky before turning back to Lucy. His smile was very calm and solemn. "But the night air is rather cold, don't you think? Why don't we walk around, Lu? It's been a while since we did that."
Lucy found this to be a very strange thing for Edmund to say, even though the words that came out of his mouth weren't strange at all. It was the way that Edmund said it, and the way his eyes seem somber, and how his whole countenance was silent and grave. He looked rather sad to Lucy, almost melancholic, but it wasn't the kind of sadness that made one feel bad.
Lucy accepted Edmund's offer, and walked with him.
"I wonder what happened here." Edmund said, after they walked around in silence. They made sure not to stray too far from their camp. "What do you think, Lucy?"
"I don't know, but it must be very serious for the Cair to be in ruins." Lucy replied. She was holding onto Edmund's hand as they walked, and it was a nice feeling since it has been a while since she spent time alone with her brother. Usually it was Peter or Susan who accompanied her on such walks, because Susan was her best friend and Peter was their High King and big brother, and he always made time for everyone. Whenever Lucy had a problem, after praying she would run to either of them. Edmund helped on occasions, but even he admitted that though he loved Lucy, those kinds of things weren't his forte.
Lucy only ever spent time with Edmund when they were romping or playing around. But even then, they didn't spend much time just silently enjoying each other's company. There were times, but they weren't often.
"Hm." Edmund hummed. He began swinging their arms slightly, like they used to when they were little. "You think someone sent us here? I mean, remember that pulling sensation back at the train station? It was definitely magic there."
"Maybe." Lucy said. "It could have been. But why would someone send us here?"
"Beats me." Edmund said. He kicked a small, stray rock. "But you know, I've been thinking. Even though the Cair is in complete ruins now, your gifts weren't destroyed. I mean, the treasure room is the only thing that survived whatever happened here, and even then some of the armor has rusted and become brittle. But the gifts are still in perfect shape. Even Susan's bow worked perfectly. As if there was magic protecting them."
"Of course. Father Christmas brought them to protect us from the White Witch." Lucy said. She stopped, and pulled her hand from Edmund's, covered her mouth and stared at her brother wide-eyed.
She remembered that day when she received her gifts, and how she was so excited to have them, and how she was relieved to have some reassurance with her. She remembered when everyone had been harsh at the youngest brother, how he strayed away and suffered under the White Witch whilst everyone else was comfortable in Aslan's camp, protected and assured.
She remembered how she felt guilty for not asking Father Christmas about Ed's gift.
It just didn't seem fair to her.
"Oh Ed!" Lucy said, darting for her brother. She hugged him tightly, and nearly sent both of them off balance. "I didn't...! I mean – I wasn't... Oh! I'm so sorry Ed!"
And just like the time she hugged Peter about it, she didn't see Edmund's reaction to what she said. She did, however, felt two firm hands on her shoulders, reaching farther and embracing her in a hug. And she felt that Edmund was really, really warm. Especially on cold nights.
"What's all this about Lu?" Edmund said, and Lucy pulled away to look at Edmund clearly. There was no hint of sarcasm in Edmund's voice, nor was there in his face. His eyes showed that he was genuinely surprised at his sister's actions. He was sincerely asking. Tears were yet to fall, but Lucy already felt like she should be crying, and she knew she was very close to doing it.
"The gifts." She whispered. She still held onto Edmund's waist, even though she pulled away. She looked down, hands clasping around each other behind Edmund's back. She almost bit her lip. "You didn't get one from Father Christmas. And I just thought..."
"Oh, that?" Edmund laughed, and it was a sincere laugh. It was actually more of a chuckle, Lucy thought. He ruffled his sister's hair slightly, only slightly so he wouldn't mess up the braids too much. "That's nice of you to think about me, Lu. To be honest, I was a bit jealous when I first saw the gifts. But," and here, he gave a small smile. It was the solemn smile Lucy saw him wear while he was staring at the sky. It was that sad smile again. That sad smile that didn't make her feel bad, for some reason. "I realized that I don't have anything to be jealous of."
He pulled away from Lucy completely, then held her hand. He continued their walk, and Lucy was startled to have him pull her from where they were. It took only a few moments for her to match her brother's pace, which wasn't that fast anyway.
"What do you mean by that, Ed?" Lucy asked after a short period of silence.
"You guys weren't the only ones who received a gift." Edmund said. "Although I'll admit, I was jolly well hurt when Father Christmas didn't give me anything. And I was even more hurt when I found out that none of you said anything about it." He shook his head slowly, his eyes closed. "I was such a brick then, and I knew I deserved that."
"Oh Ed!" Lucy started. She wanted to say that she did wish she said something that day. She wanted to say that she felt guilty about it. But something stopped her, telling her that she shouldn't. It felt like she was justifying herself in front of Edmund. And really, why did she have to justify, especially in front of someone who was named 'The Just'?
"I prayed about it, you know." Edmund said. He stopped walking again and looked up at the sky."I asked Aslan about it. He didn't give me an answer though. But all the same, I did find out eventually." He looked at Lucy in the eyes, and Lucy returned the look. This was something very precious to him, she thought. "You were there, weren't you? You saw what the White Witch did. Who she killed."
Lucy's eyes widened as memories flashed back into her mind. She gripped Edmund's hand tighter. "I was." She looked down. She never liked what she saw that day.
"Sometimes, I wish I could have seen it." Edmund put his hand below Lucy's chin so she would face him. There was cold wind that blew by, biting their skin. "It must have been awful. But, I know it was also the most beautiful thing that happened."
