A/N: Set somewhere in their first visit to Narnia. Lucy is about sixteen. This pairing is LucyPeter; if you don't like it, you have been warned. Those who do, enjoy! Also, look for a sequel in about two weeks, which will be posted as a separate story. Keep an eye out!
Disclaimer: I own nothing and am making no money. Everything belongs to C. S. Lewis and, I suppose, Fox, since Disney dropped the movie franchise.
Hair blowing straight out behind her, she leaned over the railing, looking out over the sea. Although she was very high up, she was not afraid. Being here made all her fears disappear on the wind, just like she wished she could.
Susan had once told her, late at night when they were trading secrets, that being in love was like flying, that it made you feel like you were floating on air. Ever since that night, Lucy had been desperate to experience love like that, but she knew she never would, at least not with the person who mattered most. So she had to settle for the next best thing – feeling the wind, almost, but not quite, lift her off of the balcony into the sky. Maybe everything would seem simpler from the air. She shook her head, sighed and stepped back, settling once again for simply enjoying the peace she felt whenever she stood here and looked out at the water and felt the breeze. She hadn't been up here since her two older siblings had left almost a week ago, and she realized now how tense she had been.
"Lucy?" Edmund's voice came from the open door. "What are you doing?"
Lucy jumped. She hadn't heard her brother come up behind her. "Nothing," she replied, not turning her head.
Edmund moved to stand beside her and looked out at the tremendous view as well. "Lucy," he said gently, "don't be worried about Peter and Susan. They'll be home soon."
"I know. I just wish…" her voice trailed off.
"Why did they leave us here?" She demanded suddenly, turning to face him. "Why didn't they take us with them? A prince wants to marry Susan; it's not like it was a dangerous trip so they left us here for our own safety. We could easily have come along."
"Someone had to stay here and look over Narnia," said Edmund practically. "We can't leave it defenseless; it's our responsibility to keep it safe."
"I know that, Edmund," Lucy snapped at him, realized she sounded like Susan, and winced. Softening her voice, she said, "I just like it better when we're all together, that's all." It wasn't quite a lie.
"So do I, but they'll be back in a few days. And hopefully Susan will have said no, and we can all have a big party and nobody will go anywhere for months."
"Edmund!" Lucy started to laugh. "That sounds more like what would happen if she said yes." He didn't say anything, and Lucy frowned at him. "Edmund, what's wrong?"
"I know something is. Come on, tell me. Please?"
He sighed. "It's just… if it's this awful when she's gone on a short trip, how will it be when she does get married and moves away forever?"
Lucy fell silent. Honestly, she hadn't even thought of that as a possibility, Susan leaving for good. "We have to be happy for her Edmund." She said hesitantly. "Besides, maybe… maybe she and her husband will stay and live here."
Edmund laughed a little. "That's not how things work, Lucy. When you get married, you'll leave too, you know."
Something seemed to squeeze her chest tightly. "I'll never get married," she announced boldly, unwilling to even consider the possibility of leaving – of leaving him – and stared back at the sea. Suddenly she squinted, trying to make out a shape at the edge of the horizon. Could it be…?
"Of course you will, silly," Edmund told her. "We all have to get married eventually. I guess I just need time to adjust to the idea of us splitting up. I'm sorry, I shouldn't be bothering you with this." But Lucy wasn't listening anymore. She pulled herself back onto the railing, hanging off the edge, and began waving wildly, calling, "Hello! Hello!" The feeling of the breeze pushing and pulling at her made her head spin, and she almost fell off the balcony. She could just imagine jumping right into the welcoming breeze and-
Edmund grabbed her waving arm and pulled. Lucy let out a shriek of surprise as she lost her grip and tumbled backwards, falling to the balcony floor. "Edmund! What was that?"
"What was that?" He cried, pushing her off of him and clambering to his feet, glaring down at her where she sat in a heap on the floor, stunned. "That was you almost falling off the edge and into the water, that's what! Lucy, what were you thinking?"
She was stunned. Was that really what he thought would happen? How could she explain that the wind would pick her up and carry her away, to somewhere where she wouldn't have to hide how she felt or pretend anymore? "I wasn't going to fall," Lucy whispered, a tear trickling down her cheek.
Edmund knelt before her. "Lucy, you were," he said gently, sounding so much like Peter that Lucy's heart nearly broke. "I know it may not have seemed like it, but believe me, you were." He paused. "I want you to promise me that you'll never do it again."
She couldn't. This was what she lived for. But she had no choice – Edmund wouldn't leave her alone until she did. "I promise," whispered Lucy hopelessly.
"Thank you," Edmund answered, looking relieved. Lucy didn't bother replying. She couldn't have told him why she wanted to fly, anyway. There was silence for a few moments, then, sounding much more like himself, he asked, "Now, what were you waving at?"
"The ship," she said quietly, without any of her previous enthusiasm. "They're back."
Edmund looked for himself, and his eyebrows rose. "Already? That means that things either went very badly or very well. I'd better go let everyone know – although they've probably already seen it…" He headed downstairs, calling over his shoulder, "Don't go near that railing, Lucy! And come down soon, there might be a feast."
Lucy stayed on the balcony until she thought she would be missed, then pulled herself to her feet and slipped inside, feeling numb. If Susan really was getting married, then it was only a matter of time until Peter did the same. And then Edmund, and next… she shivered. She hadn't been joking when she had said she was never getting married. It wasn't that she didn't want to get married; she did. But the person she wanted to marry would most certainly never want to marry her.
Lucy didn't return to the balcony for over a year. She made herself be content with the memory of the feeling, of the rush she felt when the wind blew hard at her back, knowing that dreams were all she would ever have anyway. She forced herself to be grounded in reality, to try to forget the truth. The balcony was her favorite place in the castle, but she was afraid of going back. She was scared of what she might find there, scared of the truth that she had been trying for so long to hide from, scared of the feelings she was afraid she could no longer suppress.
"Luce! Lucy, have you seen Peter anywhere? I need his opinion on something." Edmund asked, bursting into a room in the downstairs of the castle one day in late summer. Lucy looked up from her conversation with one of the visiting king's handmaidens and shook her head.
"I have," Susan said, appearing another doorway with a surprisingly big smile on her face. "He and King Darrien's cousin are walking in the garden. I haven't seen him looking this happy with a girl in months."
"Our brother's finally fallen in love, then?" Edmund asked, sounding amused. "Took him long enough."
Susan raised her eyebrows, looking happier than they had seen her in ages. "With Peter, you never know. You'll just have to ask him. But it certainly looks hopeful."
The blood was roaring in Lucy's ears, and her hands were shaking. She couldn't see or hear or even think. Her whole world had come crashing down around her. With horrible clarity, she remembered that she had passed the fledgling apple trees earlier that day, and had seen two people snuggled together on a bench. She hadn't realized it at the time, but now she knew that it must have been Peter and the girl. There had been other girls before, of course, but Lucy had never seen him act this way with anyone outside of their family before, nor had she ever seen Susan – who was very knowledgeable about this kind of thing – make any sort of suggestion that Peter might really love someone. Somehow, Lucy just knew that this time, it was for real.
"Lucy?" said Susan suddenly, sounding concerned. "Lu, are you all right?"
Susan's words snapped her out of her trance. Knowing that she couldn't stay in the room any longer and hold back the tears, Lucy scrambled to her feet and bolted for the door.
"Lucy! Lucy, wait!" Her siblings' calls floated after her as she ran, uncaring of where she ended up. She just had to get out of there.
When she burst through the door onto the balcony, she somehow still managed to take a second and appreciate its beauty. Nothing had changed in the year she'd been away. It was untouched, white and shiny and perfect in the warm mid-afternoon sun. The waves crashed below on the beach, a gentle roar that served as the perfect background for her tears, as everything she had been trying to hold back, all the thoughts and feelings and flat-out love came pouring out of her in a rush of emotion that left her exhausted.
When she had finally cried herself out, Lucy walked to the edge of the balcony and looked blindly out over the sea. She didn't know how long she had been standing there, trying not to feel anything, when she finally realized she wasn't alone. When she turned around, Lucy wasn't very surprised to find herself face-to-face with Peter, his face creased with worry.
"Susan and Edmund told me what happened," he said gently. "What's wrong? Has someone hurt you?" The concern in his voice almost made her start crying again.
"No one's hurt me," she whispered, unable to admit that it was he who had just broken her heart. "Not really, anyway. Not on purpose."
They were silent for a long time, then Peter cleared his throat. "Why did you come here? What's so special about this balcony?"