Lucy's breath hitched. She felt like she was starting to comprehend what Edmund was saying. "He sacrificed his life... for you."
Edmund nodded. "He did, even when I was such a bloody traitor back then." His eyes shone with tears that dared not fall, and Lucy was surprised to find that her own eyes were welling up. She wiped the tears away with the sleeve of her dress.
"It's a very selfish gift, actually." Edmund said. "You could heal anyone with your cordial. Susan can blow her horn to ask for immediate help for anyone around her. Peter can defend anyone with his sword. But my gift – Aslan's sacrifice – saved no one but myself." He pulled Lucy closer to him and kissed her head. "But I suppose if He didn't do that, I wouldn't be alive. And I wouldn't have come to terms with my family. Especially you, Lucy. I've been horrible to you in the past."
"If you weren't alive." Lucy whispered. She hugged her brother again, and this time, the tears did fall. But she'd do nothing to stop them. She cried onto Edmund's chest and thought of what Edmund just said. Of what a mess everything would have been without Edmund. "If you weren't alive," she whispered again, and it hurt her to think of what could have happened if Edmund was the one who got killed. "Narnia wouldn't have the Just King. Our people wouldn't have settled in peace with the Fell Beasts. And we wouldn't have unified Narnia. And we wouldn't have won as many wars as we did. And Susan –" her voice cracked. She continued talking though, her words matching the pace of her thoughts. " - she wouldn't have anyone to scold. She wouldn't have anyone to fuss over, and she wouldn't have anyone to talk about the books she read, and no one would have protected her from those awful suitors. And Peter wouldn't have anyone to spar with, he wouldn't have his right hand man. He wouldn't have -" she sniffled. "- have anyone to... to be his best friend. And I'd...!" She stopped talking altogether and cried against Edmund's chest, which was leaner than Peter's.
She felt Edmund's hand stoke her hair, and she managed to hear a "Shh..." amongst her sniffles and sobs, which seemed loud in the silent forest. She hugged him tighter, and Lucy appreciated how Edmund was very, very warm. She still couldn't stop her thoughts from continuing where they left off, and she felt that she had rambled on quite a bit about it, and she knew she should also apologize to Edmund later for wetting his clothes. He didn't seem to mind for the moment though.
Edmund hugged Lucy back. He kissed the top of Lucy's head, then rubbed her back soothingly. "It's okay, Lu. It's okay." He whispered. "I'm here, aren't I?"
Lucy sobbed in return. She didn't feel like talking at the moment, because she felt like she would cry even more if she did. She knew she loved her brother. She knew that she, and Peter, and Susan, and all of Narnia would be a mess without him.
But she never felt this strongly about it before.
They stayed like that for a while, just hugging each other. Edmund didn't complain, and Lucy was extremely glad that he didn't. She calmed down a bit, but she didn't let go of Edmund. She stayed buried in his chest, inhaling his scent and embracing his warmth, thinking of how much she would have missed him if he... No, she didn't continue that thought. She didn't dare to. Besides, all of that is in the past now.
She shouldn't bother with the 'what ifs'.
"I'm sorry for crying all over you." She whispered.
"It's alright." Edmund said. He smiled at Lucy, and Lucy very well appreciated how patient Edmund was. She didn't know how long they had been staying there; how long she cried. "You know," Edmund continued. "I'm really glad to have you, Lu. If I wasn't alive, I wouldn't have hugged you like this again."
Lucy smiled. "You're really warm, Ed." She said. "I love you, you know."
"I love you too." Edmund whispered.
And there, Lucy knew that she really was blessed to have Edmund with her. And she was blessed that Edmund received his gift.
Sometimes, people say that Lucy had the strongest faith out of all the Pevensie kids. But Lucy knew that wasn't true. She had incredible faith, but Edmund was a different matter. It was he who taught her that she didn't need tangible gifts to remember, to be assured, that Someone was looking out for them. Edmund received the greatest gift out of all of them, and he helped the most through it. He was a traitor, but he rose to be the Just King. He protected Peter and Susan. He trusted Aslan, most of all.
And he trusted Lucy too.
And Lucy found that with each gift, there came even greater ones. Lucy received Edmund's love and trust. She received even greater faith.
She found that the intangible things are the most precious gifts.
It was nearly dawn when they arrived back at camp. They walked slowly, hands held and swinging around. Peter and Susan were still asleep. Lucy didn't wake them up, and neither did Edmund. They just watched the sunrise, and waited for their Queen and High King to wake up.
They still had some time to offer a prayer of thanks until then.
A/N: Somehow, I didn't like the ending of this, but only because it seems like the last part was just added without a proper transition. And I think I made Lucy and Edmund OOC. Oh well. It's my first Narnia fic, so it's still difficult for me to portray them well. I reread this actually, and I found so many mistakes here! I corrected them, but if any of you guys find more mistakes about my grammar, please let me know! I want to improve myself!
Also, I'd like to share with you that you readers are one of the best Christmas gifts I have received this year! Of course, nothing could be better than what He has done for us. But anyway, I'd just like to share with you how much I appreciate you guys. Especially since I posted this on the eve of Christmas Eve, and when I checked my mail this morning, lo and behold, all of my new messages was about my fic! I'm so happy people enjoyed this, even if they don't review. Though it wouldn't hurt if you did, you know. :)
Again, Merry Christmas everyone! God Bless you and your families!