Lucy smiled a little. "The sound of the waves crashing on the beach. The feel of the sun, warm on my skin. The smell of the ocean air. The beautiful view. Everything just seems simpler here. And the feeling I have that I can't find anywhere else, as if I were flying."
His arms closed around her, and she held back a sigh at the feeling of him holding her. "Lucy, I can't believe I'm saying this, but you've grown up. You're a woman now, aren't you?" It wasn't quite a question.
Not too long ago, she would have laughed and pushed him away. But Lucy was quieter and sadder, and, besides, it was true – she had grown up. So instead, she turned herself around in his arms so she could see his face. "I suppose I am, yes."
His eyes were soft. "My baby sister, all grown up," he murmured, and as though without thinking, he leaned forward and kissed her gently on the forehead.
His lips on her skin felt like heaven. Before Lucy could think about what she was doing, her arms had encircled his shoulders and she leaned into his embrace, closing her eyes in the bliss of being held with such obvious love, even if it wasn't the kind she wanted. As soon as she did so, however, Peter went rigid, and Lucy cursed herself. She knew this would happen, she knew he would be disgusted by how she felt. This was exactly why she had been trying to hide her feelings for so long. In one moment, she had just ruined everything.
But before she could pull back and try to make some kind of explanation, to salvage the situation somehow, his arms tightened on her waist, pulling her closer. Lucy's eyes opened just in time for her to register the strange expression on his face before Peter's lips captured hers, questioningly at first, but then more strongly as he gained confidence. And, knowing that this was likely her only chance, she kissed him back without restraint, their hands running over each other in exploration, but more importantly, simply for the joy of touch.
Lucy had dreamed of this moment for so long. The head rush from the balcony was nothing compared to this. She had never experienced anything like it before. She lost her sense of time and space; all she was aware of was Peter. Her hands explored his body without restraint, and a shiver went down her spine as she felt him doing the same to her. It felt better than she could have ever imagined. She was floating on air, uncaring of what happened around her as long as this head-spinning feeling of ecstasy remained. Her worries were far away, on the ground below her.
But it couldn't last forever. Peter released her eventually, but the sensation of walking on clouds remained. Lucy could hardly breathe for wonderment. There were stars in both of their eyes, and a small smile pushed up the corners of her mouth. The only missing piece of her life had just fallen into place.
But of course, Peter wouldn't see it that way. He stepped back from her in horror. "Lucy, what have I done?" He whispered. "Oh Lucy, I'm so sorry. So very, very sorry."
"I know you think we can't do this," Lucy told him, feeling like she was falling slowly from a thousand feet high. The waves still broke on the beach below, but they seemed far away now. "And I understand." Which she did, in some twisted, roundabout way. Everything they ever could have been would never be, and the knowledge almost broke her heart. But not quite, because now she had something she could hold onto. "Just don't be sorry. Promise me that you'll never tell me you're sorry again."
"But I can't! This will never happen again, Lucy, I can't believe what I just did to you. I have to fix this," he told her desperately, searching for a way to put right what they had just done.
"You already did," she said softly.
He looked bewildered, and a little angry. "Lucy, I have no idea what you're talking about. I can't think of one good thing about what we just did. I'm your brother, and I took advantage of you, and-"
"I can," Lucy whispered, turning to look over the sea into the golden sunset.
Lucy felt tears gather in her eyes, but they did not fall. "I love you, Peter, and you love me. You do," she said over his protestations, "you always have, and you always will. You know how I know? You never would have done that if you didn't love me all along. And that's what love feels like – you made me feel like I was flying." He said nothing, and she knew she was right.
They stood there for a long time without speaking. Looking into the blinding sunset, she found that she no longer felt a desperate need to walk among the clouds and float on the breezes, carefree and happy. She had just been there, and in a way she was there still, and always would be. Lucy could accept now that she had to move on. She knew Peter would marry, and one day so would she. But she also knew where her heart would be – here, in this place, with him, forever.
She felt his hand on the small of her back, and she turned to face him, seeing the conflict in his eyes. Lucy knew that she had to release him, or else he would torture himself over this for the rest of their lives. She took a deep breath, and spoke. "That's all I needed, Peter. I won't be jealous anymore. I want you to be happy and marry whomever you wish, and not worry about me." She could feel him about to protest, but she couldn't let him. "No, Peter." Lucy turned back to the ocean. "You already gave me everything I need. The memories are enough to last a lifetime."
A/N: Please leave a review, and again, look for the sequel!